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Young driver bests his elders in qualifying for VIR400  DANVILLE, VA. - In the team’s fourth consecutive front-row qualifying effort, and second pole of the year, 18-year-old Colin Braun put the Krohn Racing Pontiac/Riley on the pole for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve VIR400.

With a best lap in qualifying of 1:45.003, Braun set a new track record for the exotic Daytona Prototype racers of 1:45.003 over the park like 3.27-mile VIRginia International Raceway road course. Braun’s lap set an average speed of 112.111 mph, and was just a razor-thin 0.150 second quicker than second-place Jon Fogarty.

After qualifying, Braun admitted that: “this morning we didn’t have that great of a car and we turned it into a car that’s really quick now.” He admitted that: “we have quite a few tricks in our bag,” for the car. “We worked at it hard and just have to give thanks to those guys for giving me a good car,” said Braun. More ...

New tire for Kansas  Each Indy Car received eight sets of Firestone Firehawks (32 total) for the Kansas race weekend. The tires, new for Kansas Speedway, were developed based on testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway in December and used in the season opener at the 1.5-mile racetrack. They also will be used in June at Texas Motor Speedway.

"Having run this particular tire earlier this year at Homestead, Firestone Racing is confident that the Firehawks will give the drivers the extra grip and confidence they need to race as hard as ever and put on a great show for the fans," said Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing.

IPS completes second day of testing at Indianapolis  Indy Pro Series points leader Alex Lloyd led the second day of testing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the Freedom 100 on May 25.

Lloyd, driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, had a quick lap of 47.2081 seconds (190.645 mph) on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. Wade Cunningham, who topped the speed chart on the first day, was second (47.3292; 190.157 mph) in the No. 27 AFS Racing car.

 third (189.594) and Logan Gomez in the No. 23 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car was fourth (189.385). Matt Jaskol (188.7686) in the No. 8 Michael Crawford Motorsports car was fifth.

The Freedom 100 is May 25, with practice and qualifying May 24.

Duno gets help from Pancho Carter  Indy car veteran Pancho Carter, who has spotted and acted as driver coach for many drivers, is playing that same role for IndyCar Series rookie Milka Duno, who will make her series debut Sunday.

PANCHO CARTER: "Basically what I do is a spotter role. In addition to that, I try to instruct the driver. I've worked with (Sam) Hornish and (Dan) Wheldon and quite a few other drivers. More with Milka, our procedures are a little bit different that what she's used to, so we're working basically with her on that. I was here for the (rookie) test, worked with her on her line, the fast line, what happens during the race as far as people passing her, what you need to do if you're going to overtake a car. Basically all the things that drivers in the league have experienced and know. Just trying to bring her up to speed a bit faster and guide her in the right direction and give her some insight in how she can improve her performance.

"It's a role I fell into when Panther hired me a few years ago. I started spotting for Scott Goodyear when we still had him, and then we got Sam Hornish and kind of brought him along, worked with him for three years. And then we had Dan Wheldon for a couple of races. It's turned into something I do quite a bit. I'm doing a couple of Indy Pro Series drivers also, and I was at Indy for that test working with Mike Potekhen and Ken Losch with Apex Racing. It's fun. I can relate a lot of my experiences to them, and I think a lot of the time it helps. A lot of the times, the engineer and the driver have trouble drawing information out. Sometimes I can talk on driver's terms with the drivers, and all of a sudden we get the input that we want and start heading the right direction." More ...

Labonte edges Stewart for NASCAR Busch Series win  TALLADEGA, Ala. -- In a green-white-checkered finish in Saturday's Aaron's 312, Bobby Labonte pushed Tony Stewart into the lead, then pulled out and passed Stewart as the two drivers approached the finish line at Talladega Superspeedway.  Photos courtesy of CIA Stock Photo

In beating Stewart to the stripe by 0.052 seconds -- less than a car length -- Labonte recorded his 10th Busch Series victory and his first since Darlington in 1998. The race featured a Busch record 36 lead changes and a Busch track record 20 different leaders.

Casey Mears was third, followed by rookies David Ragan and Kyle Krisiloff. Kevin Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ward Burton, polesitter Brad Coleman and series points leader Carl Edwards claimed positions six through 10. More ...

Video: F1 car on Nordschleife track  

A modern Formula 1 (and Formula BMW) vehicle was driven around the historic Nordschleife track at the Nürburgring in Germany for the first time in 31 years. A crowd of 45,000 witnessed BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld drive three laps around the 20.8 kilometer race track. His second lap, with a recorded lap time of 8:34, was his fastest. Heidfeld also reached a top speed of 275 km/h on the “Döttinger Höhe” straight despite the car’s unusually hard demonstration tires and short transmission ratio. The F1.06 was adjusted for maximum ground clearance to drive on the uneven traditional circuit. No other modifications were made to the vehicle.  Video includes interviews with Nick Heidfeld and BMW motorsport boss Mario Theissen.
"I’ll never forget today as long as I live"  Munich/Nürburgring - BMW has written another chapter in motor sport history on the legendary Nordschleife at the Nürburgring. Today, Saturday, an modern Formula 1 vehicle was driven round the 20.8 kilometer race track for the first time in 31 years in front of a crowd numbering 45,000 BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld was extremely enthusiastic after three laps in the F1.06.

"This drive was simply incredible. I thought it would be great to drive on the Nordschleife before I started out. But it was even better than I had expected. This racing track is the best in the world. I'd really like to have emptied the tank. It was a very special moment when I left the grand prix circuit in the direction of the Nordschleife. I was really shaken up at the Bergwerk section and on the Döttinger Höhe. I'll never forget today as long as I live. Another particularly special experience has now joined the many fantastic childhood memories and racing successes."

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: "We wanted to give fans a special treat. And I believe we have done this with the entire BMW motor sport program. The BMW M3 GTR that Olaf Manthey presented today was welcomed like an old friend. The car is actually much too athletic for the museum. Naturally, the high point was Nick's drive with the F1.06. We had implored him to be careful. The day was a homage to the fans and to this unique circuit in the world of racing. For once, the lap times were a secondary consideration." More ...

Burton critical of Stewart’s comments  Jeff Burton, out to win some brownie points with NASCAR, doesn’t agree with Tony Stewart’s comments against NASCAR and his comparing it to wrestling but understands where Tony’s coming from.

“I didn’t agree with his comparison with the wrestling or with him saying NASCAR didn’t run a fair race. I didn’t agree with those things. The conversation about cautions I think is okay to have. I think that’s a reasonable conversation to have. TV is talking about it. I think Tony exaggerated when he made the comparison. It was counter-productive rather than productive. But Tony didn’t mean any harm by it. He was trying to make a point. Tony is a racer’s racer. And all he was trying to say was, ‘hey, let’s just make sure we’re thinking about the racers’. I just think he over-exaggerated.”

“That’s just my opinion. I don’t think Tony meant any harm by it. I think he meant good by it. Our sport is an interesting sport. We don’t have time-outs. We don’t have two-minute warnings. I believe in my heart that this sport has mostly benefited by having cautions mostly early in the race. Maybe we just ought to have them. Maybe at lap 40 we ought to have a caution. When the race starts, the track is different than it was when we had practice. The 30th place car is greatly advantaged by having a caution so he can work on his car so that there are more cars that are able to be competitive when the race ends. That’s the advantage of cautions.”

“The disadvantage is that every caution, someone gets hurt. So when we throw a caution, we have to understand that we’re hurting people too. It’s a difficult thing. “Hey, I go to a football game and it’s like they never play. They stop and they play and they stop and play and they stop more than they play and it’s like, good gosh, that gets old. But stoppage in play does help how many cars can be competitive. But every time there is a caution, somebody gets hung out. Somebody has already pitted. Somebody was good on long runs. But as a rule, it gives more teams a chance to get their stuff together.”

Allmendinger, 8 others fail to qualify  Nine drivers failed to qualify for Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Talladega, including Ken Schrader in the No. 21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford, the first race the legendary team will miss since 2000. Michael Waltrip will miss his eighth consecutive race. Other drivers who will sit out the race are Mike Bliss (BAM Racing), Brian Vickers (Team Red Bull), John Andretti (Front Row Motorsports), Mike Wallace (Phoenix Racing), Kevin Lepage (Front Row Motorsports), AJ Allmendinger (Team Red Bull) and Dave Blaney (Bill Davis Racing).

David Reutimann, Kenny Wallace (Furniture Row Motorsports), Boris Said (No Fear Racing), Ward Burton (Morgan-McClure Motorsports), Jeremy Mayfield (Bill Davis Racing), Paul Menard (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) and Scott Riggs (Valvoline Evernham Racing) all raced their way into the race.

Dixon tops final practice in Kansas  
Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Scott Dixon (9) ... 25.5849 213.876
2 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.0246 25.6095 213.671
3 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.0710 25.6559 213.284
4 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.1034 25.6883 213.015
5 Danica Patrick (7) 0.1563 25.7412 212.578
6 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.1867 25.7716 212.327
7 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.1914 25.7763 212.288
8 Tomas Scheckter (2) 0.1967 25.7816 212.244
9 AJ Foyt IV (22) 0.2223 25.8072 212.034
10 Ed Carpenter (20) 0.2380 25.8229 211.905
11 Buddy Rice (15) 0.2646 25.8495 211.687
12 Vitor Meira (4) 0.2774 25.8623 211.582
13 Marco Andretti (26) 0.3139 25.8988 211.284
14 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.3293 25.9142 211.158
15 Scott Sharp (8) 0.3623 25.9472 210.890
16 Darren Manning (14) 0.3913 25.9762 210.654
17 Sarah Fisher (5) 0.4092 25.9941 210.509
18 Marty Roth (25) 0.4388 26.0237 210.270
19 Jeff Simmons (17) 0.4933 26.0782 209.830
20 Alex Barron (98) 0.5934 26.1783 209.028
21 Milka Duno (23) 0.6420 26.2269 208.641
Kansas: Wheldon tops opening IndyCar practice  
Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Dan Wheldon (10) ... 25.6846 213.046
2 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.0601 25.7447 212.549
3 Scott Dixon (9) 0.0749 25.7595 212.426
4 Danica Patrick (7) 0.1536 25.8382 211.779
5 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.1559 25.8405 211.761
6 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.2095 25.8941 211.322
7 Vitor Meira (4) 0.2375 25.9221 211.094
8 Darren Manning (14) 0.2392 25.9238 211.080
9 Tomas Scheckter (2) 0.2430 25.9276 211.049
10 Sarah Fisher (5) 0.2500 25.9346 210.992
11 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.2683 25.9529 210.843
12 Marco Andretti (26) 0.2800 25.9646 210.748
13 AJ Foyt IV (22) 0.3473 26.0319 210.204
14 Ed Carpenter (20) 0.3494 26.0340 210.187
15 Buddy Rice (15) 0.3839 26.0685 209.909
16 Scott Sharp (8) 0.4637 26.1483 209.268
17 Marty Roth (25) 0.4978 26.1824 208.995
18 Jeff Simmons (17) 0.5032 26.1878 208.952
19 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.5038 26.1884 208.947
20 Milka Duno (23) 0.6023 26.2869 208.165
21 Alex Barron (98) 0.6396 26.3242 207.870
Brands Hatch: Duval on top for final practice  
1 Loic DUVAL FRANCE 1:15.296 -
2 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 1:15.333 +0.037
3 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 1:15.493 +0.197
4 Alvaro PARENTE PORTUGAL 1:15.504 +0.208
5 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 1:15.610 +0.314
6 Nico HÜLKENBERG GERMANY 1:15.813 +0.517
7 Sebastien BUEMI SWITZERLAND 1:15.919 +0.623
8 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 1:16.084 +0.788
9 Matt HALLIDAY NEW ZEALAND 1:16.204 +0.908
10 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 1:16.431 +1.135
11 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 1:16.447 +1.151
12 Congfu CHENG CHINA 1:16.531 +1.235
13 Enrico TOCCACELO ITALY 1:16.576 +1.280
14 Sean McINTOSH CANADA 1:16.625 +1.329
15 Jan CHAROUZ CZECH REPUBLIC 1:16.796 +1.500
16 Bruno JUNQUEIRA BRAZIL 1:16.803 +1.507
17 Richard LYONS IRELAND 1:17.098 +1.802
18 Ian DYK AUSTRALIA 1:17.595 +2.299
19 Moreno SOEPRAPTO INDONESIA 1:18.012 +2.716
20 Allam KHODAIR LEBANON 1:18.058 +2.762
21 Nur ALI PAKISTAN 1:18.586 +3.290
22 Juan Pablo GARCIA MEXICO 1:18.670 +3.374
racing news
Cars International announces partnership with Cosworth  Cars International, the supplier of high-performance road and racing cars, has entered an exclusive relationship with famed engine producer Cosworth to supply and service V10 Formula 1 engines to customers.

Cars International’s workshop, near Membury in Berkshire, will supply and install the TJ-series 3.0-litre Cosworth V10 that raced in Formula 1 from 2003 to 2006, and most recently with Toro Rosso.

The engine will be particularly appropriate for the pan-European series EuroBOSS as well as for demonstrations and track days in F1 cars. Cars International founder Paul Osborn said: “There are many late-model F1 cars out there that people find extremely difficult to adapt because they can’t get the existing available engines in them, not just because they are too big but because of the crank height. The Cosworth V10 will be the only modern, compact F1 engine that is available.” More ...

Schu to attend Spanish GP - spokeswoman  (GMM) Michael Schumacher's spokeswoman has confirmed that the retired seven time world champion will attend the upcoming Spanish grand prix in Barcelona.

It will be the 38-year-old German's first visit to a formula one paddock since racing for the final time in Brazil last October.

Schumacher is also scheduled to attend the French grand prix at Magny Cours for the spine and brain injury charity ICM, and subsequently at the Nurburgring - the closest formula one circuit to his birthplace in Kerpen - to drive through the newly renamed 'Schumacher S' section.

With the information of Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm, German news agency 'sid' revealed that the former Ferrari driver will attend the Spanish grand prix in his new capacity as an advisor to the Italian team.
Waltrip fires crew chief  Michael Waltrip Racing severed ties with David Hyder, the crew chief for Waltrip's No. 55 Toyota who never worked a race this season after being suspended indefinitely prior to the Daytona 500. "As of this morning, Michael Waltrip Racing and David Hyder have ended their employment relationship," Waltrip said after Nextel Cup Series practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Hyder, who also was fined $100,000, and team director Bobby Kennedy both were kicked out of the garage by NASCAR after inspectors found an illegal substance in the intake manifold of Waltrip's Camry prior to qualifying.

Reid out for New Zealand  Matt Halliday will complete the rest of this weekend for A1 Team New Zealand, the team has confirmed.

For the first time in A1GP the team was scheduled to split the Black Beauty between both of its drivers for this weekend’s RAB Capital A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain, with Halliday and Jonny Reid driving one race each. The decision on who would drive which race was supposed to be made after Saturday’s morning practice session, however, Reid crashed on the second lap of this afternoon practice session, limiting his track time before the competitive part of the weekend.

The team had no rookie in this morning’s session and has now opted to give Halliday, who scored a podium finish the last time A1GP raced at Brands Hatch in 2005, the rest of the weekend’s driving duties. The team hasn’t yet clinched second in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport standings, with A1 Team Great Britain mathematically capable of catching it. More ...

A lap around Brands Hatch with John Watson  A1GP TV commentator and multiple Grand Prix winner John Watson completes several laps of the circuit every Friday of each race meeting. He does this to film a televised track guide, broadcast worldwide before qualifying and the race.

Here on A1GP.com, we give you an exclusive sneak preview of Watson’s thoughts on each track.

“I was very apprehensive before getting in. Much more so than other events when I had run the car. As the host nation, Team Great Britain get the spare car and they let me use it for this session. The engineers had worked until about 1.30am on Friday morning to get the car absolutely as they would want it to be on the race track.

“Brands Hatch is the most original of all the circuits that I’ve raced on as a driver in my former life, that I have returned too. I drove it yesterday in a road car and you realize how much elevation change there is throughout the session. More ...

British team dominates for British race  In a very NASCAR-like fashion to sell tickets, the British A1GP team continued to top practice at Brands Hatch Saturday morning for this next to last round of the 2006-2007 A1GP season.

Robbie Kerr reckoned there was still time to be found in the A1 Team Great Britain car – despite his staggering pace in free practice at Brands Hatch Friday.  And n Saturday morning he proved just that. 

“It does make me feel quite confident,” Kerr told A1GP.com, “but I know we could have gone quicker out there. On my quickest lap I was put out on the dirt by someone else by a car coming into the pitlane while I was coming through Clearways.

“Unfortunately he wasn’t looking in his mirrors and he lost us a lot of time. We could have gone quicker. It will be interesting to see what we could do over the weekend. There is more pace in the car and there is more pace in me.”

Soeprapto to drive for Indonesia  Moreno Soeprapto is to drive for A1 Team Indonesia today (Saturday) while regular driver Ananda Mikola recovers from a virus.

Soeprapto, Mikola’s 24-year-old younger brother, has competed in several rookie and developing nations session this season, and was classified 11th in yesterday’s at Brands Hatch. He has yet to make his A1GP race debut.

Soeprapto will also take part in this afternoon’s qualifying session, before a decision is made tomorrow on who will continue racing for the team in this weekend’s RAB Capital A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain.

Should Mikola not recover in time to take part tomorrow, he will no longer hold the record outright of most number of A1GP starts. A1 Team Malaysia’s Alex Yoong would be set to join him on top of the experience list, with 40 race starts each.

Q and A with Pedro de la Rosa  
Q: What has been the highlight from your perspective over the first three races?

Pedro de la Rosa: The highlight is that both Fernando and Lewis are leading the World Championship and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is leading the Constructors' title. We have come out of the three opening races at the top and that means we have done a good job so far. There is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do though.

Q: How do you feel Fernando and Lewis have settled into the team now the season has begun in earnest?

PDLR: Very well. It doesn't feel, working with them or seeing how they are getting on with their engineers and the team, like these have been their first races for the team. Fernando learns anything very quickly, and Lewis has been around the team for some time. For Fernando it is incredible how quickly he has learnt everything about the team, when you consider he only had one day testing in December last year and hasn't really had a long time with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but he has already won a race. More ...

Coleman wins Busch pole  Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 Busch Series Chevrolet of Brad Coleman won the team's fifth consecutive pole at a superspeedway, turning a lap of 184.299 mph Friday at Talladega Superspeedway for Saturday's Aaron's 312.

The pole is the first for Coleman, who will make his seventh career start Saturday. But it's the fifth in a row for JGR's No. 18. J.J. Yeley swept the top qualifying spot at both Daytona races and at Talladega last year.

Aric Almirola won the pole in the No. 18 at Daytona in February.

"This is a brand new car they built," Coleman said. "They didn't know how it would be here. Obviously it is fantastic."

Braun Racing teammates Dave Blaney and Jason Leffler will start second and third, respectively. Blaney's lap of 184.062 slots him second, with Leffler going 183.395 to grab third.

Hornish Jr. to attempt NASCAR Busch Series race  Richmond, VA—Sam Hornish Jr. will attempt to do something no other driver has ever done at Richmond International Raceway: qualify for both an IndyCar® Series and NASCAR Busch Series race at America’s Premier Short Track. Hornish will attempt to run the Circuit City 250 Presented by FUNAI NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday, May 4 “under the lights.” Yes, that’s the same Sam Hornish Jr. who has won two SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series races in Richmond. And yes, the same Sam Hornish Jr. who won the Indianapolis 500 and the series championship last year.

Hornish is running a partial Busch Series schedule this year for Roger Penske, who also owns Team Penske in the IndyCar Series. Hornish decided that, after much success in open-wheel racing, he would like to test his skills in stock cars. More ...

Talladega speeds approach 200 mph  Speeds in Friday's first Nextel Cup practice came very close to that number, as Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte and Martin Truex Jr. all exceeded 198 mph and 11 others ran laps in the 197 mph range. That came one day after NASCAR officials ordered Busch Series teams to use restrictor plates with smaller hole sizes because of higher practice speeds.

NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said he didn't expect a similar ruling for Sunday's Aaron's 499, but officials would be keeping an eye on speeds for the rest of the weekend.

 "Right now we don't think it's a problem," Hunter said. "We think the speed is more around the 195 mph range. With the draft and with the guys catching up, the rate of closure is so much better here.

"We'll monitor it in this second practice session and again [Saturday] in qualifying."

Practice 1 speeds

1 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW  198.685 48.197 Leader
2 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Spider-Man 3  198.351 48.278 -0.081
3 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker  198.035 48.355 -0.158
4 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries  197.994 48.365 -0.168
5 7 Robby Gordon Ford MAPEI / Menards  197.847 48.401 -0.204 More ...

Champ Car Houston TV rating  The final TV rating on ESPN for the Champ Car race in Houston last Sunday was a dismal 0.3.  No official word on the IRL race, also on ESPN, from Motegi, Japan but unconfirmed reports say it was even lower than the Champ Car rating.  And the split continues......
Tony Stewart fined and placed on probation  NASCAR announced today that Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Chevrolet, has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2007 for failing to fulfill his post-race media obligation following the Subway Fresh Fit 500 race last Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway.

Stewart violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-H (any member who violates 7-2B: Failure to meet obligation of an accepted entry; failure to fulfill post-race media obligation – with addition to the winning driver, the second and third-place drivers and the highest finishing rookie of the year candidate must also report to the media center upon the conclusion of the race) of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book.

Foyt offers Indy 500 VIP weekend  Foyt Enterprises is offering an Indy 500 VIP Weekend to the highest bidder in the Continental Airlines Frequent Flyer Program's OnePass Online Auction.

The winner and a guest will receive two race tickets and two Bronze Badges for the May 26-27 race weekend. They will meet A.J. Foyt and driver Darren Manning in the team's garage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26, and watch the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda being prepared for the 91st Indianapolis 500.

The winner and guest also will attend the public drivers meeting and tour the garage area. The next day the winner and guest will have reserved seats to watch the race. Bidders can participate by logging on to www.continental.com and click on the OnePass Frequent Flyer tab, Use Miles tab, then click on the OnePass Online Auction. The Indy 500 package is listed in the Sports section. The auction will close at 9:30 a.m. (EDT) May 18.

Cunningham leads rain shortened practice at Indy  Defending Freedom 100 winner Wade Cunningham led a rain-shortened day as Indy Pro Series teams conducted an Open Test at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cunningham, the 2005 Indy Pro Series champion, turned a lap of 47.2408 seconds, 190.513 mph in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. entry. Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Chris Festa was second fastest at 189.213 mph. Super Aguri Panther Racing's Hideki Mutoh (188.981), series points leader Alex Lloyd (188.356) and Mike Potekhen rounded out the top five.

Teams were limited to approximately two-and-a half hours of track time due to wet, misty conditions at the 2.5-mile oval before a brief shower forced an early end to testing. Drivers and teams will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval from 10-2 p.m. (ET) Saturday, April 28 for more testing.

Brian Stewart Racing drivers Bobby Wilson and Shane Jantzi were involved in separate incidents during the session. Wilson's No. 1 Ocala Gran Prix entry spun and made hard contact with the SAFER Barrier moments shortly before 1:15 p.m. He was treated and released from Methodist Hospital after precautionary X-rays to his left knee. More ...

industry news
GM chief paid $9.6M to lose $2B  General Motors Corp. chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner was paid $9.6 million in 2006, according to a filing made Friday afternoon with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The compensation included a $1.3 million base salary, grants of stock and options valued at $7.5 million and $770,000 in other compensation, including security and use of company aircraft.  GM lost $2 billion in 2006, but that was an improvement over the $10.4 billion loss from 2005.
Ford's sales tank as Chevy makes a mockery of them  Fueled by the trouncing it is getting at the hands of Chevy in NASCAR, Ford Motor Co. said on Friday that U.S. auto industry sales to date in April were "terrible" as consumer confidence was hit by a slow housing market and rising gas prices.  "This month is terrible," Ford chief sales analyst George Pipas said in an interview. "We are not even close to where we expected to be in April."
Wilson crashes  Bobby Wilson crashed,  suffering moderate damage to his car when he slammed into turn one during the concluding minutes of Indy Pro Series practice today in Kansas. Wilson was airlifted to Indianapolis' Methodist Hospital for precautionary x-rays at 3 PM. No medical update was immediately available as to his condition.
Renault shifts development to 2008 car  Autosprint is reporting that world champion outfit Renault’s focus has already shifted to its 2008 car, after the current ‘R27′ proved not a match for 2007 frontrunners Ferrari, McLaren and BMW-Sauber.  “We are already working on next year’s car,” team boss Flavio Briatore revealed. “Whatever we discover on this project, we can eventually use it on the current car.”
Stewart runs with tail between his legs  UPDATE NASCAR “refused to let” Stewart’s team unload his car this morning until after the meeting.  Is anyone surprised by the heavy-handed actions by NASCAR?  Anyone want to place bets that Stewart was told "you want to race in this series boy, you had better keep your mouth shut and just drive," or something to that effect?

04/27/07 TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Two-time Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart backed off recent comments questioning the validity of debris cautions after being chastened by NASCAR officials in a meeting early Friday morning at Talladega Superspeedway.

"I know I did a lot of damage," Stewart said. "I'm a lot of times my own worst enemy."

Frustrated by four debris cautions that hampered his chances of winning last weekend at Phoenix, Stewart ducked the media after finishing second to Jeff Gordon. He vented on his satellite radio show Tuesday, comparing NASCAR to professional wrestling and implying that results were staged.

"I guess NASCAR thinks, 'Hey, wrestling worked, and it was for the most part staged, so I guess it's going to work in racing, too,'" he said on his radio program Tuesday night. "I can't understand how long the fans are going to let NASCAR treat them like they're stupid before the fans finally turn on NASCAR."

The remarks infuriated image-conscious NASCAR officials, who called Stewart in to address the issue at 6 a.m. Friday, the hour the garage opened. "It's a little tender for me to sit down right now," Stewart quipped.

But it wasn't a joke to NASCAR, which was expected to announce penalties later Friday. Series officials watched from the back of the media center as a humbled Stewart made his comments, which contrasted starkly with his remarks Tuesday.

"To be honest, the group that I spoke with this morning is a group of peers that I trust. If they tell me the stuff is out there, I believe them," he said.

"I should have went to them instead of just saying it out in public. That's frustration that's been building up with all these debris cautions." NASCAR.com

Papis tests for Hendrick  Miami, FL  – Only with Max Papis can you have that many different racing activities in the same title of a press release.  Widely known as the most versatile race car driver in the world, Mad Max spent this week testing for Hendrick Motorsports as they begin to develop their NASCAR Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow road course program. 

During the test, Papis found himself surrounded by NASCAR’s best and brightest, including Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Robby Gordon.  He deemed the test as very successful and looks forward to his gradual transition into the NASCAR world.

“The test went very well and it was good for me to get out there and get a feel for this new C.O.T. (Car of Tomorrow),” Papis said.  “The key for me is to keep doing things such as this because it helps me learn more about how these cars react and how they feel.  I look forward to being in NASCAR, however I want to take it slow and make sure that when I make the transition that I have the experience I need to go out and be competitive each week and win races.”  More ...

Great Britain dominate Friday practice  Great Britain – Home team Great Britain dominated the first day of practice for the RAB Capital A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain today, increasing the odds of it taking the series’ first-ever home win at the 2006/07 season finale on Sunday.

GBR rookie and Mexico Feature race winner Oliver Jarvis, recorded the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1.15.043 in this morning’s practice session for rookies and developing nations, beating the current track record of 1.16.547. Jarvis commented: ‘This morning we started on old tires. Once I had done my duties the tires were probably 25 laps old, so the time we did was very reasonable and very competitive. I think if we had done a bit more running in the second session we probably could have improved on that. Unfortunately I had to do another set of pads and also the red flags ended the session early.’

The two sessions were interrupted several times by a series of red flags, limiting the track time for all teams. Talking about the disruptions, Jarvis commented: ‘Brands is very much like a street circuit in the sense that out the back if you make a mistake it is going to cost you – you are in the wall in the gravel – so it is very difficult to find that limit and it is all about improving a little bit every lap and eventually the time will come.’ More ...

NASCAR Phoenix TV rating falls  UPDATE The final Phoenix Nextel Cup TV rating was a 4.4/9 share on FOX, down 8.4% from last year's final 4.8 rating also on FOX.  The rating was down 14% from the rating in 2005.

04/23/07 The overnight rating for Saturday night's NASCAR Nextel race in Phoenix on FOX was a 4.1/8 share even with the 4.1 overnight rating from last year.
Positive Energy Continues to Fuel the Champ Car World Series  Anticipation may be the best word to describe the lead up to the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, bringing in a new car; new television partners; and new events.  With the first three races now in the books, the word has turned to exhilaration as Champ Car has shown marked growth through the early parts of the 2007 season.
Television ratings have increased greatly over last year, with more than 2.5 million viewers tuning in to watch the Inaugural Vegas Grand Prix, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Grand Prix of Houston.  The season-opening race from Las Vegas drew a .83 rating on NBC, with nearly 1.4 million homes watching on Easter Sunday. That number alone topped the total number of viewers who watched the first three races of 2006 combined, one on NBC and two on SPEED.  The rating for the Las Vegas race was the highest for an opening event in the last five years and was a 40 percent increase over the 2006 Long Beach season-opening event.
This year’s Long Beach race on NBC and the Houston race on ESPN combined to pull in 1.1 million viewers, resulting in an overall 119 percent increase in total viewers to start the 2007 season. More ...
Belle Isle takes shape for Detroit Grand Prix  By early next week, nearly 500,000 square feet of concrete will be on the ground on Belle Isle, creating the paddock area for the Detroit Grand Prix in September.

During the next month, another 150,000 square feet will be poured to improve the race circuit, eliminating uneven transitions in the turns. And about $150,000 has been applied toward the renovation of the Belle Isle Casino, which will be the media headquarters for the race that left Detroit and the island after 2001.

Scott Fountain will be cleaned, and about seven weeks before the race, the barrier walls and fencing will be in place.

"It's unbelievable, incredible," said Bud Denker, senior vice president of Penske Corp., and Detroit Grand Prix event chairman. "To see the progress, the before and after"

The three-day event will include a Free Prix Day on Aug. 31, the American LeMans series race on Sept. 1, and the premiere event, the IndyCar series race, on Sept. 2.

Support for the event has been considerable, Denker said this week. Forty-eight 50-person hospitality suites have been sold at a cost of $50,000 each. There have been seven 100-person chalets sold for $95,000.

"We can always make more," Denker said. "We've been so pleased with the hospitality response. These companies are willing to help us in these tough times."

Tickets will be priced from $15 to $100 and will go on sale in mid-May.

Denker said the LeMans and IndyCar races have presenting sponsors, but he can't reveal those until the contracts are signed.

More than 1,000 volunteers have signed up, but Denker is looking for another 500.  More at Detroit News

NASCAR summons Stewart to 6 a.m. meeting  Two-time Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart was required to meet with NASCAR President Mike Helton on Friday morning when the garage opened at 6 a.m. Central, the Observer has learned. Stewart made headlines this week when he likened NASCAR to professional wrestling and said the sanctioning body had "not run a fair race all season." Stewart made the comments during his Sirius Satellite Radio show on Tuesday night.

Stewart's No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team was not allowed to unload and begin preparations on its car Friday morning until Stewart had completed his meeting with NASCAR officials, multiple sources confirmed. Stewart was in the NASCAR trailer upwards of 40 minutes.

NASCAR vice president was not immediately available for comment Friday morning. NASCAR is expected to address Stewart's actions sometime Friday, sources said.  ThatsRacin.com

Italian press breaks two stories on Friday  (GMM)  The Italian press on Friday cleared up two separate pieces of F1 speculation.

The first, in the magazine Autosprint, is that world champion outfit Renault's focus has already shifted to its 2008 car, after the current 'R27' proved not a match for 2007 frontrunners Ferrari, McLaren and BMW-Sauber.

"We are already working on next year's car," team boss Flavio Briatore revealed.  "Whatever we discover on this project, we can eventually use it on the current car."

The sports broadsheet La Gazzetta dello Sport, meanwhile, quoted Michael Schumacher as admitting that he will probably attend his first grand prix as a retired driver at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya next month.

"I think so," he said after a visit in his advisory role to Ferrari's Maranello factory.

Schumacher warned the specialist media, however, that he is unlikely to want to talk about formula one at the scene of the 2007 Spanish grand prix.

The German, 38, explained: "Up to now I've always preferred not to speak about F1 as a sign of respect towards the team, and maybe I'll carry on this way."

Piquet does not want test seat in 2008  (GMM) Nelson Piquet Jr says he does not want to remain Renault's test driver beyond the end of this year.

The 21-year-old Brazilian, whose namesake and famous father won three drivers' titles, has already set his sights on Giancarlo Fisichella's seat for 2008 -- but he also refuses to rule out following the lead of Anthony Davidson and debuting in a smaller team.

"One year as a test driver to learn and prepare is fine, but then the perspective must shift to racing again," Piquet, a frontrunner in GP2 last season, told the magazine Motorsport Aktuell.

Should he race for Renault next year, Piquet would have followed a nearly identical path to the grid as his test predecessors at the team, fellow Flavio Briatore-protégés Heikki Kovalainen and Fernando Alonso.

Piquet, however, said the current rules do not create an environment for "enough" mileage for testers.

He admitted that there is a risk that, too long in the job, he could "easily" be forgotten by team bosses.

Carpentier thinks Duno not good enough  [Editor's Note: Milka Duno tested a Champ Car at Sebring for Dale Coyne Racing. She was so slow she was never invited back. However, since 100% throttle racing requires such little talent she could become the IRL's next female superstar.]

Patrick Carpentier was compelled to have the conversation with Milka Duno. Secrets don't stay secret in a racing paddock, and his Samax Motorsport teammate wasn't denying it, anyway.

Duno, 35, a successful Grand Am sports car racer, was going to attempt the treacherous leap to the more dangerous and demanding Indy Racing League.

Carpentier wondered aloud if the step was too much, particularly for someone whose experience has been road courses, not the G-force generating ovals that comprise most of the IRL schedule.

"I told her, 'I think it's a huge step,' " he said. "I think it's almost too big of a step. Those cars are fast. It's no playtime anymore. It's very serious and a small mistake can become catastrophic very, very quickly." More ...

Werner fills in for injured Prémat  Audi factory driver Alexandre Prémat (25) left hospital two days after Tom Kristensen was discharged. The Frenchman, who cracked a lumbar vertebra at the DTM opener at Hockenheim, returned to his family in France on Thursday afternoon. He will continue his therapy under the watchful eyes of professor Gérard Saillant, who has already helped numerous prominent sport personalities make a speedy, full recovery.
Prémat hopes of returning to his Audi A4 DTM cockpit as early as the third DTM race at the EuroSpeedway on 20 May. However, the Frenchman must sit out the race at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben on 6 May.
Audi factory driver Marco Werner, who celebrates his 41st birthday today (Friday), will deputize for Prémat at Oschersleben. The German from Dortmund, who lives in Ermatingen on the Swiss side of Lake Constance, races the Audi R10 TDI Diesel sportscar this year in the American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which he has won twice. Marco Werner last competed in the DTM in 1993. He regularly drove the Audi A4 DTM Race Taxi last year. In 2003, he finished second in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in a DTM car.
"Obviously I would have much rather got this opportunity to race in the new DTM under completely different circumstances,” says Marco Werner. "I wish Alexandre (Prémat) a speedy recovery! I’ll to do my utmost to fly the flag for him as his deputy, and am delighted about the confidence placed in me by Audi.”
Pescarolo makes offer to Peugeot  Henri Pescarolo thinks his team should join forces with Peugeot for their Le Mans project.

"If there is a chance of working with Peugeot (in 2008) then why not do it?" Pescarolo was quoted as saying by Italian magazine Autosprint.

"I was ready to shut down my team, give up the name, and join up with Peugeot," he said. "I told them: 'We have the know-how, you have the money, we'll do great things together.'

"The truth is it wasn't worth it for Peugeot. If we won together, people would say it was thanks to Pescarolo, and if we lost they would say it's Peugeot's fault."

"I will fight for fairer regulations in 2008," he said. "Two hundred thousand people come to Le Mans to see a race, not a diesel parade."

Industry News
Toyota exec replaced at Texas plant  Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday that it was replacing the head of its new pickup plant in Texas, the latest in a string of reassignments in the Japanese automaker's North American operations.

Toyota said Hidehiko "T.J." Tajima, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, will return to Japan to take up a new job as general manager of corporate social responsibility in the environmental affairs division.

He will be succeeded by Kenji Fukuta, former general manager at the Tsutsumi plant in Japan, which produces the Prius hybrid, Camry and Scion tC cars.

As plant president since 2003, Tajima oversaw the construction of the San Antonio plant and the launch of the latest-generation Toyota Tundra truck last year.

Toyota hopes to double its share of the full-size pickup segment with the new Tundra. But the truck got off to a bumpy start -- which industry experts say cannot be blamed on Tajima. More at Detroit News

TV News
Weekend USA TV reminders  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Talladega
2:30pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Talladega
3:30pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
3:30pm-4:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Talladega
4:00pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
ARCA RE/MAX Kansas City
5:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Talladega
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
CSI: Miami -Grand Prix
8:00pm-9:00pm (R) * Check local listings for your time zone A&E
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Talladega
8:00pm-10:30pm (SDD) SPEED
Dream Car Garage -Corvette Showdown Stingray vs Z06
8:30am-9:00am SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Talladega
11:00am-2:30pm (L) SPEED
2:00pm-2:30pm * Check local listings for your time zone ABC
NASCAR Busch Series Aaron's 312 Talladega
2:30pm-6:00pm (L) Incl Preshow ABC
Star Mazda Houston
3:00pm-4:00pm (4/21/07) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 Kansas City
5:30pm-8:30pm (L) Incl Preshow SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Atlanta
6:00pm-8:00pm ESPN2
Rolex Sports Car Series Virginia
8:30pm-10:30pm (SDD) –GT
Also, Sunday, April 29 1pm-4pm (L) -DP SPEED
NASCAR Performance
10:30pm-11:00pm SPEED
Tradin' Paint Talladega
11:00pm-11:30pm SPEED
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NHRA Race Day
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay Talladega
11:00am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
American Dragster
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
AMA Supercross Seattle
12:00pm-1:00pm (4/28/07) CBS
American Le Mans Series Houston
1:00pm-3:00pm (4/21/07) CBS
Rolex Sports Car Series Virginia
1:00pm-4:00pm (L) -DP SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Aaron's 499 Talladega
1:30pm-6:00pm (L) FOX
IRL Kansas City
4:30pm-7:00pm (L) ESPN2
AMA Superbike Fontana, CA
5:00pm-6:00pm (4/28/07) -Day 1
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) -Day 2 SPEED
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals Atlanta
7:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
NASCAR Victory Lane Talladega
8:00pm-9:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Guest: Derrick Walker (Champ Car)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

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

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Schu to attend July's French GP
  • Ferrari aim for three-tenth step in Spain
  • Ferrari to tweak floor design - Marc Gene
  • Gene expects Alonso to beat Hamilton
  • Hamilton has 'long way to go' - Wurz
  • Heidfeld slowed for 'Green Hell' attack
  • Heidfeld holds back after Howett insult
  • Spaniards want to drink beer with Alonso

Schu to attend July's French GP
(GMM) Michael Schumacher will attend the French grand prix in July this year, organizers of the Magny Cours race announced on Thursday.

The seven time world champion's visit, after he retired at the end of last season following a nearly 16-year career in formula one, is in connection with an agreement between the race and the charity ICM, which is also supported by Ferrari boss Jean Todt.

Schumacher, 38 and still an 'advisor' to the Ferrari team, won eight times at Magny Cours, including in 2006.

France may not, incidentally, be Schumacher's first visit to a grand prix since racing for the last time in Brazil last October.

His spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said recently that the German could attend the upcoming Barcelona race, and Schumacher is also rumored to be planning a trip to the Nurburgring later in July.

Ferrari aim for three-tenth step in Spain
(GMM) Ferrari aim to counter any step forward by McLaren at the upcoming Spanish grand prix by improving by as much as two or three tenths per lap.

That is the revelation of Marc Gene, who is an active test driver for the Maranello based team.

"We will also race in Barcelona with important aerodynamic modifications," the 33-year-old, fresh from victory in a recent sports car race at Monza, told the newspaper Marca on Thursday.

"It will be our first major update of the year, and we want it to deliver between two and three tenths."

Spaniard Gene said Ferrari's F2007 had been specifically designed to allow for unproblematic and genuine developments.

Explaining that the car's update will be tested at Barcelona next week, he added: "We knew that there were many ways in which we could improve this car." More ...

IRL tidbits  There have been three winners in the first three races of the 2007 IndyCar Series season. The last time that happened was 2004 when four different winners won the first four races. The IndyCar Series record occurred in 2000 when each of the nine races was won by a different driver…Indy Pro Series driver Ryan Justice has been cleared by IRL medical officials to participate in the April 27 Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Justice sat out the doubleheader at St. Petersburg after he was involved in an accident during the Miami 100 on March 24.
Video: Brett Bodine explains the COT  

NASCAR Director of Cost Research, and former driver, Brett Bodine explains the key elements of NASCAR's new Car of Tomorrow.

On January 12, 2006, NASCAR announced a universal car named "Car of Tomorrow" (or "CoT" for short) after a five-year design program sparked mostly due to the death of Dale Earnhardt, one of the sport's premier superstars in a tragic final lap crash during the 2001 Daytona 500. The then-current cars were based on Holman Moody's 1966 Ford Fairlane.  The primary design considerations were "safety innovations, performance and competition, and cost efficiency for teams."

Charouz earns Czech recall  Jan Charouz will drive for A1 Team Czech republic at Brands Hatch this weekend, earning his second race drive with the team.

The 19-year-old has only driven one race meeting so far in A1GP, recording a 10th –place finish at the inaugural A1GP meeting in September 2005, also at Brands Hatch.

“I really like the track but it’s kind of hard because it is so narrow,” Charouz told A1GP.com having received news of his recall.

“I’m really looking forward to it - last year was my first race and I didn’t think that it was so bad so I’m hoping for the top ten this weekend. More ...

New Zealand to share drive  A1 Team New Zealand will split racing duties between both of its drivers at this weekend’s A1GP championship finale at Brands Hatch.

The unusual decision was prompted by Jonny Reid’s strong form at the last round in Shanghai, where he followed up a second place in the Sprint race with victory in the Feature.

Reid’s team-mate Matt Halliday was penciled in to race at Brands Hatch, however, with Reid looking so strong team officials have decided to split the driving between the pair of them.

It will be the first time that A1 Team New Zealand has split driving duties – and exactly how it will be split will be decided on Saturday lunchtime after practice. More ...

NASCAR alters restrictor plates to slow Busch cars  TALLADEGA, Ala. - NASCAR has ordered its Busch Series teams to use restrictor plates with smaller hole sizes after officials determined that speeds from Thursday's first practice were too high as Phoenix Racing's Mike Wallace posted a lap of 197.342 mph at Talladega Superspeedway.

The original restrictor plates had holes of 30/32nds of an inch. The new restrictor plates have holes of 29/32nds of an inch, meaning less air will flow through the carburetor.  NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said the engines are expected to turn out 15 to 20 less horsepower as a result.

Rookie practice was canceled, and the final practice was expected to begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Hunter said it would likely be extended more than the scheduled 60 minutes.  The new plate was run in the Nextel Cup Series in 2004. Scenedaily.com

No ruling on ATT lawsuit  UPDATE NASCAR presented its case to the court today and we eagerly await a decision. NASCAR is defending every driver, team and track involved with NASCAR. The court’s ruling will be important to protect the very flexible and open environment that allows for hundreds of sponsors to successfully participate in NASCAR.  It’s important to remember that Sprint Nextel is a cornerstone sponsor that benefits the entire industry by way of its contribution to the championship points fund, technology bringing fans closer to the sport and its massive marketing and advertising campaigns. NASCAR will continue to protect the industry in any future attacks on our key partners. NASCAR PR

04/26/07 Jeff Burton’s No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet will bear the familiar Cingular markings for at least two more weeks. There was no decision Thursday on AT&T’s request for an injunction to have its logos placed on Burton’s car. Instead, U.S. District court judge Marvin H. Schoob listened to almost four hours of arguments from NASCAR, AT&T and Nextel and then set May 7 as the deadline for briefs to be submitted in the case. At Thursday’s preliminary injunction hearing, NASCAR attorneys defended the decision to prevent Cingular – the primary sponsor of the No. 31 car – from changing its branding on the car to the AT&T blue globe.
Debris damages Busch cars of Earnhardt Jr., Truex  TALLADEGA, Ala. - The weekend got off to a bad start for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. today in the first practice for the Aaron's 312 Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.  With approximately 25 minutes remaining in the session, a large chunk of unspecified debris flew off the car directly in front of DEI driver Martin Truex Jr.  The debris then went under Truex's car, causing a flat tire and body damage, and smashed a hole through teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s front bumper, which appeared to need significant cosmetic repairs. Neither DEI team looked like it would pull out a backup car and neither driver was injured. Scenedaily.com
Champ Car to test at Portland International Raceway  The Champ Car World Series will be testing the new DP01 race car at Portland International Raceway May 1st through the 3rd.  The DP01, now with three races behind it, will be looking for the magic set-up on the venerable 1.964 mile permanent road course.  The long awaited chassis was the result of eight months and 20,000 man hours of engineering and design. This will be Portland’s only up close and personal look at the cars prior to the June 8th-10th race.

Teams slated to test will be Minardi Team USA, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, PKV Racing, RSports and Pacific Coast Motorsports. Some teams may only test on the Tuesday and Wednesday dates saving the additional time to test at other sites later in the season.

Fans are welcome to join in the 3-day affair. On Tuesday season ticket holders will be able to pick up their tickets at PIR in the Paddock area from ticket director Paul Kovin.  Those who have not yet purchased tickets will be able to do so on-site as well. More ...

Duno passes IndyCar Series rookie speed test  Milka Duno passed speed-phase rookie testing for her IndyCar Series racing license during testing on April 26 at Kansas Speedway, allowing her to participate in on-track activity during the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 on April 28-29.

IndyCar Series technical director Kevin Blanch observed the activity on the 1.5-mile oval.

“She understands the car,” Blanch said. “She can feel the car with the seat. Her seat tells her what the car is doing. She said that several times today. I asked her several questions and she gave me the answer that I felt other drivers with more experience would have given me. The next step in getting her in the car with traffic and seeing what she can do. In two laps, she’s up to the same speed that she was right before she went into the pits. That’s the main key – to be able to go back out there and run the same speed each time. That’s one of things we look for. Also, her line was more consistent.

“She’s to the point now where she needs to run with other cars and see where she stacks up. We’ll be watching her this weekend, especially in traffic, just as we would with any other driver.”

Duno would join Andretti Green Racing’s Danica Patrick and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Sarah Fisher in the lineup for the sixth IndyCar Series race at Kansas– a first in major open-wheel history. More ...
tv news
Derrick Walker to be on Wind Tunnel  Derrick Walker, co-owner of Champ Car World Series team, Team Australia and owner of Champ Car Atlantic Championship team, Walker Racing, will be the Featured Interview on Wind Tunnel on Sunday night, April 29, 9:00 pm-10:00 pm ET on SPEED.
Brian France on TV tonight  Brian France, Chairman & CEO of NASCAR, Inc., and Gary D. Forsee, Chairman & CEO of Sprint Nextel Corporation, are featured on PBS tonight at 9:00 CDT on the topic, Winning Customers Through Savvy Sports Marketing.  Click here for local listings:  http://www.pbs.org/wttw/ceoexchange/
Sierra Sierra and Red Bull teams in compliance  INDIANAPOLIS – Two of the fastest and most successful cars early on in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda have been found to be in full compliance with series-specified rules and regulations.

After completion of last Sunday’s Fast Trac 100 Atlantic race at the Grand Prix of Houston, Champ Car Atlantic officials impounded both the #6 Sierra Sierra Enterprises ProWorks car driven this season by Raphael Matos and the #3 Red Bull Team Forsythe Red Bull/INDECK car piloted by rookie Robert Wickens.

Both Mazda-Cosworth/Swift/Cooper machines were transported from Houston to Champ Car headquarters in Indianapolis where each car underwent a complete examination. Once the cars were disassembled, team members were asked to leave as Atlantic officials worked through an extensive process. Both cars were found to meet the standards of 2007 Atlantic rules and regulations for competition and the vehicles were released to the teams on Thursday afternoon.

“Prior to the season, Champ Car had decided to impound both the overall championship and rookie point leader’s cars following the Houston event,” said Tony Cotman, Champ Car Vice President of Operations. “The series wanted to examine the cars more thoroughly than the technical inspection we do each day at the racetrack. It’s important for our competitors to know that in a series where driver development is a top priority, both technical and competition rules need to be strictly adhered to. Racing outside of the rules is unacceptable and swift action will be taken if necessary. In this case, we’re happy to report that both teams and both cars measured up to series guidelines. We thank both teams for their cooperation and wish them continued success for the remainder of the 2007 season.” More ...

Button not jumping ship - manager  (GMM) Jenson Button is not going to jump ship despite Honda's disastrous start to the 2007 season.

That is the insistence of the 27-year-old's manager, Richard Goddard, amid numerous voices urging the Briton to give up after his nearly five years with the team delivered only a single grand prix win.

Brackley based Honda's turbulent fortunes culminated this year with the dreadful RA107; flawed aerodynamically and easily the least competitive of the manufacturer-backed cars.

But Goddard said of Button: "We're not shopping around and I'm not talking to anyone at the moment.

"There is no other team that can give us a better place to be," he told the British print magazine Autosport.

Button signed a multi-year contract with Honda after the famous contractual tussles with Williams in 2004 and 2005.

He argued at the time that F1 drivers, with limited careers, must be "selfish"; a sentiment backed by friend David Coulthard who said Button should be "ruthless" in finding a winning home in pitlane.

1996 world champion Damon Hill agreed earlier this year that there is a "bit missing" at Honda.
Mercedes plans new F1 engine factory  Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines (HPE), formerly known as Ilmor Engineering, the firm that designs, develops and manufactures Mercedes F1 engines is planning to build a new testing facility at its headquarters in Brixworth. If the project gets full planning permission it will mean that all the company's activities will come under one roof. The plan also involves around 80 jobs in Stuttgart being transferred to Britain to consolidate all the engine-building activities in one place. The German operation has until now been doing much advanced research and producing prototype engines at Unterturkheim.

The work at Brixworth will include new parking bays for the racing trucks and the refit of the current factory with the installation of mezzanine floors for meeting rooms and office space. The company currently employs 450 designers, engineers and support staff at several locations in Brixworth. The project is currently through consultation with the local authorities and a planning application will follow shortly. Grandprix.com

Q and A with Martin Whitmarsh  In the build up to the Spanish Grand Prix McLaren.com spent some time with Martin Whitmarsh to discuss the upcoming race in Barcelona and feelings within the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team following a strong start to the season.

How does it feel to come away from the opening three races leading both Championships? Is it more than you expected?
Coming away from the first three Grands Prix there is generally a positive feeling throughout the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team and I think that is important. It lays the foundations for a real Championship assault throughout the season. With regards to expectations, I think we have a clear target to win every race and Championship we compete in. We don’t spend time dwelling on what to expect, we really focus on what we are trying to achieve. More ...

NASCAR has a history of fixing races  It’s a shame Tony Stewart besmirched a sport’s good name when he compared NASCAR to professional wrestling. Pro wrestling doesn’t deserve such a cheap shot.

At least pro wrestling makes no bones about its outcomes being preordained. NASCAR fans have to wonder week after week, when a caution flag comes out for microscopic "debris" or some great driver story unbelievably unfolds before their eyes, whether some wrestling-style scriptwriter is at work.

Some within the sport have whispered about such shenanigans for years, but Stewart was the first brave/dumb enough to say it: NASCAR is "playing God" with races. Even if it isn’t — and no one has irrefutable proof NASCAR finagles which driver finishes in what spot — Stewart’s comments at least highlight that NASCAR should start worrying that its image its tilting way too hard on the entertainment side of the entertainment/sports scale.

The temperamental two-time NASCAR champion didn’t use the word "fix" specifically in his rant during his Tuesday night show on the Sirius Satellite Network. But Stewart’s statement that NASCAR "can almost dictate the race instead of the drivers doing it" dredges up a lot of memories of too-good-to-be-true finishes. More ...

Skinner joins Stewart in exposing NASCAR manipulation  It does not pay to work too hard in NASCAR because if you do so and gain an advantage NASCAR will simply take it away.  Why?  Because NASCAR manages its racing and its results.  It has stopped being a sport and is now strictly an entertainment show.  It's races have so many commercial breaks (to pay for the huge amount of cash the TV networks pay NASCAR as part of the money-losing deal they signed with them) that the 4-hour long races are becoming unwatchable. 

Earlier this month, the sanctioning body disallowed an intake manifold that Toyota had been running all season in its trucks and Busch cars (Toyota uses the same engine in each) after chassis dynamometer tests revealed the manufacturer had a "significant" horsepower advantage with the part, according to Craftsman Truck Series director Wayne Auton.

"We need to make sure everybody has the same opportunity," Auton said. "If we see somebody that has an advantage over the rest of the garage to where it's hindering competition, we'll react to it."

In the truck series, Toyota is well ahead of the rest. Tundras have won all the races, three of four poles and have 36 manufacturer points compared to 20 for Ford and Chevrolet. And it's not as if Toyotas dominate the entry lists -- at the series' most recent race in Martinsville, Tenn., there were twice as many Chevrolets as Toyotas in the field.

But nowhere near as many running at the front. More ...

Tsutomu Tomita to leave Toyota Motorsport  Toyota Motorsport today announces that Tsutomu Tomita (pictured right) will stand down as Chairman and Team Principal at end of June 2007. Tomita will be replaced by Tadashi Yamashina, current Toyota Motorsport Vice Chairman.

Tomita, 63, has been based at Toyota Motorsport's headquarters in Cologne, Germany since 2003, but, as is normal for Toyota senior executives following a long overseas assignment, he will return to Japan in the middle of the year where new assignments await him within the Toyota group of Companies.

Tomita will assume responsibilities for other activities, and as is customary, these will be announced and confirmed as the Board of Directors meetings and shareholders resolutions are completed. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Van der Garde still stuck in F1 dispute
  • Theissen says four week break 'too long'
  • Another twist in 'car sharing' clash
  • Gene opposes traction control ban
  • High hopes for updated McLaren

Van der Garde still stuck in F1 dispute
(GMM) F1 test driver Giedo van der Garde says his management is still working to solve a contractual dispute between Super Aguri and Spyker.

The Dutchman, who turned 23 this week, originally penned a deal to become Super Aguri's 'Friday' driver in 2007, before switching his allegiance to Spyker at the same time as his girlfriend's father eyed a stake in the Silverstone based outfit.

To f1grandprix.it, van der Garde admits that he currently has two contracts, leading to the present matter before the FIA's Contract Recognition Board.

"We will see where it ends," said Giedo, who is therefore currently stranded without a Super License and instead focusing on his seat in the World Series by Renault.

He explained of the dispute: "The people behind me, the management, are working really hard to get it solved.

"Hopefully we will fix it soon."

Van der Garde said his next target is a race seat in F1 for "2008-2009". More ...

Red Bull does Colombia  Red Bull Racing put on a F1 demonstration in the streets of Cartegena, Colombia with Red Bull Junior Team driver Filipe Albuquerque at the wheel of a RB1. The show was the first time in over 20 years that an F1 car has run in Colombia.

Le Mans Series – Interview with Norbert Siedler  After a fifth place finish at the inaugural Le Mans Series race of the season at Monza Norbert Siedler and his team Kruse Motorsport are now keen on taking the challenge to the top teams of LMP2. The 24-year-old Austrian on his goals in a championship that has obviously made magnificent progress, both in terms of quality and popularity.

Q: The first race is over and people are already raved about the new face of the series. Almost 50 cars on the grid and a works team that showed up with a spaceship?
A: “Yes that’s true, the 908 Peugeots are fascinating cars and their appearance is very positive for the sport. Everybody is looking forward to seeing their battle against the Audis at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It will be very exciting.”

Q: On whom would you place your bets in the LMP2 class?
A: “Hard to say, but I am sure we will be in the game. Reliability is the spell at Le Mans and my team has proved it more than once that they are extremely good in that respect.”

Q: And what about pure speed?
A: “The Lolas and the new Zytec are very quick cars, but you must not underrate Pescarolo Sport. They have built a very good car, reliable and also quick. However, our main task for Monza was to finish the race, as an aggressive strategy would have been too risky.”

Q: Given the short time they had to get the car prepared for Monza it was a miracle that you didn’t suffer from any kind of mechanical problem…
A: “Our main problem was a tire puncture that caused a damaged underbody. And in addition with a battery change that cost us definitely a podium. However, it was a good result for the inaugural race of the season and I am pretty optimistic that, with the help of Sean (Kruse Motorsport’s first engineer Sean Thompson), we will manage to work out a perfect set-up and go for a top result at Valencia.”

Q: By the way, your engineer was missing at Monza but in the limelight in Bahrain…
A: “That’s right. Sean also works in GP2 for Super Nova and his driver, Luca Filippi, won the race over there.”

Tony Stewart slams NASCAR’s race fixing  In racing circles the unspoken word is that NASCAR manipulates almost everything to determine the outcome of qualifying and races. Pole qualifying is especially suspect with everyone relying on the times the NASCAR computer puts up on the screen as gospel. Sometimes even the polesitter is surprised by the result. (See related article on our Home Page)

But if you compete in NASCAR you bite your tongue and accept it for "what's best for the sport." Years ago Kyle Petty stated that "the call" in NASCAR really exists. He hasn't won a race since. Now Tony Stewart exposes NASCAR even further and one has to wonder if he'll ever win another race as well.

Stewart likened NASCAR to professional wrestling and accused it of using bogus caution flags to shape races in biting comments made on his weekly radio show. Stewart's appearance on his Tuesday night show was his first since skipping a post-race press conference in Phoenix.

"It's like playing God," he said on his Sirius Satellite Radio program. "They can almost dictate the race instead of the drivers doing it. It's happened too many times this year."

"I guess NASCAR thinks 'Hey, wrestling worked, and it was for the most part staged, so I guess it's going to work in racing, too,'" he said. "I can't understand how long the fans are going to let NASCAR treat them like they're stupid before the fans finally turn on NASCAR. I don't know that they've run a fair race all year.

"To me, it's not all about the money, it's about the integrity of the sport. When I feel our own sanctioning body isn't taking care of that, it's hard to support them and feel proud about being a driver in the Nextel Cup Series when they're throwing debris cautions."

Robert F. “Bob” Snodgrass, Jr. dies  JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Last evening while at home, Robert F. Snodgrass, Jr. peacefully passed away at the age of 64. Mr. Snodgrass, a native of Elmira, New York, was President and CEO of Brumos Motor Cars, Inc., Brumos Porsche, Lexus of Jacksonville and Brumos Racing.

Bob is survived by his wife Susan and sons Harris M. Snodgrass and Robert F. Snodgrass, III. Bob Snodgrass called Jacksonville, Florida his home for the past 35 years and was an integral part of Jacksonville's businesses and philanthropic community as well as a legend in sports car racing in America and around the world.

As President of Brumos Motor Cars (Mercedes-Benz), Brumos Porsche, and Lexus of Jacksonville, Bob ran one of the most successful automotive groups in the nation. His dealerships continually won top honors from the manufacturers as well as the Jacksonville community. More ...

Dumoulin and Dalziel to run for SAMAX at VIR  SAMAX Motorsport will have two new drivers for this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race Sunday at Virginia International Speedway (VIR). Following Milka Duno's departure from Grand-Am to compete in the Indy Racing League with SAMAX Motorsport, team owner Peter Baron was to announce her replacement this week. Early on Wednesday, he got news from driver Patrick Carpentier that the Canadian driver, who lives in Las Vegas, could not participate in Sunday's 400-kilometer race due to a family medical emergency.

Filling in for Round 4, on the 3.27-mile (5,263-kilometer) 17-turn VIR road circuit, will be Ryan Dalziel from Scotland and Jean-François Dumoulin of Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Dalziel is no stranger to Daytona Prototype (DP), having spent the 2006 season with Pacific Coast Motorsports where he collected his best finish in DP with a second place at Phoenix. The Orlando, Florida resident competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with SAMAX Motorsport, finishing second overall with teammates Carpentier, Duno and British driver Darren Manning, tying his best result in the series. With a weekend off from a busy early season Champ Car schedule, where the 25-year old is competing full time as a rookie, Dalziel accepted the offer from Peter Baron to fill in for this race. He spent the previous three weekends in Las Vegas, where he finished 11th in his Champ Car debut, then improved to ninth at Long Beach and went on to Houston last weekend for an eighth place finish. This will be Dalziel's 17th start in a Daytona Prototype. More ...

Frankie Muniz Atlantic Feature Posted on People.com  INDIANAPOLIS – Jensen Motorsport rookie driver Frankie Muniz (#13 Chandler Development) found a special way to commemorate his first time competing as a member of the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda in Long Beach earlier this month.

The successful actor-turned-professional-race-car-driver captured all the action of his first Atlantic race on the storied streets of Long Beach through a unique video feature. People Magazine approached Muniz about filming a special celebrity video diary around his debut pro race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 13-15, and the 21-year-old Los Angeles resident was happy to oblige.

Using a camera supplied by People.com, Muniz and the Jensen MotorSport team shot home video of the driver in action throughout the weekend as they competed at Round 2 of the Atlantic Championship. Highlights of Muniz and his weekend at Long Beach are currently posted as a front-page feature on the magazine’s official web site – www.People.com. More ...

Mid-Ohio testing on tap for Kumho shod teams  Intersport Racing and B-K Motorsports aren't taking much of a break with a one-day tire test scheduled early next month at Mid-Ohio with tire partner Kumho. The two prototype teams from the American Le Mans Series will test a number of different compounds on May 3 as they and Kumho continue to develop tires for Intesport's Creation-Judd combination and the Lola-Mazda package from B-K.

"It's a steep learning curve," said Intersport team owner and driver Clint Field. "Kumho did a great job with the new sidewall compound at Houston. They've done stuff pretty quickly in such a short amount of time. They'll bring six or eight new compounds and we'll eventually make a choice of what we'll bring to Salt Lake City."

Intersport and Kumho announced a partnership for 2007 in January. Starting at Sebring, the team ran the manufacturer's P2 tire on the LMP1 chassis but has received two additional constructions which have gotten progressively better with each event, Field said. The team also has further tests planned during the Le Mans break at Road America.

"Kumho has involved us throughout which is good," he said. "They're making good strides. With the softer compound, we'll be more competitive. We're ready to hit this head-on."
AAMCO Transmissions Teams With IndyCar Series For Pole Award  AAMCO Transmissions will serve as the "Official Automotive Transmission Repair Company" of the IndyCar® Series, officials announced April 24.

As part of the agreement, AAMCO will sponsor the Pole Award for every IndyCar Series event for the remainder of this season, including the Indianapolis 500. Beginning Saturday, April 28 at Kansas Speedway, the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award will be presented to the series' top qualifier along with a check for $10,000. The award increases to $100,000 for the polesitter at the Indianapolis 500. To be eligible for the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award, cars must carry the AAMCO contingency decal.

"We are excited to partner with the IndyCar Series this season to present the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award as well as have a presence at the Indianapolis 500, one of the greatest sporting events in the world," said Todd Leff, chief executive officer, AAMCO. "This is part of our most comprehensive and integrated sports marketing campaign to date. Our partnership with the IndyCar Series will serve as a great platform to motivate and reward AAMCO center owners and employees." More ...

Unser joins Playa Del Racing for Freedom 100  Al Unser III hopes to etch the Unser name further into Indianapolis lore. The 25-year-old grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser and son of two-time "500" champ Al Unser Jr., will compete in the Indy Pro Series Freedom 100 at the famed 2.5-mile oval on May 25.

Unser III, who will drive the No. 12 Playa Del Racing entry, will prepare for the 40-lap race at an Open Test at the Speedway on April 27.

"This is going to be a great opportunity for myself and the Playa Del Racing organization," Unser said. "I'm really familiar with these cars, and my family has had a great relationship with this team. I think this could be a great partnership in the future." More ...

IRL driver arrested again  UPDATE A lawyer for Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. entered a not guilty plea on Unser's behalf Wednesday to charges including driving under the influence in a January crash on a southern Nevada freeway.  Unser, 45, of Henderson, did not appear in person before Justice of the Peace Stephen George, who set trial for July 11.

"There's a chance it might get resolved before that date," Unser's lawyer, Andrew Leavitt, said following the brief court hearing. Leavitt declined to address circumstances surrounding Unser's Jan. 25 arrest.

The Nevada Highway Patrol said Unser failed field sobriety tests before he was charged with driving under the influence, misdemeanor hit and run, failure to render aid in an accident and failure to report an accident.  The patrol said Unser was driving a black Ford Excursion when it sideswiped a Mazda sedan that crashed into a cement median on the Las Vegas Beltway. AP Story

01/26/07 IRL driver Al Unser, Jr. is in trouble in Henderson, Nevada.  NHP troopers charged him with DUI, hit and run, failure to help, failure to report, and unsafe lane change.  Troopers say he hit a car with his SUV, and took off.  A witness followed the SUV, and Henderson cops caught up with Unser, Jr. a block from his home.  NHP gave him a field sobriety test and then arrested him.  This is not the first time he has been in trouble with the law.  He has had substance abuse problems for years.  He is currently unemployed as a race car driver. KTNV News
A1GP Returns to Zandvoort  A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will return to Circuit Park Zandvoort in the Netherlands for the 2007/08 season opener on the 28 – 30 September 2007, one year after the seaside town hosted the first race in the current season. A capacity crowd of 75,000 fans watched A1 Team Germany’s Nico Hülkenberg take his maiden victory for the team, their first step on the path to the championship victory they finally secured in Shanghai.

Last year’s Feature race was characterized by breathtaking overtaking maneuvers and unpredictable conditions that delivered one of the most exciting races of the season. A1 Team Netherlands’ rookie Jeroen Bleekemolen, promoted to main driver that weekend, led for a quarter of the race before finally finishing fourth, giving the crowds a spectacular show that will no doubt draw them back for a second year.

Commenting on last year’s event A1 Team Netherlands’ seat holder, Jan Lammers said: ‘Last year's event will be very hard to beat, but let's hope we can at least match that so we can host a memorable A1GP season opener yet again. The first A1GP at Zandvoort has been the perfect showcase for A1GP and embodied everything the World Cup of Motorsport is all about – great racing, an overwhelming atmosphere, extensive media coverage. More ...

tv news
GoDaddy.com Inks Presenting Sponsorship Of Indy 500 Telecast  GoDaddy.com has signed on as the presenting sponsor of ABC’s Indianapolis 500 broadcast. GoDaddy will also be the presenting sponsor for qualifying and Bump Day broadcasts on ESPN2.  They will air 17 spots during the race and qualifying events. The brand will also appear during broadcast segments and in aerial and in-car views. The deal includes additional advertising spots throughout the racing season, as well as an interactive quiz on ESPN.com and print ads in ESPN The Magazine.
racing news
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking  
Updated 4-25-07
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car) 9.468
2. (3) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 8.782
3. (5) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.731
4. (2) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.653
5. (7) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.586
6. (15) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.538
7. (6) Felipe Massa (F1) 7.436
8. (25) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.196
9. (27) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.024
10. (4) Will Power (Champ Car) 6.750
11. (10) Fernando Alonso (F1) 6.746
12. (30) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.684
13. (12) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.528
14. (NR) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 6.514
15. (18) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 6.240
16. (11) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.215
17. (14) Bruno Junqueira (CCWS) 6.209
18. (NR) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.175
19. (20) Oriol Servia (Champ Car) 6.152
20. (9) Alex Tagliani (Champ Car) 6.002

Dropped out: Helio Castroneves (IRL), Jamie McMurray (NASCAR), Clint Bowyer (NASCAR), Mark Martin (NASCAR), Justin Wilson (Champ Car)

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.

racing news
Q and A with Jacques Villeneuve  
Jacques, your album came out in Canada last month. How's that going? Are you happy with how it has been received?
"The reaction has been very positive from the public. There was some negative media around release which did not help, but since then it's been going well."

Are there any further developments for your music projects?
"The plan is to make the album physically available in other countries (other than Canada) and we are working hard on France / Central Europe and Asia at the moment. It has been available digitally worldwide from the start. People can also get the actual album via Canadian websites who can send it anywhere in the world."

Peugeot just won the first of the Le Mans series races with the car that you'll be driving later in the season for the 24hour race. They took third too and set the fastest lap time. That's a pretty good start. Does this make you feel confident for that race and your chances of doing well against the rest of the field?
"The car is competitive which is great. Now we need to make sure it is competitive for a whole 24h." More ...

Weekly NASCAR cheating report  Todd Brewer, crew chief for the No. 25 Ford driven by David Gilliland in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined $2,000 after it was found the No. 25 had unapproved, hollow jacking bolts. Brewer was in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20A-12.1A(8) (unapproved jacking bolts, hollow bolts). The violation was found during opening day inspection April 18 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Heidfeld a 'midfield' driver - Howett  (GMM) Toyota's team president John Howett has dealt a knockout blow to rumors that Nick Heidfeld could be shaping up to join the Japanese squad next year.

To the German magazine Sport Bild, the Briton said that he considers 29-year-old Heidfeld to belong only to formula one's "upper midfield".

Howett also denied contact with Heidfeld's manager Werner Heinz, and - music to the embattled Ralf Schumacher's ears - insisted that replacing either Schumacher or Jarno Trulli would "not improve" the Toyota lineup.

It is believed that Howett also argued strongly against Toyota signing Heidfeld at the end of 2004, when the Japanese squad moved to tab Schumacher following his five year stint at Williams.

Villeneuve unruffled by strong BMW form  (GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve says that not being a part of BMW-Sauber's sizzling form this year is not bothering him.

The former world champion, who is currently spending time with his new wife and baby son in Canada while he waits on his future in the NASCAR series, was nudged out of the Swiss squad last year while team principal Mario Theissen pushed on the career of Robert Kubica.

Villeneuve's teammate last year, Nick Heidfeld, sensationally passed world champion Fernando Alonso during the Bahrain GP recently, but the French-Canadian insists that he did not watch the television wishing that he was still in the Hinwil-built single seater.

"They seem to be doing well which makes me happy for the guys who work hard in there," Jacques said.

He added: "As far as I am concerned, I turned the page so I don't dwell on whether I would be quicker or not."

Villeneuve, who will race with Peugeot at Le Mans later this year, went on that news about his prospective NASCAR drive has been slow because there is "no point in rushing".

"It's more important to take the time to set things up properly," he said.

BMW boss undecided about Friday plans  (GMM) Mario Theissen is yet to decide how BMW-Sauber will tackle the remaining Friday practice sessions in the 2007 season.

Pre-season, the German proudly announced that teenage protégé Sebastian Vettel will replace one of the race drivers in the morning session at each grand prix.

But following the criticism of Nick Heidfeld, and the fact that he struggled to set up his car with limited track time when it was his turn to relinquish his cockpit, Theissen announced that BMW will re-think the strategy.

Vettel did not participate in Bahrain, and it is not certain if he will be back in action next month at Barcelona, where it is believed that his schedule will nonetheless make him available.

To the 'sid' news agency, Theissen hinted that it is the format at fault rather than BMW's approach; a belief backed by Bernie Ecclestone, who wants to make it compulsory for a race driver to step aside for a youngster on each GP Friday in the future.

Mario Theissen said: "I would prefer if the Friday regulations had turned out the way they had been originally intended -- as a test day and not a practice day."

Fittipaldi to run LeMans  Team Modena has announced that former Formula 1 driver Christian Fittipaldi is to form part of its driver line-up for the 2007 running of the Le Mans 24 Hours.  Fittipaldi will join Team Modena regulars Antonio Garcia and Liz Halliday in the Aston Martin DBR9 for the endurance classic as the British team looks to improve on the fine top ten overall finish secured last year by Garcia, David Brabham and Nelson Piquet Jr.
NASCAR slaps Montoya's wrist  Juan Pablo Montoya has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation after making an inappropriate gesture to another driver, NASCAR said on Wednesday.  Montoya's gesture was seen on live television during a practice session for the NASCAR Busch series last Thursday at Phoenix International Raceway.  The 31-year-old Colombian former Formula One driver, who is in his first full season of NASCAR competition, would remain on probation until December 31, NASCAR officials said.
tv news
Champ Car Atlantic Houston race to be televised  The third race of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship run in Houston on April 22 will be aired on Thursday, April 26, 5:30 pm-6:00 pm ET on ESPN2.
industry news
GM's OnStar integration with Mapquest  GM's OnStar and MapQuest announced today a collaboration that will allow OnStar subscribers to plan their driving route on their PC at MapQuest.com and send their destination right to OnStar's easy to use Turn-by-Turn in-car navigation service.
Kovalainen staying positive  Heikki Kovalainen talks about the season so far.

Q: Heikki, you made your F1 debut in Australia just over a month ago. What have the first three races been like for you?

Heikki Kovalainen: The start of the season has been a little bit tough for us, to be honest. The car clearly isn't performing how the team had hoped, and personally, my first race was a real disappointment. It certainly wasn't the kind of debut I had dreamed about. So that's the negative side of things, but I'm not the kind of person to focus on the downside. Since Melbourne, I have worked really hard, I have been on the same pace as my team-mate Giancarlo, and I think I have made good progress. I feel like the first three races have given me a good basis to improve from in the next months.

Q: Talk us through those first three races -- disappointment in Melbourne, first points in Malaysia, then a tough afternoon in Bahrain.

HK: Well, there have been some highs and lows I suppose, but overall I am happy that I am making progress. I don't want to think about Australia -- nothing went right for me, and I just put it behind me as fast as possible. Malaysia was good -- my first point in probably the toughest race of the year, and qualifying ahead of Fisico. And then in Bahrain, I only finished ninth, but it was a battling race.

The first stint was tough because of the heavy fuel load, but I had to fight wheel to wheel with some guys, especially Rosberg -- it was like being back in GP2! And I think I showed that I can be aggressive, that I am not an easy guy to pass on track, and that I can keep on pushing all the way through the race. So there are always positives to take from every experience, and they are what I am focusing on. More ...

Tom Kristensen discharged from hospital  Audi driver Tom Kristensen was discharged from hospital on Tuesday evening and is meanwhile back at home with his family. The Dane was involved in a heavy accident just after the start of the opening race of the DTM season at Hockenheim, and was taken to the Mannheim University Clinic for a series of more detailed examinations. Except for bruising the doctors diagnosed no further injuries – they nevertheless instructed Kristensen to rest thoroughly over the next few days.
"I’m delighted that I’m finally back home with my family and our baby boy Oswald,” said Tom Kristensen, who had become a father again only the weekend before last. "It’s always time to leave when you start to enjoy hospital food,” joked the seven-time Le Mans winner as he was leaving. "I’d like to thank the doctors at the circuit and in the hospital for their professional care and attention. I felt extremely well looked after,” said Kristensen. His Siemens Audi A4 DTM will be completely rebuilt in the meantime and ready for action at the next round at Oschersleben (6 May). Kristensen: "I’ll take the opportunity to relax before preparing myself better than ever for the race weekend.”
Kristensen’s Audi teammate Alexandre Prémat, who was also involved in the accident, is also on the road to recovery. The Frenchman must nevertheless stay for a few more days in hospital for observation.
Gore: Champ Car best series in world  As well as being in Champ Car with both feet with Team Australia and Aussie Wines, Craig Gore also sponsors an Australian V-8 team and is a co-sponsor in NASCAR of Australian driver Marcus Ambrose.

"I think Champ Car is the best racing in the world, and I truly mean that," Gore declared. "We're involved in NASCAR in the Busch series and we're going to run ten rounds of the Nextel Cup this year with a Team Australia car with Marcus Ambrose. I'm also involved in the V-8 Supercar series at home in Australia. It's all good fun, but this is the best racing series in the world.

"Unfortunately it got fragmented a few years ago and when it fell apart, it really fell apart. But I think the crowds are coming back. Surfers Paradise has never wavered and Long Beach this year was the best crowd I've ever seen there in four years of going to that event. So there are some very good, positive signs. They are going in the right direction. It's a really hard road."

Gore admires the commitment to the sport demonstrated by Champ Car's ownership.

"Kevin and Jerry get a lot of stick," Gore said. "But where would this thing be without them? They've invested a huge amount of money in it and put a lot of effort into it. They've done some things wrong and I think they would be the first guys to admit that. But there's no doubting their commitment to it."

And Gore is equally committed.

"I want to be here for the long haul because when this thing turns around you're going to see that the teams will have a value again," Gore observed. "It's going to take a little time, but it will happen. And once that happens, the sky's the limit."

Wurz addresses UN Council  AT&T Williams race driver, Alex Wurz yesterday addressed the UN World Youth Assembly in Geneva on the subject of road safety as a part of the Global Road Safety Week and made a vocal call to motivate governments, NGOs and individuals all over the world to move from passive road safety to active engagement with educational programs for young drivers.

In his presentation to the assembly, Alex stated that the loss of 1,049 lives on roads around the world every day was ‘devastating and alarming’ and expressed his strongly held view that active education of young drivers was the key to reducing the loss of life in significant numbers.

Joining the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, footballer Ronaldinho, musician Moby and road crash survivors as well as surviving relatives of road traffic accidents, Alex addressed the assembly with a presentation entitled “Learning from a Crash”, with experience in part derived from his family’s international road safety training business which has helped reduce fatal accidents in his native Austria by 30% in two years, as well as drawing on his Formula One credentials. More ...

Indy Pro Series drivers gear up for Indy Open Test  Race car drivers. around the world dream of driving on the famous 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On April 27, at least 14 drivers will get their first opportunity on the track that has created numerous legends when the Indy Pro Series conducts an Open Test at the facility.

Twenty-five cars, with 22 drivers named to date, will participate in the test, which will help the teams prepare for the 40-lap Freedom 100 on May 25, two days before the Indianapolis 500 Logan Gomez, an 18-year-old who grew up just hours away from the Speedway in Crown Point, Ind., is among the drivers who will be on the oval for the first time "I hear it's a hard track, so I'll be spending a good part of the day just working up the courage to go flat out throughout the track," said Gomez, who drives the No. 23 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry.

"The team is always quick at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so I'm looking forward to experiencing a quick car there. My expectations are pretty much the same as when we tested in Homestead. We were really quick in Homestead with the Isilon Systems/FlaCondos.net car, and to have such a bad race like we did, I feel I really need to redeem myself. Once I get comfortable, I'll be helping my teammates fine tune on our setup. More ...

Track News
Development planned around Bahrain track  Major new developments will be launched in Bahrain in around two months with plans for the unveiling of the long-awaited business park alongside the Bahrain International Circuit. The aim is for this to house an "automotive cluster", a technology park, a university (with a centre of excellence for motoring) and possibly several hotels as well. The circuit is examining a link with an established US or UK university. The first building in this program was the Ruf company headquarters that was opened at this year's Grand Prix with the launch of a new mid-engine super sports car. Because Bahrain has a Free Trade Agreement with the United States the majority of the cars built there will go directly to the US. The business park will be the design of Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the new concert hall in Abu Dhabi. More at Grandprix.com
Industry News
Focus in Detroit should be better autos  Detroit's auto industry is "extraordinarily vulnerable," the man on the telephone told the Free Press reporter. It "remains weaker and smaller than ever before. There's an illusory quality to the industry's comeback," he added.

It was Sept. 17, 1986. The man speaking was David Halberstam, whose book "The Reckoning," on the stunning rise of Japan's auto industry and the decline of Detroit's, was new in stores. Halberstam, 73, died Monday in a car crash, the day before Toyota said it had passed General Motors Corp. as the world's top auto seller.

Set aside the fixation with who's No. 1. BMW doesn't care if it's the top-selling car company in the world, and GM shouldn't either.

Instead, let's consider whether it's possible that Detroit's automakers have made so little progress toward closing the competitive gap that Halberstam's quotes from 1986 sound as spot-on today as they did then. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • FIA steps up illegal floor offensive
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FIA steps up illegal floor offensive
(GMM) F1's governing body has stepped up its offensive against illegal floor bodywork, according to reports.

The specialist publication Auto Motor und Sport said the FIA's Charlie Whiting has now informed all teams that tests to ensure the rigidity of cars' underbodies will be even stricter at the Spanish grand prix next month.

The saga first hit the headlines after the Australian grand prix, when teams including Ferrari and BMW-Sauber were accused of deliberately circumventing the rules to obtain a performance advantage.

The FIA's subsequent clarification affected the design of most formula one teams' floors, sources said.

But Auto Motor und Sport contends that Ferrari and BMW's original floor designs passed even the stricter test; motivating the FIA to now quadruple the amount of load applied for the new Barcelona tests.

Toyota's Pascal Vasselon suggests that the move may force some teams to totally re-think their underbody setups, because too stiff a floor is likely to break over the curbs.

"Many teams will have to raise their cars quite a lot," he said, "but (raising a car by) only a millimeter can mean two per cent less downforce." More ...

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