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Ford weekend has positive impact on Homestead Ford weekend has positive impact on HomesteadThe 2004 Ford Championship Weekend, the season finales for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck Series held last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, generated $146 million in economic impact to South Florida.  The $146 million of economic impact to the South Florida community marks the largest economic impact ever reported for an event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Sport Management Research Institute (SMRI), based in Weston, FL, reported the finding following a study that evaluated the overall economic impact generated by the championship NASCAR racing event weekend.  SMRI, a full-service market research consulting firm specializing in the sports and entertainment business, has conducted economic impact studies for events held in South Florida such as the Orange Bowl, the World Series, and Super Bowl, as well as racing events at Homestead-Miami Speedway in recent years.

The study's findings affirm that Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway is amongst the elite events in all of sports.  Ford Championship Weekend clearly provides extraordinary financial benefits to the region while continuing to grow every year.

And you thought de Ferran was Brazilian And you thought de Ferran was BrazilianBAR Honda Sporting Director, former Champ Car champion and Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran is Brazilian, right?  Wrong.  Only two Brazilians have won the Indy 500: Emerson Fittipaldi (1989 & 1993, Sao Paulo) and Helio Castroneves (2001-2002, Sao Paulo).  Gil de Ferran is classified as French according to the Indy archives.  Gil de Ferran was born in France, but moved to Brazil and became a Brazilian citizen.
Winston Cup Museum opens in Winston-Salem, N.C. Winston Cup Museum opens in Winston-Salem, N.C.JKS Motorsports is proud to announce The Winston Cup Museum, a tribute to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s 33-year NASCAR sponsorship.  The museum is designed to preserve NASCAR history and Winston-Salem’s ties to the largest spectator sport in the country. 

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and Winston Cup Museum owner Will Spencer officially opened the facility at the VIP Ribbon Cutting Ceremony this afternoon.  The museum opens to the public Wednesday, May 11th at 10 a.m. 

"Winston-Salem has been selected as one of the thirty most livable cities in the country, and part of the reason is facilities such as the Winston Cup Museum,” said Joines.  “This facility will not only be a great addition to our downtown revitalization efforts, it will also assist in our efforts to bring visitors and conventions to our city.  On behalf of the citizens of Winston-Salem, I extend my sincere appreciation to Will Spencer and all those who have worked to make this wonderful project a reality"

 A striking wall mural chronicling 33 years of Winston Cup racing covers three walls of the inside of the building, and a timeline of the sponsorship is near the entrance to the museum.  Among the permanent displays are tributes to such RJR-sponsored programs as The Winston Million, the Winston No Bull 5 and The Winston. 

Spencer, owner of JKS Motorsports, began working on The Winston Cup Museum shortly after the Winston sponsorship ended in 2003.  He purchased the building from the City of Winston-Salem in October of 2004.  Construction began the next month and was completed in late April.  The City of Winston-Salem contributed new sidewalks and landscaping. 

 “This project has been intense,” Spencer said.  “But it’s been very important to me.  So much happened in those 33 years, and if you look at where NASCAR was in 1971 when the sponsorship started compared to where it was when it ended in 2003, it’s really amazing.  I had been thinking about some sort of a museum for some time, but in 2003, when RJR decided to get out of NASCAR, the museum idea had a purpose.

“I thought it was important to capture the history and preserve it so that future generations of NASCAR fans will be able to learn about NASCAR’s roots.  Sponsorship can always change, but history is forever.

“I am very grateful to the City of Winston-Salem, including Mayor Joines, for their support.  Councilwoman Wanda Mershal, the entire Winston-Salem City Council, Economic Redevelopment Director Derwick Paige and his staff were all instrumental in making this project a reality.”

The museum houses authentic race cars from different eras of the 33-year NASCAR Winston Cup Series.  While Spencer had some vintage cars, many NASCAR teams have loaned items to the museum.  In addition to the different race cars, the museum houses trophies, driver uniforms, helmets, winner’s checks, autographed pictures and original racing posters. 

General Motors, Ford and Dodge all furnished conceptual cars and special paint schemes.  Some of the displays are permanent, but other portions of the museum will be on a rotation to include all of the cars.  

The Winston Cup Museum is located at 1355 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Winston-Salem, N.C.  Normal business hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12. 

Twenty percent of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to three charities: the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., Brenner Children’s Hospital and the Wake Forest Baptist University Baptist Media Center, both in Winston-Salem.  The Winston Cup Museum is presented by JKS Motorsports and is not affiliated with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Reynolds American, Inc. of which R.J. Reynolds is a subsidiary or NASCAR.  For additional information, please visit www.winstoncupmuseum.com.

Champ Car drivers work on Indy race setups Champ Car drivers work on Indy race setupsToday was the first official day of practice for everyone at the Brickyard.  While the IRL regulars were working on their qualifying setups for the Indy 500 pole qualifying this coming weekend, the only two Champ Car drivers in the paddock were already working on their race setups since they have a Champ Car race to run in Monterrey, Mexico on the 2nd week of qualifying and will miss some precious practice time. 

15th: Junqueira  223.350 mph     (118 laps in his primary car)
22nd: Bourdais  222.345 mph     (113 laps in his primary car)

Bruno Junqueira, No. 36 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone:  “It was a really good day for the No. 36 Team CENTRIX car.  We put the car on the track and on the third lap I ran 223 (mph) so I am quite happy with that.  The balance was good and we made long runs with full fuel and worked on the race setup which we were able to improve from last year.  I’m very happy to be back at Indianapolis, I love driving on this track. We will keep working on the race setup tomorrow since ours wasn’t as good as we would have liked last year.”

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 37 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone:  “Today went pretty well.  We trimmed the car just a little but we are working more on the race setup than a qualifying setup.  The CENTRIX car was fairly fast.  We didn’t find as much traffic as we would have liked but we have an initial idea on our race setup.  We basically identified the problems and will try to work on them tomorrow.  By ourselves, the car is good but it’s not so good in traffic so we have some work to do.  When I catch up to people it’s a struggle to drive the car.  It seems like people are trying to trim their cars a lot and must be working on their qualifying setup so we aren’t too worried about our overall position on the lap speed report.”

Wheldon fastest on Tuesday in Indy Wheldon fastest on Tuesday in IndyIRL IndyCar® Series points leader Dan Wheldon took advantage of the new surface at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to post the fastest time as veteran drivers began preparations for the 89th Indianapolis 500.  Wheldon, driving the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, lapped the 2.5-mile oval in 39.6811 seconds, 226.808 mph. Scott Sharp was second fastest in the No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone with a lap of 39.7160, 226.609 as speeds climbed throughout the day.  In all, 22 drivers eclipsed Buddy Rice's 2004 four-lap pole average of 222.024 mph.
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed
1 26 Dan Wheldon 39.6811 226.808
2 8 Scott Sharp 39.7160 226.609
3 3 Helio Castroneves 39.8120 226.062
4 11 Tony Kanaan 39.8885 225.629
5 55 Kosuke Matsuura 39.8900 225.620
6 27 Dario Franchitti 39.9475 225.296
7 33T Ryan Briscoe 39.9527 225.266
8 4 Tomas Scheckter 39.9665 225.189
9 26T Dan Wheldon 40.0004 224.998
10 17 Vitor Meira 40.1478 224.172
11 70 Richie Hearn 40.2101 223.824
12 16 Danica Patrick 40.2336 223.694
13 8T Scott Sharp 40.2390 223.664
14 95 Buddy Lazier 40.2787 223.443
15 36 Bruno Junqueira 40.2955 223.350
16 55T Kosuke Matsuura 40.3217 223.205
17 10T Darren Manning 40.3389 223.110
18 15 Buddy Rice 40.3448 223.077
19 7 Bryan Herta 40.3547 223.022
20 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 40.3776 222.896
21 4T Tomas Scheckter 40.4521 222.485
23 15T Buddy Rice 40.6008 221.671
24 17T Vitor Meira 40.6349 221.484
25 16T Danica Patrick 40.6647 221.322
26 11T Tony Kanaan 40.6680 221.304
27 2T Tomas Enge 40.6731 221.276
28 6T Sam Hornish Jr. 40.9026 220.035
29 51 Alex Barron 40.9062 220.016
30 83 Patrick Carpentier 40.9663 219.693
31 9 Scott Dixon 40.9835 219.601
32 7T Bryan Herta 41.0215 219.397
33 14 A.J. Foyt IV 41.1026 218.964
34 83T Patrick Carpentier 41.2021 218.435
35 24 Roger Yasukawa 41.2113 218.387
36 51T Alex Barron 41.3595 217.604
37 20 Ed Carpenter 41.5320 216.700
38 5 Adrian Fernandez 48.8759 184.140
39 22 Jeff Ward 1:33.2957  96.467

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm excited to be back here. This is my favorite race. Honda will probably get mad at me because Motegi should be, but the Indianapolis 500, to me, means an awful lot. It's great to be back." (About his best lap): "I was fortunate on my quickest lap. I fell into a draft, which I took. I think the biggest thing I notice about the Speedway this year is the competition level. It seems very, very close between not just what you would perhaps call the big teams, but I think there are lot of people that could be very, very competitive. With the testing restrictions that we have in the Indy Racing League, it enables people to spend a little more time to build up to speed and focus on each individual day and catch us out. The competition level is the biggest thing that struck me, certainly this year, and I expect it to get even tighter. I'm pumped up to be back here."(About racing at Indianapolis): "I think this year is going to be a fantastic race, and I think every driver is looking forward to it from the standpoint of being back and having the competition being so close. Anyone's that's not been to the Indianapolis 500 before, this would be a great year to come."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I am so enthused to come here with this team. It is what I have always dreamed about. This is my favorite race track. To come here and feel like I have this effort behind me really gives me confidence walking in, so it is great to have this kind of a first day to back that up. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Tomorrow night, no one is going to care who was fastest on Tuesday night, so it's all about keeping it going. We are going to work through our long list of things we need to learn, and hopefully, that will put us in the position we need to be on Saturday."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm pretty satisfied with our day, and the car feels good. We were quickest there for a bit, and we know we are heading in the right direction. We'll be changing engines tonight, and I expect we'll be even faster tomorrow. There were a lot of cars running today, and there's more rubber being laid down, so it'll just get faster throughout the week I think."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "For our first day in our new Pennzoil Platinum Chevy, we were quite happy.  Everything ran well, and we accomplished everything that we hoped to. Today was just the start of a long month of hard work.  We'll do some analyzing tonight and get ready for another long day tomorrow.  For sure, we'll find some more speed and steadily climb higher on the speed charts."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Menards Johns Manville): "It was a good start for us today. We were able to shake down both the primary and backup cars, and we made some suspension adjustments. Overall it was a pretty normal first day, and I think everyone is pleased with the start of our Indy 500 program for 2005. We still have a few more days to work on a lot of things before qualifying on Saturday. It's great to come to Indy with an experienced and well -repaired team."

Williams testing at Vallelunga Williams testing at VallelungaTeam Williams tested in Italy today at the Vallelunga circuit. Despite a shower around lunchtime, Antonio Pizzonia and Andy Priaulx were both able to achieve significant mileage. Antonio Pizzonia completed a total of 142 laps, with a best time of 0'57"664. Andy Priaulx drove a total of 132 laps, his best in 0'58"624.

Tim Newton, Test Team Manager - "This is the first time the team has tested at Vallelunga and it’s always interesting to come somewhere new. The circuit in Italy bears the closest resemblance to Monaco, the next race on the calendar. Antonio worked on set-ups and tire casing tests while Andy worked on start settings and cooling tests. The pair completed nearly 900 kilometers. On his first day in the FW27, Andy did a good job for the team, especially considering he won the 24-hours race at the weekend and will be at Snetterton for the next two days testing. Mark Webber will be taking over from Andy tomorrow to join Antonio for the second of a three day test.” BMW WilliamsF1 Team

Ferrari resume testing at Fiorano Ferrari resume testing at FioranoFirst day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working at the Fiorano circuit. Luca Badoer took to the track at the wheel of an F2005, tackling a program centered on preparation for the forthcoming Monaco GP and on development of Bridgestone tires. The Italian test driver completed 188 laps (23 of them on the short version of the track) with a best time of 57’’649. Testing continues tomorrow at Fiorano, when Luca Badoer will be joined by Michael Schumacher. Ferrari
NASCAR fines two Busch Series cheaters NASCAR fines two Busch Series cheatersNASCAR announced Tuesday that fines have been issued to two NASCAR Busch Series crew chiefs resulting from rule violations during opening day inspection at Darlington Raceway on May 5. 

Blake Bainbridge, crew chief of the No. 64 Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray, was fined $2,500 after violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-CC (unapproved rear end gear ratio) of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book.

Ronnie Griffin, crew chief of the No. 0 Chevrolet driven by Kertus Davis, was fined $500 after violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components, and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) for an unapproved jacking bolt.

Industry News
Big weekend for SPEED Channel Big weekend for SPEED ChannelSPEED Channel will have something for everyone in June, when three major motor sports events take to the track on the same weekend.  Opening June 18 at 9:30 a.m. ET, with the network's tenth consecutive year of live coverage from the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, SPEED Channel will go live to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race from Michigan at 3 p.m. ET. And shortly after wrapping up in France the next morning, SPEED will offer live coverage of Formula One's United States Grand Prix -- the only F1 race in the U.S. -- on June 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET from Indianapolis.

"Because of the breadth of racing knowledge here at SPEED Channel, our staff will be on-site supervising, in a hands-on way, hundreds of contractors and outside production entities," said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel Sr. VP Programming/Production and Executive Producer. "On perhaps the most diverse racing weekend of the entire season, SPEED Channel puts its versatility on display as it brings viewers domestic stock car racing, the world's most prestigious endurance race and the leader in racing technology, Formula One -- all in less than 48 hours."  A look at the weekend schedule for each event:

USGP from Indianapolis
·       Practice (June 17, noon ET, LIVE)
·       Practice (June 18, 1 p.m. ET, SDD)
·       Qualifying (June 18, 2 p.m. ET, SDD)
·       Qualifying (June 19, 12:30 p.m. ET, SDD)
·       Race coverage (June 19, 1:30 p.m., LIVE)
24 Hours of Le Mans
·       Race coverage (June 18, 9:30 a.m. ET, LIVE) - 17.5 total hours
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from Michigan
·       Race coverage (June 18, 3 p.m. ET)

In addition, SPEED Channel will lead into the busy weekend with live coverage of the ARCA RE/MAX Series race from Michigan, beginning at 5 p.m. ET on June 17.

Rusty flips Tony Danza on go-kart Rusty flips Tony Danza on go-kartTony Danza got quite a scare when he and NASCAR star Rusty Wallace were racing go-karts during the taping of a segment for the nationally syndicated "The Tony Danza Show." Danza was leading as they entered the final lap Monday morning on West 66th Street, the show said. After Wallace gave Danza's vehicle a little "bump and run," the 54-year-old talk-show host lost control of his go-kart, which flipped over. "Although slightly worse for wear, Danza escaped with no injuries," the show said in a statement. Wallace, who rushed to Danza's side after the crash, said, "I thought I killed ya," to which Danza responded, "Yeah ... just before you retire, 'I killed Tony Danza.'"  "I know you're tough, but that [was] ridiculous, man!" Wallace was quoted as saying. The "Day Tony 500" segment aired on Monday's show. ESPN.com/AP
Tree razed so cars can race Tree razed so cars can raceWhen a gnarled, 30-year-old carob tree on Park Avenue fell to the woodcutters Monday morning, Tony Bryhan was waiting nearby to save it. Big chunks of it. The tree, the only arboreal victim of the San Jose Grand Prix course, went to Bryhan and two other members of the Silicon Valley Woodturner's club who plan to sculpt bowls and other objects d'art from the landmark.

``It's better than having it go to the landfill,'' said the San Jose resident, whose wood bowls -- the size of small bathtubs -- sell for a few thousand each. The wood was free.

The tree was chopped down to make way for the champ cars that will be whizzing along nearby Market Street on July 29 and 30. Not only were the tree's branches over the route, but city arborist Ralph Mize said it drops pods that could create a problem for the drivers. One other suggestion to save the tree -- by throwing a net over the branches to keep the pods off the racetrack -- was not considered practical because the tree is not a suitable species for downtown, said Mize. A Shademaster honey locust, the same species featured along the rest of the block, will be planted in its place. Mercury News

Daytona Hall of Fame bid looks doubtful Daytona Hall of Fame bid looks doubtfulBad news for one of the cities racing Charlotte to land the NASCAR Hall of Fame: The Florida legislature won't give Daytona Beach $30 million to help win the attraction.  Boosters had wanted to help pay for it with NASCAR license plates. Lawmakers voted down the proposal Friday. Daytona officials told the Orlando Sentinel they still have a shot, but need more private money.  Daytona was considered a front-runner for the hall because it's home to the Daytona 500 race and the France family, which owns NASCAR.  Atlanta, Kansas City, Kan., Richmond, Va., and the state of Michigan are also in the running. Proposals are due May 31.  Charlotte leaders hope to avoid Daytona's crash. They're kicking off a "trophy tour" at the N.C. Legislature today as part of a lobbying effort.  They want a hike in Charlotte's hotel tax from 6 percent to 8 percent, yielding $65 million of the $137.5 million construction cost. They also want the state to kick in $20 million over 20 years. ThatsRacin
Luis Schiavo impressed with first day in Champ Car Luis Schiavo impressed with first day in Champ CarVenezuelan Luis Schiavo has admitted to be impressed by the power and performance of Dale Coyne's Champ Car following the first of two scheduled test days at Indianapolis' Putnam Park.

"I feel very satisfied," the 23-year old reported, "The car is quite different to what I imagined, however. It certainly has enough power - it is almost triple what I am used to in Formula Mazda - and, after 100 laps, my neck began to hurt a little, because driving it was quite a physical experience. However, it was a productive day. It was a day really for me to adapt to this car, but, by the end of it, we were only about a few seconds off the best time around this track, and I believe that, tomorrow, we can improve again."

"It was a good test," veteran team boss Coyne confirmed, "It is a big step to go from Formula Mazda to one of these cars. It is also an unusual step, so I think that, for his first day, Luis did very well, he certainly coped with the physical part of the car.

"The times were competitive and, after this test and perhaps a couple more, he would be ready to race. In fact, I think that he would be ready for the Champ Car series this year. I can see where we began and where we finished today, and it was good. The first time that you drive one of these things, there are so many things in your head, so this a great step for him. Physically, he is capable of doing it but, mentally, there is a lot of pressure on your first day. Tomorrow will be calmer.

"Luis was only two-and-a-half seconds off the times of Oriol Servia - we have had various different pilots here and the fastest one was Servia, who is a very competitive pilot. So, if, on your first day, you are that close, it is very good.

"It also pleases me a lot to give him the opportunity to be the first Venezuelan Champ Car pilot - I feel very proud of that. It is very good to give the opportunity to drivers from different countries, especially people that has not been here before."

Acknowledging that being the first Venezuelan to try a Champ Car didn't carry that much significance, Schiavo admitted that running with Coyne was the culmination of a dream.

"It signifies a lot for me," he revealed, "Four or five years ago, I didn't think that I could make it to this level - not because I lacked talent, but because it was a dream that seemed very far away. Today, it became reality thanks to sponsors such as Energy Freight, and the people that have supported me."

Buoyed by the result of his first test, Schiavo now sees no reason why he cannot set his sights on racing "To run in Champ Cars, I will have to adapt more to the car but, more importantly than that, I will have to get the backing of more sponsors," he admitted matter-of-factly, "With the support of Energy Freight, I have managed to get this test, and I would expect to include them and other businesses in my plans to race in this series." Crash.net

Industry News
ISC behind new tax legislation ISC behind new tax legislationU.S. Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (R-Hammondsport) today announced that he has cosponsored H.R. 930, the Motorsports Tax Fairness Permanency Act. The bill will help racetracks including Watkins Glen International in Schuyler County by making a critical clarification to U.S. tax law regarding depreciation of motorsports facilities.

"The Glen and smaller racetracks are critical facilities to tourism and entertainment in Western New York. This legislation will continue the tax treatment WGI has used for decades. Measures like this are important for these facilities that receive little or no public funding if something is not done to correct it," said Rep. Kuhl. "This bill will allow them to continue to develop the facility for the good of the community and to continue to draw tens of thousands of fans into the area."

"Making the seven year clarification permanent is a crucial issue that will affect facilities, capital investment, and jobs throughout New York and the country," said Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International. "Facility owners must constantly reinvest in their physical plant in order to meet the expectations of fans, as well as comply with safety and other mandates imposed by sanctioning bodies. The Glen itself is implementing an ambitious capital investment plan to bolster the significant contribution motorsports make to our local and regional economy."     

Over the last two decades, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in motorsports tracks around the country, reflecting the fact that motorsports in all of its forms, from the smallest local events to NASCAR, is a dynamic and growing sport.  Nearly without exception, motorsports venues are privately financed without any taxpayer support. Continued capital investment is necessary for the future growth and vitality of motorsports. Fan expectations, safety requirements and technological improvements drive the need for this investment. 

The construction and upgrading of these facilities is a capital-intensive activity. Taxpayers who make these investments deserve certainty in the manner in which our tax laws allow investments to be treated. In 2004, Congress clarified the 7-year depreciation treatment of motorsports entertainment complexes. However, because of revenue constraints, the measure was enacted only through the end of 2007. The legislation covered all permanent tracks (over 900 across the country), which host car, truck or motorcycle races. 
These capital intensive investment decisions often involve significant projects with long timelines, and a permanent 7-year prospective provision is needed to enable planning for long term investments in motorsports facilities. H.R. 930, sponsored by Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), would make the 7-year depreciation permanent, allowing Watkins Glen International and other racetracks around the nation plan long term improvements for their facilities. 

Watkins Glen International (WGI) is a 2000+ acre road course facility that hosts NASCAR, NEXTEL cup and Busch Series stock car events, the Indy Racing League, and Grand American Sports Car series. WGI provides grandstand seating for over 35,000 fans and is estimated to have generated $267 million in economic activity in 2005.

There are fifty other raceways across New York State. Other racetracks in the 29th Congressional District include: the Canandaigua Raceway in Canandaigua (Ontario County), the Blackrock Speedway in Dundee, NY (Yates County), the Woodhull Raceway (Steuben County), the Little Valley Speedway (Cattaraugus County), and the Chemung Speedrome (Chemung County).


Media Contact:
Bob Van Wicklin
Deputy Chief of Staff
Rep. John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (R-NY-29)
1505 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515
(202) 226-1924 (office direct)
(202) 225-3161 (office general)
(202) 225-4505 (cell)
(202) 226-6599 (fax)

NASCAR Promoting races using NYC radio NASCAR Promoting races using NYC radioNASCAR is promoting the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway and two Nextel Cup races at Pocono Raceway on three New York City radio stations, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports.

WFAN will give listeners the chance to win tickets to a Yankees-Mets baseball game and an all-expense-paid trip to the May 20 all-star race. The Journal says it is the first time NASCAR has used a New York-area station to promote a race in Charlotte. WAXQ will promote a contest offering 20 listeners a bus trip and VIP treatment to the June 12 Pocono race, while WPLJ will offer fans a deal with Bergen Mall to take their dads to the track's July 24 race. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter

#97 Crew Wins Tyson Crew Championship #97 Crew Wins Tyson Crew ChampionshipKurt Busch's #97 team won the National Pit Crew Championship, defeating Jeremy Mayfield's #19 crew in the final round with a mistake-free stop Monday night. in Mooresville, NC. Busch's crew, which helped him win the Nextel Cup championship last season, didn't make a single mistake during the competition and picked up $100,000 for the win. Mayfield's team earned $25,000 for finishing second. Joe Nemechek's #01-crew was third -- missing out on a spot in the finals because of a two-second penalty for a loose lug nut in the semifinals. The competition was a bracket-style tournament that pitted crews against each other in four rounds. Teams had to change four tires and fill the car with fuel in a race against the stopwatch. Each tire changer had to push a button on the wall to stop the clock, and many teams had a team member pick the changer up and throw him at the wall. Penalties were issued for loose lug nuts, excessive fuel spillage, or not getting enough gas in the car. Mayfield's crew went up against Busch's team, which completed its stop in 16.342 seconds. Mayfield's team clocked in at 16.439, but was penalized four seconds for two loose lug nuts.

An additional $500,000 was up for grabs in a bonus round, open to the top three finishing teams and one wild card, which was Greg Biffle's #16-crew. The crews had to complete an error-free stop in 14.437 seconds to earn the money. Busch's crew came close -- front tire changer Scott Ward did his part in 14.121 seconds and celebrated by jumping on the hood of his car. But rear changer Kevin Gillman clocked in at 14.900, just short of the bonus.

The winning crew members were: Mark Full (front tire carrier), Scott Ward (front tire changer), Scott Radel (jackman), Doug Newell (fueler), Jim Gaudette (catch can), Kevin Gillman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier) and Wayne DeLoria (coach). The four Cup teams from Hendrick Motorsports declined to participate [no idea why].
NASCAR and Nextel will also hold a pit crew competition. That event is scheduled for May 19th at the Charlotte Coliseum, and the Hendrick teams are participating in that one. Because two competitions is one too many, both sides have agreed to try to merge it into one event next season. So all eyes were on this one to see how it would unfold. The temporary bleachers were filled to capacity -- roughly 4,000 fans -- and several drivers were on hand to support their crews. ESPN.com/AP

Industry News
Ferrari study grants - Developing technical solutions for the future Ferrari study grants - Developing technical solutions for the futureFerrari will provide study grants for young engineering graduates to engage in specific research aimed at transferring innovative technical solutions to the road-going Ferraris of the future.
Five graduates will be selected from the most prestigious Italian and international third level institutes. They will receive study grants and the possibility to carry out some work experience at Ferrari’s Innovation Department, within the Ferrari Technical Division.

Some of the universities which will take part in this project are: TongJi University Shanghai, Tsinghua University Beijing, McGill University Montreal, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Melbourne, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

To implement this project, Ferrari has come to an agreement with MIP, the Engineering Management School at Milan’s Politecnico.

The Ferrari program is aimed at high potential young graduates in:
• Mechanical or Electronic Engineering with a Man-Machine Interface specialization;
• Mechanical or Electronic Engineering with a Complex Automotive Systems Development specialization (e.g. vehicle suspension systems/ electrical systems);
• Mechanical or Electronic Engineering with a Nanotechnologies specialization plus a good knowledge of sensor science (mechanical or bio-medical);
• Aeronautical Engineering with a Control Systems specialization;
• Materials Engineering with a specialization in the area of innovative materials applied to cars and aircraft.

The “Innovation Team” project will start by the end of June. Completed applications must be received by June 10th 2005.
To apply, please complete and return the form available from www.mip.polimi.it at careerservice@mip.polimi.it.

For further information please contact Ferrari Press Office Tel.+39.0536.241044/949084/241224

Behind the scenes at the Spanish Grand Prix - II Behind the scenes at the Spanish Grand Prix - IIEven monarchs have feelings, so it is fair to assume that King Juan Carlos of Spain would have preferred to talk to his loyal subject, Fernando Alonso, on the top step of the Barcelona podium rather than the second. Nevertheless, he had kind words of congratulation for winner Kimi Raikkonen. "It was very nice," commented Kimi in the post-race conference. "He's a nice King."

The current qualifying format has not proved popular, with teams, spectators and especially with the TV companies and, during a Friday press conference in Barcelona, FIA President, Max Mosley admitted it was "a mistake." He also confirmed that the idea was Bernie Ecclestone's. However, it seems unlikely that there will be any change to the Saturday afternoon-Sunday morning schedule during this season.

Naturally, everyone at West McLaren Mercedes was delighted with the Spanish win and Ron Dennis admitted that, back home, his family would be very happy too. The team principal revealed that his children accuse him of being "grumpy" on a Monday after a race if the team has not done well.

For the first time since the Circuit de Catalunya first hosted a grand prix in 1991, the race was played out in front of a sell-out crowd. Alonso-mania has gripped Spain and to protect the championship leader from the weight of national expectation on his shoulders, Renault arranged for the 23 year old to travel everywhere by helicopter and the team motorhome was out of bounds to just about everyone except the King of Spain!

Alonso now receives the sort of adulation at home that used to be directed at retired rally ace, Carlos Sainz. In fact, the two men were spotted having an audience with Bernie Ecclestone in the F1 supremo's new motorhome. Also at the track was former West Honda Pons MotoGP star, Alexandre Barros and retired F1 men, Gerhard Berger and Eddie Irvine. The Irishman's presence in Spain prompted the oddest rumor of the weekend, namely that he was considering buying the Minardi team.

You would think things could not get much worse for the BAR-Honda team, after they were banned from the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix, but they did. When the catering staff turned up at the Circuit de Catalunya early on Sunday to prepare food for the team guests, they discovered that all that day's desserts had been stolen from fridges at the back of the motorhome.

In an obvious connection between his team's name and Spain's love of bullfighting, Red Bull's Tonio Liuzzi was spotted in the pit lane on Saturday wearing a Matador's hat and holding a red cape. Observers reckoned the hat was a big improvement on what must be the strangest driver haircut in the paddock. McLaren

Behind the scenes at the Spanish Grand Prix - I Behind the scenes at the Spanish Grand Prix - ISumming up the crazy world of Formula 1 perfectly, as the rest of the teams were pulling their trucks out of the Barcelona paddock late on Sunday night, the BAR trucks, which had moved out after the team was disqualified, suddenly reappeared. Were they planning to run their own race? No, but they had to pack up their motorhome, which had not exactly been the happiest place to be this weekend.

Nothing goes to waste in F1 and once the BAR trucks had left on Friday, the empty space was used for an impromptu kickabout, as Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella showed off his football skills with a bunch of mechanics.

As Ferrari and Bridgestone continue to struggle this season, the best joke doing the rounds in the Catalunya paddock concerned the Italian team’s driver line-up. Apparently, well known cartoon characters Fred and Barnie will now be in the cockpit, driving on Flintstone tires.

Alonso-mania was the dominant theme this weekend and for the first time ever in Barcelona, there was something approaching a queue of spectators outside the gates every morning. It seems not all of them had come to see Alonso. As the wreck of Juan Pablo Montoya’s McLaren was trucked back down pit lane on Friday after the Colombian had crashed heavily, a section of the grandstand began chanting: “de la Rosa, de la Rosa,” suggesting the team might do better racing with their Spanish Friday test driver.

We were in Spain, the team is called Red Bull, so it was time to stage the obvious cliché photo: Tonio Liuzzi was given a red cape and a Matador’s hat, while the mechanics pushed one of the race cars towards him in a mock bullfight. The general consensus was that Tonio should keep the hat, as anything that hides his “mullet” hairdo has to be an improvement. Red Bull Racing

McLaren's in-car communications system McLaren's in-car communications systemCommunication is key to the success of any Formula 1 team, and this is never more important than during a race. The in-car communication system developed and deployed by Team McLaren Mercedes does exactly what the name suggests – it enables the driver to give and receive information while out on track.

The system has three main functions, the first being that it allows the team to issue instructions to the driver. This takes the form of controlling strategy, advising the driver of his position and informing him of unexpected events or conditions. Secondly, the in- car communication system is used by the driver to send feedback to the garage prior to a pit stop, allowing set-up changes to be prepared by the engineers and mechanics. Thirdly, in extreme circumstances, its use is vital to warn of an unscheduled stop caused by a racing incident, puncture or system failure.

The team aims to keep the group of people operating the system as small as possible, with just three key talkers involved for each car. This makes it possible to stick to the correct procedures during scheduled and unscheduled events throughout the race weekend.
Naturally, these key personnel include the driver and his race engineer, along with a member of the team’s management.

Team McLaren Mercedes has been working alongside Official Supplier Kenwood to develop its own in-car communication system for many years. The car’s radio system is designated the CBX-780 and is located under the drivers’ knees on the floor of the car, while the microphone and ear pieces are fitted into the helmet.

Inside the garage is a digital intercom system which converts the audio into data, a controller PC for monitoring and set-up of the system and repeater units which broadcast the radio signals across the circuit. Throughout the season changes are made to the basic system, which under technical regulations laid out by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, the team is free to develop as it wishes.

“As with all other areas of Formula 1 car design, we are constantly looking for improvements, either in terms of packaging, performance, audio quality or security,” explains Phil Asbury, Head of Systems Engineering at McLaren Racing.

Similar to most components in a Formula 1 car, the in-car communication system must be as small and light as possible, so the packaging of the radio equipment is an important consideration. “If we develop a possibility to reduce the size or weight of the system, then we would certainly consider investing in this even if there are no other technical benefits,” says Asbury, who manages the system.

It is not only the team personnel who are privy to the mid-race conversations with the driver, as the FIA stipulates that it must have access to the audio channels between the drivers and the pits. This means that the team must route some of the audio channels from its radio and intercom communications system directly into the FIA intercom system off-air.

Technical Spec
Earpiece length: 492mm
Earpiece mould length: 27mm
Microphone unit length: 205mm  McLaren Mercedes

BAR ban correct says Ferrari boss BAR ban correct says Ferrari bossFerrari team boss Jean Todt says F1 officials were right to ban rivals BAR for breaking car weight rules.   "If you play, it all depends on the limit where you want to play and where you don't want to play," said Todt.   "They take a risk and you can get the cost of it, and that's what happened.  "Whether the punishment was enough or not enough, I'm not going to comment. All I will say is that Ferrari would never have got themselves into (that) situation." BBC
Honda decides to drop fight Honda decides to drop fightBAR's co-owners Honda said they have accepted the Formula One team's two-race suspension for breaching car weight and fuel tank rules and will not fight the decision.  "We felt the punishment was too harsh but any appeal now would only be bad for the sport," Honda spokesman Tatsuya Iida told Reuters on Tuesday.  "We had just got the car to perform to expectations so the timing of the ban is a big blow. It's very sad."  Formula One's ruling body the FIA has warned that BAR could face further sanctions unless the British-based team accepted its punishment gracefully. BBC
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
FIA slam new carmaker group
'Schu's still in it'
Life's good in Flavio-land
BAR face further penalty
Schu's 'past it' - Irvine
'Bridgestone to blame'
Roman has eye on Monaco
'Hands off our Finn' - Ron
BAR 'chose to play' - Todt
Paris to host 'RoC' again
JV 'moved' at Fiorano
Ferrari hope 'deflated'
McLaren to run V8 engine
Heidfeld on golfing green
It’s the simple things that matter It’s the simple things that matterA reader writes, Dear Autoracing1, I agree with a lot of the points you've made about Champ Car recently; there are a few simple, cheap things they can do to help the series:

1. Better paint jobs on the cars.  NO WHITE cars! Racing is about speed and excitement; look at the Champ Car cover of RACER magazine (May) for example; AJ Allmendinger’s white car with yellow wings....a really boring cover image compared to any F1 covers!!! There's a reason Ferrari cars are all red, or Renaults Blue and Yellow.  Look at Junqueira’s car, dark purple (which blends into the asphalt) and white on top! When the TV cameras shoot a race the camera angle is up high so all you see is a white car.  Champ Car needs to hire a designer or consultant to come up with some guidelines for paint schemes.

2. Proper activation.  Sponsors need to be given more information about Champ Car in order to promote it. Look at the McDonald's web site under sports links; all the info is on NASCAR. There is NO mention of series champion Sebastien Bourdais; not to mention any promotion in the restaurants.(I just read today on AR1 that they're starting to do more...)

I know it's all about money but I think there are lots of ways to cash in on the excitement of the sport that don't cost a lot of money, just a bit of follow thru by the marketing people at Champ Car.  Anyway I love your site and I'm hanging in with the rest of you for Champ Car to really take off again! Alan Shortall, Chicago, IL 

Dear Alan, Although some of the paint schemes have improved in the Champ Car paddock this year, many are still pitiful and look like a 5th-grader designed them.  Part of marketing any product comes down to the image of the packaging.  Market Research firms do studies all the time for companies to make sure their packaging is appealing to the customer.  Many of the paint schemes in Champ Car could improve with a simple change in color shade to a brighter more eye-appealing color.  Even Ferrari has evolved from a more Blood Red color back in the 50's and 60's to now a stunning, almost Day-Glo red.  Champ Car team owners get a clue! Mark C.

NASCAR prepares for more Reality TV NASCAR prepares for more Reality TVSeveral of NASCAR's biggest stars performed well during the first season of "NASCAR Drivers 360," a reality show on FX.

Tony Krantz, one of the two executive producers of the weekly show that follows Cup drivers such as Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Rusty Wallace and Kenny Wallace through the week leading to the latest race, said he was confident when developing the show that the drivers would handle the scrutiny better than most.

"I think you start with the baseline that NASCAR drivers are public figures under all circumstances," Krantz said. "They are superstar athletes who are used to being photographed. They have corporate sponsors where they have to show up for various functions. They're very much in the public eye and perform in front of 150,000 people on a week-in and week-out basis. So they're used to having cameras in close proximity to them."

The show will begin its second season May 13 and several drivers, including Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch, have been added to the cast.

Krantz said he is proud of the in-depth look the show is able to give fans into the lives of their heroes.

"We're right there with Kasey Kahne when he's waking up in his trailer right before the Daytona 500," Krantz noted. "We're literally in his trailer while he is waking up, about to go to the bathroom when he first wakes up. You can't get any more personal, you can't get any more inside." AP Story

German Touring Car
Boris Said's Team Captures Prestigious German Race Boris Said's Team Captures Prestigious German RaceBoris Said became the first American racer to be part of the winning team in the prestigious German 24-Hour Race, which concluded Sunday (May 8) at the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife, a 15.5-mile, 186-turn road course.  Said took the checkered flag for the BMW team after driving the final seven hours of the race.   Along with Said the drivers for the winning team were Pedro Lamy (Portugal), Andy Priaulx (Great Britain) and Duncan Huisman (Netherlands).   The margin of victory for Said's team was by five laps over its BMW teammate, which was led by international star Hans Stuck. 
The 222 touring cars that started the race had to brave extreme weather conditions of cold, snow, sleet, hail, rain, fog and heavy winds during the 24 hours of competition.  "I've never raced in conditions like we had in Germany," recalled Said. "But being part of the winning team goes down as the biggest highlight of my racing career. I am really proud of being the first American on the winning team. It was truly an awesome feeling to take that checkered flag.  "The only thing that would be able to match this win would be a NASCAR Nextel Cup victory."  Said didn't have much time to savor his German victory. He was scheduled to be in Charlotte, N.C. Tuesday (May 10) to conduct a test session at Lowe's Motor Speedway -- the site of his next Cup race -- Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.
Irvine says Schumacher has lost the edge Irvine says Schumacher has lost the edgeFormer F1 driver Eddie "The Mouth" Irvine said: “Michael is the most boring world champion ever. I couldn’t believe him at Imola.  “All he had to do was pass him down the inside and ask Alonso the question: Do you want to crash or finish second?  Michael has done worse things than that. There was no point finishing second to Alonso.  Maybe he’s getting past it. Three years ago he would have done it.” The Sun
Todt: Wins are dictated by tires Todt: Wins are dictated by tires“It’s getting more difficult. Every race where the others score six, eight, ten points more than us makes it more difficult for us. But it’s a long championship, there are 14 races to go.”

That was Ferrari team principal Jean Todt’s championship appraisal after last Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona where Ferrari failed to score a championship point, following poor qualifying from both drivers and eventual retirement for Michael Schumacher with two deflating tires.

In terms of resources, Todt admitted that “we have everything. It’s up to us. We don’t do a good enough job, that’s clear. We’re not going to find excuses. There’s not a lot missing. But we must start in front. If we start in front we will be strong.”

That, in a nutshell, is Ferrari’s current handicap: qualifying. And in turn, that is caused by the lack of performance of their tires over one lap. Of all the things that Ferrari have to improve, that would be Todt’s priority.

“I would say it is mainly that first lap. It puts us in a difficult and critical situation. It’s so much easier when you start ahead. If you start in front you remain in front. We are quite good on durability up to a certain point, but we have to analyze what happened (here). We had an engine problem on Rubens’s car, which completely compromised his race, even if it wasn’t caused by fundamental new parts on this part of the engine. I would say unfortunately it’s things that normally happen, because we have been so successful without having any failures and then suddenly they come. It’s under our control, it’s up to us, we have to work better.”

Todt pointed out that there are advantages and disadvantages to being the only competitive team on Bridgestone tires. “We are alone fighting with Bridgestone tires. As I have said, Bridgestone is a great partner, great, because we’ve won more than anybody else with them. But if we have the slightest problem, which is the case at the moment, we end up with eight cars in front of us. But do I complain? No, we know this, but we wanted this situation.

“Having said that, we would have nothing against another top team on Bridgestone. It would definitely help in testing,” continued Todt before explaining Bridgestone’s current situation with one lap tire development. “They are working on it, but you know then to achieve a result is a question mark, and before the next race? It can be two races, three, five or anything.” Ferrari

Schumacher: Those who think we are out of it do not know us Schumacher: Those who think we are out of it do not know usThe result was a headline writer's dream: Schumacher and Ferrari left deflated, or something along those lines. The result could have given Michael a hangover but the surprising thing (or perhaps not too surprising) is that he is far from feeling gloomy a day after his retirement from the Spanish GP.

Instead Michael wanted to again thank all those behind the scenes. "Those who consider us to be out of the running do not know us", he declared. "Of course it wasn't the greatest result in the race for the title; that is clear enough. Despite this, the season's opening races have proved just how much can change during a single weekend and how quickly they can change. So, I'll say it once more: the season is a long one and lots could still happen. Obviously the title challenge has got harder but all is not yet lost. We will go on working and battling. As I said yesterday, it is far from over".

Rubens will be back out testing as early as tomorrow. Michael will be behind the wheel at Maranello on Wednesday and Thursday. "We will not be swayed by all the worry. We will work calmly on our weak points and we will get back to being competitive as soon as we can." Ferrari

Patrick fastest as ROP concludes Patrick fastest as ROP concludesDanica Patrick posted the fastest lap for the second consecutive day as Rookie Orientation Program concluded at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Patrick, driving the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, lapped the 2.5-mile oval in 40.4056 seconds, 222.741 mph.

Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais was the only driver to complete ROP, joining Patrick, Ryan Briscoe, Jeff Bucknum, Patrick Carpentier, Paul Dana and Tomas Enge as drivers eligible to practice.

Scott Mayer, driving the No. 41 Dallara/Toyota/Firestone for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, has passed three phases of the test. Mayer can complete the final phase of ROP on May 10 when practice opens to veterans of the Indianapolis 500.

Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed
1 16 Danica Patrick P/H/F 222.741 mph
2 2 Tomas Enge D/C/F 219.914 mph
3 37 Sebastien Bourdais P/H/F 219.421 mph
4 20T Jeff Ward D/T/F 211.200 mph
5 41 Scott Mayer D/T/F 204.217 mph

A total of 39 cars are now at the Speedway, 24 have passed technical inspection. Ten drivers have been on the track to date. There were three yellows for 22 minutes.
Bourdais passes Rookie test Bourdais passes Rookie testThe annual Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) allows rookies to get up to speed gradually. The rookies must complete 10 consecutive laps at different speed levels. Phase 1 is 195 to 200 mph; Phase 2 is 200 to 205 mph; Phase 3 is 205 to 210 mph while Phase 4 is 10 consecutive laps above 210 mph. Bourdais and the Team CENTRIX crew passed the third and fourth phase by 3:30 p.m. CT today and were allowed to continue to gain experience until the end of practice at 5:00 p.m. They ran a total of 77 laps with a best lap time of 219.421 mph. The fastest speed of the day was set by Danica Patrick (222.741 mph).

“This place is legendary. It’s a racetrack you have to treat with a lot of respect. I’m really happy that CENTRIX made this possible for me; they were going to run one car for Bruno but expanded their involvement for a second car for me. I didn’t know what to expect here, I’ve got absolutely no experience. It was really important for me to participation in ROP because I’ve never driven an IRL car before. The only time I drove an open-wheel car with low downforce was in September of 2003 at a test in Fontana. For me, on Superspeedways, we are really starting from scratch. Since 1999 in my first participation in Le Mans, I have always liked driving different cars under different circumstances with different teams. You are enlarging your possibilities in front of you for your career. You can use this experience bit by bit and I know it has helped me a lot. I have been able to get up to speed a lot quicker in the different situations I have been in because of it. The team has been working their behinds off. There was too much work to be ready in time but it took the pressure off of me. At the end of the day I felt good in the car and I’m ready to start testing.” Newman/Haas Racing
Patrick ahead of ’04 pole speed already Patrick ahead of ’04 pole speed alreadyEarlier today Rookie of the Year contender Danica Patrick turned a lap at 222.741 MPH in her Rahal-Letterman/Honda beating last year's pole speed, set by her current teammate, Buddy Rice, of 222.024 MPH. With the runaway HP race in the IRL, pole speed is expected to top 226 MPH.
First of two pit crew championships tonight First of two pit crew championships tonightNASCAR pit crews tonight will compete in the first of two pit-crew championships in Mooresville, North Carolina. Tyson is sponsoring tonight’s event, which will run from 6:00-9:30pm ET. NASCAR did not initially sanction the competition, which had been supported by Unocal before it dropped its NASCAR sponsorship following the ’03 season. However, NASCAR executives “decided to get back in the game” and have organized a rival championship, to take place next week WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL
Race of Champions
Jeff Gordon confirmed as USA Captain for ’05 Race of Champions Jeff Gordon confirmed as USA Captain for ’05 Race of ChampionsExactly six months since The Race of Champions – Nations Cup first blasted into the Stade de France outside Paris, Pascal Simonin, General Director of Stade de France and Fredrik Johnsson, President of IMP - the organizers of the event, confirmed today that the sell-out spectacle will return to the famous French World Cup stadium on December 3rd 2005. This year’s will be the 18th running of the head-to-head competition for the world’s top racing and rally drivers. The end-of-season event, created by Fredrik Johnsson and rally star Michele Mouton, began in Paris in 1988 before moving to Germany and Spain.

On its return to France last winter, 62,333 fans flocked from across the globe to witness names such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastien Loeb, David Coulthard and Jimmie Johnson in close confines. Battling in a mix of identical cars on parallel tracks laid out over the hallowed turf of the French national stadium, the stars reveled in the intense competition. The winner of the Race of Champions was Finnish GP2 star Heikki Kovalainen, who sensationally beat Michael Schumacher and Sebastien Loeb. France won the Nations Cup – motor sport’s equivalent of the World Cup.

“We are very excited to have confirmed an agreement to continue with the Stade de France,” said Fredrik Johnsson. “The relationship we had for the 2004 event was fantastic and there are few better places to stage such a massively-popular festival of motorsport like The Race of Champions – Nations Cup. We look forward to welcoming the stars and the fans back to Paris on December 3rd”.

STARS LINE UP It is appropriate that French team member and reigning World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb is the first driver to confirm his attendance at this year’s Race of Champions – Nations Cup. "I really look forward to be back in the incredible atmosphere in the Stade de France and defend the ROC Nations Cup-title we won for France with Jean Alesi. My objective this year is also to re-claim the individual Race of Champions title that I lost to Heikki Kovalainen last year." Loeb’s French Nations Cup team mate Jean Alesi, winner of the first 2005 DTM race at Hockenheim for Mercedes, will also return to the Stade de France to defend home honors. NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon, who missed the 2004 event through illness, has confirmed he will lead the popular American team to France in December. Gordon has previously competed in the 2002 Race of Champions – Nations Cup when it was held in the Canary Islands. Team USA won the Nations Cup that year. "It was disappointing to miss the Race of Champions last year, but I'm looking forward to participating this year's event," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet who is currently third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series after three wins this year, including the Daytona 500. "This event gives us the chance to compete for our country, but it also gives us the opportunity to talk to other drivers and learn about their experiences in different forms of racing." Many of the big names who were in Paris for the 2004 Race of Champions – Nations Cup have verbally agreed to come back. When their attendance is finalized it will be made public.

FANS GIVE THE THUMBS-UP The 2004 Race of Champions – Nations Cup has scored the highest satisfaction rating of all nonfootball or rugby matches held at the Stade de France since the inauguration 1998. The score, 9.1 out of 10, was supported by a survey of fans. 89% of spectators said they would come back for this year’s event.

190,000,000 TV viewers One hundred and ninety million viewers watched Race of Champions – Nations Cup from the Stade de France in 2004. It was shown on 334 TV Channels covering 205 countries, including BBC, TF1, RTL, HDNet, Speed, ESPN, Al Jazeera, Eurosport and GDTV.

No Jensen car in Monterrey No Jensen car in MonterreyEric Jensen (Jensen Motorsport) will not field a Champ Car in Monterrey in two weeks.  Jensen himself will be in Monaco for the Grand Prix where he will host a party for friends and potential sponsors, and his 4-car Formula BMW team will be competing at Mid-Ohio.  Jensen is confident of being back in action soon.
Former Indy 500 driver dies Former Indy 500 driver diesAlvin Junior "A.J." Shepherd, who drove in the 1961 Indianapolis 500, died May 8 in Miami, Okla.  He was 78.

Born in Chester, Okla., but living much of his life in Wichita, Kan., World War II Navy veteran Shepherd was the third-ranking IMCA sprint car driver of 1960. He drove for the famed "Dizz" Wilson of Mitchell, Ind., and won nine features.  In 1961, Shepherd had six USAC National Championship starts, including the "500." Driving the Travelon Trailer Special handled the year before by track-record holder Jim Hurtubise, Shepherd was running 11th when he became involved in a multi-car tangle on the main straight at Lap 52. He was credited with 14th place.

On consecutive days in August 1961, Shepherd finished sixth in the Milwaukee 200 on pavement and fourth in the Springfield 100 on dirt.  Shepherd crashed while attempting to qualify for the 1961 Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, effectively ending his career. He attempted a comeback in the mid-1960s.  Survivors include his sons, Michael, Dennis and Robert; three sisters, two brothers, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Indy Motor Speedway

Webber under pressure to improve Webber under pressure to improveUPDATE BMW Williams' top brass have turned on driver Mark Webber after his disappointing performance in Sunday's Spanish GP. The Australian failed to capitalize on a front-row start and finished sixth after being overtaken three times during the 66-lap race.

Although Webber declared himself happy with three "useful points" after the race, his Williams bosses were clearly unimpressed and took the unusual step of publicly admonishing their driver in a press release.

"After qualifying, we were hoping for more. Mark had a very bad start and was never in a position to benefit from the strategy that he was on," blasted BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen. Chief operations engineer Sam Michael concurred, saying: "With Mark's car, we did not achieve the best possible result."

"Considering he was fifth after first qualifying yesterday, we took a bit of a gamble on strategy by going for a short first stint. But the start was not good enough to make the strategy work, so we then changed our schedule when Mark pitted for the first time, after 18 laps."

Webber performed miracles to beat Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli onto the front row of the grid, behind Kimi Raikkonen, but was slow off the mark and immediately slipped down to fourth. Consequently, Williams's ambitious three-stop strategy went up in smoke as the lightweight Australian got stuck behind Alonso and Ralf Schumacher and was unable to make the most of his low fuel load.

Things got worse as a struggling Webber was passed by a string of rivals. On 36 laps Rubens Barrichello made the most of a Webber lock-up to sneak by. Then 20 laps later fellow Williams Nick Heidfeld embarrassed his team-mate with a simple-looking maneuver. Webber's humiliation was complete two laps from home, when Giancarlo Fisichella breezed past to snatch fifth. Eurosport

04/26/05 Mark Webber is under increasing pressure after yet another high starting position deteriorated into a dismal finish. Webber began the San Marino Formula One Grand Prix from fourth spot on the grid in his Williams, but he was jumped at the start and slumped to finish ninth, one spot behind teammate Nick Heidfeld. Williams technical boss and fellow Australian Sam Michael was blunt in his assessment of Webber's race, hinting the team expected a lot more. "It is obviously both a disappointing result and day overall. We had a poor start and we spent the whole race in traffic," Michael said yesterday. "Clearly we have to improve this for the future." Webber has finished all four races staged so far this season in a lower position than where he started on the grid. Herald Sun
New Manufacturers Group for F1 New Manufacturers Group for F1Five major car manufacturers in Formula One announce new association. Manufacturers agree engine format and reiterate call for new governing principles London. At a meeting yesterday, the five manufacturers BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Renault and Toyota agreed to formally establish a new manufacturers' association to jointly represent their interests in Grand Prix motor racing.

The manufacturers also discussed engine regulations and agreed to propose to use 2.4 L V8 engines until the end of 2008 in order to ensure stability for engines for three years. Beyond 2008, the manufacturers will jointly develop a new engine proposal for the sport. The manufacturers look forward to meeting with the FIA in the near future to discuss this and other matters concerning regulations post 2007 and will continue to work in conjunction with the nine teams.

Following the events of the past week in Formula One, the manufacturers again confirmed that the issue of sporting governance is central to the comprehensive set of governing principles which the manufacturers unanimously agreed in January 2005. One of their objectives is to have a definitive interpretation of the applicable regulations through an independent, readily accessible and swift appeals process, administered by an internationally recognized body, in accordance with the practice of other major sports. Press Release from BMW

Industry News
GM denies hybrid deal with Toyota GM denies hybrid deal with ToyotaGeneral Motors Corp. denied an online news report Sunday that the U.S. automaker and Toyota Motor Corp. are in talks about a possible technology-sharing pact that could result in a quicker, wider offering of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.  According to the report that was posted on the Wall Street Journal's online site, details of the discussions remain fuzzy, but it said GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner was planning to head to Japan this month to meet with top Toyota officials.  "There is no truth to that whatsoever," Scott Fosgard, GM's spokesman for advanced technology, told the Associated Press on Sunday.  Fosgard said that Wagoner planned a visit this month to the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, where Toyota is based. But he said it would be a brief visit to the fair and had nothing to do with talks with Toyota. 
"It's a short in-and-out trip," Fosgard said. He also denied anyone else at GM was holding such talks.

Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said the company had no immediate comment on the news report.  In December, GM and DaimlerChrysler AG said they were teaming up to develop fuel-saving hybrid engines in hopes of cashing in on an expanding market already dominated by hybrid leaders Toyota and Honda Motor Co. Detroit Free Press

HVM’s Inside Line with Bjorn Wirdheim HVM’s Inside Line with Bjorn WirdheimAt the age of 17 Bjorn Wirdheim was the youngest driver to ever win the Swedish Formula Ford championship.  Two years with Formula Palmer Audi in England followed, then the tough competition of the German F3 championship.  After great success there, he was recruited by Team Arden in the International F3000 championship.  There he was the 2002 “Rookie of the Year” and became the first Swede to claim the Formula 3000 championship when he dominated in 2003 with three victories and five pole positions.  In 2004 Bjorn became the third driver in Jaguar’s Formula One team.  HVM Inc. signed Bjorn in April for the 2005 Champ Car season.  He made his American debut last month in Long Beach.

Q. How would you sum up your first Champ Car weekend?
BW: Considering the circumstances, never having sat in the car or met the team before the first practice and spending a year away from racing, while testing for Jaguar F1, it was a promising weekend.  Not quite where I would have wanted to qualify or finish, but it was clear there is a lot more to come.  So I left Long Beach, which by the way is a fantastic venue, on a good note.

Q. What were the biggest surprises for you, regarding Champ Car, the team or the weekend?
BW: The biggest surprise came during the drivers briefing before the race when I realized we (drivers) are not allowed to prevent other cars from overtaking by blocking.  That is totally different from the racing in Europe and yet another thing that I need to get used to.

Q. How does the Champ Car compare to the car you have most recently driven?
BW: Compared to Formula 1, there is a huge difference.  The Cosworth engine produces only slightly less horsepower, but the car is so much heavier.  It’s easier to control and more drivable but needs more driver input without the electronic aids or power steering.  From a driver’s point of view, I think it’s a more challenging car to drive, as you have to do all the shifting manually and all that comes with it, like blipping the throttle and using the clutch.  The Champ Car is very similar to the Formula 3000 car, but Lola builds them both, so I guess perhaps that’s why.

Q. What did you think of Long Beach as an event?
BW: Long Beach is a great event, very well organized and it doesn’t make things worse that the layout of the circuit is very exciting.  I really enjoyed the atmosphere; everyone is very friendly and open.  It reminds me a little bit of my two years in International F3000, it’s incredibly competitive but most of the time everyone remains on good terms with each other.  That makes things easier and more enjoyable. Another difference is in Champ Car the fans get to experience it a lot more as they have direct access to both the drivers and the teams during the weekend, I think that is fantastic.

Q. What circuit are you looking forward to the most and why?
BW: Probably Surfers Paradise.  I love racing on street circuits and I’ve been to Australia a couple of times with Formula 1.  Judging by what I’ve seen on television previous years, it seems like the circuit has a very nice layout and it is a popular event for the fans.

Q. What type of fitness do you think is the most important for Champ Car?
BW: You need strong shoulders and good stamina in order to make it through a race distance.  Without power steering, it gets very heavy after a while due to the down force and the way the suspension is set up.  Fortunately when you get used to driving the car, you start to build better endurance and spend less energy.  The longest race distance I’ve ever done was in F3000 when we raced in Monaco (one hour 10 minutes) and Long Beach was one hour and 45 minutes. The steering isn’t different from the F3000 car so my only issue was the blisters I got on my hands.  That won’t be a problem in the future as your skin gets stronger but because I missed out on most of the pre-season testing, my hands were not broken in. 

Q. What are you doing to prepare for the next event and the rest of the season?
BW: I went back to Sweden for a couple of days as it was probably my last opportunity to see friends and family and my mental trainer for a while as I am planning to move to Indianapolis.  I flew to Indy for a couple of weeks to find an apartment and of course we tested in Milwaukee, which I really enjoyed.  I will move just before Monterrey and spend some time with the team before my next race.

Q. What do you enjoy in your free time, your time away from the racetrack?
BW: When I am not racing, I am preparing for the next race!  I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend, Ellen and try to live a normal life, as normal as it gets.  During the days I do my physical training.  During the winter, I’ve been renovating the flat where we live in the UK; I’m really into DIY (Do It Yourself) at the moment!

Q. What in your opinion has been your greatest achievement in your racing career?
BW: Winning the International F3000 Championship and Pole Position on my first visit to Macau.

Formula 3
American Charlie Kimball Pushing the Limits at Croft American Charlie Kimball Pushing the Limits at CroftCharlie Kimball competed in the British Formula 3 International Series at the grueling Croft circuit in north east England this past weekend, May 5-7, 2005. The Formula 3 rookie finished a respectable 6th in the first race but was caught out by the torrential wet conditions in the second race. His pace and potential were underlined by his qualifying results which started him 7th and 5th for Race 1 and 2 respectively.

In the first race, Kimball demonstrated his competence in changeable weather, key to racing in England, when it began to hail and rain on only half the circuit. The young American was pressuring James Walker for position when the slippery conditions caused Walker to spin, leaving Kimball nowhere to go. The Carlin driver tagged Walker leaving his front wing askew and ineffective. Kimball was able to recover and finish a strong 6th and take home some valuable championship points.

Charlie commented, "It was chaos out there for a while! The hail on the track made it very slippery especially since we were on slicks. I couldn’t avoid James (Walker) when he spun because of the track conditions and from then on, it was a case of fighting back and damage control. Needless to say I had a little understeer..."

Kimball faced more changeable conditions in the second race when it rained on and off throughout the race. The young Californian driver made a good start, finally escaping the persisting clutch problems, and moved up from fifth to fourth. Then in the successive laps Kimball passed struggling championship leader Mike Conway. This set up a Carlin Motorsport 1-2-3, as Alvaro Parente was leading followed by Christian Bakkerrud and Kimball. However, Kimball was not going to be happy settling for third and while pressuring second place, made a small braking error. Because of the treacherous conditions, an off track excursion followed, dropping Kimball to 8th place. He had begun his charge back through the field and had just passed Dan Clarke for seventh, when, once again, the American racer made a braking mistake, this time pitching him into the outside wall and ending his race early. The result was disappointing because Kimball’s pace was evident - he held the fastest lap of the race until the last lap when the circuit began to dry.

He spoke about the mistakes afterwards, "I was pushing hard trying to force Christian, my teammate, into a mistake. I knew I was faster than both he and Alvaro (Parente) and was not going to be happy to settle for third. Hindsight is always 20/20, and I probably should have backed off and protected the 1-2-3, but I made the call to push and I will accept the result of that. As a driver, it is hard to back off since I want to win so much. This weekend has definitely taught me the value of patience"

Kimball now prepares for the next race of the Championship which will be held at Knockhill Racing Circuit, Scotland, May 20-22, 2005. 

IRL has ruined business in Indy IRL has ruined business in IndyThis Indy Star article talks about how bad business is in Indy since Tony George created the IRL and killed not only the sport, but also hurt businesses in Indy because the crowds are not what they used to be and the people coming to the race on free tickets are too cheap to buy a ticket let alone spend their money on the local business establishment.  To counter that Tony George will argue that he helped business by bringing in NASCAR and F1.  That is a valid point but he did not have to create the IRL, split and kill Indy Car Racing to do that.
Schumacher's tire problems Schumacher's tire problemsAfter going out of the Spanish GP with two tire punctures, the 2nd one causing suspension failure, Michael Schumacher said, "I think a third place would have been a realistic target seeing how the race was going, so it was very disappointing that I had those two problems," Schumacher sighed. "On the lap before, I felt the car becoming unbalanced, then suddenly the tire pressure was gone. Then, after the rear tire was changed, the same thing happened again. It is strange that both were on the same side and the other tires were fine."

No other Bridgestone runners had a tire problem so Schumacher's problems may have been caused by debris on the track.

"Obviously, we shall now investigate fully what caused these problems," technical director Ross Brawn insisted. "It's possible that Giancarlo Fisichella's earlier pit-stop was caused by similar problems, so we will see."

"Today's result was certainly disappointing," agreed Bridgestone's Hisao Suganuma. "Neither Minardi nor Jordan experienced tire problems this weekend, but unfortunately Michael suffered a loss of balance, and then a loss of air, in his left rear tire in the latter stages. Of course, after pitting to change the tire, he then had a loss of air in his front left tire. Safety is of course our first priority and we have already started a thorough investigation into the cause of this. All we can say at the moment, however, is that the wear on Michael's rear tires was within acceptable boundaries."

Quote of the Week Quote of the WeekDuring a caution period on lap 195 of the race at Darlington, Dale Jr. registered some suggestions for his team. (Because of the team-swap at DEI, Dale Jr. is driving cars originally prepared for Michael Waltrip.) Dale Jr.: “This car’s gas pedal needs to be moved down. I’m barely catchin’ it with the top of my foot and it hurts like hell. Y’all gotta move ‘em on all the cars. I’m not as big as Michael. It’s like the gas pedal is a foot off the floor… I need a board or a platform in here!” Anheuser-Busch / Dale Earnhardt Jr. Publicity
Waltrip and Green at odds Waltrip and Green at oddsMichael Waltrip and Jeff Green were called to the office after Waltrip clearly spun Green out, bringing caution on Lap 207. Waltrip and Green apparently have a running disagreement, with Waltrip accusing Green of jabbing at him earlier in the race [a lap 8 wreck took Waltrip out of contention], and with the two also having a clash at Martinsville. Waltrip insisted he was not sure what brought on the unpleasantness. "They said we should not be around each other," he said after his meeting with the officials. "That'll be good with me, because the only two times I've had him behind me he's spun me out. It's unfortunate to have to deal with stuff like this."  "I'm baffled. I was running down the back straightaway on the first lap of green and he hit me. The sad part is he doesn't have to pay any price and I get my car tore all to pieces. It's cool with me. If NASCAR says stay away from each other or you'll regret it, then that's good." Waltrip was penalized one lap for rough driving after spinning Green out. Green left the meeting quickly and did not comment. Speed Channel
Scenes from Drift Atlanta Scenes from Drift AtlantaSam Hubinette duplicated his Drift Atlanta victory, winning for Formula Drift event at Road Atlanta for the second straight year on Saturday, May 7, 2005.  But unlike his romp in the inaugural event last year, Hubinette twice had to make extra runs to win.   Hubinette, driving a new Mopar Dodge Viper, beat Daijiro Yoshihara in the finals, with a clear advantage in the first of the tandem (lead-follow) runs.  Hubinette, a former stunt driver, had dominated the field in 2004 and is the defending Formula Drift series champion.  Road Atlanta photo by David Allio

Matt Vace was one of two drivers for Enjuku Racing at Drift Atlanta that raced the new Kumho rubber compound that gave off unique red smoke from the spinning tires in the Formula Drift event at Road Atlanta on Saturday, May 7, 2005.  Road Atlanta photo by David Allio

Drift Atlanta winner Sam Hubinette sprays the second place finisher on the winner's podium at Road Atlanta  on Saturday, May 7,
2005.  Hubinette, driving a new Mopar Dodge Viper, beat Daijiro Yoshihara in the finals, with a clear advantage in the first of the tandem (lead-follow) runs.  Hubinette, a former stunt driver, had dominated the field in 2004 and is the defending Formula Drift series champion.  Road Atlanta photo by David Allio

Patrick fastest rookie Patrick fastest rookie
Bourdais off to slow start at Indy Bourdais off to slow start at IndySebastien Bourdais, the reigning Champ Car World Series champion, was slowest of the eight rookies at opening day rookie orientation at Indy Sunday and admitted his Newman/Haas Racing team has a lot of work to do.  Bourdais completed just 47 laps, fewest among the rookies, with a best of 204.177 mph. He didn't climb into an IRL car for the first time until more than two hours after the track opened.  "The car wasn't finished," he said of his late start. "We just ran out of time. We wanted to have a test session before we came here, but we couldn't get to it."  The Frenchman said he expects today to be better but knows he can't rush his education.  "One step at a time," he said. "I definitely feel like I've got a lot of things in front of me to achieve and not so much time to do it."
No. Driver Chassis/Engine Day's Top Speed Month Top Speed
16 Danica Patrick (R) Panoz/Honda 221.463 221.463
33 Ryan Briscoe (R) Panoz/Toyota 220.546 220.546
83 Patrick Carpentier (R) Dallara/Toyota 219.010 219.010
2 Tomas Enge (R) Dallara/Chevrolet 218.219 218.219
41 Larry Foyt Dallara/Toyota 216.141 216.141
44 Jeff Bucknum (R) Dallara/Honda 214.657 214.657
91 Paul Dana (R) Dallara/Toyota 211.786 211.786
41 Scott Mayer (R) Dallara/Toyota 206.947 206.947
37T Sebastien Bourdais (R) Panoz/Honda 204.177 204.177
37 Sebastien Bourdais (R) Panoz/Honda 182.405 182.405 
Indy Star
F1 on CBS Sunday F1 on CBS SundayUPDATE #3 The Spanish GP Sunday morning on CBS in San Francisco showed the San Jose organizers know how to promote a race as a strong TV advertising campaign is still going on for the Champ Car San Jose Grand Prix. They kept running the ads even after the F1 race was over. 05/08/05 Reminder that this race will run and air today (Sunday) on CBS. 05/06/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, What a GREAT opportunity for Champ Car to run some ads- lots of them. I was certain I would see some during Imola, but have not seen any Champ Car marketing since the mid to late 90’s- does Champ Car have a marketing department? Brian Kellione, Colorado Springs, Co Dear Brian, that makes too much sense. Champ Car has gone through a number of marketing managers in recent years. Each fail because they have little budget to work with. TV ads cost money and when you are dealing with Champ Car's minuscule marketing budget TV ads usually are not in the picture. Stay tuned though...... What comes first, the chicken or the egg? Marketing or new sponsors? Mark C. 05/06/05 WHAT:   Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher will continue their battle this weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.  After holding his lead over Michael Schumacher in one of the best finishes in F1 history 2 weeks ago in San Marino, Fernando Alonso is looking to stretch his streak to four victories in a row.  That will not be easy.  Michael Schumacher won his fifth consecutive Spanish Grand Prix last year in 2004.  Combine this with Ferrari’s strong showing at Imola and Alonso’s fourth straight victory could be the most difficult yet. 

Ratings expectations are high for the Spanish Grand Prix, which airs on CBS, Sunday, May 8th at 1pm EST/10am PST; thanks to the 1.4 overnight rating for the San Marino Grand Prix on April 24th, the highest rating for any F1, CHAMP CAR or IRL race this year.  The Spanish GP will mark the second of four F1 races to be aired on CBS this season.

WHEN:  Spanish Grand Prix
                Sunday, May 8, 2005
                1pm - 3pm(EST) on CBS
        `       10am-Noon(PST) on CBS

MISC:     “Formula One on CBS”

May 8, 1p-3p (Barcelona)
June 12, 1p-3p (Montreal - Live)
June 25, 3-4:30: Behind the Scenes Special in Monaco
July 24, 12p-2p (Germany)

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Red Bull and the dark side
Kimi v. Fernando
The end of an F1 era?
Sick Stoddart skipped Spain
Title slipping away - Schu
Tire 'failure' unlikely
'It's just a win' - Kimi
Priaulx to test
Montoya's shoulder
'Don't be hard on Mark'
F1 news tidbits F1 news tidbitsPaul Stoddart slammed FIA president Max Mosley for suggesting the Minardi boss 'misled' a Victorian court back in March. ''I wish I hadn't withdrawn (the injunction),'' a furious Stoddart, in Melbourne, told Autosport.


Juan Pablo Montoya said he was 'pissed off' after Toyota's Jarno Trulli ran him onto the grass at the start of the grand prix at Barcelona. ''It's pretty sad to see that,'' the McLaren driver panned.


Oddly, first and second past the checker in Spain - Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) and Fernando Alonso (Renault) - encountered a similar problem when pitting. ''The engine almost died as I (exited),'' Raikkonen said. ''Maybe it was a factor for all the teams,'' Spaniard Alonso wondered.

Lopez wins race 2 in Barcelona Lopez wins race 2 in BarcelonaDAMS driver Jose Maria Lopez won today's GP2 series race in Barcelona. He led from the start after making a fantastic getaway from the grid, to beat Adam Carroll and Nelson Piquet Jr into turn one. He led all the way to the checkered flag, despite a safety car period following Alexandre Premat's retirement in an incident coming down the main straight on lap five.

Carroll had looked good for second until a collision with former British F3 sparring partner Nelson Piquet Jr on the very last lap pushed the far from happy Ulsterman down to the final points paying position of sixth, and promoted Piquet to second, with Scott Speed finding himself back on the podium in third. More later....

F1 short takes F1 short takes2004 Jordan driver Timo Glock, 23, was hospitalized after a sizeable Champ Car testing crash last week. The German, following a CT-scan, emerged from a Milwaukee hospital - near the one-mile-oval circuit - battered and bruised.


Who's the King in Spain? Most of the sell-out 115,000 crowd at Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday will have no doubt -- 'A - Lon - So!', they chanted. They are, though, mistaken. The only real king at the Barcelona track is Juan Carlos of Spain.


Pedro de la Rosa, also Spanish, woke early on Saturday morning and arrived at the circuit before most other McLaren members. When Juan Pablo Montoya arrived, the designated team 'reserve' looked into his eyes, to JPM's reply: 'Don't get changed'. A second Spaniard will not take the Barcelona grid.


Williams' Nick Heidfeld is like a 'robot'. That's not an insult, but technical director Sam Michael's way of paying tribute to the 'perfect engineers' driver.' He told Reuters: ''There is no emotion (in Nick on track), even when he is doing something very emotional.''


Italian driver Gianmaria 'Gimmi' Bruni won a round of the 'GP2' support category at Circuit de Catalunya. Remember the name? He raced for Minardi in F1 last season.


On May 8, the birthday boy is former Minardi and Prost driver Gaston Mazzacane, from La Plata in Argentina. A sadder F1 anniversary is that of the death of Jacques Villeneuve's father, Gilles, whilst qualifying his Ferrari at Zolder (1982). Jacques was 11.

Official 2005 Indy 500 Entry List Official 2005 Indy 500 Entry ListThe official 2005 Indy 500 Entry List has been released by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. More....
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
BMW strengthen Sauber link
Kimi 'favorite' - rival
Stoddart 'misled' court - FIA
Toyota to be car in front
Barrichello's broken block
Spain sour for Sauber star
'Alonso-mania' unproven?
F1 refuge for sport superstar
New quali was 'a mistake'
F1 'had' to ban V10 power
More 'cheats' in F1 pitlane?
FIA knew BAR would lose
Anti-Ferrari stance 'unfair'
59K Friday, 102,000 Saturday in Spain 59K Friday, 102,000 Saturday in SpainUPDATE 102,000 showed up for Saturday qualifying in Barcelona and 115,000 are expected for Sunday's race for a 3-day weekend total of  276,000 fans.  Not a bad number considering the cheapest ticket is 115 euros ($147) and most expensive is 450 euros ($576), in both cases they are valid for the three days. To that it is necessary to add the price of the parking, that ranges between 5 and 15 euros. 05/07/05 59,000 Spaniards showed up in Barcelona on Friday to watch countryman and F1 points leader Fernando Alonso in action at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Long Beach petition gaining signatures Long Beach petition gaining signaturesThe on-line petition to keep Long Beach a Champ Car race is gaining signatures.
Engine change for Barrichello Engine change for BarrichelloBrazilian Rubens Barrichello will lose ten grid positions in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after his Ferrari team were forced to change his engine prior to today's qualifying session due to a cracked engine block. 
Bruni beats Speed in GP2 thriller Bruni beats Speed in GP2 thrillerFormer Minardi F1 racer Gianmaria Bruni won today’s GP2 series race after a dominant drive in an exciting race. The Coloni Motorsport driver led from the start and held off a late charge from iSport International’s Scott Speed in the final laps to take a great win. Heikki Kovalainen took the final podium position in third, following another great drive, this time from eleventh.

As the five red lights were extinguished at the start, it was Bruni who got the jump on pole sitter Scott Speed. They diced side by side down the main straight, but it was Bruni who made it through turn one first. From there, he pulled out a two second lead from Jose Maria Lopez, who had also managed to get past Speed at the first turn.

By lap 18 however, Speed had caught up to the back of Lopez, and as the DAMS driver fought with the American, Bruni pulled out a commanding lead. On lap 24 Lopez pitted, leaving Speed in free air to try and pull back Bruni’s advantage. When Bruni stopped three laps later, Speed put the hammer down.

He led for five laps, before pitting himself at the end of lap 31. His pit crew got him back on the road quickly and he emerged less than five seconds behind the Italian. The next time past the pits the gap was down to 3.3 seconds, then 1.9, and with just four laps to go, Speed was less than a second behind Bruni. Gimmi, however, had something in reserve, and put in his two personal quickest laps of the race to pull the smallest of margins back out again, crossing the finish line 1.203 ahead of the American.
Kovalainen’s third podium in a row came after a similarly determined fight. Having made an early compulsory pitstop, the Finn was left in clean air to set some fast lap times. When the pitstops played out, he was in fourth, but a mistake by Lopez saw Heikki snatch third place. Neel Jani and Nelson Piquet Jr also swept past the DAMS to take fourth and fifth, with Lopez taking sixth, Carroll seventh and Negrão eighth. Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:25.875 on the penultimate lap.

Kovalainen therefore maintains his lead in the championship standings on 20 points, followed by Bruni with 18 and Speed on 16.

 1.  Bruni Coloni Motorsport  58:07.348
 2.  Speed iSport International  + 1.203
 3.  Kovalainen  Arden International  + 7.789
 4.  Jani Racing Engineering  + 18.165
 5.  Piquet Jr.  Hitech Piquet Sports  + 23.594
 6.  Lopez  DAMS + 25.992
 7.  Carroll  Super Nova International + 33.740
 8.  Negrao  Hitech Piquet Sports + 36.881
 9.  Rosberg  ART Grand Prix + 37.197
10.  Premat  ART Grand Prix + 46.868
11.  Lapierre  Arden International +  66.152
12.  Fauzy  DAMS  + 89.143
13.  Pantano  Super Nova International  +   1 Lap


     Piccione     Durango 35 laps
     Sharp        DPR  31 laps
     Pla          DPR  30 laps
     Lauda        Coloni Motorsport  29 laps
     Artam        iSport International  27 laps
     Yoshimoto    BCN Competicion 20 laps
     Viso         BCN Competicion 19 laps
     Hernandez    Campos Racing  14 laps
     Alvarez      Campos Racing  5 laps
     Garcia       Racing Engineering  2 laps
     Monfardini   Durango   2 laps

Fastest Lap: Rosberg, 1:25.875 (lap 38

Championship Standings after Round 2, Race 1:

Drivers' Championship     Constructors' Championship
 1.  Kovalainen    20             1.  Arden International      24
 2.  Bruni         18                2.  Coloni Motorsport        18
 3.  Speed         16               3.  iSport International     16
 4.  Carroll       12                4.  Super Nova International 12
 5.  Lopez         11               5.  DAMS                     11
 6.  Jani           8                  6.  ART Grand Prix           10
 7.  Premat         7               7.  Racing Engineering        8
 8.  Piquet Jr.     5                8.  Hitech Piquet Sports      6
 9.  Lapierre       4               9.  DPR                       2
10.  Rosberg        3              =   BCN Competicion           2
11.  Pla            2
12.  Viso           2
13.  Negaro         1

Paul Newman’s own thrill: Go-Kart Racing Paul Newman’s own thrill: Go-Kart RacingPaul Newman wasted no time Friday night in jumping in a go-kart and racing wheel-to-wheel at 35 m.p.h. against his friend and longtime stunt double, Stan Barrett, at an indoor track in Buffalo Grove (IL).

The 80-year-old Oscar-winning actor appeared at Chicago Indoor Racing for a private event staged by McDonald's, a major sponsor of the Newman-Haas racing team.

Newman said he caught racing fever after filming "Winning" in 1968, and hasn't looked back since claiming his first national title in 1976.

Racing a go-kart is not that different from racing a car, he said. "The smoother you are, the quicker you go. You can't muscle your way around the track in these cars."

Newman is enamored enough of go-karts that he said racing them should be mandatory for all high school students.

"It's a wonderful way to get some sense of changing direction and braking."

Mike Roberts, McDonald's president and chief operating officer, said the fast-food firm first teamed up with the actor over his salad dressings and then asked what else they might do together. Sponsor our race cars, Newman told Roberts.  "It's been a major investment and it's been a great investment," Roberts said. ChicagoTribune.com
Kenseth beats Wallace at Darlington Kenseth beats Wallace at DarlingtonMatt Kenseth took control in the second half of the race and pulled away to a convincing victory Friday night over Kenny Wallace in the first NASCAR Busch Series event under the lights at Darlington Raceway.  The 2003 Nextel Cup champion, a part-time driver in Busch Series, earned his 18th career Busch victory and first since Atlanta last October, leading 50 of the 147 laps in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200.  "This is a great racetrack," Kenseth said in Victory Lane. "It's one of the most fun racetracks we ever come to."  Kenseth started 24th in the 43-car field, but worked his way to the front, finally moving to the lead for the first time on Lap 96.
Fernando Alonso Q and A Fernando Alonso Q and AFernando Alonso sits down ahead of his home race - and talks about the challenge of racing in Barcelona, plus his hopes for the weekend.

Fernando, you have really ignited the Spanish interest in Formula 1 – how does that feel?
FA: I am very proud of what we have built in Spain, because it is not a traditional Formula 1 country. I think we have found passionate fans, and built up a strong culture for the sport – and things are improving every day, with more and more people getting interested. The atmosphere is fantastic, like a big party, and I think the fans will be asking for another victory. But they understand that sometimes this is possible, and sometimes not. I will be doing my best, and the car feels good at the moment, so I think we can be in the podium. After that, perhaps we can fight for the win, but we do not know yet. All I can do is push to my maximum.

When you take a step back and look at the Alonso-mania in Spain, could you ever have imagined something like this could happen?
FA: No, never. I look at myself as someone who has been very lucky – my job is also what I enjoy most in the world, and I can make my life doing it. Away from the track, I think I am a normal person – I enjoy following Real Madrid, or meeting up with my friends. When I was younger, I was never certain that I would make it to Formula One. I have been racing since I was very young, and always aimed to be the number one, but F1 seemed a very long way away. For me, it was not destiny to make it to where I am now – I thought for a long- time I would become a go-kart mechanic, or a job like this, not an F1 driver.
So when you are at the wheel, what do you really enjoy? The technical aspects? The speed?
FA: It is the racing – when you have a car in front of you and are trying to overtake, or a car behind. For me, it is about racing – not doing laps alone, that is not fun. I am just the same if I walk out to the car park, I want to get there first. I am like that on a bike too, I am like that with everything. I just want to be racing someone.

People are beginning to talk about the championship – how do you react?
FA: At the beginning of the season, it was not a real target but looking at how things are now, maybe it is a dream that is getting a little bit closer. I am not nervous about it, though, because it was not out target for this year: if you are in a team which is talking about winning the championship, that is one thing; but here at Renault, we are making big steps with the car each year and surprising everybody when we do it. Of course, I would like to fight for the title, and we seem to be in a good position to do it now – but only if we can work even harder, look after every small detail and avoid being caught by McLaren or Ferrari.

Fernando, Friday practice saw you out on track for the first time this weekend: did you feel any more pressure?
FA: Pressure is not really what I feel in this situation – it is an extra motivation for me to be in my country with this support, but in F1, there is always pressure. I was under pressure in Malaysia, the same in Bahrain, in Imola – and will be at the next race in Monaco. Pressure is normal in this sport – I have to deal with it, and just enjoy this special weekend.

So, how are things looking after Friday?
FA: It is always very difficult to have a clear picture after Friday, but I think there are maybe some signs. Ferrari were not so strong today, but it was only Friday and for sure tomorrow, they will be faster: today, they probably ran with a lot of fuel. McLaren are always fast on the first today, but qualifying and the race are what matter so we wait and see – but they will be strong for sure. Toyota were not so good in Imola but they seem to be fast too – I think this will be a good circuit for them. There will be competition for us from every direction.

Finally, what would it mean if you were to finish on the podium?
FA: It would probably be the best moment of the year for me. Only being world champion could beat standing on the podium or winning the race in Barcelona.

Some questions have been included with the kind permission of Richard Williams, The Guardian, and Burkhard Nuppeney, Welt Am Sonntag. Full interviews can be found on www.guardianunlimited.com and www.wams.de. Renault / Guardian / Welt Am Sonntag

Scott Speed back on top for iSport Scott Speed back on top for iSportScott Speed picked up where he left off in free practice, by posting the fastest time in Friday afternoon’s half-hour GP2 series qualifying session.

The American iSport International driver set a time of 1:25.486, beating off his nearest rival, Coloni Motorsport’s Gimmi Bruni, by 0.448 seconds, with Jose Maria Lopez qualifying his DAMS in third for the second time in succession on a 1:26.143.

Speed (pictured left and right) had snatched the lead on his first run, from early pacesetter Adam Carroll (Super Nova International.) Speed’s time stood up to mounting pressure until Juan Cruz Alvarez (Campos Racing) put himself at the top of the pile. With around ten minutes to go, Bruni put in a 1:25.934 to go quickest of all. But with the top ten covered by less than a second, Bruni’s position was far from safe. And so it proved, as with just over five minutes of the session remaining, Scott Speed ran a belting 1:25.486. It was a time nobody else could match.

The grid will line up with Speed and Bruni on the first row, with Lopez and Nelson Piquet Jr on row two. Olivier Plan and Juan Cruz Alvarez make up row three, with Ryan Sharp and Nicolas Lapierre on row four. The top ten, who were covered by just one second, is rounded out with Borja García and Nico Rosberg.

Scott Speed was also the fastest man in practice earlier, setting a time of 1:27.521 - a full five seconds faster than last year's Formula 3000 pole time.
Scott Speed – iSport International. 1:25.486 - "Pole position feels great. It’s good for the team, good for all our morale. Just going to try and keep the ball rolling. The car is “as ran” so that’s a plus. It made the whole race distance on Saturday in Imola, so hopefully it’ll do the same here."

Gianmaria Bruni – Coloni Motorsport. 1:25.934 - "It was quite a good qualifying. Unfortunately in the end I lost the pole position but the lap that I did was ok. I made a mistake on my lap because I was blocked by a few drivers, but I’m happy to be back on the front row. We have a good balance for the race, and I’m confident."

Jose Maria Lopez – DAMS. 1:26.143 - "It was a difficult qualifying for me. I made a mistake in the second sector on my first set of new tires. I just went off and stayed a bit lucky because I got going again. So when I went out on my second set I had to hold back a bit. I kept cool, the car felt good, but I kept a margin of safety."
1 S. SPEED iSport International 1:25.486 10 laps
2 G. BRUNI Coloni Motorsport 1:25.934 +0.448 7 laps
3 J. LOPEZ DAMS 1:26.143 +0.657 14 laps
4 N. PIQUET Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports 1:26.189 +0.703 12 laps
5 O. PLA DPR 1:26.209 +0.723 13 laps
6 J. ALVAREZ Campos Racing 1:26.241 +0.755 8 laps
7 R. SHARP DPR 1:26.298 +0.812 12 laps
8 N. LAPIERRE Arden International 1:26.422 +0.936 13 laps
9 B. GARCIA Racing Engineering 1:26.464 +0.978 11 laps
10 N. ROSBERG ART Grand Prix 1:26.465 +0.979 15 laps
11 H. KOVALAINEN Arden International 1:26.512 +1.026 13 laps
12 A. CARROLL Super Nova International 1:26.717 +1.231 13 laps
13 N. JANI Racing Engineering 1:26.766 +1.280 14 laps
14 A. PREMAT ART Grand Prix 1:26.822 +1.336 13 laps
15 C. PICCIONE Durango 1:26.834 +1.348 7 laps
16 H. YOSHIMOTO BCN Competicion 1:26.849 +1.363 13 laps
17 G. PANTANO Super Nova International 1:26.987 +1.501 7 laps
18 F. MONFARDINI Durango 1:27.092 +1.606 15 laps
19 S. HERNANDEZ Campos Racing 1:27.094 +1.608 12 laps
20 E. VISO BCN Competicion 1:27.367 +1.881 11 laps
21 M. LAUDA Coloni Motorsport 1:27.627 +2.141 9 laps
22 A. NEGRAO Hitech Piquet Sports 1:27.752 +2.266 14 laps
23 C. ARTAM iSport International 1:28.806 +3.320 13 laps
No Time F. FAUZY DAMS 1 lap GP2 Series

Ralf over Kimi in Practice 4 in Spain Ralf over Kimi in Practice 4 in SpainRalf Schumacher put in a sensational stint of laps in the fourth and final practice session on Saturday morning at Circuit de Catalunya, topping the timesheets with a best lap of 1:14.280s in his Toyota. The lap, the fastest of the weekend to date, was some eight-tenths of a second faster than Michael Schumacher’s Pole Position at the 4.627 KM circuit last year. Not far behind the McLarens served notice they are ready to pounce.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'14"280 224.249 Km/h
 2. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'14"462 + 0'00"182
 3. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'14"672 + 0'00"392
 4. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'14"689 + 0'00"409
 5. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'15"030 + 0'00"750
 6. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'15"048 + 0'00"768
 7. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'15"087 + 0'00"807
 8. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'15"253 + 0'00"973
 9. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'15"339 + 0'01"059
10. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'15"374 + 0'01"094
11. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'15"378 + 0'01"098
12. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'15"511 + 0'01"231
13. 15 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'15"546 + 0'01"266
14. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'16"291 + 0'02"011
15. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'17"569 + 0'03"289
16. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'17"848 + 0'03"568
17. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"031 + 0'04"751
18. 20 FRIESACHER Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"296 + 0'05"016
Fisichella fastest in Practice 3 in Spain Fisichella fastest in Practice 3 in SpainThey came to cheer his Renault teammate Fernando Alonso but it was Giancarlo Fisichella who was fastest on Saturday morning in Spain.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'15"605 220.319 Km/h
 2. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'15"631 + 0'00"026
 3. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'15"860 + 0'00"255
 4. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'16"004 + 0'00"399
 5. 15 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'16"241 + 0'00"636
 6. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'16"323 + 0'00"718
 7. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'16"560 + 0'00"955
 8. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'17"363 + 0'01"758
 9. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'17"615 + 0'02"010
10. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'17"701 + 0'02"096
11. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'17"870 + 0'02"265
12. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'18"198 + 0'02"593
13. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'18"209 + 0'02"604
14. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'18"215 + 0'02"610
15. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'18"686 + 0'03"081
16. 20 FRIESACHER Minardi Cosworth B 1'20"417 + 0'04"812
17. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'21"145 + 0'05"540
News in brief - Barcelona News in brief - BarcelonaRenault's new 'b' spec engine, running in Fernando Alonso's car for the first time at Barcelona, 'performed well' in Friday free practice, engine chief Denis Chevrier said. ''So far so good.''


Jacques Villeneuve, driving for Sauber, said the brand new asphalt surface at Circuit de Catalunya ''is like the concrete at an indoor go-kart track. (It's) very strange.'' Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher said he expected it would take more to generate heat, ''so it could be a tough race for tires.''


McLaren replaced right hand suspension, a radiator, bodywork and both front and rear wings after Juan Pablo Montoya crashed his MP4-20 at the end of Friday free practice. ''I'm sorry for the guys who have to repair the damage,'' the Colombian winced.


Minardi is running a new rear wing for the new 'PS05' contender at Barcelona. ''We did try a couple of new things (on Friday),'' said Patrick Friesacher, ''that worked well.''


Late on Friday, hurriedly-prepared BMW engines for Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber to use at Barcelona were on the dyno -- in Munich (Germany). ''They'll then leave for Spain,'' the marque's Dr Mario Theissen revealed, ''and be in the cars (for Saturday) practice.'' On Saturday, the FW27 is also wearing Barcelona-spec bodywork. GMMf1NET

Indy 500 ticket prices plummet Indy 500 ticket prices plummetA reader writes, A brochure came with today's delivered Indy Star newspaper pushing tickets for this year's Indy 500.  It is a color multi-fold nicely done brochure. "Tickets starting at $20" is prominently seen throughout the brochure. It is also pushing group tickets for 20 or more people. I can never recall seeing any ad for tickets locally this close to race day.  Looks like another non-sellout for the 500. Jay Hodge, Danville, Indiana  Dear Jay, They play Taps before the race in remembrance of our fallen war heroes.  Let's hope someday they are not playing Taps in remembrance of the days when Indy Cars ran in the Indy 500, long since replaced by NASCAR stock cars.  Think it can't happen?  When you look at how far the Indy 500 TV ratings have fallen since the CART days, and with no end in sight of the plummet, it's quite conceivable Tony George will run the sport right into oblivion before he's done with his "vision."  Mark C.
Papis featued in Italian Magazine Papis featued in Italian MagazineTo those who missed or weren’t able to read last Saturday’s Sport Week, here is your chance to see a nice article on Max Papis in Sport Week Gazetta dello Sport!  (PDF File - 3 MB)
Montoya's watch up for bid Montoya's watch up for bidYou never know what you might find on eBay, but if you are into expensive watches, here's one for you.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Alonso in reverse
Another nail in BAR-JB coffin
BAR trick 'crazy' - Mosley
Ferrari not 'robust' enough
BAR go home
Stop snubbing FIA - Max 
Teams tie up new deal
F1 title 'closer' - Alonso
JB can't wait to flee
'I may be booted' - Stewart
BAR ban: right or wrong?
Rivals enjoy BAR saga
Cooper Tire Series
Cooper Tire series gets Champ Car date at Road America Cooper Tire series gets Champ Car date at Road AmericaThe schedule for this year’s blossoming Cooper Tires Championship Series for Formula Ford 2000 cars has been completed following confirmation today that Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., will host a pair of races the weekend of August 5-7, traditionally the Champ Car weekend.  The Cooper Series races will form part of what promises to be a feast of automotive entertainment at the Ferrari Maserati Racing Days, which also will comprise rounds of the Ferrari 360 Challenge and the Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge featuring a mouth-watering array of rare and exotic Italian cars.

"I need to say a big thank-you to [Road America President and General Manager] George Bruggenthies for making this possible," said Cooper Series President Jon Baytos. "We already have some great tracks on our schedule this year, but adding Road America is like the icing on the cake. It’s just a great race track with long straightaways and tight turns, so the racing is always sensational."  [Editor's Note:  It's sad to see once great Road America reduced to this.]

Bourdais decides to take rookie orientation Bourdais decides to take rookie orientation[Editor's Note: Although Sebastien Bourdais does not have to go through Rookie Orientation for the Indy 500 because he is a Champ Car driver, he is doing it anyway because he wants to get as much seat time at the Speedway as he can.  His goal is to win the first time out, just like Montoya did.  If Honda gives him an engine that is equal to all the others he may do just that.  Former Champ Car driver Patrick Carpentier is another driver that does not have to do the orientation, but is.]

When practice for the 89th Indianapolis 500 begins on May 8, eight drivers from varying racing backgrounds will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As part of the two-day Rookie Orientation Program, all first-time Indianapolis 500 drivers must complete a test of their ability to handle a car at various speeds on the 2.5-mile oval. ROP has been in existence since 1981, and a rookie test for the 500-Mile Race became mandatory in 1936.

The 2005 rookie class consists of: Sebastien Bourdais (Newman-Haas Racing), Ryan Briscoe (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Jeff Bucknum (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing), Patrick Carpentier (Red Bull Cheever Racing), Paul Dana (Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing), Tomas Enge (Panther Racing), Scott Mayer (A.J. Foyt Racing) and Danica Patrick (Rahal Letterman Racing).

Drivers must complete four speed phases, which will be set by IRL President and COO Brian Barnhart based on weather and track conditions and month of May performance expectations.

A driver must complete three phases during the program, and the fourth may be completed on opening day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.

"From a League standpoint, our emphasis isn't as much on the speed phases as it is getting them an opportunity to get familiar with a very difficult racetrack and doing so in the friendliest circumstances possible as far as not a whole lot of other cars out there," Barnhart said. "Then we want to see them demonstrate adequate car control, consistency in their speeds -- whichever phase they're in -- and then consistency in their line around the racetrack.

"It is a vitally important day. It is a well thought-out activity."  After Barnhart explains the speed phases and what's expected of the participants, Indianapolis 500 champions Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser will take them on a tour in pace cars to point out nuances of the track. Rutherford and Unser, driver coaches and consultants for the IRL, will be posted around the track to observe the activity and make notations. They'll also be available to coach participants during the sessions.

Indy 500 Month of May TV schedule Indy 500 Month of May TV scheduleABC Sports, ESPN and ESPN2 will provide extensive live, Opening Day-to-Race Day coverage of the 89th Indianapolis 500.  ABC has broadcast the "500" since 1965, when it became part of ABC's "Wide World of Sports" series, and has covered the event live since 1986. It's the second-longest broadcast partnership in sports. More.....
Indy 500 live entertainment schedule Indy 500 live entertainment scheduleLive music by talented local and internationally famous acts will mix with the roar of Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota engines at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May.  Musical acts from a wide background of song and sound - from the Rev. Peyton's delta blues Wednesday, May 25 to three acclaimed Christian music bands Saturday, May 21 - will perform on the Coca-Cola Stage in the Pagoda Plaza, directly behind the Speedway's landmark Bombardier Pagoda control tower. More....
Tuner Jam ’05 at The Milwaukee Mile This Sunday Tuner Jam ’05 at The Milwaukee Mile This SundayThis Sunday May 8, The Milwaukee Mile will be home to Tuner Jam, an interactive automobile event centered around the explosive Tuner Market street car craze.  From 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., spectators can take part in Tuner Jam events and attractions catering to those involved in the newest and fastest-growing part of the car hobby, the sport compact.

Cars with body kits, rear wings, radical paint jobs and custom sound systems will be on display and involved in competitions.  There will be a custom car show, an auto sound competition run by Kartunes, an autocross course and several on-site vendors selling the latest accessories. ( Photo right:  Tuner Jam at The Milwaukee Mile this Sunday May 8 will feature this highly modified Team Rush Honda.  Show hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.)

Tuner Jam will go on rain or shine, and is the first-of-its-kind event held at The Milwaukee Mile, with all activities taking place inside the history speedway’s oval.  Spectator admission is $3, while competition entry fees vary by the defined Tuner Jam categories.  This event is presented by Team Rush Car Club in cooperation with The Milwaukee Mile.  For information on all the exciting events at The Milwaukee Mile, visit www.milwaukeemile.com.  (Photo Left:  This radical sport compact will be one of many customized street cars participating in Tuner Jam this Sunday May 8 at The Milwaukee Mile). Milwaukee Mile

Minardi signs new sponsor Minardi signs new sponsorTifosi Optics has been named Official Eyewear Supplier of the 2005 Minardi F1 Team.  Since its incorporation in the autumn of 2002, Tifosi Optics has been the provider of high-quality, affordable eyewear to enthusiasts of all sports. Currently, Tifosi Optics eyewear is distributed to over 1000 retailers worldwide.  For the 2005 Formula One season, Tifosi Optics will provide eyewear for the entire Minardi F1 Team, featuring styles from its latest product line.  The Minardi F1 Team, owned by Paul Stoddart, kicked off its 2005 season at the Australian Grand Prix, in Melbourne, on March 6, with the final event of the 19-race schedule being the Grand Prix of China, in Shanghai, on October 16. Minardi
Darlington practice Top-5 speeds Darlington practice Top-5 speedsNextel Cup Practice Darlington Raceway
No. Driver Speed
1. Ky. Busch 168.798 mph
2. R. Newman 168.654
3. J. Mayfield 167.152
4. K. Kahne 166.811
5. T. Kvapil 166.794
Talladega TV ratings sizzle Talladega TV ratings sizzleUPDATE #2 Fox’ telecast of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Aaron’s 499 earned a 7.6/18 share and was up 21% over last year’s 6.3/15, and was the third-highest-rated and most-watched regular-season race ever. NASCAR on Fox season-to-date is averaging a 6.2/14, a 5% increase over the comparable year-ago period (Fox)....Fox’ coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron’s 312 was a 3.3/7 share up 57% over last year's 2.1/6. Through three races, not including the Hershey’s Take 5 300 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, Busch Series racing on Fox is averaging a 3.0/7, up 43% over last year’s 2.1/6 THE DAILY 05/03/05 The Nextel Cup rating is up 3.4% from the 5.9 overnight figure for the 2004 Talladega race, which was run a week earlier. This year's figure, which is the third-highest overnight rating for a race this season, is also up 8.9% from the 5.6 that the 2004 California race drew on the comparable weekend. 05/02/05 The overnight TV rating for Sunday's Nextel Cup race from Talladega on FOX was a stout 6.1/14 share and the Busch race on Saturday on FOX garnered a 3.0/6 share overnight rating.  The TV rating for the tape-delayed IRL race from Motegi won't be out until Thursday because it was on cable (ESPN), but it's expected to be dismal. 

Talladega NASCAR coverage was a hit with SPEED Channel viewers last weekend as more than one million households tuned in for coverage of NEXTEL Cup qualifying Friday. Live qualifying coverage on SPEED drew a Nielsen Household Rating of 1.10 (696,000 households), while the replay scored a .56 (354,000 households) later in the day. SPEED Channel's "Trackside" program went out to more than half a million households, scoring .68 (433,000 households) for its live broadcast Friday night. A same-day replay added an additional .25 (156,000 HH).

Spanish GP: Friday Quotes Spanish GP: Friday QuotesFriday quotes from the F1 paddock in Barcelona, Spain.


Kimi Raikkonen - 4th: "A trouble free day for me and a good start to the weekend. The car set-up is still not perfect but we have tomorrow's practice to improve the package even further. The track keeps changing which provide a real challenge for all the teams but all in all a positive day and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Juan Pablo Montoya - 10th: "It's nice to be back at the wheel of the MP4-20. However the first time I have a shunt whilst driving for this team had to happen today and I'm sorry for the guys who have to repair the damage overnight. I don't know what happened but I just lost it. I went to see the FIA Medical Delegate afterwards and he said I was absolutely fine. My shoulder has been coping well and until the last lap everything had been going according to plan. I'm excited about the rest of the weekend and hopefully we will put on a good show."  More.....

Montoya in massive crash Montoya in massive crashUPDATE After medical checks Montoya was cleared of any injury and will be able to participate in the remainder of the weekend.  “I don't know what happened but I just lost it,” he said afterwards, explaining the accident.  “I went to see the FIA Medical Delegate afterwards and he said I was absolutely fine.  My shoulder has been coping well and until the last lap everything had been going according to plan.  I'm excited about the rest of the weekend and hopefully we will put on a good show."

While Montoya may be unharmed, the same can't be said for the car. The high-speed impact destroyed the rear of the MP4-20 and could mean the engine needs to be replaced before qualifying, meaning he would lose 10 positions on the grid.05/06/05 Juan Montoya spun off the track at the high-speed ninth turn in his McLaren in Barcelona today, his car colliding with the barriers and losing its right rear wheel and suffering heavy damage to the rear wing, engine and other areas.  The driver, back after missing two races with a shoulder injury, was able to climb out of the cockpit and walk away, but he appeared to be in some pain and this showed when he jumped to remove himself from the circuit.

Friday roundup - Spain Friday roundup - Spain
BAR: Jenson Button ruled out becoming 2005 champion after his team were banned from racing in Spain and, in a fortnight, at Monaco. ''To come back from (this) is pretty much impossible,'' said the Briton.

McLaren: Juan Pablo Montoya, returning from injury, emerged fortunately unscathed after a big shunt at the end of session two. The damage 'will be repaired,' McLaren announced. Montoya said he ''just lost it. I went to see the (doctor) ... and he said I was absolutely fine.'' Kimi Raikkonen, quicker all day, reported an imperfect set-up, but Pedro de la Rosa topped the times.

Ferrari: Rubens Barrichello's run of bad luck - an hydraulic problem this time - looked like continuing, but he got going in the afternoon. But is the scarlet team quick? ''I think it's not as bad as it seems,'' said the Brazilian. Even slower, though, Michael Schumacher - three seconds off the pace - was more forthright, scolding the car's performance as 'not promising,' but race pace might be better.

Williams: A day to forget for the team from Grove -- a defective valve was found in Nick Heidfeld's Imola engine, meaning that Mark Webber's identical-spec fresh V10 may also have been faulty. ''Two (new) engines are being assembled in Munich,'' said BMW's Mario Theissen, who vowed to have them ready for Saturday. Heidfeld will be penalized ten grid spots, and Webber didn't complete a lap. ''I'll try to catch up tomorrow,'' the Aussie vowed.

Jordan: Track action aside, 2004 team driver Nick Heidfeld popped in at Jordan in Barcelona to personally 'thank' new team owner Alex Shnaider. The Russian-Canadian had honored 'outstanding debts (of) 2004,' a statement said. Narain Karthikeyan remained quickest of the current trio.

Renault: Giancarlo Fisichella proved quicker than Spanish favorite Fernando Alonso, running the 'b' engine for the first time at a grand prix. ''I think our pace is good,'' said Italy's Fisichella.

Sauber: A dreadful recent test aside, Jacques Villeneuve heaved a sigh of relief when he came close to Felipe Massa's pace at Barcelona. ''It's not as good as Imola,'' he cautioned. Massa, 'quietly' optimistic, had a bad morning, but got the set-up right for session two.

Minardi: An 'off' and gearbox glitch aside, Christijan Albers led Patrick Friesacher in the new PS05 car. Paul Stoddart enthused that the gap to the rest of the field is now 'tantalizingly' close.

Toyota: ''The car's not far from where it should be,'' said Jarno Trulli, fifth after sitting out session one. Still in the rear view mirror is Ralf Schumacher, while tester Ricardo Zonta did a lot of work after a morning hydraulic problem. ''After Imola,'' said senior engineer Dieter Gass, ''we look much more on the pace here.''

Red Bull: David Coulthard's RB1, sixth fastest in Spain, 'feels ok,' the happy Scot said. Although not on DC's pace, Tonio Liuzzi agreed that the car is in better shape than at Imola, although man 'Friday' Christian Klien's car broke down.

Heidfeld carries Williams on Friday Heidfeld carries Williams on FridayBMW WilliamsF1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld achieved the third quickest time in each of the first two free practice sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix. Today Nick took the entire responsibility for the team's set-up work and tire evaluation whilst teammate Mark Webber was forced to stay in the garage. A routine inspection by BMW technicians of Heidfeld's engine, which was supposed to do its second GP this weekend discovered a defective exhaust valve.
The fresh BMW P84/5 engine which was scheduled to be installed in Mark Webber's car for this weekend, is of the same specification. This faulty exhaust valve could cause retirement in the race and the team does naturally not want to take that risk. Therefore, two engines of a new specification are being assembled in Munich and will be installed in the cars prior to the third free practice on Saturday. As a consequence, Nick is going to be penalized for the unscheduled engine change by losing places on the grid but by not participating in Friday's practice, Mark avoided an unscheduled engine change.
"Our position looks quite good for the moment but despite this I wasn't completely happy with the balance of my car this morning so we changed a few things around for the afternoon and I was definitely happier with it," said Heidfeld. "In fact we made some good steps forward. The fact that I am going to change my engine again tomorrow at least allowed me to do more laps than usual as I had to try to cover the programs for both my car and Mark's car. The only negative thing at the moment is that obviously I will have to start my race from towards the back, due to the penalty."

Mark Webber added, "It seemed like a pretty good day for the guys and it was good that Nick had a smooth run and completed all of our programs. I 'll start with my job on track tomorrow and I'll try to catch up and get the most out of this weekend for qualifying and the race."

Technical director Sam Michael commented, "We have had a productive day with Nick. We went through the entire set-up program, which gave us some good information for the race. We also went through the normal checks for the cooling of the engine and the brakes. Nick had some of the new aero parts on the car which worked fine. Tomorrow, we will fit the rest of the aero parts that we have developed for this race. Mark obviously didn't run due to the engine issue."

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen concluded, "We had an unusual Free Practice today. Nick has completed a huge program very well and collected useful data for the team. The main job on the engine side is being done in Munich at the moment and the new engines are just about to undergo the dyno test. They will then leave for Barcelona and will be in the cars in time for the third Free Practice session tomorrow morning." Williams F1

Pedro de la Rosa fastest in Practice 2 as well Pedro de la Rosa fastest in Practice 2 as wellMcLaren Mercedes third driver Pedro de la Rosa (pictured right) was fastest in the morning session and again in the afternoon practice session for the Spanish GP in Barcelona. Ricardo Zonta was second fastest for Toyota on a day when it seemed that Michelin rubber was the tire to have as the French tire company set all of the fastest ten times. These times are largely meaningless. They count for real tomorrow.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 35 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1'15"062 221.913 Km/h
 2. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'16"220 + 0'01"158
 3. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'16"527 + 0'01"465
 4. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'16"586 + 0'01"524
 5. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'16"653 + 0'01"591
 6. 14 COULTHARD Red Bull Cosworth M 1'16"797 + 0'01"735
 7. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'17"200 + 0'02"138
 8. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'17"264 + 0'02"202
 9. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'17"356 + 0'02"294
10. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'17"555 + 0'02"493
11. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'17"702 + 0'02"640
12. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'17"931 + 0'02"869
13. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'18"042 + 0'02"980
14. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'18"336 + 0'03"274
15. 15 LIUZZI Red Bull Cosworth M 1'18"444 + 0'03"382
16. 37 KLIEN Red Bull Cosworth M 1'18"802 + 0'03"740
17. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'18"858 + 0'03"796
18. 39 DOORNBOS Jordan Toyota B 1'19"125 + 0'04"063
19. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'19"140 + 0'04"078
20. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"581 + 0'04"519
21. 20 FRIESACHER Minardi Cosworth B 1'20"686 + 0'05"624
Florida HOF looking doubtful Florida HOF looking doubtfulUPDATE The Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL reports that subsidies of $30M for a NASCAR HOF and facilities for the Magic and MLB spring training ballparks are “not looking good” Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. The bill is getting the political support it needs to pass. 04/27/05 The Florida state House “breathed new life” yesterday into a proposal for $150M in sales-tax subsidies for sports facilities, including a Marlins ballpark, a new or renovated arena for the Magic, four spring training facilities and a proposed NASCAR HOF, according to Beth Kassab of the Orlando Sentinel
Crashfest in Japan leaves drivers hobbling Crashfest in Japan leaves drivers hobblingThis year's Indianapolis 500 pursuit begins Sunday, ready or not.  Several Indy Racing League teams are scrambling to recover from last weekend's crash-filled Japan race.

Indy's two-day Rookie Orientation Program begins Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A first-year 500 driver must pass at least three of the four phases to join the veterans Tuesday.  Jeff Bucknum and Tomas Enge were the two rookies battered in the Indy Japan 300, but while their cars are a mess, they appear to be ready.

Bucknum has a swollen knee and ankle, both on the right side, but a representative for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing said the driver should be medically cleared to participate.

Enge said he feels better after breaking three ribs on the trip.  "Obviously, the ribs are still broken, but I don't think it's going to be as painful as it was last week in Japan," he said. 

Among the veterans, Ed Carpenter said his right foot was sore when he climbed from his crashed car in Japan, but there's no problem now. His car is a different story.  The tub can be saved, he said, but Vision Racing will open Indy practice with only one backup between Carpenter and Jeff Ward. Indy Star  [Editor's Note:  Over the years this is what we have come to expect from racing open wheel cars on oval tracks - Silly Americans.]

Dover Speedway Hosts Homeland Security Training Dover Speedway Hosts Homeland Security TrainingOn Saturday, April 30, 2005, Dover International Speedway, in conjunction with local, state and federal authorities, conducted a full-scale training exercise to test emergency preparedness. Dover International Speedway is the first NASCAR facility to participate in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness Stadium Protection Initiative. Other similar simulations have been conducted at Turner Field in Atlanta, Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., among others.

More than 250 first-responders from all over Delaware took part in the drill, which featured an improvised explosive device disseminating a chemical agent. Approximately 700 volunteers were utilized to evacuate a portion of the grandstands and act as injured spectators, making it one of the largest training exercises of its kind ever to take place in Delaware. A team of evaluators will assist the Office of Domestic Preparedness in developing an after-action report that will be shared with Dover International Speedway as well as the state and local authorities later this year. The after-action report will contain recommendations for improved emergency response based on the exercise's objectives.

"Dover International Speedway is a leader in the country when it comes to this type of exercise," said Ryan Winmill, a Regional Exercise Manager with DHS. "We commend them for that." Ed Klima, director of emergency services for Dover Motorsports, Inc., said when the findings are released, they will be shared with other NASCAR tracks. "Dover Motorsports as a whole is committed to ensuring the safety of our patrons, as well as all NASCAR patrons," he said. "If something were to happen at one NEXTEL Cup facility, it would affect the entire circuit. We may be competitors on the business side, but in the safety arena, we need to work together." Dover Motorsports

650th for Marlin 650th for MarlinSterling Marlin will make his 650th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career start at Darlington Raceway this weekend. Marlin made his Cup debut in 1976 at Nashville Speedway, driving for his father Coo Coo Marlin. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
Kenny Wallace to run No. 00 for Waltrip Kenny Wallace to run No. 00 for WaltripKenny Wallace will be behind the wheel of the #00 Bryan’s Chevrolet prepared by Michael Waltrip Racing this weekend for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Darlington Raceway. Wallace seeks his second NEXTEL Cup start of the 2005 season, his 18th career start at the track “Too Tough to Tame.” Wallace ran four races for Waltrip in 2004 and ran the Daytona 500 earlier this year finishing 40th due to an engine failure. He is scheduled to drive six more NEXTEL Cup events this season for Michael Waltrip Racing. Michael Waltrip website
BAR Honda decide not to appeal ban BAR Honda decide not to appeal banUPDATE In meeting the press this morning in Barcelona, BAR's Nick Fry said, "We know that the other teams have got a similar system because the fuel tank supplier who supplies us is the same as many of the teams. They have confirmed there's nothing unusual about our system. There have been rumors other people have been looking at their cars overall. This is a very draconian interpretation of the rules. I think it's made everyone look carefully at what they're doing."

They also confirmed that they will discuss the ramifications of the decision with their fellow teams and engine manufacturers on the Grand Prix grid and Fry added: "We are going to ensure we are completely transparent. During the course of the afternoon, we are posting everything from the court of appeal, all our witness statements, all our technical data (on our official website). Even though we are giving away some information to our competitors it's better that we do that to show everyone what we've done because we have nothing to hide."

05/06/05 The big news in Barcelona this morning is that BAR will not compete this weekend as they have been unable to find a court to hear their case for an injunction against the FIA Court of Appeal’s two-race ban, issued yesterday.

"In the wake of the decision of the FIA's international court of appeal yesterday," BAR said in a statement, "and having considering the extraordinary complex legal framework, a summary of the legal position is as follows:

"BAR-Honda has looked at all practical ways of immediately challenging the decision. The central issue is one of jurisdiction," the team said in a statement. "Jurisdiction in Europe is governed by European rules, which say that the defendant party has the right to be sued in the territory in which it is based.

"Upon receiving legal advised in all relevant jurisdictions, the conclusion is that nothing can be done to enable the team to race this weekend.

"BAR-Honda has considered whether to pursue further action which might enable it to compete at Monaco. On balance, the team has decided that challenge the sport's governing body would cause a level of disruption and damage to the sport which is not in the best interest of everyone involved.

"BAR-Honda will be discussing the ramifications of the court of appeal verdict with the other teams and many factors involved in the sport.

"The FIA international court of appeal in its own judgment was unable to prove that the team acted in bad faith. BAR-Honda therefore remains unclear as to the basis for such a severe penalty.

"The team rigorously contests any insinuation that could potentially tarnish its reputation and good record, something that is of fundamental importance to the whole organization and its partners.

"In an effort to provide the greatest possible visibility to the outside world of this case, BAR-Honda today will publish its entire submission to the FIA international court of appeal on its website for anyone interested in it to examining it." BAR Honda

Pedro de la Rosa fastest in Practice 1 Pedro de la Rosa fastest in Practice 1In Friday morning's track cleaning session, Pedro de la Rosa set the pace for McLaren Mercedes by over a second from Christian Klien in the Red Bull Cosworth and Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Williams. Michael Schumacher was fourth fastest for Ferrari ahead of the second McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen who only completed a handful of timed laps. David Coulthard was next up ion his Red Bull while Ricardo Zonta was seventh fastest in his Toyota.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 35 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1'15"675 220.115 Km/h
 2. 37 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'16"821 + 0'01"146
 3. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'17"047 + 0'01"372
 4. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'17"574 + 0'01"899
 5. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'17"851 + 0'02"176
 6. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'17"977 + 0'02"302
 7. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'18"103 + 0'02"428
 8. 15 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'18"112 + 0'02"437
 9. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'18"204 + 0'02"529
10. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'18"402 + 0'02"727
11. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'19"328 + 0'03"653
12. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'20"621 + 0'04"946
13. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'20"773 + 0'05"098
14. 39 DOORNBOS Jordan Toyota B 1'20"912 + 0'05"237
15. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'21"628 + 0'05"953
16. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'21"635 + 0'05"960
17. 20 FRIESACHER Minardi Cosworth B 1'22"454 + 0'06"779
Williams rocked with defective BMW engines Williams rocked with defective BMW enginesBMW has revealed a major problem for the Spanish Grand Prix and as a result the engines in both Nick Heidfeld's and Mark Webber's cars will need to have engine changes because of problems with a faulty exhaust valve. Two engines of a new specification are being assembled today in Munich and will be flown to Barcelona in time for practice tomorrow morning. As a result of this Heidfeld will run on Friday and will get a drop of 10 places on the grid as a result. Mark Webber will not run on Friday and will only start work on Saturday morning., This will mean he avoids a drop of 10 places on the grid but may have a car that is not as well set-up as it could be. Not a promising start to the weekend. Grandprix.com
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Albers' up to speed
'DC didn't grab me' - Massa
Montoya - 'it was tennis!'
Ferrari 'unfair'
'Do I get the trophy?' - Wurz
Broken hearted Button
Barrichello - 'I can win'
Rival race 'won't happen'
May 6
'Home' GP for Portuguese

Fernando's 'quiet' week
Q and A with Dale Jarrett Q and A with Dale JarrettDale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, moved up six spots in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings after last week's ninth-place finish at Talladega.  Jarrett, who comes into this weekend's race at Darlington Raceway seventh overall, spoke about his position in the standings during a test session earlier this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  Rain postponed Thursday's scheduled practice session at Darlington.  Teams are scheduled to have an 80-minute practice session Friday morning before qualifying at 5:10 p.m.

IN PAST YEARS WHEN ONE MANUFACTURER WOULD DOMINATE, NASCAR WOULD SOMETIMES TWEAK THE RULES TO EVEN THINGS OUT.  NOW WE'RE SEEING SOME TEAMS DOMINATE.  IS THERE ANYTHING NASCAR SHOULD DO TO HELP THE SITUATION FOR EVERYONE ELSE?  "No.  They just seem to have everything together better than the rest of the teams.  Everybody just has to work harder if you're gonna catch up." 

IF THERE WAS A THIRD TEAM TO GET IN THAT FIGHT IT MIGHT BE YATES WITH YOU AND ELLIOTT IN THE TOP 10 RIGHT NOW.  "Well, we're there but we're not where we want to be.  We want to be contending for and winning races and we haven't gotten to that point yet.  Elliott has had some good runs, but we've just kind of hung around and that's why we're in the position that we're in.  But we like to think that our team can get to that point." 

WHAT ARE THOSE TEAMS DOING BETTER RIGHT NOW?  "I don't know.  You always hear that strength is in numbers and they both have four or five race teams so that enables them to have a lot of people.  There is a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of opportunity to get a lot of good people there, so you'd have to think that's an advantage.  We've looked and explored that.  We thought in starting our Busch team that it would help us get in that direction, so I think it's just the number of people and engineers that they have is putting them on top." 

WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE BETWEEN YOU AND MIKE TO GET THINGS TOGETHER AND STAY IN THE TOP 10?  "I don't know that it's a matter of us getting more together, I think it's just getting our program together.  As I said earlier, neither one of our programs are where we want them to be.  We know that we have to become more competitive to where we're leading laps and contending to win races, so we just have to keep pushing forward.  I felt like we needed to work on our aero program and we're addressing that, and then there are some chassis issues that we're looking at, but we've just got to continue to work.  That's the only thing that's gonna help us get better." 

IT MUST BE NICE TO WORK HARD WHILE YOU'RE IN THE TOP 10, INSTEAD OF 15TH OR 20TH LIKE A LOT OF GUYS.  "It's nice to be in that position, but you can also look and see that where I sit back to 17th or 18th it's less than 100 points so you know that could go away if you should have any problem.  But we came into the year trying to minimize those mistakes and problems, and even though we've had a few in these first few races, we've been able to make up the difference.  So it's nice to be inside of there looking to the back, instead of in the back looking towards that top 10." 

YOU'VE BEEN GOING TO DARLINGTON SINCE YOU WERE A KID.  WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT RACING THERE AT NIGHT?  "It's gonna be fun, I think.  I tested the Busch car there last week and I was a little surprised.  It's the first track that I've seen that actually had a shadow from the wall and the lights.  There was about a three to four foot shadow coming off the wall, but everywhere else that we race we don't race against the wall like that.  Maybe it's up there and we just haven't noticed it, but there is a definite shadow.  Matt Kenseth and I were talking on Sunday at Talladega before the race and I think we agreed that it didn't bother us as much in one and two as what it did in three and four.  That could become a little bit of a trouble spot because you're relying so much on what you can see right there in trying to get around the corner, but it's still pretty cool.  To be there at night, I think it's gonna be a great show for the fans." Ford Racing

Q and A with Fernando Alonso Q and A with Fernando AlonsoThe star of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix is undoubtedly current points leader Fernando Alonso, the Renault ace eagerly anticipating taking to the Catalunya circuit in front of his home fans. Naturally he is hoping to take victory at home for the first time…

Fernando, a big week for you?
Yes, certainly, starting tomorrow. Today has been quite a quiet day for me as well and I was in England until yesterday morning and I have had a cool week so far. But tomorrow the action starts with the practice and people coming and it will be a little more busy. But at the end of the day, the only important thing is the car and the set up so you spend all day with the engineers and inside the car on the circuit and it is one race more.

So you approach it in that way?
I think it is the only way possible to approach it There are too many people who come with motivation and quite excited about this race and for me the only way to give them some satisfaction is to give them a good result and so I work hard for this.

Just going back to the San Marino Grand Prix, the tactics of slowing down in the corners and keeping Michael behind you -- was that something that came naturally to you or is it something you have done for years in racing? How did it come about?
I think I do it naturally, not only me, but all of us. We are professional enough and we know how to keep positions and how to control when you have a very slow car compared with your competitor and maybe I am the only one to say this literally to the press.

One of my colleagues said you have had very strong words about Ferrari and said they were testing more than all the other teams. Can you clarify what you actually said about Ferrari?
Yes I think we all said Ferrari has done more testing than everyone else and we all know that. It is very surprising that yesterday I said that and there has been a revolution in the press. But you know it is no problem. I think we all know, all the teams, we agreed to limit the testing days and they are the only one that does many more. They are all allowed because anyone can do what they want but I think it is against the spirit of the sport and against the future for all of us.

The journalist who mentioned this to me used the word cheating. Did you use the word cheating?
In Spanish, it is trampar, which is cheating and not fair, not fair play. And it is the same word. In this instance, I meant not fair play. As I said, I meant against the spirit of Formula One sport.

Even if you don’t think about it, how do you feel yourself when you are getting in the car and you know there are 100,000 people supporting you in the grandstands. You are 23 years old and I can imagine how I would feel in your place…
Well, the feeling is obviously great. For me it is a very special weekend and I would like to race in Spain every 15 days. The atmosphere is fantastic and you see the blue color in the grandstands and it motivates you in every corner and at the same time it is just another race like the others and I have to prepare the race properly with the engineers tomorrow choose the tires, the main thing, Saturday prepare the quail and on Sunday the race so you are always inside the race too much to feel all around you.

You have had three good races and your team-mate has had a lot of bad luck. A drive always wants to beat his teammate, but certainly you don’t want to beat him this way. What do you think about having Fisi up there racing with you instead?
I prefer to have Fisi of course and from the team point of view to have the three retirements that we had is not good for all of us and hopefully here his luck will change and we will both finish the race and score points and then the battle is between us. But F1 is like this and last year I didn’t finish seven or eight races and had a lot of criticisms.

BAR have been banned for two races, they lose their points... Do you have any thoughts on that?
Yes the same I think we all agree there are rules for all the teams and if you are not inside them all you risk a penalty and the amount of the penalty is not up to us. I am totally happy.

As a driver do you feel sorry for Jenson and Takuma?
Yes of course I think Jenson did a fantastic race in Imola and he was on the podium and he was there for the way he drove. You know on the qualifying laps you are risking a lot and in the whole race, in the strategies and in the quail laps and then when it is not your fault and you are out then it is maybe more disappointing. I am sure they will be back.

I understand things are quite difficult for you back here in Spain. You said you would like every Grand Prix in Spain, but I suspect you would like to continue living somewhere else, and it is Oxford at the moment, but can you give us some examples of the hysteria that takes over people when they have a successful Grand Prix driver in their country for the first time?
Well, tomorrow we shall see a better picture for this Grand Prix in terms of the people and the support they give me. When I am in the car I want to see the grandstand in a blue color and it is motivating me, not in red. For this, I think to race in Spain every race is more motivation and it is better, but at the same time it is more difficult to walk on the street, to go to the hotel, to be in the traffic, stopped, because the buses stop and they go out and they ask for autographs and so on and so it is more difficult to move around here, but I am in England normally and as I did this week I relax and prepare there for the race and then arrive here at the last moment just to sit in the car.

Do you find the press writes a lot of outrageous things about you? There have been some stories in the local press about your private life…
Yes sometimes there are too many news in the private life and not enough in the sporting life and this is Spain and probably we have a bad quality of press. FIA
Spanish GP: Thursday Press Conference Spanish GP: Thursday Press ConferenceThursday FIA press conference with the following drivers: Christijan Albers (Minardi), Fernando Alonso (Renault), Felipe Massa (Sauber), Tiago Monteiro (Jordan), Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren). Transcript
Champ Car hires Perrone Champ Car hires PerroneIn the search for the perfect person to serve as its new Vice-President of Promoter Relations, the Champ Car World Series found the ideal candidate sitting right in the middle of its own racing schedule. Thursday, the Champ Car World Series announced that former Milwaukee Mile Vice President and General Manager Mark Perrone would join the series as the new Vice-President of Promoter Services, tasked with ensuring that Champ Car promoters receive top-shelf support from the series, geared towards producing the highest quality racing events for its fans. Perrone announced in April that he was stepping down as the VP and General Manager at the Mile due to family considerations and is scheduled to join the staff at Champ Car, effective May 9th.

"I have mixed emotions about leaving the Mile, because the Mile has experienced a true renaissance both physically and operationally in the last three years. I am most proud of the fact that we have built a great staff that has accomplished a lot in a relatively short period of time," said Perrone. "But I believe in Champ Car, I believe in the future vision established by the owners and I certainly believe in the people within the company. I think that the experience I bring as a promoter, and the relationships I have with many of the Champ Car promoters, will help all of us grow our respective business' to new levels of profitability." .cr..
Perrone, a graduate of the University of Denver where he was a two-sport athlete, will join the Promoter Relations staff headed up by Executive Vice-President of Development, Government Affairs and Planning Joe Chrnelich, who himself came to Champ Car after a number of years as the CEO of the Wisconsin State Fair Park and the Milwaukee Mile.

"We are both excited and gratified that Mark has decided to join the Champ Car management team and we feel this is a major coup for us to secure someone of his caliber and experience level," Chrnelich said. "His relationship with the promoters and his knowledge of sports, as well his expertise in promoting major race events, will go a long way toward helping Champ Car achieve its business objectives."

Perrone has 28 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry, and has worked with teams in the NHL, MLB and NBA, worked to create groundbreaking sponsorship deals in NASCAR and put together major concert sponsorships for such musical acts such as Faith Hill. The strength of his industry relationships was evidenced last season when the Milwaukee Mile became the only venue in the country to host the Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing League in the same season.

"Mark is very well respected throughout the racing industry especially in the field of event promotions and we are happy to welcome him and his wife Cindy to the Champ Car World Series family," said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. "We think Mark is a great fit for the job and I know our promoter partners will be pleased with our choice."

The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will return to the Milwaukee Mile for the 59th consecutive year when it brings its 750hp turbocharged race cars to the venerable oval June 3-4 for the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 Presented by U.S. Bank. The series will next compete May 20-22 in Monterrey, Mexico's Fundidora Park in the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Roshfrans. Champ Car
Barrichello: Hoping for a peaceful weekend Barrichello: Hoping for a peaceful weekendAfter Michael Schumacher lapped significantly quicker than the rest of the field to come from 13th on the grid to second at the finish of the San Marino Grand Prix, there was much speculation that Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s F2005 was now the class car of the field. However, as he prepares to travel to Barcelona for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello refuses to get carried away about the team’s prospects. “It is actually quite hard to assess what our real situation is compared to the opposition,” maintained the Brazilian. “Yes, we know the pace of the F2005 is good and we also know we have made a huge step forward with the car, while the Bridgestone tires have improved a great deal. But I don’t think this will be the situation for the rest of the year, because in Imola, we had a situation where the cool weather and the track conditions all probably helped us, except in qualifying when, as was clear to see, the car was a bit tricky to drive.”

Nevertheless, Barrichello is cautiously optimistic. “I think our form is looking good,” he insisted. “We have excellent pace and we can be proud of all the progress we have made in recent weeks, with plenty of hard work during testing. So, we are now in a position where we can look forward to the next few races in a positive frame of mind. I did two days testing since Imola, during which we concentrated specifically on the conditions we will encounter at the next few races coming up. We had a good test and we are looking to have a good weekend in Barcelona. Weather and track conditions at Mugello were quite similar to what we might encounter this weekend and so we were able to accurately evaluate some new developments we will have on the car in Spain.”

Although Barcelona is a popular winter testing venue, track condition can have a significant effect on car set-up, which means Friday practice will be as important as ever. The Ferrari man reckons everyone will have plenty of laps available for evaluation work. “I will start the weekend with a new engine and with Monaco, the second race in this engine pairing, which is much easier on engines being the slowest track of the year, I guess everyone with a new engine this weekend will have an easier time in Barcelona and not have to consider the second race too much. We should be able to use the engine a little bit more in Spain.”

The Circuit de Catalunya has been resurfaced for this year, but it will still be hard on tires. “With high speed corners leading into long straights, it is hard to overtake in Barcelona,” commented Rubens. “So unless you have a different strategy, you are not going to be overtaking many cars, unless you have tires in better condition than those ahead of you in the final few laps of the race. However, I hope I won’t have to rely on my Bridgestone tires to have an advantage in the closing stages, as the key to a good race here is to qualify well and our tires now seem to be working much better over the quick single lap.”

So what are the Brazilian’s predictions for Sunday afternoon? “We have seen in Barcelona testing that not just Renault, but McLaren and BAR have been very quick there and occasionally so has Toyota, so we can be sure it will be a very close weekend in terms of lap times. My goals are simple. I think this is a winnable weekend for me. Since finishing second in Melbourne, I have had some troubles at the races and I have yet to put together a strong weekend. I am hoping for a peaceful weekend where I can do a lot of work and concentrate on the car and try and win the thing!”

Those “troubles” the Brazilian refers to have all centered on less than perfect reliability, but he feels the team is now on the right road. “As soon as we put the new car on the track, we knew it was faster and that is all the good news we need. If you know you have a fast car, it is easier to make it reliable. When you have a reliable but slow car, then you are in trouble. So there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.”

Bobby Labonte To Drive Boniva Car Bobby Labonte To Drive Boniva CarGlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Roche, and Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), one of NASCAR’s premier racing teams, plan to help raise awareness of Boniva® (ibandronate sodium), a new medicine for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Boniva will be the primary sponsor for the No. 18 Chevrolet driven by 2000 NEXTEL Cup Champion Bobby Labonte at the Chevy American Revolution 400 May 14 at Richmond International Raceway. In addition to the Richmond race, which is during Osteoporosis Awareness Month, Labonte will drive a Boniva-sponsored car at a second race later this summer.

The sponsorship comes in the wake of the Surgeon General’s Report elevating osteoporosis to a major public health threat on par with smoking and obesity. Forty-four million Americans more than 50 years of age, are affected by or at risk for osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and more likely to break, and can result in severe pain, deformity, disability, hospitalization and even death.

Agabashian, Carter, Economaki, Wilke named Agabashian, Carter, Economaki, Wilke namedFour legendary names comprising a diverse group from the sport of auto racing will assume their place in the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, during induction ceremonies May 20.

Indianapolis 500 drivers Fred Agabashian and Duane Carter, team owner Bob Wilke and motorsports journalist Chris Economaki are the 2005 Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees.

The Hall of Fame honors drivers, team owners, mechanics and event officials who have made significant contributions to the success and colorful history of the sport of open-wheel racing.

The event is taking place at 7:30 p.m. (local time) Friday, May 20 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown in conjunction with the annual "500" Oldtimers' Club Banquet. The ceremonies and banquet are sold out.

Agabashian played a role in one of racing's biggest upsets by winning the pole for the 1952 Indianapolis 500 with a revolutionary Cummins Diesel-powered car, boosted by racing's very first turbocharger. Another outstanding spokesperson for the sport, the articulate Agabashian was noted for his ability to "set up" a race car and was in great demand each May for the purpose of "test-hopping" cars for other teams.

He qualified for either the first or second row five times during his 11 consecutive "500" starts between 1947-57 and finished fourth in 1953. During the years 1959-65 and 1970-77, his distinctive voice could be heard around the world as the "driver expert" analyst on the IMS Radio Network broadcasts.

Carter, who enters the Hall of Fame as both a driver and track official, took a "leave of absence" from his successful driving career to serve as the first director of competition for the United States Auto Club from the fall of 1955 until January 1959. He pushed for numerous advancements in the area of safety, while also overseeing the Monza (Italy) 500-mile races of 1957 and 1958 and USAC's landmark road-racing series, the first ever to offer prize money for such competition.

Carter was a specialist on half-mile banked tracks, winning the 1950 AAA Midwest Sprint car title. He had 11 starts at Indianapolis, earning a best finish of third as a relief driver for Sam Hanks in 1953.

Wilke led one of racing's most successful teams, Leader Card, Inc. It was a veritable dynasty which won three Indianapolis 500s and, between 1959-68, the USAC National Championship car owner's title six times.

After many years as an occasional "500" car sponsor and also a distributor for Kurtis-Kraft midget cars, Wilke formed his team shortly after partnering with drivers Jim Rathmann and John Zink to win the 1958 Monza 500.

With A.J. Watson as car builder/chief mechanic and Rodger Ward as driver, "The Flying Ws" (Wilke, Watson, Ward) won at Indianapolis in 1959 and scored a rare one-two finish with Ward and Len Sutton in 1962. For several years, Leader Card operated as two teams within one, with Jud Phillips overseeing a second unit for Don Branson and later Bobby Unser, the latter winning the 500 and the USAC title in 1968. Son Ralph Wilke carried on the team's legacy for many more years after Bob Wilke's death in December 1970.

Economaki, known by many today as the "Dean of Motorsports Journalists," has been reporting on motorsports, in both the print and broadcast mediums, for virtually his entire life. He frequented Ho-Ho-Kus (New Jersey) Speedway in his youth and made pocket money selling copies of Bergen Herald, the paper which eventually became National Speed Sport News. His column first appeared in 1936, and in 1950 he was hired as NSSN's editor, a position he still holds more than a half-century later.

Economaki became a track announcer in the 1940s, and in the early 1960s became a motorsports commentator for ABC-TV during the early days of "Wide World of Sports." His widely-read weekly column in NSSN, the "Editor's Notebook," is considered "required reading" by many motorsports fans, officials and drivers. IMS

Dana inks deal with Bollé Dana inks deal with BolléIndyCar Series driver Paul Dana and Bollé announced they have formed a marketing partnership for the 2005 racing season.   Dana, a series rookie driving the No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Toyota-powered Dallara, will be wearing Bollé RX glasses when he straps in to his 650-hp IndyCar Series this May to qualify for his first-ever start in the Indianapolis 500.  "I've always worn glasses or contact lenses when I compete," Dana said. "But stepping up to the IndyCar Series this year, the intensity and level of competition are like nothing else in motorsports. I couldn't leave anything to chance with my vision, so I'm excited to be able to work with Bollé."

Dana competed in the first two rounds of the 17-race IndyCar Series schedule wearing the Bollé Metals Meanstreak frame with prescription lenses.  "IndyCar Series drivers are some of the top athletes in the world, and they compete in a 5-G, 200-mph environment," said Bollé sponsorship director Derek Schuman. "Paul will be putting our technology to the ultimate test, and we are proud to be able to support him." IRL

Big purse money at Lowe's Big purse money at Lowe'sOfficials at Lowe’s Motor Speedway unveiled a record purse of over $14 million for the nine events held at the facility during the month of May.  The May 21 NASCAR Nextel All Star Challenge will be feature a purse of $4,138,400 will a minimum $1 million going to the race winner.  Drivers in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will be vying for their share of a $6.2 million purse in the May 29 Coca Cola 600, which is already NASCAR’s richest race. The total purse of $6,279,469 is of $118,000 more than last year’s event. Lowe's PR
American Idol contestants at Lowe's American Idol contestants at Lowe'sContestants from the popular FOX television show “American Idol” will be among the celebrities taking part in festivities leading up to the NASCAR All Star Challenge on May 21 and the Coca Cola 600 on May 29 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  The “American Idol” contestants will be on hand to sing the National Anthem for the event. Other celebrities attending pre-race events will be “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest, “Star Trek” actor Leonard Nimoy, actress Cathy Lee Crosby, television personality Robin Leach and the rock band The Black Crowes. Several Carolina Panthers players will also take part.
Massa says sorry to Coulthard Massa says sorry to CoulthardBrazilian driver Felipe Massa on Thursday played down a reported clash with Scot David Coulthard and apologized for his reaction to a near-collision at the San Marino Grand Prix. Massa has been criticized for his aggressive driving by several drivers in past seasons, including his current team-mate Jacques Villeneuve, but he insists he has not been affected by the latest incident. "I'm really open, I don't have a problem with any drivers," added Massa. "I think David is a very nice guy. Everything that happens on the track stays on the track. That day I was a bit angry and the day after everything was fine. I don't have any problem with him but when I overtook him we were both at 300kmh and he just pushed me into the curb and we almost crashed. That was why I was disappointed and that was why I was angry when I overtook him." AFP
Ecclestone warns BAR Honda Ecclestone warns BAR HondaBernie Ecclestone has warned BAR against trying to obtain an injunction to compete in the Spanish Grand Prix through the civil courts.  BAR team principal Nick Fry has indicated that he will fight the two-race ban handed to the team after the FIA Court of Appeal found it guilty of using fuel as ballast in the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.  But Ecclestone says the team should think twice about doing that.

"I think they'd be silly to do that," he told the Press Association. "I think it would be bad for them. Other people might think they admitted they infringed the regulations. Anyone else is going to say they were warned at the start of the championship, they decided to ignore it.  I wouldn't want to go to a civil court personally, I think it's a big risk."

Ecclestone also said that he agreed with FIA president Max Mosley's assessment that the punishment was actually quite lenient.  "I thought it was a very fair thing to do to be honest," he said. "I feel they got off quite lightly."

Montoya meets the press Montoya meets the pressMcLaren racer Juan Pablo Montoya will make his long awaited return to the cockpit of the MP4-20 at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, the Colombian driver forced to sit out the last two events due to a shoulder injury. In the build up to the race, Juan Pablo took part in the opening round of press conferences and here he talks further on what cased his injury….

Juan Pablo, welcome back. Are you fully fit?
Yeah, I’m feeling great, to be honest. You know it’s been kind of weird to sit down at home and watch the last two races on TV. In a way I’m very pleased. Both of the third drivers did a fantastic job for the team so it’s nice to see the team still scoring points and everything, but it’s great to be back.

What sort of fitness checks have you had to go through since you’ve been here?
Um, here, not yet. I was in England yesterday – no, the day before – and we checked the crack and everything, that it could stand (up to) everything and it looks very good. McLaren has got a simulator and we went on it and the full steering movement, everything – it was cool.

So you don’t have to go and see anyone here?
Yeah, tomorrow morning, they just want to double-check everything but I’m pretty happy, I’m full performance, I’m happy.

I’m sure you’ve been amused…
...oh yeah…
… at the speculation regarding the origins of your injury. Can you tell us a bit more?
I’ve heard all kinds of stories. I think this story came up, to be honest because a lot of people think that in most of the drivers’ contracts you’re not allowed to do anything, so everybody thought ‘we have a great story, he’s out of the races and he’s broken his contract.’ But sadly enough for all of them, it is the way it is.

So it was tennis?
It was tennis. I would rather say it was anything apart from tennis because it sounds kind of dumb but that’s the way it went.

In what way do you think you will be affected by not sitting in your car for so long?
Driving-wise, I think not much. We do that every winter, take a month off and we did some laps round here in the simulator and I am pretty comfortable and I don’t know how many laps I’ve done here, more than 1000 round this place I guess… It would be much harder to come back to a track where we don’t test so much, to Imola or Bahrain, it would be harder than coming here. I don’t know, just get in the car and drive it. I think the hardest thing is going to be being the first car out in qualifying on Saturday and that’s it.

BAR have been banned for two races, they lose their points... Do you have any thoughts on that?
It is a bit surprising they were cheating to be honest, but the only thing I found that was quite funny was a text I had from Alex Wurz saying ‘can I collect the trophy?’ I was shocked actually that they put them out of the races, but I think that is the way rules go I guess. FIA
Playa Del Racing adds associate sponsor Playa Del Racing adds associate sponsorVornado, an industry leader in the design and manufacturing of air comfort products, will be a prominent associate sponsor on the No. 21 Panoz/Toyota driven by Jaques Lazier. Playa Del Racing Vice President, Susan Schafer, announced the long-term agreement Tuesday. The team will debut in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 on May 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.   Vornado and Playa Del Racing share the same commitment to excellence. Both companies rely on their speed and technological innovation to stay ahead of their competition and be the leader in their respective industries. Playa Del Racing
Alex Job Racing and BAM! join forces for LeMans effort Alex Job Racing and BAM! join forces for LeMans effortAlex Job Racing (AJR) and BAM! (British American Motorsport) will join forces for the 2005 24 Heures du Mans.  Two strong rivals from the American Le Mans GT2 championship are coming together as one exceptionally strong and experienced team.  Leading the effort as team manager will be Alex Job Racing owner, Alex Job.  This will be Alex Job Racing's third time to participate in this most  prestigious event in auto racing.  AJR won the GT class in 2003 in a joint effort with Petersen Motorsports.    

Working side by side with Alex will be BAM! team owner, Tim Munday, who will serve as crew chief and engineer.  BAM! teamed with Orbit Racing in 2004 to make an attempt at the class win, after having finished second in class together in 2003.  Unfortunately, the 2004 effort ended early due to a gearbox failure.  The 2005 AJR-BAM! Le Mans team will field an exceptionally strong driver lineup which includes two Porsche factory drivers: Mike "Rocky" Rockenfeller originally from Neuwied, Germany who now resides in Monaco, and Marc Lieb of Leipzig, Germany.  Joining Rocky and Marc will be Leo Hindery of New York who co-drove in the Orbit-BAM! second-place GT finish in 2003, as well as in 2002 and 2004.  Alex Job Racing

IRL cars to feature prominently in Vegas IRL cars to feature prominently in VegasBesides the new Ferrari/Maserati dealership, also housed at the new Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Country Club is a 170-foot long taxi tunnel, complete with a photo montage designed to look like the starting grid of an IndyCar race. Roger Penske recommended that famed Los Angeles-based photographer Jonathan Exley create the photo montage which features 10 life-size images of IndyCars (16 x 3 feet) on each side of the tunnel creating the illusion that the taxi cabs are in the center row of the starting grid. Marlboro Team Penske
Appeal Verdict: BAR Honda response Appeal Verdict: BAR Honda responseThis is a statement from Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of B·A·R Honda in relation to the ruling of the FIA International Court of Appeal, 5 May 2005:

"B·A·R Honda is appalled at the decision of the FIA International Court of Appeal and asserts that the judgement is contrary to all of the evidence heard yesterday.  The team proved that it complied with the current regulations and the FIA now acknowledges that the regulations are unclear.  We repeat that at no time did B·A·R Honda run underweight at the San Marino Grand Prix and this was also unchallenged by the FIA. 

"While the International Court of Appeal rejected the FIA's original accusations of fraud and deception, B·A·R Honda says that this penalty is wholly and grossly disproportionate.  The team is advised by its legal counsel that the judgement is plainly wrong based on the evidence presented and it is currently examining its options."

Mosley says BAR punishment not enough Mosley says BAR punishment not enoughThe Court of Appeal stopped short of the ultimate sanction of excluding the BAR Honda team from the World Championship. The Honda-powered team were called to appear before the FIA's International Court of Appeal on Wednesday to answer charges they raced an underweight car in the San Marino GP. On Thursday the FIA handed down their verdict, stripping Jenson Button and Takuma Sato of their points from Imola and banning the team for the next two races.

FIA President Max Mosley, though, isn't happy with the punishment, which he feels is too "lenient." "The facts in this case are very clear," he said as he left the hearing. The team was asked to pump the fuel out of their car. They left 15 liters in the tank and told us it was empty. Under the circumstances, we feel they have been treated rather leniently."

BAR gets 2-race ban BAR gets 2-race banUPDATE Here is the full FIA press release on the ruling handed down today by the International Court of Appeals against the BAR Honda team.  See story on our Home Page for the full case against BAR Honda and the counter-arguments the team made. 05/05/05 BAR Honda have been stripped of their third place points at Imola for Jenson Button and have been handed a 2-race ban by the International Court of Appeals for having an illegal fuel tank that allowed the car to run under the minimum weight requirement set forth in the rules. In addition, Takumo Sato was stripped of his 5th place finish.

The image to the right provided by the FIA clearly shows BAR's illegal fuel tank.

The team will now miss this weekend's Spanish GP as well as the Monaco GP in two weeks. We shall see if BAR follows through with its threat to appeal in Civil court.

Industry News
Will Kerkorian rock GM? Will Kerkorian rock GM?Billionaire investor and Las Vegas casino mogul Kirk Kerkorian has made an $870-million offer to become one of the largest shareholders of General Motors Corp., a move that boosted GM's previously plunging stock price and quickly caused a flurry of speculation about Kerkorian's motives.

Kerkorian, an aggressive investor who once tried to take over Chrysler Corp. and was its largest shareholder before it was acquired by German automaker Daimler-Benz AG, would quickly become GM's third-largest shareholder and could exercise enormous influence.

Kerkorian's personal investment fund quietly bought up 3.9 percent of GM's shares in late April. His latest effort, an attempt to buy as many as 28 million shares of GM stock at $31 each, would boost his ownership stake of the automaker to 8.84 percent. It remains to be seen how many shareholders will agree to sell to him at the bid price.

Because Kerkorian's stake was below the 5-percent level that requires public disclosure of his investment, not even GM knew he had bought up millions of shares last month. The reclusive billionaire's sudden interest in GM is notable because he has a track record of taking aggressive actions with his investments, from a very public but failed effort to take over Chrysler in 1995 to selling off huge chunks of MGM's valued film library to suing DaimlerChrysler for $1 billion for allegedly misleading him in the 1998 merger deal.

To buy Mandalay Resort Group, the majority owner of Detroit's MotorCity casino, for $4.2 billion. Since Michigan law allows him to own only one casino here, MotorCity is sold in March to Marian Ilitch, whose family owns the Little Caesars pizza chain, the Red Wings and Tigers.

Kerkorian's personal investment firm, Tracinda Corp., said the proposed purchase was for "investment purposes" only. It said it made the announcement Wednesday morning because rumors of its interest in GM had begun to slip out.

A Kerkorian confidant said the move was "a sign of faith in the company," at a time many on Wall Street have fled GM. More at Detroit Free Press

Morgan Shepherd to air on ESPN show today Morgan Shepherd to air on ESPN show todaySixty-three year old Morgan Shepherd, easily the NASCAR Nextel Cup's oldest driver, survives week-to-week with his two man team and no sponsors. "I'm the last of the Mohicans," he says, forcing a laugh. ESPN's Outside the Lines has been chronicling Shepherd's 2005 campaign since NASCAR's season-opening Daytona 500 on February 20. He has started just one race - the UAW Daimler Chrysler 400 on March 13 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, starting 43rd and finishing 40th. Outside the Lines will present an inside look at Shepherd's travails on Thursday, May 5 at 12:00midnight/et [Subject to change depending on breaking news]. Despite struggling, Shepherd refuses to retire in part because of his Christian faith -his team logo is prominently displayed on his #89 Dodge. ESPN
Oval track carnage continues Oval track carnage continuesUPDATE A reader responds, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I disagree with your assessment that oval racing is "senseless." Yes, it is more dangerous than road racing, and in my opinion not as exciting. I (and from what it sounds like, 3 other people) watched a few laps of the Motegi race and found myself dozing off. Still, CART/Champ Car has always prided itself on having a diverse selection of tracks and being able to crown a champion who can shine on those many tracks. This is a hallmark of CART/Champ Car that I don't want to see go away. In conclusion, I would simply prefer to see things stay as is with a predominantly road racing series and a 2-4 ovals mixed in. Just stay off the tracks like Fontana and Michigan. Brian Carroccio, Rockville, MD Dear Brian, The oval track events have to be able to pay for themselves. If the fans show up and support these races in big numbers then the risk and high cost of oval racing can be justified, but if the fans don't support these events then they won't be retained despite what a few fans who do support them think. The days of artificially propping up money losing events are gone. And even if they did turn a small profit, if OWRS can make far more in places like China, Japan, etc, that's where they will be. Let's see how this year's races do. We have long maintained - "Stick a fork in the oval races, they're done," because NASCAR has monopolized the oval track market in the USA. We would like nothing better than to be proven wrong. Mark C. 05/04/05 Given the crowd size (Milwaukee and Las Vegas may be Champ Car's smallest crowds), why do the IRL and Champ Car continue to race on ovals? It's simply too expensive. Yesterday in Milwaukee testing Timo Glock and Ronnie Bremer found the wall. Today Paul Tracy and Ryan Hunter-Reay found the wall.

After Hunter-Reay crashed PKV Racing and HVM wisely called it a day and packed up early. Newman/Haas and RuSPORT pounded around until the end.

All drivers are OK but the damage to their equipment costs the teams a lot of money. Last weekend in Japan a good number of IRL cars were wiped out against the walls. And in Talladega, 25 Nextel Cup cars bit the dust in one accident last Sunday. Oval track racing is very expensive, we have been saying it for years, and when a driver is seriously injured or killed, it makes people utter the words senseless.

As the Europeans would say, silly Americans. Mark C.

Nextel Named Recipient of Award Of Excellence Nextel Named Recipient of Award Of ExcellenceNextel, one of the nation's largest wireless telecommunications companies, has been named the 2005 recipient of Pocono Raceway's Bill France Award of Excellence. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence has been presented annually to the person, corporation or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Racing. This prestigious award, first presented in 1977, is dedicated to the inspiration of Bill France Sr., founder of NASCAR. By taking over the title sponsorship of NASCAR's premier series, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Nextel and NASCAR forged a partnership built upon each partner's passion for performance, innovation and excellence. Through the sponsorship, Nextel has diligently worked to integrate NASCAR into the company's business and culture, while at the same time elevating NASCAR to a new level by using its products and technology to enhance the sport and maximize the fan experience. From at-track activation and NASCAR-based products and applications, to community programs and advertising, Nextel's partnership with NASCAR is helping the sport continue its meteoric growth. Nextel donated $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and used the company's presence at-track to collect old wireless phones through the DONATE A PHONE program, benefiting The American Red Cross's Armed Forces Emergency Services program. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence, a beautifully sculptured and highly polished piece of anthracite coal mined in Pennsylvania, will be presented to Nextel at an award ceremony on Saturday, June 11, 2005. This ceremony is part of the festivities leading up to the June 12, 2005 POCONO 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. Pocono Raceway
Sponsorship Expands After Lepage's Strong Daytona 500 Finish Sponsorship Expands After Lepage's Strong Daytona 500 FinishKevin Lepage's impressive ninth place finish at this year's NASCAR Daytona 500 provided the incentive for The Patròn Spirits Company to increase its involvement with Lepage's #37 Dodge and R & J Racing program to include an additional five NASCAR NEXTEL CUP races. This deal was brokered by Active International, the world's largest corporate trading firm. Active's sports & event marketing division has extensive expertise in negotiating major sports sponsorships and has helped its clients to participate in a number of high-profile properties including the PGA TOUR, NBA and NASCAR. Trade credits that The Patròn Spirits Company acquired from Active were an important element in enabling Active to tailor this financial program for Patròn's sponsorship of Lepage's #37 Dodge. The deal is unique given that 2005 is the first year that spirits companies have been able to participate as NASCAR sponsors. The sponsorship provided Patròn with an innovative way to enhance its marketing strategy. As the primary sponsor of Lepage's car, Patròn designed the paint scheme and the logos that are featured on the hood and side panels (images on my #37 Team Schemes Page). Peppercom PR
Johnson To Join Rumsfeld At Troop Support Concert Johnson To Join Rumsfeld At Troop Support ConcertLowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson will join Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and country music stars Thursday afternoon at the Pentagon for the first "America Supports You" Salute to Our Military Men and Women concert. Johnson will be at Darlington Raceway preparing for Saturday night's NASCAR Nextel Cup race, but will join the Pentagon concert via satellite. Johnson, Rumsfeld, and Lowe's executives will unveil the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet carrying the "America Supports You" decal on the rear deck lid (trunk). This car plus the #5 Lowe's Busch Series car will race with the decal at Darlington, Richmond and Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte during the month of May. The hour-long concert, scheduled to begin at 12:15pm/et, will include singers Keni Thomas, Craig Morgan and Rockie. It will air live on the Defense Department's American Forces Radio and Television Service to 177 countries throughout the world. In addition to the Pentagon event, Lowe's will offer free "America Supports You" bumper stickers in its more than 1,100 stores across the country and take its Team Lowe's Fan Experience interactive mobile display to six military bases. Military families will have an interactive experience with Team Lowe's Racing. Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet will provide "Dare to Repair" clinics on the Fan Experience using products from local Lowe's stores. GMR Live PR
How do Gordon's 72 wins rank? How do Gordon's 72 wins rank?Jeff Gordon has just hit 72 Cup wins and is closing on the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time NASCAR winners' list, at 76. Next up in Gordon's windshield are Cale Yarborough, fifth with 83; Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, tied for third with 84; David Pearson, second with 105 and Richard Petty with the seemingly insurmountable 200. But Gordon got his 72nd win last Sunday at Talladega at the age of 33 years and nine months.  See the chart for the comparisons:

Rank Driver Total Wins Total Race Win % Wins at 33 yrs, 9 mths Age at 72nd win Win total at end of 12th season
1 Petty, Richard 200 1185 16.9% 123 30 140
2 Pearson, David 105 574 18.3% 45 38 60^
3 Allison, Bobby 84 719 11.7% 28 44 47
3 Waltrip, Darrell 84 809 10.4% 27 41 70
4 Yarborough, Cale 83 561 14.8% 14 43 59^
5 Earnhardt, Dale 76 676 11.2% 12 48 48
6 Gordon, Jeff 72 410 17.6% 72* 33 69

(* current thru Talladega 5/1/05)(^ ran a combo of part-time/fulltime seasons)
Only Petty at that age had more wins than Gordon, 123. And Petty at that stage was racing in a whole other kind of NASCAR, with seasons as long as 61 races, barnstorming to backwater tracks where the competition for him often was nil. Even counting Gordon's winless rookie year of '93, he has averaged 5.88 wins per season in the 12.25 seasons he has completed. But he's been hinting he might retire at 40. Let's keep the happy medium of 5.88 wins per season, to allow for the possibilities that his career will get even brighter and then take a downturn that prompts his retirement. Should he quit at the end of the 2011 season, the year he turns 40, that would give Gordon 6.75 more seasons from now. At 5.88 wins per season, he'd have 39 more wins, for a total of 111, moving past Pearson into second place. See more at the Orlando Sentinel/Ed Hinton

Schumacher seeks victory Schumacher seeks victoryMichael Schumacher put in a stunning drive to haul in a 20 second disadvantage to Jenson Button and then catch race leader Fernando Alonso to press for the win in San Marino. Two weeks on and the seven times champion is looking for his first win of the season - this time in Barcelona and the Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari is not constrained by the self-imposed testing limits their rivals have opted to take and are therefore expected to get stronger as the season progresses. The new F2005 was only originally scheduled to make its debut in Barcelona but already the Italian Champions have hundreds of laps of testing under their belts as well as two full Grand Prix.

Ferrari dominated at Circuit de Catalunya last year with Schumacher taking the win with ease from team-mate Rubens Barrichello with the Renault's coming home in third and fourth. Barrichello has not had such good fortune in the F2005, scoring just a ninth position in Bahrain and retiring last time out with electrical problems. The Brazilian will be seeking a strong showing in Barcelona to get his championship back underway.

While the team will have modifications and refinements to its F2005 chassis, they will also be using a new oil - SL0907 - from sponsor and partner Shell.

Michael Schumacher - "Our showing at Imola was really fantastic. It has given us great encouragement and now we cannot wait for Barcelona. I said it before the San Marino GP and it is the same this time around: the title race really has begun for us."

"Our car's performance and, above all, the whole team's and that of our partners, was more than encouraging. It is obvious that our fighting spirit has been reawakened. Our set up works well whichever way you look at it and the only necessary thing, as always in Formula One, is to look after the details."

"When it comes to Barcelona, everything depends on finding the right set up for the mix of slow and fast sections. This is not always easy to do as there is often a strong wind and this can play an important role. However, we know the track well as we test on it during winter and so I don't expect too many problems. I think that many teams will do well at Barcelona. Renault, given their performances up to now, will naturally start as favorites. However, McLaren Mercedes and BAR Honda have to be taken into consideration. The others will also have to keep an eye on us. I have high hopes that we can go for the win at Barcelona." Ferrari

BAR Honda preparing cars to race BAR Honda preparing cars to raceThe verdict on whether BAR cheated is due to be made public later Thursday but until then the British team continued to prepare for Sunday's race with mechanics fine tuning the cars to be driven by Button and Takuma Sato ahead of official inspection at the Barcelona circuit later Thursday.  "We can only wait for the decision by the tribunal," a BAR representative who declined to be named told AFP. "Not having any indication of the verdict we're carrying on as if nothing was happening," he added.
Jeff Gordon breaks Lowe’s record Jeff Gordon breaks Lowe’s recordThree-time Coca-Cola 600 winner Jeff Gordon took to Lowe's Motor Speedway's renovated racing surface like the proverbial duck took to water Wednesday night as 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams made final preparations for the May 29 NASCAR All-Star Challenge and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600. The unofficial stopwatches caught Gordon's No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet with a lap at 189.056 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The 28.563-second lap was a tick of the watch faster than the track record of 28.590 seconds, 188.877 mph, set last year by Ryan Newman. Gordon's lap came as teams concentrated on long runs, searching for the proper chassis setup to complement the harder right-side tires Goodyear has manufactured for the track's May events. The tires performed flawlessly Wednesday and one veteran crew chief said tire issues that developed during Tuesday's testing were the result of teams "getting greedy with tire pressures and camber." "They've certainly found something that works very well with this track," Gordon said about the renovated racing surface. "The corners are just fantastic. Some of the guys have been running more in the middle to higher lines, which is a positive thing. I think it's a good sign of things to come."  
Driver, car No. and speed:
1. Jeff Gordon, 24, 189.056;
2. Martin Truex Jr., 1, 186.464;
3. Greg Biffle, 16, 186.047;
4. Mike Bliss, 0, 185.637;
5. Casey Mears, 41, 185.631;
6. Ken Schrader, 185.478;
7. Elliott Sadler, 38, 185.287;
8. Kyle Busch, 5, 185.172;
9. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 32, 185.084;
10. Mike Skinner, 23, 184.906. Lowe's Motor Speedway
Michel Jourdain meets President Bush Michel Jourdain meets President BushPresident George W. Bush (right) greets NASCAR Busch series driver Michel Jourdain, Jr. at The Latino Coalition’s Small Business Conference held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.  The Latino Coalition has pledged its support to ensure that Jourdain is the first fulltime Hispanic driver in NASCAR.  Furthermore, The Latino Coalition is heading up the drive to find corporate support for Jourdain’s racing team.

The Latino Coalition announced Wednesday in Washington, D.C. at the 2005 Latino Small Business Conference that they are asking for corporate support for Michel Jourdain and his ppc/Ford Racing team.  The Coalition wants to help Jourdain to become the first Hispanic driver to compete full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series.  The conference featured many high-profile speakers including President George W. Bush.  Jourdain was extended an invitation to participate in the conference and to be introduced by Robert De Posada, President of  The Latino Coalition.  Additionally, Jourdain has been invited to attend a Cinco de Mayo dinner at the White House with President and Mrs. Bush and Coalition members.

The Latino Coalition was established to support small business owners on issues that affect their bottom line as well as expand their operations. NASCAR

Jordan announces new sponsor Jordan announces new sponsorJordan Grand Prix is pleased to announce that Samsung Business Communications and STL have partnered with the team to provide IP platforms for the team’s Communications. The announcement sees the installation of Samsung’s award-winning OfficeServ IP Voice Server in order to deliver sophisticated business communication, including Samsung’s Wi-Fi technology in one of the fiercest technological test beds on earth. Samsung Business Communications Platinum accredited partner STL will undertake the installation. In Formula One, a world where success is increasingly achieved by the deployment of the latest technology and seamless communications between the trackside and the cars, Samsung will be linking the various elements of the Jordan Formula One team. This includes linking the team headquarters at Silverstone, the Technical Centre in Brackley and the trackside at the various worldwide Grand Prix locations. The installation is planned for later in the month when it can be scheduled between Grand Prix commitments. The widely acknowledged reliability of Samsung’s OfficeServ platform will be key in ensuring customer satisfaction, as will the quality of voice transmission while championship progress is being monitored across entire continents. Commenting on the contract announcement, Samsung Business Communications Sales & Marketing Director, Ali Zartash-Lloyd said, “Operating within a Formula One environment is a challenging task. We have demonstrated that we can deliver high quality, robust and technologically advanced solution for Jordan. We enjoy a very close relationship with STL, and as they are a Platinum partner this means that they have achieved the highest levels of training and provide the service to match. As a result, Jordan can trust that their OfficeServ system has been optimized for the heavy demands of a Formula One racing team.“ Jordan F1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Two 'cheats' in F1 - Alonso
'Leave Bahrain'
BAR to get 'guilty' verdict
GP chief - Magny Cours' ok
Wurz pipped to 'Friday' post
Heidfeld drives Formula BMW
Cosworth 'disappointed'
Ferrari to pack extra punch
Bernie's '10 day' test cap
Pressure on Fernando
Bull boys' burly bikes
April 2 for '06 Oz GP
BAR debut Honda V8
May 5th in history
BAR saga to rumble on
Rosberg and Jones' sons
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