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Kurt Busch shove no big deal Kurt Busch shove no big dealAfter Kurt Busch’s first accident Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600, I [Cup Scene Daily] rushed from the media center to the garage area to see Busch’s car pulling into his stall. A frustrated Busch left the garage area and head to his hauler to collect his thoughts. In route, right outside the garage, it looked as though he shoved a local TV news cameraman, Mike Thomas, aside. The cameraman felt the incident was no big deal and that he (the cameraman) was simply in the way of a frustrated driver. "It looked like he lowered his shoulder before he hit me, but I don't think he was trying to do anything on purpose," Thomas said. "He certainly didn't say anything to me to make me think I had done something wrong." Asked about the incident later, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said the incident was a non-issue as far as the sanctioning body goes. “It’s no big deal to (NASCAR)”, said Jim Hunter. Daily Cup Scene
F1 Drivers Take Time As “Taxi Drivers” at the European GP F1 Drivers Take Time As “Taxi Drivers” at the European GPA select group of lucky F1 fans were given the unique opportunity of being driven around the Nurburgring by their Grand Prix heroes this past weekend when drivers were called to run high-speed “taxi rides” around the circuit at the end of each day.

The squeals of the wheels were clear to hear as each driver pushed the road car they were given to its limits. One ‘cabbie’ had a slightly different experience. For Sauber driver, Felipe Massa, it may have been too much to handle. The Brazilian lost control of his Suzuki and hit the barriers. Sauber spokesman confirmed nobody was injured and little damage was done. Except to Massa’s pride, of course. Team boss Peter Sauber said, “It wasn’t expensive – it cost less than if he’d knocked a front wing off (his Formula One car).

Bruno Junqueira: "I was coasting and saving fuel" Bruno Junqueira: "I was coasting and saving fuel"
"The CENTRIX car was good in the race.  I was saving fuel and going further than everybody.  I was just behind Dan, drafting him for good fuel mileage.  Unfortunately when I passed A.J. he didn't see me.  It was a big crash but I will recover fast to race again as soon as possible.  This is disappointing for the Champ Car championship because I was leading and very confident about the next races.  I was the fastest at the Milwaukee test and the Newman/Haas cars were so good in Portland.  It's a disappointment but I am thinking positive and can improve myself to come back even stronger than ever."
His day was spent watching tennis on TV, playing racing games on his new PS2, and spending time with visitors including his teammate Sebastien, Champ Car's Dick Eidswick and Eric Mauk, representatives from Honda & PacifiCare as well as some fellow drivers and friends.  He also stood up as well so it was a very good day!
At this time the team has not finalized plans for Milwaukee.  Stay tuned...
Observations from European GP Observations from European GPObviously stung by comments that the Nurburgring is not the most exciting venue on the F1 calendar, the sport's ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone decided it was time to inject some comedy into the sport. Seeing BAR boss Nick Fry, back in the paddock after the team's two race ban, Bernie greeted him with, "Hello Nick, you remember where everything is don't you?"

The new qualifying format, with just a single session on Saturday afternoon and cars running their race start fuel load met with general approval. It was particularly appreciated by Sunday newspaper journalists who could now write about who would start the grand prix from pole, as well as TV companies, especially those who televised the GP2 race on Sunday morning. It was an absolute gem of a race with victory going to Clivio Piccione.

In Monaco, rumors were flying around the harbor that Eddie Irvine was behind a bid to buy the Jordan team, but in the calmer surroundings of the Nurburgring, Team Principal Trevor Carlin strongly denied the story. "The team isn't for sale," he said. "It's just mischief being made by people who want to destabilize the team." [Editor's Note: He should explain why the team isn't paying its bills then as debt is mounting.  Word is that team is in real trouble.]

Still on the rumor front, in response to suggestions that BMW will buy the Sauber team, Mario Theissen the engine company's motor sport boss said at the 'Ring that his company would not announce their plans until the end of June, stressing their continued commitment to Williams, while stating there was a possibility of an engine supply deal for the Swiss team.

Although the European GP ended in heartbreaking disappointment for West McLaren Mercedes, the team currently tops the reliability record in terms of finishes this season. From 14 starts (2 per race of course) the team has achieved 13 finishes, 11 of them in the points. Surprisingly, Renault who lead the series are only fourth in the reliability stakes behind us, Toyota and Sauber.

Finally, back to King of Comedy, Bernie Ecclestone. Mr. E was invited to a prize giving in the Toyota motorhome and complemented the catering staff on their spotless white uniforms. Why, because according to Bernie white matches the color of the kitchen appliances and that is where the women should be." Mr. Ecclestone has apparently not heard of political correctness. McLaren

NASCAR drivers in Chicagoland charity softball game NASCAR drivers in Chicagoland charity softball gameChicagoland Speedway, Victory Junction Gang Camp, and the Joliet JackHammers are excited to announce an all-star lineup for the second annual Racin' the Bases Celebrity Softball Game, to be held on Thursday, July 7.  All proceeds from the game will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Camp, which benefits children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, was founded by the Petty family in 2001 in honor of their late son, Adam.

NASCAR Nextel Cup driver and co-founder of Victory Junction Gang Camp, Kyle Petty, will be joined on the diamond by fellow NASCAR drivers and Chicago area celebrities, including 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch and his brother, rookie Kyle Busch. Chicago Cubs legend and 2005 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Ryne Sandberg, along with 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Jennie Finch, who now plays for the Chicago Bandits professional softball team, are among the Chicago area celebrities confirmed to participate.

The line-up also includes NASCAR drivers, Carl Edwards (No. 99 Roush Racing Ford), Dave Blaney (No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet), Tim Fedewa (No. 12 Supercuts Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), Stacey Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Ball Park Franks Ford), Aaron Fike (No. 66 DuraFlame Ford), Michael Jourdain (No. 10 TBA Ford); and additional members of the Chicago Bandits professional softball team.

The game will take place at Silver Cross Field, located three miles north of Chicagoland Speedway in downtown Joliet. Gates will open at 4:00pm, and the celebrities will be signing autographs from 4:30pm - 5:30pm.  The game will start at approximately 6:00pm and conclude at 7:30pm.

Tickets are on sale now through the Joliet JackHammers box office. General admission lawn seats are $10.00, while reserved seats are $15.00.  Tickets can be purchased by calling (815) 726-BALL (2255) or visit www.jackhammerbaseball.com.

For more information on Victory Junction Gang Camp visit their website at www.victoryjunction.org.  Additional drivers and celebrities will be announced once confirmed.

Industry news
California Speedway '06 tickets on sale California Speedway '06 tickets on saleRace fans deserve the best and California Speedway season ticket holders will be among the first to discover the new and exhilarating changes at the Southern California superspeedway that will revolutionize the entire race day experience. 

California Speedway is proud to announce exciting new changes in the ticket packages for 2006.  This is the first of several exciting modifications in store for California Speedway fans and the 2006 season.

Leading the charge into the new racing season will be tiered seating, where loyal guests will be rewarded with the best seats in the house.  This new seating chart will feature season ticket holders in the upper portion of the grandstands only, while the lower section will be strictly for Sunday only tickets and Friday and Saturday general admission seats.  Sunday only tickets will be available in a limited number of seats in the upper section of Turn 1.

In addition to the new grandstand layout, fan amenities have been upgraded in the Season Ticket Holder sections, which will feature roving vendors, minimizing the amount of time guests will spend away from the racing action.  Each season ticket holder will receive an annual gift as well as a quarterly newsletter from the superspeedway.  In addition, the event atmosphere and entertainment throughout the facility will undergo some changes to the delight of guests.

The 2006 Season Ticket packages will include California Speedway Club (CSC) in the top portion middle upper grandstands (underneath the skyboxes), NASCAR Action Pack in the top portion of the upper grandstands (enveloping CSC from Turn 4 through the front stretch) including a parking pass for the first time ever, NASCAR Fan Pack in the bottom portion of the upper grandstands (from turn 4 through the front stretch).  Sunday only NASCAR tickets will be available in the upper grandstands of Turn 1 and the entire lower grandstands.  All Season Tickets and the lower level grandstand reserved seats will be renewable.

Current Season Ticket holders should expect to get their renewal form and 2006 brochure in the mail this week.  All renewals must be submitted to the California Speedway Ticket Office by June 22.  Guests paying by credit card can also take advantage of a convenient payment plan, with a $75 deposit per ticket charged upon renewal, and the remainder charged on October 15.  New Season Tickets and individual tickets for the 2006 season will be available for purchase to the general public on July 23, 2005, with the exception of Fall NASCAR which will be on sale at a later date.

California Speedway offers several convenient methods for fans to purchase new Season Tickets at that time.
· Online at www.californiaspeedway.com
· Calling 1-800-944-RACE [7223]
· Visiting the California Speedway ticket office outside the speedway's administration building at 9300 Cherry Ave, Fontana, CA 92335
Season tickets for the 2006 racing season at California Speedway are a great way to be part of the action all year long.

Champ Car Monterrey TV rating Champ Car Monterrey TV ratingThe tape-delayed Champ Car Monterrey TV rating on SPEED Channel averaged a 0.16 (102,000 HH), and peaked at a 0.20 (126,000 HH). What more can one expect if you broadcast a race, tape delayed mind you, at the ungodly hour of 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM ET. Long Beach showed that on network TV Champ Car's ratings are about the same as the IRL, so we shall see if this is an anomaly given the time it was broadcast. Also, this race was supposed to be on NBC originally.  SPEED Channel took it late in the game and that was the only time slot available.

We have long said that sports heroes drive TV ratings, and Danica Patrick proved that this weekend for the IRL - she was a hero to the many women tuning in to see her race against 32 men. Champ Car must build and grow their heroes, or there will be little growth. Mark C.

Spotlight shines on Wheldon and Patrick Spotlight shines on Wheldon and PatrickTwo of the hottest young drivers in the world competing side by side to the finish of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" captured the imagination and televisions of millions around the world.

IndyCar Series® rookie Danica Patrick and series points leader Dan Wheldon swapping the lead twice in the waning stages of the 89th Indianapolis 500 on May 30 was a hit with a worldwide TV, radio and Internet audience and became an instant classic, according to ESPN. Millions of fans agree, and so do many media outlets.

ESPN Classic will re-broadcast the "SportsCenter at the Indy 500," which featured the history of women at the Indianapolis 500, and the race beginning at 8:30 p.m. (EDT) June 3. Overnight ratings for the afternoon 500-Mile Race, broadcast on ABC, were 40 percent higher than last year.

The June 6 edition of Sports Illustrated, which hits newsstands June 1, features Patrick on the cover and two stories inside. Patrick, who started and finished fourth, had fans on their feet when she was leading the 500-Mile Race - the first female ever to lead the race -- with six laps remaining until being passed by eventual winner Wheldon.
In the main story, E.M. Swift writes that Patrick lived up to the pre-race media build-up that included interviews, video and photos on everything from "ABC World News Tonight" to the cover of USA Today.

"For more than three hours on Sunday -- from the time Indianapolis Motor Speedway chairman of the board Mari Hulman George intoned, "Lady and gentlemen, start your engines," to the moment British driver Dan Wheldon crossed the finish line under checkered and yellow caution flags -- the 23-year-old Patrick gave the boys all they could handle until she had to back off for lack of fuel. She also gave the sea of 300,000 spectators what they were hoping to witness: history. No woman had ever led, never mind won, the Indy 500."

Kelli Anderson writes in the second story that the Indianapolis 500 turned the Roscoe, Ill., native into a one-name celebrity.

"I try not to get too overwhelmed by the media attention," Patrick said regarding the magazine, which reaches an audience of 20 million adults each week. "But for someone like Sports Illustrated to notice how good our Rahal Letterman team has been this month and to recognize the IndyCar Series like this is great. We have made an impact."
Patrick also will be featured in this week's issue of Us Weekly and in an upcoming issue of Glamour magazine. ESPN will air a special behind-the-scenes show focusing on Patrick at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) June 11, preceding its coverage of the Bombardier Learjet 500k from Texas Motor Speedway.

She also was a guest on ABC's "Good Morning America" on May 30 and the subject of a celebrity poll on the May 31 broadcast of "Extra."

Wheldon, who charged from 16th to win his fourth race of the IndyCar Series' 10th anniversary season, hasn't been lost in Danica mania.

The 26-year-old St. Petersburg, Fla., resident kicked off his Victory Tour May 31 in New York with resounding success. He was swarmed by media and fans during a luncheon and photo opportunity with the Jim Beam drink smart two-seater at a midtown Manhattan hotel before a round of interviews at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. "The attention is phenomenal," Wheldon said.

Guest appearances on "Live with Regis & Kelly," "CNN American Morning" and "CNN International World Sports" - plus throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Shea Stadium before the New York Mets-Arizona Diamondback game -- are included on the June 1 itinerary.

The tour continues in Richmond, Va., Kansas City, Kan., and Dallas-Fort Worth.
On May 30, Wheldon received his winner's check of $1,537,805 from the record purse of $10,304,815 during the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also received a face full of cream compliments of teammates Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta.

The lighthearted conclusion to the program offset Wheldon's heartfelt thanks to many who made his "magical moment."
"That is definitely the proudest moment of my career," he said after watching a video tribute of the race, in which he held off Vitor Meira, Herta and Patrick in the closing laps. "I absolutely love this place. It's truly the best race in the world and the best racetrack in the world."

Patrick, the driver of the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, received the JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year Award and its $25,000 bonus as part of her overall winnings of $378,855 for finishing fourth.
"I'm humbled to be running with such good drivers; people that I've looked at for years as the best drivers in the world," she said at the Victory Celebration. IRL

Racing car show for China Racing car show for ChinaThe Goldenport Motor Park in Beijing is to host the country's first International Racing Car Expo in September. The event will be sponsored by the Beijing Sports Competition Management Centre and aims to assist the development of an automotive culture in China. Exhibits will include well-known car models, including racing machinery.  Goldenport is due to host a Champ Car World Series race and a round of the A1 Grand Prix series in the course of 2006. Grandprix.com
Atlantic grads shine at Indy Atlantic grads shine at IndyTwo of the most talented recent graduates of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama shined brightly at the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday as Englishman Dan Wheldon captured the checkered flag at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while American racer Danica Patrick etched her name into the record books with a fourth-place finish in the grueling 500-mile event.

Wheldon and Patrick were two of the nine Toyota Atlantic Championship series graduates that competed in the 33-car field at Indianapolis on Sunday. Wheldon’s victory for Andretti Green Racing marked the seventh time that an Atlantic driver has won the Indy 500, joining the impressive list of series grads that includes Danny Sullivan, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser Jr., Jacques Villeneuve and last year’s champion – Buddy Rice. Starting from 16th place, Wheldon roared back to lead the race four times for 30 laps en route to the win.

“We want to congratulate Dan Wheldon on a tremendous victory and we’re certainly pleased that the Toyota Atlantic graduates in the field once again had a good showing at Indy,” said Vicki O’Connor, Managing Director of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. “This weekend’s results continue to prove that our series is the best training ground for aspiring open-wheel stars and competitors at all levels of racing.”

The 26-year-old Wheldon, a native of Emberton, England, competed in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2000. He recorded two victories and led the circuit with four pole positions that season while finishing as series runner-up to Buddy Rice.

Patrick established several landmarks with her performance on Sunday. The 23-year-old Beloit, Wisconsin native became the top woman to qualify at Indy, earning a fourth-place starting spot. She then turned in an impressive run in her first Indy 500 leading the race three times for 19 laps, including late in the race, before recording in the best-ever finish for a woman at the event in fourth place.

Competing for Rahal-Letterman Racing in the Atlantic series in both 2003 and 2004, Patrick proved to be one of the most consistent and reliable racers in her 24 career Atlantic starts. She posted five podium finishes and earned one pole position over her two seasons and she was the only competitor to complete every lap of competition last season, while finishing third in the series championship chase.

Former Atlantic competitor and American driver Bryan Herta also had a strong showing at Indy, finishing on the podium in third place. Another American driver, Alex Barron – the 1997 Toyota Atlantic Champion – earned a 13th-place finish on Sunday while Brazilian Atlantic grad Felipe Giaffone finished 15th.

Roger Yasukawa, a 2002 Atlantic competitor, was 18th in the final rundown while 1996 Toyota Atlantic title winner Patrick Carpentier finished 21st. Sam Hornish Jr., who raced in Atlantics in 1999, led a race-high 77 laps but was forced to retire after 146 laps following an accident and wound up 23rd overall. The 1995 Atlantic champ, Richie Hearn, completed the series representatives with a 25th-place finish at Indy. Toyota Atlantic

Industry News
SPEED Channel passes 63 million homes SPEED Channel passes 63 million homesSPEED Channel added 559,000 households in May, bringing the June Nielsen universe estimate for the network to 63,931,000 U.S. households -- up more than two million households from a year ago. SPEED Channel also is available to 4.9 million households in Canada and recently reached agreement to offer programming in Latin America through FOX International Channels.
Unknown Briton triumphs in land of milk and money Unknown Briton triumphs in land of milk and moneyDan Wheldon is a superstar of sport. Never heard of him? You are not alone. He could probably walk down the street of his English home village and not be recognized. Yet Wheldon is one of the best-known faces in the United States after his victory in the Indianapolis 500 motor race. He embarks today on a media tour of major US cities as one of America’s biggest sporting celebrities. The win on Sunday night at the world’s oldest and biggest motor race has transformed Wheldon from an unknown, who fled Britain to find recognition, into a star big enough to be interviewed on David Letterman’s coast-to-coast late-night talk show.

Now, after capturing one of the most famous races in the world and celebrating with milk, he has overtaken Jenson Button, the Formula One driver he used to race against as a youngster on go-karts, as the nation’s most successful driver. There was little time for celebration yesterday, even though his parents, Clive and Sue, and his brother and sister, Ashley and Holly, had traveled to Indianapolis. Wheldon spent the day with television crews before packing for his victory tour and preparing to deal with his new high profile that will propel him on to the front pages of newspapers all over the US.

“I used to dream about winning a race as big as this and I can hardly believe it has come true,” Wheldon said. “I know it is going to change my life.” Times of London

Why XM radio let NASCAR go to Sirius Why XM radio let NASCAR go to SiriusThis interview with Hugh Panero, XM Satellite Radio's (XMSR) CEO at Business 2.0: With NASCAR, he points out that XM has broadcast the sport since 2001. That experience gave him a finely honed sense of what the 2007-2011 rights were worth -- which, suffice it to say, he thought was a good deal less than the $107.5 million that Sirius wound up paying. (XM paid $15 million for the 2001-2006 rights.) Panero thinks Sirius will fail because they are over-paying for some properties. Business 2.0
Coulthard slams F1 tire rule Coulthard slams F1 tire ruleDavid Coulthard has slammed F1’s tires as “dangerous” following Kimi Raikkonen’s penultimate lap accident at the European GP. The Finn was on course to claim the victory at the Nurburgring, however, flatspotted his right front Michelin tire while pushing for the win. As the new rules forbid changing tires during the race, the Finn was forced to continue with the damaged tire or risk being penalized by the FIA. Eventually the vibrations from the tire caused his suspension to fail, sending him careening across the track and into the barriers.

"In one way the rules have been good for overtaking and entertainment, but there is no question that it is more dangerous," Coulthard told The Times. "It is a major worry." "The FIA position is that the drivers make the decision, but they are asking us to throw away our races by coming in to change tires. That would have happened to me. I could hardly see from the vibrations late in the race, but I couldn't afford to lose my fourth position." PlanetF1

Indy Speedway likes look of future Indy Speedway likes look of futureThis Indy Star article talks about the changes made by IMS this year, most of which they feel worked.  Interesting to hear that the 500 start time may get pushed back another hour next year when Indiana adopts the change to Daylight Savings time.
Indy 500 payout Indy 500 payoutA record $10,304,815 was awarded Monday night to the Indianapolis 500 field. Here's the breakdown, in finishing order:

Driver Winnings
Dan Wheldon $1,537,805
Vitor Meira 656,955
Bryan Herta 457,505
Danica Patrick 378,855
Buddy Lazier 288,805
Dario Franchitti 309,055
Scott Sharp 295,305
Tony Kanaan 467,105
Helio Castroneves 277,805
Ryan Briscoe 273,555
Ed Carpenter 258,305
Sebastien Bourdais 234,555
Alex Barron 254,805
Adrian Fernandez 226,305
Felipe Giaffone 247,305
Jaques Lazier 219,305
Kosuke Matsuura 236,305
Roger Yasukawa 233,305
Tomas Enge 232,055
Tomas Scheckter 257,305
Patrick Carpentier 231,055
Jeff Bucknum 222,555
Sam Hornish Jr. 391,455
Scott Dixon 225,805
Richie Hearn 202,305
Kenny Brack 275,805
Jeff Ward 194,805
A.J. Foyt IV 218,805
Darren Manning 212,805
Bruno Junqueira 192,205
Marty Roth 195,305
Jimmy Kite 210,305
Larry Foyt 189,305

'Our team is as united as ever' 'Our team is as united as ever'In the evening after the Nürburgring GP, Michael spent time chatting to Corinna and friends. Come night time he was already on his way to the USA. The first appointment is Montreal and then it is on to Indianapolis.

After the intense last few weeks of work, Michael will be taking some days off to relax, safe in the knowledge that the Ferrari testing program will continue as usual. After the GP of Europe it is clear that there is much work to be done. "We have to go on working on every detail in every sector. F1 is so complex that there is never one single element that leads to victory or defeat," declared Michael.

The new qualifying system was the determining factor at Nürburgring. "At the moment this is our weak point. We have lagged behind a little in qualifying over the past few GPs but have had a high tempo in the race, even quicker than our adversaries on some occasions. We were slow in qualifying last time out too and not fast enough in the race."

Michael started from tenth spot on the grid but slipped to seventeenth after running off the track at turn one to avoid a pile up. From that lowly position he climbed to fifth, a result he considers to be a positive one. He sees no reason to complain.

"Rubens finished in third and this shows that we are taking strides in the right direction. The podium finish has done the team good as it gives us more stimulus."

The seven time world champion contests the belief that there is discord in the Ferrari camp, as has been widely speculated upon this week. "Having different points of view can be constructive. Our team is as united as ever. We have to stay calm to get back to being on top." Ferrari

Alain Prost reflects on his career Alain Prost reflects on his careerAlain Prost looks back on his epic duels with Ayrton Senna, the ups and downs of his time with Ferrari and the disaster that marked his career as a team owner.

Mr. Prost, You won the world championship four times, but also finished runner-up four times. When you look back, does it sometimes bother you that your trophy case isn't bigger?
"Well, you can replay the past over and over and ask yourself what could have been if only – Certainly, some defeats were painful. In 1983 I finished only two points behind Nelson Piquet. A year later, Niki Lauda edged me out by just a half a point. And when Ayrton won the world championship in 1988, I had 11 more points than him – but at that time, only the 11 best results counted. To me, more important than the victories is the fact that from 1981 I was in contention for the title in just about every season, often with the last race deciding the championship."

Piquet, Lauda, Senna: These three drivers were also your greatest rivals over the course of your Formula One career. Who impressed you the most?
"In the beginning, Piquet was the benchmark – a very tough competitor. Niki was impressive in terms of his consistent performance. When he beat me for the world championship in 1984, I was actually faster in the races most of the time, but he put his strengths to better use. I learned an important lesson from that. But if there's a driver who stood above the rest – both for his driving and his mental abilities – it was Ayrton Senna."
The duels between you and Senna have long been a part of Formula One history. Here, the cool, calculating "Professor" there, the impulsive Brazilian. How much substance is there behind this cliché?
"As with all clichés, there's a grain of truth in it. The fact is, however, that in the course of his career, Senna gradually changed his driving style to become more like mine. "

The media played up the rivalry. How great was it in fact?
"Of course we were rivals. For two seasons we even drove together for the same team, with the same material. And there's a saying in Formula One: your teammate is always your biggest rival. That's because you can directly compare only those drivers who drive for the same team."

Unless there is a team hierarchy.
"Yes, but McLaren didn't have any at that time. The team deliberately set up a competitive situation. And the fans were delighted. A lot of people started to become interested in Formula One thanks to our rivalry. Of course the media and sponsors actively pitched in. Despite our rivalry, we never lost respect for each other."

Then why did you change to Ferrari for the 1990 season?
"To be honest, I'd had enough of doing Ayrton's work for him. While he was taking three months off for winter holidays, I was doing hundreds of kilometers of testing. So, I informed the team during the season that I didn't wish to extend my contract. At that time, I had no idea where I'd end up."

The two years with Ferrari weren't anywhere as glorious as the previous six years had been with McLaren. Do you now regret having made that decision?
"Not at all. The first year was fantastic, possibly the most enjoyable of my career. The team did a fantastic job, and the atmosphere was sensational. Had the management been more far-sighted, I would have been world champion again. In contrast, the following season was a disaster – we failed to pick up a single victory and wound up a dismal third. Accordingly, the atmosphere turned sour. I've thus experienced both sides of Ferrari: both fire and ice."

Your adventure as a team owner also wound up a disaster. What went wrong at Prost Grand Prix?
"To begin with, the expectations were too high. We started practically from square one, and aside from Minardi we had the smallest budget in Formula One. In such a case, it takes years for you reach the top. And it takes solid partners, which we didn't have. Above all, our engine supplier Peugeot lacked the motivation right from the start to establish a long-term presence in Formula One. On top of that, the economic crisis made it harder and harder to find sponsors. For example, we signed a deal with South American TV network PSN, but they went bankrupt shortly after. We also had an agreement with Yahoo, but then the internet bubble burst. There was no way to stop the downward spiral."

In retrospect, what would you do differently today?
"Actually, there's only one thing I'd do differently: I wouldn't get into it at all. I often didn't have any choice at all in the decisions that resulted. Financially, I had my back up against the wall. "

You turned fifty in February. But you still race regularly – sitting at the wheel of a Toyota Corolla in the "Trophée Andros" ice racing series. Are motorsports a drug?
"Well, if you enjoy doing something, why should you quit? When I was a team owner, I never dreamed of getting back into the cockpit. But then the old passion was rekindled. Ice racing is something completely new to me; that makes it appealing. It's also absolutely safe. At my age, I don't take risks anymore..." Credit Suisse

F1 as it should be! F1 as it should be!Denis Chevrier, the Renault F1 Team’s Head of Engine Operations was left breathless by last Sunday’s Grand Prix – as he explains…
Denis, how was the European Grand Prix from your point of view?
"What a fantastic race! We went into the Grand Prix knowing that we would be pushing up to the very last lap, and that this was the period of the race when the cars should be strong relative to our competition. In recent years, we had become used to seeing races decided by two-thirds distance, and today, thanks to the new tire rules, it was the complete reverse – Fernando put pressure on Raikkonen all the way through the final stint, and it paid off. From the outside, it was a fantastic spectacle – F1 as it should be!"

What about Fisico’s race – he was hampered by poor luck again…
"Fisico drove a great race yesterday – he made up fourteen positions after starting from the pit-lane, and just like Fernando, knew that he had to attack late in the race to make the strategy work, which he did to perfection. But the fact remains that with the car we have, we should be further ahead on the Constructors’ Championship. So far, fortune has not favored Fisico this year – and we are all working hard to change the situation around."
Finally, the RS25 engines have to complete their second race in Canada – is that a big challenge?
"Absolutely. The Nürburgring is quite a demanding circuit for the engines, and Montreal is certainly a very stern test. The circuit has a lot of slow corners followed by long periods at full throttle, and the average engine speed and the time spent at full throttle are all high, making it a very demanding challenge for the V10. But the fact that it is demanding does not mean we are worried. The engines ran well all weekend in Germany, and they are designed for this two weekend life cycle. We are confident that we will once again perform strongly in Canada in two weeks’ time." Renault F1 Team

Ferrari didn't want to compromise safety Ferrari didn't want to compromise safetyJean Todt revealed after Sunday’s European Grand Prix that Ferrari are paying the price of performance due to its conservative approach in order not to compromise safety for performance. His comments came after McLaren lost the lead on the very last lap after a flat-spotted tire on Kimi Raikkonen’s car damaged the suspension so badly that it broke going into the first corner at the Nurburgring. As usual, Todt refused to comment directly on the rival team’s decision not to bring their car into the pits for a change of tire, which is only permissible in extreme circumstances according to new rules.

This year, Ferrari have not qualified well, but their tire has been consistent during the race. “You know the one thing that you can say or argue is that the rule of one set of tires for qualifying and the race is a tough rule. We have interpreted that in a conservative way, that’s why we pay the costs in qualifying,” said Todt.

“It seems that no tire manufacturer so far has been able to achieve 100 per cent of the new rules. You have one tire company who is doing a better job in qualifying and a worse job in the race, and the other one is achieving a worse job in qualifying and a better job in the race. Better… I don’t want to use the word safer, you know, because then we get into political areas.
“What I can say after seven races I’m not sure, but it’s not good criticizing anybody because when you implement a rule you have to leave that rule for a while before finding out how good or bad it is. And it seems it is a tough rule.”

Todt went on to explain that perhaps there is another element involved. “The problem is that the competition is so tough, so you try to go to the limit with every single ingredient of your car.

“I think the true story is that here at the Nurburgring, nobody has been driving here. So you arrive and it’s a question mark. You come with two choices of tires. First of all, you don’t know if that will be a good choice, that’s why, since the beginning of the year you have seen some very strange situations sometimes. Look at Monte Carlo. In Monte Carlo, during the race, some cars were four seconds, five seconds off the pace. It’s quite self-explanatory, but it probably wasn’t the best choice of tires. For us, we have sometimes had no grip for qualifying, so we pay for that, and it’s less spectacular, but then during the race it works. We don’t know what will be tires in the next race. It is much more unpredictable.”

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro scored ten points in the European Grand Prix, the second best haul for any team, and closed the gap on the rivals ahead. But Todt would not say the team was now in better shape. “It will be better the day when at least a Ferrari wins and if possible first and second. That will be better.

“But otherwise, we still have this problem of starting low down on the grid which we’ve had since the start of the season, and also taking part in races which are as chaotic as today, with the rather lively start after which Rubens was ninth and Michael 14th or 15th. After that, it was a difficult race with no course but to climb back up the order, but one which was never going to achieve what we might have hoped.”

The team is testing at Silverstone and Monza this week, prior to the two North American races. “We are hoping to improve the situation, yes, with a lot of new parts and tire testing. As usual, our tests are always big. The important thing is that the result is big. I am optimistic that we will soon be better placed on the grid, on the first two rows, and that will change things.” Ferrari

Nurburgring : fastest laps in the race Nurburgring : fastest laps in the raceHere are the fastest race laps from the European GP:
1. Fernando Alonso - Renault - 1'30.711 - lap 44
2. Kimi Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes - 1'30.940 - lap 9
3. Rubens Barrichello - Ferrari - 1'31.028 - lap 44
4. Nick Heidfeld - BMW Williams - 1'31.124 - lap 9
5. David Coulthard - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'31.306 - lap 19
6. Michael Schumacher - Ferrari - 1'31.503 - lap 19
7. Giancarlo Fisichella - Renault - 1'31.708 - lap 47
8. Ralf Schumacher - Toyota - 1'31.724 - lap 21
9. Jarno Trulli - Toyota - 1'31.779 - lap 43
10. Juan Pablo Montoya - McLaren Mercedes - 1'31.807 - lap 42
11. Takuma Sato - BAR Honda - 1'31.889 - lap 26
12. Jenson Button - BAR Honda - 1'31.955 - lap 20
13. Vitantonio Liuzzi - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'31.971 - lap 43
14. Felipe Massa - Sauber Petronas - 1'32.329 - lap 18
15. Jacques Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas - 1'32.583 - lap 41
16. Narain Karthikeyan - Jordan Toyota - 1'33.292 - lap 21
17. Tiago Monteiro - Jordan Toyota - 1'33.425 - lap 39
18. Christijan Albers - Minardi Cosworth - 1'35.047 - lap 18
19. Patrick Friesacher - Minardi Cosworth - 1'35.536 - lap 18
20. Mark Webber - BMW Williams - No time - (accident)
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 crowns new champion
'Quick' man of the future
Ferrari to test new tire
F1 set to snarl again
Who's to blame?
Wheldon with eye on F1
BAR and Button
Webber vows Canada comeback
Cool Kimi conquered
Ferrari urged to tow the line
Prost regrets F1 attack
A1 Grand Prix
Figo and Queiros launch A1 Team Portugal Figo and Queiros launch A1 Team PortugalLess than one week after A1 Grand Prix's first race calendar revealed Estoril as the host of the third round in the 12-race global series, Portugal received a further boost to its international motorsport reputation as A1 Team Portugal became the first country in continental Europe to unveil its A1GP car. At a prestigious ceremony attended by Portugal's Secretary of Sport Laurentino Dias, prominent business leaders and high-profile sporting stars including Portugal's national team football coach Luis Felipe Scolari, co-seat holders Real Madrid and Portugal International star Luis Figo and Manchester United Assistant Manager Carlos Queiros revealed the Portuguese race car in traditional colors amid fireworks and lasers at the magnificent Centro Cultural de Belem in Lisbon. Speaking at the launch Figo said: 'I have always dreamed and I continue to dream of a Portugal capable to fight for a victory on all fronts. Because of this idea of a competitive country, open to the biggest international challenges, I decided to be associated with the creation of A1 Team Portugal. So that in motorsport as well, we can demonstrate our talent and daring, in a competitive format that provides a level playing field, and to project Portugal as a country of champions.' Queirós went on to say: 'The creation of A1 Grand Prix is going to revolutionize the competitive format of world motorsport, giving opportunities to countries like Portugal to rival developed nations on an equal basis, to demonstrate the value of its team and to compete for victory in each race. This project allows the image of Portugal and its main brands to develop and allows the Portuguese to demonstrate again all their passion for motorsport and enhance the sport with hundreds of thousand of fans in our country.' A1 Grand Prix
Japan ignores Indy 500 Japan ignores Indy 500AutoRacing1.com staff in Japan report that in Japan there was zero TV coverage of the Indy 500.  Toyota and Honda both involved and still not a word on the Indy 500.  Major League Baseball, yes.  F-1, yes,  but no Indy 500 coverage.
Wheldon collects $1.5 million from record Indy purse Wheldon collects $1.5 million from record Indy purseDan Wheldon earned $1,537,805 from a record total purse of $10,304,815 for his hard-fought victory May 29 in the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. The winner's purse and total purse were announced May 30 at the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This year's event purse broke the record set in 2004, which was $10,250,580. This is the fourth 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.

Wheldon, a 26-year-old native of Emberton, England, and resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., earned the first Indianapolis 500 victory of his career in his third Indy start, driving the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

He led four times for 30 laps, becoming the first driver ever to win from the 16th starting position and the first British driver to win the Indianapolis 500 since Graham Hill in 1966. The 89th running of the "500" featured a total of 27 lead changes among seven drivers, only two lead changes shy of the record set in 1960.

Vitor Meira earned $656,955 for finishing an Indy career-best second in the No. 17 Rahal Letterman Menards Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone. Bryan Herta, Wheldon's Andretti Green Racing teammate and driver of the No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone, earned $457,505 for finishing third, also a career-best result at Indianapolis.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, earned the JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year Award and its $25,000 bonus as part of her overall winnings of $378,855.

Patrick, 23, from Roscoe, Ill., was the highest-finishing rookie, placing fourth. She became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and the highest-finishing woman in the race's history. Patrick led three times for 19 laps, and led as late as Lap 193 of the 200-lap race before Wheldon passed her on Lap 194 to take the lead for good.

Kenny Brack was awarded the Scott Brayton Driver's Trophy, presented since 1997 to the driver who best exemplifies the character and racing spirit of the late Scott Brayton. Brack made his first Indy 500 start since 2003 this year, completing a remarkable comeback from serious injuries suffered in an accident at the season-ending race in October 2003 at Texas.

The 90th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is scheduled for May 28, 2006.

Webber confident for upcoming two races Webber confident for upcoming two racesMark Webber is optimistic that he and Williams-BMW teammate Nick Heidfeld will do well in the Canadian and United States Grands Prix.  "Williams have normally done well in Canada," he said. "It is a massive track for engines, too: You need a very, very good engine there. Hopefully we can be strong in Canada and in Indy, as well."
Clivio Piccione takes stunning win in Germany Clivio Piccione takes stunning win in GermanyUPDATE Scott Speed's two races this past weekend at the Nurburgring did not go well as he stalled at the start of both and suffered other mechanical problems. He finished 16th in the first race and retired in the second race after a spin. Speed did set the fastest race lap in both races, and the points he earned (2 for each race) for that moved him into second place in the championship behind Kovalainen. 05/29/05 Clivio Piccione has taken an astonishing win ahead of Adam Carroll and Nelson Piquet Jr in race two at the Nurburgring, after the most dramatic race yet in the GP2 series.

Despite a poor start from second on the grid, the Monegasque driver ran with the lead pack for the whole race, and took the chances presented to him by other’s misfortunes to claim his first win this year.

Gimmi Bruni led the pack away from pole and looked untouchable – Piquet had an attempt at passing him into turn one but ran wide, allowing Neel Jani through into second while Bruni ran away from his pursuers.

One lap later Jose Maria Lopez made an ill-advised attempt to pass Nicolas Lapierre at the first turn, tapping the Frenchman across the corner and into teammate Heikki Kovalainen. Alex Premat had nowhere to go and hit Lopez, who limped back to the pits for repairs, but the other three were out of the race.

Bruni continued to pull away from Jani, who was at the front of a tight battle for second – he had Piquet, Piccione, Nico Rosberg, Giorgio Pantano and a fast starting Adam Carroll split by just two seconds.

But heartbreak was just around the corner – on lap 16, with a lead of over six seconds, Bruni slowed and was devoured by the chasing pack, limping back to the pits and an early retirement.

With Bruni gone Jani now led the race, and the gap from first to sixth was a mere 1.6 seconds. With their tires now thoroughly grained in the overtaking began in earnest, with all of the drivers behind Jani overtaking and then being re-passed as the laps rolled down.

On lap twenty Piccione saw his chance and took it – with Jani’s brakes starting to suffer Piccione snuck inside the Swiss driver into the first turn and was away, streaking off into an unassailable lead, while Jani struggled on with an ill-handling car, the result of flat-spotting his tires.

Two laps later Jani was into the pits to replace his left front tire and all of his hard work was for nothing, while on track the overtaking continued until the end.

And as the flag dropped Piccione was overjoyed at his good fortune – he was strongly ahead of Carroll, who found a way to drive from 21st on the grid to second at the end, with Piquet and Rosberg nose to tail immediately behind him.

Pantano, who spun out of the battle with one lap to go was overtaken on the last lap by Sergio Hernandez and Ferdinando Monfardini for the final points paying positions, while Scott Speed was well outside the top six, also spinning out, but claimed two points for the fastest lap as he was still classified.

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap 
1 C. PICCIONE Durango 24 42:42.210
2 A. CARROLL Super Nova Into 24 6.861
3 N. PIQUET Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports 24 7.487
4 N. ROSBERG ART Grand Prix 24 7.727
5 S. HERNANDEZ Campos Racing 24 14.867
6 F. MONFARDINI Durango 24 17.270
7 G. PANTANO Super Nova Into 24 21.005
8 O. PLA DPR 24 22.896
9 R. SHARP DPR 24 35.319
10 F. FAUZY DAMS 24 56.231
11 E. VISO BCN Competicion 24 80.910
12 S. SPEED iSport International 23 1 LAP
13 N. JANI Racing Engineering 22 DNF
15 J. ALVAREZ Campos Racing 22 2 LAPS

 C. ARTAM iSport International 17 DNF
 G. BRUNI Coloni Motorsport 16 DNF
 A. NEGRAO Hitech Piquet Sports 6 DNF
 H.KOVALAINEN Arden International 2 DNF
 N. LAPIERRE Arden International 1 DNF
 A. PREMAT ART Grand Prix 1 DNF
 M. LAUDA Coloni Motorsport 1 DNF

 FASTEST LAP S. SPEED iSport International 1:43.853

Indianapolis 500 continues Wheldon’s hot streak Indianapolis 500 continues Wheldon’s hot streakHow dominant has Dan Wheldon been in 2005? If he was a baseball player, he'd be hitting .800 for the season.  By winning the 89th Indianapolis 500, Wheldon continued his supremacy of the IRL IndyCar® Series, claiming his fourth victory in five starts this season.

"It's the proudest moment of my life," he said. "The race was just difficult because there were so many good cars out there. And the depth of talent was amazing. I think it just shows you the direction the series is going with the amount of leaders and the amount of leaders from different teams. Although, you know, it was good to see Andretti Green Racing running 1, 2, and 3 at one point."

Wheldon, who leads the IndyCar Series point standings by 72 points, has completed all but one of the 900 laps run this season. Even more impressive, he's led almost a third of the laps this season - 301 to be exact.

"What really amazed me was that at about lap 100, Dan had worked his way up to fifth or sixth," said team manager John Anderson, who has shepherded Wheldon to his red-hot start. "And, looking at the strength of Dario (Franchitti) and Tony (Kanaan), I didn't think we had anything for them. But sure enough, he did. What really put us in victory lane was the grit and drive of the guy behind the wheel."

Wheldon, though, was quick to give credit for his success to the AGR organization, especially his teammates, reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and IndyCar Series veterans Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta

"I think they've developed me - they've been a big part of the development curve of getting me into this Victory Circle," Wheldon said. "They're very talented individuals. They've helped, along with these guys (ownership group), get me where I am. So I'm proud of that." IRL

Miami Herald slams Tony George Miami Herald slams Tony GeorgeA reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com,  A Google search directed me to your site as I was looking for info on open wheel racing, I’m not a subscriber so I can’t read the second page, but it appears your site is primarily open wheel centric.

I live in Miami Florida and took the wife and kids to the IRL race in Homestead this year and being casual race fans we were stunned at the lack of fans.  My kids kept jibbing me about picking a sporting event with, apparently no fans.  My eldest turned the ‘what if they gave a party and no one came’ to ‘they held a race and no one came’.  Being a casual racing fan that prefers open wheel to NASCAR type of racing I didn’t understand hardly anyone turning up for that race and wondered how they could make a business out of it if no one bought tickets or showed up for their races.  Well, with all the attention on Danica Patrick in the papers and on T.V., she was on the top of the front page of USA Today on Friday, and the Miami Herald has run Sporting section front page pieces on her almost every day.  It’s got everyone talking about what happened to the Indy 500 and what happened to open wheel racing in the U.S. in general.

Well this half page editorial appeared in the Miami Herald, which does not devote much space to racing other than NASCAR.  It really educated me and now I at least partly understand what happened.  Who is this Tony George guy and how come if he is the vision that perpetrated this disaster on open-wheel how come he hasn’t been relieved of his position, FIRED?  This would never stand in any business that I have ever heard of and I analyze business for a living. Steve Sorrenson, Key Biscayne Florida

Blame George for Open-Wheel Racing Woes

The Miami Herald, Sunday May 29, 2005 David J. Neal  excerpts below read the entire article at: www.themiamiherald.com

“This is the 10th Indy 500 under the banner of the Indy Racing League, the open-wheel racing circuit birthed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Inc. CEO Tony George.  Cake is in order.  Roman candles would be appropriate for George, the motorsports Mussolini who has managed to do what an energy crisis, a Great Depression and two World War stoppages failed to do: Dent the Indianapolis 500 and wreck Indy Car racing.

George created the IRL in 1996 in response to what he felt were failings in the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART).  In numerous ways he disregarded the characteristics that made the Indy 500 so prestigious while using that fading prestige to club CART into submission.  This piggish power play has proved to be the epitome of ‘Pyrrhic victory’.  I use “piggish” advisedly, as, like the pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm, the George-guided IRL now resembles what he once decried.”

“…Most obvious, George’s unnecessary war sheered the grandeur off the Indy 500, once the world’s largest single-day sporting event…”  “…Once, winning the Indy 500 meant instant broad-based celebrity.  Last year’s winner, Buddy Rice, has less name recognition than Buddy Lee…”  “…As of Friday evening, prime tickets along the front straight away were still available for today’s race.  Pre-Split, cleanup crews hadn’t picked up the last MGD bottle from the last years race when next year’s race was sold out.  Pole Day, the first day of qualifying, used to draw 175,000 to 200,000 people.  Now, it draws less than a quarter of that….”

Weak Excuses

“…The city’s annual month of raucous energy now needs extra juice from a rookie like Danica Patrick.  Excuses about “more stuff to do blah, blah, blah” don’t wash.  Horse racing is dying, yet the Kentucky Derby drew its sixth-largest crowd this year and still stuffed overpriced Louisville area hotels full.  And the finger of blame for this abominable razing of a great sporting event points to the nose on George’s smug mug. 

Back in the mid-1990’s George had complaints about CART.  Teams cost too much to run.  The circuit (series) used too many chassis, engines, tracks, and drivers that weren’t good ol’ American.  CART’s oval-to-twisty course ration was too low, George argued.  The U.S. drivers raised on oval-track racing couldn’t get a shot at a CART ride.  Instead of working with CART on these issues, George tore IndyCar racing asunder.  Then, he tried to bully CART teams into the IRL by declaring over 75% of the Indy 500’s 33 spots would be reserved for IRL regulars.  This was completely against the all-comers spirit that helped make Indy great.  George spat on tradition at a time when open-wheel racing needed to build on the stars it still had.  In the previous three years, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Al Unser, Sr. and slow-but-still famous A.J. Foyt had retired.  Jacques Villeneuve went to Formula One after winning the 1995 Indy 500 and CART titles.  CART teams, which included most of the big-name drivers remaining in IndyCar racing, responded to George by boycotting the next several Indy 500s”

Fans Lost Passion

“…The glorious cycle that fueled Indy’s prestige was broken.  The next five Indy 500s were ersatz versions of what should have been.  Casual fans didn’t understand much about the split except all the best drivers weren’t at Indy.  Many angry hard-core fans lost their passion before passing it down to the next generation.  Or, they took there fervency to NASCAR…..” “…once a tradition is razed for too long, its hard to rebuild…”  “..Look at the current IRL and you’ll see the same thing seen by Sarah Fisher, the three-time IRL Most Popular Driver who jumped to NASCAR this year.  Skyrocketing costs bedevil IRL owners.  Engines from Honda and Toyota, street courses, and races outside the U.S. have breached the all-oval, all-American concept.  Save Patrick and Sam Hornish Jr. The IRL’s most prominent drivers aren’t American unless you want to count South American’s such as Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves.

So, ultimately, Tony George arrogantly put the Indy 500 and IndyCar racing into the wall for nothing but becoming the master of a shrunken domain.  He deserves the Borg-Warner Trophy.  Right in the mush.

Junqueira has surgery Junqueira has surgeryBruno Junqueira is in fair condition following successful surgery on his fractured T-12 and L-1 vertebras on Monday. Dr. Terry Trammell, who completed the four-hour surgery on Junqueira at approximately 11:30 a.m. CST today, said the 28-year-old Brazilian suffered no additional spinal injuries and will remain hospitalized until the end of the week. Junqueira was visited by many of his fellow drivers following the surgery. He is expected to sit up tonight and stand tomorrow.
Memorial Day weekend racing thoughts Memorial Day weekend racing thoughtsThe F1 tire rule is one of the most stupid things the FIA has done in a long time. (And this is a group who does a LOT of dumb things.) I say let the teams have all the tires they want. If Button had been a few feet closer to Raikkonen, it could have been really bad. It is a ridiculous, irresponsible, very dangerous rule. As for qualifying: have two single-car sessions on Saturday, one morning and one afternoon, with light tanks and qualifying trim, with the better lap counting (not the aggregate).

Danica is for real, and I rooted for her to win, but the truth is that she was pretty lucky. She made her second rookie mistake and then benefited from her own blunder by being able to pit late in the resulting caution for fuel. (Yes, it's true that others could have topped off too.) Later, staying out while others pitted gave her the lead, but it was not a lead that was realistically destined to endure. But she drove a hell of a race, and she is good for the sport. I'm a fan. I hope that TG and Champ Car can seize this moment and announce re-unification plans while this race news is fresh. It was a great race.

Man, I never thought that I would be nostalgic for Paul Page! Todd Harris was a pathetic bad joke. He made so many inane comments it is pointless to try to list them all. News Flash, Todd: There were more than two cars in the race, not just the leader and Danica. Poor Vitor Meira; he ran a brilliant race to finish second (two positions ahead of You Know Who), and I don't think that Harris mentioned his name all day. ABC's coverage was way too Danica-centric. Junqueira was slicing through the field, and so was Bourdais. Buddy Lazier was a great story, and there were others. Hardly a mention. But we always knew where Danica was. Down, boys. Dial down the hormones.

Yes, she is pretty, but the coverage was sexist, demeaning of Patrick, unfair to the other competitors, and insulting to the audience. I hope they pink-slip Harris and get someone who is a grownup. Why do most networks think that they have to have an announcer who hypes the race constantly? If you want to know how it's done right, look no further than Mike Joy. Kudos to Scott Goodyear for trying to balance things out. Dave Despain would be a terrific anchor, but he wouldn't be a stooge for the IRL, and probably that is required by the Speedway. We never did find out what happened to Bourdais to cause the final yellow [Editor's Note: He swerved to avoid Danica, and his tire was cut by Lazier's wing].

As for NASCAR, Bobby Labonte showed once again the traits that make him and Terry two of the classiest people in all of motor racing. And hats off to Larry McReynolds, as he has really worked on his English skills; he has always been very insightful. And last night, DW even seemed to back off a little from his corn pone act. I like Darrell, but I have had my fill of "whoed ups" and "boogity boogities!" Anyone else agree? This is an intelligent, successful multi-millionaire who often feels a need to sound like an dumb redneck. Do NASCAR fans really like being patronized that much?

Finally, what can you say about that Foyt clan? I can't understand whether AJ wants to tarnish his own reputation into oblivion, or just plain kill somebody. If the Labontes are on one end of the scale, AJ is on the other. And his kids can't drive. Dean Abramson, Raymond ME

Indy notebook Indy notebookDanica did a good job, but we think even she was disappointed in herself. Yes, she was proud of her team and finishing fourth. She was well prepped to thank the team and her sponsors, but few people seemed to catch on to our admittance that she also made some rookie mistakes. She stalled, which everyone knows, but even then, the commentators were slow to suggest that it was a driver error and not a mechanical failure. That her team had to remind her to put her car into neutral so that they could restart the car was not commented on at all.

Then there was the restart where she caused a huge crash because she lost control while scrubbing her tires. Another rookie mistake. After that, we think she was pretty spooked and when the track went yellow and the leaders pitted, the team had to coax her to get close behind the pace car. We think she didn't want to get too close to any cars after the previous restart incident. Finally, with two laps to go, she hesitated passing a back marker (there were too many moving chicanes out there that caused most of the crashes) and left another damaged car in her wake, this time Bourdais had to take evasive action ending up with a cut tire.
We agree that Danica is a good driver, but not as good as portrayed by the media, and she is one of the toughest women around when it comes to mental toughness. She's aggressive, assertive, and has the right attitude to be a champion racer, regardless of her gender and with seasoning, can become one.
Her success at the Indianapolis 500 was due to her team, not her talents. She was lucky to finish where she did. It was a gamble to pit early, when she was basically out of contention and hope for the yellows to come. The gamble paid off as the yellows came time and time again. That's what brought her back to the front. Admittedly, she did get from 16th to 8th, but she passed cars that were much slower than hers and cars that were no longer in contention. She would have had a much tougher time climbing the rest of the way to the top without the alternate pit strategy. She was gracious enough to credit her team for her success and to describe her feelings after the race, she said she was 'relieved' that it was over. She was proud that she finished and where she finished. She was proud of her team, but she also admitted to making rookie moves. She actually gained more of my respect because I've never heard her admit anything in the past.
To go with conspiracy theories, did anyone think that it was very opportune for Kenny Brack's car to develop a mechanical problem early in the race? Many people were surprised by Kenny's return and wondered how long he would drive during the race. It was important for Team Rahal/Letterman to qualify the car and Kenny was more than capable of going fast enough to beat out the Foyts of the field and he has the experience to drive the car, but probably not at the front for very long. We think it was a smart move to put someone in the seat that you know and could bring the car home safely, but we doubt that they expected Brack to complete the whole race. Our guess is that when Kenny had had enough, they would park the car.
One thing we didn't notice was very much mention of the bottom half of the field or the team sponsors. We watched the race and didn't go away with any sense of who sponsored which car. We don't think Bourdais was mentioned until he beat Kanaan to the pit out line, even when his name was on the screen ahead of Danica's, they talked about Danica, not Bourdais. They didn't just ignore Bourdais, but also almost every other car beyond the top 5. This can't be good for sponsors of the non-Andretti Green and Rahal Letterman cars. They didn't spend the time to run down the order and show the other cars like they often do in NASCAR, especially under yellow.

Finally, the crowd was large like always, but there were definitely more empty seats than last year, but not enough to make the 500 look bad, which is important. Open wheel racing in the USA can't afford to lose its marquee event. We're hoping for some sort of merger between Champ Car and the IRL. We are hearing that most of the major pieces are in place for that to happen, but we don't know the structure nor what the next generation cars will be yet. We still maintain that this proposal works best for now. Mark C.

IRL dismisses weight advanatage IRL dismisses weight advanatageUPDATE A reader writes, I believe that at 135 lbs (wet) Cristiano da Matta received the same advantage, about 35 lbs on his next lightest competitor, comments when he won the Champ Car championship in 2003 [Champ Car has since changed the rule and now the driver's weight counts]. And Ms. Patrick has a 35 lb advantage on da Matta. There is a reason reputable racing series recognize all aspects of vehicle dynamics to present a level competitive racing environment and weight has a significant impact. Her weight difference is just over 2% of the car weight. At 220+mph a couple 1/10ths of a second could mean a lot extra ground covered. Even on a road course the advantage could provide and couple 1/10ths of a second as the numbers from da Matta's championship year will document. Greg Waugh, Renton, WA 05/30/05 The Indy Racing League isn't giving any weight to the complaints about Danica Patrick's slight frame. One day after NASCAR's Robby Gordon said he would not race against the petite Patrick because he believes she has a weight advantage at a mere 100 pounds, IRL officials said they were not considering changing their rules to level the playing field. "It's no issue at all, as it pertains to the Indianapolis 500 and oval-track racing," league spokesman John Griffin said. The IRL does not consider the weight of the driver in its race specifications. While cars must weigh a minimum of 1,525 pounds before the fuel and driver are added, drivers are not weighed. Less weight could give Patrick two advantages - quicker speeds and less fuel consumption, which could be a key in a 500-mile race. AP Story [Editor's Note: This is complete and utter BS. F1 and Champ Car include the driver's weight. Teams go through a lot of trouble to take ounces and pounds out of a car to make it as light as possible. To say a 50 to 100 pound weight advantage is no issue is clearly a case of either being clueless or wanting to keep the advantage Danica has so she continues to make headlines for them. With that said, we are taking nothing away from Danica as she is fast, though in Champ Car's two ladder series, Barber Dodge Pro and Toyota Atlantic, she never won a single race. Many fans bemoan the fact that she is getting too much hype because she is a woman and overlooking the fact she hasn't won anything.....yet.]
British F3
American Charlie Kimball continues tear in British F3 American Charlie Kimball continues tear in British F320-year old American Charlie Kimball completely dominated rounds 9 and 10 of the British International Formula 3 Championship held May 28th and 29th at Thruxton, the fastest racing circuit in Britain.  Kimball qualified on pole for Race One and Two, by 3 tenths of a second and 5 tenths of a second respectively.  The young American went on to lead both races from lights to flag, driving away from the field both times.  Qualifying on Saturday proved to be exciting for Kimball and the Carlin team. In first qualifying, Kimball completed only 10 laps and 3 were fast enough to secure pole.  He then pulled into the pitlane to save his tires and wait out the time.  Second qualifying produced more domination by the young American as he secured pole by over half a second.  The next 9 drivers on the grid were all covered by less than half a second.
"I was pretty confident I had the pole but you never know until they wave the checkered flag," said Kimball.  "I am really excited to have secured my first poles in British F3 and ready to go racing.  It is also a great day for Carlin Motorsport as we will line up 1-2-3 for the second race!"
In Race One, Kimball made a great start and never looked back.  He steadily increased his lead over the race distance, putting in consistently fast laps and just missing the point for Fast Lap by a fraction of a second.  Kimball won the race by over 3.5 seconds.
"I just put my head down and went to work to build up a lead," said the Californian.  "The podium at Knockhill last week gave me that extra confidence boost coming into this weekend and I was able to just drive.  I am slightly disappointed about missing fastest lap though. . ."
Kimball dominated Race Two in similarly spectacular style, leading from lights to flag and controlling a safety car restart.  After the first two laps, the American had built up a 1.5 second lead but was bunched back up with the field when the Safety Car was deployed.  Kimball timed the restart well, jumping straight ahead and leaving the field behind him to fight over second place.  Kimball won Race Two by 4.8 seconds and set the fastest lap - breaking the previous track record held by Takuma Sato.  "I am thrilled!  This weekend could not have gone better.  From two poles, to two wins and the lap record - it's perfect," beamed Kimball.
It has been 11 years since an American has won a race in British F3 and Kimball is the first American to ever win two British F3 races in one weekend.  This weekend's results triples Kimball's championship points, moving him into 6th.  Kimball will continue his testing program before heading to Zandvoort, in the Netherlands, for the Marlboro Masters International Invitational race, June 11 - 12.
Black flags at Indy Black flags at IndyCanada's Marty Roth struggled all month to find speed and Sunday was no different.   Only this time, Roth was penalized for it: He was black-flagged twice for running too slowly, forcing him out of the race.  "We got some garbage on our tires, we brought it in, put a new set of tires on," Roth said. "Unfortunately, when I got back around, we came out right where the leaders were. I was just trying to be courteous and got up in the gray and it started washing out on me."

Driver Jimmy Kite also was black-flagged early but was able to adjust the car and get it back up to speed. He later dropped out of the race because of a handling problem.

Sharp also was penalized late in the race for blocking. Track officials made Sharp drive through pit road at the proper speed. AP Story

Meira slightly injured in Indy 500 Meira slightly injured in Indy 500Second place finisher Vitor Meira was slightly injured during the Indy 500 and had to finish the race with one hand. "It was kind of one and half handed," Meira said in a press conference after the race. "But it didn't affect anything. When you turn your wheel your hand sticks slightly up out of the cockpit. Right after the yellow something hit it coming out of Wheldon's car. It was a piece of debris of the previous crash, but it was nothing. I just felt a little tick and then we went again. Then I took off my glove and it was all bloody and everything."
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'No sympathy' for Kimi
BMW deny Tuesday verdict
McLaren defend 'risky' call
Ferrari on right road back?
Tire rule 'unsafe'
Klien to race next four
Alonso sniffs title triumph
Slow Button is still lucky
Why Danica is good for open wheel racing Why Danica is good for open wheel racingUPDATE A reader responds, I don't dispute Danica being good for open wheel and I do think she is a good driver though I think she still needed more seat time in a ladder series. But in all fairness I think what Robby Gordon had to say is quite true. All open wheel series should have some sort of weight penalty for a driver that much below the average weight of the drivers in the series. It is important to keep a minimum weight but the drivers weight should be considered and in the case of Danica, that is a substantial difference. If she is as good as we believe then this should not hurt her ability to drive a car as long as it is implemented properly but at least forty five pounds should have been applied to her vehicle as she is riding around like a car with less than half a fuel load which definitely adds to her lap time. Brian DeFreese

Another writes, I agree with everything you just wrote about Danica and her possible impact on open wheel racing. She would be the ideal candidate for promoting unification. With her training in the Champ Car minor leagues, exploitation in the IRL, and popularity with the general media, if she used this attention wisely, I believe she could draw a huge amount of attention from the media towards the unification of the two series. Can you imagine the war finally ending because a female driver, from the ranks of Champ Car, that defected to the IRL, who has never won a race, but gained more popularity than any other driver in either series, speaks up and uses her "star" power to finally draw enough media attention to force T.G. to unification? Wow! What a story that would be and what a crazy ending to this war! Unfortunately, in this fan's opinion and based on the Communist-like gag orders imposed by the IRL, I think the IRL will continue to do only one thing.......continue to exploit her for all she is worth and never allow her to make any mention of the "other" series. D. Hughes, Cincinnati, OH

05/29/05 Yes, she has a weight advantage, yes she was over hyped, and yes she got more PR than she perhaps deserves at Indy all month, but make no mistake about it, Danica Patrick will help open wheel racing and it sure needs it. As can be seen by the photo to the right (courtesy Honda) the biggest cheer in 20 years went up at Indy when she took the lead from Wheldon with 10 laps to go. The fans were on their feet and going crazy. Part of NASCAR's success is the large percentage of females that follow their sport. Danica Patrick has the women, and many men cheering for her and we're willing to stick our neck out and say this year's Indy 500 will have a higher TV rating than last year because of her. Time will tell if we're correct, but Champ Car fans should not begrudge her, because if there is a merger, she will help the sport in general capture the imagination of the women. Mark C.
Foyt IV needs to have license pulled Foyt IV needs to have license pulledUPDATE #2 Hoping to see Danica Patrick win, I watched the 500 for the first time in 11 years having last attended the race in 1995. Although she didn't win, I feel she showed everyone that she is the real thing.  But the race left me with one question. Does AJ4 literally have to kill somebody before they yank his license? He is visibly way out of his league. I feel it's not in any way an exaggeration when I say that this guy is an accident waiting to happen. What an absolute wanker. The ABC shills kept hyping the field as "the best drivers in the world." There are some excellent drivers there, to be sure. But AJ4, Larry Foyt and Ed Carpenter make a mockery of that statement. Tony Traugott, Santa Monica, CA 05/29/05 Another reader writes, Even though AJ Foyt is a blood brother of Tony George, The "IV" must be removed.  He has no talent and he just wrecked Bruno while he was 5 laps down.  Hopefully Bruno is OK.  And then the great "IV" shows that his speaking abilities are less than Mr. Ed and doesn't take the blame. Try to complete a sentence that we can comprehend please!  The "IV" WOULD NOT have a drive without a last name of Foyt.   My next crash prediction: Carpenter, based on a similar argument.  I hope that Newman/Haas reevaluate their position on the 500.  Looks like your Champ Car championship leading driver is going to be hurt driving the Crapwagons. Bob Lowe, Woburn, MA 05/29/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, AJ Foyt IV has no business driving a race car.  I have watched that wanker crash repeatedly over the past several years.  He is a moving chicane and a hazard to everyone around him.  I feel sorry for Bruno Junqueira who was running strong in today's Indy 500 and moving up toward the front.  He became the latest victim of that wanker's ineptitude.  Foyt even admitted his spotter told him "inside" (meaning a car was passing him on the inside) yet he still turned down and crashed out himself and Junqueira.  I hope Junqueira didn't suffer a broken back because of this wanker.  When is the IRL going to yank his driver's license?  Oops, I forgot his name is Foyt. Dan Black, Cleveland, OH
Indy trivia Indy triviaWheldon's victory was a landmark win in many ways.  Not only was it Wheldon's first Indy triumph, it was also the first Indianapolis 500 victory for a driver who started from the 16th position.  It was the first victory for a car carrying the number '26' at Indianapolis and it was the first win by a British driver since Graham Hill won in 1966.  The win was also the 14th victory for Andretti Green in its short IndyCar Series history, making it the winningest team in the history of the 10-year old series. AGR
Poor Dan Poor DanA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, They say that no one remembers who finished second. Unfortunately for Dan Wheldon  this race will be remembered for who came in fourth or that Michael Andretti finally won the Indy 500 not for a well earned victory by a proven racer. Bradford Dunlop, Toronto Canada
Cut tire ends Bourdais’ day Cut tire ends Bourdais’ dayAfter crashing out with two laps to go in the Indy 500, Sebastien Bourdais had this to say - “I was very happy with where the No. 37 Team CENTRIX car was – at the front at the end of the race.  That was exactly what we wanted to do and that’s why I am so disappointed.  You can’t pass in traffic with these cars, it’s tough, and I couldn’t back off big enough.  When Vitor passed Danica, she had to back off big time and lost a lot of speed and I couldn’t back off enough to get some clean air.  She went down on the track quite a lot to protect her line quite well.  I couldn’t back off more because of the guys close behind me so I lost the momentum myself.  Although I tried hard I just moved a little to the left.  He (Lazier) was probably too close to me and touched my tires and cut it.  I didn’t realize what was happening and started slowing down and lost the engine and then hit the wall.

"The race was really crazy and wild.  I should have been taken out five times before I was.  Accidents happened right in front of me and I was able to avoid them.  The race was obviously quite difficult; I had a lot to learn.  You can’t try to make up positions when you have to be really, really patient.  You have to take the opportunity when someone makes a mistake.  You can’t force the issue and just pass them; most of the time it just doesn’t happen.  When you fail, not only did you not pass the guy but you lose three or four positions.  I want to apologize to Dario; I squeezed him because I didn’t even know he was there.  My spotter didn’t tell me.”

Kevin Kalkhoven under the knife again Kevin Kalkhoven under the knife againChamp Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven told AutoRacing1.com that the Mayo Clinic determined he will need another operation on his shoulder.  In great pain for weeks now, Kalkhoven said the shoulder "wasn't good" though he did not elaborate.  We here at AutoRacing1.com wish him well.  His operation is Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic.
Industry news
Bogus Race Car Driver Burns Wrong Woman Bogus Race Car Driver Burns Wrong WomanAmerican businesswoman, Elizabeth Grzeszczyk is swept off her feet by Dr. Jonathan Palmer, the glamorous British Formula One Grand Prix race car driver while she's on a business trip in South Beach, Florida. Her life crumbles when she later discovers her suitor is really an internationally wanted con man, Jonathan Nigel-Philip Kern. Grzeszczyk tells all in her newly published book, "I Fell in Love with a Con Man"  (http://www.lulu.com/EGrzeszczyk).

I Fell in Love with a Con Man is the true crime story of a professional independent redhead from New England who is swept off her feet by Dr. Jonathan Palmer, the glamorous British Formula One Grand Prix race car driver while she's on a business trip in South Beach, Florida. Months later Elizabeth's life crumbles when she learns her boyfriend is really Jonathan Nigel-Philip Kern, an internationally wanted con man who has made Dr. Palmer's life a nightmare by impersonating him all over the world. Determined not to let Kern ruin her life, Elizabeth fights back. Not only does she press charges against him, she surprises and enrages him by testifying against him at his court appeal in Paris.

Elizabeth's story has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, not only in the United States but abroad as well including The Sunday Times in South Africa.  Jonathan Kern's father, Cyril Kern, is a wealthy South African businessman who was involved in a scandal for loaning Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon $1.5 million.

Elizabeth has appeared on Unsolved Mysteries along with Dr. Palmer. An abbreviated version of her story also appeared in Marie Claire magazine "I Fell in Love with a Con Man and It Cost Me Everything" and in Sports Illustrated magazine "Sports Imposters-The Hall of Fakes."

Gordon says Danica has unfair advantage Gordon says Danica has unfair advantageRobby Gordon accused Danica Patrick of having an unfair advantage in the Indianapolis 500 and said Saturday he will not compete in the race again unless the field is equalized.  Gordon, a former open-wheel driver now in NASCAR, contends that Patrick is at an advantage over the rest of the competitors because she only weighs 100 pounds. Because all the cars weigh the same, Patrick's is lighter on the race track.

"The lighter the car, the faster it goes," Gordon said. "Do the math. Put her in the car at her weight, then put me or Tony Stewart in the car at 200 pounds and our car is at least 100 pounds heavier.  I won't race against her until the IRL does something to take that advantage away."

The Indy Racing League does not consider the weight of the driver in its race specifications. The car has to weigh at least 1,525 pounds before the fuel and driver are added, and teams in Indy have estimated that Patrick will gain close to 1 mph in speed because of her small stature.  Although her rivals in Sunday's race have said she doesn't have a huge advantage, pole-sitter Tony Kanaan told reporters he would like the Indy Racing League to look into the issue.

"Right off the bat, a guy my size is spotting her 105 pounds," Gordon said. "That's the reason she's so much faster." AP Story

Tony George again hints at Open Wheel unification Tony George again hints at Open Wheel unificationThis NY Times article by Tony George says, The Indianapolis 500, the premier race in the Indy Racing League series, will be run for the 89th time today. Talk of unification between the two major open-wheel series in this country, the IRL and what is now the Champ Car series, always seems to intensify in May.

That is because anyone who competes in open-wheel racing at the top level wants to be in the Indianapolis 500. It has a certain cachet. A unification may better serve fans, sponsors and the sport of open-wheel racing, but any such outcome must recognize the importance of the Indy 500 and the Speedway.

I must, first and foremost, do what is in the best interest of the Speedway and the Indy Racing League. I also understand my role in the sport. A unified open-wheel series would be more viable in the competitive world of professional sports.

Those who are passionate about open-wheel racing have shared interests. We had an opportunity to unify the two series by obtaining the assets of Championship Auto Racing Teams when it declared bankruptcy in 2003. It did not happen. The split continued.

There has been some dialogue from time to time that shows the sides generally agree, but sometimes the devil is in the details. And there are many of those to be worked out.  Even then, a resolution may not be to everyone's satisfaction.  The IRL is in its 10th season and is healthier than ever. I have a sense of how our prospects can improve. I hope to use all my experiences - as a driver, track owner, league owner and team owner - for the long-term good of open-wheel racing. Whether it's unified or not.  [Editor's Note: Dear Tony, No one is disputing that the Indy 500 must be the centerpiece of a unified series.  We are glad to hear you are willing to consider a unification, something we and many others have said for a very long time.]

Daytona submits official HOF bid Daytona submits official HOF bidAs the birthplace of stock car racing and home to America's premier race and track, civic leaders here believe this city would be a natural home to the proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame.  On Thursday, Daytona Beach made its bid official.  "Gentlemen, start your construction," Mayor Yvonne Scarlett-Golden said at a ceremony coinciding with the city's bid submission to NASCAR.  Speakers were forced to occasionally shout over the din of a practicing driver roaring around the track, but officials showed their confidence in the bid, hosting the event on Daytona International Speedway's black-and-white checkered Victory Lane.  But has Daytona Beach's bid already spun out?  More at AP Story
Daytona infield road course repaving update Daytona infield road course repaving updateThe repaving of the infield sports car road course at historic Daytona International Speedway is moving at full speed this week and the Spirit of Daytona Racing - a locally based Grand American Rolex Sports Car team - stopped by to check on the progress.

The paving of the legendary infield sports car road course will continue this week and is scheduled to be completed by the middle of next week. The road course will see its first activity with the Brumos Porsche 250 Rolex Sports Car Series event on Thursday, June 30 during the Pepsi 400 Weekend.

Spirit of Daytona Racing owner Troy Flis and driver Bob Ward visited "The World Center of Racing" to inspect the work on the project and were excited about the new grip that will be provided by the repaving of the course.

"Over the years, it seems like the asphalt has almost gotten to be marble and rounded off," said Ward, who co-drives the No. 07 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype. "The tires have got very little grip in the international horseshoe and the west horseshoe especially. I think with this new asphalt we should get a lot more grip and the speeds should increase and the lap times will definitely go down."

"I think it's going to help everybody out. It's going to help both of our cars," said Flis, who also campaigns the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford. "This race track has been a little bit of challenge to get the cars set up. This is going to help a bunch. The cars will be a lot easier to setup and the speeds will be a lot quicker and it'll put on a better race for all of competition.

"There will be a lot more side-by-side racing. Usually you had a couple cars that found something here that got good grip and could drive away. Now with this repaving, you're going to have a lot more cars a lot closer."

Tickets for the Pepsi 400 Weekend, which includes the Brumos Porsche 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Grand-Am

Hornish team wins pitstop competition Hornish team wins pitstop competitionSam Hornish Jr.’s crew won the pit-stop challenge Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, topping Bryan Herta and his Andretti Green Racing crew in the final, marking the eighth time that Roger Penske’s mechanics have been quickest.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on this,” Penske said. “We have pit-stop practice every week back at the shop, and I think it pays off.”

The win was worth $30,000 and bragging rights, but it also serves as an omen to success in the race. Since 1981, when Penske Racing won the challenge and the race with Bobby Unser, the winner of the pit-stop competition has gone on to win the race four other times – including Penske’s Danny Sullivan in 1985 and Helio Castroneves in 2002.  Last year, Buddy Rice and Rahal Letterman Racing won the pit-stop challenge, then won the race. Hornish will start in the middle of the front row for Sunday's race. SPEEDTV.com

Andretti, Earnhardt among top nominees Andretti, Earnhardt among top nomineesUPDATE #2 The France family, which transformed NASCAR from a loosely organized regional phenomenon into one of America's top professional sports, was named Newsmaker of the Half-Century by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association on Sunday

The France family received 28.5 percent of the vote of AARWBA members to edge the Hulman-George family. The award was presented to Lesa France Kennedy, president of International Speedway Corp., during the annual AARWBA breakfast at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"My grandfather was a classic American success story in so many ways," France Kennedy said, in reference to the late William H.G. "Big Bill" France, who founded NASCAR in 1947. "He was a risk-taker in the sense that he had a big vision that NASCAR and stock- car racing could be a very popular sport throughout the United States, and with the support of my grandmother, worked day-after-day to make that a reality. My father (Bill France Jr.) worked very hard to build on that foundation and his leadership is what made NASCAR what it is today."

The Hulman-George family, which has owned and operated Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1946, received 26.3 percent of the vote. Mario Andretti was third in the voting, with 8.2 percent, while Dale Earnhardt and Roger Penske each received 6.7 percent. SPEEDTV.com

05/05/05 Having already won the award for Driver of the Quarter Century, Mario Andretti gets at least one vote for Newsmaker of the Half-Century.   Joe Rusz, Editor-At-Large, writes in the June edition of Road & Track Magazine, after analyzing all the nominees -  "A tough decision, but as far as I'm concerned, the winner should be Mario Andretti, whose name trips easily off the tongue of practically every motorsports fan in the civilized world.  Andretti won everything he raced, from dingy little dirt ovals to superspeedways, in everything from midgets to Indy Cars, from stock cars to the finest F1 rides.  America's second Formula 1 World Champion, who continues to be racing's goodwill ambassador to the world, Mario truly is motorsports' Newsmaker of the Half-Century."  The five finalists are listed below.  Those who were cut in the semi-finals were Richard Petty, Kenny Bernstein, John Force, Jeff Gordon, Dan Gurney , AJ Foyt and Wally Parks. 05/05/05 The finalists for the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's Newsmaker of the Half-Century were released Tuesday. The winner will be announced May 15 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during AARWBA's 50th anniversary celebration.  The finalists were chosen by members of AARWBA from an original list of 50 nominees. They are:

Mario Andretti, versatile driver who won the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, 12 Hours of Sebring and was the 1978 Formula One champion. Andretti retired from racing in 1994 with four Indy Car championships and 52 career race wins.

Dale Earnhardt, the Intimidator, won a record seven NASCAR Cup championships, a feat equaled only by Richard Petty. Earnhardt died in a race accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001.

The France family, the first family of NASCAR, began when William H.G. France decided to run a road race, partially on the sand, in Daytona Beach, Fla., and created the stock car racing sanctioning body in 1947.

The Hulman-George family, the caretakers of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, have kept the Indianapolis 500 a rite of spring for decades. The Indianapolis 500 has been around since 1911, but Anton (Tony) Hulman bought the track in 1945 and made the race an American institution.

Roger Penske, the winningest car owner in Indianapolis 500 history, has 13 career victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He has also won 11 open-wheel championships, and his drivers have won 120 races.

The winner of the Newsmaker of the Half-Century will receive a commissioned painting, and a donation will be made to the winner's charity of choice. LA Daily News

Indy 500 Drivers' Meeting Indy 500 Drivers' MeetingDrivers participating in the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race received final instructions and awards May 28 in the public drivers' meeting, the final activity at the track before the race May 29.  The 89th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network beginning at noon (EDT).

2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal each accepted a "Baby Borg" trophy from Tim Manganello, chief executive officer of BorgWarner, Inc., for being the winning driver and car owner at the 2004 Indianapolis 500.  The Baby Borg is a miniature replica of the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, which bears the bas-relief likeness, name and average speed of every Indianapolis 500 winner.

Rahal received his first winning car owner's ring from Mark Emkes, chief executive officer of Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire.  Paul Mills, vice president of the board of directors, Milk Promotion Services Of Indiana, presented a plaque with an American Dairy Association milk bottle to Rice for his victory last year.

Tony Kanaan accepted the 2005 MBNA Pole Award from Joie Chitwood, president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kanaan won the MBNA Pole on May 15 with a four-lap average of 227.566 mph in his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears presented special rings to all 33 drivers.

Kanaan then presented a special portrait, signed by all 33 drivers, to Thomas Snyder, president and chief executive officer of Delco-Remy, on behalf of the starting field.

Andy Granatelli, the two-time winning car owner known for the famous turbine-powered "whoosh mobile" cars that raced in 1967 and 1968, presented Dick Mittman with the Unsung Hero Award.

Mittman has covered the Indianapolis 500 for several decades, first as a journalist for Indianapolis newspapers, and most recently as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's senior editor. He retired from his position with the Speedway at end of 2004.

The drivers and crowd gave a standing ovation to Speedway public address announcer Tom Carnegie, who has been the voice of the track since 1946. Carnegie had been hospitalized earlier this week after falling ill at American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day on May 25 but will announce his 60th consecutive Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer for the Indy Racing League, concluded the driver's meeting by discussing race rules and guidelines with the drivers.  IRL (Photos by Michael Voorhees and Kay Nichols/IRL)

Dale Jarrett Q and A on tonight's 600 Dale Jarrett Q and A on tonight's 600Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, will start seventh when the green flag falls for tonight's Coca-Cola 600.  Jarrett, who will be competing in his first points race with new crew chief Bill Wilburn, spoke about the race after Saturday's first practice session.

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus - YOU'RE STARTING SEVENTH AND YOU APPEAR TO BE FAST.  "Yeah, we're fast, but 600 miles is about using your speed when you need to and you're hard on equipment here for that long, especially with the speeds that we're running right now.  The falloff of what we have in a fuel run now is basically where we used to start running with time, so we're obviously turning some more rpm's and for a longer period of time.  You're really gonna have to take care of the equipment and it's gonna be a long, hard race.  With as much grip as there is in the corners, the driver is gonna be working his tail off.  It should be an interesting race and we do have a good spot to start.  Hopefully, we can get our car to where we're reasonably fast at the beginning of a run and not fall off a lot during the course of a long run.  That's what we're after." 

YOU MENTIONED GRIP IN THE CORNERS.  DID YOU NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE WITH THE PATCH IN TURN ONE?  "I tried to dodge it when I first went out because I didn't know they had done anything.  It caught me by surprise a little bit, so I tried to really straddle it if I could.  It was kind of a non-issue in practice, but you're not always gonna be in position for that to happen.  We'll just have to see what it does.  I can't imagine it has as much grip as what was there, but it probably won't cause a lot of problem." 

AS FAR AS WORKING WITH BILL TOMORROW NIGHT.  WILL YOU TRY TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT AS FAR AS COMMUNICATING WHAT ADJUSTMENTS YOU'LL WANT IN THE CAR?  "I think it's business as usual from my standpoint.  I've always just tried to give them an idea of what I feel the car is doing and then we take the tire temperatures and the build-ups and see if that's anywhere close to what I was saying about the car.  Hopefully they are somewhat alike and then we can work on the car from that standpoint.  I think the biggest thing is getting an understanding of where I'm talking about the car maybe being a little bit tight - exactly what point of the corner is that?  Is that before I get to the center as I pick up the gas?  Is it more of a late exit?  It's about getting that understanding, and then to what degree.  Basically, we try to simplify as much as possible.  We use numbers.  If 10 is the tightest, then where are we on that scale.  Is it a seven or an eight, or are we only talking about a three or four to where we only have to make a minor adjustment.  Things are going well.  We've got a lot of guys giving a lot of input and everybody has pitched in.  It seems that Billy and Jason (Burdette) are working well together and seem to be thinking along the same lines, so that makes things a lot easier, and I think we'll be able to get to where we want to a lot quicker." Ford

Indy 500 Factoid Indy 500 FactoidThis weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Wood Brothers' groundbreaking victory at the Indianapolis 500 with driver Jimmy Clark.  After transforming the way pit stops were done in NASCAR, the Wood's were summoned to Indy and used their new method to help Clark win by two full laps over second-place Parnelli Jones.  Current co-owner Eddie Wood talked about where that moment ranks in team history.

EDDIE WOOD, Co-Owner - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus - WHERE DOES THAT WEEKEND RANK IN WOOD BROTHERS HISTORY?  "That was a really big deal when it happened and I guess it still is because a lot of firsts happened that day.  I think it was the first time a green car had ever won; the first Ford rear engine car; and the first day an actual NASCAR pit crew did the pit work.  I was actually in the sixth grade listening to it on the radio.  I had a transistor radio in my pocked with a wire running up through my shirt sleeve and stuck in my ear.  I know my dad and Leonard and all the guys that were there still talk about it.  They were really honored to be picked to go do that.  When they got up there they changed some things on the fueling, and I think their total time in the pits that day was equal to one stop of the other guys.  At least that's what they said (laughing).  Someone sent us a book that had all the newspaper clippings throughout the United States about it and it was a big deal." 

SO YOU LISTENED TO THE WHOLE RACE ON THE RADIO THAT DAY?  "Yeah.  It started at like 11:00 o'clock and it was on a Monday, so we were in school.  I just had this thing fixed to where I wouldn't get caught with it, and I didn't get caught with it.  I listened to the whole race.  The only bad thing was when we won, I couldn't say anything because then I would have gotten caught (laughing)." Ford

Bourdais and the Indy 500 odds Bourdais and the Indy 500 oddsA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just wanted to mention that last night (Friday) I was in Las Vegas with friends when I happened upon the sportsbook at the New York New York casino.  Just out of curiosity, I looked to see if they had a betting sheet for the IRL Five Hundred.  Sure enough, there was one and as I went down the list (usually in descending order of increasing bet risk) I noticed that Sebastien Bourdais was nearly at the bottom of the list, with odds to win listed as 35-1!  I nearly shit myself and immediately put in a $100 bet.  This morning I called my boss to let him know about the disparity, and by the time he could get in a bet the odds had changed to 25-1, then 20-1 shortly thereafter.  By 1pm today, the odds were 8-1 and last I heard it was 5-1 at another casino. 

At the same time my boss put in his bet, I was unable to put in another bet at 20-1 odds because the casino was "over the line" on the bet; they refused to take my bet!  They were in the process of changing the odds yet again.  The agent remarked that there had been very little interest in the race betting, with the lone exception of Bourdais.  He said "everyone is betting on this dude."  It is apparent that the casinos could take a bath on the Indy betting if Seabass wins. Benjamin Quinby

Ferrari is 'dark horse' Ferrari is 'dark horse'Renault's Pat Symonds has singled out Ferrari as a 'dark horse' at the Nurburgring.  Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher are seventh and tenth on the grid, but the rival engineering director said he has 'a feeling' about the team in scarlet.

''On high fuel loads they've shown a good turn of speed here,'' Symonds said in Germany.  'We know they can never be discounted.''

In reality, though, McLaren and Symonds' Renault R25 are most likely to duel for the winner's rostrum, the Briton agreed.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu no snag for little Nick
DC to race on
Some don't like it hot
Williams' start fear
Who's low on juice?
Williams, Honda and Toyota
Quali debate set to return
Jordan eye Red Bull, Sauber
Schu won't win
Button assured F1 future
No 'b spec' Toyota
Button's monkey
Speedy Scot
How's the new Quali?
Update on Al Unser III Update on Al Unser IIIAutoRacing1.com caught up with Al Unser III's attorney Josh Wright today to get a clarification on his situation. Mr. Wright, the CEO of Masterplan Group International co-manages Unser with Mark White of 200+ Management.

"Al does indeed have a sponsorship agreement with bospoker.com, a London based company that is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange," said Wright. "It's not really a situation whereby Al is quitting the IRL. What the fans must understand is that while other kids were driving go-karts and other junior racing series between 12 and 17 years old Al was not, so he has a lot of catching up to do.  More in revised article....

Kenseth spins in Happy Hour Kenseth spins in Happy HourMatt Kenseth was involved in a spin during happy hour that damaged the rear-end of his No. 17 DeWalt Taurus.  Kenseth spoke about the incident following practice.

WHAT HAPPENED?  "I just spun out getting up on the track trying to get some speed." 

YOU'RE WORKING ON THE PRIMARY CAR.  DO YOU FEEL THE GUYS CAN GET IT TO WHERE IT WAS?  "Yeah, it'll be fine.  I'm not worried about that.  I've got a great team behind me and they've got about 24 hours to fix it.  I'm not worried about it getting fixed.  I didn't hurt the frame or anything serious.  It's mostly just body work, so they'll get it fixed and hopefully I'll be smarter tomorrow."

WAS THERE ANY THOUGHT OF GOING TO A BACKUP?  "We're starting third and this is the best running car we have in our stable now.  To get the backup out, we still wouldn't have gotten any practice by the time we got it through tech and ready to run, so we'll just work on this.  It's just some body damage.  I think they can fix it and it'll be fine." Ford

It's Kovalainen in race 1 at Nurburgring It's Kovalainen in race 1 at NurburgringHeikki Kovalainen overcame a grid penalty to win today’s GP2 series race from 17th position thanks to another strong strategy from his Arden International team, and faultless racing from the Finn himself. He was followed home by pole-sitter Giorgio Pantano, with Nico Rosberg recovering from starting almost last to take third. The race began with two aborted starts when five drivers, who admitted to still not being familiar enough with the sensitivity of the car’s clutch, stalled on the grid. When the lights went out, a five car pile-up at Castrol S signaled the end of Monaco-winner Adam Carroll’s afternoon, along with those of Borja Garcia, Olivier Pla, Xandi Negrão and Ferdinando Monfardini.

Only two other drivers retired – Ernesto Viso with a faulty wheel nut, and Juan Cruz Alvarez who spun out of ninth place under his own steam. With overtaking maneuvers attempted the length of the field on almost every lap, the order changed relentlessly. And when all the pit stops panned out, it was the lowly starting Heikki Kovalainen who led from Pantano and Rosberg.

Alexandre Prémat ran home shortly behind him after a superb drive from 22nd to fourth. The top eight was rounded out by Piquet, Jani, Piccione (who picked up Durango’s first points of 2005) and Bruni.
Kovalainen therefore leads the drivers’ championship on 38 points, 11 ahead of both Bruni and Speed, who picked up two valuable points for fastest lap. Carroll is fourth on 23, with Rosberg fifth on 18 and Lopez sixth on 17.

In the teams’ battle, Arden International leads on 42, with Super Nova International in the hunt on 33. Coloni and ART Grand Prix are tied on 30 points, with iSport just behind on 29 and DAMS on 17.

Heikki Kovalainen, Arden International - “We planned our strategy to be adaptable to what was happening on the track. I got stuck in traffic straight away, so we stopped early. I had a good start, and ended up ninth or tenth on the first lap, and that was half the game. We had a good stop, and the car was very, very good straight out of the pits. I was struggling with grip towards the end, which we expected, and Giorgio was very fast. But I kept myself clean, didn’t make any mistakes, and eventually he gave up.”

Giorgio Pantano, Super Nova International - “Second isn’t what I wanted today. We didn’t have any grip in the first laps, so we changed tires and then the car came good. We were quicker than Kovalainen, but he was quick too and there was no way past him. I stayed as close as I could but it was difficult.”

Nico Rosberg, ART Grand Prix - “I was so surprised. I was really pushing in the beginning to get up, and then after a couple of laps it was ‘you’re P3, chill out’ so we just considered the gap in the back, I didn’t care about the ones in front anymore. I just thought we’re third – let’s stick with that.” GP2

Grand-Am series gets '06 Lime Rock date Grand-Am series gets '06 Lime Rock dateOfficials from Lime Rock Park and the Grand American Road Racing Association today announced that Grand American will bring world-class, production-based sports car racing back to the historic circuit with a Rolex Sports Car Series GT event slated for Memorial Day weekend in 2006.

“This is a very significant development for Lime Rock Park and our fans,” Lime Rock Park President Skip Barber said. “Our fans have always embraced production-based sports car racing and on Memorial Day weekend in 2006 we are offering a race card that not only pays homage to Lime Rock’s heritage, but one that also reflects what our fans tell us they want to see.

“When we surveyed our fans over this past winter this series was right at the top of their wish list for new events at Lime Rock Park.   It turns out that our fans, who are drawn from the largest automotive market in America, are very knowledgeable about cars.  And they like to see the cars they drive to the races competing on the track, too.  That’s exactly what we’re bringing to them with the Grand American Rolex Series GT class.”

The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT class will bring the most diverse lineup of cars, models and manufacturers offered in sports car racing to Lime Rock on May 26-29, 2006. The Rolex Series GT class features top-end production and GT models such as the Porsche GT3, BMW M3, Corvette Z06, Pontiac GTO, Maserati Trofeo and Ferrari 360 Challenge.

The weekend will also include the fast-growing Grand-Am Cup Series with its two ultra-competitive classes of race cars, Grand Sport and Sport Touring.  The Grand-Am Cup Series is one of the premier proving grounds for many of today’s automotive manufacturers and showcases production cars with minimal racing modifications to enhance performance. Cars in the Grand-Am Cup Series include popular sports and muscle cars, such as the BMW M3, Cadillac CTS-V, Ford Mustang and Porsche 996, as well as race-bred imports such as the Mazda RX-8, Acura RSX-S and the Mini Cooper S.

Seen at Magny Cours Seen at Magny CoursThe attention to detail of aerodynamics can be clearly seen in these Ferrari and McLaren front and rear wing photos.  Note the difference in the Ferrari front wing vs. the McLaren.  Thousands of hours are spent in the wind tunnel on wing details alone.  Does it improve the racing? No, hence this is where the F1 rules are downright stupid.  The rulebook should be tightened up to lock down the wings to a standard FIA design.  This alone will save each team millions of dollars a year.


Todt, Haug and Theissen meet the press Todt, Haug and Theissen meet the pressFerrari team Principal Jean Todt is joined by Mercedes and BMW bosses Norbert Haug and Mario Theissen in Friday’s press conference from Nurburgring. Transcript
Magny Cours upgrades Magny Cours upgradesMagny Cours is intensifying preparations for the forthcoming Grand Prix de France to be held on 1- 3 July. France will host the ninth leg of the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship for the 15th time.

Marcel Charmant, President of the Nievre’s Conseil General inspected the work in progress today at the circuit. “Our development project will help insure the preservation of the Grand Prix de France in Magny Cours and will enable us to better envision the future of our property," declared the President during his visit.

“It is necessary that nearly 20 years after the acquisition and complete renovation of the circuit, that the structure now is in need of renovation. All of the investment partners are working together, notably, those who have just recently joined the SAEMS. It was unanimously agreed that we needed to invest rapidly in order to maintain the standards of our property."
The parking areas and public areas will benefit from over 200 toilets linked to public sewage system and located throughout the circuit. The Parking 9 will be doubled in size. The traffic flow will be greatly facilitated thanks to the addition of over five kilometres of lanes on the borders of Parkings Sud and Est.

The vast area of the village will be resurfaced to help reduce the dust problem during the month of July.  The ‘Village VIP de la Nievre’ will provide an oasis of calm and quiet thanks to the addition of a large number plants and other improvements.

Ten giant screens have been installed throughout the track, with a special 80 m2 screen located just opposite the Grandstand. The public sound system has also been revised and improved to allow the spectators to better follow the action during the weekend. Summarized from Magny Cours Press Release

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Jordan cop 'third' car slap
New quali 'frustration'
'All balls and no brains'
Rubens' scarlet fury
Senna case closed
Hot at the 'Ring
Renault dominion over
'Where's Schumi?'
Sticking up for Schu
McLaren 1-2 in Practice 4 in Germany McLaren 1-2 in Practice 4 in GermanyMcLaren is looking good for Saturday's qualifying session for the European Grand Prix with a 1-2 performance in final practice. Kimi Raikkonen narrowly beat Juan Pablo Montoya with a late lap as the McLaren pair matched each other throughout the session.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:29.680 11
 2. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:29.789 + 0.109 13
 3. Alonso Renault (M) 1:29.987 + 0.307 15
 4. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:30.071 + 0.391 14
 5. Trulli Toyota (M) 1:30.552 + 0.872 12
 6. Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:30.559 + 0.879 9
 7. Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:30.645 + 0.965 12
 8. R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:30.692 + 1.012 14
 9. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:30.773 + 1.093 13
10. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:31.026 + 1.346 14
11. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:31.449 + 1.769 10
12. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:31.572 + 1.892 17
13. Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:32.054 + 2.374 9
14. Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:32.079 + 2.399 11
15. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:32.172 + 2.492 14
16. Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:33.140 + 3.460 14
17. Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:33.977 + 4.297 16
18. Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:34.527 + 4.847 17
19. Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:34.640 + 4.960 12
20. Friesacher Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:35.087 + 5.407 14
Alonso tops Practice 3 in Germany Alonso tops Practice 3 in GermanyChampionship leader Fernando Alonso was fastest for Renault in the first Saturday morning practice session for the European Grand Prix ahead of the McLaren pair Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Alonso Renault (M) 1:30.615 10
 2. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:31.278 + 0.663 10
 3. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:31.573 + 0.958 10
 4. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:31.778 + 1.163 9
 5. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:31.794 + 1.179 8
 6. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:32.097 + 1.482 15
 7. Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:32.266 + 1.651 9
 8. Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:32.304 + 1.689 7
 9. R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:32.432 + 1.817 13
10. Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:32.483 + 1.868 7
11. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:32.501 + 1.886 4
12. Trulli Toyota (M) 1:32.719 + 2.104 5
13. Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:33.212 + 2.597 7
14. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:33.365 + 2.750 9
15. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:33.414 + 2.799 5
16. Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:33.681 + 3.066 12
17. Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:33.731 + 3.116 6
18. Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:34.407 + 3.792 7
19. Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:34.871 + 4.256 15
20. Friesacher Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:35.067 + 4.452 11
Labonte To Run Fed Ex Color at Lowe’s Labonte To Run Fed Ex Color at Lowe’sWith Jason Leffler failing to qualify for Sunday's Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, officials from Joe Gibbs Racing, Fed Ex and Interstate Batteries have agreed to run Fed Ex livery on Bobby Labonte's no. 18 Chevrolet in Sunday's race in place of his primary sponsor, Interstate Batteries. The no. 18 Chevy was supposed to run a special paint scheme in Sunday's race to promote the movie "Madagascar". The team will now run the paint scheme in the June 12 event at Pocono Raceway. Joe Gibbs Racing Press Release
Polesitter Camara wins Freedom 100 Polesitter Camara wins Freedom 100UPDATE Here are the post-race driver quotes and press conference transcript. 05/27/05 Jaime Camara outdueled Wade Cunningham to claim his first Menards Infiniti Pro Series victory in the Futaba Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The two rookies dueled throughout the 100-mile event that saw six lead changes between Laps 12-19, including one by Jon Herb. The middle section of the 40-lap race on the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval was a drafting battle, with Camara, driving the No. 1 CELG - Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, in front but not able to pull away from the No. 33 Visit New Zealand entry.

The last lap was a drag race - with Camara beating Cunningham to the finish line by 0.1319 of a second for his first Menards Infiniti Pro Series victory.

"Man, when the race started, Wade passing me on the first lap, I was surprised," said Camara, who became the fourth winner in as many Menards Infiniti Pro Series races this season. "But I knew I had a good car and I saw the way he was driving. I saw that I could pass him one or two laps later.

"We were fastest in the first practice, qualifying we were the fastest and the last practice we were the fastest again. So it was one of those weekends that you can't believe how good the car is. It's amazing. I have no words. It's my first victory here in Indianapolis and the biggest race of the year."

Cunningham, who recorded his second-straight second-place, took the series points lead with his fourth top-four finish in as many events. Jay Drake, who also planned to race in the Hoosier Hundred USAC Silver Crown event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds later in the day, finished a career-best third after Indy Racing League officials reviewed video replays and Timing & Scoring information of the Lap 37 restart. It was determined that the No. 3 car driven by Al Unser passed Drake's No. 20 Vision Racing car after the yellow caution flag flew.  Unser was credited with fourth place. Roth, Travis Gregg, Jeff Simmons, Chris Festa, Taylor Fletcher and Quiroga completed the top 10.

Results of Futaba Freedom 100 IPS race at Indy today.  Wood, Andretti and Bussell spun with three laps to go setting up a 1-lap shootout.  Jaime Camara held off Wade Cunningham and Al Unser III.
Pos Driver Diff L Lap Status
1. (1) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
2. (5) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
3. (4) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
4. (7) Al Unser, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
5. (6) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
6. (2) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
7. (11) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
8. (17) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
9. (15) Taylor Fletcher, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
10. (12) German Quiroga, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
11. (14) Mishael Abbott, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
12. (13) Tom Wood, Dallara-Infiniti, 40, running
13. (9) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 39, running
14. (16) Imran Husain, Dallara-Infiniti, 39, running
15. (8) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 39, running
16. (10) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Infiniti, 38, running
17. (18) Rocky Moran Jr, Dallara-Infiniti, 4, transmission
18. (3) Cole Carter, Dallara-Infiniti, 0, accident
     Race Statistics
      Winner's average speed: 146.780 mph
      Time of race: 00:40:52.6390
      Margin of victory: 0.1319 of a second
      Cautions: 4
      Lead changes: 7
Lap leaders: Cunningham 1-4, Camara 5-14, Herb 15, Camara 16-17,
Cunningham 18, Camara 19-20, Cunningham 21, Camara 22-40.
Point standings: Cunningham 147, Gregg 138, Camara 129, Herb 123,
Bussell 108, Festa 108, Unser 106, Drake 102, Roth 98, Simmons 84

Toronto Sun Poll results Toronto Sun Poll resultsToronto Sun poll: Which auto race are you more inclined to watch this Sunday?
Indy 500 (IRL)   2%
Coca-Cola 600 (NASCAR)   3%
European Grand Prix (F-1)   94%
Will watch all three   1%
 Total Votes for this Question: 2844
Kite runs Ethanol car at Indy today Kite runs Ethanol car at Indy todayJimmy Kite, replacement driver of the No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone entry in the Indianapolis 500, today made history as he drove an Ethanol-powered IndyCar for the first time in over 50 years during Miller Lite Carb Day Activities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kite, who is substituting for injured driver Paul Dana, drove the Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara fueled with a 50/50 ethanol and methanol blend. During the 10-lap demo, Kite got the car up to speeds over 220 mph. The last time a car competed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway running on ethanol was 1927 with driver Leon Duray.

"It was exciting to be a part of this historic moment in IRL history.  It was great that we could show people today that this car can run strong and get up to speed." The IndyCar Series has announced that it will switch to ethanol as its fuel source beginning with a 10% blend in 2006 and moving to 100% fuel-grade Ethanol in 2007. "It was a fantastic and historic day for the league.  Everything went as well as we expected and we look forward to getting the Ethanol-powered car into the series next season,"  said Ken Ungar, Senior Vice President for business affairs, Indy Racing League.
Results of Indy 500 poll Results of Indy 500 pollWith almost 5,000 votes counted, Poll results from ESPN.com, a pro-IRL partner:
Do you care about the Indianapolis 500?
1) Are you more interested in this year's race as a result of Danica Patrick?
77.0% No
23.0% Yes
2) Does Danica Patrick deserve the attention she receives?
61.9% No, she's just another Anna Kournikova.
38.1% Yes, she's got the talent to match the looks.
3) Will you watch this year's Indianapolis 500 (Sunday, ABC, noon ET)?
65.7% No
34.3% Yes

4) How much prestige has the Indianapolis 500 lost since the CART-IRL split?
70.1% A lot
18.1% None
11.7% A little

5) What is the world's most prestigious auto race?
49.4% Monaco Grand Prix
24.2% Indianapolis 500
20.3% Daytona 500
6.1% 24 Hours of Le Mans

6) What is your favorite racing circuit?
36.0% Champ Car
20.3% Formula One
18.8% IRL
17.9% NASCAR Nextel Cup
6.2% Not a racing fan
0.8% Other

7) Who is the greatest driver in Indianapolis 500 history?
65.4% Mario Andretti
13.3% A.J. Foyt
8.9% Al Unser Jr.
7.6% Rick Mears
4.8% Al Unser

8) Who will win this year's race?
53.0% Sebastien Bourdais
8.9% Sam Hornish Jr.
8.1% Dario Franchitti
7.6% Tony Kanaan
7.4% Danica Patrick
3.7% Other
3.4% Helio Castroneves
2.4% Bruno Junqueira
2.2% Scott Sharp
1.5% Dan Wheldon
0.7% Vitor Meira
0.6% Tomas Scheckter
0.3% Bryan Herta

Total Votes: 4,890

Pantano takes GP2 pole Pantano takes GP2 poleGiorgio Pantano has taken pole position for tomorrow's first GP2 race at the Nurburgring, setting his pole time on his first timed lap in today's qualifying session.  Pantano's lap of 1:43.862 came in the opening minutes of the session, while Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen claimed second and third respectively with just two minutes remaining, ending an eventful qualifying session.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Pantano Super Nova International 1:43.862 13
 2. Rosberg ART Grand Prix 1:43.939 + 0.077 13
 3. Kovalainen Arden International 1:43.965 + 0.103 9
 4. Bruni Coloni Motorsport 1:44.128 + 0.266 6
 5. Jani Racing Engineering 1:44.176 + 0.314 9
 6. Lopez DAMS 1:44.266 + 0.404 12
 7. Viso BCN Competicion 1:44.477 + 0.615 10
 8. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:44.598 + 0.736 13
 9. Lapierre Arden International 1:44.739 + 0.877 11
10. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:44.748 + 0.886 10
11. Speed iSport International 1:44.865 + 1.003 9
12. Pla DPR 1:44.879 + 1.017 9
13. Carroll Super Nova International 1:44.914 + 1.052 13
14. Piquet Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports 1:45.331 + 1.469 12
15. Sharp DPR 1:45.463 + 1.601 11
16. Piccione Durango 1:45.523 + 1.661 14
17. Alvarez Campos Racing 1:45.550 + 1.688 11
18. Garcia Racing Engineering 1:45.661 + 1.799 13
19. Monfardini Durango 1:45.789 + 1.927 12
20. Negrao Hitech Piquet Sports 1:45.946 + 2.084 13
21. Hernandez Campos Racing 1:46.429 + 2.567 12
22. Artam iSport International 1:46.503 + 2.641 11
23. Lauda Coloni Motorsport 1:46.656 + 2.794 11
24. Fauzy DAMS 1:47.266 + 3.404 15
ABC Hopes Indy Ratings Up From ’04 All-Time Low ABC Hopes Indy Ratings Up From ’04 All-Time LowABC will use 28 cameras, “as well as shots from the 33 other cameras used in the world TV feed,” for its coverage of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY. One of those cameras is “a tiny camera on a (tethered) balloon floating among the balloons that will be released before the race.” One of nine in-car cameras will be placed in rookie female driver Danica Patrick’s car. ABC Sports Senior Producer Bob Toms: “We’ll cover her very, very closely.” Hiestand notes Brent Musburger replaces Terry Gannon as host of ABC’s coverage USA Today.

ABC will “deploy more than 70 broadcast cameras around the 2.5-mile track,” including 15 robotic cameras for “action on the track and in the pits”; up to 36 wireless cameras on board 12 different cars; and two “visor cams” in the helmets of drivers Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon. Toms said that much of the new coverage for this year’s race is “based on improved radio frequency digital technology that will allow reporters to travel into suites, garages and other enclosed areas without loss of signal ... a development that has potential across the sports broadcast spectrum” Hollywood Reporter

ESPN to distribute Indy 500 live to 146 countries ESPN to distribute Indy 500 live to 146 countriesESPN will distribute the Indianapolis 500, the world's most prestigious auto race, to a potential television audience of more than 338 million households, it was announced May 27 by Russell Wolff, managing director, ESPN International.

The green flag will fall on the 33-car starting field of the Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, May 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

ESPN, which is the exclusive worldwide television representative of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, will televise the Indy 500 live to 146 countries and territories outside of the United States via its affiliated networks in Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Latin America, New Zealand and the Middle East.

ESPN is also responsible for the global syndication of the Indy 500 for live broadcast in the Baltic States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In addition, ESPN will distribute the Indy 500 to the American Forces Network serving military personnel stationed in 176 countries and U.S. territories.

In the United States, the Indy 500 will be telecast live to a nationwide audience on ABC, with the pre-race show starting at noon (EDT). When combined with ESPN's international distribution efforts, the estimated worldwide total for the Indy 500 will reach more than 200 countries and over 338 million households worldwide.

"Since its inception the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race has been an international event," said Fred J. Nation, executive vice president, communications, of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "ESPN's international reach will bring the 89th running to our largest potential international audience in its history."

Said Wolff, "The Indianapolis 500 is recognized as one of the premier motorsports competitions throughout the world, and ESPN is pleased to once again offer distribution of this great event."

In addition to the broad global television distribution of the race, this year's Indy 500 also has a particular international appeal. Of the 33 starting drivers, 16 are from countries outside of the United States, including four drivers from Brazil, three drivers from the United Kingdom, two from Canada and one driver each from Australia; Czech Republic, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Sweden, and South Africa.  Local international TV listings for the Indy 500 are available online at http://www.indycar.com/schedule/2005_international_tv.pdf

Danica Patrick leads final Indy 500 practice Danica Patrick leads final Indy 500 practicePractice Friday for the 89th Indianapolis 500 IRL IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:

1. (16) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 225.597
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 225.451
3. (26) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 225.262
4. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 225.003
5. (4) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 224.646
6. (8) Scott Sharp, Panoz-Honda, 224.472
7. (2) Tomas Enge, Dallara-Chevrolet, 224.368
8. (5) Adrian Fernandez, Panoz-Honda, 224.254
9. (17) Vitor Meira, Panoz-Honda, 224.039
10. (37) Sebastien Bourdais, Panoz-Honda, 223.791
11. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 223.694
12. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Panoz-Honda, 223.407
13. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 223.334
14. (15) Kenny Brack, Panoz-Honda, 223.230
15. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 223.203
16. (36) Bruno Junqueira, Panoz-Honda, 222.710
17. (24) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda, 222.058
18. (10) Darren Manning, Panoz-Toyota, 221.778
19. (9) Scott Dixon, Panoz-Toyota, 221.736
20. (21) Jaques Lazier, Panoz-Toyota, 221.728
21. (33) Ryan Briscoe, Panoz-Toyota, 221.615
22. (70) Richie Hearn, Panoz-Chevrolet, 221.485
23. (51) Alex Barron, Dallara-Toyota, 221.023
24. (44) Jeff Bucknum, Dallara-Honda, 219.817
25. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Toyota, 219.300
26. (83) Patrick Carpentier, Dallara-Toyota, 218.867
27. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Chevrolet, 218.310
28. (22) Jeff Ward, Dallara-Toyota, 217.367
29. (14) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Toyota, 215.638
30. (41) Larry Foyt, Dallara-Toyota, 215.123
31. (91) Jimmy Kite, Dallara-Toyota, 214.992
32. (48) Felipe Giaffone, Panoz-Toyota, 213.590
33. (95) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet, no speed

Cup Series All-Star TV rating from Lowe’s Cup Series All-Star TV rating from Lowe’sThe NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge last Saturday delivered the race’s largest-ever rating and audience on FX. HH ratings were up 20% over last year, and the total number of viewers increased 14%. The race was the third most-viewed Cup race ever on FX and the fifth most-viewed program ever in terms of HHs. FX
ALMS Mid-Ohio TV rating ALMS Mid-Ohio TV ratingThe final ALMS TV rating on CBS last Sunday was a 0.8/2share.
Bump Day Indy 500 TV rating Bump Day Indy 500 TV ratingUPDATE The final bump day rating for the Indy 500 on ABC tumbled 25% from a 1.2 overnight to a 0.9/3 share. 05/23/05 The overnight rating for the Indy 500 Bump Day qualifying on Sunday on ABC was a 1.2/3 share.
Reader Feedback
Likes new Champ Car website Likes new Champ Car websiteA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Just wanted to write to give credit where credit is due. The new Champ Car website is put together very professionally. Unlike in the past, they post new and interesting articles and facts. The site is now on my list of sites to check for my daily Champ Car fix. Right after AutoRacing1.com.  Keep up the good work. Arno Fritz, Milwaukee, WI
Industry News
AAA sponsorships with MIS AAA sponsorships with MISMichigan International Speedway and AAA Auto Club Group have announced a multi-year agreement, which encompasses multiple sponsorships at MIS. With the largest renovation project in track history currently under construction, AAA has signed an agreement to sponsor both the Motorsports Fan Plaza and the MIS Champions Club, both new to MIS in 2005, officials at both companies announced today.

The AAA Motorsports Fan Plaza includes a newly redesigned area for merchandise trailers, corporate displays and a plaza area where fans can relax and view the Walk of Champions, which will honor all of the great racing champions at MIS since it opened in 1968 to the present.

The MIS Champions Club presented by AAA consists of new outdoor club grandstand seating with an indoor entertainment area located above the existing center grandstand at the start/finish line. Champions Club members will enjoy many great amenities, including 20-inch wide outdoor seats with in-seat wait service, private restrooms and various food and bar stations within an air-conditioned dining area.

"This new and expanded partnership with AAA sponsoring the MIS Champions Club and Motorsports Fan Plaza are great examples of what a long-term relationship can generate for both MIS and AAA," said Mike Yost, Director of Motorsports Programs for AAA Auto Club Group. "Both of these new additions to MIS will be wonderful for fans and we are happy to be able to sponsor them."

"AAA has been one of our longest and most loyal supporters and we are excited to have them partner with us again this year," said MIS Director of Marketing Keith Karbo. "AAA helped us create the Guest Services program here at MIS and we have always had a strong relationship with them. It's only fitting that we work together on these projects that will give our fans an even better race day experience."

In addition, AAA will continue to make its name known as the sponsor of MIS Guest Services. MIS Guest Services help provide fans with information regarding their visit to the track on any race weekend, as well as the famous fan trams and AAA's exceptional roadside assistance services. Guest Services also accommodates fans with disabilities to make their race weekend experience a great one.

"We started our partnership with Michigan International Speedway in 1997, when we jointly developed the Guest Services concept and we have been proud to sponsor it since that time," said Yost. "MIS Guest Services has become a model for other tracks around the country in the development of their Guest Services programs. It's a great program to sponsor." MIS

Friday roundup from Nurburgring Friday roundup from NurburgringEuropean GP team-by-team summary Friday at the Nurburgring:
Renault: Fernando Alonso appears not to have a perfect and grippy Renault at the warm Nurburgring. ''I don't think this will be such an easy weekend,'' said the title leader. ''A lot of teams seem to be competitive.'' Giancarlo Fisichella struggled with understeer.

Jordan: The star in yellow on Friday was Renault's Franck Montagny, testing the spare EJ15. The Frenchman impressed, easily outpacing the race incumbents, whose days were each marked with a spin. ''I also hit a cone,'' said Narain Karthikeyan, ''and slightly damaged my car.'' Better news, though, is that the team appears more competitive than a week ago. ''I realized pretty quickly there is a lot of work to do,'' Montagny quipped.

Sauber: ''It's hard to say where we are,'' said Jacques Villeneuve, eighteenth. Felipe Massa didn't fare a lot better. ''The balance was causing me to make mistakes,'' said the Brazilian.

Williams: Monaco in memory, local lad Nick Heidfeld still seems quick at the 'Ring, but his FW27 broke down (a drive line failure). Mark Webber, also pretty speedy, chucked it in the gravel, compounding the problem that tire selection will now be tricky. ''I lost the car,'' the Australian reported, ''and I'm sorry for the team.''

Minardi: It's not Monaco, but the new Minardi - although unreliable for Patrick Friesacher - demonstrated it has closed the gap to the rest of the grid. ''I only managed five laps with new tires,'' the Austrian lamented. Paul Stoddart added: ''To be between the Jordans, and within sight of Sauber and Red Bull, is highly encouraging.''

Toyota: Close to Cologne HQ, German local Ralf Schumacher proved the quicker of the improved Toyota racers on Friday. ''But I'm not happy with the setup yet,'' he said. ''Let's hope for a decent result on Sunday.'' Just behind, eleventh, Jarno Trulli - though - thinks he can go quicker, and Mike Gascoyne set out the quest for podiums.

McLaren: Right at the top, 'third' men Alex Wurz and Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) dueled for P1 honors, with McLaren emerging all smiles. Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen look a comfortable fourth and fifth. ''The car feels much better for me here,'' said the Colombian, just quicker than Kimi, who's 'not perfectly happy' with the setup.

Ferrari: When you're down, you're really down -- Michael Schumacher broke down (electrical) after five laps in the crucial afternoon run. But Jean Todt saw the bright side: ''We appear to be competitive.'' Rubens Barrichello agreed, saying the situation 'looks much better' than in recent times. And that first Bridgestone lap? ''It doesn't seem too bad,'' said Ross Brawn.

Red Bull: David Coulthard doubts he'll score a point at the Nurburgring. ''BAR are back,'' said the Scot, ''and on a circuit like this, inefficiencies show up more.'' A lot slower - albeit with a car problem - is Tonio Liuzzi, ahead of only two Minardis and a Jordan.

BAR: After a two race ban, Takuma Sato and Jenson Button powered back into action in Germany. Are they quick? ''It's hard to tell,'' said Button (16th), ruing the hot and dusty track. ''We were also careful with the (Imola spec) engine today.''

How far will Indy fall? How far will Indy fall?A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, This morning, the big promo on WLS AM - Chicago's giant news/talk radio station - was "Indy 500 picks", which is similar to the station's "NFL Football picks" segment, where the radio hosts buzzes through dozens of unscreened callers to get their comments, which are often way off-topic and sometimes hilarious.

After two hours of solid promotion and encouragement by the on-air host Eileen Byrne, she went to the phones and could not hide her surprise that there were no callers. Not a single one. After going through three 'on-air' dial tones, she bailed out with her pick, Danica Patrick, because she's from Illinois.

This failure of the Indy 500 to draw general public interest is all the more revealing when you consider that WLS AM covers 14 states throughout the Midwest (including Indiana) and the deep south, and is the #1 most-listened-to non-music webcast on the Internet worldwide, according to the Arbitron ratings company. The station regularly takes calls from listeners overseas. Scott Adams, Chicago

Carnegie plans to announce Indy 500 Carnegie plans to announce Indy 500Legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway Public Address announcer Tom Carnegie plans to call the details of the Indianapolis 500 for the 60th consecutive year May 29 after he was released May 26 from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Carnegie, 85, was admitted May 25 after feeling ill following an interview on stage as part of the American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day activities at the Speedway. “I’m feeling fine,” Carnegie said. “Everything is fine. They believe it was dehydration. The doctors did a lot of tests, and there is no problem with my heart.”

Carnegie has been the PA voice of the Indianapolis 500 every year since 1946 and is one of the most beloved figures in IMS history, with his famous phrases such as, “Heeee’s on it!” and “It’s a new … track … record!”
Wurz keeps McLaren on top Wurz keeps McLaren on topMcLaren test driver Alex Wurz finished fastest in Friday's second practice for the European Grand Prix with a fast lap in the closing seconds of the session.  He was also fastest in the morning session. 
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:30.623 31
 2. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:30.630 + 0.007 33
 3. Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:31.813 + 1.190 13
 4. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:31.841 + 1.218 13
 5. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:31.870 + 1.247 16
 6. Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:32.088 + 1.465 7
 7. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:32.143 + 1.520 19
 8. Alonso Renault (M) 1:32.335 + 1.712 25
 9. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:32.842 + 2.219 27
10. R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:33.098 + 2.475 17
11. Trulli Toyota (M) 1:33.168 + 2.545 20
12. Klien Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:33.174 + 2.551 32
13. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:33.242 + 2.619 5
14. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:33.430 + 2.807 22
15. Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:33.514 + 2.891 20
16. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:33.753 + 3.130 22
17. Montagny Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:34.090 + 3.467 27
18. Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:34.274 + 3.651 26
19. Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:34.645 + 4.022 22
20. Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:34.702 + 4.079 17
21. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:34.842 + 4.219 16
22. Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:35.311 + 4.688 19
23. Friesacher Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:35.791 + 5.168 5
24. Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:36.702 + 6.079 8
Long Beach is Champ Car's Crown Jewel Long Beach is Champ Car's Crown JewelIn the 21 years since the series’ inaugural trip to the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Champ Car World Series has competed on 36 different race circuits around the world, but no other track on the schedule carries the prestige among drivers, teams and fans that the 1.969-mile Southern California proving ground does.

The race has become the crown jewel of open-wheel street racing in North America and is revered by drivers for a number of reasons. The fans are the key reason for any event’s success and Champ Car supporters flock to the port city by the hundreds of thousands every year to watch the best racing drivers in the world do battle, and the ticket holders are rarely disappointed as the drivers and teams do everything they can for the chance to join the pantheon of greats that have tasted Long Beach victory.

“You would be hard-pressed to find a better race venue than Long Beach, which I have always considered to be a model for others to follow,” said three-time Long Beach winner Paul Tracy. “There’s a real buzz to race week with all the activities and crowd involvement surrounding the event. As a driver, you can’t help but get an emotional charge out of competing in such an environment.”

One look at the accomplishments of those drivers that hold the title ‘Long Beach Champion’ quickly explains why the Grand Prix of Long Beach is the race that every single driver wants to win. Race wins have been cruelly ripped from those that failed to treat the bayside circuit with respect, while those drivers with the proper regard for the track have seen their efforts pay off. 

In the 21 previous editions of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, only 10 drivers have had the chance to roll under the palm trees and into Victory Lane, with the list of winners reading like a roster of past and future Hall of Fame inductees.

Mario Andretti, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Juan Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Sebastien Bourdais are the only names on the Long Beach trophy, and make up a stunning list of accomplishments between them.

Long Beach winners have accounted for 222 Champ Car race victories between them, 200 poles and 14 series titles. In fact, nine of the 10 Long Beach champions also have Champ Car titles under their belts, with Castroneves being the only exception. The 10-man roster has also accounted for 16 Formula 1 wins and 29 poles along with Mario Andretti’s Formula 1 World Championship. In addition, the list includes seven Indianapolis 500 victories and five poles, the 10 drivers to have won there account for over 28,000 Champ Car laps led and each of those 10 drivers are among the top 30 in Champ Car history in terms of laps led. Champ Car

Champ Car paddock reacts to Long Beach Acquisition Champ Car paddock reacts to Long Beach Acquisition
Andretti Green sign new sponsor Andretti Green sign new sponsorAndretti Green Racing announced today it has signed AirTran Airways as an associate sponsor for three consecutive Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series events, beginning with the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500.

AirTran Airways, which uses Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as its operational hub, is one of America's largest low-fare airlines and will be partnering with Andretti Green for races at Texas Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway after Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"We're thrilled to bring AirTran on board with us for these next three events," said Michael Andretti, who co-owns Andretti Green Racing with partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. "AirTran is a great airline and, like so many of our team partners, stands as an industry leader."

AirTran will be an associate sponsor across all four Andretti Green entries and will position its name and logo prominently on the cockpit area of each car. The four machines are driven by Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter and 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, 2005 IndyCar Series points leader Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta. The four drivers have combined to win 13 races and 10 poles, and have posted 68 top-five finishes in the 36 races since the team joined Indy Racing League competition in 2003.

"AirTran Airways is proud to team up with the premier Indy Racing League team and 2004 IndyCar Series champions Andretti-Green Racing," said Kevin Healy, vice president of planning and sales.   "With our recent introduction of service from Indianapolis, we're very excited to participate in the Indy 500, and as the first airline to offer XM Satellite Radio inflight, we know this will be a winning partnership."

In addition to its new partnership with Andretti Green, AirTran also boasts a relationship with XM Satellite Radio, which serves as the major sponsor for the #7 Honda-powered machine driven by Herta. AirTran Airways is the first carrier to install XM Satellite Radio on a commercial aircraft.

Gordon name on new hospital wing Gordon name on new hospital wingNorthEast Medical Center in Concord, North Carolina, will announce today that it will name its new children’s hospital wing after NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon following his $1M donation. The wing is scheduled for completion in December ’06 USA TODAY
Free admission today at Lowe's Free admission today at Lowe'sLowe’s Motor Speedway has decided not to charge admission to fans coming to the track today, since Busch Series cars “will practice in the morning, then nothing again until [5:00pm ET] qualifying.” Previously, fans attending Thursday’s Coca-Cola 600 pole night could attend for free on Friday, while general adult admission was $10. Lowe’s Motor Speedway VP/Promotion & PR Jerry Gappens: “Based on the limited amount of on-track activity scheduled for the day, we didn’t feel it was appropriate to charge fans an admission” Knight Ridder
FOX and DirecTV do temporary deal FOX and DirecTV do temporary dealCorporate officials at Fox said that the network and DirecTV have extended their current agreement to cover NASCAR "for a couple of months while they negotiate a new deal." Nashville Tennessean
Q and A with Eric Jensen Q and A with Eric JensenThis Champ Car Q and A article with rookie team owner Eric Jensen reveals that he doesn't think the oval track open wheel market will attract sponsors. Jensen: " I actually hope they don't get back together... The oval track open-wheel model doesn't work for attracting sponsors with the sole exception of Indianapolis, mostly due to the lack of consumer interest in that type of racing... Meanwhile, if Champ Car races on city streets, we are regularly attracting crowds in the range of 150,000 for a 3-day weekend... And that model gives me something to sell to corporate marketers... So I don't see the need for Champ Car to embrace the IRL, since I don't see that they add any commercial viability for Champ Car with the exception of Indianapolis... And in my view Indianapolis isn't very attractive any longer on a cost / benefit perspective for corporate marketers since the TV numbers aren't great, and it's become just a regional event now."
JV brushes off Monaco incident JV brushes off Monaco incidentFormer Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve has brushed off his ill-fated attempt to overtake Sauber team mate Felipe Massa at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, saying that the move was an 'exciting' one and that the fact that he lost the team five points was 'not a big deal'. Villeneuve ruined both drivers' chances of points by trying to barge past Massa at St Devote, only to force the Brazilian down an escape route and damage his own car, a move that team boss Peter Sauber described as "the most depressing thing that a team can experience".

However, Villeneuve has talked down the incident and a subsequent meeting at Sauber's headquarter in Hinwil. "It was an exciting move but it wasn't a good move because it didn't work," the Canadian said at the European Grand Prix on Thursday.

"It was over-optimistic but everybody complains when you have a boring race and then everyone complains when there is bad news," he added. "We are racing. There was a chance there, I took it and it didn't work out. I still had good tires and I wanted to fight with those in front. I went over the curbs to make sure I didn't hit him but then I got stuck in the tires. People only look at that, it's a bit annoying. I was ninth anyway, it wasn't a big deal - we were in with a chance of going further up so you have to take it." More at Eurosport

Drivers are sick and tired of split Drivers are sick and tired of splitThe 26-year-old Sebastien Bourdais from France said he does feel he is representing Champ Car, to some extent.  "Obviously, everybody in Champ Car is saying, `Represent us the best you can,' and we can't say we're regulars of the IRL. But, I really wish we could raise the same banner, just going racing and forget about this controversy and just be one again.

"I'm just so sick of it, hearing Champ Car and IRL and all of that. It doesn't make any sense. We're looking for the same kind of racing. It's just so sad for the moment."

Bourdais, who started the Champ Car season with a win in Long Beach, Calif., said the cars have much the same feel, although the IRL cars have normally aspirated engines and the Champ Cars have turbocharged engines.

"It feels very much the same. I just wish we had 45 cars out there and we could be just one racing series," he said. "In the race, though, it makes no difference. You race the other cars and try to win. I just want to see the checkered flag."

Tony Kanaan, the defending IRL champion, Sunday's polesitter and another former CART regular, said it really doesn't matter what series a driver represents at Indy.

"It is too bad there is still a split, but the only thing that really counts here is that the fastest 33 drivers start the race and the one that does the best job wins," Kanaan said. "If Bruno or Sebastien wins on Sunday, they deserve it and I will congratulate them." AP Article

Spectacular Indy Crashes Spectacular Indy CrashesFor those of you who like spectacular Indy Car crashes, SI.com has some good ones here.
TV reminder TV reminderThe IPS Futaba Freedom 100 race, Miller Lite Carburetion Day, and the Pit Stop Challenge will be shown Friday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Wurz over Shu in first practice Wurz over Shu in first practiceMcLaren test driver Alex Wurz outpaced World Champion Michael Schumacher today, in the opening session of the European GP weekend at Nurburgring. It appears Bridgestone has a good tire here as both Ferrari's are right near the front.....so far.  BAR and Renault sat out the session to save their engines.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:32.670 18
 2. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:33.578 + 0.908 10
 3. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:33.726 + 1.056 21
 4. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:33.873 + 1.203 7
 5. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:33.984 + 1.314 11
 6. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:33.988 + 1.318 6
 7. Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:34.142 + 1.472 5
 8. Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:34.248 + 1.578 5
 9. Klien Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:34.304 + 1.634 19
10. R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:35.018 + 2.348 11
11. Trulli Toyota (M) 1:35.212 + 2.542 9
12. Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:36.142 + 3.472 8
13. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:36.413 + 3.743 7
14. Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:36.716 + 4.046 9
15. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:37.129 + 4.459 12
16. Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:38.021 + 5.351 19
17. Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:38.406 + 5.736 15
18. Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:38.474 + 5.804 16
19. Friesacher Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:38.538 + 5.868 15
20. Montagny Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:38.725 + 6.055 23
21. Sato BAR-Honda (M) No Time 2
22. Button BAR-Honda (M) No Time 2
23. Fisichella Renault (M) No Time 2
24. Alonso Renault (M) No Time 2
How ironic How ironicSad but true. This Toyota (TRD) IRL advertisement makes light of the fact that IndyCars routinely get airborne, one way or another, whether they like it or not. We are surprised they did not use their most recent airborne Dallara Toyota in the ad, that of Sam Hornish Jr. (below) flying through the air during Indy practice last week in his Marlboro Penske car. Of course everyone involved in open wheel racing is hoping that the changes the IRL has implemented since the Tony Renna accident at the Speedway work. With the weakened state the sport is in, we don't know if it can survive a car flying into the grandstands this Sunday at Indy.

Photo courtesy IRL

European GP Thursday Press Conference European GP Thursday Press ConferenceThe first FIA press conference of the European GP weekend, with the following drivers: Jenson Button (BAR), Nick Heidfeld (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota). Transcript
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu brothers make peace
Jordan at Toyota
McLaren may use team orders
Minardi to beat Jordan again?
Rubens' 'emotional' - Schu
Montagny drive a 'one off'?
Who'll win?
Honda's engine concern
Jacques' Hinwil meeting
Ferrari barcode
Heidfeld and 2006
Danica and F1
Schu stalking 'big' win?
Another rookie to test BAR
F1 quali - better or worse?
Bruni tops first practice Bruni tops first practiceEx-Minardi driver Gianmaria Bruni set the fastest time in free practice on his first full lap around the Nurburgring this morning.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Bruni Coloni Motorsport 1:46.879 8
 2. Kovalainen Arden International 1:46.984 + 0.105 14
 3. Pantano Super Nova International 1:47.006 + 0.127 14
 4. Yoshimoto Super Nova International 1:47.282 + 0.403 14
 5. Viso BCN Competicion 1:47.759 + 0.880 15
 6. Piquet Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports 1:47.772 + 0.893 18
 7. Speed iSport International 1:47.860 + 0.981 15
 8. Jani Racing Engineering 1:48.041 + 1.162 14
 9. Lopez DAMS 1:48.133 + 1.254 15
10. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:48.169 + 1.290 14
11. Rosberg ART Grand Prix 1:48.269 + 1.390 5
12. Sharp DPR 1:48.368 + 1.489 14
13. Carroll Super Nova International 1:48.496 + 1.617 15
14. Piccione Durango 1:48.581 + 1.702 14
15. Monfardini Durango 1:48.632 + 1.753 14
16. Pla DPR 1:48.725 + 1.846 11
17. Alvarez Campos Racing 1:48.920 + 2.041 14
18. Artam iSport International 1:49.233 + 2.354 14
19. Lapierre Arden International 1:49.388 + 2.509 8
20. Lauda Coloni Motorsport 1:49.442 + 2.563 14
21. Negrao Hitech Piquet Sports 1:49.479 + 2.600 15
22. Hernandez Campos Racing 1:49.553 + 2.674 14
23. Fauzy DAMS 1:50.279 + 3.400 10
24. Garcia Racing Engineering 1:50.449 + 3.570 8
Industry news
Premier Events Yield Varying Television Exposure Results Premier Events Yield Varying Television Exposure ResultsRecently, Joyce Julius and Associates examined arguably the top four US sporting event telecasts kicking off 2005 – in chronological order, the Super Bowl, Daytona 500, NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and The Masters.  While all enjoyed a rich tradition, viewership increases and competitive outcomes, sponsorship opportunities among these crown jewels of sport were all over the map this year.

For the sake of an interesting, if not completely scientific, comparison, our research staff measured the in-broadcast exposure received by ALLTEL, the Jacksonville stadium entitlement sponsor of Super Bowl XXXIX, along with Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon’s primary sponsor DuPont, the halftime sponsor of CBS’ NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game—Cingular--and Nike’s exposure stemming from Tiger Woods’ eventual playoff victory during the dramatic final round of The Masters.

What quickly became apparent was the wide-ranging levels of commitment on the parts of the sponsors, which featured four uniquely different approaches to sponsorship, and not surprisingly, four differing results.

During the Fox broadcast of the Super Bowl early last February, ALLTEL managed just 26 seconds of clear, in-focus exposure time throughout the game portion of the telecast, with all of the exposure stemming from random shots of the stadium in which the brand’s signs were visible.  When compared to the record setting commercial cost for the telecast ($2.4 million per 30 seconds), ALLTEL drew $2,080,000 of comparable exposure value.

A few weeks later, Fox once again took center stage with coverage of NASCAR’s Daytona 500.  Gordon’s triumph enabled long-time sponsor DuPont to net $9.4 million of exposure value, thanks to a slew of sources emblazoned with the brand’s logo collecting 15 minutes, seven seconds of on-screen time, in addition to three mentions of DuPont by Gordon and the announcers.

CBS’ primetime telecast of the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship game from St. Louis paid off handsomely for Cingular, to the tune of $5 million.  A whopping 17 in-broadcast mentions of the halftime sponsor, one minute, along with 31 seconds of on-camera time, accounted for Cingular's successful showing.

Finally, CBS’ Sunday afternoon showdown between Woods and Chris DiMarco during April’s telecast of The Masters, saw three Nike entities—Nike, Nike One Platinum Ball and Tiger Woods Collection—collect a combined $10,824,000 from 30:04 of clear, in-focus exposure time.

Nike The Masters CBS $10.8 Million
DuPont Daytona 500 Fox $9.4 Million
Cingular NCAA B’ball. CBS $5.0 Million
ALLTEL Super Bowl Fox $2.1 Million Joyce Julius Report

TV exposure up TV exposure upThe switch this year from Spike TV to NBC for Champ Car’s crown jewel the Long Beach Grand Prix, proved profitable for the race’s entitlement sponsor Toyota.  The auto brand saw its in-broadcast exposure value rise by some 400% to more than $1 million during this year’s telecast.  The carmaker has reaped all this exposure success despite not fielding a car in the series since 2002.

Defying any type of sophomore jinx, Nextel saw its in-broadcast exposure value rise 37% through the first six races of the 2005 Cup Series compared to last season. Increased on-screen time stemming from running order graphics during the Fox telecasts has been the largest single contributor to Nextel’s increased exposure.

ESPN2’s in-car camera simulcast of the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series’ opener from Miami actually produced nearly twice as much cumulative on-screen time for sponsors (8:38:33 versus 4:41:23) than the traditional telecast airing on ESPN.  When also factoring in the verbal mentions and the advertising costs for each telecast, the in-car show led to $7.9 million of comparable value, while sponsors shared $9.8 million during the standard broadcast.

The battle is on in the 2005 American Le Mans Series among tire manufacturers seeking exposure.  Through telecasts of the first two events, Pirelli ($1,740,800), Michelin ($1,435,425) and Yokohama Tires ($994,550) occupied three of the top four spots among the series' leading team sponsors in terms of in-broadcast television exposure value. Joyce Julius Report

A lap of Nurburgring A lap of NurburgringMcLaren test driver Alex Wurz describes what it's like to put in a lap at the Nurburgring behind the wheel of a Formula One car...

"Powering along the start-finish straight at the Nürburgring you reach 290km/h in sixth gear, before braking hard for the entrance to the Mercedes Arena, which is a tight right hand hairpin that sees you drop into first gear. This is immediately followed by a long 180-degree left hander and a 90-degree right hander, which swings you back round onto the straight."

"Powering up through the gears on the approach to the fast left of Valvoline Kurve, you brake from speeds of 265km/h in fifth gear to 177km/h in third gear to negotiate the sweeping bend. A short burst on the throttle takes you to the second gear Ford Kurve, this bumpy right hander is taken at 104km/h. On the exit you accelerate downhill up to 297km/h in sixth gear as you approach the hairpin, which is taken at 96km/h in second."

"It is crucial to take a good line through the hairpin so that you can push hard and early on the throttle on the exit. Up the hill towards the Michelin Kurve you reach speeds of 281km/h, lifting slightly for the left-right flick of the chicane, before braking hard for Michelin, dropping down to 136km/h in third for the 90-degree left-hander."

"A similar right-hander, which is one of the most crucial corners on the circuit, follows and takes you onto the back straight. Taken flat-out, the fast, sweeping straight, with a slight right kink, sees you reach 300km/h in seventh gear as you approach the Veedol-S chicane, the main overtaking opportunity at the circuit. This is another tough braking point as you drop from the highest speed at the Nürburgring to 96km/h in second to negotiate the chicane where you have to drive aggressively over the curbs in order to carry the speed through the corner."

"Accelerating out, a short burst on the throttle sees you reach 225km/h in fourth before dabbing the brakes for the final corner. Taken at 120km/h and using the whole curb as you exit, the right-hander flicks you back onto the start-finish straight to begin another lap."

Q and A with Greg Biffle Q and A with Greg BiffleRoush Racing announced earlier today that Greg Biffle has signed a multi-year contract extension that will keep him in the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus.  He spoke about the deal after Friday's Nextel Cup practice session.

ARE YOU HAPPY TO HAVE THIS OVER WITH AND NOT HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT ANYMORE?  "Yeah, I really am.  I'm excited.  I went to Jack and told him that I really wanted to stay at Roush.  Geoff Smith worked very hard at doing what he could do for me to stay there and I'm really excited about having National Guard and all the other sponsors on the race car.  I feel we're locking in a championship battle right now in 2005 and, obviously, if I decided to do something different this year is pretty much down the drain for me.  All of it was a consideration on what to do.  I felt like I wanted to stay here.  They gave me an opportunity to come drive for their organization and they've treated me well and are gonna continue to treat me well over the next three years.  We're just excited about having it done.  It was starting to be a distraction.  I was starting to get a lot of inquiries and people calling and other people talking about it and I wanted to put it to bed.  I wanted to secure the team and tell them that, 'Hey, I'm here to stay.'  They're wondering where I'm going.  They're hearing other team guys talk or whatever, and Ford was a major part in helping us solidify our deal and get it done.  They've been behind us 100 percent.  I went to them and asked for support for the team and they're there to support us technical-wise and aero-wise.  We've got a new race car coming that we're real excited about and part of my decision on what to do was all the neat things we've got coming and how stout our organization is.  It would be tough for me to go do something different." 

THERE WERE A LOT OF RUMORS.  WAS IT EVER CLOSE THAT YOU WERE GOING TO LEAVE ROUSH?  "I don't think so, not ever close, but I had plenty of opportunities and I'm thankful for that.  I'm really blessed that I've got the driving ability that I do and other people have interest in me to drive their race cars.  There are a lot of fine teams in this sport - a lot of people I respect very well.  I'm friends with a lot of the team owners.  I like to mingle with them and talk with them.  Ray's got a great organization.  Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress - all of them - Roger Penske.  Every single one of those guys - DEI - have great organizations in our sport.  I had some opportunities, but this is where my heart was at and we were able to work out a deal and I think I'm gonna be happy." 

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF 600 MILES HERE?  "That's tough.  We've got to have adjustability in the race car.  With the way our race cars are set up today it's more difficult, we're finding out, to have that adjustability over 600 miles so we're really focusing and concentrating on how to have that adjustability.  We spent probably too much time today on qualifying because qualifying, obviously, for a 600-mile race probably doesn't mean a lot, but we went the whole two hours practicing qualifying.  We ended up 13th right now and we'll be a little better than that, I think, qualifying.  That would be a good starting spot for us, but it's adjustability and being able to adapt from 5 o'clock, to 7 o'clock to 9 o'clock at night." 

HOW MUCH DID THE CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE THIS YEAR EFFECT YOUR DECISION?  "That was one of my factors in staying here and doing what I want to do because of the championship battle we're locked into.  That was a big factor.  I've got quality race cars right now.  I've got quality people and it pays $5.5 million to win the championship, plus a lot of other dividends.  That's really hard to weigh out options of going somewhere else and driving another race car.  A lot of guys don't have an opportunity to win more than one.  You look at Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Bobby Labonte.  In this day and age it's very difficult.  I feel like this is my best opportunity right now is this year.  We may not be the guy to beat coming down the homestretch, but we're doing well right now. Ford

Standing together to make a change Standing together to make a changeThe GP2 series is proud to announce its support for the Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation and its Annual Winning Attitudes Awards (WAA.) Now in its fourth year, the Winning Attitudes Awards will be held on Thursday September 1st at the Sporting Club, Monza, Italy.

The WAA has become one of the highlights of the motorsport calendar, and is focused on the preceding category to Formula One. As in previous years the Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation is organizing this event which, for the first time in 2005, will be run in association with the GP2 Series. The awards enhance positive attitudes in personalities and teams; a recognition of the participants of the GP2 Series who have in some way made a difference in 2005. The Awards include those for Team and Driver of the year, Overtaking Maneuver of the Year and Most Entertaining Team, Team Manager and Driver. A special poll on www.gp2series.com will determine the winner of the "Best Driving Style" Award.

As part of the GP2 series' support for the Foundation, from last weekend at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, the WAA spirit logo will appear on our development car.

The Foundation was established in remembrance of the Uruguayan driver Gonzalo Rodriguez, who let it be known amongst a group of family and friends, his desire to work for the well being of all Uruguayans, before his untimely death in 1999. One of the most popular sportsmen ever to come from Uruguay, and one of the most loved drivers in international motorsport, Gonzalo's legacy today lives on through the foundation set up in his name.

The Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation is a non-profit and non-governmental organization, that obtained legal approval bylaws in Uruguay in October 2000, in USA in November 2001 and in England in August 2002, having the head office in Montevideo, Uruguay. Inspired by the legacy left by Gonzalo, their mission is to improve the quality of living for future generations of Uruguayan children through sporting activities.

For more information on the work of the Gonzalo Rodriguez Foundation, please visit www.gonzalorodriguez.org. GP2Series.com
NASCAR Renews Craftsman as Truck Series Sponsor NASCAR Renews Craftsman as Truck Series SponsorNASCAR announced Thursday that Craftsman has renewed its title sponsorship of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series through 2010.  Craftsman has sponsored the series since its inception in 1995, when it was known as the Super Truck Series Presents by Craftsman.  The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has experienced record growth in viewership since SPEED Channel began broadcasting the entire series schedule last season, up 21% from last year, making it the no. 3 motorsports property on cable television. Pete McCole
Camara wins Freedom 100 pole Camara wins Freedom 100 poleBrazil's Jaime Camara claimed the first SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award of his Menards Infiniti Pro Series career, winning the pole for the Futaba Freedom 100.

Camara, driving the No. 1 CELG-Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, had a two-lap qualifying average of 189.870 mph to claim the pole position as the Menards Infiniti Pro Series used a format similar to the traditional Indianapolis 500 qualifying format for the first time. Camara's second lap, 47.3349 seconds, 190.135 mph, also was a new event qualifying lap record.

"We had a good car since the first practice," said Camara, who also qualified on the front row for races at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. "Since we went out, I was flat the second lap, and I was very comfortable with the car. I did a good line every time; I did the same line every time."

Camara's Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate, Travis Gregg, qualified second for his first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a two-lap average of 189.385 mph. It marked the sixth time teammates had shared the front row, and the fifth time it had been accomplished by Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

"As teammates, we work together and try to help each other out," said Gregg, the series point leader. "I know that Jaime has helped me out a bunch, but being teammates, that's just what we're going to do."

Rookie Cole Carter, the son of 17-time Indianapolis 500 starter Pancho Carter, and reigning USAC National Sprint Car champion Jay Drake qualified on the second row. Third generation drivers Al Unser, the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., and Marco Andretti, son of Michael Andretti, qualified seventh and 10th, respectively.

The third Futaba Freedom 100 is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (EDT) on May 27. It will be telecast as part of ESPN2's coverage of Miller Lite Carb Day which is scheduled for 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 27. 

1. (1) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 189.870
2. (7) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 189.385
3. (77) Cole Carter, Dallara-Infiniti, 189.191
4. (20) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, 187.721
5. (33) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 187.341
6. (4) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, 186.409
7. (3) Al Unser, Dallara-Infiniti, 186.258
8. (21) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.981
9. (6) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.801
10. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.219
11. (24) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.779
12. (42) German Quiroga, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.712
13. (11) Tom Wood, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.080
14. (91) Mishael Abbott, Dallara-Infiniti, 183.125
15. (23) Taylor Fletcher, Dallara-Infiniti, 182.642
16. (36) Imran Husain, Dallara-Infiniti, 181.834
17. (19) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 168.816
18. (27) Rocky Moran Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, no speed

Marcis recovering from accident Marcis recovering from accidentFormer NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Dave Marcis is recovering at his home in Arden, N.C., after suffering facial injuries in a lawn-mowing accident on Wednesday. Marcis was mowing grass at his property in Rib Lake, Wisconsin when a rock flew from underneath the mower, striking him in the cheek area. Marcis incurred a laceration that required five stitches. Also, several teeth were damaged by the impact, necessitating a trip to the dentist on Thursday afternoon. “Actually, I’m pretty lucky,” Marcis said. “”The rock could’ve hit me in eye, or in the temple.” Marcis, 64, retired from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing after the 2002 season. He ended his 35-year NASCAR career with 883 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts. He was the runner-up in the 1975 championship standings. “I told my wife (Helen) that I need to go back racing,” Marcis said. “This lawn-mowing stuff is dangerous.” NASCAR PR
Toyota to sponsor Milwaukee truck race Toyota to sponsor Milwaukee truck raceThe Milwaukee Mile and Toyota’s Chicago Region announced today that the upcoming NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the tradition-rich speedway on Friday, June 24, will be called the ‘Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200.’

“The Metro-area Milwaukee dealers in the Chicago Region are looking forward to joining together with The Milwaukee Mile to sponsor this year’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the track,” said Vince Harris, Toyota’s vehicle merchandising manager for the Chicago Region (Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota).  “Even though the Toyota Tundra is new to NASCAR, area Toyota dealers have a great deal of enthusiasm for the Tundra racing program.  This sponsorship, combined with the on-track success of the Tundra, will allow us to capitalize on the passion Toyota dealers have demonstrated for Toyota’s NASCAR program.”

The ‘Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200,’ which will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel, will begin at 8:00 PM (CST) and will be the culmination of a complete day of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series action at the track.  Race day will also include practice and qualifying sessions -- a format that was initially introduced to the series at The Milwaukee Mile in 2004.  There will be a pair of practice sessions in the afternoon, followed by pole position qualifying at 5:30 PM.

“This partnership with Toyota’s Chicago Region is an excellent opportunity to further what our friends at Jack Safro Toyota began last year with The Milwaukee Mile,” said Gary Girard, The Milwaukee Mile general manager.  “As we celebrate ‘Ten Years Tough’ with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, we look forward to the promotion and participation of our Toyota partners in attracting more NASCAR fans to The ‘Mile in our first night race of the season.” Milwaukee Mile

Bear Creek Soups To Sponsor Michel Jourdain Jr. Bear Creek Soups To Sponsor Michel Jourdain Jr.ppc Racing officials announced today Bear Creek Soups will be the primary sponsor on the No. 10 ppc Racing Ford Taurus with Mexican driver, Michel Jourdain Jr. this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Bear Creek Soups is currently an associate sponsor with ppc Racing’s four race teams in NASCAR’s top-three series.  The Heber City, Utah –based organization has sponsored ppc Racing since 2001.

“We recognize the two weeks of activities in Charlotte bring tens of thousands of race fans to the area,” said Steve Zupan, director of motorsports at Bear Creek Country Kitchens.  “Saturday’s race will be on television in primetime and we want to take full advantage of the exposure with such a talented and media-hungry driver.  Rarely is there a time Michel doesn’t have a microphone in front of him.  He is the first Mexican driver, who is making his mark in NASCAR and we want to continue being a part of his trek toward stardom with ppc Racing.  We know he will do well for us this weekend and throughout the years to come.”

Bear Creek Soups last primary sponsorship was at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last month with Jourdain.  The organization has been a primary sponsor at select races with ppc Racing the last two years.  In 2005, Bear Creek Soups logos are displayed in various locations on all four of ppc Racing’s race vehicles; the No. 14 VB / APlus at Sunoco Ford Taurus in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with driver John Andretti; the No. 22 Stacker 2 Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Busch Series with driver Kenny Wallace; the No. 10 ppc Racing Ford Taurus with driver Michel Jourdain Jr.; and the No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with driver Terry Cook.

Indy to roll out the red carpet for celebs Indy to roll out the red carpet for celebsThe red carpet will roll out in Indianapolis this weekend as celebrities from around the globe arrive in the Circle City for a number of events surrounding the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The festivities begin Friday, May 27 for Miller Lite Carb Day. An afternoon concert by The Black Crowes precedes the black-tie Snake Pit Ball. The nationally televised 500 Festival Parade is Saturday, May 28, and the 500-Mile Race is Sunday, May 29.

Headlining the list of celebrities is Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, who will drive the Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car on Race Day. Reggie Miller, who recently retired after 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association with the Indiana Pacers, will serve as honorary grand starter of the 500. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels also will attend the race.

Other prominent figures expected to attend are actress Carol Burnett, actor Cheech Marin and former "Survivor" winner Rupert Boneham.
Other celebrities expected to attend are:
. 3 Doors Down
. Fernando Arau (Univision)
. Chester Bennington (Lead singer of Linkin Park)
. Fuel
. Tony Danza - parade only ("Who's The Boss," "The Tony Danza Show")
. Patrick Dempsey ("Sweet Home Alabama," "Grey's Anatomy")
. Chef Rocco DiSpirito ("Celebrity Chef," "The Restaurant")
. Jesse James Dupree (Member of Jackyl)
. Robert Gallery (Oakland Raiders No. 2 draft pick in 2003)
. Paige Hemmis (Celebrity designer "Extreme Makeover, Home Edition")
. Florence Henderson ("The Brady Bunch")
. Ed Herrmann ("The Aviator," "Intolerable Cruelty," "Welcome to Mooseport," "Overboard")
. Wynonna Judd
. Richard Karn ("Family Feud," "Home Improvement")
. Regina King ("Jerry Maguire," "Legally Blonde 2," "Ray," "Miss Congeniality 2")
. Kate Linder ("The Young and the Restless")
. Rich Little
. Troy McClain ("The Apprentice")
. Jim Nabors
. Deborah Norville ("Inside Edition")
. Orange County Choppers
. Tom Otterness (Sculptor)
. Montel Williams (Host "The Montel Williams Show")

Penske duo favored to win 500 Penske duo favored to win 500Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. are the odds on favorite to win this weekend's running of the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves, who has climbed the fence at the Brickyard on two separate occasions, is the 4-1 pick to win the race while Hornish Jr., his Penske teammate, is a 9-2 favorite. Castroneves will start fifth on the grid while Hornish Jr. starts in the middle of the front row. Tony Kanaan, the defending IRL series champion and pole sitter, is next at 5-1 while Dan Wheldon, possibly the hottest driver on the IRL series this season, is an 8-1 pick.

Danica Patrick is given 15-1 odds of becoming the first woman to ever win the 500 mile race while Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais is a 20-1 pick along with Newman-Haas teammate Bruno Junqueira. Patrick will start on row two while Bourdais is back in 15th. Canadian Patrick Carpentier, starting 25th in his first ever Indy 500, is among a group of drivers listed at 50-1. TSN.ca

Andretti family still split over split Andretti family still split over splitThis South Florida Sun-Sentinel article talks about the relationship Mario and Michael Andretti have - a relationship tarnished by the split in open wheel racing, Mario on Champ Car's side, Michael on the IRL's side.  Hopefully there will be some sort of reconciliation in the near future and the entire industry can start the healing process.
Schumacher brothers call truce Schumacher brothers call truceAccording to this BBC article Michael and Ralf Schumacher have called a truce in the war of words that followed a controversial incident at the Monaco Grand Prix. Ralf Schumacher accused his brother of "crazy" driving after a last-gasp overtaking maneuver in Monte Carlo. "I think we are both highly competitive drivers," said Michael Schumacher. "We fight on the circuit in our interests, for our teams. But at no moment do you forget it's your brother and you love your brother." Ralf Schumacher insisted he was right to heap criticism on Michael. "You have an opinion, it's nothing to do with being emotional. It has nothing to do with a family war or brotherly war - it's just a different opinion. "Whether it would have been Michael or anyone else I would have had a different opinion to a competitor. "Don't forget, we are all sensible at the end of the day. Nobody wants to hurt another driver but you have to fight for position for your team."
Where would open wheel racing be today if no split? Where would open wheel racing be today if no split?This Dallas Morning News article gives an overview of the split in open wheel racing and asks where would the sport be today if it had not split.  There is a bit of misinformation, the author notes declining TV ratings from the 70's, but fails to mention the 500 was shown in prime time in those days. He claims Indy is still the largest attended race. We have our doubts and think the Brickyard 400 has more attendance than the Indy 500 now.  The author has a few reconciliation ideas, along the lines of ours.
Biffle Renews Contract With Roush Racing Biffle Renews Contract With Roush RacingNASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Greg Biffle has renewed a multi-year agreement with Roush Racing to continue to drive the No. 16 Ford Taurus.  In the midst of his eighth year with Roush Racing, a tenure that has included a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship and a NASCAR Busch Series Championship, Greg Biffle is considered a top contender for the Nextel Cup title.

Now, 12 races into the 2005 season, Biffle and the National Guard team have three wins, four top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes.  Needless to say, Biffle has been quite busy.  However, in the last week he has made time to finalize his contract with Roush.

"It just took a little while to iron out the details but I'm really happy to be making this announcement," said Biffle.  "I've had a long, successful career at Roush Racing with the Truck and Busch Series Championships and I'd love to bring Jack his third Nextel Cup Championship.

"This National Guard team is at the top of its game right now and the energy is so high, it's just a really good feeling as a driver to be in this situation.  I think you'll see a few more wins out of this team before the end of this season and we're doing everything we can to be ready for those final ten races.  You never know how things are going to play out but we can at least make sure we're in the best position possible heading into the 'Chase'."

Team owner Jack Roush shares Biffle's excitement about the National Guard team and Biffle's future at Roush Racing.

"Greg is a tremendous talent and his decision to remain at Roush is a commitment to his team," said Roush.  "The No. 16 team has really come together and I think the best is yet to come for them.  Greg and Doug (Richert) have a chemistry right now that you don't find very often between a driver and a crew chief.  It's taken a little while to get to this point but their on-track performance this season speaks for itself." Roush Racing

Fellows to drive for PPI at Infineon Fellows to drive for PPI at InfineonPPI Motorsports has received permission to put road course ace Ron Fellows in its No. 32 Chevrolet for the June 26 road course race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif, ThatsRacin.com confirmed.  The team, with Fellows as the driver, tested Tuesday at a paved road course in Kershaw, S.C., in preparation for the race.   Reached by phone Wednesday, the team's current driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr. said: "I didn't realize it was a done deal, but whatever they think they should do that is best for the team, then it's best for the team."   Fellows was tentatively scheduled to run the two Nextel Cup road course races with Dale Earnhardt Inc. this season, but that deal apparently has fallen through. ThatsRacin
Montagny for Jordan Montagny for JordanRenault test driver Franck Montagny will pilot the third Jordan in Friday practice at the Nurburgring.  The 27-year-old Frenchman, supported by Flavio Briatore and the French carmaker, is to combine the job with his existing F1 role.  ''This is a good step for him,'' said Briatore, Renault principal. ''We are happy to ... help Alex Shnaider and the Jordan team.''

While Renault only made reference to the European grand prix, a Jordan statement intimated that Montagny may wear yellow for the rest of the F1 season.  He replaces Dutch rookie Robert Doornbos, who subsequently said in a PR release that he has been offered a 2006 Midland drive.  ''After six races,'' Jordan managing director Colin Kolles commented, ''we understand we need an experienced driver to ... build up our three rookies.'' GMMF1.net

A1 Grand Prix
Chinese Drivers Get the Green Light Chinese Drivers Get the Green LightChinese drivers Ma Qinghua and Jiang Tengyi will be sent to South Africa in June for further training in the Volkswagen A3 Racing Series after showing outstanding performances at A1 Team China's driver qualifying competition on Saturday at the Zhuhai International Circuit. Five young drivers aged between 18-24 took part in the Formula Renault race, with 18 year-old Ma from Shanghai leading all the nation's emerging drivers with the best lap time of 1 minute 36.873 seconds.

The 20 year-old Jiang finished second, only 0.115 seconds off the leader's pace. A total of eight drivers were divided into two groups with the top two from Group One heading for South Africa in early June.

"It is very good A1 Grand Prix has come to the Chinese people. These drivers performed very well and I hope they will make rapid progress when they go to South Africa for high level training", said Shi Tianshu, President of China Autosports Federation (FASC).

"It is very rare that Chinese drivers get the chance to take part in world class motoring events. I was rather nervous today. Thank you to A1 Team China for giving me this opportunity," said Ma.

A1 Grand Prix, the World Cup of Motorsport, will pit drivers against each other for the pride of their country. Spectators will see national flags displayed on their race cars and hear the national anthems played on the podium.

"Given that all the cars have the same engine, chassis, body and tires, the driver will be the key determinant in any victory," said Shi.

"Moreover, it is not only a victory for a team or driver; it is more for his country. I hope the Chinese drivers have the ambition to challenge every driver from the world. Right now, they must work even harder to improve their skill. I am confident that the Chinese diver will win the competition," Shi added.

To highlight the importance of China, the final stage of the A1 Grand Prix series will take place in China, with the host city yet to be determined. With co-operation between FASC and A1 Team China, Shi believes the development of China's motorsport and commerce is bound to benefit. A1 GP

The evolution of electronics in racing The evolution of electronics in racingThe European Grand Prix used to move around, taking place at a variety of circuits, but it has had an almost permanent home at the Nürburgring, which has hosted this race nine times, including every year since 1997, except that in ’97 and ’98, just to confuse things, it was known as the Luxembourg GP.

Although the current circuit has been in use for over two decades, it is still referred to as the “New ‘Ring,” by those who remember the daunting 22 kilometres of the old Nordschleife track, that was eventually deemed too dangerous for modern grand prix cars.

At about the same time that the antiquated track was pensioned off, Dieter Gundel was beginning his motor racing career, working in electronics. Today he is Head of Electronics at the race tracks for Ferrari.

“Twenty years ago, electronics was just beginning to become the “hot item” in motor racing,” says the German. “Ever since then it has developed from something that is quite useful and gives a little bit of an advantage into an element that is absolutely essential. Without electronics, nothing turns, nothing blinks, nothing does anything.”
Progress on electronics was slow until the advent of the computer and the first advantages seen on the cars were chiefly in terms of providing increased power. “We have to admit that the original ideas came from road cars and it is not a case of motor racing leading the development,” continues Gundel. “The most obvious change was the switch from putting fuel in the engine with a carburetor to using fuel injection. It gave far greater control and allowed you to adjust more parameters.”

The other element that moved electronic development forward was the arrival of the turbocharged engines in the 80s. The turbocharger was quite a delicate piece of equipment and needed more accurate control, for elements such as the waste-gate. “This is how electronics muscled its way into the sport,” recalls Gundel. “We had so much electronics it was a case of picking the area that gave the biggest advantage and of course one team would come up with something and the others would follow. Technology has moved at a rapid rate. If you compare the power of calculation we have on the car nowadays with that of twenty years ago, you could not run a small computer game for kids with the power we had on the cars back then!”

Once the miracle of electronics had reached a point where it was taken for granted, the specialists in this field came under ever increasing pressure to come up with ever more sophisticated systems that were smaller, lighter and more resistant to vibration and especially to heat.

“The amount of wiring on the car has decreased significantly over the years,” says Gundel. “For example, we now use copper wires that are no thicker than a human hair for sensors for example. The wiring per meter is a fraction of what we had. We use more intelligent sensors that now communicate via digital signals, which is another technology that has come from road cars."

"The hardware side has reduced in weight and size and technology means our experience has grown. In the past we used military connectors from tanks and airplanes, built to last for five years of use. It was good for F1 because not even we could break them. But if I came today with one of these connectors and showed it to (Chief Designer) Rory Byrne he would have a heart attack!"

Today, electronics is used in every aspect of the car, but its most obvious use is in running the engine. “You have to inject fuel and you have to fire the spark,” maintains Gundel. “But on top of this is all the diagnostic monitoring, the back up systems and pumps. The diagnostic side has become far more important this year with engines having to last two race weekends. We might have more than 20 sensors on the engine for diagnostics alone, apart from those used to actually run the engine. To be honest, for us here at Ferrari, this was not such a big change from the past, as we already had a fantastic record of reliability and that was partly down to our monitoring systems.”

The new rules, with the cars staying in parc ferme in between qualifying and the race, has also made the role of electronics more important, as software changes are one of the few areas that can be worked on. “Apart from the engine, other areas where we can tune for performance using electronics are traction control, engine braking and differential performance. These are the only legal areas where we are allowed to work,” explains Gundel. “While the car is in parc ferme, we have the model of our strategies on the computer and we can tune them and are allowed to upload all our modifications into the car before the race. Now, we analyze the performance of our cars on Friday and Saturday and try to improve areas that were not perfect, by running simulations. We try to combine all these tunings to give an overall improvement on the car without having to run the car. It is not all down to technology though and you still need to use the human brain. Sometimes it is our best friend!”

So will this weekend on home turf at the Nürburgring be a chance for Gundel to catch up with old friends from his racing past? “Not really,” he says with a hint of embarrassment. “As a child I was not at all interested in motor racing and when I started working with Bosch back in 1985, I stayed in the laboratory and did not go to the tracks. But when Data Logging and Telemetry became more common I would go to the occasional race. At first the racing drivers were very suspicious of Data Logging and regarded it as a spy system. Now, the good drivers know they can improve with the help of the data and they spend a lot of time studying it. But to get back to the question, no the Nurburgring will not be a special weekend for me, except that I always find it a bit disturbing because all the people around me speak German!” Ferrari

A1 Grand Prix
A1GP - Team Great Britain tests A1GP - Team Great Britain testsUnder the watchful eye of A1 Team Great Britain Team Principal, John Surtees, four of Britain’s most successful young drivers took part in an evaluation test for a coveted place as part of the team that will compete in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix Series, the World Cup of Motorsport. Ralph Firman, Robbie Kerr, Alex Lloyd and James Rossiter were all very impressive over the two days at Brands Hatch on Monday and Tuesday (23rd/24th May).

They drove a Formula 3000 car run by Arden International Motorsport, who will be running the entry in the new series. Now John Surtees and the Arden team will have to make some very important but very difficult decisions.

On the first day it was Firman and Kerr who drove. They each completed 60 laps of the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in dry conditions. The weather deteriorated overnight and Alex and Rossiter were faced with driving rain for their runs.

The team, run by John Bright, gave them 20 laps each in the morning. They then put Kerr back in the car for a further 20 laps in the rain so they had some sort of benchmark. At the end of the two days John Surtees explained the criteria they would use for their selection.
“I want to make it quite clear we are not just going to look at the times. We want to see how people gel, and so we want to see how the driver relates to the team. He has not only got to adapt to the car but also get on with the engineers, mechanics and other team personnel. Also I believe motorsport is controlled too much by money."

"You get drivers like the four we have tested and it comes down to money and not ability. We are giving these drivers the chance to get out on the world motorsport stage and show what they can do without the added pressure of having to find finance. It is going to be difficult to make our decision. We have to make this relatively quickly and eventually we may select two rather than just one.”

The Arden team was also impressed with what it saw and the feedback from John Bright was: “All the drivers have acquitted themselves very well, and we have lots of data to help us. I believe the chances of A1 Team Great Britain doing well in the series is excellent. I can assure everyone that John Surtees and Arden have not got involved to make up the numbers!”

Ralph Firman - “This is the first time I have driven a single seater since I was in the actual A1 GP car, and the first time I have driven at Brands Hatch since 1996. I love Brands Hatch as a circuit and think Paddock is one of the best corners at any racing track. The whole A1 Grand Prix project is exciting and it would be great if I could be in the series racing under the British colors.”

Robbie Kerr - “The last time I raced here in 2002 I won, so I hope I have been able to impress with what I have done in the Formula 3000 car. The nation versus nation concept is amazing and it is the sort of opportunity up to now we could only dream of.”

Alex Lloyd - “The weather was a little bit trickier for me and the team, but as a racing driver I just have to get on and do the job in any conditions. The team were great and it made me appreciate why they have won many titles and earned their reputation. I have represented England in the internations karting competition a couple of times, but it is not quite the same as this. In any sport the greatest honor is to represent your country and here we have the opportunity for the first time.”

James Rossiter - “John Surtees is a legend in his own right and so for me it is great to be able to work with someone like him. The weather wasn’t on our side, but I actually enjoy driving in the wet as you can slide the car more. While there is a big difference between F3 and F3000, I have experience of more power thanks to having driven in an F1 test. Brands is also a good track for me as I won here in Formula 3 last year. It would be great to represent my country in this championship and so I am now keeping my fingers crossed for the outcome.” A1 GP

Race two of GP2 extended Race two of GP2 extendedThe GP2 series arrives at the Nürburgring this weekend for Round Four (races six and seven) of the 2005 season. With a month off between this weekend and our next Round, in France at the start of July, everyone will be hoping to make an impression before the mid- season break.

Heikki Kovalainen leads the Drivers’ standings on 28 points, but is followed closely by Gimmi Bruni on 26 and Scott Speed on 25. Following his win in Monaco, Adam Carroll lies fourth in the standings on 23, with Jose Maria Lopez and Nico Rosberg rounding out the top six on 17 and 12 points respectively.

Arden International leads the Teams’ battle on 32, with Coloni Motorsport second on 29 points. iSport International lie in third spot with 27 points, four ahead of Super Nova International, with ART Grand Prix in fifth and DAMS in sixth.

A new week-end format From this week-end, the length of the second race will be extended to 120km, or 45 minutes. This change comes in the wake of the alterations to Formula One qualifying regulations and means that fans will now be treated to an increased spectacle in the shorter of the two GP2 series races.
Sunday’s GP2 series race will begin at 10:00 am at each event. It will remain a lights-to-flag sprint, with no pitstops. The grid will still be formed by taking the finishing positions of the first race of the weekend, with the top eight positions reversed. Similarly, the points system will remain unaltered with the top six receiving reward for their races. The classified driver with the fastest lap will still get two points.

Bruno Michel – GP2 series organizer - “The increased length of our second race is good news for the GP2 series. It is a welcome bonus, as it will allow more scope for the entertaining battles we have been treated to thus far in 2005. I’m happy that the GP2 series will be able to provide the fans with an extra dose of excitement.”

Bernard Dudot – GP2 series Head of Engineering - “There’s not much time between Monaco and Nürburgring so it’s almost impossible to make any major changes. One big change we have managed to make, however, is a brand new clutch input shaft which will be fitted to all cars, and of course we will have the normal gear ratios back. We have also made a lot of small upgrades, especially with regard to the electrics and the quality of the fuel filter, which we hope will rectify any chance of misfires. We’re not far away from sorting everything and getting to our definitive level. The test at the start of June will see us testing a completely new radiator and heat exchangers, plus a new, smaller and tidier electrics box. The development car has been testing in Paul Ricard this week, and will make a further test at the circuit on June 1 and 2.” GP2

Ganassi car suspended before Indy 500 Ganassi car suspended before Indy 500Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and Ryan Briscoe helped kick off the Indianapolis 500 Festival Community Day in the downtown core on Wednesday morning, looking skyward as a team of three stuntmen repelled down the Indiana Square Building to show off Dixon’s 2003 IndyCar Championship racecar affixed to the side of the building’s 21st floor.

While morning newsmakers coyly teased the event as a Target IndyCar being “suspended” for the Indianapolis 500, inferring that it might not be permitted to race on Sunday, it actually referenced the fact that the Target Toyota was literally suspended and anchored to promote this weekend’s infamous contest.

Two electric winches hoisted the 1000 lb IndyCar (without engine and gearbox) from the ground to the 21st floor Tuesday night under ideal low-wind conditions, and the car will remain on display until Sunday’s 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 in its position affixed to the center column of the building.

The high-altitude heroics performed by stuntmen from action marketing agency Jochen Schweizer included three “vertical catwalks” throughout the day, attracting the attention of downtown Indy passerbys in addition to national and local media.

A total of six stuntmen spent more than 300 hours on training for the high-wire act, practicing with a racecar replica mounted on to the front of their training building. The results were spectacular. With the stuntmen displaying their Target bull’s-eyed fire suits throughout the day, spectators watched eagerly as the group acted out death-defying feats of airborne supremacy which gained exposure for the month of May Classic at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The stunt demonstrations with the Target IndyCar will continue to take place throughout the rest of the week and during the 500 Festival Parade which takes place in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday, May 28 at 12 noon.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Red Bull alter driver tactic
BAR saga 'bad for F1'
V8 howl 'still sounds great'
Alberto Ascari
Webber expected 'better' year
F1 brothel busted
F1 hopeful sets up HQ
Ralf snubs Schu reunion
FIA attack denied
BAR must race Imola engine
Red Bull applaud Q repair
A wasted opportunity A wasted opportunityThe announcement that the Long Beach Grand Prix has been sold to a subsidiary of the Champ Car World Series for $15m is a wasted opportunity for Formula 1. A deal to buy the event would have given the sport access to the biggest open-wheeler road racing event in the United States - and at a venue where Formula 1 first made an impact on the West Coast in the 1970s and 1980s. The failure of the sport to grab the opportunity says all that needs to be said about the way things are currently being run. The emphasis now is firmly on taking money out of the business - and no investment is being made for the future. The United States market is the world's most important consumer market and the logical place for F1 to want to have a higher profile. There are great opportunities for the sport to take advantage of the mess that exists in US open-wheeler racing and to try to get access to some of the vast income that is available from US TV networks. It is worth noting that while F1 television revenues of $400-500m a year look pretty good, they pale into insignificance when one looks at the deals now being negotiated by sports in the United States. USA Today recently reported that the National Football League will earn $3.7bn a year from TV revenues in the years ahead and NASCAR's new contract is expected to boost income to similar levels, up from the current $2.4bn a year.

The car companies and sponsors in F1 want more US coverage to back up the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis and there are vague plans to shift more races into the US time zones, with a race on the cards in Mexico, to be added to the events in Canada, Brazil and at Indianapolis. The problem, however, is that F1 wants others to pay before it will do anything and the concept of actually investing money for the good of the sport is not even considered, or at least that is how it appears. Considering the huge sums of money that the sport does generate and the potential gains from getting a higher profile in the United States, a bid for Long Beach would have been a sensible move.

It may be clever to make others pay for you to become richer but the missed opportunity at Long Beach is a sign that Formula 1 needs to change its attitudes if it is to prosper in the years ahead. In recent years the Formula One group seems to have become a machine for making money for trust funds and bankers rather than doing what is best for the sport. There are plenty of opportunities for improving F1. The car by car qualifying, for example, would benefit hugely from the technology used by the World Rally Championship in which rival competitors appear in "virtual" form alongside the car which is running on a rally stage, this illustrates how the driver is doing in comparison to his rivals and turns the coverage into a race against another car rather than against the clock. This makes for much more visually exciting viewing. That technology could be used by F1 but no-one is willing to pay what it would cost.

Selling F1 is now a business where it seems the deal always goes to the highest bidder rather than to those who have the longer term development of the sport in mind. There is not enough strategic thinking going on and that is one of the reasons why the current discussions between the teams and the automobile manufacturers about the future are attractive because they seem to offer a better route for the future than does the existing structure. If those in power began thinking (and acting) along similar lines they might find that they would get more support from within the sport. Grandprix.com
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