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Quotes of the Week
DAN WHELDON, IRL driver, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
"As Brian Barnhart says, 'What goes around, comes around.'  She nearly put me in the pit wall at Indianapolis.  I certainly have no problem with everybody else on the track.  I'm sure she's just feeling the pressure of not winning races and her teammates are.  She's just feisty.  I mean there's a lot of pressure on her, like I say, because she's not won a race and her teammates have.  So I think in a situation like that sometimes you get desperate.  She's just being Danica.  She'll be fine when she calms down.  But she's messing with the wrong person if she wants to get feisty that's for sure.  Because I'm a lot tougher than she is on track."  (Commenting about the incident when Danica Patrick and Wheldon made contact during the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Indy 225 race in Milwaukee)
DANICA PATRICK, IRL driver, Andretti Green Racing
"I don't know if he's mad that I passed him at Indy and he got passed by five more cars or something.  I don't know if the message got across.  I've never been in this situation with Dan before.  He is a tough person to pass.  So, I don't know.  We'll see next time.  I just went up to him and put my arm around him and asked him and said, 'I was inside of you, Dan.  Why did you come down on me?'  And he didn't have anything to say.  He was being stubborn and he didn't think I was there.  And if he thinks I'm not going to remember that, he's crazy!"  (Commenting about the incident when Danica and Dan Wheldon made contact during the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Indy 225 race in Milwaukee)

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Can’t win Danica has a hissy fit
DAN WHELDON: (About contact with Danica Patrick): "I don't know (what happened).  I think she had a run on Dario, and I think she thought she was alongside me. Unfortunately for her, she wasn't.  As she got out of it, I don't know what happened. She spun or dropped to the back. She's a little disgruntled, but as Brian Barnhart says, what goes around, comes around. She nearly put me in the pit wall at Indianapolis, and I certainly have no problems with anyone else on the track. She's probably feeling the pressure of not winning races when her teammates are. It's unfortunate for her."

(Did you know she was there): "I've been in this business long enough to know when someone is there and when somebody is not. Maybe it's a bit of inexperience there on her part. Certainly, everyone else that was alongside me got by, no problem. I thought it was a real clean race."

(What happened after the race?): "She's just feisty. There's a lot of pressure on her because she has not won a race, and her teammates are (winning). I think in a situation like that, sometimes you get desperate. It's never nice to come into contact with somebody."

(Did she shove you?): "She's just being Danica. She'll be fine when she calms down. She's messing with the wrong person if she wants to get feisty. I'm a lot tougher than she is on track."


Former Atlantic Champion Lee Bentham Joins Jensen MotorSport
Jensen MotorSport is proud to announce that 1998 Atlantic champion Lee Bentham (pictured right) has joined the team in the role of Driver Development Manager.  Lee will begin his new position at the Portland Grand Prix on June 8th, where he will be coaching regular Jensen Atlantic drivers Frankie Muniz and Tom Sutherland.  

Lee Bentham has impressive credentials. Lee drove for 4 years in the CART Toyota Atlantic championship in the 90's, including his championship year in 1998. Lee also drove in the 1997 Indy Lights championship, finishing an impressive 5th position in the point standings while competing against such notable rising stars as Helio Castroneves, Cristiano Da Matta, and Tony Kanaan. More recently, Lee has been the driver coach for the Forsythe Champ Car Atlantic team, and has been a driving instructor at numerous automotive related driving events. 

Team owner Eric Jensen states, "I am thrilled to have a person of Lee's caliber and character join our team. Jensen MotorSport continues to grow, and it is terrific to add talented professional Canadians to our team. We opened our new race shop in downtown Montreal in large part because of the quality of Canadian talent working in the racing industry, and we continue to have strong interest from Canadians wanting to return home to work with us." 

Lee Bentham states, "This is an exciting career move. Jensen MotorSport has grown quite a lot in recent years, and this is a terrific team for me to focus on developing champion drivers for the long-term. Frankie Muniz and Tom Sutherland are impressive young men who have shown that they have bright futures in professional racing. It is an appealing challenge to help them to develop their careers over the next couple of years. Also, Jensen MotorSport has a history of graduating drivers from their Formula BMW USA team, and I will be an integral part of that team as well." 

For more information about Jensen MotorSport and Lee Bentham, contact the team online at team@jensenmotorsport.com


Dover race rained out UPDATE The green flag is set to drop at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, June 4.  NASCAR has announced that the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race has been postponed and will be held on Monday, June 4, 2007. Grandstands will open at 9:00 a.m. with the green flag scheduled to fly at 12:00 p.m.

A steady rain held the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars on pit road and the fans underneath the grandstands for most of the afternoon. The announcement came 30 minutes after the jet-dryer trucks attempted to dry the track, but a steady rain dampened any chance of the cars actually taking to the Speedway.

When the 43-car field finally rolls of the grid on Monday afternoon, Ryan Newman will lead Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Bobby Labonte to the starting line to kickoff the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa.

Parking at the Speedway will be free of charge. All Sunday tickets will be honored at the gates. A ticket or ticket stub is required for admission. Tickets can be purchased on Monday at the main ticket office and at Gate 4. The Will Call, at Gate 4, will be open until 1 p.m.

06/03/07 Rain on Sunday postponed the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. It has been rescheduled to run on Monday at noon ET.

The rain abated enough for NASCAR to ignite its fleet of jet blowers for about half and hour, until approximately 1:52 p.m., before rain again began pelting down.

NASCAR announced the postponement at about 2:15 p.m., just after the teams were told to bring their cars to the garage from pit road.


Bill Davis Racing Crew Chief change
Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced today that Tommy Baldwin Jr. has assumed the role of crew chief for the No. 22 Caterpillar Racing team and driver Dave Blaney. Baldwin takes over those duties from Kevin Hamlin, who is no longer with the team.

The move will be a reunion of sorts as Baldwin returns to the top of the Caterpillar pit box after leading that team to victory in four events, including the 2001 Southern 500 and ‘02 Daytona 500.

“Kevin Hamlin was an important part of the organization and we appreciate everything he has done for us for the past year and a half, but we feel like the Caterpillar Racing team is not living up to its full potential,” said team owner Bill Davis. “As competitive as this sport has become, we owe it to our sponsors and everyone involved with Bill Davis Racing to make this team as strong as possible and in this case we felt a change was the best way to do that. We are fortunate to have someone like Tommy Baldwin, who has had so much success as a crew chief to fill that position. Some of our proudest moments at Bill Davis Racing came with Tommy leading the Caterpillar team”.

During this time, Baldwin’s will also continue to serve as Competition Director for all of Bill Davis Racing’s NASCAR Nextel Cup teams and assuring BDR’s growth as an organization.


Heylen tests at Putnam park
Jan Heylen conducted his first laps around Putnam Park Raceway yesterday in Conquest Racing’s, Panoz DP01. Not only was it the first time out in the new Panoz Champ Car for Heylen, but also his first time out with his new team, Conquest racing.

Heylen started the morning session on a used set of tires to get familiar with the new car. After a few runs it was time for his first set of new tires. Heylen quickly got back into the rhythm and put down some consistent lap times. Heylen went true three set of new tires finishing the day with almost 150 miles.

They ended the day practicing a few standing starts, as this is also going to be new for Heylen in Portland.

Heylen was happy about the progress they made true out the day. “I think we did everything we could’ve done on my first day in the car. I got the chance to get familiar with the new car and after that we also got some test work done. I think we learned a little bit more about the car and I hope it will show in Portland.”

It didn’t take long for Heylen to get used to the paddle shift. “The paddle shift is a nice new feature on the car. It’s nice to always have both hands on the steering wheel, it allows you to brake a little deeper in to the corners”

Heylen, who did his first test in Champ Car at the end of 2005 with Conquest racing, said it was very nice to be back with the team again. “Eric’s got a good team of people behind him. The day went smooth, it was nice working with them”


Seven cars to run new Chevy engine
Seven cars will run the new Chevy R07 engine in Monday's Dover race: #20-Tony Stewart, #11- Denny, #18-J.J. Yeley, #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, #07-Clint Bowyer and #96-Tony Raines. GM Racing PR


Audi Changes Le Mans Driver Pairings
One day before the three Audi R10 TDI prototypes hit the track at the official Le Mans test day, Audi has changed their driver pairings. Mike Rockenfeller will now partner Allan McNish and Dindo Capello in the No. 2 machine, while Mattias Ekström will join Lucas Luhr and Alexandre Premat in the No. 3 entry. Even though we don’t want to start any speculation, this move could indicate that Tom Kristensen won’t be able to compete at this year’s race. Kristensen is still at home in Denmark, recovering from his nasty crash during the first DTM Round of the 2007 season in Hockenheim. While Kristensen is still hoping to be able to fight for his eight Le Mans win this year, Audi seems to start preparing their plan B if worst comes to worst.


Peugeot beats Audi in LeMans test
Peugeot Sport leaves Le Mans pleased with the amount of work it was able to accomplish in the course of the preliminary test day organized by the ACO upstream of the forthcoming Le Mans 24 Hours.

The team's satisfaction stems not only from the fact that Sébastien Bourdais and his 908 HDi FAP succeeded in posting the fastest lap of the day but also because it managed to work through the complete program planned for its maiden visit to the French venue without suffering the slightest mechanical problem.

The N°8 car covered a total of 60 laps, while the N°7 sister car completed 79 laps. Le Mans rookies Jacques Villeneuve and Marc Gene both got in the mandatory minimum of ten laps demanded by the organizers for all first-time visitors to the circuit. Sébastien Bourdais went out at the back end of the day and posted a series of very quick laps on race tires after fine-tuning the set-up of his 908 HDi FAP: "We had a copious program to get through and we practically succeeded in ticking everything on the list. The car is fantastic to drive. It is nicely balanced and if we succeed in putting in the same sort of performance in a fortnight's time, then we could possibly end up springing a surprise. We didn't run on qualifying tires and I wasn't far off the car's maximum potential. I've got a busy Champ Car schedule over the coming days including a race at Portland next weekend, and then it'll be back to Le Mans for the real thing…"

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Gronholm wins again
Marcus Gronholm has increased his lead at the top of the drivers' championship following his victory on the Acropolis Rally of Greece on Sunday.  The Ford driver will now go into the traditional two-month summer break with a nine point advantage and well positioned ahead of his home event, the Rally Finland, which is the next round in the championship.

More to follow......


Pos  Driver     Make       Time
 1.  Gronholm   Ford       3h49:22.6
 2.  Loeb       Citroen         38.6
 3.  Solberg    Subaru     +  1:34.1
 4.  Hirvonen   Ford       +  2:41.3
 5.  Solberg    Ford       +  4:52.7
 6.  Atkinson   Subaru     +  6:31.7
 7.  Kopecky    Skoda      +  8:15.8
 8.  Stohl      Citroen    +  8:56.2
 9.  Wilks      Ford       +  9:53.2
10.  Wilson     Ford       + 10:39.6

tv news

Dario Franchitti to be on the David Letterman show
Dario Franchitti, winner of the Indy 500, will be a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night, June 4.  The show airs at 11:30 pm-12:30 am ET/PT.  Please check your local listings for your location and time zone.


Schu, Liuzzi, watch MotoGP at Mugello
(GMM) After attending the most recent Spanish and Monaco grands prix, Michael Schumacher this weekend switched his attention to the two-wheeled world of MotoGP.

The German, now an 'advisor' for the formula one team Ferrari following his sixteen year driving career, was spotted on the grid prior to motorcycling's Italian grand prix at Mugello.

The Autodromo Internazionale di Mugello, occasionally used for formula one testing, is owned by Ferrari.

38-year-old Schumacher was observed chatting with Ducati's championship leader Casey Stoner, and also Valentino Rossi, who rides for the Fiat-backed Yamaha team and in the past tested Ferrari's single seaters.

As in Monte Carlo last weekend, meanwhile, the seven time world champion turned down the press' requests for interviews.

Also at the Mugello circuit near Florence on Sunday was another notable MotoGP fan -- Toro Rosso's Vitantonio Liuzzi.


Rossi wins in front of countrymen
Italian Valentino Rossi took his sixth consecutive home victory at the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice, sending a message out to the rest of the MotoGP field that they should doubt ‘The Doctor’ at their own peril. After a poor start, the five-time MotoGP World Champion moved up into first position on lap eight and never looked back, to take the win and cut the gap between himself and championship leader Casey Stoner to just nine points.

One rider who took off well from the line was Dani Pedrosa, who led the race early on and looked as if he was set to spoil the party atmosphere with three Spanish victories in the day’s trio of races. Although he threatened Rossi at the midway point of the race, a series of quick laps from the former champion –coupled with Pedrosa’s running slightly wide when attempting to overtake, left him unable to challenge for the lead in the final stages.

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Pedrosa fastest in warm-up
If it stays dry for the race Dani Pedrosa, who has led every dry session so far this weekend, is looking strong.

Sunday warm-up Times

Pos  Rider             Bike      Time
 1.  Daniel Pedrosa    Honda     1:50.581
 2.  John Hopkins      Suzuki    1:51.001  + 0.420
 3.  Marco Melandri    Honda     1:51.226  + 0.645
 4.  Alex Barros       Ducati    1:51.232  + 0.651
 5.  Toni Elias        Honda     1:51.285  + 0.704
 6.  Randy de Puniet   Kawasaki  1:51.331  + 0.750
 7.  Casey Stoner      Ducati    1:51.376  + 0.795
 8.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha    1:51.595  + 1.014
 9.  Loris Capirossi   Ducati    1:51.653  + 1.072
10.  Colin Edwards     Yamaha    1:51.775  + 1.194
11.  Chris Vermeulen   Suzuki    1:51.795  + 1.214
12.  Nicky Hayden      Honda     1:51.834  + 1.253
13.  Alex Hofmann      Ducati    1:51.933  + 1.352
14.  Makoto Tamada     Yamaha    1:52.089  + 1.508
15.  Shinya Nakano     Honda     1:52.134  + 1.553
16.  Carlos Checa      Honda     1:52.196  + 1.615
17.  Sylvain Guintoli  Yamaha    1:52.363  + 1.782
18.  Kenny Roberts Jr  KR        1:53.803  + 3.222
19.  Olivier Jacque    Kawasaki  1:54.189  + 3.608
20.  Kurtis Roberts    KR        1:57.299  + 6.718

british f3

Carlin 1-2-3 at Snetterton
Ireland's Niall Breen took his first win in British F3 to lead a Carlin Motorsport 1-2-3 ahead of Sam Bird and Alberto Valerio. Championship leader Marko Asmer had his first non-finish of the year thanks to a puncture on lap 7, while pole sitter Atte Mustonen dropped back after a terrible start with a broken clutch to finish in last place.

Mexico's Sergio Perez took a dominant 3rd win in the National Class to leap frog Frankie Cheng into the National Class title lead. Hamad Al Fardan scored another podium ahead of Raikkonen Robertson Racings Alistair Jackson.

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track news

Iowa Speedway to add more seats
Iowa Speedway will add more seating to its state-of-the-art track in Newton, Iowa, due to a strong demand for tickets for the June 22-23-24 IndyPro and IndyCar Series races. The announcement was made by Iowa Speedway President Stan Clement.

“It has become quite apparent to us following the success of our recent NASCAR race, and advance ticket sales for the upcoming IndyCar Series, that we will have to provide additional seating. Of course, it’s a nice problem to have at this stage of our development but we want racing fans to know if they come to Newton, we will have a seat for them, or plenty of standing room with a good view of the race”.

Iowa Speedway is a 7/8 mile asphalt oval track designed by former NASACAR Champion Rusty Wallace. It currently seats 25,000 and the track will immediately add an additional 5,000 seats. Original design plans allow the seating capacity to expand based on the quality of races offered and fan support.

The IndyCar Series will showcase the cars and drivers at Iowa Speedway that recently competed in the Indy 500 at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. The world-famous rock group 3 Dog Night is scheduled to perform Saturday night, June 23.

The Iowa Corn Indy 250 race scheduled for Sunday, June 24, will be televised live worldwide by ABC-TV.


Court won’t move up NASCAR’s appeal
NASCAR’s appeal of an injunction issued by a U.S. District Court judge to allow AT&T’s logos on the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car will not be moved up earlier than the previously scheduled hearing date of Aug. 2. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta denied the request from NASCAR and Sprint Nextel for the hearing to be held sooner.  U.S. District Court Judge Marvin H. Shoob issued his injunction May 18 to allow the AT&T logos on the car driven by Jeff Burton.


LeMans adopts ALMS lights
This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will have even more of an American Le Mans Series flavor when cars hit the famed circuit on Wednesday for practice and qualifying. For the first time, the field for the 75th running of the world’s premier auto race will feature the innovative Leader Lights system developed by the Series and IMSA.

“The American Le Mans Series always has prided itself on allowing our manufacturers the platform to display its leading-edge technology. But that does not apply solely to our partners,” said Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. “We as a Series have been at the forefront of many innovations that have revolutionized sports car racing in North America. One of the programs that we are most proud of is our Leader Lights system, which has been one of the most popular and fan-friendly features ever developed in motorsport.”

As at each Series event, all cars at Le Mans will have three electronic lights mounted on each side that will allow fans to keep track of the top three cars in the four sports car classes. In addition, the lights also identify which class cars are competing in by color - red for LMP1, blue for P2, green for GT1 and yellow for GT2.

The Series first introduced the Leader Lights system in 2002.

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The invisible IRL fans
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, First let me say that I am a long-time Indy Car fan.  I am back from Milwaukee today and I can count on two hands the number of fans that were there.  It was a ghost town.   I can't figure it out.  As a fan I can't get enough of the Indy Cars.  I would be there all three days if the event was not shortened to two days.  Here is my question.  Where are all my fellow fans?  Why do so many people just show up for race day.  Dwayne Carter

Dear Dwayne, We agree a true fan would come both days to watch their favorite driver.  As the TV ratings show, there are very little true open wheel fans anymore in the USA.  On Sunday those that got tickets from the massive free ticket giveaways will show up to get their free Firestone or Marlboro hat and maybe they'll watch the race too.  It's a sad state of affairs.  Mark C.


Forums down
Our discussion forums are currently down.  It looks like we have a hardware failure of some kind.


Carl Edwards wins Dover 200
DOVER, Del. – Carl Edwards led 122 laps and pulled away from fellow Nextel Cup driver Denny Hamlin during a rash of late-race cautions to win Saturday’s Dover 200 NASCAR Busch Series race at Dover International Speedway.

It was the third victory of the year for Edwards, the series points leader.

Hamlin, Scott Wimmer, Casey Mears and Matt Kenseth completed the top five in a race that was slowed by two red flags and 11 cautions for a total of 47 laps. Six of those cautions came during the final 40 laps.

Edwards was leading when the day’s sixth yellow flag flew for debris on Lap 161. But when Kenseth and rookie Marcos Ambrose chose not to pit, Edwards found himself restarting the race on Lap 165 in fifth place.

“There were times in the race (the car) was just so good,” Edwards said. “I thought, ‘Man, all we can do is screw this up.’ And then we had that final pit stop, and I thought, ‘There, we did. We screwed it up.’

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Hornaday Wins AAA Insurance 200
DOVER, Del. -- Ron Hornaday Jr. survived some early chaos, then outlasted his strongest competition to visit victory lane for the second time in three races, winning the AAA Insurance 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway on Friday afternoon.
Hornaday beat out surprising Stacy Compton by 7.009 seconds in a race where just nine trucks finished on the lead lap.
Travis Kvapil, Johnny Benson and Mike Bliss rounded out the top five in the series' 300th race.
"We finally won the Monster Mile!" Hornaday said, slapping a high five with crew chief Rick Ren.
The race was barely half of a lap old when polesitter Mike Skinner made contact with fellow front row starter Clint Bowyer, sending Bowyer into the backstretch wall.

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NASCAR driver agent charged with rape UPDATE #5 Public Relations representative for Petty Enterprises and former NASCAR PR Manager of Communications, Richard Norman "Chip" Williams, was sentenced in Federal Court for sexual abuse of a minor. U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Sr. sentenced Williams to 26 years and stated "This, by far, involves more torture and forms of activity than the court has ever seen in a case of this nature."
Williams, 49, started his relationship with a girl on the internet when she was only eleven years old, was arrested in January 2006 in a sting operated by the Guilford County Sheriff's Office. He was charged in federal court with using a computer to entice a child into sexual activity and coercing a minor into sexual activity for the purpose of making pornography. In December, Williams plead guilty to charges of sexual abuse of a minor, enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity and sexual exploitation of a child. He still faces additional charges from the state of North Carolina.

Williams read a prepared statement, apologizing for the pain he has caused the victim and the damage to his own family. "I am sorry," Williams said. "I am so sorry for what I've done and the humiliation I've brought into the lives of so many people." He also apologized to his wife and two sons, ages 11 and 15. It was widely reported that Williams may have had sexual contact with as many as 50 underage girls and boys.

12/16/06 Former NASCAR spokesman Richard "Chip" Williams agreed to plead guilty to child sex charges, according to federal court documents filed Friday.

Williams, 49, signed a plea agreement acknowledging that he is guilty of sexual abuse of a minor, enticement of a minor and sexual exploitation of a child, the agreement says. He will be sentenced later and could face up to 75 years in prison.

The plea agreement says the law requires him to serve at least five years on the enticement of a minor charge and at least 15 years on the sexual exploitation charge.

Williams, who was NASCAR's spokesman from 1982 until he resigned in 1994 to start his own business, was arrested in January in an Internet child-predator sting.

He also was charged with rape in a case involving a 15-year-old girl.

The girl told police she had been having sex over three years with a man she knew as "John Wisham" -- the identity police say Williams used online.

Court documents say the girl chatted with John Wisham under authorities' supervision and he "became very explicit with the victim and talked freely about wanting to have numerous sexual exploits with very young males and females." Charlotte Observer

02/02/06 Bond for a former NASCAR publicist charged with raping a child and soliciting a minor for sex over the Internet has been raised from $1 million to $2 million.   Richard "Chip" Williams, 48, had his bond increased following a first appearance in a Greensboro court on Wednesday. He answered a judge's questions from a jail cell.

Williams was arrested Tuesday morning in the parking lot of a Guilford County church, where authorities said he had arranged over the Internet to meet who he believed was a 14-year-old girl for sex.

He is also charged with repeatedly raping a girl, now 15, whom he met on the Internet when she was 11.

State and federal agents confiscated computers from Williams' business Tuesday. Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes has said he expects additional charges against Williams.

WSOC-TV in Charlotte reported that in an online conversation with a person Williams believed was a 14-year-old girl - but who was actually a law-enforcement agent - he bragged of having relationships with 40 to 50 children.

Barnes has said his department began investigating Williams - who used the online name "John Wisham" - after receiving a tip about his long-term relationship with the 15-year-old. AP Wire 

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Lloyd wins Indy Pro snoozefest
Alex Lloyd led every lap to claim his record-setting fifth Indy Pro Series victory winning the Road Runner 100.

The Englishman topped Apex Racing's Mike Potekhen by 2.2826 seconds in the Road Runner 100. Lloyd's seventh career victory tied former series champions Thiago Medeiros and Mark Taylor for the most in Indy Pro Series history.

Jonathan Klein, making his fourth start for Team Moore Racing, finished third. Sean Guthrie finished a career-best fourth and Bobby Wilson was fifth.

"It's been so much fun to drive for these guys. The car was just fantastic and has been all year."

He's also had to steer clear of trouble. A Lap 2 incident involved seven cars (four of which were forced to retire early with damage), and he withstood a restart with 10 laps remaining to lead from start to finish.

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Lloyd wins Indy Pro pole in Milwaukee
Qualifying Saturday for the Road Runner 100 Indy Pro Series event on the 1-mile The Milwaukee Mile, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed: 

1. (7) Alex Lloyd, 146.077
2. (2) Jonathan Klein, 145.067
3. (38) Ryan Justice, 144.407
4. (53) Mike Potekhen, 144.151
5. (55) Hideki Mutoh, 144.001
6. (24) Stephen Simpson, 143.523
7. (5) Andrew Prendeville, 143.096
8. (34) Jon Brownson, 142.652
9. (4) Sean Guthrie, 142.279
10. (27) Wade Cunningham, 141.774
11. (11) Jaime Camara, 141.381
12. (23) Logan Gomez, 140.987
13. (40) Tom Wieringa, 140.833
14. (52) Ken Losch, 140.437
15. (9) Chris Festa, 140.198
16. (12) Al Unser III, 140.027
17. (1) Bobby Wilson, 139.195
18. (15) Joey Scarallo, 138.825
19. (13) Robbie Pecorari, 137.071
20. (6) Marc Williams, 135.179
21. (3) Brad Jaeger, 134.601
22. (8) P.J. Abbott, 123.963


Castroneves tops 2nd practice session in Milwaukee
Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Helio Castroneves (3) ... 21.2844 171.675
2 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.2593 21.5437 169.609
3 Scott Dixon (9) 0.2843 21.5687 169.412
4 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.3972 21.6816 168.530
5 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.3977 21.6821 168.526
6 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.4768 21.7612 167.914
7 Vitor Meira (4) 0.6089 21.8933 166.900
8 Tomas Scheckter (2) 0.6623 21.9467 166.494
9 Danica Patrick (7) 0.6844 21.9688 166.327
10 Buddy Rice (15) 0.7116 21.9960 166.121
11 AJ Foyt IV (22) 0.7218 22.0062 166.044
12 Marco Andretti (26) 0.8144 22.0988 165.348
13 Scott Sharp (8) 0.8252 22.1096 165.268
14 Jeff Simmons (17) 0.8792 22.1636 164.865
15 Darren Manning (14) 0.9307 22.2151 164.483
16 Ed Carpenter (20) 1.1283 22.4127 163.033
17 Sarah Fisher (5) 1.1322 22.4166 163.004
18 Dario Franchitti (27) 1.1678 22.4522 162.746

track news

Homestead-Miami Speedway staff changes
Homestead-Miami Speedway recently re-modeled its Corporate Partnerships team and facility growth initiatives with former Director of Corporate Partnerships Jim D'Arecca becoming the new Director of Consumer Sales, and Sherry Adams joining the staff as the Director of Corporate Partnerships.

"We are excited to welcome Sherry to our staff and introduce Jim in his new position," said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray. "Each brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to their position and will play a key role in creating and facilitating new opportunities at Homestead-Miami Speedway for our sponsors and guests."

As the Speedway's first Director of Consumer Sales, D'Arecca will serve in an important new role created to accommodate the growing number of requests for rental of the Homestead-Miami Speedway track and facility, including the luxurious Champions Club. He will also specialize in coordinating group ticket packages for XM SpeedJam™ and Ford Championship Weekend.

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ALMS drivers in Le Mans spotlight
The roster of American Le Mans Series drivers entered in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans is undoubtedly one of the most experienced groups to ever have taken part in the annual endurance classic. The list of competitors has a heavy American Le Mans Series flavor with 35 drivers who have made a combined 221 starts with 23 overall championships and 53 class wins since 1981.

Dyson Racing's Andy Wallace, who will compete for RML in P2 at Le Mans, is the Series' veteran representative with 18 career starts. Wallace was part of the Jaguar program that won overall in 1988 and has three other class wins (including last year with RML). The charming Brit has made a start in the last 11 runnings at Le Mans and has only missed the race once since 1988 (that coming in 1994). David Brabham (13 starts) and Stefan Johansson (12 starts) are Wallace's closest pursuers from the Series' ranks.

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Bernie threatens to axe British GP
"The government could and should do something to help ensure the BRDC does not lose the event," Ecclestone told the Daily Express. "We are supposed to be the home of motorsport and yet all the other countries around the world have managed to build circuits to be proud of. Britain has not. It is not my fault. If someone comes up with the agreement we want there will be a British Grand Prix after 2009. I don’t care who comes up with that, but if we cannot strike a deal there are a lot of other countries desperate to have a race."


Franchitti tops opening practice in Milwaukee
Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Dario Franchitti (27) ... 21.7413 168.067
2 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.0111 21.7524 167.981
3 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.0742 21.8155 167.496
4 Tomas Scheckter (2) 0.1096 21.8509 167.224
5 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.2570 21.9983 166.104
6 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.2655 22.0068 166.040
7 Vitor Meira (4) 0.2766 22.0179 165.956
8 Scott Dixon (9) 0.2980 22.0393 165.795
9 Danica Patrick (7) 0.3217 22.0630 165.617
10 Buddy Rice (15) 0.3388 22.0801 165.488
11 Scott Sharp (8) 0.4108 22.1521 164.951
12 Ed Carpenter (20) 0.5007 22.2420 164.284
13 Jeff Simmons (17) 0.5203 22.2616 164.139
14 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.5800 22.3213 163.700
15 AJ Foyt IV (22) 0.7331 22.4744 162.585
16 Sarah Fisher (5) 0.8826 22.6239 161.511
17 Marco Andretti (26) 1.0761 22.8174 160.141
18 Darren Manning (14) 1.2484 22.9897 158.941

british f3

British F3 Qualifying Rounds 7 and 8
Flying Finn Claims Pole for Round 7

Raikkonen Robertson Racing's flying Finn Atte Mustonen claimed his first pole position in British F3, heading the times in qualifying for Round 7 of the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series at Snetterton.

Mustonen, who topped the times in the 3rd session of testing yesterday, finished six hundredths of a second ahead of Niall Breen (#22 Carlin Motorsport) and a further three hundredths faster than his Double R teammate Jonathan Kennard (#2 Raikkonen Robertson Racing).

Alberto Valerio (#22 Carlin Motorsport) with join Kennard on the second row, with Round 6 race winner Sam Bird (#3 Carlin Motorsport) heading up row three with championship leader Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech Racing) in 6th place. Championship contenders Maro Engel (#23 Carlin Motorsport) and Stephen Jelley (#1 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) will line up 7th and 8th respectively. Fortec Teammates Sebastian Hohenthal and Greg Mansell round out the top 10 for tomorrows round 7 grid.

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Rahal to Graduate from New Albany High School
Graham Rahal, driver of the No. 2 Medi | Zone Champ Car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing is graduating from New Albany High School in New Albany, Ohio at 2 PM tomorrow.  Rahal, 18, became the youngest podium finisher in Champ Car history when he finished second in the previous race in Houston.
ESPN The Magazine is spending time with him today and will attend his graduation tomorrow for an upcoming feature.  Photo Credit: Dan R Boyd


Spyker not in money trouble - Kolles
(GMM) The formula one team of the same name is not under threat despite the financial difficulties of its Dutch road-car making parent company Spyker.

That is the insistence of team boss Colin Kolles, after the outfit hit the headlines over the Monaco grand prix weekend when it emerged that Spyker Cars had mortgaged its very name as part of a credit agreement with a bank.

But Kolles said: "Spyker formula one is financed through its own consortium of investors, partners and suppliers and we are not reliant on input from the road car division.

"Observers should not be predicting the fall of the F1 team any time soon," he added.

The Silverstone-based team was founded as Jordan Grand Prix in the early 90s, before selling to the Midland Group at the end of 2004.

A consortium led by Spyker Cars' interim CEO Michiel Mol took over last year.


Coulthard slams media for 'team order' uproar
(GMM) Formula one veteran David Coulthard has slammed the British media for criticising his former team following the recent Monaco grand prix.

The Scot, who drove for McLaren for nearly a decade until the end of 2004, accused British journalists of wrongly depicting Ron Dennis' squad as "the big bad racing team screwing the nice British driver".

F1's governing body this week cleared McLaren of wrongdoing after ordering rookie Lewis Hamilton to follow teammate Fernando Alonso home on the narrow Monte Carlo streets.

But 36-year-old Coulthard, who now races for Red Bull, urged the media to similarly go easy on Woking based McLaren.

"(They are) helping Lewis create the foundations of his future success, fame and fortune. So I don't think you can say they're not being fair," he said.

Coulthard was on the receiving end of Dennis' team orders in 1997 and 1998, and said they are "inevitable" in motor sport.

He went on: "Was it fair on Lewis to ask him to back off in Monaco? My answer is, what's fair?

"I would say to (the media), don't be hard on McLaren because they have given Lewis the opportunity. They have given the media a potential British world champion this year.

"If they want to give Lewis the time to grow as a grand prix driver ... then I would suggest they shouldn't do anything that alienates his relationship with the team, because put him in a Spyker and he ain't going nowhere!"

Former grand prix team owner Eddie Jordan, meanwhile, famously employed team orders to protect his team's first win in Belgium in 1998, and in his new autobiography 'An Independent Man' he defended using them to prevent Ralf Schumacher from passing his leading teammate Damon Hill.

"We did not want a fight between the two drivers," he confirmed. "They were asked to hold position."


Casey Stoner nabs pole at Mugello
MotoGP points leader Casey Stoner won pole position for the Italian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Mugello in a session hampered by rain. This is Stoner's first pole of 2007. The Ducati rider set his pole time before a mid-session shower. Le Mans winner Chris Vermeulen will start 2nd, ahead of local favorite Valentino Rossi.

Qualifying times:

Pos Rider Bike Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Ducati 2:00.359
2. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 2:01.381 + 1.022
3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2:01.695 + 1.336
4. Olivier Jacque Kawasaki 2:01.709 + 1.350
5. Loris Capirossi Ducati 2:01.797 + 1.438
6. Marco Melandri Honda 2:02.001 + 1.642
7. Randy de Puniet Kawasaki 2:02.443 + 2.084
8. Daniel Pedrosa Honda 2:02.776 + 2.417
9. John Hopkins Suzuki 2:02.932 + 2.573
10. Alex Barros Ducati 2:03.025 + 2.666
11. Alex Hofmann Ducati 2:03.920 + 3.561
12. Shinya Nakano Honda 2:04.185 + 3.826
13. Nicky Hayden Honda 2:04.353 + 3.994
14. Carlos Checa Honda 2:04.971 + 4.612
15. Toni Elías Honda 2:05.592 + 5.233
16. Colin Edwards Yamaha 2:06.254 + 5.895
17. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha 2:06.426 + 6.067
18. Kenny Roberts Jr KR 2:06.660 + 6.301
19. Kurtis Roberts KR 2:07.571 + 7.212
20. Makoto Tamada Yamaha 2:09.080 + 8.721

Industry News

Incentives boost car sales
Higher incentives helped fuel May's rebound in U.S. car and truck sales after weak April results, and Detroit's automakers announced new or extended promotions Friday in a bid to keep the momentum going.

Last month, General Motors Corp.'s average incentive was $2,950 per vehicle -- up 6.1 percent from the same month in 2006. The automaker's sales rose 9.6 percent, and car demand was up nearly 17 percent, with an average car incentive of $2,797.

Ford Motor Co.'s incentives climbed 4.6 percent to $4,040, although that didn't move the needle enough for Ford, which was the only one of the six biggest automakers to report a sales decline in May -- 6.9 percent. Ford incentives averaged $3,724 for cars and $4,201 for trucks.

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group raised incentives 7.1 percent to an average $4,178, which helped fuel a 4.3 percent sales spike for the month. Car incentives averaged $2,530 and trucks $4,855.

Industrywide, incentives averaged $2,692 per vehicle in May, up from $2,548 a year ago.

Analysts say discounts are likely to remain a fact of life until domestic brands become more competitive with their Asian rivals. More at Detroit News

Industry News

GM, DCX improve; Ford declines amid rising gasoline price
Every major automaker except Ford Motor Co. sold more vehicles in the United States last month than in the previous May, as American consumers stepped into the peak summer sales season apparently thinking about high gas prices and choosing to buy small cars, car-based utility vehicles and more Toyotas than ever.

Market leader General Motors Corp. said its sales rose an impressive 9.6% in May, to 371,056 cars and light trucks, compared with a year ago, driven by sales of several fuel-efficient new passenger cars, its new, large, Lansing-made crossovers and new full-size pickups that have the best fuel economy in the class.

But rival Toyota's sales rose a whopping 14.1% in May to 269,023 -- the best U.S. month ever for the Japanese giant, driven by fuel-efficient cars and the new Tundra full-size pickup. Toyota also outsold Ford for the second month in a row, though Ford leads for the year.  More at Detroit Free Press

Ford's sales fell 6.9%, despite strong sales of new crossovers such as the Ford Edge. The utility vehicle based on the Fusion sedan is doing so well that Ford raised its sales target by 20% to 120,000.

Chrysler Group sales rose 4.3%, thanks to its new four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Honda Motor Co. sales rose a steady 2.5%, despite a double-digit drop in sales of its Accord sedan. And Nissan Motor Co. logged a 7.4% increase for the month, due to increased sales of its small and midsize cars.


Kimi to meet Canadian kids
Round six of the 2007 Formula One season will be upon us before we know with teams and drivers already en route to the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal Canada but before the action gets underway next Friday morning  local time, Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen has an appointment of a different kind.

Together with the Canadian branch of Bridgestone- Firestone the Scuderia Ferrari driver will visit the 406 kindergarten and elementary students of Coronation School on Wednesday, June 6th.

While there, the Finn will speak to the children about a day in a life of an F1 racer, and will also take the time to answer their questions. The young World Robotics Champions from Coronation School will also present Kimi with a miniature F1 race demonstration.


Dale Jr plans to stay with Chevy, comments on plans
"I have never had the opportunity to see any shops outside DEI in my driving career. That was a big surprise for me. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary or didn't see any golden eggs laying around. But there were basically, you know, I was surprised at how on par in some places DEI really is. And there's. I never really felt like me and Tony, Jr. (crew chief Eury) had any trouble competing and being competitive at DEI. The reasons why I left were truly personal and not competition related. But you look at these other teams that win more races and there's an obvious difference between the two companies or three or four companies. So you look at that and you say, 'What are we not doing?' Well, I got a chance to look around these shops and see some of the areas where teams are sort of branching out and growing."

"When I can really get down to business and tell you guys what's going on, we'll definitely do that. I'll be as excited as heck to be able to tell everybody what I'm going to do and where I'm going to be. And I'm looking forward to that. And I think that's going to happen within the time schedule that my sister has expressed over the last several weeks. It's looking good."

"As I have said, I want to continue driving Chevrolets. That spells it out pretty good for a lot of people. Chevrolet has been good to me. They have complimented my Busch Series program. They have supported me and complimented me in my career. And just for a couple of extra bucks, I wouldn't want to go drive for another manufacturer. I don't have those relationships with those other manufacturers although I am sure there are great people working there." GM Racing PR


Spyker deny financial problems
One story doing the rounds last weekend in Monte Carlo was the fact that Spyker Cars has mortgaged its own name to Friesland Bank as part of an ongoing credit agreement. Team Principal Colin Kolles denies that this is an issue for the Formula One team.

"The Formula One team’s security is not based on the profits, losses or financial security of Spyker Cars NV in any way," said Kolles. "Spyker Formula One is financed through its own consortium of investors, partners and suppliers and we are not reliant on input from the road car division."

"We have the full support of Spyker Cars and likewise we take a more than active interest in their success, but observers should not be predicting the fall of the F1 team any time soon. We have set goals and objectives and we will not be happy until we achieve them."

Meanwhile the team are getting ready for the reintroduction into service of the Brackley wind tunnel. 

“The wind tunnel will switch on in the next week or so and then the commissioning process will start soon after,” Kolles continued. “By the end of June it will be up and running and within a couple of months of that will go to 24 hour running, which will be a big boost for the team.”

“It might have taken a little bit longer than expected to get the modifications through, but certainly once we’ve got it up and running it will have a big influence on our performance next year as it is where biggest gains will be found.”  Spyker


Honda team demonstrate new tire warming technology
A MotoGP debutant of sorts begins what should be a long stay in the World Championship, with development company Termorace's revolutionary tire warming system being given its first outing in the Konica Minolta Honda garage.

The new design was presented in the Japanese-Italian team’s hospitality on Thursday, and was immediately thrown into action for first free practice session. Giulio Bernardelle from Konica Minolta Honda explained the ins and outs of the new tire warmer to motogp.com after it’s first run-out.

“It’s basically a development of the 2004 system, but now using a completely new electronic system that is able to measure pressure and temperature. Automatically warming the tire to optimum temperature based on the cold pressure, we can understand the correlation better,” stated Bernadelle.

“We started to develop this design in 2004, and realized it the year later. Now we will use it throughout the season with the hope of using the system for all of our tires in the final stretch.


Mugello: Pedrosa fastest again
Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was quickest in the final free practice session for the Italian MotoGP Saturday morning on his Repsol Honda. Hw had also been quickest in Friday's dry session. Valentino Rossi was 2nd ahead of Casey Stoner. Rain is possible for qualifying.

Pos Rider Bike Time
 1. Daniel Pedrosa Honda 1:50.108
 2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:50.491 + 0.383
 3. Casey Stoner Ducati 1:50.742 + 0.634
 4. Loris Capirossi Ducati 1:50.773 + 0.665
 5. Marco Melandri Honda 1:50.871 + 0.763
 6. Alex Barros Ducati 1:50.874 + 0.766
 7. John Hopkins Suzuki 1:50.905 + 0.797
 8. Makoto Tamada Yamaha 1:51.036 + 0.928
 9. Alex Hofmann Ducati 1:51.082 + 0.974
10. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1:51.112 + 1.004
11. Nicky Hayden Honda 1:51.132 + 1.024
12. Colin Edwards Yamaha 1:51.153 + 1.045
13. Randy de Puniet Kawasaki 1:51.293 + 1.185
14. Toni Elias Honda 1:51.337 + 1.229
15. Carlos Checa Honda 1:51.351 + 1.243
16. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha 1:51.369 + 1.261
17. Shinya Nakano Honda 1:51.390 + 1.282
18. Olivier Jacque Kawasaki 1:52.074 + 1.966
19. Kenny Roberts Jr KR 1:54.314 + 4.206
20. Kurtis Roberts KR 1:55.575 + 5.467


Honda nabs BMW aero man
Honda has begun the technical restructuring of its Formula 1 team with the news that John Owen, a senior aerodynamicist at BMW Sauber has been appointed as the Brackley team's new head of aerodynamics. There are very few details at the moment but we understand that there will be further recruitments announced in the next few days.

Owen is doctor of aerodynamics from Imperial College of the University of London, and followed former Imperial student Seamus Mallarkey to Switzerland, after working on F1 aerodynamics for his PhD dissertation. That was in 2001 and since Owen has worked in Switzerland. The recruitment will be a big bonus for Honda as the team has a new wind tunnel, which is virtually identical to the Sauber facility. Grandprix.com


F1 fans can win chance to golf with Heidfeld, Schumacher
Formula One fans can bid in eBay auctions that feature the prize of playing golf Wednesday, June 13 at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course with four F1 personalities, including drivers Nick Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher.

The auctions, presented by Bridgestone, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Brickyard Crossing, continue until June 8 at www.ebay.com. All proceeds will go to the Driver's Edge driver education program for teens and the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Winning bidders will play in a Bridgestone charity event at the 18-hole, championship-caliber Brickyard Crossing course, which features four holes inside the famous IMS oval. Two winners will play in a foursome with BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Heidfeld, two with Panasonic Toyota Racing driver Schumacher, two with Bridgestone Motorsport Director Hiroshi Yasukawa and two with Super Aguri F1 Team Principal and former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki.

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Jack Roush points out the obvious
Speaking to reporters during an appearance at the Orange County Fair Speedway Thursday night, Roush was asked; if he could solve the Ford/Chevy issue and if the opportunity presented itself, would he be interested in signing Dale Earnhardt Junior.

“If I had need for a driver and if I had a sponsor for him, he certainly would meet the minimum requirement,” Roush said, but was quick to add. “He is not the most talented driver I've seen.”

As a driver Dale Earnhardt Junior may be a wanker, but he isn’t having trouble making a living.

NASCAR’s most popular driver was recently ranked 10th on Sports Illustrated’s 2007 "Fortunate 50" a ranking of the 50 top-earning American athletes; his reported income; $27.1 million.

Topping the "Fortunate 50" list was golfer Tiger Woods, who will earn $111.9 million this year, with $100 million of that coming from endorsements.

This is what is wrong with American racing.  When a wanker of a driver can become the sport's biggest hero, one can safely say that America won't be producing another world driving champion anytime soon.  So far America has produced only two world driving champions, Phil Hill and Mario Andretti, and there's one thing for certain, the next world champion won't be coming from a 100% throttle, no talent required, racing series anytime soon.


Zhuhai - Another major embarrassment for Champ Car UPDATE Max Mosley states "The question of a Champ Car race in Zhuhai in October of 2007 is closed," said Mosley today when asked if he considered the matter of an October Zhuhai race to be unequivocally off the table. "There is no question of such a race taking place."

As a Champ Car die-hard fan, am I shocked by the FIA's position? Absolutely not! Am I embarrassed further by CCWS mismanagement, mismarketing, mis-strategic planning? God yes! Nobody at CCWS saw this one coming? Am I mad as hell at Mosley & Ecclestone! Better believe it! I call on all Champ Car fans to boycott all F1 on TV, at the track, and with your wallets with merchandise. We need to see the USGP and F1's presence in the US tank as well. And KK & GF, get your sh*t together! Completely unbelievable how bad they have hurt (if not killed) the CCWS this year! UNBELIEVEABLE! Rich Huffman, Missoula, Montana

Another reader writes, Prove me wrong in the assumption that the interest of the "3 Amigos" has passed the interest level of the typical Computer based "Venture Capitalist." They took the wave of resurrecting CART and gave it a new chassis expecting the world to bow at their feet as gods of open wheel racing. All Champ Car is doing is creating a slow digitally recorded death. Get the Fat Lady ready for her singing engagement - CCWS is on the downhill slide. Death will be after the '08 season if not the '07. Greg W. Renton, WA

Another writes, What a bunch of bozos. Now the race promoter in China is suing Kalkhoven and Forsythe for $15M. This was supposed to be Champ Car's breakout year, instead it has gone from bad to worse. As a fan I can't take it any more. Shoot me and put me out of my misery. Better yet Kevin and Jerry - sell the series to someone who will run it right. Harold Rosenberg

06/01/07 Champ Car’s plans to stage a race in Zhuhai, China in October appear to have reached a definitive dead end resulting in another major embarrassment for the series. This comes after Champ Car had to cancel a race in South Korea three times in the last two years. If this doesn't scare sponsors away we don't know what will.

“The question of a Champ Car race in Zhuhai in October of 2007 is closed,” said Mosley today when asked if he considered the matter of an October Zhuhai race to be unequivocally off the table. “There is no question of such a race taking place. We are looking forward to receiving an application from ACCUS for a Champ Car race in Zhuhai in May of 2008.”

Champ Car originally applied for a May 20 date on the FIA because the investors in the race changed and they asked for more time to stage the event. The Zhuhai race was originally listed on the FIA International Calendar for May 20. In March, however, the event was postponed and Champ Car announced it was applying to the FIA to reschedule the race on October 28, the weekend after the Lexmark Indy 300 in Australia, to save the promoters of transportation costs. However, that is three weeks after the China F1 race and the FIA feels the dates are too close. This is nonsense of course because the two tracks are 750 miles apart, but when Bernie Ecclestone wants to stop you he will, and he did.


San Jose race adding more seats
San José Grand Prix President Dale Jantzen announced today that five rows of seats will be added to Gold Grandstand 3 for the Third Annual San José Grand Prix at Redback Raceway, July 27-29 on the streets of downtown San José.

The new rows are being added in response to a demand for seats in the highly popular, and recently sold out, grandstand located at the Toyota Hairpin Turn, Turn #1, which featured some of the best passes and most exciting on-track action during last's year's race on the improved and universally praised 1.5-mile seven-turn street circuit. The rows will be added to the bottom of the grandstand and will therefore not impact any existing seat holders. The addition of five rows will bring Grandstand 3 up to 31 rows and add a total of 130 new seats. The number of rows being added was based on sight lines. Tickets for the new seats went on sale on Tuesday May, 22.

"We very excited about the pace of ticket sales for this year's race," said Jantzen. "We have already sold out one of our major grandstands and sales in all the others are ahead of last year at this time. The hairpin grandstand is a very popular area because of all the action that takes place in that turn and after evaluating the location with our operations staff we determined that we could add some additional seats without negatively impacting the existing seat holders."

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Paul Tracy on Wind Tunnel Sunday
2003 Champ Car World Series champion, Paul Tracy, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday, June 3 at 9 p.m. ET.

After suffering an injury in practice at Long Beach earlier this year, causing him to miss two races, Tracy will make his return to the cockpit next week in Portland. We’ll talk to PT about his return and about his plans to race in the upcoming Busch Series race in Montreal.

One of the most respected racing promoters in the country, Tom Curley, will also be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. As the promoter and co-owner of Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road Speedbowl, Curley organizes one the best short track shows around.


Stoner tops wet 2nd practice at Mugello
Pos  Driver              Make       Time               Laps
 1.  Casey Stoner        Ducati     2:07.107             7
 2.  John Hopkins        Suzuki     2:07.125  + 0.018   14
 3.  Chris Vermeulen     Suzuki     2:07.209  + 0.102   11
 4.  Valentino Rossi     Yamaha     2:08.453  + 1.346    9
 5.  Kenny Roberts       Kr212V     2:08.802  + 1.695   19
 6.  Marco Melandri      Honda      2:09.195  + 2.088   12
 7.  Colin Edwards       Yamaha     2:10.039  + 2.932   12
 8.  Loris Capirossi     Ducati     2:10.220  + 3.113   12
 9.  Olivier Jacque      Kawasaki   2:10.228  + 3.121   11
10.  Dani Pedrosa        Honda      2:10.312  + 3.205    9
11.  Toni Elias          Honda      2:10.413  + 3.306   13
12.  Carlos Checa        Honda      2:10.943  + 3.836   14
13.  Randy De Puniet     Kawasaki   2:12.279  + 5.172   12
14.  Nicky Hayden        Honda      2:12.466  + 5.359   10
15.  Shinya Nakano       Honda      2:14.479  + 7.372    9
16.  Makoto Tamada       Yamaha     2:16.857  + 9.750    9
17.  Alex Hofmann        Ducati     2:17.161  + 10.054   6
18.  Alex Barros         Ducati     2:19.873  + 12.766   8
19.  Kurtis Roberts      Kr212V     2:23.432  + 16.325   7
20.  Sylvain Guintoli    Yamaha     2:36.112  + 29.005


Team defends Kovalainen amid rookie struggle
(GMM)  Renault's Pat Symonds has defended Heikki Kovalainen after the Finn failed to shine as brightly as rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton so far in 2007.

The pair both made their grand prix debuts in Melbourne, but while Briton Hamilton went on to record consecutive podiums in every subsequent race, Kovalainen has broken into the points placings just twice.

But "It's an unfair comparison," Renault's engineering boss Symonds said in his team's official podcast reviewing the recent Monaco grand prix.

The Briton said his 22-year-old countryman, Hamilton, had been "quite lucky" to make his initial mark in formula one with the championship-contending McLaren, while Renault have struggled to get to grips with its R27 car.

Symonds said: "Last year's McLaren wasn't that good, and I think if (Hamilton had) gone in last year it would have been a slightly different story."

He explained that Kovalainen, who replaced Renault's departed world champion Fernando Alonso this year, was conversely unlucky to have to debut with the difficult 2007 racer.

Symonds said: "If you go a little bit too far (with the R27), it can bite you, and it has bitten Heikki a couple of times -- he had quite a sizeable accident in testing in Bahrain.

"It's the very last thing that a novice driver needs."


F1 boss presses gov't for Brit GP future
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has continued to turn up the heat on British grand prix venue Silverstone by suggesting that only the UK government's intervention might now be enough to safeguard the race.

"The government could and should do something to help ensure the (circuit owners) BRDC does not lose the F1 event," the sport's 76-year-old supremo told the newspaper Daily Express.

Silverstone's current GP contract runs only until 2009, and Ecclestone is demanding urgent renovations to the former World War II airfield's facilities in rural Northamptonshire.

"Britain has not managed to build a circuit to be proud of and it is not my fault," Ecclestone said.

He suggested that the government should divert some funding from London's upcoming Olympic Games in the form of a "loan", which could be repaid by Silverstone when the upgraded circuit becomes profitable.

Bernie said of the race's organizers: "They know what is wanted, but they don't have a lot of time left. I hope they get their act together.

"If we cannot strike a deal there are a lot of countries desperate to have a race."


Valencia deal signed
Bernie Ecclestone on Friday signed a seven year contract to stage annual formula one races in the Spanish port city of Valencia starting next year.

The F1 supremo officially announced the deal last month, but it was conditional on the re-election of the incumbent political party.

"The agreement was signed this morning along exactly the same lines as we announced," 'Reuters' quoted the 76-year-old Briton as saying.

The Valencia regional government also confirmed the deal, Associated Press reported.

The street race will be called the European grand prix but it will be a second annual event on the calendar for Spain, which will continue to host a race until at least 2016.


Heylen to race full Champ Car season for Conquest Racing UPDATE Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart announced today that Belgian racer Jan Heylen will race with Conquest for the remainder of the Champ Car World Series season. Heylen will test with the team at Putnam Park on Friday in advance of making his Champ Car sophomore season debut at Portland International Raceway in round four of the 2007 Champ Car season.
Heylen, who won the 2002 Formula Ford Festival before moving up the European single-seater ranks with campaigns in F3 and F3000, tested with the team in 2005 after winning the Renault Megane Eurocup Championship. Heylen had a solid Champ Car rookie season in 2006, scoring seventh in his Champ Car debut, taking top-tens at Montreal and Road America and recording a season-best finish of fifth in Cleveland.
“I have been working hard to get back into Champ Car, and I am very excited to be racing for a team like Conquest,” said Heylen. “The team gave me my first test in Champ Car and now I am looking forward to racing with them. It has been quite frustrating to be watching the first few races of the year from the pits, but now I have a good opportunity to compete with Conquest.”
The signing reflects in part some of the new opportunities available as the Champ Car series grows to include new European markets for 2007 and beyond.
“Obviously our race at Zolder will be a highlight and everybody has been working very hard to make that a success,” said Heylen. “But we are focused on getting some solid results here in the States first. I am looking forward to getting comfortable with the new car, and I’m really excited to be racing again starting at Portland.”
Bachelart, who won the Indy Lights Championship as a driver before moving into team ownership, is pleased to sign his countryman as he continues the Conquest Racing tradition of developing talent in the Champ Car ranks. 
“We are excited about having Jan join us for the rest of the season,” said Bachelart. “Jan has tested with us before, and showed promise in his rookie year. He will get a chance to get comfortable with the new car before we go to Portland and we will continue to test whenever possible to catch up with the rest of the guys.”
With a Belgian-owned team campaigning a Belgian driver, the partnership figures to make Heylen and Conquest Racing instant fan favorites when the Champ Cars debut at Zolder in Belgium this August.
“I had my first race at Zolder when I was just starting as a driver, and it is something quite special for us to be racing there this year,” said Bachelart. “I have raced there many, many times, but this year will be a memorable one no question.”
The Champ Car World Series will race again at Portland International Raceway on June 10th for round four of the 2007 season. Conquest Racing will also be competing in the Champ Car Atlantic double header event at Portland with drivers Matt Lee and Giacomo Ricci.
About Conquest Racing:
1991 Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart started Conquest Racing in 1997 to compete in the Indy Lights series, scoring a podium finish with driver Christophe Tinseau in the team’s first season. Conquest Racing competed in the next four seasons in Indy Lights, winning races with Felipe Giaffone and Kristian Kolby.
Conquest Racing contested the 2002 Indy Racing League season with rookie Laurent Redon, netting a podium finish in just the third race of the season and clinching the Rookie of the Year award.
Conquest Racing rejoined the Champ Car family in 2003, stepping up to the Champ Car World Series with Brazilian Mario Haberfeld and scoring eleven top-ten finishes despite competing with a Reynard. Conquest Racing continued its tradition of working well with young drivers in 2004 as Justin Wilson took second in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year battle, with Nelson Philippe scoring two top-ten finishes after joining the team in the closing stages of the season. 
Conquest continued a long history of developing young drivers in 2006, as Andrew Ranger returned for his sophomore season to take tenth in the drivers championship, the third consecutive season for the team to have a driver in the top-ten.  2005 Champ Car Atlantic Champion Charles Zwolsman finished thirteenth in his rookie season, taking seven consecutive top-ten finishes with the team as he improved progressively throughout the season.
Additional information available at: www.conquestracing.com Conquest Racing PR

06/01/07 Indianapolis, IN -Jan Heylen, who was recently announced as a driver in the inaugural Champ Car World Series event at Zolder, has now also been confirmed to a race seat with Conquest Racing in all remaining Champ Car races in 2007, beginning with next weekend’s event in Portland. Conquest Racing is owned and managed by fellow Belgian Eric Bachelart.
Heylen will get to work straight away, testing today at Putnam Park near the team’s headquarters in Indianapolis to get acquainted with the all-new Panoz DP01 machine.  Heylen has already been fitted for his race seat, and has spent time with the Conquest Racing engineers to study data in advance of his first hot laps in the Conquest machine.
The signing marks a reunion of sorts, as Heylen got his first taste of Champ Car with Conquest Racing, testing with the team after winning the Renault Megane Eurocup Championship.

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TV News

Weekend USA TV reminders UPDATE The full Sunday listing is now shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Qualifying Dover
10:30am-12:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Dover
12:00pm-1:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Dover
1:30pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
AMA Motocross Replay Sacramento
2:00pm-3:00pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Final Practice Dover
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Dover
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
Survival of the Fastest Lowe's
4:30pm-5:00pm SPEED
6:30pm-7:00pm ESPN2
Trackside Dover
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  AAA Insurance 200 Dover
8:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) Incl Preshow SPEED
60 Minutes on Classic: Like Father, Like Son (Dale Earnhardt, Jr) / NASCAR Family  
10:00pm-10:30pm ESPN Classic
12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Dover
10:00am-11:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Qualifying Dover
11:00am-12:30pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Dover
12:30pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Dover
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Dover 200 Dover
2:30pm-5:30pm (L) Incl Preshow  ESPN2
NHRA Qualifying Topeka, KS
5:30pm-8:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Performance  
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
Tradin' Paint Dover
8:00pm-8:30pm SPEED
ARCA RE/MAX Des Moines
9:00pm-11:30pm (L) SPEED
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NHRA Race Day
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay Dover
11:00am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
World of Outlaws Williams Grove
1:00pm-2:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa Dover
1:00pm-5:30pm (L) FOX
AMA Superbike Elkhart Lake, WI
2:00pm-3:00pm (6/2/07) -Day 1 SPEED
AMA Superbike Elkhart Lake, WI
4:00pm-5:00pm (L) -Day 2 SPEED
IRL Milwaukee
4:00pm-6:00pm (L) ABC
NHRA O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals Topeka, KS
4:00pm-7:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
MotoGP 250 Italy
5:00pm-6:00pm (SDD) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship  Italy
6:00pm-7:00pm (SDD) SPEED
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Dover
8:00pm-9:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Motor Mansions II
Including Danica Patrick Part of Show
**Check local listings for your location AND time zone HGTV
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Paul Tracy (2003 Champ Car Champion)
Tom Curley (Promoter -Thunder Road Speedbowl)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

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


Last F1 race at Magny-Cours
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that this year's French Grand Prix will be the last to be held at Magny-Cours.

But he believes that the race itself could still have a future at a new venue - potentially in Paris.

Ecclestone replied with a firm "yes" would asked by French newspaper L'Equipe whether Formula 1 would leave Magny-Cours after 2007.

"It's a little bit disappointing because we organized this grand prix and it has never developed in the way that we would have liked it to," Bernie told L'Equipe.


New flexi test for Montreal
After the more than obvious attempt of Red Bull in the recent Spanish Grand Prix to run with a flexible rear wing, our spies in Monaco tell us that the sport’s governing body is planning on introducing a new load test for the next event on the calendar, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Additional to the current load test, which pulls the rear wing rearward, there will be another one aimed at pulling it vertically down and the most likely load will be 100 kg with a deformation of just 2 millimeters.

At the Monaco Grand Prix, Red Bull had already reacted to what everyone could see on the internet, video footage of what their wing was doing in Barcelona, bending down by approximately 25 mm at 300 kph, increasing their top speed by 6 kph and giving them 0.25 seconds per lap.

Even though they corrected it for Monaco, Frank Williams is still angry that the FIA did not react in Spain:

"I was cheated by an illegal car. Nobody can tell me that the video evidence is not clear enough. It is not good for Formula One, if Red Bull gets away without any penalty."

However, Max Mosley replied…
“Maybe we have to rethink the matter of flexible elements for the future, as it seems very difficult to police and to measure it."

However, another FIA-member simply said that whenever they introduce a new test, the teams come up with a new idea to circumvent it, and that, is so very true…….


Mosley would consider 2-heat format for F1
"We listen to all proposals," FIA president Max Mosley was quoted as saying by Autosprint magazine. "At the moment overtaking is difficult: we must devise a way to make it easier and to make sure that the car trailing is faster than the one preceding it, as it used to happen in the 1960s. That way it would be possible to overtake.

"If people like Flavio Briatore or Bernie Ecclestone want to change the regulations, have two heats, or invert the grid in the second race, it's all fine for us, as long as they are fair rules equal for all."

"I listen; to decide is a different thing. A matter like that of GPs in two heats would require a long procedure: from 2008 Concorde ends and the decisions are down to the World Council.

"Changing the race format is a marketing choice and people like Briatore are experts in that. But my opinion is that if we have cars and circuits that improve overtaking, then there won't be a need to change the format."


Pedrosa leads opening practice in Italy
Full MotoGP free practice times (1) from the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, round six of the 2007 world championship.

1. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (M) 1min 50.743 secs
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 1min 50.901 secs
3. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 1min 51.022 secs
4. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 1min 51.356 secs
5. Carlos Checa SPA Honda LCR (M) 1min 51.414 secs
6. Toni Elias SPA Gresini Honda (B) 1min 51.553 secs
7. Alex Barros BRA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 1min 51.621 secs
8. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team (M) 1min 51.720 secs
9. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 1min 51.803 secs
10. Makoto Tamada JPN Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 1min 51.823 secs
11. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 1min 51.982 secs
12. Marco Melandri ITA Gresini Honda (B) 1min 52.057 secs
13. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 1min 52.125 secs
14. Shinya Nakano JPN Konica Minolta Honda (M) 1min 52.361 secs
15. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 52.396 secs
16. Colin Edwards USA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 1min 52.630 secs
17. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 1min 52.726 secs
18. Olivier Jacque FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 53.411 secs
19. Kenny Roberts USA Team Roberts (M) 1min 53.541 secs
20. Kurtis Roberts USA Team Roberts (M) 1min 55.286 secs


Engine work pays off for Toyota
Toyota has staggered out of the gates in its first Nextel Cup season, but it could be that the tide has turned. Brian Vickers gave the new manufacturer its first top-five finish in last week’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but the most impressive aspect of the 23-year-old Vickers’ showing was the fact that he led 78 laps. Prior to last week, all the Toyota drivers had combined to lead a total of 14 laps.

A big reason for the Japanese manufacturer’s show of muscle was a retooled engine first used at LMS. Engineers tinkered with the Toyota power plant to make it more responsive off the corners, even though the overall horsepower figures, when tested by NASCAR, had been satisfactory.

“It was definitely a difference, and we knew that coming here,” said Vickers. “It showed in qualifying with the number of Toyotas that made the race. It really shows what the engine is capable of when you can get the motor wound up and keep it wound up. We were able to show that when we ran up front and pulled away from the other guys.”

“If you look at the 7500-rpm range, we were almost 75 horsepower off,” said Vickers’ crew chief, Doug Richert. “Through carburetion, they took and redid the power curve.” Gaston Gazette


Cheating NASCAR team feared further sanctions
If you ask Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Earnhardt Inc., didn’t drop the appeal to NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow penalty against the No. 8 team just because they presumed they had no shot at winning. They were actually concerned it may get worse.

In this week’s edition of Unrestricted, Earnhardt Jr’s weekly radio show on XM Satellite Radio, that “there were some discussions about forcing the [No. 8] car to have to qualify for every event.”

In other words, he’s saying NASCAR contemplated stripping the team’s guaranteed position in the field for being among the Top-35 in owner’s points.

“We were worried that if we went to appeal and it didn’t go, you know, somebody said a cross word and upset somebody, or something didn’t go right, it could become a worse penalty, and [we] decided to drop it and just take our lickings,” Junior said.


Irvine says Kimi better shape up
Former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine is unimpressed with Raikkonen's performance at the Ferrari Formula 1 team. The Ulsterman believes Felipe Massa has done a great job so far this season, but said Raikkonen should get his act together or stop drinking.

Speaking to Setanta Sports Irvine said: "I think Felipe's done a great job. He looked stupid in Malaysia (when he was passed by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at the beginning of the race after starting on pole), but you have to say that he was all over Hamilton. He looked like he could have got him. Raikkonen then pulled up behind him when Massa went off and he couldn't even get close."

Irvine furthermore said: "Felipe's been bloody quick. In Malaysia he probably should have taken it a bit easier and got more points but since then he's done a fantastic job. Raikkonen just hasn't been on the pace the whole season really. Massa has been on top of him in winter testing and the first four races.

"I don't know what that's all about - he's going to have to get his act together or stop drinking because if he's not winning he can't be drinking."


Kerr to debut in Le Mans 24 Hour Race
A1 Team Great Britain's Robbie Kerr will make his racing debut in the famed Le Mans 24 Hour race this year, 16th-17th June, having been confirmed to take part in the 75th running of the sports car classic alongside Mexico's Adrian Fernandez and Japan's Haruki Kurosawa of Japan in the Barazi Epsilon-entered, Lowe's sponsored Zytek LMP2 07S-03.

Kerr, a two-time winner for Great Britain in the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, will take the wheel of his Zytek LMP2 challenger for the first time this Sunday, 3rd June, with official practice taking place at the legendary 8.4-mile French circuit. Qualifying for this year's meeting takes place over Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th June with the packed and varied sports car field taking the green flag to herald the start of the twice-round the clock endurance race at 3pm local time on Saturday 16th June.

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NASCAR stars turn out for street festival
HARRISBURG, NC  – Chamber of Commerce weather, outstanding attendance, popular musical acts and some of NASCAR’s top stars combined to make the 2007 Food Lion Speed Street festival a memorable occasion. An estimated crowd of 410,000 helped make the three-day motorsports themed festival one of the most popular ever.  In addition to celebrating NASCAR’s strong regional heritage, Food Lion Speed Street promotes Charlotte and the surrounding communities and generates a major economic impact for the entire region. The free festival produced an influx of energy and excitement in a tightly packed 12 block entertainment zone in Charlotte’s center city during Memorial Day weekend and has become one of the state’s biggest attractions in the month of May.

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Kentucky Speedway-NASCAR trial date set
The Kentucky Speedway antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR is set to go to trial March 4, 2008, in U.S. District Court in Covington, Ky.   The trial will conclude no later than April 4, 2008, according to an order issued Wednesday from U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman.
Kentucky Speedway alleges that NASCAR, the race-sanctioning body privately owned by the France family, illegally conspires to award Nextel Cup races to International Speedway Corp., a race-track operator whose majority of publicly traded stock is owned by the France family.  NASCAR and ISC deny those claims.


Jack Muldowney dies
Jack Muldowney, former husband of three-time NHRA Top Fuel world champ Shirley Muldowney, who helped launch her career, passed away May 24 of cancer. He was 70.

Although the two divorced in 1972, they remained good friends throughout, and she and their son John were able to see him before he died.

“He was a great guy,” said Shirley. “We got along great and kept our friendship all these years. He taught me how to drive; if it wasn't for him, I never would have been able to do what I've done. He really was the one.

“He stayed involved in drag racing on a smaller level, helping people in Schenectady (N.Y.) with their hot rods. He was a great craftsman and fabricator and did beautiful painting and lettering as well. He was one of the first – if not the first – in Schenectady to have a full-detailed car.”


RYR re-signs with Ford for 5 years
Robert Yates has signed a five-year extension with the Ford, he told ESPN.com today. There will be a formal announcement on Friday at Dover International Raceway. "What it says to me is that Ford intends to win on Sundays and Mondays, and they're committed," Yates said. "We're happy they're happy with us. It's nice we have signed the thing." This ends any speculation that Robert Yates Racing was looking elsewhere. What the five-year deal offers Yates is some stability and credibility as he continues talks with potential business partners. "The fact is, it's organizational racing now and not individual racing," Yates said. "We have been talking to different people and they ask, 'What manufacturer are you with? How strong is that? How long term is it?'  This contract puts a lot to bed. We have a good relationship with Ford, and we continue to." Clearly, Yates is upbeat about the future. He said his team is financially healthy with "zero debt and quite a lot of money in the bank," he said. "I'm OK, but what I want to do is race and win," Yates said. There was a much-publicized flirtation between Robert Yates Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., about a month ago, but there was an obvious conflict -- Yates had always been a Ford devotee, and DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt has made it clear she has deep Chevrolet ties she is unlikely to break. ESPN.com

industry news

Toyota may have moved closer to toppling Ford
Toyota Motor Corp. probably moved closer this month to ending Ford Motor Co.'s 76-year reign as the second-biggest seller of automobiles in the U.S., according to Bloomberg News reports.

Ford's sales may have dropped in May for a seventh straight month and Toyota's probably rose, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg said. Through April, Ford's lead in U.S. sales had narrowed to 50,242 vehicles from 232,922 after the first four months last year.

"I don't think there's much debate that Toyota will overtake Ford" in the U.S., Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said in an interview. "You won't have to wait very long for that."

Ford has been No. 2 in the U.S. behind General Motors Corp. since 1931. Detroit News

industry news

Mazda car recall is largest in automaker's history
Mazda Motor Corp. said it is recalling 264,276 cars in Japan due to a possible clutch defect.  It is Mazda’s largest recall in Japan since the Hiroshima-based automaker began taking recall data in 1994, she said. The company’s previous record recall was for 162,405 vehicles in March 2004.The automaker, Japan’s fifth-largest, said the vehicles that were affected were Demio and Verisa passenger cars built between June 2002 and March 2006.


New 2007 F1 rules will add more action, strategy to USGP
A look at the new rules for the 2007 Formula One season, including the United States Grand Prix on June 15-17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Car Identification

The TV camera housing on the roll hoop of the first car of a team must be painted fluorescent red while the second car's camera housing must be painted fluorescent yellow.


Each car has a GPS system this year so officials know exactly where it is on the track at all times.

Each car must be fitted with red, blue and yellow cockpit lights that warn the drivers of impending track conditions - race or session stopped, a faster car is approaching and danger, respectively - which work in parallel with the flag signals displayed by corner workers.

Each car has a medical warning light, connected to the FIA data logger, which gives rescue crews an instant indication of the severity of an accident.

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PCM Rookies Figge and Dalziel log test miles on both coasts
Oxnard, CA - Pacific Coast Motorsports wrapped a busy week of testing yesterday. They traveled nearly 3,000 miles to from their west coast headquarters to Mt. Tremblant last week for a two day test, then turned around and headed west another 2500 miles to Thunder Hill, California. The team completed a full day of testing at Thunder Hill on Wednesday and today, they will travel the nearly 500 miles back to the PCM shop to prepare for next week’s Portland Grand Prix Presented by Joe’s.

“Alex and Ryan completed nearly 800 miles and our transport department logged nearly 6,000 miles, it’s been a busy week for PCM,” said team manger, Michael Harvey. “We’ve concluded our testing for the first half of the season and looking back, we’ve made a lot of progress, and we are really looking forward to getting back to racing. Mt. Tremblant is a fantastic circuit; it was an important test for us as we focused primarily on our race set-ups for our return there next month. We used the Thunder Hill test to continue our developments working with the differential and traction in addition to damper combinations. I think we’ve made great strides in our chassis work, and we’ve definitely made a lot of improvements with the differential.”

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Papis tests for Hendrick
Widely known as one of the most versatile race car drivers in the business, Max Papis spent Tuesday testing for Hendrick Motorsports as they continued to develop their NASCAR Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow road course program. 

Papis was joined by Hendrick Motorsports’ regular drivers and other NASCAR stars at VIR (Virginia International Raceway), taking advantage of the track's test days to prepare for the Sonoma and Watkins Glen races.

Papis had a very successful day of testing and enjoyed the opportunity to further prove himself in a NASCAR race car. 

“It was a fantastic feeling to be on the race track with the four Hendrick Cup drivers,” Papis said.  “I am glad that I am able to contribute and help them get the best prepared car as possible for the road course tracks. It’s an honor to be associated with such a prestigious team.”

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Rice Named Grand Marshal
Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, has been named Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend at Infineon Raceway, June 22-24.

Rice, best known as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, will be honored throughout the weekend, most notably at the Raceway Builder’s Grand Marshal’s Banquet on Friday night, June 22, at beautiful Cline Cellars in Sonoma. All proceeds from the banquet benefit Speedway Children’s Charities.

“This will be a new experience for me and I’m really looking forward to it,” Rice said. “I’ve never been to a NASCAR race but I understand it is quite an experience. I’m honored to be grand marshal of the race weekend and I’m looking forward to the event.”

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track news

No lights planned for Dover
For now, the improvements at Dover International Speedway do not include the installation of lights, which many speedways have added in recent years in order to host races in prime time. "We don't have lights on the near-term schedule," Denis McGlynn, CEO of Dover Motorsports, said. "If push came to shove and we had to do it, we'd take a serious look at it, but there's a lot of moving parts on that issue that would need to be addressed and I'm not sure we're there yet." Delaware News Journal


Q and A on why the sale of NHRA

Q: Why did NHRA enter into this transaction?
A: After careful consideration, the NHRA Board of Directors determined that this was the best opportunity for NHRA and its mandate to protect, preserve and promote the sport of drag racing for a number of reasons. First, it provides long-term financial stability to NHRA. Second, it provides the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series with an unhindered opportunity to flourish and grow with access to capital, key relationships and complementary skill sets to build and grow the professional series into a major sports entertainment property. Third, NHRA's Board of Directors believe that the important long-term strategic relationships that will remain between NHRA and NHRA Pro Racing, including the perpetual sanctioning relationship, will be of great benefit to the future strength and growth of sportsman and amateur racing as well as professional racing. And finally, this transaction will leave NHRA debt-free, financially strong, and ensure NHRA's long-term viability as the leader in the sport of drag racing.

Q: What are the other key elements of the deal?
A: NHRA Pro Racing will conduct professional drag racing while NHRA will focus on amateur and sportsman racing. NHRA Pro Racing has also entered into agreements with the association under which NHRA will provide racing operations and all sanctioning services to the new company. Finally, NHRA Pro Racing has been granted a set of rights to commercialize the NHRA brand, including rights related to the association's video and photo archives, multi-media products, new publications and merchandise.

Q: What type of relationship will exist between NHRA and NHRA Pro Racing? How will the two companies be structured to compliment each other?
A: The parties have established a long-term relationship which we believe facilitates the growth and expansion of drag racing at all levels as well as the optimization of the overall NHRA brand. NHRA will continue to focus on amateur and sportsman drag racing as well as National DRAGSTER, NHRA membership services and youth and educational programs. NHRA will sanction all NHRA Drag Racing events, including the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events in perpetuity. In addition, NHRA will forever be involved in creating the rules that govern the sport. NHRA Pro Racing will focus on professional drag racing and the overall commercialization and expansion of the NHRA brand.

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Hoosier Hundred cancelled UPDATE #2 Track Enterprises, Inc. has announced that the 55th Annual Hoosier Hundred, postponed by heavy rains on May 25 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, will not be rescheduled. Due to scheduling conflicts a viable date was not available for the K & N Engineering USAC Silver Crown race.

 Race fans who attended the race on May 25 will receive a full refund. To request your refund you may go to the Track Enterprises website and download a refund request form and mail your ticket stub and/or arm band, along with the request, to Track Enterprises at P.O. Box 79, Macon, Ill. 62544. You may also go to the Indiana State Fairgrounds or Track Enterprises to obtain a refund request form.

USAC participants can also receive a refund for pit passes issued at the Indiana State Fairgrounds by sending them to the USAC offices at 4910 W. 16th Street, Speedway, IN 46224 or can present them at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield August 18 in return for a credential for that day’s ‘Tony Bettenhausen 100.”

For more information, contact Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200 or visit the Track Enterprises website at www.trackenterprises.com or call the Indiana State Fairgrounds at 317-927-1482.

05/26/07 Officials are working diligently to determine a date to reschedule the Hoosier Hundred. An announcement will be made on Tuesday, May 29, with more information on the postponement.

05/25/07 Rain has forced postponement of Friday night’s 55th running of the “Hoosier Hundred” K & N Engineering USAC Silver Crown Championship race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. USAC and track officials are discussing a possible re-schedule date and will announce the new date when firm.


Q and A with Jean Alesi
New Speedcar Series driver and former F1 and DTM star Jean Alesi spoke on his move to the series from his home in Switzerland.

Q: How did you find out about the Speedcar Series?
A: I met Benoit Lamonerie and Luciano Secchi, the promoters of Speedcar, at last year's Italian Grand Prix. I knew them very well and I know that they are very concrete people. I immediately understood that they had the resources to organize a great series when they told me about the Nascar-style idea they had for Asia and the Middle East. It sounded exciting, and made me think of what I would like to do in the next stage of my racing career.

Q: Why did you decide to enter?
A: Benoit and Luciano told me the idea was to have drivers at Formula 1 level racing against each other to deliver a great show. I thought this would be great, as it would make a special atmosphere and be very enjoyable, with many friends from F1 coming together to race again. It will also be a different experience to race in the winter, as many championships have already finished their seasons, which I think will attract many fans to Speedcar Series.

Q: What are your first impressions of the car?
A: I love the car, it is completely different to everything I have driven in the past. It has a lot of power, makes a great noise, and is fun because it doesn't have any aerodynamic aids like F1 or DTM. It's mechanically very well balanced, but you cannot take it to the limit easily, that requires a lot of skill. It is much more difficult to drive than a DTM car.

Q: Do you think there will be a lot of overtaking on the track?
A: Definitely! The cars have earlier braking points than many others I've driven, which will make it much easier to overtake. It will be very exciting, as the cars allow the driver the make the difference, so fans will see lots of skill. I'm really looking forward to the start of the championship this winter as there will be some spectacular racing.

Q: Will the association with GP2 Asia help the Speedcar Series?
A: Speedcar is strong enough to succeed on its own, but GP2 Asia's deal to join with the series will make a strong association that will help both. GP2 Asia will give young drivers the chance to learn closely from the experienced drivers in Speedcar, and move forward to F1.

industry news

Toyota Tundra may be recalled
Toyota Motor Corp. faces a costly setback in the biggest U.S. vehicle launch in its history after owners of its new Tundra pickup reported engine failures.

The Japanese automaker may recall Tundras equipped with 5.7-liter V-8s to replace the engines, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The trouble with the Tundra's 5.7-liter engines, the most powerful engine available on the new pickup, is the latest in a series of recalls and problems that have dented Toyota's reputation.

The automaker set the industry standards for vehicle quality, but now seems to be straining to maintain top quality as it expands overseas, builds factories and hires thousands of new workers.

"It's really tough," said Karl Brauer, editor of Edmunds.com, an automotive research Web site. "Engine failure kills a car's ability to run and it's not a simple thing to fix."

Such a problem is also likely to affect residual values, he said. Detroit Free Press

industry news

Explorer owners seek $2B from Ford
The seven-year legal battle between Ford Motor Co. and owners of Ford Explorer SUVs takes a new turn next week when Ford defends a class action over the Explorer's safety that seeks about $2 billion in penalties.

The California case involves 414,000 customers who owned or leased Explorers between 1990 and 2000. They accuse the automaker of hiding safety concerns while marketing the Explorer, and contend their vehicles' resale values deflated following the Firestone tire debacle that was linked to 271 traffic deaths.No U.S. automaker has ever been forced to pay such damages, and even if the Explorer customers win, the verdict would likely be tied up in appeals. But with 14 similar class actions pending in other states, Ford's legal bills from the Firestone recall will continue for years to come.

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Tomita to become Chairman of Fuji Speedway
Panasonic Toyota Racing Chairman and Team Principal Tsutomu Tomita will become the new Chairman of Fuji Speedway, it was announced today. As announced on 26 April, Tomita will stand down from his role at Toyota Motorsport at the end of June to be replaced by current Vice Chairman Tadashi Yamashina. Tomita, 63, will take over as Chairman of Fuji Speedway, which hosts the Japanese Grand Prix this year for the first time since 1977.Tomita said: "I am looking forward to taking up my new role at Fuji Speedway. I would like to thank everyone at Toyota Motorsport and of course our partners for their encouragement and support during my time with the team in Formula 1. I am moving on to a new challenge with Fuji Speedway so I will continue to be involved in Formula 1. The Japanese Grand Prix is returning to Fuji Speedway after 30 years and I am sure we will host a successful event. I particularly hope to see the Toyota team achieve great things at Fuji Speedway."


Team pleased after FIA inquiry backs McLaren
(GMM)  F1's governing body has cleared McLaren of using illegal team orders in the controversial Monaco grand prix.

The FIA conducted an investigation into the team's conduct, after the British press reacted angrily to boss Ron Dennis' admission that Fernando Alonso and his British teammate Lewis Hamilton had been asked to ensure a safe one-two finish.

Result-altering team orders were banned in 2002 in reaction to former Ferrari duo Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher's place-swapping on the Austrian GP finish-line.

But the FIA says it found that McLaren's actions in Monte Carlo "were entirely legitimate and no further action is necessary."

The statement also suggested that, when one of a teams' cars is leading a grand prix, it is legitimate for them to "ensure (that) their other car finishes second".

The FIA said: "There is no obligation on them to take (the) risk to overtake their own car.  Indeed it would be foolish to do so.

"It is standard procedure for a team to tell its drivers to slow down when they have a substantial lead.

"(McLaren) did nothing which could be described as interfering with the race result," the statement explained.

The Woking based team reacted by calling the FIA's investigation "efficient, professional and thorough", and insisted that the outcome demonstrated that the press' scathing criticism had been "not justified".

FIA spokesman Richard Woods, meanwhile, denied that the governing body is the only party that risked bringing the sport into disrepute after Monaco by conducting the inquiry and worsening the negative publicity.

He told The Times: "This was the regulator going through the regulatory process as transparently as possible and reaching a conclusion."


Montezemolo rules out Prime Minister bid
(GMM) Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has rejected media reports that said he was about to embark on a career in Italian politics.

The rumors were sparked late last week when the 59-year-old gave a speech - critical of the country's political incumbency - that was interpreted as a precursor to a career switch.

Montezemolo said he wanted to see lower taxes and a more flexible market in Italy, with even Prime Minister Romano Prodi confessing that the speech "spoke for itself".

The newspaper La Repubblica also swallowed Montezemolo's apparent implications, running a poll and finding that 36 per cent of Italians would like to see the former Ferrari team boss as their country's next leader.

But Montezemolo insisted on Wednesday: "I'm not entering politics and I never will. I didn't have hidden agendas (in my speech)."

To the news agency ANSA, meanwhile, Montezemolo dismissed McLaren's recent one-two as a one-off and predicted a swift return to the top for his Maranello built cars.

"Monte Carlo is a joke," he said. "It's not even a race, it's just a TV show."


Verstappen wants three-day Spyker test
(GMM)  Popular Dutch former formula one driver Jos Verstappen has urged Spyker to let him test its 2007 car over at least two days later this year.

It emerged earlier this month that the 35-year-old, who last drove for Minardi in 2003, had been invited by a common sponsor to sample the controls of the F8-VII single seater, possibly at the Belgian grand prix or the Spa-Francorchamps group test.

Verstappen told his column in the morning newspaper Telegraaf on Thursday: "It would only make sense if I can test for a number of days.

"With my experience of formula one, I could help with the development of the car.  But two days is the minimum, and ideally three."

The likely test has been interpreted by some observers as a move to put pressure on Spyker's current Dutch driver Christijan Albers, who has struggled alongside his rookie teammate Adrian Sutil in 2007.

Verstappen said of his countryman: "It becomes difficult for you when everyone thinks that your teammate is faster.

"And perhaps it is the case."

tv news

Danica Patrick to be on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
If you missed Danica Patrick's guest appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show on May 3, the program will be replayed Friday morning, June 1 (late Thursday night).  The show airs on ABC at 12:05 am - 1:05 am in most time zones.  Check local listings for your location and time zone.


Halliday steps up a class for Le Mans 24 Hours!
Liz Halliday will step up to the LMP2 class for the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours having agreed terms to drive for the French Noel Del Bello Racing team. The move sees Liz returning to the prototype category in which she has enjoyed huge success in her career so far, and will place her behind the wheel of a Courage-AER LC75 for the first time.

Liz, who for the second consecutive year, looks set to be the only female amongst the field of 165 drivers, finished 4th in the LMP2 class at Le Mans in 2006 and led the category in 2005 before being forced into retirement due to engine trouble. She was also class runner-up in the American Le Mans Series last season and became the most successful female in the series history with 6 wins in this prestigious US sports car racing championship.

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Rahal team turns toward Milwaukee next
Having proven their mettle in the fires of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, Rahal Letterman Racing drivers Scott Sharp (#8 Patrón Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Jeff Simmons (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) will look to build on strong Indianapolis 500 runs when the IndyCar Series heads for the Milwaukee Mile this weekend.
Sharp matched a season-best with a sixth-place finish at Indy, while Simmons ran in the top-five for much of the day before rain-induced strategies shuffled him back to 11th in the final finishing order.

The Ohio-based squad will now turn its attention to the flat one-mile oval on the grounds of Wisconsin State Fair Park for this weekend’s ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225, which is the sixth race on the 2007 IndyCar Series schedule. The first short-oval race of the year will see Simmons returning to the track where he set his career-best qualifying mark a year ago, as he earned the sixth-place spot on the starting grid. He led his first IndyCar race lap during that race while on his way to a ninth-place result.

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Government providing significant $$ for Singapore GP
The new Formula 1 race in Singapore is an interesting business model for the sport with the government admitting that it is going to pay about 60% of the annual cost of $99m. The deal is for five years with a five-year extension planned. The interesting thing is that the promoter, Singapore GP Ltd, a company controlled by hotel tycoon Ong Beng Seng, is not allowed to make big profits from the race, at least not directly. Although no-one will talk about the deal, it has been confirmed by the race's executive director Michael Roche that there is a profit cap in place and if the organization makes more than the limit the additional money will go to the government to reduce the payments it has to make in the later races.

The government accepts that the cost of hosting an F1 race far exceeds the revenue a race promoter can expect to get from ticket sales, merchandising and sponsorship, but is happy to invest because it believes that the race will generate around $100m in additional tourism revenues, and will have intangible benefits such as improving the image of Singapore and getting more people to visit when the racers are not in town.

The most interesting part of the funding will come from a special tax that the government will levy on hotel rooms. With 40,000 people expected to attend from abroad, the hotel prices are expected to be high and the government is pushing them even higher with its special tax, which it is hoped will bring in revenues of between $15m and $20m. This will be fine for the high rollers but may be a little much for race fans and so there will not doubt be a flourishing trade in cheaper accommodation, thus spreading the earnings around. More at Grandprix.com


Is Risi Ferrari team favorites at LeMans?
It’s easy to see why Risi Competizione is one of the favorites in the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Four straight wins to open the American Le Mans Series season - including the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring - speaks volumes. But nothing would establish the legacy for Risi and its F430 GT more than a class win at the world’s most prestigious auto race.

That’s exactly what the team has done eight times in the last 10 Series events dating back to Mosport last September.

“It’s nice to be able to say that we have had so much success here,” said Risi’s Mika Salo, a veteran of 111 Formula 1 starts. “There is no point in going there and being happy with second place. We are going to win.”

Salo, Jaime Melo and Johnny Mowlem will reprise their winning roles from Sebring in the team’s lead Ferrari. Nic Jonsson, Tracy Krohn and Colin Braun will team in the second Risi entry in partnership with Krohn Racing.

Risi’s streak of five consecutive wins in the Series ended two weeks ago at Utah when the Salo/Melo car retired with a mechanical problem nearly two hours into the race. But that has done little to dampen the team’s confidence. Ferrari is unbeaten in the last six Series events, and Risi has shown itself to be the premier Ferrari team in the Series if not the world.

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Q and A with Mike Gascoyne
Although Monaco ended with a disappointing double retirement for the Spyker Formula One Team, on a positive note Adrian Sutil underlined his potential by topping the times on a damp Saturday morning, and racing with the Toyotas and Super Aguris on Sunday. The team’s official site had this Q and A with Mike Gascoyne. 

Did you enjoy the Monaco weekend overall?
Yes, I think everyone enjoyed it, and we were buoyed by Adrian’s performance on Saturday. The guys are a bit disappointed by the result, but we were racing at the end of the day, not just making up the numbers.

Was if frustrating to have two retirements?
It was a disappointing end to a much better weekend, really. With Adrian we went for a standard one-stop, and we were racing for the first time this year. He did a pretty good job but his brake pedal was getting soft and he just made a mistake when he went off. That was disappointing for him, because I think he’d had a pretty good weekend up to then, particularly with his Saturday performance. It was a shame to have Christijan out too as his lap times were good at that point.

At one point Adrian was with Trulli and Davidson, and then he fell back. What happened?
He did drop back off, but it all varied with blue flags and so on and then he picked his pace up again. In the end it looked pretty good, and he was comfortable in front of Schumacher. I think he enjoyed the race until he made a mistake. We would have finished in front of several cars.

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track news

Ragan, Sauter test at Infineon Raceway
Drivers David Ragan and Johnny Sauter spent Tuesday afternoon testing the twists and turns of Infineon Raceway, in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, June 22-24.

It was the first time on the road course for Sauter, while Ragan visited Sonoma in February for a one-day test session.  Both drivers will make their first race start on the 10-turn road course in June.

Ragan, driver of the No. 6 AAA Ford, piloted an American Speed Association (ASA) stock car supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville. He was coached by NASCAR Grand National Division West Series driver Kenny Shepherd and completed approximately 100 laps in the partial-day test. 

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NASCAR hands down another fine
Chuck Meyers, crew chief for the No. 1 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet of J.J. Yeley, has been fined for a violation found last weekend during Busch Series practice at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  Meyers was fined $1,000 after NASCAR discovered May 26 that the right-side window was too thin.


Hornish quickest in ARCA RE/MAX Series test
IRL Champ Sam Hornish made his first laps around Michigan Int'l Speedway in a full bodied ARCA RE/MAX Series stock car on Tuesday afternoon, unofficially posting the fastest time out of 18 drivers.

"This is my first time in anything other than an Indy Car here at Michigan," said Hornish. "It's definitely different in a stock car. They run a different line here; it's a little more bumpy, but it's fun. We ran the California Busch race and the tracks are very similar. I'd love to run the ARCA race in June, sponsorship dependent. It just works out that my two off weekends in the IRL are the two Cup weekends here at Michigan."

The full day open test was in preparation for the June 15 ARCA RE/MAX 200 at Michigan. Erik Darnell, in the No. 99 Simply Wow Cleaner and Degreaser Ford, was unofficially clocked at second fastest.

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Coca-Cola 600 TV ratings drop, but still beat Indy 500 UPDATE Fox’ coverage of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday earned a 4.5/10 final Nielsen rating, down 11.8% from a 5.1/11 last year.  Sad to say but most NASCAR Nextel Cup races get a better TV rating than the IRL's top draw, the Indy 500, which this year had a final rating of 4.3.

05/29/07 Fox’ coverage of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, which ran from 5:45-10:30pm ET, earned a 4.5/9 overnight, down 4.3% from a 4.7/10 last year.


Final Indy 500 TV ratings plummet UPDATE #2 ABC earned a 4.3 final Nielsen rating for live coverage of Sunday's rain-delayed Indianapolis 500, from 1:01-3:03pm ET and 6:01-7:12pm, down 15.7% from a 5.1 last year.  The rain delay probably hurt the ratings a bit.

05/30/07 Despite being down for the national rating, more Hoosiers tuned in to watch the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday on TV.  Local overnight TV ratings on the 91st race, the first to be rebroadcast around Central Indiana in high definition, was up 3 percent, a WRTV-6 release reported Tuesday.  The 15.1 percent rating marked the third consecutive local increase for the race -- 2006 was about 1 percent better than 2005.

05/29/07 ABC earned a 4.6 overnight Nielsen rating for live coverage of Sunday's rain-delayed Indianapolis 500, from 1:00-3:00pm ET and 6:00-7:15pm, down 8.0% from a 5.0 overnight last year.  The rating was measured only during periods when the cars were racing, according to the official.

racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
*McLaren F1 teammates Alonso, Hamilton move up with 1-2 finish at Monaco
*Franchitti cracks Top 10 with Indy 500 win
*Gordon drops from top spot after Charlotte wreck

Updated 5-30-07
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (8) Fernando Alonso (F1) 8.694
2. (5) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 8.240
3. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.227
4. (6) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.852
5. (7) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.593
6. (9) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.507
7. (10) Lewis Hamilton (F1) 7.122
8. (22) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 7.092
9. (1) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.075
10. (14) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.883
11. (3) Felipe Massa (F1) 6.842
12. (NR) J.J. Yeley (NASCAR) 6.703
13. (NR) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.555
14. (13) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.463
15. (16) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.411
16. (19) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.184
17. (NR) Bobby Labonte (NASCAR) 6.035
18. (NR) Kyle Petty (NASCAR) 6.010
19. (11) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 5.991
20. (NR) Casey Mears (NASCAR) 5.983

Dropped out: Dan Wheldon (IRL), Jeff Burton (NASCAR), Will Power (CCWS), Ryan Newman (NASCAR), Clint Bowyer (NASCAR), Bruno Junqueira (CCWS)


McLaren cleared of any wrongdoing
Having studied the radio traffic between Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (McLaren) and its drivers, together with the FIA observer’s report and data from the team, it is clear that McLaren’s actions during the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix were entirely legitimate and no further action is necessary.

The facts

1. A two-stop strategy is the optimum at Monaco unless the safety car is deployed, in which case one-stop can sometimes be better.

2. The safety car has been deployed during four of the past five Monaco Grands Prix.

3. Under current rules the choice between a one-stop and two-stop strategy must be made before the final qualifying period.

4. It is clear from FIA measurements taken after qualifying that McLaren fuelled Hamilton for five more laps than Alonso.

5. This allowed Hamilton the option of a one-stop strategy should the safety car have come out during his first stint.

6. The safety car was not deployed.

7. The McLaren was significantly faster at Monaco than any other car.

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Berger 'understands' McLaren team order
(GMM) Gerhard Berger has taken a side on the raging Monaco team order debate, arguing that he "understands" why McLaren would want to protect its one-two finish.

The ten-time grand prix winner, who now co-owns the Toro Rosso team, admitted that team orders are strictly-speaking forbidden by the rules.

"Since 2007 team orders are not allowed," Austrian Berger admitted to the newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten.

Berger, though, said he sympathizes with fellow team boss Ron Dennis' position in Monte Carlo; faced with the prospect of a dominant team and two hard-charging drivers.

"When you are a minute in front of third position, of course you want your two own drivers not to fight themselves into the barriers," he said.


Amateur drivers are wrecking Indy 500
Don’t blame Mother Nature. She didn’t ruin the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500, a race that desperately tried to make open-wheel racing relevant again.

Yes, her teary eyes dampened spirits before the race, stalled the event for three hours a little more than halfway through — just when things had become really exciting — and eventually handed Dario Franchitti the Borg-Warner Trophy about 85 miles short of 500.

Blaming it on the rain would miss the bigger story.

The Indy 500 didn’t recapture any of its luster on Sunday for the same reason it lost it 11 years ago: Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George’s Indy Racing League can’t recover from its split with CART.

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Bernie wants McLaren team slammed
Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone insists McLaren are facing a ban or points deduction if they are found guilty of issuing team orders during Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

Lewis admitted afterwards he was told to "ease off" in his pursuit of the Spaniard with McLaren insisting it was simply part of their strategy.

But if the FIA conclude that the instruction amounted to team orders, banned under their own rules, Ecclestone would like to see the British-based team treated harshly.

Ferrari were fined one million dollars when they were found guilty of issuing team orders after the Austrian Grand Prix in 2002 - and Ecclestone believes that is the least McLaren should expect if they are found guilty.

"I don't know what the 'team orders' are or were," he told the Daily Mail.

"One thing is for sure - if there were team orders which relate to the position of the two drivers - if somebody is told to move over or hold their position - it is against all the sporting regulations we have.

"If there were orders, they would be getting off lightly if they get the same sort of fine as Ferrari.

"They could be excluded from the championship or they could have points deducted. A fine for McLaren, with its money, would not have the same effect as docking points."


Ambrose gets Cup test ahead of Cup debut
Marcos Ambrose has completed his first full test day in a NASCAR Nextel Cup ‘Car of Tomorrow’ ahead of competing at one of the most challenging venues in NASCAR in the Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway this weekend.

Ambrose completed a day of testing at Virginia International Raceway today (May 29) in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 24, where Ambrose will attempt to qualify for his first NASCAR Nextel Cup event in an Aussie Vineyards-backed Ford Fusion.

It was Ambrose’s first full-on test of a Cup car, having conducted a shakedown of a Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford Fusion ‘COT’ on May 9 at Carolina Motorsports Park.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Max, Bernie, clash over 'standard car' idea
  • Renault's Ghosn bins 'Alonso factor' theory
  • Kimi has 'Schumi syndrome' - reports
  • F1 steward, Bernie, disagree about McLaren conduct
  • Ferrari "favorites" for next races - Alonso
  • FIA toughens tests for bendy rear wings

Max, Bernie, clash over 'standard car' idea
(GMM) Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone are believed to have clashed over the FIA president's latest radical idea for the future of formula one.

The specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport claims that Mosley - to complement his vision for road-relevant and environmentally friendly V6 engines in 2011 - is looking into introducing a standardized chassis to further get costs under control.

Mosley's apparent vision is that individual teams be allowed to modify the standard car, both mechanically and aerodynamically, so that the talent of race winners and champions is truly obvious.

But F1 supremo Ecclestone is quoted as reacting: "That (idea) has nothing to do with formula one."

Mosley said: "I can remember when 30 or so of the 33 cars in the Indy 500 were built by March, and that didn't bother anybody."

Renault's Ghosn bins 'Alonso factor' theory
(GMM) Chief executive Carlos Ghosn insists that Renault's trough in 2007 can not be attributed solely to the departure of back to back world champion Fernando Alonso.

With the young Spaniard at the wheel, Enstone based Renault soared to the drivers' and constructors' titles both last year and in 2005.

After five races this season, however, Giancarlo Fisichella and rookie Heikki Kovalainen have delivered only enough points for a distant fourth in the teams' battle.

But Ghosn told the specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport: "If you are 1.5 seconds per lap behind, you can not talk too much about an 'Alonso factor'.

Ghosn told reporters in Monaco last weekend that the carmaker remained committed to formula one but only if Renault ultimately returned to a more competitive position in the future.

He said: "As the double world champions we cannot be content with the current situation.

"But the (team's bosses) have assured me that the problems will shortly have been fully identified and repaired."

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IRL news tidbits
Injured A.J. Foyt Racing crew member Dan Brown was released from Methodist Hospital on May 28. Brown, the right-rear tire changer for Al Unser Jr.'s No. 50 entry, sustained multiple left foot fractures after he was accidentally struck on pit lane. He will return to Methodist Hospital from his home in Chicago to undergo surgery....... ESPN Classic will re-air Sunday's dramatic Indianapolis 500 as an Instant Classic with a two-hour telecast at 4 p.m. (ET) on May 31. The 91st running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," won by Dario Franchitti, featured dramatic moments, including several lead changes throughout the rain-delayed race, which ended under caution 34 laps shy of the scheduled distance.......Three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. has re-launched his website at www.samhornish.com. Hornish will use the site to give a behind the scenes look at his life through a personal journal as well as answer fan questions through an "Ask Sam" feature......Bombardier Learjet awarded Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti with the use of a private jet to transport him roundtrip from his home in Nashville, Tenn., to Fort Worth, Texas for the Bombardier Learjet 550k on June 9.


Dull race won’t help open wheel
Sorry, Dario. But all America noticed was that, when you bust a cloudburst over the head of a Hollywood type, she looks pretty much as drowned as anyone else.

What an image to take away from the Greatest Spectacle In Racing, Ashley Judd running through the rain in her bare feet, soaked to the skin. What a lousy day for open-wheel racing – which, if luck were groceries, would be the gallon of milk you accidentally left on the counter to spoil.

A year ago, the Spectacle gives us a spectacle, the single greatest finish in 90 Indianapolis 500s, a momentary bump for a marvelous sport that needs every bump it can get. And how do the fates react?

By saying, “Not so fast, bub.”

By giving us maybe the worst show ever, a race with 11 yellows in 166 laps, a race where people ran into each other more often than stunt doubles in an Allstate ad. A race with a three-hour hole in it. A race with rain at the beginning, and rain in the middle and rain at the end, destroying the natural buildup of tension that makes the 500 what it is and murdering what was shaping up to be another dazzling finish.

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NASCAR suspends Tyler Walker indefinitely UPDATE Bill Davis Racing has released the following statement in regards to the indefinite suspension from NASCAR competition for Tyler Walker.

“We agree with the vigilance that NASCAR is taking in this instance,” said Bill Davis.  “We also have a zero tolerance substance abuse policy at Bill Davis Racing and will take the appropriate action concerning Tyler’s future status with our company.”

05/29/07 Tyler Walker, a Toyota driver in the Craftsman Truck Series, has been suspended from competition indefinitely by NASCAR, for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. On May 18, Walker was found to have violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-E (failure to comply with the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the series rule book. NASCAR Media


Duno to skip Milwaukee race
Milka Duno, the IndyCar Series' latest woman racer, crashed out of Sunday's 91st Indianapolis 500 and was credited with a 31st-place finish. The series will continue Sunday at The Milwaukee Mile, site of the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225, without the popular Venezuelan. [Editor's Note: Milwaukee is not a 100% throttle track and requires that a driver actually be able to drive well.]

"The next race for me, it is Texas," said Duno, referring to the Bombardier Learjet 550 night event in Fort Worth on June 9.

Duno completed 65 laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval before crashing into the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1.

"There really was no mistake," said Duno, driver of the No. 23 Hugo Chavez CITGO Racing Dallara/Honda fielded by SAMAX Motorsport. "I was just behind two cars and they slowed down too much. My car lost all the aerodynamic [grip] in front and there was no way to control the car." [Editor's Note:  No mistake?  Really? It was clear that she overreacted to the cars in front of her and made a rookie mistake.]

This year's rookie class hardly distinguished itself. Phil Giebler, driver of the No. 31 Ethos Fuel Reformulator Panoz/Honda, was credited with completing 106 laps after crashing out in Turn 1. Giebler finished 29th.  In other words only two rookies competed and they both crashed out. Star-Telegram

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