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DATE News (chronologically)
02/16/07
nascar
Almirola wins Busch pole  Aric Almirola outran Jason Leffler on Friday to grab his second NASCAR Busch Series pole in his 10th attempt.  The 22-year-old Hispanic driver won his first pole last June in Milwaukee, sitting in for Nextel Cup star Denny Hamlin, who was qualifying the same day in Sonoma, Calif.

Almirola set the bar high early turning a fast lap of 183.741 mph on a cold, windy afternoon. Then Almirola, who grew up in Tampa, Fla., watched while driver after driver took a shot at the top spot.

"It was nerve-racking," he said. "I'm sure I won't get very much sleep [Friday night], and I'm sure I'll be nervous [Saturday]. But, when we take the green flag, I'm a rookie, but I'm no different than anybody else out there."

Leffler, driving the fastest of the new Busch Series Toyotas, came closest to knocking the youngster off the top spot with a 183.587.

Jon Wood took the third spot for Saturday's Orbitz 300 (noon ET, ESPN 2) at 183.531, followed by two-time Busch champion and current Nextel Cup regular Martin Truex Jr. at 183.419.

02/16/07
tv news
ESPN to introduce new Drafting Special Effects  Continuing its tradition of ground-breaking innovations for sports television, ESPN will introduce the first phase of a new development in motorsports coverage during the live telecast of Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway on ESPN2.

Using proprietary technology, ESPN will be able to show viewers the effects of drafting in NASCAR racing in a way that has never been done before. The system, which was designed by ESPN and Sportvision, will display numerical readouts of a race car’s horsepower increase and downforce pressure, both as a result of drafting.

“This system will display numbers that could only have been speculated on in the past,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. “This is the first phase of this project and you can expect more.” More ...

02/16/07
tv news
Strong Start for Duels on SPEED  The Gatorade Duel at Daytona drew a Thursday afternoon average household rating of 1.87 (1,307,000 Households) according to Nielsen Media Research, making it the third-highest rated program in the network's 11-year history. Coverage of the Duels, two 150-mile qualifying races to set the field for the Daytona 500, peaked at 2.48 (1,728,000 HH) and spent 60 minutes at 2.0 or better. SPEED re-aired the race at 10 p.m. ET, giving the event a cumulative single-day rating of 2.49 (1,739,000 HH).
02/16/07
nascar
Rudd leads Cup practice 5 at Daytona  
Pos No Driver Make Time Speed
1. 88 Ricky Rudd Ford 47.315 190.214
2. 16 Greg Biffle Ford 47.325 190.174
3. 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 47.325 190.174
4. 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 47.365 190.014
5. 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 47.375 189.974
6. 99 Carl Edwards Ford 47.410 189.833
7. 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 47.474 189.577
8. 01 Mark Martin Chevrolet 47.574 189.179
9. 13 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 47.636 188.933
10. 00 David Reutimann* Toyota 47.758 188.450 More ...
02/16/07
cc
Miller exposes IRL’s shortcomings  Dear AutoRacing1.com: There is a very interesting article by Robin Miller in the February 8 issue of Autosport magazine on the current state of the IRL, “U.S. Single-seater War Keeps Series Diluted”. This is just another example of the damage that Tony George has done to open wheel auto racing in the United States and the somewhat pathetic state of affairs currently in the IRL even with some of Champ Car’s former big teams. Here are some key excerpts from Robin Miller’s article (read closely, there are some very interesting new tidbits of information):

Entering its 12th year of business, the Indy Racing League remains a poor substitute for CART in its ‘90s heyday, an under-developed property that’s thought to be a tax write-off for founder Tony George. Today, it’s a spec series comprised of road racers and foreigners that’s dominated by the men (Penske and Ganassi) that George openly despised in the mid-’90s, It has no title sponsor, pathetic TV ratings and struggles to maintain grid sizes.

HOW MUCH MONEY HAS GEORGE INVESTED IN THE IRL? The conservative estimate, counting cars, engines, purses and marketing, is somewhere north of $300 million. Before Honda and Toyota arrived, George had to spend millions propping up several of his under-funded teams. In 2003, during a round of golf, he complained to one of the car owners that he’d spent “$90m” on purses alone. Another estimated $50m has been thrown at marketing companies trying to raise sponsorships. Last May, the IRL founder is believed to have helped finance 11 of the 33 starters in the Indianapolis 500.

WHAT IS HONDA GETTING OUT OF IT AS SOLE SUPPLIER? Not nearly what it expected when it left CART in 2002. Its very existence is mostly to compete against hated rival Toyota, but its dominance in 2004 and 2005 chased it away. And the low-revving, harnessed horsepower rules hardly challenge its technical skills. Supposedly, there is an escape clause in the contract with the IRL that says unless there is a competitor by 2008, Honda is free to leave.

WHAT ABOUT ALL THAT UNIFICATION TALK? There is no doubt that talks were making headway until they were outed by an American magazine. Now it appears there’s little, if any, communication between the two sides. The bottom line? George doesn’t trust what he perceives as shifty car owners and the Champ Car team bosses are wary of a rich kid they think has questionable business acumen. Jeff Broadstreet, Los Angeles

02/16/07
nascar
NASCAR bags another cheater - Jeff Gordon  UPDATE Evernham Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler said Friday at Daytona International Speedway that Jeff Gordon should have been stripped of his victory in the second Gatorade Duel qualifying race after Gordon's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet failed postrace inspection.

"I just think if you're low, you're low," Sadler said. "That's what they have postrace inspection for, and if you fail, you fail. The win should be taken from you."

Sadler, whose team director, Josh Browne, was suspended for two races after illegal mounting bolts were found on his No. 19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge in prequalifying inspection for the Daytona 500, was "surprised" NASCAR let the victory stand.

"If you don't pass postrace inspection, you don't get whatever position you finished in," Sadler said. "That's why you have postrace inspection. That's the purpose of it."

Sadler found Gordon's infraction "funny."

"It's just funny that they were low on a track that [being] low helps," Sadler said. "I'm willing to bet any of y'all any kind of money y'all want to bet that they won't be low at a downforce racetrack where you want to be high. ... It's just weird how it all worked out like that yesterday." Scenedaily.com

[Editor's Note: Ever wonder what it's like racing for an organization that allows cheaters to prosper, and to make matters worse, is inconsistent in how it enforces the rules........to suit their needs? Welcome to NASCAR. Is this a sport or a Barnum and Bailey Circus?]

02/15/07 Following post-race inspection after the second Gatorade Duel at Daytona qualifying race, Jeff Gordon’s winning No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet was found to be an inch too low, prompting NASCAR to relegate Gordon to a 42nd starting position in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said he feels the action was unintentional. No fines or point deductions will be assessed, according to Pemberton. "We're sure this wasn't intentional," Pemberton said. [Note: How funny, then why did you move him back to 42nd?]

Despite the infraction, Gordon still goes into the record books as the winner.

02/16/07
f1
Driving career in limbo, JV now a singer  Jacques will be performing the songs from his new album 'Private Paradise' at free live shows in Montreal and Quebec City next week. Amélie Veille, Ely and Melanie Villeneuve will also be appearing, along with and special guest artist 'Steve Smith' (Dirty Vegas).
02/16/07
f1
Renault needs more speed - Symonds  (GMM) A team chief has admitted publicly that Renault, after winning the past two world championships, is not setting the pace with its new 'R27' car for 2007.

Testing time sheets from the winter sessions indicate that McLaren, Ferrari and even BMW are putting the French squad in the shade, as it prepares for its first season since 2003 without Fernando Alonso in the cockpit.

"We are realistic enough to know we need to find more speed," engineering chief Pat Symonds said on Friday.

The Briton said the main problem is getting the most out of Bridgestone's new control tire for a single lap, but confessed that Renault drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen usually trail the leading pace by "several tenths" also on long runs.

He continued: "We are discussing the matter with Bridgestone.

"We are not worried, but when you are not on top of the pile, then you have to be honest enough to admit it –- and knuckle down to try and find the speed.

"We are working bloody hard at it," Symonds added.

02/16/07
f1
Williams developed Toyota's new gearbox  (GMM) A Williams spokesman has confirmed that technology developed by the Grove based team formed the basis for Toyota's gearbox for 2007.

Japan owned Toyota, the Cologne based works team, supplies V8 engines to Williams, amid speculation that the traditionally independent outfit has become a Toyota 'B' team.

But communications manager Liam Clogger indicated that the technology transfer is actually a two-way street, telling us that Toyota's new seamless-shift transmission was "a joint development between the two organizations, using our '06 technology as a platform".

02/16/07
f1
Renault quits 'GPMA' alliance  (GMM) Renault on Friday announced that it has quit the dwindling F1 manufacturers' alliance known as GPMA with immediate effect.

It is a move that confirms lengthy rumors and leaves just Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Honda in the GPMA camp.

Toyota quit the group last August, as it became clearer that the standoff between carmakers and the sport's governing body and the threat of a breakaway championship was nearing its end.

"Renault believes that in order to achieve constructive dialogue with the FIA on the future direction of the sport, it is important to work in consultation with all manufacturers participating in formula one, including Ferrari and Toyota," a statement read.

02/16/07
f1
Q and A with Renault’s Pat Symonds  
Q. Pat, the team has stated publicly that reliability has been the focus of much of its running during pre-season testing. How has that progressed?

Pat Symonds - Renault's director of engineering: Our main objective was to complete as many kilometres before the opening race this year, as we did last. Given that we are on track fewer days, that means we have had to push pretty hard on reliability to get where we want to be.

The forthcoming tests in Bahrain are an added motivation, because when you are running so far from home, you want the car running as well as possible. Looking at the numbers, though, we seem to be achieving our goals: our mileage, along with that of McLaren, is well ahead of the rest of our competitors. And that's gratifying to see.

Q. The hot topic of the winter has been the transition to the 2007-spec Bridgestone tires. How is that progressing?

PS: Back in November, we said that our objective was to learn our lessons by the time we reached Melbourne. We are not in Australia yet, and we haven't learned all our lessons either! I think we are in a good position in terms of tire degradation, but we have not yet unlocked the secret of getting performance out of the tires on the first lap. More ...

02/16/07
cc
Champ Car race will be a real circus  Cirque du Soleil will be centre stage for the relaunch of Champ Car at Circuit Mont Tremblant this summer.

The world-renowned circus company is partnering with Montreal promoter Normand Legault, track-owner Lawrence Stroll and the U.S. based open-wheel racing series in an effort to ensure its long-term success in the province and, specifically, at the historic track in the Laurentians resort area.

For the Cirque, it could be the start of major participation in motorsports.

Daniel Lamarre, president and chief operating officer of the Cirque - speaking on behalf of Cirque founder Guy Laliberte, a fan of auto racing - said the company has been involved with projects related to sporting events, but the move to join Champ Car's debut at Circuit Mont Tremblant June 29 to July 1 is the most significant to date. More ...

02/16/07
nascar
Cheating is good for NASCAR  This USA Today article talks about how cheating is engrained in the NASCAR culture and how good it is for the sport.  Amazing!  In fact it could lead to its eventual demise because as it tries to grow and reach stick-and-ball sports fans they are not to take interest in a sport where teams cheat to win.  (Related article on why cheating continues in NASCAR)
02/16/07
cc
GM doing very well in China  General Motors Corp., the world's largest carmaker, said profit in China is healthy because incentives remain lower than in the United States, the company's largest market.

Incentives in China are $200 to $300 a car compared with thousands of dollars a car in the United States, said Nick Reilly, president of GM Asia Pacific, in an interview Thursday in Shanghai.

"There is tremendous downwards pricing pressure in China now and everybody sees the opportunity," Reilly said. "Up till now, we have been pretty successful to offset that with bigger volume and great performance in manufacturing operations."

GM and other automakers in China saw profits rebound last year after a two-year decline, as a record number of new models increased car sales. China became the world's second-largest auto market with sales of 7.22 million units in 2006.

GM may sell close to 1 million units in 2007 as it plans to bring new concepts and models to China shortly, Reilly said. More at Detroit Free Press

02/16/07
Industry News
Ford fix-it plan not working  Here's a summary of status report Ford sent to employees this week summarizing how there turnaround Way Forward plan is going.
  • Missed its retail sales market share goal in the United States by 10,600 vehicles and expects to miss its retail share goals for February and March.
  • Expected to miss its material cost reduction goals in February and March.
  • Employee confidence in its turnaround plan has fallen. Fewer than half of employees say they believe Ford's Way Forward plan will help it achieve sustainable business success.
  • Only 38 percent of employees said they were confident Ford has the right products to compete.
  • Ford expects to achieve cost gains through lower than expected warranty costs and lower fuel and utility costs.
  • Ford Marketing and Sales is implementing a new plan to drive more showroom traffic.
02/16/07
nascar
Some drivers go home early at Daytona  A total of 17 drivers, and their sponsors, did not make the Daytona 500. Former 500 winners Derrike Cope and Bill Elliott missed the show. Ward Burton, trying to make a comeback, is out. And Paul Menard is on the sidelines, who was trying to put three DEI cars in the race.

The new Toyota Team Red Bull duo of A.J. Allmendinger and Brian Vickers will be forced to watch Sunday's race from home.
 
Another Toyota team, Bill Davis Racing, also came up short. While Dave Blaney has the team's No. 22 Camry in the 500 based on last year's owners' points, Jeremy Mayfield and Mike Skinner came up short in their bid to give Davis three entries in Sunday's race.

Mike Bliss in the No. 49, BAM Racing Dodge, lost a race to the line on the last lap of race number one with Boris Said. Said, 12th in the race, edged Bliss at the line by inches. "I feel like I want to cry," a dejected Bliss said afterward.

02/16/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
McLaren sponsor to also back Senna
Bernie lying to put pressure on other F1 venues
Honda fail to make winter impact
Renault 'behind Ferrari' - Fisichella
Kimi says Schu not a distraction
Doornbos splits with F1 manager
BMW's Heidfeld doubts rival praise
Sutil not worried about looming van der Garde
Schu rumor 'ridiculous' - Stuck
Axed Willis eyes return to F1
02/16/07
cc
Pastorelli and Conquest racing  Heard a rumor that Nicky Pastorelli's backer Meindert van Buuren from Holland, who is also the promoter of Champ Car's Zolder race, might run Pastorelli in a Conquest Racing seat.  However, we hear money for a full season is the issue so it will be interesting to see if Pastorelli pops up with Conquest Racing in time for the Laguna Seca test.
02/16/07
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday and Saturday  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com 

Friday
Movie: 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story (2004)
4:00am-6:00am ESPN2
Cold Pizza Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman
10:00am-12:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Daytona
1:00pm-1:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Daytona
1:30pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Daytona
3:00pm-6:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Daytona
5:00pm-6:00pm (L) ESPN
NASCAR Live! Daytona
6:00pm-6:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now
6:00pm-7:00pm ESPN2
Trackside -Daytona 500 Preview Daytona
6:30pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  Daytona
7:30pm-10:30pm (L) SPEED

Saturday
NASCAR Live! Daytona
9:00am-10:30am (L) SPEED
SpeedFreaks - Mario Andretti
10:30am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Daytona
10:30am-12:00pm (L) SPEED
Jimmie Johnson: Chasing A Champion
11:00am-12:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Series Orbitz 300 Daytona
12:00pm-4:00pm (L) ESPN2
HDNet World Report -Toyota Invades NASCAR (Part of Show)
12:30pm-1:30pm (R) HDNet
NASCAR Angels
2:00pm-2:30pm ABC
NASCAR Live! Daytona
5:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
Tradin' Paint
6:00pm-6:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Performance
6:30pm-7:00pm SPEED
The SPEED Report -Daytona Preview
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
Moonshine -Examines illegal homemade liquor,
its history, its relation to NASCAR and
possible dangers the drink poses

8:00pm-9:00pm (R) National geographic
Daytona 500 Memories
9:00pm-10:00pm SPEED

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

02/15/07
nascar
Cheaters prosper in NASCAR  For all the chest beating about harsh punishments for cheaters this week, all five teams that were busted by NASCAR's technical inspectors this week have a starting spot in Sunday's race.  Meanwhile teams that did not cheat are going home.
02/15/07
nascar
Waltrip cheating scandal makes Nightly News  The cheating scandals are playing right into NASCAR's hands making headlines and giving the series free publicity.  Here is a video on Waltrip's story on NBC Nightly News.  Because of this free publicity NASCAR will never get rid of cheating completely.
02/15/07
nascar
After leading, broken hub sidelines Montoya  Juan Pablo Montoya, former Champ Car and Indy 500 champion and now rookie driver of the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, suffered a broken hub on his car and retired after leading 18 laps.

“I think we clipped somebody with the left rear when we were running three wide,” Montoya said. “It was a little tight. It started bogging down out of the corner, so I think the bearing was going. I was really comfortable out there, though. The car was handling really good. I am happy to be a part of this.” Photo by CIA Stock Photo

02/15/07
cc
nascar
Grand Prix of Edmonton adds NASCAR race  Jim Haskins, President and General Manager of the Grand Prix of Edmonton made the following announcement: “Today, we are very excited to announce that the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will race in this year’s Grand Prix of Edmonton. “The NASCAR race is a newly-formed series incorporating elements of the CASCAR series which ran last year in Edmonton. CASCAR has had a loyal following across Canada, especially in Edmonton going back to the 1970’s. “But with NASCAR’s new participation this is going to be an even bigger, better series. It takes our event to a higher level when we can say the new NASCAR series is coming to Edmonton with all its market presence.

“In fact, Edmonton is going to be unique bringing together both the Champ Car World Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in one event. We anticipate NASCAR will bring 35 to 40 of their throaty & noisy cars to the Edmonton track to support the world class Champ series which has already attracted such an enthusiastic crowd to our city. It’s going to be an amazing weekend.”

02/15/07
cc
Vegas GP gala to feature Jon Bon Jovi and Jay Leno  The Vegas Grand Prix will host an April 5 charity gala featuring superstar performances by Jon Bon Jovi and Friends and Jay Leno.

Proceeds raised during the event’s silent and live auction will be donated by the newly formed Jenyon Foundation, Inc. to Keep Memory Alive – the foundation for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, a local organization that funds research to help find a cure to Alzheimer, Huntington, Parkinson, ALS and memory disorders – among others.

The gala, to be held at the Bellagio, will feature numerous celebrities. Jon Bon Jovi and Friends will be the headline musical entertainment with comedian and “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno doing stand-up. Hit country duo Big & Rich along with Cowboy Troy will also perform at the event.  The gala will also feature international cuisine, appearances by Champ Car World Series drivers and A-list Hollywood celebrities and a live auction hosted by auctioneer company Barrett-Jackson with an accompanying high-end silent auction. Auction items include an exclusive winemaking and cooking apprenticeship in Tuscany, Italy with winemaker Roberto Stucchi; a stay in a waterfront condo in Kauai, Hawaii; a walk-on appearance on NBC’s hit show “Medium”; VIP racing experiences with the American Racing Academy and rides in an L39 fighter jet. More ...

02/15/07
nascar
Waltrip team makes Daytona 500  Michael Waltrip led six laps of the Gatorade Duel behind the wheel of a backup car. Waltrip raced his way into the Daytona 500 in today’s first Duel race after starting at the rear of the field.   Dave Blaney and Dale Jarrett were locked into the Daytona 500 based on last season’s owner points and the past champion’s provisional rule.

MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing: About the emotion of making the Daytona 500: “I race cars, that’s what I do.  I want to thank Mr. Helton and my wife for reminding me of that because I was so upset yesterday that I wanted to go home and they said no you have to stay and race because that’s what you do.  I’m just sad, but I’m happy at the same time.  Daytona does that to you.” “I missed all the practice and I had to start at the back and we still made it.  We look forward to Sunday, all three of our Toyota Camry’s are in the race and that’s pretty cool.  I’m probably the most depressing guy you’ve ever seen make the Daytona 500.” More ...

02/15/07
cc
RuSPORT MSR Houston test wrap-up  Loveland, CO. - The RuSPORT team wrapped up their second testing session of the 2007 season at Mercedes Benz of Sugar Land Road Course in Houston with a solid performance, its testing goals achieved and the most miles run of any of the Champ Car teams. The fast and physically demanding 2.38-mile permanent road-course offered the team a chance to test the car at a facility new to RuSPORT. Justin Wilson, #9 CDW/Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone, was able to log significant miles in his new Panoz DP01 in preparation for his quest for the 2007 Vanderbilt Cup, and he was also able to end the first day of testing in Houston on top with a time of 1:30.162. His fastest lap of the two day test, however, came during the final session on Tuesday with a time of 1:11.179 at an average speed of 120.373-mph.

To assist in preparing for the upcoming season, RuSPORT enlisted the expertise of veteran Champ Car driver; Oriol Servia to run in the #10 RuSPORT/Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone car. Servia, who ran the most laps of any of the drivers, finished the two day test with a best lap time of 1:11.257 at 120.241-mph, which he ran on Tuesday afternoon. For both the RuSPORT team and the drivers, the test in Houston was an opportunity to continue to work on finding speed and reliability with the new Panoz DP01. More ...

02/15/07
track news
Bubba Gump Turn One Club  The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., the Official Seafood Restaurant sponsor of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach since 2004, will again host the "Turn One Club," one of the most popular locations from which to enjoy the 33rd annual race April 13-15.

The Bubba Gump Shrimp Turn One Club, trackside between Turns 1 and 2 on the world-famous, 1.97-mile seaside circuit, attracted capacity race weekend crowds in 2006 to its superior location, casual atmosphere and superb food for the entire family.

The first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and Market opened in 1996 on Cannery Row in Monterey, Calif.  Since then, the company has grown to include 17 locations in the U.S., one each in Mexico, Bali and the Philippines and three in Japan.

True to its name, shrimp - Stuffed Shrimp, Shrimp Po'Boy and Peel 'n' Eat Shrimp, among others - is the star of the menu, but the restaurant has also earned awards for its Dixie-style baby back ribs and its diverse drink menu.

For more information about the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and the Turn One Club, visit www.bubbagump.com, or www.longbeachgp.com.

02/15/07
a1gp
Summerton to drive for Team USA again  Jonathan Summerton has been chosen to be the race driver for Team USA in the A1GP race in Durban, South Africa next week. Jonathan showed great potential at the last rookie test at Eastern Creek in Australia where he set the fastest lap placing his Team USA, "We The People" car, in P1.
02/15/07
nascar
Allmendinger fails to qualify for Daytona 500  AJ Allmendinger had to race his way into the Daytona 500 in today's first Gatorade 150 qualifying race but he crashed out of the race early.  On lap 24 the #7 Ford Robby Gordon came down into the #84 Toyota of Allmendinger in turn 4, sending Gordon into the outside wall and Allmendinger into the grass. Both were done for the day.  After a successful year last year in Champ Car where he was in a top ride and winning a lot of races, he's now in a back marker team in NASCAR fighting to even qualify for races.  But he's making a lot of money so he can drown his sorrows in cash. Photo by CIA Stock Photo
02/15/07
nascar
More cheating found in NASCAR  After a week long of cheating incidences, NASCAR inspectors have found more cheating - i.e. proving it is engrained in the culture.  Is there any team in NASCAR that doesn't cheat?   On display at the NASCAR hauler are unapproved windshield braces have been confiscated from the No. 22 Toyota driven by Dave Blaney.  Unapproved probe heaters utilized in car’s transmissions were found on both Robert Yates Racing cars, the Nos. 38 and 88, driven by David Gilliland and Ricky Rudd, respectively.
02/15/07
irl
Penske urges council to approve Belle Isle race  UPDATE With little fanfare and no discussion, the Detroit City Council today approved a contract to return Grand Prix racing to Belle Isle after a six-year absence.  The council voted unanimously to allow the race to proceed over the three-day Labor Day weekend.  The five-year contract calls for the city spending at least $1.5 million, but no more than $2.5 million, in capital improvements, such as street paving, on Belle Isle. In return, the city will receive $100,000 from the race, which will increase by $25,000 every year for the next five years.  Detroit Free Press

02/15/07 The Detroit City Council will vote Thursday morning on a contract that would return Grand Prix racing to Belle Isle this Labor Day weekend.

Racing ended on Belle Isle six years ago, but Wednesday morning racing mogul and businessman Roger Penske sat before the council to urge them to approve the contract as soon as possible. If we do not get this signed and approved by next Wednesday, I’m not prepared to go forward,” Penske said.

He told the council that he can’t sign on contractors until he has the approval of the council. Council members had a variety of questions, namely the cost to the city for hosting the race.

Under the proposed contract, the city would pay $1.5 million in road improvements on Belle Isle that would be paid for with state and city road funds. In return, the city is guaranteed to receive $100,000 the first year of the race and that figure would increase by $25,000 every year for the next five years.

Despite the concerns, a majority of the council seemed in favor of approving the three-day event.

“It’ll get approved, but first we have these questions,” Councilwoman Joann Watson told Penske. Detroit Free Press

02/15/07
alms
Halliday relishes Aston Martin role  Living in London, the Aston Martin brand has a special place in the heart of Liz Halliday. Now she has the opportunity to drive an Aston Martin DBR9 for Team Modena at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to open the 2007 American Le Mans Series season.

“When I saw the car for the first time I was hugely impressed with it,” Halliday beamed. “So it’s a great honor that (Team Modena) asked me to be a part of the program. Also I don’t believe that there are many women who have had the opportunity to race the DBR9, so that is kind of cool.”

Halliday, who will team with Antonio Garcia at Sebring, made headlines in the Series with Intersport Racing in 2005 and 2006. She is the most successful female in American Le Mans Series with six victories (all with Intersport in LMP2) in 18 career starts. Last season, she and Intersport battled the Porsche factory team and Penske Motorsports’ two Porsche RS Spyders. At Sebring, she and Team Modena will go head-to-head with Corvette Racing’s two Corvette C6.Rs. More ...

02/15/07
motogp
Pedrosa puts Honda on top in Qatar  The Repsol Honda Team wrapped up the penultimate pre-season test in Qatar today with Dani Pedrosa topping the timesheets after a blistering lap on Michelin qualifying tires. The 21-year-old Spaniard focused on tire testing in the morning before completing a valuable 22-lap race distance early in the afternoon, maintaining a consistently high race pace. His best lap on race tires was 1m 56.835s, nearly 0.5s quicker than the existing race lap record. At the end of the day with the Michelin qualifier in place Pedrosa was able to go 0.2s inside last year’s pole position time with a lap of 1m 55.471s. 

World Champion Nicky Hayden today worked with his crew on tire testing and suspension settings for the prototype 800cc RC212V he and his team-mate will race here at the 2007 season opener. Instead of going for outright lap times the 25-year-old American put in an impressive 97 laps as he made up for the track time he lost yesterday and tried to improve the feeling from the bike’s front end. Hayden wasn’t able to repeat the performance from the team’s last test at Phillip Island, Australia where he finished on top of the timesheets, but he remains confident of improvements at the next test in Jerez. More ...
02/15/07
cc
f1
Doornbos splits with manager  Red Bull Racing test driver Robert Doornbos will not continue to work with his manager Marco Zecchi. Zecchi was Doornbos' manager since 2003 when the Dutchman was racing in the F3000 series. The duo ended their contract this month.  Doornbos has ended his contract with Zecchi as he wants to race in the American ChampCar series this season.
02/15/07
nascar
Cheating Dodge team names interim crew chiefs  Team owner Ray Evernham will sit atop the pit box for Evernham Motorsports' #19 Dodge driven by Elliott Sadler during the Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying race Thursday, team officials confirmed Wednesday. Evernham will share responsibilities as team director, Evernham's vernacular for crew chief, with car director Kirk Almquist. Tim Malinovsky and Chad Johnston will serve as Sadler's engineers. Tuesday, NASCAR suspended all three of Evernham's team directors, Kenny Francis (Kasey Kahne's No. 9 team) for four races and Rodney Childers (Scott Riggs' #10) and Josh Browne (#19) for two apiece. Team engineer Keith Rodden will serve as Kahne's team director, with support from car director Rich Hubbs and engineer Nick Hughes. Kevin Kidd will be Riggs' team director, with support from car director Dave Bryant and engineer Mike Wolfe. SceneDaily.com
02/15/07
nascar
New GM Racing Engine to Power Chevy in Cup  It's all change for Team Chevy in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2007. In addition to the scheduled introduction of the Impala SS Car of Tomorrow in March, GM Racing is introducing a new small-block V-8 racing engine that was specifically designed for NASCAR competition. The new powerplant - designated R07 - has been approved by NASCAR for competition in 2007. Chevrolet teams are expected to begin the transition from the current SB2 (Small-Block/2nd Generation) engine to the new R07 in March. Work on a successor to the SB2 began shortly after the SB2's introduction in NASCAR competition in 1998. The R07 retains the pushrod/two-valve layout that has been the mainstay of American motorsports since the introduction of the first-generation GM small-block V-8 in 1955. It is a highly advanced racing engine that meets NASCAR's specifications. Per NASCAR regulations, the R07 displaces a maximum of 358 cubic inches. In contrast to the SB2's "mirror port" cylinder heads, the R07's cylinder heads resemble production LS-series small-block cylinder heads with alternating intake and exhaust valves. While production small-block V-8 engines employ electronic fuel injection, the R07 port layout is optimized for the single four-barrel carburetor mandated by NASCAR. The R07's key technical advances over the SB2 include 4.500-inch cylinder bore centers (vs. 4.400 inches in SB2), a raised camshaft that improves valvetrain dynamics, a new six-bolt head bolt pattern that reduces cylinder bore distortion, and a targeted cooling system that minimizes temperatures at critical locations. A cast camshaft tunnel, integral piston squirter galleries, and overhead oil feed galleries reduce engine assembly time. Relocating the fuel pump to the inboard side of the car and eliminating external oil and coolant lines enhance safety. Although the R07 is a purpose-built racing engine, it has strong ties to production powerplants. "The concepts and processes that are used to improve the performance of our racing engines is shared with the production engine designers to improve the efficiency of our production engines," said Tom Stephens, group vice president of GM Powertrain. GM Racing PR
02/15/07
cc
Rahal 2nd fastest in Houston  Graham Rahal concluded two day's of Champ Car testing with Newman Haas Racing at the MSR Houston this week, finishing second fastest overall, and top rookie driver of the field, less than four thousandths of a second from the fastest time.

On Monday Rahal completed a total of 54 laps with a best lap time of 1:33.163 (91.968) to end the day ranked sixth overall and ran 97 laps on Tuesday with a lap time of 1:10.079 that was second fastest overall for the two days. The fastest lap was posted by Will Power, and at 1:10:040, only narrowly beat Rahal.

"I'm pretty happy with our lap time especially since we didn't use Push to Pass to get it and we know most people did," said Rahal. "We planned to use Push to Pass on the next set of new tires but when we put them on we had some handling issues and never got to it so it's great to know we did our fast lap time without it. Looking at the data from the Lola test we did here in Houston, this car is quicker than the Lola in a lot of areas on the track. The car is getting there and I think it will continue to surprise people as it gets faster and faster. It's enjoyable to drive." More ...

02/15/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Bahrain to be 'crucial' test - Raikkonen
Red Bull boosts morale with Barca banzai
Alonso dislikes new Barcelona chicane
Renault 'inconsistent' this winter - Alonso
V8 loss is $5m blow for Oz GP - report
Honda says 'no plans' for more Andretti tests
02/15/07
cc
Champ Car giving Legault another try in Quebec  The following is a rough translation of this article from Radio Canada that talks about the press conference held Wednesday regarding the Champ Car race at Mont-Tremblant.  From the sounds of it Champ Car will have a hard time of it at this remote circuit, especially when they expect only 25,000 fans on race day the first year.  The track will have only one main straight grandstand and the rest will be General Admission.  Some question if Normand Legault is really promoting this race with an eye toward someday getting the Stroll family to sponsor his F1 race in Montreal.  Given the great disservice he did to Champ Car in Montreal, and the big nut he has to crack to pay Bernie Ecclestone's fee every year, many doubt just how sincere he is.  Only time will tell and if the first event comes off with much success, than Legault's reputation in the Champ Car world will take a bump up.

Normand Legault came out of hiding on Wednesday to present the July 1st Champ Car race to be held on Circuit Mont-Tremblant, which he is organizing in partnership with the track’s owner, Lawrence Stroll.

Mr. Legault spoke for the first time since he chose to replace the Champ Car World Series by a NASCAR Busch race on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

He was seated along side Mr. Paul Gentilozzi, co-owner of the Champ Car series.

“I chose to associate myself to this project since it will allow the Champ Car series, I am sure, to find its legs at Tremblant, on a track that isn’t well known, it will allow the Tremblant business community to reap important economic benefits throughout the duration of the Canada Day weekend,” explained Mr. Legault.

Mr. Legault highlighted that he was happy to work with “very good friends”. More ...

02/15/07
nascar
Shell NASCAR Sponsorship Activation Program  Houston – Just in time for the 2007 Nextel Cup Season and to support a new relationship, Shell Oil Company announces an integrated marketing platform aimed at raising its brand profile with NASCAR fans on and off the track. NASCAR’s 75 million fans are sure to take notice that Shell has made its way back into the world of NASCAR through a relationship with one of the best teams in motorsports, Richard Childress Racing (RCR), and fan favorite, Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil car.  

“I’m very excited to be working with Shell and Pennzoil because they both have a very long and successful history in motorsports,” said Harvick. “I’ve been blown away by the commitment they’ve shown to me and RCR.  I think their passion is evident in all that they’re doing to support this relationship from what you see in the Shell locations, at track and internally with their employees. I’ve visited Shell headquarters in Houston and was able to experience it all firsthand.” More ...

02/15/07
cc
Rocketsports Houston Testing Report  Rocketsports Racing and Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani hit the Mercedes Benz of Sugar Land Road Course outside of Houston, Texas on Monday and Tuesday for their second Champ Car open test in the 2007 pre-season.  Despite wet conditions on Monday, the team was able to log over 233 miles and further expand their knowledge of the new Panoz Champ Car as they work to find a car that will put them back in victory lane this season.

“Unfortunately, with all the rain on Monday, we did not get much time to run during the first day of the test,” said Tagliani, who piloted the #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone for Rocketsports this week.  “The weather really hurt us because it kept us from analyzing our changes and moving forward to finding a faster car.  In conditions like that, when we made changes we were not sure whether those changes made the car better in certain areas on the track, or if the track was just dry in those spots.  So we hoped for a better day on Tuesday. More ...

02/15/07
nascar
cc
ESPN to offer huge coverage for Mexico City race  [Editor's Note:  Will ESPN do all this for the Champ Car Mexico City race?] In its continued commitment to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the 2007 NASCAR season, ESPN, Inc. will present ESPN Full Circle: NASCAR Busch Series from Mexico City Sunday, March 4 at 2 p.m. ET, live from Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez – the latest installation of an ESPN Full Circle presentation, in which various ESPN outlets carry the event live using different coverage approaches, in addition to extensive content surrounding the race across additional ESPN outlets such as TV, radio, internet, etc.  ESPN2, the home of the NASCAR Busch Series in 2007, will present a traditional race telecast (also available on ESPN2 HD), while ESPN will simulcast ESPN Deportes’ U.S. Hispanic Spanish-language flag-to-flag coverage.  Additionally, ESPN360 will feature a live stream of the ESPN2 telecast. More ...
02/15/07
cc
Frustration in Houston for Paul Tracy  Angleton, Texas – It was a frustrating two days for the Forsythe Team and Paul Tracy at Champ Car’s preseason test this week at MSR Houston Raceway in East Texas as the #3 INDECK Panoz ran only a handful of laps due to a variety of problems.  During the first day the team decided to limit their laps due to wet conditions.  The final day was expected to be more productive as the skies cleared, but the problems started during the morning session with an off track excursion that damaged the downforce-generating underbody, resulting in downtime for extensive repairs. 

During the afternoon session a clutch problem surfaced which once again caused Tracy to sit on the sidelines while the Forsythe crew repaired the car.  Tracy only managed to turn a handful of laps before the day ended, including his unofficial fastest lap of the day just after the checkered flag that would have moved him up several spots in the overall fast lap standings.  The most significant part of the day was a productive standing start practice in which the Forsythe team gathered a large amount of valuable data as the Champ Car World Series introduces an exciting new element to its signature Three-Day Festivals of Speed. More ...

02/15/07
nascar
Waltrip’s crew chief suspended  David Hyder, the crew chief for Michael Waltrip, has been suspended indefinitely for infractions discovered on the #55 Toyota during Sunday's post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. Further penalties against Waltrip's team will be announced at a press conference later on Wednesday. They are expected to be more severe than the two- and four-race suspensions of crew chiefs from four other teams that were announced on Tuesday. NASCAR chairman Brian France and president Mike Helton were among those that met with Waltrip and officials from Michael Waltrip Racing before Wednesday's first practice session. One official described the situation as "very serious." Lee White, the senior vice president for Toyota Racing Development that is making its Nextel Cup debut at Daytona, said he also planned to meet with Waltrip. "I wouldn't call it a setback, but it's disappointing for anyone that we partner with to have this happen in some form or fashion," he said. "We will talk with them to see where we need to go for the future." White said TRD has been working with NASCAR on the situation. "I can honestly tell you from an ethics standpoint and integrity, along with character and honesty, those things are paramount in our company," he said. "We hold ourselves to a high standard and we hold our teams to high standards. We hope we've picked the right ones." ESPN.com
02/15/07
nascar
Exposing NASCAR’s ’stock car’ fallacy  Will they boo? More than a few bonuses at Toyota USA must hang on that question as the foreign brand participates in its first-ever Daytona 500, dubbed (by fiat of NASCAR’s marketing department) the "Great American Race."

Not that there really could be such a thing as a "foreign" stock car. All the vehicles in Sunday's race will have been built from scratch in fabrication shops in the vicinity of Charlotte, N.C.

And "stock car" should perhaps be put in quotes too -- these are purpose-built racecars whose only resemblance to the street versions is the names they borrow.

While we're at it, let's avert our eyes from another irony: In tinkering with the rules to permit Toyota's entry, NASCAR changed the definition of an eligible vehicle from "American-made" to "American-assembled." Oops. Chevy's Monte Carlo is built in Canada and Ford's new Fusion is assembled in Mexico. More ...

02/15/07
nascar
NASCAR cheater tries to cover his tracks  Michael Waltrip’s statement regarding the NASCAR penalties handed down this evening to the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing entry:

“In the past 12 months, Michael Waltrip Racing has hired more than 150 people and we currently employ more than 200.   Although we have grown at an accelerated pace, it has been our mission to hire people with high moral value and character to properly represent our sponsors and our ownership.

“During preparations for the 2007 season and especially the 2007 Daytona 500, I specifically requested that our competition teams not disrespect NASCAR, our competitors or our sponsors by blatantly circumventing the rules.

“This is not the action of an organization, a manufacturer or a sponsor.  This was an independent act done without consent or authorization from me or any of my executive management team.  As an owner, I realize I am ultimately held responsible for the actions of my employees. Therefore, I accept the penalties issued tonight by NASCAR. More ...

02/15/07
nascar
Toyota’s worst nightmare  Jim Aust, vice president or Toyota Racing Development, was asked if the Michael Waltrip cheating situation was his worst nightmare. "I would say that's pretty close to accurate," Aust said. "This is a week we had looked forward to for many years. To begin this way certainly takes some of the limelight and happiness out of it." It also doesn't help the Toyota guys win over some NASCAR followers who didn't want them here in the first place. That marketing campaign just got a lot tougher. ESPN.com
02/15/07
cc
Test two in the books for PCM Rookies  Pacific Coast Motorsports wrapped the second of three series tests on Tuesday with the team completing over 300 miles over two days at MSR Houston in Angleton, Texas.

As a new team, with rookie drivers and a new car, track time is precious for the California crew and that precious track time was reduced on Monday as torrential rains and high winds swept through the Motorsports Ranch.  The PCM team led by director Tyler Tadevic, team manager Michael Harvey and crew chief Roy Wilkerson made the best of a wet situation; they sent their rookie drivers Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel out on the soggy and demanding track, in effort to garner experience in less than ideal conditions. Team manager Michael Harvey commented, “the first day we did some productive running in very tricky conditions and comparably speaking, we were very competitive. While we have two rookies, their experience prevailed and they did a fantastic job despite the conditions.” More ...

02/15/07
cc
Conquest Racing thrilled with Houston test  When the checkered flag dropped yesterday marking the end of the second day of testing at MSR Houston, everyone at Conquest Racing had a smile on their face. The team had just completed their first open test of the pre-season with a competitive seventh place on the timing sheets but also without encountering any problems on their DP01.

The rain might have put a damper on testing in dry conditions on day one of the test but the sun was out for day two allowing Conquest Racing to put some very important miles on their new racing machine that had sat back in the race shop in Indianapolis while all other Champ Car teams were out testing in Sebring last month.

“I’m delighted,” said an enthused Eric Bachelart, owner of the team. “Honestly after missing out on Sebring we had a lot to do in just one day of testing after it rained on Monday but being seventh quickest at this test shows that we are not far behind. It’s a very positive outcome. More ...

02/15/07
f1
McLaren announces new partnership  Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and the Kuortane Sports Institute are pleased to announce a new partnership. The partnership will see the Kuortane Sports Institute supporting the McLaren Human Performance Programme, which has been designed to take a scientific approach to driver preparation.

The Kuortane Sports Institute is an international training and coaching centre located in the west of Finland. The partnership will see the Kuortane Sports Institute conducting physical performance tests as well physical and medical examinations and providing professional consultations related to human performance improvement with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers and members of the race and test teams.

In early January 2007, the partnership began in earnest when the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers, as well as a number of their race team colleagues, spent a week at the Kuortane Sports Institute taking part in a number of seminars as well as general physical training and team work development. More ...

02/15/07
cc
Champ Car’s return to Circuit Mont-Tremblant  North America’s most powerful open wheel race cars will make a spectacular return to Circuit Mont-Tremblant on June 29-30th and July 1st, when the Champ Car World Series returns to the famed circuit almost four decades after their first-ever race in the Province of Quebec. Following in the footsteps of Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford and Gordon Johncock, the likes of Sébastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy, Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani will shine as today’s stars on the most beautiful and scenic race track in North America. Furthermore, the weekend rendezvous in the heart of the Laurentian landscape during the Canada Day Weekend will feature more than high-level motor racing excitement, as the world’s top spectacular art show, Cirque du Soleil, will join the festivities for the enjoyment of all those attending the event.

During today’s press conference held in Montreal, the partners involved in the coming of the Champ Car World Series for Round 7 at Mont-Tremblant, announced that tickets for this riveting event should go on sale March 1st, 2007, with price ranging from $95 to $135 for the whole weekend. Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil, and Normand Legault, President and CEO of Groupe motorisé international, were happy to share their enthusiasm about joining forces with the principals of Circuit Mont-Tremblant to make this event  one of the most spectacular show of the summer. More ...

02/15/07
nascar
NASCAR’s woven web of cheating  Team owner Ray Evernham said he won't appeal the four-race suspension to #9 team director Kenny Francis but is still mulling over whether to appeal the two-race suspensions of #19 team director Josh Browne and #10 team director Rodney Childers. Francis, the crew chief for Kasey Kahne, had his car fail post-qualifying inspection Sunday after tape came off holes in the oil tank and the right rear wheelhouse, where a hose would run during race conditions. Francis also was fined $50,000, and the team and driver were docked 50 points. Kahne also will have to start his 150-mile qualifying race for Sunday's Daytona 500 from the rear of the field. Evernham said that one layer of tape had been slit but another had not. He said the tape was found inside the car. He said no extra holes were drilled in the car. Browne and Childers, the team directors for Elliott Sadler and Scott Riggs, were found to have illegal bolts in their spoiler fasteners prior to qualifying Sunday. They were also fined $25,000, and the team and drivers were docked 25 points. Evernham said those bolts were used in all restrictor-plate races last year and questioned whether it was right for NASCAR to penalize a team for an infraction where the part is presented for inspection prior to an event and found illegal. "I don't know how you find out if something is legal or not until you present it for inspection," Evernham said. "Those parts were used in 2006. The deck lid is sealed up so they cannot be an aerodynamic device. We lighten several bolts on our car." The car owner said he is now "scared to death" wondering if parts that had been raced will be deemed illegal in pre-qualifying inspection and the team will be docked points in the future. "I'm going to be best friends with NASCAR's John Darby and Robin Pemberton because I will be at their doorstep, and I will ask every nut, bolt and washer: Is this legal or not legal?" Evernham said. Evernham said he was still deciding exactly how his teams would be organized and who would be interim team directors. He said the teams will use the 150-mile qualifying races as a test to see who will work well in what role. More at SceneDaily.com
02/15/07
nascar
Waltrip pulls out backup car  Michael Waltrip Racing officials were pulling out a backup car Wednesday morning as NASCAR officials began inspecting the team's No. 55 that was impounded following Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session.  The team's No. 00 backup car of David Reutimann was being prepared for Waltrip to use in tomorrow's qualifying races. Waltrip's intake manifold was confiscated by NASCAR officials prior to qualifying at Daytona International Speedway Sunday after it was found to have a foreign substance in it.
 
"Right now they're letting us pull out a backup car and we're going to present it to go get ready for tomorrow," MWR general manager Ty Norris said Wednesday morning. "That's all I know." Scenedaily.com
02/14/07
nascar
Red Sox announcement today  UPDATE Today, during Speedweeks in Daytona Beach, Fla., Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) announced the formation of Roush Fenway Racing.  Under the agreement, FSG will purchase 50 percent of Roush Racing to form the new entity.  Jack Roush will continue to manage the competitive operations of the race teams and Geoff Smith will continue as president to oversee business activities.  FSG will support Roush Fenway Racing’s marketing and sales activities by using their experience, network of relationships, and powerful demographic base to add value to Roush Fenway Racing sponsors and help Roush Fenway Racing maintain an unsurpassed position among NASCAR teams on and off the track.

“This partnership will bring a whole new perspective to our business,” said Jack Roush.  “There is a lot of hard work that goes into being successful in sport.  John Henry and FSG understand what it takes.  Anybody that has watched the Red Sox has been impressed with their tenacity and their ability to prevail after all the frustration.  To be able to have someone to bounce ideas and strategies off of will be fun.  Everyone at Roush Racing is excited to welcome our new partner and we look forward to our success together.”

“This is an unprecedented partnership of two extremely successful organizations with proven track records for winning in their respective businesses and sports,” said Mike Dee, chief operating officer of the Boston Red Sox and president of Fenway Sports Group. “We believe in NASCAR and like its long-term business future and are thrilled to be a part of this exciting and growing industry.” Roush Racing PR

02/14/07 Jack Roush will make the formal announcement today at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach that Boston Red Sox owner John Henry has purchased 50% of Roush Racing.  Henry will reveal today that he's investing $50 million in the top team on the NASCAR racing circuit.
02/14/07
nascar
Waltrip's crew chief suspended  David Hyder, the crew chief for Michael Waltrip, has been suspended indefinitely for infractions discovered on the #55 Toyota during Sunday's post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. Further penalties against Waltrip's team will be announced at a press conference later on Wednesday. They are expected to be more severe than the two- and four-race suspensions of crew chiefs from four other teams that were announced on Tuesday. NASCAR chairman Brian France and president Mike Helton were among those that met with Waltrip and officials from Michael Waltrip Racing before Wednesday's first practice session. One official described the situation as "very serious." Lee White, the senior vice president for Toyota Racing Development that is making its Nextel Cup debut at Daytona, said he also planned to meet with Waltrip. "I wouldn't call it a setback, but it's disappointing for anyone that we partner with to have this happen in some form or fashion," he said. "We will talk with them to see where we need to go for the future." White said TRD has been working with NASCAR on the situation. "I can honestly tell you from an ethics standpoint and integrity, along with character and honesty, those things are paramount in our company," he said. "We hold ourselves to a high standard and we hold our teams to high standards. We hope we've picked the right ones." ESPN.com
02/14/07
alms
Intersport Racing Returns to LMP1  DETROIT - Ending nearly a month of speculation, Clint Field, principal of Intersport Racing and 2005 American Le Mans Series LMP2 Class Champion, announced today the team will return to the LMP1 class of the American Le Mans Series for 2007. Intersport won the LMP2 class championship in 2003 and 2005. The team also won the LMP2 class at the 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The team will run a Judd powered Creation CA06/H. The car is a mid-engine, rear wheel drive utilizing a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque chassis. The Judd GV5 is a 5 liter normally aspirated V10 and generates approximately 600+bhp at 9000 RPM.

"We've thought long and hard about the team direction and have said for the past few years that we'd like to be in LMP1," noted Clint. "Granted, the numbers in LMP1 are down right now, but long term we felt the class will see renewed growth. This is as good a time as any for us to develop our program. We know we can make the car fast... that's never been a problem for us. The focus is going to be on making sure were durable and reliable. I think our guys are very much up to the challenge." More ...

02/14/07
cc
Champ Car's return to Circuit Mont-Tremblant  North America’s most powerful open wheel race cars will make a spectacular return to Circuit Mont-Tremblant on June 29-30th and July 1st, when the Champ Car World Series returns to the famed circuit almost four decades after their first-ever race in the Province of Quebec. Following in the footsteps of Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford and Gordon Johncock, the likes of Sébastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy, Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani will shine as today’s stars on the most beautiful and scenic race track in North America. Furthermore, the weekend rendezvous in the heart of the Laurentian landscape during the Canada Day Weekend will feature more than high-level motor racing excitement, as the world’s top spectacular art show, Cirque du Soleil, will join the festivities for the enjoyment of all those attending the event.

During today’s press conference held in Montreal, the partners involved in the coming of the Champ Car World Series for Round 7 at Mont-Tremblant, announced that tickets for this riveting event should go on sale March 1st, 2007, with price ranging from $95 to $135 for the whole weekend. Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil, and Normand Legault, President and CEO of Groupe motorisé international, were happy to share their enthusiasm about joining forces with the principals of Circuit Mont-Tremblant to make this event  one of the most spectacular show of the summer. More ...

02/14/07
f1
McLaren announces new partnership  Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and the Kuortane Sports Institute are pleased to announce a new partnership. The partnership will see the Kuortane Sports Institute supporting the McLaren Human Performance Programme, which has been designed to take a scientific approach to driver preparation.

The Kuortane Sports Institute is an international training and coaching centre located in the west of Finland. The partnership will see the Kuortane Sports Institute conducting physical performance tests as well physical and medical examinations and providing professional consultations related to human performance improvement with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers and members of the race and test teams.

In early January 2007, the partnership began in earnest when the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers, as well as a number of their race team colleagues, spent a week at the Kuortane Sports Institute taking part in a number of seminars as well as general physical training and team work development. More ...

02/14/07
irl
Penske urges council to approve Belle Isle race  The Detroit City Council will vote Thursday morning on a contract that would return Grand Prix racing to Belle Isle this Labor Day weekend.

Racing ended on Belle Isle six years ago, but Wednesday morning racing mogul and businessman Roger Penske sat before the council to urge them to approve the contract as soon as possible. If we do not get this signed and approved by next Wednesday, I’m not prepared to go forward,” Penske said.

He told the council that he can’t sign on contractors until he has the approval of the council. Council members had a variety of questions, namely the cost to the city for hosting the race.

Under the proposed contract, the city would pay $1.5 million in road improvements on Belle Isle that would be paid for with state and city road funds. In return, the city is guaranteed to receive $100,000 the first year of the race and that figure would increase by $25,000 every year for the next five years.

Despite the concerns, a majority of the council seemed in favor of approving the three-day event.

“It’ll get approved, but first we have these questions,” Councilwoman Joann Watson told Penske. Detroit Free Press

02/14/07
nascar
NASCAR’s woven web of cheating  Team owner Ray Evernham said he won't appeal the four-race suspension to #9 team director Kenny Francis but is still mulling over whether to appeal the two-race suspensions of #19 team director Josh Browne and #10 team director Rodney Childers. Francis, the crew chief for Kasey Kahne, had his car fail post-qualifying inspection Sunday after tape came off holes in the oil tank and the right rear wheelhouse, where a hose would run during race conditions. Francis also was fined $50,000, and the team and driver were docked 50 points. Kahne also will have to start his 150-mile qualifying race for Sunday's Daytona 500 from the rear of the field. Evernham said that one layer of tape had been slit but another had not. He said the tape was found inside the car. He said no extra holes were drilled in the car. Browne and Childers, the team directors for Elliott Sadler and Scott Riggs, were found to have illegal bolts in their spoiler fasteners prior to qualifying Sunday. They were also fined $25,000, and the team and drivers were docked 25 points. Evernham said those bolts were used in all restrictor-plate races last year and questioned whether it was right for NASCAR to penalize a team for an infraction where the part is presented for inspection prior to an event and found illegal. "I don't know how you find out if something is legal or not until you present it for inspection," Evernham said. "Those parts were used in 2006. The deck lid is sealed up so they cannot be an aerodynamic device. We lighten several bolts on our car." The car owner said he is now "scared to death" wondering if parts that had been raced will be deemed illegal in pre-qualifying inspection and the team will be docked points in the future. "I'm going to be best friends with NASCAR's John Darby and Robin Pemberton because I will be at their doorstep, and I will ask every nut, bolt and washer: Is this legal or not legal?" Evernham said. Evernham said he was still deciding exactly how his teams would be organized and who would be interim team directors. He said the teams will use the 150-mile qualifying races as a test to see who will work well in what role. More at SceneDaily.com
02/14/07
nascar
Waltrip pulls out backup car  Michael Waltrip Racing officials were pulling out a backup car Wednesday morning as NASCAR officials began inspecting the team's No. 55 that was impounded following Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session.  The team's No. 00 backup car of David Reutimann was being prepared for Waltrip to use in tomorrow's qualifying races. Waltrip's intake manifold was confiscated by NASCAR officials prior to qualifying at Daytona International Speedway Sunday after it was found to have a foreign substance in it.
 
"Right now they're letting us pull out a backup car and we're going to present it to go get ready for tomorrow," MWR general manager Ty Norris said Wednesday morning. "That's all I know." Scenedaily.com
02/14/07
lmes
Horag Racing to Compete in LMS in 2007  Horag Racing owner Markus Hotz is pleased to announce that his team will again field a Lola Judd in the LMP2 class of the Le Mans Series (LMS) this year. Its drivers will be veterans Fredy Lienhard of Niederteufen, Switzerland; Belgium native Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Eric van de Poele of Sart-Risbart, Belgium. The car is the team's Lola R05/40 updated to the 2007 specifications. It is sponsored by Lista, the worldwide leader in modular storage units, and Lista Office LO, a state-of-the-art office furniture products company. It uses Michelin tires. At this time the team plans to do at least the first five of the six LMS events, which are all in Europe. It will add the season finale in Brazil if additional sponsorship is obtained. All are 1,000-kilometer events that take about six hours to complete.  In addition to the European LMS races, the team has also entered the 2007 American Le Mans Series season opener, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, next month in Sebring, Fla. It may compete in that series' season finale, the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., too.
02/14/07
industry news
Chrysler to cut 13,000 jobs  The Chrysler Group will slash 13,000 jobs, close one assembly plant and eliminate shifts at two others in a broad restructuring aimed at returning the U.S. division of DaimlerChrysler AG to profitability in 2008.

The "recovery and transformation" plan announced today also leaves the door open for Chrysler to possibly be sold or aligned with strategic partners in the future, according to the DaimlerChrysler supervisory board.

Chrysler said it plans to reduce its hourly employment by 11,000 jobs -- 9,000 in the United States. and 2,000 in Canada -- over the next three years. About one-half of the reductions will be effective this year.

In addition, Chrysler will reduce its salaried employment by 2,000 positions over the next two years, with the first 1,000 job cuts coming in 2007.

02/14/07
nascar
Yard-Man cuts deal with NASCAR  Yard-Man and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) have announced a sponsorship agreement that makes Yard-Man the Official Lawn Mowers of NASCAR. 

The three-year agreement, which begins with the 2007 NASCAR season, is an outgrowth of Yard-Man’s increasing presence in motorsports and includes category exclusivity with the sanctioning body.  The recognizable NASCAR logo will also be emblazoned on all Yard-Man packaging for products in the company’s category.  Along with this new partnership, Yard-Man will continue to support its multi-faceted NASCAR-themed marketing program with race team sponsorships and more. More ...

02/14/07
f1
Coulthard fastest Wednesday in Barcelona  Red Bull's David Coulthard clocked the fastest time today at the Circuit de Catalunya. Coulthard was followed by BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Ferrari-man Felipe Massa. The STR2, unveiled yesterday, made his track debut today at Barcelona with Liuzzi at the wheel, but he was slowest.

 

Pos  Driver        Team                      Time     Laps
 1.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:21.855  112
 2.  Heidfeld      BMW-Sauber           (B)  1:21.958   96
 3.  Massa         Ferrari              (B)  1:21.964   92
 4.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:22.103  114
 5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:22.280   86
 6.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:22.292  125
 7.  Raikkonen     Ferrari              (B)  1:22.369   45
 8.  Montagny      Toyota               (B)  1:22.446  107
 9.  Fisichella    Renault              (B)  1:22.758   90
10.  Kovalainen    Renault              (B)  1:22.783   56
11.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:22.834   61
12.  Button        Honda                (B)  1:23.061   91
13.  Barrichello   Honda                (B)  1:23.257   39
14.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:23.275   39
15.  Vettel        BMW-Sauber           (B)  1:23.569   56
16.  R.Schumacher  Toyota               (B)  1:23.789   82
17.  Albers        Spyker-Ferrari       (B)  1:23.947   87
18.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda    (B)  1:24.568  123
19.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:26.822   30

02/14/07
nascar
Martin to run 3 races for Hendrick  Hendrick Motorsports will field racing legend Mark Martin this season in three Busch Series events, the team announced in a news conference Wednesday morning at Daytona International Speedway. "Years from now, I'll continue to look back on this with a ton of pride," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. "When Mark and I first started talking about it, I knew we had one of those special opportunities that don't come along often. He's one of the all-time greats, and having him drive one of our cars is something we couldn't pass up." The effort will be backed by Hendrick Autoguard, a line of products available exclusively at Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships nationwide. Hendrick Autoguard offers car buyers peace of mind through a variety of options that include maintenance coverage, asset protection, exterior car care, and vehicle security. Martin's schedule will kick off May 11 at Darlington, S.C., where he has posted eight of his 47 career Busch Series victories. The 48-year-old will make additional starts on Aug. 18 at Brooklyn, Mich., and Nov. 17 at the Homestead, Fla., season finale. "This is going to add another great chapter to my career," said Martin, who is working with Hendrick Automotive Group to offer Autoguard products at Mark Martin Ford in his hometown of Batesville, Ark. "I have a great respect for Rick and the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization, so I'm excited about this opportunity to be a part of it. Hopefully we can make some Busch Series history in the Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet." Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Busch, 21, will join Martin in the Hendrick Autoguard program, piloting a #5 Chevy in the Feb. 24 Busch Series event at Fontana, CA. For additional information on Hendrick Automotive Group, including dealership locations, please visit www.hendrickauto.com. Hendrick Motorsports PR
02/14/07
motogp
Qatar MotoGP Test – Day 2  The Yamaha team of Edwards and Rossi remained 1-2 in testing at Qatar Wednesday

Unofficial lap times:

1. C. Edwards 1m 56.296s
2. V. Rossi 1m 56.537s
3. D. Pedrosa 1m 56.712s
4. C. Checa 1m 56.874s
5. C. Stoner 1m 57.040s
6. J. Hopkins 1m 57.065s
7. S. Nakano 1m 57.274s
8. R. De Puniet 1m 57.288s
9. K. Roberts 1m 57.504s
10. M. Melandri 1m 57.591s
11. N. Hayden 1m 57.629s
12. L. Capirossi 1m 57.698s
13. C. Vermeulen 1m 57.770s
14. A. Hoffman 1m 57.999s
15. A. Barros 1m 58.513s
16. M. Tamada 1m 58.610s
17. T. Elías 1m 58.990s
18. S. Guintoli 1m 59.138s
19. S. Itoh 1m 59.617s
20. A. Pitt 2m 02.453s

02/14/07
ips
Antinucci Joins Cheever Racing Indy Pro Series Team  Having made a name for himself racing Formula 3 in Europe and Japan, Italian-American Richard Antinucci will race in the United States driving for his Uncle, Eddie Cheever, in the Indy Pro Series.

“Richard is a talented driver, he is an exciting addition to our team, family or not,” said team owner Eddie Cheever.

Antinucci will drive a limited Indy Pro Series season, focusing on the road course events at St. Petersburg, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio. With the ultimate goal of preparing Antinucci for the Indianapolis 500, Cheever Racing will continue to search for partners to build on this program.

“I am really looking forward to driving with Cheever Racing,” said Antinucci, who comes fresh from a second-place finish in the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix in November. “I feel that Eddie has taken me under his wing and wants to pass down his experience in motorsports. My immediate goal is to adapt to American racing as quickly as possible with the Indianapolis 500 as my target. With hard work and a humble approach, success should be in our reach.” More ...

02/14/07
nascar
Sirius Satellite Daytona schedule  For this weekend’s Daytona 500, SIRIUS subscribers can hear the following:

Live race call provided by Motor Racing Network – channel 128
Jimmie Johnson in-car audio – channel 122
Tony Stewart in-car audio – channel 126
Dale Earnhardt Jr. in-car audio – channel 125
Jeff Gordon in-car audio – channel 121
Kasey Kahne in-car audio – channel 114
Kevin Harvick in-car audio – channel 119
Matt Kenseth in-car audio – channel 130
Jeff Burton in-car audio – channel 147
Denny Hamlin in-car audio – channel 144
Fan’s Choice – channel 140 (Driver TBD)

From Wednesday, February 14 through Sunday, February 18, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, will broadcast live each day from the infield at the Daytona International Speedway, providing news, expert analysis and interviews.  SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will broadcast Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race and Sunday’s Daytona 500 live, providing full pre- and post-race coverage produced in conjunction with Motor Racing Network. More ...

02/14/07
nascar
Sirius creates Fan's Choice channel  SIRIUS Satellite Radio, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, announced today that it will provide a “Fan’s Choice” broadcast, in addition to the live race call for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races in 2007, that will feature the driver-to-pit crew communications of a driver determined weekly by a fan vote.

Prior to every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, fans can log on to www.sirius.com/driverfeeds to vote for their favorite driver.  The driver with the most votes will have his in-car audio broadcast on the “Fan’s Choice” channel, which will air on SIRIUS channel 140 during that weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.

The “Fan’s Choice” broadcast will air on one of up to ten additional channels that SIRIUS will devote to carrying the driver-to-crew communications of up to 10 different race teams for every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race in 2007.  The additional nine channels will carry the in-car audio of other drivers based on their place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings each week. More ...

02/14/07
nascar
Dale Jr. commercial to debut during Daytona 500  Dale Earnhardt Jr., fends off a posse of post-apocalyptic mutant warriors in Budweiser's newest ad titled "Apocalypse," set to debut during Sunday's Daytona 500 on Fox-TV. Dale Jr.'s pursuers chase the red #8 Chevy across a barren desert landscape, flinging fire bombs and wielding chainsaws, in pursuit of the last Budweiser on Earth. Just when he seems surrounded, Dale Jr. emerges from the Budweiser #8 car to confront his pursuers, exuding the same Southern moxie that has made him one of the most liked athletes in America. In addition to the Dale Jr. ad premiere, Budweiser is utilizing its position as the Official Beer of the Daytona 500 to introduce special Budweiser aluminum bottles featuring a checkered flag neck and the Daytona 500 logo. The bottles are on sale now in NASCAR race markets nationwide. Fans can get a look at the making of the ad at Budweiser.com, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video, and interviews with Dale Jr. and the production team. The 60-second ad, filmed near Lancaster, Calif. in mid-November, was directed by DDB Worldwide, Chicago. Dale Jr. has appeared in more than a dozen ads for Budweiser since 1999. fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR
02/14/07
nascar
NASCAR Daytona TV Ratings  UPDATE #2 Correction: The overnight 4.2 rating was a 26 percent decrease from the 5.3 overnight Fox pulled for the same event back in 2005, and in 2005 the race was up against the Pro Bowl football game.  We had inadvertently compared it against the final rating.

02/13/07 The FOX overnight ratings for the Budweiser Shootout represent an 11% drop from the 4.7/8share in 2005 when the Shootout was last televised on FOX, the ratings drop for NASCAR races that we saw in 2006 appears like it might continue into 2007.  We'll have to wait and see how the qualifying races on Thursday and the Daytona 500 itself fare.

02/12/07 The overnight USA TV rating on FOX for the Budweiser Shootout Saturday night was a 4.2/7 share.  The overnight rating for Daytona 500 Qualifying on Fox was a 2.5/6 share.
02/14/07
cc
Mont. Tremblant race press conference today  Today will kick off ticket sales for the Mont Tremblant, Canada Champ Car race starting with a press conference at 11:00 AM in Montreal. In attendance will be:
Mr. Paul Gentilozzi
Co-Owner of the Champ Car World Series

Mr. Guy Laliberté
Founder of Cirque du Soleil

Mr. Normand Legault
President et C.E.O. of Groupe motorisé international s.e.c.

Mr. Vincent Loughran
Vice-President Operations of Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

02/14/07
f1
Schu pops up at Barcelona test  (GMM) As the specialist press takes a rumor into overdrive, seven time world champion Michael Schumacher popped up at the final day of European pre-season testing ahead of the new formula one season.

The retired driver is reportedly being groomed for the role as Ferrari's future team chief, and his appearance at the Circuit de Catalunya - wearing red team gear and a set of headphones - will do nothing to settle the wagging tongues.

Also causing a stir in Barcelona on Wednesday morning was Toro Rosso's controversial new STR2, steered out of the garage for the first time by Vitantonio Liuzzi following a delay last night.

The heads of pit lane observers turned in unison when both the Italian and Mark Webber returned to the pits for service at one point this morning, before paddock discussions turned to whether the car can be visibly distinguished from Red Bull's 'RB3'.

02/14/07
tv news
nascar
SPEED to Feature Duels Day  UPDATE A reminder that the "Duels at Daytona" will be shown live on SPEED on Thursday.

01/29/07 SPEED will offer special “Duels Day” coverage on Feb. 15 from Daytona Speedweeks, as the network hosts the high-anxiety qualifying races for the first time. Opening the broadcast day at 11 a.m. with NASCAR Live!, SPEED will offer 14 hours of programming from Daytona, including live coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona at 2 p.m. ET and a Prime Time replay at 10 p.m. ET.

Dave Despain will host SPEED coverage of the Duel 150s, with Mike Joy offering play-by-play and Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond providing Analysis. SPEED pit reporters will include Steve Byrnes, Dick Berggren, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum.

“In my book, even though the Daytona 500 is an intense race that can make a driver’s, a crew chief’s or even a tire-changer’s career, the Duels will be the most intense races of the week,” McReynolds said. “You have some of the top competitors with some of the top sponsors not yet locked into the Daytona 500. It’s hard to believe that a 150-mile race can have this much impact on the season, but Duels Day truly is D-Day for a lot of these teams. Some of these guys will finish in the Top 10 in their race and still have to pack up and go home.” More ...

02/14/07
track news
ISC fails to sell Pikes Peak track  Uncertainty over a parcel of land has stopped the sale of Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway.  Buyers of the 1,155-acre track pulled out of negotiations after realizing 200 acres may have to be reverted to Colorado Springs Utilities, but they had the right of first refusal to buy back the land if the track was sold.
02/14/07
track news
ISC buys Hulman George family out of two tracks  UPDATE International Speedway Corporation completed its acquisition of Raceway Associates, LLC, owner and operator of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway. "The close of our acquisition of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway further strengthens our family of premier facilities nationwide," said ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. "In its brief history, Chicagoland Speedway has established a reputation for exciting racing and become a fixture on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule. In addition, the facility has sold out its events on a season ticket basis since opening in 2001, demonstrating the strong demand for major motorsports in the nation's third largest media market."

11/01/06 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) ("ISC") today announced it has entered into a purchase agreement with Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation to indirectly acquire an additional 37.5 percent interest in Raceway Associates, LLC ("Raceway Associates"), owner and operator of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. The purchase price for the transaction is approximately $69 million in cash.

After the transaction closes, ISC will own 100 percent of Motorsports Alliance, LLC ("Motorsports Alliance"), which owns 75 percent of Raceway Associates. Raceway Associates was formed in 1999 as a joint venture between Motorsports Alliance and the former owners of Route 66 Raceway. Raceway Associates subsequently developed Chicagoland Speedway, a 75,000 seat facility hosting premier motorsports events from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, NASCAR Busch, IRL IndyCar and ARCA RE/MAX series. More ...

02/14/07
cc
Houston Notebook: Red Bull breaks cover  UPDATE Cars from Team Australia and Minardi Team USA ran a few laps at MSR Houston on Sunday to test improved gearbox components and shift software. Champ Car and Panoz officials are optimistic that the downshift problems that plagued most teams at the Sebring test have been solved.  What was learned on Sunday was passed down to the other teams present Monday and Tuesday.

02/13/07 Neel Jani was driving a dark blue car this morning.   Then, at about 11:00 am, PKV brought out a car in almost full Red Bull livery (pictured right).......Only driver  we saw around in street clothes today was Dan Clarke.......Legge went straight off in turn 4 way into the mud.  Got all the way to the tire barrier (don't know if she hit it).  Tore off the front wing and broke the right front suspension (pictured below left).  Dale Coyne said the damage wasn't bad and she'd be back out in the afternoon.

One driver, who shall remained unnamed, said that the track was very bumpy.  Referring to the mud and dirt berms everywhere, he said it looked like a dirt track.  When reminded that MSR was an under-construction country club, he said "Then we shouldn't be here."

You can find our full allotment of Tuesday test photos on our Home page.

02/14/07
f1
Andretti thrilled with 2-day F1 test  UPDATE "About halfway through the test we started to get going," Marco Andretti said. "We did not end up too bad. My head was down a little bit with the times until Jenson Button got in my car and went similar. So, I was happy he was able to do that."

Father Michael and grandfather Mario attended the test.

"I think he did a tremendous job," Michael told NSSN. "He is not too far off pace. It was a great thing having Jenson get in his car so he knows exactly where he stands. In the end we figured he was about half a second off. That is not too bad after your second day in the car, and these things are very, very tricky to drive. There is so much to learn."

Team boss Nick Fry was pleased with Marco's test.

"I was very, very impressed with Marco," Fry said. "You have to pinch yourself to remember that he is only 19 years old. His third day in an F-1 car, and difficult conditions, a combination of damp and tricky and wet, and he got in his stride. He drove really well, didn't put a wheel wrong."

02/08/07 IndyCar Series driver Marco Andretti joined the Honda Racing team in Jerez this week for his second opportunity to drive the RA106. Marco began his program on Wednesday and spent the morning re-acclimatizing himself to the car, before completing data gathering exercises and race start simulations in the afternoon, covering 74 laps.

With the poor weather on Thursday, Marco had his first chance to experience an F1 car in wet conditions, covering 63 laps and he was absolutely thrilled with the experience….

"It's been awesome to have the chance to get back in a F1 car this week and I would really like to thank the Honda team for giving me this second opportunity,” he said. “I have really enjoyed my two days here, and by the end of the second day with the wet conditions, I feel that I've really adapted to the way that the car has to be driven. So the weather was actually quite useful for me and I've now experienced a little bit of everything in only three days. I was happy with my long run pace over the test but the one lap times are something that I am sure would come with further time in the car."

“It has been a pleasure to have Marco Andretti with us this week and to give him a further opportunity in the 2006 car,” said Jacky Eeckelaert - Engineering Director. “Once again Marco has shown a high level of ability, given his relative inexperience, and his long run pace in particular was quite impressive. With the poor weather conditions today, Marco drove for the first time in the wet and adapted very well to the difficult track conditions without making any mistakes."

02/14/07
racing news
Renault names new development drivers  The Renault Driver Development Program added five drivers in the program led by GP2 racer Lucas di Grassi, the 22-year-old Brazilian who joined the program in 2004. He will race with ART in GP2. 20-year-old Franco-Swiss star Romain Grosjean is hoping for a strong year in the Formula 3 Euroseries and will race with the dominant ASM team.

22-year-old British racer Ben Hanley, who was in the RDD program last year in the Renault World Series, will be challenging for the title with Prema Powerteam. There are two newcomers with 18-year-old Frenchman Nelson Panciatici, who will be racing in the Formula Renault 2000 series in France and in Europe and 18-year-old Spaniard Dani Clos, who was Italian Formula Renault champion last year and this year moves to the Formula 3 Euroseries Championship with the Signature team.

02/14/07
f1
Williams contribute to new technology development  (GMM) F1 team Williams is part of a consortium of private investors who are hoping to benefit from the development of innovative new aerodynamic technology.

The group, led by the aircraft manufacturer Airbus but including a range of companies, has matched a reportedly $17m government grant to develop computer technology that aims to replace work traditionally done in wind tunnels, the Liverpool Daily Post said.

Airbus said in a statement: "This technology will revolutionize the design process and dramatically reduce the time it takes for a broad range of products to go from concept stage to market."

The UK's Trade and Industry minister Alistair Darling said: "Britain is already a world leader in aerospace and we want to keep it there. This investment supports the type of new technology we need."

02/14/07
f1
Kimi may have difficult Ferrari start - Prost  (GMM)  Quadruple former world champion Alain Prost thinks McLaren might have its nose in front ahead of the battle for the 2007 title.

The 51-year-old Frenchman drove for all three top teams during his illustrious career but has tipped the Woking based squad to triumph this year over likely rivals Ferrari and Renault.

"Making predictions before the season has even started is never easy," Prost told reporters at a press conference in Lisbon, "but I can imagine the championship being fought between Ferrari and McLaren."

He observed that McLaren and Fernando Alonso seem "very strong" on the winter test tracks and wondered whether Finn Kimi Raikkonen (pictured right with crew) would have "some difficulty" integrating himself at Ferrari.

"The beginning of the season could be crucial for him.  If he finds himself behind (Felipe) Massa then he could find himself in a difficult situation," said Prost.

Alain Prost also observed that Renault appear to be "a step" behind the aforementioned pair.

02/14/07
f1
Alonso explains criticism of new car  (GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso has played down his own intimation that the only thing he likes about McLaren's new car for 2007 is the shiny color.

"The car is not ready for Australia and the days are running out," the 25-year-old also reportedly told the Spain television network Telecinco last week. "It is not going to win at the moment."

To the Spanish news agency EFE on Tuesday, however, Alonso hit out at the press for misinterpreting his comments about the MP4-22 and making him seem "pretty unprofessional". "My comments were interpreted as me saying something bad," he added. More ...

02/14/07
f1
Toro Rosso car's maiden run delayed  (GMM)  Toro Rosso's controversial new car failed to make its track 'shakedown' on Tuesday, despite the fact that Vitantonio Liuzzi's V8 engine was running.

With just a few minutes before the day's scheduled action drew to a close at the Circuit de Catalunya group test, BMW's stricken Nick Heidfeld brought out a red flag and put paid to the first laps of STR2's life.

Liuzzi, 25, will now drive the familiarly-liveried car for the first time early on Wednesday morning -- the last of the three day test.

02/14/07
f1
STR rules out customer car compromise  (GMM)  Toro Rosso on Tuesday ruled out reaching a "compromise" with its disgruntled rivals, despite admitting that it has taken a contentious route with its 'STR2' car for 2007.

The Ferrari powered racer was shown to the world for the first time on Tuesday and reaffirmed some observers' view that it is an illegal "customer car" actually penned by sister team Red Bull's Adrian Newey.

To sidestep the phrasing of the secretive Concorde Agreement, the car was actually designed by the separate company Red Bull Technologies, meaning that Faenza based Toro Rosso and Red Bull separately own the intellectual copyright to their racers.

STR chiefs on Tuesday insisted that, as well as accommodating a different engine than Red Bull's car, the STR2 also features distinct items such as bodywork and management systems, although the team's official website acknowledged that the car was "not completely built in-house".

Team boss Franz Tost, however, ruled out ceding championship points or prize money to placate Spyker and Williams' legal threats, answering: "No.  No way."

He added that "no effort" was being made to negotiate with Toro Rosso's fractious rivals.

"I don't know how you can compromise," Tost continued, "because either you are inside or outside of the regulations.  We think we are totally within the regulations."

02/14/07
f1
'We're quick' says Massa  (GMM)  Ferrari on Tuesday responded to suggestions that it is struggling in the wake of Michael Schumacher's retirement by dominating the testing time sheets in Barcelona.

After striking problems at the Circuit de Catalunya on Monday, the two ultra-reliable 'F2007' models finished day two first and second quickest, moving Felipe Massa to observe that the red car "is going very well".

"I was able to do many laps with a satisfying level of pace.  Everything is heading in the right direction," the Brazilian said, according to reports in the Spanish press.

Massa continued: "Today I could be quick and consistent."

The two McLarens, meanwhile, were fourth and sixth, troubled for pace by resurgent runners for the Renault camp. More ...

02/14/07
Announcement
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02/14/07
cc
Team Australia on top in Houston  Team Australia Champ Car driver Will Power has blitzed the field, including three-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais, on the final day of a two-day pre-season open test in Houston this morning.

Power, a native of Toowoomba in the Australian state of Queensland, set the fast time in the final two sessions of the test in his #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia Panoz DP01.

In a further positive outcome for the team, Power’s new teammate Simon Pagenaud was sixth fastest in the 15-car field. Earlier today Team Australia announced that Pagenaud, who won the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship for Team Australia, will partner Power in the Aussie Vineyards-backed team in the 2007 Champ Car World Series. More ...

02/14/07
TV News
USA TV reminders for Wednesday and Thursday  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com 

Wednesday
Cold Pizza
Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney
10:00am-12:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Daytona
11:30am-12:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Daytona
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Daytona
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Daytona
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Daytona
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Practice Daytona
4:30pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Daytona
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now
5:30pm-6:00pm ESPN
HDNet World Report -Toyota Invades NASCAR Part of Show
6:00pm-7:00pm (R) HDNET
NASCAR Now
6:00pm-7:00pm ESPN2
The SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Preview Show
9:00pm-9:30pm ESPN2
2007 NASCAR Busch Series Preview Show
9:30pm-10:00pm ESPN2
Movie: 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story (2004)
10:00pm-12:00am ESPN2

Thursday
NASCAR Busch Final Practice Daytona
9:30am-11:00am (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Practice Daytona
11:00am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR RaceDay -Duels at Daytona Preview Daytona
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup -Duels at Daytona Daytona
2:00pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now
5:00pm-6:00pm ESPN
NASCAR Victory Lane -Duels Wrapup Daytona
5:00pm-6:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now
6:00pm-6:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Qualifying Daytona
6:30pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
The SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED 

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

02/14/07
cc
Rahal: Panoz faster than Lola  ANGLETON, Texas – The second of three open tests in preparation for the 2007 Champ Car World Series season concluded today at the 2.38-mile road course at MSR Houston.  McDonald’s driver Sebastien Bourdais was again joined at the test by Graham Rahal, who ran while the team continues exploring sponsorship for a possible program this season. 

On Monday Bourdais completed a total of 56 laps with a best lap time of 1:30.378 (94.802 mph) to end the day ranked second overall and ran 100 laps on Tuesday with a lap time of 1:10.333 that earned a rank of fourth fastest overall for the two day test.  On Monday Rahal completed a total of 54 laps with a best lap time of 1:33.163 (91.968) to end the day ranked sixth overall and ran 97 laps on Tuesday with a lap time of 1:10.079 that was second fastest overall for the two days.  Will Power was quickest with a lap time of 1:10.040.  Testing was limited on Monday due to rain but it subsided late in the afternoon and Tuesday’s test ran under clear conditions. More ...

02/13/07
cc
Doornbos endures eventful day  With yesterday’s wet weather having cleared the area overnight and a pleasant, if windy, day in prospect, the Champ Car teams present at the Houston MSR road course for the Series’ second pre-season test were today able to get down to some serious work.

Minardi Team USA personnel again focused on their second, and most recently arrived, Panoz DP01 chassis, changing it to “full-dry” suspension settings before driver, Robert Doornbos, took to the 2.38-mile (3.83-km) track for the morning session. The effect of the improved conditions was immediately evident, the Dutch driver quickly getting up to speed and producing lap times well inside his Monday best.

Unfortunately, late in the morning, Doornbos went off track while on a fast lap, causing significant damage to his car, and Minardi Team USA mechanics quickly set about preparing the team’s second chassis for the afternoon session. Doornbos was soon back on track and consistently improving his times, eventually ending the day ninth fastest. The team’s technical program for this second, and final, day of the Houston test consisted of carrying out suspension set-up work, in order to understand how the car reacts to specific changes, and gaining experience of the latest engine control software. The final pre-season event for Minardi Team USA will be the Spring Training test, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on March 9 and 10. More ...

02/13/07
cc
Will Power blisters MSR Houston track  ANGLETON, Texas – The next generation of Champ Car World Series stars stepped to the head of the line on a breezy Texas Tuesday, showing their heels to a veteran field in the final day of Champ Car testing at MSR Houston.

Second-year driver Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone) set a new track record on the new 2.38-mile road course, stopping the clocks at 1:10.040 (122.330 mph) to head a time chart that saw him followed closely by rookies Graham Rahal (#2 Newman/Haas Racing Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone) and Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull PKV Racing Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone).

“The fact that we understand the car and how to make the car fast is the most important thing we got out of today, but it’s nice to be fastest at the end of the day,” grinned Power, winner of last year’s Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year Award. “I pretty much knew what I wanted to get out of the car and the crew did a great job getting it done.” More ...

02/13/07
nascar
Roush team reacts to suspension  Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 team’s 11th-place qualifying effort for next Sunday’s Daytona 500 was disqualified by NASCAR on Sunday after officials found one of the wheel wells on the car improperly sealed during post-qualifying inspection. As a result, Kenseth will start one of Thursday’s Gatorade Duels, the two qualifying races to determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500, at the rear of his respective field.

In addition, NASCAR has docked the No. 17 team 50 driver and owner points, fined crew chief Robbie Reiser $50,000 and suspended Reiser for four races starting with the Daytona 500.

On Tuesday, Roush appointed Chip Bolin, long-time engineer on the No. 17 team, as the interim crew chief for the remainder of Speedweeks at Daytona and throughout Reiser’s suspension. More ...
02/13/07
nascar
France promises stronger penalties for cheaters  NASCAR Chairman Brian France promised harsh penalties for cheating teams from qualifying Sunday.  "It's our job is to escalate penalties - you're going to see it today," France said. "It will be undeniable that when you keep pushing the system and test the integrity of the sport, we will do whatever it takes.

"That doesn't mean you go out and get somebody in the electric chair. But that does mean that you step up the penalties to a level that makes it a true deterrent."

"What you don't want to do is jump to the electric chair," France said. "You want to escalate penalties. We are going to get tough with the competitors when they push the credibility of the sport.

"But you have to have the punishments fit the crime. We can't get just completely silly about it. We have to be tough, firm and clear, and we're going to do that today.

"You can't expect that 120 cars and the hundreds of thousands of rules that are out there, that some teams aren't either going to intentionally cross the line or inadvertently cross the line," France said. "It's our job to protect the integrity of the sport."

02/13/07
irl
Michael Andretti to return to driver's seat in May  Michael Andretti knew he couldn't leave the driver's seat at the Indianapolis 500. Not after last year.  Andretti finished third in 2006 Indianapolis 500, watching his son Marco place second by a few feet to winner Sam Hornish Jr. Michael Andretti led Laps 194-197 of the 200-lap race, falling just short of his long-sought first victory at Indianapolis.

So there was little doubt in Andretti's mind that he would return to Indy this May for his 16th career start in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Andretti made it official Feb. 13 by announcing his plans to drive in the 91st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27 in a Dallara/Honda/Firestone fielded by Andretti Green Racing, which he co-owns, and sponsored by Jim Beam and other backers to be named later.

"Last year when I returned, at first it was all about getting to race with Marco," Andretti said. "Then, we both had a shot at winning it, and I knew it would be very tough for me to walk away knowing that I'm still very capable of winning that race." More ...

02/13/07
cc
Pagenaud signs with Team Australia  Indianapolis, IN - After what was noted as an extremely successful first season for Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, the reigning 2006 Champ Car Atlantic champion makes the move up to Champ Car and who better to do it with than the team he won the Atlantic championship with, Team Australia.

The Frenchman completes Team Australia’s 2007 line-up, with him campaigning the #15 Aussie Vineyards/Panoz DP01 while teaming up with 2006 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year, Australian Will Power, who will pilot the #5 Aussie Vineyards/Panoz DP01 for a second season.

The announcement was made as Team Australia completed the second half of a two-day Champ Car open test in Houston.

Team Australia co-owner Derrick Walker, who over saw today’s test in Houston, said the announcement of Pagenaud as Power’s teammate was the start of the next chapter for Team Australia. More ...

02/13/07
motogp
Day 1: Yamaha team 1-2 in Qatar  With perfect weather conditions (21 degrees and without wind) the Yamaha Team made a good start in Qatar today, running 1-2, as the official three-day MotoGP test got under way. In just under a month’s time the Losail circuit will host the first round of the 2007 World Championship as a new era of 800cc MotoGP racing begins

Colin Edwards 1m 57.77s
Valentino Rossi 1m 56.85s
Casey Stoner 1m 56.96s
Kenny Roberts 1m 57.02s
Nicky Hayden 1m 57.07s
Anthony Hopkins 1m 57.30s
Carlos Checa 1m 57.30s
Loris Capirossi 1m 57.36s
Marco Melandri 1m 57.70s
Dani Pedrosa 1m 57.73s
Randy De Puniet 1m 57.73s
Alex Hoffman 1m 57.80s
Shinya Nakano 1m 57.850s
Chris Vermeulen 1m 57.90s
Alex Barros 1m 58.20s
Olivier Jacque 1m 58.74s
Toni Elías 1m 59.40s

02/13/07
nascar
Richard Childress inducted  NASCAR champion team owner Richard Childress was inducted into the Rotary Club of Oceanside Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame last night in ceremonies at The Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach Shores.  The 18th annual event also saw the induction of legendary NASCAR executive Les Richter.  

“What a great honor it is to be inducted into the Rotary Club of Oceanside Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame,” said Childress. “Many of the men in the hall of fame were my heroes growing up, people in the sport I have looked up to and respected, and my friends. I was at Dale’s (Earnhardt) ceremony in 2004 and thought it was a great tribute so I was honored when I got the news about my own induction.”

The Hall of Fame is located inside The Shores Resort & Spa. Past inductees include Richard Petty (1990), Bill France (1993), Benny Parsons (1998), Bill France, Jr. (2001), and Dale Earnhardt (2004).

02/13/07
cc
Day 2: Will Power tops morning test times in Houston  
Pos Time Behind Laps Driver Car/Team
1 71.223 0.000 52 Power 5 Team Australia
2 71.518 0.295 49 Rahal 2 Newman/Haas
3 71.730 0.507 49 Jani 21 PKV
4 71.847 0.624 49 Bourdais 1 Newman/Haas
5 71.885 0.662 58 Wilson 9 RuSPORT
6 72.060 0.837 57 Servia 10 RuSPORT
7 72.113 0.890 43 Junqueira 19x Dale Coyne
8 72.368 1.145 41 Tagliani 8 Rocketsports
9 72.627 1.404 46 Phillipe 34 Conquest
10 72.849 1.626 33 Pagenaud 15 Team Australia
11 73.184 1.961 46 Jani 21x PKV
12 73.648 2.425 45 Dalziel 28 Pacific
13 73.727 2.504 44 Tracy 3 Forsythe
14 74.077 2.854 53 Figge 29 Pacific
15 74.878 3.655 36 Doornbos 14 Minardi
16 75.547 4.324 17 Legge 11 Dale Coyne
02/13/07
f1
Ferrari team 1-2 in Barcelona testing Tuesday  Second day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working again today at the Catalunya Circuit, near Barcelona. Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen continued with the development program on the F2007, while also carrying out race simulations runs. The day went smoothly and the planned program was completed.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:21.181 107
 2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:21.719 154
 3. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:21.819 99
 4. Alonso McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:21.901 63
 5. Fisichella Renault (B) 1:21.997 129
 6. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:22.078 118
 7. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:22.100 56
 8. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:22.227 96
 9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:22.249 10
10. Wurz Williams-Toyota (B) 1:22.288 55
11. Montagny Toyota (B) 1:22.476 96
12. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:22.618 92
13. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:22.669 85
14. Button Honda (B) 1:22.816 91
15. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:22.916 83
16. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:23.322 50
17. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:23.969 97
18. Albers Spyker-Ferrari (B) 1:24.425 108

02/13/07
lmes
alms
LMES field now towers over ALMS  We recall when the European version of the American LeMans Series was suffering from small fields while ALMS had large car counts. Now with Grand-Am undermining sports car racing in the USA with their alternate series, the shoes are reversed. The fourth season of the Le Mans Series will feature a bumper grid after series organizers announced that 51 full season entries have been lodged for 2007. Compare that to ALMS where they are struggling to get 25 car grids, largely as a result of the factory efforts dominating the LMP1 (Audi) and GT1 (Corvette) classes.

The LMES field for 2007 by car number:

3. Lavaggi/TBA/TBA Scuderia Lavaggi Lavaggi LS01-Ford LMP1
5. Deletraz/Fassler Swiss Spirit Lola B07/10-Audi LMP1
7. Minassian/Gene Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP LMP1
8. Sarrazin/Lamy Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP LMP1
9. Campbell-Walet/TBA/TBA Creation Autosportif Creation 07/01-Judd LMP1
10. Johansson/Chilton Arena International Zytek 07S-Zytek LMP1
12. TBA/TBA/TBA Courage Competition Courage LC70-AER LMP1
13. Frei/TBA/TBA Courage Competition Courage LC70-AER LMP1
14. Hart/Lammers/Bleekemolen Racing for Holland Dome S101.5-Judd LMP1
15. Charouz/Enge Charouz Racing Systems Lola B07/17-Judd LMP1
16. Primat/TBA Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo-Judd LMP1
17. Collard/Boullion Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo-Judd LMP1
18. Barbosa/Short/Keen Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo-Judd LMP1
19. Evans/Berridge/Owen Chamberlain Synergy Lola B06/10-AER LMP1
20. Rostan/Bruneau Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam MP93-Judd LMP2
24. Binnie/Timpany/TBA Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40-Zytek LMP2
25. Erdos/Newton RML MG Lola EX264-AER LMP2
27. Lienhard/Theys/van de Poele Horag Racing Lola B05/40-Judd LMP2
28. Greaves/Moseley/Liddell Team Bruichladdich Radical Radical SR9-AER LMP2
29. TBA/TBA/TBA T2M Motorsport Dome S1101.5-Mader LMP2
31. Tinseau/TBA/TBA Noel Del Bello Racing Courage LC75-AER LMP2
32. Barazi/Vergers/TBA Barazi-Epsilon Zytek 07S-Zytek LMP2
35. Nicolet/Filhol/Jouanny Saulnier Racing Courage LC75-AER LMP2
40. Amaral/TBA/TBA ASM Team Lola B05/40-AER LMP2
44. Burgess/de Pourtales/Siegler Kruse Motorsport Pescarolo-Judd LMP2
45. Hughes/Cunningham/TBA Embassy Racing Pilbeam MP93-Judd LMP2
50. Ortelli/Ayari Team Oreca Saleen S7-R GT1
54. TBA/TBA/TBA Aston Martin Racing Larbre Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
55. TBA/TBA/TBA Aston Martin Racing Larbre Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
59. Garcia/Halliday/TBA Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
61. Perazzini/Cioci/TBA Racing Box Saleen S7-R GT1
68. Walchhofer/TBA/TBA Goldentime Racing Team Ferrari 550 Maranello GT1
72. Alphand/Policand/Goueslard Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6-R GT1
73. Blanchemain/Dumez/TBA Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C5-R GT1
76. Narac/Lietz IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3 RSR GT2
77. Lieb/Pompidou Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR GT2
78. Caffi/Zardo Scuderia Villorba Corse Ferrari F430 GT GT2
81. Tomlinson/Dean Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2
82. Kimber-Smith/Hynes Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2
83. Hernandez/Peter/TBA GPC Sport Ferrari F430 GT GT2
84. TBA/TBA/TBA Chad Peninsula Panoz Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2
85. Janis/TBA/TBA Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R GT2
88. Felbermayr Jr/Ried Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR GT2
89. Sorensen/Thiim/TBA Markland Racing Corvette C6 Z06 GT2
90. Ehret/Nielsen/Werner Farnbacher Racing Porsche 997 GT3 RSR GT2
92. Hesnault/Smith/Beltoise Perspective Racing Porsche 997 GT3 RSR GT2
93. Plati/Basso/Tenchini Autorlando Sport Porsche 997 GT3 RSR GT2
96. Bell/Simonsen Virgo Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT GT2
94. Alexander-David/Chiesa/TBA Speedy Racing Team Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R GT2
98. Lambert/Lefort Ice Pol Racing Team Ferrari F430 GT GT2
99. TBA/TBA/TBA JMB Racing Ferrari F430 GT GT2

02/13/07
nascar
Truck purse increases  Daytona International Speedway officials have announced that the purse for Friday's Chevy Silverado HD 250 Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway will be $865,783.
02/13/07
f1
Wraps come off new Toro Rosso car  Scuderia Toro Rosso took the wraps off its contentious 2007 car in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Tonio Liuzzi, who has been re-signed as one of the team’s race drivers for this season, took the STR2 for its first shakedown laps at the Circuit de Catalunya late in the afternoon.

Amid speculation that the car is not legal because it is a copy of the sister team Red Bull cars, Gerhard Berger remained adamant that the team has complied with the rules.

“Our car is not a ‘customer car’,” he insisted.

“A customer car is when you go to another team, give them money and they give you a car. This is not the case with us. And before we went down the route of working with Red Bull Technology, we took our own legal advice and checked it with the FIA. I am completely satisfied that our car is in compliance with the rules.”

Technical director Alex Hitzinger emphasized the differences between the STR2 and its Red Bull cousin.

“Apart from the obvious one that the chassis is different to accommodate a different engine, nearly all the major elements are different too, including bodywork, wings, management systems and so on,” he said.

02/13/07
cc
Houston testing update  UPDATE Bruno Junqueira has replaced Andreas Wirth in one of Dale Coyne's cars. Katherine Legge was carried out on the back of one of the Champ Car safety workers (pictured right) due to the mud caused by the heavy rains.

02/13/07 It's the second day of testing for the Champ Cars in Houston today. The track is drying today and times are much faster, down to the 1m12s mark from 1m30s mark on yesterday's wet track. Katherine Legge has gone off into the tire barriers in the far loop causing a red flag. More later.....
02/13/07
TV News
nascar
The State of NASCAR in 2007 to be aired on SPEED  The State of NASCAR in 2007 press conference will be broadcast live on Tuesday at 1:00 pm-2:00 pm EST on SPEED.  NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France will deliver the address at Daytona International Speedway's Daytona 500 Club.
02/13/07
industry news
Hyundai Chairman to appeal sentence  The chairman of South Korea's Hyundai Motor filed an appeal against last week's three-year jail sentence, a company official at the world's No.6 automaker said on Monday.  "Lawyers of the chairman field an appeal today as planned," a Hyundai official said by telephone.   A South Korean court last Monday sentenced Chung Mong-koo to jail, saying it found him guilty of embezzlement and breach of trust. He was widely expected to receive a suspended sentence.
02/13/07
f1
Liuzzi signed, Speed in limbo  Scott Speed's future on the formula one grid remained in the balance on Tuesday, despite the Toro Rosso team staging its official pre-season 'launch'.

Faenza based STR confirmed that Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi would again drive for the Ferrari powered team in 2007 but explained that unspecified 'contractual' reasons were behind the absence of a similar renewal for Speed, who is 24.

Team co-owner Gerhard Berger reportedly suggested that a decision about the second seat might be made as late as the days immediately before the Australian grand prix, but said the Californian was on "pole position" to keep it.

Indeed, Speed was conspicuously absent at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, where Liuzzi met with members of the press in the media centre overlooking the start line.

He is tipped to debut the almost certainly controversial STR2 car later on Tuesday, after Berger did not deny that it has been penned by Adrian Newey.

Amid the 'customer car' or 'car sharing' saga, Newey is employed by the independent company Red Bull Technologies and also designed Red Bull's near-identical RB3.

02/13/07
nascar
NASCAR cheater awarded contract extension  Only in NASCAR does it pay handsomely to cheat - his No. 17 car was caught cheating for Daytona 500 qualifying and it is expected he will be suspended.

After speculation that Robbie Reiser would step off the Nextel Cup Series pit box sooner, rather than later, and take a higher-level position with Roush Racing, the driver's crew chief said Friday he has signed a three-year contract extension to maintain his crew chief position with the #17 team. "The other position that everyone was talking about, that was the drivers pushing that," Reiser said. "That wasn't so much me talking about it as it was Matt and Greg Biffle. I'm not saying I wouldn't take a position like that down the road, but right now, I wasn't quite ready for something like that." Reiser, who has served as Kenseth's crew chief since 1997, has helped the Cambridge native to 14 Cup victories and the 2003 Cup championship. Late last season, Kenseth suggested Reiser might be on his last legs as a crew chief. The 43-year-old Reiser reportedly wanted to spend less time traveling and more time with his wife, Tracy, and their sons, Ryan, Rhett and Reed. "Robbie's future has come up at the end of each of the last three years," Kenseth said. "We didn't really talk about whether he should work with the DeWALT team or work with the Roush organization. What I always tell him, though, is that whatever he wants to do, I'll support that. This business is a long grind, so whatever makes him happy makes me happy. I think you go through years where you get dragged down and tired because you have so much going on, but then you have years where you're running good and you realize that what your doing is the thing you really love to do. ... Robbie loves the thrill of the chase and calling the race and being on the pit box. And I think he would really have missed that had he taken another role in Roush Racing." Reiser decided to sign the contract extension shortly after Christmas. "I'm gone from home about 75% of the time, so (the travel) does take a toll on you," he said. "But I'm not quite ready to sit down and watch all the action from afar. I like being in the battle and I like to win races and championships. I ain't going to do that sitting at home." Wisconsin State Journal

02/13/07
nascar
Three Hours of Prime Time NASCAR Shows  ESPN2 will air three hours of NASCAR-related programming in prime time Wednesday night, including two season preview shows and a movie about one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers. A pair of half-hour programs previewing the 2007 seasons of both the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series will be aired on Wednesday night, Feb. 14, starting at 9pm/et with the Nextel Cup show. The evening will continue at 10pm/et with a replay of the ESPN Original Entertainment movie “3,” based on the life of the late Dale Earnhardt, seven-time NASCAR champion. ESPN PR
02/13/07
f1
Bridgestone improves F1 tires  "We have changed the working range of the tire to make the temperature range in which the tire operates wider," explained Kees van de Grint, head of track engineering for Bridgestone in F1. "The overall grip level is lower, but the temperature dependency of the grip is far wider and not so extreme, which means improved drivability."

"We believe it is easier to drive and this has been seen in the testing we have had where the teams have been able to go out when it is not much above 0° Celsius and then up to 25° Celsius with the same tire," he added. "Warm up has become less of an issue. Over the course of a season there is a lot of variation of temperature and of track surface and the wider operating window we have accounts for this. We have tested at different circuits and on different types of tarmac and have had good feedback from all of them."

02/13/07
f1
Spyker team renews with TAG  Spyker Formula One Team has renewed its contract with Technology Advancement Group, Inc (TAG) for a further FIA Formula One World Championship season. TAG will continue to provide the team with rugged industrial servers capable of sustained performance in Formula One's challenging and varying racing environment worldwide.

The exemplary running of TAG's servers during the 2006 season guided the team's decision to continue its relationship with TAG. This year, the partnership will also be expanded, with TAG providing several additional new servers. More ...
02/13/07
cc
f1
Monteiro eyes non-F1 race seat in 2007  Tiago Monteiro announced today that he will not take up any of the offers he has received from F1 teams for 2007 and instead aims to keep race-sharp by securing a seat in a competitive racing series with a view to returning to a full-time F1 race driver role in 2008.

Tiago is truly pleased for having had a three years long experience in F1. He’s had plenty of valuable experience firstly as an official test driver for Minardi in 2004 and then as race driver for Jordan in 2005 and then again at Midland which became Spyker F1 in 2006. He ran some very competitive races and got a lot of exposure for himself and Portugal, not least his podium finish at Indianapolis in 2005 and the “man of the race” award in Spa-Francorchamps and his Rookie of the year nomination. He has now made the decision not to pursue in F1 for the time being preferring to see himself racing elsewhere to correspond better to his ambitions.” More ...

02/13/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Honda preparing to reveal new F1 livery
BMW may win races in 2007 - Berger
STR to confirm Liuzzi, Speed on Tuesday
'Alarm bells' for Ferrari - headline
Sepang targets higher GP attendance in 2007
British GP to unveil new sponsor deal
Williams now Toyota 'B team' says Webber
Rosberg thinks Williams on Renault's pace
De la Rosa clarifies Alonso's comments
BMW to be 'surprise' of '07 - Schumacher
02/13/07
cc
Seen in Houston - II  UPDATE Afternoon photos have been added to our Monday test photos page.

02/13/07 Mario Dominguez showed up in the afternoon in street clothes.  There were three spins in the morning session, 2 by Tracy and one by one of the black cars (didn't catch whom).  All were in the same place on the far side of the track.   Tags went off about 4:15 at the final corner near pit in.  Some of the more interesting faces seen at Monday's Champ Car MSR Houston test:


02/13/07
cca
Carl Skerlong Motorsport News  Mukilteo, Washington – Carl Skerlong is wasting little time in dialing himself in to the demands of competing in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda as the 18-year-old rookie powered his #24 King Taco/US RaceTronics Swift Mazda-Cosworth into the top-five in pre-season testing at MSR Houston.

The reigning Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Champion posted the fifth fastest lap time around the 2.38-mile road course on Saturday with a best of 1m18.915s (108.573mph). With top honors going to Canada’s James Hinchcliffe, the sophomore racer setting a 1m18.345s lap (109.362mph), the sheer competitiveness of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship was again evidenced by the fact that the top-ten runners, from a field of 25 title aspirants, were separated by less than a second. More ...

02/13/07
Track News
Tickets go on sale for Milwaukee Mile  Tickets to all the exciting, world-class auto racing events held at The Milwaukee Mile will be available for purchase on the historic speedway’s website, www.milwaukeemile.com, beginning this Monday, February 19th.

With the latest news of Wisconsin NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth racing at The Milwaukee Mile on the speedway’s traditional Governor’s Cup weekend, August 24-26 still fresh, as well as the season-opening NASCAR events held in Daytona Beach, Fla. February 15-18, the timing makes sense, according to speedway officials.

“The excitement builds towards Daytona for NASCAR fans, and we want to ride that momentum with our online ticket launch for our two premier NASCAR events held at The Milwaukee Mile, in addition to our other exciting weekends of racing,” commented Jim Westerman, the speedway’s VP – Marketing. More ...

02/13/07
nascar
Johnson and Earnhardt gearing up for XM shows  Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are gearing up for the new season of their exclusive XM Satellite Radio shows starting February 15, three days before the Daytona 500. "Jimmie Johnson ... 'Not What You Expected'" will make its second-season debut February 15 at 7pm/et, with an encore broadcast at 10pm/et, on XM Sports Nation (XM Channel 144). Every week, the defending Nextel Cup champ delivers his personal perspective on the sport with co-host Marty Smith. "Dale Jr.'s Unrestricted" launches its second season the same night at 7:30pm/et, with a 10:30pm/et replay, on XM Sports Nation. Earnhardt and his friends Josh Snider and Steve Cris offer a candid look at what's happening on and off the track each week. XM Sports Nation has added the popular Performance Racing Network (PRN) show "Sunday Drive" to its lineup, along with returning PRN favorites "Fast Talk" and "Alltel Pit Reporters." XM Radio PR
02/13/07
irl
The "Road to Indy" takes another hit  We wonder if it was in Tony George's 'vision' to see the best and brightest young open wheel talent move to NASCAR?  That's is exactly what he got when he created the IRL, split open wheel in two and destroyed the sport. 

This article talks about another one of those open wheel young guns on his way to NASCAR.  And the split goes on.......

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