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Formula One Information - GP Canada
Montreal graphics by Allianz
Formula One cars are exposed to enormous forces. It takes 3.5 seconds for a 600 kg race car to decelerate from 350 to 80 km/h.

Also, the monocoque needs to withstand tremendous impact for which reason extensive crash tests are regularly conducted by the FIA in order to ensure maximum driver security.

In the images to the right, Allianz gives us key data for this weekend's Canadian GP in Montreal.


RPDE is Primary Sponsor of the Petty Dodge
Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) will be the primary sponsor on the Petty Enterprises #45 Dodge for the Best Buy 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race this weekend in Dover and again in Daytona for the Coke Zero 400 on July 5th.

23 year-old Chad McCumbee will pilot the RPDE race car at the Monster Mile this weekend in place of Kyle Petty, who has the weekend off for his daughters wedding. “I have to thank everyone at Petty Enterprises for allowing me to drive the No. 45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Dodge this weekend,” said McCumbee, who has two starts under his belt at Dover.

Veteran Terry Labonte will take over for Petty in the 45 car at Daytona in July. The 51 year-old NASCAR champion just couldn’t say no when he got the call to drive. “I could say no to some other people pretty easy,” said Labonte. “But with my brother Bobby over here and being able to drive for the Petty folks, I just had to do this deal and I am sure we are going to have some great fun.”

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track news

Silverstone to make improvements by 2010 UPDATE Aylesbury Vale District Council has granted Silverstone planning permission for its new pit and paddock complex. The substantial redevelopment program will see an all-new paddock constructed on the straight between Club and Abbey corners, both of which will be realigned. It will be the first time in Silverstone's history that the pit lane has been relocated from the straight between Woodcote and Copse.

"This is an exciting project that will help Silverstone retain the British Grand Prix and strengthen its international role as a world-class motorsport facility," the council's deputy leader Michael Edmonds said.  "We are very proud to have Silverstone in our district and want to do all we can to promote both the circuit and the wider attractions of Aylesbury Vale as a great place to visit and do business in. Our aim is to help ensure Aylesbury Vale remains the home of Formula One in Great Britain."

The track's managing director Richard Phillips said the council's approval was a very significant moment for Silverstone, and that work would commence later in 2008.

"We are absolutely delighted that AVDC's planning committee have unanimously supported and voted in favor of this proposed milestone development," he said.  "This is a turning point for Silverstone and a bold commitment towards the BRDC's support for motorsport in the UK and for retaining the British Grand Prix.  The current program provides for work to start on site later this year."

04/24/08 Statement from the British Racing Drivers' Club:
The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) today confirmed that the Club is on schedule to complete Silverstone's new Grand Prix Pits complex in time for the 2010 FORMULA 1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX.

Club President, Damon Hill OBE said: "I am delighted to report that we are close to finalising our plans to build new pits in time for the 2010 British Grand Prix, thus satisfying FOM's pre-requisites to granting us a new F1 GP contract. Silverstone's new state-of-the-art facilities are therefore moving from aspiration towards reality. The BRDC and Silverstone team has achieved an enormous amount over the last year. I am personally both impressed and proud of the commitment shown by the BRDC and by all our team members engaged in this project. In particular, the role played by the BRDC membership has been pivotal in this our 60th Year at Silverstone. Commitment by our members to retain the Grand Prix at Silverstone is as strong now as it has ever been. The BRDC share this desire and enthusiasm with thousands of British racing fans and we are doing everything within our power to keep the Grand Prix at the home of British Motor Sport. The negotiations with FOM are ongoing and reasonable terms on a new contract will help us to fulfill our ambitions." BRDC PR


Paul Tracy to test NASCAR truck UPDATE Yesterday, Tracy was testing at Chicagoland Speedway with Germain Racing's No. 30 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota team.

This is a quality outfit, that currently sits on top of the ownership points with its regular driver Todd Bodine. The team also won a series championship in 2006.

Tracy got hooked up with the team through long-time manager Doug Barnette, who has close links to the team as he represents Mike Wallace, who also drives occasionally in the NCTS.

According to Barnette, Tracy has kept the pressure on both himself and his management team to get him something to race this season.

"While it would be easy for (Tracy) to retire and live off the earnings from his Champ Car days, he has instead spent his spare time executing a rigorous training program," Barnette said.

Tracy believes, as do many others in the racing world, that he still has lots left in the tank after more than 15 years of top-level competition.

"I'm still young and I have a great passion for the sport of racing, and I plan to be a part of it for many years to come," Tracy said prior to taking to the track. "This is something that I've committed my entire life to and it has been fun to participate in the many different disciplines of the sport."

He said that however much he might have wanted the Forsythe team to move to the IRL, he has no regrets about where it has left him.

"My situation with Forsythe was unfortunate, but it has opened up so many other opportunities for me and I'm really enjoying my life right now," Tracy said.

He also is well aware that in his previous foray into NASCAR -- in the then Busch Series in 2006 -- he was handcuffed with teams that were not competitive. The Germain team, he said, is different.

"It's a championship team that is committed to winning, so it humbles me to be able to take part in a test and share a Toyota Tundra with Todd Bodine," Tracy said in a statement released by the team. "He is one of the best in the business and I'm looking forward to doing whatever I can to learn from him so that I can experience my own success should I go that direction." Slam Sports

Paul Tracy
05/26/08 While Indianapolis 500 activities were abuzz over Memorial Day weekend, one would assume that open-wheel champion Paul Tracy would be missing the atmosphere that saw him walk away with a 2nd place finish in 2002.  On the contrary, Tracy was busy booking flights and preparing to depart for Chicago, Illinois, where he will be participating in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series test for Germain Racing on Wednesday, May 28th. 

Tracy, who made his NASCAR debut in NASCAR's #2 series in 2006, will return to the oval-track for a one-day test at Chicagoland Speedway.  While this will be Tracy's first experience in a truck, he is known as one of the most cerebral wheelmen in the business and he will adapt quickly.  Versatility is a trademark of the 2003 Champ Car World Series Champion, as Tracy has raced open-wheel cars, Grand-Am cars, NASCAR, and off-road trucks, all in the last two years. 

One would ponder Tracy's plans for the future after his awkward departure from Forsythe Racing left the race world scratching their heads.  While it would be easy for the seasoned veteran to retire and live off the earnings that he has generated through his Champ Car World Series leading 31 wins, Tracy has instead spent his newfound spare time executing a rigorous training program that has kept his body in top physical condition.

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Original Edmonton GP investors lost their shirt
The City of Edmonton is bending over backwards to keep the Edmonton IndyCar race alive.  Promoter Northlands is not being asked to put cash in the race. It's already up to its eyeballs in a mighty expansion of the AgriCom.

The upfront costs - the Indy $2-million "sanction fee" and debts from last year - are built into Northlands' 2008 Edmonton Indy budget.

Any losses from this race, and in 2009 and 2010, will be covered by the city.

The city continues to pay for its off-site costs, i.e. policing and public transit. Last year, it shelled out another $400,000 for "inside the fence" costs.

The original investors, folks like Forest and Bruce Saville who raised $6 million, are out of luck. For the adventure of bringing open-wheel racing back to Edmonton, they have lost all their investment.  Edmonton Sun


DuPont to sponsor Gordon through 2010 UPDATE Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports and DuPont will continue as the longest active driver/owner/sponsor combination in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series through 2010. The two-year contract extension announcement came today at DuPont’s global headquarters where Gordon spent the day with employees during their annual employee appreciation day. “We come out here before the spring Dover race each year and spend time with the people who lend their support and make our success possible,” said Gordon. “And it was special to be able to announce to the many loyal DuPont employees that we’re all going to remain a part of the same team for several more years. “I started my career with DuPont and I hope to end my career with them as my primary sponsor.” DuPont teamed up with Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon for the final race of the 1992 season with the newly formed No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports race team and have since competed in every NASCAR Cup Series race. Together they have amassed four championships, 81 wins and 65 career poles. “This sponsorship is a perfect match for a company as large and diverse as DuPont,” said DuPont Vice President David Bills. “NASCAR’s overall communications reach is impressive, but the DuPont brand enjoys even higher visibility because Jeff and the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet figure so prominently in so many races.”  Hendrick Motorsports PR

05/29/08 DuPont, Hendrick Motorsports and driver Jeff Gordon today announced an extension of DuPont's sponsorship of the No. 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevy through the 2010 season.


GEM signs Sadler to extension
Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced today it has signed a multi-year contract extension with driver Elliott Sadler. "Elliott is a well respected driver who has the skills, both on and off the track, to succeed in NASCAR," said CEO Tom Reddin. "In addition to being a great Sprint Cup driver, Elliott has a wonderful personality that attracts fans and sponsors who love working with him. We have enjoyed working with Elliott over the last year and a half and look forward to continuing our relationship." Sadler, 33, joined Gillett Evernham Racing in 2006 and is glad to have a future with the team. "This is the place where I want to race," the Emporia, Va. native said. "I think what we are building here is special and something other drivers and crew members envy." Sadler drives the #19 Dodge sponsored by Best Buy, Stanley Tools, McDonald's and Siemens. He owns three career victories. GEM PR


Valuable gains result of Indy track time
For the drivers and teams competing in the IndyCar Series for their first season, the month of May at Indianapolis represented a chance for them to catch their breath – a little – and log their first significant miles in the Honda-powered Dallara.
Drivers for the six new full-season teams logged more than 5,700 laps and 14,300 miles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, giving them valuable time to learn the car, oval racing, and in some instances more time to gel as a team.
“As a transition team, it was really good for us to have so many miles on an oval and start to understand the car a little bit more, and if anything get a little bit of time to catch up on development,” said Will Power, who logged more miles, 1,927, in the No. 8 Aussie Vineyards-Team Australia entry for KV Racing Technology than any other driver during the month. “As a driver, I gained confidence and experience on an oval. That’s what we really need at this point.”

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Rahal Letterman Racing Partners With One Heartland
Rahal Letterman Racing prides itself not only in being a top-flight racing team with a championship pedigree, but also in doing everything it can for those in need.

From the many charities that have received aid through the Bobby Rahal Foundation, to the work done with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, whether it be hosting a Red Cross blood drive planned for June 12 or donations made to education concerns such as the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (COSI) museum, Rahal Letterman Racing has long been willing to do whatever possible to help the fortunes of others.

This spirit of assistance will again be on display at this weekend’s IndyCar Series race in Milwaukee as the #17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone IndyCar driven by 2008 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Ryan Hunter-Reay will carry the logo of One Heartland. The team will also donate $20 per lap completed in the race or $5,000, whichever is the greater amount, by the #17 car in Sunday’s race, which can be seen live at 4 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC. In addition, the #17 car will carry an in-car camera during this weekend’s race, which will feature the One Heartland logo even more prominently. 

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Coke 600 vs. Indy 500 Top-10 markets
Nielsen ratings for Sunday afternoon's Indianapolis 500 were down 20.1% in the host market, while Charlotte, host market for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600, saw ratings jump 4.1% from a year ago. For the Indy 500, eight of the top 10 markets ended up seeing a gain in ratings from last year, whereas only 5 of 10 increased for the Coca-Cola 600. The Daily
(5:45-10:15pm ET)
(1:00-5:00pm ET)
% +/-
% +/-
Charlotte (25)
Indianapolis (26)
Greensboro (46)
Dayton (62)
Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville (36)
Louisville (48)
Knoxville (58)
Las Vegas (43)
Birmingham (40)
Ft. Myers-Naples (63)
Richmond-Petersburg (59)
Tampa-St. Pete, Sarasota (13)
Nashville (30)
Milwaukee (34)
Indianapolis (26)
Portland, OR (23)
Orlando-Daytona Beach (19)
Columbus (32)
Norfolk (42)
Nashville (30)


Battistini to run 2 IndyCar races for Panther
Dillon Battistini told Autosport.com that he will make his debut in the IndyCar Series with Panther Racing later this season.

"There's a plan to do two races later this year, which will let me retain my rookie status for next year," he said.

"It's likely to be one oval and one street track. I don't know which ones, but maybe Surfer's Paradise. But for now I'm just focusing on getting the job done in Indy Lights."


Mosley rejects renewed quit demands
A defiant Max Mosley
(GMM)  The war involving embattled FIA president Max Mosley continued and intensified this week.

It has emerged that 24 FIA-affiliated automobile clubs wrote a letter to the 68-year-old Briton on Wednesday - less than a week before the crucial confidence vote in Paris next week - requesting his resignation amid the sex scandal.

The letter, referred to by the national news agency The Canadian Press, was in reaction to Mosley's rejection of a compromise that would have ensured a positive vote next Tuesday but paved the way for his peaceful resignation later this year.

"The FIA is in a critical situation.  Its image, reputation and credibility are being severely eroded.  Every additional day that this situation persists, the damage increases.

"There is no way back," the letter, signed by representatives of the clubs from the US, France, Spain, India, Australia and others, said.

222 secret votes will be cast in Paris next Tuesday.

It is understood that Mosley replied to the 24 clubs - with whom he is believed to have been in conflict long before now - on Thursday, rejecting the notion that the FIA is in crisis just because its president is involved in a scandal about his private life.

The FIA will shortly make a statement about the latest developments.


Petty Honored as Father of the Year
Kyle Petty is being honored by the National Father’s Day Council and the American Diabetes Association as a Father of the Year.  The Greater Greensboro Area Father’s Day Council will present Petty with the award on June 6 at their annual Father of the year Awards Dinner.

Petty, 47, is among several recipients being recognized for their ability to balance their personal lives to serve as a role model for their children while also making a positive difference in their community.

“This award means so much to me because being a dad means so much to me,” said Petty.  “NASCAR drivers are on the road a lot, I’m traveling for so many months out of the year.  So I really have to get the most out of my time at home.  It makes me really appreciate spending time with my kids because my time with them is so valuable.”

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Kubica unfazed by return to crash scene
Robert Kubica crashing in Montreal last year
(GMM) Robert Kubica has rubbished suggestions he might struggle to "cope" when he returns to the scene of his huge crash at the Canadian grand prix venue next week.

The Pole miraculously escaped serious injury at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last year after his BMW-Sauber slammed into a concrete wall at 280kph and then rolled into the path of another barrier.

But asked on Thursday how he intends to "cope" with the year-old memory when he returns to Montreal for the next race, 23-year-old Kubica answered: "I don't have to cope with anything.

"We go to Canada which is one of my favorite tracks. Of course everybody knows what happened in 2007, but I don't have to cope because it's already a year ago, and since then I have been driving a formula one car without thinking about it," he said in an interview provided to the media by his team.

"In formula one and motor sport the risks are high, but I don't have any negative feelings about Canada. I am just going there as I go to any other race with the goal to score as many points as possible," Kubica added.

Asked if the accident had changed anything about his life, the deadpan Pole answered simply: "No."

Kubica is more concerned about the pace of his F1.08 single seater, which although clearly the third quickest car on the grid this season, is currently struggling to keep up with the sport's enduring 'big two' Ferrari and McLaren.

He said he doesn't think he can be considered a challenger for the drivers' title.

"In the last two or three races especially we were not as competitive as we were at the beginning of the season, when we were in between the Ferraris and the McLarens.

"Recently, it has been more difficult for us to be up there," Kubica explained.


New car (of sorts) for Autocon team at LeMans
The Autocon car at Sebring earlier this year
In reality Autocon Motorsports will campaign just one car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, starting with this weekend’s annual Test Day. But it may indeed seem like two. The team, owned by Michael Lewis, missed the most recent American Le Mans Series race at Miller Motorsports Park as parts from the team’s Creation CA06 were shipped from Autocon headquarters in southern California to England and the Creation factory.

“The equipment went over two weeks ago,” Lewis said. “This was necessary because due to circumstances, we are having to build up a car in England at the Creation factory. So we will technically be running a new Creation chassis with many of our parts installed. We will be running the same Judd S1 5.0-liter engine we always do…probably the oldest engine in the race!”

The Autocon car at Sebring earlier this year
Autocon’s American Le Mans Series racer has donated its front suspension, rear assembly and gearbox for the Le Mans cause. That will help make drivers Lewis, Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman, and the 30-member Autocon crew feel more at home despite being more than 5,500 miles away.

Lewis is a Le Mans rookie. McMurry and Willman both competed in a Team Bucknum Racing Pilbeam LMP675 in 2003. Coincidentally, the Pilbeam was assigned No. 23 in that race. And guess what number the Autocon Creation will have this year? Hopefully it will bring better luck this time around; the Pilbeam retired after a little more than six hours with an engine failure.

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Interview with BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Robert Kubica
Poland's Robert Kubica has gotten the better of his German teammate Nick Heidfeld all year
Six races into the 2008 season BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Robert Kubica lies fourth in the drivers' world championship with 32 points to his tally. In a week he will return to where he escaped a horrendous accident a year ago.

You were one of the few drivers able to finish the Monaco Grand Prix without making any mistakes. Does this give you special satisfaction?

Robert Kubica: Not really. Okay, it was a difficult race, especially as there was a lot of water on the track, much more than we were expecting. The conditions were changing constantly, and this was also the case with regard to what tires were best, therefore all the time we were having to adapt very quickly. I made some small mistakes - two or three times I thought I would end up in the barriers - but eventually I was able to control the car. It was, in fact, a very difficult race and I'm happy I adopted the right approach by being consistent and keeping up a good speed. With regard to the strategy, it was also a challenge, and I think we had a strong race. The outcome was I scored an important podium for the team and myself.

In a week Formula One returns to Canada where last year you escaped a horrendous accident. How do you cope with memories of the accident?

Kubica: I don't have to cope with anything. We go to Canada which is one of my favorite tracks. Of course everybody knows what happened in 2007, but I don't have to cope because it's already a year ago, and since then I have been driving a Formula One car without thinking about it. In Formula One and motorsport the risks are high, but I don't have any negative feelings about Canada. I am just going there as I go to any other race with the goal to score as many points as possible.

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Rosberg 'fine' after Monaco hospital visit
Nico Rosberg
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has declared himself "fine" following his hospital visit at Monaco last Sunday.

The Williams driver, who lives in the Mediterranean principality, had precautionary checks after a big crash in the swimming pool complex towards the end of the race on the famous Monte Carlo circuit.

"First of all, let me say that I'm fine!" the 22-year-old German wrote in a column on the British team's website.

"My crash was a big one, but there's no damage -- not to me, anyway.

"After consulting the doctors on site I decided, as precaution, to go to the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco.

"All the routine checks in the hospital showed that everything was perfectly fine, so I was released to go home rather quickly.

"After a couple of days' rest, I am currently preparing and training as normal for the Canadian grand prix," Rosberg said.

He explained that the crash was caused by him simply sliding off the track.

"I was pushing really hard on dry tires and coming into the swimming pool corner after Tabac when the rear of the car flicked out suddenly on entry, most probably on a patch of water under braking," he said.


Le Mans 24 Hours : A doubly vital test for Michelin
Start of 2007 24 Hours of Lemans
For Michelin, which is this year targeting an 11th straight win in the French endurance classic, the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours has already begun with the production of some 8,000 tires for the world's greatest motor race. This weekend, Michelin will be at Le Mans for the traditional preliminary test day which is organized before each year's 24 -hour competition. As far as tires are concerned, these tests are of significant importance since they give the 40-plus teams running on Michelin's products their first chance to test the rubber that the French tire firm will be making available for the weekend of the race (June 14-15).

Victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, which uses a circuit that is opened only for the race and the official test day, calls for tires that are able to cope with speeds of up to 330kph and also take average speeds of more than 215kph in their stride. Above all, they must be capable of delivering consistent performance over three or even four stints, which represents a distance of more than 500km.

The Manager of Michelin Competition's Four-wheel Programs Matthieu Bonardel explains why the preliminary test day at Le Mans is so important:

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Optimism reigns after Indy
Now that IndyCar racing is one unified series and the 92nd running of "the greatest spectacle in racing" is in the books with Scott Dixon the winner, his Target Chip Ganassi teammate, Dan Wheldon, believes the spectacles will keep on coming.

If fans thought Sunday's Indianapolis 500 was a quality field of 33 drivers representing solid teams, Wheldon said, just wait until they see what's in store this weekend on the 1-mile oval in Milwaukee.

"They are talking about 27 to 30 cars," said Wheldon, comparing it with 18 there a year ago. "That's going to be a spectacle again. That's going to be like Milwaukee used to be.

"That's always a race any driver wants to win because it's such a challenge to drive around there fast. It's going to be good to watch.

"It's going to be horrible to drive because you're going to be in (turbulent) air (and) the car is going to be moving around all over the joint."

But it's the show that counts.

"It's going to be a spectacle," Wheldon said. "And when you have that, everyone wants to be a part of it."

That's what everyone involved with IndyCar is counting on, now that open-wheel racing has its two acts together. Of course, no other race is going to be as huge as Indy, but now that there is one series to sell, Ganassi believes the tide will lift all involved.

"We all lived and died a lot in those years of the split," Ganassi said. "Thank God -- can we please all put this behind us, you know? Put a period on that thing, and let's move forward.

"You know, we lived during that time, but we died, too. So I would just as soon forget about everything that's behind us in that respect. I'm happy that we're back together. I'm happy there's one IndyCar Series." More at Columbus Dispatch


Milwaukee should be interesting
Last year's winner Tony Kanaan
When we last left our competitors at The Milwaukee Mile, Danica and Dan were verbally jousting on pit lane, TK was celebrating at the expense of Helio, and Dario Franchitti held a slim lead in the championship standings.

Looking ahead to episode No. 5 at the historic oval, Tony Kanaan will be seeking to three-peat in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara while continuing to answer questions of "how he feels" relating to his untimely exit in the 92nd Indianapolis 500.

Andretti Green Racing teammate Danica Patrick has moved on from quarreling with Dan Wheldon over a Turn 1 incident that impeded her progress at Milwaukee to temporarily fuming over a pit lane incident with Ryan Briscoe at Indianapolis that impeded both of their progress.

Helio Castroneves, who last year led 126 of the 225 laps from the pole position before experiencing a rear wing mounting bracket malfunction that put the No. 3 Team Penske car into the wall, also has moved on to second place in the IndyCar Series standings courtesy of five top-five finishes.

What does this year have in store? With 27 cars crowding the flat oval on the Wisconsin State Fair Park grounds, just about anything can happen.

"Whoever is going to be able to manage the traffic better is going to probably come out of the race in a good shape," Kanaan said. "I feel it's going to be a lot of lead changes because of that. So it's going to be an exciting race for the fans and a very difficult one for us."  More at Indycar.com


Big FIA clubs demand that Mosley quit
Twenty-four FIA clubs in 22 countries have signed a letter to FIA President Max Mosley in response to his recent letter to the FIA club presidents. The clubs involved represent around 85% of the total membership of the FIA, based on motorist members, but they control only around 25% of the votes at the General Assembly. The letter demands that Mosley give "an immediate agreement" to step down.

"The FIA is in a critical situation," it says. "Its image, reputation and credibility are being severely eroded. Every additional day that this situation persists, the damage increases. There is no way back."

The signatories regret Mosley's decision not to accept the compromise put forward by the members of the World Mobility Council, and his decision to remain in office until the end of his term, "in spite of the severe damage being inflicted to the FIA".

The letter implies that Mosley is "putting personal considerations before the interests of the FIA and its member clubs".

The signatories go on to say, "We take note of the letter sent by B. Ecclestone to all member clubs, stating his support for the FIA as the sole body governing international motor sport and his willingness to continue working with the FIA, irrespective of the result of the Extraordinary General Assembly on June 3rd," the clubs say. "We believe that his explanations put in due perspective the state of the relationship between the FIA and the Formula 1 world, taking away relevance to many of the arguments you make in your letter to justify your continuity. We take note of his point on the importance that the FIA be led by a credible and respected president."  More at Grandprix.com  (See related rumor that Mosley has turned down this compromise deal)


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Briatore backs 'talented' Piquet
  • Mosley also sues newspaper in France
  • Button feeling 'better' about Honda this year
  • Whiting pleased after Valencia inspection
  • Theory floated for Kimi's bad Monaco GP
  • Hakkinen trophies destroyed in fire

Briatore backs 'talented' Piquet
(GMM)  Team boss Flavio Briatore has strongly backed Nelson Piquet amid rising speculation about the struggling rookie's dubious future at Renault.

"Nelsinho definitely has talent," the Italian is quoted as saying this week by sportnet, after yet another disappointing race for 22-year-old Piquet at Monaco last Sunday.

Rumors suggest that the Brazilian, whose despair was captured by photographers after he slid out of the prestigious race, has been handed a three race deadline to up his game, as laid-off Super Aguri lineup Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato wait in the wings.

Briatore added: "He is a part of the team and we need him.  I have no doubts about that."

Briatore's comments come after his fellow Renault chief Pat Symonds insisted this week that Piquet, the son of his namesake and former triple world champion, is only lacking confidence following a disastrous opening third to his F1 career.

Engineering boss Symonds compares Piquet's performances so far in 2008 with his predecessor Heikki Kovalainen, who managed to turn around his fortunes at about the same time last year.

"At this time last year a lot of people were thinking Heikki was entering his last few races," the Briton told Renault's podcast this week.

"With a driver or a sportsman it's about self esteem, and believing in yourself.

"All Nelson needs to do is to turn that corner and believe in himself and it will happen again," Symonds added.

Mosley also sues newspaper in France
(GMM)  Max Mosley has launched legal action in France against the British newspaper News of the World, and appears more determined than ever to hold office in the wake of the sex scandal.

The embattled FIA president's French libel suit, also for invasion of privacy and defamation, follows similar court proceedings in the UK about his exposed romp with five prostitutes.

Also this week, it has emerged that the 68-year-old Briton turned down a proposed deal from a powerful FIA faction that would have ensured a confidence vote at Tuesday's FIA summit but paved the way for his early resignation this November.

The news followed reports that said the Briton is "totally relaxed" about the Paris date, and suggestions that he could capture 60 to 70 per cent of the FIA membership's vote even without a deal being in place.

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Weekly NASCAR cheating report - 2
NASCAR has issued penalties, fines and suspensions to the No. 66 and No. 70 teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The No. 66 car driven by Scott Riggs and the No. 70 car driven by Johnny Sauter were found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-3.1.3A (wing mounting locations were not as specified by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book). The infractions were discovered May 24 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

As a result, Riggs and No. 66 car owner Joe Custer have been penalized 150 championship driver and 150 championship owner points, respectively, as have Sauter and No. 70 car owner Margaret Haas.  Both the crew chiefs and the car chiefs for the two cars – Bootie Barker and Derick Jennings for the No. 66 and Dave Skog and Thomas Harris for the No. 70 – have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, suspended from NASCAR until July 9 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Additionally, Barker and Skog have each been fined $100,000 apiece.

The penalty also includes NASCAR’s confiscation of team 66 Serial Number HMS 12 06 415 race car and team 70 Serial Number HMS 04 08 507 race car.


Weekly NASCAR cheating report - 1
NASCAR announced today that Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for the No. 88 Chevrolet driven by Brad Keselowski, has been fined and placed on probation as have two members of the JR Motorsports team that were involved in a post-race altercation in the pit road impound area following the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 24.

Eury Sr. was fined $1,000 and placed on probation until June 25, 2008 for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 9-4A (the crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his or her driver, car owner and team members) of the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rule Book.

Additionally, JR Motorsports crew member Michael Sandlin will serve a one-race suspension from the NASCAR Nationwide Series and is suspended from NASCAR until June 4, 2008. He has been placed on probation until October 15, 2008 and also has been fined $1,500 for violating Section 12-4-A. Sandlin failed to follow a directive from a NASCAR official and had inappropriate contact with a NASCAR official during the post-race altercation.

Jordan Allen, another JR Motorsports crew member, also has been placed on probation until October 15, 2008 and fined $1,500 for being in violation of Section 12-4-A. Allen also failed to follow a directive from a NASCAR official and had inappropriate contact with a NASCAR official during the post-race altercation.


Kurt Busch fastest overall at Pocono
Tony Stewart, shown here leading Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, was eighth-fastest in Wednesday morning's session of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing at Pocono Raceway
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
(Left to right) Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammates Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 40 crew chief Steven Lane and his driver, Dario Franchitti, talk about their setups during a break from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing at Pocono Raceway
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
The 2nd day of Sprint Cup testing is complete at Pocono and Kurt Busch turned the fastest lap over the two days in his Penske Dodge.

Rank Car# Driver Manu Time Speed
1 2B Kurt Busch Dodge 53.111 169.456
2 8 Mark Martin Chevy 53.115 169.444
3 10 Patrick Carpentier Dodge 53.242 169.039
4 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota 53.261 168.979
5 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota 53.467 168.328
6 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 53.491 168.253
7 66 Scott Riggs Chevy 53.587 167.951
8 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 53.591 167.939
9 78 Joe Nemechek Chevy 53.602 167.904
10 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 53.715 167.551
11 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevy 53.749 167.445
12 40 Dario Franchitti Dodge 53.755 167.426
13 28 Travis Kvapil Ford 53.758 167.417
14 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 53.759 167.414
15 16B Greg Biffle Ford 53.882 167.032
16 15 Paul Menard Chevy 53.901 166.973
17 07B Clint Bowyer Chevy 53.904 166.963
18 29 Kevin Harvick Chevy 53.940 166.852
19 11B Denny Hamlin Toyota 53.958 166.796
20 9B Kasey Kahne Dodge 53.976 166.741
21 20B Tony Stewart Toyota 53.990 166.698
22 20 Tony Stewart Toyota 54.006 166.648
23 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 54.019 166.608
24 70B Jason Leffler Chevy 54.043 166.534
25 38 David Gilliland Ford 54.065 166.466
26 31 Jeff Burton Chevy 54.079 166.423
27 48B Jimmie Johnson Chevy 54.082 166.414
28 77B Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 54.089 166.392
29 07 Clint Bowyer Chevy 54.103 166.349
30 19B Elliott Sadler Dodge 54.116 166.309
31 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 54.165 166.159
32 42B Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge 54.216 166.003
33 5B Casey Mears Chevy 54.236 165.941
34 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 54.249 165.902
35 47 Marcos Ambrose Ford 54.254 165.886
36 99B Carl Edwards Ford 54.281 165.804
37 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 54.339 165.627
38 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 54.341 165.621
39 22B Dave Blaney Toyota 54.347 165.603
40 88B Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 54.354 165.581
41 17B Matt Kenseth Ford 54.385 165.487
42 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 54.394 165.459
43 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 54.423 165.371
44 00 Michael McDowell Toyota 54.427 165.359
45 6 David Ragan Ford 54.432 165.344
46 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 54.452 165.283
47 45 Terry Labonte Dodge 54.474 165.216
48 26B Jamie McMurray Ford 54.489 165.171
49 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 54.504 165.125
50 41B Reed Sorenson Dodge 54.513 165.098
51 01 Regan Smith Chevy 54.530 165.047
52 5 Casey Mears Chevy 54.689 164.567
53 84B A.J. Allmendinger Toyota 54.739 164.417
54 43B Bobby Labonte Dodge 54.761 164.351
55 44 David Reutimann Toyota 54.811 164.201
56 31B Jeff Burton Chevy 54.817 164.183
57 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge 54.820 164.174
58 97 Brad Coleman Toyota 54.965 163.741
59 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 55.032 163.541
60 21 Jon Wood Ford 55.246 162.908
61 34B Tony Raines Chevy 55.293 162.769
62 10B Patrick Carpentier Dodge 55.738 161.470
63 87 David Green Chevy 56.086 160.468


Mosley sues British tabloid over 'Nazi' orgy
Formula One boss Max Mosley has filed a lawsuit in Paris against the British tabloid News of the World over its claims about his part in an alleged Nazi-style sex orgy with five London prostitutes, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The suit against the paper's editor, one of its journalists and its publisher News Group Newspapers accuses them of violating Mosley's privacy and libel, lawyer Philippe Ouakrat told AFP. He said the case could be heard in France because the newspaper is sold here and a video the paper put online of the orgy in March could be seen here. Mosley, 68, whose father led the British fascist party in the 1930s, has vehemently denied any 'Nazi' connotation and is pursuing unlimited damages from the Sunday tabloid at a legal case to be heard in July.

Mosley, who is the head of the International Motoring Federation (FIA), is also suing the tabloid in Britain.

He faces an extraordinary hearing of the FIA's general assembly in Paris on June 3 during which a vote of confidence will be taken. Turkish Press

track news

LVMS sees increase in out-of-town visitors
NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas has become one of the most popular destination events in motorsports, and figures released by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority support that claim.

For the second consecutive year, the number of out-of-town visitors for the annual event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway increased. According to the LVCVA, 116,775 non-local residents attended the event. That reflects a 2-percent increase over the 2007 mark of 114,450 and represents 70 percent of the total estimated event attendance of 165,450. The 2008 event was held Feb. 29-March 2, a week earlier than previous years.

"Race fans across America have many options when it comes to choosing which races they attend, and we're proud of the strong visitor turnout for our events here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway," said LVMS general manager Chris Powell. "We believe we offer the best and most fan-friendly facility in motorsports. When you combine that with this wonderful city and its many hotel, dining and entertainment options, it's easy to see why so many race fans from other areas want to come here to see a NASCAR event.

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track news

Gossage endorses Marcus Smith appointment
The following is a statement from Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage regarding today’s decision by the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Board of Directors to select Marcus Smith, who held the SMI position of executive vice president of national sales & marketing, as the new president of SMI and Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

“Marcus Smith is a great choice – the perfect choice – to lead this company into our future. He has worked hard to earn the right to also serve as president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway as well. He single handedly pioneered naming rights when he signed Lowe’s Home Improvement stores as the title sponsor of Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1999. And it has been gratifying to watch his leadership skills grow and improve through the years. “Marcus is a good, Christian family man and his word is his bond. I’m proud that a man of integrity will head up this company. Our company is loaded deep with talent, and we can all work with Marcus to continue to be the leaders in American motorsports.”


Klien gearing up for Le Mans
Christian Klien
Christian Klien, test and reserve driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, is set to race in the long-distance classic in Le Mans. While Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica were competing in one of motor sport's classic races at the Monaco Grand Prix, Christian Klien is currently preparing for his appearance at an equally well-known race: the Le Mans 24-hour race.

To ensure he is as well prepared as possible for the endurance race, the BMW Sauber F1 Team's test and reserve driver and his Peugeot team-mates took part in a fitness and sport program in the French town of La Baule. "I have come directly from France, where I've been taking part in a training camp for Le Mans"; said Christian Klien at the Monaco Grand Prix. "I have then got two Le Mans test days for Peugeot and two days of Formula One tests for the BMW Sauber F1 Team in Italy before heading off to Le Mans at the end of May. I'm certainly not sitting around bored at the moment", says Christian.

The training camp asked less of the Austrian's driving ability, and concentrated more on his tennis, swimming, jogging, cycling and weightlifting skills. A highlight of the camp was a regatta with his six team-mates at the La Baule sailing club.  Source BMW Sauber


Highlights from Kanaan and Battistini press conference
IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan, and Firestone Indy Lights driver Dillon Battistini were guests on today’s Indy Racing League teleconference. Listed below are select quotes from today’s teleconference.
Q. Have you met with Marco (Andretti), sat down and talked with him, after what happened at Indy? What came out of that?
TONY KANAAN: No, we haven't sat down yet. I think I haven't had a chance to see him. I left right after the race. We'll be fine. I think we share different opinions about what happened. But we had a little fun in the banquet on my speech and he had it on his speech. But we haven't sat down and talked about it.
But, like I said before, it's not a big deal. It's done. It's passed. We both lost the race. We’ve got to move on. We have a championship to win for AGR. So I don't see a problem. We don't need to sit down and talk about it to make everything square, for us to be in good terms. I don't think we have a choice here. We are going to be in good terms, no matter what, even if we agree or disagree. I think we represent a big team. We have big sponsors to report to and we have a championship to win as a team. We'll sort it out for sure.
But, no, I haven't talked to him yet.
Q. It seemed to me in the days leading up to the Indianapolis 500 this year there was so much more buzz. Now that it's behind you, as you go away from it, was this year as different as it looked in terms of excitement, exposure, interest? How would you rate this year against past years you've raced in it?
TONY KANAAN: I'd have to say since I've been here, this was the best year for sure, as far as the people watching the race, people supporting the race, the buzz, the city. Obviously we carry a huge momentum from the unification, from Danica's (Patrick) win, from Graham Rahal's win. I understand what the Indianapolis 500 was all about when I came here since '02. But this year, now I know what they talk about the old times, the way it was.
Every day on the track it's full. Bump Day is crazy. Race Day, for sure it's definitely the best year I've been.
Q: You led 38 of 40 laps at Indy, but it certainly wasn't as easy as it sounds. Can you talk a little bit about the race.
DILLON BATTISTINI: Well, it was a dream come true really for me. Obviously my first season in Indy Lights, it was the first time I've raced at Indy. The car was fantastic from beginning to the end of the race. I was able to capitalize and lead most of the laps. It made it look quite exciting as well with a few overtaking maneuvers. Yeah, it was a pretty close race, but I'm used to that kind of thing. I quite like the pressure. I respond well to it. I'm really enjoying this oval racing, I'd have to say. I've done three now, I’ve won two. If I can keep that kind of record going, hopefully I can progress to IndyCar fairly quickly.


Antinucci back in the lead
Richard Antinucci didn’t hesitate when asked “What is your next step in your career?” after his runner-up finish in the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 23.
“Indy without Lights,” said Antinucci, who is back on top the Firestone Indy Lights point standings.
The way Antinucci is progressing in Firestone Indy Lights – either first or second in four of the first five races of the 16-event season – uncle Eddie Cheever Jr. might be inclined to put together a program for the 93rd Indianapolis 500 if a full-season IndyCar Series team doesn’t contract his services.
Antinucci, 27, driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, challenged pole sitter Dillon Battistini of Panther Racing throughout the 40-lap race on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
“We tried to take it easy at the beginning because I think the majority of the field was having problems already with the rubbered-in track,” said Antinucci, who started sixth. “We ran really conservative, with a lot of downforce. We were really quick in the corners. I think we were the quickest out there. I just kept hitting the (rev) limiter.
“But congratulations to Panther and Battistini. They did a good job. He was running those times by himself, without a tow – pretty good.”
After competing on road/street courses last year in the series, Antinucci has been a quick study on the ovals this season. Next up is the first short track of the season – The Milwaukee Mile on June 1.


Ron Dixon pulled double-duty while watching his son win Indy 500
If Ron Dixon was distracted while watching the Indianapolis 500, it was hard to tell. Dixon, the father of race winner Scott Dixon, was the spotter for John Andretti, who finished 16th.
"At times, I wish I wasn't there, but it was great," Ron Dixon said after the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration where Scott Dixon received a record $2,988,065 from a record purse of $14,406,580.
Dixon became the first native of New Zealand to win the Indianapolis 500. After starting from the pole position, he led seven times for a race-high 115 laps and beat Panther Racing's Vitor Meira to the finish line by 1.7498 seconds. The race featured 18 lead changes among nine drivers, and each of the eight times the yellow caution flag flew Ron Dixon scanned the venue to determine if the red and white No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car was involved.
"Up until the last 10 laps, I sort of listened to what was happening but I was concentrating 100 percent on John," he said. "I have to be honest that each time John disappeared down that front straight I started looking for Scott and it was sort of starting to happen at just the right time - Scott was coming into Turn 3 and John was in Turn 1.
"But it was hard. I called John until the bitter end; you have to because it's a job."
Ron eventually made his way through the throngs of spectators to Victory Circle to join the celebration, and it continued during the Victory Celebration that honored all 33 drivers and the Hulman-George family.
"When we first came up here about eight years ago it was always a dream that one day Scott would win the 500," he said. "Those emotions just burst out; it was incredible. People ask, 'How do you feel?' I don't really know. You go numb, and then you start yahooing and yelling."


Mayfield to compete for Franchitti
Jeremy Mayfield will replace Dario Franchitti in the No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge for this weekend's Best Buy 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway, the team announced Wednesday.


F1.08 the most reliable car in F1
The BMW Sauber Formula One Team has not only made its best start to a Formula One season in 2008 - the BMW Sauber F1.08 is also proving to be the most reliable car in motor sport's elite class. The BMW Sauber F1 Team has only been in the pinnacle of motorsport since 2006.

"To finish first, you must first finish," is an old Formula One proverb. In its quest for the first Grand Prix victory in the team's history, the BMW Sauber F1 Team's reliability is providing the best possible basis for the team to also stand at the top of the podium at some time.

In the six Grands Prix so far, the F1.08 has completed 727 laps. This is more than any other Formula One car. Drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica are almost equal in this context. While the German has completed 367 laps, his Polish team-mate is just seven laps behind on 360.

Over the races so far, the BMW Sauber F1 Team has driven a total distance of 3521 kilometers. Last year the BMW Sauber F1 Team came second in the reliability rankings. In 2006 it was the third most reliable team.  Source BMW Sauber


Edmonton race expected to be best yet
Edmonton, Alberta, is hosting a summer celebration and the IndyCar Series will be the main attraction.

Northlands, operator of the Rexall Edmonton Indy, has signed an agreement with the sanctioning Indy Racing League to host an IndyCar Series race weekend through 2010. This year's event is July 24-26 and will come on the tail end of two annual week-long public festivals - Edmonton's Capital Exhibition and A Taste of Edmonton.

"We welcome the opportunity to partner with the Indy Racing League during such an exciting time," Northlands president Ken Knowles said. "Under this new partnership, we expect that this year's event will be the biggest and best to date."

The 14-turn, 1.973-mile circuit is laid out on Edmonton City Centre Airport runways that reach 75-feet wide for most of the course.

"Edmonton is all about handling," said Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Justin Wilson, who won the 2006 race and was runner-up in 2007 under Champ Car sanctioning. "It's a high-speed airport circuit with some very technical corners where you have to be very precise. From Turn 2 to Turn 9 is continuous and very demanding, so you have to keep your momentum."

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Firestone to bring softer tires to Milwaukee
The Firestone IRL tire specification for this year's race at the Milwaukee Mile is all-new for both the left and right side.  This tire was developed based on results gathered at Firestone's private test at Richmond International Raceway in March.  These Firestone Firehawks are designed to provide slightly more grip on both sides.  Firestone engineers will bring this new left-side compound to both Milwaukee and Richmond, with unique right-side compounds for each track.


Ford to slash up to 12% of salaried jobs
Ford Motor Co. will cut its U.S. salaried work force by between 10 percent and 12 percent in an effort to jump-start a turnaround plan stalling in the face of rising gasoline and raw materials prices.  And this time, it won't be voluntary.

That was the sobering message delivered to senior employees in Ford's sales, marketing and service division during a "town hall" meeting with Vice President Jim Farley on Friday morning. He told his team that Ford is struggling to cope with "a structural change to our economy," and said "we need to act fast" to keep the company's restructuring effort from failing.

Farley said the company also is taking a hard look at the merit increases it usually gives salaried employees in July.  Other departments are being told to develop similar plans.

CEO Alan Mulally warned that more cuts were coming a week ago when he announced that Ford was abandoning its public commitment to return to profitability in 2009. At that time, Mulally also announced further production cuts that he said were necessary to align Ford's factory output with changing consumer demand.

"Gas prices and changing consumer preferences have killed demand for trucks and SUVs, two high volume and high margin products," said analyst Shelly Lombard of Gimme Credit. "For Ford, the good news is that it's selling lots of its popular cars and crossovers and therefore will be increasing production of models like the Fusion and Lincoln MKX. But it's cutting production of trucks and SUVs so total production for the second quarter will be down 15 percent year-over-year; the third quarter will be down 15 percent to 20 percent, and the fourth quarter will be down 2 percent to 8 percent."

British F3

Abay quickest at Thruxton test
Carlin’s F3 rookie Sam Abay set the fastest time at today’s official British F3 test at Thruxton, one of five Carlin drivers to finish the day in the top ten.  Hampered by the bad weather that seems to have plagued the series so far this season, the teams had little respite from the rain before the second test session was abandoned due to poor weather conditions. 

Taking to the wet track for the first session of the day, Croft race winner Brendon Hartley was the top Carlin driver, just ahead of fellow Red Bull driver Jaime Alguersuari and Sam Abay in sixth.  Racing Steps Foundation driver Oliver Turvey set the eighth fastest time of the morning, with Andy Meyrick the fastest of the National Class runners.  Kristjan Einar continued his learning curve on the British circuits, setting the fourth quickest National Class time. 

With the rain easing before the afternoon session and the track drying slightly, the start of the afternoon saw the fastest times of the test.  Sam Abay set the quickest time of the day 11 laps into his session, while Turvey also made improvements to set the third fastest time.  Alguersuari was fifth, ahead of Meyrick in seventh, who was again setting times close to the top International Class runners.  Brendon Hartley completed the top ten, while Kristjan Einar was the fourth fastest of the National Class drivers.

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tv news

Scott Dixon will be on Live with Regis and Kelly UPDATE A reminder that Scott Dixon will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show today.

05/27/08 The Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Wednesday, May 28.  The show airs at 9:00 am - 10:00 am in most time zones.  The network varies.  Please check you local listings for your time zone. 


GP2 winner Conway sets sights on Honda seat
(GMM)  Mike Conway, the 24-year-old British race driver, has set his sights on entering formula one with Honda.

Last year, as reigning British F3 champion, he signed an agreement as a rising star with the Japanese team, and at Monaco last weekend he won from pole position on the prestigious street circuit in the second GP2 support race.

But Conway, who is managed by former grand prix drivers Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell, admitted that he needs to follow up his win with more good results.

He suggested, however, to the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, that he is hoping a vacancy arises soon at Honda, whose UK-built F1 cars are currently occupied by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

"Honda is a good place to be," Conway said.  "They are starting to get results and next year they will be even stronger."


Q and A with Brian France
Brian France
NASCAR chairman Brian France was at LMS for the Coca-Cola 600 and addressed a number of issues with a small group of media.

Q: Is there any update on the possibility of a Sprint Cup date for Kentucky Speedway in 2009?

Brian France: We've been pretty clear about Kentucky in terms of 2009, in that the schedule is getting completed and we have no intentions, right now, of being able to get a Cup race there for '09 -- and that's all we can say, right now. We don't have any intentions to do that.

Q: Can you talk about Auto Club Speedway and the other possible date changes for the 2009 Sprint Cup schedule?

Brian France: We're working on a number of things, and that's one of the reasons why [we can't just add to the schedule]. It's too late in the game for us to be looking at any other realignment options -- not the least of which is that SMI doesn't own Kentucky right now.

We have to deal with the people that own that speedway, and so we're very late in the process. We're trying to get our schedule out earlier than we have in a while, and there could be some dates that move around a little bit -- not from speedway to speedway, but just in scheduling.

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Milwaukee Mile Gas Giveaway This Friday
The Milwaukee Mile and Wisconsin Ethanol, along with Ryan Hunter-Reay, the highest finishing rookie in driver 6th in this past in Sunday’s Indy 500, are giving away $2,000.00 this Friday to E85 Ethanol-blended fuel customers.

WHAT: Giveaway of $2,000 to customers, plus One-On-One Interviews, Driver Autographs. $20 gift cards will be given to the first (100) one hundred E85 fuel customers, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

WHO: Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar Series driver

In light of fuel prices, anticipating a line. Event and driver autographs 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Pioneer Plaza 3230 Pioneer Road, Richfield

RSVP please: Jim Tretow, Mile VP Media & Communications,  jtretow@milwaukeemile.com, 414-750-0042 cell


Fans can ride free today at Milwaukee Mile
Fresh off the Indianapolis 500, race ticket holders will get a FREE RIDE IN A 2-SEAT INDYCAR today, Wednesday, May 28 from 3:00pm until 7:00pm near The Milwaukee Mile!

For the unparalleled 51st time, the winner of the Indy 500 and the all the Indy 500 stars race at The Milwaukee Mile the week after Indy, this Sunday!

A near-record 27 IndyCars will take the green flag at The Mile on Sunday at 3:00pm in the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225!

Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Indy 500 champ Scott Dixon and defending Milwaukee race winner Tony Kanaan will all be here.

To kick of a strong race weekend, FREE RIDES IN A 2-SEAT INDYCAR will take place in The Mile parking lot along I-94.  The display will feature the Indy Fan Experience which includes historic items, driving simulators and other great experiential activities.  We’ll have the Mobile Mile, our very own interactive display featuring a driving simulator and tire change competition.  Best of all, we’ll have the IndyCar street-legal 2-seater on-site giving rides to fans who hold a June 1, ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225 IndyCar Series ticket!

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Franchitti plans NASCAR weekend return at Dover
Dario Franchitti ditched the crutches and the cast for a more comfortable fit: his spot in the No. 40 Dodge.  Franchitti returned to the track on Tuesday for the first time since he broke his left ankle in a hard crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Franchitti exhaled as he settled in the seat before he sped away to start testing at Pocono Raceway.

The former Indy Car Series champion now in his first season in NASCAR said he felt no pain or discomfort and planned to drive in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday at Dover International Speedway. Franchitti said he was questionable for the 400-mile Sprint Cup Series race and might return to Cup action in two weeks at Pocono.

Jeremy Mayfield could sub for Franchitti on Sunday.

“So far, it’s been tough,” Franchitti said.

Franchitti was injured only 10 laps into a Nationwide Series race last month at Talladega. The 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner is 42nd in points, and failed to qualify for the race in Texas. He said he was feeling close to 100 percent, and turned a personal top time of 161.005 mph on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough baptism there,” Franchitti said. “Nationwide went pretty well, I thought, until Talladega and the accident.” Yahoo Sports


Kimi: "We're going to Montreal to pay back"
Sometimes things go well and sometimes they don't. But what happened to us at Monaco was something no one could have foreseen. I left Monaco empty handed. Everything that could go wrong did. But I never look back, because you can't change things of the past. Now we can only analyze the causes, which produced this outcome and we have to try, as far as we can, that these things never happen again. I'm really sorry for what happened with Sutil and I told him I was sorry. These are things that just happen in racing.

We had a strong car for this track; a car that was much better than the one we had last year. We gained the first row in Qualifying, which was a great result for the Team. We hoped that it would rain and that is what happened, but then everything went wrong, even before the start.

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Q and A with Force India's Dr. Vijay Mallya
Dr. Vijay Mallya
Adrian Sutil really put Force India and Kingfisher on the map with his brilliant performance in Monaco, which sadly ended after he was knocked out of fourth place by World Champion Kimi Raikkonen. The race was an emotional roller coaster for everyone in the team, not least of course Dr Vijay Mallya. We asked him for his thoughts on a memorable weekend.

Q: You must have gone through every kind of emotion during the Monaco GP. Looking back, how do you feel about it now?
'We were obviously shattered. We were so looking forward to a spectacular result, which was not to be. It has however done two things, and we need to take away the positives. First that Adrian Sutil has a lot of ability and talent, and we're glad and proud to have him in our team. Some people started questioning my decision to keep him when he didn't finish a few races at the start of the season, but I think he has more than redeemed himself. Secondly I think our strategy and our whole team came together. The race strategy was right, the set-up was right, and to see a Force India car running fourth in Monaco was a great pleasure while it lasted. We were seven minutes from home. It was unfortunate, but I guess that's what racing is all about. I can't say that I'm not feeling sad, because I am, but we'll get over it, and we'll take away a lot of positives.'

Q: It was already good when he made it to the points in eighth, so when he got up to fourth you must have been ecstatic.
'Absolutely! Our strategy was one stop, we filled ourselves up with fuel. I told both drivers to stay out of trouble on lap one. We have normally started very well and had incidents on the first lap, so I said stay right out of trouble, take your time, you're going to go for a one-stop strategy, bring both cars home. We knew that we were good in the wet, Adrian has demonstrated that before as well, and everything worked to perfection until that fateful moment!'

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Dixon's goal as kid - Atlantics then IndyCar
This video shows Scott Dixon as a 13-year old boy talking about his goal to drive in Atlantics and then an Indy Car someday.  It's neat to see Scott racing as a young boy.   


Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 teams to test at Hockenheim in July
  • Honda sets environmental standard
  • Sato - 'I don't want to retire'
  • Toro Rosso happy with Red Bull-supplied car
  • BMW may not use wheel covers at every race
  • Hamilton not title favorite - Alonso
  • Hamilton three girlfriends - PR gaffe?
  • Newey suggests DC quali crash driver error
  • Massa not talking about GPDA exit
  • Italian press go hard on Raikkonen
  • Mosley 'relaxed' ahead of Tuesday vote
  • Kimi said sorry for Monaco smash - Sutil
  • Monaco not all bad for Ferrari - Marc Gene

F1 teams to test at Hockenheim in July
(GMM)  Formula one teams will reportedly test at the Hockenheim circuit in July prior to racing there for the German grand prix.

The group test, which would be the first such non-racing outing at the circuit in Baden-Wurttemberg state for several years, is scheduled to take place between 8-10 July -- a week before the grand prix.

The Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell reports that all teams are slated to attend on the three days between Tuesday and Thursday.

Admission for GP ticket holders is free.

Honda sets environmental standard
(GMM)  Honda has achieved 'ISO 14001' accreditation for its Brackley factory, the UK based formula one team announced in a press statement on Tuesday.

ISO 14001 is a management standard that helps organizations minimize how their business negatively affects the environment.

Honda, which last year launched its environmental concept and still races with an image of the globe on its livery, is the first F1 team to implement the standard.

The statement said Honda, whose factory was inspected by SGS Group, will now work on "specific targets to reduce its CO2 emissions".

The team "has shown clearly how certification to ISO 14001 can form an important part of its business and marketing strategy," said inspection group SGS managing director Pauline Earl.

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After Indy win, Dixon's an Aussie now
Scott Dixon was born in Australia but grew up in New Zealand
Dan Helrigel/IRL
Suddenly there's a bit of Australia in Scott Dixon.

New Zealander Scott Dixon's Indy 500 motor race win yesterday got its share of attention across the ditch with media there highlighting the fact he was born in Brisbane.

The Melbourne Herald Sun showed the way.

" Scott Dixon has been hailed as one of the best IndyCar drivers of all time after winning yesterday's Indianapolis 500.

"Dixon is the first Australian-born driver to win the 805km race in its 92-year history," the paper said.

In a 348-word article, the paper neatly avoided describing Dixon as a New Zealander.

"The 27-year-old, who was born in Brisbane before moving to New Zealand, dominated after starting from pole position."

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Danica Patrick Says No Kids For Me
Danica has no time for kids
She may not have completed the Indy 500 on Sunday (a car collided into hers at pit lane), but it’s still full speed ahead for Danica Patrick and nothing – not even kids – will get in her way.

“I have worked way too hard to get where I am to stop, and it does mean stop,” she tells OK!. “We in racing do not get to take a year off because we’re tired or we want to have children – maybe when racing is over with, but definitely not until then.”

And even when Danica, who became the first woman to win an IndyCar race last month after she triumphed in Japan, decides to call it a day, she’s still not sure if children are in the future for her and her husband, Paul Hospenthal.

”I never worried about kids,” she admits. “But I always wanted to get married.” OK! Magazine

track news

Lime Rock Track Construction is Officially Underway
Starting at 8:00am Tuesday, 27 May 2008, track construction officially began at Lime Rock Park.  The slowest machines to run on the Lime Rock Park circuit are making their way around the 1.53 mile course today grinding and milling the current surface.  It has started with Big Bend (Turn One), the Downhill (Turn 7) and the Front Straight.

In addition to the start of track construction, the old entrance – what has been known as the Toll Booth – was knocked down at noon to make room for the Optional West Bend turn.  A ceremonial occasion it was, as all of Lime Rock Park staff and former staff watched.  Butch Sherwood, former Track Facility Manager for forty years, was on site to observe the episode.  Butch played an instrumental roll in building and maintaining most of the buildings/structures at Lime Rock Park, including the Toll Booth.

“It only cost us about $200 and less than two days to build,” remembered Butch.  “An interesting comparison when you think about the cost and time involved with the new entrance and all the current facility upgrades.  We didn’t think the structure would make it through the winter, but it lasted 38 years.  I guess my brother Roy and I knew what we were doing!"

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Pocono Test Speeds - Day 1 (Slow)
64 cars took laps on the first day of testing at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. The fastest was David Gilliland (Ford) at 164.408mph.  Last June's pole speed was 170.062mph by Ryan Newman and the track qualifying record is held by Kasey Kahne, set in June 2004 at 172.533mph.

Rank Car# Driver Manu Time Speed
1 38 David Gilliland Ford 54.742 164.408
2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 54.755 164.369
3 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 54.903 163.925
4 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevy 55.017 163.586
5 48B Jimmie Johnson Chevy 55.036 163.529
6 5B Casey Mears Chevy 55.086 163.381
7 8 Mark Martin Chevy 55.105 163.325
8 22B Dave Blaney Toyota 55.139 163.224
9 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 55.152 163.185
10 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 55.201 163.041
11 07B Clint Bowyer Chevy 55.243 162.917
12 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota 55.319 162.693
13 88B Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 55.337 162.640
14 66 Scott Riggs Chevy 55.361 162.569
15 20 Tony Stewart Toyota 55.374 162.531
16 31 Jeff Burton Chevy 55.390 162.484
17 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 55.392 162.478
18 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 55.397 162.464
19 26B Jamie McMurray Ford 55.397 162.464
20 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 55.403 162.446
21 11B Denny Hamlin Toyota 55.413 162.417
22 29B Kevin Harvick Chevy 55.422 162.390
23 1B Martin Truex Jr. Chevy 55.424 162.385
24 19B Elliott Sadler Dodge 55.488 162.197
25 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 55.576 161.940
26 00 Michael McDowell Toyota 55.604 161.859
27 78 Joe Nemechek Chevy 55.623 161.804
28 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 55.630 161.783
29 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 55.689 161.612
30 2B Kurt Busch Dodge 55.689 161.612
31 99B Carl Edwards Ford 55.690 161.609
32 44 David Reutimann Toyota 55.699 161.583
33 66B Scott Riggs Chevy 55.714 161.539
34 15 Paul Menard Chevy 55.822 161.227
35 16B Greg Biffle Ford 55.823 161.224
36 29 Kevin Harvick Chevy 55.834 161.192
37 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 55.854 161.134
38 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 55.861 161.114
39 70 Jason Leffler Chevy 55.864 161.106
40 40 Dario Franchitti Dodge 55.878 161.065
41 31B Jeff Burton Chevy 55.899 161.005
42 6 David Ragan Ford 55.905 160.987
43 41B Reed Sorenson Dodge 55.919 160.947
44 28 Travis Kvapil Ford 55.947 160.867
45 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 55.958 160.835
46 40B Dario Franchitti Dodge 55.969 160.803
47 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota 55.970 160.800
48 17B Matt Kenseth Ford 55.987 160.752
49 9B Kasey Kahne Dodge 56.009 160.688
50 84B A.J. Allmendinger Toyota 56.043 160.591
51 07 Clint Bowyer Chevy 56.079 160.488
52 70B Jason Leffler Chevy 56.173 160.219
53 10 Patrick Carpentier Dodge 56.248 160.006
54 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge 56.253 159.991
55 42B Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge 56.258 159.977
56 77B Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 56.258 159.977
57 34B Tony Raines Chevy 56.511 159.261
58 47 Marcos Ambrose Ford 56.686 158.769
59 43B Bobby Labonte Dodge 56.687 158.767
60 97 Brad Coleman Toyota 56.762 158.557
61 45 Terry Labonte Dodge 56.825 158.381
62 21 Jon Wood Ford 57.166 157.436
63 87 David Green Chevy 57.192 157.365
64 10B Patrick Carpentier Dodge 57.304 157.057


Ganassi meeting gives Montoya a chance to vent
Juan Pablo Montoya requested a meeting with his boss and got it the day before the Indianapolis 500, when owner Chip Ganassi flew to North Carolina to talk with his emotional driver.  The early morning meeting Saturday at the team shop gave Montoya the opportunity to express his frustrations over the race team’s direction. Crew chief Jimmy Elledge had been fired earlier in the week—a move Montoya vehemently opposed—and the driver entered Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with his third crew chief in a month.

Finally face-to-face with Ganassi, Montoya voiced all his concerns.

“I told him everything I was thinking and how it was,” Montoya said. “The hope of the meeting is that everything that has happened turns into results. And if he was hoping he could just come here and calm me down, well, I need to run better. That’s what will calm me down.”


David Garza featured on Sport Life magazine cover
David Garza
David Garza has always given us something to talk about inside race cars and on-track, but this time the lights pointed towards him in a totally different scene, as he was chosen to be on the cover of Sport Life magazine for its June edition. David, who’s starting his third year competing in an international racing series (and his second in a high performance category), is an elite sportsman with a lot of preparation and that’s why the magazine decided to interview him to know the training required to be competitive in his sport. After the story was finished, the editors of Sport Life found enough material to choose David as the principal image of his 57th issue. Also in his story (pages 22-23), the Mexican driver who’s about to turn 20 years old (on June 22nd) talks about his life right now, his concerns, his goals and his reasons to race cars, as well as about the sacrifices that have to be made to stand out in such a competed profession.

“The adrenaline and the speed are things that always have been inside of me and that’s why I leaned for racing. Since I was a kid my dad put me in a motorcycle and I liked so much the sensation of racing at a great speed and of being competitive”, said Garza Perez to the publication. “In fact, I like to do extreme sports where the adrenaline is the main guest”, he added. “My mother worries for me a lot, she calls me all the time to see how I’ve been and my dad always comes with me everywhere, so actually I’m never alone”, he commented in the story. “… as19 year old kids a lot of my friends are partying and with their girlfriends and I am not. Being a professional driver obligates you to grow up faster because you have a lot more responsibilities and you miss a lot of stuff, but you know, the parties are going to be there always and the cars aren’t, so I really prefer the cars”, stated David to the magazine.

The next race for the driver from Monterrey, Mexico will take place just one week after his birthday, on June 29th in a track located in the middle of the picturesque Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. After the first two rounds of the 2008 season of the Atlantic Series, David is located on the 11th position (of 24) in the driver standings of the category with 26 points (just 5 points away from sixth place).


Pocono Raceway testing under way
NASCAR Sprint Cup testing is under way at Pocono Raceway Tuesday afternoon, with two drivers filling in for series regulars and Dario Franchitti returning to the driver’s seat.
Franchitti is back behind the wheel of his No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing Cup entry for the first time since he broke an ankle in the April 26 Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.


Honda teams gets 'green' certification
Nick Fry and Ross Brawn receive the team's ISO 14001 certification
The Honda Racing F1 Team today announced that it has achieved ISO14001 certification for its UK headquarters at Brackley, Northamptonshire. It is the first time that the ISO14001 accreditation has been granted specifically to a Formula One team and as an integral part of its earthdreams program, it demonstrates the team's commitment to taking specific action on environmental issues. 

ISO14001 is the international specification for an environmental management system (EMS). Accreditation to ISO14001 proves the Honda Racing F1 Team's systems conform to the internationally comparable audit standard, and that the team has effectively implemented its environmental management system. 

Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of the Honda Racing F1 Team said of the accreditation: "Obtaining ISO14001 certification is not an easy thing for a Formula One team to achieve. However our earthdreams initiative is at the core of our team culture and it is important that we, like our project partners, strive to do our best to minimize our impact on the environment in the course of our business. This is a step along the way and there are many areas where we can continue to improve but it's very pleasing that our efforts have been rewarded by the respected ISO standard and that we met its tough criteria at our first attempt. We are showing that running a business that is as highly pressured as Formula One and doing the right thing are entirely complementary."

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Final list of 2008 24 Hour of LeMans entries
As laid down in the 2008 24 Hours' supplementary regulations, Friday 23rd May was the cut-off date for bringing in reserves to make up the field of 55 starters for scrutineering and technical checks.

Thus, the official list of starters for the 76th Le Mans 24 Hours reads as follows: 21 LM P1s, 12 LM P2s, 10 LM GT1s and 12 LM GT2s.

After scrutineering and administrative checks on Friday and Saturday 30th-31st May at the circuit, all the teams will take part in the official test day on Sunday 1st June between 09h00 - 13h00 and 14h00 - 18h00.

So far, not all the teams have firmed up their driver line-up (3 drivers per car) as they have until Tuesday 10th June at 17h00 to confirm the names of their drivers for each car.

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Hunter-Reay named top Rookie UPDATE
Ryan Hunter-Reay
The ceiling of the race shop at Rahal Letterman Racing’s Hilliard, Ohio headquarters looks more like nearby St. John Arena than a workplace as the team hangs banners that chronicle milestones achieved by its drivers over the years – much like the championship banners that hang at the venerable Ohio State University arena.

The RLR banners celebrate wins, poles, championships and other accomplishments over the team’s 16-year history and features names like Bobby Rahal, Buddy Rice, Kenny Brack, Graham Rahal and Jimmy Vasser.

But after last night Indianapolis 500 Awards Ceremony, another name and another banner will be added to that honored list as Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) was officially named as the Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year after his sixth-place finish in Sunday’s 500-mile race.

“This was a strong rookie field this season, perhaps one of the best in a long time, and it is very important to me to win this award,” Hunter-Reay said. “This weekend was a big one for Rahal Letterman Racing and Team Ethanol and we put together a great race. The guys gave me great stops on Pit Lane every time I came in, and that gave me the confidence to go out and race hard on the track.”

The Chase Rookie-of-the-Year honor puts Hunter-Reay in some Hall-of-Fame company as the 27-year-old Floridian joined such drivers as Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Mark Donohue and Rick Mears on the list of honorees. He became the top-finishing rookie of the race with a daring pass of Hideki Mutoh with six laps to go, but was not assured of the Chase Rookie-of-the-Year Award until after the media voting that took place on Sunday.

Hunter-Reay came from 20th on the starting grid to finish sixth in his first Indy 500 start. Hunter-Reay is also the first driver in Indy Racing League history to win the series’ Rookie-of-the-Year award in the year before winning the Indy 500 rookie honor. He earned last year’s season honor after running just six races in 2007, but was eligible for the Indy ROY award due to the fact that he was competing in his first Memorial Day classic.

Hunter-Reay and Rahal Letterman Racing will have precious little time to celebrate however, as the IndyCar Series pounds on toward Milwaukee this weekend for the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225. The 225-lap event at the Milwaukee Mile will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon and can be seen live on ABC. RLR PR

05/26/08 Ryan Hunter-Reay, the highest finisher in a talented class of 11 first-year drivers in the Indianapolis 500, was selected the race’s rookie of the year Monday night. The 27-year-old driver for Rahal Letterman Racing started 20th and finished sixth in Sunday’s race, one spot better than Andretti Green Racing’s Hideki Mutoh. Hunter-Reay received a prize of $328,065 at the victory dinner Monday night, including a $25,000 bonus as the race’s top rookie. He also was the IndyCar Series rookie of the year in 2007 after joining Rahal Letterman at midseason.

His sixth-place finish was his best so far this year, following seventh-place runs in the opener at Homestead, Fla., and last month in Japan.

“This is a great finish for us,” said the Boca Raton, Fla., driver, who began racing go-carts in the 1990s and drove in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and Toyota Atlantic Series before joining the former Champ Car Series in 2003. “This year, I think, means a lot more to the (top) rookie, the Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year battle than in a bunch of years.

“Man, this is a great field to be on top of,” he said. The 11 rookies in the lineup were the most since 13 started the 1997 race, the year after the Indy Racing League was formed.


Prost would consider FIA governance role
(GMM)  Former quadruple world champion Alain Prost has put himself forward as a potential part of formula one's governance in a post-Max Mosley world.

But the 53-year-old Frenchman, who after Michael Schumacher is the sport's most successful driver, insists that he would not simply want to replace the scandal-ridden Mosley as FIA president.

Instead, he encourages the Paris based federation to split the role into separate "sporting" and general motoring sides.

"If they did, then I may consider that I could be supporting the FIA on the sports (side)," newspapers, including the New Straits Times, quoted Prost as saying last weekend at Monaco.

"If there was only the sporting side, then I could see my job," said Prost, who ran the failed Prost Grand Prix team between 1997 and 2001.

He added: "I know what the FIA is, I know all about the World Motor Sport Council and the Formula One Commission."

Prost said he had spoken out because of the "danger" of the apparently looming power struggle between the embattled Mosley and F1's chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone.

"I would be worried because when you need to make the right decision in the next few weeks, there will be a big problem if there's a big war," he warned.


Berger not optimistic about Toro Rosso future UPDATE A reader asks, is Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel's F1 future in jeopardy if Toro Rosso folds?  Mike New

Dear Mike, It would, however, we doubt Bernie Ecclestone will allow a third F1 team to fold in the span of several years as that would bring the grid size back down to 18 again.  Bernie has a lot of connections and may be able to point some company or rich individual their way, perhaps some rich Sheik from the Middle East as an example. Mark C.

Gerhard Berger
05/24/08 (GMM)  Gerhard Berger is not optimistic about the future of his formula one team, Toro Rosso.

Current partner Dietrich Mateschitz plans to sell his 50 per cent share, and former grand prix winner Berger revealed at Monaco that serous talks to replace Red Bull's investment are not really taking place.

"For me there is no alternative to Red Bull, except possibly a large automobile manufacturer.  But because of the high costs, there are no signs (of interest) at the moment," Berger told the Austrian portal sportnet.at.

The Austrian rejected rumors that Fiat affiliate Lancia could be interested in buying in.

"There is another rumor every day, but Lancia and I have never had talks," he insisted, adding that he knows that Fiat is not interested in any further grand prix forays beyond its Ferrari commitment.

Berger at least demonstrated that his famous humor is intact when he was asked if he and Toro Rosso might have disappeared from the paddock by 2010.

"Absolutely," he grinned.  "It may also be that I have two teams by then."


First Shakedown for A1GP 'Powered by Ferrari' Car
New A1GP car shakedown at Fiorano
The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport car for the 2008/09 season had its first shakedown at Fiorano, the Ferrari test track in Italy, last weekend. The Powered by Ferrari car was driven by, Andrea Bertolini.

Following the first laps the initial feedback was positive. At Fiorano for this were A1GP Technical Director, John Travis, A1GP General Manager, Technical and Operations, John Wickham, and A1GP Lead Consultant on Electronic Development, Anton Stipinovich, all of whom were delighted with the shakedown results, which are very encouraging for a car that is running for the first time.

The team will now undertake an intensive test program at both the Fiorano test track and the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola.


Kubica fears BMW are falling off the pace
Despite finishing second in Sunday's Monaco GP, Robert Kubica fears BMW are losing ground to McLaren and Ferrari.

BMW's 2008 campaign got off to a flying start with three successive podium finishes and even a pole position, which Kubica bagged at the Bahrain GP.

However, the following two events, Spain and Turkey, saw BMW fall off the pace and the podium and even though they returned to the top three in Monaco Kubica fears BMW are losing ground.

"I think our team was the most consistent in the first three races, with less problems, and that is why I think we could extract more from the car," the Pole told AFP.

"But lately I think we struggled a bit more. You just need to look at the results in qualifying and I think the answer is clear - it is harder.

"In Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain with good driving I could be on the first or second row easy, and now I struggle to stay close to fourth. So things are changing, although it is still good enough to be fifth.

"I think in the last two races the situation looks more like last year. So the top four cars are a couple of tenths in front and the others are a couple of tenths behind."


Ferrari turn their attention to Canada
Stefano Domenicali
Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali attempted to clear up several points before looking forward after Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix in which Felipe Massa finished a strong third, but Kimi Raikkonen collided with the back end of Adrian Sutil's Force India car, and finished out of the points.

Raikkonen had already suffered a drive-through penalty early in the race. "As you know, with three minutes to go before the start, you have to have the wheels fitted on the car," explained Domenicali. "But really, at the last second, we had a call from a mechanic to say that there was a problem there.

"The tires had already been fitted for two minutes, so that's why it's difficult to understand what happened. Basically we were late working on the car which is why we had a penalty and that put him at a disadvantage."

Later, the team switched Massa to a one-stop strategy, based on a weather forecast which proved wrong. What probability of rain was mentioned. "A lot," said Domenicali, "otherwise we wouldn't have done what we did. That was the reason why we took the gamble."

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