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Renault almost ready Renault almost readyFernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella continued their scheduled testing programme at the Catalunya Circuit in Barcelona on Thursday where in spite of very cold track conditions, the French team's two drivers completed their tests without any major problems and were highly competitive all day long.

Fernando Alonso covered a race distance in the morning and showed very good levels of performance and consistency during his runs. Then he continued his programme, focusing on set up changes, especially regarding aerodynamics.

"We made some good improvements for the first races,” the reigning champion explained. “The car is good, well balanced and I think we identified some interesting directions with Michelin for the beginning of the season. I am confident and I am now impatient to compare our performances with the other teams in race conditions". zzzz

Meanwhile, teammate Giancarlo Fisichella completed a major set up programme where he performed very well and ultimately took the second fastest lap time of the day with a 1:13.969.

"I think I completed today an important part of my testing program and I am really happy with our results,” he said. “My performances were good and the directions we are taking regarding the car development especially seem to be very satisfying. It was a very good day of testing.”

"We had a very satisfying day today as we completed our programme on both cars without any major problem,” added Christian Silk, Chief Test Engineer. “We especially worked on the preparation of the first races because the start of the season is now very close. The lap times and the results of the tests we did today are good and the drivers were both very happy with the balance of the car. We are very pleased, and our results give the team even more motivation to continue pushing hard." Renault

NASCAR slows pitstops NASCAR slows pitstopsIn an effort to increase parity in the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR has made a move to try to slow pit stops. Busch Series director Joe Balash said NASCAR has decreased the diameter of the fuel-dump cans team use to fill fuel tanks. The smaller cans mean fuel travels more slowly into the cars, a rate of about one second slower, Balash said. Teams use two cans to fill the 22-gallon fuel cells, which means a full pit stop will take about two seconds longer. NASCAR Scene
Paris Hilton to attend A1GP race Paris Hilton to attend A1GP raceMonterrey, Mexico A1GP organizers confirmed today that Paris Hilton would be one of the stars to attend the race this weekend.
track news
SCRAMP donations exceed $2M SCRAMP donations exceed $2MThe Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) announced today distribution in 2005 of $208,715.71 for donations to area charities and service organizations for their faithful service in helping put on the major racing events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

SCRAMP oversees the operation of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with its all-volunteer 25-member Board of Directors and 250 volunteer Assistant Directors. Since its inception in 1957, SCRAMP has contributed more than $11 million to the charities and service organizations that have participated in conducting the events at the world-renowned raceway. During its storied history – now entering its 50th season, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca events have resulted in an economic impact to Monterey County of more than $1 billion.

Woolrich Extends Roush Racing's truck deal Woolrich Extends Roush Racing's truck dealFONTANA, CA.- Woolrich, The Original Outdoor Clothing Company, announced today that they have extended their primary sponsorship of the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford F-150 and driver Erik Darnell for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on February 24 at California Speedway. The decision to continue their relationship with Roush Racing and Erik Darnell was made following a strong sixth-place finish at the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. 

"Roush Racing and Erik Darnell delivered on their promises last week, and in light of the fan response, we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity presented by Friday night's race in Southern California to build on the success in Daytona." said Tim Joseph, Woolrich's Director of Marketing and Media.

The Woolrich team was able to overcome a 15th-place qualifying effort and overheating problems at Daytona to bring home the first top-10 finish for driver Darnell in just his second Craftsman Truck Series start.

"We had a great run at Daytona, and I'm hoping we can build on it," said Darnell.  "We're going to carry some good momentum to Fontana.  Both Roush trucks ran really well out there last year, so we're looking for another strong finish.  I'm happy that we're representing Woolrich again, and I want to thank all the loyal NASCAR fans out there that communicated their appreciation to the company via website visits, e-mails and telephone calls.  I hear it made quite an impact and as a rookie I need all the support I can get."

A1GP Monterrey ticket sales A1GP Monterrey ticket salesWith practice starting tomorrow, Monterrey, Mexico A1GP organizers announced that as of  yesterday they had sold 75% of the grandstand seats for this weekend's race.  However, they are afraid that the wet spell the city is suffering (and that more rain is forecast for the weekend) may prevent them from selling out.  

75% sold is very suspicious to us.  If they have sold 75% of the grandstand seats, why are they still offering tickets for the Saturday concert?  Remember they only had 15,000 tickets for the concert, and the first 15,000 race ticket buyers got a concert ticket, indicating they have not yet even sold 15,000 race tickets, the rest being free giveaways we suppose. 

Things are so desperate it seems that now they are selling tickets for the concert and giving away the race tickets for free.  In other words, they could not sell tickets for the race so now they are trying to entice people to buy tickets for the concert as that might be the bigger draw.  The price is the same.  They are just presenting it in a reverse package. Jose Arrambide

Jourdain gets Mexico City ride Jourdain gets Mexico City rideppc Racing officials announced today that Roshfrans, the leading motor lubricant company in Mexico, will sponsor the No. 15 ppc Racing Ford Fusion driven by Michel Jourdain Jr. in next week’s NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.   Roshfrans is the official lubricant of the Champ Car World Series, where Jourdain has scored two career victories.  Jourdain looks to earn his first stock car win at his home track and talked about his return to racing in Mexico.

“I am glad to be back racing stock cars with Roshfrans, because they are such an important part of racing in Mexico, and in my history with Champ Cars,” said Jourdain.  “Roshfrans is a long-time Mexican company that supports racing and its people.  To represent Roshfrans in my home country and at my home track is fantastic.  I’m also happy that KRAFT has continue to support me and ppc Racing.  Last year we had a good car and twice I drove from the back, all the way up to sixth place when I got spun out by another competitor.  There will be many Mexican drivers trying to qualify for the race like there was last year.  I just hope I can win the race for my country, my sponsors and ppc Racing.”

Jourdain made his move to stock cars from open-wheel racing last year, starting 20 NBS races with ppc Racing, the 2000 NBS championship-winning team.  Jourdain’s best-career finish was a 10th-place effort at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway that year, just five races into his stock car racing career.  Associate sponsorship from Kraft Foods and its Team Kraft Racing program will return with Jourdain in 2006, as the No. 15 will sport the KRAFT and Oreo’s brands on the “C” post and the “Ritz” cracker brand behind the rear tires.  zzzz

“Last year Roshfrans celebrated 50 years of business in the lubricant industries,” said Sergio Platonoff Castillo, vice president of sales at Roshfrans.  “We continue to be committed to the development and advances of our beloved country and people of Mexico and Michel is no exception.  Since 1955, Roshfrans has grown to support our employees and the people of Mexico and we want nothing better than to see Michel do well in this, our home NASCAR Busch Series race.  We wish Michel the best.”

For car owner, Greg Pollex, having Michel back on the track was a personal initiative; his loyalty to his drivers and employees at ppc Racing.

“Having Michel in a ppc Racing car full time is what we want to provide,” said Pollex, who has 32 NBS victories since entering the sport in 1993.  “While sponsorship from Roshfrans is just one race, it becomes one more race for Michel to gain experience racing a stock car.  We have been working hard to obtain sponsorship for our team with Michel but nothing has been finalized.  We are thankful to KRAFT for continuing to support this program and to Roshfrans for its trust that we will put Michel in a winning position.  I believe Michel will do well in this event, along with Kenny (Wallace, No. 22 AutoZone Ford Fusion) and John (Andretti, No. 10 FreedomRoads Ford Fusion).  Michel will be a factor in this race, I guarantee.”

track news
Bad Religion to highlight LB Grand Prix concert Bad Religion to highlight LB Grand Prix concertBad Religion, whose thoughtful, intelligent and sometimes political lyrics combined with the best sounds in alternative and mainstream rock music for more than twenty years, will headline the Saturday, April 8 "Rock-N-Roar" Concert, Presented by the World Famous KROQ, at the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Admission to the Bad Religion concert is free to all Saturday race ticketholders, as is the Tecate Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach pageant which immediately follows  the concert.  Both events will take place on the stage adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center and will commence immediately following the conclusion of racing activity at about 6 p.m.

"Racing and punk rock music are a good blend ... it's a 'pedal to the metal' kind of attitude," said guitarist Greg Hetson.  "There will be no compromises on the track or on stage that evening. Bring your earplugs for both events, because it's going to be loud and exciting!"

"It's such an unbelievable thing to reflect on our band's evolution from a small garage band in Canoga Park to the place where we are now," said lead singer Greg Graffin. "Wherever that is, one thing remains obvious - our shows reflect a kind of musical tradition that started here in Southern California and we feel so lucky to help symbolize it. zzzz

"Thanks to the Grand Prix, we will be melding our tradition with the community of racing fans who, likewise, have a long, storied history in Southern California culture.

"It should be a day to remember."

Bad Religion has been stunning the music world by mixing thought, melody,  attitude, speed and ability since 1980, when vocalist Greg Graffin, guitarist Brett Gurewitz and bassist Jay Bentley formed the band in the San Fernando Valley.

In an era where major labels refused to consider American punk groups, Gurewitz formed Epitaph Records as a medium for the band's message.  Their first LP, 1982s "How Could Hell Be Any Worse," helped define their Southern California sound.

Ex-Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson joined the group in 1987 and they reeled off three acclaimed discs - "No Control" (1989), "Against the Grain" (1990) and "Generator" (1992) - before jumping to Atlantic Records after 1993's "Recipe for Hate."

A year later, Gurewitz left the band to oversee his record company full-time, with the band adding guitarist Brian Baker for three Atlantic offerings and touring.  By 2000, Gurewitz and Graffin had rekindled their collaborative pursuits, with Gurewitz rejoining the group and Bad Religion releasing its widely-hailed comeback disc, "The Process of Belief." Gurewitz has said that their music is, "Punk Rock with a conscience."

On their latest CD, "The Empire Strikes First," the band enforced the theory that the finest punk rock has always housed opinions to bolster its spirit and attitude, with Bad Religion taking its weightiest stance yet on the dual themes of religion and politics.

The band plans a March 7 release date of its "Live at the Palladium" DVD featuring extensive live footage shot over two nights at the Hollywood Palladium, including extremely rare content such as an acoustic piano version of "Cease." 

Filmed in 2005, the DVD also features in-depth interviews with current band members discussing the band's formation and evolution of the band's music and their careers as a whole.

Members of the group are: Graffin, Gurewitz, Bentley, Hetson, Brian Baker (guitar) and Brooks Wackerman (drums).  For more information on Bad Religion, log on to www.badreligion.com or www.epitaph.com. Additional press pictures are available at Epitaph's website in the press section.

Tickets for Saturday's events at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which include the Bad Religion concert, can be purchased from the Grand Prix ticket office by calling the toll-free ticket hotline at (888) 82-SPEED or going online at longbeachgp.com or ticketmaster.com.

Ticket prices start at $35 for a general admission ticket that allows patrons access to all Friday and Saturday activities. Other ticket options include a $115 three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seats in upper levels of the grandstands.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available when ordering through the Grand Prix Ticket Office. Handicapped seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, super photo tickets and a variety of hospitality club packages are also available.

track news
St. Pete race picks up sponsor St. Pete race picks up sponsorAirTran Airways has been named the official airline and exclusive airline sponsor of the IRL Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  The company will have racecourse signage and is activating its program “by distributing 3.5 million ticket jackets that include an ad highlighting its relationship” with Andretti Green Racing. BIZJOURNALS.com
Wheldon, Patrick featured in ESPN.com poll Wheldon, Patrick featured in ESPN.com pollTwo of the IndyCar Series' hottest stars are featured in ESPN.com Page 2's "Hottest Athlete" poll.   Reigning IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon and 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick are among the candidates in the "Hottest Male Athlete" and "Hottest Female Athlete" voting. They are the only race drivers listed in the poll. 
To vote for Wheldon: visit http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/features/hottestMen_Vote
To vote for Patrick, visit: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/features/hottestWomen_Vote
Case Automotive Group partners with AGR Case Automotive Group partners with AGRThe Rick Case Automotive Group, one of South Florida's most recognized car dealers, has joined forces with Andretti Green Racing as the team's exclusive Honda dealer sponsor.  Rick Case's logo will be featured on each of the team's Honda-powered cars in all 14 races, beginning with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  The Rick Case Automotive Group, founded in 1962 and headquartered in South Florida since 1986, is owned and operated by Rita and Rick Case. With 13 dealerships in Florida, Georgia and Ohio, the Rick Case Automotive Group offers Acura, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Honda Cars & Cycles products. IRL
Abbott to race opener with Michael Crawford Motorsports Abbott to race opener with Michael Crawford MotorsportsMichael Crawford Motorsports, the youngest team in the Indy Racing League Indy Pro Series, has signed Mishael Abbott to drive in the season-opening Miami 100 March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Abbott, a 24-year-old from Coral Springs, Fla., also will test the team's No. 8 Indy Pro Series machine at the facility March 4 and 6 in the series' first Open Test of 2006.

"This is another great step forward," said Crawford, who opened the doors of Michael Crawford Motorsports in January. "I'm really excited to work with Mishael. She brings a lot to the program. She qualified fourth at Homestead last year. We want to live up to that, do better than that." zzzz

Abbott was the first woman to compete in the Indy Pro Series last year when she made four starts. She finished eighth on the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami in her series debut.

"I'm so excited to race for the local Florida fans in the Indy Pro Series at Homestead-Miami, especially under the successful leadership of Michael Crawford Motorsports," said Abbott, who is pursuing dual degrees from Florida Atlantic University in elementary education and at the University of Indianapolis in sports marketing.

Both Abbott and Crawford believe this is the first step in what promises to be a highly successful 2006 campaign.

"I feel like this can really be a breakout season for me," Abbott said. "If I can secure funding for the full season, I know I can get closer to my goal of someday winning the Indianapolis 500."

Said Crawford: "We started with a super test in January, and now we've signed our first driver. We're still in serious conversation with several individuals about driving our second car."

The Indy Pro Series is the premier ladder series for drivers, teams and sponsors striving to compete in the IndyCar® Series and the Indianapolis 500. The 12-race schedule in 2006 features six races on ovals and six races on road courses, including competing on both circuits at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Teams compete for $3 million in prize money in cars that generate 420 horsepower and speeds in excess of 190 mph. The races are telecast to more than 88 million homes in the United States on ESPN2.

Piquet tops Thursday test times Piquet tops Thursday test timesNelson Piquet Jr finished on top of the timesheets at the end of the final day of GP2 series testing at Circuit Paul Ricard this afternoon. the Brazilian's time of 1:13.068 was the third fastest of the test overall, as Jose Maria Lopez and Lewis Hamilton, who topped both of yesterday's sessions, posted marginally quicker laps on day one. Lewis finished this afternoon's session second fastest for ART Grand Prix, one tenth of a second behind Nelson.

But the surprise of the afternoon, and in fact the day, came in the form of Andreas Zuber. The Austrian and his Trident Racing team were both making their debuts in this test, and after a strong morning in which both he and his team-mate Gimmi Bruni finished in the top eight, it was Andreas who finished the test in third place. Gimmi's luck deserted him however, as he finished last this afternoon.

Jose Maria Lopez continued to show his clear intent on a championship assault with the fourth quickest time for Super Nova International, while Adam Carroll gave his new Racing Engineering team and their newest signing, ex-F1 engineer Gary Anderson, something to smile about with fifth place.

Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet 1m 13.186s 1m 13.068 31/31
Alex Premat ART 1m 13.105s 1m 13.607s 22/33
Lewis Hamilton ART 1m 13.802s 1m 13.179s 39/37
Andreas Zuber Trident 1m 13.738s 1m 13.276s 28/32
Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova 1m 13.356s 1m 13.355s 46/34
Adam Carroll Racing Engineering 1m 13.754s 1m 13.426s 30/37
Lucas di Grassi Durango 1m 13.492s 1m 13.685s 36/39
Ernesto Viso iSport 1m 13.402s 1m 13.537s 37/36
Alexandre Negrao Piquet 1m 13.817s 1m 13.568s 36/44
Gianmaria Bruni Trident 1m 13.574s 1m 16.695s 35/13
Timo Glock BCN 1m 14.638s 1m 13.680s 29/45
Nicolas Lapierre Arden 1m 13.783s 1m 13.704s 41/38
Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN 1m 14.070s 1m 13.717s 21/41
Michael Ammermuller Arden 1m 13.720s 1m 13.823s 38/35
Ferdinando Monfardini DAMS 1m 14.114s 1m 13.726s 39/37
Felix Porteiro Campos 1m 14.000s 1m 13.741s 31/36
Franck Perera DAMS 1m 14.155s 1m 13.757s 41/30
Luca Filippi FMS 1m 14.797s 1m 13.794s 31/40
Tristan Gommendy iSport 1m 14.261s 1m 13.872s 26/33
Adrian Valles Campos 1m 14.110s 1m 13.968s 20/38
Olivier Pla DPR Direxiv 1m 14.057s 1m 15.295s 29/20
Fauzy Fairuz Super Nova 1m 14.373s 1m 14.321s 25/22
Clivio Piccione DPR Direxiv 1m 14.573s 1m 14.785s 22/6
Sergio Hernandez Durango 1m 31.620s 1m 14.719s 6/51
Jason Tahinci FMS 1m 15.024s 1m 15.552s 24/25
Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1m 15.235s 1m 15.046s 39/33

Button tops test times in Barcelona Button tops test times in Barcelona
1. J. Button - Honda RA106 - 1'13"935 (+0"000) - 116 laps
2. G. Fisichella - Renault R26 - 1'13"971 (+0"036) - 125 laps
3. F. Alonso - Renault R26 - 1'13"977 (+0"042) - 113 laps
4. R. Barrichello - Honda RA106 -1'14"266 (+0"331) - 119 laps
5. J.P. Montoya - McLaren Mercedes MP4-21 - 1'14"588 (+0"653) - 131 laps
6. K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-21 - 1'15"475 (+1"540) - 79 laps
7. N. Rosberg - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1'15"774 (+1"839) - 83 laps
8. R. Schumacher - Toyota TF106 - 1'15"973 (+2"038) - 97 laps
9. D. Coulthard - Red Bull Ferrari RB2 - 1'16"034 (+2"099) - 54 laps
10. J. Trulli - Toyota TF106 - 1'16"057 (+2"122) - 103 laps
11. M. Webber - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1'16"128 (+2"193) - 97 laps
12. C. Klien - Red Bull Ferrari RB2 - 1'16"923 (+2"988) - 55 laps
13. C. Albers – MF1 Toyota M16 - 1'17"142 (+3"207) - 79 laps
14. T. Sato - Super Aguri Honda SA05 - 1'19"787 (+5"852) - 58 laps

Lap times courtesy of Circuit de Catalunya.

BMW renews with MotoGP BMW renews with MotoGPWith a collaboration dating back over six years to 1999, BMW will continue its support of the MotoGP World Championships with an agreement to supply the Safety Cars for the series for another four seasons up to 2009. At the Jerez circuit in southern Spain on Tuesday, the President of BMW M, Professor Ulrich Bruhnke, signed an agreement with Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, as he handed over the keys to MotoGP’s new vehicles. Each of MotoGP’s seventeen events will be escorted by a powerful and stylish BMW fleet, consisting of a BMW M5 and BMW M6.

Furthermore, as in the previous two seasons, BMW will support an additional level of competition in the MotoGP class with the BMW M Award. This award will see the fastest rider at March 5th’s MotoGP Official Test at the Catalunya Circuit in Spain take home a brand new BMW Z4 M Roadster. Then throughout the season, the rider who accrues the lowest qualifying times total including his time from the Official Test, will drive away with a BMW Z4 M Coupé.

As part of the link-up, BMW will also provide Dorna, the organizer and commercial rights holder for the MotoGP World Championships, with a broader selection of BMW cars for organizational purposes. MotoGP

Cicci replaces Tracy with Mexican driver Cicci replaces Tracy with Mexican driverFrank Cicci, owner of the Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly NASCAR Busch Series race team, announced today that veteran Mexican driver Carlos Pardo has been hired to drive the familiar #34 Cicci/Kelly Racing Chevrolet in the Telcel Motorola Mexico 200 race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City next weekend.

Pardo has competed regularly in several Mexican-based Series and notched titles in four consecutive seasons. He was the Tourismo Series champion in 2000 and followed that up with back-to-back crowns in the Mexican Super Truck Series in 2001 and 2002, and the inaugural championship in the Desafio Corona circuit in 2004. The Desafio Corona Tour is endorsed by NASCAR and served as a support event for last year’s first-ever Busch Series race in Mexico City.

Pardo also started a pair of NASCAR Busch Series North (now the new NASCAR Grand National Busch East Series) races in 2005. He finished a very respectable eleventh in each race, one at the Star Country/Domino’s Sausage Pizza 150 at the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA, and the other in the Edge Hotel 150 at the Adirondack International Speedway in Beaver Falls. NY. Pardo was entered each time in cars owned by Lori Williams. zzzz

“We tested (Pardo) him on the road course at Virginia International Raceway, and he adapted to the heavier car real quick and kept getting better and better”, said Cicci, now in his 28th season as a NASCAR team owner – 19 of them in the Busch Series.

“Carlos has turned hundreds of laps on the Mexico City course, and our team is really looking forward to going to Mexico City with a driver and car capable of winning”, Cicci added.

Cicci’s #34 Monte Carlo will carry primary sponsorship in the Mexico 200 on March 5 from Telcel, Mexico’s largest cellular telephone service provider. Additional support will come from MobiTech, a NASCAR licensed computer furniture manufacturer, and VecTech, producer of an extensive line of consumer electronic products.

The Vasquez Marketing Group was instrumental in brokering the deal between Pardo and Cicci/Kelly Racing. Cicci/Kelly Racing has a guaranteed starting berth for the first five races on the 2006 Busch Series schedule as a result of its 23rd place finish in owner points in 2005.

Cheating is the staple of NASCAR Cheating is the staple of NASCARUPDATE #3 This NASCAR.com article underscores what AutoRacing1.com has been saying for years - that NASCAR fines are way too lenient on cheaters, which encourages cheaters to continue their underhanded methods of winning races.  NASCAR is going to have to impose much stiffer penalties if they want the cheating to stop.  If not, they will continue to get comments like "cheating is the staple of NASCAR."  This Yahoo! Sports article says pretty much the same thing we said - cheating is such a big part of NASCAR's history (past and present) that entire books have been written about it .

02/16/06 For years now AutoRacing1.com has mused about all the cheating that goes on in NASCAR compared to other racing series where you seldom hear of teams having to cheat to win.

Nextel Cup series director John Darby responds to those allegations.

"I watch a lot of football games and I see a lot of face masks getting grabbed," Darby said. "I know you're not supposed to do that. ...I don't believe we have a unique situation. But you compound a team of 20 people and add a machine that has over 5,000 moving parts, there's a lot more there to play with. ...It's a bigger candy jar to reach in, there's more than one jelly bean in the jar.

"NASCAR addresses violations much differently than any other sport," he said. "We're not necessarily ashamed of having cork in a bat. We'd rather let the world know and the fans know the cork was there and say that here's the penalty because of it."

Which of course is total BS.  NASCAR fines are way too lenient and to top it off, the fine money goes into a fund that the teams get back at the end of the year.  The cheats collect back their fine money later.  In essence NASCAR fines are a slap on the wrist (and a pat on the back for a job well done as they leave the penalty trailer) and a great way for NASCAR to keep its name in the news.

Right, A NASCAR official checks the rear window of Jimmie Johnson's car as members of his team look on. Photo by CIA Stock Photo

02/14/06 Long list of fines by NASCAR on Chad Knaus, perhaps the series biggest cheater:
June 2002: Fined $5,000 for use of inappropriate language in televised interview after a race at Dover.
July 2002: Fined $25,000 and penalized 25 points for offset mounting bolts for the front of the trailing arms at Daytona.
May 2003: Fined $1,000 for unapproved air directional device found in inspections for The Winston all-star race.
May 2003: Fined $2,500 for unapproved use of refrigerant near the fuel system before Coca-Cola 600 qualifying.
March 2005: Fined $35,000, penalized 25 points and suspended for two races when the car was too low in post race inspection after Johnson's victory at Las Vegas. Upon appeal, the suspension was overturned but the fine and points penalty stood.
September 2005: Car passed inspection after a win at Dover, but NASCAR immediately rewrote rules governing rear shock absorbers to address "innovations" employed in the No. 48. In part from ThatsRacin.com
February 2006: Ejected from Daytona 500 activities after the No. 48 fails post-qualifying inspection in the rear window.

02/14/06 In ejecting Chad Knaus on Monday from Daytona 500 activities, NASCAR did only part of what it needs to do in response to shenanigans discovered in Nextel Cup qualifying at Daytona International Speedway.

Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet, will sit this one out after that car's qualifying lap at 188.762 mph was disallowed for rules violations found in inspection after qualifying Sunday.

According to a source in the garage, Johnson's car was rigged so the shape of the rear windshield area could be altered after the car passed pre-qualifying inspection. The intent was to deflect more air off the rear spoiler, reducing drag and helping the car go faster.

You know, cheating. [Editor's Note: Cheating to win appears to be the staple of NASCAR.  Are the winners simply the best cheaters?]

This is at least the seventh time in his tenure as Johnson's crew chief that Knaus has run afoul of the sport's rulesmakers.  More at ThatsRacin.com

12 Hours of Sebring entry list 12 Hours of Sebring entry listThe preliminary entry list for the 2006 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has been released and it shows just 37 cars, 15 of which are from Europe.  In years gone bye, the entry list was 2 to 3 times what it is today.  Clearly having two sportscar series (ALMS and Grand-Am) in the USA is ludicrous and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
 Class Team Drivers Car
1 LMP1 Audi Sport North America TBA Audi R10
2 LMP1 Audi Sport North America TBA Audi R10
9 LMP1 Highcroft Racing Duncan Dayton / Rick Knoop / Gregor Fisken Lola EX257 AER
12 LMP1 Autocon Motorsports Michael Lewis / Chris McMurry / Bryan Willman Lola EX257 AER
16 LMP1 Dyson Racing Team James Weaver / Butch Leitzinger / Andy Wallace Lola B06/10 AER
20 LMP1 Dyson Racing Team Chris Dyson / Guy Smith Lola B06/10 AER
32 LMP1 Group Bio Harri Toivonen / Adam Sharpe Lola B2K/10 Diesel
6 LMP2 Penske Motorsports Sascha Maassen / Lucas Luhr / Emmanuel Collard Porsche RS Spyder
7 LMP2 Penske Motorsports Timo Bernhard / Romain Dumas / Patrick Long Porsche RS Spyder
8 LMP2 B-K Motorsports Jamie Bach / Guy Cosmo / Raphael Matos Courage C65 Mazda
10 LMP2 Miracle Motorsports TBA Courage C65 AER
18 LMP2 Welter Rachel Frederic Hauchard / Olivier Porta  WR Peugeot
33 LMP2 Barazi Epsilon Juan Barazi / Michael Vergers Courage C65 AER
37 LMP2 Intersport Racing Clint Field / Liz Halliday / Jon Field Lola B05/40 AER
41 LMP2 Binnie Motorsports Bill Binnie / TBA / TBA Lola B05/40 Zytek
3 GT1 Corvette Racing Ron Fellows / Johnny O' Connell / Max Papis Corvette C6.R
4 GT1 Corvette Racing Oliver Gavin / Olivier Beretta / Jan Magnussen Corvette C6.R
25 GT1 Konrad Motorsport TBA Saleen S7R
26 GT1 Konrad Motorsport Tom Weickardt / TBA / TBA Saleen S7R
007 GT1 Aston Martin Racing Tomas Enge / Nicholas Kiesa / Darren Turner Aston Martin DBR9
009 GT1 Aston Martin Racing Jason Bright / Pedro Lamy / Stephane Sarrazin Aston Martin DBR9
21 GT2S BMW Team PTG Bill Auberlen / Joey Hand / Ian James BMW E46 M3
22 GT2S BMW Team PTG Justin Marks / Bryan Sellers / Martin Jensen BMW E46 M3
23 GT2 Alex Job Racing TBA Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
31 GT2 Petersen/White Light J. Bergmeister / T. Bergmeister / N. Jonnson Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
44 GT2 Flying Lizard Motorsports TBA Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
45 GT2 Flying Lizard Motorsports TBA Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
50 GT2 Multimatic Team Panoz Scott Maxwell / David Brabham / TBA Panoz Esperante GTLM Ford
51 GT2 Multimatic Team Panoz Gunnar Jeannette / Tom Milner / TBA Panoz Esperante GTLM Ford
55 GT2 Farnbacher Loles Pierre Ehret / Lars Neilsen / Dominik Farnbacher Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
56 GT2 Vonka Racing Jan Vonka / Mauro Casadei / Bo McCormick Porsche 911 GT3 RS
62 GT2 Risi Competizione Ralf Kelleners / TBA / TBA Ferrari 430GT
78 GT2 J3 Racing TBA Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
79 GT2 J3 Racing TBA Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
80 GT2 Team LNT Lawrence Tomlinson / Richard Dean / Tim Kimber-Smith Panoz EsperanteGTLM
85 GT2 Spyker Squadron Jeroem Bleekemolem / Donny Crevels  Spyker C8 Spyder
86 GT2 Spyker Squadron Mike Hezemans / Tom Coronel Spyker C8 Spyder
1:18 scale Tagliani/Team Australia diecast 1:18 scale Tagliani/Team Australia diecastBelow is the latest work by http://www.chapparrelsdiecast.com.  It is a 1:18 scale diecast model of Alex Tagliani's 2005 Team Australia car, custom built for one of Tagliani's team members.


Red Bull spares no expense Red Bull spares no expenseUPDATE Red Bull's North American corporate offices are located in Santa Monica, California, a very nice costal suburb of Los Angeles. Someone in the know - a Red Bull-sponsored athlete - yesterday told us that Red Bull have purchased a very large brick building in Santa Monica that is in a state of disrepair but that a huge construction crew is already renovating it - no expense spared! When this company decides to do something, they do it right! 02/22/06 For the Red Bull F1 team no expenses are spared as they have snatched some key personnel from other teams.  But what do they do when they need more space in the paddock?   If you can go out you go up.  At right is a photo of the team's new portable office building built atop their team transporters.  Note the stairway going up between the two transporters.
track news
Indy 500 Fan Tour announced Indy 500 Fan Tour announcedThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrates the 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race by taking the festivities of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" back on the road this spring with the Indy 500 Fan Tour presented by Meijer/Coca-Cola.

Created to bring the excitement and anticipation of the Indianapolis 500 to fans, the Tour will travel across the state of Indiana and surrounding states. The Tour starts Friday, Feb. 24 and continues through the 90th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28.

The Tour is free for fans of all ages.

"The Indianapolis 500 has been an integral part of Indiana history since 1911, and the Indy 500 Fan Tour presented by Meijer/Coca-Cola allows our fans to begin celebrating the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 even before track activity begins," said Joie Chitwood, IMS president and chief operating officer.

The Tour kicks off from 4-8 p.m. (local time) Feb. 24 at Fastimes Indoor Karting in Indianapolis. IndyCar® Series drivers, including Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter and Vitor Meira, will race against local Indianapolis media. Fans can watch the competition and get a first-hand look at the Tour.

A 35-foot trailer adorned with the 2006 Indianapolis 500 logo and images narrating the history and events surrounding "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will be the main attraction for the Tour. Other components of the Indy 500 Fan Tour presented by Meijer/Coca-Cola:

  • A full-size IndyCar Series simulator
  • Various collectables from drivers who competed in the Indianapolis 500
  • Photo opportunities with life-size cut-outs of 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and 2005 Indianapolis 500 JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick
  • IndyCar Xbox video game competition
  • Indianapolis 500 Race Day tickets available for purchase

The Tour schedule already has more than 20 public appearances throughout Indiana. Check regularly for schedule updates by clicking on the "Indy 500 Fan Tour Schedule" link on www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. zzzz

For more information about the Indy 500 Fan Tour presented by Meijer/Coca-Cola, fans can e-mail fantour@brickyard.com.

(Subject to change, all times Eastern, all locations in Indiana unless specified)


Feb. 24
6-9 a.m.

Feb. 24
Fastimes Indoor Karting
4-8 p.m.

March 11
Indiana Ice game
4:30 p.m.

April 5
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
8 a.m.-5 p.m.

April 7
Crown Point
Crown Point Car Show
5-8 p.m.

April 8-9
Country Music Expo
9 a.m.-6 p.m.

April 14
Conseco Fieldhouse
8 p.m.

April 15
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
8 a.m.

April 22
Lawrenceburg Speedway
4 p.m.

April 23
Winchester Speedway

April 28
Gas City
Gas City I-69 Speedway
4-8 p.m.

April 29
Rossburg, Ohio
Eldora Speedway
4 p.m.

May 3
Terre Haute
North Vigo High School
11 a.m.-2 p.m.

May 6
500 Festival Mini-Marathon
7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

May 8
Meijer (96th Street)
6-8 p.m.

May 12
Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne Wizards game
6 p.m.

May 13
Terre Haute
Terre Haute Action Track
4 p.m.

May 14
Kokomo Speedway
4 p.m.

May 15
Marysville, Ohio
Honda plant
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

May 16
10 a.m.-2 p.m.

May 16
Meijer (Rockville Road)
6-8 p.m.

May 21
500 Festival Kids Day
Noon-4 p.m.

May 24
Community Day
9 a.m.-6 p.m.

May 24
Meijer (Pike Plaza)
6-8 p.m.

May 25
6-8 p.m.

May 27
Indianapolis Raceway Park
3-8 p.m.


Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the 90th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Red Bull renews with USGP MotoGP race Red Bull renews with USGP MotoGP raceEnergy drink manufacturer Red Bull will continue its title sponsorship of MotoGP's US Grand Prix for another three years.  It follows a deal with MotoGP's commercial rights-holders Dorna Sports, following the sport's return to the US in 2005 for the first time in 11 years.

The Red Bull US Grand Prix enjoyed sell-out crowds on all three days last year. Red Bull has been instrumental in bringing top-level motorcycle racing back to North America, having worked with the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit and the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) to help make the necessary safety modifications.

The energy drink also supports several riders in MotoGP as well as Austrian manufacturer KTM’s 250 and 125cc racing teams.

McLaren renews with Henkel McLaren renews with HenkelProduct supplier Henkel and Formula One's Team McLaren Mercedes have signed a new multi-year sponsorship deal. It extends a partnership that began in 1995 through the Loctite® brand of adhesive. Henkel will continue to be an Official Supplier, but from this year its logo will move what it says is a more visible top position on the rear wing end plate of the two racing cars.

“Formula One is the ideal proving ground for us”, says Jochen Krautter, executive vice president, Henkel Technologies.

The race car is strengthened by a range of Henkel’s high-strength adhesives. Engineers at McLaren Racing also consult with Henkel to determine the best-suited products to meet particular applications. Henkel’s NASCAR sponsorships include several brands with Roush Racing and driver Carl Edwards.

Sheikh Maktoum meets with Shanghai government Sheikh Maktoum meets with Shanghai governmentOfficial recognition from the General Sports Administration of China and the Shanghai Municipal Government has been given to the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Shanghai International Circuit, China (31 March – 2 April 2006) following a meeting between A1GP Chairman, Sheikh Maktoum, Mr. Yang Xiaodu, Deputy Mayor of Shanghai Municipal Government and Mr Zhao Yinghua, Deputy Director of Shanghai Sports Bureau last week.

Sheikh Maktoum, along with A1GP chief operating officer, David Clare attended an official lunch with representatives of the Shanghai government on Friday 17 February. During the meeting, A1 Grand Prix was given the full support of the Shanghai government and its departments who committed to working with the organisers of the World Cup of Motorsport to ensure a successful event in China in six weeks time. zzzz

Reaffirming the China’s commitment to hosting the final round of the 2005/06 A1 Grand Prix season, dignitaries from FASC, the Shanghai Municipal Government and Shanghai Sport Administration attended a press conference to announce the creation of the 2005/06 Chinese A1 Grand Prix Organizing Committee to local and international media.

The establishment of the Committee represents the official recognition of the event by the General Sports Administration of China and the Shanghai Municipal Government who will provide full support including public security, transportation, telecommunication, publication and media and medical support.

Speaking at the press conference, Deputy Secretary-General Mr. Yao Mingbao said: ‘We thank A1 Grand Prix for presenting an opportunity for China to get really involved in an International top-level motorsport event. Chinese drivers, for the first time in history can compete with drivers from other nations on a level-playing field on behalf of their country. And, with the support and expectation from the whole world to make the final race of 2005/06 A1 Grand Prix happen in Shanghai, China, we will make Shanghai the sports and cultural center of Asia after it has been one of the financial and economic centre within this area.’

On behalf of A1 Grand Prix, Sheikh Maktoum said: ´I am honored to receive the official support of the General Sports Administration of China and the Shanghai Municipal Government for our forthcoming race in China. A1 Grand Prix is not only a great opportunity to showcase China’s sporting facilities to the world but by bringing together 80 per cent of the world’s population on the race track, it shows what countries can achieve when they join together under a common denominator.’ A1 Grand Prix

Four A1GP drivers have experience at Monterrey Four A1GP drivers have experience at MonterreyDespite being visited only by the Champ Car series since it opened in 2001, four A1 Grand Prix drivers have raced already on the Fundidora Park circuit in Monterrey - home to this weekend's ninth round of the A1 Grand Prix series.

Patrick Carpentier, who is taking over the A1 Team Canada seat from Sean McIntosh - winner last time out in Indonesia - has raced on this northern Mexican circuit three times. Christian Fittipaldi, who joinedA1 Team Brazil in place of Nelson Piquet Jr last time out at Sentul, has also raced and shone there, finishing third in 2002.

Another new face to A1 Grand Prix at the most recent round, Marcus Marshall of A1 Team Australia, had his first taste of Fundidora Park last year. While the driver who stood one step higher than him on the podium for the feature race at Sentul, A1 Team Malaysia's Alex Yoong, raced there in his one-off season of Champ Car.

Free tickets for Rolling Stones at Monterrey Free tickets for Rolling Stones at MonterreyVeteran British band the Rolling Stones who rocked the USA by starring at the Superbowl recently, are expanding their sporting connection by playing in Monterrey, Mexico, venue for the ninth round of the A1 Grand Prix series.

A1 Grand Prix has secured 2,000 tickets to give away on a first-come, first-served basis along when people purchase tickets for this weekend's A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Monterrey. Each of these tickets will carry a special stub that will guarantee entry to the Stones concert at the baseball stadium situated alongside the track in Fundidora Park the following Wednesday, 1 March.

There will be a concert on race weekend, too, on the Saturday night, 25 February, with 10,000 race tickets bearing a stub for a concert by leading Mexican band RMB.

Explanation of when NASCAR cheaters lose points Explanation of when NASCAR cheaters lose pointsLast March at Las Vegas, #29 crew chief Todd Berrier welded the fuel filler so it looked like it was full of fuel when it wasn't.  Two weeks ago at Daytona, the Hall of Fame Racing's #96 car qualified with an unapproved carburetor.

According to NASCAR, those two infractions warranted not only a fine but a reduction of 25 driver and owner points because the fuel filler and the carburetor were absolutely unapproved parts. NASCAR was able to walk over to the car and confiscate those pieces, and their use was premeditated. The pieces were specifically made to skirt NASCAR's rules.

Last fall during qualifying at Talladega, Berrier and the #29 team had some trap doors in the trunk that weren't properly sealed off. The shocks were open when they were supposed to be closed. And some hose clamp that holds the fuel-filler pipe in place came loose. The next thing you know, Kevin Harvick's car had air underneath the car, going up through the trunk and escaping out a hole in the back of the tail light. In that instance, no unapproved parts or pieces were used.
During Daytona 500 qualifying this year, crew chief Chad Knaus and the #48 team put a sleeve over the trackbar adjuster. Like the #29 car at Talladega last fall, all of those parts and pieces were still part of the car that they raced in the Daytona 500.

Points penalty: In simple terms, here's the pattern. If you maliciously put something on a car that's made or machined, and it's an unapproved piece that can be confiscated, the team will be fined, the crew chief will be suspended and the driver and owner will lose 25 points.

No points penalty: If you take something that's already on the car and use it to beat the spirit of the rule, then it warrants a suspension and a fine, but it does not warrant the loss of 25 driver and owner points. See Larry McReynolds full article at FoxSports

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Movie: Driven (2001)   
9:00am-11:00am TNT
NASCAR Live! Fontana
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
World of Outlaws -Preseason Show Volusia
1:00pm-2:00pm (R) OLN
SEMA Show Las Vegas
1:00pm-3:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying  Fontana
4:00pm-6:00pm (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Happy Hour Fontana
5:00pm-6:00pm (SDD) FX
NASCAR Busch Series  Fontana
6:00pm-9:00pm (L) FX
Speed News  
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Chandler, AZ
8:00pm-10:00pm ESPN2
Tradin' Paint (NASCAR)  
9:00pm-9:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Performance  
9:30pm-10:00pm SPEED

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

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
BMW 'quicker than expected' - Zanardi
Yuji Ide makes F1 test debut
Revamp for Brit GP delayed
Aguri chief to retire in 2011
FIA seeks 'standard ECU' supplier
Not too late for Narain - Williams
Frank, Mark, upbeat about '06
'SA05' to get aero update
Max, Bernie, approve Imola upgrade
Ex-F1 sponsor writes off Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton tops testing at Paul Ricard Lewis Hamilton tops testing at Paul Ricard

For their first official test session at the Paul Ricard HTTT in 2006, the thirteen teams of the 2006 GP2 Series have shown their motivation for a perfect start of the new season.

Even though the morning weather conditions disturbed a little the first test of the two-day session with some rain, the drivers took advantage of a drying track to go for perfect drive in safe conditions.

Obviously working mostly on car set-ups, the teams did a great job, and today’s best lap was set by GP2 English rooky Lewis Hamilton from team ART Grand Prix, 2005 GP2 series winner. The Team is set to start another great season finding right away the best set-up to top today’s time sheet.

On the 3D Paul Ricard HTTT Track solution (3,853km), today’s session gave all the teams the opportunity to start a serious program for the 2006 season. The thirteen teams and 26 drivers will continue the session tomorrow with an expected better weather forecast.

1 Lewis Hamilton ART Grand Prix 01:12.838  30 laps
2 Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova International 01:12.957  31 laps
3 Lucas Di Grassi Durango 01:13.638  33 laps
4 Alexandre Premat ART Grand Prix 01:13.903  18 laps
5 Michael Ammermueller Arden International 01:14.006 50 laps
6 Nicolas Lapierre Arden International 01:14.010  44 laps
7 Alexandre Negrao Piquet Sports 01:14.103 54 laps
8 Franck Perera DAMS 01:14.106  36 laps
9 Gianmaria Bruni Trident Racing 01:14.410  24 laps
10 Adam Carroll Racing Engineering 01:14.560  25 laps
11 Ferdinando Monfardini DAMS 01:14.627  44 laps
12 Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 01:14.827  16 laps
13 Luca Filippi FMS International 01:14.922  24 laps
14 Nelson Angelo Piquet Piquet Sports 01:14.977  31 laps
15 Tristan Gommendy iSport International 01:15.026  15 laps
16 Andreas Zuber Trident Racing 01:15.186  45 laps
17 Adrian Valles Campos Racing 01:15.253  20 laps
18 Timo Glock BCN Competicion 01:15.608  12 laps
19 Olivier Pla DPR Direxiv 01:15.638  30 laps
20 Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova International 01:15.701  14 laps
21 Ernesto Viso iSport International 01:16.006  15 laps
22 Felix Porteiro Campos Racing 01:16.143  31 laps
23 Jason Tahinci FMS International 01:16.348  25 laps
24 Javier Villa Racing Engineering 01:16.400   6 laps
25 Clivio Piccione DPR Direxiv 2 laps
26 Sergio Hernandez Durango 1 lap

Press release Paul Ricard HTTT

Bad day for Red Bull Bad day for Red BullIt was a bad day of testing for Red Bull Racing at the Barcelona circuit on Wednesday as the original plan was for both race drivers to go through an on-track dress rehearsal for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but things did not turn out that way for David and Christian.

It was another cold and damp start so after a single installation lap, our drivers, in line with several others, opted to stay in the pits until the track warmed up. When they went out at midday, Coulthard’s engine failed and Klien’s gearbox packed up in quick succession.

“David had a fresh engine, but it was not to the latest specification that we plan to run in Bahrain,” said Chief Test Engineer Ian Morgan. “Christian’s gearbox was quite high mileage, but we would not have expected it to fail when it did. Because he had a Bahrain spec engine, it was important to put as many miles on it as possible, but both guys lost a lot of track time, especially David, who only returned to the track with half an hour remaining.”

Both race drivers are back on track today, when the plan is for them to run through a qualifying and race simulation. Red Bull

Mexicans charging A1GP top dollar for track Mexicans charging A1GP top dollar for trackAfter an editorial piece that appeared in the Monterrey, Mexico newspaper El Norte said that local government was charging one million USD for the use of the track for the A1GP race this weekend.  Juan Cortina president of Team Mexico said in an interview with El Norte that although they were spending one million USD to organize the race, the actual charge for using the track was 250,000 USD. He went on to say that out of the 11 tracks used this year Monterrey is the highest anyone has charged for the use of a track.

In a different interview Cortina said that they are trying to move the race to Acapulco next year since local government there want the race so bad they are willing to charge almost nothing.....much like the amounts Fundidora Track and Hermanos Rodriguez track are asking to host the 2007 race. Jose Arrambide

Rossi predicts his major rivals for ’06 Rossi predicts his major rivals for ’06The final day of the recent MotoGP Sepang test was the 27th birthday of one Valentino Rossi, seven-time World Champion.  As inclement weather washed out much of the day's serious work, Rossi took time to reflect on the ageing process over a gigantic birthday cake.

"Twenty-seven years is quite a lot," commented the Italian, "and I am definitely getting old-although most of the time I still feel I am only 16!"

Rossi and 2006 Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards may not have got as much work done on the bike and its chattering problem as they had hoped, but both men were upbeat about what's to come.

"We're definitely not chasing our tails any more," observed the American, "and the bike is better than it was on Tuesday."

Looking forward to the two final test sessions in Barcelona and Jerez, Rossi identified his likely rivals for the new year.

"Now we're close to the start of the season and it's already becoming clear who the main challengers will be," said the Italian.

"Melandri and Pedrosa especially are looking very fast and it also seems like Ducati are strong. "I think it's going to be a very exciting year with some wonderful races."

formula bmw
PitFit joins Education and Coaching Program PitFit joins Education and Coaching ProgramPitFit Training, of Indianapolis, Indiana will return to Formula BMW USA in 2006 as provider of the comprehensive Fitness Training and Nutrition component within BMW’s unique Education and Coaching Program (E&C).

PitFit Training, the company that managed the Formula BMW USA fitness program in the 2004 season, develops advanced fitness training and nutritional programs to specifically address the physical and mental demands of the modern racing driver. Increasing physical endurance, muscular strength, quickening reflexes and response time as well as enhancing overall physical fitness are key areas of emphasis.

The 2006 Formula BMW USA fitness training program will start for drivers enrolled in the E&C Program in April with a Pre-season Fitness Camp in Indianapolis. Beginning with a full medical history of each driver with physical, muscle and cardiovascular tests, PitFit will utilize a very specific evaluation and testing regimen to determine the fitness level of each driver. PitFit will create a customized training program based on individual needs including personal physical training and conditioning, nutritional counseling, mental training and counseling, follow-up evaluations at scheduled intervals, online training, and race support. During the season the progress of each driver will be monitored and quantified with evaluations mid- and post-season.

“It is an incredible honor for PitFit Training to once again come on board to oversee the fitness training program for Formula BMW in 2006. Our program has improved for 2006, and the knowledge and expertise these young drivers will receive this season are lessons they will carry throughout their racing career,” says Jim Leo, President of PitFit Training. “In the Fitness Camp each driver will receive a unique blend of mental and physical evaluations while enduring an extremely difficult training designed to improve race-specific fitness.” zzzz 

Race car drivers must be superb athletes. PitFit, charged with the responsibility of bringing the Formula BMW USA drivers to the peak of physical and mental fitness, will be training six areas to enable the young talents to focus on the driving details in every race session with no fear of physical or mental fatigue.

Stamina and strength endurance are two of the most important elements in motorsport. It is impossible to produce consistently fast laps if a driver is fatigued or loses concentration. A driver must possess a combination of incredible strength and muscle endurance while maintaining extreme flexibility. The driver’s muscles must handle the extreme gravitational loads commonly encountered while limiting muscle fatigue. This combination of muscle balance, along with good joint and muscle flexibility, not only improves driving performance but greatly reduces bodily damage in the event of an accident as well as hastens recovery from injury.

Maintaining strength through a wide range of motion is the primary focus of the flexibility aspect in the fitness training program. Being flexible is important, especially in the event of a crash when joints and muscles can be stretched beyond normal range of motion. A strong and flexible joint is less likely to tear or incur injury. Flexibility is improved by general weight training, and dynamic and static stretching exercises.

The mineral loss of endurance-trained drivers decreases by up to five times compared to those are not. A personal nutrition plan with a healthy and balanced diet will ensure the driver begins each training and driving session with maximum energy dependability, regardless of the challenge.

Mental strength is important and Pit Fit coaches the young racers to prepare for the mental challenge of becoming a champion. It assesses and helps to develop a mindset for racing success.

Another important area are strong visual skills which are critical to racing success. Improving eye-hand coordination, visual reaction time and peripheral awareness will be part of the fitness program PitFit provides. Accurate vision and athletic visual skills will be measured, developed and enhanced through sports vision therapy and activities.

Jim Leo states, “The racing driver must train like no other athlete. In our driver-training program, we subject each driver to extremes similar to what they encounter in the racecar. The common training bond all drivers enjoy is the knowledge that every time they race, they can look across the grid at their competitors and know with satisfaction that if fitness plays a role in their success that day, they will win!”

NASCAR slams still more cheaters NASCAR slams still more cheatersNASCAR penalized three Craftsman Truck Series crew chiefs for rule violations this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

Mike Hillman Jr., crew chief of Germain Racing's No. 30 Toyota driven by Todd Bodine, was fined $1,000 for an unapproved fuel vent hose. The infraction was discovered during a Feb. 16 qualifying inspection. Hillman was fined an additional $500 for an unapproved window net that was discovered during the Feb. 14 opening-day inspection. Tony Furr was fined $500 for an unapproved window net that was discovered in opening-day inspections. Furr is the crew chief for Wyler Racing's No. 60 Toyota driven by Jack Sprague.

Bryan Berry, crew chief of MRD Motorsports' No. 06 Chevrolet driven by Chad McCumbee, was fined $500 for an unapproved cowl that was discovered during opening-day inspections.

HBO's Sopranos to sponsor RCR car HBO's Sopranos to sponsor RCR carRichard Childress Racing (RCR) today announced that HBO’s “The Sopranos” will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 07 Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer in the NASCAR Nextel Cup UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  The one-race deal is part of HBO’s promotion for the series’ season premiere, which airs that night at 9:00pm ET.  The show’s logo will appear on the car’s hood and quarter panels, while the Bada Bing logo will be on the rear quarter panel.  Also, the pit crew’s uniforms will include a patch advertising Satriale’s Pork Store, another of the show’s fictional businesses. RCR
Loose lips sink ships Loose lips sink shipsUPDATE Thank you for this reply. You are of course correct in implying that Indy Star and Auto Week did not help anyone by publishing as they did. My remarks were not as much intended for you and AutoRacing1 as the readers, for the press' traditional rationale for its conduct is (a) freedom of the press and (b) the public has a right to know and that some organs feel justifies whatever they do. While I do not dispute the first, the second is in error, at least in this instance.

What has happened is both men have found, contrary to expectation born of past experience, they can live with each other; and furthermore they absolutely need each other for the long run. The insistence in earlier talks by Mr. George on an other than 50-50 relationship was indicative either of Mr. George not trusting Mr. Kalkhoven or thinking he did not need him. Nevertheless I am sure there is still a degree of nervousness within the relationship, so it serves everyone well if the fans and the press back way off and allow things to unfold. Such an obligation is especially that of the fans, for if they begin debating settlement terms and who will be the "winner" with which terms, it is likely there will be no settlement (Of course whoever was the source for the AutoWeek and Star stories should be hung out to waive in the wind.) Mr. George might want a deal with Mr. Kalkhoven and might well believe a deal is possible, but there will still be a number of team owners who will be unhappy over any union, if for no other reason than events produced a timing that is more favorable to CC than IRL. Again, thank you for the reply and thank you for the fine reporting characteristic of AutoRacing1. E. Rasmussen Holm

02/22/06 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I would only like to emphasize the importance of Mr. Kalkhoven and Mr. George being left to speak with each other without the assistance of the press, including AutoRacing1. It has been apparent to observers the last few months something was happening. Auto Week's article was unfortunate from a negotiating/discussing perspective, particularly the details it ascribed to insiders. Now that it is out, Mr. Kalkhoven could do little than make the comments HE did, comments endorsed by Mr. George's office.

Those who are familiar with negotiating know, and I do assume this includes AutoRacing1, there is a point where news blackouts are essential to the process. This is because relating a portion of what is happening can negatively impact upon the total happening, i.e., a little information can be worse than no information. Therefore it would serve the racing community well if the press and fans would remain silent to let whatever is happening unroll. It would be especially unwise for us racing fans and our press to fix on the details in alleged agreement; as this is certain to excite reactions prematurely and place the two leaders in the awkward situation of being unable to do anything but deny (note the IRL reaction to the alleged detail acceptance); because there is an incomplete context to place anything upon which there might be agreement.

Thus the wisest thing for all is to set these rumors aside, keep mouths shut, and wait. In due time, the story or non-story will be produced. We must remember, just as in WWII loose lips could sink ships, so in the Champ Car/IRL talks can they sink negotiations. E. Rasmussen Holm

We are, and were most disappointed to see the AutoWeek article published yesterday. We only did something once the cat was out of the bag. Then SPEEDTV and the Indy Star came out with articles that only compounded the situation. Mark C.

First 38 cars selected for LeMans First 38 cars selected for LeMansAfter being informed of the decisions taken by entrants who have an automatic entry, the Selection Committee of the 74th Le Mans 24 Hours has examined all the requests received and has chosen the first 38 cars.

First of all some facts:
- Fifteen out of the 24 automatic entries awarded on the circuits in 2005 were validated within the required deadline, as they had to confirm their participation by 9th January 2006. An earlier release stated that 16 automatic entries that had been validated before the Convers Team (GT1) withdrew at the last minute and substituted an entry under the name of the Convers Menx Team (same category).
- By 18th January 2006, the closing date for entries, 79 requests had been sent in to the Association Sportive Automobile A.C.O des “24 Heures du Mans.”

- The breakdown of the 79 entries is as follows:
16 LM P1s
18 LM P2s
19 LM GT1s
26 LM GT2s

Daniel Poissenot, the A.C.O Sports Manager and Le Mans 24 Hours Clerk of the Course, said just how satisfied Mr. Jean-Claude Plassart, the President of l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the Selection Committee are concerning the quality of the entries received. “While the number of entries is very similar to last year, we see that the technical level has risen again and that there has been a comforting increase in the GT1 category,” he said. In addition, to the variety already seen in LM P1 and LM P2, the Grand Touring category has gained both in diversity and numbers with the arrival of a Lamborghini Murcielago in LM GT1 and the Ferrari 430 in LM GT2.The selection of the first 23 cars in addition to the 15 automatic entries has been made in accordance with the criteria laid out in the event’s supplementary regulations, “taking into account in particular the season-long commitment by the entrants in one of the existing Le Mans Series,” as Daniel Poissnenot explained.

The Selection Committee will announce the names to be added to the first list after the Sebring 12-Hour race on 18th March, the opening round of the American Le Mans Series. This will be Selections Act 2 for the 74th Le Mans 24 Hours, which takes place in the A.C.O’s centenary year. Another 12 cars will be chosen to bring the overall total to 50, which will line up on the grid on Saturday 17th June for a start exceptionally put back to 17h00.

In addition to the 50 cars picked the Selection Committee will draw up a list of eight reserves, which will be called on only if there are official withdrawals before 26th May 2006.

In 2007, the official number of starters will be increased to 55 after 5 additional pits have been built and the paddock enlarged in keeping with the circuit renovation plan and the work programmed after June 2006. zzzz

Entry List:




* Automatic Entry 

J.R. Hildebrand signs with Cape Motorsports J.R. Hildebrand signs with Cape Motorsports2005 Team USA Scholarship winner J.R. Hildebrand will contest the 2006 Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship with Cape Motorsports. After scoring three podium finishes in four Cooper Series races in 2005 and earning a close second in the Pacific F2000 championship with PR1 Motorsports, J.R. found himself at the top of brothers Nicholas and Dominic Cape’s list of potential candidates to join one of the most successful F2000 teams of all time.

Hildebrand, 18, from Sausalito, Calif., was invited to test for Cape Motorsports in January, and after exceeding expectations was asked to join the Florida-based team for the upcoming season.

"The test went quite well. I was quickly able to get a handle on the car and the track, actually breaking the track record by midway through the first day! I think this bodes very well for the upcoming season," said Hildebrand.

"The Cape brothers and I were immediately able to communicate well. The opportunity to run with such a distinguished team is great, and I will be able to learn a great deal from them this year," he added.

NASCAR slams more cheaters NASCAR slams more cheatersNASCAR announced today that Tommy Perkins, crew chief of the No. 05 Chevrolet driven by Chad Chaffin in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been penalized due to rules violations at Daytona International Speedway.  Perkins was fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules: 20A – 13B: steering idler arm not solid) of the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.  The infraction was discovered during opening day inspection on Feb. 14.
Good test day for McLaren in Spain Good test day for McLaren in SpainKimi Raikkonen (pictured right) and Juan Pablo Montoya concentrated on set-up work, whilst continuing to put mileage onto the MP4-21s, during a productive day of testing in Barcelona.  With improved weather conditions from yesterday and a dry track for the whole of the session, Kimi and Juan Pablo covered over 840km between them. This was despite nine red flag stoppages, caused by the other teams, which led to interruptions to the running and did not allow the team to complete as much mileage as they would have liked.

Kimi ended the day at the top of the timesheets with a 1m15.224, the Finn completed 440km over the course of 96 laps. Juan Pablo (pictured left), who covered 400km over 87 laps, put in the eighth fastest time of the day, a 1m16.537.

The Colombian and Kimi will be at the Circuit de Catalunya for the final day of the test tomorrow. Press release McLaren Mercedes

TV News
SPEED starts off season with strong NASCAR ratings SPEED starts off season with strong NASCAR ratingsNASCAR RaceDay, the revamped high-energy NASCAR pre-race show on SPEED, opened the season with strong numbers from Daytona, scoring an average Nielsen Rating of 1.72 (1,118,000 households) and peaking at 2.34 (1.5 million households) for the live, 2.5-hour program.

In 2005, the SPEED pre-race show NASCAR This Morning averaged a Nielsen Rating of 0.68.  “The goal of NASCAR RaceDay is to deliver the escalating energy level felt at the track to the SPEED viewer,” said SPEED VP of Production Chris Long, the architect behind the show’s makeover. “Kenny Wallace, Jimmy Spencer and John Roberts don’t pull any punches with their comments, and they obviously have a lot of fun being together. I think both of those elements mean a lot to the audience.”

“The addition of Wendy Venturini gives us needed depth in reporting,” Long added. “And Home Depot getting involved, creating a unique and fun ‘deck’ stage gets the live audience even more fired up. We’ve added popular music and a higher production quality, and we certainly expect NASCAR RaceDay to be destination programming for NASCAR fans throughout the entire season.

Overall, SPEED delivered a 12 percent increase in Daytona Speedweeks ratings over a year ago, with nine shows scoring above a full 1.0 Nielsen mark and several peaking above a 2.0.

“These numbers put the exclamation point on our desire to deliver the best big-event programming in automotive television,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED EVP & General Manager. “Our expanded presence at Daytona with multiple major stages, and the cooperation and assistance we received from Robin Braig and his team at Daytona International Speedway, really raised the bar for our NASCAR event coverage. zzzz

“Coming off a record-setting performance with 33 hours of coverage from the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction and chalking up more than 70 hours at Daytona, SPEED already is gearing up for Bike Week, the 12 Hours of Sebring and Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach,” Nickell added. “And with all of our coverage, we are looking for unique ways to incorporate SPEED broadband, VOD, interactive television and on-demand initiatives.”

On the track, coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, the Crown Royal IROC Series event and the ARCA Re/MAX Series were among the highest rated SPEED programs over the network’s 10 days of Speedweeks coverage.

“While major league pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training, nothing really signals the change of seasons like the sounds of NASCAR going full-throttle at Daytona,” said Rick Miner, SVP of Programming/Production. “The numbers from Speedweeks amplify another great start to the NASCAR season on SPEED.”

Top 10 SPEED Shows from Daytona Speedweeks by Nielsen Rating average (households in parenthesis):
 1. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 12, afternoon)  -- 2.00 (1,300,000 HH)
 2. NASCAR RaceDay (Feb. 19) – 1.72 (1,118,000 HH)
 3. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Feb. 17) – 1.69 (1,101,000 HH)
 4. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 12, evening) – 1.36 (885,000 HH)
 5. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series practice (Feb. 11) – 1.16 (755,000 HH)
 6. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 11, evening) – 1.12 (731,000 HH)
 7. Crown Royal IROC Series race (Feb. 17) – 1.09 (708,000 HH)
 8. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 11, afternoon) – 1.05 (686,000 HH)
 9. NASCAR Live! (Feb. 18) – 1.02 (664,000 HH)
10. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series final practice (Feb. 18) -- .99 (647,000 HH)

SPEED recently signed a new deal with NASCAR, giving the Charlotte, NC-based network continuing rights to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and adding broadcast rights to the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge and Gatorade Duels from Daytona beginning in 2007. In addition, SPEED will be the first option for any FOX NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race that can’t be rescheduled due to rain or other circumstance.

Formula BMW
Gelles Racing announces 5-driver lineup Gelles Racing announces 5-driver lineupFront Royal –   Gelles Racing announces today the first five of its talented driver lineup for the 2006 Formula BMW USA Championship. The All Star line up is comprised of three Canadians, one Colombian and one Jamaican. Two Gelles Racing Team Drivers are returning to the series, one of them is a Formula BMW USA Junior scholar and another is the first black driver in the three year history of this entry level ladder championship. Ryan Campbell, Adrien Herberts, Maxime Pelletier, Sebastian Saavedra and Joel Jackson are the Gelles Racing stars that will fight for victory while looking for team domination in 2006.

“We have an outstanding cast of drivers this year, agreed team owner Bob Gelles. We have every reason to believe our team will be the strongest in 2006 when we consider the amount of talent the young men bring to our team. They will work under the supervision of our Motorsports Director Christal Waddy and our Engineers lead by Senior Engineer Jürgen Schmitt. With the conclusion and success of our pre-season testing, we can ascertain they will win races and rival among themselves for the title.” zzzz 

Ryan Campbell  2005 was a tremendous learning curve for the Lethbridge, Alberta driver in his first year in open wheel competition. “Ryan matured into a quick driver and all his testing this winter shows he will have to be considered seriously as a front runner, added Gelles. Campbell and Saavedra will sport the familiar Western Union yellow, white and black livery.

Sebastian Saavedra  When a driver hails out of Colombia, his idol has to be Montoya. 15-year old Saavedra makes no exception and wants to learn the FB2 as much as possible before the season starts. “When this youngster gets his grip in our final pre-season testing he will look for podiums in every round. He has improved steadily in each practice session.” 

Adrien Herberts  Returning Canadian driver from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Herberts admits he was not always among the fastest last year: “I was in my first professional open wheel season and fighting hard to keep the pace. This year, I trust Gelles will give me a stronger car and I will be able to lead the traffic and grab my share of success. I will again be working with my personal driver coach Danny Kok.”

Joel Jackson  The Rotax Max Jamaica 2005 champion who won every round but one last year is ready to step up to more competition in the Formula BMW USA championship. After six winning seasons in karting, this 18-year old will break new ground this year, being the first black driver in the series. One of the winningest racers to come out of Jamaica lately, Jackson will bear the BMW of Sterling colors just like teammate Herberts.

Maxime Pelletier  Another 15-year old from Longuiel, Quebec, Maxime Pelletier is the last one in a long tradition of quick drivers coming out of French Canada. His talent earned him a Formula BMW USA Junior scholarship and Maxime will be among the promising stars that will benefit from the series advance schooling program. “Maxime is an example of sheer talent who can be molded into a true professional driver, closed Gelles. If he can focus on his driving and use all the advice from his Gelles crew, this young man can go very far.” Being a scholar, Pelletier will bear the new 2006 blue and white series livery as well as BMW of Sterling on his side pods. 

Testing next week
Gelles Racing will head out to Virginia International Raceway next week to continue its pre-season testing with two full days on the track with its All Stars. “We want our pilots to get as much track time before the official testing season starts, concluded Christal Waddy. All of them are improving very much since they took to the tracks but we want them to share information with our engineers and between them to better set their cars in different situations. Official Formula BMW USA testing starts in five weeks at Road Atlanta.”

In 2006, Gelles Racing will enter the Formula BMW USA Championship and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. Western Union, BMW of Sterling, MINI of Sterling, USA TODAY, Hebert & LeBleu and Care Centric sponsor the team. For more information, Bob Gelles may be contacted at (703) 926-2474 or by email bob@gellesracing.com.

More rain in Imola More rain in ImolaThe phrase, “après moi le deluge” (after me the downpour) is attributed to either King Louis XV of France or his mistress Madame de Pompadour. Well, it seems that both of them must surely be holidaying in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy as, for a second consecutive day, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s testing at Imola was pretty much wiped out by very heavy rain.

This was the first day that the two races drivers had been on track together in two STR 1 cars: Tonio Liuzzi was in chassis 2, while Scott Speed gave chassis 1 its track debut today.

“The conditions were worse than yesterday,” reckoned Chief Engineer, Laurent Mekies. “So we decided to devote the entire day to sharpening up our pit-stop practice with both drivers. It all went smoothly and now tomorrow’s program is in the hands of the weather gods.”

1. V. Liuzzi - Toro Rosso Cosworth STR1 - 1'29"087 (+0"000) - 48 laps
2. J. Villeneuve - BMW Sauber F1.06 - 1'30"804 (+1"717) - 57 laps
3. R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.06 - 1'32"553 (+3"466) - 53 laps
4. S. Speed - Toro Rosso Cosworth STR1 - 1'33"410 (+4"323) - 44 laps
Press release Toro Rosso

Raikkonen fastest on Wednesday Raikkonen fastest on WednesdayKimi Raikkonen turned in a fast lap late in the session to top the speed charts Wednesday in Barcelona. 3/10th's back was Giancarlo Fisichella in his Renault, ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso by an equal amount. As expected the old Arrows Super Aguri Honda was 8.5 seconds off the pace.

Today was Yuji Ide's first run in an F1 car during an official test. The main aim of the day was to allow him to acclimatize himself to F1 levels of downforce and power, and to put further mileage onto the SA05 systems car. Running was halted by an electronics problem on the gearbox, but Yuji completed 44 laps which is encouraging progress for the team. Super Aguri Formula 1 will complete its Barcelona test program tomorrow with both Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide sharing the final day’s running.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:15.223 96
 2. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:15.500 92
 3. Alonso Renault (M) 1:15.801 93
 4. Button Honda (M) 1:15.969 88
 5. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:16.193 93
 6. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:16.381 47
 7. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:16.486 66
 8. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:16.538 87
 9. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:16.927 35
10. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:18.212 12
11. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:18.265 88
12. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:19.300 28
13. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:20.381 35
14. Ide Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:24.455 43
15. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) no time 2

FIA puts out RFP for spec ECU FIA puts out RFP for spec ECUIn readiness for the 2008 Formula One season the FIA is seeking expressions of interest from potential suppliers of  electronic systems and component suppliers with a view to supplying all Formula One teams with a standard electronic control system and technical support for racing and testing as referenced in articles 8.2, 8.4 and 8.6 of the 2008 Technical Regulations.

The supplied system will be required to control the following:

• An 8 cylinder engine, including single injector and spark plug per cylinder, one throttle actuator, pneumatic valve air pressure, two lambda sensors and two fuel pumps.
• A 6 or 7 speed semi-automatic sequential gearbox and hydraulic multi-plate carbon clutch.
• A hydraulic differential
• An energy recovery system
• A number of digital output drivers

The supplied system will be required to include:

• Steering wheel electronics for switch inputs and driver displays.
• Data acquisition and logging capability sufficient for all control, diagnostic and chassis performance analysis functions with fast data upload capability
• An accident data recorder
• A nominal 12V regulated car system voltage supply
• A list of approved sensor and actuator types
• A single infrastructure telemetry system

Those potential suppliers expressing an interest will be invited to submit a formal bid with a view to supplying the Formula One teams in accordance with a procedure which will be administered and regulated by the FIA.  A dossier with a more detailed description of the technical requirements of the system itself and of the procedure for submitting bids will be sent to those who register an interest on or before 31 March 2006. FIA

Industry News
Profits up for SMI Profits up for SMISpeedway Motorsports Inc. reports fourth-quarter net income of $34.2 million, or 77 cents per diluted share, up from $13.5 million, or 31 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of last year. The latest results include an after-tax gain of $5.4 million, or 12 cents per share, from insurance payouts following tornado damage at Atlanta Motor Speedway in July. The comparability of quarter-to-quarter results are also affected by changes to the company's racing schedules.

Excluding the 12-cent gain, Speedway Motorsports earned 65 cents per diluted share in the latest quarter, exceeding analysts' consensus estimate of 59 cents per share.

During the latest quarter, revenue grew 72 percent to $152.5 million.

"Our 2006 season is off to a strong start with all of our current year NASCAR Nextel Cup and NASCAR Busch event sponsorships again pre-sold and corporate promotional spending and marketing interest trending well ahead of last year," says Humpy Wheeler, chief executive of Speedway Motorsports. "The new highs in broadcast television and cable ratings for the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series season clearly show that spectator interest and corporate marketing appeal continues to grow."

For 2005, Speedway Motorsports had net income of $108.1 million, or $2.45 per diluted share, up from $73.7 million, or $1.69 per diluted share.

Revenue grew 22 percent to $544.1 million.

Critics say Toyota cheats way into the big leagues Critics say Toyota cheats way into the big leaguesUPDATE Toyota executive denied the company was looking for confidential Dodge information and also said the company would not pay for Bill Davis Racing's defense in recent litigation with Dodge.  DaimlerChrysler won a $6.5 million jury award in a breach of contract lawsuit Feb. 9 in U.S. District Court in Michigan. The jury decided that BDR had given confidential Dodge information to Toyota during the time BDR was developing a truck for Toyota.

"If we were going to copy people's stuff, it wouldn't be people running at the back, let me put it that way," Toyota Racing Development Senior Vice President/General Manager Lee White said in a jab at Dodge.

Dodge terminated its Cup contract with BDR in May 2003 after discovering BDR was building Toyota trucks and promptly filed suit. BDR filed a counterclaim and asked for more than $9 million in the case, which went to trial in mid-January.

The bill could climb toward $9 million if attorney's fees and other penalties are awarded to DaimlerChrysler, according to Robert Thackston, who represented Dodge in the suit.

White and Davis continue plans to debut two Toyota Nextel Cup teams in 2007.

"There is no moving back from the deal that we have. I'm sure he is going to appeal it or whatever he can do," White said. "That's his program and it's really nothing to do with us. He's never asked [for us to pay it]." NASCAR Daily Scene

02/15/06 After being accused of stealing design secrets from the Ferrari F1 team, Toyota has been caught with their hands in their competitors pockets a second time. Two years ago, after looking completely hopeless in F1 the previous years, the Toyota F1 car debuted looking like an exact duplicate of the previous year's successful Ferrari F1 car. Soon a lawsuit was filed by Ferrari who determined an engineer hired away from Ferrari took design secrets with him to Toyota.

Now in the USA it has been proven that Toyota accepted Dodge design secrets to shorten their learning curve in NASCAR.

An attorney representing DaimlerChrysler said Feb. 12th that the $6.5 million verdict his client won over Bill Davis Racing in U.S. District Court last week was important because it penalized BDR for giving confidential Dodge information to Toyota. More important here is what he didn't say - Toyota accepted the design secrets.

"This [trial] was important because Dodge felt strongly that their confidential information had been used for Toyota to get into NASCAR," said Robert Thackston, an attorney for Hawkins, Parnell & Thackson. "Our whole deal was that they used us as a steppingstone to Toyota and to get a bigger deal.

"They got a bigger deal, but they have to go back and pay to use us as a steppingstone. "The important thing is the jury heard their story for four weeks and unanimously voted," Thackston said. "This was a jury that was mad at them."

Using e-mails from BDR employees to Toyota as evidence, Thackston said BDR gave confidential Dodge information on the designs of pistons, the design and problems with starters and valve information. He said that BDR also showed Toyota engineers computer models that Dodge had done but weren't produced to a prototype.

This is no doubt a stinging blow to Toyota's reputation, and to Asia in general, who have been accused of stealing American designs on a wide variety of things from computer software to car designs for decades. GM sued and won a court case against a Chinese car company that took one of its cars and copied and reproduced the entire car. The copy was so perfect it was hard to tell which one was the real Chevy.

The red-neck All-American NASCAR fans already were not too keen on seeing a foreign manufacturer come into NASCAR and spend their way to the top while GM and Ford family members are getting laid off from their jobs because the foreign manufacturers can produce their cars for less money elsewhere.

As word filters out that Toyota accepted Dodge design secrets from BDR to shorten their learning curve in NASCAR, there's a good chance the loyal NASCAR fans will take things into their own hands and stop buying Toyota products. The risk here is that they could become the most hated entity in NASCAR and get booed resoundly at every race, which will make Toyota's billion dollar investment in NASCAR (over a number of years) a complete waste of money.

It will be interesting to see how Toyota handles this latest PR nightmare.
TV News
Carl Edwards on TV tonight Carl Edwards on TV tonightNASCAR Nextel Cup driver Carl Edwards will be a guest this evening on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  The show will air on CBS at 12:35 a.m. (EST).
Audi brings Timo Scheider back to DTM Audi brings Timo Scheider back to DTMAudi is bringing Timo Scheider back to DTM.  The young German, who missed winning the FIA GT Championship title by a single point last year, will drive an Audi A4 DTM in the 2006 season.

Although the new Audi works driver is only 27-years old he is one of the most experienced DTM drivers: Timo Scheider was one of the major DTM players between 2000 and 2004, before making a brief excursion in a sportscar cockpit last year. Furthermore, Timo Scheider competed for the German national team in the new A1 Grand Prix racing series.

Timo Scheider started his career in karting in 1989, was runner-up in the German Formula 3 Championship in 1997 and swapped to the DTM in 2000. He narrowly missed winning his first DTM race in 2003 at Zandvoort, when, after starting from pole position and holding a comfortable lead, he lost a wheel. In the same year Scheider won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring (Germany) and in 2005 the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) at the wheel of a GT1 sportscar. zzzz
Despite his successful foray in the FIA GT Championship he kept in contact with the DTM scene. "It was always my goal to return to the DTM, which is the world’s best racing series alongside Formula 1,” says Scheider. "I’m extremely pleased to have succeeded in doing so with Audi. I’ve always admired Audi. In 2005 I got behind the wheel of the Audi race taxi at the Norisring – it was the best DTM car that I ever drove. Since then it was perfectly clear to me that I wanted to join Audi.”
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich is convinced that Scheider is a good choice: "Timo has shown that he is one of the fastest in a DTM car. He brings five years of DTM experience with him to Audi. He is also an intelligent and stylish guy who fits perfectly to the Audi brand.”
Timo Scheider was born on 10 November 1978 in Lahnstein and lives with his fiancé Jasmin and son Loris in Altach, Austria. Audi

Diesel Oil to Sponsor in Truck Series Diesel Oil to Sponsor in Truck SeriesDiesel truck drivers familiar with the performance advantages offered by Shell ROTELLA® T will be able follow their favorite brand of diesel motor oil on the race track this season. Dennis Setzer, one of the leading drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will drive the bright blue and white #85 Shell ROTELLA® T Chevrolet Silverado when it makes its racing debut at the third Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 17. Shell ROTELLA® T will be the primary sponsor of the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports truck for seven races and an associate sponsor for the other 18 events. "The opportunity for Shell ROTELLA® T to sponsor Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, one of the premier teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will highlight the performance of our diesel motor oil products," said Dennis Doggett, General Manager, Marketing Business to Business for Shell Lubricants. "We are fortunate to have a driver of the caliber of Dennis Setzer behind the wheel of the Shell ROTELLA® T truck. The design and colors of the #85 Chevrolet Silverado will be instantly recognized by the many big rig and pickup truck drivers who count on our premium diesel motor oil to protect their engines." Setzer finished second in the season-ending driver point standings with four victories in 2005, marking the third consecutive runner-up finish for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports. Setzer has won 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races during his career. "Having a well-known brand name such as Shell ROTELLA® T on our Chevrolet Silverado is a big boost for the entire Morgan-Dollar Racing team as we compete for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship," commented Setzer. "The truck looks great and we can't wait to begin winning races with Shell ROTELLA® T.".Coyne Public Relations
Symonds talks about winter testing Symonds talks about winter testingRenault’s Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds explains what the winter testing times really mean – and how reliable they are…

The ‘winter world championship’ is the affectionate name given to the ranking of the pre-season favorites in Formula 1.

Each winter, teams and fans pore over testing times – short runs, long runs, qualifying simulations – to try and understand who’s quick and who’s not.

Pat, within an F1 team, how much effort goes into trying to work out the speed of your competitors?
“A reasonable amount, but it’s a very difficult job. Even for the teams, who have a little more information and ‘intelligence’ about what’s going on, it is a very tricky exercise.”

What measures do you use?
“Certainly, the headline times produced at the end of every day probably have less relevance than anything else. We tend to concentrate more on the long distance running people do, rather than the short runs.” zzzz
So what have you learned so far this winter?
“So far this winter, I think it appears ourselves and Honda may have slightly the upper hand, but McLaren are certainly getting there too. Last week in Valencia, they produced some very good long run times and started looking competitive. And Ferrari are not far behind.”

Do you expect that assessment to remain fixed until the first race?
“Everybody will have new packages at the first race – ourselves included – and that may slightly alter the balance. So we cannot be sure of the final standings, but we know we are somewhere near the front.”

So a team spends the winter assessing their relative competitiveness, but how useful is the knowledge?
“Well, we like to know where we stand, because it affects some of our strategic choices in how we approach the race weekends. But in a way, it is slightly irrelevant too…”

“Well, an F1 team never thinks: 'oh, we’re quick enough, let’s back off'. And equally, we don’t say to ourselves 'we’re not quick enough, let’s try harder'. We are always at 100%, and even if we knew exactly where things would shake out, it would not affect our philosophy of how we are going to improve the car. We will make it better race by race, and continue doing that come what may.” Source Renault F1 Team

No. 96 penalty appealed No. 96 penalty appealedHall of Fame Racing has an engine lease program with Joe Gibbs Racing, and the unapproved carburetor came with the engine supplied to Hall of Fame Racing. "Joe Gibbs Racing provides all of the engines and carburetors for Hall of Fame Racing," said Gibbs.  "We are responsible for any issues having arisen from the unapproved carburetor that was taken by NASCAR in Daytona.  It is never our intention to put any unapproved parts on any of our race cars or those of our partners.  We will join Hall of Fame Racing in appealing the severity of the penalty." JGR PR
Vonage becomes associate sponsor of St. Pete GP Vonage becomes associate sponsor of St. Pete GPVonage Marketing, subsidiary of Vonage Holdings Corp., a leading provider of broadband phone service, has become a sponsor of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, race officials announced today. 
Vonage, based in Holmdel, N.J., is the "Official Internet Phone Service Provider" for the second annual event, which will be held March 30 through April 2 in downtown St. Petersburg. Its sponsorship will be highlighted by prominent signage within the race course and will also be activated through an online promotion and retail promotions with Michael Andretti at Circuit City stores in the Miami and Tampa/St. Petersburg areas leading up to the event.

"Vonage looks forward with great excitement to sponsoring the Honda Grand Prix, along with the Andretti Green Racing team. Presenting our brand to the Indy race fans on the track at St. Pete, will help bring our low priced calling plans to Florida residents," stated Michael Tribolet, president of Vonage America.  zzzz

The 2006 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which will be held on a 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit, will feature the second round of the 14-race Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series and support races from the IRL Indy Pro Series and Sports Car Club of America. The IndyCar Series event will be televised live on ESPN and broadcasted live on XM Satellite Radio (Extreme XM, channel 152).

"We're thrilled to enter into a partnership with Vonage for the Honda Grand Prix," said Kevin Savoree, who is managing director of the event and co-owner of Andretti Green Promotions. "Vonage will be a great sponsor for what we believe is becoming one of the premier street races in the country."

Race-day ticket prices for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg start at $40 for adults and $15 for children under 12 with multi-day ticket packages running $45 for adults and $20 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Honda Grand Prix box office at (727) 824-7223 (extension 225), by visiting the event's website at www.gpstpete.com or through Ticketmaster. 

Lazier lands ride with Dreyer and Reinbold Lazier lands ride with Dreyer and ReinboldBuddy Lazier, who won the first Indy race held under the IRL’s banner, was confirmed as the full-season driver for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
IRL go-kart drivers beaten badly in Italy IRL go-kart drivers beaten badly in ItalySeattle, WA - Six top racers from the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the IRL took on the world in one of the season’s biggest international karting events, the Winter Cup, in Lonato, Italy this weekend with support from their respective manufacturers and PCH Motorsports.

The drivers representing the series were:
·Brendan Langlois, 13, Kamloops, B.C (Maranello):   JICA Category
·Jacbo Neal, 14, Wildomar, CA (CRG):   JICA Category
·James Kennedy, 15, Escondido, CA (Birel):   JICA Category
·Chemill Mercado Melendez, 14, Puerto Rico (Intrepid):   JICA Category
·Xavier Coupal, 15,   St Jean Sur Richelieu, QC (Tony Kart):   ICA Category
·Phil Giebler, 25, Oxnard, CA (Intrepid):   Formula A Category

James Kennedy led the way for the group by progressing to the final of the JICA category which had 102 entrants.   Although an off ended his day in the final he impressed his Birel factory team and tuner Giacomo Patrono.   Brendan Langlois (Maranello) had his regular tuner Jon Nevoso alongside and had a strong run to qualify for Sunday’s prefinal through his Saturday heat, although disappointed to not advance to the final on Sunday Brendan showed well in his first European outing.   Chemill Mercado Melendez competed with regular tuner Rodney Berryhill helping out and made it to Sunday’s competition.   Also representing Intrepid was last year’s ICA National Champion Phil Giebler who had father Everett and Brett Berryhill along for assistance.   Giebler was racing in Formula A, the top level of international competition, and was battling to advance through Sunday’s prefinal when a spin ended his day.   Jacob Neal showed speed most of the weekend aboard his CRG with new tuner Mike Speed.   Unfortunately an engine failure in Saturday’s racing ended the day for the PCH Motorsports driver.   Xavier Coupal made his debut in a senior class by racing in ICA with the Tony Kart squad.   Tony Kart regular Joel Miller was also on hand to lend in his advice.  zzzz

The entire trip was made possible by support from the individual manufacturers; CRG, Intrepid, Tony Kart, Birel, and Maranello as well as travel support from PCH Motorsports.   “This program has really blossomed into something way bigger than we expected. Thanks to the support from all these manufacturers and PCH Motorsports these drivers got an experience that they will remember forever,” said series President Paul Zalud.

The series was  represented on site by President Paul Zalud and Marketing Director Jeff Swoboda.  

The event acted as a warm-up for the MINI Cooper Race of the Americas series opener in Norman, OK March 17-19 which will see the East and West Divisions of the series square off in a race to be listed on the FIA-CIK World Calendar.   Those with any promotional inquiries can contact jeff@starsofkarting.com.  

Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League is based out of Seattle, Washington, sanctioned by the World Karting Association (WKA) and owned and operated by 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion and IRL IndyCar Series team owner Bobby Rahal, IndyCar Series driver Bryan Herta and veteran karting promoter Paul Zalud. www.starsofkarting.com, www.worldkarting.com.

Snap-on Tools Company, LLC is a subsidiary of Snap-on Incorporated, a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of tool and equipment solutions for professional tool users. Product lines include hand and power tools, diagnostics and shop equipment, tool storage products, diagnostics software and other solutions for the transportation service, industrial, government, education, agricultural, and other commercial applications, including construction and electrical. Products are sold through its franchised dealer van, company-direct sales and distributor channels, as well as over the Internet at snapon.com. Founded in 1920, Snap-on is a $2 billion-plus, S&P 500 company headquartered in Kenosha, Wis., and employs approximately 11,500 people worldwide.

Formed in 1996 by Tony George, Stars' presenting sponsor Indy Racing League provides the ultimate in wheel-to-wheel racing excitement through the IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series. The 2005 season marks the 10th year of competition for the IndyCar Series, the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America. The 17-race schedule, featuring 14 ovals, two road courses and a temporary street circuit, consists of the most events in season history. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series, an essential stepping-stone for drivers and teams striving to reach the IndyCar Series, will feature a series-high 14 races in 2005, including three events on road courses and one street course. www.indyracing.com.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
One F1 lap costs $1300
Terror alert for Bahrain
Rossi undecided about F1 switch
Red Bull's F1 future seems secure
Schu plays down '248' car's flaws
Slow debut for 'Aguri' team
Another son to race
Alesi steps closer to F1 team role
80's pop star to sing in Malaysia
Spa loss doesn't hurt Heidfeld
Oz GP hopes to ride sport clash storm
Ex-Jaguar man leaves formula one
Glock races for F1 comeback
Defending titles is easier - Briatore
Renault exit won't slow Alonso - Briatore
Freightliner becomes official hauler of NASCAR Freightliner becomes official hauler of NASCARDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Freightliner has announced it's expanding its relationship with NASCAR, becoming the official hauler of the racing series as well as several of its teams.

"Both NASCAR and Freightliner Trucks share a passion for vehicles that push the envelope in terms of performance and efficiency," said Jonathan Randall, director of product marketing, Freightliner Trucks.

The Freightliner Coronado and the Classic XL are now a common sight in the NASCAR paddock, with teams such as: Evernham Motorsports; Dale Earnhardt Incorporated; Penske Racing South; Hendrick Motorsports; Petty Enterprises; Haas CNC Racing; Chip Ganassi Racing and several others now using Freightliner trucks to get their cars to the track.

"We have supplied hauler vehicles to these major NASCAR teams for over five years," said Randall. "In addition to all of the great teams we've been affiliated with for years, we are also proud to announce our latest team relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc."

A total of 13 racing teams will now use Freightliner trucks to get their equipment from track to track. It's expected there will be 79 or 80 Freightliner trucks at each NASCAR event this season. The Dodge-powered teams are running Coronado's while most of the other teams run the Classic XL.

Racing News
Michael Andretti Foundation fundraising events Michael Andretti Foundation fundraising eventsThe Michael Andretti Foundation (MAF) announced today that they will be hosting several fundraising programs at various Indy Racing League events in 2006. The Foundation will also hold several EBay auctions for collectibles, unique Andretti racing items and VIP race packages throughout the season.

Due to popular demand, the Foundation will once again be hosting "Breakfast with Michael Andretti", a fun filled program where fans are VIP's while enjoying an inside look at the activities that take place at Indy Racing League events with Andretti Green Racing (AGR). Guests will enjoy a full-service breakfast; guest appearances including the AGR drivers, Michael Andretti and other special industry experts; as well as enjoy a garage and IndyCar tour. Cost for the event is $100 per person. These unique and popular events will take place on Friday, March 24th at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Wednesday, May 24th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

On Thursday, August 24th, the Andretti Winery will host a special fundraising event to benefit the Michael Andretti Foundation at the Napa, CA vineyard. The VIP evening will include an informal wine tasting and wine presentation out on the back courtyard overlooking the beautiful Andretti vineyards. Special guests in attendance will include owner Michael Andretti and the AGR drivers. The event will be held in conjunction with the Indy Racing League's visit to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma CA. Enjoy an evening of wonderful Andretti wine, great food and lots of fun while raising money for a local charity. zzzz 

Monthly EBay auctions will be held for special collectible items and VIP race packages. Auction items will include: a 2 seater ride with Michael Andretti; Andretti Green Racing car parts; autographed Andretti merchandise and collectible sets; a VIP Indy 500 auction package; and other unique collector items. A complete list of auction items will be available on the Andretti website at: www.andretti.com.

All proceeds from the fundraisers will be donated on behalf of The Michael Andretti Foundation to various charities. Fans can reserve a spot at any of the events by sending an e-mail to: foundation@andretti.com. Donations are tax deductible. Specific schedules & information pertaining to each event will be posted on the Andretti website at: www.andretti.com. Please note that all events are subject to change.

The Michael Andretti Foundation is a 501(c)(3) foundation that was established to help people who have shown need and to help promote programs for better health, education and welfare of America's children and citizens. For more information about The Michael Andretti Foundation, visit www.andretti.com.

Entry invitations for the 90th Indianapolis 500 Entry invitations for the 90th Indianapolis 500Entry invitations for the 90th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race will be mailed Feb. 22 to race teams eligible to compete in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Entries must be postmarked by midnight Wednesday, April 5. All drivers named to an Indianapolis 500 entry will compete for one of the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race.

The 90th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday, May 28. It's a new start time for the race, pushed back one hour due to Indiana's change to Daylight Savings Time.

Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon leads the list of drivers expected to be named on entries. 2005 IndyCar® Series champion Wheldon will have a new look this season at Indy, moving from Andretti Green Racing to the familiar Target colors of Target Chip Ganassi Racing as teammate to 2003 series champion Scott Dixon. zzzz

Other past Indy winners expected to be in the field are 1998 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. with Cheever Racing, 2001-02 winner Helio Castroneves with Marlboro Team Penske and 2004 winner Buddy Rice with Rahal Letterman Racing.

2005 JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick will join Rice as the leaders of Rahal Letterman Racing at Indianapolis. Patrick electrified the crowd last May by finishing fourth after a late-race duel for the lead with Wheldon. She became the first woman to lead laps in the history of the race.

Other recent JPMorgan Chase Rookies of the Year expected to be in the field are Kosuke Matsuura (2004) and Tomas Scheckter (2002).

Longtime Indy stalwart Michael Andretti will return to the driver's seat for the first time since 2003, driving a fifth car for his Andretti Green Racing team in search of his first Indianapolis 500 victory. Andretti will race against his 19-year-old son Marco, an Indy rookie, and AGR standouts Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta.

Ganassi launches new team website Ganassi launches new team websiteOn the heels of Casey Mears’ (#42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) career-best finish of second in Sunday’s Daytona 500, Chip Ganassi Racing announced today the launch of its redesigned Official Team Website, located at www.chipganassiracing.com. The site, designed by interactive communications firm RACERSITES.COM, will take fans through the inner workings of the team’s seven-car operation spanning the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series, IRL IndyCar Series and Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series programs.

The site redesign strengthens Chip Ganassi Racing’s commitment to adding value to its sponsors’ partnerships with the team while offering fans everything from the latest CGR news and information to driver bios, race results and much more. Downloadable wallpapers for your PC, revamped photo galleries, and detailed sponsor sections are just a few of the new features the site will rollout over the coming weeks. Chip Ganassi Racing

Webber again fastest in Cosworth V8 Webber again fastest in Cosworth V8Williams Cosworth was again fastest today in testing in Barcelona. Cold but dry conditions in the morning gave way to rain in the afternoon which prevented the five teams that took to the track from completing any extensive mileage but Webber emerged from the day with the quickest time in his Williams Cosworth as he edged out the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen by less than a tenth of a second.
1. Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 1m 17.699s 45 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1m 17.790s 59 laps *
3. Robert Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari 1m 18.439s 46 laps *
4. Tiago Monteiro MF1-Toyota 1m 18.717s 59 laps
5. Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1m 18.875s 22 laps *
6. Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1m 30.244s 8 laps
7. Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 1m 37.188s 16 laps
[* denotes Michelin tires - all others Bridgestone.]
Track conditions / weather: AM - Cool, dry, PM - Cold, wet.
Grand-Am team switches from Pontiac to Ford Grand-Am team switches from Pontiac to FordWith Round 2 of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, March 2-4 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, less than two weeks away--followed by the Grand Prix of Miami, March 23-25--a handful of teams made their way to Homestead-Miami Speedway Monday in preparation for the pair of upcoming 250-mile events.

In last month's Rolex 24 At Daytona, the four Krohn Racing drivers--owner Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson, Jorg Bergmeister and Colin Braun--piloted the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley to an impressive fifth-place overall finish. Running a steady and nearly flawless 24-hour race, the team will undoubtedly head to Mexico with confidence.

But as Krohn and Jonsson prepare to share the No. 75 machine for the remainder of the season--and Bergmeister and Braun move into the sister No. 76 car--each machine will have a new look, as the team has switched from Pontiac engines to Ford power, making the first-ever Ford Riley pairing in the four-year history of the Daytona Prototype category. zzzz

"We definitely feel that the Ford Riley package gives us some good advantages," said Krohn. "We were losing some straight-line speed and losing some speed coming out of corners in the Pontiac, but already, we're seeing improvements."

The team won a pair of races with a Pontiac Riley combination a year ago. Krohn and Jonsson outlasted the rest of the field in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, while Bergmeister teamed with Christian Fittipaldi for the stand-alone Daytona Prototype victory in Phoenix.

"We won two races last year," said Krohn, "but we also had three fires. This new combination helps us keep our good braking, while adding the pure speed we were lacking. In the Rolex 24, we weren't necessarily the fastest, but we were reliable. With shorter races, we think the Ford Riley will help us a lot."

A1 Team USA Announces Bryan Herta A1 Team USA Announces Bryan HertaWashington, D.C. and Monterey, Calif. - California’s Bryan Herta will pilot the “We the People” car for A1 Team USA for the first-ever visit to the United States by the A1 Grand Prix of Nations at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca March 10 - 12, 2006. 

A1 Grand Prix, the World Cup of Motorsport, is in its inaugural season pitting nation against nation on road courses around the world.  Each nation competes in identical open-wheel race cars with points accumulated during two races on Sunday, a 30 – Minute Sprint Race, which starts at 1:30 PM (PST) and a 60-minute Feature Race, beginning at 3:00 PM (PST).

This will be Herta’s third time competing for Team USA.  He placed tenth and seventh in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations in Australia and Malaysia, respectively.    Herta expects to combine his knowledge of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the recent momentum of A1 Team USA as the Team has placed in the top-ten in four of the last six A1 Grand Prix races.

“I am proud to represent the United States,” said Herta.  “I have heard from several of my peers who are amongst the quickest road course drivers in the world and they too will be representing their countries at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  A1 Grand Prix is fast becoming known for delivering a most competitive brand of racing, due to the fact that the cars are identical in chassis and engine.  I expect that this is going to be a particularly exciting weekend.” zzzz

A1 Team USA Owner Rick Weidinger is pleased that Herta will be competing in what is shaping up to be one of the most challenging weekends in the World Cup of Motorsports series. 

“Bryan has an excellent history at Laguna Seca and is now familiar with the ‘We the People’ car and A1 race format. We welcome him back as he adds value to the team in more ways then just racing” said Weidinger. “I know how much it means to him to compete at the highest levels and we look forward to his success for Team USA on March 12.”

Herta, who captured third at the Indianapolis 500 this past May in addition to his victory at Michigan International Speedway, placed 7th overall in the Indy Racing League IndyCar standings for 2005.  Herta was a dominant force at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from 1996 through 1999 in the Champ Car World Series. He earned three consecutive poles at the Monterey Grand Prix from ’97 – ’99, won the race in ’98 and ’99 and started and finished second in ’96.

Coca Cola promoting A1GP race Coca Cola promoting A1GP raceCoca Cola is starting to air TV ads for the A1GP in Monterrey, Mexico this weekend.  The ads say that Coca Cola is supporting A1GP race in Monterrey and that you can win race tickets on a special web page Coca Cola uses for these sort of promotions in Mexico. Jose Arrambide
Andretti eligible for ROY Andretti eligible for ROYNASCAR has approved NASCAR Nextel Cup veteran John Andretti's request and he will run for Rookie of the Year honors in the Busch Series in 2006.  Amazing.
NASCAR hands down penalties NASCAR hands down penaltiesNASCAR announced today that four penalties have been issued to two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, as a result of rule violations this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, has been fined $25,000 and suspended from all NASCAR events until March 22, 2006. Knaus has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006. The penalties come because of an unapproved template modification to the rear window area, violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-3.12.1 (A) (unapproved template modification.) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule book. The violation was discovered during Feb. 12 post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. On Feb. 13, NASCAR ejected Knaus from further participation in Daytona 500 activities as a result of the violation.

Three penalties were assessed to the #96 Chevrolet team, due to the use of an unapproved carburetor, a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book. Crew chief Philippe Lopez was fined $25,000; driver Terry Labonte was penalized with the loss of 25 driver championship points; and car owner William Saunders was penalized 25 owner championship points. This rule violation was also discovered during post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. NASCAR PR
Hendrick won’t appeal Hendrick won’t appealRick Hendrick said Monday morning that barring unforeseen circumstances, the organization would not appeal what they feel is a certain NASCAR suspension of crew chief Chad Knaus. Knaus was sent away from Daytona International Speedway and Speedweeks 2006 two Sundays ago after Hendrick's No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet failed its post-qualifying inspection. NASCAR officials said they would not issue any further penalties until this week, following last Sunday's Daytona 500.
Braun Racing lands sponsor Braun Racing lands sponsorBraun Racing officials report that ABF Freight System Inc. will sponsor the team's No. 32 Chevrolet driven by Jason Leffler in NASCAR's Busch Series.  ABF will serve as primary sponsor for the March 18 Nicorette 300 Busch Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. ABF will continue as an associate sponsor for the rest of the 2006 season.
Jorge Goeters to drive in Busch race in Mexico City Jorge Goeters to drive in Busch race in Mexico CityJorge Goeters is set to drive the No. 66 Scotiabank Xtreme Gel Ford Fusion for Brewco Motorsports in the Telcel-Motorola 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on March 5th.  Goeters returns to Brewco Motorsports and the Mexico City event for the second year after capturing the pole for the 2005 race. 

“It’s one of my dreams to be part of a Brewco team,” said Goeters.  “They are one of the best in the NASCAR Busch Series.  I am also very excited to be driving for Scotiabank and Xtreme Gel.  They are great sponsors.”

Goeters is looking forward to racing in his home country of Mexico and being a part of the NASCAR Busch Series.

“I think it’s going to be the most exciting race on the Busch Series schedule,” said Goeters.  “We are expecting 300,000 people to come.  Everybody in Mexico expects me to be on the pole again.  I hope to give Mexico and Brewco Motorsports a great race.”    

“Jorge is a great driver to work with,” added crew chief Newt Moore.  “He’s incredibly talented.  He knows Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez really well and we’re excited for the race.  We should see a great finish out of the Scotiabank, Xtreme Gel Ford and maybe a second consecutive pole at Mexico City.” 

The Telcel-Motorola 200 can be seen on March 5th at 2:00 p.m. on FOX.

Pappas, Harvey join Panther Racing Pappas, Harvey join Panther RacingPanther Racing has bolstered its engineering staff by adding veteran race engineers Bill Pappas and Brent "Woody" Harvey.  Pappas, who served as a race engineer at Target Chip Ganassi Racing for more than six seasons, will serve as the race engineer for Vitor Meira's Honda-powered Dallara, while Harvey, who worked with driver Chris Festa at Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2005, will be an assistant engineer.  It is Harvey's second stint at Panther Racing. He served as Mark Taylor's engineer during Taylor's Indy Pro Series championship season in 2003. IRL
Indy Pro Series returns to ESPN2 Indy Pro Series returns to ESPN2Indy Pro Series returns to ESPN2: Same-day coverage of the Freedom 100 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway highlights ESPN2's coverage of the Indy Pro Series in 2006.

ESPN2, which reaches more than 88 million homes in the United States, has televised Indy Pro Series races since the series' inception in 2002.  "The Freedom 100 at Indianapolis continues to be our marquee event," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Indy Pro Series. "We're thrilled to have the race shown in its entirety alongside the other activities on Carb Day."

In addition to the race, the Carb Day telecast on the Friday before the Indianapolis 500 will include coverage of the final IndyCar Series practice and the Pit Stop Competition. The telecast begins at 3 p.m. (EDT) on May 26.

The five other oval races on the Indy Pro Series schedule will be televised on a tape-delayed basis and packaged into 30-minute programs. The six road-course races will be featured in one-hour shows, including the doubleheader races at St. Petersburg and Infineon.
All of the race telecasts are scheduled for Thursday and Friday afternoons.

The Indy Pro Series is the premier ladder series for drivers, teams and sponsors striving to compete in the IndyCar® Series and the Indianapolis 500. The 12-race schedule in 2006 features six races on ovals and six races on road courses, including competing on both circuits at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Teams compete for $3 million in prize money in cars that generate 420 horsepower and speeds in excess of 190 mph. The 2006 season opens March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The complete 2006 television schedule is below:

Race Date(s) Telecast Date & Time (ET) Race Venue
March 26 March 31 at 1 p.m. Homestead-Miami
April 1 & 2 April 7 at 4 p.m. St. Petersburg, Fla.
May 26 May 26 at 3 p.m. Indianapolis (oval)
June 4 June 8 at 2 p.m. Watkins Glen
July 1 July 6 at 2 p.m. Indianapolis (road course)
July 15 July 20 at 2 p.m. Nashville
July 22 July 27 at 2 p.m. Milwaukee
Aug. 13 Aug. 17 at Noon Kentucky
Aug. 26 & 27 Aug. 31 at 2 p.m. Infineon
Sept. 9 Sept. 14 at 2 p.m. Chicagoland

Sierra Sierra completes successful test with Matos Sierra Sierra completes successful test with MatosMinden, Nevada – As he prepares for his rookie season in the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, Brazilian driver Raphael Matos is doing all he can in the pre-season to show that he’s a legitimate title contender in 2006.

After impressing the Sierra Sierra Enterprises team and earning a seat with the Minden, Nevada-based squad, entering its fourth season in the Atlantic series this year, Matos has proven to be extremely quick and diligent in recent test sessions.

Testing at the Firebird International Raceway West road course near Phoenix, Arizona  February 16-17, Matos performed remarkably well while piloting the team’s Swift 014.a Atlantic car on the 1.2-mile circuit. The 24-year-old native of Belo Horizonte, Brazil posted a quick lap time of 49.89 seconds at the test. That mark is the fastest time clocked by a Sierra Sierra driver at Firebird, surpassing the marks established by former team drivers and Champ Car racers Ryan Dalziel and Andrew Ranger.

“This was the final test for Raphael and the team before we take delivery of the new Atlantic car in March,” said Richard Raeder, Sierra Sierra Team Manager. “Raphael did a great job and he basically verified that we made the right choice in selecting him to drive for the team. He’s a pleasure to work with and he continued to work well with both (Driver Development Coach) David (Empringham) and (Race Engineer) Gerald (Tyler). He’s listening and learning from those guys. Every test we’ve had with Raphael is another step forward for him on the learning curve.” zzzz

In addition to logging over 344 miles over the course of the two-day test, Matos also completed a long race-distance run and practiced standing starts to prepare for the limited re-introduction of the popular starting format to the Atlantic series this season.

Matos, the 2005 Star Mazda Series champion who got his title-winning campaign off to a terrific start last year by winning the first four races of the season, hopes his strong off-season test program and performance will translate into a successful beginning to his Atlantic career.

The car driven by Matos at the test will now be retired with the team set to take possession of its new Swift 016.a/Mazda-Cosworth/Yokohama on March 8. The car is a testament to the quality work of the Swift designers and the Sierra Sierra engineering staff as it ran over 11,800 miles in its racing life. Driven in Atlantic competition by both Dalziel for the Sierra Sierra team and Ryan Hunter-Reay when he was with Hylton Motorsports, the car will now join the team’s collection of racing vehicles. Sierra Sierra

Lexus names Bell, Dumoulin, and Borcheller to ALMS team Lexus names Bell, Dumoulin, and Borcheller to ALMS teamA pair of sports car champions and an open-wheel ace will join team owner Chuck Goldsborough behind the wheel for Team Lexus as Terry Borcheller, Jean-Francois Dumoulin and Townsend Bell have joined the operation for the team’s first season of ALMS competition, it was announced today.

Team Lexus has served as Lexus’ factory team since 1999.  After a successful run in the Grand Am Cup series with two championships and numerous wins, pole positions and podium finishes, the team makes the move into the ALMS GT2 class in 2006 with a two-car IS 350 team prepared under the new “S2” standard. 

“We’re extremely pleased to be able to add drivers the caliber of Terry Borcheller, Townsend Bell and Jean-Francois Dumoulin to our new ALMS program,” said Philip Gaviola, Lexus motorsports manager.  “They bring a tremendous combination of speed and experience. Most importantly, they’re all proven champions.” zzzz

Borcheller and Dumoulin have each won multiple sports car championships.  Borcheller is the veteran of the group having registered six sports car titles since 1998 including the 2001 ALMS GTS title.  He also earned the overall victory in the 2004 Rolex 24 at Daytona. 

Dumoulin holds the distinction of having won Lexus’ first championship in 2002 in Grand Am Cup ST1 competition, while driving a Lexus IS 300 for Team Lexus.  He went on to win the 2003 Grand Am Cup GS1 title as well.

Bell will be making the transition from open-wheel racing to sports cars in 2006, but there’s no doubting his speed.  The 2001 Indy Lights champion has raced in both CART and IRL, and tested with both the BAR and Jaguar Formula One teams. 

“We have a huge challenge in front of us with a first-year program,” said Gaviola. “But we’re confident that we have a group of drivers that are more than up to the task.”

As it enters ALMS competition, Team Lexus will be debuting the new Lexus IS 350 racer that is based upon the all-new 2006 IS 350 luxury sport sedan introduced last fall.  The second-generation IS marks the third different Lexus model prepared for road racing competition in the U.S. following the GS 400 and the IS 300. 

The ALMS will hold 10 North American events in 2006 with five being televised on CBS and five on Speed Channel.  The majority of the races are "sprint" races of two hours and 45 minutes in length. The longest event is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway, the oldest sports car race in America.

Lexus Driver Bios

Hometown:      San Francisco, Calif.              Resides: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Former open-wheel ace brings a wealth of experience to Team Lexus.  The 2001 Indy Lights champion has gone on to race in CART, IRL and Formula 3000, as well as test with a pair of Formula One teams.  Had a personal CART-best of fourth at Portland in 2002 with Patrick Racing on the way finishing as runner-up in the Rookie of the Year standings despite racing only a partial season.  Raced in Formula 3000 in 2003 and competed in a handful of IRL events over the 2004 and 2005 seasons.  Won Indy Lights Rookie of the Year honors with two wins and two poles as runner-up to Scott Dixon in 2000.  Registered six wins and eight poles in earning Indy Lights championship in 2001.

Hometown:      Hialeah, Fla.                            Resides: Gainesville, Ga.
One of America’s top sports car and a six-time series champion, who has won championships in virtually every category he’s competed in. Returns to ALMS competition full-time after winning a variety of championships in Grand Am competition.  Co-drove to the overall victory in the 2004 Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Won an amazing six championships from 1998 to 2003.   Won driving titles in Daytona Prototypes (2003), Grand Am’s SRPII (2002), ALMS GTS (2001), Grand Am GTO (2000), IMSA Speedvision Cup (1998) and the SCCA Speed Word Challenge (1998).  Has 24 Rolex Series victories to his credit.  Won his first karting National Championship at age 17 and then moved into auto racing in the 1991 Barber-Saab Pro Series in 1991. Lexus Motorsports

A1 Grand Prix
Team Lebanon signs Rahal Team Lebanon signs RahalGraham Rahal, son of Indycar legend, Bobby Rahal, joins A1 Team Lebanon this weekend at the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Monterrey, Mexico. Rahal recently tested for the team at Misano, Italy and strengthens the current line up of regular drivers, Khalil Beschir and Basil Shaaban. Graham was born into a motor racing family and has grown up in the United States of America surrounded by cars of all types, from go- karts to Indycars, CanAm sportscars to Formula One.

Tameem Auchi, Seat Holder for A1 Team Lebanon, explains, "We're delighted to welcome Graham to A1 Team Lebanon. He is from such an illustrious motor racing family, we're very proud that he has agreed to join with us in the A1 Grand Prix series. Our team is one of the least experienced in the Series and we are always reviewing our driver options in order to compete at the highest level, and recruiting Graham to the team enables us to accelerate our learning curve, while also expanding our fan base to the Arab American community. Although only 17 years old, he brings very useful racing experience from which we can benefit. Our aim remains to do the best we can for Lebanon and the Arab world."

"This is an exciting opportunity for me," says Rahal, whose family originally came from Aitaneet in Lebanon. "I've always recognized my Lebanese roots, so to compete for the country of my ancestry is very special. I hope that I can work with Khalil and Basil to share our racing knowledge and bring pride to Lebanon with our results on track. I've grasped the chance to compete in this new Series which is attracting so much attention worldwide. It will give me valuable international exposure outside the USA." zzzz

Graham's father adds, "I'm very proud of our Lebanese heritage and this unique opportunity for my son to represent not just Lebanon and the Arab world, but the Lebanese community in the United States. The racing will give Graham a new challenge and the first chance for him to compete on a truly international platform. I look forward to being at Monterrey, Mexico for the A1 Grand Prix and watching Graham in the A1 Team Lebanon car."

Rahal first sat in a kart at the age of nine and was racing competitively by the age of eleven, winning nine of 16 races in the Ohio Valley Karting Association regional races that year and named Rookie of the Year in the 100cc class in the region. In the following four years he competed at national level in karting, before moving up to the Formula BMW single seater championship in 2004.

Winning a driving scholarship for the series, Rahal received an exemption to run in the 2004 season at the age of 15. He finished third in the Formula BMW USA Rookie of the Year battle, and seventh overall in the championship, as he posted four top-five results and 11 top ten finishes in the 14 race schedule, despite being the youngest driver in the series.

In 2005 Graham finished fourth in the Star Mazda Championship, winning one race and finishing in the top three in six of the 12 events. Aside from being the youngest winner ever in the series, Rahal also won the SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship, emulating his father who won the title 30 years earlier.

For 2006 Rahal kicked off a busy year of racing competing in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race. He now turns his attentions to international competition with A1 Team Lebanon at the final three rounds of the A1 Grand Prix series, following this with a full season of running with Conquest Racing in the Champ Car Formula Atlantic Championship.

Track News
CARA announces Long Beach charity event CARA announces Long Beach charity eventOne of North American motorsports biggest events, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, always brings wide array of attractions to the streets of the harbor city.

In addition to the highly competitive open-wheel racing action, unique activities like beauty pageants, skateboarding, celebrity contests as well as charity events for great causes are always a portion of the Long Beach racing weekend.  It’s makes the Grand Prix more than a racing classic.  It is a true event.

This year’s April 7-9 Grand Prix spectacular is no different with the addition of a popular motorsports extravaganza, CARA Charities’ Raceway Rendezvous, the fourth annual edition of fun, food, entertainment and raising money for charities. zzzz

On Friday, April 7, Raceway Rendezvous hits the high seas with a unique party on Hornblower’s SS Endless Dreams cruise ship through the Long Beach Harbor.  This year’s version of Raceway Rendezvous is called “Pirates of the Adrenaline” and features an on-board casino night with celebrity guests and variety of party favors.

“We are very excited to bring Raceway Rendezvous to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach,” said Vicki Faivre, president of CARA Charities.  “For over three decades, the Toyota Grand Prix has been one of the premiere racing events in North America.  We are pleased to work with the Long Beach Grand Prix Association, Toyota and the Champ Car World Series to bring our popular fund raising event to their sensational weekend.   The ‘Pirates of the Adrenaline” will just add to the excitement of the Grand Prix experience.”

The Friday evening cruise, after a full day of racing action on the streets, will begin with a 6:30 p.m. boarding in Rainbow Harbor at Long Beach Harbor (next to the Aquarium).  At 7:30 p.m., the cruise will hit the seas for 45 minutes with many activities on board.  For those wishing to debark from the ship, the Endless Dreams will return to port at 8:30 p.m. and return to the harbor for another 45-minute cruise.      

CARA Charities, one of motorsport’s leading charitable organizations, also is celebrating twenty-five years in operation and with more than $4 million donated to needy causes. 

Tickets are now available for the April 7 “Pirates of the Adrenaline” Long Beach Harbor cruise with individual tickets priced at $150 per person.  Sponsorships also are available. For more information on tickets and sponsorships, contact the CARA Charities headquarters by e-mail carachar@aol.com or by calling 317-299-2277.

Krisiloff’s Truck series debut ends shy of finish Krisiloff’s Truck series debut ends shy of finishMOORESVILLE, N.C.  – Kyle Krisiloff made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut on Friday night for the running of the GM FlexFuel 250 at Daytona International Speedway.  Unfortunately, a top-10 run ended early after two separate incidents spoiled his chances for a good finish.  Krisiloff and the No. 15 ditech.com/National Land Liquidations/Krud Kutter Chevrolet finished in the 28th position after having to retire the Billy Ballew Motorsports-entry two laps shy of the finish.

“Our goal was to finish,” said Krisiloff, the youngest of the series’ competitors at the age of 19.  “We almost made it; just a matter of circumstances put us in an undesirable situation.  We were running in the top-10 for the majority of the race then got caught up in an incident.  We slowed down, but someone behind us didn't and we got spun out.  After that, it was a rookie mistake on my part that put us a lap down.  The accident caused something to happen to the truck though.  You don't go from perfect to falling that far back.  On the final restart, the truck in front of me had transmission troubles and didn't take off.  The No. 33 (Ron Hornaday) couldn't get stopped in time and ran into us.  We'll bounce back.  We travel to California next week, a track I favor, so I look forward to getting the No. 15 ditech.com/National Land Liquidations/Krud Kutter Chevrolet back up front for a top-10 finish.”

Cheever to drive in 4 IRL races Cheever to drive in 4 IRL racesCheever Racing announced today it will field an IRL IndyCar(r) Series entry for at least the first four races of the 2006 season, including the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.   Team owner and 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, Jr. will drive the team's car, marking his return to the IndyCar Series after a three-year hiatus.  Cheever, who last drove an IndyCar Series machine in the 2002 season, made his return to competitive racing late in 2005 when he drove in a GP Masters event in South Africa and also competes in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in a car he shares with Christian Fittipaldi. "This shouldn't be a surprise, because I've never stopped driving. I simply took a different role in our IRL operations the last few years," Cheever said. "After our team's strong showing with the Crown Royal car at Daytona, I was excited about the prospect of driving again at Indy. With Honda as the IRL's sole engine supplier creating parity in the IndyCar Series, it only made more sense to continue our team's legacy of Indianapolis 500 competition." Cheever Racing
AGR picks up yet another sponsor AGR picks up yet another sponsorIt was 2004, and Rick and Rita Case were walking around Indianapolis Motor Speedway following the Indy 500.

Though rain was falling, the pit area was abuzz with excitement. Mario [Michael] Andretti's racing team had just taken the second, third and fourth spots, and Honda engines had powered all the leaders, Case recalled.

It was then that Case knew he wanted his name on these cars.

"That just gave us some idea of the kind of exposure we would get from this," he said. "We wanted to be part of that."

This month, Rick Case Automotive Group finalized a six-figure sponsorship deal with the Andretti Green Honda Indy racing team, headed by former racing great Mario [Michael] Andretti. Terms were not disclosed. The Fort Lauderdale-based dealership will join the ranks of such national sponsors as 7-Eleven, XM Satellite Radio, Coca-Cola and AOL when its logo is placed on four race cars this season, starting with the Indy Racing League, or IRL, season opener at Homestead Miami Speedway in March.

Mention of the sponsorship will soon begin appearing in Case's print, radio, Internet and television ads. The dealer will enjoy promotional opportunities, appearances and endorsements by several of the drivers and owners at his 13 dealerships. The team's drivers are Marco Andretti, Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti. More at Sun-Sentinel

track news
Melbourne launches F1 balloon Melbourne launches F1 balloonToday the Australian Grand Prix Corporation launched the world's first hot air balloon in the shape of a Formula One car.

The balloon comprises more than four kilometres of fabric and uses 32 kilometres of thread. It is 36 meters long and occupies a space of 3,113 cubic meters, capable of holding 3,114,853 liters of Foster's!

It has a top speed of 14.5 kilometres per hour - not quite a match for the Formula One machines, which reach top speeds of around 300 kilometres per hour!

CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, Tim Bamford, is excited about the momentum-building potential of this stunning feat of human creativity and engineering.

"This brilliant creation provides us with an opportunity to take a piece of the Grand Prix to locations across Australia," said Mr. Bamford. zzzz

"Australians' love for Formula One extends far beyond Melbourne, yet it's not always possible for people to come and appreciate the event in person. With this balloon, we hope to be able to create excitement in regional centers across the land and enable people everywhere to join in the celebrations as we count down the weeks to the 2006 FORMULA 1(TM) Foster's Australian Grand Prix."

The balloon is set to become a familiar sight in Melbourne's skies over the coming weeks as momentum builds in the lead-up to the Grand Prix.

Residents of regional centers should also keep their eyes out for the monolithic balloon when it visits a range of cities including Geelong, Albury/Wodonga and Ballarat.

Victoria's Minister for Tourism, the Hon. John Pandazopolous has also lent his support to the initiative.

"It's great to see the Australian Grand Prix Corporation leading the way with this worldfirst campaign to promote one of the biggest events on the Victorian major events calendar. Right now, that calendar is the busiest and most exciting in this State's history, which means more tourists and millions of dollars for the local economy. Melbourne will be buzzing come March, with both the Commonwealth Games and the Grand Prix, reinforcing our reputation as Australia's major events capital." The balloon was unveiled in spectacular fashion at Vodafone Arena this morning, with the recently announced ‘Face of Foster's', Kasia Zachwieja, in its basket.

With a propensity for extreme sports, Kasia loves the speed and excitement of Formula One racing. She has traveled the world modeling over the past seven years and at the same time has managed to complete a multimedia degree at Victoria University.

The 2006 FORMULA 1(TM) Foster's Australian Grand Prix takes place at Albert Park from 30 March - 2 April.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Mosley 'biased' - A1 chief
'Kimi's choice depends on McLaren'
Ferrari to change test program
Schu to leave smell in Bahrain
Suzuki expects 'tough' start
Honda looking 'strong' in 2006 - boss
Like me, Rossi can switch - ex-racer
'I'm not Webber's deputy' - Rosberg
Michelin ahead, rivals agree
Fisi wants teammate's crown
Ralf wants to improve image
Switch idea is no GP fix - Haug
Paris grand prix
Webber clashed with Sam Michael
Klien under investigation by authorities Klien under investigation by authoritiesUPDATE A man, who was hospitalized, claims that he was assaulted by F1 driver Christian Klien.

Austrian police are investigating the incident, which allegedly took place on a Saturday night, inside the 'Enjoy' nightclub on February 11, according to the 'Vorarlberger Nachrichten' newspaper.

Klien, 23, debuted for the Jaguar team in 2004, and will continue as David Coulthard's full time Red Bull teammate in the 2006 season.

An official for the local Altach police said Klien has not yet been charged, while no witnesses have been found.

The 'Sport Bild' publication claimed that Klien had been partying with a group of about ten, and that he may have refused to pay a restaurant bill. The man who was allegedly assaulted, meanwhile, reportedly spent a night in hospital.

''I was not involved in any fight,'' Klien told 'Austria Presse Agentur'.

02/20/06 Austrian police say they are investigating Formula 1 driver Christian Klien after he was accused of assaulting a man in a disco earlier this month. An unnamed 20-year-old man was hospitalized for a day after the incident on Feb. 11. Authorities did not give details of his injuries, saying only that he claimed Klien assaulted him during an argument at the disco in the town of Altach in the western province of Vorarlberg.

Ronald Ceboklie, an Altach police official, confirmed Monday that an investigation was under way and said police were looking for witnesses. He said Klien has denied the allegations.

"Units were at the discotheque on Feb. 11, but no one could be found who witnessed the incident," said Ceboklie.

He appealed for witnesses to come forward and said when the preliminary investigation is completed, the district court in Feldkirch will decide if charges are to be formally brought against Klien. Klien could not immediately be reached for comment. MSN.com

Jean Alesi joins Direxiv Jean Alesi joins DirexivDirexiv is delighted to announce that Jean Alesi will join the company as Senior Executive Director. Alesi, who has more than 20 years experience competing at the top level of motorsport and has more than 200 Formula One Grand Prix races to his name, will support Direxiv President and CEO Misato Haga in the development of the motorsport program.

Misato Haga, President & CEO, Direxiv:
“Jean has been a friend of Direxiv for some time now and so we are very happy to make the relationship official. Our motorsport program has grown significantly this year to include participation in five leading race series, including Formula 1, and Jean's extensive experience will be invaluable to our progress.”

Jean Alesi:
“When Direxiv first got involved in motorsport I followed their progress with great interest. They are a young and dynamic company with big ambitions and I am delighted we can work together to realize their motorsport objectives. It is exciting for me to work on the management side after so many years in the driving seat.”

Dakar Rally
VW to return to Dakar in 2007 VW to return to Dakar in 2007The Volkswagen factory team led by Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen will contest the 29th running of the desert classic with a further developed "Race Touareg 2”. At this year's "Dakar” the South African Giniel de Villiers and his Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner finished claimed an outstanding second position.

"With the ‘Dakar' project Volkswagen has established itself in professional motorsport within a remarkably short space of time. We want to pursue this positive development still further and have therefore decided to announce our participation in the 2007 Dakar Rally early”, explains Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Chairman of the Board for Volkswagen. "The Dakar Rally is an excellent platform in which to present the reliability, technical innovation and dynamic of Volkswagen in the toughest of competitions to a large section of the general public.”

With immediate effect Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen, who has been responsible for the Volkswagen brand's motorsport activities since June 2003, reports directly to Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard. Kris Nissen will coordinate the day-to-day business with Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, the Director of Product Line E1. zzzz

"During the recent Dakar Rally we showed that the Race Touareg 2 has enormous potential. We will now push the development forward in logical steps”, say Kris Nissen. "We made significant progress before the ‘Dakar' in January. In the following eleven months fine tuning will be our main priority, which is not only related to engineering but also in the areas of logistics, preparation and team organization.”

In addition to the comprehensive test schedule, Volkswagen will contest selected rounds of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup and the FIA Cross Country Rally Baja Cup during the 2006 season. "Drivers and co-drivers will be announced during the forthcoming weeks and months”, says Kris Nissen.

By finishing second overall in this year's Dakar Rally, which finished after 9043 kilometres on 15 January in the Senegalese capital city, with the Race Touareg 2 crewed by driver/co-driver team Giniel de Villiers/Tina Thörner, Volkswagen recorded the best ever result for a diesel vehicle in this cross country rally and a German automobile manufacturer since Porsche won in 1986. Volkswagen scored five stage victories – four were credited to Carlos Sainz/Andy Schulz and one by de Villiers/Thörner – and held the 2006 Dakar Rally overall lead for five days.

In addition to the cross country rallying program and its involvement in the Dakar Rally the Wolfsburg based automobile manufacturer also organizes the ten-round ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup which runs as part of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) support program. Volkswagen

Sponsors know how to activate their NASCAR sponsorship Sponsors know how to activate their NASCAR sponsorshipThis UPS website allows you to view the UPS NASCAR commercials and how they were made, very well done commercials that are funny and provocative, somewhat analogous to Budweiser’s excellent Super Bowl commercials. FedEx, who did absolutely nothing with their CART sponsorship, now routinely runs commercials based around their NASCAR involvement. This from the same shortsighted marketing staff at FedEx who basically told us it made no sense to market to consumers when they were in CART.

The difference is that NASCAR has the right people in place to persuade their sponsors to activate their sponsorship while most other racing series can't do it. They try to sell sponsors on b2b benefits and forget that by not marketing to consumers with a tie-in to their drivers and their product, their racing series will never grow.

Ganassi agrees cheaters should be thrown out Ganassi agrees cheaters should be thrown outChip Ganassi’s Dodge team didn’t win a race last year. He said on Saturday that he’s sick of other teams cheating. 

Specifically, he was referring to Hendrick Motorsports and Chad Knaus, Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief. Actually, Knaus won’t be calling the shots for Johnson in today’s Daytona 500. He was escorted from the speedway grounds last week after officials uncovered aerodynamic irregularities after Johnson’s qualifying run.   “NASCAR needs to police it more,” said Ganassi. “I’m sure Chad (Knaus) is a nice guy, and I’ve got a lot of respect for Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and his organization, but you know what? They ought to throw cheaters out. If I have to get to the front by being outside the rules, I’m not interested. That’s always the excuse.

“They say there’s no rule written for that. Well, there weren’t a lot of rules written in the Ten Commandments, either, but I think everybody sort of understood the gist of them and what they meant.” Gaston Gazette

[Editor's Note: Some people just don't know when to keep quiet do they?  Chip Ganassi's IRL team was penalized last September in the IRL when they got caught with flexible wings that flattened out under high speed to reduce drag. For details of Ganassi's teams cheating see this archived Hot News item. His team has also been caught cheating in NASCAR per this archived Hot News Item.  This is like the pot calling the kettle black.]

TV News
37 million watch Daytona 500 37 million watch Daytona 500NBC's coverage of the 2006 Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb 19th attracted 37 million total, unduplicated viewers and drew a record 11.3 household rating and 23 share, the highest NASCAR rating in history and the most viewed Daytona 500 ever, according to fast national data from Nielsen Media Research. The 11.3/23 makes NBC's only three Daytona 500 broadcasts three of the top four highest rated and most viewed Daytona 500s ever (NBC 2002 and Fox 2005, 10.9; NBC 2004, 10.6). Last year's coverage of the Daytona 500 on Fox drew a 10.9/23. Yesterday's rating peaked with a 13.6 between 6-6:30 p.m. "I am thrilled that we were able to give NASCAR this record-breaking rating for the exciting sport of stock car racing," said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. The top ten metered markets for yesterday's broadcast of the Daytona 500 on NBC were: 1. Greenville, S.C. 24.7/39 2. Greensboro, N.C. 23.0/37 3. Orlando, Fla. 22.7/39 4. Indianapolis, Ind. 21.2/34 5. Charlotte, N.C. 21.0/36 6. Knoxville, Tenn. 19.2/31 7. Jacksonville, Fla. 18.7/29 8. Nashville, Tenn. 17.8/30 9. Dayton, Ohio 17.7/30 10. Louisville, Ky. 17.3/28. NBC PR
Mexican organizers comparing A1GP and Champ Car Mexican organizers comparing A1GP and Champ CarIt seems that the local organizers of the A1GP race in Monterrey are putting down Champ Car. In an article published by El Norte, the promoters of the race said that they needed to use all of their expertise because A1GP was very different and more complicated than the Champ Car races Monterrey has hosted before.

They also compared Champ Car directly with A1GP by saying that A1GP is more complex than Champ Car, and that A1GP is very different from Champ Car, because A1GP is a European series that runs in different ways. They noted that A1GP has 2 races on one day, not one, making it more complex than staging a Champ Car race. They also went on record by saying that because one of the 2 races has a rolling start and the other one a standing start like F1, they need a lot more officials than Champ Car, making the organization of the event more difficult.

Comparing yourself to another series and trying to make your series a lot better in comparison is not very professional, especially when you are in your first year. Besides, comparing with Champ Car, A1GP has 2 amateur series as their support series whereas Champ Car has had not less than 4 far more professional support series. It should also be noted that El Norte has a history of publishing negative Champ Car articles. Jose Arrambide

Earnhardt Jr. Likes Chevy's Aerodynamics Earnhardt Jr. Likes Chevy's AerodynamicsHeading to California, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked about Chevrolet's new nose and how it will work at downforce tracks like Fontana: "We tested (the new body) a little bit last year and felt like the new nose was better. It offers a little more in the way of downforce, and little more in the way of grip to the front tires. But we're talking tenths of a percent here, not a whole lot. Between the tests at Vegas and Texas, we've already acquainted ourselves with this new nose, and we're satisfied with what we've got. We've seen a lot of teams - like Dodge for instance - change their nose over the last five or six years and struggle the entire season. So I feel like we're fortunate in that regard. It's good to get a new nose, a new tail. Chevrolet has worked real hard to lobby for advances in the downforce and aero packages of our cars. Just makes you glad you're driving a Chevy."Budweiser Racing
Goodyear Tire Co. launches tires with Advanced ID Goodyear Tire Co. launches tires with Advanced IDAdvanced ID Corporation, a supplier of radio frequency identification products, has announced its collaboration with Goodyear to manufacturing the radio frequency identification (RFID) tag used in all NASCAR tires for the 2006 season.

Advanced ID Corporation announced that it has been collaborating with Goodyear Vehicle Systems to develop and manufacture the RFID tags embedded in the tires used in the 2006 NASCAR season. This includes the Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series races. The use of RFID technology allows Goodyear to track and control the use and distribution of tires.

Goodyear had previously announced the plan, but had not detailed the participation of Advanced ID Corporation. Goodyear worked with Advanced ID to develop a RFID tag to meet the extremely harsh environment of NASCAR racing. Advanced ID has a production contract with Goodyear to provide the tags for all NASCAR races throughout the 2006 season.
Advanced ID has been working with Goodyear on this program since the middle of 2005. According to Dan Finch, president and CEO of Advanced ID, "We are pleased that Goodyear chose us to collaborate with them on the development and manufacture of their RFID tire tag, and plan to develop an ISO and AIAG standards-based generic tire tag for use by global tire manufacturers."

TV News
500 winner Johnson to appear on TV 500 winner Johnson to appear on TVDaytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson will appear on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight at 11:30 p.m. ET on CBS.  He will also appear on the Live with Regis and Kelly show Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. ET in some cities, but it airs at 9:00 a.m. CT (Central Time) on NBC in some cities. Check your local listings for air time.
Grubb wins Crew Chief of the Race award Grubb wins Crew Chief of the Race awardDAYTONA, FL – After Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet failed a post-time trial inspection for the Daytona 500, team crew chief Chad Knaus was ejected and the Lowe’s Monte Carlo’s fifth-place time was disallowed.   Moving to the rear of the field was the least of the team’s worries, though – they still had to find the right person to fill Knaus’ seat atop the pit box to bring Johnson back up front.  Fortunately they made the perfect choice.   They slotted team engineer Darian Grubb to assume crew chief duties for the weekend and he brought the team their biggest win to date, the Daytona 500.  Grubb’s fill-in performance not only earned him the Harley J. Earl trophy, but the WypAll® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award as well.

“I honestly really wasn’t that nervous up until the checkered flag fell,” said Grubb after the race.  “I just sat there and I just knew I had faith in all the rest of the team, the team Chad (Knaus) built, this Hendrick Motorsports Lowe’s team.   Everybody did their job.  The pit stops were absolutely incredible.  When they interviewed me on TV, I told them we had the best car and best driver out there and he was in first.  Why would I be nervous?”

A panel of voters, including a member of the local media, a WypAll® Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser all agreed Grubb did the most outstanding job of the race.  “You would have thought Darian (Grubb) had been the crew chief of the 48 team for years the way he performed today,” said Reiser.  “He had a great chemistry with the driver and their communication was flawless.  He did everything right to make the car better and better as the race went on.  It takes a phenomenal leader to do that.  He won the biggest race in our sport on his first try as crew chief.  That’s unbelievable.”

As the WypAll® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race, Grubbs received $1,000.  At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and will be crowned the WypAll® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.

Q and A with Michelin’s Nick Shorrock Q and A with Michelin’s Nick Shorrock
Q: How has Formula One’s switch from V10 engines to V8s affected the loads to which tires are subjected?
Nick Shorrock (NS): “Our tires are subjected to a reduced load on the straights, where speeds are lower than before. There is a possibility that cars will slide more when cornering, because drivers are using a different technique to get the best from their new engines, but so far vertical and lateral loads seem to be about the same as they were in 2005.”

Q: Does a lighter, less powerful engine mean you can plump for softer tire compounds?

NS: “Initially, with cars apparently more prone to sliding around, it wasn’t clear that this would be the case, but as testing has progressed there is generally a tendency to use softer compounds than we did in 2005.”

Q: The latest regulations are designed to cut cornering speeds. Won’t softer compounds make the cars faster?

NS: “It looks as though overall lap times will be slower this season, but in some instances cornering speeds might indeed be a little faster than before. That’s not just a function of the tires – the V8 engine requires less cooling than a V10 and allows more efficient aerodynamic packaging.”

Q: Typically, what is likely to be the difference in lap times between 2005 and 2006?

NS: “It will vary according to the nature of the circuit and will be more pronounced at high-speed tracks. At the moment 2.5 seconds per lap seems to fairly typical, although this will doubtless be reduced as engineers fine-tune their cars.” zzzz

Q: Is Michelin starting with a clean sheet of paper this season, or can you draw on data from 2004/2005?

NS: “It certainly isn’t a fresh start. Last year there were a number of developments, particularly with regard to tire safety, that can be carried over into the new season. We have also been looking at some 2004 compounds that didn’t work as well as we had hoped at the time, but which seem to suit the latest regulations. We are still in the throes of analyzing everything and I‘m sure there are many more evolutions to come. During the first of the winter tests we were simply finding our feet. Since then we have made solid progress and have started to work on the tires we will use in the opening grands prix of the season.”

Q: Michelin dominated in 2005. Do you expect your main rivals to be more competitive this year?

NS: “Michelin actively sought more balanced tire distribution in F1 for 2006 and has achieved that. It would be exceptional if we were to repeat last season’s magnificent results, but being realistic we anticipate that some of our keenest rivals will up their game. We don’t expect it to be easy, but we are confident that we can win again this season by offering our partners high-performance products that will play a contributory role in their future successes."

Q: Have your working methods with the teams changed at all?

NS: “No. Everyone is going about their business in the usual, professional manner – as they always do. That has been a constant since we returned to F1, just as it is in all the other disciplines in which Michelin is involved. It’s certainly true that there has been a very open exchange of information between our partner teams so far this year. We are all working together to accumulate valuable data as quickly as possible. There has been some very productive collaboration and there is a real sense of team spirit.”

Q: When did the manufacturing process begin for the 2006 tires?

NS: “November – but you have to remember that the regulation regarding the reintroduction of mid-race tire changes wasn’t confirmed until October 24.”

Q: How many tires will you have tested before the season begins in earnest?

NS: “About 16,000 – we run about 2,000 at each of eight major test sessions. At present we are testing about five-six compounds and four-five casings at every test.”

Q: Have you actually finalized tire selection for any of the opening races?

NS: “Our first job has been to develop tires that provide consistent speed, durability and balance on a 2006-spec chassis. We are now in the process of tailoring the rubber to specific tracks. The weather in southern Spain is now milder, which gives us a better baseline for forthcoming races such as Bahrain and Malaysia, although our experience enables us to extrapolate information very accurately even when we test in cold conditions.”

Q: Michelin is withdrawing from F1 at the end of the 2006 season. How will this impact upon the development program?

NS: “It won’t. Everybody remains totally committed – and our advanced research team will be able to focus all its efforts on this year, rather than dividing its time between the present season and longer-term projects.”

Q: How do those in Michelin’s motorsport division feel about the decision to quit F1?

NS: “Formula One is widely regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport and Michelin has done a very good job since it returned in 2001, particularly last year. It’s a pity that we won’t be carrying on, but everyone here understands the reasons why. Next year, all of the F1 personnel will move on to new, equally challenging roles within Michelin. In the meantime, our motivation is as strong as ever.” Michelin

Friesacher in for Austria Friesacher in for AustriaA1 Team Austria is pleased to announce that Patrick Friesacher will race for the team at this weekend’s A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Monterrey, Mexico. Patrick will replace usual team driver Mathias Lauda, who is unable to participate due to testing commitments.

The team is delighted to welcome Patrick to A1GP, and is confident that he will be able to compete to a high level for the team. The 25-year-old hit the headlines in 2005 when he was signed as race driver for Formula One outfit Minardi, and during his time there he scored some impressive results for the team. Prior to Formula One, Patrick enjoyed a successful four-year stint in International F3000.

Patrick’s first introduction into A1 Grand Prix will be on Friday when he participates in two one-hour free practice sessions. It will be vital to make the most of these sessions to familiarize himself with the car as quickly as possible. There will be a final one-hour practice on Saturday morning before the innovative four-part qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. The 30-minute sprint race and one-hour feature race will then take place on Sunday afternoon.

Patrick Friesacher "I am really looking forward to racing for the Austrian Team and I am really happy to have the chance to compete again. The A1GP series has developed well over the last few races. At the moment I cannot really comment what will happen, as I have not driven the car yet. I think that I will be able to give more information after the practice sessions.” Press release A1 Team Austria

Micklewright and Dominguez interview transcript Micklewright and Dominguez interview transcript
Champ Car: Welcome to today's Champ Car media teleconference where we have another exciting announcement leading into the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. As the driver lineup continues to take shape, today it's my pleasure to announce that veteran Mario Dominguez will be back in the series this year, and again taking on the role of driver for Forsythe Championship Racing. Mario will drive the #7 Indeck Ford Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone as he prepares to get underway with his fifth Champ Car season after a number of years in the Dayton Indy Lights series, part of the driver development system back in the CART era. Mario, welcome to the call today. More....
No third car for Forsythe Racing No third car for Forsythe RacingForsythe Racing VP of Operations, Neil Micklewright, squashed any rumors that Forsythe Racing might run a third Champ Car in 2006. "Certainly there's been no discussion with regards to entering a third car which I presume is what you're asking. So, yeah, we're set with Paul Tracy and Mario Dominguez, and then of course the four drivers in our Atlantic program."
Forsythe confirms Tracy and Dominguez Forsythe confirms Tracy and DominguezINDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - February 20, 2006 - With one driver from Canada, one from Mexico and with a crew based in Indianapolis USA, the 2006 edition of Forsythe Championship Racing could easily be called "Team NAFTA" after the historic trade agreement that marks the close relationship among the three countries. Forsythe Championship Racing is pleased to announce that Toronto's Paul Tracy and Mexico City's Mario Dominguez will once again team up for an all-out assault to reclaim the Vanderbilt Cup as Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

"I'm very pleased that we've been able to once again sign two of the most talented drivers in motorsport," said team owner Gerald Forsythe. "Paul Tracy is already a legendary figure in the history of Champ Car and is capable of dominating any event. Mario Dominguez joined our team last year at the last minute and immediately produced outstanding results without any preseason testing at all. I'm excited at the prospects of these two drivers as we seek to repeat our 2003 Championship season." Zzzz

Vice President of Operations Neil Micklewright is equally enthused. "Obviously we're very pleased to continue our relationship with both Paul and Mario. You can't overstate the value of continuity in a racing team, and with both drivers back for 2006 and the rest of our staff mostly unchanged we're optimistic that we're going to have continued success and build on the momentum we developed last year. We're currently working on our test schedule for both drivers and I know Mario will be very happy to get some preseason testing after having sat in the car for the first time on Thursday at Long Beach last year!"

Paul Tracy will pilot the #3 INDECK Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone entry. "I'm really looking forward to the 2006 Champ Car season," commented Tracy. "We had some unfinished business last year when we led more laps than anybody but had a lot of bad luck. The team really stepped up the program in 2005 and we should come off the trailer in Long Beach with quick cars. I'm looking forward to my first test day this week in Sebring. I've been in a few other types of race cars recently and can say that there's nothing more enjoyable and challenging to drive than a Champ Car. It's good that Mario will be back with us. He's a great guy, a great teammate and an excellent driver. We work well together and it's nice to have that familiarity with your teammate. We should be up front again this year."

Mario Dominguez will drive the #7 INDECK Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone car. "I'm very excited to be back with Forsythe for 2006," said Dominguez. "The team was so strong last year and we had fast cars at every event. This year I'm going to be able to do more testing before the first race so that should be a big plus. Champ Car is once again going to be a very competitive series but I anticipate a very successful year for our team. Paul's experience is a great asset for any driver. We've had a chance to get to know one another very well and it will be a great feeling to line up on the grid at Long Beach with this team.
Difficult day for Ferrari in Bahrain Difficult day for Ferrari in BahrainFirst day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari, continuing to work at the Sakhir circuit, in Bahrain.

Both Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa were on track today, at the wheel of a 248 F1 and an F2004 fitted with a regulated power version of the V10 engine respectively.

The day’s program called for set-up and tire testing for Michael and electronics and tire work for Felipe.

The day was not without technical problems for Michael, who only managed to complete 49 laps, the quickest in a time of 1’31”390. As for Felipe, he covered 124 laps, setting a best time of 1’30”410.

Testing continues at this circuit tomorrow when once again, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa will be on track. Press release Ferrari

Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Inducted Into DAYTONA USA Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Inducted Into DAYTONA USAJimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team were reunited with their Daytona 500-winning No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo at DAYTONA USA on Monday morning for the Eckrich Champion's Breakfast. After celebrating his first Daytona 500 victory on Sunday night, Johnson, owner Rick Hendrick and substitute crew chief Darian Grubb were up bright and early to induct the winning racing machine into DAYTONA USA. The No. 48 car will rest inside Gatorade Victory Lane at DAYTONA USA for the next 364 days and will be returned to the team before the start of the 49th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, 2007. Johnson, Hendrick and Grubb participated in a fan forum inside the attraction and received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig and Gatorade presented the 2006 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from Victory Lane. "It's slowing sinking in," said Johnson, who earned $1,505,124 in winnings. "Last night, I had the pleasure of hanging out with all of my guys. Channy and I were reminiscing on a few things. It's just amazing to me to be in this position to win this race and how much it means to my career. I think over the next couple of days and really the next couple of years, it'll really sink in what this race means to me and how big it is and what it means for my career." Johnson is now off to New York City and Los Angeles to handle media obligations that come with being the Daytona 500 champion. First stop will be the Late Show with David Lettermen on Monday night and Live with Regis and Kelly on Tuesday.DIS Public Relations
Fans Tune In To Webcast of Champ Car Atlantic Launch Fans Tune In To Webcast of Champ Car Atlantic LaunchINDIANAPOLIS – The new generation Champ Car Atlantic Championship chassis was launched amid great fanfare on Valentine’s Day, and after spending time with their significant others on the holiday, many Champ Car fans tuned in to experience the unveiling through a live webcast on www.champcar.ws.

Nearly 10,000 computers were tuned into the live launch on Tuesday evening and the week-long replay of the events held at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles drew an additional 18,000 viewings, raising the final tune-in number to 28,517.

Fans that tuned in not only got the first-ever look at the new Atlantic machine, but also witnessed the historic announcement that Katherine Legge would become the first full-time female driver in Champ Car World Series history, when she was presented with her 2006 contract by PKV Racing co-owners Jimmy Vasser and Dan Pettit. In addition, web watchers were there live for the announcement that Mazda had signed a three-year deal as the series’ engine manufacturer as well as sponsor of the Yokohama Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

“We are very pleased to see this level of interest from our fans, especially for the first time that we have tried a webcast of this magnitude,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “Webcasting gives us another way to bring our fans closer to the action of the Champ Car World Series as well as the Champ Car Atlantics and we are excited about the possibilities it brings.” Champ Car

Honda announces new team structure Honda announces new team structureHonda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced a new team structure for this season and will participate in the F1 World Championship Series as “Honda Racing F1 Team.” In addition, in the role of engine supplier, Honda will supply V8 engines to SUPER AGURI FORMULA 1.

Honda Racing F1 Team
Chief Executive Officer : Nick Fry
Executive Advisor : Yasuhiro Wada
Senior Advisor : Otmar Szafnauer
Technical Director : Geoffrey Willis
Senior Advisor : Yosuke Sekino
Sporting Director : Gil de Ferran
Senior Advisor : Shuhei Nakamoto
Drivers: Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button
Third driver:  Anthony Davidson
Location:       Brackley Northants, UK
Honda Racing Development Ltd. President: Yasuhiro Wada
Vice President: Otmar Szafnauer
Technical Director: Yosuke Sekino
Engineering Director: Shuhei Nakamoto
Location: Bracknell Berkshire, UK
Role : Serve as the front line of Honda’s F1 race activities
  - provide technical feedback to Honda R&D Center., Ltd. Tochigi R&D Center
  - engine development support, maintenance etc. zzzz

Engine Name : Honda RA806E
Displacement : 2.4 litres
Configuration : V8, naturally aspirated
Engineering Director : Geoffrey Willis
Engine Features : Engine performance far surpasses last year’s - high revolutions, high displacement (per litre comparison).  Minimum weight, size (bore, pitch), etc. have been achieved within the parameters specified in the new regulations and Honda’s technology has brought forth improved engine performance, reliability and chassis packaging.

Chassis Name : Honda RA106
Chassis Features : Aerodynamic performance has been greatly improved and ample downforce has been preserved while realizing a reduction in drag.  Due to the unified design of the chassis and transmission package, superior performance has been achieved in all drive related fields.

Team Principal : Aguri Suzuki
Managing Director : Daniel Audetto
Chief Operating Officer : Kevin Lee
Chief Technical Officer : Mark Preston
Driver : Takuma Sato, Yuji Ide

Location : Langley, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 9EF UK

Comment from Hiroshi Oshima, Operating Officer, Corporate Communications and Motor Sports, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.:

“This season, we at Honda - the local factory and R&D Centre - have become one and we will participate in the F1 World Championship Series as Honda Racing F1 Team.  Our unified staff also has a renewed spirit we will put forth our utmost effort in our aim for victory.  Starting from the opening race, we will come out on the attack each and every race, so expect some exciting racing!  We will also supply V8 engines and support to SUPER AGURI FORMULA 1.  Having overcoming various obstacles, they will mount their F1 challenge as a Japanese team and we ask that you please extend your support to this independent team.”

Racing News
PitFit Training Announces Tony Renna Memorial Scholarship Winners PitFit Training Announces Tony Renna Memorial Scholarship WinnersIndianapolis, IN - PitFit Training (PitFit), a recognized leader in developing strength training, nutrition and physical fitness programs to specifically address the physical and mental demands of the motorsports industry, today announced the winners of the PitFit Tony Renna Memorial Scholarship. The winners are Alexander Rossi, Gilles Fortier, Craig (CJ) Lintner, Jr, and Elliot Bachelart. All are racers in the karting series. Other winners include Kyle Nicholas who competes for Tony Stewart Racing in USAC’s Sprint Car series, and Lynsey Tilton, a racer in the Ford Focus Midget series.

The winners receive 10 months of training via PitFit’s online training program, “e-PitFit”, two complete fitness evaluations by PitFit Training, up to two training sessions per month at PitFit, Theraband products, Bodyblade Classic, a neck strengthening strap, Gatorade products, training gear, and a bio on the PitFit web site. zzzz 

“We are proud to announce these fine young drivers as recipients of the 2006 PitFit Tony Renna Memorial Scholarship,” said Jim Leo, President of PitFit Training. “These drivers have shown tremendous talent in scholastics, community service, racing and work ethic, all requirements for scholarship consideration. They possess the same drive and positive attitude that Tony Renna is remembered for.”

The PitFit Tony Renna Memorial Scholarship program was developed as a way of giving deserving young drivers the opportunity to bring their racing fitness to optimal levels. Selection criteria are stringent with a varied focus on race performance, community service, academics and an ability to maintain a focus on fitness. Applicants are required to submit an essay on current topics of interest from today’s news, and must be between the age of 12 and 20 with one year of competition experience. Tony Renna, who lost his life while testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2003, was a longtime client and personal friend of PitFit President Jim Leo.

Crash Andretti spoils good run by Tracy Crash Andretti spoils good run by TracyUPDATE This Edmonton Sun article talks more about Paul Tracy's first-ever NASCAR race. He does clear up the "hit by every Andretti" quote by admitting he has not been hit by Marco yet.

"I was running with the (Nextel) Cup guys and I was holding my own," he said of the 18 Cup drivers who entered yesterday's NBS race. "I feel like I proved to a lot of people that I can drive in these cars."

Tracy, who will race the entire Champ Car schedule this year with Forsythe Championship Racing while running five NBS events, said that once the race started, it felt like any other race he has been in the past 20 years.

"I mean don't get me wrong, this was an exiting experience racing on this historic track in front of all these people," he said. "But other than it being a lot hotter than in a Champ Car, the on-track stuff is just racing."

02/18/06 Champ Car ace Paul Tracy drove a great race coming from 40th to 10th and looking strong until John The Crash Andretti hit him from behind and spun him around. Andretti got run out of Nextel Cup because he crashed in almost every race and it appears he's just as incompetent in the Busch Series as he was in Cup. It's amazing this guy is still racing.

After falling behind three laps because of the wreck, Tracy made up three laps despite a taped up and mangled race car and finished on the lead lap. Quite an accomplishment for his first NASCAR race.

"We finished the race and did what we needed to do," Tracy said afterward. "When we got up to the front, things were going great.

"After we got spun out, we were three laps down. So it was a case to ride it out, ride it out, ride it out.

"You know there are going to be yellows at the end, so we got back and then you are in a position to race those last five laps.

"We had a great race on those last five laps, in the battle to the end. Before the weekend I said if we could finish in the top 20 I would feel like we would have won the race.

"This was probably one of the easier tracks to get around. I have a good chance of doing well at Mexico City on a road course and from there I've got one more race in Vegas and then I start worrying about Champ Car racing. It was a good run for us and I'm happy with how it went.

"I guess now I can say I've been hit by every Andretti I've ever raced with...."

Track News
Staten Island NASCAR site in the news Staten Island NASCAR site in the newsStaten Islanders often tag the vast property that flanks the Goethals Bridge, the Arthur Kill and New York Container Terminal at Howland Hook as that old industrial site near New Jersey.

Where those oil tanks used to be.

And, most notably, where a massive tank explosion rocked Staten Island in 1973, killing 40 workers and drawing national officials to the Island to investigate the cause of the blast.

But other than the liquefied natural gas tank disaster, the 675-acre swath of industrial land in Bloomfield has lived for decades in obscurity: Far enough away from residents that they don't tread the land, inanimate enough that it flies under the radar of most Islanders, and set far enough apart from major thoroughfares that drivers can't see much more than remnants of its heyday as an oil tank farm.

Now a proposal to build an 80,000-seat NASCAR race track has lifted the site out of anonymity and shone a bright spotlight on it. Everyone, from politicians to racing fans to Islanders with Native American roots, has something to say about the site, which International Speedway Corp. purchased for $110 million in 2004 with the hope of bringing the notoriously Southern sport to the Big Apple.  zzzz

"Other than that disaster, there was nothing significant in the history of Staten Island you could relate to that property," said former Borough President Ralph Lamberti, who worked in Borough Hall from the early 1970s until 1990.

The history of the low-lying, flat land is only vaguely spelled out in documents and maps, and residents with strong Island ties know very little about the property before it was turned into an oil tank farm.

The site, a swath of mostly wetlands, first changed hands in 1937, when individual land owners sold their chunks of the property to Gulf Oil Corp., based in Pennsylvania, according to property records. People familiar with the tract say Gulf began running an oil refinery on it seven or eight years earlier.

When it was owned by individual families, most of whom lived on the Island, the land was likely undeveloped, given its environmental building restrictions.

"Anecdotally, I don't ever remember anything being there. I don't remember there ever being a movie, a drive-in, stores or anything. It was always vacant land," said native Islander Mario DiRe, Richmond County's first deputy clerk.  More...

Green rips Jarrett Green rips JarrettJeff Green wasn't cutting Dale Jarrett any slack for his involvement in a four-car wreck on Lap 80 of Sunday's Daytona 500. Jarrett appeared to clip the right-rear of Green's No. 66 Chevrolet, turning Green up the track and collecting J.J. Yeley, Carl Edwards and Kyle Petty. "You can blame a lot of things on rookies, but he's not a rookie and I don't understand what happened there," Green said. "When a rookie gets blamed for something you can swallow it, but when a veteran does some stupid move like that, it's pretty hard to swallow." Said Jarrett: "He touched the left-front of my car. He's got to know that somebody else is there, too." The wreck was the second in as many days for Edwards and Yeley, who were both involved in an accident in Saturday's Busch Series race. "I saw (Green) get sideways and go flying up the race track and I thought I could do a good job of going underneath him," Edwards said. "I ended up running into the back of Kyle Petty." ThatsRacin
Suspended Knaus keeps in contact with No. 48 team Suspended Knaus keeps in contact with No. 48 teamSince Chad Knaus went home, NASCAR has approved the Hendrick Motorsports crew chief's post-practice telephone and e-mail communication with his team and Johnson in preparation for the 500. Johnson's interim crew chief at the speedway is Darian Grubbs. The No. 48 Chevy was 18th on the list of fast times during Saturday's final practice, at 190.670 mph or 47.202 seconds —.555 seconds slower than Ken Schrader's top lap of 46.708 seconds. "He's been a No. 48 guy from the beginning," Johnson said of Grubbs. "When we can talk to Chad at night on the telephone, we're all talking the same language. I know the big challenge is going to be the races following — once we figure out how many races Chad is suspended for. We definitely anticipate Fontana (next weekend's race in California) being that way." The team has adjusted to communicating with Knaus from four states away. Johnson, though, would prefer his 500 didn't play out this way. "We talk at night and work on a game plan for the next day and work on that test matrix, if you will," Johnson said, "and come back and have a conference call the next evening and talk about what worked and what didn't. It's definitely a different way of working on a race car. I've never been through it and certainly hope we're never in this position again." Palm Beach Post
France comments on Helton remarks France comments on Helton remarksNASCAR chairman Brian France said he has not talked to series president Mike Helton about recent comments Helton made that referred to NASCAR's "Southeastern redneck heritage." NASCAR announced Feb. 8 in Washington, D.C., a plan to boost diversity by working with historically black universities. Helton was among those who spoke that day. The Associated Press quoted Helton as saying: "We believe strongly that the old Southeastern redneck heritage that we had is no longer in existence. But we also realize that there's going to have to be an effort on our part to convince others to understand that." France met with reporters Friday for the first time during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway and was asked about Helton's comments. France defended Helton. "I didn't hear Mike's comment in any context, how he said it," France said. "I haven't even talked to him about it. I know what he meant. I've been meeting with him every week. I know exactly what he means when he talks about the regional stereotype and how he's like all of us working to get past that. News-Record
Mears elevated to 2nd Mears elevated to 2ndAlthough the results are still unofficial, Casey Mears has been elevated to 2nd place by NASCAR after being originally listed as 3rd behind Ryan Newman. Other positions are also being juggled around as timing and scoring data is examined at the time the final lap caution flag flew.

"I couldn't be happier," Mears said. "These races are so hard to get good finishes in [because] so many people can affect the outcome."

The outcome was in question for more than half an hour after the checkers fell due to the field being frozen by Greg Biffle's caution and, in the end, it was Mears who was most pleased by NASCAR's call.

The pair of Dodge drivers, Mears and Newman, took divergent routes to the finish line on the last lap of the Great American Race, but their decisions were almost moot when a caution flew for a wreck behind them involving Biffle.

While Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet motored ahead, Newman jumped his No. 12 Dodge to the outside of him coming through Turns 3 and 4. Mears kept his Ganassi Racing Dodge behind Johnson, closely trailed by Elliott Sadler and Tony Stewart.

"Right there at the end, I've got to thank Elliott Sadler for giving me a heck of a shove," Mears said. "I wanted to go with Newman as soon as he pulled out.

"But as soon as [Newman] pulled out, [Sadler] had a big run on me, I had to block the bottom [and] that gave me a good shove to cross the start/finish line.

"It's just tough to figure out who to go with at the end, but congratulations to Jimmie -- he is a big friend of mine."

Newman said his move was predicated by one thought: Winning the circuit's biggest race.

"We had a good run," Newman said. "I told the guys over the radio afterward, if I had that run and didn't take it, I would have had a hard time sleeping tonight -- probably for the next 10 or 15 years, maybe -- you never know.

"I'm glad I took [the chance]. Whether we finished second or third, that's beside the point. We had a great effort."

Scalpers Snagged in sting operation Scalpers Snagged in sting operationScalpers hovering around Daytona International Speedway found themselves to be the target of a sting conducted by Daytona Beach police this past weekend, authorities said. Undercover officers arrested 14 people for peddling tickets along International Speedway Boulevard said Sgt. James Newcomb, of the Daytona Beach Police Department. The ticket hawkers were arrested and brought to the county jail after they sold tickets to undercover officers who posed as race fans looking for a good seat. The most expensive ticket bought was $150 more than the retail value, Newcomb said. Anyone who offers or sells a ticket for more than $1 above the retail price is charged with the resale of an amusement ticket, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines or 60 days in jail. Buyers don't face any penalties because it isn't illegal to purchase a scalped ticket. The ticket peddlers pose a problem for police because they block traffic along International Speedway Boulevard and restrict pedestrian flow into the Speedway. Newcomb said most of the ticket sellers were from out of town and he hopes this weekend's operation would deter scalpers from selling again. Daytona Beach News Journal
GP2 series unveils full 2006 line-up GP2 series unveils full 2006 line-upAs the GP2 series makes its way out to the South of France for the first test of the 2006 season, it is with great pride that we unveil the official list of drivers who will compete for glory in this season’s championship. With all seats now filled, our line-up will make their collective 2006 debut at this week’s test at Circuit Paul Ricard, on February 22-23.

“As we embark on our first test of the 2006 season, I am very happy to be able to announce a full grid of 26 of the most talented and exciting young drivers around. After the great line-up we had in 2005, I am happy to see another incredibly strong field of drivers lining up to compete in the GP2 series this year. With five of last year’s drivers graduating to Formula One, the GP2 series has established itself as the only true stepping stone to the world’s premiere racing series,” said Bruno Michel – GP2 series organizer.

“The intensity of competition we have seen for this year’s seats, and the resulting level of talent we will have on display in the GP2 series in 2006 is evidence of this. I am sure that this season will pick up where 2005 left off – with the cream of young driver talent fighting it out to be GP2 series champion on their way to bright futures in Formula One.”

Car # Driver Country Team
1 Alexandre Prémat FRA ART Grand Prix
2 Lewis Hamilton GBR ART Grand Prix
3 Michael Ammermüller GER Arden International
4 Nicolas Lapierre FRA Arden International
5 José María López ARG Super Nova International
6 Fairuz Fauzy MAL Super Nova International
7 Ernesto Viso VEN iSport International
8 Tristan Gommendy FRA iSport International
9 Adam Carroll GBR Racing Engineering
10 Javier Villa ESP Racing Engineering
11 Nelson Piquet Jr BRA Piquet Sports
12 Alexandre Negrão BRA Piquet Sports
14 Ferdinando Monfardini ITA DAMS
15 Franck Perera FRA DAMS
16 Luca Filippi ITA Petrol Ofisi FMS International
17 Jason Tahinci TUR Petrol Ofisi FMS International
18 Hiroki Yoshimoto JPN BCN Competicion
19 Timo Glock GER BCN Competicion
20 Olivier Pla FRA DPR
21 Clivio Piccione MC DPR
22 Lucas di Grassi BRA Durango
23 Sergio Hernandez ESP Durango
24 Adrian Valles ESP Campos Racing
25 Felix Porteiro ESP Campos Racing
26 Gianmaria Bruni ITA Trident Racing
27 Andreas Zuber AUT Trident Racing GP2

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Toro Rosso has mountain to climb - Tost
FIA to impose '110 per cent' rule
Max and Bernie disagree about V8s
Ferrari find '248' glitch - Schu 
MF1's Shnaider wants a fair go
Anderson joins GP2
GP2 chief rubbishes Mosley plan
'Iconic' Brit GP should be safe - boss
Lauda knocks BMW's approach
Ralf, Trulli, not 'top' pairing - Symonds
Villeneuve could 'surprise' - Mansell
Hockenheim avoids '06 axe
Max, Renault, propose F1 'freeze'
F1 daughter signs DTM deal
Kenseth: Stewart’s hit ’an intentional cheap shot’ Kenseth: Stewart’s hit ’an intentional cheap shot’Matt Kenseth was enraged after contact with Tony Stewart sent him hard into the Turn 3 fence and ruined his best-ever chance to win the Daytona 500.

"I thought we had the car to win, honestly," said Kenseth.

"The hit wasn't an accident. If it was an accident I could live with it," said Kenseth. "I felt like it was an intentional cheap shot and I would bet anything on that. I would never do that to him, intentionally put someone in harm's way at a racetrack like this."

The accident came one week after Stewart criticized heavy bump drafting during the Budweiser Shootout, saying, "We're going to kill somebody."

"He worried about everybody's safety and talking about people dying and going way overboard with it," said Kenseth. "If you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. It's one thing to criticize everybody if you're perfect, but not one of us is perfect."

"Matt always thinks that. I guess Matt didn't think anything when he got me sideways over in (Turn) 2 either," said Stewart. "He should have thought about that first.

"But I got penalized but they didn't penalize him for getting me sideways. He has no room complain. He started the whole thing, and I finished it."

"Earlier in the race he was shaking his fist to me," Kenseth said.

Stewart replied: "He should have been smart enough to know not to be tucking down our doors in the first 20 laps of a 200-lap race at Daytona."

TV News
Déjà vu Déjà vuA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I think Robin Miller and Dave Despain make a perfect pair on Wind Tunnel.  Miller should be on the show every week.  I thought I was reading AutoRacing1.com when I was watching Wind Tunnel. All the key points Miller and Despain made Sunday night were what I have read AutoRacing1.com saying for years, especially the point about NASCAR fines being a joke, hence why the cheating continues, and CART/IRL and the two sprint car series getting back together. Brian Jones, Miami, FL

Dear Brian, Thanks for the compliments.  We just say like we see it.  We agree, Miller and Despain make a good pair.  Robin Miller is a natural on TV.  Champ Car should have him as one of their TV reporters, he would make the broadcasts fun to watch.  Instead of doing something smart like that, they are doing dumb things like removing Tony Cotman as Chief Steward because some of the calls last year didn't go the way a team owner wanted. Not having Miller in Champ Car's TV booth and removing Cotman have to go down as the two dumbest things OWRS has done in an otherwise long list of smart things they have done since starting Champ Car. Mark C.

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