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Waltrip continues to tarnish Toyota's image  Toyota driver and team owner Michael Waltrip (pictured right after screwing up again), who was caught cheating in Daytona in February and left the scene of an accident near his home recently,  failed to qualify for his 11th straight race after wrecking during his second qualifying lap. One has to wonder how much longer Toyota will put up with this guy.  Obviously he is a blemish on their good name.

Waltrip, who brushed the wall in practice, lost control of his Toyota high on the track in the second turn. He missed hitting the outside wall, but his spinning car slammed into the inside wall, ripping off a front tire. The car hit the wall a second time before coming to rest. He was not injured.

``I really struggled hanging on to it,'' Waltrip told his crew.

Minardi Team USA Fastest in First Day of Testing  Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and Dan Clarke topped the time charts today for the first of two private test days at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant. Minardi Team USA made good use of the six weeks of idle time between races and showed today they have the speed to contend for the Championship.

Robert Doornbos was quickest today with an unofficial time of 1.17.97. Both he and Dan have just returned from Europe where they spent several days promoting the Champ Car races in Assen and Zolder later this year, but he hasn’t driven since the Portland test earlier this month.

“It is nice to be back in the car after a bit of a break. Obviously the time off is being spent wisely by everyone on the team. The entire engineering staff did a great job crunching data from the Portland test, and it showed today. Mont-Tremblant is a great circuit and a wonderful town. It is very challenging and very fun to drive, and I look forward to tomorrow. As always we will keep pushing to keep improving,” told Doornbos. More ...

Kanaan hopes hard work brings Indy 500 win  "Our last two days of practice were really productive.  We made some changes to the Team 7-Eleven car that I think will really help us in the race.  We've been very close here in the past but so many things have to go right for you to be there in the end.  I've got all the confidence in the world in the Team 7-Eleven crew and think we'll be challenging for the win."
Danica expects to challenge for Indy 500 win  "I feel pretty good going into the race. I think my chances are pretty good. I believe there are 10 or 12 cars that can win this race and I am one of those. We've worked extremely hard on the Motorola car to make it competitive for Sunday. You certainly have to have some things go your way and have a good, clean race, but if we can accomplish all of that, we should be right there."
F1 quiz  
1. The Monaco circuit underwent major modifications when the Gazomètre hairpin was changed to that of La Rascasse and the swimming pool chicane was added along the harbor. In what year did these changes take place ?

a. 1973
b. 1975
c. 1976
d. 1981
e. 1985

2. Besides Jarno Trulli in 2004, who is the only other Italian driver to claim victory at the Monaco Grand Prix during its world championship years (1950, 1955-2006) ?

a. Michele Alboreto
b. Alberto Ascari
c. Elio de Angelis
d. Giuseppe Farina
e. Ricardo Patrese

3. Which driver holds the record for the greatest number of consecutive victories (five) at Monaco ?

a. Graham Hill
b. Stirling Moss
c. Alain Prost
d. Michael Schumacher
e. Ayrton Senna

4. How many world champions can pride themselves on having won on the streets of Monaco ?

a. 5
b. 8
c. 10
d. 13
e. 15

5. Besides Monaco, which temporary circuit on city streets has hosted the greatest number of F1 world championship Grands Prix ?

a. Spanish Grand Prix in the Pedralbes neighborhood of Barcelona
b. United States Grand Prix (West) at Long Beach
c. Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide
d. United States Grand Prix at Phoenix
e. Portuguese Grand Prix at Porto

Answers: 1) c; 2) e ; 3) e ; 4) d ; 5) c

Cleveland GP roars back to life  A Cleveland summer tradition will be renewed on June 22-24 when the high-speed thrills of the Champ Car World Series return to Burke Lakefront Airport for the 2007 Grand Prix of Cleveland. The event enjoyed a resurgence under new ownership while celebrating its 25th anniversary last summer, and organizers are planning on even bigger things this year. Fans can look forward to a number of exciting innovations including new racing events, a big-name concert, and a first-time fan amenity that will allow fans to get closer to the action than ever before.

The Grand Prix will once again be headlined by the Champ Car World Series, America's longest-running open wheel racing series with exotic high-speed rocketships capable of speeds of more than 240 m.p.h. However, this year Champ Car will be joined by an unprecedented on-track lineup, including two all-new racing events that promise to create a great deal of excitement among younger fans: the Kumho Street Warriorz and the Formula Drift Championship. More ...

Dennis speaks out against manufacturer influence  McLaren boss Ron Dennis has spoken out against plans to put Formula One's major manufacturers in the driving seat when it comes to drawing up future technical regulations.

He told a Monaco Grand Prix news conference on Thursday: "I do not feel comfortable with regulations that are designed to favor car manufacturers whose involvement, at any time, can stop."

"It's not their core business and history shows manufacturers choose to stop at very short notice for very different reasons," added Dennis, whose championship-leading team is 40 percent owned by DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes.

"To construct, therefore, Formula One for the manufacturers I think is fundamentally wrong."

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) is in talks with the manufacturers to introduce major technical changes from 2011.

Proposals were circulated earlier this month. Dennis suggested on Thursday the enthusiasm of some teams for the proposals might be because they "can't make competitive cars with the current regulations."

Nabors unable to attend Indy 500 due to illness  Actor-entertainer Jim Nabors will not attend the 91st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27 and sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" during pre-race ceremonies due to illness.

Nabors will address the Race Day crowd on the video boards at IMS from his home in Hawaii and then ask the fans to sing the beloved song together in his place.

"It's a shame that my good friend Jim Nabors is not going to be here on Race Day, and everyone here at the event will miss him tremendously," said Mari Hulman George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway chairman of the board. "We hope that the fans' rendition of 'Back Home Again in Indiana' serves as a get-well card to Jim from hundreds of thousands of his close friends here at the track."

Nabors has become a legendary figure in Indianapolis 500 lore since he began his stirring rendition of "Back Home Again in Indiana" during pre-race ceremonies in 1972. He has sung the tune before 29 Indianapolis 500-Mile Races since 1972, including every year since 1987.

46-year old rookie wins pole for Indy pro race  Proving that 100% throttle racing is so easy, 46-year old rookie Ken Losch topped a field of 24 drivers to win the SWE Pole Award for the May 25 Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Losch recorded a two-lap average of 188.231 mph (1 minute, 35.6271 seconds) on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. He became the oldest driver to win a pole in the Indy Pro Series.

Series points leader Alex Lloyd (188.080 mph) will join Losch on Row 1. The penultimate qualifier, he broke up a potential all-Apex Racing front row. Mike Potekhen, driving the No. 53 Apex Racing car, posted an average of 187.686 mph. He will share Row 2 with Super Aguri Panther Racing's Hideki Mutoh (187.341).

Losch and Ryan Ruth founded Apex Racing in 2004 and are in their first season fielding a two-car team in the Indy Pro Series, the development series for the IndyCar Series. The team competed in Star Mazda last year, with Potekhen finishing fourth and Losch 12th in the standings. More ...

track news
Friday's schedule at Indy  
8 a.m. Public Gates Open
11 a.m.- Noon IndyCar Series Practice
Noon-12:30 p.m. Freedom 100 Pre-Race
12:30 p.m. Freedom 100 Indy Pro Series Race
1:30 p.m. Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge
3:30 p.m. Vintage car laps
3:30 p.m. Miller Lite Carb Day Concert featuring Kid Rock
6 p.m. Track Closes
Mont-Tremblant Day 1: Doornbos on top  MONT-TREMBLANT  – The wait is finally over. It took 39 years but Champ Cars have returned to the track at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant. It might have only been for a private test session for the seven teams and 12 drivers present but hearing the song of the turbo-charged Cosworth engines around the 2.65-mile permanent road course was music to the ears of everyone present and it was even more delightful for the stars of the Champ Car World Series.

Not only was it a sweet sound to the ears of rookie Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who clocked the fastest unofficial time of the day (1:17.97) but it was a tune that Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgetone) had been waiting to hear since he injured himself during practice in Long Beach last month. The Forsythe Championship Racing driver might have only been eighth on the time charts (1:19.02) but that didn’t matter.

“It feels great, I have been sitting around for the last five weeks and I definitely know that I am not ready to retire! I was driving my wife and my friends crazy. It’s good to be back in the car again and get busy again, this is where I want to be,” expressed the Canadian who said he didn’t feel any pain while behind the wheel of his DP01. “Obviously standing around all day it can get uncomfortable, it’s going to take a little while longer before not having any aches and pains but when I am in the car, I feel fine.” More ...

Design of next IndyCar starts  With its eyes on the future both on and off the racetrack, the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series, announced today a Funded Educational Project with Pasadena, Calif.-based Art Center College of Design called "IndyCar 2011."

The educational project will challenge students in the school's Transportation Design, Environmental Design, Product Design and Illustration/Entertainment Design departments to imagine the future of the IndyCar Series and to address a real world challenge in smart and stylish ways.

The chairs and faculty of the various departments will all play an active role in the IndyCar 2011 class.

In particular, students will have the opportunity to design a hallmark IndyCar Series car of the future. They will also be asked to consider a variety of facets in the world of racing, from fan experiences and entertainment at the track to real-time motion simulators and video games -- and beyond.  More ...

Q and A with GP2's Bruno Michel  

Q. Bruno, today's announcement is excellent news for the GP2 Series. There has been talk of an Asian Series for some time, but when did this all come together?

Bruno Michel - GP2 series organizer: It is true that this idea has been discussed for some time. The GP2 Series first raced in Bahrain in our inaugural season in 2005, and we returned there very successfully at the start of this season. The Middle East and Asia is a quickly expanding market for global Motorsport and is starting to produce many promising young drivers.

Naturally, when the chance arose for the GP2 Series to provide a platform for these aspiring drivers and Motorsport nations to showcase the excitement of GP2, we jumped at the chance.

The chance to form an agreement with Speedcar International came about, and I am positive that together we will create an exciting new event.

Q. Speedcar is a very different type of racing to the GP2 Series. What can fans of Motorsport expect from the new Grand Racing event?

BM: Speedcar is an exciting new series which will bring motorsport fans a taste of the American racing seen in NASCAR. The organizers have already managed to secure the support of many former F1 drivers, and it will be a great opportunity for racing fans in Asia to watch fast closed-wheel racing and top drivers.

The GP2 Asia Series is, of course, open wheel racing and is very different in that respect. Just as with the GP2 Series, fans will be able to see the best young up-and-coming driver talent, as they strive to reach Formula One. More ...

Freedom 100 qualifying results  Qualifying Thursday for the Freedom 100 Indy Pro Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed:
1. (52) Ken Losch, Dallara, 188.231
2. (7) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 188.080
3. (53) Mike Potekhen, Dallara, 187.686
4. (55) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara, 187.534
5. (27) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 187.341
6. (23) Logan Gomez, Dallara, 187.016
7. (9) Chris Festa, Dallara, 186.839
8. (8) Matt Jaskol, Dallara, 186.728
9. (34) Jon Brownson, Dallara, 186.690
10. (5) Andrew Prendeville, Dallara, 186.460
11. (40) Tom Wieringa, Dallara, 186.315
12. (12) Al Unser III, Dallara, 186.237
13. (4) Sean Guthrie, Dallara, 186.220
14. (3) Brad Jaeger, Dallara, 186.158
15. (33) Shane Jantzi, Dallara, 185.999
16. (15) Joey Scarallo, Dallara, 185.833
17. (24) Stephen Simpson, Dallara, 185.371
18. (11) Jaime Camara, Dallara, 185.221
19. (38) Ryan Justice, Dallara, 184.736
20. (54) Micky Gilbert, Dallara, 184.671
21. (6) Marc Williams, Dallara, 184.383
22. (13) Robbie Pecorari, Dallara, 184.286
23. (1) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 183.784
24. (2) Jonathan Klein, Dallara, 183.436
Monaco: Thursday Press Conference  Participating:: Ron Dennis (McLaren Mercedes), Nick Fry (Honda), Mario Theissen (BMW Sauber), Jean Todt (Ferrari) .

Q. Do you think this year's rule changes have worked? And what do you think of the future plans as being considered for 2011?

Nick Fry: I think this year's rules have had some benefits in closing up the field. From our own point of view, it has not been beneficial yet, but I think for the quality of the grid and the racing it has been a good thing.

One thing I would say is the absolute importance of aerodynamics in the framework of the current rules with the engines similar to each other and the tires the same, it does throw a lot of emphasis on one particular area and the question really is the relevance of that area.

We are all working like crazy on very clever aerodynamics, a lot of time and money is going into that, but the question is does it have any real relevance to the outside world. I'll save my answer on that one for the second part of your question.

Q. But in general about this year's rules, it is good?

NF: Yes, it is favorable. More....

Team Target Set To Run 1,100 Miles On Sunday  Team Target is scheduled to compete for 1,100 miles of racing this Memorial Day weekend, first running the famed Indianapolis 500 with Indy Racing League points leaders Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon on Sunday afternoon, followed by the Charlotte 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS) with sophomore Reed Sorenson on Sunday evening.  This year marks the sixth-consecutive year Target has run the 1,100 miles as the primary sponsor in both the IndyCar and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series for Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR).

Dixon, a former series champion (2003) qualified on the inside of row two (fourth), while his teammate Wheldon, the ’05 Series and Indy 500 Champion, qualified on the outside of row two (sixth).  Sorenson, driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge is set to qualify with the rest of his NEXTEL Cup counterparts on Thursday, May 24.

“This is always one of the best days of the year for me,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi.  “This weekend is what auto racing is all about and it is even better that we are able to share the whole scope of it with a tremendous partner like Target.  We have had a relationship with them for over 18 years and couldn’t be more proud of that fact.” More ...

Andretti named Grand Marshal of Edmonton GP  Four-time Champ Car National Champion Mario Andretti will be grand marshal for the 2007 Edmonton Grand Prix and an honored guest of the gala dinner on Saturday, July 21.

The announcement was made today by Jim Haskins, President and GM of the Edmonton event.

"It is an honor to have Mario Andretti take part in the Grand Prix of Edmonton. With wins at almost every form of auto racing, Mario is considered by many to be the greatest driver of all time. This year will be extremely memorable with Mario Andretti taking part in the event," says Haskins. More ...

Motorola named title sponsor of IndyCar event in Sonoma  Infineon Raceway and Motorola, Inc., have established an alliance that will make the wireless and broadband communications company the title sponsor of the raceway’s IndyCar Series event.

The event, which features the best in open-wheeled racing, will be called the Motorola Indy 300 and will take place Aug. 24-26 in the scenic Sonoma Valley. The alliance continues Motorola’s involvement in the IndyCar Series as the company is also the primary sponsor of the No. 7 car driven by Danica Patrick (Andretti Green Racing).

“The IndyCar race at Infineon Raceway has become an important marketing opportunity for Motorola with our key customers over the past several years,” said Kathleen Finato, senior director of North America marketing, Mobile Devices, Motorola, Inc.  “The opportunity to serve as title sponsor provides greater opportunities for Motorola to impact our key accounts in a positive way.” More ...

RSPORTS team ready to get back into action  Despite only being two weeks since Champ Car drivers Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson were behind the wheel of their DP01 race cars, the RSPORTS duo can’t wait to climb back into the cockpit this week at Circuit Mont-Tremblant for some more testing time in anticipation of a summer full of racing excitement.

It has been quite a busy couple of months for the RSPORTS team and its drivers. After starting the season in April with three races in a row, the team did not take a break in between Round 3 and 4 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series to relax. Instead, early on in the month the squad took to the Portland International Raceway for some testing time and a chance to prepare for the upcoming Mazda Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe’s Sports and Outdoor on June 10. Over the last two weeks, the drivers have been busy promoting the series and its upcoming events which saw Tagliani in Canada hitting the Toronto and Montreal markets, while Wilson headed overseas to take part in the Champ Car European Tour which visited the major European cities of London, Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris. More ...

Richard Petty at the Indy 500  “The King” Richard Petty is making a presence at his second marquee event in the month of May on Sunday. Petty will join Executive Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis and eight-time champion crew chief Dale Inman at the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, the Indianapolis 500.  Petty, who also attended the Kentucky Derby on May 5th, will be a guest of John Andretti and his Panther Racing Dallara Honda sponsored by Camping World and RVs.com.

For “The King” Richard Petty, Andretti’s invitation marks the first time that Petty has witnessed the start of the Indianapolis 500.  Petty, along with Loomis and Inman, will depart Greensboro, North Carolina Sunday morning and arrive in Indianapolis to watch the race.  The trio will then arrive back to Concord, North Carolina in time for all three to participate in that night’s Coca-Cola 600 to complete the “double duty” day.  Petty will have two entries, Kyle Petty and the #45 Coke Zero Dodge and Bobby Labonte and the #43 Chocolate Chex Dodge, entered in the event. More ...

Monaco practice notes: Thursday 7  (GMM)  Former quadruple world champion and team owner Alain Prost showed up at the scene of the Monaco grand prix on Thursday.

FIA president Max Mosley, another rare visitor to the F1 paddocks, was also spotted watching the action from a trackside vantage point.


The front-right corner of Ralf Schumacher's Toyota was badly damaged in the afternoon session when he crashed at the Swimming Pool section.


Toyota encountered a unique problem inside its Monaco garage on Thursday -- a burst water pipe that disabled the telemetry screens and gave team members an unwelcome preview of the rain that is forecast to fall here on Saturday and Sunday.

"In between the two sessions, the team worked hard to restore all functions and second practice started as normal," the team said.


Christijan Albers' Spyker broke down in Monaco morning practice with a Ferrari engine failure, the Dutch squad confirmed on Thursday.

He avoids a grid penalty, however, as the engine change occurred on the first day of official GP action.  Albers' teammate Adrian Sutil also had engine trouble and later crashed into the barriers at Portier.


BMW's Nick Heidfeld on Thursday suffered with a fuel pressure problem.

"My lap times don't look good, but when the engine cuts out it costs time," he said.

Haug says Hamilton not Monaco favorite  (GMM) Mercedes' Norbert Haug has played down suggestions mostly in the British press that team rookie Lewis Hamilton can this weekend win his maiden grand prix in Monte Carlo.

"I hope he wins a race before too long but it isn't right to describe him as favorite for Monaco," the competition director for McLaren's works engine partner is quoted as saying by Herts and Essex News Online.

22-year-old Hamilton, who leads the drivers' championship despite not winning a race so far in 2007, has an unbeaten record at Monaco after his previous visits in GP2 and F3 cars.

It has led to rising speculation that the glitzy Principality could be the scene of his debut F1 triumph, but in Thursday practice he was one of five drivers to crash.

Haug said of Hamilton's season so far: "He has been exceptional already to be second three times in a row. He has had fantastic races (in Monaco) in the past.

"He is a street racer. He likes those types of tracks. But now the focus is maybe on him too much."

GP2 Asia Series launched in Monaco  (GMM) F1's junior category, GP2, will expand into Asia next year, it was announced in Monaco on Thursday.

The new championship, to be called the GP2 Asia Series, will run between January and April and will be twinned with the recently announced Speedcar touring car series for a weekend to be known as Grand Racing, statements said.

From next year, GP2 Asia will support some grands prix in Asia, "with this number expected to increase year on year as the formula one calendar expands into Asia and the Middle East", organizers explained.

"The popularity of motorsport in Asia and the Middle East is growing all the time, and the Grand Racing event is well poised to capitalize on this," said F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

"It will also give gifted drivers from the region greater opportunity to aim for formula one seats in the future."

It was reported last month that Ecclestone wanted to "kill off" or "torpedo" the open wheel series A1GP, which runs in the European winter, because it would clash with his plans for Asian GP2.

GP2 Asia Series joins Speedcar Series  Speedcar International and the GP2 Series today announce an agreement which will see the two organizations team up for the brand new Asia and Middle East-based Grand Racing event.

The announcement coincides with the launch today of the GP2 Asia Series, which will run together with the Speedcar Series in its inaugural season.

Beginning in November, the Speedcar Series will pit 24 identical 650bhp stock-cars against each other, with some notable former F1 drivers, including Jean Alesi, having already signed-up to take part in the Series. The GP2 Asia Series will join the Speedcar Series at the Grand Racing weekends from January.

The GP2 Asia Series will feature the same Formula One-inspired technology as its European counterpart, which has made stars out of drivers like the current Formula One World Championship leader, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr. More ...

Monaco practice notes: Thursday 6  (GMM)  Contrary to earlier suggestions, Giancarlo Fisichella did not on Thursday afternoon reappear at the wheel of his repaired race car after crashing in the morning.

Renault explained that the Roman simply slotted into teammate Heikki Kovalainen's race car, because the regulations allow teams to designate a driver to use the T-car on the opening day of practice at grands prix.

"I have to say thank you to my mechanics, who did a fantastic job at lunchtime to swap my chassis over," the Italian, who will return to his original car on Saturday, said in Monaco.


Renault's Kovalainen was the only rookie to not crash on Thursday, but his pace was notably slower than teammate Fisichella, who is an acknowledged Monaco specialist.

"Ultimately, the times weren't quite there today, so we need to work tonight and tomorrow to improve things," said the Finn.


Red Bull announced on Thursday that an important press call will be staged at the team's gigantic 'energy station' at Monaco at 6pm.

"We will reveal new car livery plans for the British grand prix," a team document read.


It was a busy day for mechanics in the RBR garage.  They had to repair David Coulthard's rear wing and floor, after he lost control at the Loews hairpin in the morning, before hydraulic trouble struck teammate Mark Webber's car in the afternoon.

"When we're on the track we're going pretty well, but we're not always able to run for as long as we'd like," said Australian Webber, who also clipped the inside barrier at Ste Devote at one point and damaged a wheel rim.

Haug excuses Hamilton shunt  (GMM) Mercedes-Benz's competition boss Norbert Haug excused Lewis Hamilton on Thursday after the rookie Briton smashed his McLaren into the Sainte Devote barriers.

22-year-old Hamilton, on his first day as a formula one driver on the challenging and famous street layout, sat out the last half hour of afternoon practice after braking too late for the first corner.

The heavy impact caused significant damage to the left front of his MP4-22, which had demonstrated promising pace alongside the Ferraris so far in Monaco.

"It's all part of the learning process," Haug told the German broadcaster Premiere.

"All the best drivers have seen the walls very closely here at some point or other -- we will prepare the damage.

"I am sure he will say a little 'sorry' to his guys, but it is part of the game. We are completely happy with our drivers, and what really counts is the race."

Briton Hamilton's indiscretion is minimized somewhat due to the traditional track-free day on Friday, before practice and qualifying resumes on Saturday, giving McLaren mechanics plenty of time to rebuild the silver racer.

Haug said: "Before (the crash) Lewis was very impressive, as was Fernando -- the speed was present both on a single lap and over a longer distance.

"I think we look pretty good, and Ferrari do too."


After arriving in Monaco during afternoon practice on Thursday, Ferrari advisor Michael Schumacher changed into a red team uniform, greeted the crew in the garage, and then thrilled a clan of corner marshals by watching the action from a trackside vantage point -- and signing an autograph or two.

Monaco Practice 2: Alonso stays fast, Ferrari closes  (GMM)  Hot on the heels of Giancarlo Fisichella, David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil, Toyota's Ralf Schumacher also crashed on Thursday while practicing for the Monaco grand prix.

In the closing minutes of the afternoon session, the 31-year-old German struck the barriers on the exit of the high speed Swimming Pool chicane, while trying to improve on pace good enough for only the 20th quickest time.


True to his morning form, McLaren's Fernando Alonso topped the session-two time sheets, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari.  Jarno Trulli was an impressive fourth in the second Toyota.

Pos  Driver        Team               Time              Laps
 1.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:15.940            40 
 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:16.215  + 0.275   43 
 3.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:16.296  + 0.356   19 
 4.  Trulli        Toyota             1:16.354  + 0.414   39 
 5.  Fisichella    Renault            1:16.753  + 0.813   41 
 6.  Massa         Ferrari            1:16.784  + 0.844   37 
 7.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:16.848  + 0.908   48 
 8.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:16.852  + 0.912   34 
 9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:17.292  + 1.352   16 
10.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:17.414  + 1.474   16 
11.  Barrichello   Honda              1:17.449  + 1.509   40 
12.  Button        Honda              1:17.457  + 1.517   45 
13.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:17.459  + 1.519   47 
14.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:17.486  + 1.546   43 
15.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:17.516  + 1.576   34 
16.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.898  + 1.958   42 
17.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:18.086  + 2.146   41 
18.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.233  + 2.293   40 
19.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:18.328  + 2.388   25 
20.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:18.662  + 2.722   38 
21.  Albers        Spyker-Ferrari     1:18.820  + 2.880   35 
22.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:19.358  + 3.418   29

Carnage in Monaco  (GMM) Four drivers crashed during Thursday's afternoon free practice session at Monaco.

Lewis Hamilton, who was second fastest on the time sheets at the time, carried too much speed into Ste Devote (turn 1) and crashed heavily at an estimated 80mph.

It is the 22-year-old's first major mistake after a sensational opening four races of his formula one career.

Shortly beforehand, the McLaren driver's countryman and fellow rookie Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri) also hit the tire barriers at Ste Devote.

Yet another Briton, Scotland's David Coulthard, clouted the tires at the Loews hairpin, but - unlike his countrymen - managed to get his damaged Red Bull back to the pits.

Finally, in an incident that temporarily brought out the red flags, Spyker's Adrian Sutil smacked the barrier at Portier, causing heavy damage to the left side of his car.


Silverstone based F1 team Spyker is this weekend supporting the ongoing search for missing 3-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann.

'Maddy' went missing from a holiday apartment in Portugal earlier this month. The cars of Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil are carrying stickers on their cars' engine covers to remind race fans that the little girl has still not been found.

Pagenaud thinks Champ Car will have much success in Europe  Team Australia driver Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #15 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01 Champ Car, has been a busy driver ahead of this week’s Champ Car testing at the Mont Tremblant circuit in Quebec, Canada on May 24-25.

After completing a successful test at Mid-Ohio last week, the reigning 2006 Atlantic Champion jetted off to Europe to participate in the final leg of the Champ Car World Series European media tour last Thursday and Friday.

Helping to promote Champ Car’s future in Europe, the young Frenchman took an active part in press conferences in Belgium and his home country of France. Pagenaud was joined by Justin Wilson, Robert Doornbos, Jan Heylen and Sebastien Bourdais in Brussels, and by Tristan Gommendy in Paris.

“We had a very productive media tour to Europe,” said Pagenaud. More ...

Monaco practice notes: Thursday 4  (GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella returned to action on Thursday afternoon after crashing his Renault at Ste Devote in the morning.

Mechanics for the Enstone based team did well to repair the damaged single seater in the break, which had careered into the tire barrier after Roman Fisichella clipped the inside of turn one.

STR's Vitantonio Liuzzi, meanwhile, had spent much of the morning session in the pits with an unspecified mechanical problem, it emerged.

Biker Schu rides into Monaco  (GMM)  Ferrari advisor Michael Schumacher arrived at the scene of the Monaco grand prix during the second free practice session on Thursday afternoon.

The seven time world champion, after attending the Spanish GP in Barcelona a fortnight ago, rode a motorcycle to the Monaco circuit, amid suggestions that he called off his appearance with the F1 drivers' football team earlier this week due to a slight leg injury.

Monaco practice notes: Thursday 3  Lewis Hamilton may have been second quickest in Monaco morning practice on Thursday, but he also struck mechanical trouble aboard his McLaren.

The 22-year-old was sidelined in the pits for some time at one point with a gearbox glitch.

STR to take half year to speed up - Berger  (GMM)  Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger said on Thursday that his team will take some time longer to be fully up to speed.

The Austrian enthused earlier this season that Faenza based STR would catch up with the pace after the first three races of the season.

"I was wrong," the news agency APA quoted Berger as saying in Monaco.  "We will probably need another half a year before we can start to match our expectations."

Berger suggested that while sister team Red Bull was making strides forwards with fundamentally the same Adrian Newey-penned car, Toro Rosso is struggling to get to grips with the STR2 because of lagging team infrastructure.

"We are not Minardi any more, where all they did is participate," he explained.  "Our expectations now are completely different."

Borland to Haas CNC Racing  Matt Borland announced on NASCAR Performance Live Wednesday evening that he will be the new Director of Competition for Haas CNC Racing.
Video: ING Launches Formula 1 Race Index  
Ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix on May 27th, ING launches its Formula 1 Race Index to provide new and existing Formula 1 fans with a clear and instant appraisal of the stresses and strains of all 17 Grand Prix circuits in the race calendar, providing a 'league table' ranking of the most difficult and challenging circuits. The four categories assessed are the circuit itself, the strain on drivers, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the ING Race Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, Monaco Grand Prix obtains 63.54 points and is the sixth most difficult Grand Prix of the season.
tv news
ESPN to Provide Worldwide Distribution of Indy 500  ESPN, the exclusive worldwide television representative of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, will televise the Indianapolis 500 LIVE to 166 countries and territories outside the United States. ESPN’s international networks will televise the race throughout Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Rim. The green flag falls on the 33-car starting field of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 27, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

ESPN is also responsible for the global syndication of the Indy 500 for LIVE broadcast in Belgium, Bosnia/Serbia, Baltic States, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, and the U.K. In addition, ESPN will distribute the Indy 500 to the American Forces Network, which serves military personnel stationed in 176 countries and U.S. territories. In the United States, the Indy 500 will be telecast live to a nationwide audience on ESPN on ABC. When combined with ESPN’s international distribution efforts, the estimated worldwide total for the Indy 500 includes more than 200 countries and more than 442 million households worldwide. More ...

Rock sensation Daughtry to perform at Indy  Rock sensation Daughtry will kick the huge crowd gathered for the 91st Indianapolis 500 into overdrive with a Race Day performance Sunday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

19/RCA recording artist Daughtry will play starting at noon - one hour before the start of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" - on the Coca-Cola Stage in the Pagoda Plaza, located directly behind the Bombardier Learjet Pagoda control tower.

XM Satellite Radio is presenting the concert.

Anointed as the quickest-selling rock debut in Soundscan history, "DAUGHTRY" became the No. 1, top-selling album in the country twice since its release in November 2006. "DAUGHTRY" has sold more than 2 million copies, had a No. 1 single with "It's Not Over" and still tops the charts and radio airwaves with the addition of new hits "Home" and "What I Want."

The members of Daughtry are Chris Daughtry (vocals), Brian Craddock (guitar), Josh Steely (guitar), Josh Paul (bass) and Joey Barnes (drums).

Indy split sent best open wheel talent to NASCAR  If IndyCar racing hadn't shot itself in the foot 12 years ago by splitting into two circuits, the driver currently on top of the Nextel Cup Series standings might be getting ready for Sunday's 91st running of the Indianapolis 500.

Jeff Gordon cut his teeth in the open wheel racing world of midgets and sprints. He pretty much won everything mostly everywhere he competed in those days as he made a name for himself on short tracks around the country. But rather than climbing the ladder to open wheel's top tier, IndyCars, Gordon opted for a career in NASCAR.

And with the way the motorsports landscape has evolved since the early 1990s, Gordon has ridden the NASCAR elevator to the top, while the IndyCar world continues to spiral downward.

Gordon made his NASCAR debut in 1993, two years before Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George created the Indy Racing League, a splintered series from the incumbent CART sanctioning body.

Twelve years later, the popularity of American open wheel racing has plummeted, and the 500, which once lived up to its billing as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," is anything but these days.

NASCAR has dwarfed the Indianapolis 500, and not just on Memorial Day weekend when the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte on Sunday night will command nearly as much attention as the afternoon's action at The Brickyard. More at CBS Sportsline

industry news
GM, UAW cut deal on jobs bank  About 400 General Motors Corp. skilled trades workers in Flint and Lansing assigned to the automaker's controversial jobs bank may be forced to learn a different job or go to work at a distant factory if they don't take a new buyout offer extended by the company.

GM's move to clear out the jobs bank -- factory workers who collect most of their pay and benefits despite being laid off -- was made possible by a first-of-its-kind agreement with the United Auto Workers.

Under the terms, which apply only to skilled trades workers in Flint and Lansing, GM can compel those who don't take the buyout to retrain for another skilled trade, move them to an unskilled production job and even relocate them to a plant in another city or state.

"Remaining in the current jobs bank is not an option," GM spokesman Dan Flores said. "This is about GM and the UAW continually looking for ways to improve competitiveness." More at Detroit News

industry news
Chevy calls out Camry  Car buyers perusing their local Chevrolet showroom this fall may come upon a surprising find: a Toyota Camry.
General Motors Corp. is mounting an in-your-face challenge to rival Toyota Motor Corp., with plans to encourage consumers to compare the Camry -- America's best-selling car for most of the last decade -- to the remodeled Chevy Malibu.

GM is urging dealers to place Camrys in Chevy showrooms across the nation. The automaker also intends to go on the road with both sedans and encourage the public to take a ride in each.

The made-over Malibu goes on sale this fall, and GM is counting on the dramatic redesign to boost its share of the crucial midsize sedan segment.

"The fact is, when you look at the hard data, we have a product that is not only every bit as competitive, but also beats out the competition," GM sales Chief Mark LaNeve said Wednesday. "We want people to have the experience of both vehicles. And we think that can help us." More ...

Monaco: Wednesday Press Conference  
David Coulthard (Red Bull)
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes)
Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).

Q. Robert, fourth for the team in Spain yet again, but I'm sure you were happy with it.

Robert Kubica: Well, of course I was happy, not only because of the fourth place but because this was the first race this season without any problem, that the car was working 100 percent, and that we hadn't made any mistake in qualifying. Everybody has worked well, so the results come. The results should have already come in the first race in Australia, but I hope that Barcelona was not our first race without problems and not the last one this season.

Q. But you mentioned those reliability issues that you had and Nick had in Spain; since then you've been testing in Ricard; is there any indication that you've overcome those problems?

RK: As you said, we've had reliability problems. I don't know what was exactly Nick's failure in Barcelona, what was wrong, but of course we were trying to do our best to get rid of them and I think we've made really good progress in this direction and I don't think we will have any more of those kind of problems and now we have to concentrate on keeping going and keep finishing with two cars in the positions where we should be, because until now, it was only at Bahrain that we finished with both cars in the points. More ...

Monaco GP - Reducing the odds in the lottery  Monte Carlo - There are many clichés about the Monaco Grand Prix and one of the most commonly cited is that this race is a lottery. Sometimes, people who play real lotteries have a strategy and the same is true of the teams as they prepare for the most famous race on the Formula 1 calendar.

The overall responsibility for strategic decisions taken on the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro pit wall rests with the team's Head of Track Operations, Luca Baldisserri, who gives us an insight to the seemingly endless possibilities for running the best race around this tricky track. "Monte Carlo is probably the most difficult venue at which to plan strategy," says Baldisserri. "Because you always have to balance the need to be in front of the other cars, to have free air and to avoid traffic especially at the start, against on the other hand, the need to have more fuel to avoid bouncing back into traffic after your pit stop, running behind the slower car that was originally behind you. If that car is on a different strategy to yours, it can destroy your race." More ...

Martin will sub for Jeff Gordon  If Jeff Gordon is forced to miss a race to attend the birth of his daughter, series veteran Mark Martin will man the No. 24 Chevrolet, multiple sources within the Hendrick Motorsports organization told ESPN.com Wednesday. Martin on Wednesday afternoon will be fitted for a racing seat in preparation for the substitute role, sources said, and plans to begin stand-by duty for Gordon at Infineon Raceway next month.

Hendrick Motorsports officials chose not to comment, saying rather that Gordon would address the matter Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, site of this weekend's Coca-Cola 600. Sources said Gordon personally sought out Martin to stand in for him, and after clearing the idea with Ginn Racing officials, Martin gladly accepted. Gordon's wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, is due the week of the June 24 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma.

Martin will fly to Sonoma, during a weekend when he is slated to be idle from racing. If Gordon doesn't require his services, Martin will remain on hand to coach Regan Smith in the No. 01. According to NASCAR officials, Martin could get in the No. 24 without practicing in the car, so long as Nextel Cup director John Darby gives his blessing. Given Martin's veteran experience, that would seem to be all but a foregone conclusion.

If baby Gordon arrives a week early, sources said Martin will turn the No. 01 Chevrolet over to Smith at Michigan Speedway and drive the No. 24 for Gordon. Likewise, in the event the baby is a week late, Martin would sub for Gordon at New Hampshire. ESPN

NASCAR catches Toyota credential cheat  NASCAR announced today that Toyota #00 Hauler driver Douglas Mercier has been fined $5,000 and suspended indefinitely from the sport for his unauthorized duplication of a NASCAR annual credential. The rule infraction occurred May 18 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Mercier violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; unauthorized duplication of a NASCAR annual credential) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book. NASCAR PR
Goodyear will seek tire-testing changes  NASCAR limits tires for Nextel Cup testing, barring teams from using Goodyears except at the seven major authorized tests. So, teams have made side deals with Hoosier and Michelin subsidiary B. F. Goodrich for test tires. Stu Grant, Goodyear’s racing boss, said he plans to talk with NASCAR about changing the tire-testing rules “to try to find a solution to this thing, because what we’ve got now is not a good situation. “The whole testing thing has to be addressed, because the teams are not happy. They’re asking me for tires, and I cannot supply tires.” Winston Salem Journal
The Boys Are Back In Town  Bradley Smith, the 16 year old sensation of the French Grand Prix, makes his one and only appearance in England this season when he rides in the 125 cc race at the Nickel and Dime British Grand Prix at Donington Park on Sunday June 24.

The Oxfordshire schoolboy re-wrote the history books at the weekend when he finished third in the French race at Le Mans, riding the Repsol Honda, to secure his first grand prix podium finish .He is the youngest British rider to finish on the podium in any class in the 58 year history of grand prix racing and is the first British rider to finish on a 125 cc podium for 18 years.

Before the race at the Leicestershire circuit, Smith will be back at school taking exams in between racing at the Italian and Spanish Grands Prix before his homecoming race and that he cannot wait for. More ...

New sponsor for Williams team at Monaco  Mappin & Webb, the Silversmiths to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, today confirmed that they will be joining the AT&T Williams team as a sponsor for the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.

The royal silversmiths will join the team for the season’s blue ribbon event and the Mappin & Webb identity will feature prominently on the team’s race cars in the rear facing, rear wing position for one of the world’s most glamorous social and sporting events.

Mappin & Webb, together with Watches of Switzerland, was acquired by Goldsmiths Plc and joint investor Baugur in November 2005. Two new flagship stores have recently been opened in central London and these, combined with the successful tendering for Terminal 5 opening in 2008, represents the renaissance of the Mappin & Webb name in the UK.

Monaco: Alonso leads McLaren 1-2 in opening practice  More than six tenths behind teammate Alonso, rookie Lewis Hamilton finished the opening session second fastest and therefore locked out another McLaren 1-2 -- a scenario that is becoming commonplace at grands prix prior to Ferrari showing its hand in qualifying and the race.

BMW's Nick Heidfeld was third best, and the crashed Fisichella fourth. The Ferraris are fifth (Kimi Raikkonen) and eight (Felipe Massa).

Australia's Mark Webber, after demonstrating promising pace good enough for sixth quickest, ended his morning practice session at Monaco with a left-rear puncture, amid suggestions that he might have tagged the barriers with his RB3.

Giancarlo Fisichella crashed his Renault at turn one in the dying minutes of Thursday morning practice in Monte Carlo.

The Roman clipped the curb on the inside of Ste Devote and sped into the tire wall. The session was not red flagged, but flying yellows meant that world champion Fernando Alonso's dominant quickest time would remain unchallenged.

The first official practice session was also red-flagged for five minutes shortly before 10.30 local to clear Christijan Albers' stricken Spyker.

The Dutchman's orange-liveried car broke down on the entrance to the Tabac.

Conditions were warm, sunny, dry and calm - perfect - on the Cote d'Azur as Thursday morning practice kicked off in Monaco, but the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend is not as good.

A 60 per cent likelihood of rain - the lightest of which is expected for Sunday afternoon, incidentally - exists for both qualifying and race day.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.973 33
 2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.601 + 0.628 14
 3. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:17.616 + 0.643 31
 4. Fisichella Renault 1:17.758 + 0.785 27
 5. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:17.918 + 0.945 28
 6. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:17.956 + 0.983 19
 7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:18.074 + 1.101 27
 8. Massa Ferrari 1:18.189 + 1.216 29
 9. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:18.675 + 1.702 28
10. Barrichello Honda 1:18.676 + 1.703 22
11. Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:18.869 + 1.896 29
12. Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.967 + 1.994 27
13. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:19.095 + 2.122 16
14. Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:19.203 + 2.230 27
15. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:19.285 + 2.312 24
16. Kovalainen Renault 1:19.321 + 2.348 27
17. Button Honda 1:19.332 + 2.359 27
18. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:19.337 + 2.364 22
19. Trulli Toyota 1:19.496 + 2.523 22
20. Schumacher Toyota 1:19.799 + 2.826 25
21. Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:21.634 + 4.661 19
22. Albers Spyker-Ferrari 1:23.235 + 6.262 5

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Spyker has mortgaged name to stay afloat
  • Red Bull tester sits out another GP
  • Alonso not worried about Massa clash repeat
  • Hamilton pushes for McLaren team supremacy
  • News briefs from Monaco: Thursday

Spyker has mortgaged name to stay afloat
(GMM) Spyker has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons on Thursday.

As the F1 single seater driven by Christijan Albers' ground to a halt in the opening practice laps in Monaco, news broke that the Dutch team's road car-making parent recently mortgaged its very name at the Friesland Bank as part of a credit agreement.

Spyker shares sunk after the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf published the original story, and Shareholders association director Peter Paul de Vries called the situation - a company risking its name - "the writing on the wall" for the financially embattled firm.

Another report in Forbes, following the departure of CEO Victor Muller, said Spyker was only staying afloat in the short term after securing new loans, but the company insisted that pawning a name is "common business practice and has no effect on Spyker Cars' ongoing operations".

Red Bull tester sits out another GP
(GMM) Red Bull test and reserve driver Michael Ammermuller will sit out another grand prix event this weekend.

The 21-year-old German injured his wrist during the GP2 race in Bahrain last month, and while he drove a Red Bull single seater in a demonstration after missing the recent Spanish GP, doctors have at the last minute advised him to avoid any competitive action for a little longer.

Ammermuller's wrist is currently being held together by metal screws, while the bone heals.

"I wanted to drive, but the Red Bull doctors said that the risk would be too large," he is quoted as saying by the news agency 'sid'. More ...

Heidfeld extension a 'formality' - Sauber  (GMM)  Nick Heidfeld is likely to be handed a new contract to race for the BMW-Sauber team beyond 2007.

That is the revelation of the Swiss based outfit's founder Peter Sauber, who no longer maintains an office at Hinwil but is a consultant for the team's current owners BMW and its main sponsors.

"The extension of Nick's contract is, in my opinion, only a formality," Sauber said, adding that he has been impressed with Heidfeld's shining form alongside Robert Kubica so far this season.

Sauber insisted: "With his recent achievements in mind, we must have Nick continuing with us."

Former grand prix driver Hans-Joachim Stuck, meanwhile, said he would put a few dollars on 30-year-old Heidfeld delivering BMW-Sauber's maiden win in Monte Carlo this weekend.

"Nick likes Monaco," Stuck is quoted as saying by the news agency 'sid'.  "You shouldn't count anything out."

After arriving in the Principality on Wednesday, Heidfeld agreed that his victory chances are "higher" in Monaco than at other races.

He said in Monaco: "With our own performance alone we are not quite ready to win -- but anything can happen here."

Schu to also be Ferrari 'advisor' in Monaco  (GMM)  After showing his face as a Ferrari 'advisor' in Spain two weeks ago, retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher will also attend the Monaco grand prix.

The Italian team's spokesman Luca Colajanni confirmed the news, but he explained that - unlike in Barcelona - Germany's 38-year-old Schumacher will not be available to the press in Monte Carlo.

"As he did in Barcelona, Michael will probably concern himself particularly with questions of strategy," racer Felipe Massa, who had thanked Schumacher after winning the Spanish grand prix, said in Monaco.

Earlier this week, however, Schumacher surprised some observers by not turning up as expected to captain the F1 drivers' football team for a traditional pre-Monaco charity match.

He is expected to arrive in the Monte Carlo paddock on Thursday at about midday, although Colajanni would not confirm.

Unser Jr: "I am an alcoholic"  In this Newsweek article, IRL driver Al Unser Jr. admits he is an alcoholic and that it's so bad he has even blacked out from drinking so much. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Did you ever experience a blackout after drinking?

So you would wake up in the morning and you wouldn't know how you got home?
That is correct.

Sometimes your car was in the driveway, sometimes it wasn't?
That is correct.

That's got to be scary.
It's damn scary. Damn scary. So with me, my most important thing right now is, I haven't had a drink for 116 days now. And Live Outside the Bottle contacted me, and I jumped at it. I jumped at the chance, because I get a platform, I can genuinely help other people now. I recognize the fact that I am an alcoholic. More at Newsweek

Marlboro cancer stick logos on Ferrari in Monaco  Thumbing their nose at the "International Tobacco Products Marketing Standards" agreement which it signed in 2001, there is Marlboro (cancer-stick) signage all over the town of Monaco this weekend plus the Ferrari team is running their cars with full Marlboro cancer-stick branding, as they did in Bahrain recently and will do so later in China. In addition, Ferrari has a darker red color scheme in Monaco. The new red is similar to the red used back in the 1970s and 1980s. And last Ferrari has introduced a new front wing for Monaco (right photo).

New Crew Chief Announced for Roush  It was announced today at Roush Fenway Racing that Greg Erwin will take over as crew chief of the team's No. 16 Nextel Cup entry with driver Greg Biffle.

"We obviously weren't performing at a level at which Jack expected and a change was made," said Biffle.

Erwin was most recently the crew chief at Robby Gordon Motorsports for the No. 7 Nextel Cup entry.  Prior to the two years at Robby Gordon Motorsports, Erwin accumulated seven years of experience as an engineer at Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing.

"I feel that this is one of the top crew chief opportunities in the Nextel Cup garage," said Erwin.  "If you could paint a picture of where you would like to go as a crew chief to give it a shot to win and compete for a championship, this is it.  I am also excited about the backing of the engineering department at Roush and the resources they offer.
The fact that Greg Biffle is the driver was a factor that weighed heavily on my decision.  He is a straight forward kind of guy and I look forward to working with him." 

Chris Andrews, current Engineering Manager at Roush Fenway Racing, will serve as interim crew chief for Greg Biffle and the No. 16 Dish Network Nextel Cup entry this weekend.  Erwin will serve as an advisor on the pit box during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 before officially taking over crew chief duties on Tuesday, May 29th.

A lap around Monaco with Lewis Hamilton  Championship leader Lewis Hamilton talks us around a lap of the 3.340km Monaco Grand Prix circuit.

Sainte Devote
"So first you have turn one which is quite a bumpy corner; you are braking uphill and you can't really see, as there are a couple of trees hanging over the track, which creates a shadow as you come into the straight before coming into the sun. This is quite a slow corner and very, very tight, so if you get the car loose under braking and lose the back end you are going straight into the wall."

Beau Rivage
"As a result it can be quite difficult and you have to use a bit of the curb. Coming out of Turn One you go up into the long uphill Beau Rivage Straight which is really cool. Here you have a fast left and a fast right, and then you come round into Casino Bend, which just seems like it goes on forever. Coming around that bend the barrier isn't really a nice consistent curve, it sort of bulges, which you have to try and avoid, and it can surprise you each time you come round there. It is very tricky and if you hit that curb it just spits you off into the wall and again it is very bumpy through there."

Then we come through Mirabeau, which again is very bumpy, and you can't really attack it; you just have to be quite easy through there. The car tends to slide all over the place as it is quite a slow part of the circuit. The two hairpins at Mirabeau and the Grand Hotel are the slowest part of the track. More ...

racing news
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking  
Updated 5-23-07
Pos.(LW) Driver (Series)                      Pts
1. (1) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                   9.132
2. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)              8.982
3. (3) Felipe Massa (F1)                      8.453
4. (4) Dan Wheldon (IRL)                      8.317
5. (5) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)                7.991
6. (6) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)                  7.832
7. (7) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR)                  7.617
8. (8) Fernando Alonso (F1)                   7.532
9. (9) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                  6.829
10. (10) Lewis Hamilton (F1)                  6.787
11. (11) Kurt Busch (NASCAR)                  6.558
12. (12) Jeff Burton (NASCAR)                 6.558
13. (13) Carl Edwards (NASCAR)                6.485
14. (14) Scott Dixon (IRL)                    6.465
15. (15) Will Power (CCWS)                    6.426
16. (16) Helio Castroneves (IRL)              6.290
17. (17) Ryan Newman (NASCAR)                 6.254
18. (18) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                6.219
19. (19) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)               5.988
20. (20) Bruno Junqueira (CCWS)               5.898

Note: No points races were held last weekend in any of the four series represented in the SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking; results of NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge not factored

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

F1 race results in huge losses for Melbourne  One of the nation's most respected economists has accused the Victorian Auditor-General of being ideologically driven and incompetent after a damning report found the Bracks Government had overestimated the economic benefits of the Formula One Grand Prix by more than $100 million.

A report by Auditor-General Des Pearson yesterday challenged figures provided to the Victorian Government that estimated the economic benefits of the event, including tourism, at $175 million.

Criticising a lack of transparency in the figures, Mr. Pearson found gross state product generated by the event was a far more conservative $62.4 million. More ...

Montoya rules out F1 return  (GMM) Juan Pablo Montoya has ruled out ever returning to F1.

After a lackluster period with McLaren, the Colombian - who also won grands prix with Williams - left the sport mid last season to join the world of American NASCAR racing.

"Nothing in the world could make me return," Montoya told the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

He said: "In NASCAR I am ten thousand times happier than I ever was there."

Montoya, 31, also revealed that he was offered a ride at Red Bull Racing.

"I told them that I would have to be crazy to go back."

BMW modify wayward wheel nut  (GMM)  Nick Heidfeld said in Monaco on Wednesday that BMW-Sauber has modified the design of its wheel nuts in order to prevent a recurrence of his botched pit stop in the recent Spanish grand prix.

"That should help," the German, who did a full lap of the Catalunya circuit without a nut on his right front wheel a fortnight ago, told reporters.

Heidfeld, who said similar scenarios are now practiced by the pit stop crew, continued: "I said two weeks ago that it should not have happened, and it probably will not happen again.  But if the same thing does happen again then we think we are now much better prepared."

Heidfeld also said that he felt Ferrari was "definitely" more likely to win Sunday's race than McLaren, despite the Italian team's failure to win here since 2001.

"Yes we are in Monaco but I don't think the situation will be very different," the 30-year-old said, explaining that he would put Ferrari's Felipe Massa "at the top of my list" for potential 2007 title winners.

"At the moment Ferrari has a slightly faster car than McLaren and Felipe is quite clearly happier with his car than Kimi (Raikkonen)."

Massa has pilot's license  (GMM) Ferrari driver and back to back grand prix winner Felipe Massa revealed this week that he recently obtained his pilot's license.

Before traveling to Monaco, where on Wednesday he posed in pit lane with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen and F2007 racer, the 26-year-old Brazilian stopped off in Geneva for an appearance with his personal sponsor Piaggio Aero -- an Italian aircraft manufacturer.

"I have a pilot's license and I fly the Ferrari team's Avanti II at least once a week if my schedule allows it," he told the Flight Evening News magazine on his visit to the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE).

The Avanti II is a twin-engine business aircraft that is built by Piaggio Aero.

McLaren drivers to sparkle in Monaco  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso will sparkle more brightly than normal on the streets of Monaco this weekend.

The Woking based team has again teamed up with sponsor Steinmetz to embed diamonds in the helmets of the silver-clad pair in the glamorous Principality.

Rookie Hamilton and world champion Alonso displayed their modified helmets, which now bear the words 'Monaco '07' spelled out with the expensive stones, to the press on Wednesday.

Petty Comments on COT and other issues  Tuesday evening NASCAR confirmed that the “Car of Tomorrow” will be utilized in all 36 points races and both exhibition races.  The announcement comes in midst of a busy time for our sport.  The recent announcement comes after Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently announced his departure from DEI and that another crew chief has been suspended for a rules violation.

Comments from Kyle Petty, driver #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge on the recent announcements in the sport:

Do you think it’s good that NASCAR runs the COT full-time in 2008?
“I think we should run the COT the second-half of 2007.  These are smart people in the NASCAR garage.  There are smart crew members, smart crew chiefs and smart drivers.  They can handle the COT.  They can make this work.  It’s a great move by NASCAR.  I think we’ve gotten into some headaches with it in the races that we have run, but we need to race it more and more.  We need to learn it and get into a rhythm.  This will obviously do that in 2008.  You have to applaud NASCAR for making this move.  I’m all for running this car as soon as possible every week.

Comments on Dale Earnhardt Jr.?
“We don’t have free agency in NASCAR.  You can’t be a free agent if you are an independent contractor. I have a contract with Petty Enterprises for three years, five years, 10 years and so on.  But, when it runs out I can go and get another job.  The way I look at it, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a contract with DEI and it ran out.  He just goes and drives for someone else now.  Free agency comes when you are represented through the union and through the process of the way things work.  For me, it’s a case that someone had their time run out and they are moving on to do something else. More ...

Industry news
Video: Can this car slash your fuel cost?  This video about the new Daimler Chrysler 'Smart Car' imported by Roger Penske talks about its fuel efficiency and its crash worthiness.  13,000 Americans have already ordered one.
Champ Car teams to test at Mont-Tremblant  Champ Car World Series teams are keeping busy during the break between the Houston and Portland races. After testing at Portland International Raceway at the beginning of the month, teams are continuing their preparation for the upcoming string of summer races, including the inaugural Grand Prix of Mont-Tremblant, with a two-day test this week at the historic Circuit Mont-Tremblant, May 24 – 25.

Champ Car’s return to the Circuit has been a much anticipated one, as it has been 39 years since the open-wheel cars last took to the track located in the heart of the picturesque Laurentians. The layout, which features fast sections and passing opportunities, has since then been renovated to meet with improved safety guidelines. The 15-turn natural road course will still provide the seven teams and 12 drivers taking part in the private test with quite a challenge.

Getting a sneak peek of the Circuit Mont-Tremblant and returning to the cockpit this week after missing out on the last two races due to a back injury is Canadian Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) with Forsythe Championship Racing.  Tracy will be joined by fellow Canadian and Quebecois Alex Tagliani (#8 Lexington Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) as well as Tagliani’s RSPORTS teammate Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone). More ...

F1 cars net $6m at Ferrari auction  The sale of four modern formula one Ferraris contributed a further $6m to the Italian team’s budget this past weekend.  The famous marque held a Sotheby’s auction at its Maranello headquarters on Sunday, where the more expensive of the red race cars - the last single seater raced by Michael Schumacher in 2006, a 248 F1 - attracted a high bid of just under $2.3m.

Schumacher’s 2003 machine went for a little more than $2.0m, a 1997 Ferrari sold for a million, and a single seater from 1983 went for more than $560,000.

In total, the auction netted about $50m for Ferrari.

The auction made history by producing the highest ever price for a single Ferrari car. The Le Mans-winning 1962 330 TRI/FM Testa Rosa Spyder was won by an anonymous telephone bidder for an incredible $9.28m — just shy of the most expensive road car ever, a 1931 Bugatti Typie 41 Royal Sports Coupe that was sold in 1987 for $11m.

Among the other lots were a 2005 steering wheel ($85,000), a 2004 V10 engine ($62,000), an autographed Schumacher helmet ($30,000), a Schumacher racing suit ($28,000), two GP trophies ($14,000), a 2004 engine cover ($12,500) and a 2006 front wing ($6,500).

A racing suit worn by Kimi Raikkonen this season fetched $8,500, meanwhile, and even a set of Massa’s under-clothes sold for $775.

Detroit GP news  The Detroit News reports 48 of the 50-person hospitality suites available for the IRL Detroit GP, costing $50,000 each, have been sold, as have seven of the $95,000 100-person chalets. Looks like Roger Penske hasn't lost his touch for promoting a race.
tv news
Eurosport gets into the race promoter business  Eurosport Group has set up a new subsidiary to organize, promote and develop international sporting events to be led by Eurosport's Managing Director and CFO, Jacques Behar.

Behar becomes the president and CEO of ‘Eurosport Events’, which is already operating in a number of motorsport series, such as the FIA World Touring Car Championship and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. It is also indirectly linked with the International Formula Masters and the CIK-FIA Karting World Championship through minority share holdings and/or contractual agreements.

"Eurosport Events brings an extra dimension to sports promotion that will allow us to grow and leverage the sporting events that we select,” said Laurent-Eric Le Lay, President and CEO of Eurosport Group. Indeed, our perfect knowledge of this environment will help us to better direct the editorial policy and strategy of each sport. The prime objective will be to develop these events to make them a popular success both on location and in the media."

Eurosport Events intends to manage every aspect of the event organization, from TV production to media rights distribution - via Eurosport Group's own media and through sublicensing - as well as the sale of the marketing rights and international communications.

BMW Sauber F1 Team Enrolls Help of Supercomputer  In order to achieve maximum performance on the racetrack, Formula One engineers have to pay special attention to aerodynamics, trying to create as much downforce as possible while keeping air resistance low in order. The BMW Sauber F1 Team tests the aerodynamics of its racecars in two ways: physically and mathematically. The wind tunnel simulates various speeds and driving conditions, with wind speeds of up to 300 km/h, physically testing the car’s components. The second testing method is known as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which is provided by a supercomputer named Albert2. This supercomputer is the most powerful its sector in Europe and can process 12 billion computations per second with a 2048-gigabyte memory. With the help of CFD, components and their aerodynamic attributes are evaluated before they are even produced or put to the test physically.  See video on our Home Page
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • 'New' Honda car awaits Jerez assessment
  • No 'Paris' GP this weekend
  • Red Bull modifies bendy wing for Monaco
  • Sato gossip leaves Ralf unruffled

'New' Honda car awaits Jerez assessment
(GMM) Honda officials must be nervously anticipating the results of an upcoming private test at the southern Spanish circuit Jerez.

The beleaguered Japanese squad will struggle on with the dreadful RA107 for at least one more race, but after Monaco a heavily revised chassis - described by some insiders as effectively a 'B' model - will be tried.

Rumors suggest that Honda is also about to follow McLaren's lead by running the car on the long Menorca runway, to verify the performance of the new machine away from the wind tunnel.

The 'B' car could then debut at June's Canadian grand prix, after some developments ran successfully on the existing RA107 at the recent Barcelona event, and others - such as revised sidepods - were tested last week in France.

"The car had a half of a second improvement," Rubens Barrichello revealed, "and it is more stable on the brakes."

In the press, much of the blame for Honda's dire situation is falling on the shoulders of team boss Nick Fry and technical chief Shuhei Nakamoto, who replaced Geoff Willis last year despite notably lacking formula one experience.

"What he did have - and still has - is a firm friendship with Takeo Fukui, Honda's president and CEO," the British magazine F1 Racing observed, adding that Honda engineers openly describe Nakamoto as "out of his depth". More ...

Super Aguri team signs another sponsor  SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce a website consulting and web branding partnership agreement with Kinotrope Inc. who will be the team's official website consultant.

SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM and Kinotrope Inc. have extended their relationship to include a full consultancy and web branding partnership. The team expects the new arrangement with one of Japan's most prominent web production companies to improve the quality of its official website and to strengthen web branding. Kinotrope Inc. will now be able to take advantage of the extensive publicity opportunities afforded by its closer association with SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM. More ...

Cheating NASCAR Crew Chief makes excuses  UPDATE Penalties were levied against Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his crew chief for illegal modifications made to the Car of Tomorrow.  The appeal was scheduled to be heard Wednesday, but the team informed NASCAR on Tuesday it will not fight the penalties.  While admitting the car was not in compliance, DEI planned to argue that the penalties were too severe. But NASCAR officials countered with a March 21 rule amendment that outlined the penalties that would be levied for infractions on the COT.

05/18/07 “All of us are going to get caught in awkward positions,” said Tony Eury Jr., who will work Saturday night’s all-star event because the penalties have been appealed by DEI. “If you’re going to be that close to the edge and push the bubble all of the time, sooner or later you’re going to get into trouble.

"It’s not a deal where you’re trying to screw NASCAR every way you can. This was an honest mistake. I am not going to say that I haven’t pushed the envelope before. I have.

"Maybe I’ve gotten away with a couple of things and maybe I haven’t. You have to get a taste of it sooner or later. There’s nothing you can do, you just go on.”

Earnhardt Jr. said he was surprised that Eury Jr. got a suspension. Car chief Tony Gibson will fill in for Eury once he starts the suspension.

“I support Tony Jr.,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I was really proud of him. I'm not proud of cheating, but I was proud of him trying to give me every advantage he could give me and that's what I want him always to do.”

[Editor's Note: In other words Earnhardt Jr. always wants Eury Jr. to cheat to give him an advantage, just don't get caught doing it next time.]

Massa: You can't make any mistakes at Monaco  "This weekend is kind of like a second home race for me, as Monaco is my European base when I am not in Brazil and so that is an extra reason to look forward to what is such a special event. It will be a very busy week with the extra day in the middle and even today (Tuesday) I have to make a quick trip to Geneva to fulfill an appearance for my sponsor, Piaggio Aero.

Last week, I had a couple of days testing not far from home in Paul Ricard. I think the test went quite well for us. We were concentrating on finding a good set-up for the car when it is running the high downforce configuration that we use at Monaco. Apart from that the main thing was getting an understanding of the two types of tire we will be using. Honestly, the tire situation was not so easy to deal with, because over the two days I was testing, I had just a couple of sets of what Bridgestone is calling the "super-soft" and I was unlucky to be caught out in traffic on my first lap on these tires. This was a shame, as it meant I could not exploit them properly. But we know this tire is quicker than the other one, so it is not a big problem. Apart from that, everything went well. More ...

Rossi fastest in 2nd day of testing at LeMans  A second day of testing at Le Mans proved beneficial as teams took full advantage of some dry track time at the scene of the past weekend’s Grand Prix of France.

Unofficial lap times

1 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 34.61s
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 34.63s  
3 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 1m 34.81s
4 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team  1m 34.86s
5 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1m 35.13
6 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 35.52s
7 Makoto Tamada Tech 3 Yamaha 1m 36.11s

Giebler honored as ’500’s’ Fastest Rookie  In a matter of days, Phil Giebler (who comes from road racing and once again showed how a road racer can step into oval racing and do well.....something you won't see an Ed Carpenter do on a road course)) will have been toasted and roasted. Giebler, who qualified for the 91st Indianapolis 500 with a four-lap average of 219.637 mph in the No. 31 Ethos Fuel Reformulator Panoz/Honda/Firestone prepared by Playa Del Racing, was honored at the 33rd Fastest Rookie luncheon presented by the American Dairy Association of Indiana.

Later in the week, he will join Richie Hearn and Roberto Moreno at the Last Row Party, which humorously salutes the 31st, 32nd and 33rd drivers in the field for the May 27 race.

Giebler, of Oxnard, Calif., is just happy to be among the starters. During Third Day Qualifying, his car made contact with the outside and inside retaining walls on his fourth qualification lap. The team feverishly worked to restore the car for limited practice and a successful qualifying attempt on Bump Day. More ...

racing news
Quotes of the week  UPDATE
Dan Gurney, former racing great
"I am bitter about the way it has unfolded, and I am not afraid to say it. I have kept my distance (from Indianapolis).  I have been back to Indianapolis for a couple of Formula 1 races, but not for the 500. I spent more than 20 years or more of my life there, but they chopped it off abruptly. The new arrangement destroyed the history and lore of 70 decades of racing." (Dan Gurney expressing his disgust for Tony George and what he has done to destroy open wheel racing in America)

GORDON JOHNCOCK, Two time Indy 500 winner
"It ain't like it used to be and never will be......We think the public feels the same way." (Commenting on the demise of the once spectacular Indy 500 race)
PHIL GIEBLER, 33rd place Indy 500 qualifier
"They [Playa Del Racing] worked real hard and never got discouraged. They stayed as late as they needed to, got there as early as they needed to. They gave me a good car today. It felt great. I'm really happy for them, more than anything. These guys are awesome. They pulled me up from the Indy Pro Series, and they believe in me and I believe in them. It's a good match. It really shows what the team is made of and even the other teams [Chastain Motorsports, et al] that helped out with parts and stuff like that, it means a lot to me. I didn't want to disappoint them.  It's a small team, but we do a great job. We've had a big mountain to climb all week so it feels really good to get everything done and get it in the show. That was more than the initiation I wanted."
JOE NEMECHEK,  NASCAR driver, Ginn Racing
"I think what happened is Juan Pablo Montoya thought he was going to be Superman on the first lap.  He was driving in there three wide and then got loose doing it.  I don't know what he was thinking.  I mean I'm frustrated.  We didn't even get in a half a lap of racing, and I'm sitting here with a junked race car.  And to have someone to make a.....I don't know, I better watch my words here.....make a STUPID move like that going in Turn 1 and then not to control your race car.  Man, it's all his fault.  So, all I can say is, paybacks are heck."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NASCAR driver, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
"Well, it's racing you know.  I'm trying.  If they're not trying...  I'm sorry to have wrecked a couple guys.  The only real guy I wrecked was the #38.  The only guy I put in the wall was the #38, and that's it.  So I'm the guy who caused the wreck, but get over it."  (Speaking after the Nextel Open at Lowe's) More ...
NASCAR to Run COT Full Time in 2008  NASCAR announced that the Car of Tomorrow will be fully implemented for the 2008 Nextel Cup Series season. The move accelerates the integration of the new car into the series by one full year. In January 2006, NASCAR had announced a three-year roll-out schedule that would conclude with the new car running in every race by 2009. As the new car began its initial phase-in program over the past several months, team owners expressed support of the new car and its full implementation by the 2008 season. Therefore, starting next year the new car will run the entire Nextel Cup Series schedule. The average margin of victory through the first five Car of Tomorrow races has been a mere .505 seconds (compared to 1.286 seconds at these same races a year ago) and there have been six fewer DNFs through this same race sequence from 2006. Additionally, 13 teams have used the same chassis for three of the five races; four teams have run the same chassis in four of the five races; and one team – the #29 Chevy – has run the same chassis in all five Car of Tomorrow races. NASCAR PR
SunTrust to again sponsor Richmond race  For the seventh consecutive year, SunTrust Banks, Inc. will serve as the title sponsor for the IndyCar® Series race at Richmond International Raceway. And for the second year in a row, SunTrust will partner with XM Satellite Radio to showcase the SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM "under the lights" on Saturday, June 30, as part of the fastest weekend of racing at Richmond International Raceway. SunTrust's participation in the open-wheel weekend at America's Premier Short Track spans back to the very first IndyCar Series race at Richmond International Raceway in 2001.

"We are excited to have both SunTrust and XM on board for our IndyCar Series race again this year," said track president Doug Fritz. "For the seventh consecutive year, we are proud to have such a great partner in SunTrust sponsor the fastest race at Richmond International Raceway. Having XM back for the second year continues to help us reach an even wider audience on our IndyCar Series weekend."

"SunTrust prides itself on supporting the communities we serve through the sponsorship of entertainment, educational and cultural events," said Michael Newbrand, Director of Marketing for SunTrust Mid-Atlantic. "We are proud to say this is our seventh consecutive year of sponsoring the IndyCar Series race at Richmond International Raceway and we are looking forward to another thrilling weekend."

"XM is committed to broadcasting the best in racing action to our millions of subscribers across the country," said George Perry, director of partnership marketing for XM. "As the exclusive satellite radio provider for the IndyCar Series, we're pleased to partner with SunTrust to bring the SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM to fans at Richmond International Raceway and nationwide."

Vintage Indy cars to lap IMS on Miller Lite Carb Day  The sights, sounds and smells of past Indianapolis 500-Mile Races will be on display and in motion on Miller Lite Carb Day, Friday, May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

At 3:30 p.m. - the same time the Miller Lite Carb Day concert featuring Kid Rock begins - fans seeking more traditional entertainment will enjoy an incredible parade of vintage Indianapolis 500 cars, a rolling museum spanning the race's illustrious history from the 1930s into the 1970s.

The list of cars tentatively scheduled to turn laps on the legendary 2.5-mile oval:

.Two cars driven to victory in the Indianapolis 500 by the legendary A.J. Foyt, who is celebrating his 50th consecutive year of competition at Indy this year, will lead the parade. Indianapolis 500 veteran George Snider will drive Foyt's 1964-winning Sheraton-Thompson Watson-Offy roadster, and Foyt's son Larry Foyt will drive the 1967-winning Sheraton-Thompson Coyote-Ford.  More ...

Gruning joins Indy Racing as vice president of sales  The Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series, announced that Gregory Gruning has been named the league's vice president of sales. The announcement was made by Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division for the Indy Racing League.

Gruning will be responsible for all sales and new business development as well as the league's client services efforts and hospitality. He will also be responsible for managing the league's recently announced consultancy with Just Marketing International, and he will serve as point person for any and all agency requests made to the league.

"Greg is a results driven individual who brings us proven performance in areas of strategic business and marketing planning and his motorsports background affords us an added advantage," Angstadt said. "We are on the threshold of a very active and optimistic era for IndyCar Series racing and its drivers, teams and events and Greg's experience and knowledge will help us deliver the story of the sport's excitement, relevancy and value in today's sponsorship marketplace. More ...

Foreman joins Panther Racing's ownership group  Two-time IndyCar Series champion Panther Racing announced that former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman and his sons will become the team's newest co-owners.

Foreman, a 1968 Olympic gold medalist and an ordained minister, is making his return to professional sports since he retired from boxing in 1997.

"This is a very special day for Panther Racing," team co-owner John Barnes said. "To add a true professional and sports legend like George Foreman to our ownership group is a tremendous boost to our team. George brings with him experience from decades in professional sports and the business savvy to help our team's sponsorship efforts. His passion for cultivating successful business opportunities is as strong as his career in the boxing ring. The Panther Racing franchise just got a lot stronger."

George Foreman Jr. and brother George III serve as vice presidents of George Foreman Enterprises, the marketing company founded by their father. They also founded their own investment company, JR3, which has strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of industries including real estate, apparel, exercise equipment, sporting goods, financial services, entertainment, and music. More ...

tv news
SPEED Sets Ratings Record with All-Star coverage  SPEED scored its highest rating in network history, earning a Nielsen Media Research mark of 3.53 (2,480,000 Households) for its inaugural coverage of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on Saturday. The event, in its first of eight seasons on SPEED, peaked at 4.37 (3,064,000 Households) and held a 4-plus rating for final 90 minutes of the telecast.

The Nielsen rating marks a seven-percent increase over last year’s All-Star broadcast on FX, which earned a 3.30 Nielsen rating.

“Everyone at SPEED, everyone at Sprint Nextel, everyone at JHE Production Group, everyone at NASCAR, everyone at Lowe’s Motor Speedway put maximum effort into getting off to a strong start with the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on SPEED,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “We’re all incredibly proud of the inaugural effort and we had a blast doing it, but the real message is ‘we’re just getting started.’ We’ve learned a lot in year one and we already are talking about how to make it even cooler in year two … we’re on our way.” More ...

Dozens of celebrities to attend 91st Indianapolis 500  Celebrities from around the world are flocking to Indianapolis this weekend for the 91st Indianapolis 500 and events surrounding the race.

The celebrities will attend the race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 27. Many of the stars will walk the red carpet in the Pagoda Plaza starting at 10 a.m. and take celebrity Pace Car laps around the famed 2.5-mile IMS oval starting at 11:30 a.m.

Carlos Diaz, a correspondent for the popular entertainment magazine show "Extra," will be the master of ceremonies on the red carpet. More ...

Kenny Brack/AJ Foyt CD Launch party  
What: Kenny Brack CD Launch Party featuring "Legend of the Speedway" honoring A. J. Foyt
When: Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Who: Fans as well as media welcome.
Where: Blu Lounge in Downtown Indy. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.
Details: Events with Brack and Foyt begin at 6:00 p.m.
Foyt departs at 6:45 p.m.
Kenny and the band play until 9:00 p.m.
For more information about Kenny and his music go to - www.brackmusic.com
PEAK Antifreeze joins AGR  PEAK Antifreeze today announced its sponsorship of Andretti Green Racing, the winningest team in Indy Racing League history, for the 2007 IndyCar Series season.

Marketed and distributed by Old World Industries, one of the largest privately-owned companies competing in the automotive aftermarket, PEAK Antifreeze is an associate sponsor of Andretti Green and is also the "Official Antifreeze & Coolant" of Danica Patrick's #7 Team Motorola entry.

"We're delighted to have PEAK onboard for the 2007 IndyCar Series season," said Michael Andretti, who co-owns Andretti Green Racing with partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree.  "PEAK has a standard of excellence in the automotive industry that is second-to-none and we're proud to add their brand to the Andretti Green family."

PEAK Antifreeze can be found at major retailers such as AutoZone, NAPA, Pep Boys, O'Reilly, CSK, Meijer, Wal-Mart and Walgreens. In total, Old World products are sold on the shelves of more than 200,000 outlets nationwide, across every retail channel - whether automotive, mass merchandise, home/hardware, food/drug, or convenience.

"I'm thrilled that PEAK has joined the sponsor family at Andretti Green," said Patrick. "They have been a long-time supporter of mine and I am glad they are continuing on with me at AGR as we chase our first IndyCar Series win together."

Since joining the Indy Racing League in 2003, Andretti Green Racing has claimed 24 IndyCar Series victories including the 2005 Indianapolis 500, four wins in the Pro Series and two IndyCar Series championships.  In 2007, AGR is also fielding an XM-sponsored Acura-powered Courage in the American Le Mans Series.

Audi strengthens LeMans lineup with DTM drivers  For the first time since their triple victory in 2002, Audi AG will be fielding three factory cars again in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Three-time American Le Mans Series champion Lucas Luhr and former Series winner Mike Rockenfeller were named as pilots for a third diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI. They will be joined by fellow Audi DTM mate Alexandre Prémat in the No. 3 car in June’s classic race.
"The race at Le Mans poses a new challenge every year," commented Audi Head of Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "By fielding a third car, we are increasing our chances of again being successful. Experience has certainly shown us how quickly a team can ‘lose’ a car at Le Mans. The costs incurred for a third vehicle versus a two-car team are reasonable."
Mattias Ekström, Lucas Luhr, Alexandre Prémat and Mike Rockenfeller proved their abilities to race at Le Mans in tests at Paul Ricard (France) in early April by setting consistently fast lap times. "All four left an outstanding impression," explained Dr Ullrich. "We opted for the combination of Luhr/Prémat/Rockenfeller because we want Mattias to concentrate on the DTM, in which he has good chances of winning the title. Le Mans is exactly between two important DTM races at Brands Hatch and the Norisring. " More ...
Green will drive for Riley-D'Hondt this weekend  Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports officials announced Monday that Your Residential Technology Team would sponsor David Green in both Busch Series races at Lowe's Motor Speedway this year.  "We couldn't be more pleased to announce the partnership with YRT2," team, co-owner Eddie D'Hondt said in a statement. "They are a cutting-edge company with an exciting business model and we are honored to partner with them."  The team will field the No. 91 in selected Busch races this season in addition to a limited number of car of tomorrow races in the Nextel Cup Series.
Honda planning all-star tech revamp - report  (GMM) Honda may be planning an all-star technical lineup to dig itself out of the mire of its 2007 championship campaign, according to reports.

It emerged on Tuesday that former Red Bull chief aerodynamicist Ben Agathangelou is shaping up to join the Brackley based Honda team, after it hit rock-bottom this season with the dreadful RA107 car.

The unconfirmed signing follows speculation that team boss Nick Fry had opened talks with Ross Brawn, who is taking a 'sabbatical' after a successful era as Ferrari's technical director and strategist.

But the specialist magazine Motorsport Aktuell now claims that the highly-ranked duo is just part of a wider revamp at the Japanese marque, with Fry believed to be looking elsewhere within the Ferrari camp for more technical talent.

Nigel Stepney is reportedly unhappy with his current Ferrari role, which has left him mostly factory-based in 2007, and he could be one of Fry's targets after apparently recently being spotted in the UK.

It was also rumored recently that Ferrari's John Iley was on the verge of leaving the Italian team, while former Minardi technical director Gabriele Tredozi could be on the lookout for a new role in the F1 paddock, the report added.

Q and A with Renault’s Fabrice Lom  
Q. Fabrice, what is your assessment of the start to the season made by Renault's partner team Red Bull Racing?

Fabrice Lom, Principal Engineer, Red Bull Racing Trackside Engine Support: I am feeling very optimistic about our partnership. I think it has been an intense start to the season for all the team: everything is brand new, and needs to be put into place. That has required Herculean efforts from the team, but the start to the season has been positive, and our results are encouraging.

We know we have a promising package, and even though there are still areas that need working on, we can see we are making progress all the time - and we believe the package has real potential.

Q. You are preparing for the most unusual race on the entire calendar: Monaco. What demands does this place on the engine?

FL: Monaco isn't generally known as an engine circuit, but there are still some important factors to take into account when tuning the V8's behavior. It must be as smooth as possible; there are a lot of bumps, which means a real risk of over-revving, so everything must be set up to ensure gear changes happen at the right time.

Prior to 2007, our worry was about not exceeding the physical capabilities of the engine with too many revs; this year, we will be adapting to the slightly different challenge of ensuring we do not exceed the rev limit of 19,000 rpm.

Q. You prepared for the race at Paul Ricard last week...

FL: Yes. The team's main focus was on chassis testing. On the engine side, we were paying attention to the engine's behavior with very closely-spaced gear ratios, particularly in second and third gears; to the driver's feeling about the engine characteristics; and to cooling, which is a factor that can never be neglected in the Principality. Renault PR

Q and A with Renault’s Bob Bell  
Q. Bob, the team appeared to make a small step forward in competitiveness in Barcelona, although that was masked by problems during the race. Is that a fair assessment?

Bob Bell - Renault's technical director: Yes, I think so. We certainly saw a small improvement during the weekend in Barcelona. Our new suspension and aerodynamic developments were clearly working well, and the drivers both felt more confident with the car than they had done at recent races. They were ultimately hindered by the refueling problems we experienced, but I think it is fair to say that we managed to unlock a little more of the potential that we know is in the car. We hope to see the trend continue again this weekend in Monaco.

Q. Results during the first races of the season have clearly not met expectations, yet there doesn't seem to be any panic at ING Renault F1 Team. Why is that?

BB: I think it comes down to honesty and discipline. We have completed a lot of detailed, targeted analysis to understand our problems. That has been an extensive program, but it is well mapped-out, and we are making good progress. In difficult times, you have to go about you work in a logical manner, and adopt a very disciplined approach.

When you have a nasty surprise with car performance, it is very easy to head off in many directions at once without a clear strategy. In contrast, we have taken our time and resisted the temptation to react in a knee-jerk manner. It is beginning to bear fruit. More ...

Q and A with Takuma Sato  
Q. Takuma, Super Aguri F1 team achieved its first championship point at the 2007 Spanish Grand Prix, what were you thinking when you crossed the finish line in 8th position?

Takuma Sato: It was a fantastic feeling! In my mind I was thanking everyone in the race team, at Leafield, in Tochigi, our fans and my family. I was extremely satisfied with the result because every second counted throughout the whole race and there was no margin for error. I was also thinking about how it had only been 15 months since the team started and to get into the Top 10, to grab that point, well that was just fantastic.

It means a lot to us, so I was a very happy man. Also the other thing I thought was that the second Sunday of May is usually Mother's Day in Japan and in some countries. At the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix the organizers had invited the drivers' mothers' to the race and this is where I had a horrendous accident. So in Spain it was a little gift for my mum as well as the result for the team.

Q. The next Grand Prix is in Monaco and is a very challenging Formula One race for both driver and car, how do you think that the SA07 will perform?

TS: I am looking forward to Monaco not only because of the success we had in Spain, but because in Monaco you need good mechanical grip and the new gearbox that we introduced at the last race and the new aero package that we tested in Ricard worked well. I think that we are developing at a good pace, as everyone else is, and that we have a good car. The Monaco circuit is very challenging for the drivers and cars. More ...

Q and A with BMW's Willy Rampf  The Monaco Grand Prix not only rates as the classic race of the Formula One calendar, but also represents a unique test for the drivers and engineers. Willy Rampf, Technical Director of the BMW Sauber F1 Team, explains how the team gears up for this challenge.

Q+A with Willy Rampf, Technical Director of the BMW Sauber F1 Team

In what way does Monaco differ from other circuits?
“Monaco produces the lowest average speeds of any race over the course of the year. There is no start-finish straight as such, which means top speed plays a very subordinate role. It’s more or less a case of one corner following the next, and this highlights clear priorities.”

F1.07 general view, setup Monaco Grand Prix

What are the implications for the car’s aerodynamics? More ...
track news
BFG to be official tire of Ford Racing School  Michelin North America Inc. has signed a deal with Miller Motorsports Park that makes its BFGoodrich brand tires the official tires of the Ford Racing School of High Performance Driving.  As part of the contract, Michelin will supply the school’s Ford Mustang GT and Ford Mustang Challenge vehicles with BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDWS and g-Force R1 tires.
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Agathangelou to join Honda
(GMM) Ben Agathangelou will shortly join beleaguered F1 team Honda to head its aerodynamics department, after recently leaving Red Bull.

The 35-year-old, previously Red Bull's head of aerodynamics, chose to leave the Milton Keynes based squad after a technical reshuffle by Adrian Newey left him with a demotion.

The reshuffle left Peter Prodromou in charge of Red Bull's aerodynamics department.

It is understood, however, that Agathangelou can only join Honda following a period of so-called 'gardening leave', although he may not have to sit out the entire balance of his contract.

Agathangelou is no stranger to Honda, having been part of the Japanese carmaker's stillborn formula one chassis project ten years ago.

His appointment is thought to be the first in a major revamp of Honda's technical department, after the team's disappointing start to the 2007 season with the RA107 car.

"These things don't happen overnight," Honda team principal Nick Fry said, "but we certainly need to strengthen the team in some areas."

Alonso also struggling with tires - Raikkonen
(GMM) Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen has suggested that both he and reigning world champion Fernando Alonso are suffering with the same problem in 2007.

The highly rated pair have been conspicuously outshone by their junior teammates in recent weeks, leading to the bolstered profiles of Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton.

But Finn Raikkonen, who is 27, said ahead of the Monaco grand prix that the switch to the single tire formula with Bridgestone this year has been difficult, particularly for those drivers with notably aggressive styles. More ...

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