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Judge denies NASCAR team owner’s motions
U.S. District Court judge has denied the motions of NASCAR team owner Gene Haas to suppress evidence and dismiss the indictment on tax fraud against him. Judge Christina A. Snyder heard Haas' arguments May 7 in Los Angeles and delivered her decision Thursday. Haas had alleged government misconduct in the way it has obtained search warrants and information should result in the dismissal of the case or further hearings. He also petitioned for dismissal of specific counts on various grounds. Snyder denied all of Haas' requests. The government alleges that Haas, through his company Haas Automation, created $50 million in bogus expenses to avoid paying $20 million in taxes. Haas has pleaded not guilty, and his company has blamed a disgruntled employee for the allegations. Haas Automation, a machine builder, had revenues of $600 million in 2005, and its estimated revenues will reach $1 billion by 2010, according to court documents. The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 18. Scenedaily.com


Jazeman gets Williams invite
Malaysia's 14-year-old racing sensation Jazeman Jaafar has come closer to realizing a career in Formula One following an invitation by Sir Frank Williams to test with AT&T Williams Team's Formula 1 racing simulator this week at its factory in Oxfordshire, England.

Jazeman shot to fame when he made a dream debut to his professional motorsport career, with two wins and a second place finish in the opening round of the 2007 Formula BMW Asia in Sepang two weeks ago, the youngest ever winner in the series and the first by a Malaysian.

Today, Jazeman will get his first taste of F1 racing when he gets to drive the team's race simulator, which according to team driver Nico Rosberg, “is as close to the real thing”.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me. When Meritus Team bosses told me that I had been invited to test the F1-Williams simulator, I could not believe how lucky I was,” said Jazeman. It is a dream come true for me to be asked by Williams as my goal is to race for the Williams F1 team one day,” he added.

Jazeman left for England last Friday accompanied by his Meritus Team race engineer and director Firhat Mokhzani and AirAsia deputy CEO Datuk Kamaruddin Meranun, partners of the AT&T Williams F1 Team.


Stewart: Lewis can be best ever
Lewis Hamilton can become the greatest driver in Formula One history. The glowing tribute comes from legendary triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart.

He believes Hamilton, 22, will set the benchmark for the next generation of racers just as Michael Schumacher did for the current crop.

Stewart, 67, said: “I think he is going to rewrite the book.

“I think Lewis will create the new benchmark for a whole generation of drivers.

“Niki Lauda and James Hunt changed the culture of racing drivers. But they were not role models. They said nothing, didn’t give a damn. Lewis can become the role model. Everybody needs one.

“There are hundreds of millions with driving licenses, very few million have competition licenses, a few hundred thousand do it on a regular basis.

“A few thousand make a living out of it, a few hundred make a decent living out of it and 22 are on the grid and of those 22 only six are any good.

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Edwards fastest in Busch test
NASCAR Busch Series standings leader Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scott’s Ford) posted the fastest time of the first test session Monday afternoon at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, with a lap of 29.916 seconds (180.505 mph).

Edwards’ Roush Fenway Racing teammate Todd Kluever (No. 16 3M Ford) was second-fastest with a lap of 30.248 seconds (178.524).

Thirty-three drivers representing 22 teams posted times during the first session of Day 1; the second session was scheduled from 6-9:00 p.m.

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Firestone renews sponsorship of IRL race
Michigan International Speedway and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire have announced that the Nashville-based tire company will renew its title sponsorship of the IndyCar Series race at MIS on August 5. It will be the third consecutive year that Firestone has sponsored the IndyCar Series event at MIS.

"We're pleased to have Firestone returning to sponsor our IndyCar Series race," track President Roger Curtis said. "As the official tire supplier of the Indy Racing League, Firestone has been a major presence in open-wheel racing for many years. It's only fitting that a company with such an extensive racing history return to sponsor one of the most exciting open wheel races in the United States."

"Renewing our title sponsorship for the IndyCar Series event at a track with so much racing history like Michigan International Speedway makes us very proud," said Al Speyer, Firestone Racing executive director. "We have had a great partnership over the past few years and are looking forward to exciting racing at MIS this summer."

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Q and A with PCM Champ Car rookies
Pacific Coast Motorsports jumped into the Champ Car arena as a rookie team, with rookie drivers and a brand new car.  It’s a tall task and it hasn’t been easy, but the free-spirited California-based team is off to a solid-start with three top-ten finishes and zero mechanical failures.  Their stars, rookies Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel discuss their first impressions as Champ Car drivers.

Q. Three races in to your rookie Champ Car season how do you rate your debut, are you satisfied with your performances so far?
AF: I'm not extremely satisfied with the first three races. I feel like speed wise, Ryan and I are on the same pace, which is good because you can only really measure yourself against your teammate.   I've made some really stupid mistakes in the races, which I’ve learned from and I'm looking forward to getting another shot at Portland.

RD: I am really quite happy with how things have gone. To be honest I was aiming for top-tens and I thought I was aiming high but so far that’s where we have run. I am really proud of PCM. I think the team has done a mega job getting where they are in such a short time. I think we will only get stronger as an organization.

Q. As a rookie with a new team, what do you think has been the biggest challenge?
AF:  The biggest challenge for us has been coming to grips with the car. The new car doesn't mean that everybody is starting in the same situation. Each weekend we've made gains and testing has made a big difference, so I'll be happy to get back racing.

RD: I think initially we focused on reliability and the day to day running of the team. To be honest performance is something we knew would come to us so it wasn’t something we stressed about going into the first few races. Safety for us was for sure number one, a safe crew, with safe pit stops was a major goal and so far we have done really well. 

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RSPORTS team staying busy during break
These guys just do not get a break, after testing in Portland RSPORTS drivers Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson stay busy off-track promoting the Champ Car World Series and its upcoming events throughout the world. 
As a part of the in-market promotions taking place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where Round 7 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series will take place on June 6-8, Alex Tagliani headed to his native country of Canada to participate in a full day of media activity on May 8. Champ Car driver, and Tagliani’s former teammate, Will Power also spent the day in Toronto gearing up for the future event with Tagliani and Atlantic driver James Hinchcliffe.
It was a busy day, which began at 6:30 a.m. in Toronto and did not end for Tagliani until 10:30 p.m. Las Vegas time, the time he returned back home. Several stops where made throughout the day, including visits to top media outlets in Toronto, an autograph session held at First Canadian Place in the Financial District during the lunch-time hour, lunch with the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto sponsors, and wrapping up the day on MTV LIVE in Canada.

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IRL retains Just Marketing
The Indy Racing League, sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series, announced today that it has retained Indianapolis-based Just Marketing International (JMI) to consult the league on all facets of commercial rights packaging and sales for the IndyCar Series - including its teams, drivers, tracks, events and media. The agreement is a non-exclusive, multi-year consultancy.

The Indy Racing League's immediate goal is increasing corporate interest in the IndyCar Series and its drivers, teams and tracks. JMI will advise on all business development matters relating to the IndyCar Series sales strategy, packaging, marketplace intelligence and commercial value proposition.

JMI's initial priority will be to help prioritize, organize and mobilize commercial efforts against the strategic imperatives for the IndyCar Series - seeking to maximize the value proposition for prospective sponsors. 

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McLaren wing passes FIA test
McLaren's new front wing has once again been passed by the FIA after rivals teams questioned its flexibility.  The new wing, which forms a bridge over the nose of the car, made its competitive debut during this past weekend's Spanish GP.  However, some concerns were raised by rival teams, who felt the wing was flexing too much down the high speeds straights.   The FIA's technical department was therefore called on to examine the wing prior to Sunday's race and gave it the all-clear.


Indy-based NHRA teams to open their doors
Many auto racing shops in the Northfield Drive-South Point Circle area of Brownsburg, Ind., will open their doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, for race fans who may be in town for the weekend's events at O'Reilly Raceway Park and the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Local businessman Mike Green is organizing the event and expects a great turnout from race fans and the local community.

"Brownsburg has always had a rich history in racing, and recently we have added to the types of racing and racing entities in our town," Green said. "This event is to showcase to the citizens of Brownsburg and race fans everywhere the racing industry that we are home to."

The Brownsburg Motorsports Network includes teams from the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, United States Auto Club (USAC), World of Outlaws, and the ARCA Stock Car series. Many manufacturers and suppliers also find themselves along the Northfield Drive-South Point corridor.

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Rossiter lands F1 test role
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce that James Rossiter will be joining the team at Paul Ricard this week where he will be taking up his new position of Test Driver.

Oxfordshire born James was a member of the Honda Racing F1 Team’s Young Driver Program for two years before being promoted to the position of Test Driver in November 2006.

James Rossiter, Test Driver, SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM
"I am really pleased to be joining the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM as their Test Driver and look forward to getting to know the team over the next few weeks. This is a great opportunity for me and it will be good to get into the SA07 at the Paul Ricard test on Tuesday and start to help the team with their development program. I would like to say thanks to SAF1 Team for this opportunity and also to the Honda Racing F1 Team for all their support over the past two and a half years. I am very pleased to be staying within the Honda family."

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal, SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM
“I am happy to welcome James to the SUPER AGURI family and that we have the opportunity to work with a young and recognized driving talent. I hope that the relationship we build together over the coming year will help James develop into a competitive driver for the future of the sport.”


Champ Car promotion begins in Europe UPDATE #2 A reader asks, Both Assen and Zolder circuits are less then 50 km (30 miles) from the German border. Both Assen and in particular Zolder are within a 150 km (90 miles) range from the infamous Ruhrtgebiet area, with cities like Köln (Cologne), Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg amongst others. More then 20 million Germans live and work in this area. Many German motorsport events are organized at both circuits. The Germans are big motor-(sport) enthusiasts (4 drivers in F1, until this year 2 Grand Prix, the DTM, Porsche, etc). The produce world's best cars: BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, etc.). Champ Car used to race in Germany. Why is there no media stop in Germany for the two European races? I just don't get it. Peter Slayer, Germany

05/14/07 Champ Car Press Release: Following in the footsteps of the successful Turbo Tour in 2006, Champ Car World Series executives and race promoters along with a handful of Champ Car drivers are in Europe for a four day, four city tour where they will meet with media representatives, giving them a foretaste of what to expect when the Series stops in Zolder, Belgium August 24 - 26 for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium and in Assen, The Netherlands for the Dutch Champ Car Grand Prix, August 31 -- September 2.

The tour kicks off Tuesday, May 15th, in London, England and will then head to Amsterdam, The Netherlands for another one day visit on May 16th. The group will then hop on a luxury coach to make the trip to Brussels, Belgium where they will meet with the local media at the Autoworld Museum.  After their gathering with the media and a quick tour of the museum, the group will get back on the coach and continue their road trip which will take them to beautiful Paris, France for the last leg of their trip on May 18th.

Making the trip to Europe and representing the Champ Car driver contingent are Brits Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Dan Clarke (#4 Ticketmaster/Synapse Power/The Australian Pink Floyd Show/ Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Dutchman Robert Doornbos (#14 Muermans/Jumbo Supermarkten/Mediamall Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), and finally Frenchmen Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyard Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) will be joining the group for the last two stops of the four day tour.

The European Champ Car stars will be accompanied by Champ Car World Series representatives including President Steve Johnson and Vice President of Venue Development John Clagett. The two European events of Zolder and Assen will be represented by their promoter Bart Rietbergen.

“Champ Car is an international series and we are working hard to raise our visibility in our new race markets,” said Champ Car President and CEO Steve Johnson.  “By going to Europe it is a great opportunity for new media to learn more about Champ Car, and also give them a chance to meet with some of their local drivers, who are stars in our series. Europe has given us many great drivers over the years and we are very proud to be racing again on European soil.”

Other special guests that will join the group throughout the tour are Minardi Team USA owner Paul Stoddart, Champ Car Belgium General Manager Meindert van Buuren and Lee Van Dam of the Assen event.

05/14/07 Promotion of the September Champ Car race in Assen, Holland has begun with large trackside banners appearing at various race tracks.

Champ Car drivers and personnel will be making the rounds on a mini European promotional tour, similar to last years highly popular North American "Turbo Tour."  Champ Car will visit London on Tuesday, Amsterdam on Wednesday, Brussels on Thursday and Paris on Friday, participating in press conferences to promote the newly added European swing on this years 2007 Champ Car Schedule.

Some of the folks who are tentatively scheduled to participate are:

  • Champ Car president Steve Johnson
  • Champ Car Vice President, Venue Development, John Clagett
  • Champ Car drivers Robert Doornbos, Justin Wilson, Katherine Legge and Dan Clarke
  • Minardi Team USA co-owner, Paul Stoddart
  • Bart Rietbergen, Champ Car World Series European promoter
  • Lee van Dam , Champ Car Assen promoter
  • Meindert van Buuren, Champ Car Zolder promoter

3 time and current champion Sebastien Bourdais is expected to be joining the tour for the final two stops in Brussels and Paris.


Richards aims for top half of grid
David Richards will enter Formula 1 in 2008 with their Prodrive F1 team. Richards will buy his engine and chassis from another team as the rules in F1 will allow such a thing starting from next season. Richards has high expectations and believes his team could soon be fighting amongst the top half of the grid.

Richards told ITV: "There are some incredibly competitive teams out there who have been doing this forever and are exceptionally good at it," he said. "It would be ridiculously arrogant to think that one could come in there and challenge the equilibrium of that.

"But nonetheless, if you pick the right partner, you've got the right drivers and you do the job well, we'll be fighting amongst the top half of the grid quite early on.

"We couldn't have competed in the current environment. You've seen new teams come, and the amount of money and investment required makes it impossible. But for 2008, the regulations are very specific: you can use a car that's been manufactured and built by an existing team."


Champ Car Announces new VP of Communications
INDIANAPOLIS ¬ The Champ Car World Series today tabbed veteran sports executive David Higdon to lead Champ Car’s strategic development and communications.  

Higdon assumes a new role at Champ Car as Executive Vice President of Strategic Development and Communications after serving most recently as Senior Vice President, Communications for the ATP, governing body of the international men’s tennis circuit.  Since 1998, Higdon developed and implemented the ATP’s public relations strategy, which included worldwide communications and promotion of men’s tennis players and tournaments.  

Higdon immediately joins Champ Car this week to travel with President and CEO Steve Johnson along with drivers including three-time titlist Sebastien Bourdais (France), Robert Doornbos (Holland) and Justin Wilson (United Kingdom) on a media tour of four European cities in four days. The Champ Car World Series group will hit London Tuesday (May 15), then continue with visits to Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris to promote the Series upcoming European events later this summer.  Champ Car will hold its first-ever events in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium (Aug. 24-26) and Assen, Holland (Aug. 31-Sept. 2). 

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Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • News briefs from Barcelona
  • Ferrari downplays McLaren 'flex' saga
  • Ferrari will help Kimi to improve
  • Ferrari vow to focus on reliability
  • Alonso move 'worth a try' - Hubbert
  • Heidfeld admits BMW pit stop frustration
  • Ferrari rejects Iley gossip
  • Surer hits out at F1 points system New
  • Massa should be 'number one' - Stuck New
  • Two more Toro Rosso tests for Bourdais New
  • Young guns 'encircle' team leaders - press New

News briefs from Barcelona
(GMM) Ferrari's back to back winner Felipe Massa thanked Michael Schumacher for his visit to the Spanish grand prix at the weekend.

"It was a good school for me last year and I learned quite a lot," the Brazilian told Italy's Corriere della Sera.

The German newspaper 'Bild' on Saturday had speculated that Kimi Raikkonen's struggle to keep up with Massa in Spain might have been linked to Schumacher's visit.

A pre-race headline read: "Schumacher and Massa take pole".


Big screens at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday confirmed a record race-day attendance of 140,700. In total, 355,000 Spaniards rolled through the turnstiles between Thursday and Sunday -- a figure that is unlikely to be beaten elsewhere in 2007.


McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton also set another personal record in Barcelona. At the age of 22 years, 4 months and 6 days, he overtook team founder Bruce McLaren's long-standing record of being the youngest ever world championship leader. New Zealander McLaren set the record driving a Cooper-Climax in 1960, at the age of 22 years, 5 months and 8 days.


It was reported this weekend that Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais will test again for the Toro Rosso team at Paul Ricard later this week.

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Bernie smarter than Champ Car
While Champ Car let the fastest Chinese driver, one capable of winning races, slip right through its fingers without even testing the guy, Bernie Ecclestone (shown right wishing Ho-Pin Tung well before the start of the Barcelona GP2 race) is far smarter and scooped German F3 champion Ho-Pin Tung right up and put him in GP2. Bernie knows they need a driver capable of making headlines in China for his Chinese GP. Meanwhile Champ Car brought in a Chinese backmarker to race in the Atlantic series. He's doing so bad they're wasting their time. Someday they will realize that "heroes" will make or break their race series.


Bernie dismisses safety concerns
Bernie Ecclestone is adamant the new street circuits in Valencia and Singapore will be safe enough to race. The Formula One supremo last week confirmed both venues will be on the calendar for 2008. The decision raised safety concerns as street circuits are inherently more dangerous than those designed for purpose. Singapore is planned as a night race but will be contested during the day if the circuit cannot be lit adequately.

But otherwise, Ecclestone has no worries about the suitability of either venue.

"There's another street track we've been racing on for quite a few years that's in the south of France - Monaco I think it's called!" said the 76-year-old.

"We've had no trouble there, so I don't see why we should have any trouble at these other street circuits.

"But of course there won't be a race unless it is safe." Sporting Life


Indy 500: The buzz is gone
A splendid week of weather, topped with a perfect pole day, wasn’t enough. The anticipated buzz of artificial bumping had little, if any, affect. Three women, two Andrettis, a Foyt and an Unser failed to generate anything in the way of a crowd.

It was another dose of reality Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, another reminder of how this day, this month and this race are crying out for an extreme makeover.

The 2-for-1 coupons in the local paper, the rock bands and the chance to watch Marty Roth practice wasn’t enough to bring back anything resembling a crowd.

Optimistically, no more than 10,000 turned out to watch the Battle of Brazil for the pole position. If there are 250,000 permanent seats, there had to be one body in every 25 seats and that was a stretch. More at SPEEDTV.com


IRL lets alcoholic run untested
When former Indiana Pacer Stephen Jackson got caught up in the Club Rio imbroglio, the overwhelming sentiment was that he was bad news -- the word "thug'' was thrown around liberally -- and should be run out of Indianapolis on a rail.
So, tell me, how exactly is Al Unser Jr. (pictured right) different?

Why is his a heartwarming story of redemption and recovery, Little Al beating back his demons and returning to the warm embrace of the track he's mastered twice before?

Take the personalities out of it, take race out of the equation, and consider just the facts:
Unser was charged in 2002 with striking his girlfriend while the pair were driving home from a Southside gentlemen's club. The charges were dropped.

And less than one month ago, Unser pleaded not guilty in Nevada to charges of driving under the influence, misdemeanor hit-and-run, failure to render aid in an accident and failure to report an accident.

So why isn't anybody screaming that Unser should be run out of Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Why aren't there questions about his physical and mental fitness when, despite his 107 days of sobriety come Sunday, he has continued to show he has problems with alcohol?

More to the point, why hasn't Unser been tested for drugs and alcohol this May?

Incredibly, Unser has never, ever been subjected to an Indy Racing League drug and alcohol test. He was tested by his former boss, Roger Penske, during a time in the late 1990s when Unser's excesses were common knowledge. But there was no IRL test after the 2002 incident. And there was none after his most recent run-in with the law, which occurred in January.

After Sunday's qualifying, a day in which Unser was bumped from the bubble and forced to re-qualify next weekend, race steward Brian Barnhart was asked, why hasn't Unser been tested?

"How do you know he hasn't?'' he responded.

Barnhart was told Unser had said he had never been tested.

The race's chief steward replied he was limited in what he could say by medical privacy laws.
The fact is, the IRL has the power to test if it has reasonable suspicion somebody in the garage area has a drug or alcohol issue. And yet, it has never tested Unser. Never.  More at Indy Star


Injured Indy Pro driver out of hospital UPDATE Added photo of Perez taken by our Tim Wohlford.  Perez was the latest oval track victim in a long line of many.  He's lucky to still have both feet so extensive were his injuries.

05/12/07 Indy Pro Series driver Pablo Perez visited his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 12 for AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award qualifications, two days after being released from Methodist Hospital. Perez, a rookie from Argentina, sustained leg injuries in an accident during the season-opening Indy Pro Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24.

PABLO PEREZ: "Today is my first day going out. Two days ago, I got out of the hospital. Today, I had to come to the track to see qualifications. Just to smell the tires, see the car, hear the noise and everything. I feel fantastic really. I'm really looking forward to getting back into the car and to feel the speed again. That's my main goal. I'm pushing so hard to walk by myself as soon as I can, so I can race again. I don't know, maybe it will take a couple of months, four, five. The doctors, every time I go to see them, they tell me that I'm doing better, better, better. So for sure in three or four months I should be walking again. In December, I will be in a car to test, and we'll see what happens." (About future plans): "I'm going back to Argentina next Friday to spend a couple of weeks to rest and to do more exercise, more rehab and spend a little time with my family. That will be good for me and my mind. I will return for the 500. I have to be over here to see that race. I'll be spend a week here for the race, and then I have one more surgery in my right leg to take out a metal plate. That will be the last surgery. I'm so glad to be here today."

racing news

Quotes of the week
LEWIS HAMILTON, F1 driver, McLaren
"I keep saying I am living my dream and it's really true.  I've been working so hard for this.  And to come into only my fourth grand prix and come out of it leading the world championship, when I'm driving with the top drivers in the world, is just incredible." (Lewis Hamilton is the youngest driver to lead the F1 Championship eclipsing Bruce McLaren's record by 35 days)
"I expected to be going for the title this year and instead I will probably not even see the podium.  The aerodynamics are not right," Fisichella explained. "From my perspective, it would be better to focus on 2008 so that we do not waste time working on a car that was born badly."  He said the R27 initially looked good in the wind tunnel but turned into a "disaster" when it hit the actual winter test tracks.  "Now, in testing, we are going back to the drawing board because we clearly did some wrong things with the design."
DALE EARNHARDT, Jr., NASCAR driver, departing driver for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
"It is time for me to continue his [father, Dale Earnhardt, Sr.] legacy in the only way I know I can - by taking the life lessons that he told me: Be a man, race hard and contend for championships.  That's what I intend to do and I feel strongly I would have my father's blessing.  We have decided it is time for me to move on.  As the negotiations continued, one thing became evident, we both wanted me to get to the same place, but we simply had disagreements on how to get there,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Because DEI means so much to me, I felt it was best now for both of us to start focusing on our future so that we both come out of this successfully.  DEI will always be a special place for me and my family. Teresa and Max Siegel are taking the necessary steps to bring DEI back to one of the front-running NASCAR teams. However I am 32 years old – the same age as my father when he made his final and most important career decision – and the time for me to compete on a consistent basis and contend for championships is now."

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Barnhart and Chitwood on Indy’s qualifying format
BRIAN BARNHART (President, Competition and Operations, Indy Racing League pictured far right next to Joie Chitwood): "A lot of thought went into the process to develop the new format and there's so many years of history and tradition here, but realistically, coming out of the first weekend, you usually came out with 20 to 25 cars qualified, and that's what we've got. We've got 22 cars qualified, we just got there a little different way that I think was way more entertaining for the fans. And the one thing that I certainly get a closer reaction to immediately is the reaction of the crews and the drivers because of the process that we got through, and while it was tension-filled, especially with the drivers and what's at stake when they do that, that's what they're paid to do and that's what they have fun doing.

When you look at the face of Tony Kanaan when he's getting ready to go out at five minutes to 6 or waiting for Helio to finish, he was eating it up; he was ready to go. The drivers had fun, the crews had fun, the managers and strategists had fun trying to decide what they wanted to do - to go to impound, to go back to tech. It was a different game to be played and so I know the participants enjoyed it, and I've always felt that whether it's on the track or the formats, if it's something the participants enjoy doing, then they're going to entertain the fans. Like I said, the good news is that we came out with just exactly what we're looking for as we head out into the second week-about the same number of cars qualified.

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Pole Day drama lacking UPDATE A reader adds, Sarah Fisher instead of Sebastien Bourdais. Ed Carpenter instead of Paul Tracy. A.J. Foyt IV instead of Justin Wilson. And this is before the bums that will be filling the field next week. What a sham the Indy 500 has become. Doug Ferguson

05/13/07 Pole Day for the Indy 500 had some breathtaking final minutes Saturday. Helio Castroneves grabbed the pole, and then watched Tony Kanaan fall just short of topping him on the final qualifying run of the afternoon.

The old Brickyard produced real excitement, but it came in front of mostly empty grandstands. IMS doesn't release attendance figures, but 20,000 is an optimistic estimate.

This wasn't a highly anticipated Saturday in front of a packed grandstand. That was Pole Days of long ago.

A generation of racing fans grew up wanting to see every dramatic moment on the Saturday in mid-May. I know. I was one of them.

Millions watched from their TVs at home and more than 150,000 people came to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to see which driver turned the fastest four laps.

It was a glorious time for open-wheel racing. That time is gone. This day was special at the end, but the rest of this format needs revamping.

Maybe those of us who look back with nostalgic envy should quit complaining. It is what it is, thanks to more than a decade of two competing open-wheel leagues, among other things.  More at ESPN.com


11 more cars qualify for Indy 500
Under Chamber of Commerce weather, eleven more cars qualified for the 90th Indy 500.
Under the new rules, "Bump Day" has given way to "Bump Hour" as eleven positions are awarded each of the first three days. Today, 15 cars attempted to qualify, but the bumping process was nothing like the drama of the pole race from the previous day.

Rahal Letterman Racing drivers Scott Sharp and Jeff Simmons led the way in Sunday’s second round, putting up the best four-lap average speeds of the day with Sharp taking the honors as the fastest of the day.

Sharp was the first driver on track when the qualifying session opened and he let everyone know right away that it was not going to be an easy day for those chasing him. The black-and-green Patrón car snapped off a lap of 224.214 mph to start the run and Sharp kept his foot in it for four orbits of the 2.5-mile rectangle, carding a qualifying speed of 223.875 mph - a time that would have put him ninth on the grid yesterday. His time was the fastest of the day and gave him the 12th spot on the grid for the race.

“I knew our car was real strong during the warm-up lap. I knew right then that I just had to hold it down and we were going to have a good result,” Sharp said. “Our qualifying position doesn’t change our strategy for the race. We didn’t come out here to win qualifying, we came to win the Indianapolis 500. It was a great run by the team. We keep getting smarter about the car and the guys keep making it better. They never give up, they just work even harder.”

Fourteen cars made qualifying attempts, including five that were unsuccessful in securing a spot on Pole Day. Five were quicker than Michael Andretti's 222.789 mph four-lap qualifying average that stood up for 11th on the first day.
Positions 12 through 22:
1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 225.817
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 225.757
3. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 225.191
4. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 225.122
5. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 225.109
6. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 224.641
7. (12) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 224.410
8. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 224.076
9. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 223.299
10. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 222.877
11. (39) Michael Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 222.789
12. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda, 223.875
13. (17) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Honda, 223.693
14. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 223.495
15. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 223.471
16. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 222.826
17. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Dallara-Honda, 222.595
18. (22) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 222.413
19. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 222.333
20. (02) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 222.327
21. (5) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 221.960
22. (99) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 221.380

AJ Junior
Jon Herb
Marty Roth
Failed to Qualify:
Jaques Lazier

Read more & Comment...

NASCAR track hopes battered
A sprawling site on the Staten Island waterfront that was once pegged to become a 82,500-seat NASCAR track will be put up for sale within a month, according to a manager for the defunct project.

The property, once an oil tank farm, has been sitting idle since International Speedway Corp. abandoned its plan to bring professional auto racing to the island last year.

A subsidiary of ISC plunked down some $100 million for 440 acres along the Arthur Kill, a commercial shipping waterway that separates New York from New Jersey. It later spent tens of millions more on another 236 acres, and now is holding on to the largest undeveloped land parcel on Staten Island.

Plans for the track fell apart after residents, worried about potential traffic nightmares, vowed to fight it.

Michael Printup, director of corporate development for ISC, said the company is now hoping to sell to a developer, or even the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the adjacent New York Container Terminal.

"The goal is to find that magic developer," Printup told the Staten Island Advance.


Race notes 5: Spanish GP
(GMM) McLaren-Mercedes' Norbert Haug refused to criticize Felipe Massa after the Brazilian and Fernando Alonso touched lightly at the first corner of Sunday's Spanish grand prix.

The incident, which damaged the bargeboard and possibly also the under-body aboard Alonso's silver car, ensured that the Spaniard could not charge for victory, but Mercedes' competition director said Ferrari driver Massa was not at fault.

"Of course the incident did not help us, but it was a clean and courageous maneuver," the German told the broadcaster 'Premiere'.

"That can be the price you pay when you start the record from second place."


It emerged in the Circuit de Catalunya paddock that Kimi Raikkonen's failure may have been related to the F2007 car's battery.


Race notes 4: Spanish GP
(GMM)  Takuma Sato beamed like a winner after the Spanish grand prix, as his Super Aguri crew held him above their shoulders in the Circuit de Catalunya pit lane.

The Japanese had just scored the little Leafield-based team's first ever formula one point -- beating home reigning world champion team Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault for good measure.

"One point means such a lot for us," Sato said, "and we have worked so hard for it."


Honda's race drivers left the Barcelona circuit on Sunday after disagreeing about who was to blame for a collision.

Briton Button told reporters in the paddock that his teammate should have given him more space at turn one as he was rejoining after a pit stop.

"I wasn't given a lot of room," he said, "and I tapped his rear wheel with my front wing, so that was it."

Barrichello, however, retorted: "I left Jenson enough room.  It's a shame, but just one of those racing incidents."


Race notes 3: Spanish GP
(GMM) Nico Rosberg's run to sixth place in his Williams was made even trickier when his in-car drinks bottle failed, he told reporters after the Spanish grand prix.


Ferrari's sporting director Stefano Domenicali played down the spectacular fuel fire that erupted on race winner Felipe Massa's car after a pit stop.

"It was not as bad as it looked," he told the German broadcaster 'Premiere', and Brazilian Massa said in Barcelona that he did not even notice the fire before it went out.


Race notes 2: Spanish GP
(GMM) Ralf Schumacher refused to blame Alex Wurz for their clash in the Spanish grand prix.

After driving into the back of Ralf's Toyota, Williams driver Wurz explained that he had no time to react.

"It's obviously annoying but it is just a racing incident," German Schumacher said.


Felipe Massa's Barcelona win completed a F1 drivers' coveted 'triple' -- pole position, the fastest race lap and victory. The Ferrari driver's best lap at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday was on lap 14; a 1.22.680.

"The most difficult part of the race was the start," said the Brazilian, "and after that I had the race in my hands."


Nick Heidfeld retired his BMW-Sauber with a gearbox problem, but to reporters he was also musing his botched pit stop.

"I don't know whether the lollipop guy gave the 'go' too early, but I rely on him. All I saw was the nut flying off," he said.


Honda's Jenson Button copped the blame and needed a new front nose after colliding with his teammate Rubens Barrichello during the race.


Race notes 1: Spanish GP
(GMM) Both Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso confirmed after the Spanish grand prix that they made contact whilst battling for the lead at the first corner.

McLaren's Alonso, who fell to fourth after running through the gravel and ultimately finished third, seemed unhappy with race winner Massa's behavior.

"I thought I was in front but obviously he (Massa) didn't think so," the Spaniard said after the race, adding that the light clash damaged his bargeboard.

Massa protested: "It was a risk for both of us, but the first corner is important -- you don't want to lose like I lost in Malaysia."


Lewis Hamilton is the youngest driver to ever lead the world championship.


David Coulthard's fifth place, despite running with a broken gear in his new quick-shift gearbox, is Red Bull's best result so far this season.

Takuma Sato finished eighth, which is Super Aguri's first points after 21 grands prix.


Giancarlo Fisichella's race to ninth was thwarted by having to make an extra pit stop because of a faulty fuel rig.

His Renault teammate Heikki Kovalainen finished seventh, and also had problems with fuel as he was earlier troubling Coulthard in the battle for fifth.


Christijan Albers had to serve a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags aboard his Spyker. The Dutchman finished last, two laps down.


Mark Webber's Red Bull stopped with a repeat of the hydraulic problem that struck in qualifying on Saturday.

Vitantonio Liuzzi's terminal problem in his very similar Toro Rosso was also hydraulics related. "We need to work a lot on our reliability," said the Italian.


The next group formula one test takes place at Bernie Ecclestone's Paul Ricard circuit in France.


Bourdais to test again for Toro Rosso
Three times Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais will test for Scuderia Toro Rosso again next week, autosport.com reports, as speculation increases he will move to Formula One in 2008.....meaning Champ Car will again lose another of its assets as the 'big boys' continue to pluck the Champ Car paddock dry.

"We are still keeping an eye on him," said Gerhard Berger. "But we will make no decision about our 2008 drivers before the middle of the season."


Glock wins sprint race
Timo Glock has pushed his race one disappointments behind him by annihilating the field in race two this morning at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The German put on an imperious performance to claim the win from seventh on the grid, easily leading home poleman Javier Villa, who in turn was more concerned with the view from his mirrors, which were full of the cars of Lucas di Grassi and Bruno Senna.

Glock made up one position before the race got under way when Borja Garcia stalled on the grid. After another warm up lap the race got underway in earnest, with Villa making a strong start but di Grassi and Senna being even stronger, the pair arriving right on the tail of the Spaniard into turn one.

Further back Roldan Rodriguez undid his good work from yesterday by spinning in the first corner, taking Jason Tahinci with him, but up at the front Villa’s teammate and fellow front row starter Sergio Jimenez had been swamped, lining up out of turn one right behind Glock in sixth position.

Before the first lap was over the German had blown past Mikhail Aleshin to put himself up with the leading trio, and he was soon in a podium position as he powered by Senna one lap later.

Read more & Comment...

Another newsmaker feud brewing in NASCAR
Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart had two of the fastest cars in Friday night’s Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway, but they ended up beating on one another until each was knocked out of contention. That led to some minor oral fireworks following the race.

After the race, they offered different takes on what had happened. Asked if he’d been hit by Newman, Stewart responded:

“About five times,” he said matter-of-factly. “Five times this week about five times last week. Loudon last fall. I don’t know what I’ve done to him, but I didn’t think it was fair to do that. If I’ve done something to him, he needs to come talk to me about it. I didn’t choose the line, he chose where he wanted to come off the corner, he came off high behind another car and pinned himself in and then he decided he was going to try to move us out of the way. I don’t know if we did something we don’t know about or what, but he took one of the best race cars out there today and put a strike against it and put us at the back.”

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Gibbs: No Budweiser on our team
J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing answered questions from members of the media at Darlington Raceway on Saturday afternoon:

ON HIS REACTION TO DALE EARNHARDT, JR.'S ANNOUNCEMENT: "Really from our standpoint we're kind of watching stuff unfold as you guys were. I thought they did a great job on their press conference. I know that was hard for him. I think for us really we're just really focused on what we're doing now, our three cars. Would everyone want a chance to talk to Dale Jr.? Sure. Who wouldn't want a chance to talk to Dale Jr.? Right now it sounds like he and Kelley, whatever decision they come up with will be a good one. They just want a little time to think about it. When the time is right we'd love to sit down and talk to him and see what their plans are but right now we're just focusing on what we're doing."

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DEI’s Siegel on Wind Tunnel Sunday
Max Siegel, DEI 's President of Global Operations, will be a featured interview this Sunday, May 13 on SPEED's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [9:00pm/ET]. Brought into the company this past January, his main responsibility was to ensure Dale Earnhardt Jr. stay with DEI for 2008 and beyond. That didn't happen. Thursday, Earnhardt Jr. made the official announcement that at the end of the 2007 racing season, he will part ways with the team his father created. Arguably the biggest story to hit the presses this year, we'll talk to Siegel about his negotiation with Earnhardt Jr. ... finding out what went wrong and we'll ask the question, " What happens to DEI? " SPEED

Reader Feedback

Dusting off the dinosaurs at Indy
A reader writes, I am really scratching my head at the names being thrown around of the (totally unqualified) drivers being spoken of for Indy rides this year. Kite, Hamilton, John Andretti, and even Al Unser, Jr (who has spent far more time in rehab the last several years than in a race car). I don’t understand what qualifies these guys to be in the race. I further don't understand why any team owner would want them. It is shameful that the IRL completely fails to promote their own highly talented Indy Pro Series drivers for these spots. Former recent champions Wade Cunningham and Jay Howard should be given rides. They are young, exceptionally talented and have far more seat time and recent experience (albeit in different cars) than the names being thrown around. The IRL should be promoting them and encouraging the "one off" teams and second cars to be driven by these young drivers who have committed themselves to the Indy Series. When you balance the difference in speed versus downforce between the IPS and the Indy Cars, there cannot be that much difference. I would have far more confidence in Wade Cunningham's abilities than, say, John Andretti or Jimmy Kite. Ira Rosen


Champ Car needs Rahal to become a star UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Attached is an image of a TV test pattern that the author of this article (below) mentions. It should become Champ Car's new logo since its latest ratings are below that of a TV test pattern. Just like in the off-season, Champ Car has again become invisible in this 7-week hiatus between the Houston and Portland races. Hello, is anyone home?

Just like all the positive assets CART once had, and just like we saw happen to AJ Allmendinger when he started to make headlines, the oval track cartel or F1 will pluck Rahal right out of the Champ Car paddock in the wink of an eye. You see those series have real sponsors and there is money in the series to pay a driver well. In a ride-buyer series like Champ Car the driver lineup is a constant revolving door.

I say Champ Car's popularity is falling because of this. Although Champ Car's TV ratings were up slightly from last year, what their press release didn't say is that Champ Car was on SPEED most of last year and ratings on any channel beat SPEED's. I saw a lot of empty seats at Vegas and Houston. Coupled with the test pattern TV ratings and it's no surprise to me why Tony George didn't even return Kevin Kalkhoven's phone call on the idea of running some Champ Car drivers and teams in this year's Indy 500. Tony, like everyone else, sees Champ Car as a weak and failing entity. And they fired Robin Miller for telling the truth in his article. They should fire the current Champ Car management. Kalkhoven and Forsythe had better take off their rose-colored glasses before they trip and fall and bloody their nose with a dose of reality. Christine Lewis, losing faith in Washington

05/13/07 In about four weeks, Robert Doornbos, Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Dalziel will be in the area.

So, too, will Tristan Gommendy, Matt Halliday and Neel Jani.

As well as Dan Clarke, Justin Wilson and Will Power.


Welcome to more than half of the field for this year’s Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, which makes its annual stop at Portland International Raceway on June 10. They may be talented drivers, but I could have written that these people played professional table tennis, and a lot of you would have said, sure, that makes sense.

Which is one reason Champ Car desperately needs Graham Rahal to become a star.

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News briefs from Barcelona: Sunday
(GMM) Another warm and dry day greeted the sell-out crowd of 145,000 at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday.

The race takes place over 66 laps, starting at 2pm local.


Michael Schumacher's manager boasted at Barcelona that he could find the retired seven time world champion a race seat "in half an hour".

"I don't think he has the desire anymore," Willi Weber said, "but all I would need is a telephone and half an hour."


It emerged on Sunday that Super Aguri team principal and owner Aguri Suzuki, a former grand prix driver, traveled to Barcelona this week directly from stomach surgery in Tokyo.


Ron Dennis is no fan of Red Bull's so-called 'almost independent' paddock magazine The Red Bulletin. Three journalists were reading the humorous rag over breakfast in the McLaren motor home when the team's boss told them to either leave or discard their inappropriate reading material.

With the journalists' stomachs doing the thinking, the magazines were promptly thrown away.


Two titles will make me Nico, says Rosberg
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg says only significant success will destroy the stigma of always being referred to as "Keke's boy".

Williams' current race driver is the son of 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg; a description that has stuck with German-born Nico ever since he first tested a formula one car as a teenager.

"Everyone still sees me as Keke's son and I can't see it changing any time soon," he said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper 'As'.

"What I need to do is win two world championships.  Then I will be Nico.

"But, anyway, I am used to the pressure that my last name brings and that people expect big things from me."

Rosberg said he feels he is driving better in his second season of grand prix racing in 2007; a sentiment backed by experts and also by his performances alongside the formula one veteran Alex Wurz.

He explained: "I did not have the best possible relationship with Mark (Webber) last year, but with Alex we work closely together and we get along really well.

"It is actually hard to have any relationships at all in F1.  In GP2 you can be friends with drivers from other teams but here you never see a driver from another team in someone else's motor home.

"And if you try to do it, you don't get a very friendly welcome."


A new home in the paddock for Ferrari
Despite its high-technology forward facing image, the world of Formula 1 is not averse to embracing traditions and one of those traditions is that, even if they don't have wheels and are actually temporary buildings, the structures in the paddock used to house the team offices, hospitality and media facilities are still referred to as "motorhomes" and the people who work in them as "motorhomers." Maybe because it has a longer tradition in the sport than any other team, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro stayed with the real motorhome vehicle for longer than most, but for this year, an entirely new unit has been built to replace the previous two vehicles used as the Ferrari media facility and the hospitality unit.

And another inevitable tradition is that these vehicles get to make their public debut at the first European race of the season, which is why the new Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro facility will be seen for the first time at the Circuit de Catalunya at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. It is the only race of the year where the people who actually work in the paddock behave like tourists and spectators, looking in awe at the new creations that they will soon take for granted!

"We started talking about this vehicle two years ago and the instructions to actually proceed came at the end of 2005," said Jon Williams of Procar International, the company that has been providing vehicles for Ferrari for over a decade. "Procar developed the concept which we took to the designer, Fran Cush at Sepang Design, who did all the styling and he has followed the project since its inception. The actual building began in April 2006, under the guidance of an Engineering Consultancy, Frazer Nash, who oversaw the engineering elements of the project, so the entire building of the structure alone has taken one year."

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Dodge Avenger 500 set for Sunday
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Weather has postponed the Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. The race will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday.  Grandstand gates will open at 10 a.m. All tickets purchased for the sold-out race will be honored at that time.


Kasey Kahne and David Stremme feud
Don’t expect to see Kasey Kahne and David Stremme partying together anytime soon. Just getting the drivers to speak to each other would be a coup.

The two are feuding over a late-race incident last week at Richmond - Kahne called Stremme “fat’’ after and Stremme later said Kahne had “mental problems’’ - and it hadn’t simmered when they showed up to shoot a commercial together Wednesday. The two didn’t speak during the eight-hour shoot, which included Stremme’s Ganassi teammates.

“Yeah, that was a little awkward,’’ Kahne said. “We’re trying to get some sponsors and some big deals going on right now, and I don’t want to screw that up by getting in a fist fight or anything like that with David Stremme.

“I’ve always had a hard time racing with him. I don’t know why. When I’m around his car we just have problems. Racing with David hasn’t ever worked for me.’’

Stremme seemed amused with the entire affair.

“If he wants to act like a high school kid, then he can,’’ Stremme said. “We obviously have different opinions about what happened on the race track, and I think I’m in the right because there’s a lot more people supporting my side of it.

“I think he has problems with a lot of people. I don’t know. I am here to race and not worry about his problems." Independent Tribune

industry news

VW rejects Porsche takeover bid
Management at Volkswagen, Europe's biggest car maker, Friday said it had unanimously rejected a takeover offer from German luxury sports car maker Porsche.

VW said in a statement following a special session of its supervisory board that management was convinced that "the value of Volkswagen shares is superior to the price offered.” Stuttgart-based Porsche announced in late March that it would exercise an option to buy an additional 3.6-percent stake in VW.

The additional shares raised Porsche's interest in VW to 30.9 percent, effectively obliging it under German law to launch a public takeover for all outstanding VW shares.

Under an offer to run until May 29 Porsche said it would propose 100.92 euros per ordinary share, which is well below VW's current price of around 111-112 euros.


Rain threatens Cup race tonight
There is a good chance of rain tonight at Darlington.  Mostly cloudy. Showers and thunderstorms likely early this evening…then a chance of showers and thunderstorms late this evening and overnight. Lows in the lower 60s. East winds around 5 mph…becoming northwest after midnight. Chance of rain 60 percent. If the race is rained out tonight, the race will run Sunday with a 1:00pm/et start time.

TV News

Weekend USA TV reminders UPDATE #2 Max Siegel, President of Global Operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., has been added as a featured interview on Wind Tunnel Sunday night.

05/11/07 The Sunday TV reminders have now been added below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 Practice Spain
8:00am-9:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Darlington
10:30am-12:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Darlington
2:30pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Darlington
3:00pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Darlington
5:00pm-6:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Darlington
6:30pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Darlington
8:00pm-10:30pm (L) Incl Preshow ESPN2
Art Mann Presents... Midwest Mayhem Indy 500
Special Guests: Mario Andretti, Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon Indianapolis
9:00pm-9:30pm (R) HDNet
Trackside Darlington
11:30pm-12:30am SPEED
Inside Grand Prix Spanish Grand Prix

7:30am-8:00am SPEED
Formula 1 Qualifying Spain
8:00am-9:30am (L) SPEED
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying -Pole Day Indianapolis
12:00pm-2:00pm (L) ESPN2
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying -Pole Day Indianapolis
3:00pm-6:00pm (L) ABC
NASCAR Performance
3:30pm-4:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Tradin' Paint Darlington
4:00pm-4:30pm SPEED
NASCAR RaceDay Darlington
5:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying -Pole Day Indianapolis
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge Avenger 500 Darlington
7:00pm-12:00am (L) FOX
NASCAR Victory Lane Darlington
12:00am-1:00am SPEED
1:00am-1:30am ESPN2
Movie: Driven (2001)
6:00am-8:00am TNT
Formula 1 Spanish GP Spain
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
GP2 Championship Series Spain
11:30am-1:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Indianapolis 500 -2nd Day Qualifying Indianapolis
12:00pm-2:00pm (L) ESPN2
Int'l Motorsports Hall Of Fame Talladega
1:00pm-2:00pm (4/26/07) SPEED
World of Outlaws Eldora Speedway
2:00pm-3:00pm (4/14/07) SPEED
Superbike World Championship Italy
4:00pm-5:00pm (SDD) -Race 1
5:00pm-6:00pm (SDD) -Race 2 SPEED
Indianapolis 500 -2nd Day Qualifying Indianapolis
5:00pm-6:30pm (L) ESPN2
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
All-Star Memories
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Featured Interview: Alex Gurney, Rolex Sports Car Series
Featured Interview: Max Siegel, Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Formula 1 Replay Spain
10:00pm-12:30am (R) SPEED

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


Kanaan fastest in morning warm-up
Andretti Green's Tony Kanaan was fastest in morning warm-up at Indy ahead of Pole Day qualifying for the Indy 500. His teammate Danica Patrick was 2nd fastest. Kanaan topped 216 mph.


Allianz extends F1 involvement
Allianz has announced their new global partner status of Formula One. The partnership provides Allianz with Global Partner exclusivity in the sector of financial service providers in Insurance, Asset Management and Banking. “We welcome Allianz as a new Global Partner of Formula 1. With their continued sponsorship of the Williams team and multiple trackside presence, Allianz is another prime example of a global company using Formula 1to build its brand throughout the world,” Formula One Supremo, Bernie Ecclestone said.

Steven Althaus, Head of Marketing Communication, Allianz SE added… “As a global player in Insurance, Asset Management and Banking, we estimate not only the global reach of Formula 1 but also the quest for continuous development and improvement of the sport for the sake of sporting excellence and safety standards. We at Allianz share this mission - knowing our customer and continuously adapting our services to its needs is our quest, which we strive for since our founding in 1890. These shared values and the belief in the strength of partnership have leaded us to elevate our commitment to the sport and become a ‘Global Partner of Formula 1.”


Senna takes maiden GP2 win
Bruno Senna has powered his way to his first ever GP2 win, making full use of a chaotic start to the race to switch pit strategies and outfox poleman Timo Glock in the closing stages of an frantic first race in Barcelona.

The Brazilian’s life was made a lot easier when Jason Tahinci stalled on the grid before the start, which was then aborted. This was to the detriment of front row starter Andi Zuber, who stalled as the others got under way again: he was pushed into the pitlane and his race was run.

With the temperature rising Glock was serene at the second start, pulling away strongly from the second row of Lucas di Grassi and Nicolas Lapierre. The Frenchman was particularly slow, which made Senna’s strong start look even stronger as he stormed by.

Giorgio Pantano had another one of his lightning starts as well: so fast was he that he moved up from eighth on the grid to be ahead of Mike Conway, who had started fifth but failed to leave enough room for the lightning quick Italian. Conway ran straight into Pantano at turn one, who was pushed into countryman Luca Filippi and then dominoed into Antonio Pizzonia, with all four drivers out on the spot.

Read more & Comment...

Barcelona extends F1 contract to 2016
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone announced in Barcelona on Saturday that he has renewed the contract for the Spanish grand prix here until 2016.

After inking a deal with the Spanish port city of Valencia for 2008 and beyond, some commentators wondered whether it meant the existing race held annually at the Circuit de Catalunya since 1991 was in doubt.

76-year-old Ecclestone hinted that the negotiations with the Catalan government had been tricky.

"I am obviously very happy we have reached a conclusion and we are on good terms again," he said.

The previous contract was set to run out in 2011.

Bernie explained: "At one stage we were a bit concerned that we wouldn't be able to reach an agreement."

Reinforcing Spain's booming F1 popularity, a record qualifying crowd of 100,000 countrymen were expected to watch double world champion Fernando Alonso in action here on Saturday.

67,000 rolled through the turnstiles on Friday, and about 30,000 on Thursday.


Q and A with Michael Schumacher
Q: Michael, it's six months into your retirement now. Where are you at? How is your life? What do you think about when you wake up in the morning? How structured is your life?
Michael Schumacher: Well, it is certainly very obvious that there is a life after Formula One. It is an interesting experience to wake up in the morning and not have to think about racing but about your family and about new goals.

Q: You still look pretty fit. What is your work out regime - do you work out at all?
MS: Everybody knows my passion for soccer. That is what I basically do to keep fit.

Q: Do you have a specific role here this weekend with Ferrari or do you just observe?
MS: I am just observing.

Q: Do you think that your presence here this weekend could distract the team from their normal operations?
MS: If that would be the case I would not be here.

Read more & Comment...

Did Tony George write another check?
Jaques Lazier returned to the track Friday and will attempt to qualify this weekend after his Playa Del Racing team acquired funding to allow for a full-month engine lease. "We're in the ball game," Lazier said.


Truex plans to stay with DEI
Martin Truex Jr. said he was prepared for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to either stay with or leave Dale Earnhardt Inc., but he was not privy to nor was he involved in any of the negotiations concerning his teammate.

Truex was widely reported to be joining Earnhardt Jr. in leaving DEI in the past few days, but he says he plans to stay with the team that gave him his Nextel Cup start and finish his contract, which runs through next season.

 He said that DEI plans to continue trying to build its teams and increase its level of competition.

"We're going on with business as usual. It stinks that Junior's leaving, I was kind of surprised when I heard it, but I kind of prepared myself for it ... I never did talk to him about it," he said. "Those kind of things we've never really talked about. I didn't really know what was going to happen, so I prepared for it either way, and I wish him the best. He's still a great friend and will continue to be. He's been instrumental in my career, and I really appreciate all the things he has done for me. We'll continue to be great friends."  More at Scenedaily.com


Haug cautious ahead of qualifying
(GMM) After the silver cars topped the final pre-qualifying practice time sheet on Saturday morning, McLaren-Mercedes' Norbert Haug joined the rest of the Barcelona paddock in wondering whether Lewis Hamilton can score his debut pole in Spain.

"We carried out an absolutely respectable program," the German told the broadcaster Premiere, denying that the MP4-22s were carrying particularly low fuel loads.

But he warned: "The Ferraris are four and six tenths behind us -- that is surely too much.

"On the other hand, running a lot fuel in this session does not make a lot of sense.

"I think we are in a fairly good condition, but we are maybe not right out the front."


Spain Practice 3: Hamilton keeps McLaren on top
Lewis Hamilton led another McLaren one-two in practice for this weekend's Spanish GP in Barcelona by going fastest in Saturday morning's 3rd practice session.

His teammate Fernando Alonso was less than a tenth slower in second ahead of the BMW Saubers and David Coulthard' Red Bull car, which was a real surprise.

An even bigger surprise were the two Ferraris down in 6th and 7th position.

Pos  Driver        Team              Tire  Time       Gap    Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   (B)  1:21.233            13
 2.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   (B)  1:21.312 +  0.079   13
 3.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         (B)  1:21.364 +  0.131   17
 4.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         (B)  1:21.464 +  0.231   17
 5.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   (B)  1:21.556 +  0.323   12
 6.  Massa         Ferrari            (B)  1:21.659 +  0.426   14
 7.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            (B)  1:21.829 +  0.596   15
 8.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  (B)  1:21.845 +  0.612   15
 9.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    (B)  1:21.953 +  0.720   16
10.  Kovalainen    Renault            (B)  1:22.067 +  0.834   18
11.  Fisichella    Renault            (B)  1:22.140 +  0.907   12
12.  Trulli        Toyota             (B)  1:22.174 +  0.941   25
13.  Barrichello   Honda              (B)  1:22.274 +  1.041   15
14.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  (B)  1:22.295 +  1.062   21
15.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B)  1:22.314 +  1.081   16
16.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             (B)  1:22.570 +  1.337   21
17.  Button        Honda              (B)  1:22.744 +  1.511   17
18.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   (B)  1:22.759 +  1.526   13
19.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    (B)  1:23.020 +  1.787   16
20.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B)  1:23.367 +  2.134    8
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     (B)  1:23.584 +  2.351   22
22.  Albers        Spyker-Ferrari     (B)  1:23.817 +  2.584   22


Medium and Hard compounds evenly matched
The first day of running for the Spanish Grand Prix saw Fernando Alonso set the pace in his McLaren Mercedes. Bridgestone have the medium and hard compound available for the 11 teams this weekend and the difference between the two is not as great as has been the case at other venues this year.

Kees van de Grint, Head of Track Engineering Operations
“Today it looks like the Bridgestone Potenzas provided a very good balance for all competitors. It is becoming very close in terms of lap times and we saw twelve cars set times in the 1min 22s and the entire grid separated by under 2.5 seconds, but Alonso certainly knows his way around his home circuit."

"Both the hard and the medium compound worked very well, but as a consequence of this the difference in lap time between the two is very small, which means strategy will very much be a case of driver preference. The new track layout has not affected the tires and the higher temperature compared to last week’s test has meant there is less difference between the two compounds.” Bridgestone


FIA appoint ’green’ consultancy firm
The FIA has appointed automotive technology and engineering specialists Ricardo to provide technical support and advice on the development of future regulations in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

In particular, Ricardo will assist the FIA in the consideration and application of energy-saving and environmentally efficient technologies.

Ricardo is an international consultancy which provides extensive design and development support to the automotive industry. The company’s engineering expertise ranges from vehicle systems integration, controls, electronics and software development, to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel cell powertrain technologies.

Max Mosley, FIA President
“The FIA is working closely with the automotive manufacturers to develop energy-efficient and environmentally relevant regulation changes for the future of Formula One. 
Ricardo has a vast amount of experience in automotive research and development and will be an invaluable addition to this process.”

Dave Shemmans, Ricardo CEO
“We are proud to have been selected as a technology partner in this project. Formula One operates at the very pinnacle of motor sport and has a significant role to play in encouraging innovation in fuel-efficient technologies. Such innovation has the potential to provide benefits to automakers, race teams and motoring consumers alike.” Press Release FIA


Milka Duno hits wall UPDATE Added photo of Duno's crash courtesy of the IRL.

05/11/07 Practice at Indy has been stopped for heavy contact in turn 2by #23 Dallara of Milka Duno, the IRL's latest star.  She is OK.  It appeared she got a little high exiting turn 1 then lost the back end. She hit the wall fairly hard with the back end and the SAFER barrier needs repair.  With tomorrow being pole day they started to trim her car out because she was only running 218 MPH and making no progress.  With less wing the results would be predictable given her talent level.


Champ Car European race promotion
In this week's Autosport, Eurosport 2 have taken a full page color advertisement for the two Champ Car European races at Zolder and Assen. Half the page is a picture of an Indeck and the CDW car side-by-side with a quarter of the ad Justin Wilson and the other quarter the two races details.


Spanish GP Friday press conference
Participating: Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber), Mark Webber (Red Bull), Christian Horner (Red Bull), Mario Theissen (BMW Sauber)

Q: A question to the two team principals: you're both involved in promoting young drivers, you've had varying amounts of success with young drivers, but third drivers seem no longer part of your programs at Grands Prix, no third drivers on Fridays. What are your feelings about that, has it been that the way that everyone else has tackled it has meant that you've got to tackle it the same way and just use your race drivers?

Mario Theissen: It's not so much about doing things as the others do, it has been a careful evaluation after we had Sebastian in the car in the first races on Friday mornings. We sat down with the engineers a week ago and had a look at what we achieved and I have to say that especially in Malaysia where we were not well sorted on Friday, we came to the conclusion that it would have been more beneficial to have the race driver in the car for the entire day.

It was really a tough decision for me to take because with this year's test restrictions, you can hardly bring a young driver up to Formula One any more. There is just not enough opportunity. You have the Friday but then only a few days testing and those days only with one car, so there is really no comparison and we normally have a big program at a test.

So I think it would be good for next season to re-think the test restrictions and do something for young drivers.

Christian Horner: I agree fundamentally with Mario's comments. I think that track time is at a premium now for the race drivers in the way that the test agreement with the single car and reduced days has obviously gone.

Read more & Comment...

Penske would take Earnhardt Jr.
Roger Penske said Friday that he has an interest in adding Dale Earnhardt Jr. to his Nextel Cup team, but he realizes it isn’t likely to happen.

“Certainly we’d like to talk to him,” Penske said. “Obviously, he’s one of the top drivers in the sport. But from everything I’ve heard, he wants to say in a Chevrolet. We have a contract with Dodge and we’re loyal to that.”

Penske also has a two-car Cup team with Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. Cup team owners are allowed to have four cars, so Penske has the space to add Earnhardt.

Penske also is a team owner with the money to make a serious bid for Earnhardt’s services. Forbes magazine recently listed Penske’s net worth at $2.2 billion.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Bernie tries to calm Spanish storm
  • Alonso 'rattled', thinks former champion
  • Alonso indifferent to 'bridge' wing
  • Kimi, Alonso, dismiss Friday hierarchy
  • Spyker delay 'B' car debut
  • News briefs from Barcelona
  • News briefs from Barcelona: 2

Bernie tries to calm Spanish storm
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has attempted to calm a political storm by denying that he wants to interfere with the outcome of Valencia's election results.

The F1 supremo angered the region's incumbent leader Francisco Camps' opponents this week when he announced that the contract for a street circuit grand prix would only be signed "when Mr. Camps wins" at the polls later this month.

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega reacted that "these are lamentable, unfortunate and worrying statements."

Camps has reportedly pledged more than $30 million a year to obtain the rights for a race.

"This is a means of blackmailing the electorate," said Camps' Socialist rival in Valencia, Joan Ignasi Pla.

Ecclestone was embroiled in another political storm ten years ago when he donated $2m to Britain's Labor Party, which had to be returned following similar criticism.

The 76-year-old F1 supremo explained in Barcelona on Friday: "I said I wouldn't formalize a contract until after the elections because I didn't know who I would be signing it with."

Alonso 'rattled', thinks former champion
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has rattled F1's reigning world champion Fernando Alonso.

That is the claim of former triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who after watching Friday practice from the pit lane at Barcelona said he had seldom seen McLaren's 25-year-old make so many mistakes.

"He missed the apex of one turn completely this morning," said Stewart, after rookie Hamilton led the pace in the morning. Alonso was then quickest in the second session.

Stewart continued to observe to the Telegraph: "He made three big mistakes. He was over-driving. After the first mistake he should have backed off. Instead he compounded it by carrying on.

"Usually he is so smooth. I don't think there is any question that Alonso is feeling it. Hamilton's brilliant start has definitely given him something to think about."

In another British newspaper, however, fellow former champion Niki Lauda said Alonso may simply be feeling the heat of his home race, where on Friday an incredible 67,000 Spaniards filled the stands.

A sell-out crowd of 145,000 is expected on Sunday.

"It does bring with it its own sort of pressure," the Austrian told The Guardian, referring to home races.

"Having said that, I think that Fernando has what it takes to handle whatever pressure is thrown at him."

Read more & Comment...

Hamlin in Busch Series Repeat at Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- In a six-lap green-flag run to the finish, polesitter Denny Hamlin pulled away from Carl Edwards and Mark Martin to win Friday night's Diamond Hill Plywood 200 NASCAR Busch Series race at Darlington Raceway.

The victory was Hamlin's third in the series and his first since he won from the pole at Darlington last year.

Martin, driving the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, got by Edwards in the closing laps to take second place. Edwards, the series' runaway leader by 433 points over Kevin Harvick, came home third, followed Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer.

Jason Leffler, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Casey Mears and Kevin Harvick completed the top 10.

Read more & Comment...

Q and A with Renault’s Bob Bell
Q: Bob, how has the factory been working to find the cause of the problems the R27 is suffering from?

Technical director Bob Bell: "We have areas of investigation that are now pretty clear. However, it's not the work of a moment to get to the bottom of the problems.

"It is a complicated process, but a clearly-defined one. We are applying the techniques that brought us success in recent years: approach things logically, methodically and pragmatically."

Q: Around the paddock, everybody seems to have an explanation for the problems. Among them, people are saying that the v-keel on the front suspension is now outdated. Others think the aerodynamics are not working... What's the truth?

Bell: "You're right. People are saying a lot of things at the moment, and everybody seems to have their own ideas. There are a lot of false rumors surrounding the R27 and the only thing that you can be sure of at the moment is that it's all speculation.

"Among the supposed theories that are being bandied about, those that mention the v-keel are completely unfounded. This part of the car is absolutely not the cause of our difficulties, that much is very clear."

Read more & Comment...

Indy 500 pole speed predictions
Driver Speed
Ryan Briscoe 227 mph
Ed Carpenter 227
CARPENTER: "It keeps coming down, I think. I don't think it's going to go over 228. I'm thinking maybe high 227."
Helio Castroneves 228.5
Milka Duno 227
A.J. Foyt IV 227.5
Stephan Gregoire 226.5
Davey Hamilton 227.4
Jon Herb 230
Sam Hornish Jr. 228
Buddy Lazier 228
B. LAZIER: "It's always weather-dependent, but I wouldn't shy away from maybe a 228."
Jaques Lazier 227.4
Darren Manning 228
MANNING: "Well, I think high 228. I think if anybody does a (2)30, they probably deserve it."
Kosuke Matsuura 229
MATSUURA: "Last year was, I think, 229, and it depends on tomorrow and the wind direction. But if the wind comes from the south, I think 229."
Danica Patrick 225.5
Jeff Simmons 228
SIMMONS: "Well, whenever anybody asked me earlier, I thought that with the new torque, we'd see 230. But it seems to me that they don't want us to be there, and they're starting to take some power away. So I would say we'll probably see high 227, maybe a 228."
Dan Wheldon 228
WHELDON: "But I have no idea, to tell you the truth."
Rick Mears, who holds the Indianapolis 500 record with six poles, was asked for his prediction for the pole speed Saturday.
RICK MEARS: "No idea. I could not even guess my own when I ran."


Valuing his life, IRL driver retires
Indy Pro Series driver Tom Wood announced his retirement from driving May 11 after sustaining a compression fracture of the T9 vertebrae in an accident during private testing at the Milwaukee Mile on May 8. Wood, who is being treated at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis by Dr. Terry Trammell, intends to focus on team he co-owns in the Indy Pro Series, Team Moore Racing.

TOM WOOD: "I love this sport, but I think I've done this enough. I can't thank Dr. Terry Trammell, everyone at Ortho Indy and the Delphi Safety Team enough for all that they've done for me over the years." (About future plans): "This has all come about so suddenly. We need to work on a game plan, but eventually I'd like to develop our own ladder system, developing guys in the Indy Pro Series to compete in the IndyCar Series. This obviously isn't the way I wanted to go out as a driver. But there are new challenges ahead, and I'm looking forward to meeting them."

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