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DATE News (chronologically)
03/01/07
industry news
Toyota, GM Post Sales Gains in February  The U.S. auto sales story line for nearly the past year has been Toyota Motor Corp. kicking the stuffing out of the Detroit Three, but there was a new twist in February. Yes, Toyota sales were up 12.2 percent, but General Motors Corp. showed a strong increase, surprising the industry by reporting a 3.7 percent year-over-year sales rise for the month.

"You can't base everything on one month, but you do need to look at some of the new products that they have coming out," said Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst with Boston-based Global Insight. "They're just sort of gaining some attention from the fact that they are making strides with brands like Saturn."

GM's Detroit-area competitors, however, stayed in their funk, with Ford Motor Co. posting a 13.5 percent sales slide and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group with an 8.3 percent dip.

03/01/07
industry news
Ford's February sales decline 13.5%  Ford Motor Co. reported a 13.5% drop in February U.S. new vehicle sales, compared with the same month in 2006, in line with expectations. The Dearborn-based automaker saw double-digit drops in four of its six major brands: Ford, down 15.2%, Mercury, down 13.2%, Jaguar, down 28.3%, and Land Rover, down 10%.  Volvo brand sales were essentially flat, at 8,453, up less than 1% from February 2006.
03/01/07
industry news
Chrysler February sales fall 8%  DaimlerChrysler AG reported this morning that it saw its February sales in the United States drop 8% compared to the same month last year.  The U.S.-based unit Chrysler Group, which sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands, sold 174,506 vehicles in the U.S. in February — an 8% drop compared to February 2006’s sales.  The U.S.-based unit Chrysler Group, which sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands, sold 174,506 vehicles in the U.S. in February — an 8% drop compared to February 2006’s sales.
03/01/07
f1
Super Aguri delay SA07 launch  Japanese team Super Aguri has delayed the launch of its 2007 car until after the formula one circus arrives in Melbourne for the first race.

It was reported last week that the Leafield based squad's plan to reveal the SA07 at a media event in Tokyo rested on the looming repeat of the mandatory FIA crash tests, which Super Aguri originally failed.

A statement received on Friday morning explained that the delayed car will now be unveiled in the Albert Park pitlane on the Wednesday before the Australian grand prix.

"We are working relentlessly to prepare our 2007 challenger which will unfortunately not be available for presentation on the 12th March in Tokyo as originally planned," the team said.

03/01/07
racing news
Goodwin sentenced  Former motorsports promoter Michael Goodwin was sentenced Thursday to two consecutive life prison terms without possibility parole after declaring in court that he did not murder former partner Mickey Thompson and the racing legend's wife.

"I can't apologize because I'm not guilty of this crime," Goodwin, 61, told the judge. He said the 1988 killings of Mickey and Trudy Thompson were "a tragedy." He added, "The world lost an incredible inventor."

Goodwin offered condolences to Thompson's sister, Colleen Campbell, who had stood before him and declared him an evil killer in a statement asking for the toughest sentence, which the judge imposed.

The Thompsons were shot to death while leaving their gated home in the Los Angeles suburb of Bradbury. The killers, who came on bicycles, were never caught. Goodwin was a former business partner of Thompson, a high-profile motorsports figure who pursued land-speed records, drove everything from dragsters to midget cars, and promoted off-road racing. More ...

03/01/07
nascar
Montoya to be ESPN in-car reporter in Mexico  Juan Pablo Montoya and his crew chief, Brad Parrott, will be ESPN’s “In-Race Reporter” for coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Busch Series event at Mexico City. Montoya, a former Indianapolis 500 winner and Formula One driver, has made the move to NASCAR this season in one of the most talked-about switches in motorsports history. ESPN2 will have live coverage of the event beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET, while ESPN will simulcast ESPN Deportes’ Spanish-language race of the event as part of an ESPN Full Circle presentation.

Montoya will have special cameras mounted inside his car to show his face as he speaks to ESPN booth analyst Rusty Wallace while on the race’s pace laps and during caution periods, providing the unique perspective of a driver in competition. Parrott will speak to booth analyst Andy Petree at various times throughout the telecast.

In addition to the race telecast on Sunday, ESPN2 will have live coverage of practice and qualifying from Mexico City on Friday and Saturday. Coverage of Friday’s one-hour final practice session for the series will be aired from 5-6 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Qualifying will be televised from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday. Calling the action from the booth will be Jerry Punch with Wallace and Petree. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will report from the pits and garage, while Chris Fowler, Tim Brewer and Brad Daugherty will be in the ESPN Pit Studio.

The pre-race NASCAR Countdown program begins at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, followed by the race at 2 p.m.  ESPN PR

03/01/07
ga
Track record time for Negri in Mexico City  Oswaldo Negri got the Mexico City round of the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series season off to a quick start as he clicked off a 1:22.554-second lap in practice on the 2.5-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Thursday. The time is faster than the existing track record, set last year in qualifying.
 
“We are not quite where we want to be yet, but this was a good start for us,” said Negri. “The biggest thing is that Mark did a great job today. He was really quick here last year, but today he was even faster even when he was running with tires that had a lot of laps on them, so that’s very encouraging for the race. Michael Shank Racing has once again prepared a great car and the Lexus guys have been fantastic, so there’s no question I’m optimistic about this weekend. I am also really excited to be racing back in Mexico once again.” More ...
03/01/07
cca
Jensen Motorsport to unveil new sponsor  Jensen MotorSport is excited to announce its new branding for the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season. The veteran Atlantic team is changing its look to a silver / red / black color scheme, which is a major change from the blue / white scheme of recent years.

Race fans can witness the Jensen cars in action for the first time with the new design at the official series test at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit in Monterey, California on March 7th and 8th. The Jensen team will also be decked out in the new color scheme featuring new crew shirts and team kit.

In the three weeks since the last official series test at MSR Houston, the crew only had time to paint two cars. So race fans can look for Tom Sutherland and Frankie Muniz, respectively, driving the newly styled #2 ClickAway Team Jensen and #13 Chandler Team Jensen race cars.

Jensen MotorSport is also proud to reveal its new team logo, which incorporates the new color and design. More ...

03/01/07
IRL
Firestone continues to evolve track plans  Firestone Al Speyer, motorsports executive director for Firestone Racing, said compound or construction of the Firestone Firehawk racing radials will be different from 2006 for at least eight of the 17 IndyCar Series events.

Additionally, there has been a stagger change for the IPS cars on the ovals.

"We have a new tire for Homestead, basically the same construction as we used last year, but a new compound for improved grip," Speyer said of the tire that will be used on the 1.5-mile oval that will host the season opener March 24. “Most importantly, we have a new tire for Indianapolis. That tire actually goes back to a construction we used in the time period from 2003 to 2005. But the Indy tire also has a new left-side and right-side compound. More ...
03/01/07
nascar
NASCAR plans post-race COT inspection  NASCAR Nextel Cup Director John Darby told reporters Thursday that NASCAR plans to take cars from each "car of tomorrow" race back to the Research and Development Center for further study. NASCAR officials say they expect to take some Nextel Cup cars back to the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for study after each Nextel Cup race featuring the "car of tomorrow" this season.

Officials expect to take two cars after races to see how they held up during the event and to measure them once more to see if they still match what was presented in the certification test. This is for NASCAR's own information and to study how the cars maintain form during races.

"Obviously race cars twist and bend and move in a normal function of 500 laps or 500 miles, and part of what we want to look for and [need to] understand is the amount of that movement and how much they return to neutral, if you will," NASCAR Nextel Cup Director John Darby said Thursday following the test session at Bristol Motor Speedway.
03/01/07
nascar
Almirola will attempt to make Nextel Cup debut  Joe Gibbs Racing officials announced Thursday that Aric Almirola will attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut next weekend in the UAW-DaimlerChrsyler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
03/01/07
lmes
Rahal enjoys sportscar test time  Graham Rahal's schedule continues to keep him busy and this month not only has he enjoyed a return to the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car with Newman/Haas Racing, he's also been testing a Saleen S7R with the ORECA team in Europe.

Rahal has always enjoyed driving sportscars alongside his open-wheel program and with the chance to join ORECA for a few days of testing, he hopped on a plane to Europe last week. First stop was Barcelona, Spain, and his first taste of the Saleen S7R, a sports racer based on the Michigan-built S7 supercar. This week the pre-season program moved to the Paul Ricard circuit in France for endurance testing. More ...

03/01/07
nascar
Rain shortens COT test  NASCAR officials concluded the test of the Nextel Cup "car of tomorrow" at Bristol Motor Speedway shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday because of rain at the facility.  Cup teams testing at the facility were given an extra three hours on the track Wednesday night after forecasters warned of the high probability of rain today.

Clint Bowyer crashed his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet late in the Thursday night session, but that was the only incident with the wall in the shortened test.

03/01/07
cca
Bomarito returns to Atlantics  Following a strong finish to the 2006 Atlantic season, PR1 Motorsports announced today that it will compete in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda with returning drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Mike Forest.  

Bomarito gave the Fresno, California-based team its first Atlantic victory in the ’06 season finale at Road America and the squad returns to series action this season looking to build on its momentum. A native of Monterey, California, the 25-year-old Bomarito started all 12 races for the PR1 team last season, scoring three podium results on his way to finishing sixth in the championship standings. The 2007 season marks Bomarito’s third year in Atlantics and second with PR1 Motorsports, the team that helped guide him to the 2003 Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec series championship. More ...
03/01/07
f1
Todt to stay with Ferrari until he retires  Ferrari have been given a shot in the arm after CEO Jean Todt revealed that he has committed his future to the Maranello-based outfit.

The Frenchman, who joined Ferrari in 1993, announced that he would be staying at Maranello until he retires. More ...
03/01/07
f1
Bahrain final day: Massa again fastest  
Pos  Driver       Car                      Time     Laps
 1.  Massa        Ferrari             (B)  1:29.989   45
 2.  Kovalainen   Renault             (B)  1:30.384   61
 3.  Fisichella   Renault             (B)  1:30.498   64
 4.  Raikkonen    Ferrari             (B)  1:30.534   77
 5.  Alonso       McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:30.564  113
 6.  Barrichello  Honda               (B)  1:31.067  118
 7.  De la Rosa   McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:31.354   90
 8.  Speed        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:31.500  124
 9.  Coulthard    Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:31.589   66
10.  Heidfeld     BMW Sauber          (B)  1:31.720   83
11.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:31.742   92
12.  Kubica       BMW Sauber          (B)  1:31.751   98
13.  Schumacher   Toyota              (B)  1:31.791   81
14.  Button       Honda               (B)  1:31.837   97
15.  Montagny     Toyota              (B)  1:32.264  119
16.  Sato         Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:33.357   53
03/01/07
track news
Kid Rock to headline Miller Lite Carb Day Concert  Rock icon Kid Rock will be the headline act for the Miller Lite Carb Day Concert on Friday, May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Miller Brewing Company and IMS officials announced today.

The concert is free to all ticket holders for Miller Lite Carb Day, the final day of on-track activity before the 91st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27. Additionally, legal-drinking-age race fans can win tickets in promotional 24-packs of Miller Lite starting in April.

"The Miller Lite Carb Day concert is the ultimate convergence of two of America's favorite pastimes - rock and racing," said Dockery Clark, director of sports and alliance marketing at Miller Brewing Company. "Kid Rock is known for his energetic and exciting live performances, so he's sure to get the fans at Carb Day revved up for the big race." More ...

03/01/07
irl
IRL adds mufflers to reduce obnoxious engine noise  IndyCar Series officials heard the comments. Now the cars whipping past fans in grandstands at 220 mph will be easier on their ears. A slight modification to the exhaust manifolds of the 3.5-liter Honda Indy V-8 engines has resulted in about a 4-5 decibel noise reduction, essentially taking the edge off the shrillness of the cars at speed.

“We’ve reduced the decibel level by about 4 percent and taken the harshness and shrillness out of the exhaust notes along with the tone, which makes it gentler on the ears,” IndyCar Series senior technical director Les Mactaggart said. “So we’ve had a reduction in pitch and reduction in noise level. It will be noticeable.”

Baffles have been installed in the exhaust manifolds (contained in canisters) just past the collector. There hasn’t been an adverse impact on the 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol-powered engine’s performance, and it’s a spec system.

“The first thing we did when it was designed was take it to Honda, which ran it on the dyno,” Mactaggart said. “There was no change in back pressure in the system, which would have affected performance.

“Having everyone use the same parts eliminates the subjective arguments that they have played around with it.” More at IndyCar.com

[Editor's Note: No doubt this move was made to eliminate the obnoxious noise put out by the Honda IRL engine for the street circuits. This has been a problem with the IRL's inferior cars from day 1 with fans complaining they could not bear the noise. It's good to see they finally put this band-aide on the problem. Previously they added diapers when the engines would blow up every few laps and they added butt pads to the back of the transmission after they broke umpteen driver backs....though as Bruno Junqueira proved, you can still sustain a broken back even with the butt pads.]

03/01/07
lmes
Porsche rules out LeMans effort until rules changed  Porsche's motorsport director Harmut Kristen says his company will not contest the 24 Hours of LeMans race until there is better parity between gasoline and diesel powered cars. The Porsche LMP2 cars are of course gasoline powered while the LMP1 cars of Audi and Peugeot are diesel.

"This isn't necessarily our next step, and we aren't even evaluating it," he was quoted as saying by Italian racing magazine Autosprint.

"That's also because we don't agree with the current ACO-Le Mans regulations: in LMP1 there absolutely isn't equivalence between petrol and diesel engines, the latter being undoubtedly advantaged.

"This is the most important parameter that, in our opinion, doesn't work."

03/01/07
alms
Acura ALMS special to air  Acura's first step into prototype competition in the American Le Mans Series' LMP2 class will be the subject of an hour-long feature on SPEED that debuts at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, March 2. The Acura factory program is the first such effort for the luxury brand of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and involves three world-class teams in Andretti Green Racing, Lowe's Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing.

Acura's race program features 3.0-liter, normally aspirated V8 engines designed and developed by Honda Performance Development. They will be mated with chassis from Courage and Lola for the full 2007 season.

SPEED's documentary will put the viewer behind the scenes with the race teams as they prepare for this historic race, and behind the wheel of the Acura-powered LMP2 race car. This in-depth report will offer insight into the selection of drivers, complemented by behind-the-scenes footage of Honda Performance Development (HPD) and the development of the Acura engine. The special presentation will follow the accelerated development of the Acura race program over the past four months by following each team through the rigorous testing schedules. More ...

03/01/07
Industry News
Despite huge losses, Ford awards CEO huge bonus  Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday its board of directors approved a $6 million stock option bonus -- $1 million more than was previously promised -- for new CEO Alan Mulally.

The board also approved cash payments to other senior executives to compensate them for a bonus program the company is scrapping in favor of a new compensation plan, according to documents filed with Securities and Exchange Commission late Wednesday.

The news of the payouts came as thousands of salaried workers who signed up for buyouts or early retirement packages bid tearful farewells to their friends and colleagues. It also follows close on the heels of the record $12.7 billion loss the automaker posted for 2006.

"(It was a) sad day today, lots of people I knew left," one worker told The Detroit News. "Many of the engineering offices look like Swiss cheese with all of the empty cubicles that have opened up."

[Editor's Note: Only in America can a CEO who is a complete and utter failure after his company posted record losses during his tenure, get a huge pay increase. And you wonder why Ford is teetering on bankruptcy?]

03/01/07
f1
irl
Andretti rules out F1  Marco Andretti tells Autosport.com that F1 will have to wait at least two years and that he will stay in the IRL and try to win the Indy 500.

"Right now I'm just thinking totally I know where I am the next couple years and I'm completely content," Andretti said. "I think I'd be cheating myself and the team even if one percent my mind would wander (and I thought) 'Maybe I should be doing this.  I'm not going to be able to achieve my goals."

"I wouldn't count it out after that," he said when asked if he was planning a future in F1.  Everything has to be right, the right circumstances and everything like that.  But I can't thank Honda enough. If they need help in the future, I'll go over and drive the cars.  I had a lot of fun. But I know where I am the next couple years."

03/01/07
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com 

Porsche Super Cup 
2:00pm-2:30pm -Rounds 1 & 2
2:30pm-3:00pm -Rounds 3 & 4
3:00pm-3:30pm -Rounds 5 & 6
3:30pm-4:00pm -Rounds 7 & 8
4:00pm-4:30pm -Rounds 9 & 10
4:30pm-5:00pm -Rounds 11 & 12 SPEED
1991 Tyson Holly Farms 400 North Wilkesboro, NC
4:00pm-6:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
NASCAR Busch Final Practice Mexico City
5:00pm-6:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Now 
6:00pm-6:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Car of Tomorrow Bristol
7:00pm-7:30pm
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
Acura: Project Le Mans 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Daytona 500 Memories 
10:00pm-11:00pm (R) SPEED

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

03/01/07
nascar
Johnson leads night session  Hendrick Motorsports' Jimmie Johnson led the final session of the "car of tomorrow" Nextel Cup test at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday. Ward Burton, meanwhile, crashed his Morgan-McClure Chevrolet in the final minutes of the session, destroying the front splitter and crushing the front end after making contact with the inside retaining wall off the frontstretch.  Teams are scheduled to resume testing at 9 a.m. EST Thursday.

Pos. No. (Car) Driver Make Time Speed
1. 48A Jimmie Johnson 15.727 122.007
2. 4A Ward Burton 15.768 121.689
3. 9B Kasey Kahne 15.776 121.628
4. 11B Denny Hamlin 15.795 121.481
5. 29A Kevin Harvick 15.842 121.121
6. 07B Clint Bowyer 15.859 120.991
7. 66A Jeff Green 15.866 120.938
8. 31A Jeff Burton 15.872 120.892
9. 16A Greg Biffle 15.875 120.869
10. 96A Tony Raines 15.882 120.816 More ...

03/01/07
f1
Latest F1 News in Brief  
Spectator Alonso to test again on Thursday
FW29 not good enough for podium - Wurz
Doornbos to be 'reserve' in Australia
Ralf rejects retirement talk
BMW 'copy' McLaren innovation - newspaper
F1 among sports that 'exaggerate' TV figures
Briatore to expand 'Billionaire' empire
02/28/07
nascar
COT cars get high marks at Bristol test  With engines revving and crew members scurrying in the garage, Wednesday’s first day of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing at Bristol Motor Speedway looked typical rather than ground-breaking.  All photos courtesy of Dodge/Getty Images

But with the morning sun creeping over skyboxes, Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) officially kicked off a historic day – driving the first Car of Tomorrow to take the track at 9:20 a.m.

This week’s two-day session is in advance of the Food City 500 on March 25, the first event where teams will compete with their Car of Tomorrow model. Fifty teams were scheduled to test Wednesday and Thursday at Bristol.

“This is an interesting day,” said Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet) of Wednesday’s session. “I've never seen such a big change, you know, happen in NASCAR.  We're all here at the same time trying to figure it out. People are going to leave here with ideas and come back with other ideas based on what they learned here.” More ...

02/28/07
track news
Vegas track expects better traffic flow  Las Vegas Motor Speedway's ever-improving vehicle flow for its March 9-11 NASCAR Weekend should be even better for this year's event, according to LVMS officials. Over the past few years, the 215 Beltway, new interchanges and wider roads have helped make ingress and egress from the speedway's property a constantly improving experience for race fans. "The combination of better traffic planning, cooperation from all areas of transportation and law enforcement and the continued education of our race fans has dramatically improved vehicle flow over the past several years," said LVMS general manager Chris Powell. Race fans are encouraged to arrive early. This year's Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race will begin at noon Pacific Time, which is three and a half hours earlier than last year's event. Race fans also are reminded to turn their clocks forward on Saturday night in recognition of Daylight Saving Time. Local fans living in the northern and western parts of the valley are encouraged to use the 215 Beltway. "We have seen a steady increase in the number of cars using the 215," Powell said. "This is the best way for many of our local fans to come and go. We've noticed that vehicle flow on the beltway has improved dramatically from year to year." Speedway officials also are encouraging as many race fans as possible to use buses and shuttles such as Citizens Area Transit (CAT) for transportation to the races.
02/28/07
industry news
Japanese brands dominate top-10  If there’s an eternal optimist still floating around the offices of Detroit’s automakers, it might be wise to keep them away from Consumer Reports’ latest overview of the best and worst cars and trucks.

Sure, the bible of consumer reviews had some positive words in its annual auto issue released Wednesday for Ford Motor Co.’s midsize sedans, and noted some improvement in the fit and finish on General Motors Corp.’s newest models. But as with last year, no Detroit vehicle ranked in the magazine’s top 10 Top Picks, where Toyota Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. had seven models.

Of the 54 models given a top recommendation, Detroit built eight. Of the 137 vehicles that were simply recommended, 38 came from an arm of GM, Ford or Chrysler. Meanwhile, all of Honda’s vehicles earned a recommendation, as did most Toyotas. More ...

02/28/07
track news
Atlanta to pay out record purse  Atlanta Motor Speedway officials have announced a record purse of $6,609,084 for its three NASCAR national series races March 16-18.  Nextel Cup drivers will battle for a purse of $4,957,097 in the Kobalt Tools 500. The Busch Series purse will be $1,115,577 for the Nicorette 300, and the Craftsman Truck Series purse will be $536,410 for the American Commercial Line 200.
02/28/07
f1
Rosberg fastest in Spain  Williams' Nico Rosberg was fastest for the second straight day in testing at the Barcelona circuit, where the British squad and Spyker are testing by themselves, not able to determine how they compare to the other teams who are all testing in Bahrain.

Pos  Driver         Team                      Time     Laps
 1.  Rosberg        Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:21.231  102
 2.  Wurz           Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:21.328  124
 3.  Albers         Spyker-Ferrari       (B)  1:23.069  105
 4.  Sutil          Spyker-Ferrari       (B)  1:23.124  109

02/28/07
f1
Ferrari logo covers world's highest skyscraper in Taipei  Taipei (Taiwan) - Taipei's 101 Tower is dressed in red for the 60 year anniversary of Ferrari. For one whole week the world's highest skyscraper with its 508 meters will carry the Ferrari logo. A giant part of one of the eight towers - the pride of Taiwan, higher than the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia (452 meters) and Chicago’s' Sears Tower (442) - is covered in red.

For Ferrari this sort of tribute is nothing new: in the year 2004 New York's Empire State Building was covered in red, while the following year Shanghais' symbol, the Pearl Tower, was illuminated in red, in occasion of the China Tour.

Meanwhile, the Tour of Ferrari all around the world, to celebrate its 60th anniversary, proceeds. After crossing the Middle East the "testimonial" is now in Asia, where it already passed Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Indonesia and now Taiwan, followed by Australia and New Zeeland from where the Tour goes on to South Africa and South and North America. Later on the cars will cross Europe before the Tour ends in Maranello in late June.

02/28/07
nascar
Burton comments on Martin  UPDATE When PRN's Garage Pass host Mark Garrow asked Martin Martin's response to Jeff Burton's quote that he would bet Martin couldn't pass up a chance to run for the championship Martin joked "He's going to be broke if he's betting." In other words Burton had better not bet the house. "He better not, " laughed Martin. "That's a big house he's got." He added, "I don't have any plans to run the full schedule. I'm thrilled with what I'm doing and I certainly wouldn't want to spoil it by tampering with the formula. The formula is real good right now. I'll let y'all have fun with it but you know I haven't changed my mind. I'm ready for a weekend off already." When asked what would happen if car owner Bobby Ginn came to him and asked him to run for the championship? "That's not going to happen. He won't do that. That's why I'm happy here. I'm really in a good place in my life. I feel I've taken stock of my career and my personal life and I'm really blessed with all the things I've got going." PRN's Garage Pass radio show

02/28/07 Mark Martin signed up to run 22 races in the #01 US Army Chevy in 2007. However, with his success in the first two races cause him to re-think that plan? “I’d bet almost anybody right now today that Mark Martin runs all 38 races” said fellow driver and long-time friend #31-Jeff Burton. “Matt Kenseth and I told him before the Daytona 500 that we both bet that he would run every race. I believed it before the year started and I believe it even more today.” Burton felt all along that if Martin would be up front competing for wins it would be almost impossible for him to give up his ride to Regan Smith for 16 races. “I know him really well” said Burton. “I hate to use this analogy but he’s like a drug addict that can’t get away from it…and that’s a horrible analogy but this is an addicting thing and when you’re having success it’s much, much harder to walk away. The only way that he wouldn’t is if they’d gone to Daytona and got in a wreck or gone to California and had some kind of problem. Mark Martin isn’t going to have a car owner look him in the eye and say, “Hey, we have a chance to win a championship and him say well I’m not riding. I know he’s not going to. He can say all he wants to but he’s not scheduled to run Bristol but who’s doing the Bristol test? Mark Martin.” While the official Bristol scoring rundown indicates Regan Smith was testing both US Army cars, Martin was in fact turning laps in the teams’ “A” machine. PRN's Garage Pass radio show
02/28/07
nascar
Toyota hoping COT will level playing field  Toyota team officials say that they hope the "car of tomorrow" being tested today at Bristol Motor Speedway can help the new manufacturer catch up to existing teams.

Andy Graves, senior manager for Toyota Racing Development, thinks that the new model to be raced at 16 Nextel Cup events this year could level the playing field quickly.

"I think it does help," he said. "You don't have the big, thick notebooks that you are racing against with the bigger organizations with the current car. But at the same time, we have a lot on our plate and a lot to do. We're trying to spread our resources to do everything in the first year, and that makes it a little bit harder as well.

"We're definitely looking forward to the car of tomorrow races, and it's going to be interesting having the first race here at Bristol." More ...
02/28/07
track news
Sock Hop at Mazda Raceway  Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is inviting fans visiting the March 10 community Open House and Champ Car World Series test to bring their poodle skirts and “Bop At The Sock Hop” in the Red Bull Energy Center from 6 – 8 p.m.

The Sock Hop, held at the Red Bull Energy Center located above Turn 1 and overlooking nearly the entire 2.238-mile race course, is open to the public for a $5 donation that will help support the Laguna Seca Raceway Fund and the Salinas Valley Healthcare Systems Foundation. Music at the Sock Hop will be provided by interactive surf band Kelley and the Beachcombers.

The March 10th community Open House marks the return of the Champ Car World Series to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for an open test. Champ Car drivers and series movers-and-shakers will participate in driver autograph sessions and provide you a chance to ask questions during the always popular Champ Car fan forum.

In addition to the Sock Hop, other activities during the day include a Food and Wine Tasting Pavilion, the Silverstone Pub, live music, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 50th Anniversary Display featuring a “Tribute to 1957” and classic cars,  and exhibits featuring activities from around Monterey County.

02/28/07
f1
Reliability woes strike Toyota  Toyota was plagued by reliability problems on the second day of testing in Bahrain.

The lion’s share of the gremlins afflicted Jarno Trulli, who completed only 33 laps and finished at the bottom of the timesheets.

“Today was the hardest day of the test for me,” said the Italian, who will hand over his TF107 to test driver Franck Montagny for the final day.  I had gearbox issues and an engine problem so I could not do much proper running.  We have one more test before the start of the season so hopefully we can make improvements.  There are some issues that we need to fix but obviously that is what testing is for and I remain confident.”

Chassis chief Pascal Vasselon admitted it had been a day of mixed fortunes.

“Jarno went through quite a lot of problems and we are not really happy with the reliability record on his car today,” he said.  “Still, despite this lack of running, his programme has been very fruitful.  It has been useful in terms of results and they have been interesting."

02/28/07
nascar
Hamlin fastest in first morning of COT testing  Denny Hamlin paced the first session of the "car of tomorrow" test at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, turning a lap averaging 122.170 in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet.

DAY 1 AM Speeds
rank car# driver manu time (seconds) speed (mph)
1 11B Denny Hamlin Chevy 15.706 122.170
2 16B Greg Biffle Ford 15.793 121.497
3 16A Greg Biffle Ford 15.794 121.489
4 17A Matt Kenseth Ford 15.799 121.451
5 48A Jimmie Johnson Chevy 15.820 121.290
6 24A Jeff Gordon Chevy 15.831 121.205
7 01B Regan Smith Chevy 15.896 120.710
8 38A David Gilliland Ford 15.929 120.460
9 18 J.J. Yeley Chevy 15.929 120.460
10 5B Kyle Busch Chevy 15.932 120.437  More ...

02/28/07
cc
Champ Car tabs Priddle as PR consultant  The Champ Car World Series today bolstered its efforts in the communications and public relations areas by contracting with veteran communications professional Sid Priddle to serve as a consultant to the series effective immediately.

Priddle’s list of accomplishments includes successful stints with Team KOOL Green in the 1990s, Canada’s famed Torchia public relations agency and has served as the head of communications of the highly-successful Champ Car Grand Prix of Edmonton for the first two seasons. Priddle was also the Communications Director for the Molson Indy for the first 10 years of the event and spent several years managing Player's motorsport programs. More ...
02/28/07
cc
Bourdais and Andretti Birthdays  UPDATE Birthday wishes also go out today to Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart.

02/28/07 Two drivers who have competed for Newman/Haas Racing share the same birthdate of February 28.  Sebastien Bourdais is 28 today and Mario Andretti is 67. Happy Birthday to both.
02/28/07
f1
Massa again on top in Bahrain  Felipe Massa was once again the fastest driver Wednesday as F1 teams continued their preseason testing.

1) Massa, Ferrari (B), 1:30.640, 100 laps
2) Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes (B), 1:31.178, 55
3) Raikkonen, Ferrari (B), 1:31.490, 94
4) Fisichella, Renault (B), 1:31.967, 109
5) de la Rosa, McLaren-Mercedes (B), 1:31.971, 52
6) Kovalainen, Renault (B), 1:32.068, 30
7) Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (B), 1:32.264, 73
8) Button, Honda (B), 1:32.293, 73
9) Liuzzi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B), 1:32.359, 47
10) Kubica, BMW Sauber (B), 1:32.648, 54
11) Barrichello, Honda (B), 1:32.650, 61
12) Sato, Super Aguri-Honda (B), 1:32.837, 100
13) R.Schumacher, Toyota (B), 1:33.054, 85
14) Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault (B), 1:33.146, 52
15) Webber, Red Bull-Renault (B), 1:33.238, 53
16) Trulli, Toyota (B), 1:33.384, 33
02/28/07
iroc
TMS IROC race cancelled  Due to a lack of title sponsorship, the International Race Of Champions (IROC) has cancelled its event scheduled for Friday, April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway, and speedway President Eddie Gossage announced today that the race will be replaced with a special viewing party of the much-anticipated motion picture, 'Dale.' 

'Dale,' a documentary on NASCAR icon and seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt, premiered recently in Daytona Beach, Fla., but Texas Motor Speedway will serve as the local market venue for the premiere of the movie in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area during April’s Samsung 500 NASCAR race weekend. The movie will be shown on five giant NextelVision screens situated on the speedway frontstretch and the screening is expected to begin at approximately 8:30 p.m. CT. The film is expected to play to one of the largest movie crowds ever and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying has been moved from 3:10 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. CT to accommodate the throng of fans who plan to attend both Dallas Morning News Qualifying Day and the screening on April 13. More ...
02/28/07
nascar
18-year old Coleman to make Busch debut  NASCAR Busch Series Rookie driver Brad Coleman is used to being the youngest driver on the track in every racing series he has ever competed. For the seventh consecutive year, the Houston native will start his season as the youngest gun on the grid when he gets behind the wheel of the No. 18 Carino’s Italian Grill Chevrolet to run the Telcel-Motorola 200 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City this coming weekend. 

In 2006, the successful young ARCA driver posted the highest average finishing position (third) by notching top-five honors in eight of his nine starts, which included his first major stock car win at Kentucky Speedway in July when he held off eight-time series champion Frank Kimmel through two green-white-checkered restarts. Coleman also ran his first of two career NASCAR Busch Series races in 2006 at Nashville Speedway the week after he graduated high school where he lived and trained in Martinsville, VA. More ...
02/28/07
lmes
Prost enters LeMans  Alain Prost's 25-year-old son Nicolas will make his debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours driving a Saleen S7R this year.

"The objective is to win the GT class," Prost was quoted as saying by Gazzetta Dello Sport.  "I want to try out the excitement of Le Mans, which seems very fascinating."

"My objective is to arrive in F1 one day," he added. "After Le Mans I will aim for the Spanish F3 title with Adrian Campos' team."

02/28/07
nascar
Schedule for March 9-11 NASCAR Weekend at LVMS  
UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, Sam's Town 300, Las Vegas Dirt Classic

Thursday, March 8 - No spectator activity at superspeedway.
11 a.m. - Haulers enter.
Noon - Pit gates open at ½-mile dirt track for Las Vegas Dirt Classic.
12:30 p.m. - NASCAR Busch Series registration opens.
1 p.m. - NASCAR Busch Series garage opens.
4 p.m. - NASCAR Nextel Cup Series haulers enter.
5 p.m. - Las Vegas Dirt Classic at ½-mile dirt track begins (Late Models, CRA Sprint Cars).
6 p.m. - NASCAR Busch Series garage and registration closed. More ...

02/28/07
ips
Open Test was success for Indy Pro Series  Everyone and everything passed the test. That's the verdict coming out of the Indy Pro Series' preseason Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway Feb. 20-22. Twenty-four drivers, including seventeen rookies, completed more than 7,760 incident-free miles on the road course and oval. Sixteen teams, including seven new teams, went home with computers full of data for the March 24 kickoff to the 16-race season, and Indy Pro Series officials, who introduced a new road course wing package and unleaded fuel, were satisfied that the cars will perform at peak levels.

"We had a record number of cars on track, and the results were outstanding," Indy Pro Series executive director Roger Bailey said. "The speeds were faster than last year's, and the feedback we got regarding the performance of the new aerodynamic package and the unleaded fuel was all very positive." More ...

02/28/07
ips
Two new Indy Pro Series teams set for 2007  [Editor's Note: The Indy Pro Series has shown a significant increase in car count this year after putting in place a proper race purse structure such that teams can win enough money to stay healthy financially. Champ Car would be well advised to implement a proper race purse structure for its top Champ Car series to improve car count.]

Apex Racing and Team Moore Racing are two of the latest teams to join the Indy Pro Series for 2007 after successful testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Apex Racing founders Ken Losch and Ryan Ruth see the series as a natural progression for their three-year-old team. The team began in club Formula Mazda in 2005, where it gained experience and began to assemble everything needed to operate a winning organization with the goal of competing in the Indianapolis 500. In 2006, Apex Racing recorded two victories and nine top-five finishes in the Star Mazda Series.

This year, Losch and Mike Potekhen will compete in the 16-race season that begins March 24 on the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway oval. They participated in the two-day Open Test on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course and oval Feb. 20 and 22. "We looked at many options for the upcoming season and we feel that the Indy Pro Series provides us with the greatest opportunity to grow our team," Losch said. "The Indy Pro Series gives us everything that we are looking for, and we feel that it will be the best place for our team to gain the experience needed to move up to the next level." More ...

02/28/07
Industry News
Mulally makes first visit to Mazda HQ  Mazda Motor Corporation welcomed Alan Mulally president and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, to Mazda headquarters in western Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecture today. Ford is Mazda’s largest shareholder and strategic business partner, and this was Mulally’s first visit to Mazda in Hiroshima. Mazda’s President and CEO, Hizakazu Imaki, and several Mazda senior executive officers greeted Mulally at Mazda’s head office.

Said Mulally, “Ford and Mazda have one of the most successful partnerships in automotive history. I firmly believe that Mazda’s employees are committed to achieving sustained and continued growth going forward. Mazda is, and will continue to be, a key partner in Ford Motor Company’s business plans—particularly in the areas of R&D, product development and manufacturing. The relationship between the two companies’ top management has never been better, and I fully expect the deep ties between Ford and Mazda to extend into the future and become even stronger.” More ...

02/28/07
nascar
Jourdain Jr. to make Busch debut in Mexico  Michel Jourdain, Jr. will make his NASCAR Busch Series season debut this weekend at his hometown venue of Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.  Jourdain, who has competed in the two previous Mexico City events, will make his first start at the 2.518-mile road course behind the wheel of a Roush Fenway Ford Fusion with the team that won last weekend’s Busch Series event at California Speedway with driver Matt Kenseth.  Jourdain, who will pilot the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion, was a guest on today’s NASCAR teleconference

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.—17—Dish Network Ford Fusion – THIS WILL BE YOUR FIRST RACE AT AUTODROMO HERMANOS RODRIGUEZ IN A ROUSH FENWAY FORD.  HOW WILL THAT HELP YOUR CHANCES THIS YEAR?  “First, I want to say hello to everybody and thank you for this. Like you said, the last couple of years here in Mexico City, we’ve been very, very competitive, and very fast, but both times someone has taken me out. So, we’ll be fast, and this year I’m very confident that we’ll have a very fast car, and hopefully we stay at the front and nobody is able to hit us.”

TALK ABOUT THE LANGUAGE BARRIER YOU ARE FACED WITH WHEN WORKING IN THE STOCK CAR RANKS. “For me and guys like Adrian [Fernandez] and Juan Pablo [Montoya], the language barrier between Spanish and English, especially in stock cars where most of the mechanics and crew chiefs come from the South, it’s a very different English from what we are used to. That’s definitely a little bit of a barrier, especially on day-to-day working. When you’re at the shop and talking to the engineers and mechanics, sometimes it’s hard to understand some of their words. And also for us, that we come from open-wheel racing, it’s something A.J. [Allmendinger] also must be struggling with. It is the way they describe things about how the car is doing or what the engine is doing is very, very different. It takes a while, but for me, when I went to the 24 Hours of Daytona, I felt like I’ve had to learn that language again because it’s very easy to get used to it so quickly, especially when you are racing stock cars because normally it’s every weekend.” More ...

02/28/07
f1
Heikki, Ralf, back in Bahrain action  (GMM)  The day after his huge crash, Heikki Kovalainen spent Wednesday morning in casual clothes in Bahrain as the Renault team worked to repair his damaged R27 single seater.

After the lunch break, though, the rookie racer returned to the track alongside teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, having reportedly told Finnish journalists in a chirpy mood that he is feeling no ill-effects from the 200kph impact.

Toyota's Ralf Schumacher also returned to the Sakhir action on Wednesday, having sat out much of Tuesday with a jarred back.

02/28/07
nascar
cc
0 for 2 Allmendinger not giving up  A.J. Allmendinger hung out in the California Speedway garage Sunday unintentionally incognito wearing jeans, sneakers, a hooded sweatshirt and sipping from a can of Red Bull energy drink. Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports

This was not exactly how he had planned to spend his weekend. He wanted to be noticed, believe him, but life is challenging in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series, maybe even more than he thought.

"It's easy," Allmendinger said, facetiously. "I love sitting here watching cars go by on the race track and me not in them."

All jokes aside.

"It's tough," he said. "I won't lie -- it's tougher than I ever expected."

Allmendinger, trying to make the transition from Champ Car racing to the Nextel Cup series, is 0-for-2 in starts this year with first-year, Toyota-backed Team Red Bull. Despite limited practice last Friday -- the team was at the back of the line for inspection and was delayed 45 minutes -- he was oh-so-close to qualifying for Sunday's Auto Club 500, missing by a tenth of a second.

Disappointed? Yes. Discouraged? Hardly.

"I'm never going to quit," said Allmendinger, who won five Champ Car series races last year. "Stuff like this [missing the race] pisses me off to start and then makes me want to work harder to make it. Sure, you want to make the show and have everything come easy and just be great … but the biggest thing is, we were close -- we were a tenth away, and that's something to learn off of." More at ESPN.com

02/28/07
track news
Washington residents would get vote on ISC track  Kitsap area voters would get the chance to vote up or down on a speedway in new language to be included in bills being considered in Olympia.

International Speedway Corp. of Daytona Beach, Fla. announced the proposed change to the bill language this morning.

The company wants to build a speedway in Washington state for NASCAR races and other events. The preferred site is on 950 acres near Bremerton National Airport. Assuming that continues to be the proposed location, voters in Kitsap, Mason and Pierce counties would be able to decide whether to create a Public Speedway Authority that would own the site.

The election probably would be in the fall of this year if the Legislature approves a speedway funding package.

"I would hope that it would show the people in Olympia that we continue to be willing to compromise and find ways to show that this is a good project," said Grant Lynch, ISC vice president from his office in Talladega, Ala.

ISC's bill would call on the state to authorize the issuance of an estimated $164 million in bonds, backed by sales taxes track proponents say would be generated by out-of-state race fans coming to Washington to attend a race. Another $24 million would come from bonds backed by future admissions taxes. ISC would agree to spend $180 million, plus pay any cost overruns and track maintenance over the life of the bonds.  Scrippsnews.com

02/28/07
industry news
Big 3 face heat in D.C. over global warming  Top executives of the world's four biggest automakers and the head of the United Auto Workers union will testify before Congress next month during a high-profile hearing on climate change amid growing calls for automakers to do more to limit global warming.  General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner and Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor Corp.'s North American division, have agreed to testify March 14 before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is chaired by U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn.

Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group have also agreed to participate and are expected to send Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger will appear at a separate session of the same hearing.

Dingell is calling the automotive heavyweights to Washington as he is working to fashion a compromise to President Bush's call to increase fuel economy by 4 percent annually, which would reduce vehicle emissions that have been linked to global warming. Dingell's goal is a bill to cut greenhouse gas emissions that automakers can support. More at Detroit News

02/28/07
f1
Rosberg on top in Spain  Nico Rosberg was quickest during the first day of testing in Barcelona on Tuesday, as Williams and Spyker again chose to run in Spain rather than alongside their rivals in Bahrain. Rosberg clocked a best of 1m 21.624s - over eight-tenths of a second quicker than his team mate Alexander Wurz.

Testing continues in Barcelona today.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:21.624
2. Alexander Wurz, Williams, 1:22.492
3. Christijan Albers, Spyker, 1:23.080
4. Adrian Sutil, Spyker, 1:23.200
5. Fairuz Fauzy, Spyker, 1:24.550
6. Giedo van der Garde, Spyker, 1:33.864

02/28/07
f1
Latest F1 News in Brief  
BMW to 'compromise' speed for reliability
F1 names in running for Laureus awards
Alonso stays in Bahrain to tackle Ferrari pace
Driver error caused Kovalainen crash
Ralf hurts back in Bahrain spin
FIA delays 'green' technical rules
Michelin resume row with governing body
Todt says Ferrari never pursued Alonso
Alesi is father for fourth time
Kovalainen vows to attack in rookie year
Kovalainen cool despite big shoes to fill
Company to borrow $1.6bn for F1 parks
02/28/07
Racing News
Quotes from Last Week  
ROBIN MILLER, Journalist and TV Analyst
The silence from the Champ Car office in Indianapolis isn't just deafening, it's in surround sound.   But maybe it's become too expensive, even for guys with their wealth. Or maybe they've simply lost interest. Maybe this would be a good time to cut a deal and cut their losses.  Call Tony George, sell him your assets and save money, if not open-wheel racing.  (Excerpts from Robin Miller's SPEEDtv article, Silence Not Necessarily Golden.)
 
GERHARD BERGER, co-owner Scuderia Toro Rosso, former F1 driver
"That's not my view.  I like the partying.  It's part of the game.  I appreciate craziness, human things, and we're Red Bull, but it needs to be in balance with the performance."  (Responding to comments that Scuderia Toro Rosso's driver, Scott Speed, does too much partying and is not committed to Formula One) 
02/28/07
cc
Champ Car TV change for Zolder  According to the ESPN website, the Zolder, Belgium race has moved from being tape delayed on ESPN2 on Sunday afternoon of August 26th to being live Sunday morning at 7:00 AM ET on ESPN Classic.  The list shows the Zolder race also on September 9th, but that is a mistake as it was not removed when the race was moved to August 26th (still not officially announced by Champ Car).
02/27/07
nascar
Comparing Ford Fusion with COT  This is a comparison of the 2007 NASCAR Fusion Car of Tomorrow on the left and the current 2007 NASCAR Fusion on the right.

02/27/07
racing news
AeroDyn to build new low-cost tunnel  The man behind the AeroDyn wind tunnel in Mooresville, NC, is to build a new tunnel aimed at the semi-professional and amateur racer market. With his original tunnel now fully booked by NASCAR teams, former GM racing aerodynamicist Gary Eaker is constructing a new tunnel that will have a small test section and only allow testing at zero degrees yaw. It will have a fixed floor with no spinning wheel capability but there will be a boundary layer removal system and a full six component balance.  Race Tech Magazine
02/27/07
nascar
David Reutimann OK, ready for Mexico  Following a hard crash at California Speedway during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event, David Reutimann is doing well and is focused on racing his No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Busch Series Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 on Sunday, March 4th at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“I feel really good and I’m ready to race the Aaron’s Dream Machine this weekend,” Reutimann said. “My left foot hurts a little bit and I’m walking with just a slight limp. The swelling has gone way down. If I can have something like that happen and come through it with just that little bit, I’ll take it any day.”

“It’s a combination of several things that helped me walk away,” Reutimann continued. “It’s the faith in the man above looking over me, to the safety crew working quickly, to the SAFER barrier wall system in place (which I’m a huge advocate of), down to my helmet and HANS device. Also, it is the seat that I used that was made by Randy LaJoie's company (The Joie of Seating). It’s all the things that NASCAR mandates to help us. NASCAR does a phenomenal job in keeping their drivers safe. Because of all those things combined, I’m going to test the No. 00 Domino’s Pizza Cup car at Bristol Motor Speedway tomorrow.” More ...

02/27/07
f1
Drought in Melbourne this GP again  It seems that every year at this time the Australian Grand Prix runs into problems with water which is used to make Albert Park look green and the clean up the track. Australia has been suffering from drought in recent months and there is controversy about taking water from the (artificial) lake in order to clean the track. The use of the water has affected the sailing clubs that use the lake. The race organizers say that they are using the lake water in order to avoid using other public water supplies. The race organizers say that they are taking a number of measures to cut water consumption including getting rid of fountains and it is likely that the park will not look as green as it has in recent years. Grandprix.com
02/27/07
irl
Cabo Wabo joins A.J. Foyt Racing as associate sponsor  Sammy Hagar is a legend in the world of rock 'n roll. Now he is joining auto racing legend A.J. Foyt.

Hagar's Cabo Wabo Enterprises has signed as an associate sponsor of A.J. Foyt's IndyCar Series team for the 2007 season. It is the first time in Foyt's storied career that a liquor company has been associated with his Indy car team.” I’m happy to have Sammy Hagar and his company involved with our team," said Foyt, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary in Indy car racing. "Cabo Wabo is a premium tequila, and I think our race fans will show their appreciation in a responsible way. Our team will help promote responsible drinking which creates a win-win for everyone. And there's nothing I like more than winning."

Hagar's sponsorship of the No. 14 IndyCar Series entry isn't his only involvement with the IndyCar Series or Indy Pro Series. Hagar also is co-owner of Team KMA's Indy Pro Series car driven by Robbie Pecorari.

"To be given the opportunity to be a part of such a great sport, and to do it along side A.J. Foyt's team is such an honor," Hagar said. "The fans, the team, the races, they all represent the best of what motorsports has to offer. We're looking forward to a great season."

02/27/07
racing news
A breakthrough for microwaving tires  The man behind the innovative tire microwave, an alternative to tire blankets, has been asked to trial his new in-car system with a top championship-winning race team. Stuart Hepworth’s latest ‘Black Frequency’ system utilizes a version of infra red technology. It enables drivers to heat their tires at the flick of a switch from the car’s cockpit. Black Frequency has been developed in conjunction with Lancaster University and is an evolution of the initial FRANC tire microwave, which was used by Audi Team Goh when it won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2004. Race tech Magazine
02/27/07
alms
Dramatic finishes are Sebring hallmark  After 1,184 miles of racing over 12 hours, negotiating 5,440 turns and making more than 7,000 gear shifts, the GT2 class at last year's Sebring 12-hour classic was decided by a margin of just five seconds. The 55th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 17th, will add yet another chapter in the history of this legendary event, second only to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in international prestige.

Expect epic down-to-the-wire battles at Sebring. Over the past eight years, five times the overall victory margin at Sebring was less than 40 seconds. With four different classes of competition and a world-class field of cars and drivers, expect non-stop action on Sebring 3.7 mile, 17-turn circuit.

You can also expect the unexpected at Sebring. Since Stirling Moss helped drive a little Italian car known as an OSCA to a stunning upset in 1954, Sebring has been the playground of underdogs and innovators. More ...

02/27/07
alms
Audi R10 too powerful for dyno!  Audi has revealed that the torque produced by its new V12 diesel sportscar engine was too much to be tested on its existing dynamometers.  The 5.5-litre bi-turbo TDI engine produces in excess of 650 bhp – more than its successful V8 gasoline predecessor – and generates over 1100 Nm of torque. The manufacturer had to re-equip the latest generation of engine dynamometers at its Audi Sport base with special gearboxes in order to withstand the forces.  The R10 sportscar will make its debut at the 2006 Sebring 12 Hours.
02/27/07
f1
Ferrari tops test times in Bahrain Tuesday  
Unofficial Tuesday times from Bahrain:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:31.260
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:31.590
3. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:31.851
4. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:32.108
5. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:32.193
6. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:32.556
7. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:32.880
8. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:32.999
9. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:33.150
10. Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 1:33.219
11. Christian Klien, Honda, 1:33.378
12. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:33.526
13. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:33.642
14. James Rossiter, Honda, 1:33.697
15. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri, 1:33.813
16. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:34.030
17. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso, 1:34.137
02/27/07
alms
lmes
LeMans names 55 teams invited for '07 race  The Selection Committee has met and we now know the names of the 55 teams invited to take part in the official 2007 test day on 3rd June 2007, that begins the build-up to the 75th Le Mans 24 Hours on 16th-17th June. A detailed examination of the list (PDF file) shows that we should see an awesome battle among the elite in the endurance world in all categories.

Thanks to the work carried out to extend the pits, an extra 5 teams will be invited to the 24-hours test day to make up a grid that has not had as many starters since the 1989 event.

The first irrefutable proof of the success of the 24 Hours is the fact that the Selection Committee had to study 76 entry forms. Thus, it takes little imagination to comprehend the disappointment of those who are not along the 55 teams accepted. “The choice is never easy and this year all the entry forms we received were perfect,” underlined Daniel Poissenot, the ACO’s sporting director. “This allowed the committee to concentrate on the main criteria laid down in the regulations concerning choice: in particular, the entry of the teams for the 2007 Le Mans Series and of course the quality of their results during the previous season in the different Le Mans Series.” More ...

02/27/07
nascar
Martin’s Pit Crew Wins Again; Claims California Win  Back-to-back wins give U.S. Army crew early lead in Checkers®/Rally’s® Double Drive-Thru Challenge

Mark Martin’s pit crew took top honors in the Checkers®/Rally’s® Double Drive-Thru Challenge following Sunday’s (Feb. 25) Nextel Cup Series race at California Speedway. The No. 01 Army crew secured their second consecutive win this season, taking an early lead in the competition.

“I don’t know what you can say about these guys, except that they are awesome to work with,” said Martin, driver of the 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet®. “The Army crew keeps coming through with fast stops when we need them. They did a good job all day and got me to the checkered flag with a top-five finish. It was another great team effort.”

Pit crew coach Lance Munksgard added, “I’m so proud that Checkers/Rally’s is recognizing our crew for all their effort. They’ve worked hard to become one of the fastest teams on pit road and I think winning two-in-a-row this season proves that they are.” More ...

02/27/07
nascar
ESPN Mexico City coverage to be first live event telecast in Spanish  For the first time in its history, ESPN will present a Spanish-language telecast of a major sporting event with this Sunday’s flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City.

While ESPN2, home of the NASCAR Busch Series, will cover the race at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in English, ESPN will provide a rare simulcast of ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s domestic Spanish-language network. Those telecasts highlight an ESPN Full Circle presentation, in which various ESPN outlets carry the event live using different coverage approaches, in addition to extensive content surrounding the race across additional ESPN outlets such as TV, radio and Internet.

"The NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City is a special event,” said John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president, programming and acquisitions. “It presents a unique and history-making opportunity for a Spanish-language telecast on a major cable network as well as a traditional English-speaking telecast. Interest in this event is high and we're pleased to be able to provide multiple viewing options for NASCAR fans.”More ...

02/27/07
cc
Vegas Grand Prix charity gala to feature Jon Bon Jovi and Jay Leno  The Vegas Grand Prix will host an April 5 charity gala featuring superstar performances by Jon Bon Jovi and Friends and Jay Leno. Proceeds raised during the event’s silent and live auction will be donated by the newly formed Jenyon Foundation, Inc. to Keep Memory Alive – the foundation for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, a local organization that funds research to help find a cure to Alzheimer, Huntington, Parkinson, ALS and memory disorders – among others.

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

02/27/07
f1
Spyker Formula 1 Team test report: Barcelona day 1 of 3  Today the Spyker Formula One Team returned to the 4.653km Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain, for a further three-day test programme. Following three days' intensive testing at the same circuit two weeks ago and a second test at Valencia last week, today the team concentrated on improving aerodynamic performance, optimizing set-up and conducting race simulations.

Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer, commented, "A very useful first day of testing, continuing on from the work we did in Valencia. In the morning Christijan and Adrian completed their allotted programme of set-up work and performance evaluation. Both were pleased with the balance and grip of the car, which was noticeably better this time out in Barcelona. Giedo van der Garde and Fairuz Fauzy took over in the afternoon and while Fairuz did a full race simulation without problems, Giedo's mileage was limited following a precautionary engine change early on. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the mechanics, he could only complete installation checks. Tomorrow Christijan and Adrian will do a full day's testing, running through a continuation of today's programme." More ...

02/27/07
nascar
ga
Pruett to pull double-duty weekend in Mexico City  Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) driver Scott Pruett will compete in both the Grand American Rolex Sports Car and NASCAR Busch Series races this weekend at Autodromo Hermanoz Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico.  In addition to his full-time ride in the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus-Riley with teammate Memo Rojas, Pruett will assume driving duties of the No. 41 Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit® Dodge alongside Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge as they make their career-seventh NASCAR Busch Series starts together. 

The 2007 season marks Pruett’s fourth year of racing in the Rolex Sports Car Series for CGRFS.  The two-time Rolex Series Champion (2004, 2006) has competed in almost every form of motorsports.  Throughout his driving career, the 46-year old California native has tallied nine major championships and multiple Daytona Prototype records for wins (12), pole positions (9) and podium finishes (24).

This is Montoya’s first full-time season in NASCAR, but third year of racing for team owner Chip Ganassi.  The Bogotá, Colombia native drove for Ganassi’s open-wheel team in 1999 and 2000, winning the 1999 CART Championship and the 2000 Indianapolis 500.  His racing credentials include an impressive 137 starts between CART, IndyCar and Formula One, where he’s tallied 18 wins, 26 poles, 60 top-five and 79 top-10 finishes.More ...

02/27/07
Track News
Barkhouser Ford-Lincoln-Mercury inks 2-year sponsorship deal  Barkhouser Ford-Lincoln-Mercury will return as a major sponsor at South Boston Speedway for the next two seasons.

For the past two years, the Danville, Va.-based automotive dealership provided the official pace car for America's Hometown Track and served as the sponsor of the Late Model Stock Car Division at the historic four-tenths mile asphalt oval.  The same can now be said for the next two seasons at America’s Hometown Track.

James Barkhouser, president of the dealership, which is located on Riverside Drive in Danville, announced this week that Barkhouser Ford-Lincoln-Mercury would, once again, provide the official pace car for South Boston Speedway for the next two years. In addition, Barkhouser will also, once again, be the sponsor of the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division for the next two years. That division will be billed throughout the season as the Barkhouser Late Model Stock Car Division. Barkhouser Ford-Lincoln-Mercury will also display a variety of vehicles at the speedway over the course of the season.More ...

02/27/07
swc
Woodhouse Performance announces Smith and Courtney  Woodhouse Performance announced today its driver lineup for the 2007 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge season. The multi-car team will run two Dodge Viper Competition Coupes in the GT class with drivers Brian Smith and Jeff Courtney, relinquishing its competition of the SRT-4 in the SPEED Touring Car series.
 
“We’re excited to be running a two-car GT team and having Brian Smith and Jeff Courtney on board as drivers,” Team Owner Bob Woodhouse said. “Smith is a familiar name with the Woodhouse team and has proven the driver’s seat is his natural environment. Our newest driver Jeff Courtney received Rookie of the Year in SPEED Touring Car last year. Both embody those criteria we look for: play hard, play fair, put it all on the table, and have fun doing it.”

Smith, re-signing with Woodhouse Performance after piloting the No. 13 Kicker/Woodhouse Auto Family Dodge SRT-4 in the Touring Car series in 2006, will take over driving duties for Woodhouse in the No. 13 Dodge Viper Competition Coupe. Woodhouse retired from driving to focus on marketing and sponsorship efforts for the team and felt Smith was the best replacement. Smith has almost 10 years experience racing Dodge Vipers, is a three-time Champion of the One Lap of America competition and was a test driver for Michelin/BFG for 6 years. His experience and the relationship forged in 2006 led Woodhouse to tab him to drive the No. 13. More ...

02/27/07
ga
Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman ready to drive at Mexico City  This weekend marks the return of the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype cars to Mexico City for the second race of the 2007 Rolex Cup season--the Mexico City 250 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez. Ready to follow up last month's Rolex 24 At Daytona is the No.3 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype of Southard Motorsports, featuring drivers Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman. The pair will share the driving duties of the Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley for the Saturday, March 3rd, Mexico City Rolex Sports Car Series race.
 
Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman both drove the recently redesigned Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 2006 Grand-Am competition. The track presents some challenges, including some rhythmic driving sections, that Ruhlman says, "You definitely don't want to get behind in these sections of the track.  We're going to have to drive smoothly and have a good set up, because if you do get behind, you're going to be behind for four or five more turns, and that'll be costly in time and in track position."More ...
02/27/07
arca
Brewco Signs Development Driver McGilton for Full ARCA RE/MAX Schedule  Central City, KY – Brewco Motorsports announced today that it is teaming up with ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Phillip McGilton for his inaugural full season of competition. 

The team and driver have already started the 2007 season on a high note: In only his seventh ARCA RE/MAX start, McGilton scored a ninth place finish in the season-opening ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2007. This tied his previous best finish of ninth at Kansas Speedway in July 2006.

“It was a great start to our season,” said McGilton. “The Brewco Motorsports team put together a great car. I am really excited about driving for a team like Brewco that has a reputation for putting some of the best equipment on the track in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. We have already started preparing the No. 47 SI Performance Ford Fusion for the next race so we’ll be ready to add another top-10 finish to our credit and move ahead in the point standings.”

McGilton leads the 2007 ARCA R/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year battle. More ...

02/27/07
cc
BTCC to embrace diesel with AFM entry  The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is set to get its first diesel powered car after Rick Kerry confirmed that the BMW 120 he plans to campaign for his debut season will be powered by a diesel engine.

Kerry, who won the BMW Kumho Series last season, was originally set to enter the car with West Suffolk Racing but has now formed his own team – AFM Racing – to run the 120d, which has previously competed in the German based VLN series before being converted into Super 2000 specification for its BTCC debut.

"We can now reveal that we will be running a diesel car," an excited Kerry told Crash.net. "We are hoping to be the first diesel to run and as far as I am aware – and unless something else comes in - then that should be the case. So for us, it's the BMW 120d that has been used in the VLN series and has raced in the 24 Hours of Dubai and at the Nurburgring.

"We've received the motorsport kit from BMW and at the moment we are about 70 per cent of the way through the build of the car. We've now formed our own team, AFM Racing, and we are going to run the car from here in Ipswich with the newly formed team. We've sent all the entry forms off for the BTCC, the budget is in place and we are moving forward."  More at Crash.net

02/27/07
f1
Todt would welcome Schu in Ferrari top job  (GMM)  Jean Todt says he would like to see retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher lead the Ferrari team in the future.

"I would be happy if Michael came to me and said 'being a team boss is the next step in my career'," Frenchman Todt, who will soon relinquish his role as team principal after becoming Ferrari CEO, said in an interview to appear on Wednesday in the German specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Schumacher, 38, already occupies an unspecified non-driving role at the Maranello based team amid speculation that he is being groomed for Todt's job.

Todt, however, doubts that German Schumacher will be keen to step up his role any time soon.

"He wanted to take his life in a different direction," Todt said, "do other things and have more time for himself.

"I don't think he wants to expose himself to all that pressure yet again.  If he did, he could have continued to race."

02/27/07
f1
Montagny replaces Schumacher  Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher hurt his back slightly when he lost control of his Toyota in Bahrain testing this morning.  Frenchman Franck Montagny will test the rest of the day for the German.
02/27/07
wrc
f1
Jordan appointed Rally Ireland chairman  (GMM) Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan has returned to the world of motor racing.

The Dublin-born 58-year-old, who at the end of 2004 sold his Silverstone based grand prix team to Midland, has been appointed chairman of Ireland's round of the World Rally Championship.

Rally Ireland will be held in November.

"This is a huge sporting opportunity for Ireland," Jordan said. "We have a wealth of talent in motorsport, both as competitors and organizers, and being part of WRC will allow us to develop that talent for the future."

02/27/07
f1
Delays to new generation engine rules  An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council was held in Paris today and with the agreement of all the competing teams, and subject to the agreement of the Formula One Commission, a number of amendments have been made to the 2007 sporting regulations.

Technical measures, originally scheduled for 2010, have been deferred to 2011 to coincide with the introduction of the new definitions for the engine:

  • A proportion of waste heat recovered and used to propel the car.
  • A proportion of waste energy from exhaust gases recovered and used to propel the car wholly or partially standardized aerodynamics (or, possibly, new rules to encourage road-relevant research into aerodynamics).

The World Motor Sport Council also decided that Pirelli will supply the World Rally Championship with control tires in 2008 and beyond, while the World Touring Car Championship will feature a rolling start in race one and then a standing start in race two. FIA

02/27/07
Miscellaneous
More trouble for Swedish lowlife  A man serving a prison sentence after crashing a Ferrari at more than 160mph is being sued by a British bank for more than £600,000. Bo Stefan Eriksson pleaded guilty to drunk driving in October 2006 after he crashed a Ferrari Enzo into a lamppost at 162 mph in Malibu.

The Capital Bank of Chester is now asking the Los Angeles Superior Court to enforce more than £665,000 in civil judgments against Eriksson. More ...
02/27/07
racing news
Lola recognizes staff achievements  The Huntingdon based Lola Group recognized its staffs achievements in gaining Level 2 NVQ qualifications in Composites skills with a special presentation of their certificates by the company’s Executive Chairman and owner Mr. Martin Birrane today.

54 members of the Lola Group staff received certificates for a variety of skills ranging from Laminate Resin Infused skills, hand based processing and fabrication, machine based processing and sampling and testing.

The award is organized and overseen by Composites Training Consortium and the awards are issued by Skills Assurance Services Ltd. More ...

02/27/07
f1
Kovalainen unhurt after big Bahrain crash  (GMM) Heikki Kovalainen emerged unscathed from a big crash on Tuesday morning as the final group test of the 2007 pre-season kicked off in Bahrain.

The 25-year-old Finn was photographed sitting down after stepping out of his destroyed Renault, which had inexplicably spun out of control on the curbs under acceleration out of turn 7.

He later smiled and chatted with track staff, as they assessed damage to the armco-style barrier he struck and nearly dislodged. A fire extinguisher was also damaged when the 2007-spec R27 struck the metal barrier on its right side at high speed and bounced back onto the tarmac run off area, and the apparent severity of the impact led to the arrival at the scene of an ambulance.

The cause of the shunt is unknown, but it is likely that uninjured Kovalainen will sit out the rest of the day because of the extensive damage to his car, including completely smashed rear suspension. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella is also in action on Tuesday in a second Renault.

Also spotted as nine out of F1's ten teams resumed running at Bahrain on Tuesday morning was triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, while Red Bull's Mark Webber appeared on track with a brand new blue, red and white helmet livery.

Back in Europe, meanwhile, Spyker and Williams began their own three-day session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

02/27/07
nascar
Big 3 keep losing sales despite NASCAR  The Big-3 manufacturers are in NASCAR, yet their sales continue to slide and they continue to bleed red ink year in and year out.

Ford Motor Co. anticipates double-digit declines in year-over-year February sales numbers, as it continues to cut back on daily rental fleet sales and suffers difficult comparisons with a strong month of pickup sales last year, Ford's chief sales analyst said Monday.

Ford's George Pipas said he expects the automaker to report Thursday that its total U.S. new vehicle sales were down about 10% to 15% in February compared with the same period last year.

General Motors Corp. expects overall sales for the month to be down about 6% or 7% in year-over-year comparisons, due primarily to continued efforts to reduce its daily rental fleet sales, GM spokesman John McDonald said. The company expects retail sales to be flat for the month, he said.

Analysts also forecast single-digit sales losses for GM.

Chrysler Group vice president for sales and field operations Steven Landry said in a Thursday conference call with dealers that U.S. sales were down in February, but not significantly. Several analysts forecast that Chrysler will end the month of February down 7% to 9% from a year ago.

02/27/07
f1
irl
Marco Andretti's Exclusive Formula One Test Journal  On Wednesday, February 7th & Thursday, February 8th, Marco Andretti was once again invited to join the Honda Racing F1 Team at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain to test drive their 2006 RA106 car in order to aid development of their 2007 RA107 entry to the Formula One World Championship. Marco completed the two full day tests in great spirits and received much praise from the heads of Honda Racing F1. Marco also took the time during the test to spend time socializing and talking tactics with 2007 season Honda Racing F1 drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

Throughout the test, Marco took the time to note his thoughts and feelings on the subject of Formula 1, his successes at the Jerez testing session, and his future with Andretti Green Racing and the IRL Indycar series. Marco’s personal diary and accompanying images are now available exclusively at Marco Andretti’s official website www.marcoandretti.com More ...

02/27/07
nascar
Reutimann crash among hardest ever  The g-force impact during David Reutimann's crash Sunday at California Speedway is among the hardest ever recorded, NASCAR officials told ESPN.com on Monday.

NASCAR doesn't disclose exact figures.

"We can't say it's the hardest [impact], period, because there are so many variables involved," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "But it is among the hardest impacts we've recorded."

Reutimann was riding along one lap down with 11 laps remaining in the Auto Club 500 when Greg Biffle approached from behind. Biffle tapped Reutimann, sending the No. 00 Toyota head-on into the outside wall. The car lifted off the ground and was completely destroyed.  ESPN.com

02/27/07
motogp
Checa asks Honda for more power  Carlos Checa concluded the final pre-season test at Jerez on Sunday by asking Honda for more HP.

"We must find a solution for the engine because I need more power especially on fast tracks such as Qatar, Istanbul and Shanghai," said the Spanish veteran. "Honestly, we did a great job during the winter to adapt to this new machine but I could go faster and hope that HRC can help me somehow."

Checa, a privateer Honda rider for the LCR team, was referring to new parts rumored to already be available for factory Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa.

02/27/07
nascar
Piette continues with duties with one eye  MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Stop for a minute and try to imagine having to do your job with only half of your vision. How difficult would it be for you?
 
If you were a nurse, could you set up an IV with only one good eye? If you were a cab driver, could you drive down the streets looking only out of your right eye?
 
Now, imagine having to change a tire on a 3,400-pound stock car during a 500-mile race without the vision in your left eye?
 
That’s exactly the task rear-tire changer Joe Piette Jr. had to accomplish in Sunday’s Auto Club 500.
 
Ryan Newman's No. 12 team was able to avoid serious problems during its first pit stop on lap 9 when a lug nut off the right-rear wheel flew up and hit Piette in his left eye, knocking out his contact lens and leaving him without the vision in that eye. More ...
02/27/07
f1
Honda chiefs react to green car criticism  (GMM)  Honda chiefs reacted stoically to criticism that the 'Earth Car' concept for 2007 is ill founded.

Critics reacted almost instantly to the unveiling on Monday of the sponsorless car, suggesting that it is an insincere and deceptive gesture that indicates more about Honda's financial situation and lack of focus than its interest in environmental issues.

"The fact remains that 94 per cent of the people we polled thought it was a good idea," team principal Nick Fry insisted.

Referring to the environmental challenge, he added: "Formula one has to change or it will wither on the vine and become extinct."

To the Sun newspaper, he rejected the 'insincere' objection by declaring Honda's environmental credentials and revealed: "We are now looking into the possibility of having solar panels fitted to the roofs of the team's motor homes at the races."

English driver Jenson Button was also on-message as he denied that only the loss of tobacco sponsor Lucky Strike led Honda to seek a new path in 2007.

"Actually we have an extra eleven sponsors this year compared to last year," the 27-year-old insisted, "and that's because they want to get involved in this idea and raise awareness."

Button said the Honda campaign had already opened his eyes to the global issue.

"Now I make a point of doing little things to help the environment," he revealed.  "I always switch off my television rather than leave it on stand-by."

02/27/07
f1
Heidfeld says BMW not favorites  (GMM) Nick Heidfeld has played down claims that he and BMW Sauber teammate Robert Kubica are outside bets to win the 2007 drivers' crown.

Their F1.07 contender has been quick but unreliable in the pre-season tests, but observers including Felipe Massa and Gerhard Berger insist that the Hinwil built car could be a match this year for pacesetters Ferrari and McLaren.

"What people say changes nothing for us," 29-year-old Heidfeld told motorsport-total.com.

He said: "We must concentrate on our work and not be distracted. Just because a few people think we look good in testing does not make us the favorite."

Less than three weeks before the start of the season in Australia, the German insisted that Ferrari and McLaren appear ahead of the rest.

"And at the moment I see Ferrari right at the front," Heidfeld added.

02/27/07
f1
Honda 'happy' with tester Klien  (GMM)  Honda's Nick Fry says the Brackley based team is "very happy" with its new test and reserve driver.

Austrian Christian Klien, 24, joins the Japan owned team in 2007 after falling out with his previous employer, Red Bull, following his participation in 48 grands prix since 2004.

Fry told the Austrian broadcaster ORF: "We are very happy with Christian.  He has exceeded our expectations."

02/27/07
f1
Green car gives Honda's critics a field day  (GMM) Honda gifted cynics a field day when it unveiled its new formula one car devoid of sponsorship logos and painted like a giant map of the world.

"I commend the message but I find it a bit insincere," said one grand prix fan on an internet forum after the first images of the so called 'Earth Car' were made public on Monday.

Another said: "I guess they got what they wanted -- attention."

No matter the sentiment, the RA107 single seater will still pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel -- a fundamental cause of the environmental crisis.

Moreover, an F1 car emits nearly nine times more C02 per kilometer than a normal road car. More ...

02/27/07
TV News
A1GP
South African A1GP to be shown on SPEED  The A1GP race run in Durban, South Africa on February 25 will be shown on SPEED on Wednesday, February 28.  The program airs at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET.   
02/27/07
tv news
Motorsports this week on ESPN  In its continued commitment to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the 2007 NASCAR season, ESPN will present ESPN Full Circle: NASCAR Busch Series from Mexico City on Sunday, March 4, at 2 p.m. ET, live from Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Coverage of NASCAR’s only event in Mexico marks the latest installation of an ESPN Full Circle presentation, in which various ESPN outlets carry the event live using different coverage approaches, in addition to extensive content surrounding the race across additional ESPN outlets such as TV, radio and internet. ESPN2, the home of the NASCAR Busch Series in 2007, will present a traditional race telecast (also available on ESPN2 HD), while ESPN will simulcast ESPN Deportes’ U.S. Hispanic Spanish-language flag-to-flag coverage. Additionally, ESPN360 will feature a live stream of the ESPN2 telecast. More ...
02/27/07
Miscellaneous
cc
Vegas project going to new heights  UPDATE A reader writes, Your story about the Las Vegas City Center does have a racing connection.  The gentleman heading up the project is Bobby Baldwin, former 'World Series of Poker Champion' and frequent very successful off road racer with his son including many wins at the Baja 1000 and other major races.  Fred Marik

02/26/07 [Editor's Note: Although not specifically racing related, this article talks about a massive project in Las Vegas and underscores the fact that the city is still booming. With Champ Car racing in downtown Las Vegas starting in 2007, it appears their timing was perfect and could benefit from a building boom in "the city that never sleeps."] When hundreds of architects descended on Las Vegas two years ago for their annual convention, organizers scanned the Strip for tour ideas and rolled snake eyes.

The pyramid? The faux Eiffel Tower? Not exactly paragons of high design.

Out of desperation, organizers chartered buses to cart the group to Death Valley and the Nevada Test Site at Yucca Mountain.

"We had to stretch it a bit," conceded Vegas-based architect Windom Kimsey, former chair of the American Institute of Architects' Committee on Design. "The level of sophistication was lacking."

In a morphing city where hotels and casinos are built and razed and built again, a massive new development seeks to make a lasting mark on the city's skyline. Project CityCenter — MGM Mirage's 76 acres of densely packed condos and hotels designed by some of the country's premier architects — may finally put Las Vegas on the architectural map and usher in a cosmopolitan reincarnation of the town better known for kitsch and over-the-top theming.

"This takes the Las Vegas evolution to the next level," said Terry Jicinsky, vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

"When Steve Wynn opened the Mirage with the heavily themed resort concept, everything that came after that followed suit," he said. "It's probably a reasonable assumption that this will set the bar for new things that are constructed in Las Vegas."

The $7-billion Project CityCenter is the largest privately financed project in the country. The mega-resort includes a hotel-casino, convention center, retail and entertainment space, condos and two boutique hotels, all nestled between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo hotel-casinos on the site of the old Boardwalk Hotel and Casino. After just two weeks on the market, 90% of the condominium units in one of the project's condo-hotels have been sold, with prices starting at $1.5 million. More at LA Times

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