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Wind Tunnel ALL-STAR Specials
(Tuesday 5/13/08 and Saturday 5/17/08)

TUESDAY 5/13/2008 LIVE 9:00pm ET

Featured Interviews Dale and Ned Jarrett (Former NASCAR CUP Champions)

Only one of two father/son combinations in the history of NASCAR to win the prestigious CUP Championship, Dale and Ned Jarrett, will be featured interviews on Wind Tunnel this Tuesday May 13th as we head toward the final race of Dale’s career...the All-Star race this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.         

Featured Interview      Jimmie Johnson (2-time Sprint CUP Champion and 2-time Sprint All-Star Race Winner)
Reigning Sprint CUP Champion, Jimmie Johnson, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Tuesday. In addition to winning 5 Sprint CUP races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, he’s also claimed victory in 2 Sprint All-Star races...2003 and 2006. This Saturday night, Jimmie will be going for his 3rd win in the event...which would tie him with Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon for the most All-Star wins.

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Fisichella and Nakajima disagree over crash
Giancarlo Fisichella and Kazuki Nakajima disagreed as to who was at fault at the start of the Turkish Grand Prix which led to the Force India driver smashing into the back of the Williams, sending both out of the race.

"I had a good start and in braking, I think the other driver closed the door and I couldn't stop my car, so I don't think it's my fault," said Fisichella, who has been involved in start-line accidents now in three Turkish Grand Prix.

Meanwhile Nakajima denied any wrong doing, "I was just following the line in the front to the first corner - I don't think I changed line dramatically," he said. "I don't know what happened to be honest, I just got hit from behind and that was it."


BoA Introduces Company’s First-Ever NASCAR-Themed TV Ad
Bank of America, the Official Bank of NASCAR®, will rev up the excitement surrounding the 2008 racing season with the debut of the company’s first-ever NASCAR-themed television commercial, which celebrates the passion fans have for their favorite drivers and promotes the bank’s popular My Expression® NASCAR Banking program.

Created by BBDO New York, the 30 second spot is titled “Who’s Your Driver?” and features footage of a number of top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ drivers whose likenesses are available on NASCAR Banking check cards and credit cards. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya and Martin Truex Jr., are featured in the new ad and are among the most popular selling drivers featured in the bank’s NASCAR Banking products.

“Our new commercial creates a solid connection between fans’ passion for their favorite driver and our NASCAR Banking suite of products,” said Anne Saunders, Brand and Advertising Executive, Bank of America. “NASCAR is a unique part of America, and we’re proud to showcase that fan spirit and loyalty in our advertising.”

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Pecorari, Potekhen to race Freedom 100 in two-car effort
SWE Racing owner Steve Eppard announced May 10 that he will enter two cars in the Firestone Freedom 100 for Firestone Indy Lights veterans Robbie Pecorari and Mike Potekhen.

"I'm very excited to add Robbie and Mike to our team," Eppard said. "We got to know Robbie pretty well last season when he drove for Team KMA and are happy to add a second driver the caliber of Mike to the team."

Pecorari, who finished second to J.R. Hildebrand in the Kansas Lottery 100 on April 27, is 14th in Firestone Indy Lights points despite missing the season-opening race. Pecorari will drive the No. 43 car for the remainder of the 2008 season.

Pecorari drove in the St. Petersburg doubleheader for Michael Crawford Motorsports, recording a finish of 10th in Race 1 before recording his runner-up finish for Guthrie Racing.

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NASCAR Darlington TV rating
Fox's broadcast of Saturday night's Dodge Challenger 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.3 and an 8 market share.  The rating is 7.5 percent higher than the 4.0 the race earned overnight in 2007, when it had an 11 market share.


Notes from Indy - 4 UPDATE The following got inadvertently left off of our updates from Indy from our Tim Wohlford reporting from the track:

- Everything here, including the press cafeteria, is closing down.  The rain, high winds and low temps took today's qualification and practice sessions.  Strangely, the sun is now starting to come out...

- Team Rahal has taken both of their wrecked cars — one each for Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alex Lloyd — back to Columbus for repair.  Look for Alex — and presumably Ryan — to be back on the track on Wednesday.  To make matters worse, a car carrying team members hit a deer on their way back to Columbus, meaning that the team has wrecked 3 passenger cars this season.

- Sarah Fisher has stopped talking with her sponsor, speaking now only through attorneys. ResQ Pure Power Energy Drink http://www.resq.net/ was scheduled (and announced) to be their sponsor for the Indy 500, but the check that was supposedly in the mail never arrived.  She is now funding the team based on her personal savings account, so making the race has become a matter of financial life and death.  She was 16th fastest in Saturday's practice session. 

- Dale Coyne Racing's chief mechanic Charles Buckman was NOT released from Methodist Hospital, as was previously reported.  He was involved in a pit road accident on Friday when he was struck by Danica Patrick's car.  He is being kept for further evaluation. 

- It's not often you see an Indy car blush, but pole winner Scott Dixon was obviously squirming with the praise that Dan Wheldon gave him during the front row interview.  Scott had previously credited Wheldon for teaching him a new driving style that turned his career around, and the gregarious Wheldon returned the favor:  "When you get to know him, he's bloody funny... He's definitely come out of his shell since I've been in the team, that's for sure.  I think a lot of that's his wife, too, Emma, because he's in a good place right now." 

- A New Zealander, a Brit and an Aussie in the front row, driving Italian cars with engines built by a Brit company that are branded with the name of Japanese company.  The second row has two Brazilians, and the third row has one Brazilian and one Japanese drivers.  Only 3 of the top 11 qualifiers are American-born, and 9 of the top 11 are from former CART teams. 

- CCWS fans can expect the "transition" drivers to qualify next weekend.  Graham Rahal, Ryan Hunter-Reay (okay, not officially a transition driver, but close enough), Oriol Servia, Will Power, Mario Morales, Justin Wilson, and Townsend Bell would've held positions 12-18 under the old format.  Buddy Rice, Sarah Fisher, AJ Foyt IV and Darren Manning should also be fast enough to qualify. 

- Conventional Wisdom in the garage area has Milka missing the race this year, as her speed on Saturday was 29th fastest.  Probably 36-38 cars that will attempt qualification this year, depending on the number of last-minute entries by bigger teams that are already in the show.  Thirty-seven have passed tech inspection already in the month, and a total of 40 are entered. Tim Wohlford reporting form Indy

05/11/08 Weather stories continue to dominate the Indy story today.  While the weather was nearly perfect for Pole Day yesterday, the weather forecasts are for rain all day today.  Currently — you guessed it — it's raining at Indy, and the radar doesn't look good.  If qualifying rains out today, the drivers who did not qualify on Day 1 (only the top-11 are locked in) will have to wait until next weekend to qualify, meaning they will be focusing on qualifying speed all week instead of race setups, putting them at a real disadvantage on race day.  Tim Wohlford reporting form Indy

racing news

Quotes of the Week
"It's fantastic to have got the hat trick here in Istanbul. It might really almost be worth asking for a Turkish passport! It was a very tough race but the team worked magnificently, giving me a great car.  Maybe the hard tires worked better today, but from what we saw over the weekend, the softs were more competitive and in any case, the difference was not that great. I want to dedicate this win to two people: to my mother on Mother's Day and to Stefano Domenicali whose birthday it is today."  Felipe Massa, Ferrari F1 driver, third consecutive Turkish Grand Prix winner

"It hasn't really sunk in yet.  It means a lot.  It's the hard work that goes into it.  Indy for our team starts well early in the winter with months of planning and development.  All the time that the guys put in back at the workshop, this is the result.  It's all the effort on their part that makes the difference.  I just put the pieces together." Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 2008 Indy 500 pole winner

“I don’t care. I’m here to race, I’m here to win. If I win, it just makes ‘em more upset and crying on their way home.”  Kyle Busch, NASCAR driver, commenting on the fans who thoroughly booed him during pre-race driver introductions for the Dodge Challenger 500 Sprint Cup race which he won.

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tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
Indianapolis 500 Bump Day Live Sunday on ABC, ESPN2

Some of the most dramatic moments in the history of the Indianapolis 500 have occurred on Bump Day, the final opportunity for drivers to 'bump' their way into the 33-car starting field for the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing.' ABC and ESPN2 will have live coverage Sunday, May 18. Bump Day presented by GoDaddy.com airs from 1-3 p.m. ET on ABC, and coverage shifts to ESPN2 from 5-6:30 p.m.

ESPN2 also will be live at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for coverage of the third day of Indianapolis 500 time trials Saturday, May 17, at 4 p.m. With the second day of qualifying rained out this past weekend, the 2.5-mile track will be busy Saturday as positions 12-33 in the field are filled. The Indianapolis 500 airs live on ABC Sunday, May 25, at noon.

Marty Reid anchors coverage, joined for analysis by former IndyCar Series star Scott Goodyear and 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever. Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch will report from the pits.

NASCAR Now Expands Monday for Roundtable Discussion of All-Star Weekend

The Monday, May 19, edition of NASCAR Now will expand to an hour and will include host Allen Bestwick leading a roundtable discussion with ESPN analysts and reporters of the weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway as well as other NASCAR news. The program airs at 5:30 p.m.

Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 6 p.m., while the one-hour weekend edition airs Saturday at 10 a.m. with a preview of that night's All-Star race.

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

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

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Peugeot takes win at Spa
Just like the first two rounds of the 2008 Le Mans Series, the 1,000km de Spa-Francorchamps turned out to be yet another fiercely-disputed, drama-filled race. The result saw Team Peugeot Total claim its third success from three starts without suffering the slightest technical problem. Nicolas Minassian, Marc Gene and Jacques Villeneuve shared the winning N7 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, but the team's other car crashed out shortly after the two-hour mark.

The Belgian Ardennes were bathed in glorious summer sunshine throughout the weekend and an impressive crowd of 35,000 spectators turned out to watch the 42 starters begin the race behind the Safety Car following an off by a competitor during the formation lap. When the cars were finally unleashed, Pedro Lamy got away cleanly with the N8908 HDi FAP N8 and soon started to pull clear of his chasers, putting five seconds between his Peugeot and the Audi R10 of McNish who was coming under pressure from Nicolas Minassian in the other 908 HDi FAP. The scrap between the two began in earnest on Lap 21 and ended in a virile clash on Lap 35 during which neither driver was prepared to give way and both were forced to take to the grass through Combes. The last word went to Nicolas Minassian, however, which left the two Peugeots lapping in first and second places for the rest of their double-stint. The first driver changes on Lap 44 saw Villeneuve take over from Minassian, but the N8 car dropped 35 seconds in the pits when the engine was accidentally switched off with Wurz on board. The Austrian re-joined in third place behind Capello's Audi and began to push hard to make up the gap which was closed on Lap 56. As Wurz came up to pass a Spyker, however, the two cars touched and the Austrian crashed hard in a tire wall, taking with him the hapless Capello who was able to re-join, albeit with a damaged car. "It all happened so quickly," explained Alexander Wurz. "I was pulling back in front of the Spyker when the rear right of my car hit it, and that sent me into a spin. I couldn't avoid hitting the Audi and I would like apologize for that, just as I would like to say sorry to everyone at Peugeot whose excellent work had given us a fantastic car."

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Sunday Indy 500 notes and quotes
Rain washes out second day qualifying at the Indianapolis 500. 22 spots up for grabs Saturday, May 17.

Twenty-two starting positions for the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 remain up for grabs as rain washed out Second Day Qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Qualifications will continue May 17 when spots 12-33 will be filled. Bump Day is scheduled for May 18.

This is the first time a qualification day has been rained out since 2006, but it’s the third day this month that rain has forced the cancellation of all on-track activity.

Scott Dixon won the PEAK Motor Oil Pole May 10 for the Indianapolis 500 as the first 11 starting positions of the 33-car grid were filled. Dixon averaged 226.366 mph over a four-lap qualifying attempt, .256 mph faster than his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon.

Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon put Target Chip Ganassi Racing on the front row for the second consecutive race on the oval at Indianapolis. Last July, Reed Sorenson and Juan Pablo Montoya started 1-2 in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

Indianapolis 500 veteran Roberto Moreno was walking Gasoline Alley on Pole Day, checking the prospects for a drive in the 92nd Indianapolis 500. Moreno placed 33rd last year, his first start at Indianapolis since 1999.

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track news

Did Bruton rake taxpayers over the coals?
Basically Bruton Smith blackmailed City Council to get what he wanted
Last August, Concord leaders learned that Bruton Smith, billionaire owner of Lowe's Motor Speedway, wanted incentives for a proposed drag strip and track expansion.

Three months passed, and Smith threatened to move his racing complex, before Concord and Cabarrus County worked out a deal he would accept.

The $80 million package included $20 million that local leaders hope the state will pay. If the state doesn't pay -- and there has been no indication that it will -- local taxpayers will be on the hook for the entire amount.

Smith agreed to stay in Concord, spend $200 million to expand the track and build a $60 million drag strip.

Under the N.C. Public Records Act, the Observer obtained more than 1,100 pages of e-mails, letters and other previously confidential documents. Those records and interviews with key players detail what happened behind the scenes:

• Concord City Council underestimated how Smith would react when, under pressure from homeowners near the proposed drag strip, they voted to block the project.

• Even after they realized their miscalculation, weeks slipped by before they developed a pitch to convince Smith to stay.

• Smith dispatched two old friends to negotiate for him, and they brainstormed the deal with public officials.

• To woo Smith, leaders sent him an overflowing fruit basket with pineapple and chocolates shaped like tiny race cars.

• And a last-minute decision cost taxpayers millions more than officials had expected.

Ultimately, leaders concluded that losing the speedway would be too big of an economic blow. So they agreed to a deal they still don't know how to pay for. Charlotte Business Journal


Signs of slow growth at Indy 500 quals
While the second day of qualifications was largely washed out, there were strong signs the Indy Racing League is in a growth mode during the first day of qualifications Saturday. There were also some signs that the newly reunified open-wheel racing series has some growing to do.

Though Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IRL officials don’t release official attendance figures, motorsports observers said attendance for the first day of qualifications was up 10 percent to 15 percent from last year, with a crowd of 55,000 to 60,000 on hand. While merchandise trailers were busy—especially Danica Patrick’s—there were still plenty of empty seats in the cavernous facility, which according to published reports seats near 300,000.

IRL and IMS boss Tony George held court with about a dozen reporters from some of the nation’s biggest daily newspapers, talking about unification and the series’ recent growth.

But while George had some positive points to spin, attendance trackers said Saturday’s attendance still was only about half of what it was before Champ Car/CART and the IRL had their acrimonious split in the mid 1990s. Indianapolis Business Journal


AIM Autosport signs deal with John Edwards
John Edwards
AIM Autosport is pleased to announce they have reached an agreement with seventeen-year-old John Edwards to join the team’s Star Mazda racing program starting immediately. Edwards, the youngest driver in the Champ Car Atlantic series last season, will be at the wheel of the #7 AIM Autosport Formula Mazda for round two of the series this weekend in Toole, Utah.

“We are pleased to have John in the car in time for the next race” commented Keith Willis, team manager of AIM’s Star Mazda program. “The team was in a rebuilding mode for 2009 but when the opportunity came up with John, it was decide to get into the championship run as soon as possible.”

Edwards recently came to AIM’s facilities in Woodbridge, Ontario for seat fitting and a test day at Shannonville Motorsport Park.

“We are very pleased with the results of the test” Willis said. “John was able to provide us with terrific feedback right away. This meant we could get up to speed and have John be comfortable in the car. It is a big change from the Atlantic car he drove in 2007 but he adapted quickly.” Willis continued, “it is definitely an advantage to all concerned when you have a driver that can relate what is happening on the track.”

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Maybe Fisher needs a collection agency
Sarah Fisher circles Indy with blank sidepods
Jim Haines/IRL
These companies owe Sarah Fisher a significant amount of money. I hope you'll write down the names or commit them to memory:

The first is Gravity Entertainment of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The second is ResQ, a sports-drink company whose Web site features Fisher extolling its product and its commitment to racing.

I'm willing to give both companies the benefit of the doubt regarding their inexplicable failures to make good on contractual promises to Fisher's team.

Maybe the check got lost in the mail -- although the money was supposed to be wired, which might explain the disconnect. Maybe the dog ate the check. Maybe it's all an innocent mistake, and the companies will make good and allow Fisher to not only make this week's payroll -- three days and counting -- but continue her quest to make a seventh Indianapolis 500.

But just in case, if anyone wants to issue them a gentle reminder, put a bug in their ear, feel free to do so. Tell them, "Um, until you hold up your end of the bargain with Sarah Fisher, it's going to be awfully difficult for you to do business with jammed phone lines.''

Already, some of the locals are trying to help.

"Look at this,'' Fisher said Sunday, reaching into her jeans pocket to pull out a piece of folded paper.

It was a personal check. From a fan. To Fisher for $100.

"I've gotten two or three today (Sunday),'' she said, smiling. More at Indy Star


Power feels no pressure
Will Power
Australian rookie Will Power, who leads all drivers with 286 of the 5,205 laps completed thus far, said his first Indy 500 qualifying attempt was relatively stress free.

"If you're running for the pole, then it would be pressure-packed because you'd have the car right on the edge," he said. "But for us, if you're going to qualify between 12th and 22nd, it's not the same."

Power's four-lap average of 222.500 mph in his KV Racing Technology car was 16th-fastest on a day when only the top 11 made the race. Indy Star


Franchitti's status still unclear
Dario Franchitti
Dario Franchitti continues to heal from the broken left ankle he sustained during a Nationwide Series race at Talladega last month, with no firm timetable for his return. “There’s not really been any change,” Franchitti said Saturday. “I’m just waiting for the swelling to go down and the pain to go away, and for the fracture to heal. When those things go away, I’ll be able to drive the car again.” Sterling Marlin drove Chip Ganassi Racing’s #40 Dodge at Darlington, and could do so again at Charlotte if Franchitti is not ready. Franchitti has been monitoring the amount of pressure he puts on his ankle. After a couple hours of walking around, Franchitti elevates his leg and uses a boot that circulates cold water through it to alleviate the swelling. He had considered testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but the doctor nixed that idea. Franchitti obliged, remembering how he rushed back from injuries earlier in his career to mixed results. He recently traveled to Indianapolis – not to ponder racing in the Indy 500, where he is the reigning champion, but to get fitted for a carbon fiber brace that supports his ankle. He’ll use the brace when he returns to the car. SceneDaily


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Baldisserri laments missed Turkish one-two
  • Ferrari already has no.1 driver - Ralf
  • Villeneuve wins first race since F1 title
  • A1 GP reveals F1 Ferrari for new season
  • Barrichello contract talks not on yet - Fry
  • Heidfeld 'annoyed' by Kubica defeats

Baldisserri laments missed Turkish one-two
(GMM)  Ferrari sporting director Luca Baldisserri has admitted to disappointment that the Italian team did not secure a one-two finish in the Turkish grand prix.

Although happy with Felipe Massa's Istanbul win, Baldisserri suggested that he would have liked to have seen the Brazilian driver prevent Lewis Hamilton - on a three-stop strategy - from overtaking him so easily on lap 23.

If Hamilton's progress had been slowed, Baldisserri believes Kimi Raikkonen would have managed to finish second.

"This victory is an excellent outcome, but I am not entirely happy, because if Felipe had kept Hamilton behind him for two laps more then perhaps Kimi would have finished second," the Italian is quoted as saying by RAI.

26-year-old Massa, however, insists that Hamilton's light car made the Briton "very strong and I couldn't hold him".

Video replays of the pass show Massa defending the inside line as Hamilton set up his move, but in Ferrari's official post-race release, he is quoted as saying he did not take "too many risks" in his defense.

He said in a news conference: "I saw him on my inside and I thought 'okay, go, and we will see at the next stop how it is going to be'."

Ferrari already has no.1 driver - Ralf
(GMM)  Despite Felipe Massa soaring to his customary Turkish grand prix win on Sunday, Ralf Schumacher believes Ferrari has in place a clear 'number one' driver -- and it is not the Brazilian.

For the eleven years between 1996 and 2006, Ralf's elder brother Michael was the Maranello outfit's undisputed team leader, with the likes of Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello and Massa playing the supporting role.

But with Kimi Raikkonen now the reigning champion at Ferrari, Ralf Schumacher - who moved from formula one to German touring cars this year - believes the Finn is clearly in control.

"Ferrari usually has a set number one and I think that is the case now," the German said in his post-race analysis for the German publication Bild.

Officially, Ferrari is adamant that its current policy is of total driver equality until late in the season, when logic dictates that the weight of the team's resources support the mathematically strongest teammate.

Massa's Turkey win means that he, like McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, is now 7 points behind Raikkonen in the drivers' chase.

After the race, the Brazilian insisted that he is very much in the title fight.

"It's important to be competitive and then in the last three races you're going to see who is going to have the greater chance to win," he told reporters.

Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen - a further 7 points behind the leading points battle - also believes it would be wrong to discount Massa.

"I think it would be stupid to overlook Felipe," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.  "He looks very strong."

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Indy Speedway arrests 24
A rain-soaked practice season so far hasn’t meant a shortage of business for police near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Officers made 24 arrests from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon – a day when action on the track was blocked by rain. Police in the town of Speedway said most of the arrests, 10, were for public intoxication.

Two people were charged with dealing heroin, two for marijuana possession, one for pointing a firearm and one on a charge of driving under the influence. Most of the rest were arrested on warrants and driving offenses. The Indianapolis Star


Gil de Ferran jumps back in cockpit next weekend
Gil de Ferran is wearing a wide smile these days.  The 2003 Indy 500 winner and two-time CART champion is back to doing what he loves, driving a racing car.  And he has a few other duties too.

The 40-year-old open-wheel legend left the pressurized world of Formula One last year after three years as the sporting director for the Honda F-1 operation. And he looked for a new challenge.

Now, on May 16-18 at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, de Ferran debuts his new de Ferran Motorsports organization and his new racing machine, the No. 66 Panasonic ELS Acura ARX-01b prototype sports car in the American Le Mans Series. 

It wasn’t until last November that de Ferran, the personable Brazilian who set a stunning record in CART and IRL in the late 1990s and early 2000s, thought he would like to run his own team.  And he knew he wanted to get back in the driver’s seat too. 

Watching close friend David Brabham and past open-wheel rivals Adrian Fernandez and Bryan Herta driving the Acura machines in 2007, de Ferran heard how much fun the LMP2 machines were to drive.  High-tech, ground effects and exciting wheel-to-wheel racing convinced Gil to jump back behind the wheel.

So, de Ferran, known as the “Professor” for his knowledgeable approach to driving, set his sights on developing a racing team.  He worked with Acura and Honda Performance Development officials to form de Ferran Motorsports and announced his new operation at Sebring in January.  He hired racing veteran John Anderson to spearhead his new program as general manager with the team headquarters in Brownsburg, Ind, just outside of Indianapolis.

Last month, the new team hit the track for the first time.  De Ferran and his co-driver, young open-wheel star Simon Pagenaud, piloted the No. 66 Acura through its paces at Sebring.  The smile got even wider on de Ferran.  He also added Panasonic ELS sound systems as the team’s primary sponsor.

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Team to choose Barron or Yasakawa
CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports will decide between Alex Barron and Roger Yasukawa as its driver this month, team owner Greg Beck said Sunday.


Servia plays joke on Power
KV Racing Technology drivers spent their downtime in Gasoline Alley today with practical jokes, which included an electronic noisemaker that Oriol Servia used to embarrass teammate Will Power during an interview in their garage.

The noisemaker, which was operated by a remote control that Servia was carrying, interrupted Power's interview and sent him into hysterics that concluded the questioning. Power apologized to the interviewer and explained where the noises were really coming from.

ORIOL SERVIA: "It's just something we have to do to entertain ourselves on days like today."


Moreno looking for Indy 500 ride
Indianapolis 500 veteran Roberto Moreno was walking Gasoline Alley on Pole Day, checking the prospects for a drive in the 92nd Indianapolis 500. Moreno placed 33rd last year, his first start at Indianapolis since 1999.

ROBERTO MORENO: “I’m here looking. If there is a situation that I can jump in, I will jump in, in no time.” (Thoughts on open-wheel unification): “I think it was very important for open-wheel racing. I think that there is still a lot to do, to get the good, old sponsors back into the game and to make the series at the level that it was in 1995. But I hope that we get somewhere close to it and the drivers be as successful as they use to be.”


Update on crew member run over by Danica Patrick UPDATE #2 Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, IRL senior director of medical services: After further evaluation, Dale Coyne Racing crew member Charles Buckman will be kept at Methodist Hospital for observation.

05/11/08 Dale Coyne Racing crewman Charles Buckman, injured when he was hit by Danica Patrick's car on pit lane Friday, was transferred from intensive care into a standard room Saturday at Methodist Hospital. He suffered a skull fracture and bleeding near his brain.

05/10/08 Dale Coyne Racing Crew Chief Chuck Buckman (#19 Sonny's Bar B-Q) was injured Friday afternoon when he was hit from behind by Danica Patrick's front wing while walking in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pit during practice. 

Buckman was initially unconscious after being hit, but regained consciousness and was alert at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Infield Care Center before being taken to Methodist Hospital for CAT scans to check for any internal injuries. 

"I really don't remember how it happened," said Dale Coyne Racing Crew Chief Chuck Buckman.  "All I remember was talking with someone on Marco Andretti's team and then everything is blank from that point.  I will be OK and hopefully back to work in a day or two." 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Chuck," said team owner Dale Coyne.  "Hopefully he will be all right and we can get him back in our pit soon." 

Buckman will spend Friday night in ICU at Methodist Hospital before undergoing another CAT scan Saturday morning. 

ABC, ESPN2 and the IMS Radio Network will provide in-depth coverage of the 92nd Indianapolis 500, with more than 50 hours of programming.  Indianapolis 500 Pole Day Qualifying will be broadcast live from noon - 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10 on ESPN2 and from 3 - 6 p.m. on ABC. Dale Coyne Racing PR


Kovalainen thinks he could have won race
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen on Sunday said he thinks he could have secured his maiden grand prix victory in Turkey.

After qualifying on the front row of the grid for the first time in his short career, the McLaren driver at Istanbul Park had to pit for a new tire following a first corner tag from compatriot Kimi Raikkonen.

He then finished a lap down and out of the points despite a spirited fightback.

Unlike Lewis Hamilton, however, 26-year-old Kovalainen had started the race with a normal two-stop fuel load, with which he had even managed to outqualify his lighter teammate.

"I was on a similar strategy to Massa and believe that I could have won the race," the extremely disappointed Finn said after finishing just twelfth.

Despite his disappointment, Kovalainen was happy with his performance in Turkey.

"My qualifying was very good, and I think my strategy today would have been very strong. Talking about it doesn't do anything, though.

"It was my most competitive weekend," he insisted. "Hopefully I can continue in the same way."


Rain washes out Sunday qualifying at Indy
Rain all day washed out qualifying on Sunday
Dana Garrett
Continuing rain showers Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway forced the cancellation of second-day qualifying for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.  It's the second time in the last three years that rain has interrupted qualifying at Indianapolis, as the entire first weekend of qualifying attempts was washed out in 2006.

Practice at the Speedway will resume on Wednesday, May 14, and run through Friday.  Saturday, May 17 and Sunday will be the final two days of qualifying to set the 33-car starting field, with 11 more grid positions and "bumping" from the field expected to take place each day.


Tire problems specific to Hamilton - supplier
(GMM) Only Lewis Hamilton was asked by Bridgestone to adopt a three-stop strategy for the Turkish grand prix.

The recommendation was made to the British driver's McLaren team after signs of delamination were detected inside his tires - particularly the front right - after the practice and qualifying sessions at Istanbul Park.

Hamilton, 23, suffered a tire failure at the same circuit one year ago, but even a universal construction change for 2008 did not solve the problem that is caused by his unique driving style in the long turn-8.

"Nobody else has had a repetition of any of those problems this year, with the exception of Lewis," a spokeswoman for F1's official tire supplier told Reuters.


I'm not a one-circuit wonder - Massa
Three in a row GP of Turkey winner Felipe Massa with 2nd place Lewis Hamilton
(GMM) Felipe Massa has played down suggestions he is a one-circuit wonder, after dominating the Turkish grand prix weekend for a third successive year.

The 26-year-old Brazilian on Sunday secured a hat-trick of Istanbul wins from pole, dating back to his maiden win for Ferrari in 2006.

The statistic means that, of his 7 career wins, almost half of them were secured at the same circuit.

But although this weekend admitting his prowess in Turkey, Massa insists he is just as good on many other grand prix tracks.

"I have good feelings on many circuits, for sure," he said.

"It doesn't mean that because I win here, I cannot win at other tracks. I think I can be competitive in many tracks," Massa said.

He insists that his six pole positions secured in 2007 proves that he is also quick at other events on the annual calendar.

"I started a lot on the front row (elsewhere), so I can be competitive at every race," Massa added.


FIA unhappy after stray dog incidents
(GMM) Race director Charlie Whiting on Sunday made it clear that F1's governing body is not happy with the Turkish grand prix organizers following the stray dog incident during the GP2 race.

The FIA delegate said the presence on the circuit of two stray dogs, one of which was struck at high speed by Bruno Senna and the other triggering the deployment of the safety car, was a clear breach of the sporting regulations.

"I have formally reminded the Clerk of the Course and the organizer of their responsibilities, and how seriously the FIA views this incident," Whiting said in a statement.

He added that he ordered special checks on all circuit gates, internal access points and all other parts of the Istanbul Park circuit prior to the formula one race at 3pm.

"Finally, given the seriousness of the matter a formal report will be submitted to the FIA," Whiting said.


Scheckter slams Danica Patrick
Don't count Scheckter among those cheering Danica Patrick's every move.

After being told that Patrick said she hoped if there were a fight for the pole position late in the day, that slower teams would be courteous not to clog the qualifying line, he responded, "I think if it was up to Danica, no one would be on track except for her."

As it turned out, Patrick's team never put her car back in line. She wound up fifth. Columbus Dispatch


Senna retires after hitting dog during GP2 race
Brazilian Bruno Senna, nephew of the late triple Formula One world champion Ayrton, retired from a GP2 support race at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday after hitting a stray dog that ran onto the track.  The safety car was deployed after two dogs appeared on the circuit during the race, some three hours before the grand prix was due to start.  Senna, 24 years old and joint championship leader before the weekend, hit one of them. The impact broke the car's front right suspension.  The Senna incident killed the other dog instantly, but luckily the 24-year-old - although clearly enraged - emerged unscathed, although he had to retire from the race with damaged suspension, bringing out the safety car.


82% of tickets sold for 2008 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix
In just three months since the February launch of sales for the 2008 Formula 1™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, the promoter Singapore GP Ltd has sold 82% of the 96,000 tickets.

To date, a total of 83,000 three day walk about and grandstand passes have been sold in addition to 13,000 corporate hospitality and Paddock Club places.


Team leaves Rahal frustrated
Graham Rahal was left frustrated by team
Chris Jones/IRL
Graham Rahal was left frustrated by his Newman/Haas/Lanigan team after failing to make the field for the Indianapolis 500 on the first day of qualifying.

The American was bumped out of the field by Hideki Mutoh late in the day.

Although Rahal lined up for a second qualifying attempt, the team were not ready to go out because it had failed to bring enough tires with them from the garage area.

"It's a shame. I really would have liked to be in today," he said. "I was ready to go because I thought we had new tires on the thing. I was excited to go out, and Tomas Scheckter lowered the bump speed so much that I think we could have made it.

"When I pulled up, I said, 'Guys, we need to have tires ready just in case.' Didn't happen. They said there would be no way to get down to the front of the line, and then everyone else was like, 'We're pulling, we're pulling' so I started to get ready and go.

"They should have told me before I got my helmet on. They waited until I got ready and they were like, 'Oh well by the way, we don't have tires.' They said they didn't think we were going to make it, so we didn't bring tires, and that is my point. You need to be prepared.

"I see everyone pulling out and I'm thinking, 'Oh, man, I'm next!' I'm jumping in the car, and they tell me they don't have tires so we're not going to run.

"It makes me mad because I really feel like we could have made it. It's like shooting yourself in the foot. You need to be prepared for any situation even if it doesn't look realistic that it can happen. You need to be there. You need to have your stuff there and you need to be ready to go, and we weren't.

"That's just something I don't understand. These guys are always prepared for any situation, and I just do not understand why in this type of situation, you wouldn't just be prepared just in case."


Grosjean powers to race two victory
Romain Grosjean (FRA, ART Grand Prix) celebrates victory on the podium with Vitaly Petrov (RUS, Barwa International Campos Team) and Sebastien Buemi (SUI, Trust Team Arden)
Romain Grosjean claimed his first win of the season today after pressuring early leader Vitaly Petrov all through the first half of race two in Istanbul, taking the lead and walking away in the latter stages for a dominant victory ahead of Petrov and Sébastien Buemi.

While the French driver celebrated on the podium the sympathy of everyone in the pitlane was with Bruno Senna, who drove an incredible race to move up from fifteenth on the grid to have a certain points finish destroyed when he struck a stray dog which had somehow found its way onto the track, breaking his right front suspension and immediately retiring from sixth place.

At the start Petrov made a storming start from fourth to claim the top spot into the first turn, while Grosjean slightly pushed Karun Chandhok into polesitter Adam Carroll, allowing Buemi and Javier Villa to line up behind the Russian driver but ahead of the Frenchman as they tore up the hill. Behind them however was mayhem, and when the dust settled eight drivers were out on the spot, with the safety car immediately coming out.

Vitaly Petrov (RUS, Barwa International Campos Team) leads the field into turn one on the opening lap of the race.
At the restart Grosjean wasted no time in getting by Villa, who was also passed by teammate Giorgio Pantano a few corners later. The order was shaking out all through the field as the drivers made up for the lack of overtaking yesterday by attacking all over the circuit, although Chandhok and Villa took it a little too far and an inevitable contact put the pair into spins which would delete any chance they had of scoring in the race.

Senna, in particular, looked unstoppable as he set a string of fastest laps to move up into the points paying positions. The Brazilian was in sixth position and looking certain of more on lap 10 when he struck the dog coming into the final complex: he limped back to the pits before storming away, clearly fuming at the situation he found himself in. Just one lap later Grosjean's race long pressure finally paid dividends as he slide inside Petrov at the end of the back straight to claim a lead which he would never look like relinquishing.

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Returning Champ Car fans make pole day biggest in 12 years
Fans watch qualifying
Dana Garrett/IRL
A big crowd turned out for the first pole day since the unification of the IndyCar and Champ Car series.

John Griffin, vice president of public relations for the series, said the crowd was the largest for a pole day since the two series split 12 years ago.  Since that time the majority of Champ Car fans had boycotted the Indy 500 and all other IndyCar races, but with the merger they are beginning to take another look at the IRL and its IndyCar Series.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Alonso 'surprised' by Red Bull pace in Turkey
  • Sauber notes football fluke in Turkey
  • Honda become first team to test KERS system
  • Hartley - I'm Toro Rosso test driver

Alonso 'surprised' by Red Bull pace in Turkey
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso in Turkey said he has been "surprised" by the improved performance of the Red Bull team.

Mark Webber narrowly but consistently outpaced the Spaniard in qualifying, just two weeks after Renault appeared to have turned a major corner at Barcelona following a disappointing early 2008.

Alonso, 26, confirmed to the Spanish newspaper El Pais at Istanbul that he expects to also fight Webber throughout the Turkish grand prix today.

"For us here, sixth would be a success," he said.

"We have been a little surprised to see that the aerodynamic improvements brought by Red Bull have put them in the position that we were in at Barcelona."

Sauber notes football fluke in Turkey
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber in Turkey celebrated a coincidental link between the team's driver lineup and the forthcoming European football championship.

In front of the Swiss based team's transporters at the Istanbul circuit on Saturday, Nick Heidfeld (Germany), Robert Kubica (Poland) and test driver Christian Klien (Austria) posed in special blue and white soccer outfits.

All three countries, as well as Croatia, have been grouped together in 'Group B' of the Euro 2008 tournament, to be hosted jointly by Austria and Switzerland in June.

The drivers' jerseys featured their native country's flag on the front.

Heidfeld, meanwhile, celebrated his 31st birthday with a cake outside the team motor home, but Saturday was not all fun and games for the German team.

"We have to admit that up to this point McLaren has been stronger than us," team boss Mario Theissen is quoted as saying by the Swiss newspaper Blick, after Robert Kubica qualified fifth in Turkey.

Heidfeld is a comparatively distant ninth on the grid.

Honda become first team to test KERS system
(GMM)  Honda recently became the first team to track-test a KERS energy recovery system, which will be allowed in formula one from next year.

"We've run it on a car for the first time," team principal Ross Brawn told the website of the American broadcaster Speed TV.

The Briton did not say whether the system, trialed in an initially basic form, was tested at the recent Barcelona group test, or elsewhere.

Brawn said the environmentally-friendly system, which stores braking energy that is then re-released under acceleration, was tested at "not a very high level, but we've got it functioning".

The forthcoming introduction of KERS has been controversial, with some teams (unsuccessfully) pushing for a delay until 2010.

"That's inevitable," Brawn continued, conceding that - in a climate of needing to reduce costs in F1 - the voluntary deployment of KERS is proving very expensive.

Hartley - I'm Toro Rosso test driver
(GMM)  New Zealand youngster Brendon Hartley on Sunday revealed that he is Toro Rosso's unofficial test driver.

The 18-year-old recently gave the Faenza based formula one team's 2008 car, the STR3, its shakedown track debut in Italy, and he has also appeared for the Red Bull-sponsored teams in demonstration runs and for a quick test at Silverstone.

Hartley is currently racing with Red Bull backing in British F3.

"It seems a bit strange to say that but I am their test driver," Hartley is quoted as saying by New Zealand's Herald on Sunday.

"I'm not the official test driver but I'm the man who does all their aero testing and stuff," he added.

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE Final Sunday TV Reminders

GP2 Series Turkey
6:00am-7:30am SPEED
Risk Takers -Race Track Rescue
7:00am-8:00am (R) Check local listings for your time zone Discovery HD
Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix Turkey
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
IndyCar 2nd Day Qualifying Indianapolis
12:00pm-2:00pm (L) ESPN2
Inside Grand Prix Turkey
1:00pm-1:30pm (R) SPEED
Formula 1 Replay Turkish Grand Prix Turkey
1:30pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
IndyCar 2nd Day Qualifying Indianapolis
5:00pm-6:30pm (L) ESPN2
Superbike World Championship Italy
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) -Race 1
Race 2 - Tuesday, May 13,
1:00pm-2:00pm (5/11/08) SPEED
SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Darlington
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Carl Edwards (NASCAR)
Gil de Ferran (ALMS -de Ferran Motorsports)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 Practice Turkey
7:00am-8:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice Darlington
12:00pm-1:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live Darlington
1:30pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice Darlington
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
Nationwide Qualifying Darlington
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
Go or Go Home Darlington
4:30pm-5:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying Darlington
5:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nationwide Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Darlington
7:00pm-7:30pm (L) -Pre-race
7:30pm-10:00pm (L) -Race ESPN2
Pass Time
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Trackside Darlington
10:00pm-11:00pm SPEED
Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Long Beach
11:00pm-11:30pm (R) SPEED
Inside Grand Prix Turkey
11:30pm-12:00am SPEED
Nationwide Replay Darlington
2:30am-5:00am (R) ESPN2
Formula 1 Qualifying Turkey
7:00am-8:30am (L) SPEED
IndyCar Pole Day Qualifying Indianapolis
12:00pm-2:00pm (L)
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) ESPN2
IndyCar Pole Day Qualifying Indianapolis
3:00pm-6:00pm (L) ABC
NASCAR Sprint Cup Dodge Challenger 500 Darlington
7:00pm-11:30pm (L) FOX
Formula 1 Turkey Turkish Grand Prix
7:30am-10:00am (L)SPEED
IndyCar 2nd Day Qualifying Indianapolis
12:00pm-2:00pm (L)
5:00pm-6:30pm (L) ESPN2
Formula 1 Replay Turkish Grand Prix Turkey
1:30pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
Superbike World Championship Italy
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) -Race 1

For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com


Pantano dominates race one in Istanbul
Giorgio Pantano
Giorgio Pantano has claimed his first win of the season in style, leading all the way from start to finish despite a safety car period, storming his way to the checkered flag ahead of Romain Grosjean and Andreas Zuber.

When the lights went out the Italian disappeared from pole, while Grosjean made an equally good start to get past a bogged down Adam Carroll and slide inside Zuber into turn one. Behind them was mayhem as Pastor Maldonado was pushed wide, Sébastien Buemi was tapped into a spin, while Ben Hanley spinning in avoidance behind him. Carroll's poor start pushed him back into the pack as did Bruno Senna's, who soon suffered the added discomfort of losing a piece of his front wing in an accident.

As the top three pulled away Karun Chandhok led Vitaly Petrov, Javier Villa, Jérôme D'Ambrosio and Carroll, but with Pantano walking away the battle behind him was at fever pitch, with Zuber all over the back of Grosjean but just unable to find a way past, while Petrov was equally resolute in defense from a fast charging Villa. With the competition on a knife edge, it was clear that pitstops were going to be crucial.

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Dixon on Indy 500 pole so far
With about one hour to go, All the top drivers have made Indy 500 pole qualifying attempts today and so far Scott Dixon (226 mph) is on pole in his Ganassi machine ahead of Ryan Briscoe (Penske), Dan Wheldon (Ganassi) and Helio Castroneves (Penske).  All drivers can withdraw their attempt and try again, so the pole position is not yet locked in.

The Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that they have designated the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps as a “Charitable Partner” of both organizations.

The announcement was made on Pole Day for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by Tony George, chief executive officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and founder and CEO of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing co-owner Paul Newman, who started the first Hole in the Wall Camp in 1988 and has been the driving force ever since, and Ray Empson, president and CEO of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps.

“I have admired Paul Newman’s commitment to charities for years, especially his dedication to the Hole in the Wall Camps,” George said. “We are pleased to partner with the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps and hope to help more children with serious illnesses get the chance to just be kids.”

Hole in the Wall Camps (HITWC) is the world's largest family of camps, serving children's camps as well as camps in development around the world. Each camp is a separate entity expanding Newman's dream of providing a recreational and therapeutic camping experience for children facing serious illnesses and life-threatening conditions.

“It is nice to have a sport you love. It’s nicer still to have that sport love the charity you love,” said Newman.


Heidfeld turns 31 in Turkey
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld celebrated his 31st birthday at the Istanbul Park circuit on Saturday with a cake outside the BMW-Sauber motor home.

He told reporters, however, that he is planning only a quiet dinner in the Turkish city.


Hamilton confuses reporters in Turkey
(GMM) Saturday was a day of contradictions for Lewis Hamilton.

The McLaren driver's body language was visibly downcast in the post-qualifying press conference in Turkey, as he partly blamed making the "wrong decision" about using hard tires in Q3 for failing to qualify higher than third.

After a toilet break and a McLaren debrief, however, he changed his tune.

"I think we did make the right decision and it was the best tire I could have used, although at the time I didn't think that," Hamilton, who is 23, said.

"I've just looked at the data and it was the right decision. My engineer told me my decision was right."

Hamilton also left some reporters confused as to whether he has or has not contributed $30,000 to the GPDA, after leading members of the drivers' body hit out at top competitors like the Briton who let their lower-paid rivals fund the safety-oriented outfit.

He told reporters after qualifying that he actually did not donate any money, but earlier on Saturday he told The Daily Mirror: "I am happy to put in the money.

"The money has never been the issue."


Webber wants new Red Bull contract
(GMM) Australian driver Mark Webber on Saturday said he would like to stay at Red Bull Racing in 2009.

After qualifying sixth at the Istanbul Park circuit, the 31-year-old told reporters he has now opened talks with the team's chiefs about renewing his contract, which is set to expire at the end of this season.

"We are talking now. I am free next year but I am massively keen to stay here," Webber admitted.

Webber, who has scored all of Red Bull's eight points so far in 2008, joined the team last year.

The Milton-Keynes based outfit is his fourth formula one employer, following his debut with Minardi in 2002 and subsequent stints at Jaguar and Williams.

"What I love about this team is that I am employed to drive the car," said Webber, whose teammate this year is the veteran Scot David Coulthard.

"If I have to do a contract day or a PR day, I ride a jet ski instead of going to talk to people that don't want to see me and I don't want to see them. That's great."

Despite feeling comfortable at the squad owned by energy drink mogul Dietrich Mateschitz, however, Webber insists he is still "massively motivated" to perform.

"But when you are getting smoked down at the back every week and it's tough, I'd rather be riding my mountain bike with my dog," he added.


Lloyd released from hospital
Rahal Letterman Chip Ganassi Indy Car driver Alex Lloyd (#16 Dallara/Honda/Firestone) has been discharged from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis following yesterday’s accident during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Lloyd, who hit the SAFER Barrier at the south end of the racetrack on Friday, was given a battery of tests after reporting neck pain and a headache after the accident. The tests were all negative, although Lloyd was kept overnight in the hospital for observation.

Lloyd has returned to his Indianapolis home and will meet with IndyCar Series physicians later in the week in order to receive medical clearance to resume participation in this year’s Indianapolis 500. His #16 Rahal Letterman Chip Ganassi car is expected to return to the track on Wednesday, May 14 when practice resumes. Rahal Letterman Racing PR


Notes from Indy - 3 Andretti in
According to AutoRacing1.com sources, John Andretti will replace Jay Howard in the Marty Roth car today and to add insult to injury, we hear Howard was asked to spot for Andretti.  The Roth team is hurting for money and John Andretti may have just bought himself into a ride.......Englishman Alex Lloyd is expected to be released from Methodist Hospital this morning but won't participate in this weekend's qualifying for the 92nd Indianapolis 500, said Rahal Letterman spokesman Eric Mauk.  The rookie will be sent to his Indianapolis home, Mauk said, and a check-up would be scheduled with Indy Racing League medical director Dr. Michael Olinger. Mauk said the earliest Lloyd would get back into the car was Wednesday, pending Olinger's clearance.........Morning practice was pushed back about 45 minutes due to the unusually cold temperatures and is now expected to conclude just after 11 a.m. The first pole day qualifying run is scheduled to begin at noon local time.


Q and A with Gil de Ferran on the Indy 500
2003 Indianapolis 500 champion Gil de Ferran returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday.

GIL DE FERRAN: “It is very touching to be here today. I guess the last time I was sitting here in this chair was a very memorable day. Certainly a day that is going to be with me till the end of my days. It's very emotional to be sitting here today and getting ready for our upcoming race on May 18. I'm a little short on words today. I'm looking around and thinking, ‘Wow.’ My years at Team Penske were great years. Helio (Castroneves) and I were together there for four years that I was there. He continues on, and I believe he's now the second-longest Penske driver in history behind (Rick) Mears. Helio and I, the friendship you saw from the outside was not only for show. To this day he remains one of my best friends. Obviously, I have a soft spot for him and for the team in general. Every time I come here I'm like, ‘OK, how are you guys getting on?’ Needless to say, we enjoyed a lot of success here. We raced here three times and finished first and second twice. In '02, the year he won, we were both in contention throughout the race. It was good days. It's funny because it seems like it was yesterday, but if you think about it it's been quite a few years.

(About emotion on winning Indy): “I pride myself on being a rational guy. I try to be rational under every circumstance, no matter how desperate or elating it may be, but at the end of the day, emotion is what drives you. You have to have a good steering head, but emotion is the fuel that pushes you forward. The circumstances that led to the 500 that year and the whole buildup of the month is what I remember the most. If you recall, I had quite a large accident in Phoenix two races prior to the 500. I broke my neck and my back and had a very severe concussion. I had to miss one race, and the 500 was my first race back. All the way from the first day o f practice, opening day, where I was, frankly, not feeling w! ell I didn't think I was driving well at all, and I was thinking that my career was going to end right here and right now. To the end of the month where, frankly, I was in some pain, to winning that race. It was a long, emotionally charged journey. It was one of the great tiers of my life. When you come from a hospital bed with everything aching to winning the biggest race in the world, that feeling is going to stay with me forever.”

(About transition from road racing): “It's a funny thing. Some road racers seem to adapt very well to ovals, and in fact some road racers end up becoming better oval racers than road racers. I've seen that happen in the past, so I guess I can only speak from my own experience. In road racing, you tend not to run any high-speed corners. Most corners, particularly these days, are low-gear corners and low-to-medium speed turns. You come to a place like this, and you're wide open over 220 miles per hour, and it's a unique experience - something you haven't experienced before. It takes a while to adapt. The other thing is that in road racing, most guys run with a little more understeer because you need the traction to get out of the corners. You get used to, what we call, leaning on the front. It's a common road racing driving technique. In an oval, at the end of the day, as they say here, loose is fast. If you can keep it off the fence, people say that jokingly, but you have to learn how to run the car very, very neutral. And very, very neutral is one step below being loose. It's not easy getting comfortable and running with a car that neutral. If your heart rate starts to go up and you get a little anxious, you tend to jerk the steering wheel a little more and that makes the car even more difficult to drive, so learning how to run a very neutral car in high speeds with people around you with a low heart rate is certainly a challenge.

(About unification): “I have several comments about that. I had an experience just outside of here when the guys started running. There was a guy who came through with driving overalls on and I was like, ‘Who's that?’ Frankly, I didn't recognize the guy, and I had no idea who he was. Then I said, ‘You know, I shouldn't be prejudiced.’ The first time I was here, there were probably people who didn't know who the heck I was. You've got to start somewhere, and that's the way the sport is. New guys come in, and some will become big stars and others won't. That's the way the story is. Ultimately, we have a whole new generation of drivers who are doing the 500 this year, and several of them I don't recognize and don't know who they are, but you never know. One of these guys, a few years down the road, might turn out to be a 500 winner and capture the imagination of the public and the fans like my friend Helio did. When he showed up here, nobody knew who he was. That's just the way the sport is. There's a constant renewal of talent and so on and so forth. As far as the unification is concerned, from my standpoint, having one IndyCar Series, I know they've had different names, but having one IndyCar Series was always a key step to the success of this sport. Some teams have experienced some pain going to one series, but I think, in the long run, it's an absolutely necessary step for the success of the sport. I'm very excited about it. My friend Jay Penske, I went to see him and he was way down here. I was like, ‘Man, there's a lot of cars here.’ I had to walk all the way, nearly to Turn 4 to go see him. That's a good thing. There's no two ways about it. That's a good thing. I think that hopefully the series will be on the up and up in the years to come.”

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Five GP2 drivers penalized after qualifying
Five drivers were each handed a five position penalty for tomorrow's race one grid after failing to sufficiently slow when a yellow flag was shown in the early stages of today's qualifying session in Istanbul.

Diego Nunes, Alberto Valerio, Milos Pavlovic, Andy Soucek and Mike Conway were all called before the stewards at the completion of the session to discuss their actions. In the opening minutes of qualifying Kamui Kobayashi spun off track at turn one and Alvaro Parente clipped the curb at turn three before spinning to a halt shortly after, with waved yellow flags shown for both incidents.

After the discussions all five drivers were adjudged to have not slowed sufficiently, and an automatic five place penalty was handed down to them. Valerio's penalty is in addition to the earlier five grid position penalty he picked up for completing two laps after the end of this morning's free practice session, a penalty which Kamui Kobayashi also collected, while Ben Hanley will start ten places behind his qualifying position as a result of causing an avoidable crash in race two at the Circuit de Catalunya in the opening weekend of this year's championship.

industry news

Kerkorian offers $170M for Ford stock UPDATE Top Ford Motor Co. executives were told in early April that billionaire Kirk Kerkorian was interested in investing in the company, according to a document filed this morning with the federal government.

The filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also outlines Kerkorian’s offer to purchase 20 million more shares, boosting his total stake to approximately 5.5%.

Kerkorian announced publicly on April 28 that he had already acquired 100 million Ford shares, a 4.7% stake in the company. Ford communications representatives have said that company officials learned of Kerkorian’s investment activity only two days before.

However, today’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says that Kerkorian’s top automotive adviser, Jerry York, informed Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair that Kerkorian “had an interest in investing in Ford” through his Tracinda Corp. during a meeting April 4 at Ford headquarters.

Reports have said that Executive Chairman Bill Ford, other family members who hold a controlling stake of super voting shares, and company executives were taken by surprise April 26 when the company learned of Kerkorian’s purchases.

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Q and A with Kevin Kalkhoven
Tony George (L) and Kevin Kalkhoven
Ex-Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven sat down recently with the Indy Star newspaper for a question-and-answer session:

Question: Why now? What made you decide it was time to let Champ Car fade into history?

Answer: The decision to unify wasn't about money. It's just that neither side was going anywhere. The only hope for open-wheel racing going forward was to unify. Now the hard work begins.

Q: Do you have any role in the IndyCar Series other than team owner?

A: No. And that was a very conscious decision on my part. I'm friends with Tony and we'll continue to talk. But he should have the opportunity to run it without me looking over his shoulder. I'll still be offering my comments, though.

Q: Will you miss having a series to run?

A: The fun in any race weekend is from the green flag to the checkered flag. And I still have that.

Q: What's your prognosis for the future of the sport?

A: The real question is, is it too late? Is NASCAR unassailable -- and if it isn't, what do we have to do? I think that question is still unanswered.

Q: So what do you have to do?

A: If we can build on the young heroes we have, then this sport stands a very good chance. It's not about the technology. It's all about the drivers. What more could you ask for than to have two smart, handsome young men like Graham (Rahal) and Marco (Andretti)? Artificial stories are simply that, but the real stories like the chance to have a long rivalry between those two is something we need to capitalize on and promote.

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Ride buyers finding no extra cars around Indy
John Andretti, who returned to the Indy 500 last year for the first time since 1994, has been at the track but made little progress toward finding a ride.

“I have taken the physical, but I’m too short. I’m working on height. I’m trying to get something put together. I think with everything good that happens, there’s always something with a little bit of a flip side. I think with reunification there’s not an engine shortage, there’s not a tire shortage, there’s a car shortage now. So people are struggling to get extra efforts together. The people that already have them already have them locked in. The opportunity that I had put together in April kind of took a change because of some things. So, whatever. It’s frustrating. Today hasn’t been a good morning. Right now, my enthusiasm is pretty low because I really want to be here, and I should have just went to Darlington, to be honest with you. Right now, I just feel like a man on an island. It is what it is, and it’s more than a little bit frustrating because it’s a race you don’t want to miss being in, especially when you have the desire, like I do, to be in it.”

(About opportunities after first week qualifying): “I doubt it. I mean, we’ll see and that’s one of the things we’ll definitely keep investigating, but honestly, I really doubt it. I think that’s something that’s probably not going to happen like it does normally because, again, it comes down to equipment.”


Problems with #99 rear housing?
Jeff Gordon would like NASCAR to look into the way Roush Fenway Racing is adjusting the rear housing on Carl Edwards' #99 Ford to create a competitive advantage. Edwards has won three times on 1.5-mile tracks this season and was in position to win a fourth before having late engine problems. Many in the garage said during testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway earlier this week that the yaw created -- Edwards' car appears to be going sideways on the straightaway, creating more side force heading into the turns -- by turning the rear housing to the right gives Edwards a competitive advantage. " ... NASCAR knows it's happening," Gordon said on Friday at Darlington Raceway. "They are the ones that see the cars come through inspection. They see it. When cars can't even get on the scales because they're running sideways, it's something they need to address." Series director John Darby said there are no plans to further police the rear housing adjustment, noting NASCAR already has a rule restricting more than a quarter-inch change plus or minus. He added that Hendrick Motorsports, for which Gordon drives, was the first to experiment with the rear-housing adjustment on the new car and that Edwards' #99 team was one of the last. "They [complain] when we've got too many rules and then they want us to create more," Darby said of teams in general. "The process is so simple. There are limits on how far they can go." More at ESPN.com


Webber tops final practice in Turkey
Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber was fastest in the final practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix, while the faster teams work on preparations for Q3 in this session and carry heavier fuel loads, with Ferrari's Felipe Massa the best of the top teams in fifth place, behind Williams driver Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton was the best of the McLarens in seventh, with championship leader Kimi Raikkonen 11th-fastest for Ferrari.


Pos Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:27.030 0.000 16
2. Alonso Renault 1:27.172 0.142 13
3. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:27.193 0.163 15
4. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:27.365 0.335 16
5. Massa Ferrari 1:27.530 0.500 13
6. Trulli Toyota 1:27.614 0.584 15
7. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.658 0.628 18
8. Glock Toyota 1:27.733 0.703 22
9. Button Honda 1:27.766 0.736 16
10. Piquet Renault 1:27.781 0.751 14
11. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:27.837 0.807 14
12. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.849 0.819 13
13. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.899 0.869 18
14. Barrichello Honda 1:27.946 0.916 14
15. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.948 0.918 17
16. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:27.971 0.941 16
17. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:28.301 1.271 14
18. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:28.573 1.543 18
19. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:28.655 1.625 19
20. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:29.131 2.101 19


Turkey GP: Friday Press Conference

Participating: Ross Brawn (Honda), Norbert Haug (Mercedes), John Howett (Toyota), Frank Williams (Williams).

Q. Ross, Rubens Barrichello is celebrating his 257th Grand Prix. You have worked with him quite a lot with Ferrari and now Honda. How much has he changed? Give us a little appraisal of his current state.

Ross Brawn: He has not changed at all. But what is great, not only about the achievement of 257 races, is the fact that he is still as strong and as competitive for many more. When Riccardo Patrese reached the record he was retiring, but there are no signs of Rubens needing or wanting to retire in the future.

Q. Do you think he is still learning?

RB: I think every driver keeps learning as do the engineers, technicians and all the other people involved. There is always something to learn in F1.

Q. We saw Jenson Button in the points in Barcelona. Is that the product of new bits and pieces coming through but is it also perhaps a development of the Brawn effect?

RB: There is a good program of development with the team and with the car. I think there is some benefit from the changes and the progress we have made with the car. From where we were with the car in winter testing I think we can be quite pleased where we are now. What I want to do in the future is start the winter testing with something a lot stronger than we had this past winter.

On your second point I hope I have been able to give the team some more confidence in doing the right things. They are all capable of doing a very good job. I think sometimes it just helps to have a reference point with someone who has been fortunate enough to win races and championships and who can say 'guys you are not that far off, let's just work hard and focus on the important things and we can do it.' That's the thing I have tried to bring to the team.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Non-member Hamilton donates $30k to GPDA
  • Hamilton regrets agreeing to wire stunt
  • Barrichello scolds Massa for GPDA snub
  • Alonso rules out taking on big three in Turkey
  • F1 switch unlikely for Rossi - Surtees
  • Alonso must switch teams to win again - Surtees
  • Kovalainen fine after cockpit return
  • New Stepney colleague raves about 'F1 spy'
  • Ferrari plays down engine freeze loophole reports
  • Honda to help out of work Super Aguri racers
  • Rain in Turkey on Saturday

Non-member Hamilton donates $30k to GPDA
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has reportedly agreed to contribute $30,000 to the formula one drivers' union, despite still not wanting to become a GPDA member.

The development comes after Grand Prix Drivers' Association stalwart Jarno Trulli slammed the few active racers - including Adrian Sutil and the two Ferrari drivers - who are refusing to get behind the safety-oriented body.

The Italian revealed that the fees for GPDA membership are $1000 upfront and 200 dollars per point scored.

"If the top guys are uninterested, there's a lack of money for the GPDA to survive and it's always the unlucky ones, the ones who get paid less, who have to sustain the costs," Trulli was quoted as saying.

"What I don't understand is if you might not want to be part of the GPDA then you can do what you want but at least pay the money since you go on the track too," he added.

The Daily Record reports that Hamilton, the 23-year-old McLaren driver who has scored 20 points so far this season, did indeed agree to "dip into his salary and fork out his share".

Hamilton regrets agreeing to wire stunt
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has admitted that a publicity stunt prior to the Turkish grand prix was a threat to his "cool" image.

The McLaren driver left onlookers baffled on Thursday when, wearing his full F1 drivers' gear, he was swung from a trapeze wire in the role of the god 'Apollo' on the set of a local theatre show.

After photos of the bizarre event were published by international newspapers to unflattering headlines, however, 23-year-old Hamilton now appears to regret agreeing to team sponsor Vodafone's demands.

"Let's forget about that," he told reporters at Istanbul Park on Friday.

"Afterwards I thought, 'That really was not cool'.

"I just turned up and got on with what I'd been told to do.  Now I've seen the footage and it's one of the worst things I've seen.

"I have a cool image and things like that don't help," Hamilton said.

The British newspaper The Times suggested that Hamilton might consider appointing a "media consultant" to "help him sidestep such elephant traps" in the future.

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Stewart Wins The Diamond Hill Plywood 200
In a war of attrition, Tony Stewart beat Nationwide Series points leader Clint Bowyer to the finish line by .815 seconds to win the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Friday night at Darlington Raceway.

In a two-lap, green-white-checkered-flag dash to the finish, Stewart pulled away from Bowyer, who had inherited second position after a six-car wreck wiped out half the top 10 with three laps left in the regulation distance of 147 laps.

David Reutimann edged Todd Bodine for fourth, and Steve Wallace beat teammate David Stremme for fifth.

Stewart won for the fourth time in six Nationwide starts this year and for the sixth time in his career. It was the eighth Nationwide win in 12 races this season for Joe Gibbs Racing drivers.

"It's this team behind us and this team at Joe Gibbs Racing," Stewart said. "We just took it easy in the beginning and tried to bide our time and take care of the car and take care of the tires and have something for them when we came to the end."

After Mark Martin stalled in the second position on a restart with three laps remaining, triggering a six-car wreck, NASCAR stopped the race for cleanup before Stewart led the field to the green-white-checkered on Lap 148.

Read more & Comment...

Indy 500 Pole Day Practice groups
GROUP 1 (9:00 - 9:30) GROUP 2 (9:30 - 10:00)
#24 Jay Howard #2 AJ Foyt, IV
#6 Ryan Briscoe #11 Tony Kanaan
#19 Mario Moraes #25 Marty Roth
#33 EJ Viso #36 Enrique Bernoldi
#99 Townsend Bell #4T Vitor Meira
#26 Marco Andretti #22 Davey Hamilton
#9 Scott Dixon #8 Will Power
#06 Graham Rahal #23 Milka Duno
#20 Ed Carpenter #36T Jaime Camara
#27 Hideki Mutoh #02 Justin Wilson
#17 Ryan Hunter-Reay #18 Bruno Junqueira
#7 Danica Patrick #10 Dan Wheldon
#14 Darren Manning #12 Tomas Scheckter
#5 Oriol Servia #15 Buddy Rice
#3 Helio Castroneves #16 Alex Lloyd
#44 Max Papis #67 Sarah Fisher
#96 Mario Dominguez


Indy 500 qualifying order
Order Car/Driver Order Car/Driver
1 #24 Jay Howard 31 #96 Mario Dominguez
2 #6 Ryan Briscoe 32 #2 AJ Foyt, IV
3 #19 Mario Moraes 33 #4 Vitor Meira
4 #17T Ryan Hunter-Reay 34 #20T Ed Carpenter
5 #98 TBD 35 #10T Dan Wheldon
6 #33 EJ Viso 36 #11 Tony Kanaan
7 #99 Townsend Bell 37 #25 Marty Roth
8 #26 Marco Andretti 38 #16T Alex Lloyd
9 #9T Scott Dixon 39 #36 Enrique Bernoldi
10 #6T Ryan Briscoe 40 #24T Jay Howard
11 #9 Scott Dixon 41 #7T Danica Patrick
12 #06 Graham Rahal 42 #TBD PDM Racing
14 #22T Davey Hamilton 43 #91 Buddy Lazier
15 #20 Ed Carpenter 44 #4T Vitor Meira
16 #2T AJ Foyt, IV 45 #83T TBD
17 #27 Hideki Mutoh 46 #88 TBD
18 #15T Buddy Rice 47 #41T TBD
19 #27T Hideki Mutoh 48 #14T Darren Manning
20 #17 Ryan Hunter-Reay 49 #22 Davey Hamilton
21 #7 Danica Patrick 50 #8 Will Power
22 #83 TBD 51 #23 Milka Duno
23 #14 Darren Manning 52 #36T Enrique Bernoldi
24 #5 Oriol Servia 53 #02 Justin Wilson
25 #41 TBD 54 #18 Bruno Junqueira
26 #25T Marty Roth 55 #10 Dan Wheldon
27 #11T Tony Kanaan 56 #34 Jaime Camara
28 #3 Helio Castroneves 57 #12 Tomas Scheckter
29 #26T Marco Andretti 58 #3T Helio Castroneves
30 #44 Max Papis 59 #15 Buddy Rice
60 #16 Alex Lloyd
61 #67 Sarah Fisher

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