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Cheever Racing pleased with FABCAR  It's beautiful, and it's fast. The newly redesigned FABCAR chassis, a compilation of work between engineers at Crown Royal Cheever Racing and FABCAR, is drawing raves and making its mark in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. [Editor's Note: Beautiful? The general consensus with racing personnel and with fans is that the Grand-Am prototypes are the most hideous looking race cars mankind has ever produced. They are so bad looking and so slow fans refuse to buy any tickets to watch them.]
The new design made its second appearance in Grand-Am's Daytona Prototype class last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Cheever Racing team started sixth and driver Christian Fittipaldi led nine laps with the Crown Royal FABCAR-Porsche Daytona Prototype, before an extra pit stop to repair bodywork damaged from an on-track incident led the team to finish 14th.

Despite the finish the crew who helped design and fabricate the car were pleased with the progress.
“This is the culmination of many hours of hard work, in a condensed period of time, by both the Cheever Racing and FABCAR crews, and, for the guys who put it together, it’s like a child,” said Eddie Cheever Jr., owner of Cheever Racing. “They¹ve been with it since birth, they¹ve watched it take its first steps, and now they’re watching as it starts to run. They’re very proud of this car.”
The pride lies in the story behind the creation. After Cheever Racing's first season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series the team sought a stronger relationship with a chassis manufacturer that could focus on the Porsche engine for the 2007 season. In their search, Cheever Racing tested a Brumos Porsche FABCAR at a winter test at Daytona International Speedway.

After inspecting and studying the FABCAR for a few weeks the team agreed it had potential. They switched from a Crawford to a FABCAR chassis and began the process of melding chassis and engine into one competitive product.
“We stuck our finger in the pie, and we liked what we discovered,” Cheever said of FABCAR. “The FABCAR chassis was built around the Porsche engine, so we had a perfect match to start with. From there, we starting tweaking the aerodynamics, and eventually, in cooperation with FABCAR’s engineers, we came up with a new, sleeker version of the car. This new car capitalized on all the work done previously by Brumos and Porsche.”
That version of the No. 39 Crown Royal Cheever Racing Porsche FABCAR debuted in a Grand-Am race in Mexico City on March 4. It ran among the leaders at the start of the race before a driveshaft problem forced retirement.
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Harrison Brix expect further improvement with the new design, a sleek, low-to-the-ground work of art that has generated more than its share of compliments.
“The work our engineers did in conjunction with FABCAR’s engineers created a slick body that lowered drag while helping the car in terms of downforce. It cuts through the air more efficiently, especially at high speed tracks like Daytona. Not only does it look sharp, but it moves fast.”
Overall, the partnership with FABCAR has been fruitful for Cheever Racing.
“We¹ve been more than pleased with our association with FABCAR,” Cheever said. “It¹s a very nice fit for us. They¹ve been in Grand-Am from the start, they¹ve got a built-in relationship with Porsche, and it¹s a good, solid race car. We¹ve worked quite well together. For us, it was a shoe that fit.” Eddie Cheever Racing PR

Medlen laid to rest  Funny Car driver Eric Medlen was laid to rest on a dreary Wednesday afternoon at West Ridge Park Cemetery in Clermont, Ind., within earshot of O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, drag racing's most hallowed ground. The 33-year-old John Force Racing driver died as a result of head injuries suffered in a testing accident March 19 in Gainesville, Fla.

The burial was preceded by an emotional, early-morning funeral service at Connection Pointe Christian Church in nearby Brownsburg. Fourteen-time NHRA world champion John Force led the pallbearers, who included Brandon Bernstein, J.R. Todd, Morgan Lucas, Robert Hight, crewmembers, and Jerold Camarillo, the professional cowboy who tutored Medlen during his budding rodeo career.

NHRA Chaplain and Racers For Christ President Larry Smiley presided over both ceremonies, which were attended by more than 1,000 members of the drag racing community, including world champions Shirley Muldowney, Don Prudhomme, Gary Scelzi, Frank Hawley, Tony and Cruz Pedregon, Larry Dixon, Kenny Bernstein, Jeg Coughlin, and Greg Anderson. Dozens of active drivers also attended, as did numerous crewmembers from virtually every Professional race team. Medlen's Auto Club crew entered the church in team uniforms, followed by each of the crews of the other three John Force Racing groups, who also wore team uniforms. Wearing sunglasses, Force later entered with his extended family, including son-in-law Hight. More ...

Only a few spots open on Ambrose tour  Marcos Ambrose’s inaugural NASCAR tour to North Carolina in May is filling up fast, but is strictly limited to 30 fans only.

While many Australian fans have already booked, the amount of interest from the US has initiated a special package for US-based fans.

Due to the high interest from the US, we are offering Marcos’ “local” fans the ability to join the tour in Charlotte for $US3,850, twin-share.

US fans will join the tour at the Westin Hotel, Charlotte on the evening of the May 23 where they will meet the other international tour members. They will then remain as a group for the next five days. More ...

No penalty this week for No. 16  UPDATE NASCAR officials confirmed Wednesday that Greg Biffle will not be penalized after his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford was found to be too low in postrace inspection for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.  NASCAR said the rear of Biffle's car was too low but didn't say by how much. Teams were given a quarter-inch tolerance.

03/27/07 From Larry McReynolds' column at FoxSports.com: "Don't expect to see a decision handed down this week against Greg Biffle and the #16 Roush Fenway Racing Nextel Cup team because a rear quarterpanel was low, and that's not something a team would want to have at Bristol. NASCAR can't figure out how it would be a performance enhancement. I don't look for any penalties this week. You're going to probably see something next week as this scenario is another part of the learning process with the Car of Tomorrow. FoxSports.com
Champ Car Field For 2007 Continues Taking Shape  INDIANAPOLIS – With today’s announcement of Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos as the drivers for newly-christened Minardi Team USA, the Champ Car World Series enters what is expected to be a furious week full of driver and sponsor announcements as the lineup for the 2007 season takes shape.

Doornbos joins a very strong Champ Car rookie contingent that already includes PKV Racing’s Neel Jani and Tristan Gommendy, Pacific Coast Motorsports’ Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge, along with 2006 Champ Car Atlantic champion Simon Pagenaud of Team Australia, with more rookies to be announced by the end of the week.

Clarke joins a skilled group of returning drivers that includes three-time and defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy, Justin Wilson, Alex Tagliani and Will Power in a field that will circle the globe in chase of the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup. Again as with the rookies, more veterans are expected to be added to the 2007 lineup tomorrow. More ...

Minardi Team USA signs Clarke and Doornbos  UPDATE Here is the full transcript of today's Minardi Team USA announcement.

03/28/07 The owners of Minardi Team USA Paul Stoddart and Keith Wiggins announced today that Dan Clarke (pictured right) will join Robert Doornbos on the Team Minardi USA for 2007.

"Hiring Dan was probably the worst kept secret in Champ Car. Since last year he was an obvious target for us," said Paul Stoddart. More to follow....

Ticketmaster, Mirage Casino and a number of other blue chip sponsors are backing Dan Clarke and Paul Stoddart has put together a multi-company sponsorship package for Robert Doornbos that will be announced Thursday night before the Vegas GP season opener.

Team Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Minardi Team USA is pleased to announce that Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos have signed to compete in the 2007 Champ Car World Series with the Indianapolis-based squad. After a successful pre-season testing program, the team will debut its new DP01 chassis next week, at the season-opening event in Las Vegas.

Britain’s Dan Clarke drove for the team in 2006, finishing second in rookie-of-the-year standings after claiming a pole position and a third-place finish during the season. Clarke joined CTE Racing-HVM from the prestigious British Formula 3 International Series, where he earned seven podiums and one victory in 2005, his rookie season. While competing in Formula Ford in 2004, Clarke also won the famous Formula Ford Festival, at Brands Hatch. More ...

More details on 2-seat F1 cars at Champ Car races  Paul Stoddart announced today that Minardi Team USA will bring its Formula One 2-seater cars to ten North American races in 2007. 

"We will bring five cars to each event but run just four (5th will be spare).  The plan is to have two cars on the track at a time and to really entertain both the lucky passenger as well as the fans."

track news
Stock cars return to Road America  The rumble of stock cars will return to Road America with the running of the First Annual Mid American Fall Classic, October 27, 2007. Over 30 cars are expected to compete in the Mid-American Stock Car Series' season finale. Road America has been a scheduled premier event several times in Mid-American's 15-year history. After a two-year road course sabbatical, competitors will again take on Road America's historic 4.048-mile road course which offers challenging turns, dramatic changes in elevation and scenic views of the glacially formed landscaped.

The Mid American Stock Cars Series schedule is designed for Midwest competitors who are self-supported racers passionate about stock cars. Races are held at tracks in Illinois and Wisconsin. Series co-owner Doug Strasburg is pleased about Mid American's return to Road America, "Our teams were thrilled to hear that Road America was on our schedule this year. Our drivers and fans will appreciate the winding, four-mile road course format-it's going to a great experience and a great show."

The event at Road America is a one-day event held in conjunction with the track's annual Cancer Walk/Run, which benefits the American Cancer Society. For registration information for the Cancer Walk/Run, please call 800/ACS-2345 or register on-line, starting in June, at http://main.acsevents.org/MW_RoadAmerica.

Road America offers diverse racing venues, amazing viewing opportunities, fantastic concessions and high-speed excitement to thousands of spectators each year. Located midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, it offers 628 grassy, rolling acres which include the 4.048 circuit and the 0.94 mile paved and dirt supermoto/karting track.

Admission to the Mid American Fall Classic is $20 for the one-day Saturday event. A $5 portion of that ticket price will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Parking and paddock access are free with ticket purchase. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by a paid adult. Gate 1 opens at 7:00 a.m. For more information, visit www.roadamerica.com or call 800/365-7223.

Ferrari to decide on Raikkonen engine next weekend  (GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen said on Wednesday that Ferrari will not decide until next Friday or Saturday whether or not to change his engine for the Malaysian grand prix.

Although the Finn won dominantly in Melbourne, his V8 power plant ran treacherously hot in the closing stages due to a water leak.

Ferrari engineers have inspected the engine but have not decided whether or not to take the risk of using it at Sepang or play it safe by installing a new one and taking a ten-position grid penalty.

"Hopefully everything will be okay," Raikkonen told reporters at the circuit, where on Wednesday the ambient temperatures hovered around a hot 35 degrees (C).

The 27-year-old championship leader, fastest of the ten teams on track, added: "On Friday or Saturday we will decide if the engine has to be changed."

Kimi said Ferrari was concentrating on preparations for the upcoming Malaysian GP.

"We have some new aerodynamic parts here," he added, admitting that the Malaysian heat makes it difficult for the drivers.

"But (it is difficult) not just for the drivers but also the people who work on the cars," Raikkonen said.

"It is more difficult here than other places but on the other hand it is the same for everyone."

You can own a piece of Bristol’s track surface  History was made in August of 1992 when Bristol Motor Speedway hosted the very first NASCAR Cup Series race on an all-concrete surface. In July of this year, fans will get the opportunity to own a piece of that history. A new concrete surface will be in place for NASCAR's most popular race, the Sharpie 500 in August. However, on July 1, pieces of the original concrete surface from the Start/Finish Line, where drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have celebrated Bristol victories, will be made available for fans looking to add the most unique of souvenirs to their racing memorabilia collection. Three versions of the collectible will be made available to fans. There is a piece of concrete in an acrylic case that will sell for $25, a 12"x14" framed piece that is $60 and the Concrete Showpiece, priced at $100. A portion of all sales of the concrete will benefit the Bristol chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. Quantities from the actual Start/Finish Line are limited. Only the actual concrete raced on by Bristol winners since 1992 will be sold - after it's gone, no other portions of the surface will be sold. Who would have thought of concrete as being a piece of memorabilia? Doug B
NASCAR slams its latest cheater  NASCAR announced Tuesday that Mike Bumgarner, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been penalized due to rules violations at Bristol Motor Speedway.  Bumgarner was fined $2,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules and 20A -- 12.1A(8) (jacking bolts must be made of solid magnetic steel) of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.
Bridgestone to use 'white groove' concept  (GMM) Bridgestone appears to have abandoned its idea of making the compounds of its tires more visibly distinguishable by painting large red dots on the side walls.

Instead, the Japanese supplier is likely to color the inside of one groove per tire white; a solution tested extensively by the Super Aguri team during Wednesday's testing at Sepang and probably to debut in the Malaysian grand prix.

It is understood that the sidewall dots concept was finally abandoned because, no matter the size or color of the marking, they are difficult to spot when the tire is turning at speed.

Interestingly, after the outside grooves were painted white on Alex Wurz's Williams on Tuesday, the Super Aguri of Takuma Sato featured tires with the inside grooves painted.

On another hot, sunny and humid day of testing near Kuala Lumpur, Kimi Raikkonen set an impressive pace, ahead of Williams' Wurz and eleven other runners.

The test concludes on Thursday.

Peugeot Paul Ricard test report  Development and reliability work were on the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP's program during the pre-season Le Mans Series test session at Paul Ricard HTTT where the new car was making its maiden official outing. The two-day workout in the south of France ended with the car at the top of the timesheets despite some technical problems.

Since the 908 HDi FAP's unveiling at Mortefontaine, near Paris, on January 10, Team Peugeot Total has worked without letup: in parallel to the new car's test program which began at the start of the year, three chassis have now been completed and the car's workout at Paul Ricard was its sixth and final run before the 2007 Le Mans Series kicks off at Monza on April 14-15. The single car present at Paul Ricard covered a total of 174 laps over the two days, equivalent to a little more than 1,000km, including the fastest lap of the test with a 1m 43.705s in the hands of Sébastien Bourdais. "It was a positive couple of days for us," says Peugeot Sport Director Michel Barge. "Sébastien's schedule means he hasn't been able to drive since early February and the session enabled us to give him some more time in the car. The same goes for Pedro Lamy who had been sidelined since hurting his Achilles tendon in February. On top of that, we come away with the fastest time which is encouraging." More ...

Vegas and Phoenix GPs get special trophies  LAS VEGAS – World-class designer Dror Benshetrit is taking the trophies for the Vegas Grand Prix and Grand Prix Arizona to another level.  In all, Benshetrit is creating 13 (or 25 for Las Vegas and Phoenix) trophies for each of the races including Champ Car World Series, Champ Car Atlantic and Historic Grand Prix categories.
“I met him a couple of months ago,” explained Bradley Yonover, who with DDB Ventures partner Dale Jensen owns the Vegas Grand Prix and Grand Prix Arizona. “Bombay Sapphire brought up his name to me. We wanted someone who was hot, up-and-coming and understood the ideas we wanted to convey, which are very, very modern and progressive.” More ...
racing news
Alonso Makes Sports Illustrated  The latest issue of Sports Illustrated rated the 20 top athletes at the top of their respective games, and Alonso was listed, as was Jimmie Johnson.  Nice to see something besides NASCAR get some coverage from SI. They have been terrible to open wheel racing over the years.
Formula BMW
Formula BMW test announced  20 young racers recently met at the newly paved Road Atlanta circuit, in Braselton, Georgia, on March 19 - 20 for the first official test of the 2007 Formula BMW USA championship season.

With young guns from North, Central and South America as well as from Europe the 2007 Formula BMW USA championship enters its fourth season, again showcasing some of the best young talent in the world of motorsport.

Among these are five BMW Juniors who will receive a $40,000 scholarship and automatic enrollment in Formula BMW's Education and Coaching Program. The drivers who earned the 2007 scholarships include two Americans, two Canadians and one Brazilian. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief   
  • Fisi urges Renault to make 'radical' changes
  • FIA clamps down on flexing floors
  • No need for 'new' Honda - Barrichello
  • Sauber, Kubica, play down BMW's Sepang pace
  • Honda still looking at Andretti - de Ferran

Fisi urges Renault to make 'radical' changes
Giancarlo Fisichella has backed speculation that Renault should build a 'B' version of its 2007 car.

After finishing more than a minute behind the winner in Australia, the Roman told the Italian magazine Autosprint that making "radical" changes might be the only way to "save" the reigning champions' season.

"We should build a whole new front suspension and modify the chassis, but even that would take a lot of time," Fisichella, 34, said.

"In order to save our season, it's better to make radical changes and solve the whole problem than limp slowly forward."

The disappointed Italian veteran rejected theories that Renault has dropped back simply because Fernando Alonso is no longer in a cockpit by insisting that the R27 is the "weakest" car he has driven for the team since rejoining in 2005.

Referring to Melbourne, Fisichella admitted: "It was a shock to see how big an advantage Ferrari and McLaren had over us.

"It was 1.6 seconds to Kimi Raikkonen and half a second to McLaren.  You obviously can't accept that."

Despite some new parts for the Malaysian GP next weekend, Fisichella - who will not test this week at Sepang - is not predicting a short-term return to form for the Enstone based squad.

"There isn't much to do about it," he said.

"No matter how much we improve, Ferrari will be a long way ahead of us for several races."

More ...

Track News
Lowe's to get yellow walls  The annual NASCAR Nextel Cup All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in mid-May will see the walls painted a bright yellow (Nextel color) all the way around the famous 1.5-mile Charlotte track.  Nextel wants the event to feel like a special event and it's not unusual for playing fields to get decorated in special colors for special events.  The walls will return to their white color in time for the following week's Busch and Nextel Cup races.
Raikkonen tops Wednesday test times  F1 testing continued Wednesday at Sepang , Malaysia with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen fastest of all. 

Pos  Driver        Team                     Time     Laps
 1.  Raikkonen     Ferrari             (B)  1:35.268   61
 2.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:35.702  114
 3.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:35.712   87
 4.  R.Schumacher  Toyota              (B)  1:35.751   81
 5.  Kubica        BMW-Sauber          (B)  1:35.887  111
 6.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:36.115   69
 7.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:36.306   63
 8.  Barrichello   Honda               (B)  1:36.563   36
 9.  Kovalainen    Renault             (B)  1:36.578   86
10.  Button        Honda               (B)  1:36.617   24
11.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:37.876   39
12.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:37.910   36
13.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:37.971   32

Toyota GP of Long Beach sponsor promotions  Sponsors of the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach are offering a wide variety of ticket discounts and prize contest opportunities to motorsports fans throughout Southern California in advance of the April 13-15 race weekend.

Toyota dealers are offering two Friday and two Saturday tickets as part of their $69.99 Parts/Service Special.  In addition, Toyota is providing a Toyota Tundra truck as a grand prize in a sweepstakes conducted with Coca-Cola, ampm convenience stores and Power 106 radio. More ...
Racing News
A tribute to Robert E. Petersen  As a tribute to hot rod pioneer Robert Petersen, the AHRF will air segments of the interview we conducted in 2004.  The video vignettes can be seen every Tuesday and Friday (at 2pm PDT) at www.ahrf.com/video.php

Robert Petersen passed away on Friday, 23rd March.  Petersen's  contribution to hot rodding and the auto industry as a whole is legendary.  To his contemporaries, he was a man driven to succeed but a man who had a humble side.

For us and generations to come we are blessed that the Petersen Automotive Museum will continue to carry his legacy guided by his close, loyal friend and confidante Dick Messer.

His passing drives home the importance of our mission here at the foundation: to preserve and promote hot rod history.  While our filmed interview of Mr. Petersen, and the story he tells, is but a part of this important hobby and culture, it is nonetheless a story that will be preserved forever.

Robert Petersen also appeared in Deuce, the documentary on the 32 Ford.  This is available at www.ahrf.com/store.php

SPEEDTV.com - In search of the real Car of Tomorrow  This is an excerpt from a David Phillips piece on SPEEDtv.com that perfectly illustrates the relevance and effectiveness of the American Le Mans Series platform compared to other forms of motorsport. The url can be found here: http://www.speedtv.com/commentary/36287/

One of the hallmarks of the American Le Mans Series is its direct tie-in between what its participating manufacturers display on the race track and the products they sell in the showroom. It is a platform that works not only for elite marques such as Audi, Porsche, General Motors, Panoz, Acura and Mazda but also for manufacturers and product suppliers such as Michelin, Kumho, Yokohama, Shell, EPIC and VP Racing Fuels.

The Series also bucks the trend in today’s motorsports world of “spec” competition that discourages innovations relevant to developing future technologies.

Such relevance between racing and consumer brands cannot be found in any other form of motorsport. While that has been long recognized by the Series and its corporate partners and manufacturers, mainstream media outlets are seeing the benefits of the American Le Mans Series platform. What follows is an excerpt from a piece by David Phillips on SpeedTV.com:  More ...

Playing the angles  Without traction control, more downforce on IndyCar Series cars could be one way to approach the twists and turns of the 1.8-mile temporary street circuit for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Then again, drivers might choose straight-line speed in lieu of cornering.

"Personal preference," said A.J. Foyt Racing's Darren Manning, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Either way, the sanctioning Indy Racing League has built in front-wing adjustments on the five road/street courses this season. While the end fences must remain parallel to the surface, slots were cut into them to allow 0-5 degrees positive or negative movement.

"Without increasing the cost, we've been able to give the teams a wider platform to adjust the car," said Les Mactaggart, senior technical director for the sanctioning body. "There will be some drivers who will be able to drive the car faster because they can have a bigger window to change the aerodynamics of the car. It doesn't seem like a lot, but you put 5 degrees in the front wing and it increases the amount of front-wing downforce. More ...

Indy Pro Series changes to Sunoco 260 GTXT  Indy Pro Series cars will be fueled by Sunoco 260 GTXT unleaded racing gasoline in 2007, marking a transition from the leaded fuel used previously. Teams completed the season-opening Miami 100 March 24 and almost 8,000 miles of testing using the 98 octane fuel during February's Open Test without difficulty.  "We're very pleased with the transition to unleaded fuel," said Indy Pro Series technical director Butch Meyer, who oversaw the change. "We ran all of those miles at the test and numerous miles on the dynamometer, and we haven't seen any change in performance. In fact, in some respects the fuel is much better for certain parts of the engine."  The 3.5-liter engines used in Indy Pro Series cars generate approximately 420 horsepower and speeds in excess of 190 mph.  "We just took apart an engine that ran 1,700 miles on the unleaded fuel, and it looked perfect," said Jeff Gordon, Indy Pro Series program manager with Speedway Engine Development Inc. "There was none of the typical buildup we saw in the engines when they used leaded fuel."  IRL PR
Pacific Coast Motorsports announces website upgrades  Pacific Coast Motorsports is pleased to announce the evolution of www.PCMracing.com. An interactive resource for fans, partners and the media, the innovative website provides extensive news and information about the #28 and #29 Pacific Coast Motorsports entries in the Champ Car World Series.

“It is an exciting time for Pacific Coast Motorsports and we wanted our website to resemble the high-speed evolution of PCM as we make our debut in the Champ Car World Series with Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel.  The website is enjoyable and resourceful for the fans and journalists that follow us, in addition to being functional from a business point of view.  It is a great marketing tool for our team and partners,” commented team director, Tyler Tadevic.

Created by long time PCM partners, Jack Kohler and James Hutchens of MacTech Systems, LLC, PCMracing.com is an easy to navigate source for track and event information, results, driver appearances, schedules, contests, and driver interviews. The site includes an online media guide detailing the latest team news, partner information, history and accomplishments of the team and athletes, crew bios and a photo gallery. Visitor interaction is encouraged with periodic contests, insider’s interviews, pod casts and giveaways through the “Club PCM.”

Bid to meet Jay Howard  Indy Pro Series driver is running this bid to meet and greet him in an effort to raise funds for a full-time ride.
Vegas GP odds  It's not a sporting event in Las Vegas unless you can bet on it and with less than two weeks until the green flag flies on the Vegas Grand Prix, Sunset Station Hotel and Casino has set the odds for Champ Car's 2007 opener.

It is no surprise that three-time defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais and the #1 McDonald's car are the favorite at 6/5 odds followed closely by the 2003 champ and Las Vegas resident Paul Tracy at 5/2 odds. What is surprising is Red Bull driver Neel Jani is third on the favorites list at 4 to 1 odds. The Swiss rookie has shown tremendous speed in the preseason testing which the oddsmakers have noticed.

The Sunset Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas places odds on every Champ Car World Series event.

Odds as of March 26, 2007 (subject to change)

Sebastien Bourdais 6/5
Paul Tracy 5/2
Neel Jani 4/1
Graham Rahal 5/1
Will Power 7/1
Alex Tagliani 10/1
Justin Wilson 10/1
Simon Pagenaud 15/1
Robert Doornbos 15/1
Bruno Junqueira 18/1
Matt Halliday 18/1
Field – All Others 10/1 Champcar.ws

Another Enzo wrecked  Eddie Griffin crashed a rare Ferrari Enzo worth $1.5 million into a concrete barrier while practicing at a racetrack Monday, destroying the car but escaping uninjured.

The comedian was practicing for a charity race to promote his upcoming film, "Redline," when he drove too fast around a curve at the Irwindale Speedway. Video footage showed the red sports car screeching before it ricocheted off the barrier with heavy damage to its front.

"Undercover Brother's good at karate and all the rest of that, but the brother can't drive," Griffin, referring to one his past films, said after the accident.

The film's publicist, Wendy Zocks, said Griffin was "doing OK."

"He walked away completely unscratched, but probably a little shaken," Zocks said.

The Enzo, valued at around $1.5 million, was owned by the executive producer of "Redline," Daniel Sadek, whose exotic car collection is featured in the movie.  (More at CNN including video of him wrecking the car)

De Ferran drops in to watch Marco  Gil de Ferran, the 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner and the current sporting director for Honda's Formula One team, made a surprise visit to the IndyCar Series opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"It was a last-minute decision to come here," de Ferran said. "I was at the office in England on Friday and we flew over here with my family for a little vacation and we decided to come over to the race and see these guys."

The de Ferrans are spending a spring break with Greg Penske in the South Florida area.

"I came here as a last-minute decision and the first thing I did was to come here and see my guys," de Ferran said. "I really have a soft spot for the team. A lot of the guys are still the same like Clive Howell and Tom German. The time I drove over here were probably the best times of my life." More ...

COT and Hauler issues  One of the big controversies about the Car of Tomorrow concerned the race haulers, the 53-foot tractor-trailers teams use to haul cars to and from the track. Last year, when team owners were fighting the CoT concept tooth and nail, one of their prime objections was that the taller CoTs would necessitate wholesale replacement of the pricey trailers. NASCAR insisted that wasn’t true. So what’s the real story? Newer trailers—those made in the last two years—have a lowered upper deck floor that accommodates the new, taller cars just fine. But some of the smaller teams that use older trailers have to replace the race tires on their CoTs to get them to fit. For example, BAM Racing, which fields cars for Mike Bliss, has a set of tire innerliners that it puts on Bliss’s CoT to get it to fit in the trailer. The innerliners, of course, aren’t as tall as the regular race tires. At least one other team uses production street tires when it loads its CoT. One other footnote about the trailers: The average life expectancy of a NASCAR Nextel Cup trailer is about 3-4 years. At the end of its life cycle, technology has advanced enough that teams want new features and configurations in their trailers. Ford Racing
Is Ward Burton back in Cup to stay?  The Morgan-McClure Motorsports #4 State Water Heaters Chevrolet Impala SS started 14th in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway and ended the day with an 18th place finish and a race car that was completely intact. Burton's qualifying lap on Friday posted the fastest time of all the drivers who had to qualify for the race on time. "It's like winning the pole for us," one of the crew members said of the 16.44 second lap. Ward Burton's day almost started with trauma as he got settled in the seat and could not be heard on the radio. This was remedied once a replacement radio was installed mere seconds before rolling off pit road. It was also a day of firsts for the Abingdon, VA based team - their pit crew had never pitted the Nextel Cup car in the 2007 season. Burton made the race in Las Vegas, but once he was hit by the # 7 car, he was out of the race and no pit stops took place. The crew got off to a bit of a shaky start, but as the day progressed, they were looking like the crew who has been practicing at the race shop for the last three months consistently busting off stops under 14 seconds. During one caution period, Team Manager Larry McClure said, "Ward , you look as good as anybody out there. Just keep doing what you're doing and we will be just fine." As the field took the checkered flag, being in the back paid off when many of the cars ahead of him collided into turn one. The State Water Heaters Chevy came home in one piece, virtually untouched, which is big at Bristol and important to a team that has only a few of the newly configured cars completed. The 18th place finish moved the #4 State Water Heaters Impala SS from 40th to 36th in owner points a mere 34 points away from having 34th or 35th as there is a tie for those two positions. After the race, Burton said "All the boys on the pit crew have been working really hard. Unfortunately, that is the first time they have been able to pit the car this year and every one of them is new. We've got to get a lot better on that. But we brought the car home in one piece and we really needed that to happen. We don't have a big inventory of cars; we're just trying to get caught up. At the end of the day, we had (a car in) one piece, a top-20 finish and not a bad points' day for us. Track position was everything and we could not keep track position. You're racing and right now a top-20 sounds pretty good but a top-10 sounds a whole lot better. The State Water Heaters people probably got a little publicity out of it so all in all where we are at, it was a wonderful day."
Top 10 TUMS Moments from Bristol  The fifth stop of the 2007 season at Bristol Motor Speedway once again had the stars of the Nextel Cup Series experiencing several indigestion-causing incidents, from dizzying spins to mechanical failures. Each weekend, PRN lead anchor Doug Rice picks the Top 10 TUMS Moments from that week's racing activities. For the fifth week of the NEXTEL Cup season, top TUMS honors go to: 10. Michael Waltrip again fails to qualify and has now missed 4 straight shows, with no relief in sight. 9. Joe Nemechek heads to Bristol 19th in driver's points but a poor qualifying attempt sends "Front Row Joe" home early. 8. Dale Jarrett finally makes a race without the benefit of the champions provisional and then is crashed out almost as soon as the race starts and has to settle for 42nd place. 7. David Ragen had to be dizzy at the end of the race after the young driver spun out a total of 4 times. 5. Ray Evernham's day started great with all three of his Dodges in the top 5 only to see them eventually drop out of contention one by one, with Kahne rallying to finish 20th and get back in the top 35. 4. After a top five run in Atlanta Juan Pablo Montoya looked more like rookie at Bristol hanging on to a 30th place finish. 3. David Stremme has a great top 5 run come up short at the end and he slips to 13th. 2. Mark Martin fans have to be upset and in need of Tums after their driver elects to stay at home and surrender the points lead. 1. Tony Stewart is no doubt still upset after dominating the race and being untouchable only to have a fuel pump cable snap and then snap his chance of winning the first COT race.
Audi slams ALMS rules but will continue  The LM P1 prototype was developed for the circuit at Le Mans, which is one of the world’s fastest tracks featuring long straights and quick corners. The average speed per lap at Le Mans is more than 230 kph, while the medium speed in St. Petersburg is expected to be less than 160 kph.
The roughly 150 kilogram lighter Acura/Honda and Porsche LM P2 sports cars which, due to a change of rules, are allowed to compete in the American Le Mans Series with more engine power than at Le Mans, were already nearly equal to the Audi R10 TDI in the Sebring season opener on account of the regulations. On the slower street courses, such as St. Petersburg, their benefit from the 150 kilogram weight advantage in the LM P2 class will even be greater, as it affects acceleration, cornering speeds, braking distances and fuel consumption considerably.
Still worse for Audi, the Audi R10 TDI – as a diesel sports car – has to compete with a fuel tank that has been reduced by ten percent: instead of 90 liters, the fuel tank contains no more than 81 liters in 2007. At Sebring, this restriction already resulted in the Audi drivers having to refuel up to five laps earlier than the LM P2 cars – despite the low consumption figures of the diesel engine. In St. Petersburg, the situation will be similar. More ...
Fit Davidson to test at Sepang  (GMM)  Anthony Davidson is in Kuala Lumpur and intends to test on the second day of Sepang testing on Wednesday.

The British racer left the Albert Park circuit after the Australian grand prix on a stretcher, after injuring a muscle in his back in a clash with Spyker's Adrian Sutil.

But despite spending a night in hospital, 27-year-old Davidson looked fully fit at Sepang on Tuesday and is scheduled to take over from Super Aguri teammate Takuma Sato in the SA07 some time on Wednesday afternoon.

Webber to drive Singapore track  On Saturday Mark Webber will become the first F1 driver to sample the proposed city layout for a Singapore grand prix.

According to the local newspaper Straits Times, the Red Bull driver is scheduled to test the street circuit at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3, even though he will have to conform to normal speed limits.

"We didn't have enough time to get the clearance for a high-speed run," Jyn Wee, Red Bull's brand manager in Singapore, was quoted as saying.

Webber publicly supports the concept of night races for formula one, with Singapore slated to become the first grand prix run under floodlights early next year.

"I have done a night race before and I like it a lot," Webber, 30, said. "I am sure the fans would love it and I think it is a unique idea, so why not?"
Bridgestone test new 'option' tire markings  On the first day of the Sepang test on Tuesday, Bridgestone evaluated new solutions to visibly distinguish its 'option' tires for the upcoming Malaysian grand prix and beyond.

After the 3cm white sidewall dot proved almost impossible to recognise either trackside or in pitlane in Australia, the Japanese manufacturer tested various options on the Williams of Alex Wurz on the Malaysian circuit.

Probably the most effective solution was the white colouration of the outside groove of the tire. Bridgestone tried both painting the groove and using chalk.

Due to its ease of application, however, the most likely solution to be used at Sepang next weekend is the painting of large red dots on the sidewall.

Bridgestone tested the use of one and two 10cm dots.

In hot weather near Kuala Lumpur, BMW's Robert Kubica suffered a repeat of his Melbourne gearbox failure but still emerged quickest of the ten runners. The pole outpaced championship leader Kimi Raikkonen.
TV News
A1GP Mexico City race to be televised  The A1GP race run in Mexico City on March 25, 2007 will be televised Wednesday, March 28 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm on SPEED.
TV News
Homestead-Miami IPS race to be televised  The crash-marred Indy Pro Series race run at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24, 2007 will be televised on Wednesday, March 28, 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm on ESPN2.
Dow Jones tracks F1 companies  Stoxx Ltd has launched a Grand Prix Index on the Dow Jones. The new index measures the performance of the major players in the Formula 1 series, including engine manufacturers, tire makers, oil and fuel suppliers and team sponsors. Companies in the respective categories are weighted as follows: 60 percent for engine manufacturers, 15 percent for tire makers, 15 percent for oil and fuel suppliers and 10 percent for team sponsors. The weighting reflects the potential influence of a supplier in the success of a Formula 1 team.

The Grand Prix Index is the newest addition to the popular and widely used sports indexes which aims to link the world of sports and the world of finance. In the course of the last year the Dow Jones Stoxx Grand Prix Index has gained 18.23%. There are 19 companies included in the index, including Renault, Fiat, Bridgestone, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Petrobras, ExxonMobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Nippon Oil, Petronas, Altria, AT&T, Spyker Cars, Vodafone, ING and Matsushita Electric (Panasonic). Grandprix.com

Vickers suffers burns at Bristol  Brian Vickers’ cockpit was contaminated by excessive heat and fumes resulting from an exhaust system failure half-way through the race at Bristol. Vickers soldiered on for 200+ laps while enduring burns on his bottom and feet and noxious exhaust leaking into his racecar to lead a lap in competition and finish on the lead lap in 15th place. Part-way through the race, Vickers suddenly radioed the team that his engine was running roughly and he had smoke and fumes entering his cockpit. Initially suspecting another engine malady, it was subsequently revealed that a section of exhaust pipe directly beneath Vickers seat had failed and separated, affecting the engine’s performance. Vickers reported a severe heat problem developing inside his Toyota. Representatives of BVLLC reported Monday afternoon that Brian Vickers is doing well and recovering from the 1st and 2nd-degree burns suffered to his bottom/feet and exhaust inhalation Vickers experienced during Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Vickers requested medical attention following the race, including oxygen, and is resting at home in Charlotte. He plans to address TRB business obligations Tuesday, test at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Wednesday and is expected to be ready for this weekend’s race at Martinsville. Brianvickers.com
ESPN360.com To Feature All 26 Busch Series Races Live  ESPN announced today that its signature broadband service, ESPN360.com, will deliver live online simulcasts of every remaining ESPN2 Busch Series telecast – 26 in all, beginning on April 7 at the Nashville Superspeedway. Coverage will also include simulcasts of ESPN2’s pre-race programming, including each week’s NASCAR Countdown. ESPN360.com’s live coverage will be integrated directly into the ESPN.com RaceCast, allowing fans with access to ESPN360.com to not only watch the live race Webcast, but also follow the in-race animated graphic display and get track information, lap leaders, race leaders, driver stats and live chat with ESPN NASCAR contributor Tim Cowlishaw throughout the race. ESPN360.com is available at no charge to consumers in more than 15 million homes nationwide, via high-speed Internet connections provided by ESPN affiliated service providers. ESPN360.com’s coverage will make it the live online home of the Busch Series, complementing ESPN2 as the television home of the Busch Series.

Highlights: Extensive video highlights from every Busch and NEXTEL Cup race on ESPN.com and ESPN360.com
Surrounding Action: Additional video from each race, including insider features, practice and qualifying footage, interviews with drivers, pit teams, extensions to ESPN studio programming and video blogs covering major news and events.
Season-Long Driver Capsules: ESPN360.com features exclusive driver-specific video capsules, progressively updated throughout the season, that provide season-to-date highlights, interviews, news and all other driver-related video. ESPN PR

Vegas Grand Prix festival highlights  LAS VEGAS – The inaugural Vegas Grand Prix is hosting three days of high-speed action on the track along with a gala, a free street party with several concerts and various other activities.

Weekend activities begin on Thursday, April 5. For full details on the events, the racing schedule, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.vegasgrandprix.com. Highlights of the week’s activities include:

Thursday, April 5

  • An Unforgettable Evening...The Vegas Grand Prix Charity Gala sponsored by Bombay Sapphire to benefit Keep Memory Alive – the Foundation for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, 6 p.m. at Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South
  • Red carpet arrivals – 6-7 p.m. and cocktail reception; live auction hosted by Barrett-Jackson, 8:15-9 p.m.; Jay Leno stand-up comedy, 9-9:45 p.m.; Jon Bon Jovi and friends featuring Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy, 9:45 p.m.-Midnight. More ...
track news
ISC gives Washington officials green flag  Daytona Beach--based International Speedway Corp. has agreed to let local officials in Washington State have more of a say in how tax revenue from a proposed racetrack in Bremerton, Wash., would be divided.

New language was inserted into a racetrack-financing bill that has been moving slowly through the Legislature. The measure requires Great Western Sports, an ISC subsidiary, to pay $180 million of the track's estimated $368 million cost, but would use two types of tax-financed bonds for the rest. Bonds financed with sales taxes paid by out-of-state race fans would cover $164 million; other bonds paid for with admissions taxes would pay part or all of the remaining $16 million.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to hear testimony about the bill Monday night, but was not expected to take a vote, said ISC spokesman Lenny Santiago.  More at Winston Salem Journal

LeMans test Day 2: Peugeot again fastest  The second day of the Le Mans Series test at the French circuit of Paul Ricard got back underway at 9:00 am when the teams not taking part in the 24 Hours test were allowed back on the track. Once again it was the Peugeot 908 running the fastest lap times.

Le Mans Series Test - Paul Ricard - Times from 9:00 (26-3) until 18:00 (26-3)

 #8 Team Peugeot Total - 91 Laps - 01:43.705
#18 Rollcentre Racing - 105 Laps - 01:44.025
#15 Charouz Racing System - 61 Laps - 01:44.348
#19 Chamberlain Synergy Motorsport - 76 Laps - 01:44.414
#17 Pescarolo Sport - 118 Laps - 01:44.592
#14 Racing for Holland - 85 Laps - 01:45.780
#21 Team Bruichladdich - 115 Laps - 01:46.160
#32 Barazi-Epsilon - 94 Laps - 01:46.358
#40 Quifel-ASM Team - 64 Laps - 01:46.497
#12 Courage Competition - 110 Laps - 01:46.695 More ...

Audi factory driver Mike Rockenfeller in profile  Mike Rockenfeller could have forged a career at his former employer as well, however – just as team mate Lucas Luhr – he decided to switch to Audi. "Everything that Audi has ever tackled in motorsport during the last years was a success,” knows the youngster, who is impressed by the Audi brand and its products. "Ground breaking technology, beautiful workmanship and a sporting, dynamic design,” he says spontaneously. "I was like a child with a new toy at Christmas when I got the keys to my new RS4 company car.”
Just like Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller does not only have DTM on his mind. "Rocky” also dreams of overall victory in Le Mans. "This was on of the main reasons why I changed to Audi.” But obviously also the DTM: "This is a tremendous goal for very young German racing driver and an excellent alternative to Formula 1. It’s incredible just how evenly matched the cars are. You can measure yourself against the best tin top drivers and enjoy the attention of the fans.”
As a child Mike Rockenfeller wanted to be a farmer or work in his parent’s workshop. Even today he still enjoys sitting at the controls of the family tractor or combine harvester and driving through the fields when he visits them in Neuwied. More ...
Day 1: Kubica tops Raikkonen at Sepang  Tuesday test times at Sepang ahead of the upcoming Malaysian GP.

Pos Driver Make Time Laps
 1. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:36.187 92
 2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:36.302 54
 3. Wurz Williams-Toyota (B) 1:36.334 89
 4. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:36.826 82
 5. De la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:37.106 60
 6. Montagny Toyota (B) 1:37.267 73
 7. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:37.389 72
 8. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:37.609 82
 9. Piquet Renault (B) 1:38.199 32
10. Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:38.503 69

Latest F1 news in brief  
Renault deny 'B' car reports
Webber to test Singapore F1 circuit
'Illegal' Ferrari quarrel rumbles on
Sepang set for F1 circuit tweaks
Williams not involved in Spyker arbitration
Authority clarifies 'F1 cocaine' reports
BMW unlikely to rethink driver lineup
F1 driver Heinz Schiller, 77, dies
St. Pete Indy Pro entry list  The Indy Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is the first of four doubleheader weekends slated for 2007. The competitors will first battle on Saturday afternoon. The top six finishers will be inverted for Sunday morning's race (i.e. Saturday's winner will start sixth Sunday and Saturday's sixth-place finisher will start first). The starting order for Saturday's race will be determined by the fastest speeds from two practice sessions Saturday.

The 2007 season will be one of records for the Indy Pro Series. The season features a series-record 16 races on nine road courses and seven ovals, competitors will vie for a record amount of prize money - almost $4 million. A record 25 cars started the season-opening race at Homestead. Twenty-four are expected to compete at St. Petersburg.

Race 1: 2:50 p.m. (ET), Saturday, March 31
Race 2: 11:30 a.m. (ET), Sunday, April 1
40 laps/72 miles (each race) More ...

Cingular slaps NASCAR with a lawsuit  UPDATE #2 Telecommunications giant AT&T filed a motion Monday, asking that its logo be added to Jeff Burton's car immediately.

The motion was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, where the company also filed its lawsuit against NASCAR. A hearing on the motion has not yet been scheduled.

AT&T sued NASCAR on March 16 after racing series officials refused to allow AT&T to put its logo on Burton's car because of NASCAR's deal with Nextel, which sponsors NASCAR's top series -- the Nextel Cup.

"We must bring this issue to resolution," John Burbank, vice president of marketing for AT&T, said in a statement. "The season is well under way and so are our rebranding efforts. This filing is a logical next step for us in the process, and one we must pursue so that we can simply move forward with our paint scheme -- something our agreement with NASCAR allows us to do."

03/16/07 The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, asks for unspecified damages as it alleges, among other things, that "NASCAR has violated the implied covenant of good-faith and fair dealing in the Cup Series agreement by its purposeful attempt to exclude Plaintiff from NASCAR."

 In its complaint, AT&T says that when it was negotiating the Nextel contract in 2003, NASCAR never mentioned that Cingular would not be able to change its name, only that it could not increase its branding presence and could not move to another team.

AT&T said Cingular has invested more than $100 million in the seven years of sponsorship of the No. 31 car, a contract that is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. More ...

racing news
Quotes of the past week  
STEVE JOHNSON, President and CEO, Champ Car World Series
"We cannot live in the past because it will kill us. As we continue to move forward the pain for some will be too much to handle. We will make mistakes and step back every once in a while. That happens when you are in a turnaround situation."  (Commenting on Champ Car's future and continued effort to rebuild the series)
CHIP GANASSI, IRL team owner, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
"I've said all along we need to make a plan, work our plan, come together as one series and get on down the road.  This thing can be very, very big.  Roger [Penske] and I would like to see it that way."  (Answering a question at the IRL race at Homestead-Miami Speedway about the direction of Indy car competition over the course of the next couple of years)
KYLE BUSCH, NASCAR driver,  Hendrick Motorsports
"I'm still not a very big fan of these things.  I can't stand to drive them.  They suck."  (Commenting on the Car of Tomorrow after winning the race at Bristol Motor Speedway in the COT's debut)

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
The Car (of Tomorrow) doesn't have the same handling characteristics as the old cars, so we really have to learn as we go along. It's weird: they drive the same when you're going straight, but I was so loose sometimes that I'd get disoriented. I mean, they are only a few inches bigger than the old cars, but I couldn't get my bearings when I was sideways. It was like 'hey - just a second ago I was following a car with a wing on the back, and now it's gone...' I guess we'll all keep learning together."

"The 07 (C. Bowyer) beat the door in around turn three and four like he was trying to put me in the grave. So, I had to bang him back." (Talking to his crew chief during the race)

MARCO ANDRETTI, IRL Driver, Andretti Green Racing
“I’m not sure what was wrong, but it was undriveable and I’ve never been so scared in an IndyCar in my life.  My engineer thinks we just missed on the setup and I feel like something broke, but it was bad news whatever it was.” (The 20-year-old third generation driver had been lapped three times before his team opted to stop.)

FIA wants some changes in Malaysia  FIA Safety Delegate Charlie Whiting, who conducted the pre-event track inspection with officials from AAM and SIC, also instructed the circuit to close both the North Track and South Track entrances before the F1 Team Official Testing tomorrow.

“It is always a pleasure to come to a circuit that is in a perfect condition. However, I have ask them do some minor works for the race,” said Whiting, who is also the Race Director for the 2007 Formula One Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix.

“As you know, we occasionally used half tracks for events. It is now just a case of putting them back in their original locations as specified by the FIA,” said Kumarasamy, adding that it was only a minor job that could be completed ‘very quickly,

“He also asked us to make sure that all the screws on the guard rails to be tightened up. Other than that he said everything else was perfect,” Kumarasamy added.

tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN  
NASCAR Now Schedule

NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily news and information show totally dedicated to NASCAR, will air on ESPN2 at its regular 6:30 p.m. ET timeslot Monday through Wednesday of this week. The half-hour program will air at midnight on Thursday, while the Friday episode will air at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning.

The program’s weekend edition will air at 10 a.m. Sunday with segments from Martinsville Speedway, site of this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.

NASCAR Now is hosted by Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks and originates from ESPN’s High Definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Contributors include analysts Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Stacy Compton and Boris Said, along with NASCAR insiders Angelique Chengelis, Tim Cowlishaw, David Newton and Marty Smith.

IndyCar Series Takes It to the Streets on ESPN

The stars and cars of the IndyCar Series will take it to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday for the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by XM. The race will be televised live at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

In contrast to the 200 mph speeds of the IndyCar Series opener last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the series will race on a 1.8-mile temporary street circuit that includes part of the picturesque St. Petersburg downtown area as well as one runway of the city’s Albert Whitted Airport. The circuit will test the road racing skills of the drivers and present setup challenges for the race teams. More ...

Gustafson Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award  In a down-to-the-wire finish, Alan Gustafson led Kyle Busch to a defining victory in the 15th annual Food City 500. Persevering through 500 laps of unpredictable racing on "the world's fastest half-mile," the young duo held off a late charge from Jeff Burton in a three-lap overtime sprint to the checkered flag. By the end of the green-white-checkered finish, the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team was rejoicing in its 21-year-old driver's 4th career NEXTEL Cup win and celebrating Chevrolet's 600th career NASCAR victory. Leading the way, Gustafson used every one of the race's 15 cautions to move the Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet to the front of the pack. His strategic decisions gave his team the competitive advantage and earned him the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.

Following the race, Gustafson proudly posed in Victory Lane. Standing next to the winning trophy, he jokingly replied that he was "just a little nervous" in response to a question of his emotions in the final, gut-wrenching laps. With a smile brimming from ear-to-ear, his focus always remained on his team.  Minutes later during a post-race press conference, he wanted the media to know how hard his crew worked after a disappointing finish in Atlanta the previous weekend. Gustafson confidently expressed that "the pit crew guys came back with a chip on their shoulder, and I am really proud of them." More ...

St. Pete entry list back down to 18  
Car Driver Hometown Car Name
2 Tomas Scheckter Cape Town, South Africa Vision Racing
3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Team Penske
4 Vitor Meira Brasilia, Brazil Delphi Panther
5 Sarah Fisher Commercial Point, Ohio Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
6 Sam Hornish Jr. Defiance, Ohio Team Penske
7 Danica Patrick Roscoe, Ill. Motorola
8 Scott Sharp Norwalk, Conn. Patron Sharp Rahal-Letterman Racing
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing
10 Dan Wheldon Emberton, England Target Chip Ganassi Racing
11 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Team 7-Eleven
14 Darren Manning North Yorkshire, England ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Racing
15 Buddy Rice Phoenix Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
17 Jeff Simmons Hartford, Conn. Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol
20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis Vision Racing
22 A.J. Foyt IV Hockley, Texas Vision Racing
26 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. NYSE Group
27 Dario Franchitti Edinburgh, Scotland Canadian Club
55 Kosuke Matsuura Aichi, Japan Panasonic Panther
Peugeot diesel tops Paul Ricard test times Monday  
Pos Class Team/Car Driver who set time Best Time Total laps covered
1. LMP1GTP Team Total Peugeot Peugeot 908 Hdi-Fap (Nicolas Minassian) 1m43.705s - 228
2. LMP1 Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo Judd (Joao Barbosa) 1m44.025s - 399
3. LMP1 Charouz Racing System Lola B07/10 Judd (Jan Charouz) 1m44.348s - 106
4. LMP1 Chamberlain Synergy Lola B07/10 AER (Bob Berridge) 1m44.414s - 331
5. LMP1 Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd (Jean Christophe Boullion) 1m44.592s - 366
6. LMP1 Racing For Holland Dome S101 Judd (Jan Lammers) 1m45.780s - 175
7. LMP2 Team Bruichladdich Radical SR9 AER (Robin Liddell) 1m46.160s - 359
8. LMP2 Barazi-Epsilon Zytek 07S (Michael Vergers) 1m46.358s - 148
9. LMP2 Quifel-ASM Lola B07/40 AER (Miguel Angel De Castro) 1m46.497s - 136
10. LMP1 Courage Competition Courage LC70 AER (JM Gounon) 1m46.645s - 557
11. LMP2 RML Ltd Lola-MG EX264 AER (Tommy Erdos) 1m46.670s - 184
12. LMP2 Saulnier Racing Courage LC75 AER (Bruce Jouanny) 1m48.681s - 358
13. LMP2 Embassy Racing Pilbeam MP93 Judd (Warren Hughes) 1m49.891s - 42
14. LMP2 Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 Judd (Simon Pullen) 1m51.876s - 205
Kawasakis 1-2 at wet Jerez  Kawasaki's Olivier Jacque topped the times in Monday's rain-slowed testing session at Jerez in Spain.

Pos  Rider                 Make      Time      Laps
 1.  Olivier Jacque        Kawasaki  1:51.422   52
 2.  Randy De Puniet       Kawasaki  1:51.502   59
 3.  Chris Vermeulen       Suzuki    1:51.536   27
 4.  Kenny Roberts Jr      KR        1:51.567   30
 5.  Casey Stoner          Ducati    1:51.736   21
 6.  Carlos Checa          Honda     1:51.827   44
 7.  Valentino Rossi       Yamaha    1:51.899   41
 8.  Alex Barros           Ducati    1:52.129   36
 9.  Toni Elias            Honda     1:52.198   56
10.  Shinya Nakano         Honda     1:52.212   53
11.  Nicky Hayden          Honda     1:52.637   67
12.  Marco Melandri        Honda     1:52.842   45
13.  Alex Hofmann          Ducati    1:52.904   55
14.  Colin Edwards         Yamaha    1:53.104   36
15.  Dani Pedrosa          Honda     1:53.240   51
16.  Sylvain Guintoli      Yamaha    1:55.992   44
17.  Makoto Tamada         Yamaha    1:57.917   38
18.  Akiyoshi Kousuke      Suzuki    1:58.635   36
19.  Vittoriano Guareschi  Ducati    2:00.291   33

A1GP bleeds more red ink in Mexico  UPDATE According to Reforma/El Norte only 15,000 fans attended the A1GP race yesterday in Mexico City, and only 20,000 fans attended over the 3 days. J. J. Arrambide Gonzalez reporting from Mexico

03/26/07 The A1GP race in Mexico was a complete attendance failure. The grandstands at "Hermanos Rodriguez" were sparsely filled.  I predicted this race would not have a lot of attendees when the date was announced.  What a bad idea to schedule a race the same month as the Busch Series and the FIA World Rally events were going to be in Mexico, especially with the Busch Series and Juan Pablo Montoya visiting the same track.  Add to this the fact there were almost no pre-race ads for the race and the fact the Mexican Soccer National Team had a game scheduled almost at the same time as the feature race (The feature race began at 3:00 P.M. local time and the soccer game at 2:00 P.M. local time) and this was a recipe for a failure.  J. J. Arrambide Gonzalez reporting from Mexico
Acura St. Pete GP News and Notes  
• The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg marks the second round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series season and the Series’ first appearance at the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit on the Florida waterfront. St. Petersburg will become the 24th different circuit and sixth different street course to hold an American Le Mans Series event. Two other new venues for 2007 are street courses: Long Beach on April 14 and Belle Isle in Detroit on September 1 with the Series returning to Houston on April 21.

• The 2007 Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg marks the first “home” race for the three new Acura-powered LMP2 entries. Acura, the luxury brand of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced in April 2006 its first factory motorsports program in its 20-year history. Acura’s race program features normally aspirated V8 engines designed and developed by Honda Performance Development.

• Andretti Green Racing made history at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with an LMP2 class win for drivers Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan. The team’s Acura ARX prototype finished second overall to only the winning Audi R10 TDI P1 entry. More ...

St. Pete: Corvette Racing preview  ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - As a lifelong resident of Monaco, Corvette Racing's Olivier Beretta knows a little something about street races. A glittering jewel in the international racing scene, the Monaco Grand Prix has sent powerful open-wheel machines racing through Beretta's neighborhood since 1929. On March 31, Beretta will race on another bayside street circuit when the American Le Mans Series stages the inaugural Acura Sports Car Challenge in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"There is always a special atmosphere when you race in a city because you are closer to the fans," said Beretta, who scored his record-setting 29th career ALMS victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17. "I grew up in a town with a very famous Grand Prix, and I have driven in many street races - from Pau, France to Trois-Rivières in Quebec and last year in Houston, Texas. It's always nice to discover a new track, so I am looking forward to my first race in St. Petersburg." More ...

Vegas Grand Prix poker event set for Binion’s  An interesting event will play out the first week of April at Binion's "Legendary Gambling Hall and World Famous Poker Room" in downtown Las Vegas. The "Poker Event at Vegas Grand Prix" is a fairly unique tournament with a reasonable buy-in ($550) and semi-guaranteed $1 Million prizepool (based on 2,000 entrants).

Single table satellites ($65 & $125) have been running at Binion's since mid-February and the last week of March will find both single table satellites as well as a Super Satellite ($120) every day at 6 PM. The Supers will award one seat for every six entrants. There will be an even bigger day of qualifying on Thursday, March 29th when an Xtreme Poker Challenge ShootoutSatellite is held with a $65 buy-in and a single winner at each table gaining entry into the main event of the Grand Prix tournament.

The Grand Prix tournament will run in 4 flights: April 2, 3, 4 & 5. Each day will be played in the famous Benny's Bullpen where the World Series of Poker was held for 36 years. Up to six hundred players will be accommodated for each of the flights. The Main Event final table will be Saturday April 7th at noon in the Main Poker Room at Binions. More ...

Golden Nugget race promotion  Like many casinos these days, the Golden Nugget wants your e-mail address, and the casino has set up an elaborate online promotion to get it. Through Monday, anyone over 21 can enter a free "Las Vegas Grand Prix Sweepstakes" just by visiting the casino's Web site at www.goldennugget.com and filling out the online form. Prizes include an invitation for two to the owner's box for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, two VIP Trackside Club passes, three sets of two Grandstand Hospitality Village passes and 10 $100 Checker Auto Parts gift cards.
Vegas track should make for good racing  The course for the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix looked good on paper a few months ago, and it looks even better as construction nears completion for the April 6-8 event downtown.

The season opener for the Champ Car World Series has had crews working around the clock for three weeks to convert public streets into a 2.44-mile, 12-turn racing circuit, which will produce speeds up to 190 mph before the Indy-style cars down-shift and begin zig-zagging around casinos adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience.
Circuit manager Chris Kneifel created the course and has been the straw boss for the project. More ...

Bridgestone Motorsport is tire of the Vegas Grand Prix  LAS VEGAS - Well-known in racing competition around the world, Bridgestone Motorsport is now the official tire of the Vegas Grand Prix, which kicks off the 2007 Champ Car World Series over a 2.44-mile course through the streets of Las Vegas April 6-8.

“Bridgestone Motorsport is proud to join the Vegas Grand Prix as the official tire,” said Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport.  “Like everyone else in the Champ Car World Series community and its fans around the globe, we are looking forward to this event and the start of the 2007 season. I cannot recall the last time an inaugural event generated this much excitement. We know the race management and organizers well, and we know from experience that they will deliver a top-notch event. Bridgestone Motorsport is thrilled to be a part of the attention the Vegas Grand Prix is sure to draw.”

Bridgestone undertook its first motorsports program in the early 1960s as an effective way to demonstrate the strength of the brand to larger audiences abroad. The company developed its first competition tires for the 1963 Japanese Grand Prix.  More ...

industry news
Porsche set to take over VW  German sports car maker Porsche is boosting its stake in Volkswagen above 30 per cent to trigger a mandatory takeover offer.  The Stuttgart-based car maker has exercised an option to take an extra 3.6 per cent voting stake in Volkswagen, taking its holding to 30.9 per cent on Wednesday.  Raising its stake past 30 per cent requires Porsche to make a mandatory takeover offer to other VW shareholders under German law.

Porsche said on Saturday it expected to offer €100.92 per VW ordinary share plus the legal minimum for VW preference shares.

By offering investors the minimum amount required, a hefty discount to Friday's closing price of €117.70, Porsche can cross the 30 per cent threshold on the cheap and never be forced to launch a bid again.  Today's announcement caps months of speculation that a bid was imminent, driving VW stock up by more than a third this year to record highs, as many investors believed Porsche part-owner and VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech wanted to cement his control over Europe's biggest car maker.

Albers admits to early struggle  (GMM) Christijan Albers has admitted to struggling to adapt to Bridgestone's new control tire.

The Dutch driver was considerably off the pace of his rookie teammate Adrian Sutil at the Australian season opener, and crashed out of the race after admitting to missing a braking point by 30 meters.

"I just have to stay relaxed and find out what the problem is," Albers said in an interview published by the Spyker team.

He added: "It's just me that has to get used to everything. I think the others are maybe adapting a little bit quicker to these tires.

"Now it's only a question of Christijan Albers feeling comfortable again, and getting a reasonable set-up where he can perform."

Busch's win No. 600 for Chevy  Sunday's victory for Kyle Busch, No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Impala SS, at Bristol Motor Speedway marks the 600th win for Chevrolet in NASCAR Nextel Cup Competition - a historical landmark that continues the Bowtie Brand as the most successful manufacturer in NASCAR history.

In addition to claiming the unequaled 600th win for Chevy, Busch's winning effort in the Food City 500 marks victory number one, 61 total, for Impala SS making its return to NASCAR competition today at Bristol. When the Impala SS brand competed in NASCAR from 1959 to 1964, the legendary nameplate scored 60 wins, including the first-ever event in which it competed. On February 20, 1959, Bob Welborn took the victory at Daytona.

"Today's 600th Chevrolet win by Kyle Busch is a monumental achievement in Chevy's storied racing history," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager.  "Everyone at Chevrolet is proud of the efforts made by our teams, drivers and each individual within the General Motors family whose efforts have gone toward making Chevrolet the winningest manufacturer in NASCAR. More ...

Bristol brings hope for Jeff Green  After qualifying ninth on Friday in his new No. 66 Best Buy Chevrolet Impala SS, Green backed up his performance with a sixth-place finish in Sunday's 500-lap NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol. "If this is the future, maybe this is the future for our team and for Best Buy and for Haas racing and everyone involved with our team," Green said. "This is where we're supposed to be. I'm just excited for my guys. Top-10 is where we need to be ending up after each and every one of these races." The finish not only marked the first top-10 result of the 2007 season for Green and his Haas CNC Racing team, but also stands as the best Cup series result in the history of the Haas organization. More importantly, the finish unofficially vaults team owner Gene Haas up seven spots (from 35th to 28th) in the all-important NEXTEL Cup Series owners' points standings. This means the No. 66 team has a guaranteed starting spot in next weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway. Lady Luck shined on the Haas team while Green was the only driver one lap down to the race leaders. Running in 17th position at the time, Green received what is known as the "Lucky Dog" free pass after the caution flag came out on lap 413 due to debris on the track. As the finish unfolded, Green found himself crossing the line in sixth position, his best finish since an eighth-place run at Martinsville Speedway last October. "It's momentum for sure," Green said. "We know we can do this. We just have to get out and do it and not get down on each other and I think we have the last couple of weeks. But this is a momentum builder for sure and a pride builder for sure. Harold (Holly) and those guys did a great job and I'm not going to give up on them and I know they're not going to give up on me."
Funeral services for Medlen set  Funeral services for NHRA driver Eric Medlen will be held Wednesday in Brownsburg, Ind., after a public viewing Tuesday night.  Medlen, 33, died Friday at Shands at the University of Florida medical center of complications from a closed head injury incurred when his Funny Car crashed into a guardrail while testing March 19 at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. The six-time winner with John Force Racing and 2004's top rookie underwent surgery the next day but never regained consciousness.
NASCAR catches another cheater  Greg Biffle's team faces penalties after his Ford (pictured right, courtesy of Ford) failed post-race inspection following a fifth-place finish.  Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, said the car was too low.  Pemberton would not speculate on the penalty, which could include a fine and points deduction, saying inspectors wanted to go over the car completely at the R&D Center in Concord, N.C., before a ruling is made.
Track News
270K attend weekend's Bristol races  An estimated crowd of 110,000 attended Saturday’s Sharpie Mini 300 Busch race at Bristol Motor Speedway, while 160,000 fans attended Sunday’s event.
Track News
Bristol to be repaved  Bristol Motor Speedway will have a new look when NASCAR fans return in the fall. To the delight of some drivers and crew chiefs, work on a new concrete surface begins this morning on the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.

BMS officials have consulted with current and former drivers, including Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon.

The goal is to offer a smoother surface which leads to better racing.

"I’m happy to give my feedback and I hope other drivers are," said Gordon, a five-time Bristol race winner.

"I wish that every track that is either repaved or where they are building a new track that they would sit down with as many drivers and crew chiefs and tire engineers and NASCAR officials that they possibly can before they decide what they’re going to do."

As usual, the work at BMS will be cutting edge. A new machine, called the Gomaco Slope Paver, has been developed to handle the specifications of the unique BMS oval which features 36-degree banking in the corners.

The resurfacing project should be completed by mid-July.

Latest F1 news in brief  
Question mark arises over Raikkonen's Malaysia-spec engine
F1 champ's son targets world title
Renault start work on 'B' car
Alonso slammed by own fan club
McLaren confirms British GP sponsor deal
Bigger budget was missing link - Sauber
Alonso resigned to podiums for now
Stoddart defends Kovalainen after poor debut
Cocaine found at F1 drivers' hotel
Reader Feedback
Ganassi calls for merger  UPDATE #3 Another reader writes, I wholeheartedly agree with the last writer. Andy Fogiel. Tony George is not the person to lead open wheel racing in the US. His IRL "series" is all about one race... the Indy 500. There is pathetic interest in the IRL races other than the 500. I know, I have seen it firsthand. The depressing crowds at Homestead speak to this situation once again (as Autoracing1's picture shows). And this scene will be repeated many more times this season. After 11 years and even with the Indy 500 the IRL is still on life support... has very poor attendance... runs antiquated and slow hardware (especially on road courses)... and there is yearly worry about not having 33 cars at Indy. And TG's founding "vision" of the IRL of all ovals and US drivers has been abandoned.

Owners like Ganassi and Penske obviously see the IRL is not going anywhere, or they would not speak out. Their sponsors and the TV cameras see the empty stands, too. Can you imagine how hard this is for them to deal with? Racing as a marketing tool does not do well under such circumstances.

Let's be truthful... without the Indy 500 the IRL is a failed series with little interest. When the Indy 500 is left out of the discussion... Champ Car has a superior set of venues, including international ones... race weekend attendance figures are very high... and they have spectacular new cars. So, the time is ripe to get together and use the strengths of each series. IRL has Indy... and Champ Car has better race venues with better race attendance and exposure for sponsors, and its very fast new hardware (broke the 2006 Toyota F1 record at Laguna). And there must be something very good about Champ Car... when an IRL owner (Rahal) has his son running in Champ Car. More ...
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