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High chance of rain at Monaco
Monaco is famous for its Casinos alluring gamblers from all over the world. This year, the race in the principality possibly also could turn out to be a gamble - a rain gamble. At every Formula One circuit, rain makes for particularly difficult conditions. In Monaco, however, wet conditions represent a particular threat as the track doesn't allow for any mistakes.

"Monaco represents an exceptional challenge," explains Willy Rampf, Technical Director of the BMW Sauber F1 Team. "Here, even the slightest mistake can make a sudden end to a driver's race."

According to the forecasters, the rain probability for qualifying and race amounts to 60 to 90 percent. And Nick Heidfeld stresses that a wet track can make a major impact on the course of the race. "Should it be raining, there is a rather big chance of seeing a surprising winner on the podium."

Nick continues: "I also am anxious to see how the drivers will cope with having to drive without traction control, here. We already have witnessed several mistakes, in the previous races. And in the case of rain in Monaco - something we haven't experienced in the season to date - the race definitely will be a real thriller."  Source BMW Sauber


Indy 500 teams still lack sponsors
For all the touting of higher television ratings, attendance and series Web site visits, there’s one glaring shortcoming that shows the Indy Racing League still has challenges.

Fourteen of the 33 cars that qualified for the Indianapolis 500 either have no or little sponsorship money coming in. And if not for a few last minute deals such as Eli Lilly & Co. Inc. sponsoring A.J. Foyt IV and the city of Las Vegas swooping in to sponsor John Andretti for one race,  it would be even worse.

The first four rows look rock solid, with the likes of Target, 7-11, Motorola, Panasonic and WilliamRast plastered all over the cars. Those are legitimate paying customers.

But two-thirds of the drivers in the back seven rows are either driving cars with empty sidepods or emblazoned by sponsors that are ponying up little or no money–or have promised money, but have a history of non-payment.

“Empty sidepods, plain and simple, show there’s a problem,” said Dennis McAlpine, a New York-based motorsports analyst. “It shows there’s excess supply and not enough demand.”

And if the IRL can’t attract team sponsors to its cornerstone race, McAlpine said, that shows a potentially deeper problem. “Come on, this is the greatest spectacle in racing,” he said.

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Ferrari boss wants team to set record straight
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali says he is out to set Ferrari's Monaco record right after the team struggled at last year's event. He is, however wary of McLaren's improved pace and the challenge Hamilton and Kovalainen will pose this weekend.

"As we all know, unfortunately last year, Monte Carlo and Canada were not really very good grands prix for us and we had to consider that situation and try to understand the reasons why, on top of the philosophical decision on the car," Domenicali said. "But we need to think how to do a different approach. We had a long study of the set-ups that we had in past years and tried to better understand the tire usage and tire pressure. That is the way we are preparing for this weekend and I would say that sure it will be very tough."

"Our main competitor is very, very strong, no doubt," he added. "It seems they are getting better with the single lap straight away. We will target a little bit more on that but we need to think that, for sure, the general gap, if I may say, is small, so we will fight until the end. We don't forget that it seems on Saturday and Sunday the weather will be very, very tricky, so a lot - above all in those conditions - will maybe be very different. It will require a lot of concentration."


Conquest lands another sponsor
Harding Road, a Dallas, Texas-based motor sports team, announced an associate sponsorship agreement for 2008 with All Sport Body Quencher, a sports drink brand and subsidiary of Big Red, Inc., an Austin-based beverage company. The All Sport logo will appear in Sunday’s Indy 500 race on Conquest Racing's #36 car driven by Enrique Bernoldi.  

“The IndyCar Series is an extraordinary sport for All Sport and Big Red, and Harding Road is a perfect match to help us add marketing muscle to our beverage brands,” said Gary Smith, CEO of Big Red, Inc. “To have a presence in the Indy 500 is about as good as it gets.”  

“We’re very proud to have gained the confidence of Big Red,” said Hulsey Smith, Principal and CEO of Harding Road. “Gary Smith has an incredible track record in building successful racing teams in the IndyCar Series, NASCAR, Grand Am and Off Road. To have him sign on with us brings stature to our Dallas-sized ambitions in racing.”  

Harding Road has contracted with Conquest Racing, one of the former Champ Car teams to make a successful jump to the IndyCar Series. Conquest is owned by president and CEO, Eric Bachelart.  

“Harding Road will be making several more sponsorship announcements in the near future,” said Hulsey Smith. “If you’re a Dallas- or Texas-based brand and want to be on the ground floor of something big, we're your guys.”  

About All Sport, Inc. All Sport Body Quencher was developed using sport physiology research and has an optimal balance of fluids and carbohydrates, and 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.  The company also offers a wide line of sugar-free All Sport Zero® flavors.  Available in 20-ounce, 12-ounce and 32-ounce bottles, All Sport is sold at retail stores throughout the country.  All Sport, Inc. is based in Austin, Texas and is a subsidiary of Big Red, Inc.


Carb Day final practice speeds
Practice Friday for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:

1. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 223.934
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 223.028
3. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 222.326
4. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 222.130
5. (24) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 221.699
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 221.546
7. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 221.330
8. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 221.207
9. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 220.163
10. (22) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 220.116
11. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 220.062
12. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 219.515
13. (99) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 218.373
14. (19) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 217.944
15. (2) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 217.656
16. (36) Enrique Bernoldi, Dallara-Honda, 217.196
17. (17) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 216.896
18. (91) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 216.149
19. (41) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Honda, 214.748
20. (06) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 213.963
21. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 212.719
22. (16) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 209.347
23. (34) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Honda, 207.263
24. (33) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 207.200
25. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 207.114
26. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 202.998
27. (67) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 202.725
28. (02) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 90.306
29. (8) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 87.126
30. (5) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 84.144
31. (18) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 18.120
32. (12) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 14.380
33. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, no speed


ESPN Providing Worldwide Distribution for Indianapolis 500 UPDATE #2 Another reader from the Netherlands writes, First of all I’d like to say that there is a way to watch the Indy 500, through Sport1, a digital Sport channel for which you have to pay about € 13 / $20 usd each month! Most people in the Netherlands don’t have digital TV and the people who do, most don’t pay so much money just for 1 TV channel, which barely broadcasts motorsports. By the way, from the current IndyCar Series season, they’ve only broadcasted the Homestead race (which started local time in The Netherlands at 2 am!) and they will broadcast the Indy 500.

For me this is another clear sign that this just isn't a merger. Champ Car had a pretty good TV package (well… compared to the current one), with Eurosport, that can be seen by the majority of the European citizens, without having to pay extra for it! The IndyCar Series just focuses itself on the American market and completely refuses to see that the series is already an international racing series. As matter of fact, only 7 of the 27 fulltime IndyCar drivers are American, so 20 drivers are foreign! For some reason the series just refuses to abandon the part of Tony George’s completely failed ‘All American Racing Series’ vision, probably the only part that’s still standing of George’s vision.  Patrick Fong

05/23/08 A reader from the Netherlands writes, Unfortunately this article is not totally true.  In The Netherlands it is NOT possible to watch the Indy 500 ... This for a country which last year organized a very successful Champ Car race ....Even worse, we (the viewers / fans of American Open Wheel racing in The Netherlands) cannot watch any Indy Car Series race at all ... There is no channel which shows the Indy Car Series (and I have Digital TV at home and therefore I can receive 127 channels!).  No wonder Robert Doornbos has joined Super League Formula as there is no way he can provide his sponsors with any coverage of the Indy Car Series in his home country. Peter Wahl

05/23/08 ESPN, the exclusive worldwide television representative of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, will televise the Indianapolis 500 live to 177 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 on Sunday, May 25, at 1 p.m. ET at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

ESPN is also responsible for the global syndication of the Indy 500 for live broadcast in Belgium, Bosnia/Serbia, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, 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 ABC. When combined with ESPN's international distribution efforts, the estimated worldwide total for the Indy 500 includes more than 212 countries and more than 375 million households worldwide.

ESPN will have two separate on-site teams broadcasting the race in Spanish and English to international audiences. Spanish-language announcers will be veteran broadcaster AndrAgulla and Alex Pombo; Gary Lee and Larry Rice will provide commentary in English. ESPN's coverage will peak at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, May 25, with a 20-minute special edition of its auto racing show RPM Semanal, telecast in Spanish in Latin America, and pre-race show Before They Go Green, telecast in English on ESPN networks in Africa, the Middle East, Israel,' the Caribbean and the PacRim/Australia.

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Freedom 100 postponed until Saturday
The Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 has been postponed until tomorrow.  The race will start at 12:10 p.m.

IMS President and CEO Joie Chitwood said officials were prepared to start the race today as late as 6:30 p.m., but heavy rain at 4:10 p.m. forced them to close the track today.  AutoRacing1.com will be there to bring you all the action.


Indy 500 Lineup
Below is the lineup for the Indy 500 with team and primary sponsors listed.

No. 9 Scott Dixon No. 10 Dan Wheldon No. 6 Ryan Briscoe
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team Penske
Target Target Philip Morris
No. 3 Helio Castroneves No. 7 Danica Patrick No. 11 Tony Kanaan
Team Penske Andretti Green Racing Andretti Green Racing
Philip Morris Motorola 7-Eleven
No. 26 Marco Andretti No. 4T Vitor Meira No. 27 Hideki Mutoh
Andretti Green Racing Panther Racing Andretti Green Racing
Blockbuster/Lucasfilm Delphi Formula Dream
No. 20 Ed Carpenter No. 12 Tomas Scheckter No. 99 Townsend Bell
Vision Racing Luczo Dragon Racing Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Menards Symantec William Rast Clothing
No. 06 Graham Rahal No. 14 Darren Manning No. 18 Bruno Junqueira
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dale Coyne Racing
Hole In The Wall Camps ABC Supply Co. Z-Line Design
No. 02 Justin Wilson No. 15 Buddy Rice No. 22 Davey Hamilton
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Vision Racing
McDonald's Unknown Hewlett-Packard
No. 16 Alex Lloyd No. 17T Ryan Hunter-Reay No. 24 John Andretti
Rahal Letterman Racing with Chip Ganassi Rahal Letterman Racing Roth Racing
Ninentdo Wii Fit Ethanol 1-800-Las-Vegas
No. 67 Sarah Fisher No. 8 Will Power No. 41 Jeff Simmons
Sarah Fisher Racing KV Racing Technology A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Text4Cars.com Aussie Vineyards ABC Supply Co.
No. 5 Oriol Servia No. 33 E.J. Viso No. 23 Milka Duno
KV Racing Technology HVM Racing Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Angie's List/Visit Mexico Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. Citgo
ROW 10
No. 19 Mario Moraes No. 36 Enrique Bernoldi No. 34 Jaime Camara
Dale Coyne Racing Conquest Racing Conquest Racing
Sonny's Bar-B-Q Sangari Sangari
ROW 11
No. 2 A.J. Foyt IV No. 91 Buddy Lazier No. 25 Marty Roth
Vision Racing Hemelgarn Racing Roth Racing
Eli Lilly and Co. MDA/ALS Lids.com


Servia to Carry the "Visit Mexico City" Colors at the Indy 500
Pacific Coast Motorsports and the Mexico City Tourism Board announced today that they have entered into an agreement with KV Racing Technology for the 2008 Indy 500.  Oriol Servia, driver of the #5 Angie’s List Special will carry the Visit Mexico City logo at the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Pacific Coast Motorsports and the Mexico City Tourism Board announced their program just one month ago.  The rookie team and driver missed the 33rd starting spot in final qualifying last Sunday after a remarkable performance, which placed Dominguez “on the bubble” Sunday afternoon.  Team Owner, Tyler Tadevic commented, “I have to thank Jimmy (Vasser), Kevin (Kalkhoven) and Mark (Johnson) for offering their help.  We gave it our best shot this month, but at the end of the day; despite Mario’s impressive performance, we just did not have the track time and preparation time to get into the show.  It is very important that our partners, the Mexico City Tourism Board participate in the event and receive the additional exposure they deserve.  We are very grateful and honored that Oriol will carry their colors.”

Oriol Servia will make his first Indy 500 start from the inside of row nine, in the 25th starting position on Sunday.  Although he is a rookie in the IndyCar Series, Servia is currently ranked eighth in the Series points standings, “I am proud to carry the Visit Mexico City colors for my friend Mario Dominguez.  Mexico City is one of my favorite places to visit.  I love the city and the people, plus some of my closest friends are from there.  I hope to give everyone in Mexico City a result they will be proud of on Sunday.”


Rain washes out Indy activities yet again
The rain continued to hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday during Carb Day practice in preparation for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race set for May 25 at 1 p.m. EDT. A wet month of May has been the trend at the world’s most famous racing facility, and the 33 starters for Sunday’s classic again had to fight the elements with only 12 minutes of practice time. The 11 a.m. scheduled practice start was delayed by ten minutes as the IMS safety team continued to dry the racing surface from an early morning rain storm.  At 11:10 a.m. the drivers finally took their cars onto the track for a planned one hour session. However, another storm hit the “Brickyard” at 11:22 a.m., and intermittent showers in the afternoon kept the drivers and cars in the garage area for the rest of the day.  The Pit Stop Challenge was also cancelled.


Stars come out for Indy 500
Celebrities from the silver screen, television and music once again will flock to Indianapolis this weekend for the 92nd 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 25. 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 approximately 11:45 a.m.

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

Headlining the list of celebrities are two recent "Dancing with the Stars" winners: Julianne Hough and Kristi Yamaguchi.

Hough, a professional ballroom dancer who has won the "Dancing with the Stars" twice - most recently with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves last fall, will sing the national anthem before the start of the race. Her debut country music album, "Julianne Hough," was released this month.

Yamaguchi was named "Dancing with the Stars" season six champion May 20. 1992 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Yamaguchi will serve as honorary starter for the "500," waving the green flag to send the 33-car Indianapolis 500 field into action. Yamaguchi is the first female honorary starter in Indianapolis 500 history.

Many of the celebrities in Indianapolis for race weekend will attend or participate in community events such as the IPL 500 Festival Parade starting at noon Saturday, May 24 in downtown Indianapolis and the Regions 500 Festival Snakepit Ball at 6 p.m. that day at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis.

The complete list of celebrities expected to attend the 92nd Indianapolis 500 (listed in alphabetical order):

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Indy 500 Bump Day TV Rating UPDATE The final Indy 500 Bump Day TV Rating on ABC last Sunday was a 1.1/3 share.

05/19/08 The overnight TV rating for the final day of qualifying for the Indy 500 on ABC was a 1.3, which is better than pole day's 0.9 rating.


BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park returns to Warsaw
The Polish fans of the BMW Sauber F1 Team and their home grown hero, Robert Kubica, have every reason to look forward to another very special Formula One experience. From 13th to 15th June 2008 the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park visits Warsaw, Poland's capital city, for the second time. BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Robert Kubica will visit the Formula One theme park on 14th June. At the Bemowo Airfield, all Formula One enthusiasts will get a taste of the unique atmosphere that surrounds motorsport's highest category.

Kubica, who is currently fourth in the Drivers' World Championship with 24 points, says: "The BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park is great. Last year in Warsaw more than 100,000 fans took the opportunity to find out more about Formula One. I'm sure all the fans will be thrilled again with the fantastic attractions Pit Lane Park has to offer. Where else can you actually climb inside a monocoque or see a completely dismantled race car? My favorite activity in the park is the simulator. The rides are amazingly realistic."

In 2007 the BMW Sauber F1 Team's high-tech event park paid a visit to Warsaw and it turned out to be real crowd puller. In Poland the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park managed to draw the largest numbers to date, with a total of 109,220 excited fans. "I'm certain that a lot more people would have been there if Pit Lane Park had had a bigger capacity," says Kubica. "The atmosphere was incredible."

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Honda Extends Relationship with IndyCar Racing
Honda Performance Development (HPD), American Honda's headquarters for professional auto racing operations, has extended its relationship with the Indy Racing League and plans to supply engines to the IndyCar Series for the next five years.

Honda joined the IndyCar Series at the start of the 2003 season, and became single supplier of racing engines to the series in 2006.

"In the six years that Honda has been a part of the Indy Racing League, we've had a great deal of success, both against strong competition from other auto manufacturers and as single engine supplier," said Erik Berkman, president of HPD, located in Santa Clarita, CA.  "Honda is pleased to be part of the IndyCar Series, as it provides both a technical challenge for our engineers and a showcase for Honda products worldwide."

Today's announcement that the League will host a manufacturers' roundtable in June to openly discuss future chassis and engine rules was also welcomed by Berkman.  "We are delighted by the League's decision to welcome automotive manufacturers to Indianapolis next month.  We look forward to the continued growth of IndyCar racing, and potential participation by additional engine manufacturers."

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News briefs from Monaco: Friday
(GMM) Force India's two drivers had expensive days at Monaco on Thursday, as Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella were fined 600 euros apiece for going just 2.5 and 2.1 kph respectively above the 60kph pitlane speed limit.

McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen's speeding fine, meanwhile, was 800 euros, for going 63.5kph, stewards at Monte Carlo confirmed.


15 years after six-time Monaco winner Ayrton Senna's last victory in the Principality, his nephew Bruno won the GP2 race on Friday.


Martin Brundle, the former grand prix driver, looks set to keep his job as a popular television commentator next year, when the BBC takes over from Britain's current broadcaster, ITV.

According to speculation in the Monaco paddock, however, the other members of the ITV team - including Mark Blundell, James Allen, Louise Goodman and Steve Rider - are unlikely to also make the switch.

David Coulthard is hot favorite to take over Blundell's role as special paddock analyst, but the veteran Scot would clearly prefer to renew his racing deal with Red Bull.


An FIA spokesman on Friday responded to Bernie Ecclestone's letter to FIA club presidents. Ecclestone, heading F1's commercial rights holder, was replying to a letter written to the clubs by Max Mosley.

The FIA spokesman said the governing body welcomes the "constructive approach that the commercial rights holder (Ecclestone) is now taking in the current negotiations."


Conquest Racing Signs Title Sponsorship
Conquest Logos
Conquest Racing announced today that they have formed a partnership with Bidaroo.com, a unique Indiana-based online charity auction which becomes title sponsor of the #34 car driven by Jaime Camara for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

Bidaroo.com, whose logo will appear on the sidepods of Camara’s orange and white Dallara, is an innovative auction type website which sells brand new products such as iPhones, Plasma Televisions, Nintendo Wii game systems, and many more products for at least 90% below retail. Offering such amazing and unique products for such incredible prices is not the only great thing about the Bidaroo.com. Bidaroo also donates a portion of net proceeds to selected charities.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with Conquest Racing and Jaime Camara for the Indianapolis 500,” said Rob Gough, founder of bidaroo.com. “The Indianapolis 500 is such a major event and it presents us with a great opportunity to expose Bidaroo.com not only locally but to the world.”

Conquest Racing Team Owner, Eric Bachelart added: “We are pleased to have formed this partnership with bidaroo.com. The concept behind the online charity auction is so unique and such a great idea and if at the end of the day, we can help them raise even more money for their cause, then it makes our work that much more meaningful.”

The #34 Bidaroo.com Dallara/Honda/Firestone car will be on track today for the final hour of practice before taking the green flag Sunday for the its first Indianapolis 500.


Senna romps to brilliant win in Monaco
Bruno Senna
Bruno Senna scored a well-judged first victory of the season in the opening GP2 Series race in Monaco. He grabbed the lead by making a searing start from the outside of the front row and remained in complete control thereafter. Closest challenger Pastor Maldonado (Piquet Sports) applied pressure to the leader throughout the race, but Senna kept his cool to finish 0.674s clear of the Venezuelan. His most worrying moment occurred on lap 27, when championship leader Giorgio Pantano (Racing Engineering) blocked the track after being tapped into a spin at Mirabeau. The iSport crew kept Bruno informed about the traffic jam ahead and he was able to pick his way through the carnage with minimal loss of time. He also scored a supplementary point for setting fastest race lap and the result has lifted him to second in the championship standings, just two points behind Pantano.

This was Bruno’s first success at the track where his late, great uncle Ayrton scored six grand prix victories – and he promises it won’t be the last.

Bruno Senna sprays the champagne like his late great uncle Ayrton did many times at Monaco
Bruno Senna

“This feels great. My car had good, consistent pace from start to finish and I was able to control the gap to Pastor. He kept coming at me, but I was always able to respond. I was trying to drive as quickly as I could without harming my tires and the tactic worked.

“I had plenty of warning about the incident at Mirabeau: the guys spoke to me on the radio and told me to stay left, because the track was clearer on that side. I was worried about having to stop for too long because the engine temperatures are quite marginal here, but in the end I was only delayed a few seconds. I couldn’t ease up at all, because Pastor was always close, but every aspect of the race worked well and I am grateful to the team for giving me such a good car.

“I’m delighted to score my maiden victory in Monaco. Rest assured, I have every intention of adding to that tally in future.”



Driver Team
1. Bruno Senna iSport International
2. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports
3. Karun Chandhok iSport International
4. Adrián Valles BCN Competicion
5. Alvaro Parente Super Nova Racing
6. Roldan Rodriguez Fisichella Motor Sport
7 Ho-Pin Tung Trident Racing
8. Mike Conway Trident Racing
9. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dams
10. Christian Bakkerud Super Nova Racing
11. Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports
12. Yelmer Buurman Trust Team Arden
13. Andy Soucek DPR
14. Javier Villa Racing Engineering
15. Diego Nunes DPR
16. Ben Hanley Barwa International Campos Team
17. Marcello Puglisi Durango
Luca Filippi ART Grand Prix
Romain Grosjean ART Grand Prix
Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering
Sébastien Buemi Trust Team Arden
Adam Carroll Fisichella Motor Sport
Alberto Valerio Durango 
Kamui Kobayashi Dams
Vitaly Petrov Barwa International Campos Team
Fastest lap time: Bruno Senna (iSport International) – 1:21.338 on lap 38


Bourdais and Vettel not yet happy with new car
Both Sébastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel were disappointed by the speed of Scuderia Toro Rosso's new STR3 on the opening day of practice in Monaco.  After being 13th (Bourdais) and 19th-fastest in the morning session, the two fell back to 18th and 20th in the afternoon, a whopping 2.5 seconds back of fast man Lewis Hamilton.

"This morning when I woke up, I thought, 'this is it, I'm finally going to drive Monaco in an F1 car!'" the Frenchman remarked after the first day's practice. "It was a case of finding out about the new car, which was always going to be difficult on this demanding track. We always ran with a heavy fuel load, so we should not read anything into the lap times. We are not where we want to be, but I don't think we are as far behind as it might look.

"However, I was expecting us to be in slightly better shape than this, which means Saturday and Sunday are going to be interesting. We are lacking a bit of grip, maybe because we lack a little downforce in this maximum downforce set-up - which our top speeds would also suggest. At least my past experience here has been a help, and in the morning I got into a rhythm quite quickly."

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IRL and ABC/ESPN to start contract extension talks
The IRL has their fingers crossed that this year's Indy 500 gets a real boost in TV ratings now that the series has taken over Champ Car.  At the conclusion of Sunday's Indy 500, the IRL and ABC/ESPN will enter a negotiating window for the next few months to discuss a contract extension beyond the current end of the 2009 season.

ESPN currently pays the IRL $10 million annually to broadcast its races.  Look for the IRL to try and get more air time for its IndyCar series.

"I believe we're going to see a revenue-share plan that could benefit both parties if the series experiences some significant growth," said Jeffrey Cokin, a former NBC executive who is now a TV consultant.

"ESPN does not want to continue to lose money on a package that does not generate significant ratings," said Cokin.  "But I also think it is smart for IndyCar to talk to other networks to gauge their interest."


IndyCar still has a long way to go
IndyCar Racing is a very damaged product since the split from CART in 1996 and although the two sides are now back together and everyone is optimistic that it's on its way back to being popular again, not everyone feels that way according to a recent Sports Business Journal article.  Some skeptics see TV ratings below 1.0 and laugh at the notion that Indy Car will gain any semblance of relevance.

"The property is a dog," said one sports media buyer from a major agency who requested anonymity.  "We have not bought anything there in years."

This is something Tony George has to overcome.  He started the split that destroyed the sport and now he and his organization will have to try and rebuild it.  With NASCAR so popular in comparison, they have a very steep hill to climb.


Two Aussies And A Kiwi Getting Set For Indy 500
For the first time in many years Australian and New Zealand motorsport fans will have three reasons to follow this weekend's 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 with no less than three drivers hailing from our shores on the grid, two of which are starting from the front row.

Leading the charge for the Trans-Tasman brigade will be Kiwi Scott Dixon and Sydney's Ryan Briscoe, who will start the cornerstone event of the IndyCar® Series - of which Australia's own Gold Coast Indy 300 is a part - from first and third respectively as America celebrates its Memorial Day holiday, the US equivalent of Australia's ANZAC day.

The Memorial Day weekend traditionally caps off the Month of May festivities, and as it draws to a close will hopefully see one of our own 'ANZAC' pilots drinking celebratory milk in Victory Lane - a tradition set by the first three-time Indy 500 winner Louis Meyer (1928, 1933, 1936) when he requested a cold glass of milk in Victory Lane after his 1933 win.

While Dixon and Briscoe lead the field, Queensland's Will Power will start his debut Indy 500 from the eighth row after surviving a frantic three days of qualifying, including a heavy crash, to secure 23rd on the third day whilst turning the most laps of any driver during the race preparation.

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track news

Two SMI presidents deny tracks may lose race dates
The presidents of two Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks firmly dismissed the notions that their facilities could lose Sprint Cup dates in order to provide Kentucky Speedway with one. New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway have been mentioned as tracks that could lose a race, but NHIS President Jerry Gappens and AMS President Ed Clark shot down the idea that SMI Chairman Bruton Smith would ever do that. In fact, both presidents said they are planning to finalize sanctioning agreements with NASCAR on Friday morning for two races each in 2009. "Bruton has not given me any, any indication at all that he's looking to change anything," Gappens said. "...I don't think this will have any impact. I think there's more to the puzzle that he's got to finish completing to do some of the things he's thinking." Clark vehemently denied that his track, which has struggled with attendance recently, would have a date moved elsewhere. "I'm tired of people bringing that up, because I get so sick of answering it, I'm about to scream," he said. "You can go ask Bruton, you can ask me – there is no chance. It is not going to happen." SceneDaily


Racers on both sides of 'The Danica Rule'
At just over 100 lbs Danica Patrick is a lightweight and has a distinct weight advantage in the IRL.  On top of that she is weak (compared to the male drivers) and used to fade in the road course races (her little arms would tire) so the IRL implemented variable rate steering and immediately she did better.
It has been called "The Danica Rule." Some call it unnecessary; others say it doesn't go far enough. Most agree it is something of a mystery because so few details are known about it.

After resisting repeated calls to institute a rule used in some form in every other major U.S. racing series, the Indy Racing League this year adopted a system that takes a driver's weight into account. Teams whose drivers are on the lighter side are compelled to add ballast to their cars to compensate.

Hence, "The Danica Rule." Since Danica Patrick and her 5-0, 100-pound frame arrived in the IndyCar Series in 2005, the debate has heated up over whether her small stature gives her an advantage.

Brian Barnhart, the IRL's president and director of competition and operations, doesn't necessarily think it does, but he reluctantly approved the rule change anyway.

"They don't make Tiger (Woods) play from a different set of tees or, when the ball goes into (Shaquille O'Neal), they don't raise the basket," he said. "It's a matter of how much your rules should affect the athlete's ability to perform. Where do you draw the line?"

Patrick doesn't allege the rule was aimed directly at her but for obvious reasons isn't a big fan of it.

"Of course, I'm disappointed," she said. "They don't do that in other sports. But on the day that everything matters, it's not going to be an issue." More at Indy Star


Indy 500: Chip Ganassi Racing pre-race notes
9 Things You Need to Know about TCGR and the Indianapolis 500 this Month
  • A 1-2 start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is nothing new for Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR). In last season's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Brickyard 400 Reed Sorenson took the pole in the No. 41 Target car becoming the youngest polesitter in IMS history. His NSCS teammate Juan Pablo Montoya (the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner for Target) completed the 1-2 as he qualified second. Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon roll off 1-2 this Sunday.
  • Indianapolis-based TCGR has experienced an incredible start to the 2008 season as its IndyCar and Grand-Am programs have combined to win five of its first nine races. As a past owner of the Pittsburg Pirates, there's no doubt Ganassi would have liked to see his former players start the MLB season with a combined batting average of .555!
  • With a strong performance through the first four races of the 2008 season, TCGR has led 53% of the total laps on both oval and road courses. On ovals alone the team has lead 62% of the total laps.
  • CGR recently partnered with Nintendo and its long-time sponsor Target, to have Nintendo's newest video game, Wii Fit™, as the sponsor of 1,100 miles of auto racing this Sunday. Nintendo and Wii Fit become the primary sponsors on TCGR development driver Alex Lloyd's No. 16 Honda Dallara in the Indianapolis 500 and later in the day along with Target on the team's No. 40 Dodge in the NSCS 600 in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Although TCGR has claimed the pole position for the Indianapolis 500 three times (Arie Luyendyk, Netherlands, 1993; Bruno Junqueira, Brazil, 2002; Scott Dixon, New Zealand, 2008), this year marks the first where they have swept the top two positions (Dixon-1st, Wheldon-2nd).

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Racing news

Hamilton headlines Goodwood Festival of Speed
Lewis Hamilton has confirmed he will be attending this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.

This year’s theme is ‘Hawthorn to Hamilton’ and celebrates 60 years of Goodwood as well as Britain’s first world champion – Mike Hawthorn in 1958. The festival will also be recognizing the achievements of many other British racing drivers who helped to shape the sport including Colin Chapman, Jim Clark, Sir Stirling Moss, Adrian Newey, Sir. Jackie Stewart and John Surtees.

Hamilton will not be the only F1 face at the event either – McLaren, Ferrari, BMW, Williams, Honda, Red Bull and Toyota have all conformed that they will be attending the festival.

Festival of Speed founder the Earl of March said, “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Lewis back for the second year running. He really thrilled motor sport fans here last year and I am certain he will put on another great show for them again. I can’t wait! It will be great if Lewis can repeat Mike Hawthorn’s Formula 1 success 50 years ago and win the world championship for Britain this season.”


Brackets set for McDonald's Pit Stop Challenge
Pairings for the McDonald's Pit Stop Challenge at 1:30 p.m. (ET) May 23:

First round
● No. 11 Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing) vs. No. 7 Danica Patrick (Andretti Green Racing).
● No. 02 Justin Wilson (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing) vs. No. 17 Ryan Hunter-Reay (Rahal Letterman Racing)
● No. 3 Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) vs. No. 26 Marco Andretti (Andretti Green Racing)
● No. 6 Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske) vs. No. 4 Vitor Meira (Panther Racing)

● No. 10 Dan Wheldon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) vs. first round third-best time
● No. 9 Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) vs. first round fourth-best time

The championship team receives $50,000; $15,000 for second place.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ecclestone withdraws all support for Mosley
  • Allies defend Mosley at Monaco
  • Rosberg not expecting to keep second place
  • Wurz's son holds birthday party in pits
  • Alonso escapes penalty after stewards meeting

Ecclestone withdraws all support for Mosley
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone, angry at the letter sent by Max Mosley to FIA clubs, has finally retracted all support for his beleaguered fellow F1 powerbroker.

Ecclestone is annoyed that Mosley attempted to widen the sex scandal to a "declaration of war" with the sport's commercial rights holder, which is headed by the 77-year-old F1 chief executive.

"Everybody's wrong except him," Ecclestone mocked in the Monte Carlo paddock on Thursday, according to the Daily Telegraph.

"Everybody was involved in the orgy except him.  He is just lashing out at anything he can.

"If he wants me to be the enemy he should be very careful because if he makes me an enemy I could make sure that he never whips anybody again," he warned.

Ecclestone said the Mosley letter was insulting to the 222 FIA clubs because it effectively branded them as "idiots" who could not take over responsibility for the Paris based governing body.

"Normally Max is more together instead of making silly, outrageous mistakes," Bernie, whose former alliance with Mosley stretched back decades, continued.

Ecclestone also put his signature to a formal letter of reply to the clubs, vigorously denying that he wants to take over all the FIA's F1 powers.

In the letter, he moved to correct the "misunderstandings and inaccurate conclusions" that Mosley invited the club presidents to come to.

"The (commercial rights holder) does not wish to have control over the formula one regulations," Ecclestone wrote.

He also clarified that the only changes he wants to F1's agreements with the FIA are to clear up some "unintended consequences" of the original documents.

"We intend to continue our successful relationship with the FIA," Ecclestone said.

Allies defend Mosley at Monaco
(GMM)  The F1 press smelled a rat on Thursday afternoon, when figures in the official FIA press conference were asked to comment on Max Mosley's presence at Monaco.

It is suspected that Richard Woods, the FIA official who has been at the side of the beleaguered president throughout his swift movements in the paddock so far this weekend, specifically reminded press conference moderator Bob Constanduros to put the question.

Another suspicious element were the selected figures on Thursday's press conference panel: representatives for Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams - all of whom have contractually sided with the FIA for the future - and Force India's Vijay Mallya, also chief of India's motor racing bodies.

Personal friend Gerhard Berger, meanwhile - who is known to have gone on skiing trips with Mosley in the past - was the first to comment on the sex scandal.

"I think it's an entirely private thing.  It's something that has happened with grown-up people, nothing which is against the law and I have to say I'm very surprised how many angels there are around in formula one," he said.

"Suddenly everyone seems to be very clean and very nice," the Austrian, a former grand prix winner, added.

"But to connect this to the job of Max Mosley, as an FIA president, I don't think is right.  I've been in formula one a long time now.  I think there are very few people – maybe nobody – who has had such an impact on safety for motor sport as Max."

Berger went on to detail Mosley's admirable reaction to the 1994 Imola fatalities, and the improvements to circuit, car, and even road car safety.

"I think it's not fair to see it through the glasses as some people have tried to see it at the moment.  I think it should be totally decided by the automobile clubs and by himself, how the future of the FIA goes, but it should not be run by newspapers or us," he added.

"I just know one thing: the sport needs a strong guy, a competitive guy, a strong guy who understands the business, and we definitely have this with Max and hopefully we will have in the future.  That's all I want to say."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed that Mosley has "done many, many good things".

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track news

SMI closes deal for Kentucky Speedway
Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder and CEO O. Bruton Smith announced today that his company has agreed to purchase the Kentucky Speedway from Kentucky Speedway, LLC.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2008, were not disclosed.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our company to grow into a new market in a modern speedway facility. We continue to be committed to investing in the motorsports industry,” said Smith. “I think what we are doing here for Speedway Motorsports is the biggest announcement we have ever made, mainly because of what we are doing and where we are doing it.
“Will we make changes? You got that right! This is a great speedway, and it’s our duty now to make it better.”

The acquisition of Kentucky Speedway brings the total of SMI-owned tracks to eight, including the purchase of New Hampshire Speedway last year.

The purchase of the track by SMI is just another chapter in the track’s notable history, which includes a lawsuit filed against NASCAR on behalf of the track’s owners.

Opened in 2000, the 1.5-mile tri-oval track has hosted events for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Craftsman Truck Series, and the Indy Racing League, but was not given a date to host a Sprint Cup race. 

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Grand-Am teams help fellow competitor
Wayne Taylor experienced firsthand this week how tight the racing community is when rival Grand Am teams rallied to help him after a transporter fire destroyed all of SunTrust Racing's equipment.

The truck was en route from Saturday's race in Monterey, Calif., back to its Indianapolis race shop when it caught fire on I-40 near Amarillo, Texas. The cause of Monday's blaze currently is unknown, but it destroyed everything the team owned.

"Literally every single thing was burned to the ground, and I mean every single thing that runs my operation," Taylor told The Associated Press on Thursday. "The cars, the tires, the wheels, all the tools, the laptops with all our data -- everything that you need to make a race team is gone."

Taylor said the loss already has exceeded $2 million and left his team with just two cars, a pair of out-of-use Pontiac Rileys that Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante drove to a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 24 Hours. The cars currently are for sale.

Unsure if the team would make it to the next event, June 6-7 at Watkins Glen, the racing community stepped up to help Taylor rebuild the operation.

"People have offered cars, parts, transporters, whatever we need," Taylor said, rattling off a list of nearly two dozen names of people who have offered support. "Timmy Keene at Chip Ganassi Racing has just been utterly phenomenal with his help."

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Maldonado wins GP2 pole
Pastor Maldonado has repeated his triumphs of last year by claiming pole in Monaco once again, taking the top spot in this afternoon's qualifying session despite constant pressure from Bruno Senna and Mike Conway.

Maldonado's best lap of 1:21.057 was set halfway through the session, putting himself at the head of the timesheets despite touching the wall on entry to the tunnel: his rivals pushed hard to match the Venezuelan's time but just missed out, with a red flag in the closing stages of the session putting paid to their efforts.

Once again Maldonado was the first man on track, with Andy Soucek just behind him: the latter was soon to regret his haste as he collected the wall at St Devote. The Venezuelan pushed a little too hard at the same corner next time by, but managed to stay off the barriers and find his way back on track with the help of the marshals.

Romain Grosjean, Adrian Valles and Senna set the early pace as everyone tried to find a way through the traffic, a task which was made a little more difficult when Ho-Pin Tung ran too hot through the swimming pool complex and lost the rear of his car at the exit, with Marcello Puglisi also going through Casino square too fast and finding out the hard way just how close the barriers are at this circuit.

But when most of the field came in for new tyres Maldonado struck, setting two fast laps and giving his competitors a target to aim for: Valles was in fourth place and looking for more but just caught the barriers at St Devote, which pitched him into a spin and the wall on the other side of the track, prompting an immediate red flag. With just three minutes remaining it was unlikely that anyone would improve their times when the circuit reopened, and so it proved.

Just behind the top three Valles managed to hold on to fourth position despite his accident, just ahead of Giorgio Pantano, Karun Chandhok, Romain Grosjean and Sébastien Buemi, with the first 14 drivers covered by just one second despite the usual traffic woes. With so many drivers this close on the timesheets, tomorrow's race promises to be a race not to be missed.

track news

IMS announces extensive plans for Centennial Era
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will celebrate 100 years of worldwide leadership in motorsports entertainment through its Centennial Era from 2009-2011, which will feature many special events, a new, retro corporate logo and redevelopment of the area surrounding the Racing Capital of the World.

Plans for the Centennial Era celebration were revealed by IMS Chief Executive Officer Tony George and IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood during an event May 22 at Allison Mansion of Marian College in Indianapolis.

IMS is honoring the 100th anniversaries of the opening of the venerable racetrack, in 1909, and of the inaugural Indianapolis 500, in 1911, through the Centennial Era celebration.

Indiana businessmen Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby and Frank H. Wheeler pooled their resources to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 as an automobile testing ground to support Indiana's growing automotive industry. The focus of the facility soon turned to racing, with Ray Harroun winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911.

"No other motorsports facility in the world has the rich history and tradition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George. "The Centennial Era celebration will pay homage to the heroes and events of our storied past while anticipating an even more glorious future."

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Sirius Radio adds F1 race broadcasts to lineup
SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Formula One Management have entered into an agreement that will make SIRIUS the exclusive North American radio broadcaster of all FORMULA 1 (F1) races, marking the U.S. radio premiere of the high-profile sport.

SIRIUS’ F1 schedule kicks off this weekend with live coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo (Sunday, May 25 at 8:00 am ET), one of the world’s most prestigious and challenging motor racing events, exclusively on SIRIUS channel 125. Often referred to as the crown jewel of F1, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the only street circuits in use. SIRIUS will broadcast the entire remainder of the 2008 calendar’s races live nationwide on SIRIUS 125, including the first-ever F1 night race, being held in Singapore on September 28.

“We are very happy to be associated with SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and that they will broadcast our races into North America,” said Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive of Formula One Management.

"FORMULA 1 is a worldwide spectacle, blending international backdrops and advanced automotive technology from some of the best brands in motor racing with extremely talented drivers racing the world's most challenging circuits," said Scott Greenstein, SIRIUS’ President of Entertainment and Sports. "SIRIUS is thrilled to deliver the high-profile excitement of F1 to our subscribers, with live coverage of races from each exotic location, giving North American racing fans unprecedented access to this unique sport."

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Reid passes Firestone Indy Lights rookie test, lands ride UPDATE Integra Motorsports announced on Thursday that Jonny Reid of New Zealand has joined the team to contest the remaining twelve rounds of the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights Championship. Reid will make his United States debut on the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in Friday’s Freedom 100 as part of the Miller Lite Carb day activities.

Reid recently impressed as he completed his rookie test in advance of joining Brownsburg, Indiana-based Integra Motorsports for the Kiwi’s first career oval race.

“We have a long term plan in place for our Firestone Indy Lights program, and we are excited to be moving those plans forward with a driver of Jonny’s caliber,” said Integra Motorsports Managing Director David Hunt. “He has shown he is an excellent racer, and we anticipate that he will be a strong contender this year.”

Reid brings a racing resume developed in all corners of the world. After an impressive career as a young karter, he stormed to two New Zealand Formula Ford Festival crowns before being tabbed to race for New Zealand in the A1GP Championship, taking second in the recently completed 2008 season championship standings.

“I am excited about this opportunity to race in the Firestone Indy Lights Series with Integra Motorsports, and what better way to start than to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?” said Reid. “I want to build a career in the United States, and I feel that racing in Indy Lights with Integra is the best possible way to accomplish that goal. I know I have a lot to learn on the ovals, but I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

05/19/08 New Zealand's Jonny Reid successfully completed his Firestone Indy Lights rookie test on May 19 at Iowa Speedway, clearing the way for him to compete in the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 23.           

The 24-year-old native of Auckland, New Zealand completed the requirements in a car prepared by Integra Motorsports under the direction of Firestone Indy Lights Technical Director Butch Meyer.           

"Jonny Reid is a very good driver," Meyer said. "He did everything we asked of him and understood the car very well. He was smooth as glass and very impressive. He was turning laps within a few tenths of the quick time here last year and was working on getting faster."

Reid has competed and won in various junior formulas around the world, and was lead driver for Team New Zealand's runner-up campaign in the recently completed A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.


Manufacturers prefer NASCAR over the IRL
While much of the open-wheel racing world has been celebrating the merger of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League, one Ford racing official says the deal was potentially bad for motorsports.

"You had basically the death of one series and another series that absorbed a few teams,'' Ford director of racing technology Dan Davis said. "That's the end of it, so to me you took one and one and you ended up getting one."

Ford had a relationship with Cosworth, the sole engine manufacturer in the final years of the now-defunct Champ Car series. But Davis said his opinions were not influenced by that relationship..

Still, Davis said the unified series — as was the fervent wish of IRL president Brian Barnhart — could be a viable platform for other manufacturers to join Honda, which provides engines for the IRL. Ford supports teams in NASCAR and Grand Am in North America.

"We've always wanted open wheel to get back together," Davis said. "… I'm not sure we have a merger, but we have one open-wheel series. We'll just have to wait and see what can be done for a manufacturer. It's really expensive. We've lost such a huge amount of our fan base here. I don't know if its recoverable or not. …Ford is just in a wait-and-see mode."

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Battistini wins pole for Freedom 100 race
Dillon Battistini, who in March broke onto the U.S. racing scene with a victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his Firestone Indy Lights debut, hopes to continue his strong rookie season with a victory on world’s grandest racing stage – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

On Thursday, Battistini qualified on the pole for Friday’s Firestone Freedom 100, giving himself the inside track to a victory at Indianapolis. The pole sitter has won four of the previous five Freedom 100 races.

Battistini, who won a championship in Asia last season, recorded a two-lap qualifying average of 188.397 mph on the historic 2.5-mile oval in the No. 15 Panther Racing entry. James Davison’s two-lap effort was .0036 of a second slower – 188.390 mph – good for the outside of Row 1.

Wade Cunningham, the 2005 series champion and 2006 race winner, qualified third, while Ana Beatriz qualified fourth. Raphael Matos and Richard Antinucci qualified fifth and sixth, respectively.

Jeff Simmons, who will start 24th in Sunday’s 92nd Indianapolis 500, qualified 10th. He is the only driver competing in both races.


1. (15) Dillon Battistini, 188.397
2. (11) James Davison, 188.390
3. (33) Wade Cunningham, 188.060
4. (20) Ana Beatriz, 187.875
5. (27) Raphael Matos, 187.849
6. (7) Richard Antinucci, 187.551
7. (16) Brent Sherman, 187.533
8. (18) Cyndie Allemann, 187.310
9. (23) Logan Gomez, 187.053
10. (2) Jeff Simmons, 186.923
11. (5) Andrew Prendeville, 186.921
12. (17) Bobby Wilson, 186.814
13. (43) Robbie Pecorari, 186.754
14. (3) Marc Williams, 186.716
15. (22) Pablo Donoso, 186.383
16. (4) Sean Guthrie, 186.365
17. (6) Jake Slotten  186.303
18. (26) Arie Luyendyk Jr., 186.232
19. (21) Al Unser III, 185.768
20. (55) Tom Wieringa, 185.656
21. (25) J.R. Hildebrand, 185.328
22. (54) Micky Gilbert, 185.284
23. (34) Jon Brownson, 185.159
24. (24) Chris Festa, 184.627
25. (9) Jonny Reid, 183.938
26. (92) Mike Potekhen, 183.593
27. (8) Mark Olson, 178.497

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Firestone Indy Lights Unveils New, Grand Firehawk Cup
The Firestone Indy Lights fight for the Firehawk Cup takes on more significant meaning today, with the introduction of a new and more impressive trophy worthy of the name "Firehawk Cup."

The new cup, a Bruce Fox, Inc. design made of fine silver, nickel silver, carbon fiber and proprietary resin, standing 381/2 inches tall and weighing 68 pounds, was created as part of Firestone's ongoing commitment to support the Indy Racing League's driver development series. In March, Firestone became title sponsor of the renamed Firestone Indy Lights and announced additional prize incentives totaling more than a quarter-million dollars for 2008.

"Firestone Indy Lights has been a great proving ground for talented young drivers," said Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing. "Just look at the names that have honed their skills there before moving onto the IndyCar Series. Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Oriol Servia, Townsend Bell, A.J. Foyt IV, Alex Lloyd - all are past Firestone Indy Lights champions who will drive this weekend in the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing,' the Indianapolis 500. This just shows that Firestone Indy Lights is the right path to the IndyCar Series."

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NASCAR issues ruling on axle placement
NASCAR has issued a memo limiting how the wheels can be positioned on the rear axle of the new model car being used in the Sprint Cup Series.

The rule goes into effect for the May 30-June 1 weekend at Dover International Speedway, although certain axle shaft and drive plate pieces, such as the ones used last week by Penske Racing's Sam Hornish Jr. that allowed for more toe than most of the other teams, are illegal as of this week.

Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said the new rule, which allows teams a maximum of 1 degree of toe, still allows engineers to play with the rear steer of the car. He said 98 percent of the teams were at the 1 degree limit, and the rest were at 2 degrees.

"When it goes to the point where basically the teams are going to throw out millions of dollars of inventory and replace it with millions of dollars of new inventory, that's too far," Darby said.


Tissot extends 2-years with Danica Patrick
Premier Swiss watch brand Tissot is proud to announce the partnership renewal of its brand ambassador racing star Danica Patrick. She endeared herself to the world when she made history by becoming the first woman ever to win a race in the sport of U.S. open-wheeled racing by clinching her victory in the Japan 300. For the watchmaker, Danica Patrick has always been a champion. In 2005, Patrick became the first female U.S. "Ambassador" for Tissot. In anticipation of the Indy 500 and to pay homage to Danica, the watch company is proud to announce that it will sign a two year contract extension with the IndyCar(R) Series Star on Friday May 16, 2008 demonstrating both its pride and commitment to this empowering icon.

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Monaco GP: Thursday Press Conference
Team Participants: Gerhard Berger (Toro Rosso), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Christian Horner (Red Bull), Vijay Mallya (Force India), Adam Parr (Williams).

Q. A question to all of you about next year, about the future of Formula One in many ways. Budget capping, KERS, next year's regulations, whatever you would like to talk about?

Christian Horner: I think obviously the challenges of next year are considerable. It is a massive change in regulations, obviously heavily impacting the mechanical and aerodynamic side of the car and the first stage of the KERS system, so it is a big technical challenge.

One of the factors that as an independent team, and to a greater or lesser extent I am sure the other teams are trying to balance, is how much resource they commit at this time of year compared to continually developing the current car which is effectively obsolete technology for next year. Slick tires, KERS, different aero, it is almost a different formula.

Q. How much investment are you putting into KERS for example? Or do you leave that to your engine supplier?

CH: We are working very closely with our engine partner on that. It makes sense as part of the drive-train solution to follow the route that Renault are pursuing. We are working hand in hand with them on the solution, but it is a complex solution and there are some real engineering challenges to integrate it within the chassis and also safely.

Q. Stefano, your thoughts on the future.

Stefano Domenicali: I think I can cut and paste what Christian said about the first point. For sure it is a big challenge for all of us and we are in a situation where we are now fully concentrated and devoted to the development of the actual car but of course we need to, the more and more the time goes on, to concentrate above all on the aerodynamic and design office on the new car.

Then, with regards to the KERS project, it is a massive project that we are working very hard on. For sure it is a big, big challenge we face and I have to say there are important points to resolve. We have also the responsibility to be able to offer to our customers something that performance-wise has to be important for them, so it is a big, big challenge. It is very difficult but for sure very important to be able to fight for the championship next year.

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Toyota and MWR Announce One-Year Diversity Apprenticeship
Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. (TMS) and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) have joined forces to offer a one year apprenticeship to a deserving diversity graduate of Toyota’s Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN) program.  The selected diversity candidate will be relocated to North Carolina and placed in a technical position within the MWR organization, directly involved with the teams’ NASCAR participation.  The candidate will have a strong technical background and will be assigned to a specific department within the MWR race shop, depending on the winner’s skill set.  The application process, including pre-screening and final candidate selections will be administered by Educational Testing Service’s Scholarship & Recognition Programs (SRP) beginning immediately. “This unique program is another way Toyota has made NASCAR a better place since entering the sport,” said Michael Waltrip, NASCAR team owner and driver.  “Diversity is an important initiative for everyone involved in NASCAR and I am honored that Toyota wanted to partner with Michael Waltrip Racing.  So many talented technicians want to be involved with a NASCAR team and this is an unprecedented way to open the door.  I can’t wait to meet the winner and put his or her skills to work on my race cars.” “Toyota is committed to diversity and creating positive life-changing opportunities at all levels of our business,” comments Rick Lester, Toyota technician development manager.  “This new initiative with Michael Waltrip Racing is a dream job and presents an exciting opening for a T-TEN graduate.”


Rookie quickest in Indy Lights practice
Rookie J.R. Hildebrand was the fastest during this morning’s Firestone Indy Lights practice.  Hildebrand clocked a top speed of 191.575 in his No. 25 RLR/Andersen Racing car. James Davison was second-quickest at 190.950 mph, followed by Bobby Wilson (190.355 mph), Arie Luyendyk Jr. (190.307 mph) and Brent Sherman (190.279 mph).


NBC 'Nightly News with Brian Williams' to air  from Indy
"NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" will be broadcast live Friday, May 23 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Brian Williams will anchor the award-winning newscast from 6:30-7 p.m. (ET) with famous IMS landmarks in the background, including the iconic front straightaway, Bombardier Learjet Pagoda and "Yard of Bricks."

It is the first time that a live, national network newscast has originated from IMS.

The 92nd Indianapolis 500 will start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 25 at IMS.


Long Beach and IndyCar execute new 5-year deal
The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB) and the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series, have agreed to a five-year contract that will have the cars and stars of the IndyCar Series racing on the streets of Long Beach beginning next year through 2013.

"In 2009 the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will celebrate our 35th year with a new era," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the GPALB.  "Needless to say, we're extremely happy that the IndyCar Series will continue our tradition of being America's greatest street race.

"And, we're delighted that many great drivers will be returning to our streets, like Helio Castroneves, who won our race in 2001, and Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon, both of whom competed here often.  They'll line up with rising stars like Danica Patrick, Graham Rahal, Will Power and Marco Andretti to again offer our fans the best racing weekend in California."

"Long Beach is an historic, world-class venue, and our entire organization is excited to have the race as an integral part of our schedule," said Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division for the Indy Racing League.  "We can promise the racing fans of Southern California a highly competitive, fan-friendly experience for many years to come." 

The contract follows the recently announced extension of an agreement between the GPALB and the City of Long Beach to conduct an annual open-wheel race through the downtown city streets through 2015, with an additional five-year option.


Ford cuts production, scales back profit goal
Ford Motor Co. backed away from its pledge to return to profitability next year, saying skyrocketing fuel prices and commodity prices have put its North American turnaround plan behind schedule.

The Dearborn automaker also announced that it is cutting production of trucks and sport utility vehicles and increasing production of more fuel-efficient cars, because of "rapid changes in customer buying preferences," which was a major factor in its decision to revise its profit forecast.

"Unless there is a fairly rapid turnaround in U.S. business conditions, which we are not anticipating, it now looks like it will take longer than expected to achieve our North American automotive profitability goal," CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement released this morning. "Overall, we expect to be about break-even companywide in 2009 -- with continued strong results in Europe and South America." 

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Monaco Practice 2: Hamilton on top
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in Monaco's 2nd practice session this afternoon to finish almost four tenths ahead of the Williams driven by Nico Rosberg. The two Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were next with the second McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen fifth and the BMW of Robert Kubica sixth.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.140 0.000 40
2. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:15.533 + 0.393 39
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.572 + 0.432 42
4. Massa Ferrari 1:15.869 + 0.729 37
5. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.881 + 0.741 39
6. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:16.296 + 1.156 34
7. Alonso Renault 1:16.310 + 1.170 27
8. Button Honda 1:16.351 + 1.211 45
9. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:16.372 + 1.232 40
10. Barrichello Honda 1:16.418 + 1.278 32
11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:16.426 + 1.286 44
12. Glock Toyota 1:16.688 + 1.548 46
13. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:17.094 + 1.954 39
14. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:17.131 + 1.991 39
15. Piquet Renault 1:17.246 + 2.106 35
16. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:17.251 + 2.111 33
17. Trulli Toyota 1:17.379 + 2.239 28
18. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.581 + 2.441 38
19. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:18.176 + 3.036 31
20. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.225 + 3.085 38


Both Renault drivers taste Monaco wall
(GMM)  Both Renault drivers made contact with Monaco's famous walls on Thursday afternoon.

Rookie Nelson Piquet, who so far is off the pace in the Principality, was the first to lose control of the rear of his R28 during the second practice session of the day.

He half-spun and nudged into the turn one tire barrier with the rear of his car, but was able to nurse the ailing single seater back to the pits with a damaged rear wing.

Alonso, the former double world champion, did a similar thing at the same Saint Devote corner, but he missed the tire barrier with his left rear wheel and instead smacked the subsequent stretch of arm-co.

The Spaniard then briefly brought out the red flags when his damaged rear wing broke off as he was recovering to the pits.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli, after stopping in the morning following contact with the barrier, again lightly bumped into the wall in the final 90 minutes of Thursday practice as he exited the Swimming Pool.

Adrian Sutil also got into the wall at the beginning of La Rascasse, knocking off the front wing of his Force India.

One startled pitlane resident who was crossing the pitlane, meanwhile, was lucky to avoid being hit by the session's fastest man Lewis Hamilton, as the McLaren driver exited his pit garage.

Four tenths adrift, Williams' Nico Rosberg was a surprise second quickest, ahead of the two Ferraris and Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen.


Raikkonen: "A driver's ability has a greater influence here"
Instead of the tidy order of a normal race track, the motorhomes and hospitality units are dotted around the Monaco harbor in whatever way can be found to make them all fit in to a very small space. But the world's press had no trouble finding the bright red beacon that is the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Media Motorhome. Inside it, they found Kimi Raikkonen holding his first press conference of the Monaco GP weekend.

And the first question looked back to the previous race in Istanbul and the fact that Kimi regretted the loss of the first free practice session due to a gearbox problem: "If you want to get the car right, then you miss one and a half hours of practice, and if the weather then changes, it is very hard to catch up," said the Finn, making a statement that applies even more to a track like the street circuit here in Monte Carlo.

Last year, this famous race did not go famously for the Scuderia, even if Felipe Massa managed to make it to the podium in third place. And generally, it is fair to say that for a team that has won so many races so many times, even when on top form, the Prancing Horse has often stumbled here, not winning since 2001. However, Raikkonen feels progress has been made: "I think we are in a better position than we were in here last year," he maintained. "We had a good test last week in Paul Ricard. Let's see how we go tomorrow. Hopefully, this year we are in a position where we can challenge for the win. We have some new parts just like we would at every other race and of course the car is running in high downforce configuration, which I was able to test at Ricard, even though it is impossible to perfectly simulate Monaco at that track, but it is still the best convenient option to prepare for this race."

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Maldonado continues his Monaco domination
Maldonado on top at Monaco

Pastor Maldonado topped the times in GP2 free practice on Thursday.  Maldonado (Piquet Sports), who has previously won here in Renault World Series and GP2, lapped the street circuit in 1:21.701, almost half a second clear of teammate Andi Zuber and Bruno Senna (iSport).



Driver Team Time Laps
1. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports 1:21.701 20
2. Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports 1:22.176 18
3. Bruno Senna iSport International 1:22.224 20
4. Andy Soucek DPR 1:22.251 20
5. Karun Chandhok iSport International 1:22.336 18
6. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering 1:22.595 16
7. Adrian Valles BCN Competicion 1:22.607 17
8. Romain Grosjean ART Grand Prix 1:22.832 19
9. Alvaro Parente Super Nova Racing 1:22.917 17
10. Sebastien Buemi Trust Team Arden 1:23.020 17
11. Vitaly Petrov Campos Team 1:23.168 15
12. Christian Bakkerud Super Nova Racing 1:23.320 19
13. Mike Conway Trident Racing 1:23.438 10
14. Luca Filippi ART Grand Prix 1:23.794 18
15. Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:24.173 15
16. Roldan Rodriguez Fisichella Motor Sport 1:24.201 19
17. Ben Hanley Campos Team 1:24.305 13
18. Kamui Kobayashi Dams 1:24.306 19
19. Jerome d'Ambrosio Dams 1:24.413 17
20. Marcello Puglisi Durango 1:24.495 17
21. Yelmer Buurman Trust Team Arden 1;24.697 18
22. Milos Pavlovic BCN Competicion 1:25.305 18
23. Ho-Pin Tung Trident Racing 1:25.916 16
24. Diego Nunes DPR 1:25.925 19
25. Alberto Valerio Durango 1:26.769 18
26. Adam Carroll Fisichella Motor Sport 1:27.352 9


Mosley 'too busy' to talk at Monaco
(GMM)  Max Mosley made a brief appearance in the Monaco paddock and pitlane on Thursday, but did not stop to talk to the swarm of reporters and photographers.

"I can't speak.  I'm too busy," said the FIA president as he emerged from the governing body's paddock office.

For the past seven weeks, the 68-year-old Briton has been the subject of a lurid sex scandal that has dominated the world of international motor racing.

Local resident Mosley, making his first visit to a grand prix since the scandal broke, met with Ferrari and Renault chiefs on Wednesday, and is scheduled to sit with Williams chief executive Adam Parr on Thursday.

Parr, and Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali, will surely be quizzed on their meetings with Mosley in the official FIA press conference later on Thursday.

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone told reporters he also expects to see Mosley this weekend, in the wake of the FIA boss' warning that his removal as president could make it easier for Ecclestone to take full control of the sport.

"We're not taking over," the 77-year-old insisted.

"We have a Concorde agreement signed and it's what we've had for 25 years and it's worked very well.  We just want to re-sign."


Williams team celebrates 600 Grands Prix
This year, Frank Williams became the longest serving entrant in Formula One history and this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, which is round six of the 2008 Formula One World Championship, will be his 600th Formula One Grand Prix.

“As most people would expect,” says Frank, “reaching 600 Grands Prix means very little to me! I do have to admit, however, that there have been some brilliant moments over the 40 years that I’ve been racing, and there have also been some moments of great sadness. Most of the time it has been a most pleasurable experience. If I was 40 years younger, I would still choose the same path towards where I find myself today.”

Frank’s first World Championship race was the 1969 Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuich Park, at which he entered a Brabham BT26 for his friend Piers Courage. An engine problem cut short their race, but the pair went on to finish second at Monaco only two weeks later.

During the course of Frank’s four decades in the sport, he has won 113 races, seven Drivers’ World Championships and nine Constructors’ World Championships. He has also been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including two Queen’s Awards for Export, France’s Legion D’Honneur, rarely awarded to foreigners, as well as a knighthood to add to his CBE in 1999.

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Mazda named new presenting sponsor of Rotax Max Challenge
SSC Racing is proud to announce that Mazda USA has assumed the position of presenting sponsor for the Rotax Max Challenge.

Mazda’s reputation in the motorsports community is well-known, with involvement in auto racing stretching from grassroots amateur racing in the SCCA and NASA, to series such as Formula Drift, Grand-Am, the American LeMans Series, and the Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda. 

Mazda’s involvement in the Rotax Max Challenge sponsorship is an extension of its 2007 karting initiative. In 2007, Mazda sponsored the America’s Team at the Rotax Grand Finals in Dubai, and in addition to its new sponsorship with Rotax, will once again sponsor the America’s Team. Additionally, the Rotax Max Challenge will have a presence at select events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca throughout 2008.

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Raikkonen tops first practice at Monaco
Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest lap time and was followed by the silver duo, Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen.



Driver Team Time Laps
1 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:15.948 26
2 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:16.216 26
3 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:16.248 27
4 F. Massa Ferrari 1:16.292 25
5 N. Rosberg Williams 1:16.653 27
6 R. Kubica BMW 1:16.653 27
7 F. Alonso Renault 1:17.498 25
8 R. Barrichello Honda 1:17.511 26
9 M. Webber Red Bull 1:17.798 22
10 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:17.883 26
11 T. Glock Toyota 1:17.942 26
12 J. Button Honda 1:18.153 25
13 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:18.245 30
14 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:18.263 13
15 K. Nakajima Williams 1:18.274 28
16 J. Trulli Toyota 1:18.360 16
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:18.360 25
18 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:18.955 32
19 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:19.176 35
20 D. Coulthard Red Bull no time 3


Monaco claims first victim Trulli
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli became the first victim of Monaco's famous arm-co barriers on Thursday morning.

The Toyota driver, who won on the streets of Monte Carlo with Renault in 2004, had to abandon his broken car after smacking the wall on the approach to the tunnel.

He had done 16 laps with a quarter of an hour of the 90 minute session to run.

Shortly afterwards, Nick Heidfeld was spotted crouching at the rear of his abandoned BMW-Sauber, which spent the dying minutes of the initial practice session mingling with the marshals outside the casino.

The session was disrupted by a 15-minute red-flag period when circuit workers fixed a suspected dislodged drain cover at the exit of turn one.

World championship leader Kimi Raikkonen finished with the fastest time, despite a late brush with the barrier at the entrance to the tunnel.

He was about three tenths of a second ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen, and his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa respectively, all of whom posted laps within a tenth of a second of each other.

The session then ended with drivers allowed to put in a practice start on the actual grid.


NASCAR Beat Podcast: Coca-Cola 600
Mark Martin, one of the most successful drivers in Lowe's Motor Speedway history, talks about why the track is his favorite and Brett Bodine explains how difficult it is to prepare for a 600 mile race.  Video


NASCAR Newscast: Coca-Cola 600 Preview


McLaren moved up the Monaco pitlane
McLaren have been moved back up to the middle of the pitlane for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

Having been excluded from last year's Championship the Woking team were expected to spend the season at the bottom of the pitlane but instead they were given the fifth set of garages, slotting them between Williams and Red Bull.

Alleged complaints from rivals, though, saw the team dropped to the very bottom of the pitlane ahead of the Bahrain GP.

McLaren occupied that slot for the next two races before arriving in Monaco for this weekend's race where they were informed that they would be returning to the fifth set of garages.

No reason has been given for McLaren's move up the pitlane nor is it clear if it is just for this weekend's event.


Tickets Still Available for Ohio 250 at Mansfield
Good seats are still available for the fifth-annual Ohio 250 Craftsman Truck Series race at Mansfield Motorsports Park. "Ticket sales have picked up pace the past couple of weeks," said MMP public relations manager Charles Krall. "I think a lot of people are worried about gas prices and the weather. Well there's not much we can do about the cost of fuel, but I think the weather forecast has motivated some people to buy their tickets. For once it looks like we might see some sun on race weekend. We know the cost of getting here has gone up with the cost of fuel, but we've kept our ticket prices in check now since the event's inception in 2004," Krall said. "You can get a great seat in the corners or down the backstretch for $40, and that's before any of the discounts that are out there. We have some great partnerships with Pepsi and Miller Lite and there are lots of coupons out there. You're definitely going to get your money's worth here." There will still be tickets available for those waiting to see the sun shining down brightly over the Mid-Ohio countryside before they decide to make the trip to the track. The Ohio 250 race weekend activities kick off with Thursday's Race Fest in downtown Mansfield, with the transporter parade starting at 5 P.M. followed by the driver autograph session at 6 P.M. There will be a Q&A session with the drivers at 7 P.M., then the transporters move out back to the speedway at 8 P.M. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling (419) 525-RACE (7223) or online at www.mansfieldmotorsportsonline.com


Latest F1 news in brief
  • No pressure on Heidfeld - boss
  • Hamilton changes mind about Monaco furor
  • Rain would be Monaco 'nightmare' - Alonso
  • News briefs from Monaco: Thursday

No pressure on Heidfeld - boss
(GMM)  Amid speculation about the struggling Nick Heidfeld's future at BMW-Sauber, team boss Mario Theissen vowed to keep the internal pressure off the 31-year-old German driver.

In the Monte Carlo paddock, BMW motor sport director Theissen insisted that Heidfeld is working hard to bridge the deficit to his teammate Robert Kubica, who similarly struggled one year ago.

"Last year we put no pressure on Robert and it is the same now for Nick -- pressure would not help," he is quoted as saying by the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland.

Theissen explained that BMW engineers are also taking responsibility for helping Heidfeld to get more comfortable with the F1.08, which the driver has described as more difficult to pilot than its predecessor.

Heidfeld acknowledged: "Formula one is my life so this is not a situation that I am enjoying."

Hamilton changes mind about Monaco furor
(GMM)  A year after sparking the famous Monaco 'team orders' furor, Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday said he now believes McLaren was right to asking him to settle for second place in 2007.

The angry Briton said in the post-race press conference last year that he duly followed then teammate Fernando Alonso to the checkered flag because he is the "number two driver".

In reaction, F1's governing body launched an investigation into whether McLaren had broken the rules about illegal team orders.

A week after the race, the British youngster defended his comments: "I just said what I felt.  Sometimes your feelings need to be expressed."

On the sidelines of his second grand prix on the Principality's streets, however, Hamilton has revised his perception of the 2007 saga.

Referring to his second place at Monaco as a rookie, the 23-year-old said on Wednesday: "I think anyone would have been happy with that.

"Looking back, I don't have any regrets, and the team did the right thing," Hamilton said.

He added: "You learn a lot when you are behind someone anyway, but I just had to look at it and say 'I'm here in formula one, and it is my first Monaco grand prix'."

Rain would be Monaco 'nightmare' - Alonso
(GMM)  Rain is often a great performance leveler in formula one, but former double champion Fernando Alonso is not hoping for a slippery Monaco grand prix.

Many race fans are crossing their fingers that wet weather forecasts for the Monte Carlo weekend are right, but already several drivers have expressed nervousness about the prospective combination of water, the tight and oily street circuit, and the absence of electronic aids.

Alonso was asked by the Spanish press on Wednesday if he sees the adverse weather forecast as an opportunity to race and beat the usual 2008 pacesetters this weekend.

"Last year we did a practice session in the wet (here) and it was virtually impossible to drive the car, even with all the driver aids.

"This year it would be a nightmare, although I suppose a good result is possible because many cars might crash.

"But I don't have a good feeling about it, so I hope it stays dry," he admitted.

Williams driver Nico Rosberg agreed: "Last year the wet tires didn't work.

"If the same thing happens, now that we don't have traction control, it will be ... interesting," he added.

News briefs from Monaco: Thursday
(GMM)  McLaren's topsy-turvy garage allocations in 2008 has continued in Monaco, with the team slotting in between Red Bull and Williams in the Principality's pitlane.

Despite finishing the 2007 championship last, the Mercedes-powered team began the season in the fifth slot following an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone.

For Bahrain and beyond, however, FIA president Max Mosley ruled that McLaren should be returned to the last garages to properly reflect the team's exclusion from last year's constructors' championship.


Fernando Alonso has rejected rumors that his Renault team is planning a very aggressive qualifying fuel strategy this weekend in a bid for a high grid position at Monaco, where overtaking is nearly impossible.

"According to what I was told last week, we will not do anything overly strange," the Spaniard told reporters on Wednesday.


Michael Schumacher returned to the F1 drivers' football team earlier this week as they took on a celebrity team compiled by Monaco's Prince Albert.

Also playing at the Stade Louis II stadium on Tuesday evening for the 'Nazionale Piloti' were Felipe Massa, Jarno Trulli, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Giancarlo Fisichella.

The F1 drivers won.


Embattled Mosley meets F1 team bosses UPDATE (GMM)  Max Mosley made a low-key return to the formula one world at Monaco on Wednesday, with some paddock regulars forgiven for not even noticing he was about.

Britain's The Times said the scandal-gripped 68-year-old's presence was the sport's version of "Where's Wally?  Where's Max?", the News International publication teased.

More visible was Mosley's official spokesman Richard Woods, who insisted that the FIA president held "business as usual" meetings in the race control building on Wednesday and would probably have a higher profile later on.

Mosley apparently met with team bosses Stefano Domenicali and Flavio Briatore, while another - BMW's Mario Theissen - believed Mosley's presence would quickly become a non-story.

But the German admitted: "I will not be looking for him."

05/21/08 Embattled motor racing chief Max Mosley made a low-key return to the Formula One arena on Wednesday following his involvement in a sex scandal.

Although the International Automobile Federation (FIA) president stayed out of sight and away from Monaco's harbor-side paddock, a spokesman said it had been 'business as usual' for the 68-year-old Briton.

He said Monaco resident Mosley had met Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali and Renault's Flavio Briatore in his office at the race control tower in the afternoon to discuss cost-cutting measures.

Former Ferrari designer Rory Byrne, now a consultant to the champions, and Renault's engineering head Pat Symonds were also present.

Sunday's race will be the first that Mosley, who faces a confidence vote in Paris on June 3 and has ignored calls for his resignation since the scandal broke in March, has attended this season.

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Coulthard's car stops in morning practice, loose drain stops practice
(GMM)  David Coulthard's preparations for the Monaco grand prix got off to a poor start on Thursday morning.

Half way through the initial morning practice session, the Scottish veteran's Red Bull RB4 slowed in the street circuit's famous tunnel.

He abandoned the car in an escape road near the harbor chicane without having set a single timed lap.


Thursday morning's opening practice session in Monaco was red flagged for 15 minutes to fix a loose drain on track. The drain that came loose could cause a dangerous situation if a driver would hit it.  When the drain was discovered the session was immediately red flagged in order to fix it.

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