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NASCAR Nationwide Series Live in Prime Time from Phoenix on ESPN2

ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live, flag-to-flag primetime telecast of the 200-mile race from Phoenix International Raceway Friday, April 5, beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast is presented by Cici's Pizza. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC.

Marty Reid will be the lead announcer for ESPN2�s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett, one of the founding drivers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Vince Welch will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN DISH Tech Center.

Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by Jarrett and Brad Daugherty, a former winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, in the ESPN pit studio.

The race will be simulcast on ESPN360.com, ESPN's signature broadband sports network, and on ESPN Deportes, the domestic Spanish-language network. The event also will be simulcast on ESPN Mobile TV.

Terry Labonte Joins NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Discussion

Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte will join ESPN analyst Brad Daugherty and reporter Mike Massaro with host Allen Bestwick leading them in a one-hour roundtable discussion on NASCAR Now, ESPN2�s daily NASCAR news and information show, on Monday, April 14, at 5:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Now features news, highlights, opinion, debate and analysis from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track.

Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at 6 p.m., Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and Friday at 4 p.m. The one-hour weekend edition airs Saturday at 10 a.m. with a preview of the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway.

NASCAR Now is hosted by Ryan Burr, Nicole Manske and Bestwick and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include NASCAR Insiders Marty Smith and Angelique Changeless, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said and Tim Cowlishaw, ESPN.com reporters Terry Blount and David Newton and D.J. Copp, a member of Bobby Labonte's NASCAR team.

NASCAR Now viewers also benefit from frequent contributions by the NASCAR on ESPN team including Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake.

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Raikkonen: "A great weekend for Ferrari"
Kimi Raikkonen
We came to Bahrain hoping for a double win and it worked out: it's difficult to do any better. True, the second place was not ideal for me, but it was a great weekend for Ferrari, making up ground in the Constructors' Championship, where we are second now, just one point behind the leader. The Team gives its best to remain on this level.

There's no better reward for all these efforts, than seeing two Ferraris ahead of all the other cars. Felipe has done some great work since Friday, while I had some problems finding the right set up for the car, especially on Saturday. During the race the set up was very difficult to handle, especially on the first two laps, when there was oil on the track. The situation improved and I could press more and keep a good race rhythm. But when you know that you'll come in one lap before your teammate, there's hardly anything you can do.

I want to win races and fight for the title: coming in second left me a bit disappointed. Sometimes certain weekends are just like that and the one in Bahrain was one of them. For one reason or the other the Sakhir circuit does not seem to be very favorable to me. But there's still some satisfaction at the end of this GP: I'm leading the Drivers' Championship. When we think about how many points we gained in Melbourne this is a great result.

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Domenicali: "We need to keep our feet on the ground"
Stefano Domenicali
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team principal Stefano Domenicali revealed a special reason for extra celebration after Ferrari's one-two in the Bahraini GP at the weekend. "We are celebrating here the 100th victory since our president Montezemolo became president of Ferrari so it's a special event for all of us. I think it's important because he's always with us and celebrating this with a one-two is very important."

Domenicali was ask how important it was for winner Felipe Massa to have a good result in Bahrain, after failing to score in the first two races of the season. "I think that it was important for him, for sure," replied Domenicali, "but it was important for the team to have this 18 point race. We saw that right from Friday our car was really good, and it's a shame when you have a car that is good not to score 18 points. It would be nice to see both drivers on the first step of the podium but that's impossible so I think from the team's point of view, it was really a great response, that's teamwork, as always and I would say that it."

How much pressure was the Brazilian feeling, coming into the Bahrain weekend? "It's normal when you don't have any points, that you feel frustrated because you want to show what is your performance, your standard. But what we said is that we need to stay cool and calm. If we work well, this is the response and of course it's a daily job in order to always keep the team together: the drivers, the mechanics, the team and we win together, we lose together so that's the way we have always been working."

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track news

NASCAR Drivers Set for Test at Infineon Raceway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Aric Almirola and Paul Menard will come to Infineon Raceway on Wednesday, April 9, for a one-day test session.

Almirola, who shares driving duties with veteran Mark Martin in the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet, has never competed on the Sonoma Valley road course in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Neither has Menard, who drives the No. 15 Menards Chevrolet.

Almirola and Menard are expected to test the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in late-model stock cars provided by a Northern California-based race team. They will be coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook, who has also worked with NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Johnny Sauter and Los Gatos’ AJ Allmendinger.


Seven drivers added to LB field, 20 possible
Seven drivers - including a four-time Long Beach winner - have been added to the probable 20-car field that will take the green flag for the final Champ Car race April 20 at the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

They'll be joining a field  that includes the newest American racing sensation, 19-year-old Graham Rahal, fresh from a victory in his first Indy Car start at the Honda Grand Prix of  St. Petersburg, and 1996 race winner and Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser.

Paul Tracy, the series active leader with 31 wins, is expected to be back for his 16th assault on the famed Long Beach street course driving the #3 Indeck car.  He'll team with Mexico's David Martinez, who will drive the #37 Indeck entry.  Tracy won here in 1993 and again in 2000, 2003 and '04, and was Champ Car Series champion in 2003.

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Hayden lights up Indy MotoGP track UPDATE

Hayden on the old Indian

Photos courtesy IMS

04/07/08 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden today began the build-up to the first-ever Indianapolis MotoGP event by riding a vintage Indian motorcycle around the legendary Brick Yard racetrack, which now features a new layout for motorcycles.

The Repsol Honda rider, one of seven Americans to have worn motorcycling’s biggest crown, got fully into the part, wearing authentic vintage helmet and leathers. The Indian machine, which took part in the first Indy bike race in 1909, certainly impressed the Kentucky Kid.

Nicky Hayden is mobbed after his run
Ron McQueeney/IMS
“When the bike first fired up I wondered what I’d got myself into!” said Hayden, one of those riders who has a lot of respect for racing history. “Then when I was doing about 40mph down the straight it felt like a hundred. I really enjoyed the ride though, especially my old school helmet, that was my favorite part.

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Mosley's days appear to be numbered
Mike Gascoyne and Vijay Mallya say that Max Mosley has to consider his position as president of the FIA following a scandal they feel have "painted motorsport in a very bad light".

Insisting his views are from a personal perspective, and not those of the team, Gascoyne said: "It's a great shame. We've a fantastic season of motor racing, and we're all talking about something other than that.

"I think any person in that position has to consider the impact of their actions.

"As a head of a worldwide body, you have to consider whether that is appropriate, and I don't think it is. I'm sure most people agree.

"The problem we have is that if he wishes to stay it will devalue his office.

"It's true that what anyone does in their private life should be their own business, but the fact is it has been exposed, and you can't undo that.

"It is painting the whole of motorsport in a very bad light, and in my mind, someone in that position has to consider that position.

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Management Reorganization at BDR
Bill Davis, President of Bill Davis Racing (BDR), announced a reorganization of the company's management team. Davis, who with wife Gail has fielded teams in NASCAR for over 20 years, has added several key personnel and shifted several others within the organization. All changes are effective immediately. NASCAR veteran Marty Gaunt has been named Vice President of Bill Davis Racing. Gaunt, a native of Toronto, Ont., Canada, began his tenure in NASCAR in 1996 and has held similar positions at Penske Racing and Team Red Bull. Gaunt was also part owner of Red Horse Racing. "It's an honor for me to able to be a part of Bill Davis Racing with Bill and Gail," stated Gaunt. "Bill has fielded teams for 21 years now and to be considered to be a part of the reorganization is a great opportunity. I'm excited about the tasks at hand and ready to get started."

Mark Chambers, who previously served as team manager of BDR's Craftsman Truck Series effort, will now assume the role of the general manager of Bill Davis Racing. Chambers, who has been with the team since 2006, takes over the GM role from Mike Brown, who will move into the position of Chief Financial Officer.

"I'm confident the modifications we've made to our management and front-office staff will make our entire organization stronger," stated Davis. "Our Truck Series program continues to thrive, but there isn't any doubt that the Cup Series program has struggled this year. Our partnership with Caterpillar is over 10 years strong, and we owe it to them and to ourselves to make sure we have the best possible people in the most important positions. We have great partners in Caterpillar and Toyota and we hope to continue our affiliation with them for many years to come. I'm confident the changes we've announced today will ensure a strong future for this team." In addition, Davis has hired Jim Thomas as the organization's Director of Marketing. Thomas, a Florida native, has been the Director of Business Development for Sullivan Worldwide Marketing Group, a leading strategic marketing and planning agency to the United States motorsports industry. Prior to that, he spent several years within the financial arm of Southeast Toyota. BDR PR


Drivers reap post-race awards
Graham Rahal reaped the benefits from winning the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Rahal was presented an IndyCar Series timepiece from Ritmo Mundo, the official timepiece of the IndyCar Series. Ritmo Mundo presents a timepiece to the winner of each IndyCar Series event in 2008. Rahal also collected the $2,000 XTrac Award and a $1,000 Bosch Award.
Tony Kanaan collected the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award and its $10,000 prize, while Enrique Bernoldi claimed the Lincoln Welders Hard Charger Award and its $2,000 prize for being the race leader who started furthest back.


Young guns challenge veterans
If the old guard hadn’t already been put on notice, they are sure to be looking over their shoulders now. A new guard – led by second- and third-generation drivers Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti – is poised to assume the leadership in the IndyCar Series.
Rahal, who at age 19 years, 93 days became the youngest winner of a major open-wheel race in history Sunday at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and Andretti, who previously held the honor from his 2006 win at Infineon when he was 19 years, 167 days, are fourth and fifth in points, respectively, after the first two races of the 2008 season.
Sitting on top of the standings, but perhaps uncomfortably so, are veterans Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan.
“I think it's great,” said Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion. “We need the Rahals, we need the Andrettis, we need new names. Helio and I, we were far and away more stupid than they are when we were 19. I have to say it makes us look really old. Can you imagine when Graham was born, Helio and I were racing already. That's not cool, is it?”

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Rocketsports announces 2-car Long Beach lineup
Rocketsports Racing is proud to announce a two-car effort in the upcoming Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The driver lineup for the team will include former-Rocketsports driver Antonio Pizzonia and the introduction of a new face to Champ Car racing with Juho Annala.

The 34th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be a three-day celebration of Champ Car racing, April 18-20. It will be the fans’ last chance to see the 750+ horsepower, turbocharged Champ Cars run, and the final race of Champ Car’s 29 years of rich racing history. The Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing League recently signed an agreement, February 22, to unify open-wheel racing in the United States running under the banner series name IndyCar.

A familiar face will return to the streets of Long Beach with Rocketsports, as Pizzonia will pilot the #9 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone entry. In 2006, Pizzonia made his Champ Car debut on the famed 1.97-mile, 11-turn Long Beach race circuit with the Rocketsports team which saw him start 11th on the grid. A race that showed he was a true contender in the Champ Car World Series when he made his way into the top five after 30 laps, the Brazilian salvaged a top-ten result after an on-track incident complicated his good debut run. Pizzonia went on to make three more starts with the team that year.

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ALMS St. Pete TV Rating
The overnight TV rating for the Saturday American Le Mans Series Acura Grand Prix of St. Petersburg  on ABC was a disappointing 0.6.


Desert sand scratches Hamilton shine
(GMM) The press rounded on Lewis Hamilton's performance in the Bahrain grand prix on Sunday.

After a practice crash on Friday, the McLaren driver and former championship leader pressed the wrong button on the grid and ran into Fernando Alonso twice when trying to recover from his disastrous start.

The Austrian newspaper 'Osterreich' reckoned that the 23-year-old's "super reputation" had incurred "serious scratches" in the desert, while former triple world champion Niki Lauda observed that days like Sunday "should not occur" to title aspirants.

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BMW can't sustain challenge - Dennis
(GMM) Ron Dennis has rejected claims that BMW-Sauber's Bahrain form indicates that the German team has joined a now three-way battle for the 2008 title.

The Briton's McLaren-Mercedes outfit was outperformed by Hinwil based BMW on the island Kingdom, even though drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld insist that they do not now see themselves as contenders for the drivers' championship.

"No," McLaren principal Dennis told reporters when asked if he thinks BMW can sustain its trajectory throughout the season.

"When we get to Europe is where the research and development and speed of manufacture really starts to make a difference," he added.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug was also playing down the situation.

"BMW was not significantly faster than we were," he said before departing the Sakhir circuit, according to the SID news agency.

"Ferrari was also written off after a poor start in Australia, and now they have celebrated two victories in a row," Haug noted.


Ex-Champ Car Teams State Case
Try as they might, even the best IRL team - Team Penske- was no match for the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team's Dallara Honda on this day.
Consider the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg open-wheel racing's first big Kum Ba Yah moment in the unification process between Champ Car and the IndyCar Series.

The circle is complete. No more "them" or "us."

In only the second act of open-wheel racing's unified series, former Champ Car Series teams proved themselves IndyCar compatible - at least on street courses - with last year's Champ Car rookie of the year, Graham Rahal, taking the checkered flag in Sunday's race. Four former Champ Car teams finished among the top eight.

"It shows the quality of the drivers and that the series is getting better and better," said the runner-up, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. "I didn't have any doubts, and I always said that the good teams are going to pick up very quick. ... Now we're becoming one strong series, and this is going to be huge for motor sports."

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Bobby Rahal: "I'd hire him, but I can't afford him"
Graham Rahal lifts trophy high
Scott Morris/AutoRacing1
Carl Haas stood aside the black race car and held his arms wide, a chomped cigar in his left hand. Bobby Rahal, a few feet away, just beamed.

"Thanks for the driver," said Haas.

"Thanks for giving him the chance," Rahal said quietly, pulling Haas in for a hug.

Their careers defined by decades of racing brilliance, they'd been disarmed on a runway-turned-pit road by the 19-year-old kid who'd been led through a throng to raise his Grand Prix of St. Petersburg champion's trophy. In this moment, they were Graham Rahal's boss and his father.

Graham Rahal became just the fourth driver to win his first Indy Racing League IndyCar start and the youngest at 19 years, 93 days old to win a major open-wheel race. He's now the standard-bearer for Champ Car's refugees after just their second start in their once-rival series. In the process he became a famous father's suddenly famous son.

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Honda to evaluate major aero update
The next round of the 2008 Formula One season is not for another three weeks with the teams and drivers having a small break before the start of the European leg of the championship at the Barcelona circuit in Spain. However, before teams return to the racing action, a four day scheduled test will take place at the same venue.  

The majority of teams will be present for this test as they have not had the chance to do any testing at since the last week in February, and the Honda racing team is no exception. With a stronger race in Bahrain last weekend that saw Jenson Button make it into the third and final qualifying session, team principal Ross Brawn is hoping they will take an even bigger step for the next round.  

"We have a four-day test in Barcelona where we will evaluate our major aero upgrade,” he explained. “Obviously most teams will also be making improvements however we hope our step will be larger than most. We also have a straight-line test in Menorca to measure the new aero package full size."


Penalty for  Antinucci
Richard Antinucci, a nephew of former Indy 500 winner and Formula One driver Eddie Cheever, won Sunday's 40-lap Indy Lights race after taking out front-running Ana Beatriz with seven laps remaining.

"I feel sorry for Bea," said Antinucci, who was penalized 10 championship points. "I want to apologize to her, and I feel it's absolutely a racing incident."

Beatriz, after finishing third Saturday in the first of the weekend's two Lights races, made a major mistake after being spun out by Antinucci. She pulled into oncoming traffic and collected the No. 43 car of Pablo Donoso.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Stewart - I don't want Mosley's job
  • Last hopes fade for besieged Mosley
  • McLaren's Bahrain 'failure' - experts
  • Teams defend struggling Sutil, Piquet
  • Barcelona podium 'impossible' - Alonso

Stewart - I don't want Mosley's job
(GMM)  Sir Jackie Stewart has contradicted suggestions that his relentless opposition to embattled FIA president Max Mosley is a tilt for the top job.

The former triple world champion, who has a running dispute with 67-year-old Mosley, is leading calls for the Briton's resignation over the current sex scandal.

But to the Daily Telegraph, Stewart, a Scot, denies that he is putting himself forward as a possible successor to the beleaguered Briton.

Rather, 68-year-old Stewart believes no former drivers or team principals are well enough qualified for the role.

"I believe it can't be someone from within the sport.  It needs to be a captain of industry, a CEO of standing, man or woman," he said, despite admitting a number of approaches from those who believe he should take on the job.

"But this cannot be a racing driver," Stewart insisted.  "I don't care who he is, how many championships he has won.  No racing driver I know of is well enough prepared to take on that job.

"It needs to be someone who is expert in economics and business structures.  It cannot be a retiring team owner or team principal.  The alignments are all wrong," he added.

Last hopes fade for besieged Mosley
(GMM)  Any remaining support for embattled FIA president Max Mosley withered bare on Sunday, as the formula one world rested from the sex scandal for 91 minutes to take in the Bahrain grand prix.

It was a day that went from worse to hopeless for the 67-year-old Briton, who - barred from the event by the royal family - watched from one of his homes in Europe as Felipe Massa win the Sakhir race.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, whose refusal to condemn his lifelong friend thus far was a lingering hope for Mosley, cancelled a scheduled interview spot with the British broadcaster ITV -- another sign that the writing is already on the wall.

Ecclestone's deafening refusal to clearly back Mosley may have been motivated by the conspicuous presence in the paddock on Sunday of Sir Fred Goodwin and Arun Sarin -- respectively the biggest bigwigs of the major F1 team sponsors RBS and Vodafone.

"It's an FIA matter but we're watching it closely," Goodwin told the Daily Mail after a meeting with Bernie.

A writer for the Daily Telegraph observed: "Ecclestone has privately accepted his old comrade has to go, but was hoping he would not be required to handle the instrument of execution.  Now, he has no choice."

Meanwhile, the Australian federation reportedly joined the growing mound of Mosley opposition, as did the highest ranking motor racing official in Spain, Carlos Gracia.

"It is clear that this is a very unpleasant affair that is deteriorating the image of motor racing," he told the Spanish radio station Cadena SER from Bahrain.

Even those who had previously and historically supported Mosley are having to change their minds, as it becomes obvious that resignation is the only cure to one of F1's biggest ever scandals.

"If Max starts to think about things without emotion, then there can be only one conclusion -- he has to resign," said former triple world champion Niki Lauda.

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St. Pete Indy Car race to be replayed
For those of you who may have missed the exciting Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Indy Car race,  it will be replayed on Monday morning, April 7, 7:00 am - 8:30 am ET on ESPN Classic.


Ex-Champ Car teams take 6 of top 9 in St. Pete UPDATE A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, I agree completely with your article about the divided fan base being good for the sport. I am Brazilian and found myself rooting for Rahal who is American but an ex-Champ Car driver instead of Helio who is Brazilian and has been in Indy Cars for years!  Rod Orlando, FL.

04/06/08 What is shaping up to be quite a battle all season long, six of the top nine finishers in the St. Pete Indy Car race Sunday were ex-Champ Car teams.  Despite being unfamiliar with the Indy Car equipment they showed the way on Sunday with young Graham Rahal giving IndyCar veteran Helio Castroneves a driving lesson. 

This bodes well for the Indy Car series because, as we have said for years, once there is a merger, fan interest will swell when fans from both sides start pulling for "their guys."  Rivalries and divided fan interest are what drive the success of any sport.


Record crowd for Bahrain GP
Bahrain's best ever Formula One attracted almost 100,000 fans over the three days - up almost 10,000 on the previous year.

Organizers were delighted the fifth Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix brought in a record crowd of 99,981 and hoped next year to smash through the 100,000 mark.

Attendance records were broken every day of the event, with 23,500 on Friday, 33,500 on Saturday and 42,981 people attending the final race day of the Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) yesterday.

"I think the race speaks for itself," said Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa following the race.

"The spirit that has been displayed by the fans, the whole participation by the international community and the interest we generated has been fantastic for the sport and fantastic for us in Bahrain."

The Crown Prince welcomed the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next year, adding that he was very happy the Gulf was becoming a motorsport destination.

"I think the more we have the better," he said.


Stewart: An outsider must replace Mosley UPDATE Former Grand Prix winner, Jacky Ickx, has declared that he believes Max Mosley should resign as President of the FIA after the allegations made by the British newspaper 'News of the World'. By asking the resignation of Mosley, Ickx added his voice to the statements of several manufacturers, national bodies and former F1 drivers who believe Mosley can't stay as President of the governing body.

Speaking to the website of German newspaper Welt, Jacky Ickx said: "Regardless of how this story becomes public, Mosley cannot continue to represent such an association - even though I regret this, as he was a good president."

04/06/08 Sir Jackie Stewart believes the end-game playing out around Max Mosley, the wounded president of Formula One's ruling body, the FIA, will result in a sea change in the way the sport is run. Despite the predicament in which the sport finds itself, there is no immediate mechanism for challenging Mosley's authority. Stewart believes too much of the ruling machinery is opaque and unsuited to a 21st century sport funded by global business.

The next few days are critical to Mosley's strategy of holding on to power. Stewart believes that the withdrawal from the FIA umbrella of those motoring organizations that have already voiced their disapproval of Mosley's private life is the most likely development. Should that happen, Mosley would find it difficult to resist the potential domino effect, leaving the way clear for change.

Stewart, who admitted a number of approaches for him to take a leading role in the administration, believes Mosley's replacement must not be an F1 insider, ruling out former drivers and former team principals.

"There's a unique opportunity for the sport to be restructured, for the FIA to be restructured," Stewart said. "I believe it can't be someone from within the sport. It needs to be a captain of industry, a CEO of standing, man or woman."

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racing news

Driver killed in collision at Thompson Speedway
Shane Hammond of Halifax, Mass., 27, was killed Sunday when his midget car hit another, flipped over a concrete wall and struck a billboard at Thompson International Speedway.

He died at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, state police said.

The accident happened during the 2008 Ice Breaker before 8,500 fans.

"He was relatively new, but had received accolades galore from veterans in the midget organization," said Russ Dowd, director of operations at the raceway.

It was the second fatal accident at the speedway in less than eight months. Last August, John Blewett III of Howell, N.J., died at this track after his car and one driven by his brother hit a wall near the end of the Whelen Modified Tour.


Peugeot beats Audi in Barcelona
The first round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Barcelona had the makings of being a real thriller, and so it was! The drama-packed 1,000km race kicked off at a blistering pace and ended in success for Team Peugeot Total with the 908 HDi FAP shared by Nicolas Minassian and local star Marc Gené.

With Automobiles Peugeot’s Managing Director Jean-Philippe Collin in attendance, as well as more than 28,000 spectators, including 4,200 guests of Peugeot Spain, the two Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs lined up on the front row of the grid with high hopes of a top result.

As the start lights switched to green, the N°8 car driven by Portugal’s Pedro Lamy pulled away cleanly to profit from the pole position claimed the previous day by team-mate Stéphane Sarrazin. He promptly proceeded to pull slightly clear of the field, including Nicolas Minassian in the sister car which got off to a timid start. “Pedro’s acceleration at the start took me by surprise,” commented Nicolas Minassian. ”He was on the throttle very quickly and I found myself back in fourth place.” The French driver nonetheless soon eased into third place before engaging in a virile tussle with the N°1 Audi driven by Allan McNish.

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Rain hits St. Petersburg
Rain is falling in St. Petersburg, Florida and the Indy Cars have started on rain tires running behind the pace car since the drop of the green due to standing water on the track.  The 2-hour time limit will probably determine the length of today's race.


Kubica let Raikkonen past
After the Bahrain race Sunday Robert Kubica said that confusion over oil on the track caused him to forfeit second place to Kimi Raikkonen early in the Bahrain Grand Prix. The polesitter was passed at the start by Felipe Massa, then fell to third behind the second Ferrari two laps later.

"I didn't know about the oil, and I'd hit some debris in corner one so I thought I'd punctured the tyre," he said. "I was nearly going to pit because I didn't have the information about the oil on the track, so I lost a place to Kimi."

"In the second stint we had some problems with graining and rear tyre degradation and I think we lost a lot to Ferrari," Kubica explained.

"But anyway it's a good result for the team and we're leading the constructors' championship, so it's a good weekend."

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Stoddart wants Mosley exit and F1 return
Paul Stoddart wants arch-nemesis Mosley sacked
(GMM)  Paul Stoddart on Sunday hinted that he might return to formula one if Max Mosley departs as FIA president.

The pair share an acrimonious past after crossing swords politically, as Australian-born Stoddart ran the Minardi team between 2001 and until he sold out to Red Bull at the end of 2005.

In no uncertain terms, he said Mosley must be removed as head of world motoring's governing body, because of the sex scandal.

"This arsehole has got to go for the sake of the sport," Stoddart told the Weekend Australian newspaper.

After the Bahrain royal family urged Mosley against attending the grand prix this weekend, Stoddart similarly advised Spain's King Juan Carlos to also shun the embattled FIA president ahead of the next grand prix.

"There is absolutely no question in my mind that Mosley must go, and only then will I come back to the sport as a team owner," he added.


Antinucci wins 2nd Indy Lights race
Richard Antinucci
Road racer Richard Antinucci won the 2nd Firestone Indy Lights race of the weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.  The race was a fiasco of sorts. The top 4 were inverted at the start.  The winner of the first race on Saturday, Raphael Matos pulled into second, got impatient and dropped back, then passed his way back to 2nd with Simmons leading.  He then was working Simmons beautifully and decided to force the issue and took them both out. Then Ana Beatriz was in the lead and doing a great job in front of Antinucci. Once again, it seems like the only way these drivers pass each other is by hitting one another. Antinucci just nudged her right out of the way. Then she crosses right into the racing line and got hammered. So Antinucci finished it out.

Bobby Wilson, once again hit someone trying to pass. He seems to really like to do that here especially.

JR Hildebrand finished 2nd.

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IRL and ALMS  agreement extended 4-years in St. Pete
Representatives from Andretti Green Promotions (AGP), promoters of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and the City of St. Petersburg today announced a multi-year extension of the existing agreement between the two organizations to ensure the future of the race through 2013.

In addition, AGP also announced tentative agreements for multi-year extensions of partnerships with American Honda Motor Company, on behalf of its Honda and Acura brands, the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series.

The current contract between the City and AGP runs through next year’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the agreement announced today provides for a four-year extension of the existing contract.  Dates for future events, including the 2009 date, have not been announced.  It is anticipated the 2009 date will be announced later this year.

Now in its fourth year, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is the first street-circuit race on the 2008 IndyCar Series schedule and is run on a 1.8-mile, 14-turn course through the streets of St. Petersburg. 

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Alzen and Frentzen penalized (again), Morbidelli takes win UPDATE Gianni Morbidelli won the second Speedcar race today, taking the win away from Uwe Alzen who was penalized by the Bahrain Grand Prix stewards of the meeting for an incident on the track.

Alzen receiving a 10 second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage by cutting a corner to overtake Marchy Lee on the inside during the race. Morbidelli who finished second 8.489 seconds behind the German was therefore awarded the win with Alzen now taking second place.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was demoted to 9th place after finishing 6th by the stewards who ruled that he was driving unsafely which resulted in heavy contact between his car and Stefan Johansson's.

04/06/08 Uwe Alzen made amends for his exclusion from Saturday's Speedcar race in Bahrain by winning the Sunday event. The German had won the first race on the road, but was later excluded for not wearing his HANS device, which is mandated by the rules. Helped by a high rate of attrition, he was able to win the second race from the back of the grid.

"The race was absolutely fantastic. The car was so strong and so unbelievably fast. It was absolutely okay until the end when I had a problem with the engine, one cylinder was gone but I was far enough to finish," said Alzen.

With the top eight finishers from Saturday lining up in reverse order, pole went to Ukyo Katayama, ahead of Hasher Al Maktoum, Jacques Villeneuve and Johnny Herbert. However, Al Maktoum experienced ECU problems on the warm-up lap, and came straight into the pits.

Herbert was in a determined mood, and he immediately passed Villeneuve to claim second, and within a few corners he relieved Katayama of the lead. Katayama and Villeneuve made side-to-side contact, but by co-incidence both drivers also had engine problems. As the rest of the field streamed past, both men headed to the pits.

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McLaren to bring 'motor home' to all races
(GMM)  Ron Dennis on Sunday sounded confident that McLaren will be able to bring its huge paddock 'motor home' - the semi-permanent three storey building officially called Brand Centre - to all European races this year.

Following a recent letter from FIA president Max Mosley to Bernie Ecclestone, a special dispensation for the Anglo-German to slot into the fifth highest garage allocation this year was cancelled after the Malaysian grand prix.

"He said 'Bernie, I have had a lot of complaints from people saying that you sort of arbitrarily put Ron there which is something you've never done before'," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the Times.

At present, it is not clear if the relocation to the bottom of the pits, due to McLaren's exclusion from the constructors' championship last year, will apply at all races.

"I haven't a clue," team boss Dennis said in Bahrain.

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Power fastest in St. Pete, but lost pole
Will Power
Will Power has put the IndyCar Series paddock on notice by qualifying second for only his second ever IndyCar Series race at the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg in Florida today.

Power put the #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone on the top of the timesheets in the opening two segments of qualifying in an outstanding effort, before clinching a front row starting position for tomorrow’s race in the final shootout for pole, the Firestone Fast Six.

The Australian’s reaction to the feat showed just how determined Power is for success in the newly unified IndyCar Series. Despite only driving a Honda-powered Dallara IndyCar on one previous occasion on a road course in a test at Sebring, Power was disappointed that he did not get pole position, which went to 2004 IndyCar Series Champion Tony Kanaan.

Will Power
Power was the fastest car in his group in qualifying in the new knockout Peak Motor Oil Pole Qualifying road/street course system and progressed into the next segment of 12 cars. From there the 27-year-old again qualified fastest, moving into the final six-car shootout for the pole – the Firestone Fast Six.

In the final shootout Power was second, only 0.0774 behind Kanaan’s time. Power’s time in the second segment of qualifying would have easily put him on pole, leading to the Toowoomba-born driver feeling slightly frustrated he did not bring home the pole in only his second IndyCar race.


NASCAR to Examine McDowell's Car
Before Michael McDowell's totaled #00 Toyota winds up in the salvage yard, NASCAR's research and development team wants a chance to inspect the damage. McDowell was able to walk away from an accident in Friday's qualifying session that later took Texas Motor Speedway crews three hours to replace a 28-foot section of the SAFER barrier that was severely bowed by the impact. The battered hulk of what remained of McDowell's machine was placed under a tarp and will be on its way to the R&D facility in Concord, N.C., next week. NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton said it's standard procedure for NASCAR to evaluate how its safety initiatives hold up in severe crashes, particularly the advancements that have been made in the new car. Pemberton said NASCAR engineers may be particularly interested in this crash, because it should provide some valuable telemetry to show forces and loads on the car when it impacted the SAFER barrier and then tumbled at least eight times. An initial inspection of the car by NASCAR officials following the accident seemed to indicate that all of the safety features on the car performed as expected, according to Pemberton.  NASCAR.com


NASCAR taking steps to keep its core fans happy
NASCAR research and development usually focuses on minute technical details such as gear ratios and air displacement. Last winter, one topic was fan displacement.

The racing giant took note of increasing numbers of empty seats and declining television ratings during the 2006 and '07 Cup seasons. It determined its most ardent supporters were watching six fewer minutes of the races. Research also showed those fans were attending half as many races as they used to – an average of three to five as opposed to six to 10.

NASCAR has addressed what it considers erosion to its foundation, the core fans who have followed the sport for years – long before there was a Chase, a Texas Motor Speedway, a Car of Tomorrow or a Toyota parked in Victory Lane.

That doesn't mean going back to abandoned tracks such as Rockingham or North Wilkesboro. But NASCAR chairman Brian France and several NASCAR executives talked with track presidents to get an idea of how to better serve the loyal fans.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Spain objects to FIA's anti-racism campaign
  • Williams wants more money for more races
  • BMW rise not good for me - Alonso
  • Villeneuve laments late traction control ban
  • Mosley orgy had Nazi theme - newspaper

Spain objects to FIA's anti-racism campaign
(GMM)  The head of the Spanish motor racing federation has come out fighting against embattled FIA president Max Mosley's plan to launch an anti-racism campaign at the country's grand prix later this month.

Carlos Gracia, also a member of the World Council, insisted to members of the Spanish press on Saturday that "there will be no anti-racism campaign in Montmelo", referring to Mosley's declared plans in February for the race at Circuit de Catalunya this year.

The FIA's anti-racism campaign, entitled 'racing against racism', was a response to the Lewis Hamilton incident during winter testing, but its deployment must now be in doubt because of the Mosley sex scandal, which reportedly had Nazi connotations.

In a five-star Bahrain hotel, Gracia would not be drawn on the scandal, but he said his position against the anti-racism scandal had already been made clear to Mosley before his romp with five prostitutes was made public.

"Spain is not a racist country," he insists.

Mosley received some support amid the sex scandal on Saturday in the form of the Brazilian motor body.

Two more F1 teams played their cards close to their chest in Bahrain; Force India's Vijay Mallya saying only that India is a "conservative country", while Red Bull's coy stance is encapsulated by its paddock magazine, the Red Bulletin, which hasn't uttered a word about the sex scandal this weekend.

The global press coverage of the story, however, remains a problem for Mosley.  The Independent on Saturday took a step into the surreal when it published a 'brief history of orgies', while Spain's El Mundo referred to the impending 'decline of F1's Fuhrer'.

Williams wants more money for more races
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams has backed formula one's expansion, but thinks Bernie Ecclestone should pay for the privilege of a longer calendar.

A raft of team bosses recently said they would agree to the F1 chief executive's desire for 20 races a season.

"We support twenty (races) providing Bernie recognizes it costs a lot more because of extra people and transporting equipment," Williams said at Bahrain's Sakhir circuit; his first appearance at a grand prix in 2008.

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tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Inside Grand Prix Bahrain 
3:00am-3:30am (R) SPEED
Formula 1 Qualifying Bahrain 
3:30am-5:00am (R) SPEED
Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix
7:00am-9:30am (L) SPEED
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
Documentary: Birth of a Racer (2007)
Profiling Michael Czysz, who is building a superbike
  capable of competing at the MotoGP at Laguna Seca 
10:00am-12:00pm Discovery HD Theater
Check local listings for your time zone
NASCAR in a Hurry 
11:00am-11:30am SPEED
NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series Houston 
11:00am-12:00pm ESPN2
Movie: Supercross: The Movie (2005)
11:00am-1:00pm FX
NASCAR Raceday Fort Worth
11:30am-1:30pm SPEED
Formula 1 Replay Bahrain Grand Prix 
1:30pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Samsung 500 Fort Worth
1:30pm-6:00pm (L) FOX Sports
IndyCar Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
2:30pm-5:00pm (L) ESPN
Superbike World Championship Spain 
4:00pm-5:00pm (SD) -Race 1
Race 2 - Tuesday, April 8, 1:00pm-2:00pm ESPN
AMA Supercross Irving, TX
6:00pm-7:00pm (4/5/08) ESPN
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm ESPN
NASCAR Victory Lane Fort Worth 
8:00pm-9:00pm (SD) ESPN
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Antron Brown (NHRA)
Nicky Hayden (MotoGP)
Randy Lajoie (Regarding safety - Michael McDowell's NASCAR crash)
Robin Miller (Open Wheel Racing Analyst) 
Bob Varsha (F1 Analyst)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) ESPN
Movie: Bobby Deerfield (1977)
10:30pm-1:00am ESPN Classic

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


Matos dominates Indy Lights race
Raphael Matos
Raphael Matos led from flag to flag to win the St. Pete 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. For Matos, who earned the SWE Pole earlier in the day, it was his third career victory in six career starts. All three wins have come on the Streets of St. Petersburg where he has led 108 of 120 laps.

Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, finished second for the second consecutive weekend. Ana Beatriz finished third, the highest finish by a woman in Firestone Indy Lights history.

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Busch Toyota wins easily in Texas
In his seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season, Kyle Busch finally got a result befitting his performance.

Entering Saturday's O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, Busch had led a series-best 345 laps without a win. After finishing second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart in the first two races of the season, a series of mishaps had blocked the Toyota driver's path to victory lane.

That changed at Texas, where Busch ran away from the competition to post his first Nationwide win of the season and the 12th of his career. Though he had to survive a restart on Lap 194 of 200, Busch pulled away over the final seven laps and crossed the finish line 1.041 seconds ahead of runner-up Jeff Burton.

Series points leader Clint Bowyer finished third, followed by Bobby Labonte and Jamie McMurray. Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Ragan, Jason Leffler and Tony Stewart completed the top 10.

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Montoya won't defend Mexico City victory
Juan Pablo Montoya won’t defend his crown when the Nationwide Series visits Mexico City in two weeks, instead opting for the rare weekend off with his family.

While the Chip Ganassi Racing driver won’t be there, several road-course veterans will be, including Sam Hornish for Penske Racing. Hornish is a rookie in the Sprint Cup Series and has run select Nationwide Series races the last two years.

“Obviously I haven’t ran one of these cars on a road course before competitively in a race so it’s a good idea for us to go down there and get a race in before we go out to Infineon in June [for Cup] and just try to do it without having any of that experience,” Hornish said Thursday. “While I’d enjoy the weekend off, we’re not going to get it so we’ll make the best of it in Mexico.”

Mexico native Michel Jourdain is in negotiations to drive the No. 32 car for Braun Racing.

“We’re looking at him,” team owner Todd Braun said. “The conversation has been had but nothing has been finalized yet.” Scenedaily.com


Crowds swell at St. Pete after unification
The crowds at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg appear to be bigger than ever, and Tony Kanaan figures it might well have something to do with the unification of the two American open-wheel series under the IRL banner.

There were plenty of open-wheel fans who changed their allegiance to NASCAR or simply lost interest in racing after the IRL IndyCar Series began competing with CART/Champ Car in 1996.

Now that there is one series again, some of those people might be ready to return to the fold.

"This race, I think, from day one was always a success," said Kanaan, who raced in both series and is a former IRL champion. "Obviously, with the merger, we saw how successful was Homestead (last week), and this place just grows."

There were big crowds Friday for the first day of practice, and on Saturday. Kanaan spent some time Friday signing autographs and talking to fans.

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Winter diet made me quicker - Kubica
Kubica's weight loss results in faster pace
(GMM)  Robert Kubica on Saturday revealed that some of his extra pace in 2008 can be attributed to a winter weight loss regime.

"I worked hard and this is the kind of result we can get from it," the Pole said, after securing his and BMW-Sauber first pole position in Bahrain.

At 185 centimeters, the 22-year-old is among the tallest formula one drivers on the grid.

After a difficult 2007 season, he agreed with his trainer to try to shed some pounds and get closer to the weight of his diminutive German teammate Nick Heidfeld, who weighs in about ten kilograms lighter than Kubica.

He told reporters that he successfully lost 6kg between the 2007 Brazilian grand prix and last month's season opener in Australia.

"We saw that if I were lighter I would go a bit quicker," Kubica said.

"It makes a good profit in the performance and I think it was also in some way the key to being so strong in the beginning of the season," he added.

The minimum weight for car plus driver in F1 is 605kg, but the lighter a driver is, the more ballast can be positioned in key areas for additional performance.


Alonso: No package can close the gap
Alonso admits it's pretty much hopeless for Renault this year
Two time world champion Fernando Alonso will have to set his sights lower this year. Instead of winning the pole position he only became tenth in Qualifying in Bahrain. “That was a nice surprise”, he said when interviewed by the Motorsport Magazine adrivo.com. He hopes to be able to score some points tomorrow, but nothing more.

“If everybody finishes the race in front of us it will be difficult to gain some positions”, he emphasizes. “That is a little bit frustrating but that’s how it is.” At the next race in Spain Renault will use a new aerodynamic package which should allow them to reduce the gap between them and Williams and Toyota. “But McLaren, BMW and Ferrari are still too fast for us - no package can make up one second. We hope that things will improve”, Alonso told adrivo.com, “but we are also aware of the fact that we can only make up 2 or 3 positions.” There is still a long way to go.  adrivo.com Motorsport Magazin


Ferrari thinks it can still beat Kubica
Two Ferraris on the two front rows: this was the outcome of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Felipe Massa will start from second place, with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen right behind him in fourth spot.

Stefano Domenicali
"Obviously, we had hoped for a better result, but it's definitely not a case of bandaging your head before you've broken it!" declared Stefano Domenicali. "We have two cars on the front two rows and we have seen these past two days what potential we can rely on. Tomorrow, we will have to get a good start, try to manage our race as best as possible and, above all, to be reliable."

Felipe Massa: "All things considered, I am still confident after this qualifying. We know we can count on a really good car, as we have seen so far here in Sakhir. In Q3, I always had a bit of traffic, but these things happen. We must remain concentrated and do the best job we can, making the most of all our resources. Congratulations to Robert, who really drove very well."

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Briscoe tops Saturday AM practice at St. Pete
Rank Car Driver Name Time Speed
1 6 Briscoe, Ryan 01:02.9746 102.899
2 26 Andretti, Marco 01:03.1362 102.635
3 5 Servia, Oriol 01:03.1647 102.589
4 02 Wilson, Justin 01:03.1863 102.554
5 9 Dixon, Scott 01:03.1971 102.536
6 10 Wheldon, Dan 01:03.2971 102.374
7 3 Castroneves, Helio 01:03.3262 102.327
8 33 Viso, Ernesto 01:03.3731 102.252
9 17 Hunter-Reay, Ryan 01:03.4136 102.186
10 15 Rice, Buddy 01:03.5172 102.020
11 11 Kanaan, Tony 01:03.5477 101.971
12 36 Bernoldi, Enrique 01:03.5879 101.906
13 27 Mutoh, Hideki 01:03.6064 101.877
14 8 Power, Will 01:03.6572 101.795
15 4 Meira, Vitor 01:03.6757 101.766
16 18 Junqueira, Bruno 01:03.7015 101.724
17 06 Rahal, Graham 01:04.0008 101.249
18 14 Manning, Darren 01:04.1077 101.080
19 34 Perera, Franck 01:04.2445 100.865
20 24 Howard, Jay 01:04.5616 100.369
21 2 Foyt IV, AJ 01:04.6632 100.212
22 20 Carpenter, Ed 01:04.8832 99.872
23 7 Patrick, Danica 01:04.8925 99.857
24 19 Moraes, Mario 01:05.0811 99.568
25 25 Roth, Marty 01:07.3890 96.158
26 23 Bell, Townsend 01:13.1351 88.603


Just how slow are the Indy Cars? Real slow!
Just how bad is the Indy Car equipment?  Well consider this, It may not mean much but 26 IRL cars have combined for 1,632 laps at St. Petersburg. The Dallaras have a 440-pound and 70-horsepower advantage over the Audi R10 TDI ALMS car. Still, Marco Werner is the fastest driver on the weekend.  The sooner the IRL replaces that dog of a car the better.  To have a heavy 'endurance' car outperform a special built open wheel race car is a black eye to say the least.  The best solution?  Take the Panoz Champ Car, have American company Panoz build some more (why is the money spent going overseas when better cars are available here in the USA?), badge the turbo engine a Honda, and presto next year the IRL can have a real race car for the fans to enjoy.


Uwe Alzen excluded, David Terrien wins in Bahrain UPDATE Uwe Alzen's victory in the first race this morning was cancelled by the Bahrain Support Race Stewards of the meeting. The German driver was excluded from the race classification based on an official protest lodged by another team.

The Stewards found that the driver had not worn his HANS (Head and Neck Safety Device) during the race in contravention of the Series regulations. The HANS device is a special safety device used in all major top level international championships and is designed to protect the driver's neck in the case of an accident during racing.

Frenchman David Terrien therefore inherits the race win.

04/05/08 Uwe Alzen took the lead of the Speedcar Series after scoring his third win of the season in a dramatic Saturday morning race in Bahrain. The German beat the strongest field of F1 drivers assembled thus far.

New to the series for this race were 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, and his former Williams team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen. With JJ Lehto back again that brought the number of former Sauber F1 drivers in the field to six! Also back for his second outing of the season was former Le Mans and DTM star Klaus Ludwig.

In Friday morning's qualifying session Johnny Herbert just pipped Stefan Johansson to pole, while Nicolas Navarro and Alzen filled the second row. Championship leader Jean Alesi made a mistake on his new tires run, and thus had to settle for seventh. Meanwhile newcomers Frentzen and Villeneuve took time to settle in. They started 10th and 14th, the Canadian struggling with his brake balance.

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Robertson ready for St. Pete challenge
Any street race in the American Le Mans Series season is a challenge, especially it being the first race off the season. It becomes even more difficult for a first-year, full-season team like Robertson Racing. And oh yeah…the team also is running its Doran Ford GT for only the second race of the season.

“The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg has presented an opportunity for myself and David Murry to partner up to conquer this street course,” said co-driver Andrea Robertson, who owns the team with husband David. “With a new car AND a circuit that we have never driven on, the ‘challenge’ part of the race is one we take on with excitement and anticipation.

“The new Ford GT MK VII was GREAT at Sebring; with it just delivered six days before that event, we were amazed at the solid handling and smoothness of the car,” she added. “It's been at the shop since then with our crew going over the car to make it ready for the first American Le Mans Series street race of the year. We expect to keep our heads up, foot on the gas and car nose pointed towards Long Beach!”


Mosley insists sex romp 'harmless'
Mosley insists he has done nothing wrong
(GMM)  FIA president Max Mosley on Saturday is no closer to voluntarily relinquishing his role, despite intense pressure from the formula one, motor racing and motoring worlds.

A letter he wrote, responding to German motoring federation ADAC's president Peter Meyer's criticism, stresses that he feels he has done nothing worthy of the widespread condemnation resulting from the sex scandal.

In Mosley's letter, copied to all facets of the governing body and revealed by the Daily Telegraph newspaper, the 67-year-old said he would have resigned immediately had he been caught speeding or drink-driving.

But he insists that his romp with five prostitutes was "harmless and completely legal".

"I believe that twenty first century adults do not worry about private sexual matters as long as they are legal and harmless.

"The offence seems to be not what I did but the fact that it became public," he wrote, insisting that the so-called 'Nazi' element of the London incident was fabricated by News of the World.

"I think I have done nothing wrong and that the wrong was done by the newspaper," Mosley wrote.

"I don't think any of this should affect my work on motoring safety, the environment or the sport."

Mosley also tempered his apparently crumbling support in the racing and motoring worlds by revealing that twenty FIA clubs, and another 50 clubs, want him to stay in office.


Montagny returns to racing
Franck Montagny
Franck Montagny will join A1 Team France for the last 2 events of the season: Shanghai (11th-13th April) and Brands Hatch (2nd-4th May). Despite a very full program the Frenchman has accepted to drive the red, white and blue car and do battle for the 2007/08 title.

He will follow in the footsteps of Loïc Duval and Jonathan Cochet who have defended the team’s colors since the start of the season.

With 8 rounds gone A1 Team France is in 3rd place in the overall classification 20 points behind the leader, Switzerland. It has racked up 1 victory, 7 podium placings and 12 points- scoring finishes.

30-year-old Franck Montagny raced in 7 F1 grand prix with Super Aguri in 2006. He was the Renault F1 test driver from 2003 to 2005, and then did the same job for Toyota F1 in 2007.

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Brazilians support Mosley
The Brazilian motorsport federation Confederacao Brasileira De Automobilismo (CBA) President Paulo Eneas Scaglione, has said that FIA President Max Mosley has a right to privacy in his private life and should go on and complete his mandate, if he chooses to do so.

Mosley never loses a lawsuit or challenge to his authority, so despite many who have spoken out against him, don't be surprised if he finds a way to prevail once again.  Despite his disgusting and lurid sex with five prostitutes, he remains one of the great minds in motorsports.


Villeneuve to race in 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps
Former F1 Champion Jacques Villeneuve will race in the 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps in May. The Canadian will team up with Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian at Team Peugeot Total.


Raikkonen fined €2400
World Champion Kimi Raikkonen has received a fine for speeding in the pit lane. The Finnish Ferrari driver drove 71.6km/h in front of the garages and immediately received a fine of €2400. The maximum speed in the pit lane is 60km/h during all the practice sessions.


A lot of crashes Friday in St. Pete
There were numerous crashes and red lights on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile circuit Friday that snakes around St. Pete's downtown airport and marina.

In the second practice session, which spanned 30 minutes, at least eight drivers made contact with the tire barrier, and Marty Roth did it twice and that made it hard for drivers to find a clean lap with no traffic.

Danica's crew work on her car in the pits Friday
Chris Jones/IRL
Danica Patrick was the first, glancing off a wall on her lap out of the pits. Kanaan veered into a group of tires trying to avoid Power, whose car got sideways without contact. Graham Rahal and Ryan Briscoe fared similarly in separate incidents.

Even rookie Hideki Mutoh, who ended third, found trouble. None of the damage was serious.


IndyCar tries knockout qualifying today
A new qualifying procedure for road and street circuit IndyCar events has participants and fans intrigued for today's Honda GP of St. Pete qualifying. Today's 26 cars will be randomly divided into a pair of 20-minute sessions, with the top six in each advancing to the second round.

Those 12 cars will start anew in a session that spans 15 minutes. The third and final round, known as the Firestone Fast Six, will feature the fastest six in a 10-minute shootout.

In short, it's a knockout format similar to what Formula One utilizes, and it begins at 10:55 a.m. this morning.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Record crowd at Sakhir on Friday
  • No green light for Kimi's MotoGP test
  • Mosley begins legal action against paper
  • Whiting confirms Q3 rule tweak
  • Briatore expects 'giant leap' for Spanish GP
  • Briatore expects Piquet 'recovery' in Bahrain

Record crowd at Sakhir on Friday
(GMM)  A record Friday crowd of 24,000 spectators attended the Sakhir circuit, organizers of the Bahrain grand prix have revealed.

The official figure is 2000 more than on the first day of practice last year.

The seated capacity of the circuit near the Bahraini capital, Manama, is 36,000.

"For a Friday this is the best ticket sale we have had so far in the past five years," the circuit's marketing and public relations manager Samer Al Shaikh said.

No green light for Kimi's MotoGP test
(GMM)  Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali refused to say whether world champion Kimi Raikkonen will be allowed to test a MotoGP bike any time soon.

After former team champion Michael Schumacher's much publicized forays on two wheels, Finn Raikkonen in Bahrain revealed that he also harbors a desire to sample the other premier form of grand prix machinery.

When asked if the 28-year-old will be given permission to risk his life away from his formula one cockpit, Domenicali revealed that Raikkonen already spends some of his spare time on a motocross bike.

"I would say that he's more concentrating on four wheels from now until November and then we will see," he added.

Mosley begins legal action against paper
(GMM)  Max Mosley has now commenced legal action against the British tabloid newspaper News of the World.

A spokesman for F1's governing body, the FIA, said: "Lawyers representing Mr. Mosley have today served proceedings against the News of the World claiming unlimited damages."

The confirmation comes amid further details about the investigation that resulted in the News of the World report, in which the FIA president was depicted in video with five prostitutes.

Germany's Bild newspaper reveals that the footage was captured by two prostitutes who each wore tiny 'pin cameras' that were about the size of a match.

The investigation, that reportedly went on for seven weeks and may even have involved telephone and computer surveillance, was conducted by a specialty British agency, and the primary client may not yet be known.

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Bahrain GP: Rosberg tops final practice
Williams driver Nico Rosberg turned the fastest lap in the final free practice session at Sakhir where F1 teams are preparing for Sunday's Bahrain GP.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was second, having been fastest in every other session, but Ferrari and McLaren appeared to focus on heavier fuel loads in preparation for Q3.

Massa's teammate Kimi Raikkonen ended the session in ninth, with McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton in 10th and 18th respectively.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:32.521 0.000 17
2. Massa Ferrari 1:32.726 0.205 10
3. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:32.742 0.221 16
4. Trulli Toyota 1:32.901 0.380 18
5. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:32.918 0.397 14
6. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:33.020 0.499 16
7. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:33.024 0.503 18
8. Piquet Renault 1:33.074 0.553 16
9. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:33.237 0.716 10
10. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.367 0.846 15
11. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.372 0.851 17
12. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:33.392 0.871 20
13. Alonso Renault 1:33.445 0.924 13
14. Barrichello Honda 1:33.551 1.030 18
15. Glock Toyota 1:33.595 1.074 20
16. Button Honda 1:33.600 1.079 17
17. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.651 1.130 14
18. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.659 1.138 14
19. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:33.857 1.336 18
20. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:34.074 1.553 16
21. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:34.591 2.070 18
22. Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:34.952 2.431 16

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