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DATE News (chronologically)
04/11/07
speedcar
Alesi excited series created to stop NASCAR  Former Grand Prix winners Jean Alesi (left) and Johnny Herbert during the first public Speedcar test session at the Dubai Autodrome.  Dubai: Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi has predicted a huge success for the new Speedcar Series to be launched in Dubai shortly.

"This is what this region needs. We need to have our own championship and I think this series will be a big hit," Alesi told Gulf News during the test session held for the Speedcar Series at the Dubai Autodrome yesterday.

Alesi was joined by long-time friend Johnny Herbert and Karl Wendlinger during the third session of testing yesterday. India's Narain Karthikeyan and Stefan Johansson did not attend the testing. More ...

04/11/07
Industry News
Ford reports 16% rise in Q1 China sales  Ford said that 42,746 units had been sold in China, helped by introducing its S-Max and Focus models, and the development of its auto-financing business. Sales of Ford's high-end models, such as Jaguar and Land Rover, jumped 30% to over 4,000 units.

Ford's joint venture with Chongqing and Mazda, the Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Company, reported a 19% increase in sales in the first quarter. Ford said it plans to increase production capacity by the end of 2007.

General Motors and Volkswagen released their first quarter China sales earlier in the year, and recorded a 25% increase and a 23% increase, respectively.

04/11/07
cc
New Champ Car significantly cheaper than Lola  Did you know that a new Champ Car rolling chassis costs a team just $221,725? A Lola, with the British Pound being so strong compared to the American Dollar, would have been well over $300,000 apiece.

The $221K does not include the engine (incl. turbo and all accessories), flywheel and clutch, gearbox, dampers and springs, instrumentation, data acquisition hardware and sensors, and tires.

04/11/07
alms
Kumho launches ALMS Speed-rated Sweepstakes  RANCHO CUCAMNOGA, CA..…Kumho Tire U.S.A. has launched the ALMS Speed-rated Sweepstakes, which runs from April 1 through December 31, 2007.

The Sweepstakes features a grand prize of a trip for two to the 2008 American Le Mans Series Monterey Sports Car Challenge at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. The winner will receive tickets to the race, roundtrip airfare, $600 in cash, and accommodations for two nights at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley and two nights at The Fairmont in downtown San Francisco.

In addition to the grand prize, 10 first-prize winners will receive a set of Kumho tires; 25 second-prize winners will receive an iPod Shuffle; and 500 third-prize winners will receive a Kumho travel bag.

“The ALMS Speed-rated Sweepstakes is intended to promote Kumho’s motorsports activities in the American Le Mans Series,” said Mike Leverington, director of marketing for Kumho. “Endurance racing is a great proving ground for our products and helps create credibility for the Kumho brand. More ...

04/11/07
tv news
nascar
SPEED to air Pit Stop Challenge  SPEED will air the NASCAR Nextel Pit Crew Challenge from Charlotte Bobcats Arena on May 19 at 12:30 p.m. as part of the network’s week-long coverage of NASCAR All-Star Week on SPEED. It will mark the third consecutive year SPEED has covered the event, which now sets pit selection for the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge.

“Last year on the floor, you could really feel the adrenaline rush and the intensity,” said former championship crew chief Jeff Hammond, winner of two pit crew competitions. “This isn’t about how crews perform in front of an audience or how they perform on TV. This is about how they perform in front of each other. On Sunday, you hear about all the great pit crews, but this event is different. This is about me looking right at you and you looking right at me and having only one chance to get it right. The nerves, the pressure and the anxiousness are for real.”

Steve Byrnes will host SPEED coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Pit Crew Challenge with analysis from Hammond and fellow former crew chief Larry McReynolds and reporting from Bob Dillner.

04/11/07
cc
Johnson admits Champ Car's biggest failing  "To say we have made stars out of all of our drivers is not a correct statement," Champ Car President Steve Johnson told the LA Times. "It's up to us to build these guys into stars." 

The problem is when they do build a driver into a star, case in point American AJ Allmendinger, they lose them to another series who is willing to pay them a bigger salary.  Without stars Champ Car will never get high TV ratings.  Never.

04/11/07
nascar
tv news
NASCAR Martinsville TV ratings plummet  UPDATE NASCAR's TV ratings continue their nosedive for the 2nd year running.  Fox's broadcast of the April 1 Goody's Cool Orange 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.3 and a 13 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 14.5 percent lower than the 6.2/15 the race drew in 2006. The Daily also reported that Fox's broadcast of the March 31 Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville drew a final 1.6/4

04/02/07 The overnight TV ratings for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Goody's 500 at Martinsville was a 4.9/11 rating on FOX, down 4% from last year's 5.1/12 share overnight rating.
04/11/07
alms
Petersen /White Lightning withdraw from LeMans  Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing publicly declared today that it will, regretfully, relinquish its invitation to compete in the 75th Annual 24 Heures du Mans. On Tuesday, team manager and official entrant Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA) made the two-time Le Mans class-winning (2003 and 2004) team's decision known to the Automobile Club De L'Ouest (ACO), official sanctioning body of the race. The judgment to forgo the honor of racing at Le Mans, made by White and team owner Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev., USA), was difficult and followed long and serious deliberation. However, a sequence of early season challenges led to the decision to focus on the GT2 championships in the American Le Mans Series. More ...
04/11/07
nascar
NASCAR co-founder's son facing harassment suit  WEST PALM BEACH — The 77-year-old namesake of NASCAR co-founder Edgar Otto on Tuesday was slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former employee.

The six-page lawsuit, filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, recounts in graphic detail the various ways Edgar Otto Jr. allegedly harassed 56-year-old Joyce Petrarca. It lists offensive comments he allegedly made and claims he touched her inappropriately, including "grabbing her face to forcibly kiss her."

Attorney Gary Isaacs, who represents Petrarca, said his client worked for Otto for several months last year. When she told Otto his conduct was unacceptable, she was fired, he said.

Petrarca was particularly vulnerable at the time, Isaacs said. Her husband, an insurance agent, in May was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in a $1.1 million Ponzi scheme. He and a partner persuaded 31 people to give them money to invest in annuity plans and instead kept the money. [Editor's Note: Recall his daughter was recently arrested for impersonating a male police officer)

04/11/07
nascar
cc
NASCAR promoter has no class  Speaking of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track showed a rare lack of class with its xenophobic newspaper ad promoting last Saturday's short-track racing at The Bullring.

The ad, a clear cheap shot at the Champ Car event going on downtown, prominently featured the line "Real American Racers!" with the word "American" underlined.

Only two of the 17 racers in the field for Sunday's Vegas Grand Prix were born in America.

Funny, we don't recall the speedway having a problem promoting Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya during its NASCAR test in January and the races in March, or using Canadian-born drivers Paul Tracy, Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier - all Las Vegas residents - to publicize the Champ Car races at LVMS in 2004 and 2005. Las Vegas Sun

04/11/07
cc
Wilson relishes return to Long Beach  Only a few days after the Vegas Grand Prix Justin is in California preparing for this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The flagship race around the palm-lined street circuit is a favorite amongst fans and drivers alike.

Justin and CDW/RSPORTS are familiar with the track's characteristics and ran a strong race in 2006, taking runner-up spot. But after a difficult time in Las Vegas they'll be working flat out to find a competitive set-up for the #9 car here.

"I'm looking forward to returning to Long Beach", commented Justin. "It's a great track and one that's very special for every Champ Car driver." He added, "We had a tough start to the season in Las Vegas and we'll be looking to put that behind us. We've got some work to do to get back on the pace, but last year at Long Beach we were very close, so that will be a plus as we prepare for the event. Hopefully we can have another good weekend here if everything works out."

The race starts at 1pm Pacific Time on Sunday, with pre-race coverage on Eurosport 2 currently scheduled to begin in the UK at 8.30pm BST.

04/11/07
racing news
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking  
Updated 4-11-07
Pos. Driver (Series) Pts
1. Will Power (CCWS) 9.032
2. Fernando Alonso (F1) 8.928
3. Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 8.572
4. Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 8.379
5. Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.670
6. Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.434
7. Paul Tracy (CCWS) 7.384
8. Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.374
9. Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 7.095
10. Alex Tagliani (CCWS) 7.085
11. Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 6.963
12. Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.773
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.697
14. Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.599
15. Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) 6.457
16. Bruno Junqueira (CCWS) 6.255
17. Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.195
18. Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 5.990
19. Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 5.818
20. Dan Wheldon (IRL) 5.810

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.

04/11/07
nascar
NASCAR Looking to Expand TV Coverage to International Markets  NASCAR, which rose out of local race tracks in the South and Midwest to become a U.S. television juggernaut, is working on its next expansion. NASCAR is being watched in more than 150 countries and broadcast in 32 languages. Those numbers may jump further this month at the MIP international television market in Cannes, where ESPN International, which has a deal with NASCAR to distribute product outside of North America, will try to persuade more international broadcasters to export the chicken-fried motor sport to new markets. Although U.S. crowds at some races decreased by a third last year, and TV audiences were down during many of the races being telecast, global audiences seem to have made up for that loss. NASCAR now has established itself as the No. 2 racing series in the world, behind Formula One. To grow overseas, the U.S. racing organization first targeted Canada and Mexico, plus European markets such as Germany and the United Kingdom. In Asia, Japan and China were priorities, as was Brazil in South America. NASCAR now boasts more than 30 international broadcast partners. TV Week
04/11/07
irl
Lazier to race for Schmidt in Indianapolis 500  1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier has teamed up with Indy Pro Series championship team owner Sam Schmidt for an entry in the 91st Indianapolis 500.

Lazier will drive the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Tim Neff is the race strategist.

Twenty-six drivers have been named to the 38 entries filed for the 33 starting spots in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 27. That includes five past winners and the top 11 finishers from last year's race. Six IndyCar Series champions also are entered, including 2000 series champ Lazier and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr.

04/11/07
nascar
Martin's last race for Roush  For the final time in 2007, Mark Martin will compete for Roush Fenway Racing in the Busch Series this Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.  Mark Martin parted ways with driving a full-time schedule for Roush Fenway Racing, but signed on for two Busch Series events in 2007.  The first of which was Daytona in February where he was paired up with crew chief Chad Norris and the No. 06 Dish Network team.   Martin had a successful first outing in the No. 06 Dish Network Ford Fusion earning a fifth place finish.

This weekend the No. 06 Dish Network team will have the veteran behind the wheel for the final time in 2007.  Texas is a track that Martin excels at and he is looking forward to getting back into a Busch car.

"Texas has always been a really good track for us and we've won two or three races there in the Busch Series," said Mark Martin. "In fact we won the first one there back in 1997 and we are looking forward to going back there this weekend and seeing what we have. Chad Norris and the guys at Roush Fenway Racing gave me a good car at Daytona, so hopefully we can pick up where we left off and contend for the win in the No. 06 Dish Network car."

04/11/07
lmes
Radio LeMans back on air  There are only ten weeks to go before the World’s most successful event radio station is back on the air at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2007.

The station’s website www.radiolemans.com has gone through a winter redesign and re-launches today (11th April).

Last year the site attracted over 1.4 million visitors in race week alone.

Although the station is best known for coverage of Le Mans race week, the team will be on hand at the test weekend on June 2nd and 3rd. Indeed it may surprise the station’s supporters that, in association with partners Globecast, there is a full-time 24-hours a day, 365-day a year radio feed on the website. More ...

04/11/07
cc
Grand Prix of Houston Announces 2007 Sponsors  HOUSTON  - The Grand Prix of Houston will roar back to JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park on April 20-22, and along with the high-speed cars of Champ Car and American Le Mans the event will bring a strong roster of corporate sponsors. The Grand Prix announced today the complete lineup of official sponsors for the 2007 Grand Prix of Houston: AAA, AutoMart, Aztec Party & Tent Rentals, Budweiser, Bi-Rite Furniture, Choice Homes, Clear Channel, DeMontrond Automotive Group, DXDetroit, Fast Trac Transportation, Fiesta Marts, Gables Corporate Accommodations, Greater Houston Convention & Visitor's Bureau, Houston Chronicle, Hyatt Regency Houston, JAG Flocomponents, Lowe's, Mazda, Sun Coast Resources, Tejas Office Products, and the Uniform Connection.

This list of corporate sponsors represents a very strong sales effort by the Grand Prix team and a substantial increase over last year's inaugural race at Reliant Park. Sales for the various corporate hospitality offerings at the Grand Prix - Pit Lane Suites, Executive Chalets, hospitality tents and Stadium Balcony Club - are also up more than 35%. Organizers are very pleased with the strong growth of corporate involvement in the race.

"The support of the local business community is vital to the success of our event, so we are delighted that these great partners have stepped up in support the Grand Prix of Houston," said Chuck Kosich, General Manager of the Grand Prix. "We are committed to building the Grand Prix of Houston into one of the premier motorsports events in North America, and having this strong sponsor backing will enable us to do that." More ...

04/11/07
irl
69 cars set for 91st Indianapolis 500  UPDATE Oh please.  Give me a freakin’ break.  Hello IRL spinmeisters, the REAL story is in this part of the quote: “Twenty-five drivers have been named to the 38 entries filed this year for the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race.”  My how the mighty have fallen.  Oh wait, I forgot 33 is just a number.  Gary Shell

04/10/07 INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - Four past winners and the top 11 finishers from last year's thrilling race are among the highlights of the entry list for the 91st Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The four winners on this year's list are defending champion Sam Hornish Jr., Dan Wheldon (2005), Buddy Rice (2004) and Helio Castroneves (2001-02). Hornish edged rookie Marco Andretti by .0635 of a second for victory last year with a pass on the final straightaway of the last lap.

Twenty-five drivers have been named to the 38 entries filed this year for the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race. Sixty-nine cars - an increase of three cars over last year - are included on those 38 entries, including backup cars.

The 91st Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 27 and will be broadcast live by ABC Sports, the IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 144. More ...

04/11/07
cc
alms
Big crowds expected for Long Beach  As a sign of things to come this weekend, more than 10,000 spectators packed the stands last Saturday on a portion of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach circuit in downtown Long Beach to watch drift racing as a run-up to this weekend's races.   More at Long Beach Press Telegram
04/11/07
tv news
Where is Paul Page?  Some have asked what former CART and IRL TV announcer Paul Page is up to these days.  Paul is alive and well and is the lead announcer for ESPN2's coverage of the NHRA. He worked selected events last year and is doing the full 23-event season this year. He started doing NHRA when Marty Reid switched over to the IndyCar Series.  Paul also works on ESPN's X Games, both the winter and summer versions.
04/11/07
cc
Zolder (Belgian) GP tickets on sale  Tickets for the Zolder Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix can be ordered via this website:

04/11/07
nascar
Earnhardt demands control of team  Dale Earnhardt Jr. has not backed down from his demand for majority ownership in his late father's company, his sister said Tuesday.  "Fifty-one (percent) is the right number because that gives us control," said Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Junior's sister and business manager. "We'll take 75 or 95 or whatever we work out. At the end of the day, 51 gives you control.

"And we want control."

Earnhardt is in the final year of his contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and has made owning a share of the company a major issue of his negotiations. He raised the stakes even higher in February when he said he actually wanted 51 percent of DEI - not just a piece of the team.

04/11/07
fiagt
Mansell to race for Ferrari  Nigel Mansell will race a Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 GT car in the FIA GT Championship race at Silverstone on May 6. It is 15 years since Mansell won the Formula 1 World Championship and 12 since he departed F1 after an embarrassing interlude with McLaren. He returned to racing three years later taking part in three British Touring Car races in a Ford Mondeo. In 2004 he popped up again driving a Jordan in the London F1 demonstration in Regent Street and has since become a shareholder and driver in the Grand Prix Masters series. Now 53, Mansell is also keeping an eye on his two sons who have jumped into British Formula 3 this year, despite not making much of an impact in Formula BMW last year. Grandprix.com
04/11/07
cc
Wilson has big plans in Champ Car  LONG BEACH - Justin Wilson on Monday was speaking in relaxed tones about the twists and turns his career has taken as an auto racing driver. He talked about his unsatisfying season in Formula One in 2003, and about the literal twisting and turning he does to get into his vehicle, thanks to his 6-foot-3 frame.

His tone changed when the subject of last Sunday's non-finish in Champ Car's season opener at the Vegas Grand Prix was broached. Wilson, of Sheffield, England, completed only 20 laps because of transmission problems. He was not the only talented driver not to get through the 68 laps as three-time defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais and touted rookies Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud also did not finish.

But it may have bothered Wilson a little more than the others.

Bourdais has made his bones, and Rahal and Pagenaud are the new kids on the block. Wilson finished 11th overall in 2004 in his first season in Champ Car. He was third in 2005 and second to Bourdais last year. There is a burning desire to take the whole ball of wax this year, so last Sunday's result was not cool.

"It's very difficult," said Wilson, who will race this weekend in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. "It actually haunts you. I woke up at 5 this morning, was writing notes on what I think we need to do better. It gets under your skin and that's part of the driver making sure you don't fail again.

"Failing is quite a big part of this and you don't want to feel that too often. Once it comes down to race day, you gotta put that out of your mind and think you have just as good a chance as anyone else of being right up there at the front." More at Long Beach Press Telegram

04/11/07
cc
Champ Car returns with an image overhaul  The Champ Car World Series returns to Long Beach for its annual April race Sunday, but the series otherwise is heading in unfamiliar directions.

With hopes all but dashed that Champ Car might reunite with the Indy Racing League in a single U.S. open-wheel racing series, Champ Car is pursuing an independent course with six new U.S. and foreign venues, several rookie drivers and a new race car.

Champ Car hopes its unique identity, combined with a new television contract, will broaden the series' less-than-widespread following. It is banking on 16 races, all on road courses or temporary street circuits like Long Beach.

"We are not a mainstream sport in the United States, but we are worldwide," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. "We're in a position now where we're able to control our own destiny. We're going to prove we have some of the best racing, and most competitive racing, we've ever had."

The open-wheel series once known as CART split 11 years ago when the IRL split off, leaving what is now Champ Car as the other series.

The series' owners talked last year about merging, a move many observers believe is the only way to restore the popularity of open-wheel racing. But "there are no discussions going on right now," Johnson said.  More at LA Times

04/11/07
Industry News
The Chinese factor  Did you know that the 2009 Buick LaCrosse will be designed, in part, by Chinese engineers. Why is that you say? Because Buick now sells more cars in China than it does in the USA.
04/11/07
nascar
NEXTEL Cup Series News and Notes - Texas   
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Aiming For Texas-Style Victory
  • Jeff Gordon Seeking First Win At Texas; In 2007
  • Texas A Tough Place To Repeat
  • Hendrick Motorsports Seeks Fifth Consecutive Win
  • HMS, Joe Gibbs Racing Setting The Texas Standard More....
04/11/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Bernie wants GP2 winter series in Asia
  • Mansell to return to wheel of Ferrari
  • Press, Ferrari, criticize Massa
  • Sun and cloud for Bahrain GP weekend
  • Gascoyne rues lack of Spyker testing
  • Germany wants own anthem for McLaren wins

Bernie wants GP2 winter series in Asia
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone says he is determined to establish an Asian winter series for F1's feeder category GP2.

Eager to continue expanding the sport into emerging markets, the F1 supremo thinks establishing a premier open-wheeler category in Asia is a key way to attract more non-European drivers to the grid.

Ecclestone, 76, said only top single seater drivers will be taken seriously by grand prix teams.

"You can't just pick anyone out of a saloon car (for F1)," he told the newspaper New Straits Times in an interview.

"So, really, we have to run (a) championship in Asia at a higher level, and then for sure, we're going to find more drivers."

Referring specifically to GP2, Ecclestone said: "I want to make sure we bring that series to Asia in the winter, so hopefully we get to find a few drivers through the exposure."

Mansell to return to wheel of Ferrari
(GMM) Nearly two decades after driving in formula one for Ferrari, former world champion Nigel Mansell will next month return to the wheel of an Italian made racing car.

For the Scuderia Ecosse team, the 53-year-old Briton - nicknamed Il Leone (The Lion) by Ferrari's Tifosi - is signed up to drive a Ferrari 430 GT on May 6 in the two-hour FIA GT Championship race at Silverstone. More ...

04/11/07
alms
Fernandez no stranger to Long Beach  No driver in the American Le Mans Series has more time on the track at Long Beach than Adrian Fernandez. One of the most versatile drivers in motorsports, Fernandez will make his 14th career start at Long Beach this weekend when the American Le Mans Series debuts on the southern California waterfront.

“I have been coming to Long Beach for so many years that it really feels like a ‘home’ event for me,” said Fernandez, who made his first start at Long Beach in 1992 in Indy Lights. “You have to love this race - the fans, the atmosphere. No matter where you go in the city, it is all about the Grand Prix.”

Fernandez, piloting the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura-powered Lola with Luis Diaz, competed every year at Long Beach from 1993-2003 with Champ Car. He finished second in 1993 and posted fourth-place finishes in 1998 and 1999. He is still seeking that first elusive win.

“I would love to be able to do that this weekend especially as an Acura-powered team with HPD (Honda Performance Development) based in Santa Clarita and American Honda in Torrance. It would be very special to give them a win in their own backyards.” More ...

04/11/07
f1
Honda F1 confirms partnership agreement  As confirmed at the launch of the Honda Racing F1 Team's new environmental concept at the Natural History Museum in February, the team has agreed a partnership with Instron. A leading global specialist in structural and materials testing, Instron's equipment is designed to test and evaluate mechanical properties of materials and components.

In its partnership with the Honda Racing F1 Team, Instron provides testing equipment to determine component characteristics in end-use conditions and the durability of the Honda RA107 Formula One car, including the suspension and steering systems. The agreement includes the supply of a state of the art 24-axis durability testing rig, capable of applying track load data to suspension and chassis components. More ...

04/10/07
nhra
John Force team hopes to return in Vegas  John Force Racing plans to return to action at this weekend's eighth annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, team patriarch and 14-time NHRA world champion John Force announced during a nationwide press conference Tuesday. The team sat out the last national event in Houston following the March 23 death of team driver Eric Medlen, who died as a result of closed head injuries suffered during a test session at Gainesville Raceway in Florida. Experts have determined that Medlen's death occurred due to a violent side-to-side shaking of his head within the cockpit roll cage.

All four race teams will go to Vegas, but only three may compete. In an unprecedented move, NHRA is allowing JFR to test at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site of this weekend's race, to see if John Force Racing's reconfigured race cars are drivable. Under the watchful eye of NHRA officials, no tuning data will be gathered during the test, where Force will intentionally drive his car into tire shake to see if newly installed padding around the driver's head will help. Force is not fully committed to racing any of his cars, including the Super Comp dragsters of daughters Brittany and Courtney, pending the results of the test session.

04/10/07
nhra
DHL signs on with Kalitta  DHL will be a new sponsor of the Scott Kalitta-driven Funny Car currently competing in the 23-event 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The yellow and red 7,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Solara flopper will make its debut at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Connie Kalitta, team owner, drag racing legend, and Scott's father, is the owner and founder of Kalitta Air, a worldwide air-freight company based in Ypsilanti, Mich. Kalitta Air, a strategic partner with the United States Postal Service and the Department of Defense, provides end-to-end network solutions for all mail to the Middle East and Persian Gulf for civilian and military personnel.

Kalitta Air, in cooperation with DHL, provides mail transportation, security, and all terminal handling services to DHL's Bahrain hub, as well as other Defense Department locations throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.

"It takes a great deal of teamwork and coordination between Kalitta Air and DHL to deliver the staggering volume of U.S. mail from around the world, into and out of these countries," Connie Kalitta said.  NHRA

04/10/07
Industry News
Ford recalls Escape SUVs  Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it was recalling more than 500,000 Ford Escape sport utility vehicles after receiving reports of engine fires linked to corrosion on antilock brake connectors. Ford said the recall involved 444,880 Escapes from the 2001-2004 model years in the United States, and about 75,000 Escapes in Canada, Mexico and Europe. The recall does not affect hybrid versions of the SUV, the automaker said. Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford said there have been about 50 engine fires connected to the problems, which had been under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "There have been no reports of accidents or injuries. We have identified a repair, and owners of affected vehicles will be notified soon," said Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley.
04/10/07
cc
RSPORTS re-signs sponsor  LOVELAND, Colorado – Ready to take the green flag in 2007, EDGE Tech Corp is pleased to announce its return to the Champ Car World Series through its partnership with CDW and RSPORTS.  

EDGE Tech is again providing the RSPORTS #9/CDW team with DRAM-based memory upgrade solutions for their notebook computers and servers, helping to increase the reliability and accessibility of the team’s data storage. EDGE also supplies the team with their top-of-the-line portable storage products including DiskGO™ Flash Drives and DiskGO™ Portable Hard Drives. EDGE is also supplying CDW’s racing photo agency, TnT Images, with their ultra-fast ProShot compact flash memory cards for their digital cameras, the perfect choice for professional photographers in a sport that demands speed. More ...

04/10/07
irl
50 years of Foyt: (First of a series)  In recognition of A.J. Foyt's 50th anniversary season in Indy car racing, we'll look at some of the highlights of the past 50 years.
. Foyt Fact: On April 8, 1979, Foyt wins the USAC Indy car event at College Station, Texas in route to his seventh and final Indy car championship.
. Did you know?: A.J. Foyt's first season was his least lucrative season. He made only $2,171 in 1957.
. Foyt-Lore: Jeff Simmons, driver, No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone. "I used to read books about A.J. Foyt when I was younger, and he's still racing. I remember the way he used to manhandle a car and make it do what he wanted to do. Driving for him was a great honor. Without him, I wouldn't have the opportunity to drive in the IndyCar Series. I drove his Indy Pro Series car (in 2004), but he allowed me to drive his IndyCar Series car for Rookie Orientation. If that wouldn't have happened, I wouldn't have gotten a chance to drive for Mo Nunn in the 500 and I wouldn't be driving an IndyCar Series car now.  He was the one who put me in a car and set me loose, and I will always be  in his debt for that." More ...
04/10/07
irl
Indy 500 entry list  
IndyCar® Series
91st Indianapolis 500
1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, May 27, 2007
ABC/IMS Radio Network/XM Channel 144 (live)

Car
Driver
Hometown
Car Name
C/E/T
Entrant
Race Strategist

2
Tomas Scheckter
Cape Town, South Africa
Vision Racing
D/H/F
Vision Racing
Larry Curry

2T
Tomas Scheckter
Cape Town, South Africa
Vision Racing
D/H/F
Vision Racing
Larry Curry

3
Helio Castroneves (W)
São Paulo, Brazil
Team Penske
D/H/F
Team Penske
Tim Cindric More ...

04/10/07
ga
Ganassi team adds 2nd Daytona Prototype  TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates unveiled plans today to expand their Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series program to two Daytona Prototype entries for the rest of the 2007 season. The team has reached an agreement with Finlay Motorsports to operate the #19 Z-Line Designs, Mission Residential, Make-A-Wish Daytona Prototype under the CGRFS umbrella.

The #19 Daytona Prototype will make the switch to both a Lexus powered engine and a Riley chassis, and join the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team and drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, starting April 27-29 at Virginia International Raceway for round four of the 14-race 2007 Rolex Grand Am schedule.

“I am really looking forward to this,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. “I am very proud of the success that we have had with our Grand American entrants over the last few years and I think the addition of the No.19 DP will only make both of our teams better.  Any time you are able to field multiple entries in auto racing there are economies of scale and added efficiencies that you are able to create.  I am excited.” More ...

04/10/07
irl
Briscoe entered in Indy 500 with new team  Luczo-Dragon Racing, LLC announced today that IndyCar Series veteran Ryan Briscoe will attempt to qualify the #12 Symantec Dallara Honda for the 2007 Indianapolis 500-mile race. The team will lease equipment from Penske Racing, Inc., winners of 14 Indianapolis 500-mile races. "Luczo-Dragon Racing is very excited to partner with Symantec Corporation to provide Ryan with the opportunity to compete in the most important and memorable race in the world," said Jay Penske, Co-Owner, Luczo-Dragon Racing, LLC. "I look forward to my first year as a team owner, and knowing what a unique opportunity it will be to participate in the Indianapolis 500," said Steve Luczo, Co-Owner of Luczo-Dragon Racing, LLC. "Jay and I have been great friends, share a competitive resolve to win, and that, combined with the support of the Penske organization, we believe will enable us to field a highly competitive entry for this years Indy 500." Briscoe, a former Formula 1 test driver and current driver in the American Le Mans Series, competed in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 where he started 24th and finished 10th. "I want to thank Symantec and Luczo-Dragon Racing for the opportunity to return to the greatest spectacle in racing," said Briscoe. "My experience at the Speedway provides me with a lot of confidence as I head into my second month of May at Indianapolis. I am looking forward to the chance to build on what I experienced as a rookie." Luczo-Dragon Racing has also named Jay Signore, President of International Race of Champions, as the Team Manager. SOURCE Luczo-Dragon Racing, LLC
04/10/07
alms
Corvette gears up for Long Beach  LONG BEACH, Calif. - The streets of Long Beach are uncharted territory for the American Le Mans Series, but several Corvette Racing drivers already know the ins and outs of the famed waterfront circuit. The upcoming 100-minute sprint race on the bayside circuit on April 14 - the shortest race on the ALMS calendar - will mark the series' first appearance at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, but it will be dejaà vu forCorvette Racing's Jan Magnussen and Johnny O'Connell.

"All in all, Long Beach is a great setting for a race and it's good for the ALMS to race there," said Magnussen, who shares the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R with O'Connell. "I've raced a Daytona Prototype there previously, and the track is much like the street circuit in St. Petersburg in terms of how the track is crowned. One corner that's unique to Long Beach is the very tight hairpin at Turn 11. It's a place where you just don't try to pass, and you hope that nobody else tries to pass you." More ...
04/10/07
nascar
Roush duo pick up sponsorship  Roush Fenway Racing is pleased to announce a new sponsorship with Sharp Electronics and 3M Company. The sponsorship includes five Busch Series races with current points leader, Carl Edwards; and two Nextel Cup races with Jamie McMurray, who is currently 12th in the NEXTEL Cup point standings. Both teams will debut their Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti Ford Fusions at Talladega SuperSpeedway later this month.
04/10/07
Industry News
GM puts brake on rear-drive vehicles  This Chicago Tribune article says, General Motors has put a hold on future rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

"We've pushed the pause button. It's no longer full speed ahead," Vice Chairman Bob Lutz revealed in an interview.

Two of the most important RWD cars in the works are the Chevy Camaro sports coupe due back late in 2008 and the full-size, RWD replacement for the Chevy Impala sedan for 2009. Both are expected to be huge sellers and contribute major profits to a GM till burdened with IOUs the last few years. More ...
04/10/07
track news
Watkins Glen news   
  • Mohegan Sun and WGI Renew Partnership
  • McDonald’s Partnership Announcement
  • 2007 Marks the 50th Anniversary of Professional Racing at The Glen
  • Glen Club Update
  • Capital Improvements Update

Mohegan Sun Renews Partnership As Official Casino:  Mohegan Sun, located in Uncasville, Conn., has renewed their partnership with Watkins Glen International and will continue as the Official Casino at the Soul of American Road Racing. The Mohegan Sun provides the best in gaming and entertainment and has been an official partner of The Glen for the past four years. 

Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, is one of the largest, most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and meeting destinations in the United States.  Situated on 240 acres along the Thames River in scenic southeastern Connecticut, Mohegan Sun is within easy access of New York, Boston, Hartford and Providence and located 15 minutes from the museums, antique shops and waterfront of Mystic Places.  What began with the Casino of the Earth in 1996 has evolved into a legendary destination that now includes:  the Casino of the Sky and over 300,000 square feet of total gaming space; The Shops at Mohegan Sun, featuring more than 40 retail shops and dining venues ranging from food court-style to gourmet; the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena for world-class sporting events and concerts, and an intimate Cabaret; and a 34-story luxury hotel, featuring 1,200 guestrooms and suites, premier meeting and convention space and a world-class spa.  More information is available by calling 1-888-226-7711 or visiting www.mohegansun.com. More ...

04/10/07
f1
Spaniards tune in to watch Malaysia GP  Despite being on TV at 8:00AM, last Sunday's Malaysian GP pulled in a 26.5/64.8 share TV rating in Spain as over 4 million Spaniards tuned in on Easter Sunday morning to watch their hero Fernando Alonso. Alonso went on to win the race. The reason F1 and NASCAR get such high TV ratings is because they have made their drivers "heroes." CART used to have "heroes" but now Champ Car and the IRL's PR efforts are so diluted that their drivers do not get the recognition they deserve, hence never reach "hero" status hence they will NEVER get high TV ratings....hence they will never prosper. Driver turnover caused by lack of team sponsorship every year also kills any hope of drivers reaching "hero" status.
04/10/07
a1gp
A1GP to use shortened track  Shanghai – A1GP World Cup of Motorsport prepares for its second trip to China this season, visiting the Shanghai International Circuit next weekend (13-15 April). Last year at the state of the art facility, 82,000 fans gathered to watch a thrilling season finale in which A1 Teams Malaysia and Czech Republic claimed surprise victories to close A1GP’s first season in the unpredictable fashion that characterizes the series’ racing. A1GP is proud to have The Bank of Shanghai as title sponsor of the event.

This year, Shanghai hosts the penultimate round of the 2006/07 season where A1 Team Germany will go all out to take the series title from reigning champions France. Currently standing 27 points clear of second place New Zealand, Germany, with regular driver Nico Hülkenberg back behind the wheel, could potentially win the series after this weekend’s Sprint race. Germany need to be 28 points clear of New Zealand after the Sprint race or 17 points clear after the Feature race to finally claim the championship title.

While the World Cup battle may be down to just two teams, the race is still wide open for second and third place. A1 Teams Great Britain, France, Malaysia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, USA and Canada all in the running. More ...

04/10/07
alms
Flying Lizards have Long Beach experience  Going to a new venue is always challenging but Flying Lizard Motorsports may have the upper hand this weekend at Long Beach. Three of the team’s entered drivers - Jörg Bergmeister, Darren Law and Patrick Long - each have previously raced at the site of the American Le Mans Series’ third round of 2007. What it takes to be successful at Long Beach and expectations for the new Porsche GT2 challenger were just a few of the questions they answered leading up to Saturday’s race:

Darren Law
“Long Beach is a great track, lots of fun. There are some similarities to St. Pete in that there are some really tight sections. Most of the corners are medium speed, so there’s no high-speed stuff like there was in Florida.

“I think that everyone might run into issues with some of the prototypes, especially through the 1-2-3 corner complex. There’s one line at most through there, so everyone’s going to have to be cautious during the race. Whether there’s any trouble depends on whether everyone behaves. If any of the prototypes are overanxious and get stuck behind the GT2 cars entering Turn 1, it could be tough.

“The last corner, leading onto the front straightaway, has got to be the slowest corner that we drive at any racetrack, anywhere. It’s basically a U-turn! The Porsche should be good through the slow stuff, especially when we get back to power. More ...

04/10/07
cc
alms
Long Beach Schedule  
Friday
Champ Car Atlantic practice 8 a.m.
American Le Mans Series practice 9 a.m.
Champ Car practice 10 a.m.
Toyota Pro/Celebrity practice 11:30 a.m.
Champ Car Atlantic qualifying (Session 1) 12:15 p.m.
Champ Car World Series qualifying (Session 1) 2 p.m.
Toyota Pro/Celebrity qualifying 3:15 p.m.
American Le Mans Series qualifying 3:55 p.m.
Champ Car autograph session 4:15 p.m.
Team Drift Challenge 5:05 p.m.
SCCA Speed GT practice 5:35 p.m.
Enanitos Verdes concert 6 p.m.

Saturday
American Le Mans Series warm-up 8 a.m.
Champ Car Atlantic practice 8:35 a.m.
SCCA Speed GT practice 9:35 a.m.
Champ Car World Series practice 10:15 a.m.
31st Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race 11:45 a.m.
Champ Car Atlantic qualifying (Session 2) 12:40 p.m.
Champ Car World Series qualifying (Session 2) 2 p.m.
Team Drift Challenge 3:10 p.m.
American Le Mans Series Race 4 p.m.
Taking Back Sunday concert6 p.m.
Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pageant 7:30 p.m.

Sunday
Champ Car Atlantic warm-up 8 a.m.
SCCA Speed GT qualifying 8:30 a.m.
Champ Car World Series warm-up 9:05 a.m.
Imperial Capital Bank Champ Car Atlantic Race 10:35 a.m.
Champ Car pre-race ceremonies 12:15 p.m.
33rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 1 p.m.
Team Drift Challenge Finals 3:20 p.m.
SCCA Speed GT Race 4 p.m.

04/10/07
racing news
ISC extends deal with Orbitz  Motorsport promoter and track owner, the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) has extended its sponsorship agreement with Orbitz Worldwide.

The firm, a division of Travelport Ltd, will manage ISC’s corporate travel program, power a portfolio of ISC-owned website and build a racing microsite on Orbitz.com offering holiday packages including race tickets and travel.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Said Steve Barnhart, president and chief financial officer of Orbitz Worldwide: “In addition to our recent sponsorship of the Orbitz 300 at Daytona International Speedway, we're excited to support and manage ISC's travel requirements through this multi-year agreement.

“Additionally, through this strategic alliance, RaceTickets.com and Orbitz.com will better serve the travel and ticketing needs of race fans everywhere through the launch of racing.orbitz.com.”

04/10/07
alms
Four DTM stars debut in Audi R10 TDI cockpit  Four Audi DTM stars got the opportunity to test the 650 hp Audi R10 TDI just before the 2007 DTM season opens at Hockenheim on 22 April. Mattias Ekström (28), Lucas Luhr (27), Alexandre Prémat (25) and Mike Rockenfeller (23) completed approximately 1,400 test kilometres with the revolutionary Diesel sportscar from AUDI AG during a development test for the 24 Hours of Le Mans held at the "High Tech Test Track” at Paul Ricard (South of France).
 
All four DTM stars were particularly impressed by the power and enormous torque produced by the V12 TDI engine during their maiden test. "The thing just takes off like a rocket in every gear,” stated the young German Mike Rockenfeller. "You get used to everything with time – but this engine is simply amazing. It’s a fantastic feeling every time you hit the throttle.” More ...
04/10/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • McLaren 'humiliated' Ferrari - press
  • Davidson not thinking about future
  • F1 should open calendar in US - Haug
  • Alonso exit doesn't explain Renault decline
  • Briatore gets love letter for birthday
  • Floor saga did not slow Ferrari - Alonso
  • No bids for Spyker sponsorship

McLaren 'humiliated' Ferrari - press
(GMM) Fernando Alonso and McLaren "humiliated" Ferrari by leading a one-two victory at Sepang on Sunday.

That was how the Spanish newspaper 'Marca' described 25-year-old Alonso's maiden win for the Woking based team, despite the earlier dominance of the scarlet cars and Felipe Massa in the Malaysian heat.

Marca poked fun at Massa's "ridiculous" errors in letting both McLarens past at the first corner and then going off the track trying to re-pass the English rookie Lewis Hamilton.

Referring to Alonso, the newspaper wrote: "Nobody would have counted on a victory for the Spaniard."

Another Spanish newspaper, El Mundo, agreed that for Ferrari it was a "devastating" afternoon near Kuala Lumpur.

French daily sports 'paper L'Equipe chose to praise McLaren's new silver clad pair, after Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Pedro de la Rosa failed to deliver a single win in 2006.

"Should we now wonder if Fernando and Lewis make up the very best driving pair in formula one?"

'Le Parisien' agreed: "Alonso is back." More ...

04/09/07
nascar
Former NASCAR Busch owner arrested for fraud  A former stripper-turned-NASCAR-owner who has been sought by U.S. authorities for three years was arrested in New York on Sunday after agreeing to surrender.  Fatemeh Angela Harkness was taken into custody as soon as her flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, touched down at JFK International Airport in New York, said Timothy Hughes, a spokesman for the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.

Authorities accused Harkness and Gary Jones, a former Wells Fargo business banker, of using about $1 million obtained through fraudulent bank loans to start a NASCAR team called Angela’s Motorsports, which they ran out of Harkness’ Round Rock home. The racing team entered cars in the Busch Grand National Series starting in 2002. It disappeared in 2003 after the team’s checks started bouncing.

Jones prepared about 12 loans using several people’s names and kept the money for himself, according to court documents. He was sentenced to just less than four years in prison in August 2004 after he pleaded guilty to fraud, theft and embezzlement charges.

04/09/07
nascar
NASCAR costs Dover $11M per year  Dover's two Nextel Cup races cost the track more than $11 million in sanction fees in 2007, according to its annual report.  The June race's sanction fee (including Dover's contribution to the purse) is $5,914,346 and the September purse contribution and sanction fee is $5,293,075.
04/09/07
cc
f1
Minardi F1x2 made its debut in Las Vegas  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- The Minardi F1x2 Team this past weekend did what all good acts do in the home of glitz and kitsch -- entertained the crowds. In this case, the crowds were in the grandstands of the Las Vegas Grand Prix rather than at the shows in the nearby casinos, but the reception from the audience was similarly enthusiastic.

Running in one of the more amazing locations encountered during its seven-year history, the Minardi two-seater team made its North American debut at the opening round of this year's Champ Car World Series season, providing 30 frequently shell-shocked passengers with the closest and fastest view of the challenging, 2.44-mile (3.926- km) street circuit imaginable.

Among the celebrities to ride in the F1x2 cars during the course of the action-packed, three-day festival of speed were actresses Tiffani Thiessen-Smith of Beverley Hills 90210, Michelle Rodriguez, who starred in Resident Evil and The Fast and the Furious, and Kathryn Morris, from Cold Case. More ...

04/09/07
irl
Hornish featured in DUB magazine  When not at the racetrack, three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. can often be found in his 5,400-square-foot garage in Defiance, Ohio, working on his car collection. Hornish's collection, which includes a 2006 Acura RL, a 2005 GMC Sierra, a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, a 1955 Chevrolet Del Ray, a 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV, a 1977 Kenworth W900 semi truck, and the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z-06 that he received for winning the 2006 Indianapolis 500, is featured in this month's issue of DUB Magazine, an automotive style publication. Also featured are Hornish's custom motorcoach and his Harley Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle.
04/09/07
a1gp
Meira to drive for Brazil in China event  IndyCar Series driver Vitor Meira will race for Team Brazil in this weekend's A1GP round at Shanghai, China.  Brazil's team boss and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi chose the Panther Racing driver due to his experience, although Meira admitted to being surprised by the offer.  "It was an unexpected invitation to run with Team Brazil in Shanghai, but I accepted with pleasure," Meira said. "I've been following A1GP as much as I can, and the series has quite a bit of interest in the USA. It will be an honor to represent my country."  Meira won't be the only IndyCar Series driver racing on the off-weekend before the series heads to Twin Ring Motegi for its only international event.  Dario Franchitti is slated to drive Andretti Green Racing's prototype during the American Le Mans Series event at Long Beach.
04/09/07
nascar
Burton to Receive Sportsmanship Award  Richard Childress Racing (RCR) driver Jeff Burton will join the ranks of some of the greatest names in motorsports when he receives this year’s Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Sportsmanship Award. 

“I am extremely honored that I have been chosen to receive this prestigious award,” says Burton, who drives the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for RCR. “To have my name associated with great racers who have been inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame is truly an honor.  Many of the inductees are men that I have admired over the years and have the utmost respect for.”

The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame annually awards the best performers who exemplify excellence in racing both on and off the track. Nominees to the Hall of Fame are determined by a panel of motorsports media throughout Texas, including representatives from print and broadcast outlets in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. This year’s inductees include NHRA veteran racer Eddie Hill and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske. Fellow NASCAR driver Tony Stewart will also be honored at the induction ceremony.

The South Boston, Va., native is in his 15th year of NASCAR Cup Series competition, posting 18 victories to date, and currently sits second in the championship point standings. Burton captured his first Cup Series win at the inaugural Texas Motor Speedway event on April 6, 1997. The win came in his 96th career start. In addition to his driving duties, Burton is a long time supporter and contributor to the Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center in Durham, N.C.

Burton, along with other award winners will be honored at the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 11 at Texas Motor Speedway’s Grand Ballroom. Proceeds from the event, in association with Speedway Children’s Charities, go to Happy Hill Farm in Granbury, Texas, an academy and home for disadvantaged children.

04/09/07
alms
Audi 10 completes 30-hour test  The 2007 version of the Audi R10 TDI, which won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring last month in the opening round of the American Le Mans Series, completed a 30-hour test last Friday at Paul Ricard in France. Three of the diesel-powered prototypes have been invited to the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

The R10 TDI is unbeaten in the American Le Mans Series at 9-0 including wins at Sebring and St. Petersburg to start the season. The car also won in its Le Mans debut last season. The next challenge for the diesel prototype is this weekend’s Grand Prix of Long Beach in Southern California.

The Grand Prix of Long Beach, Round 3 of the 2007 American Le Mans Series, is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 14. SPEED will provide same-day broadcast coverage from 8 to 10:30 p.m. ET. MotorsTV in Europe, SPEED Latin America and 7TV in Russia will carry the race live. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.

04/09/07
alms
ALMS Long Beach news and notes  
• The Grand Prix of Long Beach marks the third round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series season and the Series’ first appearance at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit on the pristine southern California waterfront. Long Beach becomes the 24th different circuit and seventh different street course to hold an American Le Mans Series event. Two more street circuit events are on the 2007 schedule: Houston on April 21 and the Series’ first appearance in Detroit at Belle Isle on September 1.

Twenty-one drivers entered in the Long Beach Grand Prix have recorded at least one class victory in the eight previous Series events: Olivier Beretta (2007 St. Petersburg GT1, 2006 Houston GT1, 2000 Adelaide GTS), David Brabham (2002 Washington P900 and 2003 Miami GTS), Ryan Briscoe (2007 St. Petersburg P2), Rinaldo Capello (2007 St. Petersburg P1, 2006 Houston P1, 2000 Adelaide GTP, 2002 Trois Rivières P900), Duncan Dayton (2003 Trois Rivières P675), Chris Dyson (2003 Miami P675), Clint Field (2006 Houston P2, 2002 Washington LMP675), Jon Field (2002 Washington, 2003 Trois Rivières P675), Oliver Gavin (2007 St. Petersburg GT1, 2006 Houston GT1, 2003 Trois Rivières GTS), Klaus Graf (2006 Houston GT2), Sascha Maassen (2007 St. Petersburg P2, 2002 Washington, Trois Rivières, Miami, 2003 Trois Rivières and Miami GT), Jan Magnussen (2002 Washington P900), Chris McMurry (Trois Rivières 2002 P675), Allan McNish (2007 St. Petersburg P1, 2006 Houston P1, 2000 Adelaide GTP), Jaime Melo (2007 St. Petersburg GT2), Dirk Muller (2000 Adelaide GT), Johnny O’Connell (2002 Washington and Miami GTS), Emanuele Pirro (2002 Miami P900), Mika Salo (2007 St. Petersburg GT2), Andy Wallace (2003 Miami P675) and Marco Werner (2003 Trois Rivières P900). More ...

04/09/07
industry news
China car sales still booming  Sales of passenger cars, including multiple-purpose vehicles and sport-utility vehicles, rose 16.13 pct from a year earlier to 567,000 units in March, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said.

The association said in a statement that in the first three months, passenger vehicle sales were up 22.36 pct year-on-year at 1.54 mln units.

The top five carmakers for March were FAW-VW, Chery Auto, Shanghai VW, Shanghai GM, and FAW Toyota, with sales at 39,800 units, 38,000 units, 37,700 units, 36,900 units and 20,600 units, respectively. No comparative figures were provided.

Another domestic industry association - the Union of National Passenger Cars Market Information - said last week that Chery sold 40,071 cars in March, leading the market and surpassing the traditional market leader Shanghai GM.

04/09/07
f1
Tempers flare at beleaguered Honda  (GMM)  Tempers are starting to flare at Honda, as the depth of the Japanese squad's crisis with its dreadful RA107 single seater became ever clearer at the Malaysian grand prix.

Jenson Button this weekend revealed that team members have begun "shouting at each other", while his veteran teammate Rubens Barrichello was spotted at Sepang in a moment of rare garage fury during a qualifying gaffe.

"Sometimes you just need to voice off some truths," said the Brazilian, who described the Brackley based team's error of not having the T-car adequately set up when he needed to use it at Sepang as "amateurish".

Barrichello had to switch to the spare Honda on Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday finished the race a lap down.

Having previously identified braking instability as a main problem, he now explains that the Earth-liveried car is also terminally slow in a straight line -- beaten for terminal pace in Malaysia even by satellite squad Super Aguri, who use an identical engine.

"(The car) acts like a parachute on the straights," Barrichello told Radio Bandeirantes.

04/09/07
f1
F1 doesn't need France - Renault's Briatore  (GMM)  He may be the boss of the French carmaker's formula one team, but Flavio Briatore has refused to lend support to the embattled French grand prix.

Amid Magny Cours' doubtful berth on the 2008 calendar, the Renault principal suggested that the sport does not need to be loyal to traditional hosts like France.

"We need hospitality and we need room, we need hotels, we need service; and, in some places, really this does not exist, like in France," Briatore, who is Italian, said.

Briatore said he backs F1's switch of focus from Europe into new markets including Asia and the East.

And he added: "Magny Cours is not a good example of what is there for the future of formula one.  That is my view."

04/09/07
TV News
Nickell named President of SPEED  Hunter Nickell has been named President of SPEED, it was announced today by Bob Thompson, President of Fox National Cable Sports Networks, to whom Nickell reports.

“Hunter has done a tremendous job at SPEED since taking the reins less than two years ago,” said Thompson.  “SPEED is the television destination not only for NASCAR fans, but fans of Formula One and a variety of shows for automotive enthusiasts.  SPEED has added well over five million subscribers since Hunter came aboard, and the channel’s depth of automotive coverage is truly unparalleled.”

Nickell joined SPEED in June 2005 as Executive Vice President & General Manager, guiding the network through milestone contract negotiations with NASCAR and Formula One, while helping SPEED to record audience growth in 2006. More ...

04/09/07
cc
New Panoz has issues, but passes first test  The new Panoz DP01 Champ Car has many nagging issues, but it's quickly turning into quite a race car.

"I think it's like any new car," Paul Tracy said after Sunday's Vegas GP. "I've been in the series long enough to know we went through a stage where we ran the same car for six or seven years, and everything was dialed-in on them. The cars handled perfectly. They rolled off the trailer with the thing perfect all the time because you knew all the numbers on it.

"But back in '99, '98, '97, we had a new car every year and we'd have these niggling problems every year. You would have a gearbox issue. You would have this problem, wheel bearing problems, all kinds of things that you'd have to work your way through. So that's part and parcel with working with a brand-new car. I think the racing is good. Obviously we've been able to get our car figured out for the most part mechanically. It's just today our fuel rig didn't want to put the fuel in the car. That's just one of those things that we need to work on."

Race winner Will Power also likes the DP01. "I think this car is a lot quicker than last year's car," Power said. "It's got a lot more downforce. Like Paul said, there's always little niggling problems but, all in all, it's pretty good. It's surprising how little problems there are. I think after the first three races for the rest of the season I'd be surprised if anyone has any problems. I really enjoy driving it. It's a really nicely-balanced car when you get it set up. I think Panoz did a real good job with a one-make series."

Tracy said he believes the DP01's aerodynamic package has also made it possible to race a little closer. "I think it's great, the bigger tunnels in the car," Paul commented. "With the Lola on a track like this where the corners are all kind of medium speed and aerodynamics are important, I don't think you could run as closely as Will and I ran together in the beginning of the race without really destroying your tires and disturbing the car a lot.

"When Will made the pass on me we came out of the tunnel and through a fifth-gear 160 mph, blind sweeper corner that's pretty tough to do flat when you're in front. He was tucked right up behind my gearbox and that's the benefit of having the ground effects--the tunnel--doing the work instead of all the wings. I think it's created much better racing."

04/09/07
Racing News
Quotes of the week  
JACK ROUSH, NASCAR team co-owner, Roush Fenway Racing
“I’m not going to gloat over what’s happened, or take any glee in it,” Roush said, “because it’s hard to start a new program, around new people and new drivers and a new manufacturer. And this year’s hardware issues (like the Car of Tomorrow) make it triple tough.  I didn’t expect Toyota to be a factor early on. But the comments I’ve made were not based on what I looked for in the first half of 2007, or even all of 2007, but rather 2008, 2009 and beyond will be a very good time for Toyota, if they continue to have the money they now have available to get the people and technologies. Toyota will get it right … and they will put the rest of us in the back, unless NASCAR is vigilant in its effort to protect against unlimited amounts of money coming into this sport and buying everything of value from the existing teams.  If Toyota can do that, there will be an upset the likes of which we have never seen. Right now the good news for the established teams is that the good drivers have all been under contract, and the good crew chiefs and the best crewmen have not been willing to take a chance on an upstart team or a new program. But as time goes on, as the Toyota teams get their legs under them and start to consistently qualify, the more those people who have the talents to make a difference in the programs will be inclined to consider the generous offers they’ve made - offers that will escalate as time goes on.” (Commenting on Toyota's slow start to the 2007 season, but the probability of its future domination of NASCAR racing)
 
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO, Formula One team
"Scuderia Toro Rosso confirms that this press release paper was designed on the same computer as the Red Bull Racing press release paper," an amusing document issued to the press at Sepang read. "Having flown out a ten strong legal team from Austria, the UK and Italy late last night, we can confirm that our paper complies fully with all regulations regarding media headed paper and the industry standard British Universal Length Layer Size Height Interface Template (B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T.)"  (Comically responding to rival Spyker's protest at the Malaysian GP of apparent evidence showing that parts of the STR2 single seater were illegally designed by its sister team, Red Bull) More ...
04/09/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE Two updates added below.
  • Crisis-struck Honda try to lure Brawn
  • Sepang records higher Sunday attendance
  • Hamilton tactics not intentional - Haug
  • Berger now denies $150m STR buyout talk
  • Bernie to end F1 row with money
  • McLaren team to wear 'race win' t-shirts in '07
  • BMW to reconsider Friday driver plans New
  • Lauda pans Toyota progress New

Crisis-struck Honda try to lure Brawn
(GMM) As the Japanese squad's crisis deepened in Malaysia, Honda could be about to launch a multi-million dollar bid to sign Ferrari's former technical director Ross Brawn.

British newspapers including the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail report that Brawn, currently on a 'sabbatical' but not under any contractual obligations to Ferrari, is the target of beleaguered Honda's team principal Nick Fry.

"Brawn ... is the man Fry has identified to harness the vast resources available to the Japanese manufacturer," the Telegraph wrote.

Jenson Button finished a lap down and twelfth at Sepang on Sunday, and revealed afterwards to the Daily Mail that Honda personnel have resorted to "shouting at each other" in frustration about the RA107's dismal lack of pace.

"I've hit rock bottom," he said, as the British media who once hailed him as a future champion now turn their hype to McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton, who finished second in Malaysia.

Button said: "We've been shouting at each other in frustration but there's no point in doing that now."

The Telegraph revealed that Fry, arguing that 52-year-old Brawn's experience could be the missing link at the Brackley based team, has already held "high-level talks in Japan" about bidding for the Briton.

It is understood that Brawn is currently on a fishing trip in New Zealand. More ...

04/09/07
cc
Vegas was the right kind of street race  In this SPEEDTV.com article Robin Miller talks about how good the Vegas GP street circuit was. As we said in a number of Hot News items throughout the weekend, as far as the track itself, this is the best street circuit in the world. It's even better than some natural terrain road courses. We spoke to a Cosworth engineer who told us the fastest cars were hitting 184 mph in Vegas, and for a street circuit with high downforce/high drag wings that's pretty fast. Now the question remains whether race owners Dale Jensen and Brad Yonover can make this race profitable. Surely they did not recoup their $15M investment the first year and the grandstands were not full, we reckon because they held the race on Easter Sunday, which had to be bad for ticket sales. The race also did not have a title sponsor, which should change by next year. Hopefully, as one of our rumors suggests, this race will not be on Easter Sunday in 2008.
04/09/07
f1
F1 fan dies after go-kart crash  Singapore- A Formula One fan seeking a thrill died after the go-kart she was driving overturned and crashed into a track
divider, news reports said Monday. Singaporean Chen Shu Li, 32, lost control of the vehicle while negotiating the final bend at the USJ Go-Kart Track Saturday in Sepang, Malaysia, The Straits Times said.

She had traveled to Sepang with her husband and three friends to watch Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur contacted Chen's family in the city-state, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was the mother of two children.

Industry sources told the newspaper that Chen may have blacked out because of high G-forces. Referring to gravity's effect on the body, the G-force is multiplied when one accelerates to high speeds.

The four-wheel drive go-kart Chen was using can reach speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour and is usually reserved for professional racers, said Lee Nian Tjoe, editor of Torque motoring magazine. Novices usually drive "benign" vehicles with a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour, making the sport "quite safe," he was quoted as saying. dpa German Press Agency

04/09/07
Track News
San Bernardino may study track's impact  The California Speedway near Fontana attracts thousands of fans at its race weekends throughout the year. San Bernardino County officials want to find out what that means for the local economy.  The Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on whether to seek bids to conduct an economic-impact analysis of the speedway and surrounding area.  The county has made a substantial investment in improving the speedway area since before it opened in 1997, creating a redevelopment district in the surrounding neighborhood.

The district has spent $10 million on improving streets and has contributed $1 million for lights to add a second NASCAR race.  Last year, the county spent $700,000 co-sponsoring an entertainment area called the FanZone outside the grandstand, featuring a Wolfgang Puck restaurant.  As part of the sponsorship, two signs with the county logo were displayed and the county hosted about 160 developers, investors and corporate executives at corporate suites.  More at pe.com

04/09/07
nascar
Chevy off to fast start  If the Chase were to begin today, the field of contenders would include three Ford cars - and nine Chevys. That's in part due to the Hendrick domination in Car of Tomorrow contests, as well as Richard Childress Racing's strong season that has three cars in the top 10 to this point. And #16-Greg Biffle isn't sure if he and his friends with Fords can close the gap. "To be honest with you, Chevy has been ahead of us for probably the last year, or last year and a half, since 2005," said the Roush Fenway racer. "Three and four of the Chevys were a little bit ahead of us. We managed to win championships in (2003 and 2004) as a manufacturer, but really competitive-wise they were better than us. We were probably the best in 2005 as a manufacturer, and then in '06 and '07, Chevy is back on top, where they've been most of the time. And it's not really a surprise to us to see them running as well as they are. They've got a bunch of great teams, Gibbs, Hendrick, Childress, just off the top, are very, very strong race teams." Ford, meanwhile, is carried by the Roush group, which teams with Robert Yates Racing for its engines. That limits the amount of information being shared, and, resultingly, limits the speed of progress. Concord Monitor
04/09/07
cc
Over 40K attend first Vegas GP  The difference between grating noise and exciting sound was in the ears of the beholders this weekend as cars hurtled close to 180 mph through the streets of downtown Las Vegas.

To race fans, the high-pitched angry vroom of the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix's cars was the sound of an exciting addition to the city.

"The noise is like love," said John Dalziel, father of one of the drivers. "You can feel it inside of you."

To others, who hadn't come downtown for the race, the noise and accompanying closed-off streets were an unexpected and unwelcome annoyance on Easter Sunday in Las Vegas.

Kentucky residents Norman Varon, 44, and his wife, Melissa, 38, had come to town for a romantic vacation to celebrate the 18th anniversary of when they met each other.

"It didn't work out too well. At 8 o'clock in the morning, these things run around your hotel room and wake you right up," Varon said as he and his wife lounged poolside Sunday at the Golden Nugget. "There's no sleeping after that. Today, at least it was 9, but it's pretty loud."

He had to shout every third sentence because of the buzz of the cars whizzing by.

Similarly, Eric Hector, 36, and Kim Miller, 48, of Sharpsville, Pa., didn't know about the grand prix when they booked their vacation at Binion's. But they saw it as a bonus.

"It's been interesting. It has added a little bit more than we expected," Hector said. "We weren't exactly expecting peace and quiet, being that it is Las Vegas."

"If you wanted peace and quiet, you'd stay at Sharpsville," Miller added.

Pleasantly surprised or otherwise, an estimated 40,000-plus people attended Sunday's culmination of the Vegas Grand Prix, which organizers billed as a "three-day festival of speed and entertainment." More at Las Vegas Review Journal

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