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Motorsports this week on ESPN and ABC
ESPN on ABC To Televise Indianapolis 500 Live in HD

ESPN on ABC will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500, “the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” Sunday, May 27 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Telecast for the first time in high definition, the coverage will begin at noon ET. The race begins at 1 p.m.

Intriguing story lines abound, including the history-making inclusion of three women (Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno) in the 33-driver field, the return of two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr., the continued rise of third-generation driver Marco Andretti and the quest for a repeat victory by defending race winner Sam Hornish Jr.

Marty Reid will anchor the ESPN on ABC telecast, joined in the booth by former IndyCar Series driver Scott Goodyear and 1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace for analysis. Jack Arute, Jamie Little, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch will report from the pits and from Indy’s Gasoline Alley.

Coverage of Indy’s Carburetion Day, the final practice session before the Indianapolis 500, will air at 4 p.m. ET Friday, May 25, on ESPN2. Coverage will include highlights from the annual pit crew competition as well as the Indy Pro Series Freedom 100 race. ESPN2 will air coverage of the annual Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade at 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, as well as a special Indianapolis 500 preview show at 7 p.m. Saturday 

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Record field entered for Freedom 100
Race week is here. And not only the 91st Indianapolis 500.

For the fifth consecutive May, the IndyCar Series stars will share the famed 2.5-mile oval at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road with the up-and-coming talent in the Indy Pro Series.

The 40-lap Freedom 100 is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (EDT) on May 25. A record 25 cars are entered for the event, and a $300,000 prize fund is up for grabs.

Among those entered for the race are the past two Freedom 100 winners, Wade Cunningham and Jaime Camara, and series points leader Alex Lloyd. Cunningham and Lloyd are looking at Indy as a chance to further etch their names into the record books.

Cunningham, who led all 40 laps from the pole last year, could become the first repeat winner of the Freedom 100. 

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Teams stay on to test at LeMans
After Sunday’s eventful Grand Prix of France some teams remained at Le Mans and dodged the rain showers to put in a profitable day’s testing. Dani Pedrosa, who rode to an excellent fourth place in appalling conditions yesterday, ventured out on a wet track in the morning to evaluate intermediate tires and gain further useful data for the Michelin technicians. With a dry track and warmer temperatures in the afternoon, the 21-year-old Spaniard continued tests on the modified exhaust system seen on his RC212V over the race weekend and turned the days fastest lap.

Dani Pedrosa Best lap time: 1m 35.0s – 70 laps
“We were working on some bike set-up improvements today and trying to make the most of the dry track time because since the last IRTA test in Jerez I haven’t had too much dry testing. We made some improvements today which is good because we have struggled a little in China and also at times over this weekend, so it’s important we take things forward ahead of the next race in Mugello. The weather here is always difficult to predict but hopefully we’ll get another useful day here tomorrow.”

Unofficial lap times

1 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 35.0s 70
2 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 35.0s
3 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 35.0s 44
4 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 1m 35.1s 58
5 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 35.3s 66
6 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 35.4s 50
7 Carlos Checa LCR Honda 1m 35.4s 76
8 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 35.6s 59
9 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1m 35.7 66
10 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 35.9s 40
11 Makoto Tamada Tech 3 Yamaha 1m 36.6s
12 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP unknown


Monaco-22,000 kg worth of tires!
The weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix will provide an additional logistical challenge for Bridgestone Motorsport given the nature of the tiny Principality located along the French Riviera between France and the Mediterranean.

The venue for one of the world’s best known motor races is also the world’s most densely populated country with a population of 32,410 shoehorned into an area of just 1.96 square kilometres. Squeezing a Grand Prix in was always going to be a challenge.

For drivers the track itself presents its own trials and tribulations. Three time world champion Nelson Piquet is credited with likening the challenge of piloting a Formula One car around the tight and twisty confines of the track as being akin to riding a bicycle around a house, and he wasn’t joking.

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Indy 500 starters shine in New York
Jaques Lazier promised Playa Del Racing teammate Phil Giebler to burn a CD of photos of their trip to New York City. Giebler, making his first start in the Indianapolis 500, wants to savor everything about this week.

They were among the 33 drivers who lined up in the traditional 11 rows of three - wearing firesuits and helmets tucked under their right arms -- on Military Island in Times Square for a photo opportunity. The session was followed by a media luncheon.

The starting front row of pole winner Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti are the most visible in the photos and videos. Giebler, starting from the back row, didn't mind that only his mother would be able to pick him out.

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Minardi Team USA Prepares to Re-Visit European Roots
Minardi Team USA drivers, Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos spent this past week taking part in the Champ Car World Series European Media Tour, each participating in a press conference in their home country, as well as in other European cities. Dan and Robert played an active and very important role in helping to promote Champ Car’s current, and future, expansion into Europe.

In addition to the drivers, Minardi Team USA co-owners Paul Stoddart and Keith Wiggins also have deep roots in European racing.

Paul Stoddart’s recent presence in Europe as a Formula One team owner and successful entrepreneur is well-known. His European Aviation Group was a major sponsor of Tyrrell in the late 1990s, before he started his own F3000 team, European Formula Racing. Stoddart is originally from Melbourne, Australia, but now lives in Ledbury, England. He purchased the Minardi F1 team in early 2001, and rapidly became known as a tenacious defender of the rights of the smaller, independent teams in the sport. He sold the Minardi F1 Team at the end of the 2005 season, but will return to competition in Europe with Minardi Team USA, less than two years after departing the Formula One scene.

Keith Wiggins had unrivalled success in Europe before making the jump across the pond to the United States. Wiggins, who hails from London, competed as a driver in British Formula Ford, and also as an engineer in British F3 and European Formula 2000. He then formed Pacific Racing in 1984, which is the only team to have won every single-seater European Championship below Formula One. He then established Pacific Grand Prix, which competed in Formula One in 1994 and 1995. Wiggins embraces his return to racing in Europe, both for himself and for the entire Minardi USA team.

“To me, Champ Car’s decision to return to Europe is great for the Series and for the teams,” comments Wiggins. “It is a motorsport enthusiast’s market, with the fans being both knowledgeable and passionate about good racing. Last time we went to Europe, it was a success, but even so, we weren’t able to show our true performance due to the requirement to race on an oval and a small road course, with the same car, on back-to-back weekends. Now with two road courses and no restrictions, we should be able to show the fans how competitive and close our events are, which is exactly what they like.”

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TV News

Kyle Busch will be on Live with Regis and Kelly
Kyle Busch will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Tuesday morning, May 22, 2007.  The show airs at 9:00 am - 10:00 am ET in most time zones.  Please check your local listings.  The network varies.


Tracy to return, Servia back for Portland
[Editor's Note:  Recall our rumor last week saying this would happen.]

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Paul Tracy has been given the green light to return behind the wheel of his #3 INDECK Champ Car after suffering  a compression fracture to his first lumbar vertebrae during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.  The 2003 Champion began his recovery process only a couple of days after his accident by continuing with his strict fitness routine which includes cycling for over 50 miles a day under the hot Nevada sun.  Last week Tracy visited Dr. Trammell in Indianapolis who reviewed the latest X-rays and gave him the approval to drive the 750 horsepower turbocharged DP01. 

Tracy’s return to the track will take place this week at the historic Mont-Tremblant Circuit in St. Jovite, Quebec where he will conduct a two day test with his #3 Forsythe Crew May 24th & 25th. 

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IRL Bump Day TV rating
The overnight ABC TV rating of Bump Day coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a 1.1.


Kumho Street Warriorz Invades Grand Prix
As the Kumho Street Warriorz street racing scene continues to grow, the series has struck a partnership with the Grand Prix of Cleveland to join the Champ Car World Series event June 22 – 24.

Combining the Champ Car World Series, one of the world’s top open-wheel racing circuits, with the hardcore, street-savvy Kumho Street Warriorz, fans attending the 2007 Grand Prix of Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport will have the opportunity of witnessing these two unique styles of racing at the same venue. Spectators and other Kumho Street Warriorz participants can drag race street-legal daily-drivers under the lights on the track’s front straight after the daily races are finished.

“We’re thrilled with the opportunity to bring one of Ohio’s biggest street racing events to Burke Lakefront Airport with the Grand Prix of Cleveland,” said Jon O’Neal, Kumho Street Warriorz Event Director. “The event has been one of the most exciting fan driven events in Cleveland for years, and it’s exciting to bring a new lifestyle to the weekend. Street Warriorz is not just racing, but combines the nightlife entertainment aspects including a car show, car audio competitions and various stage shows. We’ll bring this entire party to the Grand Prix throughout all three days of racing. Who doesn’t want to hammer it down the straight at Burke after seeing the Champ Cars, now we’re going to give you the opportunity.”

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Q and A with Adrian Sutil
How excited are you about going to Monaco?
I think it's the highlight of this year for me, so I'm really looking forward to it. I really like the track. In F3 it was already a really nice event, very challenging for sure. Everything is very narrow, the barriers are very close, so you need to find the middle and not push too hard at the beginning. You have to learn the circuit and not crash the car! That's very important, especially in the first and second practice sessions."

You obviously watched the race on TV and maybe played computer games. When you went there, did you feel like you knew it already?
My first time there was in F3 when I raced in 2005, but I knew the corners already for sure, but reality is always different, all the bumps and so on. You're much more careful then! It was a good weekend, and actually I still have the track record with an F3 car and started on pole position there in 2005. In the second race I crashed in the first corner. It's really easy to go out there, so I know already some tricky places.

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Q and A with Christijan Albers
Both cars finished again in Spain. Were you happy with the overall performance?
It's getting better and better. It's just a shame about the drive through I got. Anyway, it's done! In the beginning Adrian walked a little bit away from me. We had a good pit stop, and I came quite close to him. I had a reasonable set of tires and I could catch him again, but then I had traffic and the drive through while we quite strong on this set of tires, so it was really a shame. You have lap times up and down, and you're just chasing yourself. But when we changed to the hard tires we had a problem in the pits which stalled the engine, but we finished the race, which was important as we needed to get as much data as possible and to learn as much as possible from the car. Sometimes in the race it was really good to drive it, and sometimes it was difficult. That's always what you have! 

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industry news

Job cuts not enough to save Chrysler
Chrysler's new owners, Cerberus Capital Management LP, will need concessions from the UAW to trim costs and become competitive with Japanese automakers, industry experts say, but labor cuts alone will not turn Chrysler into a success.

Chrysler estimates that Japanese automakers, such as Toyota Motor Corp., have a $30-an-hour labor cost advantage, counting benefits and special provisions, and the gap could grow to $45 an hour by 2009 without changes to the UAW contract. Chrysler, Ford and GM begin contract talks this summer with the UAW, presenting an opportunity to rework labor costs for all three automakers. But Cerberus could be sorely disappointed if it counts on only UAW concessions, said Laurie Harbour-Felax, president of the Harbour-Felax Group.

Management decisions are equally to blame for Chrysler's problems, said Harbour-Felax, whose company released a report last fall on the profit gap between domestic and Japanese automakers.

Chrysler does pay more in labor costs than Toyota, but Chrysler, like General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., also has failed to make enough vehicles that U.S. consumers want, leading to a decline in market share, revenues and profits, she said.

"What happens in negotiations is critical," Harbour-Felax said. "I think the union understands 100% what they need to do to be competitive. ... But at the same time, they're going to look across the table at management and say, 'What are you doing for us?' " More at Detroit Free Press


Portland GP: Win a ride with Mario
Chevron stations in the Portland area are running this ad for fans to win a ride with Mario Andretti ahead of the upcoming Portland Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix.


Maple Leafs help with Toronto ticket sales
Toronto's longest standing and hottest summer party is back! As a Toronto Maple Leafs Season Seat Holder, you can purchase your Grand Prix of Toronto Drivers' Party tickets and save 10% plus receive free Grounds Admission to Friday's Grand Prix of Toronto.

The Grand Prix of Toronto Drivers' Party plays host to an action-packed racing experience with Champ Car World Series drivers, the search for Miss Universe Canada 2008, celebrities, show cars, DJ, a silent auction and much more.

Muzik, 15 Saskatchewan Road,
Exhibition Place
(enter via Dufferin Gates)
Friday, July 6, 2007
Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are $180 and include food, drinks and Miss Universe show.
Your presale window to purchase starts Thursday, May 17th and closes Tuesday, May 22nd. Use codeword LEAFS to receive this exclusive offer.

Over the last 20 years, the Grand Prix Charitable Foundation has raised close to $6 million for local children's charities while bringing fast-paced action to streets of the city. Proceeds from the Grand Prix of Toronto Drivers' Party will benefit the Grand Prix Charitable Foundation.

* Must be 19 years of age to attend Grand Prix of Toronto Drivers' Party. Grounds Admission ticket to the Friday, July 6th, 2007 Grand Prix of Toronto events includes access to the GPT AutoExpo and Thunder


Hinchcliffe questions quality of Indy 500 field
A journalist recently asked me what the Indianapolis 500 meant to me. And let me tell you, as an open wheel racer for the last four years and, more importantly, an open wheel fan for a decade more, the Indy 500 means absolutely nothing.

The Indy 500 used to be the biggest race on the planet. Dozens and dozens of cars would come out to qualify. I remember one year where neither Penske cars qualified! Now, they are pulling guys like Al Unser Jr. out of rehab, sorry, retirement, just to try and fill the field.

This race used to be filled with excitement and the build up got everyone so pumped. It had hype, it had a buzz, it had an atmosphere. Open wheel racing in the US was put on hold for a whole month as the entire racing community's attentions turned to Indy. People all over the world tuned in to see what was happening. Indiana essentially became the center of the universe on race day.

Then came the split. But you know what, I'm not going to make this a "the split ruined Indy" speech, because it was more than that. Some of the best Indy 500s I remember came AFTER the split. Like when PT beat Helio, sort of! When the CART drivers ran in the 500, there was this hype and rivalry between CART vs. IRL drivers. The "Battle of the Best" in open wheel. Who would come out on top? It used to be great! I liked it MORE when the two series had entries in the 500. It was like back in the day when European cars and drivers would come over to try and compete against the North Americans. THAT was exciting.

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Q and F1 with David Coulthard
Q: Finally your streak of bad luck has been broken and you're back on the world championship points table! How did you celebrate your fifth place in Barcelona?

David Coulthard: It really felt good to see points next to my name on the official championship classification sheet and it shows we're moving in the right direction. There were no post-race celebrations, as we were testing the following week at Paul Ricard. I'll save the celebrations for when I next step up on the podium!
Q: In the last two races the RB3 seemed to perform much better than at the beginning of the season, even if there wasn't a positive racing result in Bahrain. How did the latest aerodynamic changes influence the RB3's performance in Barcelona?

DC: Like all the teams, we came to Spain with a new aerodynamic package that we'd tested the week before. Even before the first race of the season, we knew what we had to do in terms of the aero performance, so Adrian and his crew had been working on it for quite a while.

It was definitely a big improvement on what we had before, and Spain is the type of track where aero counts for a lot, partly because of the very long straight. As I said, an improvement, but there's still a lot more to do.

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Behind the Scenes of IT in Formula 1
For the Panasonic Toyota Racing Team, every move of the TF107 race car on the track is recorded by 250 sensors situated in various parts of the car. The team receives information related to approximately 1,300 different parameters, from basics like tire pressures and engine temperature, to more complex information on how the gearbox and engine behave. Information is sent directly from the race car to the engineers' computers via a wireless antenna on the car, giving them the opportunity to adapt their strategy in an instant if any parameter changes. See our Home Page to watch the video.


Logano beats Harvick in Iowa
The largest crowd in Iowa Speedway history - 24,741 estimated paid attendance – watched Sunday afternoon as 16-year-old Joey Logano out-dueled Nextel Cup veteran Kevin Harvick to win the NASCAR Grand National Featherlite Coaches 200. Logano, from Middletown, Conn., drove the Joe Gibbs Driven Chevrolet to a 10-car-length victory over Harvick, who was slowed with engine problems early in the race. Logano and Harvick dueled virtually side-by-side the first 20 laps and, although Harvick led later in the race as well as being out front early, his effort was hampered by engine woes. The race – first-ever NASCAR event at Iowa Speedway – was an entertaining one for the fans. Harvick and Logano changed the lead 15 times during the race. Logano raced in the USAR Hooters Cup a year ago and competed at Iowa Speedway in that division, but this is the first season he’s been eligible to race in the NASCAR Grand National Division. That eligibility came because NASCAR lowered the age from 18 to 16 prior to this season. Third place went to Jesus Hernandez of Fresno, Calif., in a Chevrolet, while Johnny Borneman of Ramona, Calif., (Chevrolet) and Mike Duncan of Bakersfield, Calif. (Ford) rounded out the top five. The event drew more than 50 entries with 42 cars taking the green flag. Iowa Speedway site


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Aus officials not ruling out night GP
  • Wife backs Ralf to up ailing form
  • RBR drops Hollywood theme for Monaco GP
  • Spyker leaves 'Friday' door open
  • Criticized Kimi buys $3.4m yacht
  • Experts question Hamilton aggression
  • Hamilton rivals not bitter
  • Red Bull named in latest 'flex' saga
  • Berger backs Speed, impressed with Bourdais
  • Alonso suffering with 'doubt' - former boss
  • Showers possible for Monaco GP week
  • Rosberg unmoved after big test crash
  • Corrupt Chinese GP boss fired

Aus officials not ruling out night GP
(GMM)  The state government in Melbourne has responded to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone by insisting that staging a night grand prix has not been ruled out.

Ecclestone suggested at the weekend that refusing to run the Albert Park race under lights in the future could result in the loss of its contract after 2010.

It is believed that his comments followed his meeting in London last week with the Victorian state premier Steve Bracks.

But after denying that a formal proposal has even been made, tourism minister Tim Holding said the government would "look at" the option.

"Obviously the race itself is more attractive from a television rights perspective (if staged at night), but we'll make a judgment in terms of what's in the best interests of Melbourne ... and whether it's the right look for our grand prix to have," he said.

Holding's comments follow speculation that an auditor-general's report on Wednesday will name the Australian GP as an event that is bad value for taxpayers.

Wife backs Ralf to up ailing form
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher's wife has backed the struggling Toyota driver to up his game in 2007.

Cora Schumacher, also mother to 31-year-old Ralf's son David, said the German and former grand prix winner is determined to come to terms with the TF107 single seater this year.

"In difficult situations, Ralf develops an extreme ambition," she told Bild am Sonntag.

The newspaper reported that Ralf has put a stop to most PR appearances and interviews in a bid to focus on improving his form, and has also asked his Toyota bosses to let him test whenever possible.

"Everyone who knows him properly, knows what his single goal is to bring the Toyota team forwards," Cora said.

Mrs Schumacher says her husband has already made steps forward in recent weeks, but could not show it properly in Barcelona, where bad luck hit.

But after accompanying Ralf and David to the Paul Ricard test last week, Cora insisted: "I know what Ralf knows, and he will be strong in Monaco."

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Alex Job Racing wins Laguna Seca Grand-Am race
No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford co-drivers Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long helped establish a new Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve record by becoming the fifth different winners in five races to start the season in Sunday's U.S. Sports Car Invitational delivered by Luggage Express at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Bergmeister claimed the lead from Jon Fogarty with 32 laps remaining when Fogarty brought the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley onto pit lane for its final pit stop and to turn the car over to co-driver Alex Gurney. With the second, third and fourth place cars filling his mirrors throughout the closing laps, however, Bergmeister was forced to conserve fuel in order to make it to the finish.

Bergmeister's big break came on Lap 89 of the 91-lap race, when Matthew Alhadeff brought out the day's seventh and final full-course caution period when he slid the No. 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW Riley into the gravel trap at Turn 4. However, there were still a few nervous moments for the team as Bergmeister still had to make it to the finish line without running out of fuel, but the German did just that to make it five winners in five races, topping the previous record of four to start the 2004 season.

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Racing News

Mario Andretti stars at GPLive event
Despite rain showers sweeping the track on Friday and Saturday at Donington Park in England, the inaugural GPlive weekend was completed in fine style with bright sunshine on Sunday adding to the spectacular series of races and demonstrations by some of motor sports’ most exciting cars and drivers, enjoyed by a little over 10,000 race fans.
Highlights of the Saturday demonstration program included reuniting Mario Andretti with the Lotus 49B in which he claimed pole position for his first-ever Grand Prix start at the 1968 US Grand Prix. Mario celebrated with a 360-degree spin on his opening lap, continuing undaunted to comment “Well I did want to give you guys something to write about!”
Another spectacular display was a spirited demonstration by the Red Bull Racing RB01, driven by Michael Ammermuller, while the demonstration of pre-war Brooklands racing cars was given added drama when one car burst into flames. Amazingly the 1938 Frazer-Nash driven by Dubliner Tony Colley was repaired and back on track by the end of the day.
On the Sunday, Sir Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their historic victory at Aintree, when Brooks handed over his Vanwall to allow Moss to become the first British driver to win a British Grand Prix in a British car. Both drivers sharing one of the British Racing Green cars once again.

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industry news

Cerberus secures $62B refinancing for Chrysler
Cerberus Capital Management on Friday said seven major North American banks and investment banks have agreed to raise the $62 billion needed to refinance the debt and recapitalize Chrysler Group.
The New York-based private equity firm announced on Monday it would acquire the U.S. automaker from Germany's DaimlerChrysler AG for $7.4 billion. But Cerberus revealed little else about how it would finance the takeover.

The mix of financing will include securities backed by the Chrysler's automobile assets, high-yield corporate debt, and bank loans, said Cerberus spokesman Peter Duda. Leading the financing is JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns Cos., Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Some $50 billion of proceeds will be used to refinance debt at Chrysler's financing unit. The amount will be the largest refinanced by a private equity firm, according to financial data tracker Dealogic.

DaimlerChrysler Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said during a conference call on Monday that the new Chrysler would likely carry a "BB" junk rating after it splits from DaimlerChrysler, which has a "BBB" investment-grade rating. The lower rating would equate to higher borrowing costs.  More at Detroit News


Gronholm wins in Sardegna
Marcus Gronholm won the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, having inherited the lead after Sebastien Loeb went out in Stage 13; Mikko Hirvonen finished second, 29.2secs adrift to give Ford a 1-2 finish; Daniel Sordo rounded out the top three ahead of the Solberg brothers, Henning and Petter.

Top 20:

1. Marcus Gronholm BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06 3hours 48mins 42.0secs M
2. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06 +00mins 29.2secs M
3. Daniel Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +01mins 21.8secs M
4. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford Focus WRC 06 +01mins 36.6secs M
5. Petter Solberg Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2006 +02mins 34.2secs M
6. Toni Gardemeister MMSP Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 +05mins 02.1secs
7. Manfred Stohl OMV Kronos Citroen Xsara WRC +05mins 28.6secs M
8. Juho Hanninen MMSP Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 +09mins 31.7secs
9. Jari-Matti Latvala Stobart Ford Focus WRC 06 +11mins 27.7secs M
10. Chris Atkinson Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2006 +16mins 19.4secs M
11. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC 06 +17mins 05.1secs M
12. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford Focus WRC 06 +23mins 25.1secs
13. Urmo Aava Suzuki Swift S1600 +26mins 21.9secs J
14. P-G Andersson Suzuki Swift S1600 +27mins 31.3secs J
15. Giovanni Manfrinato Subaru Impreza +31mins 41.4secs
16. Martin Prokop Citroen C2 S1600 +32mins 44.7secs J
17. Simone Campedelli Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +32mins 45.5secs
18. Aaron Burkart Citroen C2 S1600 +35mins 31.8secs J
19. Jaan Molder Suzuki Swift S1600 +36mins 02.2secs J
20. Bruno Bentivogli Subaru Impreza +37mins 00.4secs


Giebler cleared to requalify UPDATE Dear AutoRacing1.com, Amazing what the great spectacle of seeing ‘the best of the best’ compete at the Indy 500 has come to. 

Every year since the split Tony George gets out his checkbook to fill the field with fillers that have NO business racing in the Indy 500.  Doesn’t anyone understand how irresponsible it is to put at least half a dozen totally unqualified drivers in this race just so he can say he had 33 cars to start?  What if some of these unqualified drivers end up in wheelchairs, or worse, are Tony George and the back marker teams that take his money going to be there for those drivers? 

What if one of these inexperienced drivers takes out, permanently, one or more of the IRL’s real drivers like Hornish, Wheldon, Castroneves, etc.?  Moreno is approaching 50 years of age (48) and hasn’t driven an open wheel car in anger for 4 years.  For those of us with an understanding of what is really going on at Indy it is painful to watch our once beloved race become nothing more than a circus sideshow.  Without unification open wheel racing is DEAD within 3 years as it is just not sustainable without proven top athletes competing against each other to attract fans and sponsors.  This is borderline criminal. Name Withheld

In today's Indy Star 2-time Indy 500 winner Gordon Johncock says "it ain't like it used to be and never will be.............We think the public feels the same way."  Mark C.

05/19/07 Phil Giebler has been checked and released from the Clarian Emergency Medical Center. He is cleared to drive.

PHIL GIEBLER (No. 31 Ethos Fuel Reformulator Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "Well it's just been a really difficult week to start with. I've just decided to give the team another obstacle here with doing that. It's one of those things that caught me completely off guard in qualifying. We've really been struggling with getting time on the track; we weren't even planning on going out to qualify, we were running out of time so we decided to go out. The car was really running good, and obviously we had the speed to get in no problem. It wasn't like I was pushing too hard or anything, and all the sudden, the car just had a big understeer into the exit of (Turn) 2, I tried to do whatever I could do to save it, as much lock as I could and backed out of it and scraped the wall. This was my first impact on an oval, and hopefully, my last. Hopefully, the Playa Del Racing team will come back strong, and we'll get in the show tomorrow."


Vermeulen wins wet Le Mans race
Chris Vermeulen was the winner of a breathtakingly unpredictable Alice Grand Prix de France at the historic Le Mans circuit, with the heavy rainfall ending a six year victory drought for Suzuki in MotoGP.

The Australian had previously benefited on home soil in the first ever flag-to-flag race, and did even better on the 800cc to take his maiden victory in the premier class. His triumph also means that five of the last six Grand Prix winners have hailed from the Antipodean island.

The race was an incredible display of the competitive nature of MotoGP, and provided fans with the sight of a number of first time leaders as the riders negotiated the changeable weather conditions and bike change choices.

The opening laps saw proud moments for Randy de Puniet and Sylvain Guintoli, who led their home race with amazing starts.

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TV News

Weekend USA TV reminders UPDATE #2  Dan Wheldon, 2005 Indy 500 and IndyCar Series Champion, has been added as the Featured Interview on Wind Tunnel Sunday night at 9:00 pm ET on SPEED.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
1:00am-1:30am ESPN2
American Muscle Car -The Fastest Musclecar Engines of All Time
9:00am-9:30am SPEED
10:30am-11:00am ESPN2
Hot Rod TV
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
12:00pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
American Le Mans Series Tooele, UT
1:00pm-3:00pm (5/19/07) CBS
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying -Bump Day Indianapolis
1:00pm-3:00pm (L) ABC
MotoGP World Championship France
3:00pm-4:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying -Bump Day Indianapolis
3:00pm-6:30pm (L) WEBCAST -ESPN 360
Rolex Sports Car Series Laguna Seca
4:00pm-7:00pm (L) -DP
Also, Saturday, May 26 8pm-10pm -GT SPEED
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying -Bump Day Indianapolis
5:00pm-6:30pm (L) ESPN2
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Featured Interview: Dan Wheldon
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
AMA Superbike Sonoma, CA
10:00pm-11:00pm (5/19/07) -Race 1
11:00pm-12:00am (SDD) -Race 2 SPEED

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


Fry doubts Aguri can keep it up in '07
(GMM) Nick Fry says he is "happy" to see Super Aguri do well in 2007.

The Honda team principal, however, also admitted to the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report that he "hates" the fact that the Japanese manufacturer's satellite team is embarrassingly beating the hugely-funded works squad.

Leafield based Super Aguri uses a year-old Honda chassis, and an identical engine and gearbox to its parent team.

Its drivers, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson, are also less experienced and generally not rated as highly as Honda's pairing of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

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Super soft compound for Monaco
Bridgestone returns to the prestigious destination of Monte Carlo next weekend for the 54th running of the Monaco Grand Prix which will take place under the heightened gaze of the world’s media. Bridgestone Potenza tires will grace all 22 cars lining up on the grid for the 78-lap race.

The 3.3 km tight and twisty street course provides one of the greatest challenges in motorsport and is a track where confidence and precision are rewarded, and the slightest mistakes cruelly punished. It’s a circuit where a maximum downforce set-up is used by teams and the tires and drivers are the crucial elements.

Bridgestone will introduce its super soft compound at this race following its successful debut over the first two days of the Paul Ricard test, held from May 15-18. Extracting the maximum from the soft and super soft compounds will be especially crucial in qualifying with overtaking notoriously difficult on the narrow confines of the circuit.

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Truex wins Open, advances to All-Star race
Martin Truex, Jr. found grip on the high side and used it to pull off a three-wide pass to win Saturday night’s Nextel Open and advance into the field for the 23rd NASCAR Nextel All Star Challenge.  Photo courtesy of CIA Stock Photo

Johnny Sauter finished a close second to take the second transfer spot into the All Star Challenge. Polesitter Carl Edwards was third, followed by Dave Blaney and Ricky Rudd.

Truex will start 19th in the 21-car Nextel Al Star Challenge field in the no. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Monte Carlo, making his first start in the all-star event.

“That was very cool and an awesome race,” said Truex, a two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion. “We’ve had kind of an up-and-down year, so this makes things a little better.”

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What are the sparks?
A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1: I have a question about IRL cars and the showers of sparks that the cars emit when under load in turns or, eerily, when crashing. I do not recall ever seeing open wheeled race cars behave this way on any level of motorsport or under any other sanctioning body including SCCA, Champ Car, FIA, etc. Are the showers of sparks engineered by teams and/or specified by IRL officials for dramatic value? Thank you Mark Lee, Cincinnati, OH

Dear Mark, The sparks come from the skid blocks under the car rubbing the track. The teams run the cars as close to the ground as possible for maximum speed, and although Indy is very smooth, the slightest ripple causes the car to bottom out because they are already so close to the ground. Mark C.


32 qualified for Indy 500
An Andretti, an Unser and the IndyCar Series' first Latina were among 10 drivers who qualified for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500. Sunday is the final day of qualifications with at least three drivers expected to compete for the final starting position in the 33-car field.

Roger Yasukawa was the quickest qualifier of the day with a four-lap average of 222.654 mph on the famed 2.5-mile oval. He will start 22nd in the 500-Mile race on May 27.

John Andretti, who has not started an Indianapolis 500 since 1994, will start 24th while Al Unser Jr., who will start his 19th 500, qualified 25th.

Milka Duno became the first rookie to join the field with a qualifying average of 219.228. The Venezuelan, who will start 29th, joins Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher in the first field to feature three female drivers.

Other drivers to qualify included Alex Barron, Jon Herb, Jaques Lazier, Marty Roth, Roberto Moreno and Jimmy Kite.

Rookie Phil Giebler was three laps into his qualifying run when his No. 31 Playa Del Racing car crashed into the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 2. The car then spun and made contact with the inside retaining wall. Giebler was checked and released from the Clarian Emergency Medical Center. The team hopes to repair the car overnight and make another qualifying attempt Sunday.

PJ Jones and Richie Hearn also expect to vie for the final starting position.

Today's Qualifiers

1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 225.817
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 225.757
3. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 225.191
4. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 225.122
5. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 225.109
6. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 224.641
7. (12) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 224.410
8. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 224.076
9. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 223.299
10. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 222.877
11. (39) Michael Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 222.789
12. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda, 223.875
13. (17) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Honda, 223.693
14. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 223.495
15. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 223.471
16. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 222.826
17. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Dallara-Honda, 222.595
18. (22) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 222.413
19. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 222.333
20. (02) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 222.327
21. (5) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 221.960
22. (99) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 221.380
23. (24) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda, 222.654
24. (33) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 221.756
25. (50) Al Unser Jr., Dallara-Honda, 220.876
26. (98) Alex Barron, Dallara-Honda, 220.471
27. (19) Jon Herb, Dallara-Honda, 220.108
28. (21) Jaques Lazier, Panoz-Honda, 219.409
29. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 219.228
30. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 218.922
31. (77) Roberto Moreno, Panoz-Honda, 216.229
32. (18) Jimmy Kite, Panoz-Honda, 214.528

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british f3

Asmer Wins First Ever Race Held in Bucharest
With the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series having the first race of the weekend, Marko Asmer has become the first driver ever to win a race in Bucharest. The Estonian took the chequered flag in a race dominated by safety car periods ahead of Carlin Motorsport teammates Alberto Valerio and Sam Bird.

Mike Meadows scored another victory in the National Class, his second of the season, after poleman Alistair Jackson had an incident with Jonathan Kennard force the Northern Irish driver into retirement. Sergio Perez was a close second, ahead of Hamad Al Fardan, the first visit to the podium for the Bahraini driver.

The 24 lap race was started under the safety car due to the track conditions following an earlier qualifying session and for two laps the 30 car grid circulated a slow speed weaving to try and get some heat into their slick Avon tires.

At the end of the second lap the race went green and Asmer pulled ahead of Valerio, who had Hohenthal and Bird climbing all over his rear wing as they exited the first corner at racing speed, with Bird going very wide on the exit but despite hopping over the curbs he maintained his pace. National Class pole position holder Alistair Jackson was the first casualty of the race when he tangled with his Raikkonen Robertson teammate Jonathan Kennard and his race ended before it had even begun. Kennard was able to continue.

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NASCAR gets beat in court again UPDATE #3 The Richard Childress Racing No. 31 team will be able to use AT&T logos tonight after a judge denied NASCAR's last-ditch effort to keep the Jeff Burton car from changing paint schemes prior to the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob, who issued a temporary injunction Friday permitting the change in logos from Cingular to AT&T, denied NASCAR's request Saturday to delay the injunction until it could be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals next week.

NASCAR has filed for an emergency stay with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but that hearing will not be heard until next week.

AT&T, which merged with Cingular in December 2006, sued NASCAR after the sanctioning body denied the change in logos because of its agreement with Nextel to sponsor the premier series.

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McNish puts Audi on top in morning warm-up
Audi took the top spot for the first time this weekend at Miller Motorsports Park in Saturday’s warm-up for the Utah Grand Prix. Allan McNish went quickest in the 30-minute session at 2:22.942 in Audi Sport North America’s Audi R10 TDI for a 0.734-second gap over Romain Dumas and the pole-sitting Porsche RS Spyder from Penske Motorsports.

The diesel-powered Audis have struggled this weekend with the track’s 24 turns, many of which are medium-speed corners that saddle the longer, heavier prototype. McNish teammate Dindo Capello qualified the car on the LMP1 class pole but eighth overall, three seconds behind Penske’s Timo Bernhard.

“It was a case of getting a lap in early on a clear track,” said McNish, who will see the car start from the rear of the grid after changing all four tires. “The times don't mean anything in the warm-up. This is just to make sure you have your balance. We can't say very much because there isn't much to say. In qualifying yesterday, that was as fast as it can go.”

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Colin Edwards wins pole at LeMans
A very hard fought qualifying session for Sunday’s French Grand Prix at Le Mans saw the first twelve riders covered by one second today, with Colin Edwards putting his Yamaha on pole ahead of the powerful Ducati of Casey Stoner.

Rider Team Time
1 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 33.616s
2 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 33.710s
3 Carlos Checa Honda LCR 1m 33.859s
4 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 33.875s
5 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 34.102s
6 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 1m 34.125s
7 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 34.247s
8 Randy De Puniet Kawasaki Racing 1m 34.318s
9 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1m 34.360s
10 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 34.412s
11 Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Yamaha Tech 1m 34.507s
12 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 34.574s
13 Alex Barros Pramac d'Antin 1m 34.817s
14 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 1m 34.834s
15 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 34.903s
16 Makoto Tamada Dunlop Yamaha Tech 1m 35.346s
17 Alex Hofmann Pramac d'Antin 1m 35.578s
18 Kenny Roberts Jr Team Roberts 1m 35.681s
19 Fonsi Nieto Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 36.312s


DaimlerChrysler to drop name from Vegas race
Change was the buzzword before this year's Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and another change is expected.

It won't be on par with the additions of the infield's Neon Garage, a closer pit road on the front stretch and the higher banked tri-oval.

But the change will be noticeable.

DaimlerChrysler will be dropped from the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 title pending finalization of the sale of 80 percent of Chrysler divisions to a private equity firm.

LVMS general manager Chris Powell said he expects a name change and should know by June what the 11th annual Las Vegas Cup race will be called.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Over-hyped pabulum
I grew up in the heart of NASCAR country. Legendary driver Curtis Turner was a native of my home county and as a young boy I followed the careers of drivers like Fireball Roberts, Fred Lorenzen, Lee Petty and Leroy Yarborough.

NASCAR drivers, mostly moonshine runners in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, drove for glory, not money.

In recent years, however, NASCAR - like too many other sports - has turned into a commercialized money machine: more hype than substance, more glitz than sport and more manufactured drama than actual competition.

Some say the old NASCAR died with Dale Earnhardt, who lost his life at Daytona in 2001 but the sport was already on life support when Earnhardt crashed on the last lap of that race.

In a final twist of fate, it is Earnhardt's son, Dale Jr., who today symbolizes what is wrong with stock car racing.

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Sales for Earnhardt merchandise jump
Sales of Dale Earnhardt Jr. merchandise has skyrocketed 107 percent in the week since NASCAR's most popular driver said he was leaving his late father's company at the end of the season. The surge surprised industry experts, who believed sales of Earnhardt's red No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet merchandise would dip while he searches for a new team, number and maybe even a new sponsor.

"I was a little concerned about his sales after the announcement, what the reaction would be, but it looks like it's terrific," Mark Dyer, NASCAR's vice president of licensing, said Wednesday night.

"It looks like there's an affinity for that No. 8 car. There's been a lot of great moments, the fact that its a DEI car, and the whole Dale Jr. thing. I think its indicative of the fact that people aren't ready just this moment; they want at least one last souvenir before they move on to the next chapter with him."


Valvoline back with Roush
Roush Fenway Racing has signed a multi-year deal that reunites the team and Valvoline as its official motor oil and engine lubricant provider, effective immediately. The deal applies to all of the 13 Roush Fenway entries in the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. Valvoline will remain the primary sponsor of the Evernham Motorsports #10 Dodge driven by Scott Riggs and that program will not be affected by the Roush deal. SPEEDtv.com


IRL puts brakes on fuel mixture controls
Honda and IndyCar Series officials have quietly made a decision that might have a profound effect on the outcome of this year's Indianapolis 500.   Teams have been notified to expect they will lose the ability to control fuel mixtures during the race, which in the past has been a key part of race strategy for the Indy 500.

In the past, drivers have been able to change their fuel setting using a gauge that allows them to set it to a variation of full rich or full lean. Full rich produces the optimum horsepower; full lean the optimum fuel mileage.

Instead of having a variable option, teams will be given just two choices: full rich or a setting that leans the engine out slightly, which is intended specifically for use during cautions.

This decision will most likely eliminate any possibility of the race being won on a fuel mileage strategy and instead reward the driver who is the hardest (and smartest) charger. It's going to be up to the talent of the driver and not the fuel mixture you are running," said Tony Kanaan, who starts on the front row, in second spot.

"The only way I know how to run is flat out, so (by) taking the fuel mileage away, you're going to have to run flat out, you can't just keep lagging around in the back. Races should be won by people who run flat out and not by ones who save fuel."  More at Yahoo! Sports


Junior Johnson in the legit Moonshine biz
Piedmont Distillers and NASCAR legend Junior Johnson have joined forces and introduced the company's second moonshine product, Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon. The company will continue to produce its popular original brand, Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine. Johnson is now a part owner of Piedmont Distillers, the only legal Distiller in North Carolina. Johnson's new brand, Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon, joins Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, which is now available in eight states.

Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon joins Catdaddy on North Carolina store shelves this week and will follow in several other states immediately. Distribution in additional states will be announced in the very near future. "I am really proud to own part of this company," Johnson said. "I've done a lot of things in my life, and my history in the moonshine business is no secret. Back in the old days, we learned to drive cars fast because we'd go to jail if we didn't. Now, you can buy part of a moonshine business, tell everybody where they can buy your product, and it's all legal.

It's a different deal than it was back then. I'm looking forward to being a part of this company." Like many of the other early stock car racers, Johnson grew up tending to the family's whiskey business. He helped his father work the copper stills during the day and developed his incredible driving skills by running shine at night. Junior combined his understanding of how to make a car run flat-out with his legendary driving skill to become one of the most successful drivers and owners in racing history. As a NASCAR driver, Johnson won 50 races and 49 poles. He is tied with Ned Jarrett for 10th place on the all-time victory list. For more information on either brand, please visit www.catdaddymoonshine.com


Hyder & Kennedy suspensions to be lifted
NASCAR will lift the indefinite suspensions of crew chief David Hyder and competition director Bobby Kennedy on May 30, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said on Friday. Hyder and Kennedy were suspended when NASCAR discovered an unidentified substance in the engine of #55-Michael Waltrip's car before qualifying for the Daytona 500 in February. Both were escorted from the facility and have not been to a track since. Hyder was fired last month before the race at Talladega Superspeedway. "Bobby got booted by association," Waltrip said Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "He was supposed to oversee all of the cars and the 55 was the one found to be outside of the rules. It took us a little while to understand what to do. It's such a devastating blow, and we just decided to end the association with Hyder. Bobby has been with me for seven or eight years, and we've never gotten into any trouble for anything. I don't know Hyder and I know Bobby. Bobby has never had that type of personality, and ultimately the crew chief is responsible for the car as NASCAR so eloquently pointed out last week." Waltrip said Kennedy's role has been redefined and he's not sure what the new role will be. Waltrip, who met with NASCAR officials again last week, hopes this brings closure to ordeal. "They told us what was found in the intake was obviously a substance that was put there on purpose to enhance performance, and it had to be done by someone inside our company or inside our circle," Waltrip said. "I don't want to single out Hyder. I do want to say that a couple of the guys who came with him are no longer employed by us." ESPN.com

British F3

Jelley Bounces Back in Qualifying Lottery
Stephen Jelley (#1 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) bounced back after the disappointment of yesterday to claim pole position for Round 6 of the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series on a wet Bucharest track.

On a drying track the last five minutes proved to be frantic as times tumbled, with Atte Mustonen (#26 Raikkonen Robertson Racing), Sam Bird (#3 Carlin Motorsport), Sebastian Hohenthal (#5 Fortec Motorsport), Alberto Valerio (#22 Carlin Motorsport) and Maro Engel (#23 Carlin Motorsport) all staking a claim to the top spot but it was Jelley who was fastest when the checkered flag was displayed to end the 30 minute session.

Jelley finished 1.2 seconds ahead of Alberto Valerio, with Atte Mustonen just five hundredths of a second behind the Brazilian, who was running with a new rear wing after clouting the wall hard five minutes into qualifying. Engel was 4th, with Bird and Hohenthal rounding out the top six.

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Barron gets Indy 500 ride with Beck
Beck Motorsports has named Alex Barron to drive the No. 98 CURB Records entry in the 91st Indianapolis 500. Barron, the 2002 Indianapolis 500 Chase Co-Rookie of the Year, has raced two IndyCar Series events this season with the team.

GREG BECK (Owner, Beck Motorsports): "We're going to run Alex (Barron) today. Obviously, he's been in the car all year. He's the best choice for us. We got some things sorted out the last couple of days, and it will enable us to run. We're still working on sponsorship, but hopefully it will come. Alex will be running the Dallara, and we're going to go out this afternoon and run him and see where we are."


Moreno replaces Gregoire
Chastain Motorsports owner Tom Chastain has named Roberto Moreno to replace the injured Stephan Gregoire in his entry for the 91st Indianapolis 500. Moreno will be required to complete Indianapolis 500 refresher testing, according to IndyCar Series officials

TOM CHASTAIN (Owner, Chastain Motorsports): "We've given the ride to Roberto Moreno. He's here today to get his seat fitted. It is very unfortunate that Stephan couldn't proceed with us. I haven't known another driver other than Stephan. He's the only driver that I've ever known, but we need somebody with experience to come in here and do the job real quick, and from what I've been told, Roberto is the guy that can get the job done, so he's here." (When will we see the car on track with Roberto?): "Tomorrow, on the car. We had a backup car, and we're transferring parts from one car to the other now, so it should be ready for tomorrow."


Gregoire breaks back at Indy Speedway UPDATE Gregoire was released from the hospital Friday morning, but was not cleared to drive and will not be allowed to qualify this weekend.  "Though he is feeling well and is experiencing only minimal pain, Stephan will not be cleared to compete in remaining Indianapolis 500 activities this month," IRL medical services director Dr. Mike Olinger said.

05/17/07 Stephan Gregoire will not continue driving the Chastain Motorsports No. 77 car after injuring his back during a wreck today, Chastain Motorsports owner Tom Chastain told he Indy Star.

"He said the team's worked too hard to not go forward, so he wants us to go forward," Chastain said. "He's not going to be able to drive for us … He's basically just said he can't do it."

Gregoire was admitted to Methodist Hospital shortly after the wreck, and will be held overnight for observation, Chastain said. An MRI showed Gregoire suffered an end-plate fracture of the third thoracic vertebrae, a location proximate of the shoulder blades, Dr. Mike Olinger, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League, told The Associated Press. His car spun out and struck the wall dead on with the rear of the transmission, which transmitted the force through the engine and into the drivers back, thereby snapping the vertebra.


Hornaday drives away from Allmendinger for the win
Ron Hornaday Jr. ran away AJ Allmendinger in a green-white-checkered finish to win the Quaker Steak and Lube 200 Craftsman Truck Series race Friday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

The two-lap shootout resulted from a caution on lap 132 that pushed the race two laps beyond its posted distance of 134 laps. Strong on restarts throughout the race, Hornaday pulled away slightly on Lap 135 and crossed the finish line 0.244 seconds ahead of Allmendinger.

Todd Bodine ran third, followed by Mark Martin and Ted Musgrave. Mike Bliss, Matt Crafton, Mike Skinner, T.J. Bell and Rick Crawford claimed positions six through 10.

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Gurney blisters Mazda Raceway
Alex Gurney blistered the fresh pavement on the famed 2.23-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as he turned laps in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley that were more than half a second quicker than anyone else in the Daytona Prototype field for Sunday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series U.S. Sports Car Invitational delivered by Luggage Express. Gurney, whose father Dan is on hand this weekend to cheer him on, set the pace at 1:20.980 at an average speed of 99.491 mph. Co-driver Jon Fogarty, who will qualify the car tomorrow, wasn’t far behind – and the duo is brimming with confidence. Fogarty will seek to keep the team’s season-long front-row streak alive, and potentially even score his first career Rolex Series pole.

[Editor's Note: The track record in a Champ Car is 1m06s, some 14 seconds per lap faster that these Grand-Am Daytona prototype cars, meaning the Champ Car would lap the entire Grand-Am field every 5 laps.  Even the Atlantic cars were turning laps at 1m16s, over 3 seconds per lap faster than the premier series in Grand-Am.  So to say that Gurney blistered Mazda Raceway is a bit of a misnomer to say the least.  The Grand-Am cars are so slow it's like watching paint dry.]

“This is a great way to start off the weekend – the GAINSCO Pontiac is really hooked up all around the track," said Gurney. "We’ve even surprised ourselves a little bit but we’ll take it for sure. The new track surface is all-around grippier, and thanks to our engineer Kyle Brannan, I think we’ve got a setup that takes advantage of that grip better than anyone else. We don’t seem to have a weak spot anywhere so we’ll just try to keep this going into tomorrow and give Jon a shot at the pole in qualifying.”

Pos  No.  Class  Driver  Team  Car  Best Lap  Speed 
 1  99  DP  Fogarty/ Gurney  Pontiac Riley  1:20.980  99.491       
 2  01  DP  Pruett/ Rojas  Lexus Riley  1:21.499  98.858        
 3  39  DP  Fittipaldi/ Brix   Porsche Fabcar  1:21.697  98.618  
 4  60  DP  Patterson/ Negri Jr Lexus Riley  1:21.752  98.552  
 5  10  DP  Taylor/ Angelelli/ Magnussen Pontiac Riley  1:21.880  98.398  
 6  23  DP  Long/ Bergmeister  Porsche Crawford  1:21.940  98.326   
 7  75  DP  Braun/ Papis  Pontiac Riley  1:21.973  98.286   
 8  11  DP  Dalziel/ Carpentier  Pontiac Riley  1:22.078  98.160   
 9  91  DP  Matthews/ Goossens  Pontiac Riley  1:22.223  97.987   
 10  19  DP  Finlay/ Valiante  Lexus Riley  1:22.226  97.984   
 11  6  DP  Pew/ James  Lexus Riley  1:22.486  97.675
 12  61  DP  Frisselle/ Wilkins/ Frisselle  Lexus Riley  1:22.868  97.225  
 13  58  DP  Donohue/ Law   Porsche Riley  1:22.975  97.099  
 14  77  DP  Gidley/ Cosmo  Ford Doran  1:23.172  96.869 
 15  12  DP  Schramm/ Bell  Pontiac Riley  1:24.203  95.683 
 16  3  DP  Lewis/ Ruhlman  Lexus Riley  1:24.477  95.373 
 17  59  DP  Haywood/ France  Porsche Riley  1:24.655  95.172
 18  05  DP  Auberlen/ Alhadeff  BMW Riley  1:24.694  95.128 
 19  76  DP  Krohn/ Jonsson  Pontiac Riley  1:25.472  94.262


Honda riders top Friday free practice at LeMans
Free practice started today at the Le Mans circuit which saw the completion of the first two practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix of France.

Rider Team Time
1 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini  1m 35.319s
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 35.467s
3 Carlos Checa Honda LCR  1m 35.498s
4 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 35.626s
5 John Hopkins  Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 35.746s
6 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 35.759s
7 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 35.770s
8 Toni Elias Honda Gresini  1m 35.818s
9 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 35.908s
10 Alex Barros Pramac d'Antin  1m 36.044s
11 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 36.139s
12 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 36.352s
13 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 36.491s
14 Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Yamaha Tech 1m 36.705s
15 Kenny Roberts Jr Team Roberts 1m 36.770s
16 Makoto Tamada Dunlop Yamaha Tech 1m 36.795s
17 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 1m 36.855s
18 Alex Hofmann Pramac d'Antin  1m 37.668s


Ethanol farce further exposed
Ethanol's Bitter Taste
May 18, 2007; Page A16 Wall Street Journal May 18, 2007

It was a scant two years ago that Georgia's Saxby Chambliss voted with 73 other giddy senators for an energy bill that required the nation to use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol. Georgia's farmers loved corn-based ethanol; Georgia's agri-businesses loved corn-based ethanol; and all that meant that then-Agriculture Committee Chairman Chambliss loved corn-based ethanol, too.

Earlier this year, Mr. Chambliss introduced a bill calling for even greater ethanol use, though with one striking difference: The bill caps the amount of that fuel that can come from corn. Turns out Georgia's chicken farmers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's pork producers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's dairy industry hates corn-based ethanol; Georgia's food producers hate corn-based ethanol; Georgia's hunters hate corn-based ethanol. And all that means Mr. Chambliss has had to find a new biofuels religion.

The shine is off corn ethanol, and oh, what a comedown it has been. It was only in January that President Bush was calling for a yet a bijillion more gallons of the wonder-stuff in his State of the Union address, and Iowa's Chuck Grassley was practically doing the Macarena in his seat. And why shouldn't Mr. Grassley and fellow ethanol handmaidens have boogied? They'd forced their first mandate through Congress, corn farmers were rolling in dough, billions in taxpayer dollars were spurring dozens of new ethanol plants -- and here was the commander-in-chief calling for yet more yellow dollars. All in the name of national security, too!

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Hornish tops Friday practice at Speedway
Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. topped the speed chart as qualified teams continued preparations for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Hornish recorded the fastest lap of the day, 39.990 seconds, 225.006 mph, driving his back-up car. Scott Dixon was second fastest with a lap of 224.458 mph, also in a back-up car.

Andretti Green Racing teammates Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Marco Andretti rounded out the top five.

Another Andretti, Panther Racing's John Andretti was the fastest among drivers who have not yet qualified for the 33-car field. Andretti's top lap was 222.830 mph.

Roger Yasukawa, Marty Roth, rookie Phil Giebler, two-time "500" winner Al Unser Jr. and Jon Herb also were non-qualified drivers who turned laps faster than 220 mph.

1. (6T) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 225.006
2. (9T) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 224.458
3. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 224.340
4. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 224.253
5. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 223.668
6. (10T) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 223.338
7. (3T) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 223.212
8. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 222.913
9. (33) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 222.830
10. (24) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda, 222.409
11. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 222.350
12. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 222.259
13. (5) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 222.057
14. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 221.749
15. (8T) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda, 221.508
16. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 221.411
17. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 221.218
18. (31) Phil Giebler, Panoz-Honda, 220.992
19. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Dallara-Honda, 220.968
20. (39) Michael Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 220.711
21. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 220.659
22. (17T) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Honda, 220.572
23. (50) Al Unser Jr., Dallara-Honda, 220.344
24. (19) Jon Herb, Dallara-Honda, 220.037
25. (21) Jaques Lazier, Panoz-Honda, 219.830
26. (99) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 219.046
27. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 218.025
28. (02) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 217.452
29. (40) P.J. Jones, Dallara-Honda, 217.164
30. (98) Alex Barron, Dallara-Honda, 216.432
31. (18) Jimmy Kite, Panoz-Honda, 215.262

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Cup race at Dover renamed
Dover International Speedway announced today that the June 3, 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race will be named the "Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa." Autism Speaks is an organization dedicated to increasing understanding and knowledge of autism spectrum disorders; to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism; and to advocating for the needs of affected families.

"Thanks to Visa's commitment, this event marks the first time a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event entitlement has been dedicated to a not-for-profit organization," said Mark Rossi, vice president of sales & marketing for Dover Motorsports, Inc. "Millions of fans watching the race on Fox around the country, along with our loyal fan base here at the track in Dover, will be exposed to the 'Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa' messaging. The end result will be increased awareness, and additional funds, to assist the many important initiatives of Autism Speaks."

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Test set for inaugural Busch event in Montreal
In preparation for its second international event of the season -- and its inaugural race in Canada -- the NASCAR Busch Series will conduct a test on Tuesday, June 12, at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in Montreal, Quebec, site of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge on Aug. 4.

Richard Childress Racing and two-time Nextel Cup champion Terry Labonte will serve as the test team. Labonte is the winner of 11 races in the Busch Series, four of which came on the road course at Watkins Glen International. RCR was also the test team in January 2005 with driver Jeff Burton prior to the inaugural event at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

"I was excited when I got the call asking if I was willing to drive at the test," Labonte said. "I'm happy to share my opinions on things like gear ratio with the drivers who will race at this track. The fans in Canada are so passionate about their racing. I'm really looking forward to this opportunity."

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Fernandez to drive at LeMans
Adrian Fernandez will add another milestone to his driving resume on June 16 as Mexico's most popular driver prepares to compete in the world famous endurance race - the 24 Hours of Le Mans - at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. Fernandez will be driving a Lowe's-sponsored LMP2 sports car for the Zytek Group based in Banbury, England. He will be part of a three-driver lineup for the factory effort that will feature the new Zytek 07S LMP2 chassis powered by a Zytek V8 engine on Michelin tires.

"I have been fortunate to compete in a number of prestigious races over the course of my career and competing at Le Mans, the most famous endurance race in the world, has always been at the top of my list of things I wanted to accomplish," said Fernandez, who currently competes in the American Le Mans Series with co-driver Luis Diaz aboard the No. 15 Lowe's Acura-powered Lola sports car.

"Our goal is to one day compete at Le Mans with our own Acura-powered team - Lowe's Fernandez Racing - so I am very thankful for the opportunity to partner with Zytek this year and learn about this event," Fernandez added. "From what I understand, Le Mans is like no other race so this will be a good dry run and learning experience for us. In the process, I hope to bring a good result home as well."

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Dumas tops morning practice in Utah
Porsche and Penske Motorsports continued to assert themselves at Miller Motorsports Park on Friday morning with the two fastest times in the day's first practice session for the Utah Grand Prix. This time it was Romain Dumas taking overall honors with a 2:22.460 on his final flying lap of the hour-long session.

Dumas and Timo Bernhard have won the last two overall events in the American Le Mans Series with their P2 Porsche. On Friday, he was a half-second better than teammate Sascha Maassen in the sister Penske entry at 2:22.949. Ryan Briscoe, Maassen's teammate, was fastest in Thursday night's test session, and the Porsches obviously benefited from early-week testing.

"The car is good. We've improved every session," Dumas said. "We will continue to work on the car every time out, but we are quite happy."

Bryan Herta was third overall and in P2 for Acura and Andretti Green Racing at 2:23.081. The team is here for the first time, and Herta took a Miller school car around the track Monday to learn the 4.5-mile, 24-turn venue. "I love the circuit. It's fast, flowing and great fun," said Marino Franchitti, Herta's teammate this weekend. "It feels like our car will be faster. Acura and Andretti Green have made some changes."

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Paul Ricard Day 4: Raikkonen finishes on top
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen just beat Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella to finish on top of the times on the final day of testing at the Paul Ricard circuit.  The Finn posted a best time of 1:28.624.

Pos  Driver         Team                     Time     Laps
 1.  Raikkonen      Ferrari             (B)  1:28.624  101
 2.  Fisichella     Renault             (B)  1:28.641  111
 3.  de la Rosa     McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:29.249   78
 4.  Montagny       Toyota              (B)  1:29.312   79
 5.  Nakajima       Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:29.631  100
 6.  Coulthard      Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:29.834   77
 7.  Rossiter       Super Aguri-Honda   (B)  1:29.869  131
 8.  Sutil          Spyker-Ferrari      (B)  1:29.869   83
 9.  Heidfeld       BMW-Sauber          (B)  1:29.978  118
10.  Button         Honda               (B)  1:29.989  100
11.  Liuzzi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:29.993   56

British F3

Asmer Claims Third Straight Pole
Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech Racing) claimed his third straight pole position of the 2007 season in Bucharest in a red flag hit 30 minute session for tomorrows fifth race of the year. The Estonian finished 0.160 seconds ahead of Alberto Valerio (#22 Carlin Motorsport), the 2005 SudAm Formula 3 Champion revelling in the challenge of the street circuit in the Romanian Capital.

Marko Asmer: "It's not very easy but no I've been starting well now; we've been quickest in every session so far. The good thing is that no one can say I've done this so many times because I'm here for the first time like everybody. So it's a good start. In qualifying the track is getting better and we find small bits and getting quicker ourselves. We should go quicker tomorrow again. My lap time was good but it was nothing special to our own standards. I think we had a very, very good lap coming but in the second last corner I hit some traffic and I know we could be much quicker than we are now."

Round 5 of the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series is due to start at 11:55 tomorrow and will be preceded at 08:15 with the 30 minute qualifying session for Round 6 on Sunday.

Qualifying for Round 5 Provisional Results

1 7 C Marko ASMER EST 1:11.681 156.24kph
2 22 C Alberto VALERIO BRA +0.160s
3 5 C Sebastian HOHENTHAL SWE +0.677s
4 3 C Sam BIRD GBR +0.692s
5 21 C Niall BREEN IRL +0.820s
6 23 C Maro ENGEL GER +1.090s
7 26 C Atte MUSTONEN FIN +1.165s
8 50 C Greg MANSELL GBR +1.318s
9 1 C Stephen JELLEY GBR +1.413s
10 15 C Michael DEVANEY IRL +1.768s
11 35 N Alistair JACKSON GBR +2.096s
12 2 C Jonathan KENNARD GBR +2.129s
13 55 N Michael MEADOWS GBR +2.195s
14 14 C Esteban GUERRIERI ARG +2.217s
15 31 N Sergio PEREZ MEX +2.381s
16 9 C Rodolfo GONZALEZ VEN +2.532s
17 24 C John MARTIN AUS +2.533s
18 4 C Mario MORAES BRA +2.614s
19 38 N Hamad AL FARDAN BHR +2.689s
20 36 N Albert COSTA ESP +2.761s
21 61 I Max CHILTON GBR +3.448s
22 37 N Viktor JENSEN ISL +3.480s
23 33 N Juan Pablo GARCIA SAMANO MEX +3.733s
24 34 N Alex WATERS GBR +3.841s
25 12 C Sean PETTERSON RSA +4.244s
26 44 C Leo MANSELL GBR +4.832s
27 8 C Francesco CASTELLACCI ITA +4.910s
28 10 C Ricardo TEIXEIRA ANG +5.325s
29 39 N CHENG Cong Fu CHN +5.620s
30 77 N Salman AL KHALIFA BHR +5.787s


Delphi team wins BorgWarner Louis Schwitzer Award
The Delphi engineering team of Erskine Carter, Glen Gray, Andy Inman, Tim Kronenberg and Bruce Natvig received the 41st annual BorgWarner Louis Schwitzer Award on May 18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for its development of the Delphi Accident Data Recorder 3 (ADR 3).

Delphi Accident Data Recorders have been required safety devices on Indy cars since 1992. The third-generation ADR3 offers significant improvements from the previous design, providing a 37-percent reduction in size and weight, double the sample speed and memory, and 31 additional external signal inputs.

"I would like to thank you for your passion for safety," Gray said of the Indy Racing League. "It makes us want to go back to our offices, our labs, to work on improvements."

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DEI and RCR merge engine shops
WELCOME, N.C. – One of NASCAR’s greatest partnerships – Childress and Earnhardt – has been expanded with the creation of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies.

Richard Childress and Teresa Earnhardt announced today that the joint venture partnership will combine the Chevrolet engine departments of Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI), with engine development work to begin immediately.

Construction of a permanent stand-alone facility located between RCR and DEI will begin later this summer with completion expected by mid 2008.  A specific site has not been announced, although a location has been identified pending zoning approval.  Until that facility is complete, all work will be divided between the RCR’s engine shop in Welcome, N.C. and DEI’s shop in Mooresville, N.C.  It is anticipated that all six RCR and DEI cars will run the first common engine at Daytona in July.

Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies will develop and build engines for the Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series teams campaigned by the two companies.  A long-term goal of the joint venture will include an engine leasing program for teams in NASCAR’s top three divisions. The partnership also has long-term plans to diversify and expand beyond NASCAR by providing race engines to teams competing in series such as the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, various off-road and stock car series, sports car series, etc. 

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NASCAR driver and team aircraft
Drivers Aircraft Number
Dale Earnhardt Jr LearJet 60 N8JR
Jeff Gordon Hawker 800 N24JG
Tony Stewart Cessna Citation N500TS
Mark Martin Cessna Citation CJ+ N6M
Jimmie Johnson LearJet 31A N480JJ
Kevin Harvick LearJet 31A N229KD
Jeff Burton Cessna Citation CJ+ N31JB
Dale Jarrett Cessna Citation N88DJ
Ken Shrader Beechcraft King Air 100 N207SB
Michael Waltrip Beechcraft King Air 300 N1MW
Matt Kenseth Reserved N170MK
Carl Edwards Piper N355PM
Bobby Labonte LearJet 31A N100BL
Kasey Kahne Beechcraft King Air 300 N38H
Richard Petty Israel Aircraft 1124 N43RP
Darrell Waltrip Cessna Citation N500DW
Terry Labonte Cessna Citation CJ+ N500TL

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NASCAR Darlington TV ratings plummet UPDATE The final rating for last Sunday's rain delayed Dodge Avenger NASCAR Nextel Cup race was a 4.2/12 share, down 12.5% from last year's 4.8 rating and down 25% from the 5.6 rating in 2005.

05/14/07 The overnight rating for Sunday's rain delayed Nextel Cup race at Darlington (Dodge Avenger 500) on FOX was a 4.0/11 share, down 7% from last year's 4.3 overnight on FOX and down 15% from the overnight rating in 2005.


Dismal Indy qualifying TV rating UPDATE The final rating for Indy pole qualifying on ABC was a 0.8/2 share.

05/14/07 Despite the new gimmick the IRL has developed for Indy 500 qualifying, the fans don't seem to be interested. The overnight TV rating for the Indy 500 pole day qualifications on ABC Saturday was a dismal 0.8.  Couple that with the 10,000 estimate for attendance at the track on Saturday one can conclude that Tony George has essentially killed the family's biggest asset by creating the IRL, splitting the sport, and taking it from as big as NASCAR to where it is today.  And the longer the split continues, the lower the sport will plummet.


Servia in at Forsythe
AutoRacing1.com can now confirm that Oriol Servia will be in the 2nd Forsythe Championship Racing Champ Car alongside Paul Tracy starting in Portland. For now it is a race-by-race deal for Servia, but he will drive at least the next 3 races. The injured Paul Tracy is feeling good and will return to the cockpit in Portland.  Mark C.


Justin Wilson staying busy
After the high intensity start to his 2007 Champ Car season, involving back-to-back races in Las Vegas, Long Beach and Houston, Justin has had plenty to do during the six week gap before the next race in Portland on 10th June.

He participated in a rain-interrupted test with the CDW RSPORTS team at Portland International Raceway at the start of May, before flying to England to help the Champ Car World Series promote its events in Zolder (26th August) and Assen (2nd September).  Right now he’s in Paris, at the end of a series of press conferences and media interviews which began in London on Tuesday and also took in Amsterdam and Brussels.

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Coulthard not optimistic
Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard has warned that the team is unlikely to make a significant improvement in performance before the 2008 Formula One season.

The veteran Scot, who has 13 grand prix victories to his name, collected Red Bull's first points of the season at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix after a strong drive to fifth place.

Coulthard believes the four-point haul is a step in the right direction, although a gearbox problem almost scuppered his charge in Barcelona, and he only just held off the charging Williams of Nico Rosberg as he nursed the RB3 home.

Poor reliability has robbed both Coulthard and team-mate Mark Webber of points at the opening three rounds of the season, and the 36-year-old believes it will be next year before the Adrian Newey-designed car reaches its maximum potential.

Coulthard said: 'It was good [the result in Spain]. It was not just that we got the points, but more so that we clearly demonstrated our performances are improving.

'It showed that we are now on the right track. We are moving forward and get confidence from that because inevitably people had started to have doubts.

'It is down to the hard work by a whole group of us, led by Adrian. Given time I knew we could achieve it.

'But the real step, I believe, will come when we go into the next year. Then, we will have the continuity of the engine, the design team and all the data that we did not have this year.' Metro.co.uk


McLaren plays down Alonso struggle
(GMM)  A spokeswoman for McLaren-Mercedes has played down suggestions that world champion Fernando Alonso is struggling to cope with being outshone by his rookie teammate so far in 2007.

After finishing behind Lewis Hamilton for a second consecutive race at his home grand prix last weekend, Spaniard Alonso now trails his British counterpart by two points but insisted after the Barcelona race that he is not wary of the threat posed by Hamilton.

The British broadsheet The Times, however, is reporting claims that Alonso demanded that McLaren preclude Hamilton from the Paul Ricard test lineup this week -- only to be excluded himself.

"Lewis might have been due to drive, he might not have been," McLaren spokeswoman Ellen Kolby said.

She added: "They keep changing who is driving to fit in with the engineering schedule.  I think too much is being read into the situation."

Industry News

Lutz spends $1.1 million to raise GM holdings by 20%
By exercising stock options, General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz spent $1.1 million Thursday to buy almost $1.7 million worth of GM stock and increase his holding of company shares by 20%, the company reported this morning.

A stock option is a financial instrument that lets its holder buy shares at set price, and they have significant value when that price is less than the stock’s current price. Lutz exercised options issued last year, allowing him to acquire 53,336 shares for $20.90 each, for a total of $1.1 million. The shares are worth a total of $1.68 million, based on a share price of $31.50.

Lutz also sold 5,502 of the shares at $31.50, or $173,313, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Little, Pedigo Embrace Indy Excitement
While fans’ anticipation simmers at the prospect of three women making the field for the first time for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500, two women will be part of ESPN on ABC’s coverage from the pits for the first time in the history of the storied race. The telecast for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” begins at noon ET Sunday, May 27.

ESPN reporter Jamie Little (pictured right in her FHM magazine photo shoot), back for her fourth Indianapolis 500, will be joined as a pit reporter for ABC’s live coverage of the race by Brienne Pedigo, an Indy native who joined ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage team this year. Jack Arute and Vince Welch also will report from the pits and garage.

On Saturday, ESPN2 will be on the air from 4-6:30 p.m. ET with coverage of the third day of time trials. ABC’s coverage of Bump Day, presented by GoDaddy.com, airs from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, followed by coverage on ESPN2 from 5-6:30 p.m.

Little is also a reporter for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage this season, which includes yearlong coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series and coverage of the final 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.

“Having two women in the pits and hopefully three women in the field is just an example -- it’s a sport that everyone pays attention to, male or female, young and old,” Little said. “It’s showing what’s happening in auto racing.”

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Creation Le Mans driver lineup
The British based Creation Autosportif team has brought together a truly international driver line-up for its assault on the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans in France next month.

Felipe Ortiz, resident of Switzerland but of Bolivian nationality, will be continuing with the team with which he finished third in the LMP1 category of the 2006 Le Mans Series, and will be one of the mainstays of the team in 2007. He will be joined by British, long-time Creation driver and former FIA GT Champion, Jamie Campbell-Walter, and Shinji Nakano of Japan.

Team Principal Ian Bickerton was upbeat about the prospects for the coming months. “I’m delighted to welcome Felipe back to Creation for 2007, not just for Le Mans but for the remainder of the Le Mans Series as well. We all got on extremely well last year and I think the continuity of the partnership will be very good for both sides.

“Jamie had a bit of a lean year in 2006, so I know he’ll be hungry for success and will head up our racing attack with the Creation CA/07 with his usual enthusiasm, speed and good humor. He learnt a huge amount working alongside Nic Minassian for a couple of years, and that will no doubt benefit the driver line-up this year, especially in terms of engineering and set up feed back.

“Shinji is super quick and has considerable sportscar experience under his belt, never mind all the years in Formula One and Champ Cars. I’m really looking forward to working with him. He’s starting with us this year and will also start testing the AIM-engined car from October onwards. He’ll be joining Felipe and Jamie at Le Mans and for the three Le Mans Series after that, and is currently looking for the budget to keep him in the car for Interlagos.”


More scenes from Champ Car European Tour
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CCWSEuropeTour5.jpg CCWSEuropeTour13.jpg CCWSEuropeTour6.jpg CCWSEuropeTour7.jpg


Briscoe puts Porsche on top in Salt Lake City
It didn’t take Ryan Briscoe long to acquaint himself with Miller Motorsports Park. The young Aussie put in the fastest overall race lap Thursday in the American Le Mans Series’ first on-track session for the Utah Grand Prix in one of Penske Motorsports’ Porsche RS Spyders.

Briscoe turned in a lap of 2:22.613 as Penske’s two LMP2 entries ran first and second on the 4.5-mile, 24-turn circuit. Timo Bernhard was 0.3 seconds behind at 2:22.932 in the sister Spyder. He and Romain Dumas won the last two rounds of the Series at Long Beach and Houston.

Both Porsches were under last year’s qualifying records, the only cars to do so in the field. Briscoe’s time bested Lucas Luhr’s best effort from 2006 by 0.7 seconds.

“The circuit is wonderful,” said Briscoe, who has won once in class this year with Sascha Maassen at St. Petersburg. “There are a lot of amazing corners. I had to adjust on the first few laps, but after that was great.”

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