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Indy 500 drivers told to be patient  
Brian Barnhart addresses the drivers
Gail Miller/AR1.com
"Some segments of the race are about position, but the first turn of the first lap isn't one of them," Indy Racing League president Brian Barnhart said Saturday at the drivers meeting along the straightaway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  It's a warning he gives the drivers every year.

"Let's get off to a safe start."

"The start here is unique," Barnhart said of the three-abreast lineup on a track that is only 50 feet wide. "The key to a successful start is patience. Don't crowd the drivers around you. ... As you have heard a hundred times, you can't win the race on the first lap.

"Let the race come to you," he told the drivers. "Concentration is vital all day long. Put yourself in position to compete for the win at the end. Control your own destiny with good decisions."

Edwards on Nationwide Series Pole at Lowe's  Carl Edwards won the pole for Saturday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Edwards top lap of 183.175 mph was enough to earn him his fourth pole of the season. He will share the front row with series point leader Kyle Busch.

Seven of the top ten qualifiers were Sprint Cup regulars, with Greg Biffle, David Ragan and Brian Vickers rounding out the top five, followed by Michael McDowell, David Gilliland, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Mike Bliss.
Pete McCole from Lowe's Motor Speedway
Drivers meeting, parade highlight quiet Saturday at Indy  Drivers participating in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 received final instructions and awards May 23 in the Public Drivers' Meeting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 24. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network beginning at noon.

2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon and Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi accepted a "Baby Borg" trophy from Dan Casa Santa, president and general manager of Torque Transfer Systems and vice president of BorgWarner. Dixon also was presented with a $130,000 check from BorgWarner for his victory last year. More ...

NHLR, IMS & Rahal Support Paul Newman's Camps at Indy 500  The No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) entry in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 for Robert Doornbos will carry the Hole in the Wall Camps (HITWC) logo on its sidepods during the race as a tribute to late team owner Paul Newman, who first took an interest in auto racing while filming the 1968 movie "Winning" at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

"I'm honored to have the Hole in the Wall Camps on my race car for the Indy 500," said Doornbos.  "The owners decided to run these colors as a tribute to Paul and I am proud to represent such an extraordinary man and the organization he founded to bring happiness to seriously ill children.  I met him when I raced against the team in Champ Car and he was one of the first to congratulate me on my win in Mont Tremblant and told me he enjoyed the battle.  I know that he was competitive just like me and like everyone at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and I will try to do my best to make the Hole in the Wall Camps proud on Sunday.” More ...

Crisis meetings not constructive - Ecclestone  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday threw a spanner in the works, as other F1 stakeholders proclaimed "constructive" talks to pull the sport out of crisis.

Half the grid, and possibly even more, are threatening to quit over the rules and governance spat with Max Mosley, but many hours of meetings in Monaco sparked signs of cautious optimism.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however, who may also be at odds with the teams over the issue of commercial revenue, is clearly still concerned about the precarious situation.

When told that many leading figures had described Friday's key FOTA meeting with FIA president Mosley as constructive, the 78-year-old said: "I would not describe it as constructive. More ...

Indy 500 Pit Assignments  
To the right are the pit assignments for Sunday's Indy 500.  Team Penske has the best pit stalls, as they always do.
Maldonado wins red flagged sprint race  
Pastor Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado has claimed another win for his glittering collection at Monaco as a result of leading the sprint race today when it was red flagged for an accident by Romain Grosjean, taking the top step on the podium ahead of Jerome d'Ambrosio and Nico Hülkenberg.

The Venezuelan didn't have it all his own way though: despite starting from pole he was handily beaten to Ste Devote by front row starter Karun Chandhok, who was in imperious form as he left the rest of the field in his smoke, while d'Ambrosio and Hülkenberg started their own race long battle for supremacy.

Further back Michael Herck took himself out of contention with an ill-advised move on Edoardo Mortara at the hairpin, after which the order of the race stayed fairly static as they accordioned around the fabled circuit. More ...

More Saturday news briefs from Monaco  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's Saturday nightmare went from bad to worse in Monaco, after the Briton crashed out of Q1 despite earlier looking a contender for a front row berth.  The Briton was due to start 16th on the grid, but the damage to his McLaren required an unscheduled gearbox change, which pushes him a further five places down the grid to last.


Race director Charlie Whiting warned F1's drivers on Saturday morning about cutting the Monaco curbs, and installed observers at key sections including the Nouvelle and Swimming Pool chicanes.  Giancarlo Fisichella had two of his fast times deleted for this reason in qualifying.


Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was disappointed to qualify fourth at Monaco, after encountering a slow-moving Kazuki Nakajima.  It later emerged that his car will be the lightest on the grid, carrying 16kg less fuel than pole sitter Jenson Button.

Teams may seek May 29 entry extension  (GMM)  Formula one teams may request an extension to the May 29 deadline for official 2010 entries, it emerged after qualifying for the Monaco grand prix.

In the paddock of the famous street circuit on Saturday, representatives of all the teams met yet again, this time in the Toyota motor home.

Entries for 2010 opened officially on Friday, and are now set to close in less than a week.

It is rumored that hard-liners like Ferrari and Toyota are prepared to miss the deadline, but others including BMW and McLaren-Mercedes may be concerned about being locked out of next year's grid over the political melee.

They are considering whether to ask for an extension to the May 29 deadline, after many figures were buoyed by the progress made this weekend.

"That's what we will discuss in the next meeting, what to do then in that situation," BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen confirmed.

Indy 500 odds  2009 Indianapolis 500 Odds: This Sunday afternoon, May 24th beginning at Noon, the 93rd edition of the 2009 Indianapolis 500 takes place. This year’s race promises to be a very tight one, as the best drivers burn rubber at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Year in and year out, Indianapolis 500 Odds makers at Bodog.com post the absolute best Sports Odds and 2009 is no different. According to Indianapolis 500 Odds experts, Helio Castroneves [7/2] is the Sports Odds favorite to win the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

No matter where she stands in the Sports Odds to win the 2009 Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick [11/1] always seems to be in the middle of things.

In the days leading up to the biggest race of the season, Patrick is once again, back in the spotlight. This time, it involves NASCAR, as everyone wants to know, when is Danica planning to make the jump.

The relentless debate has grabbed the attention of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup champion three years running, Jimmie Johnson, who has something to say to Ms. Patrick. More ...

Car/Driver weights for Monaco GP  Starting weights for Sunday's Monaco GP

Pos Driver Weight (kg.)
1. Jenson Button 647.5
2. Kimi Raikkonen 644.0
3. Rubens Barrichello 648.0
4. Sebastian Vettel 631.5
5. Felipe Massa 643.5
6. Nico Rosberg 642.0
7. Heikki Kovalainen 644.0
8. Mark Webber 646.5
9. Fernando Alonso 654.0
10. Kazuki Nakajima 668.0
11. Sebastien Buemi 670.0*
12. Nelson Piquet 673.1*
13. Giancarlo Fisichella 693.0*
14. Sebastien Bourdais 699.5*
15. Adrian Sutil 670.0*
16. Lewis Hamilton 645.5*
17. Nick Heidfeld 680.0*
18. Robert Kubica 696.0*
19. Jarno Trulli 688.3*
20. Timo Glock 700.8*

* declared weight

Monaco a F1 'fixture' - Ecclestone  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday played down speculation that this weekend's famous Monaco grand prix could be one of the last in the Principality.

Recent reports suggested that race promoter Michel Boeri would not seek an extension to the current contract should Ferrari follow through its threat to quit the sport.

But F1 chief executive Ecclestone said: "Monaco is a fixture on the F1 calendar and always will be if I have any say in the matter."

The prestigious Monaco grand prix was first run in 1929.

Ecclestone also seemed to warn F1's teams against considering a 'breakaway' championship, after it emerged that the company he oversees has higher revenue per employee than any other in the UK.

"I can't imagine anyone commercializing a sport from scratch again as I did with F1," he is quoted as saying by Formula Money.

Janquart Wins Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award  
David Janquart (Center) receives award
Dennis Ashlock/Firestone
The race just to get into the Indianapolis 500 can cause struggling teams to make car changes out of desperation or frustration, often taking the car further away from the best set-up. It's those times when a calmer guiding hand is needed most.

The #43 Petty Motorsports/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry for driver John Andretti was fortunate to have such a composed leader this month in chief mechanic David Janquart. The veteran wrench led the crew effort that overcame a first-weekend crash and ensuing struggle for speed. Eventually it all came "full circle," just in time to get crowd favorite Andretti qualified into the field for this Sunday's race.

For his effort and leadership, Janquart has been named the 2009 recipient of the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award. Presented annually since 1987 by the Clint Brawner Foundation and underwritten by Firestone Racing, the award recognizes an Indy 500 chief mechanic who "exemplifies the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm and expertise" of its legendary namesake. Clint Brawner was the chief mechanic on winning cars in 51 AAA- and USAC-sanctioned national championship races, and six season champions. More ...

Conquest teams signs local hotel for Indy 500  Conquest Racing and Conrad Indianapolis, the city’s first true luxury hotel, have formed a partnership that will see the #36 entry sport the Conrad Indianapolis’ logo during this year’s Indy 500.

“With the Indianapolis 500 being such a vital part of our community, we are so proud to be represented on the famed oval this Sunday. And we could not ask for a better team to represent the Conrad than Alex Tagliani and his Conquest Racing team,” said general manager, Greg Tinsley. “I am so honored to have the hotel paired with such a talented team as Conquest. The level of professionalism and inspiration that Tagliani and his team exude are reminiscent of the personality of our Conrad family.” More ...

Nemechek Secures Sponsorship for tonight  NEMCO Motorsports, owner of Joe Nemechek's No. 87 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, announced today the race team has secured primary sponsorship from LubePro's for tonight's CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte.

LubePro's is celebrating its 30th anniversary as the pioneer of the fast and professional oil change. The Cherry Valley, Ill. quick lube company has more than 30 locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Tennessee.

Nemechek's Nationwide entry at Lowe's will also showcase two associate sponsors -- Motorsportcruise.com and Huckleberry's BBQ. More ...
KV Racing adds associate sponsor for 500  KV Racing Technology announced today that FORDAHL-FOQ Group has joined the team as an associate sponsor for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, May 24, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

FORDAHL-FOQ Group, one of the leading global players in the industry of time components for telecommunications systems, will be an associate sponsor on the #15 GEICO – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine driven by Paul Tracy.

“We are pleased to welcome back FORDAHL-FOQ Group as a sponsor of KV Racing Technology for this year’s Indy 500,” said KVRT co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven.  “FORDAHL-FOQ Group is an outstanding company and a leader in the industry.  This is a particularly welcome announcement since FORDAHL-FOQ previously was a sponsor of KVRT in 2007, so it is like teaming up with an old friend.” More ...

Hamilton considers hiring PR guru  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton is reportedly considering hiring a famous PR expert to spice up his flailing image.

In the wake of the 'lie-gate' scandal and the resulting damage to the reigning world champion's reputation, the British tabloid Daily Star claims Hamilton, 24, is in talks with Simon Fuller.

Fuller is the boss of the famous 19 Entertainment, the brand behind the American Idol spinoffs, the Spice Girls, and Honda's 'earth car' concept of 2007 and 2008.

Among Fuller's other clients are Victoria and David Beckham, tennis' Andy Murray and model Claudia Schiffer.

It is believed Hamilton, and McLaren's own PR camp, have not made a decision about bringing in Fuller.

IndyCar racing on road to recovery  After 13 years of being unfavorably compared to other racing organizations, the Indy Racing League has shown during the current economic crisis that it must be doing something right.

Although it is not immune from the financial travails affecting businesses and individuals worldwide, the IRL has displayed surprising resilience at a time when much of the racing world is being forced to make difficult and, in human terms, often painful choices. In NASCAR, where annual budgets have quadrupled in the past decade, several teams have either folded or merged, and an estimated 1,200 people have been laid off since the end of the 2008 season.

The IndyCar Series has endured no such dire cutbacks, and heading into the 93rd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, there is ample reason to believe the sport is on the road to financial recovery. More ...
FIA warns drivers in Monaco  The FIA has warned drivers that any signs of chicanes being cut in Monte-Carlo will be reported to race stewards with immediate effect. The notice came as the field was sent a message by race director Charlie Whiting during third practice on Saturday morning, with all competitors urged to keep inside wheels on the race track. With last year's Spa penalty for Lewis Hamilton still fresh in the minds of drivers, Whiting's warning advises all to 'use but not abuse' the famous Monaco street circuit; particular points of interest will be the Nouvelle Chicane and Swimming Pool Complex, often locations of drivers travelling over or inside rumble strips.

"Provided a part of the outer wheel remains on the track when crossing the apex (closest point a car travels to the inside of a corner), we will be satisfied that the driver is using the track," Whiting reported. Teams have clearly taken the message onboard, however, as Jenson Button's radio communication proved when informed during the final practice session.

"If all parts of all four wheels are on or behind a kerb when they cross the apex, a report will be made to the stewards," Whiting continued. "Judges of fact have been appointed in key areas around the track to provide race control with immediate reports."
No crisis meetings for Saturday  (GMM)  There are no more F1 crisis meetings planned for the remainder of this weekend, FIA president Max Mosley has been quoted as revealing.

After the stalemate was not broken in the seven hours of meetings on Friday, FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo said the parties were due to get together again in Monaco.

But Mosley is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "There will be no further meetings here in Monte Carlo."

Meanwhile, the big paddock rumor at present is that Toyota is not taking its hard-line stance against the budget cap for the same reasons as Ferrari.

It is suggested that the carmaker has already decided to follow its Japanese rival Honda out of the sport, and has simply eyed a good excuse to justify it.

Danica will consider NASCAR  Even as Danica Patrick answered questions about her chances in Sunday's Indianapolis 500, Indy Car's most famous driver said Thursday that she remained open to a future in NASCAR. Patrick, who will start 10th Sunday, said she will listen to offers from any NASCAR teams interested in signing her, but reiterated, "this is my home" referring to the Indy Car Series. Her contract with Andretti Green Racing (AGR) is up at the end of the season and speculation has put her everywhere from NASCAR to Formula One to returning to the championship AGR organization. "It's a contract year and I'm going to look at everything," Patrick said. "I will look at NASCAR." Patrick, 27, said she can't begin negotiations until June. And when asked during Thursday's annual Indy 500 Media Day at the Speedway if she was courting offers, Patrick smiled and said, "I'm not bringing it up, I'm not slipping it into conversations. .. I'm purely answering questions that people are asking me." FanHouse

[Editor's Note: For the umpteenth time, Danica will not be moving to NASCAR.  IMG, her business managers, and her will play that card to extract as much money as possible from the IRL and from the AGR team.  In the end she will stay with IndyCars.  NASCAR would be a 100% certain recipe for disaster, moving from being the star of the IRL to wanker and backmarker.]

NASCAR's red-neck fans to hurt series sponsors  The Miami-Dade branch of the NAACP has set its sights on NASCAR, Homestead’s major national attraction, in its fight against the Confederate flag. The civil rights organization will first reach out to officials with NASCAR, seeking to enlist their help in efforts to ban the controversial symbol from city-sponsored events. If that does not work, however, NAACP officials say they will consider a boycott and protest march at the NASCAR events slated for Nov. 20-22 at the Homestead-Miami Motor Speedway. NAACP officials on Wednesday said they are drafting a letter to NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, who has publicly spoken out against the Confederate flag in recent years. If the civil rights organization does not get the racing league’s cooperation and support, officials there said they are prepared to begin contacting NASCAR’s sponsors, and to stage protests during the races. South Florida Times
No lawsuit filed by Mayfield yet  Attorney Bill Diehl says it will be next week before he and driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield reveal what action they might take against NASCAR over the sanctioning body's suspension of Mayfield following a positive drug test taken May 1. “You’ll find out more what [we are] going to do next week – nothing is going to happen today,” Diehl said late Friday afternoon. “Not that we haven’t been working today. … We are going through this methodically, and we’re doing a lot of things, and nothing is going to happen today.” SceneDaily
Brawn 'optimistic' after F1 crisis talks  (GMM)  Ross Brawn confirmed a growing feeling in the F1 paddock that the current political crisis is moving closer to a solution at Monaco.

Seven hours of intensive meetings took place in the Principality on 'free day' Friday, and more of the same are scheduled for Saturday.

And while no agreement between the rebel teams and Max Mosley was finalized so far, parties including the FIA president, Luca di Montezemolo and Nick Fry have commented that common ground is being found.

For example, it is rumored that Mosley is now willing to exclude engine costs from the budget limit for several years.

"At this point I have to say I am more optimistic," Brawn, involved in both Friday's FOTA meeting and then the subsequent meeting with Mosley, said in Monte Carlo.

"We've gone forwards, not backwards," the chief of the championship leading Brackley based team added.

Another growing feeling, however, is that while the budget cap stalemate may not be insurmountable, it is actually Mosley's governance style that is causing the most unhappiness.

"Even some of the teams that might accept the cap are not really very happy about the governance of the sport," Williams' Patrick Head told The Times.

Saturday news briefs from Monaco  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso topped the final pre-qualifying practice session at Monaco, as track action resumed on the street circuit on Saturday morning.  Toyota and BMW's woes continued, with all four Cologne and Hinwil built cars in the bottom four positions.


Pos Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Alonso Renault 1:15.164 +0.000 24
2. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:15.233 +0.069 29
3. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.278 +0.114 24
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:15.286 +0.122 26
5. Massa Ferrari 1:15.293 +0.129 23
6. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.382 +0.218 25
7. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.389 +0.225 23
8. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:15.722 +0.558 23
9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:15.758 +0.594 23
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:15.985 +0.821 24
11. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:16.103 +0.939 22
12. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:16.228 +1.064 20
13. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.301 +1.137 23
14. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:16.317 +1.153 29
15. Piquet Renault 1:16.382 +1.218 27
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.432 +1.268 22
17. Glock Toyota 1:16.527 +1.363 29
18. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:16.599 +1.435 26
19. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:16.661 +1.497 22
20. Trulli Toyota 1:16.810 +1.646 26


Formula one drivers turned catwalk models on Friday night, with proceeds of the Monaco fashion show pledged to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.  Among the models were Lewis Hamilton, Adrian Sutil, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Nelson Piquet, Mark Webber and David Coulthard.


Jean Alesi, the French F1 veteran of more than 200 grands prix, praised Jenson Button not only for his championship-leading form, but for his "good character".  "What is happening to him now is exactly what he deserves," the 44-year-old told The Guardian.  "Through all the hard times he's had, he never tried to blame anyone else," added Alesi.

Bob Lutz refutes Letterman claims against Chevy Volt  I will be the first to say, the Volt has been vindicated in a most wonderful way.  A few weeks ago Tesla CEO Elon Musk brought the Model S on Late Night with David Letterman and Dave misrepresented the Chevy Volt, calling its 40 mile range “ridiculous.”

Last night after having issued a challenge to do so, Letterman invited Lutz on his show along with the Chevy Volt show car. The result, in my opinion, was wonderful.

First Letterman gave a five minute monologue explaining how he wants to see this country achieve energy independence (FIRST VIDEO BELOW). He admitted he bought and drives the Tesla Roadster. He described himself as not being particularly tech savvy, and went on to say that when he derided the Volt and laughed about it with Musk, he was actually “woefully ignorant.” He admitted that he didn’t realize the Volt has a range extender. He even said he hoped he could get a free Volt. More ...

IZOD extends sponsorship with Hunter-Reay  Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation [NYSE: PVH] announced today that its IZOD brand will be the primary sponsor of Vision Racing's #21 car for the Indianapolis 500 and the Milwaukee Mile during the 2009 IndyCar Series. The IZOD car, driven by IZOD spokesperson and 2008 Indy 500 Rookie-of-the-Year Ryan Hunter-Reay, will make its debut today on "Miller Lite Carb Day®" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Indy 500.

"We are thrilled to be expanding our role with Ryan and the IndyCar Series," says Mike Kelly, Executive Vice President of Marketing for PVH. "Partnering with Vision Racing as the primary sponsor for the #21 car was a natural evolution in our ongoing involvement with IndyCar racing. We're excited to see the IZOD brand being driven on the most historic track in auto racing this weekend at the Indy 500."

"I couldn't be more excited to have IZOD as the primary sponsor of my car for the Indianapolis 500 and Milwaukee Mile," says Ryan Hunter-Reay.  "Having my personal sponsor take a more prominent role in my team just reinforces the successful partnership we have together. I'm proud to be driving the #21 IZOD car for Vision Racing." More ...

Helio and Team Penske win pitstop competition  Helio Castroneves and the No. 3 Team Penske crew earned its third consecutive victory in the Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Challenge on May 22 during Miller Lite Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Castroneves and the Team Penske crew, led by veteran chief mechanic Rick Rinaman, took home the $40,000 winner's check from the $90,000 event purse. The team and Castroneves also won in 2006 and 2007. Last year's event was canceled due to rain.

Pole sitter Castroneves and Team Penske will try to become the first tandem since Buddy Rice and Rahal Letterman Racing in 2004 to win the Pit Stop Challenge and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year. Rice also started from the pole that year. More ...

Indy quals TV rating update  The Nielsen Media Research numbers showed that 349,000 TV households nationwide tuned in to Indianapolis 500 qualifications bump day on Sunday afternoon (May 17) on Versus cable channel. On Saturday (May 16), 285,000 TV households nationally tuned in to Indy 500 qualifications.

That compares to 385,000 TV households that tuned in to Pole Day qualifications on May 9. The Indy 500 qualifications TV ratings have outshined two of the first three Indy Racing League races in terms of viewer numbers. The season opener at St. Petersburg was watched by 233,000 households nationwide, while 171,000 TV households tuned into the Kansas race. Only Long Beach (388,864) fared better than the Indy 500 qualifications shows.

In Indianapolis, the second weekend of qualifications earned solid ratings, with a 2.33 rating being tabulated for Saturday’s (May 16) telecast, and a 2.48 registered for Sunday (May 17). In the Indianapolis metro area, each rating point equals 10,720 households, which means about 24,978 tuned in on Saturday and 26,586 watched Sunday. “That’s not all that bad. It’s not a gangbuster rating. A good basketball game would get a 6.0 or even an 8.0,” said Bill Perkins, a longtime Indianapolis media buyer and president of Perkins Nichols Media. “But for the second weekend of qualifications on cable, that’s not bad at all.” The open-wheel events at the Brickyard are still proving to be a solid attraction for the central Indiana market. The second weekend of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 scored a better TV rating locally than two of three network sports shows on Sunday afternoon. The Rockets-Lakers NBA playoff game on ABC scored a 5.2 rating, the Texas Open PGA tournament registered a 1.7 on CBS and the National Hockey League playoff game on NBC notched a 1.3 rating. Perkins said the numbers are even better when considering overall TV viewership numbers. “Everything in the May book is down 10 percent,” Perkins said. “All of television is down.” "The Score" Sports Blog
(Yawn) Crisis moves towards solution in Monaco  (GMM)  No solutions were found after nearly seven hours of meetings on Friday, but it seems progress was made to end arguably the most serious crisis in the history of formula one. (Did you think otherwise?  We explained to you what this was all about - free PR)

FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo called the Monaco meetings "productive", and more of the same - involving both the angry F1 teams and the forceful FIA president Max Mosley - are scheduled for Saturday.

Most team representatives filed out of the Mosley meeting at the Automobile Club de Monaco without commenting, but Brawn CEO Nick Fry said he believes that "good progress" was made.

"Proposals were made on both sides and common ground was found," said the Briton.

Fry added that he believes the dispute can be settled by the end of this weekend, while Mosley told reporters that the meeting had been "constructive".

The FIA president also said he is "always hopeful and confident there will be an agreement".

Meanwhile, it emerges that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone walked out of the initial teams' meeting, which was staged on Flavio Briatore's yacht, long before it was concluded.

Indy Speedway starts Mike Harris scholarship  Indianapolis Motor Speedway Executive Vice President, Communications Fred Nation announced in the Media Center today the creation of a scholarship in the name of retiring Associated Press auto racing writer Mike Harris. The scholarship will be available to college students attending the Indiana University School of Journalism's new National Sports Journalism Center, location of the Associated Press Sports Editors headquarters, and the winner of the annual scholarship will also have the option to serve as an intern with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Indy Racing League.

Indy Racing League Vice President, Public Relations John Griffin and IMS Director, Public Relations Ron Green also presented Harris with a helmet signed by all 33 starting drivers for the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

Contributions to the Mike Harris Scholarship can be made to:

            Indiana University Foundation

            Mike Harris Scholarship
            c/o Fred Nation
            Indianapolis Motor Speedway
            4790 W. 16th St.
            Indianapolis, IN 46222

MIKE HARRIS: "The scholarship is certainly one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me, I think that's wonderful. I like the idea of giving back to journalism in some way and I think I'll probably do a little contributing myself to that one. Thanks, everybody, for all the things that have been going on recently. It's kind of embarrassing to have this many people saying nice things about me."

tv news
Danica on celebrity show EXTRA  Danica Patrick will be featured on the entertainment news show EXTRA on Friday, May 22.  The segment will show what Danica did to prepare for her recent photo shoot for the June 2009 issue of SHAPE magazine.  Check your local listings for the network and time in your area. 
Friday Indy Notebook  
Concert crowd in the Indy infield taken from the media center
The crowd today at the Speedway had to be one of the largest in recent memory, estimated to be well over 60,000 on a beautiful Indiana day.  They cheered wildly during both the Indy Lights race and the pit stop competition.  Ticket sales are rumored to be up over last year and it looked it on Friday.

We ran into Dr. Steve Olvey today on the Indy pitlane before IndyCar practice got started.  Dr. Olvey along with Dr. Terry Trammel are still doing safety consulting for the FIA and he is currently working with the FIA to establish an FIA certification in every country for race safety workers/paramedics.  He also worked on developing new helmet standards for kids 15 years old and younger.  Dr. Olvey tells us that Dr. Trammel has been consulting some on the next generation IndyCar.

Neel Jani in the KV Racing pit box
Ran into ex-Champ Car driver and current A1GP driver Neel Jani from Switzerland.  The A1GP season is over but he has a ride for the 24 Hours of LeMans and is talking to several F1 teams about a ride for 2010.

Helio Castroneves and his Penske Team defeated AGR's Marco Andretti in the final round to win the annual pit stop competition. This is Team Penske's 11th win in the Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Challenge. It is the winningest team in the history of the contest. It has won the last four contests (Hornish 2005) and Castroneves (2006, 2007). This is Helio Castroneves' fourth win overall and his third consecutive win. He also won in 2002, when he went on to win the Indianapolis 500.

Chip Ganassi held court with the media on pit lane and we quizzed him about Penske's concept of merging his IndyCar and NASCAR team under the same roof.  "I can see how it could work and how it doesn't work, and I think about it from time-to-time, but I usually go lay down until that feeling goes away," said Ganassi.

As for people saying Indy is all about Penske and Ganassi, Ganassi was asked what he thought about the performance of KV Racing Technology and Mario Moraes. "There are a lot of threats out there to win the race, there is a lot of time between qualifying and the race you never know who stumbled on something that gives them an advantage, and anyone who thinks this is going to be a cakewalk on Sunday are kidding themselves. More ...
Feds Drop Last Charge Against Castroneves  
Helio Castroneves
Prosecutors Friday dropped the only unresolved criminal charge against Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves, one month after a Miami federal jury deadlocked on the count and acquitted him of six tax-evasion charges.

For the Brazilian race car star, acquitted in April of evading taxes on $5.5 million, it was a final legal victory just before he enters Sunday's Indy 500 race in the lead pole position.

Prosecutors could have retried Castroneves, who owns a Coral Gables mansion, and his sister, Katiucia, the driver's business manager, on the deadlocked conspiracy count, claiming they tried to defraud the government by hiding his racing income. But their defense attorneys would have tied up any retrial with appeals, countering that such a prosecution would have amounted to double jeopardy because of the tax-evasion acquittals.

Castroneves' lawyers said it was ''right'' for the government to drop the one remaining charge accusing Penske's top IndyCar race driver of plotting with his sister and his sports lawyer, Alan R. Miller, to conceal his income between 1999 and 2004.

''We are very happy for Helio,'' attorney Roy Black said in a statement. ``The jury finds him not guilty, then he wins the pole position at Indy, and now the government drops the case completely. All he has to do now is win the race and climb the fence.'' More at Miami Herald

Only two teams oppose F1 budget caps - Head  
Patrick Head
(GMM)  Patrick Head, co-owner of the independent British team Williams, said on Friday that only two outfits staunchly oppose Max Mosley's plans for a budget cap in 2010.

After a meeting on Friday afternoon, Ferrari president and FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo indicated in Monaco that no current team will lodge an entry for the 2010 season as long as the FIA's proposed rules stand.

But after his partner Sir Frank Williams said on Thursday that the Grove team wants a cost cap, Head added: "The only teams that are not talking about it are Ferrari and Toyota.

"They are alone in the corner," the Briton is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Head said all of the other teams, even Renault that has issued a quit threat, will be willing to compromise. More ...

Cunningham outduels Hildebrand to win Freedom 100  
Wade Cunningham
In one of the most exciting Indy Lights races at Indy in years, after a seesaw battle all race long Wade Cunningham set up J.R. Hildebrand on the backstretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Lap 39 and overtook the AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing driver on the inside entering Turn 3 to take the lead for the final time.

Cunningham, driving the No. 11 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, led Hildebrand across the line by 0.1046 of a second and a hard-charging Mario Romancini by 0.4063 of a second. He posted a lap of 188.899 mph.

"That was 100 percent every lap," said Cunningham, the pole sitter who became the first two-time winner of the 40-lap race. "That last lap and a half I was yelling at my car to keep going like a jockey on his horse."

Hildebrand, who started third in the No. 26 ARPRO car, finished 0.1046 of a second back. Romancini, who was coming off a third place in his oval racing debut at Kansas Speedway, finished third (0.2821 of a second back). He started 18th in the No. 5 Revita/Win Brazil/Allied car for RLR/Andersen Racing. More ...

Grosjean storms to victory in Monaco  
Top-3 finishers on Friday - Race 1
Romain Grosjean has continued his winning ways with a storming drive to victory in the feature race today in Monaco, leading almost every lap to hand his team another one-two result ahead of teammate Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi.

The Frenchman led the field away as the lights went out, with Petrov forcing his way in front of a fast starting Nico Hülkenberg as the rest of the field looked for a way through St Devote: Andreas Zuber, di Grassi and Jérôme d'Ambrosio were the next men to follow in their wake as they climbed the hill towards the Casino.

The famously tight circuit lived up to its reputation as the Belgian held a train of cars in his wake, leaving pit strategy to write a new story: Luca Filippi did the best job with his stop to become the man to beat out of the pits, leapfrogging up to effective sixth position while di Grassi repeated that form further up the field to put himself onto a potential podium. More ...

Penske cars 1-2 in final Indy practice  As Indy 500 drivers searched for that magical full-tank race setup, and scuffed in race day tires, some usual names were fastest.

Helio Castroneves and Will Power topped the final practice session before Sunday's Indy 500, giving Team Penske the top two times on the traditional Friday Carb Day.  The surprise of the month, youngster Mario Moraes from Brazil, was third as he looks to upset the top teams on Sunday.

Dan Wheldon and Ryan Briscoe rounded out the top-5.

Carb Day Practice Times

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed Laps
1. 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske 40.1929 223.920 39
2. 12 Will Power Team Penske 40.2577 223.560 36
3. 5 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology 40.3676 222.951 55
4. 4 Dan Wheldon Panther Racing 40.4701 222.386 35
5. 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 40.4724 222.374 27
6. 10 Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 40.4754 222.357 28
7. 9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 40.5374 222.017 33
8. 02 Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 40.5824 221.771 47
9. 8 Townsend Bell KV Racing Technology 40.6441 221.434 48
10. 44 Davey Hamilton DRR/Kingdom Racing 40.6557 221.371 42
11. 11 Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing 40.7049 221.104 42
12. 15 Paul Tracy KV Racing Technology 40.7278 220.979 41
13. 14 Vitor Meira A.J. Foyt Enterprises 40.7966 220.607 31
14. 2 Raphael Matos* Luczo Dragon Racing 40.8445 220.348 45
15. 26 Marco Andretti Andretti Green Racing 40.8710 220.205 35
16. 41 A.J. Foyt IV A.J. Foyt Enterprises 40.8870 220.119 33
17. 16 Scott Sharp Panther Racing 40.9133 219.977 35
18. 19 Tomas Scheckter Dale Coyne Racing 40.9302 219.887 38
19. 36 Alex Tagliani* Conquest Racing 40.9401 219.833 53
20. 27 Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green Racing 40.9786 219.627 41
21. 20 Ed Carpenter Vision Racing 40.9833 219.602 22
22. 24 Mike Conway* Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 40.9910 219.560 37
23. 7 Danica Patrick Andretti Green Racing 41.0344 219.328 28
24. 17 Oriol Servia Rahal Letterman Racing 41.0364 219.317 36
25. 99 Alex Lloyd CGR/Sam Schmidt Motorsports 41.0467 219.262 22
26. 18 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing 41.1111 218.919 44
27. 21 Ryan Hunter-Reay Vision Racing 41.1725 218.593 38
28. 06 Robert Doornbos* Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 41.2534 218.164 28
29. 13 EJ Viso HVM Racing 41.3246 217.788 34
30. 23 Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 41.3604 217.599 38
31. 67 Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher Racing 41.4145 217.315 42
32. 43 John Andretti Richard Petty Motorsports/DRR 41.4181 217.296 27
33. 00 Nelson Philippe* HVM Racing 41.5453 216.631 43

* Rookie


HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): (On being the fastest car in the final practice session): "It felt really good. It felt awesome. I'm very confident and comfortable in the car. It was nice to have that right before the race. The weather on Race Day is going to be very similar to what it was today. It was important for us to run today. I feel very confident. I can't wait for Sunday, I'll tell you that. It's going to be a long race and a lot of things can happen, but I can't wait for Sunday."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola): "I think we had a good final practice today. We were able to work through the hour practice, which was great since there were no yellows. We made a couple changes, and I think we have a couple of options we could go with for the race. I am ready for Sunday to get here, and hopefully we will have a strong finish for the No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola car."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "It was a great practice for the Team 7-Eleven car. I was surprised on how much running we were able to do in the hour practice since we had no yellows. It looks like the weather on Race Day is going to be similar to today, so that is helpful, as well. The No. 11 car felt good, and I'm getting excited for the race."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "It was good to get the No. 26 car out on track, and I think the conditions and traffic today will be very similar to what they predict will be on Sunday. We didn't quite have the speed we were looking for, but I am still confident that the Team Venom Energy car will be able to run strong and be a contender come Race Day."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream): "I'm really excited for the race on Sunday. I feel like we are getting closer to the Race Day setup on the car. Luckily I have three teammates that will give the No. 27 Formula Dream crew their input, as well. Hopefully the track conditions that we practiced on today will be similar on Race Day."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "The Team Penske car felt good out there this morning. Everything feels like it did in the T car when we left it last week. I think we're in good shape. I'm excited about Sunday, and we're ready to go racing."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Team Verizon Wireless): "I came here last year with no experience, and the team did, as well. We were learning on the job. This year I was a bit more composed because I knew what to expect. If I come here again next year, we would do things differently again. It's just a process where you learn and you experience from everything going on around you. This has been a more comfortable month for me this year, for sure."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co. AJ Foyt Racing): "Today we did what we intended to do, which is check the cars and see that everything is fine. Found some problems, which is good to find it right now. We are addressing these problems, and we'll be OK for the race. We are certain we know what these problems are. I'm happy. Anthony (Foyt IV) did very good work on trying downforce levels, which we needed. I did one part of the work, and he did the other part of the work, and that's why a two-car team is really working well here. I'm encouraged for the race, but I will just make sure everything is there for the first five laps and start working on it. We did what we had to do here at Carb Day—leak check, check the cars, the balance. Everything's fine."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 41 ABC Supply/Foyt-Greer Racing): "I think it went all right. I think we found some problems that we had that we need to improve for the race. We found it and did it, and it was definitely an improvement handling-wise. We're obviously glad that whatever happened out there with the gearbox happened then so we can check over everything really good so that nothing like that happens in the race."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Air Force Luczo Dragon Racing): "We got a good feeling about our levels of downforce, but the conditions were tricky. It was very slippery out there and a lot of marbles even though it was only an hour session. We feel like we have a good car. We wanted to get a feel for running in traffic, but with all the marbles it was quite difficult for everybody."

Teams unified after super yacht meeting  (GMM)  All the formula one teams agreed a unified position during a nearly three hour meeting on Friday, Luca di Montezemolo said in Monaco.

Montezemolo, having flown specifically from Italy for Friday's meetings, is chairman of the F1 teams' alliance FOTA and also president of Ferrari, who have threatened to quit the sport over the dispute with its governing body FIA.

After speaking to an assembled scrum of media, the Italian was due to head straight from Flavio Briatore's super yacht to the Automobile Club de Monaco, to present the FOTA position to Max Mosley.

Asked if he was confident about the meeting with the FIA president, he answered: "We will see."

"We (the teams) are all together," he said after the meeting on Force Blue, Briatore's boat moored in the harbor of the Principality.

"We will be in position to go to the chairman of FIA saying in a very constructive but very clear way the position of FOTA," Montezemolo added, insisting that the proposition to Mosley will be final.

He said: "What is important is that our (the teams') view of the future is absolutely in common.  We want formula one, we don't want something else."

Indy 500 Friday tidbit - 1  ESPN will use 59 cameras to televise the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday on ABC fully in high definition, including a 360-degree rotating onboard camera mounted behind the driver on multiple cars. Unique views will be provided by Track Cam, a high definition camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph.

All 33 cars will carry GPS boxes for the Sportvision RaceFX system to provide telemetry and pointers to help identify the cars for viewers. And ESPN will use a radio replay system that can record, playback and edit radios from any of the 33 drivers.

The one-hour pre-race show will include interviews with many of the 33 starting drivers as well as four special features, including a look at the roller-coaster year of polesitter Helio Castroneves; the special relationship between Danica Patrick and her father; the "Super Team" of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti; and the Allure of Indy - why drivers will risk everything just to be able to compete in the Indy 500. More ...

Rahal announces Foundation  Good morning from Indy.  Graham Rahal announced this morning that he is starting the Graham Rahal Charity Foundation and they plan to support Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang camps. 

GRAHAM RAHAL: "To kind of kick things off, we're going to try and put some events together. One of those will probably be a golf tournament of some sort. Hopefully we can get one here next year to try and cut down track time and get a little bit more time for golf." (On the building of building more camps): "The Hole in Wall Camp is in the process of building a camp, adding on to the 10 they already have. They're building one outside of Columbus, Ohio, which is close to home for me. Obviously, I'd really like to help in that process over the next year or so. That's one of my main goals here, try to continue to keep working hard here and raise as much money as we can." (On why he felt he needed to start the foundation): "Being that Paul was such a huge part of my career, I kind of felt that, when he passed away at the end of last year, the Hole in the Wall Camps wasn't represented properly in open-car racing, or racing as a whole. This is my personal way of turning that around." (On how he and his family have become close to Newman and the camps): "Initially, I think me coming to Newman/Haas really started with Paul. Obviously, I drove for Mike in Atlanta. One moment I remember in particular was when I won in Montreal. Before the car even stopped in victory lane, he was leaning over the car. That was only five races into that championship. That was when the wheels started turning for him at that point. That's how everything really kicked off. Not only a part of my life, my Dad drove for him in 1980. He was very close to Mom. My mom is heavily involved with the Hole in the Wall Camps, in particular 'Flying Horse Farms.'" It's right outside of Columbus. She's been doing a lot raising money for that camp already."
Crucial Monaco meetings underway  (GMM)  The meeting of the formula one teams association FOTA is underway, ahead of the crucial gathering involving Max Mosley and Luca di Montezemolo later on Friday.

The sport's team bosses were spotted travelling in dinghies from the Monaco harbor to Flavio Briatore's moored triple-storey super yacht Force Blue, before they sat down for a pre-meeting lunch.

Montezemolo, the Ferrari president and FOTA chairman, is expected to be present for this afternoon's meeting with Mosley.

Mosley told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he hopes Friday's meeting is more productive than a week ago in London.

"It is a shame that two teams (Ferrari and Toyota) did not want to discuss a compromise last Friday.  Instead, they tried to convince the others to walk out.

"I hope that in the presence of Luca, now things will become more constructive," the Briton added.

More Friday news briefs from Monaco  (GMM)  Cloud will be present for the remainder of the Monaco grand prix weekend, and there is a forecast possibility of rain for Saturday, when practice and qualifying action resumes.  "There is a chance of rainy conditions," Giancarlo Fisichella agreed.


The worldwide economic recession has not foiled plans for an Indian grand prix, according to Vijay Mallya, owner of the Force India team and a high ranking Indian motor racing official.  "I am very optimistic that (the circuit) will be built on time and that we will have our first grand prix in 2011," he said at Monaco. More ...

US F1 team makes 'no sense at all' - Stewart  (GMM)  A United States-themed formula one team makes "no sense at all" without there being a grand prix in America, Sir Jackie Stewart insists.

Team USF1, run by Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson and to be principally based in North Carolina's 'NASCAR country', submitted its official entry for the 2010 world championship on Friday.

But Scot Stewart, the famous triple world champion who is well known in the States for his commentating and long association with Ford, doubts the project can succeed while North America is completely absent from the F1 calendar.

"To have an American grand prix team without a grand prix in its own country, I'm sorry, that does not make commercial sense, or even common sense.

"So I think we have to have an American grand prix," Stewart, to turn 70 next month, told the New York Times. More ...

Tracy: Racing IndyCars is the coolest thing  
Paul Tracy
Paul Tracy chatted with The Indianapolis Star's Phillip B. Wilson about a variety of off-the-wall topics, including his toys, his hair and the craziest thing he has done.

Question: Is it true you wanted to get back into racing full time because you're bored buying toys?

Answer: I'm bored out of my mind.

Q: Have a favorite toy?

A: These things, these race cars. Nothing else really does it for me. I've got a couple cars, a hot rod, a couple motorcycles.

Q: And a speed boat?

A: Yeah, but I just love racing. That stuff is cool, but not as cool as this. This is the best. It's what I've done my whole life. To have it come to a stop, all of a sudden, I didn't want that to happen. I want to do it a couple more years. More ...

track news
Daytona International Speedway deals with flooding  The more than 17 inches of rainfall that has fallen in Daytona Beach, Fla., since Sunday has left portions of Daytona International Speedway under water. Pictures show water levels halfway up the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers in some portions of the track. The Turn 1 tunnel that haulers use to enter the track is filled with about 10 feet of water. Track spokesman Andrew Booth said there is no apparent damage and the track will be ready for the July 4 Sprint Cup race. "It's a significant amount of water, but all it is, is water,'" Booth said. "We have people living around the speedway and in Flagler County with water in their homes. We believe that is more pressing than water in our tunnel. What happened will not affect what happens in July.'" NASCAR officials have seen photos of the track and are not concerned about damage. They said no special test will be scheduled to help rubber in the surface. But until the water level has dropped, Booth said there is no way to know for sure there is no damage. "The pictures are very dramatic,'' he said. "It's not a sight you usually see. We'll be good to go in July.'" ESPN

Photos More ...

NASCAR has neutered Tony Stewart  
NASCAR has neutered Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart was never short of words when it came to pointing out NASCAR's mistakes and shortcomings.  He was a free spirit and a breath of fresh air in the NASCAR paddock.  Not anymore.  Now that he is a team owner, if he doesn't want his car to fail tech inspection all the time, he appears to have learned to keep his mouth shut.

To prove our point, a recent conversation went like this:

Q: What changes do you want to see in NASCAR?

I never even worry about it. The last thing I want NASCAR to read is something I think is a better way of doing it than what they're doing. They've been successful for over 60 years for a reason. It's because they do it the right way the first time.

Q: So it's perfect? You wouldn't change a thing?

I didn't say that. I said I'm not going to get into the middle of that. Just because I took on a new role doesn't mean I'm smarter than they are.

Teams to meet Mosley again  Formula One teams will meet FIA president Max Mosley today with champions Ferrari and other manufacturers threatening to walk away from the sport at the end of the season.

The meeting, which team sources said would be on Renault team boss Flavio Briatore's luxury yacht at the Monaco Grand Prix, will be the second in eight days between the teams and head of the governing FIA to try to resolve the crisis.

Friday is a rest day for the Formula One teams ahead of Sunday's race.

Ferrari say the budget cap and the sort of new entrants attracted by it would reduce Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsport, to the level of a junior series.

"If Formula One becomes Formula Three, we won't race," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said.

Indian Grand Prix not suffering from economic situation  Formula 1 is scheduled to visit India for its inaugural race in 2011. According to Force India F1 team boss Vijay Mallya the foundation for the brand-new track will soon be placed. Mallya is not worried about the current economic climate as according to the Indian business man his country is not suffering as bad from the crisis as the rest of the world. "Fortunately India has not been hit as hard as other countries in this global meltdown," said Mallya. "Surprisingly, India is still achieving a GDP growth of more than five and a half percent. After our recent elections, that concluded last week, our stock market appreciated by 17 percent. So things in India are a little bit different and not as bad as you see in several other parts of the world.

"The promoters of the Formula One track and associated commercial complex have actually acquired the land and have announced that post the elections we've just got over, they are actually going to lay the foundation stone and build that track, so I am very optimistic that it will be built on time and that we will have our first Formula One Grand Prix in India in 2011."

Barrichello steeled to win after Spain storm  
Rubens Barrichello (L) and his Brawn GP teammate Jenson Button
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello held forthright talks with team boss Ross Brawn after suspecting his teammate Jenson Button received preferential treatment in Spain two weeks ago.

The Brazilian veteran was outwardly irritated after Barcelona that, despite outpacing his championship leading teammate throughout the weekend until the race, a late strategy change saw Button race to victory.

Barrichello, 36, said he was so upset by the events at the Circuit de Catalunya because, again under Brawn's strategic rule, exactly the same thing had happened to him on occasion with Michael Schumacher as his number one Ferrari teammate.

"Even Ross has some situations he is not proud of," he is quoted as saying at Monaco, where he was faster than Button in both Thursday practice sessions, by the Mirror newspaper. More ...

Two teams lodge 2010 F1 entry paperwork  (GMM)  As the one-week window to lodge an official entry for 2010 opened at midnight on Friday, it emerged that at least two teams sent off their signed and sealed paperwork.

Fittingly to the New York Times, joint principals Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson confirmed that they have applied, accepting the budget cap regime, with the official name Team USF1.

"We'll do whatever we can to make it happen," said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who on Thursday sullenly predicted that, amid the row between existing teams and the FIA, not many others will join USF1 in entering for the time being.

But also lodging its paperwork on Friday was Campos Racing, a Spanish F3 team run by former Minardi driver Adrian Campos.

It was earlier believed that the rumored 'Campos' entry was actually his former GP2 team, now known as Barwa Addax, but that team said in a statement on Thursday that it is "not involved in any project of this kind".

Friday news briefs from Monaco  (GMM)  On 13 occasions in the history of formula one, a driver has won four of the opening four races of a season.  In all cases, the championship leader in question has gone on to become world champion.  "Sounds great to me," Jenson Button, the latest driver to achieve the four-out-of-five feat, said in Monaco.  "It's a great stat but there are 12 races to go," the Brawn driver added.


Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton finally broke his habit of the last few races and at Monaco agreed to sit down with the English-speaking media on the opening day of a grand prix.  "Sorry I haven't been available to talk recently," the McLaren driver told the assembled reporters, explaining that the 'lie-gate' affair had knocked the wind out of him.  "It's not that I felt the need to distance myself.  It was more about taking some time to think on things, analyze and understand exactly what's gone wrong and to grow from it," he added.


In a fit of candor, Sir Frank Williams admitted frustration that despite usually topping the practice timesheets, the Grove-built FW31 ceases being a frontrunner in qualifying and the races.  "Yeah, the word is showboating perhaps," the 67-year-old said in Monaco.  Team officials have until now explained the practice pace as the result of focusing on low-fuel qualifying trim sooner than other teams.  But Williams noted: "You can fool people, including yourself."  However, after topping Thursday's second practice session, Nico Rosberg said: "I have a feeling that we are quicker than normal and we are going to drop back less."

A1GP Fans to Vote for their Winners  The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport fans are being given their chance to vote for their personal choice of winners from the 2008/09 season. All they have to do is visit the series web site, www.A1GP.com and decide who they think deserves the accolade in each of the listed categories. 

The annual A1GP end-of-season awards are a chance to reward the outstanding performances of the season, and not just those who finished at the top of the points’ tables. The teams and drivers are all keen for your votes which will be the culmination for them of a hard, action packed season of racing.

The gongs are usually determined by an impartial expert A1GP panel, but this year – through A1GP.com – the series is giving fans from around the globe the chance to pick the winners of four awards for Season Four. More ...

tv news
Sarah Fisher to be on The Price is Right  UPDATE A reminder that Sarah Fisher will be on The Price is Right today, Friday, May 22.  The show airs at 11:00 am-12:00 pm ET on CBS.

05/20/09 CBS' Emmy Award-winning, The Price is Right, the longest-running game show in television history, welcomes IndyCar Series driver and team owner, Sarah Fisher, of Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR), on Friday, May 22 (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EDT) on the CBS Television Network. Fisher will present an appropriately-themed showcase featuring, among other prizes, a trip to the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

"I had such a blast going on the Price is Right," said Fisher, who will practice one last time in her Dollar General machine before Sunday's Indianapolis 500. "Drew Carey and all the staff at CBS and Fremantle were so gracious to me and seemed really excited to have us there. The show is such a mainstay in American television and I was honored to be involved. I've watched the show since I was a kid and never dreamed I'd be on it one day."

Fisher flew to Los Angeles, California, to film the segment at CBS Television City studio on April 15, 2009. After the show, Fisher had the opportunity to spin the famous 'Big Wheel," thus crossing an item off her bucket list.

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