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Backyard HP wars heat up Backyard HP wars heat upFor John D'Orlando, 3.5 horsepower just doesn't cut it anymore. When his customers pick their way along the line of walk-behind lawn mowers outside the TrueValue hardware in North Beverly, Mass., D'Orlando encourages them to think bigger — 5.5 horses, at least.

"People come in wondering about their blades," he says of those who report problems in cutting with their older machines. A quick sharpening helps. But as more local homeowners let grass grow higher, says D'Orlando - to keep it lush during dry spells or because they're too time-taxed to keep up — the job also calls for sending more torque to that whirring steel.

Engine makers are happy to deliver. Where 3.5-h.p. push mowers represented the standard 10 years ago, today it's not uncommon to find slope-nosed 7.5-h.p. models looking poised for takeoff at stores.

"There's definitely a horsepower war going on," says Peter Sawchuk, lawn-and-garden expert at Consumer Reports magazine in Yonkers, N.Y. "More horsepower is considered better. [But] there are points in which more horsepower doesn't do much for you," he adds. "And we're probably well past that point." ABC News

Zippo sponsors Historic GP race Zippo sponsors Historic GP raceWatkins Glen International announced today that Zippo will title sponsor the Historic Grand Prix race during the Inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage weekend. More than 30 authentic Formula One cars will return to the legendary 3.37-mile grand prix course at Watkins Glen International, September 23-25 for the newly titled Zippo Historic Grand Prix. 

The spectacular racing show of F1 cars that competed between 1966 and 1983 will be running on the track all weekend. The race will be held on September 25th and will start at approximately 12:00 PM prior to the IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series events. Headlining the HGP entry are the USGP winning team cars of Jackie Stewart, Tyrrell 004, 1972; Carlos Reutemann, Brabham BT-44, 1974; Niki Lauda, Ferrari 312T, 1975; James Hunt, McLaren M-26, 1976-1977; Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari 312 T-5, 1979; and Alan Jones, Williams FW07B, 1980.

These historic cars will also be on display in the paddock across from stand-four throughout the weekend. Garage/Paddock passes can be purchased for $30.00 by calling 866-461-RACE or online at www.TheGlen.com.

“Our 13-year sponsorship of the Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix has created a strong partnership between Zippo and Watkins Glen. We are very excited to sponsor the Zippo Historic Grand Prix and salute the return of Indy car racing at the Glen,” said Greg Booth, President and CEO of Zippo Manufacturing Company. “We look forward to a spectacular weekend; in fact, a spectacular season of racing at the Glen.”

PKV names Goeters PKV names GoetersUPDATE A press release from OCESA today stated Michel Jourdain was supposed to drive the third PKV car, but after lengthy negotiation no deal.  Then Roberto Gonzalez wanted the drive, did his own negotiations but finally Goeters got the drive in an 11th hour deal.  Talk about a soap opera.  Why Goeters?  He put a Ford on pole for the Mexico City Busch race in March and ran well during the race, even leading.  Ford likes him and he became an overnight sensation in Mexico.  Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico 05/16/05 PKV Racing has signed Mexican star Jorge Goeters to drive in this weekend’s Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix presented by Roshfrans, May 20-22 on the Fundidora Park circuit in Monterrey, Mexico.  Goeters will campaign the #52 PKV Racing/Team Mexico Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry, which will be managed by veteran Team Manager and former PKV Racing General Manager Russell Cameron.  Cristiano da Matta, who pilots the #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine and Jimmy Vasser, who will be behind the wheel of the #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry will also contest the race under the guidance of PKV Racing General Manager Jim McGee.

“We are very pleased that Jorge was available to drive the #52 PKV Racing/Team Mexico car in the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix,” said PKV Racing co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven.  “Jorge has a tremendous amount of experience in open wheel cars and has shown throughout his career that he is very competitive.  We are excited about having a driver of Jorge’s caliber in one of our cars and especially pleased that Champ Car fans in Mexico will have another driver to cheer for at this weekend’s race in Monterrey,” Kalkhoven concluded.

Goeters received international attention when he captured the pole and led 24 laps before succumbing to engine problems at the NASCAR Busch Race earlier this year in Mexico City.  Currently, Goeters is competing in the Desafio Corona Stock Car Challenge where he leads the championship standings having finished in the top-three in all four events with two wins, most recently this weekend at Queretaro, Mexico (other victory came in second event of the season at Guadalajara).  He finished second in the season opener in Mexico City and third in the third race at Zacatecas.

Goeters, 35, who resides in Mexico City with his wife Vanessa and daughter Vanessa, began his career racing Motocross in 1978.  He was the Motocross/Enduro National Champion from 1989-1991.  Goeters began racing cars in 1993 starting in the Mexican Sport Prototype Championship where he competed until 1996 winning the championship that year.  In 1997, he moved to the Mustang Cup and won the championship with six wins in ten races capturing four poles.  He also competed in Formula 3000 in 1996 placing third in the championship and 1997 placing fourth. 

The 1998 season saw Goeters head to the United States where he ran in the Indy Lights Championship Series.  Competing against PKV Racing teammate Cristiano da Matta, Dale Coyne Racing driver Oriol Servia and fellow Mexican Mario Dominguez, who now competes for Forsythe Racing, Goeters scored five top-10 finishes in 12 starts with a season high fifth place performance at Gateway International Raceway, where he also captured the pole.  

Returning to Mexico he competed in Formula 3 finishing second in 2000 and taking the championship in 2001.  He ran in the Mastercard Truck Series in 2002 taking the title and the Mustang Cup in 2003 placing second before moving to the Corona Stock Cars in 2004 placing second in his first season.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to drive the PKV Racing/Team Mexico car in the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix,” Goeters said.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for me and one I have dreamed about for a long time.  It will take me a little time to get used to the car, but I am confident that with the help of Russell Cameron and all the guys at PKV Racing I can get up to speed quickly,” he noted.  “I am really looking forward to competing against some of the same drivers I raced against in Indy Lights and giving the race fans here in Mexico another driver to cheer for,” Goeters concluded. PKV Racing

RYR, Jarrett lose crew chief RYR, Jarrett lose crew chiefRobert Yates Racing (RYR) announced today that Mike Ford has elected to step down as crew chief for the #88 UPS/Robert Yates Racing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team and driver Dale Jarrett. Ford joined RYR in November 2003.  "Mike made this decision based on what was in the best interest for himself and for his family," said Eddie D'Hondt, general manager for RYR. "We obviously wish him the best in his future endeavors."  "We are actively pursuing someone to replace him," D'Hondt continued. "Until we find the right individual for the job, we will fill the role in-house on an interim basis." The #88 Team is currently 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with one pole, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. The team's best finish in 2005 to date is a fifth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. Robert Yates Racing
Ferrari shakedown for Monaco Ferrari shakedown for MonacoToday, Luca Badoer carried out a shakedown test of the three cars that Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro will use in the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday 22nd May.  Badoer completed a total of 56 laps (six of them on the short version of the track,) setting a best time of 59.145. Ferrari
It's Official, Penske buys out Wallace It's Official, Penske buys out WallacePenske Performance, Inc., the majority shareholder of Penske Racing South, Inc., announced today that it has purchased the individual ownership interests in the company held by Rusty Wallace, Don Miller and John Erickson. "The transaction represents an opportunity to reward Rusty, Don and John for their many contributions to the growth and success of the company," said Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Performance. "Penske Racing South is committed to its participation as a competitor in NASCAR. We enjoy the support of a dedicated and loyal group of sponsors who will be with us well into the future. Our focus is to maximize all three cars' performance every week with winning the NEXTEL Cup Championship as our goal." Don Miller said, "The purchase allows me to extract the equity that I put into the company over the last 14 years. For me, the time is right. Given our recent investments to grow the company, this helps relieve some of my personal financial burden. I look forward to fulfilling my management responsibilities on an ongoing basis." Rusty Wallace noted that "this deal is important to my future as I move into the next phase of my career. I value the opportunity to have been an owner at the NEXTEL Cup level and I am excited about contributing to the success of the team going forward, especially in my remaining races as a driver. Penske Racing South has been a great part of my life," Wallace said.  John Erickson said, "I appreciate having been part of the ownership structure. I will continue to do my best in helping build a championship team." The terms of the transaction are confidential. Penske Performance PR
Industry News
Bellm quits over Stewart vote Bellm quits over Stewart voteFormer British Racing Drivers' Club chairman Ray Bellm has resigned from the club, less than a week after rival Jackie Stewart was given a vote of confidence to continue as president.  Bellm had been at loggerheads with Stewart since the end of last year in a dispute over the final details of Silverstone's new five-year British Grand Prix deal, and he had been expected to stand down in the event of Stewart winning support from the club at last week's Extraordinary General Meeting.  Following a demand from club chairman Stuart Rolt to clarify his future position, amid suggestions that the BRDC board did not want him to carry on, Bellm decided to tender his resignation letter on Sunday.

Speaking exclusively to Autosport-Atlas, Bellm claimed that his success in securing the British Grand Prix deal and good terms for the exit of previous leaseholders Interpublic had never been fully appreciated.  I told Stuart that my position is that I secured two good deals for the BRDC, along with the team that helped me, and I have been kicked in the teeth as a result of doing them," he said.  "I now no longer wish to have anything more to do with the management of the club. In my statement to Stuart Rolt I said that since my removal as chairman I did not feel very comfortable with the financial and legal responsibility of being a director where such a weak board existed." Autosport-Atlas

Ford to test 2006 car Ford to test 2006 carFord was to test its 2006 Nextel Cup model this week at a wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga. The test will determine how close Ford is to submitting the car to NASCAR. A name has yet to be announced, but sources say the car could be the Fusion. Sporting News
Wurz gets the call for Monaco Wurz gets the call for MonacoAlex Wurz will take a turn at the wheel of McLaren's third car at Monaco this week.  After Spanish colleague Pedro de la Rosa got the job at Barcelona last time out, Wurz - the long serving Austrian who crashed heavily last week at Paul Ricard - is to be 'man Thursday' in the Principality.  Wurz, 31, raced at Monte Carlo for Benetton in 1998, 1999 and 2000, famously - on debut - dueling wheel-to-wheel with Michael Schumacher.  ''It was a great experience,'' Alexander said in a team preview, ''so I am looking forward to driving the MP4-20 (there). GMMF1
A lap around Monaco with Juan Montoya A lap around Monaco with Juan MontoyaMcLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya describes a lap of Monaco's street circuit. "A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit starts on the pit straight, which has a gentle curve to the right along its entire length. You reach 273km/h in sixth gear before braking hard as the track inclines for the infamous tight, bumpy, right of Sainte Devoite, which is a virtual 90-degree corner taken at 80km/h in second gear and is usually the scene of first corner incidents."

"Accelerating up the Beau Rivage climb, your speed reaches 273km/h in sixth gear as you approach the long left of Massanet, which is negotiated at 136km/h in third. Keeping close to the inside curb through Massanet, you dab the brakes slightly for the bumpy right of Casino Square, which is taken at 128km/h, still in third."

"A burst of acceleration follows, reaching some 209km/h in fourth gear on the downhill approach to the bumpy right-hander of Mirabeau. Keeping tight to the right as you reach the hairpin, you shift down through the gears to take Mirabeau at 80km/h in second gear. This is a possible overtaking opportunity."

"A short spurt of gas takes you to the Grand Hotel Hairpin, the tightest, slowest corner on the circuit, which requires full lock to negotiate it and sees the track continue to plunge downhill and your speed drop to below 48km/h in first gear."

"Two sharp right handers follow both in second gear, with a maximum speed of 88km/h, the second of which leads you to the entrance to the Tunnel. You have to be careful here as the Armco on the exit is not straight."

"Pushing hard on the throttle, you sweep through the covered right-hand curve, which is the only flat out section of the track. You reach the maximum speed on the circuit, 281km/h in seventh, as you burst back out into daylight by the sea wall."

"Braking hard for the left-right Nouvelle chicane, your speed drops to 48km/h, before accelerating out along the run to Tabac. This fast left-hander is taken at 143km/h in third."

"Entering the swimming pool complex, your speed increases to just over 209km/h in fourth gear for the first section of the left-right kink, before braking to negotiate the slower, revised section, which now sees a tighter entrance, at 112km/h."

"Another short period of acceleration follows as you continue along the harbor front, which sees you reach 193km/h in third on the approach to the Rascasse. This sharp, right-hand hairpin, which poses a difficult braking maneuver as you swing round 180-degrees is taken at 48km/h in first gear."

"A short uphill straight leads to the final corner, which is taken in second at 72km/h, before accelerating up the hill along the pit straight to start another lap." McLaren

Weekend attendance figures Weekend attendance figuresSaturday night’s race at Richmond Int’l Raceway was the track’s 27th consecutive sellout of a NASCAR Cup Series event. The 3/4-mile track has 107,097 seats. 

Meanwhile an estimated crowd of 15,000 attended this weekend’s Indianapolis 500 qualifying, which was hurt by a rainout on Saturday and cool temperatures on Sunday.  The crowd was “similar to recent years and less than 10% of the pole-day attendance during the CART/Champ Car era.

Danica Patrick has unfair advantage in the IRL Danica Patrick has unfair advantage in the IRLUnlike Champ Car, which now weighs the driver and the car together and adds ballast as necessary so all cars are about the same weight, such is not the case with the IRL where 100 pound soaking wet Danica Patrick has an advantage. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports this morning - At least one IRL driver privately believes Danica Patrick takes a huge advantage into every race and will eventually force the IRL to make some rule changes. "She's the real deal behind the wheel, no question or doubt about that," the IRL driver said. "But this is physics and because of her, I bet within two years you will see this sport start using weight limits, just like jockeys [and Champ Car. We are more inclined to believe this is the secret to her speed at Indy rather than the conspiracy theories that she is getting The Call. F1 also weighs the driver with the car. Time for the IRL to get with the program. This SPEEDTV article talks about all the pressure on rookie Patrick because the IRL has made her their poster girl and are counting on her doing well to drive TV ratings and attendance. Not only is the added pressure unfair to her, but the other 'male' drivers are probably feeling discriminated against. After all, her weight is so low that over four laps of qualifying at Indy it is significant. That alone is a form of unfair discrimination.]
Bourdais dumbfounded about lack of speed Bourdais dumbfounded about lack of speedSebastien Bourdais is at a loss as to why his car was not faster during qualifying.  “I’m happy that both CENTRIX cars are in the show but definitely disappointed with our speed.  We expected to be about one and a half miles faster, where Bruno is, but this is what we could do, especially since we took more downforce out than Bruno.  I was flat all the way around."

However, he's not too worried.  "We said we were going to come here and work on the race setup and we did and got in the show but it would have been great to have had time to work on our qualifying setup as well.  We made the car better every day.  On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we worked on race setup and only got one attempt in qualifying trim before today before we had to park it due to rain on Friday and yesterday.  We can’t quite find the speed for qualifying but hopefully we will reap the fruits of our work on our race setup in the race.  We started out pretty far off when we first got here and worked our way up.  We’ll see if it’s good enough on race day.”

Feedback on merger article Feedback on merger articleUPDATE #3 Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, It was interesting to hear Andy Granatelli say last night on Wind Tunnel that the cars should be the same and there should be some regions or divisions as you suggested in your merger article so that fans have something to take sides and cheer about. Allan Wilson, San Francisco, CA  Dear Allan, Everyone pretty much agrees with this concept except Tony George, who has been a cog in the wheel for a merger for years.  As we have said, the only good that can come out of the rivalry that has developed between Champ Car and the IRL is to take all those pent up emotions and funnel them into a combined series with two divisions that compete against one another for an overall championship - a rivalry that will reinvigorate the fans.  Take a negative and turn it into a positive.  Tony George, are you listening? Mark C. 04/22/05 More feedback - Nice job. I agree in premise 100%. The venues and so forth are not as important as them getting it together. Great work. Let’s hope someone is smart enough to listen. Sam Mancuso, Florida

Just finished your article re merger. Wouldn't it be wonderful for all fans to finally see open wheel racing back to its former glory? Loved your article. Don't know if Tony George has the brains to accept such a merger. Taking into consideration what he already has done to the sport, it seems he has more ego than common sense. Jill Weinberg, New York, NY Dear Jill, Tony George is not stupid. He thought there needed to be a dictator a la F1 and NASCAR for Indy Car Racing to excel. However, that only works if there is a single series, not two. His original plan was all wrong too, because he has now morphed into what CART was. A dictatorship is not essential for IndyCar to succeed. I believe a partnership can succeed if both sides want it to. Mark C.

04/22/05 Another writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Great article. Your proposal seems very well thought out and is extremely fair to all parties. Two things that I might do differently are:
(1) Do away with the double points for joint races, which seems to me to be a bit of overkill. Just the fact that some teams will end up going home with no points would be detrimental enough. That image itself reminds me of the sight of seeing Team Penske going home before the Indy 500 in 1995. In any event, the point system should be something that rewards every starter, something like the IRL already has (as does NASCAR). This is the only aspect about Champ Car (as well as F1) that I do not like, meaning that the point structure is very limited and 'top-heavy'.
(2) While I am all for a few joint races during the season, for a true" play-offs" of the two divisions, there should be a series of joint races at the end of the season, in this case I propose at least 3. Only the top 15 drivers from each division can move on to the "playoffs". There would be 3 different tracks (Superspeedway, Medium Oval, Road Course) to even out the odds and at the end you would have your champion. Each division could name their respective champion and Rookie of the Year prior to the playoffs. Matthew Fetherman, NJ Dear Matt, You can't have all the playoff races at the end of the year. Although desirable, the Indy 500 will always be on Memorial Day weekend and the most important race must be a part of the thrill of the competition between the two rival divisions. As for double vs. single points for the "joint" playoff races, that is done to give more drivers a chance at the overall title should one driver dominate their division and finish way ahead in their division. The double points in the six races helps to give other drivers the chance to overcome that gap for the overall title. Mark C.

04/22/05 A number of readers have comments on our recent article "How a Champ Car and IRL merger might work." Dear AutoRacing1.com, Enjoyed the article about the merger- sounds like a good base to begin the merger. Only objection is about engine target rpm....with current F1 V10's spinning 19,000rpm, next generation F1 V8's (made by Cosworth, mind you) spinning over 20,000rpm, the old Cosworth/Honda/Toyota Champ Car engines routinely spinning 15,000+rpm.....I think the target should be closer to 15,000rpm to give the spectator that "awe" from the engine sound. I agree that the devil is in the details, which is why I bring up this point. True, the tone of the engine note should be emphasized (obviously due to the current situation), but there is no tone that can replace the "awe, sense of power, and exotic flare" from a higher revving engine. The current Champ Car engines sound like they are short changed, so to speak. Just as you are expecting them to scream and rocket away, they hit that 12,500rpm limit and they shift. It leaves the spectator feeling "ho hum," regardless if the tone of the engine was changed. Plus, with NASCAR engine close to 10,000rpm and F1 soon to be over 20,000rpm, to claim a Champ Car/IndyCar engine is only 13,000 or 500rpm more than the current engine is a bit demoralizing........I think with the technology available now, a reliable and long lasting 15,000rpm engine is quite feasible. Finally, while I'm fine with either choice of engine, I believe the 1.8L turbo will probably be better to alleviate the situation we had in the past where the engines were powerful enough on street/road courses, but too fast on ovals, as engine boost can be adjusted for the current circuit to keep speeds/safety in check. Otherwise, nice article. D. Hughes, Cincinnati, OH Dear Derek, While 15,000 RPM would sound great, the fact of the matter is that higher RPM reduces engine longevity and hence increases cost. The sport probably can't afford that right now. Mark C.

That is a very good plan. The only obstacle that I see is that Tony George is such an incredibly stubborn mule that sometimes I think he would rather see Indy Car racing go out of business than give in. May is almost here and I wish so much that I was making the trip to the 500 this year but there is no way I would go at this time. I hope they take advantage of your advice. Doug Ferguson, Florida

Dear AutoRacing1.com, Great article. I like it and as much as I hate giving in to Tony George, I must admit that if a merger is to ever take place this plan has the best chance to work. It keeps everyone employed, doesn't eliminate too many races, gets everyone back together and lets each side still enjoy some autonomy with the two division idea. I also like the playoff concept between the two divisions. The rivalry will make for great conversation. I hope the powers to be are listening. Jay Laube Somerset, NJ

New sponsors for Toronto race New sponsors for Toronto raceAs can be seen on their website, the Molson Indy Toronto has plenty of new sponsors this year, which is a sign the race is as popular as ever.  New for 2005 are Ford, Levitra, Vonage, Green Line, Mobil 1, pokerroom.com, Renaissance hotel, Zoom Airlines, and Nestle.
Coulthard raises the testing safety issue Coulthard raises the testing safety issueSince the fatal weekend at Imola in 1994, when both Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger were killed in tragic accidents, safety standards in Formula One have improved greatly. However, the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) is always looking for further improvements. At a recent meeting, David Coulthard, voiced his concern about safety measures at test sessions. This is likely to be an issue in the near future.

“We feel that there is no reason to have a distinction between when we go Grand Prix racing and when we go testing. The speeds are the same, the tracks are the same, but the safety standards are not. That is not really acceptable,” said Coulthard. “We're running more laps than ever and that leads to fatigue in the driver and within the team."

"And testing, by its very nature, relies on cars using previously untried components and tire developments and they are bound to be more prone to breakages.” Last week Alex Wurz suffered a huge accident that is currently being investigated by McLaren Mercedes and partner Michelin. WilliamsF1

Alonso wows Istanbul Alonso wows IstanbulOn Sunday, May 15th, three months before the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix of Turkey, the Renault F1 Team, current leaders of the World Championship, ran their F1 car in the historic Istanbul city centre, at the Sultanahmet hippodrome. The stars of this free-to-all show were Fernando Alonso and his F1 car, making their first visit to Istanbul to share the emotions of their spectacular sport with the Turkish public.

After last weekend’s demonstration with Giancarlo Fisichella in Rome’s history-laden Circus Maximus, the Istanbul hippodrome came to life once again for a major event on 15 May. The historic heart of Istanbul welcomed a parade of historic racing cars on the route of the ancient hippodrome, followed by Fernando Alonso demonstrating his F1 car for ten laps of the circuit.

Ibrahim Aybar, Managing Director of Renault MAIS, was delighted with the event: “Interest in F1 in Turkey is growing every day. I would like to thank the Governor and Mayor of Istanbul for giving us the opportunity, three months ahead of the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix, to present this unique spectacle to the public. The Road show is proof of how determined we and the Renault F1 Team are to take F1 to the spectators, and get them involved in this exciting sport.” Excited about the prospect of visiting Istanbul, Fernando Alonso commented: “I am pleased that we went to Turkey for a new Grand Prix this year.” Renault

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Richards set for BAR return
Toyota to get off lightly
Alonso in Turkey
Last chance Liuzzi
Rossi and F1
Tires caused Wurz shunt
Schu title 'gone'
Brit GP set for sell-out
Hakk back on top
BMW deny F1 exit plan
Life after Schu
Toyota to Trulli struggle
An unique F1 form guide
Massa 'apologized' - DC
'Monaco is Monaco'
Lazier qualifies then gets bumped Lazier qualifies then gets bumpedJaques Lazier, of Vail, Colo., driver for the newly formed Playa Del Racing Indy Racing League IndyCar Series team, qualified for the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Sunday, May 15th – designated Pole Day after being rained out the day before – but was bumped from the guaranteed 22 spots for the day by rookie Jeff Bucknum in the last minute of qualifications.  He will now take the remaining practice days before next weekend’s final two days of qualifications to work his #21 Panoz/Toyota/Firestone up to speed in an attempt to fill one of the remaining 11 spots left in the 33-car field. 

“Obviously, it was a big disappointment,” said Lazier shortly after being bumped from the Indy 500 field for this weekend.  “We qualified 23rd out of 22 cars.  But looking at the big picture, it only means we’ll probably start one row back, which doesn’t hurt us too bad.  Now we’ll focus on the team and get ready to go racing.  The big picture is that the team has done a tremendous job in a very short period of time.  The team has really been putting in long hours.  We just barely missed it.  We’ll keep our chins up and get ready for the race.”

The Playa Del Racing team is a new entrant in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, with owners/founders Gary Sallee and Sue Schafer.  The team, founded in 2001 and based out of Indianapolis, was officially announced as an Indy Racing League entrant on April 6, 2005, and was on track for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by May 11, 2005.  The team plans on competing at the 2005 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, the IRL race at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (Oct. 16), and a few races in between in preparation for running a full-time effort in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series in 2006. 

Co-Owner of the Playa Del Racing team, Gary Sallee, was optimistic about the week ahead even after a disappointing first weekend of qualifications.  “We gave it the best we had on this day, and that wasn’t good enough under this new format,” stated Sallee.  “We expect to be back next Saturday (the third day of qualifications) and do our best that day to get into the field.  We look forward to greater success on race day.” Playa Del Racing

Qualifying changes can’t save Indy Qualifying changes can’t save IndyUPDATE Another reader writes, I watched the start of Indy 500 qualifying. I couldn't believe how few people were there. Fast speeds turned in this week and the over hype of Danica Patrick couldn't get people to come out. I guess that must be part of Tony's vision. I wonder what Penske must be thinking when he looks at the stands and sees no one there? The same must go for Toyota, Honda and the rest of the sponsors. How sad the whole Indy 500 experience has become. Michael Neubaurer, Ohio Another writes, Watched the first few minutes of IRL Indy 500 pole qualifying this morning.............The spectator turnout was absolutely pathetic. Remember the HUGE crowds that they used to get at Indy (just for qualifying) only a decade ago? What this once great race has become today makes this motorsports' fan quite sad! Barry King, Phoenix, AZ 05/15/05 A reader writes, I must say, I'm from Indy and am amazed at the lack of turnout for pole day qualifying, despite the new daily bumping rules. There can't be more than a few thousand there. I remember when the stands were packed. I know it's a little cold but nobody showed. It's worse than last year. Kevin Thomas, Indianapolis Dear Kevin, There was more than a few thousand there, but not much more. It's sad to see the damage Tony George has done to even his own race and it's bad overall for open wheel racing, even Champ Car, because the sport needs Indy to be successful. Mark C.
Dana released from hospital Dana released from hospitalPaul Dana, driver of the No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, has been released today from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, but will be sidelined for the remainder of the month and will miss his debut in the Indianapolis 500.  It was confirmed by doctors on Saturday that Dana suffered a fracture in the T-7 and T-8 vertebrae during a crash on Friday in practice. No surgery will be required, as doctors will allow the injury to heal on its own in a brace, Dr. Henry Bock, the race's medical services director, said in a statement.  "I am feeling much better and I am looking forward to going home later today," Dana said Sunday.  "My focus right now is to get healthy and to help Team Ethanol in any way that I can.  I want to thank the medical staffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Methodist Hospital for helping me and my family through the past few days.  I also appreciate the tremendous support we have received from our sponsors, friends and members of the IndyCar community.  It has been a tough three days, but I am already feeling better and looking forward to returning to racing."
Danica Patrick hits 229.880 MPH Danica Patrick hits 229.880 MPHDanica Patrick has marked herself as the favorite to win the pole position today at Indy after turning a sensational lap in morning practice.
Pos Driver Best Speed
1 Danica Patrick (16) 229.880
2 Dario Franchitti (27) 229.422
3 Tony Kanaan (11) 228.920
4 Vitor Meira (17) 228.666
5 Sam Hornish Jr. (6) 228.356
6 Scott Sharp (8) 227.953
7 Helio Castroneves (3) 227.602
8 Tomas Scheckter (4) 227.574
9 Dan Wheldon (26) 227.493
10 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 227.239
11 Buddy Lazier (95) 227.226
12 Sebastien Bourdais (37) 227.045
13 Adrian Fernandez (5) 226.645
14 Roger Yasukawa (24) 226.568
15 Tomas Enge (2) 226.560
16 Bryan Herta (7) 226.503
17 Scott Dixon (9T) 225.765
18 Bruno Junqueira (36) 225.696
19 Ryan Briscoe (33) 225.025
20 Darren Manning (10) 224.071
21 Richie Hearn (70) 223.927
22 Alex Barron (51) 221.751
23 Patrick Carpentier (83) 221.136
24 Jaques Lazier (21) 220.250
25 Ed Carpenter (20) 220.072
26 A.J. Foyt IV (14) 218.105
27 Marty Roth (25) 217.849
28 Jeff Ward (20T) 216.939
29 Larry Foyt (48T) 211.935
German GTM
The Hakk gets his first win The Hakk gets his first winMika Häkkinen (Mercedes-Benz) has won the DTM round held at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium today. In his only third DTM race, the two-time Formula One World Champion crossed the finish line ahead of reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekström (Audi), with Tom Kristensen (Audi) taking third place in DTM’s maiden race at the 6,976 kilometers long Belgian GP circuit while Opel’s Marcel Fässler came fifth, in the 24-lap event.
The great Rossi wins again The great Rossi wins againValentino Rossi took his third win in four races with a last lap that was the stuff of legend at Le Mans.

With revitalized arch-rival Sete Gibernau breathing down his neck, the Yamaha rider (pictured right) produced a stunning lap record built on his brilliant late braking to keep the Honda ace behind him and win by 0.382 of a second.

Long-time race leader Colin Edwards came home for a third place that silenced recent criticism and made it a double podium finish for Yamaha.

"For everybody it was a great show," said the irrepressible Rossi, summing up one of the most thrilling race finishes of recent times. It has been a fantastic weekend: pole position, fastest race lap and victory."

What Rossi omitted to say was that his fastest lap, and another new lap record at Le Mans, came on the final lap just as it seemed certain Gibernau's surge would carry him to a first win of 2005.

Earlier Edwards, stung by suggestions that his switch to MotoGP had not produced the results it should, rocketed off the line to lead for the first 18 laps of the 28-lap race. But with Gibernau looming, Rossi made a passing maneuver stick and produced a memorable final tour to seal the 45th win of his 84-race career in the premier class. Gibernau took a double gamble on his race tire and settings after a difficult build-up to the race, waited patiently till the Honda chimed in then made his own thrilling bid for victory over the second half.

"The team deserved a good result," said the Spaniard, "because we were struggling more than we thought. We knew we would be struggling in the first part of the race, so I had to wait till the bike reacted."

Australia's Troy Bayliss on his Honda had a low-key weekend, qualifying on the outside of the fifth row and just pipping Kawasaki's Shanghai hero Olivier Jacque to a top-10 finish.

Former Le Mans winner Max Biaggi picked himself up from a painful warm-up crash to ride a brave race for fifth place behind compatriot Marco Melandri, with early front-runner Nicky Hayden slipping back to sixth.

Rossi now leads the championship on 95 points, with a 37-point advantage over nearest challenger Marco Melandri on 58 points and a massive 42-point advantage over Gibernau.

The Le Mans race was not accident free. Alex Barros dramatically crashed out in the first half along with Shane Byrne. Other riders to crash out included Carlos Checa and Roberto Rolfo. None of the fallen riders sustained serious injury.

Indy tickets still plentiful Indy tickets still plentifulSo many tickets are still available for the Indy 500 that IMS is now selling tickets out of four trailers located around the grounds rather than the main ticket office. Before scalpers would buy fistfuls of tickets and sell them on the streets. They are not buying as many anymore because the demand wasn't there and to make matters worse, now they have competition from the Speedway itself.
Bourdais drives Sprint Car Bourdais drives Sprint CarSebastien Bourdais recently tested a non wing sprint car at Perris Auto Speedway in California and managed to impress those in attendance. Bourdais' Newman/Haas Racing team co-owner Paul Newman arranged the private session. The speedway was closed to the public while Newman and his colleagues took turns behind the wheel of the powerful open wheel car. Motorsport.com
Coulthard museum forced to close Coulthard museum forced to closeA museum and restaurant opened in tribute to race ace David Coulthard has been forced to close.  The attraction opened to the public in the Formula 1 driver's home village of Twynholm in 1999 and drew thousands of visitors.  It was managed by his sister Lynsay but she has moved from the Kirkcudbrightshire village to take up a new job.  The museum claimed to have the most complete collection of memorabilia of any Formula 1 driver in the world - including the car he drove to his first Grand Prix victory in Portugal in 1995.

A spokeswoman for Dumfries and Galloway Tourist Board confirmed the museum was shut indefinitely.  She said: 'I'm afraid we don't know if it will reopen next year. It's a real shame.'  A spokeswoman for the family firm Hayton Coulthard Freight Forwarding Ltd, also based in Twynholm, said: 'There is no one around to run the museum.' Sunday Mail

NASCAR Charity Day NASCAR Charity Day
* NASCAR Day , NASCAR's largest annual charity event, is less than one week away (Friday, May 20) and AutoZone is leading the charge by creating a national promotion for their support of this event
* AutoZone, title sponsor of the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division regional touring series, is selling NASCAR Day lapel pins at its more than 3,400 locations nationwide
* For $5, fans may purchase a NASCAR Day pin and have the option of wearing their favorite NASCAR apparel to work on 5/20
* AZ customers who purchase pins will have a chance to win a trip to meet Richard and Kyle Petty at the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Charlotte and take a VIP tour of the Victory Junction Gang Camp and Petty Enterprises race shop.
* All proceeds from the sale of the pins go to the 2005 NASCAR Day Designated Charities. NASCAR PR
NASCAR can't get it right NASCAR can't get it rightNASCAR held at least a dozen cars on pit lane before practice yesterday, penalizing the teams for being late to the prerace inspection line at Darlington Raceway last week. Jeff Gordon served the worst punishment, missing 26 minutes of practice. Jimmie Johnson, Scott Riggs, Carl Edwards, Michael Waltrip, Casey Mears, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart also were held and missed between 10-15 minutes of the session. "With all the weather that we had at Darlington, the schedule was shortened," Jeff Gordon said. "With all the changes that we had to make in practice, we lost a lot of time and we paid the price big time for it. I understand what NASCAR's doing. They need to keep the inspection line on time, but I think when you've got 11 or 12 cars, and top teams, that are late to the inspection line, there's obviously a problem there beyond just the teams lagging behind." Richmond Times Dispatch [Editor's Note: NASCAR comes down heavy handed on teams when they should not, yet when it comes to putting an end to cheating they can't do what the FIA did with BAR Honda and ban teams for a couple of races. In essence they give the teams a slap on the wrist penalty for cheating and then pat them on the back on the way out of the NASCAR trailer saying job well done, keep it up. These penalties make news headlines and NASCAR loves to generate news.]
Plans for Richmond HOF revealed Plans for Richmond HOF revealedIn a news conference at Richmond International Raceway before last night's Nextel Cup Series race, the proposed hall was revealed as a 129,000 square-foot building (including 68,000 square feet of exhibits) on about a 20-acre tract of land. Architectural firms with experience on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Baseball Hall of Fame and Smithsonian Museum of Natural History are designing the blueprint. An economic analysis predicted the hall would be attended by 700,000 visitors in the first year. The study said competing cities Kansas City, Kan., Daytona Beach, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta would draw hundreds of thousands fewer fans annually. An economic impact study projected a $6 million growth in tax revenue -- $4.7 million to the state and $1.3 million to Henrico County. The details need to be finalized by the May 31 deadline for submitting bids to NASCAR. NASCAR reportedly will announce the winning city at its Dec.2 awards banquet in New York. Richmond Times Dispatch
Jerry Nadeau update Jerry Nadeau updateInjured driver Jerry Nadeau had planned to be at Richmond International Raceway last night to watch the Chevy American Revolution 400. His plans changed because a death in his family earlier in the week took him away from his Davidson, N.C., home and he felt like he needed to get caught up on things when he returned. So he took some time on the phone to talk about the wreck at RIR two years ago this month that almost took his life and perhaps will take his career. Nadeau won the pole that day, driving for MB2 Motorsports.

In a practice session after qualifying, he hit the wall hard between Turns 1 and 2 and had to be airlifted out of the racetrack.  He was in a coma for three weeks, in a hospital for three months. The recovery has been slow and is not yet complete. Nadeau knows he may never drive competitively again, but he's not ready to give up hope. He hopes that some tests to be run Wednesday will show that progress has been made and that he will be able to return one day. "I'm still young and energized and ready to go," Nadeau, 34, said. "If the tests go good next week and everything looks good, I'm going to bug Jay [Frye, MB2 owner] and try to do a test and see where I'm at and hopefully get in a car in the next couple of months and maybe go do a test. The doctors have said it takes a good two years. My left side is still numb. I can't change that. It is going to remain numb for a while. I feel like I'm thinking better, talking better, just doing better overall."

A NASCAR spokesman said yesterday that the sanctioning organization needs only clearance from a doctor to allow Nadeau to race again. Without that, he won't race. Nadeau knows that even with clearance, he's taking a chance if he does race again. "I have an insurance policy and [doctors] said I was better off taking the insurance policy and doing something else," he said. "You know what? I don't know what else to do. All I know how to do is race. I figure I might as well give it a shot." Since being injured, he said, he's stayed busy enough. He's taught some sessions in driving schools and may want to turn to that full time if he can't race. He's traveled to make appearances. "I was in Kentucky two weeks ago . . . we made a movie of my life and I show that to the fans and then I'll come out and talk about my life," Nadeau said. "I came to Charlotte with 100 dollars in my pocket and I made it to the Nextel Cup circuit. We haven't done the tests in nine months with an MRI and we're going to do one Wednesday and kind of compare. Hopefully there is some bright light and things will look good. Who knows?" Richmond Times Dispatch

Industry News
Ganassi to co-host Wind Tunnel Ganassi to co-host Wind TunnelUPDATE #2 Reminder that this show airs Sunday night on SPEED Channel in the USA.

05/11/05 Featured Interview

Andy Granatelli (Legendary Indy Car owner) -- Legendary Indy Car owner Andy Granatelli will be one of our guests this Sunday. Throughout his career, Granatelli was known for wearing many different hats -- driver, owner, promoter, innovator, businessman. A good friend of Bill France Sr, he was even once the Vice Chairman of NASCAR. As a driver, he set more than 400 world land speed records ... as an owner, he won the Indianapolis 500 twice, once with Mario Andretti and once with Gordon Johncock. As a promoter, he organized hot rod and stock car races, drawing thousands and thousands of spectators. As an innovator, he developed the famous turbine engines used at the Brickyard in the late '60s ...and as a businessman, he took a small company called Chemical Compounds, changed its name to STP, and made it famous. I think it's fair to say we'll have a lot to discuss with 'Mr. 500.'

Featured Interview

Sam Schmidt (Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports) -- IRL team owner, Sam Schmidt, will be also be one of our guests Sunday. A former Indy Car Series driver, Sam was paralyzed in a testing crash in 2000. After months of rehabilitation, he announced the formation of his own team in 2001. Since then, Sam Schmidt Motorsports has been a mainstay in the IRL's Infiniti Pro Series, culminating with a dominating performance last year, collecting six wins and a series championship with driver Thiago Medeiros. In addition, Schmidt's team has put together a car for the past three Indianapolis 500's, with a best finish of sixth in 2002 with driver Richie Hearn. This year, Schmidt and Hearn have teamed up for the fourth year in a row at Indy, but this time things are much different as they have a major sponsorship package from Meijer stores and Coca-Cola.

Topics of Discussion

NASCAR in Richmond
Craftsman Trucks in Ohio
World Rally in Cyprus
NHRA in Atlanta
MotoGP in France
AMA in Sonoma
...plus a LIVE report from Robin Miller at the Brickyard

05/11/05 Race team owner, Chip Ganassi, will be Wind Tunnel's Guest Co-Host this Sunday May 15th. They don't call it 'Wind' Tunnel for nothing. It should be entertaining.
Paul Dana medical update Paul Dana medical updatePaul Dana remains hospitalized at Methodist Hospital. His testing and evaluation was completed Saturday and confirmed that Dana sustained a concussion and fractured T-7 vertebra. He will remain hospitalized until at least Sunday. IRL
German DTM
Häkkinen on pole at Spa Häkkinen on pole at SpaOnly two DTM races contested but already on the top: two-time Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen proves extraordinary skills by his securing his maiden DTM pole, at Spa.

Once again, the skies over the Ardennes opened their gates and the qualifying for the DTM round at Spa took place in torrential rain. Behind the wheel of his AMG-Mercedes C-Class, Mika Häkkinen proved to be a true rain expert and lapped the in 2:32.729 minutes to take pole position. Reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekström (Audi) was 0.563 seconds slower than Häkkinen and will share the first row on the grid for tomorrow’s race (14:00hrs, live at the ARD from 13:45hrs) with the ‘Flying Finn’.

Once again fastest Opel driver: Marcel Fässler Audi’s Christian Abt succeeded in setting the third fastest lap time at the 6.976-kilometre Ardennes rollercoaster that features the world-famous bend ‘Eau Rouge’. In the Super Pole, where the ten fastest drivers of the qualifying session go out one by one to contest one flying lap, Opel’s Marcel Fässler clinched fourth place, while his team-mate, Lauren Aiello, finished seventh, thus completing Opel’s best qualifying result in the 2005 season so far. Nevertheless, the Opel squad was disappointed. The Super Pole was red flagged due to an accident Audi driver Tom Kristensen suffered on his in-lap, therefore, Fässler and Aiello had to abort their efforts to secure the pole. Quite obviously, the Opel drivers were allowed a second chance, but this time, Aiello lost a lot off time when sliding off track.

Pierre Kaffer finished fifth in his 2004 spec Audi A 4 DTM, while Jean Alesi, the winner of the season opener and second in the championship, had his off-track moment on the wet track - just like his Mercedes-Benz brand-mate Jamie Green. On the grid for tomorrow’s race, Alesi and Green will be eighth and ninth respectively.

The winner of the previous DTM round held at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Gary Paffet, made it to the Super Pole but couldn’t contest the session due to the damages his car had suffered in an accident in the qualifying session. Therefore, the championship leader will be on the fifth row of the grid for tomorrow’s 23-lap race.

Mika Häkkinen (pole position, Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes): “My Super pole lap was just fantastic. I’m absolutely delighted - not only for me but for the entire team, as they are the ones who enabled me to feel comfortable in DTM, that quickly. And that’s what you need to deliver in fine style.”

Mattias Ekström (2nd grid position, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “I’m happy with my performance. It’s okay for my Spa debut. I lost some time in the last turn as there was some gravel on the track. Nevertheless, that’s no excuse for having been five tenths of a second slower than the pole-sitter.”

Christian Abt (3rd grid position, Audi Sport Team Joest Racing): „The weather conditions made for a difficult Super Pole, but everybody had to cope with these conditions. At the end of the day, I’m really happy with my performance.”

CARA Charities 2005 USGP Shop Tour details CARA Charities 2005 USGP Shop Tour detailsCARA Charities’ annual Indianapolis Race Team and Technology Tour on Thursday, June 16, will feature three of the sports’ “state of the art” facilities in the Indianapolis area.

The popular and very exclusive racing tour will include IRL IndyCar® Series’ Fernandez Racing, located in the northwest side of Indianapolis, NHRA’s championship drag racing’s Don Schumacher Racing, in Brownsburg, Ind., and North America’s premier aerodynamic and vehicle dynamic testing facility, the Auto Research Center, also on the northwest end of the Indy metropolitan area.

“We believe that the three shops being visited in this year’s tour will give our guest a tremendous insight in the variety of racing facilities in the Indianapolis area,” stated Barbara Butz, president of CARA Charities.  “The racing fan will get to see a ‘behind the scenes’ view of some of the most technological advances racing facilities in the nation.  We are very excited about the tour and the speakers this year.”

Headline the speakers for this year’s tour is Peter Windsor, the commentator for the Formula One telecasts on the Speed Channel.  Windsor will join several racing experts following the dinner portion of the tour at Rick’s Boatyard Cafe, located on Eagle Creek Reservoir.

Fernandez Racing headquarters, which broke ground on its new race shop in late autumn of 2003, measures 27,000 sq. ft. in total with just over 4,500 sq. ft. of office space.

The workshop houses dedicated areas for fabrication, electronics, sub-assembly and gearbox departments, along with car bays for up to eight cars and access for four full-size truck/trailer transporters. Rooms and offices for management, logistics, engineering, accounting, public relations and conference are all adjacent and accessible via the workshop area. Approximately 50 people currently work within the building.

The Schumacher Racing headquarters, one of drag racing’s most technologically advanced facilities at a cost of $5 million, was completed in February of 2005 and the “L-shaped” building occupies 70,000 square feet.  The shop, encompassing approximately 15.5 acres, is located in Brownsburg, Ind., just three miles west of Indianapolis Raceway Park, the host of drag racing’s U.S. Nationals.

The building has room for fourteen 18-wheel transporters, engine shops for Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Bike teams, a full fabrication shop, machine shop as well as Schumacher Racing administration offices and fitness center.

The Auto Research Center, also know as ARC, fields an extensive variety of technical equipment including a wind tunnel, a 7-Post Rig, custom model design, reverse engineering, rapid prototyping and vehicle/system simulation.

The wind tunnel at ARC is an open jet, rolling road design that has correlation between “laboratory” and “field” test results.  All of the tunnel components, from the fan blades to the complex nozzle shape, have been researched and developed using a “science in motorsport philosophy.”

The Seven Post Vehicle Dynamics Rig at ARC is the first commercially available test equipment of its type in the United States.  It consists of four-wheel rams and three aerodynamics actuators as well as an instrumentation system that supports 44 vehicle and system channels for data acquisition.

Buses will depart Rick’s Boatyard Cafe promptly at 3:30 p.m. EST on June 16 for private tours, returning to the waterfront restaurant for cocktails, live music, dinner and the presentation.

The Indianapolis Race Team and Technology Tour is one of CARA Charities’ annual fund-raising events. Founded in 1981, CARA Charities has distributed more than $3.5 million to racing and community organizations, promoting the friendships of all those involved in motor sports. In partnership with the International Center of Indianapolis, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 to help Indy welcome the world, this unique event will be promoted to the F1 fans among our growing international community. 

Tickets for the event are now available by calling CARA Charities at (317) 299-2277 or emailing CARAchar@aol.com. Information on the tour is available on www.caracharities.org. The price of $150 per person includes custom coach transportation to the shops, cocktails, dinner and the presentation by Peter Windsor and other guests, with a special Question and Answer period.

ALMS team owner charged with embezzlement ALMS team owner charged with embezzlementJohn Field owner of the InterSport Racing American Le Mans Series team is facing embezzlement charges relating to the failure of two nightclubs in Denver, CO.  Field and Paul Butler who project managed the building of the two clubs are accused of diverting $1.3 million of $1.9 million of funding given to them by Denver Pavilions for construction into their own pockets or for the benefit of friends. The money was meant to go to contractors but according to the Denver grand jury Field used some of the money to pay for racing fees, equipment and fuels for his racing team. Field and members of his family own around 25 nightclubs across the USA. Denver Post
Against merger Against mergerThere has been a lot of talk about the CART / IRL unification. As a die hard Champ Car fan, I am sick and tired of hearing about it. I have supported Champ Car along with all my friends throughout this entire split and will continue to support them going forward. But the continued talks and suggestions of a merger is really getting on my nerve. During the last difficult 2 years for Champ Car, I have spent more effort writing to editors and columnists as well as buying everything and watching everything that has to do with Champ Car that I can. The hate that I have amassed for Tony George and the IRL is very big and there is no way that I will want to see them and CCWS merge. I will never find it in my heart to root for the Penskes', Ganassis' and Andretti etc......

To begin, the philosophical differences on racing is too great! Champ Car needs to update their cars to be lighter and quicker, not wider and slower. If a merger is to happen they will find a medium between a Champ Car and an IRL car as a basis and that to me is everything that is wrong with open wheel. I have chosen to support CCWS and everything pro cart but with a merger, I will have to shift my attention to F1 and ALMS because I can't phantom spending some of my money on anything open wheel including race tickets with Tony George getting a chunk of it.

I think if CCWS accepts a 50/50 merger they would have lost a lot of their loyal fan base and gained the IRL fans, at the same time they would have extended a life line to a dying series in the IRL. The only reason Tony G. will accept a merger is when he's backed against the wall with Toyota and Honda threatening to leave and that will be his saving face. Let's just focus on our racing series and continue with the new Champ Car the way the fans that kept CCWS a float want it to be and move on. Eventually sponsors and corporations will leave the IRL and return to cart. If I was CCWS, I would rather wait for sponsor to return than lose the existing fans base to a merger. Ray Jaber, Florida
Reader reacts to Casey Mears and Roger Penske Reader reacts to Casey Mears and Roger PenskeA reader writes, DearAutoRacing1.com, Just finished reading many different articles on your site and wanted to make a few comments. First, Casey Mears says that the IRL and Champ Car are both run by hard headed men who can't come to an agreement to unify the two series. Let's remember that it has been Champ Car that has initiated talks between the two series every time talks have taken place. Let's also remember that there is no unification because Tony George, the man who split the sport, wants nothing to do with a merger unless he is in control. He who has run his own crappy dumb-down series into the ground. Kevin Kalkhoven has done far more good and made more positive moves for Champ Car in the last year than Tony has done for the IRL in 10 years. I will say again, with the way Champ Car is moving, into a true World Championship, a merger at this point with the IRL would be a step backwards. People need to realize that the United States is not the only country in this world. Everyone wants to keep talking about American Open-Wheel racing, the way it used to be. Well wake up! This does not exist anymore. Tony George split American Open-Wheel racing and let NASCAR take over. It's time to move on and realize there are many more countries in this world where open-wheel racing can excel, while maintaining a base here in the U.S.. Champ Car is well on its way to achieving this formula.

As for Roger Penske stating one series would be best, especially because they have the drivers, lets put that the way it should have been said. Champ Car has the drivers! One of the most talented lineups in its history. The IRL has drivers who were good when they raced in Champ Car. Now their skills deteriorate with every left turn they make. Driving dumb-downed cars in circles for years, wow, what a challenge for these guys. Another year or two of this and they will be ready for NASCAR. Whether old fashioned people like it or not, American Open-Wheel racing they way it used to be is dead and gone. The Champ Car WORLD Series is without a doubt where the future lies for open-wheel racing that still has American roots. Deke McTeer, Twin Lake, MI
Rain delays Indy Pole Day practice Rain delays Indy Pole Day practiceRain has delayed morning practice at Indy as teams prepare to make a run for pole position.
Industry News
GM and Toyota to meet to avoid hostilities GM and Toyota to meet to avoid hostilitiesThe heads of General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. are to meet this weekend in Japan and their concerns couldn't be more different: GM is losing money and market share, while its Japanese rival is worried about doing too well and sparking a protectionist backlash in the United States. Some industry experts say it is only a matter of time before Toyota surpasses GM as the world's largest automaker.

GM's problems are many. Saddled with huge health care and pension liabilities, it lost $1.1 billion in the first quarter. Its bonds were just downgraded to junk status. Its stock hit a 10-year low in April. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donahue discussed concerns about GM at a meeting Thursday.

Koizumi told reporters he had also met with Okuda, who said he was very worried about the plight of American automakers, and they agreed on the need to work out cooperative relations with U.S. automakers. "The auto industry is a symbol of the United States, and we wish the best for GM," Koizumi said.

Toyota, meanwhile, reported $2.8 billion in profit in the same quarter and commands an edge in the market for environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles, which run on a combination of electricity and gasoline. More at AP Story
Mears calls open wheel leaders hardheaded Mears calls open wheel leaders hardheadedThere was a time when Casey Mears, the nephew of four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears and son of two-time Indy starter Roger Mears, figured open-wheel racing would be where he'd find his future as a driver.  "I was focused 110 per cent on going open wheel racing and running Indy cars," Mears said Friday at Richmond International Raceway, before making his qualifying runs for Saturday night's Chevy 400 Nextel Cup race.   "The fact that I came this direction is completely surprising to me," the 27-year-old Mears said. "I can't believe I'm even here."

During his open-wheel days, Mears said he was one of the drivers "living in the dark," convinced that that style was America's best.  Now, with three years invested in stock car racing, Mears finds himself more at ease where he is and committed to getting better.  "I don't feel like a veteran at all, but I feel more comfortable when I show up at each race track racing with the guys out here," he said.   "I think I've learned what is aggressive and what isn't, when to be aggressive and when not to be. ... I think I'm 80 per cent there."

Mears hopes to get his season turned around and start finding some consistency on Saturday night. But first, he and other drivers are hoping to get a chance to tune into the qualifying laps at the Brickyard.  "That's something that's special. It always has been and always will be," he said, even in spite of the challenges open-wheel racing faces.  "The only thing that's going to save open-wheel racing is if they get together," he said of the IRL and Champ Car series leaders. "There's got to be one series people can focus on. ... Right now, a bunch of hardheaded guys are running both series and they can't make anything happen."  AP Story

Scheckter pole favorite Scheckter pole favoriteTomas Scheckter's 227.804-mph lap in his Chevrolet-powered Dallara was fastest so far at Indy this month and unlike the others, he appeared to do it without a tow from the draft.  "I don't think I had much help at all," he said. "I'm in the position that I don't want to touch the car at all going into qualifying Saturday."  Of course one can't count out the Honda powered cars which have been fast all week.  Weather could be a factor as there is a 70% chance of thunderstorms. (Photo by Bret Kelley/IRL)
On tap today at Indy On tap today at IndyThe field will be split into two groups which will each have 30 minutes of practice this morning before the entire field begins a one-hour practice at 10:00 a.m. CT.  Qualifying for the first 11 positions will take place from 12 noon to 6 p.m. CT and will be televised from 1-4 p.m. on ESPN, 4-6:00 p.m. on ABC and from 6-7:00 p.m. on ESPN2. All TV times are Eastern.  Log onto www.indyracingleague.com for live timing and scoring.
Industry News
TV Program reminders TV Program reminders 
A.  Marco Andretti and Bryan Sellers will be guests on SpeedFreaks

           1.  Tonight Kenny Sargent and crew welcome Marco Andretti, Bryan Sellers, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Guitarist/Vocalist Extraordinaire) as guests on SpeedFreaks, Saturday, May 14, 12:00 midnight ET, SPEED Channel.
B.  International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction
           1.  Joe Amato, Bob Glidden, Chip Hanauer, Nigel Mansell and Darrell Waltrip are the honorees at the 15th annual International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, held April 28th at the Speed Channel Dome in Talladega, Alabama.  The program will be shown Saturday, May 14, 8:00 pm ET, SPEED Channel.

C.  Indy 500 pole qualifying 

1:00P-4:00  ESPN live
4:00P-6:00  ABC live
6:00P-7:00  espn2 live

Ferrari continue testing at Fiorano Ferrari continue testing at FioranoFourth day of testing (Friday) this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working once again at the Fiorano circuit. Luca Badoer continued with preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix, working mainly on Bridgestone tire development. Badoer covered a total of 75 laps (16 of them on the short version of the track) setting a best time of 57”447. The Scuderia continues testing at Fiorano on Saturday, when Rubens Barrichello and Luca Badoer will be driving. Ferrari
Q and A with Toyota's Chief Race Engineer Q and A with Toyota's Chief Race EngineerMonaco is a very special challenge in modern day Formula One being the only street circuit on the race calendar. With its tight confines and its twisty nature, Toyota's Chief Race Engineer Dieter Gass talks of the race weekend ahead.

What is the biggest difference when preparing for the notoriously demanding Monaco GP?
"The most notable addition we have for the Monaco Grand Prix is a fourth car, or more specifically a second spare car. Due to the tight nature of the track and the presence of barriers, there comes a greatly enhanced probability of a driver crashing, therefore we have a spare car for both Jarno and Ralf."

What other safety precautions are necessary when setting up the car?
"Other safety precautions we need to consider are careful attention to the maximum steering lock of the car because we have to deal with the Loews hairpin which is the tightest corner on the calendar. Likewise, Monaco also has one of the quickest corners of the season with the infamous seventh-gear tunnel. We also have to take preventative measures on the suspension to make sure the car survives when a driver leans on the barriers, which can happen at any time. We do not necessarily have to increase the number of spare parts but we do need to make sure we have enough suspension and bodywork replacements."
What are the particular characteristics of the Monaco circuit?
"Monaco is one of the circuits where maximum downforce is a priority. We need to find a good compromise on the car set-up to ensure that we have good mechanical grip. Because it is a street circuit, Monaco is very narrow, which makes overtaking virtually impossible."

How tempting would it be to drop the fuel load to attain a strong grid position?
"I would not say that we need to focus on anything special for qualifying because we also need to make sure that the driver extracts everything from the car over one lap whilst having a car and tires that can perform over all 78 laps of the grueling race. In this respect, we will not compromise our race pace by being tempted to reduce the fuel load for qualifying. I believe we could even feasibly see some cars one-stopping in Monaco this year. Qualifying is important but not at the expense of your performance in the race. Consistency is the key. We have seen in the past that if your car is consistent on a heavier fuel load and you can stay out longer than the cars slightly in front you can get past them during the pit stop phase. However, if you are stuck behind a slower car, there is the danger of the leading group getting away from you, which effectively ruins your chances of a good finish."

How do you prepare for a circuit on which you cannot test?
"There is no circuit in the calendar comparable to Monaco, so it can be difficult to prepare 100%. We carry out our pre-race work in Paul Ricard because it gives us the opportunity to test very slow corners. The surface is also quite similar, so we believe it is the best circuit to prepare for Monaco. We obviously draw from a vast array of data gathered from previous Monaco GPs, so overall we have a pretty solid base from where to start in Thursday free practice."

Over a lap of Monaco, on which specific areas of the car must you concentrate to be competitive?
"I do not think there is any individual area at Monaco that dictates performance. We have to give Jarno and Ralf a car that is easy to drive for the entire lap. They need to extract the maximum performance from the TF105 without any handling issues that could force them into the barrier and out of the race. It is a tough track to drive, so gives more opportunity for the driver to show his ability and talent, but us engineers still need to give them a competitive car with which to do it."

What were your impressions of the new pit facilities?
"I must say that the new pit facilities that were introduced at last year's event were a really big step forward compared to the past. It made working a lot more comfortable, especially for those teams who were previously based in the car park at the top of the hill some twenty minutes walk from the pitlane. I certainly don't miss walking from the car park at the top of the hill down to the paddock and then over to the pitlane, although I must admit I do miss the downhill run on my rollerblades heading back to the hotel in the evening!" Toyota

de la Rosa fastest at Paul Ricard de la Rosa fastest at Paul RicardFriday test times from Paul Ricard:
1 . P. de la Rosa - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:23.817 (+ 0.000 ) - 48 laps
2 . A. Wurz - McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 - 1:23.836 (+ 0.019 ) - 39 laps
3 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 - 1:23.982 (+ 0.165 ) - 60 laps
4 . R. Zonta - Toyota TF105 - 1:24.002 (+ 0.185 ) - 29 laps
5 . H. Kovalainen - Renault R25 - 1:24.474 (+ 0.657 ) - 88 laps
6 . T. Sato - BAR Honda 007 - 1:24.609 (+ 0.792 ) - 48 laps
7 . J. Button - BAR Honda 007 - 1:24.640 (+ 0.823 ) - 49 laps
8 . O. Panis - Toyota TF105 - 1:25.134 (+ 1.317 ) - 23 laps
9 . D. Coulthard - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:25.341 (+ 1.524 ) - 47 laps
10 . C. Klien - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:25.948 (+ 2.131 ) - 73 laps
11 . J. Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas C24 - 1:27.011 (+ 3.194 ) - 55 laps
Wurz shunt writes off MP4-20 Wurz shunt writes off MP4-20McLaren Mercedes team today completed a three-day testing program at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. All four drivers - Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alex Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa have been in action this week, behind the wheel of MP4-20s. The first two days of the test were focused on Michelin tire testing for the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix, with the team using a short configuration circuit (3.593 km). Kimi and Alex were present on the first day, with Kimi and Juan Pablo testing on day two.

Today Wurz joined by de la Rosa on the longer 5.216 km circuit focusing on Michelin tire testing program for the Canadian Grand Prix. Wurz suffered an accident this afternoon at the fastest point on the circuit, the cause of which is currently being investigated. He was taken to the medical centre for checks where he was given the all clear. The car however was beyond repair, so his test ended prematurely. As a result of the accident, all the teams present at the circuit then used a different track configuration (3.551 km) for the remainder of the day. Pedro de la Rosa had a productive day and finished testing at 19:00h (CET) completing 108 laps.

Alex Wurz - "It was unfortunate that the program ended early today, as we had been progressing well. I am OK and feeling fine, and was just disappointed that due to the damage to the car, I was not able to carry on with the day's program."

Pedro de la Rosa - "Despite Alex's accident we had a constructive day and we have gained some interesting data. We now have a very good understanding towards which Michelin tire we will use at the Montreal race." McLaren

Courage to build new prototype Courage to build new prototypeFrench race car manufacturer Yves Courage has authorized work to start on a replacement for the Courage C60 LMP1 sports-prototype, a five-year-old design. Le Mans based Courage is courting automobile manufacturers to participate in the project, which is expected to hit the tracks before the expiration of the ACO’s technical regulations at the end of the 2006 sports car racing season. AutoWeek
Edwards over Sadler at Richmond Edwards over Sadler at RichmondCarl Edwards passed Elliott Sadler with one lap to go after a green-white-checker restart in Busch Series overtime Friday night, depriving the Virginia native of his first victory in his home state.
Calgary resident to test Trans-Am car Calgary resident to test Trans-Am carCalgary resident Hima Maher will test a Trans-Am Series Chevrolet Corvette with veteran team Derhaag Motorsports next week at Mid-America Motorplex in Iowa. Maher is hoping to compete in three Trans-Am races this season: Portland (June 18), Toronto (July 9) and Edmonton (July 16).

Maher is a veteran of several racing series, and is the 2004 Canadian GT Championship titleholder. Last year, Maher won the Sports Car Club of British Columbia Invitational, part of the Molson Indy Vancouver, and he also competed in Porsche Club events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Portland. Maher is a veteran of both the Barber Dodge Pro Series and in 750 Super Bike motorcycle competition.

“Compared to other cars I’ve driven, it’s going to be take a little bit of time to get acclimated,” said Maher, who will be turning his first laps in a Trans-Am car next week. “I’m going to take bits and pieces of the experience I’ve gained in every car I’ve driven and apply it to the Trans-Am car. We’ll pick away at it piece by piece. I’ll work on braking and turn-in. I know the cars will accelerate well, but I have to get used to slowing down and getting into the corner at the right time.”

Maher is also eyeing a possible full-time Trans-Am effort.

“If we test well and we show promise, our next step is to do the three races,” said Maher, who was born in Kenya. “Then, if we show well at Portland, we can put the foundation down and strongly consider running the whole Series. Our goal is to run full time, but we have to look at the realities of the situation. It all depends on our performance.

“We have strong support from Centennial Motorsports Group of Calgary,” added Maher. “Their backing is truly appreciated.”

Based in Shakopee, Minn., Derhaag Motorsports began competing in late model stock car racing in 1972 on short tracks across the Midwest. In 1981, the team made its first appearance in the Trans-Am Series and has been a full-time competitor with the Series since 1983. The team, known for reliability, boasts one of the highest finishing records in Trans-Am. Derhaag Motorsports started the 2005 Trans-Am season on a high note, winning the season opener at Long Beach with driver Randy Ruhlman. Trans-Am

Lots of bands for Monterrey Lots of bands for MonterreyThe Monterrey Grand Prix will have even more concerts this year.  This time around organizers will concentrate on rock bands and Tex-Mex groups. 13 different groups and singers in total will perform, with so many options like pop rock, trans, ska, alternative rock, and Tex-Mex.  There will be an option for almost every fan, and if music is not your cup of tea, what about the Miss Grand Prix contest? José Arrambide
Technical focus on Monaco - road surface Technical focus on Monaco - road surfaceThe nature of the road surface at Monaco is among its most striking features. Used by regular traffic throughout the year, its characteristics are very distinctive. When considering grip at any venue, you have to weigh up the state of two elements: tires and the road surface. The latter's characteristics (the type of asphalt and its roughness) and the prevailing conditions (surface cleanliness, rain etc) will influence grip significantly.

To define the grip characteristics of a street circuit, its surface geometry has to be examined and assessed in several ways:

• Macroroughness. It contributes to the drainage and storage of water, as well as tire "indentation". Macroroughness occurs due to the size of the aggregates used in the composition of the road surface.
• Microroughness. It is mainly responsible for tire indentation. Microroughness is related to the surface imperfections of the aggregates and sands used in the road surface's composition.
• The load-bearing surface must also be considered because it determines localized pressures within the tire’s contact patch.

Measurement of macroroughness: Macroroughness can be measured on a road surface, a core sample or a molding made of the surface.
Measurement of microroughness: Microroughness is assessed by indirect methods. In particular, the level of microroughness is evaluated by taking aggregate surface photos. These photos are then compared with a subjective scale, graduated from 1 (for an extra-smooth surface) to 100 (for a particularly rough surface).

The friction - or grip - co-efficient can only be defined in terms of the relationship between a tire and the road surface.

In an urban setting, road surfaces can be classified in four main categories: In this context, Monaco is classified as macrosmooth. The contact ratio is quite high, which makes it kinder on tires. Michelin

Villeneuve slowest at Paul Ricard Villeneuve slowest at Paul RicardThe Swiss based Sauber Petronas team completed its three-day test at the Circuit Paul Ricard Friday with regular driver Jacques Villeneuve conducting his second successive test day behind the wheel of the C24. The session finished early however after he damaged the car after hitting a curb.

The French Canadian covered a total of 119 laps up until this point behind the wheel of chassis C24-05 to set best times of 1:27.011s and 1:02.596s respectively on the two formations of the French track. Overall Jacques was the slowest man on track for the second day running.

"Until Alexander Wurz's accident we could run our planned program, but as a result of this we all had to return to the short track layout which was a big disappointment for our team,” explained Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Race Engineer. “It completely mixed up our program and we needed to find a compromise, but at the end of the day we managed to complete the test. Unfortunately Jacques ran wide at one point and hit hard a curb of another track layout. This damaged the car too much to continue, so we were forced to finish earlier today. Although we missed some running I think the test this week was not too bad overall. We were able to make our Michelin tire selection for Montreal and found a reasonable set-up. However, the car's performance still needs improvement." The team will be testing again from 1 to 3 June in Monza. Sauber

Petition to keep Champ Car in LB submitted to GPALB Petition to keep Champ Car in LB submitted to GPALBThe online petition calling for Champ Car to remain the headliner at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was submitted this week to the Grand Prix Association and various city officials.  The GPALB received the 2,262-line printed petition on Wednesday, according to Association spokesman Chris Esslinger. The exact number of signatures was hard to determine since the leader of the petition, Victor Varela, was forced to void several entries due to fabricated names or the use of crass language in the comment section.

Those voided lines remained a part of the final count.  Varela said he had to void "about 10 percent" of the signatures, although a glance at the petition -- which was still active Thursday night -- appears to show that up to a third of the signatures were voided.  "I wanted this to be as credible as possible," Varela said. "I don't think they are going to read every signature. I think the more signatures, the more credible it makes the petition."  Press-Telegram

Indy 500 pole qualifying order Indy 500 pole qualifying order89th INDIANAPOLIS 500 Noon-6 p.m. (local) Saturday, May 14, 2005, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Car Driver
8 Scott Sharp
6 Sam Hornish Jr.
26T Dan Wheldon
11 Tony Kanaan
5 Adrian Fernandez
10 Darren Manning
91 Paul Dana
4T Tomas Scheckter
51T Alex Barron
33T Ryan Briscoe
55 Kosuke Matsuura
51 Alex Barron
36 Bruno Junqueira
9 Scott Dixon
15 Buddy Rice
17 Vitor Meira
16 Danica Patrick
33 Ryan Briscoe
55T Kosuke Matsuura
11T Tony Kanaan
22 Jeff Ward
14 A.J. Foyt IV
16T Danica Patrick
37 Sebastien Bourdais
2 Tomas Enge
3 Helio Castroneves
6T Sam Hornish Jr.
25 Marty Roth
7T Bryan Herta
7 Bryan Herta
15T Buddy Rice
9T Scott Dixon
37T Sebastien Bourdais
10T Darren Manning
48 Larry Foyt
27 Dario Franchitti
91T Paul Dana
95 Buddy Lazier
83T Patrick Carpentier
2T Tomas Enge
8T Scott Sharp
26 Dan Wheldon
70 Richie Hearn
20 Ed Carpenter
4 Tomas Scheckter
83 Patrick Carpentier
20T Ed Carpenter
21 Jaques Lazier
41 TBA
3T Helio Castroneves
44 Jeff Bucknum
24 Roger Yasukawa
17T Vitor Meira

Scheckter fastest of month at Indy Scheckter fastest of month at IndyTomas Scheckter topped the speed chart on a rain-shortened day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the day before MBNA Pole Qualifying for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Scheckter, driving the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, lapped the 2.5-mile oval in 39.5076 seconds, 227.804 mph to claim the Argent Mortgage Fastest Lap award. Scheckter's lap was the fastest recorded this month.

IRL IndyCar® Series defending champion Tony Kanaan was second fastest with a lap of 39.6142 seconds, 227.191 mph. Danica Patrick, who paced the field May 12 in her No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/ Firestone, was third fastest at 39.6880 seconds, 226.769 mph.

Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed
1 4 Tomas Scheckter 39.5076 227.804
2 11 Tony Kanaan 39.6142 227.191
3 16 Danica Patrick 39.6880 226.769
4 6T Sam Hornish Jr. 39.6929 226.741
5 27 Dario Franchitti 39.7431 226.454
6 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 39.7727 226.286
7 3T Helio Castroneves 40.0089 224.950
8 5 Adrian Fernandez 40.0364 224.795
9 37 Sebastien Bourdais 40.0420 224.764
10 8 Scott Sharp 40.0641 224.640
11 2 Tomas Enge 40.0875 224.509
12 33T Ryan Briscoe 40.1122 224.371
13 9T Scott Dixon 40.1256 224.296
14 7 Bryan Herta 40.2019 223.870
15 55 Kosuke Matsuura 40.2072 223.841
16 26 Dan Wheldon 40.2461 223.624
17 36 Bruno Junqueira 40.5503 221.947
18 51 Alex Barron 41.0539 219.224
19 83 Patrick Carpentier 41.1177 218.884
20 48 Larry Foyt 41.6282 216.200
21 20T Jeff Ward 41.7274 215.686
22 25 Marty Roth 41.8211 215.202
23 91T Paul Dana 41.8784 214.908
24 21 Jaques Lazier 1.0000 134.394

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "I suppose this is the right time of the week where you want to pick up your speeds. The team's done a great job. Chevrolet, they've really put a lot of work into it. We knew we had a little bit left, we didn't know we had quite this much, it sort of surprised me on my first lap by. I thought my dash was a bit broken but, it just shows how much hard work these guys have put into it and I really appreciate it." (Was there any sort of tow?): "I had four of them (laps) in the 227s so I don't think there was much help at all. I think the car is very good. It's an Indy-qualifying car where it's on the edge and it's from wall to wall, but that's where it should be here, and that's what it takes to qualify on pole and that's what we'll do."

(About his luck): "For sure, I think all that bad luck I've had before, if it comes right here then it will make up for it, for sure. Again, I don't want to be speaking too much about luck, I want to be speaking about hard work and what the team's done and what we have to do to ensure we win this race."

(About his maturity): "I suppose it's with all ovals, but with this oval you really have to respect it, and it's like you say, it's a different level of respect. Each year you come back, again you learn a little more. This track changes by the minute, and you've got to be aware of that. Any time you think it's easy or you think you're getting on top of it, it catches you out so you've always got to be aware. I've got good people around me, and it's helped in everything we develop and me also getting a handle on this track as well."

(About competition for the pole): "I think it's a bunch of guys, you know, it's not going to be easy at all. The Andretti guys are all very quick. I know they've worked very hard. The Rahal guys are doing a great job, so there's a whole bunch of them. And that's what it should be, that's what it takes. It shouldn't be easy to get a pole position at Indianapolis. It's going to still take  a lot of hard work and it's still going to take four perfect laps to make it happen. So, there's a whole bunch of guys."

(Do you feel like a true threat for the pole?): "Yeah, I do. And I always have felt that way. You know we worked on our car, and I think that another thing that I've learned as well is how to approach the month and what to concentrate on. It's so easy to get here and then your first run or your second run the car's pretty good and you can not touch it at all and it comes the day before qualifying and you start messing with things. That's the biggest problem that I really tried in the beginning of this week to go back and forth and really find something that I'm comfortable with. So now I'm in the position that I don't want to touch the car at all now."

(Going into today, was everything positive when you made a change?): "Yeah, a lot of times, you step in the wrong direction, but then you know which is the right direction and we did that earlier this week, and we just slowly went at it and put things together and it slowly came together into a car I'm really happy with now."

(Did you do any major changes or just a lot of little stuff?): "In the beginning of the week, we did some major changes, just to see, we learned some stuff from Japan and we wanted to see, "Okay, what happens if we go in this direction?"  That stuff didn't work and we had to revert back to it, but we tried to do longer runs and really just get a feel. Sometimes during qualifying runs around Indy, you do little laps and you're just driving on the edge. You don't really feel the change. We preferred to do a little bit longer runs, a little more downforce and get a feel for what's happening on the chassis and come up with a mechanical basis of what really works." 

(About Danica Patrick): "Oh, it's great and she's done an unbelievable job. There's no doubt about it. This place really takes a couple of deep breaths to get around here quick, and she's really doing one a super job as a rookie. She's got great schooling. She's been around Europe for a while and I watched her there. Plus, hopefully in a press conference, she's a little bit cuter to sit next to than Tony Kanaan. (Laughter) It makes it a little bit better, but she's done a really great job and I take my hat off to her." 

(Tomas, are you as curious as the rest of us as how this new format is really going to pan out tomorrow?): "I'm not sure, because I think you've seen from the times this week, they've sort of stabled out. It's not like they've just gone quicker and quicker and quicker and people have got loads left, and I think after someone's done their first run, considering the conditions don't change massively one way or the other, I'm not sure how many people will go back out again. One thing's for sure, the quickest guy's going to end up on pole and that's really what matters. I think what the Speedway's done with the surface, it's good, it's very consistent, it's good on the tires. I think it should be fine because tomorrow morning we'll do some running, we'll clean it off a little bit and get back to it, so I don't think there should be a problem."

(How far have things come with the Chevy engine, especially since you're in a good position given your great run at Motegi?): "Again, the Chevy guys have really worked hard, and that makes me very, very happy because a lot of people put them down and they've really, really worked very hard, and this is my month to try to convince Chevy to stay in this another year. That would be great. It's a great American company. I'm proud to be carrying a bowtie on my car and pushing me forward. They've worked very hard and it's showing now, but we still have a lot of work to do."

Crash leaves Dana with broken back, concussion Crash leaves Dana with broken back, concussionShortly before the rain began today at Indy , the yellow flag came out due to an incident involving Paul Dana and Sam Hornish Jr. Dana's car spun in Turn 2 and made contact with the SAFER Barrier. Hornish's car flipped similar to Mario Andretti two years ago after running over debris. Hornish walked away from the incident and was cleared to compete in MBNA Qualifying. Dana was awake and alert when he was transported to Methodist Hospital where he was listed in good condition after sustaining a spinal fracture and concussion.

Photo sequence of Hornish taking off like a Jet Fighter.

SAM HORNISH JR. (Photo courtesy of the IRL): (What was going through your mind?): "Um, this isn't going to be fun. I came around the corner there, saw the yellow, I was on the brakes, trying to slow down. You don't want to get on it too hard. Kosuke (Matsuura) got on it real hard the other day when Buddy (Rice) crashed and spun, so I was like, 'Need to slow it down.' One of the half-shafts came out of Paul's (Dana) car and was cart-wheeling down the track. I thought, 'That's going to hurt a lot worse if I hit that,' because you clip the bottom of that you don't know which direction it's going to go. It's a long piece of steel rod that's going to come back into the cockpit, so I thought I'll go over there and as soon as I look over I thought, 'Well, I'd better center that (piece of debris), whatever it is, and I hit it. I thought, 'That's going to tear up the bottom of the car,' and I hit it, but I hit it hard enough that it shook my head so I was looking down, and I thought, 'That's going to hurt the car.'

Then I looked up and all I could see was the fence, so then I was like, 'Maybe the car's not that big of a deal right now.' Definitely the wildest ride that I can say I've ever taken in one of these cars, but probably the least amount of injury you can have too."

(What was your visual sighting as you were in the air?): "Sky, fence, ground. And I was hoping I didn't get caught up in the fence because that starts whipping everything around and it's a lot easier when its (the car) like a piece of Styrofoam flipping through the air. You don't want to get it .  Everything seems to jerk around and accelerate when you touch anything as far as the fence or whatever. I didn't even realize I'd hit my knee until I was sliding upside down, and I thought, 'That hurts just a little bit.' Stopped, called the guys and told them on the radio I'm OK. They're like, 'What? Are you OK?' 'Yeah, I'm OK.' I thought the antenna's got to be gone because the one sidepod was ripped off and both antennas on top of the car were gone, so I threw that out, kind of braced myself because I've heard stories of people letting themselves go when the belts (release), so I just put one hand down, turned the other one (belt lock) and started crawling out. The safety guys were there."

(So you were out before the safety crew got there?): "I was unbuckled and starting to come out, but my HANS device, when I was trying to get out, kept getting stuck in the grass so I had to have them help me take that off. It was interesting."

(Was your helmet on the ground?): "No it wasn't on the ground at all. The roll hoop bent a little bit but it was fully intact, but it was good as far as that goes."

Ferrari in action in England and France this weekend Ferrari in action in England and France this weekendFerrari is racing on two fronts this weekend. The English Silverstone circuit is staging the second round of the European one-make series featuring the 360 Modena Challenge car, at the meeting that also hosts the third round of the FIA GT championship, which features an appearance from the Maranello 575 GTCs, with some new aerodynamics. The French street circuit of Pau sees the opening round of the 2005 international series dedicated mainly to historic cars bearing the Prancing Horse emblem.

In the European Ferrari Challenge Pirelli Trophy, the current leader after the opening round is Austria’s Philipp Baron, while Germany’s Freddy Kremer heads the points table in the Shell Cup for gentlemen drivers.

The main class of the GT race sees two 575 GTC Evolution entered by the G.P.C. Sport team, as well as the Ferrari 550 Maranellos, while in the GT2 class, the 360 GTC flies the Ferrari colors.

As usual, there is a diverse entry list for the Shell Historic Challenge which sees over thirty historic cars taking part, divided into three groups, including Maseratis and an Alfa Romeo Tipo B (P3) which raced with Scuderia Ferrari back in 1934.

The Silverstone and Pau events get top billing in the ‘’Ferrari Racing’’ magazine program, broadcast on satellite channel, Eurosport 2, on 15th June at 18.30. Ferrari

It’s official: Zytek prototype joins ALMS It’s official: Zytek prototype joins ALMSThe American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio received a boost Friday with an LMP1 factory entry from Zytek, winner of the recent 1,000 kilometer LMES race at Spa in Belgium in April. The European factory team is sending its No. 15 04S across the Atlantic for Round 3 of the American Le Mans Series on May 20-22. The Zytek should provide a stiff challenge to ALMS regulars Champion Racing, which is fielding two Audi R8s, and Dyson Racing's two AER-powered Lola EX257s.

"We are delighted with the Zytek factory LMP1 entry for the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the ALMS. "Zytek has been with us before and was extremely competitive and popular in our last two events of 2004. We expect the same at Mid-Ohio. This adds even more excitement and intrigue for the fans who will be in attendance, those who will listen on American Le Mans Series Radio and those who will watch the broadcast on CBS Sports. I expect this will make for an even more interesting broadcast live on MotorsTV back in Zytek's homeland – the U.K."

A privateer Zytek prototype has competed in a handful of previous ALMS events, most recently in 2004 at Petit Le Mans and the Audi Sports Car Championships. At Road Atlanta, it qualified second overall behind James Weaver's Dyson Lola but finished 27th overall after engine problems. A few weeks later at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Nicolas Minassian shocked the field by winning the pole for the season-ending race. But mechanical problems were the car's undoing as it finished 23rd.

A pair of 20-year-old rising stars of sports car racing, Hayanari Shimoda and Tom Chilton, will pilot the factory Zytek 04S at Mid-Ohio. Japan's Shimoda was part of the team that won at Spa on April 17, teaming with John Nielsen and Casper Elgaard. Shimoda's lone race in the ALMS came in 2003 at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. He teamed with Nielsen in a Zytek to finish third in P2 after qualifying fifth in class and 15th overall.

Chilton's background is mostly in touring cars. For the past two years, he has competed for Honda in the British Touring Car Championship. He won his first career BTCC pole at the last event at Thruxton in late April and tested the Zytek prototype in early May at Magny Cours in France for the first time.

" I loved it basically," he said. "It was the first time I've driven a car with real downforce and carbon brakes. That was quite hard to get used to at first, but on the second day I felt a lot more comfortable and could push quite hard."

The American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio is set for noon EDT May 22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. CBS Sports will broadcast the event from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT, and live coverage will be available on American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com.

Rain and crashes mar Friday at Indy Rain and crashes mar Friday at IndyIt’s “Fast Friday” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- time for drivers to trim out their cars in preparation for their best effort during MBNA Pole Qualifying on May 14. If the rain clears out and the session resumes (through 7 p.m. EDT; live Timing and Scoring on indycar.com), the day will live up to its nickname.

The top 11 speeds will be set during qualifying May 14, so this game of speed poker is getting intense. Tomas Scheckter, driving the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, is atop the speed chart after two hours of practice at 227.804 mph (39.5076 seconds). It's the best speed of the month.

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan is second quick at 227.191 mph. Danica Patrick, who led the speed parade May 12, is third at 226.769 mph.

Rain began during a caution period after the No. 91 Team Ethanol Dallara/Toyota/Firestone driven by Paul Dana made contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier and the No. 6T Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone ran over debris from Dana's wreck, flipped high into the air, turned over and skidded along the track on the open cockpit of his Team Penske entry.  Hornish went end over end, in much the same way as Mario Andretti's dramatic April 2003 practice accident proving that IndyCars can still fly...literally.  Hornish was able to scramble from his overturned car and went to the medical center and was OK. Safety workers had to remove Dana from his battered car and he was placed on a stretcher for the ambulance trip to the infield medical center. There was no immediate report on Dana's injuries.

It was Dana's second crash in two days and the fifth accident overall since the track opened for Indy 500 practice on Tuesday.. Dana was transported the Methodist Hospital for further examination. In part from Indycar.com [American oval racing's typical costly wreck-fest. Americans race open wheel cars on concrete lined ovals at very high speeds. Silly Americans. Let's hope Dana is OK.]

Foyt IV gets sponsorship Foyt IV gets sponsorshipAmerican Builders and Contractors Supply Co., Inc. (ABC Supply) has entered into a sponsorship agreement with racing legend A.J. Foyt and A.J. Foyt Racing. ABC Supply will sponsor the No. 14 car in the Indy Racing League® Series, whose premier event is the Indianapolis 500®. The car will be driven by A.J. Foyt IV, grandson of racing legend A.J. Foyt.

“This is a fun and exciting opportunity for us to really connect with both our current and future customers,” says company founder and CEO Ken Hendricks. “Our people are really energized about our association with the Indy Racing League and A.J. Foyt Racing.”

“The values and work ethic that have served this racing dynasty are the same values that fuel ABC Supply,” says Hendricks, “and we feel that our involvement in the IRL and the world famous Indianapolis 500 is a great way for us to reach out to our customer base and enhance the ABC Supply brand image.”

Fundidora Park enters final week of preparation Fundidora Park enters final week of preparationThe Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford is gearing up for its fifth annual visit to the picturesque and historic Fundidora Park layout, as race organizers put the finishing touches on preparations for the May 20-22 Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Roshfrans.

The 2.104-mile Fundidora Park road course has hosted the Champ Car World Series in each of the last four seasons, providing Champ Car fans both in Mexico and around the world with exciting action in one of the most festive atmospheres in motorsports.

The Monterrey race weekend is one of the most-anticipated races of the year from a fan standpoint as the event organizers provide fans with one of the best values in racing. A full slate of on-track action features six different series of racing ranging from Clio Cup cars and pickups to the 750hp lightning bolts of the Champ Car World Series. For fans looking for an occasional break from the racing, there are many activities taking place on the Fundidora Park grounds including three full days of live concerts on two separate music stages.

“Ticket sales are going good, better than last year,” said Event Director Jorge Lozano. “We are very excited about having the Champ Cars in Fundidora Park for the fifth time, the fans really love them.”

Mexican fans have responded with great fervor to the event in the past four seasons, making it as much a highlight for the drivers as it is for the fans. The event has drawn over 180,000 fans in each of the past four years and this year’s edition of the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Roshfrans will see the one-millionth fan to attend a Champ Car event in Monterrey come through the gate.

“For sure the race in Monterrey is one of the biggest races of the year,” said Bruno Junqueira, driver of the #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. “All of the race fans they have there on race day make it very exciting. The event brings so many fans -- it's incredible. I think it looks like a soccer game on race day. The people are getting really excited.”

Race organizers have a full week of activities planned leading up to the event including an exhibition by the Champ Car Fast Lap Pace Car team and a public parade of event vehicles. Promotional appearances by many of the drivers competing during the weekend are scheduled to take place as are annual events such as the popular blessing of the racetrack, which will take place on Thursday May 19.

There are still opportunities for fans to purchase tickets for the May 20-22 Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Roshfrans before the cars roll onto the track. Fans interested in attending can purchase their tickets either at the Fundidora Park box office or online at www.ticketmaster.com.mx.

Dyson Racing returns to Grand-Am Dyson Racing returns to Grand-AmIn what might be deemed as a mini-blow to the ALMS, Dyson Racing, one of the founding teams of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, is set to return to the tour where they won sixteen races and two driver's and three team championships from 2000 through 2002. 

In a collaborative partnership with Howard Motorsports, Chris Dyson, Rob Dyson and Harrison Brix will drive a Pontiac Crawford in a limited schedule for the remainder of the year. Their first race will be the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen on June 12, followed by the Brumos Porsche 250 (June 30), Watkins Glen 200 (August 12), Watkins Glen 250 (September 24), and the VIR 400 on October 9. The car will run in the livery of Thetford / Norcold with additional sponsors to be named later. 

"Rick Howard and Max Crawford run one of the most respected teams in the Grand-Am," said Rob Dyson. "They placed second and third in this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona, and they have had a competitive season since then. Dyson Racing has enjoyed a long relationship with Max Crawford.  Max builds a great product. Rick and Max have a commitment and a passion for racing and we all share the belief that a race team should be a real family. My son and I drove with Harrison Brix in this year's Daytona 24 Hour and he is quite good.  He has competed successfully in Barber Dodge series and Grand-Am, and is a strong addition to the team.  This is a reunion of very good people." 

"My dad and I enjoy driving together," added Chris Dyson.  "We had a great time at Daytona this year and got to thinking how we could spend more time together in a car. Dyson Racing's focus remains on winning the American Le Mans Series LMP1 Championship this year, but this is a great opportunity to run important events on great tracks where we have been very successful in the past.  Working with the Crawford group again is going to be fantastic.  I'm confident that we will be very competitive."

Spanish GP TV Rating on CBS Spanish GP TV Rating on CBSUPDATE The final rating for the tape-delayed Spanish GP Formula One race on CBS was a 1.1/3share. 05/09/05 The overnight TV rating for the tape-delayed Spanish GP on CBS Sunday in the USA was a 1.2/3 share.
Wurz unhurt in crash Wurz unhurt in crashMcLaren’s Alex Wurz escaped injury after a high-speed accident during testing at Paul Ricard on Friday. A suspected mechanical failure sent the Austrian off the track on the 180mph stretch following S de la Verrerie.  The crash destroyed the car but left Wurz unharmed.  Wurz’s fellow McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa set the fastest time of the morning.
Cheever calls Toyota engine a brick Cheever calls Toyota engine a brickExcept for Team Penske, teams with the Dallara chassis-Toyota engine combination are struggling. Cheever Racing, A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Vision Racing and Hemelgarn Racing all toiled Thursday at 220 mph or slower. "We're baffled. We feel like we're pushing a brick," owner Eddie Cheever said. "We've tried pulling it, pushing it, kicking it; nothing has worked. We just have to keep after it." Indy Star [Editor's Note: Eddie isn't winning any friends with Toyota. It looks like Penske's "special" Toyota engines are the only ones with decent HP. How come AJ Foyt isn't ranking and hollering about those special Penske engines he can't get like he did when he was in CART? Fact of the matter is that Foyt and others who urged Tony George to split the sport of Indy Car racing, thereby killing it, are hypocrites of the first order. Now that the IRL has morphed into the old CART and the sport has been left shattered and broken, they are the same backmarkers they were when they were in CART and they are not opening their mouth to cry foul.
IRL’s new qualifying format IRL’s new qualifying formatA look at each of the four days of qualifying in the new format. Qualifying speeds will continue to be determined by the overall time and average speed for four laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval:
Saturday (pole day): Positions 1 through 11 in the 33-car field are available to the fastest 11 qualifiers that day. Once the 11 spots are full, bumping will occur for the rest of the day to determine the MBNA Pole and the fastest 11 qualifiers for that day.
Sunday: Positions 12 through 22 are available. Once those spots are full, bumping will occur only in spots 12 through 22 for the rest of the day to determine the fastest 11 qualifiers for that day.
 May 21: Positions 23 through 33 are available. Once those spots are full, bumping will occur only in spots 23-33 for the rest of the day to determine the fastest 11 qualifiers for that day.
May 22 (Bump Day): Any qualifying attempt on the fourth day that is faster than a qualified entrant in the 33 positions in the starting field will bump the slowest qualifier from the field, regardless of the day of qualification. The bumped entrant will be removed from the field of 33, and the remaining field will move ahead one position in the starting field as the newly qualified entrant will take the 33rd position or a higher position if faster than the other fourth-day qualifiers. USA Today
Industry News
Delphi reports 1Q loss Delphi reports 1Q lossDelphi Corp. reported a first-quarter loss on Friday, reversing year-ago profit, as results were hurt by the company's inability to record a deferred benefit of its U.S. losses, and by weak production volumes with some North American customers.  The world's largest auto parts maker posted losses of $409 million, or 74 cents per share, compared with earnings of $53 million, or 9 cents per share, last year. The company's decision to no longer record the tax benefit associated with its U.S. losses resulted in the exclusion of about $190 million of tax benefit.  Excluding restructuring charges, the company reported a loss of $378 million, or 68 cents per share, in the latest period, compared with earnings of $122 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago. AP Report
Industry News
Big changes afoot at SPEED Channel Big changes afoot at SPEED ChannelChris Long, who hasn't even finished moving his family from Los Angeles to Charlotte, already is creating a buzz in NASCAR TV land, making changes -- small and large -- to some of SPEED Channel's most popular programs. Well known in the NASCAR community, the 35-year-old New York native is on a mission, confident in his aggressive approach, having worked on major events like the Super Bowl, World Series and multiple Daytona 500s. Here are a few answers from a sit-down interview with Long:

SPEED: The VP of Studio Production is a newly created job at SPEED Channel -- what's the job description?

LONG: To have a creative impact on all of the SPEED Channel studio shows and lift them to a production level synonymous with FOX Sports. Over the last few years, Rick Miner and his team developed and launched a tremendous amount of programming from scratch -- throw in all the work that goes into covering dozens of racing series from F1 to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, as well as the development of new, original lifestyle programming, and it was obvious that the network had grown to a level where this position became necessary. I've been brought in to give each of the studio shows an individual identity with superior production value. It's not taking something bad and making it good, it's taking something good and looking for ways to make it better.

SPEED: You're not wasting any time implementing changes to the current crop of shows, most notably NASCAR Nation, a program just launched by SPEED in February. Can you run through some of the changes and what viewers can look for with future episodes of the show?

LONG: NASCAR Nation's original premise was to be an entertainment lifestyle show. It developed into something more like the show it replaced, Totally NASCAR, and that's not what SPEED wanted to do. NASCAR Nation should be NASCAR's version of Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight. All I am doing is putting it back on that path. I am going to bring in new talent, a personality with an entertainment background and a working knowledge of motor sports. This show is trying to throw out a bigger net, not just catching the interest of NASCAR fans, but to the larger television audience that just might be curious about the lives race car drivers live away from the track or those who simply enjoy the world of entertainment.

SPEED: Any specific changes to the NASCAR Nation format you are ready to announce?

LONG: It will drop from an hour to a half hour beginning June 27 because it will no longer have a news element. The show's hosts will change. Krista Voda made the decision before I arrived to move to Pittsburgh and continue her career with Fox Sports Net in that area. Ralph Sheheen will return to Speed News. New hires are pending. I am still looking at tapes.

The show's graphics and set will change. I'm looking for more of a nighttime feel.

SPEED: Let's talk about some of the other studio shows - any changes coming for Inside NEXTEL Cup?

LONG: I want that show to be all about letting the viewer feel what it was like to have been in that week's race -- like a driver or crew chief is sitting right there with them explaining all of the decisions made during the heat of battle. INC will return to the 60-minute format, we will utilize our access to in-car communication much more and I think it is fair to say you will see some talent adjustments there as well.

SPEED: You've already turned the stage around for SPEED's popular Friday night show Trackside - is that the limit to the changes going on to the at-track programs?

LONG: All of the shows from the track will see an enormous bump-up in production value. We turned the stage around because I wanted the television viewers to appreciate the live aspect of being at the track. We are hiring some new producers who have experience working on the fly. We just purchased Final Cut Pro 5, a powerful and precise editing software tool, to raise the production value of segments, vignettes and teases.

We may add a weekday edition of SPEED News, NASCAR Performance is getting a cutaway car, a car without the sheet metal attached, so the hosts can give clear technical explanations with a full-size visual aid. We also are working to take NASCAR Victory Lane directly to Victory Lane at each venue.

SPEED: You are making a lot of changes quickly. Is there a sense of urgency or rush to your new job.

LONG: No, I just feel like if there is something we can do to make any of the shows better, why wait to make the changes. I am a very ambitious guy who is not afraid to take a lot of chances. That said, I am not making changes for change sake. It has to make sense professionally and I will draw from all of my experience to make those decisions. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity and I plan to make the most of it.

SPEED: Do all of the changes have a common theme?

LONG: I want a viewer to know that when they watch any of the SPEED Channel shows that they are not going to get the same information on another show. We don't want it to look like one long show on SPEED, we want each show to have its own identity. NASCAR Performance will be crew chiefs talking about race set-ups and technical issues before each race. You are not going to get that same thing on Trackside, or Inside NEXTEL Cup and definitely not on NASCAR Nation.

SPEED: You are stepping into a very high profile role -- feeling any pressure?

LONG: Enormous pressure, but I am not nervous. I feel confident in the decisions I make, and when you are given an opportunity, you have to take off and run with it. I don't plan on disappointing the people who thought I was ready for this role. As long as the viewers are getting what I believe is the best production value SPEED Channel can deliver, than I will be doing exactly what I was brought in to do.

France says he will not leave NASCAR France says he will not leave NASCARNASCAR chairman Brian France continues to deny any plans to leave NASCAR any time soon, but the speculation is hotter than ever this week that once France finishes the new TV negotiations, sometime over the next year, he will, indeed, be moving on. France won't discuss the family business in any detail, and NASCAR is a private family venture, unlike the publicly-traded International Speedway Corp. However, insiders say that France has sold, or is selling, or plans to sell his shares in NASCAR to the rest of the family. Some of the sport's biggest and most important figures are wondering who the France family might pick to succeed Brian if he leaves. There are indications that Jim France, Brian's uncle and the brother of long-time NASCAR boss Bill Jr., and Lesa France Kennedy, Bill Jr.'s daughter and the woman running the family's ISC track operations, are heading the search for candidates. Winston Salem Journal
Renault happy with Monaco preparations Renault happy with Monaco preparationsRenault completed a second successful day of testing in fine weather conditions today at Paul Ricard. The team completed tire and set-up preparations for the Monaco Grand Prix, with Heikki Kovalainen again completing over 700 KM in a single day’s running. Tomorrow, the circuit will be used in a different configuration, simulating Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in order to begin preparations for next month’s Canadian GP.

“We had another very strong day’s running with both drivers – the car was working well, and both drivers were pleased with the performance," explained Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk. "We have effectively completed the first of our test programs for this week now, and tomorrow we will concentrate on Canada – with lower downforce levels and a different circuit layout to simulate the long straights and heavy braking." "We will have a busy day testing tires, brake cooling and set-up for the race," Silk continued. "We have had very good reliability so far this week, and hope to see this continue in order to complete an intensive final day of running.” Renault

Juan Pablo Montoya Visits TAG Heuer Juan Pablo Montoya Visits TAG HeuerOn Wednesday, May 11, TAG Heuer had the pleasure of welcoming one of its most renowned Brand Ambassadors to Switzerland: Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya, one of the most-watched participants in this year's exciting F1 season. The ace driver, who signed with McLaren-Mercedes this season, thus joining legendary figures like Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, and Mika Häkkinen, spent the day with TAG Heuer's teams.

Juan Pablo Montoya visited the Cortech site in Cornol and followed with interest what was going on in production workshops in Chaux-de-Fonds. He also took part in a long work meeting with product development teams. Not surprising, given this ambassador's passion for watchmaking, TAG Heuer will be working closely with Juan Pablo Montoya on the design and development of new timepieces, following the lead of TAG Heuer Brand Ambassador Tiger Woods, who helped create TAG Heuer's newly-launched Professional Golf Watch. The 29 year-old Colombian has everything going for him--talent, passion, and personality. Tag Heuer

Patrick Head confident progress is being made Patrick Head confident progress is being madeWith one podium from ten starts thanks to Nick Heidfeld's third place in Malaysia, BMW Williams have not performed as they would have hoped during the start of their 2005 campaign.   The team claim that improvements are being made and that the FW27 is clearly edging closer to the competition in terms of aerodynamic performance.

“The truth is that we're actually a lot closer to the competitive pace than we were at the start of the year,” states Patrick Head, Director of Engineering at WilliamsF1. “We had to take a risk in Barcelona and run Mark with a lighter fuel load in second qualifying.”

“That said, you'd have to say that ifs and buts don't matter at all in this business, but the fact remains that in terms of pure speed, on a track like Barcelona which is highly dependent on aerodynamic performance, we were closer to the front than we were."

Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber recorded the seventh and ninth best laps in race conditions at Circuit de Catalunya with Webber finishing in sixth and Heidfeld out of the points in tenth after starting at the back of the field due to an engine change. WilliamsF1

F1 news tidbits F1 news tidbitsToyota's Jarno Trulli has delayed any talk that he may be a 2005 championship contender.  The Italian, second in the drivers' chase and 18 points behind Fernando Alonso, said: ''Only at mid season will I be able to say if I'm thinking about the championship.''

Touring car champion Andy Priaulx will be invited to test Williams' F1 charger again after impressing at Vallelunga.  The Briton is 'an asset' to the team, technical director Sam Michael insisted.  ''I'm sure we'll call upon him again soon.''

Paul Dana found the wall too Paul Dana found the wall tooPaul Dana hit the SAFER barriers at a far less rate of speed than Buddy Rice and Darren Manning, causing less damage to the rear end of Hemelgarn Racing's back-up #91 Dallara-Toyota.  "I had just thrown a downshift as we were exiting the corner, and it looks like the shift hung up and locked the rears for an instant," said Dana. "It's a miracle we didn't break the car in half. I got lucky on that one."
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Why Schu went flat
BAR now 'accept' FIA ban
Toyota top test
'Spice up test safety' - DC
Stewart saved
Hakk's baby girl
'Don't blame Button'
Schu to quit - Prost
Montoya to bounce back
Schu 'best advertising'
Kimi can stay forever
DC's tire fear
BAR and Monaco
Honda support BAR
Calgary driver eyes Trans-Am series Calgary driver eyes Trans-Am seriesCalgary driver Hima Maher leaves Sunday to test in a Trans-Am Series Corvette at the Mid-America Motorplex in Iowa for Derhaag Motorsports.  If the testing goes well, Maher has set his sights on competing in the Trans-Am race on July 16 as part of the Edmonton Grand Prix.  Trans-Am is North America’s premier sports car championship series, celebrating its fortieth continuous year of competition in 2005.
In 2004, Maher finished first at the Sports Car Club of BC Invitational, as part of the Vancouver Molson Indy.  He also competed in Porsche Club of America events at Laguna Seca and Portland.  Maher is the 2004 Canadian GT Championship champion and has won numerous WCMA championships held at Race City, Calgary.  This is Maher’s first time testing in a Trans-Am Series car.

Derhaag Motorsports is owned by Jim Derhaag, and is based out of Shakopee, Minnesota.  The Derhaag Motorsports facility includes a full fabrication and chassis shop that produces the 2005 Corvette used in the Trans-Am series. Derhaag Motorsports had the winning car at the 2005 Trans-Am Series season opener, the Cytomax Challenge/Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 10th.  Maher Racing Inc is supported by Centennial Motorsports Group of Calgary, AB.

Joe Gibbs has Angioplasty heart procedure Joe Gibbs has Angioplasty heart procedureJoe Gibbs Racing owner [#11,#18,#20] Joe Gibbs was hospitalized for a heart procedure to open a clogged artery last month, The Washington Post reports. Gibbs, who is 64 and who coaches the Washington Redskins football team, said doctors placed a small, spring-like wire tube known as a stent in the artery at a Washington hospital in mid-April. Gibbs said he remained overnight but returned to work the next day and was back to his regular workout routine, which includes a 45-minute run, within several days. "I understand the public interest, but it has no effect on my work, or my tenure with the Redskins," he said. "I considered it a private matter." NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
Robby Gordon makes changes to team Robby Gordon makes changes to teamUPDATE A new crew chief and new team manager/car chief have joined the #7 team at RGM. Greg Erwin and Frank Kerr will assume these roles and make their debut this weekend in Richmond. The team is confident that Menard Engine Group has solved its early season engine issues, and is pleased with tests recently conducted at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as well as a number of dyno tests conducted in both Charlotte and Indianapolis. Sponsor Jim Beam will unveil a public service announcement on Friday, May 13, at 4:00pm/et in the pressroom at Richmond International Raceway. Robby Gordon teamed up with IRL driver Dan Wheldon of the Andretti Green Racing Team to tape a PSA about making sensible decisions relating to alcohol consumption. The PSA was produced to raise awareness of Jim Beam’s social responsibility platform, drink smart. As part of the drink smart campaign, Robby Gordon Motorsports will donate $10,000 from a $100,000 fund provided by Jim Beam bourbon, the “Official Spirit of Racing,” to officials from Virginia State University. The check presentation will take place in the pressroom at Richmond International Raceway, Friday at 4:00pm/et. The donation will fund the University’s implementation of The Century Council’s Alcohol 101 PlusTM education program and related alcohol education activities. Robby Gordon Motorsports 05/09/05 Robby Gordon Motorsports will take its No. 7 Jim Beam Chevrolet to Richmond International Raceway this weekend with a new crew chief and a new team manager/car chief.

The roles will be assumed by Greg Erwin and Frank Kerr respectively. Erwin began his duties as crew chief last week, and Kerr, who returns to RGM after serving as the team’s car chief last season, starts today (May 9) after observing at Darlington.

“Among the many things we have learned over the last 10 races is that there is no substitute for proper preparation and attention to detail,” said John Story, general manager of Robby Gordon Motorsports. “We were clearly one of the better cars at Darlington during Friday’s practice session, and then made a series of mistakes to the car while prepping it for qualifying. We took what should have been a top-10 qualifying effort and a car and driver capable of racing for a top-5 finish and missed the show. What happened there is inexcusable and shouldn’t happen at this level of competition.

“Twice we failed to qualify (Bristol and Darlington) because of careless mistakes made to the car between practice and qualifying, and that will not be tolerated. We have made other mistakes during races that have caused poor performances, and Robby and I have charged Greg and Frank with making sure these same mistakes, or any like them, don’t happen again.”

RGM is in its first season of competition in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series after performing solidly last season in the NASCAR Busch Series.

“We recognize that the level of competition is much higher in Cup than the Busch Series,” Story said, “but it isn’t so much tougher that we should be performing as we are. As in any other professional sport, it’s the little things that make a difference, and the little things have been spelled out and will be attended to by everyone in the organization.

“As a brand-new team, we knew coming into this season that we wouldn’t threaten for a championship in our first year, and we knew that we wouldn’t lead the Series in wins. However, we obviously expect to perform better than we have, and our goals for the season are still attainable. By bringing in Greg and Frank we will accomplish our objective of being a top-20 car each week and winning one or more races. Once we become a top-20 team, we’ll work on becoming a top-15 team, and then a top-10 team. When we become a top-10 team, we will contend for championships; and with the changes we have made this week I honestly believe that is a realistic expectation over the next two or three seasons.”

Following Richmond, Fruit of the Loom will return the track as the primary sponsor for the NASCAR Nextel Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 21, and again in the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.

Non-Stop action for Montreal race Non-Stop action for Montreal raceWith the Champ Car, Toyota Atlantic, Trans-Am and Honda-Michelin series on the race schedule and drifting, motocross, wakeboarding, skateboarding and music for added entertainment, the audience at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for the fourth Molson Indy Montreal on August 26-28 will not have any time to get bored.

That was the assurance today from the organizers during a noon press conference at the Molson Brewery as they unveiled the program of events, in the company of Quebec drivers Alexandre Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and Antoine Bessette.

Mr. Martin Spalding, General Manager of the Molson Indy Montreal, took the occasion to announce that tickets go on sale as of today and to state that the pricing structure has been completely revised.

"We wanted to let everyone have access to our concept of a great party with excitement guaranteed all around the site," said Mr. Spalding, after outlining the program. So the most expensive seat for all three days of the event will sell for $185 and it will be possible to attend Friday's program, with a general admission ticket, for as little as $20. The cost of a visit to the Champ Car paddock will be $20 per day or $35 for all three days.

Demonstration of extreme sports

The Molson Indy Montreal has decided to include in its 2005 program a spectacular assortment of demonstrations at various places around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. For the first time, the discipline of drifting - still not widely known by the Quebec public - will be featured. Some great names from motocross, known for their acrobatic skills, will also be present.

In other places, spectators will be able to get a great view of some highly tuned-up show cars and enjoy the prowess of some ace skateboarders, particularly in the discipline of halfpipe. The Ile Notre-Dame lake will also play its part with some demonstrations of wakeboarding.

"We're convinced that fans of these new disciplines don't really know about high-level open-wheel auto racing such as Champ Car. We want to help them discover this extraordinary spectacle and all the thrills that go with it," said the General Manager of the Molson Indy Montreal.

A program of spectacular races

Besides the 11th round of the Champ Car series, in which Quebec's Alexandre Tagliani and Andrew Ranger will be two of the stars on track, the Molson Indy Montreal will also be the scene for the final round of the Toyota Atlantic championship. Antoine Bessette, another Quebec driver present today, is one of the rising stars of Atlantic and it was announced during the press conference that the series will hold its banquet, crowning its champion, for the first time in Montreal.

Montreal and the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve will also welcome for the first time some 20 powerful muscle cars from the Trans-Am championship, which will also be having its final event of the 2005 calendar. A round of the ever-popular Honda-Michelin series is also on the program for the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal.

Contagious enthusiasm

The General Manager expressed confidence that the event will be a success, underlining that the Champ Car series is enjoying a serious revival in interest.

"What Normand Legault and myself saw earlier this year at Long Beach is greatly encouraging," said Martin Spalding. "Champ Car has taken a turn for the better since a new team took control a little more than a year ago. Their enthusiasm is contagious," he added.

During the press conference, it was also announced that the Casino of Montreal and Levitra will be major sponsors of the event, as well as Molson, of course. Finally, the theme for the advertising campaign conceived by the Montreal agency Diesel, was also unveiled: "Focused on winning. Not much else."

Tickets for the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal can now be obtained by visiting www.molsonindy.com or by calling the ticket-office, from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., at 514-397-INDY (4639).

Scuderia preparing the F2005 for the forthcoming Monaco GP Scuderia preparing the F2005 for the forthcoming Monaco GP  Circuit: Fiorano track (2.976 km – short course 1.413 km)
Drivers: Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer
Cars: F2005
Weather: air temperature 18/25 °C, track temperature 25/35 °C. Slightly cloudy.

Third day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working once again at the Fiorano circuit.

Once again today, Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer took turns at lapping the almost three kilometers of the Scuderia’s private test track, working mainly on Bridgestone tire development and on preparing the F2005 for the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix.

Badoer covered a total of 101 laps (one on the short version of the track,) the quickest in a time of 57”852. Michael did 118 laps (16 “short,”) the fastest in 57”597.

The Scuderia continues testing at this track tomorrow with Luca Badoer. Ferrari

HVM’s Inside Line with Ronnie Bremer HVM’s Inside Line with Ronnie BremerRonnie Bremer, The 26-year old native of Copenhagen, Denmark is an 8-time karting Champion.  He made the move from karts to cars in 2001 when he competed in the Formula Ford Zetec Championship, where he won at Castle Combe and finished second in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. His potential was recognized and Bremer spent the 2002 and 2003 racing seasons competing in the British Formula 3 championship earning 24 top-ten finishes, including ten top-five finishes and sixth place in the championship in 2003.  Bremer transferred his racing career to the United States in 2004 to compete in the Toyota Atlantic Championship.  He became the first and only rookie to score a victory in 2004, when he won at Denver.  Bremer earned a total of five podium finishes and placed fifth in the series championship.

Q. How would you sum up your first Champ Car weekend?
RB:  I would say it was a very good weekend. It was a great experience for me, something I had dreamed about my whole life, making my Champ Car debut and I think we did a great job.  We never ran outside of the top-ten and I finished seventh, so I am very happy.

Q. What were the biggest surprises for you, regarding Champ Car, the team or the weekend?
RB: Well, this is my second year in the Champ Car paddock since I raced in Toyota Atlantic last year, so from the event standpoint, I pretty much knew what to expect.  Same type of weekend as in Atlantic, just a lot more of everything!  The biggest surprise for me was the team.  It is incredible to see a group of people work the way they do, very finely tuned, like clockwork.  They are extremely professional and that gives me a lot of extra confidence, I know I can take my car to the limit and it will be just fine.

Q. How does the Champ Car compare to the car you most recently competed in?
RB: The Champ Car is much heavier, much more powerful and a lot more fun than the Atlantic car.  It was obvious at Long Beach; my hands were quite sore at the end of the event because of all of the blisters, but I was really surprised on the oval.  We tested at Milwaukee last week and I couldn’t believe how much quicker you get around that place in a Champ Car!

Q. What circuit are you looking forward to the most and why?
RB: I am looking forward to Denver the most because I won there last year in the Atlantic car.

Q: What are your expectations for the 2005 Champ Car season?
RB: I intend to win the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year title and finish in the top five in the Championship.

Q. What do you enjoy in your free time, your time away from the racetrack?
RB: Something with racing, even in my free time!

Q. What in your opinion has been your greatest achievement in your racing career?
RB: Coming to the United States.

Q: Has there been a day in your racing career that you will never forget?
RB: It was the 1999 Karting World Championships in Belgium. I was leading the race until the last corner of the last lap when I was punted off to finish sixth!

Darren Manning clobbers Turn 2 wall Darren Manning clobbers Turn 2 wallTarget Chip Ganassi driver Darren Manning had an almost identical accident to Buddy Rice today, making heavy contact with the Turn 2 wall when the backend of the car stepped out on cold tires.  Manning is OK but Manning's Panoz Toyota was a wreck.  It's good news for Panoz because Dallara was getting most of the new business in recent weeks from crashes. 

Sebastien Bourdais describes what he saw - "I went through a fog of debris from Darren's accident. Luckily it missed my head. It could have been the end of the Team Centrix patrol, but we were lucky. I was following Bruno Junqueira closely, and I saw that he went low to avoid Darren (Manning) so I went high around him and hoped for the best." 

Manning - “We just changed cars and maybe the feel was just slightly different,” said Manning. “I was just on a build-up lap on pretty low downforce and tires were cold. Tried to stick it in up to speed a bit too fast. I wasn’t at full speed so it certainly was as big a hit as it may have looked but it did more damage to the car than to me. The safer barrier did exactly what it was designed for and for that I am very grateful.”

Patrick leads speed parade at Brickyard Patrick leads speed parade at BrickyardSpeeds continued to climb May 12 during a cool and breezy day at the famed 2.5-mile oval.  Danica Patrick turned a month-best 227.633 mph (39.5374 seconds) in her Argent Mortgage Honda.  Tony Kanaan, driving the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, posted a best lap of 227.525 mph. Kosuke Matsuura, IndyCar Series points leader Dan Wheldon and Patrick’s Rahal Letterman Racing teammate Vitor Meira, also topped 227 mph.
Pos No Driver Name Best Speed
1. (16) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 227.633
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 227.525
3. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Panoz-Honda, 227.375
4. (26) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 227.114
5. (17) Vitor Meira, Panoz-Honda, 227.037
6. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 226.908
7. (6T) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 226.724
8. (8) Scott Sharp, Panoz-Honda, 226.505
9. (9T) Scott Dixon, Panoz-Toyota, 226.183
10. (70) Richie Hearn, Panoz-Chevrolet, 225.691
11. (6) Sebastien Bourdais, Panoz-Honda, 225.653
12. (4T) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 225.476
13. (10T) Darren Manning, Panoz-Toyota, 225.431
14. (95) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet, 225.238
15. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 225.000
16. (36) Bruno Junqueira, Panoz-Honda, 224.963
17. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 224.776
18. (33) Ryan Briscoe, Panoz-Toyota, 224.343
19. (2) Tomas Enge, Dallara-Chevrolet, 223.733
20. (5) Adrian Fernandez, Panoz-Honda, 223.172
21. (51) Alex Barron, Dallara-Toyota, 220.986
22. (44) Jeff Bucknum, Dallara-Honda, 219.937
23. (83) Patrick Carpentier, Dallara-Toyota, 219.220
24. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Toyota, 218.817
25. (21) Jaques Lazier, Panoz-Toyota, 218.052
26. (20T) Jeff Ward, Dallara-Toyota, 217.310
27. (91T) Paul Dana, Dallara-Toyota, 216.728
28. (14) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Toyota, 216.477
29. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Chevrolet, 215.227
30. (48) Larry Foyt, Panoz-Toyota, 207.863
Rice released from hospital Rice released from hospitalDefending Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis Thursday morning, following an overnight stay for observations after Wednesday's turn two wall-banging accident at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Rice suffered a severe back contusion and a mild concussion in the accident.

Rice was quoted as saying "I slept pretty well last night and I had a bunch of the team and some friends in the evening and that was very cool.  Overall, yeah, I'm sore but I feel okay. I'm just going to relax today and come to the track on Friday. I'll see if I can help Vitor and Danica if they need any help with the engineers. I plan to see Dr. Bock also and see what he says about my condition. But right now I am anxious to get back in the car."

IRL Motegi TV Rating IRL Motegi TV RatingThe IRL TV Rating for their Motegi, Japan race was a 0.5 on ESPN two Saturday's ago.  Our previous speculation that it was in the neighborhood of 0.1 because it was off all the charts we had access to was incorrect.  However, 0.5 is nothing for the IRL to boast about either.
The Face of Champ Car -- RHR The Face of Champ Car -- RHRThe six-week gap between the first two races of the 2005 Champ Car World Series may be a good excuse for an early holiday but not for young American Ryan Hunter-Reay who is in the middle of a whistle-stop promotional tour.

Ryan touched down in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday for a packed day of interviews, photo shoots and filming. The winner of the 2003 Surfers Paradise race also spent time with the Brisbane Lions Australian Football Club, where he picked up a few tips on 'footy' before heading off for his flight to Sydney.

The Sydney leg of the tour began with breakfast television interviews, then to meet local newspaper reporters, before attending a lunch promoting the Lexmark Indy 300. The afternoon included an appearance at the Sydney Auto Show and a few more interviews before a Lexmark 300 Promoters dinner.

Rocketsports Racing has been out testing since Long Beach and posted competitive times at both Milwaukee and Portland so the team is looking forward to putting on a good show in the forthcoming races. Ryan is now on his way back to the United States and will soon head off to Monterrey for round two of the 2005 Champ Car World Series.

There will be no rest for Ryan though. The day after the Monterrey race he heads to Cleveland, Ohio, to promote the Grand Prix of Cleveland at the end of June with more TV appearances and interviews before throwing out the first pitch in the Cleveland Indians baseball game as a guest of US Bank, sponsors of the race. Then he's off to Milwaukee for more promotional appearances as the defending race champion before returning a week later to defend his title.

Racing drivers aren't known for their love of promotional work but Ryan is happy to do his bit for the sport. "I really don't mind at all," he said. "I've been to some fantastic places and met some very interesting people so it hasn't been a chore for me. I'm the kind of guy who likes to keep busy, I respect the commercial side of motorsport and I'm more than happy to do what I can to promote Champ Car; it really is a great Series".

Stewart wins Silverstone vote Stewart wins Silverstone voteThree times Formula One champion Jackie Stewart won a vote on Thursday to remain at the helm of the prestigious British Racing drivers' Club. The BRDC said in a statement that an extraordinary general meeting of members voted to retain the 65-year-old Scot as president and board member.

"My integrity was attacked by a number of members of the club," said Stewart, who had denounced a 'very vicious' campaign against him.  I have defended it and I am pleased that I received support to continue as President and a Director. We must now work to build a united club working for the future good of Silverstone and British motorsport."

Thursday's vote marked the closing stages of a dispute between Stewart and former chairman Ray Bellm following on-off negotiations last year to secure the future of the British Grand Prix.  Stewart had wanted a three-year deal while Bellm signed a five-year one with Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Bellm was later dismissed. Eurosport

Williams conclude Vallelunga tests Williams conclude Vallelunga testsThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team completed a three day test at the Vallelunga circuit, in Italy, today. The Italian track, located just outside of Rome, bears similar characteristics to the uncompromising, twisty Monte Carlo street circuit, which will host the sixth round of the season, the Monaco Grand Prix, a week Sunday. Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia were on track for the team, while Andy Priaulx made his debut in the FW27 as part of his new association with the Anglo-German partnership. Over the three days, Pizzonia recorded a total of 1,433 kilometers, while Webber and Priaulx, who split duties, registered 1,184 and 428 kilometers, respectively. The team collected valuable data in preparation for Monaco over a combined total of 939 laps, just over 3,000 kilometers.
Sam Michael, Technical Director - "Today we finished an extensive test at the Vallelunga circuit, near Rome, in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix. We spent the test working on starts and traction control performance with BMW."

"We also evaluated tires for Monaco and completed longer runs to system check some cooling system changes. The weather in Italy was perfect for testing tires, with the ambient temperatures identical to what our long range forecast says we will have in Monte Carlo. We also verified some aerodynamic components that we used at the Barcelona GP and found they are all working well."

"Along with Antonio and Mark, Andy Priaulx tested for us again and did a great job in the car. He is an asset to our test program. I'm impressed at how well he has adapted to a Formula One car and I'm sure we will call upon him again in the future."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director - "From BMW’s perspective, it was a really good test in Vallelunga and we completed our scheduled program. We focused on improving the start performance and traction control, both of which will be crucial for the Monaco Grand Prix. In addition, we made adjustments to the engine management system in preparation for the slow corners in Monte Carlo, like the Loews hairpin." BMW Williams

Toyota leads the way in testing at Paul Ricard Toyota leads the way in testing at Paul RicardThursday test times
1 . O. Panis - Toyota TF105 - 1:04.877 (+ 0.000 ) - 112 laps
2 . R. Zonta - Toyota TF105 - 1:05.115 (+ 0.238 ) - 120 laps
3 . K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:05.130 (+ 0.253 ) - 75 laps
4 . H. Kovalainen - Renault R25 - 1:05.143 (+ 0.266 ) - 196 laps
5 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 - 1:05.336 (+ 0.459 ) - 132 laps
6 . D. Coulthard - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:05.360 (+ 0.483 ) - 155 laps
7 . J. P. Montoya - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:05.441 (+ 0.564 ) - 53 laps
8 . V. Liuzzi - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:06.270 (+ 1.393 ) - 95 laps
Minardi sign new technical partner Minardi sign new technical partnerThe Minardi F1 Team has been sporting a bold new look since the start of the European Formula One season, and it is due to Vertical Vision S.p.A., one of the world’s leading experts in digital printing. Headquartered in Rovello Porro (Como), Vertical Vision has become a valued technical partner and official supplier to the Faenza team for the 2005 season.

Specifically, Vertical Vision has enabled Minardi’s distinctive new red, white and black, checkered flag corporate identity to be adapted and reproduced in a variety of sizes and variations for use on surfaces ranging from the team’s race transporters and motorhomes to garage paneling and flooring, as well as a wide variety of advertising and promotional material.

As a result of this new relationship with Minardi, Vertical Vision’s undoubted mastery of the art of digital printing will be on display to a global television audience throughout the 2005 season, as well as to Formula One fans attending rounds of this year’s World Championship.

Vertical Vision will also provide similar support to Minardi’s exciting, eight-car, two-seater Formula One program (F1x2), based in Ledbury, UK.

Commenting on the partnership with the Minardi F1 Team, the Chief Executive Officer of Vertical Vision S.p.A., Mauro Oliva, says, “Sports sponsorship does not represent a completely new marketing platform for our company, as Vertical Vision is already the title sponsor of Cantù, in the Italian A1 Basketball League. The partnership with Minardi in the Formula One World Championship, however, marks a major step forward for our company in terms of marketing strategy, and confirms our strong interest in the possibilities offered by professional sports generally. Formula One represents the very pinnacle of one of the world’s most challenging, exciting and glamorous sports, and Vertical Vision identifies very closely with its core values of dynamism, team work and a competitive, winning spirit. We are proud to be involved with Minardi, and look forward to a very positive and productive relationship with the team from Faenza.”

Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, says, “We are very pleased to welcome Vertical Vision as a technical partner and official supplier. We have already seen the first results of this collaboration, with the striking new graphics on the Minardi transporters, motorhomes and garage panels. Vertical Vision has shown clearly that it is more than capable of dealing with the demands of Formula One in terms of creativity, production times and quality. The company also fully understands the value of sports sponsorship and how to leverage that involvement in order to achieve the desired marketing and promotional benefits. That can only be good for Vertical Vision, Minardi and Formula One.” Minardi

Mi-Jack joins Newman/Haas for Indy Mi-Jack joins Newman/Haas for IndyMi-Jack Products, Inc.(also sponsor of the Conquest Champ Car team), the leading U.S. manufacturer of specialized RTG cranes, announced today that it would be an associate sponsor on the two Team CENTRIX entries that five-time championship winning Newman/Haas Racing will prepare for the legendary 2005 Indianapolis 500 to be held on May 29.  Sebastien Bourdais will attempt to qualify for his first Indy 500 while teammate Bruno Junqueira will make his fourth start in the historic event.

Mi-Jack’s involvement in open-wheel racing began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1992, and now starting their 14th season, the Mi-Jack banner has been carried to the starting line in over 200 events and 8 times in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  For the Month of May in 2005, Mi-Jack will have its name prominently displayed on the No. 36 and No. 37 Honda-powered Panoz/Firestone machines entered by Newman/Haas Racing Team CENTRIX, which is owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl Haas.  (Photo courtesy of Honda

“We have the highest respect for the Newman/Haas Racing Team and consider it an honored opportunity to be associated with Carl and Paul in the Indy 500,” said Mike Lanigan, President of Mi-Jack Products, Inc. 

“I’m very happy that Mi-Jack is involved with our Indy 500 program,” said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing.  “Mike Lanigan and everyone at Mi-Jack are racers at heart and that philosophy matches ours.  We are looking forward to a great month together.”

BAR Honda backs down BAR Honda backs downHaving investigated the matter fully, including making extensive enquiries of other teams, B·A·R Honda now accept that Formula One cars must always weigh more than 600kg when completely empty of fuel and that this applies even if the car's fuel system is such that some of the fuel in the car is unusable. Before making these enquiries it was the team's honest belief that fuel which could not be used during the race did not have to be removed before the car was weighed.

On this basis B·A·R Honda accept the decision of the FIA Court of Appeal as fair in the circumstances and recognize that the judges in this, as in other cases, are fully independent, being lawyers and professional judges of high standing who give their service on a voluntary basis.

B·A·R Honda want nothing more than to compete with other teams in the Formula One World Championship on an entirely fair and equal basis and look forward to rejoining the competition at the European Grand Prix. BAR Honda [Editor's Note: This is hilarious. First the team comes out real strong on the defensive saying they did nothing wrong and accused the FIA of wrongly charging them as cheaters (which we claimed them to be since this all started) now they say "it was the team's honest belief that fuel which could not be used during the race did not have to be removed before the car was weighed." We almost fell off our chair in laughter when we read that one. Why would any race team in this world carry fuel on board that they could not use during the race? There are better ways to ballast a car (lead weight) than with fuel. Max Mosley must be shaking his head in disgust, but can take great satisfaction in using this incident to warn the other teams that cheating won't be tolerated. NASCAR, the league whose teams pride themselves on cheating to win until caught, can learn a lesson from this. NASCAR should impose stiff penalties like the FIA did. You will see how fast cheating will stop. Some argue that banning a team for two races would take them out of the championship hunt. So what? You cheat you pay the penalty. You won't cheat again we assure you.]

Rice injured, will miss pole day Rice injured, will miss pole dayUPDATE "He hit straight as an arrow," team general manager Scott Roembke said.  Officially, it was an impact of 78 Gs, which is considered mid-range for Indy-car accidents. But the energy-absorbing barrier generally reduces the number significantly.  "It was a big hit," team owner Bobby Rahal said. "Once again, the SAFER barrier did its job."

"I was afraid he broke his back," said former driver Scott Goodyear, who missed the Indy 500 in 1996 after breaking his back in a similar crash in Brazil. "And I thought it was pretty clear he got knocked out."

The standard recovery period for concussions in the IRL is seven days. League president Brian Barnhart expected Bock to enforce that.  "He's pretty firm on that," Barnhart said. "It's just not worth it (to risk an early return)."

Rice wasn't the only race contender to have troubles Wednesday. Sam Hornish Jr. lost control of his Team Penske car on the warm-up lane and spun without contact.  Debris from Rice's car struck the trailing cars of Kosuke Matsuura, who spun, and rookie Ryan Briscoe. Both cars suffered significant damage to the underbodies. The bell housing on Matsuura's car broke. Briscoe's machine had its master cylinder knocked out, which means he came to pit road without brakes. Neither driver was injured.

"Three cars destroyed and only one of them hit the wall; it was unreal," Barnhart said. Added Roembke: "And none of them hit each other." Indy Star 

05/11/05 [Editor's Note:  See more Rice crash news below.] Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice was injured in a crash during practice Wednesday, knocking him out of qualifying this weekend for the pole position. He walked away from the wreck but was hospitalized with a severe back bruise and a concussion.  Track officials announced late in the practice session that doctors would wait until next week before giving Rice clearance to drive.  "He's in good shape but he's hurting,'' team co-owner Bobby Rahal said. "It was a big wallop but nothing is broken, fortunately.'' Rice, last year's polesitter, will not be able to compete Saturday or Sunday, when qualifying begins, and would likely have to start from near the back of the 33-car starting grid. Qualifying resumes May 21. Bump Day, the last of four qualifying days, is scheduled for May 22.

Americans race open wheel cars on ovals surrounded by concrete walls.  Silly Americans.  Dallara and Panoz are happy.  The more cars that get pulverized like this the more money they make.  They probably toast to those silly Americans every time their cash register goes ca-ching.

Michigan drops plans for Hall of Fame Michigan drops plans for Hall of FameMichigan officials say they are dropping out of the race for a NASCAR Hall of Fame, leaving five cities in the multimillion-dollar competition. A Daytona Beach News-Journal web site report quoted Michael Shore, vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which was handling the effort to locate the hall of fame in the Detroit area.  "We really aren't pursuing it," he said. "The governor gave us the green light to explore it. But when we reviewed the financial commitment it would take to make one of these really work - and given the state's economic situation - we were talking a lot of money and a long-term commitment."
Coca-Cola ticket sales down Coca-Cola ticket sales downAt a time when Charlotte is trying to woo a NASCAR Hall of Fame, ticket sales for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway aren't keeping pace.  The track has sold just over 100,000 seats for the May 29 race, speedway President Humpy Wheeler told the Observer on Wednesday. That's a "few thousand" behind last year's sales at this time, he said, declining to be more specific.  The track is one of the largest in racing, with about 170,000 seats. The 600 is traditionally on Memorial Day weekend, capping off almost two weeks of racing.  Wheeler attributed the drop to high gas prices, the economy and bad memories of a rain-shortened race two years ago. Officials are expected to update ticket sales sometime this week. ThatsRacin
BAR skips Thursday test day BAR skips Thursday test dayBAR Honda, like all but Ferrari, intend to test just 30 days in 2005 and this morning the team announced that they would not be running at Paul Ricard today.  With rain predicted for later this afternoon, and the circuit still in the short Monaco-style layout as agreed with the other teams, it was decided to save a day's testing. The team of course will not be racing at Monte Carlo this year.   BAR Honda intend to test tomorrow when the weather is expected to improve and the circuit will be in a Montreal layout. Jenson and Takuma will drive tomorrow in chassis 007-01 and 007-03 respectively. BAR Honda
BAR Honda back on track BAR Honda back on trackBAR Honda may have been excluded from the Spanish Grand prix and the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix a week Sunday, but the team took to the testing trail yesterday at Paul Ricard. The first day of a proposed three-day test at the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France began Wednesday morning in warm and sunny conditions. Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi driving chassis 007-01 and 007-03 respectively.

Davidson spent the morning session evaluating the new aerodynamic updates, completing a total of 63 laps. He continued the evaluation in the afternoon session, running for a further 54 laps before an electrical fault caused damage to the engine. The engine had to be changed which brought his afternoon running to a slightly early conclusion. Davidson completed a total of 117 laps today. Bernoldi ran through a tire casing program in the morning session completing short runs. He continued the evaluation in the afternoon over longer runs, alongside a brake evaluation. Bernoldi’s final lap tally for the day was an impressive 171 laps. BAR Honda

ALMS Mid-Ohio preview ALMS Mid-Ohio previewWith Round 3 of the American Le Mans Series just around the corner - next weekend, May 20-22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - here are a few of the compelling storylines shaping up:

LMP1 Can defending ALMS champion, Champion Audi #1, with drivers JJ Lehto and Marco Werner extend its streak to three in a row to gain even more momentum for a run at the overall 24 Hours of Le Mans championship next month?

LMP2 Can the Sportsbook.com Mazda of B-K Motorsports improve enough after just one race to take the top podium spot, unwrenching it from perennials Miracle Motorsports or Intersport Racing?

GT1 Will this be the race that Maserati Corse begins to make stalwart Corvette Racing - lead by its #3 car of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell - uncomfortable?  Or can Corvette Racing #4 of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta unseat the #3 duo as they did on four occasions last year?  Can Fellows and O'Connell jump to the head of the all-time ALMS winners list?

GT2 Will the Panoz Motor Sports Esperante be able to make it 2 in a row over the Porsche dominated GT2 field which includes the likes of Alex Job Racing, Petersen/White Lightning Motorsports and the Flying Lizards all pushing for the top of the podium.

For all the answers to the above, tune in to CBS next Sunday from 1-3pm. ALMS

Advertising the Monterrey race Advertising the Monterrey raceTecate is using these images on billboards and in magazines and newspapers in and around Monterrey to promote this year's Champ Car race.  This couldn't be why tickets sales are up 200%.  Nah......

For the fanatics of the curves

For those who are going to get the squares

For the fanatics of the curves

Tecate ... For you, for all of us (marketing slogan). Hector Serrano reporting from Mexico

Penske's Indy garage like those in F1 Penske's Indy garage like those in F1While the casual race observer might think that it would be inconvenient to have to relocate the Penske Racing shop from their headquarters in Reading, PA to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the month of May; that is quite the contrary as the Team has created the ultimate garage for their stay in Indiana [Editor's Note: Their garage is now very much like your typical F1 team garage, i.e. state-of-the-art.  It's not unlike Roger to do everything first class.]

Thanks to the equipment provided by Gladiator™ GarageWorks by Whirlpool Corporation, Marlboro Team Penske has a state-of-the-art facility. The entire build and installation took more than three days and included the setup of three individual work bays, drivers’ dressing areas, a lounge and offices to house Team management and engineers. Gladiator GarageWorks provided the organizational systems and appliances for the facility while HH Gregg assisted with installation, as well as provided five flat screen plasma TVs.

Thirty-one year Penske Racing veteran Jerry Breon organized and oversaw the project for Marlboro Team Penske. Breon was one of the ‘over the wall’ pit crew members for 18 years changing the right rear tire for five Indy winners. He more recently served as spotter for Gil de Ferran’s 2003 Indy 500 victory and is currently the Facilities Manager for the Team’s 39,500 sq. ft. race shop in Reading. The equipment provided by Gladiator consists of everything imaginable including the Gladiator ™ GarageWorks GearWall™ Panels. Marlboro Team Penske

Argentinean Driver Killed in Plane Crash Argentinean Driver Killed in Plane CrashToyota Team Argentina driver Nicolas Vuyovich, 23, was killed in a plane crash the day after capturing his first win of the season in the TC2000 series, Argentina’s top racing championship (Vuyovich is pictured right seated next to his teammate and former CART/Champ Car driver Norberto Fontana - Photo courtesy TC 2000 series). The TC2000 series counts among its participants former Champ Car driver Norberto Fontana - who was Vuyovich’s TTA teammate - ex-Indy Lights ace Martin Basso and former F1 driver Esteban Tuero. Also killed in the accident were TTA director Gustavo Ramonda and his seven-year-old son David, and the pilot and co-pilot. Under unfavorable weather conditions, their plane crashed less than half a mile away from the Cordoba airport while approaching for landing. SPEEDTV.com
Q and A with GP2's Bruno Michel Q and A with GP2's Bruno Michel
Q. Bruno, four races down. Are you pleased with the show?

Bruno Michel - GP2 series organizer: Absolutely! In the four races we've had so far, we've seen four different drivers on the top step of the podium. We've seen some great racing, some great overtaking. All in all I'd say we've had a very promising start to the season and it's exactly what we were looking for. It's great to see tire smoke at the start of a race on an F1 weekend again. When was the last time you saw somebody take the lead in a series at this level on opposite lock as we did with Carroll in Imola? The racing is close and exciting. This season is shaping up to be very, very competitive.

Q. The sporting regulations were changed between Imola and Barcelona. Did they have the desired effect?

BM: When we came up with the idea for the GP2 series, we wanted it to be the perfect training ground for the future drivers, engineers and mechanics of Formula One. With that in mind, pitstops were clearly something we had to include. In modern F1, the majority of races are broken up into three parts with two fuel stops. That's why we opted for two compulsory pitstops in our original sporting regulations. Clearly, in Imola, we realized it might have been a bit too confusing for the fans. So we changed to this new scenario of one stop with a compulsory change of at least two tires for the long race. The results were obvious for everyone to see. We had a very exciting race in Barcelona, with a close finish and a lot of action. And with only one stop it was easier to follow. Also, having a compulsory tire change also tests the team in pressure situations. It's an extra element of excitement.

Q. What about the fastest lap regulation?

BM: It was changed to avoid a situation where a team could exploit the rules to go out with an advantage of, say, low fuel, and set a quick lap that nobody could beat and then retire from the race. By awarding fastest lap in both races only to classified drivers, we have ended up with a double battle in both races. In Race 2 in Barcelona, Rosberg and Sharp were exchanging quickest lap every lap in the closing stages. I found it very exciting.

Q. An integral part of putting on a good show is a reliable car. How happy are you with that aspect of the series following the first four races?

BM: It is clear that we were not up to the standard we wanted in Imola. That said, one has to remember that this is a brand new series, and that the level of performance we wanted to reach with an affordable car was very high. However, looking at where we are after Barcelona, I think it would be fair to say that we have reacted well to the issues we encountered. We made some important evolutions and upgrades at Imola, and for Barcelona. We will make more between Barcelona and Monaco. And, as Bernard Dudot has assured, the car will have every crease ironed out by the time we arrive at the Nurburgring. We made a test with the development car before Barcelona, and we will make another one before Nurburgring. We are working every minute of the day to ensure that this series is the best it can be, and I think that was clearly in evidence in Barcelona.

Q. Finally, Bruno, the global exposure for the GP2 series has been very promising. You must be extremely happy.

BM: No other motor racing series other than Formula One, has received better coverage than the GP2 series. Obviously this makes me happy, and it is great to see the figures rising. We've put agreements in place with Eurosport in over 50 countries. Major European terrestrial companies such as Telecinco (Spain), ITV (Great Britain), RTL (Germany), and Rai (Italy) have also chosen to promote the GP2 series this year. Telecinco, Spain's premiere terrestrial television station, reported 23% of the total Spanish viewership at Imola. This figure increased to 32% in Barcelona, which amounts to over 2 million people. In Finland, on MTV3, the GP2 series is receiving more viewers than the WRC: more than 500,000 people. Our website is getting over 30,000 hits a day during our race weekends, and more and more people are catching the GP2 bug. We have coverage in the written press all over the world, from motorsport specific magazines and journals, to daily newspapers and lifestyle publications. The press at large has been very quick to pick upon the GP2 series and its potential. As the season progresses, I am confident that our championship will gain more and more fans. GP2 Series

F1 news tidbits F1 news tidbitsSauber has penned a three-year sponsor deal with Mitsubishi Electric, who will supply the team with wire-cut component-making equipment. ''EDM technology ... clearly (surpasses) ... conventional machining techniques,'' technical director Willy Rampf said.


Believe it or not, Jordan/Midland managing director Colin Kolles is a trained dentist. The Romanian, who often wears a far-from-trendy checked 'flat' cap, tried rallying as a youngster. ''I realized,'' he told Reuters, ''that I was not good enough. So I decided to learn something properly.''


Exactly three years ago today, Rubens Barrichello was ordered aside to let Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher win the Austrian grand prix in one of the most universally controversial F1 team orders. Elsewhere in history, Spanish driver Alfonso de Portago crashed at the Mille Miglia on 12 May 1957, killing him, his co-driver, nine spectators, and - incidentally - open road racing.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Trulli worried about failure
Schu to Portugal
BAR return to F1 action
'Forget' title, big brother
Montagny and Jordan
Senna case on final lap
Mercedes and Concorde
Renault vow to fix Fisi gloom
F1 parade slammed
Button to launch 'Gumball'
NASCAR Darlington TV rating NASCAR Darlington TV ratingUPDATE #2 The Dodge Charger 500 final rating on FOX Saturday night was a 5.6/11 share. That made it the highest-rated prime-time NASCAR event in the network's history.  The race had an average viewership of 9.3 million, up about 10 percent from Fox's other prime-time TV race this season. The race's 11 share dwarfed programming of the other networks. CBS and ABC had shares of 4.7, and NBC a 4.5. 05/10/05 NASCAR has not raced on Mother's Day weekend in recent years, so the figures can't be compared to the same weekend last year. The 4.7 rating for a race run during the usually weak Saturday night period is down 9.6% from the 5.2 Fox drew with last year's March 21 Darlington race, which was run on a Sunday afternoon. But the figure is up 4.4% from the 4.5 overnight figures for this year's Phoenix race, which was also run on a Saturday night. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter 05/09/05 The overnight prime-time TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge Charger 500 from Darlington on Fox was a 4.7/9 share.  This was the first night race for this event.
Schiavo fast at Putnam Park Schiavo fast at Putnam ParkUPDATE We did a little digging on this story and uncovered an interesting little tidbit about Servia's time at Putnam Park. The only time Servia tested there was last year and the team had ordered the wrong Bridgestone tires (street race tires) so Oriol could only do one lap out of the pits and the tires would disintegrate. The test was useless and they used it to solve braking issues and for Mazzacane to get used to the car.   Not to take away from Schiavo's performance because it was indeed good, but now you know the rest of the story.......Mark C.05/11/05 Luis Schiavo completed his two-day test with Dale Coyne Racing by proving that he is more than ready to be given a shot at racing a Champ Car after beating the team's previous best around the Putnam Park road course.

Already buoyed by how he had adapted to the more powerful machine after stepping up from Formula Mazda, Schiavo returned for his second day behind the wheel and promptly lowered the team's previous track record of 1min 05.5secs - set by current Coyne incumbent Oriol Servia - by three-tenths of a second.

"I'm very pleased," the 23-year old Venezuelan admitted, "We have progressed well since yesterday, although there is still a lot for me to learn. It took me some time to get accustomed to the car, as it obviously quite different to the Formula Mazda. To start with, the Champ Car has 750 horsepower! However, I feel very pleased because I had the chance to set a good time."

Coyne, a man who has seen plenty of talent come and go through his small team, was complimentary about Schiavo's performance.

"I am very pleased," he revealed, "Yesterday, Luis was to some two-and-a-half seconds off Oriol's best time, but today he was faster. You were able to see the difference today - Luis felt more comfortable, and felt less pressure than yesterday. This is a monstrous step - one of more than 500 horsepower - but he was simply professional in the way he went about his work."

Schiavo explained that the first part of the day had been spent building up to the point where he could go for a quick lap.

"Right from the start, we were preparing the car to go for a good lap, and finally we achieved a decent time, " he confirmed, "We thought that, if we could get all the work done in the morning, we could put new rubber on in the afternoon and go for it.

"The afternoon session began with plenty of progress, and we already were a second faster than the best time of yesterday. Then, on the final run of the day, we put new tires on and ended up with a time of 1min 05.2secs. The team did a great job and gave me a good car."

Schiavo has made no secret of his ambition to join the Champ Car World Series in the near future, and Coyne now sees no reason why the Venezuelan shouldn't be a worthy addition to the field.

"I know that Champ Car is his objective, and I think that this test was important," he explained, "Every driver that has tested with us tells us that they 'can do it', but it is one thing to be fast in a lower category, but can they be fast in a car that has this sort of power? That is very different! But Luis showed in this test that he can be quick in a Champ Car."

Schiavo has confirmed that he intends to see out this season in his current championship while working on a Champ Car program for 2006 and beyond.

"This year, we are going to finish the Formula Mazda championship - and are going to try to take the title," he said, "I think that there is a good chance of that. We are in fourth place in the points, but still very close to the leader. This will be my last year in Mazda, and I now believe that I am ready to take the next step. Of course, it will all depend on the support that I can get from businesses back in Venezuela, but I hope that they will see the value of having one of their countrymen in a Champ Car." CANTV.net

Industry News
Fiat turns a profit, but.... Fiat turns a profit, but....Fiat has rebounded into profit thanks to a $1 billion (£531 million) payment from carmaker General Motors (GM). One of Italy’s best-known firms and a mainstay of the country’s economy, which has been struggling with its underperforming carmaking division for a number of years, Fiat posted a net profit of €293m (£200m) in the first quarter, up from a loss of €390m a year ago.

The company’s shares fell more than 4 per cent in Milan, however, and analysts said that serious problems remained despite management talk of a turnaround. Sales in the first three months of 2005 dipped 2.4 per cent to €10.8bn. Without the GM payment, the Fiat group - which makes industrial and agricultural machinery as well as cars - would have posted a net loss of €245m.

The cash is the first installment of a $2bn agreement between GM and Fiat, which allowed the US carmaker to buy its way out of a joint venture in February. The company is now pinning its hopes on the new Croma model and is looking at ways of cutting costs.

There also has been talk of a possible flotation of its Ferrari sports car marque, although Fiat has not commented on the speculation. Sales of Ferrari and Maserati cars rose by almost 7 per cent. Business.Scotsman.com

Junqueira and Bourdais Continue to Work on Race Setups Junqueira and Bourdais Continue to Work on Race SetupsWednesday at the Brickyard for the lone Champ Car drivers.
FASTEST: Tony Kanaan 226.808 mph (46 laps in his primary car)
12th: Junqueira 224.746 mph (104 laps in his primary car)
17th: Bourdais 223.462 mph (86 laps in his primary car)

Bruno Junqueira, No. 36 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone: “I’m quite happy with the progress of the Team CENTIX car. Today we made a little progress but we still have a ways to go to get ready for the race. We were just working on the race set up and unfortunately I didn’t get much traffic except for Sebastien. The car is good when I am alone but when I get close to others, it’s not so good. We will keep working to improve the handling of the car in traffic.”

 Sebastien Bourdais, No. 37 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone: “We are making progress but we have a lot of work to do. The car is okay when I am by myself but it would be good if it was faster. We will continue to work on the Team CENTRIX car to improve it in traffic. Every day is very important so I hope the weather continues to cooperate.”

Michael Schumacher also on track at Fiorano Michael Schumacher also on track at FioranoSecond day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working once again at the Fiorano circuit. Luca Badoer and Michael Schumacher took to the track, each driving an F2005. Both drivers worked on a program centered on Bridgestone tire development on an artificially watered track.

At the end of the day, the results were as follows: Michael Schumacher did 68 laps (10 of them on the short version of the track,) the quickest in 1’02”715, while the Scuderia’s official test driver completed 34 laps, (3 of them short,) with a best time of 1’03”119.

Luca Badoer and Michael Schumacher continue testing tomorrow at Fiorano.

Weather: air temperature 12/22 °C, track temperature 17/26 °C; cloudy.

Kanaan tops 227 MPH at Indy with big tow Kanaan tops 227 MPH at Indy with big tow
Kimi quick in France Kimi quick in FranceSpanish Grand Prix winner, Kimi Raikkonen topped the times on Wednesday as the latest F1 group test began at Paul Ricard on the short configuration [3.593 km] of the circuit. The Finn completed 146 laps in total in the MP4-20, his best time being a one minute 04.100 seconds, around half a second or so up on the Toyota of Ricardo Zonta. Raikkonen's program focused on Michelin tire work for Monaco, testing the prime and option tires for the forthcoming race. He completed short runs this morning, before doing three longer runs this afternoon. Testing continues tomorrow [Thursday].
1. Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1m 04.100s 146 laps
2. Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1m 04.623 106 laps
3. Heikki Kovalainen Renault-Renault 1m 04.735 213 laps
4. Franck Montagny Renault-Renault 1m 04.786s 152 laps
5. David Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth 1m 05.066 102 laps
6. Vitantonio Luizzi Red Bull-Cosworth 1m 05.251s 109 laps
7. Enrique Bernoldi BAR-Honda 1m 05.273s 171 laps
8. Olivier Panis Toyota-Toyota 1m 05.304s 92 laps
9. Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas 1m 05.414s 148 laps
10. Anthony Davidson BAR Honda 1m 05.435s 117 laps
11. Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1m 05.746s 93 laps
BMW Williams continue testing at Vallelunga BMW Williams continue testing at VallelungaThe BMW Williams-F1 team continued testing at Vallelunga in Italy on Wednesday, with race driver Mark Webber taking over from Andy Priaulx to continue the team's program, along with the team's third driver Antonio Pizzonia. Webber was quickest with a best time of 56.449 seconds, the Australian managing 97 laps, despite a few technical problems in the morning. Pizzonia completed more laps - 128 in total - although his quickest was over half a second slower [a 57.209s]. Like yesterday Williams were focusing on set-up work with the FW27's for the forthcoming Monaco GP and once again conditions were pretty much perfect - dry and sunny. "Antonio had a productive second day on track today, predominantly working on tire evaluations with Michelin," summed up Williams test team manager, Tim Newton. "Mark Webber joined Antonio but, unfortunately, had a less productive day. We lost a lot of time in the morning due to technical problems but, after a lot of hard work by the mechanics, we made a good recovery in time for the afternoon session. "Mark was then able to complete some very useful tire testing for Monaco." Williams F1
Buddy Rice crashes Buddy Rice crashesUPDATE KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone): “He (Rice) was just in a big hurry. Today is a long day with six hours of testing. When we pitted, (Buddy Rice) was behind me because his pit stall is behind mine. When we exited in the pit lane, he was in a hurry and he overtook me immediately. He overtook Helio (Castroneves) and tried to overtake (Sam) Hornish. On the third lap, I was behind him, but not too close. He spun in the middle of Turn 2 and he hit the wall. The track was covered with his parts. I wanted to go outside, but it was very dusty. His car came to the inside, so I spun to avoid the crash. I didn’t hit the wall and I saved the car, but I have quite a lot of damage. The engine block, the gearbox and the bell housing were damaged. So is the underwing. It could be worse. It was very lucky for me. Hopefully, (Buddy) will be able to come back and nothing is wrong with him." 05/11/05 Last year's Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice lost control in turn 2 at Indy shortly after practice begun and made heavy contact with the outside Turn 2 wall (photo).    Buddy got out of the car but was visibly shaken and taken to Methodist Hospital in Indy. Kosuke Matsuura was forced to spin his Panasonic Fernandez Honda to the infield to avoid the wreck, sustained no damage, and was able to drive away. More as we hear it.......
Klaus Graf strong in Trans-Am debut Klaus Graf strong in Trans-Am debutHaving never driven one of the 630 horse powered Trans-Am racecars before, Klaus Graf jumped at the opportunity to drive the Rocketsports No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR powered by the Jaguar production based AJ-V8 race engine. The 33 year old German Native's resume includes two International drivers' championships, NASCAR, American Le Mans Series, and two starts in the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

In preparation for his debut on the streets of Long Beach, Graf and the Rocketsports team headed to Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona for a two-day test. Showing his ability to adapt to his new environment, the German Formula Ford champion matched the speed of the four-time Trans-Am champion and team boss, Paul Gentilozzi.

After familiarizing himself to the 1.968-mile street course of Long Beach, Graf topped the speed charts in third round practice setting a lap time of 1:22.780. Starting the Cytomax Challenge from seventh, Graf drove up through the field passing veteran drivers Greg Pickett, Randy Ruhlman, Boris Said, and teammate Tomy Drissi before setting his sights on the 2004 race winner, Gentilozzi. In his debut, Graf set the fastest lap time of the race and led laps in North America's longest running road racing series.

Graf enjoyed the power and performance of the four-valve, fuel injected production based Jaguar engine. "I really enjoyed my first race weekend with the Jaguar AJ-V8 in Long Beach," said Graf. "The power and the drivability of the engine are quite impressive and it's great to be able to change engine mappings and fine tune the engine at the racetrack."

The Rocketsports team will head back west to Portland, Oregon where Graf's learning curve will be shorter. Graf competed on the Portland road course in 2001 driving in ALMS. In 2004, Jaguar swept the podium after Gentilozzi won the Albertson 100, followed by teammate Tomy Drissi and Jorge Diaz in his Rocketsports built Jaguar.

Celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2005, the Trans-Am series will take to the 1.969-mile Portland International Raceway road course June 18th as part of the G.I Joe's Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland weekend.  Rocketsports

Indy paddock wants Champ/IRL merger Indy paddock wants Champ/IRL mergerAccording to this SPEEDTV article, while it may be abundantly evident the recent “talks” failed to produce tangible results, it only took one walk around the garage area at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend to realize the meetings rekindled the dormant yearnings within the open-wheel racing community for a reunification of the sport.

Conspicuous by its absence was the vitriol that has long characterized much of the conversation about the “other” series (whichever series that may be) over the past decade. Rather, talk was about how much open-wheel racing would gain from a single, unified series; how it’s long since time people on both sides of the Great Divide realized – and acted upon – the fact that the IRL and Champ Car have far more in common than not; that the two are natural allies against the real competition, aka NASCAR.

And finally, that neither series is going to achieve total “victory” – or, conversely, submit to unconditional surrender – in the foreseeable future.

But there are also people from both series who understand that, sooner or later, the status quo means the death of American open-wheel racing. Do you think Roger Penske and Carl Haas want the Champ Car/IRL schism as the legacy they leave to the sport? Or that Penske’s op-ed piece in the New York Times last year calling for a reconciliation was nothing but a self-serving attempt to look like the good guy? Or that the only reason that Newman/Haas Racing is back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year is to give Carl Haas another chance to win his first Indy 500?

Not for a minute. Like virtually everyone involved in the sport, they know the time is long since past to start on the long and tremendously complicated path of re-unifying American open-wheel racing. How that can and will be achieved is as unclear as ever, of course, but the fact that growing numbers of the rank and file, as well as the movers and shakers, in both series recognize the need to end the madness is not only a start, it’s a necessary start.

Why even one who has only been involved in American open-wheel racing for a little more than two years – and who was all of 16 years old in 1995 –can grasp that fundamental fact.

“What a blast it would be to have 45 drivers trying to qualify for Indy,” he said. “I’m one of the guys who thinks it would be better to have one series. So it’s very important now to stop the controversy between Champ Car and the IRL. Now we just have to find a way to make it happen.”

The speaker? Sebastien Bourdais. 2004 Champ Car World Series Champion, 2005 Indianapolis 500 rookie and one of a growing number of people who recognize the time has come to return a modicum of sanity to American open-wheel racing.

33 is just a number 33 is just a numberIt looks like the IRL is going to have to find another ride-buyer.  Scott Mayer supposedly flunked his Indy 500 rookie test (again) so we are down to 32 drivers for this year's Indy 500....for now.  However, 33 is just a number.
This week's Top-20 Driver Ranking This week's Top-20 Driver RankingSPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking

Updated 5-11-05

Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 11.508
2. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 9.040
3. (3) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 8.912
4. (4) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.946
5. (5) Bruno Junqueira (CCWS) 7.784
6. (7) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.688
7. (14) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.589
8. (40) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 7.404
9. (NR) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.817
10. (21) Jarno Trulli (F1) 6.813
11. (16) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 6.770
12. (18) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.762
13. (NR) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.761
14. (12) Paul Tracy (CCWS) 6.735
15. (15) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.629
16. (NR) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.470
17. (11) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 6.309
18. (9) Elliott Sadler (NASCAR) 6.256
19. (NR) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.236
20. (23) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 6.206

Last week's ranking in parenthesis.   Provided by STATS Inc. - Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.  For a complete ranking, please visit www.speedtv.com

Martinez lands Atlantic ride Martinez lands Atlantic rideUPDATE One of Mexico’s top rising open-wheel racing stars will return to scene of perhaps his greatest victory with today’s announcement that 23-year-old driver David Martinez will compete for the US RaceTronics team at the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey Presented by Roshfrans, Round 2 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama.

Martinez (right), who was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico but has lived in Monterrey since he was four-years-old, will continue testing for US RaceTronics this week and will race in the #7 entry with sponsorship from Roshfrans at the 2.104-mile Fundidora Park circuit in his hometown, May 20-22.

Joining the Toyota Atlantic Championship for the Monterrey event is more than just a homecoming for Martinez. The talented racer will be returning to a track where he has some pretty fond memories. In 2003, Martinez competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series during the annual Champ Car World Series race weekend and he posted a dramatic victory in front of his hometown fans. Starting from second place, Martinez passed pole winner Leo Maia on the opening lap and he cruised to his lone series win while becoming the first Mexican driver to win an international race in his home country. Martinez wound up finishing fourth in the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship that season.

“I have pretty good memories of racing in Monterrey,” said Martinez, who will be competing at US RaceTronics under the guidance of owner Shane Seneviratne, the former team manager for the championship-winning Dorricott Racing team, “I really want to experience racing in front of the Mexican fans again. Working with Shane and the team and the experience they have in the series, I think we can do very well in this race.”

Martinez also has one Atlantic start under his belt, which came at Monterrey as well. He ran for Condor Motorsports in 2002 and finished 15th in his series debut.

In addition to his Atlantic and Barber Dodge racing experience, Martinez also competed in the Eurocup Renault V6 series, earning five top-five finishes last season. He claimed the Mexican Formula Renault Championship with five wins in 2003 and was named Rookie of the Year in the Mexican F3 series in 1999.

“I’m excited about racing in Atlantics again,” added Martinez. “I love the people that work in the series and it’s very competitive. I want to thank Shane (Seneviratne) and the team and I want to thank Roshfrans for this opportunity.”

The Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey Presented by Roshfrans Atlantic race (tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel - Saturday, May 28 at 2 p.m. ET), is scheduled for 32 laps (67.328 miles) and will be run on Sunday, May 22. The Atlantics will be in action throughout the weekend in Monterrey with qualifying rounds highlighting activities on Friday and Saturday. Toyota Atlantic Series

05/06/05 Mexican David Martinez will run in the Toyota Atlantic race in Monterrey with Roshfrans backing. The Mexican, who is one of the best Mexican open wheel racers will run for the U.S. Racetronics squad that used to be Dorricott Racing. David Martinez is the only Mexican who has won an international series race on Mexican soil. He won the Barber Dodge race in Monterrey in 2003. el norte.com
NASCAR to open office near Wal-Mart headquarters NASCAR to open office near Wal-Mart headquartersNASCAR will be the latest business to open an office in Bentonville, Arkansas. The office is to open tomorrow to help give the stock car racing organization a presence near Wal-Mart. The nation's largest retailer has a big stake in selling many different NASCAR-licensed products.  NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp says the licensing office will help NASCAR have a greater presence among companies that make its merchandise and sell NASCAR items. Tharp says the office will help spread the NASCAR brand name.  Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup series champion Kurt Bush will be on hand for tomorrow's ceremony to open the office. AP Story
Jackie Stewart in fight of his life Jackie Stewart in fight of his lifeThis Reuters article says, Jackie Stewart has seen friends killed at race tracks and received death threats for his campaigning efforts to improve Formula One safety.  He left school at 15, considered stupid because of undiagnosed dyslexia.  Yet in all his remarkable life, the three times world champion says he has never had to face a situation quite like the one which comes to a head at Silverstone circuit on Thursday.  An extraordinary general meeting of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has been called for a vote that could oust the 65-year-old Scot as president and board member.

On the face of it the dispute might appear little more than a parochial dispute, a clash of egos among the tie-and-blazer brigade.  Stewart, who became president in 2000 after being asked by his dying Formula One mentor Ken Tyrrell to take the job, disagrees.

"There was a campaign started which has been totally aimed at, as I see it, my credibility and my integrity," he told reporters gathered at his house set in acres of rolling countryside last week.  A very vicious campaign that started off with only two or three people but was networked on to a level which has grown to be extraordinary...The misinformation and disinformation has been colossal." More....

Illness sidelines Dana Illness sidelines DanaRookie driver Paul Dana, on antibiotics for a flu-like illness, missed a second straight day of practice Tuesday for the Indianapolis 500. Dana began feeling ill after his Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing team returned from a race at Motegi, Japan, last week. He completed the Indy rookie test on Sunday but did not feel well enough to practice on Monday or Tuesday.

"I can't believe the timing of this," Dana said. "This should be the biggest week of my life, and to be sick right now does not make me happy. We took yesterday off, hoping that I'd feel well enough today to be back on track, but it hasn't happened. It's a long month, and we feel it's better if we miss a couple of days now so I can be back at 100 per cent when it really matters." AP Story

A1 Grand Prix
A1 Grand Prix race car soars at Silverstone shakedown A1 Grand Prix race car soars at Silverstone shakedownThe A1 Grand Prix race car set an impressive pace at Silverstone yesterday as the A1 Technical Operations team held a shakedown for the final specification car set to race in the inaugural World Cup of Motorsport.

Fresh from his 24-hour Nurbürgring victory, A1 Team Portugal driver Pedro Lamy took the wheel showing the speed and agility of the definitive A1 car. Reaching a top lap-time of 1.37.15 Lamy finished just two tenths of a second off the F3000 Silverstone lap record set by Vitantonio Liuzzi last summer.

”This was the first chance I've had to get the A1 car out on the track and it's a great car. I was really impressed by the gearbox. It's been a long time since I've driven a single-seater but this was an exciting drive. I'm looking forward to the start of the season' said Lamy.

A1 Grand Prix's Global Operations Manager John Wickham headed up the Silverstone test and welcomed Lamy's feedback as a new driver to the program: 'Pedro's got a lot of experience from sports and saloon car racing which gives us a new dimension for our testing.'

Commenting on the day's results Wickham said, 'We've built today's car as close as possible to the final spec that will be used for the 50 team cars we've commissioned. We've run as many laps as possible throughout the day to prove that all is working well and more importantly that we've got a very reliable car. On a day that was much colder and slightly damp, the A1 car was just a fraction off the F3000 lap record so we're really encouraged by the performance of the car.'

The A1GP car has to be one of the ugliest cars Lola has ever produced

'A truly great season' - Gerhard Berger 'A truly great season' - Gerhard BergerUp to the closing stages of the 2003 season, former BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger was a key part of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, and the ten-time Grand Prix winner still attends a Formula One round now and then.

The Spanish Grand Prix was the first race of the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship season to be visited by the popular Austrian, who thoroughly enjoyed the chance of watching the race without being involved. From his point of view, the 2005 season is far more thrilling than those of recent years.

“This season is evolving into a truly great one,” the WilliamsF1 site report Berger as saying. “There are several teams able to win races. The gaps in the qualifying sessions are so small that you really don't know which car you should bet your money on. This is most definitely a season you would wish to witness as we just don't know who will win.” WilliamsF1

Mitsubishi Electric joins Sauber Petronas Mitsubishi Electric joins Sauber PetronasSauber Petronas has concluded a three-year partnership agreement with Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. Under the terms of this agreement Mitsubishi Electric will supply wire-cut and die sinking systems to Sauber Petronas in return for which Mitsubishi Electric will receive extensive marketing and advertising rights. In addition, both companies have agreed on a close collaboration to develop specific know-know in this field.

"EDM (electrical discharge machining) technology has been gaining increasing importance in recent years, giving our designers new potentials for shaping components, which clearly surpass those of conventional machining techniques," Willy Rampf, Sauber Petronas' Technical Director, describes the benefits.

Toshio Moro, Division Manager Mechatronics EDM, sees the collaboration with Sauber Petronas as a competitive challenge: "Top performance in racing requires top performance in the production and manufacture of components for the racing cars. Mitsubishi Electric, the technology leader in the field of wire-cut EDM, meets these prerequisites in an ideal way."
Mitsubishi is the world market leader in the field of EDM with a market share of 30 percent. The European headquarters of the Mechatronics EDM division has been located in Ratingen near Düsseldorf (Germany) since 1991. Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. employs more than 1,300 people in its nine European subsidiaries. Mitsubishi Europe B.V. is a fully owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation headquartered in Tokyo. Around the world, the company currently has 132 branch and sales offices, 74 manufacturing locations and 15 research and development centers with a total of roughly 100,000 employees. Sales in the 2004 financial year amounted to 25.54 billion euros. Sauber Petronas

Not Listening Not ListeningA National Speed Sport reader writes to the newspaper in this week's edition, How deep can Tony George and the IRL staff bury their heads in the sand? They are running practically every race in front of empty grandstands. Meanwhile, the IndyCar fans are screaming loud and clear about how they feel, and what they want to see, and these guys just don’t pay attention. One of the basic rules of being successful in business is to listen to customer feedback and give them what they want. We want to see guys from midget, sprint, Silver Crown and supermodifieds in the IndyCars. That way, the guys from USAC and other clubs carry the fan base up into IndyCars and the fans support the IRL because it’s where their American heroes can succeed. We don’t need another CART/Champ Car Series. If that is what we wanted, we’d watch the Champ Car World Series. Now, we have mostly foreign drivers in the IRL and even road racing. Maybe they do put on a good show, but nobody knows them and nobody cares. Wake up, Tony. It may be too late already. Dave Reed, Monroe, N.Y. [Editor's Note: The IRL had some of those dirt track drivers in their series in the beginning. Remember the "Road to Indy" campaign? Recall the dirt trackers and their fans wearing those "Road to Indy" hats as recent as last year. They drove horribly, crashed often and went back to dirt track racing or NASCAR, the Road to Indy just a fleeting memory.]
Industry News
New Sunoco promotion New Sunoco promotionA new promotion is under way at Sunoco. Throughout May, June, July and Aug., everyone who visits a Sunoco station will be given a replica NASCAR contingency decal to place on their cars.  If an official spotter at a Sunoco station notices the decal, that person is awarded with a scratch-and-win card. Every card wins a prize, ranging from hats and race tickets to free gas for a year. Winners may also choose to enter a drawing for a trip for four to the Richard Petty Driving Experience, or their choice of a 2005 Ford F-150 or Ford Explorer.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Nick blinks at Button talk
F1 back in action
'I'm treated fairly' - Fisi
'Don't write me off' - Schu
What to say to a King
Wheldon and F1
Ferrari boss slams F1 rules
May 11
Montoya's injury upside
Ralf's back - teammate
BAR would have protested
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No apologies from Wallace for jackman hurt at Talladega No apologies from Wallace for jackman hurt at TalladegaUPDATE #2 Josh Yost, jackman for the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet driven by Jeff Burton, who was injured on pit road after being struck by another car, will not return to competition this season following two surgeries to repair his heavily injured right ankle.  After being released from a Birmingham, Ala., hospital following the May 1 NASCAR Cup event at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Yost was flown back to North Carolina to begin treatment at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.   During the exploratory surgery performed May 3, it was discovered Yost’s injuries included two ruptured tendons, damaged ligaments, a severe laceration and a crushed fibula tip. Yost then underwent reconstructive surgery May 5 to repair the ankle and was released from the hospital the following day.  He has been instructed by his doctors to remain off of the ankle for six to eight weeks and can then begin the lengthy rehabilitation process. 05/05/05 Josh Yost, the jackman for Richard Childress Racing's No. 31 Chevrolet, who was struck by the Dodge of driver Rusty Wallace during the Cup race Sunday at Talladega, completed two additional surgeries Thursday.  Yost underwent exploratory surgery on his right ankle Tuesday at a Winston-Salem, N.C., hospital and was diagnosed with two ruptured tendons, extensive ligament damage, a severe laceration and a crushed fibula tip.

Yost is expected to return home by Friday and will need one additional hospital visit to have a hard cast placed on his ankle. He will not return to his pit road duties this season, team officials said.  In addition, Yost received a phone call Thursday from Wallace who explained that he attempted to contact Yost on his cell phone Monday, but was unsuccessful and left a message at Yost's home. Yost however, has not been home since the incident.

"This is my final year and I don't want to do anything that would get people upset with me. I don't want people to think that I am not a caring person," Wallace said.   I've talked to Richard Childress, Kevin Hamlin (crew chief) and Josh and they understand that there was nothing done on purpose.   (Jeff) Burton came up to me right after the race and asked me about hitting his guy, and at the time, I said I didn't know what he was talking about. I don't remember it happening and it was even difficult to see when I watched a replay of the pit stop." ThatsRacin

05/05/05 Josh Yost, the jackman for Richard Childress Racing's No. 31 Chevrolet, who was struck by the Dodge of driver Rusty Wallace during the Cup race Sunday at Talladega, faces at least two additional surgeries over the next week.  Yost has received no apology from Wallace, team officials confirmed Wednesday. Wallace initially denied responsibility in a post-race conversation with Burton, who drives the No. 31, witnesses said.  Yost underwent exploratory surgery on his right ankle Tuesday at a Winston-Salem, N.C., hospital and was diagnosed with two ruptured tendons, extensive ligament damage, a severe laceration and a crushed fibula tip.  He will remain in the hospital and have surgery Thursday to clean the wound, then reconstructive surgery early next week. Curt Bowman will fill in for Yost this weekend in Darlington, S.C. ThatsRacin
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