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DATE News (chronologically)
04/24/08
f1
Pit lane walk draws 25,000 fans  The Spanish F1 Grand Prix kicked off on Thursday with the traditional Pit Lane Walk when over 25,000 motor sports lovers came to the track to watch the teams get their vehicles ready for Friday’s free practice.

A plaque in honor of Nelson Piquet, three times F1 World Champion in 1981, 1983 and 1987, was presented at Champions’ Avenue, the former champion was represented by his son, Nelson Piquet Jr., who is currently racing for Renault.

The F1 free practice starts Friday at 10 am local time.

04/24/08
track news
Volkswagen Named Official Car of VIR  
VIR VW Pace Car
Volkswagen of America and VIRginia International Raceway announced today that Volkswagen has become the Official Vehicle of VIR.

“This partnership makes an ideal arrangement for Volkswagen, especially when combined with the inaugural race for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup,” said Clark Campbell, motorsports manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “With our North American headquarters in Virginia, not that far from the track, we will be able to use VIR’s facilities for every purpose imaginable, from testing, to dealer training, VIP events and media announcements. The track is also going to host the Jetta TDI Cup cars, in the race prep shop that we’re taking advantage of at the track.”

Track General Manager Josh Lief echoed Campbell’s sentiment: “We expect that the Jetta TDI Cup and all of Volkswagen’s product line will be right at home on VIR. Our race track is a great place to debut the new Jetta TDI Cup series and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship between VIR and Volkswagen.” More ...

04/24/08
f1
Embattled Mosley skips Barcelona  Formula One launched its much-vaunted anti-racism campaign in Barcelona on Thursday. But Max Mosley, the embattled head of world motor sport, was 2,000 miles away planning his next PR move - a trip to Israel.

Mosley chose the low-profile Jordan Rally rather than Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix to make his first public appearance since allegations that he took part in a Nazi-themed orgy with five prostitutes.

It meant he passed up the opportunity to front the FIA's 'EveryRace' initiative - prompted by abuse aimed at Lewis Hamilton here in February - to the consternation of a cynical paddock.

Although the FIA insisted the Spanish Grand Prix was never on his itinerary, the prevailing mood was summed up by one team boss, who said: 'The fact he's there rather than here, shows that he just can't do his job. His position is untenable.'

Mosley, 68, claims that he is engaged in important FIA business, promoting motor sport in the Middle East. 

It is also under that pretext that he is taking up an invitation from the Israel sports minister, Galeb Majadle, to talks in his country after the two met yesterday in Amman, where both were guests of Jordan's crown prince, Feisal Al Hussein, the head of the country's motor sport fraternity.  More at Daily Mail

04/24/08
nascar
NASCAR fans brake for economy  A soft economy and record gas prices have NASCAR fans weighing the wisdom of fueling their cars and campers to watch other vehicles race. TV ratings for the Sprint Cup Series, down the last two years, are up 2% this season while attendance at the tracks has dropped or remained flat. Many who attend seem to decide at the last minute, unable or unwilling to shell out for rising gas prices and average hotel room rates of $200 with three- or four-night minimums.

That might also explain a spike in demand for camp sites at places such as Talladega Superspeedway, site of Sunday's Aaron's 499 Cup race. Operators of the Alabama track, mindful fans travel an average of 300 miles to the race, have opened more space for campers and expanded free parking. More ...
04/24/08
f1
Barcelona: Thursday Press Conference  Participating: Rubens Barrichello (Honda), Pedro De La Rosa (McLaren Mercedes), Fernando Alonso (Renault), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).

Q. Pedro, how much has your role changed this year? Are you still doing pretty much what you have always been doing?

Pedro de la Rosa: My role is pretty much unchanged. Obviously, we are very limited on mileage during the testing season and we have to maximize every mile we do and every set of tires. From that point of view it hasn't changed at all.

Q. So perhaps you can describe what that is.

PdlR: It is the normal work that a test driver needs to do. First of all you have to be at every Grand Prix as a reserve driver and that's why I am here. Secondly at the test sessions I am testing anything that is required by the team, backing all that work up in the simulation facilities at Woking and being of any help for the team. It is very similar to before but basically doing less kilometers at the track and spending more time in the simulator, so it is great fun.

Q. You are not frustrated at not racing?

PdlR: Yes, of course it is frustrating not racing. I have to be realistic as I am at that point of my career where I don't have many more years left. Not because of me but because of the other people's perception unfortunately. Every year that goes by it is just getting closer to a point where I won't be able to race again. I am aware of that. I am a realistic person and I am just hoping that something happens for me. More ...

04/24/08
track news
Watkins Glen pit facelift complete  The first cars of the season hit the twists and turns of historic Watkins Glen International on Monday, April 21, but a loud rumbling has been coming from The Glen for the past several weeks.  The noise emanating from The Soul of American Road Racing has been the sounds of man and machine working on improvements to pit road and construction of a new state-of-the-art Media Center.  The pit road project was completed on Friday, April 18 and the Media Center is still on schedule to be completed in May.

Ever since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series came to The Glen in 1986, teams have been sharing pit boxes.  The historic road course has added additional boxes since that time, but was limited to building a total of 41 due to the placement of the old Press Tower which was in front of pit road.  This all changed when funds to build a new Media Center were approved in September 2007 and the subsequent demolition of the Press Tower two months later.  The sudden increase in available space made it possible for changes to be made to pit road; the most noteworthy being the addition of two new pit boxes to bring the total to 43.  This will allow every team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to have their own pit box and will also provide additional space for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series when both the Daytona Prototypes and GT class compete during the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 6-8. More ...

04/24/08
track news
Six drivers to be honored as Driver of Decade  The list of legendary drivers that have graced the streets of Watkins Glen and the twists of Watkins Glen International is almost second to none.  The stars of all forms of racing – sportscar, open-wheel, and stock car – have come to The Glen for 60 years and many have left their everlasting mark on its history.  As part of the 60th Anniversary of racing in The Glen, a selection committee of esteemed Glen experts analyzed the six decades that make up The Glen’s history and determined the “Driver of the Decade” for each 10-year time period.  The fortunate drivers that were selected will be members of the first class ever inducted into The Glen’s hall-of-fame, the “Legends of The Glen.”

Everyone that has ever been associated with the village of Watkins Glen and/or Watkins Glen International knows of the pride that comes from being the birth place of post-World War II American road racing.  Numerous drivers accumulated impressive career stats at The Glen which made the job of the selection committee to pick the best of the best all the more difficult.  A very specific list of criteria was provided to the committee to help them determine the most deserving drivers.  The criteria was, in order of importance, number of Glen victories, number of Top-5 finishes, number of Top-10 finishes, average finish, records set, and the significance/impact of their performances.  The committee was required to consider the results from one decade at a time with the breakdown being as follows: 1948-1957, 1958-1967, 1968-1977, 1978-1987, 1988-1997, or 1998-2007.  Drivers could be nominated for more than one decade but their stats could not carryover from one decade to the next. More ...

04/24/08
irl
Milka Duno stars in "Speed Racer," releases illustrated book  
Milka Duno
Milka Duno says driving an IndyCar Series car helped her prepare for the role of Kellie "Gearbox" Kalinkov in the big-screen production of "Speed Racer." But acting overly animated while driving was out of character.

"It was something different and a different role in my life," said Duno, who returns to the racetrack this weekend in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway. "I was driving and was told I have to be very aggressive. We had to tape a lot because you have to over-act. It was difficult for me because if I did that in a car I would crash. You have to overdo it."

The Warner Bros. Pictures live/action big-screen adaptation of the 1960s anime series opens May 9. The red-carpet premiere is April 26 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, with Duno and the movie's stars Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon and Matthew Fox expected to attend. More ...

04/24/08
a1gp
Hinchcliffe Back for Brands Hatch Finale  
James Hinchcliffe
A1 Team Canada is pleased to announce that James Hinchcliffe will close out the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport racing for the team at the season finale hosted at the Brands Hatch Circuit in the United Kingdom, Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th May.

The 21-year-old Toronto-resident will return to A1GP duty making just his third start of the season having led Canada in the opening two rounds of the current ten-round campaign in the Netherlands and Czech Republic respectively last September and October.  While Hinchcliffe will fulfill race duties in the United Kingdom the team will again rely on the talents of 18-year-old Daniel Morad in Friday morning's 'Rookie-Only' session - the Markham racer set for his fourth A1GP meeting in the role having accompanied the team to South Africa, Mexico and China already this year.

Both Hinchcliffe and Morad are new to the 2.62-mile Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit but the team is confident in its driver line-up, a blend of youth and experience, with two points scoring finishes the clear objective heading into the weekend.  Currently sitting ninth in the A1GP Nations Standings, a double points score from Hinchcliffe in the Sprint and Feature races should help cement Canada's best ever placing in A1GP following a tenth place finish in the inaugural 2005-06 season and an eleventh place finish in the 2006-07 championship. More ...
04/24/08
irl
Boxer Mayweather named Indy 500 starter  Floyd Mayweather Jr., the world’s top pound-for-pound boxer, will serve as the honorary starter of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25.

Mayweather, a world champion in five weight classes, will wave the green flag to send the field of 33 drivers in action on the famous 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The race will be broadcast live at 1 p.m. (ET) on ABC Sports, the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio.

“To be asked to wave the green flag at the Indianapolis 500 is an incredible honor,” Mayweather said. “I’m extremely excited to be a part of this event and to see the best drivers in the world perform on the biggest stage in all of sports.”

Mayweather, a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., has a 39-0-0 record as a fighter, including high-profile, masterful victories in 2007 over Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton that earned him the 2007 Fighter of the Year award from the Boxing Writers Association of America. Mayweather is the current WBC welterweight (147 pounds) world champion and also has held world title belts at junior middleweight, light welterweight, lightweight and super featherweight divisions.

1996 Olympic bronze medalist Mayweather is universally recognized as the best pound-for-pound fighter. He has been ranked No. 1 by The Ring magazine, considered the bible of the sport, since July 2005 and has appeared in The Ring’s top 10 pound-for-pound rankings for a staggering 486 weeks, more than double the length of any other fighter currently on that list.
04/24/08
Racing News
Old School Racing cancels '08 season  Old School Racing announced today a new plan for the series. Under the new plan The Old School Racing (OSR) Series will launch its inaugural season in the spring of 2009 and not in the spring of 2008 as originally planned.

The postponement of the inaugural season of the OSR will allow a partnership to form that will make the OSR bigger and better for the drivers, crews and fans. Although there will be a delay in the beginning of the series, the series will be about much more than just the competitive nature of these drivers. The series will become much more of an event to celebrate the pioneers that molded modern racing, rather than just a race with drivers from the past.

The new partnership between OSR and the soon to be named partner has not been completed, but plans have already begun to move forward for the 2009 debut of the redesigned OSR program. More ...
04/24/08
automotive
Ford surprises Wall Street  Ford Motor Co. surprised Wall Street on Thursday with a $100 million profit in the first quarter as strong results from Europe and South America helped offset the impact of a slumping U.S. economy that cut car and truck sales in its main market. Its shares rose almost 6 percent.The No. 2 U.S.-based automaker also said its latest round of early retirement and buyout offers netted 4,200 hourly workers, fewer than Ford had targeted. It was the company's first profitable quarter since the second quarter of 2007, when it earned $750 million. Ford reported a full-year loss of $2.7 billion last year, and cautioned that the rest of this year will be tough.

"The remainder of 2008 will be a challenge but we are cautiously optimistic despite the external challenges," CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement. "Our plan is working."
04/24/08
irl
PCM announces Dominguez for IndyCar Series  UPDATE
Mario Dominguez in Mexico City Wednesday
The announcement of Mario Dominguez entering the IndyCar Series with Pacific Coast Motorsports and the Mexico City Tourism Board was very well received.  Eighty members of the media turned out including the seven major networks in Mexico and every major newspaper in the country!  Mexico still loves open-wheel racing!

The No. 1 question yesterday was whether the race in Mexico City would return next year.  We are hearing it is quite possible.  A race there is very important to Mexico.

Mario Dominguez
04/23/08 Pacific Coast Motorsports is pleased to announce their entry into the IndyCar Series, with Mario Dominguez driving the #96 Visit Mexico City/PCM/Dallara.  The Mexico City Tourism Board is the primary sponsor of the PCM entry and the program will commence with the 2008 Indy 500.

PCM team owner Tyler Tadevic joined Mario Dominguez and representatives of the Mexico City Tourism Board at a press conference in Mexico City this morning.  Mexico City’s Vice Minister of Tourism, Flavio Abed commented on the program, “For the city of Mexico City, this motorsports project represents an extraordinary opportunity to promote another face of our city and to show the world everything this great city has to offer.  Mexico City is one of the more important destinations in Latin America, not only for business, but also for pleasure.  Mexico City is rich with history and features beautiful parks, theatres, museums and cultural destinations.  Mario is very important to this city and we are excited to promote our city to the IndyCar audience through this program.” More ...

04/24/08
f1
FIA launches 'EveryRace' campaign  (GMM)  F1's governing body on Thursday launched its anti-racism campaign, renamed 'EveryRace'.

The FIA agrees with the stance of the Real Federacion Espanola de Automoviliso (RFEA) that the campaign, originally touted to be called 'Racing Against Racism', was triggered by "a very small number of spectators amongst the 35,000" who directed racist taunts at Lewis Hamilton at the troublesome test in February.

"The whole formula one community should get behind this campaign," Ferrari driver Felipe Massa commented.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone added: "The sport is all about a driver's ability and this will never have anything to do with their race or the color of their skin."

04/24/08
f1
Local forecaster - Spanish GP to be sunny  (GMM)  A local weather forecaster has taken issue with reports that the Spanish grand prix this weekend could be affected by rain.

We reported earlier this week that the Circuit de Catalunya could be the scene of the first wet race of 2008, with drizzly weather likely on both Saturday and Sunday.

A forecaster from the Catalonian Weather Service said on Thursday: "I'm so surprised, because the weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday in Barcelona is sunny and warm."

04/24/08
gp2
Senna: Nothing less than title will do  
Bruno Senna
This is the most important year yet in the career of Bruno Senna. Twelve months after his first GP2 victory in Barcelona, he enters his second GP2 season as successor to champion Timo Glock in the top iSport team. "That means, nothing less than the title will do," says Senna in conversation with Motorsport Magazin adrivo.com. "Second place would be the absolute minimum but, in actual fact, even that would be too little."

Despite this declaration, Senna does not feel under inordinate pressure. He goes into the new season full of confidence. "I know that I've done everything I can in terms of preparation." After former GP2 champions Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Timo Glock all progressed to the higher echelons of the sport, Senna also has to face up to this possibility. "But I'm only going to start thinking about Formula One when the time is right," he says. "Then it will be clear what needs to be done." adrivo.com Motorsport Magazin

04/24/08
irl
An interview with Luyendyk Jr., Scheckter and Boerger.  (Note: Numbers in parentheses are the approximate time codes on the audio MP3)

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, we appreciate you joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests joining us today. Starting the call with us is Firestone Indy Lights driver Indy Arie Luyendyk, Jr., and we'll be joined by Indy Car Series driver Tomas Scheckter and Kansas Speedway president Jeff Boerger.

Good afternoon, Arie. Arie is back in Firestone Indy Lights driving for the AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing partnership. He's off to a solid start in 2008, recording a fourth-place finish at Homestead and a sixth at St. Petersburg, and he ranks sixth in points as the series heads to Kansas Speedway.

Glad to have you back on a full‑time basis. You were around for the first Firestone Indy Lights race at Kansas Speedway in 2002. Tell us from your perspective how you see the series different now than from it was in the first couple days.

ARIE LUYENDYK (1:00): Well, I think the competition level has definitely stepped up from then. You have a lot of guys trying to get to IndyCar and now it seems to be the best route, the only route that seems to be as far as development series is concerned. And we just have a really solid field of 22 to 24 cars consistently now, and that makes the racing that much more fun. And to race with a really good group of guys is always a good thing.

THE MODERATOR: It's been a few years since the series was at Kansas. What should your fellow competitors expect over there?

ARIE LUYENDYK (2:00): I just think it's going to be really close racing. We saw in Homestead the cars were pretty difficult to drive from last year for some reason, but I think Kansas is a place that will bring all of the guys together.

I think it's a track similar to Chicago, and I think it's just going to really make it interesting for the fans to watch. I think a lot of cars are going to be running really close together. I think it's going to be really important to qualify well and to have a car that will run anywhere on the racetrack, low, high; so it's going to be a lot of fun. More ...

04/24/08
nassprint
Johnson and Montoya on QVC  Sprint Cup drivers #48-Jimmie Johnson and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya are scheduled to appear live on QVC For Race Fans Only with QVC on-air host and NASCAR enthusiast Dan Hughes, live from Talladega, Ala. For Race Fans Only will be broadcast Friday, April 25, 2008 from 8-10 pm/et. QVC PR
04/24/08
nassprint
New COT car a handful at the Speedway  Two days of testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway were enough to show Kurt Busch that drivers will have to relearn how to drive the track when they return in July for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

Busch, Brian Vickers and Dale Earnhardt Jr. concluded a Goodyear tire test at the Speedway on Wednesday before heading to Alabama for this weekend's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Since finishing second to Penske Racing teammate Ryan Newman in the season-opening Daytona 500, Busch said his team has struggled to get a handle on NASCAR's new-generation car. But he doesn't expect to be alone in that regard when the Sprint Cup series rolls into Indianapolis for the July 27 race.

The new car is heavier and the balance is different, which Busch said affects how it handles in the corners and puts more strain on the right-side tires.

"There's much more braking because you can't corner at the same speeds," the 2004 Cup champion said. "It's much harder on the brakes, it's much harder on the engines and, of course, it's harder on the tires.

"I hope we find the right combination of tires so the pace in the race doesn't drop off too much. You'll still see about the same speeds in qualifying, but in the race, the pace will drop off." More at IndyStar

04/24/08
f1
Massa hopes tire warmers stay  
Felipe Massa is afraid he'll crash on cold tires
Felipe Massa has joined a large group of drivers who is hoping to keep the tire warmers next season. According to the proposed rules by the FIA the slicks will return in 2009 but tire warmers will be banned. According to Massa the blankets are mainly important from a safety point of view.

"At the moment, there is a suggestion that next year, we would not be allowed to use our tire warmers - those blankets you see wrapped around the tires when we sit in the garage or on the grid," Massa said. "In terms of performance, but also more importantly, safety, the tires were of course at their best if they had been in the blankets. When I tried them without it was very difficult to drive on the "out" lap, even though it was not a particularly cold day. So never mind the performance element, I think the blankets are mainly important from the safety point of view."

04/24/08
f1
Bridgestone has eye on front-left tires at Barcelona  After three fly-away races, Formula One makes its European debut for 2008 when Bridgestone's hard and medium compound Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tires get put through their paces at Barcelona's grueling Circuit de Catalunya this weekend.

Previously, Barcelona was a circuit where high degradation and graining were prevalent, but the circuit's most recent layout changes make this less of a problem than before. The track is still a harsh one which means that the hardest compounds from Bridgestone's range are employed. The harder compounds also provide the drivers with greater handling stability through the challenging circuit and of particular note the left front tire is put under significant stress over the course of a lap. There have been minor changes to a number of curbs and a small element of track resurfacing since the last Grand Prix here, which was won by Felipe Massa

Hirohide Hamashima, director of Bridgestone Motorsport tire development commented, "Barcelona is a circuit that Bridgestone and all the teams and drivers know well. Even though we are very familiar with it, we still have to be vigilant as it is by no means an easy circuit. In terms of tire allocation we bring our hardest tires as these provide the most constant performance. Barcelona has a track surface which is middle of the range in terms of abrasion and roughness but durability and driver requirements mean our hardest compounds are needed. The front left tire gets a tough workout at this circuit, as do the teams and drivers, as they try to gain an advantage on a track they all know so well."

04/24/08
automotive
Gas guzzlers a hit in China  High, wide and fuel-hungry, the gleaming black Cadillac Escalade on display at the Beijing auto show is an unlikely car for an era of record oil prices.

But while sport utility vehicle sales in the U.S. are tumbling, automakers are finding that for China's newly prosperous car buyers, bigger is still better.

So General Motors Corp. has made the Escalade a star of its auto-show display and is eager to get it on the market here.

"If you look at the fastest-growing market segments in China, there are two -- SUVs and luxury cars," said Joseph Y.H. Liu, GM China's vice president for sales and marketing.

Auto sales in China are booming, with analysts and automakers forecasting growth at 15-20 percent this year. But demand for the biggest vehicles is even stronger, with sales of luxury cars and SUVs expected to surge by 40-45 percent.

The phenomenon is welcome news for automakers seeing little or no growth in the United States, Europe and Japan. They also make fatter profits from sales of high-end vehicles than from economy models. More ...

04/24/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Beating Hamilton not my priority - Kovalainen
  • Alonso factor not reason for McLaren slump - tester
  • Criticism and critique amid Hamilton slump
  • FIA pressing ahead with anti-racism campaign
  • Rivals say Alonso unlikely to shine in Spain
  • Strength a barrier to F1 for women - de la Rosa
  • Ferrari right to not want Alonso - Briatore
  • New F1 motor home among biggest in paddock
  • Driver slams Fisi's GP2 team for 2008 snub
  • Briatore to marry on June 14
  • No Williams shares sold yet says Head
  • Schu agent patents invention

Beating Hamilton not my priority - Kovalainen
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen insists beating his highly rated McLaren teammate is not his priority.

"If we are third and fourth and I'm ahead of him, then to be honest I'm thinking about the two guys in front of me," the Finn, referring to 2007 championship runner-up Lewis Hamilton, told the Daily Star, a British tabloid.

Kovalainen, 26, has had a solid start to the beginning of his new McLaren tenure, just as Hamilton comes under fire for some recent lackluster showings.

"I have confidence in myself.  I'm not afraid of anyone," he added.

"In the race it does not enter my head at all to think 'Where is Lewis?'"

Kovalainen does admit, however, that he has been a little surprised by his better than expected start to 2008, his second season on the formula one grid.

In the drivers' championship he lies equal on points with Hamilton, and just five behind the leader, reigning world champion and countryman Kimi Raikkonen.

"I did not expect to be fighting for podiums and pole positions straightaway.  That has been a little surprising," he said.

Alonso factor not reason for McLaren slump - tester
(GMM)  Team test driver Pedro de la Rosa has played down suggestions that the absence of Fernando Alonso has hurt the McLaren team in 2008.

Following the departure of the former double world champion at the end of last year, Ron Dennis' team selected Heikki Kovalainen to race alongside fellow second-season racer Lewis Hamilton this year.

The new driver pairing has coincided with a slump in performance for the Anglo-German outfit, as BMW now challenges its mantle as the top team alongside Ferrari.

"We are below our normal level, and that is why we are so determined to do better in Barcelona," de la Rosa is quoted as saying by Spanish newspapers.

Asked specifically if the absence of Alonso's experience is hurting McLaren, de la Rosa added: "I do not think so.

"It is not something that is directly proportional.

"It is true that BMW has surprised us a lot, but we have proved on many occasions that we are very good at developing the car throughout the season." More ...

04/24/08
tv news
IRL
Danica to be a guest on Rachael Ray and David Letterman shows  UPDATE #2 We have added a  video of Danica showing Rachael Ray how to drive a stick shift Honda on the streets of NYC.

04/23/08 A reminder that these two programs will be shown today.

04/22/08 On Wednesday, April 23, Danica Patrick will be a guest on the Rachael Ray show and The Late Show with David Letterman to discuss her historic win at Twin Ring Motegi, being the first female to win an IndyCar event.  On the Rachael Ray show, Danica will teach Rachael how to drive a stick shift.  The time and network for the Rachael Ray show varies.  Please check your local listings for your time zone.  Later Wednesday night, Danica will reunite with her previous boss, David Letterman, on The Late Show with David Letterman.  The program airs at 11:35 pm - 12:35 am on CBS in most time zones.  Please check your local listings for your time zone.
04/23/08
tv news
irl
Danica to be a guest on Conan O'Brien and other shows  Danica Patrick, making history as the first female to win an IndyCar race at the Japan Indy 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, will make a guest appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien late Thursday night, April 24.  The program airs at 12:35 am - 1:35 am ET on NBC (early Friday morning).  Please check your local listings for your time zone. 

Also according to the Indy 500 web site, Danica is scheduled to be a guest on several other shows on Thursday, April 24, i.e. Bloomberg Television, "The Big Ten" on MTV, "The Early Show" on CBS, "The View" on ABC, and "On the Record with Greta Van Susteran" on FOX News.  We have not been able to verify these guest appearances, so please check your local listings.  More at Indy500.com regarding the times scheduled for these shows. 

04/23/08
nassprint
Blue Angels to perform flyover at Richmond  Richmond International Raceway officials announced that the Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron will perform a flyover prior to the May 3 Crown Royal 400 Sprint Cup Series race at the track.
04/23/08
nascar
Checkers/Rallys no longer official burger of NASCAR  Checkers/Rallys has been released from its position as the official burger of NASCAR, creating an opening in the quick-service restaurant category. NASCAR called the separation a mutual decision.
04/23/08
nassprint
Allmendinger returns behind the wheel of No. 84  AJ Allmendinger returns to his driver role this weekend, taking the wheel of the No. 84 Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry at Talladega Superspeedway.

Mike Skinner drove the car for the past five races, attempting to move the team up in the owner standings and get the group closer to the top 35 in owner points.

Skinner made the field for all five of his races, but Allmendinger still must qualify the car in order for the team to race in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega.

Allmendinger admits it was difficult to watch someone else drive his car for that stretch.

“It sucks being out of the race car,” he said. “There’s no simple way to put it. Your ego takes a hit. For a race car driver being at the track and watching cars, especially yours, go around might be the worst thing in the world.”

04/23/08
irl
Patrick and Fisher take NYC by storm  IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher was in New York April 23 for a series of interviews promoting the debut of Sarah Fisher Racing at the upcoming 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500. Fisher made stops on “The Today Show,” Fox News, ESPN The Magazine, Inc. Magazine and Forbes.

Danica Patrick’s victory lap started in Japan, cruised through Los Angeles and is heading full steam to New York. Patrick, who claimed a spot in history with her victory April 20 at Twin Ring Motegi, is tabbed for numerous interviews while in the Big Apple April 23-24, and she will walk the red carpet for the premiere of the movie “Baby Mama.”

Among the stops on Patrick’s schedule are MTV, New York Times, “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The CBS Early Show,” “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren,” Bloomberg TV and “Late Night with Conan O’ Brien.” More ...

04/23/08
irl
alms
Detroit Grand Prix To Feature Added 'Green Racing' Initiatives  The term “going green” is a common one in motorsports vernacular used to indicate the official start of racing, but the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is taking it to a whole new level in 2008.

With momentum building for the August 29-31, 2008 celebration of family fun and world-class racing on Belle Isle, the Grand Prix isn’t just preparing for the roar of high-performance engines on Labor Day weekend. Through many of its official partners, including the actual racing leagues competing on Belle Isle – the American Le Mans Series, the IndyCar Series and the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship, new to the event in 2008 – the Grand Prix is ready to “go green” like never before with a number of ecologically-friendly initiatives.

“With the celebration of Earth Week across the nation, we’re excited that the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix can do its part to help the environment,” said Bud Denker, Event Chairman of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “Working in conjunction with our event partners, we will continue to enhance the Grand Prix’s ‘green’ focus moving forward.”

Key Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix “Green” Programs in 2008: More ...

04/23/08
irl
Tires for Kansas IndyCar race  Firestone will provide 976 dry-condition slicks for this weekend's Road Runner Turbo Indy 300.  Each car receives eight sets (32 tires) for the race weekend.  Tire stagger for this weekend is set at approximately 0.46 of an inch. Stagger, which helps Indy cars turn more smoothly on oval tracks, is created by producing the right-rear tire with a slightly larger diameter than the left rear.

The left-side compound is a new compound for 2008 superspeedways designed to have slightly more grip. The right-side compound is unchanged from 2007. The construction of all four tires has been slightly modified from 2007, again in an effort to slightly increase grip; however, the constructions are based off of the 2007 Kentucky and Chicagoland tire. This is the same tire spec that was run at the Homestead open tests and the Homestead race.

04/23/08
racing news
Racing Loses a Giant  
Cameron Argetsinger
Cameron
Cameron Argetsinger, the organizer of the first sports car race in the United States after World War II and the founder of competition at Watkins Glen, has died at 87.

Argetsinger's contributions to motorsports in America were virtually unparalleled. He was responsible for the first post-war road race in America, was a racecar driver, as a promoter and organizer was a visionary leader in developing professional road racing in America, was the first promoter successfully to bring Formula One racing to America, was later Executive Director of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and then Commissioner of the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA), and most recently was President of the International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen.

Argetsinger, a native of Youngstown, Ohio and a graduate of Cornell University Law School, created and organized the first post-war American road race at Watkins Glen in 1948. Having founded the race and organized the event, he drove his MG-TC to a ninth-place finish in the Grand Prix. Argetsinger remained active as a driver through 1960. More ...

04/23/08
automotive
Toyota takes global sales lead from GM  Toyota Motor Corp. has taken the global automotive sales lead from General Motors Corp., selling 2.41 million vehicles to GM’s 2.25 million over the first three months of the year.

GM said today its first-quarter sales dropped across the globe by less than 1%, but Toyota said its sales were up 2.7% during the January-through-March period.

GM barely won the global sales race with Japan-based Toyota last year.

A record 64% of GM’s sales came from outside the United States.

Strong demand in Europe supported Toyota’s worldwide sales.

GM posted record sales in three of its four regions, but a 10% drop in North America pulled down the overall numbers. Sales were up 8% outside of North America, the Detroit automaker said.

“While the challenges of the U.S. economy continue to put pressure on the automotive industry there, we saw nearly 20% growth in the Latin America, Africa and Middle East, and 6% growth in the Asia Pacific region,” John Middlebrook, GM vice president of global sales, said in a statement. Detroit Free Press

04/23/08
nascar
NASCAR voids victory after violation found  NASCAR has stripped Peyton Sellers of his victory in Saturday night’s Camping World East Series race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina for a rules infraction.

The decision was confirmed in a statement from the Andy Santerre Motorsports team that fielded the No. 44 Chevrolet that Sellers drove in the season-opening event. It gives the victory to Austin Dillon, Sellers’ teammate. Dillon is the grandson of Sprint Cup team owner Richard Childress.

“Needless to say we are shocked and disappointed,” team owner Andy Santerre said. “We are being made an example.” More ...

04/23/08
irl
Bruton Smith on Patrick's first win  The Wall Street Journal Online's David Patton reached Mr. Smith at the company's headquarters at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C., via telephone. He discussed those issues and continued his criticism of NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow, the new design that has turned off some drivers and fans who believe it has reduced speeds and close racing. Excerpts:

The Wall Street Journal: What is the significance of Danica Patrick's win for auto racing?

O. Bruton Smith: It's fantastic for the sport of motor racing. I think it was just a matter of time. What racing was looking for was a woman with talent. It's great for motor racing everywhere. There have been a lot of women involved in racing but they didn't all have the talent. She showed right away that she had talent.

WSJ: What does the end of Champ Car and its merger with IndyCar mean to auto racing in the U.S. in general and open-wheel racing specifically?

Mr. Smith: People have been waiting for these two come together. It's big for us and big for the sport. I think you'll see an increase in attention for the Indianapolis 500 in May. The combination brings more cars and more drivers, which is what open-wheel racing has needed. It's a shame that egos, or whatever, caused them to break up in the first place.

04/23/08
nascar
Marketers to drive NASCAR fan membership  US based strategic marketing company, Dynamic Response Group, has signed an exclusive three-year deal to market The Official NASCAR Members Club to millions of NASCAR fans living in the US.

The deal comes on the back of a successful marketing test, for which Dynamic Response Group created a scalable model to market both 'The Club' itself and a bundled merchandise package marketed as a VIP membership.

"NASCAR has a tremendous brand, and we recognized the opportunity to work together with the Official NASCAR Members Club to take its brand to the next level with our affinity marketing program," said CEO Melissa Rice. "In working on this initiative for the Official NASCAR Members Club, we have established an invaluable model that we can replicate with other brands around the world.”

The Official NASCAR Members Club is the only official fan membership organization licensed by NASCAR. Membership enables fans to become Official Members of NASCAR, with access to exclusive events, information, merchandise, deals, discounts and other benefits.

04/23/08
f1
Suzuki, race drivers, join Aguri in Spain  (GMM)  Key figures of the financially embattled Super Aguri team have all travelled to Barcelona for this weekend's Spanish grand prix, it has emerged.

Boss Aguri Suzuki, managing director Daniele Audetto and drivers Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson are all in the vicinity of the Circuit de Catalunya, but whether the team can escape its own demise is still to be known.

It was earlier revealed that all the small Japanese team's transporters, including the one carrying the Honda powered SA08 cars, had been dispatched to the venue, and they have now been followed by team staff such as mechanics and engineers, who left the Leafield headquarters on Wednesday.

A team spokesperson was however unavailable to update the status of talks to save Suzuki's team, amid rumors that a deal with the Magma Group - whose expected Dubai backing recently fell through - was again a possibility.

More should be known prior to the commencement of free practice on Friday, following a scheduled meeting between Suzuki and his staff the day before.

04/23/08
f1
Schu, not Ferrari, backs KERS for F1  (GMM)  Ferrari advisor, occasional test driver and former champion Michael Schumacher does not back the Italian team's apparent opposition to the introduction next year of energy-saving KERS technology.

Piero Ferrari, the famous marque's vice president, ten per cent owner and the only living son of founder Enzo Ferrari, said on Wednesday that he disagrees with some of formula one's rule directions, including rev-limited and frozen engines, and KERS, where braking energy will be electronically re-released by a driver's 'boost button' in 2009 and beyond.

In the Italian magazine Autosprint, Ferrari questions the rules, saying they leave established engine experts "twiddling their thumbs" not only because of the engine freeze, but because outside experts are needed for KERS.

But Schumacher, 39, insists that the technology is "very important" for F1.

"(Ferrari's) road car department and other road car companies will benefit hugely from it, and the environment will as well," the German told the British newspaper The Times.

In fact, Schumacher accepts the principle that F1 can do even more to contribute to the solutions to the world's environmental crises.

"People say F1 should do more but you cannot change the world in one day," he continued.

"It's not possible.  You have to do it in steps that are achievable and you have to understand the problem.

"I think that it has been understood, this issue, and formula one is reacting to it," he added.

04/23/08
f1
Producer wants Schu to star in own movie  (GMM)  A Hollywood film producer is reportedly interested in turning Michael Schumacher's life story into a blockbuster -- with the seven time world champion himself in the starring role.

The most successful driver in formula one history's long time manager, Willi Weber, confirmed to the German news weekly Bunte that the offer has been made, but said an ultimate decision about the project has not been taken.

The 39-year-old former Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari racer's entire life would be the subject of the movie; including Schumacher's modest beginnings as the son of a bricklayer, his rise to grand prix superstardom and wealth, and his apparently idyllic life as a husband and father.

Schumacher has appeared in a couple of films already; as 'Schumix' in the recent Asterix feature, and with a voiceover in the popular children's animation 'Cars'.

04/23/08
tv news
irl
Sarah Fisher will be guest on Today Show  IndyCar Series team owner/driver Sarah Fisher will be a guest on the Today Show on NBC on Wednesday, April 23.  The segment will air at 10:20 am ET. 
04/23/08
automotive
GM first quarter sales up  General Motors sold 2.25 million cars and trucks around the world in the first quarter of 2008, according to preliminary sales figures released today, with a record 64 percent of all sales occurring outside the United States. GM global first quarter sales were down less than one percent. Robust first quarter sales in GM's Latin America, Africa and Middle East (GMLAAM) and Asia Pacific (GMAP) regions, and improved sales in the GM Europe (GME) region helped offset a 10 percent decline in GM North America (GMNA). Sales outside GMNA were up 8 percent compared with last year.

"GM posted record sales in three of our four regions driven by continued strong demand in emerging markets," John Middlebrook, GM vice president, Global Sales, Service and Marketing Operations, said today. "While the challenges of the U.S. economy continue to put pressure on the automotive industry there, we saw nearly 20 percent growth in the Latin America, Africa and Middle East and 6 percent growth in the Asia Pacific region. We're also very pleased to see 3 percent growth in Europe, where we established a new sales record with 572,000 vehicles sold. We continue to see a higher percentage of our business coming from outside the developed markets - and the non-U.S. share of GM's global sales of 64 percent clearly reflects that trend." More ...

04/23/08
irl
New IndyCar must have larger cockpit  Champ Car made the Panoz DP01 larger in size to accommodate tall drivers like Justin Wilson and Ryan Hunter-Reay.  The next generation IndyCar must make similar accommodations (Actually the next generation IndyCar should just be the Panoz DP01 with a revised nose and beefier sidepods).  A driver should not be penalized for their height.

Justin Wilson towers over everyone
Gail Miller/AutoRacing1
For Justin Wilson, the transition to the IndyCar Series has been a cram course. We're not only talking about learning the craft of oval racing.

At 6-foot-3, Wilson is the tallest driver in the field. The cockpit of the No. 02 McDonald's Dallara is 19 inches wide and the distance from the pedals to the middle of the seat is 52 inches. Scrapes on his elbows - akin to rug burns - were the results of wear from left- and right-hand turns on the streets of St. Petersburg earlier this month.

Obviously, it isn't as comfortable as the sofa in his Colorado home. More ...

04/23/08
f1
Q&A with Marmorini on the ECU changes  
Luca Marmorini
It has been a strong start to the season for the Toyota team with Jarno Trulli scoring eight points from the first three races. Toyota engine man Luca Marmorini talks of the demands placed on the team and driver this year with the introduction of a standard ECU.

How much work was involved in adapting to the standard ECU?
"A lot. We had to do many long test runs because the current engine was developed with a different ECU, made by Magneti Marelli. On top of this we had to cope with the other restrictions, on traction control, engine braking and so on. Even that change, if we had the freedom to adapt our own ECU, would have been significant but we had the standard ECU as well. We received documentation detailing the standard ECU systems but the tuning required testing not only on the dyno but also on the track. It was such a complex revision that there was not time to test everything, although we think we covered most of the uncertainties."

How significant are the differences between the previous ECU and the standard ECU?
"They are significant, not only from the engine point of view but also when it comes to gearbox and gearshift control. The seamless gearshift control is quite a delicate thing and you cannot afford any small mismatch or mistake. The team has done a great job with this but it has involved a lot of development. 

People think there was no development at all because we have an engine development freeze and a standard ECU but it was actually a huge amount, comparable to developing a complete new engine. We had a lot of issues involving incompatibilities and had to learn to work within the right parameters." More ...

04/23/08
f1
Heidfeld drives F1 in Munich  
Nick Heidfeld
The assembly lines came to a standstill and the workforce gathered in anticipation in front of the production halls. Outside, Nick Heidfeld roared his way around BMW's Munich plant in his Formula One car. The BMW Sauber F1 Team put on Wednesday's spectacular driving demonstration to thank the employees at the plant for their support in its Formula One campaign.

"It was long overdue and a really great event," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "A lot of people have had their fingers crossed for us and been with us all the way during the development phase of the new team, so they should also share in our recent success." Heidfeld, lying second in the F1 drivers' standings after three races of the season, added: "It is nice to give the workforce something back." 

Heidfeld was not the only driver performing donuts , which eventually cost a front wing, watched by over 5000 employees four days ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Touring car driver Jörg Müller was also out and about at the plant with his BMW 320si WTCC. David Mengesdorf rounded off the BMW Motorsport line-up with a demo run in the Formula BMW junior racing car. 

"We're well aware that a lot of people in the various departments are keenly following our fortunes and have bets on our results. However, it is not possible to involve the workforce properly at the circuits, so we had to come up with something special instead," explained Theissen. "It is wonderful to see the BMW employees getting behind the sport. Support from within the company really helps us and gives us extra incentives. If we continue to pull together in this way then we will be well set to achieve that maiden GP victory we have set our sights on for 2008." 

Heidfeld started the day with a tour through the production halls. "The scale of the machinery is impressive, but the euphoric reception I was given by the workforce was even more amazing," said the German. "I lost track of how many hands I was shaking." 

04/23/08
nassprint
Superspeedway History has Nemechek Feeling Upbeat for 'Dega  
Joe Nemechek
If Joe Nemechek appears to have an extra bounce in his step when he arrives at Talladega Superspeedway for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race, he has good reason for the increased adrenalin. He is going to a racetrack where he has had success in both qualifying and the race.

And with his superspeedway qualifying effort of third during Pole Day at Daytona in February, it even adds to the anticipation for the Furniture Row driver.

Nemechek's history at Talladega includes three poles, which ties him with Jeremy Mayfield and Elliott Sadler with the most No. 1 starting positions among active drivers at the 2.66-mile oval.   

"I definitely feel good about qualifying at Talladega," said Nemechek, known as Front Row Joe. "We'll have the same Chevy Impala SS that we nearly won the pole with at Daytona. There are a lot of variables, but we do have a great superspeedway program at Furniture Row Racing." More ...

04/23/08
irl
Patrick win should propel IndyCar comeback  
Danica Patrick
Dana Garrett/IRL
Since a pair of fourth-place finishes back in 2005 at Twin Ring Motegi and Indianapolis, Danica Patrick has had to answer one question in almost every interview - "When will you win a race?"

We finally got the answer last weekend, when the 26-year-old Beloit, WI native saved enough fuel to make a late-race move around Helio Castroneves and win the 2008 Japan Indy 300.

Patrick was nowhere near the top early on, but Castroneves, Patrick and Ed Carpenter topped off their fuel tanks just after a Roger Yasukawa spin on lap 142. They hoped by getting a few caution flag laps, and via fuel conservation, to have enough fuel to reach the checkered flag.

The strategy worked and on lap 197 of 200, Patrick sailed around Castroneves for the lead. She saw the white flag with a three-second lead. Patrick charged into Turn 3 and came out of Turn 4 with the engine still going strong and put an end to all the questions, except possibly, "When will you win Indy?"

It was the first win for Patrick in her 50th IndyCar Series start. Before this one, she had earned three poles, 28 top-10s and led a total of 80 laps. More ...

04/23/08
f1
Rain on cards for Spanish GP  (GMM)  Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya could this weekend be the scene of the first wet race of the 2008 season.

According to weather reports, both qualifying on Saturday and Sunday's Spanish grand prix are expected to be affected by drizzle.

Wednesday through to Friday, when free practice will take place, is however forecast to be predominantly sunny, with temperatures at around 20C.

The final day of the Barcelona test last week, held on the same circuit in the northern municipality of Montmelo, was disrupted by rain.

04/23/08
irl
27 cars entered for Road Runner Kansas Indy race  The Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 will be the eighth IndyCar Series event conducted at Kansas Speedway. A different driver has won the race each year. Past winners Dan Wheldon (2007), Tony Kanaan (2005) and Buddy Rice (2004) are entered in this year’s 27-car field.

Car Driver Hometown Car Name Entrant Strategist
2 A.J. Foyt IV Hockley, Texas Vision Racing Vision Racing Tony George
3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Team Penske Team Penske Tim Cindric
4 Vitor Meira Brasilia, Brazil Delphi National Guard Panther Racing John Barnes
5 Oriol Servia Pals, Catalonia, Spain KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology Jimmy Vasser
6 Ryan Briscoe Sydney, Australia Team Penske Team Penske Roger Penske
7 Danica Patrick Roscoe, Ill. Motorola Andretti Green Racing Kyle Moyer
8 Will Power (R) Toowoomba, Australia Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia KV Racing Technology Mark Johnson
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing Mike Hull
10 Dan Wheldon Emberton, England Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chip Ganassi
11 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Team 7-Eleven Andretti Green Racing George Klotz
12 Tomas Scheckter Cape Town, South Africa Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing Luczo Dragon Racing Jay Penske
14 Darren Manning North Yorkshire, England ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Racing A.J. Foyt Enterprises A.J. Foyt
15 Buddy Rice Phoenix Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dennis Reinbold
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay Boca Raton, Fla. Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Rahal Letterman Racing Scott Roembke
18 Bruno Junqueira Belo Horizonte, Brazil The Z-Line Car Dale Coyne Racing Dale Coyne
19 Mario Moraes (R) Sao Paulo, Brazil The SONNY Car Dale Coyne Racing Adam Schaechter
20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis Menards/Vision Racing Vision Racing Larry Curry
23 Milka Duno Caracas, Venezuela CITGO / Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Robbie Buhl
24 Jay Howard (R) Basildon, England Roth Racing Roth Racing Jeremy Milless
25 Marty Roth Toronto Roth Racing Roth Racing David Cripps
26 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Forsythe Andretti Green Racing Paul Harcus
27 Hideki Mutoh (R) Tokyo Formula Dream Andretti Green Racing Kim Green
33 E.J. Viso (R) Caracas, Venezuela PDVSA HVM Racing HVM Racing Michael Cannon
34 Franck Perera (R) Montpellier, France Ares/Opes Prime Conquest Racing Eric Zeto
36 Enrique Bernoldi (R) Curitiva, Brazil Opes Prime/Sangari Conquest Racing Brandon Fry
02 Justin Wilson (R) Sheffield, England McDonald’s Racing Team Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Mike Talbott
06 Graham Rahal (R) New Albany, Ohio Hole in the Wall Camps Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Todd Malloy
04/23/08
f1
Brembo braking card for Barcelona  
Brembo ID Card for Spain
To the right is the Brembo ID Card of the Barcelona circuit, offered by Brembo, which contains some very interesting speed and braking information and data about the circuit and the technical features of the braking systems.
04/23/08
automotive
GM statement on NHTSA proposed 2020 Fuel Economy (CAFE) Targets  "GM intends to meet the tough, new national CAFE standards of 35 mpg for cars and trucks combined by 2020, a dramatic increase of 40 percent. NHTSA’s proposed rule lays out the first set of standards toward this target. GM will work with NHTSA throughout its rulemaking process on the yearly targets and the sensible mechanisms needed to meet this challenge.”

Background
GM has an established track record of innovation and a commitment to improving the fuel economy in its cars and trucks. Years of engineering and development, and billions of research dollars have produced the GM vehicles that you see on the road today. Currently, GM offers more vehicles that achieve 30 mpg on the highway, more flex fuel vehicles that can run on E85, and groundbreaking technology such as GM's two-mode hybrid system found in our full-size light trucks. Far from standing still, GM has more cars and trucks on the way that will offer the broadest line-up of "green" technology.

Here's how GM plans to lead the industry:
GM will continue to improve the internal combustion engine, and to dramatically intensify its efforts to displace petroleum fuels with bio-fuel alternatives such as ethanol--the best, near-term solution to actually reduce gasoline consumption. GM alone has produced over 3 million E-85 capable vehicles to date in the U.S. -- more than any other automaker. More ...

04/22/08
a1gp
Martinez returns to A1GP  
David Martinez
David Martinez announced today that he will return with Team Mexico to compete in the season finale of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsports, which will take place in Brands Hatch on May 4th.  Martinez drove the Team Mexico car this year during the rookie sessions at the Mexico City event, but now he will take over the main driving duties and be part of the full weekend.  The Monterrey native has just returned from Long Beach, California where he scored his career best finish in the last ever Champ Car race. 

Martinez made his A1GP debut in 2005 at the Lausitzring where he scored his first top ten in the series.  His second and last start was in South Africa where once again he placed inside the top ten.  Since then the 26 year old has spent his time competing in Champ Car and ALMS events.

David Martinez A1GP Team Mexico
“I’m really happy to be back in A1GP after all this time.  Last month I got a little taste of it but now I’ll have the chance get more laps in and be as competitive as possible.  It’s going to be difficult to fight with the top teams because they have been developing their setups all year, but I think there is some potential and we are going to do everything we can to get the Mexico car in front.  I’ve never been to Brands Hatch before but I know it is a very exciting racetrack, I’m very relaxed and I plan on enjoying every single lap and closing out the season as strong as possible for Team Mexico so we can begin preparations for the 2008-09 season.”

04/22/08
nhra
irl
NHRA congratulates Patrick on her IndyCar series victory  NHRA congratulates Danica Patrick on her recent IndyCar Series victory in Japan, as she joins a long list of NHRA female racers who have won major auto racing events dating back to the mid-1970s.

NHRA's first major female winner was Shirley Muldowney, who earned a Top Fuel victory in 1976. She has been followed by eight other women who have won major national events in the 57-year history of NHRA. The most recent, Peggy Llewellyn, became the first black woman to win an NHRA race, claiming the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory in Dallas last October. Angelle Sampey, who competes in Pro Stock Motorcycle, has the most NHRA victories for a woman with 41. Muldowney, who earned 18 NHRA victories in her career, and Sampey each have won three NHRA world championships.

Other women to earn NHRA Professional-category victories are Lucille Lee (Top Fuel), Lori Johns (Top Fuel), Shelly Anderson (Top Fuel), Cristen Powell (Top Fuel), Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle), and Melanie Troxel (Top Fuel).  More ...

04/22/08
nhra
Schumacher statement on NHRA fine  This past week has been very trying for me, my family, my sponsors and my seven Don Schumacher Racing NHRA drag-racing teams. Since I began to build my operation to include a number of teams in 2001, I have strived to live up to my personal standards, those of the sponsors who so wholeheartedly support my efforts, the outstanding group of drivers and crew chiefs I have been fortunate to have join my racing family, and the incredibly talented medley of team employees.

It is my opinion and belief that the merits of the process begun by the NHRA to fine DSR an unprecedented $100,000 for an alleged infraction of our team possessing nitromethane in its pit area during a national event should not be argued in the media. I believe that a series of errors occurred at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, which led the NHRA to impose the fine. I would like to extend my apologies to all the DSR sponsors and everyone involved in this situation on behalf of DSR for what appears to me to be a misunderstanding. I regret any focus that may have been put on any of our supporters unnecessarily.

I would never do anything that could be construed as going against the NHRA rules. I believe I have acted properly, with integrity, and this is a matter that is being dealt with between Don Schumacher Racing and the NHRA. I have processed an appeal to the NHRA which will be heard this week pursuant to NHRA's dispute resolution procedures. Of utmost importance to me is that I explain to the media, fans and our longtime supporters that only I, as team owner, am involved in this situation. None of the seven DSR teams, their sponsors, crew chiefs, drivers or team employees should be singled out as having any responsibility in this situation. Don Schumacher Credit: DSR
04/22/08
f1
Head admits Toyota link in Nakajima drive  (GMM) Williams co-owner Patrick Head has confirmed that team racer Kazuki Nakajima's links with Toyota played a part in his selection as Nico Rosberg's teammate in 2008.

Nakajima, the 23-year-old rookie, was a long time member of the Japanese giant's Driver Development Programme, and it emerged recently that his contract is in fact a collaboration between Sir Frank Williams' eponymous team and its engine supplier.

It is also the case that Nakajima, the son of the former grand prix driver Satoru, wears the red word 'Toyota' on his overalls this year, while Rosberg does not.

"Clearly Toyota's support (of Nakajima) influenced the decision, but only marginally, because if we were not convinced that he is good enough to be with us, we would not have signed him, no matter who had recommended him," Head told the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell. More ...
04/22/08
f1
McLaren again at tail of pits  (GMM) For the second consecutive race weekend, McLaren will at Barcelona again be housed in the farthest pit garages, as per its last place in the 2007 constructors' championship following the spying penalty.

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

Mercedes' competition boss Norbert Haug on Tuesday confirmed to Motorsport Aktuell that the team will squeeze into the farthest garages at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend.

McLaren, however, has been promised by Ecclestone that its huge 'Brand Centre' will be allocated enough paddock space, after fears that it would not fit into the areas normally reserved for the less successful teams' more modest motor homes.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Force India will unveil a new motor home in Spain this weekend.
04/22/08
irl
Stellar music lineup at Indy  The lineup at the 2008 Indianapolis 500 is loaded with talent - both on track and on stage.

A diverse mix of national and regional musical talent and genres - including alternative rock, punk rock, adult contemporary and modern rock - will perform during major event days at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from Indianapolis Star Opening Day, Sunday, May 4, to Race Day, Sunday, May 25.

Multi-platinum Epic recording artists Chevelle will kick off an exciting first weekend of qualifications with a display of heavy alternative rock from 6-7 p.m. on "Fast Friday," May 9. Modern rock quintet "The Bravery" will bookend the weekend with live entertainment from 3-4:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 11.

The Coke Zero Stage will be particularly busy on Pole Day, May 10 and Coke Zero 500 College Fest/Third Day Qualifications, May 17, as three acts will entertain fans each day: DJ Orion, Ludo and Yellowcard on Pole Day, and Forever the Sickest Kids, OK Go and Sum 41 on Coke Zero 500 College Fest.  More ...

04/22/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE Updates  shown in red below.

04/22/08
  • Todt to re-emerge for Monaco grand prix
  • Alonso names possible new teams for 2009
  • Entire Super Aguri team dispatched to Barcelona
  • EU to investigate Valencia GP claims
  • Button 16th in English triathlon New
  • Alonso would 'damage' Ferrari - Montezemolo New
  • Montezemolo gives Mosley cautious backing New

Todt to re-emerge for Monaco grand prix
(GMM)  Jean Todt no longer has a day-to-day role in formula one or with the Ferrari team, but he is not planning to be a stranger to the F1 paddocks this season.

The 62-year-old Frenchman, who led the Maranello based team throughout the 1993-2007 period, handed the role to Stefano Domenicali for this year, and recently resigned as the famous marque's overall CEO.

Todt, however, attended the consecutive Malaysian and Bahrain grands prix, although he confirmed that he is not planning to show up in Barcelona this weekend.

"I will return for Monaco, not before," he said at the Sport Awards gala in San Marino.

But amid rumors that the now plain-clothed Todt is positioning to take over from embattled FIA president Max Mosley, Ferrari boss Domenicali confirms that Todt still lends him and Ferrari a helping hand.

"He's still with us.  Of course this is a strength, it's not a negative point," the Italian said recently.

"He will always be (at races), even if he's not physically, for sure he will still be on the case," Domenicali added.

Todt is still a Ferrari board member and, given his record and experience, is no doubt still consulted by top management about key decisions.

"Maybe he is not coming to all the races, maybe he is not working from 7am to 9pm like he was doing before, but he is still around for the most important decisions," team racer Felipe Massa, who is managed by Todt's son Nicolas, said. More ...

04/22/08
irl
Growing fan base?  Hiromitau Sugimura, damp but otherwise undeterred, approaches Hideki Mutoh in the garage area to sign a glossy photo of a 3-year-old (or so) Mutoh behind the wheel of a passenger car.

"A sign of things to come?" the 25-year-old Andretti Green Racing rookie laughs after personalizing the photograph.

The scenario is played out hundreds of times at Twin Ring Motegi as ticket holders for the Indy Japan 300 all want a piece - or at least a snapshot or autograph - of their newest national auto racing sensation. They've followed the Tokyo native's steady movement through the motorsports hierarchy and eagerly awaited his IndyCar Series debut in Japan. Banners and homemade signs adorn the grandstands, and Mutoh merchandise - from sweatshirts to his image on shortbread cookies - is everywhere.

It doesn't surprise Darren Manning, who although his autograph line is significantly shorter than Mutoh's, Danica Patrick's or Helio Castroneves', nonetheless receives gifts of boxed chocolates and stuffed animals from fans who remember the A.J. Foyt Racing driver as the winner of the 1999 All Japan F3 Championship.

"You don't need (autograph) cards here," Manning says. "It is really special to them. They put you on a pedestal and they get more out of it because they think that way. They are so knowledgeable. I see more pictures of my old racing cars every year I come back that I've forgotten about. They research each driver, the car, the racing. When I raced over here, you're a celebrity. All the junior categories in Japan are so good that the fans understand what the high levels are all about.

Motegi had its worse attendance in years.  Yes the fans are educated in Japan, but their numbers are dwindling.
"They understand F1 is the top of motorsports and the IndyCar Series is second only to F1." More at IndyCar.com

[Editor's Note:  We wish the IndyCar Series the best as it tries to rebuild after the merger with Champ Car.  However, the attendance at Motegi this year was horrible, the worst we have ever seen since the race began with CART.  So this article about Motegi's growing fan base makes the IRL look bad because fans can see with their own eyes.  Hopefully they will be above this sort of hype in the future.]

04/22/08
f1
Coulthard concerned he isn't good enough  
Is Coulthard afraid he won't be good enough?
David Coulthard admits he has plenty of reservations about the new regulations that will be introduced in 2009.  As he gets older and his reflexes get worse it appears he is afraid he won't be able to handle an F1 car after the changes.  He doesn't say that but it sure appears that way.

The Red Bull Racing driver says the changes, which includes the use of slick tires and new aerodynamic rules that will heavily reduce downforce levels, are unlikely to have the desired effect on Formula One.

"I'm skeptical it will have a big effect, because there will always be quicker cars that qualify at the front and slower cars that qualify at the back - and why would the slower car be able to pass the quicker car just because it's less upset by turbulence? It just won't happen," he wrote in his ITV column.

"I'm curious to see how the rule-makers will deal with the implications of that, because if cars are travelling 10-15 km/h faster at the end of the straight there's significantly more energy to arrest in the event of an accident."

"I also feel there is a genuine safety concern about the banning of tire warmers," he wrote.

"It cannot be good to have big speed differentials between cars. The worst case scenario would be an accident at somewhere like Monaco between one car travelling slowly on the line on cold tires and another arriving at full speed.

"I know some people will argue that motor racing is dangerous and it should be up to the drivers to handle the challenges thrown at them - but this seems an unnecessary additional risk for no real benefit."

04/22/08
ga
Sigalsport to race under Rum Bum banner  Following a competitive run at the Grand Prix of Miami where Sigalsport Rum Bum co-drivers Gene Sigal and Matt Plumb finished fifth, Luis Bacardi, great grandson of the founder of Bacardi® and the creator of Rum Bum decided to extend his sponsorship commitment to the Los Angeles based team. Further proof of the strengthened relationship between Rum Bum and Sigalsport, the team name is now Rum Bum Racing.

Rum Bum Racing will compete this week-end in the Bosch Engineering 250 at VIR, fourth round of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. More ...

04/21/08
irl
‘AirTranica Won’ takes flight  Travelers in Orlando, Fla., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Atlanta got a special glimpse of Danica Patrick April 21 – her picture at least. AirTran Airways, an official sponsor of Danica Patrick’s Andretti Green Racing team, unveiled a Boeing 717-200 aircraft featuring Danica’s picture painted on the side alongside the words ‘AirTranica.’

Dubbed ‘AirTranica Won,’ the plane debuted April 21 with a morning flight between Orlando and Pittsburgh followed by a flight to Atlanta.

"AirTran Airways would like to extend our congratulations to Danica Patrick on the occasion of her first IndyCar Series win by announcing that Monday, April 21, 2008, will be known as 'AirTranica' Day," said Bob Fornaro, AirTran Airways' president and chief executive officer. "As a proud sponsor of Danica Patrick and the Andretti Green Racing team, we couldn't be more excited about Danica's triumph."
04/21/08
irl
Danica ‘buzz’ felt on Internet  Danica Patrick’s victory in Japan led to a spike in Internet searches for the driver of the No. 7 Motorola car for Andretti Green Racing. According to Yahoo.com, searches for Patrick spiked 1,463 percent over the weekend.
04/21/08
irl
History-making season underway  American open-wheel racing unification under the IndyCar Series banner is less than a month into the season and already there have been two events that almost match the historic significance of the announcement.

First, Graham Rahal became the youngest winner of a major open-wheel racing event at 19 years, 93 days at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 6. Danica Patrick followed by becoming the first female to win a major closed-course auto racing event at the Indy Japan 300 on April 20.

There’ll be quite a vibe this weekend at the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway.

“I was asked at the Motorsports Marketing Summit if I could ask for one thing this year what would it be and the quote was ‘Danica Patrick in Victory Circle,’” said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for the Indy Racing League. More ...
04/21/08
f1
A lap around Barcelona with Alex Wurz  
Alex Wurz
Honda Racing test driver Alex Wurz has some very fond memories of the Circuit de Catalunya, home to this weekend’s fourth round of the 2008 Formula One championship season, and some not too fond ones! Speaking ahead of the race, the Austrian described just what it is like to race here on the Spanish track….

"Over the years, the Circuit de Catalunya has lost some of its edge because it's no longer the high speed challenge that it once was. All of the fast corners have gone, except Turn 3, which is still big G-force, very fast and very demanding. Of course, the track still remains an interesting place to drive. The key to a quick lap is to find a good rhythm and to make sure that your car works well in slow-speed corners, which is most of sector three. In days gone by, Barcelona required a high-speed car set-up, whereas now it needs a slow-speed set up, and I think that's disappointing.”

"You approach Turn 1 at about 310kph (193mph). You stamp on the brakes and shift down to second gear for Turn 1, before taking Turn 2 in third gear. Next comes one of the best corners on the lap, Turn 3, before you're again braking hard for the hairpin at Turn 4. Another hairpin follows, where it's easy to lock up a wheel on the downhill approach, and you then have two very interesting corners.”

"Turn 6 is medium-speed and requires you to use a lot of curb on the exit, and Turn 7 is a right-hander taken at about 215kph (133mph). It's important to carry a lot of speed through Turn 7 because it leads you onto the back straight, where you're back up to 300kph (186mph). The last part of the lap is slow and it includes the new chicane before the final corner. Again, it's very important to have a good exit because you carry that speed all the way down the pit straight.”

"The track was resurfaced a couple of years ago, so the infamous abrasive asphalt is gone. As a result, the race strategies are more or less the same as at other races because tire degradation is quite flat. I advise anyone visiting the race to check out Barcelona because it's a cool city. I love it. The Catalan people are very open and friendly, and Barcelona has a great culture for art and food. If you have kids, take them to the Natural Museum - they'll love it."

04/21/08
irl
Putting Patrick's victory in perspective  NASCAR groupie writer Bob Margolis puts Danica Patrick's first win in Japan in perspective in this Yahoo Sports article.
04/21/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

04/21/08
  • Next slick tire test in July - Bridgestone
  • Designer plays down 'nose hole' innovation
  • 'Amazed' Todt fully backs embattled Mosley
  • Sutil also has talent for F1 - Gascoyne
  • Buemi vows to 'fight' for F1 race seat
  • Rookie Vettel buys 250,000 euro motor home
  • Barcelona podium very unlikely - Alonso
  • German banker says not Aguri savior
  • Coulthard scolds Button over crash blame New
  • Honda say Barrichello to set record in Turkey New
  • 'Schumi III' makes racing debut New

Next slick tire test in July - Bridgestone
(GMM)  The next test to feature Bridgestone's developments of the intended 2009 slick tires is scheduled for July.

F1's official sole tire supplier said in a statement that it expects to make even "more progress" with the compounds, following the major test with slicks at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya last week.

The first slick test was at Jerez last December.

Teams tried three revised slick compounds at the recent Barcelona session - nine sets allocated to each team - and technical manager Tetsuro Kobayashi said he was happy with the results.

He also responded to some drivers' concerns about the scheduled banning of tire blankets next year by saying the warm-up situation out of the pits was "much improved".

Meanwhile, Ferrari designer Nicholas Tombazis ruled out speculation that the Italian team is planning to roll out a "prototype" of its 2009 car at the next slick test.

"Totally implausible," he said in the pages of La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Designer plays down 'nose hole' innovation
(GMM)  Ferrari chief designer Nicholas Tombazis has moved to play down the perceived significance of the 'nose hole' innovation that will debut at the Spanish grand prix this weekend.

In the pages of the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, it emerges that the piece has now passed the mandatory FIA crash tests and therefore will feature on the F2008 at Barcelona.

"It is not something revolutionary that will make us two seconds faster," he insisted.

"It is simply an aerodynamic development, like some others that are less obvious but perhaps even more important," Tombazis added.

He contradicted reports that said the 'hole' concept was central to the original design of Ferrari's 2008 car.

As to why it did not appear on the car before now, Tombazis answered: "For two reasons; the difficulty of producing enough spare parts in time for the first races, and also the need to pass the additional crash test." More ...

04/21/08
f1
Mosley invited to Jordan rally  UPDATE Max Mosley will be snubbed by the King of Jordan when he attempts his first public duty after lurid allegations about his role in a five-hour sadomasochistic orgy with five prostitutes.  The Times has learnt  that senior officials in Jordan, where Mr. Mosley is planning to travel this week, have voiced concerns about his appearance in the country.

The Times has also established that after his public snubbing by the Crown Prince of Bahrain, who told Mr. Mosley not to attend the Bahrain Grand Prix three weeks ago, King Abdullah of Jordan has decided that he will not receive him officially during the visit. Mr. Mosley had decided to go to Jordan instead of attending the Spanish Grand Prix, where it was feared that a chance meeting with King Juan Carlos of Spain, a keen race-goer, might create an embarrassment.

In Jordan Mr. Mosley will be the guest of King Abdullah’s brother, Prince Feisal, at the inaugural Jordanian stage of the World Rally Championship. According to an official press release issued by the rally, Mr. Mosley has “delighted” organizers by accepting the invitation to attend.

However The Times has learnt that senior officials in Jordan would prefer it if the visit did not go ahead, given the widespread revulsion at Mr. Mosley’s conduct, which has shocked Formula One and the boardrooms of the big car manufacturers. The Times

04/16/08 (GMM)  Amid the pressure for him to resign due to the sex scandal, Max Mosley has received another rare piece of good news.

Added to his support from the motor racing body of the United Arab Emirates, the embattled FIA president has now been invited to attend the forthcoming Jordan Rally.

It will be the 68-year-old's first official appearance since the British tabloid News of the World broke the scandal about Mosley's prison-themed orgy with five prostitutes.

He has been invited to the Jordan Rally, a new event on the FIA world rally championship calendar, by the crown prince of the Arab country, Feisal Al Hussein.

Al Hussein is also the chairman of Jordan Motorsport.

"Max has been a strong friend and ally to Jordan," he said.  "He has supported us since we announced our bid (for an FIA rally) three years ago, so we are delighted he will be sharing this historic occasion with us."

The Jordan Rally will be staged between April 24-27, meaning that Mosley cannot also attend the Spanish formula one grand prix at Barcelona.

He also did not attend the recent Bahrain grand prix, following a letter from the Bahrain crown prince.

04/21/08
f1
Q and A with Norbert Haug  
Norbert Haug
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug explains the great importance the Catalunya circuit has on the development of the McLaren MP4-23, as well as on the progress of every other car in the field. In addition, despite the engine homologation rules, McLaren Mercedes team engineers still have venues in which to experiment new means of improving performance.

What are the development possibilities after the engine homologation for the remainder the season?

"The engine rules have been specified until the end of 2012. Following the Malaysian Grand Prix, every manufacturer delivered a reference engine for homologation to the FIA. From this time onwards no more modifications of the engine are possible, except for the development of fuels and lubricants, and for improvements of the peripherals components. The engines, which have been used in the Bahrain Grand Prix, will also be used in the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix within the cycle of two race weekends."

What are the challenges of the Circuit de Catalunya for cars and engines?

"The track at Barcelona with the long front straight and with long sweeping corners as well as tight bends is one of the most demanding of all circuits in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. It is also challenging for the engines. 

About 70 percent of a lap will be run under full throttle and after the new chicane before the start and finish straight, about 13 seconds will be run under full throttle. Barcelona is the circuit which all competitors know best, because it's the test track all teams use the most, and they have a lot of data from there." More ...

04/21/08
cc
irl
Almost 170K attend Long Beach  Nothing against the American Le Mans Series, comprised of sports cars that racing purists savor, but the three-day Grand Prix attendance probably wouldn't have exceeded 65,000 had it been the headliner, which would have been slightly less than the 170,000 that Michaelian estimated showed up over the weekend.

"Considering the unattractive situation we were faced with a little over a month ago and considering the way the nation's economy has been going, we're quite satisfied with the way things turned out," said Michaelian. "The attendance was down about seven percent. But things are looking great for the future. Danica Patrick is going to be here next year."  Long Beach Press Telegram

04/21/08
cc
irl
Seen in Long Beach - 2  UPDATE Less than 24 hours after finishing second to Danica Patrick in the IRL race at Motegi, Japan, Helio Castroneves was itching to be on the track.

"I feel I wish I belong there," Castroneves said, pointing to the Long Beach track. "I don't belong here (in the grandstands). The worst thing is being here and watching at a race you know you can be in."

Contractually, Castroneves had to race in Japan because he raced in the IRL last season. In his last appearance in Long Beach, in a Champ Car race seven years ago, he won.  He took the Penske corporate jet from Japan to Southern California to watch the race.

"I'm here to support the series," he said. "I wanted to see my competitors and how they're going to do. They're going to collect a lot of points today.  I can't wait to go back next year and go racing. Everybody would have liked to be here today. This year, we knew would be a challenge."

Helio Castroneves talks to Pro-Celebrity race winner and ESPN pit reporter Jamie Little at Long Beach Sunday
Gail Miller/AutoRacing1
04/20/08 Helio Castroneves and Roger Penske's key people as well as IRL founder Tony George and his key staff made the overnight trip from Motegi, Japan to Long Beach and were here in time for the start of the Long Beach GP.

We hear that Danica Patrick will also be here to meet the American press after her win in Motegi where little to no American media were present.

The grandstands are full and a huge crowd has come out for the final Champ Car race under bright sunny Southern California skies.

04/21/08
f1
Q and A with Heikki Kovalainen  McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen has scored points in each of the first three rounds this season with two fifth placed finishes and a third. Now that the first three flyaway events are over, the Finnish racer is looking forward to the start of the European season in Spain this coming weekend where the team will discover exactly where they stand alongside their rivals….

Can you describe the main characteristics of the Circuit de Catalunya and why is this circuit so popular with teams and drivers?
“This circuit is one of probably the two most important test tracks we use, together with Jerez. It is a real performance tester; you need to have a really good aero performance in the car to go fast round here, which is why we always come here as it allows us to understand how well our aero package is performing. It also has some very heavy breaking areas, so it is good for evaluating this and some good corners to understand the balance of the car. Also, the slower chicanes mean we can test how the car changes direction. It has a good range of challenges so you can test everything. Also, usually the weather is good here.”

This is characteristically a high speed circuit, where are the best places for overtaking opportunities?
“I think turn 1 is best because you can drag the other car out of the new chicane that is quite slow, along the pit straight. Apart from that is it very difficult, you can probably think about overtaking into turn five, maybe into turn ten if you get a good run into turn nine, that is about it really.”

How have you spent your time since the Bahrain Grand Prix?
“It is really preparing physically for this race, because we have a bigger gap, we are actually trying to increase the fitness level. We do some power work, some speed work, a bit of cardio. That has been the priority. I have been to Woking for a couple of days and spent some time with the engineers. Apart from that, nothing special, just trying to make sure that when we arrive here for the race we know where we are and have a good starting point for the weekend.”

04/21/08
automotive
Wagoner hits out at UN report  Rick Wagoner, General Motors’ chairman and chief executive, has dismissed United Nations research that links biofuel production to rising food prices as “shockingly misinformed”.

The blunt assessment by the head of the world’s largest car company reinvigorates intense debate about ostensible social costs and environmental benefits of biofuels, a burgeoning industry some analysts say crowds out food production.

“If you look at what’s causing higher [bio]fuel prices, the cost of corn is a very small part of that,” Mr. Wagoner said at a trade show in China.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has linked biofuels production – alongside factors such as crop failures and the falling dollar – to the spike in world food prices. The agency has ordered research on the subject in advance of a summit on world food security intended to take place in Rome from June 3-5.

But Mr. Wagoner said: “Oil prices are a far bigger driver of higher food prices than ethanol.”  FT.com

04/21/08
Racing News
Quotes of the week  UPDATE As the Champ cars pulled into the pits at the end of Sunday’s Long Beach GP and the whine from their turbo Cosworth engines fell silent, a forty-year era in American racing came to an end. Turbocharged engines have defined Indy car racing since the mid-sixties and helped make the cars number among the most powerful and spectacular race cars on earth. The turbo’s signature, high-pitched whine helped provide Indy car racing with an identity and a mythical image as the most demanding cars to drive and race.  Now, the turbo has vanished from the scene and yet many fans at Long Beach last weekend expressed their hopes that the turbos will return when the IRL launches its new formula in 2010 or 2011. And in the paddock and garage area the feeling is virtually unanimous that turbocharged engines and big horsepower must be a feature of the new formula if it is to inspire emotions and attract fans, engine manufacturers and car builders to what everyone hopes will be a new start to the deeply damaged world of Indy car racing.  Gordon Kirby, Journalist

"I had so much support, it was incredible.  It's almost as if I was racing in Mexico. So that was great and I was happy to give all the fans that were screaming my name a good result.  I was just happy to be there and I feel honored to be on the last Champ Car podium ever. It had been my dream to race in Champ Car and I started in 2002. It's a very sad moment right now that this was the last Champ Car race in history. This is where I made my name, where I made my career, and this is what gave me what I have, but I think it's the best thing for open-wheel racing. The future is very bright and even though I'm very sad that Champ Car has ended. I'm happy because the fans are going to be the winners when they watch one IndyCar race with all the stars, the great teams, and the great names out there in one race. I hope to be part of that as well, the future starts right now for me."  Mario Dominguez, Champ Car and soon to be IndyCar driver

"I had my first race here with Dale Coyne in 1991," said Tracy. "It was my first win in 1993, and I don't know how I'm going to feel after all this. I guess this could be my last race here as an open-wheel driver. This isn't really how I want my career to end. But it was a great event, there were big crowds in the paddock, big crowds in the stands even for qualifying, it was like the mid-90s again. There was tremendous fan support, and a lot of well-wishes for me, which feels nice."  Paul Tracy, Champ Car driver

"This has been a great, great weekend and Long Beach is a great, original street race event - it's a crown jewel in every sense. It's with mixed emotions that we look forward, but I honestly believe that this is only the start. What we've done is in the best interest of the fans and the sport, and we have a lot of work to do now.  We have to publicize the great young drivers like Graham (Rahal), Will (Power), and Danica (Patrick). These are new names to a lot of the motor racing fraternity but they're names that are going to be around for a long time, and they're names that will help build the credibility of the sport." Kevin Kalkhoven, Champ Car and IndyCar team owner

"Ever since I joined Champ Car my career has been good," he said. "I was given a great opportunity by (Team Australia boss) Craig Gore and I took it and ran with it.  I love Champ Car racing and it's great to win here in Long Beach for the last race. It's really pretty special to be honest."  Will Power, Champ Car and IndyCar driver

The prevailing feeling this week from drivers involved in the Champ Car World Series finale Sunday was that the DP01 used by Champ Car is simply a faster, better car than the Dallara used in the unified Indy Racing League. "Like Oriol [Servia] was saying (Friday), he was saying that comparing the two cars, the Champ Car is much faster, lighter, more downforce, quicker and more fun to drive," Tagliani said. "I think they reached the point where they had the perfect product, affordable and with the best event (Long Beach) all over North America to go racing with. And for some political issue it's really unfortunate that it's not going to move forward and we'll have to wait a couple of years before the IRL series reaches where Champ Car was, actually."  Alex Tagliani, Champ Car driver

Scott Goodyear:  Danica, I was watching you drive at Milwaukee and saw you driving a really ill handling car. The rear kept kicking out and you just kept keeping your foot into it. I thought, "This girl can certainly drive as good as any other guy out there."

Danica Patrick: "Well thanks, but to be honest, we had traction control. I was really just leaning on the traction control so whenever it started to step out, I would just keep my foot in it and let the traction control do the work." ESPN2 Interview at end of Champ Car TV broadcast

04/20/08 “The big problem is that we pitted when we shouldn’t have. The GAINSCO car was good, good enough to work our strategy the way we wanted to and get by the No. 01. We had a battle there, and that is not what I expect out of Memo, but I guess in his home country in front of all of his fans, he gets pretty desperate. I’ll forgive him this time, but I’ll punch his teeth out next time.” Jon Fogarty No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley after the Mexico City Grand-Am race

"Well, since she is out of contention, her team is just gambling that MAYBE if it goes green the rest of the race (50 laps), we might see Danica Patrick on top of the podium." Scott Goodyear, IndyCar TV announcer on her top off fuel stop under yellow on lap 148
04/21/08
f1
Opportunity of lifetime for Asmer  Alongside Christian Klien, Marko Asmer is the official test driver of the BMW Sauber F1 Team for the 2008 season. The Estonian driver describes how important last year was to him, and how he hopes to be able to demonstrate his driving talent this season. Marko is the first racing driver from Estonia to have made the step up to Formula One - even if he is not yet a regular driver. It was the reward for hard work and a tiring 2007. "Last year was very important for me", recalls Marko. "I won the British Formula 3 Championship. However, if I had not been given the chance to complete a test drive at the end of last year, and thus given the opportunity to prove what I can do, then I would probably never have made it."

And Marko took his chance brilliantly. However, the 23-year-old aims to continue to work hard to improve in his first season as official test driver for the team from Munich and Hinwil: "Learn a lot, gain as much experience as possible, and do the best job possible" are Marko's objectives. "That is all I can do. I cannot influence anything else. I have just got to be quick and good. This is the chance of my life", says Marko.

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