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DATE News (chronologically)
03/05/07
PF2000
Pacific F2000 Championship Kicks Off  Buttonwillow, Calif. -- The 2007 Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook Tires gets underway March 9-11 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The weekend will comprise a pair of 30-minute races as part of the Vintage Auto Racing Association’s Route 66 Formula Festival.  

The Pacific F2000 Championship Series is entering its 4th year of competition. Each season more and more drivers and teams come to compete in this cost-effective series. Pacific F2000 has been recognized from all charts of the globe and has been considered by many to be the ideal next step after karting into open-wheel racing.

Champ Car Atlantic and Pacific F2000 team owner Bobby Oergel of PR1 Motorsports has competed in the Pacific F2000 series since its inception in 2004. The team has won multiple championships in F2000 competition including back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. Both of PR1’s current Champ Car Atlantic drivers, Jonathan Bomarito and Mike Forest, are former F2000 champions. More ...

03/05/07
nascar
No. 9 Team Penalties Upheld by Commission  On March 5, 2007, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Evernham Motorsports regarding the #9 car. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following post-qualifying inspection on February 11, 2007 for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event at Daytona International Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules” and Section 20-2.1E “Unapproved aerodynamic modification.” More ...
03/05/07
nascar
No. 17 Team Penalties Upheld by Commission  On March 5, 2007, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Roush Fenway Racing regarding the No. 17 car. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following post-qualifying inspection on February 11, 2007 for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event at Daytona International Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules” and Section 20-2.1E “Unapproved aerodynamic modification.”

The penalties assessed were:
  • Loss of 50 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Jack Roush.
  • Loss of 50 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Matt Kenseth.
  • $50,000.00 fine; suspension from NASCAR for the next four (4) NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until March 21, 2007 (not including testing) for crew chief Robbie Reiser.

The Appellants did not contest the legality of the violations, nor appeal the suspensions, but appealed the severity of the fine and the points penalties. The Appellants presented an argument that a “ratcheting up” of penalties was not warranted in light of the recent record of penalties, and that lesser penalties had been previously issued to other teams for more egregious violations. More ...

03/05/07
nascar
Dale Jr./DEI find what caused engine problem  Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. about starting the season with two Did-Not-Finish (DNF) results: "We're not happy about it, but we're keeping our heads up. We've had some rough starts before and came back strong. We were 38th in the points after two races in 2003, and we came back to finish third. It seems like we always get better as the year goes on. Don't forget, we had back-to-back last-place finishes in the middle of the summer last year and dropped out of the top-10 in points, but we fought back into the Chase when we needed to. As a team, you can't let it be a distraction - we have to go out and run every lap as hard as possible and not worry about it. This team has always performed well when the pressure is on, and I expect nothing less this week. We found out what caused the engine failure at California, and our guys have been busting their (butts) to make sure we don't have that problem again. The most positive thing we took from California is that we had a car that was really fast. We had a flat tire, but then we came back out and passed Matt Kenseth even with a loose wheel that caused a bad vibration. That shows we have a really good set-up and we're taking that same chassis to Las Vegas." Budweiser Racing PR
03/05/07
nascar
Montoya panned in Mexico  Juan Pablo Montoya made a lot of headlines in Mexico Monday morning, but not all were about his win in the Busch Series race on Sunday. Many newspapers and sports programs have criticized Montoya for being arrogant, media unfriendly (Montoya decided not to give a single interview) and fan unfriendly (it's one thing to refuse to give any autographs or pose for pictures, but pushing fans is a very different thing).  They also reported he was rude with his team members (shouting at them in front of the media members). Could this be the real reason he lost his F1 seat?   J. J. Arrambide Gonzalez reporting from Mexico
03/05/07
nascar
NASCAR buzz in Mexico City has leveled off  NASCAR's experiment to bring its product south of the border finished its third year Sunday, with the Busch Series racing in Mexico City.  The word is the third try might not exactly have been the charm.  Although a solid crowd was on hand at the historic Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the buzz around NASCAR's junior circuit's visit to Mexico has definitely leveled off.
 
But despite the decline in attendance and the monumental logistical task of bringing teams, crews and drivers to Mexico, the series is expected to return in 2008, albeit on a different weekend.  "We're expecting to be back," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's vice president for racing operations. "I don't see any reason why we wouldn't."

The coveted Hispanic and Latin markets are very important in NASCAR's growth plan for the future, when the event in Mexico City was first announced three years ago it was heralded as the first step in the globalization of NASCAR Nation.  But there's very little evidence that Mexican race fans clamor for more of the sport than the annual pilgrimage to Mexico City.

In order for the Latin fans to truly become interested in NASCAR, a national hero needs to be on the circuit, so they can follow him every week of the schedule. However, that's not as easy as it might sound.   More at CBS.Sportsline.com

03/05/07
Industry News
Shanghai GM to sell 12,000 Cadillacs  Shanghai General Motors (GM) is hoping to quadruple sales of its Cadillac luxury sedan to 12,000 units in China this year.   "Shanghai GM's sales plan represents the highest growth rate since Cadillac entered China's market," sources with the company said on Sunday.  Last year the company sold 3,000 Cadillacs in China.

Shanghai GM, established in 1997, began making Cadillacs in China in 2004.  "Cadillac sales have developed slowly," sources with the company said, "but it has laid a solid foundation."   Sales of luxury cars by other makers far outstrip those of GM's Cadillac. In 2006, BMW sold 22,550 units, while Audi sold 80,808 units.

03/05/07
alms
Flying Lizard Announces Driver Lineup for Sebring  Flying Lizard Motorsports has announced the team’s full driver line-up for the American Le Mans Series season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.  Johannes van Overbeek and Jörg Bergmeister will be joined by Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb in the team’s No. 45 Porsche 997 RSR.  Darren Law, Seth Neiman and Lonnie Pechnik will share driving duties in the No. 44 entry.

Van Overbeek is looking forward to hitting the track for the first race of the year.

"It will be great to have Marc back with us at Sebring,” he said. “Jörg, Marc and I all know one another's styles fairly well by now and we like driving together. Starting the season at Sebring is always an eye-opener. This race is a tough one on drivers, cars and crew; add a new car to the mix and it's going to be quite a weekend!" More ...

03/05/07
cca
Bomarito to help with Blood Drive  Monterey, California – Champ Car Atlantic Championship driver Jonathan Bomarito will be doing much more than just testing his race car this week at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The 25-year-old racer from Monterey will also help to host a blood drive benefiting a local hospital during Champ Car Spring Training activities at the track.
 
Last week it was announced that Bomarito will return to the Fresno, California-based PR1 Motorsports team in 2007 for his third Atlantic season. Bomarito will test his #23 Miracle Sealants PR1 machine on Wednesday and Thursday, March 7-8 at Mazda Raceway. But both he and teammate Mike Forest, who will pilot the #32 Miracle Sealants entry at the test, will also assist with a blood drive co-sponsored by Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
The blood drive will take place at the hospital’s mobile unit, located next to the PR1 Motorsports transporter in the paddock at Mazda Raceway, from 12-4 p.m. PT on both Wednesday, March 7 and Saturday, March 10. Saturday’s activities at the track are free and open to the public. Anyone who donates blood will get tickets to the U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway, May 18-20.
 
The 750hp cars of the Champ Car World Series will test at the fabled road course on March 9-10 after the Atlantics spend two full days on track.
 
“It’s great to be able to test our Atlantic cars at my local track and such an awesome place like Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca,” said Bomarito. “But it makes it even more special to be able to give something back to the community. Hopefully fans will take this opportunity to come out on Saturday, see the Champ Cars up close and take time to give blood. I also challenge everyone in the Champ Car community to participate and give blood as well. This is our opportunity to do something for a worthy cause and I want to thank both Mazda Raceway and Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital for their cooperation in making this happen.”
 
For more information on the blood drive, please contact Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at (831) 242-8201.
03/05/07
nascar
tv news
McReynolds joins TNT broadcast team  Larry McReynolds is branching out from his role as a NASCAR analyst on Fox Sports and Speed, joining the team that will work six Nextel Cup races for TNT this summer.  "We are excited about adding Larry's knowledge to our team," said Jeff Behnke, executive producer for Turner Sports said Monday. "We plan to use him in a multipurpose role."

McReynolds, a former NASCAR crew chief, joined the Fox team as an analyst in the booth for the 2001 season. He continues in that role in this, the first year of NASCAR's second consolidated network contract.

Fox will end its 2007 season after the Dover race in early June, with TNT taking over at Pocono on June 10 and broadcasting through the July 15 race at Chicagoland.

McReynolds will work TNT's prerace show from a mobile set along with a host that is yet to be named. He will add commentary from that set during the races and also will be used to demonstrate things from a cutaway car and pursue stories in the garage as needed.

Bill Weber and Wally Dallenbach will be in the booth for those six races, with Kyle Petty joining them for five of those. ThatsRacin.com

03/05/07
nascar
Principal Financial to sponsor Ginn Racing in 2007  Ginn Racing will include a two-race primary sponsorship of the #01 Chevy, co-driven by Mark Martin and Regan Smith during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. The sponsorship calls for Mark Martin to race the Principal Financial Group Chevy at Daytona International Speedway on July 7, and for Regan Smith to race in the Principal Financial Group colors on Sept. 16 at New Hampshire International Speedway. The Principal will serve as a season-long associate sponsor on Martin and Smith’s #01, and on Joe Nemechek’s #13 and Sterling Marlin’s #14 Ginn Racing Chevys. “Following the excitement of Mark Martin’s close second place finish in the Daytona 500, the Principal Financial Group is thrilled to support his return to Daytona International Speedway,” said Mary O’Keefe, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Principal Financial Group. “With Mark mentoring Regan Smith, The Principal is also proud to provide an edge to the next generation of NASCAR.” The Principal first joined Ginn Racing in August 2006 as an associate sponsor on Marlin’s Waste Management Chevy. The company increased its sponsorship in November when The Principal served as primary sponsor of Marlin’s #14 and Nemechek’s #01 Chevys during the Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The U.S. Army, Martin’s and Smith’s primary sponsor for the balance of the 2007 Nextel Cup season, will have associate sponsor status on the #01 car in both Daytona and New Hampshire. Businesswire.com
03/05/07
tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC  Live NASCAR racing will return to ABC for the first time in seven years Saturday when ESPN on ABC presents the NASCAR Busch Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas event is the first of six select NASCAR Busch Series races this season that will air on ABC, with the other 29 to be televised by ESPN2.

Coverage will begin with the pre-race NASCAR Countdown show at 2:30 p.m. ET, with the race to start at 3 p.m. Brent Musburger and Chris Fowler will host the telecast. Play-by-play announcer Jerry Punch will be joined in the booth by 1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree for analysis. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will serve as pit reporters. Studio analysts Tim Brewer and Brad Daugherty will join Fowler in the ESPN Pit Studio during the telecast.

The Las Vegas race will be the first of three consecutive NASCAR Busch Series races that will be televised by ESPN on ABC, all on Saturday afternoons. The March 17 event from Atlanta Motor Speedway and the March 24 race at Bristol Motor Speedway will be the others. The NASCAR Busch Series will return to ESPN2 with the April 7 event at Nashville Superspeedway. More ...

03/05/07
alms
Michelin ready to make history at Sebring again  The opening race of the 2007 American Le Mans Series season is America's most historic sports car race, the Twelve Hours of Sebring. It may again be the scene for another big slice of motorsports racing history for Michelin and its technical partner teams.

Michelin made history in 2006 when the Audi R10 TDI, driven by Allan McNish, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, became the first diesel-powered car to post an overall victory at a major international sports car race. The overall race victory was Kristensen's fourth, also a Sebring record. Michelin also made its own history, becoming the first tire maker in the 54-year history of the Sebring race to score an eighth consecutive overall victory.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING?
The 2007 edition of the Twelve Hours of Sebring may be truly historic:

• Will Acura score its first win in its debut race?

• Will one of American Motorsports' iconic teams – Penske, Dyson, Andretti Green, Lowe's Fernandez or Rahal Letterman – claim a first ever Sebring 12 Hours victory?

• Will Michelin break its own record by scoring its ninth consecutive win at Sebring to match its current win streak at the 24 Hours of Le Mans? More ...

03/05/07
motogp
Fiat to sponsor Yamaha team  During a presentation in Italy today, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd announced that it has reached a two-year agreement with Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. to become title sponsor of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team in the MotoGP World Championship.

The Team’s Official Launch took place in Milan this afternoon and the Team will be known from now on as the “Fiat Yamaha Team”.

Yamaha’s two Factory riders, Italian Valentino Rossi and American Colin Edwards were present at the event today as well as Yamaha Motor Company’s Masao Furusawa, General Manager for Engineering Operations, Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing and Davide Brivio, the Fiat Yamaha Team Director. The Yamaha line-up were joined on stage by Luca de Meo, CEO of Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. More ...

03/05/07
alms
Graham Rahal will race for RLR at 12 Hours of Sebring  HILLIARD, Ohio - Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) announced today that Graham Rahal, the 18-year-old son of co-owner Bobby Rahal will drive for the team at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring next week.  Rahal will join RLR’s duo of Ralf Kelleners and Tom Milner to comprise the driving trio for the team’s first race in the American Le Mans Series GT2 class. 

Graham Rahal, who is considered by many in the media to be one of the brightest young prospects in all of racing, will make his second start at Sebring having raced last season for Alex Job Racing in the GT2 class.  Rahal enjoyed a breakout season in 2006 taking second in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and leading the series in wins (5) and pole positions (4) and leading nearly 40% of the laps he ran. He also ran one-off events at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Daytona as well as selected events in the A1GP Series.  More ...

03/05/07
nascar
cc
NASCAR Mexico race draws 72K  UPDATE By comparison the announced attendance for last November's Champ Car race held in the rain was 104,422 on Sunday.

03/05/07 Officials said a total of 116,118 came to the track during the three days to watch the NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City, with 72,971 watching Sunday's race, a similar attendance to last year, but down from 94,229 in 2005.  Grand-Am raced on Saturday but the attendance was very sparse.
03/05/07
ips
Corning to sponsor Twin 100s at The Glen  Corning Incorporated, the title sponsor of The Glen’s Indy Pro Series race since open-wheel racing returned in 2005, will double its pleasure this year by titling both races of the Indy Pro Series with the Corning Twin 100’s during the Watkins Glen Grand Prix, July 6-8.  

“We are proud to further our relationship with a partner so vital to our community,” said Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust.  “Corning Incorporated’s decision to sponsor both 100’s demonstrates their continued commitment to the world-class racing held here at The Glen.”

This will be the first year that Corning Twin 100’s will run at the famed road course.  In 2005 and 2006, a single Corning 100 was run during the Watkins Glen Grand Prix weekend.   The Indy Pro Series introduced doubleheader weekends last season as a cost-effective way to add races to the schedule and to entice IndyCar Series teams to participate in the series.  Drivers will be racing hard both times they hit the legendary road course because each race will be a points race and have an impact on the 2007 season standings.    

The addition of the second Corning 100 will give race fans two opportunities to see the talented up and coming stars of the Indy Pro Series, and will give the drivers more track time on the challenging road-course.  The green flag will drop on the first Corning 100 on Saturday, July 7, and will be part of a full day of racing that includes the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series and Historic Grand Prix.  The field will then invert for a second Corning 100 prior to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix on Sunday, July 8.

03/05/07
cc
Photomotive Merchandising Joins Champ Car  The Champ Car World Series today announces that it has entered into a multi-year licensing agreement with Photomotive Merchandising to sell photographs and posters of the teams and drivers starting with the 2007 season.

Offering both exciting action shots and classic driver poses, these photos will allow the fans to claim a prized memory of their favorite race or favorite driver home from Champ Car’s three-day Festivals of Speed.

“I remember the anticipation of waiting in line to have a photo signed by the top racing drivers in North America,” said Bruce Squair, president of Photomotive Merchandising. “And I know racing enthusiasts will want to do the same when they see these great shots of their favorite drivers.” More ...

03/05/07
speedcar
Three more drivers join Speedcar Series  A host of motorsport stars will be on hand for the first testing session of Speedcar Series this week. Former Formula One drivers Johnny Herbert, Gianni Morbidelli and Stefan Johansson, will join Jean Alesi at the Virginia International Raceway, USA, on Monday and Tuesday (March 5th and 6th), to sample three 600bhp cars that will be used in the Speedcar Series, which begins next autumn across Asia and Middle East.

They will be joined by American stock car driver Mike Bliss, who does not plan to race in the new series, but support the first part of the program as a test driver.

Last week, Alesi was confirmed as the first driver taking part in the inaugural championship, which features 24 identical cars competing on tracks in Asia and the Middle East.

Johnny Herbert said: "It is a very exciting new series and I am delighted to be part of it. The competition with the top class drivers will for sure be very fierce, and together we will have some fantastic battles on the race track. I can't wait for the racing to start." More ...

03/05/07
industry news
Porsche net profits up  Luxury sports car maker Porsche AG confirmed Monday that net profit soared in the fiscal first half of 2007, boosted primarily by a gain from its stake in Volkswagen AG.  Net profit rose to euro1.14 billion (US$1.5 billion) in the half ending Jan. 31, higher than the euro1.05 billion (US$1.38 billion) preliminary figure reported in January at the company's annual general meeting, compared to euro170 million in the same period a year earlier.

Porsche's 27.3 percent Volkswagen stake contributed a more than a euro1 billion (US$1.32 billion) gain while the revaluation of Volkswagen shares held by Porsche yielded another euro520 million (US$684.48 million), the company said.

"Since the start of our investment in Europe's biggest automotive group around a year and a half ago, Porsche's share price has risen by 50 percent and Volkswagen's share price has doubled," the company said in a statement. "Any initial doubtful voices in relation to our shareholding in VW have long since faded."

03/05/07
dtm
Premat joins Audi DTM team  AUDI AG tackles the forthcoming 2007 DTM season with proved teams and a rejuvenated driver line-up. Just like last year, the Audi factory teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg and the customer team Kolles T.M.E. will enter a total of ten Audi A4 DTM in the most popular international touring car race series. The two Germans Lucas Luhr (27) and Mike Rockenfeller (23) and the Frenchman Alexandre Prémat (24, pictured right) are the three new factory drivers signed by Audi for the 2007 DTM.
 
The four latest generation Audi A4 DTM cars will be run by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. Record Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen (39) from Denmark, who enters his eighth season for Audi, and the Swede Mattias Ekström (28), the 2004 DTM Champion, spearhead the Bavarian team’s championship assault. German Martin Tomczyk (25), who celebrated his first DTM victory last season and the Austrian domiciled German Timo Scheider (28) complete the Abt squad.
 
Scheider was the best driver of a year-old A4 DTM during the 2006 season and staked his claim for a new generation car with his constantly strong performances. Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller, who contest their first season with year-old cars for Audi Sport Team Rosberg, aim to repeat Scheider’s example this year. More ...
03/05/07
Industry News
No tears if Chrysler's dumped  Nine years ago, as the world's top auto executives converged on Geneva for the annual motor show, the heads of Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp. met secretly to discuss a merger that former DaimlerChrysler CEO Juergen Schrempp would later describe as "a marriage made in heaven."

But as the auto industry gathers in Geneva this week for another show, the DaimlerChrysler union looks headed for dissolution, and many Europeans -- certainly most Germans -- look back on the $36 billion deal as a regrettable error that weakened both partners.

Since DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche confirmed on Feb. 14 that "all options" are under consideration for the ailing Chrysler Group, reactions in Germany have ranged from simplistic to regretful. "Mass and High Class don't Mix" blared the Stuttgarter Zeitung, DaimlerChrysler's hometown newspaper.

German workers and engineers who have cooperated with Chrysler colleagues may have mixed feelings, but the consensus among German investors, employees and commentators is that it's probably time to split up.

"It's time to say goodbye," German TV channel ARD's stock market commentator said the day after Zetsche's comments. More than three-fourths of the investors polled by ARD said DaimlerChrysler should sell Chrysler.  More at Detroit News

03/05/07
f1
cc
Latest F1 news in brief  
Heidfeld doubts title bid in 2007
Heidfeld hopes Massa beats Raikkonen
Heidfeld says beard not lucky charm
Heidfeld is first to arrive in Australia
Spyker aims to avoid last place - Valles
Toyota pre-season 'catastrophic' - Ralf
Schu exit only small blow for Germany
Ralf Jr showing family talent - father
Massa credits Schu for rise to top
Kimi unmoved as first Ferrari challenge looms
Controversial Montoya regains winning feeling
Albert Park confirms final corner change
03/04/07
cc
Stoddart and Gore to kick off Surfers ticket sales  Three of the major Aussie players in world motorsport will headline the Ticket Launch for this year's Lexmark Indy 300. New Australian owner in the Champ Car World Series Paul Stoddart will be a special guest at the event. The ex-Formula 1 team owner now runs the Minardi USA team in the Champ Car World Series, and will be joined by Team Australia owner Craig Gore and V8 Supercars Australia Chairman Tony Cochrane as the panel of 'Major Aussie Players in World Motorsport'. Tuesday's event will launch ticket sales for this year's Lexmark Indy 300 with the new TVC and promotional imagery to be unveiled.

On hand will be:
- Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman Terry Mackenroth
- V8 Supercars Australia Chairman Tony Cochrane
- Aussie Champ Car Team Owners Paul Stoddart and Craig Gore
- V8 Supercar drivers Russell Ingall, Paul Morris, Max Wilson, Fabian Coulthard
- Bartercard Miss Indy Sarah Buller

03/04/07
racing news
Quotes of the week  
KEVIN KALKHOVEN, Champ Car World Series co-owner, PKV Racing team co-owner
"I promise I will never go and speak to penguins for two months in winter ever again," explained adventurous series co-principal Kevin Kalkhoven, who spent much of the off-season in Antarctica. "I disappeared for a couple of months and it wasn't necessarily the smartest thing to do without letting everyone know what I was doing. It caused a whole bunch of speculation. This series is here for the long term. I'm not a believer in highly-subsidized racing as we've seen either in the past or in other series. This year we have new cars, we have new teams and we have a series that is not being subsidized. I can't wait to get on track." (Responding to criticism that the Champ Car World Series has lost momentum and management has lost interest)
 
SCOTT PRUETT, NASCAR driver, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
“Of all the people to take you out, your teammate,” said Pruett. “I mean that was just no good, low, nasty, dirty driving. I can’t even put it into words,” he continued. “It’s just so disappointing. We talked about it, talked about it, talked about it, talked about it in meetings. If he’s faster than me, we’ll work it out, he can go, you know. But not take each other out. That’s just bad driving.” (Commenting after his teammate, Juan Montoya, made contact with him and spinning him out after a bold move with just eight laps to go in the Mexico City NASCAR Busch Series race)
 
JUAN MONTOYA, NASCAR driver, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
“I felt really bad because we both needed a really good finish,” said Montoya. “I went into the braking. We were both braking about the same point, but he was slowing down the car a little more. He kind of stayed wide so I went for the inside and when I was there he just turned and I had nowhere to go. I feel really sorry about it. But we have this one out of the way now and the next one is we need to win on an oval. I want to win on an oval. That’s where we need to be good.” (Commenting after winning his first NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City after spinning out his teammate, Scott Pruett, with just eight laps to go) More ...
03/04/07
ips
irl
More downforce for 100% throttle Indy cars  UPDATE With word that the IRL is adding more downforce into the IndyCars this year to bring the artificial 'pack' racing back almost all the drivers are concerned.  During a segment of the 'SPEED Report' Sunday night most drivers expressed reservations about 'pack' racing in open wheel cars.  It may work for NASCAR and its restrictor plate races, but it is a disaster waiting to happen when open wheel IRL cars run in a pack. 

Except for Paul Dana's death at Homestead, 2006 was a fairly safe year for the IRL because for the most part the cars were not in a pack.  If the league is going to artificially tighten up the racing, look out for horrifying IRL driver injury stats to return.  To put the drivers in this situation just for the 'show' is downright irresponsible, but the IRL drivers must be spineless because rather than boycott they all put up with it.  Hopefully we won't see any body bags again this year.

01/15/07 [Editor's Note:  What do you do to a 100% throttle no talent required race car series for short ovals and road courses?  Why you add even more downforce in the hope that those circuits are 100% throttle too.  What a total waste of a series.  This is supposed to be a training ground?  Whatever happened to car control?]

Could the Indy Pro Series see new track records in 2007? Quite possibly if the benefits from a new aerodynamic package introduced on Jan. 12 deliver results as projected. Indy Pro Series officials introduced a triple-element rear wing and a larger front wing element that will be used on all short ovals and road courses in 2007, beginning with the first Open Test on the road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 20. More ...

03/04/07
motogp
Kawasaki team confident going into Qatar  After a long and intense period of pre-season testing in which Kawasaki riders, Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque, covered more than 7000 km aboard their Ninja ZX-RR machines, the first race of the 2007 season has finally arrived.

This week the Kawasaki Racing Team head for Qatar for the opening race of the season at the spectacular Losail International circuit, which is located in the desert on the outskirts of the Middle Eastern emirate's capital city, Doha.

The demanding 5.380 km Losail track has not always been kind to the Kawasaki Racing Team in the past, but a successful pre-season test at the circuit less than three weeks ago means that de Puniet and Jacque head for the middle east with high expectations of a strong race debut for Kawasaki's new 800cc Ninja ZX-RR. More ...

03/04/07
nascar
Mathis still looking for sponsor to run team  For the past two years, former NFL player Terance Mathis, has been working the telephones trying to find a sponsor for his Victory Motorsports. He brings star appeal to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, as well as the opportunity for the sport to embrace a minority-owned team. On the surface, it should be an easy sell. A high-profile owner with a chance to break the color barrier in a sport that's trying desperately to chip away at its all-white perception should have Corporate America ready to come aboard. But Mathis, like so many before him, has learned it's not that easy. "I'm still battling the battle," Mathis said. "The reason this isn't easy is because unlike other sports, where the whole league makes sure you're on the right path, in NASCAR you're on your own. It needs to be fixed." In the past four years, several high-profile people from sports and entertainment have talked about joining NASCAR. The sanctioning body has put many of them on display, hoping to give its diversity program some legs. But for the most part, it has turned into a daunting task. Mathis, for now, is up for the challenge. "I'm stubborn," he said. "That's how I played my career. I'm going to work my tail off and find a way to make this happen. There have been times when I've decided I can't do this anymore, then I get a phone call or an e-mail from somebody that reminds me this is more important than a race team. We can't close the door on this. I want to make it viable for anyone who wants to come into this sport. I started this thing, and I want to see it to the end." While Mathis continues to struggle to find funding, Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith, actor/comedians Tommy Davidson, Damon Wayans, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans will have a car on the track this year. Their #06 Ford is scheduled to make its debut in the Busch Series race at Mexico City today. Others, like Mathis and former Oakland Raiders receiver Tim Brown are still looking. Augusta Chronicle
03/04/07
nascar
Allmendinger determined to die trying  Veteran Scott Pruett had some sage opinion about AJ Allmendinger's situation in NASCAR.

"The reality is he is taking on the most difficult circumstance," Pruett said, "as a driver who hasn't been involved in the sport, who hasn't been in these cars before and with a team that is brand-new to the sport. ... That coupled with the limited amount of testing they let you do, all three are going against him."

"He just needs to be patient, take his time and know his first year is going to be very difficult all the way around, and the second year he's really going to start to have fun," Pruett said.

A frustrated Allmendinger, though, said, "It's like taking 10 years of what I have grown up learning, throwing it away. ... That's how different the cars are."

The first preseason test was an eye-opener. "I said, 'OK, I can be a little off and be 35th.' No, you're a little off, and you're 50th," Allmendinger said.

"They say, 'We don't expect you to be as quick as Brian (Vickers - his teammate),' although I know I do. ... That's just my nature," he said.

"I'm either going to make this work, or I'm going to die trying," he said, "because this is where I want to be, and I don't lay down."

03/04/07
cc
f1
The Paul Stoddart story  Former f1 team owner Paul Stoddart is a now Champ Car owner.  Below are a series of stories about Stoddart's days in F1 published by Business F1.  They are interesting reads.

The Paul Stoddart Story Part One
Paul Stoddart breezed into Formula One 10 years ago as a bit part player. Five years later he was a team principal and five years after that he was out of the game altogether, richer and wiser. As he negotiates the rights to publish his memoirs in 2007 he decided to tell the story of those years to BusinessF1. This is Part One of his story.

The Paul Stoddart Story Part Two
In Part Two of the Paul Stoddart Story, financial reality strikes after 9/11 and aviation goes into recession. Belts are tightened as he goes into debt to fund the team. But even in that scenario, Stoddart can’t resist signing Mark Webber despite bringing no money with him. Worse still, Tom Walkinshaw buys the Prost team and tries to steal his TV money.

The Paul Stoddart Story Part Three
On paper Paul Stoddart had a US$40 million budget in the bag by the start of the 2003 season. It was set to be his best ever, but it soon turned to dust as all the promise dissolved amidst a season of broken promises. A struggle to survive started almost as soon as the New Year festivities were over.

The Paul Stoddart Story Part Four
As far as the team was concerned Paul Stoddart turned the financial corner in 2004 and by year-end was even able to pay himself a dividend. But problems piled up elsewhere in his business empire as he was forced to take his charter airline back from the people he had sold it to two years before.

03/04/07
nascar
cc
irl
cooperff
karting
Another open wheel driver moves to NASCAR  Another talented young open wheel star, Jason Bowles, who was one of the original Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow in 2000, who along with AJ Allmendinger, Jonathan Bomarito and a couple others tested a Champ Car for Team Rahal, is going the NASCAR route after gaining the wins and a rookie of the year award in the F2000 Zetec Championship didn't put him in play in the higher ranks of American open wheel racing ... It's too bad that this continues to happen ...

Bowles, the multi time California State, International Karting Federation, Stars of Karting and SKUSA Supernationals ICC Karting Champion, who has over the past several seasons raced, tested and won in race cars ranging from the F2000 Cooper Tires Zetec Championship, where he was Rookie of the Year in 2004, to an Indy Pro Series car and a test for Team Rahal in the Champ Car, recently this past season made the switch to a NASCAR Late Model program at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California where he wound up the 2006 season in the top ten in points for his rookie Late Model effort. More ...

03/04/07
v8
Champ Kelly takes race 2, overall Clipsal 500 win  V8 Supercar Champion Rick Kelly began his title defense in emphatic style in Adelaide yesterday when he won the season opener, the Clipsal 500.

The 24-year-old from Mildura made it a Kelly double when his older brother Todd came second for the round.

The Kelly brothers were too good for Ford young gun James Courtney as they gave Holden's new VE Commodore the perfect debut.

Kelly's team-mate Garth Tander scored a top 10 finish despite a drive-through penalty for a pit lane incident with Todd Kelly when departing his pit bay after his fuel stop. The incident ended team hopes for a Toll HSV one-two in the Adelaide street race in front of one of the biggest crowds in V8 Supercar history. More ...

03/03/07
garolex
Pruett Retains Rolex Series Points Lead  Memo Rojas qualified the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) Daytona Prototype third in his first-ever pairing with Scott Pruett Saturday, managed to make up some lost time in the early goings and handed the No.01 TELMEX Lexus Riley to Pruett on Lap 53 of 100 to finish fourth overall in the 2:45 minute sprint race in Mexico City. The two will run the balance of the Grand American schedule together after Pruett won the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona with Juan Pablo Montoya and Salvador Duran, and Rojas competed with 2006 Rolex 24 Champions Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon in a second CGRFS entry.

Rojas gridded third but dropped to seventh after the green flag flew, only to claw his way back into fourth before the day’s only pit stop and driver change. Pruett would run the remainder of the race in fourth, but with no breaks from yellow flags the Rolex Series’ winningest driver was unable to make up the one-minute gap that separated him from the leaders.

With the result, Pruett remains the Rolex Series Championship point leader with 63 markers, three more than his nearest competition (teammates Max Angelelli and Jon Magnusson) as the series enters Round 3 of the 14-race schedule.

03/03/07
nascar
Engine woes in Mexico  At least six drivers will go to the rear of the field for the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 because of engine changes. The high altitude of Mexico City (7,400 feet) can wear on the engines, as well as the high-RPM main straight of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez course.

Three rookies - Roush Fenway Racing's David Ragan, Kevin Harvick Inc.'s Kertus Davis and JR Motorsports' Shane Huffman - will go to the rear of the field for the start.

They will be joined by two experienced road racers: Roush Fenway's Michel Jourdain and Richard Childress Racing's P.J. Jones. The Michael Waltrip Racing team with driver David Reutimann also changed an engine.

"Everybody is running really high RPMs," said Drew Blickensderfer, the crew chief for Jourdain. "The good thing is our failure was different than the [Ragan car] failure." Scenedaily.com

03/03/07
racing news
Joe Alexander dies  A great old timer at the Brickyard who was always at the Speedway and knew everyone by name.  (See related article)

Joe F. Alexander 93, Speedway, Indiana, and formerly of Stewartstown, PA, passed away on Thursday, March 1, 2007. He was born on February 19, 1914 in Marysville, Ohio to the late James H. and Lucy May (Jackman) Alexander.
 
He was a Construction Supervisor for the Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco, CA. Memberships included: Masonic Lodge #204 in Salinas, CA; member of the Consistory of Fresno, CA; member of the 500 Old Timers of Indianapolis, Indiana; Lifetime Member of United States Auto Club. He was also a member of the Holy Cross Episcopal Church of Street, MD. More ...

03/03/07
nascar
Pruett wins pole in Mexico  UPDATE A reader writes, What a farce!  Imagine that....a random Mexican driver starts on the front row for the NASCAR race in Mexico....What a circus....I finally understand why some people are so adamant about not considering racing a sport when all they do is watch NASCAR and its 'managed' racing. Derek Hughes

03/03/07 At a track that looked like a ghost town (very few fans in attendance) Scott Pruett (right) drove his Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates Dodge to a fast lap of 87.458s to win the pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Busch race in Mexico City for the Telcel-Motorola 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Mexican Carlos Contreras will start 2nd in a Dodge and Pruett's teammate Juan Montoya will start 3rd. Photo courtesy of Dodge/Getty Images

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPEED TIME
1 41 Scott Pruett Dodge 103.647 87.458
2 22 Carlos Contreras Dodge 103.407 87.661
3 42 Juan Montoya* Dodge 103.391 87.675
4 27 Jorge Goeters Ford 103.203 87.835
5 20 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 103.086 87.934
6 33 Ron Fellows Chevrolet 103.014 87.996
7 9 Boris Said Dodge 102.668 88.292
8 4 Regan Smith Chevrolet 102.594 88.356
9 60 Carl Edwards Ford 102.536 88.406
10 21 P.J. Jones Chevrolet 102.498 88.439 More ...

03/03/07
Track News
Pacific Raceways Planning $135 Million Renovation  
Pacific Raceways is planning a major $135M upgrade to gain FIA certification, including a 2.25-mile road course capable of attracting NASCAR, IRL and Champ Car racing events.  The track is located 33 miles south of downtown Seattle and they also have plans on building a NASCAR oval in the attempt of landing a Cup race.
 1  Drag Strip: New drag strip to run North-South which eliminates late-afternoon sun problems, directly across from the new facility entrance to allow easy access for racers and fans. Lowered 25 feet to help with noise abatement.  11  Spectator Bridge: Constructed over the road course which will allow easy fan access to all parts of the road course facility, even during racing sessions.
 2  Drag Strip Pits/Parking: Fully-paved pits and parking located directly adjacent to the drag strip.  12  Club House and Office Complex: All-new offices and club house facility with restaurants.
 3  Gas Station: Full-featured gas station located directly adjacent to the drag strip facility.  13  Motorsports Business Complex: Over 500,000 square feet of commercial and industrial facilities.
 4  Shift Kart Track: World-class, multi-configurable shift kart facility, lowered 25 feet to assist in noise abatement.  14  Hospitality and Education Centers:
 5  3/8-Mile Paved Oval Track: The paved oval track and grandstand facility capable of hosting sprint and short-track stock car racing events.  15  Super Speedway: Proposed future high-speed banked tri-oval will attract NASCAR racing events.
 6  Oval Track Pits:  16  2.25-Mile Road Course: FIA certification of the road course, capable of attracting NASCAR, IRL and CART racing events.
 7  Fire Station/Care Center: Fully-equipped with state-of-the-art firefighting and emergency medical care equipment.  17  Motocross Facility:
 8  Road Course Paddock/Cold Pit Garages:  18  Permanent Racer Garages:
 9  300-Foot Skid Pad: For driver education and photographic purposes.  19  Access Tunnels: Constructed underneath the road course to allow easy vehicle and spectator access to all parts of the road course facility, even during racing sessions.
 10  Driving School Buildings/Autocross Area:    
03/03/07
nascar
Fellows to focus on NASCAR  Ron Fellows, recently let go by the Corvette ALMS team, is stepping into a Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet for the Busch Series Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 this weekend at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. As his career winds down Fellows was looking for something a bit easier to drive so he is focusing his attention toward getting a NASCAR Cup ride that will allow him to someday win a Cup race.
 
"The Corvette, especially with the longer races, is getting a lot more difficult as you get older," said the 47-year-old Fellows, who will drive only part time for the Corvette team this year. "The way things were panning out for '07, the timing was right. We talked about it last summer, whether or not that was my last season. I probably would prefer to do the whole schedule, but the way things have worked out, it's the right time."

"It will also free up a little more time," Fellows said. "We have some unfinished business in NASCAR. I want to spend a little more time focusing on that, primarily getting a Cup win before I'm done."

03/03/07
Industry News
Toyota family says number one doesn't matter  Being the world's number one automaker doesn't matter unless the public is convinced of the business's quality, a member of Toyota Motor Corp's founding family says.  Toyota is forecast this year to surpass ailing US giant General Motors Corp in both sales and output for the crown of the largest automaker.

Vice President Akio Toyoda, a descendant of the family that founded the company as a textile maker in the 19th century, said the success would not go to its head.

"There is a telling episode. One dentist claims he's the world's best on his entrance sign. A second one claims he's the nation's best, and a third claims he's the best in town," Toyoda told Saturday's Nikkei business daily.

"Patients opted for the best in town. I repeatedly say, let's become the best automaker in town."

Toyoda, the family's top-ranking member involved in day-to-day operations at Toyota, said the company's priorities remained reducing costs and quality control.

"The way we do business will not likely change much," he said.

03/03/07
irl
Andretti, Kanaan expect to contend in 2007  In 2006, the only drivers other than the four from Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing to win were Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti.

The duo hopes to do it a lot more in 2007.

Strong performance in preseason Open Testing has Kanaan feeling like Team 7-Eleven can return to its championship contending form after finishing a disappointing sixth in points last year.

"We spent a lot of time in the off-season working very hard to close the gap, and I think the lap times at the tests have shown that," Kanaan said. "But, we've still got some work to do on the Team 7-Eleven car before the Homestead race. We're getting closer to the red-and-white cars, and hopefully you'll see us win more races this season." More ...

03/03/07
f1
Gene thrills Aussie crowds  With just two weeks to go before the all important opening qualifying session of the 2007 Formula One season, Ferrari test driver, Marc Gene thrilled Australian fans today as he drove his Ferrari Formula One car through Lygon street in Melbourne as part of Ferrari’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

Restricted to just 60 kph, Gene roared, as much as he could at that pace, in front of tens of thousands of spectators as he put the 2006 F1 contender through its paces as a prelude to the upcoming season opener.

“Today was a unique opportunity for Melburnians to get up close and personal with a magnificent Ferrari Formula One car right in the heart of the city’s iconic Little Italy precinct,” said Mr. Bamford CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation. “It was brilliant to see so many families enjoying an entire day of free entertainment with the main attraction of course being the low-speed demonstration drive of the very same car driven by the sport’s most prolific driver, Michael Schumacher, in last year’s Formula One World Championship season.”

03/03/07
cc
Vegas track construction begins  UPDATE Added photos from first night of construction below.

03/02/07 One of the largest events to ever come to downtown Las Vegas took another big step Thursday, March 1, when cornerstone track barricades were set up at Bonneville Avenue and Grand Central Parkway for the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix.  

The work signals another segment in construction of the 2.44-mile, 12-turn temporary street course, which winds in and around Glitter Gulch. Ten members of the Vegas Grand Prix construction crew were on hand to begin the process. More ...
03/03/07
cc
Kalkhoven quiets the naysayers  UPDATE AutoRacing1.com also interviewed Kevin Kalkhoven yesterday (separately) and will have an article on soon concerning this topic.

03/02/07 This ESPN.com article says, The lack of solid information emanating from Champ Car since the end of the 2006 season has been ominous, to say the least.

Observers of the American open-wheel racing scene have been fixated on the short field of cars that came out for the first two open tests of the new 2007 Panoz Champ Car and the fact that just a little more than a month before the scheduled start of the season, fewer than 10 drivers have been confirmed.

"I promise I will never go and speak to penguins for two months in winter ever again," explained adventurous series co-principal Kevin Kalkhoven, who spent much of the off-season in Antarctica. "I disappeared for a couple of months and it wasn't necessarily the smartest thing to do without letting everyone know what I was doing. It caused a whole bunch of speculation."

"There has obviously been a quiet period over the winter off-season and that may have been taken by some people negatively and some people positively," Kalkhoven said. "But we had always planned to make a number of major announcements at Monterey next week. Significant sponsorships have come in and the series will continue to develop. I think you'll find there are a number of fully-funded teams and it's going to be one hell of a season. More ...

03/03/07
f1
Fisi sets sights on Melbourne podium  (GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella has set his sights on the Melbourne podium after admitting that Renault's winter has been overshadowed by the pace of Ferrari and McLaren.

The French squad captured the 2005 and 2006 championships, but in the absence of Fernando Alonso it has not shone as a regular pacesetter in pre-season testing with its new car.

Roman Fisichella, now partnered by rookie teammate Heikki Kovalainen in 2007, said the Enstone built car's "reliability" is among Renault's biggest assets ahead of the new season.

"I think we have to aim to be on the podium," he said, although admitting that the R27 seemed to take a step forward in performance in the second week of Bahrain testing.

Fisichella added: "We are still behind Ferrari in particular, they looked very strong this week.  McLaren are a little bit ahead too, and BMW are competitive as well but I think we have made a good step forward."

03/03/07
a1gp
A1 Team South Africa shows fighting spirit  Adrian Zaugg and Vulindlela, flying the flag for South Africa, may not have won the race but they won the hearts of the thousands of South Africans packed into the grandstands in the streets of Durban last weekend for the eighth round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

The weather was hot, the racing was hot and the competition was so heated that an incident on the very first lap of the 50 lap feature race saw A1 Team South Africa compromised before the race had even gathered momentum.

Dropping from seventh on the grid to 19th behind the safety car on lap two following an incident that he had no part in, Zaugg had his work cut out to make an impression on the 18 nations ahead of him. The safety car came into the pits at the end of lap three and the race was underway again. More ...

03/03/07
v8
Todd Kelly in front at Clipsal 500  Todd Kelly has performed once again for the Holden racing team, winning the first leg of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide today. Kelly beat off challenges from last year's winner Jamie Whincup and the in-form James Courtney to take the 250km event, the first of two races that culminates tomorrow.

It is the first race of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series and Kelly, who lined up in a new billion dollar baby VE Commodore, said it was a good sign for things to come.

"To be honest I'm a little bit blown away," he said in a statement. "To maintain that momentum with a brand new car is unbelievable. The pace we had was just awesome."

It was a day of fast finishes, with second place-getter Courtney snatching the lap record away from Jason Richards (set last year), after relinquishing pole position early in the race. Kelly did things the hard way, working his way up from 15th after hitting an oil spill earlier in the day. More ...

03/03/07
nascar
Busch: Pruett tops practice 1 in Mexico  
Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 41 Scott Pruett Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Dodge 88.674 102.226
2 20 Denny Hamlin Rockwell Automation Chevy 88.693 102.204
3 *42 Juan Pablo Montoya # Texaco/Havoline/telcel Dodge 89.025 101.823
4 22 Carlos Contreras Family Dollar Dodge 89.156 101.673
5 5 Adrian Fernandez Lowe's Chevy 89.472 101.314
6 27 Jorge Goeters Scotiabank Ford 89.557 101.218
7 *1 J.J. Yeley Miccosukee Resorts Chevy 89.598 101.172
8 33 Ron Fellows Camping World Chevy 89.815 100.927
9 9 Boris Said Rago/Wisk/Hellmann's Dodge 89.840 100.899
10 *17 Michel Jourdain Dish Network Ford 89.886 100.848 More ...
03/03/07
nascar
Busch: Montoya blisters Happy Hour in Mexico  Road racing ace Juan Pablo Montoya makes his way around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City during practice for this weekend's NASCAR Busch race. He was fastest in Happy Hour and marked himself as one of the favorites to win the race on Sunday. Photo by CIA Stock Photo

Montoya also topped Rookie Practice. His teammate and former Champ Car race winner Scott Pruett was fastest in opening practice. 

Qualifying for the Telcel-Motorola 200 is Saturday at 11:30 am/et. ESPN2 will have live coverage.

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 *42 Juan Pablo Montoya # Texaco/Havoline/telcel Dodge 87.011 104.180
2 20 Denny Hamlin Rockwell Automation Chevy 87.755 103.297
3 22 Carlos Contreras Family Dollar Dodge 87.840 103.197
4 18 Brad Coleman # Carino's Italian Grill Chevy 88.464 102.469
5 *4 Regan Smith Ginn Resorts Chevy 88.538 102.383
6 59 Marcos Ambrose # Kingsford/Bush's/Matchlight Ford 88.630 102.277
7 9 Boris Said Rago/Wisk/Hellmann's Dodge 88.728 102.164
8 33 Ron Fellows Camping World Chevy 88.733 102.158
9 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Toyota 88.739 102.151
10 66 Steve Wallace Homelife Communities Dodge 88.810 102.070 More ...

03/03/07
alms
lmes
Krohn announces 2007 Ferrari ALMS and LMES programs  Tracy W. Krohn, owner of Krohn Racing, announced today that he has entered into a relationship with Giuseppe Risi to field a Risi Competizione-prepared Ferrari 430GT in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and four American Le Mans Series races for 2007.
 
Tracy’s co-drivers in the No. 61 Risi/Krohn Ferrari 430 GT in the races will be his Grand-Am Road Racing series’ teammate Nic Jönsson and Krohn Racing young hotshoe driver Colin Braun.
 
The schedule includes the first ALMS race of the season, the 55th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17, 2007, with both co-drivers Jönsson and Braun. The second ALMS race will be in Krohn’s hometown of Houston, Texas. The Lone Star Grand Prix is the third annual ALMS race on the streets of Houston for a two hours and forty-five minute race. Krohn and Jönsson will co-drive the venue together. More ...
03/03/07
racing news
cc
Next Marketing Launches All-New Website  Award winning experiential marketing agency Next Marketing, Inc. (Champ Car's new marketing firm) today launched its newly designed website www.nextmarketing.com.  The new website is the latest element in Atlanta-based Next’s continued repositioning and refinement that better reflects its ever-expanding services and expertise.

Founded by Henry Rischitelli to primarily support the commercial efforts of motorsports teams and sponsors, Next Marketing has evolved itself into a full-service experiential marketing agency specializing in sports, mobile and event marketing solutions.  In 2006 alone, Next Marketing established a full-time presence in Charlotte, NC, was ranked as one of the Top 20 Sports Marketing Agencies by Sports Business Journal, secured exclusive world wide sales rights for the Champ Car World Series and gained a number of new client accounts including The Principal Financial Group, LoJack, National Beverage and Plantronics.

Next Marketing (www.nextmarketing.com) is an independent, Atlanta, GA-based experiential marketing agency specializing in sports, event and mobile marketing solutions.  Next Marketing has created and implemented results oriented experiential marketing campaigns for some of the country’s best-known brands including Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, National Beverage, Plantronics, CDW, General Motors and Panasonic.

03/03/07
f1
Davidson dismisses Super Aguri delay  (GMM) British rookie Anthony Davidson says he is not overly concerned that the 2007-specification Super Aguri will not be launched until the day before scrutineering for the Australian GP.

The 27-year-old and teammate Takuma Sato are not going to drive the 'SA07' until official practice for the Melbourne event, amid suggestions that it is a controversial copy of Honda's 2006 car.

Super Aguri has tested all winter with a development of Honda's RA106, which the Leafield based team dubbed the 'interim' car. More ...

03/03/07
ga
Mexico City Rolex Series Qualifying  The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Mexico City 400K on the outside of the third row after qualifying Friday on the 2.5-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road circuit in downtown Mexico City.

Danish Formula One, Champ Car and sports car racing veteran Jan Magnussen, co-driving with fellow veteran Max Angelelli of Italy, was at the wheel of the SunTrust Racing machine during today’s 20-minute qualifying session for Daytona Prototype-class competitors. Magnussen toured the historic, 14-turn former Formula One circuit with a fast lap of 1 minute, 21.771 seconds (an average of 110.063 mph), sixth best among the 38 car-and-driver combinations entered for Saturday’s 400-kilometer main event, the second stop on the 14-race Rolex Series schedule for 2007.

Having led Thursday’s opening practice session for the weekend, then clocking the third- and fourth-fastest laps in practice late yesterday and this morning, respectively, the SunTrust team was hoping to duplicate its front-row qualifying effort from the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, where it started second and finished third in its maiden voyage under the Wayne Taylor Racing banner. More ...

03/03/07
IROC
IROC: Taking a break or packing it in?  The press release that arrived Wednesday morning from Texas Motor Speedway didn't come as much of a surprise.  It started off with this announcement:

Due to a lack of title sponsorship, the International Race Of Champions (IROC) has canceled its event scheduled for Friday, April 13, at Texas Motor Speedway.

In January, IROC officials had announced that there would be a delay to the start of the 2007 season and that the opener at Daytona would be skipped due to a lack of sponsorship, so this press release was pretty much expected. In fact, I'm surprised it didn't come sooner.

And although they aren't prepared to publicly admit to it, the principals behind the series, brothers Jay and George Signore, privately say they already are looking toward 2008. More ...

03/03/07
cc
Jan Heylen and Bas Leinders at Zolder Press Conference  During today's press conference, the Circuit of Zolder has confirmed the new date for the Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix. The race is definitively scheduled for the weekend of 24-26 August. The event is a corner-stone in Zolder's strategic plan for 2007-2009, meaning that Zolder will also welcome the CCWS in 2008 and 2009. Ticket prices for the race weekend in August will vary between 25 and 200 Euro. Source
03/03/07
nascar
Gordon: Don’t accelerate COT schedule  Wednesday brought the first day of Car of Tomorrow testing at Bristol Motor Speedway, along with the acknowledgement from NASCAR Nextel Cup Series director John Darby that the schedule to implement the COT for all Cup races might accelerate, if there's consensus in the garage to support it. If NASCAR decides to race the COT in all events in 2008 -- instead of the 26 announced on the original schedule -- the sanctioning body will do so over the objections of Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon, who sees a litany of challenges with an accelerated schedule.


"I think it's too early to commit to that," said Gordon, who also has a laundry list of improvements he'd like to see in the COT. "I understand it from a financial standpoint, especially because I think there are a lot of teams that are behind because of the schedule they are on with building both cars (traditional chassis and COT), but I think until we get through some races, it's too early. More ...

03/03/07
nascar
NASCAR TV ratings continue plummet  UPDATE Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Auto Club 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at California Speedway fell 9.5 percent from 2006. This year's race drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 6.7 and a 13 market share. The rating fell from 7.4 last year and was well off the 7.9 the race drew in 2005.

02/26/07 Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Auto Club 500 Nextel Cup race from California Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 6.2 and a 11 share.  The 6.2 tied last year's 6.2/12 overnight rating, but it was 12.7 percent lower than the 7.1 Fox earned for the race in 2005.
03/03/07
nascar
Chicane’s removal has some drivers in a twist  Drivers have mixed feelings about the removal of the chicane entering Turn 1 of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track, which will result in a much more sweeping turn in that corner during the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 NASCAR Busch Series on Sunday. "I'll miss it," said Boris Said, who will be driving for Evernham Motorsports. "It was really fast. But I don't think it will have any real big effect on the race."

NASCAR made the move for competition reasons, with the expectation that the drivers shouldn't be as bunched up going into the sweeping turn after slowing down to go through the chicane. More ...
03/03/07
Industry News
Ford to sell Automobile Protection Corp.  Ford Motor Co. said it has agreed to sell its Automobile Protection Corp. to Trident IV L.P.

Trident IV is a private equity fund managed by Stone Point Capital LLC in Greenwich, Conn. Stone Point manages more than $8 billion in committed capital to make investments in the global insurance and financial services industries.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t immediately available. Automobile Protection Corp., which Ford bought in July 1999, offers vehicle service contracts and other after-market products to dealers of all vehicle makes and model. More at Freep.com

03/03/07
Industry News
Consumer Reports slams Mercedes Benz  Forget all this stuff about Japanese metal once again dominating Consumer Reports and selected American models like Ford's Fusion and GM's Cadillac CTS making some serious moves into the upper echelons.
All that we mostly know, and some of it is mildly encouraging.

For the real head-slapper, look at the bottom, the very bottom of the Consumer Reports' 2007 Annual Auto Issue, beneath Ford, beneath GM, beneath VW, the Koreans and even lowly Chrysler, now living in automotive limbo as its owners decide whether it's worth keeping.

Look at which brand the editors of America's most respected, if occasionally flawed, consumers' magazine say they could not recommend at all -- not its bellwether sedan, not its roadster, not its American-made SUV, not even its flagship S-Class, ostensibly a statement about who's behind the wheel. More ...

03/03/07
nascar
Fernandez: NASCAR gaining more Hispanic viewer  Has the Busch Series race in Mexico City lost its luster after three seasons? Has it succeeded in NASCAR's goal of growing Hispanic interest in the sport?

Those questions are difficult to answer, but Mexico City native Adrian Fernandez is a good person to ask. He's almost certainly the most popular driver in Mexico and has driven stock cars in the United States.

Fernandez broached those subjects during a conference call earlier this week and said that, while the NASCAR-in-Mexico experiment is still in its early stages, progress has been made.

"I see more fans looking into NASCAR, watching NASCAR," Fernandez said. "We also have a national championship that is with NASCAR cars [the NASCAR Mexico Series]. It's organized here, it's televised. You do have more following. People are starting to understand more."

Racing in Mexico long has been dominated by open-wheel series, as both Formula One and Champ Car have held races there. Replacing those series with NASCAR in the minds of Mexican fans simply takes time, Fernandez said. More ...

03/02/07
ga
Finlay Motorsports Mexico City Qualifying Report  Following a disappointing day for Finlay Motorsports yesterday, the team was able to solve their power steering problem and qualify the No.19 Z-Line Designs/Mission Residential/Make-A-Wish sponsored Daytona Prototype machine on the inside of Row 8 for tomorrow’s 100-lap contest.

The Mooresville, NC – based team struggled yesterday during practice, completing less than 10 laps due to a problem with the power steering.  The team worked frantically attempting to diagnose the problem but unfortunately it turned out to be a lengthy fix.  The crew changed the electrical harness and was able to return to the track this morning for the scheduled hour long practice session.

“It’s been a game of catch up for us,” stated Michael Valiante.  “We lost the entire day yesterday because of the power steering problem and we’re just behind the eight ball.  We’re just going to have to run a smart race tomorrow and march up through the field.”

Qualifying the No.19 machine in the 15th position is not exactly what Finlay had in mind but he is however prepared to do whatever it takes to run a consistent stint and pick up as many positions as possible before turning the car over to his teammate, Michael Valiante.

“I’m a little disappointed with qualifying,” explained Rob Finlay.  “Missing yesterday’s practice sessions really put us behind but I’m planning on making up at least five positions in the first turn,” he added jokingly.

Finlay Motorsports would like nothing more than to pull off another top-10 finish in Mexico City, adding to their top-10 result in the 2007 Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona earlier this year.

The final practice for the Mexico City event is scheduled for tomorrow morning followed by the drop of the green flag a few hours later.  Speed will carry the race Live at 4:00 p.m. ET, be sure to check your local listings.

03/02/07
ga
Krohn Racing’s Colin Braun Captures Pole at Mexico City  Krohn Racing’s young hotshoe Colin Braun captured the pole position today for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Mexico City 400k at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez in Mexico City. Colin Braun (far right) gets congratulated by Krohn Racing teammate Max Papis (center) and race engineer David Brown (left) after putting the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley on the pole for the Grand-Am Mexico City 400K race.

Braun, who will pair with Max Papis for the 400 kilometer/100-lap/2-1/2 hour sprint race in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley, turned a record-breaking time of 1:21.221 at a speed of 110.809 mph. Braun captured his first pole position last year at the Barber Motorsports Park in July, more than two months before his 18th birthday.
 
Team owner/driver Tracy Krohn, competing in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley with teammate Nic Jönsson, qualified 11th overall. Krohn’s time of 1:22.949, was his best qualifying effort in many races. More ...

03/02/07
ga
Fogarty 2nd in Hispanic-themed GAINSCO machine  For the second-consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race, the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley will be at the front of the grid, as Jon Fogarty stuck the specially-painted GAINSCO Seguros de Autos car on the outside pole for tomorrow’s Rolex Series Mexico City 400k, where he’ll share the car with co-driver Alex Gurney.
 
Fogarty’s lap of 1 minute, 21.494 seconds, turned at an average speed of 110.438 mph, was nearly 1.3 seconds quicker than the existing track record. However, a couple niggling handling issues kept the 2002 and 2004 Toyota Atlantic champion from mounting a challenge to Colin Braun’s pole-winning machine. Still, Fogarty's hardly disappointed with the result, given that before yesterday he’d never seen the challenging Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
 
“The GAINSCO car’s quick, but I think we can make it even quicker tomorrow,” Fogarty said. “I don’t think we would have had anything for Colin, though. He was flying.”
 
This weekend, the 99 Pontiac is sporting special green and white stripes, along with Spanish-language logos, to celebrate GAINSCO Auto Insurance’s commitment to the fast-growing Hispanic market. “I’m especially pleased to be able to put the special GAINSCO Seguros de Autos paint job right up front,” Fogarty said. More ...
03/02/07
ga
Michael Shank Racing ready to go in Mexico  Michael Shank Racing will line up on the sixth and ninth rows for Saturday’s Mexico City 400k at the Autodromos Hermanos Rodriguez for round two of the Rolex Sports Car Series season. The Columbus, Ohio-based team is looking forward to getting another good run out of the two team Lexus/Riley entries with a keen eye towards the season-long championship battle.
 
Mark Patterson posted a fast lap time of 1:23.521-seconds on the 2.5-mile circuit to score twelfth on the Mexico City grid. The time was less than one second off the previous lap record at the high-altitude facility. Patterson set even faster times in the morning practice session, but the changing conditions prevented him from replicating his morning form. More ...
03/02/07
ga
Mexico City Rolex Series Qualifying  The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Mexico City 400K on the outside of the third row after qualifying Friday on the 2.5-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road circuit in downtown Mexico City.

Danish Formula One, Champ Car and sports car racing veteran Jan Magnussen, co-driving with fellow veteran Max Angelelli of Italy, was at the wheel of the SunTrust Racing machine during today’s 20-minute qualifying session for Daytona Prototype-class competitors. Magnussen toured the historic, 14-turn former Formula One circuit with a fast lap of 1 minute, 21.771 seconds (an average of 110.063 mph), sixth best among the 38 car-and-driver combinations entered for Saturday’s 400-kilometer main event, the second stop on the 14-race Rolex Series schedule for 2007.

Having led Thursday’s opening practice session for the weekend, then clocking the third- and fourth-fastest laps in practice late yesterday and this morning, respectively, the SunTrust team was hoping to duplicate its front-row qualifying effort from the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, where it started second and finished third in its maiden voyage under the Wayne Taylor Racing banner. More ...

03/02/07
Industry News
Ford to sell Automobile Protection Corp.  Ford Motor Co. said it has agreed to sell its Automobile Protection Corp. to Trident IV L.P.

Trident IV is a private equity fund managed by Stone Point Capital LLC in Greenwich, Conn. Stone Point manages more than $8 billion in committed capital to make investments in the global insurance and financial services industries.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t immediately available. Automobile Protection Corp., which Ford bought in July 1999, offers vehicle service contracts and other after-market products to dealers of all vehicle makes and model. More at Freep.com

03/02/07
nascar
BDR/Baldwin Release  Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced today that Tommy Baldwin Jr. has assumed the role of interim crew chief for the No. 36 360 OTC Racing team and driver Jeremy Mayfield. Baldwin takes over those duties from Derrick Finley, who will remain with the team in an engineering capacity.

“We’re fortunate to have someone like Tommy, with his record as a crew chief and his abilities as a team leader, available within our organization in situations like these,” stated team owner Bill Davis. “Derrick Finley has been an integral part of the Bill Davis Racing family for several years and will remain with us serving in a different role. Obviously, the 360 OTC Racing team has struggled in the early stages of the season and we felt it would be in the best interest of the team and our sponsors to make the change.”       

During this time, Baldwin’s main priority will continue to be serving as Competition Director for all of Bill Davis Racing’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams and assuring BDR’s growth as an organization. Baldwin will act as crew chief for the No. 36 team only until a suitable replacement is found.

03/02/07
f1
USGP notebook  American Scott Speed and the rest of the drivers have wrapped up the final major winter test sessions before the 2007 Formula One season that begins March 18 in Australia and includes the United States Grand Prix on June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Nine of the 11 F1 teams, including Speed's team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, tested at the Bahrain F1 track during two three-day sessions (Feb. 22-24 and Feb. 27-March 1.)

AT&T Williams-Toyota and Spyker-Ferrari tested Feb. 27-March 1 at Spain's Barcelona circuit.

"There is still a lot of work to do," Speed said after his first runs in the 2007 Ferrari-powered STR2, "and even if we will struggle at the beginning of the season, I'm really confident we will make a big step forward this year. We have got a good package - we just have to get the best out of it."

California native Speed, the only American driver in F1, spent his rookie season with Toro Rosso last year. He once again teams up with Tonio Liuzzi.

Speed ended up ninth quickest overall, at 1 minute, 31.500 seconds, in the rankings of the 24 drivers who took part in the six days of testing at Bahrain. Liuzzi was 18th at 1:32.359. Speed was quicker than Grand Prix winners David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher, Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli.

"This was a shakedown for us," Toro Rosso Chief Engineer Laurent Mekies said, "and every day, more and more parts have arrived here from the factory, which have helped us to improve reliability and performance. It really kept our guys busy, and they worked very hard. More ...

03/02/07
Formula BMW
Flying Surtees teams up with Scalextric and Barber  Formula BMW Scholarship winner and Carlin driver Henry Surtees took to the track in his liveried 2007 race car for the first time today and set the fastest time of the day.  16 year-old Henry, son of Motorcycle and F1 World Champion John Surtees, participated in the first official FBMW test of the season, at the Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire.   Decked in the traditional BMW colours of blue and white, Henry’s car will also carry the logo of two personal sponsors, Scalextric and the Barber Motorsports Park and Museum. 

Scalextric is a name synonymous with motorsport and car fans throughout the world.  Now owned by Hornby, the most famous slot car racing game in the world is 50 years old this year.   A company as relevant today as it was in 1957, Scalextric is celebrating the company’s history as well as its future, in this its anniversary year.  Scalextric chose to sponsor Henry Surtees as a promising young driver representing the future of British motorsport.More ...

03/02/07
cc
Kalkhoven quiets the naysayers  UPDATE AutoRacing1.com also interviewed Kevin Kalkhoven yesterday (separately) and will have an article on Monday concerning this topic.

03/02/07 This ESPN.com article says, The lack of solid information emanating from Champ Car since the end of the 2006 season has been ominous, to say the least.

Observers of the American open-wheel racing scene have been fixated on the short field of cars that came out for the first two open tests of the new 2007 Panoz Champ Car and the fact that just a little more than a month before the scheduled start of the season, fewer than 10 drivers have been confirmed.

"I promise I will never go and speak to penguins for two months in winter ever again," explained adventurous series co-principal Kevin Kalkhoven, who spent much of the off-season in Antarctica. "I disappeared for a couple of months and it wasn't necessarily the smartest thing to do without letting everyone know what I was doing. It caused a whole bunch of speculation."

"There has obviously been a quiet period over the winter off-season and that may have been taken by some people negatively and some people positively," Kalkhoven said. "But we had always planned to make a number of major announcements at Monterey next week. Significant sponsorships have come in and the series will continue to develop. I think you'll find there are a number of fully-funded teams and it's going to be one hell of a season. More ...

03/02/07
a1gp
James Robinson Q and A – Engineering The Dream  London, England – A1 Team Great Britain celebrated a return to the podium last weekend as a trademark performance from Robbie Kerr around the streets of Durban captured second place for the team in Round 8 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

Kerr’s Feature race podium has so far proven to be the highlight of the 2007 leg of the nation versus nation series as a run of bad luck and mechanical failures has blighted the British team’s championship aspirations.  Kicking off the year in New Zealand, contact in the Sprint and a mechanical retirement in the Feature left the team pointless with only a solitary score for tenth place following at the next round in Australia.

Throttle and gearbox problems throughout Friday’s practice and Saturday’s qualifying sessions dogged the team last weekend in South Africa.  Despite this Robbie Kerr rose to the challenge, qualifying eleventh on the grid for the Sprint before going on to race from ninth in the Feature all the way to second for the team’s first Feature podium since Round 4 in Indonesia – Great Britain currently holding fourth in the Nations Standings. More ...

03/02/07
nascar
Can't call them 'stock' cars anymore  Now that the Car of Tomorrow no longer can be called that, there is a terminology conundrum in covering NASCAR. What do you call these things? What can you call these taller (by 2 inches), wider (by 4 inches), boxier vehicles with their adjustable air “splitters” in front and their adjustable rear wings?

In sports-car racing, such cars have long been called prototypes. But that would be a blatant admission by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing of the decades-old truth: that its race cars no longer are in the same technological universe with “stock cars.”

NASCAR has begun its preferred spin cycle for the new design, of course. More ...

03/02/07
nascar
Super 8 Motels signs with Petty Enterprises  PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Super 8 Motels today announced that it has signed an agreement with Petty Enterprises to become the official lodging partner and associate sponsor of the Number 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driven by Bobby Labonte, a past NASCAR Nextel Cup Series™ champion.

Beginning with the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season, the Super 8® logo will be displayed on Labonte’s car and uniform, crew team’s uniforms, team trailers, pit boxes and transporters including merchandise haulers. 

With this agreement, the Super 8 economy hotel chain will enter its 11th year as a NASCAR® racing sponsor, according to Rosanne Zusman, Super 8 vice president of marketing. 

“Research has shown that nearly 40 percent of our guests are interested in NASCAR, and our continued association with racing has created a definite preference for the Super 8 brand,” she said  “Our relationship with NASCAR and Petty Enterprises promises to provide significant exposure for the Super 8 brand among a diverse audience.” More ...

03/02/07
nascar
McReynolds Quotes from COT Test  Below are select quotes from former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds from The SPEED Report special from NASCAR Car of Tomorrow testing at Bristol. SPEED will air a second special from COT testing tonight at 7 p.m. ET. McReynolds is regular panelist on multiple SPEED programs, including Trackside and NASCAR Performance:

“The world didn’t come to an end and the earth didn’t start spinning backwards. Honestly, we talked with over 50 teams here, and if we were here with the current car, I’m not so sure we wouldn’t have had just as many incidents, if not more incidents. It’s been a pretty trouble-free test. And when I stood in the corner, I saw the same thing we’d see with the current car – race cars going around the race track and crews trying to make their race car go faster.” More ...

03/02/07
v8
Courtney claims first V8 Supercar pole  James Courtney claimed his first pole position as he set the fastest time in qualifying for tomorrow's race one of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.

Pos  Driver                Car
 1.  James Courtney        Ford Falcon BF
 2.  Jamie Whincup         Ford Falcon BF
 3.  Garth Tander          Holden Commodore VE
 4.  Mark Winterbottom     Ford Falcon BF
 5.  Jason Richards        Holden Commodore VE
 6.  Craig Lowndes         Ford Falcon BF
 7.  Todd Kelly            Holden Commodore VE
 8.  Russell Ingall        Ford Falcon BF
 9.  Steven Johnson        Ford Falcon BF
10.  Lee Holdsworth        Holden Commodore VZ
11.  Greg Murphy           Holden Commodore VE
12.  Jason Bright          Ford Falcon BF
13.  Will Davison          Ford Falcon BF
14.  Dean Canto            Holden Commodore VE
15.  Rick Kelly            Holden Commodore VE
16.  Steven Richards       Ford Falcon BF
17.  Mark Skaife           Holden Commodore VE
18.  Andrew Jones          Ford Falcon BF
19.  Jason Bargwanna       Ford Falcon BF
20.  Paul Dumbrell         Holden Commodore VE
21.  John Bowe             Ford Falcon BF
22.  Paul Morris           Holden Commodore VE
23.  Max Wilson            Ford Falcon BF
24.  Cameron McConville    Holden Commodore VZ
25.  Fabian Coulthard      Holden Commodore VZ
26.  Jack Perkins          Holden Commodore VZ
27.  Alan Gurr             Ford Falcon BF
28.  Brad Jones            Ford Falcon BF
29.  Steve Owen            Holden Commodore VZ
30.  Adam Macrow           Ford Falcon BF
31.  Shane Price           Holden Commodore VE

03/02/07
nascar
Goodyear changes Busch road course tires  The Busch Series will run on a slightly different tire this year on road courses than it did last year.

The tire will be a little more resistant to heat and wear than in the past, said Goodyear's Chad Fletcher, who oversees the Busch program for the tire company.

The Busch tire is different than the Nextel Cup tire because the Busch tire is smaller in radius in order to keep it the same radius as the old rain tire compound, which will be used if it rains Sunday. Goodyear slightly enlarged the radius of the tire in 2005.

"In order to match the rain tire up to this tire [in radius], we went back and made some construction updates to accommodate the faster speeds we're seeing on the cars," Fletcher said. Scenedaily.com

03/02/07
industry news
Big-3 start money-losing rebates again  As Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group struggle to pull out of their market-share nosedives, they are again turning to that old standby of automotive retailing: incentives.

On Thursday, Ford announced a new package of incentives to complement a new, more aggressive advertising campaign. As for Chrysler, it's offering a free upgrade to a HEMI engine as part of its March "Truck Month" promotion, coupled with cash incentives.

As The Detroit News first reported, the new "Ford Challenge" ads build on the success of the "Fusion Challenge" ads that began airing in January.

To sweeten the deal, Ford is offering prospective Fusion customers a special 39-month "Sign and Drive" Red Carpet lease on the Fusion SE I-4 with payments of $249 a month. It requires no money down and waives the first month's payment. Alternatively, Fusion buyers can get 2.9 percent financing for 60 months or $1,000 in customer cash.

New incentives on the Expedition include $2,000 in customer cash or 3.9 percent financing for 60 months. More at Detroit News

03/02/07
nascar
Q and A with Ray Evernham  
WHAT WERE THE MAJOR OBJECTIVES OF THE EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS TEAMS COMING INTO THE BRISTOL AVENGER TEST? “Just to learn about the car getting ready for the race at Bristol and learn where we stack up against the other teams, what your cars look like compared to their cars and make sure we had no issues with the front suspension geometry because it is different or ground clearance because that is dictated to you now. Just understanding how the car would work being built limited suspension travel versus what we’re used to running and then having a good luck at the NASCAR inspection process.”

HOW DID THE TEAMS PERFORM YESTERDAY? “Kasey called me first thing this morning and I spoke to Dr. Eric Warren a few times yesterday. They were pretty happy with the 9 car. The 10 and 19 searched around trying different things. When we take three cars testing we go in three different directions. Those cars came back to a little bit closer on what we had decided on. I guess they got better in the afternoon. Elliott and Scott became happier with their cars. At a test it’s not really about how fast you can go all the time as much as it is proving out things. Each team goes there with a different list of information they have to gather to come back with.” More ...

03/02/07
alms
Patrick Long, Ian James Join Tafel Racing  Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and sportscar star Ian James will join the Tafel Racing effort for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season opener Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to be run on March 17th.

Long, a seasoned Porsche driver with a share of the last two GT2 ALMS championships, will join Tafel regulars Wolf Henzler and Robin Liddell in the No. 72 Trafel Racing Porsche 997 RSR for the once around the clock classic in three weeks. The young California native has recorded nine wins in the ALMS series, including one at the 12 hours.

“I am excited to join the Tafel guys at Sebring,” Long said. “Jim and Tony have brought the team along way in a short time. I know Tony from racing against him the past couple of years and it will be a good experience to work with him at the 12-hour. Wolf and Robin are tremendous competitors and both very fast. I think we will get along great, which is vital to having success in an endurance event. The overall objective is to maximize points for their run for the championship. I know we all want to beat the Ferrari cars. I am looking forward to helping support the start of their championship run.” More ...

03/02/07
f1
Massa favorite for early '07 - Alonso  (GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso has admitted that Ferrari will travel to the Australian grand prix as favorite.

The 25-year-old told Spanish television 'Telecinco' that he might have to wait until at least mid-season until his McLaren single seater is able to compete with its Maranello based rival.

"There were some tests at which they did not look so great," Spaniard Alonso said, after Ferrari's Felipe Massa dominated the final session of the pre-season this week in Bahrain.

Referring to Ferrari, he added: "Now their experience with Bridgestone has put them ahead of us.

"The reality is that they are very strong and in the first half of the season they will have the advantage.

"We are going to have to be defensive in the first races and then attack when we know that we can recover what we have lost," Alonso said.

While Ferrari has enjoyed an uninterrupted relationship with Bridgestone, departed supplier Michelin's former teams including McLaren have had to switch ahead of season '07. More ...

03/02/07
f1
Massa vows to push for title  (GMM) Fernando Alonso is Ferrari's "great rival", but with the winter test season now over, Felipe Massa also confesses that Ferrari possess the quickest car in the field.

"At the moment I think we are ahead of McLaren and BMW," the Brazilian, who personally dominated the second week of Bahrain testing, is quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper Diario As.

He said: "It is difficult to know, you can never say that there will not be surprises, but that is my feeling."

25-year-old Massa said the Maranello built F2007 took a "step ahead" at the Sakhir session, where the final Melbourne-spec bodywork made it clear that the red car is the class of the field.

But Massa refused to declare that he is a favorite to win the title.

"I am not the sort of person who dares to say that I am going to win," he insisted, "but what I can promise is that I am going to keep working as hard as I have been.

"To be champion it is necessary not only to be fast but to also possess consistency and luck.

"Of course I am going to try to do it, and if I do then I will be the happiest guy in the world."

03/02/07
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday and Sunday  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Saturday
SpeedFreaks
Guests: John and Ashley Force
10:00am-10:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Mexico City
11:30am-1:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Angels
1:00pm-1:30pm WGN
Rolex Sports Car Series Mexico City
4:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED

Sunday
NASCAR Now
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Series Mexico City Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200
1:30pm (L - Web)
1:30pm-5:30pm (L) -ESPN2
1:30pm-5:30pm (L) -ESPN (In Spanish)
(Both above Incl Preshow)
AMA Supercross St. Louis
6:00pm-7:00pm (3/3/07) SPEED
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Robin Miller (SPEED Racing Analyst)
Ed Hinton (Motorsports Writer )
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
The SPEED Report
10:00pm-11:00pm (R) SPEED

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

03/02/07
f1
McLaren not as quick as Ferrari - de la Rosa  (GMM) McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa has backed reports that suggest Ferrari moved clearly ahead of its formula one rivals this week with the addition of a new bodywork package at the Bahrain test.

Brazil's Felipe Massa continued his scintillating test form on Thursday by becoming the only driver during the six days at Sakhir to break the 1m30sec barrier -- and it is understood that he was not even on a low-fuel run.

"We would like to be in the shape that they are in and we are going to keep working hard to achieve it," Spaniard de la Rosa, who in 2007 helps to develop the MP4-22 car for reigning world champion Fernando Alonso, told Spain's 'Telecinco' as the final pre-season test ended. More ...

03/02/07
f1
Massa ends winter period in perfect form  (GMM)  Felipe Massa enjoyed a perfect end to his winter period on Thursday by becoming the only driver in six days of testing in Bahrain to break into the 1m30sec barrier.

A further sign of the Brazilian's burgeoning confidence ahead of the 2007 championship was that, despite the fact that it was his last day of pre-season running before Melbourne, he handed the F2007's new bodywork package over to Kimi Raikkonen at lunchtime.

But much like the rest of the fifteen-strong field at Sakhir, Finn Raikkonen, 27, failed to get within half a second of the leading pace, after Massa dominated the second week in the Arab Gulf.

World champion Fernando Alonso also struggled to keep up, as Mercedes' Norbert Haug observed: "I cannot promise race victories but we have improved compared to last season."

He told the newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten: "We have never worked as hard as this."

Heikki Kovalainen was Thursday's next best, as like Massa he too surpassed the test's previous fastest lap set by Nick Heidfeld.

"Now we have to do this in Melbourne," Massa declared to the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

03/02/07
f1
Toyota, RBR, confirm last minute tests  (GMM) Despite the fact that the final group test of the winter ended in Bahrain on Thursday, Toyota and Red Bull have confirmed that they plan to test again prior to shipping cars to Melbourne for the 2007 season opener.

Most outfits wrapped up their winter programs in the Arabian Gulf, but Cologne based Toyota announced in a statement that it will run next week at Spain's Jerez circuit.

The news follows suggestions that, although with probably the biggest budget in the paddock, Toyota's new TF107 contender is the slowest of the manufacturer-backed teams.

"Obviously we have some issues to sort out," Ralf Schumacher admitted, "but we will work hard at that next week." More ...

03/02/07
f1
'Friends of the Earth' slam Honda  (GMM)  Leading environmental group Friends of the Earth has slammed Honda's attempt to champion environmental issues by launching the 'Earth Car'.

Spokeswoman Emily Armistead referred to the "irony" of a major car manufacturer urging ordinary people to contribute to solutions by giving up ironing or cutting "unnecessary flights".

Indeed, one F1 journalist this week pointed out that Jenson Button flew from Bahrain to London for the Earth Car's launch, and then back to Bahrain to test, but his only major contribution to the event was to explain to reporters that he no longer leaves his TV in 'stand by'.

It is understood that Greenpeace has also declined to back Honda's environmental approach.

Armistead told the Guardian: "There is some irony in the fact that Honda are attempting to promote the environment and calling on others to address environmental issues when they are contributing to climate change by participating in what is probably the most polluting sport on the planet."

03/02/07
racing news
Plans for New Jim Russell Racing Schools  Emotive Group, which purchased the Jim Russell Racing Schools from Infineon Raceway just three months ago, unveiled plans on Thursday that will make the school the model of the industry.

Simon Holbrook, president of the Jim Russell Racing Schools, and Mark Miller, CEO/Principal MK Think Architecture, took part in the official groundbreaking ceremony at the raceway. Steve Page, president and general manager at Infineon Raceway, also attended the ceremony. The new campus will be constructed trackside at Turn 1.

"This opportunity has been 2 ½  years in the making and thanks to the support of Steve Page and Infineon Raceway, the team assembled here and our investors, it has become a reality,” Holbrook said. “It is truly an exciting time for our group, and with the completion of our Technology Center, campus, conference facilities and our new fleet  of cars, we will be able to set the bar higher than ever before."

Emotive Group is a London-based automotive marketing group whose United States division develops and executes top level manufacturer driving events. It also operates the Formula BMW USA Series on behalf of BMW motorsport AG and BMW North America. The group has brought substantial industry experience, world-class marketing and advertising, along with international financial acumen to the Jim Russell Racing Schools.

Emotive Group has spent more than $10 million on the project thus far, and Holbrook anticipates further investment that will help cement the Jim Russell Racing Schools as the premier racing school in the world. More ...

03/02/07
v8
V8 Supercars going green  The Australian V8 Supercar series have announced that it is setting up the first known 'carbon off-set' scheme in motorsport.

In conjunction with long-time partner BigPond and Future Climate Australia, the series announced the 'V8 Racing Green' program, which it claims will entirely off-set the carbon emissions from all V8 Supercars running in 2007. It believes that the initiative is the first time a motorsport series anywhere in the world has made a season-long commitment to reduce its impact on the environment.

"V8 Supercars Australia recognizes the important role we can play in reducing carbon emissions and educating the public about climate change," series chairman Tony Cochrane said, confirming that the intention was to make the category entirely 'carbon neutral', "Through the V8 Racing Green program, we can balance our carbon emissions while, at the same time, educating our millions of fans on what we see as the number one issue facing the environment. We are proud to lead the way for motorsport globally and want to make a difference.” The program was launched in Canberra by the minister for the environment and water resources, Malcolm Turnbull, and timed to coincide with the start of the 2007 season, the Clipsal 500, in Adelaide. As Turnbull made the announcement, the first stage of the program kicked off with the planting of a first batch of trees at Rose Park Primary School in the City of Churches.

This year alone, BigPond and V8 Supercars Australia intend to plant approximately 10,000 trees around Australia to offset the carbon emissions generated by a full season of racing - including air travel and running transporters to and from events as well as the racing itself - while the V8 Racing Green program will advocate 'carbon trading' messages to its fans, encouraging them to return emissions from their everyday lives, and highlight the issue by visiting primary schools around the country and donating, and planting, trees.

Ethanol will begin to play a part in the program too, however, as the series intends to introduce a five per cent ethanol-blend fuel in every race car.

"BigPond is very proud to be involved with the V8 Racing Green program, and we are committed to educating the millions of racing fans in Australia so that they can do their part to tackle climate change," CEO Justin Milne concluded, "That's what this program is all about."

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