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Villeneuve pushed back to 9th on grid Villeneuve pushed back to 9th on gridJacques Villeneuve has lost a position and will now start from ninth on the grid for the European Grand Prix. Following qualifying stewards decided he had impeded the progress of Giancarlo Fisichella on the Italian's flying lap. Stewards at the German Nurburgring circuit decided that Villeneuve held Fisichella up on his flying lap though accepted it was not deliberate.
Hezemans claims pole for first race in 2006 Hezemans claims pole for first race in 2006The first 20-minute qualifying session for the FIA GT Championship race at Silverstone saw Mike Hezemans claim pole position in the nr 4 GLPK Carsport Corvette C6, ahead of the Zakspeed Saleen S7 and the Phoenix Racing Aston Martin DBR9. The session was wet, although the rain had eased slightly. "It was all down to the tires," Mike said of his Michelin-clad car. "They were so good, there was so much grip, it was fantastic. The track stayed very wet, and there was so much traffic, but I managed to get one free lap." Photos
NASCAR stick to smaller fuel cell decision NASCAR stick to smaller fuel cell decisionUPDATE Drivers say that they don't need the smaller, 14-gallon fuel cell for the races later this month at Lowe's Motor Speedway. NASCAR mandated the smaller fuel cell instead of the regular 22-gallon cell because of concerns about tires on the new surface. A smaller fuel cell will lead to more pit stops and more chances to change tires. This week's test showed the tires are durable enough that they should last what would be a regular fuel run with the larger fuel cell. John Darby, Nextel Cup series director, said more information is needed before deciding to change back to the larger fuel cell. "Until you go through that 600 miles, you don't know what's going to happen," Darby said. Darby said that next year, the fuel cells will be 17 gallons. Roanoke Times

05/06/06 So far, at least, NASCAR isn't backing off its decision to do use a 14-gallon fuel cell at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the races there later this month, despite lobbying from the drivers. In discussions about that lobbying at the Charlotte earlier this week, however, Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said Cup cars will use 17-gallon cells at all tracks in 2007. That cell has been developed for the "car of tomorrow" project, which will be phased in beginning next season. ThatsRacin.com

MESCO to sponsor new Rolex Rookie of the Year program MESCO to sponsor new Rolex Rookie of the Year programMONTEREY, Calif. – For the first time in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve history, 2006 newcomers to Daytona Prototype and GT competition will compete for a $10,000 prize and the distinction of being the “MESCO Building for the Future Rookie of the Year.”

Officials from the Grand American Road Racing Association and the Texas-based MESCO Building Solutions announced today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that the two companies have joined forces to create the first “Rookie of the Year” Award for competitors in the Rolex Series. The MESCO Building for the Future Rookie of the Year will be awarded for the first time at the end of the 2006 Rolex Series season, with a $10,000 prize going to the Daytona Prototype or GT rookie that earns the most points.

“MESCO Building Solutions is proud to announce its commitment to sponsor the ‘MESCO Building for the Future Rookie of the Year’ Award in the Rolex Series,” said MESCO Building Solutions Senior Vice President, Steve Owens. “It is our hope that the award will allow new drivers the opportunity to build for the future in motorsports. As a national leader in the manufacturing of engineered building systems, MESCO Building Solutions is committed to assisting its nationwide builder network in ‘building for the future,’ both within their companies and their communities. Our involvement in motorsports provides business to business opportunities that allow us to bring construction projects to our builders.”

Long wins Rolex qualifying race at Laguna Seca Long wins Rolex qualifying race at Laguna SecaAmerican Patrick Long started from the pole position and led the entire way in Saturday afternoon's Daytona Prototype qualifying race for Sunday’s Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Road & Track 250 (SPEED, Live, 3 p.m. ET), securing the win for himself and teammate Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford.

Long's win puts Rockenfeller on the pole position for the Road & Track 250, and extends the No. 23 team’s streak of consecutive front-row qualifying performance to six races. Currently the Daytona Prototype points co-leader with Rockenfeller, Long was never seriously challenged throughout the qualifying race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With the win, the duo extends their points lead to 21 points over Germany’s Jorg Bergmeister (199-178).

“I got off to a good start, but (Oswaldo Negri Jr.) made me work for it,” said Long. “ I was sweating at the end. The second half of the race he reeled me in; he was strong in some places, I was stronger in others.”  zzzz

“It’s nice to be on the front row, and inside in particular,” added Rockenfeller. “Hopefully, I can get a good start tomorrow like Patrick did today. To start on the front row is good but the race is decided at the end.”

Negri finished 0.940 seconds behind Long in the No. 60 Flight Options Lexus Riley to put the No. 60 machine on the front row for second time in as many Rolex Series races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Negri took his first career Rolex Series pole for the Road & Track 250 last year and is once again sharing driving duties this weekend with Mark Patterson.

“The start was good, everyone was very aggressive but clean,” said Negri. “We went two wide into the corkscrew on the first lap, but it was no problem, everyone was really heads up out there. After that, I was just trying to pressure the Porsche into making a mistake, but unfortunately he did a really good job and never made one. It’s a good finish and I’m really happy to get the points for Michael Shank Racing. Mark (Patterson) is even faster than he was here last year, and I know he’s going to do a fantastic job tomorrow. Hopefully we can turn this into another good result tomorrow for the Flight Options car.”

Ryan Dalziel finished third in the No. 89 Playboy/Vonage Pontiac Riley for Pacific Coast Motorsports. It is the No. 89 machine’s best starting position ever in Rolex Series competition, and Dalziel and co-driver Alex Figge, who will start Sunday’s Road & Track 250, are looking to parlay that starting spot into their first top-10 result of the season. 

Michael McDowell—winner of the first-ever Daytona Prototype qualifying race at VIR two weeks ago—finished fourth in the No. 19 Playboy/Uniden/Palms Ford Crawford, giving co-driver Guy Cosmo a starting spot on the outside of Row 2.

track news
Spanish GP a sellout Spanish GP a selloutRenault's Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso will be cheered on by his biggest home crowd yet at next week's Spanish Grand Prix, promoters said. The Circuit de Catalunya said in a statement that tickets were sold out with 130,000 people, a record attendance for the Barcelona track, expected at Sunday's race and 330,000 over the course of the weekend. Some 115,900 fans attended last year's Spanish round, before 24-year-old Alonso had become the youngest champion in the sport's history.
Speed fined again Speed fined againAmerican Scott Speed lived up to his surname on Saturday and collected a $2,750 fine at the European Grand Prix for speeding in the pit lane. It was the second fine in three races for the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One driver.

In Australia last month, the 22-year-old Californian was fined $5,000 for swearing at David Coulthard, the Briton who drives for stalemates Red Bull, at a stewards' hearing that stripped the rookie of his first point in Formula One.

Hamilton’s masterful drive nets him GP2 win Hamilton’s masterful drive nets him GP2 winThe potential Lewis Hamilton has shown in the first two rounds finally came to the fore in race one at the Nurburgring, where he dominated the field to win by almost twenty seconds. The amiable Briton had the race under his control right from the start, setting the pace throughout and beating teammate Alex Premat and Adam Carroll to the finish despite a taking a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

The warm up lap ahead of the race start was slightly delayed after four drivers briefly stalled on their getaway, stretching out the grid and leaving front row starters Nelson Piquet Jr and Franck Perera with a long wait before the lights came on.

Both men suffered at the start, bogging down and being swamped by a fast charging Hiroki Yoshimoto and Hamilton as they headed towards turn one. The Japanese driver was first to the corner, but Hamilton dispatched him quickly and never looked like being headed again.

Behind the pair came Jose Maria Lopez, Adam Carroll, Ernesto Viso and Alex Premat, with poleman Piquet next up as Perera's car came to rest by the side of the track, retirement a bitter pill to swallow after a strong job in qualifying. zzzz

Next time by Premat and Nicolas Lapierre headed a group of five early stoppers into the pits as Hamilton set the first of a string of fastest laps, with Lopez also finding a way past Yoshimoto and up into second position.

The stops meant that Piquet was up to fifth place but he and Andreas Zuber came in for their stops on lap five, coming out behind the previously stopped French drivers, and the Brazilian was immediately piling the pressure onto Viso, with the South American pair swapping positions for laps without either man establishing himself over the other.

Back at the front Hamilton was running qualifying laps to establish a gap for his stop, which came on lap eleven. With most of the other drivers having stopped he re-entered the track in third, behind Carroll and Xandi Negrao, who were yet to come in.

Negrao was finally in on lap 15, while race-leader Carroll was the final man to make his compulsory stop next time around, and despite losing time on track he was still able to rejoin in seventh.

Hamilton was back in the lead, and all of his early hard work looked to have paid off. Unfortunately he soon learned that he had been handed a drive through penalty, the result of speeding in the pitlane, and the race seemed to be falling away from the Briton.

With the bit between his teeth Hamilton was lapping 1.5 seconds quicker than his teammate, and he circulated twice before coming in on lap 20, rejoining behind new leader Premat but solidly in second place, and the hunt was on.

Premat was unable to push, being unlapped by Timo Glock (who had stalled at the start but was running at a fierce pace after being restarted in the pits), and it looked to be only a matter of time before the teammates were together on track.

Behind them Lopez in third was at the front of a train fighting for the final podium position: Lapierre, Piquet and Carroll were all over his rear wing, but the fight between the trio was the only thing keeping the Argentine from dropping down the order.

And a lap later that very order was changed: Piquet muscled his way past Lapierre at the Veedol chicane, locking up his left front as he did so, with Carroll forcing his car through at the final corner, while on the other side of the circuit Hamilton finally disposed of his teammate and started to tear off into the distance.

The order was now Hamilton, Premat, Lopez, Piquet, Carroll, Lapierre, Viso and Zuber, the latter pair being rapidly caught by Yoshimoto, out for revenge after a poor stop spoilt his early race, and Negrao.

Piquet was clearly in the wars though, and a straight line through Veedol was the most obvious outward sign of his troubles. A large flat spot on his left front tire was beating his car continuously, and Carroll sensed an opportunity

With five laps to go Carroll saw his chance and sailed past Piquet, pulling Lapierre with him at the chicane. And then it was all over for the Brazilian: suspension problems and a delamination meant he was across the gravel and into the wall, and Piquet's day was done.

Once again Lucas di Grassi finished the race early, retiring in the gravel with two laps to go. Zuber's strong showing was also snuffed out when he stopped a lap later after a strong fight with Yoshimoto, the Austrian another victim of delamination after flat-spotting his front right tire.

But out in front Hamilton was untouchable: he stormed to his first GP2 series victory as his team hung over the pitwall in salute, with Premat 19.6 seconds behind in second.

Carroll, who had fought his way up to the tail of Lopez, was the next man through after forcing his way past the now fourth placed Argentine on the final lap, and Lapierre was just 0.2 seconds from following suit.

Viso finished a mostly lonely race in fifth place, with an ecstatic Negrao closing up after having leapfrogged the Zuber / Yoshimoto battle, the latter filling the final points paying position and claiming tomorrow's pole.

But all eyes were on Hamilton, whose innate ability was as clear to see as the beaming smile he wore on the podium as his national anthem was played for what may be the first of many times in 2006.


Pos Driver Team Time
 1. Hamilton ART Grand Prix 1:01:26.097
 2. Premat ART Grand Prix + 19.642
 3. Carroll Racing Engineering + 28.756
 4. Lopez Super Nova International + 29.782
 5. Lapierre Arden International Ltd + 30.073
 6. Viso iSport International + 35.784
 7. Negrao Piquet Sports + 36.426
 8. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion + 40.197
 9. Villa Racing Engineering + 55.748
10. Ammermueller Arden International Ltd + 56.638
11. Piccione DPR Direxiv + 57.179
12. Hernandez Durango + 64.519
13. Gommendy iSport International + 65.006
14. Zuber Trident Racing + 76.509
15. Pla DPR Direxiv + 77.218
16. Porteiro Campos Racing + 89.541
17. Glock BCN Competicion + 98.504
18. Di Grassi Durango + 1 Lap
19. Fauzy Super Nova International + 1 Lap


 Driver Team Laps
 Piquet Jr. Piquet Sports 30
 Monfardini DAMS 29
 Bruni Trident Racing 18
 Valles Campos Racing 18
 Filippi FMS International 11
 Perera DAMS 0

Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1:42.782 on lap 14 GP2 Series

This week's Indy 500 schedule This week's Indy 500 schedule
Sunday May 7

Promotions: The Star and CareerBuilder.com Opening Day/Indianapolis 500 collectible trading pin, courtesy of The Indianapolis Star. Pin distribution begins at 11 a.m. at Formula One garage No. 35, just south of the Bombardier Pagoda, and will continue while limited supplies last. Free face painting for all ages will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Pagoda Plaza, and a free commemorative Indy 500 Fan Photo presented by Meijer is available all day in Formula One garage No. 34. A free Indy 500 Great Moments DVD will be given to everyone, while supplies last, who enters the 2007 Indy 500 FANtasy Getaway Sweepstakes in the Pagoda Plaza.

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Public Gates Open
11-11:30 a.m. Question-and-answer session with three generations of the Andretti family (Marco, Michael and Mario), Coca-Cola Stage
11:35 a.m. Opening Ceremonies
11:58 a.m. National Anthem performed by Wayne County, W. Va., Honor Choir on Yard of Bricks
11:59 a.m. Honorary Starter: Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson
Noon Ceremonial lap with Andretti family
Noon-5 p.m. Rookie Orientation Program
1-1:45 p.m. Former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year question-and-answer session with Robby McGehee, Larry Rice and Pancho Carter, Coca-Cola Stage, Pagoda Plaza
2-3 p.m. Dark House Sweet plays on the Coca-Cola Stage, Pagoda Plaza
McGehee, Rice, Carter Autograph Session, Pagoda Plaza
4-5 p.m. Dark House Sweet plays on the Coca-Cola Stage, Pagoda Plaza

Monday, May 8 (Rookie Orientation Program)

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Public Gates Open
Noon-5 p.m. Rookie Orientation Program

Tuesday, May 9 (Practice)
9 a.m.-6 p.m. Public Gates Open
Noon Ceremonial lap with six former winners competing in the 90th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race – Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998), Helio Castroneves (2001-02), Buddy Rice (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).
Noon-6 p.m. IndyCar Series Practice  zzzz

Wednesday, May 10 (Practice)

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Public Gates Open
11:59 a.m. Honorary Starter: Billiards star Jeanette Lee, the “Black Widow”
Noon-6 p.m. IndyCar Series Practice

Thursday, May 11 (Practice)

Promotions: CARA Charities collectible trading pin. Pin distribution begins at 11 a.m. at Formula One garage No. 35, just south of Bombardier Pagoda, and will continue while limited supplies last.

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Public Gates Open
11:59 a.m. Honorary Starter: Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts tight end
Noon-6 p.m. IndyCar Series Practice

Friday, May 12 (Fast Friday Practice)

Promotions: AAA limited-edition collectible trading pin. Pin distribution begins at 11 a.m. at Formula One garage No. 35, just south of Bombardier Pagoda, and will continue while limited supplies last. Free face painting for all ages will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Pagoda Plaza, and a free commemorative Indy 500 Fan Photo presented by Meijer is available all day in Formula One garage No. 34. A free Indy 500 Great Moments DVD will be given to everyone, while supplies last, who enters the 2007 Indy 500 FANtasy Getaway Sweepstakes in the Pagoda Plaza.

8 a.m.-6 p.m. Public Gates Open
10-11 a.m. Josh Holmes plays on the Coca-Cola Stage, Pagoda Plaza
11:15-11:45 a.m. IRL executives question-and-answer session, with Brian Barnhart, John Lewis and Kevin Blanch, Coca-Cola Stage
11:59 a.m. Honorary Starter: Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
Noon-6 p.m. IndyCar Series Practice
2:30-5 p.m. Crew, Virgin Millionaires play on the Coca-Cola Stage, Pagoda Plaza, during Marco and Nigel’s Birthday Blow Out with Radio Now 93.1
6 p.m. WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Day Qualifying Draw

Saturday, May 13 (WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Day Qualifying)
Promotions: 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Pace Car limited-edition collectible trading pin. Pin distribution begins at 11 a.m. at Formula One garage No. 35, just south of Bombardier Pagoda, and will continue while limited supplies last. Full Throttle Pole Position Game Cards distributed with pin. Free face painting for all ages will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Pagoda Plaza, and a free commemorative Indy 500 Fan Photo presented by Meijer is available all day in Formula One garage No. 34. A free Indy 500 Great Moments DVD will be given to everyone, while supplies last, who enters the 2007 Indy 500 FANtasy Getaway Sweepstakes in the Pagoda Plaza.

7 a.m.-6 p.m. Public Gates Open
9-11 a.m. IndyCar Series Practice
9:30-10:30 a.m. Hello Tokyo plays on the Coca-Cola Stage, Pagoda Plaza
11-11:45 a.m. Hello Tokyo plays on the Coca-Cola Stage, Pagoda Plaza
11:57 a.m. National Anthem performed by Nathan Simpson in Victory Circle
Noon-6 p.m. WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Qualifications
3 p.m. Cheap Trick plays on the Miller Lite Stage, infield adjacent to Turn 3
6 p.m. WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Winner Ceremony

Engine penalties for Webber, Rosberg Engine penalties for Webber, Rosberg(GMM)  As was reported last week, Williams' two race drivers will indeed cop ten-place penalties on the European GP grid following engine changes prior to qualifying at the Nurburgring.

The problem is believed to involve damaged piston rods, with Cosworth's Alex Hitzinger saying last Friday that the independent engine maker had 'neither the money or the personnel' to put together a quick fix.

Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber were eleventh and fourteenth in Saturday's single morning session, which ended with two hours to go until the 'knockout' session.

In chillier morning weather than on Friday, the Ferraris - led by Michael Schumacher - set the pace, with Renault's Fernando Alonso down in sixth place.

Kimi Raikkonen, tenth before qualifying, continued to struggle with the handling of his McLaren with one or two spins.  Also in a spin was Giancarlo Fisichella, in fifth place.

McDonald’s features Junqueira, Bourdais wedding news McDonald’s features Junqueira, Bourdais wedding newsUPDATE A nice article on Bourdais and his marriage today in France.

05/03/06 Newman/Haas Racing driver Bruno Junqueira was a prominently featured guest today at the McDonald's World Convention, which is taking place this week in Orlando, Florida.  Over 20,000 people from around the world are attending the McDonald's convention which is held every two years.
Junqueira was the runner-up to the Champ Car World Series champion in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and was leading the Champ Car standings in 2005 before he sustained a season-ending injury in the Indy Racing League-sanctioned Indianapolis 500.  He has finished in the top-three 28 times in 74 Champ Car starts to earn a 38 percent average.  He qualified third in his racing comeback in Long Beach on April 9 but he was hit from behind before the first turn on Lap 1 and is therefore looking forward to taking both the green and checkered flags in Houston, Texas on May 13 in Round 2 of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.
Two-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais was unable to join Junqueira at the event due to his upcoming nuptials this Saturday, May 6 at the Cathedral Saint Julien in Le Mans, France.  The wedding ceremony will be followed by cocktails and dinner that evening.  Bourdais is currently ranked No. 1 on Speed TV's weekly driver ranking making him the first non-Formula One driver to occupy the top spot since the ranking was created over one year ago. Newman/Haas Racing PR

NASCAR officials to visit Canada NASCAR officials to visit CanadaUPDATE #2 NASCAR officials were ecstatic with their midweek visit to Montreal and are moving forward with plans to expand the Busch Series into Canada - perhaps as early as next season.

The contingent of seven NASCAR representatives found the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a temporary street course, to be in race-ready condition with very few alterations necessary, said Steve O'Donnell, managing director of events and operations. The only glaring need at this time is a short extension of pit road.

"The track and facilities were in great shape and really have a lot to offer to NASCAR," O'Donnell said. "And it meets a need for NASCAR, which has targeted road course races in the Busch Series as one of the areas we'd like to grow."

It's possible to get Montreal onto the 2007 schedule as a third road course race for the Busch Series. It would join Watkins Glen and Mexico City, which hosted its second event in March and has proved that NASCAR can be a huge success beyond U.S. borders.  More at Autonet.ca

05/03/06 NASCAR executives who toured Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve yesterday already are sold on the success - in attendance terms -- a stock car race would have at the 4.361-km road course.

But there are real concerns about whether the world-famous track, which plays host to the annual Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, physically can handle the 1,545-kg race cars that make up NASCAR Busch Series grids.

"This (tour) is more about a technical feasibility study," NASCAR international director Robbie Weiss said. "The track is fine but we have to look at whether the barriers, for example, can stop a (1,545 kg) stock car."

Weiss said F-1 cars weigh only 606 kg, about one-third of a NASCAR sedan.

"We want to take a look at this particular race track from a safety point of view as well as from a racing point of view," he said.  

NASCAR will examine whether the current pit lane configuration can hold 43 cars.

The garage area also will be an issue because with F-1 and Champ Car World Series events, only about 20 spots are needed.

Weiss and his group also looked at the Ile Notre-Dame layout from a perspective of where to park as many as 100 big rigs necessary to bring in teams and equipment for a NASCAR race.  Toronto Sun

04/30/06 A small group of NASCAR officials planned to travel to Montreal this week to scout the city for a possible Busch Series race next season.  NASCAR expanded into Mexico last year, and Canadian officials have been trying to get on the schedule.

Spokesman Jim Hunter said series officials would tour several venues, and any expansion would be strictly for the lower-tier Busch Series. ThatsRacin.com

Gurney, Fogarty test at Laguna Seca Gurney, Fogarty test at Laguna SecaMONTEREY, Calif. – Working together has paid off for Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, as their combined efforts put their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley in sixth place in Friday afternoon practice for Sunday’s Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Gurney’s lap of 1 minute, 25.346 seconds, turned at an average speed of 94.402 mph, was the second-fastest clocked by a Pontiac-powered Daytona Prototype, trailing only the No. 10 SunTrust Racing machine. Both drivers continued to battle a slight understeering condition in the GAINSCO car, but changes made throughout the day’s practice allowed the team to get a better handle on the problem – and both are confident about Friday’s qualifying race. At 11 a.m., Gurney will take the No. 99 out for a 30-minute qualifying sprint, with the finishing order setting the grid for Sunday’s two-hour, 45-minute endurance feature. zzzz

Driver Quotes:

Jon Fogarty: “I feel like we have a good handle on the balance of the GAINSCO car at this point and we’re capable of making the car behave as we wish. Now we just need to figure out what sort of balance will be best to set the fastest lap time tomorrow. We need to run quick in the morning to set ourselves up well for the qualifying race, because we don’t want to force a situation where we have to overtake the field, like the one we faced at VIR. Tomorrow morning will be absolutely critical. The competition is tough as always, and we’ll have a fight on our hands. Unfortunately, the chance to the curbing has made Laguna more of a horsepower track, as no car is capable of going quickly through a corner covered in gravel. Whoever can get from one gravel-covered corner to the next will have the greatest advantage.  Our car comes up to speed quickly and brakes well, so I think the track conditions will suit us just fine.”

Alex Gurney: “Today was a pretty productive day, and we needed it! Our setup from last year unfortunately didn’t transfer over because the track conditions have changed so much, so we really had to work at it. I think a lot of our competitors are finding the track quite a bit different too. Considering we only used one set of tires for the day, I think we’re in pretty good shape heading into the qualifying race.”

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Honda play down Ferrari 'flex' complaint
Red Bull deny Ferrari to blame for problems
Trulli's luck shudders to new low
Berger tells Red Bull to ignore Montoya
Alonso doubts Kimi's complaint
Fears for safety as F1 speeds soar
Sir Frank not likely to retire
Alonso sets sail for pole position
Townsend Bell brings sponsor to Vision Racing Townsend Bell brings sponsor to Vision RacingTownsend Bell will team with regular Vision Racing drivers Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter and drive the No. 90 Rock & Republic Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone in this year's Indy 500.  Rock & Republic, a fashion industry icon, will be the primary sponsor on all three cars.

"We are extremely excited to have this opportunity to partner with such a progressive and dynamic company as Rock & Republic," team co-owner Tony George said. "Their association with Hollywood and the entertainment industry is a natural link between motorsports entertainment and premium consumer interests."

Rock & Republic is known for its cutting-edge fashion and appeal amongst A-list celebrities.

Said Rock & Republic CEO Michael Ball: "What's cooler than an IndyCar doing 200-plus miles an hour around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Nothing." zzzz

Bell, 31, has five top-10 finishes in 11 IndyCar Series starts (11 in 2004 and one in 2005), but will be a candidate for the JPMorgan Chase Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year at Indianapolis.

"We've developed a good friendship with Rock & Republic and obviously an exciting program in a short time," Bell said. "I introduced Vision to the company after the team signed me and Mr. George really took it from there. Rock & Republic is a hot brand in fashion and it's cool to have some attitude on the car.

"The best part about the commitment from Vision Racing is that they are doing everything they can to give me a top-shelf program for the month. I have the proper amount of time to prepare, we'll run as many laps in the month as available, and I know I can count on the team to push everyday for the best result. In the end, I want to drive a solid, smart race, be there for the last stint and then we'll maximize what we have." IndyCar.com

Toyota powered Chevy Toyota powered ChevyBill Elliott tested one of Michael Waltrip's #00 Chevy Cup cars with a Toyota engine earlier this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and there are plans for more tests as the foreign manufacturer seeks approval from NASCAR. NASCAR.com
Ferrari 1-2 in practice 3 Ferrari 1-2 in practice 3Bridgestone shod Ferrari and Toyota topped the timesheets in practice 3 Saturday morning at the Nurburgring in Germany in preparation for the European GP.  This is the first session where we are seeing the true pace of the fast cars and it looks like Bridgestone is on par with Michelin this weekend.  Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher (right) was comfortably ahead of his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. M. Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:30.788 12
 2. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:31.093 + 0.305 10
 3. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:31.395 + 0.607 21
 4. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:31.531 + 0.743 13
 5. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:31.584 + 0.796 12
 6. Alonso Renault (M) 1:31.807 + 1.019 14
 7. Button Honda (M) 1:32.104 + 1.316 16
 8. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:32.197 + 1.409 13
 9. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:32.290 + 1.502 17
10. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:32.320 + 1.532 11
11. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:32.459 + 1.671 15
12. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:32.505 + 1.717 18
13. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:32.534 + 1.746 18
14. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:32.711 + 1.923 16
15. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:32.773 + 1.985 16
16. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:32.779 + 1.991 15
17. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:32.989 + 2.201 12
18. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:33.120 + 2.332 24
19. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:33.744 + 2.956 19
20. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:34.469 + 3.681 21
21. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:35.706 + 4.918 20
22. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:36.082 + 5.294 15

Multimatic Panoz Houston preview Multimatic Panoz Houston previewMultimatic Motorsports Team Panoz is ready to hit the streets in Reliant Park, Houston next week for the second ever street course event for the Panoz Esperante GTLM.

Fresh from victory in the GT2 class at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Multimatic squad is out to capitalize on the championship lead held by David Brabham and Scott Maxwell aboard the #50 Esperante.

The race will be only the second street course event tackled by the Esperante. The Braselton, GA-built car raced for the first time in ALMS GT2 spec at Road Atlanta in 2003 and made its street course debut in Miami later that year.

Brabham and Maxwell will again be joined by American young-guns Gunnar Jeannette and Tom Milner who unfortunately dropped out of the opening round of the 2006 championship at Sebring due to a driveline failure. zzzz

The two young stars are headed to Houston early next for the ALMS Lone Star Grand Prix – taking part in a media conference on May 9 at the Reliant Arena media center. Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz will also take part in the Klein Tools Pit Crew Challenge immediately after the conference.

The Reliant Park 1.7-mile temporary street track surrounds Reliant Stadium - home of the Houston Texans NFL team and the Reliant Astrodome.

Built in 1974, the Astrodome was the first domed structure of its size created without a pillar supporting it in the center.

"Houston is a whole new ball game for everybody and the entire field is on equal ground because nobody has any previous data to go by in establishing a set-up," Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt said.

"Our sponsor Pirelli has actually been out to Houston to check out the track surface and make a recommendation as to what tires to run and we will be starting the weekend with a set-up developed from our four-post test rig in Toronto.

"We pretty much have to race what we have straight off the trailer. It’s a two-day event you don't have a lot of time to fine tune the car.

"We had a great battle at Sebring, but the competition in GT2 keeps getting tougher and tougher. The Italians must be taking our 'flamed-out hot rods' pretty seriously because Risi has brought in the top guns from Europe with Jaime Melo and Mika Salo driving the Ferrari 430.

"The Porsche guys will be out for revenge as well and Patrick Long is back in the Peterson car – we know we will have a big fight on hands when we get to Texas."

The 2 hour, 45 minute Lone Star Grand Prix will be staged from 8pm on Friday, May 12 and will be broadcast on CBS the following day from 1.00pm to 2.00pm

Toyota brings DENSO to NASCAR Toyota brings DENSO to NASCARTwo top-ranked NASCAR racers are displaying the DENSO logo on their cars this season.  They are Matt Kenseth, who races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, and Mark Marton, who races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

DENSO has committed to the sponsorship of all team race vehicles and show cars in both series.

"We feel it's important for DENSO to be associated with the NASCAR organization because we share their commitment to quality, performance and value," says Larry Fidance, marketing manager for DENSO Sales California Inc., DENSO Corp.'s Long Beach, Calif.-based subsidiary.

Industry News
James Bond back in new Aston Martin James Bond back in new Aston MartinAston Martin announces James Bond, the legendary British secret agent, will drive one of their models in the next 007 film, “CASINO ROYALE” to be produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for Eon Productions.

Daniel Craig, who will play James Bond in the film, which is due to be released in November 2006 by MGM/Sony, visited the Aston Martin headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, on Friday to view the featured car. While there he met Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, and members of the workforce and also took the opportunity to take a short test drive.

In the true tradition of Bond, full details of the car to be used in “CASINO ROYALE” are being kept top secret but the company did confirm that it would be a new model called the Aston Martin DBS.  The car is based on both the DB9 and DBR9 race car (right).

Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “It is great news that Bond will drive an Aston Martin again and we have built him something special to enable him to do his job in style.”

The association with the marque began in 1964 with the film “Goldfinger” when the DB5 was fitted with “optional extras” such as ejector seats and rockets. The last Bond film, “Die Another Day”, featured Aston Martin’s flagship model, the Vanquish.

Busch: Harvick holds off teammate Busch: Harvick holds off teammateNASCAR Busch Series point leader Kevin Harvick won a 10-lap shootout to the finish with Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton to win the Circuit City 250 Presented by FUNAI at Richmond International Raceway Saturday morning.

The win was Harvick’s third in the four most recent NASCAR Busch Series races and comes on the heels of his NASCAR Busch Series – NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series sweep last month at Phoenix.

The win was a second highlight for the 2001 series champion nicknamed “Happy” – Harvick and Childress announced on Friday that they have agreed to continue their pairing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series through 2009.

The event actually started on Friday, about 30 minutes late due to rain showers. Two red flags for rain totaling more than an hour, combined with 13 caution flag periods pushed the late race dramatics to conclude at 12:36 a.m. Saturday.
Harvick started 10th in the U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet and drove a patient race. He took the lead from Paul Menard in the Menard’s Chevrolet with 46 laps remaining in the event. Three more cautions kept the leaders tightly bunched. The final restart came with 14 laps remaining.  zzzz
Burton, a South Boston, Va., native racing at his home track, challenged to the high and low sides of Harvick over the final 10 pressure-packed laps, and finished second in his 250th series start. Matt Kenseth finished third followed by Ford teammate Greg Biffle who was relegated to the rear of the field at the start due to an unapproved adjustment after impound. Ryan Newman placed fifth.
Completing the top 10 were Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Menard, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. Hamlin also raced  in front of his home crowd, hailing from Chesterfield, Va.
Harvick exited the event with an unofficial 313-point lead in the series standings over RCR teammate Bowyer.

The NASCAR Busch Series heads to historic Darlington Raceway next Friday night for the Diamond Hill Plywood 200.

Dell becomes Official Partner of BMW Sauber Dell becomes Official Partner of BMW SauberSauber F1 Team. Starting with today's Saturday practice the striking logo of Dell will adorn the front of the sidepods of the BMW Sauber F1.06 and the drivers' helmets. Furthermore the overalls and the team clothing will display the brand. The partnership has been set up to last several years.

This link-up extends an existing successful partnership. Dell was already on board as a partner of BMW Motorsport at the victories in the 24 Hour Races in Le Mans (1999) and the Nürburgring (2005). Since 2005, Dell has been involved in Formula BMW Germany, and in 2006 Dell also provided support for BMW in defending the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) title.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Dell and BMW are united by a very high level of efficiency as well as an extremely sophisticated standard for quality and individuality in their own product ranges. We're very pleased that we will be able to continue the successful cooperation of the past at Formula 1 level. Dell gives us another strong partner for our ambitious project with the BMW Sauber F1 Team."

"Dell and BMW Motorsport share a long and prosperous partnership", comments Alain D. Bandle, Dell's Vice President and General Manager Germany & Austria. "It's the logical conclusion to enhance this with the BMW Sauber F1 Team."

The new cooperation as Official Partner of the BMW Sauber F1 Team means that Dell products will also be used at the Formula 1 facilities in Munich and Hinwil as well as on the race tracks. Also the BMW Sauber F1 Team's new Pit Lane Park is supported by Dell.

Dell is one of the world's leading providers of products and services for the creation of a complex internal IT and internet infrastructure. Dell's revenue in the last four quarters totalled 56 billion US Dollars. On the basis of its direct business concept, Dell develops, produces and configures its products and services following individual customer requirements and also offers a wide range of software and peripherals. On the Fortune 500 List Dell is ranked 25th.

Jaeger passes Indy Pro Series rookie test Jaeger passes Indy Pro Series rookie testBrad Jaeger, a 20-year-old Cincinnati native, passed his Indy Pro Series rookie test May 1 at Nashville Superspeedway. Jaeger is competing in Star Mazda while studying mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University. In 2004, he won the Pacific Formula 2000 Pro Series championship.

Jaeger completed the test with Brian Stewart Racing. The team had drivers Wade Cunningham, Geoff Dodge and Brett Van Blankers also test on the 1.3-mile concrete oval.

Matthew Hamilton, Dave McMillan Racing, also participated in the private test.

Foyt gets refresher Foyt gets refresherLarry Foyt, who will enter his third consecutive Indianapolis 500 in the No. 41 Honda-powered Panoz for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, will take a refresher test May 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Michael Andretti and Al Unser Jr. will participate in the refresher program on May 7.

"I'm very excited about coming back to Indy," Foyt said. "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."

Drivers enjoy last of their downtime Drivers enjoy last of their downtimeWith more than two weeks between the last IndyCar Series event at Twin Ring Motegi and the opening of practice for the Indianapolis 500, many IndyCar Series drivers have spent their downtime relaxing.

Scott Dixon took a recent trip to New York and visited Yankee Stadium.

"I've really gotten into baseball," the 2003 IndyCar Series champion said. "We had great seats between third base and home plate and the view was awesome. It was a nice way to relax before opening week at the Speedway. I'm back in Indianapolis now, and I'm ready to get going for the 500."

Dixon also joined Buddy Rice for a promotional visit to Upstate New York for the June 4 Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix. Among the stops the drivers made were to: Buffalo, N.Y., Elmira N.Y., Syracuse N.Y. and Rochester, N.Y.

Michael Andretti, meanwhile, will visit the Kentucky Derby this weekend.

New form of road rage the norm for NASCAR New form of road rage the norm for NASCARWhy are there so many wrecks in NASCAR? Maybe because there are fewer fistfights. As NASCAR has evolved from regional phenomenon to mainstream sport, those face-to-face confrontations prevalent decades ago have given way to unresolved tensions among drivers played out in crashes.

Rowdy behavior, once as much a badge of honor as grease under the fingernails, has become a blemish in a sport driven by image-conscious sponsors who demand clean-cut, well-spoken drivers who avoid controversy. It's an unwritten code of behavior: Fight, and you could lose a sponsor.

Four years ago, when driver Tony Stewart threw a punch at a photographer after a race in which he did poorly, he says sponsor Home Depot almost fired him. Stewart attended counseling with a sports psychologist.

Because drivers aren't familiar enough with each other to vent face-to-face and fighting is understood to bring suspensions and sponsorship loss, the outcome has been a rise in wrecks triggered by road rage.   More at USA Today

McLaren team struggling McLaren team strugglingMcLaren Mercedes drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya finished today's second free practice session for the 2006 European Grand Prix in 13th and 17th positions respectively.

Raikkonen set a time of 1:34.536 and completed a total of 13 laps in this afternoon's session whilst Montoya's time of 1:34.968 was 17th fastest as he completed 14 laps.

The morning session saw Raikkonen completing a total of five laps setting the eighth fastest time of 1:34.402 whilst Montoya only completed an installation lap and set no time.

Kimi Raikkonen
"We have completed our program as planned and have a good idea on which Michelin tires we are going to select. The car's balance has not been great today and we have suffered a little from understeer but we are confident that we will find a solution and see further improvement in tomorrow's session."

Juan Pablo Montoya
"We struggled a little bit throughout both sessions with a lack of grip which tended to make the car too understeery, but even so we made progress throughout the session. Otherwise we are comfortable that we will be more competitive tomorrow going into qualifying and the race."

[Note: Kimi Raikkonen has the new spec engine this weekend, as he was due a change, while Montoya still has the older version that he ran at Imola.]

“That’s the way it goes. I think it’s been really fair the way everything has been handled. I think at the moment, it’s the least of my worries, what Kimi gets or doesn’t get, you know. If we were first and second, I would be a little bit pissed off, but we’re 13th and 17th, and with something like that it doesn’t really matter.

“I’m pretty happy with my engine. It worked really well in the last race, and it should work well here. It’s not about whether I’m quicker or not, it’s whether we can beat everybody else. If we beat everybody else, then you have to worry your teammate, but at the moment we need to make sure the car works.”

Ron Dennis
"An uneventful Friday practice. The grip levels today were very low making it difficult for both drivers to set-up their cars. Tomorrow should be a different story."

Norbert Haug
"We focused on running our planned program and our times in race trim look not too bad." Source McLaren Mercedes

Waltrip to throw out first pitch Waltrip to throw out first pitchNASCAR driver Michael Waltrip will throw out a ceremonial first pitch on Wednesday, May 10 at 7:05 p.m., when the Florida Marlins take on the Atlanta Braves at Dolphin Stadium.  Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, who drives in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series, will help the Marlins and NAPA Auto Parts celebrate “NASCAR Night.”

As part of this special night, fans will be able to visit and enjoy Homestead-Miami Speedway’s interactive display, located outside Gate H prior to the game, which will include a timed tire-change challenge, a NASCAR Playstation 2 game setup, and the Homestead-Miami Speedway Ford Fusion racecar.

One lucky fan will also win a Ford Championship Weekend prize-package, courtesy of Homestead-Miami Speedway, if their seat number is chosen.

Fans interested in attending the game can visit floridamarlins.com.

ALMS news tidbits ALMS news tidbitsThe inaugural Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston features a bevy of activities for the American Le Mans Series, beginning Sunday when Intersport Racing’s Liz Halliday appears live on KPRC-TV’s Sports Sunday, the NBC affiliate’s late night sports weekend wrap-up show. …

Tuesday (May 9) features a Transporter Parade that will meander downtown during the lunch hour. Transporters from both the American Le Mans Series and Champ Car will participate. Series teams will include Alex Job Racing, Aston Martin Racing, Audi Sport North America Team Champion, Penske Racing, Risi Competizione, Intersport Racing, Corvette Racing, Flying Lizard Motorsports and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. …

Tuesday will also see Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz in a Klein Tools Pit Crew exhibition at Reliant Park, preceded by a media luncheon with Panoz drivers Gunnar Jeannette and Tom Milner as well as Ferrari drivers Mika Salo and Jaime Melo from Houston’s Risi Competizione. … Thursday (May 11), the Series will conduct a “Drivers Chat” at 2 p.m. CDT in the paddock at the IMSA compound featuring Salo, Intersport's Clint Field, Dyson Racing’s Chris Dyson, and Flying Lizards’ Johannes van Overbeek. … Risi Competizione will also conduct a “Tech Talk” at its transporter at 1:15 that afternoon. Saturday’s “Tech Talk” will feature Dyson Racing at 1 p.m. at its transporter. …. Halliday and Champ Car driver Katherine Legge will conduct a press briefing/photo shoot also at 1:15 p.m. Thursday. … Friday (May 10) features the always popular Driver Autograph Session with all Series drivers at 5:15 p.m. in the paddock.

Robert Clarke, president of Honda Performance Group, will be on hand Friday at noon at the Media Center with American Le Mans Series President/CEO Scott Atherton to address questions about Acura’s recently announced LMP2 program for 2007. … Perhaps you noticed that Aston Martin recently unveiled its new DBS, which is to be driven by James Bond in the November release of “Casino Royale.” There is no irony that Tomas Enge and Darren Turner drive car No. 007 for Aston Martin Racing. … Look for the American Le Mans Series to kick off its Fantasy Racing league for the Lone Star Grand Prix. Fans will be able to choose teams every race with a special grand prize awarded to the winner at season’s end. … Ever in step with pursuing the edges of new technology, the American Le Mans Series will offer a series of podcasts on its Web site this coming week from the Reliant Park. Look for commentaries and special sound clips from the likes of Penske Racing’s Lucas Luhr, Giuseppe Risi, Honda’s Robert Clarke as well as the complete Drivers Chat. … This Saturday’s nationally renowned Speed Freaks radio show will feature drivers Halliday, Dyson and James Weaver between 4-6 p.m. ET. … Wondering what happened to the Maserati MC12 that ran on the Series last season? It has been under the watchful care of Giuseppe Risi and will be on display this week at the headquarters hotel, the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston. … Under “The American Le Mans Series Family Continues to Grow” category, Dyson Racing’s Guy Smith and his wife Alicia are expecting their first child in mid-October. Wonder if they’d consider naming it Laguna Seca?

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 the CBS network. 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.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
GP2 Championship Series  Nurburg, Germany
6:00am-7:30am (L) SPEED
Formula 1 Nurburg, Germany
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
Inside Drag Racing  
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NHRA 2Day Atlanta
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
American Dragster  
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
Formula 1 Replay Nurburg, Germany
12:30pm-3:00pm (R) SPEED
Rolex Sports Car Series Laguna Seca
3:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
The Impossible Jump presented by Mission Impossible III
-Mike Metzger record attempt performing backflip over Caesars Palace fountains Las Vegas
5:00pm-5:30pm (R) -30 minute version ESPN2
AMA Supercross 125cc/250cc Finale Las Vegas
6:00pm-7:00pm (R) SPEED
Speed News Saturday  
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Atlanta
7:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
NASCAR Victory Lane Richmond
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
The Andrettis  
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Superbike World Championship Monza, Italy
10:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) -Race 1
11:00pm-12:00am (SDD) -Race 2 SPEED

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

Long Tops Friday Speed Charts at Laguna Seca Long Tops Friday Speed Charts at Laguna SecaMONTEREY, Calif. – Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve points co-leader Patrick Long posted a lap time of 1:24.544 (95.297 mph) during the Friday afternoon practice session in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford to top the speed charts at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in preparation for Sunday’s Road & Track 250 (LIVE on SPEED, 3 p.m. ET).

Long and German co-driver Mike Rockenfeller come into the weekend with a five-point championship advantage over No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley pilot Jorg Bergmeister (164-159). The No. 23 Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports team was victorious in the VIR 400 two weeks ago at Virginia International Raceway and has finished on the Daytona Prototype podium in each of the four events it has contested this season.

“The car is really good here, the Crawford really transitions well in the turns and is very predictable under braking, which is what you want at Laguna Seca,” said Long. “We focused on race setup as we have the qualifying race tomorrow.  I will be driving in that race, so I was paying particular attention to the way people were behaving in traffic and in the passing zones.  We will go as fast as we can tomorrow morning as that is the session that sets the grid for the qualifying race and see what happens once the green drops in the afternoon.”

Despite missing Round 2 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Long and Rockenfeller followed their third-place finish in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona with the overall victory in the Linder Industrial Grand Prix of Miami and a runner-up finish in the Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach. Rockenfeller also finished second in the VIR 400 qualifying race.  zzzz

The No. 19 Playboy/Uniden/Palms Ford Crawford was the second-quickest Daytona Prototype on the day, as Michael McDowell logged a lap at 1:24.560 (95.279 mph) towards the end of the afternoon session. McDowell won the first-ever Daytona Prototype qualifying race two weeks ago at VIR, and the 21-year-old will again share the No. 19 car with Guy Cosmo this weekend, who is filling in for injured driver Memo Gidley.

“I wish I would have gone three-hundredths faster, and we would have been faster,” McDowell said. “The car didn’t start off great, but it seemed to get better every lap. We just need to keep making it better and hope that the Porsche doesn’t go any faster.”

Scott Pruett was third quickest on the day, posting a lap time of 1:24.719 (95.100 mph) in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley. The California native—who co-pilots the No. 01 machine with Mexican Luis Diaz—has never lost a Rolex Series race in the Golden State. Pruett and Diaz are the defending race winners at Laguna Seca and also were victorious at Long Beach two races ago. Additionally, Pruett has two Rolex Series wins at California Speedway (with Diaz in 2005 and with Max Papis in 2004). Diaz and Pruett are currently tied for fourth in the Daytona Prototype championship standings with 150 points.

Fourth fastest of the day was defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley with a lap time of 1:24.860 (94.942 mph). The SunTrust team posted its best finish of the season in the VIR 400, as Angelelli and co-driver Wayne Taylor finished second behind Rockenfeller and Long. Angelelli is sharing the driving duties this weekend with Denmark’s Jan Magnussen.
Colin Braun was fifth-quickest Friday with a lap time of 1:24.984 (94.804 mph) in the morning session. Braun and co-driver Bergmeister haven’t finished lower than seventh in any race they’ve shared the No. 76 Ford this season. Braun is currently ninth in the standings with 136 points as he missed Round 3 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Bergmeister finished eighth with Papis).

In the GT class, Andy Lally was fastest of the day with a lap time of 1:33.049 (85.587 mph) during the morning session in the No. 65 TRG/F1 Air Pontiac GTO.R. Lally and co-driver Marc Bunting come into the weekend as the class points leaders after winning two weeks ago in the VIR 400, holding a five-point edge over Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler (151-146).

“We were searching for the elusive front grip which seems to worry everybody at Laguna,” Lally said. “We’ve been working hard to find a setup that suits the track. At the end of the session, we ran a light fuel load and sticker tires and we pushed really hard to see what it could do. I’m really proud of the guys for doing such a great job.”

David Empringham was second-fastest in the No. 98 Pacific Coast Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R with a lap time of 1:33.188 (86.457 mph). The No. 98 machine is making its Rolex Series debut this weekend in the Road & Track 250, and Empringham—the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Series GS champion—is co-driving with Ross Thompson.

“We struggled a lot yesterday,” Empringham said. “We went testing and the track we went to led us quite a ways from the setup (Pontiac GTO.R builder) Pratt & Miller gave us. We went back to Pratt & Miller’s setup and we’re in the ballpark. We’re quite pleased. Pratt & Miller have been extremely helpful. It feels great today, but yesterday was not too good. It just shows that Pacific Coast has the ability to put together a good car.”

Liddell was third-quickest Friday with a lap time of 1:33.325 (86.331 mph) in the No. 72 NEC Porsche GT3 for Tafel Racing. Vic Rice was fourth-fastest in the No. 57 Stevenson Automotive Chevrolet Corvette with a lap time of 1:33.396 (86.265 mph), followed by Kelly Collins in the No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R, logging a lap at 1:33.418 (86.245 mph).

Allianz Safety Focus - Regulations Allianz Safety Focus - RegulationsThis feature from Allianz looks at the regulation changes that were made for the 2006 season. Have they made a difference to the speed of the cars? Nico Rosberg discusses the changes to the style of driving since the introduction of the smaller less powerful V8 engines.


New engines, new tire regulations, new qualifying format – the start of the 2006 Formula 1 season was characterized by dramatic changes to the regulations for both the drivers and the teams. To increase safety in the top class of motor racing even further, less powerful V8 engines are being used and tire changes are again permitted during the races. Overall, everyone involved seems to think that the changes have proven their worth.

From the very beginning, Nico Rosberg did not expect any major changes from the new rules. “The drivers who were quick before will be quick again,” said the WilliamsF1 driver before his debut in top-class motor racing. “I don’t really think that Formula 1 will actually get slower.”

He’s right. Although the fastest race lap that the newcomer conjured up at the first race of the season on the tarmac in Bahrain was still one second slower than the best time of the previous year, the existing record was easily beaten at just the second race in Malaysia. The reason is clear: although the new V8 engines have about 200HP, less power than the old V10 engines, tire changes are permitted again this season and the softer tires that give better grip on the corners compensate for this loss of power.

“The engines don’t make much difference; it’s actually the new tires that have changed our driving style.” said Mark Webber, WilliamsF1 driver. Because of the weaker engines, the drivers arrive at the corners with slightly less speed, so they no longer have to brake as hard and tend to roll much more into the corner. As a result, the car is more stable and exits the corners faster than last year, taking momentum with them onto the straight. Some drivers claimed that this change makes it harder to drive the cars, but that has never been a problem for Nico Rosberg. “Driving at the limit,” he said, “is always difficult.”

In Formula 1, the priority is always on safety, and that is very apparent from the new regulations. Although the lap times have hardly fallen compared to the 2005 season, the new engine formula has fulfilled all expectations, even from the safety point of view. As a result, the calculations of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) have worked out. The top speed achieved is much lower than previously, and it has been proved that the important factor for safety is not the lap times, but the speed on the straights. According to the experts, 20 kilometres per hour makes a huge difference to the driver’s safety in an accident. Without the new engine regulations, the cars this season would not just be as quick as last year, but – thanks to the new tires – even quicker. zzzz

“The FIA pays very careful attention to lap times and top speeds because the safety of the drivers out on the track can only be guaranteed if the cars are traveling at adapted speeds,” Dr. Christoph Lauterwasser of the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) explains. Many of the changes to the regulations, for instance concerning the wings or the engines, aimed at reducing the speed, as this was the only way to ensure the safety of both the drivers and the spectators in the long term. The AZT expert: “Facts that apply to the top class of motor racing should also be taken into account in everyday road traffic: the speed must always suit the road.” The new engines will have no influence on the attractiveness of Formula 1 for the fans. On the contrary: the races have become more entertaining than last year, particularly because of the tire changes and the strategic opportunities that they present for the teams.

In fact, the modified qualifying system is the only one of the new regulations that has not yet fulfilled everyone’s hopes. After the songs of praise at the season’s first race in Bahrain, where the teams fought hard for the best starting places for almost the entire qualifying period, the criticism came raining in from all sides in Malaysia. Although few people would seriously question the new knockout system, after their experiences at Sepang, both the drivers and the teams uncovered possibilities for improvements, especially in the final, decisive third of the battle for pole position. However, Mark Webber does not want to dwell on the point. “Of course, qualifying is important,” said the Australian, “but the race is still the most important thing.”

Allianz Safety Check: Circuit de Catalunya by Mark Webber, WilliamsF1 driver:

“This is the track that we drivers know best from all the test driving. That gives us a feeling of security. Even so, the circuit does have its tricks. It is very difficult aerodynamically and is extremely dependent on the wind, which sometimes turns the search for the right set-up into a lottery. Because the wind often changes very quickly, it certainly can happen that you are suddenly driving with the wrong set-up. You also have to make sure that the extremely high wear on the tires does not become a safety risk.”

Harvick inks multi-year deal with RCR Harvick inks multi-year deal with RCRUPDATE Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Kevin Harvick have agreed to terms on a contract extension that will see Harvick as an RCR driver through the 2009 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Kevin Harvick (left) and team owner Richard Childress announce a contract extension on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Harvick drives RCR’s No. 29 GM Goodwrench/Reese’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and RCR’s No. 21 Coast Guard Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in the NASCAR Busch Series. The Bakersfield, Calif., native began his tenure at RCR in 2000 driving the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, winning three races and rookie of the year honors. Stepping into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series after the death of the legendary Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500, Harvick went on that season to earn two victories, a ninth-place finish in the point standings and rookie of the year honors. He also earned the Busch Series crown in 2001 and, in 2003, co-drove (with Johnny Sauter) RCR’s No. 21 PayDay Chevrolet to the Busch Series owner’s championship.

His career statistics include six victories and 70 top-10 finishes in the NEXTEL Cup Series and 19 victories and 98 top-10 finishes in the Busch Series.

“Kevin is an important part of the RCR organization and we’re happy that will continue,” said Richard Childress, President and CEO of RCR. “He has done a great job in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series and we look for that to continue over the next several seasons.”

Harvick is currently seventh in the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with one win and four top-10 finishes. He leads the Busch Series standings by 274 points, ahead of RCR teammate Clint Bowyer in second place, with two wins and nine top-10 finishes.

“I’m looking forward to the next three years at RCR,” said Kevin Harvick.  “We’ve made a lot of changes over the past year that have really helped point the organization in the right direction.  The chemistry feels right between the drivers, the crew chiefs and the teams.  Above all else, there is a long relationship at RCR that Richard and I have.  I feel like it would take time to recreate what we’ve built over the last seven years.”  

05/05/06 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) sources said that the team has “reached a tentative agreement” on a multi-year contract extension to keep NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kevin Harvick in the No. 29 Chevrolet. RCR has a news conference scheduled for today at Richmond Int’l Raceway. Toyota had been “among Harvick’s biggest pursuers” Charlotte Observer

Industry News
Toyota CEO Charged with Sexual Harassment, resigns Toyota CEO Charged with Sexual Harassment, resignsIt is one of the world's largest corporations and produces some of the best-selling cars in America, yet Toyota Motor Corporation is oddly out of step in handling alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace, according to a just-filed lawsuit.

An employee in the New York corporate office of Toyota Motor North America, Inc., the North American arm of Japan's Toyota Motor Corporation, accuses its chief executive Hideaki Otaka, of repeated aggressive sexual advances that occurred while she worked for him as an executive assistant in 2005.

The suit, filed by Ziegler, Ziegler & Associates, LLP in New York State Supreme Court, was brought by Sayaka Kobayashi, 42, who was plucked from her job in Toyota's corporate planning department in March 2005 to become personal assistant to Mr. Otaka. Starting last September, Ms. Kobayashi contends she was subjected to several sexual assaults by Mr. Otaka, who boasted of his marital infidelities and continued to pursue a physical relationship with his assistant even after she rebuffed him.  zzzz

Ms. Kobayashi alleges that Mr. Otaka forced himself on her -- in a Washington D.C. hotel and in New York's Central Park. She also claims he continuously pressured her to travel with him, at one point instructing Toyota North America employees to book a hotel reservation under her name even after she hesitated to do so for fear of another sexual assault.

Mr. Otaka's relentless pursuit of his assistant took a toll. "Nowdays, I come to work with anxiety and pray that Mr. Otaka will not ask me to accompany him to another lunch, another dinner, another business trip or make comments about my personal life," she wrote to a senior vice president at Toyota North America late last fall. "Mr. Otaka rarely checks my availability or willingness to attend such functions, and if I decline, his cynical remarks follow." Ironically, as chief executive of Toyota's North American operations, overseeing some 31,500 employees in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Mr. Otaka was the signatory of the company's handbook outlining a no-tolerance policy toward "unwelcome sexual conduct." In a bizarre breach of protocol, the senior vice president who received Ms. Kobayashi's complaint advised her to confront her boss in a private one-on-one meeting. Rather than launch an investigation or acknowledge that a formal charge of sexual harassment had been lodged, the executive informed Ms. Kobayashi that he would tell Mr. Otaka that her "jealous" boyfriend had complained about Mr. Otaka's conduct -- a subterfuge he used "in order to avoid upsetting (Mr.) Otaka," the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit is especially revealing of the extreme subservience women can still face in some large companies. It is a world in which a male boss can summon his female assistant to his hotel room at 10 o'clock at night, demand that she escort him to social events, and chastise her for not properly thanking him for his efforts to "advance her career" through his personal attentions.

"There are many disturbing aspects to this case, not least that the chief executive of a company that is the U.S. presence of one of world's largest auto makers willfully preyed on a junior employee and would then equate her unequivocal rejection of him as merely a lack of courtesy," said Christopher Brennan, an attorney with the law firm Ziegler, Ziegler & Associates, LLP in Manhattan, which represents Ms. Kobayashi.

"No less upsetting is the cavalier way in which Toyota North America responded to the serious charge of harassment by its CEO," added Scott Ziegler, managing partner of Ziegler, Ziegler. He noted that Toyota not only failed to conduct a formal investigation, but ultimately transferred Ms. Kobayashi back to her old planning job as its perceived solution to the problem.

"Rather than view Mr. Otaka as a threat to Ms. Kobayashi and others, Toyota decided to strip our client of her job and reassign her, which is a clear act of retaliation for having brought the harassment to light," Mr. Ziegler said.

Still employed by Toyota North America, Ms. Kobayashi is currently on medical leave. She is asking the court to take corrective action of what she perceives are Toyota's unlawful employment practices. She also seeks compensatory and punitive damages against both Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota North America, including damages stemming from Toyota's negligent hiring and retention of Mr. Otaka, whose boastful philandering was evidently no secret among company management, according to the complaint.

The complaint notes that Mr. Otaka, 65, a Toyota employee since 1965, was mysteriously removed from Toyota Motor Corporation's board of directors several years ago, before being reassigned to his CEO posting of Toyota Motor North America in 2004.

On the same day that he was served with a copy of the lawsuit, Mr. Otaka announced that he was leaving his post as president and CEO of Toyota North America. PRN Newswire

European GP - Strange weather, strange time sheet European GP - Strange weather, strange time sheetNurburg - The unusually hot weather continued in the Eifel mountains today, with temperatures creeping up over the 20 Celsius mark and there was also an unusual look to the time sheet at the end of the first day of free practice for the European Grand Prix.

Alex Wurz, who this year has switched from being McLaren's third driver to fulfilling the same task for Williams, was quickest and the only man to get under the 1m 33 second barrier around the Nurburgring track. Second and third places went to the two men who brought the San Marino Grand Prix to life a fortnight ago, except that this time Fernando Alonso in his Renault lapped quicker than Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Michael Schumacher.

A surprising fourth was Red Bull Racing's third driver, Robert Doornbos, evidently running low fuel as his two race driver colleagues, Klien and Coulthard were much further back in 18th and 19th places respectively. Fifth was the man who used to monopolies the Friday Number One slot, Anthony Davidson in the Honda, while Ralf Schumacher rounded off the top six for Toyota. In the second Ferrari, Felipe Massa was fourteenth, but having worked to a different program to his team-mate, was not particularly giving too much importance to his lap time or position, while being happy with the handling of his car by the end of the day.

One new name on the time sheets today- Franck Montagny. Formerly a Friday driver for Renault, the Frenchman has replaced Ide in the Midland F1 team as the FIA recommended to the team that they give Ide more testing time in the car to allow the Japanese driver better to adapt to Formula 1. Montagny finished the day 27th out of 28. Ferrari

Piquet takes pole in Germany Piquet takes pole in GermanyChampionship leader Nelson Piquet Jr has put his weekend back on track by claiming a strong pole at the Nurburgring, stopping the clock with a lap of 1:40.799, set just minutes before the end of qualifying.

Piquet, who had only two flying laps in this morning's free practice after a problem left him on the side of the track, spoilt Franck Perera's party after the Frenchman looked to have done enough to claim his first GP2 pole position until the dying minutes of the session.

Starting tomorrow's race from the second row will be Lewis Hamilton, who is aiming to put his disappointing Imola weekend behind him, and Hiroki Yoshimoto, who will be hoping to make his second podium visit in as many races.

Jose Maria Lopez lead the field onto the track, and in the opening laps he and Hamilton swapped fastest times on each circuit before Perera set what looked to be an unbeatable time of 1:41.241 six minutes into the session.

Piquet started the session sedately but built up to the time, taking second place off Hamilton before pitting for new tires and one last, successful, charge.

Hamilton almost put himself off track in his efforts to take his first pole when he dived up the inside of Yoshimoto at the chicane: he bounced off the curb and spun, lightly tapping the Japanese driver as he went, but the Briton caught his car and was able to get back on track.

As expected the tricky Nurburgring layout heavily penalized even the smallest mistakes: with just one second separating the first 16 drivers and two seconds covering 24 cars, any error was always going to be costly.

Nonetheless the blistering pace meant that every driver in the field was inside of last year's pole time of 1:43.862, set by Giorgio Pantano.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Piquet Jr Piquet Sports 1:40.799 11
 2. Perera DAMS 1:41.241 + 0.442 14
 3. Hamilton ART Grand Prix 1:41.325 + 0.526 10
 4. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:41.406 + 0.607 9
 5. Lopez Super Nova International 1:41.471 + 0.672 12
 6. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:41.478 + 0.679 10
 7. Carroll Racing Engineering 1:41.576 + 0.777 12
 8. Lapierre Arden International Ltd 1:41.622 + 0.823 11
 9. Viso iSport International 1:41.664 + 0.865 13
10. Glock BCN Competicion 1:41.671 + 0.872 13
11. Valles Campos Racing 1:41.690 + 0.891 11
12. Ammermueller Arden International Ltd 1:41.768 + 0.969 10
13. Piccione DPR 1:41.769 + 0.970 10
14. Bruni Trident Racing 1:41.770 + 0.971 11
15. Zuber Trident Racing 1:41.814 + 1.015 13
16. Gommendy iSport International 1:41.841 + 1.042 13
17. Porteiro Campos Racing 1:41.913 + 1.114 14
18. Negrao Piquet Sports 1:42.029 + 1.230 12
19. Monfardini DAMS 1:42.096 + 1.297 11
20. Pla DPR 1:42.162 + 1.363 9
21. Di Grassi Durango 1:42.192 + 1.393 12
22. Hernandez Durango 1:42.513 + 1.714 11
23. Filippi FMS International 1:42.654 + 1.855 14
24. Villa Racing Engineering 1:42.784 + 1.985 10
25. Fauzy Super Nova International 1:43.151 + 2.352 14
26. Tahinci FMS International 1:43.812 + 3.013 10

Nurburgring: Friday Press Conference (team bosses) Nurburgring: Friday Press Conference (team bosses)Participating: Ross Brawn (Ferrari), Willy Rampf (BMW Sauber), Mark Smith (Red Bull Racing), Pascal Vasselon (Toyota), Geoff Willis (Honda).
Q. Pascal, you've had an interesting career path, from a tire company now almost to find yourself as technical director. How has your job changed since Mike Gascoyne left?

Pascal Vasselon: I guess we have to start working a little bit more. Since Mike left, I have taken over most of Mike's responsibilities except the electronic group which went to the engine department, to give a little bit more work to Luca Marmorini and that's it.

Q. And it must be an interesting experience for you working with Bridgestone as well, given that you were with Michelin! What have you learned?

PV: I was really looking forward to working with Bridgestone, but at the end, it's amazing to see how two different groups of people, with very different cultures and coming from two different parts of the world, at the end can achieve very similar performances with different technologies, with different methods. But what can also be said is that putting together some Michelin experience and some Bridgestone experience, there's still a lot to understand and discover about race tires.

Q. We were talking yesterday with Ralf about the B-version of the current car; when are we likely to see that?

PV: It's still planned to arrive at Monaco. We did the roll-out last week. It went pretty well so we are still on schedule to introduce it in Monaco.

Q. Is that car pretty vital to the team at the moment?

PV: Of course it's always important to introduce a new car. This one, I would say, is a logical mechanical evolution of what we did last year with the 105B, so most of the changes are mechanical. Of course we have a new monocoque, that's why it's a new car, but there are other differences, that we have no more keel at the moment. We don't expect a big improvement with this car, simply because most of it is mechanical, but now we will have a much better basis to continue the development of the aero package. More....

An interesting poll result An interesting poll resultUPDATE There have been erroneous AP reports circulating that Roger Penske was voted as the person who should run a merged Champ Car/IRL series, yet if you view the poll online at National Speed Sport News it shows what we reported below, so we don't know where AP got their data. To the right is a screen capture of the poll result from their web page. Is this 'lie' that has spread thru the media the work of some mischievous group out to make sure Kalkhoven does not shine? The conspiracy theorists say the oval track cartel controls the media behind the scenes.  Hmmm........

05/03/06 This poll ran over the past week by National Speed Sport News had the following results:
Who should run IRL and Champ Car after a merger?
Brian France 7.26%
Tony George 6.60%
Kevin Kalkhoven 71.89%
Roger Penske 9.06%
H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler 5.19% NSSN

An interesting result statistic given the fact that NSSN caters heavily to the oval track cartel and does its best to put down road and street racing, and play up oval track racing.  The newspaper has a large customer base of short-track oval fans. Seems Champ Car boss Kevin Kalkhoven has earned the respect of even the oval track fans.

Ferrari happy with Friday results Ferrari happy with Friday results
Jean Todt:

"At the risk of sounding repetitive, I have to say this was just the usual Friday during which the team worked on the comparison of the two types of tire brought here by Bridgestone and on defining the best settings on the car for the race."

"We acquired some interesting data, which will now be evaluated by the engineers to make all the necessary choices for the rest of the Grand Prix. From what we have seen so far, we can say that our chassis, engine and Bridgestone tire package, should allow us to be competitive."

Michael Schumacher:

"We had a good day and I am reasonably happy with the car. We are more or less where we expected to be. Looking at the times, the situation seems quite good. I opted for just one type of tire for this first day of free practice, working only on this and the choice seemed to be the best one."

"Our main rivals also seem very strong, so I think it will be a very close fight. We are confident and from what we have seen, we are also competitive here. If we can put all the pieces of the jigsaw together then we can fight for the win."

Felipe Massa:

"As usual, today was spent mainly comparing the two types of tire Bridgestone has brought here for us and on finding the best set-up on the 248 F1. Michael and I split the work load, each trying a different type of tire."

"Overall, I am reasonably happy with the way things went this afternoon and we now have a lot of data to study. We know we have a good potential and we have to try and improve the car for qualifying and most of all, for the race." zzzz

Ross Brawn:

"Getting the car balanced was a bit tricky at first, but I think both race engineers did a good job with their drivers to improve the situation, to the extent that, come the end of the second hour, both Michael and Felipe were happy."

"The two drivers used different tire types so as to get as much data as possible to work with from this afternoon onwards. Basically, the cars seem to be competitive and we are confident for the rest of the weekend."

Michael Schumacher
Chassis: 254
Practice session 1: 4th, 1:32.858, 4 laps
Practice session 2: 3rd, 1:33.619, 14 laps

Felipe Massa
Chassis: 250
Practice session 1: No time
Practice session 2: 14th, 1:34.546, 18 laps


Edmonton GP main sponsors re-up Edmonton GP main sponsors re-upEdmonton, Alberta -Grand Prix Edmonton today announced that West Edmonton Mall and the Brick Warehouse will be the prime sponsors for this year's world-class racing event. The event will be called West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix presented by The Brick.

"Our sponsors are vital to the success of this exhilarating race. Grand Prix Edmonton would not happen without their support," said Ric Forest, Chair of Grand Prix Edmonton's Board of Directors.

West Edmonton Mall was last year's Grand Prix Edmonton title sponsor. "We are excited to sponsor this outstanding event once again. We have made international promotions a priority and the Grand Prix of Edmonton gives us the opportunity to showcase our Mall locally and across the world," said Gary Hanson, General Manager and COO of West Edmonton Mall.

Brick's President and CEO Kim Yost added, "Grand Prix Edmonton brought non-stop excitement to Edmonton in 2005, and we know this year's event will be even more electrifying. We are thrilled to be part of this crowd pleasing event."

The 2006 West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix presented by The Brick is scheduled for July 21, 22, and 23, 2006 at the City Centre Airport. Edmonton is the eighth round in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Thousands of sports fans and car enthusiasts from across North America, eager to experience the racing adventure, will be in attendance along with world-class drivers.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, call (780) 451-8000 or visit online at www.ticketmaster.ca Champ Car

Sauber happy but working to improve Sauber happy but working to improveAlthough both first day practice sessions for the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring were flawless for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, the drivers were not happy with the balance of their cars.

Test driver Robert Kubica ended the second practice session fourth although his time from the earlier session was in fact the second fastest time of the day. Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve did not take part in the first session of the day and set the 20th and 24th best times in the second session.

Robert Kubica
"They were good sessions and we concentrated mainly on longer distance runs to see how the tires would perform in the race, as we struggled a lot in Imola. We wanted to see which are the best tires. The choice was not easy, but we did lots of laps and have lots of data. We were not really looking for the lap times, but regards the pace I think we are consistent. It could be better, but we are not looking that bad compared to the other third drivers. We have to improve quite a lot of things."

Nick Heidfeld
"Although we had no technical issues, I was not happy with the balance of my car. The rear was very nervous. However, we have practiced today, we now have the information and the data, and for tomorrow we have to improve the car. "

Jacques Villeneuve
"I am not that sure how things really are because on the last run there was a lot of traffic and I did not do a proper lap. The car is sliding a lot so we need to work hard on the set-up. Actually it was not too bad. It is nothing to worry about yet, but for now the cars are not that competitive."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director
"Robert completed the program we had scheduled for him, and his times were fine. Neither Nick nor Jacques were satisfied with the set-up of their cars. We now have to compare the data collected from all three cars before tomorrow's practice and qualifying, and make any changes that are necessary."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis
"We are not satisfied with our performance today, and on top of that we only managed to complete parts of our race preparation. The balance of the cars is not right yet, so we still have a lot of work to do. Tomorrow we have to concentrate on set-up work and tire evaluation." Source BMW Sauber

Montreal F1 race renewed thru 2011 Montreal F1 race renewed thru 2011Montreal F1 race promoter Normand Legault has inked a deal with FOM and Bernie Ecclestone that will see the Canadian GP in Montreal through 2011.
Speed: Things not looking good Speed: Things not looking goodTonio Liuzzi, Neel Jani and Scott Speed set the 21st, 22nd and 23rd fastest times respectively this afternoon at Nurburgring.

Both Liuzzi and Speed expect a tough time come qualifying tomorrow but the Italian at least was relatively happy with the progress made on day one.

Tonio Liuzzi
“This morning we did little more than just some installation work, but this afternoon we made some progress. I am pretty happy with the handling and we made some good progress on the setup front. But tomorrow’s qualifying will be difficult for us; Nurburgring is not an easy track, but I’m still positive because overall the car was not too bad and I think we are making a little progress generally.”

Neel Jani
“On my last lap, my time was up by about four tenths, until I was blocked for a couple of corners by Montagny. So the fact it was looking better means I think the general performance is not too bad.  As usual at the ‘Ring we are fighting with lack of grip and too much understeer and although my work is over for the weekend, I think the data we got today means we can move forward tomorrow. Of course, the problem is so will everyone else!”

Scott Speed
“It’s difficult to say where we are today. The track is still quite dirty so it is hard to judge where we are in terms of our pace, although you don’t have to look too closely to see it’s not looking too good, although we did get over the worst of the problem early in the afternoon session.” Source Toro Rosso Cosworth 

Bad news for F1 journalist Bad news for F1 journalist(GMM) F1 journalist Tom Rubython, editor of Business F1 magazine, has reportedly copped a $381,000 bill in a London High Court ruling in favor of former Jaguar boss Tony Purnell. In March, Purnell won a libel action after Business F1 alleged that the Jag principal had once bribed a journalist to write 'puff pieces' about the team.
Crown Royal NASCAR ad Crown Royal NASCAR adCouldn't help but notice the Crown Royal full-page ad in USA Today for tomorrow night’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Crown Royal 400 at Richmond Int’l Raceway showing a cushioned chair with driver safety straps secured on it, with the text, “Watching a race so thrilling you have to strap yourself in. That’s Crown-Worthy.”  Just another example of a NASCAR sponsor activating their sponsorship to promote the series and/or drivers while still promoting their product.
Diageo to offer NASCAR fans title sponsor op Diageo to offer NASCAR fans title sponsor opDiageo, which makes Crown Royal whiskey, will announce a NASCAR contest today in which the winning fan’s name will be part of the title of the ’07 Nextel Cup race at Richmond Int’l Raceway. The race will temporarily be called “The Your Name Here 400 presented by Crown Royal” until a winner is chosen from ten finalists. ESPN.com
Las Vegas race makes local TV news in Las Vegas Las Vegas race makes local TV news in Las VegasUPDATE #2 This Las Vegas Review Journal article, penned by Jeff Wolf, paints a very negative picture toward the proposed Las Vegas Street race. It's clear the author thinks very little of open wheel racing and has no clue how popular the street races can be if done properly. That is the key of course, if done properly, and that includes having the local media in your corner. Clearly this author is not. Of course we expected that Bruton Smith's group, who own and run nearby Las Vegas Motor Speedway, would do their politicking behind the scenes in an effort to kill the street race, just like we saw ISC do a similar thing in Miami when they wanted to keep their monopoly on the local racing market for Homestead.

Next we'll probably see full page ads in the local Las Vegas papers denouncing the event, paid for by, you guessed it, LVMS or some front group for them. They're dealing with a group that is part of the oval track cartel here, whose primary goal is to have a monopoly on the racing market. We've seen this scenario play out far too many times, and it is so predictable.

05/04/06 This Las Vegas Review Journal article paints a slightly different picture about what happened at last night's City Council meeting when the topic of the Champ Car race came up. Although a bit more negative, it still appears the race will eventually get approved.

Las Vegas drew a line on spending money to attract events to town, and it looks like a speed bump for those who want to bring a race to downtown.

City Council members on Wednesday told organizers of the proposed Champ Car Grand Prix Vegas that they want to see a race happen downtown. But they also want other entities to contribute toward an estimated $3.3 million in street improvements that would need to be made.

"The city is always asked to do everything. And we always do," said Mayor Oscar Goodman. "I think it's time others help out."

His comments were echoed by most of the council members.

On top of that, the Regional Transportation Commission's general manager sent a letter opposing the proposed race route. Jacob Snow said the plan to send cars along Grand Central Parkway would interfere with plans to build the agency's Regional Fixed Guideway, which would use the median along Grand Central Parkway for mass transit.

"We're there for a long-term investment in downtown for decades, as opposed to let's try this for a couple years and see if this works," he said. He proposed the race bypass Grand Central.

Under the latest proposal, the city would be responsible for $2 million in improvements the first year and $1 million the second year, according to Jim Freudenberg, chief operating officer for Sutton Motorsports Productions. He said the owners of the race expect to spend $15 million the first year to put on the event and $8 million or $9 million the following year in ongoing operation expenses.

"We need to figure out how someone in Las Vegas will put a little skin in the game, when someone else is putting a lot of skin in the game," Freudenberg said.

The council directed staff to continue negotiating with the race organizers and return with a firm proposal, including the amount of money the city would be responsible for.

Freudenberg said the deal could come back in weeks. More....

05/04/06 This local Las Vegas NBC TV affiliate’s web page has a video of a news feature they ran last night which says the rumored Champ Car race in downtown Las Vegas is meeting with widespread approval so far. Note that the track diagram they show is exactly what we show on our rumors page. The report says the City Council unanimously approved (7-0) to look further into the proposal and appointed a committee to do that. Related story in Las Vegas Review Journal.
GP Masters cancels Italy race GP Masters cancels Italy raceDue to the on-going disagreement between the Monza Autodromo circuit and local court concerning noise pollution at the track, Grand Prix Masters has regrettably been forced to withdraw from its debut event in Italy which was scheduled for 18th June.

The 2006 GP Masters of Italy has been under threat after a recent court ruled noise pollution levels at the historic circuit exceeded the legal limit and needed to be cut. Judge Marco Manunta has upheld a recent complaint by residents about noise pollution. A 30-day exemption has, however, been granted during the month of September thereby allowing the Formula One Grand Prix to take place on 10th September.

Monza has hosted every Italian Grand Prix (F1) since 1950 with the exception of 1980 when the race was moved to Imola.

Scott Poulter (CEO, GP Masters): "A very disappointing conclusion given the anticipation amongst GP Masters and Italian fans alike. With three Italian drivers now contesting our series and of course' tfosi' favorite Nigel Mansell, Monza was always the logical next stop for us following the season curtain raiser in Qatar last weekend but forces outside of our control have decided otherwise. It's a great shame but we are very confident indeed of securing a date in Italy for 2007. In the meantime, we offer our profuse apologies to the many fans, media and commercial partners who had expressed their commitment towards hosting our event at Monza this year. We will be back and an announcement on the GP Masters of Italy will be forthcoming from us very soon."

Enrico Ferrari (Autodromo Nazionale di Monza): "We too share the disappointment expressed by GP Masters as everyone associated with Autodromo Nazionale di Monza was looking forward to hosting this fantastic new series. We've exhausted every possible avenue in an effort to be granted special dispensation for the GP Masters of Italy on 18th June but the legislators were not open to this happening. We are in an on-going dialogue with Scott Poulter (CEO, GP Masters) and I am sure we'll find a way of showcasing next year the GP Masters series to the growing and excited fan base here in Italy."

Wurz Williams Cosworth top 2nd practice too Wurz Williams Cosworth top 2nd practice tooWilliams' third driver Alex Wurz might have mastered Friday's timesheets, but Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher threatened an Imola re-match when even half a tenth could not separate their afternoon practice times at the Nurburgring.

But also significantly, the next thirteen runners - including Red Bulls, Hondas, Toyotas, BMW-Saubers, McLarens and even impressive MF1s - were separated by a single tick of the clock, as temperatures rose slightly in the two hours since the corresponding morning session.

Left out of the mix, though, was Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who ominously completed five out-in laps but did not set an actual time.

In fourteenth place was Schumacher's Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa, who might just be missing his apparently absent race engineer Gabriele delli Colli.

Enjoying an impressive GP debut, on the other hand, was 'Friday' newcomer Adrian Sutil -- tenth in the usually backmarking 'MF1' racer, and sandwiched by a Renault and a Williams.

Indicating that low-fuel is a factor, however, is the similar pace of team colleague Christijan Albers, twelfth.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:32.675 27
 2. Alonso Renault (M) 1:33.579 + 0.904 14
 3. M. Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:33.619 + 0.944 14
 4. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:33.799 + 1.124 25
 5. Davidson Honda (M) 1:33.870 + 1.195 29
 6. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:33.883 + 1.208 19
 7. Button Honda (M) 1:33.920 + 1.245 12
 8. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:33.991 + 1.316 30
 9. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:34.030 + 1.355 19
10. Sutil MF1-Toyota (B) 1:34.179 + 1.504 23
11. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:34.215 + 1.540 19
12. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:34.472 + 1.797 23
13. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:34.536 + 1.861 13
14. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:34.546 + 1.871 18
15. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:34.631 + 1.956 11
16. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:34.825 + 2.150 14
17. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:34.968 + 2.293 14
18. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:35.066 + 2.391 19
19. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:35.241 + 2.566 14
20. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:35.308 + 2.633 12
21. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:35.406 + 2.731 19
22. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:35.479 + 2.804 26
23. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:35.669 + 2.994 21
24. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:35.688 + 3.013 12
25. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:35.902 + 3.227 18
26. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:36.255 + 3.580 25
27. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:36.665 + 3.990 16
28. Trulli Toyota (B) 5

Montagny spins, but is on pace with teammate Montagny spins, but is on pace with teammate(GMM) It was a typically understated kick-off to F1 action on Friday morning at the Nurburgring in Germany, with 'third' drivers hogging the tarmac.

Newly promoted Super Aguri racer Franck Montagny, however, did a program of 16 laps, impressively lagging teammate Takuma Sato's best time by a single tenth.

But the Frenchman, who says he isn't sure about whether the seat will remain his at Barcelona, reacquainted himself with a formula one track by doing an early spin under braking.

''I am obviously not as prepared as the other drivers,'' Montagny said, ''but it's not a problem for me. The conditions are not ideal but I will take it as it is -- a great pleasure.''

In the 18 and 19C temperatures, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher was the quickest race driver, but neither Renault posted a lap time.

Audi R8 comeback in the USA Audi R8 comeback in the USAThe second round of the American Le Mans Series is on the agenda two months after the new Audi R10 TDI prototype’s historic victory in the season-opener at Sebring. On 12 May, the world’s most important Sportscar racing series makes its début performance on the street circuit in Houston (US state Texas). The third race of the season is staged only one week later in Mid-Ohio (US state Ohio).
Because the Audi R10 TDI is currently being prepared in Europe for the 24 Hours of Le Mans (17/18 June), the Audi Sport North America team once again competes with the proven Audi R8 in the next three races. Last year’s Le Mans race winning car (chassis 605) now sports the same design as the silver-red R10 TDI – but with the slogan "Audi FSI Power” instead of "Audi TDI Power”.
Dindo Capello (Italy) and Allan McNish (Scotland) will certainly have their work cut out in Houston and Mid-Ohio: The regulations dictate that the Audi R8 must now weigh 35 kilograms more than before and now weighs 935 kilograms.  zzzz
For Capello and McNish it is a question of scoring as many championship points as possible to safeguard their title chances in the races with the five-year-old Audi R8. From the race in Salt Lake City on 15 July they will return to the latest Audi R10 TDI and will receive support from defending Champions Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in another R10 TDI.
Capello and McNish arrive in Houston as championship leaders. The street circuit is new to both Audi drivers just as it is for the majority of the other drivers. McNish has also never started in Mid-Ohio; Capello knows the undulating course from 2001 and 2002.
The American Le Mans Series appears together with the ChampCar series in Houston. The race starts on Friday evening at 8 p.m. as darkness falls and is therefore a genuine night race. Dindo Capello and Allan McNish have vivid memories of their event with the Audi R8 in Texas: In 2000, temperatures in excess of 40 degrees ruled during the race in Dallas – and during the night. In general, however, it is not quite as hot in Houston in May.
Quotes before the races in Houston and Mid-Ohio
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Dindo and Allan won’t have things all their own way with the additional 35 kilograms of ballast. However, the pair should nevertheless collect as many points as possible with the R8 in the next three races. The R8’s reliability and low fuel consumption should help along the way. The race in Houston certainly adds a little spice to the American Le Mans Series, and let’s not forget that many things can happen on a street circuit.”
Dindo Capello (Audi R8 #2): "I’m looking forward to competing in the American Le Mans Series after a three year break, and to be able to drive the fantastic R8. Because of the restrictions it certainly won’t be a stroll for us, but we will bank on the R8’s legendary reliability. We want to score big points at the next races, and fight for the title after Le Mans with the R10 TDI.”
Allan McNish (Audi R8 #2): "We don’t know exactly how strong the competition will be because they had several reliability based problems in Sebring. Our R8 has been reined in by the regulations, which means we might have to set our sights a little lower and just collect points. However, this isn’t actually my goal – I always go out to win.”
Dave Maraj (Team Director, Team Audi Sport North America): "Houston is our first event with the R8 as an Audi ‘factory’ team. We are looking forward to it and don’t want to disappoint Audi. In Allan (McNish) and Dindo (Capello) we have a very potent driver line-up, who already demonstrated in 2000 just how strong they can be. Obviously it would be fantastic to give the R8 another win before it officially retires. It deserves it.”
The schedule in Houston
Thursday, 11 May
11:10 – 12:00 Free Practice
17:20 – 18:10 Free Practice
18:50 – 19:10 Qualifying (Prototypes)
Friday, 12 May
13:45 – 14:15 Warm-up
20:00 – 22:45 Race
The schedule in Mid-Ohio
Friday, 19 May
13:25 – 15:25 Test Session
Saturday, 20 May
09:45 – 10:45 Free Practice
13:55 – 14:55 Free Practice
15:30 – 15:50 Qualifying (Prototypes)
Sunday, 21 May
08:35 – 09:00 Warm-up
12:00 – 14:45 Race Audi
Wurz puts Williams Cosworth on top Wurz puts Williams Cosworth on topFriday morning practice results from Nurburgring. It's interesting to note that the fastest regular driver is Michael Schumacher in 4th, whereas the top-3 are Friday test drivers who are usually on qualifying setups. Will Schumacher contend for a 2nd straight victory? Too early to tell, but it's evident he is pushing.

The Red Bull, Williams and BMW teams never left the garage, choosing instead to save their 2-race old engines.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:32.079 20
 2. Davidson Honda (M) 1:32.399 + 0.320 29
 3. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:32.852 + 0.773 22
 4. M. Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:32.858 + 0.779 4
 5. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:32.944 + 0.865 19
 6. Button Honda (M) 1:33.635 + 1.556 7
 7. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:34.213 + 2.134 6
 8. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:34.402 + 2.323 5
 9. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:34.995 + 2.916 6
10. Sutil MF1-Toyota (B) 1:35.332 + 3.253 21
11. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:35.365 + 3.286 19
12. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:35.612 + 3.533 8
13. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:35.985 + 3.906 8
14. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:36.062 + 3.983 10
15. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:37.817 + 5.738 20
16. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:37.933 + 5.854 16
17. Alonso Renault (M) No time 2
18. Fisichella Renault (M) No time 2
19. Trulli Toyota (B) No time 1
20. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) No time 1
21. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
22. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
23. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) No time 2
24. Massa Ferrari (B) No time
25. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) No time
26. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) No time
27. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) No time
28. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) No time

track news
Talladega repaving begins Talladega repaving beginsTalladega Superspeedway is conducting a different type of race these days, trying to get a repaving project completed in time for the UAW-Ford 500 weekend in October.  The project began just after daylight Tuesday, a day after the Aaron's 499 was completed.

Track officials say the work should be completed by Sept. 15, exactly three weeks before the fall race weekend begins with the ARCA/REMAX Series Food World 250.Sunmount Corporation, based in Justin, Texas, will head the project.

Crews will work seven days a week to make sure the project is completed in time, officials said.

The track has not been repaved since 1979.

Every driver must pass Indy orientation program -- even an Andretti Every driver must pass Indy orientation program -- even an Andretti
“He knows I will be in the car with him.”
- Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti remains in close proximity to the pit stand, listening to the radio chatter and periodically checking Timing and Scoring data as his grandson, Marco, clicks off lap after practice lap. The racing family patriarch keeps a watchful eye on his progeny.

It was true two decades ago, when Michael and then Jeff made their way to compete in the Indianapolis 500. Mario joined both in the 33-car field for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – Michael 10 times from 1984-94 and Jeff three times from 1991-94. Now the 1969 500-Mile Race winner is focused on assisting 19-year-old rookie Marco in the highly competitive IndyCar Series mix of high-speed ovals and street/road courses.

The series’ crown jewel May 28 presents its own learning curve packed into three weeks of excitement, drama and pressure. It begins May 7 for Marco and other rookies, who must pass the formal Rookie Orientation Program on the racetrack (four-stage progression of speed and consistency) to join the field for practice May 9. It also allows drivers new to the Speedway the opportunity to sort out the nuances of the 2.5-mile oval before running in traffic.

“He has a great team and his dad is always going to be right by his side,” Mario said. “He knows he doesn't have to go out there and set the world on fire right away. He has the luxury of having a secure job and he can be totally relaxed and that's very important.”

Andretti didn’t have such a luxury when he was a rookie at the Speedway in 1965. By head-butting expectations, he started fourth and finished third. The next two years, he started on the pole. The ’69 victory cemented his enduring international celebrity. More at IndyCar.com

Shell takes its potent fuel to Germany Shell takes its potent fuel to GermanyFurther to its successful introduction at last week’s San Marino Grand Prix, Shell will continue to use its new fuel ULG 62L/3. This new, high-power fuel was developed for Scuderia Ferrari’s use in Imola with excellent results. Using Shell V-Power ULG 62L/3, Michael Schumacher claimed pole position for the season’s first European Grand Prix and went on to win the race.

This proven fuel now gives Shell an excellent platform from which to move forward. The Shell Formula One team will be monitoring its progress closely this weekend in Germany.

"We were very competitive and that’s thanks to a lot of us, our many partners, starting with Shell, who came up with a new fuel, some more horsepower," said Michael Schumacher after his Imola victory. zzzz

As for the engine oil, the Nürburgring Formula One circuit has undergone many changes over the years. Although today’s modern circuit is often overshadowed by the infamous history of the original circuit, it is by no means an easy race for the cars. This circuit offers a combination of semi fast corners and tight bends which can be particularly demanding on Formula One engines.

This year, the race will be held several weeks earlier than usual. Weather conditions are notoriously unpredictable.

Shell will be retaining engine oil Helix SL-0932 and gearbox oil Spirax L6285. This lubricant combination worked successfully in San Marino alongside the new V-Power fuel to help Ferrari onto the podium. Shell

Goodyear happy with Lowe's test results Goodyear happy with Lowe's test resultsComments by Greg Stucker, Goodyear director of race tire sales and marketing: "We saw exactly what we expected from our Goodyear Eagle tires on the first day of NASCAR's open test for Nextel Cup cars at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and we are very pleased with the results. Our choice of tire for this NASCAR-sanctioned open test is the tire picked during our recent tire tests at Lowe's and, based on data and driver input, it also will be used during the two weekends of racing later in May at the newly paved track.

Comments by some people at the open test indicate concern that our tire recommendation is conservative. They're right! We were very conservative in our choice and that was intentional. Lowe's is a very fast track with new pavement that will generate a lot of grip and a lot of heat. We felt we had to select a very conservative tire to accommodate that. Lap times, however, are on par with those of last year. On the first day of testing, Jeff Burton, for example, made a 35-lap run and his fastest lap was the 34th.

We are very pleased with tire appearance and treadwear. All indications are that going a full gas stop with either the traditional full-size fuel tank, like the Busch cars will use, or the smaller mandated tank for the Coca-Cola 600 would be no problem.

Yes, the tire is different and may require adjustment by teams and drivers from what they've run at Lowe's in the most recent past. We came with a completely redesigned right side tire. It utilizes a new mold shape to address the tremendous loads that we measured at our test last fall. This, combined with the harder tread compound, gives the conservative setup. It reduces grip, but it resists heat and treadwear. It is absolutely the right choice." Goodyear PR

German fun for Red Bull German fun for Red BullDesert sand dunes and Bedouin tents are not what one expects in the Eifel mountains that provide the backdrop to this weekend’s grand prix, but that is exactly what Red Bull Germany created for the Formula 1 media to have some pre-weekend fun on Thursday.

The event, attended by race drivers from Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, was held in a very dusty quarry – its hot and dry here at the moment – and featured just about every form of powered vehicle.

Like most race drivers, David Coulthard is not a good passenger and found his ride alongside Paris Dakar man, Giniel de Villiers in the VW Touareg he used on this year’s grueling Rally Raide, a bit stressful...

“Obviously I had confidence in his ability,” bluffed DC, “but it was a bit nerve wracking as the dust meant I could not see where he was going.”

Expert Moto-X riders and quad bike pilots were on hand to give the media some top class tuition, but the Red Bull race drivers wisely kept away from anything where they might risk damaging themselves. Red Bull

Racing News
Colin Forbes-Robinson Passes after Lengthy Illness Colin Forbes-Robinson Passes after Lengthy IllnessDenver, N.C. ... Colin Forbes-Robinson, 34, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina passed away Sunday evening, April 30, 2006, at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.

Born on February 28, 1972, Colin was the son of Elliott (EFR) and Lounette Forbes-Robinson of Sherrills Ford, North Carolina. Colin is also survived by his wife, Kelly, and four children, Claudia, Sylvia, Cameron, and Lelainna; two brothers Elliott III and Ian Forbes-Robinson, and three nieces, Monica, Morgan, and Meredith.

A private family service will be held on Saturday, May 6, 2006. A service of celebration for the life of Colin Forbes-Robinson will be held at the Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, on Thursday evening, May 11th, at 7:30 PM. A reception will follow in the Christian Life Center at the church.

A trust fund is being established for Colin's children and the family requests in lieu of flowers, contributions to that fund may be sent to:

Colin Forbes-Robinson Children Fund
Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church
4136 Mt. Pleasant Road
Sherrills Ford, North Carolina 28673. Howard-Boss Motorsports

Nurburgring: Thursday Press Conference Nurburgring: Thursday Press Conference
GP2 series gears up for round 3 GP2 series gears up for round 3The GP2 series makes a welcome return to the Nürburgring this weekend for races five and six of the 2006 season. With four races and four different winners so far this season, the GP2 series is looking set for another ultra-competitive year, and with many pre-season favorites yet to stand on the top step of the podium this weekend should be no exception.

Get in the Ring:
They used to call the Nürburgring “The Green Hell” back in the days when the Nordschleife stretched to almost 23km. Now set at 5.148km, the Nürburgring that exists today holds less fear than the behemoth from which it was born, but it still demands the ultimate respect of everyone who turns a wheel on its undulating and challenging twists and turns.

In 2005 the GP2 series bore witness to two of its best races of the season at the Nürburgring. In Race One, Heikki Kovalainen made use of some cunning Arden International tactics and slick pit work to win from 17th on the grid, while Race Two brought plaudits from everyone who had sat open-mouthed, glued to the television screens as Clivio Piccione took victory in what was easily the race of the year. The final nine laps of that race will live long in the memory of anyone who saw it, as the lead six cars swarmed all over each other, with position changing corner by corner.

After four sensational races in 2006 at tracks not traditionally known for their overtaking possibilities, one can only wonder at what we will have in store this weekend at a track that has already proven itself as a marvelous venue for racing in the GP2 series. zzzz

What about the championship?
Nelson Piquet Jr leads the early GP2 series drivers’ championship table on 25 points, having scored in every race contested thus far in 2006. The Brazilian will be hoping to continue his fine early run of form this weekend, as his rivals are hot on his heels. Gimmi Bruni is his closest challenger at present, sitting on 18 points after a great first race in Imola which saw the Italian give his Trident Racing team their first ever victory in the GP2 series in only their second weekend of competition.

Ernesto Viso is third in the championship for iSport International after taking his and iSport’s first GP2 series win in the second race in Imola. The Venezuelan is level on 16 points with the two Arden International drivers Nicolas Lapierre and Michael Ammermüller. Lewis Hamilton is sixth for ART Grand Prix on nine points, with Campos Racing’s Adrián Vallés seventh on six points. The top ten is rounded out by the BCN pairing of Hiroki Yoshimoto and Timo Glock, and ART Grand Prix’s Alex Prémat who all have five points.

In the teams’ battle, Arden International sits on top of the standings on 32 points, with Piquet Sports second on 25. Trident Racing is the surprise package of the season to date in third on 18 points, ahead of iSport International on 16, ART Grand Prix on 14, and BCN Competicion sixth on 10 points. Campos Racing is seventh on seven points, ahead of Super Nova International on four and FMS International ninth, and the final points scoring team, with two points. GP2

Lopez fastest in opening practice Lopez fastest in opening practiceJose Maria Lopez has put his Super Nova International at the top of the timesheets in this morning's practice session. Jose Maria Lopez has set the pace in the opening session at the Nurburgring, claiming the top spot on the time sheets in free practice with a time of 1:41.885.

The Argentine set his fastest lap just ten minutes into the session and then held on despite strong lap times throughout the field, with just one tenth covering the top three positions of Lopez, Nicolas Lapierre and Adam Carroll.

Tricky conditions on a green track caught a number of drivers unawares, with most of the field struggling to find a perfect brake balance and running wide somewhere on the circuit over the thirty minute period, particularly into the notoriously tight Turn One. zzzz

Nonetheless the only drivers to spin off track were Ferdinando Monfardini, Jason Tahinci and Andreas Zuber, with the latter being the only driver not to find his way back on track after getting stuck in the gravel while trying to improve on fourth place.

Championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr didn’t have a dream start to the weekend – his car stopped on track just ten minutes into the session with a problem, and he was forced to get a lift back to the pits to watch the remainder of the session with his team.

The quickest sectors of the morning all belonged to Trident Racing, pointing towards what could be another fantastic weekend for the team. But with the top seventeen drivers covered by just one second and the top 24 by two seconds, a very exciting qualifying session is in store this afternoon.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Lopez Super Nova International 1:41.885 14
 2. Lapierre Arden International Ltd 1:41.959 13
 3. Carroll Racing Engineering 1:41.967 14
 4. Zuber Trident Racing 1:42.015 11
 5. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:42.100 14
 6. Bruni Trident Racing 1:42.110 14
 7. Glock BCN Competicion 1:42.156 12
 8. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:42.232 14
 9. Hamilton ART Grand Prix 1:42.346 12
10. Viso iSport International 1:42.351 16
11. Valles Campos Racing 1:42.352 14
12. Piccione DPR 1:42.546 15
13. Perera DAMS 1:42.565 14
14. Negrao Piquet Sports 1:42.682 14
15. Ammermueller Arden International Ltd 1:42.702 14
16. Piquet Jr. Piquet Sports 1:42.741 5
17. Monfardini DAMS 1:42.772 15
18. Gommendy iSport International 1:42.945 17
19. Pla DPR 1:42.974 14
20. Fauzy Super Nova International 1:43.379 14
21. Di Grassi Durango 1:43.603 15
22. Porteiro Campos Racing 1:43.648 15
23. Hernandez Durango 1:43.702 14
24. Villa Racing Engineering 1:43.781 14
25. Filippi FMS International 1:44.321 14
26. Tahinci FMS International 1:45.193 14

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Heidfeld, Albers, fit to race
Ralf frustrated at 150 GP milestone
Ralf, Michael, support Yuji Ide
Ide won't drive 'Friday' Aguri
Kimi's future heads to Hockenheim
Button says Honda not in 'crisis'
Rubens' on my pace, says Button
McLaren, BMW, push ahead
Boosted Alonso plays down Ferrari challenge
Brit GP not guaranteed, says Hill
Bernie applauds BMW concept
Schu still silent about future
Fisi calls Ferrari 'dangerous'
Montagny's manager thanks Renault
Toyota has no plans to expand past three teams Toyota has no plans to expand past three teamsToyota has no plans to expand its team lineup beyond the three -- Michael Waltrip Racing, Red Bull Racing and Bill Davis Racing -- it announced in January. Robby Gordon's team, whose contract with Chevrolet ends following this season, is not under consideration. CNNSI
New engine and suspension for McLaren New engine and suspension for McLarenMcLaren is developing new front suspension Juan Pablo Montoya revealed on Thursday.

The main reason for the teams lackluster performance so far in 2006 is believed to be a lack of horsepower from the Mercedes engine.

A new specification Mercedes V8 is scheduled to be introduced at the Nurburgring this weekend, which is expected to be a significant step forward.

“We’re changing a lot of stuff on my car,” the Colombian told ITV Sport’s Ted Kravitz.

“There’s a new suspension system coming. We’re not going to race it yet, but we’re trying a lot of different stuff.”

“They’re doing a new front suspension for both cars, not only my car, but mine’s slightly different,” he said.

“It’s just a way to develop the car and make it better. It’s a question of how we can make the car go quicker and if this makes the car go quicker then we’ll do it.”

J. Lazier, Herb to shoot for Indy 500 J. Lazier, Herb to shoot for Indy 500Jaques Lazier and Jon Herb were confirmed Thursday as the drivers for Playa del Racing and C+S Motorsport who have combined their efforts.
F1 Quiz F1 Quiz
1. Michael Schumacher began a stretch of seven straight victories at the 2004 European Grand Prix, which would become one of the numerous records that he holds or shares. In this particular case, he shares the mark with another world champion. Which one?

a. Alberto Ascari
b. Jim Clark
c. Nigel Mansell
d. Alain Prost
e. Jackie Stewart

2. How many world championship Grands Prix has the Nürburgring hosted?

a. 25 (13 German GPs, 1 Luxembourg GP, 11 European GPs)
b. 30 (16 German GPs, 2 Luxembourg GPs, 12 European GPs)
c. 35 (23 German GPs, 2 Luxembourg GPs, 10 European GPs)
d. 40 (16 German GPs, 1 Luxembourg GP, 23 European GPs)
e. 45 (30 German GPs, 3 Luxembourg GPs, 12 European GPs)
3. When Jacques Villeneuve took his very first career victory at the 1996 European Grand Prix, what was his position on the starting grid?

a. 1st ahead of Hill, Schumacher and Alesi
b. 2nd behind Hill and ahead of Schumacher and Alesi
c. 3rd behind Schumacher and Hill and ahead of Alesi
d. 4th behind Hill, Alesi and Schumacher
e. 1st ahead of Schumacher, Hill and Alesi

4. The European Grand Prix has been held on the Nürburgring, on the Spanish circuit of Jerez de la Frontera, at Brands Hatch in England and once, in 1993, on another English circuit. Which one?

a. Cadwell Park
b. Donington Park
c. Oulton Park
d. Snetterton
e. Thruxton

5. It happened one May 7…

a. In 1946, the birth in Belfast, Northern Ireland, of driver John Watson.
b. In 1959, at Monaco, the first career victory of Jack Brabham.
c. In 1978, at Monaco, the first of two career victories by French driver Patrick Depailler.
d. In 1980, at Zolder, the first of three career victories by French driver Didier Pironi.
e. In 1982, the tragic death of Gilles Villeneuve during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Answers: 1) a; 2) c; 3) b; 4) b ; 5) c – a, May 4, 1946; b, May 10, 1959; d, May 4, 1980; e, May 8, 1982. Octane

Montoya holding his own against Raikkonen Montoya holding his own against RaikkonenThe little Colombian's F1 future appears up in the air, especially since the announcement of Alonso's transfer from Renault to McLaren in 2007. At age 30, one can assume that he still would like to stay around and have some more good seasons in F1 and his results so far in 2006 are helping him to make his case. He was ahead of Räikkönen for the third time this year in qualifying at Imola and beat him in the race too for the second time. And with the six points from his third place at Imola, he ranks fifth overall, only three points behind his teammate.
GAINSCO/Blackhawk shakes down brand-new Riley GAINSCO/Blackhawk shakes down brand-new RileyMONTEREY, Calif. – Today, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty took the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley out under the bright Northern California sunshine, as the Road & Track 250 weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca kicked off with an unofficial test day. The laps were the first for the team’s newly-rebuilt car, sporting a brand-new Riley MkXI chassis, #020. While lap times and speeds are not available, as the day’s two sessions were not timed, both drivers felt like their track time was well-used to improve the No. 99 machine. The team also introduced a new logo on the No. 99’s rear wing – “Pregunte por GAINSCO,” the auto insurance company’s Spanish marketing slogan.
Owner Quote:

Bob Stallings: “We’re learning a lot because even though we were fast out of the box here last year, the track has changed quite a bit – especially the curbing. Now we just need to work out a solid setup that both Jon and Alex will be comfortable driving. We’re excited to have a new logo on the car – ‘Pregunte por GAINSCO’ – as part of GAINSCO’s efforts to market to the rapidly growing Hispanic market across the Southwest. There are signs up in more than 6,000 insurance agencies across the nation with our car on it, telling Spanish-speaking customers to ‘Ask for GAINSCO!’”

Driver Quotes:

Alex Gurney: “The track is definitely not quite the same, as the lower curbs are allowing a lot more dirt on the course – which has a big impact on where we’re driving. It was a good test session and tomorrow we’ll apply what we learned and try to work on things some more.”

Jon Fogarty: “It’s just so low-grip right now with all the sand that it’s tough to get a read. But it’s something that you’ve just got to deal with and work around. It’s going to be difficult to pass here, even if you’re substantially faster than the car ahead. That means starting position will be absolutely critical this weekend.”

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Inside Grand Prix Nurburg, Germany
1:30am-2:00am SPEED
Formula 1 Qualifying Nurburg, Germany
8:00am-9:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Driven to Win   
9:00am-9:30am (R) -Rusty & Stephen Wallace
9:30am-10:00am (R) -Brian Vickers BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL
NASCAR Live! Richmond
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
Int'l Motorsports Hall Of Fame Talladega
1:00pm-2:00pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR Performance  
5:00pm-5:30pm SPEED
NASCAR RaceDay Richmond
5:30pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Speed News Saturday  
7:00pm-7:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Richmond
7:00pm-11:00pm (L) FX
NHRA Qualifying Atlanta
9:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2
AMA Supercross 250cc Las Vegas -Finals
10:00pm-1:30am (L) SPEED

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

Racing News
Team out to break world record for diesel power Team out to break world record for diesel powerVisioneering, a leading engineering partner for automotive, aerospace and other manufacturing industries, is proud to announce its latest programme, a land speed record attempt car, which is being built by the Coventry company for JCB. This well known manufacturer of construction equipment, with its JCB DIESELMAX car, aims to create the world’s fastest diesel-powered automobile and set a new record in excess of 300 mph.

JCB first contracted Visioneering to design and build the purpose-designed streamliner car towards the end of 2005 and the project has been under wraps since that time, until its official launch last week. The Visioneering engineering team is working alongside Ricardo, who is responsible for the engine build and development and with JCB’s own transmission engineers. Visioneering has been responsible for the car chassis, suspension & brakes, carbon bodywork, powertrain installation and car control systems. They are also leading the running of the car during testing and development as well as the record attempt at Bonneville.

Brian Horner, Chief Executive, Visioneering, says of this unique project, “Being selected by JCB to be the engineering partner for this programme is a milestone for our company and demonstrates our ability to provide advanced technology solutions to bespoke projects – and it doesn’t get more ‘bespoke’ than a 21st century diesel-powered world land speed record car. zzzz

“We are developing an extremely high profile car, which received widespread publicity on its announcement. We have the challenge of achieving JCB’s goals and bringing home the record title. It’s a welcome challenge, one we are relishing and for which we have the expertise, experience and team of engineers to achieve.”

The Visioneering team for the project is led by John Piper, a former Formula 1 and motorsport industry engineer and specialist in special vehicle design engineering. His team is dedicated to providing the infrastructure needed to take this project from its inception through to completion.

Horner adds, “This prestigious project will fully utilize the engineering expertise we have in-house. This type of ground-breaking programme with its need for technologically advanced solutions is our forte. We’re always working on a diverse range of design engineering and manufacturing assignments, but this is certainly one of the most extreme. We look forward to seeing the car take its first run in the summer.”

Visioneering is a supplier of expertise, technology and project management for the automotive, aerospace and manufacturing industries. The company is vastly experienced in automotive tooling, design engineering and parts manufacture and with comprehensive turnkey programmes can handle Styling, Engineering, Data Control Models, Environmental Cubes, Panel Checking Fixtures, Assembly Fixtures and Tooling for Prototype and Production Parts. The enviable client list of this Coventry-based firm includes many top automotive marques and aerospace manufacturers.

Street circuit could favor Dyson Lolas Street circuit could favor Dyson LolasBRASELTON, Ga.  – A sturdy, robust package combined with positive feedback during recent testing has led to plenty of smiles at Dyson Racing. Confidence – not to mention expectations – are on the rise for next week’s Lone Star Grand Prix.

The two-car team could be in perfect position to pick up its first victory of the new American Le Mans Series season with the new Lola B06/10-AER next week at Houston’s Reliant Park street circuit. Following a second- and third-place finish in LMP1 at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Dyson Racing has done considerable work in the wind tunnel and on the dyno (along with a few days of testing at Road Atlanta) in preparation of the upcoming Houston and Mid-Ohio rounds.

“We had a great test at Atlanta prior to Sebring,” said Guy Smith, who is teaming with Chris Dyson in the No. 20 Lola. “I really don’t think we showed our hand at Sebring at all. Our car itself has good mechanical grip. A place like Houston definitely should suit our car.”

Two elements of street-circuit racing are working in Dyson Racing’s favor. The new car is built to new LMP1 regulations and at 900 kilograms is more than 100 kilograms heavier than the Lola EX257s the team had used since 2002. The added weight and rigid design will help greatly, considering street circuits are bumpy by nature and have little to no margin for error.  zzzz

“I think that the car should be well-equipped for the tight Houston circuit,” Chris Dyson said. “We have quite a bit more downforce than our previous car and everything is that much beefier at a higher weight. It certainly helps to be running at 900 kilograms because that’s the weight around which the car was designed.”

The current Lola also has a much more powerful engine than previous. But there have been some hiccups along the way, most notably cooling issues at Sebring. But Smith says that was sorted out at Road Atlanta just a couple of weeks after the 12 Hours.

“As the engine would get hotter, we would lose power,” Smith explained. “Part of that is the location of the air coolers on the car. We know what the problem is, and we’ve been working in the wind tunnel and on the dyno to fix them.”

Should Dyson Racing claim an overall win at Houston, it will do so against some familiar faces. The Audi R8, with 47 Series wins since 2000, will race in the next three Series rounds before giving way to the diesel-powered R10 TDI, which won at Sebring. Dyson’s James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger beat the R8 twice last year. In addition, Autocon Motorsports is fielding the same Lola that Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace ran last year.

Smith also is wary of a couple of P2 entries: Penske Racing’s two Porsche RS Spyders and the Intersport Racing Lola B05/40-AER, which won in class at Sebring.

“The American Le Mans Series is fantastic because you’re always racing in mixed company,” Dyson said. “There's always action on the track. On a street course, the closing rates on the slower cars are magnified because of the tight confines. Overtaking is undoubtedly going to be difficult in Houston, but that's why the race should be such a good show. The organizers have done a terrific job putting this event together. They're experienced and they have listened to the drivers’ input, so I think it should be a nice event for us.”

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 the CBS network. 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.

Monterrey Grand Prix sponsoring sport segments through Tecate Monterrey Grand Prix sponsoring sport segments through TecateThe Monterrey Grand Prix is sponsoring a sport news segment on Monterrey, Mexico TV Azteca local broadcaster in conjunction with race sponsor Tecate. Before and after the segment an ad for the race is shown while voice says "This segment is/was brought to the fans who love to melt the pavement by Tecate, official sponsor of the Monterrey Grand Prix." During the segment, two Tecate Monterrey Grand Prix logos are shown on either side of the sportscaster. Jose Arrambide
Road to Indy: Dreyer and Reinbold pairs up 500 ex-winners Road to Indy: Dreyer and Reinbold pairs up 500 ex-winnersIn 1994, Roger Penske paired Indianapolis winners Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi in a formidable 1-2 punch that resulted in Unser's second win in the 500-Mile race.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is hoping to recapture some of that magic this year, pairing two-time winner Unser with its regular driver, 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier.

"I can't believe it's been that long since two 500 winners have gotten together," Unser said. "I feel it makes the team that much stronger."

Unser should know. He's been part of the last three teams which paired former winners (1993 with Danny Sullivan for Rick Galles and 1994-95 with Fittipaldi at Penske.) But the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner said chemistry between teammates is more important than past success.

"It's critical to have a teammate that you can get along with," Unser said. "Quite honestly, with Buddy's attitude and his style of driving, we're going to be able to work very well together, be able to share the setups, just do some double duty out there. I'm sure that I'll be able to drive his car. I'm sure he'll be able to drive mine. We'll be able to really work together." zzzz

Lazier, the only driver to appear in every IRL-sanctioned Indianapolis 500, returns to Indianapolis chasing a return trip to Victory Lane. Ten years removed from his Indianapolis 500 victory, he still laments the ones that got away.

"I don't think much about (the win)," he said. "But really what I have more on my mind was in 1998 and 2000 when I was runner-up by just a little bit. It's satisfying to think back on winning the Indianapolis 500 - under any circumstances it's a wonderful accomplishment of a goal and dream."

This season, Lazier returns with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which has had strong runs at Indianapolis with team co-owner Robbie Buhl. Lazier has soldiered to three consecutive 14th-place finishes in the first three events of the 2006 season, but admits running well at Indianapolis is a primary focus of the season.

"I've spent the better part of 10 years trying to get back to victory lane, and on many occasions felt like I had the team and car to do it," he said. "If you race IndyCars, you race to win, you race to make a living, you race to win championships. I've been fortunate to win the championship within that 10-year period. But what plays on my mind are how close we've been to winning that race a few times.

"The thing about the Indy 500 is the consequences for mistake are so large and the critical nature of the setup of the race car and the race driver being switched on for the whole month of May, the intensity of it. It's a very unique event within our sport. It takes everything and puts it to the max and tests the car and driver like no other place we race."

WINNERS ON THE SAME TEAM (Only teammates who started the race are listed)
* denotes also won race
1920 Jules Goux & Howdy Wilcox (Peugeot);
1923 Tommy Milton* & Howdy Wilcox (H.C.S);
Ralph de Palma & Dario Resta (Packard)
1937 Bill Cummings & Louis Meyer (Boyle)
1967 Parnelli Jones, Jim Clark & Graham Hill (Team Lotus)
1972 Al Unser & Mario Andretti (Vel's Parnelli Jones)
1973 Al Unser & Mario Andretti (Vel's Parnelli Jones)
1974 Al Unser & Mario Andretti (Vel's Parnelli Jones)
1975 Al Unser & Mario Andretti (Vel's Parnelli Jones)
1980 Mario Andretti, Rick Mears & Bobby Unser (Penske Racing)
1981 Rick Mears & Bobby Unser* (Penske Racing);
Gordon Johncock & Mario Andretti (Patrick Racing)
1982 Gordon Johncock* & Mario Andretti (Patrick Racing)
1983 Al Unser & Rick Mears (Penske Racing)
1984 Al Unser & Rick Mears* (Penske Racing)
A.J. Foyt & Johnny Rutherford (A.J. Foyt Racing)
1985 Al Unser & Rick Mears (Penske Racing)
1986 Al Unser, Rick Mears & Danny Sullivan (Penske Racing)
1987 Al Unser*, Rick Mears & Danny Sullivan (Penske Racing)
1988 Al Unser, Rick Mears* & Danny Sullivan (Penske Racing)
1989 Al Unser, Rick Mears & Danny Sullivan (Penske Racing)
1990 Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan & Emerson Fittipaldi (Penske Racing)
1991 Rick Mears* & Emerson Fittipaldi (Penske Racing)
1992 Rick Mears & Emerson Fittipaldi (Penske Racing)
Tom Sneva & Al Unser (Team Menard)
1993 Al Unser, Jr. & Danny Sullivan (Galles Racing)
1994 Al Unser, Jr.* & Emerson Fittipaldi (Penske Racing) IRL

Panasonic Showcases Matsuura, IndyCar Series in Times Square Panasonic Showcases Matsuura, IndyCar Series in Times SquareKosuke Matsuura is larger than life in Times Square.  Panasonic, a leader in digital imaging, is bringing the excitement of the IndyCar Series and the 90th Indianapolis 500 to Times Square in New York via its state-of-the-art Astrovision video screen. 

Matsuura, driving the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone, is showcased in the 60-second feature twice every hour. It will continue until the May 28 Indianapolis 500. A new video incorporating additional footage of Matsuura will be introduced in June, and will continue to air 16 times each day for the remainder of the IndyCar Series season.

Matsuura, Rookie of the Year at Indianapolis in 2004, begins practice for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 9. He is sixth in the championship standings with a career-best three consecutive top-seven finishes, including seventh in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi on April 22.

"Of course I am disappointed because I expected a better result, but seventh was not too bad," he said. "This was good for the championship points. This was the most important race for me this year, and I had a lot of fans here.

"During the month of May, I think we will have a great car and hopefully we can have a top-five finish in the Indy 500." IRL

Marco Andretti to start mini-marathon Marco Andretti to start mini-marathonAndretti Green Racing's Marco Andretti won't be running in the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon, but he will play a key role in the May 6 road race in Indianapolis.  Andretti, the driver of the No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone, will wave the green flag at the start of the race in downtown Indianapolis. One America is a sponsor of Andretti Green Racing.
Busch pays for calling police gay Busch pays for calling police gayNASCAR driver Kurt Busch was pulled over in November by Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff's deputies. Busch became belligerent, calling the deputies "punks" who "should be directing traffic somewhere," according to the sheriff's report. Busch, who had just signed a major sponsorship deal with Miller Lite, refused to complete what he called their "gay-ass" field sobriety test. Busch passed breath tests that night and later apologized to the deputies. In February he made a plea deal on misdemeanor and civil charges.

For his community service, Busch, as part of a charity fundraising effort, signed autographs and threw out the first pitch for a game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants in April, according to his attorney, Lee Stein. Busch also donated $10,000 worth of baseball equipment to the Westside Recreation League in Avondale, Ariz. And he will pay all production and media costs to air a public service TV commercial with himself and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, warning about the perils of reckless driving.  More at USA Today 

Button: Honda still too slow Button: Honda still too slowBriton Jenson Button does not see either him or his teammate Rubens Barrichello standing on top of the podium after the fifth round of the F1 season at the Nurburgring.

"I'm not going to say we're going to win the race, I don't think we are quick enough to do so. I think the Renault is going to be very strong here," he told reporters at the circuit on Thursday.

Newman to open camp in Italy Newman to open camp in ItalyUPDATE On his way to the camp Paul Newman went to Maranello to visit Ferrari's headquarters.  He was welcomed by Ferrari General Manager Jean Todt, who showed him the Ferrari plant. At the historic Fiorano track, Newman drove the new Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.


05/04/06 Champ Car team owner Paul Newman is opening a Hole In The Wall Camp in Italy AutoRacing1.com has learned.  It will be the first of its kind in Italy and will be in Limestre, Italy.  The deal Newman made is in association with Dynamo and its foundation directors Vincenzo Manes and Serena Porcaria.  The property where the camp for terminally ill children will be located is owned by SMI Societa Metallargicia Italiana.

Our hats off to Paul Newman for all the work he does with Hole in the Wall Camps.  His work for charity and those in need will be his #1 lasting legacy for a great man.

PORT-A-COOL returns as team sponsor for Brooks team PORT-A-COOL returns as team sponsor for Brooks teamHouston, Texas -  Port-a-Cool, a Texas based corporation specializing in portable evaporative coolers and a long-time supporter of John Brooks, returns as a sponsor for the team at the Houston Grand Prix.  “This race is really important to me,” said Rick Campbell, President of Port-a-Cool.  “The last time Champ Car was in Houston, it was John’s last race as an Atlantic driver. And being right in our backyard is great visibility for my company!  Having this race back in Houston is huge for the city and I know all the locals will enjoy watching these premier series.”

“Rick’s been a friend of the team for many years and the series – his units keep several teams cool during the long summer months.”  said John Brooks, team owner.  “We’ll run the Port-a-Cool logo on both our cars for this race in recognition of our history and their loyal support.”

The team, field drivers Luis Schiavo and Norbert Siedler, is looking forward to stronger results at the Fast Trac 100.  Both drivers were involved in an accident late in the race at Long Beach, but went on to finish.  Following the series test day at MSR Houston later this week, the team will head to Houston to finalize its preparations for the weekend. zzzz

Port-a-Cool, in business for 16 years, boasted a 40% growth in 2005.  Their product lines cool hot spots across the United States, including the sidelines for the Houston Texans and 22 other NFL teams.

Brooks Associates Racing moved into its new building in Tucson in April, following nearly a year of construction.  “The building is custom built for our team’s needs; everything else in Tucson was either way too big or inaccessible with the tractor unit.  It’s been one of my goals since I retired from driving, to put my team in a proper facility.  A few more podiums this year and I’ll be happy!” said John.

Visit champcaratlantic.com for the latest updates from the series and team.  Visit portacool.com for details about the Port-a-Cool product line.

Castroneves eager to chase history Castroneves eager to chase historyIt's safe to say that two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves enters the 90th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" as a favorite to add a third victory to his resume.

Castroneves leads the IndyCar Series point standings with two victories, at St. Petersburg, Fla., and Motegi, Japan, in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. If Castroneves wins May 28, he will become the youngest three-time winner in the history of the race. Castroneves turns 31 on May 10; Louis Meyer was seven weeks shy of his 32nd birthday when he earned his third Indianapolis victory in 1936.

"I can't wait to get to Indy and get the month started," Castroneves said. "The team has been working really well together this year, and it shows in our results. To come to Indy leading the points is a great feeling for us, and I just hope we're still leading the points when we leave at the end of the month."

Castroneves was recognized for his strong start this season by finishing second in first-quarter voting in the Speed Channel Driver of the Year contest. He received one first-place vote and 68 points.

NHRA Top Fuel dragster driver Melanie Troxel topped the voting with 82 points and became the first woman to lead quarterly voting. A total of 14 drivers scored points in the first-quarter voting by the panel of 17 journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S.

GEICO, Unser team up for Indy GEICO, Unser team up for IndyAl Unser Jr. will have the GEICO gecko on his side as he begins preparations for the 90th Indianapolis 500.

Two-time 500-Mile Race champion Unser will roll onto the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the red, white and blue No. 31 A1 Team USA/GEICO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

"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," said Rick Weidinger, owner of the Team USA franchise in the A1 GP series and a former IndyCar Series 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 motorsports.

"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."

Q and A with Legge and Pastorelli Q and A with Legge and PastorelliToday on the Champ Car media teleconference was Katherine Legge, driver of the #20 Bell Micro/Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for PKV Racing.  Katherine was just coming off of her first oval track test yesterday, she ran up at the Milwaukee Mile. 

Also on the media conference was the driver of the #8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Rocketsports Racing, Nicky Pastorelli. Transcript

Montagny lands LeMans seat Montagny lands LeMans seatFranck Montagny, who was just announced as the 2nd Super Aguri F1 driver,  will drive for Pescarolo Sport in this year's Le Mans 24 Hour race.  It will be his 7th start in the French classic.

His previous starts:

1998 Courage C36 with Pescarolo and Grouillard
1999 Lola B98 with Tinseau and Terrien
2000 Cadillac with Bernard and Collard
2001 Chrysler with Sarrazin and Dalmas
2002 Dallara with Sarrazin and Minassian
2005 Audi with Gounon and Ortelli

His best finish is 4th in 2005.

FAQs for Indy 500 FAQs for Indy 500
Q. In what year did the first Indianapolis 500 take place?
A. 1911. Ray Harroun won in the Marmon Wasp.

Q. Has the Indianapolis 500 been an annual event since 1911?
A. No. The race did not take place in 1917-18 and 1942-45 due to America's involvement in the world wars.

Q. The Indianapolis 500 consists of how many laps?
A. 200.

Q. Why was the distance of 500 miles selected?
A. Having decided to dispense with multi-race programs and concentrate on one major race for 1911, Speedway leader Carl Fisher and his partners envisioned an event that would appeal to the public by lasting approximately seven hours between mid-morning and late afternoon. A distance of 500 miles was settled upon, and Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 in six hours, 42 minutes and eight seconds.

Q. What is the distance of one lap around the oval?
A. 2.5 miles. The track has four distinct turns and straightaways, a layout unchanged since the facility opened in 1909. The front and back straightaways are 5/8th of a mile each, with the "short chute" straightaways between Turns 1 and 2 and Turns 3 and 4 at 1/8th of a mile each. Each of the four turns is 1/4th of a mile long.

Q. What is the degree of banking in the turns?
A. Each of the four turns on the oval is banked at exactly 9 degrees, 12 minutes, the same dimensions as when the track opened in 1909.

Q. Which driver has won the Indianapolis 500 the most times?
A. Three drivers have won the Indianapolis 500 four times each: A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977); Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991). zzzz

Q. Who is the youngest winner of the Indianapolis 500?
A. Troy Ruttman was 22 years, 80 days old when he won the 36th Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1952.

Q. Who is the oldest winner of the Indianapolis 500?
A. Al Unser was 47 years, 360 days old when he won the 71st Indianapolis 500 on May 24, 1987.

Q. What is the name of the trophy presented to the winner of the race each year?
A. The Borg-Warner Trophy, which was commissioned in 1935 by the Borg-Warner Automotive Company. In 1936, Indianapolis 500 winner Louis Meyer was the first driver to receive the trophy.

Q. Why does the winner of the Indianapolis 500 drink milk in Victory Lane?
A. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Louis Meyer regularly drank buttermilk to refresh himself on a hot day and happened to drink some in Victory Lane as a matter of habit after winning the 1936 race. An executive with what was then the Milk Foundation was so elated when he saw the moment captured in a photograph in the sports section of his newspaper the following morning that he vowed to make sure it would be repeated in coming years. There was a period between 1947-55 when milk was apparently no longer offered, but the practice was revived in 1956 and has been a tradition ever since.

Q. Have women competed in the Indianapolis 500?
A. Four women have raced in the Indianapolis 500: Janet Guthrie (1977-79), Lyn St. James (1992-97, 2000), Sarah Fisher (2000-04) and Danica Patrick (2005).

Q. Have any rookies won the Indianapolis 500?
A. Yes. Eight drivers have won as Indianapolis 500 rookies: Ray Harroun (1911, inaugural race), Jules Goux (1913), Rene Thomas (1914), Frank Lockhart (1926), George Souders (1927), Graham Hill (1966), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), Helio Castroneves (2001).

Q. Have there always been 33 cars in the starting field of the Indianapolis 500?
A. No. After 40 cars started in the inaugural race in 1911, the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (AAA), the sanctioning body at the time, mandated a formula for limiting the size of a starting field according to the size of the track. It was determined that the safe distance between each car spread equally around a course would be 400 feet, thereby limiting the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway to 33 cars. Speedway President Carl Fisher, however, placed a limit of only 30 cars for the "500" between 1912 and 1914 and did not adopt AAA's 33 maximum until 1915. Although there had been numerous occasions between 1912 and 1928 when the field was not filled, the allowed number was increased during the Depression years to 40 cars between 1930 and 1932 (only 38 made it in 1930) and further to 42 in 1933. The maximum has been at 33 ever since 1934, although extenuating circumstances expanded the field to 35 starters in 1979 and 1997.

Q. What is the fastest official lap ever turned during the month of May?
A. 237.498 mph by Arie Luyendyk during qualifying May 12, 1996. Luyendyk turned a lap of 239.260 during practice May 10, 1996. It was the fastest unofficial lap ever at the Speedway, as practice laps are not official.

Q. Who was the first driver to turn an official lap of 200 mph during the month of May?
A. Tom Sneva, who turned 200.401 mph and 200.535 on Laps 1 and 2 of his qualifying run on May 14, 1977.

Q. Has any driver ever won the Indianapolis 500 three times in a row or more?
A. No. Five drivers have won the race two years in a row: Wilbur Shaw (1939-40), Mauri Rose (1947-48), Bill Vukovich (1953-54), Al Unser (1970-71) and Helio Castroneves (2001-02).

Q. Who was the first driver and team to earn $1 million in one year for winning the Indianapolis 500?
A. Emerson Fittipaldi and Patrick Racing, whose winner's share was $1,001,604 in 1989.

Q. Has any driver raced in the Indianapolis 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis during their career?
A. No. Eight drivers have raced in the Indianapolis 500 and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: John Andretti, Geoff Brabham, A.J. Foyt, Robby Gordon, Jason Leffler, Scott Pruett, Tony Stewart and Danny Sullivan. Juan Pablo Montoya, Jacques Villeneuve and Tomas Enge each have raced in the Indianapolis 500 and the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. IMS
McLaren Mercedes to announce Alonso's teammate McLaren Mercedes to announce Alonso's teammateMcLaren-Mercedes will announce the 2007 team-mate of newly-signed world champion Fernando Alonso by the July 30 German Formula One Grand Prix at the latest, Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug said on Thursday.

McLaren finalized the hiring of world champion and 2006 leader Fernando Alonso from Renault ahead of the current season. They must now decide whether to keep the 2005 runner-up Kimi Raikkonen or Juan Pablo Montoya at the team in the second car.

'I expect and hope that we will be ready at our next home race in Hockenheim. Maybe even a little earlier,' said Haug ahead of the other German race, the European GP on the Nurburgring.

Haug said the team was in talks with both drivers.

Raikkonen has been linked with Ferrari and Montoya is reportedly also prepared to leave, but Haug said 'I don't expect us to race with two new drivers next season.' Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Yates refuses to build COT yet Yates refuses to build COT yetThe next Car of Tomorrow [COT] test is scheduled for May 30 and 31 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. NASCAR said it hopes to have at least eight cars on the track and as many as 12. One team that won't be there is Robert Yates Racing. Yates has yet to start working on the Car of Tomorrow and doesn't plan to until NASCAR sets its rules. Car owner Jack Roush said he's built and rebuilt the Car of Tomorrow a couple of times. Every time he gets one done, NASCAR makes changes. He said he spent more than $300,000 on the car before it ever hit the track. Augusta Chronicle
Energy Secretary to attend Ethanol Day at Speedway Energy Secretary to attend Ethanol Day at SpeedwaySPEEDWAY, Ind.– With ethanol-blended fuel debuting in the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race this year, added attention has been focused on the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” 
This Thursday, May 11, will be called “Ethanol Day” at the famed Brickyard with a variety of activities surrounding the day’s practice sessions.  The pole position for this year’s Indy 500 will be determined on Saturday, May 13.
Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman is scheduled to attend “Ethanol Day” at the Speedway to gain a “close-up” view of the racing machines running on an ethanol-blended fuel.  Secretary Bodman will be a special guest of the Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol operation, the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 11.
Among the activities involving Secretary Bodman on May 11 include his serving as an honorary pit crew member on the Team Ethanol car driven by Jeff Simmons, receiving a two-seater IndyCar ride from the Indy Racing Experience, holding a press conference at the trackside media room to discuss ethanol in racing and the future of renewable fuels in this country, participating in a tour of the Team Ethanol garage area (led by team owner Bobby Rahal) as well as the Speedway Museum and a meeting with the EPIC (Ethanol Promotion and Information Council) executives.  zzzz
In addition, other ethanol-blended racing cars (drag racing, sprint cars, etc.) will be on display in the Speedway Plaza Pavilion area for spectators to get an up-close view of the machines.
This year marks the first time since 1965 (when methanol was introduced to Indy car-style racing), a new fuel grade will be incorporated into the high-tech world at Indy. 
The Indy 500 has embraced alternative fuel sources with the introduction of ethanol into its fuel blend in 2006.  A blend of ten percent ethanol fuel and ninety percent methanol will power the Honda engines in the 2006 Indy 500.  And, in 2007, all of the machines in the 91st Indy 500 will run 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol.  
Ethanol, made from a variety of plants including corn, milo/sorghum, sugar cane and cellulosic material, is produced in the United States and has proven to burn cleaner than methanol and gasoline, the majority of current racing fuels. 
The transition to ethanol-blended fuel transition has shown no significant technical stumbling blocks.  At the first two races in 2006, Sam Hornish Jr. broke the Homestead-Miami Speedway qualifying track record and Dario Franchitti set a new one-lap record at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with the new fuel blend.
The IRL technical directors have already determined that the new ethanol fuel has no change in horsepower and speed.  Yet fuel mileage has improved.
“We have noticed no changes so far in the Honda engine’s performance with the new ethanol blend,” said Jeff Horton, director of engineering for the IndyCar Series. 
“The transition between methanol and ethanol in our cars has been very smooth,” said Phil Casey, IRL senior technical director.  “Our cars don’t sound differently, smell differently or run differently than they have in the past.”
The 2006 Indy 500 will not be the first time ethanol has powered a car in the world’s biggest race, the Indianapolis 500, on May 28 this year.  In the 1927 “Brickyard” classic, a car driven by Leon Duray was operated with ethyl (grain) alcohols.
The Ethanol relationship with the Indy 500, IndyCar Series and its sanctioning body, the Indy Racing League, was assisted through the cooperation of a group of companies within the fast-growing ethanol industry, led by the major ethanol design-build firms Fagen Inc., ICM Inc. and Broin Companies. To gain awareness, the ethanol industry has sponsored a car in the IndyCar Series since 2005. 
Track News
Race Fans Can "Drive The Mile” This Sunday Race Fans Can "Drive The Mile” This SundayAuto racing fans who have watched the likes of Rusty Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Al and Bobby Unser, A.J. Foyt and countless other driving heroes from the grandstands at The Milwaukee Mile will get their chance to “Drive The Mile” this Sunday from 10:00am until 2:00pm.

Individuals can drive their personal vehicle on The Milwaukee Mile, with proceeds benefiting Hunger Task Force.  Work trucks, classic cars, motorcycles, limousines, passenger cars and even a hearse been spotted taking laps in previous “Drive The Mile” events at America’s Legendary Oval.

Admission for taking "three laps of fame" is two non-perishable food items AND $15.

Several hundred car club enthusiasts have expressed interest in taking laps in the early morning hours, then displaying their cars throughout the day in the paddock area.  In addition to the car show, a free-to-participate swap meet and car corral will fill the pit area, with food and refreshments available.  Music by Dietrich will  entertain with his impressive collection of automobile-related music.
Participants are welcome to bring their camera to have their picture taken in Victory Lane, or have their photo taken for $5, with proceeds going to Hunger Task Force. zzzz

Drivers must be 18 years of age or older, present a valid driver’s license AND proof of current vehicle insurance.  Each driver must pay $15 to drive a car three laps.  There is no age limit to riding in a vehicle.

The Milwaukee Mile’s Gilbert Brown, former Green Bay Packer and avid auto enthusiast, will climb behind the wheel of a 1957 Chevrolet race car.  He’ll be participating with the Grand National Vintage Racing group throughout the day, as well as taking racing hot laps with other racers from 2:00pm until 3:00pm.

For more information, call The Milwaukee Mile at 414-453-5761, or visit www.milwaukeemile.com.

Telmex to sponsor Atlantic team Telmex to sponsor Atlantic teamWe here at AutoRacing1 have said a number of times that Champ Car should pursue the Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex to do more to support Mexican drivers in Champ Car. Telmex spends huge amounts of money in racing, just not with a Champ Car team. While Telmex is still not sponsoring anyone in Champ Car, we have learned exclusively that they will be involved in Atlantics. Mexican driver David Martinez will be sponsored by Telmex for the rest of the season. The deal involves enough money for David and Team US/RaceTronics to compete for the whole season. Telmex will be the main sponsor on the car for Houston and Monterrey and will be an associate sponsor for the rest of the races. Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico
New NASCAR team announced New NASCAR team announcedMooresville, N.C. – Las Vegas-based business executive David Carver announced today the formation of Carver Racing.  The new team will participate in the NASCAR Busch Series during the 2006 season.  Kevin Conway, a native of Lynchburg, Va., will drive the No. 40 Dodge and compete for the Rookie of the Year award.  The team is set to make its debut at Richmond International Raceway this Friday.

The organization is led by General Manager Joe Whitley, who has been involved in the motorsports industry for 25 years, and Crew Chief Steve Plattenberger, a long-time veteran of the Busch Series.  Carver Racing is based in Mooresville, N.C. 

David Carver, who has 30 years of experience in the construction and development field, is no stranger to the sports arena.  He is currently a principal in the Triple Crown of Polo, the foremost polo series in the United States.

“I’m really excited about being involved in NASCAR,” said David Carver.  “We’ve put together a team of talented and experienced personnel, and we’re all looking forward to having success both on and off the track.” zzzz

For the 27-year-old Conway, who is a veteran of the USAC open wheel series and the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, this opportunity to compete full-time in the Busch Series is the next step in his career.

“I’ve been working to get to this level since I was six years old.  Now I have a great chance to prove what I’m capable of doing,” said driver Kevin Conway.  “We may be a new team, but we have an experienced group of people in place, I’m excited to show the rest of the NASCAR industry what we’re all about.”

In three previous NASCAR Busch Series starts this season, Conway has a best finish of 28th place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 11.

Miracle Sealants to sponsor both PR1 Motorsports Miracle Sealants to sponsor both PR1 MotorsportsArcadia, California - Continuing on a relationship that was established last season when Mike Forest clinched the Pacific F2000 Series Championship, Miracle Sealants will continue to serve as a sponsor for Mike and in addition, sponsor the number 23 car of Jonathan Bomarito for the remainder of the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Season.

Miracle Sealants is one of the worlds leading manufacturers’ of tile, stone, grout and masonry protection and care products. Products include, natural and color enhancing sealers, cleaners and restorative abrasives. These products have been used successfully on more than 15 billion square feet of surfaces worldwide.

“The international venue the Champ Car Atlantic Series provides is a perfect marketing opportunity to entertain our 2,400 plus distributors and dealers throughout North America, Canada and Mexico,” commented Al Salvo, co-owner of Miracle Sealants. “We feel Jonathan and Mike will be great representatives for our company as both are professional, articulate and willing to work endlessly to help promote our company and products. We want to help both drivers in their quest to win the championship and at the same time expose this great sport and series to our valued customers.”

Miracle Sealants will be present throughout the series to entertain its customers. Mike, Jonathan and PR1 Motorsports personnel will be available to meet guests as well as provide an up close look at the racecars and technology being utilized at this level. 

Schu to consult family about future Schu to consult family about future(GMM)  Michael Schumacher will consider his young family in the decision about whether or not to sign another Ferrari contract.

That is the revelation of the 37-year-old German's personal manager, Willi Weber, who added that any agreement to race beyond 2006 will be for two years.

But he told 'dpa': ''Naturally there are always exit clauses in today's contracts; no team can force a driver to drive if he doesn't want to.''

Also playing down considerations of salary, Weber said Schumacher would be consulting his wife and two children about whether more 300kph soaring around the grand prix circuits of the world is a good idea.

''There are not only sporting considerations,'' he insisted, ''but also private ones.  Michael's family plays a significant role.''

BMW oppose FIA's 'engine freeze' BMW oppose FIA's 'engine freeze'(GMM)  Mario Theissen has confirmed BMW's opposition to the floated three or five-year 'engine freeze' for F1.

The German agreed that 'very constructive discussions' are taking place between the carmakers' 'GPMA' group and Bernie Ecclestone about a commercial agreement.

The bigger sticking point to a deal, then, is negotiations with the governing FIA about rules.  The 'engine freeze' concept would see each manufacturer's V8 design homologated and tightly controlled for a period of up to five years.

BMW motor sport director Theissen told sport1.de: ''It is true that this (engine freeze) idea does not correspond with our beliefs.

''On the other hand, we see that excessive money and resources are wasted in formula one, (so) we work with other engine manufacturers on the possibility of saving money without having to freeze engine technology for several years.''

He said the tighter regulation of private track testing would be a 'good starting point'.

formula bmw
Gelles Racing ends BMW testing season Gelles Racing ends BMW testing seasonFront Royal –  Gelles Racing ended the official Formula BMW USA pre-season testing schedule with most of its drivers improving their performances from previous sessions. After Road Atlanta and Virginia International Raceway, Carolina Motorsports Park was the site of the last two days of pre-season testing before the schedule gets underway in little more than two weeks at Mid-Ohio. Two Gelles drivers, Campbell and Saavedra were again among the Top Three. BMW officials were on location to scrutiny closely some cars and all Gelles machines were found in compliance.

“Another busy weekend for our team, admitted team owner Bob Gelles. We had one of our Champ Car Atlantic drivers, veteran Stephen Simpson, join in as driver coach. We put Campbell and Saavedra again in the Top Three: Campbell is the captain of this team and he shows his leadership by working relentlessly. Sebastian is a tiger: he takes no prisoner, never complains and is always right up there. John (Zartarian) was quick and confident in Carolina and I have to tip my hat to Joel (Jackson) for improving so much. We even kept one set of new tires for our testing day at Mid-Ohio. The surface is new and fresh rubber can only help get the best out of the Lexington tarmac. We have reached our goals, proving a six-car team can lead the field in such a professional and competitive series.”  zzzz

Ryan Campbell
Ryan fell a mere 0.014 short of the best overall time for the third test this Spring. He had to cut short some sessions to attend an interview on Speed Channel and was limited to four laps in another. ‘’I felt I left some speed in the Western Union car but the gossiping around the legality of my car and the visit at Speed TV with Mr. Despain probably took some focus away, he said. I had the black box installed by BMW USA technical staff on my car all weekend and I’m happy everything was legal as expected to hush the rumors. Now we can get ready for the first double header in three weeks.’’     

Sebastian Saavedra
The 15-year old Colombian has to be the top 2006 rookie at this point. He was always in the Top Five, gave a driving clinic in the rain at Virginia and never put a wheel wrong. “I’m very impressed with this young man, added Gelles. We seem to forget he’s been only six days in an open wheel race car and is always at the top of the charts. Best is that he likes to work with all the drivers.”

John Zartarian
John came into his own this weekend. He was only 0.6 second away from the best time and had a strong pace in all sessions. This can only imply that John will mean business when the reds go out at Mid-Ohio.

Joel Jackson
The Jamaican champion was really in full throttle mode this weekend. From more than two seconds away in the first Spring sessions, Joel was down to only 0.7 from the top at Carolina. “This is definitely the result of team work, claimed Gelles. Joel talks to other drivers, listens to Stephen Simpson and works with his engineers very well. This 19-year old can now set his sites to reach the Top Ten.

Maxime Pelletier
Pelletier did not have his best weekend in Carolina, although he was only a second away from the top of the chart. The French Canadian BMW USA Junior scholar lacked some concentration and could not find his usual speed. “I’m not worried about Maxime, said Gelles. He is among the drivers who will charge hard anytime in a race. At Carolina, it was not his best weekend.” 

Adrien Herberts
Herberts could have stayed home in bed all weekend. He came testing with a stomach flu and was merely the shadow of a racer. Even if he wasn’t as fast as could be expected from a seasoned returning driver like this Canuck, he kept working on his setups and his data. Adrian and his coach Danny are ready for Mid-Ohio.

Herta to appear at Dodgers game Herta to appear at Dodgers gameIndyCar Series driver Bryan Herta will throw out the first pitch before the Los Angeles Dodgers' game with the San Diego Padres on May 4. Herta will also be interviewed during the fifth inning on the Dodger Radio Network by Charlie Steiner, Steve Lyons and Rick Monday.  The game broadcast will also be carried by XM Satellite Radio, which serves as primary sponsor of Herta's Andretti Green Racing Honda-powered Dallara.
Stewart honored with Canadian Racing Series Stewart honored with Canadian Racing SeriesPeople who talk racing in Canada know the name Brian Stewart. More evidence to that fact is the recent naming of two series after the Indy Pro Series team owner and Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame member.

The Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship Series was formed recently by four Ontario kart clubs. Six event weekends are scheduled beginning May 27-28 at the Simcoe Kart Club in Sutton.

Already, more than 200 karters age 8 and up are registered in various classes.

Stewart's name also adorns the Ontario Formula Ford Championship. That series will run seven event weekends beginning June 3-4.

Stewart won the Canadian Formula Ford championship in 1972.  Top drivers from each series will be rewarded by Stewart with a custom-fit Bell Dominator helmet as well as a test in an Indy Pro Series car at Nashville Superspeedway. IRL

Road to Indy: Marco follows in father’s footsteps Road to Indy: Marco follows in father’s footstepsMichael Andretti vividly remembers racing against his father Mario during several Indianapolis 500s. This month, another Andretti hopes to make similar memories.

Michael's 19-year-old son, Marco, will attempt to compete against his father for the first time on racing's biggest stage.

"It should be good fun," Marco Andretti said. "It's what we both love to do."

Four previous father-son combinations have attempted to race together at Indianapolis, including Mario Andretti and his sons Michael and Jeff. In 1984, Michael Andretti started alongside his father in his first Indianapolis 500 and won the Rookie of the Year award. Seven years later, younger brother Jeff started his first 500 and also won the Rookie of the Year.

"To be that close to dad at Indianapolis, it was a big moment for me," said Michael Andretti, who made 10 Indianapolis 500 starts against his father from 1984-94. "To be honest with you, my first year there was pretty much a dream. Everything just seemed to really go my way. It was just so cool to see Dad next to me when we were going down for the green flag." zzzz

But now, the tables have been turned on Andretti, who won the 500-Mile Race as co-owner of Dan Wheldon's effort last season. Andretti said it will be difficult to take off the owner's hat even though he'll be wearing a driver's helmet for the first time since the 2003 Indianapolis 500.

"It's going to be a little strange, I'll tell you," he said. "I think when you're out there as a rookie, you don't have to worry about (your dad). You're just worrying about yourself. Now I'm definitely going to be concerned with what's going on with him. It's going to be a little bit more of a nurturing feeling out there. It's going to be a little bit of an adjustment for me, for sure."

Marco Andretti, the current leader in the chase for the season-long Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award, will make his fourth career IRL IndyCar® Series start at Indianapolis, but he is no stranger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He made his first-ever start on an oval in the IRL Indy Pro Series Freedom 100 last May and won the Liberty Challenge on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course a month later.

Andretti is confident that his son can be successful at Indianapolis and in the IndyCar Series.

"He's got everything it takes," Michael said. "It's just now you got to get him the miles and the experience. And the good part about Indy is you get a lot of running time. That's going to be the goal, just have him out there every day pounding around and just learning."

Marco, who enters Indianapolis off a successful test at Watkins Glen International, added running the entire month with his father as a teammate will be a benefit to his development.

"It will be great to talk to him about what's going on the track," Marco said. "Being on track the same day, he'll know exactly what I'm feeling because he's there. It's priceless information to have."

And priceless memories to make.

It begins for the pair on May 7, when both will participate in the Rookie Orientation Program/refresher course. Marco Andretti, as a first-time driver at Indianapolis, must complete all four speed phases to be eligible to compete for the rest of the month's activities. Michael will participate in a refresher program.

"I'm looking forward to a long month and a shot at the 500," Marco said. "It's good for rookies because I have a month to get my act together. That's going to be the biggest thing for me. I'm nervous and anxious right now. Once I get on track, a lot of unknowns will be answered. I just want to get the month going."

Here's a look at the four previous father-son combinations who attempted to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
. 1977, Jim McElreath and his son James entered the 500. James McElreath failed to qualify.
. 1983, Al Unser Jr., raced against his father, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, for the first time at Indy. The Unsers raced against each other eight additional times.
. 1984, Michael Andretti raced against his father, 1969 winner Mario Andretti, for the first time. The duo raced against each other nine additional times.
. 1991 Jeff Andretti, Michael's younger brother, made the first of three starts against his father. IRL

Montagny replaces a hapless Yuji Ide Montagny replaces a hapless Yuji IdeFollowing advice received from the FIA this week, SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM confirms that Yuji Ide will be participating in the team’s testing days only with immediate effect. Franck Montagny will therefore undertake the role of SAF1 Team second driver at the European Grand Prix this weekend.

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal
“We accept the advice offered by the FIA to allow Yuji to accrue the mileage he requires to improve in Formula One during our testing days only. The team has made every effort to ensure that Yuji settled into his new F1 surroundings and I think that he has coped incredibly well under the circumstances. I wish that I could have given Yuji more time in the car before the start of the season, but with the team being put together so rapidly we were unable to allow him the proper testing that he should have experienced. I will continue to look after Yuji's interests and support his continuing efforts within the team, including his path back to a Formula One race seat. As a result, Franck Montagny will drive for us in the second race seat at the European Grand Prix.”

Racing News
Indy racing alliance sees growth via business network Indy racing alliance sees growth via business networkIndiana just might have the world's largest and most diverse cluster of motorsports race teams, skilled craftsmen and related businesses.  But the industry is so fragmented that an engine builder might not know about a valve-cover designer who works a few blocks away.

A newly formed association wants to change that -- and give thousands of industry workers a chance to work together more closely.

That's the goal of Tom Weisenbach, who started Monday as the first executive director of the fledgling Indiana Motorsports Association.

Weisenbach's goal is to lure the independent-minded business owners into the association to let them meet people who can help them win the next race or contract.

"We have so much already here in the state," Weisenbach said. "It's important that we bring it all in."  More at Indy Star

BMW's history at the Nurburgring BMW's history at the NurburgringMany chapters of success in BMW Motorsport history have been written on the Nürburgring, including 18 overall victories (among them eight one-two wins) in the Nürburgring 24- Hour Race, the last in this long line being claimed in 2005 with the BMW M3 GTR. 2003 saw BMW celebrate a one-two Formula One finish in the Eifel in partnership with WilliamsF1.

As a partner of the Nürburgring GmbH, BMW runs a test centre at the foot of the legendary Nordschleife which, after a three-year refurbishment, is one of the most advanced around. Probably the best known of BMW’s Driver Training centers is also based at the Nürburgring, offering a wide range of courses in safe and sporty driving.

The Nürburgring Erlebnis Welt (adventure world) next to the start/finish area boasts the world’s only permanent BMW racing car exhibition. Meanwhile, visitors can keep pace – literally – with the fascinating experience of the Nordschleife as a passenger in the BMW Ring Taxi, a 507 bhp M5 driven by seasoned racers such as Hans-Joachim Stuck, Sabine Schmitz and Claudia Hürtgen. 2006 sees the 36th Formula One Grand Prix staged at the Nürburgring. The first track variant was opened on 18th/19th June 1927.

On 29th July 1951, Formula One made its first appearance in the Eifel for the German Grand Prix. In the late 1950s and early 1970s the German GP temporarily moved to the Berlin Avus track and Hockenheim respectively. The horrific accident in which Niki Lauda was involved on 1st August 1976 marked the end of the legendary Nordschleife as a Formula One circuit.

On most days of the year the public can pay to drive around the Nordschleife with their own car or motorcycle. The new Nürburgring was inaugurated on 12th May 1984. Since then, Formula One has stopped off in the Eifel ten times for the European Grand Prix, twice for the Luxembourg GP (1997 and 1998) and once for the German Grand Prix (1985).

Between 1999 and 2001 the start/finish area underwent modernization, including the construction of a new pit building and press centre. 2002 saw the completion of the Mercedes Arena, a stadium-like section that extended the course by some 600 meters. As part of the support program for the 2006 European Formula One GP, Formula BMW Germany will be running its fifth and sixth races here. Formula BMW – now comprising four championships (Asia, Britain, Germany, USA) – allows teenagers to drive highly advanced single-seaters powered by 140 bhp BMW engines. BMW

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Toro Rosso undecided about V8 switch
Silverstone set to stun in '06
Drivers to push for qualifying tweak
FIA dislike 'aggressive' teams - Brawn
GP win not yet possible, says BMW
McLaren still eyeing 2006 titles
Karthikeyan prefers test role
Lucky Lauda heralds safer F1
Boost for Prodrive's F1 factory plans
Merc wants Kimi to hang around
Coulthard backs women F1 drivers Coulthard backs women F1 driversRed Bull's David Coulthard believes there is no reason why women drivers cannot be Formula One drivers.

"I'm a great believer that ladies have an equal opportunity to race as men," Coulthard said.

"There's no reason at all why they shouldn't race with men. There's no physical or reaction reason."

"More men get into it, because more boys get into it," said Coulthard.

"My sister was naturally a better driver than I was."

Malaysia team keeping busy Malaysia team keeping busyThe A1 Team Malaysia crew members are currently enjoying a well-deserved break from A1 Grand Prix competition, but the team’s drivers, Alex Yoong and Fairuz Fauzy, are both racing in Europe during the summer.

Fauzy remains in a single seater, competing in the International GP2 series, which supports the FIA Formula One World Championship while Yoong has opted for a sportscar, joining with A1 Team Netherlands boss, Jan Lammers, to contest the Le Mans Series, which includes the famed 24 hours of Le Mans event.

Fauzy was unable to compete for A1 Team Malaysia at the beginning of 2006 due to his pre-season testing commitments for the GP2 series, although he kept in touch and was delighted with the success that the team enjoyed at the final round of the season in Shanghai, with team mate Yoong bringing the team its first victory and following this up with a second place podium finish. These strong results helped to earn the team fifth place in the overall nations Championship standing.

Yoong had already started his preparations for the summer season before the end of the 2005/06 A1 Grand Prix series. He took part in a full test with his RfH team, driving the Dome Mugen LMP1 sports racing car on the weekend prior to the Shanghai A1 Grand Prix event and the car performed well throughout the test. Team Owner Lammers has entered the spirit of World Cup football by painting the entire car in black and white hexagons, like the panels of a football. zzzz

The A1GP duo took part in the first Le Mans series event of the year at the beginning of April, with a race in Istanbul, Turkey. The team posted a strong qualifying performance to start in third place on the grid for the race and started well, lying second behind the eventual winners until, after 62 laps, a broken starter motor forced retirement. Despite the premature end to the race for the team, they were positive for the future, gathering information, learning and developing the car.

Fauzy started his 2006 GP2 campaign in Valencia at the beginning of April for the only stand alone event of the year. He ran 13th fastest in mid-week testing before the event, but software problems with his gear selections hampered his progress and he finished 15th in the first race. In the second race he had better fortune, driving a steady race and moving up five places to finish in 10th place.

The Series moved on to Imola at the end of April for the second event of the Championship, but the young Malaysian driver struggled in these two races. The first race started well, with Fauzy moving up eight places from his start position, but pit stop problems during a safety car period lost him a lap. He pushed hard to try and make up lost ground, but an incident towards the closing stages put him out of the race. In the second race he was proving to be quick enough to hold fastest lap until being pipped at the end by a rival. From a 23rd place start position Fauzy finished 15th, improving eight positions and taking away the knowledge that he has a competitive car, but needs to concentrate on strong qualifying positions which are so important on the European circuits.

Fauzy will return to track action in Nurburgring, Germany, this week whilst Yoong will be competing in the 1000km race at Spa, Belgium next week.

Photos of Legge test at Milwaukee Mile Photos of Legge test at Milwaukee MileUPDATE Legge recorded a 22.3 seconds lap around the famous Milwaukee Mile.  Her average speed of 166.601mph was quicker than the four Champ Car rookies who tested at the same venue a week ago. 05/03/06 PKV Racing rookie Katherine Legge got her first taste of the Milwaukee Mile today and Tim Trawicki was there to capture some of the action.


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