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DATE News (chronologically)
05/29/07
lmes
dtm
Audi DTM stars Le Mans test preview  Official test day prior to 24 Hours of Le Mans First Le Mans laps for Ekstrom & Co. All three Audi R10 TDIs in action on Sunday Audi DTM stars Mattias Ekstrom, Lucas Luhr, Alexandre Premat and Mike Rockenfeller get the chance to complete their first laps in the Audi R10 TDI around the legendary Le Mans race track this coming Sunday. The official test day hosted by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) is the only test opportunity of the year on the 13.650 kilometer "Circuit des 24 Heures" and is therefore a particularly important component of the preparations for the season highlight on 16/17 June.

Audi Sport Team Joest runs all three Audi R10 TDI cars, competing in this year's 24-hour race, which are, in part, equipped with additional data logging equipment, on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. "The lap times are not of primary importance," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "It's all about making the most of the eight hours available to us, to collect as much data as possible and to find a good base set-up. Our new drivers also get the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the peculiarities of the circuit at the wheel of the R10 TDI." More ...

05/29/07
industry news
USA has huge oil reserves  Colorado and Utah have as much oil as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Nigeria, Kuwait, Libya, Angola, Algeria, Indonesia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates combined. Trapped in limestone up to 200 feet thick in the two Rocky Mountain states is enough so-called shale oil to rival OPEC and supply the United States for a century.

Exxon Mobil and Chevron, the two biggest U.S. energy companies, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are spending $100 million a year testing methods to separate the oil from the stone for as little as $30 a barrel. A growing number of industry executives and analysts say new technology and persistently high prices make the idea feasible.

"The breakthrough is that now the oil companies have a way of getting this oil out of the ground without the massive energy and manpower costs that killed these projects in the 1970s," said Pete Stark, analyst at IHS Inc., an Englewood, Colo., research firm. "All the shale rocks in the world are going to be revisited now to see how much oil they contain." More ...

05/29/07
nascar
NASCAR drivers test COT at VIR  Nearly 25 NASCAR stars testing the Car of Tomorrow for its road course debut flocked to VIRginia International Raceway Tuesday, taking advantage of the track's test days to prepare for the Sonoma and Watkins Glen races.

The day went almost without incident as Tony Stewart had an engine problem almost as soon as he hit the track in the morning. Then Denny Hamlin had a differential failure late in the day, causing the car to be towed in behind a team truck.

The best lap times of the day, on VIR's 2.25-mile North Course, hovered just under one minute, twenty-nine seconds, but differences in tires and sometimes in time of day, make absolute comparisons meaningless. Several teams had laps around 1:28.8, including Bobby Labonte, Marcos Ambrose, and the Hendrick team's development driver. More ...

05/29/07
irl
Franchitti follows his hero into Indy immortality  Dario Franchitti wasn't born when Jim Clark won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965. But that didn't stop him from idolizing the Scottish racing legend.

"I think he's a hero for any Scottish driver, and really one of the best drivers in the world ever," said Franchitti, who claimed an Indianapolis 500 title of his own on May 27.

Franchitti had hoped to mark the 40th anniversary of Clark's win with a victory of his own, and explained that his failure to do so had seen him contemplate retirement.

"[The fact that] was the 40th anniversary of Jim Clark winning it was one of the reasons I was so (upset) I didn't win in 2005," he said. "I was so upset.
 
"Jackie Stewart came over and watched the race. My old boss, obviously one of my heroes, came to watch me race. It was looking good for a while, but it didn't turn out." More ...

05/29/07
irl
Indianapolis 500 Victory Tour stops in New York  Dario Franchitti's first day as Indianapolis 500 champion began early with numerous photo shoots - including one for his likeness to be crafted for the Borg-Warner Trophy. Day 2 began even earlier as he departed Indianapolis for a four-city Victory Tour.

First stop: New York.

Franchitti was a guest on the popular morning TV show "Live with Regis and Kelly," where he recounted the soggy day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Among other TV, print and radio interviews on the first day of the Victory Tour, Franchitti was able to squeeze in a visit to The Parlour on West 86th Street - a renowned hangout for Glasgow Celtic supporters, including the 500-Mile Race champion. More ...

05/29/07
arca
irl
Hornish turns laps in ARCA car at MIS  IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. can’t get enough racing these days. 

Fresh off a fourth-place finish in last Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, the three-time IndyCar Series champion turned a few laps Tuesday in a stock car at Michigan International Speedway. Hornish was preparing for a possible run in the June 15 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at the track.

“I’d love to run the ARCA race in June,” Hornish said. “I think that getting here for this test is a fairly good indication that we will be able to run the ARCA RE/MAX Series race.”

The test with 14 other ARCA drivers marked a new experience for the 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner. Though this was his first time in a stock car at MIS, Hornish has five IndyCar Series starts at the track. More ...

05/29/07
cc
RSPORTS completes test, ready for fun  Upon completion of another successful testing run this month, the RSPORTS team and drivers Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson leave Mont-Tremblant satisfied and feel that they are prepared for the upcoming challenges as the 2007 Champ Car season truly gets underway in June.

During a private two-day test, RSPORTS joined six other Champ Car teams and ten drivers for some time on the challenging 15-turn course in the hills of the picturesque Laurentian Mountains. The testing began on Thursday afternoon, which saw the RSPORTS teammates sitting close together on the timing and scoring chart. Wilson posted a 1:18.61, while his stablemate Tagliani trailed closely behind him with a time of 1:18.98.

Both drivers were excited about the new venue. For Tagliani, it was a return to a home track as he had competed on this track in his early racing-career years. “It is a fun track to drive and it is really fast. I am just so excited to be racing here in a Champ Car, where the power and speed of these cars can truly be demonstrated. I think that this is going to be a very good race for the spectators and a challenging one for the drivers.” More ...

05/29/07
alms
irl
Franchitti joins exclusive Sebring/Indy club  Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti has joined an exclusive club by winning both the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the Indianapolis 500. Franchitti won the LMP2 class of the famed Florida endurance classic in March with Bryan Herta and Tony Kanaan, the debut of both Andretti Green and Acura in the American Le Mans Series.

Franchitti, who won at Indianapolis on Sunday, finished second overall at Sebring with his Andretti Green Racing teammates. He and Mario Andretti are the only drivers to win both in class at Sebring and the Indy 500 in the same year. Andretti's feat came in 1969 when he, like Franchitti, won his class and placed second overall in the 12 Hours.

Andretti, AJ Foyt, Arie Luyendyk and Bobby Rahal are the only drivers who have taken the overall win at Sebring and Indy in their careers. In addition, Franchitti, Mark Donohue, Graham Hill and Jim Rathmann have won both a class championship at Sebring and the Indy 500.
05/29/07
irl
Indy 500 an Instant Classic on ESPN Classic  ESPN Classic will re-air Sunday’s dramatic Indianapolis 500 as an Instant Classic with a two-hour telecast at 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

The 91st running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” won by the popular Dario Franchitti, ranks as one of the best in the storied history of the event. It featured dramatic moments, including several lead changes throughout the rain-delayed race, which ended under caution 34 laps shy of the scheduled distance.

Among the highlights was Marco Andretti's quest to overcome last year's heartbreaking loss to Sam Hornish Jr. on the last lap. On Sunday, Andretti flipped down the backstretch near the end of the race. Other highlights included Danica Patrick's run, which put her in second place late in the race before she finished eighth, and veteran Michael Andretti telling the ESPN on ABC audience that the race would be his last Indy 500 start.

05/29/07
cc
Paul Tracy Completes Two Day Test  INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Paul Tracy got back behind the wheel of his #3 INDECK Cosworth/Bridgestone/DP01 last week for the first time since suffering an injury during practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.  Tracy and the Forsythe Team completed a two day test at the historic Circuit Mont-Tremblant in St. Jovite, Quebec, where Champ Car will hold the first of three Canadian events on July 1st.

The 2003 Champion completed a total of 78 laps around the 2.65 mile permanent road course with a best lap of 1m17.560s.  Tracy was forced to end his second day early due to an off track excursion which damaged his #3 Champ Car.  The Forsythe Team now heads back to its Indianapolis headquarters in preparation for the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe’s Sports and Outdoors, which will take place June 8 – 10 in Portland, Oregon.

Paul Tracy
“It’s great to finally be back in the car.  It’s been very frustrating just watching from the sidelines but I’ve worked very hard on my recovery and I had no problems at all driving the car.  The test really didn’t go as well as we hoped; we just couldn’t get the car to handle the way we wanted.  But at least I’m back now and we can start focusing on the races again.  Mont-Tremblant is a great track, very fast and very challenging, we are going to put on quite a show here in July.”

Phil LePan
“This wasn’t one of our best tests, but we actually achieved what we came for.  The most important thing was to get Paul back in the car and make sure that he was comfortable and fully recovered.  We also managed to collect quite a bit of data from this track which will prove to be very beneficial when we come back and race here in a few weeks.  It’s a new track so any type of information that you can gather is valuable.”

05/29/07
cc
Minardi Team USA happy with Mont-Tremblant test  Minardi Team USA completed their second day of testing at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant last Friday, May 25 in good spirits with Robert Doornbos fourth quickest and Dan Clarke eighth.

Robert Doornbos is currently leading the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year standings and third in Championship points, had a fast time of 1.16.76. The young Dutchman has had a busy month off with the Champ Car test in Portland, the European Media Tour, and now the test at Mont-Tremblant. He quickly departed Quebec on Friday to attend the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, where Robert currently resides.

Dan Clarke was eighth quickest on Friday with a time of 1.17.05. ‘Speedy’ Dan had a minor off-track excursion late in the day on which prematurely put an end to his final day of testing, but he showed speed both days and looks likely to have a strong showing here in late June.

Keith Wiggins, Team Co-Owner
“We accomplished what we came here to do. We learned a lot about the tendencies of the car on this circuit and it gave Robert and Dan a chance to see the track. It was a good test for both drivers and we look forward to recommencing the season in Portland.”

Minardi Team USA heads to Portland June 8-10 for Round Four of the Champ Car World Series.

05/29/07
Racing News
karting
Conor Daly to make Formula Ford debut  Cytomax driver Conor Daly has signed to drive for Brian Graham Racing for the first two rounds of the Ontario Formula Ford Challenge, June 2nd -3rd, in Shannonville Motorsports Park, Ontario. In addition, he will also compete the following weekend in the Formula Ford support race to the Canadian Grand Prix, at the famous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, June 8th -9th.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve holds special significance for Conor’s Dad, Derek Daly as that was where he scored his first Formula One world championship point, finishing sixth in a race won by Ferrari’s Gilles Villeneuve.

Conor Daly, son of former Formula One/Indy Car driver turned TV commentator Derek Daly, races in the senior TaG class at the Stars of Karting National championship in addition to the Skip Barber Racing series. Conor races his karts exclusively on Bridgestone tires and is sponsored by Cytomax Performance Drink, INDECK Forsythe Racing, Pedigo Chevrolet, The College Network,  Tom Lange Company and Alpinestars.

05/29/07
f1
Stewart backs McLaren in race fix storm  (GMM) Sir Jackie Stewart has backed McLaren amid claims that team boss Ron Dennis ruined the Monaco grand prix and damaged formula one by issuing illegal team orders.

To the principally British media's chagrin, Dennis ordered Lewis Hamilton to hold station behind pole sitter Fernando Alonso on Sunday, and the FIA has launched an investigation into the events because it banned race-altering team tactics following the Austrian GP in 2002.

But triple world champion and former team boss Stewart told BBC's Radio Five Live: "I saw nothing wrong with what occurred."

Indeed, he said slowing the drivers' pace to ensure a dominant and safe one-two victory was "wise".

"It's very difficult to start telling team owners that if you are running first and second that you should keep driving your drivers to the absolute limit of their ability," the 66-year-old Scot said.

Stewart said Dennis' Monaco 'hold station' could not be compared to Austria 2002, where Rubens Barrichello was ordered to blatantly give up his second career win within sight of the checkered flag.

He said of Hamilton: "What if he had tried a little bit too hard in these last laps in Monaco and slid off the race track, hit a barrier and taken the McLaren out of the race?"

05/29/07
irl
IRL treats Penske team with kid gloves  Don't tell me how everyone is treated evenly in the Indy Racing League. Sam Hornish's wicked block of Tomas Scheckter on Sunday at Indy drew him a flat tire but no black flag from Brian Barnhart, who didn't hesitate to call a penalty on Scott Dixon in 2006 and effectively take him out of a chance to win. Sam is not a dirty driver, but that was nasty and he deserved a drive-through.

 The start was a disgrace and should have never been given the green flag. The front row took off and got strung out -- ruining what should always be a breathtaking moment. Check the photos in the '60s and '70s when all 11 rows were on the straightaway. Of course, they were all professional drivers back then. Robin Miller
05/29/07
nascar
Goodyear officials say tires performed as expected  While several drivers complained about the hard tire that Goodyear brought to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, the manufacturer said that the performance of the tire in the race was in line with expectations. Sunday night's race showcased an unusual number of cut tires, an official said, as well as a heat problem causing #16-Greg Biffle's tire to fail. Several drivers complained about various aspects of the tire, raising concerns varying from inconsistency from set to set with the tires to complaining about the hard compound that made it tough to get any grip on the track. Goodyear brought a harder left-side tire than drivers saw at the track in the fall to make sure that the tires held up on the track that was repaved prior to the 2006 season. While drivers understood the safety concession, that didn't stop the comments. Goodyear officials, though, maintained that the race played out as expected. "Tire performance was exactly what we expected from a wear and temperature perspective," Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales said. "In fact, Kurt Busch ran the first 140 laps of the race on a single set of tires. There were an unusually high number of cut tires during the Cup race -- we counted seven. In addition, several tires were damaged by contact and we had one melted bead as a result of excessive brake heat on the #16."SceneDaily.com
05/29/07
irl
No retirement plans for Franchitti  Dario Franchitti won Sunday's Indianapolis 500 with opportunistic fuel strategy. Now the question is, what's left in his personal tank?

Plenty, he said.

Dario Franchitti ponders the likeness of childhood hero Jim Clarke on the Borg-Warner trophy, photos courtesy of Honda 

Retirement apparently isn't in Franchitti's immediate racing plans as it was for Gil de Ferran when he capped his Hall of Fame career with a 500 victory in 2003.

"Oh, no, I don't think so," Franchitti said before collecting a winner's check of $1,645,233. "Yeah, it would be easy (to walk away), but I'm having a blast.

"I love my teammates; I love the team. I'm enjoying the (Indy Racing League's) season with more short ovals, more road courses."

Dario Franchitti and Michael Andretti at Indy Monday for the traditional photo

He paused and smiled.

"And this," he said, referring to the big check.

Franchitti, who turned 34 after earning a spot on Sunday's front row, admits he might have spoken differently a few years ago. He was a former loyal member of the IRL's rival, now known as the Champ Car World Series, and wasn't a big fan of the all-oval series, which included the 500. More at Indy Star

05/29/07
nascar
Roush to test COT more  Ford team-owner Jack Roush will use B.F. Goodrich and/or Hoosier tires to test his Car of Tomorrow fleet on non-Nextel Cup tracks in coming months. The team owner believes Roush Fenway Racing is slightly behind rivals that are skirting the spirit of NASCAR’s testing policies. By rule, Cup teams are limited to a handful of closely-monitored official tests. Teams must test together at the same Cup venue, and on Goodyear Eagles. But several organizations have gotten around that limit by using Goodrich and/or Hoosiers for unofficial testing at outside tracks. “NASCAR wanted to start everybody in the Car of Tomorrow on an even basis, with [the same] four or five tests,” Roush said at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Well, the teams that have been successful—the Hendrick organization, the Gibbs organization and the Childress organization—have tested their cars multiple times a week. They’ve gone to tracks outside NASCAR’s control with tires that were not from Goodyear. Right now, Goodyear is sitting on millions of dollars worth of tires that are growing obsolete and hard in their warehouses. Teams have gotten around NASCAR’s policy by buying other people’s tires and testing at tracks that aren’t on the Nextel Cup schedule. I got behind on that; I didn’t do that. But two weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer, and I’ve gone public. ‘OK, I’m getting in the testing game, too.’ If you don’t want us to test, have us sign something in the application. Something that says, ‘We agree we won’t test with Goodyears or anybody else’s tires, except for the tracks that NASCAR approves.’ But they didn’t do that; they left the door open and we got behind… but we’re going to catch up.” Strictly speaking, there’s nothing illegal about what the Hendrick, Gibbs and Childress teams are doing. Jeff Gordon, who’s won two CoT races—teammate Jimmie Johnson has won two and Kyle Busch the other—said Hendrick Motorsports shouldn’t apologize for its CoT success. “If the Roush teams aren’t doing that, then that’s their mistake,” the series points-leader said. “We’re doing everything we can to be competitive and we’re not doing anything wrong. It’s definitely playing a role in helping us get to where we are.” Ford Racing
05/29/07
nascar
COT test at VIR this week  VIRginia International Raceway is hosting a two-day open test for stock cars on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29 and 30. With several top teams slated to attend the road course test sessions, the public is invited to watch many of their favorite teams on the scenic 2.25-mile North Course. Teams planning to participate in the test include Joe Gibbs Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Hendrick Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing, Bobby Ginn Racing, Hall of Fame Racing, Ray Evernham Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Petty Enterprises. Specific drivers have not yet been confirmed, and these teams may be joined by others as the test dates approach. Public admission to the spectator areas is available for $10, either online at www.etix.com, or by calling the track at 434.822.7700. Testing is scheduled to run between 9:00 both mornings until 5:30 in the afternoon with viewing areas open around the track. More info at www.virclub.com. VIR PR
05/29/07
british f3
British F3 Lap Records Tumble on New Avon Rubber  2007 has already seen the British F3 lap records at Oulton Park and Donington Park smashed and, if the recent test times are anything to go by, Richard Antinucci’s four year Snetterton lap record is set to go the same way when the world’s leading Formula 3 Championship visit the Norfolk circuit on Sunday 3rd June.

Improvements have been made in the 2007 Formula 3 chassis the teams use but the main difference is the new tires that Avon has developed this season.

In Round 1 at Oulton Park at Easter reigning UK Formula Renault Champion Sebastian Hohenthal (#5 Fortec Motorsport) set the fastest lap with a time of 1m29.491s, 0.438 seconds faster than Nelson Piquet Jnr’s 2004 lap. In the second race of the day Jonathan Kennard (#2 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) equaled Hohenthal’s time to the thousandth of a second. More ...

05/29/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • McLaren 'comfortable' with FIA probe
  • Voters show green light to Valencia GP
  • Schu exit still hurting German TV
  • Wurz hits back at Lauda criticism
  • Bookmaker to refund angry Hamilton backers
  • World's press hails McLaren dominance
  • Kimi nears title 'danger zone' - Alonso

McLaren 'comfortable' with FIA probe
(GMM) A McLaren spokeswoman on Monday suggested that the Woking based team is not worried about the FIA's investigation into the use of possibly illegal team orders in the Monaco GP.

A storm of controversy - stirred almost certainly by the British media's strident reaction to Lewis Hamilton's forcibly restrained pace on the streets of the Principality - erupted when Ron Dennis admitted that he personally interfered with the outcome of Sunday's race.

But the spokeswoman said: "McLaren are completely comfortable with the FIA's investigation into our race strategy and that all decisions taken both before and during the race were completely in compliance with the International Sporting Code."

Team orders have long and consistently been applied throughout F1's history, but McLaren could fall foul of the FIA's ruling in October 2002, after Ferrari outraged the racing world by swapping places near the finish-line of the Austrian GP.

"Team orders which interfere with the race result are prohibited", the rules now state.

Referring to Dennis' 'hold-position' order in Monaco, an FIA spokesman said on Tuesday: "There was enough for us to be concerned about."

The maximum penalty applicable for a breach of the Sporting Code is exclusion from the championship, or the docking of points, but a merely financial sanction is more likely. More ...

05/29/07
Racing News
Video: Great in-car action  We thought you might enjoy this in-car video of some of the bravest, if not gutsy driving one might ever see. One off-course excursion and the driver is history.  Hold your breath and enjoy.  Click to see Video
05/29/07
irl
Buddy Rice looking forward to Milwaukee race  Milwaukee, Wis. - Buddy Rice is a happy man.  He is with a new team, making a fresh start to his career with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing after spending the last three seasons with Rahal-Letterman Racing.

In 2004, Rice signed with Rahal-Letterman Racing, taking the seat that had belonged to 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack due in part to Brack’s horrendous crash at Texas Motor Speedway in the 2003 season finale.

Seizing the opportunity, the 2004 season was a stellar year for Rice.  He started on the pole and won the Indianapolis 500, arguably the world’s greatest race.  He also scored four more poles and two other victories that year and finished third in the point standings.

In 2005, Rice injured his back in a practice crash at Indianapolis and was not cleared by doctors to drive in the Indy 500, thus losing his chance to compete as the defending champion.  Ironically, Rice was replaced by Brack for the race, the driver he had replaced on the team. More ...

05/28/07
nascar
NASCAR talking out of two sides of its mouth  It is interesting to note that NASCAR certainly has no issues with AT&T/Cingular sponsoring various pieces of the FOX NASCAR broadcasts, like their "Virtual Crew Chief" segment.  Or even having them recognized for being a sponsoring partner of the telecast as approved by NASCAR.

So essentially NASCAR doesn't have any issues with taking money or being supported by AT&T/Cingular, even if they choose not to play ball by NASCAR's rules.  So what do you really think that says about NASCAR's argument that their agreement with Nextel/Sprint is "exclusive"?

Bottom line - they filed the lawsuit to make it look like they were sticking up for Nextel, knowing all along they would lose....meaning they get to keep both AT&T and Nextel in the series and feed at both sides of the trough.

05/28/07
nascar
Andrew Ranger does well in NASCAR debut  A reader writes, I just thought I'd pass on an update on former Champ Car driver Andrew Ranger. As previously reported Andrew is racing this year in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series which kicked off the season this past Saturday (May 26, 2007) at Cayuga Speedway. Andrew had a good finish of 4th out of a field of 23 cars. Andrew's winnings for his hard fought 4th place finish……...$1,825.00.   Sad, maybe only enough to cover the tire bill that night.  Steve Baker, Toronto, Canada
05/28/07
irl
18 cars entered for Milwaukee  After squeaking by with 33 cars for the Indy 500, the IRL entry list for Milwaukee is back down to just 18 cars. Everyone complains about Champ Car's 17- car grid, which we agree is too small, but the IRL isn't fairing much better it would seem.

Milwaukee Official Entry List

Car Driver Entrant
2 Tomas Scheckter Vision Racing
3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske
4 Vitor Meira Delphi Panther Racing
5 Sarah Fisher AAMCO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
6 Sam Hornish Jr. Team Penske
7 Danica Patrick Andretti Green Racing
8 Scott Sharp Rahal Letterman Racing
9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing
10 Dan Wheldon Target Chip Ganassi Racing
11 Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing
14 Darren Manning A.J. Foyt Enterprises
15 Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
17 Jeff Simmons Rahal Letterman Racing
20 Ed Carpenter Vision Racing
22 A.J. Foyt IV Vision Racing
26 Marco Andretti Andretti Green Racing
27 Dario Franchitti Andretti Green Racing
55 Kosuke Matsuura Super Aguri Panther Racing More ...

05/28/07
racing news
Quotes of the week  UPDATE
MARTY REID, paid TV Commentator for Indy 500
"The depth of this field [lineup for the 2007 Indy 500] is astounding."
 
RUSTY WALLACE, paid TV Commentator for Indy 500
"Marty, [Reid] I've been here a long time and looking at this field, this is the most competitive field I've ever seen in Indianapolis during the 500.  Over half the field can win this race."
 
ROBIN MILLER, independent Motorsports Journalist, Veteran Open Wheel Expert
"The depth of this field today was maybe the worst I've ever seen.  There were so many of these thrown-together teams and fly-by-night guys.  Guys that haven't driven in a decade.  Guys that drive every three years.  That's not what the Indy 500 is about."

05/28/07
DARIO FRANCHITTI, Indy 500 winner, Andretti Green Racing
"I can hardly believe it.  Who'd have thought it!  Who would have thought it!  I've got to thank my team.  I've got to thank all these guys here, the whole Andretti Green Racing team.  This man here [team co-owner, Michael Andretti].  This is for him.  And here he comes [an emotional Tony Kanaan congratulates Franchitti].  If you knew the reason why we went with that strategy, we cut a tire on some debris and we had to make the pit stop.  And these guys just called a great race.  I was saving fuel under yellow.  I was saving so much fuel.  But whenever it went green, I had to go.  I had Dixon back there and he's a man to watch.  I can't believe it.  It's the Indy 500!  I've got to thank my whole team, my teammates, and everybody here, and all the sponsors.  It's awesome.  It's not sunk in right now.  I couldn't believe it just driving in there.  To be a member of this club is fantastic.  I have to say it could have been any one of the five of us today.  We rolled the dice.  We were unlucky in the first stint of the race.  Really glad you decided to run the second part.  I would say, 'Oh no, I think we should stop.'   I'm glad we went with it.  I know I kind of have a half an idea what it means to win this race now.  I'm pretty happy!"

ASHLEY JUDD, actress and wife of Dario Franchitti, Indy 500 Winner
"My husband is gifted.  He loved the balance on the car.  He started out with a lot of understeer.  And each consecutive pit stop they took out - or added - they added more wing.  I can't remember.  And then he quit asking for more wing because the car was in a sweet spot.  When I saw him on the grid, and I never tell what I say, but today it's fitting.  I said, 'Babe, just pick them off one at a time.'  And that's exactly what he did.  And I'd like to point out that he raced from 14th to first like a gentleman.  Like a gentleman.  And that's exactly what my husband is and I am so proud of him.  And this is overdue for him.  I'm telling you right now, he's thinking of the great Jimmy Clark [the only other Scotsman to win the Indy 500]."

SCOTT DIXON, 2nd place finisher in the Indy 500, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
"Probably one of the worse races I've ever been in. There was no rhythm to it. There were crashes after crashes, and then obviously it rained twice. It is not the way the people want to see this race. Fans who had to leave because of the rain, and obviously there's not that many people left. We didn't want to see it end when it did at (Lap) 113 because that was just totally unfair." (Talking about how the Indy 500 was ruined because of all the crashes caused by field-filler drivers who had no business being in the race in the first place) More ...

05/28/07
Track news
Mid-Ohio looking to hire safety expert  The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is looking to hire a Safety Services Manager . A resume or application can be mailed to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, PO Box 3108, Lexington, Ohio 44904 or via email to info@midohio.com.
05/28/07
irl
Michael Andretti announces retirement  Michael Andretti announced Monday that this year's Indy 500 was his last and he will hang up his helmet and focus on running Andretti Green Racing after finishing a disappointing 13th in the Indianapolis 500.

The 45-year-old Andretti has led more laps (426) at Indy than any other non-winning driver.

"I'm glad I did what I did," Andretti said Monday about his last two races at Indy. "It was all good, but I was going crazy this month. I just felt there were a lot of things I could have been doing for the team and I couldn't do. So then it just distracts you. It's just too stressful and too much."

"I've become a lot more involved with the team than I ever have been," said Andretti, who co-owns AGR with Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. "I really felt that I needed to be there at the end of last year because we just weren't getting it done. I just really feel like I need to be there pushing to make sure we get everything right and done and just to try to help Kim and Kevin as much as I can.

"Now that I've committed more time to that, it makes it even more difficult to do both sides of it."

Praise from Franchitti

"To me, Michael doesn't need to win a 500 to prove anything," Dario Franchitti said. "He's one of the best drivers I've ever seen. Even yesterday, when I was coming back through the pack, he's as hard to race as ever. The fact that he didn't win at this place has nothing to do with his skill behind the wheel."

05/28/07
irl
Franchitti earns $1.6 million from record Indianapolis 500 purse  Dario Franchitti earned $1,645,233 from a record purse of $10,668,815 for his victory May 27 in the 91st Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.  Photo courtesy of Honda

Franchitti became only the second Scotsman to win the Indianapolis 500 in an exciting, rain-shortened race. It was Franchitti's first victory in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," in his fifth start.

Franchitti's winnings and the total purse were announced May 28 during the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His win in the No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone gave Andretti Green Racing its second Indianapolis 500 victory in the past three years.

This year's event purse broke the record of $10,518,565 set in 2006. This is the sixth consecutive year the overall purse for the field of 33 drivers has exceeded $10 million. The event purse is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League and sponsor awards, and other designated awards. Buddy Rice earned the record driver's payout of $1,761,740 in 2004. More ...

05/28/07
f1
Speed gets best F1 result yet  Scott Speed put in his best F1 performance yet with an outstanding charge from 18th to ninth May 27 through the tricky street circuit of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Four days earlier, in the morning practice session Thursday, May 24, Speed turned 27 laps and posted the 12th-best time in his Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari. In the afternoon, he added another 40 laps and was 18th quickest.

"The most important thing on this first day at Monaco is that I did not hit the wall!" he said. "We have some new parts on the car since the Ricard test (in France), and they worked quite well. I'd say that the car is now turning much sharper, which is useful around here. Now I just need to find some more pace for Saturday."

The F1 cars don't run Friday in Monaco, so Speed had the day off. More ...

05/28/07
f1
Alonso steps up Hamilton mind games  (GMM) New championship leader Fernando Alonso on Monday stepped up a psychological offensive against Lewis Hamilton after beating his rookie teammate in the Monaco grand prix.

McLaren's implementation of possibly illegal team tactics in the race has sparked a storm of controversy, but Spaniard Alonso insists that his win on Sunday reinstates the championship advantage in his favor.

Referring to 22-year-old Hamilton, Alonso told the newspaper Diario As: "He told me that he hit the guardrails five or six times. At another race, that would be a retirement, no?

"Lewis and I are even (on points), but out of five races I have won two.

"We are involved in a world championship battle on the limit. Sooner or later someone is going to make a mistake that leaves him out of the battle.

"I hope that it won't be me.

Alonso also revealed that comments made by Ferrari's Felipe Massa before the race may only have strengthened his resolve to snatch Hamilton's championship lead in Monaco.

Massa had suggested that the young Briton could be the most "dangerous" title rival in 2007.

"These things make you smile when you claim the victory," Alonso said.

05/28/07
irl
Indy 500 TV coverage quickly runs out of gas  [Editor's Note: Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, Champ Car or the IRL, if the TV ratings did in fact drop for the Indy 500 this is not good news for open wheel racing in the USA which took a big hit in 1996 when the IRL was created and has never recovered. If the formula is to ever recover it is going to need the Indy 500 to be its strong anchor.]

As if the Indianapolis 500 wasn't facing enough problems, yesterday's race was the equivalent of being kicked in the stomach while lying on the track in the fetal position.

The self-titled "greatest spectacle in racing" has been anything but lately, with attendance and TV ratings dropping. And yesterday's 91st running won't help matters.

Thanks mainly to bad weather, the ESPN Indy broadcast spanned more than eight hours, including a three-hour rain delay and featured a finish totally lacking in drama.

Prior to the race, this looked like the kind of event that might lift the Indy out of its doldrums. The story potential was rich, with three females competing and the usual coterie of Andrettis on hand.

As Brent Musburger, who can always be counted on to overstate the case, said: "What happens here today will be remembered for generations." But instead the story was the weather.

There wasn't much "ESPN on ABC" could do about this, though there were times when it looked more like "The Weather Channel on ABC." More ...

05/28/07
f1
FIA to probe illegal team order claims  (GMM) The FIA on Monday vowed to investigate McLaren's alleged use of illegal team orders during the Monaco grand prix.

A statement said the governing body would look into the Mercedes-powered team's "possible breach of the International Sporting Code", following widespread condemnation of Ron Dennis' admission that Lewis Hamilton was ordered to settle for second behind his teammate Fernando Alonso on Sunday.

F1's governing body added: "The relevant evidence is under review and a further announcement will be made in due course."

Dennis, though, was unapologetic, openly admitting that he "instructed" his drivers to hold their order after the pit stops.

But he argued: "Team strategy is what you bring to bear to win a grand prix. Team orders is what you bring to bear to manipulate a grand prix.

"And we do not and have not manipulated (the) grand prix."
05/28/07
wsr
Alvaro Parente wins in Monaco  Alvaro Parante took his first World Series by Renault win of the season - and the first win ever for Tech 1 Racing in the World Series by Renault at Monaco on Sunday. The battle for victory between Parente and Sebastian Vettel went into the last two laps with less than five tenths between them. The German, quicker at that point, waited in vain for Parente to make a mistake. But it wasn't to be as the yellow flags came out after Celso Miguez crashed at the Swimming Pool.

"I had a good start and I stayed on the inside line to defend my position," reflected Parente. "The car was under-steering a little on the slow corners, but the grip was good and I was able to run my race without any problems."

"You have to say that Alvaro had a great race," conceded Vettel, who remains top in the championship, thanks to his runners-up spot. "We were extremely close in terms of pace, but he didn't make any mistakes despite the pressure I put him under. I had to fight with the car, but that's normal for such a demanding race."

Results

1. Alvaro Parente POR Tech 1 37mins 48.007secs 25 laps
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Carlin +1.273secs
3. Salvador Duran MEX Interwetten +7.190secs
4. Milos Pavlovic SCG Draco +7.893secs
5. Giedo van der Garde NED Victory +30.224secs
6. Ben Hanley GBR Prema +30.585secs
7. Mikhail Aleshin RUS Carlin +31.934secs
8. Davide Valsecchi ITA Epsilon Euskadi +37.889secs
9. Guillaume Moreau FRA KTR +38.542secs
10. Marco Bonanomi ITA RC Motorsport +39.646secs
11. Filipe Albuquerque POR Epsilon Euskadi +41.048secs
12. Bertrand Baguette BEL KTR +42.750secs
13. Miguel Molina ESP Pons +45.112secs
14. James Walker GBR Fortec +47.489secs
15. Carlos Iaconelli BRZ Pons +54.219secs
16. Julien Jousse FRA Tech 1 +56.116secs
17. Xavier Maassen NED Prema +1min 30.920secs
18. Pasquale di Sabatino ARG GD Racing +1 lap
19. Alvaro Barba ESP Draco +1 lap
20. Celso Miguez ESP Eurointernational +2 laps
Did Not Finish
Rtd. Clivio Piccione MON RC Motorsport 20 laps completed
Rtd. Fairuz Fauzy MAL Cram P1 16 laps completed
Rtd. Alex Ciompi ITA Eurointernational 9 laps completed
Rtd. Ricardo Risatti ESP GD Racing 4 laps completed
Rtd. Alejandro Nunez ESP Comtec 0 laps completed
Rtd. Charlie Kimball USA Victory 0 laps completed
05/28/07
irl
Duno told to go faster, then she crashed  The crewmembers speaking to Venezuelan rookie Milka Duno on the radio during Sunday's Indianapolis 500 asked her to become more aggressive.

On lap two, she was told, "You gotta run flat out."

On lap nine: "Flat out all the way around, Milka."

On lap 48: "Your line looks really good, but you gotta run flat out."

"Flat out, Milka, flat out," she was told on the 60th lap. Soon after, Duno's crew wanted her to move on the car in front of her, saying, "You're faster than he is. Make a run at him."

On lap 66, Duno crashed while trying to make the pass, she said. Duno spun in turn one and hit the wall, finishing the race 31st. The bottom line is that she had enough talent to follow cars around the track and move up with timely pitstops, but when it came time to try and make a pass after her crew kept telling her she had to use 100% throttle and be more aggressive, she stuffed it in the wall. At least she made it to lap 66. Many thought she wouldn't even get through the first turn of lap 1. Wait to you see her lap times on the road courses.
05/28/07
irl
Scheckter calls Hornish an idiot  "I'm pissed off,'' Indy 500 driver Tomas Scheckter said. "We've been told so many times in drivers' meetings not to block or stop a driver when he's got a run. Sam (Hornish Jr.) has done that today when he cut me off on the front straight. It's such a pity. He's such a good champion, such a good driver, but what an idiot, a real idiot. "Straight down the front straight, he comes straight in on me and ruins both our races. I hope I damaged his car when he hit my front wing. We are lucky that he had just a flat tire and I've got a broken wing. Next time he does that to me, I'm definitely not going to lift and will ram him straight into that front wall.''
05/28/07
nascar
Roush, Red Sox Plan New England Bash  The first major collaboration to come from the partnership between Fenway Sports Group and the former Roush Racing will take place next month in Boston and New Hampshire with an event called Roush Fenway Days. Roush Fenway Racing will have two days of activities at Fenway Park June 28-29, culminating with a baseball game between The Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers on June 29th. “We’re having our midyear sponsor summit there, followed by the game,” said Roush Fenway President Geoff Smith. “We’re having our big racing displays and event displays, like you would here at a racetrack, surround the park and be somewhat in the park. People get to participate in batting practice and there will be a big P.R. rollout inside the park with the drivers and players and so forth.” From there, Smith said, the action will move to New Hampshire International Speedway, site of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 NASCAR Nextel Cup race July 1. “I think you’ll see one of our cars with a special paint scheme and some special guests,” said Smith. “It’ll integrate NASCAR and the whole Fenway Red Sox experience kind of all in one big weekend.” Smith also said the team is close to announcing a title sponsor to the event. SPEEDtv.com
05/28/07
nascar
Point leader Gordon frustrated with Lowe's crash  Steve Letarte lifted his ballcap and wiped his brow as he headed for the No. 24 hauler to pack up. Minutes later Jeff Gordon emerged from the infield care center and shared his crew chief's obvious frustration about his early exit.

"My car was good, " said Gordon, who was the points leader going into the Coca-Cola 600. "And all I do is just drive it straight for a few laps and them boom, you're gone."

Tony Raines got loose next to Gordon on Lap 62 and clipped him, sending Gordon into the grass. Gordon shot up and slammed into the outside wall, collecting A.J. Allmendinger.

Gordon wasn't as frustrated with the hard tire, the source of several drivers' angst. He was more irritated by his fellow drivers.

The tire "does have a factor, but if you've got a brain, you know that you don't race right now, " Gordon said after his crash which involved five cars. "You run your own race. There are just too many guys out there who aren't doing that." SPTimes.com

05/28/07
f1
Hamilton ordered to lose race  F1 was engulfed in controversy last night after Lewis Hamilton was ordered to finish second in the Monaco Grand Prix.

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis admitted that Hamilton and world champion Fernando Alonso were told to ease off as they prepared to battle for glory in the biggest race of the year.

Hamilton said: "Of course I'm disappointed. At the end of the day I am a rookie coming into my first season so I can't complain about finishing second in my first Monaco GP.

 "I have the No.2 on my car and I am the No.2 driver."
Team orders are banned in grand prix racing but team strategies are not and the sport's governing body the FIA could today launch an investigation into events. Dennis feared the Vodafone McLaren duo could crash off if they went wheel to wheel on the narrow street track and throw away a dominating 1-2 display.

"I make no excuses for instructing the racing drivers to slow their pace after the first stop," said Dennis.

05/28/07
f1
Mercedes committed to McLaren, F1 - chairman  (GMM)  On a rare visit to the formula one paddock, DaimlerChrysler chairman Dieter Zetsche used the opportunity to reinforce Mercedes' commitment to McLaren.

After witnessing the silver cars he helps to bankroll finish a commanding one-two on the famous Monte Carlo streets, Zetsche - complete with his famously impressive moustache - point-blank rejected Monaco rumblings that Mercedes could be one of the carmakers that might one day soon simply pull out of the sport.

"We have never questioned our commitment to formula one," the Turkish born boss told the broadcaster 'Premiere'.

Zetsche said: "McLaren and Mercedes have been partners for many years and now we are delighted that we are harvesting what we have sowed."

In fact, the strongest speculation for some time has been the belief that parent company DaimlerChrysler is shaping up to simply buy the rest of Ron Dennis' team, re-branding it Mercedes-Benz.

But Zetsche insisted: "We are extraordinarily content with the form of our commitment.  We have a very strong, competent and engaged partner, and we are the largest shareholder.

"McLaren is not a marque that we would want to hide ourselves from."

05/28/07
f1
News briefs from Monaco: Monday  (GMM) Days of Thunder's Tom Cruise did not show up in Monaco on Sunday, despite solid confirmation that he was to be one of Bernie Ecclestone's official guests.

The Monte Carlo harbor, however, was still awash with bulging wallets. Lakshmi Mittal, the richest man in Britain, was spotted with the F1 supremo, and fellow billionaires Mohamed Al Fayed and Sir Philip Green were moored on unbelievably huge yachts.

-

Honda's Jenson Button confessed to mixed feelings in Monaco when he was asked about the media shadow cast on him this year by his rookie countryman Lewis Hamilton.

"I often used to say I wish I could get some space when the media was focused on me," the Briton said. "Now I have plenty of space. In fact, I appear to be completely alone."

-

Lewis Hamilton's father and manager says he is in no rush to appoint an agent for the sensational McLaren rookie.

Anthony Hamilton recognizes the massive future earning power of his son, who will make less than a million dollars in 2007.

"We're having talks with some agents to hear what they can offer. Maybe next season, maybe later down the line," Hamilton Snr told the Daily Mail, which reported that team boss Ron Dennis would prefer to handle his driver's affairs totally in-house.

-

At Dietrich Mateschitz's behest, the next issue of The Red Bulletin will ask Ron Dennis if he wants to be the paddock magazine's press officer, such was the publicity stirred by the McLaren boss' scathing comments in Monaco.

"I don't like it, I don't like what it stands for, I don't like the quality of it, and I don't like the way it tries to make fun out of individuals from every team and their efforts to try and do a good job," Dennis had said.

-

Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson slammed his drive-through penalty in the Monaco grand prix as unfair, claiming that Felipe Massa was never closer than two seconds behind him.

"I was waiting until he got closer," the rookie said. "I think other people were being bad about the blue flags and maybe the stewards made an example out of me."

05/28/07
f1
Dennis defensive in new 'team order' storm  (GMM)  'Team order' controversy returned to the formula one paddock on Sunday evening when Ron Dennis was accused by the British media of illegally preventing former championship leader Lewis Hamilton from challenging his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso in Monaco.

The most memorable such hullabaloo was in 2002, when Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello pulled over for Michael Schumacher within sight of the Austrian GP chequer.

Dennis, though, was at the centre of a similar storm in 1998, when David Coulthard deferred to Mika Hakkinen in Melbourne.

In Monaco, the F1 circus was unhappy to learn that Hamilton had to follow the lead of his world champion teammate after the first pit stop, having qualified on a heavier fuel load than pole sitter Alonso -- and the saga was spurred on by the 22-year-old's visible disappointment on the podium and in the post-race press conference.

"I've got number two on my car.  I am the number two driver," Lewis said bluntly.

Team orders that manipulate the result of a race are forbidden by the FIA, but mere team strategies are less frowned-upon.

Dennis, the Woking based team's chairman and principal, made no apologies for protecting the McLaren one-two despite admitting to some disappointment.

"I don't like to slow drivers down, I don't like them to be frustrated but it is the way you have to win the Monaco grand prix," he said.

Dennis insisted to reporters that the situation was a "one off", created by the unforgiving Monaco barriers and also McLaren's performance advantage over their nearest competitor here.

He said: "We don't have team orders -- we had a strategy to win this race.

"There will be places where they will be absolutely free to race, but this isn't one of them."

05/27/07
cc
Season restart looms for Champ Car  Three-time and reigning Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) clocked the fastest time during two days of testing at Canada’s Circuit Mont-Tremblant, recording a quickest 1:16.41 effort around the 2.65-mile (4.26 km) permanent road course.

Reaffirming the outright speed of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car, Bourdais’ time unofficially broke the track record of 1:20.0, recorded in 2005 in a 1995 Reynard, on a track that did not feature the turn one chicane that the Champ Cars now have to negotiate.

That’s music to the ears of organizers of this year’s 17th Lexmark Indy 300 to be held on Queensland’s Gold Coast from October 18-21. More ...

05/27/07
irl
cc
Seen in Indianapolis - III  Spotted former Champ Car president Joe Heitzler at Indy Sunday meeting with IRL officials. Recall that he was pursuing IRL races in San Antonio and Palm Springs........Besides Dan Clarke we also ran into Walker Racing rookie Simon Pagenaud taking in all the action. He says Mont-Tremblant is a fantastic circuit and the town is beautiful, but don't expect to see much passing because the track is narrow and there are many high-speed corners. "Perhaps you can force your way through at the hairpin turn," said Pagenaud. He thinks the team will be even stronger going forward. "In testing we found some more speed with the car, we should be strong at Portland."
05/27/07
irl
Update from Indy rain delay  Word from the IRL is that the latest they will let the rain delayed race restart will be 6:30 PM.  They are doing everything to get the track dried by that time and the skies are definitely brightening.  Many fans have stayed to wait out the storm and it looks like their patience will be rewarded with a full race.
05/27/07
f1
Ferrari plays down Monaco defeat  (GMM) Ferrari is not worried despite playing second fiddle in Monaco to its dominant championship rival, McLaren.

Sporting director Stefano Domenicali was disappointed with Felipe Massa's third place, a minute behind the silver clad Mercedes-powered duo.

But he told the German broadcaster Premiere: "It is necessary to not forget that we are in Monte Carlo, and races here are normally unusual.

"Qualifying well is so crucial, and we paid the price for that."

Massa confessed after Sunday's race that he was simply outpaced by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, but Domenicali said the 26-year-old lost a lot of time in the "most important phase" behind Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson, who was penalized for not moving over for blue flags.

The Italian said: "That was crucial. Behind Davidson he lost two seconds per lap and he could do nothing about it."

Domenicali insisted that Ferrari was "content" with Kimi Raikkonen's single point, but added that - even with a one stop strategy - "more was not possible" following his qualifying error and lowly starting position.

"The season is still long," he said.

"Now we go to North America, where we must make a more positive result, but our deficit also should not be overstated.

"This is what it is like -- here McLaren dominated, but at the next race or in the next races the situation could look completely different again."

05/27/07
f1
Race notes: Monaco GP  (GMM) Fernando Alonso called his second successive Monaco grand prix win 'easy' on Sunday and confirmed that he took it easy in the closing stages.

"You don't want to unnecessarily risk anything when you are a minute in front of the car in third place," McLaren's Spaniard said.

Team boss Ron Dennis revealed that both Alonso and second placed teammate Lewis Hamilton could have driven quicker for most of the 78-lap race.

"Slowing them down was difficult and frustrating for the drivers, but that's my job," the Briton told ITV.

-

Ferrari's Felipe Massa, the highest-placed non-McLaren, finished a minute behind the silver cars and said it was "impossible" to match their pace on Sunday.

"Now the (points) gap is a bit bigger, but five points is nothing in the championship," the Brazilian said.

-

Hamilton said he glanced Monaco's famous Armco barriers more than once on Sunday.

"Fortunately we have a solid car," the rookie smiled.
05/27/07
irl
Seen in Indianapolis - II  UPDATE A little after 10 AM and the rain has stopped and the fans have begun to pour into the Speedway.

05/27/07 At 7:50 AM here in Indy heavy rain has begun to fall and all the yellow shirt IMS workers are running for cover.  The grandstands are empty because hardly any fans have bothered to venture into the Speedway yet.  Recall the days when at 6 AM they were thousands deep at the gates pushing to get in when the gun went off at 6 AM.
05/27/07
irl
XM weather technology helps AGR team  The latest race technology was engineered for wings, not wheels, but it is now a unique new addition to Andretti Green Racing's arsenal of strategic tools.  While other teams rely on local weather forecasts, AGR through its partnership with XM Satellite Radio has exclusive access to real-time weather data, delivered trackside to team computers by XM's powerful satellites.  The result is up-to-the-second intelligence about critical weather elements that can impact race car performance, from wind speed and humidity to storm cells and lightning strikes.

While other teams rely on local weather forecasts to formulate their strategy, AGR engineers receive a constant stream of localized weather data directly to pit computers.  The data is overlaid on a GPS map, and can be viewed in multiple formats.  The result is an extensive system of current and approaching weather measurements, all of which allow AGR to customize racecar set-up and formulate strategy.

For example, accurate humidity and air density measurements are critical in optimizing car set-up as they can impact downforce, overall engine performance, even gear ratios.  And, a weather condition such as cloud cover has a direct impact on track surface temperature, which in turn is a consideration when planning tire strategy. More ...

05/27/07
Industry News
Bill Ford focuses on technology  The recent explosion of interest and investment in alternative fuels and other so-called "clean technologies" feels a bit like vindication to Bill Ford.

"When I talked about this stuff in speeches 10 years ago, people thought I was some sort of Bolshevik," the executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. told the Free Press in a rare interview last week. Vindication aside, Ford is worried that southeastern Michigan is lagging behind other regions in developing new technologies that will revolutionize the global automotive industry in years to come.

He plans to call for an intensive effort to identify and recruit cutting-edge technology firms to metro Detroit -- even tapping high-powered business leaders to get personally involved -- in a speech Thursday to the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual policy conference on Mackinac Island.

"I've spent a lot of time recently in Silicon Valley, visiting companies and venture capitalists," Ford said, noting that all major California-based technology firms have Detroit offices because the auto industry is a big customer for them.

"But they shouldn't just have sales offices here. Why can't we be the incubators of ideas here? We need to be the intellectual locus of the technology that's going to transform our industry," Ford said. More at Detroit Free Press

05/27/07
nascar
Humpy has another one of his ideas  Lowe's Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler is calling for NASCAR to add greater entertainment value to its qualifying format by placing more than one car on the racetrack at once. Wheeler told ESPN.com Saturday that attendance for LMS pole day has steadily declined since 2001, and anticipates NASCAR will make some sort of alteration for 2008. "It needs more drama," Wheeler said. "I understand why they do it, but the fact that you've already got 35 people [guaranteed] qualified takes a lot of that [drama] out. I think [NASCAR realizes] something needs to be done. It remains to be seen what, but I think something will be done next year." Wheeler is alluding to NASCAR's Top-35 rule, which guarantees a starting position in each race to every car ranked among the top-35 in car owner points. Therefore, even if they're slower than some other cars attempting to qualify they still make the show. NASCAR officials are aware of this concern, and said they will evaluate qualifying procedures following the season. But he thinks the best option is placing multiple cars on the track at once. He said he's thrown out ideas to NASCAR "for a couple years." One of which, he said, is to host four, 15-minute sessions, each including 25 percent of the cars in the field. Whoever is fastest overall wins the pole. ESPN.com
05/27/07
irl
cc
Seen in Indianapolis - I  It rained overnight here in Indy and the track was wet at 6:00 AM when the gun went off for the gates to open. Trucks are running around the track to dry it, but it is quite overcast right now.......The latest forecast is scattered showers and thunderstorms, some may be severe. Chance of rain is 40% at 1 PM race time......Spotted Champ Car driver Dan Clarke who is here to enjoy the race. He like many Champ Car drivers hope they someday get a chance to race in the Indy 500. Mark C.
05/27/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Hollywood star-power hits Monaco
  • All eyes on silver pair for first corner dash
  • Webber refuses to apologize to Hamilton
  • Dennis to Haug - 'get out, Norbert!'

Hollywood star-power hits Monaco
(GMM) Half of Hollywood looks set to stroll on the Monaco starting grid prior to the GP this afternoon, according to Sunday whispers in the glitzy Principality.

Millionaire-haven Monte Carlo is, of course, only a dash across the French border from the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, which gives credence to suggestions that Harrison Ford, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could all stop by later today.

Tom Cruise, meanwhile, is a confirmed guest of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's, sparking rumors that the famous American actor is working on a plot for a formula one movie.

Also spotted in the paddock so far on Sunday have been Star Wars' George Lucas and fellow filmmaker Ron Howard, and some suggest that U2's Bono might also be here.

All eyes on silver pair for first corner dash
(GMM) McLaren's race drivers have contradicted their boss Ron Dennis by suggesting that they will be 'spoken to' prior to the green light in Monaco today.

World champion Fernando Alonso and rookie championship leader Lewis Hamilton, already rumored to be sharing a strained relationship as teammates this year, locked out the front row in Saturday's pole dash.

But even after Alonso's first corner collision with Felipe Massa two weeks ago in Spain, Dennis told reporters that he will not be issuing strict orders for how the silver-clad pair should handle the dash to Sainte Devote at 2pm.

"In Bahrain I had a conversation with Fernando about his expected behavior in those circumstances," the Briton said, "and I have spoken about it with Lewis on other occasions.

"Both of them are professionals and they know how to manage the first corner of a grand prix, so for those reasons I will not be speaking with them about it here," Dennis said.

Alonso and Hamilton, however, told a different story, but they both also insisted that there is unlikely to be trouble at turn one.

"The team will say something to us before the start but we respect each other and we want the best for each other and the team," Alonso, 25, said.

"I don't think there will be problems."

Hamilton agreed: "The team will speak to us before (the race), but we want to do a good job for McLaren.

"We will go into that first corner probably not as aggressively as we would if we were going into it with a Ferrari.

"But if I get a better start and it looks like I can pass, then I probably will, but I won't do anything silly," he promised. More ...

05/27/07
nascar
Video: Jimmie Johnson on the COT  
Video of Jimmie Johnson previewing this weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup Coca-Cola 600 and Johnson's comments on running the Car of Tomorrow full-time in 2008.
05/27/07
f1
News briefs from Monaco: Sunday - I  (GMM)  Cora Schumacher shared her husband's misery on Saturday after Ralf was even outqualified in his Toyota by the usually-backmarking Spyker of countryman and rookie Adrian Sutil.

"At the moment nothing is going right," Schumacher's wife said in Monaco.

"To be completely honest, I am missing the words to talk about it."

-

Monaco stewards on Saturday clarified that David Coulthard will start Sunday's grand prix from thirteenth on the grid; not eleventh, as the post-qualifying timing screens indicated, or sixteenth, as indicated by official FIA documents.

The Red Bull driver was barred from participating in the 'Q3' shootout after blocking Heikki Kovalainen in the last corner.

-

Sunday will be a cooler, cloudier and windier day in Monte Carlo, with a 50 per cent chance of rain for the start of the race at 2pm.

Predictably, with pole position, Fernando Alonso is hoping for a dry race, but Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen wants wild weather following a qualifying error that has left him fifteenth on the grid.

"The race?  That depends on the weather," said the Finn.

"If it is dry it is so difficult to overtake, if it is wet it is not so bad."

05/27/07
nascar
Kahne scores convincing NASCAR Busch Series win  For Kasey Kahne, Saturday night's CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race proved to be an oasis of success in an otherwise barren year of NASCAR competition. Photo right courtesy of CIA Stock Photo

Kahne, who started 32nd and charged through the field, pulled away during an 11-lap green-flag run to the finish and beat Casey Mears to the stripe by 2.448 seconds at Lowe's Motor Speedway to collect the sixth victory of his series career.

Clint Bowyer ran third, followed by Jeff Burton and Regan Smith. Jimmie Johnson, polesitter Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Scott Wimmer and Stephen Leicht completed the top 10. More ...

05/26/07
irl
She had link to 500 since birth  500 Festival Queen Danielle Sylvester has known about the Indy 500 for as long as she's lived.  And that's not just because she lives in Indianapolis.  The 21-year-old queen was born on race day in 1985 and her father, Paul Sylvester, listened to the race on the radio while her mom was in labor.  He'd hoped to name the baby for whoever won the race if it was a boy.  Her mom, Terri Sylvester, had already picked out the name she liked for a baby girl: Danielle.  It all worked out when Danny Sullivan turned a spin into a win that hot day in May.  "I got my dream," her father said after Danielle was crowned.  "We named our daughter after the winner of the 1985 Indianapolis 500." 
05/26/07
nascar
Hyder gets new gig, crew chief for Mayfield  Crew chief David Hyder, fired from Michael Waltrip Racing last month, will return to the pit box next weekend at Dover International Speedway to guide the #36 Toyota driven by Jeremy Mayfield, Bill Davis Racing competition director Tommy Baldwin told ESPN.com Saturday. Hyder is already working in the BDR shop, preparing a car to test Tuesday at North Carolina Speedway in preparation for Dover, Baldwin said. Hyder was fined $100,000 and suspended indefinitely by NASCAR in the first week of the season after an illegal substance was found in the carburetor on the #55 Toyota prior to qualifying. NASCAR will lift the suspension on May 30, opening the door for Hyder to join BDR. Baldwin is relieved to bring Hyder on board. He'd been pulling double duty since March, serving both as crew chief for Mayfield's team and as the organization's competition director. "Thank god," Baldwin said with a grin. "It's time for me to focus on the future of this organization." Hyder was unavailable for comment. ESPN.com
05/26/07
irl
PR gimmicks are ruining Indy Racing League  One of the biggest attractions at the Indianapolis 500 this year is a driver who combines the rocket-scientist smarts of female racing pioneer Janet Guthrie with the drop-dead gorgeous looks of a telenovela hottie.

Alas, Milka Duno, one of a record three women in the field, has the driving ability of Jack Miller the racing dentist, whose white-knuckle driving was to auto racing as Sir Lawrence Olivier’s character in the movie "Marathon Man" was to tooth extraction.

That the 35-year-old Venezuelan engineer-turned-driver is getting so much attention speaks to the sad state of affairs for Open-wheel racing has been reeling since the 1995 rift between CART (now called Champ Car) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which split the sport into two series just as NASCAR was rising to national prominence. To become more than a niche draw, open-wheel racing needs a real star — someone who can attract fans to a sport that, in terms of quality of racing, is far more exciting than those racin’ taxicabs.

Instead, year after year, the attention to Indy-car racing focuses on gimmicks like Duno.

The IndyCar publicity machine's anemic horsepower is the equivalent of go-kart racing. Witness hiring Kiss’ Gene Simmons to handle the league’s image — based on his formula for success, is he supposed to have drivers wear codpieces, spit flames, and expose their hairy man-boobs? This year, the circuit is promoting four drivers: Dan Wheldon, Sam Hornish Jr., Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick. These selections tell you how Duno can become such a big story.  More at MSNBC.com

05/26/07
cc
Paul Newman retires  Paul Newman's career has included winning an Oscar, establishing a food company to fund charities, and operating a restaurant, and owning a Champ Car team, but he said this week he is retiring from acting.

"I'm not able to work anymore as an actor at the level that I would want to," the 82-year-old Hollywood star told ABC News in an interview released on its Web site on Friday.

"You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me," he said.

Newman brought a memorable series of rough, charming and roguish characters to the screen like the alcoholic Brick in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," the quirky "Cool Hand Luke," the suave con man in "The Sting" and the dissolute title character of "Hud."

He earned nine Academy Award acting nominations but his only win was for best actor in "The Color of Money" in 1987 as the same pool shark he had played when he was nominated in 1962 for "The Hustler."

One of his biggest financial hits came in 1969 with "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," a tongue-in-cheek Western that paired Newman with Robert Redford. The two teamed up again in 1973 as con men in "The Sting."

05/26/07
irl
Mystique is gone, leaving Indy as just another race  Around the track, they talk about good times from the past and even better times still ahead. The Indianapolis 500 is being run for the 91st time on Sunday, they remind you, and is as much of an institution now as it was when names like Foyt, Mears and Unser ruled the old brickyard.

A few miles away, another story is told at the Budget Inn and Fantasy Suites. There, rooms were still available this week for the Saturday night before the race for $119. Suites were a bit higher, and there was a $5 charge for having the phone turned on. It's not entirely fair, of course, to judge the Indy of today with the Indy of the past by the amount of vacant hotel rooms. And it may not be totally fair to judge it by declining television ratings in an era when sports ratings are down nearly everywhere.

Come race day there will be at least 250,000 fans in the stands and infield to watch the race unfold. The crowd itself is down from the glory days of the track, but a quarter of a million people is still a quarter of a million people. More ...

05/26/07
irl
Only 2 rookies in this year's Indy 500  Only two rookies are contending for this year's Indy 500, Milka Duno and Phil Giebler, both road racers.  They met the media today at the Indy Speedway.

MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I enjoy every single event, every moment here in Indianapolis. It was someplace I always wanted to be here from a long time ago. Everything is such a big surprise. I can't explain with words how I feel here, how I feel to be part of the Indy 500. I know it's going to be a very tough race. Yesterday I was practicing with my car. The car was not good, but my engineer was working with the car. At the end, we got a better car. I have a confidence in my team. He (engineer) has experience to give me a good car in the race. I try to do the race for all my fans. It's incredible, so many fans I have here, and I appreciate it very much. I appreciate the chance to race in the United States. It's a really, really nice feeling for me. I was, two days ago, for more than four hours in front of my garage signing autographs on Community Day. More than four hours, just in front of the garage. The children I enjoy so much, the people who are coming with the schools."

(About pre-race nerves): "I think there's a little tension. But I know how to focus just before the start of the race. I know how to put away the feelings that can make you a little nervous. It's normal. It's a big race. It's a race that I always wanted to be here from a long time ago."

(Comparing Grand Am car to IndyCar Series car): "The Daytona Prototype is very tough and a very difficult car to drive. It's very heavy and has no aerodynamics. At Homestead or Daytona when you're on the banking, you feel the car moving and you say, 'Oh, whoa.' You have to be brave to go flat with this kind of car because you have no air, no aerodynamics. An open-wheel car is lighter, you have more downforce, and it's a little more easy on the banking. At the same time, you are going so fast that it's difficult. The speed is 200, 220 here. It's very tough. These cars you go so fast, everything is so light, and you have to be so sensitive. You have no margin here. Maybe with a road course or with the other car (Daytona Prototype), you can have a little margin for a mistake. But here, no. You have to be even more concentrated, so much focus. Mentally, you feel so much more exhausted with this car than with the other. Physical, maybe the other. But this one, mentally so much, it's a very big effort." More ...

05/26/07
cc
Rahal says new Champ Car impressive  Champ Car rookie Graham Rahal discounts the criticisms leveled at the DP01. In fact, he's a big fan of the new Champ car.

"A lot of people talk about all these problems we've had but you have these issues with any new car," he observed. "Look at all the complaints about the Car of Tomorrow in NASCAR, for example. But I think the new DP01 is performing very well. It is very impressive how much grip the car has. When we went to Portland for the test the cornering speeds were very impressive. I also followed several people during that test and I do think the car runs better in traffic. And that's what's most important because I think the racing will be closer."  More at ChampCar.ws

05/26/07
nascar
Woman arrested in NASCAR fraud case  UPDATE #2 A former stripper was sentenced to nearly three-and-a-half years in federal prison Friday for attempting to embezzle more than $1 million from a bank to start her own NASCAR racing team.  Fatemeh Angela Harkness, 31, of Round Rock, pleaded guilty in January 2004 to conspiring with banker Gary Jones to embezzle more than $1 million from his Austin bank from 2000 to 2003. She received a 40-month sentence.

04/09/07 A former stripper-turned-NASCAR-owner who has been sought by U.S. authorities for three years was arrested in New York on Sunday after agreeing to surrender.  Fatemeh Angela Harkness was taken into custody as soon as her flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, touched down at JFK International Airport in New York, said Timothy Hughes, a spokesman for the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.

Authorities accused Harkness and Gary Jones, a former Wells Fargo business banker, of using about $1 million obtained through fraudulent bank loans to start a NASCAR team called Angela’s Motorsports, which they ran out of Harkness’ Round Rock home. The racing team entered cars in the Busch Grand National Series starting in 2002. It disappeared in 2003 after the team’s checks started bouncing.

Jones prepared about 12 loans using several people’s names and kept the money for himself, according to court documents. He was sentenced to just less than four years in prison in August 2004 after he pleaded guilty to fraud, theft and embezzlement charges.



05/28/05 A Texas woman who fled the country after she pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with a scheme to fund her NASCAR racing team has been arrested in the Middle East, the U.S. Marshals Service said Friday.  Fatemeh Angela Harkness, 29, admitted in January 2004 that she conspired with Austin banker Gary Jones to embezzle more than $1 million from his bank between 2000 and 2003.

Jones, a former Wells Fargo business banker who was vice president of his branch, prepared about 12 loans using several people's names and kept the money for himself, court documents show.  Jones and Harkness, a former stripper from Round Rock, used the money to assemble a NASCAR team called Angela's Motorsports. The racing team entered cars in the Busch Grand National Series starting in 2002.

The Marshals Service learned Thursday that Harkness had recently been arrested in the United Arab Emirates on a U.S. warrant, agency spokesman Tim Hughes said. The agency is working with the government in Dubai on her extradition to the United States. When she returns to the U.S., Harkness will be sentenced on the original charge and likely also will face charges for violating her bond, Hughes said.  AP Story

05/26/07
irl
Indy 500 banks on women, Andrettis in seeking lost luster  SPORTSWATCH: Indy 500 Banks On Women, Andrettis In Seeking Lost Luster

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
By Shawn Langlois

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones) -- A crooning Jim Nabors will be missing due an illness, but the celebratory milk-stache will still conclude one of the world's biggest sporting events this weekend, with millions of race fans across the globe tuning in for the running of the 91st Indianapolis 500.

But the rich traditions and notable storylines swirling around the Brickyard, a.k.a. the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this year will only serve to mask the reality of a race that's struggling mightily to maintain its fan base and keep its followers from fleeing to NASCAR.

"Scalpers used to command hundreds of dollars for these tickets," said Mark Cipolloni, president of industry Web site AutoRacing1.com. "Now they're out there offering $10, and we could still see some empty bleachers." The race is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

The blame, he says, falls squarely on those running the show.

The biggest blow came in 1994, when Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, created the Indy Racing League. He split from the now-bankrupt CART racing circuit, effectively diluting the talent across both racing series.

The industry hasn't been the same since, and some say it never will until the two organizations, the other now known as Champ Car, reunite. More ...

05/26/07
gp2
Maldonado takes GP2 win  Pastor Maldonado took his first GP2 win at the Monaco Grand Prix this afternoon for Trident Racing. The Venezuelan managed to convert his pole position into a convincing win, ending up eight seconds ahead of Giorgio Pantano with championship leader Timo Glock completing the podium trio.

There were only 15 finishers as the Monaco streets took many victims. Luca Filippi ended up fourth ahead of ART's Luca di Grassi with Pantano's team-mate Vitaly Petrov making it a strong race for Campos Racing by coming sixth. Sebastien Buemi was seventh in the second ART whilst Antonio Pizzonia, Adrian Zaugg and Kazuki Nakajima rounding off the top ten. Bruno Senna was a disappointing eleventh for Arden.

Maldonado got away sharply at the start to maintain first place ahead of Pantano and di Grassi. Andreas Zuber was unable to make the most of his third grid slot after stalling on the grid and subsequently retiring. Karun Chandhok crashed his Durango into the barriers at the first corner after being hit by Andy Soucek's DPR. The Spaniard had to consequently come into the pits to have his front wing changed. Maldonaldo started to create a substantial margin between himself and Pantano, who had a queue of drivers behind him. Mike Conway then inexplicably spun on the straight after the first corner, crashing into the barriers. Sakon Yamamoto followed suit a couple of laps later before Roldan Rodriguez crashed in the tunnel losing control of his car on cold tires after his pit-stop. More ...
05/26/07
f1
Coulthard penalized, criticized, for blocking  Although it was expected that David Coulthard's qualifying penalty had simply dropped him out of the top ten, the Scot will actually start the Monaco GP from sixteenth after his 'Q2' times were also deleted.

The Red Bull driver professed his innocence after blocking Renault's Heikki Kovalainen on a hot lap -- an indiscretion that did not impress the stewards.

"There was a message from the team, and I clearly didn't get the correct information," Scot Coulthard told ITV.

Renault's furious Pat Symonds called it "unbelievable" that one of F1's most experienced drivers fell foul of the blue flags, and the team's post-session document slammed Coulthard for blocking Finn Kovalainen "for almost an entire lap".

"It is a shame that the oldest driver in the field, and the one who is most voluble about problems with traffic, was unable to adhere to his own principles," Symonds said.

Kovalainen will start the race from fourteenth, and said of the incident: "He just stayed there all the way round, and ruined the lap; to say the least, I was very surprised to see that from the most experienced driver in the field."

For the record, Rubens Barrichello is actually the most experienced driver in F1 today; Coulthard, at 36, is the oldest.

05/26/07
f1
Trulli doing 'better job' - Schumacher  (GMM)  Ralf Schumacher's woeful season continued to worsen on Saturday when he qualifying just twentieth for the Monaco grand prix -- with pace nearly a second slower than his Toyota teammate Jarno Trulli.

"Both of us showed that we are simply too slow," the German insisted to the broadcaster Premiere.  "We have a grip problem with our car.

"Jarno is clearly doing a better job than me here, but it has not been going well for either of us."

05/26/07
nascar
Sirius Radio sponsors NASCAR in Canada  Sirius Canada is building on Sirius' relationship with NASCAR and is now the official presenting sponsor of the 2007 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series starting May 26th.

Sirius will gain trademark and marketing rights as part of the partnership with Canadian Tire, allowing Sirius to be featured in a variety of high-profile television, print, in-store and online advertising. Sirius will also participate in the NASCAR Experience Road Show touring throughout Canada this summer where they'll introduce Canadians to all the excitement and racing action of NASCAR.

The inaugural season of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series competition will kick off on Saturday, May 26th at Cayuga International Speedway, and includes races across 10 tracks throughout Canada, with the season-ending event on Sunday, Sept 23rd at Kawartha Speedway.
05/26/07
f1
Barrichello's new 'black' helmet  (GMM) Rubens Barrichello emerged from the Honda garage on Saturday with what many observers referred to as a new 'black' helmet.

In fact, the Brazilian has simply followed the lead of BMW's Nick Heidfeld in applying a special-technology coating to his helmet that reveals his usual livery colours as the temperature rises.

But in the cool Monaco rain, Barrichello's helmet stayed almost jet-black throughout the session.

Heidfeld used the innovation in Bahrain and Barcelona, but seems to have reverted to his normal white livery for the Monaco GP after some commentators denounced the look as slightly 'dirty'.

-

Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan was spotted in the Monaco paddock on Saturday morning.
05/26/07
f1
Leave Lewis alone, Lauda tells Dennis  (GMM)  Triple world champion and former McLaren driver Niki Lauda has urged the Woking based team's boss to let Lewis Hamilton be himself.

Daily Express journalist Bob McKenzie revealed earlier this weekend that two McLaren minders prevented him from 'walk and talk' interviewing rookie Hamilton after Thursday practice in Monaco.

"We're trying to give him every opportunity to concentrate on his job," McLaren chairman and team principal Ron Dennis justified, admitting that the constant back-seat advice from observers like Lauda is "annoying".

He added: "I don't want to be too aggressive but they're failures in many of the things they've done, and their opinions are obviously sought by those members of the media that suffer or struggle with our own position."

But Lauda, now a commentator for German TV but previously a boss of the defunct Jaguar team, warned Dennis that the 22-year-old championship leader should be free to be himself.

"If you start manipulating him he will turn into a bore like some of the other guys," the always-outspoken Austrian said.

05/26/07
irl
Indianapolis 500 tickets still on sale  The Indy 500 used to sell out for the following year the day after the race each year.  In fact when the IRL was first announced that was still the case.  However, once the fans saw that all the best teams were in CART and the sport had been destroyed by splitting it into two series, Indy has not sold out since (except for the NASCAR race). 

Tomorrow is the race and despite far less grandstand seats than they used to have, fans can still order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Monday-Sunday during May, with special hours of 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Race Day, Sunday, May 27. Online orders can be made at any time.

Race Day ticket prices start at just $20.

05/26/07
irl
Winning crew chief to get Honda motorcycle  The crew chief whose mechanical skill helps a driver win the 91st Indianapolis 500 will be presented the Honda Motorcycle Indy 500 Winning Crew Chief Award, a Honda Valkyrie Rune cruiser motorcycle.

Matt Jonsson of Team Penske won the award and a Valkyrie Rune last year for helping Sam Hornish Jr. capture a thrilling, last-lap victory in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

With the Honda Valkyrie Rune, cruiser styling is taken to all-new heights and blended seamlessly with Honda's most advanced technology. The motorcycle features an 1832cc liquid-cooled, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine, a five-speed transmission and a shaft final drive.

Honda Racing HI7R Indy V-8 engines will power all 33 starters in the 91st Indianapolis 500, which starts at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday. Honda Performance Development became the single provider of engines for the IndyCar® Series in 2006, and the last three Indianapolis 500 winners have used Honda engines.

05/26/07
f1
Sutil tops wet Monaco practice  (GMM) Spyker rookie Adrian Sutil created sensation on Saturday morning in Monaco by setting the fastest time at the end of a wet pre-qualifying practice session.

The hour-long session was dominated by changing fortunes and spins, as heavy rain eased and the quickest laps were set on a drying track in the dying moments.

German Sutil's top-of-the-timesheets excitement got the better of him at the end of the session, however, when he stalled as the field was allowed to practice a wet start on the grid.

The wet track caught out many drivers, including Lewis Hamilton who only avoided a repeat of his Thursday shunt by taking to the escape road at Ste Devote.

But, amazingly, no driver actually crashed his car in the slippery conditions, unlike on dry Thursday which captured no fewer than five victims in the 22-strong field.

Toro Rosso's Scott Speed late practice dash netted him the fifth quickest time, while Felipe Massa ended up just twelfth despite winning the past two grands prix in his Ferrari.

Pos  Driver        Team               Time              Laps
 1.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:36.612           12
 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:36.739 + 0.127   13
 3.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:36.767 + 0.155   15
 4.  Fisichella    Renault            1:36.784 + 0.172   16
 5.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:36.954 + 0.342   15
 6.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:37.020 + 0.408   16
 7.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:37.214 + 0.602   15
 8.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:37.388 + 0.776   15
 9.  Button        Honda              1:37.442 + 0.830   12
10.  Barrichello   Honda              1:37.463 + 0.851   14
11.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:37.732 + 1.120   13
12.  Massa         Ferrari            1:37.997 + 1.385   12
13.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:38.121 + 1.509   14
14.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:38.180 + 1.568   17
15.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:38.302 + 1.690    6
16.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:38.463 + 1.851   13
17.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:38.876 + 2.264   14
18.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:38.899 + 2.287   18
19.  Albers        Spyker-Ferrari     1:38.935 + 2.323   14
20.  Schumacher    Toyota             1:40.677 + 4.065   17
21.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:41.108 + 4.496    8
22.  Trulli        Toyota             1:43.417 + 6.805   22

05/26/07
f1
Senna feat immortalized in Monaco  (GMM) A plaque to immortalize the late and great Ayrton Senna's dominance of the Monaco GP record book was unveiled beside the famous street circuit on Friday.

Prince Albert of Monaco, alongside Ayrton's sister Vivianne and his nephew Bruno - who is racing in the GP2 support race here this weekend - opened the memorial to mark nearly twenty years to the day since Senna won his first Monaco grand prix in a Lotus in 1987.

He went on to win it a further five times, between 1989 to 1993, and the feat is still a record.

Just two weeks before the 1994 Monaco grand prix, Senna was killed when his Williams speared off the Imola track in Italy.

05/26/07
f1
NASCAR hearing over injunction set for Aug. 2  The U.S. Court of Appeals hearing over the injunction allowing the use of the AT&T logos on the #31 Richard Childress Racing car is scheduled for Aug. 2 in Atlanta, but NASCAR would like the schedule moved up, a spokesman says. NASCAR has filed its appeal briefs and has asked the court for a hearing as soon as possible, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday. "We filed our briefs well in advance of the deadlines," Poston said. "This is an important case and certainly would like the court's consideration to further expedite the hearing." U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob ruled May 18 that NASCAR couldn't prohibit RCR from switching the Cingular logos to the AT&T logos on the car driven by Jeff Burton. NASCAR wants to prohibit the logos as part of its exclusivity agreement with series sponsor Sprint Nextel. In issuing the injunction, the judge ruled that the licensing agreement and grandfather clause that RCR signed with NASCAR does not prohibit the change in logos. SceneDaily.com
05/26/07
f1
Schu not Massa 'coach' - Todt  (GMM)  Ferrari boss Jean Todt has played down suggestions that Michael Schumacher has become Felipe Massa's 'coach' at grands prix this year.

Massa thanked the retired seven time world champion for helping him to victory in Spain two weeks ago, and on the eve of the Monaco race revealed that Schumacher would again be on-site to play a role in devising his race strategy.

Brazil's Massa and Schumacher then emerged from an engineering briefing together in the Monte Carlo paddock on Friday, followed by a lone Kimi Raikkonen; Massa's new teammate.

But Todt denied that Schumacher's role as an unspecified team 'advisor' had now developed, albeit admitting that the pair share "big respect".

"Probably that is helping Felipe psychologically to know that a guy like Michael is a reference point for him in this business," the Frenchman added on Friday.

Finn Raikkonen, meanwhile, appears less at ease in his new scarlet surroundings, but a Brazilian journalist suggests that the anomalous situation may simply be the outcome of how well Massa is driving.

"He is like a completely changed guy," Livio Orrichio, who writes for the newspaper O Estado do Sao Paulo, said.

05/26/07
irl
Lenovo to sponsor No. 98 car in 500  Lenovo, a leading computer company, announced a sponsorship agreement with the CURB/Agajanian/Beck team the Indianapolis 500. The Lenovo logo will be placed on the black No. 98 CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, driven by Alex Barron, for this weekend's Indianapolis 500. In addition, Lenovo will provide PC technology to be used throughout the team's functions - ranging from ignition checks to race operations and inventory.

In an innovative cross-promotion, the Indy 500 sponsorship also showcases Lenovo's support for the NBA and The Finals, marking the first time the league's marquee event has been promoted during an auto race. The front wings on the car will brand The Finals on ABC on June 7. Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., expected top selections in the NBA Draft in June and both Indianapolis natives, will be in the pits Sunday as guests of Lenovo and Barron.

TONY GEORGE (Founder and CEO, Indy Racing League): "IndyCar racing is a data-intensive, computing-intensive endeavor, highly focused and invested in innovation and development and highly dependent on information technology. We welcome Lenovo to this community and are excited to be working with the best in the business for PC technology."

DEEPAK ADVANI (senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Lenovo): "Lenovo creates the best-engineered PCs in the world, and the IndyCar Series provides an exciting platform to build Lenovo awareness in the U.S. market, and to showcase our products and their reliability. The Indy 500 race will provide an excellent opportunity for us to unleash the value of the IndyCar Series as a marketing platform."

MARK TATUM (NBA Senior Vice President, Marketing Partnerships): "Lenovo is an innovative NBA partner, and their placement of The Finals logo on the CURB/Agajanian/Beck car showcases their commitment to our relationship and their PC technology support for The Finals."

05/26/07
cc
Team Australia satisfied with Mont-Tremblant test  Team Australia drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have successfully completed a two-day test at the challenging Mont Tremblant circuit in Quebec, Canada over the past two days.

The Aussie Vineyards-backed Champ Car squad worked on the set-up of Team Australia’s two DP01s over the course of the test, where seven teams and 12 drivers were present at the 2.65-mile (4.26-kilometre) permanent road course that will host Round 6 of this year’s Champ Car World Series on June 29 to July 1 and end a 39-year absence for Champ Car at the Canadian circuit.

The fast and flowing layout is not for the faint-hearted and even after the first day of testing on Thursday May 24, which was a half-day of track activity before a full day of testing on Friday, was flagged as a favorite by Team Australia drivers Pagenaud and Power.

Power was sixth on the first day as he tested new parts from gearbox manufacturer Hewland, while Pagenaud was one place higher in fifth fastest. Day two saw Power and Pagenaud sixth and seventh respectively, with the Team Australia duo only half a second behind the fastest time of the weekend set by championship leader and defending champion Sebastien Bourdais. More ...

05/26/07
f1
Rain in Monaco!  (GMM) It started to rain at Monaco just a few minutes before the start of the final pre-qualifying session on Saturday morning.

The treacherous street circuit was declared wet by the stewards, and treaded tires were fitted to the cars. David Coulthard was an early casualty, skidding albeit harmlessly through the harbor chicane after locking the brakes.

Mere installation laps dominated the opening stages of the hour-long session, and only the Ferraris had not completed a tour with fifty minutes to go.

In fact, an unhurried Kimi Raikkonen was still making his way to the pits as the lights turned green.

05/26/07
f1
Seen in Monaco - 1  (GMM) Some of the drivers were hard to spot in Monte Carlo on 'day off' Friday, but a lot of their wives and girlfriends were busy modeling clothes at a charity function at the Beach Plaza Hotel.

Watched on by Bernie Ecclestone and 'playboy' Flavio Briatore, the other-halves of Alex Wurz, Giancarlo Fisichella, Felipe Massa and others turned model for a night. Also donning the catwalk was Bernie's daughter Tamara.

-

World champion Fernando Alonso slept-in until 10am on Friday, and after arriving at the circuit spent most of the day in 'casual' mode.

In the evening he went to David Coulthard's hotel Columbus for a game of tennis, and only later went to 'work' with a function at the McLaren communications centre -- a cocktail party for the sponsor Vodafone. His rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton could be found at a Hugo Boss party.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa spent most of the day with his girlfriend at his Monaco apartment, and Kimi Raikkonen was also nowhere to be seen as he played a round of golf.

-

Saturday has dawned cloudy and warm in Monte Carlo, but the chance of rain is now lower, with local forecasts predicting only a 20 per cent probability. Parts of nearby France, however, are already experiencing rain showers.

For Sunday, a 40 per cent chance of rain exists.

-

Renault will debut a brand new front wing in the Saturday morning practice session at Monaco, according to reports.

05/26/07
irl
Indy 500 could be hit with rain  Forecasters are calling for a 70 percent chance of rain today and Sunday, but they aren't ready to predict a washout for the IRL 500 Festival Parade or the race. Scattered showers and thunderstorms, most likely in the afternoon, are in the National Weather Service forecast for both days.

"It's all going to come down to timing and location," said Steve Haines, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. It doesn't look like one of those situations either day where it's going to be a lousy, rainy day all day."

05/25/07
irl
Wheldon favored to win Indy 500  The hottest driver on the Indy Car circuit, Dan Wheldon, is favored to win this year's Indy 500 by a margin of 3 to 1 over his next closest rival according to a pole taken by AutoRacing1.com.

Dan Wheldon (420) 29% 
Tony Kanaan (144) 10% 
Danica Patrick (135) 9% 
Helio Castroneves (134) 9% 
Sam Hornish Jr. (133) 9% 
Scott Dixon (113) 8%  
Dario Franchitti (105) 7% 
Michael Andretti (95) 7% 
Ryan Briscoe (85) 6% 
Marco Andretti (63) 4% 

05/25/07
cc
tv news
Historical Grand Prix of Cleveland Races  For 25 years, the high-speed, open-wheel cars of Champ Car have thrilled fans at the Grand Prix of Cleveland, a Northeast Ohio tradition that currently has the longest tenure of any temporary racing venue on the Champ Car circuit. To celebrate the event’s rich history, SportsTime Ohio will broadcast 24 historical races leading up to the 2007 Grand Prix of Cleveland, which takes place June 22-24.

Since Bobby Rahal won the inaugural race as a rookie in1982, some of the greatest names in auto racing have taken the checkered flag on the famous course at Burke Lakefront Airport on the shores of Lake Erie. Fans will be able to tune in to watch some of the thrilling contests from years past, with a list of winners that reads like a “who’s who” in open-wheel racing, including Rahal, Alex Zanardi, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser, Jr., Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais. More ...

05/25/07
f1
Judge dismisses USGP lawsuit  A U.S. federal appeals court upheld a judge's dismissal of a class-action lawsuit against Formula One, French tiremaker Michelin and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by fans upset that seven race teams boycotted the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix.

Angry fans sued after concerns about tire safety prompted 14 of 20 drivers to pull off the track just as the race was about to start. The fans argued that the defendants were obligated not only to put on a race, but to put out their best effort to make it exciting.

Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook on Friday dismissed such claims in a 14-page ruling. The reduced race was allowable under F1 rules, he wrote, "and once it is established that the plaintiffs received a regulation race, they admit that they had no additional right to a race that was exciting or drivers that competed well."  AP Story

05/25/07
irl
IPS
Friday attendance at Indy  Friday saw the largest crowd all month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where an estimated 50,000 fans showed up to see the Freedom 100 Indy Pro Series race, Carb Day practice for the Indy Cars and the Kidd Rock concert. Reports written elsewhere by some shill of over 100,000 in attendance were extremely exaggerated. That would mean over 1/3 of the grandstands would have had to be filled, and it wasn't even close.


Photos courtesy of IRL

05/25/07
irl
Castroneves, Penske repeat in Pit Stop Challenge  Helio Castroneves and the No. 3 Team Penske crew made it two in a row by winning the 2007 Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge on May 25 on 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 $50,000 winner's check from the $100,000 event purse for the second consecutive year.

"These guys are just incredible; it was a great team effort," Castroneves said. "I don't know if you saw on TV, but they have been practicing all off-season. This is their competition. I was worried I would screw it up. Thank God I didn't."

Following the final-round win, Castroneves did his customary victory fence climb - this time on the inside catch fence, right in front of the throng gathered for the Miller Lite Carb Day festivities. More ...

05/25/07
cc
Bourdais Leads Final Day of Testing in Mont-Tremblant  The young Minardi Team USA drivers might have dominated the first day of testing at Circuit Mont-Tremblant yesterday but it was a pair of veterans that took over the top-two spots during the second and final day at the picturesque Laurentian circuit.

Three-time Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) clocked the fastest time of the two days with a 1:16.41, unofficially breaking the track record of 1:20.0 recorded in 2005 in a 1995 Reynard on a track that did not feature the turn one chicane that the Champ Cars now have to negotiate.

“The track does seem to pick up a large amount of grip so sometimes it gets difficult to read what the changes are doing and what is in the track but I think we made some progress,” said Bourdais. “There were a few test items that we wanted to get an answer on because we didn’t have many laps with the limited testing rule. We didn’t use many tires either so I was very happy with the way the whole thing went. Hopefully we can come back here and have a good race.” More ...

05/25/07
IRL
Andretti twins have lot to root for  1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and his twin brother Aldo were interested observers of Miller Lite Carb Day final practice today from the Andretti Green Racing pits.

Andretti's son Michael, grandson Marco and nephew John are in the starting field Sunday.

MARIO ANDRETTI: "My wish list? Michael would win, Marco would get second, and John would finish third. All I can see is that all five of the AGR cars are quite happy here. I'm listening to the comments from most of the drivers, and all of them are doing very well. They have done their work. We don't know how the conditions will fare out on Race Day, but I think the cars are better on paper this year than they were last year. We will see how it goes."

Aldo Andretti offered comments today about his son (John Andretti), nephew (Michael Andretti) and great-nephew (Marco Andretti) starting the 91st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

ALDO ANDRETTI: (How does it feel seeing three of your Andretti boys in the race?): "I'm overwhelmed, obviously. Because it was not as much planning for this, this year. It all happened, and I'm really ecstatic that everything is working out as well as it is. I keep repeating myself when I say that John (Andretti), you have a hill to climb in three days. He's looking good. He's very happy with the car. So I'm very happy, obviously."

05/25/07
ips
Alex Lloyd continues Indy Pro domination  UPDATE Added photo of Alex Lloyd holding his winning trophy.

05/25/07 Alex Lloyd (pictured right) made it 4-for-4 to start the Indy Pro Series season, winning the fifth Freedom 100 under caution because of moisture in Turn 2 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The victory for Lloyd, driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, tied Thiago Medeiros' 2004 record for the most consecutive victories. Lloyd's have come in two oval and two street course races.

Chris Festa, who started seventh in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing car, finished second. Jaime Camara, the 2005 race winner, advanced from 18th place to finish third in the No. 11 Osofresh car for Andretti Green Racing.
Kid Rock headlined a concert to conclude the busy day.

Pos Driver Diff Last Lap Status
1 Alex Lloyd (7) ... 40 Running
2 Chris Festa (9) 0.4131 40 Running
3 Jaime Camara (11) 1.2815 40 Running
4 Andrew Prendeville (5) 1.7873 40 Running
5 Hideki Mutoh (55) 2.5715 40 Running
6 Mike Potekhen (53) 3.1109 40 Running
7 Matt Jaskol (8) 4.0006 40 Running
8 Al Unser III (12) 4.1105 40 Running
9 Jon Brownson (34) 4.7621 40 Running
10 Jonathan Klein (2) 5.2450 40 Running
11 Robbie Pecorari (13) 5.8013 40 Running
12 Logan Gomez (23) 6.0126 40 Running
13 Ryan Justice (38) 6.8715 40 Running
14 Stephen Simpson (24) 7.1886 40 Running
15 Micky Gilbert (54) 8.5256 40 Running
16 Tom Wieringa (40) 9.4878 40 Running
17 Marc Williams (6) 10.2643 40 Running
18 Shane Jantzi (33) 11.0304 40 Running
19 Sean Guthrie (4) 3 laps 37 Running
20 Joey Scarallo (15) 10 laps 30 Accident
21 Brad Jaeger (3) 12 laps 28 Handling
22 Bobby Wilson (1) 18 laps 22 Running
23 Wade Cunningham (27) 29 laps 11 Handling
24 Ken Losch (52) 31 laps 9 Transmission

Race Statistics
      Winner's average speed: 128.590 mph
      Time of race: 46:39.6029
      Margin of victory: Under caution
      Cautions: 4 caution flags for 16 laps
      Lead changes: 0 among 0 drivers
      Lap leaders: Lloyd 1-40.
      Point standings: Lloyd 207, Mutoh 137, Festa 123,
Wilson 99, Pecorari 99, Camara 98, Prendeville 92, Potekhen 81,
Simpson 77, Cunningham 75.

05/25/07
irl
Quotes from Carb Day at Indy  
SCOTT DIXON (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We tried a few different things to make sure we were in the right ballpark. They were all worse, so I guess that's a good thing. We were just trying to run in traffic to make sure the car is good in those situations. All of it went pretty well. It is hard to tell what speeds are true speeds, and who had less wing, so we just worked on being comfortable in traffic." (About weather changing the first stint on Sunday): "The problem with changing your setup is that this race is so long. The track rubbers up and keeps getting faster. You don't want to have too much down force, because you need to be able to race the last 20 laps. Last year, our car was strong, but we had too much wing to be able to go for the win. This year, we may go a little more aggressive and run a little less wing for the first four or five stints."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (#2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We were just triple-checking the car. We know we have a good car. It was just a matter of checking everything. The car seems to be good. I'm really happy about it." (About the possibility of rain changing race setup): "Rain won't affect our setup much. It is such a long race. It might affect the first stint. The tires may run out sooner. We can't change our car for how the racetrack will be during the first stint. After that, the track will get some rubber down, and everything will be fine."

AL UNSER JR. (#50 AJ Foyt Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Everything is really good. We're pretty happy with the car. I wish it was a little quicker. That's what we got. So we are going to get it back in the shop and get it ready for Race Day." (Feeling good about the race?): "Not as good as I have in the past. I've had worse days here, too. We'll get out there and try to mix it up as best as we can." More ...

05/25/07
track news
Road America To Host The Nation's Top Superbike Racers  The Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader returns to Road America, May 31- June 3, 2007, to headline a huge weekend of motorcycle racing. In addition to the Superbikes, this AMA Pro Racing Series event features three other classes: Supersport, Superstock and Formula Xtreme. Sidecars will also race with their unique two-rider configurations.

 The world's top motorcycle manufacturers develop and showcase their leading-edge technology at AMA Superbike races. The support classes also offer some of the closest and most heated competition in motorsports, with many riders competing in more than one class. A combination of rider skill and changing technology pushes the limits each year, with constantly improving results. Current Superbike point leaders include 2006 Champion Ben Spies, Mat Mladin and Miguel Duhamel. Race one of the doubleheader is on Saturday and race two is on Sunday.

Superside America is the only motorsport that requires two racers to act and react together. Both racers (driver and passenger) are fully exposed to the elements at up to 170 mph without roll cages or safety harnesses. The passenger moves across the back of the Sidecar with split-second timing. More ...

05/25/07
alms
ALMS Utah GP TV rating  UPDATE The final rating for the ALMS Utah GP fell to 0.5/2 share from the 0.6 overnight.  In either case not a good sign for the ALMS which has seen lackluster ratings all year. 

05/21/07 Sunday's tape-delayed TV coverage of the Utah GP garnered a 0.6/2 share overnight rating on CBS.
05/25/07
irl
Andretti Green drivers quickest in final practice  Andretti Green Racing hopes Miller Lite Carb Day could be a good indication of Indianapolis 500 Race Day.  Tony Kanaan, who will start the 91st Indianapolis 500 from the middle of the front row, topped the speed chart for the final practice session, the final opportunity for teams to fine-tune their cars before Race Day.

Kanaan, driving the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car for Andretti Green Racing, topped the speed chart with a quick lap of 225.467 mph (39.9171 seconds). Teammates Dario Franchitti (223.807 mph in the No. 27 Canadian Club car) and Michael Andretti (223.575 mph in the No. 39 Jim Beam/Motorola car) were right behind.

Pole sitter Helio Castroneves was fourth at 223.527 mph in the No. 3 Team Penske car, while Jaques Lazier in the No. 21 Playa Del Racing car was fifth (223.468).
          
Castroneves hopes that winning the Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Competition is a good omen. There is precedent.
Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, defeated teammate Sam Hornish Jr. in the championship round. His pit crew received the $50,000 first prize for its speed and accuracy.

The winner of the competition has gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 five times, most recently in 2004 (Buddy Rice). Penske Racing teams have won the pit stop competition a record 10 times, including the last three. 

Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Tony Kanaan (11) ... 39.9171 225.467
2 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.2962 40.2133 223.807
3 Michael Andretti (39) 0.3379 40.2550 223.575
4 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.3465 40.2636 223.527
5 Jaques Lazier (21) 0.3571 40.2742 223.468
6 Scott Dixon (9) 0.3741 40.2912 223.374
7 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.4451 40.3622 222.981
8 Danica Patrick (7) 0.4666 40.3837 222.862
9 Ryan Briscoe (12) 0.4863 40.4034 222.754
10 Tomas Scheckter (2) 0.4972 40.4143 222.693
11 Marco Andretti (26) 0.4978 40.4149 222.690
12 Darren Manning (14) 0.5512 40.4683 222.396
13 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.5871 40.5042 222.199
14 Jeff Simmons (17) 0.6118 40.5289 222.064
15 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.6860 40.6031 221.658
16 Ed Carpenter (20) 0.6908 40.6079 221.632
17 Buddy Rice (15) 0.7773 40.6944 221.161
18 Vitor Meira (4) 0.8443 40.7614 220.797
19 Davey Hamilton (02) 0.8680 40.7851 220.669
20 Scott Sharp (8) 0.9677 40.8848 220.131
21 Alex Barron (98) 0.9764 40.8935 220.084
22 John Andretti (33) 0.9829 40.9000 220.049
23 AJ Foyt IV (22) 1.0069 40.9240 219.920
24 Roger Yasukawa (24) 1.0073 40.9244 219.918
25 Jon Herb (19) 1.0327 40.9498 219.781
26 Richie Hearn (91) 1.1210 41.0381 219.308
27 Phil Giebler (31) 1.1520 41.0691 219.143
28 Marty Roth (25) 1.3232 41.2403 218.233
29 Sarah Fisher (5) 1.3346 41.2517 218.173
30 Buddy Lazier (99) 1.3391 41.2562 218.149
31 Al Unser Jr (50) 1.5274 41.4445 217.158
32 Roberto Moreno (77) 1.5321 41.4492 217.133
33 Milka Duno (23) 2.6043 42.5214 211.658

05/25/07
f1
Hakkinen, Alesi, in Monaco  (GMM)  Friday may be a 'day off' in Monaco in terms of formula one track action, but the Monte Carlo paddock still buzzed with activity.

Double world champion Mika Hakkinen could be found in McLaren's communications centre, in his role as a Responsible Drinking Ambassador for his former formula one team's sponsor Johnnie Walker.

The Finn arrived at the circuit at the wheel of a rather sedate-looking black taxi, bearing the slogan 'Let me drive'.

Ex-Ferrari race winner Jean Alesi, meanwhile, was spotted exiting the giant Red Bull 'energy station'.

05/25/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Theissen not 'nervous' about Heidfeld saga
  • Alonso not gloating after Hamilton shunt
  • Schu brothers in the news
  • Button vows to stay at Honda

Theissen not 'nervous' about Heidfeld saga
(GMM) BMW team principal Mario Theissen is still refusing to give anything away regarding Nick Heidfeld's expiring contract.

The Hinwil based outfit's founder Peter Sauber said this week that a new deal for the 30-year-old German is merely a "formality", but Theissen insists that announcements about drivers will not occur until later this year.

He did, however, hint that hunting for drivers is not his priority at the moment.

"This is a topic that does not make me nervous," Theissen told the news agency 'sid', "because everything is running well as it is.

"At the moment I see other things that are more important -- such as the performance of the car."

Theissen also played down expectations for the rest of the Monaco weekend, explaining that the Principality hosted BMW-Sauber's "most difficult" GP in 2006.

"So far, we have been particularly good at the faster kind of circuits," the German said.

Alonso not gloating after Hamilton shunt
(GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso refused to gloat in Monaco after his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton ended Thursday practice in the barriers.

The race-weekend mistake was Hamilton's first in an otherwise sensational early career, but McLaren driver Alonso said it is easy to end in tears on the famous street circuit.

"Thursdays here are always really slippery and we saw other drivers have problems as well.

"I had one or two moments myself," the Spaniard said.

Alonso also played down speculation in Monaco that, in the driver briefing here, he complained about Felipe Massa's tactics at the first corner of the recent Spanish grand prix.

"No, we talked about the safety of the Monaco circuit," he insisted, "and little things that we can do to make it better -- like putting more tires at the first corner, where we saw two or three cars having incidents.

"I think I have said it before that this is not my favorite circuit to race on." More ...

05/25/07
f1
US track boss invites Ecclestone to night race  (GMM) The boss of an American racing circuit has offered to help Bernie Ecclestone implement night racing in formula one.

After reading about the F1 supremo's plans for floodlit events in Singapore and elsewhere, Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage wrote Ecclestone a letter inviting him to a night-time IRL race.

The Texas race on June 9 is billed as 'America's Original Night-time Race', and would coincide with F1's upcoming North American tour.

"I think it would be of great interest to Mr. Ecclestone and his staff to visit Texas Motor Speedway and get an opportunity to witness and evaluate open-wheel cars running at high speeds under the lights," Gossage said.

"Although a road course would offer different challenges, we could educate them about our lighting system and discuss some of the issues we encountered when we staged the first ever night-time Indy car race in 1997.

"I think a night race for formula one would be a terrific event for the sport and we would like to help them achieve that goal," he added.

05/25/07
f1
Montoya sympathizes with Alonso's McLaren struggle  (GMM)  McLaren refugee Juan Pablo Montoya says he can understand if world champion Fernando Alonso is struggling to fit in at Ron Dennis' team.

The Colombian winner of seven grands prix, scored mostly for Williams, was considered one of formula one's very best drivers until a less than two year stint at McLaren sent him running for cover in NASCAR.

In the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Montoya - who was paired at McLaren with Kimi Raikkonen until mid last year - compared his star-crossed McLaren tenure with Alonso's current struggle alongside rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton.

"I can see that Alonso is very uncomfortable with Hamilton, especially with respect to Hamilton.  It is just like what happened to me," he said.

The 31-year-old said he felt comfortable and competitive at Williams, "but I never felt good at McLaren".

05/25/07
tv news
Fast Cars and Superstars  
Thursday, June 7 at 8/7c on ABC
 
A total of 12 celebrity drivers will partner with the Gillette Young Guns - six of stock car racing's most talented and popular drivers - to learn to compete for the checkered flag and find out just what it takes to win on the race track.

The show will explore the interaction of top young stock car drivers with stars from the world of sports, music and entertainment, featuring drama and competition on and off the race track. In each episode, viewers will watch celebrities train with a Gillette Young Guns driver. The show will culminate in an exciting finale where the celebrities will be coached from the pits by their Gillette Young Guns instructors and compete against each other during a time-trial race.

"Fast Cars & Superstars - Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race" comprises six half-hour episodes with an hour-long finale. The series is hosted by ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne and co-hosted by former Cleveland Cavaliers center and current ESPN NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty.

Celebrity Drivers will be singer Jewel, actor William Shatner, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, actress Krista Allen, seven-time World All-Around Rodeo Champion Ty Murray, former NBA Champion John Salley, former NFL Super Bowl Champion John Elway, World Wrestling Entertainment Champion John Cena, tennis star Serena Williams, volleyball great and model Gabrielle Reece, legendary surfer Laird Hamilton and former NFL Super Bowl-winning Head Coach Bill Cowher. Gillette Young Guns are Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray.

"Fast Cars & Superstars - Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race" was co-created by BBDO and Gillette and produced by Radical Media in association with Embassy Row Sports.

05/25/07
TV News
Weekend USA TV reminders  UPDATE The full Sunday TV listing is now shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Thursday
Formula 1 Practice Monaco
8:00am-9:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Lowe's
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Practice Lowe's
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Lowe's
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Lowe's
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now
5:00pm-5:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Lowe's
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
SpeedFreaks
6:00pm-6:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Final Practice Lowe's
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Lowe's
7:00pm-9:00pm (L) SPEED
Friday
Indianapolis 500 Carburetion Day & Pit Stop Challenge
11:00am-3:00pm (L) WEBCAST -ESPN 360 ESPN
Indy 500 Carb Day, Pit Stop Challenge, Indy Pro Series Freedom 100 race
4:00pm-6:30pm (SDD) ESPN2
NASCAR Now
6:30pm-7:00pm ESPN2
Survival of the Fastest Nextel All-Star Challenge Lowe's
6:30pm-7:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Trackside Lowe's
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Saturday
NASCAR Now
12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
Formula 1 Debrief Spanish Grand Prix
12:00am-1:00am SPEED
Inside Grand Prix Monaco
7:30am-8:00am SPEED
Formula 1 Qualifying Monaco
8:00am-9:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Performance
12:00pm-12:30pm SPEED
Tradin Paint! Lowe's
12:30pm-1:00pm SPEED
Speed World Challenge Touring Tooele, UT
1:00pm-2:00pm (5/19/07) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  Ohio 250 Mansfield, OH
1:00pm-3:30pm (L) FOX
IHRA Drag Racing Rockingham
2:00pm-3:00pm (4/2007) SPEED
SportsCentury -A.J. Foyt
3:00pm-4:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Lowe's
3:30pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
1992 Indy 500 Indianapolis
4:00pm-6:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Lowe's
4:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade Indianapolis
5:30pm-7:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Lowe's
6:00pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
2005 Indy 500 Indianapolis
6:00pm-8:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
Ready To Race: The 91st Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis
7:00pm-7:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Series Carquest Auto Parts 300 Lowe's
7:30pm-11:00pm (L) ESPN2
Also:
WEBCAST -NASCAR.com
WEBCAST -ESPN 360  ESPN2
Rolex Sports Car Series GT Race Laguna Seca
8:00pm-10:00pm (5/19/07) SPEED
Acura: Project Le Mans -The Race to the Race
10:00pm-11:00pm (R) SPEED
Sunday
GP2 Series Race Monaco
6:00am -7:30am SPEED
Formula 1 Monaco GP 
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
Star Mazda Tooele, UT
11:30am-12:30pm (5/19/07) SPEED
IRL Indianapolis 500
12:00pm-4:30pm (L) ABC
NASCAR RaceDay Lowe's
3:00pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
Motocross X Fighters Mexico City
4:30pm-5:30pm (3/23/07) ABC
Speed World Challenge Tooele, UT
5:00pm-6:00pm (5/19/07) -GT SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Coca-Cola 600 Lowe's
5:00pm-10:00pm (L) FOX
AMA Motocross Sacramento
6:00pm-7:00pm (5/20/07) SPEED
Movie: 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story (2004)
6:00pm-8:00pm ESPN Classic
Formula 1 Replay Monaco
7:00pm-9:30pm (R) SPEED
The SPEED Report
9:30pm-10:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Lowe's
10:30pm-11:30pm (SDD) SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
2007 Indy 500 Winner
11:30pm-12:30am (L) SPEED

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

05/25/07
gp2
Maldonado wins Monaco GP2 pole  Pastor Maldonado has thrown the cat among the pigeons by claiming pole position for tomorrow’s race in Monaco at this morning’s dramatic qualifying session, taking the top spot just ahead of Giorgio Pantano and Andi Zuber.

The Venezuelan set a time of 1:20.820 in the tenth minute of the session, and the usual Monaco madness allowed him to keep the top spot for the remainder of qualifying despite the best efforts of his rivals.

Pantano, Zuber and Timo Glock all set fastest times early in the session, with the latter looking exceptionally quick throughout but have bitter luck with traffic before Maldonado claimed the top spot and then sat there. More ...

05/25/07
Industry News
Cell Phones can disable some car keys  Nissan North America has a warning for customers: placing your electronic key too close to your cellphone could leave you stranded.  The automaker is asking customers driving new models of two of its flagship sedans to keep their car keys and cellphones at least an inch apart to avoid disabling the "intelligent keys."

Cellphones kept near Nissan's I-Keys -- wireless devices designed to allow drivers to enter and start their cars at the push of a button -- can erase the electronic code on the keys, rendering them unable to unlock or start the cars.

The problem has occurred on the 2007 Nissan Altima and Infiniti G35 sedans -- two of their top-selling models, the company said on Thursday. We discovered that if the I-Key touches a cellphone, outgoing or incoming calls have the potential to alter the electronic code inside the I-Key," Nissan spokesman Kyle Bazemore said.

"The car won't start and the I-Key cannot be reprogrammed," he added.

05/25/07
nascar
Roush Slams Top Chevy Teams  Jack Roush, a Ford team owner, ripped the three top Chevrolet teams for violating the spirit of NASCAR’s testing limits, naming owners Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Joe Gibbs. And Roush said that those three were using non-Goodyear tires for their extra testing.  Two Chevy teams have just ordered another 100 sets of B.F. Goodrich tires for testing, according to one top crew chief.

Said Roush: “NASCAR, with Goodyear, decided we couldn’t ‘own’ our tires. They were going to stop us from taking tires home because they did not want us to test these cars. They were going to start everybody on the car of tomorrow on an even basis - saying there are four or five (major) tests, and ‘That’s what you get, that’s what you’ve got.

“I’ll name names - the Hendrick organization, the Gibbs organization and the Childress organization - have been testing these cars multiple times a week on tracks outside of NASCAR’s control with tires that were not Goodyears for the most part. The teams were going around NASCAR’s policy.

“I didn’t do that. But two weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer and gone public and said ‘OK, I’m going to get in the testing game too.’

“The minor teams don’t have test programs… which even made the difference between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ greater.

“The testing deal is wide open. Everybody is testing as much as they can afford to.”

Jeff Gordon said that it's Roush's own problem if his teams aren't testing as much as Chevy teams.

"We're not doing anything wrong,” he said. “We're testing at tracks that aren't NASCAR tracks; and we're not using Goodyear tires.

"I would admit it's definitely played a role in getting us where we are. And if the Roush teams aren't doing that, that's their mistake." Winston Salem Journal

05/25/07
nascar
Tire Companies looking to improve tires for NASCAR  Michelin-subsidiary B.F. Goodrich is stepping up its NASCAR testing plans, according to Cup teams, with a new program to test NASCAR-type tires at non-NASCAR big tracks in order to develop better NASCAR-type tires. And Hoosier tire is trying to sign a top Cup team or two to help it develop better NASCAR-type tires too, according to crews. Winston Salem Journal
05/25/07
nascar
Ethanol lobby pressuring NASCAR  On the eve of the biggest weekend in auto racing, two United States Senators have asked NASCAR to consider joining the IndyCar Racing League by converting to the "fuel of the future," American-made ethanol. With the eyes of the world on auto racing, U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) today sent a letter to NASCAR President Brian France, asking that NASCAR begin considering the conversion of its fleet to high-powered U.S. ethanol and the long-term promotion of American-made ethanol. United States Senator - John Thune site
05/25/07
irl
Indy: Expect big budget teams to win  In the sport of auto racing, speed makes money. In the business of auto racing, speed costs money.  "That's the paradox of motor sports," said Kevin Savoree, co-owner of Andretti Green Racing. "In our business model, prize money is the main factor in whether we're profitable or not. You have to go fast enough to win, and you have to spend enough to go fast."

The evidence is right there in the starting lineup for Sunday's Indianapolis 500. The three teams with the biggest annual budgets have the top six cars on the grid and nine cars overall. Multimillion-dollar sponsorship for those teams pays for the best drivers, the best engineers, the best of everything -- which translates into the best results.

Another 14 of Sunday's drivers come from the five other teams that compete regularly in the Indy Racing League, where races usually have fields of 18 cars.

But one race a year, on Memorial Day weekend in Indianapolis, the field swells to 33, and the resource disparity is amplified. The back of the pack Sunday will be loaded with solo entries of teams that scrimp, save and hope just to participate, with little chance of winning.

Even if the sagging popularity of open-wheel racing has caused the Indy 500 to lose some of its luster, it remains the event that teams put the most into and get the most out of. The sponsors' exposure and a total purse of more than $10 million far exceed any other race.

"It's 10 normal races rolled into one," said Dennis Reinbold, co-owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

Here's a look at how money talks in the Indy 500. More ...

05/25/07
lmes
Peugeot drivers prepare for LeMans  With just days to go before the Le Mans 24 Hours preliminary test day on June 3, Peugeot's drivers have been busy working out during a week-long fitness training session at La Baule in southern Brittany, France.

As planned in their 2007 diaries, Marc Gene, Pedro Lamy, Nicolas Minassian and Stéphane Sarrazin have been taking part this week in a fitness training course with a view to being in tip-top shape for their season's highlight, the Le Mans 24 Hours (June 16-17).

Hosted in La Baule by the Lucien Barrière Group, Peugeot's Le Mans Series foursome have been working out under the supervision of fitness trainer Xavier Feuillé and osteopath Jean-Pierre Buisson during a program that has alternated between exercises and games. "It's not an intensive physical fitness course," underlines Team Manager Serge Saulnier. "It's more an exercise in team spirit aimed at bonding the drivers and running them in gently for the mission they face over the next few weeks…"

Activities included swimming, breath-holding, cycling, weightlifting, golf and tennis. Marc, Pedro, Nicolas and Stéphane got in a little sailing, too, in Dragon-class yachts skippered by the likes of former Olympic medalist Yves Pageot. They also took time to have a little fun wakeboarding.

At the end of next week, they will be in Le Mans for the official test day which builds up to the 24-hour race itself and where they will be joined by their respective Le Mans team-mates Jacques Villeneuve, who currently has engagements in Canada, and Sébastien Bourdais who is busy with his Champ Car commitments in the USA.

05/25/07
f1
RB3 to resemble photo album for British GP  (GMM) Red Bull Racing's formula one cars will run in a bespoke livery at the British grand prix later this season.

At a press call at the Austrian squad's impressive 'energy station' in the Monte Carlo harbor, it was announced that thousands of tiny photos will adorn the RB3 at Silverstone -- for the charity Wings For Life.

Fans can buy a 2cm photo space on David Coulthard or Mark Webber's car for $20. Mark and David have already paid their fee and intend to submit photos of their pet dogs.

Also pledging to buy a photo space was FIA president Max Mosley, who is in Monaco this weekend.

The British GP takes place on 8 July.

05/25/07
racing news
Official Website of Mario Andretti is launched  An impressive website with video, opera music, an extensive photo gallery, racing records and much more has launched at www.marioandretti.com.  It is a remarkable site for the man who raced an unprecedented five decades and achieved prominence in almost every category of motor racing.  Now a successful businessman off the track, Mario serves as spokesman, associate and friend to top executives around the world.  Find out more about his latest activities or revisit his past at www.marioandretti.com
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