>


Advertisement
Hot News
for your iPhone
for your iPad
Go to our forums to discuss this news
DATE News (chronologically)
03/02/06
irl
Homestead Practice Times Homestead Practice Times
Rank Car Driver C/E/T Time Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 3 Castroneves, Helio D/H/F 01: 11.0146 112.033 76 85
2 6 Hornish Jr, Sam D/H/F 01: 11.1228 111.863 87 94
3 9 Dixon, Scott P/H/F 01: 11.3521 111.503 38 67
4 10 Wheldon, Dan P/H/F 01: 11.5492 111.196 73 74
5 4 Meira, Vitor D/H/F 01: 11.6765 110.999 66 67
6 11 Kanaan, Tony D/H/F 01: 11.7066 110.952 38 70
7 27 Franchitti, Dario D/H/F 01: 11.7341 110.910 26 46
8 55 Matsuura, Kosuke D/H/F 01: 12.0530 110.419 48 50
9 15 Rice, Buddy P/H/F 01: 12.1028 110.342 46 58
10 7 Herta, Bryan D/H/F 01: 12.1975 110.198 31 49
11 8 Sharp, Scott P/H/F 01: 12.2926 110.053 26 56
12 26 Andretti, Marco D/H/F 01: 12.3134 110.021 46 47
13 16 Patrick, Danica P/H/F 01: 12.4464 109.819 54 73
14 2 Scheckter, Tomas D/H/F 01: 12.8518 109.208 37 49
15 14 Giaffone, Felipe D/H/F 01: 13.1382 108.780 74 80
16 20 Carpenter, Ed D/H/F 01: 13.6346 108.047 46 53
17 17 Dana, Paul P/H/F 01: 13.6949 107.959 90 93
18 5 Lazier, Buddy D/H/F 01: 14.8373 106.311 48 64
03/02/06
irl
Penske and Ganassi drivers fast, Wheldon crashes Penske and Ganassi drivers fast, Wheldon crashesHOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Marlboro Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing picked up from where they left off from testing at Phoenix International Raceway, leading the first day of Open Testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 2.

Marco Andretti in the NY Stock Exchange car, right.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves turned the fastest lap of 1 minute, 11.0146 seconds, 112.033 mph, on the 2.21 mile road course in his No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara. His teammate, two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., was second fastest with a lap of 1:11.1228, 111.863 mph, in the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara

"We're feeling pretty happy with today's fast session," Castroneves said. "It's always a good sign when you are at the top of the speed charts. It was good to get out there and get back into a rhythm with the new engine. I'm happy with the Marlboro Team Penske car, and I'm looking forward to the next two days of testing."

Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon (111.503 mph) and Dan Wheldon (111.196 mph) were the next fastest drivers of the day in their Honda-powered Panozes. Wheldon's first day driving the Panoz chassis ended early when he struck the tire barrier in Turn 3 with less than 30 minutes left in the session. He was uninjured in the accident.

"I put my right front off of Turn 2, and I just couldn't slow down in time," Wheldon said. "I clipped the right front into the tire barrier, and I crashed. The Panoz is different. It's still not quite to my liking. We're still working on it, and we'll get it there."

Vitor Meira, making his debut with Panther Racing, posted the fifth-fastest lap of the day (110.999 mph).  zzzz 

Road-course testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway continues on March 3. IndyCar Series teams will move to the variably banked 1.5-mile oval on March 5.

DAY 1 TEST QUOTES:

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, second fastest): "The Marlboro Team Penske car ran well today. We really don't get to do many road course tests so we have to take advantage of the opportunity to run here. I need the time, and I need the experience. These guys have a lot more laps in these kinds of cars than I do. I've run a lot of road courses in my day but I haven't done anything with this much horsepower. It's a step in a different direction from what we had last year.

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Honda/Firestone, third quickest): "It was a pretty good day. We went through a lot of the options that we have. We tried to take care of our tires because the track on the first day is pretty aggressive. You can go through them pretty quick. We went through two sets today. We learned some things today, and we'll keep at it all week."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fifth fastest): "It was a good day. Everything that we should have done at Phoenix, we had to do today, so this is my first day of the year. It's a good start. I'm getting to know the team, and the team is getting to know me. For the engineers and the mechanics working on the car, it's their first day of the year too. Fifth-quick is not a bad start at all."

DAY 1 TEST NOTES:

Experience dictated Target Chip Ganassi Racing decision to test drivers Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon in Panoz chassis during the opening day of the IRL Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The team spent the last three seasons in the IndyCar Series with the Panoz chassis.

"It was a team decision," said team managing director Mike Hull. "We have a lot of information about the Panoz car, and we think the Panoz on a road track is a great race car. We've committed ourselves to running a Dallara car on all the ovals, but with the limited amount of testing we have with the series, we felt we should take things one step at a time."

Delphi Fernandez Racing Co-Owner and Managing Director Tom Anderson today announced that The Patron Spirits Company has joined the team as an associate sponsor on the No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone driven by Scott Sharp in the IndyCar Series. Patron Tequila is the world's No. 1 ultra premium tequila, outselling its nearest competitor by eight times in the United States alone.

"We are very excited to announce our new partnership with Patron Tequila and to welcome them to Delphi Fernandez Racing," said Anderson. "Patron is a leader in their category. We look forward to helping them maximize their involvement with Scott, the team and the IndyCar Series and to increasing their brand awareness as we challenge for the championship this year."

Headquartered in Las Vegas, the Patron Spirits Company was founded in 1989 by Paul Mitchell Systems co-founder John Paul DeJoria and entrepreneur Martin Crowley. In 2004 and 2005, Patron became the first spirits brand ever to receive the prestigious American Academy of Hospitality Sciences Five Star Diamond Award.

"Our alignment with Delphi Fernandez Racing was a natural fit," said Ed Brown, President of The Patron Spirits Company. "Scott Sharp and this team are proven winners. They provide the perfect platform to expose the Patron brand to a key demographic audience for us, and afford us the opportunity to entertain distributors and customers at events such as the world-renowned Indianapolis 500. We are extremely excited about our new partnership and look forward to an exciting season."

Sharp is the IndyCar Series' most experienced driver with a record 115 career starts and is the only driver to have competed in every season since the IRL's inception in 1996. He is currently tied in second for IndyCar Series career wins with nine, and ended the 2005 season fifth in the championship with a win at Kentucky, 13 top-10 and six top-five drives.

"I am thrilled to welcome Patron aboard our 2006 IndyCar Series program," said Sharp. "Patron is legendary for its exceptional quality. All that Patron does, whether it's in manufacturing or on the promotional side, is top notch. I believe the IndyCar Series fan is the target consumer for Patron, and I'm excited to expose their brand as we strive to win together this season."  IRL

03/02/06
ga
Grand-Am practice times from Mexico City Grand-Am practice times from Mexico City
Practice 1
Pos Num Team Time Gap To 1st Speed
1. 60 Michael Shank Racing 1:23.723 107.497
2. 99 Blackhawk Racing 1:24.113 0.390 0.390 106.999
3. 39 Cheever Racing 1:24.397 0.284 0.674 106.639
4. 10 SunTrust Racing 1:24.409 0.012 0.686 106.624
5. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing 1:24.513 0.104 0.790 106.492
6. 8 Synergy Racing 1:24.673 0.160 0.950 106.291
7. 6 Fusion Racing/MSR 1:24.913 0.240 1.190 105.991
8. 12 Fernandez Racing 1:24.930 0.017 1.207 105.970
9. 19 Finlay Motorsports 1:24.968 0.038 1.245 105.922
10. 76 Krohn Racing 1:25.044 0.076 1.321 105.828
11. 89 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:25.199 0.155 1.476 105.635
12. 7 Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX 1:25.337 0.138 1.614 105.464
13. 75 Krohn Racing 1:25.341 0.004 1.618 105.459
14. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports 1:25.855 0.514 2.132 104.828
15. 58 Brumos Porsche 1:25.942 0.087 2.219 104.722
16. 11 Citgo Racing/SAMAX 1:26.018 0.076 2.295 104.629
17. 77 Doran Racing 1:26.227 0.209 2.504 104.376
18. 3 Southard Motorsports 1:26.404 0.177 2.681 104.162
19. 40 Derhaag Motorsports 1:26.434 0.030 2.711 104.126
20. 59 Brumos Porsche 1:26.784 0.350 3.061 103.706
21. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing 1:26.881 0.097 3.158 103.590
22. 5 Essex Racing 1:27.270 0.389 3.547 103.128
23. 50 Rocketsports Racing 1:27.607 0.337 3.884 102.732
24. 28 Finlay Motorsports 1:27.840 0.233 4.117 102.459
25. 0 Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX 1:28.373 0.533 4.650 101.841
26. 72 Tafel Racing 1:32.108 3.735 8.385 97.711
27. 05 Sigalsport BMW 1:32.278 0.170 8.555 97.531
28. 64 TRG 1:32.679 0.401 8.956 97.109
29. 65 TRG 1:33.334 0.655 9.611 96.428
30. 74 Tafel Racing 1:34.252 0.918 10.529 95.489
31. 73 Tafel Racing 1:34.379 0.127 10.656 95.360
32. 71 SAMAX/ Doncaster Racing 1:34.532 0.153 10.809 95.206
33. 04 Sigalsport BMW 1:34.995 0.463 11.272 94.742
34. 80 Synergy Racing 1:35.185 0.190 11.462 94.553
35. 17 SAMAX 1:35.296 0.111 11.573 94.443
36. 66 TRG 1:35.436 0.140 11.713 94.304
37. 21 Matt Connolly Motorsports 1:36.949 1.513 13.226 92.832
38. 81 Synergy Racing No Time

Practice 2
Pos Num Team Time Gap To 1st Speed
1. 60 Michael Shank Racing 1:23.137 108.255
2. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing 1:23.262 0.125 0.125 108.093
3. 89 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:23.332 0.070 0.195 108.002
4. 76 Krohn Racing 1:23.925 0.593 0.788 107.239
5. 75 Krohn Racing 1:23.949 0.024 0.812 107.208
6. 99 Blackhawk Racing 1:23.988 0.039 0.851 107.158
7. 10 SunTrust Racing 1:24.024 0.036 0.887 107.112
8. 8 Synergy Racing 1:24.160 0.136 1.023 106.939
9. 77 Doran Racing 1:24.173 0.013 1.036 106.923
10. 28 Finlay Motorsports 1:24.213 0.040 1.076 106.872  zzzz
11. 12 Fernandez Racing 1:24.271 0.058 1.134 106.798
12. 7 Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX 1:24.277 0.006 1.140 106.791
13. 19 Finlay Motorsports 1:24.469 0.192 1.332 106.548
14. 58 Brumos Porsche 1:24.625 0.156 1.488 106.352
15. 0 Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX 1:24.628 0.003 1.491 106.348
16. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports 1:24.923 0.295 1.786 105.978
17. 11 Citgo Racing/SAMAX 1:25.039 0.116 1.902 105.834
18. 39 Cheever Racing 1:25.303 0.264 2.166 105.506
19. 59 Brumos Porsche 1:25.368 0.065 2.231 105.426
20. 5 Essex Racing 1:25.576 0.208 2.439 105.170
21. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing 1:25.604 0.028 2.467 105.135
22. 40 Derhaag Motorsports 1:26.229 0.625 3.092 104.373
23. 50 Rocketsports Racing 1:27.420 1.191 4.283 102.951
24. 64 TRG 1:31.809 4.389 8.672 98.030
25. 72 Tafel Racing 1:31.886 0.077 8.749 97.947
26. 65 TRG 1:31.983 0.097 8.846 97.844
27. 73 Tafel Racing 1:32.329 0.346 9.192 97.477
28. 05 Sigalsport BMW 1:32.347 0.018 9.210 97.458
29. 80 Synergy Racing 1:33.102 0.755 9.965 96.668
30. 04 Sigalsport BMW 1:33.650 0.548 10.513 96.103
31. 74 Tafel Racing 1:33.675 0.025 10.538 96.077
32. 21 Matt Connolly Motorsports 1:33.682 0.007 10.545 96.070
33. 71 SAMAX/ Doncaster Racing 1:33.723 0.041 10.586 96.028
34. 17 SAMAX 1:33.823 0.100 10.686 95.925
35. 66 TRG 1:36.630 2.807 13.493 93.139
36. 3 Southard Motorsports 4:52.989 3:16.35 3:29.85 30.718
37. 81 Synergy Racing No Time
38. 6 Fusion Racing/MSR No Time

03/02/06
irl
Rahal Letterman’s Roembke out indefinitely Rahal Letterman’s Roembke out indefinitelyThe Rahal Letterman Racing Indy car team will go into what amounts to its spring training today in Homestead, Fla., without general manager Scott Roembke.

Roembke is taking time off to deal with undisclosed health issues diagnosed recently, team spokesman Brent Maurer said. He is expected to return to the team, Maurer said, though he did not set a timetable.

In the interim, Ray Leto, a longtime team engineer who coordinated Danica Patrick’s rookie-of-the-year season last year, will be acting general manager in operational matters. The team’s chief financial officer, Robert J. Vladem, will handle administrative, financial and business matters, Maurer said.

"But there is a void that we really can’t fill in terms of the experience Scott has," Leto said from Homestead. "He is the guy everyone on the team bounces everything off of. And he always has an opinion and an answer.

"We’re all trying to rally together and cover each other’s back, but I can’t wait to get him back."  More at Columbus Dispatch

03/02/06
cc
Champ Car’s Turbo Tour Set For Departure Champ Car’s Turbo Tour Set For DepartureUPDATE Autoracing1.com has learned that there are a number of event and team announcements planned to be made during this media tour. Mark C.

03/02/06 Indianapolis -- Just like rock stars touring to promote a new album, Champ Car is hitting the road, traveling on series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven’s Gulfstream G550, for a six-day race market blitz to promote the start of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season as well as the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

Champ Car’s first-ever Turbo Tour will begin with a media blitz in Los Angeles, America’s number-two media market, on Sunday March 12.  Drivers scheduled to participate on the trip include two-time defending champion Sebastien Bourdais, 2003 titlist Paul Tracy, 2004 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger, Champ Car race winners Mario Dominguez and Justin Wilson, the first female to win a major open wheel race in North America Katherine Legge and Champ Car Atlantic driver and former North American karting champion Alan Sciuto.  The group will also be joined by Champ Car President Steve Johnson and 2006 Face of Champ Car winner Brandi Latimer, and will include visits from local Atlantic drivers in selected markets, on a tour that ends in Monterrey, Mexico on Friday, March 17. The Turbo Tour will stop at nearly every North American city that hosts a Champ Car event, covering 12 markets in a whirlwind five-day tour.

“This is a huge initiative to promote the beginning of the Champ Car season,” said Champ Car President and CEO Steve Johnson. “We are always striving to bring Champ Car to the people and there is no better way to do that than to create a whirlwind tour encompassing our entire North America schedule.”

Some of the unique activities of the event include landing on the actual racing surface in both Edmonton and Cleveland, the Turbo Tour Fan Forum in Portland and a media go-kart challenge in Denver.  The drivers will also participate at a Toronto Raptors game and RodeoHouston 2006.  The trip will see the Champ Car group spend nearly 18 hours in the air, flying more than 1,700 nautical miles criss-crossing the continent.

“The Turbo Tour is a great chance for our promoters to raise awareness of Champ Car in each of their markets and ramp up anticipation for what is sure to be a very exciting 2006 season,” Johnson continued. “Not only that, but being part of a groundbreaking event like this one is sure to create excitement at each stop along the way.” Champ Car

03/02/06
ga
Negri tops opening day in Mexico City Negri tops opening day in Mexico CityUnder nearly perfect weather conditions for the opening day of Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve practice in Mexico City, Brazil’s Oswaldo Negri Jr. posted the day’s quickest time in preparation for Saturday’s Mexico City 250 (SPEED, 8:00 p.m. ET).

Negri clocked a best lap at 1:23.127 (108.255 mph) aboard the No. 60 Flight Options Lexus Riley for Michael Shank Racing to head a field including 25 Daytona Prototypes and 13 GT machines. Negri and co-driver Mark Patterson are tied for the most points among Daytona Prototype drivers in attendance this weekend in Mexico City, and the duo’s hopes of leaving Mexico with the outright points lead got off to a good start on Thursday.

“I am just so proud of how hard the people at Lexus and Michael Shank Racing work,” Negri said. “We knew when we left here last year that we had some work to do if we wanted to be more competitive, and I think being quickest in both sessions today shows the effort that everyone has put in. Of course, I am working hard in the car, but this really is a team sport and it takes an extra effort from everybody on the team to get to the front in Rolex. I am also very excited about how fast Mark (Patterson) was today because he put in some very fast laps on old tires, so we should be strong in the race.”

Second quick on the Thursday time sheets was hometown hero Luis Diaz in the No. 01 Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley with a lap at 1:23.262 (108.093 mph). Diaz, a native of Mexico City, views this weekend’s Mexico City 250 as the most important event on the 2006 schedule for himself and the Ganassi team. Diaz and co-driver Scott Pruett are eager to get their season back on track after a mechanical failure ended their race prematurely in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“This is the biggest race of the season for us, especially with Telmex on board in my home country,” Diaz said. “We started off the day a little bit off the pace, but managed to get the No. 01 Ganassi car up to speed. Scott did an awesome job as usual bringing the car up to speed, and I was able to get the second best lap of the day on our last lap. I'm pleased overall, but Scott and I both know there is more work to be done before Saturday.”

Ryan Dalziel turned in the day’s third-quickest time in the No. 89 Playboy/Vonage Pontiac Riley for Pacific Coast Motorsports. Dalziel’s best lap was 1:23.332 (108.002 mph) at the same facility where he and co-driver Alex Figge made their respective Daytona Prototype debuts in 2004, although the course layout this weekend is significantly different from last year. For his part, the Scot believes this layout is more suitable.  zzzz

“I think the layout’s way better than the one we had last year,” Dalziel said. “I think the Daytona Prototypes prefer to be wound up for higher-speed stuff. They don’t like the slow speed acceleration. I think this track suits them much better. I think it’s going to be better racing for the fans. It was fun last year and it’s going to be fun again this year. It’s encouraging for us to be the highest Pontiac. We’ve got a bit of work to do, but for sure our car is good at the minute.”

Colin Braun led a sweep of the fourth and fifth positions on the time charts for Krohn Racing, which is using Ford power in its pair of Riley chassis for the first time this weekend. Braun posted a best lap at 1:23.925 (107.239 mph) in the No. 76 Ford Riley he shares with Germany’s Jörg Bergmeister, while Nic Jönsson was fifth in the No. 75 Ford Riley at 1:23.949 (107.208 mph). Jönsson’s co-driver is car owner Tracy Krohn.

The top-seven cars were covered by one second in the opening day of practice. Friday’s schedule is highlighted by Rolex Series qualifying, which gets underway at 12:00 Noon ET (11:00 a.m. local time). Saturday’s Mexico City 250 takes the green flag at 4:15 p.m. ET (3:15 p.m. local), and will be televised on SPEED beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday evening.

STRONG MIX OF MAKES ON TOP OF GT SPEED CHARTS
On the first day of practice in preparation for Saturday’s Mexico City 250, three manufacturers put their machines in the top-five of the GT class speed charts at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with Pontiac slightly bettering Porsche and BMW.

Paul Edwards posted the fastest lap of the day in the GT class—coming in the second of two sessions—with a lap at 1:31.809 (98.030 mph) in the No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R. Edwards, who teamed with Jan Magnussen to take the class victory in La Gran Final de la Serie Rolex Sports Car in the same car last November in Mexico City, will co-drive with Kelly Collins this weekend.

“The track went from 16 turns down to eight, so not too much carried over from last year,” said Edwards.  “We put a lot of wing into the car compared to when we ran here in November.  The baseline of the car was good off of the trailer and we were focusing on getting Kelly comfortable in the car.  The long straightaway kind of hurts us, so we also need a car that can get off of that last sweeper fast to try and maintain our positions over these Porsches which are very fast down that mile drag strip.”

One of the Porsches—the No. 72 NEC/Rembrandt Charms Porsche GT3 for Tafel Racing—was second-quickest on the day, with a lap time of 1:31.886 (97.947 mph) by Wolf Henzler. Henzler qualified the No. 72 Porsche on the class pole in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, and will share the car this weekend with teammate Robin Liddell.

The second of the day’s two sessions proved to be the fastest for the GT class, as the top three times all came in the second period. Andy Lally recorded the third-fastest lap in class, posting a time of 1:31.983 (97.844 mph) in the No. 65 TRG/F1 Air Pontiac GTO.R. Lally and co-driver Marc Bunting finished fourth in last year’s event at the venue, one position—and one point—short of claiming the Rolex Series GT championship. The duo is joined by RJ Valentine this weekend.

American hotshoe—and two-time Rolex Series class champion—Bill Auberlen was fourth-quickest on the day, turning a best lap at 1:32.278 (97.531 mph) in the No. 05 Alhadeff Motorsports/Motul/GRW.com.mx/enVista/OMP BMW M3 for Sigalsport. Auberlen qualified on the GT class pole in Mexico City last year, and co-drove with Gene Sigal and Matt Alhadeff to a runner-up GT finish in last year’s season finale. Auberlen and Alhadeff will share the No. 05 machine this weekend.

Rounding out the top five was Andrew Davis in the No. 73 NEC/Rembrandt Charms Porsche GT3, putting a second Tafel Racing car near the top of the class field with a best lap time of 1:32.329 (97.477 mph). Davis will share the No. 73 Porsche with team owner and co-driver Jim Tafel. Grand-Am

03/02/06
Racing News
Legends of Ascot event announced Legends of Ascot event announcedTorrance, CA - The 4th Annual Legends of Ascot 2006 Event, honoring drivers Jimmy Oskie, Wally Pankratz, Walt James, Jack Bruner and Leland McSpadden, JFK car owners Wilda and Jack Kendoll, and aluminum block engine builder Ed Donovan, with the possibility of a “special guest” honoree, will be held at the Perris Auto Speedway, in Perris, CA, and will feature an expanded program.  “Keeping with our tradition, our goal is to preserve the memories of those great days of racing at Ascot and of the people who participated, and pass them on to future generations of racers and fans alike”, said Don Weaver, founder of the event.

Racing enthusiasts from all over the US and Canada have enjoyed what has now become the largest open wheel racers reunion in the country.  The event celebrates the people involved in the 33 years of operation from 1957 to 1990, at Ascot Park, in Gardena, California.  Ascot was the nationally renown premier ½ mile dirt track on the West Coast, and many of the drivers of the era were starters of the Indianapolis 500 during the period.  Past honorees include Parnelli Jones, Hal Minyard, Allen Heath, Dean Thompson, Ted Halibrand, and J. C. Agajanian to name a few. zzzz

The Legends of Ascot Annual Event draws Vintage Race Cars from all over North America.  From Midgets, Sprints, and Dirt Champ cars, to Indy cars of the era, some of the most historic cars from the USAC national circuit and the CRA have been displayed.  In all, the Event averages 30+ Vintage Race Cars each year.  After the days activities, the Vintage Race Cars will have the opportunity to stretch their legs on the ½-mile clay oval at Perris Auto Speedway in the Legends of Ascot Vintage Car Exhibition Heat Races, during the USAC/CRA sprint car event that evening.

The event is open to the public, and gives race enthusiasts the opportunity to meet and talk with some of the best drivers of the era.  Admission to the Event includes plenty of “bench racing”, snacks, the award presentations, auctions, raffles, an excellent buffet lunch, the vintage racecar display, and admission to the USAC/CRA sprint car event.  Every year the event sells out and Don suggests that attendees order their tickets to the event as soon as possible.    

Contact:
Legends of Ascot
(310) 549-3562
legendsofascot@aol.com
www.legendsofascot.com

03/02/06
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayUPDATE
Back in the Day -with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Program change
8:00pm-8:30pm (R)
8:30pm-9:00pm (R)
 
7 Days Program change
9:00pm-9:30pm (R)
9:30pm-10:00pm (R)

03/02/06 Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Movie: Six Pack (1982)
12:00am-2:00am FOX Movie Channel
American Muscle Car -2004 GTO  
1:00am-1:30am (R) SPEED
BooKoo Arenacross Championship Minneapolis, MN
8:00am-9:00am OLN
Monsters of Destruction Monroe, WA
9:00am-10:00am (R) OLN
Car Crazy -SEMA 2005  
9:30am-10:00am (R) SPEED
SEMA Las Vegas  
2:00pm-4:00pm SPEED
Two Guys Go to Performance Racing Industry Trade Show
4:00pm-5:00pm (R) SPEED
Driver of the Year  
9:00pm-10:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Five Years Later  
10:00pm-11:00pm (R) SPEED

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

03/02/06
irl
Patron Spirits joins Delphi Fernandez team Patron Spirits joins Delphi Fernandez teamThe Patron Spirits Co. has joined Delphi Fernandez Racing as an associate sponsor on the No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone driven by Scott Sharp.

“Our alignment with Delphi Fernandez Racing was a natural fit,” Patron Spirits Co. president Ed Brown said. “Scott Sharp and his team are proven winners. They provide the perfect platform to expose the Patron brand to a key demographic audience for us, and afford us the opportunity to entertain distributors and customers at events such as the world-renowned Indianapolis 500.”

The Las Vegas-based company is the world’s No. 1-selling ultra premium tequila.

“We look forward to helping them maximize their involvement with Scott, the team and the IndyCar Series, and to increasing their brand awareness as we challenge for the championship this year.” Indycar.com

03/02/06
nascar
BDR files three motions to get verdict changed BDR files three motions to get verdict changedBill Davis Racing has filed three motions in U.S. District Court in Michigan in response to a verdict of $6.5 million in damages it has been ordered to pay DaimlerChrysler.  A jury awarded the damages to Dodge on Feb. 9 after a four-week trial in Detroit. The jury found that BDR gave confidential Dodge information to Toyota and also violated its Cup agreement with Dodge when it signed a contract with General Motors to race in the Busch Series and up to seven Cup events.

BDR has filed three motions: one requesting a new trial, another to request a reduction in damages and another for a judgment that it did not violate its Dodge agreement by signing the GM contract.

Among the arguments are improper jury instructions and issues dealing with the way Dodge compiled its amount of damages.

If Judge George Caram Steeh upholds the verdict, BDR has announced plans to appeal.

Dodge terminated its contract with BDR in May 2003 after it discovered BDR's work with Toyota's truck program. The six-year, $18.425-million contract was scheduled to end in 2005. BDR's work on the truck was ruled legal by Steeh, but he left it up to the jury to decide whether BDR gave confidential Dodge information to Toyota. Daily Scene

03/02/06
nascar
Jourdain thrown from horse Jourdain thrown from horsePerhaps he should stick to riding horsepower rater than horses - the four legged type.  Michel Jourdain Jr. suffered a strained thigh muscle after being thrown from a horse Tuesday during a newspaper photo shoot. He said today that he doesn't expect to miss any practices or the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 Sunday.

The Mexico City native, who is scheduled to drive the No. 15 for ppc Racing, had his leg pinned between the horse and a pole at a race track during the shoot. He got on the horse and the saddle shifted, upsetting the horse which kicked up its front legs and threw Jourdain.

"I was on for about two seconds," said Jourdain, who ran a limited Busch Series schedule in 2005 but is looking to make his first 2006 start. "They said I had to get down, and by that time, the horse started to go crazy."

Jourdain attended a news conference today with other Mexican drivers who plan on competing in the event, but he came in using a crutch.  "The doctor thinks I will be OK," Jourdain said. "I've got to go home and rest and ice it down. ... I'll be OK."

03/02/06
nascar
NASCAR slams their latest cheaters NASCAR slams their latest cheatersNASCAR announced on Thursday that the No. 06 Craftsman Truck Series team had been hit with three penalties after last week's race at California Speedway.  Crew chief Bryan Berry was fined $5,000, driver Chad McCumbee was docked 25 points and owner David Malcolmson was penalized 25 owner points.   Penalties were assessed for use of an unapproved carburetor main body modification and use of components and/or equipment that failed to conform to NASCAR rules.  The violations were found during opening-day inspection for the Racetickets.com 200.
03/02/06
cca
Team Australia signs Pagenaud Team Australia signs PagenaudTeam Australia announces it has secured the driving talent of Simon Pagenaud of Montmorillon, France to join James Davison in Team Australia's new program in the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda for 2006.

The introduction of the all new Swift 016.a chassis and Champ Car's revitalization of the Atlantic Series has produced a positive environment that promises to be a very competitive, exciting series. Team Australia first announced its intention to compete with a two-car Atlantic program back in July of 2005. On March 8, the team will receive Swift chassis numbers 01 and 05, which will carry the unique green and yellow design of Team Australia's livery and will carry car numbers 5 and 15 as is consistent with the team's Champ Car program.     

Said team Owner Derrick Walker, "I have to thank (Champ Car World Series Champion) Sebastien Bourdais because it was he who first brought to my attention Simon Pagenaud  and his ability. Once we met and talked about our objectives we quickly realized that we shared a common interest in having a competitive race program. The combination of James and Simon is a great line of talent in our first year in the Atlantic Championship."

Pagenaud, a runner up in the Formula Renault Eurocup Championship, now turns to the Atlantic series for his next challenge. Says Simon, "My goal is to reach the highest level as a professional race car driver." Simon continues, "The Atlantic series will give me very valuable experience which will help me to be able to race in Champ Car or F1 one day." zzzz

Team Australia, the partnership of Australian businessman Craig Gore and Derrick Walker, was formed in March 2005 with a two-car program in Champ Car. The team now adds a two-car Atlantic program to its line up that will be based in Walker Racing's Indianapolis facility. Says co-owner Craig Gore, "This is exciting news, as yet I have not met Simon but looking at his track record I am sure he will be a good asset to our team. The Atlantic Series is an extension of my dream to build Team Australia into a strong racing franchise." 

Simon Pagenaud: Fast Facts

Birthdate: May 18, 1984
Home: Montmorillon, France
Hobbies: Soccer, training, long-distance biking, fishing

Racing Career:
2004 Formula Renault Eurocup Championship 2nd
2003 Formula Renault Eurocup Championship 3rd
2002 French Formula Renault Championship             3rd
French Formula Renault Elf Championship                 2nd
Elf Driving Selection                                                   1st

Started racing karts at age 10 Team Australia

03/02/06
Industry News
GM and Toyota extend agreement GM and Toyota extend agreementDETROIT - General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. have agreed to extend their advanced technology collaboration agreement two more years with a focus on safety and congestion-related technologies, and industry codes and standards.
03/02/06
f1
Davidson finishes final preseason test day on top Davidson finishes final preseason test day on top
Anthony Davidson began the test on Tuesday, spending his early laps setting up chassis RA106-02 followed by a series of tire evaluations. He completed 146 laps setting the second fastest time overall. The tire program continued on Wednesday and Thursday as Anthony evaluated tire options for the forthcoming flyaway races. He completed 144 laps on Wednesday and 122 laps on Thursday, setting the fastest time on Thursday - a 01:08.544 - to bring the team's final day of testing to a close by breaking the unofficial lap record at the Valencia circuit..

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Davidson Honda (M) 1:08.540 70
 2. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:10.371 72
 3. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:12.064 79
 4. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:12.380 78

03/02/06
nascar
ppc Racing in Drive for Diversity® Program in Mexico ppc Racing in Drive for Diversity® Program in MexicoHispanic driver, Michel Jourdain Jr. may not have a long history with the seven men and women that will go over the wall in Sunday’s NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race in Mexico City, Mexico.  The team he drives for, ppc Racing, has partnered with NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity® (D4D) program to pit the No. 15 Roshfrans Ford Fusion on Sunday, March 5th at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.  This is the first time ppc Racing, the 2000 NBS championship team, has partnered with the program.

“We are very pleased to partner with the Drive for Diversity® program,” said Greg Pollex, owner of ppc Racing.  “The team is an ethnic and gender diverse group of people, fully capable of giving Michel the competitive edge to win in his home country.  We’ve selected Todd Gordon, a long-time and devoted employee of ppc Racing, as the team’s crew chief.  Todd and Michel have worked together and established great communication together, and with Michel’s experience running on the road course, we really feel like a win is possible.”

Those participating with ppc Racing and the Drive for Diversity® program are as follows:  zzzz

Nicole Addison – front tire changer; is the only female over-the-wall crew member in NASCAR’s top-three series; currently the rear tire changer on ppc Racing’s No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race team; a 2004 D4D participant

Emmanuel McDaniel – front tire carrier; current D4D participant

John Boyd – rear tire carrier; current D4D participant

Todd Gordon (crew chief), Eric Duncan (rear tire changer), Scott Simpson (gas man), Lee Kinsey (jack man), Sean Ramos (catch can), Steve Plattenberger (car chief), Bryant Noggle (scorer), Jose Antonio Tame (spotter) a Mexico City, Mexico native, and Adrienne (Daisy) Zonneville, the only female engine tuner in the NBS, make up the rest of the No. 15 Roshfrans Ford Fusion race team.

In addition, ppc Racing will feature one crew member from the D4D program every day leading up to the race through its Web site, wwww.ppcracing.com.

“We are really excited about this great occasion for Nicole, Emmanuel, and John.  Our program is designed to offer opportunities for our participants in NASCAR and this partnership with ppc Racing is an example of the support we have gained for our talented participants,” said Bryan Kryder, Program Director of the Drive for Diversity® program.  “They have an experienced driver/crew chief combination, coupled with an able team going over the wall; ppc Racing is going to Mexico City to race for a win.  We wish them the best.” ppc

03/02/06
f1
The numbers game The numbers gameWinter testing ended on Tuesday for the Renault F1 Team. So what conclusions can be drawn already?

Pat Symonds told us as much last week, when we asked him about decoding the lap-times that come out of winter testing. As he tip-toed through the subject, his words were littered with phrases like ‘difficult job’ and ‘tricky exercise’. The message was clear: working out who is quick, and who’s not, is not exactly a mug’s game – but it can come close sometimes…

So what conclusions can we draw from winter testing? Well, task number one is to pay tribute to the men and women who have made it possible. During February, the test team spent 23 days out of 28 in Spain, working night and day (quite literally) to develop the R26.

Each year, it’s a superhuman effort, and that was the case again in 2006. “Everybody has worked extremely hard to be as ready as possible for the start of the season,” explained Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk last Tuesday in Valencia. “It is important to say a big thank-you to every member of the test team for the hard work they have done over the last eight weeks.”

A study of the numbers that have come out of the winter tests also gives plenty of reasons for reassurance. Not only have the Renaults consistently been around the top of the timesheets at every type of circuit during the winter, but they have run with impressive reliability since the track debut of the R26 and its RS26 V8 engine on 10 January in Jerez. zzzz

In spite of pushing the development of the R25 until the very last race of the 2005 season, the team hit its project milestones and had the R26 ready before Christmas for static testing. The car ran on the date planned 12 months beforehand, 10 January 2006, and by just two weeks later, there were two new cars available for the test team to work with. What’s more, the policy of only running the engine in the new car – quite late relative to our competitors – appears to have been a good solution.

In total, the R26 has now completed nearly 14,000 km – a 73% increase relative to the same stage in 2005. The cars are running an average of 12% further every day compared to 2005. There has been just one major reliability problem – the structural issue with the rear wing discovered in Jerez – that was resolved quickly and responsibly, without undue disruption to the test programme.

So does that mean everything is proceeding serenely to the first race? Far from it. The whole team is working harder than ever because there is one simple rule when it comes to being reliable: to take nothing for granted, and prepare every last detail as minutely as possible.

In the minds of the engineers, you are never reliable – simply one small step away from failure. It requires constant monitoring, management and evaluation to maintain the levels of quality that allow you to challenge for a championship. That detailed work is what’s happening this week at Enstone and Viry, before the equipment departs for Bahrain.

With such positive foundations during the pre-season preparations, what is the mood within the Renault F1 Team just one week ahead of the opening race?

“It has been a tough winter, with some very demanding engineering and logistics tasks to manage,” explained Chassis Technical Director Bob Bell. “Since then, though, our strong performance in winter testing has given everybody a genuine boost in motivation. It has been an intensive winter of preparation, and we sincerely believe we have a strong chance of successfully defending our championships.”

Those are the key values ahead of the 2006 F1 season. Pragmatism, realism, and the dogged determination to make the R26 into a package capable of spearheading a championship challenge, one small detail at a time. Renault PR

03/02/06
dtm
Heinz-Harald Frentzen debut in Audi A4 DTM Heinz-Harald Frentzen debut in Audi A4 DTMHeinz-Harald Frentzen made a good impression during his first test in the Audi A4 DTM. The former Formula 1 driver, who only signed his 2006 DTM contract at Audi on Monday, felt comfortable at the wheel of his new car immediately, and gave the Audi engineers’ precise comments about the A4 DTM car’s handling.
 
At the official DTM test in Vallelunga (Italy) Frentzen shared a 2006 Audi A4 DTM with Martin Tomczyk. A total of three evolution A4 DTM cars were in action, which have been labeled "R12 plus” internally at Audi Sport and were driven in Vallelunga by Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Martin Tomczyk, ex-DTM Champion Mattias Ekström and Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen.
 
The new factory teams Audi Sport Team Phoenix and Audi Sport Team Rosberg, which each tested with a year-old car (R12), were also in action for Audi in Vallelunga. Christian Abt, Pierre Kaffer, Timo Scheider and Frank Stippler were able to familiarize themselves with their new teams and the 2005 Audi A4 DTM. Newcomer Timo Scheider also got off to a good start in the A4. zzzz
 
Vanina Ickx was particularly hard-working: The DTM debutant who sat at the wheel of a DTM car for the first time completed a total of 269 laps over the course of the four-day test with the Team Midland 2004 Audi A4 DTM.
 
Before the season opener at Hockenheim on 9 April, another official DTM test will be held between 20 and 23 March at Brands Hatch (GB) where all Audi teams and drivers will run again.

Comments after the test in Vallelunga
 
Christian Abt (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
1:29.225 min. (109 laps)

"I felt comfortable in my new team and new car immediately. The two days in Vallelunga were very productive. We now have a good base for the next test. I think that result for a year-old car was extremely good.”
 
Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
1:28.480 min. (240 laps)

"It was a good test for us. We’d intended to do a lot; we got through almost everything on our test programme and came away with some interesting results which will help us along the way.”
 
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
1:29.485 min. (121 laps)
"I was extremely curious to find out exactly how the Audi A4 was to drive and to learn the team and how it works. I’ve satisfied my initial curiosity. The car is precise and reacts well to changes. The basic handling is very good.”
 
Pierre Kaffer (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
1:29.052 min. (181 laps)

"It was great to finally be able to sit in a race car again after the long winter break. We were able to test and try a whole host of things. The R12 is completely different to the R11 that I drove last year – and it is great fun.”
 
Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
1:28.455 min. (137 laps)
"Audi Sport just doesn’t sleep. The technicians have again had some great ideas, which we tested on the test car in Vallelunga. I hope that we can surprise the competition during the course of the year. I’m already looking forward to the next test in Brands Hatch.”
 
Vanina Ickx (Team Midland)
1:29.681 min. (269 laps)

"I was very impressed by the Audi A4 DTM – the engine has plenty of power, the brakes are amazing, the car reacts sensitively to small changes. I learnt a lot during my first DTM test and was even able to compare my laps with those of Mattias (Ekström). It was however very strenuous to drive on four consecutive days.”
 
Timo Scheider (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
1:29.018 min. (180 laps)
"It’s a great feeling to be back in the DTM. I felt comfortable in the Audi A4 DTM immediately and it was fun to drive from the off. I was able to feel the car on the limit relatively early on, which was an important factor for me to be able to say: I’m get along fine.”
 
Frank Stippler (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
1:29.478 min. (132 laps)
"I tried a different driving style, which didn’t work quite as well as I’d expected. That’s why I didn’t get down to a time. Because there aren’t so many opportunities to test in the DTM I broke off the experiment and went back to my old driving style, which worked very well.”
 
Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
1:28.951 min. (252 laps)
"I drove the new car for the first time and got behind the wheel again for the first time since the 2005 season finale at Hockenheim. I used the time to get used to my old race engineer again and get through my test programme. I feel comfortable in the car and notice the changes that were made over the winter.”

03/02/06
Track News
Humpy to make Lowe's a Drive-In Theater Humpy to make Lowe's a Drive-In TheaterSpeedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) President Humpy Wheeler is negotiating to bring the world premiere of Pixar’s “Cars” to Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS). The movie is scheduled to debut in theaters June 9, but talks “center on a May 26 premiere, two days before the Coca-Cola 600” at the track. LMS Senior VP/Events Jerry Gappens said that if LMS lands the premiere, it would “transform the track into a big outdoor theater, similar to premieres held in” Central Park in N.Y. Bell & Toppman note Wheeler in the film voices the character Tex, who owns the fictional company Dinoco and “sponsors reigning Piston Cup champ The King, voiced by Richard Petty” CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
03/02/06
Track News
AMS Announces Plans For Facility Upgrades AMS Announces Plans For Facility UpgradesAtlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) announced the addition of more than 13,000 seats in the newly-created Winners Grandstand on Turn One in time for the Bass Pro Shops 500 race weekend October 27-29. The grandstand will feature over 7,700 individual chair seats and 5,300 bench seats. The chair-back seats will cost $495 per year and will include both the March and October race weekends. The bench seats will be available on an event basis. Also being added will be an upscale Trackside Terrace camping section on the backstretch with parking spots for over 90 RVs and “Club One,” a luxury-seating option that will offer a rooftop observation deck for members. About 1,000 Club One seats will be sold on an annual basis for $1,595 each. AMS
03/02/06
f1
Rain slows Ferrari at Mugello again Rain slows Ferrari at Mugello againFourth day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working again today at the Mugello circuit. Yet again today, bad weather hindered progress for the team. Rain which fell in the morning meant the track conditions were unsuitable for the planned program. Schumacher covered just 43 laps, preferring to spare the car for tomorrow. His best time was a 1'29"047. The Scuderia continues testing at Mugello tomorrow, with Michael Schumacher still at the wheel of the 248 F1. Ferrari
03/02/06
Track News
cc
Champ Car Tour to stop in Portland Champ Car Tour to stop in PortlandChamp Car World Series superstars and officials will wing into Portland on the afternoon of  Monday, March 13th  as the third leg of the six day, three country,  twelve city Turbo Tour 2006.  The Turbo Tour 2006 is another in a long list of initiatives by the Champ Car World Series to grow the excitement for the series in 2006 and show their commitment to the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by G.I. Joe’s to be held June 16-18, 2006.

The Portland Turbo Tour stop will be highlighted by the Turbo Tour Fan Forum to be held at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront on Monday, March 13th from 7:30-9:00PM. It will be an open Q & A Forum for all in attendance.

The forum is open for all fans, media and interested parties. Space is limited so those interested in attending will need to sign up at www.champcar.ws and click on the Portland Fan Forum icon on the front page.

Portland will be the third stop on Turbo Tour 2006 with two-time defending champion Sebastien Bourdais, being joined by 2003 champion Paul Tracy, 2004 Champ Car rookie of the year A.J. Allmendinger and 2002 rookie of the year Mario Dominguez. zzzz 

This group of veterans will be joined by 2006 rookie of the year candidate Katherine Legge who comes off a remarkable 2005 Champ Car Atlantic Series (formerly Toyota Atlantic).   Legge became the first woman to win an open wheel race in North America when she took the checker at Long Beach in the Series opener and then put back to back wins together in Edmonton and San Jose. She finished third in the series standings in the Atlantic Series with 5 podium finishes. She will be driving for PKV racing this coming season.

Champ Car President Steve Johnson will be leading a group of Champ Car officials, which also includes, Tony Cotman, VP of Operations; and Lon Bromley, Safety Director.; as well as other drivers and personalities to be announced on the tour.

Tickets to the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by G.I. Joes are available at all G.I. Joe’s/Fred Meyer Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or more information call the event office at 503.821.4344

Why: Superstars and officials of the Champ Car World Series will be flying into Portland on the evening of Monday March 13th to kickoff the Champ Car Turbo Tour and to promote the upcoming Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by G.I. Joe’s June 16-18, 2006

Who: Scheduled to appear will be Champ Car superstars Sebastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy, AJ Allmendinger and Mario Dominguez; New to the PKV Racing team, Katherine Legge; as well as Albert Unser III from the Atlantic Series (pending confirmation).  Champ Car President Steve Johnson will also be in town as well as other Champ Car officials.

When: Monday March 13th, 7:30 – 9pm

Where: Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront
1401 SW Naito Parkway Portland, OR 97201
Map: http://marriott.com/property/propertypage/PDXOR

How: The event is open for all fans, media, sponsor’s and invited guests.  Space is limited and you will need to sign up at www.champcar.ws and click on the Portland Fan Forum icon on the Front Page.  Direct link is:
http://www.champcarworldseries.com/OneOf/2006/TurboTour/index.htm

Forum: The Champ Car Turbo Tour Fan Forum will be an open Q & A Forum for fans, media and sponsor’s alike.  Feel free to bring your Champ Car gear to get signed.  Lucky fans will receive a free Pace Car Ride and memberships to the VIP 200 Club

03/02/06
ips
Indy Pro Series Coming of Age Indy Pro Series Coming of AgeINDIANAPOLIS - With groundwork having been laid for four years, the Indy Racing League Indy Pro Series should continue to come of age in 2006. The pot has been sweetened - with prize money tripled to $3 million - and the playing field leveled - with an even mix of six ovals and six road courses. For the first time in series history, the reigning champion will be back. The battle for the Firestone Firehawk Cup will be the most intense ever, while providing even more opportunities for drivers to advance their skills. Teams begin their quest for glory March 4-6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the series' only pre-season Open Test.

Show Me The Money

Competitors in the Indy Pro Series will be competing for $3 million in prize money in 2006. While race winners will still earn a premium, the increase of prize money is spread throughout the field, giving all the "little guys" a reason to compete. Even an 18th-place finish pays $10,000.

"Our previous payout schedule was 20 years old, much like other series' still are," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Indy Pro Series. "It was time for an increase, and this distribution plan rewards each and every team that takes the green flag." zzzz

Balanced Schedule

After incorporating four road-course races into the schedule in 2005, the Indy Pro Series goes a step further in 2006, moving to an even mix of six races on ovals and six races on road courses. The series' first-ever doubleheader will feature two races on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. Following single races on the road courses at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen International, the series also features a doubleheader at Infineon Raceway.

The oval races give drivers experience on the tight 1-mile at Milwaukee, the high banks at Homestead-Miami and Chicagoland, and the thrill of driving on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 "The Indy Pro Series continues to evolve as the perfect stepping stone into the IRL IndyCar Series," Bailey said. "We have a nice blend of oval tracks, ranging from one mile to two-and-a-half miles, and we've aggressively increased the number of road-course races to appeal to an even greater number of young, talented drivers."

Two Races At Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the most famous racetrack in motorsports. The Indy Pro Series is the only racing series in the world that races at the facility twice each year, once on the oval and once on the road course.

In 2006, the series will hold the Freedom 100 on the 2.5-mile oval on Friday, May 26 as part of "Carb Day." Five weeks later, the series will return to the facility for the Liberty Challenge on the 2.605-mile road course during the United States Grand Prix weekend.

"Last year's Freedom 100 epitomized the racing of the Indy Pro Series," Bailey said. "We saw numerous lead changes, side-by-side racing and a late shootout for the checkered flag. To be able to showcase that type of racing at a venue like Indianapolis is extraordinary."

Cunningham Returns To Defend Title

Prior to 2005, Wade Cunningham had never competed on an oval. That didn't stop the former World Karting Champion. He recorded 13 top-five finishes in 14 races and capped his season with a victory on the 2-mile oval at California Speedway to claim the Indy Pro Series championship. The 21-year-old will return with Brian Stewart Racing in 2006.

"Wade is an outstanding racer," Bailey said. "We're excited to have him return in 2006 to battle for another title. He'll have strong competition from some of our other returning drivers as well as a large crop of talented rookies."

Learning and Growing

While the racers battle on the track for the Firestone Firehawk Cup, the ultimate reward is the opportunity to enhance their skills and advance to the IndyCar Series. While five drivers have parlayed their Indy Pro Series experience into a ride in the Indianapolis 500 in the first four seasons, new testing rules in place in 2006 will provide drivers more seat time in an IndyCar Series car.

"Our new testing policy allows teams that compete in both the IndyCar Series and the Indy Pro Series to gain additional testing days," Bailey said. "The payoff for Indy Pro Series drivers is the requirement that they spend at least half of the bonus test days in the IndyCar Series car."

Big money, a challenging mix of circuits, fierce on-track competition and career growth will be the hallmarks of the Indy Pro Series in 2006. IRL

03/02/06
nascar
Daytona 500: The Fragrance Daytona 500: The FragranceElizabeth Arden announced last week in Daytona Beach that the company would make a new fragrance called 'Daytona 500.' The fragrance maker describes the scent as opening "with top notes of yuzu, bergamot and mandarin. Heart notes include tarragon, sage, maté and a watery accord, while the base comprises nutmeg, cardamom, amber and sandalwood." The packaging is interesting in and of itself -- the top is shaped like a wheel wrapped in a thin rubber tire.
03/02/06
WTCC
WTCC hires RSM to promote series WTCC hires RSM to promote seriesThe FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) has appointed marketing agency RSM to implement a PR and promotions campaign to raise its profile.

RSM is tasked with broadening the WTCC’s audience reach, particularly via lifestyle media, as the 10-round series moves into its second year.

RSM will devise and implement a pan-European campaign focusing on the WTCC’s six key markets - France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

Jacques Behar, president of WTCC promoter KSO Ltd, commented: “The WTCC delivered great entertainment in its first year to the millions of fans who watched it on TV or came to the races, but it deserves to be better known.”

In its inaugural season the WTCC attracted factory-supported teams like Alfa Romeo, BMW, Chevrolet, and SEAT, as well as a number of former Formula One and IndyCar drivers.

03/02/06
f1
Williams wraps up preseason testing Williams wraps up preseason testingThis week’s test at the Valencia circuit in Spain concluded the WilliamsF1 Team’s preparations ahead of the 2006 FIA World Championship, which starts next weekend in Bahrain. Since the start of the winter test program at the end of November, the team has completed 42 days of testing, at three race tracks, covering an average of 400kms per day. Five drivers, Webber, Rosberg, Wurz, Karthikeyan, Priaulx and Oliveira, have contributed a combined total of 126 days to the development of the FW28, recording 17,000kms of testing between them.

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1 Team:
“We have now concluded our winter testing program in preparation for the first race in Bahrain next week. Everything has gone well with the mechanical and aerodynamic developments of the car and we are ready to race! We have refreshed partnerships with Cosworth and Bridgestone and together we have come a long way in the last four months. Everyone at Grove and Northampton, as well as the test team crews in Spain, have all worked tirelessly over the winter to bring the FW28 to the level it is at now, covering over 17,000kms in the process. Now the big question that everyone is asking is - who is quick? Pace is notoriously difficult to judge during winter testing due to cars being at different stages of development and variable track temperatures having a big influence on performance. In addition this year, we have another variable in the V8 engines, and all the engine manufacturers are at different stages of development. For the start of this season, however, our target is to put Williams back at the sharp end of the grid.”

Simon Corbyn, Head of F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth:
“This week’s test in Valencia concluded an intensive winter test program for Cosworth and Williams. The week’s objectives were to push the mileage limits up on the test engines and to complete final operational checks. It’s been a hectic winter and everyone at Cosworth has put a massive amount of effort into the program. Overall progress on engine development has been good and all the engines for Bahrain are built to the latest Series 2 specification.” Williams F1

03/02/06
f1
Renault packs for Bahrain Renault packs for BahrainAs the man in charge of logistics at Viry, Jean-Pierre Raymond is responsible for getting the engines to the first race on time. The task involves extremely detailed preparation...

Steve Nielsen, the team’s sporting manager, said Enstone was buzzing with activity last week. What’s it like at Viry?
"Exactly the same! The factory is humming with activity, and that’s always part of the atmosphere before the first race. We are checking our inventories, and following up the last minute details, but in a controlled way: there is what you might call a positive stress in the team. It helps that we are going to familiar surroundings: even though this is Bahrain’s first time as the opening race, we have already been there twice. And everybody’s raring to go after four months without a race."

What needs to be done between now and the end of the week?
"Lots! Firstly, we need to ensure our equipment (engines and freight) is ready for Friday. We need to complete the customs procedures. The team’s trucks will then leave Viry and head for the UK. On Saturday, they will arrive at Stansted airport, north of London, and from there the equipment will depart for the Middle East. We must be on time with this major task, and also work through the other minor jobs that need doing. That ranges from distributing all the plane tickets to turning up 200 pairs of trousers!"

Do you work in coordination with Enstone?
"Of course. Steve (Nielsen) and I are in regular contact. Each side distributes a detailed itinerary, which we send each other. That means we know exactly what each side is doing. We try and give each other a hand with the logistics whenever possible." zzzz

Who is responsible for transporting the engines?
"Formula One Management is in charge of our material from Stansted to the track. The rest is left to the teams."

How much freight do you send from Viry?
"We should take six engines to the first race, plus all of our pit equipment. In total, we will be sending eight tones of freight to Bahrain this year."

Presumably, your role doesn’t finish once the engines get to the garage on time...
"Once we have arrived, we provide a continuous logistical back-up. This includes managing day-to-day issues, such as confirming hotel rooms for the following races, urgent transportation of individual components or sending engines back to Europe, but also dealing with other unusual circumstances. In this job, you need to be ready to deal with any unpredictable situation… and to find a solution quickly!"

Any examples?
"If one of the team from Viry fell ill, or was injured, we need to be able to react immediately. That means we always have a list of potential replacements ready, and they already have team kit and visas for the opening race, and they already have team kit and visas for the opening race. We hold seats on flights to Bahrain until next Saturday. Just in case… You can’t ever afford to be caught out."

Does the job ever keep you awake at night?
"Not any more. Experience counts for a lot: we have a list of past problems for every country we visit, and the solutions we have put in place. But we still need to expect the unexpected, and never take things for granted. That’s what makes the job fun – there’s never a chance of getting bored!" Renault
03/02/06
nascar
NFL Quarterback Favre takes laps around Homestead NFL Quarterback Favre takes laps around HomesteadTuesday No. 4 was in the No. 6 car, and moving quite a bit faster than he does on the field. Shortly after 1 p.m. today, a relaxed, smiling Brett Favre arrived casually-dressed (hat, t-shirt, shorts, sneakers) at Homestead Miami Speedway. Top NASCAR drivers Carl Edwards, Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler were already there, for a Ford promotional event. Sun-Sentinel Season Ticket Blog
03/02/06
nascar
Roush among Texas Motor Sports hall Honorees Roush among Texas Motor Sports hall HonoreesDrag racing legend Kenny Bernstein and Indy-car designer and team owner Jim Hall are the 2006 inductees into the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Other honorees include NASCAR team owner Jack Roush, winner of the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year Award, and former NHRA racer Raymond Beadle, winner of the Bruton Smith Legends Award. Dallas resident David Starr, one of the top drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, is the recipient of the 2006 TMS Sportsmanship Award. Dallas Morning News
03/02/06
Racing News
IHRA inks title sponsor IHRA inks title sponsorEntertainMax Worldwide, Inc. a company partly owned by EMAX Holdings, Corp., has entered into a multi-year agreement to be title sponsor of the 11-event IHRA Drag Racing Series.

EntertainMax, a multimedia, entertainment and broadcasting company, will partner with the sanctioning body, which enters its 36th year in 2006. As part of the announcement, EntertainMax will deliver cross-promotional entertainment packages, including a live concert series to be held during select national events for the 2006 season. The company will also provide marketing and promotional support, including advertising during IHRA’s television broadcast on Speed Channel.

“EntertainMax offers a unique opportunity for IHRA to further increase the entertainment value of our national events while tapping into segments of the American public un-touched by the drag racing world,” said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. “We’re excited to welcome eMAX on-board. The depth of the company and its various divisions will eMax replaces Hooters Restaurants as title sponsor of the IHRA Drag Racing Series. Hooters is now the presenting sponsor of the street legal racing and lifestyle event series, Kumho Street Warriorz presented by Hooters.

03/02/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Renault to set '06 pace - Schumacher
Winkelhock, not Mondini, to drive in Bahrain
Montagny pens Aguri deal
Ferrari unsure about winter end
Richards' company to build F1-style HQ
Speed targets teammate scalp
Mosley revs up pressure on F1 rebels
Brit GP official jailed
Coulthard must earn '07 seat
'Fiorano' unveiled
Rossi saga is 'ok' with Massa
Toro Rosso livery set to stun
03/02/06
wsr
Kerr and McIntosh to pair for 2006 World Series by Renault Kerr and McIntosh to pair for 2006 World Series by RenaultLondon, England - Having had the honor of racing for their respective nations in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix Series, it was announced today that Britain's Robbie Kerr and Canada's Sean McIntosh will be paired together as team-mates in the 2006 World Series by Renault competing for the Belgian-run Team KTR.

The decision to place two of A1GP's most exciting talents together for the 2006 season came following a meeting at the last round of the 'World Cup of Motorsport' in Monterrey, Mexico where Wade Cherwayko, Seatholder for A1 Team Canada, and John Surtees, Team Principal for A1 Team Great Britain and 1964 Formula One World Champion (Ferrari), decided on an extension of their driver development programme which was first initiated with the creation of the A1GP Series and the opportunities initially offered to Kerr and McIntosh to race for their countries.

Kerr (26) from Burbage, winner of the prestigious British Formula Three Championship in 2002 and a six-time podium finisher this season in A1GP, and McIntosh (20) from Vancouver, runner-up in the 2005 Formula Renault UK Championship with five victories and already an A1GP winner (Round 8 - Indonesia), look set to form a considerable driver pairing for Team KTR in the World Series by Renault. The Belgian outfit, run by Kurt Mollekens, already boasts a race-winning pedigree with the team finishing third overall in 2005. zzzz

"For a number of years I've thought a system needed to be put in place to assist drivers in developing their careers," John Surtees explained. "My experience in recent years with karting and Buckmore Park Kart Circuit only confirmed the need for this. Having come together with Wade Cherwayko in the A1 Grand Prix programme we have now created an opportunity to give drivers the superb opportunity of a year-round racing programme incorporating the regular season as well as the winter racing offered by A1GP, but importantly, this is all on the world stage which is vital if they wish to progress their careers."

He continued, "Needless to say we also feel our programme will be attractive to businesses and we hope to attract partners who see the benefits of being involved with a unique opportunity for networking and business expansion off the back of a continuous marketing platform incorporating the World Series by Renault, with the added benefit of the association and support of the reigning Formula One World Champion's, and the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, through the concept of one nation, one car and the ability to reach into world markets as populous as the likes of China, India and the U.S."

Francois Sicard, Sporting Director for the World Series by Renault is similarly excited by the prospect of adding Robbie and Sean's driving talents to the depth of competition signed up for this year's championship.

"I'm very pleased to welcome Robbie Kerr and Sean McIntosh to our series. Both drivers have accomplished records and we've been aware of their talents for some time." "Robbie sampled our Euro V6 series back in 2004 following his F3 championship success and Sean is a multiple race winner in the Formula Renault UK Championship and of course, a recent A1GP winner. I'm delighted that we have drivers representing Great Britain and Canada in our series and I'm equally pleased that John Surtees recognizes the platform offered by the Renault development ladder. We've been talking to John for a while now and I'm pleased that by placing Robbie and Sean with KTR they're going to be competing for one of the strongest team's on the grid. Everything's in place for a great 2006 season!"

Leading A1 Team Great Britain to third place in the current A1GP Nations Standings with two rounds remaining, Robbie Kerr's looking ahead to working with Team KTR when the new season begins. "It's going to be good working with Kurt (Mollekens)," said Kerr. "He's a good experienced guy who was also a superb driver. He knows what he's watching when he sees you out on the circuit which will be a fantastic help in continuing to improve as the season progresses. I'm grateful to Wade and to John for this opportunity and I hope I can repay it with a shot at the title."

Sean McIntosh, who was involved in the closest Formula Renault UK Championship title fight in 15 years last season, shares his new team-mate's enthusiasm. "This is a very exciting opportunity for 2006 after a successful season in the Formula Renault UK Championship last year. I'm excited to be staying within the Renault development ladder for another year, this time at the next level in the World Series. I've learned a lot from racing in A1GP over the winter, not least in driving a higher horse-powered car so I feel I'm heading into the regular season more experienced and with more confidence.

"To be involved in this kind of driver development programme, of which I have to thank both Wade and John, is something that every driver dreams of. I know there's plenty more hard work to be done to keep moving but it's an awesome opportunity and there's already a track record of drivers moving up to F1 from the World Series with Robert Kubica winning last season's championship and signing with BMW-Sauber. Ultimately it's an honor for me to continue to represent Canada in European motorsport."

Bridging the gap between Formula Renault 2.0 and the Renault-powered GP2 Series, Formula One's official feeder-series, the World Series by Renault offers competitors the chance to race across Europe behind the wheel of a 425bhp, 3.5-litre Renault-powered Dallara. Competing at such illustrious circuits as Monaco, Spa and Le Mans, Kerr and McIntosh will have the opportunity to hone their driving skills on some of the world's classic race tracks starting with Zolder in Belgium at the end of April, the first meeting of the 9- round, 18-race 2006 schedule.

03/01/06
irl
IRL: What's New For 2006 IRL: What's New For 2006The IRL IndyCar® Series teams continue preparation for the 2006 season with a three-day Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Cars will run on the 2.21-mile road course on March 2-3 and on the 1.5-mile oval on March 5. Here's a look at some of the changes for 2006.

One engine for everyone
. The IndyCar Series will be powered by Honda Racing Indy HI6R V-8 engines exclusively beginning this season. With all teams having equal access to equipment, it could be one of the most competitive seasons in IndyCar Series history.

Ethanol-blended fuel debuts
. The IndyCar Series, which has been recognized for its technical leadership in automobile racing, is now the motorsports leader in renewable and environmentally responsible fuel produced in America. The Honda V-8 engines in 2006 are powered by an ethanol/methanol blend (methanol had been the fuel since the Indy Racing League's inception). In 2007, 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol will flow through the systems. The 2006 season will not be the first time ethanol has powered a car in the famed Indianapolis 500. At the 1927 race, a car driven by Leon Duray experimented with using ethyl (grain) alcohols.

"I am INDY"
. The Indy Racing League has forged a marketing alliance with rock legend Gene Simmons and entertainment industry veteran Richard Abramson, principals in the Hollywood-based Simmons Abramson Marketing company. The broad-based agreement will see Simmons Abramson Marketing actively engaged in the league's marketing, event, public relations, sponsorship, merchandising and branding efforts -- from its IndyCar Series to the venerable Indianapolis 500. The centerpiece of the relationship is the new "I am INDY" campaign. zzzz

Old Faces in New Places:
. 2005 IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon will defend his championship with a new team - Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The team has switched to Dallara chassis for Wheldon and 2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
. Vitor Meira, who finished seventh in points in 2005 and is considered the best IndyCar Series driver yet to win a race, moves to the familiar No. 4 of Panther Racing.
. Two-time IndyCar Series race winner Tomas Scheckter joins Vision Racing's two-car effort as teammate to Ed Carpenter. Scheckter will drive the No. 2 Honda-powered Dallara for Vision.
. 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier returns to the IndyCar Series full-time with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Lazier will drive the No. 5 Honda-powered Dallara.
. Paul Dana, whose rookie season ended when he was injured in an accident while practicing for the Indianapolis 500, will again compete for Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors. Dana, and the sponsorship from Team Ethanol, moves to Rahal Letterman Racing.

Marco Arrives:
. Third-generation driver Marco Andretti steps up from the Indy Pro Series as driver of the IndyCar Series championship-winning No. 26 Honda-powered Dallara. Andretti's car will carry the Arca Ex colors, with Klein Tools and Jim Beam moving to the car of teammate Dario Franchitti. Andretti is also a candidate for Bombardier Rookie of the Year.

Return to Racing:
. Open-wheel racing standout Michael Andretti ends his three-year retirement this season to race against his son. Andretti will drive the No. 1 Vonage/Jim Beam Honda-powered Dallara at the 90th Indianapolis 500 in May.
. 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever also ends a three-year hiatus to race in the IndyCar Series. Cheever will drive his own No. 51 Cheever Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone in at least the first four races of 2006.

03/01/06
nascar
cc
Fitz and Contreras join forces to create new NASCAR Mexico team Fitz and Contreras join forces to create new NASCAR Mexico team[Editor's Note: Recall we predicted two years ago that once NASCAR got their foot in the door in Mexico all the sponsorship money would move from Champ Car into NASCAR.   It's happening.  Eight Mexican drivers sponsored for the Busch race this weekend and now this new team.  Meanwhile Mexican sponsorship of Champ Car has all but dried up.]

Mooresville, NC – NASCAR Busch Series team owner Armando Fitz has joined forces with NASCAR's first Hispanic driver, Carlos Contreras, to establish a new NASCAR Mexico team – FitzContreras Racing.  The team will run all 14 races in the 2006 Desafio Corona schedule beginning with the 1st scheduled race in Guadalajara Mexico on March 26th 2006. The announcement of the team's primary sponsor will be made at a press conference at the Camino Real Hotel in Polanco (Mexico City) Friday March 3 rd at 7pm.

"I am proud to be involved with FitzContreras Racing," Fitz said. "I started my relationship with Carlos Contreras last year when he ran some races for us in the NASCAR Busch Series.   I've spent the last couple of years learning about the Mexican series and this past year decided to venture out with Carlos in the creation of FCR."

"I couldn't be happier to announce the creation of FitzContreras Racing," stated Contreras. "Armando and I have the same ambitions and those are to win and to help stimulate diversity in NASCAR's different series'. I will continue to work towards that in the Busch series with FitzBradshaw Racing while now also providing young drivers with an opportunity to some day compete in NASCAR's top series."

Like FitzBradshaw Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series, FitzContreras Racing will also field a Dodge Charger. FCR will be one of three teams running Dodges in the Mexico series and the only to run the Charger (others running Stratus). zzzz 

"Dodge supports Diversity in our driver development program and applaud Armando and Carlos for their efforts in this area." said John Fernandez, the Director of Dodge Motorsports Operations.

"Dodge has been a tremendous support for FitzBradshaw in the NASCAR Busch Series," said Fitz. "We are very happy to be racing a Dodge Charger in our ventures into Mexico. We hope to bring them many successes in Mexico and plan to represent them the best way we can."

Ruben Pardo, 26, will drive the No. 14 Dodge Charger in FCR's inaugural season in the series. Pardo has 18 top-5 finishes in 24 Desafio Corona series races, including three wins and one pole. Pardo is also slated to drive for the team in select 2006 Busch East Series races.

03/01/06
nascar
Atlanta scrambles to up HOF bid Atlanta scrambles to up HOF bidIf a published report that Charlotte will be announced as the site of NASCAR's Hall of Fame on March 6 is correct, it's news to A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress. Robinson spoke with NASCAR representatives Wednesday prior to releasing the city's new, $102 million bid this afternoon.

The entire bid is backed by the government, $25 million from the state of Georgia and $77 million from the city itself; including a $15 million grant from the city's Tax Allocation District program and $62 million in city-backed bonds according to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

"Georgia's exceptional financial commitment coupled with our ability to immediately attract tourists from across the globe give us what I believe to be the winning bid for the NASCAR Hall of Fame," Gov. Sonny Perdue said in a statement. "The state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta stand poised and ready to welcome NASCAR as the newest member of our family."

But if a report in Wednesday's Charlotte Observer is correct, Atlanta's last-ditch attempt may be nothing more than posturing. The Observer reports that NASCAR will announce its decision next Monday in Charlotte. Prior to releasing the revamped bid, Robinson said he'd not been told of a decision, but added that he's not sure whether or not the Charlotte committee has heard something more definitive from NASCAR about where the process stands.  More at Daily Scene

03/01/06
nascar
Mexican lands full-time Busch Series ride Mexican lands full-time Busch Series rideUPDATE
Jorge Goeters on racing in Mexico:
“I think it’s going to be the most exciting race on the Busch Series schedule.  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 Goeters on racing for Brewco Motorsports:
“It is one of my dreams to be part of a Brewco team.  They are one of the best in the NASCAR Busch Series.  I watched the progression of the team last season and I’m excited to be in their car again.”    

Crew Chief Newt Moore on returning to Mexico City with Goeters:
“Jorge is a great driver to work with.  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.”

02/28/06 Jorge Goeters, who will compete this weekend in the Telcel-Motorola 200 with Brewco Motorsports, said Tuesday that he will drive the rest of the season with Jay Robinson Racing.

Goeters said he will bring some sponsorship with him from Xtreme Gel, but the team is looking for additional sponsorship.

Delighting his hometown fans as the polesitter for the Mexico race in 2005, Goeters competed in three Busch Series events and one Nextel Cup event in 2005. He finished ninth in the Busch Series race at Watkins Glen.

There are currently no Mexican drivers running full time in any of the three national NASCAR touring series. Daily Scene

03/01/06
Industry News
Toyota USA reports best ever February, Americans flounder Toyota USA reports best ever February, Americans flounderUPDATE Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday said U.S. sales fell 4 percent, as it prepares to cut second-quarter production from year-earlier levels.  Ford said it plans to produce 890,000 vehicles in the second quarter, down from 906,000 units a year earlier.

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group said that its U.S. sales rose 3 percent in February from a year ago, boosted by new vehicles and a financing incentive.

03/01/06 Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported best-ever February sales of 166,940 units, an increase of 2.4 percent over the same period last year.

"First quarter economic growth is proving quite robust," said Jim Press, TMS president and COO. "With showrooms awash in new products and the spring selling season upon us, the industry should be going strong in March."

The Toyota Division recorded best-ever February sales of 145,813, an increase of 1.7 percent. The Lexus Division posted best-ever February sales of 21,127 units, up 7.1 percent over last February.

Meanwhile, General Motors dealers in the United States in February posted a retail sales improvement of 1 percent. Total deliveries were 301,545 new cars and trucks, down 2.5 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Total car sales were down 13 percent, and truck sales were up 5 percent. Calendar year sales are up 1.4 percent.

03/01/06
track news
Mid-Ohio adds staff Mid-Ohio adds staffTrueSports, Incorporated, owner and operator of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School, today announced a pair of staff additions in its communications and operations departments. 

Longtime TrueSports employee Cheryl Meadows has returned to the firm as call center and accounting manager, while Rebecca Ackford has joined the company as media and communications coordinator. 
                                                                    
“We’re pleased to have Cheryl back with us and to welcome Becky to our team,” said TrueSports President Michelle Trueman Gajoch.  “Their experience and enthusiasm will be invaluable as we open one of our biggest seasons yet and continue to build our business.” zzzz

Meadows has held numerous positions over a 23-year career with the company.  She previously served as an accountant, ticket office manager, event administrator, registrar and volunteer coordinator.  She will now be responsible for call center operations for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and accounting for The Mid-Ohio School. 

Ackford will manage all corporate and event media relations, as well as sponsor, participant, industry and community public relations activities.  She also will oversee the creation and production of company and event publications, and assist with event promotions. 

A recent graduate of the Sport Management Master’s Degree Program at The Ohio State University, Ackford has completed marketing internships with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and MAX Sports Center.  She was previously a promotions manager for the Athletics Department at Miami University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in health and sports studies.

03/01/06
irl
Dreyer and Reinbold Racing returns with Lazier Dreyer and Reinbold Racing returns with LazierDreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that 2000 IRL IndyCar® Series champion Buddy Lazier will race for the team during the 2006 IndyCar Series season.

Lazier, the 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner, will drive the No. 5 Honda-powered Dallara in his second stint with the team. He first drove for the team in the 88th Indianapolis 500 as part of a joint effort with Hemelgarn Racing.

"We've had continuing discussions with Buddy since he drove for us in 2004," team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "Robbie (Buhl) and I are thrilled to have his championship caliber rejoin the team because we know he's committed to succeeding and that he's willing to drive the wheels off of the race car to do it."

Lazier's hiring is one of a number of changes the team plans to unveil this season. Also included are a new number, a new paint scheme and a number of additional personnel. zzzz 

"We wanted to shake things up this year for a fresh start, so changing and improving things to meet the stiff competition has been our focus," Reinbold said.

Lazier will make his debut with the team at the IndyCar Series Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 2.

"I've enjoyed my past relationship with Dennis, Robbie and everyone at DRR," Lazier said. "We have almost a month of hard work until our first race and ample time to test at Homestead this weekend to reacquaint ourselves. We look forward to a strong season and ramping up to build podium finishes on a regular basis."

Returning for its third season with DRR is Indianapolis-based Roll Coater, which coats steel for multiple industrial uses. Also joining the team is Escort Radar Detectors.  "Racing for Kids", for whom Buhl has served as national spokesman since 1989, will also partner with the team.
 
"Buddy's successful driving record speaks for itself," said Buhl. "He clearly knows his way around the racetrack, and I look forward to him joining our pre-race hospital visits on behalf of Racing for Kids."

Among the league's most experienced drivers, Lazier has started 91 IndyCar Series races, with eight wins, a pole, and 26 top-five finishes. Last season, he made six starts for Panther Racing with a top finish of fifth at the Indianapolis 500. IRL

03/01/06
ga
GAINSCO Auto Insurance Mexico City Racing Preview GAINSCO Auto Insurance Mexico City Racing PreviewThere’s an old saying — history is written by the victors. This weekend, Alex Gurney, Bob Stallings and the GAINSCO Auto Insurance/Blackhawk Racing Daytona Prototype team hope to be able to write their own chapter in the record books at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, as the fabled road course plays host this weekend to the second round of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.

The team struggled to overcome a crash and an array of mechanical failures at the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in late January, but came together to give Stallings and Gurney a car that made it to the checkered flag despite multitude of handicaps. Now the GAINSCO Auto Insurance squad will take on the task of bringing the team into the top-10 in Daytona Prototype points for the first time in its history.

“We are excited to return to Mexico City," Stallings, who co-owns the team, said. "It will be a slightly different track configuration this year, but none the less, it is a great circuit with a lot of history. I enjoy driving this track, and we feel good about our chances. I am sure we will have a fast set-up, and as usual, Alex (Gurney) will be quick. Mexico City is an exciting event for us because of GAINSCO Auto Insurance, our primary sponsor. Almost three-quarters of GAINSCO’s customer base are Hispanic, so we feel right at home with that sponsorship in place and intend to represent GAINSCO and their customers well in Mexico City.”

At last year's Grand-Am season finale here, Gurney set blistering times in the No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley, and overcame an early-race spin that cost the team a lap, to make it nearly back into the top-10. Alex is confident that this time around, the GAINSCO machine will record an even stronger — and trouble-free — finish.

“I really enjoyed the race last year in Mexico City. I had a great dice with Michael Valiante in the closing laps, unfortunately for 13th! Although we went a lap down early in the race after a spin, we were able to maintain the leader's pace the rest of the race. I hope this time around we can have a trouble free race and establish a solid place in the championship for the GAINSCO team. I'm really excited about the ‘Peraltada’; this should be a very quick corner in a Daytona prototype. With the esses just before, this circuit is a big challenge every time around.”

One question that does concern the team is the issue of horsepower and weight for their Pontiac-powered machine. Gurney’s comments were pointed — “I believe the penalties that Grand Am established have hit the Pontiac teams the hardest and that will make it extremely hard to pass, as we saw at Daytona. Despite this, we will be giving it everything for a top result,” Alex said.

03/01/06
track news
Toyota GP of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity race lineup Toyota GP of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity race lineupWilliam Shatner, Patrick Dempsey, John Elway and Martina Navratilova are among the expected field of drivers from film, TV and sports who will battle it out with seven professional drivers April 8 in the 30th Anniversary Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, part of the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.

And, the 10-lap dash for charity will have something new this year - each driver will be behind the wheel of a race-ready Scion tC, the new official car of the event held on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn street circuit.  Practice/qualifying sessions will be held Fri., April 7, with the field expected to take the green flag at 12:15 p.m. Sat., April 8.

Joining Shatner (Captain Kirk in "Star Trek;" "Boston Legal"), NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Elway and International Tennis Hall of Fame Navratilova in the "amateur" ranks will be:

· Antonio Sabato Jr. ("Bold and the Beautiful;" "Melrose Place")
· Bo Bice (RCA recording artist; American Idol season 4 runner-up)
· Bucky Lasek (Pro skateboarder, X Games gold medalist)
· Dave Mirra (Pro BMX rider, 14 medals at X Games)
· Paul Caine (Publisher, PEOPLE Magazine)
· Roger Cross ("24;" "Taken;" "Peacemaker")
· Shannon Miller (1996 Olympic Gold Medalist gymnast)
· William Fichtner ("Invasion;" "The Longest Yard;" "Crash")
· Xzibit (Host of MTV's "Pimp My Ride;" "8 Mile")
· Thom Naito, business analyst and on-line Grand Prix Foundation charity auction winner

They'll be rubbing fenders with these professional drivers:
· Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy," "Sweet Home Alabama")     
· Frankie Muniz,  returning Pro/Celebrity champion ("Malcolm in the Middle")
· Todd Bodine (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series)
· David Reutimann (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series)
· Johnny Greaves, (Pro Off-Road Truck Race Champion)
· Jeff Kincaid, (Pro Off-Road Truck Race champion)
· Tom Rudnai (Longo Toyota General Manager)

"Having the mix of returning stars with firsthand experience and new drivers with their enthusiasm will combine for one of the most unique races we've had to date," said Les Unger, Toyota's National Motorsports Manager.  "The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race draws some of the most competitive celebrity and professional drivers because it offers the high-speed challenge of real racing combined with a worthwhile charitable endeavor." zzzz

Toyota will donate $5,000 to "Racing for Kids" in the name of each celebrity racer, and another $5,000 to the winning racer's charity of choice.  Racing for Kids is a non-profit program benefiting childrens' hospitals in Long Beach and Orange, CA.

In addition, the ninth annual "PEOPLE Pole Award, sponsored by PEOPLE Magazine, will present a $15,000 donation honoring the polesitter for the race.

In the past 14 years, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has generated more than $1.3 million for childrens' hospitals in Southern California.

Tickets for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, featuring six racing events including the opening round of the 2006 Champ Car World Series, can be purchased from the Grand Prix ticket office by calling the toll-free ticket hotline at (888) 82-SPEED.  A handy ticket brochure - which includes circuit map, grandstand and parking locations, ticket prices and order form - can be obtained by calling the ticket hotline. Tickets are also available online at longbeachgp.com or ticketmaster.com.

Ticket prices range from $35 for Friday/Saturday general admission up to $115 for a 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. Toyota GP of Long Beach

03/01/06
track news
El Tri set to rock Tecate’s ’Fiesta Friday’ concert El Tri set to rock Tecate’s ’Fiesta Friday’ concertAs the official beer sponsor of the 32nd annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Tecate will be sponsoring the classic Mexican rock band El Tri during its "Fiesta Friday" concert in the streets of Long Beach on April 7.  This world famous band fronted by Alex Lora will be performing many of its legendary rock hits for thousands of fans at the main concert stage in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center starting at 6 p.m. Race ticket holders will be able to enjoy the concert free of charge.

"We are thrilled to be bringing El Tri to Southern California and to the thousands of race fans at this year's Grand Prix," said Jorge Cornejo of Heineken USA.  "As a pioneer in Mexican rock music, El Tri has greatly impacted the Hispanic music industry, so to have them on our stage is an incredible honor. The Tecate 'Fiesta Friday' concert is sure to be a memorable event for all fans." 

Having sold more than 100 million albums in its native land, and spearheading the Rock En Español or "rock in Spanish" music movement, El Tri is one of the most respected rock bands in the history of Mexico. They have often been called "the Mexican Rolling Stones" due to their timeless rock sound, and their music has been likened to the classic sounds of AC/DC, U2 and even Jimi Hendrix.  El Tri has shared the stage and rocked alongside The Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana, The Ramones, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among many others.  zzzz

"Racing is all about speed and adrenaline, and nothing can imitate that sensation quite like rock n' roll," said Alex Lora.  "We'd like to personally invite all the racing fans to join us for an evening of great music at this year's Fiesta Friday."

In addition to the concert, Tecate will also celebrate "Fiesta Friday" with two authentic cantinas located throughout the race venue, where adults 21 and older can enjoy Mexican food, Tecate, and live Mariachi music. In addition to the cantinas, there will be two Playas Tecate, complete with sand volleyball courts, music, food and ice cold Tecate for adults 21 and older.

Tickets for the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach are on sale now and can be ordered by calling the toll-free ticket hotline: (888) 82-SPEED. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.longbeachgp.com or in person at the Grand Prix ticket office (3000 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, Calif. 90806).

For up-to-date ticket information, descriptions of the various club ticket packages or announcements of special Grand Prix event activities, visit the official Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Web site at www.longbeachgp.com.

About FEMSA/Heineken USA
Founded in 1890, FEMSA is the largest integrated beverage company in Latin America with a portfolio of leading beer and soft drink brands.  Its subsidiary FEMSA Cerveza is one of the leading brewers in Mexico with brands that include Tecate, Dos Equis and Sol. Its subsidiary Coca-Cola FEMSA is the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America and the second largest in the world. FEMSA sells its products through approximately two million points of sale, which serve a population of over 170 million people in nine countries, including some of the most populous metropolitan areas in Latin America, such as Mexico City, São Paulo and Buenos Aires. FEMSA's manufacturing and distribution capabilities are enhanced by its retail and packaging operations; it operates Oxxo, the largest convenience store chain in Mexico, with over 3,000 stores as of June 2004.  For more information on FEMSA, go to www.femsa.com.

In 2004, Heineken USA and FEMSA Cerveza reached an agreement that made Heineken USA the sole and exclusive importer, marketer and seller of FEMSA's beer brands in the United States.  Under the terms of the agreement, Heineken USA has assumed responsibility for the marketing, sales and distribution of the beer brands Dos Equis, Tecate, Sol, Carta Blanca and Bohemia across the United States. Toyota GP of Long Beach

03/01/06
cc
Newman/Haas names new Engineer for Junqueira Newman/Haas names new Engineer for JunqueiraNewman/Haas Racing (NHR), winners of six Champ Car World Series titles, including back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005, have strengthened their 2006 run at another championship by positioning the talents of Tom Smith as Bruno Junqueira’s race engineer.

“Tom’s experience and growth within Newman/Haas’ engineering department these past 10 years should allow Bruno Junqueira’s return to the Champ Car Series to be smooth, flawless and very competitive,” said Carl Haas, co-owner with Paul Newman of Newman/Haas Racing.

Smith earned his mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech in 1992 and initially worked in the oil exploration field while also involved with road racing motorcycles and midget sprint cars. He joined NHR in January 1996 as a data acquisition engineer and oversaw race strategy and vehicle simulation. Tom also served as assistant race engineer for Sebastien Bourdais during both of his title-winning seasons. Smith replaces Frenchman Guillaume Rocquelin, who returned to Europe.

“Tom Smith and I have had a good relationship since I joined the team,” said Junqueira. “He is calm, very good on strategy and is well respected by the team. We worked very well together at the Sebring test and I expect him to help me win many races this season!”
03/01/06
Track News
Milwaukee Mile Ticket sales staying strong Milwaukee Mile Ticket sales staying strongAs ticket renewals continue to stream in to The Milwaukee Mile ticket office, the new promoter group in place at the historic speedway is enthused by fan response and the positive direction heading into the 2006 season of auto racing.

Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC, a company formed by Chairman Craig Stoehr and President & CEO Andy Randall, took control of the promoter operations of The Mile at the beginning of the year.

“We are encouraged by the response of renewals from our loyal fan base, with a healthy 13.0% revenue increase in the month of February 2006, as compared to February 2005.  This is a strong indication of what we are confident will be a great season of auto racing at America’s Legendary Oval,” said Randall.

The Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 Champ Car World Series event on Sunday afternoon, June 4th  kicks off the race season at The Milwaukee Mile, the oldest operating motor speedway in the world.  It will be Champ Car’s only oval appearance of the season.

Already in place is a lowered ticket price policy virtually across the board, to attract more sports fans to experience the thrill of world class championship auto racing on four major race weekends, including Champ Car World Series, NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, IRL IndyCar Series and ARCA RE/MAX Series events. zzzz

Money-saving Milwaukee Mile full season ticket packages include all four race weekends, while racing fans also have the option of purchasing a ticket package for the two world-class open wheel weekends, or the speedway’s two stock car weekends.  Premium seating is still available for packages that include the highly coveted and in-demand NASCAR Busch Series AT&T 250, which will be held under the lights on Saturday evening, June 24.  The number of full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitors racing in the AT&T 250 at The Mile is up to seven, with the recent addition of drivers Kevin Harvick and J.J. Yeley.

“We’re well over what we expected, in terms of interest and entries received in our “Extra Mile Giveaway” website contest we kicked off in conjunction with the Daytona 500, which will award fans Milwaukee Mile NASCAR VIP Weekend packages for the AT&T 250 and Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200, along with an opportunity to win a trip for two to the NASCAR Championship weekend in sunny Miami in November,” said Stoehr.

Individual tickets are now available for all events through The Milwaukee Mile ticket office, including family-friendly $9.00 tickets to The Mile’s Champ Car weekend, June 2nd – 4th, and to the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 weekend July 21-23, featuring the stars of the Indianapolis 500.

Also among the many new offerings to look forward to this season is the Milwaukee Mile Victory Club, which enables individuals to experience previously unavailable corporate-level hospitality for only $79.00 per person.

For additional information on Milwaukee Mile ticket packages and events, call (414) 453-8277, or visit The Milwaukee Mile website located at www.milwaukeemile.com.

03/01/06
starmazda
Andersen Racing announces Hollings Andersen Racing announces HollingsAndersen Racing is pleased to announce that British Formula 3 driver Charlie Hollings will compete in one of its four entries in the season opener for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear March 17 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.  Hollings, 23, of Yorkshire, England, finished fifth last year in the British Formula 3 national championship with four victories, eight pole positions and 12 podiums. He drove for the widely-regarded Promatecme team.
03/01/06
f1
Raikkonen shows McLaren hand Raikkonen shows McLaren handKimi Raikkonen blistered the Valencia track today with the fastest lap turned during pre-season testing and let it be known that McLaren will probably once again be the fastest car on the track in 2006. To back up this claim, his teammate Pedro de la Rosa was 2nd fastest.

Meanwhile, in the words of the song 'it's the final countdown', Red Bull Racing kicked off one last pre-season test session at the Valencia circuit today. David Coulthard was driving the car that will be used as the T-car in Bahrain. There were three main elements to today's test program: general aerodynamic work in the morning, Michelin tire testing aimed at the Australian Grand Prix in the afternoon and putting more kilometers on the engine specification, which will be used in Bahrain in just over one week's time. "The day was not entirely trouble free," commented Chief Test Engineer, Ian Morgan. "But we still managed to put quite a few miles on the engine and we did make some progress."

Gerd Pfeiffer, Test Team Manager for Toyota, summed up their day - "We had a productive day today and we got through a lot of work. Although both drivers carried out their own individual tire testing programs, Ralf focused on testing the new car and getting a feel for it, while Jarno tried simulating some race conditions in one of the older cars, as his new car is being prepared for the first grand prix. Basically we are focused on fine-tuning the car this week for the race in Bahrain. I feel that both drivers are doing a good job and the cars are running reliably."

[Editor's Note: Again this year the Michelin runners top the speed charts. It could be another long year for the Bridgestone runners.....including Ferrari. As we learned last year, your tire supplier is the main difference between winning and losing.]

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:09.423 120
 2. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:09.852 115
 3. Davidson Honda (M) 1:10.301 143
 4. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:11.078 76
 5. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:11.129 59
 6. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:12.159 80
 7. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:12.257 70

03/01/06
f1
MF1 Racing confirms reserve drivers for first races MF1 Racing confirms reserve drivers for first racesMF1 Racing is pleased to confirm that Markus Winkelhock will be the team's third driver at the opening round of the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. The 25-year-old German, who finished third in the Formula Renault World Series last season, demonstrated his considerable abilities while testing for the team during the winter.

Giorgio Mondini will take over testing and reserve duties at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The Swiss driver, also 25, was the Formula Renault V6 Champion in 2004 and has shown similarly impressive potential in an F1 car during recent testing.

"We are fortunate to have two such promising young drivers testing for us," commented MF1 Racing Managing Director Colin Kolles. "They are both very talented and capable of providing useful feedback. I'm sure they will help us develop the car to its maximum potential in preparation for the opening races."

03/01/06
NASCAR
Acme Branding Forms Alliance with MB2 Motorsports Acme Branding Forms Alliance with MB2 MotorsportsAcme Branding Company, based in Ludington, Mich., will launch an innovative sponsorship acquisition program that will clearly communicate the unique opportunities and assets available through partnership with MB2 Motorsports. "MB2 Motorsports is in a unique position in NASCAR," said Jim Bowie, vice president of Acme Branding Company. "The team has all of the pieces in place to achieve on-track success. We plan on combining that with content, technology and ideas to create new and innovative value propositions for corporate America." Jay Frye, CEO and general manager at MB2 Motorsports, said, "In NASCAR, the battle off-track is just as intense as it is on-track and the difference between winning and losing is in the details. With the creative and innovative marketing services that Acme Branding Company will bring to MB2, we will be in a better position to attract additional partners to our organization." Acme Branding Company will energize the MB2 brand with a multi-faceted plan. MB2 will lead with innovative measurable business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) initiatives for existing partners. Opportunities for new partners will position MB2 as leaders in creativity, fulfillment, measurement and activation. "NASCAR has created the most successful sports marketing communications platform on the planet, but there are barriers to entry, not the least of which is, 'How can my company stand out and be effective among thousands of companies that are already here?' " enthused Bowie. "Acme Branding Company has a strategy that will clearly set MB2 apart - stay tuned!" MB2 Motorsports
03/01/06
ga
Tracy and Borkowski ready for Mexico City Tracy and Borkowski ready for Mexico CityPaul Tracy and Mike Borkowski feel as though they have some unfinished business, and are looking to take care of it this weekend in Mexico City.  The Canadian-American driving duo will share the Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR Lexus/Riley in round two of the Rolex Sports Car Series season at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City this weekend.
 
The event is the second Rolex Series start of the season with the team for Tracy, who started the Rolex 24 At Daytona from thirteenth on the grid, and stormed up to take the lead before turning the car over to Borkowski. The former Trans-Am standout then powered the Graydon Elliott machine back up front before a component failure forced him to stop on course from the lead.
 
The Fusion Racing with MSR squad rallied to get the car repaired and back on track, but a series of issues caused by contact from another car prevented the team from making it to the finish.

Tracy, who took a win in Mexico City in 2003 on his way to the Champ Car World Series Championship, will also be racing in the NASCAR Busch Series event during the weekend and is looking to add two more wins to his Mexico City resume.  zzzz

"I am really excited about the opportunity to race both the Graydon Elliott Daytona Prototype and the Busch car on the same weekend and I am focused on winning both,” said Tracy. “Mike and I have a good opportunity to win this thing because we both know the track very well and we work well together."
 
The race will mark the second Mexico City start for Borkowski, who carded a top-ten finish in the event in 2005 and is looking to do even better this time around. Borkowski took runner-up in the 2003 Rolex Series Championship and is hoping to make up some ground in the points battle with a strong run this weekend.
 
“It’s always hard when you are in the lead and something goes wrong like we had happen in Daytona,” said Borkowski. “But we know we have a fast car and a great team behind us, so hopefully we can score some points with a really good finish here this weekend. It is a long season ahead of us and we know we have a lot of racing to do, but we’d like to get back into the battle points-wise starting with this weekend.”
 
The distinctive No. 6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR machine will take to the track on Thursday with two practice sessions, as the grid will be set with Friday’s qualifying in advance of the 3:15 PM race start.
 
Round two of the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve will be carried by Speed Channel beginning at 8:00 PM ET on March 4. Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing

03/01/06
alms
Long and Bergmeister back with Peterson/White Long and Bergmeister back with Peterson/WhitePetersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, the 2005 American Le Mans Series GT2 champion, confirmed the return of defending drivers co-champions Jörg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas) to the No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for 2006.

Bergmeister and Long will be the core of the team’s driver lineup for the season as the Las Vegas-based team pursues its second consecutive Series championship.

Bergmeister, who became the first non-factory driver since 1999 to win the GT2  title, will compete in each round of the 10-race Series season for the Michael Petersen-owned team.  Long, the first American driver to win the class title since 1999, will compete in eight of the races. He will miss the team’s defense of its 2005 Sebring victory and the year's penultimate event, Petit Le Mans, to compete in the Porsche factory’s LMP2 effort for Penske Racing.

As announced last week, Jörg Bergmeister will be joined in the No. 31 Porsche by his brother Tim (Langenfeld, Germany) and Nic Jönsson (Buford, Ga.) at the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 18.
 
“We’re glad to have Patrick and Jörg back this season,” said team owner Petersen. “Although Patrick won’t be with us for the 10- and 12-hour races, it will be nice to have the family all back together again. We are all looking forward to defending our title and race victories. With the driver lineup we have we are fairly confident. The competition should be very exciting for the fans and I think this will shape up to be a great year in the American Le Mans Series.” ALMS

03/01/06
nascar
NASCAR slams Busch Series cheaters NASCAR slams Busch Series cheatersNASCAR officials say four penalties were issued to two Busch Series teams Tuesday as a result of violations found during the California Speedway race weekend.  The No. 17 Ford team with driver Matt Kenseth was fined for unapproved rear jacking bolts with an incorrect thread count. Crew chief Chad Norris was fined $10,000, Kenseth was fined 25 driver points and car owner Jack Roush was fined 25 owner points. Dave Fuge Jr., crew chief for the No.34 Chevrolet driven by Todd Bodine, was fined $2,500 for unapproved rear end gear ration. Both violations were found during opening-day inspection.
03/01/06
usac
Jerry Eisert dies Jerry Eisert diesUPDATE Added photos (below left) of Jerry Eisert working on one of Dan Gurney's all-conquering Eagles at All American Racers in Santa Ana, California, and talking to team boss, a young looking Dan Gurney (below right).

  

02/28/06 We are sad to report that Jerry Eisert passed away at home with his wife of 54 years, Lorraine, and family on Saturday, February 25th after a long fight with colon cancer.

Eisert was one of the top USAC mechanics during the 1960s, working with J Frank Harrison for much of the decade and building his Chevrolet-powered "Harrison Special" USAC cars for three seasons from 1965. Harrison and Eisert parted company at the end of 1967 and, with the 5-litre Formula A just getting started, Eisert quickly saw the opportunity to build a car for the series. As well as this new 68 car for Jack Eiteljorg, one of his older Harrison Specials was converted to be used by Stew McMillan.

In 1969, Eisert Racing Enterprises produced a new wedge-shaped car for Formula A and USAC and sold four or five in 1969 and 1970. As well as a new car for McMillan, Dennis Ott also drove a car in Formula A and Webster, Arciero and Bohannon entered such cars in USAC. An older Eisert from the "Harrison Special" era appeared in Ludwig Heimrath's hands.

Although no new Eiserts appear to have been built for 1971, Marv Webster continued with Eisert and a 1972 Eisert went to Webster for USAC, only to appear in Formula 5000 in 1972 and 1973. Jerry Eisert moved into Formula 5000, teaming up with Chuck Jones to run Kevin Bartlett in 1972 and Bob Muir in 1973. After running BJ Swanson's Lola T332 and later Danny Ongais' Interscope T332 in 1975, he moved to Dan Gurney's All American Racers to become chief crew on their USAC team in their heyday.

Eisert was known for designing the "Monocoque Body Style" used in race car designs worldwide.

Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, March 4th at 1:00pm  at:

Grace Episcopal Church (760)744-7667
1020 Rose Ranch Road
San Marcos, CA

Home address for wife Lorraine and family:
515 Heiden Court
San Marcos, CA 92069

03/01/06
irl
Industry News
More feedback on Ethanol article More feedback on Ethanol articleAnother reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, In regards to your Ethanol article, We have had over 30 years worth of warnings and at least 2 wars for oil to realize fossil fuels were a bad deal. Yes, the government shares some responsibility, but it ultimately comes down to complacency in almost all Americans. I mean most who read this probably still think they have every right to have all that horsepower that no one other than police and emergency services need when speed limits are in the 55-70 mph range.

Don't you see how that desire is now at the root of a very serious national security threat? We had the chance to make a slow and steady transition starting in 1973. Instead we waited, we allowed billions and billions of dollars to build a dependency with nations that in many cases don't even allow their women to show their faces. Now we hear almost desperate tones coming from a man who himself is built on oil. Obviously the situation has become that critical, and it's during these times that not even "what is most affordable" wins the argument. So what can be done?
 
First and foremost we need to put our beloved muscle cars in museums, or put them on trailers that are pulled by hybrids to drag strips and a few times a year we get to recall our glory days. We need to finally hold the big 3 accountable for buying out inner city mass transit systems in the 40's and 50's in order to shut them down and force people to depend on automobiles, for buying and shelving technologies which would have had us getting over 50 mpg over 30 years ago!

Therefore we need right now to mandate every vehicle made gets at least 30 mpg, screw what GM, Ford, Daimler-Chrysler have to say because we need some breathing space for the next couple of decades to work out the next generation of what powers our civilization. We are talking heart transplant here folks as energy and power generation is the heart that keeps our very civilization functioning.
 
Why mandate CAFE standards? It shouldn't take a high school degree to figure out how our sudden increase in consumption of gas in the past 10 years was a result of those silly high fuel consuming SUV's and "large pickups" that are nothing more than sedans with a truck bed attached. I have continually chosen to buy high fuel efficiency vehicles, yet we all have had to pay a much higher price because a nation of idiots bought those obscene SUV's and ridiculous pickups.

Ultimately you would hope the consumer would be wise enough to decide not to be a slave to the gas pump, and do what is best for society. But come on, we are talking about the most gullible and selfish people on earth, I mean we "elected" an administration that is all about oil, and low and behold, what happens, largest profits ever, ever, are earned by oil companies, and then we re-elect them.
 
We are just beginning to pay the price I said we would pay decades ago unless we got off the fossil fuel binge we were and remain on. Yes, it means giving up some things like high horsepower cars and oversized vehicles, but come on, are we that childish that we can't give up toys that are ultimately bad for us? Andy Fogiel, Lansing, Michigan

Dear Andy, All good points. As we have pointed out on a number of occasions, there is one solution America can adopt immediately that will get us through until hybrids are better - turbo diesels. Case in point, the E-Class Mercedes turbo diesel blows the gasoline version into the weeds in performance and fuel mileage - getting easily over 30 mpg in a relatively heavy luxury sedan. America should follow Europe's lead and switch to turbo diesels almost exclusively for the next 5 years or so and until such time as hybrids become economical and improved. With America being forced by law to switch to the cleaner European diesel fuel by the end of this year, gone will be the diesel odor and pollutants we see today because of America's poorly refined version of diesel fuel.

Turbo diesels will allow us to maintain performance while improving fuel mileage significantly. A case can be made for every passenger car, diesel or gasoline, to be turbocharged. It's interesting that today BMW announced they will begin to build turbocharged gasoline powered cars again. With its turbo engines, Champ Car is well positioned to align itself with the auto manufacturers as they ramp up turbo production on their passenger fleets. Now let's see if their marketing department can take advantage of it. Mark C.

03/01/06
irl
90th Indy 500 celebration set for Washington DC 90th Indy 500 celebration set for Washington DCThe national celebration of the 90th running of one of America's most exciting and historic sporting events, the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, will kick off with a special event Tuesday, March 7 with The Smithsonian Associates in Washington.

The event starts at 7 p.m. (ET) at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center, a shift in venue from the previously announced Lisner Auditorium. The public can ask questions of some of the Indianapolis 500's most famous current and former drivers.

An all-star driver lineup includes: Dan Wheldon, defending champion of the Indianapolis 500 and 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series champion; three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford; two-time winner Helio Castroneves; Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500; and the father-and-son racing duo of Michael and Marco Andretti.

Fans also will enjoy many historical Indianapolis 500 film highlights, and Wheldon will be presented with his Indianapolis 500 Champion of Champions Ring from IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood.

The U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center is located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Suite 123, in Washington.

WHAT:
90th Indianapolis 500 Kickoff Event

WHO:
Marco Andretti, Indianapolis 500 rookie driver
Michael Andretti, Indianapolis 500 veteran driver
Helio Castroneves, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner
Janet Guthrie, first female Indianapolis 500 driver
Johnny Rutherford, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner
Dan Wheldon, 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner

WHEN:
7 p.m., Tuesday, March 7

WHERE:
U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center,
701 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 123, Washington IRL

03/01/06
irl
Industry News
Great Ethanol article Great Ethanol articleA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Another great article by AutoRacing1.com. Some other interesting data regarding Ethanol. The government subsidizes Ethanol to the tune of $0.52/gallon. That money of course comes from the US taxpayers and will result in less funds available for highways.
 
A study was done by Cornell University and they found that more energy was consumed in making a gallon of Ethanol than is actually contained in that gallon of Ethanol, so we're (pardon the pun) spinning our wheels by burning Ethanol in our cars.
 
Ethanol is replacing MTBE in gasoline. MTBE went out of favor when it began showing up in the water supply. This came about due to leaky underground gasoline storage tanks. The leaking gasoline does not mix with water, however MTBE is miscible with water and began showing up in well water and in the water table. The proverbial barn door has been closed after the cows got out as the industry now has tougher regulations regarding underground gasoline storage tanks however MTBE took the fall.
 
With Ethanol replacing MTBE, gasoline will cost more, air pollution will be worse and vehicle performance will decline.
 
There is not enough Ethanol in place at refineries and distribution points to replace MTBE. This could result in gasoline shortages this spring.
 
The corn lobby is very strong and encompasses both Republicans and Democrats. The headline of renewable fuel is easy to sell, but there is much more to the story. Bob Mackenzie, Houston, TX

Dear Bob, When the facts about Ethanol become more well known to the general public, the IRL will be looking for ways to get out of their Ethanol deal fast to not look like fools for touting such an alternate fuel when clearly there are better ways to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Mark C.

03/01/06
nascar
irl
NY Times Daytona 500 coverage dwarfed Indy 500 NY Times Daytona 500 coverage dwarfed Indy 500This year’s New York Times Daytona 500 coverage was far more extensive than the paper has ever given the Indianapolis 500. The cover of the Times weekly TV guide showed the cars of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon over the wording “DAYTONA 500, Where NASCAR is a state of mind.”
03/01/06
f1
Super Aguri confirms Montagny Super Aguri confirms MontagnySUPER AGURI FORMULA 1 today confirms that former Renault F1 test and development driver Franck Montagny has signed a contract with the team to be its third driver for the opening two rounds of the 2006 F1 season.

Franck will be on-standby as third driver for the team at the Bahrain and Malaysian Grands Prix whilst also providing valuable F1 experience and technical knowledge to the fledgling SUPER AGURI FORMULA 1 team.

03/01/06
Racing News
BMW unveils racing version of Z4 M coupe BMW unveils racing version of Z4 M coupeOn the occasion of the Automobilsalon, Prof Dr Burkhard Göschel, BMW Group Board Member Purchasing and Development, introduced a new racing car for customer motor racing. The Motorsport Version of the BMW Z4 M Coupé, which has already made a big impression as a production model, is the first two-seater BMW Motorsport offers for customer teams. When it came to the development, BMW faced a huge challenge: The car had to have what is needed to race successfully on the world's most demanding and spectacular racetrack, the Nürburgring's famous Nordschleife. The new motorsport coupé can be used by private BMW customer teams in the German Endurance Championship and in the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race.

The power unit of the beefy coupe is a BMW Motorsport designed 3.2-litre in-line 6-cylinder engine delivering about 400bhp, with the suspension area in particular benefiting from the knowledge gained from the successful BMW M3 GTR project.

With its varied component ranges, BMW Motorsport and BMW Racing Parts Distribution offer customer teams a new technology platform for use in many miscellaneous international racing and club sport series, with the Nordschleife enthusiasts not being the only interested party, as the brawny coupe also represents the perfect car for use in the Belgian Belcar series and other, non-European, endurance series.

The kit can be ordered from May 2006 at BMW Motorsport and will be available for an estimated € 250,000 (plus VAT).

Technical Data BMW Z4 M Coupé Motorsport Version

Length: 4415 mm
Width: 1880 mm
Wheelbase: 2493 mm
Front & Rear Overhang: 865 mm/774mm
Rear Wing Width: 1504 mm
Front & Rear Ground Clearance: 80 mm/90 mm
Front & Rear Tires: Michelin 27/65-18, 28/71-18
Front Brake: Grey cast iron disc dia. 380 mm / 6 pot fixed caliper
Rear Brake: Grey cast iron disc dia. 320 mm / 4 pot fixed caliper
Drive Line: sequential 6-speed gearbox, sintered clutch
Engine Layout: six cylinder in line
Cylinder Capacity: 3246 cc
Bore x Stroke: 87 x 91 mm
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1 zzzz
Max. Power: approx. 400 PS at 8200 rpm
Max. Torque: approx. 400 Nm at approx. 5750 rpm
Max. Revolutions per minute: 8400 rpm
Cylinder block: one-piece construction
Crankshaft: forged steel part
Piston: forged slipper skirt piston
Con-rod: Steel
Cylinder head: Aluminum, four valves per cylinder
Valve train: Two chain driven overhead camshafts with variable valve timing
Intake System: Six single throttle valves, Carbon fiber Air box with resonance induction optimized inlet pipes
Exhaust System: Multiple pipe manifold with silencer and catalytic converter
Lubricating System: Wet Sump Lubrication
Cooling System: Water / Air cooler
Flywheel: Steel
Fuel System: Inlet-Pipe Injection, one Injector per Cylinder, 5 bar injection pressure
Fuel: 5-star lead-free petrol, ROZ min=98
Fuel Tank Volume: 120 liters
Minimum Weight: 1200 kg in Nürburgring Specification

Engine Management System: BMW Motorsport ECU406 with two powerful microprocessors, Ethernet Interface and four CAN busses; Cylinder selective optimized Injection and Ignition; Pit-Speed-Limiter; Quick-Shift; Engine Log Book; Electronic Throttle Control; VANOS Control; Race ABS; Traction Control.

Energy Management: Distribution and Control of the electric energy through the BMW Motorsport POWER400 Control Unit; Networking of all Sensors and Actuators through a CAN Bus.

Electric loom: Weight optimized

Ignition coils: Six high performance pencil-type ignition coils with integrated ignition driver.

Sparkplugs: NGK high performance Sparkplugs

Instruments: Free programmable LCD Display with integrated shift lights

Steering-wheel: multiple function Steering-wheel with Quick-Release mechanism and display control

03/01/06
Industry News
BMW announces move back to turbo passenger cars BMW announces move back to turbo passenger carsAt today's BMW Group press conference at the 76th Geneva Automobile Salon, Prof. Dr. Dr. E.h. Burkhard Göschel, BMW AG Director of Development, spoke about BMW engine concepts with maximum potential for further reductions in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

Over half of the BMW's sold in 2005 were fitted with an in-line 6-cylinder engine. With smoother running and lower vibration than any competitor, this engine concept occupies a very special position in its category. It will also form the basis for development measures which reach far into the future.

Exactly 100 years after the invention of the turbocharger, BMW has now announced its re-entry into turbo technology for large-scale serial production of gasoline engines. The in-line 6-cylinder bi-turbo engine presented in Geneva for the first time has the new innovative direct injection system High Precision Injection, the fully variable camshaft control BIVANOS and highly heat resistant materials from space technology in its turbo chargers.

These engines together with the in-line 6-cylinder diesel engine with Variable Twin Turbo Technology occupy the leading position in worldwide engine construction.

BMW diesel in the US only with sustainable technology.
"If the BMW Group is to enter the American market with a diesel product, it will be with one that offers a truly sustainable solution," said Prof. Dr. Göschel on the further development of diesel technology. So-called SCR technology for the reduction of nitric oxides has a key role to play here. However, Göschel indicated that it would be some time before this technology had reached serial production maturity. BMW

03/01/06
NASCAR
Truex Jr Will Not Repeat in Mexico City Truex Jr Will Not Repeat in Mexico CityOn this weekend last season, Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) was busy racing - and winning - in Mexico City en route to his second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series championship. Truex now is focused on the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and has taken this weekend off to rest and recharge. "This weekend, I'm getting on a plane and heading to an island with sand, sun and fun," said Truex. "I heard some other guys in NASCAR are going there; it would be funny if we ran into them. It's going to be nice to sleep late and just chill out on a beach for a few days. Some of the guys on the team are taking RVs, renting cabins or going camping at this place that has all these riding trails. They'll get out their motorcycles and four wheelers and have a big time hanging out and riding. I think it's great they enjoy spending off-time with each other."NASCAR
03/01/06
alms
lmes
Audi names driver teams for Le Mans Audi names driver teams for Le MansAudi competes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 17/18 June with a brace of high-caliber driving squads. Six seasoned campaigners, who have all won the French endurance classic at least once and collectively lay claim to 17 Le Mans victories, sit at the wheel of the two Audi R10 sportscars.
 
Frank Biela (D), Emanuele Pirro (I) and Marco Werner (D) form one team. Dindo Capello (I), Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen (DK) and Allan McNish (GB) share the cockpit of the sister Audi R10.
 
"Our goal was to put together two equally competitive teams for each R10,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "We were able to choose from six Le Mans winners who have been successful for Audi in every conceivable permutation. We opted for a combination which we consider to be perfect for both cars.”
 
Audi Sport North America’s team also fields exactly the same driver line-up on 18 March at the 12-hour race at Sebring (Florida), which acts as dress rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The most important race on the calendar in the USA is, at the same time, also the opening race of the 2006 American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Audi
03/01/06
FIA-GT
FIA GT series signs game deal FIA GT series signs game dealSRO is delighted to announce that a new agreement has been signed with software development company Simbin, lasting through until 2011. This new agreement reaffirms the joint collaboration between the two companies since 2003.

Under the existing contract, two games have been produced : GTR - the FIA GT Racing Game. which was launched last year and which was based on the 2003 season, and the new version, GTR2, which will be available later in 2006.

This new agreement opens up great opportunities for developing games with new technology, on new platforms, aiming to get even closer to the ultimate racing experience in a game.

Stephane Ratel, Chairman of SRO, commented : “We are very pleased to continue this long-term collaboration, which has seen the FIA GT Championship become the subject of one of the very best racing simulation games available. Simbin, with their racing background, know exactly what the FIA GT Championship is about, which is what gives the GTR game its incredibly realistic nature.”

Simbin CEO Henrik Roos, who raced in the FIA GT Championship between 2002 and 2004, commented : “ This new license with SRO will allow us to continue to develop games based on the FIA GT Championship. It is a strategically wise move, to be able to build further on one of the corner stones of this company. It also means we can continue a well-established, mutual trust and cooperation with SRO, which we are all very happy about. Now we can keep on making the best racing simulation available!”

03/01/06
FIA-GT
FIA GT series unveils TV deals FIA GT series unveils TV dealsSRO, promoter of the international FIA GT Championship, announced today a series of television broadcast agreements with leading broadcasters from Europe and beyond.

In the UK, all races will be broadcast live and in full on FLEXTECH-owned channels BRAVO and PLAYER and a terrestrial partner will be announced soon. In Italy, SKY ITALIA will be the exclusive partner on the live, while the one-hour highlights will be broadcast on NUVOLARI, Italy’s specialist motorsports channel. DSF, Germany’s leading sports channel will broadcast the highlights program to its 33m homes in peak time on Wednesdays.

Other live European broadcast partners so far include AB MOTEURS in France, UPC-owned SPORT1 in the Netherlands, CZECH terrestrial TV and TELESPORT Romania with whom agreements are currently being finalized. Motors TV, Europe’s leading motorsports channel, will ensure that FIA GT reaches the maximum number of fans across Europe by broadcasting the highlights to 30 European countries.

Stephane Ratel, Chairman of the SRO group said: “With a record number of cars, drivers and teams this is a fantastic time to get involved in the broadcast of the FIA GT Championship. We know we have the quality and excitement that fans will enjoy and these new strong TV partnerships will allow us to deliver that to them in the best possible way”

Beyond Europe, all races will be shown live on AL JAZEERA across the Middle East with highlights on FUTURE TV across the region, and agreements are also in place with THE SPEED CHANNEL (70 million homes in North America), as well as TV GLOBO and SPORT TV in Brazil.

The 2006 FIA GT championship will also receive exposure on ESPN Star Sports with all rounds being carried in the long running International Motorsports program. The channel currently broadcasts to over 57 million homes throughout Asia.

Having secured most of the live coverage, SRO is now concentrating on the distribution of short edited programs to terrestrial networks.

03/01/06
f1
V10 vs. V8 F1 engine comparison V10 vs. V8 F1 engine comparison
03/01/06
nascar
Chevy leads Ford and Dodge Chevy leads Ford and DodgeAfter two races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule, Chevrolet leads the Manufacturers’ Championship standings. Chevrolet has accumulated 15 points in the first two races, leading Ford (13 points) and Dodge (10 points) in competition for the manufacturers’ title.
03/01/06
nascar
New Crews for Two Teams New Crews for Two TeamsPPI Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates have shuffled their pit crews in recent weeks, adding several new team members. PPI Motorsports added Gary McKinnish (Transport Driver), Kris Young (Front Tire Changer), Chris Hall (Front Tire Carrier), Roger Johnson (Rear Tire Carrier), Dennis Cabe (Second Gas Can) and Danny Trenholm (Gas Runner) to the pit crew on the No. 32 Tide/Downey Chevrolet. Ganassi’s organization added Jeff Vandermoss (Crew Chief), Jim Pohlman (Car Chief), Scott Ward (Front Tire Changer), Andy Silver (Front Tire Carrier), Daryl Lockyer (Rear Tire Changer), Brian Perry (Jack Man), Benjy Grubbs (Gas Man), Danny Ekland (Catch Can), Mike Calinoff (Spotter), Frank Mathalia (Engine Specialist) and John Weaver (Shock Specialist) to its No. 40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge roster.
03/01/06
nascar
How Kenseth won Fontana How Kenseth won FontanaBesides being lucky his teammate Greg Biffle blew an engine, NASCAR’s new Loop Data statistics reveal exactly how Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWALT Tools Ford) won the Auto Club 500 at California. According to the data, Kenseth passed 93 cars on Sunday, 36 of them in the track’s fourth turn. He also was the fastest driver on restarts, with an average speed of 174.493 mph during the first two laps of each of the race’s seven restarts. Kenseth also was the fastest driver early in a run, or during the first 25 percent of laps run in a typical green flag segment. Kenseth averaged 174.857 mph during this period.
03/01/06
nascar
9 Cup regulars head to Mexico City 9 Cup regulars head to Mexico CityAn off week in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule is an opportunity for some drivers to compete in Sunday’s NASCAR Busch Series race, the Telcel-Motorola 200 presented by Banamex, at the 2.518-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City.

Nine full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are headed south, including Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet), Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), Jamie McMurray (No. 26 Crown Royal Ford) and Michael Waltrip (No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Dodge). Raybestos Rookie of the Year contenders Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet), J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge) and Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet) are also making the trip.

“I think racing in Mexico will prove to be a great move for our sport in the future,” said Harvick. “The reaction we received from the fans last year was outstanding. The fans were unbelievable, and I expect the same reaction this year.”

Waltrip, a 22-year NASCAR veteran, already has plenty of road course experience, including 11 top-10 finishes in 42 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup road course events. Harvick has competed in 10 road course events over the past five seasons, with four top-10 and two top-five finishes.

Other drivers have more limited road racing experience in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car. Bowyer, Busch, Yeley, Hamlin, Sorenson, Edwards and McMurray have a combined eight road course starts on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series but their Mexico City experience will pay dividends in June, when the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visits the road course at California’s Infineon Raceway.

“It is definitely a unique place,” said Harvick, who finished second in the 2005 Telcel-Motorola 200. “It is really flat and the corners are really sharp. It doesn’t have all the elevation changes that Infineon has. It never hurts to get more experience on a road course since we only get to drive them twice a year in the [NASCAR NEXTEL] Cup Series. NASCAR

03/01/06
nascar
Q and A with Fernandez, Contreras and Goeters Q and A with Fernandez, Contreras and GoetersSee the complete transcript from Tuesday interview with Mexican Busch Series drivers Adrian Fernandez, Carlos Contreras and Jorge Goeters heading into this weekend's NASCAR Busch Series action at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
03/01/06
track news
Silverstone crook jailed Silverstone crook jailedThe former accountant of Silverstone's circuit has been sentenced to three years in prison following the embezzling of £500,000.  Stephen Beattie, 51, stole the money from the track's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club.
03/01/06
nascar
New NASCAR Show on Biography Channel New NASCAR Show on Biography ChannelOn March 8, The Biography Channel gets behind the wheel of an exciting and original new series produced in conjunction with NASCAR Images, "NASCAR Driven to Win." Offering up-close-and-personal profiles of some of the racing circuit's most popular young drivers, the series delivers an "under-the-hood" glimpse of life both on-and-off the track. Comprised of 13 half-hour episodes, "NASCAR Driven to Win" will debut new World Premiere episodes each Wednesday during March at 10:00pm/et. The series launches with the premieres of Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch (10:30pm/et); March 15 revs up with premieres of Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle (10:30pm/et). More info at biographychannel.com PR
03/01/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu not quitting - Montezemolo
F1 car to roar in Arabia
Glock on Aguri list - manager
Berger doesn't want Bernie's job
DC fit for Valencia run
Aguri tests new 2006 livery
New F1 'Safety Car' unveiled
Bahrain expects grand prix protests
GP winner's career rescued
Schu can win eighth crown - manager
Heidfeld can be champion, says BMW
F1's Indian to start 'academy'
Rossi focused on bikes - Montezemolo
Mondini to be MF1's first 'Friday' runner
02/28/06
nascar
3M to sponsor Kluever for 6 races 3M to sponsor Kluever for 6 races3M Company and Roush Racing announced today that 3M will be the primary sponsor for the No. 06 Ford Fusion entry driven by Todd Kluever in six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races this season.  Kluever's NEXTEL Cup races this year are intended to prepare him for the 2007 NEXTEL Cup season, when he will drive the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion currently driven by Mark Martin.   Kluever's six-race schedule will consist of Chicagoland Speedway, July 9; Michigan International Speedway, August 20; California Speedway, September 3; Kansas Speedway, October 1; Lowe's Motor Speedway, October 14 and Phoenix International Raceway, November 12.
02/28/06
nascar
Johnson, Biffle both 10-to-1 favorites at Las Vegas Johnson, Biffle both 10-to-1 favorites at Las VegasLAS VEGAS - Veteran odds maker Micah Roberts of Station Casinos in Las Vegas has chosen not one, but two favorites for the March 12UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Roberts has set the odds for both Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle at 10-to-1. Johnson is the defending champion for the Las Vegas event and also won the 2006 Daytona 500.

The odds to win the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 appear to be tighter than past years, as Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray are close to Johnson and Biffle at 11-to-1. Defending Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and past Las Vegas winners Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth are listed at 12-to-1.

Las Vegas natives Kurt Busch - the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion - and younger brother Kyle are ranked at 14-to-1.

Tickets for LVMS' NASCAR Weekend, featuring the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400(March 12) and Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series event (March 11) are on sale and may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702)644-4444 or by visiting www.LVMS.com.

Odds to win LVMS' 2006 UAW-DaimlerCrysler 400:
Jimmie Johnson - 10-to-1
Greg Biffle - 10-to-1
Jeff Gordon - 11-to-1
Carl Edwards - 11-to-1
Jamie McMurray - 11-to-1
Tony Stewart - 12-to-1
Mark Martin - 12-to-1
Matt Kenseth - 12-to-1
Kurt Busch - 14-to-1
Kyle Busch - 14-to-1
Ryan Newman - 17-to-1
Jeff Burton - 20-to-1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 20-to-1
Brian Vickers - 25-to-1
Elliott Sadler - 25-to-1
Kevin Harvick - 28-to-1
Denny Hamlin - 35-to-1
Casey Mears - 35-to-1
Reed Sorenson - 40-to-1
Martin Truex Jr. - 40-to-1
Joe Nemechek - 40-to-1
J.J. Yeley - 45-to-1
Jeremy Mayfield - 45-to-1
Dale Jarrett - 50-to-1
Clint Bowyer - 55-to-1
Scott Riggs - 60-to-1
David Stremme - 65-to-1
Ken Schrader - 75-to-1
Bobby Labonte - 85-to-1
Jeff Green - 100-to-1
Sterling Marlin - 100-to-1
Dave Blaney - 150-to-1
Michael Waltrip - 150-to-1
Kyle Petty - 200-to-1
Robby Gordon - 200-to-1
Brent Sherman - 200-to-1
Terry Labonte - 300-to-1
Travis Kvapil - 350-to-1
Kevin Lepage - 500-to-1
Derrike Cope - 750-to-1
Field (all others) - 100-to-1.

02/28/06
f1
Seiko signs with Honda and Button Seiko signs with Honda and ButtonThe Honda Racing F1 Team is delighted to announce a new agreement with the SEIKO Watch Corporation which extends its existing partnership to cover the 2006 and 2007 seasons. In addition to being the official Team Watch Partner, SEIKO have also concluded a personal agreement with Honda Racing F1 Team driver Jenson Button, through which Jenson will endorse SEIKO's watches and become an ambassador of the SEIKO brand.

Synonymous with precision time-keeping, the partnership with SEIKO has been an excellent asset to the Honda Racing F1 Team since the brand entered Formula One with the team in 2005. The new agreement will build on this partnership which has proven an exceptional marketing platform for the SEIKO Sportura watch collection. For 2006, the Sportura series will be central to SEIKO's marketing campaigns in its major international markets.

The SEIKO branding will continue to appear on the Honda Racing F1 Team's clothing, including driver race suits, as part of the team's Racing Revolution livery. In addition, from the 2006 season the SEIKO brand will feature on the pit-stop lollipop during Grand Prix weekends and also on Jenson Button's helmet to reflect his personal partnership with SEIKO. zzzz 

Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of the Honda Racing F1 Team, commented: "I am extremely proud to confirm the extension to our relationship with SEIKO for a further two seasons. The association with such a technologically innovative company fits well with the Honda design led philosophy and we are already working on new designs with SEIKO for their Sportura range. We are also very pleased to announce the personal sponsorship with Jenson, who is a big fan of the SEIKO brand, and I'm sure his presence will prove a valuable marketing tool for SEIKO. This is a very exciting time for the team as we prepare for the start of the new F1 season and we look forward to celebrating our on-track successes with SEIKO this year."

Mr. Shinji Hattori, President and CEO of SEIKO Watch Corporation said: "We are delighted to renew our agreement with the Honda Racing F1 Team. Both parties share a passion for engineering excellence and we look forward to building our partnership through the development of new products as well as through shared marketing programs. We wish the team and Jenson Button every success in 2006." Honda F1

02/28/06
nascar
Californians reject NASCAR Californians reject NASCARUPDATE A reader responds, Dear AutoRacing1.com, You’re right- So Cal’s like me don’t care a whit about taxicab racing.  How the heck can the “Daily Bulletin” claim with a straight face that an “…estimated 250,000 race fans are traveling to Fontana for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series this weekend at California Speedway…” to bolster claims that additional development should be made by the city of Fontana, when “USA Today” writes “…California Speedway couldn't fill its 92,000-seats......the crowd was somewhere between 70,000-80,000”.  Make that the “Daily Bull” instead. Glenn Tanner, Palos Verdes Estates

PS: Give me sarcastic TJ Simers any day.  Here’s today’s column…
TODAY'S LAST word comes in e-mail from James Brisco:    Dear TJ, You've got to be the poorest writer in the media. You should be fired.  Not one word about Tony Stewart's driving skills in your story.  If you were at the track Sunday, then you saw his talent."

I wasn't at the track, but I noticed in the paper he finished last.

02/28/06 Spin as they might (See USA Today article) the fact of the matter is that Californians really are not that interested in NASCAR. As one reader wrote, The lousy attendance at California Speedway proves they shouldn’t have two Cup races a year.  The race is boring, the track is too big,  there is nothing to do in Fontana and southern California residents aren’t NASCAR fans.  So what if California is a big market, it doesn’t deserve two races.  Las Vegas Motor Speedway will have at least 140,000 fans in two weeks for its race and they deserve a second one.  Oops, that's a Bruton Smith track not a France Family track or Vegas would already have two races.
02/28/06
irl
IRL in line with President's call to reduce oil dependence IRL in line with President's call to reduce oil dependenceThe IRL IndyCar® Series already is in line with President Bush's recent call for America to wean itself from foreign oil by embracing alternative fuel sources such as ethanol.

The IndyCar Series, entering its 11th season of competition March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will use an ethanol-methanol blend to power its Honda engines in 2006. The series will turn to 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol for the 2007 season.

"America is addicted to oil. The best way to break this addiction is through technology," Bush said in his sixth State of the Union address on Jan. 31.

In his remarks, the President emphasized the important role ethanol can play in America's energy future, helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil while improving our environment.

Ethanol industry officials hope that fueling the IndyCar Series will translate into an increase in auto manufacturers producing Flexible Fuel Vehicles that run on 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. zzzz

"The IndyCar Series always has been recognized for its technical leadership in automobile racing and now it is the industry's leader in renewable and environmentally responsible energy," says Brian Barnhart, president and COO of the Indy Racing League. "We are proud to partner with the ethanol industry to showcase a great American fuel source. We feel a commitment to the environment and our country's energy security is consistent with our sport's legacy of race-bred innovation and leadership."

Ethanol is the only proven commercial scale renewable transportation fuel currently available in the marketplace. By the end of 2006, the U.S. ethanol industry will have a capacity of over 5 billion gallons annually - up more than 300 percent from five years ago. While that 5 billion is just a fraction of the 140 billion domestic market ethanol is now blended into more than a third of our nation's gasoline supply. By 2012, capacity will exceed 7.5 billion, the volume required in the Renewable Fuels Standard in last year's energy bill.

"There is a large and dedicated group of people in this country working overtime to lessen our dependence on oil. More than 92 U.S. ethanol plants are providing ethanol for our nation's fuel supply and this is growing as the demand for ethanol continues to grow," says Tom Slunecka, executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC). "Our partnership with the IndyCar Series has helped to demonstrate that gas enriched with ethanol will help your car achieve its maximum performance."

Transition from methanol to 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol over the next two IndyCar Series seasons will have no significant technical barriers. The fans will not notice a change - speed and horsepower will remain the same, and better fuel mileage is expected. Using the ethanol blend during the first Open Test of the season, four drivers bettered last year's pole speed at Phoenix International Raceway.

"The transition between methanol and ethanol in our cars has been very smooth," says Phil Casey, IRL senior technical director. "Our cars don't sound differently, smell differently or run differently than they have in the past. It's been a seamless transition so far."

As a clean-burning and renewable fuel that is non-toxic and 100 percent biodegradable, it reduces air pollution (a 10 percent blend reduces carbon monoxide better than any other reformulated gasoline by as much a 30 percent and shows a 35-46 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions) and improves racing's environmental footprint. The highest commercial octane rated fuel delivers strong engine performance by helping engines resist detonation so they can run higher compression ratios.

The 2006 season will not be the first time ethanol has powered a car in the famed Indianapolis 500. At the 1927 race, a car driven by Leon Duray experimented with using ethyl (grain) alcohols.

The Indy Racing League - the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series - worked with a coalition of ethanol industry companies, led by the major ethanol facility engineering and construction firms ICM Inc., Fagen Inc., and Broin Companies, in making the transition to ethanol. To help build awareness, the ethanol industry has sponsored an entry in the IndyCar Series since 2005. This season, the industry will sponsor the No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Honda-powered Panoz driven by Paul Dana. IRL

02/28/06
ga
alms
Mowlem plans Grand-Am and ALMS action in ’06 Mowlem plans Grand-Am and ALMS action in ’06Johnny Mowlem, the British sports car racing star, expects to spend much of 2006 racing in the United States. Mowlem, a veteran with worldwide recognition, will race in two North American series this year.

Mowlem will drive in the Grand American Road Racing Series this year, with a factory supported announcement to be made imminently and he will also campaign an Aston Martin DBR9S in the World Challenge GT Series. In addition, he’ll be part of the Saleen effort in the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.

“It will be a busy year,” Mowlem said. “But I’ll have what every racing driver wants and that is to be busy.”

The Rolex Series held its first race of the new season, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, last month. The World Challenge Series begins its season March 15 as part of the 12 Hours of Sebring weekend. With the testing programs for the two teams, Mowlem could cross the Atlantic as many as 50 times this year. zzzz

“I worked out a lot of my travel schedule just recently and I calculated that I will be away from home over 140 days between March and October, that’s virtually fifty percent! I should sign up to be one of those mystery shoppers for hotel and airline consumer services!” Mowlem joked.

The World Challenge program includes an event Mowlem said he is especially pleased to be a part of, as one of the races is a part of the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend in California.

“I have wanted to race at Long Beach for many years,” said Mowlem. “I’ve raced in California many times, but never at Long Beach.”

The World Challenge portion of the Long Beach weekend is scheduled for April 7.

Mowlem, a veteran of the American Le Mans Series, has driven a variety of cars at Sebring and said the Aston Martin should be well matched with the famed venue. Tom Papadopoulos owns the two-car team. Papadopoulos will drive the second DBR9S.
“This will be the first season in the States for the DBR9S, in fact Sebring will be the cars’ worldwide debut.” Mowlem said. “But the car’s solid handling characteristics will hopefully make us front runners pretty quickly. I can’t thank Tom and the whole Autosport Design Racing team enough for this opportunity. To be an Englishman racing for Aston Martin, is very special. Now I just need a license to kill!”

One of Britain's most successful and personable sports car drivers, Mowlem started his career behind the wheel at age 19. He was named the 2005 Reading Sports Personality of the Year, an honor reserved for the top sports performers in his region. A married father of two, Mowlem was raised in Majorca, Spain. He has earned university degrees in economics and Spanish. More information on Mowlem is available at www.johnnymowlem.com.

02/28/06
ga
Things to watch for in Mexico City Things to watch for in Mexico CityHeading into this weekend’s race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Round 2 of the 14-race 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve (March 4 at 4:15 p.m. ET; Tape Delayed on SPEED, March 4 at 8:00 p.m.ET), here are some pre-race notes, story angles and interesting trends to follow:

STREAKS  Dating to the 2004 season finale at California Speedway—a span of 15 races—the car that has led the opening lap of a Rolex Series race has failed to win that same race. The last time a polesitter won the same race was in the 2004 finale at California, where Max Papis put the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley on the pole, and teammate Scott Pruett drove the race’s final leg to claim the victory and the 2004 Daytona Prototype championship for him and Papis.

WINNING COMBINATION  With six different manufacturers (Pontiac, Porsche, BMW, Ford, Lexus and Infiniti) and seven chassis constructors (Riley Technologies, Doran Designs, Crawford Race Cars, Fabcar Engineering, Chase Competition Engineering, Picchio and Multimatic) to choose from in the Daytona Prototype category, there is bound to be a variety of combinations on any starting grid. For the upcoming race in Mexico City, there will be 10 different pairings among 25 entered cars. There will be seven Pontiac Rileys, four Ford Crawfords, three Lexus Rileys, two BMW Rileys, two Ford Rileys, two Pontiac Crawfords, two Porsche Fabcars, one Porsche Crawford, one Porsche Doran and one Ford Doran. zzzz 

THE DEFENDING CHAMPS ARE DOWN BUT NOT OUT  The defending Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champions, Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, came to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez last November needing to complete only one lap under green flag conditions to clinch the 2005 Daytona Prototype title. Logging five victories (Rolex 24 At Daytona, Grand Prix of Miami, Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, CompUSA 200 at The Glen, Crown Royal 250 at The Glen) in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley—and competing all 2,050 laps during the season—the SunTrust team seemed untouchable. However, it took less than six hours in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to show that even the most well-prepared teams need luck on their side to be successful. Emmanuel Collard, who shared the No. 10 Pontiac with Angelelli and Taylor in the Rolex 24, collected a spinning GT machine early in the twice-around-the-clock classic, leaving the car with terminal damage. With the 29th-place Daytona Prototype finish, the No. 10 Pontiac not only ended its string of completed laps at 2,173, but also logged its first finish outside the top-six positions since the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 7, 2004, a string of 19 straight races.

MEXICAN DOUBLE DIP  In the 2005 season finale in Mexico City, Michael McDowell pulled double-duty, driving in the Champ Car World Series finale one day after claiming victory with Memo Gidley in the No. 19 Finlay Motorsports BMW Riley in La Gran Final de la Serie Rolex Sports Car. This year, two drivers entered in Round 2 of the Rolex Series will also compete in Sunday’s NASCAR Busch Series event at the venue. Mexico City native Adrian Fernandez, a Rolex Series rookie owner and co-driver of the No. 12 Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley with Brazilian Mario Haberfeld, will drive Sunday in the Busch Series’ third race of the year. Also competing on both Saturday and Sunday is 2003 Champ Car champion Paul Tracy, who made his Busch Series debut at Daytona International Speedway a little more than a week ago. The Canadian will co-drive with Mike Borkowski in the No. 6 Graydon Elliott Captial/Mears Motor Coach Lexus Riley on in the 250-mile Rolex Series event on Saturday, and make his second Busch Series on Sunday.

A CITY FULL OF OPPORTUNITIES  Aside from fielding a pair of lightning quick BMW M3s in Saturday’s Rolex Series race, Sigalsport has also put together a special event at a local BMW dealership this week in Mexico City. On Tuesday, February 28, from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. local time, Sigalsport will have one of their machines on display at the Masarik Mexico City BMW dealership, with driver Gene Sigal on hand to sign autographs. The team, which was on the GT pole in last November’s season finale—and finished second in the race—looks to promote the GT category of the Rolex Series in North America’s largest market. Grand-Am

02/28/06
f1
Super Aguri reveals its official livery Super Aguri reveals its official liverySuper Aguri has revealed its Formula One livery today at Silverstone where both Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide came in action for the Japanese team. Bad weather prevented much testing.

   

02/28/06
f1
Ferrari continue testing at Mugello Ferrari continue testing at MugelloSecond day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari, working again today at the Mugello circuit. Both Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa spent the day continuing the programs they began yesterday. Michael concentrated on developing set-up and aerodynamics on the 248 F1, while Felipe racked up the kilometers to consolidate the overall reliability of the car. The figures are as follows: 94 laps for Michael (best time 1'21"974) and 71 completed for Felipe (best time 1'22"481). The Scuderia continues testing at Mugello tomorrow, still with Schumacher and Massa on track. Press release Ferrari
02/28/06
f1
Kovalainen quickest at Valencia Kovalainen quickest at ValenciaFour teams were testing today at the Valencia circuit - Renault, McLaren, Honda and Williams, and defending World Champions Renault was quickest with Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel.

“Today’s session in Valencia was the last day of testing for our race drivers before the race season starts in Bahrain,” explained Sam Michael, Williams Technical Director. “Mark and Nico both worked on tire testing, while Nico also did some brake cooling work. We had a small problem with the gearbox on Mark's car which was the only hindrance as it cost us some downtime during the day. Alex will drive tomorrow to conclude our winter testing program.”

Kimi Raikkonen joined Pedro de la Rosa in Valencia today for the second session of this week's test. Kimi took over driving duties of the MP4-21 from Pedro, who continued the Michelin tire development program in the MP4-20 alongside the Finn. Kimi's work began in earnest in the afternoon completing 72 laps in the MP4-21, equating to 280km, His work focused on working through different set ups and tire choices with his race engineers as he set the third fastest time of the day, a 1m10.814. During the morning a hydraulic problem with his MP4-21 was detected, delaying his program for the day. Pedro covered over 430km in the MP4-20, setting a quickest time of 1m10.836. His focus for today was the Michelin tire selection for the third race of the season in Melbourne.

Testing will continue tomorrow at Valencia. McLaren, Honda, Williams, Red Bull and Toyota are expected to be on hand.

1. H. Kovalainen - Renault R26 - 1'10"438 (+0"000) - 123 laps
2. A. Davidson - Honda RA106 - 1'10"532 (+0"094) - 146 laps
3. K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 - 1'10"827 (+0"389) - 74 laps
4. P. de la Rosa - McLaren Mercedes MP4/20 - 1'10"834 (+0"396) - 109 laps
5. N. Rosberg - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1'11"268 (+0"830) - 69 laps
6. M. Webber - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1'11"561 (+1"123) - 86 laps

Lap times courtesy of Valencia circuit

02/28/06
nascar
Kentucky Speedway testing Kentucky Speedway testingPenske Racing South driver Ryan Newman is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway Wednesday, March 1 along with Robert Yates Racing development driver Matt McCall. It is Newman's second Kentucky test in three weeks. McCall also is scheduled to test Thursday, March 2, with BAM Racing driver Brent Sherman. Test sessions usually begin at 9:00 a.m., and conclude by 5:00 p.m. Test times will vary based on team objectives. Fans can view testing from a designated area outside Turn 3 for free. Kentucky Speedway PR
02/28/06
nascar
Michael Waltrip Racing update Michael Waltrip Racing updateToyota is using the same entry philosophy they used in the Truck Series as they enter NASCAR’s top series - new teams. Michael Waltrip Racing is working hand in hand with Toyota developing the 2007 Camry. With the quality people we have on board, we will be a key technical partner in all areas of the building process. We are even developing our own 2006 Dodge cars. The reason for this is three fold. First, to run a five-race 2006 schedule, which will be announced Friday afternoon March 10th of the Las Vegas race weekend next month. At that time, we will also announce a driver and sponsor combination. Secondly, to assist Toyota in understanding where the cars that are on track today are aerodynamically. And lastly, to help MWR’s employees to stay current with the competition.

This group will be much better prepared to race in 2007 because of this plan. Waltrip Racing World is gaining more and more momentum. On February 6, 2006, we finalized zoning approval for the entire 11-acre campus. We plan to begin demolition and renovations by March 1, 2006. Everyone we talk to about our fan friendly, interactive entertainment based concept believes it will be a hit. Race tracks, baseball stadiums –heck, all sports venues have become interactive. Now, the first race shop will be.

Our real estate partner, Noah Lazes, has been busy visiting other race shops, Daytona USA, Basketball arenas, etc., making sure our project is the latest and greatest in the world of sports-themed destinations. Bobby Kennedy, MWR’s V.P. of Competition, along with Larry Carter, MWR and former Penske Racing crew chief, have been equally as busy making sure every detail is in order for the team to produce the fastest race cars possible out of our facility. We are blessed that Larry recently helped in the design of Roger Penske’s new Penske Racing shop. His experience and knowledge of the project ensures me our team will need nothing when we move in. NAPA Site

02/28/06
nascar
TV News
Value of Daytona 500 TV exposure Value of Daytona 500 TV exposureANN ARBOR, MI – Jimmie Johnson’s victory at this year’s Daytona 500 enabled his primary sponsor, Lowe’s, to amass nearly $20 million of in-broadcast exposure during NBC’s live telecast. The Lowe’s exposure figure marked the highest sponsor total for a single NASCAR race telecast monitored throughout the last 22 years by Joyce Julius and Associates.

Altogether, Lowe’s identity appeared for 27 minutes, 30 seconds (27:30) during the 4.5-hour Fox telecast. Additionally, Johnson’s sponsor was mentioned on six occasions. When comparing the exposure to the estimated cost of a commercial on the season opening broadcast, Lowe’s earned $19,876,555 in exposure value.

Not surprisingly, the Lowe’s logo on Johnson’s hood accounted for the largest portion of the sponsor’s in-broadcast impact, with 16:37 leading to $11.6 million, or 58% of Lowe’s entire exposure. In comparison, primary team sponsors averaged 12:05, 2.9 mentions and $1.4 million per race last season during 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series coverage.
 
Year Network Winning Driver Sponsor Exp. Time Mentions Exp. Value
2002 NBC Ward Burton Caterpillar 17:24 6 $9,650,005
2003 Fox Michael Waltrip NAPA 17:42 6 9,911,085
2004 NBC Dale Earnhardt Jr. Budweiser 15:06 14 10,460,000
2005 Fox Jeff Gordon DuPont 15:07 3 9,838,500
2006 NBC Jimmie Johnson Lowe's 27:30 6 19,876,555
Note: Results reflect team-related exposure during the live race telecast only.

Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Joyce Julius and Associates — which specializes in measuring the impact of sponsorships across all forms of media — is beginning its 22nd consecutive year of monitoring all NASCAR race telecasts for corporate exposure. Joyce Julius

02/28/06
NASCAR
Kenny Wallace - Mexico City is Electric Kenny Wallace - Mexico City is ElectricKenny Wallace, driver of the No. 22 ppc Racing Team AutoZone Ford will be competing in the Busch Series Telcel-Motorola 200 in Mexico City this weekend. Kenny is among a handful of NASCAR drivers who has been a proponent of the road courses. "I have always enjoyed road racing and really I have always excelled at it. I wish that our schedule allowed us to race on more road courses, but right now we just get to do it twice a year in Mexico and at Watkins Glen. We ran really strong in Mexico last year, and this year we should be one of the favorites to compete for the win. The car that we're taking is the same road course car that I finished eight in last year", Kenny said in an recent interview. He went on the rave about the upcoming race and the atmosphere in Mexico City: "I really enjoyed our first trip to Mexico last year and I have been looking forward to going back. Going into the trip last year I didn't know what to expect, so I just kept an open mind and I was extremely impressed with how well we were treated and how organized everything turned out. The track is a very nice facility, but it's definitely a different layout, especially with the baseball field in the middle of the road course. The atmosphere in Mexico City was electric last year. Everyone down there was so nice to us and really made us feel welcome. You could really tell that they appreciated us coming so far to race. Everything from the track facilities to the hotels were first class. The most amazing part was how the fans reacted to us. It was amazing to see so many flags and signs in the stands, and the best part was that I found out I even have fans down there!" Given the empty seats prevalent at California Speedway last weekend, you have to think NASCAR is contemplating an expansion south of the border. Doug Belliveau
02/28/06
nascar
 Track News
California Speedway well short of sellout again California Speedway well short of sellout againCalifornia Speedway for last Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Auto Club 500 “couldn’t fill its 92,000-seat grandstands” for the second consecutive year, according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Observers from local newspapers estimated the crowd at 70,000-80,000 and “likely the smallest ever” at the track. While California Speedway President Gillian Zucker “proclaimed the race a ‘wow day,’ NASCAR couldn’t have been thrilled that every section had empty seats, including large pockets in Turn 4.” NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France “blames some of California’s sagging attendance on saturation in the Southwest,” but he is “encouraged by the track’s effort to drive fan interest by capitalizing on its location in a fame-obsessed region.” Ryan notes the speedway is focusing on “upscale, off-track entertainment to attract a sophisticated crowd.” The midway is being remodeled for the September 3 Sony HD 500 to include a “concert stage, stores and an outdoor café serving food by” Wolfgang Puck. Ticket sales are up for the September weekend, and France “expects a packed house for the first time in three years.” France: “Over time, they will sell out both events. I have no qualms about that at all” USA TODAY, 2/28.

"Even with the new look and a new logo, 200 banners hanging on the streets in downtown [L.A.] and a proclamation by the mayor and the city council, it is still hard to get folks out” to the speedway. Sports Business Group President David Carter: “I don’t think there’s that buzz.” Zucker said, “It’s not going to happen overnight. And people who think that there’s a magic wand you wave, and all of the sudden you capture the second-largest media market in the country, are fooling themselves. We know that, though. And we’re patient and we’re doing the right things”  N.Y. TIMES 2/26.

David Poole estimates that “no more than 65,000” seats were occupied Sunday and adds another 10,000 in the infield to reach an attendance of 75,000. In two February races, California Speedway “has not sold tickets worth a flip.” Poole notes an IPSOS survey in conjunction with the AP about five years ago stated that NASCAR had 75 million fans, but “basically anybody who’d ever heard of NASCAR was counted as a fan.” Poole writes, “Let’s just go ahead and say it: NASCAR doesn’t really have 75 million fans” CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/28.

02/28/06
Japanese GT
Hankook to Compete in Japan GT Hankook to Compete in Japan GTHankook Tire Co. will enter Japan’s Super GT Championships this year, and will team with former champion Team Endless Sports in the Super GT 300 class.

Rated as one of the world’s three major Grand Touring events, Japan’s Super GT Championships feature some 40 teams, 19 vehicle badges, 100 drivers and 50,000 spectators per race. The two-class series – GT 300 and GT 500 – will have nine races this year.

“The event presents a good opportunity to showcase Hankook Tire’s technology level to the world,” said Hankook Tire Vice President Hyun-shik Cho. “We will do our best to finish in the top group and make our racing fans proud.”

Hankook said it also plans to participate in the 24 Hours of LeMans and FIA’s GT series in Europe.

02/28/06
f1
Plans for Grand Prix parade in Paris Plans for Grand Prix parade in ParisThere are plans under discussion for a major exhibition in Paris and a parade on the Champs Elysees to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Grand Prix motor race. If all goes to plan there will be a exhibition laid out on either side of Paris's main thoroughfare in May and June and there will be a parade of the most important racing cars from each decade. This will take place on June 1 before a gala dinner at the Automobile Club de France.

The Champs Elysees is often used for such exhibitions and a couple of years ago railways tracks were laid on either side of the road and trains brought in to celebrate and promote railway travel. If the Paris authorities agree, the event will provide the motorsport industry an opportunity to show off event its value to millions of visitors in Paris.

There will also be a major celebration of the centenary at Le Mans, where the 1906 race took place, on June 10 and 11 with 100 cars from the early years of the sport doing a symbolic lap of the original 65-mile circuit. Grandprix.com

02/28/06
wrc
Suzuki confirms WRC bid Suzuki confirms WRC bidThe Suzuki Motor Corporation has finally revealed its future rally plans, confirming at the Geneva Motor Show that it will enter the World Rally Championship starting in August 2007.
02/28/06
alms
Corvette C6.R named Car of Year Corvette C6.R named Car of YearCorvette Racing's championship-winning Corvette C6.R race car has been named the "North American Car of the Year" by dailysportscar.com, a noted online magazine that provides in-depth coverage of sports car and GT series worldwide.

In announcing the selection of the Corvette C6.R over marques such as Audi, Aston Martin and Maserati, the editors wrote, "The two yellow missiles utterly dominated proceedings in GT1. They were nothing short of world class throughout the year, taking ALMS and Le Mans titles at the first attempt - how many more might follow?"

Corvette Racing introduced a pair of new Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars at the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March 2005. The two-car factory team raced to 10 victories in 11 starts, including the team's fourth 1-2 finish in the GT1 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Chevrolet won the Series' GT1 manufacturers championship for the fifth consecutive year, and Corvette Racing swept the drivers, team and pit crew championships. Corvette drivers Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta shared the drivers' title, and their teammates Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell finished second in the standings. zzzz

"We polled all of the reporters and photographers that contributed to dailysportscar's 2005 season coverage and the overwhelming winner was GM's finest," said deputy editor Graham Goodwin. "The result showed very clearly indeed that the cars had impressed everybody with a stunning display of pace and reliability coupled with an unmistakable all-American soundtrack.

"The Corvette C6.R almost effortlessly picked up the baton from the C5-R and the dominance it displayed throughout its debut season was stunning," Goodwin noted. "After misfortune robbed the yellow cars of what had seemed like an assured victory at Sebring, the response was immediate, hugely impressive, and lasted for the remainder of the 2005 season. Not only did the C6.Rs win every other race they contested, they only once missed out on scoring 1-2 finishes in all of them."

Developed in tandem with the sixth-generation Corvette, the Corvette C6.R shares components and technology with its production counterpart. For example, the street car's flush-mounted headlights, central air intake and sleek body design enhance the performance of the race car, while the production Z06 Corvette's 7.0-liter LS7 small-block V-8 engine, carbon fiber body panels and aerodynamic enhancements were inspired by the racing version.

02/28/06
alms
cc
Bourdais and Junqueira join Panoz for Sebring Bourdais and Junqueira join Panoz for Sebring
02/28/06
NASCAR
Bristol Fans to Wave the Green Flag Bristol Fans to Wave the Green FlagThe nearly 160,000 fans who will attend the sold-out Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 26, 2006 will get to be part of history as they'll take part in waving the world's largest green flag. Upon entering the grandstands on Sunday, fans will be given a green flag on the way to their seats. The words "I Waved The Green Flag" are inscribed on the keepsake flag which also boasts the Bristol Motor Speedway and Food City 500 logos. The flags, 8"x12" in size, would cover quite a bit of area if they were laid out end to end, blanketing more than 3.5 acres. When the honorary starter waves the official flag to start the race at 2:10 p.m. fans will be encouraged to stand and wave their green flags as well, taking part in a history-making moment. "Bristol Motor Speedway has the greatest fans in the world and this is a great way to get them even more involved in our races," said BMS President and General Manager Jeff Byrd. "Having all 160,000 of our fans take part in the waving of the green flag will be something unique and it'll be a lot of fun for them. They'll also get to be part of history and also take a piece of it home as a souvenir." Fans may make use of their green flags after cautions on restarts too. Bristol Motorspeedway
02/28/06
nascar
Aikman Perplexed by NASCAR Aikman Perplexed by NASCARPro Football Hall-of-Famer to be Troy Aikman questioned NASCAR's 25-point penalty for an illegal carburetor modification found on the #96 Hall of Fame Racing car in post-qualifying inspection Feb. 12 for the Daytona 500. Aikman and co-owner Roger Staubach were not expecting a points penalty because Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Feb. 14 that it didn't look as if it was an intentional violation. But NASCAR announced Feb. 21 that crew chief Philippe Lopez was fined $25,000 and the team lost 25 driver points and owner points. "I don't know how that encourages new ownership and how that encourages new sponsors to get involved in the sport to where penalties are handed down that are very prohibitive and affect the ability of these people to bring millions of dollars and see results," Aikman said prior to the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. "It's discouraging to say the least." The team is appealing the decision.

"Whenever we have to issue a penalty, we do a history of penalties to try to stay consistent," Darby said Feb. 24. "The huge majority of carburetor violations that we've seen over the last five years have all been the same penalties as were issued to the 96." The illegal modification was in one of the four ports in the carburetor, team general partner Bill Saunders said after the infraction was found but before the penalty was announced. He added that it was from bad machinery.

"Right is right and wrong is wrong," Aikman said Feb. 26. "To me, that was unequivocally wrong. I don't know there is anymore I can say about it or anymore we can do about it. I'm hoping that more reasonable heads prevail when they get a chance to look at the appeal, but I'm not confident anything will happen there because I'm not sure why they wouldn't prevail when they were handing down penalties to begin with." Scene Daily

[Editor's Note: Welcome to NASCAR Troy Aikman, where cheaters prosper with mere slaps on the wrist while others get slammed. Was this points penalty the result of an overreaction by NASCAR because of recent criticism on them from the media about the decades of rampant cheating that permeates the entire sport?]

02/28/06
dtm
Ekström the quickest Monday afternoon Ekström the quickest Monday afternoonAt the end of the first of the four days of official DTM testing, held at Vallelunga, Mika Häkkinen set the fastest lap time. The two-time Formula One World Champion, who completed his maiden laps at the circuit located close to Rome, set a 1:41.889-minute lap, thus being 0.079 seconds faster than his team-mate, Bruno Spengler. In rainy and cold conditions (10° C), Häkkinen set the fastest lap time of the day already in the morning session. The afternoon session was red-flagged several times, as some of the drivers went off on the way to taking their cars to the very limit, on the extremely wet track.

Mattias Ekström turned out to be the quickest driver of the afternoon session. At the wheel of his Audi A4 DTM, the 2004 DTM Champion set a fastest lap time of 1:42.866 minutes, a time fast enough to secure him fourth place on the day’s time sheet, behind Mika Häkkinen, Bruno Spengler (AMG-Mercedes C-Class) and Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM). Apart from Ekström, Mercedes-Benz works drivers Jean Alesi and Mathias Lauda as well as Audi’s Christian Abt also succeeded in improving their lap times, in the afternoon session. The Frenchman increased his time by more than a second, while Lauda - who had been hampered by technical problems, in the morning session, and could complete only eight laps to finish twelfth - even improved by more than two seconds. zzzz

Just as it had been the case in the morning session, Susie Stoddart in her AMG-Mercedes C-Class once again proved to be the fastest of the rookies, when the first day of testing was over. Having secured eighth place on the day’s time sheets, she finished three positions ahead of Mathias Lauda (AMG-Mercedes C-Class) and four positions ahead of Vanina Ickx (Audi A4 DTM

Mika Häkkinen (AMG-Mercedes C-Class): “This has been the first time for me to drive at Vallelunga and I really looked forward to going out on this circuit. Dry conditions are always better to learn a track, but unfortunately it started raining already in the morning. It’s fun to drive the new car, with its handling being just great - not only in dry conditions but also in the wet. Altogether, it was a very good and productive day and it’s a nice start into the season to have been quickest on the first day of the official tests.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM): “The morning was wet, the afternoon very wet - the conditions were difficult and anything than consistent. Therefore, there wasn’t much to be learned, today, and I opted for completing just a few laps. The car ran really well and reacts the way we expected it to do. Now I hope for better conditions during the coming days.”

Mattias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM): “It has been very wet, all day, and the track conditions turned out to be extremely difficult, in several sections. This offered me the chance of experiencing the new car’s handling in difficult conditions right away. Altogether, it has been a good day.”

The official DTM test days will be continued until and including Thursday.

Testing times 27th February 2006 - combined
1 Häkkinen, Mika AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 95 1:41.880
2 Spengler, Bruno AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 65 1:42.659
3 Kristensen, Tom Audi A4 DTM 20 1:42.687
4 Ekström, Mattias Audi A4 DTM 31 1:42.866
5 Abt, Christian Audi A4 DTM 29 1:43.261
6 Mücke, Stefan AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 63 1:43.557
7 Alesi, Jean AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 29 1:43.919
8 Stoddart, Susie AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 68 1:44.493
9 Tomczyk, Martin Audi A4 DTM 72 1:45.170
10 Stippler, Frank Audi A4 DTM 38 1:45.515
11 Lauda, Mathias AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 34 1:46.407
12 Ickx, Vanina Audi A4 DTM 56 1:46.657

Testing times 27th February 2006 - afternoon
1 Ekström, Mattias Audi A4 DTM 23 1:42.866
2 Abt, Christian Audi A4 DTM 30 + 0.395
3 Häkkinen, Mika AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 41 + 0.649
4 Alesi, Jean AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 26 + 1.053
5 Kristensen, Tom Audi A4 DTM 6 + 1.382
6 Mücke, Stefan AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 37 + 2.426
7 Tomczyk, Martin Audi A4 DTM 35 + 2.483
8 Spengler, Bruno AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 11 + 3.035
9 Stoddart, Susie AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 18 + 3.313
10 Lauda, Mathias AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 47 + 3.541
11 Stippler, Frank Audi A4 DTM 25 + 4.537
12 Ickx, Vanina Audi A4 DTM 23 + 6.353

Testing times 27th February 2006 - morning
1 Häkkinen, Mika AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 56 1:41.880
2 Spengler, Bruno AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 55 + 0.779
3 Kristensen, Tom Audi A4 DTM 14 + 0.807
4 Ekström, Mattias Audi A4 DTM 22 + 1.018
5 Mücke, Stefan AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 56 + 1.677
6 Abt, Christian Audi A4 DTM 17 + 2.397
7 Stoddart, Susie AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 41 + 2.613
8 Alesi, Jean AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 13 + 3.073
9 Tomczyk, Martin Audi A4 DTM 58 + 3.290
10 Stippler, Frank Audi A4 DTM 13 + 3.635
11 Ickx, Vanina Audi A4 DTM 35 + 4.777
12 Lauda, Mathias AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 8 + 6.551

02/28/06
dtm
Häkkinen the quickest in Monday morning session Häkkinen the quickest in Monday morning sessionIn the morning session of the first of four days of DTM testing, held in Vallelunga, Italy, Mika Häkkinen set the fastest time. At the 4.076-kilometre circuit located north to Rome, the two-time Formula One World Champion completed a total of 56 laps and in his fastest, he crossed the line in 1:41.880 minutes. Bruno Spengler, also behind the wheel of a 2006-spec AMG-Mercedes C-Class, finished second. In wet and rather cool conditions (about 10° C), the young Franco Canadian completed 55 laps and was 0.779 seconds slower than Häkkinen.

The fastest Audi driver, however, completed just 14 laps. In his fastest lap, Tom Kristensen was 0.807 seconds slower than the two-time World Champion and finished third, with Mattias Ekström completing 22 timed laps, at the wheel of his Audi A4 DTM and finishing fourth, thanks to a 1:42.898-minute lap. zzzz

At the same time, Scotland’s Susie Stoddart turned out to be the quickest of the DTM rookies. With her 2004-spec AMG-Mercedes C-Class entered by Team Mücke Motorsport, she crossed the line in 1:44.493 minutes to finish seventh, with Vanina Ickx (1:46.657 minutes) taking her 2004-spec Audi A4 DTM to eleventh place. Mattias Lauda (1:48.431 minutes) was hampered by technical problems, could complete just eight laps and had to settle for 12th position.


Times 27.02.2006 - Morning session
1 Häkkinen, Mika AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 56 1:41.880
2 Spengler, Bruno AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 55 + 0.779
3 Kristensen, Tom Audi A4 DTM 14 + 0.807
4 Ekström, Mattias Audi A4 DTM 22 + 1.018
5 Mücke, Stefan AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 56 + 1.677
6 Abt, Christian Audi A4 DTM 17 + 2.397
7 Stoddart, Susie AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 41 + 2.613
8 Alesi, Jean AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 13 + 3.073
10 Tomczyk, Martin Audi A4 DTM 58 + 3.290
9 Stippler, Frank Audi A4 DTM 13 + 3.635
11 Ickx, Vanina Audi A4 DTM 35 + 4.777
12 Lauda, Mathias AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 8 + 6.551

02/28/06
cc
Justin Wilson to make appearance in Seattle Justin Wilson to make appearance in SeattleTraveling nearly 200MPH on four wheels is how Justin Wilson earns his living. The 6’3 Yorkshire born Brit began like many in professional motor sports, racing go karts. He quickly rose through the open wheel racecar ranks and now has a full time seat with Team RuSPORT Racing in the Champ Car series. The Denver based race team competes the world over on both road and street courses. Wilson’s RuSPORT teammate is American speedster AJ Allmendinger.

Wilson is making a special appearance at Bison Creek Pizza Friday, March 3rd, 7:30-8:30PM to show his appreciation for the fan support shown to his RuSPORT Champ Car team. Bison Creek co-owner Mike Rasmussen, an avid motor sports fan himself, is excited about this opportunity. “It’s not often we get the chance to host a top notch veteran of both Formula One and Champ Car”, explains Rasmussen. Bison Creek Pizza, 630 SW 153rd St, in Burien has been Seattle’s official Formula One and Champ Car season headquarters since 2000. Dozens of enthusiasts turn out to watch each race on the restaurant's 60 inch widescreen TV. Due to overseas race times it’s not unusual to find a crowd at Bison Creek well into the early morning.

Special events including race day viewing, beer tastings, car club conventions, and local sports team gatherings are all part of the thirty year history of Bison Creek Pizzas run in Burien. Co-owner Connie Salazar is pleased so many patrons feel comfortable at Bison. “We do our best to create the family owned environment that built Burien’s business community”, says Salazar.

During Justin Wilson’s March 3rd visit, motor sports fans will have an opportunity to ask questions, get an autograph, and have a picture with the friendly Brit. This event is sure to draw a larger than normal crowd. Please arrive well before 7PM and take in one of Bison Creek’s award winning pizzas along with one of the many handcrafted microbrew beers.

02/28/06
Industry News
Against Toyota, GM must mind the gap Against Toyota, GM must mind the gapAuto racing isn't about just the car and the driver. If you've got to haul around a ton of stuff and the other guy doesn't, it's hard to be competitive.

For years now, we've heard General Motors complain that it's being lapped in the United States by Toyota because it's got five retirees in the back seat for every two people actively building its vehicles, while Toyota's U.S. operations are virtually retiree-free. GM is weighed down by heavy "legacy costs" for pensions and health care, while Toyota has no pension plan, and its health care costs per vehicle are barely a tenth of GM's.

But it's not quite that simple, race fans. GM has another serious performance drag that has nothing to do with legacies. It has to do with price. Because GM vehicles aren't as attractive to buyers as comparable Toyotas, you can generally buy them cheaper.

And as we'll soon see, the revenue difference, which almost no one talks about, may soon be larger than GM's cost difference, which everyone talks about. The reason: GM has managed to reduce legacy costs by pressuring workers and retirees. But it can't simply muscle buyers into paying up for its vehicles. It has to persuade them, which is lots harder.

Now, let's go crunching. Because Toyota sells more smaller vehicles than GM does, and fewer big ones, you need a "mix-adjusted" number to be able to compare apples with apples. Ron Tadross, Banc of America Securities' chief auto analyst, puts the Toyota premium (or GM discount, if you prefer) at $1,500 a vehicle in the United States. GM won't confirm that number -- but doesn't dispute it, either.

Tadross also says that despite being $1,500 cheaper, GM vehicles generally are higher-cost than Toyotas, because GM's resale values are far lower. Lower resale values, of course, are one reason that GM can't charge as much as Toyota does.  More at Washington Post

02/28/06
dtm
Audi signs Heinz-Harald Frentzen Audi signs Heinz-Harald FrentzenAudi receives a well-known reinforcement this season: Former Formula 1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen competes with an Audi A4 DTM in the most popular and leading international touring car race series.
 
"We are convinced of his driving skills. He showed what he was capable of in Formula 1. In our opinion, Heinz-Harald hasn’t previously been able to show his true potential in the DTM,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "We know that Heinz-Harald is very popular with both the fans and media. It’s a reflection of his personality.”
 
The Monaco domiciled German, who was born on 18 May 1967 in Mönchengladbach, swapped from Formula 1 to the ultimate touring car series in the 2004 season. He started from the front row twice in 2005, and finished on the winners’ podium in third position at Brno and Zandvoort. "It’s now time for me to win some DTM races and also fight for championship honors,” says Frentzen. "I’m delighted that Audi is giving me the chance to show the DTM fans exactly what I can do in a touring car. I’ve always been a fan of the Audi brand with their modern design and their technical expertise. Audi has been one of the most successful manufacturers for years in motorsport. And alongside Formula 1, DTM is quite simply one of the best racing series in the world.”
 
Heinz-Harald Frentzen is regarded as an extremely gifted technical driver and brings all the experience gained from a decade of Formula 1 to Audi. He was 1997 World Championship runner-up and third overall in 1999. He won three Grands Prix during his Formula 1 career.
 
Frentzen lives with his wife Tanja and their two daughters in Monte Carlo. He will line up in the DTM with an evolution of the A4 DTM, which has been developed over the winter by Audi Sport and which will be run by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline.
 
Following a seat fitting in the Audi A4 DTM last week and a brief visit at the Audi fitness camp, he will be testing the Audi A4 DTM for the first time at the official DTM tests at Vallelunga (Italy) from Wednesday onwards. Audi
02/28/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ralf predicts 'podium' start for Toyota
Winter's last tests kick off
Legends to rock Magny Cours
Glock, not Firman, on Aguri shortlist
Brundle to manage McLaren tester
Montoyas expecting second child
Red Bull unveil paddock innovation
Mosley predicts 'surprises' in 2006
Speed debut 'positive' - Villeneuve
F1 test seat is 'best option' - Finn
Webber expects 'tough phase' in '06
Niki's speedy brother
Honda is most reliable '06 team - study
Ralf, Jarno, disagree about '06 'knockout'
02/28/06
track news
Paul Ricard adds new safety barrier system Paul Ricard adds new safety barrier systemThe President & CEO of the Paul Ricard HTTT Philippe Gurdjian, never stops in his quest to progress and improve safety on the race tracks all over the world. After the creation of the new corners 'S' de la Verrerie' on the Paul Ricard HTTT, Gurdjian decided to install a brand new safety system to protect drivers and cars in case of impacts against the guard rails. This innovating system is to substitute the obsolete tire barriers and their conveyer belts.

Philippe Gurdjian has worked over the last two years with TecPro International to find out the best concept for the new barrier system. This concept is made of rational molding of flexible polyethylene blocks measuring 1.50 meters long and 1.20 m height with 0.60 m width and a weight of 110 kg. Strapped together, the F1 TecPro is filled with injected bendy foam of flexible density with a metallic sheet placed at the centre to reinforce the barrier.

The F1 TecPro has a maximum amount of energy absorption and can reduce greatly the 'G' force impact. Their installation is simple and their maintenance is truly easy and cost effective. Developed according to modern Formula One speeds, the TecPro barriers are truly efficient thanks to the system that can not get dismantled in case of crash, also they can not be punctured by any type of vehicle. In addition, official tests were carried out by the FIA and DEKRA.

One more time, Philippe Gurdjian was far ahead the first one to install and apply this brand new type of protection on the Paul Ricard HTTT, as he first started to set it up in the new 'Petit Beausset' corner as soon as January 2005. It was then first seen on a race track at the 2005 Monaco F1 Grand Prix in May of the same year. zzzz

In September 2005, when Philippe Gurdjian created the new corners in 'La Verrerie' (exact copy of 'Dunlop S' in Suzuka – Japan), he decided to install the F1 TecPro Barriers to replace the previously existing tire barriers. On this new part of the track, the TecPro barrier is made of 210 blocs measuring 1.50m each set up some 1.20m from the guard rail to reinforce the absorption efficiency in case of impact. The absorption has been increased thanks to two additional red intermediate absorbent TecPro blocs which also give the Rescue Teams and marshals the opportunity to proceed to a quicker intervention from the service road towards the track.

"The Paul Ricard HTTT is the true reference of the new race tracks all over the world. As it was modernized, my main goal was to make out of this track the first track of the third millennium in terms of safety. We developed new concepts which are now copied on all the new tracks over the world. This is truly the best reward I could have expected. The TecPro concept is definitively innovating and a new step toward safety. This is the reason why the Paul Ricard HTTT was the first track to adopt it" explained Philippe Gurdjian, who is and will always be ahead of future…

In the last four years and after over 200,000 kilometres of Formula One testing on the Paul Ricard HTTT, there were only four impacts against the guard rails to be counted. It still stays a priority for Philippe Gurdjian to improve constantly the circuits and safety developments. As a matter of fact, the Paul Ricard HTTT has recently been chosen by the new FIA Institute to be the first centre for Motor Sport Safety. PR Paul Ricard

02/28/06
nascar
Joe Gibbs Racing picks up another sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing picks up another sponsorCharlotte-based Husqvarna, which makes riding mowers and other equipment, has signed on as a sponsor for Joe Gibbs Racing, the company said Monday. For three races this season, the company's logo will appear on the hood, quarter panels and back section of the No. 18 car, driven by J.J. Yeley in the Nextel Cup circuit. The company also will be the primary sponsor of the No. 19 car for four races in the Busch Series.
Hot News Archives
2000 2001 2002 2003
2004200520062007
2008200920102011
2012201320142015

Search Hot News
Search Help