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Riggs On Pole For Nextel Open Riggs On Pole For Nextel OpenEvernham Motorsports driver Scott Riggs took the top spot in Friday's qualifying session for Saturday's Nextel Open at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Riggs' fast time of 28.953 seconds (186.509 mph)knocked rookie Denny Hamlin off the pole.

Riggs' best finish in the Nextel Open was a 24th-place showing in the 2004 event. He has two DNF's in two starts in the event. "That's great to get the pole," said Riggs. "We had the car in race trim. We put the car in qualifying trim (in practice)and I almost busted my tail on both laps. The guys went back and looked at everything, made some really smart decisions to make some changes. I think we'll be real good in the race."

Jeff Green, J.J. Yeley and Jeff Burton rounded out the top five qualifiers for the 30-lap preliminary event for saturday night's Nextel All-Star Challenge.

The winner of the Nextel Open will advance to the 19th spot in Nextel All-Star Challenge. The 20th and final driver in the All-Star Challenge will be voted in by the fans via an on-line vote.

Elliott Sadler and Kyle Petty were among those who found the wall during Friday's session. Mike Skinner was the only driver to miss the field.

Pete McCole
Updated Cosworth expected for Monaco Updated Cosworth expected for MonacoThe WilliamsF1 team has been busy at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy this week, working alongside Honda for the first three days and finalizing the test solo on Friday. The Grove based squad had a very busy final day with plenty to cover on the test program as test driver Narain Karthikeyan was testing some aero modifications, brake materials and revised brake cooling options.

“I completed nearly 1,000kms of testing this week in Vallelunga,” he said. “We were fortunate enough to have good weather all week which helped our progress greatly. During the two days that I was in the FW28 I worked on various items in the schedule in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend, including tire compound evaluations with our tire partner, Bridgestone. We also ran some specific tests on the aerodynamics which will be an important consideration in Monte Carlo which is a high downforce circuit. The test was very useful for me as it’s given me more experience of the car, but I also hope I’ve assisted Williams with their current development program.”

Meanwhile, regular driver Mark Webber spent the day concentrating on car set-up work again before moving on to another set of tire tests for partners at Bridgestone. Added to this, the new updated Cosworth engine components were successfully put through their paces.

“Vallelunga was a key track test for Cosworth. Updated CA2006 engine components, an engine duty cycle increase and the latest engine control system developments were all run successfully and will be available for race introduction at Monaco,” Simon Corbyn, Head of F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth.

Seen in Monterrey - IV Seen in Monterrey - IVBefore the qualifying began and during the first part of qualifying many of the teams were talking about Dan Clarke. Right now he is not very popular to say the least. In fact a lot of adjectives were used to describe him. We heard that Champ Car officials came down very hard on Dan. Spinning his car late in the session to bring out a red flag didn't help his popularity.  Photo by LAT for Champ Car

Also seen during qualifying, the Dale Coyne team didn’t have all of the spare parts needed during the session, so one of the mechanics had to bring a few parts and toss them through the fence so they could work on Da Matta’s car.

Apparently there are not enough portable Johns in the pit lane. Justin Wilson had to wait in line to use one after the session had begun.

An early crash dashed the hopes of Mexican fans who expect Mario Dominguez to do better tomorrow. Jose Arrambide

¿Usted habla español? ¿Usted habla español?This was the most disregarded sign in Monterrey Friday as we spotted many crew members smoking behind the pit lane, including Forsythe's Neil Micklewright.  Perhaps the problem was that the signs on the pit lane are in Spanish and unlike most other countries in this world, most Americans are not bilingual. Jose Arrambide reporting from Monterrey
formula bmw
David Garza scores pole for first BMW race of season David Garza scores pole for first BMW race of seasonLexington, Ohio… Formula BMW USA Junior driver David Garza (EuroInternational) scored the first pole of the 2006 Formula BMW USA season with a lap of 1:28.372 minutes around the newly resurfaced 2.4-mile, 15-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in today's Round 1 qualifying session. Never out of the top-three for the entire 30-minute session, the 17-year old from Monterrey, Mexico topped the 26-car field and a hard charging Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) in the closing laps. Stevens, the fourth place finisher in last season's championship and one of ten drivers in the field with previous Formula BMW USA experience, will start from the second position with a 1:28.596 minute lap.

Matt Lee (Autotecnica), who led today's final practice session, qualified third (1:28.894). Following post-qualifying inspection Lee's car and that of 11th qualifier Daniel Morad were found not to be in compliance. They will start at the rear of the grid.

Ryan Phinny (Hearn Motorsports) moved into the fourth starting position (1:28.894) in the final minute, sliding Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) to the fifth spot. Wickens, the top-finishing returning Rookie from the 2005 championship, returns to Formula BMW USA this year as a Junior scholarship driver. Both will move up one position, starting third and forth respectively. Doug Boyer (AIM Autosport) now rounds out the top-five starters.  zzzz

The fastest Rookies in the field were Garza (P1), Sebastian Saavedra (P6), Robert Thorne (P8), Maxime Pelletier (P12) and Steven Guerrero (P15).

"I pushed as hard as I could and now I am extremely excited and completely satisfied. It is indescribable," said a delighted Garza. "Reed and I kept pushing and everybody was trying their best. Tomorrow I want to repeat this result and stay in this position for the entire weekend. It will be hard, but I think I can do it.  “Stevens said, "I was pushing really hard to gain the P1 position. I let the tires cool off a bit because I developed a push right at the end. I slowed down to cool the tires. I wanted to go for another lap, but that was actually the final lap. A front row start is where I wanted to be. The team has a lot of experience, the car feels very good and we look forward to the race tomorrow."

The Round 1 race is scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m. tomorrow after Round 2 qualifying at 8:10 a.m.  Sunday's Round 2 race is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.

Qualifying: Round 1

1 David Garza (R) EuroInternational 1:28.372 (91.984 mph)
2 Reed Stevens HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:28.596
3 Ryan Phinny Hearn Motorsports 1:28.894
4 Robert Wickens Team Apex Racing USA 1:28.919
5 Doug Boyer AIM Autosport 1:29.084
6 Sebastian Saavedra (R) Gelles Racing 1:29.171
7 Race Johnson HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:29.189
8 Robert Thorne (R) Team Autotecnica 1:29.198
9 Adrien Herberts Gelles Racing 1:29.346
10 Simona de Silvestro EuroInternational 1:29.386
11 John Zartarian Gelles Racing 1:29.586
12 Maxime Pelletier (R) Gelles Racing 1:29.753
13 Jules Duc Hearn Motorsports 1:29.810
14 Marco Santos Haberfeld & Walker Racing 1:29.871
15 Steven Guerrero (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:30.162
16 Joel Jackson (R) Gelles Racing 1:30.226
17 Ryan Campbell Gelles Racing 1:30.275
18 Yannick Hofman HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:30.420
19 David Rangel Haberfeld & Walker Racing 1:30.738
20 Frankie Muniz Jensen Motorsport 1:30.979
21 Philip Major Atlantic Racing Team 1:31.059
22 Scott Schroeder American Spirit Grand Prix 1:31.085
23 David Farias (R) Jensen Motorsport 1:31.504
24 Jordan Dick (R) Team Apex Racing USA 1:31.680
25 Matt Lee Team Autotecnica no time
26 Daniel Morad (R) AIM Autosport no time

Pastorelli aiming for top-10 Pastorelli aiming for top-10Posting his quickest time of the day on lap nine of eleven run during the qualifying segment of the afternoon session in Monterrey, Rocketsports rookie Nicky Pastorelli sits in the 13th spot on the timing and scoring sheets. 

“We are not doing too bad,” said Pastorelli of his first day in Monterrey.  “We improved again a bit this afternoon during provisional qualifying, so we are definitely moving in the right direction.  We spared some tires because we think that the track is going to be faster tomorrow.  So to ensure a good run tomorrow, we have three sets of tires including the Potenza Reds to use in final qualifying.  I have confidence in the Rocketsports team for tomorrow and think we should be able to qualify in the top ten for Sunday’s race.”

Engine problems slow Legge Engine problems slow LeggeRookie Katherine Legge started the day 10th on the speed charts in Monterrey with a time of 78.263 seconds (96.781 mph).  During the afternoon warm-up she improved her time a bit notching a quick lap of 78.222 seconds (96.832), but fell to 13th on the individual practice report and 15th on the combined report.

“It was an interesting first qualifying session for the Bell Micro – PKV Racing team,” Legge said.  “We had some issues, some issues with the engine, so we will change it overnight, come back tomorrow and move up the grid, I hope.”

The Penske advantage The Penske advantageRoger Penske's teams always find a way to gain an advantage anyway they could. It was cold and very overcast and windy today at Mid-Ohio, but we did notice one interesting thing. Both Penske and the Aston Martin teams are using electronic pit boards. They are about the same size as an old style pit board and its about 4 to 5 inch's thick and it mounts on a metal pole in hole on the pits wall where the crew stands. It's powered by a small gasoline powered generator and it must have a wireless connection with the pits as the pit board displayed all the information that the handheld does - there is just no one holding the board itself. The Penske crew said that as long as the generator is filled with fuel it works like a charm. Each car has its own board - two for Penske and two for Aston Martin. We bet it won't be long before all the series and teams have them.
Ranger continues to be surprise of season Ranger continues to be surprise of seasonChamp Car’s early-season surprise story continues to be Andrew Ranger who didn't know who he would drive for this year until just before the season began, and still only has budget for a partial season. He placed a respectable sixth today. Ranger, who is fourth in the season standings after the year’s first two races, returns to the Fundidora Park track looking to duplicate his success from a year ago when his second-place finish made him the youngest driver ever to earn a Champ Car podium finish. Photo by Mike Levitt/LAT for Champ Car
Friday practice quotes Friday practice quotes
Drivers predict Indy pole speed Drivers predict Indy pole speedSeveral drivers entered in this year's Indianapolis 500 gave their prediction for the speed necessary to win the WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Award.

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "Probably 226s (mph) or something. It depends on the weather, but I think 226 (mph). (Marlboro Team Penske) might have 227 (mph) in their cars. We'll find out. But they definitely have 226's (mph) over there."
AIRTON DARE (No. 88 OCTANE Motors/Sanitec/SSM Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I think 227 (mph) will be a good speed."
P.J. CHESSON (No. 91 Carmelo Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "228 (mph)"
LARRY FOYT (No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I don't know. We saw some guys around 228 (mph). The weather has been so crazy here, it all depends on the wind and temperature. But I think you'll see 228 (mph) or 229 (mph)."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "High 228 (mph)."
  SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboto Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It will depend on conditions. But we're looking at between 228 (mph) and 229 (mph), for sure."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 61 Luyendyk Racing Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I think a high 227 mph."
MAX PAPIS (No. 52 Cheever Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I don't really guess. It's super-difficult to really think. You will be surprised from the speed that is going to be posted tomorrow. It will be a lot faster than you think. Closer to 230 (mph) than 225 (mph).

Dumas Porsche paces ALMS practice Dumas Porsche paces ALMS practiceLexington, Ohio - In its short life, speed has never been an issue for the Porsche RS Spyder. That held true Friday during a two-hour test session ahead of this weekend's American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio.

Romain Dumas posted the fastest overall time of the day in the No. 7 Penske Racing entry at 1:13.872. The Frenchman's effort was admirable given that Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course received a fresh coat of asphalt during the off-season combined with the cool, windy conditions. Just as he did during a practice session at Houston last week, Dumas' time in the LMP2 entry bested the field.

"The track is new but still slow," said Dumas, who will drive with Timo Bernhard. "That is good for us, the car and our package. It is not as bumpy without the concrete patches. It is a good start. It is my first time on the track, and already we are quickest."

Second overall and first in LMP1 was the Audi R8 of Allan McNish. The Scot and teammate Rinaldo Capello won at Sebring and Houston (there with the reliable R8), and both are looking for their first Series win at Mid-Ohio. McNish's lap of 1:13.899 (just 0.027 seconds behind Dumas) was four second better than the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger. zzzz
Oliver Gavin posted the fastest GT1 time Friday in his Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R.

Back in P2, the other Penske Porsche of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr were second in class and third overall at 1:14.242. Reigning class champion Intersport Racing, which has swept the first two rounds of the 2006 season, was another half-second back in third.

Oliver Gavin kept Corvette Racing's No. Corvette C6.R on the point in GT1 after winning at Sebring and Houston with Olivier Beretta. Gavin's lap of 1:19.181 beat out Aston Martin Racing's No. 007 entry of Tomas Enge and Darren Turner by 0.113 seconds. The other Aston Martin entry of Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin ended another 0.3 seconds back, followed by Corvette Racing's other C6.R.

Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister led the way in GT2 testing in the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche.

In GT2, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing's Patrick Long posted the day's best time at 1:23.456. Jorg Bergmeister, Long's teammate in the No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, posted the second-best lap of the session at 1:23.561.

Porsches took the next two spots on the speed chart. Alex Job Racing's No. 23 entry, coming off a win at Houston, was about a half second back of the No. 31 car. Flying Lizard Motorsports' No. 45 Porsche was another 0.161 seconds adrift. Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz' No. 51 Panoz Esperante GTLM was the fastest of the other marques at 124.179.

Next up is the first official practice session, scheduled for 9:45 a.m. EDT on Saturday.

The American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, the third round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series, is set for noon EDT on Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It will be broadcast on CBS Sports at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, the second of five straight races on the network. Qualifying is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. EDT on Saturday. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

Simmons crashes again Simmons crashes againJust after recording the eighth best speed of the day, with a lap at 225.297 MPH, rookie Jeff Simmons lost control of his car for the second time at the apex of turn one. The car made heavy contact with the safer barrier, and slid down into the infield. Simmons was helped from the car, and after a full check at infield care center, was released and cleared to drive. The car, however, appears to be pretty much a write-off.

“I’m okay, just upset,” said Simmons, who will attempt to race in his second Indy 500. “We were trying to do a qualifying run and the car felt okay. Then I got caught up in a draft and I probably should have aborted the run. But I drove it into the corner and gained a lot more speed that time and the car couldn’t handle it. I just couldn’t save it. It is unfortunate because we did a lot of good work with the race setup. I was able to run some consistent times in the race setup and it felt good. We ran in some traffic and the car handled well. We have a backup car but I have to check and see if we can bring it out for qualifying. This was the same car that I clipped the inside wall with last week. We’ll have to see what the weekend holds now for Team Ethanol.”

Hornish again fastest in last day of Indy practice Hornish again fastest in last day of Indy practiceMarlboro Team Penske driver Sam Hornish Jr. continued to top the speed charts as teams prepared to run for the WorldPoints Visa Pole Award for the 90th Indianapolis 500.

  Hornish, who led practice for the sixth time in seven practice days, posted the day's quickest lap of 39.4867 seconds, 227.925 mph in his No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

  Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon (227.322 mph) and Dan Wheldon (227.040 mph) posted the second- and third-fastest laps, respectively, with Helio Castroneves (226.654 mph) fourth. Defending pole winner Tony Kanaan (226.104 mph) was fifth-fastest.

Drivers turned more than 2,300 laps on the 2.5-mile oval, including Roger Yasukawa, who stepped in for Jon Herb at Playa Del Racing. Rahal Letterman Racing's Jeff Simmons was uninjured in the day's only incident - a spin in Turn 1 late in the day.

Rank Car Driver Time Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 6 Hornish Jr, Sam 39.4867 227.925 83 87
2 9 Dixon, Scott 39.5914 227.322 59 60
3 10 Wheldon, Dan 39.6406 227.040 74 78
4 3T Castroneves, Helio 39.7081 226.654 63 73
5 11 Kanaan, Tony 39.8047 226.104 72 73
6 8 Sharp, Scott 39.9007 225.560 74 86
7 55 Matsuura, Kosuke 39.9154 225.477 71 81
8 4T Meira, Vitor 39.9403 225.336 38 46
9 17 Simmons, Jeff 39.9490 225.287 81 81
10 90 Bell, Townsend 39.9846 225.087 38 41
11 2 Scheckter, Tomas 40.0169 224.905 21 24
12 26 Andretti, Marco 40.1081 224.394 122 123
13 20 Carpenter, Ed 40.2418 223.648 5 21
14 16T Patrick, Danica 40.2502 223.601 61 100
15 15T Rice, Buddy 40.2619 223.536 7 117
16 51 Cheever Jr, Eddie 40.5176 222.126 102 114
17 52 Papis, Max 40.5846 221.759 43 49
18 5 Lazier, Buddy 40.6149 221.594 71 74
19 27 Franchitti, Dario 40.7288 220.974 29 85
20 21 Lazier, Jaques 40.7396 220.915 42 42
21 92 Bucknum, Jeff 40.7457 220.882 60 65
22 91 Chesson, PJ 40.7688 220.757 108 144
23 7 Herta, Bryan 40.9042 220.026 53 68
24 1 Andretti, Michael 40.9484 219.789 85 122
25 14 Giaffone, Felipe 40.9988 219.519 62 81
26 97 Gregoire, Stephan 41.1204 218.869 31 34
27 88 Dare, Airton 41.1221 218.860 61 61
28 31 Unser Jr, Al 41.1601 218.658 54 71
29 12 Yasukawa, Roger 41.1964 218.466 40 40
30 41 Foyt, Larry 41.2252 218.313 54 55
31 25 Roth, Marty 41.7056 215.798 80 80
32 61 Luyendyk Jr, Arie 42.9640 209.478 9 18
33 12 Herb, Jon 44.0951 204.104 14 14
34 98 Jones, PJ 46.2382 194.644 10 13

Mexican fans wear their colors Mexican fans wear their colorsThe fact that the Champ Car series has only one Mexican driver has not stopped the Mexican fans from wearing their color with pride. As usual, the hottest selling souvenir item had to do with a Mexican driver, the Forsythe cap with the number 7, although the Bourdais cap is doing well among Mexican fans and coming a close second. Many fans have bought flags, or the shirt of the Mexican Soccer Team, or any other item that has red, white and green. In the picture 2 Mexican fans showing the flag they got drivers to autograph in 2005 and the flag they got autographed today. Jose Arrambide
Atlantics: Simon Pagenaud Leads First Round Atlantics: Simon Pagenaud Leads First Round
Stewart to host Satellite radio show Stewart to host Satellite radio showUPDATE #2 Sirius Satellite Radio announced Friday that two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart will host a live weekly racing talk show when Sirius takes over as the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR starting in 2007.

The show, called "Tony Stewart Live", will debut in January on Sirius' upcoming 24/7 NASCAR channel. The weekly two-hour show will feature Stewart taking calls from listeners along with special guest. NBC and Fox Television pit reporter Matt Yocum will be Stewart's co-host.

"This is something we've been working on for about eight or nine months now," said Stewart. "Everybody knows that I like to talk, so this is a natural tie-in for us obviously. They said that I can talk about anything I want, whenever I want, there was no second-guessing. This is going to be a great partnership and it's going to be a lot of fun.

"This is probably the first time that we’ve had forum where we can just sit down, Matt and I, and be able to just sit down and not really feel like we're doing a formal interview, just feel like we're sitting around a table and just talking about whatever happened during the week and whatever controversial topics are hot that week."

Starting with the 2007 season, Sirius Satellite Radio will become the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, broadcasting all NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series races. Pete McCole

05/19/06 Sirius Satellite Radio, which beginning in ’07 will be NASCAR’s official satellite radio partner, announced today that Nextel Cup driver Tony Stewart will host a live weekly talk show called “Tony Stewart Live” beginning in January.  Matt Yocum, a NASCAR pit reporter for Fox/FX and NBC/TNT, will co-host the show.  Sirius will begin airing preview editions of the show in October.  Additionally, Stewart will be featured in Sirius’ NASCAR-related marketing and advertising. Sirius Satellite Radio

05/19/06 NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Tony Stewart will hold a press conference where he is expected “to provide details about a weekly radio show he plans to host on Sirius Satellite Radio next year”

Panis fastest as Paul Ricard testing wraps up Panis fastest as Paul Ricard testing wraps up
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Panis Toyota (B) 1:27.143 35
 2. Zonta Toyota (B) 1:27.239 88
 3. De la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:27.290 87
 4. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:27.649 42
RuSPORT team 1-2 in opening practice RuSPORT team 1-2 in opening practice
Pos Driver # Team Lap Time
1 A. Allmendinger 10 RuSPORT 1:16.250
2 J. Wilson 9 RuSPORT 1:16.264
3 S. Bourdais 1 Newman/Haas Racing 1:16.373
4 P. Tracy 3 Forsythe Championship Racing 1:16.824
5 B. Junqueira 2 Newman/Haas Racing 1:17.089
6 O. Servia 6 PKV Racing 1:17.126
7 N. Philippe 4 CTE Racing - HVM 1:17.272
8 M. Dominguez 7 Forsythe Championship Racing 1:17.374
9 A. Tagliani 15 Team Australia 1:17.488
10 K. Legge 20 PKV Racing 1:18.263
11 C. Zwolsman 34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 1:18.268
12 W. Power 5 Team Australia 1:18.513
13 A. Ranger 27 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 1:18.520
14 C. da Matta 19 Dale Coyne Racing 1:18.576
15 J. Heylen 11 Dale Coyne Racing 1:18.935
16 D. Clarke 14 CTE Racing - HVM 1:19.006
17 N. Pastorelli 8 Rocketsports Racing 1:19.408
Seen in Monterrey - III Seen in Monterrey - IIIMonterrey organizers are having trouble with the track's PA System. There was no PA System for the Atlantics practice and there will be none for the morning Champ Car practice. The problem was one of miscommunication.  The sound company that was hired to install the PA System workstation installed it in the control tower, which is not where the announcers are located. At the moment they are moving everything to their proper place.

We saw Paul Tracy exercising hard on a stationary bike in the paddock at 8:00 am. It seems that Tracy believes the old saying that the early bird gets the worm.

We saw Nelson Phillipe and he will be using a Mexican themed helmet for the race. On the back of the helmet he has the Mexican flag and a few Spanish phrases which we won't translate since they are a bit risqué.

It was good to see Telmex all over the car of David Martinez.  Remember that in the Houston race his car only had small Telmex logos.  The team is hoping that Telmex will stay with Martinez as the series really needs more Mexican sponsors. Jose Arrambide

Rahal leads opening practice in Monterrey Rahal leads opening practice in Monterrey
Pos Driver Car# Lap Time
1 Graham Rahal 18 1:25.860
2 Stephen Simpson 14 1:26.374
3 Simon Pagenaud 15 1:26.453
4 Raphael Matos 6 1:26.753
5 Andreas Wirth  37 1:26.774
6 Jonathan Bomarito 23 1:26.923
7 Leonardo Maia 7 1:26.951
8 David Martinez 4 1:27.027
9 Alex Barron 21 1:27.079
10 Danilo Dirani 1 1:27.357
11 James Hinchcliffe 3 1:27.365
12 Daniel Gaunt 35 1:27.416
13 Robbie Pecorari 28 1:27.541
14 Alan Sciuto 12 1:27.560
15 Richard Philippe 33 1:27.660
16 Charles Hall 16 1:27.677
17 James Davison 5 1:27.726
18 Luis Schiavo 8 1:27.989
19 Norbert Siedler 10 1:28.292
20 Joe D'Agostino 34 1:28.412
21 Barton Mawer 17 1:29.158
22 Tim Bridgman 2 1:29.505
23 Justin Sofio 26 1:30.504
24 Chris Souliotis 56 1:32.758
Racing News
Penske Racing wins Schwitzer Award Penske Racing wins Schwitzer AwardINDIANAPOLIS /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The 40th annual Louis Schwitzer Award honors Penske Racing, Inc. engineers Thomas German, Justin Horning, and Tom Janiczek.  The annual award recipient is selected by engineers and presented to engineers for innovative engineering excellence in the field of race car design. 

Penske Racing, Inc. has successfully developed a method to quickly adjust the rear wing angle on the race car during a pit stop. A mechanism to permit movement of the wing was designed, as well as a novel battery operated power tool that allows a tire changer to make the adjustment within a two second window of opportunity.

The rear wing adjustor tool functions much like a cordless nut driver. The device is a straight power tool, about 400mm long, and includes commercially available components housed in a billet aluminum body with a carbon fiber battery case. The device is self contained, and the prescribed rotation is activated upon engagement with the wing adjustor screw. The motor and clutch are sized to deliver sufficient torque to move the wing in actual race conditions.

This prestigious award is sponsored by BorgWarner and presented by the Indiana Section of SAE International in honor of early racing pioneer and past Indiana Section Chairman Louis Schwitzer.  This year BorgWarner has doubled the winner's cash prize to $10,000. SAE International has added a $1,000 scholarship to the engineering school of the winners' choice, with a promise to double the scholarship for any winners who were past Formula SAE participants.

NASCAR runs yet another USA Today supplement NASCAR runs yet another USA Today supplementNASCAR has an advertising supplement section in USA Today around this weekend’s Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge.  Sprint Nextel, Gillette Fusion, Best Western, Roundup and Chevrolet run full-page ads. The Daily
Ford looking to add Cup teams Ford looking to add Cup teamsA Ford official said Thursday that the manufacturer would like to add "a couple more cars'' to its Nextel Cup roster, although he wouldn't give a timetable. A couple more teams could help Ford keep its young drivers, something Ford and its teams haven't been able to always do. Dale Jarrett's departure to Toyota after this season opens one ride, but several Ford drivers are signed through at least 2008. That could create limited opportunities for the nearly 10 drivers being groomed by Ford's Cup teams. Ford, whose drivers have won two of the past three titles, has the fewest Cup teams competing with eight -- five with Roush Racing, two with Robert Yates Racing and one with the Wood Brothers. Toyota is scheduled to have six teams next year when it enters the Cup series. Greg Specht, manager of racing operations for Ford, says the manufacturer has a goal of more teams. "Ideally, we'd like to have 10-12,'' he said. "We're really looking at our current teams to see how can we expand and grow at a rate that is going to maintain quality.'' Specht wouldn't say if Ford would have additional teams for next season. NASCAR's limit of four Cup teams eventually will force Roush Racing to drop a team or transfer it to a partner. The Wood Brothers could add a second team in the near future. Robert Yates Racing could add a third car next season, depending on sponsorship. Ford has at least 10 developmental drivers between its program and those of its Cup teams. Only two are expected to move to Cup for 2007. Roush Racing announced months ago that Todd Kluever would replace Mark Martin in Cup next season with Martin moving to the truck series. Also expected to move to Cup full time next season is 24-year-old Jon Wood, a third-generation member of the Wood Brothers. Roanoke Times
Elliott working on deals for 2007 Elliott working on deals for 2007Bill Elliott, now running a partial Cup schedule, said Thursday that he's weighing several offers for next season. He has been mentioned as a possible part-time replacement for Dale Jarrett in Robert Yates' #88 Ford, with younger drivers running the balance of the schedule. Elliott also is among the candidates to drive a Toyota Camry in Cup next year. "There are several good options out there," Elliott said. "Within a month I should have an idea what I'm going to do." He said he'd like to work out a deal that would serve as a steppingstone for his son Chase, 10, should he desire to pursue a career in NASCAR. "That's one of the things I'll look at," he said, adding that the reason he chooses to run a maximum of 12-15 races a year is so he can spend more time with his family. For so many years it's been about what I was doing," he said. "I want life to be more about what we are doing." Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Edwards over Rossi in practice 2 at LeMans Edwards over Rossi in practice 2 at LeMans
1. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 35.170 secs
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 35.282 secs
3. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 35.447 secs
4. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 35.461 secs
5. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 35.546 secs
6. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 35.625 secs
7. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 35.628 secs
8. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 35.662 secs
9. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 35.796 secs
10. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 35.935 secs
11. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 35.971 secs
12. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 36.159 secs
13. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 36.191 secs
14. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 36.306 secs
15. Kenny Roberts USA Team Roberts 1min 36.483 secs
16. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 36.904 secs
17. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 37.173 secs
18. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 37.986 secs
19. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 38.508 secs
TV News
Sullivan joins ALMS broadcast team Sullivan joins ALMS broadcast teamCBS Sports' coverage of the American Le Mans Series gets an added boost to this weekend's coverage of the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio (1-3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 21) - the second of five straight CBS-televised Series races. For the first time on CBS, former Indianapolis 500 champion Danny Sullivan will provide his first-hand analysis as he joins the broadcast team for Sunday's coverage.

Sullivan will have somewhat of a unique hybrid role as he will be both an analyst and reporter for CBS Sports' coverage of three Series races: the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, the Grand Prix of Utah and the Portland Grand Prix. In addition to being a member of the reporter team with Heather Cox and Brian Till, Sullivan will serve as a guest analyst in the broadcast booth with play-by-play Greg Creamer and analyst Calvin Fish. He will also be involved in at least one produced element for each of the three races.

"As a former sports car racer who has raced on the Mid-Ohio track, he's going to be able to give us an insight that we haven't had before," said Coordinating Producer Suzanne Smith. zzzz

Ironically, Sullivan last raced in the United States at the 2004 Series race in Sebring when he drove a Ferrari 575GTC and finished second in the GT1 class. Earlier in his career, he won at a pair of tracks that are currently on the American Le Mans Series circuit: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (1990) and Road America (1989).

At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, site of Sunday's CBS Sports televised event, Sullivan's best finish was second. "Mid-Ohio is tight and narrow, so traffic comes into play more so at that type of track," Sullivan explained. "There is not always room for guys to go side-by-side, so it's the type of circuit that puts a lot of emphasis on the driver. You have to make that millisecond decision of 'Do I stick my nose in there and take that chance at passing?'"

Aside from the Mid-Ohio track, the acclaimed Sullivan also has competed for Penske Racing. In 1988 he collected four victories en route to winning the CART title for Penske. His six-season stint with the team also included 1985, the year he won the Indy 500. Shortly thereafter, Sullivan further solidified his celebrity status when he appeared on the hit TV show Miami Vice in 1986.

A veteran competitor of several racing circuits, Sullivan is familiar with the unique aspects of the American Le Mans Series - not only the fastest growing circuit in the world, but a series that also features the largest number of participating auto manufacturers (11) in racing.

"I like the Series," said Sullivan. "I think it's exciting racing because of the variations of speed and cars. There are four classes with different speeds, so there is a lot of mixing it up. Plus, there is a lot of exciting things coming online for the American Le Mans Series with regard to the future."

Rossi leads opening practice at LeMans Rossi leads opening practice at LeMans
1. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 35.288 secs
2. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 35.806 secs
3. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 35.950 secs
4. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 36.244 secs
5. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 36.264 secs
6. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 36.340 secs
7. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 36.429 secs
8. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 36.628 secs
9. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 36.678 secs
10. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 36.734 secs
11. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 36.856 secs
12. Kenny Roberts USA Team Roberts 1min 37.160 secs
13. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 37.247 secs
14. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 37.317 secs
15. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 37.378 secs
16. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 38.133 secs
17. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 38.454 secs
18. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 39.082 secs
19. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 39.776 secs
Massa's no fan of Monaco Massa's no fan of Monaco(GMM)  Felipe Massa says he does not like the Monaco grand prix.

The unique and glamorous race might be the so-called 'jewel in the F1 crown', but Ferrari's newcomer Brazilian does not count himself among the candidates for outright victory.

Massa, 24, told the TV-Movie magazine that he is a 'rather aggressive driver'.

He confessed: ''In all honesty, I don't like the track.  You're always so close to the wall, which suits the technical drivers best.''

His red-clad teammate Michael Schumacher, however, is a bit of a Monaco specialist.  Massa, after six grands prix alongside the eminent racer, describes the 37-year-old German as a 'friend'.

''We have a good, respectful relationship,'' the Brazilian said.  ''Privately we often play football or have a meal.''

Moreover, Massa does not think that the seven time world champion is running out of steam for formula one.

''Michael is incredibly fit,'' Felipe contended.  ''Anyway, 37 isn't so old, is it?''

Team Australia expands into NASCAR Team Australia expands into NASCARTeam Australia has expanded its stable of global motorsport interests with a new partnership with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing which will include the naming-rights sponsorship of Marcos Ambrose’s entry in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in North America.

Already the sponsor of two-car Champ Car, Atlantic and Formula BMW teams in the US, Team Australia will now have the chance to provide even greater business and marketing opportunities to its growing list of corporate partners.

The new sponsorship will be weaved into a nation-wide marketing campaign designed to promote quality Australian and Australian-themed products and Australia as a tourism destination.

The new green and gold Ford F-150 truck will carry Team Australia, Aussie Vineyards and RM Williams signage when it makes its debut in Charlotte, North Carolina tomorrow night. zzzz

Featured in the primary bonnet position of the #20 Truck is signage for the Aussie Experience – a large-scale interactive tourism exhibit set to launch in North America in January 2007.

A mobile replica of the Sydney Opera House, the Aussie Experience will be making tour stops at some of America’s largest spectator events over a two-year period in what will be one of the biggest Australian-themed marketing initiatives ever seen anywhere.

Queensland’s Craig Gore, one of Australia’s most progressive and recognizable entrepreneurs, is Chairman of Team Australia, and the driving force behind the push into North America.

Gore is also chairman of Aussie Vineyards, LLC, which is set to release its wines in the United States later this year under the Au, Torren’s Title, and 12 Apostles labels.

“The goal of the Team Australia concept is to give the best and brightest Australians the opportunity to shine on the world motorsport stage,” said Gore. “Before we can do that we need to ensure we can continue to provide on-going sales opportunities for our partners in the US market in particular.

“The Team Australia concept lives or dies on the business we can create through it and I believe this latest venture will be tremendously rewarding for our current and future partners.

“There is no greater American sport than NASCAR and Marcos Ambrose is undoubtedly one of Australia’s greatest exports to the US – my own wine not withstanding.

“We have been working on a deal in NASCAR for sometime and the opportunity with Wood Brothers/JTG Motorsports really came from left field.

“The fact that Marcos is a driver for the team is a fantastic bonus and an ideal fit for our program.”

Ambrose tested his truck for the first time in Team Australia colors today and is set to race in round six of the championship at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Friday night (Charlotte time).

Wood Brothers/JTG Racing’s Tad Geschickter is expecting the exposure of NASCAR and the integration of the Team Australia concept with his team’s highly-respected retail marketing programs to provide valuable results for all stakeholders.

“A long-time friend of mine was working on the Australian Experience concept for Craig (Gore) and he called me to see what opportunities there would be in NASCAR,” said Geschickter.

“When I was told of the Team Australia concept, the development of a NASCAR racing program seemed to make a whole lot of sense. We have been developing our retail marketing programs for many years and they will work perfectly with the Aussie Vineyards and other products.

“The fact that we had signed Marcos as a driver obviously added to the deal.”

Ambrose, 29, is the first native Australian to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Ambrose paid his dues to earn a chance to etch his name in NASCAR’s record book, after winning two V8 Supercar Championships for Ford - regarded as the toughest touring car championship in the world.

Ambrose will now compete for the remainder of the 2006 season in the Craftsman Truck Series and is hoping to progress through the ranks to the NASCAR Busch Series and eventually NASCAR Nextel Cup.

“I am looking forward to competing against the best drivers on the biggest stage in motorsports,” said Ambrose.

“Securing a major Australian sponsor for the team is an extraordinary accomplishment and I applaud Craig Gore’s initiative and his investment in the Team Australia concept and Australian Motorsport.

“I am truly proud to be part of Team Australia’s effort to promote Australia to our great friends and partners here in the US and around the world.”

Team Australia also continues its Australian motorsport interests under the Wright Patton Shakespeare (WPS) banner in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Porsche Carrera Cup Series and the Aussie Race Car Championship.


Team Australia’s Marcos Ambrose completed a successful test day at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte today and has been given the “all clear” to run in tomorrow night’s sixth round of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Ambrose completed 130 trouble-free laps on the fast Lowe’s Motor Speedway in his Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford F-150 and finished the day mid-field on the time sheets.

As a rookie in the series, the former two-time Australian V8 Supercar champion was under the watchful eye of NASCAR officials, who needed to sign off an approval this afternoon for him to race on the 1.5-mile (2.4km) high-speed oval.

Ambrose highest average speed was 174mph (278km), with a top speed well over 300kph – the fastest he has ever been in a race car.

“It was a really solid day today. You cannot help but learn an enormous amount at test days like today,” said Ambrose.

“Today was to demonstrate we are safe out there on the race track. I felt comfortable, despite the fact that Lowe’s Motor Speedway is the fastest track I have driven on.

“We made some great progress throughout the day and think we probably could have gone a bit faster if the rain had not cut the session short by a couple of hours.”

There are 41 trucks entered for tomorrow nights race, but only 36 will be given the green light to start after tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying session.

Ambrose is an automatic starter because he is currently in the top 30 on the series’ points table.

Only in auto racing do athletes buy their way into sport Only in auto racing do athletes buy their way into sportThis USA Today article hammers the IRL and Champ Car for allowing ride-buying to be so prevalent and the author uses the following analogy, something we have stated on many occasions.

I don't care how much money you give to George Steinbrenner, you can't buy mound time for the Yankees. It doesn't matter what kind of corporate partnership you broker for Dan Rooney, you can't just line up at wide receiver for the Steelers. You might be an articulate pitchman, but if you can't skate left wing with a fury, you're not playing for the Canadians.

But if you show Bobby Rahal, Carl Haas or any owner the money - here's your helmet, son.

In reality, ride-buying is in all forms of motorsports, but the article points out that the split in Indy Car racing has so weakened the sport that ride-buying is far to prevalent for teams to survive.

The author adds: With its talent and fan base diluted and two series choking on the financial fumes of declining sponsorship and television ratings, the race [Indy 500] no longer can be considered the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

That title, trademark or not, belongs to the Daytona 500.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Gascoyne 'at odds' with Toyota - Vasselon
Ferrari end test after engine blow
Bernie backs 'serious' Midland
Kimi denies Schu-factor in '07 decision
Title without Schu means less - Alonso
Ron, Kimi, say Renault is 'benchmark'
Q and A with Michelin’s Nick Shorrock Q and A with Michelin’s Nick ShorrockNick Shorrock, Director of the F1 program for Michelin, talks about the performance of the Renault F1 Team, who have won four of the six races contested in the 2006 season to date, including the recent Spanish GP where local hero Fernando Alonso took an emotional win. Speaking to the team’s official website, Shorrock also took the opportunity to discuss the approach required for the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix….

Nick, there’s a lot of action on the track this year. Is this because the Michelins and the Bridgestones are very close in terms of performance?
We’ve known for a long time that the 2006 championship was going to be open. The regulation has evolved in quite a few areas (engines, qualifying, tires) and the current situation on the track is a consequence of that. This said, this competitiveness can’t be down to one element only. You can achieve a good result only if the whole package (chassis, engine, tires, driver) is performing at its highest level. You can’t explain what has happened on the track since Melbourne just by looking at the performance of the tires.

So, teamwork makes all the difference…
Yes. Our role is to provide the best possible product to our partners. After that, they have to make their package work at its best.

Would you say that the performance of the Michelins and the Bridgestones is closer this year than they’ve been for a long time?
Yes, and it has a direct impact on our work. When you’re used to winning and when you have a comfortable margin over your rivals, people may not notice that the product you are using is not perfectly suited to the track conditions. On the opposite, when two rivals are very close, the tiniest mistake can make the difference. Your choice has to be spot on at each venue. zzzz

At the Nürburgring, Fernando Alonso said that his tires were struggling a bit during the race. Is that true?
Let’s say that Michelin’s offer was not 100% suited to the conditions. In retrospect, our product was a bit too hard. But our partners had tested it before. They had followed our advice and had given their green light.

Barcelona seemed to be much better!
We’ve used a new family of products in Spain: these new tires had been designed thanks to the data we collected at Melbourne and Imola. They were quite different from what we had used since the start of the season. Their performance has been similar to the Bridgestones during the week-end. These tires were soft –maybe a bit too soft!-, but we’ve been able to provide one lap performance as well as consistency during the race.

Monaco is a special track. How did you prepare this race?
We’re currently testing in le Castellet and Vallelunga in order to evaluate some specific tires. Obviously, Monaco requires a soft rubber and qualifying is very important. However, consistency should not be forgotten: having a bit of performance left at the end of a stint can be a decisive advantage. The tire we’ll provide must be able to fight for pole position, but should also be able to keep its performance after a few laps. Finally, it will be interesting to see how the qualifying session goes. Because of the new format, and on such a special track, the starting grid could be quite unusual.

track news
Watkins Glen has no sponsor for top races Watkins Glen has no sponsor for top racesThe second Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen International is less than three weeks away. 

The Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix will be packed with racing action and entertainment for fans. Its support events include the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen on June 3, and the Zippo Historic Grand Prix and Corning 100 Indy Pro Series race on June 4.  What's noticeably missing, however, is a sponsor for its IRL event, which takes place June 4.

Last September's inaugural IndyCar event, which marked the return of major open-wheel racing to the Glen after more than 20 years, was sponsored by Argent Mortgage, but Argent didn't renew.

"I'm not happy, but it's part of the business," Craig Rust, president of Watkins Glen International, said Wednesday. "We feel very good about where we are sponsorship-wise with our events, but we would still like to get somebody plugged in there for the IRL."

The upcoming IRL event isn't Rust's only concern. The Glen hasn't yet found a sponsor for the track's NASCAR Nextel Cup event in August. In December, Sirius Satellite Radio exercised an option to end its three-year contract that began in 2005. They had sponsored the event since 2002.

With the high value of a Nextel Cup title sponsor, its loss at the Glen would have a big impact on yearly revenue.

"Anytime you don't sell your presenting or title sponsorship, it affects the bottom line," Rust said.

Rust attributed their sponsorship troubles to a number of factors, including the short time they've had to look for the sponsors. They learned that Argent Mortgage wasn't coming back to the IRL event in November.

"It's timing, it's finances, and for the IRL, it's the sponsorship pool," Rust said. "The number of companies that market themselves in the IRL is far less than what you find in NASCAR, so it's a number of factors."

Sirius was the fourth Nextel Cup sponsor in the series' 20-year history at the Glen. The event, which began in 1986, has always had a title sponsor.

Rust feels they'll find a sponsor before the Aug. 13 Nextel Cup race.  More at Star-Gazette

IMSA GT3 preview IMSA GT3 previewLEXINGTON, Ohio – For the second time in as many races, more than 40 Porsche Cup cars will take the green flag for the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin, this time at historic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The 45-minute race, set for 1 p.m. Saturday, follows a thrilling season-opener at Sebring in March that saw all 21 laps go green.

Kevin Roush enters the Mid-Ohio round with the championship lead in the class for Porsche Type 997 Cup cars thanks to a flag-to-flag victory at Sebring International Raceway in March. Dino Loles won the race for Type 996 Cup cars and has assumed the championship lead in that class.

The 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course at Mid-Ohio presents a change of pace for the 46 drivers who are entered. Instead of a long and extremely fast circuit like Sebring, Mid-Ohio is a classic twisting layout that features moderate elevation changes throughout. The track also underwent a complete resurfacing, and the concrete patches that dotted the track are now gone. New curbing has been installed, too.  zzzz

“It should be a completely different track,” said Russell Smith, driver of the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports Porsche Type 997 who made up 24 positions at the Sebring race. “Then you have the resurfacing, and two-thirds of the field have new cars, so it should be a completely different race, too.”

Drivers also are hoping for a drier track this time around. Last year’s 22-lap race was run mostly in the wet with Lawson Aschenbach winning for Farnbacher Loles Racing on the final lap.

“There are a lot of low- to medium-speed turns that are linked together. It’s a lot like some tracks out west,” Roush said. “Repaving certainly will help those of us who are going there for the first time. I’m hoping it just stays dry. It would have a been a mess for us who hadn’t been there before having to learn the track and the concrete patches.”

The second round of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin is scheduled for May 20 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Live Timing & Scoring will be available at www.imsaracing.net.

Bobby Unser’s most memorable 500 Bobby Unser’s most memorable 500"Obviously, my number-one favorite has to be winning it in '68, and of course, winning it three times, that would be my second. But there's never one to equal your first, that's for sure. That being said, you have to know that I've got thousands of memories from around here, I mean thousands. I don't know how you'd say which one's the best. I used to live back here all summer even, keeping a house. I used to keep a house back here year round, even though I live in Albuquerque (N.M.). Indianapolis was a home to me. That's the best way to word it. And it was because of the racetrack. I did practically all of my racing right out of here during the years."
Michael Andretti’s most memorable 500 Michael Andretti’s most memorable 500"Most of my memorable moments of the "500" are bad. But in 1991, I had my best and worst moment at the Speedway in about one minute. I took the lead over Rick Mears late, and I thought I had won the race. But the next lap, he took it away from me. It went from a big high to a big low."
Ranger revved up for Monterrey Ranger revved up for MonterreyMONTREAL, /CNW Telbec/ - Andrew Ranger returns this weekend to Monterrey, Mexico, the scene of his finest Champ Car World Series performance, and the Mi-Jack Conquest driver who is currently the top Canadian in the series hopes the sequel is as outstanding as the original.

A year ago, Ranger, of Roxton Pond, Quebec, etched his way into the Champ Car record books at the Tecate Grand Prix of Monterrey, masterfully rallying from 14th place on the starting grid to finish second. In doing so, Ranger, just beyond his 18th birthday at the time, became the youngest driver in series' history to reach the podium.

Heading into this year's Monterrey race - to be run Sunday in front of more than 110,000 fans on the 2.104-mile Fundidora Park road course - Ranger is brimming with confidence after opening the 2006 season with a pair of sixth-place finishes. By earning 40 points, including one point in each race for advancing the most positions from the starting grid, Ranger moved into fourth place in the drivers' standings ahead of fellow Canadians Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy. zzzz 

"I'm happy that we've been able to get off to such good start," said Ranger. "It's something to build on going to Monterrey. The race there last year is still very fresh in my mind. I remember what a thrill it was to be on the podium in only the second Champ Car race of my career. But this is a new season, with new challenges, and whether the race is in Monterrey or anywhere else on the circuit, I put all my energy into giving my best effort."

The poise and determination Ranger exhibited on the way to finishing a highly respectable 10th in the drivers' standings in his 2005 rookie season, prompted plenty of Champ Car observers to categorize Ranger as a rising star in the series. Two races into the 2006 season, he continues to make major steps toward fulfilling such promise.

"Andrew's consecutive sixth-place finishes to begin the season are very encouraging," said Chris Mower, team manager of the Mi-Jack Conquest team. "Developing consistency from race to race is part of the learning process, especially for a young driver such as Andrew. He's competed well in two tough races, showing a lot of character battling his way into contention in each of them. And, as we saw in Monterrey last year, if you can stay close to the leaders, anything can happen."

ALMS Mid-Ohio notebook ALMS Mid-Ohio notebookLEXINGTON, Ohio – It took a little work, but van der Steur Racing is on the grounds of Mid-Ohio. The Maryland-based team spent a couple of days making repairs to its AER-powered Lola B2K/40 following the Lone Star Grand Prix before heading north.

Team principal and driver Gunnar van der Steur said his team worked like mad to have the car prepared for the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, Round Three of the 2006 season. The Reliant Park street circuit in Houston did a fair bit of damage to the car, which finished fourth in LMP2, just one lap off the class podium. The “Little Lola That Could” kept pounding out laps, falling shy of passing the leading Porsche RS Spyder from Penske Racing.

“It tore this little car to pieces,” admitted van der Steur, who said the team replaced some engine components and chassis bolts. “We didn’t have any idea there was this much to fix. But we’ve got it all back together and fired the car up. No oil leaks or anything, so we’re ready to go.”

The van der Steur Racing operation is one of the most popular in the paddock among Series fans. The team and its many followers are anxious for the delivery of a Radical SR9 chassis that is expected to debut at Petit Le Mans. van der Steur said fellow driver Ben Devlin likely will meet with Radical personnel at Le Mans next month, and the team will test the car at Snetterton before bringing it to the States.  zzzz

A FLYING FIRST: The Porsche contingent in GT2 is expected to be strong again at Mid-Ohio this weekend. Flying Lizard Motorsports’ two entries could be among the favorites, given the team’s history.

Two years ago in just its second American Le Mans Series race, Johannes van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty piloted one of the Lizard Porsches to a class victory at the twisty Mid-Ohio circuit. van Overbeek currently leads the GT2 drivers championship with consecutive runner-up finishes at Sebring and Houston, and the team is second in the class team standings, too.

“Mid-Ohio in 2004 was definitely a race to remember,” said team principal Seth Neiman. “Everything came together for the No. 45 car and we surprised everyone, including ourselves, with our first win.”

A NEW MID-OHIO: The American Le Mans Series gives Mid-Ohio’s well-documented repaved surface its first test this weekend. Paving was completed in early April, and a few teams already have tested at the track since then.

“It is one of those tracks that is difficult to get the setup exact,” said Justin Marks of BMW Team PTG, which has two BMW M3s entered in GT2. “Even on my pole laps I always felt I had left some time behind. The new surface is certainly an X-factor this year. Historically, we have had a hard time getting grip over the concrete patches so the new surface could prove to make a big difference for us.”

Among the highlights:
• 50,000 tons of new asphalt
• 4,000 feet of curbing
• 700 steel posts were replaced
• 2,300 feet of catch-fencing was replaced
• 6,000 linear feet of tire wall was replaced

All totaled, the work required 181 days and 8,996 man hours.

IMSA NEWS: This weekend also marks the resumption of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin with a strong field of 44 Porsche Cup cars entered. Kevin Roush won the caution-free season opener at Sebring. Type 997 and Type 996 Porsche Cup cars will compete in separate classes but in the same race.

The first-year IMSA Lites series will hold its third and fourth rounds this weekend after debuting last weekend at Road Atlanta. The series, with more than 30 cars entered at Mid-Ohio, is a proving ground for prototype drivers who have an interest in moving up to the American Le Mans Series.

AROUND THE PADDOCK: As always, there will be plenty to do in the American Le Mans Series paddock. Among Saturday’s highlights are the Driver Autograph Session (11:45 a.m. in the paddock), a Tech Talk with Alex Job Racing (11:15 a.m. at the team’s transporter), a fan forum (12:15 p.m. in the Honda Classroom) and a sunset movie in The Esses. … On Sunday, there is the usual open grid prior to the noon race start and an autograph session with the Pirelli Girls (10 a.m. at the American Le Mans Series Merchandise Marquee in the paddock). … Rob Dyson on last year’s celebration of his team’s 1-2 overall finish at Mid-Ohio: “I have never had that much champagne spilled on me at any one time. It was nice, but after an hour or so it does start smelling a bit.” … Friday sees a two-hour test session for the American Le Mans Series from 1:25 to 3:25 p.m. EDT. … There have been four different GT2-winning entrants in the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio: BMW Motorsport (2001), The Racers Group (2002), Flying Lizard Motorsports (2004), and Alex Job Racing (2005).

The American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, the third round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series, is set for noon EDT on Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It will be broadcast on CBS Sports at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, the second of five straight races on the network. Qualifying is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. EDT on Saturday. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

skip barber
Skip Barber practice speeds Skip Barber practice speedsLIME ROCK, Conn. - Rounds five and six of the 14-race Skip Barber National Presented by RACER are this weekend (May 19-20) at Lime Rock Park. Today the drivers completed three practice sessions on Lime Rock’s 7-turn, 1.54-mile road course. Following are the merged lap times (driver’s best time from any of the three sessions). Marco Di Leo won two of the first four races and leads Alexander Rossi by 61 points in the standings. Skip Barber National, best practice times, Lime Rock Park:
1. Darius Trinka, :57.804 / 95.910 mph (session 2)
2. Jonathan Goring, :57.893 / 95.763 (2)
3. Richard Heistand, :57.951 / 95.667 (3)
4. Marco Di Leo, :58.230 / 95.209 (2)
5. Chris Castagna, :58.266 / 95.150 (2)
6. Alexander Rossi, :58.416 / 94.906 (3)
7. A.J. Riley, :58.607 / 94.596 (2)
8. Alex Doman, :58.622 / 94.572 (3)
9. Kyle Lawrence, :58.680 / 94.479 (3)
10. Duncan Ende, :58.859 / 94.191 (2)
11. Mario Adrian Ochoa, :58.896 / 94.132 (3)
12. Jason Fennessey, :58.917 / 94.098 (3)
13. Cory Turner, :59.116 / 93.782 (3)
14. Eric Mayo, :59.587 / 93.040 (3)
15. Jonathan Gore, :59.713 / 92.844 (2)
16. Peter Husser, :59.777 / 92.745 (2)
17. Timmy Megenbier, :59.792 / 92.721 (3)
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Live! Charlotte
12:00pm-12:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Performance  
12:30pm-1:00pm SPEED
Champ Car Atlantic Houston (5/13/06)
1:00pm-2:00pm SPEED
Nextel Pit Crew Challenge Mooresville, NC
4:00pm-5:30pm SPEED
IRL -Indy 500 Pole Day Qualifying  Indianapolis
5:00pm-6:00pm (L)
7:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) ESPN
NASCAR RaceDay Charlotte
5:30pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Speed News Saturday  
7:00pm-7:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Charlotte -All-Star Challenge
7:00pm-11:00pm (L) FX
Champ Car Qualifying  Monterrey, Mexico
8:00pm-8:30pm (SDD) SPEED
Formula 1 Replay Spain
8:30pm-11:00pm (R)
Race originally broadcast on CBS SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Columbus, OH
10:00pm-12:00am ESPN2
NASCAR Victory Lane Charlotte
11:00pm-12:00am SPEED

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

Indy Thursday practice quotes Indy Thursday practice quotes
Overheard in Monterrey - III Overheard in Monterrey - IIIUPDATE It looks like it was a very good day for ticket sales in Monterrey. This morning OCESA reported 40,000 tickets sold, as of 7:20 PM the number has been updated by them to 45,000 race day tickets sold.

The track was blessed today by a local priest. Drivers Bruno Junqueira, Sebastien Bourdais, Mario Dominguez, Nelson Philippe, Oriol Servia and David Martinez joined the priest in asking for an injury free weekend.

The drivers did a photo session with the girls that will participate in the Miss Monterrey Grand Prix. While Mario Dominguez didn’t loose the opportunity to joke and flirt a little bit with the girls, Sebastien Bourdais seemed a little bit uncomfortable and tried to keep his distance, obviously his newly wed status had something to do with it.....Fans were amused to see Ronald McDonald walking with Sebastien Bourdais.

05/18/06 Federico Alaman from OCESA said that they have sold a little over 40,000 tickets, which he said is better than last year at this same time and that they are confident because they have always sold a lot of tickets Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday of race weekend in the past. Jose Arrambide

Seen in Monterrey - II Seen in Monterrey - IIOnly 17 race cars are expected on the starting grid for Sunday's Tecate Monterrey Grand Prix, now in its 6th edition......Thursday morning AutoRacing1 noted that all the teams are ready to go except Rocketsports Racing, which hasn't taken its car out of the transporter yet. While all other teams are making mechanical adjustments to their cars this team hasn't taken the car out since all the Champ Car carriers arrived Tuesday night.........PKV Racing is working with Servia's and Legge's cars and it does not look like they will run a third entry as they did for Vasser in the season opener - The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Last year the starting grid was 19 when PKV ran Mexican Jorge Goeters......We're pretty sure all the Monterrey fans (that will show up at the track this weekend) won't notice the fact that the starting grid will be the shortest in the history of the Monterrey Grand Prix.

The people of the city of Monterrey, its racing fans and OCESA (the promoter) are willing to have Champ Car return next year, or in a better scenario after a merger with the IRL.......Sunday is forecast to rise to 104° F (heat index of 108°) / 40° C (heat index of 42°) the hottest day of the weekend, with no chance of rain and plenty of sun. Hector Serrano reporting from Monterrey

Seen in Monterrey - I Seen in Monterrey - IThe major concern for the drivers for this edition of the Monterrey Grand Prix is the heat. The heat will become a major issue for the race. The temperature is expected to rise up to 104° F and that is what the local media here in Monterrey is talking about. It was also mentioned in the press conference at midday. Dehydration may cause the drivers to lose about 10 to 12 pounds in the race.
We spotted Charles Zwolsman wearing a splint on his wrist-forearm area. Maybe a sequel of his incident with Will Power last Saturday in Houston. Hector Serrano reporting from Monterrey
Bobby Hamilton cancer update Bobby Hamilton cancer update“I am not going to lie and say the last few weeks have not been easy,” said Bobby Hamilton.  “It has been the hardest battle I have ever had to fight.  I went to the race at Gateway International Raceway and caught a virus which spiked a fever and knocked me down for three or four days.  The chemo and radiation regiment I am on knocks my immune system down causing me to be more susceptible to infection.  Even the slightest cold can turn into a major illness for me.  Race fans and crew members have been extremely supportive, shaking my hand, offering their support and prayers around the garage area.  I take it as my responsibility to talk with these people and sign autographs because I am very appreciative of their support, but being in large crowds of people right now is a huge risk for me. 

I am listening to my doctors and when they tell not to do something I am listening.  I am now into my third week of daily radiation and that is when the doctors warned me the treatments would start taking a major toll on my body, which meant the radiation and chemo combination were doing their job.  It has caused me to develop a lot of sores in my mouth and the worst sore throat of my life.  My throat hurts all the way down to my collar bone.  I went from eating normal to drinking protein shakes to finally only drinking little sips of clear liquid.  I started feeling dehydrated last Thursday evening, and I woke up Friday and could not even drink a sip of water, suck on an ice cube or take any of my medicine.  By Friday they had admitted me to the hospital for dehydration and a 102 degree fever, and to help me get my pain under control.  I stayed in the hospital for six days and was able to come home Wednesday, but went back on Thursday for my weekly chemo treatment. 

Not going to Charlotte this weekend for the race was a very hard decision, but my health has to be my main priority.  It will be the first race that I’ve been involved in one way or the other with that I have missed since before my Cup career.  I want to be there for my team, but I’ve got to work on getting healthy again.  I have three more weeks left of chemo and radiation treatments, and then I hope we can start on the road to recovery.  I cannot thank everyone enough for all their thoughts and well wishes over the past few months.”

Rookies hit Indy wall Rookies hit Indy wallUPDATE Another rookie, Thiago Medeiros, crashed toward the end of practice in a similar Turn 2 accident to Luyendyk's. The Brazilian was checked at the infield care center and released and cleared to drive. His PDM Racing Dallara sustained heavy rear-end damage.

05/18/06 Moderate contact  was made to the entrance of Turn 2 by No. 61 Arie Luyendyk Jr. during practice this afternoon in Indianapolis.  Arie is reported to be OK.

Hornish again fastest Hornish again fastestMarlboro Team Penske driver Sam Hornish Jr. topped the speed charts for the fifth time in six practice days as preparations continued for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Hornish posted the day's quickest lap of 40.0087 seconds, 224.951 mph in his No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

Hornish's teammate, Helio Castroneves, was second-fastest at 224.437 mph in the No. 3T Marlboro Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara. Target Chip Ganassi teammates Dan Wheldon (222.616 mph) and Scott Dixon (222.461 mph) were third and fourth. Scott Sharp (222.425) rounded out the top five.

Drivers were limited to approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes of practice as rain and a pair of accidents by rookies Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Thiago Medeiros limited on-track activity. Neither driver was injured in the separate accidents.

The day started in rain and rain again brought out the yellow at 5:38 p.m., thus ending another wet day of practice early.

Practice Thursday for the 90th Indianapolis 500 IRL IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:
1. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 224.951
2. (3T) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 224.437
3. (10T) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 222.616
4. (9T) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 222.461
5. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda, 222.425
6. (17) Jeff Simmons, Panoz-Honda, 221.716
7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 221.707
8. (90) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 221.329
9. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 221.299
10. (4T) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 221.180
11. (16T) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 220.900
12. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 220.765
13. (15T) Buddy Rice, Panoz-Honda, 220.137
14. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 220.106
15. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Dallara-Honda, 219.975
16. (1) Michael Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 219.898
17. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 219.620
18. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 218.593
19. (52) Max Papis, Dallara-Honda, 218.331
20. (14) Felipe Giaffone, Dallara-Honda, 218.110
21. (21) Jaques Lazier, Panoz-Honda, 217.225
22. (5) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 216.906
23. (18) Thiago Medeiros, Panoz-Honda, 216.791
24. (51) Eddie Cheever Jr., Dallara-Honda, 216.782
25. (31) Al Unser Jr., Dallara-Honda, 216.283
26. (91) P.J. Chesson, Dallara-Honda, 215.537
27. (97) Stephan Gregoire, Panoz-Honda, 214.267
28. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 212.304
29. (88) Airton Dare, Panoz-Honda, 211.432
30. (12) Jon Herb, Panoz-Honda, 203.629
31. (61) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Panoz-Honda, 138.857

track news
Indy pace car reunion Indy pace car reunionSome of the most beautiful automobiles that never drove a competitive lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - but still led the field - will be on hand for the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Reunion May 19-21.

The event, organized by the IMS Hall of Fame Museum, is set to draw a total of 188 examples of Indianapolis 500 Official Pace Cars representing 57 of the 89 races run to date.

The Pace Cars will begin to line up on the Speedway's Hulman Boulevard, the road that runs down the middle of the IMS infield, beginning at noon (ET) Friday, May 19. By the time all Pace Cars arrive, the display will stretch for most of the length of the IMS infield.

The public is invited to browse the Pace Car Reunion and vote for their favorite car. Access is free with the price of admission to the IMS grounds, and voting cards will be available at the intersection of 5th Street and Hulman Boulevard - the south end of the display - and 7th Street and Hulman Boulevard, near the north end. Members of the public that cast a vote will receive an Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum 50th Anniversary collector's pin. zzzz

The Pace Car Reunion will feature cars both owned by the Hall of Fame Museum and examples that are privately owned. Cars owned by the museum that will be on display include the 1911 Stoddard-Dayton Pace Car that was driven by IMS founder Carl G. Fisher at the inaugural race, the 1930 Cord L-29, 1964 Ford Mustang, 1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT and every car that paced the Indianapolis 500 from 1975-2005.

Privately owned cars in attendance will include the 1925 Rickenbacker "8" driven by Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker two years before he purchased the Speedway, the 1946 Lincoln V-12 driven by Henry Ford II in the first race run under the ownership of Anton "Tony" Hulman, the 1967 and 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, and the 1972 and 1974 editions of the Hurst/Olds driven by 1960 Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Rathmann.

Rain again at Indy, but.... Rain again at Indy, but....The persistent rain that has plagued preparations for the 90th Indianapolis 500 is still an issue and has affected the start of Thursday practice. The good news: the weather forecast for Friday, as well as Saturday’s run for the Pole, is good, with temperatures in the ‘70’s, and only a slight chance of rain.
Honda Michelin over Williams Cosworth Bridgestone Honda Michelin over Williams Cosworth BridgestoneThursday test times from Vallelunga, Italy.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:01.465 113
 2. Button Honda (M) 1:01.957 147
 3. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:02.628 95
 4. Karthikeyan Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:03.935 1
Villeneuve on top at Paul Ricard Villeneuve on top at Paul RicardCanadian Jacques Villeneuve rose to the top of the timesheets on the third of testing at the Paul Ricard circuit.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:25.379 125
 2. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:25.736 121
 3. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:25.834 120
 4. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:25.931 97
 5. Alonso Renault (M) 1:26.003 63
 6. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:26.172 91
 7. Zonta Toyota (B) 1:26.261 101
 8. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:26.443 99
 9. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:26.498 44
10. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:26.668 103
11. Panis Toyota (B) 1:27.037 82
12. Massa Ferrari (B) no time 3

Track News
Staind to perform live at Indy 500 Staind to perform live at Indy 500Flip/Atlantic recording group Staind will perform live on Race Day for the 90th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28.

The multi-platinum rock superstars will play on a stage overlooking the famed "Yard of Bricks" at the start-finish line during the pre-race ceremonies for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Staind's most recent platinum album, "CHAPTER V," has spawned three massive rock radio hits. "Right Here" started as a No. 1 multi-format smash, is in the top 10 on the Hot AC and national mainstream pop charts nearly a year after its release. It is the fourth No. 1 rock radio hit for the Massachusetts-based band during its career, following "For You," "It's Been Awhile" and "So Far Away."  zzzz

The second hit from "CHAPTER V," "Falling," reached the top 10 on the rock charts, while the third and most recent single, "Everything Changes," is currently a top-20 track on rock radio while scoring major airplay on Active Rock and Alternative stations around the United States.

"CHAPTER V" debuted in August 2005 at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the third consecutive chart-topping album for the band. Other chart toppers by Staind are "14 Shades of Grey" and "Break the Cycle."

Staind is comprised of Aaron Lewis (vocals), Mike Mushok (guitar), Johnny April (bass) and Jon Wysocki (drums).

Red Hot Chili Peppers To Play At NASCAR race Red Hot Chili Peppers To Play At NASCAR raceThe Red Hot Chili Peppers will wear custom-designed Simpson race suits when they perform at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this Saturday night as part of the NASCAR Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge. This will be the first time the band has played at a sporting event and the first time NASCAR has scheduled a performance during a race. The band will perform between the first and second race segments NASCAR.

In Charlotte, Courtney Devores writes while the sport previously featured a “predictable mix of rock and country ... the music industry is recognizing NASCAR as a marketable venue for all genres.” Hilary Duff was the honorary starter for the Auto Club 500 in February, and Jewel is featured in a NASCAR TV ad. NASCAR Music & Talent Relations Manager Phil Metz said, over the last three years, record companies have “really seen that working with NASCAR can complement a marketing campaign for a mainstream artist. Now you can get a monster band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That’s validating.” While the artists “obviously benefit from built-in audiences,” WWE Music Dir Jim Johnston said sports properties benefit from association with musicians because it “keeps the product fresh, current and hip. There’s coolness by association.” Jewel said that the entertainment industry “needs NASCAR more than the sport needs Hollywood.” Jewel: “I don’t think NASCAR ever needed Hollywood to be hip. They’ve done that on their own” CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

RCR to Sponsor Local Soap Box Derby RCR to Sponsor Local Soap Box DerbyWELCOME, N.C. -- Championship NASCAR team owner Richard Childress will lend support to his racing roots June 3 at Hobby Park in Winston-Salem for the Winston-Salem Area Soap Box Derby presented by Richard Childress Racing.

The winner of this All-American Soap Box Derby “local race” will advance to the 69th annual All-American Soap Box Derby presented by Levi Strauss Signature®, July 22 in Akron, Ohio.

Childress was a teenager in the late 1950s when he and his brother, Larry Childress, went door to door in downtown Winston-Salem soliciting shop owners for funding to purchase a soap box derby kit. Nearly 50 years later, the wheels and axles from that soap box derby racer are on display in the RCR Racing Museum on the RCR campus.

“Being a part of that soap box derby race was a very important start to my becoming a race car driver just a few years later,” said Childress. “It taught me my first lessons in securing sponsorship, building a race car and competing against other drivers. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the success I’ve had in racing and a lot of it goes back to that soap box derby race.”

The day’s activities will include:
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Inspection
10:00 – 10:45 a.m. Trial Runs
10:45 a.m. Heat & Lane Drawing
11:15 a.m. Racing Begins

For further information, visit the web site of the Winston-Salem Area Soap Box Derby at www.wsasbd.com.

Les Schwab to Present Portland ALMS race Les Schwab to Present Portland ALMS raceGlobal Events Group and The American LeMans Series are proud to announce that Les Schwab Tires has been named presenting sponsor of the 2006 American LeMans Race to be staged at Portland International Raceway on Saturday July 22nd .  The Portland race, round six of a ten race schedule, is a late afternoon affair with the green flag dropping at 6PM. The two-hour and forty-five minute race will be televised nationally on CBS.

“We feel that the race will be a great event for the City of Portland, SW Washington and the State of Oregon” says Gary Wanderscheid of Les Schwab Tires.  “All of us here at Les Schwab are proud to be sponsors of the American LeMans Series race at Portland International Raceway.”

“We are thrilled to have Les Schwab Tires come on board as our presenting sponsor for the American LeMans race,” says Mike Nealy, President of Global Events Group the event promoter.  “It is a tremendous boost to have the support of an Oregon based company with the stature of Les Schwab Tires; they have long been a leader in sponsorships and community support. The people who drive Audi, Corvette, Porsche and BMW’s are their customers and our race fans. The tires they race on are the tires you can find at Les Schwab”. zzzz

The American LeMans Series was founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Don Panoz to combine the world’s greatest sports car manufacturers and drivers to create a series that is the ultimate motorsports challenge.

Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville, Oregon in 1952 and has guided its growth to over 400 locations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Utah and Montana. Les Schwab Tires has become one of the largest independent tire companies in the United States.

Tickets for The American Lemans Series Presented by Les Schwab Tires on July 22nd are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or 503-224-4400.

BMW deny Gascoyne talks BMW deny Gascoyne talks(GMM)  Mario Theissen has disclaimed suggestions that BMW-Sauber could be making a bid for Toyota's departed technical director, Mike Gascoyne.

The German, who runs the Hinwil based formula one team which is based in Switzerland, denied that he has staged talks with the lauded engineer.

''I have not spoken to him and I do not intend to,'' BMW motor sport director Theissen told 'Motorsport Aktuell' magazine.

BMW-Sauber's current technical director is Willy Rampf.

Gascoyne, however - since the Toyota split in April - is now believed to have privately told colleagues that he will return to pitlane sooner or later.

Indeed, he was almost immediately linked to Williams, as insiders suspected that 43-year-old Gascoyne no longer wanted to work for a non-British based F1 team.

Some analysts also believe that David Richards' 'Prodrive' operation for 2008 and beyond could be an option, as may be McLaren, which is possibly feeling the loss of its own technical chief Adrian Newey.

Pettys to be honored Pettys to be honoredNASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, will be honored as the inaugural recipients of the North Carolina Children’s Lifetime Legacy Award in Charlotte.  The Pettys are receiving the award for their Victory Junction Gang Camp for less fortunate children. DENVER POST
Rahal team signs deal with Peak Antifreeze Rahal team signs deal with Peak AntifreezeRahal Letterman Racing (RLR) announced today partnership with PEAK Antifreeze, which will see the brand’s iconic mountain logo appear on the No. 16 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz of Danica Patrick.  Patrick signed a personal endorsement deal with PEAK Antifreeze last summer following her historic run at the Indianapolis 500.

PEAK’s logo will make its debut on Patrick’s car at the Indianapolis 500.  

“We are pleased to begin this partnership with PEAK Antifreeze,” said Bobby Rahal, the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and the founder of Rahal Letterman Racing.  “PEAK Antifreeze has clearly recognized the impact of Danica’s Rahal Letterman program in the IndyCar Series and has been proactive in using her as a spokesman in a multi-million dollar advertising campaign.”

“With Danica already serving as spokesperson for PEAK, we're thrilled to be able to expand our relationship with Rahal Letterman Racing this season," stated Jeff Stauffer, Vice President of Marketing for Old World Industries, which is the parent company of PEAK.  "We're looking forward to the debut of the PEAK logo on the No. 16 car, and cheering on Danica and her teammates in Indianapolis." 

The PEAK brand has a strong heritage in motorsports, claiming several racing legends among its former spokespersons through the years, such as Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. In addition to new Rahal Letterman Racing agreement, PEAK Antifreeze and Mr. Clean™ Windshield Wash and Wipers will again serve as title sponsor of the PEAK Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean at Chicagoland Speedway.  This year’s race will take place on September 10, and is the final event of the 2006 IndyCar Series season. RLR

Danica Patrick: hero to zero Danica Patrick: hero to zeroDanica Patrick had one of the fastest cars in last year's Indy practice sessions. She remembers wondering what all the slow drivers were doing as she blew past them. Now she knows. They're struggling for any extra speed they can find. "When the car's working right, it seems easy," she said of driving at the Speedway. "When the car's not working right, little changes don't make a difference. Right now, I can't feel the car. I can't feel the front, and I can't feel the rear, and it's like going into the corner and saying, 'Whoa.'" Indy Star

[Editor's Note: In 100% throttle racing the car is everything, always has been and always will be. Rumors were swirling at Indy last year that she had an extra special Honda engine, and hence was fastest on some days last May. It made her a hero and made other drivers feel cheated. Now, without the best equipment, she finds herself mired down in Sarah Fisher and AJ Foyt IV territory and sounding just like Fisher - an accident waiting to happen. If she can't feel the car (same exact car as last year) they are going to have to dial in more downforce, which will slow the car on the straights. Where is that extra special Honda when you need it?]

Penske boys fastest before Indy rains...again Penske boys fastest before Indy rains...againUPDATE The day's fastest driver was also its saddest after attending the morning funeral of his 89-year-old grandmother, Helen Hornish, in Defiance, Ohio.  Hornish was back on the track at 2:30 p.m., turning 57 laps in race simulation. It was the car's handling that had him feeling comfortable about everything, including Saturday's pole qualifying session.  "The speed's there, so that's not a problem," Hornish said. "We continue to work on consistency in 30-lap runs, which is our next chore."  USA Today 

05/17/06 Marlboro Team Penske driver Sam Hornish Jr. topped the speed charts again as preparations continued for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Hornish, who didn't arrive at the Speedway until mid-afternoon after attending his grandmother’s funeral, posted the day's quickest lap of 40.1104 seconds, 224.381 mph in his No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

Hornish's lap was slightly faster than his teammate, Helio Castroneves, who was second-fastest at 223.392 mph in his backup car.

Scott Sharp (223.293 mph) was third with the last two Indianapolis 500 winners, Buddy Rice (222.895) and Dan Wheldon (222.615 mph), rounding out the top five. It was the busiest day of the month as 31 drivers completed 1,496 laps before a brief afternoon thunderstorm ended the session 90 minutes early.

Pos Driver Best Time Best Speed
1 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 40.1104 224.381
2 Helio Castroneves (3T) 40.2879 223.392
3 Scott Sharp (8) 40.3058 223.293
4 Buddy Rice (15T) 40.3777 222.895
5 Dan Wheldon (10T) 40.4286 222.615
6 Townsend Bell (90) 40.4475 222.511
7 Tony Kanaan (11) 40.4516 222.488
8 Scott Dixon (9T) 40.4991 222.227
9 Dario Franchitti (27) 40.5252 222.084
10 Tomas Scheckter (2) 40.5744 221.815
11 Jeff Simmons (17) 40.5768 221.802
12 Vitor Meira (4T) 40.6255 221.536
13 Ed Carpenter (20) 40.6311 221.505
14 Eddie Cheever Jr (51) 40.6464 221.422
15 Kosuke Matsuura (55T) 40.6823 221.226
16 Bryan Herta (7) 40.7544 220.835
17 Michael Andretti (1) 40.7568 220.822
18 Marco Andretti (26) 40.8218 220.470
19 Felipe Giaffone (14) 40.8446 220.347
20 Danica Patrick (16T) 40.9975 219.526
21 Jaques Lazier (21) 41.1608 218.655
22 Jeff Bucknum (92) 41.2017 218.438
23 Larry Foyt (41) 41.3620 217.591
24 Thiago Medeiros (18) 41.5274 216.724
25 Marty Roth (25) 41.7009 215.823
26 Buddy Lazier (5) 41.7072 215.790
27 Stephan Gregoire (97) 41.7964 215.330
28 Arie Luyendyk Jr (61) 41.8010 215.306
29 Al Unser Jr (31) 42.0158 214.205
30 Airton Dare (88) 42.8440 210.064
31 Jon Herb (12) 43.9401 204.824
32 PJ Chesson (91) -0.0001 0.000

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Alonso looks set for Monaco cruise
MF1 snaps up Williams man
Fears arise about Monaco safety
Irvine slams Button 'mistake'
Webber says no to female rivals
Honda dismiss talk of Monaco struggle
Senna warned against rapid F1 rise
Ralf plays down effect of brother's F1 exit
Ferrari revival no 'surprise' - Heidfeld
Herbert would 'have a go' in MF1 racer
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for Friday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Charlotte All-Star Challenge
12:00pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Charlotte
3:30pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
Craftsman Truck Qualifying Charlotte
4:00pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
2005 NHRA Thrills & Spills  
5:00pm-5:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Charlotte
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
Sports Center at the Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Charlotte -All-Star Challenge
6:00pm-8:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  Charlotte
8:30pm-11:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Trackside Charlotte
11:00pm-12:00am (L) SPEED

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

Mario wins one Mario wins oneMario Dominguez had the chance to win a race against his Champ Car peers on Mexican soil today.  The Monterrey Grand Prix organizers held a Kart race in a local track with the Champ Car drivers who had already arrived in Monterrey.  Fans could attend for free, and although it was obvious the Champ Car drivers had no intention of beating Mario on his home turf, fans cheered when Dominguez received the checkered flag. After the event the drivers stayed to sign autographs for 30 minutes. Jose Arrambide
Bridgestone Monterrey fast-facts Bridgestone Monterrey fast-facts
Tecate Grand Prix of Monterrey - Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Mexico
May 19-21, 2006 - Round 3 of 15

Race Distance: 159.904 miles/257.341 km (76 laps on the 2.104-mile/3.386-km permanent road course).

Potenza Race Tires Supplied: Bridgestone delivered 689 dry-condition ("slicks") and 304 wet-condition ("rains") Potenza race tires for use this weekend. All were produced at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Per Champ Car World Series regulations, Bridgestone brought two dry-tire specifications and a single wet-tire spec, broken down in the following manner:
   * Standard dry-condition tires ("slicks"): Each car receives six sets of standard slicks (24 tires) for the weekend, to use in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. The standard slick specification for Monterrey is a new tire for 2006 and the highest-grip standard road-course compound. It was tested successfully in last month's open test at Portland.
   * Alternate dry-condition tires: Each car receives two sets of alternate slicks (eight tires) to use this weekend. The alternate tires are easily identifiable by their bright red sidewalls. At least one set (new or used) of alternates must be used for a stint in Sunday's race, but there is no mandate to when or how long the set must be run. The construction of the alternate tire is identical to the standard slick, but the alternate tire possesses a tread compound with moderately increased grip ("softer"), making the tire faster, although possibly not quite as durable. Like the standard Potenza tire spec this weekend, the alternate spec is new for 2006 as well.
   * Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Each car receives up to four new sets of grooved-tread Potenza rain tires (16 tires) per weekend on road and street courses, as needed. In addition, each car may use two sets of same-spec rain tires issued at a previous event. Bridgestone officials opted for the "grippier" of its two rain-tire specifications for this weekend.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "It's always great to be racing in front of the passionate Mexican fans, but they should be at a fever pitch following the tremendous performance last weekend in Houston by their native son, Mario Dominguez. Just as Mario and all of the Champ Car drivers strive to keep getting better, Bridgestone continues the task of trying to improve on the great Potenza race tires we develop. Along those lines, we're unveiling new specs for both the standard and alternate slicks this weekend. Fundidora Park is always a challenge because it's lack of use and dusty condition makes it difficult to achieve much grip, but we are optimistic the new Potenza slicks will give the drivers an assist this weekend while maintaining their typical consistency and durability."

Bridgestone Pole Position Qualifying Show: A 30-minute recap of the two days of Monterrey qualifying airs at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday on SPEED. Sebastien Bourdais and Mario Dominguez have claimed one Bridgestone Pole Position Award apiece in 2006, with each earning a $5,000 bonus for the effort and another $2,500 going to the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps at each race. The driver with the most pole positions in '06 wins an additional $20,000 and the chief mechanic of that car takes home $7,500.

Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 5-17-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.506
2. (1) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 9.189
3. (4) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 8.066
4. (6) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 8.053
5. (18) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.866
6. (3) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.522
7. (7) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 7.088
8. (NR) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.079
9. (10) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.964
10. (12) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.808
11. (21) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.759
12. (17) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.752
13. (11) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 6.712
14. (8) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.604
15. (9) Michael Schumacher (F1) 6.601
16. (25) Mario Dominguez (CCWS) 6.343
17. (14) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 6.330
18. (16) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.292
19. (NR) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.068
20. (23) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 5.881
Dropped out: Kevin Harvick (NASCAR), Alex Tagliani (CCWS), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) and Casey Mears (NASCAR)
Jarrett's move to Toyota not sitting well with many Jarrett's move to Toyota not sitting well with manyButch Meyer walked outside Darlington Raceway in his No. 88 hat and UPS racing jersey, testament to a 14-year allegiance to Dale Jarrett, one of NASCAR's most popular drivers.  But what Jarrett did last weekend in moving from his Ford team to one fielded by Japanese automaker Toyota in 2007 was enough to have Meyer cutting his longtime ties with DJ.

"That's it, he's done with me," said Meyer, a fan from Clearwater, Fla.

It's a sentiment Jarrett figures to hear often as he finishes his run at Robert Yates Racing, his home for the past 12 seasons. Jarrett said last Saturday he was joining Michael Waltrip Racing as a second Toyota entry.

Jarrett spoke with his father, championship driver Ned; and wife, Kelley, about the coming storm of change and "what impact it was going to have as far as the way I would be looked at in the circles here, what I had accomplished to this point."

Jarrett is well aware Ford and Robert Yates Racing helped him win 29 of his 32 races, two of his three Daytona 500s and the 1999 Nextel Cup championship. It also made Jarrett one of Ford's most popular racers, his good looks, wide smile and easy demeanor a hit with fans.

There have "already been people talking about the loyalty side of it, and I think I've been very loyal" to both Ford and RYR, Jarrett said.

Ford Racing Technology public affairs manager Kevin Kennedy said the company is seeing some "very negative reactions among our loyalists" to Jarrett's move, partly because it involves a Japanese company.

"The Toyota thing is a factor," he said. "If he had gone back to Joe Gibbs Racing, I'm not sure the backlash would have been the same."   More at ThatsRacin.com

Industry News
Honda to deep-six their hybrid Honda to deep-six their hybridAmerican Honda Motor Co. Inc. plans to kill the Insight hybrid this year.

The small, two-seat Insight, introduced in the United States in 1999, sold only 320 units in the first four months of this year. That compares with sales of 30,357 for the competing Toyota Prius, a family sedan embraced by environmentalists.

"Production will stop in September of this year and be discontinued," Honda Executive Vice President Richard Colliver revealed Wednesday, May 17, in a teleconference from Torrance, Calif.

Colliver said Honda is developing a new hybrid that will be smaller than the current Civic. But the new model will not appear until 2009. More at AutoWeek

Things to look for in Monterrey Things to look for in MonterreyWhat follows are a selection things fans can look for as the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford series travels to Monterrey, Mexico for the Tecate Grand Prix of Monterrey Presented by Roshfrans, May 19-21.

Hat trick for Bourdais? – This weekend Sebastien Bourdais will be attempting to win three in a row going into Monterrey.  So far in 2006 the Flying Frenchman has been a clear favorite capturing one pole and two wins.  In three appearances in Monterrey, Bourdais has captured three consecutive pole positions and one victory.

Dominguez Returns Home - Mario Dominguez returns to his home county, after capturing his first career Bridgestone Pole Position on the streets of Houston. The Mexican has had a great start in 2006 placing fourth in Long Beach and third in Houston, which leaves him second in the point standings currently. In Monterrey, Dominguez has two top-five finishes, his best coming in 2004 when he started on the outside of the front row and finished on the podium.

Four for Newman/Haas – Of the five events held in Monterrey a car from the Newman/Haas stable has won four times with three different drivers. Cristiano da Matta owns two of those victories coming in 2001 and 2002. In 2004 Sebastien Bourdais won from the pole driving a Newman/Haas machine. Then last year Bruno Junqueira scored his eighth career victory at Fundidora Park before being side-lined for the rest of the season. zzzz

Monterrey Legge - Katherine Legge set a new Champ Car high for best finish by a female driver with an eighth-place finish in Long Beach. No female driver has ever earned back-to-back top-10 finishes in Champ Car competition. She currently sits in third in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year points standings.

Pole Domination- Sebastien Bourdais has won the Bridgestone Pole Position for each of the last three races in Monterrey, Mexico. The last Champ Car driver to win three consecutive poles as a single track is Bryan Herta, at Laguna Seca from 1997-99. The last driver to win four consecutive poles at a track is Rick Mears, who led qualifying at Phoenix each year from 1988-91.

Bruno’s Streak - Bruno Junqueira's win in Monterrey last season gave him victories in each of his first five seasons as a Champ Car driver. The Brazilian looks to get his season back on track in Monterrey. Last year Junqueira took the checkered flag in the top spot after leading nine laps during the event. Junqueira owns three consecutive top-five finishes in Fundidora Park.

Atlantic Champion Charges - Charles Zwolsman will be running the Monterrey course for the first time in a Champ Car this weekend, but is no stranger to success on the 2.104-mile course. The Dutchman won his first Atlantic pole and parlayed that into his first Champ Car Atlantic Series victory a year ago, one of three races that he won on his way to the series championship.

Rounding up the Rookies - Will Power set a new Champ Car career high when he finished seventh last weekend in Houston. With the finish, the Australian driver also claimed the lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings, leading by four points over Jan Heylen. He is closely being pursued by Katherine Legge who is just four points back.

Triple Threat? –Sebastien Bourdais is chasing history to join Ted Horn as the only driver to win three consecutive Champ Car titles. In Houston Sebastien Bourdais became the third consecutive driver to defend his Champ Car title with a win in the following year’s season opener. He then became the first driver since Rick Mears (1982) to defend his title by winning the first two races of the following season. Al Unser Sr. (1971) is the last driver to win the first three races of a season after winning the title the year before .

Filled with Talent - The field preparing to take the green flag in Houston has combined to score 73 Champ Car victories, 67 poles and four series titles despite the relative youth in the lineup. The average age of the 2006 driver roster, which contains six rookies, is 26.8. Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani are the only drivers in the field to have made over 100 Champ Car starts. Eight members of the 2006 lineup have Champ Car victories on their resumes while 10 of them have podium finishes to their credit, a number that is more impressive when you consider the lineup for the Grand Prix of Monterrey features six rookies.

Wednesday Indy practice quotes Wednesday Indy practice quotes
IndyCar drivers and Disney team up for charity race IndyCar drivers and Disney team up for charity raceINDIANAPOLIS /PRNewswire/ -- Checkered flags will wave, crowds will cheer and engines will roar (both big and small) as two American traditions team up to celebrate special milestones.  In honor of Disneyland's 50th anniversary and the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500, "The Happiest Place on Earth" and "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will team up for the "Minnie Indy Charity Race" on Wed., May 24 at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

Minnie Mouse herself will be on hand to wave in the likes of Danica Patrick, Dan Wheldon, Eddie Cheever, Jr., Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, Buddy Rice and Jeff Simmons who are among the 31 IndyCar Series drivers who will participate in the whimsical race.  They will be driving miniature cars taken directly from one of Disneyland's original opening day attractions -- the ever-popular Autopia.  Since July 17, 1955, more than 203 million Disneyland guests have put pedal to the metal behind the wheel of these beloved little vehicles.

Instead of racing along the futuristic highways of Disneyland's Tomorrowland, the Autopia cars and their speed-loving IndyCar Series drivers will traverse a comical obstacle race course (at top speeds of 10 mph!) that will take place on a specially designed "Minnie" roadway created on the famous Brickyard.  The "Minnie Indy Charity Race" will be led-off by the original winning car of the 1911 Indy 500 in addition to the 2006 Chevrolet Z06 Indy 500 pace car.  All drivers will line up in the actual race-day grid -- based on qualifying times -- that are slated for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 28.  zzzz

"It will be exciting to see the cars of Disneyland's Autopia racing across the famed Yard of Bricks with the greatest race drivers in the world driving them," said Joie Chitwood, president and COO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  "The Minnie Indy Charity Race will be a good complement to the events leading up to the 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500."

Each driver will be accompanied by a young student, selected from a school participating in the 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program, who will do his or her best to assist the drivers as they make their way through the course.  The winning driver will win a $25,000 donation to his/her charity of choice and the remaining drivers will receive $1,000 to donate to their charities of choice.  The winning child will win an all-expense paid trip to the Disneyland Resort in southern California that will include bringing his/her immediate family.

"The 500 Festival focuses on great family entertainment, so we are thrilled to be involved with Disneyland ... the master of family fun," said Kirk Hendrix, President and CEO, 500 Festival. 

In addition to the participating IndyCar Series drivers, renowned Indianapolis 500 legends including Michael Andretti and Al Unser, Jr., will join current IRL series drivers to compete for prize money on behalf of their favorite charities. "The fun of Disneyland and the spectacle of the Indy 500 are two great American traditions," said Matt Ouimet, president of the Disneyland Resort.  "As the 50th anniversary celebration enters its finale this summer we are proud that our Autopia cars will be on hand to commemorate 90 years of racing excellence at the Indy 500."  

 The 500 Festival was created in 1957 to organize civic events celebrating the Indianapolis 500.  It is a not-for-profit organization supported by corporate sponsorships, memberships and ticket sales.  More than 7,000 volunteers help produce 500 Festival events.  With annual participation of more than 425,000 people from around Indiana and the world, it has grown to be one of the largest festivals in the nation.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the worldwide leader in motorsports entertainment since it opened in 1909.  The facility has played host to the Indianapolis 500, the world's largest single-day annual sporting event, since 1911 and also is the site of the United States Grand Prix Formula One race and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

Celebrating with the Indianapolis 500 is just one of the highlights of 2006 as the global 50th anniversary celebration of Disneyland continues around the world.  Throughout the year each Disney resort will showcase more new innovative attractions and spectacular entertainment designed to appeal to guests of all ages with immersive experiences that only Disney can provide.

More information about the 50th anniversary celebration, plus vacations at the Disneyland Resort are available at www.disneyland.com, by calling

(877) 700-DISNEY, or by visiting local travel agents.

Curb Agajanian appeal rejected by NASCAR Curb Agajanian appeal rejected by NASCAROn May 16, 2006, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Curb Agajanian Performance Group.  The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following post-race inspection on April 15, 2006 for the NASCAR Busch Series event at Nashville Superspeedway.

The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules” and Section 20A-12.8.1A “Roof height too low in post-race inspection.”

The penalties assessed were:

• Loss of 25 NASCAR Busch Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Mike Curb.

• Loss of 25 NASCAR Busch Series Championship Driver Points for driver Aaron Fike.

• $10,000.00 fine and probation for crew chief Joe Shear.

The Appellants did not contest the fact that the car was low at the end of the race, but argued that the right front jack bolt had backed out during the race.  They primarily appealed the severity of the penalties.

The Commission finds that the penalties issued are consistent with recent NASCAR Busch Series penalties for cars that did not meet minimum height requirements.

Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR.  The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.

John Capels
Jack Housby
George Silbermann, Chairman

Yates appeal rejected by NASCAR Yates appeal rejected by NASCAROn May 17, 2006, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Robert Yates Racing. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following pre-race inspection on May 6, 2006 for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway.

The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules” and Section 20.12.2D “Unapproved rear sway bar mounting for use other than anti-roll.”

The penalties assessed were:

• Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Robert Yates.

• Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Dale Jarrett.

• $25,000.00 fine and suspension until June 7, 2006 for crew chief Richard Labbe.

The Commission had deferred the fine and suspension against the crew chief until the appeal hearing could be convened.

The Appellants did not contest the legality of the sway bar configuration, but appealed the severity of the penalties.

The Commission found that the penalties assessed are consistent with recent penalties for infractions of such a blatant nature.  In reaching its decision, the Commission also notes that a warning for a lesser violation in the same area of the car had been issued at an earlier event.

Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR.  The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.

The Commission further instructs NASCAR to adjust the ending date of the crew chief suspension to June 14, 2006 to remain consistent with the original 4-week suspension period.

Russell Hackett
Lyn St. James
George Silbermann, Chairman

MotoGP a failure in China MotoGP a failure in ChinaThe most glam of two-wheel events, the MotoGP, is apparently not as hot with the Chinese public as are the four-wheel races - despite China being the world's biggest motorcycle producer and consumer nation - according to promoters of the Chinese GP who admit question marks over the event's future.

Yu Zhifei, general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit Management and Development group admitted that the cost of organizing the Chinese MotoGP left his company with a huge deficit - unlike the Formula One which has proven much more successful.

The MotoGP has been met with disinterest from the Chinese business sector, particularly the 100-odd national motorcycle manufacturers of whom only two were present at the event to promote themselves, but even they were powered by Italian machinery.

"We have so many home-grown motorcycle brands, but it seems that most of them don't want to be involved in the MotoGP at all," Yu told the Shanghai Daily newspaper. "We didn't manage to bring even a single major sponsor onboard by ourselves.

"All the names that appeared on the trackside are global partners of Dorna Sports. I can't speak of numbers, but we are not even near breaking even on this event. Without sponsorship, we rely heavily on gate receipts, which also give us no reason to be optimistic."

Official attendance was up on previous figures despite the rain-soaked weekend, but the 32,402 spectators were far from filling the 150,000-capacity venue. Eurosport

News from Monterrey News from MonterreyUPDATE By late last night all the 75 Champ Car transporters were parked in Fundidora Park and this morning the building of the paddock began. The paddock is now ready and everything seems to be in place for the weekend. Jose Arrambide

05/16/06 We did a quick visit to the Fundidora Track in Monterrey to check how advanced the work is for this weekend's Monterrey GP. All the grandstands are in place and all the barriers and fencing are in place. The only work still being done are the corporate suites which will be ready tomorrow morning. Local Boy David Martinez was on the track giving local and national TV stations a tour of the track on camera. The first Champ Car trucks are scheduled to arrive in a few hours. They expect all the trucks to be in the park by night so they can begin building the paddock tomorrow morning.

As in previous years many of the Champ Car drivers will visit different local hospitals to talk to kids and to sign autographs. Tomorrow some of the drivers will also be in the Monterrey Karting karts to do a few laps for the media. Thursday morning Champ Car will stage a pit stop exhibit next to one of the most important malls in the city. The event will be open to every fan who wants to attend.

AutoRacing1 spoke to OCESA PR head Ramon Osorio who confirmed with us that they have sold more than 35,000 tickets. "I don’t have the exact number, if I give you an exact number I will be lying, but we have sold more than 35,000 tickets and perhaps we will reach the 40,000 mark later in the day."

We also questioned Osorio on the possibility of a 2007 race. Osorio told us that "Our objective is to fill the stands with paying customers. We need to make the 2006 race a success so we can get the sponsors needed for the 2007 event. OCESA wants the race to come back and Champ Car also wants the race to come back, but the only way we can make it happen is if we can fill the stands and show everyone the advantages of being a sponsor. With all the talk about a merger, we don’t want to be left out if they do merge. Monterrey fans have been loyal to Champ Car during these last years when things have been a little difficult, so it would be unfair to them to forget them if the two series do merge."

And last, below are some of the images being used by the promoter to attract fans. Jose Arrambide and Hector Serrano contributed to this article

When will this sham end? When will this sham end?Dear AutoRacing1.com, In his AutoRacing1.com editorial Mr. Adams states it exactly as I and thousands of other American racing fans feel. I guess we will never know if Roger Penske reads the essay, reacts to it, or frankly - even gives a damn.
When will this sham end?
Is Penske's end game possibly discrediting Tony George to such a monstrous end that he - Penske - can step in and assume or buy control of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, thereby making himself the absolute Kingpin of American Motorsports? Possibly even then take on the France Family Juggernaut as well?
I guess stranger theories abound than this one, but the situation remains that fact and logic have long since surrendered to intrigue, betrayal and outright lies as far as the hopes and dreams of us Open Wheel racing fans are concerned.
My wish now is that Kalkhoven & Co, distance themselves as far as possible from the IRL and Indianapolis in pursuing their strategy for growth and survival. They need to resist getting constantly dragged (especially in the Month of May) into the whirling cesspool of collective blame and guilt about who is causing the "Death of Open Wheel Racing" in North America.  The media has sure done a great job of tarring all with the same brush, haven't they?
It sure isn't them - they didn't start this battle, and it is not their responsibility or duty to save Indy or Tony George for that matter. He made this bed - let him and his fellow schemers figure out how to save it. We have our own visions to follow - not Tony George's. Werner Fritz, Trevor, Wisconsin
Track News
LPGA Players to try their hand at driving LPGA Players to try their hand at drivingLAKEVILLE, Conn. and WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – The Skip Barber Racing School and Watkins Glen International have teamed up to put a number of LPGA golfers into race cars – including a timed competition – on Monday, May 22. The women are in town for the following weekend’s Corning Classic LPGA tournament. The chief instructor for the Skip Barber school, Todd Snyder, will give the women an hour of classroom instruction beginning around 3:00, then will buckle the golfers into their 140mph R/T 2000 race cars and lead them out onto Watkins Glen’s famous 11-turn, 3.4-mile natural terrain road course. Then, a special small track laid out in Watkins Glen’s infield will be the venue for a timed competition between the women – to see who really is the best driver. The fastest LPGA driver will then be offered a 10-day, $75,000 contract to drive for Chip Ganassi’s IRL team during the Watkins Glen Indy GP the following weekend, June 2-4. The list of six-to-10 LPGA players attending this special racing clinic has not yet been released by the LPGA office.
Button fastest at Vallelunga Wednesday Button fastest at Vallelunga Wednesday
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Button Honda (M) 1:02.044 159
 2. Davidson Honda (M) 1:02.520 131
 3. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:02.613 88
 4. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:02.733 58
Alonso again fastest in testing at Paul Ricard Alonso again fastest in testing at Paul Ricard
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Alonso Renault (M) 1:05.363 122
 2. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:05.546 111
 3. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:05.563 148
 4. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:05.577 50
 5. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:05.624 143
 6. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:05.686 120
 7. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:06.008 121
 8. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:06.083 47
 9. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:06.266 75
10. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:06.333 112
11. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:06.369 169
12. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:06.619 93
Formula BMW
Junior BMW scholar Pelletier starts open wheel career Junior BMW scholar Pelletier starts open wheel careerMontreal –   Maxime Pelletier has been waiting for the moment for months and he will finally debut his open wheel career with a double header in Mid-Ohio this weekend in the international ladder series that has become the Formula BMW USA championship. After extensive testing last winter and the official pre-season testing, the 15-year old from Longueuil, Quebec is ready to tackle heavy competition from the 25-plus car grid that enters this series for its third year in North America. He will steer the Gelles Racing Western Union #3 car. The BMW Junior scholar will also benefit from the presence of engineer- mechanic Marco Tischer who prepared World champion Marco Holzer’s FB02 machine last year in Europe and veteran driver coach Claude Bourbonnais.

‘’The learning curve has been unbelievable since I left karting last fall, argues Pelletier. First I got a scholarship from the series in Spain where we had the BMW training camp. Then I joined Gelles Racing and our test days have been very successful all winter and in the pre-season testing sessions. I worked hard with my teammates and the racing staff and we proved we would be the team to beat. zzzz

Now I learn that mister Claude Bourbonnais will be available to develop my driving skills over the season and that Marco Tischer will join Gelles to prepare my car. He is recognized as one of the best in the series in the last years and was crew chief for (Marco) Holzer in Bahrain. I don’t want to pressure myself but I feel we will have the tools to succeed.

Still in High School in a special sports program, Pelletier was recently named Ambassador and will represent his institution, Charles-Lemoyne College.

His new web site will be unveiled in the coming days and visitors will find all relevant information. Pelletier will be at the Lexington facility this Thursday for his last test day before the season maiden races. Practice and qualifying will take place on Friday and Saturday while races will be held on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, log on to Maxime Pelletier’s web site at http://www.maximepelletier.com/ or http://www.gellesracing.com/

New car for Fellows at The Glen and Infineon races New car for Fellows at The Glen and Infineon racesA brand new NASCAR Nextel Cup chassis built by world famous racing engineering firm Pratt and Miller should provide Ron Fellows with renewed hope to earn his first victory in stock car's top series next month in California. Fellows tested the much heralded chassis -- one he will use in his attempt to win the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway June 25 in the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy -- at Virginia International Raceway yesterday. Fellows has a long and hugely successful history with Pratt and Miller who have prepared his winning #3 Corvettes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours at Daytona and for his three American Le Mans Series GT1 championships. Even though it was his first time in the new car yesterday, Fellows already was confident it will fare much better than the car he had in 2005 at Infineon when he earned a top-10 finish. A big part of Fellows' hopes for the #32 Chevrolet this time around is that Pratt and Miller purpose built the car with him in mind. But it was on the track where Fellows saw a huge improvement over many of his previous Cup cars. Nextel Cup points leader #48-Jimmy Johnson -- who Pratt and Miller also built a road course chassis for -- was at VIR yesterday with Fellows. "We compared very favorably with Jimmy's speeds," Fellows said. "That's really good to have that kind of benchmark." Fellows said the car still has some handling issues but he is confident the team will work them out before the Infineon race. "At Infineon you need a car that is really good in the turns," he said. "We are sure we will be able to get this car to unload near perfect next month." He said he was sharing information with the #48 team and in return was able to gauge his progress off of another Hendrick Motorsports team -- the #25 Chevrolet of Brian Vickers -- who was running an in-house chassis. Fellows hopes to get on another round of tests for team owner Cal Wells after the Infineon race to prepare for Nextel Cup's second road course event in August at Watkins Glen. Toronto Sun
MF1 hires License away from Williams MF1 hires License away from WilliamsThe MF1 team has hired Tony License to be one of its wind tunnel design engineers. License worked at Jordan for many years before moving to Williams to work on the Grove team's new wind tunnel project but has now decided to return to his old team as it prepares to increase the size of the models used in the Brackley tunnel. He will work under the team's chief aerodynamicist Simon Phillips. Grandprix.com
NASCAR moves Weekly Series banquet to Vegas NASCAR moves Weekly Series banquet to VegasThe NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Awards Banquet will be held Nov. 11 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. It is the first time this gala celebration, which honors the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national champion, division and track champions and other special award winners, will be held in Las Vegas in the series’ 25-year history. The event has previously been held at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. The banquet is typically one of the largest post-season events hosted annually by NASCAR and attracts nearly 800 guests. Dodge and other participating sponsors will distribute almost $1.7 million in post-season awards.
TV announcer's son is fast TV announcer's son is fastHouston, TX – Racing for the first time on a bumpy temporary track laid out on the streets around the famed Astrodome in Houston, Matt Varsha [son of TV announcer Bob Varsha] scored a hard-fought fourth place finish in round two of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear last Saturday. The result leaves the 19-year old Atlantan second by a single point in the championship standings, with a solid shot at the overall lead at round three next weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

“It was my first race on a street circuit, and I learned a lot,” said Varsha, who was among the top three in the 38-car field in both practice sessions. “The track was a real challenge, especially once the chicane was added to slow the Champ Cars and American Le Mans Series machinery. Warming your tires on a slippery track is tricky, but I was still disappointed to qualify sixth, knowing how hard it is to pass. Then for some reason the start was delayed, which cost us nearly ten minutes of racing time. I lost a couple of positions early trying to avoid contact, but I was able to scramble up to fifth in between the yellow flags and stay close in points.” The disqualification of the runner-up finisher for failing post-race inspection elevated Varsha to fourth in the final results. zzzz

“Matt did a great job to qualify 6th in his first ever street race,” said Jon Mirachi, whose Racers Edge Motorsports crew prepared Varsha’s race car. “Not the least bit intimidated by the walls around the circuit, he improved his best time in every session. On street circuits passing is extremely difficult, but the team was confident that Matt could move up after the terrific display he put on at Sebring, passing 33 cars in 17 laps,” referring to Varsha’s electrifying run from 37th to 4th in the season-opener at Sebring, Florida. “The Houston race was marred by cautions, but despite the traffic Matt was still able to post the second-fastest race lap and capture a fourth place finish. The team can’t wait for the next race at Mid-Ohio, a track where both the team and our driver have a lot of experience.”

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Mid-Ohio is likely to be the talented young driver’s last race in the series unless a sponsor can be found.

“The idea of having to drop out now that we’ve proven that we’re legitimate title contenders is pretty depressing,” said Varsha, the son of well-known SPEED racing broadcaster Bob Varsha. “I’d rather think about doing well next weekend at Mid-Ohio.”

SPEED’s one-hour broadcast of the Houston race will air on Sunday, May 28th at 5pm eastern time. For more information on the series go to starmazda.com. For sponsorship information contact Jon Mirachi at 973-919-6111, or Bob Varsha at 404-803-1634.

No merger announcement, but talks continue No merger announcement, but talks continue
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Test action resumes in Europe
Massa was quickest at Catalunya
Monteiro slams Aguri for 'risky' racing
Other people could do my job - Briatore
Renault do not rule out name change for F1 team
Renault worried about Monaco
Brit GP 'still under threat' - Stewart
McLaren feeling loss of Newey, says Surer
Monterrey GP PR steps up its game Monterrey GP PR steps up its gameThe Monterrey Grand Prix will need the support of sponsors to come back next year, but by the looks of it they won't have any trouble getting the fans support this year.  OCESA and sponsor Tecate are doing a great PR job this year. You can find references to the Monterrey Grand Prix everywhere. One of the hotels normally used by the Champ Car teams, which is located in the most important avenue in the city, is covered with a gigantic ad by Tecate inviting people to attend the race. It is so huge it's impossible not to see it.

I've heard ads for the race on 3 different radio stations just on my way to the track. One of the radio stations is promising coverage of the race the whole weekend and advised fans to keep the dial on their station for a chance to win some tickets. TV stations are airing ads, but most importantly, different programs are covering and talking about the race.

Just to give an example, the two local channels with the highest rating have a soccer show at 2:00 PM. Both are the highest rated sport shows in Monterrey, and they only talk about soccer. But not today, one show had the girls who will compete for the Miss Monterrey Grand Prix, and the other one the Tecate Girls inviting people to attend the race. Not to mention the local newspapers that have different ads for the race.

It's clear that the PR people are busier this year, something every Champ Car event should do. It's all about exposure. Remember AutoRacing1.com reported that the A1 Grand Prix race held in Monterrey a couple of months ago was a failure with many empty stands. One of the causes we cited was the lack of PR - many people didn’t even knew a race was going to be held. Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico

Indy 500 pole schedule set Indy 500 pole schedule setINDIANAPOLIS - Practice for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 resumes Wednesday, May 17, as teams and drivers get some much-needed practice before The Run for the WorldPoints Visa Card Pole on Coca-Cola Throwback Day, Saturday, May 20.

Rain drenched most of the opening week of the 90th Indianapolis 500, washing out qualifying on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14.

Drivers and teams will attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 field Saturday, with all 33 spots available. The schedule (all times Eastern):

The Run for the WorldPoints Visa Card Pole on Coca-Cola Throwback Day, May 20

7 a.m.
Public Gates Open

9:30-10 a.m.
Practice, first half of qualification draw

10-10:30 a.m.
Practice, second half of qualification draw

10:30-11 a.m.
Practice, all cars

Noon-6 p.m.

6 p.m.
WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Award Presentation, Victory Circle

The slowest car in the field, regardless of the day it qualified, can be bumped on Bump Day, the final day of qualifying on Sunday, May 21. Public gates open at 8 a.m., and Bump Day practice begins at 10:15 a.m. with qualifications from noon-6 p.m.  zzzz

Tickets are $5 each day Saturday and Sunday, with children ages 5 and under admitted free. Tickets from Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 will be honored on Saturday or Sunday.

Public gates open at 9 a.m. Wednesday, with practice scheduled for noon-6 p.m. Tickets are $5, with children ages 5 and under admitted free. The same schedule will be followed for practice Thursday and Friday.

The 90th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 28.

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Monday-Sunday during May, with special hours of 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Day and 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Race Day. Online orders can be made at any time.

Ticket prices start at just $20.

track news
NASCAR Weekend nets record $197 million for Las Vegas NASCAR Weekend nets record $197 million for Las VegasLAS VEGAS – More visitors came to Las Vegas this past March and spent more money than any other month in Las Vegas’ 101-year history. No entity played a bigger role in that milestone than Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The 2006 NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas had a record $197 million impact on the state’s economy, the greatest expenditure figure in the nine-year history of the event and an astounding 18.4-percent increase from 2005.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s annual study revealed that the final number was $197,891,200, up from $167,127,800 in 2005. The numbers, a product of one-time expenditures, are based on interviews with race fans during the March 10-12 weekend and reflect the amount of money spent – both gaming and non-gaming – during the four-day event at LVMS.

“NASCAR Weekend has proven time and again to be an economic boon to Las Vegas and to Nevada,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway general manager Chris Powell. “This event has become one of the most anticipated stops on the NASCAR circuit for hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. The increase in total expenditures from 2005 is phenomenal and is yet another example of the importance of this speedway to our state’s economy. In the past two years, the economic impact has increased 37 percent, which also is an extraordinary number.” zzzz

The study estimated approximately 94,875 visitors attended the race from outside Nevada. The event weekend is estimated to have drawn more than 340,000 people through the gates at the speedway. The events included the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR

Nextel Cup event, the Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race, Friday’s qualifying day and two nights of the World of Outlaws.

According to the economics research department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, each dollar brought into the area creates a little more than one additional dollar. Based on UNLV’s analysis, the event generated more than $400 million as the money cycled throughout the Nevada economy.

There are varying schools of thought on the domino effect of dollars tumbling through an economy.  Some economists theorize that a dollar spent can be re-spent as many as seven times in a community.  If that were the case, the NASCAR Weekend’s impact on the state’s economy would exceed $1.4 billion.

The NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas is highly anticipated each year by the business community. Flights increased dramatically at McCarran International Airport in the month of March, and many hotels and casinos reported record revenues for the quarter ending March 31. In addition, each race fan’s expenditures increased 27 percent from $1,682 in 2005 to $2,085 in 2006.

Powell said the speedway would continue to have a huge effect on the community and state.
“In terms of its impact on this community, the NASCAR Weekend at LVMS now ranks near the top with many of the major conventions and trade shows that visit Las Vegas every year,” Powell said.  “We want to make this event bigger and better each year. It takes a collective effort between the speedway, local government and our business community to maintain that constant growth.”

The speedway is undergoing a major renovation process that will make for a faster and more competitive racing surface and create a fan-interactive garage area that will separate LVMS from all other speedways.

“With the changes we are making to the speedway, there is no question that LVMS is setting the pace for all other racing facilities,” Powell said. “This is just another step in making it a first-class facility and making our annual NASCAR Weekend one of the most desired motorsports events for fans from around the world.”

Following is a breakdown of the growing impact of NASCAR Weekend at LVMS on the state’s economy since 2001.
Year            Total expenditures      Increase
2001            $97,163,700             N/A
2002            $121,425,500            25 %
2003            $133,451,000            9.9 %
2004            $142,673,400            6.9 %
2005            $167,127,800            17.1 %
2006            $197,891,200            18.4 %

track news
Recycling LVMS: Everything old is new again Recycling LVMS: Everything old is new againLAS VEGAS – A lot of Las Vegas Motor Speedway is being torn down, but very little is being thrown away.  The speedway’s multi-million dollar construction project has created a considerable amount of rubble which might be misconstrued as waste. But quite a bit of what was demolished will be reused.

“We have made a concerted effort to recycle as much of the old facility as possible,” said LVMS general manager Chris Powell. “In doing so, we are being both fiscally and environmentally responsible. In the past, we have recycled parts of the grandstands when we built the Earnhardt and Petty Terraces, but this project is much larger than any of those.”

The estimated 500,000 tons of asphalt removed from the superspeedway’s turns, back straightaway, infield and access roads will be recycled to pave five acres of parking lots and 25 acres of campground around the track.

The infield top soil – estimated at 100,000 cubic yards – will be enhanced with peat moss and reused in the tri-oval area and elsewhere around the LVMS property.  zzzz

Even the three-lane tunnel will undergo recycling.  Its corrugated steel walls from the infield side will be moved to the entrance of the tunnel due to the reshaping of Turns 1 and 2.

“The barrier wall is moving out 200 feet, so we had a lot of extra tunnel on the infield side that we don’t need,” said Devin Horihan, LVMS director of development.  “We need it on the outside of the tunnel because we’re changing the banking of the track.  We took the tunnel apart on the infield side, now we’re reassembling it on the outside.

“There will be 3,000 feet of wheel fence that will be reused on the backstretch and in Turns 1 and 2.  The garage doors from the pit buildings were picked up by a local recycler. The base stone under the asphalt on the track was recycled.  It’s a high-quality fractured limestone and will be used again under the new track.  When you think about it, there really isn’t that much waste.”

Thirty-six palm trees were removed from the tunnel entrance to the superspeedway and will be replanted around the LVMS property.

The new speedway surface, which will be banked 20 degrees in the turns and 10 degrees on the back straightaway, will be ready for the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event Sept. 23.

formula bmw
Gelles Racing in two countries this weekend Gelles Racing in two countries this weekendFront Royal –   Gelles Racing will race in two different countries this weekend when the Formula BMW USA squadron will head to Mid-Ohio for the start of the season while the Champ Car Atlantic crew have rolled into Monterrey, Mexico for the third round of the season. The pre-season testing has been very successful for the six young drivers that enter the 14-round championship that will take them across the United States and Canada over the next five months. Meanwhile, Robbie Pecorari and Stephen Simpson are recovering from a tough weekend in Houston and anticipate they will turn the tables around at Fundidora Park in our only visit south of the Rio Grande.

“This is the first weekend where our troops will race in different venues, states team owner Bob Gelles. We have been preparing for months with our young guns in Formula BMW USA; we have proven without a doubt we were the team best prepared with drivers that took to the track with quick machines and topped the charts all winter and spring as they improved their skills and lap times. Now everybody is ready for both Mid-Ohio rounds and we know we will are up to the task. Meanwhile, our Champ Car Atlantic team will finally come together in Mexico after race incidents in Houston shed some shadow to what could have been Top Five places in this extremely competitive series traversing North America. Gelles drivers Pecorari and Simpson belong with the best in the Atlantic roster.”  zzzz 

Marco Tischer joins Gelles BMW staff
Gelles Racing is delighted to announce that engineer - chief mechanic Marco Tischer will join Gelles Racing this season. Regarded as one of the best in the field, Tischer was instrumental in preparing the FB02 machine for Formula BMW World Champion Marco Holzer in 2005; he will supervise primarily Canadian rising star Maxime Pelletier’s single seater. By the same token, veteran driver coach Claude Bourbonnais will join the team commencing at Mid-Ohio.

Crew chief Martin Lastreto will have our BMW cars ready for the last testing day this Thursday in Lexington while Atlantic crew chief Geoff Bushor sets for Mexico with revised Mazda powered-Swift 016a cars.

In 2006, Gelles Racing enters the Formula BMW USA Championship with six cars and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship with a two-car effort. Western Union, BMW of Sterling, MINI of Sterling, USA TODAY, Hebert & LeBleu, Roadblock Protective Services Inc and Diamon-Fusion sponsor the team. For more information, Bob Gelles may be contacted at (703) 926-2474 or by email bob@gellesracing.com.

Ferrari testing on two fronts Ferrari testing on two frontsThe Scuderia Ferrari team began a dual testing program on Tuesday and while regular driver Felipe Massa was busy at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France, official test driver Luca Badoer took to the team’s private testing circuit at Fiorano.

Just like Massa, Badoer’s work revolved mainly around preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place in the Principality of that name on Sunday 28th May.

Badoer spent the day work on set-up and testing new components, completing a total of 88 laps, twelve of which took place on the short version of the track, setting a best time of 58”538.

The Scuderia will continue testing today with Felipe Massa continuing at Le Castellet, while Michael Schumacher will be on track at Fiorano. Ferrari

Petty looking for sponsor for selected races Petty looking for sponsor for selected racesThe #45 Dodge driven by Kyle Petty has announced sponsorship opportunities for selected races remaining in 2006. The up-coming months offer one-of-a-kind opportunities to be a part of the resurging Petty Enterprises organization. "We have some races that are open throughout the rest of the season", said Petty. "We were left to fill a void a few weeks ago when a sponsorship deal for us didn't pan out. It was supposed to be about a nine-race deal. That left us to fill some holes, but fortunately those holes are great opportunities for companies to capitalize on." Races include the Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, the Sharpie 500 at Bristol and the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami. Other races include events in major markets such as Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Richmond. "We are now looking for another new partner to join the Petty family. We are working hard to do that for this season. We feel that we offer something different at Petty Enterprises. We are looking for a partner that wants to be a part of the excitement that we're building," said Petty. The team will next participate in this weekend's All-Star activities at the Lowe's Motor Speedway. In fact, Petty's sponsors have put up $250,000 to be donated to Victory Junction Gang Camp if Petty is voted into the All-Star race by the fans. Go to votekylepetty.com for details. Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing
Alonso fastest at Paul Ricard test Alonso fastest at Paul Ricard test
1. Fernando Alonso Renault-Renault 1min 05.686secs 143 laps M
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 05.707secs 127 laps B
3. Jarno Trulli Toyota-Toyota 1min 05.752secs 117 laps B
4. Heikki Kovalainen Renault-Renault 1min 05.889secs 174 laps M
5. Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1min 05.996secs 68 laps M
6. Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1min 06.177secs 103 laps M
7. Nick Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1min 06.466secs 101 laps M
8. Robert Kubica BMW-Sauber 1min 06.586secs 123 laps M
9. Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1min 06.725secs 150 laps M
10. Ralf Schumacher Toyota-Toyota 1min 07.009secs 104 laps B
11. Christian Klien Red Bull-Ferrari 1min 07.016secs 65 laps M
12. Robert Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari 1min 07.760secs 83 laps M
Grand Prix of Cleveland announces 19 sponsors Grand Prix of Cleveland announces 19 sponsorsCLEVELAND - The 2006 Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank is still more than a month away, but it is already shaping up to be a big year for the event. On the heels of announcing a new ownership group that is bringing a secure future and fresh approach to the popular Northeast Ohio tradition, the Grand Prix of Cleveland announced today that it has already secured sponsorship commitments with nineteen sponsors for 2006, which means that the event is off to its best sponsorship sales start in years. 

In addition to four sponsors that were previously announced - U.S. Bank, Bridgestone, Sherwin-Williams and Budweiser, the Grand Prix of Cleveland has inked sponsorship deals with BP, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Clear Choice Vision Center, Cleveland Coca- Cola, Cleveland Plain Dealer, ComDoc, Cuyahoga County, Crocker Park, Grand Prix Charities, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Korbel Champagne, Metro Health Hospital, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Ohio Technical College, and Red Bull.

"We are proud to welcome this tremendous group of companies to the Grand Prix of Cleveland family," said Rena Shanaman, Managing Director of the Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by U.S. Bank. "The support of the local business community is vital to the success of our event, so we are delighted that these great partners have stepped up to sponsor the Grand Prix of Cleveland."

BP is one of the world's largest energy companies and is the largest fuel retailer in Northeast Ohio, with more than 1,700 locations from Toledo to Columbus. Cleveland is an important market for the company, and the Grand Prix of Cleveland represented a great opportunity for first-time sponsor BP to become involved in a major automotive-related event in the area.

BP, which has been named the Official Fuel of the Grand Prix of Cleveland, will use the sponsorship to educate the public and promote the high quality of their Amoco fuel products using the "Amoco Ultimate Fuel Experience", a mobile marketing unit that will be featured at the Grand Prix. BP will also promote their involvement with the Grand Prix of Cleveland during the month of June in the company's area retail locations and will host a VIP reception at the event for auto technicians and their dealers' service mangers, mechanics and sales staff.  zzzz 

These initiatives and the association with the Grand Prix of Cleveland are a perfect fit for BP's marketing objectives in Northeast Ohio.

"BP is thrilled to announce their sponsorship as 'official fuel' of the 2006 Grand Prix of Cleveland," said Chuck Grawey, VP of Fuels Management Group.  "Amoco Fuels at BP have been ranked #1 in quality by consumers for many years and they look forward to showing support for the community by sponsoring a high-quality event such as the Grand Prix of Cleveland."

Returning as a sponsor of the Cleveland Grand Prix for the third consecutive year, the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners is renewing its pledge to revitalize the county's economy through such sponsorship. As Cleveland's largest annual event, the Grand Prix has again qualified for the funding through the County's "Destination Cleveland Fund", a fund based on effectiveness in attracting visitors to Cuyahoga County and generating a significant economic impact to the region. The Grand Prix of Cleveland is estimated to generate $25 - 30 million in direct and indirect benefits to the area.

Stated Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, President of the Board of County Commissioners, "The Grand Prix of Cleveland has evolved into a Cuyahoga County tradition.  Racing is one of the fastest growing spectator sports in America, and we are proud, once again, to be one of the sponsors of this exciting weekend event.  Local and national racing fans anticipate the Grand Prix of Cleveland every year, and we sincerely welcome them back!  Start your engines!"

Red Bull has agreed to sponsor the Grand Prix of Cleveland and will be the Official Energy Drink of the Grand Prix. In addition to traditional sponsorship elements, Red Bull will activate its sponsorship through a number of exciting promotions designed to appeal to the company's active target audience.

Red Bull will host the Red Bull TNT Freestyle Motocross Show on Saturday and Sunday of race weekend, featuring freestyle motocross pioneers and X Games competitors Tommy "Tom Cat" Clowers and Jeff "Full Tilt" Tilton performing tricks over an 80-foot gap between two Red Bull freestyle ramps. The Red Bull Air Force will also perform on Saturday and Sunday, which will give fans a chance to see the nation's premier aerobatic exhibition team perform paragliding, hang gliding, skydiving, and base jumping with a mix of finesse and style.

Crocker Park will be the Official Lifestyles Mall of the Grand Prix of Cleveland as part of a sponsorship deal with the event. The recently introduced Lifestyles Mall is part of the Stark Enterprises organization which operates several malls in the Cleveland area, with an important new property being planned in downtown Cleveland. The sponsorship includes several unique promotional activities that will benefit both organizations, including a Fan Fest in early June and Crocker Park hosting a semi-final round of the Miss Grand Prix of Cleveland contest.

Build-a-Bear is an interactive, entertainment retailer of customized stuffed animals that will be bringing its mobile marketing workshop to the Grand Prix of Cleveland. At a special display area located in the Family Fun Zone at the Grand Prix, race fans will be able to create their own custom stuffed animals using Build-a-Bear's unique bear-making stations. At the Grand Prix of Cleveland, fans will also have the opportunity to purchase collectable "25th anniversary" t-shirts for their bears commemorating the event's silver anniversary.

Clear Choice Custom Vision Centers is one of the largest locally owned LASIK vision correction centers in the Midwest.  With its headquarters in Brecksville, General Manager Bill Schneider believes it is very important to participate and support such local events as the Grand Prix of Cleveland.  As part of its sponsorship program, Clear Choice will conduct an "Improved Viewing" promotion, where fans will register to win top row reserved grandstand seats at the Grand Prix. 

BP, Build-a-Bear, Crocker Park, Cuyahoga County, Red Bull, Clear Choice Custom Vision Centers and all of the nineteen new sponsors are part of not only one of the most successful sponsorship sales seasons for the Grand Prix of Cleveland, but also an important time for the event. This year's Grand Prix of Cleveland marks the dawning of a new era, with new ownership, fan-friendly improvements, and renewed support from the business community, all of which promise to help the Grand Prix of Cleveland reach new heights in its 25th year.

Tickets for the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank are available by phone at 216-241-5555; online at www.grandprixofcleveland.com or in person at Ticketmaster locations including all Kaufmann's and select Giant Eagle stores. Corporate sponsorship, hospitality or group sales are available by calling the Grand Prix of Cleveland office at 216.619.RACE (7223) or toll-free 888.817.RACE.

For more information on the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank contact the event's downtown business office at (216) 619-RACE (7223) or visit www.grandprixofcleveland.com.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Documentary Debuts Monday Dale Earnhardt Jr. Documentary Debuts MondayThe ESPN SPORTSCENTURY documentary of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will debut Monday on ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. The one-hour special looks at the life of Dale Jr., as told by his family, friends and competitors. Among the many who appear in the special are interviews with Dale Jr., his sister Kelley, his mom Brenda Jackson, crew chief and cousin Tony Eury Jr., Dale Jarrett and Greg Biffle.

The show will debut Monday, May 22 at 2 PM ET on ESPN2. It will then re-air at 8pm and midnight ET that evening on ESPN Classic. The show will also air repeatedly later in 2006.

TV News
NASCAR.COM launches NASCAR 24/7 Broadband Video Service NASCAR.COM launches NASCAR 24/7 Broadband Video ServiceNASCAR.COM, the premier online destination for NASCAR fans, announced today the launch of NASCAR 24/7, a broadband video service created to enhance the way racing fans get their news online.  The daily newscasts, updated weekday afternoons and 90 seconds in length, will be a free service on the site and will provide users instant access to live interviews, highlights, alerts and breaking news of the day.

Shannon Wiseman, current host of the website’s NEXTEL TrackPass Race Rewind segment will anchor the daily newscast from NASCAR.COM’s CNN Center studio in Atlanta.  Wiseman, a 2-time Miss Winston on the NASCAR circuit and former MTV video-jockey, was formerly a co-host of UPN’s Atlanta Tonight.

 “As a leading site for NASCAR information, NASCAR 24/7 creates an added dimension of information for racing fans in a fast-paced, exclusive and convenient package,” said Lenny Daniels, Sr. Vice President, Turner Sports New Media.  “This is the type of content we would look to franchise for multiple digital platforms.”

Along with viewing online, NASCAR 24/7 will be available as featured content through NASCAR.COM TO GO, a subscription-based mobile service that gives subscribers access to view and share a variety of real-time NASCAR content via their wireless devices.

Each newscast will be presented by a participating sponsor, including All-State and Target, on a rotational basis.  Additional sponsors to be announced at a later date.

Papis to drive 2nd Cheever car in 500 Papis to drive 2nd Cheever car in 500Max Papis, the versatile driver of open-wheel and sports-car racing, has been hired to drive a second Cheever Racing entry for the Indianapolis 500.

Papis, 36, will attempt to put the No. 52 Cheever Racing Honda/Dallara in the 33-car field when qualifying begins Saturday for the 90th running of the historic race. The first two days of qualifying were rained out last weekend.

It will be the second Indy 500 for Papis, who has competed in Formula One, CART and several sports-car series during a 24-year career. In 2002, Papis also drove for Eddie Cheever Jr. at Indianapolis, finishing 23rd after starting 18th in the No. 53 Cheever Racing entry.

“I look forward to returning to the Indianapolis 500 to be part of the history and legends that the speedway has created over the past 90 years” Papis said. zzzz

Cheever practiced last week in the No. 51 Cheever Racing Honda/Dallara, recording the 19th-fastest lap of the week before qualifying was postponed. Cheever, the 1998 Indy 500 winner, said he was pleased to have Papis on board.

“Papis drove for Cheever Racing in his rookie race at the 500 and we did not deliver for him when we had mechanical problems with his car. I am happy we are able to give him another chance. He brings a lot of enthusiasm and spirit to the program” Cheever said.

A native of Como, Italy, Papis moved up the ladder of European formulas during his late teens and early 20s before finding a Formula One test ride with Lotus and Honda in 1994. The following year, he competed in seven Formula One races with Arrows.

In 1996, Papis posted three wins in IMSA World Sports Car, then joined Championship Auto Racing Teams, where he won three races in five years. Since then, Papis has been one of the top competitors in American sports-car racing. He posted an overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2002, a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship in 2004, and class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Daytona and two runner-up finishes at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Papis also drives in the Crown Royal IROC Series and does road course testing in NASCAR.

Cheever Racing will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday to resume preparations for Saturday's qualifying session and the May 28 race.

Quotes of the week Quotes of the week"Let’s face it, both of the open-wheel series (Champ Car and IRL) are on the gurney, and I wouldn’t even say they are in the emergency room any more; they’re kind of out in the hall next to the emergency room because a lot of the doctors don’t even care.  Something’s got to be done, and there’s maybe only one, or two, or three people who can fix it."  Chip Ganassi on the need for an immediate Champ Car and IRL merger.

"It’s come a long way to see them dating, that’s for sure." Roger Penske on seeing Tony George giving Kevin Kalkhoven a tour of the Indy Speedway.

Davidson fastest at Vallelunga Davidson fastest at VallelungaThe Honda Racing F1 Team and the Williams F1 Team were testing at Vallelunga, Italy today. Test driver Anthony Davidson of Honda clocked the fastest time. Testing will continue tomorrow at Vallelunga.
1 A. Davidson Honda Michelin 01:01.855 126
2 A. Wurz Williams Bridgestone 01:02.927 101
3 J. Rossiter Honda Michelin 01:03.784 77
4 N. Karthikeyan Williams Bridgestone 01:03.843 79
TV News
SPEED offering 12 hours of coverage SPEED offering 12 hours of coverageSpeed Channel is planning 12 hours of uninterrupted coverage from Lowe's Motor Speedway Friday.   Speed's coverage starts at noon with the final practices for both the Nextel Open and the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Qualifying for that night's Craftsman Truck Series race follows at 4 p.m. At 6 p.m. the network airs coverage of qualifying for the non-points Cup events. The evening wraps up with the 8:30 airing of the Quaker Steak & Lube 200 truck race.
"Speed is fired up about getting the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, beginning in 2007," said Hunter Nickell, Speed executive vice president and general manager. "We are so excited that we've decided to get started a year early, looking at ways to elevate the Charlotte race weeks coverage on Speed ... we simply want to let the NASCAR fans know that we realize how cool this event is and that they can count on Speed for the absolute best coverage the all-star week has ever seen."

Fox NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds will host a one-hour special entitled "Larry Mac's All-Star BBQ" at 8 p.m. (EDT) Wednesday with drop-in guests from NASCAR.

On Saturday, Speed is also airing the NASCAR Nextel Pit Crew Challenge, held May 17th at Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, N.C., followed by Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Wallace, John Roberts and Wendy Venturini and a special edition of "NASCAR RaceDay." The crew will return for "NASCAR Victory Lane" at 11 p.m. ET, following the all-star race.

Track News
Kahne to sell tickets Kahne to sell ticketsNASCAR driver Kasey Kahne will assist Kansas Speedway ticket salespeople by taking sales calls.  Kahne will autograph every ticket he sells.
Rahal Letterman team announces new partnership Rahal Letterman team announces new partnershipRahal Letterman Racing (RLR), one of the leading open-wheel race teams in North America, announced today a multi-year partnership with Roper Whitney of Rockford, Inc. as the team’s Official Supplier of Sheet Metal Fabricating tools.

Roper Whitney was established in 1910 as a manufacturer of sheet metal fabricating machinery, punch and dies, and handtools. Their manual floor and bench brakes compliment a complete line of CNC operated folders. The Autobrake and Gemini folders are offered in numerous lengths and gauges with many different back gauges from 40" to 10', U & L shaped sheet supports. Shears are also offered in manual or powered configurations in a variety of sizes.

Roper Whitney brings together the finest brand names in metal working like PEXTO, Connecticut, and AutoBrake to deliver a complete solution. Based in Rockford, Illinois, Roper Whitney manufactures most of its products in the USA. zzzz

“We are pleased to begin this partnership with Roper Whitney,” said Bobby Rahal, the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and the founder of Rahal Letterman Racing.  “Roper Whitney has been an industry leader in sheet metal fabrication for nearly a century. These are the kind of like-minded partners that we seek here at Rahal Letterman Racing.” 

“Roper Whitney is elated to be partnered with Rahal Letterman and their team of professionals.  We look forward to the beginning of a wonderful relationship between our two great American companies.” said Cindy VanderWaal, Sales and Marketing Manager for Roper Whitney.” 

Roper Whitney of Rockford, Inc. is a manufacturing company that has been providing sheet metal fabricating tools and machinery since 1910.  The Roper Whitney line of products includes over 200 different items most of which are produced in the Rockford, Illinois facility.  The Roper product line is sold worldwide by over 800 distributors.  With a tradition of honesty and integrity Roper Whitney stands firm on its reputation for supplying products that are built to last.

Briatore pleads for tire rule change Briatore pleads for tire rule change(GMM) Flavio Briatore has asked the FIA to change the rules governing tires for 2007.

The Renault boss fears that Ferrari, Bridgestone's long-standing partner, will enjoy an advantage when Michelin leaves the sport as scheduled at the end of the current season.

To help nullify the period of adaptation for teams who must switch to the Japanese brand, including Renault, Briatore thinks the ruling body should impose a fundamental regulation change -- such as the re-introduction of slicks.

''I believe what the federation should be doing to be fair is change the compound ... change the construction ... change completely,'' the Italian was quoted as saying by PA Sport.

Briatore also said the change would have to be done 'quickly' so that the design of next year's cars is not affected.

He continued: ''I don't ask for anything special but the competition needs to be fair.''

Houston TV reminder Houston TV reminderReminder that the Grand Prix of Houston Champ Car race will be rebroadcast on SPEED tomorrow, Wednesday, May 17, at 12:00 pm (Noon) ET in the USA.
George defends status of Indy 500 George defends status of Indy 500Tony George, founder of the Indy Racing League and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, insists the Indy 500 is still the greatest race in the world despite the dropping television ratings over the past couple of decades.
"My reaction to the sentiment of the pessimists, regarding the double-digit national TV ratings is: You cannot begin to compare the Nielsen rating from 2005, to 1995, the last 500 before the IRL was launched; or to 1985, the last year the 500 was shown in prime time on a tape delayed basis (1986 was the first live broadcast)," he said. "In each 10-year span, the nature of television changed so dramatically, it is hard to even chronicle. The explosion of cable, the way television consumers' viewing habits have changed, etc.

"Why does this seem to be a problem the pessimists' view as being unique to the Indy 500? Most television ratings for sports properties have experienced similar challenges, although the circumstances haven't changed all that much. By that I mean, most other sports programs like football, basketball and baseball have always been broadcast in much the same way.

"As for the optimists, I agree that the attendance for the race itself is about the same as it was 12 years ago, within 5 percent.

"Just (a few days ago) on a radio talk show I heard Dan Wheldon (winner of the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and IRL champion) recount the presentation made to him last December as the British Racing Driver of the Year, by none other than Nigel Mansell (former Formula One champion). Nigel, in his congratulatory remarks, said that the 500 always has been and always will be the greatest race in the world."  More at Indy Star

Toyota racing to meet NASCAR approval deadlines Toyota racing to meet NASCAR approval deadlinesToyota's first NASCAR Camry, a car-of-today version, must be approved by NASCAR by July 1, and its new Nextel Cup engine must be approved by Sept. 1.

Jim Aust, Toyota's racing boss, said he hopes to get the Camry approved in time to have it on a testing track by the end of June.

Lee White, Toyota's NASCAR field director, said that there is an outside chance that Toyota might have a car of tomorrow at Concord's Lowe's Motor Speedway for the big May 30 test.

"We've targeted that test, but I'm not sure we're going to make it," White said. "We've got a new truck to submit (to NASCAR for approval) by July 1. We've got a new version of the car of today to resubmit, and it's pretty much ready to go, after a few more quickie wind-tunnel tests. We've got the car-of-tomorrow thing, plus a Busch car (to submit for approval).

"So we might not be able to get the new car of today on track until sometime in July."

Toyota's new Nextel Cup engine is eagerly awaited by rivals, who probably won't get to see it until February at Daytona. A first version was run at Lowe's Motor Speedway last week by Michael Waltrip.

"People are waiting to see it; NASCAR is waiting to see it," Aust said. "But NASCAR has seen the electronic models and the SLA (stereolythographic) models; they just haven't seen the final aluminum hard parts."

And rivals are curious about who will actually build the Toyota engines - Toyota's in-house engineering staff, or the teams, perhaps through outside vendors, in the traditional NASCAR scenario.

"We're talking to at least two, perhaps three, independent engine builders," White said. "And in the next couple of months we'll give them a used engine to stick on their dynos, and a couple of kits of parts, to get them going. And we're setting up a little tech support line for them, so people outside TRD can build those engines." More at Winston Salem Journal

Richert Wins WYPALL® Crew Chief of the Race Award Richert Wins WYPALL® Crew Chief of the Race AwardGreg Biffle and his crew chief Doug Richert finally shook their spell of bad luck this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Biffle dominated the Dodge Charger 500, leading a race-high 170 laps before claiming his first Nextel Cup victory of the season. Biffle’s wining performance earned Richert the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. Although Biffle was up front for the majority of the event, on the second-to-last run, his car’s handling began to fade and relegated him to fourth-place before the final round of pit stops. Richert called Biffle into the pits earlier than the rest of the field for fresh tires, which moved him into the lead once the stops cycled around.

The No. 16 National Guard Ford remained on point until the checkered flag. “I actually wanted to bring Greg (Biffle) in a few laps earlier than I did, but I was worried the caution might come out,” said Richert. “The way our luck has been going I thought that would happen for sure. But it all worked out.”

A panel of voters; including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Sr. and a WYPALL® Wipers representative; all cast their vote for Richert as the crew chief who did the best job. “Pit strategy is so important at Darlington,” said Eury Sr. “Your tires wear out so fast here, so you want to have your car come in as soon as possible for fresh rubber. You’ve got to be careful not to come in too soon, though, or the caution could come out and trap you, but you can’t stay out too long either. If you do that, your car’s handling will go away and you’ll slide back. Doug (Richert) pitted at just the right time tonight.

The fresh tires allowed him to pass the leaders under green and hold them off until the end. It was a great call.” For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, WYPALL® Wipers presented Richert $1,000. At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. This was Richert’s first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him with Darian Grubb, Todd Berrier Chad Knaus and Roy McCauley for second-place in the Crew Chief of the Year standings. Robbie Reiser, Tony Eury Jr. and Kenny Francis are tied for first, each with one win. SMC 500 PR

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari target Monaco fightback
Toyota riled by teammate clash
No weekend off for Spain's Alonso
McLaren back Kimi's 'no title' claim
Alonso can conquer Monaco - Tambay
Engine not 'dropped', JV insists
Renault vow to fork out for 'top' driver
Ferrari back FIA's 'freeze' refusal
Montoya told to admit own errors
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