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DATE News (chronologically)
03/14/07
cc
Zolder upgrades for Champ Car  This website shows the construction work currently underway at Zolder to bring it up to Champ Car standards, including 1) tightening of the chicane before Sacrament Hill to slow the cars exit speed, 2) widening of the pitlane-exit,  3)removal of a concrete step in the pitlane, and 4) placing of additional 'FIA-fence.'
03/14/07
f1
Honda team lights up school in Melbourne  The Honda Racing F1 Team arrived in Melbourne this week and one of the first stops was Albert Park Primary School, where the team’s race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello helped to update the school’s lighting system with eco-friendly fluorescent globes.

The team’s commitment to tackling environmental issues was demonstrated at the school. Firstly the changing of the light globes will save 44.8 tones of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions in 2007 - thereby offsetting the team’s entire carbon footprint for the race itself more than five times. Also on display at the school was Honda’s revolutionary FCX Concept vehicle, the next generation of hydrogen fuel cell car which emits only water.

The development of the hydrogen-powered FCX is an expression of Honda’s technological and environmental leadership. A production model of the FCX will be available for lease sales in Japan and the United States in 2008 - and will be widely available when the children from Albert Park Primary School are old enough to drive themselves. More ...

03/14/07
f1
Raikkonen on the eve of his first race for Ferrari  Melbourne - The start of the Formula One world championship is just around the corner. As per tradition, Melbourne will be the setting for the curtain raiser. The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro will field a new car in Australia, the F2007, as well as a new driver in Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn will make his Prancing Horse debut at Albert Park. "Quite a nice circuit", declared Kimi, "and one on which I have obtained good results, though I have never had a trouble-free weekend".

The Maranello team head into the opening race with a dense program of testing behind them. However, bad weather often interrupted proceedings: "In truth we only really managed to test in Bahrain, the only place where the weather allowed us some continuity. All the squads faced the same conditions and could do nothing about it but, in the end, we were able to complete our planned schedule of work. We couldn't have done any more". More ...

03/14/07
nascar
RCR names Cup, Busch series sponsor  Camping World has signed with Richard Childress Racing in a sponsorship deal that covers three Nextel Cup and four Busch Series races, the team announced Wednesday. Camping World will back Scott Wimmer's No. 33 Nextel Cup Chevrolet in this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Clint Bowyer's No. 07 Nextel Cup Chevrolet on July 1 at New Hampshire International Speedway and Aug. 5 at Pocono Raceway. Bowyer's No. 2 Busch Series car will carry the sponsor at Phoenix International Raceway on April 20, Talladega Superspeedway on April 28, New Hampshire on June 30 and Chicagoland Speedway on July 14.
03/14/07
alms
ALMS Wednesday notebook  The American Le Mans Series' television reach is expanding for the 2007 season. The Series recently reached agreements with SPEED Latin America and 7TV in Russia that will deliver "live" coverage of Series events into two of the largest international television markets in the world. The deal with SPEED Latin America means American Le Mans Series racing will be available to a further 3.3 million subscribers in Mexico, Central America, Columbia, Brazil and Argentina. Race telecasts will be distributed in both English and Spanish. 7TV is a major Russian terrestrial outlet that reaches 55 million Soviet households. Both new agreements mark a further expansion of what has become the most comprehensive international television package in all of motorsports including noteworthy distribution agreements in Europe, Latin America and Russia as well as a Greenlight-Television-based initiative that delivers race highlights and three different anthology programs to a worldwide audience of more than 500 million households. The Series also enjoys a relationship with MotorsTV, which broadcasts to an audience of more than 45 million viewers in 31 European countries and in four languages (English, French, German and Greek). More ...
03/14/07
cc
alms
Taking Back Sunday to headline Long Beach concerts  LONG BEACH, Calif. -- If you’re a rock music fan, Eddie Reyes, guitarist for the popular alternative rock band Taking Back Sunday, has a message for you:  “What a day Saturday will be at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach…fast, heavy rock mixed with fast, heavy speed!  What more could you need?” 

These words come with credibility as Taking Back Sunday is currently on a white-hot tour that is selling out Arenas and Theaters across the United States and Canada. And now race fans attending the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will have the chance to see the multi-platinum band and enjoy their popular alternative rock sounds on Saturday night, April 14 at the Tecate Rock-N-Roar Concert Presented by the World Famous KROQ.  The concert will be held on the Grand Prix’s large outdoor stage in front of the Terrace Theatre, adjacent to the Long Beach Arena at 6 p.m. It is a free concert for all Saturday race ticket holders.

Last year, the Tecate Rock-N-Roar Concert hosted Bad Religion to a record crowd. Other featured artists have included Pennywise, Everclear, Gin Blossoms, and the Goo Goo Dolls. More ...

03/14/07
alms
Sebring Day 3 PM: Werner and Audi out front  The times at the top of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring results sheet are starting to get closer and closer. As was the case Tuesday and in Wednesday’s morning practice, Audi Sport North America’s R10 TDI led the way. But the German marque, unbeaten at Sebring since 2000, doesn’t have to look very far to find its closest rivals.

Marco Werner posted the afternoon session’s best time at 1:46.270 in the diesel-powered prototype he will share with Frank Biela and Marco Werner. The German, looking for his third Sebring win, was 0.557 seconds ahead of Penske Racing’s first Porsche RS Spyder from the LMP2 class. Timo Bernhard turned a lap of 1:46.827, the best P2 time of the weekend and nearly a full second under the track record set last year.

Bernhard was 0.024 seconds ahead of the sister car driven by Emmanuel Collard. Porsche held the top three spots with Andy Wallace in a Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder a 1:47.421. All three cars were under the existing class qualifying record. More ...

03/14/07
irl
Q and A with Hornish and Foyt  THE MODERATOR: Thank you and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We're very pleased to have two guests with us today. Joining us in a few minutes will be IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt, and to start the call we have 2006 IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Sam HORNISH Jr.

Thanks for joining us. Sam is the only three time champion in IndyCar Series history, winning the title with Panther Racing in 2001 and 2002 and with Team Penske last year. 2007 will mark his eighth season in the IndyCar Series and his fourth with Team Penske.

Sam, you won back to back titles earlier in your career. Is there anything you learned from that experience that you can apply to your attempt to repeat as champion in 2007?

SAM HORNISH JR.: It's really hard to compare but in 2002 we had the first year of Team Penske being in the Indy Racing League and in 2001 that was mostly the teams that had originally started in IndyCar Series.

2001 everything seemed to really go smoothly, no problems, finished off with seven laps that year, basically just had a tremendous season where it seemed like nothing to go wrong.

As opposed to 2002 where we had a series of up and downs and led the points in the championship at a couple different times throughout the season, similar to the 2006 season. So hopefully we've just got basically a flip flop of the two years, and we'll start off the season and hopefully have some good things happen, but we just have to wait and see what happens. More ...

03/14/07
irl
Manning to wave flag at Indy 500  Super Bowl XLI Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning will wave the green flag to start the 91st Indianapolis 500 on May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The two-time National Football League MVP also will serve as grand marshal of the IPL 500 Festival Parade on May 26 in downtown Indianapolis.
 
Manning led the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006-07 season to their first NFL championship, as the Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 in the Super Bowl. Since joining the Colts as an NFL rookie in 1998, Manning has become one of America's most respected and beloved sports stars.
 
"I am very honored to have been asked to serve as the grand marshal of the 2007 IPL 500 Festival Parade," Manning said. "I appreciate the grand tradition of the Indianapolis 500 and am excited to participate in the festivities surrounding the event."
03/14/07
ips
Cunningham to race for AFS in Indy Pro Series  Wade Cunningham, the 2005 Indy Pro Series champion who finished third in 2006 as the first champion to return to defend his title, will return to the series with AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing, contesting the 16-race schedule in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. entry.

"I'm excited to be coming back," said Cunningham, who missed repeating as champion in 2006 by 11 points after missing two races due to appendicitis. "This is a great opportunity. We'll be pushing hard at every race just like last year. We proved last year that you can fight to lead a lot of laps, win races and challenge for the championship without taking risks. That is our goal for the year."

Cunningham won the Indy Pro Series championship as a rookie with Brian Stewart Racing on the strength of 13 top-five finishes, including one victory and seven seconds. Last year, he led the series in victories, taking the checkered flag at Indianapolis (oval), Infineon and Chicagoland, and he paced the series with four pole positions and 310 laps led. More ...

03/14/07
irl
Beck to field entry in IndyCar Series season opener  Greg Beck ventured into stock car land last year, helping to manage the CURB/Agajanian Busch Series entry, and was motivated to return to the IndyCar Series.

On March 14, Beck filed an entry for the No. 98 CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone for the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24.

"My heart's in Indy car racing," Beck said. "That's our heritage and what we want to be doing. We're excited to be back in the IndyCar Series. We're trying to build a program and run as many races this year. We have Homestead, Kansas and Indy nailed down. After Indy, we're working on things for the remainder of the year and trying to build into a bigger program for 2008. More ...

03/14/07
irl
Davey Hamilton plans to race again  Davey Hamilton has been trying to return to Indy-car racing since his feet were badly damaged in a crash at Texas Motor Speedway in 2001. Now, he's got his opportunity.  The two-time Indy Racing League runner-up is scheduling a refresher test with Indianapolis-based Beck Motorsports with the intent of being in the IRL's race at Kansas Speedway on April 29 as a tune-up to the Indianapolis 500. Hamilton, 44, had hoped to have the program organized in time to compete in next week's season-opening race at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, but team owner Greg Beck said today that's no longer possible.  A driver yet to be determined will drive the car at Homestead, Beck said. "(Hamilton) is working with me to get the right person in there," Beck said. "It's in our best interest to be in Homestead."  IndyStar.com
03/14/07
track news
St. Pete track construction running ahead of schedule  With only 16 days before the start of activities for the 2007 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, construction on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn track and the installation of key infrastructure elements are running ahead of schedule.  Approximately half of the concrete barriers lining the track have been put in place.  To date, more than 36 million pounds of concrete barriers have been positioned and when the build-out is complete, the track will be lined with 70 million pounds of concrete barriers. 

By the end of this week all of the grandstand seating will be in place and work is slated to begin next week on the American Le Mans Series and the Indy Pro Series paddocks, which will be located adjacent to the new terminal facility at Albert Whitted Airport.  The first significant street closures are expected to take place on Saturday, March 24. More ...

03/14/07
irl
IRL season opener to get low TV ratings  ESPN2 is not where any race series should be kicking off their season because TV ratings are almost always very low.  However, that is exactly where the IRL's IndyCar season opener will be.

Press Release

The longstanding and historic relationship between the IndyCar Series and ESPN continues in 2007 with ESPN2’s live primetime telecast of the Saturday, March 24, event from Homestead-Miami Speedway. ESPN is in its 12th year with the IndyCar Series and ESPN on ABC will celebrate its 43rd year at the Indianapolis 500 in May.

The entire 17-race season for the IndyCar Series will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC. The 2007 television schedule will include seven events on ESPN on ABC, five on ESPN and five on ESPN2. The networks will also cover Indianapolis 500 qualifying May 12-13 and 19-20.

In addition, ESPN2 will be on the air live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway with SportsCenter at the Indianapolis 500. The 30-minute show will air each weekday at 5:30 p.m. starting May 7 with updated news and information, as well as coverage of practice, leading up to the May 27 race.

The ESPN alliance dates back to the series’ inaugural 1996 event and with ABC’s’ first broadcast of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race in 1965, a relationship that is the second-longest in sports between a network and sports property. Only CBS and The Masters have been together longer. More ...

03/14/07
alms
Sebring Day 3 AM: Pirro and Audi out front  Audi Sport North America’s Emanuele Pirro set his first fast lap of the 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Wednesday as practice continued for the 2007 American Le Mans Series season opener. Pirro, in one of Audi’s two R10 TDIs, turned in a best time of 1:46.759 to lead all drivers in Wednesday’s first practice.

Pirro, who has raced at Sebring each season since 1999 with Audi, will go for his second race win with Frank Biela and Marco Werner. The two-time LMP1 champion also is a four-time runner-up at America’s greatest sports car race.

Audi’s other diesel-powered R10 TDI was second overall with four-time Sebring winner Tom Kristensen at 1:46.950. He will reunite with Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish as the trio goes for a second straight race win. More ...

03/14/07
f1
Fuji F1 GP plans  Fuji International Speedway announced today an outline of events of the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship (F1) Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix that will be held in September of this year.

Based on the three major policy guidelines announced in November 2006, "Providing services based on advanced safety and high quality," "offering a variety of ways to enjoy F1," and "contributing to and encouraging participation by the local community," a full range of services and events is to be planned and implemented.

Under the heading of "Providing services based on advanced safety and high quality," a mobile telephone text service will provide spectators with the latest detailed information concerning various events and other relevant information, while local volunteers will hold up display boards. A day-care centre and kids' playgrounds will also be set up to ensure an environment in which spectators who come with children can enjoy the race in a relaxed frame of mind. More ...

03/14/07
nascar
NASCAR Las Vegas TV Rating  UPDATE Fox officials say the network's broadcast of Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race earned a 6.3 final Nielsen Media Research rating and a 13 share, drawing 10.5 million viewers.  The rating is 1.6 percent higher than the 6.2 the race drew last year.

03/13/07 The overnight rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Las Vegas Sunday on FOX was a 5.5/11 Share (4.2M households) up 2% from 2006.
03/14/07
f1
Nakajima to drive Williams on Friday  (GMM)  Japan's Kazuki Nakajima is a last minute addition to Williams' Australian grand prix lineup.  The Toyota-powered team confirmed on Wednesday that he will drive one of the two FW29 cars in Friday practice, meaning that he will miss the GP2 test for his team DAMS back in Europe.

It is not clear which of Williams' race drivers, Alex Wurz or Nico Rosberg, will give up his car for the Japanese rookie.  The same is true for BMW's Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, as Sebastian Vettel prepares to drive on Friday.

In doubt altogether for the opening day of official 2007 action, meanwhile, is Spyker's Giedo van der Garde, whose contractual wrangling with Super Aguri has held up the rubber-stamp on his Super License.

03/14/07
f1
Schu to attend races in 2007 - manager  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher is likely to attend some grands prix in 2007 once the circus returns to Europe, his manager Willi Weber says.

"You don't have formula one in your life for sixteen years and simply pull the plug," the news agency 'sid' quoted Weber as saying. It's in his blood, but - before you ask - no, he's not making a comeback."

Weber also denied speculation that Schumacher, 38, was eyeing a stake in the Toro Rosso team. Weber will also attend some races this year, in order to retain his old contacts. He said that in the form of A1 GP sensation Nico Hulkenberg, he has "one of the biggest German talents under contract".

Webber admitted: "There is already some interest (in Hulkenberg) within the formula one world, but I am patient. This year he is doing F3, next year maybe GP2, so perhaps the time for F1 will come for him in 2009."

03/14/07
f1
Famous faces at Albert Park  (GMM)  F1's famous faces were out in force at the Albert Park circuit on Wednesday.

World champion Fernando Alonso, accompanied by a posse of black and white-clad McLaren engineers, walked the Melbourne layout, as did Alex Wurz and others, but Toro Rosso's Scott Speed did a somewhat quicker lap on a racing bicycle.

Pitlane also buzzed with activity, with the Honda guys appearing to be the odd ones out as they worked on the much-disparaged 'Earth Car' in plain black gear.

The word 'plain' could hardly be used to describe the tattoo-clad former Motley Crew drummer and Pamela Anderson ex Tommy Lee, who later took a lap alongside Toro Rosso's Speed in the passenger seat of a black Ferrari road car.

03/14/07
f1
Aguri says new backer not title sponsor  (GMM)  Super Aguri will commence the season without a title sponsor, despite significant 'SS United Oil and Gas' branding on the newly launched SA07 car.

"They are a major sponsor, not the title sponsor," team managing director Daniele Audetto said at Albert Park.

The Italian suggested that negotiations with a potential title sponsor had gone cold, and laid the blame at Spyker and Williams' door for telling the press that the Japanese squad's plans for the 2007 season were illegal.

"That had a very negative impact on our ongoing negotiations," Audetto added.

He insisted that Leafield based Aguri's new car is legal, despite observations that it is a developed version of the 2006 Honda.

Official FIA scrutineering takes place in Melbourne on Thursday.

03/14/07
a1gp
Junqueira to continue with Team Brazil  A1 Team Brazil is delighted to announce that Bruno Junqueira will continue racing for the team at this month’s Mexico City round of the 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

After making his A1GP debut at the last race in Durban, picking up the points for the team in the feature race, Bruno will carry on driving for the team next time out in Mexico. The track is a familiar stomping ground for the 30-year-old Brazilian, on which he has competed twice times in his Champ Car duties, finishing in the points both times.

The Mexico City round is the ninth of eleven events in this year’s A1GP championship, and will take place 23-25 March. More ...

03/14/07
f1
Sauber: Hiring Villeneuve was a mistake  Peter Sauber (right) says, if he had to do it all over again, he would not hire Jacques Villeneuve to drive for his Formula One team.

Back in 2005, Sauber was looking for a teammate for Felipe Massa. While he admits there were several options, he settled on Villeneuve, a former world champion who was coming back after almost a year out of the sport.

As it turned out, Massa had the better of Villeneuve for most of the season, leaving Sauber to wonder if he had made the right choice.

"Failure's the wrong word," Sauber tells Credit Suisse's emagazine when asked about the Villeneuve signing. "But I probably wouldn't do it again. At the time, there were no suitable alternatives on the market for that price." More ...

03/14/07
Industry News
GM makes major comeback  General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) today posted net income for 2006, excluding special items, of $2.2 billion, or $3.88 per share fully diluted, compared with a net loss of $3.2 billion, or $5.67 per share, in 2005, marking a $5.4 billion improvement. Including special items, GM had a net loss of $2.0 billion, or $3.50 per share for 2006, compared with a net loss of $10.4 billion, or $18.42 per share in the year-ago period. GM earned record revenue of $207 billion in 2006, compared with $195 billion in 2005.

“We needed 2006 to be a big year, and it was,” GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said. “Our performance last year reflects the significant progress we’ve made toward transforming GM into a more competitive, global business focused on long-term, sustainable success. The improvement is a credit to our employees, union partners, dealers and suppliers worldwide. It’s also validation that our strategy is working, and faster than many people thought possible.

“But nobody at GM is declaring victory, because we all know there is still a lot more work to do to achieve our goals of steady growth, solid profitability and positive cash flow generation. We’re confident that the momentum we generated in 2006 will continue to build through this year and beyond,” Wagoner added.

03/14/07
cca
Actor Muniz headed for the fast lane  LAGUNA SECA - Frankie Muniz jumped into my Grand Prix outside Turn Six at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Friday, and while we rode to the paddock he talked about the latest love of his life: Racing.

Muniz, 21, the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor best known for the critically acclaimed Fox TV series "Malcolm in the Middle," got a taste of racing in 2004 when he competed in the Toyota Celebrity race at Champ Car's Long Beach Grand Prix. The following year, he substituted for another driver - and won. Shortly thereafter, he enrolled in an advanced three-day racing course at Laguna Seca, and recalls how former Salinas resident Jonathon Bomarito was his driving instructor.

"He was a great teacher," Muniz said. "Once we sat outside Turn 10 and he gave me pointers on the other drivers. It's always better if you have someone you can relate to." More ...

03/14/07
Industry News
GMAC quarterly earnings take leap  GMAC LLC saw fourth-quarter net income jump dramatically from the same period a year earlier, despite a steep drop-off in its home lending unit's performance, which executives warned would remain under pressure.

In the fourth quarter, the lending company -- owned by Cerberus Capital Management LP and General Motors Corp. -- reported net income of $1 billion, up from earnings of $112 million the same quarter a year earlier.

The sharply higher earnings reflect a $791-million, one-time tax benefit from the November conversion of GMAC to a limited liability company from its prior status as a wholly owned subsidiary of GM. GM sold 51% of the auto and home lending company to Cerberus in November for about $14 billion.

On Tuesday, GMAC said it expects to receive an additional $1 billion from GM by March 31, based on the settlement provisions of its sale.

For 2006, GMAC reported a profit of $2.1 billion, down from $2.3 billion in 2005.

03/14/07
nascar
Jarrett questions practice delays  Dale Jarrett said Tuesday that NASCAR needs to change its inspection process to ensure every driver gets equal time to practice on Nextel Cup weekends.

On the first day of inspection at a given track, NASCAR starts with the point leader and works its way down the list. That means that cars toward the bottom of the point standings are inspected last. This year, with more than 50 cars coming to every race, some cars aren't finished with inspection by the time the first practice begins.

Jarrett joined the new Michael Waltrip Racing No. 44 Toyota team this year and is one of the final cars inspected. He has missed practice time, as have other cars.

Jarrett said that is simply unfair.

"It's something I haven't looked at over the years because I haven't been in that position," Jarrett said on a teleconference. "I can now have a little sympathy with those guys that have been back there in the past. They don't get a lot of practice time. It's hard enough for them to try to make the races as it is.

"I honestly think it's a situation that practice should not start until everybody's through inspection. If that means practice starts late and we have to run late - I know we have a lot dictated by TV and radio now, but if you're going to run a fair process, everybody should be able to have to the same amount of time to practice."

If inspection runs long and practice time is cut, so be it, Jarrett said.

"At least everybody had the same amount of time," he said.

"Do we have to start earlier? I know it's long days already for the NASCAR officials and for the crews. But I know from the crew side of it, they would be more than willing to go in 30 minutes earlier if we needed to do that to ensure that everybody was going to get the same amount of practice time." Scenedaily.com

03/14/07
nascar
Repaved tracks draw objections  Nextel Cup driver Greg Biffle has a message for race-track owners who are thinking about reconfiguring or repaving.  Don’t.

“They,” he said of track owners, “are looking at other tracks (that have repaved). They are looking for good racing, a better show. But what they are doing is making the cars undriveable.”

Biffle’s comments came two days after the Nextel Cup and Busch series cars raced at newly reconfigured Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Those races were marred by crashes and bizarre racing.

03/14/07
nascar
Wimmer first to run new Chevy engine  This weekend, Richard Childress Racing will be the first team to utilize Chevrolet's new R07 motor when Scott Wimmer hits the track with the #33 Holiday Inn Chevy on Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Per NASCAR regulations, the R07 displaces a maximum of 358 cubic inches. In contrast to the SB2's "mirror port" cylinder heads, the R07's cylinder heads resemble production LS-series small-block cylinder heads with alternating intake and exhaust valves. While production small-block V-8 engines employ electronic fuel injection, the R07 port layout is optimized for the single four-barrel carburetor mandated by NASCAR. The R07's key technical advances over the SB2 include 4.500-inch cylinder bore centers (vs. 4.400 inches in the SB2), a raised camshaft that improves valvetrain dynamics, a new six-bolt head bolt pattern that reduces cylinder bore distortion, and a targeted cooling system that minimizes temperatures at critical locations. A cast camshaft tunnel, integral piston squirter galleries, and overhead oil feed galleries reduce engine assembly time. Relocating the fuel pump to the inboard side of the car and eliminating external oil and coolant lines enhance safety. RCR will be the first team in the Nextel Cup ranks to utilize Chevrolet's new engine combination. RCR PR
03/14/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Raikkonen plays down Massa's winter win
Kangaroo TV to launch; teams keep sponsors
Hamilton sets modest target for F1 debut
Alonso backs Kimi's race win drought
Bernie's daughter on cover of men's mag
Valencia names corner after Alonso
Montagny proves F1 aces among fittest in sport
Adelaide says no to grand prix bid
New Aguri sure to refire car sharing row
03/14/07
f1
Super Aguri team announce deal with Speakerbus  SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce it has concluded an agreement with Speakerbus to provide the team’s race intercom for the 2007 Formula One season. The solution will be in use at every Grand Prix circuit around the world in Speakerbus’ new role of SAF1 Team Official Team Supplier.

Based in Hertfordshire, England, Speakerbus has been a worldwide supplier of global communication solutions for the most demanding sectors for over 20 years.

Understanding the importance of team communications in investment banking, security and defense markets, Speakerbus tailored their proven IP voice technology – presenting SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM with instant, clear communications between their key team personnel working in the team’s garage during Grand Prix race weekends and tests. More ...

03/13/07
a1gp
Renger van der Zande to drive for Team Holland  For the final three races of the 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season, A1 Team Netherlands will see track action with a different line up. Rookie driver Renger van der Zande will drive in the upcoming A1GP Sprint race in Mexico City and will also take on Saturday's qualifying. After that, Jeroen Bleekemolen will take over the wheel from Van der Zande for the Feature race.

The race after at Shanghai will be the first time that Renger will drive the entire weekend and in the final race at Brands Hatch, Jeroen will again drive as usual this season. Renger will then only go out in the Rookie test on Friday morning. More ...

03/13/07
cc
Power Packed Champ Cars for Lexmark Indy 300  The first major coup of the 2007 International motorsport season has been achieved by the Champ Car World Series, with three-time reigning champion Sebastien Bourdais shattering the existing Formula One lap record, during a recent official test day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.

If the outright speed and power of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car being utilized in the 2007 Champ Car World Series is any indication, fans of the Lexmark Indy 300 on Australia’s Gold Coast are in for a Power-Packed program of racing events come October 18-21.

‘Spring Training’ saw some amazing driving feats around the 3.602km road course, which was headlined by Bourdais’ topping of the timesheets with a scintillating 1:05.880 run.

That effort was enough for the Frenchman to better the Formula One lap record of 1:06.309 set by Ricardo Zonta in a Toyota TF106 last year. More ...

03/13/07
alms
Fellows: Timing is right to step back  “The way things evolved in the off-season and the launch of the signature edition Corvette may make it look this was planned but it wasn’t,” says Corvette Racing’s Ron Fellows, perhaps the most recognized driver in the American Le Mans Series. “It’s coincidental with me scaling back. This is a final kick at the can for me behind the wheel of a Corvette behind the driver’s seat.”

So begins Fellows’ final week at Sebring as a driver. On Monday, Fellows talked about his emotions this week, the pursuit of a third Sebring win and the birth of Corvette Racing.

“As a race team we had very humble beginnings,” he shared. “The first test we benchmarked ourselves was here in 1997 and we were miserably off the pace! Now it’s grown into a machine. It’s a pretty impressive record and there’s no sign of letting up.”

Fellows’ interview is available here

03/13/07
alms
Krohn and Risi to Field Ferrari at Sebring  Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione, both based in Houston, Texas, announced recently they joined forces to run a Ferrari 430GT in the 55th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring race in Sebring, Florida on Saturday, March 17, 2007. They will field the green No. 61 Risi-Krohn Ferrari 430GT in the GT2 class.

Risi Competizione, who owns the exotic race car, will prepare the machine for Krohn Racing team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn, along with his co-drivers Nic Jönsson and Colin Braun. Krohn and Jönsson regularly pair in a Daytona Prototype Pontiac Riley in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Braun is usually paired with “Mad” Max Papis in a second Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley in the same series.

Sebring will be the first race in the Ferrari 430GT for the trio. They completed a test on March 4th at Houston Motorsports Ranch. More ...

03/13/07
alms
Sebring Day 2: McNish keeps Audi on top  Allan McNish kept Audi out front for the second straight day at Sebring with a blistering fast lap of 1:45.106 in the Audi R10 TDI he will share with Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen. McNish, a winner at Sebring twice with Audi, was nearly 0.8 seconds better Tuesday than his record-breaking qualifying run from last year's event and 0.1 ahead of Kristensen's best time from Monday.

The diesel-powered R10 TDI made history last year at Sebring by winning its race debut with McNish, Capello and Kristensen. The car won each of its eight races including seven in the American Le Mans Series and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

"You can always improve," McNish said. "Last year the car was quite raw. It was hard to make many adjustments when we were racing as often as we were. But during the winter you have time to do all of the things you wanted to do but couldn't during the season. More ...

03/13/07
f1
Whitmarsh and Haug preview upcoming season  As the build-up for the start of the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship intensifies, the following Q&As see the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Management members Martin Whitmarsh and Norbert Haug give their thoughts on the season ahead.

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:

How have the team’s preparations for the start of the 2007 Formula 1 season been progressing?
“The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team’s preparations are still progressing and will be until the Thursday evening prior to the race. Track testing has now finished, we completed a significant amount of kilometres and achieved the highest average mileage per day of any of the new cars. As can be expected when testing there were some issues, but part of completing over 13,300kms with a new car is to find the limits on high mileage and inevitably you are going to break something at some point.

The important point is that during testing, we have continued to improve the performance of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22. We were learning and finding improvements even on the last day before the cars departed, and we therefore will bring new components, set-ups and approaches to our Friday testing in Melbourne that we hope and believe will further improve the performance of the car.

In summary, we had an excellent launch of the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, we were reasonably good from the outset and have made steady progress, but we recognise that it is tremendously competitive season ahead of us. Winning races and world championships is never easy and this year is going to be no exception.” More ...

03/13/07
f1
Alonso and Hamilton preview season ahead  As the build-up for the start of the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship intensifies, the following Q&As see Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton discuss their preparations for the new season with their new team.

Fernando Alonso:

Outline your feelings as we head into the Australian Grand Prix and the start of the new season.
“I’m optimistic and confident that we can have a good result. But the first race is always different, anything can happen in Australia. We normally see some surprising results, so you never know; you definitely cannot make any predictions. We need to be calm, we need to do a good job and hopefully finish in the points.”

What is your aim for the race in Melbourne?
“First is to finish the race, Australia is always very demanding, so that has to be the first aim.”

How has the pre-season test program progressed?
“It has been very good. The first time we put the MP4-22 on the track it felt competitive, but there was work to do. We have progressed a lot in some of the areas where we were not so strong and are much more ready now.” More ...

03/13/07
irl
Honda Accord Hybrid returns to pace IndyCar Series  The Honda Accord Hybrid will return as Official Pace Car for the IndyCar Series in 2007. It marks the second consecutive season that Honda - an industry leader in promoting alternative and regenerative power sources for passenger cars - has provided vehicles utilizing hybrid technology to pace IndyCar Series events.

The Delphi Safety Team also will continue to use Honda trucks in 2007, operating a fleet of Honda Ridgelines as well as a Honda Pilot, all fully equipped for the various safety and medical needs of the team.
 
Now in its third year of production, the Accord Hybrid features Honda's third generation of the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) that operates in combination with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology to deliver high levels of fuel efficiency from the 3.0-liter Honda V-6 engine, along with highly responsive and powerful performance. The result is an SAE-rated 253 horsepower and 232-foot pounds of torque. More ...

03/13/07
alms
Robert Clarke talks about ALMS  With the start of the 2007 American Le Mans Series just around the corner, Acura and its three factory-supported teams are making last-minute preparations for their debut at the 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Robert Clarke, President of Honda Performance Development, took the time to share his thoughts on Acura’s entrance into the American Le Mans Series:

His first American Le Mans Series race:
“What really caught my eye at the first race I attended was how interested the fans are - particularly in the product. In most racing series it’s the drivers who get all the glory.”

Acura’s reasoning for entering the Series:
“The American Le Mans Series is a series which truly embraces performance and technology. It’s a Series which has very open rules from a technology point of view (and) will allow us to truly express our capabilities in technical company.”

Why Acura and Honda races:
“Honda I think takes it’s racing very seriously and, as our culture has shown and our history has shown, we embrace racing very much as a company. In fact, our founder, Mr. Honda himself, believed strongly that racing was a perfect setting for us to develop our associates and our technology.”

Acura is competing in the LMP2 class with Andretti Green Racing, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing. The 2007 American Le Mans Series opens with the 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17 at Sebring International Raceway. The green flag will fall shortly after 10 a.m. with SPEED providing live coverage starting at 9:30 a.m. The race also will be broadcast by American Le Mans Radio with IMSA Live Timing & Scoring available at americanlemans.com.

03/13/07
cca
Sierra Sierra has strong showing in Laguna Seca  Raphael Matos and James Hinchcliffe held the second and fifth overall times to wrap-up the final round of pre-season testing for the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda series.
 
Raphael Matos (#6) battled Condor Motorsports’ Franck Perera throughout each of the four rounds of test with a fast lap time of 1:16.216/105.710 mph.  Matos completed 206 laps at the 2.238-mile road course under increasingly chilly conditions.  Never giving up, Matos narrowed the gap to 0.149 seconds.
 
James Hinchcliffe (#9) improved his time (1:16.631/105.138 mph) in the final session to round out the top five.
 
“This was a successful conclusion to testing for us [Sierra Sierra Enterprises].  We were able to try different scenarios and showed strong results.  Everyone is working well together and we’re ready to start the season,” said Richard Raeder, Team Manager. More ...
03/13/07
alms
Road to Le Mans Starts at Sebring for Corvette Racing  SEBRING, Fla. - The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring may be only half as long in duration as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it's a more demanding test of teams and machines. With a notoriously punishing track surface and sultry conditions in central Florida, the season-opening round of the American Le Mans Series will test the mettle of Corvette Racing's new C6.R race cars and the people who engineer, prepare and drive them.

"The cornerstone of the Corvette Racing program is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Sebring is the first step on the long road to France," said GM Road Racing Group manager Steve Wesoloski. "The ALMS series is the proving ground that has allowed us to hone our skills and develop our technology. There are 14 entries in the GT1 class at Le Mans, so we have to keep our eyes on the prize."

In the early years of Corvette Racing, Sebring was the team's "Bermuda Triangle" as the track exacted a heavy toll on the untested cars. The breakthrough came in 2002 when Johnny O'Connell, Ron Fellows and Oliver Gavin notched Corvette Racing's first Sebring class win. O'Connell and Fellows repeated the feat in 2003 with Franck Freon and in 2004 with Max Papis. The Corvettes suffered their only loss in 2005 to Aston Martin Racing in Sebring, but took revenge over the green machines with a win in 2006 by Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen. More ...

03/13/07
f1
Williams extends its technical partnership with QinetiQ  The AT&T Williams Formula One team announced today that it is to extend its technical partnership with QinetiQ, the international defense and security technology company. For the 2007 season the technical partnership will focus on aerodynamic analysis and driver performance, with QinetiQ drawing on its aerospace heritage notably in designing aircraft wings and optimizing the performance of aircrew.

The alliance between AT&T Williams and QinetiQ commenced in May 2005. Since then the Oxfordshire-based F1 team has benefited from technical support from QinetiQ's scientists and engineers in the areas of aerodynamics, human performance, materials science, GPS technology and conformal antenna design. More ...

03/13/07
f1
Battery Moves Into Year Two  This weekend’s season opener in Melbourne, Australia, marks the beginning of the second year of partnership between the AT&T Williams team and Battery Energy Drink, a product of the Finnish company, Oy Sinebrychoff Ab, part of the international Carlsberg Breweries A/S.  The energy drinks sector is currently experiencing significant growth, far outstripping the growth rates across the general soft drinks category. Within the energy drinks sector itself, Battery is recording far above average sales increase rates, both in existing and new markets.

“We at Battery have been extremely pleased with our first year of partnership with the AT&T Williams team; there is ample reason to be excited about the second year of this successful engagement. Working closely with the team and in the Formula One environment has strengthened Battery’s profile as an international energy drink brand among customers, consumers and our sales teams internationally,” said Jori Manninen, Marketing Manager, Oy Sinebrychoff Ab.
03/13/07
irl
Yellowcard to Perform at Grand Prix  The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and XM will join together to present a concert starring multi-platinum-selling rock group Yellowcard after the race, Sunday, April 1. 

The IndyCar Series race begins Sunday, April 1 at 2:45 p.m., and Yellowcard will take the stage 30 minutes after the race, at approximately 5:15 p.m. The performance will be held in the Honda Plaza, located inside the race circuit adjacent to the Mahaffey Theater.

The punk-inspired quintet Yellowcard formed in Jacksonville, Fla. in 1997. More ...

03/13/07
alms
LP Watch joins ALMS  The LP Watch Group, boasting an 84-year history of precision, hand-crafted Swiss timepieces featuring Lucien Piccard, LP Italy and LP Swiss Sports brands, is proud to announce a multi-year partnership with the American Le Mans Series. The LP Watch Group is the Official Watch and Timekeeper of the world’s premium brand of motorsports.

“One of the many unique aspects of American Le Mans Series racing is that every event is based on time, never on distance like most other events,” said Scott Atherton, Series President and CEO. “As a result there is a direct connection between the Series and its Official Timekeeper that doesn’t exist in other forms of motorsport. The relevance of this marketing partnership has real substance behind it that makes sense - and good business - for all involved.” More ...

03/13/07
track news
ISC names Matt Alexander  International Speedway Corporation ("ISC"), owner and operator of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., has named Matthew T. Alexander president of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway.

"We are very excited to announce Matthew Alexander as president of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway," said John Saunders, executive vice president, chief operating officer of International Speedway Corporation. "During the past seven years, Matt has displayed great leadership skills and has been very active in the community, ensuring that the popularity for motorsports continued to grow throughout the Chicagoland area. We are confident that his proven ability to develop such a strong fan base in a short period of time will carry over into his new role as president and continue to help create a demand for motorsports each year in the nation's third largest media market." More ...

03/13/07
skip barber
New sponsorship for Skip Barber  Skip Barber Racing School, LLC, announced today new title and presenting sponsors for its National race series, the 14-race professional championship that serves as a primary steppingstone for young drivers advancing to the highest ranks of the sport. The series is now known as the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. As title sponsor of the National, BFGoodrich® tires will be used exclusively at all race weekends. BFGoodrich Tires decals will adorn the Skip Barber Formula 2000 race car, while National competitors and Skip Barber crew members will sport the BFGoodrich Tires logo on their uniforms. “We are thrilled to be associated with the Skip Barber National and committed to developing the next generation of champions,” said Kaz Holley, brand director for BFGoodrich Tires. “BFGoodrich Tires are known for performance and our g-Force Sport tires are the perfect way to showcase our passion for racing excellence by supporting drivers who want to succeed.” New presenting sponsor Mazda recently entered into a long-term partnership agreement with Skip Barber that will deliver a broad range of programs designed to further define and strengthen the U.S. motorsports “ladder” on which drivers gain experience on their way to the top ranks of professional racing. “The Skip Barber National is a very important rung in the Mazda driver development ladder,” said Robert Davis, senior vice president, product development and quality, and the man responsible for Mazda’s North American Motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner. “Our partnership with Skip Barber is growing on many different levels, and we look forward to other great initiatives that will benefit racers across the country.”
03/13/07
cc
Champ Car delays Standing Starts  Citing the need for further testing of its standing-start procedures, the Champ Car World Series today announced that it would not use standing starts for the first three races of the 2007 season.

“Safety is our concern and we feel we need to fine-tune our standing-start process before we implement it,” said Champ Car Vice-President of Operations Tony Cotman. “We will continue to work with the teams and the manufacturers to find the safest and most reliable option for the standing-start process with an eye toward using them at Portland if possible.”

The Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda adopted standing starts last season, introducing them in Cleveland only after extensive testing to ensure safety for all of the participants. This season, Champ Car has practiced standing starts at the Houston and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca test sessions, the latter of which took place this past weekend.

The series will open its 2007 season with the Vegas Grand Prix, April 6-8, to be followed by the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach April 13-15 and the Grand Prix of Houston April 20-22.

03/13/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE
Ferrari considered signing Alonso - Brawn
'Webber should have stayed at Williams'
Bernie says 'no' to Schumacher comeback

03/13/07
Toyota fly last minute car updates to Oz
Schu set for Melbourne no-show - spokeswoman
Hamilton explains yellow helmet
Bernie, in Singapore, wants 20 races by 2009
Richards denies Aston Martin F1 link
F1 cars fitted with 'medical light' in '07
Trulli has a cold - team manager
Bridgestone 'still assessing' new '07 rule
Heidfeld to be father again
Big crash relieves rookie pressure - Lauda
Closest rivals admit Ferrari in front
03/13/07
lmes
Stefan Mucke gets seat fitting in Lola B07/10-Judd  The build is bang on schedule and the fire up will be done this afternoon. The car will then be transported to Pembrey for the test on Wednesday where Stefan will conduct the initial systems checks and subsequent shakedown tests. The car will then come back to Lola and be prepared for the Ricard test on March 25-26 where Alex Yoong and Jan Charouz will also get seat time. The team will run with the 2007 Lola aero update specification.

Stefan has some experience in a prototype having tested the Rollcentre Radical last Autumn. He said: "This is a very good situation for me. The guys at Lola and Judd are very professional and the seat fitting was done very swiftly. I have no experience of the real Le Mans but did race on the Bugatti circuit in DTM. We also did some night practice that year too. But I know that this is not like Le Mans in June on the legendary track. I will prepare very thoroughly and with the tests that we will do at Paul Ricard I am sure that we can be in very good shape for the test days. Above all I am really looking forward to it because I know that Mr. Charouz has a real passion for Le Mans and that the Lola LMP1 will be super quick with the Judd 5.5 liter."

03/13/07
cc
Steelback to sponsor Grand Prix in Toronto  UPDATE Steelback Brewery is today set to be unveiled as the new title of Champ Car’s Grand Prix of Toronto.  A press conference has been called to confirm the expected deal – replacing Molsen’s involvement since its inaugural race 21 years ago.  The deal is expected to run for five years and run into ‘multi-millions’ of dollars. It will be known as the Steelback Grand Prix.

03/07/07 Goodbye Molson Indy. Hello Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto.

Frank D'Angelo, the outlandish beer and juice marketer, has reached a five-year deal for the naming rights to the Champ Car race. The partnership with Steelback Breweries is to be announced next Tuesday.

D'Angelo is best known for his non-traditional approach to advertising in which he puts himself front and centre as executive pitchman. In one ad, he chats up National Hockey League old-timers in a dressing room. In another, he interviews disgraced Olympian Ben Johnson. (“I Cheetah all the time,” Johnson says in a punning attempt to promote Cheetah Power Surge Energy Drink.)

Steelback's sponsorship fills a void left by Molson Coors Brewing, which left the auto race in the fall to focus on hockey and music, sponsorship opportunities it says are more closely aligned with the people who drink its brands. More ...

03/13/07
cca
US RaceTronics Impresses at Mazda Raceway  The third and final Champ Car Atlantic open test capped off a successful testing season for the US RaceTronics (USRT) squad.  The team enters the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season with solid data and experience under its belt.  With both USRT drivers Carl Skerlong # 24 King Taco/US RaceTronics Swift Mazda-Cosworth and David Garza # 4 Axtel/Madisa/Tecate/US RaceTronics Swift Mazda-Cosworth completing a combined 436 laps, the Buttonwillow, California based race team continued to show progress with weeks before the first race of the season at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

David Garza (right), along with Engineer Peter Jacobs, continued to gel together.  The youngster who calls Monterrey, Mexico home completed over 252 laps, which was the most out of all the drivers present.  With a best lap of 1:17.118 which came at the fourth and last session of the test, Garza’s time was eighth best overall.  Despite a second day incident resulting in minor front wing damage Garza continued to progress and got comfortable piloting his car at the challenging and intimidating track.” I thought it was a great way to end the last test of the season. Overall I think we had a successful test and I feel the whole team is ready to hit the streets of downtown Las Vegas for the first race of the season. The Champ Car Atlantic grid is so competitive that everyone has a chance to win at Las Vegas so I will try my best and give my best effort and hopefully have a great race”, states Garza.  More ...

03/13/07
f1
Q and A with Pascal Vasselon  After all is said and done, the Panasonic Toyota Racing team heads to Melbourne Australia for the season opening race that will take place on the Albert Park circuit this coming weekend. Pre-season testing hasn’t been easy for the Cologne based squad, however they are convinced that these issues are now behind them.
 
Here Pascal Vasselon gives a technical preview of the upcoming season opener….
 
What are the characteristics of Albert Park?
Albert Park means low grip and understeer basically. At least in the last few years where the tire war was going on, the typical characteristics in Melbourne were understeer, graining and generally low grip. It is caused by a combination of two major aspects of the track, the asphalt structure and the lay-out, especially the double right-hander in the last sector which is especially difficult for the front left tire. More ...
03/13/07
cc
Mario Dominguez puts out mayday call  Mexican driver Mario Dominguez is asking desperately for help from the Mexican companies to support him one more time in one of the hardest, prestigious and competitive series around the world, yes talking about the Champ Car World Series said a press release sent out by Champ Car's Public Relations Manager for the Hispanic Markets.

What would be the sixth consecutive season the Mexican driver might race in Champ Car is hazier than ever. After testing at the first pre-season test in Sebring Florida last January driving one of RuSPORT’s new DP01 machines, the Aztec driver is throwing a mayday call to Mexican companies.

Being one month away from the start of the season on the streets of Las Vegas Nevada, Mario was present at the Champ Car Spring Training held last weekend at the Mazda Raceway circuit in Laguna Seca, California. Dominguez was there in order to try and put a deal in place to race the whole season for a competitive team, but he was unable to land something. The Mexican could lose the chance to race again in Champ Car, a series which has a fan base composed of 30% Latinos. More ...

03/13/07
lmes
Primat satisfied with first Pescarolo test  Swiss racing driver Harold Primat was satisfied with his first test for double Le Mans Series champions Pescarolo Sport after getting a taste of the team’s all-conquering Pescarolo C60-Judd last week.

Primat spent three days testing the team’s 2006 car, which won all five rounds of the Le Mans Series last season, at the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit in France, and whilst dry running was limited due to adverse weather conditions, he was pleased with his performance. Primat said: “I felt under a bit of pressure coming into this test because it was my first with the team and with the stature they have in sportscar racing it’s the equivalent of a first test with McLaren in Formula One!

We also had a problem in that all three days brought wet conditions, but we managed some wet runs and I got close to Jean Christophe Boullion’s pace. I was about 8 tenths off in the end, and that was pleasing because he has driven for Pescarolo Sport for a long time and is one of the best endurance racers in the world. The most important thing though was that, despite the conditions, I didn’t make any mistakes. That is crucial because Henri does not accept any driver’s errors. At the end of the day if Henri is happy, then it means that I am doing a good job.” More ...

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