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Patrick, Briscoe still not yet over accident
In case you didn't have a chance to watch the Indy 500 Awards Banquet tonight, race winner Scott Dixon was very gracious and gave a heartfelt speech about his team and family.  Scott's parents were interviewed backstage and were extremely proud of Scott for winning the Indy 500.  When many of the drivers congratulated Dixon for his win, they also included kudos to Chip Ganassi.  But when it came Chip's turn to talk, he reminded his competitors that he was assigned to work on Dan Wheldon's car for the race, and that it was Mike Hull who deserved the praise for Scott's win. Bob Jenkins was the host, and prodded Danica and Briscoe to talk about their incident.  Neither one of them would say much, and were obviously still not over it.  They didn't show any sense of humor about what happened.  Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti joked a little bit about what happened between them though.  They were both very pleasant and sounded like they were ready to put the incident behind them and move on as teammates.  Townsend Bell thanked Milka Duno for having the Dreyer and Reinbold garage smell so nice during the month of May!  As each driver came to the stage for their award, the popular song was played from the year that each of them received their driver's license. John Andretti's theme song was Rod Stewart singing "Do you think I'm sexy?".  In John's self-effacing manner, he commented that he thought that song was appropriate.


France: COT satisfies
NASCAR chairman Brian France says series officials are "satisfied'' with the new car despite some questions that the racing hasn't been as good at some tracks, and wouldn't dismiss a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway beyond 2009.

One of the biggest concerns this season has been the new car's performance at the 1.5-mile tracks. Races at Atlanta, Texas and the all-star race featured complaints about the action, the cars and even the tires.

France said any changes to the cars will be "tweaks.''

"[Teams] can't all figure it out if we're changing things as we go along,'' France said in a brief meeting with reporters before Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"We've got to let them deal with the car they have. Some are figuring it out faster than others, but every week somebody else comes and sorts it out. We look at it every week. Obviously, the mile-and-a-halves have a slightly different show than anywhere else, but the car is really fine. It's doing absolutely what we want.'' Roanoke.com


Only Danica can add punch to Indy 500
They're too stupid to let her win the only race that matters. And now we know they're too stupid to let her fight.

In a valiant, last-ditch effort to breathe life into the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick dropped her gloves and marched angrily down pit road on a collision course toward Ryan Briscoe.

This was drama, something that was in short supply Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Scott Dixon's dominant, yellow-flag-slowed victory generated the kind of buzz and excitement usually reserved for second-place finishers in a regional bowling tournament. So far, IndyCar unity is overrated.

Sunday's race needed a blast of hostility, and Danica Patrick wanted to provide it.

She picked the right target. Briscoe deserved a good smack. With 29 laps to go and the leaders exiting the pits, he jumped lanes and clipped the only IndyCar driver who matters as she accelerated to re-enter the race and close out a potential top-five finish.

"It was pretty obvious what happened," Patrick fumed. "You just don't come out of your pit box and swing three lanes out. That's why there is a speed lane and a get-up-to-speed lane. I was at speed."

With helmet on and gloves off, she stomped toward Briscoe's car at proper speed, too. Unfortunately, Charles Burns, head of security for the IRL, made the same mistake as Briscoe, cutting Patrick off and redirecting her before she could make the Indy 500 America's No. 1 news story.


Who was she going to hurt? And how was Ryan Briscoe going to hurt her? Nothing was going to happen, other than a highlight moment that would drive discussion and interest in open-wheel racing for a couple of weeks.  More at the Austin American-Statesman


Dixon collects record $3M for Indy 500
Scott Dixon kisses the Borg-Warner Trophy on the day after winning the Indy 500
Dana Garrett
Scott Dixon earned a record $2,988,065 from a record overall purse of $14,406,580 for his victory May 25 in the 92nd Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

The previous record winner's purse was $1,761,740 awarded to Buddy Rice in 2004, while the 2007 Indianapolis 500 field was awarded the previous record race purse, $10,668,815. The event purse is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League awards, including the new IndyCar TEAM (Team Enhancement and Allocation Matrix) program, sponsor awards and other designated awards.

Dixon, a first-time "500" winner, became the first native of New Zealand to win the Indianapolis 500 in an exciting, hard-fought race. Dixon, an Indianapolis resident, started from the PEAK Motor Oil Pole in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, led seven times for a race-high 115 laps and beat Panther Racing's Vitor Meira to the finish line by 1.7498 seconds.

Dixon successfully avoided the six accidents and other incidents responsible for the eight cautions that slowed the race average speed to 143.567 mph. The race featured 18 lead changes among nine drivers.

Meira's efforts for the second-place finish in the No. 4 Delphi National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone earned him $1,273,215, the first time anyone other than the Indianapolis winner has won more than $1 million, far exceeding the previous second-place record payout of $739,665 for Helio Castroneves in 2003.

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Watch Indy 500 Awards Banquet on indycar.com UPDATE Live streaming of The Indianapolis 500 Victory Awards Banquet can be seen on Indianapolis TV station WTHR.com beginning at 7:00 pm ET.

05/25/08 The Indy 500 Victory Awards Banquet will be shown on the indycar.com webcast on Monday, May 26, 7:00 p.m. ET.  All 33 starters will receive their prize checks, and champion Scott Dixon and winning team Target Chip Ganassi Racing will be feted at the event from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Renault to be in F1 for 'long time' - CEO
  • BMW pressure 'high' for Heidfeld - Ralf
  • Italian press hails Monaco master Hamilton

Renault to be in F1 for 'long time' - CEO
(GMM)  The CEO of Renault says the French auto maker remains committed to formula one.

On a visit to the Monte Carlo paddock on Sunday, Carlos Ghosn said that - despite Enstone based Renault's second consecutive season out of contention for the title - there are no plans to scrap the F1 team.

At the same time last year, Ghosn insisted that Renault must always be among the quickest two or three teams in formula one.

But on Sunday, the Frenchman was quoted by the Spanish newspaper Marca as insisting that Renault will be on the grid for a "long time".

"We are working on being able to fight with the top teams again.

"We will be here for a long time," he added, also apparently in reference to Max Mosley's recent claim that the sport is on the cusp of a major financial crisis that could mean the withdrawal of more teams.

Meanwhile, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone vigorously denied Mosley's 'crisis' warning, albeit admitting that the cost of running a team should be reduced.

But wrote in his letter to FIA club presidents: "There is no financial crisis in formula one.

"On the contrary, formula one is in robust health, it enjoys the support of most of the world's leading automotive manufacturers and is sponsored by many of the world's other most prestigious brands.

"Revenues continue to grow, television ratings are high and demand from countries to promote a new grand prix continues to exceed the number of places on the calendar," Ecclestone added.

BMW pressure 'high' for Heidfeld - Ralf
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld will be in no doubt as to the need to emerge quickly from his performance crisis, former BMW-powered driver Ralf Schumacher said on Monday.

Heidfeld, the 31-year-old who finished dead last at Monaco on Sunday, deepened his run of poor form after struggling in 2008 to match the impressive performances of his young BMW-Sauber teammate, Robert Kubica.

BMW boss Mario Theissen has already alluded to the need for all team members to "contribute" to the outfit's progress.

Schumacher, who was BMW-powered at Williams between 2000 and 2004, told the German newspaper Bild when asked about Heidfeld's form: "Clear words are spoken at BMW; expectations are very high."

Heidfeld on Sunday afternoon was not keen to embrace the concept that Monaco proved he is spiraling into a crisis.

But he acknowledged: "It is obvious that I am not getting all the speed out of the car."

Italian press hails Monaco master Hamilton
(GMM) Even the notoriously nationalistic Italian press had to hail Ferrari adversary Lewis Hamilton's win on the streets of Monaco on Sunday.

"With extraordinary talent, Lewis was the master of the wet circuit; he did not even have the best car," La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian sports newspaper, wrote.

Famous Italian marque Ferrari, hindered by numerous team and driver mistakes on Sunday afternoon, struggled at the Principality despite locking out the front row of the grid in qualifying.

"Ferrari remains strong enough but Maranello may take the liberty of no more errors," Corriere dello Sport, another Italian sports newspaper, surmised.

Tuttosport, a Turin based sports newspaper, characterized the Prancing Horse's Monte Carlo outing as a "half-disaster", and La Stampa said the race had been a "blackout" amid the common perception that the F2008 is still the quickest car in the field.

"After seven years Ferrari had hoped for victory in the Principality but must again accept humiliation.

"McLaren fully deserves this victory," Tuttosport concluded.


It was my fault - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has accepted the blame for his crash with BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld in the famous Loews hairpin during last Sunday's Monaco grand prix.

Heidfeld, whose car was damaged after the collision, turned into the Spaniard's Renault as Alonso, 26, tried to pass the German.

"I was trying really hard to recover my options to be on the podium," Alonso explained to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

"He was losing a lot of time in the slow corners with the tires he was using.

"I tried once and didn't make it, and then I saw a little opportunity in the next corner, where it is pretty impossible to pass.

"It was a chance in a million, and I didn't make it.  It was my fault, my mistake by taking a risky chance.

"But for us it was not so important, unlike for Raikkonen, who is fighting for the title and scored no points," Alonso added.


Bridgestone happy with wet tire performance
Lewis Hamilton has won the sixth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship from third place on the grid after starting his race with Bridgestone’s wet weather tire, staying on this tire after a unscheduled pitstop following contact with the barriers, and finishing his race on Bridgestone’s soft compound dry grooved tire in the Monaco Grand Prix.

It was an exciting and epic battle on the streets of Monte Carlo, with competitors facing the challenge of variable weather conditions as well as their rival drivers. Rain showers visited the circuit on several occasions and there were two periods behind the safety car during the race, which was stopped after the two hour racing limit was reached, two laps short of the scheduled 78 lap race distance.

All of Bridgestone’s tires were used in this race, with the wet and extreme wet, soft and super soft all seeing action. This was the first time that Bridgestone’s modified super soft compound dry tire was used in a race, and the first time this season that the softer compound wet tire was used.

Hamilton finished the race three seconds ahead of BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Robert Kubica whilst Felipe Massa finished a further 1.7 seconds down in third. Mark Webber finished in fourth place, Sebastian Vettel finished fifth. In sixth position was Rubens Barrichello, seventh was Kazuki Nakajima and Heikki Kovalainen scored the final drivers’ point with eighth position.

Given the difficult conditions, there were numerous incidents in the race. There were no reported tire problems. The race’s fastest lap was set by Kimi Raikkonen on lap 74, using the super soft compound dry tire. Leaving Monaco, Hamilton now leads the drivers’ championship with 38 points, ahead of Raikkonen on 35. Massa is in third place with 34 points. Ferrari continues to lead the constructors’ championship with 69 points, whilst McLaren Mercedes move into second place with 53 points. BMW Sauber are in third place with 52 points.

“Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for winning a difficult race. Hamilton had good patience in trying conditions and he showed strong pace on both a wet and dry track,” said Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development. “We gained data from running with all our weather range of tires today and each tire worked well when used in the correct conditions and we are very happy with performance. Of course, drivers were not always on the correct tire in the changing conditions and this made for an exciting race. Because of the weather conditions the track surface never rubbered up enough for the new super soft compound to really be put through its paces, but this should happen in Montreal.”

Formula One will next be in action June 6-8 with the Grand Prix du Canada at Montreal, where Bridgestone’s soft and super soft compound Potenza tires will once more be used.  Source: Bridgestone


NASCAR confiscates HAAS CNC cars UPDATE Crew chief Bootie Barker said he's been running all season the same wing mount setup on Scott Riggs' #66 Chevy that was confiscated on Saturday after NASCAR officials decided it was illegal. He reminded that the car passed two inspections on Thursday and wasn't impounded until somebody in the garage fingered Riggs' team and Haas CNC racing teammate #70-Johnny Sauter. "I'm not going to make any excuses," Barker said before Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "The car is my responsibility. But if you knew the whole story it would be like, 'Hmph.' I do myself more harm than good if I say anymore." Series director John Darby said NASCAR began looking into the allegations on Thursday night. "All I know is the mounts were not in the same place as they were Thursday morning when they went through inspection," Darby said. Darby said both teams are likely to face a punishment similar to what Dale Earnhardt Jr's team did last season after problems were discovered with the wing mount at Darlington. Earnhardt was docked 100 championship points and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. fined $100,000 and suspended for six races. Barker believes he knows who turned the team in. "I wish I could tell you some stuff," he said. "It would probably work against me until I know everything. The person I think that did it, and what we really did, it's pretty ... I've never done it. I'll put it that way." ESPN.com

05/24/08 NASCAR officials confiscated the Haas CNC Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup entries of Johnny Sauter and Scott Riggs  Saturday afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Officials loaded the cars onto rollbacks in the Sprint Cup garage area Saturday afternoon while the crews worked to get their backup cars ready for practice.
“We’ve got an issue with the rear-wing mounts of the No. 66 and 70 cars,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Saturday. “We took a look at them here a little while ago and they had altered the location of the upper wing mounting points.”

The cars will be taken to NASCAR's Research and Development Center for further evaluation, which could lead to penalties next week. The two teams will start at the rear of the field in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Tharp said that the garage is a “self-policing area” and that the issue with the improper mounting on the wing to the body was pointed out to NASCAR.
“It was brought to our attention, we followed up, we found it,” he said.  Scenedaily.com


Former teammates Gordon, Busch trade barbs after Coca-Cola 600
Former Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon had a brief conversation after the Coca-Cola 600 after Busch was apparently upset with how hard Gordon was racing him.

Busch refused to answer a question about it in his postrace news conference, saying the conversation would remain quiet. But Gordon, who finished one position behind Joe Gibbs Racing’s Busch in fourth, didn’t.

“He’s got an issue because he gave me the finger, and you know what?” Gordon said. “That’s not necessary for a guy he just didn’t like racing him the way I did.”

Gordon and Busch were teammates at Hendrick before Busch left for JGR this season.

“Kyle and I never had any issues,” Gordon said. “But I raced him hard tonight just like I did everybody. And when track position  is as important as it is here, you’ve got to race every single car for every single position.

“And I wasn’t going to give anybody an inch, and I was racing for position.” Scenedaily.com


Danica carries on like child during Indy 500
After spending much of the afternoon giving her own mechanics an earful, a late crash left Danica Patrick looking like she was ready to fight another driver’s pit crew.

Patrick already was having a disappointing day in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 when driver Ryan Briscoe ran into her on pit road late in the race, causing her car to rumble to a halt at the end of pit road.

A furious Patrick then got out and purposefully strode toward Briscoe’s pit for what was shaping up as a confrontation with his crew. But track security personnel intervened and directed her back to her own pit area.

With that, all the hype and momentum Patrick carried into the race didn’t mean a thing. Even before the crash, Patrick had spent much of the race complaining about her car.

“I am SLOW!,” Patrick protested over her in-car radio with about 60 laps left. “I am DAMN SLOW!”

Patrick made the leap to legitimacy with an IndyCar series victory earlier this season, but she’ll have to wait a year for another shot at Indianapolis 500 stardom.

Patrick’s complaints about her car started early, and her crew made a wing adjustment intended to give her car more top-end speed. That helped boost her to eighth place at the race’s halfway point.

But Patrick struggled to hang onto her position from there, and was warned by Indy Racing League officials not to weave back and forth to keep Helio Castroneves from passing her with 80 laps remaining in the race.

Then she launched into her team again for giving her a car that just wasn’t fast enough, but seemed to disprove her own point when she climbed to sixth on a re-start. Then the crash ended her day. Yahoo Sports


Briscoe doesn't accept blame for pit contact
Two-time winner Helio Castroneves battled his way to a fourth-place finish, but Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe was involved in the highest profile incident Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Pulling out of his pit with 29 laps to go, Briscoe made contact with the left rear of Danica Patrick's car, causing both cars to spin. Neither returned to the race.  Briscoe, who started third, finished 23rd; Patrick, who started fifth, was 22nd.  Patrick and her team owner, Michael Andretti, blamed Briscoe.

"It was his fault, not hers," Andretti said on television at the time of the incident.

The official lap-by-lap report said, "#6 Briscoe pulls out of pit into high speed lane."

Briscoe spent nearly a half-hour in his garage with the door closed after the incident, saying he was watching replays.

"From what I could see, there was still plenty of room on the right side for her to get around. There are people pointing fingers, but that's not the way we are in here," Briscoe said.

"We both have a brake pedal in our cars, and from what I could see there was still plenty of room for her to get around me. I'm getting around (Dan) Wheldon in front of me and still staying in the middle lane and get run up the back, so it's a real shame for both of us."


Hamilton dad wants to stay driver manager
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's father insists he has no intention of giving up the role as his son's manager.

Anthony Hamilton insisted at Monaco on Sunday that, despite numerous offers from professional sports agents to handle the championship leader, he thinks he is perfectly able to keep doing the job himself.

Some observers have suggested that Hamilton, the 23-year-old winner of six grands prix for McLaren, has been poorly managed at times during his short F1 career.

The latest grimace about Hamilton's apparent lack of professional advice was in Turkey two weeks ago, when many agents would have refused to let their high-profile charge, at the behest of team sponsors, dangle from wires on the stage of a Turkish play.

But Hamilton Snr is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail: "Lewis has confidence in me and that's all that matters.

"I haven't met an agent who can offer us anything we can't do ourselves."

tv news

Indy 500 to be replayed on ESPN Classic
A replay of the Indianapolis 500 race will be shown on Monday, May 26, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm ET on ESPN Classic.

racing news

Quotes of the week
"Danica Patrick was stomping, steaming mad and preparing to rearrange Ryan Briscoe's face. Tony Kanaan was fuming that his Andretti Green teammate, Marco Andretti, made a 'stupid' maneuver that sent Kanaan from first place to the garage area. Marco was angry at his team for making a wing adjustment he didn't want. And the Andrettis, the whole bunch of them, were jumping mad about the way Helio Castroneves was blocking late in the race. Shoot, even nice-guy Ryan Hunter-Reay, the top rookie finisher at sixth, ripped on serial blocker Hideki Mutoh, saying, 'When I passed him, I wanted to throw a 'number one' sign out the door at him, but I couldn't do that.'  Now that, my friends, is racing."  Bob Kravitz, Indy Star Newspaper

“This has got to be the highlight of my career and I am sure it will continue to be the highlight for the rest of my life. I remember on the last few laps I was just thinking that Ayrton Senna won here a lot of times and to win here would be amazing. But I know anything can happen here and I have to just keep it out of the barriers. But I have to say a big thank you to all of my team back home and over here. You did a fantastic job. And to all my fans – I know I have got a lot of fans here and also back home – I did it for all of you and especially my family who have been here supporting me all weekend and to my mum, lots of love, Mum." Lewis Hamilton, McLaren F1 driver, winner of Monaco Grand Prix

"I was shocked. I think just almost dumbfounded. It's such a strange feeling, and for me, I don't show emotions too much. I don't know, it's almost like you're in a dreamland. It was quite crazy. It's something that you sort of expect somebody to maybe pinch you, and you wake up and you're sleeping in your bed back home. It still hasn't sunk in yet, and it feels so special. I think the parade lap and seeing everybody still out there and driving around such a magnificent circuit with three other people with you and everybody sort of yelling your name was something that I wish I had witnessed previous to now, but it makes you want to go and win this race once again." Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Indy 500 winner

"If Dan wants to lead he can.  I don't give a shit."  Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Indy 500 winner, to his crew during the race as his teammate Dan Wheldon was pressuring him for the lead early in the race.

"I was going down pit lane, and as people pull out of their pit boxes if you are in the outside lane, then they have to wait to blend in. From what I know, it looked like it was pretty obvious what happened. What are you going to do? The guys worked so hard today. We worked so hard on the car all month. Unfortunately, we didn't get to show for it in the end. Congrats to [Scott] Dixon. He was strong all month and he deserves it." (About what she would like to tell Ryan Briscoe): "It is probably best I didn't get down there anyway, isn't it? We will see if he can find me first."  (About her day): "The unfortunate thing is we worked our butts off all month. We were creeping forward slowly, but surely. After the little mishap in the pits early and struggling with the car, but from what I can tell it seemed like it was relatively obvious what happened. You just don't come out of your pit box and swing three lanes out. That's why there is a 'get up to speed' lane and an 'at speed' lane. I was at speed." Danica Patrick, Indy Car driver, Andretti Green Racing, commenting on her 22nd place finish in the Indy 500. 

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Indianapolis 500 pre-race celebrity red carpet quotes
MARCUS ALLEN (Pro Football Hall of Famer, Heisman Trophy winner): "I'm excited. Last year was my first time, and I gained a much greater appreciation, being here in person and seeing all the people, asking questions about how everything works, seeing the racers, seeing the speeds they go, seeing the pit crews work, hearing the communications and how it works, I just have a much greater appreciation for these drivers. I always did, but when you go at top speeds, you really understand what they are doing and stuff, so it's great for me. I'm pulling for Tomas (Scheckter). We're hoping he does well today."

SABRINA BRYAN (Entertainer, "Dancing with the Stars"): "Oh my gosh! It's so exciting. Even just the drive in, it was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I just got chills seeing all of the people out there already ready to have fun, ready for a good day. I saw Helio (Castroneves) last night and gave him the best of luck and the warmest wishes. I'm just so excited to be here. I remember when I was little, my grandpa had it on all the time and I told my manager earlier today, that if he were around I would've had to bring him and I couldn't have brought her because he absolutely loves race car driving. It's just really cool to watch it when I was little and now to actually be here. He'd be so excited for me." (About event): "It's just great. Everyone from Indianapolis is here, and they're just so excited to be here. They're so proud of it and the Indy 500 is a big thing, and it's really great to see how proud they are."

WHITNEY CUNNINGHAM (Model, "America's Next Top Model winner): "This is my first time at the Speedway, and wow, this place is huge. I've done the Daytona 500, but this is my first time in Indianapolis. I love it!"

BARRON DAVIS (Point guard, Golden State Warriors): (On what it's like to be back again representing Luczo Dragon Racing): "It's great. Look at the people, the energy. The weather's great. We've got a good chance of winning, Luczo Dragon Racing No. 12, Tomas Scheckter. I'm just looking forward to having a good time on a great day; great holiday." (On what it's like to be affiliated with Luczo Dragon Racing): "It's great. Anytime you can lend some support, as well as just being involved with a sport that's different from your own and learn the nuts and bolts to how it works behind the scenes, it really gives you a better understanding and makes you even more of a fan. Go Scheckter."

JENNA ELFMAN (Actress): "I'm unbelievably excited, and just walking through the pit right now I was getting very excited at the idea of the full-body experience that I am about to have and that I've heard so much about and haven't yet experienced myself. Things are looking up to have a good day. I'm a total newbie. Everything's new to me. That's why I'm such an excited person right now." (About red carpet): "It's awesome because the red carpets here are really friendly as opposed to the red carpets in Hollywood. They are their own Snake Pit."

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Vettel leaps into Monte Carlo harbor
(GMM) Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel proved his good humor late on Sunday afternoon by marking his fifth place in the Monaco grand prix with a swim in the Monte Carlo harbor.

The German youngster, who lists British comedies Little Britain and Monty Python as amongst his personal favorites, stripped off to his shorts and leapt from Red Bull's water-front facility after scoring his team's first points of the season.


Sunday Notebook from Indy - 3
We caught up with team owner Dale Coyne on the grid before the race.  He was happy to be back at Indy for sure.  As for his chances to win, he said, "It's hard to beat the top three teams.  They have so much development in the cars.  The rules allow way too many changes and those teams have exploited them to the max."  Coyne didn't think we would see a new IndyCar until 2011 if they change the engine.  "I think it's too late for a new car in 2010 if they are going to change the engine too."  Coyne agreed that all the teams would not be on equal footing until everyone had a new car.  We disagreed with Coyne on the engine.  If the IRL adopts the 2.65-liter turbo Champ Car engine there is no reason why it could not be adopted by 2010 as both Honda and Cosworth have experience with them........We ran into Raphael Matos on the starting grid as well.  He tells us he is going to test an IndyCar at Watkins Glen on June 11th along with Marco Andretti.  Recall that as part of the deal, if an Indy Car team also runs a car in the Indy Lights they get 5 extra days of IndyCar testing for the development driver.  Matos, last year's Atlantic champion, is a phenomenal driver and hopes to move up to Indy Cars in 2009.  Mark Cipolloni reporting from Indy


Kimi escapes but Sutil in trouble at Monaco UPDATE (GMM) Stewards at the Monaco grand prix decided against penalizing Kimi Raikkonen, but the reigning world champion did not escape the venom of some observers as he lost his championship lead on Sunday.

Not only did the Ferrari driver conspicuously lack pace on the famous street circuit, he damaged his front wing in one unforced off, and later wiped out poor Adrian Sutil after messing up his braking in the closing stages of the race.

The FIA representatives interviewed Raikkonen about the Sutil incident but ruled that no action should be taken.

When he faced the less forgiving press corps, however, the 28-year-old Finn and reigning world champion was asked whether it had been the "worst race of his life", and why his pace seemed "so far off" the frontrunners, including his teammate Felipe Massa.

"I can not understand how the highest paid driver can have a race as stupid as that," triple world champion and former Ferrari driver Niki Lauda said in his role as a German TV analyst on Sunday.

05/25/08 (GMM) Adrian Sutil's misery continued even after he shed tears in the pits following his exit from the Monaco grand prix on Sunday.

The young German was hailed by many as the hero of the famous street race, as he carried his usually uncompetitive Force India to fourth place in the closing stages.

He was, however, taken out by world champion and former championship leader Kimi Raikkonen, moving many paddock observers to surmise that his and technical boss Mike Gascoyne's post-race visit to the stewards' office was to complain about the Ferrari star's driving under braking for the harbor chicane.

"We have asked the stewards immediately to look at it," Gascoyne confirmed to the British broadcaster ITV.

Raikkonen apologized to Sutil, 25, in Ferrari's post-race document, but it was actually Sutil who was in trouble with the stewards.

The FIA representatives officially warned the Force India driver for overtaking three drivers under yellow flags on lap 13.

"The stewards warn the driver of car 20 as to his future behavior," part of the stewards' statement issued at Monte Carlo read.


Former Owner of IMSA Receives 15 Years
Once one of the state's biggest road contractors and owner of IMSA, Michael Cone will spend the next 20 years behind bars, undone, a judge said, by his greed and sheer inability to tell the truth.  On Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew sentenced Cone, 52, to 15 years in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud and ordered that his sentence run consecutively to a five-year state sentence he is serving for participating in an organized scheme to defraud the state Department of Transportation.

Ten years ago, Cone Constructors, with headquarters on Tampa's South Lois Avenue and an office in Miami, had some 300 employees in Hillsborough County and did $60 million in business. The company had done about $323 million in road contracting with Florida over the previous 10 years and was probably one of the 10 largest contractors with DOT, state officials said at the time. The company worked on major projects, including the Veterans Expressway, Polk Parkway and Suncoast Parkway.

"This is a fall from grace unlike any other case I've been involved with," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Porcelli, who successfully argued for the harshest possible sentence, calling Cone's actions an assault on the bankruptcy system.


Sunday Notebook from Indy - 2
Talked to a mechanic of one of the transition teams and asked him how these IndyCars compared to working on the Panoz Champ Cars.  "No comparison he said, these have to be one of the worst cars I ever worked on."  Let's hope the next generation IndyCar is a lot more Champ Car-like, turbocharged engine and all......We ran into Bart Rietbergen who promoted the Assen Champ Car race last year and he told us he had a couple of meetings with IRL officials this weekend in the hope of convincing the series to come to Europe in 2009.  We doubt the IRL officials realize just how successful the Assen race was last year, simply dwarfing some of the existing IndyCar races on all levels.  Unfortunately Roger Penske has been quoted as saying he doesn't think IndyCar should race in Europe, which leads us to believe if The Captain doesn't endorse it Rietbergen has a tough sell ahead of him.  This of course would be a travesty and a major missed opportunity by the IRL.  Rietbergen tells us a Superleague is an option but in his heart he would like to have an IndyCar race.........In other news, however, we do hear talks about a race in Mexico are still progressing well.  Mark Cipolloni reporting from Indy

Racing news

Track worker dies after being hit by car
Roy Hiatt, 50, a member of the Anderson Speedway, Anderson, Indiana, safety crew, died at 9:21 p.m. after he was struck and killed by a race car Saturday night at Anderson Speedway during the Pay Less Little 500.  Hiatt suffered massive head injuries. According to a witness, four cars had tangled in the first turn on lap 99. A caution was called on the track, and Hiatt and the safety crew were sent out to slow cars and clean up the track. He was run over by one of the race cars. The race was stopped as medical personnel attended to him.


Sunday Notebook from Indy - 1
The gates opened this morning at 6:00 AM and the cars lined up to enter the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to grab their infield parking spot inside the famous 2.5-mile track.  There isn't the rush to get into the track at 6:00 AM like there was in years gone by because most of the seating today is reserved seating so the rush to get in at 6:00 AM just isn't what it used to be............The weather this morning here in Indy is beautiful.  Not a cloud in the sky, cool and dry with temperatures headed toward 72 degrees at race time (1:11 PM ET) - a perfect day for the race after a month of damp wet weather.......we asked KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser and one of his drivers Oriol Servia how do you rate your chances for the race?  "None of the transition teams have a chance," was the answer.  Will Power, a former Champ Car rookie of the year, acknowledges drivers' lack of experience on ovals is just one disadvantage.  "My team engineer says the IRL teams have a five-year, $50 million lead on us in the development of the Dallara cars, especially on the ovals. We're not going to be able to overcome that in a few races or even one season," the Australian driver said. "But we're making gains every time we go on the track."  The IRL regulars have such an advantage on ovals because of all the years of development they have had with making their cars go faster on the ovals.  In fact, on the ovals the transition teams won't have a chance until the new car comes out in 2010 and everyone is on a level playing field........The special pullout section for today's race in the Indy Star newspaper is titled "Danica's World" which pretty much sums up the only thing that really matters in IndyCar Racing today.  If she wins today's race it will be the biggest boost to open wheel racing since popular Mario Andretti won the 500 in 1969 with Andy Granatelli and STP.  Mark Cipolloni reporting from Indy


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Boss says Heidfeld 'must contribute'
  • Five-place demotion for Coulthard
  • Mosley will survive Clinton-esque scandal - Lauda
  • Money no obstacle to Honda F1 success - CEO

Boss says Heidfeld 'must contribute'
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen has acknowledged that Nick Heidfeld's poor qualifying performance at Monaco has only added to the pressure on the struggling German driver.

While teammate Robert Kubica will line up fifth on Sunday's grid, 31-year-old Heidfeld was a full second slower as he dropped out in the 'Q2' round.

"Of course it is disappointing," Theissen, who is believed to have penned a new two-season contract with Heidfeld last year, is quoted as saying by the German newspaper Bild.

Heidfeld will start the race from the distant seventh row.

Theissen added: "Nick has said that the tires are really not working for him here.

"But, naturally, everybody must make his contribution, so I hope he can get out of this slump."

Five-place demotion for Coulthard
(GMM)  David Coulthard must start the Monaco grand prix a further five positions back, following his big qualifying crash.

The Scot missed his chance to join the top-ten qualifiers, despite securing a spot in 'Q3' on Saturday, after losing control of his RB4 and crashing heavily at the exit of the tunnel.

Coulthard, 37, has a headache on Sunday morning but is otherwise fit to race.

His gearbox, however, was damaged in the high speed shunt, meaning that he will receive a five-position grid demotion for the unscheduled change.

Coulthard will therefore start from fifteenth place rather than tenth, although the news is yet to be confirmed officially.

His Red Bull crew was able to repair the actual chassis, though, saving him the penalty of starting with a spare car from the pitlane.

His original Renault engine, which if changed would have resulted in a further ten-place demotion, was also intact.

Mosley will survive Clinton-esque scandal - Lauda
(GMM)  Former triple world champion Niki Lauda on Sunday said he believes Max Mosley will keep his job in the forthcoming confidence vote of the FIA senate.

"If Bill Clinton can survive a sex scandal, Max Mosley can -- easily," the great Austrian is quoted as saying by the newspaper Kleine Zeitung.

Lauda, 59, also backed the embattled FIA president's controversial decision to attend the Monaco grand prix this weekend.

"He is the president, so I don't understand (the criticisms)," the winner of 25 grands prix said.

"He had to come.  In his place, I would have done exactly the same thing," Lauda added.

Money no obstacle to Honda F1 success - CEO
(GMM)  The CEO of the Japanese automobile giant Honda Motor Company is determined the carmaker's UK-based formula one team ultimately succeeds.

"When it comes to F1, our score is zero," Takeo Fukui, a keen motor racing enthusiast, reportedly said.

"It kills me," he added.  "If I could fix it with a trillion yen I would, but it's not a problem that money can solve."

For the record, one trillion yen converts to nearly 10 billion US dollars, or 6 billion euros.


Repsol Honda adds Okada to lineup
Repsol Honda RC212V riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden will be joined by wild card team-mate Tadayuki Okada at the Italian GP. Venerable HRC test rider Okada contests this one-off event to give Honda’s pneumatic-valve-spring RC212V engine its MotoGP debut.

Pedrosa aims to return to his winning ways in Italy after a tough French GP where he scored his first non-podium finish in five races. The Spanish star was fourth in France and still holds joint second place in the World Championship standings. Last year Pedrosa finished a close second at Mugello. In 2005 he won the 250 GP at the track. Hayden is still chasing his first top-three finish of the season and will be aiming to repeat the Mugello podium he achieved in 2006 on his way to winning that year’s MotoGP crown.

Okada returns to GP duties to give HRC’s new RCV engine its MotoGP shakedown following an intensive testing program. The 41-year-old Japanese rider is well known at Repsol Honda – he raced for the team from 1996 to 2000, winning a total of four 500 GPs and finishing second overall to Mick Doohan in the 1997 500 World Championship. He made his GP debut on a Honda NSR250 in 1989 and went on to win two 250 GPs and finish second in 1994 250 world series.

Mugello is a hugely challenging circuit for riders and engineers, with plenty of fast corners, high-speed direction changes and changes of elevation. The track rises and falls through a picturesque Tuscan valley and features one of MotoGP’s longest straights. In fact the straight isn’t quite straight – the left-hand kink towards the end of the start-finish sees riders leaning left with the front wheel in the air at around 320km/h-200mph!

After Mugello the MotoGP action switches to Spain for the following weekend’s Catalan GP outside Barcelona. This is MotoGP’s busiest period with six races over eight weekends.


Rain very likely for Monaco grand prix
(GMM)  The specialist on-site weather service, Meteo France, is telling its client formula one teams of a 70 per cent chance of rain for Sunday's Monaco grand prix.

There is also likely to be rain before the start of the race, raising the probability of a wet track for the treacherous run to the first corner at 2pm local.

"Hopefully I can stay on the track!" Renault's Fernando Alonso enthused to the newspaper AS.

On Friday, the former double world champion said he was hoping for a dry race, but - to start from seventh on the grid - he now sees the likely rain as an opportunity.

"I have nothing to lose, I'm not fighting for the championship and so I am happier with the rain than some of the others, because it's a lottery," Alonso said.

Sunday would be the first wet Monte Carlo race since 1997.

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday have been added to the schedule below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
GP2 Championship Series Monaco
6:00am-7:30am SPEED
Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
IndyCar Indianapolis 500
11:00am-12:00pm (L) -Pre-race ESPN2
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) -Pre-race ABC
1:00pm-4:30pm (L) -Race ABC
Championship Off Road Racing Pomona 
1:30pm-3:00pm (4/2008) NBC
NASCAR in a Hurry 
2:30pm-3:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Raceday Lowes 
3:00pm-5:00pm SPEED
Lifelock's Identity of A Racing Champion
Interviews including Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty and Tony Stewart 
4:30pm-5:30pm ABC
Formula 1 Replay Monaco Grand Prix 
5:00pm-7:30pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 Lowe's
5:00pm-10:00pm (L) FOX Sports
SPEED Report 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
2008 Winner (Indianapolis 500)
Emerson Fittipaldi (Indy 500 & F1)
Carlos Checa (World Superbike)
Robin Miller (Open Wheel Analyst) 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Movie: Days of Thunder (1990)
9:30pm-11:00pm ESPN Classic
NASCAR Victory Lane Lowe's 
11:00pm-12:00am SPEED
Monday (Partial)
IndyCar Replay Indianapolis 500 
9:00am-12:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Replay Ohio 250 Mansfield, OH 
11:00am-11:30am (R) -Pre-race
11:30am-2:00pm (R) -Race SPEED
Rolex Sports Car Series Lime Rock GT Classic 250 Lakeville, CT
2:00pm-5:00pm (L) -GT SPEED

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

tv news

Indy Winner, Emmo on Wind Tunnel Sunday UPDATE A reminder that the 2008 Indy 500 winner will be a guest on Wind Tunnel tonight.  Joining the Indy 500 champion will be Emerson Fittipaldi, Carlos Checa and Robin Miller.

05/23/08 The winner of Sunday’s 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday May 25th at 9 p.m. ET. Emerson Fittipaldi (2-time Indy 500 winner and F1 World Champion) will also be a featured guest of Dave Despain.

Fittipaldi won one of the more memorable Indy 500’s in 1989 when he and Al Unser Jr. made contact while battling for the lead. Al Jr. spun and hit the wall, while Emerson kept going and took the win under the yellow flag. Then in 1993, Fittipaldi beat defending F1 world champ, Nigel Mansell, to claim his 2nd Borg-Warner trophy.

Prior to his success at Indy, Emerson won 2 F1 world championships...in 1972 and 1974. In 1972, he became the youngest world champion in history at age 25. That record stood until 2005 when Fernando Alonso won the title at age 24. This Sunday, Emerson will be in Indianapolis for the 500 where he will be driving the pace car.

Featured Interview #3: Carlos Checa (World Superbike Rider for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)

After spending more than a decade in 500cc and MotoGP competition, Checa moved to World Superbike for 2008...replacing defending champion, James Toseland, who made the jump to MotoGP. Thus far in ’08, Checa has 4 podiums and is 2nd in the championship standings as he heads into next weekend’s round at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

Expert Analyst: Robin Miller (SPEED Open Wheel Racing Analyst)

Robin Miller will join us LIVE from Indy to wrap up the day’s 92nd running of the Indy 500.


No NASCAR For Honda
In a move that should end speculation that Honda is about to follow Toyota into NASCAR, Honda on Friday announced a five-year extension with the Indy Racing League.

It's possible Honda could compete in the IRL and NASCAR simultaneously, but company spokesman Dan Layton said that's "99.9 percent" unlikely.


"I Wanna Be Marco Andretti"
John Andretti's Marco shirt
John Andretti has always been a great guy for quotes. And his self-effacing nature makes him as approachable as any driver in Gasoline Alley. So it was with great amusement Thursday that Andretti showed off a black T-shirt he was wearing under the custom-issued black attire of Roth Racing. The T-shirt was a tribute to second cousin Marco Andretti.

The front of the T-shirt read: "I Wanna Be Marco Andretti." Then on the back, it enumerated the reasons why "Marco Andretti Rules:"
1. 21 years old,
2. Awesome Indy car ride,
3. Place in South Beach,
4. A bunch of cool cars,
5. Access to the Playboy mansion.

Have to admit, those are pretty good reasons. More at Indy Star


Highlights of Indy 500 Public Drivers' Meeting
Drivers participating in the 92nd Indianapolis 500 received final instructions and awards May 24 in the Public Drivers' Meeting.

The 92nd "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 25. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network beginning at noon. ESPN2 will air an additional hour of pre-race coverage beginning at 11 a.m.

2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and Andretti Green Racing co-owners Michael Andretti, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree accepted a "Baby Borg" trophy from Alfred Webber, president and general manager of Borg Warner Morse Tec and Borg Warner Thermal Systems.

Franchitti accepted his Baby Borg along with a $130,000 check via video as he was unable to attend Saturday's ceremonies. The Baby Borg is a miniature replica of the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, which bears the bas-relief likeness, name and average speed of every Indianapolis 500 winner.

In addition, Andretti, Green and Savoree were presented their Firestone winning car owner's ring, crafted by Herff Jones. Mark Emkes, chief executive office of Firestone Racing, was on hand to make the presentation.

Read more & Comment...

Lia bangs his way to Mansfield truck race win
Donny Lia passed David Starr on the final lap to win his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in Saturday's Ohio 250 at Mansfield Motorsports Park Saturday.  However the win was controversial, tainted if you ask us.

How did Lia, rookie, win?  Lia applied the chrome bumper to the backend of then leader Starr as the field raced through turn two on the final lap and was able to get him lose, push him out of the way and take the top spot.

Todd Bodine put his truck in the middle of the battle as well with the top three going three-wide through the final turns.

Lia and Starr made contact again racing to the checkered flag out of turn four and as they crossed the finish line it was the rookie ahead for his maiden win.



1 28 71 Donny Lia * Chevrolet 250 Running
2 3 11 David Starr Toyota 250 Running
3 14 30 Todd Bodine Toyota 250 Running
4 7 60 Terry Cook Toyota 250 Running
5 2 5 Mike Skinner Toyota 250 Running
6 9 13 Shelby Howard Chevrolet 250 Running
7 10 2 Jack Sprague Chevrolet 250 Running
8 1 23 Johnny Benson Toyota 250 Running
9 17 07 Sean Murphy Chevrolet 250 Running
10 25 4 Stacy Compton Dodge 250 Running
11 15 99 Erik Darnell Ford 250 Running
12 16 88 Matt Crafton Chevrolet 250 Running
13 27 14 Rick Crawford Ford 250 Running
14 4 7 Andy Lally * Chevrolet 250 Running
15 6 22 Scott Speed * Toyota 250 Running
16 5 6 Colin Braun * Ford 250 Running
17 19 59 Ted Musgrave Toyota 250 Running
18 26 9 Justin Marks * Toyota 250 Running
19 34 40 Chad Chaffin Chevrolet 250 Running
20 22 46 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 250 Running
21 11 51 Shane Sieg Toyota 250 Running
22 18 21 Keven Wood Ford 250 Running
23 13 212 Scotty Crockett Chevrolet 250 Running
24 33 8 Chad McCumbee Chevrolet 250 Running
25 31 16 Brian Scott * Chevrolet 250 Running
26 8 15 Marc Mitchell * Toyota 250 Running
27 23 09 John Wes Townley Ford 250 Running
28 32 137 Gary St. Amant Chevrolet 250 Running
29 30 08 Jason White Dodge 250 Running
30 20 10 Brendan Gaughan Ford 249 Running
31 21 166 Benny Gordon Ford 248 Running
32 29 63 Jack Smith Ford 246 Running
33 35 20 Scott Lagasse Jr. Ford 231 Running
34 24 18 Dennis Setzer Dodge 205 Overheating
35 12 33 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 145 Running
36 36 142 Tim Cowen Ford 140 Overheating


Barrichello escapes penalty for Fisi block
(GMM) Stewards decided against penalising Rubens Barrichello despite summoning the Brazilian veteran after qualifying for the Monaco grand prix.

The FIA representatives were investigating whether the Honda driver held up Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella when the Roman was on a quick lap.

Fisichella, who is 35, was also interviewed by the stewards.

"I got caught behind Barrichello just after the swimming pool as he was slowing down. Very, very frustrating," the Italian, who is celebrating his 200th grand prix at Monaco with special helmet and overall designs, said.

The stewards, however, ruled that Barrichello should not be penalised.


Two cars moved to rear of Coca-Cola 600 field
Two cars out of the Haas-CNC Racing stable will be forced to start at the rear of the field in back-up cars for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway after the no. 66 and no. 70 Chevrolet's were found to have illegal modifications to their wing mounts.

Scott Riggs originally qualified 13th for Sunday's event, while Johnny Sauter was already qualified in the 43rd position in the no. 70 car.

NASCAR Director of Communications Kerry Tharp made the announcement on Saturday, saying that both cars had changes made to their upper wing mount attachments that were in violation of the rules. Both cars were impounded by NASCAR and would be brought to NASCAR's Research and Development Center in nearby Concord, N.C. to be examined, forcing both teams to go to back-up cars for the event. Tharp said any penalties handed down as a result of the infractions would be made early next week. Pete McCole


DC confident he'll race despite Monaco crash
(GMM) David Coulthard is confident he will be fit to contest the Monaco grand prix despite his big crash during qualifying on Saturday.

The Scot, F1's oldest active competitor, visited the medical centre after climbing unaided from the wreck of his Red Bull in the harbor chicane escape road.

He admitted to simply losing control of the car as he braked from nearly 300kph at the exit of the tunnel.

Coulthard, 37, also admitted to reporters at Monte Carlo that - despite knocking his head and elbow - he was keen to get out of the car before the medical team got to him.

"I didn't want to be lying on a stretcher connected to a drip," he said.

Asked to rate the accident among the numerous hits he has taken since debuting in 1994, Coulthard answered: "This was one of the biggest."

He was lucky to have slid into the escape road, however, and not the dividing barrier that knocked Jenson Button out in 2003, and put Karl Wendlinger into a coma fourteen years ago.

"Maybe it doesn't look much from the outside, but it fucking hurts when you hit the barrier," Coulthard admitted.

He said he is confident he will be okay to race on Sunday.

"I'll see how I feel tomorrow, but I think I will be alright. I look forward to the race," Coulthard added.


Fisichella penalized
Giancarlo Fisichella was penalized five places on the Monaco grid following an unscheduled gearbox change after Saturday morning practice.  However, he qualified dead last and unusually substantially slower than his Force India teammate Adrian Sutil, meaning that any penalty - if confirmed - is now academic.


Conway runs away in Monaco GP2 race
Mike Conway
Mike Conway stormed to victory in today's race two in Monaco, leading from lights to flag to score a dominant first win in the series ahead of teammate Ho-Pin Tung and Alvaro Parente.

With the weather looking gloomy overhead the Briton lit up his tires as the lights went out to easily cover his fellow front row starting teammate to be first through Ste Devote and lead the field up the hill. Behind them Roldan Rodriguez was very slow away from third position and locked his brakes into the first corner, compressing the rest of the field other than Adrian Valles, who cut inside to get by as mayhem brewed behind them.

Christian Bakkerud was caught out by an early braking Andreas Zuber and took a roller coaster ride over the Piquet Sports car into immediate retirement, while the sister car of Pastor Maldonado pushed wide to the left and squeezed Karun Chandhok into the wall and off again, taking both cars back across the track and into the opposite wall, prompting the first safety car period of the weekend.

Read more & Comment...

Dillon Battistini wins Indy Lights race from pole
Dillon Battistini, a product of the European farm system, won today's Firestone Freedom 100 from pole.  When the final green flew with 7 laps to go, American Richard Antinucci tried to get alongside Battistini every lap but he was 100% throttle and there was nothing he could do to find a way past.

Battistini was challenged throughout the race, never leading by more than half of a second. James Davison led Lap 4, and 2006 race winner Wade Cunningham led Lap 7.

Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., finished second, 0.2458 of a second behind Battistini. Antinucci’s third second-place finish of the season was good enough to help him regain the series points lead, 179-176, over Battistini.

Cunningham finished third, Robbie Pecorari finished fourth and Ana Beatriz finished fifth.

Jeff Simmons, who will start 24th in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, finished eighth after starting 10th. It was his fourth top-eight finish in as many starts in the Firestone Freedom 100.

Al Unser III, Sean Guthrie and Arie Luyendyk Jr., all sons of past Indianapolis 500 competitors, finished 11th, 12th and 14th, respectively, all improving at least four positions during the race.

J.R. Hildebrand, who entered the race as the points leader, started 21st and moved up as high as third on Lap 26. However, he and Davison were forced to pit for flat tires after they made contact on Lap 30 as they battled three-wide with Antinucci for third. Hildebrand finished 24th.

Read more & Comment...

Saturday Notebook from Indy - 3
Kevin Savoree, Kim Green and Michael Andretti receive their Baby Borg as team owners of last year's winning car  driven by now NASCAR driver Dario Franchitti
Gail Miller/AutoRacing1
USAC awarded Roger Penske their highest award, the Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence, before the driver's meeting today.  Penske made everyone laugh when he said "Emmo's [Fittipaldi] is driving the pace car.  I just hope he turns in the pits," insinuating that Emmo may miss being out there so much he might not want to turn in when the green flag is ready to drop.........During the driver's meeting Brian Barnhart told the drivers he expects them to keep pace with the pace car and to exit the 4th turn in rows of three at between 105 and 110 mph.  The cars will take the green the third time by on Sunday......Andretti Green team owners Kevin Savoree, Kim Green and Michael Andretti received their Baby Borg-Warner Trophy for winning last year's Indy 500 with Dario Franchitti........ Jon Brownson, who lost control and crashed on the opening lap of today's Indy Lights race will be 55 on October 8th.  55?  What is he doing in Indy Lights?  At that age how can the IRL view him as a development driver when he's older than dirt for an open wheel race car driver?  Hopefully next year the Atlantic Series will be integrated into the IRL. The level of driver talent in that series is superior......Dillon Battistini recorded his second career victory. He also won the season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He is the fifth pole sitter to win the Firestone Freedom 100.  Mark Cipolloni reporting from Indy


First time since 1979 for Ferrari
For the first time since 1979, the most famous motor race in the world will have a completely Ferrari front row, thanks to Felipe Massa's third pole of the season and the team's fourth, and Kimi Raikkonen's second place. It is cause for pleasure but not celebration, as the real job and the points will only be allocated after the cars have completed 78 laps of the slowest, but very difficult and challenging street circuit.

However, the elements that make this circuit unique also mean it is the hardest place in the world to overtake another car, so starting at the front is a bigger advantage than at any other weekend on the Formula 1 calendar. As Kimi Raikkonen pointed out when taking part in the post-qualifying press conference, the one time overtaking becomes far more likely is if the track is wet and the threat of rain finally materialized today, hitting the track for part of this morning's final hour of free practice and then again shortly after the end of qualifying.

Tomorrow's forecast is also for rain and the possibilities for dealing with various strategies depending at which point in the race the rain might arrive or stop are almost limitless. The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro front row is significant as in recent times, even when it has been the dominant team in the sport, the Prancing Horse has usually been outpaced by the Silver Arrow of McLaren-Mercedes. But this year, the Anglo-German team is on the second row, with Lewis Hamilton third and Heikki Kovalainen who crashed this morning, in fourth spot. Robert Kubica is fifth for BMW-Sauber, sharing row three with the Williams-Toyota of Nico Rosberg.

There have been surprisingly few cars crashing into the barriers this weekend, however, qualifying saw David Coulthard have the biggest incident, as his Red Bull-Renault crashed coming out of the high speed tunnel, before careering off down the escape road. The car was badly damaged, but the driver was uninjured.


News briefs from Monaco: Saturday 4
(GMM) It is worth noting a rumor that has now been heard more than once in the Monte Carlo paddock on Saturday. If the whispers are true, Fernando Alonso will switch to Ferrari in 2010.


Double world champion and former DTM competitor Mika Hakkinen at Monaco confirmed that his days as a professional race driver are over.

"When I watch the cars going around, I don't feel like I have to be doing it any more," the 39-year-old Finn, at the circuit for a Johnnie Walker sponsor appearance, said.

Also spotted in the paddock on Saturday was former four time world champion and team owner, Alain Prost, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, and former grand prix winner Johnny Herbert.


A visibly elated Felipe Massa said he couldn't believe he snared pole position at Monaco, but Nick Heidfeld was equally surprised - but much less impressed - about his 13th grid spot, after demonstrating pace a full second slower than his on-form BMW teammate Robert Kubica.

"I am very disappointed," the German said. "I can't even remember the last time I was not in the top ten and now we have to find out why."


News briefs from Monaco: Saturday 3
(GMM) F1's carmakers on Saturday turned down an invitation to discuss future engine regulations in embattled FIA president Max Mosley's Monaco office.

The group signed a joint letter explaining to the FIA's Charlie Whiting that they need to be informed with more time in advance about these kinds of meetings.

"Therefore we request you defer the meeting to sometime in the near future," the letter read.


Giancarlo Fisichella was to be penalized five places on the Monaco grid following an unscheduled gearbox change after Saturday morning practice.

The Roman and Monte Carlo specialist, however, qualified dead last and unusually substantially slower than his Force India teammate Adrian Sutil, meaning that any penalty - if confirmed - is now academic.


Kimi Raikkonen on Friday bought a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette, previously owned by Hollywood actor Sharon Stone, for 200,000 euros.

The Ferrari driver was the highest bidder at a charity auction and event, that was also attended by several of his F1 rivals who modeled clothing designed by Bernie Ecclestone's daughter Petra.

Force India owner Vijay Mallya forked out even more than Raikkonen - some 226,000 euros - for a piano owned by Elton John.


Saturday Notebook from Indy - 2
The rookie drivers during the morning meet and greet session
Gail Miller/AutoRacing1
The rookies met the press this morning. Some highlights - Jaime Camara thanks Enrique Bernoldi for helping him get the Indy Car ride with Conquest.....In turn Bernoldi thanked Camara for helping him with the ovals (Bernoldi came from European road racing)....Will Power said he was impressed by the enormity of the Indy 500 event....Graham Rahal said he was glad to be here and you don't realize how difficult this race is until you do it.....Oriol Servia said it takes a lot of energy to go out there every day and perform and still meet all your PR commitments. It's a special race.....Justin Wilson said running the oval here in an IndyCar is totally different than when he drove an F1 car here. "It's good to be running in the right direction here (vs. clockwise for the F1 cars)."......EJ Viso said he wants to stay out of trouble and they put a conservative setup on his car.........Mario Moraes said he wishes they had less rain during the month so they could have had more time to set up their car. Mark Cipolloni reporting from Indy


Saturday Notebook from Indy - 1
A large crowd of about 10,000 has gathered for this morning's IndyCar driver autograph session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The drivers meeting starts at 10:30 AM.............The day has dawned bright and sunny with not a cloud in the sky, low humidity and temperatures headed to the low 70s.  In other words a perfect day for the Firestone Indy Lights race that is set to go off at 12:15 PM ET and the Indy 500 parade in downtown Indianapolis today at noon.  With yesterday's rainout several activities that were slated for Friday will go off today.......The forecast for Sunday is another perfect day for racing with sunshine and temperatures in the 70s........Bob Jenkins received the 2008 Bob Russo Founders Award presented by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association during the organization’s annual breakfast this morning at IMS.  The award, sponsored by Colleen and Gary Campbell, is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated profound interest, tireless efforts and undying dedication to auto racing, as exemplified by Bob Russo throughout his lifelong career in motorsports..  Mark Cipolloni reporting from Indy


FIA confirm Vettel penalty
The FIA have confirmed that Sebastian Vettel will be handed a five-grid slot penalty for Sunday's Monaco GP after changing his gearbox.

Vettel's team Toro Rosso are racing their new STR3 for the first time at this weekend's Monte Carlo race.

However, a new car means a new gearbox and that, for Vettel at least, means a penalty as the German was not supposed to change his gearbox for another three races.

Under this year's regulations the same gearbox must be used for four races and Vettel had only used his for one event, the Turkish GP.


Raikkonen buys Sharon Stone's Corvette
Ferrari's Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen paid 200,000 euros for a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette owned by Hollywood actress Sharon Stone at a Monaco Grand Prix charity auction, organizers said.

The car, stored in Los Angeles and said to have just four miles on the clock, was one of the top lots at a glittering Amber Fashion show in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation on Friday night.

Indian drinks and aviation billionaire Vijay Mallya, co-owner of the Force India Formula One team, paid 226,000 euros for a concert piano used by Elton John to write his "Songs from the West Coast" album in 2001.

Mallya also donated a one-week cruise on his 95-metre "Indian Empress", one of the largest privately-owned yachts in the world, with that going under the hammer for 375,000 euros to a private bidder.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, Honda's Jenson Button, Red Bull's Mark Webber and Renault's Nelson Piquet were among drivers modeling a collection designed by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone's daughter Petra.

The auction, at Monaco's Meridien Beach Plaza hotel, raised almost 1 million euros.


Superleague Formula race teams announced
Superleague Formula revealed its latest race teams to contest the inaugural season of the football-themed championship with the Nurburgring-based Zakspeed squad joining the series. The new championship will visit the historic German circuit for the second round of the championship in September. This weekend the "Ring" will play host to the Nurburgring 24 Hours on the fabled 20.8km "Nordschleife".

Zakspeed will oversee the efforts of German club Borussia Dortmund. The yellow and black BVB machine was unveiled today at Zakspeed's headquarters alongside some of the company's famous machines of the past including a Zakspeed Formula 1 car. In addition to Zakspeed, Netherlands-based squad Azerti Motorsport was also revealed as the race team for local club PSV Eindhoven and Superleague Formula's newest signing, UAE club, Al Ain.

Seven of the ten Superleague Formula race teams have now been revealed including:

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Gossage not interested in Humpy's job
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has no desire to take over for Lowe's Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler, who announced Wednesday he was retiring as president of the track after this weekend's Coca-Cola 600. "As long as I'm in racing, I'll be here in Fort Worth," Gossage said Wednesday. Gossage said he's confident the SMI board of directors will find the right person to replace Wheeler. He said he has a person in mind he would like to see take over at the track but didn't want to say who it was. "The board of directors will come up with a person who is in the best interest of the track," Gossage said. "It won't be me." Gossage worked for Wheeler in Charlotte from 1989 until leaving for TMS in 1995. Fort Worth Star Telegram


Sorenson a free agent
Reed Sorenson
Reed Sorenson is in the final season of his Sprint Cup Series contract, but he's not too worried about discussing his future yet. Instead, Sorenson is working on improving his performance in races. Sorenson and his team got off to a slow start to this season, resulting in a crew chief swap with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya in which Jimmy Elledge left Sorenson to partner with Montoya and Sorenson gained Donnie Wingo. Elledge has since left the organization. Sorenson said that he's not focused on his contract talks right now, preferring instead to let his racing speak for itself. "It is a contract year for me," the 22-year-old said. "Trying to do the best I can right now to try to see what we can do the next couple of months to try to get some good finishes." Asked whether he was in talks or not, Sorenson said that he and team owner Chip Ganassi had discussed it "a little bit." As to whether or not he's in discussions with other teams as well, Sorenson simply reiterated that he's focused on his own group's performance right now. If he can get that heading in the right direction, the rest will take care of itself. SceneDaily


News briefs from Monaco: Saturday 2
(GMM)  The conventional wisdom in Monaco on Friday was that there is a greater than 50 per cent chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday.

Apparently, however, the expert on-site meteorologist Meteo France is telling its client F1 teams that the rain probability is very low for the actual qualifying hour, and only 30 per cent for Sunday's grand prix.

It did not rain at all on Thursday, nor throughout 'day off' Friday.


Mark Pattinson, one of the Williams mechanics knocked over by debutant Kazuki Nakajima during a pitstop in Brazil last October, returned to the British team's race team here at Monte Carlo.

Since the accident, he had been getting over the injury with a factory-based job at Grove.


According to the Spanish newspaper Marca, three teams - BMW-Sauber, Toyota and Red Bull - are interested in wooing Fernando Alonso from Renault for the 2009 season.

The vacated seat at BMW would be the one currently occupied by Nick Heidfeld, who it is understood is so desperate to keep his job that he is considering re-hiring his old manager, Werner Heinz, who had a better relationship with the team than his new one, Andre Theuerzeit.


News briefs from Monaco: Saturday 1
(GMM)  His own team's press office made it loudly known that Monaco is Sir Frank Williams' 600th grand prix as a formula one entrant.

Predictably, however, the unsentimental 66-year-old was the least impressed of all as he said the milestone "means very little to me!".


Triple world champion Nelson Piquet, who never won in the Principality, disliked the Monaco grand prix, once famously describing it as like riding a "bicycle around your living room".

His son, despite living in the glamorous city for eight years as a boy, seems to agree, after not impressing during Thursday free practice.  "It's not anything special," he said of the famous layout.


Giancarlo Fisichella, Flavio Briatore, Eddie Irvine, Jean Alesi and other notable F1 luminaries are all showing off pretty impressive yachts in the Monaco harbor this weekend.

But reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen's enormous offering, more resembling a luxury cruise-liner than a boat, takes the cake.  Apparently he rented it specifically so his friends can have a mighty party.

"I have a boat," Toro Rosso rookie Sebastian Vettel confirmed in Monte Carlo on 'day off' Friday.  "A kayak."


GP2 race winner Bruno Senna denied that his Monaco breakthrough, the first for his family name since his famous late uncle won the grand prix for McLaren in 1993, is a passport to a formula one future.

"Winning here doesn't guarantee me anything," the 24-year-old Brazilian said.  "I will not even begin to think about F1 until I win the title."


Kovalainen fastest but crashes at rainy Monaco
Kovalainen in his McLaren as clouds gather overhead in Monaco
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen set the fastest time in the final practice session before qualifying at Monte Carlo on Saturday morning.

The Finn, however, succumbed to the difficult conditions after the Monaco heavens finally opened, damaging the right rear corner of his McLaren at the exit of the swimming pool.

The incident brought out the red flags for only a few minutes.


1. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.567
2. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.084
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:17.117
4. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:17.503
5. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1:17.687
6. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:17.691
7. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:17.856
8. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Ferrari 1:17.883
9. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1:18.147
10. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:18.225
11. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.367
12. Timo Glock Germany Toyota 1:18.424
13. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:18.455
14. Nelson Piquet Brazil Renault 1:18.615
15. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.651
16. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:18.795
17. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:18.858
18. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1:19.024
19. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Ferrari 1:19.131
20. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:20.805


Tony George taking IRL back to good old days of CART
“I think you’re going to see a similar series here than there was in the early to mid-1990s (i.e. CART), only better. You’re going to have a lot better direction, a lot better leadership and focus, and, I think, support.” Tony George speaking of the future direction of IndyCar Racing Friday in the Pagoda at Indy.


Toyotas to start 1-2-3 in Mansfield, OH
Bill Davis Racing made it a sweep of the front row in qualifying at Mansfield Motorsports Park with Johnny Benson leading the way after he took the top spot for the Ohio 250 with a lap of 110.004 mph.

"I'm glad we were able to get the pole," Benson said. "You'll see a lot of guys go to where they can go on just one stop and do it. Last year was won with no pit stop, but we can't do it with these fuel cells. There will be some excitement through pit strategies, for sure."

Benson's teammate, and defending race pole winner, Mike Skinner will start second.

"The truck is set up very similar to the way it was last year," Skinner said. "I think I freaked out a little bit watching everybody lock the brakes up, so I threw the first lap away and that was the fast lap for Johnny (Benson)."

David Starr (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in five races at Mansfield.

Starting Lineup

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