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IRL Driver Online Charity Auction  Clothes Off Our Back is working with Honda Performance Development on an online charity auction featuring racing gloves, shoes, suits and more from today’s hottest drivers. Donations from Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Darren Manning, Ed Carpenter, AJ Foyt IV, Vitor Meira, Adrian Fernandez, Luis Diaz, David Brabham, Bryan Herta, Christian Fittipaldi and others are online now. There is also an Indy 500 package and Honda Cam Cover. Auctions close April 21.
track news
Watkins Glen fans can now print their own tickets  Fans no longer have to wait for their tickets to the Centurion Boats at The Glen weekend to come in the mail because Watkins Glen International now offers print-at-home tickets!  At this time, this option is only available for grandstand tickets during the Centurion Boats at The Glen weekend, August 7-10, but other events are expected to be available in 2009.  The print-at-home option is the latest addition to the list of technologies, including the WGI Fan Talk Forum, live driver chats, MySpace, Facebook, and e-newsletters that The Glen uses to enhance their fans’ online experience.

The print at home option is available for new orders and is as simple as a couple of clicks of the mouse or a request on the phone.  Guests will simply need to select the print at home option when they purchase their tickets online or tell their ticket agent they would like to print at home.  The ticket buyer will then receive two e-mails—one confirms the ticket sale and the other contains the print at home information.  A barcode printed on the ticket will be scanned at the admission gates.  Each print-at-home ticket is valid for one admission only and duplicate copies of the same barcode will not allow access.

Tyler Walker trying to revive racing career  Tyler Walker was on his way to a sprint car race in Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, hoping to win for the second straight week and wow the crowd with the patented backflip that he was doing long before Carl Edwards made it famous.

The 28-year-old Californian is attempting to revive a career that was sidelined in May when NASCAR suspended him indefinitely after he failed a drug test following qualifying for a Craftsman Truck Series event at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.

He says he's been drug-free and sober for more than 10 months now.

Had the governing body had a more stringent drug-testing program when he began driving trucks in 2003, Walker says he likely would have cleaned up his act a long time ago out of fear of being caught. For sure," he said. "I would love to see a stricter policy. I'd like to see everybody getting tested so there's no ifs, ands or buts. Let's clear the table and make sure everybody is on the same page, and that way it will prevent others from making the mistakes I did."  More ...

NASCAR Drivers upset over lack of drug testing  Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne say they never have undergone a drug test as NASCAR competitors. "In the 10 years that I've raced, I've never been drug-tested," Harvick said. "To me, that's not a proper drug policy for a professional sport. We haven't made any headway whatsoever on the drug-testing policy." Harvick and Stewart were reacting to an ESPN The Magazine story this week in which former driver Aaron Fike said he competed in Craftsman Truck Series races while he was on heroin. "I have been in a race with him and I know for a fact that he's not the only one," Harvick said. "There's another driver that was suspended that I can almost guarantee you was in the race car while he was under the influence, and that pisses me off. I'm sure I'll be blasted for saying what I feel, but I don't want to be on a race track with people like that. It's irresponsible more than anything." All four Cup drivers said they are in favor of regular testing.

"I would love it,'' Stewart said. "I've never been asked to take one yet. I think it should be mandatory to have random drug testing. I think it's a great idea. The Fike situation shows that as an organization, we're not doing a good job of seeing this before it happens." NASCAR's substance-abuse policy includes the right to test any driver at any time, but officials only do so if they believe a competitor might have a problem. "The responsibility here rests across the board -- with the drivers and competitors, owners, teams and NASCAR," said Kerry Tharp, NASCAR's director of communication. "We test an individual when we have reasonable suspicion. A positive test results in severe consequences and is a career-changing moment for that person. NASCAR's policy is also supported by the various policies that the teams have in place that are required under the driver/owner agreements. No system is flawless, but we believe our zero tolerant policy that is in place has served the sport well."

Fike was arrested last year in Ohio for possession of heroin. More ...

F1 reject thinks A1GP will challenge F1  
From the too funny department - Rejected from F1 for being too slow, Karthikeyan thinks A1GP is going to challenge F1
For motorsport enthusiasts, Formula One may be the real thing but Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan believes A1 Grand Prix’s six-year deal with Ferrari will throw a real challenge to F1.

Here for the penultimate race of the season at the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend, Karthikeyan said A1 GP is catching up with F1 and would gain more popularity in the years to come. “I think A1 GP will catch up with F1, more so for the next year, because of the Ferrari deal. Ferrari and motorsport go long way in history. Nowhere in the world are 24 nations going to battle it out in Ferraris. A1 GP straightaway gets a much higher profile. It will have much more media attention and more viewers,” Karthikeyan said here on Thursday.

Karthikeyan said A1 GP’s unique format of pitting a country against the others and the deal with Ferrari would herald a new era for motorsport in a country like India. “They (A1) don’t go and try to compete with F1. They are two totally different levels. This concept is really clicking with the fans. It will get much bigger in the years to come,” he said. 

HVM and Minardi enter 3 cars for Long Beach  HVM Racing, together with Minardi, will play their part in ensuring the Champ Car World Series enjoys a high-profile send-off, when they field three cars for the 34thAnnual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 18-20.

At the wheel of the #33 PDVSA-HVM Racing entry will be EJ Viso, the team’s full-time driver in the 2008 IndyCar Series.  Joining the talented Venezuelan will be popular Frenchman, Nelson Philippe, driving the #4 Minardi-HVM Racing chassis and Brazilian, Roberto Moreno, piloting the #14 Minardi-HVM Racing entry.  Entirely fittingly, all three drivers have competed successfully for the team at various stages in its history, and it’s certain that each will be striving to make his mark at this high-profile event.

The 2008 Grand Prix of Long Beach will go down in the history books as the final race of the Champ Car World Series, but at least as significantly for those drivers and teams that have moved to the IndyCar Series this season, the race will provide them with the opportunity to score points on the same basis as their IndyCar rivals, who will also be competing that weekend, but several thousand miles away, in the Bridgestone Indy-Japan, at Twin Ring Motegi.  In short, this will provide the “transitioning teams” with a one-off opportunity both to use their DP01 chassis for a final time and to compete on one of the world’s great street courses before rejoining the regular IndyCar schedule for a succession of ovals. More ...
Ticket sales off slightly at Dega  Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey chuckled Wednesday when asked about a rumor floating around that ticket sales for the April 27 Aaron's 499 are down 30 percent from this same time a year ago.

"Thank goodness that isn't true," Humphrey said, laughing. "What would that be? Let's see, that would be more than 40,000 tickets. "I'm not happy to report that ticket Humphrey was unusually candid Wednesday on a subject that the International Speedway Corporation, which owns Talladega, Daytona and several other tracks, rarely talks about. Officials of ISC tracks typically don't discuss ticket sales or even announce attendance figures.

Humphrey says he has seen empty seats in the grandstands at most of the NASCAR races he has watched this season. He says the 8- to 10-percent decline in ticket sales at Talladega is pretty much in line with the declines that other NASCAR tracks have had this season.

Humphrey says any decline isn't good but with 17 days to go before the'Dega race, he's hopeful many money-pressed fans are just waiting to purchase tickets later rather than sooner.

Humphrey is a realist, though, and he says in light of current gas prices and the economy, some decline can be expected, especially with the makeup of Talladega crowds. More ...
Toyota and GM are recalling more than 660,000 cars  The recall involves nearly 540,000 Toyota Matrixes and Corollas and nearly 123,000 Pontiac Vibes, the companies said on Wednesday, April 9.

Dealers are to replace bolts that hold driver and front passenger door glass in vehicles equipped with power windows. The bolts may loosen and detach, Toyota said in a statement.

Federal safety officials had been investigating complaints about the windows in the Toyotas and in similar Vibes, built by GM in a joint venture with Toyota. AutoWeek Magazine
racing news
Jay Penske aligns with print, video and digital media veterans in new venture  On, Monday, May 19, 2008, OnCars.com will begin providing its broadcast-quality automotive content to Mail.com Media Corporation (MMC), a leading digital media company that owns and operates the Mail.com portal and a growing portfolio of essential online content destinations. A partnership between MMC, Pfanner Communications and Lingner Group Productions, OnCars.com brings together three respected names in both the automotive industry and in media.

“Our aim is to deliver the world’s most compelling car-related content to our Mail.com users,” says Jay Penske, Chairman and CEO of MMC.

Since 2003, Penske has founded a number of successful technology and web-based content businesses. “The key to web-based content is quality,” contends Penske. “The team we’ve assembled ensures that OnCars.com will be the leader in bringing the best automotive storytelling to the online and mobile media worlds.” More ...

Heidfeld on Kubica relationship  Nick Heidfeld thinks the good relationship he has with BMW teammate Robert Kubica has helped improve the driving of both.

Kubica has been Heidfeld’s teammate ever since he replaced Jacques Villeneuve for The Hungarian GP in 2006  and the German says his relationship with the then-rookie from Pland has been solid ever since.

"We get on very well, both on the track and away from it at PR appointments," said Heidfeld. "We have fun together. Robert is chilled out.

And while that friendship is temporarily forgotten in each race as the two vie for championship points, Heidfeld is adamant that any stride forward made by either one benefits the other.

"It is normal for us to be at the limit,” he added.

"That is what takes you to the front on the track. When I look at the data, I can see if he has been a touch quicker in a turn, and can then work on that turn. This good relationship also helps the team."

Sarah Fisher Racing announces three-race schedule  
Sarah Fisher with her new sponsor colors
Photo Courtesy IMS
Sarah Fisher Racing will debut at the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 in May and also will compete at Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway in 2008.
Team co-owner Sarah Fisher, a veteran of 67 IndyCar Series starts since her debut in 1999, will drive the No. 67 Honda-powered Dallara for the team she helped form during the offseason. The team recently secured sponsorship from ResQ Pure Power Energy Drink, a cold-packaged, non-alcoholic, sports and energy drink with all natural ingredients that can be found in convenient stores, grocery stores and other outlets that sell energy drink products.
“ResQ is an all natural energy drink and that aligns perfectly with what my brand represents,” Fisher said. “ResQ is very big-picture orientated and understands the value of the IndyCar Series and we are happy to provide that platform to them for their marketing efforts.”
Fisher will be attempting her sixth start in the Indianapolis 500 in May. She was the third woman to qualify for the event when she debuted in 2000. That same season, Fisher became the first woman to lead laps in the IndyCar Series, when she paced the field for nine laps at Kentucky en route to a third-place finish. Kentucky also was the site of Fisher’s only career pole – also the first for a female driver – in 2002.
Firestone Indy Lights teams to test at Indianapolis April 11  With a two-week break between the street racing doubleheader at St. Petersburg and the superspeedway event at Kansas Speedway, Firestone Indy Lights teams have turned their attention to the series' biggest stage, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
More than 20 drivers are scheduled to participate in an April 11 Open Test on the famed 2.5-mile oval. That is, if Mother Nature doesn't interfere with the only on-track activity prior to the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 25.
"I'm really hoping we do get to test," said Sean Guthrie, who finished 11th in his Firestone Indy Lights debut at Indianapolis in 2006. "We think we have a good car for the oval at Indy."
The test is a chance for drivers such as Guthrie and his Guthrie Racing teammate Logan Gomez, Andrew Prendeville, Chris Festa, Marc Williams and Al Unser III to reacquaint themselves with the track.
"It's a prestigious track. It's such an awesome race to be involved with," said Williams, who will participate with Integra Motorsports, which won a Formula BMW event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course as Team Apex USA in 2006. "(Last year's Freedom 100) was my first ever oval. I feel as though I was trying to build confidence then and just picked up the laps then. Now I can't wait to have a test there and get myself prepared for this event. It will just be great to do it properly." More ...
Teams set for 6,400-mile trip to Japan  IndyCar Series teams are packed and ready to go for their 6,400-mile trip to Japan. After returning from the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, teams had just four days at their race shops to prepare their equipment for the trip to Japan, which will culminate with the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi on April 19. Two Boeing 747 cargo planes will depart from Indianapolis International Airport for Japan on April 12.
By the numbers:
9 – Teams that are packed and ready to go to Japan
35 – Dallara chassis that will make the trip to Japan
6,400 – Air miles between Indianapolis and Tokyo
2 – Boeing 747 cargo planes
13 –Time difference in hours between Indianapolis and Tokyo
11 – Days between the race at St. Petersburg and the start of practice at Twin Ring Motegi
6 – Days between the race at Twin Ring Motegi and the start of practice at Kansas Speedway
Team Mexico switches drivers for China round  A1 Team Mexico is to switch driver for this weekend’s race in Shanghai – with NASCAR and sportscar racer Jorge Goeters coming in to replace David Garza.

Goeters has much experience in American racing, having raced in the NASCAR Sprint and Nationwide series and is a former champion of the NASCAR Mexico series.

Garza has opted to make himself unavailable for selection for the final rounds of the series, to focus on commitments in the United States.

He said he hoped to return to the team next season. He said: “Sincerely I hope that this won't be a goodbye, but just a see you later and that in a near future I have the opportunity to get back to the team and fight for the championship under different circumstances. It was a great honor to represent my country, but better was to see the great response and to feel the support of the people in the Mexican race. That is something that I will always cherish in my heart."

Goeters will set an unenviable A1GP record however – by becoming the oldest driver to start an A1GP race. At 37 years and 10 months, he beats the previous record, set by A1 Team Japan's Hideki Noda, who was more than a year younger when he raced in 2005.

Drissi returns home for Long Beach  
Autocon Creation-Judd
It’s fair - and probably obvious - to say that prototype design and performance has changed significantly since the last time Tomy Drissi raced in the American Le Mans Series. More than four years later, Drissi will return to the Series as part of the Autocon Motorsports lineup at next week’s Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach.

Drissi, a winner at the 2000 Trans-Am round at Long Beach, will drive the Autocon Creation-Judd with team owner Michael Lewis as the Series makes a stop at the country’s premier road race for the second straight season. When Drissi last competed in the Series he finished seventh overall and sixth in LMP1 at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2004, partnering with Lewis and Vic Rice in an Elan-powered Riley & Scott. More ...

Tafel Racing withdraws from LeMans  The Tafel Racing Ferrari F 430 GT is the first withdrawal among the 55 entries for the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours, and will not take part in the test day on 1st June.
racing news
Eclectic lineup for LB Pro Toyota/Celebrity Race  An eclectic roster of stars from film, television and sports will compete in the world’s longest running, most successful celebrity racing event: the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on Saturday, April 19, as part of the 34th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The field of eighteen drivers will be competing in new race-ready Scion tCs in this historic, 10-lap race for charity on a 1.97-mile street circuit through the downtown streets of Long Beach in Southern California.  The Pro/Celebrity race, one of six featured events during race weekend, gives fans a chance to see their favorite stars duke it out on the track during exciting action-packed competition.  More at SPEEDTV.com.
Subway to sponsor Stewart for 3 races  Subway will be the primary sponsor on Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 Toyota driven by Tony Stewart  for Saturday night's NASCAR Subway 500Sprint Cup race at Phoenix Int'l Raceway (PIR), temporarily replacing Home Depot as the primary sponsor.  They will also sponsor the No. 20 car in two more races in which Subway will be the primary sponsor this season.
Theissen: I didn't cost Williams a shot at Lewis  
Mario Theissen
Mario Theissen has denied blocking Williams' bid to sign Lewis Hamilton in 2004, saying talks never reached a "serious" stage.

Williams co-owner Patrick Head revealed in the build-up to this year's Championship that Williams had tried to sign Hamilton two years before the Brit made his F1 debut with McLaren.

"We were with BMW at the time and I think Frank (Williams) rang Mario Theissen and said 'look, this guy looks as if he could be pretty good and whatever and he has come to us saying can we help him,'" Head said back in February. More ...

Minor change for Renault team  The ING Renault F1 Team have undertaken a minor restructuring of their technical department. Dirk de Beer, the head of aerodynamics, will take over from Dino Toso as director of aerodynamic technology.

A statement from the team said: "We can confirm that Dino Toso's responsibilities have been taken over by current head of aerodynamics, Dirk De Beer. However, Dino Toso remains an employee of the company and we can not make any further comments on his position at the moment."

Statement from Mosley lawyers  The legal firm that represents FIA President Max Mosley, Steeles, has issued a statement. Yesterday, the video injunction that Mosley requested was declined by the judge of the High Court. Mosley intends to pursue legal action against News Group Newspapers Limited and will donate the damages to the FIA Foundation.

The statement said: "On Friday April 4 2008, Max Mosley issued legal proceedings in the High Court of Justice against News Group Newspapers Limited claiming unlimited damages, including aggravated and exemplary damages, for breach of confidence, unlawful invasion of his privacy and misuse of information following publication in the News of the World on 30 March 2008 of allegations concerning his private life.

"Today Mr. Justice Eady gave his view on the matter in response to Mr. Mosley's application for an interim injunction. In his Judgment Mr. Justice Eady stated that publication by News Group of photographs and video film "undoubtedly" engaged Mr. Mosley's right to privacy under the European Convention of Human Rights and stated that he had "little difficulty" in deciding that there was not sufficient public interest in the publication.

"With regard to the News of the World's argument that the photographs demonstrated elements of Nazism, although he stated that the court could draw its own conclusion at trial, he indicated that, on the basis of the material put forward by the News of the World, "it certainly appears very weak", and, "it may be the Court will in due course hold that there is nothing in the allegations of Nazi role-play", as Mr. Mosley contends.

"Eady J, with "reluctance" and "despite the fact that there is no legitimate public interest in its further publication", felt unable to order an injunction only because of the widespread dissemination of the invasive material on various websites.

"Mr. Mosley intends to vigorously pursue News Group Newspapers Limited for damages and welcomes the Judges comments. At Mr. Mosley's request directions have been set for an early trial. Whilst Mr. Mosley has every intention of getting the largest sum possible in damages from the publishers of the News of the World, so that they should be deterred from doing this to others in the future. Mosley intends to donate any damages in the case to the FIA Foundation which promotes road safety, safety in motorsport and the environment."

ESPN's Jack Arute to cover Motegi and Long Beach races  In his more than 20 years with ESPN, reporter Jack Arute has covered two college football games, and even two different sports, on the same day, on multiple occasions. However, he has never done anything approaching what he will do April 19-20.

With help from the 13-hour time difference between the two locations, Arute will cover two hemispheres and more than 5,000 miles in two days as he works as a pit reporter on live telecasts of two auto races on ESPN2.

Arute will cover the Firestone IndyCar 300 for the IndyCar Series at Motegi, Japan, with the telecast starting at midnight ET Saturday, April 19 (late Friday night). He will then fly from Japan to California and work the telecast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the final race for the Champ Car World Series, at 5 p.m. ET. Both telecasts will be presented in high definition. More ...

KV Racing Technology launches new website  KV Racing Technology announced today that their new website, www.kvracingtechnology.com is now available to both fans and the media.

The new website is regularly updated with weekly news and team releases plus quotes and daily summaries from each race on the 2008 IndyCar Series calendar.  In addition there is a photo gallery featuring photography from LAT from each event. The site also includes team, driver and sponsor information, statistics, the season standings and the 2008 IndyCar Series event and television schedule.

Technologically, the site is designed using Homestead software and includes, “active images” (using HTML) on the home page and downloadable features such as team/driver wallpapers.  The site is very user-friendly, due to minimal use of flash, thus providing faster loading time for the viewer.  It is well designed and easy to navigate while supplying visitors with the content they want.  There is also a significant upgrade to the overall look due to a photography/design mix by KV Racing Technology image designer Aaron Justus. More ...

Mini-Triathlon for Carl Edwards  
Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards’ fitness program was put to the test on Wednesday at Infineon Raceway as the driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion combined with two young Bay Area children in a Mini-Triathlon.

Edwards, noted for his rigorous fitness regimen, was in the Sonoma Valley to promote the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22, as well as bring awareness to the need for fitness among young children.  Edwards teamed with two young Bay Area triathletes, Colin Gibson (13) and Trueman Gibson (8), for the friendly Mini-Triathlon.

The trio first rode mountain bikes through a half-mile course on the hillsides behind the raceway. They then took part in a half-mile run around a portion of the world-famous road course, which included the legendary hairpin at Turn 11. Finally, to continue the cardio, Edwards, Colin and Trueman took part in an old-fashioned grape stomp in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle. The trio completed the entire event in 9 minutes, 29 seconds. More ...

Fittipaldi returns to Indy  
Emerson Fittipaldi
Photo Courtesy IMS
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi returned to Indianapolis Wednesday for his tour of the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 E85 concept Pace Car, which he will drive while leading the 2008 Indianapolis 500 field to the green flag on Race Day, May 25.

In addition to media interviews at the Indianapolis 500 Media Tour, Fittipaldi took members of the media on "hot laps" around the Speedway.

Fittipaldi came to the United States in 1984 after championships in Formula One (1972, 1974) and started a new career in American open-wheel racing, winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993. It started a focus in his home country of Brazil on Indy, and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira and several other Brazilians are among the favorites to win the "500" this year.

Fittipaldi said adjusting to oval racing was a major challenge. When he ran his first oval race, at Phoenix International Raceway, he said it was the most traffic he had ever seen in a race.

"I was surprised," he said. "The learning curve was very difficult but at the same time, it was a challenge for me. Then later I got with the right teams with Patrick and Penske.

Corvette Pace Cars
Photo Courtesy IMS
"The first time I came to the Speedway, A.J. Foyt took me around in a golf cart and showed me what to do and what not to do."

The Corvette Z06 E85 concept Pace Car is powered by high-octane, environmentally-friendly E85 fuel, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is derived from a variety of crops grown across the United States. Fittipaldi has been a leading refiner of ethanol in Brazil for more than 30 years.

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Schu to test Ferrari at Barcelona next week
  • Raikkonen had ear infection in Bahrain
  • Hamilton-mania stalls in British bookstore
  • China F1 boss loses jail appeal
  • McLaren 'not a winning team' - Alonso
  • Schu to appear in reality-TV show
  • Renault set to install new supercomputer
  • Hamilton GPDA snub a 'pity' - Rosberg

Schu to test Ferrari at Barcelona next week
(GMM)  Occasional test driver Michael Schumacher will be back at the wheel of Ferrari's formula one car as testing resumes at the Circuit de Catalunya next week.

According to reports in the Italian press, the 39-year-old German's F2008 single seater will be equipped with simulated 2009 levels of downforce and Bridgestone's latest development slick tire.

Regular race drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen are also slated to join the Barcelona action, which precedes the forthcoming Spanish grand prix at the same venue.

Massa will drive on the first two days of the test, and Raikkonen will round out the action on day three.

Raikkonen had ear infection in Bahrain
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen struggled through the Bahrain grand prix weekend in more ways than one, according to reports.

The reigning world champion was off-color at Sakhir, as he was outperformed all weekend at the desert venue by his Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa.

The Finn, 28, argued that he simply did not get the setup of his Ferrari right, and it is true that he is not a fan of the Bahrain layout.

But the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell claims that Raikkonen also struggled physically, with an ear infection.

Kimi also encountered a dose of bad luck, when Ferrari's novel new pitstop lights system - which has replaced the more common 'lollipop man' - didn't function well during his first stop.

At recent races, a series of LED lights, mounted horizontally on the team's pitlane gantry, informs the Ferrari drivers when it is time to exit the pits.

The 'green' light is apparently triggered automatically with the removal of the fuelling hose.

"There was a problem with the system, so it took a bit longer, but it didn't change much," Raikkonen insists. More ...

tv news
St. Pete Indy Lights races to be televised  The two Firestone Indy Lights races run at St. Petersburg on April 5 and 6, 2008 will be shown on Thursday, April 10, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET on ESPN2.
Indy's gaining in Spain  Oriol Servia will attempt to become only the second Spaniard to make a "500" field, following the late Fermin Velez' first start in 1996. Servia said interest in Spain is gaining.

"When Fermin did it, it got some exposure," he said. "Since I came to the U.S. in 1998, interest has been increasing (in Spain). Now, there are a lot of expectations back there.

Servia tried to make the field in 2002 with Walker Racing but did not qualify.

"It's always been a big race," Servia said. "Even when I was a kid, I followed Indy. I think it has more following than your (NFL) Super Bowl back home. Indianapolis, if you come here once or 100 times, it always impresses you."

His teammate with KV Racing Technology, Australian Will Power, ran an oval with Champ Car at Milwaukee before his IndyCar Series debut at Homestead. More ...

ISC expecting difficulties with ticket sales for 2008  International Speedway Corp. had less-than-expected admission revenues from Martinsville Speedway two weeks ago and is anticipating a challenging environment for ticket sales the rest of the season, according to comments made during a conference call with financial analysts Wednesday.
ISC’s overall prerace ticket sales are behind in the “high single-digits” from last year, ISC Chief Operating Officer John Saunders said. While ISC has changed the timing of its renewals that could affect prerace sales, Saunders said that fans also are deciding later to buy tickets.
In order to boost ticket sales, ISC has kept many of its ticket prices comparable, offering more payment plans and increasing camping areas.
“Our trends right now are down,” Saunders said. “It’s no secret what’s happened in the economy and particularly this downturn is consumer driven.
“It’s something that hasn’t happened at this level in decades.”
Saunders also said ISC might need to spend more in promotions and advertising. Even if ticket sales are slow a month before the event, it is difficult for tracks to scale back on plans because of the potential of more fans buying tickets in the days leading up to the event.
“If people are purchasing their tickets closer to race day, it’s hard for us to change our cost structure that far out,” ISC spokesman Wes Harris said. “We want to continue to have a premium experience.”
Bernoldi and Perera happy to be in IRL  
Conquest Racing drivers Franck Perera and Enrique Bernoldi
Photo Courtesy IMS
Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi competed in the 2001 F-1 race at Indy, but will be back racing against some childhood competitors when he makes his first appearance at the Speedway for Conquest Racing.

"I remember watching the Indy 500 and watching Emerson (Fittipaldi) win here," he said. "This will be the fastest speed ever in my life. At Hockenheim, you reach that speed, but just for a second. On an oval, you stay over 200 miles an hour all the time. I wasn't used to it (at Homestead). It was a new sensation for me and it wasn't easy for me in the beginning.

"But I'm enjoying it even more because I'm racing with guys I raced against 15 years ago. In fact, in St. Petersburg in the rain, it was Tony (Kanaan), me and Helio (Castroneves) at one point and I thought, 'Hey, we've done this before me, Tony, Helio, Vitor (Meira), Bruno (Junqueira)."

Perera ready to take first oval experience to Indy

While IndyCar Series veteran Scott Dixon took the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 29, Conquest Racing driver Franck Perera considered his 14th-place finish a "victory," given his steep oval-racing learning curve after recently joining the IndyCar Series along with other Champ Car veterans.

"Homestead was different for the rookies," Perera said. "I was able to finish second among the Champ Car drivers. It was good for the team and myself, and for the next ovals.

"Two hours and 200 laps is a lot. Now, this (Indianapolis 500) is even longer. In the IndyCars, you're completely flat and it was really difficult for me. At that speed so often and so close to other cars, those are difficult things to do. The way drivers do this in America is so much different than in Europe and I want to continue my career here."

An interview with Mike Hull, Townsend Bell and Marc Williams  
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for joining us on today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests today to join us. Starting the call today will be Target Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull. Later in the call we'll be joined by Marc Williams from Integra Motorsports, and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Townsend Bell.

We'll start with Mike Hull. Mike is the managing director of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which has formed a partnership with Integra Motorsports to field an Indy Lights entry for New Zealand's Marc Williams. Tell us a little bit about the partnership. I know you ran your own program last year.

MIKE HULL: Yeah, we did. To be very candid about it, this thing for us started very late, right prior to Homestead the discussion began. It all came about because of a mutual person that we have in our lives at Chip Ganassi Racing, and his name is Ron Dixon. Ron came to us with Marc and wanted us to be involved in running his program. We had already released most or all of our equipment. We were not in a position to be able to do it. So we looked around and spoke to David Hunt at Integra, and he has a great record in the Formula BMW series and thought, you know, it's a good way to do it. So we integrated our programs together.

We're going to add resources to his program in terms of our internal resources, which includes engineering support, and work with Marc on the driver development side with some of the things we've done with drivers in the past.

It just seemed like a good fit, so we've decided to go ahead and do it.

Q. You mentioned the driver development program. What do you consider the most important attributes of a young driver to join that program? Ganassi does such a great job with so many drivers, how do you develop that? What are the best ways you developed your drivers, do you think?

MIKE HULL: I think youth and enthusiasm go a long way. I think there's a special spark with certain race drivers that's hard -- maybe it's hard to define for somebody unless you meet with that race driver one or one and look them in the eye.

But the things that everybody takes for granted have to be there, meaning talent and the ability to do the job. But I think their enthusiasm to accept today's reality and get the most out of today.

I think if you look at the race drivers we've had over time with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, that's really what they've been all about. Marc certainly fits in that category. More ...

Long Beach field jumps to 20  Three more drivers have been added to the starting field  -  at 20 cars and drivers, the biggest starting grid since 2002 - ready to battle in the Champ Car finale at the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 18-20.

Veteran Canadian driver Alex Tagliani will pilot the #15 Walker Racing entry, while Mexico's Mario Dominguez will drive a second car for Pacific Coast Motorsports (PCM). Another veteran, Roberto Moreno, will drive the #14 Minardi/HVM Racing car.

Tagliani finished 5th here last year and recorded his best Long Beach finish in 2003, standing  3rd on the podium.  The April 20 race will be his ninth start at Long Beach.  Tagliani has one career Champ Car victory, at Road America in 2004.

Dominguez, wheeling the #96 PCM entry and teaming with Alex Figge, will be making his 7th appearance on the starting grid here.  Dominguez notched a best-finish 4th here in 2006 and has two career Champ Car wins, at Australia in 2002 and Miami the following year.  More ...

IndyCar Series Forms Promotional Partnership With Mac Tools  IndyCar Series officials, together with representatives from Mac Tools, an industry-leading professional tool and equipment company, announced a one-year promotional partnership today. The agreement will give Mac Tools a big presence at IndyCar Series races around the country in 2008.

A key aspect of the partnership will be the Mac Tools “Lap Leader Award.” The award program will track laps led by all IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights entries displaying the Mac Tools logo on their cars over the course of the season. The IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights entry that has led the most laps at the end of the season will be awarded an allotment of Mac Tools products at the season-ending Indy Racing League award banquet.  More ...

Rahal Letterman, Ganassi to field Indy 500 entry for Lloyd  
Chip Ganassi, Alex Lloyd and Bobby Rahal
Photo Courtesy IMS
Rahal Letterman Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced April 9 they would work together to field an entry for 2007 Firestone Indy Lights champion Alex Lloyd for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25.

The No. 16 Dallara/Honda/Firestone will be run out of the RLR stable for the month of May, with the Ohio-based team working closely with TCGR to ensure that Lloyd - who is under a developmental contract with Target Chip Ganassi Racing - receives the benefit of working with engineers and mechanics from both teams. Lloyd will attempt to make his first career Indianapolis 500 start.

"This is something that we have been wanting to do for a while now, and an opportunity with Bobby and his team is perfect for us," said Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi. "I really think everyone is going to be hearing a lot about Alex Lloyd in the coming years. He is one of the sport's future stars."

Rahal Letterman Racing has a tradition of bringing quality young talent to the forefront at Indianapolis, with drivers such as Buddy Rice, Vitor Meira and Danica Patrick all producing top-five runs with the team at Indy - topped by Rice's victory in 2004. Target Chip Ganassi has enjoyed similar success at Indy, including Juan Pablo Montoya's win in 2000 in his first IndyCar Series start. The two teams have 75 combined open-wheel victories in less than two decades of competition. More ...

Cheever to be ESPN analyst for 500  
Eddie Cheever
Photo Courtesy IMS
1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever has been named as an analyst for ESPN on ABC's coverage of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25.

ESPN on ABC's coverage starts at noon (ET), with the live race broadcast at 1 p.m.

Cheever, who last raced in 2006, also will serve as analyst for ESPN's coverage of Indianapolis 500 qualifications May 10-11 and 17-18, and Miller Lite Carb Day May 23. All telecasts will be presented in high definition.

"It is truly an honor and a privilege to join ABC and ESPN in providing coverage of the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500," Cheever said. "I look forward to bringing the fans the sights and sounds of all the great events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month of May. Although I will miss sitting on the grid, I hear the view from the announcer's booth is pretty good."

Cheever will work in the ESPN booth with lead announcer Marty Reid and analyst Scott Goodyear. ESPN's IndyCar Series pit reporter team of Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch will expand to four at Indianapolis with the addition of Jamie Little, and Brent Musburger will serve as host of the Indianapolis 500 telecast. More ...

tv news
Michael McDowell will be guest on Ellen DeGeneres Show  UPDATE See the video of Michael McDowell's incredible crash at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend from his interview on the Ellen DeGeneres show today.

04/09/08 Michael McDowell and his wife, Jami, will be guests on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, April 9.  McDowell survived a horrific tumbling crash during Sprint Cup Series qualifying at the Texas Motor Speedway last weekend.  Please check your local listings as the time and network vary.
racing news
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, If last week's amusing SpeedTV driver ratings wasn't ridiculous enough, this week's are almost as good. Again, Mrs. Danica Patrick has made the field despite qualifying 19th last weekend, some 2 seconds off the pace, running last on numerous occasions, and going off course twice during the race. Even with all of the steering aids and weight advantages she is given by the IRL, she still managed this "outstanding" performance which, according to SpeedTV, is even more worthy than Graham Rahal's performance.

After all, Mr. Rahal was only the youngest and one of only four drivers in history to win their first IndyCar race in their first start. Furthermore, he did it driving a car that he'd only driven once before (for 15 laps) and one that is of equal weight to all of his competitors (except Danica Patrick's car). After comparing the performances of both, it is obvious that Mrs. Patrick's accomplishments should be ranked higher than young Rahal's, after all, she is a Go Daddy girl, right?

Finally, I think every other driver on that list has actually won a race before. Derek Hughes

Updated 4-9-08

Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (5) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 8.668
2. (11) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 8.563
3. (2) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 8.491
4. (1) Scott Dixon (IRL) 8.008
5. (3) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.822
6. (23) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 7.502
7. (7) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.427
8. (9) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.197
9. (10) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 7.169
10. (20) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 7.044
11. (12) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 7.012
12. (13) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 6.929
13. (NR) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 6.595
14. (17) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) 6.498
15. (NR) Felipe Massa (F1) 6.395
16. (21) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.392
17. (15) Danica Patrick (IRL) 6.382
18. (8) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.144
19. (24) David Ragan (NASCAR) 5.753
20. (19) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 5.639

Dropped out: Marco Andretti (IRL), Jeff Gordon (NASCAR), Sebastien Bourdais (F1),|Greg Biffle (NASCAR), Lewis Hamilton (F1)

Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Mosley to donate legal damages to FIA charity  (GMM) Max Mosley intends to donate any damages from his legal pursuit of the British newspaper News of the World to the FIA Foundation, his lawyers revealed on Wednesday.

Despite losing an injunction to suppress a short video edit of the FIA president's recent orgy with prostitutes, his law firm Steeles Law presented to the London High Court proceedings against News of the World's parent company, News Group Newspapers Limited.

Mosley is seeking unlimited damages, but vowed to donate the potential damages to the FIA Foundation, which promotes road and motor racing safety and the environment.

Although Wednesday's hearing did not involve the contested allegation of Nazism, Mr Justice David Eady suggested that News of the World might face difficulty defending this claim at the forthcoming five day trial.

He said the argument that Mosley's actions amounted to a 'depraved Nazi sadomasochistic orgy' is "certainly ... very weak", and that "it may be the court will in due course hold that there is nothing in the allegations of Nazi role-play".

News of the World's legal spokesman Tom Crone on Wednesday said the newspaper stands by its Nazi contention.

He said Eady was able to see only "very brief extracts" of the full orgy video, insisting that "had he seen it in its entirety, we are confident that he could not fail to recognise the Nazi connotation which Mr Mosley so strenuously denies."
Mosley summit set for June 3  (GMM)  The summit that will determine the future of embattled FIA president Max Mosley will be held on June 3, the governing body confirmed on Wednesday.

The FIA said last week that the meeting, to involve the full membership of the body, would take place in Paris to discuss "the widespread publicity following an apparently illegal invasion of (Mosley's) privacy".

"The General Assembly will include a vote of confidence by secret ballot," the new statement reveals.

Mosley has vowed to sue the British tabloid News of the World for the expose about his recent exploits with five prostitutes, and the five day court hearing is expected to take place in July, reports said.

It emerged on Wednesday that he has lost the first round of the legal battle in the London High Court, as he sought an injunction so that the 90-second edit of the orgy video is permanently removed from the newspaper's website.

Mosley's lawyers argued that the video, viewed nearly 1.5 million times in the two days it was active on the website, was "intrusive and demeaning".

But Mr. Justice David Eady ruled that suppressing the video featuring Mosley, who was not in court, would be "futile" because of the existing huge publicity surrounding the story.

"The film will be placed back on the News of the World website forthwith," the publication confirmed in a statement.

NASCAR inspector Brienne Davis killed in car crash  Brienne Davis, one of the few full-time female inspectors employed by NASCAR on race weekends, was killed Tuesday in a one-vehicle accident during rush hour on northbound Interstate 77 near Huntersville, according to police and NASCAR officials.

A truck driven by Davis flipped and came to rest in the median just north of the Gilead Road exit, police said.

Davis, 28, was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center, where she died of her injuries, officials said. More ...

Posting of Mosley 'orgy' video allowed  
Max Mosley is about to fall off his high horse
Britain's High Court refused to stop a tabloid newspaper from posting a video on its website of motor racing chief Max Mosley consorting with prostitutes.

Mosley's lawyers had sought an injunction against the News of the World, which ran a story last month claiming Mosley took part in a five-hour sadomasochistic orgy with prostitutes that involved Nazi role-playing.

Mosley, 67, has come under pressure to quit as head of auto racing's world governing body. He admits visiting the prostitutes, but denies there were Nazi overtones to the encounter. More ...

Fellows to compete in Mexico City  
Ron Fellows
Ron Fellows will partner Leighton Reese in the No. 06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R in round three of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Mexico City 250.

Fellows is a three time American Le Mans Series GT1 champion, has two 24 Hours of Le Mans class wins, 19 Trans-Am wins and five NASCAR victories. Fellows has previous experience in the Grand-Am GT category having driven the Pontiac GTO.R at Mid-Ohio in 2006. The sports car veteran will be stepping into the Banner Pontiac that finished third in the last race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"I haven't tested the GXP.R, but I drove the GTO.R at Mid-Ohio a few years ago with Paul [Edwards] and it was a lot of fun," Fellows said. "We had that race covered and then a suspension problem forced us to DNF. There are some similarities between the GTO.R and the GXP.R I'll be driving in Mexico City. They're racing on a different tire now, but it's a front engine car, built by GM Racing and Pratt & Miller, so I'm sure it will be easy to adapt to and lots of fun!" More ...

Former NASCAR  driver admits using heroin on race days  
Aaron Fike

Suspended NASCAR driver Aaron Fike now admits that he not only secretly struggled with drug addiction for years but also shot up heroin on some race days. In his first in-depth interview since being arrested for heroin possession last summer, the 25-year-old said he had been using heroin for eight months and suffered from a dependency on painkillers for six years before that. In the weeks prior to his arrest, his once-a-week experiment with heroin had become a daily routine, including the days he was competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

NASCAR officials, when informed of Fike's admission, said the league has kept an eye on the more proactive random drug testing policies recently ramped up by the "Big Four" major league sports but point to the list of recent suspensions as proof that the current policy is working. "No system is perfect," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications. "Our current policy has served us extremely well. We do have discussions from time to time regarding possible alternatives, so I wouldn't rule those out. But I think what our policy has allowed us to do up to this certain point in time, it has served us well." Fike said he hopes that his admissions will force NASCAR officials to rethink their current drug testing policy. Fike has returned to USAC's Midget series, where he is tested upon arrival at the track. He is currently serving a two-year probation and continues rehabilitation and counseling. Later this month he will launch www.onthewinningtrack.com as part of his court-agreed youth drug education program. He has also talked briefly with NASCAR officials about beginning the arduous reinstatement process, but realizes that his once-promising stock car career may be over. ESPN

Braun running Nationwide race in Mexico  Later this month, Colin Braun is off to Mexico City where he will drive in his third-career Nationwide Series race [Sunday, April 20th - Corona 200 at the Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City]. "I'll be driving the #16 3M Ford in Mexico for my second Nationwide race of the season," said Braun. "I've raced there before in the Grand Am cars, so I am really looking forward to going back. It will be the first time this year that we're going to a track where I probably have more experience than some of the other Nationwide drivers." Roush Fenway
Q and A with DTM Champion Mattias Ekström  
Mattias Ekström
When DTM Champion Mattias Ekström returns to Hockenheim with Audi for the season opener on 13 April, this will evoke special memories. It is the venue where the Swede won the season-opening race last year and in the finale on the 4.574-kilometre circuit secured the title in one of the most thrilling races in the history of the DTM. The first race of the 2008 season will be broadcast live on "Das Erste" on Sunday, starting at 1:45 p.m. (local time).

After your victory at the 2007 season opener and the title win last year, does Hockenheim have a special meaning for you?
"Hockenheim is the circuit that evokes the strongest emotions. You come to the first race with butterflies in your stomach. Finally, you’re back on the track. And you ask yourself: ‘Where do I stand in comparison to the competition?’ The fact that you contest the finale there, as well, always makes Hockenheim a very special venue. Even though the circuit does not differ from others in a major way, it presents a historically interesting situation: those running in front at Hockenheim usually compete for the title as well."

What are the special characteristics of this circuit?
"The circuit features a mix of slow and fast turns as well as short and very long corners. From a driver’s perspective, this is a nice variety on each lap, but you’ve got to be well sorted with your car."

Where can fans look forward to overtaking maneuvers?
"You can see overtaking attempts in various places now and then. But for me, there is only one corner that really lends itself to passing: the hairpin. There, the fans can witness some truly spectacular action year after year."

What effect does the enthusiasm of the audience have?
"At the last round, in October, 152,000 spectators came to Hockenheim. For the season opener, over 100,000 people have consistently come to watch our sport for many years. That’s simply incredible. The fans put up banners, they spur on Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, or me personally, and flock to the paddock or the pit lane for the pitwalk in large numbers. There are three dates on the race schedule which are absolute highlights for me in terms of the audience: Hockenheim 1, the Norisring and Hockenheim 2."
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Mosley' just having fun' - Montoya
  • Canada, New Zealand bodies denounce Mosley
  • Indy official - 'door open' for US GP return
  • Gascoyne unimpressed with Hamilton gesture
  • Alonso was only free for 2008 - Mateschitz
  • Kubica 'got away' from Renault - Symonds
  • Spy scandals delayed Renault innovation

Mosley' just having fun' - Montoya
(GMM)  Former grand prix winner Juan Pablo Montoya says he was "so shocked" by the Max Mosley sex scandal, but stops short of joining the widespread condemnation of the FIA president.

"I was so shocked by it, when they sent (the video) to me, I was like 'no way.'  Now, I'm just like 'Hey, he's just an old guy trying to have some fun,'" the Colombian told the Associated Press.

The former race winner for McLaren and Williams, who switched to the NASCAR series a couple of years ago, is one of very few contemporary drivers who have commented openly on the affair.

Montoya, 32, gives a less solemn appraisal than some figures in recent days.

"I loved that.  I did," he said, laughing, when asked about Mosley's reported romp with five prostitutes.

"It is a laughing matter!  You know, when I first heard about it, it was shocking.  But then he decided to play it like nothing has happened and it's just so hilarious."

Montoya did not want to say if he thought Mosley, 67, should resign.

"I do have an opinion on it, but I am not going to say it, and I am glad I am not there," he added.

Canada, New Zealand bodies denounce Mosley
(GMM)  Two more bodies from the world of international motoring have distanced themselves from embattled FIA president Max Mosley.

The Automobile Association (AA) in New Zealand has retracted an invitation for the 67-year-old Briton, accused of participating in a Nazi-themed romp with prostitutes, to visit the country later this year.

AA spokesman Greg Hunting confirmed to Radio New Zealand that the body has asked Mosley to stay away from its transport and environment summit in June.

"I wrote to him late last week suggesting it might not be possible under the circumstances," he said.

"On the same day I received a note from him saying he regretted not being able to attend," Hunting added.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Motorsport New Zealand is also reconsidering certain events that were to have the involvement of Mosley, spokesman Morrie Chandler revealed.

Elsewhere, Canadian Automobile Association president Tim Shearman (CAA) is believed to have asked written to Mosley asking for his resignation.

Former grand prix driver Hans-Joachim Stuck told Bild newspaper in Germany: "I am no saint, and each person can do with his personal life what he wishes.

"But Mosley is the leader of the FIA.  He is a role model for young people.

"You know, (German chancellor) Angela Merkel and (former chancellor) Gerhard Schroder can't leap around on a nudist beach either," he added.

Stuck said he is surprised that Mosley appears determined to fight the scandal even in the face of widespread condemnation.

"(Mosley) has missed doing the right thing, which was to quickly resign.  What he is doing now, I can not understand," he added. More ...

Q and A with Team Penske  
(L to R) Ryan Briscoe, Tim Cindric and Helio Castroneves
Photo courtesy IMS
PAT SULLIVAN: Please find your seat so we can start the afternoon press conference.

Helio is trying to run off with the pace car. Keep an eye on him.

Well, good afternoon. As we prepare for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500, delighted to be with you. I'm Pat Sullivan. Quickly will add a three-time graduate University of Kansas, so I haven't had a lot of sleep tonight.

We're delighted to have the most successful team in the Indianapolis 500 history. Fourteen-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, Team Penske, we're delighted to have the president of Penske Performance, Tim Cindric, and two very talented drivers, Ryan Briscoe and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

Tim, it's been a very interesting and exciting period for Penske Racing with a couple significant victories, two races under your belt in the Indy Racing League, and I know your focus is always on the race here at Indianapolis. More ...

Rahal, Wilson eager for Indy  
Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson
Courtesy IMS
Newman/Haas/Lanigan standout Graham Rahal was candid about the upcoming month at Indy.

"I'm really looking forward to coming here for the month of May," he said. "We're really looking forward to coming here to run on the oval. To say I'm nervous is an understatement.

Rahal, 19, now is competing against the Rahal Letterman Racing team co-owned by his father, 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal.

"The relationship with my dad hasn't changed," Graham Rahal said. "I've always been his son. As a kid growing up, we were always together, whether it was testing at Sebring or at the races."

Rahal and his teammate, Justin Wilson, are getting along well in their first season as teammates. Wilson replaced four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, who moved to Formula One.  More ...

No change in tires for 2008  
Al Speyer
Courtesy IMS
Firestone Racing Executive Director Al Speyer said Firestone was not changing its tire compound from 2007 for Indy.

"There are two different stagger options, but only one compound setup," Speyer said. "In '06, we weren't too happy with the tire, and we had a whole new one for '07 and were happy with it."

Speyer added that Firestone's reintroduction to the Indy car community, in which it has shod 58 winners at Indy, has been a success for the company.

"Between '93 and '99, we gained 20 percent a year in customer sales, and that's unheard of," Speyer said. "Sales just doubled over that time. There's no question the racetrack has allowed us to sell more Firestone tires."

Jim Nabors to sing at Indy 500 again  Jim Nabors will return to sing "Back Home Again in Indiana," a longtime "500" pre-race tradition which he missed a year ago, IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood said.

"Jim had gone to the doctor and had a heart ailment, nothing serious, but living in Hawaii the doctor did not want him to be on a plane for 12 hours where no one could get to him," Chitwood said. "But we've spoken to him, he is planning to be here. So there were no serious health issues that will preclude him and, goodness, with our Centennial approaching, there is only one person I would want to be up there singing "Back Home Again in Indiana."

New crew chief for Petty  The #45 team welcomes new crew chief Stewart Cooper on board this week. Cooper comes to Petty Enterprises from the #38 NASCAR Nationwide Series team. Billy Wilburn, former crew chief for the #45, is now heading up the test team for Petty. Wells Fargo will adorn the hood and sides of the #45 this weekend for the fourth time this season.

Quotes from Kyle Petty: “Stewart Cooper is going to take over as my crew chief on the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge this weekend. Stewart is that new breed of crew chief that couples a mechanical engineering education with a lot of practical at track experience. With the success he has had as a crew chief in the Nationwide Series, I know Robbie (Loomis) has been trying to get him in the organization for some time. The 45 team is a talented race team and we’ll benefit from having a guy like Stewart at the helm. More ...

Castroneves dance partner to sing national anthem at Indy 500  Julianne Hough, a two-time winner of Dancing with the Stars, will sing the national anthem at this year's Indianapolis 500.  Hough won last season's competition with Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indy 500 winning driver. Hough also plans to sing some songs from her debut country album, which will be released May 20. She is scheduled to tour this summer with country star Brad Paisley.

"I've never been to the race, and it will give me a chance to cheer on my friend and dancing partner, Helio Castroneves," Hough said in a statement Tuesday.  The 19-year-old has been dancing and pursuing a singing career.

Nazi sex scandal motor chief cancels NZ trip  Embattled motor racing chief Max Mosley has had an invitation from the Automobile Association (AA) to visit New Zealand later this year withdrawn.

Mosley is clinging to the presidency of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) despite a clamour for his resignation because of a scandal involving a sadomasochistic session with prostitutes. His status near the top of the auto racing world has been in jeopardy since The News of the World tabloid reported on March 30 that he engaged in sex acts with five prostitutes in a scenario that involved Nazi role-playing. Mosley, 67, acknowledged participating in the five-hour sex session, reported to have cost him $US5000 ($NZ6414) but he has denied that the sex acts had Nazi overtones. He was invited to the AA's transport and environment summit in June but organisers have asked him not to attend. AA spokesman Greg Hunting said today Mosley would not be attending the summit.

"I wrote to him late last week suggesting it might not be possible under the circumstances,'' he told Radio New Zealand.

"On the same day I received a note from him saying he regretted not being able to attend.'' Stuff.co.nz
NASCAR hammers Penske/Newman team  Ryan Newman has taken a hit in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.  On Tuesday, NASCAR issued penalties and fines to the Penske Racing South No. 12 team as a result of rule infractions found last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Newman finished fourth in Sunday’s Samsung 500, but violations were discovered during post-race inspection.

As a result, Newman and car owner Roger Penske have been penalized 25 championship driver and 25 championship owner points, respectively. Also, crew chief Roy McCauley has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until December 31.

It was determined during the inspection that the right-rear of Newman’s Dodge was 1/8 of an inch above allowed tolerances. NASCAR deemed that Newman was guilty of actions detrimental to stock car racing; having a car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules; and having a right rear quarter panel height that did not meet the required specification.  More ...

Bill Davis Racing sues sponsor 360 OTC  Bill Davis Racing alleges that Rockford-Montgomery Labs has paid only $25,000 of the $14 million it was supposed to pay for sponsorship of the No. 36 Cup entry last season, according to a lawsuit filed April 2 in North Carolina Superior Court in Winston Salem, N.C.

RML is the maker of 360 OTC, a line of hangover and headache medicine.

The sponsorship was a three-year deal that was scheduled to increase to $14.5 million in 2008 and $15 million in 2009. There was a sponsor’s option for 2010 for $15.5 million.

According to the lawsuit, RML also did not pay any of the $3 million it owed as a primary sponsor for the No. 36 truck and $1 million it owed to be primary sponsor for 10 races of the No. 23 truck.

“Bill Davis [Racing] is a wonderful bunch of people and a wonderful race team, and it is a shame that this has happened,” BDR attorney John Morrow said. More at Scenedaily.com

ResQ Pure Power Energy Drink to sponsor Fisher  
Sarah Fisher with her new sponsor colors
Courtesy IMS
ResQ Pure Power Energy Drink, a recently launched product, will sponsor Sarah Fisher and Sarah Fisher Racing for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25.  Fisher also will compete in IndyCar Series races at Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway.

ResQ Pure Energy Power Drink will serve as the primary sponsor of Fisher's No. 67 Dallara/Honda/Firestone. The "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will be her 2008 debut and her first race under the umbrella of SFR. A minority team owner, she will be the only female driver/owner competing in the IndyCar Series and in the hallmark Indianapolis 500 event. More ...

Reiser & Andrews named “Co-Crew Chiefs of the Race” in Texas  For the first time in its history, the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief award will go to two men, Roush Fenway Racing’s Robbie Reiser and Chris Andrews. The tandem showed the power of teamwork Sunday as they helped Carl Edwards and his #99 Aflac Ford score the win in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday.

The Crew Chief team made the right pit calls and set up Carl Edwards’ car perfectly as he dominated the 500-mile race Sunday in Fort Worth, TX, his third win of the season. Reiser and Andrews will receive a $1,000 check as a result of their leadership and teamwork. Reiser, the General Manager of Roush Fenway Racing and Andrews, head of the engineering department at RFR, are sharing Crew Chief duties while Bob Osborne, Crew Chief of the #99 Ford Fusion, is on suspension from NASCAR. Osborne returns to the helm of the #99 team in three weeks at Richmond [May 3rd]. More ...

BMW Sauber now a 'top three' team  In Bahrain, the BMW Sauber F1 Team added two new chapters to its history. On the one hand, Robert Kubica secured the team's maiden pole position, and on the other, the team took the lead in the Constructors' Championship for the very first time.

Additionally, thanks to Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finishing third and fourth respectively on Sunday, BMW Sauber took in 11 points for the second Grand Prix in a row.

Following the race, the entire team was over the moon. Even BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen was surprised by the overall success achieved in the desert emirate. "I just can't believe it," was his first reaction.

"With this achievement, we have succeeded in making the next step on the ladder. And that's something all of us may be proud of," Theissen wrote in his latest column. "This lead represents a major surprise for us and we only realized after the race that we really were the new championship leaders." More ...

Chrysler sets overseas sales record in 1st quarter  Chrysler LLC says it set a first-quarter record for sales outside North America.  The automaker said Tuesday its international sales rose 9% to 57,346 vehicles.  Chrysler saw the biggest jump in China, where it launched a locally built Sebring sedan last month. Russia was the fastest-growing European market.
Firestone to sponsor "Firestone Indy 500 Final Qualifier Award"  The 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 promises to be one of the most exciting in recent history, and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT) is proud to contribute to the thrills fans have in store by announcing the "Firestone Indy 500 Final Qualifier Award."

Designed to add more drama and rivalry into the final day of qualifications (Sunday, May 18), the $50,000 Firestone Indy 500 Final Qualifier Award will go to the last driver to make the Indianapolis 500 field on "Bump Day" - not necessarily to the 33rd-place qualifier, but to the driver who is the last to make it into the field for the classic race, which will be run on Sunday, May 25. More ...

American Eurocopter to sponsor RCR car  American Eurocopter, a subsidiary of the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, Eurocopter, has joined the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) family of partners as an associate sponsor of the No. 29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series season.

Drivers Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer return to share the driving duties of the No. 29 after combining their efforts in 2007 to earn six victories and the NASCAR Nationwide Series owner’s championship. After seven races in 2008, the team has one victory (Bristol in March), three top-five and four top-10 finishes and is second in the owner point standings, 28 points behind RCR teammate Clint Bowyer.

Buick Expands 2008 Lucerne Lineup  Buick will increase its 2008 Lucerne lineup with two new models available at dealerships beginning in April. The Lucerne Super and Lucerne CXL Special Edition reflect Buick’s commitment to bringing a greater variety of premium products into its portfolio.

“Lucerne Super and Lucerne CXL Special Edition epitomize Buick’s new level of refinement and our effort to deliver the vehicles that today’s customers demand,” said Jim Bunnell, Buick-Pontiac-GMC general manager.

Lucerne Super

Lucerne Super continues Buick’s tradition of delivering luxury, refined power and performance. It’s powered by the 4.6L Northstar V-8 engine that delivers 292 horsepower (218 kW) @ 6300 rpm and 288 lb.-ft. of torque (390 Nm) @ 4500 rpm. Further augmenting its driving character, Lucerne Super also features:

  • New premium steering components for more precise steering and a higher level of responsiveness
  • Higher-rate front and rear coil springs for improved stability and control
  • Larger front stabilizer bar for improved roll control
  • Magnetic Ride Control technology – recalibrated for even more driver control and performance, while further reducing body roll in cornering and lane changes
  • Eighteen-inch aluminum wheels shod with P245/50R18 all-season radials

Exterior Lucerne Super enhancements include new grille and front fascia, new rocker panels, new rear fascia, new exhaust tips and “Super” badge on the decklid. Lucerne Super is available exclusively in the following exterior colors: Dark Mocha Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic, White Diamond Tricoat and Black Onyx. More ...

An interview with GP2 Asia champion, Romain Grosjean  The first ever GP2 Asia Series Champion, ART GP driver Romain Grosjean, wrapped up the crown last Sunday after the penultimate round of the season. With two races left to run in Dubai next weekend, the Frenchman has an insurmountable lead and here he talks about his recent success and the challenges to come.

Romain, after being crowned the GP2 Asia Series’ first Champion, how do you feel?
Good, but weird because we won in the strangest way: I was declared champion even though I had to retire from the sprint race… You always prefer to win a title with a victory. Still, it enhances our motivation and confidence for the GP2 Series which will start in a few weeks. However, the GP2 Asia Series is not over and we will work hard in order to finish it with a win in Dubai this week and get prepared for the next championship.

Was it important for you to become Champion in front of the F1 paddock?
Of course since F1 is my dream and my goal. It was important to show that I’m competitive. I proved that I can be fast and ready to fight in any circumstances. Our next step is to develop the new GP2/08 car in order to try and get as good results with it as with the old car. More ...

Super Aguri will not test at Barcelona  (GMM)  Super Aguri will miss yet another major formula one test next week.

Other teams are planning either three or four day schedules at the Circuit de Catalunya, prior to the Spanish grand prix at the same circuit towards the end of the month.

But after sitting out almost the entire winter pre-season with financial troubles, and now firmly occupying the back row of the grid, it emerges that the struggling Japanese team's problems are not yet over.

Much has been made about the sale of Aguri Suzuki's Leafield based squad to the Magma Group, but team driver Takuma Sato on Tuesday confirmed that the transaction has not yet gone through.

The 31-year-old revealed that the Honda-powered outfit will not test in Spain.

The lack of development of the 2008 car is being compounded at races, where a lack of money and spare parts means that action even in free practice for Sato and teammate Anthony Davidson is rare.

"The final agreement is not yet finished with Magma, but hopefully it will happen very soon, and then we can press the button to start development," Sato said.

Q and A with Martin Whitmarsh  
Martin Whitmarsh
Q. Lewis usually makes excellent race starts, but that wasn't the case in Bahrain. What happened?

MW: "It was a procedural error - his engine was on the incorrect setting and that led to the anti-stall procedure kicking in, so he was swamped by everyone else as he tried to get away."

Q. He has admitted that he forgot to push the correct button...

MW: "Yes, but as a team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes doesn't habitually blame its drivers in public. Is the procedure clear? Is it simple enough? We have to look at all the details."

Q. People are accustomed to celebrating Lewis's successes, but this just didn't seem to be his weekend. His demeanor remains very upbeat, though.

MW: "I think he's disappointed, but he's very strong-minded. He had a reasonable qualifying run, but a practice accident meant Friday wasn't his greatest day, and nor was Sunday. He won't lose confidence, though. He believes in himself and knows he can get the job done. He'll go away, rebuild and come back stronger in Spain." More ...

NASCAR says don't expect COT rule changes  NASCAR’s Jim Hunter, one of the sport’s top officials and a 40-year veteran at the tour’s tracks, said that drivers and crews shouldn’t be expecting any rules changes for the winged car any time soon: “At least for a period of time. “I think Robin (Pemberton) and John (Darby), they’d say ‘Let’s go some more races and see where we are.’

Pemberton and Darby are NASCAR’s top two competition officials under president Mike Helton. “Actually I can remember a lot of guys saying they couldn’t run side-by-side in the old car, when they had a hell of a lot of downforce,” Hunter said. “Carl Edwards got out of his car today and said ‘It’s a great feeling when your hands hurt after a race.’ You just have to get up on the wheel. And that was the whole purpose of this thing … secondary to safety.” Winston Salem Journal
Mallya says Mosley scandal won't hurt sponsors  
Vijay Mallya
Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya insists Formula One sponsors "don't care" about the scandal that has engulfed FIA president Max Mosley.

The billionaire Kingfisher Airlines supremo believes commercial and market forces dictate whether an existing or potential sponsor sees the sport as an ideal advertising platform.

Mallya's views are at odds with those of former three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who felt the lurid sexual allegations surrounding Mosley would prove a deterrent to sponsors.

Yet, whilst Mallya has described the stories published in a Sunday newspaper about Mosley as "positively shocking", he is adamant it is a case of 'who cares?'

"The focus and attention now is: what is Max's future?" Mallya told PA Sport.

"It isn't that the popularity of the sport or its future is in question as a result of what has happened.

"Formula One is great, growing, very popular, fantastic, so business rises above it all.

"A hard-nosed businessman will make a decision on spending money in Formula One, irrespective of the Mosleys of this world. They are not going to dictate the economic benefits. More ...

Buy one ticket attend two Grand Prixs  The Grands Prix of France and Spain have joined forces for the first ever joint promotional ticket package in Formula 1 history. The deal means that F1 fans can attend two races using a special discounted double ticket. There are only a limited number of these tickets available until April 23 but for committed fans it is a cost-effective way to see the events in Barcelona and Magny-Cours. The organizers say that the double ticket will save $150. The offers are available at www.gpfrancef1.com and at www.circuitcat.com
Austrian body renounces Mosley  (GMM)  Another domino has fallen for Max Mosley, in the form of the Austrian motor racing federation, the OAMTC (Osterreichische Automobil, Motorrad und Touring Club).

As the fallout from the sex scandal continues, the member club has called into question 67-year-old Mosley's ability to continue as FIA president.

"I fear that it will now be difficult for Mosley to exercise his duties," OAMTC secretary general Hans Peter Halouska is quoted as saying by the Vorarlberger Nachrichten newspaper.

One ray of hope for Mosley, however, emerged in the form of Force India team co-owner Vijay Mallya, who admits that the details of the affair "shocked him".

The Indian billionaire, though, rejected suggestions that the scandal could lead to an exodus of F1's financial backers.

Referring to his team's existing sponsors, Mallya said: "They don't care or know who Mosley is."

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