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DATE News (chronologically)
01/17/07
tv news
cc
Bourdais and Newman on Letterman  In case you missed Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Newman on David Letterman's Late Show Tuesday night, you can watch the 10 minute video clip here.
01/17/07
a1gp
Struggling A1GP forced to drop race, or two  UPDATE As we predicted back on December 3rd, A1GP has cancelled their 2nd race (Brazil) today. We would not be surprised to see more get axed.

12/03/06 The A1GP Series has dropped the UAE Dubai race originally scheduled for December 16th and instead are now going to Sentul, Indonesia, which was supposed to be on April 8th. Here is the revised schedule and don't be surprised if it is changed again as we doubt Brazil will happen and we wonder who will pay for the Mexico round. Flying this series all over the world is a real money loser and we count the days before the backers pull the plug.

2006/07 A1 Grand Prix Calendar revised

Rd Date Circuit Location
1 Oct. 1 06 Circuit Park Zandvoort Zandvoort, The Netherlands
2 Oct. 8 06 Automotodrom Brno Brno, Czech Republic
3 Nov. 12 06 Streets of Beijing Beijing, China
4 Nov. 26 06 Sepang Int'l Circuit Sepang, Malaysia
5 Dec. 10 06 Sentul Int'l Circuit Sentul, Indonesia
6 Jan. 21 07 Taupo Racetrack Taupo, New Zealand
7 Feb. 4 07 Eastern Creek Int'l Raceway Sydney, Australia
8 Feb. 25 07 Streets of South Africa Durban, South Africa
9 Mar. 18 07 TBD Brazil
10 Mar. 25 07 TBD Mexico
11 Apr. 15 07 Shanghai Int'l Circuit Shanghai, China
12 Apr. 29 07 Brands Hatch Circuit Kent, England

TBD = To be determined for exact location

Note: Schedule may be revised

01/17/07
usac
Noted Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic Oakes dies  INDIANAPOLIS - Danny Oakes, a champion midget car driver and chief mechanic for two Indianapolis 500 Rookies of the Year, died Jan. 13. Oakes was 95.

Oakes was one of the leading midget car drivers on the West Coast for more than 20 years, with many top finishes at the famed Gilmore Stadium. He also was a participant at the famed Legion Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles in the mid-1930s. Oakes was near the end of his driving career when he won the USAC Pacific Coast Midget title in 1959.

When Jim Hurtubise came within an eye-blink of turning the first 150-mph laps at Indianapolis as a rookie in May 1960, Oakes was his chief mechanic. Hurtubise was named Rookie of the Year. More ...

01/17/07
a1gp
A1GP drops Brazil race  The A1GP Brazil, due to run on 18 March 2007, has been withdrawn from the World Cup of Motorsport's 2006/07 season calendar following a delay in securing a local terrestrial television partner to provide nation-wide coverage of the series.

A1GP representative and seat holder of A1 Team Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi said: 'A1GP has decided to withdraw the Brazilian race from this season's calendar as it has taken longer than expected to secure free-to-air television coverage of the series within the market. A1 Team Brazil and A1GP have been working for some time to secure a wider-reaching television package to support our cable coverage in Brazil, ensuring that all Brazilian fans can follow the series that is conquering millions of followers around the world. We look forward to announcing final details shortly, after which, we will be able to ensure a successful race in Brazil and treat the Brazilian public to the full extent of the A1GP excitement.' More ...

01/17/07
nascar
Service set for Benny Parsons  A memorial service for former NASCAR champion and TV commentator Benny Parsons will be held 2 p.m. Friday at Grace Covenant Church in Huntersville. Family, friends and members of the racing community will be received during this service. Following the memorial service, race fans are welcome to present memorials to the church from 4 until 6 p.m. A private funeral service will be held Saturday in Millers Creek, N.C. Parsons, 65, died Tuesday from complications from lung cancer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Connie E. Parsons Memorial Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbee, NC 28338; or to the Blumenthal Cancer Center, 1025 Morehead Medical Dr., No. 600, Charlotte, NC 28338.
01/17/07
f1
Spyker announces 'Exact' deal  Exact Holding N.V. (Exact) announces it has signed a two-year sponsorship agreement with Spyker Formula 1 Team. In addition, both Spyker Cars N.V. (Spyker) and the Spyker F1 team will be empowered by Exact's business software solutions.

Spyker chose Exact's flagship solutions, Exact Globe and Exact e-Synergy with a special focus on manufacturing and customer relationship management (CRM) aspects, for both the Formula 1 Team and Spyker Cars N.V.

Colin Kolles, Managing Director Spyker F1 Team Ltd: `One of my great principles since arriving at Silverstone nearly two years ago was to promote efficiency within the Formula 1 business. The way Exact’s solutions empower Spyker in this area will be a huge step forward in increased productivity and substantial cost savings. These are vital areas where a dynamic small team like Spyker can really score.`

Michiel Mol, Director of Spyker F1 Limited : `This is a great start to our first full year as Spyker F1 Team - a partnership with a global company emphasizing the message of efficiency and communication, both essential tools in the success of any modern business. It’s an exciting time for Spyker as we strive to make our mark in competition against our well-established and massive multinational competitors.` More ...

01/17/07
f1
Fisichella tops Wednesday testing at Jerez  
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Fisichella Renault (B) 1:20.193 114
 2. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:20.266 113
 3. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.393 139
 4. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:20.617 43
01/17/07
GP2
Christian Bakkerud signs with David Price  Dane Christian Bakkerud has signed with DPR for the 2007 GP2 Series, and his team mate is expected to be announced shortly.

The 22-year-old tested for the team in Valencia at the end of November, and is delighted to make the move into the premier single-seater series below Formula One.

In 2006 Bakkerud contested the British Formula 3 Championship, finishing the season in a well-earned 6th place overall thanks to a win and a number of podium finishes in the second half of the season.

DPR will be taking up its place on the 2007 GP2 grid without the support of Carlin Motorsport after the planned merger of the two teams fell through. David Price said, .I’m very pleased that Christian will be with us, especially as he’s benefited from a GP2 test and has already visited some of the Grand Prix tracks thanks to the British F3 Championship. We’re working flat out now to get the cars prepared and the second driver finalized so we can get fully back up to speed before the official testing starts.

01/17/07
alms
Corvette returns to ALMS  Corvette Racing officials announced today that America's premier production sports car team intends to return to the American Le Mans Series in 2007 to defend its GT1 manufacturers, team and drivers championships. Corvette Racing also plans to race for its sixth GT1 class title in seven years at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

"The Corvette C6.R race program continues Chevrolet's tradition of racing production-based vehicles to improve the breed," said GM Racing director Mark Kent. "The continuous exchange of information and the constant transfer of technology between the racing and production programs ensure that lessons learned on the track benefit every Corvette on the highway."

Corvette Racing will test in February in preparation for the season-opening round of the 12-race ALMS series, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, on March 17, 2007.  Corvette Racing PR

01/17/07
f1
Alonso pops his Mercedes engine  McLaren's first shakedown of the MP4/22 has not gone to plan with World Champion Fernando Alonso forced to park the car in the pitlane after it lost power during Wednesday's test. The Spaniard was putting the car through its paces in Valencia before he parked the car which was bellowing smoke and losing oil.
01/17/07
irl
First batch of ethanol shipped to IndyCar Series  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1, Reading an article about the delivery of a tanker of ethanol for the IRL along with claims that this will be the first race series to use "renewable" fuel, I need to question parts of that claim.
 
First, how much fossil fuel is used in the production of that ethanol, as converted into fertilizer to grow the corn? Also, a fossil fuel derivative (propane) is used as a heat source to 'distill' the ethanol from the bio-mass used to produce it. How "renewable" is that fossil fuel?
 
Secondly, methanol can also be produced using bio-mass, wood chips in particular. This being the case, sprint cars, Indy-style cars (including Champ Cars) and drag racers in the alcohol classes have been using "renewable" fuel for decades. Back in the day a lot of folks called methanol "wood" alcohol and ethanol "grain" alcohol.
 
Someone else can do the research, but I think this is a disingenuous claim on the IRLs part. More puffed up IRL publicity? Tom Finlay

01/16/07 Tanker trucks come and go at the Renova Energy facility in Torrington, Wyo., with little more than a wave from the gate guard. But one bound for Indianapolis was special - if for its distinct markings.

The tanker that left Jan. 15 carried the first shipment of 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol that will power IndyCarSeries cars -- the first in motorsports to embrace a renewable fuel source - for the 2007 season. The ethanol will be employed during an Open Test on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Daytona International Speedway.

"I'm proud to be a part of the most significant fuel change in open wheel racing in 40 years," said Dan Schwartzkopf, senior vice-president of Renova Energy. "This is a groundbreaking achievement."  More ...

01/17/07
cc
Champ Car World Series retains marketing company  Looking to build on its worldwide presence after a 2006 season of strong growth, the Champ Car World Series has retained Next Marketing as its exclusive worldwide sales agency effective immediately.

Named as one of the top 20 sports marketing agencies in 2006, by Sports Business Journal, Georgia-based Next Marketing will be responsible for developing sponsorship packages and opportunities for the Champ Car World Series as well as the Champ Car Atlantic Series, along with working with the Series’ stakeholders to increase sponsorship opportunities.

“Champ Car has been on a pattern of increased growth and this partnership with Next Marketing is the perfect way to help us continue that growth,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. There is a lot of excitement leading into 2007 with new venues, new teams and the advent of the DP01chassis, and the time is right to bring on a company like Next Marketing to help us reevaluate our value proposition and expand our exposure.”

Next Marketing, a longtime motorsports marketer, has successfully placed major sponsorships in a number of race series including Champ Car, NASCAR and Formula One.  In 2005, Next continued its success within Champ Car by introducing CDW to the Series through a multi-year primary team sponsorship with RuSPORT. Through this sponsorship, CDW and its partners lead all Champ Car teams in exposure value on domestic television broadcasts according to the 2006 Joyce Julius Sponsor Report. More ...

01/17/07
f1
More than 107,000 fans expected for Malaysia GP  Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last night launched the ninth edition of Malaysia’s Formula One race as fans worldwide eagerly await the start of the 2007 Formula One World Championship. Slotted as the second round of the championship on April 6-8 at Sepang, fans can also expect a bonus in the form of a three-day pre-event test at the Sepang Circuit on March 27-29.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Sepang International Circuit chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir anticipated an interesting, fiercely fought race with the teams and drivers performing to their true capabilities as they would be fully prepared, boosted by the invaluable three-day official test in Sepang.

Declaring that SIC was all ready to stage the 2007 Formula One Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, Mokhzani expressed confidence that they will able to break last year’s attendance of 107,634 spectators with the support of the 2007 Visit Malaysia Year program and the F1 test providing additional promotion ammunition for the event. New Straits Times

01/17/07
nascar
Toyota moving forward with N.C. land purchase  Toyota Motorsports officials say the company will move forward with plans to buy 89 acres in Rowan County, N.C., northeast of Charlotte.  Toyota plans to build a 30,000-35,000-square-foot facility that will house Toyota Racing Development USA Inc. and a chassis engineering operation. "We expect to finalize the purchase within the next 30 days," TRD President Jim Aust said. " ... When it comes to NASCAR, we wanted a location accessible to all our teams, and the Rowan County property provides the best opportunity. Obviously we're committed to a long-term relationship with the sport."  Pending final planning, officials expect construction to begin this year and finish in late 2008.  Scenedaily.com
01/17/07
nascar
Nielsen signs first NASCAR race team  Nielsen Sports™, a unit of VNU, and Wood Brothers/JTG Racing announced today a partnership in which they will utilize Nielsen’s Sponsorship Scorecard® to track advertising signage for their race team.  Wood Brothers/JTG Racing is the first NASCAR race team to use Nielsen’s Scorecard service.   

As a pioneer in sponsorship measurement, Nielsen’s Sponsorship Scorecard service provides a “ratings service” to capture and report consumers’ exposure to brands advertised during each event, using an impression based metric.   Sponsorship Scorecard empowers the sponsorship industry to fully actualize its potential for reaching consumers in a way that is both meaningful and unavoidable.  Moreover, this highly sophisticated service provides the industry with a currency framework that enables the valuation process of sponsorships, as opposed to using a pre-determined set market value. 

Beyond reporting household and demographic impressions, Scorecard also tracks number of occurrences and duration for each sponsor.  All video and audio mentions are recorded and the location of each occurrence, such as the car’s front hood or pit road, is noted.  Sponsorship Scorecard also distinguishes between sponsorships that appear in a stadium, arena or track and ones that are digitally inserted onto the screen.

01/17/07
nascar
Orbitz sponsoring first Busch Series race  The Feb. 17 season-opening Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway will be called the Orbitz 300 under terms of a sponsorship agreement announced with the an online travel company. 
01/17/07
industry news
GM global sales down slightly in '06  General Motors Corp. said today that it sold 9.09 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2006, down 0.9% from 9.17 million one year earlier.  Toyota Motor Corp. has said that it expects final totals to show it sold 9.04 million vehicles in 2006. The Japanese automaker is forecasting 2007 production of 9.42 million vehicles in 2007, which would put it on track to outsell GM worldwide this year.
01/17/07
cc
Champ boss urges teams to set lineup  Champ Car World Series boss Steve Johnson had a blunt message for team owners yesterday: Get your drivers signed soon for the 2007 season.

Speaking during a teleconference from Las Vegas to announce Champ Car would add races in Holland and Belgium to this year's calendar, Johnson said it is frustrating not being able to have a committed lineup of teams and drivers so close to the season opener April 8.

"It does make it very difficult for us," he said. "But there is only so much we can control. I wish I could control that piece, but it's kind of out of my hands right now."

In a refreshingly frank answer to a question about drivers and teams, Johnson said time for signing drivers is now.

Several huge question marks remain for many of the circuit's teams with testing scheduled to begin next week in Sebring, Fla. More ...

01/17/07
nascar
Allmendinger too slow, steps aside  UPDATE Vickers is slotted to test the #84 Toyota on Wednesday as Allmendinger will be truck testing down in Homestead, FL that day. To make up for the schedule conflict, Allmendinger ran laps last week in the 83 car in Daytona. Red Bull Racing

01/16/07 AJ Allmendinger will finish his week of testing at Daytona International Speedway early. Allmendinger, the open wheel star and newest addition to the Red Bull driver lineup, will step aside Tuesday to allow teammate Brian Vickers to return. Vickers, who has more stock car experience than Allmendinger, will help the team try to find the speed that has eluded them so far in the Daytona test sessions. Vickers scheduled test session was last week, but team officials confirmed Monday that they would bring him back to Daytona. During last week's session, Vickers and Team Red Bull posted the slowest laps among the Toyota's that tested. Allmendinger managed a 34th place lap on the speed charts on Monday. Cup Scene Daily
01/17/07
nascar
tv news
ESPN unveils first phase of NASCAR marketing campaign  ESPN is unveiling the first phase of its multimedia marketing campaign for NASCAR on ESPN, announced by Katie Lacey, senior vice president, marketing. Created by Wieden+Kennedy New York, the campaign honors NASCAR’s rich heritage and pays tribute to the teams, drivers and dedicated legions of fans whose combined passion has fueled the sport’s tremendous growth. This is the opening campaign for NASCAR’s eight-year, multi-platform return to ESPN.  

“Our NASCAR on ESPN brand campaign is intended to generate awareness and excitement of NASCAR coming to ESPN and, importantly, demonstrate our understanding of the sport and the passionate culture that surrounds it,” said Lacey.

The brand campaign bears the new NASCAR tagline, “NASCAR on ESPN: It’s The Life”, and provides an inside look and behind-the-scenes glimpse of the sights, sounds, energy and fandom that makes up the NASCAR experience. An additional phase of the campaign is scheduled to roll out in February and will run throughout the NASCAR NEXTEL and NASCAR Busch Series season, as well as the 10-race “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.” This year will mark the first time all of “The Chase” races will air on one network - ESPN on ABC. 

The NASCAR on ESPN brand campaign will run on all ESPN TV and Radio networks and will include outdoor, print and online components. Flag-to-flag NASCAR racing returns to ESPN on February 17th with the NASCAR Busch Series season-opener from Daytona International Speedway.

01/17/07
Industry News
Audi taking bolder steps in U.S. auto market  Audi, Volkswagen AG's premium brand, is shelving the understated approach that serves it so well in Europe and plans to adopt a bolder and brasher marketing message for American audiences.

"You have to be bold to be noticed in America -- certainly bolder and more aggressive than we've been," said Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president at Audi of America.

Audi's restrained slogan, 'Never follow,' will be scrapped as part of a new marketing campaign that will begin in April, in connection with the U.S. launch of the redesigned Audi TT.

Despite a loyal following, Audi trails its German rivals BMW and DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz, as well as newer Asian premium nameplates in the U.S. market. Worldwide, however, Audi outsells Toyota Motor Corp.'s upscale Lexus brand two-to-one.

01/17/07
nascar
ESPN making lot of noise about NASCAR  NASCAR is hoping ESPN’s return to the sport will jump-start sagging TV ratings, and the network is revving up its efforts with an aggressive brand campaign that debuted this week.

The first part of the campaign includes a music video of race fans and drivers in the moments leading up to the green flag. A second ad shows young fans’ need for speed, and a third focuses on the importance of family in NASCAR’s culture. All conclude with the slogan: NASCAR: ESPN. It’s the Life.

A second campaign highlighting the network’s daily news show “NASCAR Now” will begin on Jan. 29, and the third campaign, which features Busch Series drivers, debuts Feb. 5. ESPN will place a large emphasis on the Busch Series, which will be televised in its entirety on its networks.

“The overall intention is to generate an awareness and excitement in NASCAR and its return to ESPN,” said George McNeilly, director of ESPN communications. “We hope it demonstrates our deep understanding of the sport and its passionate fans. The campaign is to appeal to anyone who is currently a NASCAR fan, or will soon be.”  More from AP article

01/17/07
nhra
Ashley Force signs to drive in NHRA  Ashley Force, daughter of Funny Car superstar John Force, will compete in the 2007 NHRA season in a fourth nitro Funny Car, alongside her dad, Eric Medlen and Robert Hight. (Related article)
01/17/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Troubled debut for Fisi's new Renault
Trouble-free start for new BMW
Malaysian PM plays down Sepang fears
Schu can't cope with NASCAR - Montoya
Kimi has a "weak side" - Sauber
Williams drop 'F1' from official name
Racers hit out at BMW's Vettel policy
Williams lets Karthikeyan race in A1
FedEx moves from Williams to McLaren
Theissen 'slept well' after low-key launch
New Ferrari is most unique - Peter Sauber
Alonso enjoys $600,000 company car
McLaren to unveil new 'motorhome' in 2007
Alonso cools Kimi's McLaren criticism
01/17/07
f1
Spyker announces another partner  Spyker Formula 1 Team has signed a multi-year technology and marketing deal with Medion AG. Medion, from Essen, Germany will become a partner of Spyker F1. The Medion logos will appear on the F1 cars and drivers' overalls.

Dr Colin Kolles, Spyker F1 teams Principal: 'We are very happy to have secured a partnership with Medion which is one of the biggest and most successful technology brands. Their innovative IT and media products will be used by our team to increase our performance in all departments.'

Christian Eigen, Medion CFO: 'We have been supporting Spyker's exciting new German driver F1 driver Adrian Sutil since the beginning of his career as we believe in his extraordinary talent and ambition. Now that he has graduated to Formula 1 it is logical for Medion to partner Spyker F1. Medion has looked very closely at Formula 1 and the Spyker F1 team and we are convinced that the global platform the sport provides will help to increase our brand awareness and image. The affinity of F1 with our products is strong and offers attractive opportunities. F1 stands for innovation, dynamics and high-tech and fits perfectly with the Medion image.'

About Medion: Medion AG successfully focuses in Europe on marketing of high quality, price efficient consumers electronics with a range of PC, multimedia and personal media items and a complete line of communication products. Medion has best-in-class results in comparative tests with desktop PCs, notebooks, portable navigation devices and on-line photo services.

01/17/07
a1gp
Narain to race for A1 Team India  UPDATE Williams F1 Team test driver, "The Fastest Indian in the World", Narain Karthikeyan, will race for A1 Team India at Taupo, New Zealand, in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend.

Karthikeyan brings to the Indian team a wealth of racing experience. His career spans over ten years of competition and during this time he has risen through the ranks, learning his race craft in the junior Formulae before graduating to Formula One in 2005 with the Jordan Grand Prix team.

A national sporting hero in India, he says of joining A1 Team India, "I'm very proud to drive for my country in A1GP. I've been following the team's fortunes since the start of the Series. Frank Williams has kindly agreed for me to race, but my Formula 1 testing duties for Williams will always be my number 1 priority. I am very thankful for Sir Frank's support and feel very privileged to be in Formula One, but like all racing drivers I want to race fast cars. In recent months, I have had several offers to drive in America and Japan, but I chose A1GP because the race schedule does not clash with my Formula 1 commitments. More ...

01/16/07
TV News
WISH-TV Indianapolis signs Derek Daly  Former professional race car driver turned television commentator, Derek Daly, has been signed to a three year contract by WISH-TV Indianapolis to be their motor sports analyst. This will be Daly’s 17th season with WISH-TV, and he will continue to cover all events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We are very fortunate and proud to have Derek Daly as part of our sports team,” said WISH-TV President and General Manager Jeff White.  “Derek, more than any other former driver, provides unique insight and perspective, but more importantly relates what he’s covering to all viewers, whether a serious race enthusiast or casual fan.  We believe that having Derek on our team gives us the edge.”

01/16/07
nascar
Penske team to test Avenger Wednesday  The final day of preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway will have a different look, at least with one car.  Kurt Busch will drive a "car of tomorrow" in the final Nextel Cup test sessions Wednesday, getting behind the wheel of Penske Racing's Dodge Avenger.  "It's just a matter of us wanting to get ahead of the game and set the curve and raise the bar for people thinking they've got their COT scienced out," Busch said. "We've got ours here ready to go for a speedway test. We've got three built. One is a test mule that will probably not ever be approved."
01/16/07
cc
Champ Car puts exclamation mark on "world" series  The Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast will follow two new European races on the Champ Car World Series 2007 calendar, it was announced this morning.

The Champ Car World Series will return to Europe for the first time since 2003 with inaugural races in Holland and Belgium.

The new events added to the Champ Car World Series calendar will take place on September 2 at the TT Circuit in Assen, Holland and September 9 at the Zolder circuit in Belgium. It will be the first time that Champ Car has raced in either of the two European nations.

"2007 continues to shape up as one of the most exciting in recent memory for Champ Car and today's announcement raises the anticipation level even higher," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson.

"We considered a number of options for our return to Europe and these two events will prove to be very successful for our teams, fans and sponsor partners." More ...

01/16/07
nascar
Together Again: Martin, Pemberton combining efforts  DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Past, present and future all collide this season for Ginn Racing’s No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet, which will be piloted by veteran Mark Martin for 22 races and newcomer Regan Smith for the remainder.

Orchestrating the time warp will be crew chief Ryan Pemberton, who must blend Martin’s vast experience with Smith’s lack of it.

“Your game plans will change as you go and your expectations and what’s going to happen,” Pemberton said. “How you address going to the race track will be slightly different with Mark than it will be with Regan.”

His first juggling act is happening this week at Daytona International Speedway, where Martin and Smith are participating in the second of two annual NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series preseason tests. But there’s a twist: Martin’s move to Ginn after 19 years at Roush Racing reunites him with Pemberton, whose first NASCAR job came on Martin’s first Roush team. More ...

01/16/07
nascar
Daytona: Newman fastest in Tuesday PM testing  Ryan Newman was fastest during Tuesday's NASCAR Nextel Cup preseason testing after topping the afternoon drafting session at Daytona International Speedway. Newman and his No. 12A Penske Dodge turned a lap of 48.247 seconds, at an average speed of 186.540 mph, the fastest this week thus far.

Rank car# driver manu time speed laps run
1 12A Ryan Newman Dodge 48.247 186.540 40
2 6A David Ragan Ford 48.248 186.536 39
3 2B Kurt Busch Dodge 48.257 186.501 61
4 24B Jeff Gordon Chevy 48.267 186.463 62
5 17B Matt Kenseth Ford 48.269 186.455 17
6 11B Denny Hamlin Chevy 48.283 186.401 25
7 00B David Reutimann Toyota 48.284 186.397 35
8 17A Matt Kenseth Ford 48.302 186.328 47
9 19B Elliott Sadler Dodge 48.348 186.150 43
10 39A Regan Smith Chevy 48.383 186.016 58
11 99B Carl Edwards Ford 48.401 185.947 43
12 2A Kurt Busch Dodge 48.416 185.889 37
13 09A Mike Wallace Chevy 48.422 185.866 58
14 19A Elliott Sadler Dodge 48.425 185.854 19
15 42H Juan Montoya Dodge 48.445 185.778 70 More ...

01/16/07
nascar
Comments on Benny Parsons  UPDATE “The passing of Benny Parsons is a phenomenal loss, not only for the sport of NASCAR, but for the Turner Sports family as well.  Benny was one of the most personable guys I’ve ever met and his genuine commitment and love for NASCAR made him one of the sports' greatest ambassadors. He was truly a class act.  Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who mourns his loss.  He will be missed.”  David Levy, Turner Sports president

“Today the TNT family lost a very special person with the passing of Benny Parsons.  He was a friend, a colleague and a wonderful person to all those around him, and over the past six years Benny served as the rock of TNT's NASCAR family, on both a professional and personal level. It has truly been our honor to develop a deep friendship with him.  He was a genuine person with a big heart that enjoyed all life had to offer. We express our sincere condolences to Benny’s family, NASCAR and all those in the NASCAR community that knew and loved him, he will be deeply missed.”   Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports executive producer

"Benny Parsons is not only the person I owe my NASCAR career to but he was a true friend to me from the day we met.  I will always appreciate his friendship and what he did for me.  Knowing he's not going to be there to come up and ask me how things are going when I walk into the garage at Daytona is probably the hardest thing to accept.  Everytime I think about how lucky I am to have the job and the life I have, I think of BP because he's the reason I ever got this opportunity.  I will miss him a lot, as we all will.  BP and his family are in my thoughts and prayers." Greg Biffle

"Everyone at Roush Racing is saddened by the passing of Benny Parsons.  Benny was a great friend and supporter of Roush Racing and he will be greatly missed.  He was an outstanding ambassador for NASCAR and the sport of racing who was a champion both on and off the track. On behalf of everyone at Roush Racing I want to extend my deepest sympathy to the entire Parsons family." Jack Roush

01/16/07 "Benny Parsons was the kindest, sweetest, most considerate person I have ever known," said Darrell Waltrip.  "He was almost too nice to be a race car driver and I say that as a compliment.

In my 30 odd years of racing Benny Parsons, I never knew of anyone being mad at Benny.

Some of my fondest memories in racing were racing Benny.  In the Coca Cola 600, we had a whale of a battle and it was one of the best races ever held at Charlotte.

One of the funniest was in the 1981, Bud Shootout.  I passed Benny on the apron at the start-finish line to win the race.  Benny said 'you can’t do that!'  I said, 'I didn’t see any out-of-bounds markers!'  You sure couldn’t do that today.

Benny Parsons was a great champion, a great ambassador for our sport but more than that, he was a great person.  He exemplified that good guys can be winners too.

Stevie, the girls and I pray for Terri, Phil and the entire Parsons family to find the strength to get through this.” Darrell Waltrip

“I am extremely saddened after hearing the news this morning. Benny was a special person and anyone who came in contact with him knew it. He was one of the most genuine and generous individuals I’ve ever met. He was a great racecar driver, broadcaster and friend.   I will miss him very much.”  Jeff Gordon

01/16/07
f1
FedEx and McLaren announce long term partnership  FedEx Express and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes announced yesterday their long term partnership agreement. This will see FedEx Express to be the team’s official logistics partner and also bring the World’s largest express transportation company and one of the most successful Formula 1 teams together.

FedEx Express and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes both hold the same values: leadership, teamwork, integrity and a commitment “to be the best”. The planned arrangement entitles FedEx to display its logo on the collar of the team’s drivers overalls making it visible to the World wide audience.

President of FedEx Express, Robert W Elliot said: “We are thrilled to mark our 10th anniversary in Formula 1 by being a part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula team which has an outstanding record in Formula 1 and one of the most impressive drivers line-up grid with two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

Ron Dennis said: “I am pleased the FedEx Express, a truly outstanding company, has joined the team, and am proud the company’s logo, one of the World’s most respected and well-known, will adorn our driver’s overalls as we seek to add to our Grand Prix and World Championship success this season.”  McLaren

01/16/07
cca
US RaceTronics continues testing in Houston  Buttonwillow, CA - US RaceTronics (USRT) continued its pre-season Champ Car Atlantic Championship testing schedule last week at the MSR Houston track. Both USRT drivers David Garza and Carl Skerlong completed over 400 miles in the two-day test. This will mark the last private test of the team before the first pre-season series test at Sebring on January 27-28, 2007.

Calling the test "successful," USRT Team Owner Shane Seneviratne had the following to say about the sessions: "Overall it was a very good test. We accomplished a lot in trying to establish a good baseline setup for this year. The test also gave David and Carl some valuable seat time which always helps. Their level of maturity shows and they have quickly learned and adapted to the car. The team is starting to come together and work well together." Seneviratne also adds, "We also got the opportunity to incorporate the 2007 rule changes into the test." More ...

01/16/07
nascar
Daytona: Montoya fastest in Tuesday AM testing  
Rank car# driver manu time speed laps run
1 42 Juan Montoya Dodge 48.761 184.574 11
2 40 David Stremme Dodge 48.786 184.479 15
3 38B David Gilliland Ford 48.803 184.415 8
4 24A Jeff Gordon Chevy 48.831 184.309 11
5 17B Matt Kenseth Ford 48.860 184.200 6
6 19A Elliott Sadler Dodge 48.861 184.196 2
7 38A David Gilliland Ford 48.877 184.136 2
8 23A Mike Skinner Toyota 48.889 184.090 18
9 11A Denny Hamlin Chevy 48.915 183.993 11
10 5B Kyle Busch Chevy 48.929 183.940 8
11 01B Mark Martin Chevy 48.951 183.857 11
12 36A Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 48.964 183.809 15
13 5A Kyle Busch Chevy 48.965 183.805 8
14 18A J.J. Yeley Chevy 48.966 183.801 12
15 07B Clint Bowyer Chevy 49.013 183.625 8 More ...
01/16/07
cc
Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix at Circuit Zolder  With the first Dutch Champ Car Grand Prix on the 1st and 2nd of September 2007 at Assen – Holland, the promoter, Racing Management, has finalized an agreement with Champ Car Europe and Circuit Zolder in order to host the second European round of the Champ Car World Series. This event will be of a very high level and will most likely be faster, bigger and have a higher attendance than any previous event. This will be the first ever Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium and will be held on the 9th of September 2007. Tickets will be available online as from mid-February onwards.

'The American interpretation of Grand Prix racing’

Racing in extremely fast single seaters on many different circuits, including some of the most famous street courses is the Champ Car World Series or the ‘The American interpretation of Grand Prix Racing’. World famous names such as Andretti, Fittipaldi, Rahal, Villeneuve, Mansell, Zanardi, Montoya and Tracy have and are still racing in this series.

The Champ Car World Series is the world class of motorsport. Racing at approximately 350 km/h with 750 bhp developed by V8-turbo engines fuelled with methanol is the pinnacle of US motorsport and it will be hard to find any better. Champ Car obviously tops the bill in the United States, where the series attracts roughly 2 million spectators a year or 150.000 fans per event, with events not only being held in the USA but also in Canada, Australia, Mexico, China and now Europe. With the new Panoz DP01 ChampCar chassis being introduced for the 2007 season, ChampCar will be one of the most competitively fought championships in auto racing. More ...

01/16/07
cc
More grandstands for Zolder  At today's announcement for the two Champ Car races in Holland and Belgium, race promoter Bart Rietbergen stated that many temporary bleacher grandstands would be erected for the Champ Car race in Zolder. Assen already has a large number of grandstands. Support races for both events will include Formula 3, a GT race with 45 American cars, Classic F1 with 20 F1 cars (including 6 Ferraris), and a European stock car series (VRL). He stated that 20 different European race series have contacted him to be included on the weekend slate. He also stated that both races are a multi-year contract.
01/16/07
cc
Assen Champ Car tickets selling fast  UPDATE #3 At today's announcement for the two Champ Car races in Holland and Belgium, race promoter Bart Rietbergen stated that both races will be sponsored and that announcement will come in mid-February.

01/05/07 According to ChampCar.nl, more than 10,000 tickets have been sold yet the Assen race must still be confirmed officially by Champ Car. An event sponsor has already been signed (AutoRacing1.com heard it was Burger King months ago). At this moment fans can only buy tickets at www.Ticketpoint.nl, but next week www.ChampCar.nl will also be offering tickets and they will offer many more options to fans. A number of TV broadcasters in Holland are clamoring to broadcast the races (Europe). "It seems another company is knocking on my door each day. So far we have talked to SBS, RTL, and Talpa," said race promoter Bart Rietbergen.

11/27/06 As it turns out, the Dutch website is only accepting reservations for when tickets actually become available for the Assen race.

11/26/06 Well the Assen, Holland Champ Car race tentatively scheduled for next September 2nd has not been officially announced yet, but this Dutch ticket outlet is already selling tickets for the event, so what does that tell you?  This link gives you the admission details.
01/16/07
nascar
Benny Parsons loses battle with cancer  Benny Parsons, who charmed television audiences with his folksy demeanor as much as he impressed fans with his ability as a driver, died Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte following complications from lung disease. He was 65.

The former self-proclaimed Detroit taxi driver-turned-NASCAR racer never forgot his humble rural North Carolina roots, and it came through in every aspect of his life.

Even though he gained fame as the 1973 Winston Cup champion and winner of the 1975 Daytona 500, Parsons understood that as a broadcast analyst, it was his job to aim the spotlight away from himself.

"I heard someone say this one time and I thought it was fabulous," Parsons said. "Everyone can't be stars. Someone has to sit on the sidewalk and clap as they go by.
 
"We announcers on TV that talk about sports are simply the people sitting on the sidewalk clapping as the parade goes by. We are no longer the stars. The guys on the racetracks and in football and basketball games -- those are the stars." More ...

01/16/07
dakar
Peterhansel extends lead in Dakar  Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel extended his overall lead in the Dakar Rally despite finishing fourth on the 10th stage around Nema on Tuesday. Qatari Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah, driving a BMW, won the section ahead of Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka and USA's Mark Miller.

Peterhansel's closest challenger, Luc Alphand, was seventh, with third-placed Jean-Louis Schlesser out of the top 10.

Portugal's Helder Rodrigues won the bike section ahead of overall leader Marc Coma of Spain and Cyril Despres.

The stage win was Rodrigues' second of the race, following his victory in his home country on stage two.

However, Coma's second-place finish extended his overall lead from France's Despres to 54 minutes, 43 seconds. More ...

01/16/07
f1
'R27' makes proper test debut at Jerez  (GMM)  With the exception of a brief shakedown at Silverstone last week, Renault's unlaunched 'R27' made its test debut on Tuesday at Jerez.

In the hands of Giancarlo Fisichella, the attractive car - in an interim dark blue and yellow livery - was joined on the Spanish circuit this morning by Williams' rookie test driver Kazuki Nakajima.

With its lower nose and unique rear-view mirror attachments, the 'R27' also features Ferrari-like controversial rear wheel fairings, despite the team's criticism of the innovation last year.

01/16/07
cc
Champ Car confirms two European races  The Champ Car World Series today announced that it will return to Europe for the first time since 2003 with inaugural races in Holland and Belgium. Events added to the Champ Car World Series calendar will take place September 2 at the TT Circuit in Assen, Holland and September 9 at the Zolder circuit in Belgium. It will be the first time that Champ Car has raced in either of the two European nations.

“2007 continues to shape up as one of the most exciting in recent memory for Champ Car and today’s announcement raises the anticipation level even higher,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “We considered a number of options for our return to Europe and these two events will prove to be very successful for our teams, fans and sponsor partners.”

The Assen circuit, long fabled for hosting exciting Grand Prix motorcycle events, underwent major modifications for the 2006 season, resulting in a 4.5-kilometer track that will provide a stern challenge for the Champ Cars.

Zolder is a 3.977-kilometer circuit which also underwent safety renovations for the 2006 season, after hosting Formula 1 events in the 1970s and 80s. The track will carry the process a step farther for the 2007 Champ Car visit, making further improvement to ensure a safe and challenging event. More ...

01/16/07
f1
Heidfeld rolls out F1.07 in Spain  UPDATE Our Gary Parravani was on the scene and filed these photos:



There were smiling faces at the BMW Sauber F1 Team today. At 13:00 hrs the new BMW Sauber F1.07 left the garage for the very first time. It had its roll-out according to schedule at the Valencia circuit. Nick Heidfeld had the honor of completing the maiden laps under an overcast sky, but on a dry track. The F1.07 is the first 'real' BMW Sauber F1 Team car.

"Everything worked trouble free", said Heidfeld. "The car felt good right from the beginning, but also unfamiliar. Of course you don't go to the limit straight away with a brand new car. First you do systems' checks, you monitor temperatures and such things. During the first three laps I was one second quicker each lap. This obviously shows I was still far away from the limit, but it is also nice. I couldn't wait for this day. Within the last months in the factories in Hinwil and Munich everybody was working unbelievably hard. The team is full of ambition and motivation. We are facing an exciting season with quite a lot of unknown factors. During the three next days we will be doing serious testing with the F1.07."

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented: "The first day with the F1.07 went very well. It was a condensed presentation with a roll-out directly afterwards. The new car clocked up its first laps without any error. We are now armed for the first real test which will take place here in Valencia from Wednesday to Friday this week."

Willy Rampf, the team's Technical Director, added: "We are very happy the roll- out went without any technical problems. During the first outing we proved the systems are working. Now we have to do long-runs and see what data we collect when we monitor temperatures, pressures, etc. Tomorrow we will start with set-up work."

01/16/07 (GMM) Nick Heidfeld gave BMW-Sauber's newly-launched F1.07 its maiden track outing on Tuesday on a dry Valencia circuit in Spain.

Before slipping on his new blue and grey helmet livery, the 29-year-old German played down expectations for the jointly Hinwil and Munich-penned single seater.

"One can't expect too much, because the higher you go, the more rarefied the atmosphere," Heidfeld said.

01/16/07
f1
Paffett eyes F1 seat in ’08  At the launch of their new car yesterday, McLaren test driver Gary Paffett said he hopes to land a F1 race seat in 2008. The 2005 DTM champion will be keeping his racing skills honed by competing in the DTM championship as well as fulfilling his testing commitment for McLaren.

"Every drivers dream is to be a race driver in Formula 1 and I am no different. I will be doing my best to make that dream happen for 2008," the 25-year-old said.

"While helping the team develop the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 and building on my Formula 1 experience, I will also be contesting the DTM in Germany with Mercedes and hope to get back to winning some races again," the Brit added.

01/16/07
nascar
Schumacher mocks Montoya's move to NASCAR  Juan Pablo Montoya, being a rookie and all, wasn't too bored in his first Nextel Cup trip Monday to Daytona International Speedway.

Montoya got his first taste of the restrictor-plate track in single-car runs in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge. The former Formula One star has competed in ARCA at Talladega so the restrictor-plate deal wasn't totally new to him.

"It was cool," Montoya said Monday night. "It was a great experience. It was a little bit of a challenge with all the bumps and getting used to again running close to the wall. That's pretty tough."

Montoya ranked sixth among the 33 drivers who took times Monday. And Montoya did admit he did get bored once in a while.

"It is not the most exciting thing to wait four minutes in the car to get on the track and] to do the two laps," Montoya said. More ...

01/16/07
dakar
Dakar Rally Stages 10 and 11 Cancelled  The Dakar Rally organizers have decided to cancel the two Néma-Timbuktu and Timbuktu-Néma stages, scheduled for the 16th and 17th of January, after the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised against running the 10th and 11th stages.
 
In spite of the extensive surveillance and the guarantees provided by the Mali authorities, this precautionary measure is vital in safeguarding the security of the competitors.

After the sporting teams of the rally considered an alternative solution, a loop stage from Néma to Néma, including a timed sector of 376 kilometres, will now be run on the 16th of January. The following day, the competitors will enjoy half a rest day, and will then take to the road for a liaison stage of approximately 280 km towards Ayoun-el-Atrous in Mauritania, from where the next start of the rally will start on 18 January, heading for Kayes in Mali. superwheels.co.za

01/16/07
cca
Muermans Scores First Podium with Jensen  Rising star Dominick Muermans achieved his first career podium with an impressive 3rd place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway on January 14th.
 
Dominick (22) drove Jensen MotorSport's Swift 014 in the SCCA National races at Sebring and Homestead during the first 2 weekends of January. Consistently quick in Sebring, Dominick qualified and was running in 2nd position before getting caught in an accident while lapping traffic. At Homestead, Dominick started and finished 3rd to achieve his first ever podium finish.
 
Jensen MotorSport team owner Eric Jensen states, "Dominick is a terrific addition to our team. He has done a lot of testing this off-season in both our Swift 014 and 016 race cars. He is very quick, and his personality fits well with our team. It's obvious how much Dominick wants to be a winning professional driver, and it's great to see how well Dominick and Frankie Muniz get on together as team-mates."
 
Dominick Muermans states, "It's been a terrific few months driving in the USA. Together with the team, we decided to compete in the Sebring and Homestead SCCA Nationals in search of practical race weekend experience in advance of the 2007 pro racing season. For sure it was time well spent, including such benefits as gaining valuable experience at Sebring with what it's like to race on a bumpy American street circuit; and also experience in working with my engineer to improve the car throughout a race weekend." More ...
01/16/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Spyker to launch 2007 car on 5th of February
Alonso denies McLaren demanded 'new image'
Ferrari to enjoy 2007 head-start - Alonso
F1 group takes out $2.9bn loan
Schu on hand as 'F2007' makes Fiorano debut
Axed Gascoyne slams Toyota chiefs
Leaked photos reveal new Williams livery
01/16/07
f1
New McLaren debuts on the streets  Vodafone McLaren Mercedes race drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton drove through the streets of Valencia in their Formula 1 cars last night to mark the start of an exciting new era for the team. The event heralds the launch of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, which Vodafone is joining as Title Sponsor and Official Mobile Partner.

Fernando and Lewis, who form one of the youngest driver line-ups in the history of the sport, unveiled the new livery to an expected crowd of more than 150,000 on a bespoke circuit around the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias in two MP4-21 race cars. This was followed by the unveiling of the 2007 car, the MP4-22, which Fernando and Lewis will use to contest this year's Formula 1 World Championship.

The 2007 challengers will conduct a shakedown test at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, on Wednesday 17th January. The intensive pre-season testing program will then commence on Wednesday 24th January at the same track.

Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett join Fernando and Lewis to complete the driver line-up. Pedro and Gary, who are starting their fifth and second years with the team respectively, will continue to support the ongoing technical development of the MP4-22 package during the course of the year alongside Fernando and Lewis. More ...

01/15/07
skip barber
Jordan Taylor Wins $25,000 Skip Barber Scholarship  Apopka, Florida – Fifteen-year-old Jordan Taylor, youngest son of sports car champion Wayne Taylor, has now thrown his helmet in the ring in the automobile racing world. This past weekend Jordan was runner-up in the 10th Annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout and Sebring International Raceway, earning himself a cool $25,000 scholarship.

Jordan, who has been racing go-karts since he was ten years old, only has a few car races and tests under his belt to date. This weekend’s shootout was only his second major auto competition, including last year’s Skip Barber Scholarship Shootout event.

“I’m really happy about getting the Skip Barber scholarship,” said Jordan, a high school sophomore in Orlando, Florida. “It really helps me with my racing career and sponsorship search.” More ...

01/15/07
nascar
NASCAR pleased with COT testing  NASCAR official Brett Bodine attended the Goodyear tire test for the "car of tomorrow" last week and says he was happy with what he saw in the cars of Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman at Phoenix International Raceway.

"We saw three very good race teams, and all three had different aerodynamic configurations," said Bodine, NASCAR's director of cost research. "To me, that's encouraging that we didn't build the car and give the aerodynamic pieces and that they all migrate to one area."

Teams can adjust the angle of the rear wing anywhere from 0 degrees to 16 degrees and the length of the front splitter anywhere from four inches to six inches as well as play with the wicker bills and different versions of the end plates on the wings. More ...

01/15/07
nascar
Q and A with Carl Edwards at Daytona  Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is optimistic going into the 2007 season. Edwards heads into the new season reunited with crew chief Bob Osborne; the two teamed to make the Chase in 2005, Edwards’ first full season in the series. (Osborne started the ’06 season with the 99, moved to the 26 early in the season and returned to the 99 for the final two races of the season.) Edwards met with reporters in the infield media center at Daytona International Speedway prior to Monday’s first test session, and talked, among other things, about Osborne’s return to the team.

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THE 2007 SEASON? “Man, I’m just really excited to be here. I flew in last night and it was really neat to realize that the season’s going to start and get to run in the Daytona 500. I’m excited, to say the least. Our whole Office Depot team is ready to go.”

WHAT HAS CHANGED ON YOUR TEAM HEADING INTO THIS YEAR? “The biggest thing that’s new is Bob Osborne is back. We got to run the last couple of races with Bob. And, a couple of other things with management and engineering and things like that at the shop, but no huge changes, just things that we think that we could do better as a team to be faster even before we get to the race track. I’m really excited about all of the stuff at the shop, excited to have Bob, and hopefully the cars are just a tick faster.” More ...

01/15/07
nascar
Gilliland’s Ford tops Tuesday testing  Nextel Cup testing resumed Monday at the Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona and it was another solid day for Yates Racing.

Last Thursday during Round 1 of Cup testing, Ricky Rudd posted the fastest time and on Monday, his teammate David Gilliland in the No. 38 Ford set the pace with a speed of 185.090 mph, the only driver of the 34 to eclipse the 185 mph mark.

Rank Car# Driver Make Time Speed Laps run
1 38B David Gilliland Ford 48.625 185.090 27
2 36A Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 48.687 184.854 40
3 24A Jeff Gordon Chevy 48.716 184.744 26
4 40 David Stremme Dodge 48.720 184.729 35
5 39B Regan Smith Chevy 48.759 184.581 20
6 42 Juan Montoya Dodge 48.762 184.570 42
7 07B Clint Bowyer Chevy 48.798 184.434 27
8 11A Denny Hamlin Chevy 48.811 184.385 29
9 18A J.J. Yeley Chevy 48.853 184.226 27
10 19A Elliott Sadler Dodge 48.875 184.143 28 More ...

01/15/07
cc
Cronje impressive in initial Champ Car outing  Plainfield, IL – Throughout a varied career that has ranged from karting world championships, to desert off-road racing in his native South Africa, to European Formula 3000, Gavin Cronje [pronounced Cron-yaa] has demonstrated a remarkable ability to quickly adapt to new circumstances and challenge for race wins. (Photo courtesy of A1GP)

That trend continued last week at Motor Sports Ranch near Houston, as the 27-year-old needed less than a dozen laps to reach competitive speeds in a Dale Coyne Racing Lola-Cosworth, then went on to complete a successful two-day test in his first time behind the wheel of a 750-bhp Champ Car.   

“This [Lola Cosworth] is by far the most powerful car I’ve ever driven,” Cronje said at the conclusion of his first run on Thursday, “it’s fantastic!”  Cronje went on to complete167 laps over the two days, hampered only somewhat by misty and foggy conditions on Friday morning.  “I’m very grateful to Dale Coyne and his entire team for the effort they put forth on my behalf.  This is my first visit to the United States and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I’m ready to move tomorrow to make my career here!” More ...

01/15/07
cc
Bourdais on Cold Pizza; Bourdais & Paul Newman on Letterman  REMINDER: Set your Tivo's...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. Bourdais will also appear on ESPN's Cold Pizza tomorrow.
01/15/07
dakar
VW team falters in Dakar Rally  Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart were the beneficiaries from a dramatic ninth special stage of the 29th Dakar Rally between Tichit and Néma in Mauritania on Monday.

After a dramatic turn of events, whereby overall rally leader Giniel de Villiers badly delayed with engine-related problems and arch rival Carlos Sainz stopped with electrical woes, the Mitsubishi crews of Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret and Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard arrived in Néma in first and second positions in the overall classification. They set the third and second fastest times on the tricky 494km special stage, which was won by Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser.

Peterhansel and Cottret headed into this morning’s stage behind overall leader de Villiers, but they were forced to stop and change the clutch. A late puncture failed to halt their progress and the winners of the Dakar in 2004 and 2005 arrived at the stage finish in third place to take the overall lead. More ...

01/15/07
f1
Shakedown of the F2007 at Fiorano for the Scuderia  Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro gave the F2007, the race car which will compete in this year's Formula 1 World Championship, its track debut this morning at the Fiorano circuit.

Over the course of the day, Felipe Massa completed 39 laps, all on the long version of the track, the quickest in a time of 58"360.

The Scuderia will be back on track on the 23rd January at the Mugello Circuit, with both its race drivers, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen in action. Ferrari

01/15/07
f1
Super Aguri exhibition with 3-retired drivers  Ex-Formula One drivers Aguri Suzuki (Japan), Martin Brundle (UK) and Christian Danner (Germany) took to the Grand Prix Circuit at Silverstone, UK, today in the SUPER AGURI F1 Team car that achieved 10th position at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix in the hands of Takuma Sato.

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal of the SAF1 Team, invited Martin and Christian to drive the SA06 following his team’s exciting result at the 2006 season finale. The team was able to document this unique event today with the aid of the gentlemen’s national Formula One host television broadcasters. More ...

01/15/07
lmes
RML Confirm Le Mans Driver Lineup  RML confirmed today that Andy Wallace is to rejoin the team’s sports prototype driver line-up for the Le Mans 24 Hours this June. The announcement was made on the main stage at just after noon on the opening day of the Autosport International show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.

The former outright Le Mans winner (with Jaguar in 1988) took the stage alongside RML’s regular pairing of Mike Newton and Thomas Erdos, thereby reuniting the squad that took the LMP2 class win in the Le Mans 24 Hour last year. Having been victorious in the category for the past two seasons in succession, RML will look to secure the MG Lola EX264’s hat trick in 2007, and securing the talents of an experienced driver such as Andy Wallace will enhance their chances. More ...

01/15/07
irl
Hornish collects more hardware  Three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was honored by the members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association on Jan. 13 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis.

Hornish collected his third "Horsepower Trophy" after being named to the organization's All-America Auto Racing first team. He was also a finalist for the Jerry Titus Award, given in remembrance of the late racer/journalist, which signifies the top vote-getter on the All-America team regardless of category. Drag racing champion Tony Schumacher won the award.

"2006 was a great year for us, even if we won Indy and the championship by the slimmest of margins," Hornish said in accepting the award. "Hopefully we can repeat the success, but have a little more breathing room." More ...

01/15/07
nascar
Rain delays Monday testing at Daytona  The second week of Nextel Cup testing was delayed by rain Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway. But the weather cleared, and a little before 11:00am/et, cars took to the 2.5-mile superspeedway. The noon lunch break for today will be canceled, and the teams will test until 5 p.m. There are 33 drivers at the second and final Nextel Cup session, which runs through Wednesday.
01/15/07
Industry News
nascar
Toyota Camry has no sizzle  The Toyota Camry is dependable and reliable, not nearly as ugly as it used to be and the 2007 Motor Trend Car of the Year. The Camry is great for driving to work, driving to the bank and driving to the dry cleaner.

But is it the car you want to take screaming into the turn at 182 mph and go three-wide with Jimmie and Jeff or Tony and Dale Jr.?

The Camry is many things, but a race car is not among them. Yet it is the model in which Toyota will this season make its Nextel Cup debut.

If Camry were a football player, it would block. If Camry were an NBA player, it would set picks. If Camry were a baseball player, it would throw long relief and fail to get enough votes to join Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn in the Hall of Fame.

According to Toyota, Americans buy an average of 1,200 Camrys a day. If you don't drive one, you know somebody who does. Every owner says this thing has 166,000 miles on it and still gets me where I want to go.

No owner says, "Until I bought this car I couldn't get a date." When a Camry pulls up next to you at the stoplight, you do not cower. More from Charlotte Observer article

[Editor's Note: Recall our recent criticism of Toyota (Camry), Chevy (Impala) and Ford (Taurus and now the 500) for trying to race grandmother cars in NASCAR. This article only substantiates that others feel the same way and racing in NASCAR won't sell one more Camry, Impala or Ford 500. It's so ridiculous it's beyond comprehension.]

01/15/07
f1
First photos of the McLaren MP4-22  The launch today of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team marks the start of a new era for the team, including the arriving of two new drivers with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton and the new sponsor: Vodafone. Here are the first pictures of the MP4-22.
01/15/07
f1
Spyker launch date set  Spyker will unveil its 2007 F1 car on the 5th of February.  It will be the team's first launch since they purchased Midland F1 in September.
01/15/07
f1
McLaren MP4-22 design philosophy  The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22, raced by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, features some advanced engineering concepts.

With some novel aerodynamic solutions, allied to unprecedented levels of efficiency in its crash structures, the car showcases the engineering strength in depth of McLaren Racing and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines.

Although Formula 1 teams are admired throughout industry for their leading edge technology and short development times, long-term planning has also been crucial in the construction of the MP4-22.

Its development period commenced before its predecessor the MP4-21 had even turned a wheel. Initial sketches of aerodynamic concepts and discussions over the design of the clutch and gearbox took place back in December 2005. During the design process, each of the car's 11,000 components were reviewed in meticulous detail in the quest for improved performance, reliability and efficiency. More ...

01/15/07
f1
Ferrari Unveil New Team Logo  Along with the new F2007 racecar, Ferrari have also unveiled a brand new logo for the team. A new slanted design maintains the Scuderia emblem as well as the subliminal Marlboro logo, and does away with the word Marlboro.
01/15/07
f1
Vodafone introduces McLaren phones  Vodafone today announces a range of three new exclusive special edition consumer handsets.

The range of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes handsets comprises the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 770SH (3G) and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes GX29 (2G), two clam shells from Sharp and the ultra-slim 3G broadband slider Vodafone McLaren Mercedes - SGH-Z720M from Samsung. The design of the new handsets mirrors the new team identity and car design, featuring a chrome silver cover with highlights in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team ‘rocket' red color.

01/15/07
Industry News
Nissan HQ to move  Nissan Motor's new headquarters will be built in Yokohama, Japan. Nissan's new building for the company's headquarters will be completed and will move from Tokyo to Yokohama by October 2009.
01/15/07
f1
Massa hits track with new Ferrari  On a foggy morning at Fiorano, Felipe Massa on Monday put Ferrari's new 'F2007' single seater through its first test laps.

The 'shakedown' began at 9am.

On the sidelines of the famous Italian marque's private test circuit, meanwhile, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told Italian television that he can imagine the sight of retired champion Michael Schumacher in the car's cockpit in the near future.

"I know him well," Montezemolo said, "and I believe that he will test the new Ferrari soon."

The latest photos below show the intricate aerodynamic details on the new car.


Photos by Ferrari

01/15/07
dakar
Gordon moves Hummer into top-10  With its 589 km special, stage eight proved to be the longest special yet in the 2007 Dakar Rally. It was the first special where the competitors faced the serious sand dunes of Mauritania and a day where Robby Gordon and his Monster Hummer felt at home. Gordon, a frequent visitor to the Glamis sand dunes in Southern California had high expectations for the day. Gordon and navigator Andy Grider began the special in the 13th slot and at days end they managed to move up five positions for an eight place finish for the special. The Hummers time of 8:46:36 put the team 1:14:44 adrift of stage winner Gniel De Villiers of South Africa. The result vaulted the team up into the top ten in the overall classification. The first American team and car manufacture to win a stage in the Dakar Rally now finds themselves back 06:23:17 from the overall lead.

Robby Gordon's Quotes following Stage eight: "We have moved ourselves into the top ten which is a testament to how hard the team is working. The Monster Energy guys did a fantastic job of preparing the car for the eighth and ninth stages. Tonight we are without assistance in Tichit which meant we had to be easy on the Hummer. The team is making its way to Nema were we'll meet up tomorrow. Today's stage was very difficult. The sand was fine and very soft – much different from the coarser sand in Glamis. Everything ran well but had to be slightly conservative because we were stretching the fuel window and we don't have any support tonight – there really was no room for error. Now that we are in the top ten we are going to set ours sights on a top five finish. There is still quite a bit of racing and in this business you never know what is going to happen until the end." RGM PR

01/15/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Ferrari reveal 'F2007' in Italy
Schu engineer to work with Raikkonen in 2007
Raikkonen vows to learn Italian
Schu can test F1 car for Ferrari - Todt
Aguri Suzuki to test own F1 car
Newey plays down hopes for 'RB3'
Symonds rules out team boss tilt
Indy 'the right place' for F1 - Chitwood
01/15/07
f1
Prodrive to reveal F1 'partner team' soon  (GMM) The identity of Prodrive's chassis and engine partner for 2008 will be revealed "within the next three months", the boss of formula one's new twelfth team has said.

David Richards reiterated at the Autosport International in Birmingham that he intends to take advantage of controversial new rules next year that allow the purchase of a rival's complete F1 car.

Referring to the announcement of Prodrive's "partner team", rumored to be McLaren-Mercedes, the Briton told ITV: "I would hope that would be within the next three months.

"And following that, and during that period even, we will start to announce some key appointments –- the first one will be announced in a couple of weeks' time."

Richards also suggested that the appointment of Prodrive's driver lineup will wait until the finalization of its partner team, giving credence to rumors that the McLaren-contracted Gary Paffett could be at the top of the list.

Having missed out on a race drive or primary McLaren test role for 2007, Paffett may have to accept a seat at the wheel of a year-old Mercedes this year in DTM.

Works Mercedes DTM racer Jamie Green said in Birmingham on Saturday that 2007 is a "stopgap" season for Paffett.

He added: "Gary has made it clear that his aim is F1."

01/15/07
dakar
VW driver de Villiers expands lead  On the 29th Dakar Rally’s longest special stage with a length of 589 kilometres Volkswagen further expanded its lead: The factory pairing Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa/Germany), pictured right, on the eighth leg from Atar to Tichit in Mauritania set the best time of 6.35 minutes ahead of the French Mitsubishi driver Stéphane Peterhansel.

Having clinched his third stage victory, Giniel de Villiers in the Race Touareg expanded his overall advantage by 29.34 minutes to 31.13 minutes. More ...

01/14/07
cca
Muniz Shines in Florida  Frankie Muniz began his Formula Atlantic career with two podiums the past two weekends in the SCCA National events at Sebring and Homestead driving Jensen MotorSport's Swift 014 race car.
 
At the famous Sebring Florida circuit, Frankie finished in 2nd place on January 7th. At Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, Frankie again finished in a strong 2nd place.
 
Jensen MotorSport team owner Eric Jensen states, "We brought Frankie to these races for several reasons. First, we wanted to give him some additional race experience in advance of his Champ Car Atlantic debut at Las Vegas in April. Second, these races were an opportunity for Frankie to work with his Atlantic engineers and mechanics in a practical race situation. Third, we wanted Frankie to gain experience on these circuits; especially at Sebring where he will drive again in just 2 weeks at the official Champ Car Atlantic test the weekend of January 27th and 28th." More ...
01/14/07
usac
Surprise Driver Takes Podium Finish in Chili Bowl  Tulsa, OK -The surprise of the A Main feature in the 21st Annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals was the ARCA RE/MAX and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Justin Allgaier.  Allgaier, 20 started in the sixth position on the grid after finishing second in his qualifying feature Thursday night.  Allgaier, despite some engine concerns in the afternoon practice session, came into Saturday night’s event with full force behind the wheel of the NO. 86 Illinois Corn Marketing Board –Ethanol Performs, Auto Xpress, Hoosier Tire Midwest Spike Midget.  Allgaier’s car was strong allowing him to get past Shane Cottle on lap 43 for the third place position and kept the pressure on second place driver J.J. Yeley.  With only a few laps left Allgaier ran out of time to sweep past Yeley to get to former NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart who was the eventual winner of the prestigious Midget Car Nationals. More ...
01/14/07
f1
Kimi anxious to get behind wheel of Ferrari  At today's unveiling in Maranello, Kimi Raikkonen can't wait to get behind the wheel of the new Ferrari F2007.

"I've just seen the F2007 in the plant and it is very beautiful and it will be exciting to see it on the track tomorrow," said Raikkonen. "I can't wait to start the new season and I expect it to be a very challenging one, even though I think we are up for the Championship. I have been received here in a very nice way and I have a good feeling. It is nice to be with Ferrari and I do not want to make any comparisons to the past. It's a completely different story. Let's put it like this: In Maranello it is just as I expected it to be."

"That I had some spare time over the last months hasn't been bad, even though a forced brake doesn't help to get back into the rhythm easily," he added. "Now I will get back into the car and start my phase in which I will adapt to the car. We have to work together and we have to give it our all. I will be here tomorrow to see the F2007 run. It is always very interesting to see a new race car on its first laps. The most important thing to go fast is to have a good feeling with the car. Here everything is different to what I have seen until now in my career. This is a team that welcomed me in a very warm hearted way; I think I have made a good decision when I decided to come to Ferrari." Full Interview

01/14/07
Track News
New Blackjack Club at LVMS  There’s a new club in Las Vegas. This new Las Vegas Motor Speedway club doesn’t have a dance floor, disco ball or DJ booth; but it has unlimited food and drinks, VIP parking and unprecedented access to Nevada’s largest sporting event.  The Blackjack Club will be located on the third floor of the speedway’s new infield media center. It will give race fans a bird’s eye view of the front straightaway, provide access to both the pits and the new Neon Garage and give them a patio from which to watch the racing action.
01/14/07
f1
Ecclestone pulls off deal of his lifetime  While most of the F1 world was busy at the end of 2006 analyzing the consequences of the new eco-friendly regulations being introduced by the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone was busy pulling off the deal of his life.

A report in today's Sunday Express newspaper reveals that F1's billionaire boss and the sport's majority owners CVC have managed to secure a $2.9bn loan from Royal Bank of Scotland and US Investment bank Lehman Brothers with the latter becoming an investor in a new F1 holding company. As the report's authors, Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid, reveal, the purpose of the loan is even more fascinating.

Sources say that the bulk of the loan is likely to be used to refinance debt CVC took onboard to fund its acquisition of F1 in November 2005. Although it had an investment fund of $7.2bn at its disposal, CVC's acquisition of F1 was almost entirely funded by a high-interest loan from RBS.

In fact, although it is estimated to have cost CVC around $1.35bn to buy F1 as well as its corporate hospitality and trackside advertising arms, RBS lent the private equity firm $1.17bn. The loan was paid by June 2006 after the European Commission had cleared the acquisition and the rebellious GPMA carmakers had signed their memorandum of understanding with CVC.

Sources say that getting the carmakers signed up was crucial to RBS loaning the money and it was all part of what was known internally at CVC as 'Project Alpha' after Alpha Topco - the new F1 parent company it set up. Topco in turn initially owned Alpha Prema which was CVC's vehicle for acquiring its majority stake in SLEC - F1's previous holding company. More ...

01/14/07
irl
XM Satellite Radio to sponsor the IRL season opener  XM Satellite Radio will be the sponsor of the IndyCar Series season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Drivers in the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 will take the green flag at 8 p.m. (EST) March 24. The race can be heard on XM Satellite Radio’s IndyCar Channel 145 and will be televised by ESPN2. It will be the first time that a major North American motorsports sanctioning body has opened its season at night. A post-race concert also is planned.

“The only thing more spectacular than watching these cars race at more than 200 miles per hour is watching them race at night,” Homestead-Miami Speedway president Curtis Gray said. “South Florida is famous for its fast-paced nightlife, so it was only fitting for the Speedway to host this event under the lights for the first time.”

01/14/07
f1
New Ferrari called 'F2007'  (GMM) Ferrari's new formula one car will be called the 'F2007'.

Ahead of the presentation of the car at Maranello, it emerged that the Italian squad will revert to the naming blueprint used between 2001 and 2005, despite the fact that last year's Ferrari single seater was called '248 F1'.

'248' was in deference to the new engine regulations, with '24' meaning 2.4 liters and '8' being the number of cylinders.

The 'F2007' will make its track debut at Fiorano on Monday in the hands of Felipe Massa, after it is launched today at 4pm.

01/14/07
cc
Zolder Photos  With a Champ Car race a Zolder, Belgium expected to be announced on Tuesday, these photos taken during reconstruction work done last year should give you a general flavor of the circuit. There has been some concern expressed regarding the safety of the circuit for the fast Champ Cars, which supposedly is being addressed. The last 4 photos show going up the hill and back down as the car is still turning left. There is talk that some elevation will be taken out of this hill to prevent the cars from getting airborne.


01/14/07
cc
80% of Vegas GP seats sold  It's safe to say that the smoothest roads in Southern Nevada can be found encircling the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.  The Las Vegas Public Works Department has completed most of a repaving project on a 2.4-mile network of streets that will serve as the course for the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix street race in early April.

The repaving project, the result of $500,000 worth of improvements the city agreed to make to bring the streets up to Champ Car specifications, couldn't have gone better, according to Vegas Grand Prix President and Chief Executive Jim Freudenberg.

"Our operations people are ecstatic, the Champ Car people are ecstatic and it could not have gone any better," he said.

Freudenberg also said he couldn't be happier with the cooperation he has received from city officials, including Mayor Oscar Goodman, who are hoping a successful and long-running street race and associated activities will help revitalize downtown.

"I've worked on over 70 of these things in the past 25 years and I've never worked with a city that is so accommodating and so willing to work with you as the city has been in Las Vegas," he said.

The only work left to do on the racing surface is the removal of the median along Grand Central Parkway that will allow for a wider pit lane and front stretch and will lead to more passing in the fastest portion of the course.  The removal of the median is not being done specifically to accommodate the Grand Prix, although the timing of the project is being moved up to early February so that it will be completed in time for this year's race.  "That was going to happen anyway ... because they're putting in a (bus) loop," Freudenberg said. "They're just doing it ahead of time, which will be tremendous for us.  We're way ahead of schedule. The Grand Central Parkway project is big - I don't want to kid anybody with that - but we've got time to finish it."

The April 8 race, which will cap a three-day entertainment festival that will include drifting, three races, boxing matches and a concert, has proved to be a hot ticket, according to Freudenberg.  "Ticket sales are tremendous," he said. "We've sold out of our reserved seats and we're almost 80 percent sold out (of general admission seating). If we hadn't added seats, we'd already be sold out."

Freudenberg said there will be approximately 40,000 grandstand seats along the front stretch and at various spots around the course.  Excerpts from Las Vegas Sun

01/14/07
f1
BMW to also launch online  Similar to the online launch of the new Toyota TF107, the BMW SauberF1 team have revealed that they will also unveil their 2007 F1 car to the world via an online launch at www.bmw-sauber-f1.com.

Starting at 9 am local time on Tuesday morning, the 16th of January, the Hinwil based squad will roll out the F1.07, the car they have been busy working on for some time now with development taking place on the new car at the same time they were working on improving performances on the race track for the 2006 championship.

At 1 pm that afternoon, following the official launch, the new car will make its on track debut on the Valencia circuit.

01/14/07
tv news
nascar
ESPN gaga over NASCAR  How committed is ESPN to NASCAR?

Jed Drake, an ESPN senior vice president, knew Thursday that it was "37 days and counting to the Busch Race at Daytona." Then, for the first time in six years, ESPN will present a NASCAR race.

"We fully intend to deliver and make this a perfect marriage between NASCAR and ESPN," Drake said. He rattled off all the ESPN properties that will highlight NASCAR, such as ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPN Classic, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN the magazine and on and on.

"It's the most comprehensive presentation, and you will see NASCAR every day on all of those platforms continually," Drake said. "It's a multimedia partnership that's never been touched in the world of sports television." More at Orlando Sentinel

01/14/07
usac
Stewart savors 2nd Chili Bowl crown  Tony Stewart grabbed the lead early and drove to victory in the O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals main event Saturday night at the Tulsa Expo Raceway.  The triumph gave Stewart his second Golden Driller trophy in the prestigious sprint-car race. Stewart, who also won the event in 2002, used the inside line to his advantage on the quarter-mile dirt track inside the Tulsa Expo Center.

"I hate running the bottom, but it sure pays good," said Stewart, who started fifth in the 50-lap feature. "I guess it was just luck that we started on the inside and the car was really good down there. It was just a matter of staying there."

J.J. Yeley, Stewart's NASCAR Nextel Cup teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished a distant second. Gibbs has been critical of Stewart's extracurricular racing in the past, but Stewart seemed assured that Gibbs would approve of the team effort with Yeley.

"I think he's going to be pretty proud of us," Stewart said.

Justin Allgaier finished third. Shane Cottle, who led before giving way to Stewart, took fourth with Donnie Ray Crawford fifth in the 25-car field.  USAToday

01/14/07
Industry News
BMW is Chinese millionaires' favorite brand  Beijing -- BMW is Chinese millionaires' favorite luxury brand, according to a survey conducted by a company owned by Rubert Hoogewerf.

Hoogewerf, known as "Hurun" in China for his list of China's Fortune 100, surveyed the lifestyle of 604 Chinese entrepreneurs each with personal assets over 10 million yuan (about US$1.28 million).

BMW, Louis Vuitton, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex and Giorgio Armani were the top five luxury brands on the list, followed by Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Cartier and Vacheron Constatin.

Luxury sedans, watches and fashion items are status symbols that allow China's new rich to show off their success, said the report on www.hurun.net .

Traveling, swimming and golf were voted the most popular leisure activities. Family activities only came seventh, despite the fact that 90 percent of the millionaires surveyed claimed their families were more important than their careers.

Homemade spirits and cigarette brands won applause with Wuliangye and Zhonghua being voted Best Liquor and Best Cigarette.

The millionaires voted Air China Best Domestic Airline and Tsinghua University was Best Executive MBA program provider. China Merchants Bank was selected as the best provider of onshore personal banking and credit card services. ChinaDaily

01/14/07
Industry News
Wealth is spreading in China  Wang Zhongjun is loaded and happy to flaunt it. He wears Prada shoes, Versace jackets, and a Piaget watch. He smokes Cohiba cigars from Cuba. He drives a white Mercedes-Benz (DCX ) SL600, a silver BMW Z8, and a red Ferrari (FIA ) 360. His art collection includes hundreds of sculptures and paintings. Value: $30 million or so. Home sweet home is a 22,000 square-foot mansion north of Beijing with antique British and French furniture, a billiard room with bar, and an indoor pool. When he tires of swimming, Wang can head to his stable (annual upkeep: $500,000) of 60 horses from Ireland, France, and Kentucky. "Entrepreneurs in China today feel much safer than before," says Wang, a 45-year-old movie producer who served in the Chinese army, studied in the U.S., and learned painting before backing internationally acclaimed films such as Kung Fu Hustle. "We are more accepted by the media, government, and society today." That's for sure. Even though Deng Xiaoping declared that getting rich is glorious nearly three decades ago, just a few years back China's millionaires were running scared. When a Forbes Magazine survey of China's richest appeared in 1999, wags called it the "death list" after a tax crackdown targeted many who made the cut and landed some in jail.

Now China is embracing them. More than 300,000 Chinese have a net worth over $1 million, excluding property, according to Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER ). And mainland millionaires control some $530 billion in assets, Boston Consulting Group estimates. "There has been a revolution in attitudes toward wealth," says Rupert Hoogewerf, who authored the 1999 list. He now runs Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based company specializing in information about China's rich, which just released a survey on millionaires' buying habits. "People don't appreciate how much cash there is running around in China today," he says.  More at Businessweek.com

01/14/07
f1
I'm not quitting - Ralf  (GMM)  Ralf Schumacher has dismissed any suggestion that 2007 could be his last on the formula one grid.

The German's eminent brother, Michael, has hung up his helmet after a sixteen year career, but 31-year-old Ralf - six and a half years younger - allayed fears that his expiring Toyota contract could spell the end of his decade-long tenure at the pinnacle of motor sport.

Toyota chiefs at the TF107 launch on Friday said they would think about picking up a two-year option on Ralf's contract for 2008 and 2009 only after a few races this year.

But Schumacher said: "I can promise you one thing -- I'm not even close to thinking about quitting." More ...

01/13/07
nascar
Settlement reached in Hendrick lawsuit  Attorneys for Linda Turner have informed U.S. District Court in North Carolina that she has reached a settlement in her wrongful death lawsuit against Hendrick Motorsports and its pilots stemming from the death of her husband, team general manager Jeff Turner, in the Oct 24, 2004, accident that killed 10 people on the way to the race in Martinsville, Va. The terms of the settlement are confidential, and the court still must approve the settlement. The settlement provides for an equal distribution of settlement proceeds among Linda and her three children. Turner also has sued the U.S. government over the actions of the air-traffic controllers. That suit is still pending, as are two other suits from widows Dianne Dorton and Tracy Lathram against Hendrick Motorsports. Scenedaily.com
01/13/07
nascar
Bodine to conduct special Q and A session on COT  Brett Bodine, NASCAR's Director of Cost Research, will give race fans a behind the scenes look at NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow with a special Question and Answer session at Daytona USA - the only permanent place fans can see the vehicle - on Monday, Jan. 15 from Noon to 12:30pm/et. Daytona USA is open daily from 9am - 7pm. For more information on the attraction, log on to www.daytonausa.com. DIS PR
01/13/07
usac
Doomed racer  This Oakland Tribune article about Bob Sweikert and all the open wheel drivers that were killed in the 1950's is a good read. It was a dangerous sport back then and drivers were 'sacrificial lambs,' being severely injured or killed almost every week. We thought we were reliving history in the early days of the IRL when injured or crippled drivers was pretty much a weekly occurrence. Things have been a bit better lately. When the CART teams went in and took over the IRL they brought in better driving talent and better prepared equipment. Despite Paul Dana's tragic death at Homestead last March, 2006 was the IRL's safest year on record.
01/13/07
ga
Seen at Indy  We spotted Tony George practicing with his No. 00 Porsche powered Daytona Prototype car Friday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. After crashing in Daytona testing he needs all the practice he can get.
01/13/07
dakar
Volkswagen duo: teamwork is key  As the front runner in the overall classification Volkswagen factory driver Giniel de Villiers from South Africa and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz have a good starting base for the second week of the 29th Dakar Rally.

Up to the rest day in Atar/Mauritania the duo in the Race Touareg 2 already achieved two stage victories. A year ago Giniel de Villiers (34), with Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner at his side at the time, claimed second place for Volkswagen and thus the best result of a diesel-powered vehicle in the long "Dakar” history. Dirk von Zitzewitz (38) as the co-driver of the American factory driver Mark Miller finished last year’s Dakar Rally in fifth position.
 
How would you sum up the first seven days of the 29th Dakar Rally?
Giniel de Villiers:
"For us as well as for the entire Volkswagen team things have been going very well so far. Of course we’re happy about our lead at the halfway point. We had some difficult days and a few easy stages. Altogether, it’s been really tough. The last stage before the rest day in particular was a tricky one. But we’ve still got a long distance to cover on which we need to stay focused.”
Dirk von Zitzewitz: "The Dakar Rally is very demanding and strenuous again, the start in Morocco was tougher than in the years past. All Volkswagen team members are doing a great job. Running in front is a nice position to be in and good starting base for the second half of the rally.” More ...
01/13/07
dakar
Nissen: "A lot's been achieved, but nothing won"  Volkswagen is outperforming itself in the Dakar Rally with the Race Touareg: Last year’s runner-up Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz are leading the desert classic at the halfway point in Mauritania ahead of their team-mates Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (Spain/France).

Five of seven possible stage victories were scored by the automobile manufacturer from Wolfsburg who, in addition, has been leading the rally since it started on 6 January. This means that on the rally’s rest day in Atar Volkswagen is presenting itself in a favorable position for the remaining stages until the finish in Dakar, Senegal, on 21 January. More ...

01/13/07
f1
Richards hopes to reveal partner  David Richards hopes that Prodrive will be able to reveal the identity of the partner team with which it will enter Formula 1 in 2008 “within the next three months”.

Richards’ outfit was selected as the 12th team to take part in the 2008 world championship by the FIA last year and will take advantage of new rules allowing teams to purchase fully customer cars.

And just over a year ahead of its F1 debut, he has revealed that some of the first key announcements can be expected to be made in the coming months.

“The next announcement will be the announcement of our partner team and I would hope that would be within the next three months,” he told ITV-F1.com at the Autosport International Show this week.

“And following that, and during that period even, we will start to announce some key appointments – the first one will be announced in a couple of weeks' time.

“And then we will move on over the period of the next six months.”

01/13/07
usac
Stewart qualifies for Chili Bowl  Tony Stewart placed second in the main feature Friday night to qualify for a slot in the 50-lap championship feature of the O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals tonight in the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway.

Stewart, the two-time Cup champion who flipped last year at the event, said it took a while to get back in the groove. He won his first heat race Friday and finished third in the qualifier prior to the main event.

"It took both those practice sessions that we got on Tuesday to get the bugs out and even a little bit Friday in the practice, it took a couple of laps to really start getting comfortable again," said Stewart, who finished second to Dave Darland. "I feel like I'm a little bit behind the eight ball this year because of what happened last year.

"With the way the second heat and the main turned out, I think we're right on par with where we need to be as far as confidence and feeling like we're back in the groove again."

01/13/07
dakar
Vatican denounces Paris-Dakar race as irresponsible  The Vatican newspaper on Wednesday strongly condemned the Dakar Rally as a bloody, irresponsible, violent and cynical attempt to impose questionable Western tastes on the developing world.  An editorial in L'Osservatore Romano titled "Paris-Dakar: The Bloody Race of Irresponsibility", slammed the race a day after South African motorcycle rider Elmer Symons died during the fourth stage in the Morocco desert.

"The Paris-Dakar, a race which many classify as a sporting event, in reality has very little to do with healthy competition," the editorial said.

"The trail of blood which grows longer from year to year on the route of the race instead underscores the undeniable component of violence that lies behind every attempt to export Western models to human environments and ecosystems that have little to do with the West," it said.  The Vatican newspaper said the race and its sponsors betrayed a "cynicism" that ignores local realities. It called the wrecks of cars, trucks and motorcycles abandoned in the desert "rusty monuments to irresponsibility". Reuters

01/13/07
nascar
Wallace to run all three races at Daytona  Mike Wallace says that he will be attempting the "Daytona Triple" in the NASCAR 2007 season opening events February in Florida. Wallace will drive the #46 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevy sponsored by DirecTV NASCAR Hot Pass in the Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday February 16th. He will then jump into his full time 2007 ride, the #7 GEICO Chevy for Phoenix Racing, in Saturday's Busch Series event. Sunday Wallace will drive the #09 Miccosukee Gaming & Resorts Chevy in the Daytona 500 Nextel Cup race. Both the #46 Truck and #7 Busch vehicles are locked into the field for their races based on last season's points. Wallace will have to qualify and race his way in the Daytona 500 with the #09 car. For more information on Mike Wallace, visit www.mikewallace.com. Motorsports Lounge PR
01/13/07
f1
Q and A with Toyota's Vasselon  Pascal Vasselon, Toyota's Senior General Manager Chassis, talks about the team's newly launched TF107 and the progress they've made ahead of the 2007 F1 season...

Q: What were the main lessons you learned from 2006?
PV: It was a very busy season, and what we learned was that improving performance is not sufficient. We learned that reliability is essential. The pattern of the season was totally different compared to 2005. We started that season in good shape in terms of performance, and then by the end of the season it was getting a little harder. In 2006 we started the season in the midfield, and by the end we were close to the top in terms of performance. But this progress of performance through the season was perhaps not visible, that's what we have to accept. The main reason for that was we were not able to finish as many of the races as we wanted to, because of various reliability issues.

Q: What happened in terms of reliability in 2006?
PV: We did not find a global root cause. That would have been too easy! As usual when issues are not caused by basic mistakes, it's a combination of factors. In terms of packaging for example we pushed harder to develop performance and the packaging of the car was tighter and tighter. It has favored the occurrence of some of our reliability issues. In other cases we paid for innovative concepts which by nature cannot be immediately under total control. All these things together mean that we took more risks than the year before in terms of reliability. More ...
01/13/07
nascar
Germain team to scale back Cup plans  Driver Todd Bodine says that the Germain Racing team he drove to the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series title is scaling back its Nextel Cup plans for this year. The team had planned to run the 16 "car of tomorrow" races, but the team won't run that many, Bodine said. "Winning the championship kind of put a kibosh on the whole program or a monkey wrench in it," Bodine said Friday during truck testing at Daytona International Speedway. "We decided we wanted to run for the championship again in the trucks and to run as many Cup races as we wanted to probably would hurt that program. So we don't know what we're going to do. We don't know what races we're going to run. We're going to run some. That's about all I can tell you." Bodine said the first race for the team could be the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, which is not a car-of-tomorrow race. SceneDaily.com
01/13/07
cc
track news
Big plans for Assen circuit  Up until last year the Assen TT Circuit was one of the longer tracks in Europe at 3.75-miles. However, for the 2006 season management opted for a shorter track. A shorter circuit means more laps for the drivers, more exciting races, and more laps for the fans. The effective length of TT Circuit was reduced from 3.75-miles to 2.95-miles, while keeping the unique Strubben Bend and creating a stadium like area in the vicinity of the new bend combinations as seen in the lower section of the photo to the right.

The shorter circuit created additional parking for about 7,000 vehicles and an attractive entrance court, offering the public better facilities. With the circuit shortened and parking and entrance court realized, “TT World BV” will develop a unique solution for the remaining 22 acres.

In this area adjacent to the circuit will be constructed an amusement park (TT World) for daytrip and overnight stay accommodations as well as for events and circuit supporting facilities. Along the TT World perimeter, near the new North Loop, covered stands will be built with a capacity of about 7,500 spectators (currently there are open bleachers in this area). More ...

01/13/07
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

A1GP Beijing, China
3:00am-5:00am (R) SPEED
Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era
10:00am-11:00am
11:00am-12:00pm
12:00pm-1:00pm
1:00pm-2:00pm
All replays? ESPN2
AMA Supercross Phoenix
12:30pm-1:30pm (1/13/07) CBS
Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
3:00pm-3:30pm Versus
Two Roads to Baja (1000) Baja
3:00pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
Dakar Rally 2006 Lisbon to Dakar
7:00pm-8:00pm Versus
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
01/13/07
Track News
Ferrari Challenge Returns to VIR in 2007  Alton, Va. – VIRginia International Raceway is pleased to announce that the very popular Ferrari Challenge Series, along with the Shell Historic Challenge, has been added to VIR’s calendar of events for the 2007 season.

The weekend of May 18-20, 2007 will see the return of the Ferrari Challenge and Shell Historic Challenge for the first time since 2002.

The Ferrari Challenge Series matches drivers in identically prepared Ferrari F430 Challenge racers. The F430 Challenge is a race-prepared version of Ferrari’s state-of-the-art F430 sports car. The two-seat, rear-engined machine is powered by a 4.3-liter V8 producing 483hp. The cars, which weigh 2770 lb., feature electronic paddle shifting derived from the Ferrari Formula 1 program, plus cutting-edge carbon-ceramic brakes and 19-inch slick Pirelli tires. The racing is customarily very close, with numerous lead changes and thrilling finishes, and is popular with drivers and fans alike throughout North America. More ...

01/13/07
dakar
Volkswagen driver de Villiers ahead of Sainz  Volkswagen maintains its one-two lead but a change at the top of the leader board before the rest day makes the 29th Dakar Rally even more thrilling: Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz took the lead, having clinched their second stage victory on the way from Zouérat to Atâr in Mauritania.

(Left to Right, Giniel de Villiers (RSA), Jean-Claude Vaucard, Carlos Sainz (E)) The South African-German duo that won the stage ahead of French Mitsubishi driver Stéphane Peterhansel and the Spanish-French Volkswagen factory team of Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn is lying 1.39 minutes in front of Sainz/Périn after seven stages in the Race Touareg. Up to the halfway point Volkswagen scored five of seven possible stage victories, with the Race Touareg 2 having maintained the lead throughout the rally since it started on 6 January. More ...

01/13/07
f1
Symonds thinks Heikki can win early  Renault's engineering director Pat Symonds wouldn't be surprised if we see Renault's rookie Heikki Kovalainen win a race in his debut season. The Finn impressed Renault as the team's 2006 test driver and will race alongside Fisichella in 2007.

Speaking at the Autosport International Show Pat Symonds said he has no doubts whether Kovalainen will make a significant impact during his debut season in Formula 1. "When we are at this stage in about a year and look back at 2007, I think what we will have seen is that Heikki has had some fantastic races," said Symonds. "I wouldn't put it past him to win a race this year - even as a rookie, it could happen. And we're also look at some spectacular mistakes and sort of think 'why on earth did he do that?'. But this is all part of the learning process."

01/12/07
f1
Gene says Ferrari track role to almost stop  (GMM)  Marc Gene says his role at Ferrari this year will be significantly reduced due to the tighter test restrictions.

The Spaniard has extended his stay at the Maranello based team to include 2007, but with Luca Badoer in the primary test role, Gene's lighter load has allowed him to sign on with Peugeot for the ALMS Series and Le Mans.

Each team may only run basically 30,000km in testing during the '07 calendar year.

"My role now has more to do with the engineers," Gene is quoted as saying by f1total.com, also admitting this his actual track schedule will almost stop.

"On the circuit only some aerodynamic tests (for me) are planned, but I will still spend many days in Maranello," he said at the Madonna di Campiglio media event in Italy.

Gene, meanwhile, said he has seen Ferrari's new car - to be launched on Sunday - and noted that it is "an evolution" of the winning '248 F1' rather than a totally new concept.

01/12/07
f1
Drivers happier with test safety - Trulli  (GMM)  F1 drivers are now happier with the safety standards at test circuits, former GPDA Jarno Trulli said at the edge of Toyota's official 2007 launch on Friday.

The F1 drivers' body, represented now by Fernando Alonso, Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber, has been campaigning hard during the last six months to bring test facilities up to the high standards required at GPs.

Threats of circuit boycotts had even been made.

But, heralding the progress made at Jerez, funded in part by the team bosses, Italian Trulli cautioned: "There are still some tracks that have to make a little effort in order to be safer, but this I think is a great achievement by the GPDA, the teams and FIA.

"The situation (before) was really, really bad.  It really was a disaster."

01/12/07
alms
Peterson/White Lightening complete lineup  After winning two American Le Mans Series GT2 Driver Championships, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing has made a significant move towards a third consecutive title in 2007.

Team owner Michael Petersen and entrant/team manager Dale White announced today that Tim Bergmeister and Tomas Enge will share the wheel of the No. 31 F430 GT. Bergmeister and Enge will race the Ferrari F430 GT together for the full, 12 race American Le Mans Series season beginning with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17.

"The level of drivers available to teams in the American Le Mans Series is staggering, entrant and team manager White said. "This year it seems that there is more top talent out there than I have ever seen in the past. I feel we got two of the very best available."

Both Bergmeister and Enge worked with team engineer Frank Funke prior to the trio joining again at Petersen/White Lightning. Those past relationships, along with the keen testing skills of both drivers, will accord Petersen/White Lightning the opportunity to bring the new-to-the-team F430 GT up to speed much quicker. That will prove to be a true asset in what promises to be the most intense class battle in American Le Mans Series history. More ...

01/12/07
industry news
GM to boost spending by $1B  Banking on a new product assault to drive up sales, General Motors Corp. will increase capital spending by up to $1 billion this year, officials told investors on Thursday.

GM expects new vehicles to account for nearly 40 percent of showroom sales this year as it rolls out products designed to revive its brands and image.

"We're going to continue raising the bar in future product, with a particular focus on outstanding design and technology leadership," GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said.

01/12/07
cca
a1gp
James Hinchcliffe Q and A - Atlantic Attack  Montréal, Canada - A1 Team Canada racer James Hinchcliffe announced on Tuesday that he will return to the Champ Car Atlantic Championship for his sophomore season in 2007 competing for Sierra Sierra Enterprises.  The 20-year-old from Toronto, who finished 10th overall and top Canadian in his rookie season with one Atlantic victory to his credit, joins the expanded two-car line-up at Sierra Sierra alongside fellow A1GP racer, Brazilian Raphael Matos.

Having announced his plans for the regular 2007 season, Hinchcliffe's immediate focus switches back to race duties for A1 Team Canada as he prepares to fly out to New Zealand on Saturday ahead of Round 6 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the all-new 3.5km Taupo Circuit, 19th-21st January.

A race winner in Formula BMW, Star Mazda and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, James would love to take a win in his rookie A1GP season, the Canadian standout having come close in just his second A1GP race weekend in Round 2 in the Czech Republic last October before being bumped from the lead with five laps to go. More ...

01/12/07
nascar
Roush Announces Schedule For Biffle and Kluever  This season Greg Biffle and Todd Kluever will share the driving duties of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Busch Series. Biffle will compete in 19 races, while Kluever will take the wheel in 16 events beginning with the season-opener in Daytona on February 17. Following is the 2007 season schedule:

Biffle                                   Kluever......................................
2/24 – California Speedway 2/17 – Daytona Int’l Speedway
3/10 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway 3/4 – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
4/14 – Texas Motor Speedway 3/17 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
4/28 – Talladega Superspeedway 3/24 – Bristol Motor Speedway
5/4 – Richmond Int’l Raceway 4/7 – Nashville Superspeedway
5/26 – Lowe’s Motor Speedway 4/20 – Phoenix Int’l Raceway
6/2 – Dover Int’l Speedway 5/11 – Darlington Raceway
7/6 – Daytona Int’l Speedway 6/9 – Nashville Superspeedway
7/14 – Chicagoland Speedway 6/16 – Kentucky Speedway
7/28 – O’Reilly Raceway Park 6/23 – Milwaukee Mile
8/18 – Michigan Int’l Speedway 6/30 – New Hampshire Int’l Speedway
9/1 – California Speedway 7/21 – Gateway Int’l Raceway
9/7 – Richmond Int’l Raceway 8/4 – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
9/22 – Dover Int’l Speedway 8/11 – Watkins Glen Int’l
9/29 – Kansas Speedway 8/24 – Bristol Motor Speedway
10/12 – Lowe’s Motor Speedway 10/27 – Memphis Motorsports Park
11/3 – Texas Motor Speedway
11/10 – Phoenix Int’l Raceway
11/17 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

Eddie Pardue will lead the team as crew chief for both drivers. Pardue and Biffle worked together last season in the Busch Series to earn one win, eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 26 starts. Kluever drove the 3M Ford Fusion full-time last season with four top-10 finishes and one pole.

01/12/07
nascar
Aaron Fike to drive No. 1 Toyota in truck series  Red Horse Racing officials say that the team plans to race the No. 1 Toyota with driver Aaron Fike full time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season.

Fike, 24, plans to compete in all the events and run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year.

"I am really excited about this opportunity with Red Horse Racing and Toyota," Fike said. "Red Horse Racing has shown that it is a championship caliber team the last few years, and Toyota is the championship manufacturer - you can't ask for much more than that."

01/12/07
nascar
Martin starting 2007 NASCAR season in No. 01 Chevy  Mark Martin will drive the No. 01 Chevrolet in the Budweiser Shootout this February, the first time in 19 years he has driven a car other than the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford.
01/12/07
ga
Porsche Power for Dyson in 2007 Rolex Series  In a furthering strengthening of the relationship between Porsche and Dyson Racing, the team's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series effort will be running Porsche's Daytona Prototype 3.8 liter engine in 2007 starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  For the past two years, Dyson Racing has teamed with Howard Motorsports and Crawford Race Cars to run selected Daytona Prototype races and this year will see a six-race partnership which includes the Florida endurance classic.

"Porsche and Porsche Motorsport North America are very excited to have Dyson running a Porsche engine in the Rolex Series," said Uwe Brettel, President, PMNA.  "This is a great extension of our renewed relationship with Dyson for 2007, and it is wonderful to have them as part of the Porsche family in Grand-Am."

"Porsche and the Crawfords are making a huge effort to install the engine for the Rolex, but this is a terrific development for us," said Chris Dyson.  "The engine has proven to be a fantastic performer.  It has strong power, is well packaged and it suits the Crawford chassis.  Howard Motorsports are great partners with us in Grand-Am. Last year we were competitive and led races in this series, but this really pushes our effort forward.  Our bolstered alliance with Porsche positions us for consistent success in 2007. More ...

01/12/07
f1
Toyota to wait on new contract for Ralf  (GMM)  Toyota says it is in no rush to extend Ralf Schumacher's expiring contract.

The German's three year deal runs out at the end of 2007, but team president John Howett said in Cologne on Friday that the Japanese squad could extend the contract through to 2009 if it so desired.

"I think both sides really want to wait until probably we've seen some races and he wants to see if we are good enough to provide a machine and I think then we'll sit down and discuss," said Howett, amid the backdrop of Toyota's new car, the TF107.

31-year-old Schumacher's current teammate Jarno Trulli, who is 32, recently signed a new three year deal.

But Ralf agreed with Howett that it is "too early" to talk about next year and beyond.

01/12/07
f1
Kimi didn't ask for test release - Haug  (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen or Ferrari did not ask McLaren-Mercedes to release the Finn from the final days of his 2006 contract so that he could make a Fernando Alonso-style test debut for his new team late last year.

That is the insistence of Norbert Haug, competition director for Mercedes-Benz, amid reports that McLaren - who enjoyed Alonso's early Renault release in late December - should have extended a similar favor to Ferrari.

"Ferrari never asked us to prematurely release Kimi," Haug told the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst.

McLaren has been on the working end of some rare Raikkonen criticism this week, as the 27-year-old attended his first official media engagement for Ferrari.

Raikkonen, who drove for McLaren between 2002 and 2006, was reportedly returning fire at comments made by Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh, but Haug refused to be drawn into the melee and instead wondered if Kimi had been "provoked" by mischievous reporters.

01/12/07
irl
Cheever refuses to be IRL announcer  Eddie Cheever Jr. has turned down another opportunity to join the IRL's TV broadcasting crew. With his team focused on sports car racing and the Indy Pro Series, Cheever hopes to field a car at the Indy 500, maybe for himself but preferably for Max Papis.  Indy Star
01/12/07
racing news
Joyce Julius: Motorsport TV highlights for 2006  
The Unique Top Team Sponsor of Year Award goes to… the casual-dining restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, the financial backer of Alex Job Racing’s entries in the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.  The first year sponsor out-earned the other 96 team-sponsoring brands, collecting 28% of the exposure value garnered by the entire group. 

Craftsman windshield identity appeared clear and in-focus during 4% of the total broadcast time devoted to the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (including commercials).  The windshield logos were the most-monitored, non-television graphic exposure source present in the series.  Incidentally, Chevrolet truck identity was next (excluding graphics), appearing on-screen about 2% of the time.

Target’s exposure domination in the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series saw the retailer amass nearly twice as much on-screen time as the next closest primary team sponsor, while capturing almost 2.5 times as many verbal references.  To further the point, Target averaged about $1.2 million of exposure value per IRL event, compared to an average of $960,000 during a typical NASCAR Nextel Cup event telecast.

ARCA RE/MAX Series television exposure rose in all three categories, as on-screen time (66%), mentions (42%) and exposure value (14%) experienced impressive increases.  An increase from 14 to 15 televised events, and a complete season of Speed Channel re-airs benefited the series in 2006. More ...

01/12/07
nascar
2006 Nextel Cup Series Top-10 Team Sponsors  
Sponsor Driver Total Exp. Value*  Team-Related  Non Team-Related 
1) Budweiser D. Earnhardt, Jr. $183.1  68.8%  31.2% 
2) Lowe's J. Johnson $143.6  90.2%  9.8% 
3) Cingular Wrls. J. Burton $116.6  71.8%  28.2% 
4) The Home Depot T. Stewart $98.6  78.4%  21.6% 
5) DuPont J. Gordon $88.9  100.0%  0.0% 
6) Miller Lite Ku. Busch $71.1  84.7%  15.3% 
7) NAPA Auto Pts. M. Waltrip $68.6  35.2%  64.8% 
8) DLP T. Raines $67.6  37.4%  62.6% 
9) Subway G. Biffle $64.4  82.6%  17.4% 
10) DeWalt Tools M. Kenseth $63.3  52.7%  47.3% 

Exposure was monitored by Joyce Julius & Associates during each event telecast of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season (excluding commercials).  To determine a value, clear in-focus time and verbal references were compared to the non-discounted cost of a commercial during each respective broadcast.  These comparable exposure values provide a standardized measurement for all brands appearing within the series.

*Exposure values reflected in millions.

01/12/07
racing news
FIA gears up for Center of Excellence summit  Max Mosley, President of the FIA and Professor Gérard Saillant, FIA Institute Deputy President, are to headline the FIA Institute Centre of Excellence Summit.

The summit will focus on risk management in sport and will welcome attendees from the world of motor sport as well as representatives from other sports where risk management is a fundamental issue. Senior representatives of the International Olympic Committee and representatives of various national Governments will also be invited to attend.

The program will cover a wide range of subjects in this area. It will examine what type of sport should be considered high risk, take a look at the legal and insurance issues relating to those risks, and look at universal ways to help prevent and limit the risks and establish best practice.

01/12/07
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

A1GP Czech Republic
3:00am-5:00am (R) SPEED
NASCAR Angels
1:30pm-2:00pm  Check local listings for your time zone ABC
Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
3:00pm-3:30pm -Stage 7 Versus
NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop
3:00pm-4:00pm
4:00pm-5:00pm
5:00pm-6:00pm
6:00pm-7:00pm ESPN2
Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
6:30pm-7:00pm (R) -Stage 7 Versus
Two Roads to Baja (1000) Baja
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
01/12/07
tv news
nascar
Busch Series to be televised in Canada  TSN and RDS will be the home of NASCAR Busch Series races in 2007 after the networks agreed to a new multi-year deal to become the exclusive Canadian broadcasters of the stock car series. Under the agreement, TSN and RDS have secured the Canadian broadcast rights to all 35 NASCAR Busch Series races, all of which will be available in High Definition on TSN, with a broad selection of events on RDS. The Busch Series complements TSN's extensive auto racing broadcast package, which will see TSN televise 28 Nextel Cup Series races in 2007, up from 21 races last season. The announcement also strengthens RDS's commitment to expanding awareness of NASCAR in Quebec and throughout French Canada. This marks the first time both TSN and RDS will air the NASCAR Busch Series property. NASCAR has a strong fan base in Canada with 5.8 million fans, representing one out of four Canadian adults. NASCAR is the No. 1 motorsport series on television in Canada. TSN recorded record ratings for its coverage of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with a national average audience of 332,000 viewers, up 15 percent from 2005. TSN.com
01/12/07
Track News
Speedway case hearing begins in shooting  Detective Susan Brown was guarding a vault building at Kansas Speedway when she saw a masked man approach with a gun in his hand. After telling a worker to get inside, Brown pulled her handgun and tried to shut the door, she said. But before she could get the door closed, an object — later determined to be a handgun — was jammed into the space between the door and its frame, near the hinges. That’s when the gunfire started and she was critically injured, Brown testified during a preliminary hearing Tuesday for two men, Fredrick Douglas and Nolden Garner, who are accused of attempting to rob the speedway the evening of Oct. 1. During the hearing, a worker overseeing the operations of the vault building testified that at the time of the robbery attempt, workers were getting ready to move about $1 million after a weekend of racing. The robbers struck just after workers had moved eight $500 boxes of quarters into a minivan outside the vault building. At the end of testimony, Wyandotte County Judge Robert L. Serra ordered both Douglas, 66, of Kansas City, Kan., and Garner, 51, of Grandview to stand trial. They are charged with attempted capital murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated robbery. Attorneys for the men entered not-guilty pleas on their behalf. The men are not thought to have gotten away with any money. The day’s testimony outlined the evidence that linked the men to the crime, including testimony by a detective who said Garner admitted to the crime and that a third person was involved. That person provided aprons and caps that would allow Douglas and Garner into the area where the vault was located, Howard testified. A spokesman for the Wyandotte County district attorney’s office said this week that no one else has been charged in connection with the case. In her emotional testimony, Brown testified that she was shot between four and six times. She suffered injuries to her right shoulder, right wrist and a leg. She testified that at least one of the suspects continued to shoot at her when she was lying on the ground wounded. Kansas City Star
01/12/07
f1
Toyota to launch today  The Panasonic Toyota Racing team will launch its 2007 Formula One car, the TF107 today [Friday], when the car is unveiled in Cologne, Germany. The launch is just part of the ceremony, which is also taking place to mark 50 years of Toyota in motorsport in general. Proceedings are due to get underway at around 11.00 hours local time, and are due to last for around 1 hour.
01/12/07
f1
Toyota announces official partnership  Toyota Motorsport GmbH and Kingfisher Airlines, India’s fastest growing airline, today announced the signing of an exciting new official partnership. Multi award-winning Kingfisher Airlines will become an official partner of Panasonic Toyota Racing as part of their multi-year agreement starting in 2007. With immediate effect, the distinctive ‘Fly Kingfisher’ insignia will appear on the car, drivers’ overalls and helmets and all corporate branding platforms.

The deal was signed at the team’s pre-season event at Expo XXI in Cologne, with Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman and CEO, Kingfisher Airlines Limited and Panasonic Toyota Racing President John Howett announcing the partnership. The deal, rated as one of corporate India’s biggest overseas partnerships, marks the largest sports partnership program so far for the 21-month-old Kingfisher Airlines and is the first time an airline based in India has partnered on this scale with a Formula 1 team. More ...

01/12/07
f1
ZF Sachs "Official Supplier" for BMW team  Munich/Hinwil - The BMW Sauber F1 Team is intensifying its collaboration with ZF Sachs AG, which becomes an Official Supplier to the team as of 2007. The two partners are no strangers. In 2006 the BMW Sauber F1 Team was already racing with shock absorbers supplied by the company based in the Bavarian town of Schweinfurt. Furthermore, there has been a longstanding collaboration on the BMW production car front, while ZF Sachs has also been involved in the Formula BMW junior talent program for some time.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen comments: "Sachs is a dependable technology partner that meets the highest standards. We now both want to make use of this positive, evolved association for communication purposes as well." More ...

01/12/07
cc
RuSPORT is staffing up  This ad is running on the RuSPORT website for an Assistant Race Engineer and a Data Acquisition Engineer.
01/12/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Alonso to debut MP4-22 on Valencia streets
Ferrari explain Kimi's 'Mubadala' cap
Brawn's successor won't attend every GP
Spyker to use second wind tunnel
Todt to lessen trackside role in '07
Domenicali - No tests planned for Schu, yet
Ferrari to unveil new F1 livery on Sunday
Government vows support for British GP
Briatore to marry 26-year-old model
Paparazzi snap Ferrari's Kimi
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