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GM Racing selects TRG for GTO.R cars GM Racing selects TRG for GTO.R carsIn a news conference earlier today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, GM Racing announced that it has selected the California-based TRG to run the first of its two GTO.R race cars in the Rolex Series GT class. The team will take delivery of the cars in late May and plans to enter at least one in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway on June 30. Handling the driving duties in one car will be Jan Magnussen and Paul Edwards, with 2005 GT championship co-leaders Andy Lally and Marc Bunting slated for the other machine.
Gurney fastest in Grand-Am debut Gurney fastest in Grand-Am debutPracticing for his first-ever Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race, Alex Gurney posted the fastest lap on the opening day of practice for Sunday’s Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (SPEED Channel, Live, 3 p.m. ET).

Gurney turned a best lap of 1:25.286 (94.468 mph) in the bright red No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley he shares with co-driver and team owner Bob Stallings to head a stout field of 53 cars to turn practice laps during Friday’s sessions, and posted his best time in the second of the day’s two Rolex Series practice sessions. While it was Gurney’s first-ever practice day in a Daytona Prototype, the son of racing legend Dan Gurney has logged plenty of miles in other types of cars at the 2.238-mile road course on the Monterey Peninsula.

"Obviously it's a great start, (but) we're not sure how much it means,” Gurney said. “We may be on a different tire strategy than some of the other teams. I want to thank Bob Stallings, it's his birthday today, he's my teammate, my team owner, and he's made sure I've been able to be in this position. We're still learning, but we're happy to have some speed. I'm not sure how many guys went through tires, but I'm sure we're close on times. Tomorrow, we're going to keep practicing driver changes and pit stops. It's a new race for everyone—the first time for all the teams at this track—so it'll be a learning experience for sure. We just hope to finish." [Editor's Note: The No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley is engineered by one of the best engineers in the business, Kyle Brannan (first attempt at engineering a Daytona Prototype).  Kyle was the engineer for Hylton Motorsports when it won the Toyota Atlantic Title with Hoover Orsi, then with Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2002 (where they dominated at Laguna Seca winning from pole amongst other wins), before moving to Sierra Sierra and engineering Ryan Dalziel to runner up in last years Atlantic Championship. Kyle was called on at the last minute to engineer Oriol Servia's Champ Car at the Long Beach Grand Prix.]

Clocking the day’s second-fastest time and capping a triumphant return to Rolex Series competition was Brazilian Oswaldo Negri Jr. in the No. 60 MatlinPatterson Lexus Riley for Michael Shank Racing. Negri ran a best time of 1:25.683 (94.030 mph) late in the afternoon session to take the second position, and will be making his first Rolex Series appearance of the season after finishing 12th in the Daytona Prototype driver standings in 2004. He shares the No. 60 machine with series newcomer Mark Patterson.

“The car was unbelievable, and even though there was a ton of traffic and the tires weren’t great, we still got a decent lap time in at the end of the session,” said Negri. “I’m really excited to be back. Working with Mike (Shank) and his guys always boosts my confidence, and Mark has got up to speed right away. Dave Kanning has also just done a fantastic job engineering the car, so hopefully we can just keep improving for the race on Sunday.”

While the top-two practice times came during the afternoon, the day’s next three times were turned during the morning session. Leading the morning session and ending up third on the day was Stefan Johansson in the No. 02 New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley at 1:25.800 (93.902 mph).

Johansson’s time topped the best lap turned in by his teammate Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, who was second in the morning and fourth overall at 1:25.918 (93.773 mph). Local favorite Memo Gidley—from Novato, Calif.—was third in the morning and fifth overall in the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley for Finlay Motorsports. Gidley’s best lap was 1:26.023 (93.659 mph).

Franchitti tops final practice at Motegi Franchitti tops final practice at MotegiFinal practice times from the IRL race at Motegi. AJ Foyt IV crashed yet again, in Turn 4. His car came to rest on the front straight. Foyt was OK, his pride wasn't. This guy manages to crash at just about every track. The chassis manufacturer, Dallara, loves him. Never has one driver given them so much business. He'll bankrupt his granddaddy yet.
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed
1 27 Dario Franchitti 27.2257 200.987
2 11 Tony Kanaan 27.3995 199.712
3 3 Helio Castroneves 27.4050 199.672
4 15 Buddy Rice 27.4100 199.635
5 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 27.4100 199.635
6 8 Scott Sharp 27.4480 199.359
7 26 Dan Wheldon 27.4749 199.164
8 17 Vitor Meira 27.4777 199.143
9 16 Danica Patrick 27.5014 198.972
10 4 Tomas Scheckter 27.5383 198.705
11 7 Bryan Herta 27.5499 198.621
12 55 Kosuke Matsuura 27.6243 198.086
13 33 Ryan Briscoe 27.7312 197.323
14 44 Jeff Bucknum 27.7374 197.279
15 24 Roger Yasukawa 27.8067 196.787
16 10 Darren Manning 27.8655 196.372
17 51 Alex Barron 27.9637 195.682
18 9 Scott Dixon 27.9774 195.586
19 83 Patrick Carpentier 28.0276 195.236
20 20 Ed Carpenter 28.2315 193.826
21 14 A.J. Foyt IV 28.3192 193.226
22 91 Paul Dana 28.8114 189.925
Formula BMW
Nelson Philippe’s brother scores pole in first race Nelson Philippe’s brother scores pole in first raceUnder bright blue California skies the brother of Champ Car driver Nelson Philippe, 15-year old BMW Junior and Rookie driver Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica), won the first pole position of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship season with a 1:30.457 minute lap around the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca circuit. Setting his quick time on his ninth lap, Philippe was never headed for the remainder of the 30-minute session.

Behind him, the second and third spots were only decided in the final minutes.  On a final lap flyer, Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) took the outside pole with a 1:30.628 minute lap.  Daniel Herrington (Jensen Motorsport), a veteran of four 2004 Formula BMW USA starts, qualified third (1:30.728) after moving into the top-three in the 28th minute.  20 cars took the green flag, with the top-seven all within one second of the pole. 

The quickest Rookies in today's qualifying session were Philippe (P1), Stevens (P2), Kevin LaCroix (P4), James Davison (P6), and John Zartarian (P7).  "I knew I had a very good car today and it was just a matter of putting a good lap together," said a surprisingly composed Philippe.  "It took a few laps to get clear of traffic and I had to make some adjustments due to the change in track conditions from this morning's practice.  I could not be more pleased."  Herrington said, "We struggled with the grip in the beginning of the session, but one adjustment made a big difference. This is my best Formula BMW USA qualifying effort, so I am very happy to be in the top-three - but I expect to move up in the race."

Stevens added, "We made an adjustment at the very end of the session and only had time for one strong lap. I believe I can go faster in the race when I have more time with the newer set-up."

The Round 1 race is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. tomorrow after Round 2 qualifying at 8:00 a.m.  Sunday's Round 2 race is scheduled to start at 3:35 p.m.

Qualifying: Round 1

1 Richard Philippe Team Autotecnica 1:30.457 (89.068 mph)
2 Reed Stevens HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:30.628
3 Daniel Herrington Jensen Motorsport 1:30.726
4 Kevin LaCroix AIM Autosport 1:30.874
5 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 1:31.002
6 James Davison HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:31.045
7 John Zartarian Jensen Motorsport 1:31.219
8 Race Johnson HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:31.610
9 Rob Bunker AIM Autosport 1:31.671
10 Justin Moon Gelles Racing 1:32.146
11 Matthew Lee Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 1:32.210
12 Robert Wickens Team Apex Racing USA 1:32.270
13 Adrien Herberts Atlantic Racing Team 1:32.442
14 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:32.486
15 Ryan Phinny Gelles Racing 1:33.556
16 Doug Boyer Jensen Motorsport 1:33.560
17 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 1:34.576
18 Darin Marcus Gelles Racing 1:35.290
19 Jules Duc Jensen Motorsport 1:35.517
20 Nathan DePagter DRE Autosport 1:37.532

Ron Fellows father killed in accident Ron Fellows father killed in accidentThe American Le Mans Series expresses its deepest sympathies to Ron Fellows and family on the recent passing of his father.  Ron Fellows' father, Rev. Ronald Samuel Fellows, (Associate at St. Thomas Anglican Church; Belleville Rotarian) passed away as the result of an accident, on Tuesday, April 26, 2005  ALMS
Study puts Indy’s capacity at only 257,325 Study puts Indy’s capacity at only 257,325Indiana National Bank asked Tony Hulman to share Indianapolis 500 attendance figures when he borrowed an estimated $700,000 to purchase Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1945. The bank never got the figures. Hulman paid off the loan.

Although Hulman died in 1977, his secret has lived on. No one connected with the Speedway has confirmed the size of any race-day crowd, and the limited number of people who know show no indication of breaking Hulman's unwritten rule.

Last fall, The Star decided to solve the mystery.

A six-month inspection of each grandstand resulted in a count of 257,325 permanent seats, which includes the five types of suites scattered around the Speedway. It is believed to be the only formal count of the seats in the facility's modern era.

Estimates had been left to journalists, many of whom have admitted to being influenced by the vastness of the Speedway and the enthusiasm surrounding the 500. Some have guessed as many as 500,000 fans on race day.

By 1990, the crowd estimate distributed worldwide by The Associated Press was 400,000. In recent years, as Speedway officials have removed infield grandstands to accommodate the 2.6-mile road course, The Star lowered its estimate to 300,000.

"If you had to drive through all that (pre-race traffic congestion), it's not hard to believe they had that many people," said Gary Long, a Lafayette, Ind., native who has attended 46 500s, including 22 as the motor sports reporter for the Miami Herald. "I've ridiculously guessed too much just like everyone else, but I was never out of the mainstream."

Steve Herman has covered the 500 for most of his 34 years with AP's Indianapolis bureau. He can't remember the history behind the climbing crowd estimates, but he admits it has always been a crapshoot.

"Someone would pull a number out of the air — like 400,000 — and that seemed to be good," he said. "(Speedway officials) admit to 250,000 seats, and after that it's just a guess with all the people standing in the grass, or whatever."

Without a ticket for a seat, the only other way to see the race is from one of the recently constructed infield spectator mounds in the second turn, backstretch and third turn. But that is a relatively small number of spectators, likely about 6,000 based on measurements made during the newspaper's research.

Speedway spokesman Ron Green confirmed there are approximately 1,400 safety patrol members working on race day. The Star estimated there are 1,000 people staffing the 258 food and beverage stands and 116 retail gift shops.

The Indy Racing League has issued about 800 season credentials to participants, league employees and journalists, and there are another 600 journalists who have received credentials for this race. There are about 800 law enforcement officers, according to Jeff Dine, police chief for the town of Speedway.

That brings the estimated number of people who could be on site Sunday, if the race sells out, to 267,925. Indy Star

NASCAR offering free audio access for 'Dega NASCAR offering free audio access for 'DegaNASCAR.com’s access to live audiocasts of radio communication between drivers and teams, which normally costs $4.95 per month, will be offered free of charge for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega.  USA TODAY
PKV announces new Technical Director PKV announces new Technical DirectorPKV Racing today announced the hiring of Tom Brown as the team’s new Technical Director.   Brown, one of the most respected designers/engineers in the Champ Car World Series, graduated first in his class from the University of Strathclyde – Glasgow with a First Class Honors degree in Engineering.  He joined Penske Cars as a design engineer in 1985 and in 1990 became one of Penske’s Senior Design Engineers working on every Penske car from 1990-1996.  From 1991 to 1993, while still designing for Penske, Brown was assigned to Bettenhausen Motorsports as Race Engineer when the team became a Penske customer. 

While at Bettenhausen he helped Stefan Johansson earn Rookie of the Year honors (1992).  In 1994, Brown became Emerson Fittipaldi’s Race Engineer at Marlboro Penske Racing and in 1996 was assigned, along with Fittipaldi, to Hogan Racing.  During Brown’s tenure as a Design and Race Engineer at Penske the team won three championships and six Indianapolis 500s.  In 1997, Brown reunited with Bettenhausen Motorsports becoming the Managing Director and Chief Engineer.  In his first season back with the team he helped Patrick Carpentier captured the Rookie of the Year Award and the following season guided the rookie season of Helio Castroneves.  Brown remained as Chief Engineer when Bettenhausen Motorsports became Herdez Competition in 2001 and later HVM Inc. 

Commenting on the hiring of Brown, PKV Racing General Manager Jim McGee said, “I have known Tom Brown for many years and I am pleased to be able to have someone of his experience and talent join our team.  Tom is an outstanding engineer who brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and insight to PKV Racing.  His qualifications are second to none when it comes to engineering race cars and we look forward to working with him for many years to come.”

Brown assumes the technical directorship from Steve Challis.  His responsibilities will include the organization and direction of the team’s engineering staff and programs.  In addition, he will be the Race Engineer for the #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine piloted by Cristiano da Matta.  Brown heads up an engineering staff that includes, Yves Touron, who is the race engineer for Jimmy Vasser, Assistant Engineers Eric Beall and Matt Beckman as well as the data acquisition staff which consists of MJ Bull and Ricky Mahurin.  Brown will get his first on-track exposure as PKV Racing’s Technical Director at a test on the Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, WI Tuesday, May 3 and Wednesday, May 4. 

“I am very pleased to be joining PKV Racing,” said Brown.  “I have worked with some very strong teams and outstanding drivers in my career, but this is one of the best and strongest organizations I have ever been associated with.  When you have the chance to work for a team that is led by someone as well respected as Jim McGee, includes drivers the caliber of Cristiano da Matta and Jimmy Vasser plus has a very talented group of engineers and mechanics, you seize the opportunity. 

I am looking forward to working with everyone at PKV Racing and helping them achieve their goal of winning races and contending for championships.”

Challis joined PKV Racing last year, the team’s second year of existence.  He guided PKV Racing to both its best finish and qualifying position when driver/owner Jimmy Vasser finished second at the 2004 Molson Indy Toronto and qualified second on the oval in Las Vegas.  

“Steve Challis did an outstanding job as Technical Director of PKV Racing,” said McGee.  “He took the team to the next level of competitiveness as evidenced by the fact that PKV Racing earned both its best starting and finishing positions during his tenure.”   Following the Milwaukee test PKV Racing will travel to Monterrey, Mexico where the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will resume with the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, May 20-22.

No decision yet on Long Beach No decision yet on Long BeachUPDATE This Long Beach Press Telegram article provides a bit more information on the status of the Long Beach race.  "There's not a lot I can say," said Denis McGlynn, who heads the parent company of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "I really don't want to upset the various discussions we have had or progress with the various groups regarding the future of Long Beach. Hopefully we will have resolution on that in the next several weeks."

"The real drive there (to make a timely decision) is for the TV slots for next year," McGlynn said. "We want to tie this up quickly."   The 32nd running of the LBGP is set April 7-9, 2006, dates that could be changed as long as there are no conflicting events at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

Despite a crowd that was equal to if not better than the year prior, McGlynn hinted that the race wasn't as lucrative. The race occurred a week after the conclusion of Dover's first quarter so the numbers weren't a part of Thursday's conference call.

"Financially we are not likely to measure up to last year," McGlynn said.  It's estimated the LBGP made $3 million in 2004. That LBGP drew in an estimated 170,000 fans for the three-day event, numbers that weren't far off from this year's take. The addition of events like drifting and moto-x cut into this year's bottom line.  Nothing was said Thursday about whether the Grand Prix Association is for sale. Rumors that Formula One, the Indy Racing League and Champ Car may be in the running to purchase Grand Prix Association from Dover have been widely refuted.

04/28/05 There has been no decision made as of today by Dover Motorsports regarding whether the IRL or Champ Car will get the next contract in Long Beach. During the Dover quarterly stockholder phone conference today, Dover President Dennis McGlynn said they needed to have a decision soon in order to try and get the race on network TV for 2006. Champ Car made their preliminary presentation to Dover last week and we assume the IRL did likewise since Tony George and Kevin Kalkhoven were both in NY City and had their first meeting outside of the Dover meetings.

We spoke to Kalkhoven this week. He is still in the UK and will be there until next Tuesday as he works to iron out the future of Cosworth in F1. Regarding his meeting with Tony George, he confirmed earlier reports that the meeting went nowhere and he's not hopeful that there ever will be a meeting of the minds. Despite efforts by the Champ Car side yet again, they have been rebuffed by the IRL side. The war goes on..... Mark C.

Phoenix TV rating Phoenix TV ratingUPDATE The final rating for the Phoenix race last weekend was a 5.1/10 share.  We continue to see NASCAR's final rating topping their overnight rating when the smaller markets are counted indicating NASCAR's strong grassroots following. 04/25/05 The overnight TV rating for Saturday night's Nextel Cup race on Fox at Phoenix was a 4.5/8 share.  Last year the race was broadcast on cable station FX and had a 3.8 final rating.  Saturday night is traditionally an off night for television viewership, and the 4.5 is the lowest overnight rating of any Nextel Cup race this year.
F1 TV ratings F1 TV ratingsUPDATE #3 The final TV rating for last weekend's San Marino GP tape delayed on CBS was a 1.2/3 share. 04/25/05 As we have always said, Champ Car always got its best TV ratings on CBS, better than NBC for sure.  The overnight rating of the tape delayed San Marino GP from Imola, Italy on Sunday on CBS was a 1.4/3 share, F1's highest USA rating in quite some time.  If Jim Michaelian wants a good TV rating for his Long Beach GP, he will get the date moved one week so it does not conflict with the Masters Golf Tournament from Augusta and then CBS can air the race. 04/25/05 In the small country of Italy, 10.223 million/53.17 share viewers tuned in to the San Marino GP, up from 8.821 million last year.  In Spain, the home country of winner Fernando Alonso, 5.386 million viewers tuned in. When you start adding up all the countries around the world the cumulative number of viewers starts to become massive.  Now do you understand why we say Champ Car's future must be to follow in F1's footsteps?  Even Jeff Gordon said on Wind Tunnel last night that the IRL's future on ovals is questionable given NASCAR's monopoly, something we have been preaching for 5 years now. The IRL model was 100% DEAD WRONG and now they have to morph into what CART was 10 years ago.  Meanwhile the sport has been set back 10 years.  Whoever is responsible for this should be run out of town. 04/25/05 8.54 million spectators in Germany tuned in to watch Sunday's San Marino GP on RTL in Germany, which represents a 49.9% share.  This is down slightly from the 9.95 million/55.5 share that tuned in last year.  That is a lot of viewers considering Germany is a country of about 80 million people.  Compare that to the USA, which has about 280 million people.  And NASCAR fans think their 5 million or so viewers for any given race is big.  Compared to any other form of motorsports in the USA it is, but compared to F1's worldwide popularity it's a mere blip on Bernie Ecclestone's radar screen.  USA overnight TV ratings for the San Marino GP on CBS Sunday are not out yet. 
Chevy announces Earnhardt special truck Chevy announces Earnhardt special truckChevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI) today unveiled the new 2006 Chevrolet Silverado Intimidator SS honoring the late Dale Earnhardt during a special celebration for the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion and team owner.

Chevrolet plans a limited production run of 1,333 Silverado Intimidator SS trucks and unveiled its newest signature edition model at DEI. The event included thousands of Earnhardt and DEI fans who make the visit to the race shop each year for “Dale Earnhardt Day” commemorating the racing legend’s birthday.

“We are very proud of the long-time association between Chevrolet and the Earnhardt family,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “Dale’s legacy is unique within racing, and we are excited about this opportunity to offer fans a vehicle they can so closely identify with one of their heroes.”

The Intimidator SS is based on a well-equipped 2006 Silverado SS featuring the GM’s Vortec 6000 V-8, which pumps out 345 horsepower (257 kw) and 380 lb.-ft. (515 Nm) of torque. It will also feature a performance-tuned suspension, two-stage multi-leaf springs, Tenneco shock absorbers, a stiffer front stabilizer bar and stiffer front jounce bumpers.

Its exterior scheme begins with a lowered ride height and a striking black monochromatic color highlighted with ‘Intimidator’ badging on the tailgate and doors, a unique race-inspired tailgate spoiler and a unique silver front grille insert. The Intimidator SS also has 20-inch chrome wheels.

The interior boasts a black leather steering wheel with the Dale Earnhardt Legacy logo embroidered on the front headrests with optional dark charcoal leather seating surfaces. Other features include Dale Earnhardt’s signature on the white, backlit gauge cluster, the ‘Intimidator’ badge on the instrument panel and floor mats with the ‘Intimidator’ script.

Other features consistent with the 2006 Chevy Silverado SS include a 4-speed electronically controlled transmission, 3.73 final drive ratio, locking differential, cruise control, rear defogger, keyless entry, cloth split bench seats, power seat adjuster, steering wheel radio controls, power windows, engine oil cooler, transmission oil cooler and rear-wheel, 2-wheel rear drive.

The Silverado Intimidator SS is the sixth signature edition vehicle offered by Chevrolet and is considered by some fans to be the ultimate in NASCAR-themed collectibles. Previous editions were: the 2002 Dale Earnhardt Signature Edition Monte Carlo (3,333 units); the 2003 Jeff Gordon Signature Edition Monte Carlo (2,424 units); the 2004 Monte Carlo Intimidator SS (4,000 units); the 2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Signature Series Supercharged SS Monte Carlo (2,883 units); and the 2005 Tony Stewart Signature Series Supercharged SS (1,020 units.)

McLaren again dominate at Jerez McLaren again dominate at JerezFriday test times from Jerez:
1 . P. de la Rosa - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:15.650 (+ 0.000 ) - 130 laps
2 . K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:16.465 (+ 0.815 ) - 70 laps
3 . F. Alonso - Renault R25 - 1:16.927 (+ 1.277 ) - 98 laps
4 . D. Coulthard - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:17.012 (+ 1.362 ) - 137 laps
5 . O. Panis - Toyota TF105 - 1:17.315 (+ 1.665 ) - 67 laps
6 . R. Schumacher - Toyota TF105 - 1:17.401 (+ 1.751 ) - 59 laps
7 . V. Liuzzi - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:17.562 (+ 1.912 ) - 92 laps
8 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 - 1:18.825 (+ 3.175 ) - 60 laps
High wind warning in Talladega High wind warning in TalladegaCampers and race fans have a lot more speed to watch out for this weekend than just what’s happening at the Talladega Superspeedway. A warning from the National Weather Service in Birmingham has predicted 20 to 30 mph winds during the day Friday and some gusts up to 60 and 70 mph late that afternoon until midnight. There’s also a slight chance for severe thunderstorms Friday and early Saturday morning. "The Talladega County Emergency Management Agency will sound the three nearest outdoor warning sirens that surround the speedway with the normal test siren tone followed by a public address to advise those camping of the approaching weather should winds begin to gust as high as predicted," according to a press release from the EMA. The speedway has advised campers to secure awnings, trash cans, tents, barbecue grills and other items that could become airborne by tying down such objects or putting them away. "Do not wait until the storm arrives to try and secure items," the press release states. "Please make your preparations today or this evening for your safety and the safety of all citizens and race fans." Because the predicted winds are so severe, tornadoes and straight-line winds are a threat. Campers, keep your ears tuned in for the sirens and to weather radios in case warning severe weather. Daily Home
Practice 1 speeds from Talladega Practice 1 speeds from TalladegaNASCAR Nextel Cup practice 1 speeds:
Pos  No  Driver  Make  Time  Speed
1.  10  Scott Riggs  Chevrolet  50.742  188.719
2.  24  Jeff Gordon  Chevrolet  50.858  188.289
3.  38  Elliott Sadler  Ford  50.909  188.100
4.  21  Ricky Rudd  Ford  50.964  187.897
5.  97  Kurt Busch  Ford  51.031  187.651
6.  136  Boris Said  Chevrolet  51.045  187.599
7.  77  Travis Kvapil*  Dodge  51.064  187.529
8.  48  Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet  51.085  187.452
9.  01  Joe Nemechek  Chevrolet  51.121  187.320
10.  11  Jason Leffler  Chevrolet  51.123  187.313
11.  29  Kevin Harvick  Chevrolet  51.127  187.298
12.  2  Rusty Wallace  Dodge  51.139  187.254
13.  16  Greg Biffle  Ford  51.159  187.181
14.  22  Scott Wimmer  Dodge  51.197  187.042
15.  12  Ryan Newman  Dodge  51.202  187.024
16.  19  Jeremy Mayfield  Dodge  51.203  187.020
17.  23  Mike Skinner  Dodge  51.207  187.006
18.  20  Tony Stewart  Chevrolet  51.207  187.006
19.  18  Bobby Labonte  Chevrolet  51.218  186.965
20.  42  Jamie McMurray  Dodge  51.312  186.623
21.  40  Sterling Marlin  Dodge  51.351  186.481
22.  9  Kasey Kahne  Dodge  51.365  186.430
23.  33  Kerry Earnhardt  Chevrolet  51.388  186.347
24.  5  Kyle Busch*  Chevrolet  51.404  186.289
25.  07  Dave Blaney  Chevrolet  51.416  186.245
26.  41  Casey Mears  Dodge  51.433  186.184
27.  99  Carl Edwards  Ford  51.559  185.729
28.  88  Dale Jarrett  Ford  51.560  185.725
29.  8  Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet  51.562  185.718
30.  0  Mike Bliss  Chevrolet  51.562  185.718
31.  45  Kyle Petty  Dodge  51.575  185.671
32.  17  Matt Kenseth  Ford  51.602  185.574
33.  09  Johnny Sauter  Dodge  51.650  185.402
34.  43  Jeff Green  Dodge  51.698  185.230
35.  4  Mike Wallace  Chevrolet  51.711  185.183
36.  15  Michael Waltrip  Chevrolet  51.716  185.165
37.  37  Kevin Lepage  Dodge  51.732  185.108
38.  6  Mark Martin  Ford  51.747  185.054
39.  25  Brian Vickers  Chevrolet  51.763  184.997
40.  66  Hermie Sadler  Ford  51.791  184.897
41.  32  Bobby Hamilton Jr.  Chevrolet  51.852  184.680
42.  1  Martin Truex Jr.  Chevrolet  51.869  184.619
43.  31  Jeff Burton  Chevrolet  52.118  183.737
44.  100  Kenny Wallace  Chevrolet  52.181  183.515
45.  192  Stanton Barrett*  Chevrolet  52.183  183.508
46.  7  Robby Gordon  Chevrolet  52.210  183.413
47.  49  Ken Schrader  Dodge  52.508  182.372
Georgia declares Dale Earnhardt Day Georgia declares Dale Earnhardt DayOn Friday, April 22, Teresa Earnhardt joined Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and other politicians from Georgia in proclamation of a very special day.   The State of Georgia formally named each April 29 as Dale Earnhardt Day in recognition of seven-time NASCAR champion and American Icon, Dale Earnhardt. He was born on April 29, 1951.  This is the sixth state to mark the occasion with a governmental proclamation. The States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida currently have similar proclamations.
Magny-Cours opening practice results Magny-Cours opening practice results
Pos. No. Class Team Country Car Lap Time Laps Speed kph
1   6   GT1   GLPK-CARSPORT   BEL   Corvette C5R   1:37.851   36       162.28  
2   10   GT1   VITAPHONE   GER   Maserati MC12 GT1   1:38.526   44   0.675    161.17  
3   15   GT1   JMB RACING   MON   Maserati MC12 GT1   1:38.618   39   0.767    161.02  
4   16   GT1   JMB RACING   MON   Maserati MC12 GT1   1:38.834   40   0.983    160.66  
5   9   GT1   VITAPHONE   GER   Maserati MC12 GT1   1:38.884   40   1.033    160.58  
6   17   GT1   RUSSIAN AGE   RUS   Ferrari 550 M Maranello   1:39.251   35   1.400 159.99  
7   5   GT1   KONRAD MOTORSPORT   GER   Saleen S7 R   1:40.085   31   2.234    158.66  
8   13   GT1   REITER ENG   GER   Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT   1:40.099   14   2.248    158.63  
9   7   GT1   GRAHAM NASH   GBR   Saleen S7 R   1:40.482   17   2.631    158.03  
10   11   GT1   LARBRE COMPETITION   FRA   Ferrari 550 M Maranello   1:40.523   30   2.672    157.97  
11   14   GT1   LISTER RACING   GBR   Lister Storm GT   1:40.761   7   2.910    157.59  
12   2   GT1   GPC SPORT   ITA   Ferrari 575 Maranello GTC   1:41.371   31   3.520    156.64  
13   66   GT2   GRUPPEM RACING   GBR   Porsche 996 GT3 RSR   1:42.287   35   4.436    155.24  
14   12   GT1   LARBRE COMPETITION   FRA   Ferrari 550 M Maranello   1:42.653   26   4.802    154.69  
15   88   GT2   GRUPPEM RACING   GBR   Porsche 996 GT3 RSR   1:42.851   32   5.000    154.39  
16   20   GT1   RAM RACING   POL   Saleen S7 R   1:43.376   37   5.525    153.61  
17   82   GT2   SCUDERIA ECOSSE   GBR   Ferrari 360 Modena GTC   1:45.251   23   7.400    150.87  
18   83   GT2   SCUDERIA ECOSSE   GBR   Ferrari 360 Modena GTC   1:45.501   27   7.650    150.51  
19   101   G2   SHAUN BALFE   GBR   Mosler MT900R   1:45.859   28   8.008    150.00  
20   55   GT2   EMBASSY RACING   GBR   Porsche 996 GT3 RSR   1:45.978   30   8.127    149.83  
21   81   GT2   TEAM LNT   GBR   TVR T400R   1:46.088   28   8.237    149.68  
22   77   GT2   TEAM EUROTECH   GBR   Porsche 996 GT3 RS   1:47.529   21   9.678    147.67  
23   8   GT1   GRAHAM NASH   GBR   Saleen S7 R   1:48.202   20   10.351    146.75  
24   69   GT2   PROTON   GER   Porsche 996 GT3 RSR   1:48.463   30   10.612    146.40  
25   76   GT2   TEAM EUROTECH   GBR   Porsche 996 GT3 RS   1:48.837   27   10.986    145.90  
26   80   GT2   TEAM LNT   GBR   TVR T400R   1:49.637   11   11.786    144.83  
27   179   G2   RJN MOTORSPORT   GBR   Nissan 350Z   1:49.974   25   12.123    144.39  
28   75   GT2   IAN KHAN   GBR   Porsche 996 GT3 RS   1:50.791   24   12.940    143.32  
29   56   GT2   CZECH NATIONAL   CZE   Porsche 996 GT3 RSR   1:57.774   2   19.923    134.83
Hayden sets pace in Shanghai Hayden sets pace in ShanghaiNicky Hayden set the MotoGP pace today in the first free practice of the Chinese GP, clocking the fastest lap ahead of Macro Melandri and Sete Gibernau.

The Repsol Honda Team rider, who finished seventh last week at Estoril, clocked a fastest lap of 2´02.327 to finish 0.158 ahead of Melandri (Movistar Honda MotoGP) who clocked 2´02.485. Spain’s Sete Gibernau – who has had a very turbulent start to the season – finished third fasted with 2´02.557, putting both Movistar Honda Team riders in the top three.

Carlos Checa (Ducati Marlboro Team) lapped fourth fasted to clock 2´02.664 ahead of reining World Champion Valentino Rossi in fifth, with a time of 2´02.667. Loris Capirossi was sixth fastest with 2´02705 and last week’s Estoril winner Alex Barros (Camel Honda) finished seventh fastest with a lap of 2´02. 816.

Argentinean Aprilia Aspar rider Sebastian Porto was the fasted man in the 250cc class – which was plagued by rain towards the end of the session. Porto clocked a fastest lap of 2´09.301 to finish ahead of Team Scot rider Andrea Divizioso, who lapped in 2´09.321. Australian rider Casey Stoner (Carrera Sunglasses – LCR) lapped third fastest with a time of 2´09.390. Dani Pedrosa was fourth fasted with a lap of 2´09.657 ahead of Alex de Angelis on 2´09.904 and Frenchman Randy de Puniet in six place with a lap of 2´10.405.

Last week’s Estoril winner Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM) was the fastest 125cc rider with a fastest lap of 2´15.582. Italian Kopron Racing World rider Fabrizio Lai was second fastest on 2´16.140 ahead of Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand PRIX) who lapped in 2´16.359. Gabor Talmacsi and Julian Simon finished fifth and sixth respectively, putting three KTMs in the top five.

All of the practice session after the 125cc were delayed due to a technical problem with the medical helicopter. This has also had a knock-on effect on this afternoon’s qualifying practice sessions and the MotoGP second free practice. The 125cc QP1 will now start at 15:15; MotoGP FP2 at 16:00 and the 250cc QP1 at 17:10.

Industry News
Turbo sales boost BorgWarner profits Turbo sales boost BorgWarner profitsBorgWarner Inc., the world's biggest maker of automatic-transmission parts, said first-quarter profit rose 52 percent on increased demand from Asian and European automakers for products such as turbochargers.  Net income increased to $77.6 million, or $1.36 a share, from $51.1 million, or 91 cents, a year earlier, the Auburn Hills-based company said in a statement Thursday. Sales rose to $1.08 billion from $903.1 million, helped by the acquisition of a majority stake in Germany's Beru AG. Bloomberg
Rosberg outpaces Pizzonia Rosberg outpaces PizzoniaNico Rosberg was immediately fast in his official Williams test drive at Silverstone this week. Rosberg, the 19-year-old son of 1982 world champion Keke, has tested for the Grove outfit on previous occasions but recently formalized his association by signing a testing contract with the team.

He paced himself on Wednesday (the first day of testing), lapping 1.7s slower than regular driver Mark Webber, before outpacing test driver Antonio Pizzonia by 0.8s yesterday.

“I really enjoyed myself this week,” he said. “It is unbelievable to drive this car. I think I settled into the team well, and they made me feel really welcome.

“It didn’t take me too long to get used to the FW27 and, when I did, I worked through the program quite well.

“I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity as it’s so interesting to learn about the workings of an F1 car.

“At the end of the day, I think I set quite competitive times and didn’t make any mistakes over the two sessions, so I’m really happy and looking forward to the next test.”

Turkey promotion in Paris Turkey promotion in ParisThe Formula 1 (F1) race to be held in Turkey for the first time in August, was promoted in the French capital of Paris on Thursday.   F1 experts and drivers attended the meeting held at Turkey's Culture & Promotion Office in Paris.   EX-F-1 pilot French Patrick Tambay said, ''the track (the race will take place) is one hour away from Istanbul's (Turkish commercial hub) downtown by car, and 15 minutes by helicopter. So, easy transportation is an advantage.''   Laurent Barralis, the owner of a travel agency which brings rich people to F1 races by limos and helicopters, said that his company is making preparations to bring such people to Istanbul to watch the race.
Winston Cup Museum to open in Winston-Salem Winston Cup Museum to open in Winston-SalemA ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for May 10 in Winston-Salem, N.C., for the Winston Cup Museum, which will house authentic Winston Cup race cars from different eras of sponsorship, trophies, uniforms, helmets and assorted items.  The museum, created to celebrate the 33-year history of the series which is now known as the Nextel Cup Series, will operate on a constant rotation of General Motors, Ford and Dodge conceptual cars and special paint schemes.  For more information, call (336) 722-1561, or visit www.winstoncupmuseum.com.
Alonso has what it takes says Stoddart Alonso has what it takes says StoddartFernando Alonso has all the traits a driver needs to win the World title. That's according to his former Minardi team boss, Paul Stoddart.  "Fernando's got more natural talent than I've ever seen in the drivers I've ever come across," the Australian told Reuters.  "He has the ability, not much fazes him, he's pretty cool. But Fernando does react to success."

"If he has a couple of bad races then it's whether he can dig deep and get back again, and that's one of Michael's strengths."  You can never write Michael off, he'll have a couple of bad ones and then from nowhere he'll just lift himself up and bang, bang, bang."

"I'm not sure that Fernando is another Schumacher. Michael is unique and I don't think we're going to see another Michael," the Minardi boss said.

"We'll probably in years to come tell the story to the grandkids that we lived through the Schumacher era, when everyone at the time thought it was boring but in reality we are living through the period of the greatest dominance by a driver in F1's history.  They say records are there to be beaten but I can't see another set of circumstances where a driver, no matter how good he is, will ever have the opportunity Michael has had to dominate.  I think those records are there to stay for all time."

Ferrari wrap up Mugello test Ferrari wrap up Mugello testThursday marked the third and final day of testing this week for Ferrari who were busy working again at the Mugello circuit. In mild and dry conditions, both race drivers, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, were at the wheel of an F2005 at the Tuscan track. The day’s program centered on a continuation of the tire and aerodynamics work begun on Tuesday by test drivers, Luca Badoer and Marc Gene. Schumacher covered 84 laps setting a best time of 1:20.566s, while Barrichello did 81 the quickest in 1:21.406. Ferrari
Jordan conclude Silverstone test Jordan conclude Silverstone testJordan Grand Prix completed today two days of testing on Wednesday and Thursday at Silverstone. Tiago Monteiro was the only driver running on Wednesday, completing 81 laps with his best time in 1.23.61. He was joined by Narain Karthikeyan and Nicky Pastorelli on Thursday, the three drivers sharing the driving duties. Their program focused on conducting tire testing for Bridgestone and chassis set up work in preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix and forthcoming races. The fastest lap was completed by Karthikeyan in 1.22.75. Nicky Pastorelli's best lap was a 1:27.27. Jordan
Albers happy with Minardi progress Albers happy with Minardi progressChristijan Albers continued testing at Mugello yesterday together with team mate Patrick Friesacher working on the new Minardi PS05. With lap times which were over two seconds faster than two weeks ago Albers is happy with the progress and the potential of the PS05.

“It was a great day," Albers stated. "We learned a lot about the new car today with the many laps we covered at Mugello. Compared to our first test at Mugello two weeks ago we already won 2 seconds with the car."

“I am sure we can make the car even faster when we get to know it better. This car has a lot of potential," Albers continued. "I’m really happy about the progress this week and the way the team worked together, fabulous! I can’t wait until the next race to see how our car does with all the things we’ve improved.” Albers PR

Industry News
Mercedes hit with big loss Mercedes hit with big lossDaimlerChrysler's first-quarter operating profit fell 59 percent but still beat analyst expectations, even though its ailing Smart minicar brand dragged former cash cow Mercedes Car Group to an operating loss.

The world's fifth-biggest carmaker reiterated on Thursday a forecast for slightly higher 2005 operating profit, excluding well-flagged restructuring costs of up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.55 billion) for Smart, set to break even only in 2007.

DaimlerChrysler posted overall operating profit of 628 million euros. Heeding warnings that first-half results would be weak, 18 analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast operating profit down 79 percent to 323 million euros.

Net profit dropped 30 percent to 288 million euros on revenues of 31.74 billion, down 2 percent.

Mercedes Car Group, the company's luxury division, plunged to an operating loss of 954 million euros - its first red ink since an annual loss in 1993 - from a profit of 639 millionReuters

ALMS partners realize good return ALMS partners realize good returnReturns on investments continue at a torrid pace for partners of the American Le Mans Series as seven already have garnered more than $1 million worth of television exposure for their brands.

According to Joyce Julius and Associates, Inc., Porsche leads the pack with more than $3.42 million through two races of the 2005 ALMS schedule. It is followed closely by Audi, Mobil 1 and Panoz, all of which are associate, series and event sponsors. The leading team sponsor for 2005 is Pirelli, at $1.7 million, with Michelin and ADT Security Services close behind.  These results continue to show that ALMS partners reap considerable returns on their investments, a win-win situation for all parties.

"This proves what we have been saying along. The American Le Mans Series is an unrivaled advertising vehicle that provides a quantifiable ROI for a broad spectrum of companies," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the ALMS. "The quality of the audience we deliver is unmatched in motorsports; it's not just how many, but who we deliver that sets us apart. This has been confirmed by our fans who attend our events and in the figures from Joyce Julius. We are overjoyed with the early returns our partners have received through two races this season and look forward to the greater gains that will be realized in our remaining races."

The next ALMS race is the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, set for noon EDT May 22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. CBS Sports will broadcast the event from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT, and live coverage will be available on American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com.

F1 news in brief F1 news in briefBarcelona will be the first grand prix venue so far that Indian rookie Narain Karthikeyan will not have to learn.  He ran for an afternoon at Silverstone this week.  ''I tested the new gearbox,'' the Jordan driver said, ''and can't wait to drive at Circuit de Catalunya.''

SOON, NICO  Williams' German-born 'second' tester, Nico Rosberg - son of Finland's 1982 champion Keke - will return to the FW27's wheel in the 'near future,' according to Sam Michael.  ''Driving the car is unbelievable,'' Nico, 19, said after his first test in the official role, in England.

SPEED UP  Minardi's Israeli test driver, 41-year-old Chanoch Nissany, continued to languish the pace at Mugello.  On Thursday, after 16 laps albeit in the 2004 car, he trailed his teammates' pace by 15 seconds per lap.  A similar deficit was recorded a day earlier.  ''(This) is one of the most ... demanding circuits on which I've driven,'' he said.

BOOST TWO  A second consecutive aero package, plus an updated Honda V10-spec, will be fitted to BAR's controversial 007 car for the Spanish grand prix.  ''To have yet another (update),'' said Japan's Takuma Sato at Mugello, ''is very special.  It seemed to work well.''

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 action around Europe
Learning how to crawl
Coulthard 'grabbed' Massa
Mr. E, 'tennis' supremo
Nick 'sits there' - Webber
Paul's one Alonso doubt
Erja Hakkinen pregnant
Resign, Max - Paul Stoddart
Toyota to struggle in Spain
Fisi's alright - Renault
BAR face anxious weekend
Williams 'still a top team'
Toyota drops Imola appeal Toyota drops Imola appealPanasonic Toyota Racing has decided not to pursue its appeal against the 25s penalty added to Ralf Schumacher's race time in the San Marino Grand Prix. Schumacher dropped from 8th to 11th in the final classification as a result of the penalty.  The team lodged an appeal on the evening of the race because it wanted the opportunity to undertake a detailed analysis of the incident. After an exhaustive review of the data, the team feels that the evidence is not conclusive and has decided not to take the matter further.  The team will however work together with the FIA and the other teams to further clarify what constitutes the 'safe release' of the car by the competitor following a pit stop at the subsequent Team Managers meeting.  Panasonic Toyota Racing will now focus its attention on the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona. Toyota F1
ESPN360 To Offer Live Coverage Of Indy Japan 300 ESPN360 To Offer Live Coverage Of Indy Japan 300UPDATE Reminder that this broadcast is live Friday night (tonight) from Japan. 04/22/05 IRL IndyCar® Series fans won’t have to wait to see the action of the series’ only overseas event. ESPN will offer live coverage of the Indy Japan 300 from Twin Ring Motegi through its free broadband outlet, ESPN360. Coverage of the race will begin at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on April 29. ESPN’s same-day television coverage of the Indy Japan 300 is scheduled for noon (EDT) on April 30.

As part of its commitment to the Indy Racing League, ESPN360 has covered several events this season, featuring a side-by-side simulcast of the traditional and in-car feeds from the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and live coverage of Marco Andretti’s win in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The broadband network expects to add live coverage of additional Menards Infiniti Pro Series events throughout the 2005 season.

ESPN360 is available free via a high-speed data connection on www.espn360.com. Though normally offered only through select high-speed Internet providers, April 27-May 1 is an "All-Access Week" for ESPN360, so all high-speed internet users can watch the Indy Japan 300. The video offered by ESPN360 is encoded at a high bit rate that enables a fast transmission for viewing high-quality video content.
Franchitti moves to top of charts in Japan Franchitti moves to top of charts in JapanResults of practice 3 Friday morning in Japan. As the track gets more rubbered in the speeds are climbing and two Honda cars are now fastest. What we don't know is who may have gotten a tow, but we do know that the two fastest drivers, Franchitti (right) and Wheldon turned very few laps in the session indicating their cars are running well and they are probably holding something back for qualifying. Next up is qualifying.
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed
1 27 Dario Franchitti 26.6912 205.011
2 26 Dan Wheldon 26.7532 204.536
3 3 Helio Castroneves 26.7908 204.249
4 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 26.8298 203.952
5 4 Tomas Scheckter 26.8563 203.751
6 11 Tony Kanaan 26.8636 203.695
7 17 Vitor Meira 26.8638 203.694
8 8 Scott Sharp 26.8843 203.538
9 16 Danica Patrick 26.9119 203.330
10 7 Bryan Herta 26.9547 203.007
11 2 Tomas Enge 26.9997 202.668
12 10 Darren Manning 27.0391 202.373
13 15 Buddy Rice 27.0454 202.326
14 33 Ryan Briscoe 27.0765 202.094
15 55 Kosuke Matsuura 27.1587 201.482
16 9 Scott Dixon 27.1706 201.394
17 51 Alex Barron 27.2131 201.079
18 44 Jeff Bucknum 27.4220 199.547
19 14 A.J. Foyt IV 27.4651 199.234
20 20 Ed Carpenter 27.5015 198.970
21 83 Patrick Carpentier 27.5320 198.750
22 24 Roger Yasukawa 27.6148 198.154
23 91 Paul Dana 27.9948 195.464
Williams conclude Silverstone tests Williams conclude Silverstone testsThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team concluded a three day test at the Silverstone circuit. Mark Webber, Antonio Pizzonia and the team’s newly signed test driver, Nico Rosberg, all shared testing responsibilities. Despite typical British weather conditions of heavy rain, the drivers managed to cover 430 laps over the three days, a combined total of 2,210KM, securing valuable data for forthcoming Grand Prix.

Mark Webber recorded the fastest time for the team on Wednesday with a best lap of 1:20.121s with Rosberg and Pizzonia recording best laps of 1:22.168 and 1:22.976 today.

Sam Michael, Technical Director - "This week at Silverstone we worked on set-ups for this track - mechanical and aerodynamic, engine cooling, brake cooling as well as tire testing for Michelin. We also concentrated on electronic set-up for traction control and starts. Mark and Antonio were helped out this week by Nico Rosberg. Nico was useful straight away with the test program and has already made a direct contribution. As he is now a BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver he will be testing again in the near future.“
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director - "From BMW’s side, our focus at the Silverstone test was on practice starts and further development of the traction control system."

Nico Rosberg - I really enjoyed myself this week. It is unbelievable to drive this car. I think I settled into the team well, and they made me feel really welcome. It didn’t take me too long to get used to the FW27 and, when I did, I worked through the program quite well. I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity as it’s so interesting to learn about the workings of an F1 car. At the end of the day, I think I set quite competitive times and didn’t make any mistakes over the two sessions so I’m really happy and looking forward to the next test." BMW Williams

Brickyard 400 becomes Allstate 400 Brickyard 400 becomes Allstate 400Allstate, the largest publicly held personal lines insurance company in America, April 28 announced two multi-year sponsorship agreements with racing icons.  Allstate has signed a multi-year race entitlement with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the title sponsor for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard - becoming the first company to title sponsor the annual NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at the world-famous speedway. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard airs Sunday, Aug. 7 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) on NBC.

The creation of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is just one part of the company's foray into motorsports. Allstate also announced a multi-year deal with NASCAR, making the company the official insurance sponsor of NASCAR, which includes the auto, home and life insurance categories as well as an official sponsor for the categories of mutual funds and retirement products. Allstate becomes the first-ever insurance company to officially partner with NASCAR.

"Allstate is thrilled to partner with NASCAR - one of the fastest-growing and exciting sports today - where the right team and preparation are critical to winning the race," said Allstate Chief Marketing Officer Joe Tripodi. "Allstate's focus is to help our customers prepare for the road of life and protect their assets. The enthusiasm fans have for NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are unmatched - Allstate will draw on this loyalty to make the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard even better than before."

"This is an historic and exciting agreement for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood. "Allstate will be an ideal partner as the first title sponsor of the Brickyard 400 because it shares some of the same qualities as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - leadership in its field and a customer-focused attitude. Allstate is a perfect fit with the Speedway for this unique and prestigious partnership."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, is the largest spectator sporting facility in the world and host to the prestigious Indianapolis 500 as well as the United States Grand Prix. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is one of NASCAR's premier events on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

"It's appropriate that a company of Allstate's magnitude and reputation has taken a position with one of the most historic stops on the NASCAR circuit," said NASCAR's Chief Operating Officer George Pyne. "We are thrilled to welcome Allstate as our partner and we look forward to its efforts to engage our fans and help the sport grow and expand further."

Allstate plans to complement its NASCAR partnership and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard race with a number of local programming efforts, dedicated advertising and marketing initiatives.

The announcement of Allstate's NASCAR partnership and race entitlement of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard continues the company's move toward event and sports sponsorship activities that resonate with consumers, which also includes sponsorship of college football's Bowl Championship Series and the U.S. Olympic Team.

Raikkonen tops Day 1 at Jerez Raikkonen tops Day 1 at JerezKimi Raikkonen set the pace for McLaren Mercedes in the first day of testing at Jerez. The Finn set a best lap of 1:16.909s, just over half a second ahead of Jarno Trulli in his Toyota.
1 . K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:16.909 (+ 0.000 ) - 53 laps
2 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF105 - 1:17.489 (+ 0.580 ) - 76 laps
3 . P. de la Rosa - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:17.508 (+ 0.599 ) - 138 laps
4 . F. Alonso - Renault R25 - 1:17.738 (+ 0.829 ) - 116 laps
5 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 - 1:17.809 (+ 0.900 ) - 129 laps
6 . O. Panis - Toyota TF105 - 1:18.555 (+ 1.646 ) - 51 laps
7 . V. Liuzzi - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:19.906 (+ 2.997 ) - 42 laps
8 . D. Coulthard - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:20.105 (+ 3.196 ) - 46 laps
Coulthard grabbed Massa by the neck Coulthard grabbed Massa by the neckDavid Coulthard found himself twice embroiled in a vigorous on track battle with Felipe Massa (right) at Imola last Sunday. Massa had a try down the inside of Coulthard into the first turn early in the race, but found the door firmly slammed in his face. After a pit stop for a replacement nose, Massa battled his way back and made a very aggressive move on Coulthard into the very same corner. This time the move worked, but it left Coulthard fuming.

"I was absolutely furious and saw red," the Daily Mirror report the Red Bull racer as saying. "I have respect for other drivers and I expect them to have respect for me." Coulthard went on to say how he stopped Massa when he was leaving the Paddock on Sunday evening and 'grabbed him by the neck' before arguing as to who was in the wrong. "Massa accused me of driving his car off the road at 200mph and I have never done that in my life," Coulthard said. "But I am not in this business to give way to anyone."

Gordon and Loomis quotes from the Brickyard Gordon and Loomis quotes from the BrickyardFour-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon joined fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman for private Goodyear tire testing April 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 12th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7. Comments from Gordon and his crew chief, Robbie Loomis, about the testing and the Brickyard 400:

JEFF GORDON (About test): "It (track) had a lot of grip, probably expected that with the new pavement. It was a Goodyear tire test, so you're kind of limited to what you can learn. A lot of it is about just trying to get Goodyear comfortable with a tire. I'm glad we got to make some laps. It was really cool, and we know it will be a lot hotter when we come back in August."

JEFF GORDON (On the Brickyard 400): "I think it's huge. One of NASCAR's biggest growth spurts was when we came here for the inaugural (race) in 1994. Ever since then, just coming back here, it's a huge for NASCAR, an incredible event that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway decided to run more than just the Indy 500 and to bring NASCAR here. The fans have supported it so much in this area and around the country. I know for me and my team this is one of the races we look forward to the most all year long." (You have a chance to get five wins this year; what do you think about that?): "I didn't think we could ever accomplish four, so anything's possible from here on out. It's a great feeling just to come here and feel the support, and have the cars we've had and the teams that we've had to be able to compete here at the level we have. Last year was probably one of the most exciting victories I've ever had; overwhelming, really, so to have four . I don't really compare it to what Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt and those guys have done, but it's still quite an accomplishment, and we're excited that we've got years ahead to get number five." (Any sense that you'll have bragging rights if you do get five?): "We have bragging rights right now with four, as far as the NASCAR guys are concerned. But, you have a long history of the Indianapolis 500 and a fairly short history of the Brickyard and, to know we have four in that short period of time is pretty amazing, and to ever say we've had five - and no one has ever won five races at this speedway - would be overwhelming."

ROBBIE LOOMIS (About test): "I was a great head start for us. With the track being repaved, coming here with Goodyear, we get to work alongside them. Trying to select a tire for the race is really going to be an advantage for us, I hope, as we work for a fifth (Brickyard 400 win) for Jeff. The track has a lot of grip, as we expected. No real surprises, but I think the track will provide some really great racing, and I'm excited about that." (It's a new track, and you're coming back for a fifth win for Jeff. Any pressure in that? How will you approach it?): "Not really, we go in every week to put everything out there we can effort-wise, so when we do that, we let the results fall where they may."

Truck series growing with SPEED Channel Truck series growing with SPEED ChannelSPEED Channel continues to deliver the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to more fans beginning with the network's first airing in February 2003.  This season looks to continue the strong climb as SPEED's Nielsen household ratings increase nearly 29% each year since the partnership began.

In 2003, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was heading into its ninth season when it found a new home at SPEED Channel.  SPEED's 2003 Daytona debut of the Series grabbed an audience larger than any of the previous Daytona truck races. This year's Daytona race was more than double the 2003 race with a Nielsen rating of 2.10 reaching 1.33 million households.

"It is extremely gratifying to see the continuing increase in ratings for the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks.  Clearly our dedication and concentration on the trucks as the premier racing series on SPEED Channel is paying off," said Rick Miner, Senior VP of Programming/Production & Executive Producer.  "The extended telecasts, the features, the heavy promotion, the whole concept of bringing the fans more than flag-to-flag coverage has gotten us where we want to be."

This season's first four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races have provided an average Nielsen rating of 1.28, which equals 811,000 households.

"Before SPEED Channel, the Series was like a lost soul wandering around without a home you could count on," said Kenny Schrader, driver of the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet.  "The general enthusiasm for the trucks from the manufacturers, to the people in the grandstands, to the TV ratings you can see the Series has had a major growth spurt on SPEED.

"My hats off to NASCAR, Craftsman and SPEED ... it takes a packaged deal to do this and NASCAR has taken it to the right channel and SPEED has made the trucks a priority since day one," commented Ron Hornaday Jr., NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion 1996 & 1998 and current driver of the No. GM Goodwrench Chevrolet.

Since coming to SPEED, all NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races have aired live with pre- and post-race coverage and multiple re-airs following race weekends, currently Monday's at 12:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. ET.  An analysis of the race also can be seen on SPEED's NASCAR Fast Forward on Wednesday's at 5 p.m. ET.

Davis/Dodge lawsuit motions begin today Davis/Dodge lawsuit motions begin todayArguments on summary judgment motions in a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by Dodge against Bill Davis Racing will begin today in U.S. District Court in Detroit.  Davis, who currently runs three Toyota trucks in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and two Dodge cars in the Nextel Cup, will argue that “any work done for Toyota on its truck development was done without a public endorsement and did not violate its contract with Dodge for Nextel Cup support.”  The case is expected to head to trial in June. NASCAR Scene
Lesa France Kennedy is ranked No. 1 Lesa France Kennedy is ranked No. 1International Speedway Corp. president Lesa France Kennedy is ranked No. 1 in this year's list of the most influential women in sports by the SportsBusiness Journal.
Q and A with Gil de Ferran Q and A with Gil de FerranAfter his first two weeks with the BAR Honda team, the team's new Sporting Director Gil de Ferran gives his first impressions on his new role.

Q: You’ve been with BAR Honda for two weeks now. Talk us through your first impressions of your new team.
GdF: The BAR Honda team is an extremely results-oriented, very friendly and open operation, which has made my initial introduction go very smoothly. We all know about the experience of the more familiar faces within the team, but the guys behind the scenes, the team members who are ‘in the trenches’ and working hard back home at the factory in Brackley, are all extremely capable people. The depth of talent within the team is quite clear and as every day goes by, the more impressed I become. They have something that I was familiar with, working with Honda in the past – a relentless pursuit of perfection.

Q: How did your first race meet with your expectations in terms of the way the team operates trackside?
GdF: I did not have many expectations per se. I walked in to the circuit at Imola with a clean sheet in my mind and tried to get a good feel for what was going on. A lot of the procedures that I observed, even prior to the weekend, were not unfamiliar to me. Formula One races and cars are very complex and therefore their operation is also quite complex. But I guess that the good thing is that I did not feel out of my depth during any of the meetings. In terms of results, they were above my expectations. We had signals during testing prior to the race that this Grand Prix could be a good one, but to be in contention for the win during the race was very nice indeed!

Q: Did you find yourself straight away in the thick of the action or did you spend more time listening and observing?
GdF: I think a bit of both actually. I felt very comfortable within the team and got stuck in straight away. It is early days and I am sure that things will become clearer as the weekends roll on, but overall I felt that there was good interaction with the guys.

Q: Tell us more about your interaction with the drivers so far. How did they react to having a new guy advising them?
GdF: None of the drivers need any advice with regard to their own driving. These are top flight professionals and neither Jenson nor Taku need me to tell them when to brake or how to turn the wheel! My main objective as far as the drivers were concerned was to see how they operate over a race weekend and to gather my thoughts on how I may be able to help them going forward. They already know how to do a good job, so I will be looking to see if there is any other support that I can give to help them.

Q: What was it like to be sitting on the pitwall during the race and what is your role up there?
GdF: It was very interesting to see how the race was developing. We did a good job pre-race working on our strategy and it gave us a good level of confidence on Sunday. It was interesting to see that many of the predictions made before the race were correct and, like every race, there is a certain degree of thinking on your feet. Craig (Wilson), Andrew (Shovlin) and Jock (Clear) did a fantastic job reacting to what was happening in the race and it was great to be there and be a part of that.

Q: As a rather famous face yourself, did you find that there was a lot of attention from the media and photographers?
GdF: I was asked to take part in quite a few interviews throughout the weekend, which I suppose that was to be expected. The good thing was that it did not distract me from my duties within the team.

Q: How do you plan to implement what you have learned in Imola and develop your role for the next race in Barcelona?
GdF: In Barcelona I am planning much of the same as I was doing in Imola. I am taking one step at a time. BAR Honda
BAR Honda lead the way BAR Honda lead the wayTakuma Sato and Anthony Davidson set the pace as BAR Honda prepared for the Spanish Grand Prix at Mugello in Italy. The two-day test will see all four BAR Honda drivers in action with Sato driving chassis 007-05 and Davidson 007-01 on Wednesday.

Both drivers spent their early runs acclimatizing themselves to both the car and the circuit as this is the first time the team has tested at Mugello this year. With a good balance established, Sato ran through an aerodynamic evaluation, completing 64 laps. Anthony followed his set-up runs with a tire program evaluating options for the forthcoming race at Barcelona. He completed 85 laps in total.

Anthony Davidson continued his tire program in the afternoon, completing a further 55 laps to bring his final lap tally for the day to 144 laps. Davidson successfully ran through his full test program and set the fastest time of the day - a 1m 20.652.

Sato continued to evaluate the new aerodynamic parts in the afternoon session, completing a further 28 laps. He completed 92 laps in total today, setting the second fastest time - a 1m 20.654.

1 . A. Davidson - BAR Honda 007 - 1:20.652 (+ 0.000 )
2 . T. Sato - BAR Honda 007 - 1:20.654 (+ 0.002 )
3 . R. Barrichello - Ferrari F2005 - 1:20.771 (+ 0.119 )
4 . M. Schumacher - Ferrari F2005 - 1:20.902 (+ 0.250 )
5 . P. Friesacher - Minardi Cosworth PS05 - 1:25.607 (+ 4.955 )
6 . C. Albers - Minardi Cosworth PS05 - 1:28.101 (+ 7.449 )
7 . C. Nissany - Minardi Cosworth PS04B - 1:39.483 (+ 18.831 )
BAR Honda

'Our rivals have done a better job' - Williams 'Our rivals have done a better job' - WilliamsWhen Nick Heidfeld finished third, thus making it to the podium, in the Malaysian Grand Prix, he scored the BMW WilliamsF1 Team’s best result of the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship season so far. After four of the 19 rounds on the 2005 calendar, however, the Anglo- German partnership hasn’t achieved its self-set goal: to be able to battle it out at the front end of the grid. In spite of this situation, BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal, Frank Williams, says, “We’re still a top team but for several years, we’ve been hampered by the problem that it takes us several races before our cars are able to battle for the victory. It has been the same this year. Once again, our rivals have done a better job during the off-season.”  At the same time, Williams refuses to blame the team’s drivers, Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld. Instead, he praises the commitment of the duo.   “Mark and Nick aren’t as experienced as their predecessors were. But they work harder and are more passionate,” said Williams. WilliamsF1
More powerful Cosworth for USGP More powerful Cosworth for USGP“The announcement from this weekend does not effect our development programs for the V10 or the V8,” Head of F1 Development Alexander Hitzinger told F1-Live.com. Modifications to the existing TJ2005 powerplant have already been tested by Red Bull Racing and a major upgrade is expected for the US Grand Prix in June. “The updated TJ2005 engine (Series 12), which is planned to be introduced in Indianapolis will rev higher and will be more powerful,” Hitzinger continued. “Pretty much all major components in the engine are updated for this evolution.”
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Happy Jacques' back
F1 testing apace
Date set for Ralf appeal
Bernie has 'eye' on F1
'Let's keep Sir Jackie'
Rules 'failed' - Webber
'Hands off' Newey
Minardi misfortune
Kimi can 'still win title'
Renault's visitor
Zanardi to test F1 car
Red Bull to begin '06 car
Alonso duel to resume
Minardi's new muscle
Post-practice quotes from Japan Post-practice quotes from JapanHELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/ Firestone): "Out of the truck, the plane actually, the car seemed to be very good and felt very comfortable. From the last two times we've been here, we know that this track gets faster and faster each day, so we'll keep working hard. But today we're happy with a great result. I was very happy with the first session in the morning. In the second session, we focused a little bit more on race setup and towards the middle of that session we were able to change tires, and I was fortunate to have a good lap. I think the track, from what we saw this morning increased speeds by three-tenths, so I think it will continue to increase to three-tenths to half a second so probably it will go to 26.5 to 26.4 (qualifying speed), and I think that is what it will be. If the weather holds up I am looking for things to be the same as today. The race I am sure will be very interesting as it looks like we are achieving the same speeds as last year. It will be a tough race, this track is always very difficult especially with the wind, which is always very strong, and if everyone respects each other we should have a good showing."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think we still have a fair bit of work to do on the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car, but it was good to get out and get an idea of what the car felt like full of fuel. It was a good end of the day for the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team.

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We worked hard on the balance of the ArcaEx car. We made a lot of changes from the morning to the afternoon and we managed a pretty good, long run, and that's going to give us more information to change the car slightly for warm-up tomorrow. I think the ArcaEx car is in pretty good shape and with a couple of minor adjustments, we'll be there."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/ Firestone): "It is really nice to come to Motegi this year after a year with the team. Last year, I was new to the track, to the team and to the car. The Rahal Letterman team has been working hard to get our oval setup back to what we had last year. We are coming into the strength of our team, the big ovals. The car was getting better with each session. We are not where we want to be yet. But the car felt good in the second session today. I really like this place for a race. It is wide on the straights and in turns one and two. Turns three and four are tricky here. We have to shift down a gear or so entering turn three. But I think we'll have a good qualifying run and be set for the race."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Both practice sessions were good for our Marlboro Team Penske car today. We concentrated on our qualifying setup during the first and our race setup during the second, and we have good balance in the car with both settings." (Photo right of Hornish by Ron McQueeney/IRL)

PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "The day started well. We did some work since St. Pete and really improved. We stalled in our progress in the afternoon session. The car was sliding too much. We couldn't take advantage of the new tires we put on."

JEFF BUCKNUM (No. 44 Investment Properties of America Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We had a really good session this morning and answered a lot of questions. It told me what I needed to know about the car, and then moved forward with the second session this afternoon. We weren't anxious and everything went to plan. The guys got data and we got feedback, and then Roger went out and made even more progress based on where we had started. It was almost like I was out there. He moved us forward and finished even better. My confidence level went up and I didn't have to keep learning the track, and just worked on fine tuning the car, like knowing when to downshift into three and then to carry through. We set our best time by ourselves and finished with full fuel. It's just the kind of race weekend that you want to have. Every change we've made has gone forward and that's exactly what you want."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We worked on the race set-up in the afternoon, so I don't think we're the strongest car to qualify. But I believe we have a good race car. I've had to pass a lot of cars the past two races, so that shouldn't be a problem. We'll work on the race set-up a little bit more and try to have a good car for the race."  (Photo right of Kanaan by Honda)

Castroneves tops practice 2 in Japan Castroneves tops practice 2 in JapanTimes for the 2nd practice session for the IRL cars at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi track in Japan.  Helio Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, was quickest overall at 203.366 mph (26.9071 seconds).

“Out of the truck, the plane actually, the car seemed to be very good and felt very comfortable,” said Castroneves, fourth in the standings heading into Round 4 of the 17-race season. “From the last two times we’ve been here, we know that this track gets faster and faster each day, so we’ll keep working hard. (Photo right of Castroneves courtesy of Toyota)

“The race I’m sure will be very interesting as it looks like we are achieving the same speeds as last year. It will be a tough race. This track is always very difficult, especially with the wind that is always very strong.”

Herta’s three Andretti Green Racing teammates occupied the next three spots. IndyCar Series points leader and defending race champion Dan Wheldon (202.767 mph) was second in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Dario Franchitti, in the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone, checked in at 202.691 mph, while reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan was third at 201.915 mph. (Photo right of Franchitti courtesy of Toyota)
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed
1 3 Helio Castroneves 26.9071 203.366
2 26 Dan Wheldon 26.9866 202.767
3 27 Dario Franchitti 26.9967 202.691
4 11 Tony Kanaan 27.1005 201.915
5 15 Buddy Rice 27.1258 201.726
6 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 27.1983 201.189
7 17 Vitor Meira 27.3000 200.439
8 16 Danica Patrick 27.3315 200.208
9 55 Kosuke Matsuura 27.4559 199.301
10 8 Scott Sharp 27.5260 198.793
11 7 Bryan Herta 27.5455 198.653
12 44 Jeff Bucknum 27.5591 198.555
13 83 Patrick Carpentier 27.5751 198.439
14 51 Alex Barron 27.5898 198.334
15 9 Scott Dixon 27.6736 197.733
16 4 Tomas Scheckter 27.6774 197.706
17 2 Tomas Enge 27.6898 197.617
18 20 Ed Carpenter 27.7394 197.264
19 14 A.J. Foyt IV 27.7780 196.990
20 24 Roger Yasukawa 27.9456 195.809
21 33 Ryan Briscoe 28.0191 195.295
22 91 Paul Dana 28.7180 190.542
23 10 Darren Manning 28.7230 190.509

Hornish tops opening practice in Japan Hornish tops opening practice in JapanTimes for the first practice session for the IRL cars at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi track in Japan.  Penske teammates Sam Hornish (photo right by Toyota) and Helio Castroneves in Toyotas topped Tony Kanaan's Honda.  This was a track cleaning session so the times are largely irrelevant.
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed
1 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 27.1146 201.810
2 3 Helio Castroneves 27.1812 201.315
3 11 Tony Kanaan 27.3234 200.267
4 17 Vitor Meira 27.3939 199.752
5 27 Dario Franchitti 27.4142 199.604
6 33 Ryan Briscoe 27.6986 197.555
7 15 Buddy Rice 27.7166 197.426
8 8 Scott Sharp 27.7167 197.426
9 83 Patrick Carpentier 27.7425 197.242
10 24 Roger Yasukawa 27.7957 196.864
11 10 Darren Manning 27.7997 196.836
12 4 Tomas Scheckter 27.8374 196.570
13 7 Bryan Herta 27.8701 196.339
14 51 Alex Barron 27.9011 196.121
15 16 Danica Patrick 27.9614 195.698
16 9 Scott Dixon 28.0579 195.025
17 55 Kosuke Matsuura 28.1801 194.179
18 14 A.J. Foyt IV 28.2593 193.635
19 2 Tomas Enge 28.2681 193.575
20 91 Paul Dana 28.2687 193.570
21 44 Jeff Bucknum 28.4147 192.576
22 20 Ed Carpenter 28.4161 192.566
23 26 Dan Wheldon 29.0298 188.495
Feedback on biased journalism in racing article Feedback on biased journalism in racing articleA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Your article "The Racing Press: A unique interpretation of journalism" has to be one of the better articles that you have published. Too bad it will be read only by like-minded individuals who have observed (and commented) on these very same points for many years.  I hope to live long enough to see the day that an article such as this would be printed as an opinion page in the Indy Star, Autosport, RACER Magazine or any of the other so-called non-aligned media outlets.  Congratulations to the writer. Thanks for stating an honest opinion in a forthright and serious manner. Werner Fritz, Trevor, Wisconsin
Industry News
Milwaukee Mile GM stepping down Milwaukee Mile GM stepping downMark Perrone, the Milwaukee Mile's General Manager the past two seasons, is resigning May 1st to return to his Massachusetts home, but says he is willing to serve as consultant through this season to whatever promoter is named by the fair board. The track currently has no promoter for any of its races.
Maserati to race with modified requirements Maserati to race with modified requirementsThe No. 35 Maserati MC12 will race at the American Le Mans Series' next event with 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of weight added to the minimum for GT1 class entries, IMSA said Wednesday. The car ran with 30 kilograms of extra weight at the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix at Road Atlanta.  For the ALMS' next race, set for May 20-22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the MC12 will weigh a minimum of 1,110 kilograms, and its rear wing will be a maximum of 1,419 millimeters. Both measurements match specifications for the FIA GT Championship.
IMSA turns down protest against Maserati IMSA turns down protest against MaseratiUPDATE IMSA announced Wednesday that its Appeal Review Board rejected the appeals of Aston Martin Racing on the grounds that the matter was properly found by IMSA stewards not to be protestable under IMSA Code.  The original protests stemmed from IMSA's decision to allow the No. 35 Maserati MC12 to compete at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. IMSA stewards dismissed the protests of Aston Martin Racing, which appealed those decisions. 03/18/05 The Stewards of the Meet have reviewed the protest filed on March 15, 2005 by the Aston Martin Racing team with the Race Director for the 53rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. It was determined that the protest was filed in accordance with section 9.2 of the IMSA code. The matter was heard by the National Steward, Pete Lyon and the International Steward, Terry Dale, with the Chairman, Doug Robinson, being refused from participation.

Pursuant to various sections of the International Sporting Code, including but not limited to Articles 2, 3, 5, 20, and 53, IMSA has the authority to promulgate and enforce its own rules. As noted in IMSA Code sections 1.2.2, 1.2.4, and 1.3.2, the IMSA Code takes precedence as the governing body of rules for all events sanctioned by IMSA. Therefore, section 5.7 of the IMSA Code applies and the matter at issue is not subject to protest or appeal. The Stewards also suggest that the team review IMSA regulation 1.3.6 As the matter is not subject to protest, the protest fee is being returned pursuant to IMSA Code 9.2.2.

Industry News
SMI earning drop....but SMI earning drop....butThe CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL reports that SMI today reported Q1 ’05 earnings of $14M, or $0.32 per share, down 43% from $27.4M, or $0.57 per share, a year ago. Analysts expected earnings per share of $0.37, but the company said that quarterly results “are not comparable to last year's because two races at Bristol Motor Speedway held in early 2004 [were held in] the second quarter this year.” Total revenue fell 22% to $95.3M  BIZJOURNALS.com
Williams and Jordan at Silverstone Williams and Jordan at SilverstoneA total of four drivers were testing today at Silverstone. Despite a few intermittent showers, Williams and Jordan drivers were able to complete a good amount of mileage. Mark Webber was the quickest of the four men, setting a time of 1'20"121. Nico Rosberg drove the Williams FW27 for the first time, in his first experience as an official Williams test driver. He completed a total of 57 laps, his best in 1'21"843.

Tim Newton, Test Team Manager, WilliamsF1 - "On the second day at Silverstone circuit, Mark Webber completed just over one hundred laps while carrying out a range of tire tests in preparation for the Spanish GP next weekend. Meanwhile Nico Rosberg, the team’s new second test driver, made a solid debut today, registering nearly 300 kilometers. As he hasn’t driven the FW27 before, Nico spent the session acclimatizing himself and carrying out systems checks.“

Jordan started their testing program today with Tiago Monteiro and test driver Nicky Pastorelli. The Dutch driver completed only 25 laps but managed to set a time more than a second quicker than Monteiro's best.

Silverstone - 27/04/05
1. M. Webber - BMW Williams - 1'20"121 (+0"000) - 101 laps
2. N. Rosberg - BMW Williams - 1'21"843 (+1"722) - 57 laps
3. N. Pastorelli - Jordan Toyota 1'23"621 (+3"500) - 25 laps
4. T. Monteiro - Jordan Toyota - 1'24"926 (+4"805) - 55 laps
BMW WilliamsF1 Team

Fans invited free to Milwaukee Mile test Fans invited free to Milwaukee Mile testOn Tuesday May 3 and Wednesday May 4, race fans are invited to The Milwaukee Mile to catch a free preview of the “Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 presented by U.S. Bank” Champ Car World Series race, scheduled for Saturday afternoon, June 4. Virtually the entire field of teams and drivers competing in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will participate in this Champ Car Open Test.

There will be free admission to the grandstands to witness this 180+ mph Champ Car exercise.  Grandstand Gate 3 will be open near Turn 1 of the speedway, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. both days.  Spectators will not be allowed to enter the infield.

On Tuesday evening May 3, there will be a free-to-attend driver autograph session from 5:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  It will take place in the lobby of the Wisconsin Exposition Center, in the shadows of turn one of The Milwaukee Mile.  All of the Champ Car drivers testing are expected to participate.

Here’s a current entry list of teams and drivers competing in the Champ Car World Series:
Newman-Haas -- Sebastien Bourdais, Bruno Junqueira
Forsythe Racing -- Paul Tracy, Mario Dominguez
RuSPORT Racing -- A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Wilson
PKV Racing – Jimmy Vasser, Cristiano da Matta
Rocketsports – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Timo Glock
HVM – Bjorn Wirdheim, Ronnie Bremer
Mi-Jack Conquest – Nelson Philippe, Andrew Ranger
Team Australia – Alex Tagliani, Marcus Marshall
Dale Coyne Racing – Oriol Servia, Ricardo Sperafico
Jensen Motorsport –  Fabrizio Del Monte

McLaren re-signs Newey McLaren re-signs NeweyAdrian Newey has extended his contract with McLaren. The details of the contract are private information although a spokesperson for the team says that "we believe that his long-term future is with McLaren." Newey will remain as technical director but will pass on much of the work to others and will have a much more consultative role than previously. Paddy Lowe will be promoted to the role of engineering director overseeing vehicle design, aerodynamics, simulation and race engineering, while Nicholas Tombazis becomes vehicle project director. Newey says that he wants to spend more time enjoying himself and intends to do more racing of his own. He is the owner of a Ford GT40 sports car and recently acquired a two-liter Abarth Spyder. He is also considering a future in yacht racing. Grandprix.com
Toyota appealing Ralf’s penalty Toyota appealing Ralf’s penaltyUPDATE The FIA has announced that Toyota's challenge to Ralf Schumacher's 25 second penalty in the San Marino Grand Prix will go before the International Court of Appeal in Paris on Tuesday, May 3. 04/25/05 Toyota F1 is appealing a decision by race stewards to penalize Ralf Schumacher 25 seconds for a pit-stop incident involving Nick Heidfeld of BMW-Williams.   "At the last pit-stop Ralf Schumacher got in front of me by forcing me to brake hard and avoid a crash," explained Heidfeld after the race.  "In view of the extremely vague description of the regulation and a number of similar incidents which have gone unpunished, Toyota has decided to appeal the decision of the stewards in order to clarify this issue for the future," said Toyota Racing team principal Tsutomu Tomita.
Mercedes-Benz confirms Markus Duesmann Mercedes-Benz confirms Markus DuesmannAs we exclusively reported, there is to be a new technical boss at Mercedes-Ilmor with the confirmation from Stuttgart that Markus Duesmann will become engineering director at Mercedes Ilmor from May 1. Duesmann (35) joins Ilmor from his position as senior manager of new diesel engine projects and in his new role will have responsibility for engine design, materials, development, simulation and advanced engine developments at Brixworth.  The company has also confirmed that Mario Illien's contract terminates at the end of this year and at the moment there is no decision as to his future. The Ilmor buy-out will be completed by September and Illien will remain as technical director until the end of the year. Neither party has made a decision about the future although Mercedes says that they intend to do so before the end of the F1 season. Grandprix.com
Positive day of testing for Sauber Positive day of testing for SauberTeam Sauber Petronas continued its three-day test at the Pista di Fiorano today. Felipe Massa covered 116 laps in chassis C24-05 to set a best time of 0:58.566s. Tomorrow Jacques Villeneuve will take over to complete the test. Mike Krack, Race Engineer - "Today we finished the validation regarding the new rear which we had in Imola, and also assessed several cooling options for it. We also gathered valuable data from damper tests. In addition, Felipe further evaluated the modified traction control program which we used for the first time last weekend. We were able to complete the schedule program even earlier than we thought, which gave us some extra time for set-up work for the next races." Sauber Petronas
Ferrari's second day at Mugello Ferrari's second day at MugelloSecond day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working again today at the Mugello circuit. Both race drivers, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello were at the wheel of an F2005 at the Tuscan track. The day’s program centered on a continuation of the tire and aerodynamics work begun yesterday by test drivers, Badoer and Gene. Schumacher covered 127 laps (6 on the short version of the track) setting a best time of 1’20’’899, while Barrichello did 111 laps (13 on the short version of the track) the quickest in 1’20’’764. The Scuderia continues testing at this track tomorrow, again with Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher. Ferrari Press
Minardi cars collide during testing Minardi cars collide during testingMinardi suffered an embarrassing setback to one of their rare Formula One tests when their cars collided at Italy's Mugello circuit on Wednesday.  "One zigged when he should have zagged," said a team spokesman.  "I think (Dutch driver Christijan) Albers came up on (Israeli Chanoch) Nissany, clipped the back of his car and spun them both out."  Albers, a regular racer, was in the team's new PS05 car while Nissany, a test driver who has never competed in a grand prix, drove the old PS04B.  The spokesman said the accident caused slight damage to both cars, sidelining them for the afternoon. Austrian Patrick Friesacher was able to continue testing.
ACEMCO Motorsports Withdrawals from Le Mans 24 Hour ACEMCO Motorsports Withdrawals from Le Mans 24 HourACEMCO Motorsports has officially withdrawn its entry to participate in the June 18-19th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  The withdrawal is based upon the team required to use a smaller rear wing on their number 63/ACEMCO Motorsports/Saleen S7-R GT1 sportscar.

"The primary reason we have decided to withdraw from Le Mans is because of the re-interpretation of the A.C.O. rule regarding the width of the rear wing for our car," said Jeff Giangrande, team owner.  "Based upon our experience at Road Atlanta with the revised wing width, six-inches smaller than the team ran in 2004, the aerodynamic package of the Saleen S7-R is extremely unstable, especially in high speed corners.  Because of the high speeds that are witnessed at the Le Mans circuit, we feel that the car, in its current configuration, would be too big of a compromise in overall handling and performance.  I also have to think of the safety of my drivers."

The American Le Mans Series officials are considering allowing the team to go back to the 2004 wing configuration for the remaining eight race schedule.  "The team will use the month of June to continue testing the aerodynamics, the integration of the new engine management system and forge ahead with our partner Elan Products with engine development," continued Giangrande.

The team will travel to Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course for round three of the American Le Mans Series to be run on Sunday, May 22nd and will be televised live on CBS.

Top-20 driver ranking Top-20 driver rankingSPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking

Updated 4-27-05

1. Fernando Alonso (F1)                 13.451
2. Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)        9.040
3. Dan Wheldon (IRL)                         8.570
4. Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)         7.895
5. Bruno Junqueira (CCWS)             7.784
6. Kurt Busch (NASCAR)                  7.703
7. Tony Kanaan (IRL)                        7.469
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)      7.030
9. Michael Schumacher (F1)            6.965
10. Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)              6.921
11. Michael Waltrip (NASCAR)        6.863
12. Carl Edwards (NASCAR)           6.742
13. Paul Tracy (CCWS)                   6.735
14. Elliott Sadler (NASCAR)            6.723
15. Mark Martin (NASCAR)             6.613
16. Jeff Burton (NASCAR)               6.569
17. Ryan Newman (NASCAR)         6.393
18. Brian Vickers (NASCAR)           6.224
19. Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR)      6.221
20. Sterling Marlin (NASCAR)         6.124

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

More on 7-11 Tony Kanaan sponsor activation More on 7-11 Tony Kanaan sponsor activationUPDATE Another example of sponsor activation in the IRL is this Tag Heuer website. Champ Car could learn a lesson from NASCAR and the IRL when it comes to sponsor activation. We see almost none from the Champ Car sponsors. Many fans have expressed extreme disappointment to us regarding Ford, McDonald's and AOL. They feel all three can do so much for Champ Car but other than put their name on the series, they're invisible. The good news is that we hear Ford may finally be ready to activate. We shall see, but it's clear that sponsor activation is one of the keys to the success of any racing series. 04/08/05 Just as Team 7-Eleven(R) Driver Tony Kanaan revs up to defend his title in the 2005 IndyCar(R) Series after winning the 2004 championship, 7-Eleven, Inc. (NYSE:SE) is racing to bring new and exclusive products with Team 7-Eleven ties to consumers. To capitalize on its "team merchandising" philosophy of working with its suppliers to create items for 7-Eleven(R) that are "first, best or only," the nation's leading convenience retailer will introduce more than 20 items in participating U.S. stores sporting the IndyCar Series logo, Team 7-Eleven graphics or photos of winning driver Kanaan, who drives the No. 11 car for Andretti Green Racing(R). More at Dallas Business News
Newman to run limited Busch schedule Newman to run limited Busch scheduleRyan Newman will drive a limited NASCAR Busch Series schedule this year, beginning in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway, team President Don Miller announced Tuesday. "When this opportunity presented itself, we felt we couldn't afford to turn it down," Miller said. "It will be interesting to see Ryan competing in the Busch Series again." Chief Engineer Roy McCauley will oversee the Busch Series program and serve as Newman's crew chief on that circuit. The Busch Series crew will be comprised of personnel who worked with McCauley last fall on Penske Racing South's #06 Dodge that was driven by Travis Kvapil and Chad Blount. Penske Racing South's entry in the Busch Series will carry #39, which was the number used by Newman when he raced Midgets in USAC. Sponsorship for the Dodge will be announced at a later date. In addition to the May 28 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Newman's tentative Busch schedule includes: Chicago, July 9; Watkins Glen, Aug. 13; Michigan, Aug. 20; Bristol, Aug. 26; Richmond, Sept. 9; Dover, Sept. 24; Charlotte, Oct. 14; and Texas, Nov. 5. This is Newman's first venture into the Busch Series since 2001 when he competed in 15 events. That season he won the August Michigan race, produced two top-five and seven top-10 finishes, earned six poles and started on the outside of the front row on four occasions. Penske Racing
Truckers tested new Lowe's surface Truckers tested new Lowe's surfaceA rain-abbreviated test for NASCAR Truck Series teams Tuesday provided the first full-blown evaluation of the recently diamond-grinded Lowe's Motor Speedway surface, and the reviews generally were good.  "I think it has done what we wanted it to do," Wheeler said after talking to several drivers after rain ended the test just before 7 p.m., three hours earlier than scheduled. "The big test will come next week."  Bill Lester holds the Truck Series track record at 175.593 mph, a lap at 30.753 seconds. But Tuesday's unofficial results showed Jimmy Spencer with a lap in 30.188 seconds at 178.879 mph. Jack Sprague, David Starr, Lester, Bobby Labonte and Ted Musgrave all topped 176 mph.  "There are still some bumps, but what a difference," Jimmy Spencer said. "There's absolutely no bump going into Turn 3, and the wafer-board effect from the center of (turns) 3 and 4 off isn't there."
Charlotte HOF bid moves closer Charlotte HOF bid moves closerUPDATE The Charlotte City Council endorsed a hotel tax hike and the use of city-owned land for a NASCAR Hall of Fame on Monday.  The unanimous vote marked the latest step in the city's fast-moving bid for the tourism prize.  "After this vote we're at Turn 1," said Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican. "We've still got a ways to go."  The tax hike, which requires approval from the state legislature, would increase the rate from 6 percent to 8 percent. That is expected to yield $65 million of the $137.5 million construction cost, and the plan already has the crucial backing of the local hotel industry.  Council members took turns praising the idea and the opportunity that the hall of fame could bring.  "The engine indeed has started for what will indeed be a huge economic impact for Charlotte and for the region," said Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon, a Democrat. Charlotte Observer 04/26/05 Two legislative bodies learned more Monday night about Charlotte’s plan to lure in a NASCAR hall of fame.  While half of the Hall of Fame Committee presented the plan to the Charlotte City Council, the other half was in Raleigh presenting the plan to state lawmakers.  The committee’s preferred site for the hall of fame would be on a piece of city-owned property across from the convention center. It would cost nearly $150 million, and most of the funding would come from state funds and a new 2-cent tax on hotels and motels.  “Right now, we’re focused on nailing our financing, making sure that our design elements move forward, and driving out a marketing plan,” said Cathy Bessant, a co-chairperson of the committee.

After hearing the plan Monday night, the City Council unanimously passed four items. That includes submitting the official bid to NASCAR by May 31, donating the preferred site to the hall of fame, and requesting that state lawmakers approve the new hotel/motel tax.  Charlotte is competing with five other cities for the hall of fame, including Atlanta; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Richmond, Va. News I4

Indy Winner to Receive TAG Heuer Commemorative Watch Indy Winner to Receive TAG Heuer Commemorative WatchTo commemorate its partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League and Indianapolis 500 as Official Timekeeper and Watch, TAG Heuer introduces the 2005 Indy 500 Chronograph.  TAG Heuer’s partnership with the IRL/Indy 500 entails working closely with the IRL’s timing and scoring group to develop, design and implement a variety of timekeeping applications for scorekeeping purposes and for enhancing the spectator’s experience during the Indy 500 and other IRL races. 

The TAG Heuer Formula 1 2005 Indy 500 Chronograph is the second in the Indy 500 Chronograph series and will be presented to this year’s Indianapolis 500-mile race winner on May 29.  This special edition sports timepiece is based on the one-of-a-kind white gold TAG Heuer Chronograph given to 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice.  Incorporating the TAG Heuer and Indy 500 logos, it features a black dial with four metallic circles resembling the famous 2.5-mile IMS racetrack and a fine-brushed stainless steel bracelet with a double safety clasp.  The Chronograph functions include three counters: 30 minutes at 10 o’clock, 60 seconds on the central hand and 1/10th at 2 o’clock.  Inscribed on the chronograph’s caseback is: “The Official Timekeeper and Scorer of the Indy 500® and Indy Racing League®.”  Water resistant to 200 meters, it is available at authorized TAG Heuer retailers at a suggested price of $995.

Industry News
Mario Andretti to appear Mario Andretti to appearRace fans around the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region have had the opportunity to meet NASCAR drivers at events such as the annual Food City Family Race Night, held in Kingsport at the MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center, and on State Street in downtown Bristol.   Mario Andretti, one of the greatest race car drivers of all-time, will be making an appearance in Johnson City on Monday, May 2 at Miller's Tire & Auto Service, located at 112 Wesley Street between 1:30-3:30 p.m. During Andretti's visit, a "Firehawk" go-kart promotional giveaway will take place, along with many more racing-related items.  If you wish to meet one of the all-time greatest race car drivers, this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the legendary Mario Andretti on Monday, May 2 at Miller's Tire & Auto Service. More on Andretti, one of the greatest drivers of all time.
All Knotted Up All Knotted UpAfter eight races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Chevrolet and Ford are tied for the lead in the series' Manufacturers Championship standings, with Dodge running third. Kurt Busch's victory last Saturday at Phoenix allowed Ford to pull even with Chevrolet in both wins (four) and points (58). ... Chevrolet has won the Manufacturers Championship 28 times while Ford has won 15 times; the other 10 years the championship has been awarded, it has been won by Hudson (3), Dodge (2), Buick (2), Oldsmobile (1), Pontiac (1) and Plymouth (1). ... Points are earned thusly: Nine points to the highest-finishing car type; six points to the second-highest finishing type; four points for the third-highest finishing type. ... Chevrolet has won the championship the last two years. ... Jimmie Johnson is currently the leading Chevrolet driver, as the series point leader. Busch, second in points, is the top Ford driver. Ryan Newman is the leading Dodge driver, standing seventh in the points. NASCAR
Mark Your Calendars: NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Mark Your Calendars: NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star ChallengeThe 21st annual all-star event is less than a month away, and defending champion Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford) leads the list of current qualifiers. He's followed by 2004 race winners Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Charter Ford), Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN Ford), Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford), Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), Joe Nemechek (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet), Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge), Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford), Tony Stewart (No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) and Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge); 2005 race winners Carl Edwards (No. 99 Scotts/Ortho Ford) and Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet); past event champions Terry Labonte (1999) and Michael Waltrip (1996); and past series champions Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett.

Here's a quick reminder of format and eligibility requirements:

• The 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge showcases race winners from the previous and current seasons, plus past event champions and series champions from the past 10 years (1995-2005) who are active drivers and have competed in at least one series event during the 2004 or 2005 season. Also eligible:

• The winner of the NEXTEL Open, a preliminary event for teams not qualified for the all-star event, and another NEXTEL Open driver who wins a fan vote into the all-star event.

• To qualify for the NEXTEL Open event, drivers must be in the Top 50 of the final 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, or in the Top 50 of the current point standings as of March 14, 2005.

• The all-star evening begins with the 30-lap NEXTEL Open. The winner, plus the winner of the fan vote, will transfer to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge -- a 90-lap/135-mile event divided into 40-, 30- and 20-lap segments.

• No driver will be eliminated after the first two segments. But during the 10-minute pit stop between the first and second segments, a random drawing will determine whether as few as six or as many as 12 cars will be inverted. NASCAR

Gathering Steam: DEI on The Rise Gathering Steam: DEI on The RiseAfter slow starts and spates of tough luck, the Dale Earnhardt Inc. duo of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip (No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet) appear to be rebounding just in time for one of their favorite tracks -- Talladega Superspeedway. The two excel at restrictor-plate competition, but the off-season switch of crews, crew chiefs and even equipment has meant an adjustment period. Earnhardt Jr., who has five career wins at Talladega, has jumped from 26th to 12th in the point standings over the past four weeks, a stretch that includes top-five finishes at Bristol and Phoenix, a top-10 finish at Texas and a 13th-place finish at Martinsville.

Waltrip, with one career win at Talladega, has mirrored Earnhardt Jr.'s recent improvement. Mired at 30th in the standings three weeks ago, he ranks 18th heading to Talladega thanks to a sixth-place finish at Texas and last week's runner-up effort at Phoenix.

"It's kind of difficult to be a driver and a fan at the same time, but I was pulling hard for him," Earnhardt Jr. said of Waltrip's second-place finish. "We're happy with the improvements we've had lately, but it's still early, and there's a lot we've got to get better at." NASCAR

Imola postscript Imola postscriptIt seems the Imola paddock might be getting a new look in the near future. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has apparently signed a fresh contract with the circuit which would see it stage a Grand Prix for a further five years. Part of the deal would involve over US$10 million spent on rebuilding the trackside facilities. Part of these changes would involve retaining the existing pits for support races and building a new pit and paddock complex for the Formula One teams.

The old paddock is definitely a bit on the small side, especially as team trucks and motorhomes seem to get bigger with every passing year. The latest 2005 creation is the Red Bull Racing Energy Station, an amazing chrome and glass structure, built on three floors. It took forty people three days to erect it! Less in your face, but stylish never the less, is the new Bernie Bus. Ecclestone had the dubious honor of using the oldest motorhome in the paddock, but now he has acquired a new vehicle finished in menacing black and grey. It appears to have two huge spy holes on the side, so you have been warned: “Big Brother is watching you!”
Juan Pablo Montoya missed his second Grand Prix at the weekend, still recovering from a shoulder injury, apparently sustained playing tennis. The witty Imola crowd had evidently not forgotten the Colombian, as they hung a banner over a trackside fence with the words: “Juan Pablo, see you at Wimbledon,” written above a pair of tennis racquets.

It was not just Red Bull’s hospitality unit that put the team in the headlines, as it announced a two year engine supply deal with Ferrari, starting in 2006. Sauber, who have run Petronas-branded Ferrari engines since 1997 are expected to switch to BMW power next year. While Ferrari and Red Bull were all smiles, the same could not be said for Kevin Kalkhoven. The new owner of Cosworth was making his first visit to a grand prix and was therefore a bit surprised to find his team in the news for switching to Italian power.
As a Formula One driver, Alex Wurz is not exactly hard up on the money front. So he was amused when Jacques Villeneuve’s manager, Craig Pollock offered him the best part of a very expensive bottle of wine when he left a restaurant where they were both dining on the eve of the race. Obviously, the West McLaren Mercedes man was not about to hit the drink the night before his return to the F1 grid, so he generously passed it on to a group of impoverished journalists eating at the next table.

Unfortunately, what turned out to be one of the most thrilling grand prix in recent years, has been marred by a couple of legal wranglings, which means that the final result of the San Marino race might not be known for quite some time. In what appears to be an unprecedented move, the FIA is effectively appeal a decision made by its own appointed Stewards, over the legality of third placed Jenson Button’s BAR-Honda. The International Court of Appeal is meeting on 4th May, the Wednesday before the Spanish GP, to rule on the matter. No date has yet been set for a hearing into Toyota’s appeal against Ralf Schumacher’s 25 second penalty for a pit lane driving infringement which has currently dropped the German from eighth at the flag to eleventh. West

Q and A with Jacques Villeneuve Q and A with Jacques VilleneuveQ. You scored your first Championship points for Sauber Petronas in Imola - how do you feel looking back on the race?
Jacques Villeneuve: I feel great because we took every opportunity there and maximized it. The team had a fine strategy and did a good job with the pit stops. In addition, the characteristics of the car were such that I could really push it to the limit for the first time.

Q. Was this a big relief after the difficult races you have had so far?

JV: I never had any doubts, but I believe that this result will make everybody more positive and life easier in general.

Q. Why were you able to progress so much in Imola?

JV: There were several reasons for that. One of them was for sure the new aero package which was really a big step in terms of performance but also stability. Furthermore, we worked on the mechanical set-up of the car with more freedom than in previous races, which enabled me to adjust it to my liking. And, in addition, we used a modified traction control program that was developed by the Sauber Petronas engineers based on my input in order to better suit my driving style. All these factors together resulted in a significant step forward.

Q. Do you think that there is more room for improvements in this direction?

JV: Absolutely, there is potential for more to come! This was only the first step with the traction control. I am sure that we can further optimize it. We will do more testing this week in Fiorano, and one part of the program is to work on the traction control.

Q. Do you expect the same sort of result in Barcelona?

JV: I don't know. Barcelona is a very different track from Imola, and we had a difficult test there. On top of that, we didn't have the new aero package then, which really makes a big difference. A lot will depend on how quickly we will be able find the right set-up. However, in any case, we improved the car significantly in Imola and this should also help us in Barcelona.

Q. This is the first time in your Formula One career that you are driving for a private team - what is the difference to the big factory teams?

JV: The biggest difference is the budget which means that everything has to be much more controlled. We do considerably less testing than the factory teams, and as a result there is less freedom to try different ideas. This forces the people to be very efficient.

Q. How do you get along with your teammate Felipe Massa?

JV: Our relationship is very friendly! I didn't really know Felipe until the beginning of the season. However, we got on well right from the start, and there is a good amount of respect. Although he is still very young, he has already a considerable amount of experience.

Q. What are your goals for the remainder of the season?

JV: The main goal is really to keep the momentum that we have now and to work in the same direction as we did in Imola. I am convinced that this will enable us to make further progress. Sauber

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 back on testing trail
JPM backed, by Schu
Alonso to get 'b' engine
Kimi 'fined 30,000 euro'
'Schu more for F1' - Bernie
'We didn't cheat' - BAR
John Love
'I didn't enjoy Imola duel'
Berger to 'bet on Schu'
Ferrari set for 'big update'
Turkey runs out of F1 cash
Ganassi team buys a Dallara Ganassi team buys a DallaraAs a result of Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s relentless pursuit of perfection in the IRL IndyCar Series, the team’s entry form for the upcoming Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 is being changed to reflect the addition of a Dallara chassis for the #9 Target Toyota of Scott Dixon. Current entries for teammates Darren Manning (#10 Toyota Panoz) and Ryan Briscoe (#33 Toyota Panoz) remain unchanged.

Representing the only engine combination of its kind in the series with the marriage of the Toyota power plant and Panoz G Force platform, the Target team did not previously feel it could efficiently and productively test two different chassis with the differing driving styles of Dixon and Manning. However, with the recent addition of former Toyota Formula 1 test pilot Ryan Briscoe, a new opportunity presented itself.

“Now that our IndyCar program has expanded to three quality drivers, we feel that with a strong engineering and management group rooted deeply in information sharing, this would be the perfect time to gauge the team’s performance on multiple levels,” said Team Managing Director Mike Hull. “Now that the Target team is better able to monitor driver style and performance, it makes sense at this juncture to have direct comprehension and comparison of the two chassis. This team was built on racing excellence, and this is another step to ensuring Chip Ganassi Racing is doing everything in its power to maximize preparations and stay competitive.”

The addition of the Dallara chassis adds to the team’s open wheel arsenal, but is not indicative of a move to the Dallara chassis, or remaining with Panoz. Rather, with the reduction of track time and test days by IRL rules and standards, this will be the team’s best way to monitor performance by matching data streams.

ALMS teams ready for Penske challenge ALMS teams ready for Penske challengeIf Clint Field is worried about Porsche's entry into the American Le Mans Series' LMP2 class, he isn't showing it. Although the manufacturer announced its plans at the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta to field two LMP2s with Penske Motorsports, there are more questions than answers.

Regardless, Field said there isn't any reason to change the outlook for his Telesis Intersport Racing team. It has two LMP2 Lolas of its own, and one placed first in class at the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta. So instead of backing down, Field said his team will meet the new challengers head-on.

"We're definitely going to want to beat them more because they are such a prestigious team," the 21-year-old said. "In other series, that's the team to beat. It'll be the same in the ALMS. We always try our hardest, but it will be more fun now because we have a benchmark to go up against."

To say the least. Roger Penske's teams have a habit of doing things first class, and this should be no different. But there isn't an aura of fear among LMP2 competitors about having to go up against such an organization once it makes its debut at Petit Le Mans. Rather, it's more excitement and anticipation.

"It's a great sign of things to come," said Jeff Bucknum, driver of the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage. "Having a manufacturer like Porsche and a team like Penske can only do good things for the ALMS. It indicates that the LMP2 class is the popular one to be in at the moment."

Peter Schwarzenbauer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, has said that LMP2 was a desirable option because the class would allow Porsche to offer its program to privateer entrants.

"It puts a lot of pressure on us," Penske said. "They have a mission here to bring a car to their customers. You're going to see a lot of people involved in this over the long term."

Name change for Grand-Am team Name change for Grand-Am teamWith several exciting announcements about the future of the team upcoming, Finlay/Ten Motorsports has decided to consolidate its operations under a single name -- Finlay Motorsports.  "We’re working on some big things that will take this team to a new level and we want to make sure there is no possibility of confusion in the minds of our sponsors and fans,” says Finlay.  “I’m proud to be part of this tremendous group of people...and I want my name right out in front to demonstrate my commitment to the future of this team.”

Since the beginning of the 2005 Grand American Road Racing Association season, the team has campaigned its #19 Air Force Reserve / Make-A-Wish Foundation / Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley Daytona Prototype co-driven by Michael McDowell and Memo Gidley under the Ten Motorsports banner.   The #60 Make-A-Wish / Commercial Defeasance BMW M3 GS driven by McDowell and Rob Finlay raced under the Finlay Motorsports name.  Now, both cars will race under the Finlay Motorsports banner, and the change will be reflected in all aspects of the team’s image materials, including signage on the cars, team uniforms, pit equipment, etc.

Heavy trading on CART stock Heavy trading on CART stockUPDATE From Form 10K recently filed on April 15, 2005 - Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. is engaged in the process of orderly liquidation of its remaining assets, the winding up of its business, and the dissolution of the Company.

Upon completion of the sale of substantially all of our operating assets to OPEN WHEEL in February 2004, most of our employees resigned and accepted employment with OPEN WHEEL and we ceased operations. The risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual future financial results to differ materially from our present expectations or projections regarding the estimated distribution to shareholders are set forth in "Factors That May Affect Future Results."

The following information is presented primarily for historical purposes and should be read noting that the Company is no longer involved in an active business. As you read the following you should also refer to the consolidated financial statements and related notes contained in this report, as well as item 6, "Selected Consolidated Financial Data." More......

04/26/05 It is interesting to note 288,700 shares of CART, Inc., were traded in today's market. This is by far the largest trading volume of CART, Inc. in a long time.
Rosfrans signs multiyear Monterrey agreement Rosfrans signs multiyear Monterrey agreementComercial Roshfrans entered into a multiyear agreement to become the Presenting Sponsor of the Champ Car Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico.

The announcement was made today by Sergio Platonoff-Castillo and Jorge Quintanilla, Comercial Director and Roshfrans Speed Racing Manager, respectively.

The Mexican lubricants producer, Comercial Roshfrans, is currently the Champ Car World Series' Official Lubricant, and takes another important step towards consolidating its product branding within the Motorsports world reaching an agreement with OCESA's top management to become the Presenting sponsor of the Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, Jorge Quintanilla added "it is a multiyear agreement and we [Roshfrans] are very exited and continue our confidence in a Series like the Champ Car World Series, which is increasing its audience base every day" followed by Sergio Platonoff-Castillo's comment, "Roshfrans is making an effort to keep the Champ Car Grand Prix in Monterrey"

OCESA Automovilismo's Director, Federico Alamán, completed by saying; "the agreement is for several years and gives OCESA a gratifying view that helps confirm Champ Car's Grand Prix in Monterrey for many years"

Roshfrans' has been working with Champ Car during the last year in a variety of fashions; supporting the Mexican drivers, becoming the Official Lubricant and Sponsor of the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year Award, and today, Roshfrans reiterates its commitment as one of Champ Car World Series biggest believers and supporters, a 100% Mexican corporation that celebrates 2005 as its 50th anniversary. Champ Car

Sports Cars
Globetrotting Journey for Boris Said Begins in Talladega Globetrotting Journey for Boris Said Begins in TalladegaFrom America's largest oval to Europe's largest road course - Boris Said will be competing at the two famous circuits within a seven-day period.   First for the globetrotting racer will be this weekend's Nextel Cup race at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. This will mark the third of 13 Cup races Said is scheduled for as a member of the MB/Sutton Motorsports team.   After Talladega, Said will jet to Germany where he will take part in the German 24-Hour Endurance race at the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife, a 15.5-mile, 186-turn road course with 211 corner stations. The race is scheduled for Saturday/Sunday, May 7-8. 

Said finished second in last year's German 24-hour race, becoming the first American to claim a podium finish in the prestigious European event. Said's teammates in this year's BMW team will be former Formula I racer Pedro Lamy of Portugal and European Touring Champion Andy Priaulx of Great Britain.

"Talk about having the best of both worlds -- I feel very fortunate and I am thankful for these opportunities," offered Said. "These are two of the world's best tracks. Though the configuration of the tracks is different, the fans are pretty much the same. The only things different about German and Talladega fans are the language they speak and the flags they wave. They are both wild and passionate about motorsports."

Formula BMW
Season Starts for Kevin Lacroix at Laguna Seca Season Starts for Kevin Lacroix at Laguna SecaAfter racing karts for eight years, Kevin Lacroix will finally debut his open wheel career next weekend at Laguna Seca raceway in California. The preparation for this maiden race started last fall when the 16-year old was invited to both Formula BMW European evaluation camps from which he came back with a 2005 scholarship. Named the Rising Star by Shifter Kart Magazine, Kevin signed up with AIM Motorsport and constantly topped the timing charts in the pre-season testing days. He was invited to the NASA training center in Alabama for a complete physical evaluation. The last step will finally take him to the track in California.

“I can’t wait for the season to start, admits Kevin. I kept pretty busy since I stopped karting and every step like Spain or NASA was very exciting. Working with my crew was a tremendous learning curve and I feel we will have a great season. We have two races per weekend, similar to what we did in karting. I have to be fast all the time but also make sure my car remains healthy on Sunday.”

Formula BMW: the French connection   According to Formula BMW officials, three French speaking drivers have constantly signed among the fastest times in the test days. French Richard Philippe, brother of Nelson driving a Champ Car, Belgium Maxime Soulet and Quebec’s own Kevin Lacroix have raised more than an eyebrow this spring. But the St-Eustache driver remains confident: “I respect all 21 drivers out there and at least half of them can win races. Most of them are rookies and the battles are going to be fierce. But this is the kind of competition I look for. We have to learn new tracks. Laguna Seca is among the race facilities I have always dreamed to race, after the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal and Indianapolis."

Formula BMW
Gelles Racing ready to rumble at Laguna Gelles Racing ready to rumble at LagunaThe 2005 Formula BMW USA championship will get underway this weekend in California with the first two rounds set at Laguna Seca alongside Grand-Am Rolex. First-year BMW team Gelles Racing will enter four young and talented drivers aiming for victories and the overall title. Testing days has proved very promising and the BMW officials consider two of them to be among the contenders. BMW USA scholar Justin Moon and Belgium Maxime Soulet have set standards at one point and only a few of the 21 drivers entered this season will be able to match their skills. Darin Marcus is yet another BMW USA driver that will bridge the gap when the red lights go out next Saturday. Finally, Ryan Campbell joined the team in Virginia and would be satisfied with Top Ten positions in his first professional race.

“I am very happy with our team and all the work we have done in the last months, admitted team owner Bob Gelles. Our crew loves to work with the FB2 cars and our BMW USA engineer and program manager Trygve Rangen really put our drivers to work. Test days were very useful because we lapped different tracks in all kind of weather. Now, let the season begin: our four drivers are ready with their engineers Rodolfo Perdomo, Cristian Kissling, Trygve Rangen and all the dedicated team crew that have worked so extremely hard to reach this point.”

An International foursome  The four drivers of Gelles come from all walks of live and racing. BMW scholar Justin Moon hails out of California and calls Laguna Seca his home track after racing there a few times after his karting years. He will celebrate his 17th birthday this week and a win would be an appropriate gift! Maxime Soulet won two national championships in Belgium after his karting career and at 21 is the team veteran. Darin Marcus has joined the BMW USA E&C Program, just returning from Space Camp as one of the most physically fit drivers. Born in the USA, Darin has South African origins: count on him to be the dark horse this season. Finally, Canadian Ryan Campbell comes from Southern Alberta and missed the first test days. He is a quick learner that will soon catch up with the field.

A double header weekend  Gelles Racing will enter four cars in the Formula BMW USA 2005 Championship. The series has fourteen races comprised in seven racing weekend. The team is sponsored by Western Union, Care Centric, USA TODAY, Herbert & LeBleu and BMW of Sterling. Gelles Racing is the reigning 2004 Formula Renault Champion Team.

Champ Car teams to test at Milwaukee Champ Car teams to test at MilwaukeeVirtually all of the premier open wheel drivers competing in the Saturday afternoon, June 4 “Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 presented by U.S. Bank” Champ Car World Series race will be testing at The Milwaukee Mile May 3 & 4, this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.
-Paul Tracy, 2003 series champ, 3-time Milwaukee event winner
-Jimmy Vasser, 1996 series champ, 1998 Milwaukee event winner
-Ryan Hunter-Reay, defending Milwaukee event winner
-Sebastien Bourdais, ‘04 series champ, point leader, IROC race winner at Texas
-Bruno Junqueira, series runner-up in ’04, currently 3rd in points
-A.J. Allmendinger, 2004 top rookie
-Justin Wilson, 6’4” tall Brit, Formula One experience, now 4th in points
-Mario Dominguez, currently 5th in points, Tracy’s new teammate
…and more!
Leibel, Quiroga pass IPS rookie tests Leibel, Quiroga pass IPS rookie testsCody Leibel, the owner of C-Note Records whose Australian Formula 3 car boasts sponsorship from Paris Hilton, was one of two drivers to pass the Menards Infiniti Pro Series rookie test April 25 at Kentucky Speedway. Leibel, 25, plans to compete in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in the future, perhaps as soon as the latter half of this season.

"Cody was a pleasure to work with," said Michael Crawford, team manager for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "He comes from a different background, but you could tell he is a natural athlete."

Leibel, a Toronto native, played professional hockey until a knee injury ended his career. He began racing cars in the fall of 2004. Also passing the rookie test was German Quiroga Jr., 24.

"German looked like a fish taking to water," Crawford said. "He looked at home in the race car. He's very, very talented and has a likeable personality." Quiroga competes in Formula Renault 2000 and also has competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and the Fran-Am Series.

Menards Infiniti Pro Series regulars Wade Cunningham and Jeff Simmons also tested at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Cunningham, who finished second in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, ranks second in the point standings after three races. Simmons, the 2003 series runner-up, ranks 12th. Leibel and Cunningham are scheduled to test again on April 28 at Nashville Superspeedway.

Biffle to fly in F-16 Biffle to fly in F-16It is clear that Greg Biffle likes to go fast.  If it's not in his No. 16 National Guard Ford Taurus, it's his sand buggy in the Nevada desert, his motorcycle in the Carolina hills, or even an M1 Abrams battle tank in the desert just outside of Las Vegas.

However, this week in Montgomery, Alabama, Biffle will reach speeds he's only dreamed about.  This Wednesday Biffle will take a ride in an F-16 fighter jet with the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard.  The flight will take place at the Montgomery Regional Airport.

"I can't wait," said Biffle. "I've talked to a couple of other drivers who have gotten the chance to fly in an F-16 and they have all said it's like nothing else.  The National Guard gave me the opportunity to drive an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank last year and that was pretty cool.  This is another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can't wait."

This weekend Biffle will reach speeds of around 190 mph at Talladega Superspeedway in his National Guard Ford Taurus.  This Wednesday, Biffle will reach mach 2 (twice the speed of sound) in the F-16, which is around 1,500 mph.  Piece of cake, right?

Actually, Biffle will undergo a physical examination prior to climbing into the F-16 just to make sure his body will hold up to the extreme conditions.  For example, when driving his National Guard Ford into the high-banks of Daytona, Biffle will experience around three-four "G's" (G-force is a measure of stress on a body during rapid acceleration).  However, the F-16 is capable of pulling nine G's without even trying and the effect of nine G's on the human body is significant.  As you pull more G's, your weight increases correspondingly and thereby, your 10 pound head will weigh 90 pounds when you reach nine G's.

If his head still fits into the helmet, Biffle will have less than 24 hours to recover before jumping into his No. 66 Ford Busch car for practice in Talladega on Thursday morning.  Adrenaline junkie or speed fanatic, whatever you want to call it, Greg Biffle is not afraid to go fast and he's got a record to prove it.

Felipe Massa at the wheel of a C24 Felipe Massa at the wheel of a C24Team Sauber Petronas started its three-day test at the Pista di Fiorano today. Felipe Massa covered 125 laps in chassis C24-05 to set a best time of 0:57.870s.  He will continue tomorrow before Jacques Villeneuve will take over to complete the test on Thursday. 

Mike Krack, Race Engineer - "Thanks to good weather conditions we were able to run quite a lot of laps today, and the fact that we used the track exclusively also helped. In the morning we evaluated several front wings and made a selection for the forthcoming races. Later during the day we ran a data validation concerning the new rear we brought to Imola last weekend. We also worked on the set-up for Monaco as well as tested brakes and suspensions for this Grand Prix.  Tomorrow Felipe will compare different rims for us and will also carry out damper and software checks." Sauber Petronas

Rain hits Williams at Silverstone Rain hits Williams at SilverstoneTeam Williams started a testing program today at Silverstone, mostly focusing on set-up work in preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix. Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia shared the driving duties. The Australian driver completed a total of 69 laps, his best in 1'23"901. Test driver Antonio Pizzonia covered a total of 42 laps, his fastest in 1'24"903.

Tim Newton, Test Team Manager - "The predicted wet weather front arrived slightly earlier than we thought it would this morning but we still managed to get a few hours of dry running. This afternoon’s session, however, was severely hampered by heavy rain showers. During the time we had on track, Mark and Antonio concentrated on wet tire testing, set-up work and systems checks. The front seems to be moving fairly quickly so we will hopefully be able to get a dry days’ running tomorrow.“

Nico Rosberg will make his debut for the team tomorrow following the announcement that the German has signed to be the team’s second official test driver. Nico will join Mark Webber for the second day of the Silverstone test. BMW WilliamsF1 Team

Raikkonen fined $40,000 Raikkonen fined $40,000Kimi Raikkonen has been fined almost $40,000 US for towing a large load with his car in his native Finland.  The McLaren driver was stopped last year after police spotted him towing a load of three snowmobiles. Under Finnish law, drivers with regular car licenses are only allowed to transport such loads for short distances. Raikkonen was planning a much longer journey.  Under Finnish law, traffic fines are proportional to a driver's income, which was reported to be close to $200,000 US at the time of the incident. TSN.ca [Editor's Note:  Just $200K salary?  A highly suspect number.]
Trans Am Driver to Join MacDonald with Team Sahlen Trans Am Driver to Join MacDonald with Team SahlenTrans Am driver Ross Thompson and co-driver Steve MacDonald will be joining Team Sahlen in the No. 43 car for the first time this season. Thompson and MacDonald will be sharing seats in this weekend's race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.    Their first time in the car will be during Friday's practice session but teammate Will Nonnamaker knows that will be plenty of time for Thompson and MacDonald to adjust to the Grand Sport (GS) class Porsche 996s.   "They are both experienced drivers and we are looking forward to having them on the team. Ross has driven this track before which will give us some good insight on our strategy for the weekend," stated Will Nonnamaker.
Industry News
China develops into fierce market China develops into fierce marketJust a year ago, China seemed like heaven for global automakers. Whopping sales increases and fat margins made life sweet.  Today, automakers are on a stomach-churning roller-coaster ride as they try to grab or retain market share amid fierce competition in the world's fastest-growing auto market.  It is Chinese car buyers who are now giddy. Auto showrooms bulge with more brands and models than ever before. Prices tumble almost monthly, quality steadily inches upward, and buyers seem to be in the catbird seat.

"This is a fantastic time to be a consumer in China," said Steven Wilhite, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co. "It is becoming a much more crowded, much more dynamic market, and it puts more pressure on us."  As tens of thousands of consumers jostle through the Shanghai 2005 auto show this week, they see dozens of new models, ranging from Chinese-made subcompacts costing less than $4,000 to Italian sports cars and British Bentleys costing a small fortune.

Yet the market seems to be evolving quickly in favor of low-priced cars, upending the list of leading automakers and giving momentum to low-cost producers. The luxury car market is still growing but not at the torrid pace of earlier years.  "In 2003, only 24 percent of cars sold in China were priced under $12,000. In 2004, it jumped to 38 percent. In '05, our projections, based on the first quarter, are close to 45 percent," said Michael Dunne of Automotive Resources Asia, a consultancy.  The best-selling car in the first months of this year, Dunne said, was the tiny Chinese-made Chery QQ subcompact, which has a base price of $3,600. "Margins on that car are closer to wood shavings than anything you could really put in your pocket," Dunne said. 

The longtime leading automaker in China, Germany's Volkswagen AG, has seen its market share drop by half since 2000. General Motors Corp. clings to the No. 2 spot with 10 percent. South Korea's Hyundai and Honda of Japan gain steadily.  China is the world's No. 3 auto market after the United States and Japan, but growth slowed suddenly last year. After sales soared 70 percent in 2003, they skidded to 15-percent growth last year. Auto sales fell 7.7 percent in the first quarter of 2005, in a year-on-year comparison, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers says.  More at Detroit Free Press

Busch team appeal rejected Busch team appeal rejectedThe National Stock Car Racing Commission has not only rejected the appeal of car owner James Finch for an illegal carburetor found during post-race inspection at Texas, they slapped on an additional $25,000 fine. NASCAR had disqualified the #1 Dodge from the Busch Series race costing the team 125-points for finishing 14th and $28,000 in prize money. Also, Crew Chief Joe Shear Jr. was suspended until May 18th. Commenting on the decision, Finch told PRN's Fast Talk with Benny Parsons radio show Monday night; "It's pretty consistent with me. The last time I appealed one it was several years ago and it was a $5,000 fine and when it was over they made it 10." Finch's main bone of contention is that NASCAR hands down the penalties AND hears appeals. "The racing is great, it always has been, I'm just saying that they need to give up part of the sport and let somebody else referee the rules. If they want to do this right, get an independent commission to make an independent hearing and make the ruling. It’s kind of like having a highway patrolman pull you over and tell you you're speeding and you say...I don't believe I am...and he says yes you are...and you say okay, I don’t believe you but I’m gonna sign the ticket. Then 30 minutes later you go to the courthouse and he's the judge. In the rule books it's all minimum fines...they don’t have any maximum fines. In the NFL it’s five yards off sides for everybody every time. In NASCAR it’s according to who you are. In baseball it’s three strikes you’re out...NASCAR it’s according to who's swingin?...just let 'em keep swingin?." PRN's Fast Talk with Benny Parsons
Racing gets better ratings on CBS Racing gets better ratings on CBSFor whatever reason, CBS gets better TV ratings for its broadcasts than ABC and NBC.  We have stated this numerous times with regard to Champ Car being on CBS.  In fact, Champ Car needs to add more races on CBS in coming years.  Further proof:

CBS Sports’ second race of its 2005 Auto Racing schedule, and first Formula One race, the GRAND PRIX OF SAN MARINO, on Sunday, April 24 (1:00-3:00 PM, ET) from Imola, Italy, earned an average overnight household rating/share of 1.4/3, up +133% vs. a rating/share of 0.6/2 for CBS Sports’ first auto race last week, the Atlanta Grand Prix – American LeMans Series.  The 1.4/3 for CBS Sports’ race on Sunday was better than three of the last four Formula One races on a broadcast network (all on ABC in 2002).
5/25/02 (3:30-5:30 PM, ET) Monaco Grand Prix 2.3/6 (Indy 500 as a lead-in)
6/9/02 (12:30-3:00 PM, ET) Canadian Grand Prix 1.2/3
9/15/02 (1:00-3:00 PM, ET) Italian Grand Prix 1.0/2
9/29/02 (1:30-4:00 PM, ET) US Grand Prix 0.9/2  CBS Sports

Renault's RS25 engine achieved a milestone Renault's RS25 engine achieved a milestoneRob White, Renault F1 Team’s Engine Technical Director, explains the RS25 V10’s historic achievement last Sunday in Imola. 

Rob, Fernando’s RS25 became the first modern era F1 engine to win two races on Sunday – how did that accomplishment feel?
"I was tremendously proud to see the RS25 take its second consecutive win, in difficult circumstances. A result like this is a fantastic reward for all the people back at the factory who have invested so much time, and so much of themselves, to achieve this kind of performance. But as we always say, it is whole car performance that counts – not just one element. We have produced a balanced package this season, exploited it well at the track and the drivers have put it to fantastic use."

Fernando’s race was run with one eye on preserving the engine – can you explain?
"As we have said before, running an F1 engine for two consecutive weekends is a considerable challenge, and one we managed to meet in Imola. We assessed the risks involved for Fernando’s engine through the weekend, established a plan for how to run, and then stuck to it. We knew how we needed to use the engine, and Fernando and the engineers did a fantastic job to win the race while controlling any potential problems. The management of the two weekend engine cycle is still very much a learning process, and it is pleasing to have anticipated and implemented the correct solutions."

Finally, both drivers will use a B spec engine in Barcelona after it debuted in Imola – how did that go?
"We were pleased to have been able to introduce the B spec engine early after a great effort from all the team to approve and build a unit for Giancarlo in time for Imola. The weekend was incident free for the unit, although Fisico’s race was of course marred by other troubles; we are looking forward to seeing both drivers get their hands on the new specification in Barcelona and having the opportunity to show its full potential." Renault F1 Team

Alex Trotman dies Alex Trotman diesAlex J. Trotman, former chairman and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company who brought them into F1 in a big way, passed away today after a brief illness. He was 71 years old. Trotman worked for Ford for 43 years serving in a variety of positions throughout Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. He held the top post from November 1993 until his retirement in December 1998.   The following statement can be attributed to current chairman and chief executive officer, William Clay Ford, Jr.:  “Alex was a great friend, colleague and leader of the extended family of Ford employees around the world. He was the driving force behind a vast array of visionary changes in Ford Motor Company's global management
Gordon looking to eclipse Foyt and Mears Gordon looking to eclipse Foyt and MearsJeff Gordon is scheduled to begin preparations today for what could be a historic victory in August at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The four-time Brickyard 400 champion is representing Chevrolet in a closed two-day tire test at the Speedway. He'll be joined by Ryan Newman (Dodge) and Matt Kenseth (Ford) as Goodyear checks to see how its new, softer tire compounds fare on Indy's newly paved surface.

Gordon joined A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears in the record book as four-time race winners at the Speedway by holding off two-time winner Dale Jarrett last year. Gordon, a former Pittsboro, Ind., resident, will get his first shot at a milestone fifth win when NASCAR returns to Indianapolis for the 12th time on Aug. 7.

All the teams can be expected to test at the Speedway either before or after the Nextel Cup race July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. The sessions are scheduled July 5-6 and 11-12.

Rain is in the forecast for today, which could disrupt a test already postponed once. It was pushed back to allow for grinding of the track after a Firestone test in preparation for the Indianapolis 500 produced unusual tire wear. A subsequent Firestone test indicated the grinding had done its job. Indy Star

PPIR sponsor returns for NASCAR PPIR sponsor returns for NASCARPikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR) announced on April 12, 2005 that ITT Industries, Systems Division and Goulds Pumps have signed on as the title sponsors of the NASCAR Busch Series Race. The official title of the event will be the “ITT Industries, Systems Division and Goulds Pumps Salute to the Troops 250 presented by Dodge.”

“I can’t tell you how excited we are to have ITT Industries, Systems Division and Goulds Pumps back as the title sponsors for our NASCAR Busch Series event,” said PPIR President Rob Johnson. “This sponsorship is the perfect fit for our largest race weekend of the year as we once again pay tribute to the troops. We certainly hope to build upon this relationship for years to come.”

"We are proud to be associated with NASCAR," said Douglas Bingler, President, ITT Water Technology, Inc. "Being sponsors furthers our commitment to this magnificent sport keenly enjoyed both by our customers and employees."

Hyatt becomes official partner with Porsche Hyatt becomes official partner with PorscheHyatt Corporation announced that it has entered into a strategic marketing partnership with Porsche . Under the unprecedented agreement between the two premier brands, Hyatt becomes an official partner of Porsche Motorsport; plus, Porsche and Hyatt will collaborate on brand marketing programs. According to the three-year agreement, marketing activities will begin in the USA and Germany in 2005, and be expanded worldwide in future years.

Hyatt and Porsche share a commitment to excellence. Both have a history of design leadership at the forefront of their respective industries. The two brands share a discerning clientele of accomplished individuals around the world.

"Porsche Motorsport has a heritage of design and performance that relates well to Hyatt," said Thomas F. O`Toole, senior vice president of strategy and systems for Hyatt. "We are enthusiastic about and committed to our new partnership with Porsche." "We find that Porsche and Hyatt fit together perfectly in their commitment to quality as well as market positioning in the luxury segment," said Hartmut Kristen, Porsche’s worldwide director of motorsport. "For us, Hyatt is an important partner; we see huge potential here for the future."

With the new partnership, Hyatt becomes a prominent sponsor of the Porsche factory racing effort, the Alex Job racing team, in the American LeMans Series. The American LeMans Series is the premier sportscar road racing series in North America, running 10 races in 2005. Television broadcasts of the ALMS, on CBS and Speed Channel, attract a top-level demographic audience. Plus, Hyatt has also become the preferred series sponsor of the Porsche Michelin Supercup. The Porsche Michelin Supercup is a world-class racing series run in conjunction with Formula 1 races at nine events (eight in Europe and one in the USA). Hyatt brand identification will appear on all cars running in the race series.

The new partnership also includes joint marketing activities of Hyatt and Porsche. The two companies have planned a series of initiatives and opportunities for joint brand communication and marketing to their respective customers and prospects. Overall, Hyatt and Porsche will work together worldwide to further and enhance their respective brand positions and business growth.

Champ Car take note Champ Car take noteUPDATE #2 A reader adds, To further solidify the point, it is my opinion that most Champ Car fans are not even satisfied with the current chassis and engine combination. We continually hear the comments: it's too HEAVY, too wide, not enough power, clumsy on the streets, doesn't sound that inspiring anymore, etc. Most of us have been very understanding of the current and past economic hardships with the series and, thus, have taken more of a "I guess it will have to do for now" attitude towards the current chassis. I have become a strong supporter over the past few years of maintaining the newly implemented "spec series" aspect of the championship with the chassis and engine, as it solely puts the performance of the car in the hands of the specific driver and team, while, in my opinion, truly does make Champ Car the real world driver/team championship. Yet, I cannot deny the fact that the series has definitely lost that so-called "sex appeal" during this time. This is not due to the fact that series has become a "spec series," but more specifically due to the uninspiring nature of the current chassis and engine, especially compared to F1. Furthermore, it is my opinion that it is this exact loss of "sex appeal" from the current chassis/engine that has strongly contributed to "loss of respect" from the other top open-wheel formula, the world-wide community, and the "ho hum" reaction from new spectators. That being said, it is imperative that Champ Car get the new chassis/engine right......and that unequivocally begins with making the new chassis significantly LIGHTER and smaller. Second on the list, we need more revs and power back in the engine. The rest of the details are not as significant, but those two are absolutely imperative if Champ Car is to begin to finally get back its "sex appeal." Derek Hughes, Cincinnati, OH .

Dear Derek, A fan uses two senses at a race track - eyesight and hearing, to take in the experience. The cars have to look fast with bright colors, and they have to sound exciting. A lighter colored car will look faster and teams with dull and drab paint schemes have to get a clue, hire a graphic artists and make their cars look better. The dull paint schemes play terrible on TV too. We are happy to see that Rocketsports got rid of their drab dark blue cars. Timo Glock's bright yellow and red car is much better, but Ryan Hunter-Reay's car is still too drab. Ditto for other cars on the grid. As for the sound, the scream of an F1 engine mesmerizes race fans, unfortunately Champ Car is stuck with a car with a muffler (the turbo) so it will never make the impression a F1 car does, but at least it's not horrible sounding like its man competitor. Mark C.

04/25/05 Another reader adds, The previous writer is only partially correct, the sound of an F1 car is awesome. The racing is still lacking in consistent excitement. Yesterday's F1 race was one of maybe two good races they will have this year, only 1-2 on any given year, while in Champ Car every race has the possibility to be great. Do the Champ Cars need to be revamped-yes. I still likes Mark C's idea for something similar to the Superfund car. But having been to at least 1 race a year at several different venues since 1993- I believe Champ Car is still one the best series in the world. Brian Kellione Colorado Springs, CO. Dear Brian, Right now Champ Car is essentially a spec series, like Skip Barber, Toyota Atlantic, etc. so the racing is bound to be consistently better than F1, which is fairly close given the open rules. If the next generation Champ Car is opened up to multiple chassis and engine manufacturers the paddock will get the infusion of cash it badly needs, but the racing will suffer somewhat due to disparity in designs. The current Champ Car is decent, but if a compromise is reached with the IRL whereby the equipment looks, sounds and performs like an IRL car, Champ Car will be in trouble. If Americans prefer a Champ Car over an IRL car, how can one expect fans in others countries to accept something like this when they were born and bred on F1? Because Champ Car has the opportunity to become a true international sports property it must be careful that its product satisfies its customers needs. Mark C. 04/25/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am glad that Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi were in Imola to see the F1 race this weekend. What a great race between two of the best drivers of our era. I hope they took note of what a proper open wheel race car should be. The F1 cars are so fast and the engines sound so good it's exciting to watch. Compare this to America's version of an open wheel race car - slow, clumsy looking and dumbed down. Open wheel racing in America is dead if Champ Car ever adopts the specs of an IRL Crapwagon. How does Champ Car sell their product to a worldwide audience if they are selling Crapwagons against the F1 product? Ken Johnson, San Francisco, CA. Dear Ken, Fair statement, and Champ Car has the opportunity to get it right with its next generation car in 2007, but it must do it while controlling costs. The one disadvantage to a merger with the IRL is the need to compromise on the car to appease the IRL. The IRL is selling a product to the USA while Champ Car is selling a product to the worldwide market. It must be very careful not to adopt a car (product) the consumer (race fans) are not interested in. We see that mistake with the Grand-Am where the consumer has flatly rejected the dumbed-down product. We here at AutoRacing1.com are of the opinion that if the IRL and Champ Car do merge they can both benefit from a car that looks and sounds as exciting as an F1 car but at a lower cost (through standardization). Mark C.
40 Years at the 500 40 Years at the 500The first Indianapolis 500 to be broadcast was in 1965, when Scottish driver Jim Clark captured the win. However, viewers didn't get to see the tape-delayed victory until six days later when the ABC Television Network rebroadcast it as part of its Wide World of Sports series. ABC was the first to broadcast the Indy 500 and has covered the event live since 1985. This year marks 40 years of ABC coverage of the race, the second-longest broadcast partnership in sports history.

And in its 40th year of that partnership, the ABC team, now prepping for the big weekend, says it plans to deliver unparalleled race coverage. "When you are partners with someone for 40 years, a special relationship develops," says ABC Sports Coordinating Producer Curt Gowdy Jr. " We want to bring our viewers as close to Indy 500 experience as possible."

So what's the new hardware backing up that promise? More than a dozen new technical applications, says Curt, including a dozen new cameras that will offer critical visuals during stops, pre-race festivities and yellow flags. "This year, we will have the most impressive, unique camera angles ever at the 500 with close to 70 cameras covering the race," says Curt.  The 88th Indianapolis 500 airs live on Sunday, May 30. ABC begins its coverage with the pre-race at 11 a.m., ET, followed by the main race at noon, ET.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari test tactic slammed
F1 testing
Rivals 'paranoid' - Todt
Pained five form a queue
Schu can stay in scarlet
Sauber gave JV 'freedom'
Red 'warning' - Alonso
'Festival of Speed'
'Our car was fantastic' 'Our car was fantastic'It is not necessary to win to be a winner. The truth of this sentiment was proved once again at Imola yesterday. Although Michael ended the race in second place and Alonso consolidated his position at the top of the leader board, Michael celebrated as if he had won the San Marino GP.

The main reason for this is the knowledge that "we will get back to being at the top. The race at Imola has given us courage and hope for the upcoming races." Michael's views immediately after the race were not all upbeat as there was some regret on having missed out on victory: "I don't even want to get onto thinking about what could have been had I not made the mistake in qualifying in the morning," reflected the World Champion.

Later that evening though, there was only joy. "Even I was surprised at how fast I was able to overtake Jenson. If I had been able to get past him sooner I might have had an even better chance of winning. Also, the three second gap from Alonso could have been made up if I had started higher up the grid. This all means that our car was fantastic. All the talk related to the performance of our tires should, without a doubt, end here. We are very well set for the next race. I enjoyed the battle with Alonso very much and I can't wait for the next challenge."
The seven time World Champion only just missed out on victory from thirteenth place on the grid. He added: "it is always great seeing how Ferrari reacts in difficult situations. They remain calm and concentrates on the important things without ever compromising the creativity. They work as hard as ever. What the team has managed to achieve in three weeks is surprising. They have all worked day and night. This is how the result at Imola was obtained. I would like to thank each and every one of them and I am pleased that I was able to pay them back with a good performance. Now though, we should not relax. I hope to claim our first win soon." Michael will test at Mugello, as planned, on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday he will appear at a PR day for Vodafone. Ferrari Press

Behind the scenes at the San Marino GP Behind the scenes at the San Marino GPTonio Liuzzi moved up the results sheet of the San Marino Grand Prix an hour or so after the checkered flag had fallen in Imola. The Race Stewards imposed a 25 second penalty on Ralf Schumacher for dangerous driving in the pit lane. The Toyota man barged his way in front of Williams driver Nick Heidfeld in what was deemed a dangerous manner.

So Heidfeld goes up a place to eighth, his team-mate Mark Webber is ninth and Red Bull Racing’s Liuzzi is currently tenth. But Tonio should not get too excited as the Toyota team has appealed against Ralf’s penalty and now we have to wait for the result of a hearing, although no date for this has yet to be announced.

The Imola circuit facilities are primitive and out-dated and squeezing all the team trucks and vehicles into the paddock is a tricky task, especially with the arrival of the new supersized motorhomes like the McLaren glass palace and Red Bull Racing’s Energy Station. But now come rumors that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has signed a new deal with the circuit to host the Grand Prix for a further five years, with US$13 million being spent on upgrading the facilities.

Trucks and motorhomes were not the only vehicles making their return to the F1 scene for the first race in Europe as all the teams provide their drivers with two-wheeled transport to beat the traffic. But while most of the F1 stars get “girlie” scooters to run around on, the Red Bull Racing boys had huge KTM enduro bikes to play with. Watching Klien and Liuzzi leave the paddock, it’s obvious they won’t be needing new front tires very often as the two boys seemed to spend most of their time on just the back wheel! Quite how the diminutive Christian actually gets on the saddle of his machine which is the height of a small house remains a mystery.
The Austrian driver discovered there are some advantages to the role of “third driver.” Once his work was over on Friday night, he realized he was free to attend all the late night Red Bull parties, while Tonio and David were safely tucked up in bed.

The FIA decided to drug-test all the drivers this weekend and first man on the list was Jordan’s third driver, Robert Doornbos. Unfortunately, the Dutchman had been to the toilet shortly before the test and was unable to provide the necessary sample. The FIA would not change the running order, so the other drivers, who had all sensibly drunk plenty of water were left hopping around with agonized looks on their faces.

The crowd was not particularly big in Imola, but it was certainly witty. With Montoya missing from a second race because of his shoulder injury, allegedly sustained playing tennis, some of the fans hung a banner over the fence with the message: “Montoya, see you at Wimbledon.” Red Bull Racing

Ethanol Indy racing heads for Japan Ethanol Indy racing heads for JapanPaul Dana, pilot of the #91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Firestone powered by Toyota, will make his first trip to Japan to run in the Indy Japan 300 on Saturday, April 30, at Twin Ring Motegi.  Dana, who will make his third start in the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, and the Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing team have spent a great deal of time in the team's facility on Gasoline Alley in Indianapolis since his last start in Phoenix.  The team has made several  changes to the No. 91 car, including replacing a defective shock, which may have contributed to problems for Dana during the Phoenix race.  Additionally, the team has added long-time Dana confidant John Walko to the mix.  Walko, who was Dana's race engineer for his Formula 2000 campaign, will be Dana's new spotter, beginning with the Japan race.  "We've made some real progress since Phoenix," Dana said.  "With the advancements we made over the past few weeks and having John Walko on board, we know we can be in the hunt in Motegi and we are looking forward to being competitive."  Dana sees the 1.5-mile high-banked oval at Motegi as similar to the Gateway facility outside his hometown, of St. Louis, Mo.  He knows there can be wide open racing in Turns 1 and 2 but he will have to do some solid driving to stay in the hunt through the tight turns in 3 and 4.  My brother, Greg, spotted for Adrian Fernandez when he won there in 1999. He has given me some great information to help me prepare, and he says the place is amazing, almost like a cathedral to motorsports."
Creative accounting Creative accountingThe IRL is reporting in this Joyce Julius report (PDF File) that the IRL's attendance for this year's Phoenix race was 32,000.  Imagine that!  The reports out of Phoenix were a bit over 8,000 so it appears someone is doing some creative manipulations of the numbers to make it appear like the sponsors are getting more value than they are.
New San Jose circuit takes shape New San Jose circuit takes shapeConstruction is underway on the new “Cityscape” circuit for the inaugural San Jose Grand Prix set for July 29-31, 2005 on the streets of downtown San Jose, CA. Construction plans for the new circuit, which was approved by the San Jose City Council on April 1, include street repairs and improvements, which are scheduled to be concluded by the end of May. Final lead-up modifications to the streets, including the removal of obstructions, such as street lights, etc., will take place in late June. The track infrastructure, which includes the laying of block and fencing, grandstand and viewing area construction and tenting, will begin on July 1.

“The development and construction of the new San Jose Grand Prix Cityscape circuit is going very well,” said San Jose Grand Prix Vice President and General Manager Bob Singleton. “The City of San Jose and our contractors have done a tremendous job organizing and coordinating the work,” he noted.

The new track, which was recently redesigned and moved to the heart of downtown San Jose, is 1.6-miles long with 11 turns including a “hairpin” turn and several long straight-aways. The start/finish line is on Almaden Blvd. directly in front of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. The circuit then quickly enters the first chicane and continues down the other side of Almaden, which is the longest straightaway on the circuit. At the end of Almaden Blvd. there is a 180 degree (hairpin turn), which sends the cars back down Almaden. The track then goes left on Park Ave., up a straightaway and enters the second chicane just before going right on South Market St. Competitors will run in front of Cesar Chavez Park on South Market then enter into the third chicane before going right on Balbach St. They will proceed down Balbach, another straightaway, before going right, back onto Almaden Blvd.

“We are very excited about the new Cityscape circuit,” said Singleton. “We feel that the new layout for the track is a better setting for the race because it is aesthetically more pleasing and highlights more of downtown San Jose. It will also make for a better race because the course will be longer thus adding several additional passing areas and will give race fans more and better viewing areas. Another major factor in the decision to move the circuit was that we will have an expanded pit lane area, which in the ensuing years will allow for a greater number of cars to compete in the race.”

The historic inaugural San Jose Grand Prix, which will be northern California’s first downtown street race, will consist of three days of practice, qualifying and racing plus drifting exhibitions, autograph sessions, a Fanfest and Fan Forum. In addition to the Champ Car World Series race, set for Sunday, July 31 at 2:00 p.m., the weekend will feature Toyota Atlantic and Trans-Am Road Racing contests. Event organizers have also reached agreement with the U. S. Touring Car Championship Series and the Historic Stock Cars to hold races thus providing a full and exciting weekend for northern California race fans.

The inaugural San Jose Grand Prix, which is the eighth stop on the 2005 Bridgestone Present The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule, will not be confined to activities at the track. In addition to practice, qualifying and races for all five series, the schedule calls for a week of activities in downtown San Jose including music, fairs, charity events and promotional activities. Also on the schedule are the Champ Car Fan Appreciation All-Driver autograph session on Friday, July 29 at 4:00 p.m., which is open to the public, three “drifting” exhibitions (Friday, July 29 at 4:45 p.m.; Saturday, July 30 at 9:30 a.m. and Sunday, July 31 at 12:15 p.m.) plus the finals of the Miss San Jose Grand Prix Contest on Saturday, July 29. Sunday, July 31 will be highlighted by the main event, the Champ Car race at 2:00 p.m., which features some of the greatest drivers in the world piloting cars that will approach speeds of 180 mph. The week long festival is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of fans to northern California’s largest city and become a mainstay on the Champ Car World Series calendar.

Tickets for the San Jose Grand Prix are on sale now and can be purchased through ticketmaster (call: 408-998-tixs or 510-625-tixs or 415-421-tixs). Ticket plans range from a single day general admission price of $25 on Friday to $150 for a three-day Gold Grandstand seat which includes a paddock pass. Corporate and group discount rates are also available. For corporate sponsorships, hospitality and group tickets call: 408-277-9470.

HVM engineer to PKV Racing HVM engineer to PKV RacingTom Brown found success with Emerson Fittipaldi before helping make a winner out of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mario Dominguez. And PKV Racing has hired the veteran engineer to put Cristiano da Matta back in victory lane.  Brown starts today with PKV after a long run with HVM, which used to be Herdez and began as Bettenhausen Racing.

"I'm excited about the possibilities and I'm looking forward to working with Jim McGee, Jimmy (Vasser) and Cristiano," said Brown, who replaces Steve Challis as da Matta's engineer. "They've got a lot of good people and their desire is to win and that's what it's all about.  I've never met Cristiano but it should be interesting and, obviously, he's a good racer with an excellent reputation. He's one of those guys who always seems to have the bit between his teeth." ChampCar.ws

Marco will race at Milwaukee Mile Marco will race at Milwaukee MileThird-generation driver Marco Andretti will compete at The Milwaukee Mile in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ 100-mile race on Sunday, July 24.  He follows father Michael and grandfather Mario, both winners in Indy cars at the historic speedway.

The Milwaukee 100 is one of six series races in 2005 the 18 year-old Andretti will compete in.  He won his series debut April 3 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg driving the for his father’s Andretti/Green Racing team.

“This is a great opportunity for Marco and exciting for the whole family,” Michael Andretti said. “He was so impressive with the way that he raced in St. Petersburg with all the pressure and expectations that were on him. I just think it’s good for him to get as much experience as he can right now, and running five different courses like this over the rest of the season in these cars is going to be really good for him.”

Andretti will also compete in two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one on the 2.5 mile oval on the Indianapolis 500 weekend, and on the speedway’s road course in conjunction with the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix event.  Added to the budding star’s schedule are the road course events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

“Obviously, I’m pretty excited about everything,” said Andretti, who will graduate from high school next month. “Getting the opportunity to run at Indy twice in a month is pretty unbelievable. I don’t think any of us really expected St. Pete to go as well as it did for us, but it did, so I’m glad we’re going to get a chance to get back out there this year and try to do it again.” Milwaukee Mile

Bernie wants more from Schumacher Bernie wants more from SchumacherSeven-time champion Michael Schumacher should do more to promote Formula One along with other drivers, Bernie Ecclestone (right) told The Independent newspaper. "The drivers don't give the public a fair shake," the 74-year-old told the paper. "They're taking a lot of money out of the business, and I'm delighted for them, but it would be nice if they signed a few more autographs, gave a few more interviews. Schu is a culprit. I think he does an interview with himself, and if someone wants an interview he just plays them the tape. He's a very nice person, but people don't understand him because they can't get close enough.

"Drivers who were more outspoken, like Eddie Irvine and Jacques Villeneuve, were good for the media, and good for us. But now, if drivers say something a bit borderline, the team owner screams at him, so nobody says anything. In the 1970's the guys didn't give a damn what they said and did."

Ecclestone believes that the threatened breakaway championship by the manufacturers who formed the GPWC group will never happen. "I don't think it will happen, and I don't think they even want it to happen. You know we never invited the manufacturers into Formula One. They saw it as a showcase, like an enormous car showroom for them to sell their products, and the way they are acting at the moment they're dirtying the glass, so people can't see in. Unfortunately these people have the mentality that 90percent of 50 is better than 70percent of 100. It all stems from the fact that their arithmetic is not very good."

As for the rumor bandied about that Ecclestone was the brains behind the 1963 Great Train Robbery in England which yielded 2.5 million pounds - "There wasn't enough money on that train. I could have done something better than that. No that rumor came from the fact Roy James, the guy who drove the getaway car (he received a 30 year jail sentence), had been a racing driver.

"That's why they wanted him in the getaway car. Anyway, Roy was very friendly with Graham Hill, and when he came out of prison, he asked me for a job. I owned Brabham at the time, but I wasn't going to let him drive for me. Instead, I gave him a trophy to make; he'd also been a silversmith and a goldsmith. That's still the trophy we give to the promoters each year. He made it. The recipients don't realize that."

Ralf pans Ferrari Ralf pans FerrariRalf Schumacher has accused Ferrari of putting their own interests ahead of the future of Formula One by not agreeing to restrict testing during the season. "What Ferrari are doing is unfair to everyone else," Toyota driver Schumacher told Germany's RTL television network. "We restrict ourselves and Ferrari carry on testing happily. I don't understand this at all.  "We at Toyota and maybe the other eight teams could also test but we adhere to the rules. We're interested in Formula One carrying on for a long time, while Ferrari are not. That's not the right way."
Industry News
More bad news for Detroit More bad news for DetroitThe bug afflicting Detroit's automotive industry is infecting even the healthiest companies now. Auto supplier Lear Corp. on Friday said it is planning an aggressive cost-cutting strategy, which includes moving manufacturing and engineering work to low-cost countries, after it posted a $75.8-million decline in profits during the first quarter of the year. The auto industry's largest interior supplier, which makes seats, electronics and other parts found inside cars and trucks, was blindsided by a industry wide drop in truck demand. Southfield-based Lear has 280 facilities worldwide, employing 110,000 workers. In Michigan, Lear is the seventh-largest publicly traded company and employs 9,403 workers. That includes 5,654 hourly workers in at least 15 plants and distribution centers from Detroit to Grand Rapids. While big auto suppliers like Visteon Corp. and Delphi Corp. have struggled for years, Lear has been considered one of the region's healthier companies. It reported a net profit of $422.2 million, or $5.77 per share, on revenue of $17.0 billion in 2004. Detroit Free Press [Editor's Note: In a decade its quite possible 100% of automobile jobs in the USA will be off-shored. USA workers get paid a lot more money that workers in say, China, and the health insurance costs that the companies are paying USA workers is bankrupting them. If we were a worker in the automobile industry in the USA we would be worried about our job future.]
Loss of Champ Car race hurts town Loss of Champ Car race hurts townLocal business owners say the loss of two major public events this summer will be a serious bump in the road here. But tourism officials are downplaying the impact. The Elkhart Lake International Triathlon, usually held in mid-June, was canceled earlier this month. The Champ Car race at nearby Road America, an annual August fixture won’t take place for the first time since 1982.

Road America and the open-wheel racing group were unable to come to an agreement for a 2005 race. “I would say that race was worth close to $100,000 to us,” said Judy Salzwedel, owner of the Victorian Village resort. Joe Baker, co-owner of McGinley and Baker, a flower and gift shop, said his business had catered to the event. “We always do the floral arrangements for the hospitality tents, so it’s a tremendous loss,” he said. “Thousands of people some into town for those weekends. It’s not just us. It’s the entire community and the entire county that’s affected.”

But George Bruggenthies, president and general manager of Road America, said the race’s economic impact has declined over the years, and other races have made up the difference. “I don’t think there’s any impact from the loss of that race to the community with the growth of the rest of our schedule,” he said. Post-Crescent [Editor's Note: Road America is in serious need of a Bruton Smith caliber promoter who has deep pockets and is willing to spend what it takes on Road America both in the way of fan amenities and proper race promotion to make big-time racing a success at the facility. We saw what Smith did to Sears Point (Infineon Raceway) where he took a run-down remote race track and turned it into a state-of-the-art road course. SMI knows how to promote races and it's a terrible shame to see Road America without its traditional Champ Car race.]

All Toyota Atlantic races get radio broadcast All Toyota Atlantic races get radio broadcastAll 12 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama events this season will once again be aired to U.S. service men and women around the globe through the official broadcast outlet of the U. S. Military – the American Forces Network (AFN).

For the third consecutive year, the full season of Atlantic competition will be carried by AFN as it airs the complete one-hour SPEED Channel broadcast of each 2005 Atlantic race, produced by Mullin Production Group. Broadcast times will vary from race-to-race but each event will be aired in all 133 countries where the AFN signal brings world-class sports programming to U.S. troops around the world. U.S. ships at sea will also be able to watch races all season long though AFN.

“We’re very happy to renew our partnership with the American Forces Network,” said Vicki O’Connor, Managing Director of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. “These men and women work so hard and are the real heroes and we’re just happy that our racing can provide some enjoyment and entertainment while they’re away from home doing their jobs.”

U.S. Armed Forces were able to enjoy the wheel-to-wheel racing of the 2005 season-opening race in Long Beach in early April as Katherine Legge captured a historic victory and the troops are already looking forward to Round 2 of the Atlantic series to be run on May 22 in Monterrey, Mexico (tape-delayed U.S. broadcast on SPEED Channel - Saturday, May 28 at 2 p.m. ET).

"The popularity of open-wheel racing continues to expand within our Armed Forces," said Tim Mattox, Chief of Sports for the AFN Broadcast Center. "The AFN audience is as diversified as the fan base for the Toyota Atlantic Championship and just like stateside fans, our men and women in camouflage look forward to the speed and excitement of wheel-to-wheel racing. The only difference is that the time may be four in the morning where they are, and they may be below decks on a ship, in a 32' by 16' viewing tent or maybe sitting on an ammo can, outside a chow hall, in the desert. But most importantly, it's their opportunity to be trackside, if only for a short period of time."    For more information on the American Forces Network and to check updated broadcast dates and times, visit www.myafn.net.

FIA to appeal BAR ruling FIA to appeal BAR rulingUPDATE Our sources in Europe are telling us that the underweight BAR issue is deeper than most realize and to expect BAR to lose this battle with the FIA.  Due to confidentiality reasons our source could not say more, just to expect BAR to lose and Button to lose his podium from Imola.  Stay tuned..... 04/25/05 The FIA will appeal Imola stewards' decision to 'take no further action' about Jenson Button's allegedly illegal BAR.  In post-race scrutineering, the vastly improved '007' racer was found - when drained of fuel - to be under the minimum 605kg weight.  Paris' International Court of Appeal will hear the case on May 4, a statement said.  The use of fuel as ballast is illegal, but the stewards are believed to have ruled mainly on the basis of BAR representatives' explanation. GMMF1
Update on Bill Davis Racing/Dodge lawsuit Update on Bill Davis Racing/Dodge lawsuitBill Davis Racing/Dodge Lawsuits: A decision in the DaimlerChrylser/Bill Davis Racing legal battle, now almost two years old, could be on the horizon. Federal district court judge George Steeth is currently scheduled May 9 to hear a motion by DaimlerChrylser for partial summary judgment and a motion by BDR for summary judgment. The case stems from DaimlerChrysler dropping its factory support of BDR's Dodge team in the Cup series. Chrysler sued BDR in Michigan state court May 2003, alleging breach of contract for helping Toyota with development of its NASCAR truck program. After getting the case moved to federal court, BDR counter sued, claiming DC had no basis for unilaterally voiding the contract, which was to have run through the 2006 season according to court documents. Chrysler alleges that BDR helping Toyota, which is not racing in the Cup series, violated a contract clause prohibiting teams from aiding a Dodge racing rival because the clause extends to any NASCAR series. In briefs filed for the upcoming hearing, DC alleges that BDR helped launch Toyota's truck development program in High Point in April 2002 and that employees from BDR's Dodge teams were active in the development work, including a BDR engineer garbed in a Toyota shirt at wind tunnel and track tests. DC also alleges that BDR supplied Toyota with Cup engine information which DC claims was to have been for a possible try at Cup racing in 2005.  In the filings, BDR claims that the non-compete clause applies only to the open promotion of a Dodge rival, and that BDR employees in Toyota shirts at development tests did not violate the clause because they would not be recognized as being affiliated with a Dodge team by the general public. DC argues that BDR violated the promotion clause by building show trucks for display at an auto show and Daytona International Speedway in February 2003 in conjunction for Toyotas announcement that it was entering the truck series in 2004. BDR alleges building the show trucks was not a violation because there was no general perception that a Dodge affiliated team built the truck. BDR also argues that its fielding Toyotas in the truck series should be disregarded because that came after its Dodge support was withdrawn. High Point Enterprise
Johnson wins 1st Qtr. Driver of Year Johnson wins 1st Qtr. Driver of YearJohnson wins 1st Qtr Driver of the Year: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Speed Channel Driver of the Year first quarter, 2005. The voting saw six drivers earning first place ballots, but Johnson had the most with six. With 93 points beat the Indy Racing League’s Dan Wheldon (at 86), and Nextel Cup runner-up Greg Biffle (74). Four-time series champion and four-time Driver of the Year, Jeff Gordon had three first-place votes he earned 49 points. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Steve Kinser, with one first-place votes in the World of Outlaws series. Sebastien Bourdais, the defending Champ Car World Series champ was sixth. Noteworthy; Kevin Harvick racing in both the Nextel Cup and Busch series won the fan vote, and Carl Edwards who also drove in both series was second. Gordon was third.. More than 32,000 fans clicked their votes on the www.SpeedTV.com website. In its’ 39th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV. President of the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida. Speed Channel
Shanghai MotoGP race gets sponsor Shanghai MotoGP race gets sponsorSportsbusiness.com reports that the title sponsorship of the first ever MotoGP event in China, which will take place in Shanghai on May 1, has been handed to taobao.com, a Chinese e-commerce website.   Taobao.com was started in July 2003 and is now the leading e-commerce trade platform in China.  The website operation has signed a one-year agreement to become the title sponsor of the race in Shanghai on May 1, which will be named Taobao.com Grand Prix of China.  The agreement includes a strategic cooperative partnership with Shanghai International Circuit. This involves taobao.com becoming the exclusive Internet auction platform for the circuit.
Race route means uprooting Race route means uprootingThe San Jose Grand Prix is three months away, but it's already claimed its first casualty: a 30-year-old carob tree.  The tree, with its gnarly trunk and full canopy of leaves, is on the north side of Park Avenue, just across from Plaza de Cesar Chavez. That was fine for decades, but now it's right on the route where open-wheel cars will be whizzing by on July 31 at speeds close to 70 mph as drivers downshift for the turn onto Market Street.  And that means it'll soon face the ax.  ``I guess the reason they do not want it there is it does drop pods onto the surface and it could present a problem,'' city arborist Ralph Mize said Friday.  A standard notice of removal was posted on the tree April 5, but Mize said no one contacted the city during the one-week complaint period.  Carob trees were popular during the 1970s, Mize said, but fell out of favor because they required significant maintenance on low-lying branches to keep the required 8-foot clearance over the sidewalk and 13-foot clearance over the street.  By race day, a replacement tree should be in the carob's spot, Mize said. It'll be a thornless honey locust -- the same species that lines the rest of the block.  A map of the grand prix course appeared to indicate it might require the cutting down of at least two stately palms on Almaden Boulevard just south of West Santa Clara Street. But Deputy Planning Director Joseph Horwedel said the route will be able to pass through an existing gap created when three trees were removed years ago. San Jose Mercury News
BAR Honda surprised by FIA appeal BAR Honda surprised by FIA appealAt 11.33am UK BST this morning (CET-1), B·A·R Honda received a faxed communication from the Secretary General of the FIA (Sport) confirming that the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) is to lodge an appeal against decision number 49 of the Stewards following yesterday's San Marino Grand Prix in Imola.

In accordance with standard procedure, the FIA scrutineers all cars which have completed the race, which involves weighing and measuring the car, as well as performing random checks.  During scrutineering of the B·A·R Honda 007-04 race car (entry number car 3) driven by Jenson Button, the FIA requested that the car be measured and weighed to ensure its compliance with the FIA Technical Regulations. The car was found to be compliant with all the regulations, including being above the weight limit.

Thereafter, the FIA decided to perform a further check and requested that the team drain the fuel tank and then siphon out all the residual fuel remaining in the system.  Once this had been completed, they determined that the car was below the required minimum weight. 

The FIA invited B·A·R Honda to explain their position and the team was able to demonstrate, using its own data and data gathered by the investigating stewards, that the car was above minimum weight at all times during the race. 

Late last night, at the Imola circuit, the stewards confirmed that they were satisfied with the factual data supplied by the team. This confirmation was presented to the B·A·R Honda team by the stewards in the form of a signed document entitled decision number 49.

B·A·R Honda is therefore surprised that the FIA has decided to appeal against decision number 49, which was taken by FIA-appointed stewards. 

The FIA has requested an appeal hearing at the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris on Wednesday 4 May 2005. The team will of course co-operate fully with this request. 

B·A·R Honda Chief Executive Nick Fry said "B·A·R Honda will provide the same rigorous data presented to the stewards last night and is confident that it can prove once again that the car was fully compliant with the FIA Technical Regulations throughout the San Marino Grand Prix." BAR Honda

Schumacher fastest by a wide margin Schumacher fastest by a wide marginFerrari is back!  The fastest laps from Sunday's San Marino GP indicate that Ferrari on Bridgestone rubber was comfortably faster than all the Michelin runners.
Imola - fastest laps in the race :
1. Michael Schumacher - Ferrari - 1'21.858 - lap 48
2. Jenson Button - BAR Honda - 1'22.604 - lap 22
3. Alexander Wurz - McLaren Mercedes - 1'23.023 - lap 24
4. Fernando Alonso - Renault - 1'23.133 - lap 22
5. Kimi Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes - 1'23.296 - lap 8
6. Takuma Sato - BAR Honda - 1'23.368 - lap 23
7. Tonio Liuzzi - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'23.488 - lap 46
8. Felipe Massa - Sauber Petronas - 1'23.602 - lap 37
9. Nick Heidfeld - Williams BMW - 1'23.917 - lap 54
10. Jacques Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas - 1'24.017 - lap 45
11. Jarno Trulli - Toyota - 1'24.022 - lap 44
12. Narain Karthikeyan - Jordan Toyota - 1'24.094 - lap 20
13. Ralf Schumacher - Toyota - 1'24.230 - lap 19
14. Mark Webber - Williams BMW - 1'24.419 - lap 17
15. Rubens Barrichello - Ferrari - 1'24.435 - lap 13
16. David Coulthard - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'24.641 - lap 22
17. Tiago Monteiro - Jordan Toyota - 1'24.719 - lap 19
18. Giancarlo Fisichella - Renault - 1'25.665 - lap 4
19. Christijan Albers - Minardi Cosworth - 1'27.420 - lap 18
20. Patrick Friesacher - Minardi Cosworth - 1'28.334 - lap 5
105K attendance at Phoenix 105K attendance at PhoenixAn estimated crowd of 105,000 attended Saturday night’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix Int’l Raceway, the first time the race was held at night. Arizona Daily Star
Warner Brothers signs deal with MIS Warner Brothers signs deal with MISSPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL reports that Warner Bros. will announce today it has signed a race title sponsorship with Michigan Int’l Speedway to promote the June 17 release of “Batman Begins,” marking the first time a Nextel Cup event has been sponsored by a movie. In a deal estimated “in the low to mid-seven figures annually,” Warner Bros. will sponsor the June 19 race, which will now be called the Batman Begins 400, in addition to having branding on the hoods of Mark Martin’s car and Ricky Craven’s truck for their races that weekend. The Batmobile will serve as the honorary pace car for Sunday afternoon. SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL
Indy 500 tickets sales remain light Indy 500 tickets sales remain lightSince the creation of the IRL the Indy 500 is no longer a sellout.  In fact, you can buy race day tickets for $5 from a scalper now, whereas in the days of CART the tickets were a hot commodity and hard to get.  Each year more and more seats can be seen empty as this great American sports icon slowly withers.  It appears the prospects of a sellout this year are no better.  SPEEDTV.com reports that there are plenty at Brickyard.com, including 118 together in South Vista, 116 together in Grandstand H, 100 together in North Vista and 92 together in Tower Terrace. And EBay has hundreds of good seats available also.
How Alonso held off Schumacher How Alonso held off SchumacherIn order to look after the tires and engine, Fernando Alonso used some unusual tactics in the final laps at Imola. Michael Schumacher looked unstoppable Sunday afternoon at Imola, but although he was only a handful of seconds behind Fernando Alonso after his final stop, he did not win. In spite of an intense ten-lap battle, the Ferrari stayed behind the Renault in spite of potentially being much faster.

“The fight with Michael was one of the best of my career,” explained Fernando. “I knew he was at least a second a lap quicker, but I had to look after the engine and tires. I did everything I could.” (Photo right - Schumacher closes on Alonso, courtesy of Renault)

Fernando crossed the finish line thanks to an unusual tactic. “My only chance was to brake really hard into the slow corners,” he explained. “I was braking more than I needed in order to slow Michael down, and then relying on the car’s good traction to stop him from attacking on the next straight.”

Ahead of him, a Red Bull and Williams were another potential threat. “I didn’t want to catch them and have to try and lap them,” he concluded. “So I had to go just quick enough to keep the Ferrari behind, but also keep a slow enough pace to avoid catching the back-markers.”

Michael Schumacher showed his sporting side as he recognized Fernando’s achievement. “I knew I was faster but there was nothing I could do,” he said. “I saw I could catch the Renault under acceleration, but I didn’t have enough to actually get past. Fernando didn’t make any mistakes, and he deserves the win.” Renault F1 Team

F1 news in brief F1 news in briefBoth sides of the fence lauded a 'magnificent' battle for victory at Imola.  ''(It) will have focused the eyes of the world on F1,'' said Fernando Alonso's boss, Renault CEO Patrick Faure.  Ferrari's Ross Brawn added of the Alonso v. Michael Schumacher duel: ''This was a magnificent race for Ferrari ... and for F1.''


Williams' FW27 struggled to get off the line at Imola.  Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber lost two places each on the run to Tamburello.  ''I sat behind Jarno (Trulli) for most of the race,'' the latter rued.  ''Clearly we have to improve that,'' technical director Sam Michael conceded.


Sauber's Felipe Massa, who collided with the Scot twice, hit out at David Coulthard's driving.  ''Once I tried (to overtake) and he drove me into the dirt,'' said the Brazilian, ''and another he just closed the door and I lost my front wing.  For me it was too much.''


Ferrari and Michael Schumacher may be celebrating a return to pace, but the luckless Rubens Barrichello urged Maranello to also focus on reliability.  ''We still have to look at (that),'' said the man who retired with an unspecified electrical problem.  ''It has not been so good lately.''


Imola marked the final grand prix of Renault top-dog Louis Schweitzer before, on May 1, Carlos Ghosn takes over.  ''We are proud to offer (Schweitzer) this victory,'' Flavio Briatore said in Italy.  (GMMf1NET -- Apr.25) 

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Button dodged Imola exclusion
One goal, 'to win' - Alonso
Schu 'disappointed'
ITV 'sorry' for F1 blunder
Zanardi back in F1 car
Ferrari chief slams quali
'Red Bull-Ferrari' - mogul
JB - 'staggering' Schu
Alonso had engine problem
'Bridgestone are back'
Carroll won 'GP2' race two
Ralf's 'perfect pitstop'
Imola 'til 2009
'Flav' to block new quali
Critics muted, for now
Bernie would rather be Frank
Imola sparked 'new' F1 era
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