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DATE News (chronologically)
05/15/08
irl
IMS joins forces with Fisher House  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will unite with Fisher House to salute America's heroes during the Month of May in 2008.

The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease or injury.

Best Buy is proud to partner with IMS to support the Fisher House program and will sponsor the commemorative Fisher House T-shirts and dog tags for sale to the general public at IMS, allowing all proceeds to go to Fisher House. Best Buy employees from across Indiana will volunteer this month at IMS to help support the sale of T-shirts and dog tags. More ...

05/15/08
nassprint
Vickers' team wins Pit Crew Challenge  The No. 83 Red Bull Toyota pit crew of Brian Vickers entered the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge as the 24th – and final – eligible team, but left on top after dominating the competition and the record book.

The team posted the quickest time in each of the five rounds and edged the No. 11 FedEx Toyota crew of Denny Hamlin in a photo finish in the Finals to take the title. The No. 83 team changed four tires, filled the car with fuel and pushed it 40 yards to the finish line in 22.902 seconds, besting the No. 11 crew by 0.109 seconds.

Each of the five times put up by the No. 83 crew was under 23 seconds, with its top time of 22.572 seconds coming in the second round. The previous record was 23.35 seconds, set last year by the champion No. 12 Alltel Dodge team in the quarterfinals.

“I can’t say enough about this team,” said pit crew coach Greg Miller. “Words can’t describe this group, the effort they put in day-in and day-out. It’s all about them.”

The team was one of three in the event that has not secured a position in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Each of the 21 teams in the all-star race competed in the Pit Crew Challenge, with the three final positions going to the top available teams based on owner’s points. If the No. 83 Toyota makes the all-star race by finishing in the top two in the Sprint Showdown, it will have its choice of pit stalls. More ...

05/15/08
nassprint
Drivers Take Part In Goodyear Tire Test at Daytona  
Jamie McMurray
Less than two months away from defending his Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola victory, Jamie McMurray was part of a trio of drivers participating in a two-day Goodyear tire test on Tuesday and Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway.

For the past two days, McMurray, who wheels a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, was joined by Mike Skinner in the No. 84 Red Bull Racing Toyota and Petty Enterprises driver Bobby Labonte in a Gillett-Evernham Motorsports Dodge in testing different tire compounds and structures for Goodyear in preparation for the 50th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola scheduled for Saturday night, July 5.

“I guess they had some tire concerns with the tire we had here in February,” McMurray said. “We’ve got three teams here. One team is working with the construction of the tire. I guess the side wall construction. Then one team is working on compounds. We’re just doing the test with the load sensors to let them know how much load is on the car whether you have an aggressive type front-end set up or just a standard setup. There are three teams here with three different objectives.”

Mike Skinner shakes down the No. 84 Toyota
In last July’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at DIS, McMurray picked up his first Sprint Cup Series win since October of 2002, a losing streak of 166 races. He used to some cleaver side drafting coming out of Turn 4 to nip Kyle Busch at the start/finish line by .005 seconds, the second closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history.

As the defending champion of the upcoming Independence Day holiday classic, McMurray was honored to be included in the Goodyear tire test at DIS.

“It’s exciting to come back to Daytona,” McMurray said. “I came back here for the go-kart race in December and that was the first time I was back since winning (in July). Daytona is special to all of the drivers because this is the biggest race of the year for us. I got to my hotel room last night and the 1978 Daytona 500 was being replayed on television. Daytona just has a lot of history and it’s a great place to come back to.” More ...

05/15/08
irl
Indy practice: Briscoe tops Thursday times  Under overcast skies and with rain threatening throughout the day all the teams got plenty of track time today to work on their race and qualifying setups until 5:45 p.m. when the rain finally brought a halt to the day.  It was very humid and cold and windy all day, so the conditions were very different than what they might be on race day.

Penske Racing's Ryan Briscoe turned the fastest lap of the day in his backup car to top his teammate Helio Castroneves by just 0.0764 sec.

Briscoe, who qualified third in the No. 6 Team Penske machine May 10, lapped the 2.5-mile oval in 40.2311 seconds, 223.708 mph. His teammate, Helio Castroneves, was second-fastest at 223.284 mph, and pole sitter Scott Dixon was third (223.192 mph).

Among the 24 drivers who have not yet qualified for the 22 remaining starting positions, Will Power topped the chart (sixth overall). Power’s best lap was 222.657 mph.

With an uncertain forecast for the scheduled six-hour practice, teams wasted no time getting in their work. Twenty-six cars were on track within the first 10 minutes of the green flag. A light rain began falling late in the afternoon, ending practice 18 minutes early.

One practice day remains, tomorrow, Friday, May 16 from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m., before the second round of qualifying commences on Saturday, May 17 when spots 12-33 will be slotted.  Bump Day will be on Sunday, May 18 when the final grid for this year’s race will be set.

Thursday Results

Pos

Driver Diff Gap to 1st Best Time Best Speed
1 Ryan Briscoe (6T) ... ... 40.2311 sec. 223.708 mph
2 Helio Castroneves (3T) 0.0764 0.0764 40.3075 223.284
3 Scott Dixon (9) 0.0930 0.0166 40.3241 223.192
4 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.1494 0.0564 40.3805 222.880
5 Tomas Scheckter (12) 0.1631 0.0137 40.3942 222.804
6 Will Power (8) 0.1899 0.0268 40.4210 222.657
7 John Andretti (24) 0.2231 0.0332 40.4542 222.474
8 Hideki Mutoh (27) 0.2346 0.0115 40.4657 222.411
9 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.2405 0.0059 40.4716 222.378
10 Bruno Junqueira (18) 0.2541 0.0136 40.4852 222.303
11 Buddy Rice (15) 0.2635 0.0094 40.4946 222.252
12 EJ Viso (33) 0.2898 0.0263 40.5209 222.108
13 Marco Andretti (26) 0.3369 0.0471 40.5680 221.850
14 Vitor Meira (4T) 0.3528 0.0159 40.5839 221.763
15 Jeff Simmons (41) 0.4248 0.0720 40.6559 221.370
16 Alex Lloyd (16) 0.4424 0.0176 40.6735 221.274
17 Justin Wilson (02) 0.4449 0.0025 40.6760 221.261
18 Danica Patrick (7) 0.4692 0.0243 40.7003 221.129
19 Ed Carpenter (20T) 0.5076 0.0384 40.7387 220.920
20 Townsend Bell (99) 0.5196 0.0120 40.7507 220.855
21 Graham Rahal (06) 0.5232 0.0036 40.7543 220.836
22 Mario Moraes (19) 0.5321 0.0089 40.7632 220.787
23 Oriol Servia (5) 0.5428 0.0107 40.7739 220.729
24 Darren Manning (14) 0.5440 0.0012 40.7751 220.723
25 Enrique Bernoldi (36) 0.5707 0.0267 40.8018 220.579
26 Milka Duno (23) 0.6007 0.0300 40.8318 220.416
27 Davey Hamilton (22) 0.6426 0.0419 40.8737 220.190
28 Mario Dominguez (96) 0.6912 0.0486 40.9223 219.929
29 Max Papis (44) 0.6928 0.0016 40.9239 219.920
30 Marty Roth (25) 0.7461 0.0533 40.9772 219.634
31 Sarah Fisher (67) 0.7579 0.0118 40.9890 219.571
32 A.J. Foyt IV (2) 0.7693 0.0114 41.0004 219.510
33 Jaime Camara (34) 0.8183 0.0490 41.0494 219.248
34 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17T) 0.9776 0.1593 41.2087 218.400
35 Roger Yasukawa (98) 1.1502 0.1726 41.3813 217.490

INDYCAR SERIES POST-PRACTICE QUOTES: More ...

05/15/08
nastruck
NASCAR increases grip on Go Daddy  Already on the No. 88 Cup car, GoDaddy.com has agreed to be the primary sponsor for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports' NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series No. 46 Chevy driven by Landon Cassill, beginning with Friday's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  How much longer will it be before Go Daddy pulls out of open wheel sponsorship because it just can't deliver the eyeballs that NASCAR does?
05/15/08
irl
WEDJ to sponsor super Mario Dominguez  Locally based WEDJ-FM 107.1, also known as Radio Latina, yesterday announced its sponsorship of Mario Dominguez, the driver of the Pacific Coast Motor Sports entry into the this year’s Indianapolis 500.  Dominguez, 32, a Mexico native and former Champ Car driver, is making his debut at Indianapolis this month. Though financial terms of the deal were not released, motorsports marketers estimated it in the low five figure range.

“This program is an extension of our belief in the Hispanic market and in our belief of the Hispanic fans have for Open-wheel racing and Mario in particular,” said Pacific Motor Sports Team owner Tyler Tadevic. “The Hispanic Demographic is the fastest growing market in the United States and a very important fan base for the Indy Car Series.”

“Our audience will enjoy watching his efforts in qualifying and on race day,” said Russ Dodge, WEDJ general manager. “We are also looking forward to our promotions with the primary sponsor, Mexico City Tourism.” IBJ.com

05/15/08
irl
Jay Penske has a car entered in the Indy  500  When Tomas Scheckter qualified 11th for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 in the No. 12 Luczo Dragon car -- the only non-full time IndyCar Series team to make the field on Pole Day - it was another step forward in Jay Penske's long-term IndyCar Series plans.

"That is certainly the goal, to have a full-time team," said Penske, co-owner of the second-year Indianapolis 500 team with Steve Luczo. "Where we started last year was to get ourselves familiar with the biggest speedway and this year we are taking the next step to have a full-season ride. We've got a good driver; the team is slowly jelling. We've pulled some people together and have some great guys and next year the hope is to have the full season."  More ...

05/15/08
nassprint
Final Darlington TV Ratings up 14%  NASCAR on Fox tallied its third straight year-to-year increase with a 4.8/10 (7.8 million viewers) for Saturday primetime racing from Darlington. That's a +14% gain over last year's 4.2/12 for the same event, and that +14% increase is Fox's largest jump for a NASCAR race in two months, since the Atlanta race posted a +23% gain. Note that last year's Darlington race was rained out of its scheduled window and run on a Sunday afternoon. Nearing the end of Fox's portion of the Sprint Cup season [13 races], NASCAR on Fox is all but assured of finishing the year with increased ratings. NASCAR has averaged a 6.0/12 to date on FOX, a +5% improvement over last year's 5.7/13 with only two races to go. Key demographics have been a mixed bag, with Men 18-34 down for the season-to-date (-7%, 2.8 vs. 3.0), but Men 18-49 flat (4.6) and Men 25-54 up +4% (5.7 vs. 5.5). Fox PR
05/15/08
f1
Paul Ricard Thursday: Raikkonen fastest  
Kimi Raikkonen fastest in his Ferrari
Ferrari
Second day of testing this week for the F1 teams, working again today at the "Paul Ricard" circuit at Le Castellet in the South of France.

Kimi Raikkonen turned the quickest lap in a time of 1.05.381, faster than Lewis Hamilton went on Wednesday..

Testing at this circuit, with its configuration modified to replicate some characteristics of a track like Montreal, continues tomorrow.

Thursday Times

Pos

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:05.381 102
2. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:05.471 89
3. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:05.905 135
4. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:06.001 82
5. Button Honda 1:06.091 155
6. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:06.125 110
7. Trulli Toyota 1:06.205 120
8. Piquet Renault 1:06.355 193
9. Nakajima Williams 1:07.080 129
10. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:07.104 56
11. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:07.123 64

05/15/08
f1
CORRECTION: Williams plans to stick with Toyota  CORRECTION: ON REQUEST BY TOYOTA, CLARIFIES FORMER GEARBOX COLLABORATION

(GMM)  Williams has no plans to split with its engine supplier Toyota in the near future.

The British team joined forces with the Japanese manufacturer last year, collaborating in 2007 with Toyota's works formula one outfit on such matters as gearbox design, and advice about formula one politics.

But even though the relationship is not the same as Williams' past works alliances with Honda, Renault or BMW, team co-owner and principal Sir Frank Williams says he is happy with the current situation.

"Toyota cares for us very well," the 66-year-old told Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell in an interview.

"We are in no way insecure.  They have really very good people.  We are very happy with them and look forward to a long collaboration with Toyota," Williams added.

At the Turkish grand prix last weekend, however, Williams acknowledged the difficulty of being a private team in formula one at the moment, and said it is unlikely that Super Aguri's garage will be filled any time soon.

"If a privateer was trying to enter, financially you would find it very difficult right now, assuming you read the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, to raise money, to raise capital," Sir Frank explained.

05/15/08
f1
Bourdais gets taste of STR3  Today it was time for Formula 1's only French driver to drive in France, as Sébastien Bourdais took over from Sebastian Vettel at the wheel of the STR3 (Best time: 1:06.125 vs. 1:06.3 for teammate Vettel Wednesday). Testing continued at the short version of the Ricard circuit to approximate to Monaco conditions and Sébastien spent the morning acclimatizing to the new car as well as running a tire comparison between the two types that Bridgestone will provide in Monaco and Montreal. Later in the morning, French Séb began a race simulation which was successfully completed in the afternoon.

Also on the day's agenda, some of usual tasks with any new car - systems checking and calibration.

Tomorrow, the action stays at Paul Ricard but switches to another version of the circuit to replicate some aspects of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. This will be the first time both our drivers try STR3 in low downforce configuration as Vettel runs in the morning and Bourdais in the afternoon

05/15/08
irl
Practice starts at Indy  Overcast skies greeted the Indy Car teams as practice began at noon at the Indy Speedway.  Scott Dixon is fastest so far about 10 minutes into the session.  A 40% chance of rain is forecast after 2 PM so teams are trying to get as many laps in as possible in case rain hits the speedway again.
05/15/08
usac
irl
Salem Speedway - When the High-Banks were on the road to Indy  Dear AutoRacing1.com, A friend sent me a link to this story, Salem Speedway - When the High-Banks were on the road to Indy written by your Steven Levinson. It's great! I used to write for Open Wheel magazine and really appreciate well written and well researched racing history. I enjoyed this article a great deal.  Wayne DeWald

Dear Wayne, Thanks for the feedback.  Unlike NASCAR which has done a good job staying connected to its past, IndyCar Racing has not done a good enough job of this.  For many people who did not grow up in that era, Steve's article helped connect the past with the present. Mark C.

05/15/08
irl
XM Radio to broadcast Indy 500 live  XM Satellite Radio will air extensive coverage of the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 as motorsports fans gear up for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 25 live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. XM is the exclusive satellite radio provider of the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy Racing League.

The Indianapolis 500 can be heard nationwide on the IndyCar Series Racing channel (XM channel 145) starting at 1 p.m. ET, with the pre-race show at noon ET. The channel is also carrying Indy 500 qualifying May 17-18, Carb Day events and the Firestone Freedom 100 race May 23, and the IMS Radio Network show "Indy Live." A full list of dates and times is online at www.xmradio.com/irl.

Andretti Green Racing drivers Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, and Hideki Mutoh will join team co-owner Michael Andretti at the speedway for a special edition of their weekly XM radio show "Andretti Green Racing Hour," which will air on May 21, 7-8 p.m. ET, on XM Sports Nation (XM Channel 144). More ...

05/15/08
track news
VIR Stock Car Road Race Tests Open to Fans  Fans of stock cars and road racing are invited to attend the Stock Car Open Test Day at VIRginia International Raceway on June 3.

“Last year’s test attracted over two dozen cars over two thousand fans,” stated track general manager Josh Lief. “Our guests and the teams all had a good time and we intend to continue this tradition.” Tickets to the spectator areas are available at the gate and only $10.

Teams testing last year included Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, Evernham and others. Teams use the VIR North Course in preparing cars and drivers for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in California and New York. Nationwide Series teams test at VIR as well, and these teams are invited to attend. More ...

05/15/08
nassprint
Sprint to giveaway 30,000 tickets  Sprint purchased 10,000 tickets to giveaway free to its subscribers for tonight's NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. Capacity for the event is about 15,000 so a sellout is expected. 

Sprint also purchased 20,000 tickets to give away free to its subscribers for Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

05/15/08
lmes
Virgo Motorsport announces Le Mans Drivers  Rob Bell, Tim Sugden and Tim Mullen today were announced as the driver line up for the Virgo Motorsport Ferrari 430 GT2 entry for the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours. This formidable driver lineup brings together three drivers with previous Le Mans experience as well as proven pace in the Ferrari 430 GT2. Bell, reigning 2007 LMS GT2 Champion and current joint leader of the 2008 championship, joined Virgo Motorsport in 2007 and has achieved seven podium finishes including four wins from eight starts. This very impressive record confirms not only his strength but that of the team around him. This was evidenced by his strong finish to win the Spa 1000km last weekend whilst driving a damaged car under extreme pressure. Sugden raced with Virgo in 2006 and has a wealth of knowledge from Le Mans. He returns to the Ferrari family having driven a variety of cars in different championships this year. Tim helped the team to fourth place in its first season in the Le Mans Series, missing out on Le Mans qualification by only two points. Mullen joins the team for the first time at this year’s Le Mans, but also brings many years of endurance racing experience, including the accolade of leading the race in 2007. Tim is a strong competitor who is also a team player as he has shown in the last two years in the FIA GT Championship.
05/15/08
f1
Formula Palmer-Audi
Martin Brundle to race son at Spa  (GMM)  158 grand prix veteran and continuing resident of the formula one paddock, Martin Brundle, will return to competitive race action at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend.

The 48-year-old British television commentator, whose former teams included Jordan and McLaren, has signed up to race his teenage son Alex in the Belgian round of the Formula Palmer-Audi series.

"It's a great circuit and a unique opportunity for me to race against my son," Brundle, whose last race was at Le Mans in 2001, said.

Alex Brundle, 17, currently lies fourth in the junior open-wheeler category.

05/15/08
dtm
Audi driver Timo Scheider about the EuroSpeedway  
Timo Scheider
The EuroSpeedway Lausitz is a facility that is second to none. The ultra-modern complex, which was only opened in 2000 and is thus the "youngest" race track on the DTM schedule, stands for state-of-the-art safety technology, comfort galore and ample space conditions. Audi driver Timo Scheider finds the various combinations of corners on the 3.478-kilometre circuit version highly attractive. The fourth round of the DTM season will be broadcast live on "Das Erste" on Sunday, starting at 1:45 p.m. (local time).

What are the distinctive features of the EuroSpeedway Lausitz?
"The circuit has a very special appeal. The huge grandstand across from the pit lane continues to impress me, even eight years after the circuit was opened. As soon as you leave your own garage, you take in this panoramic view. Better yet is that the grandstand is always crowded because the local fans really enjoy the DTM."

How would you describe the circuit’s characteristics?
"I find the course very harmonious. The EuroSpeedway has got everything a race track needs. Quick corners at the beginning, where aerodynamics counts, very slow places in the rear part of the circuit, where mechanical traction is crucial, and a very long straight that enables slip stream duels." More ...
05/15/08
irl
Seen at Indy - Lazier and Barron  Jaques Lazier, who made six starts in the Indianapolis 500 from 2000-07, was in the garage area looking for a drive.

Jaques Lazier
Chris Jones/IRL
JAQUES LAZIER: "If it pays off, great, if it doesn't, that's the way it works, but we've been working pretty hard on it this past week and a couple of months before that, working sponsorship. It's tough right now, and we've definitely got a lot more interest. When the unification occurred, there was a lot more interest from corporate America, but it's still awfully tough right now. Everybody's wallets are pretty thin, and it's tough to allocate funds right now. But there's a few opportunities that still exist out here. Obviously, weather is playing a big part out here. There's some teams out here that are struggling that may be saying on Saturday, 'Hey, we need to get our car in the field,' and may be looking for someone with a little more experience. If that's the case, there's not a whole bunch of people here that don't have a ride who have much more experience than me. You've got to stay optimistic and keep beating the path, and hopefully after two pairs of shoes, it will work out.

It's always great to be here during the Month of May, no matter how you look at it. It's always fun to talk to old friends and to joke around about whether we're going to be able to make it out today, and if you do, do you really want to make it out anyway. The track is going to be cold, and if you can go out a lot of people are going to go out at the same time, so it's going to be chaotic out there. I don't think you can learn that much, but at the same time you have to look at the big picture, and the big picture is that the 25th might be the identical conditions as you run today. Even if you only go out there for 20 laps or something and just kind of get an idea of the kind of car you have and the setup you have, the engineers today are so darn good that they can come back over here and look at what they did and say, 'You know, next time the conditions are like this, I would do this to the car to make it a little bit better and more comfortable for the driver.' So, yeah, there's benefit to going out in these kinds of conditions, but you can go from hero to zero and it not be anybody's fault. You're just fighting a very cold track." More ...
05/15/08
nassprint
Franchitti Team skipping Sprint Showdown  Dario Franchitti and the #40 CGRFS Dodge team will sit out this weekend's NSCS All-Star events at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Franchitti, who continues to recover from an ankle injury he received in the NNS event at Talladega Superspeedway last month (April 26) has yet to receive clearance from his doctor to return to racing competition. Franchitti was fitted for a carbon fiber brace earlier this month but will take another weekend off to give his ankle more time to heal. His status behind the wheel of the #40 Dodge will continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR
05/15/08
nassprint
Nintendo's Wii to sponsor #40 in Coca-Cola 600  Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced it has partnered with Nintendo and its long-time sponsor Target, to have Nintendo's newest video game, Wii Fit, as the sponsor of 1,100 miles of auto racing on Sunday, May 25. Nintendo and Wii Fit become the primary sponsors on Alex Lloyd's #16 Dallara Honda in the Indianapolis 500 and later in the day along with Target on the team's #40 Dodge in the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C. By sponsoring the Wii Fit 1,100, Nintendo follows Target as one of the only sponsors that will have cars competing in both races as Target has Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon starting one-two in the Indy 500 and Reed Sorenson competing in his third Coca-Cola 600.  The 500 mile Indianapolis 500 is the longest race on the IndyCar Series schedule while the 600 mile Coca-Cola 600 is the same in the Sprint Cup Series. Dario Franchitti, who would normally pilot the #40 Target/Wii Fit Dodge, is still recovering from a fractured ankle he suffered three weeks ago in a Talladega Superspeedway racing Nationwide Series incident. A final decision on Franchitti's status has not been made nor has a replacement been named in the event Franchitti cannot compete in the Coca-Cola 600. Last year over Memorial Day weekend, Franchitti captured the Borg Warner trophy in the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He went on to capture the 2007 IndyCar Series championship before beginning his transition to stock cars at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). Franchitti is one of three former Indy 500 winners running in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR
05/15/08
irl
Toronto race decision due today  A decision on Andretti Green Racing's purchase of the Grand Prix of Toronto assets will come today, one way or the other.  After a 45 days of negotiations that included AGR seeking federal, provincial and municipal financial aid for the annual Exhibition Place race, a spokesman for Michael Andretti said yesterday a statement on the talks would be coming today. The result will decide if Toronto joins Edmonton in 2009 as hosts for an Indy Racing League event.  Neither Andretti, nor GPT boss Charlie Johnstone have made any public comments about the deal since it was announced earlier this year.
05/15/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Piquet must up his game - Renault chief
  • Dog incident unavoidable, Turkey GP insists
  • FIA proposes 150m EUR budget cap for 2009
  • Schu to continue motorbike racing
  • Williams plans to stick with Toyota

Piquet must up his game - Renault chief
(GMM)  Nelson Piquet risks dropping out of formula one if he cannot up his game, Renault's sporting boss has admitted.

The 22-year-old made his grand prix debut with the French squad in March, and over the first five races of 2008 he has failed to score any of Renault's nine points or outqualify his teammate Fernando Alonso.

Renault's sporting manager Steve Nielsen agrees with those pundits who believe the Brazilian youngster needs to start turning in some good drives.

"He needs to start having more good bits than the bad bits, and he needs to start doing that as soon as he can," he confirmed.

"Formula one is a business, it's a very cutthroat business, and if people don't deliver, they go the obvious way," Nielsen added.

Piquet himself, who dropped out in the 'Q1' section of qualifying in Turkey, admits that it is taking him some time to learn the ropes at the pinnacle of racing.

"Hopefully race to race I am going to improve myself and get more comfortable with everything and we'll get there.  The team are very supportive, they are trying to help me as much as I need so I have nothing to complain about," he is quoted as saying by Reuters.

Piquet is scheduled to take over Renault's single car at the Paul Ricard test on Thursday and Friday, even though the weather forecast is predicting possible rain.

Dog incident unavoidable, Turkey GP insists
(GMM)  The operators of Turkey's grand prix circuit have defended their actions following the FIA's strong response to the stray dogs incidents that marred the GP2 race last Sunday.

F1's governing body has launched an investigation into the incidents and is not ruling out imposing sanctions, after Bruno Senna's car struck and killed one of two dogs that crossed the circuit just hours before the formula one race.

In a statement, Istanbul Park Organizasyon - which last year was taken over by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone - said it takes circuit safety "very seriously".

"We took all possible measures to manage the problem and we cooperated with the FIA race director throughout the grand prix," the statement to Reuters added.

"We regret the incident involving Bruno Senna's car and we are far from complacent about it but, with the best will in the world, it isn't possible to eradicate the problem altogether," the circuit operators said.

Istanbul Park insists that the problem is the endemic presence around the Turkish city of stray dogs, which are attracted to the circuit by F1 teams' own catering units.

The operators said humane traps were already on site before the Senna incident, as was a team of vets to catch and relocate the dogs.

"But this is of itself a dangerous task because some of these dogs are feared to carry rabies and appropriate precautions need to be taken."

Interestingly, when Anthony Davidson struck a groundhog at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last year, the FIA took no action. More ...

05/15/08
TV News
NASCARSprint
SPEED to air NASCAR comedy special  UPDATE A reminder that this comedy special will be shown on Thursday, May 15, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm ET on SPEED.

04/10/08 Alonzo Bodden, winner of Last Comic Standing 3, will turn the tables on NASCAR with his comedy act at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new nightclub, Whisky River, in Charlotte, North Carolina. SPEED will air Bodden’s NASCAR ‘08 All-Star Comedy Special on May 15 at 7:00pm ET as part of the network’s nearly 90 hours of coverage of All-Star Week.

Bodden, a car enthusiast, also has been tabbed as host of SPEED’s new program 101 Cars You Must Drive, premiering in July. It didn’t take him long to find the punch line in the NASCAR world.

“I’m a big black guy from New York and I’ve got to talk about NASCAR,” Bodden joked. “I find a lot of humor in the sport, although I’m no NASCAR expert. I know they drive fast and turn left and when they added the right turn at Sonoma last year, the Formula One guy (Juan Pablo Montoya) won, which I thought was funny.”

05/15/08
tv news
NASCARSprint
Sprint Pit Crew Challenge to be televised  The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge will be televised on Thursday, May 15, 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm ET on SPEED.

There are not many race weekends where the winning team can perform a 24.66-second pit stop, celebrate in Victory Lane and sneak out with the trophy.  But such is the case in Thursday’s NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge when accuracy is paramount and seven guys pushing a 3,200-pound race car 40 yards up to six separate times is just part of the game.

There are individual competitions for front tire changer, rear tire changer, jackman and gasman. Participants can register for multiple categories. Team competition will follow individual competitions. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to individuals and team winners, compliments of Sprint, Craftsman and NASCAR.  More at SPEEDTV.com

05/14/08
FF 1600
Daly sets new lap record in Canada  
Conor Daly
In the first two rounds of the Ontario Formula Ford Championship held at Mosport International Raceway, Ontario, Canada, Conor Daly scored a pole position, two second place finishes and set a new lap record for Formula Ford 1600 cars.

Race one on Saturday saw Daly’s BGR Van Diemen battle with reigning overall FF1600 Champion Matt White, with Daly leading at the drop of the green flag. The close battle continued until the race was red-flagged following a mid pack multicar incident. After the restart White and Daly swapped the lead multiple times with White just able to pip Daly for the win.

Race two on Sunday saw Daly start on the outside of the front row and again do battle with White. Daly tried all he knew to find a way past. In the end it was to be another second place and the satisfaction of having set a new race lap record for FF1600 cars.

Conor’s next races will be rounds three and four of the Ontario championship to be held in Shannonville Motorsport Park, Ontario  May 31-June 1st.

05/14/08
irl
Rain further complicates ex-Champ Car teams' Indy transition  Will Power and Oriol Servia spent last Saturday flirting with a spot in the top 11 for the Indianapolis 500.

The two Indy rookies from KV Racing Technologies knew it was an almost impossible task. Even so, it was a blow when they came up just short.

"Even though we knew it probably wouldn't happen, we focused on that 11th spot and, at the end of the day, it was harder to take than we thought it would be," said Servia, once a runner-up in the defunct Champ Car World Series. "But we weren't that far off, so that's encouraging for everybody on the team."

With the second day of qualifying for the May 25 race rained out Sunday, KV Racing and the other teams that made the move from Champ Car to the IRL's IndyCar Series will have to split their practice time this week working on qualifying and race-day setups.

Then this weekend, they'll try to put their cars into the 33-car lineup. More ...

05/14/08
irl
Coyne talks about Buckman replacement  Team owner Dale Coyne spoke about changes to the team’s personnel following the injury suffered Friday by crew chief Chuck Buckman in a pit road accident.

DALE COYNE: “We had just picked up Gilbert Lage, who has been here a long time with Dick Simon and lots of teams in the past. He’s an experienced guy, so we were able to grab him and get him on that car. You know, we’ve got some depth. We’ve picked up some guys for the month here. It was an unfortunate situation with Chuck the other day, to lose a quality guy like that. But we’re working at it; we’re getting through it. On the one hand, the rain is bad. On the other hand, it’s enabled us to do a lot of things we weren’t sure we were going to have time to do on the cars. But at the end of the day, we need to be out on the track running.”

05/14/08
irl
Lloyd cleared to drive  
Alex Lloyd
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, senior medical director for the Indy Racing League: #16 Alex Lloyd is cleared to drive. Lloyd was transported to Methodist Hospital for precautionary X-rays May 9 after his car made heavy contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1. A CT scan showed no fractures.
05/14/08
irl
Roger Yasukawa will drive the No. 98  
Roger Yasukawa
Roger Yasukawa will drive the No. 98 CURB Records/hhgregg/Real Power Dallara/Honda/Firestone for CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports.

Yasukawa, 30, is a veteran of five Indianapolis 500s from 2003-07 and has posted two top-10 finishes. Overall, he has 38 IndyCar Series starts with a eight top-10 finishes.

Beck Motorsports has competed in the Indianapolis 500 since 1995, posting four top-10 finishes despite often arriving at the Speedway well after Opening Day.

ROGER YASUKAWA: “Hopefully we have the hardest part of the job done now, and we can concentrate on being on track and going fast. The good thing is Greg (Beck) has such huge experience here at the track, and I’ve been here five years so I feel comfortable just going into it. I’ve done the second-week deal last year, so this is nothing new to me. At this point, I really want to focus on the race setup. I have no question about getting into the field.”

GREG BECK: “It’s a great opportunity to have a driver the caliber of Roger in our car. Being an Indy 500 veteran, he has the depth of experience a team looks for, plus it’s great to build on the relationship we started at Japan.”

05/14/08
irl
The No. 21 Playa Del Racing entry has been withdrawn  The No. 88 Gardner Trucking American Dream Motorsports entry has been added with Phil Giebler as the driver of the Panoz chassis.

Giebler finished 29th in last year’s Indianapolis 500 start, earning Chase Rookie of the Year honors in his only IndyCar Series start. The California native is a veteran of 19 Firestone Indy Lights starts, recording seven top-five finishes, including a victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2004.

Former Indiana Boxing Commissioner William Kelsey and Arizona businessman Eric Zimmerman purchased majority ownership of Playa Del Racing and have changed the team’s name to American Dream Motorsports.

The two have entered cars in the IndyCar Series, Champ Car World Series and NASCAR intermittently since 1997. This will be their first full-time racing endeavor.

PHIL GIEBLER: “It’s hard to put into words what it means to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500. I had a huge learning curve in my rookie run last year, but I plan on this being a much better year. To say Indy is all I’ve thought about for the last 12 months would be an understatement.”

05/14/08
irl
Sarah Fisher books IUPUI sponsorship  Sarah Fisher, attempting to qualify for her seventh Indianapolis 500 this weekend, today announced a unique sponsor: Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

The sponsorship of Sarah Fisher Racing and her No. 67 Honda-powered Dallara is a collaborative effort between the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, and the IUPUI campus administration.

Fisher has been scrambling to find backers since a deal with ResQ energy drink for a primary sponsorship has failed yield any cash.

"They've been telling us the 15th (of May), so we'll see," team spokesman Klint Briney said.

05/14/08
irl
Rain cuts Indy 500 practice short; Dixon fastest  
Scott Dixon throws up sparks
Steve Snoddy
Rain delayed the start by 5-hours and after about 30 minutes of running,  practice for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 ended when rain hit the Speedway again.

Pole-sitter Scott Dixon clocked the fastest lap of the day with a speed of 222.834 mph.

Dixon's teammate, Dan Wheldon, had the second-best time with a speed of 222.810 mph. Wheldon's No. 10 car will start on the outside of the first row.

Marco Andretti (222.801 mph) had the third-best time, and his Andretti Green Racing teammates Hideki Mutoh (221.968 mph) and Danica Patrick (221.663 mph) were fourth and fifth.

John Andretti, who recently took over the No. 24 Roth Racing car from Jay Howard, had the sixth-best time with a speed of 221.386 mph.

Tomorrow's practice is scheduled from noon to 6 p.m., but rain is forecasted for the afternoon.

Results More ...

05/14/08
atlantic
Atlantic Championship returns to Mazda Raceway  The Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda will return to beautiful Mazda Raceway Laguna for the first time since 2004 with a field full of drivers that are sure to have their share of fan support in Sunday’s Monterey Festival of Speed.

MRLS locals need look no further than Monterey’s own Jonathan Bomarito when searching for a rooting interest. Now in his third full season of Atlantic competition, Bomarito will pilot the No. 26 Del Taco/RLM Investments/Stone Brewing machine for Mathiasen Motorsports. In addition to his full-time ride in the Atlantic Championship, the 26-year-old driver is also an instructor for the Skip Barber Racing School at Mazda Raceway, so he ought to know the quick way around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn roller coaster of pavement.

Bomarito certainly knew the quick way around the streets of Long Beach which hosted the 2008 Atlantic Championship season-opener last month, as evidenced by the fact that he started from the pole position and led a race-high 23 laps before a gearbox issue forced him into a brief off-course excursion and left him with a fifth-place race result. With all of that combined, look for Bomarito to be a force throughout the weekend. More ...

05/14/08
f1
Oil leak for Kubica  On one of the short versions of the Circuit Paul Ricard Robert Kubica today concentrated on setup work regarding the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix. The team tried different solutions to fine tune the car’s aerodynamic, suspension and engine electronics for the slow and bumpy track in the streets of Monte Carlo.

In the morning Kubica brought the F1-08 back to the pits unexpectedly when the car developed an oil leak. After an precautionary engine change he continued the test as scheduled. With Kubica completing 124 laps (446 km) the team made good progress in setting up the F1-08 for the next race.

What comes next:
BMW Sauber F1 Team will continue testing in Le Castellet tomorrow with Robert Kubica at the wheel. Again on the 3.593 km version of the track tyre testing and more setup work are on the schedule in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix.
05/14/08
motogp
Jorge Lorenzo gets green light to race at Le Mans  Jorge Lorenzo has been given the official 'thumbs up' to participate in this weekend’s French Grand Prix, after undergoing assessment in Barcelona this afternoon by Doctor Xavier Mir. The Fiat Yamaha rider paid a visit to the Dexeus Institute where Doctor Mir assessed the injuries to both ankles, sustained in Shanghai less than two weeks ago, before taking his flight to Paris.

X-rays confirmed that the astragalus in Lorenzo's right ankle and torn lateral internal ligament in his left are both healing well. The edema and post-traumatic bruising suffered by the current second placed rider in the MotoGP World Championship have also reduced significantly. The 21-year-old will continue to have physiotherapy on the two joints, which will remain immobilised, before he takes to the track for first free practice at Le Mans on Friday morning.

Not enough time has passed yet for the injuries to fully heal, but Jorge's pain threshold will allow him to compete without too much risk this weekend," commented Doctor Mir.
05/14/08
irl
Rain delays Indy practice  A persistent drizzle has delayed the start of practice at the Indy Speedway today and the forecast is for rain the next 3 to 4 days meaning those who are not qualified are essentially screwed as they will have little time to work on qualifying setups to make the race let alone work on race setups.

Trucks have been out drying the track for more than two hours, but officials said Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not expected to open until about 2 p.m.

Practice was scheduled to run from noon to 6 p.m.

Today’s session could also end early. There is a 50 percent chance of more rain coming this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

If not for the downright idiotic IRL qualifying rules that only allow 11 cars to qualify each day, 21 cars would be qualified already instead of only 11.  There should be two qualifying days - pole day and bump day on consecutive weekend days or the first available days weather permitting.  We would prefer to see some sort of qualifying race or races like NASCAR does than the sheer boredom of 4 lap runs spread out over two weekends where drivers can try to requalify over and over again.  This causes other drivers/teams to have to worry about getting bumped and not focus on their race day setups.  And of course the drivers that try umpteen times to requalify are wasting valuable time that could go towards race day setups.  Pole day could be the first weekend and the qualifying races, say twin 100 milers (40 laps), should run on the 2nd weekend - they would actually draw a crowd, unlike the 4-lap runs.

05/14/08
f1
Vettel tests new Toro Rosso  Sebastian Vettel finally tested the new Toro Rosso STR3 today at Paul Ricard in the South of France.  There were a few teething problems that restricted running in the morning, including a faulty timing transponder.  Vettel ran through all the standard new car checks: set-up, functionality, car balance, performance as well as trying both types of tire, the 'soft' and 'supersoft' Bridgestones that will be available in Monaco.

Tomorrow, Sebastien Bourdais takes over in the cockpit.

05/14/08
f1
Hamilton fastest on Day 1 at Paul Ricard  UPDATE
Wednesday Times
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:05.600 84
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:06.098 103
3 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:06.177 124
4 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:06.348 93
5 Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso 1:06.372 91
6 Nico Rosberg Williams 1:06.571 154
7 Alexander Wurz Honda 1:06.681 131
8 Timo Glock Toyota 1:06.936 93
9 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India 1:07.346 106
10 Lucas di Grassi Renault 1:07.430 146

05/14/08 Lewis Hamilton topped the first day of testing for the 10 F1 teams at Bernie Ecclestone's Paul Ricard circuit in southern, France Wednesday.

Weather conditions: Sunny all day.

Number of drivers participating: 10 from 10 teams

Fastest lap overall: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:05.600 min

Circuit length: 3.593 km

Full list of times to follow.......

05/14/08
track news
Awesome Air Show to Fill Skies Over VIR  For the first time in its history the skies over VIRginia International Raceway will echo with the sound of acrobatic aircraft as VIR hosts an acrobatic air show in conjunction with an established auto racing event. “Wings & Wheels” is a new addition to the already successful Heacock Classic Gold Cup Historic Auto Races June 6-7-8, 2008, which this year features “All-American Muscle.”

“Wings & Wheels” will be an automotive festival of street rods, classic muscle cars, motorcycles and sports cars combined with an air show and acrobatic aircraft with some of the finest aerobatic performers in North America.

Virginia International Raceway, described by Paul Newman as “Heaven on Earth,” is a destination for motorsports enthusiasts of all types and is recognized as one of America’s elite road courses. VIR is home to America’s first motorsports country club and is the perfect place for enthusiasts to watch spectacular racing and businesses to entertain guests and clients.

Tickets are available on line at www.virclub.com or by calling the ticket office at 434-822-7700. Directions to the track and accommodations information are also available on-line. VIR is little more than an hour drive from both the Piedmont Triad and Triangle areas of North Carolina.

05/14/08
alms
Utah GP pre-race quotes - Prototype drivers  A "new" Miller Motorsports Park awaits the American Le Mans Series this week for the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels. The prototype field is expected to reach near-record speeds on the 3.048-mile, 15-turn outer circuit as the Series returns to a natural road course for the first time since mid-March.

Ben Devlin, B-K Motorsports
Lola B07/46-Mazda MZR-R (LMP2)
"It's great because it's so flat as well. We were there a little while ago testing, and the grandstands they've put up this year really made it more for the spectators. So it's great they can see a lot more racing, see all the action all the time. On a street course, it's very hard to understand what's happening with the race because you're out of vision for so long."

Chris Dyson, Dyson Racing
Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2)
"We love Miller Motorsports Park. It's great to be back on a traditional road course. The outer track ... is going to be quite a bit faster than the track we've run the last couple of years. But that's just the new challenge. The facility is fantastic. The beauty of the American Le Mans Series is you're in a great place every weekend we go racing."

Marino Franchitti, Dyson Racing
Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2)
"Obviously it's the newest track we go to, therefore it's the best - the facilities are second-to-none. The welcome we get out there is fantastic, and it's just a beautiful area to go racing in; it's such a picturesque place. We're usually up there for a week, and it's good training as well in the high altitude so it's a place I really enjoy going to.

"I think the interesting thing this year is there's a slightly different track layout so what's going to be interesting is how different it is and just tuning the cars to the new configuration. Driving-wise, it's not a problem going from a street circuit to road courses. They're both a lot of fun. The set-ups are so different that it's like driving a different car almost."

The Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels is set for Sunday, May 18 from Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The green flag is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT with live television coverage on SPEED. Live radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 and American Le Mans Radio at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring.

05/14/08
f1
Czech chief apologizes to McLaren  (GMM)  Czech motoring chief Radovan Novak has retracted his reported insinuation that McLaren may have been involved in the covert investigation that triggered the Max Mosley sex scandal.

The British team said in a statement on Wednesday that Novak, believed to be an ally of the embattled FIA president, also "apologized for the misunderstanding" following his recent comments on Czech radio.

Novak is reported to have suggested that it is "definitely a possibility" that the sex scandal may have been McLaren boss Ron Dennis' retaliation for the espionage affair of 2007.

Dennis subsequently wrote to the Czech Automobile Association chief for a withdrawal or correction of the remarks.

On Wednesday, the Mercedes-powered team said it has now been contacted by Novak.

"Mr. Novak has asked us to make it clear that he does not believe that either McLaren or Mr. Dennis were involved in the events referred to and that the remarks are not representative of his views," a statement said.

The team added that Dennis thanked Novak "for this gracious and swift reaction".

05/14/08
f1
Honda to introduce some new pieces  The Honda Racing Formula One team had a very disappointing Turkish Grand Prix with Jenson Button finishing in eleventh place and teammate Rubens Barrichello, in his record breaking 257th event, finishing three places further back.

In order to prepare fully for Monaco, and the following event in Montreal Canada, the team will be hard at work in France this week.

"We have a track test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France to prepare for Monaco and Montreal, followed by an aero test at Barcelona to validate our next aerodynamic step,” Ross Brawn revealed. “We should have some visually interesting new parts for Monaco, the highest downforce circuit so far. However we do not expect Monaco to be the highest downforce track of the year - our calculations show that Singapore will require even more. Montreal is at the opposite end of the spectrum with the demand placed on very high straight line speed.”

05/14/08
irl
Frank's named Official Energy Drink of Indianapolis 500  Fans of the Indianapolis 500 will fuel up this year on a sizzling new energy drink that is taking North America by storm.

Frank's Energy Drink, energy that just tastes better, has been named the Official Energy Drink of the Indianapolis 500®.

Racing fans will get a chance to sample the taste-tantalizing beverage and get their own motors running at the upcoming Indianapolis 500 on May 25. The Indianapolis 500 is an American sports classic in its 92nd year and is the world's largest single-day spectator sporting event.

This partnership expands the involvement of Frank's Energy Drink in the IndyCar Series. Frank's Energy Drink is a sponsor of Andretti Green Racing and 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan.

Frank's Energy Drink is a natural health product that contains a number of vitamins and premium ingredients designed to improve physical performance and mental alertness. Pasteurized to preserve freshness, Frank's comes in single-serve and 6-pack formats as well as four varieties and flavors: Original, Sugar Free, Lime and Pineapple.

Frank's Energy Drink is sold in leading retail outlets across Canada and recently launched in the U.S. with 7-Eleven stores in Southern California.

05/14/08
f1
F1 teams move to Paul Ricard for testing  UPDATE (GMM) F1's ten teams kicked off a three day group test at the Paul Ricard circuit at Le Castellet, located near Marseille in France, on Wednesday.

In sunny weather, the teams began running on the short '2D-SC' configuration of the so-called High Tech Test Track to simulate the tight curves of the forthcoming Monaco grand prix.

On Friday, the circuit will switch to a lower downforce layout for Montreal preparations.

On day one, most teams are trialing visibly new bodywork pieces, most notably the Williams and Honda teams.

Williams' FW30 features a variety of the Red Bull and Renault-style engine cover fin, while Honda is experimenting with a couple of new versions of its novel nose horn winglets.

Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, is at the wheel of Toro Rosso's new STR3 chassis, which will make its race debut at Monaco next week.

Also of note, test drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Lucas di Grassi are in action for Force India and Renault respectively, while Alex Wurz returned to work for Honda following his race outing with Peugeot's Le Mans effort at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend.

05/14/08 F1 Testing gets underway this morning in southern France ahead of the forthcoming Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix. Now a staple on the F1 testing calendar, the sport's ten teams will spend three days at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track to evaluate components and set-up for two of the year's most challenging circuits at only the second in-season test session so far. With just one car allowed to run per team when testing during the season, everyone will be keen to make the most of their time on-track to get a head-start on the competition into the next two races.

The Paul Ricard HTTT is selected due to its flexible layout, with 180 solutions allowing the teams to simulate the tight and twisty Monte Carlo street circuit one day before trying out a Montreal-esque track the next. This week will see teams test for two days, Wednesday and Thursday, simulating Monte Carlo, before spending Friday preparing for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Weather-wise three-day test is likely to enjoy reasonably favorable conditions, with heavy cloud unlikely to bring any rain. Temperatures will remain in the high teens or low twenties for the three days, similar to what will be expected in Monte Carlo in just over a week's time.

05/14/08
racing news
James Garner undergoes surgery after stroke  Actor James Garner, best known for starring in the classic television series "Maverick", "Grand Prix" and "The Rockford Files," underwent surgery this week after suffering a minor stroke, his spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Garner, 80, who built a six-decade career playing ruggedly charming, good-natured anti-heroes, suffered a stroke at home last Friday and was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital, publicist Jennifer Allen said.

The actor underwent surgery on Sunday, and his prognosis following the operation was described as "very positive," Allen said, adding that Garner's vital signs were good and that he was conscious and "responsive."

Allen said Garner was expected to be discharged from the hospital soon, but she had no further details about the circumstances of Garner's stroke or his condition.

05/14/08
irl
Indy 500 driver blasts qualifying format  
Davey Hamilton
After suffering crippling leg injuries in a crash during an IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway in 2001, Davey Hamilton proved something to himself when he returned to the race car to finish ninth in last year’s Indianapolis 500.

Hamilton is back for another run in this year’s 92nd Indy 500 but spoke out against the unique qualifying format that only has 11 cars safely in the field after Sunday’s second-round of qualifications were rained out.

Under the old Indy 500 qualifying format, as many as 20-25 cars could have qualified last Saturday, which would have lessened the tension as teams return to the track for practice on Wednesday morning.

Even that is in doubt as heavy rain is expected to return Wednesday after two glorious and dry days Monday and Tuesday when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was closed to track activity.

Early forecasts calls for rain for Saturday’s third day of qualifications and Sunday’s Bump Day.

“I’ll just be straight up - I don’t like it,” Hamilton told PA SportsTicker. “I don’t like the qualifying format at all. I personally feel like us as drivers we hang our tail out there. Qualifying is meant to hang your (tail) out. I just did that Saturday and I felt great about it but missed the top 11 by 15-100ths of a second. More ...

05/14/08
irl
Weather could be factor for teams yet to qualify  After two days of sunny skies over a quiet Indianapolis Motor Speedway, rain is expected to return today just as the teams resume preparations for the 92nd Indianapolis 500.

The forecast for the next five days, which covers three days of practice and two days of weekend qualifying to set the 33-car field, calls for a significant chance of rain every day but Friday.

With 2-1/2 days of practice last week and second-round qualifying Sunday lost to rain, teams are itching to get back to work. Time is especially precious for a team such as Curb Agajanian Beck Motorsports, one of four confirmed entries that has yet to be on the track.

"It's going to be interesting to see how the next few days play out," said co-owner Greg Beck, who plans to have his car on the track today. "Weather permitting, the track's going to be crowded. For those of us just getting started, we need to get up to speed pretty quick."

Beck said either Alex Barron or Roger Yasukawa, both five-time starters, will be in the car. "It's just a matter of whose money shows up first," he said.

Chief steward Brian Barnhart cautioned teams to manage their time wisely and realize the 11 already in the field will be working solely on race setups while everyone else will be dividing their efforts between race and qualifying preparation.

"It's just a matter of being smart of when you're doing what you're doing," he said. Indy Star

05/14/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Montreal makes Kubica crash wall safer
  • Lack of title keeps DC going - Hakkinen
  • Hamilton also in talks with Pepsi
  • Alonso vows to enjoy title-less 2008
  • Major F1 demo on track for Moscow in July
  • Four teams to scrap for Monaco crown
  • Kimi on track for 2008 title - Keke Rosberg
  • BMW boss backs struggling Heidfeld

Montreal makes Kubica crash wall safer
(GMM)  Less than a month prior to the Canadian grand prix, organizers of the Montreal race have confirmed changes to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in response to Robert Kubica's huge crash there one year ago.

Racing for BMW-Sauber last year, the young Pole was fortunate to emerge relatively unscathed after striking an unprotected concrete wall at high speed and at a sickeningly acute angle.

A change to the wall adjacent to the left-hand kink, located before the hairpin, was ordered by the FIA in its regular post-event report.

Francois Dumontier, executive vice-president of the Montreal promoter, is quoted as saying by the Canadian news agency CP that, if the same accident occurs in June this year, "the car will slide on that wall instead of hitting" it.

The change is among the $4.5 million of improvements at Montreal this year, including better paddock facilities and several resurfaced corners.

It is also understood that proper paddock toilets for each team have also been installed, after David Coulthard earlier this year slammed the usual Canadian GP "portaloos".

Lack of title keeps DC going - Hakkinen
(GMM)  David Coulthard is now the oldest active formula one racer because he does not want to quit before he has achieved his goals.

That is the opinion of the 37-year-old Scot's former McLaren teammate Mika Hakkinen, who retired at the end of the 2001 season with two drivers' championships under his belt.

"I'm surprised some drivers, like DC, can hang on for so long in formula one," the 39-year-old Finn, who left F1 at the age of 33, is quoted as saying by the Canadian news agency Canwest.

Coulthard, the winner of 13 grands prix, left McLaren at the end of 2004 and took up residence at Red Bull Racing, for whom he still drives.

Hakkinen, in Montreal on sponsorship duties, added: "On the other hand, I understand why, because if I never would have won the championship I probably would still be (in F1).

"The story is different for a lot of drivers, but for some, if you haven't reached your goal, you just keep going and going and going," he explained. More ...

05/13/08
pf2000
Pacific F2000 Championship confirms return to Infineon Raceway  
Infineon Raceway
The Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Hankook Tires will include a pair of races at the scenic and challenging Infineon Raceway, near Sonoma, Calif., on the weekend of July 5/6.

Infineon Raceway has hosted the Pacific F2000 cars each year since the series was introduced in 2004 and remains one of the most popular – and demanding – venues on the West Coast.

"Our original hope for our sixth and final event of the season was to race with the Champ Cars at Portland in July," explains Pacific F2000 series originator and coordinator Les Phillips, "but with the unification of Champ Car and the IRL, that date went away so we had to make alternate plans. All of our teams and drivers want to race at Infineon because it’s truly a world-class venue – in every conceivable way – so that became our primary goal. The problem was that finding space on an already scheduled weekend gets harder as each club with a secure date can easily fill the space with their own racers. Our other choices [of venue] were either too far, too small or duplicates so we went with the Infineon opportunity and will join the Shelby Club on their weekend. We’re excited about it." More ...

05/13/08
nnw
Charlotte Nationwide Series test speeds: Cumulative  Cumulative speeds through Tuesday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series test session at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway, with position, driver, team and speed:

1. Carl Edwards, No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 182.710
2. Denny Hamlin, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 182.217
3. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge, 181.947
4. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 181.708
5. Chase Miller, No. 19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge, 181.549
6. David Stremme/Steve Wallace, No. 64 Rusty Wallace Racing Chevrolet, 181.068
7. Marcos Ambrose, No. 59 JTG Racing Ford, 180.995
8. Johnny Benson, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 180.765
9. Jeff Burton, No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 180.668
10. Brad Keselowski, No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, 180.644
11. Jason Keller, No. 11 CJM Racing Chevrolet, 180.584
12. Steve Wallace/David Stremme, No. 66 Rusty Wallace Racing Chevrolet, 180.554
13. Brian Vickers, No. 10 Braun Racing Toyota, 180.505
14. David Reutimann, No. 99 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, 180.463
15. David Ragan, No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 180.439 More ...
05/13/08
nnw
Carl Edwards on whether Nationwide series needs All-Star race  Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, will be competing in this weekend’s Sprint All-Star race and recently spoke about whether or not it would be a good idea if the Nationwide Series had a similar event.

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – YOU HAVE A TV GIG DURING THE ALL-STAR EVENT DON’T YOU?  “Yeah, I’m gonna be a pit road reporter for the Open, which is way more fun that being in the Open, I can guarantee you that. I had a little bit of fun with it last year. I was a reporter for the all-star race and I learned that some of those guys are really hard to get an interview from after they wreck. I know how you feel. It’s very tough. You kind of have to chase them down and be as nice as you can and hope they don’t push you over.” 

ANY SYMPATHY FOR US? “I had a little sympathy toward you. I’m getting my dose of sympathy once a year if I can do this pit road reporting.”  More ...

05/13/08
irl
Teams have different strategies for final week of Indy preparations  The final week of on-track preparation for the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 begins May 14. Eleven drivers have locked in starting positions for the event and can focus on preparing their cars for the race. Twenty-five drivers have a balancing act ahead of them – work on qualifying setup to earn one of the final 22 starting positions, and work on race setup to be competitive in the 500-Mile Race on May 25.
 
“You have 18 hours of practice, plus the practice time that will be available over the weekend, as well,” said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. “(Teams) will have to manage it wisely. I anticipate that you will see some scenarios, maybe not on Wednesday, but on Thursday, you will have some pretty big groups of cars running, maybe eight or 10 cars running together, which is going to be cooperation between multiple teams going out there.
 
“If you are a team that is working on your qualifying setup and you see that going, you are not going to go out there and interact with that. You are going to have low downforce, and you are not going to mess with that kind of turbulence. It is just a matter of being smart of when you are doing what you are doing. You are going to work on both. If you want to focus on the full race stuff, you are going to load it up with downforce and have a run with them, but if not you are going to wait and try to find your own space on the 2.5-mile track.” More ...
05/13/08
irl
Dominguez honored in Mexico  
Mario Dominguez
Mario Dominguez, driver of the No. 96 Visit Mexico City/PCM Racing entry, flew to Mexico after Second Day Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 was rained out May 11 to be honored by Mexico City’s government.
 
Dominguez was recognized May 13 as “Mexico City’s Official Ambassador of Sports and Tourism” by the city of 19 million in a presentation made near the National Palace.
 
“I am very honored by the designation,” said Dominguez, who is attempting to make his IndyCar Series debut in the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. “I’m looking forward to representing my country.”
05/13/08
irl
Buckman released from hospital  Charles Buckman, the Dale Coyne Racing crew member who was injured in an incident on pit lane May 9, has been released from Methodist Hospital, according to Dr. Mike Olinger, senior medical director for the Indy Racing League.
 
Buckman is recovering from a traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage and a skull fracture.
05/13/08
ga
Gurney and Fogarty Joined by Champs da Matta and Vasser  GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing will for the first time field two Daytona Prototype race cars in Saturday's RumBum.com 250 (SPEED, May 18 at Noon ET) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in a history-making Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race that will see champion driver Cristiano da Matta make his first professional race start since recovering from life-threatening injuries in an August 2006 testing accident.

Reigning Grand-Am Rolex Series Champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will be joined by da Matta and former CART Champ Car Champion Jimmy Vasser in similar Pontiac Rileys on the legendary Laguna Seca track where GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing made its debut just three years ago. Gurney, along with team owner and then-driver Bob Stallings, finished sixth.

"I returned to racing in 2005 after two years away when GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing made its series debut at Laguna Seca, so it is a special place for us," said Gurney, who drove through the field after Stallings recovered from an early contact incident. "We will always remember being quickest on our first day and we want that tradition to continue this weekend. We've had some terrible luck lately, but the speed of the car is there and the team is performing well, so we believe wins are coming. I'll have a big contingent of family and friends attending, so it's the perfect weekend to get back into victory lane."

Fogarty, who was part of another GAINSCO Laguna Seca milestone one year later when he and Gurney bagged runner-up honors in just their second race together, knew the Bob Stallings-led team was a winner long before signing on as a driver. More ...

05/13/08
nassprint
Tickets set to go on sale for 2009 Daytona 500  Daytona International Speedway officials will begin selling tickets on Saturday for next year’s Daytona 500. Tickets are available at www.racetickets.com, by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by visiting the Daytona International Speedway ticket office inside the lobby of the Daytona 500 Experience.
05/13/08
f1
Renault launches own YouTube channel  Just like Ferrari, the ING Renault F1 Team has launched its official channel on YouTube, the video-sharing website. This initiative will take the team to an even wider audience by making the team’s video content available to web users.

The ING Renault F1 Team already has a strong presence on the web, with both a team site and a fan site entirely dedicated to the supporters. But from now the team will also showcase its video content on its official YouTube channel, the site of reference for video-sharing.

With the aim of giving privileged access to fans of the sport and supporters of the team, the ING Renault F1 Team hopes that the creation of this official page can help capture a new audience. With 15 videos already uploaded to the page, it will allow both enthusiasts and casual fans to easily discover more about the ING Renault F1 Team. Users can share these videos with their friends and can look forward to regular content updates – it’s all just a click away!

Content already includes the team launch, reports on the drivers, interviews with key members of the team, and reports on our demonstration program which visits the major cities of the world. It’s an ideal way for web surfers to stay in touch with news on the ING Renault F1 Team and to interact directly with the team by posting messages and comments.

With nearly 100 million videos broadcast every day, and close to 20 million unique users each month, YouTube has emerged as the most effective way to share video content, and as such is the ideal tool for supporting the communication efforts of the ING Renault F1 Team on the internet.

To view this page and its content, visit the following link: http://fr.youtube.com/INGRenaultf1Team

05/13/08
f1
Singapore timetable altered for more night running  The original timetable for the Singapore GP has been altered to include more night running after teams voiced concerns.

The FIA announced earlier this year that the Singapore race would take place under floodlights at 20:00 hours local time while Friday's second practice session and qualifying would also take place under lights.

However, in addition to the night program, there would also be a daytime practice session on Friday from 16:00 to 17:30 hours and final practice on Saturday from 17:00 to 18:00 hours.

Some of the teams, though, voiced concerns about the lack of night running, especially after witnessing the first MotoGP race held at night in Qatar.

"At the beginning I was not relaxed but not so worried, but after I saw Qatar and I spent time there, I am not confident 100 percent now. I am talking about the safety of the drivers - because I am not worried about having to work all night if it is for our job," said Toro Rosso's team manager Massimo Rivola. "The safety issue we have to consider more carefully."

Toro Rosso's as well as other teams' concerns have resulted in a changes being made to the Singapore schedule, with all the sessions now taking place at night.

The Revised Turkish GP Schedule
Practice 1 Friday 19:00-20:30
Practice 2 Friday: 21:30-23:00
Practice 3 Saturday 19:00-20:00
Qualifying Saturday: 22:00-23:00
Race Sunday: 20:00

05/13/08
alms
Utah GP pre-race quotes from GT class  Talk about a change of scenery. The Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little America Hotels could not be more of a contrast to the previous two rounds of the American Le Mans Series. Instead of tight, twisty street circuits, Miller Motorsports Park is a wide-open, extremely fast test of the abilities of both man and machine. That is certainly true in the Series’ two production-based GT classes.

Johnny O’Connell, Corvette Racing
Corvette C6.R (GT1)
“(The facilities) at Miller Motorsports Park are by far the best in the United States. You really have to go to Indianapolis to the Speedway to find something of the same quality. So you know going there and being presented with a long, fast race track, and then you combine that with the great amenities and the great fans of Utah, it’s an awesome event.

“We have Le Mans shortly after so to be on a long circuit with longer, sweeping corners is going to be great. We love whatever the Series throws at us (and) Miller Motorsports Park is one of the coolest race tracks we have in this country. So to go back there and use it as preparation for Le Mans is great.”

Seth Neiman, Flying Lizard Motorsports
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2)
“I don’t think there is one circuit that we currently race on in the U.S. and Canada that compares. But it always reminds me of running at Le Mans. There are a lot of very high-speed connected corners that prove you really have a lot at stake all the time.”

Jim Tafel, Tafel Racing
Ferrari F430 GT (GT2)
“I think it’s the closest thing we do to Formula 1. From the layout of the track, the backdrop of the scenery, the competition, the people out there, it’s an awesome venue to be at.”

05/13/08
automotive
U.S. auto industry in recession, GM's president says  While debate continues over whether the U.S. economy is in a recession, General Motors Corp. President Fritz Henderson said today that there’s no question the U.S. auto industry is in a recession.

“There have been a lot of questions about whether the U.S. economy is in recession,” Henderson said today during a presentation to bankers and insurance industry representatives in Warren. “The U.S. auto industry is definitely in a recession.”

Still, the automaker believes it has more than enough cash available to operate and continue the programs it had planned for the year.

05/13/08
track news
Longtime Indianapolis 500 official Graham dies at 67  Arthur W. "Art" Graham III, director of timing and scoring for the Indianapolis 500 from 1978-97, died Sunday, May 11. He was 67.

A native of Columbus, Ind., but a longtime resident of Brownsburg, Ind., Graham introduced many of the timing-and-scoring procedures now used in American open-cockpit open-wheel racing.

Graham was employed by IBM for 30 years, joining the company in 1962 and serving as a senior systems engineer from 1977-92. A lifelong racing enthusiast who recalled watching the first live television coverage of the "500" in 1949 on a tiny screen through an appliance store window, Graham first became involved with the United States Auto Club in 1965 while living in Cincinnati. It wasn't long before he was serving on USAC's various competition commissions, and he eventually became chairman of the rules committee. In 1982, he was named to USAC's board of directors, remaining there until 1997. More ...

05/13/08
alms
Utah GP holds risks and rewards for Corvette team  After back-to-back races on concrete-lined street circuits, the Corvette Racing team will revel in the wide-open spaces of Miller Motorsports Park, the site of Sunday's American Le Mans Series Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. Although the team has raced twice previously at the facility near Salt Lake City, this will be the first Series race held on the circuit's fast 3.048-mile, 15-turn perimeter course. The two previous events held at Miller Motorsports Park were contested on the track's twisting 24-turn, 4.5-mile configuration.

The Utah Grand Prix is a crucial event for Corvette Racing because it is the final rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the centerpiece of the Chevrolet factory team's program. Miller Motorsports Park's high-speed turns and wide, smooth surface replicate the conditions that Corvette Racing will encounter on the immense 8.5-mile Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14-15. But with the twin Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars scheduled to be flown to France just days after the Utah event, it's imperative that they roll into their transporters unscathed at the conclusion of the two-hour, 45-minute race.

"While the infield course at Miller Motorsports Park is very challenging because there are so many turns, racing on the perimeter course is a better tune-up for Le Mans," said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. "At more than three miles in length, the outer circuit is still a long track by most standards, and the addition of the new Turn 7 will make it a very fast course. Eliminating several of the tight corners in the infield should produce a cleaner race with fewer incidents. Our top priority is to have the race cars ready to air freight to Le Mans in three days." More ...

05/13/08
nassprint
Schrader to drive 4th RCR car  
Ken Schrader
Ken Schrader will attempt to qualify the team's No. 33 Chevrolet for the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The fourth RCR entry, which is running a limited schedule this season, has been driven by Scott Wimmer earlier this year.

Schrader, 52, has one win, six top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 44 starts at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
05/13/08
irl
Danica Patrick on cover of Sports Illustrated  On the heels of her first race victory and leading into the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, IndyCar Series star Danica Patrick graces the cover of the Sports Illustrated issue that will be on newsstands May 14.
 
It’s Patrick’s second appearance on the cover of the magazine. The first came after her fourth-place finish in the 2005 Indianapolis 500. She also was featured in this year’s Swimsuit Issue. 

Danica Patrick
The cover headline:
Yes She Can
Danica Revs Up for Indy

The May 19 issue will be on newsstands May 14.

 
Lars Anderson writes about Patrick’s star power on Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, during which she qualified fifth for the May 25 race. On April 27 at Twin Ring Motegi, Patrick became the first female to win a major closed-course auto race.
 
During her first trip to the Indianapolis 500 in ’05, Patrick qualified and finished fourth. She became the first female to lead a lap (19 overall), and battled eventual winner Dan Wheldon for the point in the latter stages before fading because of fuel mileage. Her run triggered a groundswell of media and promotional opportunities that continue to this day. Winning the Indy Japan 300 in her 50th IndyCar Series race has heightened interest in the driver and the series.
 
Patrick will be joined on Row 2 in this year’s race by Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan and Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves.

05/13/08
nassprint
Sprint Showdown entry list includes 29 teams  The preliminary entry list for the Sprint Showdown qualifier for the all-star race includes 29 teams.

In addition to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars that are entered and competing for the spot in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the list includes a few changes. Dario Franchitti, who has not driven since breaking an ankle at Talladega, is listed in the No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing entry. Tony Raines is driving the No. 08 EM Motorsports entry, with Bill Elliott in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford he shares with Jon Wood. Jeff Green is taking over the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports entry as regular driver John Andretti is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kenny Wallace is entered in the No. 37 Front Row Motorsports Chevrolet, Carl Long is entered in his own No. 46 Carl Long Motorsports Dodge, Chad McCumbee is in the No. 49 BAM Racing entry that has been inactive of late and Johnny Sauter returns in the No. 70 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet. David Reutimann moves back to the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 00 as Dale Jarrett plans to race for the final time in the team's No. 44.

The race is slated for 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday night. The top two drivers from the Showdown advance to the all-star race. There will also be a driver voted in to the all-star race by fans.

05/13/08
irl
PCM Announces the Evolution of PCMracing.com  Pacific Coast Motorsports is pleased to announce the evolution of www.pcmracing.com.  The Oxnard, California-based professional auto-racing team fields entries for Carl Skerlong and Frankie Muniz in the Cooper Tires Present the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.  The team also fields an entry in the IndyCar Series, where Mario Dominguez is making his series debut driving the #96 Visit Mexico City IndyCar at the 2008 Indy 500.

An interactive resource for fans, partners and the media, the innovative website provides extensive news and information about PCM’s athletes and partners. “We are very pleased to continue working with Jack and the guys at Mach Tech Systems,” said Team Owner, Tyler Tadevic.  He continued, “As we’ve evolved so has our website; we are proud of both of our programs and thrilled to promote them. We think the website is enjoyable and resourceful for the fans and the journalists who follow us, in addition to being functional from a business point of view.  It is a great marketing tool for our team and partners.”  More ...

05/13/08
nassprint
McCumbee to replace Petty for 2 races  Petty Enterprises announces its driver lineup for the No. 45 Marathon/Wells Fargo/PVA Dodge for the races beginning with the June 1 event at the Dover (Del.) International Speedway through the July 12 event at the Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway.

Kyle Petty is scheduled to step away from the car at Dover to attend his daughter’s wedding.  Petty will also return to the broadcasting booth to cover the NASCAR Sprint Cup events that will air on TNT Sports, which begin with the June 8 event at the Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.  Petty made his TNT Sports broadcasting debut in 2007 to rave reviews and accolades. 

Petty will return when the series makes its annual mid-summer trek to the Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway.

Chad McCumbee will bookend Petty’s hiatus by getting behind the wheel of the No. 45 Dodge at Dover and Chicagoland.  He previously filled in for Petty at Pocono and the Michigan International Speedway in 2007 and at the Texas Motor Speedway last month.  McCumbee’s best finish for Petty Enterprises came at Pocono when he came home 25th.  In two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts at Dover, McCumbee has a high finish of 13th, which came in 2007.  The Chicagoland race will be his debut on the 1.5-mile oval. 

“As a father there aren’t many days more special than the day you get to give your daughter away in marriage,” said Petty.  “I appreciate Chad jumping in the car at Dover to allow me to do that.  He is strong on the intermediate tracks and I’m confident that he will do a great job at Dover as well as Chicagoland.  It’s just another part of our evaluation process of him.”

For the remaining five races, Petty will turn the reins of the No. 45 Dodge over to a familiar friend and competitor.  Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Terry Labonte, will become a teammate to his younger brother, 2000 series champion Bobby, for only the second time in their Sprint Cup careers.  The Labontes are the only brothers to both win the series championship and have combined to win 43 Sprint Cup races.  More ...

05/13/08
alms
Fernandez family grows  Congratulations and best wishes go out today to Adrian Fernandez and wife Catalina, who delivered the couple’s second child Monday in their hometown of Scottsdale. Baby Niko was born at 6:18 p.m. ET and weighed in at eight pounds, 11.2 ounces. He joins sister Valentina, who turned one in April. Mother and baby are doing very well and are expected home on Wednesday.

And what more fitting baby gift could the proud papa give than the first victory for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing this weekend in the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by the Grand and Little Hotels? Fernandez will team with Luis Diaz in the team’s No. 15 Acura ARX-01b in Sunday’s race at Miller Motorsports Park.
05/13/08
f1
Hamilton wants equality to remain at McLaren  (GMM) McLaren should not break its policy of driver equality in 2008, the team's British driver Lewis Hamilton insists.

Despite the 23-year-old's 14 point advantage over his new teammate Heikki Kovalainen, and the Mercedes-powered team's championship deficits to the dominant Ferrari, Hamilton remains committed to McLaren's long-standing avoidance of so-called 'number one' drivers.

Many pundits insist that Woking-based McLaren's failure to beat Ferrari to the crowns last year was its reluctance to favour either the now departed Fernando Alonso, or Hamilton.

But even though Hamilton is regarded by some as the obvious choice as McLaren's potential no.1, the Briton insists that he wants the policy of driver equality to continue.

When asked if his higher status should be confirmed at Monaco, where last year he was ordered to finish behind Alonso, Hamilton replied: "No, I don't think so."

Last year's championship runner-up said Kovalainen, a Finn, "had a fantastic race" despite his damaging early pitstop last weekend in Turkey.

"We're a team and I want it to continue as it is, fair and square," Hamilton added.
05/13/08
alms
imsa
IMSA makes weight changes for ALMS GT classes  IMSA, the technical arm of the ALMS series, has implemented a weight reduction for the three new manufacturers in a bid to help close the gap to the dominant Porsche 911 RSR GT3 and Ferrari F430 GTC.  They also gave the Aston Martins a slight break in the GT1 category.

The following Sporting Adjustments are effective immediately for the remainder of the 2008 American Le Mans Series Events unless modified or cancelled by a written bulletin:

1) The following “LM”GT2 cars may remove 25 kg from the minimum weight declared and listed on the Event Entry Form as received and approved by IMSA.
• Aston Martin Vantage
• Doran Ford GT
• Panoz Esperante LMGT
• Riley Chevrolet Corvette C6
The Porsche 911 RSR GT3 may continue at its currently homologated weight.

2) The following changes apply in “LM”GT1:
• Aston Martin DBR9 may compete at 1125 kg minimum weight with two (2) 31.2 mm minimum diameter air restrictors and a maximum on-board fuel capacity of 85 liters.

05/13/08
nassprint
Dodge teams struggling to keep up  It was called the Dodge Challenger 500, but maybe Saturday night's race at Darlington Raceway should have been called the "Dodge Challenged 500."

Dodge teams were hard-pressed to get anything going -- about the only thing that Dodge had out front all night was the pace car.

Dodge teams looked great at Daytona -- Ryan Newman and teammate Kurt Busch finished one-two -- but since then it has been a litany of excuses, and no more wins. Not even a good scent of one.

Dodge is last in the Sprint Cup manufacturers' race, last in Nationwide racing, and last in NASCAR's Trucks series.

The top Dodge finisher at Darlington was Kurt Busch. His brother, Kyle, is the hottest thing in NASCAR and won again. Kurt? Well, since leaving Ford's Jack Roush two years ago to join Roger Penske, the elder Busch has just about fallen off the radar. This season, Kurt Busch isn't even a top-20 driver -- his Daytona run is his only top-10 finish.

Kurt Busch, once used to the boos that now greet his kid brother, would probably love to get any reaction from the crowd this season.

Still, he tried to put an upbeat spin on things: "The Charlotte test paid dividends. With this right-side tire being the same at Charlotte and Darlington, we just kept the same frame of mind for four days straight, which really helped us."

Kasey Kahne, another Dodge driver, might have had something to work with, but he crashed during practice. More at Winston Salem Journal

05/13/08
scca
SCCA Runoffs Moving to Road America in 2009  Sports Car Club of America, Inc. announced today the results of a vote by its Board of Directors that will move the National Championship Runoffs® to Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wis.) in 2009. Road America will become the sixth venue to host the event, dating back to 1964.

The Board directed its staff to move forward to negotiate a three-year agreement with Road America for SCCA Club Racing’s signature event, which has averaged over 650 participants since 2000. The Runoffs is currently in the final year of a three-year agreement at Heartland Park Topeka, in Topeka, Kan.

“Given the deep history the track, the town of Elkhart Lake and SCCA enjoy, it only seems natural for the most prestigious Club Racing event in the world to be hosted by Road America,” SCCA President & CEO Jim Julow said. “The Board had a difficult decision, as we had an unprecedented number of outstanding potential hosts for the event, meaning the long term future of Club Racing’s National Championship is very bright.”

“The SCCA has been an integral part of our 53 year-history,” Road America President and General Manager George Bruggenthies said. “The opportunity to showcase our facility and our community to a nation of SCCA racers and fans is a tremendous honor. On behalf of our board of directors and staff, my thanks to the SCCA for their confidence. We promise to build on the outstanding Runoffs tradition and exceed stakeholder expectations.”

05/13/08
automotive
Small cars sell best  U.S. light vehicle sales fell 6.9% to about 1.25 million sales in April from a year ago, hitting Detroit's automakers hard, as the pinch of $3.60-a-gallon gas combined with a struggling U.S. economy to drive a strong consumer shift to more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers from large trucks.

The shift led to sales and market-share declines at General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, which have historically relied on truck sales. GM and Ford, however, noted jumps in car and crossover sales for the month, compared with a year ago.

Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. also felt the impact of fewer consumers choosing pickups and SUVs, but they overcame that squeeze with increased sales of cars.

"The reason for the take down is because of rising oil prices," said Mark LaNeve, GM North America vice president of sales, service and marketing. "What we did not count on is oil hitting as high as almost $120 a barrel. What that's doing is causing a sharp shift to cars and crossovers from large trucks."

The highlights:

  • GM reported sales of 257,638 vehicles in April, down 16.2% from the same month last year.
  • Ford sales fell 12.1% to 200,007 in year-over-year comparisons.
  • Chrysler reported April sales of 147,751, down 23.5% from the same month last year.
  • Toyota reported a sales increase of 3.4% to 217,700 vehicles.
  • Nissan posted a 6.7% overall sales increase for the month to 75,855.

More at Detroit Free Press

05/13/08
f1
Hamilton driving style caused tire woes  UPDATE According to reports, it was McLaren rather than Bridgestone that decreed that Lewis Hamilton should use a three-stop strategy during the Turkish GP.

In the aftermath of Hamilton's powerful drive to second place, it was claimed that his aggressive strategy was the consequence of Bridgestone advising the team that, due to Hamilton's unique driving style and the demands he makes on his front-right tires when cornering Turn 8 at Istanbul, two-stopping was unsafe. However, the reality may have been subtly different.

It has emerged that Bridgestone instead cautioned the team against running a long middle stint, suggesting that Hamilton could run stints of 20 laps, 18 laps, and 20 laps. After calculating the likely results of such a pattern, the team's strategists then decided that a three-stop strategy would be better - presumably because that would mean the Englishman would only have to run a few handful of laps on soft tires, a compound he struggled with all weekend.

05/12/08
Apparently Lewis Hamilton is not as smooth as some of the other drivers and puts too much stress on his right-front or left-front tires (depending on circuit configuration) that causes possible tire structural issues
McLaren
McLaren chief Ron Dennis praised Lewis Hamilton on his second place finish in Turkey after the team adopted a 'safety first' approach to their tire strategy.

Hamilton pitted three times at the Istanbul Park circuit, where he suffered a blowout 12 months ago, in contrast to his main rivals who each changed their tires twice.

With last year's exit in mind, the McLaren team opted to provide Hamilton maximum protection whilst giving him as much chance as possible of obtaining a podium place - with the result delighting Dennis.

"We saw a truly phenomenal drive from Lewis in which he optimized a three-stop strategy we were forced to adopt as a consequence of concerns we had with his tires," remarked Dennis.

"It was a structural concern with the tires, so we took a decision with Bridgestone to run three stops. More ...

05/13/08
nnw
Charlotte Nationwide Series test speeds  Cumulative speeds through Monday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series test session at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway, with position, driver, team and speed:

1. Denny Hamlin, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 182.217
2. Carl Edwards, No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 182.014
3. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge, 181.947
4. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 181.708
5. Chase Miller, No. 19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge, 181.549
6. David Stremme/Steve Wallace, No. 64 Rusty Wallace Racing Chevrolet, 181.068
7. Marcos Ambrose, No. 59 JTG Racing Ford, 180.995
8. Johnny Benson, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 180.765
9. Jeff Burton, No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 180.668
10. Brad Keselowski, No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, 180.644 More ...

05/13/08
irl
FBI: No credibility to Indy 500 terror threats  The Indianapolis 500 is an attractive target for terrorists, federal authorities said, but there has been no credible or specific threat aimed at the Memorial Day weekend race.

In an internal FBI/Homeland Security Department assessment released Monday to local police, officials said such sporting events, which attract hundreds of thousands of spectators, are potential targets. The assessment said these popular events are inviting to terrorists because of the potential to inflict large numbers of casualties while the whole world is watching.

The assessment is supported by a congressional report, expected to be released this week, about the threat to mass gatherings. The report, written by the democratic staff on the House Homeland Security committee, finds that major events - such as NASCAR races, the Super Bowl and presidential nominating conventions - are all attractive targets to terrorists. The report also raised the potential for infectious disease outbreaks and other bioterror threats at such events. More ...

05/13/08
irl
Fisher Racing welcomes Bingham EST to team  Bingham EST and Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) are proud to announce a partnership to promote the sole female owner/driver IndyCar Series team.  Sarah Fisher, a seven year IndyCar Series veteran, announced earlier this year that she would compete in the 2008 IndyCar Series with a limited schedule and fulltime beginning in 2009.   

“There are not many opportunities in this sport to be a part of history,” said Joe Champion of Bingham EST.  “This is an exciting time for open-wheel racing, for the Indianapolis 500, and for Sarah Fisher Racing, the first female driver/owner team in 30 years.  No one could ask for a better driver to promote.  We are thrilled to be helping Sarah and her team put together a successful 2008 and beyond.” More ...

05/13/08
f1
BMW boss confident for Monaco  
Mario Theissen confident about Monaco
BMW team boss Mario Theissen is happy that his team got the most possible out of the Turkish Grand Prix with fourth and fifth places keeping the team in second place in the constructors' championship. Heading to Monaco, Theissen is confident his team will continue to be competitive.

In the race at Istanbul, we achieved the optimum available from our fifth and ninth grid positions," Theissen said. "Having scored nine points on such a challenging track from this poor initial position, we can travel home in a happy mood. Both our drivers gained positions right at the start. Then, during the first set of pit stops, it didn't come as a surprise for us that Robert was passed by Kimi Räikkönen. Nick, on the other hand, gained two positions, with his first long stint. We encountered no technical problems whatsoever and pour pit stops were good, too."

"Fourth and fifth positions and the nine points scored with these results confirm the previous achievements of our team," he added. "Now, we are travelling to the next GP venue, Monaco, in a confident mood."

05/13/08
f1
Domenicali: "Our competitors are very close"  
Domenicali with his two drivers Massa and Raikkonen in Istanbul
Ferrari
"I don't think it's correct to say that we dominated because if you look at the championship, the situation is very close." That was the view of Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali after Felipe Massa's win for his team in the Turkish Grand Prix outside Istanbul on Sunday.

"It was important for us to react after the first Grand Prix in Australia, with only one point scored," explained Domenicali, for whom Sunday's win was a welcome 43rd birthday present, "but once again, it's not dominating. Today's race shows that our competitors are very very close."

Indeed, Domenicali thinks that the next two races in Monaco and Canada will see the competition become stronger. "I think we will need to react for these two races because last year was very difficult for us. We have prepared the race with a different approach, we will also see next week in Paul Ricard where we have some tests to see if what we have prepared is going in the right way.

"By the way, I think that not only McLaren will be strong. I am expecting Renault and BMW of course to be strong again, above all on the track where qualifying can be different. You can be aggressive but then even if you run longer at that circuit, everything will be different, so I think Monte Carlo will be a very important race for everyone.

"I'm expecting the others - not only McLaren but BMW, Renault - to be very aggressive there. So we need to think very carefully how to approach qualifying because that, for sure, will affect the race more than at other tracks, so it's two weeks of very hard work to try to see how we think we need to work and also how we think the others will attack us, above all in qualifying." More ...

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