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DATE News (chronologically)
05/03/06
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for Friday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 Practice  Nurburg, Germany
8:00am-9:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice  Richmond
1:30pm-4:00pm (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Richmond
4:00pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Richmond
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Richmond
6:00pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series  Richmond
7:30pm-11:00pm (L) FX
Trackside Richmond
11:00pm-12:00am (L) SPEED

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

05/03/06
nascar
Stremme, Sauter Fastest in Testing at Lowe’s Stremme, Sauter Fastest in Testing at Lowe’sRookies continued to top the speed charts as David Stremme posted the fastest time as NASCAR Nextel Cup testing concluded Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

 48 teams took to the track in the second day of the two-day session.  The first chance for teams to shake down the new racing surface as well as a new harder Goodyear tire compound and smaller 13-gallon fuel cell in preparation for the upcoming Nextel Cup events held at the 1.5-mile facility later this month.

Stremme's fast lap of 186.929 mph in the no. 40 Dodge was the best showing for the Dodge camp since the cars first took laps on Tuesday. NASCAR Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter surprised many at the test by posting the second-fastest time in the two-day session, running a lap of 185.179 mph in the no. 70 Chevrolet fielded by Haas CNC Racing.

Ken Schrader was third fastest with a lap of 185.058 mph in the no. 21 Ford Fusion, followed by Travis Kvapil in the no. 32 Chevy (183.857 mph) and Denny Hamlin (183.237 mph) in the no. 11 Chevy.

Reed Sorenson, Carl Long and Chad Chaffin crashed during Wednesday's session. All three cars were heavily damaged, but each driver walked away without injury. Ryan Newman also spun, but did not hit the wall. Pete McCole

   

   

05/03/06
cc
Zwolsman looking forward to night race Zwolsman looking forward to night raceAfter injuring his back at the season opener, rookie Charles Zwolsman took advantage of the time off between races to nurse his injury, all while taking part in the team’s testing sessions. The driver of the #34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone will look to complete his first race with MJCR after failing to finish the race in Long Beach due to contact with the wall.

“The only time I raced at night was in a kart race when I was 12, so I can’t wait to compete on the streets of Houston under the lights in a Champ Car, I’m sure it will be a memorable experience. Like most of the other drivers, I have only seen the track on paper, but it seems to be a competitive one. This race will also give me a chance to evaluate the recuperation from my back and wrist injuries.”

05/03/06
nascar
Toyota joins Big-3 in NASCAR wind tunnel test Toyota joins Big-3 in NASCAR wind tunnel testRepresentatives of Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota joined NASCAR officials for a wind-tunnel session Tuesday in Marietta, Ga., in which each manufacturer's proposed nose for the "car of tomorrow" was tested. One person present for the test said the results left the manufacturers encouraged they could get more room to give each nose more features that distinguish between models without creating competitive disparity. ThatsRacin.com
05/03/06
cc
San Jose '06 schedule, other changes San Jose '06 schedule, other changes
05/03/06
nascar
Rampant cheating continues in NASCAR Rampant cheating continues in NASCARNASCAR announced today a total of 11 penalties that have been issued among five NASCAR Busch Series teams as a result of rule violations at Talladega Superspeedway.

Nathan Homick, a crew member for the No. 4 Dodge driven by Mark Green, was fined $5,000 and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; illegal possession of NASCAR seals). The violation was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection on April 28.

The crew chiefs for the No. 33 Chevrolet driven by Tony Stewart and the No. 77 Chevrolet driven by Burney Lamar were both fined and placed on probation for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules: Section 20A-3.1.2: the forward facing flange of the rear spoiler did not maintain the specified thickness).

Walt Rogers, crew chief of the No. 33 and Gene Nead, crew chief of the No. 77, each received $10,000 fines and were placed on probation until December 31, 2006. The violations were found during pre-qualifying inspection on April 28.

Additionally, Stewart and Lamar will each lose 25 NASCAR Busch Series driver points and team owner DeLana Harvick will forfeit a total of 50 NASCAR Busch Series owner points, 25 points for each driver.

Also, Shane Wilson, crew chief for the No. 21 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until December 31, 2006 for violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q, Section 20-A-12.8.1E: rear quarter panel height did not meet the required specification – too low in post-race inspection. Harvick was penalized 25 driver points and Richard Childress lost 25 owner points due to the infractions.

And Tommy Perkins, crew chief for the No. 05 Chevrolet driven by Justin Ashburn, was fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q, Section 20-A-12.1A(8): unapproved jacking bolt – hollow bolt. The infraction was found during pre-qualifying inspection on April 28.

05/03/06
irl
Carpentier refuses to drive for no pay Carpentier refuses to drive for no payPatrick Carpentier drove for Cheever's IRL team last year, but he said he won't this year. The Canadian has already turned down offers from two teams.  "They wanted me to do it for free, but I think I'm past that stage," he said. "They weren't the most competitive teams, either." Indy Star
05/03/06
irl
Fisher refuses to buy way into Indy 500 Fisher refuses to buy way into Indy 500A month ago, Sarah Fisher pursued a ride, but she found she would have to bring more than $1 million in sponsorship with her.  "That's too much for me right now," she said. "Besides, that's a distraction for what I'm trying to do with stock cars."  Fisher, who has raced in NASCAR's West Coast regional series the past two years, is trying to assemble an ARCA program. Indy Star
05/03/06
TV News
SPEED continues to grow SPEED continues to growSPEED added 568,000 homes in April and is now available in nearly 67 million homes in the U.S. (66,807,000) and nearly 72 million in North America, as SPEED is available in nearly half of Canada’s 11 million cable households. SPEED has added 3,435,000 homes in the last year, keeping it among the fastest growing networks in the country.

SPEED, celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2006, is the nation's first and foremost cable network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED delivers quality programming from the track to the garage. Now available in more than 71 million homes in North America, SPEED is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country, the home to NASCAR TV and an industry leader in interactive TV, video on-demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services.

05/03/06
Miscellaneous
Street Racing booming in Middle East Street Racing booming in Middle EastAfter bidding his friends goodbye at a Starbucks cafe late one recent weekday night, Ahmed Khawaga steered his metallic-blue Chrysler Crossfire sports car into the desert.

He stopped on the shoulder of a desolate stretch of road, turned on his headlights and revved the $40,000 car's engine to a roar. "Here I come!" he shouted into the empty expanse.

 The 23-year-old Mr. Khawaga, and two friends who soon joined him, spent the next few hours zooming down Emirates Road side-by-side at speeds approaching 150 miles per hour. They are part of an illegal street-racing scene that's taken off across the Middle East -- especially in the Persian Gulf region.

Roughly 60% of the Middle East's population is under the age of 25, and many of these youths are flush with disposable income as their countries' economies boom from record oil revenues. That means they have money -- and rubber -- to burn. In Saudi Arabia, young men pilot their Lamborghinis and Porsches over a bridge that separates Saudi from neighboring Bahrain to stage weekend races there. In Kuwait, the upscale district of Salmiya hosts the most popular drag strip in town. During the peak summer season in Egypt, rich young Arabs ship their fancy cars from the Gulf region to join the rounds.

A few years ago, the contests were mainly informal affairs. "We used to just meet on Sheikh Zayed Road" -- the city of Dubai's main thoroughfare -- "on Fridays or at night when it was empty," Mr. Khawaga says. Drivers would pull up next to each other, roll down the windows and nod their heads to mark the start. "Instead of just cruising, we'd race," he says.  More at Wall Street Journal

05/03/06
cc
Ranger to visit Monterrey Ranger to visit MonterreyUPDATE Andrew Ranger’s (#27 Mi-Jack/Tide Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) last visit to Monterrey, Mexico earned the young Canadian driver a hallowed spot in the Champ Car World Series record books, as his second-place finish at Fundidora Park made him the youngest driver ever to earn a Champ Car podium finish.

Just one year later, Ranger was back in the Mexican city for an advance visit Tuesday as preparations continue for the May 19-21 Tecate Grand Prix of Monterrey Presented by Roshfrans. The Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing driver participated in a press conference with more than 50 media members at the Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma and also visited the Tecate Hall of Fame.

The Canadian also met with race fans, visited the Fundidora Park layout that will host the Champ Cars in three weeks and also appeared on some live TV broadcasts in the city.

“Monterrey is one of my favorite tracks, is very fun to drive, but very slippery, so you have to be careful. The people in Mexico are great, they are big supporters of auto racing and it's a real pleasure to race for them,” Ranger said. “This is my second year in the Champ Car World Series, I´m not a rookie anymore, but I still have a lot to learn, I hope to get good results and continue improving as a driver”.

After watching Ranger roll to a second-place finish a year ago in just his second-ever Champ Car start, and then watching him handle the demands of the media and fans Tuesday, OCESA General Manager Federico Alaman believes that the 19-year-old driver is poised for greatness.

“Andrew is a great driver and a great person, his visit helped us to promote our race with the media and we hope to see him back on the podium in Monterrey, I think that with time he will become one of the future champions of the Champ Car World Series”. Champ Car

04/26/06 OCESA PR Manager Ramon Osorio has told AutoRacing1 that Champ Car driver Andrew Ranger will visit Monterrey, Mexico next week to officially start the Monterrey Grand Prix ticket sale campaign. That same day OCESA will stage a Pit Stop competition with a Champ Car and also a parade. Although the campaign hasn’t officially started, tickets are already available via Ticketmaster Mexico. Tecate is airing TV ads and has put billboards throughout the city of Monterrey. The Monterrey Grand Prix has a new webpage www.monterreygrandprix.com Jose Arrambide
05/03/06
Industry News
Statement from Buick on the passing of Tiger Woods' Father Statement from Buick on the passing of Tiger Woods' Father"On behalf of everyone at Buick and General Motors, we offer our deepest sympathies to Tiger Woods and his family on the passing of his father, Earl," said Buick general manager Steve Shannon.
05/03/06
irl
track news
Indy 500 program available Indy 500 program availableThe Official Program for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, which is a special, commemorative edition celebrating the 90th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," is available now.

The program is comprised of 240 full-color pages of entertaining, informative content.

Fans can purchase the full-color, glossy program for $10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at the two Brickyard Authentics stores in Indianapolis, online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling (800) 955-INDY.

The unique cover of the program features the "Celebrate the Spectacle" theme art for this year's race. The front cover is produced in a canvas-like paper stock in "gatefold" style, wrapping around to the back cover. The inside front cover also features a list of every driver who has competed in the Indianapolis 500 since the inaugural race in 1911.

There also are a variety of special inserts in the program, including:

.Vintage program cover post cards that can be mailed to friends and family.

.Three vintage program cover reprints (1936, 1946, 1976) that are suitable for framing.

.Garfield-themed children's activities

.2007 Indianapolis 500 ticket order form, 2006 Indianapolis 500 merchandise order form

A variety of feature stories also will entertain and inform fans for hours. Story subjects include 2005 race winner Dan Wheldon, 2005 rookie sensation Danica Patrick, the return of legends Michael Andretti and Al Unser Jr., rookie Marco Andretti, Tour de France champion and Pace Car driver Lance Armstrong, Indy Racing League marketing guru and rock music legend Gene Simmons, actor Patrick Dempsey, NASCAR champion and ABC-ESPN Indy 500 announcer Rusty Wallace, the Soap Box Derby, Ethanol in the Indy 500, Indy Pro Series standout team owner Sam Schmidt, pioneering woman driver Janet Guthrie, the Unser Museum, the Indy Pro Series and more.

Fun fan features include driver biographies for the Indianapolis 500 and Freedom 100, race entry list, statistics, track records, a track map, schedules, and lists of sponsors and lap prize sponsors.

05/03/06
irl
track news
Indy 500 tickets on sale Indy 500 tickets on saleTickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the 90th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

Ticket prices start at just $20.

05/03/06
Track News
IMS Radio Network offering complete coverage IMS Radio Network offering complete coverageThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network and its affiliates will provide extensive coverage from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout the month of May leading up to and including the 90th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Sunday, May 28.

More than 400 affiliate IMS Radio Network radio stations located throughout the United States and Canada - plus the LeSea Broadcasting network, which provides worldwide shortwave radio coverage, and the American Forces Radio Network, which broadcasts to United States military installations and ships around the world - will broadcast live Race Day coverage of the Indianapolis 500 at noon (ET) May 28 with a pre-race show, followed by the Indianapolis 500 broadcast at 1 p.m.

The radio network's Indianapolis 500 coverage also will be broadcast live on XM Satellite Radio channel 145, "Indy Car Racing."

The IMS Radio Network will kick off the month of May at Indianapolis with the first of four "Indy Live" talk shows, on May 9 from 8-9 p.m. (ET). All four shows will broadcast live from the Brickyard Crossing Inn, and the public is welcome to attend each broadcast free of charge. The full schedule is 8-9 p.m. on May 9, 11, 18 and 25.

Each "Indy Live" show, hosted by IMS Radio Network Anchor Mike King, features interviews with notable drivers and other personalities from the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series and Indy Pro Series.

The radio network will deliver two qualifying shows on each of the four qualifying days, May 13-14 and 20-21.

A Miller Lite Carb Day Recap will be broadcast from 5-6 p.m. on May 26. zzzz

The IMS Radio Network's Race Day broadcast team for the Indianapolis 500 is comprised of veteran radio commentators Mike King, anchor; Dave Wilson, color commentator; Davey Hamilton, driver analyst; Donald Davidson, historian and Chris Economaki, commentary. In the turns: Jerry Baker, Turn 1 reporter; Adam Alexander, Turn 2 reporter; Mark Jaynes, Turn 3 reporter and Chris Denari, Turn 4 reporter. Reporting from pit lane: Dave Argabright, Kevin Lee, Nicole Manske and Kevin Olson.

In addition to reaching millions of listeners worldwide via the radio waves, the 90th Indianapolis 500 broadcast - along with every IMS Radio Network program from the month of May - also will be available live and archived on the Internet via www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or www.indycar.com.

Podcasts of every IMS Radio Network show from the month of May will be available on the network's Web page on the official online home of the IndyCar Series: http://www.indycar.com/multimedia/radio/.

05/03/06
nascar
Lowe’s testing Day 2 Lowe’s testing Day 2Reed Sorenson wrecked, backing into the wall hard and #12-Ryan Newman spun, but didn't hit anything. Kasey Kahne received medical clearance Wednesday morning and is testing his #9 Dodge Dealers UAW-Dodge at Lowes Motor Speedway. "I feel great" said Kahne. "Obviously my hips and my shoulders are a little sore from getting hit in the side but they wanted to do some scans and just check me out and make sure everything was good and all the results were clear so we're good to go." PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show
05/03/06
nascar
NASCAR upholds penalty NASCAR upholds penaltyOn May 2, 2006, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the Appeal of McGlynn Motorsports. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following inspection on April 7, 2006 for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules; and Section 20-5.9G(1) “External modifications to the intake manifold will not be permitted unless approved by the Series Director.” The penalties assessed were:
• Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for owner Raynard McGlynn.
• Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Derrike Cope.
• $50,000.00 fine for crew chief Domenick Turse.
The Appellants acknowledged that the intake modifications violated the rules, but appealed the severity of the penalties. The Commission found that the penalties assessed are consistent with penalties for similar infractions of an overt nature in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. NASCAR
05/03/06
f1
Badoer shakes down Ferrari Badoer shakes down FerrariToday, Luca Badoer carried out a shakedown test of the three cars that Ferrari will use in the forthcoming European Grand Prix, this weekend at the Nurburgring circuit.

Badoer completed a total of 20 laps (nine of them on the short version of the track,) setting a best time of 1'00"437.

It was a warm and sunny day at the track with air temperature 19°C and the track reaching 41°C.

05/03/06
Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 5-3-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 9.520
2. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.208
3. (3) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.350
4. (9) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 8.201
5. (5) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 8.087
6. (4) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 8.066
7. (7) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 7.508
8. (11) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.814
9. (12) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.808
10. (13) Alex Tagliani (CCWS) 6.793
11. (6) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.634
12. (19) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.591
13. (16) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.525
14. (18) Dale Jarrett (NASCAR) 6.362
15. (NR) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 6.362
16. (14) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.292
17. (NR) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 6.279
18. (NR) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.266
19. (10) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.032
20. (23) Casey Mears (NASCAR) 5.904
Dropped out: Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Dale Earnhardt Jr (NASCAR), Clint Bowyer (NASCAR), Sam Hornish Jr (IRL)
Provided by STATS Inc.
05/03/06
cca
Houston track sponsors Jensen team Houston track sponsors Jensen teamExpanding on an already fruitful relationship, the MSR Houston race circuit will join Jensen MotorSport as primary sponsor of the #22 entry in the ChampCar Atlantic race at the Houston Grand Prix, the weekend of May 11th-13th, 2006. MSR Houston will be featured on the #22 entry, and on the side pods of the ChampCar Atlantic to be driven by rookie Steve Ott.

Steve Ott (24) hails from Thornton Colorado. Steve Ott has an extensive history of driving success in the SCCA, including multiple championships in the Rocky Mountain DSR division, plus several front row starting positions at the SCCA Run-Offs.

The MSR Houston circuit has quickly become a major part of the ChampCar community. The circuit will host an official series test for the ChampCar Atlantic championship on May 7th & 8th. In recent months several ChampCar World Series and ChampCar Atlantic teams have also visited the circuit, located in Angleton Texas, for pre-season testing.

MSR Houston is a "Driver's" track, where the racer and the motor sports enthusiast alike can come to experience the excitement of driving on a challenging but extremely safe road course. They can not only test the limits of their machinery and skills, but learn to control their vehicles and expand both of these limits. They will also experience the camaraderie of other individuals that share the common love of motor sports. zzzz

The Facility is a 2.38 mile road course with 17 turns that is re-configurable to suit different events or needs. Plans include an clubhouse for business, relaxation and course observation. There are storage facilities for equipment and member vehicles. MSR is situated on 381 acres. This expansive area allows for growth and large buffer zones from the neighboring communities. The track has been designed with safety features to protect drivers as well as employees and onlookers. It is our intention that the facility be a comfortable and entertaining place for all members of a group or family to spend time.

The Product is the "Driving Experience" or "Track Time". The facility is being marketed with the methodology consistent with a typical "country club". "Members" pay an initiation fee, monthly dues, and guest fees. Clubs and corporations can rent the facility on a daily basis for various events. Sanctioning bodies can use the facility promote their events and other groups may use the facility for corporate events, promotional activities and fundraisers. There will also be other services such schools and drivers education programs, driving accessories, tires, fuels, maintenance, and storage.

For more details about MSR Houston, contact Leslie Mitchell, Director of Marketing, MSR Houston, via e-mail at leslie@msrhouston.com. For more details about Jensen MotorSport and the racing program, contact Graeme Young via e-mail at team@jensenmotorsport.com

05/03/06
cca
Q and A with the Rahals and the Unsers Q and A with the Rahals and the UnsersGood afternoon and welcome to today’s Champ Car Media Teleconference Atlantic edition. We’re preparing for Round 2 of the Yokohama Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda next week in Houston.  Today, we're happy to welcome two generations of two of the most famous names in all of racing .  We are joined by two teammates in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship - Graham Rahal and Al Unser III - who both joined the new Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Atlantic team this season.  We're also privileged to welcome the legendary fathers of these two young and up-and-coming drivers, three-time Champ Car champion Bobby Rahal, and two-time Champ Car title winner, Al Unser, Jr. Transcript
05/03/06
Industry News
High gas prices impact Big 3 High gas prices impact Big 3Despite a strong national economy, rising gas prices took a bite out of new gas guzzling big car and truck sales last month -- and Detroit's three automakers felt most of the pain.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and even the Auburn Hills-based Chrysler Group posted sales declines in April, compared with the same month a year ago. Sales were down 10.7% at GM, 6.8% at Ford and 8.0% at Chrysler.

For Chrysler, which has been the healthiest local automaker, April was a tough month. It marked Chrysler's first monthly sales decline this year. Competitor Toyota Motor Corp. sold more cars and trucks during the month than Chrysler and its parent, DaimlerChrysler AG, which also sells Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles. The parent company's U.S. sales fell 6.2%.

Chrysler quickly responded to the dip by bringing back no-interest financing for up to 60 months on most of its vehicles -- a move that's sure to put pressure on Ford and GM, both of which have outlined a strategy to sell vehicles at lower prices and more sparingly use profit-eating incentives.

05/03/06
f1
Speed signs VoodooPC deal Speed signs VoodooPC dealUS Formula One driver Scott Speed has agreed a sponsorship deal with computer firm VoodooPC.

The brand will be exclusive technology sponsor of the only US driver on the lucrative F1 circuit, and has created a limited edition notebook to mark the deal.

Said Rahul Sood, president of VoodooPC: “Scott is young, hungry to win and wants to prove himself as a leading race car driver. In many ways, he exemplifies the core characteristics and values of our company.”

05/03/06
f1
Williams preview Nurburgring Williams preview Nurburgring
Mark Webber
: "Although our qualifying and race pace at Imola was not particularly strong, the most positive outcome from the weekend was that we managed to get some reliability back into the car. Bridgestone has made good progress since the winter, but one of the biggest challenges we still face is getting the tire selection correct for every event."

"We will have to wait and see how we fare against our main opposition at the Nürburgring, but we will, of course, look to optimize our strategy and tire usage over the course of the weekend to get the best possible result. The weather at the Nürburgring can be very unpredictable at this time of the year, so the race can sometimes be very mixed."

Nico Rosberg: "It's going to be great driving at one of my "home races." I've enjoyed some success at the Nürburgring in the past so I'll be drawing on that in my first Formula One outing. The circuit is good fun; it's nicely flowing and has various types of corners. As a team, we'll be looking to improve upon the recent progress that we've made, particularly at the Silverstone test this week."

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1: "The Nürburgring is a high downforce circuit with a couple of good overtaking opportunities over the lap, particularly at the chicane before the pit entry. With a lot of continuous lateral loading on the car, the toughness of the tires is important. The Nürburgring is a track at which Williams has traditionally performed well at and we are looking forward to a competitive weekend." zzzz

"Following our continual development program, we will have some aerodynamic upgrades on the FW28 at this race to improve the cars' competitiveness again. Strategy will involve either a one or two stop race due to the current qualifying format, which means another reason to look after the tires during the race."

"Bridgestone have bought two known casings and compounds here and they should work well regardless of the weather. We will be increasing our Friday afternoon program with both the race drivers to give them more track running and set-up time at this GP."

Simon Corbyn, Head of F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth: "Mark and Nico's Cosworth CA2006 engines will be on their second race events at the Nürburgring. This race is typically unpredictable due to the nature of the track, and the notoriously changeable weather conditions, it will therefore be an advantage for both drivers, Nico in particular, to be able to run more laps on the Friday and we'll be working with Williams to support this." WilliamsF1

05/03/06
irl
Race on to fill 7 remaining seats for 500 Race on to fill 7 remaining seats for 500The race is on to secure the last remaining rides for this month's Indianapolis 500.  There is no official limit to the number of car and driver combinations that can participate, but most of the attention centers on seven open rides that would bring the field to 33.  Only one of the open seats appeared to be spoken for as of Tuesday -- Townsend Bell in the third car of Vision Racing.  Twenty-six combinations have been confirmed.  More at Indy Star
05/03/06
f1
Things to look for at Nurburgring Things to look for at NurburgringWas Imola a one-off in front of its home fans, or can Ferrari really carry the fight to Renault at a very different kind of circuit? Michael Schumacher has been hard at work at France's high-tech test facility at Le Castellet since then in a bid to carry on his winning form from Italy - but the rest have not exactly been idle, with most of the big teams pounding around Silverstone last week.

Will the return to multiple tire stops make the difference for Raikkonen and McLaren? Last year the Finn had this race in the bag until he flat-spotted a tire while passing Jacques Villeneuve, and paid the price on the last lap with a high-speed spin into the gravel.

Could previous experience here help some of the lesser lights? Christijan Albers made a spectacular exit at Imola on lap one, but the MF1 driver has winning form here from F3 and DTM days and could lift the team with a strong performance in a Grand Prix car.

And what of Heidfeld? Last year Nick, in a Williams, became the first German driver to claim pole in a German race in a German-powered car: might this be the weekend when BMW really comes on song as a force in its own right? Australian GP

05/03/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Williams to run more practice laps
Green light for Montreal's F1 frenzy
Schu not ready to reveal F1 future
F1 venue tires of 'GP share' idea
Honda boss backs critical Button
Rosberg expects to wait for F1 win
Coulthard defends F1's cigarette link
Honda back struggling Barrichello
05/03/06
nascar
Boyer, Hamlin Pace Testing at Lowe's Boyer, Hamlin Pace Testing at Lowe'sNASCAR Nextel Cup rookies Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin toped the speed charts in day one of a two-day testing session at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Tuesday.

The two drivers were among 47 teams taking part in the sessions in preparation for the upcoming Nextel All-Star Challenge and Coca-Cola 600 to be held at the track later this month.

Tuesday's test was the first time on the track for many teams since the track underwent a $3.5 million re-surfacing earlier this year.

Bowyer turned a lap of 183.892 mph in the no.07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, followed by Hamlin, who posted a top speed of 183.799 mph in the no. 11 FedEx Chevy for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Defending Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart was third fastest with a lap of 183.717 mph in the no. 20 Home Depot Chevy, while Carl Edwards led the Ford drivers with a lap of 183.705 mph. Veteran Ken Schrader rounded out the top five with a lap of 183.667 in the no. 21 Ford.

Paul Menard, Joe Nemechek, Kurt Busch, Brent Sherman and Martin Truex Jr. were involved in single-car crashes during the seven-hour testing session. While their cars were heavily damaged, none of the drivers were injured.

Dave Blaney, Brian Vickers and Denny Hamlin each spun, but did not make wall contact.

05/03/06
irl
Danica in NY to promote autobiography Danica in NY to promote autobiographyUPDATE Reminder that Danica Patrick's tour of New York will conclude Wednesday night with a guest appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman.

04/30/06 Danica Patrick will be on tour in New York on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to promote her autobiography, "Danica Patrick: Crossing the Line."  Below is a link to an article about these appearances and also about her inclusion in People magazine as one of the "World's Most Beautiful People."  She'll be a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday, May 3rd.  The show airs at 11:30 pm ET on CBS.  As you'll see in the article, she'll be a guest on many other shows in addition to the David Letterman show. More...

05/02/06
nascar
Robby Gordon happy with top-10 Robby Gordon happy with top-10Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Menards/Turtle Wax Ice Chevrolet had one of the fastest cars during the rain-postponed Aaron’s 499 on Monday and earned a finishing place to prove it. Powering to a commanding 10th-place finish, Gordon and team enjoyed a solid run from the drop of the green to the wave of the checkered flag and finished within a second of the leader.

Working the outside and middle grooves to his advantage, Gordon was able to drive as high as third at one point during the 188-lap event and gained crucial bonus points by leading lap 89 while the leaders pitted.

“We had a good run,” Gordon said. “We needed to score points like that. We’ve had a top-10 car quite a bit this year and haven’t really had the results for one reason or another. To come out of Talladega with a 10th-place finish, a place where you could loose a lot of points real easy just by getting collected by the ‘Big One,’ is pretty good.”

Barely missing a 13-car pile up initiated by five cars jostling for position in turn three and two other incidents that collected numerous competitors behind him, Gordon’s bad luck from weeks past finally turned.

“It was pretty amazing that we missed wrecks three times, one within about a car length or 15 feet of us,” Gordon said. “At one point, I could hear the cars wrecking beside me, so I quickly moved out of the way. When the ‘Big One’ started, I just happened to be in front of it every time.”  zzzz

And despite not having a teammate to lend a hand in the draft, Gordon successfully worked with several drivers to stay inside the top-20 for the majority of the day.     

“I haven’t had problems not having a teammate at restrictor plate races,” he said. “I ran with [Dale] Jr. for a little while because he didn’t have Martin [Truex Jr.]. Then once he was gone I was kind of a sitting duck. It really didn’t matter if you had a teammate or not. The No. 48 didn’t win the race because the No. 24 was there. He got himself in the right line at the right time and his line went to the front. Our car didn’t run well in the low groove unless there was someone there to draft with me. Our car worked better in different areas of the race track, so I found out where those were and kept myself in that position at the end of the race.

“It was a good weekend for us. We definitely had a car that could’ve won the race, but I’m happy with our final results. Obviously it helped us a little bit in the points, and there’s only 18 points separating the five cars in front of us. But we’ve still got a long way to go after the last couple of weeks.”

With high-speed, rush hour racing at Talladega behind, Gordon and the No. 7 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS team return to Richmond International Raceway, the track that gave Gordon his first NASCAR Busch Series win two years ago. Tremendous side-by-side action will take place at the ¾-mile oval under the lights on May 6. Tune in to the race on FOX television at 7 p.m. EDT or MRN radio beginning at 6:45 p.m. EDT. Robby Gordon Motorsports

05/02/06
nascar
Changes for No. 55 team Changes for No. 55 teamMichael Waltrip heads into Richmond International Raceway this weekend looking for a little magic to get the #55 NAPA Dodge back into the top-35 in NASCAR owner's points. This obviously isn't where we had hoped to be coming into the 10th race of 2006," said Waltrip. "In an effort to address the situation, we decided to make some changes." Waltrip has brought in NASCAR veterans Bobby Kennedy, Larry Carter and Jason Oversteet to work on the car and call the race. Derrick Finley will reassume his role as Bill Davis Racing team engineer. "It is extremely important that we use all of the resources we have at both Bill Davis Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing to get our program where it needs to be," said Waltrip. "Bobby, Larry and Jason have been working on getting our Burger King cars built that we will run with Bill Elliott this year. Getting those guys to the track and working with our NAPA car will not only help us now, but it will also allow them to gather 'at-track' data for that effort as well." Michael Waltrip Racing
05/02/06
Industry News
Porsche sales up Porsche sales upPorsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), importer and distributor of Porsche sports cars and Cayenne SUVs in the United States and Canada, today announced its best-ever March sales in the United States. The company sold a total of 3,185 Porsches, an increase of 14 percent compared to March of 2005. Of this total 1,127 are Porsche 911s, the most ever sold in one month in the United States in the model's history. Year-to-date sales are up 26 percent to a total of 9,117 units compared to 7,219 sold in the first three months of last year. PCNA has marked record sales in each of the three months of 2006. This remarkable performance was mainly due to sharp increases in sports car sales. The Boxster/Cayman series first-quarter sales of 3,248 units were 85 percent ahead of the same period last year, while the 911 series total of 2,839 units was 23 percent greater than the three-month total in 2005. Cayenne sales in March were up 2 percent compared to the same period of 2005, bringing the first-quarter total of 2,997 units close to last year's three-month volume of 3,093.

In addition, dealers sold 567 Porsche Approved Certified Pre-Owned vehicles in March, compared to 470 for the same period last year.

05/02/06
nascar
FOX wins three Emmys for NASCAR coverage FOX wins three Emmys for NASCAR coverageFox Sports officials announced that the network has won three Emmy awards for its NASCAR  coverage.  "NASCAR on Fox" won Emmys for Outstanding Technical Team Remote, Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound and Outstanding Live Sports Series. This is the second time NASCAR on Fox has been recognized for an outstanding live sports series and raises the series' Emmy total to nine in five years of coverage.
05/02/06
ga
cca
Two-Time Open Wheel Champion Jon Fogarty Joins GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Two-Time Open Wheel Champion Jon Fogarty Joins GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing DALLAS, TX — Blackhawk Motorsports owner Bob Stallings announced today that two-time Atlantic Champion Jon Fogarty will team with fellow American Alex Gurney in the #99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk/Pontiac Riley for the remainder of the 2006 Rolex Grand American Season.

Fogarty joined the team for a “trial run” two weeks ago at Virginia International Raceway, where his performance impressed Stallings and led to today’s announcement, “I’ve known about Jon as long as Alex (Gurney) has been coaching me because Alex holds him in high regard,” said Stallings.  He continued, “In fact, Alex used to refer to Jon’s corner entry and exit style as an example.   I was very impressed with Jon’s speed and his work ethic when we ran him at VIR, particularly when set the third fastest lap of the race despite having no traction control.  I am very happy he will be joining us at Laguna Seca, and for the rest of the season and we’re hopeful we will help him achieve his goals by giving him the equipment to run at the front of the pack and compete for race wins the rest of the season.”

A native of Northern California, Los Gatos resident Fogarty is pleased to make his debut as an “official” driver of the GAINSCO team at his home track, Laguna Seca, this weekend at the Road and Track 250.  Fogarty has enjoyed much success at the famed 2.238 mile road course; he won from the pole position there two years ago and has similar expectations for this weekend’s 112-lap battle.

“I want to thank Bob Stallings, Alex (Gurney) and GAINSCO Auto Insurance for this fantastic opportunity,” said Fogarty. “Alex and I have known each other and worked together through the years. He is really quick and an ideal teammate.  I believe we are in a position to consistently compete for race wins and, as a driver, you can’t ask for a better situation than that.  Bob is a leader and he has put together a very good team. I am very happy to be part of it.”

05/02/06
alms
Final races for Audi R8 Final races for Audi R8After six years, 47 victories, 38 pole positions and six championships in the American Le Mans Series, plus one of the strongest records ever at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Audi R8 is heading into the sunset.

There are just three more rides left, starting with next week's Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston. Following the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio the following week, the R8 will turn its final competitive laps at Lime Rock Park in early July before giving way to the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI at Salt Lake City. Then the sports car world will say goodbye to a project that changed the way designers, engineers and manufacturers build race cars.

"Nobody thought that the R8 was a turning point," said Allan McNish, who will drive the next three American Le Mans Series rounds with Dindo Capello in the R8. "They thought it was a good car and a good package, but no one believed that it would turn around the way people built sports car racers and competed. Neither did they believe that it would have a lifespan of six years. But whatever competition it was thrown into it always stood up to the task, whether it was the BMW, Panoz or more recently Pescarolo. There aren't many cars that have had that capability of adapting."

The Audi R8 debuted at Sebring in 2000. Since then, it has joined the likes of the Ford GT-40 Mk. IV, the gaggle of past Porsche prototypes and others as the most successful and recognizable sports cars in the sport's rich history. The numbers, particularly in American Le Mans Series competition, lay it all out:  zzzz

Series championships: 6
Series starts: 132
Series victories: 47
Series podiums: 104
Series fast qualifiers: 38
Series fast laps: 49
Series 1-2 finishes: 11
Series podium sweeps: 6

The Audi R8 also enjoyed one of the best stretches at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in recent history. It posted overall victories in five of the last six years (three straight from 2000-02), including last year's historic win for Champion Racing with JJ Lehto, Marco Werner and Tom Kristensen. Champion became the first American team to win at the Circuit de la Sarthe since 1967, yet another impressive bullet on the R8's resume especially considering penalties in weight and horsepower (among others) with which the car was saddled.

Longtime R8 pilot Kristensen also made history this year in the R8 when he drove to his record seventh overall win at Le Mans. Five of his seven victories came in the R8, by the way.

Some of the best drivers in the world have, at one time or another, sat at the wheel of the R8 here and abroad. They include Biela, Pirro, Kristensen, McNish, Capello, Werner, Lehto, Stefan Johansson, Johnny Herbert, Ralf Kelleners, Andy Wallace, Didier Theys, Dorsey Schroeder, Rinaldo Capello, Aiello Laurent, Michele Alboreto, Pierre Kaffer, Christian Abt, Jamie Davies, Mika Salo, Stephane Ortelli, Perry McCarthy, Christian Pescatori, Michael Krumm, Philipp Peter, Seiji Ara, Yannick Dalmas, Hiroki Katoh, Jonny Kane, Patrick LeMarie, Jean-Marc Gounon, Franck Montagny, Stephane Ortelli, Jan Magnussen and Tom Coronel.

"The R8 has been around a year longer than our cat," McNish said. "So it is part of you. You see it grow up and develop in the hard times and the good times. Throughout that, it's always been there for you. I've won a lot of races in the R8, and it helped me springboard to Formula 1. The car has literally saved my life, too. She's given me a lot of fun and competition. And in all that, she hasn't missed a beat. Everyone who has a brief encounter has gotten a real passion toward it."

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the Lone Star Grand Prix, scheduled for 8 p.m. CDT on May 12 in Houston. It will be broadcast at 1 p.m. May 13 EDT on CBS Sports, the first of five straight Series events on network television. Qualifying is set for 6:15 p.m. CDT on May 11. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at www.americanlemans.com, which also will have IMSA Live Timing & Scoring. ALMS

05/02/06
cca
It’s exciting to see what is happening to the Atlantic Series It’s exciting to see what is happening to the Atlantic SeriesWhen you look at the Atlantic Series now, the depth of talent there is in the field, it reminds Bobby Rahal and Al Unser Jr. of what it used to be like in the 70s.

"For me, I think it definitely reminds me of that," says Bobby Rahal. "I think most importantly the level of competition, it's like when I went to Europe to Formula 3 after Formula Atlantic, went to Monaco, in my heat I was second on the grid. It just prepared you. No matter where you wanted to go, the competition was such that it prepared you to be able to go do that and compete on a worldwide basis.

"Whether the guys running Atlantics this year race in Champ Car or some try to go to Formula One, I think the level of competition is of such a high standard that they will be able to do that, that they will be able to go and compete against anybody. We haven't had that in this country for some time I think, that level of a preparation formula like we have this year. There's no question, you look at least the top 20 guys, these are all very good drivers that on any given day could be competitive for a win. That's precisely what this kind of formula should be."

"Just myself is ditto what Bobby said," chimes in Al Unser Jr. "Myself, I didn't spend very much time in an Atlantic car. I don't know that much about it when I was coming up. Bobby spent a lot more time in it. He knows a lot more about that.

"I just see what I see out there today, a very deep field, great cars, great talent in those cars. I totally agree with Bobby, we haven't had that in this country for quite some time. It's great to see that it is happening now to open wheel racing."

05/02/06
cca
Move to Atlantic Series was a no-brainer for Rahal Move to Atlantic Series was a no-brainer for RahalBobby Rahal, himself a graduate of the Atlantic Series, owner of 24 wins in his illustrious Champ Car career, and proud father of Graham, talks about what attracted them to the Champ Car Atlantic Series this year.

"I've always felt strongly about the Atlantic Series being an excellent training ground for young drivers," said Bobby Rahal.  "I think both Graham and I felt this was the next logical step after Star Mazda.  I frankly couldn't be happier with the way the season's lining up.  Tremendous depth, great competitiveness throughout the field.  I think that's going to make for a very exciting year.  Hopefully we'll get more than our fair share of that excitement. 

"But it was a thrill to watch Graham and all the guys at Long Beach, having driven there especially.  Of course, I never won like Al did.  Nevertheless, I thought it was a good first outing for everybody.  On to the next one."

Surprisingly, the senior Rahal says he does not butt into what Graham and his engineers are doing, preferring instead to take a hands-off approach. 

"I pretty much stay out of the way," said Rahal chuckling..  "I think that's usually a pretty good policy.  I go out and watch.  Graham works real well with Don Halliday and Mike Zimicki, his driver coach.  I mean, the last thing they need is me getting in the thick of it.  They're doing a great job and have been doing a great job.  I just kind of go out in the corners and stay out of the everybody's way, at least I try to, and watch.  Every now and then, I come into the pits.  I tend to, when it comes race time or qualifying time, be out watching like a fan."

05/02/06
cca
What's next for Graham Rahal and Unser III What's next for Graham Rahal and Unser IIIWith the rumors that there's a possible merger coming up between Champ Car and IRL, we asked Bobby Rahal and Al Unser Jr. if they see moving their sons into Indy Cars in 2007? Here are their answers and note both stress the need for a merger.

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, I think for me, I mean, I think it has to happen [the merger] anyway for the sake of open-wheel racing. Of course, we've been saying that for many, many years. I'm just hoping that all this discussion is coming to a positive end.

In regards to Graham, I think he very much wants to go to Europe. I think at his age, to some degree, time is on his side. I'm fully supportive of him going there for a year or two, seeing how he does. If you excel over there, you're pretty much assured you're going to excel everywhere else.

I think for us, our sights are for Europe for next year. I think we'll be in the A1 GP series again this year, so that's good for him. If we spend two years over there, decide to come back, he's going to be 19 or 20 years old. Still a long time and a chance to build a long career in open-wheel racing, if that's where he wants to go. Really it's more up to him than it is to me.

Q. If you were to win that $2 million prize this year, would that persuade you?

BOBBY RAHAL: That might create a problem (laughter).

AL UNSER, JR.: First off, I totally agree with Bobby, they need to get together. It needs to be unified, all going in the same direction. The split has definitely hurt single-seat open-wheel racing and it needs to be rectified ASAP.

Then I also agree with Bobby on the other hand. It's really up to Al. It's up to him on where he wants to go, what he wants to do. I'd be the proudest dad in the world to witness my son qualify at the Indy 500, then go out there and race in it, and all the races, Long Beach, all of them in the big cars.

But, you know, again, it's up to Al. You can wish for things with your son, but really you got to go at his pace, his speed, to get the most out of it.

05/02/06
cca
Unser and Rahal compare the new Atlantic car Unser and Rahal compare the new Atlantic carToday we asked Graham Rahal, who has driven a number of different cars recently, to compare the new Atlantic car to those cars

GRAHAM RAHAL:  For me, it's very difficult to compare.  I mean, everything has its own little features that the next car won't.  Obviously, this doesn't compare at all to a GT3 or the GT3 RSR.  They're totally different animals. 

Obviously, the A1GP car just has a lot of power.  Maybe not for dad or Al because they've driven things like a Champ Car.  But for me, 550-horsepower, it's got plenty of power.  The grip, it's actually fairly low on grip.  It's probably worse than the Atlantic car as far as grip goes, but it's very good for driving because it makes you have to drive the thing extra hard, and you have to slide it to be fast. 

Obviously, GT3 and the RSR both, the big difference in those two is the RSR just has more grip, more downforce, better brakes, better tires.  That's basically the highlights there.  Obviously, they're heavier cars.  Compared to the new Atlantic car, really there is no comparison, they're totally different animals.  Obviously, the new Atlantic car for me is a joy to drive. 

I did drive the old one.  I won the SCCA (Atlantic) championship last year, so I got to do a bit of driving in it.  Certainly the new car is very enjoyable.  I've had a great time.  I just can't wait to get back in the seat every time. 

We asked Al Unser III  to compare the new Atlantic car to the old one. 

AL UNSER, III:  For the differences between the new and the old, the old Atlantic car felt a little lighter.  The new one feels a little more heavier, which I enjoy a little more because it kind of slides around or moves around a little bit. 

The new car feels like it has a little bit less downforce when it has, in fact, a little bit more, that’s relating to it moving around.  The new car's definitely a lot bigger, even cockpit-wise.  In the old one, I was wearing elbow pads because I was hitting my elbows.  This one, it's pretty free.  I don't have to do that.  I've got room to move. 

Other than that, I think the new one's going to bring heavier competition.  It's not a certain type of stab-and-go car like the last year's one was.  I think we'll have some good competition, some good races.

05/02/06
ga
cc
CITGO team picks up Steve Challis, new equip. CITGO team picks up Steve Challis, new equip.Los Angeles, CA…The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series has become ultra competitive in 2006. Top equipment is a necessity to compete at the front and CITGO Racing by SAMAX is proud to announce that the #11 CITGO Pontiac Riley has undergone a complete transformation. The car is now the newest race car on the Rolex Series grid. The #11 boasts a brand new Riley chassis, new Bosch electronics, a Pontiac engine from Hasselgren Engineering and an all new paint scheme.

In addition, the team welcomes Corvette Racing driver Olivier Beretta to race with CITGO Racing regular Milka Duno in up to 6 of the remaining 9 races and Riley Technologies Factory driver Marc Goossens to compete in 3 races - beginning with the race at Laguna Seca. CITGO Racing is also pleased to announce that Champ Car veteran engineer Steve Challis will join the program starting with the upcoming race at Laguna Seca.

Olivier Beretta, a Corvette Racing driver, is one of the most successful drivers in international endurance racing. He is a three time American Le Mans Series (ALMS) champion and a four time class winner of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. Since 2000, Beretta has also worked as a Formula One test driver with Michelin developing tires and since 2002 with the Williams F1 Team. “I’m very happy to have this new challenge in front of me and to drive for CITGO Racing and SAMAX. I’ve been watching the Daytona Prototypes because of the Pontiac involvement and to see my friends in action. The competition is extremely fierce and I am extremely anxious to help my new team beginning at Phoenix!” Zzzz

Marc Goossens, a Riley Technologies factory driver, has raced top level prototype sports cars for over 10 years. Highlights include 3rd place finishes in the 2004 Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 2002 12 Hours of Sebring. “It’s encouraging to see the team moving forward on an aggressive path”, said Bill Riley, President of Riley Motorsport. “Having Marc in the car we should be able to work more closely with them on engineering and set up issues and help advance the development of the car. With the upcoming testing and our support we expect to see the car at the front.” Steve Challis has been a Champ Car engineer for the past 10 years and has helped some of the top names in open wheel racing reach the podium and victory lane, including Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Dario Franchitti and Greg Moore.

Duno said "We have been working really hard to make our team and car as strong as possible and I would like to thank Marino Franchitti for his valuable contribution this season. The addition of factory drivers and a top engineer proves that we are on the right track. The series has become so competitive that it is critical to get as much help as possible to get to the front, which we will be making every effort to do." Milka Duno, Marc Goossens and the CITGO Racing by SAMAX team will now head west for the 6th round of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Championship – the U.S. Sportscar Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA May 5-7, 2006. The Sunday race will be televised live on the SPEED Channel beginning at 3:00pm EDT.
05/02/06
nascar
Cottman backs Waltrip Cottman backs WaltripMichael Waltrip Racing officials have announced that Cottman Transmission will sponsor the team's No. 99 Dodge driven by Michael Waltrip for Friday night's Circuit City 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
05/02/06
cca
Sciuto Signs For Fans in Houston Sciuto Signs For Fans in HoustonBefore he attacks the new street circuit constructed around Reliant Park next week at the Grand Prix of Houston's Fast Trac 100 race, Champ Car Atlantic Championship driver Alan Sciuto will visit and sign autographs for fans this weekend in the Texas city.

Sciuto, driver of the #12 Sealy/PKV Racing/The Room Store/W.S. Deans car for Polestar Racing Group, will appear at the Finger's Furniture store in Houston this Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. CT. The store is located at 4001 Gulf Freeway in Houston.

Finger's Furniture is an official sponsor of the Grand Prix of Houston and fans are welcome to come out to the store to meet Sciuto and get an autograph from the 18-year-old native of Orange, California who became the youngest-ever pole-winner in the 33-year history of the Atlantic Championship when he captured the pole at 17 in Denver last season.

Sciuto and the rest of the 2006 Yokohama Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda field will spend May 7-8 testing at the MSR Houston track before gearing up for Round 2 of the Atlantic season. The Fast Trac 100 at the Grand Prix of Houston will be held at the new 1.615-mile street circuit constructed around Reliant Park, May 11-13.

For more information, visit www.fingerfurniture.com or the official web site of the race - www.grandprixofhouston.comChampCar.ws

05/02/06
nascar
Kahne shaken in crash Kahne shaken in crashUPDATE Kasey Kahne will not test Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  Kahne said he plans to get approval Wednesday to test on the second day of the two-day test in Charlotte. He said he will not go to see Dr. Jerry Petty, a Charlotte, N.C., neurosurgeon, until Wednesday morning.

"I feel good," Kahne said Tuesday on a teleconference. "My left hip and my shoulder and my elbow are just a little bit bruised just from hitting something or getting hit hard. I've been a lot sorer after other wrecks. I need to get cleared tomorrow."

05/01/06 NASCAR officials say Evernham Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne will have to get medical clearance before he's allowed to test Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. 

Kahne crashed early in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway Monday afternoon, and NASCAR officials did not allow him to return to the Nextel Cup race.

"The medical people didn't think it would be good for him to get back in the car again," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said, adding that the driver of the No. 9 Dodge was too "shaken up" to return.

Kahne went to the infield care center after the accident and walked to his hauler in the Nextel Cup garage. He downplayed any possible injuries or concussion. "I just got checked out, and everything is fine," Kahne said. 

05/02/06
nascar
Foyt IV lands another ride Foyt IV lands another rideA.J. Foyt IV, who recently lost his ride in the No. 38 Busch Series car following the Akins Motorsports and Braun Racing merger, will drive the No. 14 FitzBradshaw Racing Dodge in Friday night's Circuit City 250 at Richmond International Raceway, according to the entry list released Tuesday.  Foyt, a development driver for Evernham Motorsports, is in his first year of stock-car racing.
05/02/06
irl
What they are saying about 90th Indy 500 What they are saying about 90th Indy 500What prominent drivers, team owners, celebrities, political officials and other noteworthy individuals are saying about the 90th Indianapolis 500:

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH (43rd President of the United States, in letter dated March 2, 2006): "I send greetings to those gathered for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. Since it began in 1911, the Indy 500 has become an American tradition and has challenged the world's greatest race car drivers to compete at the highest level of competition. As the best-attended single-day sporting event in the world, the Indy 500 has run every year except during World Wars I and II. This race showcases the talents of drivers from around the world and promotes the important values of sportsmanship, teamwork and leadership. I appreciate the Indianapolis 500 race organizers for your ongoing efforts to promote safety in racing, encourage healthy competition and advance this exciting tradition. I also applaud race participants for your hard work and determination. Your commitment to excellence reflects the spirit of our Nation. Laura and I send our best wishes for a memorable event." More.....

05/02/06
irl
a1gp
Al Unser Jr. to drive A1 Team USA’s Indy 500 entry Al Unser Jr. to drive A1 Team USA’s Indy 500 entryINDIANAPOLIS, IN.- A1 TEAM USA and GEICO announced today that two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. will pilot the No.31 A1 TEAM USA/GEICO/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing-prepared Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine in the 90th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 28.Unser will join A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owners Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl in debuting the red, white, and blue “We the People” livery on May 7 and begin “month of May” preparations.

“What better way to highlight the United States’ participation in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations and TEAM USA than with two of the most recognized names in American open-wheel racing-Unser and the Indianapolis 500,” explained Weidinger, the Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications entrepreneur and former Indy Racing League team owner. “The opportunity to showcase A1 TEAM USA at an American event like the Indianapolis 500 with an American driver like Al is unmatched in motor sports.

We are also honored by having GEICO, a company born in our nation’s capital with a long history of serving government employees and the military, as a sponsor and team partner.  Our hope is that Americans around the country and around the world embrace this U.S. entry, not only in the Indy 500, but in the A1 Grand Prix which begins its second season of races around the world this October,” added Weidinger. zzzz

Ted Ward, GEICO vice president of marketing, added, “We are so proud to be part of the Indianapolis 500.  The race is part of the fabric of America and we are honored to be partnering with A1 Team USA in this enormously popular and prestigious race.”

The Unser family is a racing dynasty that holds 9 Indianapolis 500 victories to their credit; 2 of those belonging to Al Jr. in 1992 and 1994. The seasoned veteran, who is returning from retirement to join this effort, is anxious to get behind the wheel to try and make it 3 victories with his 18th Indy 500 start.

“The Indy 500 is my true love,” said User.  “I have had some time off, as you know, and it has been great to enjoy my family but I’m feeling really refreshed and anxious to get back out there and race. Being able to do that with an outfit like Dreyer & Reinbold and carrying the banner for A1TEAM USA with the enthusiastic support of GEICO makes this a month I’m really looking forward to!”

“We were looking at the options for entering a second car,” continued Dennis Reinbold, “and honestly, we couldn’t be more pleased with Rick’s participation and how this program has come together. We are very proud to welcome the A1 TEAM USA’s effort.”

Al Unser Jr. and the A1 TEAM USA/GEICO/DRR crew will take to the track for the first time on May 7 for their first practice session from 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

A1 TEAM USA competes in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, the new ‘World Cup of Motorsport’ during the regular season that runs from October to April and makes stops around the globe covering six continents. The A1 Grand Prix Series is a unique format that utilizes motorsport for nations to compete on a level playing field and to celebrate national pride in an exciting, adrenaline-fuelled environment. A1 TEAM USA begins the 2006-2007 season on October 1, 2006 in Zandvoort, The Netherlands. Visit www.A1TEAMUSA.com for more information and details on A1 TEAM USA and the A1 GP Series. And on May 7, look for the new www.A1TEAMUSATV.com site with a new look, interactive media, and more!

05/02/06
Track News
Silverstone launches FREE F1 British GP tickets campaign Silverstone launches FREE F1 British GP tickets campaignSilverstone today announced an exciting new F1 British Grand Prix initiative that will provide local residents, living within a twenty mile radius of the Northamptonshire based circuit, with the opportunity to enter an online ballot to win FREE tickets to all three days of the 2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster’s British Grand Prix - 9 to 11 June 2006.

Silverstone has put aside 100 grandstand tickets (50 pairs of tickets) for the local community, which will be up for grabs in a free prize draw for anyone registering on the Silverstone website – www.silverstonef1.co.uk – before 1 June*. Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, commented, “The British Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the British sporting summer, attracting hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world to the region, bringing with it a real boost to the local economy. As a venue we rely heavily on the fantastic support we receive from the local community, and while local businesses benefit significantly from the British Grand Prix, the free ballot is an opportunity for us to show our appreciation and give something back to residents. zzzz

“A significant number of people living in the Silverstone area either work, or have an interest in motorsport, but not all of them can attend the British Grand Prix. The ballot is free to enter, providing everyone with an equal opportunity to win grandstand tickets to all three days of this year’s British Grand Prix. I’d like to wish everyone living in the area the very best of luck.”

Residents can now enter the free prize draw by visiting www.silverstonef1.co.uk and clicking on the ‘local residents ballot’ section to register their details. The draw for tickets will take place approximately two weeks prior to the big race weekend.

For those not fortunate enough to win grandstand seats in the ballot, tickets for the 2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster’s British Grand Prix are still available, with transferable three day passes priced from as little as £99 (£49 for children*) - effectively £33 per day.

Tickets for the 2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster’s British Grand Prix can be booked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at www.silverstone.co.uk, or by calling the British Grand Prix Hotline on 08704 588 300

* One entry per person. Winners must live within a 20 mile radius of Silverstone Circuit, as judged by the promoter. Judge's decision is final. Winner will be contacted by 2 June

** Children aged 12 and under

05/02/06
irl
Larry Foyt Set To Compete at Indy Larry Foyt Set To Compete at IndyHOUSTON - Larry Foyt will enter his third straight Indianapolis 500 driving for his famous father A.J. Foyt. The 29-year-old Houstonian will drive the No. 41 Honda-powered Panoz.

With second generation drivers Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and third generation driver Marco Andretti also set to compete, the 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will feature some of the historic surnames of its past.

"I'm very excited about coming back to Indy," said Foyt. "It's been a bittersweet experience the last two years because I felt like I've had great months of May leading up to the race, but I've had accidents on the big day.

It's an amazingly difficult adjustment coming from the stock cars to the Indy cars, but I've learned a great deal, and I feel very comfortable in the open wheel cars. I'm glad my Dad has the belief in my ability that I can get the job done. I'm looking forward to a great month." Since Foyt has not driven an Indy car since last year's 500, he'll take a refresher test this Monday, May 8 during the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP). Once he's completed the test, which is the final two phases of the ROP speed test, he will continue practicing for the remainder of the day.

The refresher test is normally scheduled during ROP because there is less traffic on track and more time for practice.

Felipe Giaffone will begin practicing for the 500 in the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda when the track opens for all competitors Tuesday, May 9th. It will be the second straight Indy 500 that Giaffone and Foyt race as teammates. Last year Giaffone started 33rd and finished 15th in his first ever drive for A.J. Foyt. Larry was involved in an accident on lap 15. He sustained a lower back injury which sidelined him for six weeks. He has completely recovered.

Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 begins Saturday, May 13th. The race takes place 1 p.m. eastern time on Sunday, May 28th. It will be broadcast live on ABC-TV. AJ Foyt Racing 

05/02/06
nascar
Eury Sr./Knaus Win Crew Chief of the Race Awards Eury Sr./Knaus Win Crew Chief of the Race AwardsTALLADEGA, Alabama – In typical Talladega fashion, the Aaron’s 499 played out like a 200 mph game of chess.  In the end, it was Chad Knaus’ decision to bring the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in for service on the last round of pit stops which proved to be the game winning strategy.  Jimmie Johnson’s fresh tires were exactly what he needed to climb through the pack and capture the win.  Knaus’ triumphant tactics earned him the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.

With 22 laps to go, Knaus was left with the difficult choice of whether to have his driver pit or stay on the track.  Knaus elected to have Johnson reload with fresh tires for the final run.  The decision put Johnson in 15th place for the restart, but Johnson had little difficulty storming to the front.

A panel of voters; including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Sr. and a WYPALL® Wipers representative; agreed that Knaus’ strategy earned him Crew Chief of the Race honors. “Jimmie (Johnson) had an awesome car today,” said Eury Sr.  “The competition was so close, though, and it looked like it anybody could win.  It was Knaus’ choice to put tires on the car that gave him an advantage on the last few laps.  His car handled great and let him go anywhere he wanted to on the track.  That’s what he needed to get the job done.”

For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, WYPALL® Wipers presented Knaus $1,000.  At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.  This was Knaus’ first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him with Darian Grubb, Todd Berrier and Roy McCauley for second-place in the standings.  Robbie Reiser and Kenny Francis are tied for the lead, each with two wins. 

From the Busch Garage…zzzz

Eury Sr. Wins WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award

TALLADEGA, Alabama (April 29, 2006) –Martin Truex Jr. had a very “Earnhardt-esqe” day at Talladega Superspeedway.  Carrying the paint scheme of the legendary No. 3 Goodwrench Chevy, Truex Jr. dominated the action in the Aaron’s 312, leading a race-high 36 laps before taking the checkered flag in intimidator style.  For calling the shots which led Truex Jr. to victory lane, his crew chief Tony Eury Sr. was voted the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.

Although Truex Jr. had the car to beat, it was a decision that Eury Sr. that cemented Truex’s Bass Pro Shops Monte Carlo in the top spot.  Truex Jr. was in the lead when a caution came out with 17 laps remaining.  Eury Sr. elected to leave his driver on the track instead of coming into the pits for fresh tires.  Eury’s call allowed Truex Jr. to stay up front and hold the competition at bay.  “To be honest, I didn’t make the decision for Martin (Truex Jr.) to stay out until he was up to the cone,” said Eury Sr.  “I wanted to leave him out on the track, but I didn’t want him to be the only one.”

A panel of voters, including Robbie Reiser and a WYPALL® Wipers representative, agreed that Eury Sr. deserved Crew Chief of the Race honors.  “When there’s under 20 laps to go, it’s tough to decide whether or not to pit,” said Reiser.  “It seems like the leader is a sitting duck, but Truex had fresh enough tires to keep everyone behind him.  Tony knew what his car and driver were capable of and made the right call to leave him out on the last stop.

For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, Eury Sr. was presented $500.  At the end of the season the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $10,000 and be crowned the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.  This was Eury’s first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him for second-place in the standings with Wally Rogers, Eddie Pardue, Trip Bruce, Matt Gimbel and Bryant Frazier.  Shane Wilson leads the Crew Chief of the Year standings with two wins.

05/02/06
cc
Bourdais leads driver rankings Bourdais leads driver rankingsINDIANAPOLIS – Two-time defending Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) got off to a fast start in Long Beach, as a dominant performance earned him a victory in the season opener.

That win not only gave him the points lead over a deep and talented Champ Car field in 2006, it earned him the early advantage over drivers from each the four major racing series in the world, as Bourdais leads the World Driver Rankings compiled by SPEED and STATS, Inc.

SPEED and STATS, Inc. are in their second season of tabulating driver rankings, developing a points system using drivers from NASCAR Nextel Cup, Champ Car, Formula One and the Indy Racing League. Results from the current year are formulated along with adjustments that account for each series’ scoring systems and a ‘competition difficulty factor’ which weighs the competitive depth of each series.

Bourdais has assumed the top spot on the strength of his Long Beach win, taking the lead over defending F1 champion and current F1 points leader Fernando Alonso by a margin of 9.52 to 9.208. Those totals are more than a full point ahead of third-placed Tony Stewart while IRL points leader Helio Castroneves in fourth. Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is seventh in the standings after placing second at Long Beach and is the only other open-wheel driver represented in the top 10.

The World Driver Rankings are tabulated each week and published on www.speedtv.com. SPEED is also the cable home of the Champ Car World Series in 2006, featuring live race coverage and qualifying highlights from selected events as well as replay broadcasts of each of the season’s 15 events. Champ Car

05/02/06
cca
Where is he now? Where is he now?Former Atlantic Series star Hoover Orsi has just taken the championship lead in the Brazilian Stock car series.....Forty plus cars in every race.
05/02/06
f1
McLaren lagging Renault pace - Haug McLaren lagging Renault pace - Haug(GMM) Don't count McLaren out of the running for Sunday's European grand prix at the Nurburgring.

That is the assertion of Mercedes' competition chief Norbert Haug, speaking in the days prior to one of two home grands prix for the German carmaker.

Haug admitted to Germany's 'sid' agency, however, that the silver MP4-21 package is not quite on the pace of the dominant blue and yellow Renaults.

''We are three to five tenths of a second behind,'' said the German, ''but no team has been more reliable than us in the first four races of this year.''

Haug also insisted that team driver Kimi Raikkonen's title fight to Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher is not yet over.

He commented: ''Last year, Kimi was 31 points behind after four races, and this time (the gap is) only 18.''

But the gap in 2005 would have been smaller had Finland's 26-year-old Raikkonen made it to the end of one more lap of the 5.3km circuit near Cologne. He was pitched into Nurburgring's barriers at turn-one with shattered suspension after flat-spotting a front tire.

Kimi said: ''I am hoping to have a less dramatic race this year.''

05/02/06
nascar
TV News
NASCAR Talladega TV Rating NASCAR Talladega TV RatingThe rained out NASCAR Nextel Cup race on FOX Sunday got a 3.8 TV rating, down 38% from the previous year. However, what is most telling about this is that 2.92 million households tuned in to watch a non-event on Sunday, as the race never got started before the rains came.......such is the popularity of NASCAR.......either that or its fans have nothing better to do with their Sunday afternoons than to sit in front of a TV set and vegetate.
05/02/06
nascar
Weekly NASCAR cheater fines Weekly NASCAR cheater finesNASCAR announced that David Hyder, crew chief for the #21 Nextel Cup Series team, has been fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006 for a rule violation at Phoenix International Raceway. Hyder violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20-10.8.4I (unapproved tire warming by using a portable heater) of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. The rule violation was discovered during the running of the Subway Fresh 500 on April 22. NASCAR
05/02/06
nascar
 Track News
Darlington Speedway Grandstand seats sold-out! Darlington Speedway Grandstand seats sold-out!Reserved grandstand seats for the 2006 Dodge Charger 500, the 105th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at legendary Darlington Raceway, are sold out, track officials announced today. The sellout is the earliest in Darlington Raceway history. Last year’s sellout was the earliest at Darlington since the 1997 Mountain Dew Southern 500. This year, Darlington Raceway will welcome her largest grandstand crowd in 57 years of racing. With the addition of the new Brasington Tower in Turn 1, the track now seats approximately 3,000 more fans than last year. “We are thrilled at the continuing excitement surrounding Darlington’s Mother’s Day weekend race date,” said Raceway president Chris Browning. “The fans’ enthusiasm and support has been truly overwhelming. We’ve made a lot of changes over the past year, and we can’t wait to show off the ‘new Darlington’ to a packed house for the second consecutive year, and continue this great Mother’s Day tradition at the track ‘Too Tough To Tame.’ We think seats in the Brasington Tower will become one of the hottest tickets in NASCAR once fans get their first look at Darlington’s race action from Turn 1.” The Dodge Charger 500 will be run on Saturday evening, May 13. Scheduled start time is 6:55 p.m. Infield admission tickets are still available for purchase. Good seats do remain for all events on Friday, May 12. Darlington Speedway PR
05/02/06
f1
Button expects to win eventually Button expects to win eventuallyJenson Button fully expects to eventually land his first Grand Prix victory. Button has yet to land a Formula One win after 106 races and continued his drought with seventh place in San Marino last week.

But ahead of Sunday's European Grand Prix in Germany, the Honda driver is convinced he will soon break his duck.

Button told the Times: "I don't lie awake at night sweating and thinking I will never win. I will."

"It's a crazy thing for people to say I can't ever win.

"I know it's not good enough to say we can win but never achieve it - but it is a fact we can.

"You have to be positive. Even doing 135 laps in testing I make sure that each time I go out I am trying to do absolutely the best I can. I give everything.

"It will happen if I work hard and the team works hard."

05/02/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Alonso tips Ferrari decline
Webber wants Williams to keep Cosworth
Ide apologies for Albers roll
Williams vow to lead F1's development race
Imola no one-off, says Schu
Ralf's wife makes 300hp debut
05/02/06
nascar
NASCAR COT to Wind Tunnel NASCAR COT to Wind TunnelNASCAR plans to take its car of tomorrow [COT] to a wind tunnel this week and test different nose pieces.
05/02/06
Formula BMW
Wickens starts the season in Europe Wickens starts the season in EuropeToronto, ON – The season will start two weeks early for Red Bull Junior Driver Robert Wickens as he heads off to Germany to race in the Formula BMW Germany series with Team Mücke-Motorsport. The 17 year old Toronto native was invited by Red Bull team manager DR. Helmut Marko to drive in the next race which takes place May 5 and 6 during the European Grand Prix Formula 1 event at the famed Nürburgring circuit.

Robert was just in Carolina with Team Apex Racing USA for the final practice before the start of the Formula BMW USA series which starts at Mid Ohio in three weeks. "It is a real thrill to be asked to come and race in Europe. I leave right after our final practice session and will spend some time with Mücke-Motorsport in the lead up to Friday's qualifying." Robert will be partnered with race engineer Ralf Druckenmüller, himself an accomplished racer with many laps at the circuit. "Working with a race engineer who is familiar with the circuit will be a definite advantage,” notes Robert, “especially as we will not have the opportunity to turn any laps prior to qualifying."

Racing in Europe will have Robert on track - and on the same team, with some of the drivers he competed against at the 2005 World Finals in Bahrain. "It will be fun and interesting at the same time. I am looking forward to running with the Red Bull team and hope to learn a lot from this experience." Robert continued, "It will prepare me for future competition here."

With the addition of the European Gran Prix, Robert will now be competing in front of three F1 crowds this year and put him in full view of both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams.

Robert hits the track for the first time on Friday afternoon for qualifying.

Following the European Grand Prix, Robert travels to the Red Bull Diagnostics and Training Center in Austria to participate in a driver fitness program. He will then return to North America to prepare for the first round in the Formula BMW USA series which takes place at Mid Ohio Race Course, May 18-20.

05/02/06
f1
Alonso looks ahead to Nurburgring Alonso looks ahead to NurburgringFernando Alonso heads into this weekend’s European Grand Prix with a commanding lead in the 2006 drivers championship after scoring two wins and two second placed finishes form the opening four events of the season.

The Renault driver fought Michael Schumacher tooth and nail at the recent San Marino Grand Prix and although he is still expecting a tough fight at the upcoming Nurburgring event, mainly from his Michelin shod rivals at McLaren, he is confident of a return to the top step of the podium.

As the Spaniard explained, he was happy with a second place in Imola because he knew Ferrari would be strong there however the German track is different and their Michelin tires should perform well in the cooler conditions, just like they did in Australia. At this stage, he is still unsure of just how consistent Ferrari’s challenge will be and added to that he will have the new B spec RS26 engine at his disposal….zzzz

Fernando, two wins and two second places, including last race in Imola. Were you pleased after that result?
Absolutely. I went there saying that second would be a good result for me, because Ferrari have always been strong in Imola. They were competitive, like we expected, but I think that in the race, the Renault was very close in performance – and maybe even a bit quicker in race conditions. So far, I have had perfect reliability this season, and we are working hard to make sure that continues – while adding performance as well. This has been a dream start for me, because there is such a high level of competition in the field. I hope it will continue!

Looking at the Nürburgring, what are the important characteristics at that track?
I think the most important thing is that you need good traction. There are a lot of slow corners, which means lots of hard acceleration out of the turns. With the V8 engine, this will be less of a problem. That's because we have less power this year, so the car is not so much on the limit in terms of the traction. But that is the area we always concentrate on for this circuit, as well as finding a good balance. And we have already seen that the R26 is very strong in both those areas.

Conditions can often be cold at the Nürburgring. Will that be a worry for tire performance, like we saw in Melbourne where people struggled?
Honestly, I don't think it will be a problem for us. In Australia, the car was really good in cold conditions and using its tires well. The same was true in the winter: when it was cold, we were very competitive. So if the conditions are similar at the Nürburgring, it will be good for us.

Are you optimistic ahead of this race?
I am expecting a big fight again. I think the level of competition is much closer than the championship standings suggest, and there will be some big challengers. The Michelin tires have performed very consistently at every circuit this year, and they have done a great job. It will be the same in Germany, I am sure, so we will see a big push from McLaren-Mercedes at their home race, running on the same Michelin tires as us...

And how about Ferrari and Michael Schumacher?
What we don't know at the moment is how consistent Ferrari will be. So far, they have been strong at the same tracks as in 2005, and not so good at others. It is too early to say if it will be the same this year, so we can't write them off – and Michael is racing in front of his people too. We must concentrate on our job though, at Renault. I have the new B spec RS26 engine, which is a good step forward, and there are new developments on the car at every race. So I am sure we can be fighting for the win again on Sunday afternoon. Renault

05/02/06
ga
Miller Motorsports Park Draws Rave Reviews Miller Motorsports Park Draws Rave ReviewsTOOELE, Utah -- A handful of Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve teams got their two-week west coast road trip off to an early start on Monday by taking advantage of an opportunity to test the brand-new Miller Motorsports Park nestled among the mountains just west of Salt Lake City.

The state-of-the-art facility features an eye-popping 24 turns and is the longest road course in the United States at 4.5 miles. The track's length and the number of turns, coupled with its flat layout, proved challenging for the four Rolex Series Daytona Prototype teams in attendance. Defending Daytona Prototype co-champions Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor were putting their No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley through its paces on Monday, as was three-time Rolex Series race winner Milka Duno in the No. 11 CITGO Racing by SAMAX Pontiac Riley, 2003 Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller and co-driver Harrison Brix in the No. 77 Kodak/Sirius/Amp'd Mobile Pontiac Doran, and another three-time Rolex Series race winner, Mike Borkowski, alongside Daytona Prototype newcomer Antoine Bessette in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing/Mears Motor Coach Lexus Riley.

"It's a great track and it's going to be an amazing facility," Borkowski said. "I think it's going to make for some of the best racing we ever see. It's pretty wide and very smooth, and there are lots of places to pass. There are probably 10 good passing spots on this track. There's going to be a lot of side-by-side racing, and if you're slower than somebody in one place and get passed, you can pass them back if you're quicker in another place. You can get lost here more than at other tracks. It's definitely a fun race track." zzzz

Miller Motorsports Park will host the 2006 Rolex Series season finale on the weekend of August 31 to September 2 with the Discount Tire Sunchaser 9-Hour. It will be the first-ever nine-hour event for the Rolex Series, and will present its own set of unique challenges. However, the drivers agree that Miller Motorsports Park is the perfect venue for such an event.

"It's a very nice place, nice facility," said Angelelli. "It doesn't look like it's in America. We have rest rooms in the pits, which is pretty unusual. It's definitely challenging, but it's also very rewarding to the driver. If you push to go, you are rewarded with a good lap. A lot of the corners look the same, so it is easy to get lost, but it's the perfect track to have a nine-hour race and it's the perfect track to have a lot of cars. There is a lot of runoff and it's very wide. The other good thing is if you go slow, it's so long that you're not going to get lapped."

"It's a great facility," Duno added. "This track is very difficult, but it's all about practice. We're slowly figuring it out. I think we are going to have a pretty busy race with nine hours, all the cars and all the corners. I really like this track. It's a lot of work, but I like the fast corners. You need to be so precise."

Borcheller is one of the busiest sports car drivers in America, and can be found in the cockpit nearly every weekend during the racing season, especially in Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup competition. That being the case, he is well-equipped to assess Miller Motorsports Park and was definitely impressed by his first look at the facility on Monday.

"It's fun," Borcheller said. "It's got a lot of different elements to it, and there are lots of different places that remind me of others tracks. It's tough to learn instantly because you don't have a lot of reference points. It will be fun to run with a lot of other cars, and it will be interesting to see how the braking zones are. I think just because of sheer distance it's going to have some good places to pass. It's always good to have a new place to race."

The teams will continue testing at Miller Motorsports Park on Tuesday before heading west to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this weekend's U.S. Sports Car Invitational. Sunday's Rolex Series race will be televised live on SPEED at 3:00 p.m. ET.

From Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the teams will head a few hundred miles to the southeast for the GAINSCO Grand Prix weekend at Phoenix International Raceway on the weekend of May 12-13, capping one of the busiest two-week stretches on the 2006 Rolex Series calendar. The GAINSCO Grand Prix will be televised on SPEED at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 14. Grand-Am

05/01/06
Industry News
GM recalling 400,000 trucks GM recalling 400,000 trucksGeneral Motors Corp. (GM) is recalling about 400,000 pickup trucks due to defective brake lights.   The affected vehicles are the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon from the 2004-2006 model years and the 2006 Isuzu i-280 and i-350.

GM said some vehicles may permanently lose brake-lamp function or have brake lamps that are always on. On vehicles with cruise control, that function also becomes inoperative.

GM spokesman Alan Adler said the company was not aware of any crashes resulting from the problem.

Dealers will replace the brake lamp switch assembly in the affected vehicles at no charge.

05/01/06
f1
Soft Michelins for Nurburgring Soft Michelins for NurburgringThe fifth race of the 2006 Formula One campaign takes place this weekend at the Nürburgring – one of the classic names in motorsport history. The present track bears little resemblance to its illustrious, 22.7-kilometre (14.2-mile) neighbor, which hosted the first German Grand Prix to count towards the world championship, in 1951, but the unpredictable local weather creates a challenge all of its own.

Opened in 1984, the modern Nürburgring has hosted 13 F1 world championship events under three different names: the GP of Europe (1984, 1995-1996, 1999- 2005), the German GP (1985) and the Luxembourg GP (1997-1998). Michelin driver Alain Prost (McLaren-TAG turbo) won the first of these, during Michelin’s farewell season 22 years ago, and the company has added another two victories since it returned to F1 in 2001, with Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW, 2003) and Fernando Alonso (Renault, 2005).

This season is the 16th in which a GP of Europe has featured on the calendar: the race has also been staged in Spain (Jerez) and England (Brands Hatch and Donington Park). On Sunday, Michelin will be pursuing its fourth F1 success of the year and its 97th in the F1 world championship.

“The last two races have shown how crucial it is to make optimum use of the tires so as to exploit the full potential of the car. The Nürburgring track offers plenty of grip, and rubber wear isn’t too extreme, which means we will be using a relatively soft compound,” said Michelin shod BMW Sauber’s Willy Rampf.

“Cars tend to suffer understeer on this track, and that will be the main consideration when it comes to the car’s set-up. It can be offset by the right aero balance or through mechanical modifications. That’s what we have been working on this week during testing at Silverstone. In view of the close competition in the middle of the field at the moment, everything has to be just right, especially if we want to achieve a good grid position on the grid.” Michelin

05/01/06
nascar
No Fear to sponsor Boris Said in Cup No Fear to sponsor Boris Said in CupConcord, NC - No Fear Inc., the Carlsbad, California-based action sports lifestyle brand, will contest a four race schedule in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. To be named “No Fear Racing”, the team will be owned and operated by Mark Simo, Frank Stoddard and Boris Said.  No Fear Racing will be based out of the company’s new east coast corporate headquarters in Concord, N.C.  Located adjacent to the Roush Racing campus, the new team will receive technical support, motors and cars from Roush Racing.

Sponsorship will come in the form of No Fear’s highly successful energy drink, SoBe No Fear.

Driving the No. 60 No Fear Ford Fusion throughout the four race schedule will be NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Grand National veteran driver Boris Said.

No Fear Racing will debut at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway the weekend of June  24-25. Six days later, No Fear Racing will compete in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. On August 6, the No Fear Ford Fusion will race in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, and a week later, at the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen. zzzz

The four race schedule this summer marks the continuing evolution of No Fear’s 20-year history of motorsports activity. Initially involved in motocross during the mid-to-late 1980s, No Fear then moved into four wheel racing where the company won multiple championships in SCCA, IMSA and Trans-Am racing, as well as a number of Late Model stock car titles. In 1995 the company then decided to field a team in the inaugural season of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, winning races and placing second overall. Continuing on in the Craftsman Truck Series through 1998, No Fear then entered a team in the Winston Cup Series in 1999 and 2000.

After taking the last six years to regroup, No Fear is now poised to return to NASCAR’s premier series. “We believe that the NASCAR Nextel Cup series provides a highly visible platform to promote our widely distributed energy drink and to highlight our racing heritage for our core No Fear brand,” says Mark Simo, No Fear founder and CEO. “The Nextel Cup Series provides us with the opportunity to showcase our authentic heritage in motor racing, to promote our drink to true racing enthusiasts, as well as to promote NASCAR, Roush Racing and Ford.”

 “I’ve been making the switch from road racing to full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup,” offers Said. “I raced with MB2 last season and I really appreciate the opportunity they gave me last year.  It is a great team and organization. However, this year, with my affiliation with Roush Racing and working with their young drivers on their road racing skills, Jack offered us the chance to purchase cars and engines and more importantly, technical support. So now, after all the years of teaching people on the road courses, I finally feel like I’m getting paid back by receiving and using the resources of Roush Racing.”

“Being a team owner is a dream come true and something I never really expected to happen,” says Said. “But all the pieces with Mark Simo and Frank came together and the support that Roush Racing has offered is something that just doesn’t come along every day.”

Having won 14 Nextel Cup races as a crew chief with Roush Racing, Frank Stoddard is looking forward to taking on the challenge of owning and overseeing a NASCAR Nextel Cup racing team.

“It’s very exciting to start something from the ground floor up and see it grow into something big,” says Stoddard, who worked as a crew chief for Roush driver Jeff Burton from 1998 through 2001. “It’s like getting a big Christmas present, opening it up, putting it together and playing with it all day.”

“I was with Roush Racing for seven years and have a great relationship with Jack,” Stoddard adds. “We’ve won races together and he has a great company. Boris has helped Roush Racing by training their kids in road racing and the two of us have a good relationship. Jack knows and likes me and knows and likes Boris.  With Mark Simo involved, I think the timing to put this team together is perfect”.

05/01/06
nascar
Gordon and Busch to appear at Party Zone Gordon and Busch to appear at Party ZoneCalifornia Speedway today announced that past Speedway winners Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch are scheduled to attend Party Zone, an exclusive fan hospitality area, during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SONY HD 500 on Labor Day weekend. Both drivers are scheduled to stop by for brief fan question and answer sessions on race day Sunday (September 3) prior to the SONY HD 500.

Beginning with this year’s SONY HD 500, Party Zone will move to a new location on the recently redesigned Midway. The new location will have great access to the newly expanded Midway, which will feature Wolfgang Puck’s Apex restaurant, a concert stage, a full service retail store and shade and lounge features. This new location also provides easy access for all California Speedway guests, including CSC members, season ticket holders, camping area guests and individual ticket holders.

Party Zone will continue to include a pit pass for each day the hospitality area is purchased and the new location provides easy access to pit road through the tunnel at Gate 18.

Since its inception during the 2003 Auto Club 500, Party Zone has grown into the hippest place for race fans to hang out prior to the NASCAR races at California Speedway. This fan hospitality area offers driver appearances, live music, food and beverage service, games and souvenirs in a fun, festive atmosphere. zzzz

Party Zone guests must also have a valid grandstand ticket or infield wristband to enter the hospitality area. To get to Party Zone, use the new accessible bridge near Lot 11 or take advantage of California Speedway’s free Guest Service trams. Guests must park in general parking lots.

This hospitality area opens one hour after Gates open. The cost is $85 per person on Saturday, $125 on Sunday or $175 for both days. A single-day Pit Pass is included for each single-day purchase (a two-day Party Zone purchase gives guests a three-day Pit Pass). Party Zone tickets must be pre-purchased and each person in attendance must have a Party Zone wristband (no children discount is available, regardless of day).

Join Gordon, a 1997, 1999 and 2004 California Speedway winner, and Busch, a 2003 California Speedway winner, at Party Zone this Labor Day weekend. Additional driver appearances are to be announced for Saturday and Sunday. All driver appearances are tentative and subject to change. Space is limited, reserve your spot today.

Tickets are currently available for the entire SONY HD 500 weekend, featuring three NASCAR finish under the lights events. To purchase tickets, call 800-944-RACE or visit www.racetickets.com. For more event information, please visit www.californiaspeedway.com. California Speedway

05/01/06
cca
Pagenaud makes big impression in first US race Pagenaud makes big impression in first US raceIndianapolis, IN —-- Simon Pagenaud was a largely unknown quantity before the first race of the 2006 Yokohama Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season, but after scoring pole position in the first qualifying session and finishing the race in fourth, the young French racer has quickly established himself as a talent worth watching this season.
 
Pagenaud, who narrowly missed out on winning the 2004 Formula Renault Eurocup Championship to American Scott Speed, raced in the 425-hp World Series by Renault at tracks like Monaco, LeMans, Monza, and Donington in 2005, scoring three top-fives in the highly competitive category.
 
Seeing inspiration in countryman Sebastien Bourdais, Pagenaud made the decision to move from France to Indianapolis and contest the Atlantic Championship with Team Australia for 2006, with a keen eye on moving to the Champ Car World Series in 2007.
 
While Pagenaud faced many new challenges in his first weekend of racing on U.S. soil, he was refreshed by the atmosphere in the paddock, and relished the opportunity to shine in one of the continents best-known events.
 
“The organization was really good, and in the paddock, you had fans able to walk up and watch the crews working on the car, and get an autograph from the driver,” said Pagenaud. “It was really different than anything in Europe. It was a wonderful party, and you could tell why this is such a successful and long-running event-the public is absolutely part of the race.” zzzz
 
Pagenaud was also charged with having to quickly learn the Long Beach circuit while fighting it out with one of the most talented pack of hungry racers in the sport.

 “When I got to Long Beach, I’d never seen the track, and I’d only spent about half a day testing this car because I had a stomach flu in the pre-season test,” said Pagenaud. “So it was a lot to take in and the track was even narrower in person than in the in-car videos I’d studied before the race! But I was quite pleased with the performance, particularly taking the pole in the first qualifying.”
 
Starting from the front row of the grid, Pagenaud filed in behind the pole sitter and eventual winner at the start, and remained in the lead pack during the entire race, but lost positions on two of the restarts, something he knows he is going to have to improve on in the future.
 
“Yes, the racing was much different-in Europe, you win the race in the first ten laps, but here, you can be fourth for thirty laps, and then there is a safety period, and you get the chance to pass the three guys ahead of you on the restart!” said Pagenaud. “I think the restarts for me are something I am going to have to get used to-its certainly something I need to get better at!”
 
Pagenaud will get the chance to test the Team Australia machine at Houston Motorsports Ranch in the open Atlantic test in advance of round two of the Atlantic Championship on the streets of Houston for the Fast Trac 100. The event marks the return to the Houston market for Champ Car, and with everyone in the field having to learn the track, Pagenaud sees it as a great new opportunity.
 
“Learning a new track is not a problem for me, and since everyone is going to have to do it this time, I think that could be an advantage for me because some of the guys already knew the Long Beach track,” said Pagenaud. “I also think that it’s great that we will get to test one more time before Houston, just so we can keep improving our communication within the team, and learn as much about the car as possible.”
 
The on-track strength has come from some solid off-track communication as Pagenaud develops some important relationships in his quest to perform and move up.
 
“I am really happy to be racing with Team Australia,” said Pagenaud. “My engineer, Chris Yanchar, is very open-minded and even though we have only worked together a little bit so far this season, we have a good relationship already. He is a perfectionist just like me, and that’s very important. I think we will get stronger and stronger as the year goes on and we get more confidence with each other and with what the car is doing. The Atlantics program is a new one for Team Australia, and I was impressed with how smoothly the weekend went.”
 
Pagenaud is now forth in the Champ Car Atlantics Championship, and will race round two on the weekend of May 12-14th.
 
The Champ Car Atlantic series will reward the 2006 series champion with a significant $2 million dollar bonus towards a Champ Car campaign, and will also feature a new car/engine combination with a new-design Swift chassis mated to a 300-hp Cosworth.
 
Simon Pagenaud information:

Birthdate: May 18, 1984
Resides: Montmorillon, France
Hobbies: Soccer, training, long-distance biking, fishing
Racing Career:
2nd in Championship Formula Renault Eurocup, 2004 (S. Speed/champion)
3rd In Championship Formula Renault Eurocup, 2003
3rd in Championship French Formula Renault, 2002
2nd in championship French Formula Renault Elf Campus
1st in ELF Driving selection
Started racing karts @ age 10

05/01/06
nascar
Jourdain, Ragan to share 3rd Roush truck Jourdain, Ragan to share 3rd Roush truckCONCORD, NC - Roush Racing announced today that Mexico City native Michel Jourdain, Jr. will drive the No. 50 Roush Racing Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for nine events in 2006.

"We're really happy to have Michel driving for us at Roush Racing," said team owner Jack Roush. "He is an outstanding talent with an equally impressive resume. He's a veteran of the Champ Car Series, and he's had some success over there, getting a couple of wins. We're looking forward to helping him make his transition to full-time NASCAR competition."

Jourdain has been competing in select NASCAR Busch Series races with PPC Racing since 2005. He will continue to make select starts with PPC in addition to his schedule with Roush. Jourdain, Jr. will make his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at the Mansfield Motorsports Park on May 27.

"I'm looking forward to racing in the Craftsman Truck Series and driving the Ford F-150," said Jourdain. "To have this opportunity to drive for Roush Racing is a dream come true. Jack Roush has built one of the best racing organizations in the world and to be able to join them is a great accomplishment in my career. I want to thank everyone that helped to make this happen." zzzz

Jourdain will drive Roush Racing's third entry when David Ragan fills in for Mark Martin in the No. 6 Scotts Miracle-Gro Ford. Both Jourdain and Ragan will be entered in selected events in the No. 50 truck, beginning with the May 19 event at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., with Ragan at the wheel. Jourdain will have his first opportunity in the truck on May 27 at Mansfield.

"I'm confident that Michel and David will have some strong runs in the No. 50. We've got a lot of good things going on in the trucks right now, and this will afford us to gain on what has already been a great year for us," said Roush.

"Jourdain will compliment the execution of our diversity efforts and give us a strong presence in the growing Hispanic marketplace," said NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Owner Designate and Chief Diversity Officer, Sam Belnavis."

No. 50 2006 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES SCHEDULE
Date Track Driver
5/19/2006 Lowe's Motor Speedway David Ragan
5/19/2006 Mansfield Motorsports Park Michel Jourdain, Jr.
6/2/2006 Dover International Speedway David Ragan
6/9/2006 Texas Motor Speedway Michel Jourdain, Jr.
6/17/2006 Michigan International Speedway David Ragan
6/23/06 Milwaukee Mile Michel Jourdain, Jr.
7/1/2006 Kansas Speedway Michel Jourdain, Jr.
7/8/2006 Kentucky Speedway Michel Jourdain, Jr.
7/15/2006 Memphis Motorsports Park Michel Jourdain, Jr.
8/4/2006 Indianapolis Raceway Park Michel Jourdain, Jr.
8/12/2006 Nashville Superspeedway TBD
8/23/2006 Bristol Motor Speedway David Ragan
9/16/2006 New Hampshire Int'l Speedway David Ragan
9/23/2006 Las Vegas Motor Speedway Michel Jourdain, Jr.
10/7/2006 Talladega Superspeedway David Ragan
10/21/2006 Martinsville Speedway David Ragan
10/28/2006 Atlanta Motor Speedway David Ragan
11/3/2006 Texas Motor Speedway Michel Jourdain, Jr.
11/10/2006 Phoenix International Raceway David Ragan
11/17/2006 Homestead-Miami Speedway David Ragan

[Editor's Note: Jourdain Jr. went from being a Champ Car driver to the Busch Series and now he is stepping even further down to the truck series.  Stick a fork in it, his career is done.]

05/01/06
FIAGT
Manning turns to sportscars Manning turns to sportscarsSingle-seater ace Darren Manning, who so impressed at the A1 Grand Prix of Nations at Shanghai International Circuit, China by finishing second in the Sprint Race for A1 Team Great Britain on his debut in the series, is set to try his hand at sportscar racing. The 30-year-old Englishman will race the RJN Motorsport Nissan 350Z in the International Trophy, the opening round of the FIA GT Championship at Silverstone on 7 May. He will be partnered by up-and-coming sportscar racer Joe Tuckey. If they go well in this championship opener, Darren may continue in the GT series, although he is still looking to land a single-seater ride for the summer months, something that ought to be easier following his strong A1 Grand Prix debut in China.
05/01/06
ips
Wilson joins Kenn Hardley Racing Wilson joins Kenn Hardley RacingKenn Hardley's search for a driver for the No. 24 car is over. Hardley has tabbed Bobby Wilson to drive his Indy Pro Series machine, replacing series points leader Jeff Simmons, who earned a promotion to the IndyCar Series.

Wilson, 24, tested for Kenn Hardley Racing April 27 at the Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His first race will be the Freedom 100 May 26 on the 2.5-mile oval.

"Bobby has a great deal of talent and is the perfect choice to replace Jeff," Hardley said.

Wilson, an Oconomowoc, Wis., native who resides in Ocala, Fla., started the season with Michael Crawford Motorsports, recording three top-10 finishes in the season's first three races, including a fifth at Homestead.

He also made three starts in the series at the end of 2005 for Brian Stewart Racing.

"The Indy Pro Series is one of the most exciting series in racing, and I am happy to be selected by Kenn Hardley Racing to replace Jeff," Wilson said. "Kenn Hardley runs a very professional team, dedicated to winning, and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Wilson brings a long history of winning to the team, which has visited Victory Lane in five of the last 10 races. Wilson won the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Series in 2004, recording four victories. In 2003, he won the Stars of Tomorrow karting championship and was named Shifter Kart Illustrated's Driver of the Year. He was a Red Bull Driver Search candidate in 2002.

Wilson is a driving instructor at Ocala Gran Prix, a full-service karting center in Ocala that is sponsoring his effort in the Indy Pro Series. IRL

05/01/06
cc
Toronto and Montreal get live radio in Canada Toronto and Montreal get live radio in CanadaThe Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford is always a huge draw in Canada and last year was no exception as the series drew more than 500,000 fans to its events north of the border.

But that number was only half of that drawn by the first-year Champ Car Radio Network in Canada, which provided live coverage of last season’s Champ Car World Series races in Toronto and Montreal to more than 1,000,000 listeners. Buoyed by the response in its inaugural season, the Champ Car Radio Network will produce live and taped coverage of the July 9 Molson Grand Prix of Toronto and the August 29 Molson Indy Montreal

“We heard from a number of our Canadian fans last year about how happy they were to be able to follow the Champ Car races from Toronto and Montreal on the Champ Car Radio Network,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “We encourage as many people as possible to come witness the events first-hand, but the Champ Car Radio Network is the next best thing to attending the event, bringing the listener into the heart of the action.

The broadcast will feature trackside reports and will be highlighted by live coverage of qualifying and race sessions throughout Canada and will feature a veteran lineup that includes Raceline Radio host Erik Tomas, 1998 Champ Car Atlantic champion Lee Bentham along with Todd Lewis and Bart Murphy.

“We're excited to be working with Champ Car, for the second consecutive year, bringing compelling coverage of the events to listeners throughout the country.” said Aflalo Communications President Marc Aflalo. “Our affiliates are thrilled to be carrying the coverage, and like last year, we'll be in the heart of the action covering every second of the action.”

Aflalo Communications and Wise Broadcasting are currently finalizing their affiliate lineup for the two Canadian races, and will be announcing them in the near future.

05/01/06
Racing News
Race car decal firm sold Race car decal firm soldMotorsports Designs Holding, Inc. of High Point, North Carolina, which supplies more than 60% of NASCAR teams with their racing graphics, has been acquired by an affiliate of Vomela Specialty Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, effective today.

Motorsports Designs was founded in 1981 by John McKenzie.  In 1982 McKenzie experimented with flexible vinyl as an alternative to painting logos and numbers on NASCAR race cars.  He then perfected printing and application methods to create a bolder look that race team sponsors quickly adopted, in place of paint, for race cars and transporters.  Sponsors believed that vinyl graphics, which are now the standard in the industry, appeared crisper and more colorful at the track and on television. 

Motorsports Designs will continue to service customers from its facilities in High Point.  John McKenzie will be Chairman and CEO of Motorsports Designs and will continue to be heavily involved in the daily operations of the business.  He will also integrate Vomela’s added capabilities into Motorsports Designs offerings.  Kip Johnson, a 10-year veteran of the company, will be President.  

Vomela Specialty Company, with projected 2006 revenue in excess of $70 million, is one of the largest producers of screen-printed and digitally-printed vinyl graphics in the U.S.  Founded in 1947, privately-held Vomela is the leading supplier of vinyl graphics to the recreational vehicle industry.  Vomela also supplies fleet graphics for commercial vehicles, visual merchandising systems for retailers, and large-format murals and banners for architectural, retail and public spaces.

NASCAR, Indy and other racing-related graphics account for approximately 70% of Motorsports Designs $10 million  in sales, with 30% coming from fleet and commercial accounts.  zzzz
 
“This is a very positive, forward move for us and our customers,” says John McKenzie. “Vomela’s expertise and resources will allow us to offer even more products and services to the racing community and its sponsors, as well as to our commercial customers.”

Vomela has acquired five firms in the past ten years, all related to fleet, commercial or retail graphics.  Vomela has six manufacturing facilities in St. Paul, Benton Harbor, Michigan, Southern California, and Elkhart, Indiana with several sales and design offices across the U.S.

Tom Auth, Vomela’s owner since 1990 said, “This is a natural fit for us because of Motorsports Designs leading position and reputation in NASCAR, along with the common values of our companies.  John McKenzie created an entire industry with innovation and service as his cornerstones, and our goal is to continue John’s legacy by building on that foundation and capitalizing on several new mutual opportunities.”

The acquisition of Motorsports Designs by Vomela is a natural transition for both companies.  Vomela is on a path of planned growth in the specialty graphics industry, and John McKenzie’s personal goal is to offer more services not only to race teams, but also to racing’s sponsors.  According to McKenzie, “When Richard Childress’ race car hit the track in February 1982 with our vinyl decals, and the response was ‘Wow’, we knew we had something.  I’m telling my people and my customers that ‘the leader just got better’ with this agreement with Vomela.”

05/01/06
irl
cc
Marge Tarplee named by CARA Marge Tarplee named by CARAMarge Tarplee, one of Indianapolis’s true humanitarians with leadership through the community for decades, has been named the honorary local chairperson for the 25th annual CARA Charities Indianapolis 500 Fashion Show set for Thursday, May 25, at the Indianapolis Downtown Westin.

Tarplee, a three-time winner of the state of Indiana’s highest award, the Sagamore of the Wabash, will join CARA Charities founder Betty Rutherford as co-chairpersons for the Silver Anniversary edition of one of the city’s biggest social events, the Indy 500 Fashion Show.

Tarplee has served as an Indianapolis civic leader since the 1970s including president of the 500 Festival in 1981 (the year that CARA Charities was founded), Central Newspapers Foundation, News Scholarship Board and Executive Women International. In 1993, the Marjorie C. Tarplee Excellence Award was established in honor of her 28 years of leadership in the local chapter of the Executive Women International.

In addition, Tarplee currently serves on eight boards of directors including Methodist Hospital Health Foundation, Indiana University School of Nursing, Rotary Club of Indianapolis, the Women’s Fund, the 500 Festival Foundation and the Marge Tarplee Downtown Beautification Fund, a grant titled in her name. zzzz

Tarplee also chaired the campaign to raise $1.7 million for the lighting of the “World’s Largest Christmas Tree” with light strands on the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in downtown Indianapolis. Tarplee has been named Indianapolis’ “Martha Stewart” for her efforts.

“I have been a supporter of CARA Charities and the Indy 500 Fashion Show and I want to thank everyone for being named an honorary chairperson with Betty Rutherford,” said Tarplee. “I looked forward to being involved in this year’s CARA production. The Indy 500 Fashion Show is always one of the highlights for the month of May in Indianapolis.”

Both Tarplee and Rutherford have helped the CARA event become one of the biggest social events in the month of May in Indianapolis with more than a thousand attendees and Indy 500 drivers, celebrities and local dignitaries walking the Westin runway.

“Marge Tarplee has been a leader in the Indianapolis area for many years and I feel privileged to have her as a co-chairperson in the 25th edition of the CARA Charities Indy 500 Fashion Show,” said Rutherford. ”Marge was the president of the 500 Festival back when we started CARA Charities. She has given to a wide variety of important Indianapolis institutions including corporate, civic, not-for-profit and philanthropic worlds. It is an honor to have her part of the Silver Anniversary show.”

That first fashion show was held on May 25, 1982 and started a tradition that has now grown into an annual showcase of fashion, food, fun and fund raising.

Portions of the fund developed from the CARA Indy 500 fashion shows have gone to the CARA/Shirley Bettenhausen Children’s Fund at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. The Bettenhausen fund helped build a two-story child recreation area in the hospital atrium as well as providing for holiday parties and gifts for children.

The 25th annual fashion affair set for the Thursday prior to the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race will open with a social hour at 11 a.m., followed by a noon luncheon. The unique fashion show is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

The spectacular will feature fashions from The Secret Ingredient, Day Furs and Teeter Totter this year.

CARA Charities, one of motorsport’s leading charitable organizations, also is celebrating twenty-five years of operation and more than $4 million in donations.

Tickets are now available for the May 25th event with individual tickets priced at $75 per person. For more information on tickets, corporate tables or event sponsorships, contact the CARA Charities headquarters at 317-299-2277 or e-mail carachar@aol.com.

05/01/06
nascar
Brian France voted one of world’s most influential Brian France voted one of world’s most influentialBrian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR -- has a new title to his name today courtesy of TIME Magazine. France, 43, is one of the world's 100 most influential people, according to an edition of the magazine that hits newsstands today. He was selected in the "Builders and Titans" category, one of five that also include heroes and pioneers; leaders and revolutionaries; scientists and thinkers and artists and entertainers. This is the third year TIME has published such a list, with other famous people invited to write profiles of those who are selected as the most influential people in the world. Darrell Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR driving champion and race analyst for Fox Sports, wrote about France. Daytona Beach News Journal and TIME.com
05/01/06
Track News
California Speedway special NASCAR ticket offer California Speedway special NASCAR ticket offerCalifornia Speedway today announced a special ticket offer in honor of NASCAR Day for fans who want to purchase tickets to the SONY HD 500 on Labor Day weekend. 

Race fans who purchase their ticket to the Sunday, September 3, SONY HD 500 on or before NASCAR Day (May 19) will receive a complimentary pass to take their own vehicle for a paced lap around the track during a special fan lap on June 24.  Also included in this great offer is a free ticket to see Historic NASCAR race cars at the Speedway on Saturday, June 24.

Though tickets are still available for all three NASCAR days, this special offer is only available to those who purchase their tickets to Sunday’s SONY HD 500, and mention the “NASCAR Day offer,” prior to Friday, May 19 – NASCAR Day.  Individual tickets for Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SONY HD 500 tickets start at $55 for lower grandstand seating; Friday’s NASCAR AutoZone West Series Relocate Here 200 starts at $20 with children 12 & under free with adult paid admission; and Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series Ameriquest 300 start at $40 with children 12 & under free with adult paid admission.  Two-day season ticket Fan Packs, with seating in the upper grandstand, are also available for Saturday and Sunday through the Speedway’s ticket office.  zzzz

Ever wanted to drive on the racing surface at California Speedway?  By taking advantage of this “NASCAR Day offer” race fans can take their vehicle for a paced lap around the track during this special fan lap.  They’ll cruise over the same start-finish line that Jeff Gordon’s captured the checkered flag at three times and, where other competitors, like Tony Stewart, California-native Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr., have competed on in front of Southern California race fans.

The Southern California Historic Sports Car Festival will take place at California Speedway on June 23-25.  Great race machines from yesteryear will be featured in the 12 classes, including historic NASCAR race cars, and will be an action packed road course race weekend.  Ticket packages are available for this race weekend through California Speedway’s ticket office.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic “NASCAR Day offer.”  To take advantage of this special offer, race fans must mention they’d like to purchase the “NASCAR Day offer” when calling the Speedway ticket office. California Speedway’s new Midway will open on Labor Day weekend, and features Wolfgang Puck’s Apex restaurant, a concert stage, shade features and tons of extra great fan amenities.  Get your ticket today for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SONY HD 500 at California Speedway on September 3.  Tickets are available through the California Speedway ticket office at 800-944-RACE or online at www.racetickets.com.

05/01/06
cc
GP Of Houston Packs Punch With Local Boxing Card GP Of Houston Packs Punch With Local Boxing CardThe Champ Car World Series Grand Prix of Houston has teamed with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions to organize a local boxing card on May 11 to coincide with the race weekend, according to W.H. Stickney of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. While the boxing event will be staged within the Reliant Stadium event grounds that house the Grand Prix of Houston, “fans must purchase a separate ticket in order to attend the boxing.” Grand Prix of Houston Marketing Dir Mark Johnson said, “Once we learned that this is a good boxing market for Golden Boy Promotions, we said to ourselves, ‘Well, how can we ensure success, recognizing (no) heavyweight bout (is involved)?’ And the assurances we came up with were that we would fill the card with as many Houston-based fighters as we could.” In a statement, Grand Prix of Houston Exec Dir Dale Morgan said, “From the beginning, we have pledged to offer our fans ‘more than just a race.’ And we believe that this is a great example of that. With a festival of fan activities, races from Champ Car and American Le Mans, and a world-class boxing event, we’re in for a great weekend.” HOUSTON CHRONICLE
05/01/06
f1
A lap around the Nurburgring A lap around the NurburgringHe may never have raced a Formula One contender in anger around the Nurburgring circuit, but McLaren third driver Gary Paffett is no stranger to the German track after spending a lot of time here during his time in the lower formula. Here he takes us around the circuit where the Formula One circus will contest round five of the 2006 season this coming weekend…

Powering along the start-finish straight at the Nürburgring you reach 300km/h in sixth gear, before braking hard for the entrance to the Mercedes Arena, which is a tight right hand hairpin that sees you drop into first gear.  This is immediately followed by a long 180-degree left hander and a 90-degree right hander, which swings you back round onto the straight. Powering up through the gears on the approach to the fast left of Valvoline Kurve, you brake from speeds of 275km/h in sixth gear to 196km/h in fourth gear to negotiate the sweeping bend.

A short burst on the throttle takes you to the second gear Ford Kurve, this bumpy right hander is taken at 112km/h. On the exit you accelerate downhill up to 297km/h in sixth gear as you approach the hairpin, which is taken at 94km/h in second. It is crucial to take a good line through the hairpin so that you can push hard and early on the throttle on the exit. zzzz

Up the hill towards the Michelin Kurve you reach speeds of 258km/h, lifting slightly for the left-right flick of the chicane, before braking hard for Michelin, dropping down to 148km/h in third for the 90-degree left-hander.  A similar right-hander, which is one of the most crucial corners on the circuit, follows and takes you onto the back straight. Taken flat-out, the fast, sweeping straight, with a slight right kink, sees you reach 310km/h in sixth gear as you approach the Veedol-S chicane, the main overtaking opportunity at the circuit.

This is another tough braking point as you drop from the highest speed at the Nürburgring to 107km/h in second to negotiate the chicane where you have to drive aggressively over the curbs in order to carry the speed through the corner. Accelerating out, a short burst on the throttle sees you reach 254km/h in fourth before dabbing the brakes for the final corner. Taken at 113km/h and using the whole curb as you exit, the right-hander flicks you back onto the start-finish straight to begin another lap. McLaren

05/01/06
German F3
Three wins in four races for Lola Three wins in four races for LolaThe B06/30 Lola Formula Three car again tasted victory in the German Recaro F3 Cup at Hockenheim over the weekend as Britain's Joey Foster made it three wins for the Huntingdon mark in just seven days.

In comfortably winning Saturday's race during the Jim Clark memorial trophy meeting, Foster took his HS Technik Lola to the top of the points table, also claiming an extra point for fastest race lap. The former McLaren/Autosport Young Driver finalist has been the sensation of the series so far this season and is now three points ahead of his nearest rival. (Pictured right, Chinese Dutch driver Ho-Pin Tung fights hard for 5th place on Sunday)

The Spiess engined Lola started the first race of the weekend from 2nd place on the grid but an excellent getaway saw Foster out drag the fellow Lola of pole sitter Ferdinand Kool and quickly stretch out an impressive lead.

"After the first lap it was pretty comfortable for me in the lead," said a delighted Foster after the race. "There were a few concerns towards the end as the fuel pressure light came on but I had full confidence in the Lola and there was never any chance of being caught, let alone passed by anyone." zzzz

Joey's demon start could not be repeated for race two as some wheel spin meant that he was down in 7th place by the first corner. However, Foster is proving to be as tenacious as he is clinical and the Cornishman soon overtook Recardo Bruins (Van Amersfort Dallara) and also the JB Motorsport Lola of Ho-Pin Tung. He eventually finished in 4th place at the notoriously difficult to overtake German Grand Prix venue, scoring more points in his and the teams quest to win the series.

"It was a very solid points haul this weekend but I was still slightly disappointed not to get on the podium for the second race," said the HS Technik driver. "Getting the fastest lap shows that we could have challenged for victory again and upheld Lola's 100% win record. Still, the team and Lola once again did a fantastic job and hopefully we can push on at Lausitzring in a few weeks and extend the advantage with more wins. I must also thank Mr Hasisc (HS Technik team owner) for the faith that he and the team have shown in me."

JB Motorsport also had a fine weekend with Dutch driver Ferdinand Kool taking a 3rd place in Saturday's event and a fighting 2nd on Sunday. This came after a superb qualifying performance on Saturday, which secured his first pole position of the year.

"It was a very good weekend with two good qualifying sessions and races and also a lot of important points. I am in a much better form than last year and I will show it with the Lola," concluded Kool.

"After four races in the championship 2006 we are present near the front of the points table," said Team Principal, Yves Olivier. "The potential of the car is great; the teething troubles are minimal. Now we have one full week for further improvements for the races at Lausitzring."

JB Motorsports other driver, Ho-Pin Tung secured a 5th and a 6th placed finish

The next round of the series take place on May 13/14 at Eurospeedway, Lausitz.

RACE ONE RESULTS
1. Joey Foster (GB) HS Technik Lola-Spiess 26m15.747s
2. Recardo Bruins (KOR) Van Amersfort Dallara Spiess 26m19.386s
3. Ferdinand Kool (NL) JB Motorsport Lola-Spiess 26m23.029s
4. Renger Van Der Zande (NL) Seyffarth Dallara Mercedes 26m23.813s
5. Nicolas Hulkenburg (D) JK Racing Dallara Spiess 26m25.998s
6. Ho-Pin Tung (PRC/NL) JB Motorsport Lola-Spiess 26m26.525s
7. Harald Schlegelmilch (LAT) HS Technik Dallara-Spiess 26m27.443s
8. Riccardo Azzoli (I) Target Racing SLC-Spiess 26m35.219s
9. Johannes Theobald (D) Seyffarth Dallara-Mercedes 26m39.389s
10. Salvatore Gatto (I) Target Racing SLC-Spiess 26m40.182s
Fastest Lap: Recardo Bruins (KOR) Van Amersfort Dallara Spiess 1m37.285s

RACE TWO RESULTS
1. Nicolas Hulkenburg (D) JK Racing Dallara Spiess 26m23.468s
2. Ferdinand Kool (NL) JB Motorsport Lola-Spiess 26m25.570s
3. Renger Van Der Zande (NL) Seyffarth Dallara Mercedes 26m25.833s
4. Joey Foster (GB) HS Technik Lola-Spiess 26m27.659s
5. Ho-Pin Tung (PRC/NL) JB Motorsport Lola-Spiess 26m29.117s
6. Riccardo Azzoli (I) Target Racing SLC-Spiess 26m37.930s
7. Salvatore Gatto (I) Target Racing SLC-Spiess 26m48.388s
8. Johannes Theobald (D) Seyffarth Dallara-Mercedes 26m51.713s
9. Natacha Gachnang (CH) Bordoli Dallara-Spiess 26m53.689s
10. Ronny Wechselberger (D) Prinz Dallara-Spiess 26m 57.726s
Fastest Lap: Joey Foster (GB) HS Technik Lola-Spiess 1m37.439s
CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS AFTER 4 ROUNDS
1. Joey Foster (GB) 28pts
2. Nicolas Hulkenburg (D) 25pts
3. Ferdinand Kool (NL) 23pts
4. Ho-Pin Tung (PRC/NL) 20pts
5. Renger Van Der Zande (NL) 19pts
6. Riccardo Azzoli (I) 14pts
7. Recardo Bruins (KOR) 12pts
8 Harald Schlegelmilch (LAT) 9pts
9. Dominik Schrami (D) 8pts
10. Salvatore Gatto (I) 4pts

-Lola-

05/01/06
cc
Legge: It feels faster on water Legge: It feels faster on waterThere is more than one month between the first Champ Car race of the season on April 9 at Long Beach and the second event on May 13 in Houston.

So what's a driver to do? In the case of rookie Katherine Legge, she found time to take a spin in a test session before the Powerboat P1 World Championship in Italy.

Legge attended the test session with Champ Car team owners Paul Newman and Kevin Kalkhoven this week. Legge steered the boat of reigning champion Hannes Bohinc's Wettpunkt boat, which hit more than 100 mph.

Legge was eighth at Long Beach, the top finish by a woman in Champ Car history.

"I think all racers have a need for speed," said Legge. "It's an adrenalin thing. It wasn't easy, but I just did what I was told by Hannes and I had 100 percent faith in him because he's the best at what he does.

"You get much more of an impression of speed on water than you do on land."

Newman and Kalkhoven rode with Italian racer Mario Invernizzi, and Newman, 81, said his first speedboat ride was a kick.

"I like anything to do with motors," said Newman. "I've never been on one of these before." Houston Chronicle

05/01/06
alms
cc
Construction of Reliant Park track shaping up Construction of Reliant Park track shaping upUPDATE Track construction at Reliant Park for the Grand Prix of Houston on May 11-13 is rolling right along, but there is one section that won't be available for completion until May 6 due to the Offshore Technology Conference.

The area from Turn 1 to Turn 3 still needs to be finished, but Grand Prix spokesman Austin Crossley says the construction of the track is on schedule and will be completed in time for the American Le Mans Series race on May 12 and the Champ Car Series race on May 13.

The rest of the track is nearly completed, including the catch-fencing and grandstands. Pit lane is finished, except for the starter stand. Tire barriers are in place and curb construction is nearing completion. Houston Chronicle

04/28/06 Construction of the nine-turn, 1.7-mile street circuit at Reliant Park – site of the American Le Mans Series’ Lone Star Grand Prix on May 12 and the Champ Car race May 13th – is proceeding extremely well.

A great majority of the site work has been completed, including the erecting of catch-fencing and grandstands. The only section of the track that lacks major work is from Turn 1 to Turn 3, an area that will play host to a convention and won’t be available for track construction until May 6.

On other parts of the track, tire barriers already are being put in place, and the construction of curbing is moving along. The pit lane is finished with the exception of the starter stand.

05/01/06
wrc
Loeb, three others fined Loeb, three others finedThe FIA has fined Rally Argentina winner, Sebastien Loeb and three other drivers for performing a doughnut for the crowd prior to driving over the finish line at the Cordoba stadium on Sunday. However organizers of the event had asked them to do it to help entertain the 40,000 people, who had just watched the two super-specials that closed the event. Loeb, Gigi Galli, Manfred Stohl and Daniel Sordo were each fined 10,000 Euros for what was viewed as 'hazardous actions'.

"That is absolutely ridiculous," said Stohl. "During the super stage, going 120, you fly by the audience so close you could shave them with your side mirror. And then they come up with such a thing!"

05/01/06
wrc
Loeb widens lead with win in Argentina Loeb widens lead with win in ArgentinaSebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena leave Cordoba with 10 championship points as reward for their second consecutive victory on the Rally Argentina. This success, their second gravel win of the year after Mexico, is also the fourth of the year for the Franco-Monegasque pairing – who now take their total of career victories up to 24. Sebastien currently has an equal number of wins to Tommi Mäkinen, and is now headed only by Colin McRae (on 25 wins) and Carlos Sainz (on 26). Daniel Elena equals the record number of wins for a co-driver, held by Luis Moya. "It’s fantastic!" said Daniel. "But the party only really starts if I manage to beat him."

This morning the leading Xsara started with a 43 second advantage as it prepared to " moonwalk" according to Daniel Elena – referring to the lunar landscape that characterised this morning’s classic stages. Having judged his pace through Mina Clavero and El Condor perfectly, Seb maintained a 33-second lead heading into the final two runs around the spectator Superspecial in Cordoba Stadium. The two stages consisted of four laps, which for Seb were more like laps of honour. Cheering him on was an enthusiastic Argentine crowd that has very much adopted the reigning World Champions as their own. zzzz

"Everything about this rally is breathtaking," commented Seb. "The scenery, the high-speed water splashes and above all the fantastic welcome we get from the Argentine fans, who give us the best reception in the world. My Citroen was as reliable, fast and consistent as usual. That was just as well, because this rally was particularly difficult this year – mostly down to the weather. We had a good fight with Marcus [Grönholm] on the first day and that continued with Petter [Solberg] yesterday. For all those reasons, winning here is a special pleasure for me. As well as that, myself and Daniel extend our lead in the drivers championship while Kronos does the same in the constructors standings. As I still think we’ll have a tight battle on our hands this year, that’s no bad thing."

Dani Sordo and Marc Marti aimed to defend their sixth place today, which was under attack from Chris Atkinson – just 18.7 seconds behind. Preparing for battle, Dani asked for a set-up change to improve traction. But after the classic El Condor stage, the reigning Junior World Rally Champion was far from happy. "I think we went the wrong way on the set-up," he said. "My car was oversteering a lot." Atkinson was just 1.1 seconds behind the Xsara before the final two runs through the Superspecial. But a couple of flying laps from the Spaniard, with the cheering crowd right behind him, extended the gap to 3.6 seconds. "For my second gravel rally in a WRC car, we’re more or less where I thought we would be," said Dani. "I didn’t make any mistakes. My learning curve continues and it’s really good fun, although at times I wish it would come quicker. Here, I’ve learnt that I’ve still got a lot to learn. I need to be patient."

Xevi Pons’s rally also did not go as well as he had hoped, as the Spaniard was obliged to continue under the super rally regulations after going off on Friday. Nonetheless the 2006 Rally Argentina will always hold a special place in his heart, as Xevi set his first fastest stage time on the World Rally Championship in Ascochinga/La Cumbre (SS13). "One of my objectives is to gain confidence," he said. "There’s nothing better than setting fastest times to help that along. Seb has proved that the Xsara has nothing to fear from any of its rivals. With some experience and hard work, I need to make more and more use of the car’s potential. My goal is to help Kronos defend its position at the head of the manufacturers’ championship."

Top-10 positions

1. S Loeb/D Elena F Citroen Xsara 4hr 06min 51.3sec
2. P Solberg/P Mills N Subaru Impreza 4hr 07min 35.9sec
3. G Galli/G Bernacchini I Peugeot 307 4hr 10min 15.6sec
4. M Stohl/I Minor A Peugeot 307 4hr 10min 31.3sec
5. D Sordo/M Marti E Citroen Xsara 4hr 12min 31.5sec
6. C Atkinson/G MacNeall AUS Subaru Impreza 4hr 12min 35.1sec
7. H Solberg/C Menkerud N Peugeot 307 4hr 16min 20.0sec
8. M Wilson/M Orr GB Ford Focus RS 4hr 17min 25.9sec
9. L Perez Companc/J-M Volta ARG Ford Focus RS 4hr 17min 43.6sec
10 M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Ford Focus RS 4hr 21min 00.0sec

--Press release Citroën Kronos WRT -- 

05/01/06
nascar
Mears in talks with Ganassi for extension Mears in talks with Ganassi for extensionCasey Mears said he and car owner Chip Ganassi are discussing a contract extension. Mears, who finished a career-high second at Daytona, is in the final year of his contract.
05/01/06
f2000
Podlesni clinches Pacific F2000 "Spring Cup" Podlesni clinches Pacific F2000 "Spring Cup"
05/01/06
usac
Sprint Car driver hospitalized Sprint Car driver hospitalizedRace driver Dickie Gaines, Mitchell, Ind., was transferred to Indianapolis Methodist Hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in an accident during Saturday night's USAC Sprint Car race program at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.  Gaines underwent surgery Sunday for a fractured right arm and pelvis.  Jay Drake, who was injured in the same accident, was treated and released from Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater, Ohio. Indy Star
05/01/06
nascar
Cup testing at Lowe's Tue/Wed Cup testing at Lowe's Tue/WedWith rain postponing the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway until Monday, the testing session scheduled for Lowe's Motor Speedway has been cut from three days to two. NEXTEL Cup teams will now test the track's new asphalt on Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the May 20 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 28 Coca-Cola 600. Lowe's Motor Speedway's frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office. Lowe's Motor Speedway PR
05/01/06
track news
Hawaii Raceway Park RIP Hawaii Raceway Park RIPUPDATE Here's an update on the Hawaii Raceway Park closure situation, which gives a good overview of the state's prior involvement in track ownership and what's available on the outer islands. In the month since the shutdown, there has in fact not been any perceptible increase in street racing arrests on Oahu, if not actual documented incidents.

04/04/06 This Honolulu Advertiser article says, With Hawaii Raceway Park closing over the weekend, disappointed and divided racing fans want the city to either take over the racetrack or get state financial help to build a new motorsports complex and save racing on O'ahu.

Dirt track racers want the city to condemn the racetrack in Campbell Industrial Park through eminent domain and purchase the land with the help of the state so it can be restored for racing.

Other racing fans want state lawmakers to approve a $50 million tax credit to attract investors to a new racing complex at Kalaeloa.

The final event was, contrary to the widely advertised March 31 shutdown, drag racing on Sat. night.  Much of the public bad blood stems from a community meeting held about six weeks ago in which participants quickly and vocally chose sides. Seems that the oval trackers insist that the new facility demonstrate it will have not merely a short track, but specifically dirt and not pavement. Otherwise they have absolutely no interest.

05/01/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Carlin sets new F1 target
Cosworth propose F1 'boost button'
Prodrive to boost British F1 drivers
Rossi saga to be settled 'soon'
Unpredictable weather predicted
Toyota on course for 'B' car debut
Renault talk down Ferrari revival
Schu stays mum about F1 future
Fisi expected more from 'new' V8
Rivals 'don't like' Honda climb - Fry
Stewart pleads to PM for GP cash
FIA says Ferrari is legal
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