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Sarah Fisher 'I want to drive anything with fenders on it' Sarah Fisher 'I want to drive anything with fenders on it'In this NASCAR.com article, former IRL driver Sarah Fisher slams the IRL and says she is casting her lot with NASCAR.  Key excerpts - The eyes sparkled. The smile shined.  A driver stood before a phalanx of microphones and recorders Tuesday night, politely answering questions and occasionally cackling a hearty laugh. The hair was neatly trimmed, and a pair of sun glasses sat on top of the driver's head.  Of course, the driver wore a pressed shirt with team and sponsor logos.

What makes this scene different is the driver. It's former IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher.  Fisher, the three-time IRL most popular driver. Fisher, the winner of an IRL pole at Kentucky. Fisher, a five-time Indianapolis 500 starter.  Fisher, the poster child of the racing series that once touted itself as the place for American open-wheel drivers to have a chance.

She'll drive in the NASCAR Grand National West Series this season in a car owned by Bill McAnally. Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program are also supporting the program.  Childress also hopes to run Fisher in two Busch Series races later this year.

So after pursuing a career in open-wheel racing, Fisher has switched to stock cars.  "It's been in my head a long time," Fisher said. "I just didn't have the balls to do anything about it."  She laughed, of course, but the sentiment was accurate.

"Defies logic, yeah," Fisher said. "I gave my heart and soul to the IRL. I really believed in what they were doing. I gave five really good years of my life to them.  I'm ready for a new challenge. I see this as my long-term life. I want to be a part of a family."

"It's a little confusing, what their mission statement was five years ago and where it is now," Fisher said. "Where I see my future is in stock cars. There has been more opportunity and more welcome from this family."

"We're hoping to run her in two Busch races this year if everything works right in the West coast," Childress said. "She knows that this is a training curve for her. It's a lot different than IndyCars. We're real proud about having Sarah come aboard."

If Fisher shows promise, she'll move up. She would love to be in a Busch car full-time in 2006 but is leaving her career in Childress' hands.   "Richard Childress knows how to develop a racecar driver," Fisher said. "I'm sort of on his time frame. What he advises me to do, I'll be there."

"It's not going to be easy," Fisher said. "I won't budge from that. There's a lot to learn, and there's a lot of respect to gain. I'm not here to make a statement. I'm here to race cars and do the best job I can.  "I need to go out there and win races. I know we can do that here."

For now, "here" is stock cars.  "This is definitely my long-term program," Fisher said. "I want to be in anything with fenders on it."

Penske teams up with Crawford Penske teams up with CrawfordOne week before the start of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season, officials from Penske Technology Group, Howard-Boss Motorsports and Crawford Race Cars have announced a new partnership for 2005 aimed at continuing the development of the Crawford Daytona Prototype chassis used in Rolex Series competition.   Penske Technology Group--which was previously known as Auto Research Center of Mooresville, N.C.--operates an industry-leading wind tunnel and vehicle dynamics facility in Mooresville, N.C. Penske Technology Group is currently working with many NASCAR, IndyCar and Grand American Rolex Series teams, and as part of plans to expand its clientele within the racing industry, the company has partnered with the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford team.

"Crawford Race Cars was one of our first customers when we opened the wind tunnel facility in 2001," said Penske Technology Group General Manager John Moloney. "We helped take the Crawford sports car chassis from design to race track, and I can't think of a better organization to partner with as we move Penske Technology Group into its next phase. Crawford Race Cars and Howard-Boss Motorsports are clearly some of the most innovative and hard-working people in professional racing, and it is an honor to be aligned with them for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The No. 4 Howard-Boss/Penske Technology Group car has a great driver lineup with NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson and sports car aces Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson."

The Penske Technology Group facility offers a rolling-road wind tunnel and seven-post vehicle dynamics rig. Available engineering services include aerodynamic and vehicle dynamic testing, scanning and surfacing of three dimensional objects and full-size vehicles, CAD modeling, rapid prototyping, custom instrumentation, engineering and design.

"We're very excited about our association with Penske Technology Group," said Crawford Race Cars President Max Crawford. "The capabilities to expand our program with their seven-post rig and wind tunnel will benefit Crawford Race Cars and our customers tremendously. The track simulation program with the seven-post rig is extremely valuable now that we have completed our first full season of competition at all the tracks in the Rolex Series. The combination of data learned through the technology at Penske Technology Group and the experience of the practical application at the track has been a huge factor in our growth and success.

"In fact, the wind tunnel at Penske Technology Group was utilized in the development of our DP03 Daytona Prototype that earned three wins and eight podiums in the Grand American Rolex Series last season. I'd like to thank Roger (Penske) and John (Moloney) for making this possible and we look to showcase the facilities and technology at Penske Technology Group for many years to come."

Montagny puts Renault on top in Valencia Montagny puts Renault on top in ValenciaRenault's third driver, Franck Montagny closed out the week fastest at Valencia today.
1. F. Montagny – Renault - 1:10.252 – 123 laps
2. G. Fisichella – Renault - 1:10.636 – 91 laps
3. T. Sato – BAR - 1:10.803 – 100 laps
4. A. Davidson – BAR - 1:10.841 – 61 laps
5. J. Trulli – Toyota - 1:10.928 – 54 laps
6. O. Panis – Toyota - 1:11.888 – 64 laps
F1 teams snub Mosley F1 teams snub MosleyUPDATE The rift between Ferrari and the rest of Formula One was evident on Friday when only the world champions turned up for a meeting to discuss rule changes. Ferrari boss Jean Todt, technical director Ross Brawn and FIA president Max Mosley had a two hour discussion in the absence of nine of the ten teams. And Mosley said another meeting had been scheduled for 15 April in Paris. "We gleaned a great deal of useful information, probably more than if we'd had the others here," said Mosley. I think there is an element of sulking at the moment, but it's a question of whether they are still sulking after Bahrain." The nine teams, at odds with Ferrari over their refusal to restrict testing, had asked for the meeting to be postponed until after the Bahrain Grand Prix on 3 April. Many feel that the world body favors Ferrari, the only team to have been in the championship since the beginning in 1950. BBC Sport 01/28/05 Max Mosley had his meeting with the Formula 1 team bosses who chose to attend and spent the afternoon with Jean Todt and Ross Brawn of Ferrari and Charlie Whiting, the FIA race director. None of the other teams attended the meeting, arguing that until the market research asked for by Mosley has been done there is no point in discussing how to change the rules of the sport. In addition there are signs that the teams are not going to discuss the rules of 2008 and beyond unless the discussions take place within the framework of the Formula 1 Commission.  The obvious solution to the problem would be for Mosley to call a meeting of the F1 Commission. Grandprix.com
Toyota and Honda side with GPWC - No Toyota and Honda side with GPWC - NoUPDATE "Toyota has not joined the GPWC," Toyota F1 boss Tsutomo Tomita (pictured right) insisted to grandprix.com, "The meeting on Wednesday between five of Formula One's manufacturers was to discuss the direction in which our sport is going, and to define a clear set of guiding principles and objectives which we all believe should be adopted for the future of F1.

"Toyota was not happy with the action taken by the FIA, FOM and Ferrari last week [where the Scuderia inked an extension to the Concorde Agreement covering 2008-12], as there was no prior consultation with any of the other teams on such an agreement.

"Toyota's position has already been put forward in the past. We want to retain F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport, to reduce costs whilst retaining the technical challenge, to not impose unnatural restrictions on the technology used in F1 car development, to continue to attract and provide excitement to fans and importantly to adopt a positive attitude towards independent teams through offering technical support and supplying engines."

01/26/05 Japanese car giants Honda and Toyota have sided with manufacturers planning a rival series to Formula One by issuing a joint statement setting out their vision for the sport's future.  While a spokesman for the Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) said the two had not formally joined BMW, DaimlerChrysler and Renault in the group, Wednesday's statement made clear that they were in agreement.  The move was a boost for the GPWC, whose demise was widely proclaimed after FIAT-owned Ferrari announced last week that they had agreed unilaterally to remain in the existing championship until 2012.

A source close to the carmakers said Ferrari's action, despite being founder members of the GPWC, had fuelled the anger of the Japanese to the extent that they approached their European rivals asking for a meeting. The statement said all five carmakers met to discuss their views about the future after the expiry of the existing 'Concorde Agreement' in 2007 which governs the sport's commercial matters.

"All participants have unanimously agreed upon a comprehensive set of governing principles which they believe represent an appropriate framework for the sport," it said.

Governing Principles for Grand Prix Motor Racing Post 2007 Principal Objectives
To establish a framework for Grand Prix Motor Racing which..

- retains Grand Prix Motor Racing’s position at the pinnacle of Motorsport
- provides the basis of a long term plan for the prosperity of Grand Prix Motor Racing and all its stakeholders, including teams, sponsors, and circuits
- supports and encourages the participation of independent teams through technical assistance and engine supply
- attracts, excites and provides good value to fans globally and
- is open, transparent and fair in commercial, technical and sporting governance.

Technical Format
- Rule stability to encourage innovation, cost control and economic certainty.
- To maintain Grand Prix Motor Racing as the most advanced motor racing formula.
- Sufficient opportunity and technical freedom for teams, engine manufacturers and suppliers to use the sport to showcase their technology through differentiation and innovation and to challenge their engineering skills.
- To eliminate high cost technologies which do not provide differentiation or have relevance to other industrial sectors.
- To provide a safe environment for drivers, spectators, team personnel and race officials.
- To reduce costs in a structured and well planned manner that does not surprise the teams or result in unforeseen consequential costs.
- To evaluate cost cutting proposals in the wider context of the sport’s appeal to its fans and balancing them with the requirements of the technical challenge.
- To achieve fastest lap times on any grand prix motor racing circuits.
- To include technologies relevant to current and future mainstream road cars.
- Driver skills should remain a differentiating factor.

Sporting Framework
- To entertain, excite and attract spectators, viewers and sponsors.
- To attract the best available drivers, circuits and team personnel in the world.
- To maintain perception of sporting “purity” with no artificial handicapping.
- To ensure results are instantaneous and available immediately.
- To reward good teamwork.

Commercial and Sporting Governance
- To provide substantive fairness for all competitors and other stakeholders in respect of all aspects of the sport including sporting, technical and commercial matters.
- To ensure transparent governance and financial structure for the sport.
- To maintain a professional management team with clear succession plans.
- To have a fair and open system for rule determination that only allows changes to be made against objectively defined criteria.
- To have a readily accessible and swift appeals process administered by an internationally recognized independent body.
- To provide a significantly greater and more equitable share of the total revenue generated by the sport to the participating teams.
- To ensure that all revenue related to the sport including circuit signage, race title sponsorship and fees for hosting Grand Prix are included in the division of funds.
- To expand the overall revenue coming into the sport through optimum exploitation of the various commercial rights.
- To ensure that all stakeholders deal with each other and conduct themselves with mutual respect and do not act to the detriment of the interests of the sport.
- To ensure access to the sport on free to air TV on a worldwide basis in order to reach the broadest possible audience.
- To provide better television coverage for the viewers and improve and expand the media technologies through which the sport is made available.
- To significantly improve the quality of the live TV feed.
- To expand the sport into new markets through increased TV coverage and different Grand Prix venues

Pennzoil and Roush team up in Busch Pennzoil and Roush team up in BuschPennzoil and Roush Racing will team up for nine events in the Busch series in 2005. Seven of the races will feature the all-time winningest driver in series' history, Mark Martin, while 2003 Winston Cup Champion Matt Kenseth will drive the No. 9 car in the other two events.

"We are looking forward to getting back on the track in the No. 9 Pennzoil car," said Martin. "We had a couple of pretty strong runs in the No. 9 last year and hopefully we can get Pennzoil in victory lane this season. I'm pretty excited that we'll be working with Pat Tryson and an all new team on the No. 9 car so hopefully we'll be able to make some more noise in that series."

Martin will be a the helm of the No. 9 Pennzoil Ford for events at Fontana, Las Vegas, Texas, Richmond, Loudon, Kansas City and Homestead. Kenseth will drive the car at Charlotte and Texas in October and November.

"It will be fun working with Pat and the No. 9 team for a couple of races in 2005 and I look forward to driving the No. 9 Pennzoil car," added Kenseth. "We had a really strong run for Pennzoil last year at Vegas and we'll be looking to expand on that and hopefully get a win in one of those races. Texas and Charlotte are among my favorite tracks, so I'll be looking forward to both of those races. "

Pennzoil and Roush have a deep rooted history. Pennzoil first sponsored Jack Roush in the 1960's, when the former Ford Motor Company engineer was a driver himself. This season Pennzoil is proud to once again team up with Jack Roush as sponsor of all five 2005 Roush Racing Nextel Cup teams as well as the No. 9 NASCAR Busch Series Team.

Date Event Driver
Feb. 27 Fontana Mark Martin
March 13 Las Vegas Mark Martin
April 17 Texas Mark Martin
May 15 Richmond Mark Martin
July 17 Loudon Mark Martin
Oct. 9 Kansas City Mark Martin
Oct. 16 Charlotte Matt Kenseth
Nov. 6 Texas Matt Kenseth
Nov. 20 Homestead Mark Martin

Ferrari finishes day on top in Barcelona Ferrari finishes day on top in BarcelonaUPDATE Ferrari tester Luca Badoer finished the day at the top of the timesheets in last years dominating F2004 while Michael Schumacher, in charge of the car that will start the 2005 season in Melbourne in five weeks time, the F2004M, finished second, more than half a second faster than Juan Pablo Montoya in the new McLaren.  Meanwhile, Sauber’s Felipe Massa rounded off the times with the fourth best place, over a second and a half off the pace.
1. L. Badoer – Ferrari - 1:15.899 – 74 laps
2. M. Schumacher - Ferrari - 1:16.002 – 57 laps
3. J. Montoya – McLaren - 1:16.536 – 72 laps
4. F. Massa – Sauber - 1:17.470 – 91 laps
01/28/05 At 1:30 PM in Barcelona, Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest at the wheel of the MP4- 20. Michael Schumacher was third - driving the F2004 M - the car that should start the first four races of the season. Felipe Massa was at the bottom of the time sheets in the Sauber C24. Barcelona - (midday results)
1. Juan Pablo Montoya - McLaren Mercedes MP4/20 - 1'16"536 - 38 laps
2. Luca Badoer - Ferrari F2004 - 1'17"705 - 22 laps
3. Michael Schumacher - Ferrari F2004M - 1'17"934 - 18 laps
4. Felipe Massa - Sauber Petronas C24 - 1'18"758 - 45 laps
Ford trucks to test next week Ford trucks to test next weekRoush Racing drivers Kluever and Craven will continue testing on Feb. 1 as they prepare for their first Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta. The World Financial Group 200 will be the first of two Craftsman Truck races at Atlanta in 2005. The Craftsman Truck series was a phenomenal hit with fans when it debuted at Atlanta last spring. Eventual Craftsman Truck series champion Bobby Hamilton tangled with Mike Skinner coming off the final corner of the final lap, sending Skinner skidding across the infield grass. The dramatic finish left the fans breathless and on their feet, cheering for both drivers during the post-race cool down. It also left Ford Racing scratching its head, as the top finish from a Ford truck was seventh (Carl Edwards). Looking further down the finishing order, the next Ford truck is all the way down in 18th position. The test will be closed to the public but open to the media.
Ford Mustang GT ready to race Ford Mustang GT ready to raceWith an exciting new look reminiscent of its 1960s heyday, the new Ford Mustang "pony car" will certainly draw the attention of race fans and competitors alike as Grand American Road Racing Association and Ford Motor Company officials have announced that the car has been approved for competition in the Grand-Am Cup Series Grand Sport (GS) class in 2005. The race car is based off the all-new 2005 Mustang GT that recently hit showroom floors at Ford dealerships around the country.

"We're excited about expanding our road racing efforts in the Grand-Am Cup Series with the addition of our race-prepared Mustang GT," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "The 2005 Mustang and our 5.0-liter Cammer 'R50' V-8 make the perfect combination to extend Ford's rich sports car racing heritage."

"Our goal with this competition program for the new Mustang is to capitalize on our performance parts program and the Mustang's successful history in road racing," continued Davis. "The 5.0-liter Cammer engine family represents the future of Ford Racing Performance Parts, and this program could help solidify the Cammer as the performance crate engine of choice. As well, this competition program will spur the development of performance parts for the new Mustang, and possibly more programs for competition in other racing series."

The 'R50', the race version of the Cammer V-8, as found in the Mustang GT racer, is an evolution of the all-aluminum Cammer 'T50' crate engine, which is currently available from Ford Racing Performance Parts. The 'R50' racing version features many enhancements for road racing highlighted by new cylinder heads, from the Ford GT supercar program, and a unique intake manifold. The Cammer V-8 is based on Ford's family of modular V-8 engines; including the 4.6L DOHC supercharged V-8 as found in the SVT Mustang Cobra.

"Ford Racing's grassroots motorsports efforts have been extremely successful in providing opportunities to go racing at a good value," continued Davis. "We've worked closely with Grand American to ensure that the Mustang GT will not only be competitive, but will also offer racers a durable, reliable, and affordable package to go racing in Grand-Am Cup." The debut race for the new Ford Racing Mustang GT race car will be the Grand-Am Cup Daytona 200 on Feb. 4 at Daytona International Speedway.

Ford Racing currently supplies the 5.0-liter Cammer 'DP' V-8 engine, developed by Robert Yates Racing, to competitors in the Daytona Prototype class of the Grand American Rolex Series. Recently, Ford Racing announced an all-star NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver line-up for the No. 49 Crown Royal Ford Multimatic Daytona Prototype race car competing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, including 2004 NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch, 2003 NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Matt Kenseth, and former NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series Champion Greg Biffle.

The race-prepared Mustang GT in full Grand-Am Cup-spec, as well as the 'R50' Cammer V8 and the 2005 Mustang body-in-white, are available through Ford Racing Performance Parts. Teams interested in racing the Mustang GT in Grand-Am Cup competitatusshould contact the Ford Racing Technical Hotline at: 586-468-1356.
Jourdain and Fisher to race in Phoenix this weekend Jourdain and Fisher to race in Phoenix this weekendAlthough it is still three weeks before the Nextel Cup series gets underway at Daytona Beach, Fla., the NASCAR season will open this weekend in Phoenix with the revival of the popular Copper World Classic.

You may not recognize the race names, though, the way motorsports authorities are labeling their events these days. For instance, what was once Winston West is now NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. And what was once the Featherlite Southwest Series is now NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series. Both series will be debuting with main events Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, along with U.S. Auto Club midgets and Silver Crown cars sharing a busy program.

Mike Duncan, veteran West series driver from Bakersfield, will be opening his bid to become the first repeat champion since Brendan Gaughan in 2000-01. Duncan, who turned 43 last Saturday, will be back in the No. 9 Lucas Oil Chevrolet that he drove last season with two-time series champion Bill Sedgwick as his crew chief.

Two surprise entries in the 100-lap main event will be Sarah Fisher and Michel Jourdain Jr., both refugees from sponsor-strapped open-wheel racing. LA Times
Midland has not contacted Davidson Midland has not contacted DavidsonBAR test driver Anthony Davidson has played down the chances of him joining the new Midland-Jordan Formula 1 team as a race driver this season. Midland managing director Colin Kolles has publicly expressed an interest in signing Davidson – who has strong links with the team's sporting director Trevor Carlin – for 2005, but Davidson denied he had received any approach from the organization.

“At the moment it has been on all the websites and also on TV, but they have not spoken to me or my manager,” he said. “It is nice to read the stuff and find out how people feel about you, but they have not actually seriously contacted us yet.”

Autosport.com understands that Davidson's contract with BAR would allow him to leave his testing role if a firm offer for a 2005 race drive with another team was forthcoming, but Anthony said that at present he would not necessarily consider Midland as an option even if they approached him.

“Yes I want to race, but at the moment the team (Midland) has not even done one test yet,” he said. “I don't know what they have got, I don't know what to expect. As far as I know it is just on paper. They have not done one test and Melbourne is just around the corner, so if anything is going to happen it has to be very quick.” More at Autosport.com

Toyota Valencia test summary Toyota Valencia test summaryLocation: Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, Spain
Jarno Trulli - Chassis TF105/03, TF105/02
Best lap time: 1m 10.598s
Total laps: 159
Total distance: 636km

- Jarno, how have you found the conditions at Valencia this week?
Valencia has been a difficult place to test this week because it has been extremely cold - especially early in the mornings. Thursday was a typical day here, with the cold making life pretty hard for us. At the end of the day the wind started gusting quite hard too, making it difficult to make comparisons.

- How much work has the team managed to complete as a result?
Apart from the conditions, Thursday was a positive day because we did a lot of laps quite easily. We found some good steps on the car, so we made some good progress. We also did some tire testing which we continued on Friday with longer runs, along with work on set-up and dampers. I swapped to Olivier's car towards the end of Friday's session because of a mechanical problem on my chassis which would have required too much time to fix at the circuit.

Olivier Panis - Chassis TF105/03, TF105/02
Best lap time: 1m 11.463s
Total laps: 279
Total distance: 1096km

- This Valencia test was your first chance of trying out the new TF105. What were your first impressions?
What I felt most when I went out on the first day with the new TF105 was that the car was really well connected. Of course we need to keep going and improving, and wait and see how things work with the new aero package. But I'm quite positive about the base we have compared to what we've been used to with the TF104B.

- How much productive work have you been able to carry out here in Valencia?
I've been mainly working on tires, but the problem was that the two first days were so windy, it made it very difficult to understand what was happening with the car. Thursday was a better day and we did a lot of laps. It was still very cold, which made it difficult to warm up the tires, but it was not so windy so the car reacted better. On Friday I was suffering from a slight cold, but we still put in some long runs before Jarno took my car for the last couple of runs.

Ricardo Zonta - Chassis TF105/02
Best lap time: 1m 11.980s
Total laps: 154
Total distance: 616km

- Ricardo, this week was your first chance to test the TF105. How does it compare to the TF104B?
The new technical rules, and especially the aerodynamic restrictions, affect the new car mainly in the slow corners, where more downforce is beneficial. The car slides a lot more and it is more demanding to drive. That is not a reflection on the TF105, but on the rules that now govern aerodynamics.

- How were your two days in Valencia?
For my first time in the TF105, I am pleased with the two days of running. The track conditions improved on Wednesday and we were able to achieve a good number of laps, working on traction control tuning and Michelin tires. At the end, our lap times compared to the other 2005-spec cars on track were pretty close, so we are definitely heading in the right direction.

ALMS drivers begin 12 Hour of Sebring prep ALMS drivers begin 12 Hour of Sebring prepFor many American Le Mans Series teams, running the inaugural "Wheels Down Winter Test" at Sebring next week will be the first important step in preparation for not only the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring but also the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The ACO (Automobile Club de I'Quest) which sanctions and sets the rules for the 24 Hours of Le Mans - the world's premier auto race - has assured that its sister series, the American Le Mans Series, will be well represented this summer in France in the running of Le Mans. The ALMS is awarded as many as 12 slots in the annual midsummers night/day dream race, which recently verified 78 entry requests to date.

"The path to Le Mans has always been tough one, and only the best reach the goal." Said IMSA COO Tim Mayer "But nowhere is there more opportunity and more reward than in the ALMS. With the fierce competition and world class teams, we are proud not only to provide one of the largest groups of Le Mans entrants, but one of the most competitive."

As part of a continuing agreement with the ACO, the American Le Mans Series will receive up to 12 automatic berths at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this summer. Each class winner of Petit Le Mans, conducted every fall at Road Atlanta, receives an invitation, as does each class winner for the overall season championship. In instances where the winner of Petit Le Mans is also the overall ALMS season champion, a Le Mans invitation is awarded to the second place finisher in the class championship by the ALMS. Because past winners at Le Mans receive automatic berths, ALMS Petit Le Mans or Championship winners often get their invitations via that criteria, allowing the ACO to fill the remainder of the ALMS slots with discretionary invitations to other top performing teams. Entering 2005, the LMP1 team of Champion Audi will draw berths for each of its two teams by virtue of its Petit Le Mans' win and overall championship. Champion Audi recently announced a star-studded two-car effort, featuring returning series champions JJ Lehto and Marco Werner along with six-time Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen driving car #1 for the endurance races and Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro driving car #2 along with Allan McNish for the endurance clashes.

Representing the ALMS in LMP2 will be Intersport Racing's Lola winner of class at last year's Petit Le Mans with Clint and John Field behind the wheel. Miracle Motorsports' Courage won the ALMS LMP2 Championship and earned a spot on the Le Mans grid for the John Macaluso team that this year includes Chris McMurry and Jeff Bucknum. In the GT1 class, Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell not only picked up a win at Le Mans last year with Max Papis, but they also won Petit Le Mans on their way to the overall GT1 championship, thus earning a second spot for Corvette Racing. In the GT2 class, Alex Job's Porsche fared just as well as the Corvettes, winning both the overall championship as well as the Atlanta race. Job's factory based efforts features drivers Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Sascha Maassen for the endurance endeavors. Impressive newcomer to the ALMS last year, the Flying Lizards, are likely to earn the second berth in that class although it has yet to be determined whether the team of Lonnie Pechnik-Seth Neiman or Johannes van Overbeek-Jon Fogarty will log the French entry. Third drivers have yet to be named for either Flying Lizard team. The Peterson White Lightening team won its berth in the Sarthe classic by virtue of their impressive class win at the 24 hours in 2004.

Other ALMS teams under high consideration for invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans are Dyson Racing with its Lola in LMP1, ACEMCO Racing's Saleen in GT1 along with Tom Weickardt's Dodge Viper and perhaps BAM!'s GT2 Porsche.
Vegas test to look like race weekend Vegas test to look like race weekendNASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas is still six weeks away, but it will certainly look like race weekend when the stars of the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series invade Las Vegas Motor Speedway for next week's Preseason Thunder Las Vegas. A record 43 Nextel Cup teams have filed testing vouchers, including all 10 drivers in last year's Chase for the Cup. The Cup teams are scheduled to test on Monday, Jan. 31 and Tuesday, Feb. 1.

On Wednesday and Thursday, 20 NASCAR Busch Series teams are scheduled to test including 2004 champion Martin Truex Jr. and former Champ Car star Michel Jourdain Jr. Nextel Cup teams will be preparing for the March 13 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, while the Busch teams will be making the preparations for the Sam's Town 300 on Saturday. March 12. The speedway's grandstands will be open to the public free of charge all four days. The testing starts at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 5 p.m. each day. LVMS recently announced the addition of bleacher seating in Turn 3 for the NASCAR Weekend. These $99 Triple Play seats will give race fans a bleacher seat for the UAW-DaimlerChryslet 400, a reserved seat in the main grandstand for the Sam's Town 300 and a general admission ticket to the Las Vegas Double Down on Sept. 24 featuring the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Champ Car World Series. Race fans can call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to www.lvms.com for tickets.

Following is a complete list of the drivers scheduled to test. Nextel Cup drivers (Jan. 31-Feb. 1): John Andretti, Stanton Barrett, Greg Biffle, Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Fuller, Jeff Gordon, Robby Gordon, Jeff Green, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte, Jason Leffler, Sterling Marlin, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Eric McClure, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Kyle Petty, Scott Riggs, Ricky Rudd, Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Johnny Sauter, Ken Schrader, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, Mike Wallace, Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip and Scott Wimmer. Busch Series drivers (Feb. 2-3): Johnny Borneman, Clint Bowyer, Stacy Compton, Tim Fedewa, Denny Hamlin, Shane Hmiel, Michel Jourdain Jr., Justin Labonte, Paul Menard, Johnny Sauter, Brent Sherman, Reed Sorensen, Martin Truex Jr., Tyler Walker, Kenny Wallace, Paul Wolfe, Jon Wood and J.J. Yeley. Elliott Sadler and Joe Nemechek will be testing both Cup and Busch cars on Monday and Tuesday. Las Vegas Motor SpeedwayPR
Engine woes continue for BAR Engine woes continue for BARLucky Strike Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda continued to fine tune its latest 007 race car as testing continued in sunny, but chilly Spain on Thursday. The weather may have warmed up slightly for the third day of this week’s test in Valencia with the strong winds of Tuesday and Wednesday calming down, but it was still very cold as drivers lapped the Spanish track.

Jenson Button joined the action for BAR on day three, taking over from test driver Anthony Davidson in chassis 007-01. The young Brit completed several short runs in order to find a good balance in the car before moving onto a chassis and tyre development program for Michelin.

He completed 50 laps during the morning session before a planned engine change over the lunch break then began the afternoon continuing his chassis and tyre evaluation. He completed a further 19 laps on his planned program bringing his final lap tally for the day to 69 laps.

Meanwhile, teammate Takuma Sato´s morning program was delayed as he had an engine failure early in the session. With the engine changed, the Japanese racer went back out in the car to start his planned chassis and gearbox tuning development work. He completed 19 laps in the morning session while his afternoon was spent completing long run tyre evaluations with the best of the morning's test sets. He also ran through some suspensions settings to complete a total of 84 laps for the day. Takuma will remain in chassis 007-02 on Friday with Anthony returning to drive chassis 007-01.
Brian France wants to stay course in 2005 Brian France wants to stay course in 2005"You know, 2004 is undoubtedly going to go down as either the greatest season we've ever had, or one of greatest seasons we've ever had," Brian France said during Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s media day. "And there are really two reasons that you talk about it in that context, and there's two ways that we measure that. No. 1 is that we make racing better. Was the racing on the track more exciting? Did we showcase the opportunities for the best drivers in the world to do their thing? And the answer is absolutely. And the (Chase for the Nextel Cup) was that a big part of that? Of course. But our drivers stepped up to the plate and showed that when there was more on the line, they would give special performances, and they did. We're grateful for that." 

"You think about all of the initiatives that we launched, and could we pull those off correctly; the answer is, I think we did," France said, pointing out that Sunoco and Toyota also joined the NASCAR ranks last season. "I think our team, (it’s good) for the whole industry to be able to absorb that many changes and pull off a fantastic season.

"What we've really got now is a fantastic season in '04 that's created momentum for us in '05, and that's the key for us to keep growing in the future. And not all the time in the past have we gone into the next year with a lot of momentum, and with momentum is anticipation, anticipation because you went out on such a big high."

"There were drivers who almost had their moment and missed it (last year). There were others that had it," France said. "So all kinds of things that give us a good feeling and excitement to start '05 and the Daytona 500. I think, above all, what you're really going to see is the strategy change. You know, when we announced the Chase, and you heard a lot of things. You heard you'd better get ready for the final 10 (races), and you'd better strap it on for the final 10, and that's all true. You'd better have your ‘A’ game in August going into September. But..in talking to the drivers and the teams, that urgency better be there a little bit earlier. It better be there starting with the Daytona 500, at the end of March, April, May, because you don't want to be trying to burst in to the final 10 on Richmond weekend. And also, you don't want to be trying a whole lot of new things out when you're coming in with your own set of momentum.

"I think the strategy in '05 is going to do just what we had hoped. It wasn't, in fact, going to make the first 10 races -- or rather, the first 26 races -- less valuable. It's going to make it more valuable. And then the final 10 races will be what we all hope for, which is a shootout with the best drivers in that given year who are ready to step up and perform at a high level."

Kerry Earnhardt Tests at Talladega Kerry Earnhardt Tests at TalladegaRelaxed on a comfortable, plush chair in the Talladega Superspeedway garage office, Kerry Earnhardt said the place is beginning to feel like a lot like home. After spending so much time here testing last year, the eldest son of the late Dale Earnhardt truly seems as if he could just as easily be on his sofa at home, chatting naturally and laughing easily. This time at Talladega, Earnhardt and his Richard Childress Racing team are fine-tuning the black No. 33 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for the fast-approaching Daytona 500. While the season opener is the true focus of the next two days of testing, they're also gaining a little more information for May 1, when Earnhardt will drive the machine in the Aaron's 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. "The home group here is like family now. I come down and hang out and visit while I wait on the guys to get the car ready. I love Talladega; it's pretty cool and it's one of the most fun tracks to race on," Earnhardt said. "We're just working on Daytona stuff right now. We found bits and pieces at different times that helped the car at Daytona, and we just went back to the shop and put it all together in one package. Now, we're trying all of that out here." Toyota Racing Development booked the two-day test for its NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams, and allowed Earnhardt to share track time with truck drivers Johnny Benson, Bill Lester and Mike Skinner of Bill Davis Racing's No. 23, 22 and 5 teams, as well as Robert Huffman of Darrell Waltrip Racing's No. 12 team. Earnhardt said he still hopes to run a full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the Billy Ballew-owned No. 15 Chevrolet powered by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. engines. He can't wait for all the racing that lies ahead of him this year, between his plans to run superspeedway races for RCR and his first season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Talladega PR
Big Ferrari auction Big Ferrari auctionFor car collectors, the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy, is considered hallowed ground. Nestled in a picturesque valley near Bologna, the plant is off-limits to all but Ferrari personnel, and to those handpicked, extremely wealthy collectors the legendary carmaker has deemed worthy of owning one of its finely honed machines. "Ordinary mortals cannot get into the Ferrari factory," explains Rick Carey, auctions editor of Car Collector magazine.

That will change on May 23, when Ferrari, together with Sotheby's, plans to host a first-ever auction of cars and related memorabilia at Ferrari headquarters in Maranello. Headlining the sale is the F2004, the winning Formula One car driven by Michael Schumacher in the first five Grand Prix races of 2004. Until now, the only way to buy a Formula One Ferrari was on the secondary auction market or through Ferrari's exclusive, four-year-old F-1 Clienti program, to which clients must be invited by the company.

The May auction appears to be something of a marketing coup, given the timing of other race-car-related events in that part of Europe. First, Ferrari and Sotheby's will preview the sale, on May 14 and 15, at the Fiorano test track, which is adjacent to the Ferrari Logistics Building where the auction will take place. Then on May 16, Bonhams holds its annual collectible car auction in Monaco. On the 19th, the Mille Miglia begins, a thousand-mile Italian road tour for historic cars scheduled to conclude May 22. Also on the 22nd is the Grand Prix in Monaco. Then it's an easy hop back up to Maranello for the Ferrari auction on the 23rd.

Ferrari hopes that the heat generated by all those events will fuel bidding at Maranello. Though the sale is still in the consignment stage, planned estimates are robust on the three lots announced so far. The Schumacher Formula One car is pegged at $1.8 million to $2.1 million, and a gorgeous 1958 Ferrari, the 412S, is estimated to fetch between $10 million and $12 million. If it does, it will smash last year's auction record for a collectible motorcar--$7.5 million for a 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK, which Bonhams sold in September 2004 in Goodwood, England.

According to Jupiter, Fla.-based collectible car consultant William Kontes, who is working on the May 23 sale, cars have recently changed hands privately for more than $10 million. "The Sotheby's-Ferrari magic is a component of the estimate," explains Kontes, who guesses there will be a total of about 30 cars in the sale.

There is also a Maserati MCC12 factory car, which won Maserati's first victory in 37 years, at the 2004 GIA GT championship race at Oschersleben, Germany. The car is estimated to bring $1.6 million. Ferrari bought Maserati in 1997.

According to Car Collector's Carey, the market for top-end collectible racing cars, especially Ferraris, is healthy, and steadily growing. That hasn't always been the case. In the late 1980s, speculators flooded the exotic-car market and created a bubble, especially for late-model Ferraris and Lamborghinis, like the Lamborghini LP400 Countach that sold for $400,000 in 1990, only to change hands again in 1992 for just $100,000. The all-time auction record for a collectible car remains the $10 million for a Ferrari 250 GTO, fetched by Sotheby's in Monaco in 1990. Adjusted for inflation, that price would be $14 million today.

For Sotheby's, the Ferrari auction is an intriguing move, given that the house's entire auto department jumped ship a decade ago and defected to Bonhams. Since then, Christie's, RM Auctions in Ontario and Bonhams have been the dominant auction players, along with Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Ariz., which is holding a huge sale there on Jan. 25-30. Does this mean Sotheby's is back in the car auction ring? "We have made no decision or commitment for the future," says Sotheby's spokesman Matthew Weigman. "We saw a terrific opportunity here." More, including Photos, at Forbes.com

Roger Penske quotes Roger Penske quotesDespite a disastrous season to date, Jeremy Mayfield said he foresees no major shakeup to his Evernham Motorsports team, which was reorganized late last year. “I don’t expect any changes other than we might add a few people. Chris (Andrews) and I have started to come together,” Mayfield said Saturday. “It hasn’t showed up yet, but it’s better than it was a couple of weeks ago as far as him understanding what I like and me understanding how he does things on the car. It’s just like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Michael Waltrip when they switched up. You saw what happened on that deal. Dale Jr. couldn’t hit his butt and Michael took off running good. That’s just part of what we’re going through right now.” Speed Channel
We reveal new South Korea road course by D3 We reveal new South Korea road course by D3UPDATE #2 We can reveal that this track will be in a park a la Monterrey, Mexico and will feature some elevation changes.  A lot of excavation will be taking place to build the circuit and viewing areas. 01/27/05 We have cleaned up the Ansan layout shown to the right to make it a bit easier to view. 01/26/05 The diminishing number of road courses on the Champ Car calendar is a topic of discussion for motor racing fans after some of the old favorites have been dropped from the calendar over the past few years.  However, Champ Car’s preferred track design and construction company, D3 Motorsport Development is bringing a new event to the 2005 calendar; a 3.4 km (2.1-mile) road course in the South Korean city of Ansan.

D3 will be heading to Ansan in the coming weeks, after an agreement was signed for the company to design and construct a temporary road circuit at the unique destination.  Event promotion will be jointly shared between the Ansan city government and a company called The Korea Racing.

Ansan, a dynamic city just a short drive from the country’s capital of Seoul, is historically known as an industrial city and recently transformed into an investment and transaction Mecca. The city is eager to host an international motor sport event to put them on the map and increase the city’s tourist appeal.

This event is scheduled for October 16, 2005 and will be the first Korean race on the Champ Car calendar.  D3’s Executive Director Jeremy Dickson said, “D3 is excited to have the opportunity to expand the motor racing industry to new international destinations, building first class facilities and superior events is what we do best and Ansan is a dynamic city with plenty of international appeal. This event has the potential to be a very unique event for the Champ Car calendar and also very opportunistic for teams’ sponsors.”

D3 is responsible for designing and constructing the most successful motor racing tracks in the past, including Surfers Paradise, Australia, Monterrey, Mexico and Mexico City. This year they will bring the Ansan, South Korea and San Jose, California circuits to the Champ Car calendar.  For more information on this and other D3 tracks please visit www.d3motorsport.com

Dale Jr. 60 Minutes special Dale Jr. 60 Minutes specialUPDATE A reminder that these shows air tonight.  UNCUT," the hour-long version of Dale Earnhardt Jr's appearance from CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" will debut this Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern on Country Music Television (CMT).  The interviews, with legendary television journalist Mike Wallace, have been re-edited from the original 12-minute segment that appeared in September on "60 Minutes." The interviews were shot at Daytona International Speedway last July and at Dale Jr.'s home near Mooresville, N.C., in August.  The show is scheduled to rebroadcast on CMT at 2 and 6:30 p.m. Eastern Saturday, 5 and 9 p.m. Sunday, and 8 and 11 p.m. Monday.  Dale Jr. will also appear on a segment of the "National Body Challenge: Burning Fuel" on the Discovery Health Channel, Wednesday night at 10 p.m. Eastern and again at 1 am. See the overview of the show at the Discovery Channel web site.  01/04/05 CMT presents a night of NASCAR with two thrilling premieres including CMT 40 Greatest NASCAR Moments on Friday, Jan. 28 at 8:00-10:00pm/et/pt, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Uncut: 60 Minutes Special at 10:00-11:00pm/et/pt. A new two-hour original special, CMT 40 Greatest NASCAR Moments when CMT counts down 40 of the most memorable wins, wrecks and rivalries in NASCAR history. Narrated by veteran race announcer Ken Squier, CMT 40 GREATEST NASCAR MOMENTS drives fans through more than 50 years of their favorite moments, from the first “Strictly Stock” race in 1949 to Dale Earnhardt’s first Daytona 500 win, and features new interviews with Robert “Junior” Johnson, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Richard Childress, Jeff Gordon, Donnie Allison, Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR President Mike Helton and more. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Uncut: 60 Minutes Special with Mike Wallace premieres exclusively on CMT with never-before-seen footage of one of NASCAR’s elite, Dale Earnhardt Jr. In the in-depth special, Earnhardt Jr. discusses everything from his fiery crash in Sonoma, Calif. to his legendary father, Dale, to Dating for Dummies. Champion driver and friend Tony Stewart guests. Arizona Racing Times
Penske’s new monstrous NASCAR facility Penske’s new monstrous NASCAR facilityThe new Penske Racing South shop debuted Wednesday night and entering the cavernous facility you felt as though you were there for a rock concert or looking for the anchor store of a major shopping mall. Penske himself acknowledged this: "If (this) doesn't work as a race shop, we can always have concerts in here." He quipped. Much of the space is done, but the team has yet to fully move from their present multi-building location five miles away, although the move should be completed by March. Penske purchased the former Matsushita manufacturing facility last summer and has been hard at work ever since getting it ready for occupation by his three Nextel Cup teams. Two shifts worked seven days a week to gut the interior and rebuild it to Penske’s specifications. The building itself (there are actually two if you include a smaller shop in the rear) encompasses a total of 424,697 feet. 240,781 square feet, that’s 8 acres under roof by the way, of which are occupied by the race teams. There are 3 paint booths, one for each team, 3-body prep stations and 17 surface plates. By far the most fan friendly shop on the tour, there is a 300-foot long second floor catwalk that will allow fans to view the ongoing work. Penske made sure to note to Lowe's Motor Speedway president, “Humpy” Wheeler, that the 300 foot long stainless steel rail is the longest in North Carolina. Cupscene.com
Monster Garage to feature Panoz Esperante Monster Garage to feature Panoz EsperanteProduction began this week for perhaps one of the most difficult and unique builds ever on the hit Discovery Channel television show Monster Garage. West Coast Choppers owner Jesse James and his team of Maverick Mechanics are attempting to create a flying car out of a Panoz Esperante provided by Panoz Auto Development within a span of five days. Unlike most Monster Garage episodes consisting of five person teams that air for one hour, the flying car project has a team of ten members and will air as a special two-part season finale on June 13 and June 20 on the Discovery Channel.

Crafted in Braselton, Ga., the Panoz Esperante offers world-class performance with its hand-built 4.6 liter, 32-valve, dual overhead cam, aluminum V-8. The All-American machine produces pure sports car adrenaline making it the perfect fit for such an extreme Jesse James creation. One version of the Esperante already flies - on the ground that is. The Panoz Esperante also competes in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series which begins its 2005 season with the historic Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in mid-March.

Details of the build taking place near Jesse James' world famous West Coast Choppers are top-secret for now so viewers will just have to wait until June for the exciting two part season-ender featuring Jesse James, the Monster Garage team and a very different Panoz Esperante.

Latest F1 News in Brief Latest F1 News in Brief
Oz actor for grand prix
Bearded Scot on top
Montoya in new McLaren
Grove set for Monday line-up
Junior duo on road to F1
Minardi wail in Amsterdam
Karthikeyan and Jordan
Firman fixed on F1
BAR, again, to foil F1 pact
'No more buzz' for F1's Ant 
Why 'Jordan' in 2005?
Priaulx in F1 debut
Will Honda go the distance?
No Sauber scandal - JV
Stoddart will miss 'JJ'
TF105 'is better' - Panis
David Green on Mexico track David Green on Mexico trackAfter his test run on the Mexico City track, David Green was interviewed. He said that he will return to the US with confidence that professionals will be driving in the race. He also had the opportunity to meet with Mexican driver Jorge Goeters who will be his teammate for the race. He said he likes the race track, that it has a lot of passing zones. He commented on NASCAR being on the right direction pursuing new markets like Mexico. A large exhibition will be erected by NASCAR in one of the big mall centers. A NASCAR IMAX movie will be playing in a few movie theaters in Mexico City. At this rate within two years NASCAR will surpass Champ Car in popularity in Mexico. José Arrambide reporting from Mexico
Jacobs to design BAR Wind Tunnel Jacobs to design BAR Wind TunnelJacobs Engineering Group Inc. announced Wednesday that a subsidiary company received a contract from the BAR Honda Formula One team to design and construct a new aerodynamic wind tunnel at the team's technical center in Brackley.

BAR Honda is using the facility to support the aerodynamic development and design of its Formula One racing cars. Using both scale models and full-scale cars, they will routinely test and measure aerodynamic forces, aerodynamic moments, and model surface pressures. This project also has special significance because the facility is employing adaptive sidewalls and an adaptive ceiling in the test section.

In making the announcement, Jacobs President Craig Martin stated, "This contract provides an excellent opportunity to advance our support to the Formula One industry. Partnering closely with BAR Honda to deliver this new wind tunnel augments our understanding of their testing requirements, enabling us to help them identify aerodynamic improvements for enhanced race day performance."

BAR Honda Technical Director Geoffrey Willis adds, "The tunnel underlines the ambition of our team to win the Formula One World Championship. Aerodynamic design and performance are significant factors in the competitiveness of F1 cars and while we have achieved much success with our current tunnel it was clear to us that in order to make further progress a new facility was required. The new tunnel will be completed in time to influence the development of the 2006 car and will be a fundamental element of the design program for the 2007 car. The completion of a new full-scale wind tunnel within this time frame will be a significant achievement and we are very pleased that Jacobs has agreed to fast-track the design and construction to meet our ambitious time schedules."

Albers drives Minardi thru streets of Amsterdam Albers drives Minardi thru streets of AmsterdamTonight, for the first time a Formula One car drove through the streets of Amsterdam. Christijan Albers drove his Minardi in the centre of Holland's capital. The spectacular demonstration was witnessed by tens of thousands fans. Among big sponsors as JVC and ABN Amro, F1Racing.net was announced as official sponsor of Christijan Albers. In Dutch discotheque Cineac the evening started with the announcement of Christijan's sponsor package. After the interviews there was time for lots of cocktails and champagne for all the guests and gathered press. "The attitude of the Dutch companies is overwhelming," said Paul Stoddart. "The number of fans are incredible too for such a little country."   This was a fantastic experience!" said Albers after driving through Amsterdam. "The start of the demo was a bit hard because the engine didn't want to start properly but it was a great experience. I wanted to do a donut but the streets are so narrow and packed with fans that I thought it would be better to keep the car straight. Next week we'll be testing at Misano to prepare the car for Melbourne. I am really looking forward to it!"
Bahrain starts F1 race promotion in Beirut Bahrain starts F1 race promotion in BeirutThe Bahrain International Circuit, which recently won the prestigious award for the best organized Grand Prix of the 2004 season, started its Pan Arab Formula One Road Show for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2005 from Beirut.
The campaign began on the 21st of January and lasted until the 26th. The Road Show, which was led by an 11-member BIC team, aimed to promote the Formula One in Bahrain (3rd round of the FIA Formula One World Championship 2005) which will take place on 1, 2, and 3 of April of 2005. During the Road Show, the audiences were introduced to Formula One racing, the process of buying race tickets, and how to arrange for travel and transport packages. They also lived a virtual Formula One driving experience through an F1 driving simulator, which brought to life most aspects of Formula One driving with all of its thrill and excitement .

Beirut was the first stop of the Formula One Road Show 2005 which will travel in its latter stages to Kuwait, Dubai, and then the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The reason for kick starting the campaign in Lebanon, was due to the regional importance of Lebanon in the field of motorsport, in addition to the leading role the Lebanese Motoring and Tourism Club ATCL plays in nurturing young talent in motorsports.

On January 19th, 2005, a press conference was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Beirut which hosted more than 80 media representatives 10 of which were TV stations. The speakers at that conference included Mr. Martin Whitaker, General Manager of the Bahrain International Circuit, the Lebanese rally champion, Abdo Feghali, who stressed the importance of what the BIC is represents with respect to Motor sport in the Middle East region, and Mr. Hisham Abu Alfateh, Manager Public Relations Gulf Air, who expressed his satisfaction over the strong relationship between Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, and stressed out the benefits resulting from such a fruitful relationship. He also pointed out Gulf Air's prepared packages for the Lebanese Market, and discussed the global operations of Gulf Air as an International Carrier.

The BIC stand was located at the newly built ABC Ashrafiyeh Mall which attracted a large number of motor sport enthusiasts and Formula One Fans. In addition to the stand, the BIC drivers and promoters hit the streets of down town Solidere where they distributed flyers, and created excitement and interest amongst the crowds. BIC also had the opportunity to drive the Road Show into the famous and prestigious BuddaBar establishment where through music and raffle draws were able to further deliver the message of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2005.

After the Gulf Air Bahrain GP 2004, BIC embarked on an ambitious and highly intensified work program to realize its slogan as 'Home of Motorsport in the Middle East'. Just a few months ago, the Circuit hosted two international races, which are the F3 SuperPrix race and the Bahrain GT Festival. That is in addition to a wide variety of races like drag racing, MECAR, and Mini Cooper challenge. Also, the BMW Williams F1 team recently launched its team livery in the BIC a few weeks ago.

In addition, BMW recently opened a Performance Center in BIC, which is the first in the Middle East and the second in the world. The center is one of the most modern facilities of its kind in the world and for the very first time, the center unites the programs of Formula BMW Racing center and BMW Driver Training under one roof. Also, the BIC will witness the opening of an off-road school on its premises, which is one of the best in the world, and contains 20 Land Rover cars.

Industry News
Dover declares regular quarterly dividend Dover declares regular quarterly dividendDover Motorsports, Inc. Board of Directors today declared a regular quarterly cash dividend on both classes of common stock of $.01 per share. The dividend will be payable on March 10, 2005 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 10, 2005.  Dover Motorsports, Inc. is a leading promoter of motorsports events in the United States. Its motorsports subsidiaries operate five motorsports tracks (four permanent facilities and one temporary circuit) in four states and promote motorsports events under the auspices of four of the premier sanctioning bodies in motorsports - NASCAR, NHRA, IRL and Champ Car. The Company owns and operates Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware; Nashville Superspeedway near Nashville, Tennessee; Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, Missouri; and Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis, Tennessee. It also organizes and promotes the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California.
Industry News
Schedule realignment increases ISC's profits Schedule realignment increases ISC's profitsNASCAR’s schedule realignment, the timing of Nextel Cup races and the acquisition of Martinsville Speedway led to a 71.2% increase in Q4 ’04 profits for ISC, which today reported net income $54.4M for the quarter, compared to $31.6M in the same frame a year earlier. Revenues for the quarter were $231.3M, a 52.1% increase over $152.1M in Q4 ’03. Aided in part by a 21% increase in TV rights fees and higher sponsor contributions, net income for the year ended November 30 increased 48.2%, from $105.4M to $156.3M, while revenue climbed 18%, from $549.1M to $647.8M

Also impacting quarterly comparisons was a $2.5 million pre-tax charge, or $0.03 per diluted share, included in the 2003 fourth quarter to reflect CART's refusal to return the organization and rights fee paid by ISC for California's event, which was cancelled due to wildfires in the region at that time. CART subsequently filed for bankruptcy. The Company continues to pursue CART in the bankruptcy court to recover at least a portion of the $2.5 million through the bankruptcy process.

Why no Canadian sponsors? Why no Canadian sponsors?UPDATE A reader adds, Perhaps I can better address Mr. Frtiz's question regarding Canadian sponsorship, or the lack thereof.

First, how could OWRS or Mr. Forsythe expect any Canadian company to sponsor Champ Car when there isn't even a TV package in place for Canada for 2005? Add to that the one that existed last year broadcast 3 races live and the rest were either tape delayed until the wee hours of the morning or not shown at all, and you cannot reasonably expect a company to step up and pay the kind of money OWRS is asking. Now assuming Champ Car actually got a TV package in place before they started bitching about no Canadian sponsorship, they might then like to read part two of my response.

Canada's largest corporations lie not in the consumer or retailing end of business, but in industrial and natural resource applications. These companies would see little if any benefit from advertising on the side of a Champ Car or in any other consumer oriented marketing program.

Canada has few large transnational or multinational consumer-end and retailing based companies. In fact many of Canada's largest consumer based companies are subsidiaries of their American counterparts. McDonald's Canada, Wal-Mart Canada, Sears Canada, Best Buy Canada, Home Depot Canada, etc. etc. Those Canadian companies that Mr. Frtiz did mention such as Player's, Molson, Canadian Tire, etc. are now either banned from advertising as is the case with Player's or choose instead to divert their marketing budgets to something all Canadians will watch, hockey.  However even hockey, Canada's national pastime, struggles to find consumer based sponsorship. Watch a Montréal Canadians game and you will see the rink's boards lined with government owned or backed companies. Companies such as the SAQ (the Québec government owned monopoly of liquor stores), Caisse Populaire Desjardin (the unofficial "official" bank of Québec), Post Canada (the mail delivery service), Lotto-Quebec (the provincial lottery), and Hydro-Quebec (the Quebec government owned electricity monopoly).

Indeed these "sponsorships" amount to little more than indirect government subsidies, and this for Canada's most beloved and followed sport! It is not only Montréal that suffers from lack of real corporate sponsorship. This scene plays itself out again and again all over Canada. One simply need witness the demise of the Vancouver Grizzlies, the Montréal Expos, Québec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets, or Canada's poor performances in the Olympic games to see that it is not only auto racing that suffers from a lack of sponsorship. The Canadian Grand Prix, one of the biggest sporting events in Canada all year was almost lost two years ago when a formerly government owned company, Air Canada, went bankrupt and could not renew the title sponsorship. It wasn't until last minute subsidies by all three levels of government and a more modest contribution from Labatt that the race was saved. Now certainly it wasn't only a lack of corporate sponsorship that lead to the downfall of these teams and events, but it played an important part to say the least. Paul Tracy said it best when he stated in 2003 that the loss of Player's was going to set back Canadian motorsports 10 years. OWRS has an uphill battle to fight to gain Canadian sponsorship and they certainly do themselves no favors by not having a decent TV deal in place in which to court what available sponsors there are. Shaun M., Montréal, Québec 01/27/05 A reader asks, I am puzzled by the lack of Canadian sponsors in Champ Car.  With the latest news that tickets are selling like crazy at Edmonton and the proven track record of attendance at Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto I would expect to see at least an associates sponsor on the side of Tracy's car. AR1 claimed doom and gloom on the loss of Patrick Carpentier because he was so popular yet I never heard of him attracting any sponsor interest. As a matter of fact, had it not been for Player's and their decade long sponsorship, the last major sponsor from Canada was Molson for a year or two on Danny Sullivan’s car and Canadian Tire for one or two years on Jacques Villeneuve Sr car. I believe Labatt's sponsored John Jones for one season. That means outside of Player's, Canadian companies have sponsored cars a total of 3-5 years in the entire history of CART/Champ Car. It certainly cannot be for lack of marketable stars, poor TV ratings or bad attendance. What gives? Arno Fritz, Milwaukee, WI Dear Arno, This issue is puzzling to many, but if Champ Car had a small office (1 or 2 persons) in Canada and Mexico looking after their interests, playing the politics and schmoozing with potential sponsors five days a week, 52 weeks per year like NASCAR does, perhaps they would have better luck with sponsors in these two countries. Mark C.
GP2 2005 Schedule and Specifications GP2 2005 Schedule and SpecificationsUPDATE Organisers of the Monaco Grand Prix have today announced there will only be one GP2 race there, rather than the two which will take place on each of the other race weekends. The ACM has published a schedule which has the Free Practice and Qualifying sessions on Friday morning at 9m and 10am respectively, with a single race to take place at 4pm on the Saturday afternoon. The Sunday morning slot which is used by GP2 for its sprint race at the other ten European F1 events, has been allocated to Formula Renault. The move means the GP2 Series will be decided over 23 races, rather than 24. formula-2.net 01/25/05 Listed below is the proposed GP2 race schedule for 2005. GP2 races will occur on the same weekend as the Formula 1 race for the country indicated, with the exception of Bahrain – F1 visits Brazil that weekend. To keep reduce travel costs, 11 of the 12 planned GP2 races will be in Europe:

April 23, 24 San Marino
May 7, 8 Spain
May 21, 22 Monaco
May 28. 29 Europe
July 2, 3 France
July 9. 10 Britain
July 23, 24 Germany
July 30, 31 Hungary
August 20, 21 Turkey
September 3, 4 Italy
September 10, 11 Belgium
September 24, 25 Bahrain

The proposed GP2 weekend format, subject to ratification by ASN / FIA, is:

Friday: Free Practice: 30 minutes, Qualifying: 30 minutes
Saturday: 2:30-3:30 local time, Race 1 (180 km/112 miles)
Sunday: 11:30-12:00 noon local time, Race 2 (80 km/50 miles)

The Race 1 grid will be decided by Friday qualifying. The Race 2 grid will be decided by the finishing order of Race 1, with the top eight positions reversed.

Car Specifications
• Carbon brake discs
• Carbon pads

• Dallara carbon fiber monocoque
• 585kg racing car, built to FIA F1 safety standards
• Ground effect

• 4.0 liter, 580bhp Renault V8
• Fly-by-wire throttle
• Rebuilt after 4000-4500km (2480-2790 miles)

• Six speed semi-automatic gearbox
• F1-style paddle shift gear selection

• Bridgestone Potenza
• Grooved, F1 specification

• 8 in 1 exhaust Compiled by Paul Josephson

Montoya likes new McLaren Montoya likes new McLarenJuan Pablo Montoya took over from McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen to get his first taste of the team’s new MP4-20. The Colombian was hampered by the low track temperatures in Spain, but still liked what he saw - and felt - from his new ride.  "Since seeing the MP4-20 for the first time on Monday I have been looking forward to getting my hands on it, so it was great to get behind the wheel today although our running has been affected by the cold weather," said JPM.   "I have been able to start to learn about the handling and feel of the car, which so far is positive, and I can't wait to put more miles on it later today and during tomorrow's session" - when McLaren will continue to test at the Circuit de Catalunya all by itself.
Coulthard fastest in Valencia Coulthard fastest in ValenciaValencia F1 testing times - Thursday:
1) David Coulthard (SCO/Red Bull-Cosworth/M), 1:09.175 (99 laps)
2) Antonio Pizzonia (BRA/Williams-BMW/M), 1:09.447 (97)
3) Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA/Red Bull-Cosworth/M), 1:10.224 (100)
4) Fernando Alonso (SPA/Renault/M), 1:10.398 (87)
5) Jarno Trulli (ITA/Toyota/M), 1:10.597 (111)
6) Takuma Sato (JAP/BAR-Honda/M), 1:11.140 (83)
7) Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA/Renault/M), 1:11.282 (91)
8) Olivier Panis (FRA/Toyota/M), 1:11.460 (85)
9) Jenson Button (ENG/BAR-Honda/M), 1:11.557 (68)
10) Andy Priaulx (ENG/Williams-BMW/M), 1:12.790 (64)
PanAm Series offer driver fund PanAm Series offer driver fundGelles Racing announces today that PanAm Racing 2000, the Formula Renault ladder series championship promoting FR2000 and V6 categories, is offering a driver fund up to $100,000 for drivers entering the series in 2005. In return, Gelles Racing will supply additional funding through its sponsors to any driver receiving part of this special fund and joining its team for the 2005 season. The series has announced its calendar for the coming season with events taking place in six countries across North, South and Central America.

"We are very happy that Renault Sport is getting involved with this kind of funding for 2005. We think the PanAm 2000 series will be the most competitive ladder series on our continent, says team owner Bob Gelles. Many drivers are attracted to both categories due to the enormous Prize Awards and we want to give the selected drivers an extra incentive to join our team. Just like we are doing in Formula BMW, we will match part or all of the Renault funding to those who will race with us."
NASCAR running TV ads in Mexico NASCAR running TV ads in MexicoNASCAR is investing in TV ads in Mexico to announce their first race in Mexico. They are mainly targeting sports viewers, especially during soccer matches. With soccer being the most watched sport in the country, it is the best way to target sports fans, and yesterday NASCAR had spots during the telecast of the preparation game that the Mexican National team had against the Swedish National team. The ads focused on NASCAR as the ultimate event, 43 cars battling each other. Cleverly they barely point out that it is the Busch series, but they do make a point of explaining the race counts for the 2005 championship title. If you remember Days of Thunder, you’ll get an idea of how the ad looks like, it’s full of rubbing and crashes. José de Jesús Arrambide reporting from Mexico
New team snares Rosberg for GP2 New team snares Rosberg for GP2GP2 newcomer ART Grand Prix has signed Nico Rosberg. The Finn, son of 1982 F1 world champion Keke Rosberg and a race winner in the F3 Euroseries over the past two years, will link up with the French team which formed his most formidable opposition in the junior series, whilst running as ASM, having previously tested with expected GP2 frontrunners BCN and Arden..

"I had made a list of four main drivers I wanted to see behind ART steering wheels, and we will have two of them, including Nico Rosberg, who fits perfectly in our team," MD Frédéric Vasseur confirmed, "He is fast, totally focused and does not suffer from down cycles. He is young, successful and with a bright future ahead of him.

"I believe Nico was one of the fastest drivers in the 2004 F3 Euroseries, which is, after F1, by far the most competitive single seater series. Looking at his performances over the past two years, he is without a doubt able to battle for victory in GP2, which is our well-known goal." After two years in F3, Rosberg has made no secret of his intention to step up a level in 2005, but his deal with ART still came as something of a surprise to onlookers.

"I am delighted to join the team, which I know very well as I raced against them last season in the F3 Euroseries," he said, "The team has always produced fantastic work with its drivers, and registered excellent results regardless of the competitiveness found in Euroseries and the lack of development opportunities in that championship."

Given the unknown quantity provided by the all-new GP2 series this year, the Finn, who races on a German license, is confident that he and ART can make an immediate impact. "GP2 is an unknown field for all, but I believe that we have a strong package and my goal will be to learn about the sport and be on the podium as often as possible," he insisted.

"We created the ART Grand Prix team with victorious ambitions, which can only be achieved with the help of the best in the field," the son of Ferrari team boss Jean Todt commented, "As his remarkable record proves, Nico Rosberg is without a doubt one of the most talented drivers of his generation, and he is therefore one of the few we definitely wanted on our team.

"As well as his driving skills, Nico is also an intelligent young man, focused and hard working and he has everything to be successful at the highest level in motor racing. Embarking on such an adventure with a driver like Nico is extremely motivating."

Rosberg's deal will allow the media to again get excited about the clash between the offspring of two world champions, as he joins Nelson Piquet Jr on the GP2 grid in 2005. The Brazilian moves up to the series with the Hitech Piquet squad, having clinched the British F3 title at the second attempt.
Toyota still behind Honda on ovals Toyota still behind Honda on ovalsHonda powered drivers claimed the top six times on the 1.5-mile Homestead oval at last week's IRL testing, and neither defending Homestead race winner Hornish, nor Castroneves felt they would be able to challenge for the win unless there was a drastic improvement before the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at the Florida track in early March. “The Marlboro car was good on the road course, but we still have a lot of work to do on the ovals,” said Castroneves, who was the fastest Toyota powered entry on the oval portion of the test, albeit in tenth place on the timesheets. “Hopefully when we return to Homestead in March, we'll be in as good a shape as we were at last year's race."
NASCAR signs deal with Nicorette NASCAR signs deal with NicoretteNicorette has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with NASCAR, as well as an associate sponsorship deal with Chip Ganassi Racing for the No. 41 Nextel Cup Dodge, driven by Casey Mears. Terms of the deals were not disclosed, “but are believed to exceed $3 million annually.” NASCAR also is “negotiating for a fitness sponsor”

Why NASCAR? Where there's smoke, Nicorette smells sponsorship fire.  NASCAR fans are 28% more likely to smoke than other adults, reports Simmons Market Research. They smoke 18% more cigarettes than other adults and are more likely to smoke than NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB fans, Simmons says.  Nicorette believes that many NASCAR fans would like help quitting.

"We understand that tobacco products created this arena — but the game has changed," says Steve Kapur, senior manager of promotional activities at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, maker of Nicorette gum, NicoDerm patches and Commit lozenges, which will jointly sponsor NASCAR. "This is a great audience for us."  "If NASCAR could enable a generation of smokers, maybe now it can enable a generation of non-smokers," says Paul Swangard, University of Oregon sports marketing professor. USA TODAY

Stewart not happy with the HANS Stewart not happy with the HANSTony Stewart said he is ''not comfortable'' wearing the HANS device, but has no choice. NASCAR made the head-and-neck support system mandatory this season. Stewart had been wearing the less-restrictive Hutchens device, but it's no longer allowed. Stewart initially balked at using even the Hutchens device, but was forced to do it two years ago when NASCAR ordered drivers to use either the Hutchens or the HANS. After further study NASCAR decided the HANS afforded greater protection and announced that starting with next month's Daytona 500 only the HANS can be used. Tennessean
Industry News
Britain offers sweetener for Rover China deal Britain offers sweetener for Rover China dealBritain had offered China's Shanghai Auto a 100 million pound (US$186.5 million) "sweetener" to seal a proposed carmaking venture with MG Rover, London-based newspaper The Times reported Wednesday.  The incentive was offered for the signing of an agreement between Rover and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., China's top carmaker, to ensure a deal did not collapse ahead of a British general election expected to be held in May, the newspaper said.

The British Government was worried that up to 60,000 jobs might be at risk if the agreement collapsed, it said.  Government money would take the form of development aid, The Times said.  Rover said this month that talks on forming a venture with Shanghai Auto were moving forward, but it did not give any timetable.  MG Rover has struggled to make money after Germany's BMW AG sold it to Phoenix Ventures Holding for just 10 pounds in 2000 after years of losses.    The proposed deal with Shanghai Auto aims to use a cash influx to help rejuvenate Rover's model range, while giving State-run Shanghai Auto a beachhead in Europe plus access to technology and expertise. Shenzhen Daily/Agencies

Montoya to take over testing duties Montoya to take over testing dutiesJuan Pablo Montoya will drive the MP4-20 for the first time Thursday at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.  Juan Pablo will take over testing duties from Kimi Raikkonen who has driven the team's 2005 challenger for the past three days at the Barcelona track.  Montoya will be joined at the test by Alex Wurz, who will be piloting the MP4-19B and takes over testing duties from Pedro de la Rosa. McLaren Mercedes
Quote of the Week Quote of the WeekRichard Petty was recently asked if he ever wishes he was still racing: “I sit there and watch these races and watch these guys run. I say I believe I think I could beat these guys. I ran against Pearson and Allison and Yarborough. Those were some tough guys. I look at these guys and they’re a different breed. I look at ‘em and I say, ‘I’d really like to be out there.’ About that time I look up and coming down pit road a couple of them are on the back of the wrecker. I say, ‘I’m glad I’m not out there.” Unfortunately, even if the King himself were driving, the Petty cars still wouldn't finish races - Doug B
Daytona and Charlotte early favorites for NASCAR Hall Daytona and Charlotte early favorites for NASCAR HallDaytona Beach has started lobbying for a plan that could lead to state lawmakers chipping in as much as $75 million to help woo a NASCAR hall of fame to Volusia County.  The plan, which Volusia lawmakers hope to pass during the spring legislative session, could be pivotal to Daytona's hopes of outbidding three other cities for the hall of fame. Backers of the project said they expect competing states, such as North Carolina, to offer extensive financial packages to try to lure the hall.  "If this doesn't pass, I'd say we're dead," said Sam Bell, a former Volusia County lawmaker who lobbies for Daytona Beach.  NASCAR sent letters early this month to Daytona Beach, Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta and Kansas City, Kan., inviting them to submit proposals for building and operating a racing hall of fame. Hoping to bolster tourism and economic development, Daytona Beach officials and local lawmakers immediately said they would try to put together an incentives package. Daytona Beach News-Journal

NASCAR has asked four cities to submit their proposals for a hall of fame.  Charlotte is an early favorite to land the facility, but it has competition in Atlanta; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Kansas City, Kan.  “Atlanta’s going to be the formidable competition, but this is where it started,” said Humpy Wheeler, the president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord. “This is where the peach basket was put up in 1949, right out on Little Rock Road near the airport.”  The proposals are due in May, and NASCAR is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.  “NASCAR was born here, it was built here, and its hall of fame belongs here,” said Mike Crum, the chief operating officer of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. “However, we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re willing to put together what will be a very competitive proposal to bring the facility to our city.”  An organizing committee, led by Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, will draft the proposal. News 14

Mosley's proposed changes are radical Mosley's proposed changes are radical FIA president Max Mosley sent all the F1 team owners a detailed agenda for scheduled talks this Friday to look at possible changes in F1 starting in 2008. He proposes some radical changes to cut costs that are sure to generate a lot of discussion  While he certainly does not expect all of these proposals to be adopted, it is a good starting point for the talks.  More.....
Latest F1 News in Brief Latest F1 News in Brief
GPWC win Japanese backing
Duo geared for nervy weekend
Salary and age cap for F1
da Matta 'better at racing'
Too chilly in Spain
Red Bull to restore F1 venue
Jordan-Dallara work together
Midland line-up taking shape
New Sauber 'not quick enough'
Full wind ahead at BAR
F1 urged to attend summit
Anderson to snub F1 pitwall
Tickets sales in Edmonton booming Tickets sales in Edmonton boomingUPDATE Only a few weeks ago Edmonton became the home of an annual Champ Car race, replacing the Molson Vancouver Indy. Yesterday, event general manager Greg Macdonald was able to reveal staggering numbers.  "It's absolutely exploded. We've expanded our corporate suite and grandstand projections three times.   We're up to 80 suites now and are only three or four away from being sold out at $40,000 a suite (=$3.2 million in suite sales alone). That's almost triple what Vancouver took in all year.  We're up to 48,000 in grandstand seats we've rented and are already over 30% sold out,'' he said of the three-day all-event passes.   We've sold more in seven weeks in Edmonton than they've sold in seven months in Toronto. And a lot of the real auto-racing fans have been waiting for that track map and seating manifest to see where they want to buy their tickets.''   That happens today at edmontonchampcar.com. The race, which is signed up for five years, goes July 15-17. Edmonton Sun 12/14/04 [Editor's Note: This Champ Car press release corresponds with the item we published two days ago] One of the cornerstones of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford is in the support it receives from the fans, business leaders and government officials at each stop it makes in Canada. More than 133,000 fans have come out to every one of the 37 Champ Car events ever held in Canada, so it would stand to reason that the newly-announced race to be held July 17 in Edmonton would be met with a good dose of enthusiasm.

But mere enthusiasm apparently does no justice to the response that the city of Edmonton and the province of Alberta have given to the inaugural Edmonton Grand Prix as ticket sales and business interest has exceeded all forecasts in the first weeks of availability. Event sales began less than one week ago and the phones have been ringing off the hook ever since the December 7 launch.

"The response has been absolutely beyond our wildest imagination," said Edmonton Grand Prix General Manager Greg MacDonald. "We had 40 suites forecast in our original budget but we will have 80 sold by next week. Ticket sales have been great and we haven't even started selling general admission passes yet. The three-day ticket packages have been flying out of here."

Race organizers will have grandstands to seat 48,000 fans erected around the City Center Airport layout. The track layout has been designed with those seats in mind, providing fans with the ability to see as much as 95 percent of the action at any time.

"Our Canadian markets have always been strong performers in terms of support for the Champ Car product. These early sales results in Edmonton however are nothing short of amazing and a credit to the promoter and the great City of Edmonton," said Executive Vice President of Development Joe Chrnelich. "This type of performance is also a great indication that Champ Car open wheel racing is on the move, has broadbase market appeal and is poised for business growth going into the 2005 season."

Forsythe: Whatever it takes to succeed Forsythe: Whatever it takes to succeedGerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven gave Ryan Hunter-Reay a personal services contract to keep him in the Champ Car series when the Florida-based driver was courted by Chip Ganassi's IRL team. Any type of overture from the IRL seems to get Forsythe's competitive juices running.  "I was not about to let (the Champ Car series) die and whatever it took I was prepared to do it," Forsythe said. "I was not about to let them beat CART. CART was the best racing in the world, but unfortunately we had the wrong people running it. People have tried to beat us down but we're still standing. Last year was very critical and it turned out about as good as it could. We're still re-building in 2005 but I feel like we've got some good things working." National Speed Sport News
Winds hamper Renault team Winds hamper Renault teamThe Mild Seven Renault F1 Team continued testing the new R25 at Valencia on Wednesday, with Fernando Alonso at the wheel for the second day in succession. Giancarlo Fisichella once again drove last year's R24, but both drivers' work was complicated by inconsistent conditions, with unusually cold temperatures and strong gusting winds.

Fernando Alonso completed little running during the morning, owing to electrical problems, but after they had been solved, he was able to begin putting mileage on the new car. The windy conditions made it impossible to make a reliable judgment on the car's handling, but the Spaniard reinforced his positive first impressions from Tuesday.

"Our program with the R25 was delayed by electrical problems this morning, but we prefer to be cautious and thorough at this early stage of running the car, and we took time to identify and solve the problems,” said Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk. “Fernando began running more normally at the end of the day, but conditions were not good at this time: I think all the teams struggled with the gusty winds today. We haven't begun working on set-up or performance runs yet, and those will be our aims for tomorrow."

Giancarlo Fisichella continued tire development in the R24, but the unpredictable weather conditions made it almost impossible to collect reliable data.

Industry News
Pine Run Motorsports Park Planned for Minnesota Pine Run Motorsports Park Planned for MinnesotaA motorsports facility with multiple racetracks is in the development stage in Pine County, Minn. The project, named Pine Run Motorsports Park, will offer a variety of racing, featuring a 3.9-mile road course, a quarter-mile championship drag strip, a go-cart track, a clubhouse with lounge, locker room and observation deck, and a “vehicle dynamics area.” Pine Run will also offer a number of spectator events involving sanctioned professional motorsports as well as other events such as snowmobile grass drags and snowcross races.

For day-to-day use, Pine Run will feature club racing where sports car owners can buy an annual membership and then race their car on designated days. It’s a concept that’s growing rapidly in other parts of the country because owners of high-performance sports cars want a safe facility on which to drive their cars fast.

The proposed track configuration is four tracks in one, with a tri-oval track (three turns and three straightaways) wrapped around two short road courses that can be connected to make one four-mile road course. A road course involves both right and left turns, unlike an oval track that features all left turns.

The vehicle dynamics area will be used for driving instruction, and to test vehicles in varying road conditions. It’s basically a large, open paved area used to train drivers in skid recovery, slalom, evasive and defensive driving, braking, etc.

Pine Run is being developed by Forest Lake-based JD Investments on a 500-acre parcel about 10 miles west of Pine City, Minn., near the town of Henriette. JD Investments is currently working with Pokegama Township and Pine County to acquire approval for the project.

“We’ve very excited to start working with local governments and neighbors to move our project forward,” said Jed Copham, JD Investments CEO. “As a recreation destination, we believe Pine Run will be a fantastic asset for Pine County as it brings business to this area, creates jobs and generates significant taxes for the county.

Those who use Pine Run are expected to come from the Twin Cities, Duluth and central Minnesota, Copham said. But the facility could host drivers and car clubs from throughout the country.

Newman turns 80, goes for record with Pixar Newman turns 80, goes for record with PixarUPDATE We also hear that McDonald's, Centrix Financial and ChevronTexaco will be associate sponsors on the Paul Newman, Cristiano da Matta and Sebastien Bourdais car in the Rolex 24. 01/26/05 At an age when most people think about slowing down, film legend Paul Newman, who celebrates his 80th birthday today (1/26), is set to put the pedal to the metal behind the wheel of a Disney and Pixar sponsored racecar on February 4th, and race for a new record at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, it was announced today.  The Academy Award(R)-winning actor, who voices the character of a 1951 Hudson Hornet named Doc Hudson in the summer 2006 computer-animated feature, "Cars" (a Disney presentation of a Pixar Film), already holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest driver to win a professionally sanctioned race in 1995 at Daytona.  Newman will be joined by Sebastien Bourdais (2004 Champ Car World Series Champion for Newman/Haas Racing); Cristiano da Matta (2002 Champ Car World Series Champion for Newman/Haas Racing); and Michael Brockman, Newman's co-driver when they won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 1995.
Commenting on the announcement, Newman said, "We all like to push the envelope.  I just hope the old bones can motor along Fed Ex and not Delayed Delivery.  Fortunately, I'll be with a champion bunch of shoes and good race car courtesy of John Lasseter of Pixar and Disney."

Pixar's John Lasseter, director of "Cars" and an Oscar(R)-winning director responsible for the "Toy Story" films and "A Bug's Life," added, "When Paul races next week at Daytona, I'll be there cheering him on along with a few others from the 'Cars' production team.  It's been a thrill working with him on our movie, and getting a chance to discuss our mutual love of cars. Moviegoers are going to love hearing Paul's amazing performance as Doc Hudson in 'Cars,' and we're really honored to have him in our cast."

Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, said, "This is the second year that Disney and Pixar are sponsoring Paul's car at Daytona, and we're proud to be associated with this great actor and car enthusiast.  'Cars' is shaping up to be another spectacular movie from John and the Pixar animation team, and a worthy successor to our Oscar(R) nominated hit, 'The Incredibles.' We'll be rooting for Paul to win at Daytona, and eager for audiences to hear his memorable performance in the film next summer."

"Cars," a Disney presentation of a Pixar Film, is scheduled to reach the starting line at theatres everywhere on June 9, 2006.  After taking moviegoers into the magic realm of toys, bugs, monsters, fish, and superheroes, the masterful storytellers and technical wizards at Pixar ("The Incredibles," "Finding Nemo," "Monsters, Inc."), and Academy Award(R)-winning director John Lasseter ("Toy Story," "Toy Story 2," "A Bug's Life"), hit the road with a fast-paced comedy adventure set inside the world of cars.  Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson), a hotshot rookie racecar driven to succeed, discovers that life is about the journey, not the finish line, when he finds himself unexpectedly detoured in the sleepy Route 66 town of Radiator Springs.  En route across the country to the big Piston Cup Championship in California to compete against two seasoned pros, McQueen gets to know the town's offbeat characters -- including Sally (a snazzy 2002 Porsche voiced by Bonnie Hunt), Doc Hudson (a 1951 Hudson Hornet with a mysterious past, voiced by Paul Newman), and Mater (a rusty but trusty tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) -- who help him realize that there are more important things than trophies, fame and sponsorship.  The all-star vocal cast also includes free-wheeling performances by racing legend Richard Petty and Cheech Marin. Fueled with plenty of humor, action, heartfelt drama, and amazing new technical feats, "Cars" is a high octane delight for moviegoers of all ages.
UPS expands relationship with ISC UPS expands relationship with ISCUPS today expanded its relationship with ISC by becoming a sponsor of California Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Richmond Int’l Raceway, as well as extending its sponsorship of Daytona Int’l Speedway. The company, whose relationship with DIS began in ’01, signed on with the tracks through '08. UPS also is the official delivery company of NASCAR and has been the primary sponsor of Robert Yates Racing’s No. 88 Nextel Cup Ford since ’01 UPS
Road Racing
The best of times The best of timesA reader writes, I have been giving some thought to the current condition of the sport of road racing in America. I am a staunch supporter of Champ Car. However it crossed my mind recently that road racing and racing in general in America has taken on a greater dynamic than it previously had in the past twenty years. With the advent of some of the current race series (i.e. IRL, Grand Am, ALMS, and Champ Car) I have come to believe that racing here is better than anywhere on the planet. Think about it, on any given weekend from spring to winter you can see some of the greatest names in racing competing here in the good old US of A. Some series have past champions of rival series, some have newcomers to the states that have been successful in other countries, some have homegrown talent and some have, let's say, very experienced drivers in the twilight of their careers. One thing they all have is fast cars, competitive racing that is fun to watch. In Europe, many racing series coexist without the animosity that exists here and they do not have the name driver we have. I believe that there is plenty of room for all to exist if the owners of the series, the media and the fans just stop beating the dead horse of the past. IF there is a country in the world that can support all these great series it's this one. If they have a solid business plan they will flourish, if not then the result is inevitable. One thing is for sure, there will be no shortage of good solid racing from February to November here in the USA. Thank God for that. Sam Mancuso, Florida. Dear Sam, The real issue is money. Racing is a very expensive sport and if there are too many series and not enough sponsors (good TV ratings bring sponsors) because the sport is so diluted, some series will not be sustainable and go bankrupt. The problem with road racing in America is NASCAR. It's so popular and gets such high TV ratings (all three divisions) that it draws a lot of sponsors away from road racing-based series. Mark C.
ACEMCO signs Kelleners for Sebring and LeMans ACEMCO signs Kelleners for Sebring and LeMansACEMCO Motorsports announced today that Ralf Kelleners will partner full time drivers Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem in their number 63/ACEMCO Motorsports/Saleen S7-R GT1 racer at Sebring and Le Mans.   Kelleners, from Düsseldorf, Germany, raced with Risi Ferrari in the American Le Mans Series GT category in 2003 and 2004.  “I am looking forward to driving in the GT1 class with the increased power and downforce it will give me a different perspective on Sebring.  I have raced with Terry a few times before, we won the SRP2 class at the Daytona 24 hour in 2002 and we raced the Ferrari 360 in Le Mans together in 2003.  I have raced with Johnny once before at Daytona in 2003 and we finished second overall and second in class.  We have always gotten along great and I think we will continue our chemistry this year.  I am looking forward to racing with the team and going up against the increased competition in GT1 at Sebring in March.”

“We have experience with Ralf at Le Mans in 2003, so he knows our drivers and how we do things,” said Jeff Giangrande, ACEMCO Motorsports team owner.  “Ralf has a long racing history in everything from a Group N to a Prototype car.  He is always fast and consistent; we are looking forward to his feedback and continuing our working relationship with him at Sebring and Le Mans.”

The team just completed a shake-down at Sebring on Monday after spending the winter months rebuilding the Saleen.  The team will stay in Florida to continue the development of the car at the ALMS Wheels Down test session starting on January 31st.

ACEMCO Motorsports has an extensive test calendar planned between now and the season opener March 19 at Sebring.  Sebring represents the toughest race on the American Le Mans Series schedule and is an excellent precursor to what the car and team will face at Le Mans in June.

USG partners with DeWalt Racing USG partners with DeWalt RacingUSG Corporation, a leading manufacturer of building materials, including the renowned Sheetrock Brand, announced that its 2005 NASCAR program will include a new partnership with DeWalt Racing, Roush Racing and champion driver Matt Kenseth. USG Sheetrock Brand will be a primary sponsor on Kenseth's #17 DeWalt Ford Taurus at three Nextel Cup races -- Feb. 27 at Fontana, Calif., Aug. 7 at Indianapolis and Oct. 30 at Atlanta. At all of the other 2005 Cup races, USG SHEETROCK will assume a major associate sponsorship role on the DeWalt Ford, owned by Roush Racing. USG will continue as a NASCAR promotional partner in 2005 with the "USG Improving The Finish" contingency award at each of the 36 Nextel Cup point races and as a sponsor of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The USG Improving The Finish award will pay $5,000 at each race to the driver who gains the most places from the opening green flag to the closing checkered flag. At the conclusion of the 2005 season, the driver who earns the most USG Improving The Finish points will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. USG will sponsor "USG Night at the Races" at 26 local tracks that are part of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. The events are intended to provide customers an opportunity to enjoy an evening of stock car racing. USG Corporation, based in Chicago, is a Fortune 500 company with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their key product groups: gypsum wallboard, joint compound and related gypsum products; cement board; gypsum fiber panels; ceiling panels and grid; and building products distribution. For more information about USG Corporation, visit the USG home page at www.usg.com Roush Racing PR
Heidfeld’s turn at the top Heidfeld’s turn at the topAfter his teammate Antonio Pizzonia led the way on the opening day of play at Valencia yesterday, today was Nick Heidfeld’s turn to lead the way, the German driver finishing a mere fraction of a second ahead of his Brazilian colleague. Third up was Giancarlo Fisichella in last year’s Renault R4 with teammate Fernando Alonso finishing in ninth overall in the new R5. The Spaniard once again encountered problems, this time with the electrics, however like yesterday the wind factor didn’t help his progress.
1. N. Heidfeld - Williams - 1:10.231 - 109 laps
2. A. Pizzonia - Williams - 1:10.364 - 97 laps
3. G. Fisichella - Renault - 1:11.124 - 83 laps
4. D. Coulthard - Red Bull Racing - 1:11.495 - 69 laps
5. C. Klien - Red Bull Racing - 1:11.854 - 56 laps
6. A. Davidson - BAR - 1:11.944 - 104 laps
7. R. Zonta - Toyota - 1:11.966 - 75 laps
8. V. Liuzzi - Red Bull Racing - 1:12.090 - 56 laps
9. F. Alonso - Renault - 1:12.098 - 29 laps
10. T. Sato - BAR - 1:12.602 - 109 laps
11. O. Panis - Toyota - 1:12.803 - 78 laps
Three cars to run Mobil schemes in Vegas Three cars to run Mobil schemes in VegasNASCAR sponsor ExxonMobil is partnering with Penske Racing South to help every-day drivers improve their cars' performance. As part of the initiative, all three of Penske Racing South's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will race cars promoting the new line of Mobil high-endurance motor oils -- which guarantee engine protection for longer intervals -- during the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 13 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. #12-Ryan Newman will run the Mobil 1 Extended Performance car in Vegas, with teammate #2-Rusty Wallace behind the wheel of the Mobil Clean 7500 car and NASCAR Rookie-of-the-Year candidate #77-Travis Kvapil driving the Mobil Clean 5000 car. Specially formulated for today's longer oil change intervals, Mobil Clean 5000, Mobil Clean 7500 and Mobil 1 Extended Performance were created to help alleviate consumer confusion about when to change their oil. The complete line of Mobil high-endurance oils guarantees performance and long-lasting protection of critical engine parts for 5,000, 7,500, or 15,000 miles, respectively. Special advertising for the new line of products will make its debut on Sunday, Feb. 20, during the Daytona 500. For more information about this new line of Mobil products, go to www.mobiloil.com
Hornish helps with tsunami relief effort Hornish helps with tsunami relief effortSam Hornish Jr. was in his hometown of Defiance, OH on Monday providing support for the Tsunami relief effort.  The two-time IndyCar Series Champion was at a local coffee house, Cabin Fever, signing autographs for donations to help aid the victims.  Patrons of Cabin Fever were asked to give a $5 donation for each item Hornish Jr. signed and all proceeds went directly to relief funds. 

In addition, Cabin Fever is donating every cent earned on coffee, cappuccino, and lattes sold during Monday’s business hours to the effort as well.  “We’re very impressed with Sam,” said Cabin Fever owner Lisa Spyker.  “We just can’t believe that he was so willing to help us with our relief fundraiser.  He and his family have been so wonderful to work with, we’re just so happy he was committed to helping the Tsunami victims.  We expect a line of ‘Sam Fans’ out the door and around the corner today!”

Industry News
Penske in the news Penske in the newsWith 249 major race wins under his belt, Roger Penske certainly needs more than just a trophy case to house his motorsports memories.  In order to accommodate more than 37 years of racing history, Penske Restoration was established in Auburn Hills, MI.  The 35,000 square foot facility is the site where each of Penske Racing’s cars is restored to running condition.  It also houses Penske’s personal car collection (including a 2000 Ferrari 360 Modena, a Lamborghini 147 Murcielago, a 1995 Ferrari F50, a 2003 Ferrari Enzo, a 2005 Ford GT40 and a 1955 Gull Wing Mercedes 300SL); the pace cars from his Indianapolis 500 wins; and the complete archives of Penske Racing.

Penske Restoration opened its doors to a news publication for the first time when it allowed ESPN - The Magazine “Total Access” to the facility.  The resulting two-page photo spread can be found in the current issue of the magazine available on newsstands today.

Chex to sponsor Most Popular Driver Award in 2005 Chex to sponsor Most Popular Driver Award in 2005Chex cereal will begin sponsoring the NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award for the Nextel Cup Series beginning this season. The award is administered by the National Motorsports Press Association. Voting for the more than 40 drivers eligible for the only fan-based award in motorsports begins Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com and continues through 11:59am/ct, Monday, Nov. 21. Fans may vote once each day at the site. The Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award has been sponsored by General Mills since the start of the 2002 season. In that time period, more than 9.3 million votes have been cast. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won the award the past two years. The Most Popular Driver Award dates back to 1956, making it one of the oldest and most traditional awards in NASCAR racing. It began as a simple poll of the drivers and later grew to incorporate all NASCAR Nextel Cup competitors. Later, it included all NASCAR members. Today, it is a prestigious award voted on by racing fans throughout the world. Through the years, voters’ choices have ranged from the obvious to the surprising. Bill Elliott’s 16 most popular wins tops all drivers. He is followed by Richard Petty, who has won nine times. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win last year made him the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win the award in consecutive seasons, while his win in 2003 made him and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, the only father-son combination to have won. Other past winners have included such notables as Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. Williams Company Site
News coming on the All-Star Race News coming on the All-Star RaceLowe’s Motor Speedway President Humpy Wheeler said to expect some announcements in the next couple of weeks about the annual NASCAR Nextel All-Star race, held each May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Although he offered no details, Wheeler said the city of Charlotte and Cabarrus (N.C.) County both have made major commitments to the continued success of the race.
Summary of Max Mosley cost-cutting proposals Summary of Max Mosley cost-cutting proposalsMax Mosley has sent teams a list of proposals to reduce the costs of F1.
  • Among the more radical suggestions are a driver salary cap and age limit – along with a single tire manufacturer and two-day race meetings.
  • He added: "It is certainly possible to reduce costs drastically without altering the look, sound or technical appeal of Formula 1.
  • "Increased income combined with very significant cost reductions will make all properly-managed Formula 1 teams profitable. This will preserve what we have and enable new teams to enter and compete with the best."
  • As well as a driver salary cap, it has been suggested that an age limit be imposed on teams’ second drivers.
  • A single tire manufacturer is also on the agenda, a move that could also see the return of slicks and a ban on tire warmers.
  • More standard or long-life components could be introduced, while aerodynamic regulations could be changed to cut downforce levels by 90 per cent.
  • The FIA might also be persuaded to keep the regulations stable long-term: this is because any rule change naturally increases teams’ development costs.
  • Other suggestions would see testing restricted, spare cars banned and race weekends cut to two days.
NASCAR Nation to debut NASCAR Nation to debutSPEED Channel's much-anticipated new show, NASCAR Nation, will make its debut on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Airing each week of the race season, Monday through Thursday, NASCAR Nation will be the signature show for SPEED's NASCAR TV block of programming, concentrating heavily on features and all-access content.

"Much of what SPEED Channel has done with NASCAR since re-launching the network in 2002 has been about the racing and what's going on at the track," said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore. "We are proud of the way the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series audience has grown since moving to SPEED, and with the successful development of programming from our traveling SPEED Stage. SPEED Channel felt like 2005 was the appropriate time to step up and develop a signature NASCAR program. NASCAR Nation will be that program."

"NASCAR has always tried to find ways to bring our fans as close as possible to the sport's athletes and the competition on the race track," said Mike Helton, President of NASCAR.  "We are pleased to see NASCAR Nation on SPEED Channel making our sport even more accessible to fans."

"NASCAR Nation is the definitive all-access show for NASCAR fans," said Jeffrey Pollack, Managing Director, Broadcasting and New Media, NASCAR Digital Entertainment.  "It's fun, fast-paced and takes viewers behind-the-scenes like never before.  NASCAR is a lifestyle for millions of people coast-to-coast, and this show has been designed just for them by SPEED Channel, NASCAR Images, and NASCAR Digital Entertainment."

On-air talent for NASCAR Nation will include Ralph Sheheen and Courtney George in the lead anchor positions, Krista Voda as Senior Correspondent, Connie LeGrand at the News Desk, Michelle Fizer and John Willenborg as field reporters and NASCAR.com's Marty Smith on the business of NASCAR.

Rick Miner, SPEED Channel SVP Programming/Production and Executive Producer, has been supervising the development of NASCAR Nation. Having introduced successful shows including Trackside and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Miner feels the new SPEED show will have a feel all its own.

"NASCAR Nation will provide a unique opportunity for the fans to be immersed in the NASCAR lifestyle," Miner said. "Whether it's taking them behind the scenes at the track or into the lives and lifestyles of personalities from all over the world of NASCAR, NASCAR Nation is going to deliver access never before seen by the fans of the sport."

Although Sheheen, Voda and Smith have all spent extensive time in the world of NASCAR, several of the NASCAR Nation faces will be new to the sport.

Viewers may recognize Willenborg, a cast member on last season's reality television hit, The Apprentice, and -- believe it or not -- a former SPEED Channel intern.

"I am tremendously excited to be a part of NASCAR Nation," Willenborg said. "I have been a race fan my entire life and now to get a chance to work on this show is a dream come true. I know that there will be many challenges as a newcomer to the industry but I am confident that my drive and passion for the sport of racing will make it successful. NASCAR is one of the most complex and exciting sports today and I can't wait to bring a new and unique perspective to the fans."

"I'm looking forward to giving NASCAR fans a new and refreshing look at the sport they love, and I love," said George, who comes from a sports anchor/director position in Florida. "NASCAR is a popular sport with many interesting people involved.  Whether it's a driver, crew member or owner the stories and events that take place all season long will give viewers a new perspective on the sport and the teams they follow.  I hope the show will allow fans to feel closer to the sport and the people involved, give them a real sense of involvement and appreciation for everything that is NASCAR."

Sponsor back with Carl Edwards Sponsor back with Carl EdwardsRoush Racing announced today that The Scotts Company will sponsor Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford Taurus in 2005.  The Scotts Company sponsored the No. 99 Ford for a total of six races in 2004.  Scotts has decided to return as a primary sponsor on the No. 99 Ford in 2005 for a minimum of nine races and will be carried as an associate sponsor for the remaining races.  "This is awesome," said Edwards.  "The Scotts Company had success with their racing program last year and I'm proud to help them continue their momentum into the 2005 season.  Together, Scotts, Roush Racing and the No. 99 team will make sure that NASCAR fans have the best looking lawns and gardens across the country."

Eugene Sung, Senior Vice President and General Manager at The Scotts Company echoed Edwards' excitement.  "Scotts is very excited to partner with a world-class team like Roush Racing."  Sung continued, "We look forward to winning in lawn and garden on and off the track this season.  Many NASCAR fans love our products and we understand how important brand loyalty is in this sport."

The Scotts Company is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the Twin 150's in Daytona, the first Atlanta, Martinsville, Texas, Talladega and Richmond races, and all three races at Lowe's Motor Speedway including the All-Star event in May.  The Scotts Company will also feature their leading brands Miracle-Gro, Ortho and Roundup in their paint schemes during the year.    This is a partnership that car owner Jack Roush is also excited to be a part of. "We are really happy to have Scotts back as a member of the No. 99 team in 2005," said Roush.  "Scotts is a great partner to work with.  We've had a great relationship with them and we look forward to building on that in 2005 and beyond."

Jim Hagedorn, CEO, of The Scotts Company, also offered his thoughts, "The Scotts Company is the leader in lawn and garden and Roush Racing has produced the previous two NASCAR Nextel Cup Champions, I look forward to what our winning organizations can accomplish together, " he said.

Edwards will make his 14th start as a NEXTEL Cup driver at the Twin 150's in February and he's hoping to continue his momentum from last year over into this year.  With one top-five and five top-10 finishes in 2004, Edwards was arguably one of the hottest competitors on the circuit at the end of the season.  With crew chief Bob Osborne by his side, Edwards hopes to rake in some wins and be in contention for the championship at the end of 26 races in 2005.

Panis calls on Ecclestone for help Panis calls on Ecclestone for helpOlivier Panis has called on Bernie Ecclestone to help bring a French driver into grand prix racing. Following Panis’s retirement from racing at the end of last year, 2005 will be the first season without a French driver in F1 for more than 30 years. “It’s a sad situation but it’s a very complicated problem,” he said. “Bernie should work with the French federation to help get a driver in F1.” Panis reckons that Renault tester Franck Montagny is the most obvious candidate to take over his mantle as France’s F1 representative. He added that he would be prepared to offer his experience to help young French drivers into the sport. Autosport Magazine
Fisher to run NASCAR West full time Fisher to run NASCAR West full timeSarah Fisher is putting her Indy Racing League career on hold to go stock-car racing.  NASCAR car owner Richard Childress announced Tuesday that he has hired Fisher to drive the full 11-race season in the West Series, a regional NASCAR division. She'll drive for Bill McAnally Racing with Childress' backing as part of NASCAR's diversity program.  Childress said Fisher also will be entered in two Busch Series races later this season.  Asked if her Indy-car career is over, Fisher said: "I'm not ready to say that yet. I prefer to say my stock-car career is beginning."  Fisher has run in four Indianapolis 500s and has been voted three times by fans as the most popular driver in the IRL.  In October, Fisher ran in a West Series race in Phoenix, finishing 21st. Indy Star
Champ Car bolsters support in Cleveland Champ Car bolsters support in ClevelandChamp Car Grand Prix of Cleveland continues to entrench itself into Cleveland's sports scene. Tuesday it announced a new move to Playhouse Square and a partnership with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and the United Way.

Champ Car has moved its offices into the United Way Building in Playhouse Square, 1331 Euclid Ave., and announced the United Way will serve as the official charity partner for the 24th GPC, set for June 24-26 at Burke Lakefront Airport. The Grand Prix will help raise funds for the national organization. In turn, the two will join forces in sales and marketing for the race.

The partnership with the sports commission seems to be a perfect match as the race generates a boost in downtown business with more than 55 percent of its ticket buyers coming from out of town, which is a key part of the commission's focus. At the same time, GPC officials would like to generate more local attendance, and being aligned with the Sports Commission can help.

"Our biggest growth area is right here in Northeast Ohio," said Rena Shanaman, Grand Prix general manager. "Over half of our fans come from 150 miles away or more, which is great for our downtown businesses. But it also shows we can do even better by getting more local involvement."

The big plus this year is all race events will be televised live from Burke, including the feature race, which returns to network television (CBS).

"The Grand Prix is not just a great sporting event, but it represents a significant amount of economic impact and national exposure for our community," said Dave Gilbert, president and CEO for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.   Other changes this year include new ticket plans and a new midway layout. For information, call 216-619-7223. Cleveland Plain Dealer

The IRL 10-years on The IRL 10-years onIndyCar Series Accelerates Into 10th Season Of Racing: 2005 marks the 10th season of racing for the IndyCar Series, which held its first race on Jan. 27, 1996. The following is the first in a monthly series focusing on the IndyCar Series 10th anniversary. More.....
The Cosworth XFE The Cosworth XFE[Editor's Note:  A bit dated, but this article explains some of the things Cosworth did to create the current XFE engine.]  With the recent exodus of Toyota and Honda, the Champ Car World Series, under the Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. (CART) organization, was ripe for change. Enter Ford Motor Co. and Cosworth Racing Inc. Ford and CART entered into a two-year relationship, renaming the Series "Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford." Cosworth Racing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford, is the sole supplier of engines for the Series, presenting a detuned version of the tried-and-true XF engine, now called the XFE.

The XFE engine is the fourth evolution of Cosworth's X Series Champ Car engines. The XFE is a 2.65-liter turbocharged V8 that provides 750 hp at 12,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 400 lb-ft. The top speed for Champ cars is over 230 mph.  More at Machine Design......

Worried about Champ Car Worried about Champ CarA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I was looking at your 2005 Champ Car Silly Season page and I realized that many teams do not have their drivers signed for 2005. I even hear rumors Dominguez could leave for F1 now. The race schedule is still listed as tentative with a measly 14 races and most teams don't have sponsors so they are looking for ride-buyers to survive. What about Ford? They have not re-signed and next week is February. It would appear to me that they are gone. It appears to me that while Kevin and Gerald were off buying Cosworth Champ Car's ship was taking on water fast and might sink. Joe Pannicone, Brooklyn, NY Dear Joe, The only thing we can say is Champ Car is lucky their season gets started so late (April 10th in Long Beach). They will need all the time they can get given how many things are still up in the air. However, we expect to see most teams set by the middle to end of February because Champ Car's Spring Training/Media event is coming up and blank sidepods don't look so good in the annual Media Guide. How much OWRS is going to have to fork out to prop up teams that can't get sponsors remains to be seen, but last year's horrible domestic and international TV package has come back to haunt the entire organization this year, especially the teams who are finding sponsors hard to come by. The 2005 TV package is much better so if they get through 2005, 2006 should be a lot better. There are some other good news items on the horizon - see our recent article 2005 is a foundation laying year for Champ Car. Mark C.
Today it’s the GPWC’s turn Today it’s the GPWC’s turnThe members of the Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) will meet today to discuss their reaction to the recent announcement that the FIA, Ferrari and Formula One Management have agreed terms for a new "Concorde Agreement" that will run from 2008 to 2012. The existing Concorde Agreement includes all the teams, the FIA and FOM and so to label the deal a new version of this is not entirely correct.

The GPWC members (and one presumes that a Ferrari representative will turn up, if only to resign) are expected to discuss what they want to do after the current comes to an end in December 2007. They are expected to discuss ways in which the GPWC want the rules of F1 to be and how to ensure that spending does not drive the small teams out of business. This will obviously mean some system of assistance to those with less money than the big players.  This discussion is not that different from discussions which have been going on in recent years within F1 which have led to the provision of a cheap supply of engines this year to the Jordan team. If the GPWC can solve this problem without breaking up the unity of the teams, then it will have won a major victory over the system that currently operates.

The catchword in F1 team circles at the moment is "unity" because the teams know that if they start to disagree with one another they are lost when taking on the combined might of FOM, Ferrari and the FIA. If they stick together, however, they believe that the trio will have to come back to the negotiating table - which seems to be a fairly sound strategy. For years the teams have been divided and conquered but now it seems they are not going to let that happen. Grandprix.com

Ron Dennis on the new McLaren Ron Dennis on the new McLarenAfter a rather disappointing 2004 season, McLaren Mercedes' Team Principal Ron Dennis is looking forward to better results in 2005. He talks about the new MP4-20, the car he hopes will bring success to his team.

How has the first test of the MP4-20 been progressing so far?
“It is very early days, however we had no real problems yesterday [Monday] in the initial running. The fact the Barcelona circuit has been resurfaced recently is causing any team that comes here some difficulties, because it is more difficult to determine the pace. This week has been more difficult because the circuit was heavily wetted for wet testing last week and it was quite dirty yesterday. However we are going through all the checks that you would make with a new car. Testing in earnest won’t really start until next week, as most of this week will be spent conducting systematic evaluation.”

What difference have the changes in regulation made to the new car?
“Well the aero regulations took in around 30 per cent of the downforce of the cars and it is clearly every team’s ambition to recover as much as possible. We know where we are and we hope we have done a very good in recovering the lost downforce.”

Has moving into the McLaren Technology Centre made a difference to how the team has worked together in designing and building the new car?
“The simple answer is yes, the more complex answer is that this is the first real car that has had the full benefit of the resource we have built at the McLaren Technology Centre. It is not only a mechanical resource, but also how the engineers, aerodynamics etc have worked together and functioned as a Group. I think we have hopefully made a better racing car. “ McLaren Mercedes

An interview with Juan Montoya An interview with Juan MontoyaJuan Pablo Montoya made an important move in his career by joining McLaren Mercedes in 2005. The Colombian gives his first impressions about his new team.

How do you feel testing has gone so far?
“Everyone has been good to me. I have been working with Phil Prew, who is my race engineer for this season and he is really good, we get on really well. We can understand each other which is a very positive thing. It will be interesting to see how we all work in a racing environment, because in testing we have plenty of time, whereas on a race weekend, you come in to the garage, you make changes and you go back out again. But I think we have built up a strong base and that will make it easier when the pressure of racing comes.”

How are you getting on with Kimi?
“We get on well and we need to concentrate on working together to make sure we get the best out of the car. I think we will be team mates when we are working together on the car in testing, and then competitors when we are out on the racetrack. But that is a pretty normal situation.”

How have you found working with Team McLaren Mercedes so far?
“From my point of view as a driver, the main benefit is that they have a full time trainer working with me, going everywhere I go and looking after me all the time. But that is nice. In addition, the McLaren Technology Centre is incredible and the facilities the team has are great. I am really pleased to be working for the team to be honest.”

Do you feel ‘at home’ yet?
“I do feel at home here now. I come here to the test in Barcelona and can chat with everyone. With everyone in the test team I get on well now. The first time you come into a new team you don’t know exactly where you stand and what you should do, but people made me feel welcome from day one and it has made life a lot easier.”

You are going to be a Father soon. How do you feel about that?
“It is weird because you see Connie with a big belly! The baby kicks around a lot and it is hard to imagine it is your baby inside. When the baby comes, hopefully it is going to be great. At the moment, we think we are going to call him Sebastien. Why? Well why not!”  McLaren Mercedes
Interview with Kimi Raikkonen Interview with Kimi RaikkonenKimi Raikkonen had the opportunity to sample the McLaren MP4-20 in Barcelona and gave his first impressions after driving the new car.

How do you feel that the new car, MP4-20 has been progressing during its first test?
“It is still quite early to say, but I am happy with the car. We have made a few changes to it during the test so far, and the lap times are getting better, so I am happy."

What areas do you concentrate on when you are testing a new car?
“We always try to spend the first two, three days with the new car getting rid of any small problems, and then spend the rest of the time working on making the car fast. It is quite difficult here in Barcelona though because they have resurfaced the track, and it is quite slippery, but the first feeling is not bad.”

What difference will the new regulations make to you when driving the car?
“I don’t think there will be many differences with the new regulations. We may be a bit slower than last year, but every year the regulations try to slow us down. However the team is always finding something new, but it is difficult to tell here at the moment, because the surface is so slippery.”

Will you have to adapt your driving style to the new car?
“It might help in some races to change driving style, but we will have to see what happens in the first three races.”

How is Juan Pablo getting on in the team and how do you get on with him?
“He is doing fine. I have only done one test with him so far, but I think we will get on well this season. We will have to see which one of us is quicker but I think it will be a good fight between us."  McLaren Mercedes
Interview with Jacques Villeneuve Interview with Jacques VilleneuveJacques Villeneuve is the focus of much Formula One talk. Since he announced last September that he would be driving for Sauber Petronas from the new season on, heated debates about the Swiss team's chances in 2005 have continued ceaselessly.

In an interview made by Sauber's main sponsor Credit Suisse, the former world champion takes stock of his first few weeks with his new employer.

Your first impression of the Sauber team was apparently very positive. Has this impression been confirmed since?
Looking back on the first few tests at the end of the year, I am really enthusiastic because the team is working very well and everything functioned perfectly from the start. The good lap times are proof of this. Interaction with the engineers is excellent. There are hardly any problems of mentality, since I have spent a large part of my life in Switzerland.

What features of your new team strike you most?
The respect I get from all sides, including the boss, Peter Sauber. And I really get the feeling that everybody out there is truly enjoying their work.

Has Jacques Villeneuve the rebel become somewhat calmer in his one year of enforced absence?
Well, I've never really seen myself as a rebel. A rebel for me is someone who wants to be different in every aspect from what society expects. But I just want to be myself. If my ideas run contrary to those of the establishment, I'm not afraid to speak my mind. But when I agree with the decisions taken, I keep my mouth shut.

You were very keen to get back into Formula One. Is car racing an addiction?
Not necessarily. I can get my adrenalin up at ski races or hockey games, too. Nevertheless, it's the profession I've been practicing for many years – and not too badly, I believe. I simply don't feel ready to stop yet.

There's an impatient Felipe Massa waiting at Sauber to prove that he can drive faster than a former world champion. Are you set for some tough internal competition?
Team-mates are always rivals to a certain extent. Maybe even more so in teams competing for the world championship title than at Sauber Petronas. The important thing is that the rivalry does not become all- consuming. I've experienced more than once in the course of my career how much energy unnecessary feuding can cost. Such energy is better spent in getting the team ahead.

At Suzuka, in the second last Grand Prix of last season, your present team colleague overtook you twice...
...As far as I remember, he only overtook me once. But perhaps he was so fast that I didn't even see him the second time (laughs). Compared to his debut two years ago, he has made major improvements in his driving. He is very fast and very strong in one-to-one situations.

For seven years now, you've been waiting for a Grand Prix victory. Do you think this wait will come to an end in the new season?
I've no idea. A lot depends on the new car. There's not much I can say on its potential until after the first few tests. But I'm convinced we will achieve some good results.

Do you think the Sauber team is capable of beating one of the top five teams?
In the past year, the team kept getting better as the season progressed. If this continues into the coming season, we could easily notch up some stunning results. Luckily, there's less pressure on us than on teams that already have several world championship titles under their belts.

You drove the last three races of 2004 for Renault without collecting a single point. Was driving for them a mistake?
If you just look at it in terms of points, it was. But you need to put the whole thing into context. I only had two test days to get used to the changed Formula One conditions. The Renault engineers, for example, were very satisfied with the job I did, because I was able to give them some valuable feedback on the fine-tuning of the car. And last but not least, the team benefited from the impressive media coverage. Credit Suisse
Childress pinning hopes on Burton Childress pinning hopes on BurtonJeff Burton moves from the former no.30 car into the no. 31 Cingular Chevrolet, replacing Robby Gordon. Burton spent the last 8 ½ seasons with Roush Racing before departing in August after failing to find sponsorship for his Roush team.

“I can tell you from the short amount of time I’ve been with this team, there’s been a tremendous amount of effort to get this team back to the top,” Burton said. “There’s a lot of optimism around the shop right now. Kevin and Dave and I, we all seem to be real open minded about helping each other, and I think that’s going to help us tremendously.”

Childress hopes Burton’s experience in his 11 years in NASCAR will help bring a stability that was lacking with Childress’ previous mix of drivers.

“We just want to get RCR back on track,” Childress said. “We brought in Jeff Burton and he’s going to bring a lot to the table as far as consistently. He knows cars, he knows chassis, he knows a lot about what it takes to be consistent and to win, so I think he’s going to be a huge plus for us.  This group of guys are committed to win, and that’s what we’ve got to have." Pete McCole

Busy off-season for Evernham Motorsports Busy off-season for Evernham MotorsportsIt has been a busy off-season as well for Evernham Motorsports, which spearheaded the development of Dodge’s new entry in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series – the Dodge Charger – which made its on-track debut during January’s testing sessions at Daytona International Speedway.

“The car was done here in conjunction with the folks from Dodge, and my engineering staff with Dr. Eric Warren and his group,” said Evernham. “They worked with Dodge and built all the cars here at the Dodge Research and Development Center that we have in-house here, so the cars were basically developed and built here. Petty Enterprises were part of the development process. The other Dodge teams were invited to be part of it, but the Petty group was really a big part of it.”

“Going out with the Charger I hope will be a benefit, it looks like it’s going to be a good race car. We’ve been really weak on the speedways, and we hope that’s where the Charger is going to help us. With the new spoiler rules I think it’s going to be a learning curve for everyone, not just the Dodge teams.

“The Charger is just something we have to get used to, but we’ve done that before. We have not gone through a year yet (at Evernham) that we have not had to re-body everything we had. It’s just something we have to get used to.” Pete McCole

Kahne after first win in ’05 Kahne after first win in ’05Kasey Kahne made a major impact in his rookie season in NNC, coming within inches of grabbing his first victory in just the second race of the season. Although he took home the 2004 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award, he still couldn’t put one in the “win” column, making it the first time since 1998 that a rookie hasn’t made it to victory lane.

“I really want that first win,” said Kahne. “I’m excited about the (2005) season, I think we have a lot we learned from last year. I think we have some really good people here, a lot of good things going on to help us this season.

“Our expectations are definitely higher than last year, we need to run more consistent, get more top tens, win races and get in that top-10, that’s the expectations” Pete McCole

Joe Gibbs slow to add 3rd car Joe Gibbs slow to add 3rd carAmong the changes at Joe Gibbs Racing is the expansion to three teams in 2005, adding driver Jason Leffler in the no. 11 Chevy with sponsorship from Federal Express.

“Looking at how we put our team together, we’re probably a little slow to go to two teams as we did years ago,” said J.D. Gibbs. “We’re probably a little slow to go to three teams, but I think what we did was take our time, and really wanted to make sure it was a great fit and have all the crew chiefs and drivers sign off on it and I think everyone unanimously chose Jason and (crew chief) Dave (Rogers) to head that project up.”

Leffler previously drove for Gibbs in the Busch Series in 1999, but parted company with JGR and raced full-time for Chip Ganassi in the Cup Series. Leffler struggled in his rookie season in the Cup Series and was released at the end of the year. He spent last season in the Busch Series driving for Haas CNC Racing. 

Leffler now feels JGR is a much better fit, plus the added advantage of having two previous series champions as teammates.  “I think this is definitely a better situation for me,” Leffler said of his previous Cup experience. “At the time I wasn’t ready to go Cup racing, and Ganassi wasn’t ready to have a rookie driver.

“My goal is to run up front. Your run up front, you win races, you win races, the points will take care of themselves. We have all the resources in the world here at Joe Gibbs Racing, we have a great sponsor, so there’s no reason we won’t compete for a win. It may take us awhile for the team to gel, but I think realistically we have a shot to win race and to run up front every week. That’s all you can ask for.” Pete McCole

NetZero and Best Buy to sponsor Cup car NetZero and Best Buy to sponsor Cup carUPDATE We have added photos below by AutoRacing1's Pete McCole who was on-site reporting this event. 01/25/05 NetZero, a leading Internet Service Provider that offers high-quality, easy-to-use, free and value-priced Internet service to millions of people nationwide, and Best Buy Co., Inc., North America's leading retailer of consumer electronics, will head into the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season together as co-sponsors of the #0 NetZero Best Buy Chevrolet. Former Craftsman Truck Series Champion Mike Bliss will pilot the NetZero Best Buy Racing Chevrolet for Haas CNC Racing team owner Gene Haas.


"Many of our customers and store associates are among the 75 million people who have declared NASCAR one of their favorite sports," said Michael Linton, chief marketing officer at Best Buy.   "Our co-sponsorship with NetZero appeals to race fan interests with countless racing thrills on the track and then transports the excitement of NASCAR back into our own stores." 

"We are very excited to be partnering with Best Buy on the 2005 NetZero Best Buy Race team," said Barbara Palmer, senior vice president marketing at NetZero. "Our ongoing relationship with Best Buy makes it easy for consumers to sign-up for our value-priced NetZero Internet services right in their local Best Buy store through Best Buy's knowledgeable sales associates.  We believe this co-sponsorship provides what we have not had in past NASCAR seasons:  a physical location where consumers can meet and interact with our team, driver and race car - and sign up for our service at the same time."

The 2005 #0 NetZero Best Buy Chevrolet will mark the third season that NetZero has teamed up with Haas CNC Racing in the NEXTEL Cup Series and its fifth season of participation in NASCAR. The addition of Best Buy underlines the team's continued commitment to the sport and Gene Haas' desire to align his race team with the top companies in their respective industries. Haas also maintains his relationship with Hendrick Motorsports in an effort to supply Hendrick engines and support to the NetZero Best Buy Racing Chevrolet.

"We can't help but be excited about this new season," stated team owner Gene Haas. "The enthusiasm that NetZero and Best Buy bring to the sport can be felt by everyone involved with this team and will soon be felt by everyone involved in racing. We'll work hard this year to make sure that we take them to the level they deserve. It's a good feeling to be working with two companies that have proven themselves to be industry leaders, and we look forward to doing a bit of leading ourselves this year."

80 reasons why women love PLN 80 reasons why women love PLNUPDATE A reminder today is Champ Car owner Paul Newman's 80th birthday. 01/23/05 Hard to believe, but acting legend Paul Newman turns 80 on Wednesday. To honor this milestone birthday, the Toronto Star offers an equal number of reasons why the octogenarian is still sexy. More......
Jeff Gordon to Co-Host Regis and Kelly Jeff Gordon to Co-Host Regis and KellyUPDATE A reminder that this is today. 01/18/05 Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, is scheduled to co-host with Kelly Ripa on the popular daytime talk show "Live with Regis and Kelly" on January 26 - 27. Although the four-time NASCAR Cup champion has co-hosted the show five times, this will mark the first time he has co-hosted on consecutive days. Following the show on January 27, Gordon will fly to Concord, N.C., to participate in the annual media tour stop at Hendrick Motorsports. Jeff Gordon PR
Latest F1 News in Brief Latest F1 News in Brief
Ferrari 'further isolated'
Ferrari build 3-seater F1
Montagny and Jordan
New Renault up and running
Ron won't quit McLaren
'It's a boy!' - Montoya
'Respect' at Sauber - JV
A1 delayed
Bruni out of Minardi race
Montoya 'surprising' McLaren
Wurz will fit - McLaren
EJ - 'I've been lucky'
F1 tire regulation 'unclear'
Wind disturbed F1 test
FIA reject teams' appeal
Delegation watch Badoer test
Renault 'weak area'
Ferrari snub 30-day cap
All Barber Dodge Pro cars for sale All Barber Dodge Pro cars for saleSkip Barber Racing is selling their complete fleet of Reynards that were used in the once popular Barber-Pro-Series. The ad states that these "28 complete carbon-fiber Reynard race cars. Perfect for private racing series". For more information call Skip Barber Senior V.P. of Racing, Divina Galica @ 1-860-435-4205 or email dgalica@skipbarber.com or go to: www.skipbarber.com/proassets for details and more photos.
MB2 Moving into Bigger Shop MB2 Moving into Bigger ShopThe MB2-MBV-MB/Sutton Motorsports team will move to a new shop sometime in July, dramatically increasing its available space. Currently, the three-car team occupies a 40,000-square foot building near the Concord Regional Airport.  General manager Jay Frye said the team would close on a warehouse building in Mooresville, N.C. in March, with hopes of completing the move in July. Once finished, the new building would be 144,000 square feet.  "We're surrounded by Roush," Frye said jokingly. "So it's time to get out."  "We think we got a great deal on the building, it's in a great location, it's a good investment. We look at it as a diamond in the rough. It'll take us about three months to fix it up, but at the end of the day, we'll be set. We won't have to look for space for a long time." NASCAR
France Waiting on Approval for Season Finale Races Under the Lights France Waiting on Approval for Season Finale Races Under the LightsNASCAR CEO Brian France said if the Federal Aviation Administration approves lights for Homestead-Miami Speedway, he would like to have night races for the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series finales. He also would like the Cup championship race to start late Sunday afternoon and finish in prime time -- ``just like the Super Bowl.'' Miami Herald
New sponsor for Brian Vickers New sponsor for Brian VickersGarnier Fructis and Hendrick Motorsports today announced a multi-year agreement featuring Garnier Fructis as a major associate sponsor of the No. 25 Chevrolets driven by Brian Vickers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.  The deal marks the first foray into motor sports by Garnier Fructis, the wildly popular unisex haircare brand owned by L'Oreal USA.

In addition to the associate-sponsorship on the No. 25 GMAC / ditech.com Chevrolets in 2005, the union will be highlighted when Vickers and the No. 25 car don the trademark bright green Garnier Fructis color scheme in two races -- April 17 at Texas Motor Speedway and Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"NASCAR has enormous universal appeal," said Karen Fondu, president, Maybelline New York-Garnier.  "NASCAR is more than a sport; it's a lifestyle.  Like Garnier Fructis, NASCAR is dynamic, spirited and all about high performance."

"The energy and excitement of NASCAR connects Garnier Fructis to over 75 million fans, both men and women," says Cheryl Vitali, senior vice president, marketing, Maybelline New York-Garnier.  "We couldn't be more thrilled about our partnership with Hendrick Motorsports and Brian Vickers, and hope to make many more NASCAR fans Garnier Fructis fans."

Under the associate sponsorship agreement, Vickers will serve as a spokesperson for Garnier Fructis haircare and styling products.  His likeness will be featured in print advertising, at point-of-purchase and in-store displays, and throughout public relations campaigns and Internet initiatives.

Kanaan earns pole for endurance race Kanaan earns pole for endurance raceKanaan Earns Pole For Endurance Race: IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan claimed the pole position for the Jan. 26 "Mil Milhas Brasileiras" (1000 Miles of Brazil) at Interlagos, Brazil's most famous endurance race.  Kanaan will co-drive a ZF prototype with IndyCar Series veteran Felipe Giaffone, Paulo Bonifacio and Luis Paternostro in the event, which is held in conjunction with the anniversary of the founding of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Teams balk at 2012 extension Teams balk at 2012 extensionUPDATE A reader responds, Dear Autoracing1.com,  After reading the BBC Sport article about the teams balking at the new accord, it is easy to see why .  With the changes that are being proposed, I think the teams should wait till Toyota and Honda pull out of the IRL. Then Williams, Renault and the rest can  just buy the equipment that will be available when all the teams  fold.  That looks to be where the FIA is trying to take F1.  It seems to me that what is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing is being heavily dumbed down. ( Is Fox bidding for TV rights?) This series is about technology, innovation and vision. At least it used to be. Bradford Dunlop Toronto Canada 01/25/05 Nine teams have decided to wait before signing a new commercial agreement with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Ferrari are the only team to have extended their commitment to F1 from 2008 to 2012, while the others have threatened to join a breakaway series. The sport's governing body, the FIA, has suggested measures for 2008 including a single tire supplier and a reduction in aerodynamic downforce. The nine teams have asked the FIA to postpone a meeting on those changes. Other changes that the FIA is planning are for telemetry to be eliminated, standard brakes introduced and rpm limits imposed on engines. There would also be no spare car and race weekends would be reduced to two days. Ferrari also opted not to sign a cost-cutting voluntary agreement limiting teams to 30 days of testing during the season, although all the other teams did. Those teams and Ecclestone signed a letter to FIA president Max Mosley saying it would be premature to discuss his latest cost-cutting proposals and outlining their own way forward. They plan to sit down with the FIA after the first three races instead. "The commercial side and technical side will all be wrapped up together," Ecclestone said. "There's plenty of time to get that done." The existing commercial deal, the Concorde Agreement, expires at the end of 2007. BBC Sport
A1 Grand Prix
Pakistan's GP car to be launched Pakistan's GP car to be launchedLahore Fort has been selected as the launch site for Pakistan's ‘A-1 Grand Prix’ car, and preparations are in full swing for the event which is to be held in the second week of February, Punjab archeology department said on Monday. The car will have the Pakistani flag painted on its door.  Sources said that President General Pervez Musharraf would be the chief guest and Dubai’s sovereign Sheikh Makhtoum Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum would grace the launch. A number of foreign ambassadors will also be present, sources added.
Robby Gordon checks himself into hospital Robby Gordon checks himself into hospitalDuring Monday night’s PRN Fast Talk with Benny Parsons radio show, Robbie Gordon told Benny he’s been sick since returning home from last weeks Daytona test and checked himself into the hospital Sunday for about four hours where doctors performed a series of blood tests. Gordon’s concern stemmed from running the Dakar Rally overseas. “I just want to be careful that I don’t get myself in a situation where I catch one of these diseases or something like that from Africa. I did breathe an awful lot of dust. It wasn’t bad the first couple of days when we were out front leading but then when we got behind there was a couple of days when we didn’t see anything but dust for the whole day and I’m sure I inhaled something that’s not healthy for me. They took all kinds of blood tests to make sure I don’t have malaria or anything like that and hopefully we can get this thing cleared up and be good for our California-Vegas test next week. PRN's Fast Talk with Benny Parsons
Badoer on duty for Ferrari Badoer on duty for FerrariUnder overcast skies and very chilly temperatures, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team completed the first day of testing at the Fiorano circuit.  Official test driver Luca Badoer was on duty at the Maranello marque’s private track, working on a development program of new components, fitted to an F2003-GA. Luca completed a total of 25 laps over the course of the day, seven of which were on the short version of the course, setting a best overall time of 58”460.  Watching the testing was a delegation from the Italian Olympic Committee, headed by President Gianni Petrucci. Also present were around fifty Italian athletes who won medals at the Athens Olympics in 2004. The delegation met Ferrari President, Luca di Montezemolo, Managing Director, Jean Todt, Vice-president, Piero Ferrari and the Formula 1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher.   The Scuderia resumes testing on Friday 28th January, at the Catalunya Circuit, near Barcelona: on track will be Luca Badoer and Michael Schumacher.  Ferrari
LVMS to add seating for NASCAR race LVMS to add seating for NASCAR raceLas Vegas Motor Speedway will add bleacher seating outside Turn 3 for the March 11-13 NASCAR Weekend, speedway officials announced Tuesday.  The Nextel Cup UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 is set for March 13, one day after the Busch Series Sam's Town 300. A few seats remain in the speedway's permanent grandstands for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup event, but speedway officials expect they will last only a few more days.  The demand for tickets prompted speedway officials to add the bleacher seats. "The demand for tickets is a testament to the appeal of Las Vegas as a destination city and to the dedication of the employees of this speedway," said Chris Powell, LVMS's general manager.  "The NASCAR product is extremely strong, and people know they can come to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and enjoy motorsports at a first-class facility." Tickets in the Turn 3 bleachers go on sale Wednesday at 8 a.m. Pacific Time.  These "Triple Play" tickets include a reserved seat for both the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and Sam's Town 300, as well as a general admission ticket for the  Las Vegas Double Down in the Desert on Sept. 24 featuring the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Champ Car World Series. Race fans can get a discount on these tickets if they buy before the start of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. Triple Play tickets bought before Feb. 20 will cost $99. The prices will increase to $119 as soon as the green flag drops to begin the Daytona 500. In addition, there are a limited number of camping spots as well as the new pre-race activities passes available. Race fans can call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to www.lvms.com for tickets, camping and  pre-race passes. LVMS
McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 Tests in Barcelona McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 Tests in Barcelona“A lot of time, effort and work has been invested in the new car, with the engineers working more for us than ever before,” said Kimi. “My first impression after these few laps is a good one, however, the work for me and my driver colleagues starts only now.” The Finn will continue to drive MP4-20 until Thursday, when Juan Pablo will take the wheel.

“Since MP4-20 was fired up for the first time at 02:30am on the morning of Thursday 20th January at the McLaren Technology Centre, the anticipatory atmosphere of the car’s initial run within the team has been building and we are pleased to have completed its shakedown this morning,” said Ron Dennis, Team Principal, West McLaren Mercedes. “Today’s unveiling is the first tangible demonstration of the team’s preparations for the 2005 season, a year that has the potential to be exciting and positive for all the teams, our Partners and the fans alike. There is feverish work taking place across the team to achieve the best possible result for the this year”

The design of the MP4-20 has been heavily influenced by significant revisions to both the sporting and technical regulations that govern Formula One in four key areas: engine lifespan, limitations on tire use, aerodynamics and race weekend format particularly for qualifying.

“A Formula One car is a fully integrated machine,” commented Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, West McLaren Mercedes. “As a consequence, regulation changes to the extent we have seen ahead of the 2005 season, have had a major impact on the configuration of the entire package. The revisions created an interesting challenge for our design team under Adrian Newey, Mike Coughlan and Neil Oatley, and the result is a car that looks quite different from last year. Mercedes-Ilmor on the engine side has to cope with similar technical and timescale challenges.”

The aerodynamic modifications have led to the most visible differences on the car, to the design of the chassis, which has been exclusively developed in the design office and wind tunnel facilities at the McLaren Technology Centre. These include the raising of the front wing by 50mm, restricting the height of the diffuser to 125mm and bringing the rear wing package forward by 150mm.

McLaren Racing’s Technical Director Adrian Newey added, “With the regulations, particularly on the aerodynamic side, being set comparatively late resulting in even harder and more dedicated work from all members of the team to get MP4-20 on track today. This has seen positive collaboration with all our Technology Partners, particularly Michelin in adapting to the extended use requirements of tires for the coming season, when they have to last the entire race distance. The spec for MP4-20 was set in May 2004 and this saw the start of wind tunnel work at the McLaren Technology Centre. The timescales have been challenging but that is all part of the excitement of Formula One.”

78 entries for the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours 78 entries for the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours71 entries in 2003, 77 in 2004 and 78 for the 73rd Le Mans 24 Hours: the figures confirm the growing number of entries for the greatest endurance race in the world.

Halfway through January fifteen teams had already been accepted according to the pre-selection criteria that took into account their 2004 results. The Selection Committee now has the tough job of studying the additional entry forms and then announce the complete field. It will meet at the end of February to draw up a provisional list after which it will inspect the new models like Lola in LM P2 and Aston Martin in GT 1 that will appear at the opening round of the ALMS, the Sebring 12-Hour race on 19th March, The official list of the 50 cars selected for the Test Day on 5th June and the race on 18th and 19th June will then be published at the end of March. Eight reserves (2 more than in 2004) will also be designated and they will know their fate by 27th May 2005 at the latest.

Last year the prototypes dominated (40 LM P1s and P2s as against 37 GTSs and GTs) and this year the tendency has been inversed: 19 LM P1s and 18 LM P2s – 37 protos - and 41 Grand Touring cars made up of 15 GT 1s and 26 GT 2s.

Even before the official list is announced, the prospect of hard-fought duels in all categories is enough to make the enthusiast’s blood race. How many Pescarolos will take the fight to the French Audi entered by Oreca to challenge the two Champion R8s from the USA ? How many Courages will be out to defend the local make’s colors against the assault of the Lolas in LM P2? Will Aston Martin be able to mix it with the Ferraris and Corvettes in GT 1? Will the White Lightning Porsche continue to dominate GT 2 ? First response on paper at the end of March and the final answer on the track in mid-June!

* Champion-Racing (Audi) in LM P1 ; Courage Competition (Courage), Intersport Racing (Lola and Courage), Miracle Motorsport (Courage), Pierre Bruneau (Pilbeam) and Rachel Welter (WR) in LM P2 ; Acemo Motorsports (Saleen), BMW Scuderia Italia (Ferrari F550 Maranello), Corvette Racing (2 Corvette C6-Rs) Larbre Competition (Ferrari F550 Maranello) in GT 1 ; White Lightning (Porsche 911), Flying Lizard Motorsports (Porsche 911), Sebah Automotive Ltd (Porsche 911) in GT 2.

SPEED Channel to again air all NCTS races SPEED Channel to again air all NCTS racesSPEED Channel will be the exclusive home of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for the third consecutive year in 2005.  The 25-event season launches at Daytona with a one-hour 10th anniversary special set to air Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m. ET. 

Rick Allen, Michael Waltrip, and Phil Parsons will continue to add commentary to each live broadcast from the booth, while Ray Dunlap and Wendy Norris pass along the stories from pit road.  Pre- and post-race coverage will remain on-tap with more interviews, enhanced graphics, and behind-the-scenes footage with the drivers who provide the most action-packed racing on cable television.

The funny side of Paul Newman The funny side of Paul NewmanSome excerpts from today's Grand-Am, Newman/Haas team interview showing the funny side of Paul Newman:

Q. Mr. Newman, can you share with us some of the strategy that goes on in a 24-hour event? Are there preferred shifts? If so, as team owner, do you get to pull rank and choose those preferred shifts?

PAUL NEWMAN: I get to log a sleeping shift. The rest of it will be up to the drivers.

Q. Typically when is a sleeping shift for you?

PAUL NEWMAN: Well, I try to get about 23, 23 and a half hours of sleep.

Q. Hopefully while you're not driving?

PAUL NEWMAN: No, I don't know. When we won back in '95, I think I drove four or five shifts. I don't know what I'll drive. 

Q. Paul, as a driver, which was your most memorable moment and the worst moment of your career?

PAUL NEWMAN: I think probably the worst moment in my career was probably a race that I was the slowest in, but I can't remember which one that was, there were so many (laughter). That was the first part of the question. I can't remember the second part.

Q. What was the best moment?

PAUL NEWMAN: Oh, probably when I won the SCCA championship back in 1979.

Newman/Haas team Grand-Am interview Newman/Haas team Grand-Am interviewThe Grand American Road Racing Association as well as Daytona International Speedway and Camp Boggy Creek made an announcement today.  In attendance were Paul Newman, who is the founder of Camp Boggy Creek, one of his many Hole in the Wall camps located around the world, Mike Brockman, his friend and co-driver, who also has been a board member of Camp Boggy Creek since 1989, Sarah Gurtis, vice president of marketing and corporate development for Camp Boggy Creek, and the driving team for the Newman Racing/Silverstone Racing No. 79 Ford Crawford Daytona Prototype that Paul Newman and Mike Brockman, will share with Cristiano da Matta and Sebastien Bourdais for the Rolex 24. Transcript  [Editor's Note:  This interview contains a lot of good quotes.]. 
Newman happy with OWRS and Champ Car Newman happy with OWRS and Champ CarQ. Mr. Newman, are you happy with how the Champ Car series is progressing this season with all the changes in management? There still seems to be a lot of unknowns that are coming up for the 2005 season.

PAUL NEWMAN: Well, I'm very encouraged by the professionalism of the management, the choices that they've made both in the venues, and purchase of Cosworth by Kalkhoven I thought was an exciting element. I'm just looking forward to a lot of good racing and a lot of good crowds, and that's about it.

Q. As far as you're concerned, Mr. Forsythe, Mr. Gentilozzi and Mr. Kalkhoven are doing a No. 1 job, the best they can do?

PAUL NEWMAN: They are indeed.

Haircare Product Company to Sponsor Hendrick Haircare Product Company to Sponsor HendrickGarnier Fructis and Hendrick Motorsports today announced a multi-year agreement featuring Garnier Fructis as a major associate sponsor of the No. 25 Chevrolets driven by Brian Vickers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The deal marks the first foray into motor sports by Garnier Fructis, the wildly popular unisex haircare brand owned by L'Oreal USA. In addition to the associate-sponsorship on the No. 25 GMAC / ditech.com Chevrolets in 2005, the union will be highlighted when Vickers and the No. 25 car don the trademark bright green Garnier Fructis color scheme in two races -- April 17 at Texas Motor Speedway and Aug. 7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "NASCAR has enormous universal appeal," said Karen Fondu, president, Maybelline New York-Garnier. "NASCAR is more than a sport; it's a lifestyle. Like Garnier Fructis, NASCAR is dynamic, spirited and all about high performance. The energy and excitement of NASCAR connects Garnier Fructis to over 75 million fans, both men and women," says Cheryl Vitali, senior vice president, marketing, Maybelline New York-Garnier. "We couldn't be more thrilled about our partnership with Hendrick Motorsports and Brian Vickers, and hope to make many more NASCAR fans Garnier Fructis fans." Under the associate sponsorship agreement, Vickers will serve as a spokesperson for Garnier Fructis haircare and styling products. His likeness will be featured in print advertising, at point-of-purchase and in-store displays, and throughout public relations campaigns and Internet initiatives. Will these haircare products hold up inside a helmet? - Doug B
All teams but Ferrari agree to cuts All teams but Ferrari agree to cutsAll Formula One teams except Ferrari agreed on Tuesday to restrict testing during the season to 30 days.   Teams will not be able to test at more than one circuit on the same day or with more than two cars. They also cannot test at circuits that host an event on the F1 calendar, with the exception of Silverstone, Barcelona and Monza.
Grand-Am continues relationship with with Camp for ill kids Grand-Am continues relationship with with Camp for ill kidsOfficials from the Grand American Road Racing Association and Camp Boggy Creek today announced the continuation of their relationship for 2005, once again making Camp Boggy Creek a proud charity of Grand American.

Since the organization’s first season of racing in 2000, Grand American has partnered with Camp Boggy Creek to help raise funds for Florida’s seriously ill children. In 2005, Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand-Am Cup Series teams are being encouraged to support camper scholarships, and as was also the case in 2004, all fines levied during the 2005 season will be directed to support the camp. Many Rolex Series drivers—including Daytona Prototype champions Max Papis and Terry Borcheller, and sports car racing legend Hurley Haywood—have visited the camp within the past year.

“We are extremely proud to support Camp Boggy Creek once again in 2005,” said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. “I have had the privilege to visit the camp on more than one occasion, and it is truly inspiring to see the wonderful program that Camp Boggy Creek provides to the children. I encourage all of our drivers and teams to do whatever they can to support the camp as well.”

Camp Boggy Creek was founded in 1989 by Academy Award-winning actor and accomplished racer Paul Newman. The 232-acre camp in Eustis, Fla. helps children between the ages of seven and 16 to better cope with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, offering week-long programs throughout the summer and weekend programs for families in the spring and fall months free of charge. The camp is part of Newman’s Association of Hole In The Wall Camps.

Newman and co-drivers Michael Brockman—a Camp Boggy Creek board member since its inception—Cristiano da Matta and Sebastien Bourdais will be supporting the camp while sharing the No. 79 Newman Racing/Silverstone Racing Ford Crawford in the 43rd Rolex 24 At Daytona on the weekend of February 3-6 at Daytona International Speedway.

“What can I say?  I'm delighted, I'm encouraged, I'm very grateful for it,” said Newman about the commitment from Grand American. “As you know, my two passions are giving a camp experience to sick children and racing.  But I'm concerned about this fine thing. Cristiano and Sebastien and Michael could go out there and just hit everybody, and I have to pick up the tab for it.  I'll have to take a closer look at that.”

Additional information about Camp Boggy Creek is available at www.BoggyCreek.org or by calling 866-Go-Boggy.

Ford Mustang returns to Sportscar Racing Ford Mustang returns to Sportscar RacingThe Ford Mustang and sports car racing.  The two have gone hand-in-hand since the car's debut in 1964, and the latest version of Ford's "pony car" will soon be returning to the track in the Grand-Am Cup Series.

Today, Ford Racing and the Grand American Road Racing Series announce that Ford Racing's 2005 Mustang GT race car has been homologated to compete in the GS Class of Grand-Am Cup. The Ford Racing Mustang GT race car is based off the all-new 2005 Mustang GT that recently hit showroom floors at Ford dealerships around the country.

"We're excited about expanding our road racing efforts in the Grand American Series with the addition of our race-prepared Mustang GT," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "The 2005 Mustang and our 5.0-liter Cammer 'R50' V-8 make the perfect combination to extend Ford's rich sports car racing heritage."

As announced at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association (SEMA) Show in November 2004, Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) has become the one-stop shop for all the racing needs of the Mustang enthusiast. FRPP will offer the race-prepared Mustang GT in Grand-Am Cup specification, as well as all the racing components necessary for race team support and for those enthusiasts interested in enhancing their own Mustangs.

FRPP also offers a 2005 Mustang "body-in-white" for those enthusiasts looking to build their own race cars. Using the FRPP catalog of performance equipment, the "do-it-yourself" builder has a choice of crate engines, from pushrod to modular V-8s, and driveline components to help build a car for a variety of racing series, including drag racing.

"Our goal with this competition program for the new Mustang is to capitalize on our performance parts program and the Mustang's successful history in road racing," continued Davis. "The 5.0-liter Cammer engine family represents the future of Ford Racing Performance Parts, and this program could help solidify the Cammer as the performance crate engine of choice. As well, this competition program will spur the development of performance parts for the new Mustang, and possibly more programs for competition in other racing series."

The 'R50', the race version of the Cammer V-8, as found in the Mustang GT racer, is an evolution of the all-aluminum Cammer 'T50' crate engine, which is currently available from Ford Racing Performance Parts. The 'R50' racing version features many enhancements for road racing highlighted by new cylinder heads, from the Ford GT supercar program, and a unique intake manifold. The Cammer V-8 is based on Ford's family of modular V-8 engines; including the 4.6L DOHC supercharged V-8 as found in the SVT Mustang Cobra.

"Ford Racing's grassroots motorsports efforts have been extremely successful in providing opportunities to go racing at a good value," continued Davis. "We've worked closely with Grand-Am to ensure that the Mustang GT will not only be competitive, but will also offer racers a durable, reliable, and affordable package to go racing in Grand-Am Cup."

The debut race for the new Ford Racing Mustang GT race car will be the Grand-Am Cup Daytona 200 on Friday, February 4 at Daytona International Speedway.

Ford Racing currently supplies the 5.0-liter Cammer 'DP' V-8 engine, developed by Robert Yates Racing, to competitors in the Daytona Prototype class of the Grand American Rolex Series. Recently, Ford Racing announced an all-star NASCAR Nextel Cup driver line-up for the Crown Royal Ford Multimatic Daytona Prototype race car competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, including 2004 Nextel Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch, 2003 Nextel Cup Series Champion Matt Kenseth, and former NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series Champion Greg Biffle.

The race-prepared Mustang GT in full Grand-Am Cup-spec, as well as the 'R50' Cammer V8 and the 2005 Mustang "body-in-white", are available through Ford Racing Performance Parts. Teams interested in racing the Mustang GT in Grand-Am Cup competition should contact the Ford Racing Technical Hotline at: 586-468-1356.

First on-track photos of new Renault R25 First on-track photos of new Renault R25The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team today began three days of testing at Valencia in Spain. This morning, the new R25 completed its first laps, with Fernando Alonso at the wheel.

The program with the new car concentrated on an initial shakedown and solving new-car reliability faults, which saw the car make two precautionary stops out on track. The cold and windy conditions made it difficult to evaluate the handling at this stage, but the first conclusions were positive and the team hopes to complete more mileage tomorrow.

After his first laps in the car, Fernando Alonso commented: “I have a good first impression of the car, in spite of the delays on the first day. The engine is powerful and pulls strongly from low revs, while inside the car, the driving position is comfortable. We did not do enough running to have a firm idea of the handling, and our aim for tomorrow will be to complete more laps in order to start learning about the car.”

Technical Director Bob Bell continued: “First of all, I would like to congratulate the teams at Enstone and Viry on their work. It is always a privilege to see the new car run for the first time, and this morning was no exception when the R25 took to the track for the first time. Today was about resolving new-car reliability issues, which saw us stop the car out on track twice. However, the initial signs were promising and we expect to begin more substantial running tomorrow.”

At the wheel of the R24, Giancarlo Fisichella completed 35 laps working on tire development. Unfortunately however, the unstable windy conditions and low temperatures prevented him from completing any useful work..

Another Honda engine detonates Another Honda engine detonatesIt was not all good news for BAR at Valencia today because Anthony Davidson was forced to park the 2004 Concept Car with an engine failure – Honda's third such problem in the space of a week.
Klien tops Valencia Day 1 Klien tops Valencia Day 1Valencia Test, Day 1
1, Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing) 1m11.241s, 87 laps
2, Antonio Pizzonia (Williams) 1m11.352s, 57 laps
3, Fernando Alonso (Renault) 1m11.770s, 16 laps
4, Takuma Sato (BAR) 1m11.831s, 84 laps
5, Nick Heidfeld (Williams) 1m12.293s, 66 laps
6, David Coulthard (McLaren) 1m12.412s, 53 laps
7, Anthony Davidson (BAR) 1m12.671s, 77 laps
8, Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) 1m12.676s, 78 laps
9, Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) 1m12.833s, 34 laps
10, Olivier Panis (Toyota) 1m13.259s, 45 laps
SPEED plans extensive NASCAR coverage SPEED plans extensive NASCAR coverageFresh off the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the family of FOX Sports Networks opens the 2005 NASCAR racing season with comprehensive coverage of Daytona Speed Weeks, highlighted by the 47th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. ET (pre-race coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET) on FOX. For the first time, FOX will broadcast this year's coverage of the Great American Race in 720p high-definition pictures with Dolby 5.1 audio. FX takes to the track Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. ET with live coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona - a pair of 50-lap qualifying races used to set the Daytona 500 starting grid.

"We're looking forward to dropping the green flag on our fifth year covering NASCAR," said FOX Sports Chairman David Hill.  "Our coverage from Daytona is especially significant this year in that it begins the HD era for NASCAR on FOX.  Every race on the network this season is being produced in 720p HD, the best HD format for sports, and the latest Dolby 5.1 digital audio."

NASCAR racing legend Darrell Waltrip and former champion crew chief Larry McReynolds return to provide race analysis for all NASCAR on FOX Nextel Cup and Busch Series events, and Mike Joy returns as race announcer. Pre-race coverage is again hosted by Chris Myers with analyst Jeff Hammond, and returning to cover pit road for FOX are reporters Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Jeanne Zelasko.

SPEED Channel, home to NASCAR TV, will offer fans nearly 70 hours of programming over 10 days from Daytona, highlighted by the night running of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Feb. 18, 8 p.m. ET), the IROC race (Feb. 18, 6 p.m. ET) and the debut of the much-anticipated NASCAR Nation on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. ET and PT.

A nightly, feature-driven magazine show, NASCAR Nation will take race fans into the lives of their favorite NASCAR personalities on and off the track.

"With all of the excitement of the inaugural Chase for the NEXTEL Cup in 2004, SPEED Channel felt like it was the appropriate time to step up and develop a signature NASCAR program," said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore.

SPEED Channel also will return to the track with expanded live programming from its 53-foot traveling SPEED Stage. Led by the popular Friday night Trackside experience, with the unpredictable crew of Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip, Michael Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond, SPEED Channel also will do NASCAR Live, NASCAR This Morning, NASCAR Victory Lane and NASCAR Performance in front of the fans on site at Daytona and all season long.

Bourdais Wins Fan Voting For SPEED Channel Driver of the Year Bourdais Wins Fan Voting For SPEED Channel Driver of the YearBridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Sebastien Bourdais is the people’s choice for SPEED Channel’s Driver of the Year, having gathered more than 37 percent of the voting for the honor, besting drivers from NASCAR, NHRA and the IRL.

Bourdais, who won seven races and eight poles en route to his first Champ Car World Series title, fell short of taking the overall Driver-of-the-Year title however, as the fan voting counted as just one of 19 votes in the balloting. The honor, which was announced on SPEED Channel Monday night, went to NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson.

Fans rewarded the Frenchman and his Newman/Haas Racing team for a stellar Champ Car season which saw the sophomore driver qualify in the top three for each of the year’s 14 races. He set a series record by leading laps in nine consecutive events and went on to score 10 podium finishes. Bourdais’ title winning campaign also saw him boost his career totals to 10 wins, 13 poles, and 17 podiums in only two years of competition in the Champ Car World Series.

The Driver of the Year title was decided amongst a panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the United States plus the fan vote on SPEEDTV.com. Each quarter of the year, a similar voting process took place to pick the Driver of the Quarter. The fans also picked Bourdais as the top driver in third-quarter balloting as he finished second in the overall vote during the third and fourth quarters in 2004.

No Pension Plan planned No Pension Plan plannedNASCAR chairman Brian France said Monday he doesn't think a pension fund for retired Nextel Cup drivers is a realistic possibility in the near future. "Compared to many other leagues that allow it, we have differences in how we're structured," France said. "Our drivers are independent contractors with independent teams." France addressed the topic at the NASCAR Research and Development Center, the first stop on the NASCAR media tour. Veteran Cup driver Rusty Wallace, who is retiring after this season, brought up the idea of a pension fund last week. Dallas Morning News
SPEED expands NASCAR show SPEED expands NASCAR showFuture plans for SPEED’s NASCAR broadcasts include an expansion of the popular Inside NEXTEL Cup TV program from an hour to an hour and a half each Monday evening. FastMachines.com. Inside Nextel Cup is a popular show, hosted by Allen Bestwick and featuring NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader and Johnny Benson, features weekly recaps and analysis of Nextel Cup racing action. From the pits to victory lane Inside Nextel Cup provides up-to-date coverage of all the important developments on the Nextel Cup circuit. The show will now air at 8:00pm/et on Monday's with re-airs during the week with the season premiere being on Monday, Feb 14th
Bruni steps down to GP2 Bruni steps down to GP2Former grand prix driver Gianmari Bruni has decided to take a major gamble and step down to the new GP2 category with Coloni Motorsport this season, after failing to raise the necessary funds to stay in F1. The Italian's decision to join the F3000-replacement series is a major coup for GP2 and comes on the back of the decision of other rising stars Nelson Piquet Jr., Heikki Kovalainen, Nicolas Lapierre and Scott Speed to race in the category.

Speaking about his decision, Bruni said: “After my year in Formula 1, some will question my decision to return to the Formula 1 feeder series. I am a racing driver and I need to race. The GP2 series is a fantastic opportunity. The motivation and commitment at Coloni to win the GP2 championship was clear right from the start of our discussions.” The news was also obviously much welcomed by GP2 series organizer Bruno Michel. “The signing of Gimmi Bruni to the Coloni GP2 Team is good news for everybody involved with the GP2 series,” he said.

“Gimmi is the 12th confirmed driver for our inaugural season, meaning that half the grid is now complete. I am pleased that Coloni have managed to sign a driver of Gimmi's background and that Gimmi himself has decided to compete in our championship in order to further his experience and underline his quality." Autosport.com

Dominguez offered Midland F1 seat Dominguez offered Midland F1 seatNot having to use driving skill in the 100% throttle world of IRL racing, it appears the reflexes and road racing skills get dumbed down from non-use.  Chris Economaki reports that Tomas Scheckter’s career may have been dimmed by a recent disappointing road-racing test for a European team.  Scheckter originally came from the European road racing system.  And you wonder why we say F1 is never going to hire an IRL driver.  Simply won't happen.  Road racing takes a lot of skill and being away from it for awhile takes some time to get back up to speed.  F1 teams have F3, GP2, and Champ Car to pick from, all road racing series.  The IRL is a better training ground for the almost all-oval NASCAR series.  Maybe the IRL drivers should wear "The Road to Daytona" hats.
Industry News
More on Infineon Raceway upgrades More on Infineon Raceway upgradesConstruction crews have begun work at Infineon Raceway on track enhancements to the road course that will be in place for the 2005 Big O Tires Racing Season.

The four projects will be particularly beneficial to the Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). The IRL will make history at Infineon Raceway in 2005 with its first-ever permanent road-course race in the 10-year history of the series, Aug. 26-28.

Infineon Raceway has spent more than $60 million over the last five years on a comprehensive modernization project that has transformed the facility into one of the premier motor sports and entertainment venues in the country, with many of the added amenities designed for competitors.

The theme continues in 2005. Ninety percent of a grading project at Turn 2 is complete, making the runoff area level with the racetrack. A new storm drain system has also been installed at Turns 1-2, which should aid rain runoff.

Specific for the IRL race in August, a wall will be constructed on driver's right from Turns 1-2, followed by tire-pack that will span Turns 2-4. Finally, three Musco light poles, which are currently at the exit of the Carousel (Turn 6), will be moved back 40 feet onto a slope. The wall and tire-pack at Turns 1-4 will exist ONLY for the IRL race. Raceway officials will also pave small areas of runoff at AMA and IRL Turn 9a, and the exit of the Carousel (Turn 6).  All work will be completed for the 2005 road-racing season, which begins with the Kawasaki AMA Superbike Showdown, presented by Supercuts, May 13-15.

Infineon offers ticket deal to IRL fans Infineon offers ticket deal to IRL fansAll Infineon Raceway fans who purchase a main-event ticket to the upcoming IRL IndyCar® Series at Infineon Raceway will receive a $10 discount AND a free DVD of the 2004 Indianapolis 500. The DVD footage includes all the great action from Buddy Rice's historical victory at the magic kingdom of racing. This special offer will only last four days, Jan. 24-27, so be sure and act right away!

With the $10 discount, a ticket to the main event on Sunday, Aug. 28, would range from $39-$49 for adults, depending on seat location. That's not only a great price, but it's also your ticket to witness history as the open-wheel cars of the IRL blast around a permanent road course for the first time in the series' 10-year history, Aug. 26-28. Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan are just a few of the names you'll see in the scenic Sonoma Valley.

The ONLY way to get this great offer is to call the raceway at 800-870-RACE. Be sure and reference the "Special Raceway Insider Offer" when speaking with a ticket sales representative. Quantities of the 2004 Indy 500 DVD are limited, so act today. This offer will be over quicker than a 200-mph lap around Infineon Raceway!

Alonso gets taste of new car Alonso gets taste of new carAt the Valencia circuit today, Giancarlo Fisichella was at the wheel of an R24, and Fernando Alonso had a taste of driving the new Renault R25 for the first time. The car designed under the supervision of Bob Bell appears to be an evolution of the R24 seen last year. The first few laps went well until a small technical problem stopped Alonso on the side of the track. The R25, which will participate to the entire 2005 season, is scheduled to be officially launched in front of the media and public on 1 February in Monaco. In 2004, Renault finished third in the Constructors' Championship and won the Monaco Grand Prix with Jarno Trulli.
Industry News
Drag Racer wins SPEED Channel DOY Drag Racer wins SPEED Channel DOYIn a time when it seems that drivers are better rewarded for consistency than winning, Speed Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR for 2004, Greg Anderson, accomplished both. As a result, Anderson, who won his second-straight NHRA POWERade Pro Stock world championship, was voted the most prestigious honor in United States auto racing.

Anderson, 43, had a year of stunning success winning two out of every three races in 2004, for a record 15 victories, in the Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am. He also qualified first sixteen times.

When first informed of the honor by telephone the veteran driver, who also works on his own cars, couldn’t believe it. “It was a shock and an honor,” Anderson said, adding, “it was beyond anything I could image.”

Some pundits are calling Anderson’s season the best ever in the NHRA as he shattered records even upstaging funny car’s John Force; who was the last and only other drag racer to claim the honor Driver of the Year (1996) in the 38-year history of this title.

“It is still just amazing. Yes, we had a fantastic year, probably the best year in drag racing history. Still, looking at what some of the other (series’) drivers did, I never even considered I’d win the Speed Channel Driver of the Year,” Anderson said with humility. SPEEDTV.com

France not interested in NFL team France not interested in NFL teamUPDATE NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France yesterday again denied reports that he is planning to leave the sport to become owner of an NFL expansion franchise in L.A. France: "I am not planning to go anywhere, and I don't know where any of that started" 01/11/05 NASCAR chairman of the board and CEO Brian France has denied recent speculation that he might be in the market for a National Football League team.  Speculation during the holidays was that France planned to sell his NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. stock to his sister, Lesa France Kennedy, and his uncle, Jim France. He would then buy outright or be part of a group that moved an existing NFL franchise to Los Angeles, where he once lived. Through a NASCAR spokesman, France said he was not interested in owning a professional football team. AutoWeek
David Green Recovers From Kidney Stone David Green Recovers From Kidney StoneDavid Green wasn't able to get on the track on Saturday during his first day of Busch Series testing in preparation for the season-opening Hershey's Take 5 300. While doing a morning interview session in the infield media center, Green, driver of the No. 27 Kleenex Ford for Brewco Motorsports, could not take the pain anymore in his side and was taken to the Halifax Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a kidney stone. "There's nothing like that kind of feeling," Green said during the lunch break of the final day of January testing. "The hospital is the best place for you and they couldn't get me there fast enough after I left here. Aaron Fike drove my car a little bit on Saturday. We had tested Talladega on Thursday, so I had driven both of our cars down there and was very excited about our new Ford Tauruses. I was geared up and ready to go on Saturday. "Out of all winter long for this kidney stone to hit, why did it pick the first day of testing? But, at least it's behind us now. I got in the car at one day (on Saturday) and made one single run and then went out and drafted. Teammate Greg Biffle drove my car prior to lunchtime, and he liked how it felt, so when I got in it, it felt good to me, too. I think one reason why I like it is because I've been coming down here a long time and it's a time to get the wheels rolling for the season," said, Green, who expects to begin staying in Daytona on Wednesday, Feb. 9. "When I missed Saturday because of being in the hospital, I really felt like I was a day behind yesterday. I felt like I missed my flight and I got here late. By getting down here early for the race weekend, you really get in tune with it." For David Green, it's now time to rock and roll without the Stones - Doug B
F1 bosses meet with Bernie today F1 bosses meet with Bernie todayThe Formula 1 team bosses meet today in London to hear (rumored) Bernie Ecclestone make them offers they cannot refuse to sign up for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship from 2008 to 2012.   Ecclestone may have trouble getting a deal done with the F1 teams because it does not look like anyone is going to sign a deal until they see what the GPWC has to offer.  An alliance of five or six teams against the FOM-FIA-Ferrari alliance would be a big problem.  The biggest threat to Ecclestone's future control of the sport remains the possibility of a deal between the GPWC and the Formula 1 banks which own 75% of the Formula One Holdings company.

"We have a current agreement which is in force to the end of 2007," says McLaren's Ron Dennis. "We must be open-minded and patient and we'll consider the best position for our teams and the best position for the future of Formula 1, but in the right timescale. At the moment none of the proposals have any relevance at all to the period between now and the end of 2007 so there's no incentive to rush into any new agreement."

Dennis said that Ferrari may have decided to do the deal because of money on offer.  "I presume they have had some financial inducement to enter into some sort of agreement sooner," he said. "But that's certainly not as I understand it a situation that exists with any of the other teams and certainly not McLaren."

Assistant School Principal Turns Racer Assistant School Principal Turns RacerKim Crosby said during a break in Busch Series testing that she has quit her job as an assistant principal to running a full Busch Series schedule. Crosby resigned from Slidell Junior High in Slidell, La., to focus driving the No. 24 Boudreaux's Butt Paste Chevrolet in the 2005 Busch Series season. "I ran five Busch races last year along with being a principal at a junior high school," Crosby said. "Trying to do both of those I didn't feel like I was doing both professions justice. The school system was very supportive, but I just felt like I needed to make a choice and follow my dream and go into driving full-time." Crosby and her GIC/PSE team have modest goals for their first full-time season together. "A good season for me - a great season - would be to qualify for every single race, on speed," Crosby said. "Regardless of the finishes, making the field is very important to myself and the team."  Doug B
Montoya waits his turn to drive new car Montoya waits his turn to drive new carTeam McLaren Mercedes driver Juan Pablo Montoya switched his steering wheel for a camera lens last Thursday as he starred in a photo shoot for the team's Official Partner TAG Heuer. The backdrop for the shoot was the McLaren Technology Centre.

The shoot was arranged to create the images that will be used in adverts around the world following the official announcement of Juan Pablo last week as an ambassador for TAG Heuer, as well as Hollywood stars Uma Thurman and Brad Pitt. World renowned photographer, Patrick Demarchelier, was the man responsible for capturing the perfect image of Juan Pablo wearing his TAG Heuer Carrera watch.

Two locations were used during the day. In the morning the crew suffered strong winds to set up in front of the McLaren Technology Centre's spectacular façade, which made a stunning backdrop for the first set of pictures. Then in the afternoon everyone moved back into the warm to continue shooting in the boulevard area where the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula One car was positioned with the lake behind it.

Juan Pablo remained relaxed all day, laughing and joking between takes, instantly at ease in the company of Patrick. Juan Pablo commented that, “I really enjoyed being part of this photo shoot with such a world renowned photographer as Patrick. I’m sure that he will produce some wonderful and amazing pictures.” Patrick was also impressed with the day, commenting that, “The McLaren Technology Centre makes for a stunning location for a photo shoot like this.” BMW WilliamsF1

A1 Grand Prix
Brands Hatch date pushed back Brands Hatch date pushed backThe first ever race for the A1 GP series has been moved from September 18th to the 25th. A1 Grand Prix President, Sheikh Maktoum, said: "We had an amazing reaction from the UK fans to the announcement that the first event was being held in the UK. They confirmed our beliefs they are one of the most patriotic group of fans in motorsport. Many of the fans had already purchased tickets for other events on that date, so were disappointed they were not going to be able to attend our event. We have now made it possible for them to be with us at Brands Hatch." Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of Brands Hatch owner MotorSport Vision, added: "We are obviously all concerned to provide both spectators and television audiences with the best opportunity to watch the major events on the calendar, and I think we've now got the best overall balance."
Industry News
Barber signs 9 events for 2005 Barber signs 9 events for 2005Barber Motorsports Park has signed nine events for its third season, beginning with the Historic Sportscar Racing Series event April 1-3 and concluding with the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association National Roadrace Series Oct. 21-23.   For the third consecutive year, Barber will host the Honda Superbike Classic April 22-24 as part of the AMA Superbike Series and the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series July 29-31.   A new addition to the schedule is the World Karting Association, which made its debut in October at the Porsche 250. Birmingham Business Journal
Industry News
Sports firms set China as a goal Sports firms set China as a goalThis NY Times article says, Beijing China is better known for making most of the world's sports shoes rather than wearing them. But the world's biggest athletic shoe brands are in a race to change that.  In the latest move, Adidas-Salomon announced on Monday that it would be a major sponsor of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, providing clothing for all Games staff, volunteers and technical officials.  Chinese athletes also will wear the company's Adidas-brand shoes and sportswear throughout the Games, and at the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games as well.
The announcement is part of Adidas' ambitious hopes for China. The German-based company intends to expand its stores in China to 4,000 by 2008, from a current 1,300, and to expand its revenue there to more than €1 billion, or $1.3 billion, by the end of the decade, executives said.
"We foresee by 2008 China could be the No. 3, or with some push, No. 2 market in the world," Christophe Bezu, Adidas's regional senior vice president, said at a news conference in Beijing. "China clearly is the driver." Annual revenue from China is "well over" $130 million, he said.
Rival sportswear brands like Reebok and Nike - as well as other multinational corporations hoping to promote their brand through sports - also have their eyes on China's increasingly affluent and image-conscious young consumers.
They have recruited sports stars like Yao Ming, the Shanghai-born center of the Houston Rockets, and Liu Xiang, China's gold-medal hurdler, as icons of a confident, sports-loving nation. Nike's sales in China rose two thirds in 2003 to $300 million.
Currently China spends about $5 billion a year on sports merchandise and events, which is a sliver of the $200 billion or more spent in the United States every year, said Terry Rhoads, a former Nike marketing executive who is now general manager of Zou Marketing, a Shanghai company that advises on sports management and promotion.
"Perhaps there's more hype than opportunities, but there's no doubt there's pent-up demand for sports in China," he said.   Chinese city governments have also spied that opportunity, and many have spent heavily on new sports facilities. Apart from Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Olympics, Shanghai has spent heavily on building a racetrack for Formula 1 motorcars and tennis courts for international opens.   But more than income and budgets stands in the way of turning China into a major sporting market, according to consultants. As in many other areas of China's economy, multinationals hoping to profit from China's growth must grapple with bureaucracies that want to profit from their control but show only flickering awareness of customers and market competition.
"The toughest thing the government is grappling with is that sports are entertainment," Rhoads said.  Sports executives and experts said that making China's sports administration more responsive to fans and consumers may be a long and troublesome process. Adidas sponsors China's soccer league, which has almost collapsed over disputes between club managers and game officials, as well as grappling with charges of match-fixing.
"It's the shenanigans around the sports that cause fans to lose interest," Rhoads said.   The reach of government control over sports clubs meant that little attention was given to making stadiums comfortable and convenient, or spicing up matches with mid-match entertainment, Rhoads said. As well, China's main state-run television station has a virtual monopoly over many major sports events, stifling competitive bidding for broadcast rights. Matches in China's premier soccer league regularly attract a few thousand spectators in stadiums that can seat tens of thousands, and last year China's national basketball league attracted only $1 million for nationwide television broadcast rights.
Multinational companies are instead tending to promote themselves in China through international events held in Beijing or Shanghai, like the Shanghai open and games between U.S. basketball teams, Rhoads said.   Chinese sports experts also said participation in sports is more restricted than the United States or Europe - and that must also change if China is to become a major consumer of sporting goods and activities. Multinational investors are hoping to encourage a youth culture devoted to sports by sponsoring high school basketball contests and university soccer leagues.
Yu Jie, the acting director of the Fudan University FUON Sports Marketing Center in Shanghai, said that during a two-year stay in the United States, she was struck by the relatively widespread participation of high school students in team sports, whereas Chinese students are so busy with studying that they have little time for sports.
"Here in China kids have lots of exam pressures, so they don't have the same opportunities to participate in team sports," Yu said. "Kids like to play, but there are limits on their opportunities."
American to replace Dr. Watkins American to replace Dr. WatkinsDr. Gary Hartstein of the United States, an associate professor of anesthesiology and emergency medicine, has been appointed as the new FIA Medical Delegate.  Hartstein replaces Professor Sid Watkins, who has held the role for the past 26 years. Hartstein has assisted Watkins since 1997.  The FIA Medical Delegate oversees a variety of safety and medical issues in Formula One and other areas of motorsports. In his new position, Hartstein will attend every Grand Prix, including the United States Grand Prix on June 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hartstein’s road to F1 began in Staten Island, N.Y., where he was born and raised. After attending the University of Rochester, he went to medical school in Liege, Belgium. He studied medicine in Belgium from 1977-83, and then went back to the Bronx to do his training in anesthesia and critical care medicine. After 18 months of residency in the Bronx, he returned to live in Belgium with his Belgian wife. (Photo right by Ron McQueeney/IMS)

As a boy, Hartstein had started watching auto races on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” but didn’t attend a race until he saw an Indy-car race in the Meadowlands in New Jersey about 15 years ago.   “I remember before the race seeing all the service cars and medical cars driving around the track and thinking to myself, ‘That must be really cool to do that,’” Hartstein said.

After moving back to Europe in 1989, he watched the Belgian Grand Prix on TV.  “I was watching the race on TV, and I thought: ‘Wait a second, there are doctors there. Put that on to do list: find doctors at track.”

Hartstein soon got to know and work with the local Belgian doctors who worked at races at the Spa circuit.  “I started working at club races every two weeks and looking forward to the Grand Prix in 1990,” Hartstein said. “In 1990, come Grand Prix weekend, I got to the circuit and they said, ‘OK, you have the most important job of all; you are going to ride with Watkins.’ I said, ‘Who is he?’ They said, ‘Sid Watkins—he is the boss!’ I think they put me in the car with him because I spoke English! We got on fairly well and worked together each year at the Belgian Grand Prix.”

“Our role is to supervise and coordinate and liaise with each local medical team,” Hartstein said. “The care at trackside is really based on a local team taking care of people. They are held to certain standards in terms of numbers and equipment and organization. On paper, our job is to make sure all the rules are followed, and so we do a couple of medical inspections.”

Hartstein also will ride in the F1 Medical Car in every Grand Prix this year, including the USGP.

As a racing fan and one who had grown up watching the Indianapolis 500 on TV, Hartstein was awestruck on his first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2000.

“It was absolutely extraordinary,” Hartstein said. “The infrastructure just blew me away. I couldn’t believe how big it was. We drove around the full oval and you see the black mark of the real racing line.  I had watched the 500 on TV. I had watched Nigel Mansell tap the wall with his right-hand wheels and just keep going at over 200 mph. But when you see it in person, it is just staggering.” USGP

Latest F1 News in Brief Latest F1 News in Brief
Jordan sell for $50m
F1's 'ice man' in hot water
Ferrari deny sly F1 deal
McLaren car a 'close call'
F1 court battle to resume
McLaren to use 'third' option
McLaren abandon '20' debut
'Slow to spot' F1 boost
Juan qualm with Ferrari plan
Jacques' off for F1 win
New Renault 'looks the same'
Saga 'affected me' - Button
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