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Justin Wilson talks about getting ready to qualify at Indy
Justin Wilson
“Just going through ROP was a lot of fun. Just getting up to speed and getting a feel for the track, and obviously the McDonald's car was working very well because we progressed through that very quickly and I felt very comfortable. I was just enjoying my time out on the track and could hear everyone else who told me stuff about the circuit, I could hear their voices as I was driving around, and it was exactly like what they had been saying. This place is a lot of fun to drive.”

(About his first Indy 500): “We're only a few days into it. I guess I'll find out in a few days time, whether we're going crazy or not. So far, on track, it's been a lot of fun. I still, each time I go out, I feel like I get more acclimatized to the track and the environment out there. I know it's going to be completely different on Race Day when the grandstands fill up. That changes your sight picture enormously. That's another thing I've been warned about is how overwhelming it can seem on Race Day, so I'm just trying to take it all in and keep working on the car, and I think yesterday we ended up pretty quick. Hopefully we can make some more progress and get up there and ideally qualify the first weekend.”

(About how the rain effects preparation): “Obviously, we've had three days running as compared with the more experienced guys having only one day, but I think if the conditions are not ideal, the more experienced guys know how to deal with that quicker than we do. They can change their car and find a setup and go out there and run four laps of qualifying and be really close, whereas we might be a way off and have to change it, come back for a second attempt, come back for a third attempt, and it just makes life a little bit harder when you don't have the data to fall back on.”

(About perspective of Indy): “The main thing is when I came in and ran the track in the right direction. I've been here for the Grand Prix before and that never seemed quite right, to be in a place like this and not really getting to experience the track. Now I've got to experience going the right direction and have fun out there. It is just enjoyment. The corners are so fast. The car releases out of the corners onto the straights and you just enjoy sitting on the straights and looking down on to either Turn 1 or Turn 3 and remembering some of those images I've seen and just replaying the '93 race. That is the first time I remember seeing the race, when Nigel Mansell came over and raced. We actually got the ‘500’ televised in the UK, and those are my first memories. Watching those cars go down the straights and trying to overtake, and it's pretty cool to finally get to drive on that track. It's not an easy place. We started off in ROP with more downforce and got comfortable and learned the track, and as we go on, we start to trim the car out, and that's when it gets difficult. When the car starts to move around, each time you come down the straights, I mentioned how long they are, but that's a good thing and also a bad thing because you have plenty of time to start to think about the next corner, and you can psych yourself up or you can psych yourself out. It depends on what happens. You get there, and your foot is either planted to the floor or it starts to quiver and you lift off, so there's a lot of time to think.”

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racing news

PRI Trade Show extends Orlando location through 2016
The world’s largest racing trade show, the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, will remain in Orlando through 2016.

Attended by more than 45,000 racing industry entrepreneurs from over 50 countries, and featuring exhibits of the latest advances in motorsports technology by 1,450 companies (2007 numbers), the PRI Trade Show’s first event in Orlando was in 2005. This year, the 21st Annual PRI Trade Show will once again be held in the North/South Building of the Orange County Convention Center, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 11–13, 2008.

Previously, the PRI Trade Show had contracted to hold the event in Orlando through 2010.

“After holding the PRI Trade Show in Orlando for three very successful years, it is now viewed by exhibitors and attendees as the place to be for the future,” said Steve Lewis, show producer. “Exhibitors appreciate the strong annual domestic and international buyer attendance in Orlando. Buyers appreciate shopping the 1,000,000-square-foot exhibit hall featuring displays of all the latest product lines in motorsports.”

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Tickets sales dip slightly for Iowa 250
Iowa Speedway co-owner Rusty Wallace says ticket sales for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 are slightly behind last year's numbers.

Wallace says the struggling economy is partly to blame for the dip in sales.

He says he is confident this year's race will draw a crowd similar to last year, when the race drew more than 35,000 fans. His goal is to top 40,000.

The speedway at Newton hopes the upcoming Indy 500, Danica Patrick's recent win and the Champ Car/IRL unification will boost ticket sales.

Wallace also says the parking problems that plagued the inaugural race have been fixed.  AP Article


Rain washes out Indy practice UPDATE Practice for the Indianapolis 500 was canceled after persistent showers plagued the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 11:30 a.m. until 3:15 p.m.  Practice is scheduled to resume from noon-6 p.m. Thursday, followed by ‘Fast Friday’ from noon-6 p.m. Friday. Pole Day is Saturday.

05/07/08 Rain has hit the Indy Speedway just before the start of practice today and the forecast is for rain the rest of today and into tomorrow.  If the teams get washed out both days they will still have Friday to practice ahead of pole qualifications on Saturday.


An interview with Mario Dominguez and Al Unser III
Mario Dominguez
Ron McQueeney
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Mario. Mario is a rookie in the Indy Car Series and, in fact, he and the Pacific Coast Motorsports team are preparing for their first race in the series. Earlier in the season Mario finished third at Long Beach and he has previously competed in Champ Car for six seasons, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2002 and winning two races. Mario participated in the Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program Monday and completed three phases Monday, and he completed the fourth and final phase of the program yesterday.

Welcome to the IndyCar Series. Tell us about the opportunity to come over to the series with the team and now compete in the unified series.

MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Well, this is an incredible opportunity. Obviously very happy and very excited about the unification about the fact that we are back to the name IndyCar like it used to be 12 years ago, which is a household name.

And I'm just very excited to be here with Pacific Coast Motorsports, one of the former Champ Car teams that is also making the transition, and I give them a lot of credit. They got the car a week and a half ago, and the fact that we are here turning laps around Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a complete miracle and a credit to their professionalism.

As far as I'm concerned, it's just a real dream come true to be able to drive here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It's really been my dream ever since I can remember, and I am more than excited. There's hardly any word to describe what I'm feeling right now.

THE MODERATOR: This is your first time at Indy, and that is my next question on what it's been like the last couple of days. Can you elaborate, what's it been like to get on track and put some laps around this place?

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Chevrolet to announce new Midget Racing engine UPDATE
GM officials and Tony Stewart with the new Chevy engine in one of Stewart's USAC midgets
Jim Haines/IRL
The announcement was made today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by GM and Tony Stewart and a photo is included at right..

05/05/08 GM Racing representatives and United States Auto Club (USAC) team owner Tony Stewart will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wednesday to unveil the new engine to media representatives.


Administrators seek to sell Super Aguri
(GMM)  The failed formula one team Super Aguri has been placed into administration.

The British accountants and business advisors PKF, who also handled the administration of Arrows in 2002, confirmed in a statement that it is seeking to sell the Leafield based outfit as a going concern.

"This administration provides a unique opportunity to get into high-level motor sport without having to build an operation from scratch.  In terms of capability a new team could easily be up and running for the 2009 formula one season," directors Philip Long, Ian Gould and Brian Hamblin said in a joint statement.

They revealed that "several expressions of interest" have already been received.

PKF also handled the liquidation of Prost Grand Prix's UK interests seven years ago.


GM suspends big truck orders
General Motors has told its dealers it has suspended production of some 2008 full-sized trucks and SUVs because of the American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings strike.

The vehicles:

-- GMC Yukon

-- GMC Denali

-- GMC Sierra heavy-duty regular cab

-- GMC Sierra heavy-duty extended cab

-- GMC commercial heavy-duty

-- Chevrolet Tahoes and same variants for Chevrolet full-sized trucks.

"Essentially, we're not accepting any more orders," says Randy Fox, GMC spokesman.

GM says it already had all the orders it could process at this time because the strike is preventing GM from getting parts. If the strike continues, there might be additional production cuts, GM spokeswoman Susan Garontakos says. AutoWeek


Fisher forced to remove Clinton logos
Indy Series driver Sarah Fisher is backing Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race and she had planned to surprise the candidate this morning by putting the campaign's ``Hillary'' logo on the team's powder-blue race car.

Minutes before Clinton arrived at Fisher's garage on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the panels bearing the logo were taken off and whisked out of sight.

It turns out that a free advertisement on an IndyCar car meets the definition of a corporate donation, and that isn't allowed under federal campaign finance laws.  Giving that advertising space to Clinton when other companies have to pay would amount to an illegal gift.

``She was really excited to show her support at 220 miles per hour,'' Briney said. Fisher ``understands the situation'' and wasn't disappointed. ``Some of this stuff gets pretty sticky,'' he said.


Q and A with laid-off SAF1 driver Anthony Davidson
Anthony Davidson
Q: Ant, what was your initial reaction when you heard the news about the team?
Anthony Davidson: It wasn't a complete shock as we have all known how difficult things have been, but I'm obviously really disappointed that the team is unable to see out the rest of the season and beyond, and gutted not just for myself but for all the guys at the factory who have worked so hard.

Q: Have you spoken to the team since the news broke?
AD: Yes, I spoke to my engineer and a few people at the team this morning, and I have been at the factory in Leafield today.

Q: Looking over your time at the team, what have been the best moments, and the worst, other than our recent news?
AD: There have been a lot of good moments - being on the grid in Melbourne for the first time last year having waited so long for a race drive, and some very strong qualifying performances would be among my favorites.  The worst moment was hearing that the team was withdrawing, and of course the infamous ground hog which cost me a top five result...

Q: What do you think made SAF1 TEAM so special?
AD: It was a small team, but with a lot of passion.  The team has always worked incredibly hard, and I think this year the guys showed great dedication and loyalty to keep fighting especially given the uncertainty over the future.

Q: What is in store for you now?
AD: After several years as a test driver in F1 I’m glad that I had the chance to show that I can race and to prove my speed, and I’m grateful to the team and Honda for the opportunity. Although it's a difficult time of the year to find an alternative option as most plans are finalized and the season is well underway, I’m glad I took the opportunity to compete again this year and strongly believe that I have unfinished business in Formula One.

Q: And finally Ant, SAF1 Team fans in their thousands have sent messages of good will and support to the team in Leafield. Do you have a message for the SAF1 Team fans around the world?
AD: The SAF1 TEAM fans have always been brilliant and I would like to thank them for their incredible support. The many messages that we have received have been very much appreciated. 


Barrichello to race '257' livery in Turkey
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello will race a special '257' car livery and helmet design in Turkey this weekend, as his team Honda helps him mark his record-breaking 257th grand prix.

The Japanese team has already begun celebrating the 35-year-old Brazilian's forthcoming feat, with the 'Rubens Barrichello 257 Golf Tournament' at Barcelona following the recent Spanish grand prix, attended by the man who has held the previous record since 1993, Riccardo Patrese.

Meanwhile, we understand that many of Barrichello's friends and family will be in attendance at Istanbul Park this weekend.


Istanbul will suit us, says Gascoyne
Mike Gascoyne is confident Force India’s VJM01 car will suit the sweeping Istanbul Park circuit as the team attempts to finally break out of Q1 in qualifying.

“The VJM01 is very good in high speed turns – we performed very well for example in sector one in Barcelona, the quickest part of the track, so I think the car will also go well in Istanbul.

“Traditionally we have has some success in Turkey and we know the car is reliable so we should look to have a good weekend."

Team co-owner Vijay Mallya admitted at the last round at Barcelona that he was disappointed that the team’s strong practice pace failed to materialize into a first Q2 berth.

Gascoyne says the team has tried to the identify the reasons for its cars’ drop in pace on Saturday afternoons and is hopeful it will be more competitive over one lap in Turkey.

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Adam Carroll returns to Fisichella Motor Sport
Fisichella Motor Sport International is delighted to announce that Adam Carroll, who won two GP2 Series races for the Italian squad in 2007, will return to the team ahead of this weekend's race at the Istanbul circuit in Turkey, round two of the 2008 GP2 Series. Adam will replace Adrian Valles, who raced for the team at the opening round in Barcelona.

Adam is confirmed to drive for FMSI for the next two rounds in Istanbul, Turkey and Monaco, the tricky street race being the venue of his outstanding 2005 race win. Adam has five GP2 victories to his name, with two of those coming last season with FMSI. He scored a further three podium finishes in 2007, finishing the season in a strong seventh place in the drivers' championship, despite missing the first five races.

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1928 video of Opel land speed record car
Click image to watch video
In May 1928 on Berlin’s AVUS racetrack, Fritz Von Opel set a speed record of an estimated 238 km/h in a rocket-powered car, the RAK 2. Von Opel, grandson of Opel Motor Car Company founder Adam Opel, and his partners used 24 solid-fuel rockets packed with 120 kilograms of explosives to propel the RAK 2 forward. More than 3000 guests from show business, sports, science and politics including movie star Lilian Harvey and boxer Max Schmeling attended the event. Available video includes archive shots of the event (In German).


Toyota’s search for the secret weapon
Click image to watch video
Formula 1 is the sport that never sleeps and at Panasonic Toyota Racing's headquarters in Cologne, Germany, dedicated technical experts are working flat-out around the clock in the constant search for extra performance. Whether it is testing new parts in the wind tunnel, analyzing the latest track data to squeeze more performance out of the TF108 or challenging conventional wisdom on the drawing board, the quest for improvement never ends.

Several times a year the team introduces a major revision to its car, as has happened already in 2008 for the Australian and Spanish Grands Prix, but beyond that small modifications are made to the car for virtually every race and test, in line with the Toyota Way concept of kaizen; continuous improvement.

These aerodynamic improvements may not always be immediately visible - a small tweak to the angle of a wing flap or a minor change to the shape of a part - but small steps can make a big difference, while mechanical changes are nearly always hidden under bodywork. The development of the TF108 encompasses a journey across Europe and beyond in the hunt for the Formula 1 holy grail; a secret weapon to leave the opposition trailing in your tire tracks.

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De Ferran completes 2008 Michelin Roster
Pagenaud and de Ferran
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Joining an impressive Michelin line-up that includes the defending American Le Mans Series (ALMS) champions in all four ALMS classes, the Utah Grand Prix debut of the #66 de Ferran Motorsports’ Acura ARX-01b will complete the roster of 2008 Michelin ALMS technical partner teams.

“We are pleased to welcome Gil de Ferran and de Ferran Motorsports to the Michelin ALMS team,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports & sponsorship manager. “At Michelin, our first objective is that we race to learn. The de Ferran Acura team will be an outstanding technical partner; a strong competitor; and a perfect capstone to our 2008 Michelin ALMS line-up.”

Gil de Ferran and Panasonic co-driver Simon Pagenaud have already started testing with Michelin. “The consistency of the tires was just unbelievable,” said de Ferran of his very first test.  “I am used to racing where the tires quickly start to lose a bit every lap, but at the Sebring test, we ran 90 laps on the first set of Michelin® tires and the lap times remained very consistent. I thought, well, obviously the hard tires are very good, so we tried a set of softer tires and again the consistency was very impressive. We are looking forward to working with Michelin and are very pleased to be a Michelin technical partner,” said de Ferran.

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A1GP Announces Season Four Timing Partner
London, Great Britain - Precision is a key word in both motorsport and the watch industry, so the announcement of TW Steel as the new Official Timing and Watch Partner for A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is an ideal match. Both the series and the watch company are young and growing rapidly, so the three year deal, starting for the 2008/09 season, will see them continue to do this together on a world stage.

'This is a very exciting period for A1GP and TW Steel,' said A1GP Chairman, Tony Teixeira, 'We are both expanding at a vast rate of knots and have the same aspirations to be recognized in the four corners of the world for excellence in our own fields - A1GP for providing the most exciting racing and TW Steel the most innovative and desirable time pieces. Timing is an essential element in motorsport, so to have such a young, vibrant company partnering us in this is exciting.'

This new partnership is also viewed by TW Steel as a major development which will aid the growth of what is a relatively new company and its Managing Director Jordy Cobelens said: 'The partnership with A1GP is a very big and important step for TW Steel, and it will help achieve the goal of becoming the biggest brand in oversized watches.'

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Panther to run just one car
Panther Racing owner John Barnes has no interest in running a second car to team with Vitor Meira. "I've turned down a bunch of deals," Barnes said. "We're just going to concentrate on Vitor."  Indy Star


Indy 500 tickets on sale
Plenty of tickets are still available for the 2008 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25, the 92nd running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

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

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Monday-Sunday during May, with special hours of 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on Pole Day, Saturday, May 10 and 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Race Day, Sunday, May 25. Online orders can be made at any time.

Race Day ticket prices start at just $20.

tv news

MRN to air June New Hampshire race
Motor Racing Network will handle the radio broadcast of the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races June 28-29 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, spokesman Wes Harris of MRN parent company International Speedway Corp. said Tuesday afternoon. Motor Racing Network, owned by the France family-controlled ISC and rival Performance Racing Network are involved in lawsuits over the radio broadcast rights stemming from PRN parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc.'s purchase of the track in January. PRN typically broadcasts the Nationwide and Cup races from SMI tracks. A partial settlement in their court battles has resulted in MRN being granted the exclusive broadcast rights for June and for the two sides to enter mediation in hopes of settling which network will broadcast the September 2008 weekend as well as the 2009 and 2010 weekends, Harris said. If the two sides can’t agree on a settlement on what should happen beyond June, they will return to court in 60 days, according to court documents. SceneDaily


Mears says he is good thru 2009
"In the last week or two we've had a lot of discussion about Tony Stewart and his contract situation moving forward, and your name has popped up a couple times in different discussions just because of the fact that he's going to be a free agent and obviously that would be a big coup. How do you feel about your position at Hendrick going forward, and do you think you're solid in there for the foreseeable future? "No, I feel good. We're solid for next year and definitely focused on moving forward. Rick has stated that several times, that things are where they're going to be, and we're moving forward for next year. We're just getting started again." Casey Mears, GM Racing


Marlin back in the #40
Franchitti update: Former CGRFS driver Sterling Marlin will drive the #40 Dodge Challenger in this Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway, while its full-time driver Dario Franchitti continues to recover from a race injury he received in the NNS event at Talladega Superspeedway last month (April 26). At this time, Marlin is confirmed to drive for CGRFS at Darlington only. He raced full-time for CGRFS when the team started in 2001 and drove for CGRFS from 2001-2005 tallying 172 starts, four wins, three poles, 24 top-fives, 57 top-10s and led a total of 1,444 laps. Marlin also tested the #40 Monday and Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway

Dario Franchitti, full-time driver of the #40 CGRFS Dodge, will sit out this weekend's NSCS race at Darlington Raceway. Franchitti was fitted for a carbon fiber brace last week but will take another weekend off to give his ankle more time to heal. His status behind the wheel of the #40 Dodge will continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.


Gil Martin named "Crew Chief of the Race”
Gil Martin, crew chief of the No. 07 BB&T Chevrolet driven by Clint Bowyer, has been named the WYPALL Wipers’ “Crew Chief of the Race” in Saturday’s Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Some say it was being in the right place at the right time, but cautious instruction from Martin is what empowered Bowyer to drive the No. 07 BB&T Chevy to victory in Saturday night’s race. After starting deep in the field, (31st) Bowyer carved his way up to 16th on lap 129 resulting from a successful pit stop by the Martin-led team. Increasing track position and then maintaining that spot was Martin’s main concern, coaching Bowyer to be patient as he steadily made his way to the front. Bowyer eventually took over the lead following a collision between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch with two laps to go and sailed to the victory.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Gutted Davidson vows to 'stick to F1'
  • Fry worked to topple Aguri rescue - Weigl
  • Minardi feels sorry for Super Aguri plight
  • Hamilton to make acting debut in Turkey
  • Alonso receives Spain-France prize
  • Hamilton hits back at critics

Gutted Davidson vows to 'stick to F1'
(GMM)  Anthony Davidson has fended off suggestions that the Super Aguri collapse means he may never again contest a grand prix.

The British driver spent many years on the sidelines as a Honda tester, and - at the age of nearly 28 - finally earned a full time drive with the Japanese satellite Super Aguri outfit last season.

Davidson, now 29, described the Honda-powered outfit's financial collapse this week as a "bitter blow" just four races into 2008.

"But I am fully confident of my ability behind the wheel, and I'm sure things will be better for me in the future," he told BBC radio.

Davidson vowed to "stick to formula one" for now, even though immediate racing opportunities in other series - such as A1 GP - may crop up.

"That's the priority at the moment and for the future.  It's what I have to do, it's what I'm trained to do.

"I really want to concentrate and get a good chance to do it properly.

"I really feel it's unfinished business for me in formula one," Davidson said.  "I feel it's where I belong.

"You only begin to realize just how much you love it when it's taken away from you.

"You never know in this game what can happen.  You ride the ups and downs on this rollercoaster, and if it's been a downward slope today, then I'm sure we'll bounce back," he added.

Davidson described the reduction of the F1 grid to just ten teams as a "sign of the times" that "privateer teams can't survive now".

Fry worked to topple Aguri rescue - Weigl
(GMM)  Franz Josef Weigl has added his condemnation to the interference by Honda Racing CEO Nick Fry in former formula one team Super Aguri's failed financial rescue.

After announcing the closure of his beleaguered Leafield based outfit on Tuesday, team boss and owner Super Aguri hit out at Fry's intervention, including the lockout of the team's transporters in Istanbul and his dismissal of Weigl's proposed partial buyout.

"It is over," Weigl is quoted as saying by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

"The politics have triumphed.  It is miserably unfortunate."

He added his revulsion to the interference of Fry, the 51-year-old Briton and former works Honda team principal.

"Nick Fry did everything he could so that our deal did not succeed."

Weigl also revealed that his initial talks with Super Aguri officials began back in January.

"Then unfortunately Mr. Fry and (Magma Group chief) Mr. Leach interfered," he explained.

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Sadler paces final night test session, Earnhardt Jr. crashes
The final session of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway featured three incidents as the two-day test concluded. Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ Elliott Sadler led the final of six sessions.

Sadler led the field with a lap of 186.245 mph. Red Bull Racing’s AJ Allmendinger was second-fastest with a lap of 184.150. Richard Childress Racing’s Kevin Harvick, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch and Roush Fenway Racing’s Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashed his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet during the session, sustaining enough damage that he parked the car for the night. Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Regan Smith and Penske Racing’s Kurt Busch also scraped the wall in the session, all in separate incidents.

Night Session Results
1. Elliott Sadler, No. 19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge, 186.245
2. AJ Allmendinger, No. 84 Red Bull Racing Toyota, 184.150
3. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 184.118
4. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 183.492
5. Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 183.492
6. Brad Keselowski, No. 70 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet, 183.113
7. Scott Wimmer, No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 182.599
8. Ryan Newman, No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge, 182.556
9. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 77 Penske Racing Dodge, 182.328
10. Paul Menard, No. 15 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, 182.315
11. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 182.285
12. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 182.211
13. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 182.168
14. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge, 182.156
15. Robby Gordon, No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Dodge, 182.149
16. Travis Kvapil, No. 28 Yates Racing Ford, 182.137
17. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 182.002
18. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 181.837
19. Mark Martin, No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, 181.830
20. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 181.677

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Quick reflexes by Rahal
Tuesday's practice wouldn't have been accident-free had Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Graham Rahal not saved his Dallara-Honda in the south short chute midway through practice. He had a significant bobble before gathering it in.

"I think I had the save of the month," said Rahal, son of 1986 500 winner Bobby Rahal and a rookie at Indy. "I came out of Turn 1 and the car had understeered there every single lap except for this one and the thing snapped on me. It was close. I had a full lock on [the steering wheel] and it just came back to me."


Obama: Detroit automakers got it wrong again
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama didn't mince words when he described his first driving experience.

"The car I learned to drive on was my grandfather's Ford Granada. ... It may be the worst car that Detroit ever built," the Illinois senator said in an interview with Indianapolis radio station WFBQ. "This thing was a tin can. It was during the '70s when oil had just gone up, so they were trying to compete with the Japanese," Obama said. "They wanted to keep the cars big, so they made them out of tin foil. It would rattle and shake. You basically couldn't go over 80 (miles per hour) without the thing getting out of control."

Ford built the Granada from 1975-82, along with its Mercury cousin, the Monarch.

Obama said he regretted no longer being able to drive because the Secret Service drives him around. "It's a drag because I actually enjoy driving," he said.

Obama has repeatedly blasted domestic automakers for not making more efficient automobiles, including at a speech at the Detroit Economic Club last year.

"Detroit ended up making investments in SUVs and large trucks because that's where they perceived a competitive advantage and that's where they felt they could make the most profit," Obama told "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert. "I think it was a mistake for them not to plan earlier, and now we're seeing a huge growth in fuel-efficient cars that is benefiting the Japanese automakers and Detroit is getting pounded some more."

track news

LifeLock 400 at MIS set to make memories, history
Just 40 days remain until the green flag drops on the LifeLock 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway, kicking off the historic track’s 40th season in racing.

Michigan International Speedway boasts a proud history of hosting some of America's best racing action. The 18-degree banking and 73-foot wide sweeping turns have long been a driver favorite and have produced some of the most memorable races in motorsports history.

The racetrack hosted its first NASCAR event on June 15, 1969. Cale Yarborough (sic) and LeeRoy Yarbrough (sic) battled door-to-door for most of the final 150 laps of the Motor State 500. The lead changed hands officially 37 times that day, according to press reports, with some laps seeing as many as four lead changes on a single lap.

Thirty-eight drivers raced the two-mile track for 250 circuits that day — but the final lap is one race fans will never forget.

On the final lap, Cale hugged the groove while LeeRoy tried to pass his rival on the outside in Turn 1. They touched twice as they entered the turn, with LeeRoy’s car brushing the outside wall and Cale fighting to take his out of a half-spin.

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Toyotas 1-2 in Day 2 testing at Lowe's
Afternoon Times
Rank Car# Driver Manu Time Speed
1 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 29.698 181.830
2 18B Kyle Busch Toyota 29.942 180.349
3 8 Mark Martin Chevy 29.954 180.276
4 99 Carl Edwards Ford 29.960 180.240
5 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 29.973 180.162
6 19B Elliott Sadler Dodge 30.032 179.808
7 26 Jamie McMurray Ford 30.124 179.259
8 28 Travis Kvapil Ford 30.148 179.116
9 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 30.151 179.099
10 66B Scott Riggs Chevy 30.182 178.915
11 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 30.186 178.891
12 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota 30.192 178.855
13 12B Ryan Newman Dodge 30.215 178.719
14 5B Casey Mears Chevy 30.222 178.678
15 2B Kurt Busch Dodge 30.223 178.672
16 38 David Gilliland Ford 30.224 178.666
17 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 30.228 178.642
18 7 Robby Gordon Dodge 30.252 178.501
19 11B Denny Hamlin Toyota 30.261 178.448
20 41B Reed Sorenson Dodge 30.275 178.365
21 44 David Reutimann Toyota 30.283 178.318
22 22B Dave Blaney Toyota 30.324 178.077
23 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 30.331 178.036
24 06 David Stremme Dodge 30.350 177.924
25 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge 30.354 177.901
26 15 Paul Menard Chevy 30.360 177.866
27 20B Tony Stewart Toyota 30.375 177.778
28 9B Kasey Kahne Dodge 30.375 177.778
29 77B Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 30.377 177.766
30 16 Greg Biffle Ford 30.383 177.731
31 01 Regan Smith Chevy 30.391 177.684
32 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 30.394 177.667
33 20 Tony Stewart Toyota 30.431 177.451
34 6 David Ragan Ford 30.435 177.427
35 5 Casey Mears Chevy 30.441 177.392
36 77 Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 30.457 177.299
37 1 Martin Truex Jr Chevy 30.459 177.288
38 78 Joe Nemechek Chevy 30.468 177.235
39 33 Scott Wimmer Chevy 30.488 177.119
40 45 Kyle Petty Dodge 30.489 177.113
41 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 30.506 177.014
42 00 Michael McDowell Toyota 30.515 176.962
43 21 Jon Wood Ford 30.549 176.765
44 10 Patrick Carpentier Dodge 30.550 176.759
45 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota 30.601 176.465
46 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 30.608 176.424
47 34 Jeff Green Chevy 30.640 176.240
48 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 30.660 176.125
49 78B Joe Nemechek Chevy 30.893 174.797
50 01B Regan Smith Chevy 31.135 173.438
51 08B Tony Raines Dodge 31.205 173.049


Helio says Indy is special
Helio Castroneves sums up the Indianapolis 500 with one word. 


The Penske cars make a lap for the photographers
Castroneves and teammate Ryan Briscoe began Team Penske’s 35th participation in the famous race this Tuesday as practice opened for the 92nd running of the Indy 500. Team Penske has won the event a record 14 times, and Castroneves has two of those victories, in 2001 and 2002.

“Every time I come here, it's special,” Castroneves said. “I just see the positive things about the whole situation in IndyCar racing. We're looking very strong for this year and we're going to have a great race, hopefully.”

Castroneves’ enthusiasm stems from past and present. Aside from the two wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has won the pole twice, has finished on the podium four times, has led 162 laps and has won more than $5 million. And he currently leads the IndyCar Series standings after the first four races of the season.

“To see that the entire organization trying to keep everybody together is great,“ Castroneves said. “That's great because I only see us moving forward. I know we're going to actually win a lot of races this year.”

This time, he’s got a new teammate, a quiet yet confident Australian who is strong on experience and advancing rapidly with his new team.

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Unique livery for Bell car
Townsend Bell's Army Green car
Ron McQueeney/IRL
Townsend Bell debuted the latest livery of the No. 99 Dreyer & Reinbold William Rast Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone Tuesday. The car features a unique green-and-orange paint scheme. Bell devised the idea for the livery while karting with music superstar Justin Timberlake.

TOWNSEND BELL: “I was karting in Southern California with Justin Timberlake and a few of his friends for a couple of weeks. We had camouflage hats from William Rast, and everyone thought an army green look would be cool on an Indy car. So I called Dennis (Reinbold, team co-owner), and he made it happen. It is definitely a cool look. The people around the Speedway were really into the new paint scheme. The flat green makes the car look like a fighting vehicle. It’s a much different scheme than seen on any other car at the track. I think the more people that see the car, the more people will like it. You can’t miss the car on the track. It really stands out.”


Camara clouts wall at Indy UPDATE #2 Medical update from Dr. Mike Olinger, senior medical director for the Indy Racing League: #34 Jaime Camara has been cleared to drive following a re-evaluation at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center. Camara’s car made moderate contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 during practice Monday. Camara was transported to Methodist Hospital as a precautionary measure after complaining of soreness in his back. X-rays were negative.

05/05/08 Medical update from Dr. Mike Olinger, senior medical director for the Indy Racing League: #34 Camara has been evaluated at Methodist Hospital. X-rays were negative.

He will be evaluated at the Clarian Medical Center Tuesday morning to determine his fitness to drive.

Jaime Camara loses control
Steve Snoddy/IRL
Jaime Camara, #34 Sangari Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
“We went for our first run and the car was pretty good. I went into Turn 1 and I turned in a little early. I went below the white line, and that wasn’t such a good idea. That’s why I lost it and crashed. The accident was totally my fault. We had a pretty good car. I’m sure we were going to be on the top of the time charts like yesterday. Unfortunately, the accident happened. Wednesday, everything is going to be all right again. We’re going to the track with the same setup as today and we’re going to be there.” (Are you OK?): “They checked me here, but they wanted me to go to the hospital for a CAT scan and make sure that my spine and lower body was all right. Tomorrow, I’m going to see Dr. (Terry) Trammell to see if I’m OK to drive. I hope by Wednesday every thing will be OK. I feel fine, just a little sore.”

05/05/08 Jaime Camara lost control of his Conquest Racing Dallara and clouted the outside wall in rookie practice at Indy today. Camara was taken to the hospital for X-Rays.


Andretti tops opening practice at Indy
Marco Andretti in his Indiana Jones car
Jim Haines/IRL
Andretti Green Racing's Marco Andretti was the only driver to break into the 226 mph speed range Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and led the opening day as practice began for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  Teammate Tony Kanaan was second-quickest on the day with Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon rounding out the top three.

A total of 31 drivers have turned 1,385 laps in practice today, for a total of 3,462.5 miles, without a single failure for the Honda HI8R Indy V-8 engine that is powering the entire Indy 500 field for the third consecutive year.  Two drivers - Helio Castroneves and Vitor Meira - ran laps in both their primary and backup cars.  Today was the first of four days of practice leading up to Saturday's "Pole Day" qualifying runs which will set the first 11 starting positions of the 33-car field.

Practice Tuesday for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:

1. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 226.599
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 225.269
3. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 225.011
4. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 224.804
5. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 224.727
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 224.576
7. (12) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 224.436
8. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 224.170
9. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 224.095
10. (8) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 223.550
11. (02) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 223.461
12. (4T) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 223.352
13. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 223.225
14. (33) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 222.643
15. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 222.633
16. (16) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 222.620
17. (99) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 222.583
18. (06) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 222.552
19. (5) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 221.883
20. (22) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 221.684

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Sarah Fisher meets Hillary Clinton
Sarah Fisher and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
Shawn Payne/IRL
Hillary Clinton, who appeared at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tuesday with racer Sarah Fisher, wouldn't make a prediction about the outcome of the primaries.

"Every race is filed with the unexpected. You never know what's going to happen from day to day," said Clinton. "I never make predictions."

Clinton posed for pictures with the racer's pit crew in its garage and Fisher talked about parts of the powder blue car.

"This may be the technology of the future," Clinton said, holding onto a detached high-tech steering wheel.

Asked by reporters what her message was by being at the Speedway, she said: "That we need to get on the track in America."

"If you want to go forward, you put it in D. If you want to go backward, you put it in R," Clinton said.

Fisher, who said she voted for Clinton that morning, piped up, adding: "And just so you know, we don't have reverse in this car." More...


De Ferran taking to the air on XM 144
Gil de Ferran
In anticipation of his American Le Mans Series debut next week, driver and team owner Gil de Ferran will be a guest on XM Satellite Radio’s Powershift at approximately 9:25 p.m. ET on Thursday. De Ferran, one of motorsports’ most well-known and respected names, is joining the Series with his De Ferran Motorsports team that will field an Acura ARX-01b in LMP2. He will team with Simon Pagenaud for the balance of the 2008 season.

The De Ferran Acura will see competition for the first time at the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels. A two-time CART champion and past Indianapolis 500 winner, de Ferran’s most recent role was Sporting Director for BAR Honda in Formula 1.

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Earnhardt tops morning practice
Dale Earnhardt Jr. led Tuesday morning’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr. paced the field with a top lap of 182.593 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton followed with a lap of 182.439.

Only 10 drivers participated in the session. There are six sessions scheduled over the two-day test period, which started Monday, with each team eligible to compete in four of those. The teams return to the track at 1 p.m. EDT today with the final session at 6 p.m.
Hendrick’s Jeff Gordon was third fastest Tuesday morning, followed by Haas CNC Racing’s Johnny Sauter and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Juan Pablo Montoya. 

Morning Results


Car# Driver Manu Time Speed
1 88B Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 29.574 182.593
2 31 Jeff Burton Chevy 29.599 182.439
3 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 29.650 182.125
4 70 Johnny Sauter Chevy 29.812 181.135
5 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge 29.917 180.499
6 31B Jeff Burton Chevy 29.929 180.427
7 50 Stanton Barrett Chevy 30.165 179.015
8 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 30.230 178.630
9 70B Johnny Sauter Chevy 30.232 178.619
10 78 Joe Nemechek Chevy 30.337 178.000
11 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 30.449 177.346
12 24B Jeff Gordon Chevy 30.524 176.910
13 34 Jeff Green Chevy 31.003 174.177


Jorge Lorenzo's injuries confirmed in Barcelona
Having flown straight back to Spain on Sunday night following his stunning ride to fourth place in Shanghai last weekend, Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo visited the Dexeus Institue in Barcelona on Monday morning for further examination by world-renowned specialist Dr. Xavier Mir.

Dr. Mir, who had only operated on Lorenzo two weeks ago to relieve compartmental syndrome in his right forearm, was keen to carry out his own diagnosis on the injuries sustained during free practice for the Grand Prix of China, which the Clinica Mobile had treated to great effect in Shanghai in order to allow Lorenzo to ride.

The injuries were confirmed to be slightly worse than first thought, especially to the right ankle, which was originally thought to have escaped fracture.

- Fracture of the Astragalus in the right ankle (no displacement)
- Torn lateral internal ligament in the left ankle

"Next Monday we will carry out more tests and make a detailed evaluation of the injuries suffered to both ankles,” commented Doctor Mir.

Lorenzo lies second in the MotoGP World Championship after taking a victory, a second place, a third and a fourth from the opening four rounds. He now faces a battle to be fit for the next chapter of his incredible rookie story - the Grand Prix of France at Le Mans on 18th May.


STR confirms Monaco debut for 2008 car
(GMM) Toro Rosso on Tuesday confirmed that its 2008 car, the STR3, will finally make its debut at the Monaco grand prix later this month.

It had already emerged that the car's intended debut at Istanbul this weekend had to be delayed due to a shortage of spare - specifically suspension - parts.

Chief engineer Laurent Mekies confirmed that Monte Carlo, because of the armco barriers and the cramped working conditions, is not the "ideal venue" for a new car's race debut.

"However, everyone is prepared to face the challenge and give it our best shot," he said in a team document.


No 'hole nose' for Ferrari in Turkey
(GMM)  Ferrari on Tuesday confirmed that, despite debuting its new 'slotted nose' at Barcelona two weeks ago, the innovation will not appear on the F2008 this weekend in Turkey.

The Italian outfit had already hinted that the aerodynamic device would not be a permanent feature of the car, despite Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa dominating in Spain.

Team manager Luca Baldisserri confirmed on Tuesday that the cars will be in basically the Barcelona configuration at Istanbul Park this weekend, but without the shark-like 'hole nose'.

"This is because this solution is much more efficient at medium to high downforce levels, whereas Turkey requires less downforce," he explained.


F1 at stalemate over new computer game deal
(GMM)  Formula one fans may have to wait for the next official computer game, as Sony and Bernie Ecclestone are reportedly locked in stalemate over a new publishing deal.

Sony Computer Entertainment's previous exclusive publishing deal, covering the 2003-2007 period, was for a rumored $200 million, according to the technology news source TG Daily.

The website said the "gap between what Sony is willing to pay for a (new) license and what Bernie Ecclestone's (company) is demanding is too wide".

Industry sources are reporting that rival computer publishers EA, Ubisoft and Codemasters may now be in the running for the new five-year contract.


Oil passes $122 on $200 per barrel oil prediction
Oil futures blasted to a new record over $122 a barrel Tuesday, gaining momentum as investors bought on a forecast of much higher prices and on any news hinting at supply shortages. Retail gas prices edged lower, but appear poised to rise to new records of their own in coming weeks. A new Goldman Sachs prediction that oil prices could rise to $150 to $200 within two years seemed to motivate much of Tuesday's buying, although a falling dollar and increasing concerns about declining crude production in Mexico and Russia contributed, analysts say.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery jumped to a new record of $122.47 a barrel before retreating slightly to trade up $1.29 at $122.26 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil prices have nearly doubled from about $62 a barrel a year ago, which Goldman sees as a sign that the world is in the midst of a "super spike" in oil prices. Analyst Arjun Murti said in a research note released Monday that prices would ultimately force demand to fall sharply.

Not everyone shares Goldman's view. Tim Evans, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., countered Goldman's analysis with a note predicting that crude prices could as easily fall to $40 a barrel as rise to $200 over the next two years because supplies are, as Evans put it, comfortable.  Yahoo.com

racing news

Kyle Busch named 1st Quarter Driver of the Year
Kyle Busch crushed the competition on the track and in the ballots as he won 1st quarter Driver of the Year 2008. Busch won a total seven races in NASCAR's top-three series, Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series. Although he leads in the Cup standings with a second place this past weekend in Richmond, voting only considered results through the previous event at Talladega Speedway. In the voting Busch took 14 first-place ballots, and none lower than a third place totaling 142 points. Cup rival Roush/Fenway driver Carl Edwards' three wins earned him one first-place vote and a total of 72 points. Danica Patrick, who drives for Andretti Green Racing, whose record-setting first win in top level IndyCar Series for a woman, garnered two first place votes and totaled 51 points in third place. Ashley Force, daughter of the 1996 Driver of the Year beat her famous father, John Force last week in Atlanta in NHRA's funny car division was fourth in the voting with 49 points. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Jason Meyers, in the World of Outlaws who won three of the first six races. In related news, ESPN's award winning writer and broadcast journalist Terry Blount has been added to the panel. DOTY PR


Pascal Vasselon Q&A
Pascal Vasselon
Toyota chassis General Manager Pascal Vasselon looks ahead to the fifth round of the championship which takes place in Turkey this weekend.

Looking ahead to Turkey, what demands does the Istanbul track place on the car?
"Turkey is an average circuit for most of the parameters - brakes, downforce and so on. But the special factor you have in Turkey is turn eight, the long left-hander. This is a key corner and simply the most demanding of the season, which means it has a lot of consequences in terms of car balance and tire usage. You can really say that Turkey is all about turn eight; it is one of the very few circuits where one corner is so significant. You have to make sure your package can handle turn eight and this drives tire selection for example."

The Turkish Grand Prix is held earlier this year; will the lower temperatures have an effect?
"Well the temperatures will be a bit lower than in previous years, when it was particularly hot, but we can expect conditions nevertheless to be similar to those in Barcelona so it is not likely to have much of an impact. Two areas where it will be noticeable are tire internal temperatures and engine cooling because Turkey was one of the demanding races of the season in that sense when the race was held in August."

What are your expectations for this race?
"We have seen over the first four races that our car is competitive and able to challenge for the top six. It was unfortunate that a mix-up cost Jarno sixth in Spain but it was encouraging to again be fighting in that position. So the goal for this weekend clearly has to be a strong points finish, hopefully with both cars. 

Timo has shown good performance potential so far this season but his good work has not been rewarded with results so we expect his luck to change."

Are there any technical developments coming for the Turkish Grand Prix?
"We have another quite significant upgrade to the package which will be available and we expect this to bring a performance improvement. It is part of the same development process which resulted in the Barcelona upgrade. These improvements were not specifically planned for Turkey but this is the earliest opportunity to introduce them."

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Aguri Suzuki slams Honda's Nick Fry
(GMM) On the day of Super Aguri's final demise, disappointed former team boss and co-owner Aguri Suzuki has hit out at Nick Fry.

Fry, the CEO of Honda's racing division but no longer the works outfit's team principal, has been recently pessimistic about Super Aguri's future, earlier this week pouring cold water on the proposed Weigl buyout.

The Briton had said in March that Honda's support for the struggling outfit would from now on be on a "diminishing basis", adding that he would forthwith "push" for the Japanese manufacturer's focus on F1 to be "more singular".

Fry also said prior to the 2008 season that he did not approve of Aguri's reported desire to sign pay-driver Narain Karthikeyan, and an official source confirmed this week that the 52-year-old was behind the lockout of the team's transporters from the Istanbul paddock, and perhaps also the quarantine of its cars in the UK.

"I don't understand how suddenly Nick Fry needs to be commenting on everything," Suzuki said in the Tokyo press conference on Tuesday.

"Honda were our backers and he's not the CEO of Honda.

"I have no interest in Nick Fry whatsoever and have no idea what he was talking about," the Japanese added.


Minogue plays down Hamilton romance
Dannii Minogue
(GMM) Australian pop singer and TV personality Dannii Minogue on Tuesday played down reports that she is romantically involved with McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.

The 36-year-old was engaged to Jacques Villeneuve in his BAR-Honda days, and it is now reported that Minogue has been invited on a 'date' with Briton Hamilton, 23, during the forthcoming Monaco GP weekend.

But she insists: "I don't fancy him, no."

Minogue confirmed that, since meeting Hamilton in Melbourne in March, they have been "texting" each other and arranged to meet up at Monte Carlo.

"So if that's a date, then we're going on a date," she added.


'Exhausted' Suzuki says F1 ownership dream over
Aguri Suzuki looked a lot younger a few years ago
(GMM)  Aguri Suzuki on Tuesday refused to rule out working in formula one again, but he suggested he would be reluctant to relive the fading months of his team Super Aguri.

"I'm exhausted.  I definitely need a break," he told a press conference in Japan, where it was revealed that he has closed down the Leafield based outfit due to a "financial crisis".

Suzuki, a former podium getter during his own racing career, did not elaborate on the details of the collapse, including backer Honda's apparent decision to quarantine the team's cars in the UK and restrict Super Aguri's access to the Istanbul circuit this week.

The Japanese did, however, refer to the F1 world as a "piranha club and I kind of feel that I don't want to stick my fingers back in".

"If I could just focus on racing I would think about it," Suzuki said, when asked if he would ever contemplate attempting another team foray.

"The racing part I enjoyed, but lately all the discussions were about money and that's not for me."

Honda, believed to be owed around $100m following more than two years of parental support for Super Aguri, called the collapse "inevitable".

"We understand that it was inevitable unless the team could find a way to stand alone by itself in the future," the manufacturer said in a portion of a statement provided to us.

Aguri Suzuki said he has no regrets about forming the private team ahead of the 2006 season, and described team ownership as a "dream".

But he also had a warning for his would-be successors, and totally ruled out an eleventh-hour rescue after the team skips Sunday's Turkish grand prix.

"If someone wants to take part in F1, I'm going to advise them that he better not."


Son totals Dad's Ferrari

Somewhere, a father in Melbourne weeps. There were 16 Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradales imported to Australia and New Zealand. There are now 15. A proud dad gave his son the keys to his so-rare-it's-almost-extinct Ferrari, and his son got a little too frisky with the audacious redhead. She didn't appreciate his advances, he lost control of the situation, and that little redhead introduced him to a pole... at a high rate of speed by the looks of it.

And as if that didn't beat all, the kid had to call home. While news crews watched. And filmed. Only to have newspapers and blogs spread the story around the world. No word on what his father said, but it probably rhymed with "Why I oughta @#%$*&%!"

Police say the driver was speeding, which means he must not have seen these commercials. But now, at least, he has a theme song, so sing along: "To you other kids all across the land, take it from me, parents just don't understand." Sydney Morning Herald


New Schumacher website
adrivo Sportpresse GmbH has launched the new official Michael Schumacher website, which can be found at www.michael-schumacher.de


Wurz to join Le Mans series at Spa
Honda F1's test driver Alexander Wurz will travel to Spa for this weekend's 1000km of Spa in the Le Mans Series. Wurz will make his Le Mans Series debut with Peugeot, which tops the provisional manufacturers' standings. Wurz will be joined by Jacques Villeneuve at Peugeot.

Alexander Wurz commented on his Le Mans Series debut: "The last time I raced at Spa was in F1 in 2007 with Williams, while my last competitive outing dates back to last year's Chinese Grand Prix. Like most drivers, I love Spa. Its natural setting hugs the contours of the Belgian Ardennes and the only potential difficulty is the weather, which can be different in different places round the track.

"I was commentating the Bahrain and Spanish Grand Prix for Austrian TV, so I couldn't follow the 908's runs at Barcelona and Monza, although I was on the internet to get the results as soon as I could. I was eager to see how the Peugeots would compare against the Audis, and I wasn't disappointed!

The first time I saw the 908 I wanted to drive it. It looks great and I have been able to see for myself how consistently it has progressed each time I have tested it since the beginning of the year. The 908 sounds different to other cars I have driven because you don't rev so high with a diesel engine, but it's a genuine race car. The performance difference between the cars that race in the Le Mans Series doesn't bother me; it's simply a different sort of challenge. Instead of pushing as hard as possible from start to finish, you have to contend with the 'traffic'."


Around Istanbul Park with Alex Wurz
Round five of the 2008 Formula one championship season will get underway at the Istanbul Park circuit in turkey this weekend, the newest circuit on the calendar and one liked by the entire F1 circus. Here Honda tester driver Alex Wurz takes us on a lap around the track…..

Istanbul track
"Istanbul Park is a challenging track from a set-up point of view because of the variation in corner speeds and grip levels. There are the very fast changes in direction at the start of the lap, there's a long straight and then some slower stuff at the end of the lap, which makes set-up a compromise. The asphalt also changes a lot around the lap: it feels very slippery in the last sector and then you have a lot of grip in the first sector.

"People talk a lot about the long Turn 8. For me, it's just bumpy and a neck-killer; it's not a place where going haywire gives you a lot of lap time because that's never the case in fast corners. Our minimum apex speed is about 250kph (155mph), and if you get it right, the biggest reward you have is showing the data to your engineer. The flip side of going too hard through here is that you might destroy your right-front tire over a long stint.

"For me, the biggest challenge of Turkey - apart from the traffic going into Istanbul - is the last section of the lap. The last three corners are very slow, all about 80kph (50mph) in second gear, and they're all inter-linked. If you make a tiny mistake under braking for the third-to-last corner, your track position for the entire complex is wrong, and that can affect your speed as you accelerate onto the start-finish straight. You also have to be disciplined because it's very easy to over-drive.

Istanbul itself is a cool city. I've been there a few times and there are amazing places to go out, and great things to see. The Bosphorus is spectacular; if you're going to the race, you should make a point of looking at it and feeling its history."


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Heidfeld 'not a top driver' - Irvine
  • Indy 2005 made me quit Ferrari - Barrichello
  • Magnussen's son kicks off open wheeler career
  • Hamilton invites 'date' Minogue to Monaco
  • Super Aguri pull out of formula one

Eddie "The Mouth" Irvine was once the teammate of Michael Schumacher who buried "The Mouth" but, unfortunately, did not shut him up
Heidfeld 'not a top driver' - Irvine
(GMM)  Robert Kubica has been a standout performer of the 2008 season so far, former grand prix winner Eddie Irvine says.

The outspoken Ulsterman, famous for his role alongside Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in the nineties and subsequently with Jaguar until 2002, hailed 23-year-old Kubica's emergence as a consistent challenger to the Ferrari and McLaren runners this year.

"You have to say he has done a fantastic job to be close to those guys," Irvine, who is now 42, told Virgin Media.

Irvine believes Kubica, the first Polish driver to race in formula one, has the measure of his current teammate, German veteran Nick Heidfeld.

"But Heidfeld's never been a top, top driver in my opinion," he added.

Irvine said the recent Spanish grand prix was "boring", but praised the flawless performance of current pacesetters Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, today's Ferrari duo.

"McLaren now have some catching up to do, that's for sure," he said.

Indy 2005 made me quit Ferrari - Barrichello
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello said he made the decision to leave Ferrari halfway through a grand prix in 2005.

The Brazilian veteran, who will set a new record as the longest-serving grand prix driver in formula one history this weekend in Turkey, reveals that the final straw was a radio call during the infamous US grand prix at Indianapolis.

Despite the fact that only six Bridgestone-shod cars were contesting the race, Barrichello recalled to the Brazilian television network TV Globo that he was asked to let his teammate Michael Schumacher pass him -- despite the German not being in the hunt for the title that year.

"The team invited me to slow my pace so that Michael could get closer to me and to pass me," Barrichello, who is now 35 and a Honda driver, said.

"In this moment I knew that the time had come for me to go.  That race in the United States was crucial," he added.

Ferrari team members insisted throughout his tenure between 2000 and 2005 that he was joint number one, but Barrichello now concedes that he was in fact Schumacher's subordinate.

"When I signed the contract," he explained, "there was nothing to indicate that the drivers would be treated differently."

History, however, records several instances of team orders, most famously when the Ferrari drivers were booed at Austria in 2002 after Schumacher inherited Barrichello's lead at the checkered flag.

Barrichello said: "Inside, I was often angry about it, because everyone claimed that there were no differences between us, but it was an unequal battle."

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Super Aguri team withdraws from F1
Super Aguri Formula One Team has today announced its withdrawal from the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Participating in Formula One since the 2006 season, the Team, which scored its first championship points after only 22 races (Spanish Grand Prix, 2007) and finished ninth overall in the 2007 Constructors’ Championship, will cease all activities as of 6th May 2008.

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal, SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM

“In order to realize my dream to become an owner of a Formula One Team, I applied for a grid position in the FIA Formula One World Championship in November 2005. Since then, I have participated in the championship for 2 years and 4 months as the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM, but regretfully I must inform you that the team will be ceasing its racing activities as of today. 

The team has competed against the many car manufacturer backed teams and has succeeded in obtaining the first points after only the 22nd race finishing in 9th place overall in the 2007 Constructors’ Championship. However, the breach of contract by the promised partner SS United Oil & Gas Company resulted in the loss of financial backing and immediately put the team into financial difficulties. Also, the change in direction of the environment surrounding the team, in terms of the use of customer chassis, has affected our ability to find partners.

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Tom Lepper wins USTCC race at Thunderhill
Tom Lepper, owner and driver of the Team Cobalt California Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbocharged car, won the third United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race at Thunderhill Raceway Park on May 4.

“We overcame several mechanical issues earlier in the weekend,” Lepper said. “I would have been happy with a podium finish; the win was icing on the cake.”

Lepper battled with the Dodge SRT4 of Curt Simmons and the Mitsubishi Evo of Dave Bongiovanni throughout most of the race, setting the race’s fastest lap in the process. 

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racing news

iRacing.com enters Beta test phase
iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations co-principals John Henry and David Kaemmer today announced the transition from alpha to beta testing of the company's new motorsport simulation and integrated internet racing service. The announcement marks the culmination of nearly four years of development work.

"For people who have been with us from the start, including the development team, testers and the racing enthusiasts anticipating our launch, it has been a long road," said Henry. "But the start of beta testing is an enormous milestone for us. Most importantly, for all those who have been so patient, it's a sign that we're nearly there. While we still have a lot of work to complete, we anticipate that beta will be measured in weeks rather than months."

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