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DATE News (chronologically)
05/17/07
racing news
Ford opens racing school at Miller Motorsports Park  TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH – The high-performance driving school at Miller Motorsports Park is pleased to announce a far-reaching relationship with one of the world’s most renowned manufacturers. The school has joined forces with Ford Racing, and has been renamed the Ford Racing School of High Performance Driving.

The Ford Racing School of High Performance Driving utilizes Ford vehicles exclusively, featuring Ford Mustangs and the Ford GT supercar, and will offer a wide range of driving programs. It is the only Ford Racing-affiliated driving school in North America.

The entry-level school car is a Ford Mustang GT modified with Ford Racing Performance Packs, which include intake, exhaust, suspension, braking, steering and driveline modifications and are available through Ford Racing dealers nationwide. The cars are also fitted exclusively with BFGoodrich g-Force T/AKDWS high-performance street tires. The result is a stable, reliable and safe platform for students to learn the basics of high-performance driving. More ...

05/17/07
cca
Conquest Racing team completes test  The Conquest Racing Atlantic team concluded a productive two-day test at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan yesterday. After taking a short break from the three week stint in April, rookie drivers Giacomo Ricci and Matt Lee took to the track while the team worked on collecting data.

Coming back from a short break from his driving duties, 22-year old Italian Giacomo Ricci and his team was able to make good progression with the car. Ricci also had an opportunity to get a good feel for his new engineer, Tom Hoke.

18-year old Matt Lee also had a good experience at Gingerman Raceway. As one of the youngest drivers in the field, Lee’s confidence is getting stronger. The test was a good chance for Lee to improve and get more experience behind the wheel. More ...

05/17/07
alms
Dumas and Penske aiming for 3-in-row  Despite winning last two overall races in the American Le Mans Series on street circuits, count Romain Dumas among those drivers ready to return to road-course racing. He gets his wish in this weekend’s Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park.

“It’s not an easy track,” the French Porsche factory pilot said. “You have to be used to the track in order to be quick. It’s good to be back to a normal track and not a (street) track. Hopefully it will be good for us.”

The 2007 season sees Dumas and Timo Bernhard teaming for the third straight season. After winning four times for Alex Job Racing in 2005, Dumas and Bernhard have spent the last two seasons with Penske Motorsports. The results have been stellar: four GT2 wins with AJR in 2005 and four LMP2 victories - including three overall race wins - with Penske in the past two seasons.

“We have a lot of advantages because we are the same size and weight,” Dumas said. “We have nearly the same driving style. He is a little less aggressive than me but it works well. We have won a lot of races together and it is working very well.”

05/17/07
irl
Ganassi duo fastest on blustery day at Indy  Target Chip Ganassi Racing returned to the top of the speed chart on a cool, blustery day as teams continued preparations for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Scott Dixon recorded the fastest lap of the day, 40.9119 seconds, 219.985 mph, driving his back-up car. His teammate, IndyCar Series points leader Dan Wheldon, was second fastest with a lap of 219.773 mph, also in a back-up car.

A.J. Foyt Racing's Darren Manning was third, while Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter and Davey Hamilton rounded out the top five.

None of the five Andretti Green Racing cars practiced while Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, the pole sitter for the race, and Sam Hornish Jr. combined for only 11 laps in their back-up cars as their teams spent the day practicing pit stops. More ...

05/17/07
Miscellaneous
Long Beach gets ’Pooked’  UPDATE Another new article on Chris Pook in Long Beach.  Seems the city and its business owners have come to the conclusion that they did get 'Pooked.'  Recall that Chris Pook's plan was to make the Long Beach race an IRL event when the IRL was formed until sponsor Toyota nixed the idea.  In other words CART (now Champ Car) almost got Pooked too.

05/14/07 This article is making the rounds in Long Beach and talks about the failure of the Long Beach Sea Festival run by Chris Pook, former manager of the Long Beach GP.  The local Press Telegram newspaper is now proposing $50 million pool to be built right where the Champ Car compound is adjacent to the arena (stupid use of money; financial sink hole) and Mr. Pook is the major person pushing this project.  The City has an all-inclusive contract for Mr. Pook to do promotion of seaside events in Long Beach.
05/17/07
nascar
Denver latest city to run NASCAR out of town  After being run out of NY City and Seattle, Int’l Speedway Corp. (ISC) has “dropped” Commerce City, Colorado, as a potential site for a NASCAR racetrack according to a story in today's Denver Post.   ISC Senior Dir of Corporate & Investor Communications Wes Harris said that the 1,300-acre parcel the company was considering next to Denver Int’l Airport was “not compatible with its needs.” He added that the community “galvanizing against the racetrack also played a role” in the decision. Harris: “It was a combination of factors.” Harris indicated that ISC is “still looking at several other sites in the Denver metro area, including a parcel near Front Range Airport in Aurora.” He added that there is “no deadline for a decision.”

With ratings dropping, attendance soft in some markets, and potential new markets rejecting a NASCAR track, it seems that the luster has indeed come off the NASCAR apple.

05/17/07
irl
IRL races to be broadcast on internet worldwide  The IndyCar® Series and Indianapolis 500 announced May 17 that racing fans around the world can find their favorite IndyCar® Series and Indianapolis 500 programming on Joost, the world's first broadcast-quality Internet television service.

The programming, available on the IndyVision channels on Joost, includes IndyCar Races, Indy 500 Films and exclusive IndyVision programming. Content on both channels is available on-demand to racing fans everywhere 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

"IndyVision programming on Joost represents the cutting edge of new media technology and will provide more of the content that our loyal fans have requested, while introducing new fans to the sport," said Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO and Indy Racing League founder and CEO. "The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League are the worldwide leaders in motorsports entertainment, and this new relationship with Joost is another example of our commitment to that leadership." More ...

05/17/07
f1
Paul Ricard Day 3: Kimi fastest, Speed stuns  Kimi Raikkonen clocked the fastest time on the Paul Ricard Circuit Thursday. The circuit was changed from the Monaco to the Montreal-style configuration for today's test, with long straights and tight corners over the 5.2-km 1E layout. American Scott Speed stunned the paddock in his lowly Toro Rosso, 2nd fastest and just 2/10ths off of Raikkonen. "Super soft" tire that they had not tried so far in this test.

Results
1. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:28.833 50
2. Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:29.039 94
3. Kovalainen Renault 1:29.070 89
4. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:29.157 83
5. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:29.179 84
6. Montagny Toyota 1:29.205 66
7. Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:29.359 57
8. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1:29.528 95
9. Barrichello Honda 1:30.108 71
10. Rossiter Super Aguri-Honda 1:30.235 25
11. Klien Honda 1:30.286 113
12. Albers Spyker-Ferrari 1:32.245 16
13. Winkelhock Spyker-Ferrari 1:32.756 43

05/17/07
alms
Rave reviews for Miller Motorsports Park  It is hard to find anyone in the American Le Mans Series paddock who isn’t enamored with Miller Motorsports Park. From the appearance of the facility and scenery to the 3,500-foot straightaway and 24-turn, 4.5-mile circuit, praises have been flowing in advance of this year’s Utah Grand Prix for the Series’ second visit to Miller following a terrific inaugural showing last year. What do drivers like best about the track and what’s the best way to attack it? Here are their answers.

Bill Auberlen, Panoz Team PTG
“The high altitude is tricky because your motor makes a lot less horsepower. The key thing is to dyno the motor at altitude. Make the setup stiffer. It’s a road course. It’s flat and fast. We’ll change the setup and aerodynamic balance.”

Allan McNish, Audi Sport North America
“The circuit I found to be fantastic. The facility was top-notch. It was as good as any facility, not just in North America, but in the world. The corners are varied and there are a lot of them. So it’s tricky to get a rhythm and a feel.” More ...

05/17/07
f1
Schu to make trip to Monaco  (GMM)  A fortnight after visiting his first formula one paddock since retiring as a driver, it has emerged that Michael Schumacher will also make the trip to Monte Carlo next week.

For the traditional event coinciding with the annual Monaco grand prix, the former Ferrari driver and seven time world champion is scheduled to appear next Wednesday with the F1 drivers' 'Nazionale Piloti' football team.

The game, with proceeds going to children's charity, will be staged at the 'Stade Louis II', against Prince Albert's 'World Stars' team.

Also among the F1 personalities tipped to play are Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and GP2's Antonio Pizzonia.

05/17/07
cc
Champ Car drivers to test Mont-Tremblant circuit  Several Champ Car drivers will test the Mont-Tremblant circuit on May 25th ahead of Champ Car's first race there July 1st. Alexandre TAGLIANI, Sébastien BOURDAIS, Ryan DALZIEL, Alex FIGGE, Justin WILSON and Graham RAHAL will all be there.  The test is not open to the public.
05/17/07
nascar
Back To The Future, II  DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR’s stock car evolution exhibit, unveiled last week at Darlington Raceway, moves to Lowe’s Motor Speedway this week, giving fans a chance to see how the “Car of Tomorrow” is reminiscent of seasons past.

The exhibit, entitled “NASCAR: Back to the Future,” was viewed by approximately 15,000 fans last weekend at Darlington Raceway. At LMS, the exhibit will be housed in the fan display zone across from the speedway’s main entrance, adjacent to the intersection of Highway 29 and Morehead Road in Concord, N.C.

Friday and Saturday, in conjunction with the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, the exhibit will be open from 12-7 p.m.

Next week, in conjunction with the Coca-Cola 600, the exhibit will be open from 2-6 p.m. on Thursday, May 24; 12-7 p.m. on Saturday, May 26; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, May 27. More ...

05/17/07
f1
Bourdais vs. Speed at Paul Ricard  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am no fan of Scott Speed. I think there are much more talented American open wheel drivers that, unfortunately, are not racing in F1, but then again they are not racing in Champ Car or the IRL.

Sebastien Bourdais is certainly a very talented driver that belongs in F1 however as to his ‘beating’ Scott Speed on ‘his first day back’ I don’t think the published times reflect that as EVERY driver, without exception, was faster on day two by an average of almost a FULL SECOND! In fact every team that had a different driver in for the second day that driver was an average of 1.2 SECONDS faster than the driver from the previous day whereas Kermit was only 4/10ths faster [Editor's Note: Yes, but was the team doing qualifying simulations like the other teams? No].

Even if the track was identical to the day before, tracks usually get faster as they are ‘rubbered in.’ There is no way for anyone outside a team to know what a team’s program for a test is or if the drivers were on similar setups, softer tires, lighter fuel loads, etc. Additionally, F1 testing is notorious for being used for internal agendas and if the team, for whatever reason, wanted one driver to appear to be substantially faster or slower it is easily accomplished. More ...

05/17/07
Industry News
Video: Lower Emissions Essential to Climate Change Push  
As governments work to create energy-saving transportation solutions, auto experts say they are working to create additional alternative fuels. During the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in New York, Shell executives discussed new alternative gases including the company’s Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) fuel and biofuels made from leftover food particles. GTL is a clear liquid fuel that is designed to reduce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide emissions. Toyota North America President Jim Press says with the number of drivers on the road increasing, the auto industry must seek alternative solutions that also promote sustainable growth. Clinton Climate Initiative Senior Director Goran Carstedt says one of the purposes of the summit is to help businesses, including those in the automotive sector, reduce greenhouse gases. The Summit is being held May 14 -17.
05/17/07
nascar
Newman’s crew wins title  The No. 12 Alltel Dodge team led by crew chief Mike Nelson won the third annual NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge presented by Craftsman in a thrilling all-Dodge final. The team edged the No. 43 Cheerios Dodge team led by Paul Andrews by .33 seconds to grab the championship and the $70,300 prize.

It looked like the No. 12 team would falter in the finals when jack man Britt Goodrich had trouble lifting the second side of the car and was late getting to the car for the final push. The No. 43 crew had their Dodge rolling first, but was unable to hold off the hard-charging No. 12 team.

The Alltell Dodge team finished the competition in impressive fashion. The team was assessed a five second penalty in the first round for excessive fuel spillage but was flawless afterwards. In each of the final four rounds, the No. 12 team posted the top time. More ...

05/17/07
nascar
NASCAR Hall of Fame logo unveiled  The NASCAR Hall of Fame unveiled its logo Wednesday night as part of the all-star week festivities.  The logo is blue and silver underneath the multi-bar NASCAR logo.

"I'm thrilled for the team to now have a visual component to share with the Charlotte and NASCAR communities and the millions of NASCAR fans who are following our progress," said Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley.

Advertising firm BooneOkaley created the design for the logo.

The Hall of Fame is scheduled to open in late 2009 or early 2010 with its first induction ceremony possibly as early as May 2010.

05/17/07
cc
Pagenaud beats ’03 Champ Car pole time  Team Australia driver Simon Pagenaud has marked a successful two-day test by beating the 2003 Champ Car pole time around the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course in Lexington, Ohio this week.

Pagenaud again exhibited the pace and potential of both he and the new-for-2007 DP01 Champ Car, going quicker than the 2003 pole time of 1:07.058 set by Paul Tracy at the last Champ Car event staged at the circuit as the Frenchman set a best lap time of 1:06.28.

The rookie completed two days of testing around the 2.4-mile (3.86-kilometre) road course in the #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01, developing valuable set-up information around the twisting and undulating venue.

Completing two full days of testing, Team Australia and Pagenaud logged a total of 132 laps logging 321 miles (516 kilometres) on the Midwest road course.More ...

05/17/07
irl
Indy Car owner can’t honor Super Bowl champs  UPDATE So here's my question: If Paul Diatlovich, owner of PDM Racing, wanted to put the ichthys, or "Jesus fish," on his No. 18 car, would he first have to receive clearance from God?

As you may have read the other day, PDM, the mom-and-pop racing team from right here on Crawfordsville Road, wanted to dress up its car in blue and white with "Go Colts" and the team's insignia placed on the chassis. The idea, simply enough, was to pay homage to the Super Bowl champions.

This is when the Colts and the NFL stepped in. Well, their lawyers stepped in. And the lawyers said, sorry, but the NFL has a copyright on these images, the Colts have sponsors to protect and decorating a race car in the Colts' colors will make us very ornery and litigious.

Now, you're probably expecting me to take PDM's side because there's nothing better than a good little-guy-against-the-self-important-money-grubbing- corporate-behemoth story.

But . . . I can't.

Painful as that may be.

First, the NFL has a hard-and-fast rule about cross-promotion in other sports. Years ago, the Colts sponsored a sprint car that ran at 16th Street Speedway, and allowed a NASCAR team to use their name and likeness during one of the early Brickyard 400s. More recently, though, the NFL has strictly disallowed the practice.

Second, and maybe more important on a local level, the Colts have to protect their sponsors.

Let's say the PDM car has all the Colts images alongside other sponsors, maybe Pennzoil. If you're Forest Lucas of Lucas Oil, and you've just plunked down megamillions for the naming rights at the new stadium, you're not going to be pleased. While the Colts would not be directly supporting Pennzoil, their presence would be tantamount to an implied sponsorship.  Indy Star

05/15/07 The Colts have no problem with Peyton Manning starting the Indianapolis 500. They just don't want a Colts car running in the May 27 race.

Paul Diatlovich, the primary owner of PDM Racing, said he had asked permission to paint Jimmy Kite's No. 18 car in the Colts team colors -- dark blue and white -- with a message on the car's sidepod that read simply ``Go Colts.'' Indianapolis officials nixed it because of sponsorship concerns.

``I'm extremely upset with the narrow-minded, pinheaded leadership of the Colts team and the NFL,'' said Diatlovich, who lives in the city. ``It's inexcusable. All we're trying to do is say thank you.''

Last week, it was rumored Diatlovich would bring his Colts car to the historic 2 1/2 -mile oval. Because of NFL policies, his car is now blue-and-orange.

Tom Zupancic, the Colts vice president for sales and marketing, said the team was adhering to a policy issued by the league last year. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league prohibits cross-promotion between sports. More at Yahoo! Sports

05/17/07
nascar
Elliott agrees to drive in Coca-Cola 600  Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers racing team are giving long-time Ford fans something to celebrate next week in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Elliott has agreed to come out of his semi-retirement to drive the Wood's famous No. 21 Ford. Elliott, who had his greatest racing success driving a No. 9 Ford, will be back behind the blue oval logo for the first time since he drove his own No. 94 in 2000.

The No. 21, which has been driven this season by Ken Schrader and Jon Wood, is outside the top 35 in owner points, but Elliott has a past-champion's provisional at his disposal if he fails to qualify on speed.

"That will allow is to spend time getting the car ready for the race instead of worrying about qualifying," Elliott said. "And it means a lot to me to drive that car."

Elliott has also filed an entry for the following week at Dover.

05/17/07
nascar
Dale Jr. Merchandise Still Selling Well  Sales of Dale Earnhardt Jr. merchandise has skyrocketed 107 percent in the week since NASCAR's most popular driver said he was leaving his late father's company at the end of the season. The surge surprised industry experts, who believed sales of Earnhardt's red No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet merchandise would dip while he searches for a new team, number and maybe even a new sponsor. Associated Press
05/17/07
nascar
France Sells NASCAR to communist China  A few weeks ago, I reported in this column that Brian France and other NASCAR Party members spent a week in Communist China to “discuss possible projects with government, sports, and business officials in Beijing.” Well, it appears that Brian had some good discussions.

Barely three weeks after the Great Leader’s return to the States, it was quietly announced, in a two sentence paragraph on usatoday.com, that a Chinese owned company would sponsor a car in Nextel Cup competition. The company is Haier (pronounced Hi-er) America, a subsidiary of Haier Group, China’s number one company amongst “Top Ten Global Brands” of the country. The car they sponsored is the No. 13 Ginn Racing Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek, with the company making their debut at Darlington Raceway this past Saturday night. More ...

05/17/07
ga
Daytona Lights  Grand-Am is evaluating a new second-tier prototype class for the 2008 season. Daytona Prototype Lights would be a one-make class designed for aspiring sports-car drivers and amateurs. The cars, which would compete in a sprint-race format, would be smaller, lighter and less powerful Daytona Prototypes.

Grand-Am has not admitted the plan exists, but it has solicited proposals for spec Lights cars from a number of leading U.S and European constructors. Those are believed to include Riley Technologies, Pratt & Miller and Swift in the United States and Dallara, Lola and Tatuus in Europe.

Discussions are also under way with as many as four manufacturers about supplying engines, which could be anything from a V8 to a turbocharged four-cylinder. Grand-Am has set a $100,000 target price for a turnkey car. There potentially could be a short series of races in the second half of 2008 before the full championship in 2009. AutoWeek

05/17/07
ga
Gidley returns to where it all began  If a racetrack can have a ‘favorite son,’ and a driver can genuinely feel that a certain racetrack provided ‘fathered’ for his career -- then that relationship exists between Laguna Seca and Memo Gidley, the Novato native who has raced everything from karts to Champ Cars to Prototypes at this legendary circuit.
 
Competing as co-driver of the #77 Doran Racing Grand-Am prototype in this weekend’s U.S. Sports Car Invitational at the track where it all began, Gidley finds himself also re-connected with an old friend from back in the days when both were first getting started in racing; Steve Aderholt, who’s Aderholt Specialty Company, Inc., will be a Doran Racing Team co-Sponsor for the race.
 
“It’s funny how things happen in racing, how people from your past come back,” says Gidley, who co-drove the Doran Racing prototype to a 7th-place finish in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona earlier this year.  “Steve and I got to be pretty good friends when I was working as a mechanic at the Russell School at Laguna and he was a racer there.  But then we lost touch for ten years until finally he called my mother a couple of years ago and we got back together.  He’s still got the desire to go racing, so we do a bit of karting together and just hang around, and now he’s stepping up to test the waters as a sponsor this weekend.” More ...
05/17/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari boss slams F1 points system
  • I could fix Button's Honda woes - Jordan
  • McLaren, Williams, link with teen stars
  • Alonso exit cost Renault tenths - Symonds
  • Ferrari 'content' with Raikkonen - Montezemolo

Ferrari boss slams F1 points system
(GMM) Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has hit out at F1's points system, arguing that scarlet-clad driver Felipe Massa should be leading the championship.

"In a serious championship, which properly rewards winning, we would be ahead," the Italian is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The actual leader of the drivers' standings after four races in 2007 is Lewis Hamilton; who has been consistently on the podium but is yet to win a race.

Ferrari's Massa, in comparison, won in both Bahrain and Spain, but had a less shining start to the season.

The points system was changed at the end of 2002, allocating a smaller advantage to the winner of a grand prix.

Under the former regime, where second place earned six points instead of eight, Massa would be leading McLaren's Hamilton this year by one point instead of sitting also behind Fernando Alonso in third.

Hamilton, meanwhile, would be third.

26-year-old Brazilian Massa referred to the situation as "unusual" in his official blog.

"After three poles and two wins in a row, I am still only third in the championship," he added. More ...

05/16/07
Industry News
Video: Eco-Friendly “SynFuel” Vehicle  
New methods for mass and alternative transportation were showcased during the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit being held in New York City from May 14 – 17. One new method on display was the joint product of Audi and Shell Oil Company, the Audi A8 4.2 liter automobile. The car runs on Shell’s Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) “SynFuel”, a fuel designed to reduce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide emissions. Shell officials say the GTL Fuel used in the vehicle is compatible with existing diesel engines and can be used either as a pure product or as a blend. The clear fuel is also more cost-effective than other alternative gases, according to a study by the California Energy Commission.
05/16/07
industry news
GM announces plans to export $700M of goods to China  General Motors Corp. today said it plans to export $700 million worth of U.S.-made Cadillacs and automotive components to China over the next three years.

The Detroit-based automaker made the announcement at the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn during a public meeting with Ma Xiuhong, deputy minister of commerce of the People’s Republic of China, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and representatives from Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group.

GM’s China operations have imported about $3.5 billion worth of vehicles, components, equipment and machinery from North America during the past 10 years.

The announcement comes as the auto industry in China is growing faster than in any other country in the world. GM sold 877,000 vehicles in China last year, second only to its 4.1 million sales in the United States.

05/16/07
nascar
Toyota teams get engine upgrade  The Toyota teams competing in all-star weekend activities at Lowe’s Motor Speedway won’t have different engines than they’ve had so far this year, but they will have a new combination in their engines aimed at helping them compete better.

Lee White, senior vice president for Toyota Racing Development, said Wednesday that the changes are part of Toyota’s efforts at “continual development and improvement of the product we have.”

White said results of chassis dynamometer tests following the Cup race at Atlanta earlier this year showed that Toyota has as much top-end horsepower as any other manufacturer’s engine. But at lower RPMs - when cars are trying to get off the turns and back up to full speed for straightaways - the Toyotas were not making as much power as other cars. More ...

05/16/07
irl
Kite crashes again  He crashes every year, so why should this year be any different.  Jimmy Kite (pictured right) crashed hard in practice Wednesday in preparation for the Indy 500 on May 27. Kite, a PDM Racing driver who hasn't qualified yet, appeared to run low in Turn 1, where he lost control of his Panoz/Honda, spun and hit the wall.  Kite walked away from the wreck, but the small Indianapolis-based team will have trouble coming up with the money to fix the car. 

This is the same team whose "sponsor" was a freebie tribute to the Indianapolis Colts' Super Bowl win.  If PDM can't recover (lease a car, borrow a car, borrow parts to fix the car, etc) then we're down to 32 cars and Tony will have to open his wallet again.  Kite told the Indy Star he will be ready to qualify this weekend, unless of course he crashes again.

And how did Milka Duno do on Wednesday?  She got up to a blistering speed of 169 MPH, scared herself silly, and parked it.  Or maybe because of the wind the team parked her for fear of destroying the car again. Photo right of Duno's car being repaired after she wrecked it last Friday.

05/16/07
nascar
NASCAR slams cheating Earnhardt team  UPDATE #2 NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said he wasn't sure exactly when the illegal brackets got on the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. car, but he knows one thing for sure: They didn't match the brackets that were supposed to be on the car the morning of inspection for the May 12 race at Darlington Raceway.

NASCAR suspended crew chief Tony Eury Jr. through the race at Infineon Speedway (six points races), fined him $100,000 and docked Dale Earnhardt Jr. 100 driver points and the team 100 owner points.

The team had said that they used some old pieces that were used in the development of the car and will appeal the severity of the penalty.

"It was just wrong," Pemberton said Wednesday prior to the Nextel Pit Crew Challenge. "I can't weigh in whether I thought it was intentional. There's no such thing as an old piece. This car isn't that old to have a lot of old pieces laying around."

The car got through pre-qualifying inspection but did not get through pre-race inspection. Could the team have changed the brackets between those inspection times?

"I doubt that because they were sealed on the car in the right positions," Pemberton said. "What brought it to light was the fact of the extreme wing angle in prerace inspection. I don't know [how it was done]. All I know is that it was wrong. ... We'll see what comes out of this as far as our procedures."

NASCAR had warned teams not to mess with the car of tomorrow, but Pemberton said this was part of the ramped up penalties that started at Daytona earlier this year.

"We had warned people for the entire year," Pemberton said. "This falls in line with everything we've done since the beginning of the season." Scenedaily.com 

05/16/07 Tony Eury, Jr. spoke with PRN’s Garage Pass concerning the punishment NASCAR leveled on him and the DEI #8 team.

What is your reaction to the penalties? “It was not a performance deal, we documented wind tunnel reports to show that, but the fact of the matter is it was not a NASCAR approved part. It was an honest mistake, but it was a big mistake. From my standpoint, I think it’s pretty crazy if you compare it to some of the other things that have happened over the year.

Will you appeal? “Yeah I’m going to appeal it, just for the severity of the penalty. I know the part was wrong, but six weeks and a hundred grand that’s kind of ridiculous. Three years ago it would have a two thousand dollar fine.”

05/15/07 NASCAR announced today that the No. 8 Chevrolet team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has been penalized and fined for rule violations committed last week at Darlington Raceway.

The No. 8 team was found to have violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules), and 20-3.1.3B (the NASCAR-approved upper and lower rear wing mounting brackets must not be modified to obtain a rear-wing angle of less than zero degrees or more than 16 degrees) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book.

Crew chief Tony Eury Jr., has been fined $100,000 and suspended from NASCAR until July 4, 2007 which includes this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the next six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events. He has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2007. Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., has been penalized with the loss of 100 Championship Driver points. Car owner Teresa Earnhardt has been penalized with the loss of 100 Championship Owner points.

The violations were found during pre-race inspection on May 12.

05/16/07
irl
IRL starts title sponsorship hunt  The Indy Racing League is once again looking for a title sponsor for its series. In 2003 it put an annual price of $10 million but got no takers. This of course is after Pep Boys and Northern Lights ended their sponsorship of the league. They have hired Zak Brown's Just Marketing (see other Hot News item for that announcement) but instead of the $10 million fee for title sponsor, the league has lowered its expectations and the rights can probably be had for $5 million according to industry experts.
05/16/07
irl
Danica tops Wednesday practice  Danica Patrick paced the opening day of the second week of practice for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Patrick, who will start eighth in the race, lapped the famed 2.5-mile oval in 40.6891 seconds, 221.189 mph as most of the 22 qualified drivers worked on race setups. Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was second fastest with a lap of 220.556 mph while Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. was third.

Patrick's Andretti Green Racing teammates Marco Andretti and Dario Franchitti rounded out the top five.

Among the drivers who will compete for the final 11 starting positions on May 19-20, Playa Del Racing's Jaques Lazier was fastest with a lap of 217.159.

Three drivers began practicing for the first time this month. Jimmy Kite, a five-time starter in the Indianapolis 500, had a fast lap of 204.193 mph but was involved in the only incident of the day when his No. 18 PDM entry made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 on his 19th lap. Kite was checked and released at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center.

PJ Jones, a two-time starter and son of 1963 winner Parnelli Jones, and Roger Yasukawa, a four-time starter, also turned their first laps of the month. Rookie Phil Giebler returned to the track for the first time since completing Rookie Orientation on May 8.

TOP SPEEDS

1. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 221.189
2. (9T) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 220.556
3. (6T) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 220.484
4. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 220.399
5. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 220.131
6. (12T) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 219.972
7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 219.845
8. (10T) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 219.656
9. (3T) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 219.648
10. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 219.589 More ...

05/16/07
nascar
Wallace hired to coach Wallace  Rusty Wallace Inc. officials announced Tuesday that Kenny Wallace will serve as spotter and driver coach to nephew Steve Wallace in the remaining Busch Series races that are companion events to Nextel Cup races.  Steve Wallace drives the No. 66 Dodge for his father, Rusty, in the Busch Series.  He is 24th in the point standings with a best finish of 14th at Nashville. Wallace's season has been beset with accidents. He has only two DNFs for crashes but has been involved in several more and has finished on the lead lap only three times this year.
05/16/07
f1
Paul Ricard Day 2: Hamilton again fastest  Lewis Hamilton was again fastest in F1 testing at Paul Ricard. Day two of the Paul Ricard test saw Champ Car star Sebastien Bourdais take over the wheel of the Toro Rosso Ferrari from Scott Speed.

Bourdais completed 142 laps of the 2D short 3.593 km circuit aimed to replicate the characteristics of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. Bourdais' best lap was a 1:07.743s. The program consisted of evaluating Bridgestone Potenza tire compounds and doing long runs, while also evaluating a couple of new aerodynamic and mechanical components.

Tomorrow, all the teams switch to a longer configuration of the Paul Ricard circuit in order to simulate the Montreal track for the Canadian Grand Prix. Speed will be driving the Toro Rosso.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:05.614 133
 2. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:05.755 107
 3. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:06.185 140
 4. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:06.201 137
 5. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:06.281 116
 6. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:06.302 161
 7. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:06.516 103
 8. Wurz Williams-Toyota (B) 1:06.576 106
 9. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:06.598 111
10. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:07.743 142
11. Albers Spyker-Ferrari (B) 1:07.946 66
12. Sutil Spyker-Ferrari (B) 1:08.134 67

05/16/07
irl
Andretti joins Panther Racing, Camping World for Indy  Two-time IndyCar Series Champion Panther Racing announced today it will enter a car in the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500 for John Andretti, who will be making his return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after 12-year hiatus from IndyCar racing.

Andretti, who last competed in the ‘500’ in 1994, will have his No. 33 entry sponsored by Camping World and RVs.com. He will join new teammates Vitor Meira and Kosuke Matsuura on the historic 2.5-mile oval for practice Wednesday. Andretti’s yellow Camping World Panther Dallara Honda will attempt to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing this coming Saturday, when spots 22-33 are available.

“We’re happy to have the opportunity to bring John Andretti back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500,” Panther co-owner John Barnes said. “We feel like this third car makes our entire effort this month that much stronger. It’s great that Camping World and RVs.com have continued to diversify their involvement in motorsports and helped make this partnership possible. Panther is thrilled to help put John back in an Indy-car.” More ...

05/16/07
racing news
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking   
  • NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon re-takes top spot
  • F1 rookie phenom Lewis Hamilton cracks Top 10
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. drops out
  • Gordon (NASCAR), Bourdais (CCWS), Massa (F1) and Wheldon (IRL) lead their series

Updated 5-16-07
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (2) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 9.132
2. (1) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.982
3. (7) Felipe Massa (F1) 8.453
4. (3) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 8.317
5. (4) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.991
6. (5) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.832
7. (6) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.617
8. (11) Fernando Alonso (F1) 7.532
9. (10) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 6.829
10. (25) Lewis Hamilton (F1) 6.787
11. (8) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.558
12. (26) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.558
13. (19) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.485
14. (13) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.465
15. (14) Will Power (CCWS) 6.426
16. (15) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.290
17. (20) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.254
18. (17) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) 6.219
19. (12) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 5.988
20. (21) Bruno Junqueira (CCWS) 5.898

Dropped out: Kyle Busch (NASCAR), Kimi Raikkonen (F1), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)

Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

05/16/07
cc
Scenes from Champ Car's European PR Tour  .

05/16/07
alms
Pirro hopes to recapture Utah magic  Now, says Emanuele Pirro, the championship hunt is on. With a stretch of three consecutive street races having come and gone, Pirro and Marco Werner are ready to get back to business as the American Le Mans Series returns to road-course racing and Miller Motorsports Park for the Utah Grand Prix.

“We’ve spent enough time driving between walls,” said Pirro, who will drive one of Audi Sport North America’s two diesel-powered Audi R10 TDIs with Werner. “Salt Lake City is a great facility; the track is fantastic, new and long. There is a long straight and the circuit has many fast corners which suit our car. For me, the championship only really starts at Salt Lake City because the main priority at the street races was to finish the races and collect points.”

Mission accomplished through four rounds. After winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, Pirro and Werner reunited with Frank Biela to win overall at Sebring in March and then finished as the overall runner-up two weeks later at St. Petersburg. They have finished second in P1 the past two races to Audi mates and championship leaders Allan McNish and Dindo Capello but were well outside the overall top-five at both. The fortunes of racing had their way with the Pirro/Werner duo; Pirro was spun from behind while leading at Long Beach and Werner was charging through the field early at Houston before going off course and damaging the Audi’s rear end while running in the top three. More ...

05/16/07
nascar
Has All-Star race lost its luster?  For good and for bad, NASCAR, in the minds of many, has gone out of its way to mimic the NFL’s success. While that has led to some unprecedented gains in popularity, the two also share in one area of disappointment : All-Star events that frequently fail to live up to expectations.

Ironically, both the NFL and NASCAR have had their showcase exhibitions in the same place for more than 20 years: The NFL in Hawaii and NASCAR’s in Charlotte. However, with that stagnancy in location has come criticism that the All-Star events these cities represent frequently become meaningless, more about show than actual substance.

Well, for NASCAR, it’s time for that mentality to change, and the best way to do that is to propose a solution as unpopular for the teams as it is practical for the fans watching at home. It’s time for the race to leave Lowe’s Motor Speedway. More ...

05/16/07
dtm
Audi signs Markus Winkelhock  Markus Winkelhock, Formula 1 test driver for Spyker, competes for Audi in the DTM this coming weekend. The young German deputizes for Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen in the Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. Tom Kristensen is still recovering following his serious accident in the season opener at Hockenheim. The Frenchman Alexandre Prémat is, however, fit to race again.
 
26-year-old Markus Winkelhock flies directly from the Formula 1 tests at Paul Ricard (France) to the DTM event at the EuroSpeedway on Thursday afternoon. "I’m extremely happy to get this chance from Audi – even though I know how difficult it will be,” explains the Swabian. "I’ve followed every race since I left the DTM. The difference in performance between the cars is now miniscule, especially this year.” More ...
05/16/07
irl
nascar
Indy needs to draw NASCAR drivers to succeed  Some of the Nextel Cup regulars would love to race in the Indianapolis 500 on May 27th, but racing the daily double is no longer an option.

Since the start time for the Indy 500 has moved to later in the day (1 p.m. ET) it is almost impossible to race at Indy, get on a plane to Charlotte and get in your race car in time for the start of the Coca-Cola 600 that evening (5:40 p.m. ET).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials should do everything possible to make it easier for the NASCAR drivers to race at Indy.

Either go back to an earlier start time on Sunday, or even better, move the Indy 500 to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday.

The Indy 500 remains an American classic, but the field of 33 drivers isn't what it used to be. Adding Cup drivers certainly would help.

So who would do it? Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon, two men who've done the double, wouldn't hesitate to race again in the Indy 500.

They wouldn't be alone. J.J. Yeley, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears, Dave Blaney, A.J. Allmendinger and Indiana native Ryan Newman also would do it under the right circumstances. Juan Pablo Montoya won it in 2000.

And don't forget Jeff Gordon, who spent his high school years only a few miles away from the Brickyard. He grew up dreaming of racing in the Indy 500.

Even Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has no open-wheel experience, has said in the past he would love to try it. Imagine the interest that would bring, even if he just showed up to test drive one of the cars.

Isn't it worth making the change to get some of these guys in the race? ESPN.com [Editor's Note: NASCAR is not going to do anything to help rival IRL, and to think so is simply naive. They want their race to always have higher TV ratings. The only way you will see a lot of NASCAR drivers in the Indy 500 is when the current administration runs the Indy 500 far enough into the ground that the France family buys the Speedway and makes the Indy 500 a NASCAR race.]

05/16/07
Industry News
Transportation Regulations, Alternative Fuel Take Front Seat at C40 Summit  As the focus on global warming continues to heat up, leaders from around the world gathered in New York City to discuss transportation solutions in relation to energy. During the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit, mayors and business executives reviewed both alternative fuels and new strategies used to help curb climate change. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a plan that would implement congestion pricing, so motorists traveling into the most heavily trafficked areas of the city would have to pay a fee. A similar play is already employed in London where Mayor Ken Livingstone says his city is helping to cut down on its fuel emissions by enforcing stricter regulations on bus lanes and inner city driving. Sydney Mayor Clover Moore echoed the need for alternatives transportation policies, saying her city also suffers from traffic congestion and the resultant negative environmental effects. In addition to discussing city regulations and mass transportation, the initiative also noted the importance of individual choices, such as using alternative vehicles. One such vehicle showcased during the event was Shell’s Audi A8 4.2 liter automobile, a car that runs on a fuel designed to reduce emission and engine noise levels. The Summit is being held in New York City from May 14 – 17. (See Video on our Home Page.)
05/16/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief   
  • Sutil, Hamilton, to shine in Monaco
  • Massa, Alonso, clash over Hamilton threat
  • F1 bags $1.5bn in Spanish TV deal
  • Alonso is media's top driver - study
  • BMW pit stop crew won't be fired - Theissen
  • Rookie Swede gets Renault test
  • Retirement not looming for Heidfeld

Sutil, Hamilton, to shine in Monaco
(GMM)  Spyker's Mike Gascoyne has tipped team rookie Adrian Sutil to shine on the streets of Monte Carlo later this month.

The 24-year-old has already gained the upper hand so far in 2007 over his experienced teammate Christijan Albers, but technical boss Gascoyne thinks Monaco will be a particularly special event for the young German.

Sutil was Lewis Hamilton's F3 teammate in 2005, and although McLaren's rookie was the most impressive of the pair at the time, Sutil's best lap of Monaco is still a record for the junior category.

Gascoyne said of Sutil: "I think he'll really be able to show what a talent he is (in Monaco).

"I think Adrian is doing a superb job and I think his pace is pretty strong.

"Once he stops making rookie errors, which everyone does, he'll be very good."

While Sutil could shine in Monaco, meanwhile, 22-year-old Hamilton is being tipped to become the first ever F1 rookie to win on his first attempt in the Principality.

"Monaco has always been a very strong race for me and I think the team will be strong there too," the Briton, who topped the Paul Ricard test on Tuesday on the Monaco-like '2D SC' configuration, said.

"I am going to be gunning for a win." More ...

05/15/07
Industry news
Steve Saleen steps down  Steve Saleen, founder and vice chairman of the board at Saleen Inc., today announced his official retirement from the company’s executive team. After years of planning, Saleen will take a greater step back from the company’s day-to-day operations to act as corporate spokesperson and ambassador for the brand.

“I have a vested interest in the company’s future and intend to remain involved,” said Steve Saleen. “I take great pride in knowing I have assembled a team of the most talented and innovative professionals in the industry. Each person at Saleen has helped me achieve my dream and will help to continue my legacy into the next generation of Saleen products and services.”

As founder and a major shareholder in the company, Saleen will continue to influence product design and development activities, as well as its branding strategies and promotional efforts. More ...

05/15/07
tv news
nascar
Wind Tunnel Special Wednesday night  UPDATE Jeff Gordon and former Earnhardt crew member Danny 'Chocolate' Myers have also been added to the guest lineup.

05/15/07 As part of its weeklong All-Star programming lineup leading up to the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, SPEED will deliver a special episode of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. The 90-minute special, entitled “Wonderboy or The Intimidator … Who’s Better?” will air live at 7 p.m. ET on May 16, as Despain brings in experts to compare the careers of the sport’s ultimate all stars -- Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.

“Earnhardt versus Gordon is a fascinating comparison,” Despain said. “Earnhardt is the epitome of “old NASCAR,” a series born among WWII vets who treated racing as another form of combat. “The Intimidator” was the last in a long line of grizzled tough guys who reigned as the sport’s biggest heroes. In contrast, Gordon opened the door to “new NASCAR.” He’s the definitive “young gun,” the first driver to combine on-track prowess with mainstream marketing appeal. Which of these guys you think is better says as much about you as it does about the drivers, and I suspect hearing the differences between Earnhardt fans and Gordon fans will be half the fun of this show.” More ...

05/15/07
nascar
NASCAR slams Toyota truck team  UPDATE #2 Bill Davis Racing has released the following statement in regards to the penalties for their No. 23 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team driven by Johnny Benson. “We agree with the penalties NASCAR has issued to the 23 team and we will deal with them accordingly,” said Bill Davis.  “NASCAR has rules and policies in place to keep the drivers and crew members safe and we appreciate their vigilance in this instance.”  In Trip Bruce’s absence, truck chief Billy Hagerthey will assume the role of crew chief.  BDR PR

05/12/07 Team owner Bill Davis appeared none too pleased with his Truck series driver, Johnny Benson, who allowed a friend to take some laps in his No. 23 Toyota Thursday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The real trouble started when the non-licensed driver wrecked.

NASCAR officials ejected the team from the test when they learned it was not Benson in the truck. The driver and team were also barred from Friday’s test at the Charlotte track.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” Davis said. “I didn’t even know his name. I had no earthly idea that he was driving the truck. I guess he’s a friend of Johnny’s, Johnny’s mentor.

"None of our people knew about it. I mean, obviously, the crew chief and those guys did. Nobody in management knew anything about it.”

NASCAR officials said the unlicensed driver was Mike Lichty.

Benson was ordered to come to Darlington for a meeting on Friday with Davis, NASCAR president Mike Helton and Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition. The team faces additional penalties.

“Oh, I think there will be some repercussions, certainly,” Davis said. “That’s about against the rules as anything I’ve seen happen.” ThatsRacin.com

05/11/07 Bill Davis Racing’s No. 23 Toyota NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team was thrown out of a test session Thursday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., for using an unlicensed driver.

NASCAR spokesman Josh Hamilton confirmed that BDR’s No. 23 team was ejected from the speedway Thursday night and that the team - and regular driver Johnny Benson - would not be allowed to take part in Friday’s test session. More ...

05/15/07
irl
Kanaan prefers to fly underneath radar  Tony Kanaan doesn't mind if all the attention for the 91st Indianapolis 500 isn't focused on him. In fact, he'd prefer that people forgot about him and his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara.

"I don't want to be in the spotlight," Kanaan said. "If people aren't counting on me, it's better for me. I'll just surprise them. I'll just do my thing. If I win, there going to have to talk about me."

There will be little surprise if Kanaan does well at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27 - people are already talking about him.

The popular Brazilian driver narrowly missed earning the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award on May 12 and is considered one of the front-runners for the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan's four-lap run was the fastest of the five Andretti Green Racing entries, and it put him in the middle of the front row. More ...

05/15/07
nascar
Coke Zero to sponsor Petty in Nextel Open/Coke 600  This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 team head to the track with Coke Zero on board. Petty, a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, will debut the Coke Zero Dodge this weekend in the Nextel Open and will also compete in it next weekend at the Coca-Cola 600. Petty Racing PR
05/15/07
f1
Spanish Grand Prix postscript  INDIANAPOLIS - Lewis Hamilton continues to add to the records he is earning in his impressive rookie Formula One season.

With his second place in the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton is now the youngest driver to lead the World Championship points standings.

Hamilton was 22 years, four months and six days old when he took sole possession of the points lead on May 13, 2007.

Bruce McLaren was the previous record holder. He was 22 years, five months and five days old when he won the season-opening 1960 Argentine Grand Prix in a Cooper-Climax.

McLaren founded his F1 team in 1966, and that's the team that Hamilton drives for today.

A victory by Hamilton won't make him the youngest Grand Prix winner. Fernando Alonso holds that record after winning his first F1 race at the age of 22 years and 27 days. Alonso also holds the records for youngest pole winner, youngest World Champion and youngest double World Champion.

But Hamilton has set a rookie record of four consecutive podium finishes in his first four starts. More ...

05/15/07
irl
Yasukawa lands Indy 500-ride with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing  IndyCar Series veteran Roger Yasukawa will attempt to qualify a third entry from Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the 91st Indianapolis 500.

Yasukawa, who drove for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in 2005, will drive the No. 24 Honda-powered Dallara backed by Indianapolis-based Wellman-Corbier Custom Homes. 

"Roger did a great job for us in 2005, and we are excited to have him back with us this year," said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold, whose team qualified 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher on May 13. "This is the first time we have ever been a three-car team heading into the Indy 500 and we are excited about that."
 
Yasukawa, a native of Los Angeles, has made four Indy 500 starts with a best finish of 10th in 2003 and 2004. More ...

05/15/07
cc
Champ Car press conference in London  At the start of Champ Car's European media tour, series president Steve Johnson addressed the European motorsport media in London Tuesday morning at the Hilton Hotel at Heathrow airport. 

"I didn't think we were a world series when I took up this position in 2005. With the addition of Europe and China in 2007, I believe we are.  It's good to be here interacting with the most knowledgeable open-wheel media in the world. I think it's fair to say that Champ Car has come home, in a lot of ways, because this series has a lot of European drivers and in terms of victories over the last few years, it has been dominated by European drivers."

Bart Rietbergen, promoter of the races at Zolder and Assen said there was "tremendous excitement in Holland that Champ Car is coming. It is 22 years since we had a Formula One race in our country, and yet open wheel racing is immensely popular there. We have so many young drivers in open-wheel, and they are front-runners in every category."

"I think Robert Doornbos is already proving bigger than Jos [Verstappen] in Holland. Robert has been extremely popular ever since his Formula One Friday driving at Grands Prix and then competing in some races too.

"As a result he is getting Champ Car good coverage over here, and he is doing so well, the Dutch press is all over him. I told him it was bad that he got second in his first race, and then third in his third race. Now everyone's expecting him to be able to win."  Gary Parravani reporting from England.

05/15/07
f1
Hamilton fastest on Day 1 test at Paul Ricard  With teams utilizing the short and tight 2D SC course at Paul Ricard, that simulates the tight confines of the Monte Carlo circuit, Lewis Hamilton topped Day 1 of testing in his McLaren, setting a time over 1.2 seconds faster than Ralf Schumacher.

Pos  Driver        Team                     Time     Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:05.699   98
 2.  R.Schumacher  Toyota              (B)  1:06.920   96
 3.  Piquet        Renault             (B)  1:07.056  125
 4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:07.161  120
 5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:07.189  126
 6.  Massa         Ferrari             (B)  1:07.271   93
 7.  Klien         Honda               (B)  1:07.357  114
 8.  Glock         BMW Sauber          (B)  1:07.712  114
 9.  Rossiter      Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:08.026  129
10.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:08.143   53
11.  Fauzy         Spyker-Ferrari      (B)  1:09.443   73

05/15/07
nascar
Reiser Wins Crew Chief of the Race award  The No. 17 DeWalt racing pit crew has become renowned for their fast work servicing driver Matt Kenseth’s car when the pressure is on.  With team leadership coming from crew chief Robbie Reiser, it is no wonder the Roush Racing team has become the envy of others.  Once again, at Darlington Raceway, Reiser was on the top of his game, with a seemingly flawless pit strategy, allowing Kenseth to earn another top 10, his eighth for the season.  From the waving of the green flag, Reiser knew the right times to call Kenseth in for a stop to make the necessary adjustments to the No. 17 Ford Fusion.  For his outstanding pit strategy and analysis throughout the duration of the race, Reiser won the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. More ...
05/15/07
cc
Reader Feedback
Reader feedback on 4-Ps article  UPDATE Another reader writes, Mr. Wood is totally correct in his Champ Car (CC) assessment - in all 4-Ps. Hardcore longtime Champ Car fans know that the product is a great product, one of the best in the racing world - NASCAR has always known it. When Mr. Wood says "Champ Car as a spec series has no brand supporters showing up and due to a seeming inability to keep drivers has little support from the driver followers" is correct again. Their are a few drivers in Champ Car that have been around for 3 or more years - but only a few.

And what about a Champ Car? Does the U.S.A. fan know there is such a thing, or might it be confused with an IndyCar - probably. The first BIG mistake Champ Car did was to remove CART from its identity. In the '80s and '90s when I would talk racing with a non-racing fan I could insert CART and get a "oh yeah, now I know which series" answer - now there is confusion and in casual conversation I will say "the series that races in Denver." Then I get the "now I know what your talking about" - I live in Colorado Springs. Remember this series has been around since 1979? Let's talk about the people. Champ Car has been a revolving door at different levels of its organization since OWRS took over. Only with people continuity can a business implement a long term plan - houses are not built with hammers, they are built by people." More ...
05/15/07
irl
Time Warner Cable IndyCar Series Event Sponsorship  The Milwaukee Mile, the world’s oldest active motor speedway, and Time Warner Cable today announced that Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner high-speed Internet service brand will be the presenting sponsor of the world-class ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 IndyCar Series race, to be held at the storied oval track on Sunday, June 3.

The emerging open wheel stars of the Indy Pro Series will be competing in the newly-named Road Runner 100 event on Saturday, June 2 at The Mile.

For the unprecedented 50th time since 1911, it’s a Return To Tradition, as the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 presented by Time Warner Cable IndyCar Series spectacle will be held at The Milwaukee Mile the very next event on the series’ schedule following the Indianapolis 500. More ...

05/15/07
f1
Paul Ricard test kicks off  (GMM)  A major four day formula one test kicked off on Tuesday morning at Bernie Ecclestone's Paul Ricard circuit in southern France.

At the lunch break, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was in front, ahead of Nico Rosberg (Williams), Felipe Massa (Ferrari), and nine other runners including Christian Klien (Honda), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), Timo Glock (BMW) and Fairuz Fauzy (Spyker).

Super Aguri's new tester James Rossiter also made his debut in the SA07, and Nelson Piquet Jr turned laps for Renault.  All eleven teams are in action.

Sebastien Bourdais is scheduled to run for STR on Wednesday.

Later this week, the configuration will switch to low-downforce to help teams adapt for the subsequent Canadian GP.

05/15/07
Industry News
Ford family denies sell-off  The Ford family issued a rare statement Monday, emphatically denying that members are discussing the sale of part of their Ford Motor Co. holdings.

That suggestion has been gaining steam in the news media -- citing unnamed people -- after the family heard a presentation about the services a private financial advisory firm could offer the Fords, who have controlled the voting power of the automaker since its inception nearly 104 years ago. The family currently holds 40% of the voting rights in the company.

In April, Perella Weinberg Partners, an independent, privately owned financial services firm that is less than two years old, made a presentation to the Fords during a family meeting.

But Ford officials insist that meeting has been taken out of context and that there was no discussion of selling Ford shares.

"The Ford family is not discussing the sale of its holdings in Ford Motor Co.," a statement from David Hempstead, Ford's longtime attorney, said. "Statements attributable to unnamed sources are untrue." More at Detroit Free Press
05/15/07
Industry News
DCX stock gains on sale news  Wall Street analysts view the announced sale of Chrysler by its parent company DaimlerChrysler AG as a great deal for the German automaker but are taking a wait-and-see approach to determine whether the Auburn Hills-based Chrysler can make it on its own.

DaimlerChrysler stock (DCX) closed Monday at $84.12 up $2.12, or 2.6 percent a share. Several analysts listed the stock as a strong buy Monday with one German analyst estimating the stock without Chrysler could eventually reach $120.

Analysts say the long anticipated sale of 80.1 percent of Chrysler to Cerberus, a private multi-billion dollar investment firm, would have benefits for both sides, but mostly ends a nearly nine-year marriage between two companies with different goals and different operating styles.

While the stock price fluctuated upward only $2.12 after the official announcement was make, analysts said most of the upward adjustments already had been made once DaimlerChrysler executives indicated Chrysler was for sale in February.
05/15/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief   
  • No F1 ride for Senna in 2007 - Berger
  • Stewart questions Raikkonen's F1 approach
  • Tester Rossiter joins Super Aguri
  • 'Schu's apprentice' - press
  • Hamilton hype continues to convince
  • Schu exit hurting German TV ratings
  • Rosberg 'stronger', Wurz admits
  • Manager not worried about Ralf's contract
  • De la Rosa criticizes stewards after Alonso clash
  • FIA says McLaren 'bridge' wing legal
  • 'Green' Honda teams up with Scheckter

No F1 ride for Senna in 2007 - Berger
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger has ruled out promoting Bruno Senna to the Scuderia Toro Rosso race lineup in 2007, despite the Brazilian's breakthrough GP2 win in Spain.

Senna, the nephew of STR co-owner Berger's former teammate Ayrton Senna, is hotly tipped to graduate to formula one with STR next year, possibly alongside Champ Car sensation Sebastien Bourdais.

But 23-year-old Senna will only follow in his famous uncle's footsteps "in 2008 at the earliest", Gerhard Berger is quoted as saying by the newspaper Bild.

Stewart questions Raikkonen's F1 approach
(GMM)  Sir Jackie Stewart thinks Kimi Raikkonen is unlikely to achieve as much in his formula one career as McLaren's 2007 rookie Lewis Hamilton.

The former triple world champion acknowledged Finn Raikkonen's natural talent but questioned his focus.

"The way he lives his life is contrary to the complete package; the kind that allowed Schumacher to win multiple championships, (as well as) Senna and Prost, Jim Clark or even me," Stewart is quoted as saying by British newspaper The Telegraph.

In the Daily Express, Stewart reportedly added: "It is an attitude, a mentality, a way of doing business.  Our lifestyle, mind, make-up was different from a Raikkonen -- or for that matter a Jenson Button. More ...

05/15/07
alms
Enge ready to return to racing  When Tomas Enge looked at the 2007 schedule for the American Le Mans Series, he viewed the Utah Grand Prix as just another race. Oh sure, he won the inaugural event in 2006 at Miller Motorsports Park with Darren Turner but Enge had won before in the Series and throughout his career many, many times.

It all changed after the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg, where Enge suffered numerous injuries in a crash while leading the GT2 class for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. After missing the following two rounds and being out of a race car for six weeks, Enge has returned to Petersen/White Lightning and its Ferrari F430 GT with a test session Saturday and Sunday in advance of this weekend's two-hour, 45-minute Series race. More ...

05/15/07
tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC  
Final Weekend of Indianapolis 500 Time Trials on ABC and ESPN2 ESPN on ABC and ESPN2 will have six hours of live coverage of the final two days of Indianapolis 500 time trials this weekend in High Definition from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Included will be coverage of the always dramatic “Bump Day” on Sunday, the last opportunity for drivers to “bump” their way into the 33-car starting field for the 91st Indianapolis 500.

On Saturday, ESPN2 will be on the air from 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET with coverage of the third day of time trials. Bump Day will be Sunday and ABC will air coverage from 1-3 p.m., followed by coverage on ESPN2 from 5-6:30 p.m. The Bump Day telecast is presented by GoDaddy.com. The 2007 running of the Indianapolis 500 marks the 43rd year of coverage of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” by ABC, the second-longest relationship between a TV network and a major sports property. Only CBS and the Masters have been together longer. More ...

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