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Wheldon does PR work for Texas race
IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon may have been nearly 5,000 miles from his hometown of Emberton, England, but he returned to his roots today in Frisco, Texas.

Wheldon, whose passion for soccer is second only to auto racing, had the rare opportunity to participate in a soccer scrimmage with the Western Conference-leading FC Dallas Major League Soccer team as part of a media visit to promote the June 7 Bombardier Learjet 550k IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Wheldon, who played as a youth and still toys around with the game, immediately found the English connections on FC Dallas as he enjoyed chatting with Coach Steve Morrow, who played for Arsenal, and forward Kenny Cooper, who previously played with Manchester United. “For me as an Englishman, soccer is prominent from where I’m from…actually soccer and motor racing, so it’s good to kind of combine the two and get back what I used to be doing when I was four years old,” Wheldon said. “I understand soccer because that’s what I was brought up knowing. I think that the more people get to see soccer and they can relate to it the more they will see how much fun it is.” Wheldon, sporting a full FC Dallas practice uniform, was brought to midfield of the soccer pitch where Coach Morrow introduced him to the team, congratulated on his win last week at Kansas and presented him with a personalized FC Dallas game jersey with his car number 10.

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Merger drives IRL ratings up UPDATE In addition, indycar.com had more than 146,000 visits during the two-day race weekend, an increase of 74.2 percent over 2007. Use of the Timing & Scoring application increased 151.69 percent.  For the year, traffic at indycar.com has increased 94.65 percent, with more than 3.38 million visits.  It's safe to conclude these numbers too are driven almost entirely by Champ Car fans coming over to the IRL.

04/30/08 The good news for the Indy Racing League keeps rolling in. On the heels of a significant attendance increase at the April 27 race at Kansas Speedway over last year’s event, series officials are now reporting that television ratings also were sky high.

Much of the credit, IRL officials said, goes to the hype caused by Danica Patrick’s victory a week earlier in Japan.

Sunday’s IndyCar 300 at Kansas had a 0.74 household TV viewer rating, meaning about 740,000 households nationwide tuned into the race, which aired at 5 p.m. on ESPN2. That’s up 164 percent over last year’s race, which earned a 0.28 rating at almost the same time and date a year earlier, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research.

Perhaps even more impressive, the rating climbed steadily as the race went on, starting at 0.60 and hitting 0.98 near the conclusion of the race won by Dan Wheldon. Patrick had car problems and didn’t figure into the late stages of the race.  IBJ.com

[Editor's Note: However, while IRL officials are crediting Danica Patrick's win in Japan on the ratings boost, as much or more is probably tied to the fact that all the Champ Car fans are now tuning into the races whereas in previous years they would not.  Rest assured that accounts for the increase more than Danica.]


Carpenter fined for post-race comments
IndyCar Series officials have fined Vision Racing’s Ed Carpenter an undisclosed amount for using inappropriate language during interviews at the April 27 Road Runner Turbo Indy 300.  Carpenter was penalized for violating Rule 8.3 A of the IndyCar Series rulebook, improper conduct.


Lazier, Hemelgarn reunite for Indy 500 entry
Ron Hemelgarn and Buddy Lazier are reuniting to compete in the 92nd Indianapolis 500. Lazier, the 1996 winner of the 500-Mile Race and the 2000 IndyCar Series champion, will drive the No. 91 Hemelgarn Johnson entry as he attempts to qualify for his 16th Indianapolis 500.
Lazier made his Indy 500 debut in 1991 and won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on his fourth attempt, leading 43 laps after starting fifth. Last year, he improved three positions to finish 19th in a Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.
“I love the Indianapolis 500 and everything about the IndyCar Series,” said Lazier, who finished second in the 500 in 1998 and 2000 and fifth in 2005. “I lie awake at night because I want to be part of it. Ron has given me an opportunity to be part of it. We’ve struggled and we’ve had success together in the past. The two of us have experienced what it’s like to finish 33rd and have a horrible day, and we’ve experienced winning. It’s nice to be back together. It’s a last-minute program, but we’re going to make the best of it. I think we’ll have a strong race car and we’ll be a factor on race day.”

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Randy Moss to start NASCAR team
New England Patriot football player Randy Moss is putting together a team to race in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series.

Moss announced Tuesday the formation of Moss Motorsports LLC. The New England Patriots wide receiver anticipates the team will debut in the second half of the 2008 season and run selected races through the conclusion of the year.

Currently the team has no driver or sponsors lined up.

"I am by nature a very competitive person and this is an outlet for me to compete at another level," Moss said in a statement. "There are some pretty awesome challenges in building a program like this from the ground up, but I am looking forward to it."

racing news

Goo-Goo dolls to play at the Brickyard
Multi-platinum rock superstars The Goo Goo Dolls will perform a Miller Lite Rock 'N Racing concert Saturday, July 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, capping a day full of action and excitement during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

The Goo Goo Dolls will take the stage in the infield of the IMS oval for an afternoon performance. The band's performance is free with $15 gate admission for the day, part of the Miller Lite Rock 'N Racing concert series.

This will be the second consecutive Rock 'N Racing concert at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Miller Lite also presents the wildly popular Miller Lite Carb Day Concert during the Indianapolis 500, with Stone Temple Pilots as this year's headline act Friday, May 23.

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Latest Indy 500 Entry List
Car Driver Hometown Entrant Race Strategist
2 A.J. Foyt IV Hockley, Texas Vision Racing Tony George
3 Helio Castroneves (W) São Paulo, Brazil Team Penske Tim Cindric
4 Vitor Meira Brasilia, Brazil Panther Racing John Barnes
5 Oriol Servia (R) Pals, Spain KV Racing Technology Jimmy Vasser
6 Ryan Briscoe Sydney, Australia Team Penske Roger Penske
7 Danica Patrick Roscoe, Ill. Andretti Green Racing Kyle Moyer
8 Will Power (R) Toowoomba, Australia KV Racing Technology Mark Johnson
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Mike Hull
10 Dan Wheldon (W) Emberton, England Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chip Ganassi
11 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Andretti Green Racing George Klotz
12 Tomas Scheckter Capetown, South Africa Luczo Dragon Racing Jay Penske
14 Darren Manning North Yorkshire, England A.J. Foyt Enterprises A.J. Foyt
15 Buddy Rice (W) Phoenix Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dennis Reinbold
16 Alex Lloyd (R) Manchester, England Rahal Letterman Racing TBA
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay (R) Boca Raton, Fla. Rahal Letterman Racing Scott Roembke
18 Bruno Junqueira Belo Horizonte, Brazil Dale Coyne Racing Dale Coyne
19 Mario Moraes (R) Sao Paulo, Brazil Dale Coyne Racing Adam Schaechter
20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis Vision Racing Larry Curry
21 TBA TBA Playa Del Racing TBA
22 TBA TBA Vision Racing TBA
23 Milka Duno Caracas, Venezuela Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Robbie Buhl
24 Jay Howard (R) Basildon, England Roth Racing Jeremy Milless
25 Marty Roth Toronto Roth Racing David Cripps
26 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Andretti Green Racing Paul Harcus
27 Hideki Mutoh (R) Tokyo Andretti Green Racing Kim Green
33 E.J. Viso (R) Caracas, Venezuela HVM Racing Michael Cannon
34 Jaime Camara (R) Goiania, Brazil Conquest Racing Eric Zeto
36 Enrique Bernoldi (R) Curitiba, Brazil Conquest Racing Brandon Fry
41 Larry Foyt Houston A.J. Foyt Enterprises Craig Baranouski
44 Max Papis Como, Italy Rubicon Race Team/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Tim Neff
67 Sarah Fisher Commercial Point, Ohio Sarah Fisher Racing John O’Gara
77 TBA TBA Team Penske TBA
83 TBA TBA Panther Racing TBA
91 Buddy Lazier (W) Vail, Colo. Hemelgarn Johnson Lee Kunzman
96 Mario Dominguez (R) Mexico City Pacific Coast Motorsports Michael Harvey
98 TBA TBA CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports Greg Beck
99 Townsend Bell San Francisco Dreyer & Reinbold Racing TBA
02 Justin Wilson (R) Sheffield, England Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Mike Talbott
06 Graham Rahal (R) New Albany, Ohio Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Todd Malloy


Indy Month of May schedule
Schedule (local time):
May 4-5
Noon-5 p.m. – Rookie Orientation Program
May 6-9
Noon-6 p.m. – IndyCar Series practice
May 10
9-10 a.m. – IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
10-11 a.m. – IndyCar Series practice
Noon-6 p.m. – PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by AutoZone qualifying
May 11
10:15-11:15 a.m. – IndyCar Series practice
Noon-6 p.m. – IndyCar Series qualifying
May 14-16
Noon-6 p.m. – IndyCar Series practice
May 17-18
10:15-11:15 a.m. – IndyCar Series practice
Noon-6 p.m. – IndyCar Series qualifying
May 22
9-9:45 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights practice
11-11:45 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights practice
1:15 p.m. – SWE Pole Qualifying
May 23
11 a.m. – Noon – IndyCar Series practice
Noon – Firestone Freedom 100 pre-race
12:30 p.m. – Firestone Freedom 100 (40 laps/100 miles)
1:30-3 p.m. – Checkers/Rally’s Pit Stop Competition
3:30 p.m. – Carb Day Concert
May 25
1 p.m. – 92nd Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (200 laps/500 miles)


New rules will boost overtaking
Honda team principal Ross Brawn says the new rules for 2009 which include slick tires, banning tire warmers and significant aerodynamic changes will allow for a lot more overtaking in F1.

"The cars will have a lot less downforce than they do now so it's definitely going to go back the other way," Brawn was quoted as saying by Autosport. "The feeling is if we can have a higher ratio of tire and mechanical grip and a lower ratio of aero grip then intuitively you think that would be much better for one car to follow another."

"The tire of car we're trying to have should mean that cars can follow each other easier," he added. "There are a lot of reasons why it should be better, but whether there's a second or third effect we haven't anticipated we'll have to wait and see."

track news

Indy offers season GA tickets
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is offering a General Admission Season Ticket for all three of its world-class events in 2008, the 92nd Indianapolis 500, 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP.

The season ticket provides gate admission for a combined nine days over the three events, including all three race days, for just $150:

Indianapolis 500: Friday, May 23 (Miller Lite Carb Day, Firestone Freedom 100); Saturday, May 24 (Drivers' Meeting), Sunday, May 25 (Race Day)

Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Friday, July 25 (Chevy Day at the Brickyard, Practice); Saturday, July 26 (Qualifying, Practice), Sunday, July 27 (Race Day)

Red Bull Indianapolis GP: Friday, Sept. 12 (Practice), Saturday, Sept. 13 (Qualifying, Practice), Sunday, Sept. 14 (Race Day)

"We're pleased to offer a season ticket as a great value to our loyal fans," said Joie Chitwood, IMS president and chief operating officer. "The season ticket provides a savings of $25 and also offers a variety of other bonuses for fans."

An IMS Season Ticket provides the only way for fans to obtain general admission Race Day access to the popular Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, the annual stop of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on the historic 2.5-mile oval. All other Race Day tickets are reserved for this event.

Other perks for General Admission Season Ticket buyers include a free IMS gift and automatic registration to receive the "Wing and Wheel" e-mail newsletter, which provides IMS news, and information about tickets and other special offers.

Fans have three easy methods to buy IMS General Admission Season Tickets: Online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time; on the phone by calling (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office on the first floor of the IMS Administration Building at 4790 W. 16th St. in Indianapolis from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Atlantic Series changes date of season finale
The 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda schedule will end one day earlier than originally announced as series officials today confirmed that the season finale slated for Road Atlanta will be contested on Friday, October 3. The reason for the change was to put a bit more space between the Atlantic Championship event and the 10-hour American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans, which will begin at 11:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 4.

The fact that the Atlantic Championship is racing at Road Atlanta at all is thanks to the spirit of cooperation between series partner Mazda and the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda series, which was originally scheduled to conclude its season on the same weekend at Road Atlanta. Skip Barber National will instead wrap up its 2008 campaign on October 3-5 at Virginia International Raceway alongside the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series. Both the Atlantic Championship and Skip Barber National are rungs on the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder.

“I can’t thank Skip Barber National enough for agreeing to move their season finale for us,” said Atlantic Championship managing director Vicki O’Connor. “This is just another example of how motorsports is truly a big family and we are proud of our association with Mazda and the Skip Barber organization. Likewise, I must also extend my gratitude to both Road Atlanta and Virginia International Raceway for helping us to make this work as well.”

Road Atlanta is a fitting site for the finale of the 35th Anniversary season of the Atlantic Championship. This year’s race marks the return of Atlantic to the historic, 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course for the first time since 1993, when eventual Formula 1, IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 champion Jacques Villeneuve claimed the victory after starting from the pole position. Ironically, his father, Canadian racing legend Gilles Villeneuve, won from the pole in the first Atlantic visit to Road Atlanta in 1976. There have been a total of seven Atlantic Championship events held at Road Atlanta.

Next up for the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda is Round 2 of the 11-race championship, the Monterey Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, May 18.


Chrysler's top P.R. exec resigns
Chrysler LLC's top spokesman, David Barnas, is leaving the Auburn Hills automaker to take an executive position at a Saginaw-based spinoff of Delphi Corp.

Barnas, who will step down Friday, said he is leaving Chrysler on good terms. He said the opportunity with the former Delphi steering division was too good to pass up.

"I'm running to an opportunity, not running away from anything," he said. "I'll miss my friends at Chrysler.

Barnas, however, is the third public relations executive to leave the company in the past five months. Jason Vines, the former vice president for communications, and Mike Aberlich, who served as director of corporate and internal communications, left the company in December.


GM reports $3.3 billion 1st Qtr Loss
General Motors Corp. today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2008, marked by improved adjusted automotive operating performance, rapid growth in emerging markets, continued cost performance in GM North America (GMNA) operations and liquidity of nearly $24 billion, despite the impact of the American Axle strike on North American operations and weakness in the U.S. auto industry.

“We continue to leverage our global product portfolio to take advantage of tremendous growth in key emerging markets, while at the same time taking the appropriate actions to deal with the challenging economic conditions in the U.S.," said GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Rick Wagoner.

Reflecting several special items noted below, GM reported a net loss of $3.3 billion, or $5.74 per share in the first quarter of 2008, compared with a net loss from continuing operations of $42 million, or $.07 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted automotive earnings before taxes were $392 million, up $161 million despite the significant impact of the American Axle strike and weak U.S. auto industry (reported earnings declined $118 million). These positive results were driven by strong combined earnings before taxes of $1 billion in GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East (GMLAAM), GM Asia Pacific (GMAP) and GM Europe (GME), which more than offset a loss at GMNA.

Excluding special items, GM posted an adjusted net loss of $350 million, or $.62 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2008, reflecting losses at GMAC and tax expenses. These results compare to an adjusted net loss from continuing operations of $10 million, or $0.01 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2007.

The reported results for the first quarter of 2008 include unfavorable special items totaling $2.9 billion. The charges include $1.45 billion to record a non-cash partial impairment of our equity investment in GMAC. Based on current market pricing, GM concluded that the estimated fair value of the common and preferred equity interests it holds in GMAC were approximately $1.45 billion less than GM’s carrying value.

[Editor's Note: Given their first quarter loss increased from $42 million in 2007 to a whopping $3.3 billion in 2008 expect GM to do their usual and reward their President another huge bonus for a job well done.  He should be fired.]

Formula BMW

Formula BMW Americas - Introductory Test
Formula BMW Americas completed its Introductory Test at Miller Motorsports Park, in Tooele, Utah, this weekend. In addition to being one of the finest road racing facilities in North America with turns named Fast, Faster, Satisfaction, Agony, and Ecstasy, the circuit may well provide a season's forecast for many of this year's young hopefuls.

American Alexander Rossi (Eurointernational),16, from Nevada City, Calif., who finished third overall in the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship, turned the quickest lap of the weekend around the 2.42-mile, 15-turn East Course. Rossi's morning session 1:29.066 minute lap was quicker than the Formula BMW race record set in the opening rounds of last season.

Rookie David Ostella (Eurointernational) lap of 1:29.627 minutes late in today's last session left the young Canadian very pleased with his performance. Brazilian Alexandre Ruiz (Apex-HBR Racing Team) was third fastest, only .026 seconds behind Ostella.

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ISC and SMI sue each other UPDATE With fewer than two months before Sprint Cup cars take to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval, there is no resolution on the question of which radio network will broadcast the events.

The dispute between Motor Racing Network and Performance Racing Network for the radio rights for New Hampshire races will remain in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire for the time being.

Both sides had filed lawsuits over the rights, which stem from the sale of the track from the Bahre family to Speedway Motorsports Inc.
earlier this year.

The track has a contract with MRN, which is owned by International Speedway Corp, a track-operating rival of Speedway

Speedway Motorsports owns PRN and wants PRN to broadcast its events. PRN filed suit in New Hampshire a day before MRN sued PRN in Florida in March. PRN claims the contract is unenforceable.

An injunction hearing was scheduled for today in Florida state court, but it has been postponed because the New Hampshire case was filed first.

MRN has now asked for the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire to issue an injunction to allow it to broadcast the events this year. No hearing date has been set. The NASCAR race weekends are June 27-29 and Sept. 12-14.

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Kristensen likes Mugello
Tom Kristensen
Mugello is a dream for many racers. Audi driver Tom Kristensen, who started from the front row last year in Italy, explains why he is particularly fond of the circuit in Tuscany. Over a distance of 5.245 kilometers, the demanding course offers various cornering radii and numerous differences in elevation. The third race of the 2008 DTM season will be broadcast live on Sunday starting at 1:45 p.m. on "Das Erste".

What does racing in Italy mean to you?
"Racing in Tuscany is simply beautiful. The circuit stands for a great tradition – and we’re driving where other people spend their holiday. A lot of money has been invested in making a classic circuit safer and more modern, while preserving its characteristics."

What are the crucial factors on this fast circuit?
"At Mugello, a lot depends on aerodynamics. You need to achieve the right parameters. It’s not easy to come up with the right balance between aerodynamics, weight and camber. Many of the turns are very fast, most of them are driven in third or fourth gear."

The circuit is characterized by different elevations as well.
"For me, exactly this is the key characteristic of a real race track. These differences in elevation are truly a challenge. The Arrabbiata sections at the lowest point of the circuit put you to a really tough test on every lap."

Does this race track offer good opportunities for overtaking? Mattias Ekström was significantly quicker last year than Mika Häkkinen, but – nonetheless – didn’t manage to pass him.
"On a fast circuit overtaking isn’t easy. But I think that perhaps we could have seen a few maneuvers last year if Mattias risked them. But he focused on other aspects that were more important for the championship."


Latest F1 news in brief
  • FIA analyzing Kovalainen crash
  • French judge recalls Mosley sex photos
  • BMW to try Ferrari 'nose hole' concept
  • Alonso engine failure not too serious - boss
  • Honest not indifferent, Alonso insists
  • No plans to drop Sauber from BMW team name

FIA analyzing Kovalainen crash
(GMM)  F1's governing body is investigating the incident whereby it took doctors several minutes to access the unconscious Heikki Kovalainen after he became trapped under tire barriers during the Spanish grand prix.

Dr Stephen Olvey, a member of the FIA safety division and involved in America's motor racing scene for decades, commented that the delay in getting medical attention to the Finnish driver could have been tragic.

"If you are unconscious and perhaps not breathing you don't have more than two or three minutes before you get some kind of significant damage.  So, that's going to have to be looked into," he told the Associated Press.

A spokesperson for the Paris based FIA confirmed that an analysis of the incident is taking place.

"It's too early to comment on the incident other than to confirm that the FIA's safety experts have already begun a very detailed analysis of accident data," the FIA official said.

French judge recalls Mosley sex photos
(GMM)  A French judge on Tuesday ordered the recall of newspapers within the country that famously depict Max Mosley with prostitutes.

Judge Joel Boyer, however, ruled that he could not restrict French access to the British newspaper News of the World's online video of the Mosley romp because it was not within his jurisdiction.

"The mere fact that this site is accessible from France - like all others on the web - is not enough to justify French jurisdiction," he said.

Judge Boyer said newspapers that did not comply with the recall order would be issued 1500 euro fines per infraction.

He added that Mosley's sex life deserved protection under privacy laws.

"Sexual practices between consenting adults are among the most intimate aspects of private life, with its element of shadow and mystery that no one should be forced to explain to a third party," Boyer wrote.

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tv news

Kansas Firestone Indy Lights race to be televised
The Kansas Lottery 100 Firestone Indy Lights race that was run at Kansas Speedway on April 27 will be televised on Thursday, May 1, 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm ET on ESPN2.

tv news

Talladega Nationwide ratings score big jump
ESPN on ABC's live telecast of Saturday's Aarons 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega ( Ala.) Superspeedway scored big increases in ratings and household impressions over last year's race, continuing an upward trend to series TV numbers in 2008.

The race earned a 2.6 rating and 2,962,000 household impressions, increases of 28 and 29 percent, respectively, over the same categories for last year's ABC telecast (2.1; 2,291,000). The event also earned the largest numbers for a NASCAR Nationwide Series race on the ESPN networks since live NASCAR racing returned to ESPN in 2007, eclipsing the previous high of 2.4/2,699,000 for the March, 2007, event from Las Vegas that aired on ABC.

The Talladega telecast also earned large increases across the board in important demographic categories, increasing 67 percent in males 18-34, 50 percent in males 55 and older and 44 percent in persons 55 and older.

Cable ratings for the series have also increased in 2008. The average rating for the five NASCAR Nationwide Series events that have aired on ESPN2 is 1.9, a 10 percent increase over the 1.7 from this point last season. ESPN2 numbers do not include the rain-delayed event from California Speedway in February that was run on a Monday.


Dr. Olvey calls for FIA safety changes
A founding member of the world auto racing body's safety division says it took too long to get McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen out of his car after his crash at the Spanish Grand Prix during the weekend. Kovalainen was knocked unconscious Sunday after slamming his car into a tire wall while traveling at least 80 mph at Circuit de Catalunya following what is believed to be a wheel rim failure.

Dr. Stephen Olvey said Tuesday that Formula One needs to improve its safety measures because it took too long to free the 26-year-old Finn from his car.

"You don't have a lot of time and I think this accident will be investigated thoroughly to see if there's any way to gain access to the driver faster," Olvey told The Associated Press by telephone.

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Senator named honoray Coca-Cola 600 race director
Senator Elizabeth Dole has been named honorary race director for the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Coca-Cola and speedway officials also announced that Richard Thompson, speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates, will serve as the honorary starter, waving the green flag to send the 43 drivers on their 600-mile journey.

In her role as honorary race director, Dole will attend the pre-race drivers’ meeting, preside over pre-race ceremonies and visit the control tower during the race. More at SPEEDTV.com

tv news

LB and VIR SPEED World Challenge races will be televised
From the streets of Long Beach to the greenery of VIRginia International Raceway, SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge has it all on SPEED, Wednesday at noon and 1 p.m. EDT.

The Long Beach SPEED GT race Presented by Applied Computer Solutions gets things started at noon. Local favorite Brandon Davis starts his No. 10 SCA/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra on pole for the second-consecutive race. Just like the previous round at Sebring, Davis has defending SCCA SPEED GT Champion Randy Pobst lining up next to him on the grid. Pobst gets a great start his No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3, but arrives at Turn One with too much steam and runs wide, sending him back to sixth. Luckily for Pobst, the yellow flags come out shortly thereafter and he’ll have a shot at making up lost positions on the restart. In fact, several more full-course cautions throughout the race will give Pobst, as well as Andy Pilgrim, a shot at challenging young Davis for the win. Tune into SPEED to see if Davis can hold off the veterans at Long Beach for his first-career SCCA SPEED GT win.

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Schrader will replace Franchitti at Richmond UPDATE Ken Schrader will drive the No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, team officials said Tuesday.
Schrader will replace the injured Dario Franchitti, who broke his left ankle in the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Schrader started the season with BAM Racing, but that team suspended operations earlier this month. He drove for Haas CNC Racing last week at Talladega, where David Stremme filled in Franchitti. Stremme, a test driver for Penske Racing, was given permission only to drive for the team at Talladega and not beyond.
Franchitti said Sunday that he would like to return as soon as possible but would follow the advice of his doctors. He visited Dr. Terry Trammell, a noted orthopedic surgeon, in Indianapolis on Monday and will be fitted for a carbon-fiber brace later this week. Franchitti’s status behind the wheel will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

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Lowe's installing additional safer barriers
Lowe’s Motor Speedway will install an additional 340 feet of SAFER barriers on its backstretch inside wall in time for the Sprint All-Star Race next month. The track has had a SAFER barrier on part of the inside backstretch wall coming out of Turn 2 but none heading into Turn 3.

Inside walls and openings have been a point of emphasis for tracks since Jeff Gordon crashed into an opening at Las Vegas.

“Not that many people end up down here, but just in case they do, we want to make sure they’ve got some cushioning,” Speedway Motorsports President Humpy Wheeler said Tuesday. “I wanted to do this for a while. The Las Vegas deal, we saw it is the bizarre places on the race track that you’ve got to watch out for. Those are the one that will bite you."

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Q & A with Ron Dennis

Ron Dennis
Q: The 2008 Spanish Grand Prix was the first time McLaren have raced in Spain since the team parted company with local hero Fernando Alonso. How were you and the team received by local fans in Barcelona?

Ron Dennis: "We were received very warmly. As you know, the circuit is about 20 miles away from central Barcelona - and, each morning and evening, Friday-through-Sunday, as I drove from the hotel to the circuit and back again, I was pleasantly surprised by the friendly behavior of Spanish race fans who recognized my colleagues and me in the sometimes heavy traffic in downtown Barcelona and on the approach roads to the circuit. The many Fernando Alonso fans, the majority of whom were wearing Renault team shirts, were very friendly too, which merely confirms what we already know: namely that Spanish Formula 1 fans are as sportingly enthusiastic about their motorsport as are race fans anywhere in the world."

Q: Do you like Spain then?

Ron Dennis: "Yes, I like Spain a lot - as I believe does everyone who works for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Barcelona is a great city - with a fascinating history, a vibrant culture and a marvelous ambience - and of course we travel there a lot because the circuit is used so extensively for Formula 1 testing.

"Valencia, too, is a fantastic city, with a lot going on. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes staged a spectacular car launch there in January 2007, and we're very much looking forward to this year's European Grand Prix, which will be held at the new Valencia circuit in late August."

Q: Together with your third driver, Pedro de la Rosa, you gave King Juan Carlos of Spain a guided tour of the McLaren garage last weekend...

Ron Dennis: "Yes, I did, on race day. King Juan Carlos of Spain has been that country's monarch since November 1975, and is therefore one of Europe's longest-serving crowned heads. It is a comparatively little-known fact that he is a descendant of our own Queen Victoria, through his grandmother Victoria Eugenie. His leadership and wise counsel were, I gather, crucial to the process via which Spain successfully embraced democracy and developed as a powerful economy over the past 30 years. Moreover, he is not only a regular attender of Spanish Grands Prix, but he is also a genuine Formula 1 devotee. I always find conversing with him very stimulating, and last Sunday was no exception."

Q: Spanish Formula 1 fans were criticized earlier this year, in the wake of the unfortunate incident involving racist overtones which marred one of the early-season tests at the Barcelona circuit...

Ron Dennis: "The incident to which you refer was very evidently an isolated one. I am 100 per cent certain that the overwhelming majority of Spanish race fans are what I like to refer to as true fans - in other words, genuine lovers of motorsport, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, even -handed and sporting. The fact that Fernando Alonso's recent successes have pleased them is to be expected and indeed welcomed. Having said that, our own Spanish driver, Pedro de la Rosa, is also extremely popular in Spain - and rightly so."

Q: The FIA launched its Every Race campaign in the lead-up to the Spanish Grand Prix. Do you support it?

Ron Dennis: "Yes, I do. Both as an individual and as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the McLaren Group and Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I fully support the FIA's anti-racism campaign." Source: McLaren


Wimmer to run 4th RCR car at Richmond
Scott Wimmer will attempt to qualify for his first Cup Series race of the season this weekend at RIR driving the #33 Camping World Impala SS, giving RCR four entries in the Crown Royal 400. Wimmer was behind the wheel of the #33 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2006 (St. 24 Fn. 12) and most recently at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (St. 21, Fn. 31) in July 2007. Richard Childress Racing. jayski.com


French judge to rule on Mosley video this month UPDATE A judge said Tuesday it was not within his jurisdiction to ban an Internet video of motor racing chief Max Mosley with prostitutes, but he ordered the French recall of newspapers containing photos of the scene.

Judge Joel Boyer said he couldn't ban access to Web site of the British tabloid the News of the World, which had carried a video with images of the scene, because the site is owned and based in Britain. Mosley's lawyer, Philippe Ouakrat, had requested the site be restricted in France because the FIA, the governing body for motorsports that Mosley heads, is based in Paris.

"The mere fact that this site is accessible from France – like all others on the Web – is not enough to justify French jurisdiction," Boyer wrote.

However, Boyer said French law did cover copies of the newspaper printed in France and ordered issues containing photos of the scene that are still available in the country to be recalled. He ordered a penalty of $2,335 per infraction be applied if the recall is not respected.

In his decision, Boyer wrote the scenes were clearly "sadomasochistic stagings of sexual fantasies" that merit protection under privacy laws.

"Sexual practices between consenting adults are among the most intimate aspects of private life, with its element of shadow and mystery that no one should be forced to explain to a third party,'' the judge wrote. Thestar.com

04/19/08 (GMM) A judge will rule on April 29 as to whether the Max Mosley sex video should be banned from being accessed on French territory.

The embattled FIA president's efforts to suppress the notorious News of the World footage in the London High Court failed recently, but Mosley last week lodged the same complaint in the French jurisdiction.

Mosley also wants paper copies of the British tabloid newspaper seized in France, and 25,000 euros in damages for each offence.

His lawyer, Philippe Ouakrat, said the video is a "violation of his right to respect for his private life".

In terms of privacy, the French legal system is among the most protective that exists, according to information obtained from the Embassy of France in the United States.

racing news

Riley Technologies announces plans for new track day car
While some car makers boast of taking what they learn and putting it on the street, one championship-caliber manufacturer is going to keep that knowledge where it can be best put to use-on the track.

Riley Technologies has announced plans for a new track day car to meet the growing demand for high performance vehicles for use at private track facilities. The newest Riley will take to the track utilizing a mid-engine crate motor, with over 500 horsepower motivating the lightweight machine, which also included low operating costs in the design brief.

When it comes to engineering capabilities and on-track knowledge, few organizations rival Riley Technologies, whose designs took both the Daytona Prototype and GT Class victories in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona. The organization has also recently deployed a new Corvette program into American Le Mans Series GT2 class competition.
“It’s tremendously exciting for us to have a design brief that doesn’t involve any rulebooks,” said Riley Technologies VP Bill Riley.  “By building a car that is designed exclusively for this purpose, rather than converting a street car, we can provide the best experience for the customer possible without having to make the compromises that other cars do.”

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Brabham has won many races over the years
David Brabham
So now that David Brabham is the only driver in the American Le Mans Series to win races in four different classes, the question becomes obvious. Which one is the most memorable? With 13 victories over the years, it’s naturally quite a task for even someone the level of Brabs.

“Each one was great. You can’t deny that,” said Brabham, whose most recent triumph came with Scott Sharp in Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s Acura ARX-01b at Long Beach. Then Brabham seemingly went down the list of highlights, starting with his stint as part of the factory Panoz prototype effort.

“We took Petit Le Mans in 1999. And the Washington DC win with Jan (Magnussen) in 2002 was one of the highlights,” Brabham noted. “The location was great and to beat Audi back then, only a few of those opportunities came your way. We had a fraction of their budget. The Nurburgring win in 2000 was fantastic having beaten Audi and BMW in their backyard. With GT1, the Ferrari 550 won a few. Then winning at Sebring driving an Aston Martin in its first race in more than 40 years meant a lot, for sure. Then there was the Panoz win at Sebring in 2006. That was probably the most unlikely win that we could have scored. And Long Beach was really good. Having the record happen there with such strong support from Patr¢n will be one of my most memorable ones.”

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ralf never an option for 2008 - Mallya
  • Mosley on hunt for sex spy source
  • Honda rules out more Super Aguri relief
  • Davidson tells whining rivals to 'shut up'
  • Quick fix unlikely for 'unfair' rule

Ralf never an option for 2008 - Mallya
(GMM)  Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya on Tuesday insisted that Ralf Schumacher was never an option to race for the team in 2008.

Schumacher tested for the newly-acquired Silverstone based team last December, but he insisted at the time that he was only fulfilling a promise to Mallya, whom he met in his capacity as a Toyota sponsor last year.

"Ralf is a good friend," Mallya told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport in an interview.

"He was never a candidate.  I asked him to test our car once in the winter because I wanted to know his opinion.

"The real alternatives to Fisichella were Liuzzi, Klien and Montagny.  Not Ralf," he added.

Mosley on hunt for sex spy source
(GMM)  Max Mosley has engaged an expert investigative company in a bid to identify the source of the surveillance that led to the sex scandal that looks set to end his FIA presidency.

The embattled 68-year-old has pledged legal action against the News of the World for revealing his prison-themed romp with five prostitutes, but it is believed that the investigation into his private life was actually conducted at significant expense over a long period of time by a third party.

Rumors indicate that the source of the investigation may even originate from within the formula one paddock, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport claims.

Mosley's retaliatory investigation, waged by a specialty agency, has been going on for two weeks already, the magazine added.

It emerged at the weekend that Mosley had commissioned the British private detective outfit Quest to conduct surveillance on the whistle-blowing prostitute.

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Gasoline companies continue to gouge consumers
BP and Royal Dutch Shell have reported massive increases in profits for the first three months of this year on the back of rocketing petrol prices, which are expected to hit $10+ a gallon today.

BP's pre-tax profits rose 48 per cent in the first quarter to $6.6 billion (£3.3 billion) while Shell increased its profits 12 per cent to a record $7.8 billion (£3.9 billion).

The increase has been driven by the rising oil prices, which the companies have passed on to consumers in the form of higher petrol and diesel costs with their extra profits built in..

The price of oil came close to $120 yesterday but was trading slightly lower at $118 in early trading today.  Times Online


BMW now as fast as McLaren - Rampf
BMW technical director Willy Rampf says his team is now just as fast if not ahead of McLaren and only playing catch-up to Ferrari.

"Ferrari is still ahead of us and ahead of McLaren and with McLaren we are very close," Rampf told Autosport. "In the first race they were ahead of us, in the second just slightly and in the third race we were quicker and in race four we are equal to McLaren."

"Now it's between the two teams to see who can make the next biggest step," he added "To fight against Ferrari will be very difficult because they are a few tents ahead - finding two tenths will not be enough."


If Super Aguri folds, Davidson F1 career over
The odds may be stacked heavily against him but English driver Anthony Davidson is prepared to battle for his Grand Prix future.  "I've had a tough career," he said. "Nothing has been handed to me on a plate. I've always had to fight for it. I am a fighter and I really will be angry if everything ends now."

Davidson's fear is that Formula One is about to say sayonara to the cash-strapped Japanese Super Aguri team which may have run for the last time in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

Talks surrounding a takeover by the London-based Magma automotive group and Dubai International Capital — also seeking an major involvement at Liverpool Football Club — are reported to have foundered.

Now team owner Aguri Suzuki has flown to Japan where tomorrow he will seek to secure a last-ditch deal with Honda, who already supply the cars of Davidson and Japanese team-mate Takuma Sato with engines.

The prospects do not look good.

Nick Fry, head of Honda's principle F1 team that runs Jenson Button, said: "We've been working as hard as we possibly can to find a solution for Aguri, but at this stage I'm not overly optimistic.

"It was never Honda's intention to fully fund two F1 teams. Aguri need to find funding of their own."  More at Daily Mail


Q and A with injured Heikki Kovalainen
Heikki Kovalainen
Following his accident yesterday during the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Heikki Kovalainen was taken to the Hospital General de Catalunya in Sent Cugat del Valles in Spain.

The team has established that Heikki’s speed was approximately 240km/h when the tire deflated and about 130km/h when he hit the tire barrier. He experienced a 27g deceleration.

CT scans at the hospital confirmed that Heikki had no head injuries and no broken bones but the Finn was kept in overnight for observation.

This morning Heikki underwent further tests and scans which all went positively and showed no problems. Consequently Heikki will be released from hospital later today. He will then stay in Spain for a few days relaxing before returning home to start a light training program.

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McLaren still awaiting crash report
Martin Whitmarsh
Following the Spanish Grand Prix, Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, talks about Lewis’ third place finish and Heikki’s accident.

The Spanish Grand Prix has been something of an emotional roller-coaster for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. The main thing, though, was that Heikki Kovalainen didn’t suffer any serious injuries when he crashed at Turn Nine.
"Absolutely. He has had a full head scan and there is no significant bruising or damage - that’s extremely good news. Heikki was briefly unconscious but he was lucid soon after the accident and I’m told he was actually quite jolly, which is fairly typical."

What happened to cause such a dramatic accident?
"We think he suffered a wheel rim failure that caused his front-left tire to deflate almost instantaneously. It’s possible that some debris worked its way inside the rim, but we still have to analyze that. It was a new wheel and we don’t think it was a structural failure. There were some score marks, but we don’t know whether they were caused by debris or by his trip across the gravel trap. We’ve got to answer that later."

Turn Nine is a high-speed right-hander. What sort of forces were involved?
"It was a big accident. Cars brake from about 260km/h at that point on the circuit and he didn’t scrub off a huge amount of speed before impact - he was still travelling pretty quickly when he hit the tire wall and the impact lasted about 100 milliseconds, which might not sound much but 20-30 milliseconds would be more usual."

"His misfortune overshadowed the event, but people shouldn’t overlook the quality of his performance. He had still to pit for fuel at the time of the accident and wasn’t due to come in for a few more laps yet. That gives you some idea of the fuel load he was carrying during qualifying, when he did an absolutely fantastic lap."

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Hilton signs three year extension with McLaren team
Hilton Hotels signed an extension on its long-term sponsorship agreement with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, which will see the partnership continue for a further three years.

Since the F1 partnership began in 2005, Hilton ‘has made ‘significant gains’ against three objectives: continuing to build commercial alliances; offering its customers new products and packages; and keeping the Hilton brand image fresh and appealing, the company said.

Hilton‘s business to consumer relationship program, Hilton Racing, has also proved extremely successful in reaching a new generation of young and affluent international travelers, Hilton said, with its newly relaunched website enjoying a 300 per cent increase in membership since the partnership with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes began.

In addition, corporate revenue from a range of brands involved in F1 continues to significantly return on Hilton‘s investment as business is committed in both Grand Prix and Non-Grand Prix periods.

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Dominguez and PCM have eye on Indy and Surfers
Former Gold Coast Indy 300 winner Mario Dominguez is headed for Australian shores once again, securing a full-time IndyCar Series ride with Pacific Coast Motorsports as of next month's Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dominguez won the race around the Streets of Surfers Paradise as a rookie in 2002 after starting 16th on the grid, and went on to score two further podiums Down Under with a third in 2004 and a second in 2006. His last visit to Australia was for the 2007 event, where he was 12th.

Mario Dominguez (L) on podium in Long Beach
Gail Miller/AutoRacing1
Most recently Dominguez was third in the Champ Car World Series Finale at Long Beach – which was won by Australian Will Power – bringing his CCWS tally to two victories, 11 podium finishes and one pole, as he heads to the IndyCar Series aboard the no. 96 Visit Mexico City/PCM entry.

The 2008 IndyCar Series season has just completed Round 4 at Kansas Speedway at the weekend, and now heads to the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the series continues on a schedule that is the most diverse in world motorsports.

The 2008 schedule will take the teams and drivers to short ovals, superspeedways, and road and street courses including the Gold Coast Indy 300 which is regarded as a ‘crown jewel’ in international motorsport.

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Hildebrand takes Firestone Indy Lights points lead
J.R. Hildebrand
J.R. Hildebrand knew he was getting into a good situation when he was reunited with Nicolas and Dominic Cape at RLR/Andersen Racing.
The Cape brothers helped the young Californian win the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 title in 2006, but none of them expected Hildebrand to be a winner in just his second oval race.
Hildebrand scored his first Firestone Indy Lights win in the Kansas Lottery 100 on April 27 at Kansas Speedway, and in doing so took the series points lead by three over Richard Antinucci.
"To be able to come away with a win in just my fourth race has put us in a really good spot in the championship," Hildebrand said after the race. "We've progressed and improved our finishing position with every race, and now I'm on the top step of the podium."
Hildebrand, who was fourth in points entering the race benefited from trouble encountered by series front-runners Antinucci and Raphael Matos.

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Drivers on Indy 500 caravan
As the 92nd Indianapolis 500 approaches, IndyCar Series drivers are fanning out across the country this week with a two-fold purpose – bring attention to “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and promote upcoming IndyCar Series events in other race markets.
Dan Wheldon, winner at Kansas Speedway April 27, is packing his soccer cleats for a trip April 30 to Dallas. The Target Chip Ganassi driver will participate in drills with the FC Dallas Major League Soccer team.
"I enjoy soccer, but I really haven't played it too much," Wheldon said. "I have some soccer-playing skills, but they aren't on par with my driving skills."
Also on April 30, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Townsend Bell will visit Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Bell will trade in his helmet and race gloves for a stool and a cow, producing some California milk complete with one-of-a-kind Townsend Bell label that he can bring to Indianapolis for the traditional drink of milk following a victory in the Indianapolis 500.
Other drivers on the road include Marco Andretti, who will be in Des Moines, Iowa, April 28, Scott Dixon in Milwaukee April 29, Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson in Chicago May 1 and Bruno Junqueira and Mario Moraes in Columbus, Ohio, May 2.


4 winners in 4 races as IndyCar Series heads to Indy
Four IndyCar Series races, four different race winners for the first time since 2004. Four drivers within 15 points of first place in the championship standings as the series readies for the Indianapolis 500 in four weeks.
Dan Wheldon, who became the first repeat winner in eight races at Kansas Speedway by edging Tony Kanaan by 2.1778 seconds in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 April 27, will be among the "500" favorites for the fourth year in a row.
In 2005, Wheldon glided to the checkers in the 500-Mile Race prequel at Twin Ring Motegi and went on to Victory Circle at the Brickyard. In '06, he finished second at the egg-shaped oval in Japan before qualifying on the front row and finishing fourth at Indianapolis. Last year, the victory at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval set the table for Wheldon to make another run at the Borg-Warner Trophy. He qualified sixth but finished 22nd after an accident.
"I think the win is good, but the biggest thing that you notice about this year is you pick up the wins when you can, but you can't have races out of the top five because the points are just that close," said Wheldon, who has finished third, fourth and first on the ovals this season. "So it's important to score wins. I think this will help going into the month of May, but I don't think it means too much because it's just going to be tight there."

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All eyes on Indy for IndyCar teams
Many of the teams that came over to IndyCar as a result of unification with Champ Car this year had all eyes on Kansas.

For them, the last weekend provided a final opportunity to work on oval-racing skills and packages before getting to Indy.

It also gave them a barometric reading on just how far their programs have come since their very first oval race, which was the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In that race, the former Champ Car teams took a severe beating. At Kansas, they upgraded to only a minor beating.

“I am very happy with finishing 11th and getting some points after starting 23rd,” said driver Oriol Servia of KV Racing Technology. “The most important thing was the car was much better than Homestead, much better balanced.”

Garages at Indy opened Monday. On Saturday, technical inspections begin on the cars. On Sunday, the rookie orientation program begins. And on Tuesday, practice begins for all teams and drivers.

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Horrific LeMans crash
The second race of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Monza on Sunday saw Stephane Ortelli survive a terrifying crash as manufacturer teams battled for the overall lead.

The last 20 laps were raced under a full-course yellow flag after the accident involving Ortelli`s Courage-Oreca that barrel-rolled to near destruction, almost smashing into Rinaldo Capello’s Audi on the way.

Amazingly, the Frenchman emerged with only a broken ankle. Watch Video


Without Ferrari secrets, McLaren outclassed
The theory that Lewis Hamilton is feeling the strain in year two is in worse shape than team-mate Heikki Kovalainen's car. And that is in pieces. Hamilton returned to the podium in some style at the Spanish Grand Prix, though without ever threatening Ferrari's omnipotence.

One notion that does have legs is that which claims the lack of pace in Hamilton's McLaren is directly linked to last season's 'Spygate' affair, when the team's focus was on politics, not the performance and development of their car for 2008.

Though McLaren insist they are still at the races in this Ferrari-dominated season, expert opinion cannot see a way back for Hamilton, who trails champion Kimi Raikkonen by nine points after four grands prix.

Sir Jackie Stewart is leading the chorus of doom. "Ferrari are in a different league. McLaren were so enormously disrupted by the antics in September, October and November that management and senior personnel were focusing on other things and not what they should have been focusing on," Stewart said.

"It was not their fault they had to divert their energies. That has been very harmful to them. They have a lot of catching up to do and when you are up against a team like Ferrari, with the resources they have, the infrastructure they've got, it's difficult to penetrate it very far. They dominated the whole weekend. There was nothing that Lewis could do. It's frustrating for him." The Telegraph

[Editor's Note: Let's put this in perspective here and now.  Before they received stolen Ferrari secrets, McLaren were outclassed terribly by Ferrari most years.  The year they received the Ferrari secrets they were on par with Ferrari.  This year they don't have access to Ferrari's secrets and once again Ferrari is beating them royally.  So to hear Stewart blame their failure on Spygate is hilarious.  The fact of the matter is that even without Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher Ferrari is better.  Period end of story.]


Raikkonen warns competitors Ferrari can go faster
Was Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya quite as close as the result seemed to suggest, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing 3.2s ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa, who in turn led Lewis Hamilton home by 0.9s as the Englishman beat Robert Kubica to the line by 1.5s? Not according to Raikkonen.

The Finn said he was in cruise mode as he headed for the checkered flag, and that he could have gone faster had he needed to. That news will not be welcomed by either McLaren Mercedes or BMW Sauber, neither of whom appear to have made quite the progress against Ferrari that they had hoped to after introducing new technical packages specifically for this race. Their fastest laps were still two-to-four-tenths of a second slower than Ferrari’s.

Hamilton sought to put the most positive spin on his third place. “The Ferraris were extremely quick and we had a feeling they were a little bit lighter,” he said. “They have a slight edge at the moment, and again looked after their rear tires a bit better than we did. But I’m really happy with the balance of our car and was able to maintain quite a good balance and pace.

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industry news

GM slashes truck production by 140K year
General Motors Corp. will cut production by nearly 140,000 trucks a year at four North American plants the automaker announced on Monday.

GM is eliminating one shift each at four factories in Pontiac, Flint, Oshawa, Ont., and Janesville, Wis., starting July 14.

Sales of large trucks and SUVs, once a bastion of profit for the struggling automaker, have fallen plummeted amid soaring fuel prices and a decline in new home construction. GM's sales of large SUVs and full-size pickups are down 20 percent each through March.

"With rising fuel prices, a softening economy, and a downward trend on current and future market demand for full-size trucks, a significant adjustment was needed to align our production with market realities," Troy Clarke, president GM North America, said in a statement.. "This is a difficult move, but we remain committed to retaining and growing our leadership position in the full-size truck market."

GM's U.S. sales are down 11 percent through March this year. The Detroit News


Raikkonen says Ferrari had speed to spare
Was Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya quite as close as the result seemed to suggest, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing 3.2s ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa, who in turn led Lewis Hamilton home by 0.9s as the Englishman beat Robert Kubica to the line by 1.5s? Not according to Raikkonen.

The Finn said he was in cruise mode as he headed for the chequered flag, and that he could have gone faster had he needed to. That news will not be welcomed by either McLaren Mercedes or BMW Sauber, neither of whom appear to have made quite the progress against Ferrari that they had hoped to after introducing new technical packages specifically for this race. There fastest laps were still two- to four-tenths of a second slower than Ferrari’s.

Hamilton sought to put the most positive spin on his third place. “The Ferraris were extremely quick and we had a feeling they were a little bit lighter,” he said. “They have a slight edge at the moment, and again looked after their rear tyres a bit better than we did. But I’m really happy with the balance of our car and was able to maintain quite a good balance and pace.

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NASCAR profits rise amid slow ticket sales
The 2008 season has provided a turnaround for NASCAR on the track and off. Competition with the new car has been balanced and predicting winners has been -- well, impossible for me so far. My last correct guess was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in one of the Duels at Daytona. I've whiffed every time ever since.

But the big news last week was the announced first quarter profits for the biggest corporations in the sport, International Speedway Corp.(controlled by NASCAR's founding France family and owners of Daytona, Michigan and other speedways), posted a modest $36.21 million net income, 1.1% higher than last year's first quarter figure. Meanwhile, earnings per share rose 6%.

So what does that mean in English for us regular people? In the first three months of this year NASCAR's business side generated almost $200 million. Admissions were up slightly to $56.11 million. Track side food, beverage and merchandise revenues increased more than 30 percent to $22.69 million.

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industry news

Opec says oil could hit $200
Opec’s president on Monday warned oil prices could hit $200 a barrel and there would be little the cartel could do to help. The comments made by Chakib Khelil, Algeria’s energy minister, came as oil prices hit a historic peak close to $120 a barrel, putting further pressure on global economies.

His remarks suggest Algeria wants Opec to continue to resist calls by US and European leaders for the cartel to pump more oil to help ease prices. But Mr Khelil blamed record oil prices on the weak dollar and global political insecurity.

He told El Moudjahid, Algeria’s government newspaper: “I don’t think that an increase in production would help lower prices, because there is a balance between supply and demand and the stocks of gasoline in the United States have recorded a surplus and are at their highest level for five years.”

He added: “The prices are high due to the recession in the United States and the economic crisis, which has touched several countries, a situation that has an effect on the value of the dollar. Each time the dollar falls 1 per cent, the price of the barrel rises by $4 and of course vice versa.”

Some US senators have pinned the blame for high oil prices directly on Opec and Saudi Arabia, its largest and most powerful member.

In a letter to President George W.Bush last week, they said Riyadh had cut its oil production by about 2m barrels a day over the past three years, even though oil prices had continued to rise. FT.com


McLaren optimistic Kovalainen will race in Turkish GP
McLaren team chief Martin Whitmarsh said on Sunday that he expected Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen to be released from hospital in Barcelona following his 240kph crash during the Spanish Grand Prix. Whitmarsh said Kovalainen, 26, had no visible injuries and added that he expected him to be back “fit and well” very soon.

“There are no visible injuries, but he has obviously banged his head and as a precaution he was taken hospital for them to check on the concussion,” the McLaren chief executive said. “He was complaining that he hit his elbow, but I think that is quite normal. There are no signs of serious injury, so that's good news. And I am sure that once they have checked him out, he will be back fit and well very soon."

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Justin Wilson Kansas Race Report
Justin led for the first time on an oval in the IndyCar Series and finished a strong ninth in the No. 02 McDonald's car at Sunday's Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway. His Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team-mate Graham Rahal finished 12th on his IndyCar Series oval debut. Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon were first and third respectively while Tony Kanaan was runner up for Andretti Green Racing.

"The McDonald's car was great in traffic and when I was in a draft," said Justin. "It was great to be able to keep up and start to race people. I was enjoying myself and having fun. As soon as we lost the draft we struggled to keep up with the pace. That's the part where these other teams have had years of experience on us, so hopefully we will close some of that gap over the next couple of weeks. Generally I'm just very pleased with how the McDonald's car ran and I feel like we are starting to be able to race well."

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Aston Martin and Gulf confirm Le Mans drivers
The Aston Martin Racing team, which will race in the iconic blue and orange colours of Gulf, has announced its driver lineup for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

Following an historic GT1 class victory at the endurance classic last year, the 2008 line-up is once again an exciting blend of youth and experience, with four new drivers joining two members of the winning crew from last year. The evocative colour scheme, a departure from the traditional Aston Martin Racing Green, is also new for this year thanks to a partnership with Gulf Oil International.

Car number 007 will be crewed by Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Germany), Andrea Piccini (Italy) and Karl Wendlinger (Austria).

Car number 009 – the same number as last year’s class-winning car – will be driven by David Brabham (Australia), Antonio Garcia (Spain) and Darren Turner (Great Britain).

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DEI picks up option on Truex
When there’s been talk about potential free agents for 2009, #1-Martin Truex, Jr. has had his name passed around in more than one story or conversation. There’s one hitch. His current deal with Dale Earnhardt Inc is good through next season according to team president Max Siegel. “We have an option that we’ve picked up for 2009, so that’s always reported in a confusing way. We love Martin and we’re having discussions about extending it for a long-term deal, but we’re good through 2009. He’s important to our organization…we’re giving him everything we possibly can and what he needs to win and be happy here long term.” Siegel also thinks the on track performance of all four DEI cars is on the upswing. “I think we’re making significant progress. The #15 team’s performance on a weekly basis is indicative of how we’ve elevated the program. We’ve got to stay very patient and focused. If you look at the #1 team and the #8…we’re doing great…got some consistency with our engines and the energy is just fantastic.” PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show

tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Nationwide Series Live in Prime Time from Richmond

NASCAR drivers and fans consider Richmond International Raceway one of the most competitive tracks in the sport, and racing on the .750-mile track takes on even more excitement at night under the lights. ESPN2 will have a live, prime-time telecast as the NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Richmond Friday night, May 2, beginning at 7 p.m. with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast also will air in high definition on ESPN2 HD.

Marty Reid will be the lead announcer for ESPN2's coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1989 NASCAR Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN DISH Tech Center.

Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a former winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, in the ESPN pit studio.

NASCAR Now Expands Tuesday for Dale Earnhardt Day

Dale Earnhardt Inc. will host the seventh annual Dale Earnhardt Day at its corporate headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., on Tuesday, April 29, and ESPN2's NASCAR Now will expand to one hour that day for special coverage of the event. The program airs at 6 p.m. ET.

The event, which celebrates the birthday of the seven-time NASCAR champion, also serves as a major benefit for the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, with a percentage of the event's merchandise sales being donated to the Foundation. ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch will be master of ceremonies for the event.

The Monday, May 5, edition of NASCAR Now also will expand to an hour and will include host Allen Bestwick leading a roundtable discussion with ESPN analysts and reporters of the weekend's NASCAR action at Richmond International Raceway and other NASCAR news. The program airs at 5:30 p.m.

Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air Wednesday and Thursday of this week at 6 p.m., while the one-hour weekend edition airs Saturday at 10 a.m. with a preview of that night's NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Richmond.

NASCAR Now is hosted by Ryan Burr, Nicole Manske and Bestwick and originates from ESPN's high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include NASCAR Insiders Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said and Tim Cowlishaw, ESPN.com reporters Terry Blount and David Newton and D.J. Copp, a member of Bobby Labonte's NASCAR team.

NASCAR Now viewers also benefit from frequent contributions by the NASCAR on ESPN team including Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake.

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Unsers to sign autographs
Fans can meet and salute the most successful family in Indianapolis 500 history – the Unsers – during Indianapolis Star Opening Day presents the Unsers activities Sunday, May 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, two-time “500” winner Al Unser Jr., Indianapolis 500 veterans Robby and Johnny Unser, and third-generation driver Al Unser III all will participate.

Activities honoring the Unser family will begin at 11:35 a.m. with an Unser honorary lap featuring Al in a replica of his 1987-winning March-Cosworth and Al Jr. in another car of historical significance for the Unser family. Bobby Unser’s 1981-winning Penske/Cosworth also will turn laps on the track, and other historic cars will be on display all day in the Pagoda Plaza.

An Unser family question-and-answer session with fans will take place at the Coke Zero Stage, located in the Pagoda Plaza, from 1-1:30 p.m., followed by an Unser family autograph session from 1:30-2:30 p.m. All five Unser family members are scheduled to appear at the Q&A and autograph session.

Fans can pick up two free collectibles at 11 a.m.: the Indianapolis Star limited-edition collectible pin that includes chips of the original bricks from the IMS oval and special collector-edition Unser family trading card sheets. Both will be available at MotoGP Garage No. 34, located in Pagoda Plaza just south of the Bombardier Learjet Pagoda.

Admission for Indianapolis Star Opening Day presents the Unsers is $5, with children ages 12 and younger admitted free. Two-for-one ticket coupons will be available in the Indianapolis Star on Saturday, May 3. Gates are open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, with the Rookie Orientation Program on track from noon-5 p.m.


Kovalainen set to leave hospital
(GMM) Contrary to earlier reports, Heikki Kovalainen will leave hospital later on Monday, his formula one team McLaren confirmed.

The 26-year-old Finn spent the night in the Hospital General de Catalunya with concussion following his 240kmh crash during the Spanish grand prix near Barcelona on Sunday.

It was expected that he would have to spend a second night in hospital, but McLaren reports that further tests and scans conducted on Monday morning "showed no problems".

"Consequently Heikki will be released from hospital later today," a statement read.

Kovalainen, who will stay in Spain for a few days before returning home to start light training, said the only effects from his 27G shunt were a headache and a stiff neck.

"Apart from that I am feeling well and in good spirits," he said, explaining that he has no memory of the accident or the aftermath.

"My focus is on getting better as soon as possible so I can pass the FIA medical inspection required to allow me to race in Turkey," Kovalainen added.

racing news

Monterey Historic Races announce highlights
The Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races presented by Toyota will celebrate its 35th anniversary this year by celebrating highlights from the events illustrious past. The event will take place on August 15-17 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and will salute the Alfa Romeo, which was the first marque to be featured at the Historics in 1975.

To commemorate the event, a variety of featured marques from the past 34 Monterey Historic races will be recognized during the weekend of exciting and highly competitive races. Legendary driver Mario Andretti will be the official guest of honor for the event.

We are extremely pleased to have Mario Andretti join us at the Rolex Monterey Historic this year. He is a living legend for all of us, and well join together to celebrate the anniversary of his winning the World Championship in 1978, said Steve Earle, President of General Racing Ltd., the event founder and organizer. More at SPEEDTV.com


Singapore looking at Hotel prices
The Singapore government is hinting that some of the hotels need to reassess their policies regarding the forthcoming Grand Prix at the end of September. The government is keen to allow market forces to dictate the price of hotel rooms, but with the price being as high as $1500 a night, with a minimum of three or even five nights, the race teams, the sponsors, the media and the fans are beginning to complain. The prices represent a tripling or even quadrupling of the normal prices. The good news is that such exorbitant rates are driving away business and it is reported that one of the five-star hotels in Singapore is reported to have less than 20% occupancy for the race weekend. Singapore's Senior Minister of State (Trade and Industry) S Iswaran has hinted that hotels may need to reassess the prices to avoid the city being branded as exploitative. This will work against the plan to use the event to bring in more and more tourists and business visitors. Grandprix.com


Italy says Ferrari dominance is obvious
(GMM) The Italian press believes Ferrari is set to dominate the 2008 season.

Despite officials for the Maranello based team's rivals McLaren and BMW playing down the gap following Ferrari's second consecutive one-two victory on Sunday, the sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport insists that the "dominance" of the scarlet F2008 at Barcelona was "impressive".

"Not a single mistake was committed," Gazzetta added. "McLaren and BMW are far away. After Spain, the 2008 world championship could be over."

Corriere dello Sport said of championship leader Kimi Raikkonen: "The Finn is objectively the only true candidate for the title. As in the past, this championship could become 'formula boredom'."

The Turin-based national newspaper Tuttosport added: "Raikkonen and Massa conquered Spain and demonstrated Ferrari's absolute power.

"The advantage over their rivals is almost embarrassing, even though Stefano Domenicali has called for restraint. "Raikkonen had the race totally under control, and Massa actively supported him. This is his role, even if he does not want to admit it."

Rome-newspaper Il Messaggero wrote: "The Ferrari conductors are trying to curb the enthusiasm, but it is obvious that Ferrari's lead over McLaren and BMW is great."


Ecclestone not hopeful of Super Aguri survival
(GMM) F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is not optimistic about the health of grand prix minnows Super Aguri.

Ahead of team co-owner Aguri Suzuki's crucial meeting in Tokyo with Honda officials on Wednesday, Ecclestone's comments seemed to set the scene for the apparent collapse of the Leafield based team.

"They don't look in very good shape," the 77-year-old is quoted as saying by Reuters.

"I want them to stay, I've been helping them the last week," Ecclestone added.

At Barcelona on Sunday, Suzuki would not confirm if his team will be able to make the grid for the forthcoming Turkish grand prix in two weeks.


Hamilton doesn't need a coach - Dennis
(GMM) McLaren boss Ron Dennis has rubbished Sir Jackie Stewart's advice that Lewis Hamilton should employ an external "coach".

The former triple world champion had suggested that 23-year-old Hamilton's recent slump in form could be blamed on him trying to "go from kindergarten to university overnight".

"Even the great Tiger Woods has a man with him," Stewart pointed out.

But Dennis told reporters at Barcelona that Hamilton proved last year that he already has what it takes to be a winning grand prix driver -- and all the help and resources he needs at his disposal within McLaren.

"And who has a coach? What top driver has a coach? You are talking about something that doesn't exist," Dennis added.

"I would never, ever have a driver that had to be guided by a third party on how to drive a racing car," he said.

The British driver's form since winning the Australian grand prix, however, has given his bosses pause to reflect on some of Hamilton's weaknesses -- including his desire to satisfy the enormous external requests for his time.

Dennis' deputy Martin Whitmarsh mused at the weekend that Hamilton is "too giving of himself", and Dennis believes the 23-year-old is "too hard on himself" -- such as in speaking openly with the press after his poor performance in the Bahrain grand prix.


Fittipaldi praises F1 safety standards
Formula One legend Emerson Fittipaldi has hailed the safety standards in the sport after McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen emerged relatively unscathed from huge shunt at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Finn was subjected to forces of 26 Gs when his car hit a trackside tyre barrier on lap 22 following a left-front tyre problem that saw him spear off the circuit at around 145mph.

The impact ripped the front off the McLaren monocoque and briefly rendered Kovalainen unconscious, but subsequent hospital tests revealed the 26-year-old had suffered nothing more than a mild concussion and slight injuries to his neck and elbow.

In another era Kovalainen's injuries could have been significantly worse, and two-time world champion Fittipaldi believes a combination of safety measures were to thank for the Finn's fortunate escape.

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Kovalainen to spend second night in hospital
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen will spend a second night in hospital on Monday after his enormous crash during Sunday's Spanish grand prix.

The Finn was airlifted to a hospital in north west Barcelona after becoming wedged under the barriers in a high speed shunt at the Circuit de Catalunya.

His head scans revealed no serious injuries despite losing consciousness on impact, but the 26-year-old is suffering from concussion, officials of the McLaren team have confirmed.

A spokesman of the Hospital General de Catalunya said he is staying in hospital on Monday night to undergo more routine tests.

"I am happy with how Heikki is doing," McLaren doctor Aki Hintsa explained.  "Considering the crash he had, he is doing very well."

It also emerged on Monday that Kovalainen's MP4-23 chassis was damaged beyond repair in the 260kph crash.

"It was destroyed, yes," chief executive Martin Whitmarsh confirmed.  "A section of about 450-500mm broke off the front of the chassis, but everything worked as it was supposed to."


A1GP Makes Pit Stop in London
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport roared into London's West End today (Sunday) to make a pit stop on Regent Street in front of a massive crowd, ahead of the A1GP season three title decider at the legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in Kent next weekend (2-4 May).

Lower Regent Street reverberated to the roar of 520 horsepower as several hundred thousand people gathered to experience an A1GP car being fired up. All 22 nations represented in this unique international motor racing series lined up in London to show off their cars and drivers to visitors to this world famous street.

The A1GP Pit Stop Regent Street was an extravaganza of noise and color, kicking off at 11am with an opening speech by Sir Simon Milton, Leader of Westminster City Council, who welcomed everyone to a day of fun and entertainment as the A1GP car fired up its engine.

Fourteen national team drivers took it in turns to be interviewed on the stage and sign autographs, while a jumbo screen displayed action from the events that have earned the series the reputation as being the most entertaining in the world of motorsport.

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Danica talking smack
A reader writes, I loved the Danica interview, in which she bashed first Tomas Scheckter and then EJ Viso.  "I don’t even know who EJ Viso is...better watch out, dude...he has a good car but he needs to learn how to drive on ovals".  Isn’t Viso a complete rookie oval driver driving in his second ever oval race for a team that just got their car and is running a stock setup?  "He has a good car"?  Seriously, unlike the AGR car. He is better instantly than she is after 4 years. The princess of Indy is riding high after winning one on fuel and is talking smack on everyone.  Indy will be fun. Mike Mallory


Williams acquires interest in hybrid venture
Williams F1 today announced that it has acquired a minority shareholding in Automotive Hybrid Power Limited, a company developing high-energy composite flywheels for use in energy recovery systems. AHP has relocated from Norwich to Williams’ headquarters outside Oxford, UK and has been renamed Williams Hybrid Power Limited.

Williams Hybrid Power Limited is developing a flywheel for potential use as the energy storage element of Williams’ kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS), a technology that will be allowed by regulation in Formula One next year. This technology stores kinetic energy generated under braking that would otherwise be dissipated. Williams is exploring a number of energy storage options. The Williams Hybrid Power system is based on a flywheel rotating at speeds of up to 100,000rpm that would capture this energy for later release.

The competitive rigour of Formula One requires quickly deployable solutions to technical problems, as well as ensuring any such solutions are lightweight, robust and high performance. Williams Hybrid Power hopes to build on the Formula One experience to transfer its technology to other types of vehicle.

Patrick Head, Williams F1’s Director of Engineering, said, “High-energy flywheel technology is a challenging field of engineering. We fully support the FIA’s positive initiative in energy recovery systems which we hope will allow Formula One to make some contribution to the development of an environmentally beneficial technology that could help to reduce the carbon emissions of vehicles.”

Ian Foley, Williams Hybrid Power’s Managing Director said, “As AHP, we had begun to develop our own advanced flywheel technology for application in vehicles. As Williams Hybrid Power, we will make use of the higher profile and Formula One development programme to accelerate development and bring it to market more quickly.”


Super Aguri key meeting could decide future
Super Aguri could find out this week that they have raced in Formula One for the last time. A meeting with backers Honda in Japan on Wednesday could decide the future of the struggling tail-enders after they limped through the first European grand prix of the season in Spain.

"They don't look in very good shape at the moment, unfortunately," Formula One supremo Ecclestone told Reuters at the Circuit de Catalunya. "I want them to stay, I've been helping them the last week," he added.

Former racer Aguri Suzuki told reporters that the meeting was set to be a key point in the battle to save the team that he founded and brought into Formula One in 2006.

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Mosley will have to go - Stewart
Three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart says he thinks it is "impossible" Max Mosley can survive as head of world motorsport.

Mosley is under pressure to quit after a newspaper claimed he took part in a "Nazi-style orgy". He denies his actions had any Nazi connotations.

Stewart told the BBC that the big companies which back F1 want Mosley out on both commercial and moral grounds.

"He's gone beyond anything they would tolerate," Stewart told Radio 5 Live.

Stewart, who has clashed with Mosley over many issues in the past, said the sport's big backers had met at the Spanish Grand Prix to discuss the issue.

He said Mosley's behavior would have contravened the companies' "corporate moral guidelines" and that motor clubs around the world, which also come under the auspices of the FIA, would not approve either.

"Therefore it's very difficult to see how he could stay under these circumstances," added Stewart.

"I think it's going to be very difficult commercially for the companies involved in Formula One to carry that and the motor clubs to carry it. I think that's quite serious."  BBC Sports


Forums are back up
Our discussion forums, which were down all weekend, are once again operational.


Roush-Yates Engines to Support USAC Series
Roush-Yates Engines will be the new sole authorized engine rebuilder for the USAC Ford Focus Midget Series. Instituting Roush-Yates Racing Engines as the authorized rebuilder for the Ford engines powering the series reinforces Ford Racing's commitment to the series and to providing competitors world-class quality and service. "When we approached Doug Yates and his team at Roush-Yates Racing Engines with this opportunity they jumped at the chance to get involved," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "It was an easy decision for us - they are the best in the business and have the resources to provide the best possible product to the series, and together, this puts us in a great position to manage the growth of the series."

"This will give us a tremendous opportunity to expand as well as further our involvement in racing," said Jon Giles, general manager of special projects for Roush-Yates Engines. "It puts us a step closer to becoming the complete source for Ford Racing engines." Roush-Yates Engines has been working hard to understand the needs of the USAC Focus Midget Series competitors and will first focus on ensuring the engine rebuild service is available to competitors. Rebuilds on the 2.0L Ford ZETEC engines used in the series will consist of a long block swap during the first phase of the program and cost $3995.00. Roush-Yates Engines currently develops and builds Ford Racing engines for NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck competition. In addition, it is now developing and building the powerplants for Ford entries in the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype and KONI Challenge sports car series. Ford Racing


Kanaan said Kansas race was boring
Tony Kanaan, who finished second, didn’t sound too excited about Sunday’s race.  “I think the race itself was kind of boring for all of us and I think the fans, too,” Kanaan said. “I don’t know what we can try to do to make these races better.”

Asked later to elaborate, Kanaan said he didn’t blame the track. Scott Dixon led for all but seven of the first 152 laps, and winner Dan Wheldon led for the final 49.

“I mean, we just wanted to see some action,” Kanaan said. “Once the races start you see Scott pulling away, Dan following him, we realized that we need to just get in line and keep following everybody. And to me, that was boring. I’m not criticizing the type of racetrack or the type of cars. I’m just saying we had some more exciting races in Kansas.”


Helmet slap for Marty Roth
He didn’t hurt driver Marty Roth, but Simon Morley sure got his message across.  Morley, the right-front tire changer and crew chief for Tomas Scheckter, slapped Roth across the helmet as Roth’s car was getting pushed to his pit stall after Roth lost control on pit lane and slid into the back of Morley.

Morley was hit by Roth’s wing but was uninjured and continued the pit stop. Roth, who was held on pit road after the incident, retired after 41 laps.


F1 teams fail to agree to KERS delay
(GMM) Some teams' desire to delay the energy-recovery technology KERS until 2010 was voted down in the paddock of the Circuit de Catalunya.

We already reported that, during the now famous team and technical bosses' meeting in the Toyota motor home on Saturday morning, Flavio Briatore argued that the costs of the scheduled KERS implementation next year would be reduced if the technology was delayed.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis vocally backed Briatore's stance, but - as earlier predicted - Honda and BMW are keen to see KERS brought in as planned in 2009.

Williams, meanwhile, is believed to strongly favour the arrival of KERS, as it sees the technology as a way to close the gap to the better funded teams.

Recalling Saturday's meeting, Briatore is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport: "It was like talking to a wall.

"The other teams seem to want to spend money," the Renault boss added.

Dennis, meanwhile, rejected reports that he lost his cool when he realised the intransigence of some rival team managers.

"I didn't get heated, I got passionate," he clarified.


Brawn - Montezemolo not saying no to Alonso
(GMM) Ross Brawn has offered an alternative interpretation of Luca di Montezemolo's recent comments about Fernando Alonso.

Reacting to recent speculation linking the Spanish former double world champion with Ferrari, the Italian team's president said lining up "a Raikkonen-Alonso double act would mean wanting to damage yourself".

Montezemolo's comments were construed as a clear signal of no confidence in Alonso, but Honda team principal Brawn thinks differently.

"The president's comment was interesting," Brawn, who until 2006 was Ferrari's technical director, is quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

"He didn't say Alonso would never drive for Ferrari; what he said was that it would be illogical to have Fernando and Kimi in the same team," he added.

Reigning world champion and current championship leader Raikkonen's Ferrari contract runs out at the end of 2009, and he is undecided about whether he will sign a new one.

1982 world champion Keke Rosberg said on German television on Sunday that he can imagine the Finn, who is just 28, retiring ahead of the 2010 season.

Brawn continued to El Pais that Montezemolo is right if he thinks managing a team with two superstar drivers would be damaging.

"My experience tells me that is far better to have a very good first driver and a second driver to support him," he explained.

"Just look at F1's history. Senna-Prost: serious problems. Alonso-Hamilton: serious problems. And there is no solution to this sort of thing," the Briton said.

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Force makes history as first female Funny Car winner
Ashley Force
Ashley Force put a new face on Funny Car drag racing Sunday by becoming the first woman to win a national race in a category that once was considered the last bastion of male superiority.

The 25-year-old did so with a flair for the dramatic, beating her father, drag racing icon John Force, in the final round of the 28th annual Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals to deny him his 1,000 winning round in his 500th NHRA tour event.

The result enabled the second generation driver to pad her points lead and dispel any lingering doubts anyone may have harbored about either her commitment to the sport or her competence at the wheel of one of the world’s most powerful race cars.

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Todt on pole for Mosley's job
Jean Todt
(GMM)  Jean Todt is very much in pole position to become boss of the FIA if Max Mosley is voted out of office early in June.

It is believed that, while Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz is a close friend of Mosley's, the reason Williams did not back the proposed call for the current FIA president's resignation in Spain was entirely different.

The broadcaster BBC, and the Times newspaper at the weekend both reported that Todt, the former Ferrari team boss and chief executive, is "a lock" to take over from Mosley, who is battling to keep his unpaid position in the wake of the sex scandal.

It is suggested that Ferrari also resisted Bernie Ecclestone's attempt to force Mosley's hand at Barcelona by getting all the teams to sign a statement of condemnation.

The Italian team is likely staying in step with FIA candidate Todt, who recently became one of the only significant F1 figures to fully back Mosley.

But paddock insiders suggest that the reason for Williams' reluctance to call for Mosley's resignation is because team co-owners Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head, despite not being traditional Mosley allies, fear the emergence of favorite Todt as his successor.

The Times also floated the theory that, rather than rounding on his old friend, Ecclestone was actually doing Mosley a favor on Saturday morning by "flushing out both the opposition and support" for the FIA president.

Mosley and Todt, 62, will attend the Monaco grand prix late next month.


Boss 'hopeful' Heikki will be fit for Turkey
Kovalainen suffered a concussion Sunday in Barcelona
(GMM)  McLaren executive Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed the severity of Heikki Kovalainen's Barcelona crash but is hopeful the Finn will be back in action for the next race in Turkey in two weeks.

Former triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart declared it a "miracle" that the 26-year-old was able to emerge only with concussion from an impact that was measured by telemetry at 26G.

"Heikki has had a full head scan and, thankfully, there was no bruising," Whitmarsh, the Woking based team's chief executive, is quoted as saying after Kovalainen spent the night in a Barcelona hospital.

"He will have a body scan but at the moment we are hopeful he will be at the next race in Turkey in two weeks.

"He was lucid in hospital.  In fact, he was jolly, which is typical of Heikki," he added.

Whitmarsh said he has also had a chance to look over the remains of Kovalainen's MP4-23 car.

"When you see the state of the chassis it is a frightening thing to look at," the Briton confirmed.


Hamilton not top British hero - survey
Lewis Hamilton, not a British hero
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's on-track slump coincided with a slump in his previously golden status among the British public, it has emerged.

An online survey commissioned by Sky asked 2000 Britons aged under the age of twenty-five to name their favorite male hero.

While Hamilton, the 23-year-old formula one driver, would surely have topped the charts during his rookie season in 2007, he has now been beaten by a host of rival celebrities.

Bigger heroes, according to those youngsters surveyed, are football player Steven Gerrard and musicians Pete Doherty, Alex Turner and Kanye West.

tv news

Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway to be replayed
In the event some of you missed the beginning of the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway because the race was started on ESPN Classic and changed to ESPN2 after the first 27 laps, it will be replayed on Monday morning.  The replay will be shown at 9:00 am - 11:00 am ET on ESPN Classic.


Restrictor Plate Competition Up…Again
The new car of tomorrow matched – and exceeded – the boom in competition from the last visit to a restrictor plate track (February’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway).

There were 52 lead changes among 20 drivers during Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The Daytona 500 saw similar numbers – 42 lead changes among 16 drivers.

Sunday’s 20 different leaders is tied for eighth all-time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition.

The 52 lead changes topped both Talladega races from last season. In the 2007 spring race, there were 42 lead changes; in the fall contest, there were 41.

There was also a jump in Green Flag Passes for the Lead, a Loop Data statistic that accounts for lead changes all around the track (not only at the start/finish line). Sunday’s race saw 84 Green Flag Passes for the Lead, compared to 67 during the last race held at Talladega. NASCAR PR

racing news

Quotes of the week
"I think [Lepage] just pulled up right in front of the of field and 'Good Afternoon!  I'm glad I didn't get hurt there, that I didn't get a roll bar through the floorboard. This whole restrictor plate deal is a spectacle, but that could have killed someone." Carl Edwards, NASCAR driver, talking about Kevin Lepage's boneheaded move in the Talladega Nationwide race that caused a big wreck that eliminated 16 cars

"Fernando arrived last year, put the car on the right track, and they thanked him by basically kicking him out. And look where they are now."  Adrian Campos, Fernando Alonso's former manager is convinced that the Spaniard is the missing element at McLaren this year.

“I had a great car today and was in fourth and could have challenged for a podium spot, but E.J. Viso ruined our chances of that.  I came into the pits and he was trying to pit in my pit box, and that’s just unacceptable.” Ed Carpenter, IRL driver, who finished 10th on Sunday

"I look forward to resuming contact with him when the News of the World's deliberate and calculated lies have been comprehensively refuted." Max Mosley commenting about sports minister Galeb Majadle hurriedly withdrawing an invitation for Mosley to visit Israel after belatedly learning of the scandal surrounding him.

"I am very upset with him [Max Mosley].  Very upset, because he didn't invite anyone to his party.  Is there no one in formula one who has ever had a sex party?" Nelson Piquet, 3 times World Champion; father of Nelsinho Piquet, Renault F1 driver

"In the IRL I do not see anything -- no brakes, no corners, no nothing." Nelson Piquet, former triple world champion commenting on Danica Patrick's credentials to compete in Formula One 

"Driving the car in 2008 configuration, with much more downforce than we will have next year, on slick tires, was like going to Disneyland!  It was incredible. I have to say it is much nicer to drive the car on slicks." Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
"If we are third and fourth and I'm ahead of him, then to be honest I'm thinking about the two guys in front of me.  I have confidence in myself.  I'm not afraid of anyone.  In the race it does not enter my head at all to think 'Where is Lewis?'  I did not expect to be fighting for podiums and pole positions straightaway.  That has been a little surprising."  Heikki Kovalainen, commenting on McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton

"It sucks being out of the race car.  There’s no simple way to put it. Your ego takes a hit. For a race car driver being at the track and watching cars, especially yours, go around might be the worst thing in the world.” AJ Allmendinger, NASCAR driver; ex-Champ Car driver

"I always expect Scheckter to drive like that. And that Viso, I don't know who he is even. He's new and he's got a pretty fast car. He's learning the ropes of this oval racing. He almost put me in the wall at one point. I was like, ‘Look dude, you're new. You better be nice because we all know how to handle this a little better than you do at this point.’ It's all right. You got some newcomers and they're going to be trying to push it. They're not going to know how. They're not going to know what they can and can't do. There's a lot of etiquette to learn in oval racing. It takes a little time. Yeah, there was close racing out there, but didn't end up racing close at the end.”  Danica Patrick, IndyCar driver commenting after the Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway

"Tony George stopped me today at Kansas Speedway to respond to an answer I gave earlier in this format. He said his family indeed has the ability to sell Indianapolis Motor Speedway, although, clearly, there it has no interest in doing so at this time. George also said there have been multiple inquiries over the years, including those from Roger Penske, Bill France Jr., John Mecom and even a group that included A.J. Foyt." Curt Cavin, Indy Star


Ownership not an option at JGR for Stewart
If Tony Stewart wants to become a NASCAR team owner, he'll have to do it somewhere other than Joe Gibbs Racing. J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, said Sunday that co-ownership at Gibbs is not an option for Tony Stewart, but other options are available. "Our ownership deal is set the way it is," Gibbs said. "But we could do some stuff to help him get started with his own team if that's what he really wanted." Stewart said earlier in the week that he is interest in becoming a Sprint Cup team owner. He also said Haas/CNC Racing has offered that option while allowing him to drive for them. But Stewart is under contact with JGR through the 2009 season. Gibbs said they have no intention of ending the relationship with Stewart before the contract expires. The deal with Home Depot, the primary sponsor of the #20 Toyota Stewart drives, also goes through 2009. ESPN.com

tv news

Kansas Indy 300 moved back to ESPN2 UPDATE The Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway has now been moved back to ESPN2.

04/27/08 The Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 race at Kansas Speedway will be shown on ESPN Classic because of a golf game running late on ESPN2.


Hildebrand wins first race, takes points lead
J.R. Hildebrand
J.R. Hildebrand couldn't break away from the pack over the final laps in the Kansas Lottery 100 at Kansas Speedway. But as long as he was in control, the Firestone Indy Lights rookie didn't have to.

Hildebrand, starting fourth in the No. 25 Allied Building Products car, held off the No. 55 Guthrie Racing car of Robbie Pecorari on a Lap 59 restart and at the line eight laps later for his first Firestone Indy Lights victory and the first for RLR/Andersen Racing. The difference was 0.0553 of a second - the eighth-closest in Firestone Indy Lights history in the series' first race at the 1.52-mile oval since 2004. Arie Luyendyk was third (0.2102 of a second back) and Dillon Battistini fourth (0.3456 of a second behind).

The starting lineup was set by entrant points, with a blind draw for positions 8 through 11 because those spots were tied at 64 points, as a damp racing surface and cold temperatures wiped out qualifications.

"It feels so good for the team; everybody has worked so hard," said Hildebrand, of Sausalito, Calif. "To be able to come away with a win in just the fourth race has put us in a really good spot in the championship. I didn't think our first win would come on an oval but we'll take it and keep going with Indy coming up and then the height of the season."

Hildebrand advanced 13 positions to finish 10th in the season opener on the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval and moved up one spot to fifth in the first race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. He was runner-up in the second race.

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Kovalainen in hospital after Spanish GP crash
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen is in hospital but basically unhurt after a huge crash during the Spanish grand prix at Barcelona.

The Finn speared off Circuit de Catalunya's high speed turn nine on lap 21 with a failure of the left front wheel rim probably caused by debris, and it took trackside workers about ten minutes to free him from his McLaren that was wedged underneath the tyre barriers.

He was stretchered from the scene giving the thumbs-up despite his neck brace, and after a visit to the medical centre was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital for checks.

But although the 26-year-old was wearing an oxygen mask as he began the airlift to hospital, the initial official reports are that Kovalainen is stable and only suffering from concussion.

The front of his MP4-23 was severely damaged in the crash, but McLaren executive Martin Whitmarsh relayed that Kovalainen is only complaining about a sore neck and elbow.


Ecclestone denies calling for Mosley's ouster
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday rubbished reports that he has withdrawn his longstanding support for fellow formula one powerbroker Max Mosley.

We reported before the Spanish grand prix that the 77-year-old F1 chief executive made it clear in the team bosses meeting at Barcelona on Saturday that he wants Mosley, the embattled FIA president, to stand down because of the sex scandal.

So strongly did Ecclestone defend his view that, according to paddock insiders, he visibly lost his composure when representatives for Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull refused to sign a statement asking for Mosley's resignation that would have been distributed to the media.

"That's a load of nonsense," Ecclestone said at the Circuit de Catalunya. "It's just the press trying to conjure up another story."


Stewards take no action over Coulthard-Glock clash
(GMM) Stewards decided to take no action after investigating the collision on Sunday between David Coulthard and Timo Glock.

The pair came together during the Spanish grand prix as Glock, who drives for Toyota, tried to pass Red Bull's Coulthard on the inside as the Scot closed the door.

They were summoned to the stewards' room to explain the incident, but no further action was taken.

"He left me a bit of space and then closed it and I crashed into him," Germany's Glock said.

Coulthard explained: "I took a defensive line to show Glock that I knew he was there, but he hit the rear of my car and punctured a tyre."

Coulthard, the 37-year-old Scot, was however fined 4000 euros for not turning up for the drivers' parade before the race at the Circuit de Catalunya.


Kovalainen to spend night in hospital
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen will spend the night in a Barcelona hospital after it emerged that he was knocked unconscious in his high speed crash during the Spanish grand prix on Sunday.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis, however, said a CT scan at the Hospital General de Catalunya revealed that the Finnish driver has no head injuries beyond a concussion.

"The team is optimistic that he will make a full recovery over the next few days," Dennis added, explaining that the final step for Kovalainen, 26, prior to clearance to race in Turkey will be the customary FIA medical exam.

The team principal earlier told reporters that he was "99.9 per cent sure" the crash was caused by a rare wheel failure.


Stremme to replace injured Franchitti at Talladega
David Stremme will be reunited with Chip Ganassi Racing for at least one race as he will replace the injured Dario Franchitti in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Franchitti broke his left ankle in a hard crash during the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race.

He was taken to a Birmingham hospital for evaluation and was released Saturday night. Chip Ganassi Racing officials confirmed that Franchitti will miss Sunday's race and Stremme will replace him.

Stremme, who drove the No. 40 car the previous two years for Ganassi, currently drives for Rusty Wallace Racing in the Nationwide Series and is a test driver for Penske Racing. Franchitti, who is 38th in driver points and missed one race earlier this year when he failed to qualify, was scheduled to start 43rd in the Cup race.

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Skip Barber

Gabby Chaves Sweeps VIR Doubleheader
Colombia’s 14-year-old Gabby Chaves won both ends of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda double-header at VIR in spectacular fashion, coming from 18th on the grid and taking the lead three corners from the checker in race one, and then in race two, he passed leader Josef Newgarden a couple yards before the finish line to win by .082 of a second. Felipe Polehtto finished second and Mark Bumgarner third in the first race, while Newgarden and Stevan McAleer rounded out the podium in race two. Chaves has not lost in the National this year, but doesn’t head the standings; he won the opener at Sebring in March but had to miss that weekend’s second race in order to get to Malaysia to run an FBMW race in front of the F1 crowd. After four of 14 rounds, Polehtto has 121 points to Newgarden’s 106, Chaves’ 105, Orsolon’s 103 and Conor Daly’s 95.

Results of round 3 of 14, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda Virginia International Raceway, 17-turn, 3.27-mile road course (Starting position in parentheses)

1. (18) Gabby Chaves, Colombia, 10 laps, 90.746 average mph 2. (3) Felipe Polehtto, Brazil, 10 laps 3. (9) Mark Bumgarner, Philippines, 10 4. (8) Chris Holmes, England, 10 5. (1) Fabio Orsolon, Brazil, 10 6. (5) Steven McAleer, Scotland, 10 7. (2) Josef Newgarden, Henderson, Tenn., 10 8. (12) Gustavo Linares, Brazil, 10 9. (16) Lee Carpentier, New Canaan, Conn., 10 10. (10) Hamilton Smith, West Hartford, Conn., 10 11. (21) Tyler Schaal, Sioux Falls, S.D., 10 12. (7) Conor Daly, Noblesville, Ind., 10 13. 1M (17) Peter Tucker, Dallas, Texas, 10 14. (4) Connor De Phillippi, San Clemente, Calif., 10 15. (23) Eoin Ryan, Ireland, 10 16. (11) Dale Kistler-Collins, Thornton, Colo., 10 17. (13) Dex Tuttle, Charlotte, N.C., 10 18. 2M (20) Dom Bastien, West Palm Beach, Fla., 10 19. (24) Nick Tonkin, Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada, 10 20. (19) Victor Pedrosa, Brazil, 10 21. (6) Marcio Pasaneli, Brazil, 7 (accident) 22. (22) Blake Kreiger, U.S., 6 (accident) 23. (15) Hayden Duerson, St. Petersburg, Fla., 3 (accident) 24. (14) Victor Carbone, Brazil, 1 (vibration)

Race length: 10 laps of 3.27-mile road course for 32.7 miles


Does ethanol measure up?
Charles Kigar doesn’t think twice when he has a choice of buying a gallon of conventional gasoline or a gallon of gas that contains ethanol at the same price.

He buys the gas without ethanol.

The reason is a simple matter of science. Conventional gas delivers more energy than a gallon that contains ethanol.

If it’s a gallon of E-10, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and conventional gas now widely available in the Kansas City area, there’s an energy difference of about 3.4 percent.

Now that may not seem like much when you’re topping off the tank this week. But over the course of a year of normal driving, it would take an additional 40 gallons of E-10 to go the same distance as conventional gas. If they were both priced the same, it would mean an extra $120.

If it’s E-85, a blend containing 85 percent ethanol that can be used in specially equipped vehicles, the energy loss soars and more than offsets its lower cost, even though E-85 is about 60 cents per gallon less at retail than conventional gas.

Mileage can suffer by about 25 percent with E-85, according to AAA. Over the course of a year, that amounts to an extra 300 gallons of E-85 to go the same distance as when using conventional gas. That means an average household, when the total cost of conventional gas and E-85 are compared, would spend nearly $100 more per year for E-85.

To Kigar, an Overland Park computer programmer and self-described “car nut,” a consumer can’t make an informed decision about gas without taking into consideration its energy content. Even if ethanol-blended gas is cheaper, it can still end up costing you more because you’re getting less energy.

“That fact has not been made clear to people,” he said. “In effect, you can end up paying more for less.” More at Kansascity.com


Grosjean gifts Kobayashi GP2 win
GP2 Asia champion Romain Grosjean blew his first European GP2 series victory in Barcelona's sprint race on Sunday, when he was given a drive-thru penalty for over-aggressive defending from Kamui Kobayashi, who inherited the win.


Driver Team Gap
1. Kamui Kobayashi DAMS 40:27.229
2. Sebastien Buemi Arden ×1.176
3. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering ×1.962
4. Bruno Senna iSport ×2.808
5. Davide Valsecchi Durango ×3.501
6. Javier Villa Racing Engineering ×8.480
7. Alvaro Parente Super Nova ×8.573
8. Mike Conway Trident ×9.593
9. Ben Hanley Campos ×11.469
10. Yelmer Buurman Arden ×16.974
11. Adrian Valles FMS ×22.871
12. Milos Pavlovic BCN ×23.360
13. Romain Grosjean ART ×23.558
14. Ho-Pin Tung Trident ×25.486
15. Jerome D'Ambrosio DAMS ×47.929
16. Diego Nunes DPR ×1 lap
Driver Team Laps
Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports 22 laps
Andi Zuber Piquet Sports 22 laps
Karun Chandhok iSport 18 laps
Giacomo Ricci DPR 18 laps
Vitaly Petrov Campos 15 laps
Alberto Valerio Durango 14 laps
Roldan Rodriguez FMS 13 laps
Paolo Nocera BCN 12 laps
Luca Filippi ART 3 laps


New Schu racing makes 'no sense' - Bernie
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has sided with Jean Todt in questioning the wisdom of Michael Schumacher's amateur career on two wheels.

Todt, the former Ferrari boss, said last month that he feared for the seven time world champion's safety, after he embarked on a spate of competitive motorcycle riding and MotoGP testing.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone now admits that he is amazed at the 39-year-old German's choice of retirement hobby.

"In formula one, he was always pushing for more and more safety -- and now he races a motorcycle!" the 77-year-old remarked to Bild am Sonntag.

"I don't quite understand why he would now risk getting himself seriously injured.  It makes no sense to me," Ecclestone added.


Ecclestone withdraws support for Mosley
Without Ecclestone's support Mosley is toast
(GMM)  F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has withdrawn his support for long-time friend and colleague Max Mosley.

The 77-year-old made it clear in the team bosses meeting at Barcelona on Saturday that he wants Mosley, the embattled FIA president, to stand down because of the sex scandal.

So strongly does Ecclestone defend his view that, according to paddock insiders, he visibly lost his composure when representatives for Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull refused to sign a statement asking for Mosley's resignation that would have been distributed to the media.

The meeting could easily be watched and photographed as it took place inside the Toyota motor home, and Ecclestone and Ron Dennis' raised voices in particular could even be heard on a couple of occasions.

Despite escaping team bosses' unanimity, Mosley's nightmare run after he was caught in a five-hour romp with prostitutes continued on Saturday.

The Times newspaper claims that, if the confidence vote on June 3 does not remove Mosley, some motoring organizations have threatened to break away from the FIA and set up an alternate umbrella organization.

America's AAA is reportedly leading the push.


Danica's win boosts ticket sales for Detroit Grand Prix? UPDATE A reader adds, Did anyone besides me stop to think that the increase in ticket sales had more to do with the two series being united and less with Danica's win? Or, at best, a combination of both? Loretta in Jackson

04/26/08 [Editor's Note: Ever notice that whenever Danica does something good, the NASCAR guys try to make it their story by talking about her racing over there?  This story is going to kill the boys down in Daytona.]

Danica Patrick and the Indy Racing League won't be racing in Detroit until late August, but ticket sales for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix have been brisk.

Sales got a bit of a boost Monday and Tuesday following Patrick's victory in Japan as she became the first woman to win an Indy car race.

"We experienced a slight increase in ticket sales following Danica's win over the weekend," said Merrill Cain, public and community relations director for the race, which will be Aug. 31 on Belle Isle. "Interestingly, we are way ahead of ticket sales overall from where we were last year."

Since Patrick won last Sunday, reports from Kansas City, site of this weekend's IRL race, have indicated her victory has generated more excitement for the upcoming event. But because the track only sells tickets in packages that include the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in September, it is difficult to tell just what Patrick's victory has meant in terms of ticket sales.

Patrick's win has had an impact on the Aug. 24 IRL race at Infineon Raceway in northern California, however. The speedway reported this week it has seen an increase of more than 400 percent for the first three days of this week, compared to the same time period last week.  Detroit News

tv news

Da Matta to appear on Wind Tunnel UPDATE A reminder that Cristiano da Matta will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel tonight.  Cristiano will be joined by Andy Hillenburg, the new owner of Rockingham Speedway.  Jeff Emig, SPEED Supercross Analyst, will also join Dave Despain on the popular show tonight.

04/25/08 Popular Brazilian open-wheel racer Cristiano da Matta recently returned to the cockpit after his horrific Elkhart Lake crash in 2006, turning impressively fast and poised laps in the Bob Stallings/Gainsco Racing #99 Riley-Pontiac Daytona Prototype at the Eagles Canyon track in central Texas.

With SPEEDtv.com on hand to witness da Matta's triumphant test, and an exclusive video of the magical day we've captured, the announcement of his pairing with fellow CART champion Jimmy Vasser in a second Stallings car at Laguna Seca, May 18th, was quickly forthcoming.

Now, less than a month from his return to competition, da Matta is ready to join Dave Despain on the set of SPEED's popular Wind Tunnel chat show on Sunday.

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday have been added to the schedule below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
GP2 Series Spain 
6:00am-7:30am SPEED
Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
The Goodwood Revival Meeting UK
A re-creation of the golden age of British motor racing from
  1948-66, featuring vintage Grand Prix cars and Formula Juniors 
10:00am-11:00am (R) -Part 1
11:00am-12:00pm (R) -Part 2 Discovery HD Theater
Check local listings for your time zone
NASCAR Performance 
10:30am-11:00am SPEED
NASCAR in a Hurry 
11:00am-11:30am SPEED
NASCAR Raceday Atlanta
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Raceday Talladega 
11:30am-1:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Aaron's 499 Talladega
1:00pm-6:00pm (L) FOX Sports
Superbike World Championship Netherlands 
2:00pm-3:00pm (SD) -Race 1
Race 1 - Tuesday, April 29, 1:00pm-2:00pm (R)
Race 2 - Tuesday, April 29, 2:00pm-3:00pm SPEED
AMA Supercross Seattle
3:00pm-4:00pm (4/26/08) SPEED
AMA Superbike Fontana
4:00pm-5:00pm (4/26/08) -Day 1
5:00pm-6:00pm (SD) -Day 2 SPEED
IndyCar Kansas Indy 300
5:00pm-7:00pm (L) ESPN2
AMA Supersport Fontana 
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Summit Racing Equipment
NHRA Southern Nationals Atlanta

7:00pm-10:00pm (SD) ESPN2
NASCAR Victory Lane Talladega 
8:00pm-9:00pm (SD) SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Cristiano da Matta (2002 Champ Car Champion)
Andy Hillenburg (Owner, Rockingham Speedway)
Jeff Emig (Supercross Analyst) 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Monday (Partial)
IndyCar Replay Kansas Indy 300 
9:00am-11:00am (R) ESPN Classic
NHRA Replay Summit Racing Equipment
NHRA Southern Nationals Atlanta
11:00am-1:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Replay
O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 Kansas
12:00pm-12:30pm (R) -Pre-race
12:30pm-3:00pm (R) -Race SPEED

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

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