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03/21/07
tv news
ESPN2 To Debut New Automotive Programs  Six new automotive and motorcycle-themed programs will premiere on ESPN2 the weekend of March 31-April 1.

All part of the ESPN2 Garage block of programming, The Bidding Wars, Funkmaster Flex’s Car Wars, Hot Rod Television, Metric Revolution, P.I.P.E.S and Stacey David’s GearZ will debut on Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1, with replays to air later in the week.

Designed to complement ESPN’s extensive coverage of NASCAR, IndyCar, Champ Car and NHRA racing in 2007, ESPN2 Garage is dedicated to the automotive, motorcycle and motorsports world. ESPN2 will air more than 1,100 hours of motorsports programming in 2007.

The first episode of Hot Rod TV will air at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 31, followed at 10:30 a.m. by the premiere of P.I.P.E.S. The premiere of GearZ will be at 11 a.m., followed at 11:30 a.m. by The Bidding Wars and Funkmaster Flex Car Wars debuting at noon. The next day, the debut episode of Metric Revolution will air at noon. More ...

03/21/07
NASCAR
Reader Feedback
Dodge Avenger to debut at Bristol  UPDATE A reader writes, I'm breathless with anticipation for this weekends debut of Dodge's $19.99 Avenger sticker kit.  This has been a long time coming!  One can only wonder why this did not happen sooner.  David Jackson, Charleston SC

03/21/07 The Dodge Avenger, which joins the Dodge Charger in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition this season, makes its racing debut Sunday in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway - the first NASCAR Car of Tomorrow (COT) race. Preparing for NASCAR's 16 COT races in 2007 has kept the candle burning at both ends for most NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams since the end of last season.

The Avenger, Dodge's racing version of the COT, has been tested at tracks throughout the country getting ready for the ultimate test in Thunder Valley, Tennessee this coming weekend. Drivers behind the wheel of the Dodge Avenger will be Ryan Newman, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty, Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Scott Riggs, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Stremme and Reed Sorenson "Dodge is ready for the challenge at Bristol, and we think the Dodge Avenger is the car to beat," said Mike Accavitti, Director - Dodge Motorsports and SRT Marketing, Chrysler Group.

"We believe that the Avenger can bring Dodge a championship in the future, and we can't wait to start that campaign this weekend. And, for the first Dodge driver to win a COT race, we will donate an all-new Dodge Avenger to the charity of his choice," Accavitti added. "You can test it all you want, but we're not going to know what we're really dealing with until we race it," David Stremme, driver of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge said.

"Some of the guys have been complaining about it, but I'm anxious to race it. Anything can and usually does happen at Bristol, so it should be a very interesting race for the competitors and a very entertaining one for the fans."

03/21/07
NASCAR
Rudd and Petty celebrate 50th Bristol sellout  UPDATE For 25 years a Bristol race ticket has been one of the toughest tickets in sports, and this weekend's race is no different.  All 160,000 seats for Sunday's Food City 500 are long gone, marking the 50th consecutive sellout for Bristol Motor Speedway.  Bristol's second Nextel Cup race, the Aug. 25 Sharpie 500, also is sold out....the 51st straight.

"It all goes back to the loyalty fans feel toward Bristol and the fact that they love the experience," track president and general manager Jeff Byrd said.

"The short-track action, the high banks, the ability to see everything that's happening on the track … it's very unique and fans appreciate it."

The track's first sellout was in 1982 when the track seated about 35,000. Bruton Smith bought the track and in 1996 expanded capacity to 71,000. It continued to sell out.

In 1997 Smith added 47,000 more seats and the sellout of 118,000 relegated UT football to No. 2 in the terms of crowd size.

Smith wasn't finished. More ...

03/21/07
f1
Malaysian officials not worried over Singapore threat  Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir is unmoved by the possible "competition" from Singapore which is reportedly favored to host a leg of the Formula One World Championship on a street circuit.

But first, Mokhzani’s task is to seal the future of the Malaysian Grand Prix beyond 2010, when the current contract, which was signed with Formula One Management (FOM) in 1999, expires.

"I’ve been given the mandate by the Government to negotiate the hosting of the Malaysian Grand Prix beyond 2010. This, we have to secure this year," said Mokhzani. More ...

03/21/07
lmes
LeMans test days lineup  The official test sessions for the Le Mans Series are coming up and the series organizers have released this set of entrants for the test days.

The entry list
N° "LM" P1 NAT CARS 10
3 SCUDERIA LAVAGGI MON Lavaggi LS01 - Ford
7 TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL FRA Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP
8 TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL FRA Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP
9 CREATION AUTOSPORTIF GBR Creation CA06/H - Judd
12 COURAGE COMPETITION FRA Courage LC70 - AER
14 RACING FOR HOLLAND HOL Dome S101,5 - Judd
15 CHAROUZ RACING SYSTEM CZE Lola B07/17 - Judd
17 PESCAROLO SPORT FRA Pescarolo - Judd
18 ROLLCENTRE RACING WITH DEUTSCHE BANK X-MARKET GBR Pescarolo - Judd
19 CHAMBERLAIN SYNERGY MOTORSPORT GBR Lola - AER
N° "LM" P2 NAT CARS 7
20 PIERRE BRUNEAU FRA Pilbeam MP93 - Judd
21 TEAM BRUICHLADDICH RADICAL GBR Radical SR9 - AER
25 RML GBR MG Lola EX 264 - AER
32 BARAZI-EPSILON FRA Zytek 07S - Zytek
35 SAULNIER RACING ESP Courage LC75 - AER
40 ASM TEAM POR Lola B05/40 - AER
45 EMBASSY RACING GBR Pilbeam MP93 - Judd
N° "LM" GT1 NAT CARS 6
50 ASTON MARTIN RACING LARBRE FRA Aston Martin DBR9
54 TEAM ORECA FRA Saleen S7-R
55 TEAM ORECA FRA Saleen S7-R
61 RACING BOX ITA Saleen S7-R
72 LUC ALPHAND AVENTURES FRA Corvette C6.R
73 LUC ALPHAND AVENTURES FRA Corvette C5-R
N° "LM" GT2 NAT CARS 15
76 IMSA PERFORMANCE MATMUT FRA Porsche 997 GT3-RSR
77 TEAM FELBERMAYR PROTON GER Porsche 997 GT3-RSR
79 TEAM FELBERMAYR PROTON GER Porsche 996 GT3-RSR
81 TEAM LNT GBR Panoz Esperante GTLM
82 TEAM LNT GBR Panoz Esperante GTLM
83 GPC SPORT ITA Ferrari F430 GT
84 CHAD PENINSULA PANOZ GBR Panoz Esperante GTLM
86 IMSA PERFORMANCE MATMUT FRA Porsche 997 GT3-RSR
88 TEAM FELBERMAYR PROTON GER Porsche 997 GT3-RSR
89 MARKLAND RACING DEN Corvette C6 Z06
92 THIERRY PERRIER FRA Porsche 997 GT3-RSR
94 SPEEDY RACING TEAM SUI Spyker C8 Spyder GT-R
96 VIRGO MOTORSPORT GBR Ferrari F430 GT
98 ICE POL RACING TEAM BEL Ferrari F430 GT
99 JMB RACING MON Ferrari F430 GT
TOTAL 38

03/21/07
nascar
Brian France interview  Today on "The Morning Drive" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / channel 128, hosts David Poole and Marty Snider spoke with NASCAR's Chairman and CEO, Brian France.

Interview highlights:

On the Car of Tomorrow, debuting this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway:

Host, David Poole: "How are you going to measure the ultimate success of this project?"

Brian France: "We're going to measure it in the ways, in the reasons we said we wanted to do the Car of Tomorrow in the first place. One was first and foremost to make the car safer. That's obviously a thing where it's going to have to go into live action and take some pretty hard hits and we're going to be able to see if we get the benefits of the new safety components that are built into this new car. That's number one. More ...

03/21/07
irl
Lawmakers honor IndyCar Series' use of ethanol  On the first day of spring, Capitol Hill was a little greener.  A bipartisan group of lawmakers joined U.S. Senate colleagues Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh during a news conference to honor the IndyCar Series for its transition to 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol for the 2007 season. The series is at the forefront of "the greening of racing" -- the first in motorsports to embrace a renewable and environmentally-responsible fuel source.

The Congressional leaders, who joined Team Ethanol driver Jeff Simmons, Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George and Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen in waving green ethanol flags in front of the No. 17 Team Ethanol car to signify the start of the groundbreaking season, are in accord with President George W. Bush's call for large increases in American production of renewable fuels such as ethanol.

The senators recognized the IndyCar Series in a Congressional Record statement for sending a strong message to race fans and Americans about the benefits of using ethanol and other renewable fuels. The green ethanol flag signed by George, Simmons, Dinneen and senators will be used to start the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 on March 24. More ...

03/21/07
ips
Klein to contest road course races  Team Moore Racing completed its 2007 Indy Pro Series driver lineup on March 21, signing Jonathan Klein to contest the nine road courses/street races in it No. 2 entry.

"We're real happy to have Jonathan coming on board," said team co-owner Mark Moore. "He has a lot of experience in these cars, and he's really hungry. I watched him all last year and never saw him go backwards. That's the mark of someone with real ability and talent. Our hope is to do a good job for him and win some races with him.

Klein, a 19-year-old from Long Grove, Ill., finished second in the Indy Pro Series, as a rookie missing the championship by four points. He'll make his debut with the team at the Indy Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg doubleheader on March 31-April 1. More ...

03/21/07
tv news
SPEED Names Wilson  SPEED Executive Vice President & General Manager Hunter Nickell today announced Frank Wilson has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Production for the Charlotte-based motor sports and automotive lifestyle network.  In his new role, Wilson is responsible for all NASCAR programming on SPEED.  "Frank loves what he does,” Nickell said. “People love working for him -- he’s really motivating our team to accomplish new things.”  Wilson began working at SPEED in 1996, the network’s first year on the air, producing a wide variety of news, information and racing programs, including SPEED’s signature Formula One coverage. He was promoted to Sr. Coordinating Producer in 2003.  Before coming to SPEED, Wilson spent 10 years at KDKA in Pittsburgh. A Pitt graduate, Wilson now resides in Charlotte, NC.
03/21/07
nascar
Granddaughter of NASCAR co-founder arrested  The granddaughter of NASCAR cofounder Edgar Otto was arrested on a charge of impersonating a sheriff's deputy Tuesday after she pulled over a driver on Clint Moore Road, ordered him out of his car and handcuffed him, police said.  A Boca Raton police community service officer saw Rachel Lyndsee Otto, 21, stopped with two other cars in the 3000 block of Clint Moore Road at about 4 p.m. and, believing that a wreck had just occurred, pulled up, according to a police report.  More at Palm Beach Post
03/21/07
f1
Symonds focused on aero development  Pat Symonds, Renault's executive director of engineering, reviews the Australian Grand Prix and reflects on how it affected the team.

Q: Pat, several days have now passed since the race in Melbourne. What conclusions have you drawn?

Pat Symonds: I think that the major surprise of the weekend for us was that the gap to McLaren and BMW was much greater than we had expected after the final week of pre-season testing in Bahrain. As we approached the first race, we were well aware that our level of performance was not good enough -- and that Ferrari were a long way in front. However, we believed that we could race BMW, and that we were not far off McLaren on race pace. However, the reality turned out to be that we were behind, both in qualifying and race trim.

Q: Giancarlo drove a strong race to finish fifth. What was your assessment of his drive?

PS: Giancarlo had a relatively straightforward race -- and did everything we could have expected of him on Sunday. He was a little unlucky with traffic during his second stint, which meant he lost time to the BMW's. But he was aggressive when he needed to be, particularly with Trulli after his first pit-stop, and defended strongly against Massa. I think he showed a good cutting edge, and took the car to the position it deserved. More ...

03/21/07
alms
nascar
The “Real” Cars of Tomorrow Have Already Been Launched  It seems that the Car of Tomorrow that debuts this weekend at Bristol International Raceway is not only a week behind but perhaps even light years behind.  The “Real” Cars of Tomorrow could actually be seen a week ago in the American Le Mans Series season opener at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. 

While NASCAR enters the 80’s [finally] with its revolutionary unleaded fuel mixture, a week ago American Le Mans Series cars featured drive-by-wire throttles, direct injection turbo diesel power plants, direct-injection gasoline engines, ultra sophisticated tunable traction control systems, telemetry, composite brakes, carbon fiber chassis, and alternative fuels encompassing both a low sulphur, gas-to-liquid clean diesel and a mandated street legal ethanol blend.

The American Le Mans Series, known for its race car technology that transfers to its manufacturers' showrooms, has seen a rapid rise in a number of benchmarks.  Television and fan attendance have grown significantly since entrepreneur Don Panoz began the series following an agreement with the 24 Hours of Le Mans to use its name and rules.
The Series currently boasts more manufacturer participation than any series in the world.
Much of that is driven by the ability of manufacturers such as Audi, Porsche, Acura, Corvette, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Mazda to develop technologies on their race cars that eventually find its way to those the consumer puts in his driveway.

“The Audi R10 is the technical test bed for what you will be seeing on the streets two to three years down the road,” said Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president of Audi North America recently.  “In fact, this whole motorsport [series] is entirely relevant.  Formula One may have high technology but participants and manufacturers in Formula One will one day have to be accountable for the lack of relevance in automotive applications for every day driving.  You will see the diesel engine in the R10 and its technology on the roads of North America within the next 18 months.  This [American Le Mans Series] is where we are developing the Cars of Tomorrow.”

03/21/07
lmes
Adrian Newey eyes LeMans go  Red Bull Racing's renowned Formula 1 designer and chief technical officer Adrian Newey is aiming to make his international racing debut later this year in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

“We are looking at our options at the moment, but I want to do the race,” he told Motorsport News.

"The Ferrari is faster than anything I’ve raced before, but I enjoyed it.

“I injured my Achilles a couple of years ago and need to do a bit of work to build that up to cope with the braking, but otherwise I had no problems.”

03/21/07
alms
The Finish: From Jorg Bergmeister's Seat  The GT2 finish at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring still has people buzzing and likely will until next year’s race. Jaime Melo and the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT held off Jörg Bergmeister in one of Flying Lizard Motorsports new Porsches in a thrilling final lap duel by 0.020 seconds, the closest finish in America’s greatest sports car race. The finish wasn’t without controversy as the two cars collided as they entered the frontstretch for the final time.

Here is how Bergmeister viewed the finish and what surprises next week’s Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg holds:

Question: Have you ever been involved in a race that long with the finish being that close? Road America two years ago was tight but that wasn’t 12 hours...

Answer: I have had a few races that were pretty close. I finished second in Le Mans with a difference of 1.5 minutes. But for sure Sebring was the first long-distance race that was that close for me. More ...

03/21/07
NASCAR
Bristol concrete to be resurfaced after race  Of the 29 previous races contested on concrete at Bristol Motor Speedway, Rusty Wallace was the most prolific winner, cruising into Victory Lane six times after the track was transformed from asphalt to concrete for the 1992 August event. Wallace's first win on concrete came in the spring of 1993. In the sixteen races he competed in on the World's Fastest Half-Mile from '93 to 2000, when he swept both Cup events that year, Wallace had a 37 percent winning percentage at the track where he ultimately won nine times before retiring after the 2005 season. The 30th race on the current concrete surface, the Food City 500 on Sunday, March 25, will be the final one on the old surface. After the race, work will begin on a new concrete surface that will be in place for the Sharpie 500 on Aug. 25. Two drivers, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch, will have an opportunity to match Wallace's efforts on the old surface with Food City 500 victories Sunday. Busch and Gordon each have five wins at BMS, all of them on concrete. Busch has been the most successful of late, having won five of the last 10 races while Gordon's wins came between the spring race of 1995 and the 2002 August event.
03/21/07
cc
alms
Coca-Cola to do big promotion for Long Beach race  Coca-Cola, a Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach sponsor since 1994, is teaming up with Southern California ampm stores to give motorsports fans a full day of racing … FREE!

This major retail promotion, which features extensive signage promoting the April 13-15 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, is currently taking place in 424 ampm convenience stores throughout Southern California.  In addition to the Free Friday voucher, Coca-Cola, ampm and radio station “Power 106” are promoting a sweepstakes to win a Toyota Tundra.
Grand Prix fans can visit the Coca-Cola display in their local ampm store, purchase two 1-liter products – including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Dasani or POWERade – and pick up a voucher near the checkout stands for a FREE ticket to all the action on “Fast Friday,” April 13.

The vouchers can be redeemed at any Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach ticket office location any time through Friday, April 13.  “We are extremely proud of our current promotion with ampm and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach,” said David Carey, Sales Center Manager for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Southern California.

“It is one of the most impactful programs we have ever run with the Grand Prix for our consumers and race fans.”  More ...

03/21/07
nascar
Montoya signs deal with Sirius Radio  SIRIUS Satellite Radio, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, announced today that NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya has signed on to promote SIRIUS’ extensive lineup of NASCAR programming and live race coverage.

Montoya, who can be heard weekly on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, will be featured in SIRIUS’ advertising and marketing efforts, including an extensive promotional campaign at retail locations around the country.  The advertising will promote SIRIUS’ live coverage of every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as well as SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, the exclusive talk channel that gives listeners 24/7 coverage of every race and everything in-between, with up-to-the-minute news, expert analysis and exclusive interviews with NASCAR insiders. 

In addition to his role as a SIRIUS spokesman, Montoya can be heard every Monday at 5pm ET on The Juan Pablo Montoya Report on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, where he provides listeners with exclusive updates on the No. 42 team and his experiences in NASCAR.  The Juan Pablo Montoya Report airs as part of SIRIUS Speedway, the exclusive talk show hosted by Dave Moody that airs weekdays (3-7pm ET) on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128. More ...

03/21/07
irl
Indy Racing League to be honored on Capitol Hill  Indiana Senators Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh will be on Capitol Hill this afternoon to recognize the Indy Racing League for its commitment to renewable fuels. Beginning with its first race of the season on Saturday in Florida, IRL cars will be fueled with 100 percent ethanol. Team Ethanol driver Jeff Simmons and Team Ethanol Owner Bobby Rahal will participate in the event in Washington, D.C.
03/21/07
track news
Darlington eyes repaving  Darlington Raceway officials are seriously considering repaving the most notorious racing surface in NASCAR, track president Chris Browning confirmed Tuesday. The decision has nothing to do with the track's abrasiveness. The track surface has begun to slide down the banking.  "The track is weathered and the surface is slipping, which is causing bumpiness," Browning said. "We're definitely looking at the prospect of repaving."  ESPN.com
03/21/07
Reader Feedback
Where Champ Car is lacking  UPDATE Another reader adds, As usual AutoRacing1.com readers are right on the money about Champ Car. Champ Car has not spent a dollar on marketing- EVER. Maybe part of the reason is that Kalkhoven and Forsythe come from a business-to-business background and don't have a clue how to run an entertainment business or a sport. The reader who gave the IRL props for at least getting in the paper is 100% correct. One article after another implying or predicting Champ Car's demise is out in print and the Champ Car PR people are nowhere to be found-EVER? Champ Car can say that their "street festivals" are huge - and they are as far as events go, I have been going to Champ Car races since 1993. But how are the teams suppose to attract sponsors when the series is invisible - would McDonald's be in Champ Car if it wasn't for Paul Newman? Brian Kellione

Dear Brian, While it would be unfair to say that Champ Car does no marketing or PR whatsoever, the amount that it does clearly is a small fraction of what the series needs for it to prosper as a sport. However, it's a chicken and egg problem. Big-name drivers attract fans and sponsors, but they want to get paid to drive. Marketing and PR also costs money which in turn will generate sponsors and money, but where does the series get $50M per year to start the ball rolling? Hence why we said the series is in dire need of a new investor or sponsor that will give the series the seed money necessary to get the egg to hatch into a chicken. Mark C.

03/20/07 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have to say that one thing which Tony George's crowd has figured out, which Champ Car still hasn't gotten, is the whole field of PR. Kind of like some past presidents (insert names of your own choosing), who were able to convince people that everything was great when it was really going down the drain.

One specific lesson I see being played out again and again... the IRL has figured out that getting their name in the papers is almost always a good thing. Hence, the almost daily news blurbs about the most miniscule and mundane things in the IRL realm. If an IRL driver participates in a small-town charity go-kart race, it gets a blurb (if not a full write-up). I hate to say it, but this is what Champ Car needs to do, too. That's how you get name recognition, cheap. Dave L., Los Angeles, CA

Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Another week gone by, Spring Training is a distant memory and STILL no announcement from either Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing or Champ Car regarding Graham Rahal? What first appeared to be another big Champ Car coup is now more fuel on the fire that Champ Car does not have its act together. Perhaps Champ Car is a little gun shy about Graham Rahal abandoning Champ Car after one year just like his former CART CEO dad did when Bobby left for F1 (disastrously, I might add)? Why wouldn't Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) just add a third IRL car for his son? Or maybe something bigger is looming and holding the deal up, including Champ Car opening up May for a Ganassi and RLR switch to Champ Car next year, bringing with them their old IRL cars for Indy-only runs. Richard Huffman, Missoula, Montana

Dear Richard, Champ Car needs a major infusion of cash from another investor or from sponsors before any teams are going to come into Champ Car. Currently it is running on the minimum budget that it can to survive, hence Champ Car appears to the media (evidence - numerous doom and gloom articles recently) and to fans and other constituents that it is teetering on the brink of self destruction. Sure Champ Car's new owners have spent a lot of money to bring it back from bankruptcy, but it's going to need to land some major sponsors (both team and series) before the predictions of death stop. Mark C.

03/21/07
irl
Insurance company to reward top Indy Pro Series winner  Gregory & Appel Insurance, an Indianapolis-based insurance agency with a nationally recognized professional racing practice, has announced its sponsorship of the second annual Gregory & Appel Insurance "Securing Tomorrow" Award for the 2007 Indy Pro Series. A $5,000 cash prize will be given to the Indy Pro Series driver who wins the most races in 2007. In 2006, Wade Cunningham was the winner of the first Gregory & Appel Insurance "Securing Tomorrow" Award. The Indy Pro Series season begins on March 24 at the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Miami, and will feature a series-record 16 races with almost $4 million in prize money at stake. The schedule includes seven races on ovals, seven on road courses and two on street courses. The series will compete at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway three times.

"We are based in the world's racing capitol of Indianapolis and are excited to help develop the future stars of Indy racing from the Indy Pro Series," said Darren Hickey, Vice President and Head of the Motor Sports Practice at Gregory & Appel. Gregory & Appel Insurance has developed one of the most thorough programs for motor racing teams in the nation. Its unique risk management policies insure everything from drivers and team coverage to ownership and sponsorship liability issues.

"Our office headquarters is located in the original manufacturing plant of HCS Motor Car Company, the second car manufacturing company of famed Indiana automaker Henry Stutz. This is a natural fit for us and we are very proud to partner with the Indy Pro Series to continue this award" said Steve Appel, Vice President of Corporate Development for Gregory & Appel.

03/21/07
irl
IndyCar Series magazine adds new twist for 2007  IndyCar Series magazine enters its fourth year of publication with a technological twist. In additional to the four glossy print issues, two digital issues of the feature-based publication have been scheduled. All six issues of the magazine will be available in digital format on www.indycar.com, the official Web site of the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series. Subscribers to IndyCar Series magazine will have access to all six digital issues free. IndyCar Series magazine reports on every aspect of the world's most dynamic racing championship. The high-quality publication, which features scintillating photography, provides in-depth coverage of the faces, places and races that make the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series a 200 mph thrill ride. The first digital-only magazine will be an up-to-the-minute preview of the 91st Indianapolis 500 and the second is a mid-winter warmer to keep fans up to date and relive the 17-race 2007 season. Both will look exactly like a glossy copy of IndyCar Series magazine, but in digital format.

Among the many exciting aspects of the digital issues is that not only do subscribers receive the entire magazine with high-resolution images, but the pages have "smart" elements embedded. For instance, click on a picture of a driver and a video might begin playing, or click on a truncated set of race results and it will open a page with the full results from indycar.com. Additionally, the digital issues will have search ability, page turning, zooming in/out, and the ability to click on contents and go right to the relevant page. With a username and password, subscribers can access the magazines anywhere in the world.

03/21/07
f1
Australia F1 race a big loser  Victoria's new Auditor-General is heading for a showdown with the State Government over a report that is set to blast the state's much-vaunted major events strategy.

A report by auditor Des Pearson, due within weeks, is believed to deliver a stinging assessment of the Australian Grand Prix, warning of rising public costs while questioning claimed economic benefits.

The report is also critical of the Australian International Airshow, saying the first two days are a taxpayer-subsidized trade show and should not be included when assessing benefits.

The Government says the air show will result in economic benefits worth $100 million, while it says the Grand Prix will boost the state economy by $175 million.

But a source close to the Government estimated costs associated with the Grand Prix would rise by $3 million to $4 million a year under the terms of a new licensing agreement that lasts until 2010.

The source said the cost of the 2007 event was "roughly $28 million" and could blow out to as much as $42 million by 2010. The Age

[Editor's Note: $28M to $42M cost for a $175M return - seems like money well spent to us.]

03/21/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Heikki gets 'little praise' in Briatore meeting
Alonso to miss Sepang test
Kimi in Thailand after first Ferrari triumph
Spyker to skip Sepang test
Davidson should be fit for Sepang test, race
BMW also implicated in new cheating row
BMW take steps to solve reliability flaw
Williams can chase Renault in '07 - Head
Kolles threatened to quit over Spyker sale
Schu could have won eighth title - manager
Bridgestone reconsider 'white spot' marking
Ferrari favorite for title - poll
03/20/07
karting news
Mazda commits over $100K to karting  Mazda North American Operations used the annual sportscar racing extravaganza known as Sebring to announce the signing of multi-year contracts with the leading kart racing organizations in the U.S.A. These commitments further expand Mazda’s leadership in grassroots road-racing, and represent the largest ever commitment to karting from an automaker.

Mazda has signed partnership agreements with multiple sanctioning bodies and events, and will be highly involved with the following:

World Karting Association (WKA)
Champ Car Rotax Kart Challenge
Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar
Superkarts! USA (SKUSA)
Newcastle Motorsport Park ( Indiana)
Rock Island Grand Prix (the largest professional kart street race in the world)

Mazda’s support will consist of both traditional sponsorship funding towards prize money and operating costs, as well as unique benefits such as business-partner pricing on new Mazda vehicles for kart racers who belong to those organizations. More ...

03/20/07
f1
Whitmarsh: Lewis destined for greatness  McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh (right) believes Lewis Hamilton has the hallmarks of greatness and is destined for a glittering Formula 1 career.

“Lewis exceeded all our expectations,” the Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying.

“Great drivers always find a little more. This weekend has been truly remarkable. He has absolute greatness.

“I think back to Michael Schumacher’s debut at Spa and how impressed we all were when he put it seventh [on the grid].

“And he burnt his clutch out before La Source, but we still thought he was phenomenal, which he was.

“That was in a Jordan.

“Lewis has come to a team of massive expectations. The pressure that comes with that is incredible. More ...

03/20/07
nascar
Ford's Leslie talks about debut of COT  Ben Leslie has been the NASCAR Field Manager for Ford Racing Technology since 2004 and manages Ford’s development in the Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. Leslie spoke about the debut of the Car of Tomorrow and how Ford teams are prepared going into Sunday’s debut race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

BEN LESLIE, NASCAR Field Manager, Ford Racing Technology -- HOW PREPARED DO YOU FEEL THE FORD TEAMS ARE FOR THE FIRST COT RACE AT BRISTOL? “It’s kind of an unknown right now because the car is so different, especially from an aero platform. It’s somewhat different from a geometry platform, but more aero-wise. I think the Ford teams are okay and I feel like they’ve adapted and are probably among the top in the garage in adapting to new rules. It’s been a pretty lengthy process and started back in the 2000-2001 year and really accelerated around March 2005. That’s when the Car of Tomorrow project really started accelerating and we got involved pretty in depth. Ford got into doing some 40-scale testing for NASCAR as far as trying different philosophies with roof shapes and things of that nature. We took a fairly active approach at that point as far as offering up a fair amount of model time and things of that nature to at least help understand exactly what we were changing for the real world. At the same time, we were trying to keep things open that we felt we could work on to benefit our teams. Since then, it’s kind of been in NASCAR’s hands. All of the manufacturers gave NASCAR their ideas and they mulled everything over. We did a little bit of testing for them and then gave them the data. Since then we’ve kind of turned it loose to them to make their decisions on what the best route was for implementation. We counseled as much as what we felt was wanted and requested, but at the end of the day it’s NASCAR’s decision on which directions to go.” More ...

03/20/07
nascar
Q and A with Matt Kenseth  Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, has registered three straight top-five finishes and finds himself fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings going into this weekend’s Car of Tomorrow debut race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kenseth, who has finishes of first (California), fourth (Las Vegas) and third (Atlanta) in the last three events will also get crew chief Robbie Reiser back after a four-week suspension for rules violations at Daytona.

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion -- DO YOU THINK BRISTOL WILL HAVE MORE CAUTIONS THAN USUAL? “It’s gonna be different, but everybody is kind of in the same boat. The cars are a little harder to drive than the other cars, but most of the cars that I saw, including my car, tended to be really tight in the middle of the corner and that’s not gonna be very conducive to passing. If you’re pushing already and you get behind somebody, you’ll be pushing worse, so I don’t know. I think whoever figures out how to get to turning in the corner and still have some bite will probably be able to make themselves look pretty good.” More ...

03/20/07
nascar
Juan Montoya on Good Morning America  Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger will visit the set of ABC’s Good Morning America tomorrow morning. Montoya and the car will be featured during the 8:30 a.m. segment of the morning show which had almost 5 million viewers last week.
03/20/07
f1
Australian Grand Prix postscript  INDIANAPOLIS - Rookie Lewis Hamilton qualified his Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes fourth, ran in second place for much of the Australian Grand Prix ahead of his teammate, double World Champion Fernando Alonso, led four laps and finished third.

Not a bad day in the cockpit for his first career Formula One start.

"It has been fantastic," Hamilton said. "To lead my first Grand Prix was a fantastic feeling. It was extremely tough. I had Fernando behind me for a long time, and it's pretty tough when you have the two-time World Champion behind you in your first race.

"But I must say the team has done a fantastic job, preseason, preparing the car, not only the team here but back at the factory they have been working day and night to get the car ready and it was great.

"It was a bit unfortunate at the second pit stop (to lose second position to Alonso). I think the stop went fine but back markers were pretty tough. But it was all a new experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it."

Hamilton's paternal grandparents immigrated to England from the Caribbean island of Grenada. He is the first driver of African-Caribbean heritage to race in F1.

Speed confident car will improve: Although the weekend did not go smoothly in the Australian Grand Prix season opener, American F1 driver Scott Speed is confident that his Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari is going to improve considerably in the coming races.

The car should be much more competitive by the time Speed arrives at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his home United States Grand Prix on June 17, Speed said. More ...

03/20/07
nascar
Cheating Crew Chief Robbie Reiser to return  After serving a four-race suspension for cheating, Robbie Reiser, the long-time crew chief of Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 DEWALT Ford team, returns to the track this weekend for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.  By missing the Daytona 500 in February, it was the first race Reiser missed atop the pit box as Kenseth's crew chief since 1999, a steak of 255 races.

Reiser will return in time for NASCAR's much-anticipated debut of the Car of Tomorrow.  With the introduction of the C.O.T., the No. 17 team was forced to retire chassis number 89, which had run every race at Bristol since the beginning of 2001, collecting two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s, one pole and led a whopping 742 laps during that span. More ...

03/20/07
NASCAR
Conway takes over JGR Busch ride  California Dreamin' finally turns to racing reality for driver Kevin Conway this weekend as he straps himself behind the wheel of Joe Gibbs Racing's (JGR) No. 18 Z-Line Designs Chevrolet for Saturday's Sharpie Mini 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. A month ago this weekend at California Speedway, Conway watched from the sidelines as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series star Tony Stewart wheeled the Z-Line Designs car to an 11th-place finish in the Stater Bros. 300. It was a bittersweet day for Conway as he enjoyed the thrill of seeing the Z-Line sponsorship deal he personally worked so long and hard for take to the track for the very first time. But deep down inside, his mind was already focused on Bristol, where he'll get his first chance to drive the Z-Line Designs Chevrolet at one of the most action-packed venues on the NASCAR circuit. The 28-year-old from Lynchburg, Va., is something of a modern-day racing renaissance man, having left his mark in AMA Motocross, the World Karting Association, USAC Midgets, Late Model Stocks, the American Speed Association, ARCA and NASCAR's West Series since becoming the youngest driver to win a Legends national title at the age of 15. He's also logged thousands of laps at NASCAR tracks all over the country as a test driver for various Nextel Cup teams and as a Richard Petty Driving Experience instructor. In addition to his vast array of racing experience, Conway credits his marketing degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte for making this opportunity a reality. A mutual friend led him to Z-Line Designs CEO Jim Sexton several months ago, and the two began exchanging e-mails as Conway set out to reveal the benefits of using NASCAR to market the highly successful but relatively little-known brand leader in the ready-to-assemble furniture marketplace. When asked about tackling Bristol, Conway responded "It's a challenge that I'm very, very excited about. Bristol is a race track that I love, and it's very exciting. You have a 50-50 shot that you're going to come out unscathed. And usually, if you survive, you're going to have a good finish. Going there and knowing that we have the resources of Joe Gibbs Racing behind us, and everything Z-Line Designs has provided for us, it's really exciting because you know you're going to have equipment and a team that's capable of winning the race."
03/20/07
tv news
Henry Featured Interview on Wind Tunnel  John Henry, co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing, will be the featured interview on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday on SPEED at 9 p.m. ET. As principal owner of one of Major League Baseball’s most prized teams, the Boston Red Sox, Henry is also a big race fan. He is said to spend hours on-line playing racing simulator games and even owns his own racing simulator Web site, www.iracing.com.

Taking that passion to the next level, Henry bought a 50-percent stake in Jack Roush’s famed Roush Racing in February. The new team, Roush Fenway Racing, will be marketed in the Boston area as a home team of sorts -- a unique strategy that should broaden the team’s reach for its drivers and sponsors.  

Despain will talk to Henry about his passion for racing, his partnership with Jack Roush, and discuss how NASCAR can gain the interest of the traditional stick-and-ball fans in Boston and across the country.

03/20/07
f1
Action-packed VGP video to air on Fremont Street  The Fremont Street Experience is taking its Viva Vision show to the fast lane with the playing of a fast-paced six-minute action-packed video featuring footage from the Champ Car World Series, which kicks off its 2007 season April 6-8 through the streets of downtown Las Vegas. The video airs nightly at 10 p.m.

“I have seen a lot of concepts for the Viva Vision system and it’s great to see people trying a few different things with the canopy,” praised Geoff Bickel, director of technical entertainment for the Fremont Street Experience. “This one is a good blend of music and high energy motion and media, which is a very good thing. The crowds love high energy and a good beat to dance to. It’s a contemporary soundtrack and we don’t have a lot of that with our Fremont Street shows. This is a great thing to have.”

Bickel said the intense work involved in the high-tech video is evidenced by the final product. More ...

03/20/07
nascar
France released from hospital  Bill France Jr. is back home after spending time in a Florida hospital last week, NASCAR officials confirmed Tuesday. France was admitted to the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach last Wednesday, reportedly for treatment of a virus.  France, 73, retains an active role in NASCAR, going to his office regularly to keep tabs on the sport. He remains NASCAR's vice chairman and is also chairman of the board of track operator International Speedway Corp.
03/20/07
irl
Anchor Marty Reid Predicts Competitive Season  The IndyCar Series will kick off its 2007 season with a live, primetime telecast on ESPN2 from Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET, and ESPN lead IndyCar announcer Marty Reid predicts that fans have some exciting racing in store for them.

“I’m expecting it to be a very competitive year,” said Reid, who will work in the booth with former IndyCar Series driver Scott Goodyear. All 17 races of the IndyCar Series season will be televised by ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN on ABC.

Reid attended the pre-season tests for the IndyCar Series at Homestead and at Daytona International Speedway and was impressed by several teams and drivers. He looks for the Andretti Green team, with drivers Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti, Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick, to return to the front of the field this season after experiencing an off-year last year. More ...

03/20/07
f1
Todt: "We have a very strong package"  Maranello - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team principal Jean Todt hailed the opening of a new chapter in Ferrari's history with Kimi Raikkonen's win in the first Grand Prix of the year in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday. And he underlined the unique atmosphere within the team as he described the telephone call he received from the outgoing Michael Schumacher as he headed for the podium after the race.

"We have started with new people, a new structure and new responsibilities, new cars," explained Todt, who was flanked by team strategist Luca Baldisserri, designer Aldo Costa and new engine chief Gilles Simon. This is the new Ferrari powerhouse, who have taken over the reins from former technical director Ross Brawn and engine guru Paolo Martinelli.

"I will say that on the performance side we are quite pleased because we have demonstrated that we have a very strong package - engine, chassis, team," continued Todt.

But Todt was equally delighted by the atmosphere within the team, particularly new driver, Raikkonen. "He seems to be a bit more smiling with us, which you know is not our specialty. But still, we are very happy with him. And he seems to be happy with us."

"Our relationship is just professional and friendly. He spends time with the engineers, the engineers are happy with him. And he spends time with the team. On Saturday I had dinner with him and Felipe and they were happy. It is just a good atmosphere and confirmed what everybody feels in the team." More ...

03/20/07
Industry News
Ford losing two financial execs  Ford Motor Co. is losing top-level executive talent in its finance ranks.

Ann Marie Petach, who has served as Ford's vice president and treasurer since November 2004, submitted her resignation Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation. Petach, who joined Ford in 1984 as a financial analyst in the electronics division, has accepted a high-ranking position at Black Rock Inc. in New York, a provider of global investment management, risk management and advisory services to institutional and retail clients.

Also departing: James C. Gouin, who has served since September as vice president of finance, strategy and business development for international operations at Ford. His plans remain unclear.

03/20/07
Industry News
Management changes at GM  General Motors Corp. made a handful of management changes on Monday to recognize two executives with global responsibilities -- and reassign the duties of a retiring executive -- as the automaker works to eliminate regional differences in its operations.

Bo Andersson and Jim Queen will become group vice presidents on April 1 "in recognition of their significant global responsibilities and major ongoing contributions to GM's progress," the company said. Both are currently vice presidents.

Andersson will continue to lead the global purchasing and supply chain organization, and Queen will remain the leader for global engineering. Both already serve on the Automotive Strategy Board, the 15-member panel led by Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner that makes the final decisions about which vehicles to manufacture.

03/20/07
lmes
Aston Martin Racing team announces strong lineup  Aston Martin Racing today confirms its driver lineup for the 24 Heures du Mans race in June, which sees two new faces added to its team of established drivers. The team is also delighted to announce that the Intercontinental Brand has further enhanced its sponsorship for the year 2007 and has become the official Title Partner of the race team.” Our primary goal of the partnership this year is to continue to increase our engagement with the team and assist them in driving all efforts and resources on their bid to win the 24 Heures du Mans race,” said Vanessa Healey, global director of brand marketing for Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts. “The talented drivers along with the race team’s passion for the sport and our commitment to their success will surely provide for a thrilling race at Le Mans.”

Experienced Aston Martin drivers David Brabham, Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Darren Turner will be joined by Johnny Herbert and Rickard Rydell. Although both Herbert and Rydell are new to Aston Martin for 2007, they are no strangers to sports car racing and the grueling Le Mans race.

Tomas Enge (Czech Republic), Johnny Herbert (UK) and Peter Kox (The Netherlands) will share the 007 Aston Martin DBR9. David Brabham (Australia), Rickard Rydell (Sweden) and Darren Turner (UK) will drive the 009 DBR9. More ...

03/20/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Silverstone makes new plans to save GP
Wurz - I'm lucky to be alive
Schu absence costs Germany 1m TV viewers
Schu's gone but Ferrari remains - press
Schu moves into Swiss mansion this week
Briatore also critical of Fisichella
Alonso returns to Woking to test new bits
03/19/07
irl
Manning hopes to return Foyt to front  As A.J. Foyt celebrates his 50th anniversary season in Indy car racing this season, he'd like nothing more than to see his team return to prominence.

The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner turned to his son Larry to help him lead his team's return, serving as team director. Under his leadership the team participated in all the preseason tests for the first time in several years and brought on veteran race engineer Len Paskus to oversee preparations for new driver Darren Manning (right).

Still, the younger Foyt knows that it will take baby steps to get back to team's championship-winning ways.

"I'd like to see us be a top-10 car every week," Foyt said. "I know that's hard to do, but when you can do that, then you can start looking at top fives and after that you're in position to win races. I know it won't be overnight that we're going to be winning races, but we're doing the things we need to do and be competitive." More ...

03/19/07
a1gp
A1GP teams gear up for Mexico  Refreshed from the three week break after the action-packed Durban round, the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is getting ready to race on its fourth new circuit of the 2006/07 season. Round eight of the 11 race series to be held from 23 – 25 March 2007 will see the A1 Teams line up at the famous Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, named after Mexico’s most famous motor racing sons, Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez.

Built in 1962, the 4.46km circuit is best known for hosting the FIA Formula One world championship from 1963 to 1970 and again from 1986 to 1992. More recently, both the NASCAR and Champ Car series have seen action at this demanding track. For nearly all the A1GP drivers, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez will present a new challenge with only those who have experienced the two American series, namely A1 Team Brazil’s Bruno Junqueira, having raced here before.

For the older generation of motorsport heroes, now supporting their A1GP prodigies from the paddock, it’s a very different story and it could be this knowledge of the track that provides the winning advantage. A1 Teams Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands are all in the running with their seat holders having raced in F1 or sportscars at the circuit over the past four decades. In fact, it was in Mexico City in 1964 that A1 Team Great Britain’s team principal, John Surtees became the first and only driver to win world championships on both two and four wheels. More ...

03/19/07
cc
irl
Tony George says unification doubtful  UPDATE #2 Here is a transcript of the fan's question to Tony George and George's response:

Chief’s Q: “Mr. George, Eleven years ago, your insistence to create the IRL began a crippling downward spiral for open wheel racing in this country. When, Mr. George, are YOU going to address the needs of the open wheel community as a whole instead of this senseless power play YOU launched in 1996? Fix it or forget it......fans like me are walking away from the sport… Chief”

George: “I don’t know, umm. Ya know it’s, it's a I guess it’s a burden to carry it around on your shoulders when it’s put like that. Umm, I heard someone on the program earlier where the caller said that they’re they’re tuning out of NASCAR (clears throat) and starting to tune into IRL and Champ Car, Formula One. I mean everybody’s got an opinion. I don’t think that the events of the last 10-12 years have fairly been placed squarely on my shoulders. I think, ya know, there’s a lot of dynamic in there. If I could wave a magic wand and make it all right, I would but that’s impossible. So a, you know, I don’t know. I, eh fans like that are obviously passionate and, umm, are consumers and are able to make a choice. He seems to have hung in there this long. I hope to keep him involved, a, a little longer and maybe it’ll all work out to his satisfaction.”

Despain: “You know what I would like to hear your perception of what lead you to do this (create the IRL) ‘cause I don’t recall having heard that since way back in ’96. What was the IRL intended to fix? What was wrong?” More ...

03/19/07
f1
Fans flock to F1 Zone  Large crowds have been flocking to the Ithmaar Group Yalla Bahrain! F1 Zone at the Al Aali Shopping Complex as motor racing fans gear up for next month's Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

They have been take advantage of the interactive experience, which includes scalextric slot car racing, a Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix photograph exhibition, simulator challenge and table football as well as vending stands, children's entertainment and displays of race cars. The free event is open daily until Saturday.

Meanwhile, a unique event will take place on Friday, where in association with Oh LaLa! magazine an expert team will guide the ladies in what to wear to the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and give a special make-up demonstration.

03/19/07
nascar
Toyota motorsport boss visits MWR  Lee White, who oversees Toyota's U.S. racing programs, was at Michael Waltrip Racing at 7:30 a.m. today to help the team improve its performance.

Waltrip has failed to make the past three Cup races. Dale Jarrett has needed to use his champion's provisional to make each of the first four races. Rookie David Reutimann has made two of the first four races.

"We're looking at trying to plug something in without question, and admittedly, as a result of Michael Waltrip's disaster," White said before Sunday's race. "I don't see it as a disaster so much as I see it as an opportunity for us to go ahead and do something that we've been kind of held away from doing up until now." More ...

03/19/07
nascar
Wingo Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award  In only his fifth race paired together with Juan Pablo Montoya, crew chief Donnie Wingo guided his rookie driver to his first NEXTEL Cup Series top-five finish. Prior to the weekend, the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger's best finish was nineteenth. By the end of the Kobalt Tools 500, the Chip Ganassi team was celebrating its most impressive finish to date. Amazingly, it was at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track that Montoya had never seen until two days earlier. Wingo used his vast knowledge of the track to overcome this obstacle, and it was evident by the preparation of the race car. For his exceptional set-up of the car and excellent adjustments, Wingo earned the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.

"Everybody did a great job," said Montoya following the race. "My Dodge was amazing. Everybody at Texaco/Havoline, Chip Ganassi, my crew guys, my crew chief, everybody did an amazing job today. It's nice to get a top-five here." More ...

03/19/07
alms
Sebring LMP2 winners: In their owns words  In a race full of storybook moments, Acura and Andretti Green Racing had one of the best. The newest manufacturer in the American Le Mans Series wasted no time in getting to Victory Circle with a fantastic debut win in LMP2 at Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring behind the Andretti Green crew and drivers Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan.

Acura took the top two positions in class as Lowe’s Fernandez Racing finished second in its Acura-powered Lola with Adrian Fernandez, Luis Diaz and David Martinez. The emotion and joy following the endurance classic was overwhelming to say the least.

Robert Clarke, president of Honda Performance Development:
“I can't put it in words. I would rate it as one of the highest emotional experiences I’ve had. So much work went into this program. It was one of my wild ideas and it went all the way from ‘hell no’ to our result today. It has been a long road, not just for HPD but for Acura, our team, sponsors, drivers, everyone who is involved in the program.

“I couldn’t have been so bold as to dream of this result. I could go on about the laundry list of things that could go wrong. I knew we would get to the end of the race one way or the other.”

“We hoped to earn the invitation to Le Mans. It is more important to us to convince ourselves that we are deserving of that. We’ll know if we deserve the opportunity come the end of the season.” More ...

03/19/07
irl
XM Satellite Radio adds IndyCar programming  XM Satellite Radio has upgraded its coverage of the IndyCar Series, kicking off with the season-opening race March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The nation's leading satellite radio service enters its third year as the official satellite radio network of the IndyCar Series with broadcast of the race live on the IndyCar Series Channel (XM 145) and simulcast on XM Sports Nation (144).

A special edition of "Powershift" with Joe Castello will air from the track from 6-7 p.m. (EDT) on Channel 144 on March 24, featuring interviews with drivers Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon. The IMS Radio Network pre-race show follows on both channels before coverage of the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300. More ...

03/19/07
irl
Danica Patrick to appear  UPDATE After being a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday night, March 20 (check local listings), Danica Patrick will make a live appearance on The Today Show at 9 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, March 21 (check local listings) with host Matt Lauer.  The Andretti Green Racing driver also will tape a segment for MTV's "Big Ten" and tape an in-studio interview at CNN.  Watch for her segments.

03/19/07 IRL driver Danica Patrick will be a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday night at 11:35 pm to 12:35 am ET on CBS.
03/19/07
irl
Fountain Powerboats sponsor Roth's entry  Fountain Powerboats will be the primary sponsor for the No. 25 driven by team owner Marty Roth in the season-opening XM Satellite Radio 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24.  "I'm really excited to have Fountain Powerboats on my car for the Homestead-Miami race," Roth said. "I can say based on first-hand experience that Fountain produces absolutely first-class performance boats that are spectacular to drive."  Fountain Powerboats has been a leader in the performance power boat industry for more than 25 years.
03/19/07
ips
Indy Pro champ to stay in Indy Pro series  SpeedWorks, LLC, an Indianapolis-based Indy Pro Series team, today announced the signing of Jay Howard as driver of the teams’ #44 Indy Pro Series machine. The agreement is for the first three races of the Indy Pro Series championship, with the anticipation of extending the relationship for the remainder of the year. 

Howard, hailing from Basildon, England, captured the 2006 Indy Pro Series drivers’ championship by recording two pole positions, eight top five finishes, and two victories in eleven starts in his rookie season while driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He returns to the series with the goal of repeating his championship effort from the previous year. “I am very happy for the opportunity to be back in the Indy Pro Series with Peter and the rest of the SpeedWorks crew,” said Howard. “The series has grown this year, both in participants and in events, and I think this will be the strongest year in the history of the series.” More ...

03/19/07
tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC  The NASCAR Busch Series heads to one of NASCAR’s most unique race tracks, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, this weekend and ESPN on ABC will have live coverage of Saturday’s 250-lap race. The Bristol event is the first short track race of the season for the NASCAR Busch Series and one of six select NASCAR Busch Series races this season that will air on ABC, with the other 29 to be televised by ESPN2. Coverage will begin with the pre-race NASCAR Countdown show at 2:30 p.m. ET, with the race to start at 3 p.m.

At just over a half-mile in length, with turns banked a steep 36 degrees, Bristol is NASCAR’s highest-banked track. Lap times for NASCAR Busch Series cars are in the 16-second range and the tight confines of the track create racing conditions not seen anywhere else, helping to make Bristol one of the most popular tracks among fans. More than 100,000 seats encircle the track in a stadium setting.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver who runs only a handful of NASCAR Busch Series races, will compete in the Bristol event, seeking his second Bristol NASCAR Busch Series win. Kyle Busch won last year’s race after battling to the front from the 20th starting position. More ...

03/19/07
NASCAR
This Week’s Top 10 Tums Moments  The fourth stop of the 2007 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway once again had the stars of the Nextel Cup Series experiencing several indigestion-causing incidents, from engine troubles to disappearing victories. Each weekend, PRN lead anchor Doug Rice picks the Top 10 TUMS Moments from that week's racing activities. For the fourth week of the NEXTEL Cup season, top TUMS honors go to:

10. Ryan Newman blisters the field to win his seventh Atlanta pole position then after an engine change is relegated to the back of the field and never threatens for the win.
9. Michael Waltrip's 2007 struggles continue as his Toyota fails the make the field for the third straight race.
8. Dale Jarrett gets caught speeding on pit road and is required to revisit pit lane only to be penalized a second time for speeding, certainly a reason for indigestion.
7. Scott Riggs' terrible luck continues as engine failure places him 43rd in Atlanta.
6. Kasey Kahne's early season woes are prolonged as he is swallowed into a crash not of his own making.
5. Jeremy Mayfield has yet to run a competitive lap in 2007 as he is now 0 for four in qualifying attempts.
4. A loose wheel proves costly for Kyle Busch as a promising run is cut short before it barely starts.
3. Brian Vickers becomes the first Toyota driver to ever a lead a lap in NEXTEL Cup competition and almost immediately afterwards heads to the garage and a 42nd place finish.
2. After winning the Daytona 500 it's been a tough ride for Kevin Harvick with successive finishes of 17th, 27th and 24th.
1. Tony Stewart saw an almost certain victory disappear with a late race caution and allowed his home improvement rival Jimmie Johnson to make a pass with three laps remaining to secure the win.

03/19/07
f1
SPEED adds F1 show  The popular SPEED on-air Formula One team of Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Peter Windsor will offer expert analysis of each Formula One race this season, with a new 60-minute program entitled Formula One Debrief, set to debut April 6 at 11:30 p.m. ET.

“This show is for the hardcore F1 fan,” said Rick Miner, SPEED Sr. VP Production and Network Operations. “Our team of experts will deliver a level of scrutiny the serious F1 fans have been asking for, giving more attention to specific issues that determine the outcome of each event.”

For the 12th consecutive season, SPEED is the home to Formula One racing in the U.S., teaming this season with FOX Sports on coverage of four events. The SPEED broadcast team will call four Grand Prix races on FOX – the Canadian Grand Prix (live), U.S. Grand Prix (live), French Grand Prix and British Grand Prix. The remaining 13 events will be live and exclusive to SPEED, including the famed Grand Prix of Monaco.

03/19/07
f1
Sutil hits back at backmarker criticism  (GMM)  Spyker's Adrian Sutil has hit back against criticism of lethargic backmarkers in the Australian grand prix by calling his drive-through penalty for blocking Lewis Hamilton "unfair".

Bemused figures including Kimi Raikkonen and Flavio Briatore made mention of drivers who were slow to heed the blue flags' commands at Albert Park on Sunday, and Sutil is also thought to have also held up Fernando Alonso.

But the German rookie told Auto Motor und Sport: "We asked the McLaren guys and they said they did not feel that they had been disadvantaged.

"So you could say that the penalty was a bit unfair."

While serving his drive-through, Sutil copped another stewards' penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

03/19/07
motogp
Huge launch for Repsol Honda team  The Repsol Honda Team riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa brought the centre of Madrid to a standstill on Sunday as they lead a spectacular 8000-bike convoy through the Spanish capital. The event, organized by Repsol to celebrate the official launch of the 2007 Repsol Honda Team, saw the American World Champion and his Spanish team-mate riding Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades to the Palacio de Deportes, flanked by a huge police escort along the 7km route.

The MotoGP stars were joined on the ride-out by Julián Simón and Shuhei Aoyama from the 250cc Repsol Honda Team while the 125cc team riders Esteve Rabat and Bradley Smith followed in a car – being too young hold the required road license. All six riders then appeared on stage to answer questions and sign autographs in front of thousands of excited motorcycle fans.

Following their unusual Sunday ride, the Repsol Honda squad will now begin the final preparations for the Grand Prix of Spain which takes place at the Jerez circuit on March 23-25.

03/19/07
lmes
First official airing of Peugeot LeMans challenger  With a little less than a month to go before the 2007 Le Mans Series kicks off at Monza, Team Peugeot Total will travel with six of its seven drivers and a single 908 HDi FAP to Paul Ricard in the south of France for the official Le Mans Series test days on March 25-26.

Since its first shakedown run over military ground in Vélizy Villacoublay, near Paris, on December 31, 2006, and its official unveiling on January 10 at Mortefontaine, also near Paris, the 908 HDi FAP has taken part in five test sessions at Le Castellet and Valencia, Spain. The second car was completed at the end of February, with the third chassis set to follow a few weeks later. The timetable continues to be extremely tight therefore, which explains the team's absence from testing at Sebring and the presence of just one 908 HDi FAP at Paul Ricard for the Le Mans Series tests. "The schedule of the cars is particularly busy, as is the program that has been put together in the space of just one year," explains Peugeot Sport Director Michel Barge. "What with the test program, rebuilds, modifications and preparation work, we have a great deal to do in a short period of time. This in turn makes calls on our logistics and human resources that occasionally need to be adjusted to enable us to pursue the current development phase in good conditions.” More ...

03/19/07
nascar
NASCAR and Home Depot extend deal  NASCAR has extended its sponsorship deal with home improvement giant Home Depot. The brand, currently the ‘official home improvement warehouse’ of the motorsport series, has now also become exclusive retail partner of NASCAR Day – an annual, charitable event, to be held on May 18.

In support of the initiative, the company will run a special NASCAR Day-themed paint scheme on the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet driven by two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart as he competes in the April 15 race at Texas Motor Speedway and exclusively sell NASCAR Day pins across the US.

Said Roger Adams, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of the Home Depot: “Through the sponsorship we're able to strengthen our relationship with NASCAR and the entire NASCAR community.”

03/19/07
racing news
Quotes of the Week  
RACE FAN, Question to Tony George on Wind Tunnel
Eleven years ago your insistence to create the IRL began a crippling downward spiral for open wheel racing in this country.  When are you going to address the needs of the open wheel community as a whole instead of this senseless power play you launched in 1996?  Fix it or forget it.....fans like me are walking away from the sport.

ROBERT CLARKE, HPD President and Acura and Honda racing boss
The result and the subsequent wave of congratulatory messages have been truly overwhelming.  In my entire career in motorsports yesterday's performance was my most special moment.  Whereas in CART and the IRL we had assistance, respectively, from Honda R&D or Ilmor, the ALMS program is of HPD's sole conception and ultimate responsibility.  Yesterday's event was the first true test of HPD's new development program. Beating the Porsches did give us great satisfaction, but it was actually the personal congratulations from Audi's Dr. Ulrich and his comment that they were "very concerned" that gave us the greatest pleasure. (Commenting on Acura's win on their maiden ALMS race at Sebring Saturday)

BOBBY RAHAL, Father of future star Graham Rahal
Kevin Kalkhoven said he would be in Champ Car, and I take the man at his word. (Commenting on a question posed to him during the 12 Hours of Sebring about whether his son will have a ride in Champ Car this year) More ...

03/19/07
nascar
NASCAR Sponsorship Stupidity  UPDATE This Winston Salem Journal article has more insight on the AT&T - Sprint-Verizon sponsorship fiasco.

03/18/07 Obviously it hasn't occurred to NASCAR that their current efforts to control who can become primary sponsors in the series is both shortsighted and stupid. Witness the current conflicts between Shell and Sunoco, Cingular/AT&T and Nextel/Sprint, Motorola and Nextel/Sprint.

Here you have sponsors willing to spend millions of dollars to both advertise via NASCAR, as well as pay to keep teams running in the series and NASCAR has to intervene and try to keep some out or dictate terms to them on exactly how and what they can do with their advertising. This is stupid and nothing more than complete egotistical garbage on the part of NASCAR.

The minute you start trying to dictate terms to large corporations, consider that Shell Oil has profits FAR in excess of anything NASCAR earns per year, the only thing you do is manage to alienate both that corporation and a few more who suddenly step back and wonder if it makes sense anymore to try to advertise through a mechanism that wants to dictate terms to them. The bottom line is that the more NASCAR tries to tighten its control over everything and anything that NASCAR comes in contact with, the more these corporations will pull back and reassess their involvement. Mika Malehorn

03/19/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Lucky escape for F1, Wurz
Lauda hits out at Todt's podium antics
Sources surprised at Singapore GP silence
Briatore turns on acid tongue in Melbourne
F1 world in a spin over Hamilton
Heidfeld wants another year at BMW
Melbourne over, F1 hops straight to Sepang
Victor Kimi still not number one - Todt
Dennis accuses BMW of 'showboating'
03/18/07
nascar
Lots of bare aluminum in Atlanta  Underscoring NASCAR's drop in popularity was the sight of more bare aluminum in the grandstands of a Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Sunday than has been seen in the last 20 years for NASCAR. The photo to the right of Robby Gordon's Ford does not begin to show just how bad it really was. Sunday featured another one of NASCAR's late race debris cautions to help a low on fuel Jimmie Johnson....who just happened to be driving the Kobalt Tools Chevy and this was the Kobalt Tools 500. Johnson won. The fans are getting tired of NASCAR's "managed" racing to placate sponsors. At that point it no longer is a sport, but a show.
03/18/07
cc
Love blossoms at the Lexmark Indy 300  2006 Lexmark Indy 300 winner Nelson Philippe today returned to where he has enjoyed the pinnacle moment of his motorsport career, making a fly-by visit to the Surfers Paradise Beach this morning.

While the Frenchman’s emphatic victory on the Gold Coast caused a sensation in the Champ Car World Series ranks, as the 20 year-old secured his maiden checkered flag, his victory also ensured the trend of no driver winning the Australian event twice in its 16-year history also continued.

But it appears the whirlwind surrounding Philippe’s success has also stirred up emotions of another kind and that was clearly evidenced this morning.

Joining Philippe for a leisurely stroll along one of Australia’s most famous coastlines was reigning Bartercard Miss Indy Sarah Buller.

Philippe explaining the podium presentation during last year’s Lexmark Indy 300 marked just the start of bigger and better things to come, which has now also provided added incentive for the young driver to defend his title when the event returns to the streets of Surfers Paradise on October 18-21. More ...

03/18/07
Miscellaneous
Barrett-Jackson sues Michigan judge  A Michigan judge is being sued by an Arizona collector car auction company after he accused the firm of underselling his classic vehicle. David Clabuesch said his 1970 Hemi 'Cuda sold for $300,000 at Scottsdale's Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in January but the muscle car should have fetched $700,000 to $1 million.

Barrett-Jackson is suing Clabuesch in U.S. District Court in Phoenix for "outrageous and defamatory actions," including chaining the car's wheels at the auction tent and putting up a sign calling its sale void.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, seeks unspecified damages and asks Clabuesch to stop maligning Barrett-Jackson.

Clabuesch, a 57-year-old judge in the Huron County Probate Court, said he did not defame Barrett-Jackson.  "They quick-gaveled the car," said Clabuesch, who protested the bidding procedure immediately and is willing to let a jury decide whether the sale was handled properly. Detroit News

03/18/07
alms
irl
Chidi Chidi Bang Bang Celebrity Charity Gala  P1 Groupe and Magellan Entertainment are hosting a Celebrity charity event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on March 30, 2007, in conjunction with the 2007 St. Petersburg Grand Prix.

Come rub elbows with your favorite professional athletes from the NFL, MLB, and Professional Boxing, as well as your favorite drivers from the American Le Mans Series and Indy Racing League for a night to remember at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, March 30, 2007 from 9pm-1am for the 1st Annual Chidi Chidi Bang Bang Charity Gala hosted by 12-year NFL superstar Chidi Ahanotu! All net proceeds from the event go to the All Sports Community Service charity (www.allsportscommunity.org). 

All Sports Community Service gives financial and emotional support as well as mentoring to young student athletes. This is one of the NFL's official charities. Tickets are just $40 for this 1920's throwback event. Period attire is not required, but is encouraged, so feel free to come dressed in your favorite style from the 1920's. More ...

03/18/07
racing news
Results of recent polls  Here are the results of some recent polls AutoRacing1.com has conducted on recent auto racing topics.  This will be our poll results page for the remainder of this year.  Our latest poll just started today and asks the question, Should Champ Car and the IRL merge?  You can take the poll on our Home page.
03/18/07
f1
Jean Todt a happy man  Jean Todt was a happy man after Sunday's Australian Grand Prix. The Ferrari team boss saw the team's new driver win for the first time in the Italian team's car and Massa bring in a few points.
 
Looking back at today's Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park Jean Todt commented: "That was an exciting Grand Prix! We started with our drivers at opposite ends of the grid, with Kimi on pole and Felipe in last place because of an electrical problem in the gearbox management that had hampered his qualifying yesterday. Both of them put on a great performance."

"Kimi maintained his first place after the start and then did a very good job of managing the race, while Felipe staged a great climb through the field to take him up to sixth place. A new chapter in Ferrari's history has got off to a very good start. The chassis-engine package proved to be competitive, the team worked with dedicated professionalism and the drivers were impeccable." More ...

03/18/07
f1
Renault 1 sec. off the pace  The Head of Engine Track Operations, Denis Chevrier, talks about his weekend and the Melbourne result. Giancarlo Fisichella finished 5th, while team mate Heikki Kovalainen finished 10th during his GP debut.

Denis, are you disappointed this evening?
“Yes and no. It’s obvious that we can’t be satisfied with a haul of four points at the end of a grand prix, but you can’t fall into the depths of despair either after one race. I think that today’s hierarchy confirms what we saw in private testing. The Ferraris are the quickest, followed by the McLarens. Then Renault and BMW seem to be on about the same level but we were not the strongest in today’s duel.”

How can you explain the gap separating Giancarlo from Kimi Räikkönen, the winner?
“You’re right. It’s not just a question of simply looking at the classification, but the gaps as well. Today we were around a second a lap off the pace. It’s huge, especially as we didn’t run into any special problems. We did not have the wrong strategy or meet with problems during pit stops, for example. It’s difficult to attribute this lack of performance to any one parameter in particular; it would be too simple but one thing that’s clear is that we’re not yet getting the best out of the tires. We’ll have to sort through the data collected this weekend, find some explanations, and then improve the interaction between the chassis-engine-tire package.”

What can we expect for Sepang in three weeks?
“That’s a good question! This circuit is very different and it emphasizes different dynamic qualities of the cars, in particular with the long quick corners. So the hierarchy may evolve. In addition, we’ll have completed three days’ testing on the track before tackling the grand prix. So we’ll have more reference points.” Renaultf1

03/18/07
alms
Acura embarrasses Penske Porsche team in debut  SEBRING, Fla. — The three new Acura American Le Mans Series teams made a spectacular debut Saturday by taking the first, second and fourth positions in the LMP2 class at the 55th annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, one of the world’s most prestigious road-racing events. [Editor's Note: In the process they embarrassed the more established Penske Porsche factory effort who were the pre-race favorites to win the LMP2 class.]

The Andretti Green Racing effort, with drivers Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan, scored the LMP2 class victory over the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing team of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz after the grueling 12-hour endurance contest. The AGR trio finished second overall to the factory Audi LMP1, racing on the lead lap against the more powerful German manufacturer before gearbox woes slowed the Acura ARX-01a driven by Herta in the final hour. The Fernandez team placed third overall, just two laps shy of the AGR team.

The Highcroft Racing team, with drivers David Brabham, Stefan Johansson and Duncan Dayton, placed fourth in the ALMS and sixth overall in its Acura ARX-01a sports car. More ...

03/18/07
Industry News
Ford to close Norfolk plant  Ford Motor Co. told workers Friday it will close its Norfolk truck factory during the week of June 25 - an announcement that puts a solid date on shutdown plans first announced in April, union officials said.  A memo signed by both plant manager Kevin Gideon and Ed Hay, the chairman of United Auto Workers Local 919, was given to workers Friday morning.  "I'm not shocked. I had a premonition," said union President Chris Kimmons. "I was hoping that maybe we could stretch it out until September."
03/18/07
irl
Tony George on Wind Tunnel  IRL boss Tony George will appear on Wind Tunnel tonight on SPEED Channel.
03/18/07
nascar
Sunoco still not happy  Sunoco is still upset about Shell's move into this sport (in which Sunoco is paying NASCAR for "official fuel" sponsorship rights) and is considering legal action against Shell to force it to take down all those Kevin Harvick banners at its 15,000 service stations. Winston Salem Journal
03/18/07
nascar
Carmichael to make stock car debut Saturday  Supercross legend, Ricky Carmichael, is scheduled to make his first start as a stock car professional at North Florida Speedway in Lake City. Mark Martin plans to skip the Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway to act as Carmichael's crew chief. The link between Martin and Carmichael is Bobby Ginn, who calls Palm Coast home. Carmichael was signed by Ginn to a driver development deal. Martin left Roush Fenway Racing to drive a Chevrolet for Ginn in Cup this season. Daytona Beach News Journal
03/18/07
nascar
Yates still sees challenges in Unleaded Fuel  Doug Yates has had a chance to pull apart and examine the engines from the first two races in the unleaded era, and he sees some challenges ahead. In fact, Yates said, his engines came within, say, 10 laps of wholesale failure in unleaded's debut at California. "We came back from Fontana and every engine we had was almost broken," said Yates, chief of Roush-Yates Engines, which produces all motors for Ford's NASCAR fleet. "Some were broken and just didn't fail on the track. The 21 car broke. #99-Carl Edwards's engine was broken and he didn't even know it. It must have broken coming to the checkered flag or on the way to the garage. "I've talked to the other engine builders in the garage, and they say this is a way bigger challenge than we all thought it was going to be." NASCAR has used unleaded gas in the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series for a few years. It decreed last year that unleaded would become the mandate beginning at California this year. The California and Las Vegas races were the laboratories. Yates said he saw few problems with valves and valve seats, which had been thought to be most vulnerable with the new fuel. Lead has lubricating properties, and unleaded fuel deprives the engine of much of that inherent lubricity. But it goes much deeper than that. "What people don't understand is anything you change in these engines is a big deal," Yates explained. "I'm getting tired of hearing people on TV saying, 'Oh, it's just unleaded fuel.' It's a very hard change for the engine guys. The initial thing was valves and valve seats; that continues to be a problem. But what people don't understand is they reduced the octane from 112 to 98. Whenever you reduce octane, the fuel burns faster, so now you're microwelding rings, breaking pistons, having [fuel] distribution issues. It used to be when you lowered the octane, you lowered the compression. Well, obviously in racing, you're not going to lower the compression, so the tuning of the engine is probably the toughest thing." Doug, son of legendary team owner Robert Yates, studied engineering at North Carolina State, and he admits the change to unleaded has been a major mental puzzle. "I should have gone for my master's," he said with a smile. Ford Racing site
03/18/07
f1
Briatore slams Kovalainen's debut  Renault boss Flavio Briatore has slammed his rookie Finn driver's error-strewn F1 debut in the Australian GP.

After failing to qualify in the top ten, Kovalainen struggled throughout the season-opening race, committing a series of mistakes and making regular excursions off the track.

"Kovalainen had a horrible race," Briatore told RAI. "You need to be realistic: he did almost everything wrong.  I think everybody was watching on TV. I don't need to protect anybody. It was rubbish. What can I say? If I tell you it was good, I am a complete idiot.  Of course he's a rookie but so is Hamilton so in these two weeks before the next race he needs to change his attitude and try to do better, because he has the capability to do it. Nothing went right today."

03/18/07
f1
Hamilton 'ecstatic' after brilliant debut  Britain's Lewis Hamilton described himself as "ecstatic" with his superb rookie debut performance in the Australian Grand Prix.  He was the first driver since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996 to stand on a podium on his debut.

"It has been a fantastic day for me," said Hamilton.

"To lead in my first grand prix was an amazing feeling.

"I had Fernando behind me for a long time, and it is extremely tough when you have a two-time world champion behind you, especially in your first race."

Alonso admitted afterwards that he was "fortunate" to have taken second from Lewis, who was held up on his final in-lap by Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato.

"A bit unfortunate really in the second stop," Hamilton said. More ...

03/18/07
TV News
Ethnic slurs uncalled for  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Two British commentators made ethnic slurs during both the 12 hours of Sebring race and the Formula One Grand Prix race in Australia. One was said about Adrian Fernandez regarding his 'Mexican demeanor' in which they quickly apologized during the race. But during the F1 podium ceremony David Hobbs made a comment about Lewis Hamilton and I quote " That’s gotta be the darkest face we have ever seen." I think he's racist and that comment was uncalled for and some action should be taken by Speed Channel. Alistair Fannell
03/18/07
f1
Big crowd for F1 opener  So much for a race needing to be paired with the V8 Supercars to be successful in Australia.  105,000 spectators attended Sunday's Australian grand prix, a number which should help to deflate V8 Supercar boss Tony Cochran's ego. Photo courtesy of Ferrari
03/18/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Coulthard, Wurz, shake hands after scary shunt
Massa - problem cost me podium
Davidson in hospital after Albers shunt
Kovalainen admits erratic debut
Schu among first to congratulate Raikkonen
Renault misses Alonso, Briatore admits
Honda's Button slams 'rubbish' opener
03/18/07
nascar
GM Racing talks about COT development  On Wednesday, March 14 members of the GM Racing engineering staff and Team Chevy reviewed with members of the media an in-depth presentation on the Impala SS Car of Tomorrow. This is a transcript of the Q&A following the formal session talking about the development of the Impala SS Car of Tomorrow and its affects on aerodynamics and safety as well as the marketing strategy for the change in nameplate.

Participants included Pat Suhy, GM Racing NASCAR Group Manager, Jeff Chew, Chevy Racing NASCAR Marketing Manager, Tom Gideon, GM Racing Safety Manager, Kevin Bayless, GM Racing Oval Track Chassis/Aero Program Manager and Bobby Hutchens, Vice President of Competition at Richard Childress Racing.

Kevin Bayless, GM Racing Oval Track Chassis/Aero Program Manager

DURING THE CAR OF TOMORROW TEST AT MICHIGAN, DRIVERS SAID THEY HAD DIFFICULTY RACING SIDE BY SIDE. WILL THE CAR OF TOMORROW ULTIMATELY LEAD TO BETTER RACING? "I think it's really a little too early to tell. There are definitely steps that NASCAR has taken to try to improve the ability to race side by side and nose to tail but you probably saw at Michigan, there wasn't a whole lot of time really spent in those kind of situations. Most of testing up until now has been single car runs, not a lot of running in the draft in a group. I think as with any change it's going to take a while for the teams to adapt and realize what kind of setup it's going to take to make the drivers comfortable. I think we saw that for sure at Bristol. The setups that the teams were running at the end of the second day, when it started raining on the second day, were considerably different than what they unloaded with and what they run with the current cars. So I think it's really too early to say how the competition will pan out until the teams have had more time to work with the cars. It certainly appears that the tools are available for the racing to be at least as good as what it is currently." More ...

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