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No fine for Gordon or Parrott No fine for Gordon or ParrottNASCAR investigated the alleged altercation between Carl Edwards' crew chief Todd Parrott and Robby Gordon before last weekend's NASCAR Busch race in Mexico and decided to not levy a fine against either man.
BAR confirm fresh engines for Sepang BAR confirm fresh engines for SepangAfter cool and changeable weather conditions in Melbourne, BAR Honda is looking forward to returning to Malaysia - the location of the team's first podium position of the 2004 season. The Sepang circuit features sweeping corners and fast, wide straights which in combination with the intense heat makes the race extremely demanding for both car and driver.

The team has been using this week to carry out further development work in Jerez, focusing on aerodynamic evaluation and tire tests. Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi drove the 007 and '05 Concept car respectively for the three days in tests designed to improve performance in Malaysia and Bahrain. The team ran outside of the points in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and decided to play the tactics game by ending the race for both Jenson Button and Takuma Sato in the pit lane. In doing so the team can run fresh Honda engines for both drivers, therefore bypassing the two Grand Prix per engine rule.

Jenson Button
"The Australian Grand Prix was disappointing, but it was great to finally get back to racing. After our success last season, the result in Australia clearly wasn't the way we wanted to start the season. We have a lot of work to do to get back up to where we need to be. There are some issues we need to address before Malaysia, but I am confident that we will have these solved and I am looking forward to the next race at Sepang."

 Takuma Sato
"Of course we were disappointed in Australia and we have a lot of work to do, but we hope that the very different characteristics of the Sepang circuit will suit our car more. The team has completed a three-day test in Europe this week, so hopefully what we have learned will help our performance in Malaysia. The circuit is a mixture of technical and dynamic high-speed corners, so I always enjoy driving there. Because of the heat and humidity it is also a very demanding circuit for a driver from a physical point of view, so we have to have a lot of stamina and do as much preparation training as we can before the race. It will be very tough, but I stay optimistic and will give 100% as always."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director
"At Melbourne our poor starting position, partly due to the unusual circumstances in qualifying combined with the new regulations, which make overtaking on the track or in the pit stops much harder, certainly hurt our race. But our outright speed was clearly not good enough."

"We have had a useful test at Jerez this week where we have been able to investigate some of our performance concerns and we are more confident in our performance for Sepang. We believe that with higher track temperatures we will be more competitive and we will be looking to take advantage of our new engines for the race."

Shuhei Nakamoto, HRD Engineering Director
"We are looking forward to an improved showing in Malaysia after a productive test in Jerez." BAR Honda

Industry News
Chris Economaki Junior Journalism Award Chris Economaki Junior Journalism AwardThe Red Bull Driver Search, a unique program designed to discover and support aspiring, young racecar drivers, is expanding its youth mentoring activities with the creation of The Chris Economaki Junior Journalism Award.  Students who best exemplify writing and reporting skills and achievement in covering the motorsports industry will be honored.
The Chris Economaki Junior Journalism Award pays tribute to its namesake, the world's foremost auto racing reporter and legendary motorsports broadcaster.  His distinguished career includes a 23-year run telecasting races for ABC Sports, followed by 10 years with CBS.  Now 84 years old, he still does occasional hosting for ESPN, SPEED Channel and other TV networks, in addition to his by-lined “Editor’s Notebook” column in National Speed Sport News, where he served as publisher for more than 50 years.
Just as the Red Bull Driver Search seeks to fill the void of American presence at the pinnacle of motorsports—Formula 1—The Chris Economaki Junior Journalism Award is designed to motivate and encourage aspiring journalists to hone their craft while focusing attention and creating excitement about the sport and the innovative Driver Search Program.
To be eligible, participants must write or produce a human interest or news feature about, but not limited to, karting, open wheel racing, Formula 1, fitness and training, and the Red Bull Driver Search.  Stories must be published in local or regional newspapers, magazines, high school or college newspapers, or broadcast on TV, cable, or radio.  An esteemed panel, including Mr. Economaki, will judge all eligible submissions.  Up to 3 students will be receive a distinguished trophy, and an all-expense paid trip for two to the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis where they can witness the excitement of Formula 1 racing firsthand.
The Formula 1 Championship is, without doubt, the most celebrated title in all of auto racing.  Yet, there has not been an American driver in F1 for more than a decade, or an American Champion since 1978.  The Red Bull Driver Search’s mission is to pave the way for a long-awaited U.S. comeback.  Through this initiative, Red Bull has created an opportunity for aspiring journalists to tell this story to the public at large.
Each year since the program’s inception in 2002, the Red Bull Driver Search has selected promising American teens and supported their training in junior formula racing in American and European series.  This grassroots approach starts at the local level, and this year over 60 go-karting centers nationwide will play an integral role in the first stage of this selection process, the Open Qualifying phase.  The long-term goal is to have a steady group of three to six American drivers competing in Europe, and grooming to break into Formula 1 and racing for the World Championship.
Kruse Motorsport Set for LMP2 Challenge Kruse Motorsport Set for LMP2 ChallengeWith the full technical support of Pirelli Tires, Cologne based, Kruse Motorsport will prepare and compete with a new Courage C65 for an all out LMP2 assault on the 53rd Annual American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 17-19.

"We are hugely excited at the prospect of running the Courage C65 this season and are convinced of the stature and importance of the Sebring fixture and see the event as a significant test of our early season preparation and performance," said Kai Kruse, Team Principal. "We know we will be running against some tough competition including last years ALMS LMP2 Champions who are also running the C65. This will be a very good barometer for us all.

"We are extremely excited to announce that we will use Pirelli Tires, undoubtedly providing the team with the best chance of winning this year," continued Kruse. "Pirelli is professional, forward-thinking and absolutely committed to the job of winning and it is clear they are used to performing at the very highest level. This is a huge show of support and trust in Kruse Motorsport; we are thrilled!"

Kruse will have a 3 driver line up, with two seats taken by Ian Mitchell and Phil Bennett. In addition Kruse Motorsports has announced that it has secured the signature of the French driver Harold Primat who will bring exciting youthfulness to the line up of its pilots.

"I am delighted to be a part of what is without doubt, a very significant racing and sponsorship program," said Bennett. "The Courage C65 was the strongest LMP2 of 2004. Kruse Motorsport is a highly professional, competitive and very capable team and in partnership with Pirelli Tires we are confident that we will win races. I can't wait."

Mexico City TV Rating Mexico City TV RatingUPDATE The final rating for the Busch Series race from Mexico City on FOX was a 3.5/8 Share. 03/08/05 The NASCAR Busch Series Telcel Motorola Mexico 200 Fox had an overnight TV rating of 3.4/7 Share.
Several Cup cars to run new sponsor in Vegas Several Cup cars to run new sponsor in VegasThe Home Depot will debut a new NASCAR-themed ad campaign during Fox’ coverage of Sunday’s UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400.  The first spot features driver Tony Stewart, crew chief Greg Zipadelli and other members of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet racing team, as well as Joe Gibbs Racing Owner Joe Gibbs. The Home Depot.

The Penske Racing South team of Ryan Newman, Rusty Wallace and Travis Kvapil will each run cars during Sunday’s race promoting the new line of Mobil high-endurance motor oils. ExxonMobil.

Cellular One during Saturday’s Busch Series Sam’s Town 300 will unveil “Restart,” a campaign aimed at collecting used wireless telephones.  The No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet of Joe Nemechek will feature the Restart logo, and Nemechek will serve as honorary chair of the campaign, which will benefit The Children’s Organ Transplant Association Cellular One

The LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL reports driver Michael Waltrip and Domino’s Pizza CEO David Brandon delivered pizzas Thursday in Las Vegas as part of a company promotion. LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Argent Mortgage to sponsor IRL race Argent Mortgage to sponsor IRL raceWatkins Glen International announced today during a press conference at the Syracuse Motorsports Expo. that Argent Mortgage Company, a leading national mortgage lender, will be the presenting sponsor of the Inaugural IndyCar Series event this fall at The Glen. The Inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix Presented by Argent Mortgage race will feature open-wheel racing at its best. The IndyCar Series, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, the Historic Grand Prix and the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will all take to the track September 23-25.
Lehto and Pirro on Wind Tunnel Lehto and Pirro on Wind TunnelJJ Lehto and Emanuele Pirro, Team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 American Le Mans Series drivers, are scheduled to appear on SPEED Channel’s popular motorsports talk show “Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain” live from Sebring International Raceway, Sunday, March 13.   

JJ Lehto, reigning American Le Mans Series Driver Champion, spent a number of years contesting the Formula One Series before coming to the United States to compete in sports car racing.  Since 1999, Lehto has been competing in the American Le Mans Series driving for BMW, Cadillac, and most recently Audi.  Lehto last won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1999 driving a BMW V12 LMR.  This year with teammates Marco Werner and Tom Kristensen, Lehto hopes to achieve his second Sebring victory and to give Team ADT Champion Racing their first Sebring victory.   

Emanuele Pirro returns to the American Le Mans Series after a two-year hiatus.  Pirro, ALMS Driver Champion in 2001, was the winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2000 and has three consecutive Le Mans victories:  2000, 2001 and 2002.  Pirro has teamed up with Champion Racing the last two years for both the 12 Hours of Sebring (two, 2nd place finishes) and Le Mans (two, 3rd place finishes) and spent last year competing for Audi in DTM, the German Touring Car Masters series.  This year marks his first season driving for Team ADT Champion Racing in the American Le Mans Series.  Joining Pirro in the #2 Audi R8 are Le Mans winning drivers Frank Biela and Allan McNish.

“Wind Tunnel” airs Sunday, 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm (Eastern) on SPEED channel and viewers will have the opportunity to call 1-866-W-TUNNEL and ask questions.  Questions can also be sent via e-mail to windtunnel@speedtv.com.

Paul Newman Winding Down Acting and Racing Careers Paul Newman Winding Down Acting and Racing CareersThis entertainment.msn.com article says that at 80, Paul Newman is considering retirement.

The movie legend, whose golden looks and piercing blue eyes have lit up screens for five decades, says he plans to give up the activities he once described as his two great passions - acting and motor racing.

"I think both are winding down," Newman told The Associated Press during an interview in London Friday. "I'll probably race for another year."

Fans of the iconic star of "The Hustler" and "Cool Hand Luke" need not despair just yet. Newman says he plans to make one last film - "Just one more for good luck."

He won't say what it is, but hints that a long-rumored reunion with Robert Redford, his co-star in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting," may yet happen.

"I hate to talk about anything until the papers are drawn up, but we've been looking for something for 20 years and now we're looking harder," Newman said. More.....
Kasemets tests Coyne's Champ Car in snow Kasemets tests Coyne's Champ Car in snowEstonia’s Tonis Kasemets career began in ice-racing and Thursday’s Champ Car testing for Dale Coyne Racing “felt like old times !”   Due to mandatory CCWS rules which require a certain amount of miles on each of the Ford Cosworth engines by Monday March 14th, Tonis was called-up by Dale Coyne Racing to add those miles in Joliet, Illinois, just outside of Tonis’ home territory of Chicago/Mundelein.

Today’s less than ideal weather conditions didn’t phase Tonis, as he comments “The snow really didn’t bother me. I had a blast !” 

Additionally:  “It’s a great day !  I’m in a Champ Car, in Chicago, in the SNOW !  Life is good !  But in all seriousness, this was something to definitely remember.”    While Tonis piloted the 750 HP of the Coyne Cars around the 1.46 mile North Course of the Chicago Autobahn, the winds were gusting at 20 mph from the NW while the temperature remained at 28 degrees(F).  Wind chill indices hovered around 18 degrees(F).   Tonis continues: “These tests weren’t about speed; it was to cover the rules package.  It had to be done, there was no way out, our options were minimal.  So, Chicago Autobahn in the snow it was !” 

Tonis tested a Dale Coyne Lola Champ Car at Sebring on the short course back in mid-December in 54 degree(F) weather. 

Tonis adds:  “I would like to thank Dale Coyne and the DCR mechanics again, especially for trusting me in those kinds of conditions.  In that type of Chicago winter weather, I am confidant enough… I thought, just throw on some rain tires and I can do it.  It was very kind of them to let me do that.  I think it’s well known, my career goal is Champ Car.  Any seat time I can get, no matter the weather, I will take it !” 

Next week, Team Tonis takes the yellow #6 Toyota Atlantic to Memphis Raceway Park to prepare for the ’05 season.  Kasemets still has a need for speed and apparently more winter-fun:  he drove straight to Wisconsin to snow-mobile for a couple of days.  For more information: www.toniskasemets.com

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Minardi re-signs SMP Bank Minardi re-signs SMP BankThe Minardi F1 Team announced today that it has renewed its links with Russia’s SMP Commercial Bank for the 2005 season.   The SMP Bank is the member of the Moscow-based Russian Bank Association, and is in a position to support, both operationally and commercially, business transactions that Minardi partners, and other companies, wish to carry out in Russia.  “We are very pleased to welcome SMP Bank back to the Minardi ‘family’ for another season,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi. “It has been a strong supporter of the team in recent years, and this represents a significant marketing development, as it is hoped that the collaboration will lead to the opening of new, and important, markets for Minardi.” Minardi
Heidfeld says overtaking still difficult Heidfeld says overtaking still difficultThe 2005 regulations were aimed at reducing costs and increasing safety. Lap times at the opening race of the year in Melbourne indicated that lap times are in the region of 1.5 seconds slower than they were at the same time last year.

With the 20 racers forced to use the same set of tires for qualifying and the race, it had been suggested that there would be a great deal more passing on track as drivers grapple with varying levels of grip. However, Nick Heidfeld for one believes that it is just as hard to pass this year as it ever has been and the reason is purely aerodynamics.

"You lose downforce when driving too close behind another car," Heidfeld told the WilliamsF1 web site. "Therefore it remains difficult," Heidfeld said.

The BMW Williams driver is of course talking of the 'dirty air' put out by each race car from the rear diffuser which in turn creates turbulence for the following car. It is an age old problem and particularly apparent at circuits which have a long fast final turn as the drivers are unable to tuck under the rear wing of their rival for the long main straight and therefore unable to make the pass.

"I suspect there won't be much of a change," Heidfeld continued. "Of course, as a driver I would like to see more overtaking. It would create a better show for the fans, too." WilliamsF1

Montagny back on top in Jerez Montagny back on top in JerezFriday test times from Jerez:
1 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 - 1:18.261 (+ 0.000 ) - 92 laps
2 . A. Davidson - BAR Honda 006 - 1:18.555 (+ 0.294 ) - 106 laps
3 . E. Bernoldi - BAR Honda 007 - 1:19.229 (+ 0.968 ) - 101 laps
4 . A. Pizzonia - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:19.560 (+ 1.299 ) - 67 laps
5 . H. Kovalainen - Renault R25 - 1:19.980 (+ 1.719 ) - 85 laps
6 . L. Badoer - Ferrari F2005 - 1:20.679 (+ 2.418 ) - 33 laps
7 . M. Gene - Ferrari F2004M - 1:20.735 (+ 2.474 ) - 85 laps
VA Group Meets about NASCAR Hall VA Group Meets about NASCAR HallVirginians Racing for the Hall of Fame, the nonprofit group formed to help Henrico County's Economic Development Authority in its bid for a proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame, held a public relations subcommittee meeting Wednesday at RIR that drew local leaders in tourism, business and marketing. An international consulting firm with hall of fame experience and two renowned construction firms specializing in museum design have been commissioned to help with the project. Richmond is competing against several cities for the hall. The NASCAR deadline for bids is May 31. Richmond Times Dispatch
Hamilton to retire Hamilton to retireUPDATE Contrary to published reports, Sirius Speedway MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio is reporting that Bobby Hamilton has no plans to retire following the 2006 season. In fact, Hamilton is currently negotiating a three-year sponsorship deal that would keep him in the truck at least through the end of the 2007 campaign. 03/08/05 Bobby Hamilton plans to hang up his own helmet at the end of next season. ''I'll race this year and next year, that's my plan,'' he said. ''I've got some bright young drivers racing for me and it's going to be fun to devote my time to running the team and helping them develop. ''I've got hundreds of trophies from the early days stored at home,'' Hamilton said. ''Eventually I plan to bring them all here and fill an entire wall with the stuff that Little Bobby and I have collected over the years.''  "Little Bobby'' is Bobby Hamilton Jr., Hamilton's 27-year-old son who is in his first full season in Nextel Cup. Sometime in the future Hamilton hopes to expand his team into the Nextel Cup Series, with his son doing the driving. Tennessean
Ticket Sales at Record Level for Twelve Hours of Sebring Ticket Sales at Record Level for Twelve Hours of SebringGates open in less than a week for the 53rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, America's premier sports car endurance race and ticket sales appear to be at a record-breaking pace.  "With a world class field highlighted by an incredible entry in the GT1 category, its not surprising tickets sales are almost 10% ahead of last year's record attendance," stated Sebring President and GM Tres Stephenson. Hundreds of fans are already lined-up at the front gates for the opening of the track at 7 a.m. Wednesday. The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring starts at 10:45 am on Saturday, culminating four days of racing action on the legendary 3.7-mile Sebring circuit, originally a WWII B-17 training base.  "There are so many big stories this year," added Stephenson. "The debut of Aston Martin and Maserati, Frank Biela trying to become the first ever four-time winner, the rivalry between Audi and the Dyson Lolas … it's going to be a great show."
American Scott Speed beats Europe's best American Scott Speed beats Europe's bestAmerican Scott Speed showed once again that American drivers are every bit as good as the best Europe can offer if they have a fair shot.  In this case a fair shot is equally prepared GP2 cars.  Over the course of the three days at Paul Ricard, the GP2 teams started the first of their dedicated pre-season test programs, concentrating on everything from heavy race runs to light qualifying sprints. The overall fastest lap time consistently fell as the sessions progressed. 

All the GP2 teams begun the final days testing at 9am and within 40 minutes iSport driver Scott Speed had posted a 1 minute 18.8 second lap, which at the time was a second faster than anyone else, all the more interesting was the fact that Scott achieved this time on only his third lap out.  By lunchtime the team had run 36 laps and Speed still stood on top of the time sheet by almost half a second from BCN’s Ernesto Viso.

Paul Jackson – iSport Team Principal said, "The test has been very productive; a lot of the gremlins and brake problems that we experienced over the course of the first test have now been resolved, which has enabled us to begin a true test program, working on various set-ups and modifications.  Can Artan was finally able to achieve some proper mileage and is working very well with the team and Scott has once again demonstrated his speed by posting some strong lap times today."

Team Name   Fastest lap Day set Total
1. iSport International  1:18.811 Day 3  202 laps (Scott Speed)
2. BCN Competicion  1:18.820 Day 2  135 laps
3. Super Nova   1:19.064 Day 2  208 laps
4. ART Grand Prix  1:19.345 Day 3  199 laps
5. Hitech Piquet Sports  1:19.386 Day 1  229 laps
6. Coloni Motorsport  1:19.408 Day 3  183 laps
7. DPR     1:19.724 Day 3  189 laps
8. Arden International  1:19.819 Day 2  176 laps
9. Racing Engineering  1:19.853 Day 3  190 laps
10. Dams   1:19.884 Day 3  201 laps
11. Durango   1:20.175 Day 3  259 laps
12. Campos Racing  1:20.266 Day 2  180 laps

Open Wheel Series stuck in shadow Open Wheel Series stuck in shadowThis SBSun.com article makes some valid points about Champ Car. Here are some key excerpts:

The irony of this week's Champ Car World Series testing at California Speedway was too great to ignore. Here's the picture: Ten or so open-wheel cars turning laps on a road course inside an oval the series no longer competes at, within sight of three NASCAR Nextel Cup transporters parked before heading to Las Vegas. That's exactly the image Champ Car is seeking to escape: Operating in the shadow of the country's fastest-growing racing series..........By the time the Champ Car World Series opens its season April 10 in Long Beach, the rival Indy Racing League will already have competed three times. That's a big advantage in the battle for news space, whether it be print or electronic...........On the opposite end of the schedule, the Champ Car World Series will finish with three races in foreign countries … Korea, Australia and Mexico. It's rather doubtful Champ Car in Mexico City will get the attention NASCAR was able to generate for its Busch Series event there last week..........In addition, the Sept. 24 race at Las Vegas, a companion race to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will not start until about 9 p.m., resulting in zero newspaper coverage across 48 states.........Regardless of one's sentiments about either open-wheel series, there is a need for both to come together under one authority. It's really the only way Champ Cars or IndyCars will hold back the NASCAR monster that threatens to steal every available sponsorship dollar. [Editor's Note: It's too late. When Tony George divided the sport he opened the door for NASCAR to conquer it. And they did just that. Now he must pay the consequences as his coveted Indy 500 continues to wither away.].......This is the final year of Champ Car's contract with Long Beach and there are strong indications the ownership group is looking elsewhere for cars.........The most valuable free agent in American sports in 2006? Without a doubt, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach........ If the open-wheel sanctioning bodies are serious about the future of the sport, this could be the pivotal year to start discussions about unification if only to keep Long Beach. It's an event the Rolex Grand Am Series or the American Le Mans Series would love to steal, although many consider the IRL to have the inside track for 2006................That would leave Champ Car out in the cold. And that's not a spot the series deserves..........Open-wheel racing is battling for its high-profile survival in this country. There are too many good drivers and team owners for the discipline to operate on the outer edges of the NASCAR shadow outside the month of May.

Bernie disagrees with Tony George Bernie disagrees with Tony GeorgeBernie Ecclestone usually supports decisions made by his friend Tony George. Not this time.  The Formula One boss says George should not be a team owner in the Indy Racing League, a series George founded and is its CEO.  George debuted Vision Racing in last weekend's Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His car, driven by his stepson, Ed Carpenter, finished 18th.

Said Ecclestone of George: "It's difficult to stand back and be objective."  Ecclestone said that's the reason he sold his majority stake in the Brabham F-1 team in the late 1980s and has only made need-based contributions to other grand prix teams over the years.  "You get in trouble when you try to look at things objectively," said Ecclestone, who helped found F-1's Constructors Association in 1974. "Tony shouldn't do this."

George formed Vision to give Carpenter a ride in the IndyCar division and Jay Drake a spot in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. While George has relinquished his title as IRL president (and Indianapolis Motor Speedway president), he concedes he still is involved in regular league planning.  But he said he isn't fazed by what Ecclestone told The Star.  "He's certainly entitled to his opinion," George said. Indy Star  [Editor's Note:  Wonder what Bernie thinks about Champ Car where all three owners have teams (Kalkhoven, Gentilozzi and Forsythe).  So far the other team owners appear happy and feel they are being treated fairly.  Time will be the true test.]

Shore Stop Stores to Sell Dover Speedway Tickets Shore Stop Stores to Sell Dover Speedway TicketsShore Stop convenience stores have entered into a new 5-year marketing partnership as the "Official Convenience Store of Dover International Speedway." Shore Stop stores will have the ability to sell race tickets to Dover International Speedway events, and will offer exclusive ticket programs to their customers. Shore Stop convenience stores, owned by GPM Investments, LLC, have approximately 60 locations in the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia area. "Both Dover International Speedway and Shore Stop are well-known and well-respected names on the Delmarva peninsula," said Brad Chivington, senior vice president of sales & marketing for GPM Investments, LLC. "We have similar footprints, and race fans and convenience store customers share the same demographic. Our partnership will increase the visibility of the Shore Stop and Dover International Speedway brands. This is a win-win opportunity for Shore Stop and Dover International Speedway," said Mark Rossi, vice president of sales and marketing for Dover Motorsports, Inc. "We are extremely excited about all of the marketing possibilities created by this new partnership."Dover International Speedway
No. 5 Robot Car No. 5 Robot CarCoinciding with the March 11 launch of the movie "Robots" presented by 20th Century Fox, Kellogg's will trade in the #5 Chevrolet's traditional paint scheme, driven by Kyle Busch, for a nuts-and-bolts Robots-themed design for Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports PR
Drivers Added to Roster of Drive for Diversity Drivers Added to Roster of Drive for DiversityThe Drive for Diversity(SM) program announced today that NASCAR driver Michael Gallegos has been added to the program's 2005 roster, competing for Innovative Motorsports in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series (NDWS) this season. Gallegos, a native of WheatRidge, Colo., will race the No. 48 Chevrolet Late Model Stock Car at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. this year. In 2004, Gallegos had three solid showings in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division competing in two events at Colorado National Speedway (Erie, Colo.) and one at Pikes Peak International Raceway (Fountain, Colo.).  "IMI is committed to its involvement with the Drive for Diversity(SM) initiative and is extremely excited to be working with Mike Gallegos," said George de Bidart, team owner of Innovative Motorsports. "He is a well rounded young man and has all the attributes necessary to make NASCAR, the sponsors and team all proud to be associated with him in the development stage of his career." Yahoo!  In addition Williams Added: The Drive for Diversity(SM) program announced today that NASCAR driver Terri Williams has been added to the program's 2005 roster, competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series (NDWS) this season for SCORE Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR veteran Hermie Sadler and former NBA player Bryant Stith. Williams, who hails from Emporia, Va., will race NDWS events at South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va. where she will pilot the No. 02 Chevrolet Late Model Stock Car. Williams was South Boston Speedway's Grand Stock Division Champion in 2004, posting three wins and eight top-five finishes in 10 races. "I am excited to be selected as a member of the Drive for Diversity team for 2005," said Williams. "I hope in some way this will help pave the way for other diverse drivers of the future." Hispanic Business
History of F1 Auto Racing Part 4 History of F1 Auto Racing Part 4The history of the Formula One Constructors’ Championship has been a constant battle between the teams that are vying for the title or the FIA changing the scoring system.

The constructors’ championship was brought to life in 1958, eight years after the Formula One Grand Prix formation. The scoring system of the constructors championship followed the same pattern of the drivers championship. It started with the top six cars scoring points and then the top eight were included in the tally. Part IV: The Constructors 

Part I: Before the 1950s
Part II: The Birth of Formula One
Part III: F1's technical advances and stages

Bahrain look to raise the standards Bahrain look to raise the standardsWith just a little over three weeks to go to the second Bahrain Grand Prix on April 1st to 3rd, the Bahrain International Circuit is working tirelessly towards bringing together the biggest sporting show in the Middle East this year. Last year’s event was a great success and the professional way in which the event was run led to the award by the FIA, the sport’s governing body of its prestigious 'Best Organized Grand Prix Trophy.'

For this year, the circuit has developed a wide range of new entertainment activities which are designed to delight and captivate the thousands of race fans and families traveling to the Sakhir track.

Bahrain International Circuit is pulling out all the stops in order to ensure that the diverse cross section of race fans – families and children, car enthusiasts and racers – are all catered for with a variety of activities designed to make the visit to the circuit one to remember for a very long time. In addition the circuit authorities have vastly improved spectator access to Grandstands and the F1 Village with new walkways and shuttle bus services. New food and beverage outlets are being provided along with more water stations, better toilet facilities and ATM machines.

In addition eight new giant screens will broadcast the race live within the circuit and every spectator will be given a miniature radio together with headsets which can be tuned directly to the circuit’s radio station. For the first time race fans will get the chance to meet a selection of F1 drivers and get their autographs and photographs. BIC

An important 'home' event for Sauber An important 'home' event for SauberAfter the start of the 2005 championship in Melbourne, Team Sauber Petronas head to its 'home' race in Sepang, Malaysia on Sunday 20 March. Naturally this is a very special race for the team and for its Malaysian partner Petronas, and drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Felipe Massa are participating in a significant program of publicity events in the preceding week.

Last time out in Australia both Massa and Villeneuve were able to take the checkered flag but unfortunately for the team, both drivers were out of the points. Last year at Sepang, Massa was able to bring the team a point with eighth position as did Nick Heidfeld in 2003. Massa scored a sixth position for the squad in 2002 at the same event just behind Heidfeld.

The team will attend promotional activities in conjunction with Petronas' tenth year in Formula One. The program starts on Saturday, 12 March, in Kuala Lumpur.

Felipe Massa "I love the Sepang track. There are a lot of fast, flowing corners where you can get a really good rhythm, and there are a lot of opportunities for passing, especially if you get a good tow down the two long straights. I think we could see a lot of overtaking this year, and the change in downforce rules will help. "Turns 9 and 11 are tricky because they require lateral braking on entry which demands that you set up the car very carefully so that you have the necessary stability. You have to work a lot on the electronics for the engine braking and the differential. "Sepang is also very tough physically because of the humidity. You sweat an awful lot and can lose 2 to 2.5 kg over a race distance. That's going to be made even tougher this year on the mental side by the need to look after your tires, especially during the closing laps."
Jacques Villeneuve "Sepang is a good circuit but it's very difficult. It's got a lot of interesting corners, both high-speed and low-speed, and it's quite a long lap. Malaysia is also very, very hard physically. This is the first hot race of the year and all of the winter testing is usually done in relatively low temperatures, so it's quite a shock to the body. It is also hard on the car, and cooling the engine and brakes is even more critical. Sepang is always a difficult race. "Unfortunately I am allergic to spicy food so there are a lot of things I can't eat, but I'm really looking forward to the opportunity we have to spend more time in Kuala Lumpur in the week before the race. It's a nice chance because normally at an event we spend most of our time at the race track and only get to go out and look around a place on the Sunday night."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director "Sepang requires the maximum downforce we can muster under the new regulations. However, because of the high ambient temperatures, adequate cooling is also essential to ensure reliability. This will be particularly critical because under the new rules this will be the second race weekend for the Petronas engines that we ran in Australia."

"The track characteristic is a good mix of slow-speed corners where traction is crucial, and high-speed sweeps that require high stability. So the challenge for the engineers is to find the right compromise. The surface has a medium grip level and is quite abrasive, and together with the high track temperatures that adds up to the toughest test of the tires as we may only use one set for qualifying and the race. A careful choice from the two Michelin specifications will therefore be of particular importance on Friday." Sauber Petronas

Champ Car’s unanswered questions Champ Car’s unanswered questionsDear AutoRacing1.com, With the season less than a month away, Is Champ Car going to make any announcements?  I'm curious if they are going to add a race in the six week gap between Long Beach and Monterrey?  Leaving a gap in the schedule is not smart.  The fans they will gain in the Long Beach race will clearly be uninterested having to wait a month and a half for the next race. Rod, Orlando, FL.  Another writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, Does it bother you that Champ Car has all those guys trying to "put this deal together" three weeks form race-time? Donn Kelly   Dear Rod and Donn, There will not be any races between Long Beach and Monterrey now.  It's too late.  Kevin Kalkhoven's management style is to put everything off until the 11th hour and then swoop in like an Eagle.  We are told he has always been that way.  While many fans see the world of Champ Car caving in all around them, Kalkhoven was off skiing in Aspen this week, seemingly unfazed by the naysayers. While we are a bit perplexed how Champ Car appears to have lost the Mexican market to NASCAR overnight,  he's flying around the world talking to China, Korea and Japan officials.  What does he have up his sleeve? Mark C.
NASCAR Paying BIG $$$ for Lobbying in NYC NASCAR Paying BIG $$$ for Lobbying in NYCGuy Molinari's biggest lobbying payday is coming from the Florida-based International Speedway Corporation, which is seeking to build a NASCAR raceway on a huge 660-acre swath of property beneath the Goethals Bridge. Reports show that the company has signed a three-year consulting contract with the former borough president, agreeing to pay him up to $540,000 at a rate of $15,000 per month. Although Molinari partner John D'Amato is also working for the company, contract language makes it clear that it's Molinari they want: The deal is void if the former borough president leaves the firm.   Molinari said the contract's unusual length wasn't his idea. "It was their estimation it would take three years before they get all their approvals."  Molinari inked his deal with the company last May and brought his new client straight to City Hall to meet with the mayor. "I contacted somebody in the mayor's office asking for the meeting, like we do with all elected officials," said Molinari. In addition to Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff attended, as did Economic Development Corporation president Andrew Alper. On Molinari's side of the table were the speedway operators, along with their local partner, Related Companies, which is seeking to build a giant mall alongside the track. Steve Ross, chairman of Related and a close friend of Doctoroff, was among those attending, said Molinari. Village Voice
Hornaday shocked at Atlanta Hornaday shocked at AtlantaRon Hornaday has raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway before, but that in no way prepared him for Thursday’s test in his No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevy Silverado.  “I had heard that you could run flat-out here, but I didn’t believe it until today,” Hornaday said. “I’m not surprised – I’m shocked. I can’t believe you can run these trucks like that. It's great. I held my breath for the first lap and then I got comfortable.”

Hornaday was at Atlanta preparing for next Friday’s World Financial Group 200, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race that will kick off an action-packed weekend of racing. The March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend will be the first time all three of NASCAR’s national touring series – Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup – will compete in Atlanta on the same weekend.

With a handful of NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races under his belt at Atlanta, plus one previous Craftsman Truck test many years ago, Hornaday said he thought he had the fast track figured out. Now, he’s glad he spent the day testing.  “We’re fast,” he said with a gleam in his eye. “We’ve got the track to ourselves, and there were a lot of trucks testing the last couple days that laid down a lot of rubber. The weather is perfect, and we’re going to test both day and night, so I think we’re going to have a very good feel for what we’ll need next weekend.”

Hornaday’s fastest lap of the day session was 31.25 seconds (177.408 mph); he was expected to continue testing until 10 p.m.  “With all the banking here and the new rules NASCAR has made, this will be a good show,” Hornaday said. “Fans thought last year’s racing was good, wait until this year.”

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Sauber's Massa rubs salt
BMW happy with F1 lineup
Brace for 'open' battle
Jerez: Toyota on top
Jordan man in Oz
Life's 'easier' without Dave
Briscoe in a spin
Hotter trial for F1's Indian
Toyota 'lost' - former driver
Malaysian rain
Alonso was Oz's top driver
'No F1 for London' - GP chief
LB announces Friday concert lineup LB announces Friday concert lineupPlatinum-selling recording artist Conjunto Primavera, the undisputed leader of the norteno/romantic genre on radio and with consumers, headline the Friday, April 8 Tecate “Fiesta Friday” Concert, part of the festivities surrounding the 31st Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The concert, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. on the outdoor concert stage in front of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, will be free to all race ticket holders.

Conjunto Primavera’s new studio album, “Hoy Como Ayer,” has already reached the third spot on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart. It not only marks the group’s 32nd recording but also a career that spans 26 years of creating its unique blend of crafting heartfelt, romantic norteno songs filtered through a pop sensibility.

Originally from the state of Chihauhua, Mexico, Conjunto Primavera was founded in 1978 by Juan Dominguez (the group’s musical director and sax player), who crafted a musical project that united Tony Melendez (lead vocals), Felix Contreras (keyboardist, accordion and second voice), Oscar Ochoa (six-string bass) and Rolando Perez and Daniel Martinez (drums).  The group recorded their debut album in 1981, propelling them to a string of hit singles and album sales to Platinum and Gold levels.

“This is an outstanding addition to our already exciting weekend of activities,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “Thanks to Tecate, the Conjunto Primavera concert will be an ideal way for everyone to conclude their day at the races.”

This is the second consecutive year that Tecate, Official Beer Sponsor of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, has put together the “Fiesta Friday” concert at the Grand Prix. Last year’s Tecate Fiesta Friday featured Los Astros de Durango, Carmen Jara and Los Ayvar.

Tickets for the 31st Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will run April 8-10, 2005, are on sale now. The Champ Car World Series will again be the featured racing event. Tickets can be ordered via credit card by using the toll-free ticket hotline,  (888) 82-SPEED. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at longbeachgp.com, in person at the Grand Prix ticket office (3000 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, Calif., 90806).

Indy 500 Fan Tour Indy 500 Fan TourThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway is taking the excitement and pageantry of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on the road in spring 2005 with the Indy 500 Fan Tour.

The tour, designed to take the thrill and anticipation of the 89th Indianapolis 500 to the fans, will visit numerous communities across Indiana and surrounding states from now until the 2005 Indianapolis 500, scheduled for noon (local time) on Sunday, May 29.

"The citizens of Indiana and neighboring states have played a key role in the success of the Indianapolis 500 since 1911, and the Indy 500 Fan Tour is our way of taking the excitement, tradition and history of the race to a new generation of fans," said Joie Chitwood, IMS president and chief operating officer.

The Indy 500 Fan Tour will travel the state in style: A 35-foot Jayco recreational vehicle emblazoned with the 2005 Indianapolis 500 logo and images and icons of the race's storied history will be the centerpiece of the Indy 500 Fan Tour.

The tour also will include:

-- A full-size Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series simulator

-- Memorabilia from the Speedway, including an actual brick from the track's legendary oval surface, drivers' helmets and fire suits, and the traditional American Dairy Association bottle of milk presented to the race winner

-- Photo opportunities with a life-size cut-out of the Indianapolis 500's famous Borg-Warner Trophy

-- Promotional giveaways such as magnets, hats, posters, brochures and other items

The Indy 500 Fan Tour kicked off March 4-6 at Lang Chevrolet in Beavercreek, Ohio, part of the Dayton Auto Racing Fan's "Toys For Kids" Charity Race Car show. The schedule already includes more than 20 appearances across Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Check back regularly for schedule updates by clicking on the "Indy 500 Fan Tour Schedule" link on www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

Luca Badoer runs the F2005 at Jerez Luca Badoer runs the F2005 at JerezThe third day of testing this week for Ferrari took place once again today at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, in Spain. At the wheel of an F2004 M, Marc Gene continued with a Bridgestone tire program begun on Tuesday, while Luca Badoer resumed track development work of the new F2005, concentrating on car set- up. During today’s session, Badoer completed 76 laps, with a best time of 1:18.147, while Gene did 64, the quickest in 1:18.379. Both drivers continue at the circuit Friday. Ferrari
Zonta fastest Thursday at Jerez Zonta fastest Thursday at JerezThursday times:
1 . R. Zonta - Toyota TF105 - 1:15.708 (+ 0.000 ) - 91 laps
2 . A. Wurz - McLaren Mercedes MP4-19B - 1:15.872 (+ 0.164 ) - 138 laps
3 . A. Davidson - BAR Honda 007 - 1:16.963 (+ 1.255 ) - 117 laps
4 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 - 1:17.003 (+ 1.295 ) - 104 laps
5 . R. Schumacher - Toyota TF105 - 1:17.417 (+ 1.709 ) - 59 laps
6 . A. Pizzonia - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:18.144 (+ 2.436 ) - 64 laps
7 . L. Badoer - Ferrari F2005 - 1:18.147 (+ 2.439 ) - 81 laps
8 . E. Bernoldi - BAR Honda 007 - 1:18.246 (+ 2.538 ) - 114 laps
9 . H. Kovalainen - Renault R24 - 1:18.324 (+ 2.616 ) - 76 laps
10 . M. Gene - Ferrari F2004M - 1:18.379 (+ 2.671 ) - 56 laps
St. Pete Race Officials thinking positive St. Pete Race Officials thinking positiveAt every turn, St. Petersburg city officials and promoter Barry Green insist this year's race through downtown's waterfront, April 1-3, will be different. They repeated it Wednesday as they announced more sponsors.

"We are here to stay," Green said.

City leaders, who signed a three-year agreement for the event, say the main ingredients for success are in place this time: corporate sponsorship, a sanctioning agreement, a knowledgeable promoter and local support.

"There's always the possibility that it's not going to work," said City Council member Jay Lasita. "But I think the stars have finally aligned after numerous efforts."

Honda is the title sponsor and other sponsors include Bridgestone/Firestone, 7-Eleven and the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. Others announced Wednesday included the St. Petersburg Times, Jim Beam, Bright House Networks and Gehl, a manufacturer of agricultural implement and compact construction equipment.

Even though the 2003 race attracted about 50,000 people over three days, it lost money because it lacked a title sponsor and major backing by national corporations, said Baker. "That's how you make it a financial success," he said. "You don't have to rely on ticket sales alone."

Honda, the largest manufacturer of Indy car engines, has been affiliated with the Indy Racing League for three years and also is sponsoring one other race in this year's Indy series.

Rob Alen, manager of corporate advertising for American Honda in Los Angeles, said the car company views the South Florida area as an important market and has a multiyear agreement backing the St. Petersburg event.

"We think the race has the potential for being a really glamorous race, given the setting and the atmosphere," he said.

City Council chairman Richard Kriseman points to the race's sanctioning agreement with the Indy Racing League as another good sign. The league is the dominant open-wheel series in North America since splitting with CART in 1996. It has big-dollar sponsors and high-profile drivers.

The St. Petersburg race is a notable expansion for the league, marking the first time it has departed from its traditional oval track in favor of a boomerang-shaped course. The change has created excitement among drivers and fans.

Unlike the 2003 race, which was televised only on Speed Channel, this one will be shown live on ESPN. "It's like a live two-hour commercial for St. Petersburg," Baker said.  About 60,000 fans are expected, although tickets and hotels are still available. Excerpts from  St. Pete Times

Hunter-Reay: Champ Car needs marquee event Hunter-Reay: Champ Car needs marquee eventIn this exclusive AutoRacing1.com interview, American Ryan Hunter-Reay says Champ Car is doing well but it still needs a marquee event to highlight the season.

"I think we do need the Indy 500. I think the Indy 500 is something that people who don’t even watch racing, they watch it because it is the Indy 500. People who don’t watch football watch the Super Bowl.

"Although we may pull in bigger attendance figures over weekends, we don’t have that race that pulls in the big numbers on TV. To make an all-around racing series successful you need that. So, I think that Champ Car is very successful in pulling in the weekend attendance figures at the race track. We have that far more than the IRL does, but we do need a marquee event."

Hunter-Reay also says that open wheel racing needs to leave the ovals to NASCAR.

"The one thing I do know is that the predominantly oval series needs to be left to NASCAR. They’ve mastered that. They’re good at being in that side of it. They just need to go ahead and have that.

"I think that open wheel racing needs to leave that alone and work the road courses, street circuits and some oval courses."

Forsythe Racing completes productive 2-day test Forsythe Racing completes productive 2-day testForsythe Championship Racing headed west this week to join five other teams on the infield road course at California Speedway in Fontana for two days of testing prior to the season opener for the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford on the streets of Long Beach, April 8th-10th.

Driver Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Lola-Ford) and the team used the first day to evaluate an assortment of shock absorber packages.  With the tight rule constraints implemented by the Champ Car World Series, shock absorber performance is a critical variable.  “I’m pretty happy with how the day went” said Tracy. “We got through a lot of our test items and found some good things. Getting through the list took up a large part of the day but I think it gives us a great starting point for tomorrow so we can work on some other areas.”

On Day Two, Tracy and the team focused on an assortment of aerodynamic components such as the ground-effect underwing and various front wing configurations, along with mechanical components including several transmission differential setups.

“We had a big list today and got a lot done, but I think at the very end when conditions were ideal we didn’t have the optimum combination on the car and probably left some time out there on the track” said Tracy.  “But we gathered a lot of good data and have a excellent baseline for the next test at Sebring.”

Forsythe Championship Racing makes its next on-track appearance at Sebring, Florida on March 23rd-24th, the final test session prior to the season-opening event.

TV a key ingredient to NASCAR's rise TV a key ingredient to NASCAR's riseOne of the key ingredients in the rise of NASCAR as a sport -- and especially as a business -- is television. Some of us can remember when some races weren't on TV, and you had to listen to the radio to find out what was going on. Some of us can even remember when several networks had the rights to various races, some on network TV, some on cable.  Be that as it may, there's a story to be told behind the production of a typical NASCAR telecast. It's not an easy thing to plan, and the people who do it live the lives of gypsies over the long season. Story at NASCAR.com
Sauber expresses disappointment Sauber expresses disappointmentPeter Sauber has seen better times in his long career as a racing team owner. At any rate, the season opener in Melbourne turned out to be a bitter setback for the Sauber Petronas team after they had shown steady improvement throughout 2004.

Speaking after Felipe Massa worked his way through the field to finish tenth while Jacques Villeneuve slipped down the order to finish 13th, Peter Sauber gives his view on the first race of the season.

Peter Sauber, finishing tenth and 13th certainly isn't the best of feelings. Are you disappointed?
"Of course before the season began we knew that the car hadn't been developed to the point that we would have liked. But the free practice on Friday saw us regain our confidence (Felipe Massa finished in sixth place). In that regard, the race result was disappointing."

Your new driver, Jacques Villeneuve, has failed to convince yet. How do you assess his performance?
"I'm reluctant to make a judgment. It was the first race of the season, and on top of that an extremely unusual race –and not just for Sauber Petronas. In fact, only one team lived up to expectations, Renault. Another team, Red Bull, far exceeded everyone's expectations. And then there were some teams that turned in very disappointing performances, especially BAR Honda."

And Villeneuve?
"I'd rather not comment on that. He did well in qualifying. He was out there under difficult conditions since he was the first driver onto the track with dry tires. Then he had problems with the cold tires, but still managed to finish a superb fourth. In the race, he got a really good start, but dropped back five spots in the first lap – a bitter disappointment."

How did this setback happen?
"We still have to analyze that. Villeneuve isn't saying much right now. In certain phases of the race he had some problems with the car – but that's all he's told us so far."

So you can't tell us why the Canadian's fastest lap was almost a second slower than teammate Felipe Massa?
"I really can't explain the difference, which is a big one at that. It's actually bigger than it seems. For the start, and after the first pit stop, Felipe Massa was driving with a heavy fuel load – in contrast to all the other drivers, who made two pit stops, Massa was driving with a one-stop strategy."

"If you take a closer look at the lap times, Sauber didn't do as badly as the race results would suggest. Yes, Felipe Massa's fastest lap was about a second behind Fisichella's time, but only half a second behind the McLarens'. So, you could actually be satisfied with the car's performance..."

"...but we're not. We're never satisfied. We can feel that way only if we notch up a victory (laughs). As I already said, the car isn't yet where we want it to be. The results from the wind tunnel testing point to this too. However, we're very confident that we can develop the car further because in the wind tunnel we're making progress every week, if not every day. For the next race in Malaysia, the car will have brand new components that aren't there just for looks."

Giancarlo Fisichella was still driving for Sauber last year. Scarcely does he move to Renault when he racks up a victory, the second one in his career. Were you happy for him nonetheless?
"Absolutely, I like Giancarlo very much. Still, regrets outweigh the happiness. We never made a secret of the fact that we would have liked to retain him. But he had the ubiquitous escape clause in his contract..."

Is he now a hot candidate for the World Championship title?
"He's always a hot candidate for the title if he has the right tools to work with. However, it remains to be seen if this time he'll succeed in making that happen with Renault." Credit Suisse
Audi teams complete for Le Mans Audi teams complete for Le MansThe Audi PlayStation Team ORECA has signed Formula 1 test driver Franck Montagny for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005 completing the Audi teams competing in the French longs-distance classic on 18/19 June with three Audi R8 prototypes. The American Team ADT Champion racing enters two of the three cars.
The ORECA team, supported by Audi France, presented a pure French team on Wednesday evening in Paris. "Team, drivers and Michelin tires originate from France, and in the Audi R8 we have the best car,” explains Team Director Hugues de Chaunac, whose team won Le Mans once in 1991.
The experienced Jean-Marc Gounon and Stéphane Ortelli, who drove for the Audi works team in 2000, are Montagny’s team mates. Gounon knows the R8 having driven one during the Le Mans pre-practice in 2001. Franck Montagny will get sufficient time before June to familiarize himself with the most successful Le Mans Prototype of all time. ORECA will use the 1000 kilometer race at Spa-Francorchamps on 17 April as a dress rehearsal. The race belongs to the Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES).
"The team and drivers bring much Le Mans experience and speed with them,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "All three Audi R8 prototypes have high-class driver squads, which is of particular importance this year because of the increase in weight and reduction in engine power stipulated by the regulations for the R8.”
Scenes from Fontana testing Scenes from Fontana testingAutoRacing1.com's Bob Heathcote snapped these photos from Fontana Champ Car testing Wednesday:  Note the new paint scheme for the two RuSPORT cars.  Rumors say a new sponsor has been found.

Additional photos at ChampCar.ws.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu in Malaysia
'Just rubbish' - Stoddart
Jerez: Ferrari fastest
Trulli's Toyota tire trouble
BAR may race old engines
Red Bull and Honda
'I can live without F1' - EJ
BAR's new front wing
JV/Sauber pairing on skid-row
Jordan 'will win' - chief
Ferrari in decline - Button
Ralf defends big brother
Another F1 street demo
Wilson paces 2nd test day at Fontana Wilson paces 2nd test day at FontanaIt has long been said that the curse of having potential is the burden of having to eventually live up to it.  Nowhere is that adage more true than in the Champ Car World Series, but the second-year RuSPORT squad with sophomore sensations Justin Wilson and A.J. Allmendinger appear ready to answer the bell. The Colorado-based team showed a glimpse of its potential on a sunny Wednesday in Fontana as Wilson put up the best time of the day, getting around the 1.45-mile road course in a best time of 52.71 seconds.

“I think we have everything in place to be competitive this season,” Wilson said. “The team is doing a great job, we’re all learning and building our chemistry. We have the parts to be good, it is just a matter of putting all the pieces together.”

Tuesday’s test leader Cristiano da Matta had another strong day, stopping the clocks at 52.81, improving nearly a half-second over his best time from Tuesday’s session. Allmendinger was third with a 52.86 while Paul Tracy turned a late lap of 52.91.

PKV Racing’s Jimmy Vasser found some more speed after Tuesday’s testing, dropping his best time to 53.11. The revamped PKV squad is finding its legs after the inclusion of general manager Jim McGee and Steve Krisiloff, and Vasser believes that his team will be one of the ones to beat as the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season gets rolling.

“We were definitely competitive at times out here today,” Vasser said. “I think Cristiano has been a great addition to the team and things are really starting to work. I think Champ Car fans are going to see a whole new side of PKV Racing this year.”

As was the case yesterday, the first six cars were within six-tenths of a second apart at the end of the session. Andrew Ranger tested for the second consecutive day in the Mi-Jack/Conquest Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone and improved to a best time of 53.30, just 0.59 seconds off the session-leading effort of Wilson. Ranger was denied a chance to put up a quicker time at the end of the day when he suffered a punctured Bridgestone Potenza just before the end of the session.

The close grouping of the times over the last two days of testing has many teams and drivers brimming with optimism for the upcoming season, which gets underway with the April 10 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“We’re getting close on our program here at PKV Racing, but it’s going to be a tough deal because there are going to be a lot of strong cars,” said Vasser. “More than half the field is going to be very strong and fans are going to be rewarded with a great championship because a lot of guys are going to have a chance to win races.”

Teams will hit the testing trail again at the end of the month with sessions being held at Sebring and Fontana March 22-24.
Wednesday Times:
1) Justin Wilson, RuSPORT – 52.71
2) Cristiano da Matta, PKV Racing – 52.81
3) A.J. Allmendinger, RuSPORT – 52.86
4) Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing – 52.91
5) Jimmy Vasser, PKV Racing – 53.11
6) Andrew Ranger, Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing – 53.30

Tuesday Times
1) Cristiano da Matta, PKV Racing – 53.27
2) Justin Wilson, RuSPORT – 53.30
3) Timo Glock, Rocketsports Racing – 53.31
4) Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing – 53.37
5) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Rocketsports Racing – 53.46
6) Mario Haberfeld, Walker Racing – 53.79
7) Andrew Ranger, Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing – 53.91

Janitz named PR Director Janitz named PR DirectorBill Janitz has been named Director of Public Relations for Michigan International Speedway, track president Brett Shelton announced today. Janitz, who has been a member of the MIS public relations department since 2001, will assume his new duties immediately.  A native of Brooklyn, MI, Janitz is a 2000 graduate of Michigan State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.
NASCAR gets it all wrong with Hispanics NASCAR gets it all wrong with HispanicsThe NASCAR race in Mexico was to gain NASCAR more Hispanic fans, right? So they thought......but it may have turned them away. If NASCAR wants to expand to the black market shouldn't they be racing in Africa? I mean, that's what they're doing right? Let's clarify something. The term HISPANIC doesn't mean MEXICAN. When the term Hispanic gets tossed around it usually encompasses everyone from Mexico to Cuban to Puerto Rican to pretty much anyone south of the USA. You're from Brazil? Argentina? Panama? Not in this country pal, here you're Hispanic. Same goes for whites. Doesn't matter if you're from Russia, England, France, Sweden....in this country you're white. ThatsRacin/Rantville
Hmiel fastest Wednesday at Atlanta Hmiel fastest Wednesday at AtlantaBefore last week, Shane Hmiel was just driving in the NASCAR Busch Series. But during Wednesday’s test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hmiel was preparing to run all three races during next weekend’s Golden Corral 500 weekend.  Hmiel will start the weekend in the World Financial Group 200 Craftsman Truck race on Friday (March 18), then compete in the Aaron’s 312 Busch race on Saturday (March 19) and finish up with the Golden Corral 500 on Sunday (March 20).

Hmiel was testing his NEXTEL Cup car on Wednesday and turning the fastest laps of 2005, as he circled the 1.54-mile fast track in 29.26 seconds (189.424 mph).   “We’ve got a really good car right now,” Hmiel said. “If we come back next weekend and it drives like this, then we’ll be looking for a top-10 qualifying spot. We’ve got a good car, and that’s all we can ask for.”

Driver                                  Series                          Time
#08 Shane Hmiel --NEXTEL Cup-- 29.26 sec (189.474 mph)
#4 Mike Wallace --NEXTEL Cup-- 29.84 sec (185.791 mph)
#5 Mike Skinner --Craftsman Truck-- 30.56 sec (181.414 mph)
# 22 Bill Lester --Craftsman Truck-- 30.99 sec (179 mph)
#38 Brandon Whitt --Craftsman Truck-- 31.02 sec (178.723 mph)
#12 Robert Huffman --Craftsman Truck-- 31.08 sec (178.666 mph)
# 16 Jack Sprague --Craftsman Truck-- 31.09 sec (178.321 mph)
#23 Johnny Benson --Craftsman Truck-- 31.28 sec (177.238 mph)
#9 Shigeaki Hattori --Craftsman Truck-- 31.37 sec (176.729 mph)
#66 Todd Bodine --Craftsman Truck-- 31.38 sec (176.673mph)
#19 Regan Smith --Craftsman Truck-- 31.45 sec (176.280 mph)
#30 Chad Chaffin --Craftsman Truck-- 32.45 sec (170.867 mph)

Brickyard reinstalls bricks Brickyard reinstalls bricksOne of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's most visible pieces of history returned to its rightful place March 9 as crews began reinstalling the famous "Yard of Bricks" at the start/finish line.

The Speedway's "Yard of Bricks" serves as a tribute to the 2.5-mile oval's most famous surface - 3.2 million paving bricks that were laid down in autumn 1909, just months after the track opened with a tar and crushed stone surface. Most of the bricks, except the middle portion of the main straightaway, were paved over with asphalt by 1939.

In 1961, the main straightaway was finally paved with asphalt, and the "Yard of Bricks" tribute was established.

Installing the new "Yard of Bricks," which consists of more than 570 of the 1909-vintage bricks that were most recently in storage, signals the ceremonial end to a massive repaving project that saw 19,000 tons of asphalt laid to repave the Speedway's 2.5-mile oval, pit lane and warm-up lanes. Crews began the project by milling 2.5 inches of the old surface in August 2004 and completed the paving process in early November.

The irony of anchoring the Speedway's brand-new asphalt surface with paving bricks that were the "state of the art" 96 years ago was not lost on Kevin Forbes, IMS director of engineering and construction and supervisor for the repaving project.

"I think there is a wonderful dichotomy there in that we have the most modern racetrack surface that science can help us develop, (and) the 'Yard of Bricks' simply represents where this racetrack came from," Forbes said. "When people think of roots, they always think of something that goes underground and is hidden. This 'Yard of Bricks' allows the roots of the Speedway to always be visible."

The previous bricks were carefully removed beginning Aug. 9 - one day after Jeff Gordon became a four-time Brickyard 400 winner. Crews then cut them into small pieces, and the Speedway made them available for sale to the public as a collectible item.

Crews paved over the location of the "Yard of Bricks" during the repaving process last fall. Recently, they cut and removed an asphalt strip and began the process of installing the bricks. Forbes said this paving method was used to ensure the smoothest surface possible.

Flying Lizard team to enter 24 Hours of LeMans Flying Lizard team to enter 24 Hours of LeMansFlying Lizard Motorsports announced today the team's plans to compete in the 73rd annual 24 Heures du Mans, June 18-19 in Le Mans, France. The team accepted the first-round invitation from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) earlier this year. The Flying Lizard squad will enter one Porsche GT3 RSR in the LM GT2 category. The team is one of ten GT2 entrants invited so far for the race, four of which are US-based American Le Mans (ALMS) teams. The Flying Lizard Le Mans driver roster will be announced later this Spring.

"The 24 Hours of Le Mans is undoubtedly the world's greatest sports car race. We are honored to be invited and are excited to be part--and honestly, somewhat in awe--of the tradition and competitive challenge it represents," said Flying Lizard driver Seth Neiman.

2005 will be the team's first time competing at Le Mans. Flying Lizard chief strategist Thomas Blam, who has worked with several teams at Le Mans in the past, added, "We definitely have our work cut out for us at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The preparation and planning that goes into running this endurance race is immense. We'll be working hard throughout the next few months to get ready for the challenge while we continue to focus on our goals in the American Le Mans series."

Another open wheel driver to NASCAR Another open wheel driver to NASCARNASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entrant Dave Malcolmson (Largo, Fla.) proudly announces the signing of open wheel racing standout Jimmy Kite (Stockbridge, Ga.) to race for MRD Motorsports in the World Financial Group 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS).

Kite, a four-time Indianapolis 500 starter and regular on the IndyCar Series since 1997, will be making his debut in a NASCAR-sanctioned event driving the No. 06 MRD Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado at his home track on March 18th. MRD Motorsports, of Concord, N.C., entered ten Craftsman Truck Series races in its debut last season. Atlanta will be MRD’s first start of 2005.

Despite this being his first NASCAR event, Kite is no stranger to stock car racing or to AMS. In fact, the 1.54-mile, Hampton, Ga. oval was the site of Kite’s premiere in stock car racing in March of 1998 when he drove an ARCA series entry for Team Scandia. He followed that with a second ARCA start later that season at Michigan Speedway while working as a test driver for Scandia’s Winston Cup (now Nextel Cup) and Busch Grand National efforts. Kite also has IndyCar experience at the track with events in 1999 and 2000.

Ganassi frustrated by rookie's crashes Ganassi frustrated by rookie's crashesVeteran team owner Chip Ganassi has been critical of his new driver, Ryan Briscoe, after two large crashes last weekend at the Miami Homestead Speedway.  In practice Briscoe hit the wall after slowing insufficiently as he entered the pits – the incident was remarkably similar to one suffered by teammate Scott Dixon at the same track last year. In the race Briscoe found the wall again, this time at Turn 4.  “The second one was just a typical rookie mistake,” Ganassi noted. “But crashing coming into the pits? That's two years in a row one of my guys did that, and it's getting old.” Autosport.com
Industry News
SPEED adds Bob Jenkins SPEED adds Bob JenkinsSPEED Channel has signed veteran motor sports broadcaster Bob Jenkins to co-anchor the network's signature weekend racing news program, SPEED News.

"Bob is one of the pre-eminent motor sports journalists," said SPEED Channel Sr. Coordinating Producer Frank Wilson. "He has a strong association with NASCAR and all forms of racing. His is one of the distinctive voices in the sport, and it's great for SPEED Channel to have someone of his stature on our team."

Jenkins, who spent nearly 30 years as a motor sports announcer for ESPN and ABC, has received many honors including the Tony Hulman Award, given by the National Association of Auto Racing Fan Clubs for unselfish devotion to motor sports, the Roger McCluskey Award from the United States Auto Club in recognition of his standards of excellence in the sport of auto racing, and the Henry T. McLemore Motorsports Press Award which recognizes outstanding motor sports journalism in the field of writing, broadcasting or photography.  A permanent plaque with his likeness is in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala.

"I've been a race fan all my life, so it seems only natural that I work for the network that obviously cares about and is devoted to speed and motor sports," said Jenkins, the only announcer to anchor coverage of the three events held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR'S Brickyard 400, and the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race.  "I'm thrilled to be a part of the SPEED family."

Danica Patrick condition update Danica Patrick condition updateDanica Patrick, Rahal Letterman Racing’s rookie driver continues to rest at home following her accident on lap 159 of her IndyCar Series debut last Sunday at Homestead.  Patrick was running tenth in her #16 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Honda/Panoz/Firestone when she was caught up in a seven-car accident that prematurely ended her debut.

“I had a lot of fun while I was out there,” said Patrick.  “The car was great, but I was just trying to be patient and get a feel for the race.  Sunday was the longest race of my career and since it was only my 12th day in an IndyCar I wanted to gain as much experience as possible and increase my comfort level.  Going into the race, I just wanted to finish.  Every lap I run in an IndyCar is experience, and that experience is going to pay benefits later in the season.  I really don’t remember the accident, but I know we were having a pretty decent race for our first time out.  I just wish I could have finished.”

Patrick suffered a minor concussion in the incident, and she is scheduled to see a Phoenix area doctor later today for a follow-up evaluation.

Breast advertising at Indy 500 Breast advertising at Indy 500Seen on eBay: I am an unemployed mother of three daughters. 21, 18 and 15. My eighteen year old daughter is planning on attending college this fall so I am trying to earn money for mortgage payments and college tuition. So please read about my auction below:

With all the auctions out on eBay advertising body advertisements this is the one that you can get the most exposure.

Get exposed at the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race mile race. This race brings people from around the world including celebrities and famous political figures. This is by far one of the most recognized racing events around the world. Television stations will be there daily which include CBS, NBC ABC, TNT, ESPN and others.

During the month of May I will advertise on my chest either by temporary tattoo's (designed either by you or a local artist friend of mine), t-shirt or other type of top supplied by you. If my friend designs the advertisement you will own the rights to that design. I will purchase a Bronze Badge which will give me access to Gasoline Alley. I will promote your company during the times listed below in which the track is open by wandering through the crowds, gasoline alley, etc. I will do my best to get all the radio and television exposure for you. Attending any functions that you arrange (all cost for attending those functions will be your responsibility) I will be responsible for all daily entrance fee's to enter the track.

Gene tops test times Gene tops test timesFerrari, BAR and McLaren took part in the second day of testing at Jerez while Toyota cancelled their scheduled appearance due to lack of parts.  Marc Gené set the best time at the wheel of a Ferrari F2004M, the Spaniard finished ahead of McLaren's Alex Wurz (MP4-19B) and the two BAR test drivers, Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi.
1. M. Gene - Ferrari F2004 - 1'17"076 (+0"000) - 114 laps
2. A. Wurz - McLaren Mercedes MP4/19B - 1'17"172 (+0"096) - 88 laps
3. A. Davidson - BAR Honda 007 - 1'18"606 (+1"530) - 90 laps
4. E. Bernoldi - BAR Honda 006B - 1'19"223 (+2"147) - 122 laps
Legault: We will hold only two events Legault: We will hold only two eventsFurther proof the Toronto Sun article suggesting the IRL might race in Montreal in 2006 is dead wrong, Normand Legault said today he would not hold more than two races on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve per year.

The Champ Car World Series has joined with long-time sponsor partner Molson Breweries and event promoter Normand Legault to hold extremely successful races at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in the past three seasons, and today reaffirmed its commitment to race at the popular Canadian venue.

The current contract calls for Champ Car to race on the picturesque Ile. Notre-Dame circuit through the 2006 season, and event promoter Legault announced today that his organization has every intention of carrying out the agreement through its completion.

“A lot of things have been said in the press and by people that aren’t necessarily the decision makers in this process,” Legault said. “The most important thing to note is that we have a contract with Champ Car for two more years and after the 2006 race I will sit down with Champ Car and see what else we can do. We currently have Formula 1 and Champ Cars, and we are not looking hosting more than two race weekends per year.”

“The race in Montreal has been very important for us since its inception in 2002 and we are fully committed to maintaining our presence not only in Montreal, but throughout Canada, as can be evidenced by our new race in Edmonton,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “The Montreal fans have given us great support and the track provides our teams and drivers with some of the best racing on our schedule. We look forward to a continued prosperous relationship with Mr. Legault and his fine organization through the 2006 season and beyond.”

The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford has competed on the 2.709-mile Montreal road course since 2002, drawing crowds of over 133,000 in each of the three seasons, making it one of the most well-attended events on the Champ Car calendar. Like it has been in other successful Canadian Champ Car events, Molson Canada has played a key role in the success of the Montreal event, and intends to put its valuable expertise toward other successful Montreal races in 2005 and ’06.

“Molson Canada and the Champ Car World Series have long enjoyed one of the best relationships in all of motorsports and we remain committed to our sponsorship of the Montreal event through the 2006 season,” said Jo-Ann McArthur, President, Molson Sports & Entertainment. “Our long track record with Champ Car events in Canada gives us every confidence that our relationship will continue to be beneficial not only to Molson and to Champ Car, but to the hundreds of thousands of fans that attend our races every year.”

This year’s Molson Indy Montreal will take place over the weekend of August 26-28 when defending race winner Bruno Junqueira will head a star-studded lineup that includes four former Champ Car title winners including 2003 champ Paul Tracy and defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais.

IRL TV ratings continue to plummet IRL TV ratings continue to plummetJust when we did not think it could get any worse, it did. Despite all the hype, despite all the promotion and despite all the marketing, the IRL TV ratings continue to plummet.

ESPN’s coverage of the Toyota 300 earned a 0.6 cable rating, down from last year's 0.9 Rating also on ESPN, a drop of 33 percent in one year. Last year the drop was 50 percent from 2003, so the trend continues.

The Homestead race was also simulcasted on ESPN2, which earned a 0.2 cable rating with the two combining for an average delivery of 739,000 viewers (down from over 809,000 the year before on just ESPN) according to Nielsen Media Research. Of course an infomercial would have got more than that on ESPN2 but the IRL press release does not mention that. 

Bottom Line:  The IRL's popularity continues to plummet despite the spin put on it by the IRL press release below.   Why such negative statements from AutoRacing1.com?  Because Tony George chose to split the sport by creating the IRL and in doing so, has just about killed an entire industry.

The IRL spin:
“We are thrilled with the efforts of ESPN and ABC Sports to enhance the look and feel of the IndyCar Series to television viewers,” said Ken Ungar, senior vice president, business affairs for the Indy Racing League. “With the new on-air commentator team, aggressive promotion and continued innovative advances we are confident that the IndyCar Series’ pure-speed and all-out competition will draw more viewers.”

ESPN showed significant growth across many demographics, including the key male demographics of 18-34 and 18-49, which were both up 36 percent compared to last season. The male 25-54 demographic showed an increase of 54 percent and females 18-49 were up 35.5 percent compared to last season.

ESPN's coverage of the Toyota 300 earned a 0.6 cable rating with the ESPN2 simulcast earning a 0.2 cable rating with the two combining for an average delivery of 739,000 viewers according to Nielsen Media Research.

"We are thrilled with the efforts of ESPN and ABC Sports to enhance the look and feel of the IndyCar Series to television viewers," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president, business affairs for the Indy Racing League. "With the new on-air commentator team, aggressive promotion and continued innovative advances we are confident that the IndyCar Series' pure-speed and all-out competition will draw more viewers."

According to Performance Research, the two networks combined for a 13 percent rating increase in the top 55 metered markets with 26 of those markets having an increase and 30 of the 55 being equal or increasing from last year's race.

Further Performance Research analysis shows that nine markets showed increases of 100 percent or better, Dallas/Ft. Worth (200 percent), Las Vegas (200 percent), Phoenix (171 percent), Indianapolis (130 percent), Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (125 percent), San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (120 percent), Detroit (100 percent), Nashville (100 percent) and Philadelphia (100 percent).

The weekend featured a number of innovative production approaches as part of the IndyCar Series' partnership with ABC Sports and ESPN including: . Continuous coverage of race action through all national commercial breaks with "Side-By-Side," a split screen of the race and commercials. ABC Sports will utilize "Side-By-Side" on the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 presented by Argent Mortgage from Phoenix International Raceway on March 19.

2nd day of testing for GP2 2nd day of testing for GP2The second day of the latest GP2 series test session saw the 12 teams complete almost 1000 laps as they continued to work on their pre-season testing programs: 975 laps and 4046.25 km were covered in total today. While some of our squads decided to take a number of short runs, others concentrated on race distances with lengthy run-outs. Despite the differing programs, however, the fastest lap-time was cut to an impressive 1:18.820, and all teams managed to post a time within two seconds of this.

Testing resumes tomorrow at 0900 CET. The day will be split into two sessions as opposed to the four we have been running. The first session (0900-1200) will take place on the same track solution as today: 2D, 4.150 km. The second session (1400-1700) will take place on the track solution used for the shake-down test in late February: 2D SC, 4.157 km. The only difference in these two track configurations is that 2D SC sees the flat-out Signes corner replaced by a slower, tighter right-hander.

Official Testing Times Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT, France
Wednesday 9th March 2005
1. BCN Competicion 1:18.820 38 laps
2. Super Nova 1:19.064 65 laps
3. iSport International 1:19.316 78 laps
4. ART Grand Prix 1:19.418 83 laps
5. Hitech Piquet Sports 1:19.527 85 laps
6. Arden International 1:19.819 78 laps
7. Coloni Motorsport 1:19.839 75 laps
8. Dams  1:20.071 75 laps
9. Racing Engineering 1:20.231 101 laps
10. Campos Racing 1:20.266 88 laps
11. DPR 1:20.460 101 laps
12. Durango  1:20.670 108 laps

Newman/Haas announces new partner Newman/Haas announces new partnerNewman/Haas Racing LLC announced today its partnership with Computer Aided Technology, Inc. (CATI) for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. After having won five Champ Car championships to date, the team will continue to enlist the support of CATI to help them in their quest for their sixth title in 2005 with drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira, who brought the team their best overall finish in their 22nd season with a first and second place rank, respectively.

"The ease of use and the sophistication of CATI's solution was very much part of our Championship winning performance. All the new parts that gave us such an advantage in the 2004 season were designed and developed using the SolidWorks suite of CAD programs,” said Brian Lisles, General Manager of Newman/Haas Racing. “We continue to use the advance capabilities of SolidWorks to design and develop new parts for our cars as we press forward with our objective of winning the 2005 Champ Car World Series championship."

Computer Aided Technology, Inc. (CATI), headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Ill. provides the Midwest with six full-service facilities, supporting Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin with the mission to create competitive advantage for manufacturing clients by leveraging an industry-experienced team and leading technology solutions. CATI is the original SolidWorks Reseller and a Top Reseller of SolidWorks in the Midwest. CATI is dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions to engineering, manufacturing, and educational sectors and offers a full suite of SolidWorks Solution Partner technologies including CAD, CAE, CAID, CAM, ECAD, and PDM solutions.

“At CATI our goal is to help make our customers successful in their industry. We are extremely pleased to be a part of the great success of Newman/Haas Racing in the 2004 season,” comments Richard Werneth, President, Computer Aided Technology. "We look forward to another winning season in 2005 with Newman/Haas Racing."
Menards to sponsor Pacific Coast team Menards to sponsor Pacific Coast teamPacific Coast Motorsports (“PCM”), the 2004 Toyota Atlantic champions, announced today that commencing with the 2005 race season the team will field a Corvette C5-R full-time in the GT1 category of the American Le Mans Series (“ALMS”) with primary sponsorship from home improvement retailer Menards.  The first outing for the PCM Menards Corvette will come at the historic and prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19, 2005.

During the off-season, PCM made the business decision to focus its efforts for 2005 on sportscar racing in the ALMS.  The team was able to purchase the dominating Corvette C5-R from Pratt & Miller, General Motors’ factory team.  Since its entry in the ALMS, the C5-R has won multiple ALMS championships and 24 Hours of Le Mans races.

“Everyone in our organization is excited about our new Menards Corvette program,” said PCM Team Director Tyler Tadevic.  “With the well-developed and proven C5-R, our aggressive driver line-up and the support of Menards, we are fielding a formidable privateer effort against some big-time factory programs.”  PCM is the only privateer team that will be competing with the C5-R Corvette.

Piloting the PCM Menards Corvette are former Toyota Atlantic standouts Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel.  Figge, a 23 year-old American, has successfully competed and won races in the Toyota Atlantic Championship over the past three seasons.  Dalziel, a 22 year-old that hails from Scotland, but now resides in the U.S., was the 2003 and 2004 runner-up in the Toyota Atlantic series.  For the long distance endurance events, Figge and Dalziel will be joined by two-time Toyota Atlantic champion, Indy Lights champion and 24 Hours of Daytona winner Dave Empringham.

Pan Am to stage Sunshine State Shootout Pan Am to stage Sunshine State ShootoutPan Am Formula Renault Championship will host a four-day, three-race shoot out for over $90,000 in series related prizes, officials announced today. The event will take place March 28-31 at Homestead Miami Speedway’s 2.3-mile infield road course, and utilize the 2.0-liter Formula Renault platform to the 2003-specification.
The event will also host the first significant testing of the Formula Renault V6 platform on North American soil, with over a dozen examples of the high-technology platform slated to be on hand with track time set aside for testing. Interested drivers are encouraged to contact teams to reserve time in the cars in advance.
With three days of on-track activity for the Sunshine State Shootout, there will be significant seat time available in the 2.0-liter Formula Renaults to the participating drivers for their $500 entry fee. Several practice sessions will run in advance of two qualifying sessions to set the grid for the first two races. The third race will be set by an aggregate of the first two qualifying sessions. There will be three races, with two utilizing a standing start, and a third with the “Indianapolis-style” rolling start.
The driver with the two best results from the three races will win a prize package valued at over $90,000 in a ‘winner take all’ format. The prize package includes free Michelin tires for the entire 2005 Pan American Formula Renault 2.0-liter season, credit for the freight costs for all series-organized tests and races, and all race and test entry fees will be waived. The award will go to the team-driver combination, and will not be transferable to other teams.
While the top driver-team combination will take the big prize, other teams will benefit as well, as the top twenty percent of participating teams will receive the 2004-update kit as awards after the event.
“This will be a great way to get our 2005 season underway,” said Pan American Formula Renault director Allen Berg. “For a very small entry fee, drivers will get a lot of time in the car, as well as a shot at getting a significant portion of their budget covered for the season. It’s a good chance for interested drivers to check out the category and experience these amazing cars first-hand. It’s also going to be an excellent chance for drivers who have already signed on for the 2005 season to get some testing done to prepare for the season.”
No McSwain in Vegas No McSwain in VegasMichael "Fatback" McSwain, crew chief of the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford Taurus, won't be at the race track at Las Vegas this weekend, missing his second straight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event, as he continues to recover from back surgery. A couple of weeks ago, McSwain called the California race from his home in North Carolina, utilizing communications technology from series sponsors NEXTEL and Racing Radios.  MICHAEL "FATBACK" McSWAIN, crew chief on the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford:

WILL YOU BE AT LAS VEGAS? "I won't be in Vegas so we'll be doing the same thing we did at California." 

DID THE SET UP WORK WELL FOR CALIFORNIA? "It worked okay, probably as good as its gonna work not being there. It went pretty good. We tested there so that made it kind of easy. And, we've got a good team so that made it easier too." 

HOW DID USING TRACK PASS WORK OUT? "I thought that worked good. It probably made it work out the best it possibly could. There is not that much of a delay. It worked good. We'll use the same communication set-up for Vegas, and Atlanta if I can't go there. I have to wait and see what the doctor says next week when I see him."

Marlin tests at Bristol Marlin tests at BristolWith snow flurries swirling, Sterling Marlin turned laps in his #40 Dodge Charger at Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday afternoon to prepare for April’s NASCAR race. For the first time in his 29-year NASCAR career, Marlin tested the settings on his car in the snow. "It takes a lap or two for the tires to come in," Marlin said about driving in the freezing temperatures. "When it’s 25 degrees, it takes a little time to get some heat in the tires to get some more grip. After three or four laps, you are back where you normally are."
McAtee to field 2-car Atlantic team McAtee to field 2-car Atlantic teamThe Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama today announced that McAtee Motorsports will join the Atlantic series, fielding a two-car entry for the 2005 season.

McAtee Motorsports, which competed in the Star Mazda series for the last three years, will run both Kyle Kelley and Brian McAtee in the Atlantic series this season. The team is owned by Brian’s father, Dale McAtee – a veteran of more than 30 years in motorsports.

“McAtee Motorsports is pleased to announce its entry into the Toyota Atlantic Championship for 2005,” said Dale McAtee. “The Toyota Atlantic series has a rich history and a solid connection the Champ Car World Series, presenting the finest opportunity for a youthful team to participate at world-class venues.”

While the San Clemente, California-based team may be new to Atlantics in 2005, McAtee Motorsports does bring along continuity and a track record of success as it prepares for its maiden Atlantic voyage this season. The team produced three of the top four championship finishers last season in the Star Mazda West Coast Redline Oil Championship.

Kelley, the 19-year-old Huntington Beach, California native, captured the Redline series title in 2004 with five wins and seven pole positions. After being named California’s Sports Car Driver of the Year in 2002, Kelley entered Star Mazda with the McAtee team and continued to be productive in SCCA national and regional competition as well. Kelley also won the SCCA Southern Pacific Formula Mazda title last season.

Brian McAtee has competed with the team for the last three seasons in Star Mazda. The 27-year-old driver finished fourth in last season’s West Coast Championship, winning at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in early May.

Both Kelley and McAtee turned their first laps in a 240 HP Atlantic machine recently at Buttonwillow as they began preparations for the 2005 Atlantic schedule. McAtee Motorsports plans to compete in at least six Atlantic races this season, beginning with the season-opener April 8-10 at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Another motorsports veteran of more 30 years, Kyle’s father Bob Kelley, will serve as team manager for the McAtee team. “The team was looking for the best series to provide exposure while racing at good venues,” said Bob Kelley. “With the great spectator and sponsorship opportunities available and its close ties to Champ Car, we felt that the Toyota Atlantic series was the best place to be.”

Wheeler Concerned With Declining NASCAR Attendance Wheeler Concerned With Declining NASCAR AttendanceSpeedway Motorsports Inc. is moving aggressively to tackle declining attendance at its flagship track here in the heart of NASCAR country. While the Concord-based company's overall performance remains strong -- and attendance continues to climb at its five other tracks -- Lowe's Motor Speedway took an overall 10% dip in ticket sales during 2004. Although SMI President Humpy Wheeler says increases in sponsorship sales and other areas largely offset the ticket decline, the speedway is moving to stem further erosion. "When you get to a facility over 150,000 seats, I don't care where it is, you have to stay on top of it," he says. "It's real hard (to sell that many seats) all the time." Before last fall's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Lowe's, speedway officials slashed prices on 38,000 of the track's 171,000 permanent seats, or 22% of capacity. Tickets were reduced to $65, $75, $85 and $95, compared with previous prices of $98 and $110. At the same time, the speedway cut prices for the spring 2005 races, including reductions of as much as 50% on some seats. In all, 46,000 seats, or 27% of capacity, will be less expensive for the Coca-Cola 600 in May compared with 2004 rates. Since those moves took effect, Wheeler, still concerned over sluggish demand, has taken several more steps aimed at boosting fan interest. The measures include:
  • Hiring a full-time advertising agency, Knoxville, Tenn.-based The Tombras Group, to create ticket-sales campaigns for print and broadcast outlets. The agency works on similar campaigns for SMI's tracks in Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta.
  • Doubling the amount spent on direct-mail campaigns to $250,000 annually.
  • Enlisting an electronic-marketing expert to ramp up Internet-based sales and marketing.
  • Boosting the ticket-office sales staff to 16 employees. (charlotte.bizjournals.com)
Da Matta tops test times at Fontana Da Matta tops test times at FontanaUPDATE #2 Additional quotes:  "Testing is a lot harder than a race weekend,' said AJ Allmendinger, who registered 11 top-10 finishes in 2004. "During the course of a weekend, we may get an hour of practice in the car. In testing, we'll be in the car for four or five hours at a time.'  Allmendinger said he put in 150 to 200 miles Monday, but sat out Tuesday's session as teammate Wilson took to the track. Both will be in their cars today.  "It allows us to make different changes to the car, one at a time,' Allmendinger said. "After we both run, we'll come together. At this point, we're just trying to find out what works and what doesn't.  We want to shorten the list of what works as much as we can so that when we get to Long Beach, we can further refine what works.'

Bourdais and Junqueira found the Fontana test course a bit challenging, as both had off-road excursions. They both went off the course in the same location, which cut Junqueira's time in the primary car to less than 50 miles before switching to the backup car.  "We found a couple of things that made the car quicker on the course and were able to set a time that was close to one we set the previous year in similar conditions,' said Junqueira of the Newman-Haas team. "I think we made some progress but we won't know for sure how we stack up against everyone else until we get to Long Beach.'  It was the first time in a Champ Car this season for Bourdais.  "It was great to get back in the car for the first time since November,' Bourdais said. "I have raced in a buggy in the desert (SCORE Baja 1000), competed in the Race of Champions in France, and raced a sports car (Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona) and stock car in Daytona (IROC) but I have been looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Champ Car for a long time.  "The test was mostly to clear the dust off of everything including myself and the team and we accomplished that.'

It was a totally new experience for Haberfeld.  "It's our first time in a Lola (chassis),' the Brazilian driver said. "There's a lot to learn since it's different than a Reynard. We still don't know how to make big changes in the car.' Daily Bulletin 

03/08/05 It hasn’t taken long for 2002 Champ Car World Series champion Cristiano da Matta (#21 PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) to climb back the top of the time charts, but Tuesday’s testing at Fontana showed that the rest of the field wasn’t about to let him get away clean.

Da Matta led a field of seven Champ Car drivers on the 1.45-mile Fontana road course during a full day of testing under sunny Southern California skies, posting a best time of 53.27 seconds. The effort didn’t give him much in the way of breathing room however, as the seven cars were separated top-to-bottom by a scant 0.64 seconds. Full Story

03/08/05 Test times from Fontana today as recorded by Cosworth:
53.27 C. da Matta - done at very end of day when track got faster
53.30 J. Wilson
53.31 T. Glock - finished testing at 3:00
53.37 P. Tracy
53.46 R. Hunter-Reay
53.79 M. Haberfeld
53.91 A. Ranger - end of day

New management contract for Albers New management contract for AlbersGR8 Industries, represented by Lodewijk Varossieau, and Christijan Albers have signed a new management contract. Four years ago the cooperation started with a single objective of getting Albers into Formula One. With that mission now accomplished, there was no reason not to carry on as a team both parties state.

Christijan Albers "Lodewijk and his team (Cees Faes, Eva van Pelt, Jasmina Verstraeten) have done an impressive job. My dream and ambition was to become F1 driver. GR8 Industries made it possible and created a perfect image for me. Besides the fact that they built an enthusiastic group of sponsors. Never change a winning team. I am happy to continue my career with this team behind me."

Lodewijk Varossieau "From the beginning we knew that Christijan is an enormous talent. Not only on the track. We are really happy that we have realized our initial goal after four years of hard work. Christijan's talent and experience combined with our marketing and management power are a successful formula. It is a compliment for us that Christijan has also chosen us as partner for the next phase in his career. We work with Christijan as a real brand. If the product is good, nothing is impossible."

Toyota gets Infront with F1 partnership Toyota gets Infront with F1 partnershipInfront Sports & Media AG has agreed a deal with Toyota Motorsport GmbH for a sponsorship and marketing partnership. Infront and Toyota Motorsport will jointly manage sponsorship sales in defined product categories, whilst Infront will also offer strategic advice on Toyota's F1 marketing activities. The deal takes effect immediately and is intended to be the first step in what both parties expect to be a long-term partnership. Infront was selected following a competitive pitch involving other leading agencies. The parties will work together in a bid to capitalize on Toyota’s F1 program and to further develop the related commercial opportunities for both new and existing sponsors. Infront’s international network, particularly in Asia, is expected to play an important role in the campaign.
A belated podium reunion A belated podium reunionAccording to the history books, the two men should have already celebrated together on the podium in Brazil, 2003. But things didn’t quite go to plan that day...

If you open an F1 history book, you’ll see that Sunday wasn’t the first time that Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso have climbed onto the podium together. Early in the 2003 season, in fact, Fisico took his first ever victory in F1, while Fernando was third, split by Kimi Raikkonen.

However, that afternoon, neither of them claimed his rightful place on the podium. Fisico was on the second step, after the stewards decided Raikkonen had won the race – a decision that was only corrected two weeks later when the Italian received his trophy before the following race, at Imola. As for the third step of the podium, it was empty: Fernando was en route to hospital for precautionary checks following his accident.

Melbourne, last Sunday, was therefore the first opportunity for Fernando and Fisico to celebrate together on the podium. In some ways, it was a celebration of both results in one single afternoon. There was only one major difference to 2003, and a nice one for the Renault F1 Team: the pair are now team-mates...  Renault

History of F1 Auto Racing Part III History of F1 Auto Racing Part IIIMany changes have been made to the technical specifications of the Formula One car over the years in order to reduce speed, ensure safety and decrease costs.  The following are the different technical stages of the championship: Part III: F1's technical advances and stages

Part I: Before the 1950s
Part II: The Birth of Formula One

Doornbos talks about first F1 experience Doornbos talks about first F1 experienceAfter a solid start of the 2005 Formula One season as Jordan Grand Prix Third and reserve test driver, Robert Doornbos talks of his experiences of Melbourne’s season opener last weekend, as well as looks forward to an intensive fitness program in Malaysia in the next few days.

Tell us about the Grand Prix weekend
“Very well! When I arrived at the paddock on Wednesday afternoon, it was just like seeing your old classmates at the first day of school after having enjoyed a long summer break. I felt immediately at home with both the team and the Formula One paddock. In the Drivers Briefing several drivers, among whom Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard, treated me with a warm ‘Welcome back!’ as well.”

What was your program for the weekend?
“After I’d fitted a new seat at Thursday morning, me and my engineer kind of worked our way through all new technical specifications on the car. Also on Saturday and Sunday I learned a lot about the car, the engine, the tires and the strategy, by attending all briefings and sessions in an active manner. Just like last year, most of the days I arrived at the circuit at 07:30h and stayed there all day, only to go back to my hotel late in the evening. Hopefully I can be from great importance to my teammates by being so concerned and motivated.”

And talk us through your Friday please?
“Both sessions combined, I drove an entire Grand Prix distance in Friday’s Free Practices. I mainly concentrated on doing long stints in order to get a complete insight of the potential of our Bridgestone tires. Among others, Kees van de Grint (Manager Racing Tires Bridgestone, red.) provided me with much helpful information, for which I have to thank him. With the new regulations, one really has to use his head to get the best out of the tires and not be too aggressive. Because I already did 50 laps on my set of tires, I wasn’t able anymore to put down a really quick lap at the end of the session. But next time I’ll have a new go for that.”

Did you feel any differences with this car compared to last years one?
“Yes, definitely. After my last test at Jerez de la Frontera in December 2004, the team increased the level of downforce significantly with about 20%, which equals approximately 100 kilos! Therefore the car handles much better. Also Toyota did a great job for the team over the last couple of months. Their engine offers a good drivability and is really responsive. It’s a big plus for the team!”

Can we count on the Albert Park circuit as one of your favorites?
“It was fantastic! The circuit has a nice lay-out and by its semi- street characteristics it’s definitely challenging. The track has small run-off areas and because you get pretty close to the walls at certain points, you can really feel the speed. I’m a fan!”

Did your intensive pre-season physical preparation pay off?
“Absolutely. Because I stayed in the Formula Medicin gym almost without any interruptions in the last couple of months, I could drive an entire Grand Prix distance without any problems last Friday. And don’t forget I didn’t drive a Formula One car for almost three months!”

How does your upcoming one and a half week break look like?.
“I just arrived in Kuala Lumpur where I’ll prepare myself both physically and mentally for the next Grand Prix together with my trainer. Because of the heat, this means I have to drink five to six liters of water each day in order to be fit for all our planned exercises in the upcoming days. Next week I’ve also planned some PR activities for Sobranie, Benson & Hedges eastern brand. But honestly, I can’t wait to get back in the car again at Sepang. I’m really counting the days!” Press Release Doornbos
Nelson Piquet Jr fastest at Paul Ricard Nelson Piquet Jr fastest at Paul RicardThe first day of the second GP2 series test session saw the 12 teams complete a total of 907 laps, covering a distance of 3764.05 km. After the initial shake-down test, this was the first opportunity for the teams to experiment with set-ups. As a result, lap times decreased as the day went on. With so many teams working on different programs, however, it is certainly too early to draw conclusions.

The day was split into four sessions, as it will be Wednesday and on Thursday, and the new testing format has proved popular thus far. In the final session, as the sun started to go down, the teams sent their drivers out on high-speed qualifying-style short runs. A flurry of late activity captivated the circuit as all 12 cars took to the 4.150 km track at once. (Pictured right, Nelson Piquet Jr. was fastest already).

Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT, France
1. Hitech Piquet Sports 1:19.386 104 laps
2. SuperNova 1:19.798 96 laps
3. ART Grand Prix 1:19.882 83 laps
4. Arden International 1:19.916 69 laps
5. Racing Engineering 1:19.981 49 laps
6. BCN Competicion 1:20.012 59 laps
7. DPR 1:20.097 48 laps
8. Dams 1:20.333 76 laps
9. Durango 1:20.410 100 laps
10. Campos Racing 1:20.507 63 laps
11. iSport International 1:20.537 88 laps
12. Coloni Motorsport 1:21.835 72 laps.  GP2 Series

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Minardi's well earned break
DC slams engine rule
Heidfeld to get new V10
'Deliberate' loophole - DC
McLaren to shed 'grey' image
Bahrain F1 upgrade
Ferrari set for fast track
Fisi win 'good for F1'
Schu nominated for award
Albers' new deal
Did BAR 'forgive' Button?
Schu's in a good mood
Winning days 'are over' - DC
Schu to race Oz engine - team
Chicagoland hosts big screen broadcast Chicagoland hosts big screen broadcastChicagoland Speedway, US*99.5 FM and Miller Lite invite race fans to come out to the Hollywood Blvd. Movie Theatre in Woodridge, Illinois to watch 4 (four) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races and the Indy 500 on the BIG screen for FREE!

Hosted by US*99 FM radio personalities Ramblin' Ray and Big John Howell, race fans can win a variety of prizes that feature a Richard Petty Driving Experience Rookie School as the Grand Prize* and 2005 Chicagoland Speedway Track Packs as Runner-up Prizes. Other prizes include: tickets to the NASCAR Qualifying Pole Day on July 8 (with access to the Miller Lite Rockn' Racing concert), Richard Petty Driving Experience Ride Alongs, as well as Chicagoland Speedway, US*99.5 and Miller Lite merchandise, and much more!

*To be eligible for the Grand Prize and Runner-up Prizes, race fans will randomly pick the name of a driver out of a hat when they arrive. Upon completion of the race, entries with the name of the winning driver will be placed into a post-race drawing for 1 (one) Grand Prize Winner and 2 (two) Runner-Up Winners. Winners must be present at time of drawing.

Bonus Item: Every guest in attendance will also receive a $25.00 voucher from the Richard Petty Driving Experience that can be used toward the purchase of a Ride-Along program at Chicagoland Speedway.

WHERE: Hollywood Blvd.
1001 West 75th Street
Woodridge, IL
Phone: 630-427-1880
Website: http://www.atriptothemovies.com/
(Note: The movie theatre is located under the clock tower)

Seating: Seating is limited to the first 250 guests.

March 13: UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Doors Open at 12:00 pm)
April 3: Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Doors Open at 10:30 am)
May 1: Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (Doors Open at 10:30 am)
May 29: Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Doors Open at 10:00 am)
May 29: Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway (Doors Open at 3:00 pm)
(Note: Schedule tentative and subject to change)

Panis still sick Panis still sickToyota's Olivier Panis is still unwell. The Frenchman, a grand prix winner and race driver until last year, had to return home from a test in Spain last month, apparently with the 'flu. Now, it has emerged that the 38-year-old actually traveled to Melbourne for the Australian grand prix, but quickly flew back to Europe when he still felt ill. ''I've been suffering from a fever,'' Panis said last month, ''and have felt really bad.'' GMM
Another call for Stoddart to quit Another call for Stoddart to quitA powerful ally has sided with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in calling for Paul Stoddart to quit. Following the political raucous surrounding Minardi's participation in Melbourne, Australian grand prix promoter Ron Walker also aimed fire at the Coburg-born team owner. ''Why would you waste your time traveling to 19 races all over the world if you can't compete? It makes no sense. F1 is all about technology -- so if you don't have the capacity, and you are forced to start with the previous car, then there's really no chance.'' GMM
Dalziel lands ALMS ride Dalziel lands ALMS rideRyan Dalziel confirmed today he will race sports-cars full time this season in the American Le Mans Series, starting with the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring next week. The 22-year-old Scottish charger will co-pilot a Corvette C5-R in the GT1 class of America's leading sports-car series for Pacific Coast Motorsports (PCM) alongside American Alex Figge.

Today's announcement brings a change of discipline for all three parties with Dalziel, Figge and PCM switching to the American Le Mans Series from open-wheel racing and in particular the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Ryan, a multiple winner and double runner-up in the Toyota Atlantic series, joins PCM having fought a season-long title battle with the California-based outfit in 2004.

While Jon Fogarty clinched the title ahead of Dalziel at the 12th and final round, Team Director Tyler Tadevic was suitably impressed with Ryan's talents and made him a priority for the team's ALMS campaign alongside regular PCM driver Alex Figge. Canada's Dave Empringham, a former Indy Lights and double Toyota Atlantic champion, will bolster the line-up for the long-distance rounds.

The PCM-entered #5 Corvette C5-R will sport primary sponsorship from home improvement retailer Menards, while PCM will also serve as Yokohama Tire Corporation's premier GT1 development and promotional team within their North American motorsports efforts.

"I'm really excited to be racing for a great team like Pacific Coast Motorsports at the highest level of North American sports-car competition," commented Dalziel. "Competing in sports-cars is a new challenge but I can't wait to make my ALMS debut next weekend in the PCM Menards-Yokohama Corvette. I'm looking forward to teaming with Alex having raced against him for the past three seasons and partnering with Dave Empringham for the endurance events."

PCM boss Tyler Tadevic is equally excited with the strength of his new driver line-up. "The fact that our three drivers have extensive experience and achieved success in Toyota Atlantic's speaks to the fact that the series does a great job preparing drivers to progress their careers to higher levels of motorsport,' said Tadevic. "With the well-developed and proven C5-R, our aggressive driver line-up and the support of Menards, we are fielding a formidable privateer effort against some big-time factory programs!"

The 53rd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring heralds the start of the 2005 American Le Mans Series next Saturday, 19th March at 10:45am EST.
Da Matta happy back in Champ Car Da Matta happy back in Champ CarCristiano da Matta is glad to be back in a Champ Car.  He told ChampCar.ws - “This is great,” da Matta beams. “This doesn’t have a price. If I could tell you how happy I am just to be racing here again. The way things are done here is just so simple; not simple, but just so black and white: If we want this we got this. If we need that we go get that. If we don’t want (something), we don’t get it. You don’t have to go around anything. It’s just easier to work like that.

“I mean, it’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder if I shouldn’t have stayed here instead of going to F1. But I’m happy with what I’ve done. I have no regrets and I learned a lot, too. It was a great experience for me to go there. Obviously there’s a bunch of good teams there too, you just have to filtrate what’s good and what’s not so good.”

Your thoughts needed for the Eidswicks Your thoughts needed for the EidswicksUPDATE Some promising news to report - Dick's wife Patti finished treatment on Thursday.  She showed marked improvement last weekend.  Hopefully, she will be at Long Beach! 01/31/05 We learned today that Champ Car President Dick Eidswick's wife Patti is fighting a serious cancer and is in the hospital.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dick and his wife and we ask that each of you keep them in your prayers as they fight this difficult battle.
Historic Grand Prix Added to IRL Race Historic Grand Prix Added to IRL RaceLegendary driver Bobby Rahal will spearhead a strong contingent of drivers and classic Formula One race cars at the Historic Grand Prix, which will run as a support event during the IRL Indy Car® Series weekend at Infineon Raceway, Aug. 26-28.  More than 30 authentic Formula One race cars (1966-1983) are expected to compete over the 12-turn, 2.26-mile road course. Included in the field will be five world championship drivers’ cars: Jackie Stewart’s 1971-72 Tyrrell; James Hunt’s 1976 McLaren; Niki Lauda’s 1977 Ferrari; Mario Andretti’s 1978 Lotus; and Alan Jones’ 1980 Williams.

Rahal, a three-time CART champion and the 1986 winner of the Indianapolis 500, will pilot a 1974 Brabham BT-44 during the event. Rahal is co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing and fields three teams in the IRL, including 2004 Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice. The Brabham that Rahal will drive is owned by Phil Reilly, co-director of the Historic Grand Prix.

“This will be a big deal for us because it’s with a major-league event like the IRL,” Reilly said.  “This is our home track; probably about 60-70 percent of the cars you will see are from Northern California. It will be like a trip back in history for the fans.”

This will be the first event with the IRL for the Historic Grand Prix, which is based in Corte Madera and has been around for five years. The series features five events in 2005, including the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, June 10-12. The Historic Grand Prix will also race with the IRL at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) in September.

John Anderson, a Sebastopol resident whose business is based at Infineon Raceway, will pilot a 1973 McLaren M-23, and San Francisco’s Chris Locke will drive the John Player Lotus that was driven by Mario Andretti (1977).  A 1980 Ferrari driven by Gilles Villeneuve will also be part of the field (owner Bud Moeller of Danville).

The Historic Grand Prix will take part in practice and qualifying on Friday (Aug. 26), with its 10-lap feature race set for Saturday (Aug. 27). For more information, visit www.historicgrandprix.com.

Triple Duty for Spencer at Atlanta Triple Duty for Spencer at AtlantaJimmy Spencer will triple his chances of heading to Victory Lane during next weekend's Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, since he will be competing in all three of the NASCAR series races. Spencer will begin his weekend on Friday, March 18, with the World Financial Group 200. He has returned full-time this season to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he is concentrating on trying to win a championship with his #2 Team ASE Dodge. On Saturday, March 19, Spencer will take over Michael Waltrip's #98 Busch Series car to compete in the Aaron's 312. By Sunday, when Spencer plans to run the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge in the Golden Corral 500 NEXTEL Cup race, he'll have every bump in the fast track memorized. But with no points or provisionals to fall back on for the Aaron's 312 and the Golden Corral 500, Spencer knows he will have to qualify well in order to complete the triple. "I'm really excited about the opportunity to compete in all three races at Atlanta next weekend," Spencer said. "It'll be a full slate, especially on Friday with two truck practices in the morning, two Cup practices in the early afternoon, two Busch practices right after that, truck qualifying and Cup qualifying in the late afternoon, and then the truck race that night. I'll sleep well that night, I can promise you that." Spencer said he is especially looking forward to the World Financial Group 200 Craftsman Truck race, which will be held under the lights for the first time at Atlanta. Spencer was a spectator for last year's truck race, and even he was enthralled by the action. "It's one of the best races we'll have all year with the speeds we reach and the intensity on the track, and anybody who watched last year's race knows that," Spencer said. "Man, that was an awesome race. I remember watching it. You had two trucks pretty much door-to-door as they took the checkered flag. As a race fan - and I'm one - you can't ask for much more than that. I assure you we'll see the same kind of racing this year. There are a lot of competitive trucks and competitive drivers in the truck series right now, and when you get us on a wide-open, fast track like Atlanta, it's kind of like turning the kids loose on a playground." Atlanta Motor Speedway PR
Newman still fastest in testing at Atlanta Newman still fastest in testing at AtlantaThe garages at Atlanta Motor Speedway were crowded Tuesday as 14 NASCAR teams prepared for the new tires, new impound rules and new spoiler heights that will be in effect for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500.  NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers Carl Edwards, Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth (testing a Busch car), Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte, Jason Leffler, Jeremy Mayfield, Ryan Newman, Scott Riggs and Scott Wimmer; Busch drivers Brandon Miller and Denny Hamlin; and Craftsman Truck driver Jack Sprague all tested Tuesday at NASCAR’s fastest track.  As expected, four-time Atlanta pole winner Ryan Newman was fastest again on Tuesday, topping the unofficial speed chart with a lap of 29.57 seconds (187.487 mph).   “The car feels good, the same as yesterday,” Newman said. “Atlanta is a good track to test many different things, so we’re working on car balance, the new tires, and the aero package.”       

And that’s the mantra that was repeated by so many teams Tuesday. With the new impound rule forcing teams to run the same setup during the race that they qualified with, most teams are throwing their qualifying notes out the window and spending all of their test time on consistency.  “Atlanta is different now than what we’ve seen (because of the impound rule),” Labonte said. “We are just working on a good balance to be good the whole race instead of just parts of it, and then be better at the end.”  For Carl Edwards, who led 15 laps and finished third in the fall Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta – his first Cup race at the fast track – there isn’t much room for improvement. Even so, Edwards and his crew were frantically looking for an edge during their seven hours on track.

“I think Atlanta is going to be much better to us this spring than it was last fall,” Edwards said. “Even though we had a good run last fall, I’m still hoping to improve on it with this new Cup car we have here today. I feel better with the experience I have been gaining, and I think Atlanta is a track where we can showcase our talent.”

The 2003 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, Matt Kenseth, was also on hand for Tuesday’s test, but he wasn’t driving his NEXTEL Cup car. He was actually preparing his No. 17 Waste Management Ford for the Aaron’s 312 on Saturday, March 19.   “Yeah, we’ve got Carl (Edwards) here testing the Cup car, and he and I have been talking back and forth quite a bit,” Kenseth said. “The new spoilers and tires make it nice to have extra laps in the cars.”

Testing will continue for the remainder of the week as teams prepare for the upcoming March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. Drivers expected for Wednesday’s test are NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Mike Wallace; Busch driver Shane Hmiel; and Craftsman Truck drivers Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine, Chad Chaffin, Shige Hattori, Robert Huffman, Bill Lester, Mike Skinner, Jack Sprague, Brandon Whitt. Tests are closed to the public.  Tickets are still available starting at $30 and weekend packages are just $65. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-877-9-AMS-TIX or by visiting  www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com..
Driver Series Speed
#12 Ryan Newman NEXTEL Cup 29.57 sec/ 187.487 mph
#10 Scott Riggs NEXTEL Cup 29.79 sec/ 186.03 mph
#22 Scott Wimmer NEXTEL Cup 29.93 sec/ 185.232 mph
#99 Carl Edwards NEXTEL Cup 30.09 sec/ 184.246 mph
#77 Travis Kvapil NEXTEL Cup 30.12 sec/ 184.064 mph
#11 Jason Leffler NEXTEL Cup 30.29 sec/ 183.041 mph
#18 Bobby Labonte NEXTEL Cup 30.32 sec/ 182.850 mph
#17 Matt Kenseth Busch 30.32 sec/ 182.850 mph
#29 Kevin Harvick NEXTEL Cup 30.40 sec/ 182.368 mph
#43 Jeff Green NEXTEL Cup 30.51 sec/ 181.710 mph
#21 Brandon Miller Busch 30.62 sec/ 181.058 mph
#19 Jeremy Mayfield NEXTEL Cup 30.62 sec/ 181.058 mph
#20 Denny Hamlin Busch 31.52 sec/ 175.888 mph
#19 Jack Sprague Craftsman Truck 31.95 sec/ 173.521 mph. Atlanta Motor Speedway PR

NASCAR Hires former Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign Mgr. NASCAR Hires former Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign Mgr.NASCAR announced the hiring of Marcus Jadotte to manage NASCAR’s national media outreach efforts. Jadotte will be based in NASCAR’s Daytona Beach headquarters and will be responsible for strategic planning and execution of all media outreach efforts nationally. “Marcus’ experience on the national stage along with his leadership ability is going to be a great asset for all of NASCAR,” said NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. Most recently, Marcus worked for the Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign as the Deputy Campaign Manager. Prior to the campaign, Marcus was the Chief of Staff for the United States House of Representatives, Office of Congressman Peter Deutsch. Marcus brings with him over ten years of communications/political experience and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Florida State University. NASCAR PR
PacifiCare Joins the Grand Prix of Denver PacifiCare Joins the Grand Prix of DenverCompany Increases Sponsorship Involvement in Street Race, signs on as Official Health Care Provider

CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver announced today that PacifiCare Health Systems has signed on as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2005 1.65 mile street race that will take place August 12 -14, 2005 at the Pepsi Center.

“PacifiCare is pleased to be playing a major role in supporting the CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver this year,” said Brian Crary, president of PacifiCare of Colorado. “This race, now in its fourth season, has become a major sporting event in the Greater Denver area. We think it’s an excellent venue to communicate our company’s fast-changing direction as a consumer health organization, offering a variety of different products and services that meet consumers’ needs.”

PacifiCare’s presenting sponsorship deal includes the company’s status as the Official Health Care Provider of the race. Additionally, turn two of the circuit will be named PacifiCare Corner, the main pedestrian bridge over Auraria Parkway will be wrapped in the PacifiCare logo, and the company will host its guests in the start/finish line hospitality suites. The 2005 event marks the second year that PacifiCare has sponsored the Grand Prix of Denver.

“PacifiCare’s partnership with the CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver takes this event to the next level with their national and international presence,” said the Grand Prix’s General Manager, Jim Freudenberg. “This Urban Festival weekend is the most unique cultural, social and sporting event of the year. It not only draws support from Denver-area companies, but also from national and international corporations. With regional, national and international media coverage it is a significant opportunity for all of our partners to garner increased exposure.”

The CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver is a three-day urban festival that brings the stars and cars of the Champ Car World Series – the world-class open-wheel racing series – to the streets of downtown Denver. In addition to three days of auto racing, the festival includes concerts, Action Sports competitions and demonstrations, the Johnsonville Family Picnic Area and Lifestyle Expo areas inside the race circuit. Over the weekend, the Grand Prix will reach out into the city’s neighborhoods and nightlife and celebrate the best of Denver’s food, drink, arts and entertainment. From events at the region’s best restaurants, to parties that take over city blocks, to the culminating Champ Car race – the Grand Prix offers something for every interest and taste.

Rocketsports hires Hunter-Reay Rocketsports hires Hunter-ReayTwo-time Champ Car World Series winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, teams up with Rocketsports Racing for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. The American driver was named to the Rocketsports entry officially Monday March 7, 2005. Hunter-Reay and Rocketsports enter their third year of Champ Car competition starting with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 10th.

The most notable of Hunter-Reay’s victories is a dominating flag-to-flag victory at the 2004 Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250 presented by US Bank in Milwaukee. Hunter-Reay (right) holds the Champ Car record for the most laps lead in a race, surpassing Nigel Mansell’s record, became the first American in over 20 years to win in his Rookie season, and is the only American driver to win a Champ Car race in the previous two seasons. 

Hunter-Reay is a pure product of the Champ Car ladder system having become the first driver of the program who started with the CART Karting Scholarship seat of the two liter Skip Barber Formula Dodge, then onto the Barber Dodge Pro Series and finally the Toyota Formula Atlantic Series before strapping into his 750 horsepower Cosworth powered open-wheel rocket.

Hunter-Reay looks forward to the opportunity to work with the Rocketsports organization piloting the No. 31 Rocketsports Lola. “It’s a great move for me to continue my Champ Car career,” said Hunter-Reay. “The potential to win races is there, proven by Alex’s (Tagliani) win last year. Paul (Gentilozzi) has put together an excellent program and I feel that I will fit into that program very well and our driver/team learning curve will be short."

Rocketsports moved to a two car operation in 2004 after a successful 2003 season with two poles, two podiums and 11 top-10 finishes. Last year Tagliani handed Rocketsports their first victory at the Grand Prix of Road America in August.

Rocketsports owner, Paul Gentilozzi is confident that Hunter-Reay will add to the performance of the team. “Ryan is a great talent behind the wheel,” said Gentilozzi. “There is a reason Ryan was honored with the Greg Moore Legacy Award last year. He is a well rounded driver and will bring a lot of knowledge and talent to Rocketsports.

Bringing Ryan in is a part of the continuing process to put the right people into place to build on the success we have had. With Ryan joining us in 2005, I expect to be a regular in victory circle this year.”

Fed Up with Jesse Jackson Fed Up with Jesse JacksonThe man who headed the sports division of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition for more than a decade before being released in January is now organizing former Jackson affiliates into his own minority motor sports division. "A lot of people were fed up with Reverend Jackson so I think this is a clean start," Farrell said of his newly formed group, One Umbrella Motorsports Association. "We have people coming from as far away as California and Missouri." He called his new venture the "start of something big." In what could be another sign of financial woes at Rainbow/PUSH, Jackson's organization has indicated it is scaling back its national minority sports initiatives, according to Farrell. Jackson's Rainbow Sports organization has previously conducted minority sports outreach efforts with such groups as NASCAR, the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA. Farrell directed the Rainbow/PUSH Sports division for some of the eleven years he spent with Jackson's organization. In January, Farrell said, he got word from Jackson that his services were no longer needed. Rainbow/PUSH was scaling back the "national scope it has had" in sports and was closing its New York office, Farrell said he was told. "The departure of Farrell is further evidence that Jesse Jackson is only interested in getting money out of the motor sports industry -- and in particular NASCAR -- and has had very little to do with the advancement of minorities within the sport," said Peter Flaherty, president of the National and Legal Policy Center. In 2003, Flaherty launched a campaign to end NASCAR's support of Jackson because of Jackson's anti-war rhetoric and past financial dealings with corporations. CNSNews.com
NASCAR Mexico City news summary NASCAR Mexico City news summarySunday’s Telcel Motorola Mexico 200 in Mexico City drew 94,229 fans, “one of the largest crowds in Busch Series history,” according to Terry Blount of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Blount writes a “lot of things went right –- a large crowd, a buzz about the event in one of the world’s biggest cities, and a weekend without any of the security problems many Busch team members feared.” NASCAR Managing Dir of Int’l Affairs Robbie Weiss: “I think this event opened the eyes of everybody. I know some of the teams didn’t buy into our vision for this before they came. I think they all do now. This could become the marquee event for the Busch Series” DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/7. In Orlando, Shannon Shelton reports Saturday’s attendance of 38,319 for qualifying and a race on the Mexican stock-car circuit raised the total weekend count to 132,548, which “more than doubled NASCAR’s original prediction of 60,000” ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/7. Despite the attendance figures, in N.Y., James McKinley Jr. reports “there were complaints ... about the high price for the tickets,” which cost $15-200, with parking an additional $9 N.Y. TIMES, 3/7. In DC, Mary Jordan reported Mexican newspapers “carried full-page graphics explaining the ins-and-outs” of NASCAR. Meanwhile, “NASCAR 3D” has been dubbed in Spanish and is showing at IMAX theaters WASHINGTON POST, 3/6.

NASCAR’s Mexico Experiment Goes Off Without A Hitch 

DOLLARS AND SENSE: Phoenix Racing Owner James Finch said going to Mexico is “just not a good monetary decision,” adding, “If it wasn’t a points race, I am not sure there would be five teams going.” More Finch: “The winner’s share [of Sunday’s race] might be $105,000, and our total expenses for this will be three times that.” But K.C.-based Yellow Transportation President James Welch, whose company sponsored two Phoenix Racing entries yesterday, entertained about 100 customers at the race and said, “This is a significant opportunity to for us to help ourselves in a different market” CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/5. Busch team co-Owner Felix Sabates, a Cuban-American who urged NASCAR to go to Mexico, said that the rumors of “increased costs to the teams to race in Mexico City are untrue.” Sabates: “NASCAR negotiated a special rate here at the best hotels in the city. ... OCESA (Mexico’s top promotions firm) is paying for all our meals; our airfare was the same as it was to go to L.A.” DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/7.  Compiled by Sports Business Daily

Tylenol taking to the track Tylenol taking to the trackTylenol is backing the launch of its Extra Strength Rapid Release Gels with an “eight-figure investment that includes endorsement deals from seven of NASCAR’s top drivers, season-long advertising buys on race broadcasts on NBC and Fox, and sponsorship of 11 tracks,” according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Team Tylenol, the “marketing platform developed for the launch,” does not have branding on any cars or a league designation, as Goody’s Headache Powder is an official NASCAR sponsor. But drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jarrett, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Elliot Sadler will be featured in Tylenol ads. Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon will also appear on Rapid Release Gels packages during Q3. Beginning next month at Bristol Motor Speedway, “dozens of Tylenol ‘crew members’ will be wearing team uniforms, driving branded golf carts and distributing coupons, pictures, lanyards and possibly samples.” The Team Tylenol platform was developed by Philadelphia-based SFGT and Millsport’s Charlotte motorsports unit. Sports Business Journal 
Gene only one on track in Jerez Gene only one on track in JerezFirst day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working today at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, Spain. At the wheel of an F2004 M, Marc Gené worked on a technical program centered on general set-up work on the car, as well as development of Bridgestone tires. The Spanish driver completed a total of 74 laps, with a best time of 1’19’’629. Gené continues testing at this track tomorrow, this time along with drivers from BAR, McLaren and Toyota. Ferrari Press
Industry News
SPEED adds SPEED Girl SPEED adds SPEED GirlSPEED Channel will expand its current line of SPEED Swag(tm) -- network gear and apparel available on SPEEDTV.com and at motor sports events around the country -- to include SPEED Girl, a select line of items designed specifically for women.

"Traditionally, SPEED Channel has had a hardcore male audience, but our female viewers have been very vocal in letting us know they are every bit as passionate about their racing and about their vehicles," said Bill Osborn, SPEED Channel Sr. VP of Marketing and On-Air Promotion. "Women are very active in SPEED viewer participation shows like Sunday's Wind Tunnel and they are all over the SPEEDTV.com message boards. They are not casual viewers ... they are actively participating and contacting us.

"When we launched our new line of SPEED Swag earlier this year, we were getting regular e-mails asking for women's styles and sizes," Osborn added. "They told us they wanted something more than their husband's t-shirts."

The first SPEED Girl offerings will be available this weekend on SPEEDTV.com and on-site at the NASCAR events in Las Vegas.

"We wanted the SPEED Girl look to be a little more sophisticated and to be set apart from the crowd," said Kristin Morris, the SPEED Channel Marketing Coordinator assigned to the project. "We simply looked for attractive items in a range of styles and sizes that fit well and felt good to wear."

The expansion of SPEED Swag is just one of several branding initiatives the FOX-owned network has entered into already in 2005. A mobile product partnership with Airborne Entertainment, an interactive effort with Proteus Inc., a new mobile marketing program, expansion of SPEED VOD offerings and a major push behind the network's official Web site, SPEEDTV.com, all are aimed at raising awareness of a network rolling toward its 10th Anniversary.

"As we approach our 10-year anniversary, the SPEED Channel brand has established itself with a strong presence in the motor sports and auto enthusiast communities," said Kevin Annison, SPEED Channel VP of Business Development and Operations. "And with all the emerging technologies that SPEED is exploring, the network will continue to reach out to its audience and advertisers in new, cutting edge ways."

Domino's Pizza delivers for Waltrip Domino's Pizza delivers for WaltripDomino's Pizza, the recognized world leader in pizza delivery and the "Official Pizza of NASCAR," today announced its primary sponsorship of Michael Waltrip Racing's (MWR) No. 99 Busch Series car, which will run in the Sam's Town 300 race in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 12, 2005.    "Domino's is thrilled to be a sponsor of Michael and the No. 99 Busch Series car," said Ken Calwell, chief marketing officer, Domino's Pizza.  "As the 'Official Pizza of NASCAR,' we want fans to recognize that race day is Domino's Pizza day.  Smart hustle and careful coordination make for a winning team on the track and in our stores, and our teams are ready to deliver."   The special paint scheme of the car was designed to convey the speed of his car on the track and the speed of Domino's pizza making in its stores. The No. 99 pit crew will be donning gear that matches the paint scheme.   "I'm excited to have a sponsor that consistently delivers winning results," said Waltrip, driver of the No. 99 Busch Series car.  "Each weekend, my goal is to deliver a win on the track, just like it's Domino's goal to deliver hot pizzas to hungry race fans."   Domino's Pizza also is an associate sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet, which Waltrip also drives in the Nextel Cup Series.
Vegas is Good for NASCAR and Sponsors Vegas is Good for NASCAR and SponsorsRecently, Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge driver Kyle Petty was asked his thoughts on racing in Las Vegas: “Las Vegas is just a different place to race for everybody. And what I mean is that it’s probably a more ‘fly-in’ race than a lot of other places. It’s really not a local race. Local people from Vegas do come out, but when we race there you get people from Idaho, Washington, Oregon and more of the Pacific Northwest. Is that good? Yeah, I think that’s good for NASCAR. We’re getting people to races that we normally don’t draw. Look at some of these other tracks and where they are located. Take a place like Dover, for example. You are looking at a track in the Northeast, but you are mostly drawing people from there, maybe some from the Southeast, and a little bit of the Midwest. You come out here to Vegas and people from all across the country are flying in for this race. That’s important. Vegas is probably the most diverse crowd in the sense of hometown locations we race in front of all season. It makes sense. People just like coming to Vegas for whatever reason. Maybe it’s those big neon lights, fancy hotels, the dream to win big, I don’t know? The fact is, however, that people from all across the country love coming to Vegas. You host a race there and that adds to the entertainment value of the city. The race ties in with the city and brings people to the track. You look at it from that standpoint, and yeah, it’s an important race to have on the schedule. You have to see it from all angles. I think Las Vegas offers a lot for the sponsors. Like I said before, you draw a more diverse crowd, and that is great. An appearance at a place in Vegas is great for companies involved with our sport. They are reaching out to more people from across the country there than what they can at a lot of the other tracks. You think about it, and that’s a lot of Brawny paper towels in different people’ s hands. That’s good and that’s why we need to be here in Vegas. We can make it work here for everyone. The fans, no doubt, have something to do every second of the day. Vegas is open 24-hours and it never slows down. The sponsors are happy we race here, and the drivers can’t complain about the track. It’s a new place with all the bells and whistles. You think about that and it’s a great value." Williams Company PR
Drivers Testing in Atlanta Drivers Testing in Atlanta“Rocketman” Ryan Newman has four straight pole positions at the fastest track in the NASCAR, but Atlanta Motor Speedway’s fastest man didn’t have speed on his mind during Monday’s test at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Newman was in Atlanta for the first day of a two-day test for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500. Also testing were Scott Wimmer, Travis Kvapil, Jason Leffler and Busch driver Brandon Miller. “It’s a really good track for us as far as the pole goes,” Newman said. “We’re good here for parts of the race, but not the whole race, so that’s what we’re working on. We’re working on long runs, tires, set-ups, and reliability.” AMS PR
Testing at Kentucky Testing at KentuckyEvernham Motorsports will be testing tomorrow Wednesday at Kentucky Speedway.  From 9:00am - 5:00pm subject to change. Kentucky Speedway PR
Ernie Irvan Joins Brain Injury Assoc. Ernie Irvan Joins Brain Injury Assoc.NASCAR racing legend Ernie Irvan will join The Brain Injury Association (BIA) of Michigan for a major announcement at its annual Legacy Dinner on March 13, 2005 at St. John's Golf & Conference Center in Plymouth. The sold- out event, now in its 7th year, honors outstanding achievement in brain injury awareness, prevention and treatment. "Ernie's announcement will have a direct impact on the growing epidemic of preventable traumatic brain injury in the United States," said Michael F. Dabbs, President of the BIA of Michigan. "Led by Ernie's desire to make a difference, this event will have the same impact on the legions of NASCAR fans across Michigan as a Super Bowl or Final Four."  Irvan was at the top of the NASCAR standings competing fiercely with Dale Earnhardt for the points championship in 1994 when he sustained life- threatening injuries in a horrific crash at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). Irvan triumphantly returned to the NASCAR circuit after the crash only to suffer a career-ending traumatic brain injury in a crash at the same racetrack exactly five years to the day after the 1994 incident. Auto Spectator
Microsoft and Ganassi Microsoft and GanassiePartners (www.epartnersolutions.com), the leading global Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) consultancy, announces today at Microsoft Convergence 2005 that it has been chosen to implement MBS for Chip Ganassi Racing, a privately-owned racing team competing on the NASCAR, IndyCar and Grand AM circuits. 'Using our Envisioned Business Solution, we've created a cohesive, fully-integrated solution that will provide Chip Ganassi Racing with the tools to run their business operations with as much speed and precision as their cars,' says Dan Duffy, CEO of ePartners. 'The improved efficiency and reporting will allow them to effectively manage costs, provide excellent service to sponsors and fans, and proactively make decisions.' With multiple systems in place at two different locations, Chip Ganassi Racing was looking for a cohesive solution that efficiently tied all of their operations together. ePartners developed a solution that connects all of their processes - from accounting, to the shop floor, to retail operations, to sponsorship and sales management. dBusiness
Washington Indian Tribe wants NASCAR track Washington Indian Tribe wants NASCAR trackUPDATE #2 With a plan to build what would be the state's largest casino already in the works, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe is now setting its sights on bringing a NASCAR speedway to southwest Washington.  "This is all still very preliminary," tribal spokesman Dave Barnett said. "But we hope that one day, we can make a proposal that makes sense to the tribe, the state and to NASCAR."  Although still early in the process, Barnett said, the tribe's idea is to have the Cowlitz help finance an ISC-owned racetrack on non-reservation land upon which local communities and the state could garner tax revenue.  The project also could help to create jobs and draw business to the economically depressed region, he said.  The Cowlitz -- currently a landless tribe -- now has an application to take land into trust for a tribal reservation pending before the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. The 3,000-member tribe, which gained federal recognition in 2000, expects that approval process to take about 18 months, Barnett said.  Once approved, the tribe could then begin developing its casino -- a project the tribe is undertaking with financial backing from the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, which now operates two of the world's largest and most successful casinos. Seattle Post 03/06/05 This Olympian article has more information on the Indian tribe story.   Lynch said his visit to Southwest Washington represents only preliminary interest in the area.   "This is a very involved and drawn-out process," he said. "When I go around and look at sites and meet people, sometimes folks get real excited. Everybody thinks their site is the best site on the planet."   Lynch said he wants to locate a track within 50 miles of Seattle or Portland. 03/04/05 The Cowlitz Indian tribe has met with International Speedway Corp. and proposed a plan to build a track for NASCAR races somewhere in the southern part of the state. Tribal spokesman David Barnett has not publicly discussed possible sites, but any spot in south Cowlitz County would be near the tribe's proposed $400 million casino and resort in the La Center area.  "The goal is to help a distressed county - create some economic development that would allow people to come back to work and also complement our casino in northern Clark County," Barnett, son of Cowlitz tribal chairman John Barnett and the tribe's point man on the casino project, told The Associated Press on Thursday.  Barnett said he met Tuesday with Grant Lynch, vice president of International Speedway Corp., which is considering several potential sites in Washington and Oregon. Lynch could not immediately be reached for comment. Barnett plans to discuss the proposal with the tribal council during a retreat Saturday. He said it's not yet clear how the track would be financed. ThatsRacin
German DTM
Audi presents new partners for the DTM Audi presents new partners for the DTMAt the official DTM test at Mugello (Italy) between 8 and 11 March, defending champion Audi presents three new partners for the 2005 DTM season: SONAX, the Audi Bank and Audi Gebrauchtwagen:plus use the successful AUDI AG involvement in Europe’s most popular touring car series to present its products and services to an audience of millions.
SONAX is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of car care products and market leader in Germany and was an Audi partner in the DTM during the years 1990 and 1991. During the 2005 season the six-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and DTM newcomer Frank Stippler compete with two Audi A4 DTM cars in the SONAX design and that of S line, the sport and tuning kits from quattro GmbH.
Also for the Audi Bank, one of Europe’s leading automotive financial service providers, the DTM is no unknown territory: In 2003 the Audi Bank supported the juniors Peter Terting and Martin Tomczyk. The two Audi A4 DTM cars of Christian Abt and Pierre Kaffer carry the Audi Bank name in the 2005 DTM.
On both the silver and grey painted year-old cars, AUDI AG also presents its new program Audi Gebrauchtwagen:plus, which is launched at the Audi partners parallel to the start of the DTM season in April 2005.
The new colors can be seen on the Audi A4 DTM cars for the first time at the DTM test at Mugello, which will be run by Audi Sport Team Joest. After a test scheduled for the end of February at Hockenheim fell victim to adverse weather conditions, Christian Abt, Rinaldo Capello, Pierre Kaffer and Frank Stippler now have the opportunity to test their race cars for the 2005 season for four days.
Sebring tradition spans 64 years Sebring tradition spans 64 yearsA harbinger of spring, Sebring annually ushers in the international sports car racing season with the running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Nestled among the orange groves and cattle ranches of central Florida, Sebring may seem an unlikely place for America's premier sports car endurance race. Second only to Le Mans in International stature, Sebring attracts the world's finest sports car teams on the third Saturday of every March to battle on the famous 3.7 mile concrete and asphalt circuit.

Sebring's road course originated from a WWII B-17 training base known as Hendricks Field, constructed in 1941. While few remnants of the air base remain, the track still utilizes portions of the old Army Air Force airfield runways.

In 1944, the legendary Memphis Belle B-17 landed at Hendricks Field on a publicity tour. Less than ten years later, Ferraris, Jaguars and Maseratis had replaced the Flying Fortresses on the expansive concrete runways.

Sports car enthusiast and aviation businessman Alec Ulmann promoted the first sports car race at Sebring in 1950, and established the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1952.

"The evolution of Sebring raceway from a military airbase to the biggest sports car race in North America is a remarkable story," stated Sebring President and GM Tres Stephenson. "There has been so much history made here; every year adds a new chapter."

Only once over the past 54 years Sebring's 12-hour classic has not been held. That was in 1974, when the energy crisis resulted in cancellation of the event. Several hundred spectators showed up anyway, proving just how powerful the Sebring tradition had become.

Over the past five decades, 3,251 cars have competed at Sebring, driven by over 2,750 different drivers from 29 different countries. Former winners at Sebring include Mario Andretti, Phil Hill, Juan Manuel Fangio, Al Holbert, A.J. Foyt, Bruce McLaren, Dan Gurney, Bobby Rahal and Stirling Moss.

Gates open at Sebring on Wednesday, March 16, and remain open 24 hours a day through Saturday. Sebring International Raceway offers a wide variety of camping and viewing options. For detailed ticket information visit sebringraceway.com or call toll-free 800-626-7223.

Danica recovering Danica recoveringOther than a concussion, Indy Racing League rookie Danica Patrick suffered no apparent injuries from a double-impact accident in Sunday's Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, league medical director Henry Bock said Monday.

Patrick, a 22-year-old driver involved in an eight-car crash that started when Kosuke Matsuura spun in front of Tomas Scheckter, returned to her Phoenix home late Sunday and was resting Monday.

"She's doing well, and we'll evaluate her in the middle of the week," Bock said. "She feels fine, a little sore. But she definitely has no recollection of the event, and that's a concussion." Indy Star

McLaren stays the course with Henkel McLaren stays the course with HenkelHenkel celebrated the start of its 11th year in partnership with Team McLaren Mercedes at the Australian Grand Prix.

But the Henkel logo is not the only thing sticking to the Team McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 cars: there are almost 100 applications on the race cars where products from Henkel Technologies are used.

Henkel products continue to help Team McLaren Mercedes keep its cars on a steady course in the face of extensive regulation changes in 2005. This racing season kicks off with a slate of technical amendments aimed at leveling the playing field for all teams. On race day, drivers will now hit the starting grid, based on aggregate qualifying times, in the same car in which they ran the all-important second qualifying just a few hours before. The biggest change in 2005 concerns the engine, which must now last two race weekends, while tire changes during the race will no longer be allowed.

“We will have to adapt to the new regulations,” said Kimi Raikkonen, driver for Team McLaren Mercedes. “This may involve changing our driving style as our Michelin tires and Mercedes-Benz engines both will need to last much longer. I am confident that our engineers will find ways to keep the car fast under the new rules.”
Henkel and Team McLaren Mercedes are now entering the 11th year of an association that began with the Loctite® brand. The engineering adhesives developed by Henkel Technologies, the industrial branded business of Henkel, are used by all Formula One racing teams to keep the components of their race cars securely fastened; due to the rigorous vibrations to which the cars are subjected, mechanical fastening of bolts is not enough.

A typical Henkel application is the high-strength, high-temperature adhesive which locks the bearings on the car’s anti-roll bar device. With Henkel as an Official Supplier, Team McLaren Mercedes can draw on the complete resources of the world’s leading supplier of adhesives, sealants and surface treatment products.

“Henkel products are well-established in the racing community as trusted brands for performance and reliability – which will be two key elements of success, especially with the new engine regulations taking effect this year,” said Martin Whitmarsh, CEO, Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes. “We look forward to taking our relationship with them to a new level this year. In Henkel Technologies, we have a partner who ensures that we use the most innovative technologies available to help give our cars a competitive edge.”

Though Henkel’s logo is highly visible on the MP4-20’s rear wing, its technologies are invisible to racing spectators. The company’s products are applied in many consumer durables that touch people’s lives every day, such as thermal and shock protection applications on mobile phones and the adhesives and surface treatment products that enable household appliances to be made to the high standards demanded by consumers. And when drivers enjoy a quiet ride in their road cars – much quieter than Kimi in his Formula One rocket – it is more likely than not due to Terophon®, a “3D pillar filler” used by many car manufacturers to fill cavities between bodywork components in order to dampen noise.

And when the world’s largest super jumbo, the Airbus 380, takes off on its virgin flight in 2006, Henkel will be there, too. With weight- saving a priority – for what will still be the heaviest passenger airliner in the world – Henkel products play a decisive role in the pretreatment and joining of the ultra-light but highly robust advanced materials used in many parts of the fuselage, the wings and the tail planes.

“Formula One offers a great opportunity to expose the Henkel brand to the millions of racing fans who, whether they know it or not, interact with our brands and products everyday,” said Jochen Krautter, executive vice president, Henkel Technologies. “We are confident that Henkel will continue to make a significant contribution to the performance of Team McLaren Mercedes.” McLaren Mercedes

Mario Theissen already thinking about Malaysia Mario Theissen already thinking about MalaysiaOnly two days after the end of the first Formula One race of the season, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen is already thinking about the next challenge, the Malaysian Grand Prix.

How did the new BMW P84/5 engines cope with the first Grand Prix of the season?
"In Australia, we experienced no problems whatsoever with the BMW P84/5 engines. After the race, both engines were absolutely okay. Nevertheless, we will equip Nick Heidfeld's car with a new engine, as the new regulations allow for this when a driver doesn't make it to the finish.

With Mark Webber's car however, we will contest our very first GP weekend with a car that hasn't been equipped with a new engine. This is going to happen in the hottest race of the year, Malaysia. At Sepang, the engine will have to cope with two big challenges: doubled mileage and extreme thermal load."

How can BMW prepare for the extremely high temperatures associated with the Malaysian Grand Prix?
"During pre-season testing, it's impossible to simulate tropical conditions, particularly as the conditions at the south European circuits were rather chilly over the part few months.

To combat the high Malaysian temperatures, we will see all the teams using additional or bigger cooling inlets at the front of the side- pods and outlets such as holes, slits, chimneys or exhaust pipe casings.   Furthermore, the engines will be cooled whenever the car is stationary. As soon as a car enters the garage, the mechanics will affix dry ice equipped fans to the side-pod inlets."

Once the warm-up lap is completed and the cars are stopped on the grid, engine cooling is reduced. How demanding is it on the engines?
"This situation - no air stream and the sun beating down - can be critical, as the water temperature can rise extremely quickly. To avoid the use of costly high-pressure systems, the FIA has stipulated that the cooling circle must be equipped with a pop-off valve opening at a pressure of 4.5 bar. Should this happen while waiting for the start, the engine loses water that cannot be replaced. No question about it, the BMW P84/5 will have to withstand a true endurance test." BMW WilliamsF1 Team

History of Racing: Part 2 History of Racing: Part 2The birth of the glamorous world of Formula One started when the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) kicked off the series in 1950.

Since then the world has been a different place. The early years of F1 witnessed revolutionary changes in racing technology, in an era in which drivers competed for sport, not money, and routinely perished in sometimes horrific crashes. The names from these days — Ascari, Fangio and Moss, to list a few — live on today as Grand Prix legends. More....

History of Racing: Part 1 History of Racing: Part 1The world has taken on a different shape with the birth of Formula One more than 50 years ago. Races were exclusive either to the world’s elite or top notch car manufactures such as Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. The races were scattered around the year with no calendar or championship structure.
The world of professional motorsports had two separate lives, one before the 1950’s and one right after it. More....
Gidley and McDowell In Top Ten At Grand Am Miami 300 Gidley and McDowell In Top Ten At Grand Am Miami 300Driving the number 19, Air Force Reserve/Make A Wish BMW powered Riley Daytona Prototype, Memo Gidley started The Grand Am Miami 300 in eighth place. The day before the car ran in fourth place for the final practice session prior to qualifying. So the team had high hopes for a good grid position and race. Heavy rains had limited practice time, as Memo rolled out on the track with twenty-four other prototypes and began looking to set himself up for a clear run...on lap two of qualifying, the number 02 car got wide on turn four and ran into the gravel trap, tearing off the front body work and ended the qualifying session with less than two laps in the book. With two minutes of the thirty minute qualifying session run (cut short due to approaching rain) the cars had barely gotten up to speed and Memo's hopes of a front row starting spot were dashed.

As the green flag dropped on Saturday's race, Gidley went straight to work passing the seventh place car before turn one. The racing was fierce and the top ten was changing every lap. Memo fought his way up to second place as the top five banged into each other in nearly every turn. He pitted and came out of the pits in sixth and worked his way back up to third place and held the spot lap after lap as he raced past the halfway point. He rolled into the pits under green to hand the car over to his co-driver Michael McDowell. Third place, three seconds out of first.

The team and drivers performed an amazing pit stop with a driver change, four tires and a full load of fuel in thirty seconds. McDowell stormed back onto the track in fifth place. Six laps later the yellow flew and Michael rolled in for an early pit stop hoping to take on enough fuel to finish the race. A pit miscue dropped the car down a lap as the green flap waved and McDowell raced back onto the track. Eight laps later a car attempting to pass the number 19 pushed Michael wide into the grass, filling his radiator with debris...the car once again rolled into the pits to clear the grill, putting the car a second lap down. Michael drove his heart out and pulled the car up from fifteenth to tenth place as the checker flew, giving the rookie team and drivers a top ten finish (out of forty-seven cars) in just their second Grand Am start.

"I am proud of the team and Michael", stated Memo, "we overcame a lot this weekend and we're getting better every day. This is just the second race and we still have twelve, or is it thirteen to go...I'm certain we will be running upfront a lot this season and this is a team that can win races in our first year"

The Miami 300 was shown on Speed and the car, Memo and Michael received a great deal of TV time during the three hour event. Look for Memo in the #48 Air Force Reserve Ford Focus at Sebring in the Speed World Challenge Touring Car race, March 16th on Speed.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Friesacher strikes back
Flush Coulthard's smirk
Bahrain debut unlikely - Todt
'Ferrari still strongest'
Oz stewards 'correct' - Schu
No loophole protest - Brawn
'Come and sign my Concorde'
'Schu bad loser' - Germany
BAR defend loophole slide
Schu're not popular - Indian
Slow Sato facing 'tough' '05
New tires pass first test
Scottish 'satisfaction'?
'Benetton is back!'
I should retain seat - Klien
Sauber 'too slow' - JV
Ralf S. 'hard headed' - agent
Briscoe unstuck
'Astonishing' Red Bull

I don't like new quali - Todt
Fisico's a Cowboy!
Quali reconsidered - again?
Long Beach ticket office opens Long Beach ticket office opensTickets for the 31st Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 8-10, are now available for purchase in downtown Long Beach.  The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach's downtown ticket office, located at 430 East First Street in Long Beach (between Elm and Linden) is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. Race posters and merchandise - including shirts, hats and jackets - are also available for purchase.

In addition to the downtown walk-up service, tickets can be ordered via credit card by using the toll-free ticket hotline,  (888) 82-SPEED. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.longbeachgp.com, or at Ticketmaster locations throughout Southern California, including all Robinsons-May, Tower Records and Wherehouse stores.  Handicapped seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, hospitality club packages and super photo tickets are also available for purchase.  For up-to-date ticket information, descriptions of the various club ticket packages, or for announcements of special Grand Prix event activities, visit the official Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Web site at www.longbeachgp.com.

NASCAR race featured on ABC News NASCAR race featured on ABC NewsNASCAR's Busch Series race in Mexico City was a feature story on ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. The theme of the report was that the NASCAR race in Mexico was to win over Hispanic fans in the USA, not necessarily those living in Mexico. On at least one occasion the reporter stated the race was strictly done for commercial reasons.  The fact that ABC would choose to run a feature story on NASCAR underscores just how mainstream NASCAR has become.
Champ Car teams testing today at Fontana Champ Car teams testing today at FontanaUPDATE #2 Photos from today's testing courtesy of Champ Car.  Note Walker's new Lola and paint scheme, F3000 driver Marcus Marshal testing for Walker the 2nd time and PKV's slightly altered paint scheme.

03/07/05 Testing today were Jimmy Vasser (PKV), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Rocketsports), Timo Glock (Rocketsports), and AJ Allmendinger (RuSPORT).   Expected tomorrow are Mario Haberfeld (Walker Racing), Andrew Ranger (Mi-Jack Conquest), Paul Tracy (Forsythe), Cristiano da Matta (PKV), and possibly Nelson Philippe (Mi-Jack Conquest).  No times reported yet.. 03/07/05 Spotted today at Fontana were two transporters from Rocketsports, two from RuSPORT, two from PKV, two from Forsythe and one from Conquest.   No report yet as to test times and who was in the cars.  More later.....
World Series by Renault
World Series announces support series World Series announces support seriesRST (Renault Sport Technologies) has released the preliminary entry list for the all-new Eurocup Mégane Trophy.  22 Teams from 10 countries will gather 38 drivers in the first meeting of the World Series by Renault, to be held the 1st of May in Zolder.

The Eurocup Mégane Trophy is the new top-of-the range competition, built around a specific tubular chassis designed by Oreca. The car is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine. The Eurocup Mégane Trophy, due to its ground effect and aerodynamics, clearly will give the competitors a “sports-prototype” feeling while driving this 320 bhp car.

The race schedule will visit Zolder (Belgium), Valencia (Spain), Le Mans (France), Bilbao (Spain), Oschersleben (Germany), Donington Park (Great Britain), Estoril (Portugal), and Monza (Italy).

F1 really is a circus F1 really is a circusF1 really is a circus, complete with clowns and all. Formula One is a sport for two hours on Sunday afternoon and a business the rest of the time. In Melbourne, where the fight for control of its commercial future was evident, the circus was in full tilt.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) and FOM (Bernie Ecclestone) are at odds with the major carmakers, who are planning their own series from 2008.

World champions Ferrari have sided with the FIA and FOM and now have the other nine teams united against them after agreeing to extend the existing commercial agreement to 2012.

In Melbourne all the simmering resentment boiled down to a battle between absent FIA president Max Mosley and Minardi's Australian-born boss Paul Stoddart.

Stoddart tried to cheat the rules by seeking permission to be allowed to run last year's cars which did not conform to new aerodynamic regulations. When the FIA-appointed stewards eventually blocked his bid, he obtained an injunction from the Victoria Supreme Court allowing him to participate in Saturday qualifying.

That, in turn, provoked the FIA's wrath and Stoddart backed down, modifying his cars to ensure Sunday's race went ahead after threats to cancel it. He could have done that in the off-season but didn't, which proved to the world he has a political agenda and nothing more. It was a farce if we ever saw one.

Stoddart, his panties in a knot by this time said, “As far as I am concerned what we are doing here is rapidly pushing the Formula One world championship to its destruction,” he warned on Saturday. The wounds are getting so deep now there is not going to be any healing,” he added, also calling for Mosley's resignation.

In essence Stoddart tried to cheat and lost so he's called for Mosley's head. This of course underlines Bernie Ecclestone's call for Stoddart to sell his team because clearly the guy has no place in F1. There is no room for cheaters.

Some felt Stoddart had humiliated himself and alienated supporters for whom much of the attraction of Minardi is the team's ability to keep going against all the odds but within the regulations.

“You've got the manufacturers, Max has completely alienated them, and they are going their own way,” Stoddart said. “Now you've got someone like me who's getting pushed, I'm going to go that way now whereas before I was sitting on the fence.” Why is he saying this? Because either 1) He already signed a deal with the GPWC, or 2) he wants to squeeze more money out of Bernie Ecclestone.

F1 is indeed a circus and Stoddart the chief clown.

Bourdais and Junqueira start testing Bourdais and Junqueira start testingReigning Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais got behind the wheel of his No. 1 McDonald’s® Ford-Cosworth Lola-Bridgestone race car for this first time since he clinched the title on November 7, 2004 for a two day test on the short road course at The California Speedway March 3-4. He was joined by his teammate, Bruno Junqueira, for the first day of testing in what was Junqueira’s second test since the conclusion of the 2004 season where his consistency earned him a second place finish in the standings for the third consecutive time.

Bourdais was able to run approximately 150 miles on Thursday but Junqueira’s one day test was cut short before the 50-mile mark due to an off track excursion that damaged suspension on his race car. Bourdais also had an off-track excursion on Thursday in the same location but was able to continue in his spare race car. The following day Bourdais ran less than 50 miles due to inclement weather.

“It was great to get back in the McDonald’s car for the first time since November,” said Bourdais who turned 26 on February 28. “I have raced in a buggy in the desert (SCORE Baja 1000), competed in the Race of Champions in France, and raced a sports car (Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona) and stock car in Daytona (IROC) but I have been looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the McDonald’s Champ Car for a long time. The test was mostly to clear the dust off of everything including myself and the team and we accomplished that. I’m looking forward to the test in Sebring later this month.”

“We found a couple of things that made the car quicker on the course and were able to set a time that was close to one we set the previous year in similar conditions,” added Junqueira. “I think we made some progress but we won’t know for sure how we stack up against everyone else until we get to Long Beach.”

The Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season will begin on April 10 at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The next test for the test will be on March 23-24 at Sebring International Raceway with Bourdais behind the wheel.
Long Beach Drifting promo Long Beach Drifting promoThe Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and Champ Car's MediaWide Marketing did some good old fashioned grassroots promoting for the Formula D (www.formulad.com) drifting at the 2005 Champ Car Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach by deploying 10,000 flyers amongst the masses of young auto enthusiasts attending the first 2005 Hot Import Nights show (www.hotimportnights.com) held last weekend in Los Angeles.  The flyers were eagerly consumed by the attendant fans, with 10,000 being distributed in under 3 hours time! The scores of 16-30 year-old "tuner" enthusiasts responded to the incorporation of drifting on the streets of Long Beach with overwhelming support. One young car guy requested a huge handful of flyers to distribute at his area college, claiming that "there's not a single kid in LA that won't come out for this!"
Popular USGP Walkabout returns Popular USGP Walkabout returnsThe popular United States Grand Prix pit walkabout will return for a third consecutive year Thursday, June 16, kicking off the USGP weekend, June 16-19.

The walkabout will take place from 8 a.m.-noon (local time) and is free to all 2005 USGP ticket holders. This is one of the few fan walkabouts available on the 19-event, global F1 schedule in 2005.

Walkabouts in 2003 and 2004 were resounding successes, as thousands of fans packed the Formula One garage area and pit road to get an up-close look at the exotic cars and sophisticated teamwork of Formula One.

The 2004 walkabout also introduced a variety of new attractions that will continue this year, including an autograph session with past and present Formula One greats, a question-and-answer session on the Pagoda Plaza Stage with F1 personalities, a Car Corral featuring displays of exotic cars, live music on the Plaza Stage and a variety of food concessions in the Plaza.

"We're excited to continue the pit walkabout to start track activities for the United States Grand Prix," said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. "The walkabout has become one of the most fan-friendly attractions in motorsports in just two years, and we are planning even more interaction between the F1 community and fans this year."

During the pit walkabout, fans can walk the pits and stand adjacent to the open garages, providing a clear view of the sleek cars, high-tech equipment and skilled personnel of all 10 Formula One teams, including standouts Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Mild Seven Renault, BMW WilliamsF1 Team, Lucky Strike BAR Honda and West McLaren Mercedes. Those top teams will lead the field into the sixth annual Formula One race June 19 on the 2.605-mile road circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Briatore calls for end of feuding Briatore calls for end of feudingRenault boss Flavio Briatore has called on Formula One to stop all the political feuding. . Off-track disagreements dominated the end of last season and have spilled over into the start of 2005, with Paul Stoddart's furious row with world governing body the FIA the latest dispute to detract from the real action. Briatore wants an end to the political battles, warning that fans are getting bored by the seemingly never-ending stream of arguments.

"I think we need to start talking about Formula One as a sport again. Recently the discussion has been only about finance and bureaucracy. But I don't think the public is interested in how much we spend, or whether we sign the Concorde Agreement - they want to be entertained. At the moment, we are not doing anything to make our customers happy. The money in our sport comes from providing people entertainment, providing racing and I think people are finally starting to understand that entertaining our customers is what matters. I think the demands from our audience are very simple - people want one thing, and that is to see a good race."

Formula BMW
Gelles goes with four Young Knights Gelles goes with four Young KnightsWith the 2005 Formula BMW USA season two months from the first doubleheader in Laguna Seca, Gelles Racing has completed its roster of four drivers who will compete in this very competitive series. This talented foursome comes with an international flavor with world-class talent: Renato Jader-David from Brazil is returning to the team with an accomplished skill set to compete with the best-of-the-best for the Championship. Darin Marcus, an American with South African origins, is moving up to open-wheel racing. Justin Moon from California, earned a BMW USA scholarship after two sessions in Valencia, Spain. In addition, Maxime Soulet from Belgium has a formula championship and sedan championship under his belt. The Gelles Racing team is well positioned with a squadron to be reckoned with in the 2005 season. 

“What a fabulous quartet of young guns, claims team owner Bob Gelles. All of our drivers have the skills and dedication to win the overall title. They come to us with high credentials, behave on the track like professional drivers and they were all very impressive in our private testing so far. With the quality of the drivers coming to the BMW series this year, the competition will be even better than last year. And you can bet on Gelles to put drivers on the podium at every race.”

Justin Moon - Car #3  Talent does not wait many years to blossom. Fresh out of his karting years where he was always at the top of the charts, culminating as the 2004 SKUSA S-1 National Champion, Justin Moon was invited to the BMW training program in Spain and came back as a scholar, one of only six in the American series. The youngest of the group at only 16, Justin could make it all the way to the moon!

Renato Jader-David - Car #4  At age 19, Renato comes from Brazil with a karting and Formula Renault background. Last year with Gelles Racing for most of the season, he claimed a few podiums and was one of the feature racers in the FR2000 series. The experience he gained in the previous years in open-wheel racing will give him an edge at the start of the season.

Maxime Soulet - Car #5  The oldest of the four knights at age 21, Maxime comes to America with three Belgium karting titles, a MINI Sedan championship and a FR1600 championship. A member of the Thierry Boutsen file, Maxime wants to be the next Belgium to make it to the big leagues. Needless to say, Soulet was blazing fast in his test days so far.

Darin Marcus - Car #6  At the rate this 17 year-old has enjoyed success in his karting years, who knows where he will be driving in three or four years! His goal is to continue to dominate as he has in karting and his first season in open-wheel will be a turning point. Give Darin a few races to get used his new environment and expect him at the top of the standings.

More test days before Laguna Seca  The Gelles Racing BMW crew will conduct a few more testing days before the March 15 ban. Afterwards, they will take part in the scheduled testing days at Road Atlanta, VIR and the mandatory Carolina Motorsport Park days before the season kicks off in California.  “Our team is working hard to give perfect FB2 cars to these young men, adds Gelles. Expect us to be fast.”

Industry News
Japan dominate Consumer Report list Japan dominate Consumer Report listToyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and other Asian automakers topped Consumer Reports magazine's annual ranking of cars and trucks, scoring highest in such areas as safety and reliability.

Nine of the 10 top picks in the magazine's April issue were built by Japan's Toyota, Honda and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Subaru, including the Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid car and Honda Pilot SUV. Twenty-one vehicles, all of them Japanese, scored combined "high" ratings for safety, reliability, fuel economy and owner satisfaction.

Automakers closely follow Consumer Reports' rankings, which are based on the magazine's tests and readers' opinions. One-third of U.S. auto shoppers consult the magazine, according to Forrester Research of Cambridge. Ford Motor Co. research shows that at least 25 percent of car buyers are influenced by the issue, spokeswoman Angie Kozleski said.

"The Japanese automakers, from a quality standpoint, have had a significant lead," said Mark Rikess, president of the Los Angeles-based Rikess Group, a consulting firm for automakers and car dealers.

A reputation for quality has helped Asian brands increase their U.S. market share for eight straight years. Asian automakers' combined U.S. share reached a record monthly high of 36.3 percent in January, according to Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Other vehicles among the 10 top picks were Toyota's Lexus LS430 and RX330; Fuji's Subaru Forester and Impreza WRX, and Honda's Odyssey, Accord and Acura TL. Ford's Focus was the only U.S. model in the group.

Of the vehicles recommended by the magazine, 49 were made by Asian automakers, 24 were made by U.S. automakers and six were made by Europeans. The European brands include Sweden's Saab, owned by GM, and Volvo, owned by Ford.  More at Detroit Free Press

Industry News
Delphi scandal rocks auto industry Delphi scandal rocks auto industryWhen accounting shenanigans were uncovered at the likes of Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc., the auto industry appeared to be above the fray. The thinking was that the 100-year-old industry was so well analyzed and understood there was somehow no room for monkey business. But that's no longer the case.  Delphi Corp., the largest maker of auto parts in the United States, acknowledged Friday that it overstated its profits and cash flow and said investigations are ongoing.  As that scandal unfolds, other inquiries and investigations are under way at other giant suppliers, such as Lear Corp. and Visteon Corp., as well as in the pension funds of Ford, General Motors and Delphi.  More at Detroit Free Press [Editor's Note:  This can't be good for Scott Sharp's Delphi sponsorship if they must cut costs.]
Wirth joins Toyota Atlantic Series Wirth joins Toyota Atlantic SeriesContinuing his rise up open-wheel racing’s driver development ladder, Germany’s Andreas Wirth will join the Brooks Associates Racing team with a full-season entry in the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama.

The 20-year-old Wirth (pictured right courtesy of LAT Photographic) had an impressive and consistent season in 2004, winning the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship. The talented and personable Wirth entertained several racing options during the last several months before choosing to compete with the Brooks team this season in North America’s top open-wheel development series.

“I’m excited about racing in Atlantics this year and I think I’m with a very good team at Brooks Associates Racing,” said Wirth, who makes his home near Heidelberg, Germany in the off-season. “I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but that’s what I’m here for. I didn’t come here to finish second. I want to win races and win the championship this season.”

After competing in the German Formula BMW ADAC Championship in 2002 and 2003, Wirth came out strong and never looked back in the Formula BMW series last season, racing on many of the same courses he’ll contest this year in Atlantic competition. After winning the first two events of the season, Wirth went on to record 11 podium finishes in 14 events with four race victories (doubleheader win at Lime Rock, single wins at Road America and Laguna Seca) to his credit in 2004. The determined racer was a model of consistency, never finishing lower than sixth in any event last season.

His performance in the winning the Formula BMW USA crown earned Wirth the opportunity to test a 750 HP Champ Car with Forsythe Championship Racing last November. The newest member of the Atlantic series said that test whetted his appetite for Champ Car competition and he knows the best way to reach that level of motorsport is to race and be successful in the 240 HP Atlantic cars.

“That test was like a dream come true for me and it definitely showed me what I want to do with my career,” said Wirth. “I’d like to be racing in Champ Car in the next few years and I know that if I want to continue racing in the U.S. and reach my goal, I need to race in the Toyota Atlantic series.”

Wirth will join another promising Atlantic rookie, Brazilian Fernando Rees, on the Brooks Associates Racing team this season. Both Rees and Wirth will continue pre-season testing over the next few weeks in preparation for the Atlantic season opener, April 8-10 at the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“We’re very happy to welcome Andreas to the team this season,” said owner John Books. “He proved in 2004 just how strong he was against some pretty good competition in Formula BMW, with the ability to win races right away. He handled all the pressures last year of racing in a new country with a new series on new tracks and I’m sure we’ll continue to see that poise from him this year. We’re fortunate at Brooks Associates Racing that we now have two very well-mannered and nice young men who are capable of going out and competing for the championship.”

Burton wants better car Burton wants better carThe work of Jeff Burton's pit crew helped his No. 31 gain 18 positions over seven stops at California, but going into Las Vegas, he doesn't believe his Monte Carlos are up to speed. "Pit crews can't be winning races," Burton says. "We've got to get better cars." The cars are sure to improve after Burton is reunited with former Roush senior engineer Nick Ollila, who joined Richard Childress Racing last week. Off the track, despite having a week away from racing, Burton was anything but idle. In a little more than a week, he shot a commercial for Cingular, made appearances for Chevrolet and Coke and had a cameo role on the WB's One Tree Hill. FoxSports/Sporting News
Venturini breaks neck Venturini breaks neckUPDATE #4 Billy Venturini was injured in the ARCA RE/MAX Series’ season-opening event, the Advance Auto Discount 200 at Daytona Int’l Speedway. With just two laps remaining on the scoring tower a multi-car wreck broke out. The aftermath left Venturini with a broken neck and severe ligament damage that will leave him sidelined for a portion of the 2005 racing season. His injuries, sustained while wearing a safety Hutchens Device, very well could have happened had he been using a HANS. The injuries were all circumstance of the neck snapping sideways rather than forward, the purpose of both head and neck restraints. Venturini, along with the doctors who are treating him, feel that the injuries based on the side impact were unavoidable. In order to set the spinal cord as it heals, Venturini was placed in a halo and will continue to don it for three to four more weeks. Once it is removed, as silly as it sounds, he says the next step is getting back behind the wheel of his #25 racecar. As he recovers he also takes on a duty he doesn’t like so much – putting someone else in his seat. But, it’s business as usual including, working closely with his new crew chief Troy Selberg and his newly signed sponsors, Central Merchant Services and ReadyHosting.com.  Although the team is holding off on making an official announcement, Billy says, “It has to be someone who will help the team now and in the future. We’ve toyed with the idea of fielding a second car so it has to be someone we see with us in the future.” Moving forward, he plans on attending the Nashville event which, will more than likely be the toughest step in his recovery as he watches someone else race his number. But, at the same time, it could be the best medicine just knowing in a few short months, it’ll be his ride once again." See full story at the Billy Venturini Site 02/21/05 Automobile Racing Club of America series driver Billy Venturini, who suffered a fractured vertebra as a result of a wreck in last weekend's series opener at Daytona International Speedway, was released from Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday. Venturini, who has been fitted with a neck and neck Halo device, will begin his rehabilitation process at his Concord, N.C., home under home health care supervision. Venturini had remained in the hospital - first in Daytona, then in Charlotte - since the accident. 02/17/05 ARCA driver Billy Venturini, who broke his neck in a race at Daytona International Speedway, was moved out of intensive care Wednesday.  He was listed in stable condition at the Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte and could be released from the hospital later this week .Dr. Jerry Petty ruled out additional surgery for now, but said Venturini should begin rehabilitation soon.  Venturini was injured in a 13-car wreck two laps from the finish of Saturday's Advance Discount Auto Parts 200. He had surgery to fix a fractured vertebra and damaged ligaments. USA Today 02/15/05 ARCA driver Billy Venturini Jr. underwent successful surgery to repair ligament damage in his neck Sunday, but the expectation is he'll make a full recovery, according to a team spokesman.  Venturini was injured in a 13-car pileup on the superstretch in Saturday night's Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 at Daytona International Speedway and was taken directly to Halifax Medical Center.

The 28-year-old driver had a plate fused between vertebrae in his neck during Sunday's surgery.   We're very optimistic, but at this point it's hard to say anything other than we know he's going to recover 100 percent mobility," said team spokesman Tom Venturini, the driver's cousin. "(He's) in good spirits and looking forward to making a full recovery."

But at this point it's premature to put any timetable on the driver's recovery or the team's racing plans, Tom Venturini said.  "Right now our concern is for Billy's health."

Billy Venturini was diagnosed with a neck fracture to his second vertebrae and ligament damage in his neck.   The driver was fitted with a head-and-neck halo device to secure the injured area. He could be released from the hospital in a week or less, his cousin said.  Team owner Bill Venturini Sr., the driver's father, experienced the same type of neck fracture while racing in 1989. Two years later he went on to win the 1991 ARCA championship.

02/14/05 ARCA driver Billy Venturini remained hospitalized Sunday with injuries suffered in a late accident during Saturday's race at Daytona International Speedway. Venturini was scheduled for surgery to fix a fractured vertebrae, the disc below his second vertebrae and damaged ligaments. A family spokesperson said the 28-year-old was not suffering any paralysis and is talkative and in good spirits. Venturini was injured in a 13-car accident two laps from the finish. ESPN.com/AP
Now Bristol Mayor Wants NASCAR Hall Now Bristol Mayor Wants NASCAR HallEach year about this time, city leaders head to Nashville to deliver their wish lists to state lawmakers. Better roads and a more equitable way to divvy up state money for schools are key talking points this year, and perennial favorites. The push to open a privately-funded pharmacy school at East Tennessee State University also makes the list. But the projects that top Bristol Tennessee Mayor Jim Messimer's unofficial list are most interesting - namely, a desire to see the NASCAR Hall of Fame built in Bristol and to develop a regional civic center near Bristol Motor Speedway. Both are long shots, sure, but intriguing ideas, nonetheless. "I DON'T know if we're late in the ball game or if we just felt like we didn't have a chance to get (the Hall of Fame) here," Messimer said of the racing hall of fame, which already is the subject of fierce competition among seven cities. "But think what it would do for this region if, somewhere near BMS, you had the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a 15,000-seat arena." TriCities.com
Chevrolet, Ford tied for lead in Manufacturers standings Chevrolet, Ford tied for lead in Manufacturers standingsGreg Biffle's Auto Club 500 win gave Ford its first victory of 2005 and tied Chevrolet for the early lead in the 2005 Manufacturers Championship. Both Ford and Chevrolet have 15 points and one win. Dodge has eight points.
Fisichella thinks Renault can win it all Fisichella thinks Renault can win it allGiancarlo Fisichella believes Renault will challenge Ferrari and McLaren for this season's Formula One world title.  Fisichella took a flag-to-flag victory in Australia and later spoke of Renault's great potential for the season. "We showed our pace in winter testing and today we showed how quick we are," Fisichella said. "We still have good potential and I think the team with Ferrari and McLaren will fight for the championship.  "I think this race demonstrates the good potential of the team this season: the team is pushing hard on the development of the car," Fisichella said. "That should mean we can build on this start later in the season. We are very optimistic for the next race in Malaysia."
Renault team leader Flavio Briatore said there was more room for his team to improve in the months ahead. "It's a fantastic result for the entire team and the Renault group," Briatore said. "We have made a good car this year and Fisi and Fernando knew exactly how to make use of it in Melbourne, they both drove fantastic races. We must take the season race by race, and I think there is still room for us to improve further."

"We are reasonably happy, considering we came here with the old (2004) car," said head Ferrari engineer Ross Brawn. "To finish second after such a dreadful qualifying is not bad. Both guys drove a great race. Rubens was exceptional as he had a braking problem from the early stages, but he was able to manage it very well."

Fisichella talks about his victory Fisichella talks about his victoryThe winner of the Australian GP started 2005 in style. Here, Giancarlo Fisichella talks about his race and his ambitions for the rest of the year.

Giancarlo, you might have won the second race of your career, but it’s the first time you have stepped onto the podium as a winner…
"It’s true. This was an unforgettable day for me: the race was excellent. It’s a great feeling to win the first race of the year, and to be on the podium with the Italian and the and the champagne: it’s all been written into my memories. I’ve waited ten years to have a car like this in Formula One, and I don’t want to let my chance slip by."

How would you summarize your race?
"I was taking it quite easy and managing the gap without pushing to the limit. I went quicker at the end when Barrichello was catching me, but that’s all. The car was well balanced and the tires were consistent from start to finish. I had some understeer at one point, but it wasn’t serious. We decided not to change the set-up at the pit- stops because it’s better to have understeer than oversteer with the new rules."

It looked like Rubens Barrichello might catch you at one point…
"When my engineer told me that the Ferrari was catching me, I upped the pace. The performance was there in the car, and I showed a bit more of it, which allowed me to stretch the gap."

Did you have any problems with the tires?
"No. I was really looking after them at the start of the race, and at the end, the car was still very quick – that was when I set my fastest laps."

Do you also need to thank Lady Luck for this win?
"It’s true that I was lucky with the rain shower on Saturday afternoon, and had a big lead to play with in second qualifying to get pole. However, I was second on the absolute times in Sunday qualifying, and with the fuel load I had, it was a good performance. We would have been very competitive this weekend whatever."

What does this win mean in terms of the championship?
"I’m feeling very confident. I know it is only the start of the year, but we have lots of potential. I knew it as soon as I drove the R25 in January. It’s quick over a single lap and a race distance, so we need to push with the development now. I think the championship will come down to a fight between Ferrari, McLaren and Renault." Renault F1 Team
F2005 testing complete at Vairano F2005 testing complete at VairanoFourth and final day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. On the Vairano straight, Andrea Bertolini (pictured right) continued with the aerodynamics program that started yesterday, at the wheel of an F2005. Today, he covered a total of 303 kilometres. The Scuderia will resume testing on Tuesday 8th March, at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, when Marc Gené will be on the track, driving an F2004 M. Ferrari
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Quali 'not exciting' - JPM
Montoya criticized
Fisi roasts Villeneuve
Schu returned Heidfeld fire
DC's two-finger salute
Rubens' F1 'go-kart'
Is Renault's car quickest?
DC's quali-solution
'05 to reward smooth operator
Webber 'not happy'
April 30 for '06 Oz GP
BAR loophole left open
DC panned Minardi rookie
Oz could have more on F1 grid
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