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Four Cup drivers test at Infineon Four Cup drivers test at InfineonCarl Edwards highlighted a group of four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers participating in a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Tuesday.

The drivers tested the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend, set for June 23-25 in the Sonoma Valley.

Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), who placed 38th in his only other visit to Infineon Raceway in 2005, tested his Busch Series car with coaching from road-race specialist Boris Said. Said will also compete in the Sonoma NASCAR weekend as part of a four-race deal behind the wheel of his No. 60 No Fear Ford. His other races are in Daytona, Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. zzzz

Edwards wasn’t in race trim and his car featured substantially less horsepower than his NEXTEL Cup car, as he clocked a top lap of 1 minute, 18 seconds. Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge) and Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet) also took part in the test, which concludes on Wednesday.

“I just followed Boris’ lead out there today; he helped me out a lot,” Edwards said. “I need a top 10 when we come back out here later this month. This race is of huge importance; I took 38th here last year and that can’t happen again with the Chase (for the NEXTEL Cup) coming up.”

“Carl’s getting real good out here,” commented Said, who has placed sixth twice in Cup events in Sonoma. “He’s about as fast as I am on three-quarters of the track. There are only a couple of places that he still needs to figure out.”

Sorenson posted a 1:19.79, also in a Busch Series car, while Bowyer clocked a 1:21.3 in a Grand National Division AutoZone West Series car, which features even less  horsepower than a Busch Series car. Busch did not report a time.

“I haven’t run a lot of road courses in general so my goal is to just gain some track experience and learn the corners,” Sorenson said. “I’m hoping I’ll learn enough to be better when I come back, but this is a pretty tough track.”

Sorenson is one of six NEXTEL Cup drivers pulling double-duty the weekend of June 23-25, competing in both the Cup event in Sonoma and the Busch Series event in Milwaukee. Others drivers pulling double-duty are Edwards; Bowyer; Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet); Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Kinko’s Chevrolet); and J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet). Infineon Raceway

Aussie Vineyards and Champ Car Aussie Vineyards and Champ CarAussie Vineyards has an interesting Web site at http://www.aussievineyards.com/  The following CCWS target audience marketing statistics provided on their Web site: http://www.aussievineyards.com/our_plan/champ_car.htm   These figures might be compelling to other CCWS sponsors/potential sponsors.
Sales up for Canadian races Sales up for Canadian racesIn this Toronto Sun article, Champ Car boss Kevin Kalkhoven says sales are up in Canada and despite what it appears, Corporate Canada is getting behind the series.

When asked about why drivers like Tagliani and Toronto's Paul Tracy can't secure Canadian sponsorship for their respective teams, Kalkhoven defended Champ Car's relationship with corporate Canada.

"Just because Paul and Alex don't have significant Canadian corporate sponsorship doesn't mean that companies in Canada aren't supporting Champ Car," he said.

"I see the corporate support in Toronto and Edmonton for our races there and I am overwhelmed by the increase in that support for this year's events."

He admitted that the series struggled last year in Montreal, but he said a new promoter for that race is working hard there to restore the luster of that event.

He also said that advance sales for the newly named Molson Toronto Grand Prix are up significantly over 2005.

"I can tell you that at this time we are about 15% ahead of last year in both ticket sales and signing corporate sponsors for the Molson Toronto Grand Prix," he said.

"And from what I have seen of the results in Edmonton so far this year, the response there is even more encouraging than it was in 2005 when it was an astounding success."

Kalkhoven said that he is encouraged that other Canadian cities -- which he would not name -- have contacted Champ Car about races.

"We currently have a list of cities who are contacting us about holding events in their communities," he said.
More scenes from Milwaukee More scenes from MilwaukeePhotos courtesy of Greg Spitzer:


Silverstone is hard on the Michelin tires Silverstone is hard on the Michelin tiresSilverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, is one of the most historically significant venues on the calendar. It was here on May 13 1950 that the very first round of the Formula One world championship took place... and here on July 16 1977 that Michelin started its maiden grand prix. Michelin's entrance marked the first appearance in F1 of the radial technology that remains at the sport's cutting edge today..

Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari) scored Michelin's first British GP win, at Brands Hatch in 1978. It has since won the race on another five occasions, with John Watson (McLaren, Silverstone 1981), Niki Lauda (McLaren, Brands Hatch 1982 and Brands Hatch 1984), Alain Prost (Renault, Silverstone 1983) and Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren, Silverstone 2005).

This weekend, the company is targeting its sixth win of the 2006 season and the 99th in its illustrious F1 world championship history.  zzzz

Michelin's view

Nick Shorrock, Formula One director, Michelin
"Silverstone's demanding sweeps place considerable loads on both cars and tires. The track requires a medium aero set-up and a Formula One chassis needs to be very reactive, to cope with high-speed directional changes, yet also stable enough to handle the slower segments of the track. The latter part of the lap demands good traction, too.

"The track surface is relatively porous and, therefore, abrasive on tires, so we tend to favor some of the hardest compounds we use all season. The cars reach very high speeds and are subjected to significant vertical and lateral loads, so a well balanced tire is essential.

"To prepare tires for this race, we have done a lot of work with our partners during recent test sessions at both Silverstone and Barcelona. Several new products have been tested in order to find the best compromise between first-lap pace and consistency over a full race stint.

"As ever at Silverstone, there are always doubts about the weather and we might well have the opportunity to demonstrate the performance of our latest wet-weather compounds."

Driver perspective: Juan Pablo Montoya, Team McLaren Mercedes
"The Silverstone circuit is completely different from the streets of Monaco, where we raced two weeks ago. It is all about super-fast corners that demand you push the car right to the limit to get a quick lap time. The quick sweeps make Silverstone quite hard on tires, particularly those fitted to the car's left-hand side.

"At the test in April we worked through our tire selection process with Michelin and consequently have a good bank of information. At the test, we found that lap times were faster than they were last year. This is due to improved tire performance and sleeker aerodynamics, which have contributed to increased mid-corner speeds. Copse is now one of the biggest corners of the season - it requires massive commitment, plus absolute belief in the chassis and tires. The start of the lap is awesome, with Copse, Maggotts and the Becketts complex... I love to race at Silverstone and hope we can repeat last year's result, when I scored my first victory for Team McLaren Mercedes."  Source Michelin

Q and A with Pascal Vasselon Q and A with Pascal VasselonPascal Vasselon, Toyota's new Senior General Manager Chassis, talks about the technical challenges of the Circuit of Silverstone that is the venue of this weekends British Grand Prix. Vasselon also talks about the chances of the TF106B at Silverstone.

What are the specific technical challenges of Silverstone?
"Silverstone, in fact, presents a thumbprint very similar to Barcelona. In terms of the aerodynamic package we are looking for the same kind of compromise as in Spain. On the tire side we will be working on the hard side of the Bridgestone range. Perhaps even a little bit harder than in Barcelona probably. For both the aero package and the tires, the reason why Silverstone looks so similar to Barcelona is that we have many long, high-speed corners. But the Becketts section is especially challenging and different to Barcelona – you don't have those high-speed changes of direction in Barcelona. For that reason we build in a bit more understeer at Silverstone because to achieve decent stability at high speed, you need it. But the tires don't like that!"

What other influences are there?
"In terms of braking, Silverstone is quite a low energy circuit and so you try to take some aerodynamic advantage from that with smaller brake ducts. Silverstone will be also give us a good opportunity to assess the new TF106B on a high-speed track compared with the very different conditions we faced in Monte Carlo." zzzz

Do you expect to see better results, comparatively, due to the mechanical gains you've made on the TF106B?
"We expect to see at Silverstone what we have seen in Paul Ricard, which is the potential to achieve a much better overall balance. And it's impossible to talk about Silverstone without mentioning that we always spend a bit more time on wet strategies..."

Ah, the great British weather. A potential problem?
"Precisely! We have had a careful selection of wet compounds and we take some time anticipating every kind of wet conditions."

How quick-drying is the Silverstone surface?
"It is very difficult to anticipate because the drying rate of a circuit depends a lot on what has happened before as well as the general temperature conditions on a given day. We have seen some very quick drying in the past."

What exactly do you mean by 'what's happened before?
"I'm talking about the previous days and whether it has been very hot or cold. That affects the heat release on the ground and in order to anticipate well the drying rate of the track you have to look at what has happened. It is quite complex actually and explains why we have seen very different drying rates in the past."

Similar in a way, to Spa, where rain is almost a given at some point?
"Yes. At Spa last year we gambled on an early change to dry tires and we unfortunately had a situation where the surface did not dry in a way that reflected things we had seen before at Spa. We had seen the track drying quite quickly in previous Belgian races and even a driver as experienced as Michael Schumacher opted for dry tires quite early. These are the kind of considerations and strategies that we prepare for Silverstone."

Does the fact that the British Grand Prix has a June date rather than its traditional July make much difference?
"It will make rain even more likely!"

How far ahead do you look at weather forecasts?
"Usually about one week before as regards the temperature. It is possible to be quite accurate about expectations for the temperature range. We will, for example, know one week ahead whether we can expect track temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees or between 30 and 35 degrees. Then, for the predictions about actual rain, we wait until just before the event and sometimes during it. What I've seen in the past with the British teams is that the mechanics calling their wives and friends who live locally to know if the clouds are coming. Although we do have friends, we prefer to rely on our professional weather forecasting equipment!"

How big an impact can the driver make at Silverstone?
"He will be part of the game, of course, but compared to somewhere like Monaco a driver cannot overcome a car that is not quite right. The car and the aero package play very important roles at Silverstone."

Is overtaking feasible?
"It's not easy anywhere in Formula 1 but at Silverstone there are a couple of places where it is possible. For example, the braking area going into Vale, just before Club Corner, can present an opportunity."

How demanding on engines is Silverstone?
"Without being a dominant parameter like in Monza or Spa, engine plays an important role in Silverstone with an effect on lap time well above average."

Do the teams look forward to Silverstone?
"I've got to say that for us it is pretty much another race on the calendar. Speaking as a Frenchman, it's not a place you go for food or weather!" Source Toyota

TV News
This Week on SPEED’s NASCAR TV This Week on SPEED’s NASCAR TV
• Thursday, June 8 – Beyond the Wheel (8 p.m. EDT).

• Friday, June 9 – NASCAR Live! (2:30 and 6 p.m. EDT, LIVE) with Steve Byrnes, John Roberts and Bob Dillner.

• Friday, June 9 – NASCAR Nextel Cup Series qualifying (3:30 p.m. ET, LIVE) from Pocono.

• Friday, June 9 – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Sam’s Town 400 (9 p.m. EDT; LIVE) from Texas Motor Speedway.

• Friday, June 9 – Trackside (7 p.m. EDT, LIVE) from the SPEED Stage behind the Media Center parking lot with Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds with guests Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Tony Raines.

• Friday, June 9 -- Tradin’ Paint (8 p.m. EDT; LIVE) from the SPEED stage. Host John Roberts and NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip discuss the week’s hot topics with a member of the media. zzzz

• Friday, June 9 – NASCAR Performance (8:30 p.m. EDT, LIVE) with Larry McReynolds, Robert “Bootie” Barker and Chad Knaus.

• Saturday, June 10 – NASCAR Busch Series qualifying (5 p.m. EDT, LIVE) from Nashville Superspeedway.

• Saturday, June 10 – NASCAR Busch Series’ Federated Auto Parts 300 (7:30 p.m. EDT, LIVE on FX).

• Sunday, June 11 – NASCAR RaceDay (11:30 a.m. EDT, LIVE) with John Roberts, Kenny Wallace, Jimmy Spencer and Wendy Venturini take the ultimate NASCAR pre-race show to Pocono.

• Sunday, June 11 – NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series’ Pocono 500 (1:30 p.m. EDT, LIVE on FOX).

• Sunday, June 11 – SPEED News (7 p.m. EDT) hosted by Drew Johnson and Connie LeGrand. Bob Dillner, Robin Miller, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond are regular contributors.

• Sunday, June 11 – NASCAR Victory Lane (8 p.m. EDT) with John Roberts, Kenny Wallace and Jimmy Spencer from Victory Lane at Pocono.

• Sunday, June 11 – Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain (9 p.m. EDT).

• Monday, June 12 – Inside NEXTEL Cup (7 p.m. EDT) with Dave Despain, Michael Waltrip, Brian Vickers and Ken Schrader reviewing the weekend’s action.

• Monday, June 12 – 7 Days (8 p.m. EDT) SPEED cameras follow NASCAR insiders for a week.

• Monday, June 12 – Watch SPEED Channel’s reality series NBS 24/7-The Rookies (8:30 p.m. EDT) as it follows NASCAR Busch Series race teams from FitzBradshaw Racing and Braun Racing.

• Monday, June 12 – Back in the Day with Dale Jr. (9 p.m. EDT) Dale Earnhardt Jr. adds a modern perspective to classic Car & Track footage.

Family feud Family feudFORT WORTH, Texas –  It appears that the bad blood between the Andretti family and Eddie Cheever Jr. has been extended another generation as the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Bombardier Learjet 500k.

And Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage is one to relish a great blend of racing and trash talking that could escalate at any moment during the Bombardier Learjet 500k race weekend, beginning with Thursday’s opening practice.

“Trash talking is what fuels the adrenaline for athletes, especially those who are going 220 miles per hour with disdain for the driver running inches away from him,” Gossage said. “This is like Shaq calling out Dirk Nowitzki, Dirk’s father and Dirk’s grandfather. This is great theater.”

Marco Andretti, the third-generation rising star in one of racing’s “royal” families, and his father Michael verbally unleashed on Cheever Jr. following Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen and apparently that re-ignited the feud that began with Marco’s grandfather Mario and Cheever Jr. in 1992. 

Marco accused Cheever Jr. of intentionally wrecking him in Sunday’s race and Michael was interviewed on national television calling Cheever Jr. a “complete idiot.” The Andrettis were particularly upset with the fact that Marco was running third at the time and Cheever Jr. was a lap down when the young Andretti attempted to make a clean pass to the outside. The two collided and it ended Andretti’s day, leading to a disappointing 16th-place finish for the promising rookie. zzzz

Cheever Jr., the 48-year-old open-wheel veteran, responded boldly Tuesday to the accusations and name calling with a few shots of his own.

"No single team is the center of the racing universe, no matter how much they seem to think they are," Cheever Jr. said. "Nobody took them out intentionally, so their accusations look a bit ridiculous. To think I would intentionally take anyone out is just ludicrous. It's beyond words. It was a racing accident, pure and simple. There certainly wasn't any intent, so I find the accusations incomprehensible."

And then Cheever lobbed the bombshell.

The Andrettis were notorious for their bad luck in the Indianapolis 500, with Mario’s 1969 victory being the lone triumph at the Brickyard. Marco, in his Indy 500 debut less than two weeks ago, was leading heading into the final lap, but Sam Hornish Jr. nipped him at the line in the second-closest finish in the race’s history.

"The last I looked, I earned the label of Indy 500 champion; those lobbing unfounded accusations at me have not," said Cheever Jr., who won the title in 1998. "I'm not perfect, and neither are my accusers. Let's get back to racing."

track news
Michigan to make road improvements for MIS Michigan to make road improvements for MISLANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced $18.5 million will be spent over the next three years in road projects to improve safety and access to Michigan International Speedway (MIS), including $7.5 million in accelerated projects. The announcement is the result of an agreement between the Granholm Administration, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), MIS, and local lawmakers, in cooperation with the Michigan State Police. The projects will create more than 60 new jobs.

“Hundreds of thousands of people visit MIS every summer, these investments will provide them with better access and safer roads when they travel to the track,” Granholm said. “We are continuing to put people to work today to improve our infrastructure, making Michigan more attractive to businesses and tourists.”

The accelerated projects will center along US-127 and US-12 and will coordinate with scheduled race weekends at MIS over the next three summers, with construction beginning as early as fall 2006. The accelerated projects will be paid for with a combination of federal safety dollars and Transportation Economic Development funding. zzzz

“By accelerating these projects and making improvements along two key corridors in south central Michigan, it confirms our commitment to the economic vitality that MIS brings to the state in Jackson and Lenawee counties,” said State Transportation Director Kirk Steudle. “We hope these improvements will be greatly welcomed by race fans and make travel easier and safer to and from MIS on race day.”

“This is a great day for the race fans that attend events at Michigan International Speedway,” said MIS President Brett Shelton. “The fans are the real fuel that makes MIS the economic juggernaut for Michigan tourism. This announcement is a good first step toward an even better future.” 

The accelerated projects along US-127 and US-12 will:

• Widen a 0.5 mile section of US-12 from M-50 west to Gate 8 at MIS ($1 million). This project will be added to a $5.3 million project currently underway along US-12, including resurfacing, intersection improvements and minor shoulder widening along the corridor from US-127 to M-50.

• Improve the intersection of US-12 and US-127 ($1 million). This work will be included with a $5.7 million project already scheduled for the 2007 construction season that involves resurfacing US-12 from US-127 west to Moscow Road in Lenawee County.

• Widen the shoulders along US-127 from approximately M-50 south to Vicary Road in Jackson County, along with other safety improvements to the corridor ($5.5 million). This would provide an additional race day travel lane for motorists to use.

All planning and design for these US-127 corridor improvements will begin in 2006 with construction scheduled to be completed in advance of the 2009 race season. 

John Force ran 333.58 mph at Route 66 Raceway John Force ran 333.58 mph at Route 66 Raceway
Sadler and RYR go back to the basics Sadler and RYR go back to the basicsElliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M’s Fusion, has struggled in 2006 after making the Chase for the Championship in 2004 and just missing in 2005. He is tied for 19th place in the standings this year heading into Sunday’s 500-mile race at Pocono Raceway. Sadler says he has broken down his approach to the season into small, three-race snippets on similar tracks; this weekend’s race, on a 2.5-mile triangular-shaped superspeedway, falls between Dover (one-mile speedway) and Michigan (two-mile superspeedway) on the schedule.

YOU MADE THE CHASE IN 2004 AND WERE CLOSE LAST YEAR. WHAT CAN THIS RACE TEAM DO TO GET TO WHERE IT WAS? “We’ve got to get back to basics. We’re trying to do a lot of different things right now. We’re hunting and fishing a lot each and every week. Tommy and the guys are working their butts off, and we’re trying to get all this new front-end stuff figured out that a lot of teams are doing, and we tried that during the month of May at a lot of different race tracks, and we just hadn’t hit it yet, so here, when we get back to Dover and we get back to Pocono and Michigan we decided to go back to basics, go back to what we know makes the 38 team run last year and the year before. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to try to get ourselves back in this points chase, at least get back in the top 13 or 14, to try to make a run at it at the end. I think this is the worst this team has been in points in a little bit over three years. We know we’ve struggled, it’s not from lack of effort, we all want to get back in the chase and get back near the top 10 and we think we need to do that as an organization – getting back to basics. So, we’re going to try to, in the next couple of weeks. We know we’re going to run good at Sears Point, we know we’re going to run good at Daytona, so the next three weeks are very, very important to us.”  zzzz

EARLIER IN THE SEASON, YOU SAID YOU BREAK THE SCHEDULE UP INTO LITTLE THREE-RACE SNIPPETS. WHERE DOES POCONO FIT IN THAT PLAN? “Pocono is going to part of our Dover-Pocono-Michigan run before we have to go to, like, Sears Point and Daytona because they’re two different styles of race tracks. If you can get through Dover and Pocono and Michigan with maybe a top-12 or top-13 average, with our team right now, we’re going to call it a pretty good success. We’ve been struggling a little bit through the month of May and we want to go through the month of June and try to get the best finishes we can, and these are three race tracks that we really run good at, we got good success in the past. So, when we come to these three race tracks as a whole, we want to do good and Pocono’s definitely one of them. We’ve led some laps there, we’ve got some good finishes there, and qualified good there, so we want to try to do that again.”

HORSEPOWER IS IMPORTANT AT POCONO. “Horsepower at Pocono is something that you just can’t live without. I was just so happy when I got into Robert Yates’ cars and realized how much horsepower we were going to have at Pocono, Michigan, places like that. I think it helps you throughout. It helps you to keep up with everybody on new tires and it helps you get out of the hole on old tires when you start sliding around a lot. So, horsepower is something that’s going to help you all the way throughout the run. The balance of the car is will show up more at the end of run than more at the beginning, but the engine helps it throughout the whole thing. It’s about 50/50 about whether it helps you the most at the beginning or at the end.”

BECAUSE THE CORNERS ARE TIGHTER, HANDLING MUST BE AN ISSUE, TOO. “Handling is big-time, and you’ve got to figure out how to get your car to handle and turn without creating so much drag to slow you down on the straightaways, too, because even if you’re a little off in the corners, if you’ve got all your drag and things taken out of your race car, you can really fly down the straightway and make up a lot of time. Most guys’ cars are a low center of gravity, like a flat-track car like you run at a Richmond or New Hampshire or something like that because Pocono is pretty much a flat track. There’s not much banking there, and if you get your car to rotate real good in the middle without using all those jacked-up springs and stuff in the back, you’re going to have a pretty good day.”

Cheever responds to comments from The Glen Cheever responds to comments from The GlenEddie Cheever Jr. encountered unexpected bad luck -- and unexpected adjectives - during strange circumstances Sunday in the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International.

Run-ins with two popular drivers ended with Cheever, a veteran of 30 years of international racing experience, being called an "idiot" twice on national television and being accused of intentionally crashing 19-year-old rookie Marco Andretti.

"To think I would intentionally take anyone out is just ludicrous," Cheever said. "It's beyond words. It was a racing accident, pure and simple. There certainly wasn't any intent, so I find the accusations incomprehensible."

After the accident, Andretti said Cheever "absolutely, on purpose" crashed into him. During a live TV interview after the crash, Michael Andretti, Marco's father and team owner, called Cheever "a complete idiot."

"No single team is the center of the racing universe, no matter how much they seem to think they are," Cheever said. "Nobody took them out intentionally, so their accusations look a bit ridiculous."

The feud between Cheever and the Andretti family dates back to 1992, when Mario Andretti crashed into Cheever at Long Beach. It resumed in April, when the Andrettis verbally trashed Cheever after an incident between Marco Andretti and Cheever during practice for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
"Let there be no mistake, I would never let any feelings I might have carry over to the race course, where lives are at stake," Cheever said. "I have lost too many friends to this sport to be so shallow. It was a racing accident, pure and simple."

Andretti wasn't the only one using the I-word to describe Cheever after Sunday's race. Danica Patrick, who spun on a restart in front of Cheever, also used the epithet over the radio after she crashed.

"She did that all by herself," Cheever said.

In the end, even though the No. 51 Cheever Racing Honda/Dallara finished 17th and he found himself the center of a foolish controversy, Cheever found a comical irony in the accusations.

"The last I looked, I earned the label of Indy 500 champion; those lobbing unfounded accusations at me have not," Cheever said. "I'm not perfect, and neither are my accusers. Let's get back to racing."

San Jose political fight affecting race San Jose political fight affecting raceUPDATE A third article from the San Jose Business Journal about the politics in San Jose.  While the Grand Prix has garnered 31 sponsorships overall, raising several million dollars in the process, the organization is not where its leaders thought it would be at this time. They blame the controversy over how the Grand Prix received a $4 million subsidy from the city of San Jose.

"There is this cloud over us now," says Dale Jantzen, president of the San Jose Grand Prix. "We've been trying to (ignore) this for the past few months ... And it hasn't gone away."

06/06/06 These two San Jose newspaper articles talk about how the mudslinging between the two political parties in San Jose has negatively affected the Champ Car race. Will it eventually lead to the cancellation of the event because the negatively will drive sponsors away? This is one of the big risks with street racing - you are always affected by the political climate as political parties in control change.

Mercury News: Car Race is political issue
CBS Channel 5: SJ's Mayor race leaves grand prix in jeopardy
Developments to the MP4-21 for Silverstone Developments to the MP4-21 for SilverstoneThe British Grand Prix is the home Grand Prix for McLaren and one of three home events for Team McLaren Mercedes, with the Northamptonshire circuit located just 90 minutes from the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey.

McLaren has won 13 out of the 40 British Grand Prix it has entered to date and has won four of the last seven races including Juan Pablo's maiden win for the team last year, David Coulthard’s victories in 1999 and 2000, which was a double victory ahead of Mika Hakkinen, and Mika Hakkinen’s win in 2001.

The team are however aiming for their first win of the season and with Kimi Raikkonen dropping out of a potentially winning position at Monaco last time out, the team have it all to do this weekend if they are to close the gap to Ferrari and Renault. zzzz

Kimi Raikkonen
"The British Grand Prix is one I really want to win, as with Monaco it is another of the legendary races on a great track, and of course a home race for the team. Overtaking is possible, so pole position is not so important as in Monaco. I think there will be some different strategies come race day. When we were testing here in late April, the lap times were quicker than in 2005 because we are faster through the corners this year, most of the time has been found in the mid corner performance. This is partly because the smaller V8 engines allow new aero opportunities and also improved Michelin performance from last year. Where this had the most effect was at Copse, which is even quicker now than before, as it has always been one of the fastest we race through. You have to be flat through the right hander, otherwise you lose a lot of time, however because it is now quicker than before you have to be very precise, it has made the corner more of a challenge."

Juan Pablo Montoya
"It was great to be back on the podium at Monaco and everyone in the team has continued to push hard since to try and find more performance in the car for the British Grand Prix. Silverstone is a great track, with some really exciting corners, I love to race at it and I hope we can repeat the result from last year when I took my debut victory for the team in front of our home crowd. It is such a contrast to the streets of Monte Carlo, it is all about super fast corners and pushing the limits of the car. The Maggots – Becketts – Chapel sequence at the start of the lap is awesome, you have to push really hard through here, so long as you have the good balance you need, and are changing direction so quickly, hooking up the apexes, it is great fun! In addition to needing good balance, it is important to find a set-up compromise between high speed stability for much of the track and good grip to ensure we are also quick for the slower corners at the end of the circuit. Silverstone tends to be quite hard on the tires, the left front sees the greatest wear because of the fast right hand corners."

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren CEO
"Whilst Silverstone is a completely different racing environment to Monaco, placing different challenges on the car and drivers, Team McLaren Mercedes is determined to keep the momentum of our performance step at Monaco going into our home Grand Prix. However, the test at Barcelona was a key exercise in the build-up to the British Grand Prix, because as with Silverstone, the Circuit de Catalunya is a demanding track on the car as a whole and we are aware we still have improvements to make to our competitiveness. At the test we focused on front and rear suspension and aerodynamic developments, alongside the Michelin selection process for the British Grand Prix, we had a solid week and completed over 2,300km. Silverstone demands peak performance from both the car and driver, and with the quick sections such as Copse and the Maggott complex aero efficiency is once again vital."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes VP
"The Silverstone circuit has a unique layout and there is nothing similar to it during the whole Formula One season. It is absolutely correct that Silverstone is known as “Home of British Motor Racing” as the circuit has a long tradition and with its fast corners it still is a great challenge for teams and drivers. With the new V8 engines some sectors will be driven flat out whilst with the V10 engines drivers had to lift or even brake. Nevertheless the speeds in some corners are higher now which is due to the improved aerodynamics and the new tire generation. For the team Silverstone is a home Grand Prix besides Nürburgring and Hockenheim and Juan Pablo Montoya won there last year. With our tests in Barcelona after the Monaco Grand Prix we hope to have made another step.” Source McLaren Mercedes

TV News
SPEED expands LeMans coverage SPEED expands LeMans coverageSPEED has expanded its coverage from the world’s most prestigious test of endurance racing – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. LIVE from the fabled public roads and atmosphere of Circuit de la Sarthe, SPEED begins its 11th consecutive season at Le Mans with 20 hours of broadcast time June 17 at 10:30 am, ET. In addition, two shows highlighting test day and qualifying start at 9:30 am, ET.

“Once again, SPEED is honored to broadcast live from one of the world’s foremost events,” said Rick Miner, SPEED SVP of Programming/Production. “Le Mans is the ultimate challenge in endurance racing, while SPEED, being the ultimate motorsports network, is the only place to watch it.”

Veteran SPEED announcer and sports car enthusiast Bob Varsha will anchor the play-by-play team; while Leigh Diffey and SPEED sports car racing voice, Greg Creamer, also take turns at the lead. Color will be provided by endurance racing legend David Hobbs and former Trans-Am Series titlist Dorsey Schroeder. SPEED sports car experts Calvin Fish, Brian Till, Andrew Marriott and Chris Neville will rotate pit reports throughout the event. zzzz

Varsha, the regular play-by-play voice for Formula One on SPEED, will be stepping behind the microphone for his 11th straight Le Mans broadcast.

“Le Mans is my favorite race in the world,” Varsha said. “It’s a wonderful combination of tradition, spectacle and worldwide appeal. The television coverage has come such a long way since those first broadcasts. Way back then, it was almost like the French would basically broadcast the race when they felt like it. Today, the French production team delivers a technologically precise creation that’s much more artistically appealing.

“We’re also receiving greater and greater pit access every year,” Varsha continued. “Now, the teams are more comfortable when they see a SPEED microphone approaching in the hands of Calvin Fish or Andrew Marriott. We’re there every year, so there’s a certain comfort level which makes what we do – a lot better. SPEED is an important outlet for them in the United States, and the people at Le Mans certainly want to appeal to the American market.”

Le Mans broadcast schedule on SPEED (all times Eastern);

Saturday, June 17
9:30 a.m. Le Mans Test Day (Highlighted Coverage)
10 a.m. Le Mans Qualifying (Highlighted Coverage)
10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. 24 Hours of Le Mans (LIVE)
8 p.m. – 2 a.m. 24 Hours of Le Mans (LIVE)

Sunday, June 18
2 – 5 a.m. 24 Hours of Le Mans (LIVE, Radio Le Mans)
5 – 11:30 a.m. 24 Hours of Le Mans (LIVE)

Radio Le Mans, which broadcasts the only English speaking radio content directly from Le Mans, will provide SPEED with early morning, at-event flavor, starting at 2 am.

Honda leaves tech chief at HQ Honda leaves tech chief at HQ(GMM)  Honda will leave technical director Geoff Willis at its Brackley HQ as the struggling team bid to return to the top pace.

With British driver Jenson Button ruling out even a podium finish for his home race, team CEO Nick Fry told 'PA' that Willis won't be such a regular face in the remaining grand prix paddocks of '06.

Ahead of Silverstone, Button said on Tuesday: ''It's going to be a tough race for us as we're just not on front-running pace at the moment.''

At the team factory just a ten-minute drive from Sunday's race venue, Japan-owned Honda is putting the finishing touches on a new full-size wind tunnel.

Fry said of 56-year-old Willis: ''I want him to focus on the aerodynamics of the car (as it's) ... an area where we are not as strong as we should be.''

Busch team fined for infraction Busch team fined for infractionNASCAR announced Tuesday that Wally Rogers, crew chief of the No. 33 Chevrolet driven by Ron Hornaday Jr. in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined $1,000 for a right rear shock absorber that exceeded the specified nitrogen gas pressure.  The infraction was discovered during post-race inspection on June 3 at Dover, Del.
Schu won't apologize to rivals Schu won't apologize to rivals(GMM) Michael Schumacher will not bow to the growing pressure of driver colleagues to explain his dubious Monaco maneuver, the German suggested on Tuesday.

Fellow members of the 'Grand Prix Drivers' Association', of which Ferrari's 37-year-old is president, are reportedly calling on Schumacher to, in Thursday's meeting at Silverstone, either confess and apologize or step down as a director.

But Schumacher is quoted by the 'sid' agency in Germany as saying that demanding an explanation from him is 'not the drivers' job'.

Manager Willi Weber, meanwhile, added: ''What people want, and what they get in the end, are two different things.''

F1 'harmed' in carmaker quarrel - Ecclestone F1 'harmed' in carmaker quarrel - Ecclestone(GMM) F1 was 'harmed' by a long-lasting argument with carmakers about the future, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone insists.

The sport's 'supremo' was quoted as telling Auto Motor Und Sport magazine that there have been 'no winners, only losers' from the seemingly never-ending debate, dating back some six years, about 2008.

''In the last five years we have harmed formula one,'' Bernie said. ''We needlessly destabilized a basically stable sport.''

75-year-old Ecclestone claims that Renault's new F1 president Alain Dassas recently forced the hand of the remaining recalcitrant manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, Honda, BMW and Toyota.

He charged: ''Perhaps they would have got a better result (from the new Concorde Agreement) if they had negotiated better (but) Mr. Dassas pushed the others into a corner and made them act.''

FIA president Max Mosley, meanwhile, was quoted throughout the drawn-out affair as dismissing the carmakers' 'breakaway' threat.

He also told 'Auto Motor Und Sport': ''The result of this saga was always certain. It was merely a matter of time.''

Milwaukee race to re-air Milwaukee race to re-airReminder that the Milwaukee Mile Champ Car race will be replayed on SPEED tomorrow, Wednesday, June 7, 12:00 pm-2:00 pm ET in the USA.
Red Bull teams to start in 2006 Red Bull teams to start in 2006MOORESVILLE, NC -- Race shop got a make-over.  Management staff put in place.   Crews already wrenching.  Team Red Bull is nearly ready to race … a little early.  Originally scheduled to debut in 2007, Team Red Bull today announces a short schedule of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races it plans to enter in the fall of 2006 with veteran driver Bill Elliott, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, behind the wheel.   “The organization and its competitive spirit are what attracted me to Team Red Bull,” says Elliott, who won the NASCAR Winston Cup driver’s title in 1988.  “My job is simple      put the car in the show, drive it toward the front, and provide valuable input so that Team Red Bull is fully prepared by the Daytona 500.   It’s really a great role at this stage of my racing career.”

ONE FOR THE MONEY Named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All-Time, “Million Dollar Bill” Elliott brings his championship credentials and technical know-how to the fledgling team looking to prepare for its inaugural tour in 2007 with two Toyota Camry entries driven by yet-to-be-determined drivers. “It’s an honor to have a driver of Bill Elliott’s caliber help us get the program ready for 2007,” says Team Red Bull General Manager Marty Gaunt.  “His championship pedigree and his penchant for providing technical feedback make Bill the ideal fit for this important role.” zzzz

TWO FOR THE SHOW Leading the preparation of the non-Toyota equipped car are two recent race staff additions, Competition Director Elton Sawyer, a stock car racing veteran, and Technical Director John Probst, one of the racing industry’s top vehicle dynamics engineers. Sawyer and Probst join Gaunt and another appointee, Guenther Steiner, who came over to Team Red Bull from the Red Bull Racing F1 operation in a technical advisor role, as the team’s racing leadership operating out of the race shop in Mooresville, NC.  The 60,000 sq. ft. facility recently underwent a Red Bull make-over since the energy drink company acquired the property from Penske Racing South prior to the team’s January 24 announcement by Toyota.

THREE TO GET READY Gaunt says the driver agreement with Elliott spans over three NEXTEL Cup races this fall – Charlotte, NC (Oct. 14), Atlanta, GA (Oct. 29), and Ft. Worth, TX (Nov. 5).

Starting with the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, Team Red Bull will field two, full-time Toyota Camry entries. Rumors notwithstanding, more “official” information on the new team—including 2007 drivers and crew chiefs—will be made available later this year. Red Bull Racing

A lap around Silverstone with Gary Paffett A lap around Silverstone with Gary Paffett“A flying lap of Silverstone begins with the extremely fast and challenging Copse Corner. You arrive at the right hander at 306km/h, before dabbing the brakes, with your speed dropping slightly to 226km/h in fifth as you swing through the bend, which is off-camber at the exit. A short burst of power takes you to one of the best complex of corners we have at any Grand Prix track, the Maggots-Becketts-Chapel S-bends. You have to be careful as you reach Maggots as this is where you drive past the pit exit, however throughout the complex you maintain speeds of 202km/h to 302km/h as you take the sequence of right and left flicks flat out, before being swung onto the fastest section of the track, Hanger straight.”

“Taken flat out with a top speed of 310km/h in sixth gear, this long blast leads to Stowe. Due to the late nature of the apex you are braking all the way into the corner, flicking down the gears to 184km/h to negotiate the right-hander. The worst thing you can get here is understeer as it will affect your lap time a lot in that particular corner. You then roll out into a very straight forward exit along Vale that takes you down into Club, reaching 276km/h before braking for the long right-hander. You can develop a bit of oversteer here, as you accelerate through the corner reaching 293km/h.”

“Then there is a straightforward acceleration from second to sixth gear out of Club corner which has been made easier by traction control. Then you go down the short straight to the left of Abbey corner, which is taken in second gear, at 117km/h, has a very fast entry and is a good place for overtaking. There is a short exit before the flick right of Farm, and you then go up and over the hill into Bridge corner, which is taken flat at 255km/h in fifth gear. You then enter the Stadium Complex and some of the best overtaking opportunities on the track.”

“It starts with a quick entry into Luffield in fourth gear. It’s quite fun to drift the car out there and it tends to dance around with the back end. You come out of Luffield and get on the brakes straight away for the tight left of Priory, which is taken at 166km/h, and is immediately followed by the 102km/h second gear tight left of Brooklands, which sees you steer the car through 180-degrees.”

“The final corner in the complex is Luffield. Entering this long right hander your speed is around the 133km/h mark in second gear, dropping to 104km/h in the same gear as you exit. The sweeping right of Woodcote is the final corner, you accelerate through the two apexes of the bend as you swing back round onto the pit straight to begin another lap of Silverstone.”

Driver changes for LeMans Driver changes for LeMansAn agreement has today been reached between Pescarolo Sport and Creation Autosportif for Nicolas Minassian (pictured right) to drive with the French team for the 74th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The deal is for the classic endurance event only and Minassian will return to the wheel of the Creation CA06/H for the remaining rounds of the Le Mans Series.  His place in the 24 Hour event, alongside Felipe Ortiz and Beppe Gabbiani, will be taken by the British Creation-contracted driver, Jamie Campbell-Walter. 

Creation Team Founder Michael Jankowski said:  “This is a fantastic opportunity for Nic, and a French team, to win Le Mans and we are giving our full support to that objective. 

“From our part, Nic will of course be very much missed as part of the Creation team at Le Mans.  He’s such a central part of our team that it feels a bit like losing an arm!  But, this is also good for the sport.  With Jamie Campbell-Walter participating in the event, it means another world class driver will now have an opportunity to drive at Le Mans.  I don’t see Nic’s absence at all as a weakening of our own driver line up and our own objective remains a top five finish.” zzzz

Henri Pescarolo is delighted to welcome back Minassian into his team:  “After the test day, it became apparent that it is absolutely necessary for the three drivers in the Pescarolo-Judd N° 16 to not only be of a high level but also to be very experienced in sports prototypes in order to be able to fight against Audi.

“The Creation team has very sportingly agreed to release Nicolas Minassian and give him the opportunity to try to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a team he knows very well and against which he is running in the Le Mans Series.

“Pescarolo Sport is very proud and grateful to Michael Jankowski and Ian Bickerton.

“The whole Pescarolo Sport team will look forward to meeting up again with Nicolas Minassian as one of its main rivals at the wheel of the Creation in the future LMS races.”

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Red Bull undecided about '07 - Klien
Ralf predicts Silverstone points
Earlier action at Silverstone
Webber plays down hopes for Monaco repeat
Renault vow to attack despite title lead
F1 cars too quick for Silverstone - Montoya
Slated Schu refuses to look back
Dominant Corvette Racing back for more Dominant Corvette Racing back for moreNEW HUDSON, Mich. – When it comes to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Corvette Racing and the Rolling Stones have much in common. No matter how well they perform, their fans aren’t satisfied with the encores.

When the Stones resume their worldwide tour, they would have a hard time matching Corvette Racing’s success at La Sarthe. Over the past four years, Corvette Racing has won the GT1 championship four times. Six of sports car racing’s legendary drivers will attempt to retain championship status at the world’s most strenuous – and legendary – endurance race.

Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Max Papis pilot one Chevrolet Corvette C6.R while Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen direct the other.

“I can’t wait for Le Mans week to begin,” said Gavin, who with Beretta has won the last eight American Le Mans Series events and the last two years at Le Mans in the GT1 class. “It’s the biggest event of the year and I love all of it. The build-up, the test day, the preparation – it’s a real motorsport extravaganza.” zzzz

The Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen Corvette was third-fastest among GT1 entries at Sunday’s Test Day in Le Mans. The team’s other Corvette C6.R was 0.145 seconds back and fourth-best in class.

O’Connell will reprise his Spartan existence from last year. While others reside in nearby hotels and other hostelries, O’Connell will bunk in the upper echelon of the Corvette Racing transporter.

“It really works for me. (Wife) Robin and my children have things they’re involved with at home (Flowery Branch, Ga.), and I did not want to disrupt any of that,” O’Connell said.

“This gives me a great ‘feel’ for what Le Mans is all about,” he added. “I just hope that Ron, Max and I will be able to get onto the top podium step. It’s going to be tough, but I really believe this is going to be our year.”

To make it happen, O’Connell/Fellows/Papis must not only thwart their teammates, but also hold off the dual Aston Martin entries.

Through three American Le Mans Series encounters, the Corvette duo has managed to subdue the Aston Martin twosome. A layout the length, breadth and timetable of Le Mans may provide the European marque a major advantage.

“Everyone on the team is going into Le Mans very buoyant and confident but we are aware that there will be a big challenge from the Aston Martins as we hear they’ll have a very competitive package for Le Mans,” Gavin said.

“There will also be a number of other teams capable of challenging us including the Cirtek Aston and the ACEMCO S7R which has been out of the limelight recently preparing for this event,” he added. “That could be a dark horse.”

“Le Mans is what it is,” Fellows said. “To win there, you have to have a good car, but that car has to persevere. That is what we are looking to do.”

The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts at 5 p.m. local time on Saturday, June 17 and finishes at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 18. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel in North America and in Europe on MotorsTV, which will have flag-to-flag, extended 24-hour coverage. Live radio coverage will be available at www.radiolemans.com.

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the New England Grand Prix, set for July 1 at Lime Rock Park. The race is scheduled for a 3 p.m. EDT start. CBS Sports will televise the event from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT on July 2. Live coverage will be available at americanlemans.com with American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring. ALMS

Substance abuser Grubb begs NASCAR for re-entry Substance abuser Grubb begs NASCAR for re-entryBusch Series driver Kevin Grubb, who was suspended by NASCAR in March 2004 for violating the sport's substance abuse policy, has applied for reinstatement.

According to a NASCAR official, Grubb has applied for reinstatement but has not been reinstated at this point. At the time of his suspension, officials said that Grubb needed to meet terms outlined by NASCAR, including counseling and periodic random testing. The driver, a native of Mechanicsville, Va., had finished 19th in the standings in 2003.

Grubb was expected to run a limited schedule with Team Rensi in 2004 but had not competed in a race prior to his suspension. NASCAR Daily Scene

Open Wheel identity crisis Open Wheel identity crisisSPEEDTV.com currently has on their Free video Highlights the following:

Champ Car Watkins Glen Recap
Sebastien Bourdais continues his winning streak capturing his 4th straight win this season.

If the TV broadcasters are confused who is Champ Car vs. who is the IRL, imagine what the casual fans thinks.  The split is causing considerable confusion and driving the fans to a sport they can understand - NASCAR.

Racing News
Rally driver injured, co-driver killed Rally driver injured, co-driver killedParis, France - French co-driver Henri Magne was killed and driver Joan "Nani" Roma of Spain was injured on Monday when Roma lost control of his Mitsubishi in the final stage of the Rally of Morocco.

Race organizers said Magne, 53, died late on Monday morning in the accident on a rocky track in the early stages of the 311km Ourazazate stage in southern Morocco.

Roma, a member of the Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart, was only slightly hurt when the rally car hit a concrete wall. Magne was declared dead by event medical staff less then five minutes after the accident.

Teammates Hiroshi Masuoka and Pascal Maimon stopped at the scene to offer assistance and did not continue. zzzz

Magne was an experienced co-driver who had partnered rally drivers such as Iroshi Masuoka, Bruno Saby and Jean-Pierre Fontenay.

Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart withdrew Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret from the rally as a mark of respect

Magne is survived by his wife Lucette and two adopted children.

Dixon gets back in championship hunt Dixon gets back in championship huntWith nine races in the next three months, Scott Dixon figures there are plenty of opportunities for him to recapture the IRL IndyCar® Series championship.

The Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver put himself in an advantageous position with a repeat victory June 4 in the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Tissot. Dixon, the 2003 series champion, beat Panther Racing's Vitor Meira to the finish line by 2.3311 seconds in the timed event. He moved to second in the standings behind Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (182-170), heading into the Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10. (Photo courtesy of Honda)

Dixon, runner-up to Castroneves on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in early April, posted his fifth consecutive top-10 finish. He is the fourth driver to win a street/road race in the five events over two seasons.

"You put so much time and concentration on winning Indy, it's so anti-climactic when you don't walk away with a win," said Dixon, who started fourth and finished sixth in the May 28 race. "I think after that race is over, all you want to do is win the championship."  zzzz

Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr., who finished 12th at The Glen, is third in the standings. Dixon's teammate, reigning IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, is fourth. Danica Patrick is a career-high seventh after three consecutive eighth-place finishes.

"We've definitely put ourselves back in it," Dixon said. "I think it's both teams pretty much at the moment to fight for that championship."

The undulating 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International circuit was a challenge after three weeks preparing and racing on the flat 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The inclement weather made it more challenging.

"The cars were tough to drive," said Dixon, who took the lead for good after a restart by passing Rahal Letterman Racing's Buddy Rice exiting Turn 1. "You knew there was going to be a lot of yellows just because of the conditions."

Conditions vacillated between a wet and drying racing surface, necessitating teams to decide when and if to switch between rain tires and slicks. Both Dixon and Meira kept the slicks on, though the final five laps were competed under a mist in the South end of the circuit and a drying surface in the North.

"With the slicks, as soon as they cool off when you drive through a little bit of a puddle, they lose so much grip," Dixon said. "I think it was hard for all of us to know how hard you can go into that next corner because you're not really sure if the car is going to do it." IRL

Track News
San Jose GP runs subsidy ad San Jose GP runs subsidy adThe organizers of the San Jose Grand Prix have been running a daily full page advertisement in San Jose Mercury News for the past week explaining the city's $4 million dollar subsidy. This issue is undoubtedly a huge concern of the residents due to a volatile mayors race where talk of "back room deals" abound.
Steve Ott returns to Jensen team Steve Ott returns to Jensen teamFollowing an impressive first outing the Champ Car Atlantic race at the Houston Grand Prix in May, Jensen MotorSport is pleased to announce that Steve Ott will be returning to the cockpit of the teams #22 MSR HOUSTON TEAM JENSEN entry.

Steve Ott (24) hails from Thornton, Colorado. Steve Ott has an extensive history of driving success, including his most recent rookie outing in the Champ Car Atlantic series where he finished an impressive 7th place at the Houston Grand Prix after running as high as 6th place.

Ott will rejoin the Champ Car Atlantic grid at the Portland Grand Prix on the weekend of June 16th-18th. Ott is currently in 16th position in Champ Car Atlantic series points, out of 33 competitors, while having only entered one of the first 3 races of the 2006 season.

MSR Houston manager Al Mitchell states, “Steve did such a terrific job at the Houston Grand Prix. Plus the business opportunities created for our circuit and it’s partners by becoming involved in the Champ Car community are really driving our expansion of this program for the rest of 2006”. zzzz

The MSR Houston circuit has quickly become a major part of the North American professional racing community. The circuit hosted an official series test for the Champ Car Atlantic championship before the Houston Grand Prix. In addition, numerous ALMS, Grand-Am, Champ Car World Series, and Champ Car Atlantic teams have visited the circuit, located in Angleton Texas, for private track testing.

MSR Houston is a "Driver's" track, where the racer and the motor sports enthusiast alike can come to experience the excitement of driving on a challenging but extremely safe road course. They cannot only test the limits of their machinery and skills, but learn to control their vehicles and expand both of these limits. They will also experience the camaraderie of other individuals that share the common love of motor sports.

The Facility is a 2.38 mile road course with 17 turns that is reconfigurable to suit different events or needs. Plans include a clubhouse for business, relaxation and course observation. There are storage facilities for equipment and member vehicles. MSR is situated on 381 acres. This expansive area allows for growth and large buffer zones from the neighboring communities. The track has been designed with safety features to protect drivers as well as employees and onlookers. It is our intention that the facility be a comfortable and entertaining place for all members of a group or family to spend time.

The Product is the "Driving Experience" or "Track Time". The facility is being marketed with the methodology consistent with a typical "country club". "Members" pay an initiation fee, monthly dues, and guest fees. Clubs and corporations can rent the facility on a daily basis for various events. Sanctioning bodies can use the facility promote their events and other groups may use the facility for corporate events, promotional activities and fundraisers. There will also be other services such schools and drivers education programs, driving accessories, tires, fuels, maintenance, and storage.

For more details about MSR Houston, contact Leslie Mitchell, Director of Marketing, MSR Houston, via e-mail at leslie@msrhouston.com. For more details about Jensen MotorSport and the racing program, contact Graeme Young via e-mail at team@jensenmotorsport.com

GT Commission rejects qualifying proposal GT Commission rejects qualifying proposalThe majority of the drivers competing in the FIA GT Championship had put together a proposal for a new qualifying procedure for this season, separating the GT1 from the GT2 machines. Each car would have had 10 minutes alone on the track, with ten minutes in-between for a combined session. The plan was to get rid of traffic congestion during the current 20 minute session. However, the proposal was rejected by the GT Commission, claiming that since the two groups race together, they should qualify together.

They added that it would not be good to bring in changes mid-season. Philipp Peter, who was behind the proposal, was disappointed with the response from the Commission. “As most drivers agreed with this proposal, made before the first race in Silverstone, I think it would have been a good idea.”

Kalkhoven’s NASCAR comments on Wind Tunnel Kalkhoven’s NASCAR comments on Wind Tunnel
Gavin on LeMans test Gavin on LeMans testCorvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin knows a thing – or three – about what it takes to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He has done it three times with Corvette Racing in the GT1 class and has never been off the podium in five career starts there. Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen will go for three straight at the 24 Hours next weekend. Gavin, the defending American Le Mans Series GT1 co-champion with Beretta, offered these observations from Sunday’s Test Day:

Coming into the one and only official Le Mans test day, the team had a very structured plan of things to try. This consisted of testing some new aerodynamic pieces, tires, a little bit of brake work and general car setup. It’s been a full year since we were here last and Le Mans is unique. You can’t test anywhere else to simulate it, and this is a pretty special 14 kilometers of track.

When I first got on the track this morning, I was really pleased. The car felt nice to drive with nothing too alarming happening, which is a real difference from the test day last year when we had a few handling issues. The tires Michelin has developed for us work very well, and by the time we came into the lunch period, after four hours of testing, we were very happy with the way things had gone. zzzz

As there’d been a few red flags and stoppages throughout the morning, we didn’t get everything ticked off on our planned program, so we had to condense the afternoon’s plans a bit. As the second four-hour period went on, the track got faster and faster and every time I got in the car through the day, the car was getting better. We always seemed to be making the right decisions about setup and getting quicker, which was a nice feeling because sometimes you can go down the wrong avenue and you lose loads of time coming back again. Today it all went in the right direction.

I drove for about 25-30 laps, which is quite a lot. Jan and Olivier also were both very happy and like the car setup we’ve found. We all feel similarly about things and like the car to react the same way. It’s great because you can drive the car, make a suggestion and think you’ve made it better, then either of them will go out and go faster again. Then they in turn will make a change and you go faster again. It’s a well-oiled wheel, and we all complement each other very well.

Despite Aston Martin being a bit quicker than us in the final time sheets, it’s not worrying us at all. Everyone in the team is very happy. This time last year we all had a tough time, but now the mood is very buoyant and we know we’ve achieved an awful lot today. Everyone knows that success in this race takes more than outright speed, and Corvette Racing has proven time and again that it’s got all the necessary components and people to make that happen. We’ll keep you posted as to what happens next!

The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts at 5 p.m. local time on Saturday, June 17 and finishes at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 18. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel in North America and in Europe on MotorsTV. Live radio coverage will be available at www.radiolemans.com.

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the New England Grand Prix, set for July 1 at Lime Rock Park. The race is scheduled for a 3 p.m. EDT start. CBS Sports will televise the event from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT on July 2. Live coverage will be available at americanlemans.com with American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

ALMS teams test well at LeMans ALMS teams test well at LeMansBRASELTON, Ga. – Sunday’s test day at the 24 Hours of Le Mans proved extremely beneficial for teams from the American Le Mans Series, which has seen its representatives win five overall and 17 class titles since 1999.

Audi Sport Team Joest’s two diesel-powered Audi R10 TDIs were the most closely watched of the cars on the 8.3-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. Rinaldo Capello went fastest in the No. 7 entry, a 3:32.090 that was about two seconds off the pace of the leading European Pescarolo-Judd.

“This car was designed with the Le Mans 24-hour race in mind,” said Allan McNish, who will partner with fellow Sebring winners Capello and Tom Kristensen. “In terms of performance we are closer to our competitors as we have been at the same time one year ago. And also in terms of the balance and the tires we are already doing the fine-tuning. So as far as car No. 7 is concerned, we are ready for the race.”

The second R10 TDI, the No. 8 entry of Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro, was fourth fastest at 3:33.160. zzzz

Defending Series class champion Intersport Racing’s Lola B05/40-AER was third in LMP2 at 3:43.408, just a fraction off second place to the Radical SR9-Judd. Miracle Motorsports’ AER-powered Courage C65 turned in a fast lap of 3:53.164.

Aston Martin Racing’s two DBR9s set the pace in GT1. Tomas Enge’s pass of 3:51.408 was more than a second better than the sister car. Corvette Racing’s two Corvette C6.Rs were third and fourth in class, led by the two-time and defending class winning trio of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen. Also in the mix was ACEMCO Motorsports’ S7R at 3:56.695.

“We have set up the car well for the race,” Enge said. “The car itself is very good on this track. I ended the day on top which is where I want to be for the race.”

In GT2, Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 RSR was the leading American Le Mans Series team at 4:05.6, good enough for third in class. It was followed by the Panoz Esperante GTLM of Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz in fourth with the Petersen/White Lightning Racing Porsche sixth in class.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts at 5 p.m. local time on Saturday, June 17 and finishes at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 18. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel in North America and in Europe on MotorsTV. Live radio coverage will be available at www.radiolemans.com.

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the New England Grand Prix, set for July 1 at Lime Rock Park. The race is scheduled for a 3 p.m. EDT start. CBS Sports will televise the event from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT on July 2. Live coverage will be available at americanlemans.com with American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

Week-Long Festival of Speed Hits Toronto Streets Week-Long Festival of Speed Hits Toronto StreetsTORONTO, Ontario: July 7, 8 and 9 mark the days that the stars and cars of the Champ Car World Series will hit the streets for the 21st year of open wheel racing in Toronto. The 2006 Molson Grand Prix of Toronto will deliver a long weekend of excitement, as well as a week of fundraising events for the Grand Prix Charitable Foundation of Toronto.

“The Molson Grand Prix of Toronto is one of Canada’s premier sporting events and is an important part of the city’s sports and cultural scene,” says Charlie Johnstone, president and CEO, Grand Prix Association of Toronto. “In addition to our new name, look and attitude, we are pleased to be adding new elements to the on and off-track action and bringing back popular favorites like Thunder Alley. The 2006 event promises to be hottest and most exciting event of the summer.”

More to see and more to do on and off track

On the track, race goers will witness Champ Car World Series favorites including Toronto’s own Paul Tracy, 2005 Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais, the 2005 Molson Grand Prix of Toronto winner Justin Wilson and the only female driver in the Champ Car World Series Katherine Legge battle it out at the Exhibition Place circuit. Support series races include the premier open-wheel development series, the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, as well as three other series making their first appearance at the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto – the Atto Vintage GT Challenge, Drift Mania and Formula Ford 2000.

The GPT Auto Expo presented by 24 Hours will be a new feature at this year’s Molson Grand Prix of Toronto that will give visitors an inside look at an urban automotive lifestyle that has to be seen to be believed. Showcasing some of the world finest and most expensive show cars, the GPT Auto Expo will feature tricked-out and tuned-up automobiles, beautiful women and live entertainment. Highlights will include the Grand Tuner World Championship, the Top Gun Basket-Ball Tournament, Battle of the Bands, Canada’s Hottest Lingerie and Bikini Contest and B-Boy break dancing exhibition. zzzz

A popular feature for 11 years, Thunder Alley presented by the Toronto Sun will be the outdoor host to many of the most interactive areas of the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto. Race-goers can take in the sights and sounds of the Champ Car Paddock presented by Mobil 1, Molson Canadian beer gardens, Thunder Stage, beach volleyball, Driver Autograph Sessions presented by Yahoo! Canada Answers and the popular Miss Grand Prix of Toronto competition finals.

Celebrating 20 Years of Racing for Kids: Grand Prix Charitable Foundation of Toronto

For 10 years the Grand Prix Charitable Foundation of Toronto has been raising funds for local children’s charities while revving up the community with fundraising events. To date, the Foundation has raised more than $5.5 million dollars for local charities including Operation Herbie, the Bloorview MacMillian Children’s Foundation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and a variety of other local children’s charities.

During the week leading up to the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto, the Grand Prix Charitable Foundation of Toronto will play host to the most anticipated social events of the summer including:

· Grand Prix Big Bike for Heart and Stroke - Tuesday, July 4

· Grand Prix Downtown at the TD Centre Courtyard - Wednesday, July 5

· Black & White Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel - Thursday, July 6

· Molson Canadian Pit Stop Party on John Street - Thursday, July 6

· Grand Prix Bloor-Yorkville Day, Yorkville - Thursday, July 6

· Drivers’ Party at Muzik - Friday, July 7

Visit www.grandprixtoronto.com for updated race week and event schedules, special promotions, support series announcements and Molson Grand Prix of Toronto race-week events.

About the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto

New ownership, a new name and attitude make this a landmark year for the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto. For the past 20 years, Torontonians have celebrated a long-weekend of racing on their streets and 2006 promises to be another spectacular festival of international racers and exciting off-track entertainment. Tickets are on sale now at www.grandprixtoronto.com or by calling 1.416.872.2222.

Pla out of action for Silverstone Pla out of action for SilverstoneIt has been discovered since Monaco that DPR Direxiv driver, Olivier Pla, has suffered a more extensive and serious injury to his left hand than previously thought. The injury occurred after a GP2 qualifying accident at the Ste Devote corner when Ernesto Viso’s car bounced off the barriers into the path of Pla.

The unfortunate Frenchman, who bravely took the start of the race despite being in considerable pain, has in fact broken two bones in his wrist and will be out of action for up to four weeks. He is expected to be back behind the wheel with his team of two years at the Paul Ricard GP2 test in the third week of June. zzzz

The team has secured the services for the Silverstone round of the GP2 Series of 22-year-old British F3 front-runner, Mike Conway. The Briton was one of several drivers who tested with the team last December so he not only knows the team but also has valuable, albeit limited, experience of the 4-litre, V8 engined GP2 car.

Currently lying second in the British F3 Championship, the Raikkonen Robertson Racing driver is delighted to have got the chance to showcase his abilities at a track familiar to him:

“I had a short run out with the team last year and I’m very happy to have this opportunity to work with them again,” said Conway. “It’ll be a great experience racing at an F1 weekend, particularly at the British Grand Prix. I like the Silverstone GP circuit - it flows nicely, with some extremely fast corners, which will be exciting to take with the extra power.”

"The half-hour free practice on the Friday will be the first time I’ll have taken it out on slick tires and I’m hoping to get up to speed pretty quickly before qualifying that afternoon, but my aim is to have a consistent weekend and to get a lot out of the experience.” Source DPR

Legge exceeds expectations Legge exceeds expectationsRookie Katherine Legge became the first woman to lead a Champ Car race when her PKV Racing team played a pit-strategy gamble 27 laps into the race.

The 25-year-old from Great Britain moved to the lead from fourth by staying on track when A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Wilson and Oriol Servia pitted under the caution flag. She led 12 laps and was headed for a finish of better than her eventual sixth, two laps down, but was hindered with a malfunctioning weight-jacker, a tool to adjust the car's handling from the cockpit.

"We were running with the speed with the top guys at the beginning, and it was only when things started to go wrong that we started to drop back a bit," Legge said. "But I'm pleased, because if somebody had said yesterday, 'You're going to be sixth on your first oval,' I'd have gone, 'OK. I'll take that.'

"I got to the end. You don't learn if you put it in the wall. That was the aim."

Legge's sixth was the best finish for a woman in an Indy-style race at Milwaukee since Janet Guthrie's fifth in 1979. She finished one spot behind Servia, her teammate, and two ahead of Dan Clarke, the second-highest finisher among the six rookies.

"Fantastic job," team co-owner Jimmy Vasser said. "She led. She exceeded every possible expectation that we could ever have thought." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Schu aims for Silverstone win Schu aims for Silverstone win(GMM)  Michael Schumacher is ready to put the controversy of Monaco behind him by setting the pace at Silverstone.

The Ferrari driver emerged atop last week's preparatory test at Barcelona, but is widely tipped to face a tough challenge for British grand prix victory by the perfectly-suited Renaults.

''I must say, everything looked very positive (at the test),'' 37-year-old Schumacher, who rode a Harley-Davidson to the MotoGP race in Italy at the weekend, said on Monday.

''We should look good at Silverstone and be able to fight for the win.  That is certainly the goal.''

The German is now 21 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso, but he insists he is 'absolutely' still in the fight.

Schumacher said: ''It is all about who can develop the quickest.  In my eyes this is the crucial factor, and in this area we usually do well.''

Renault to race new livery at Brit GP Renault to race new livery at Brit GP(GMM)  Renault will race in a special livery at this weekend's British grand prix.

With the logos of tobacco backer Mild Seven not allowed to be displayed at Silverstone, the championship-leading squad is to run in a 'Tiger' theme, designed by Taiwanese studio DEM Inc.

Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella's light blue cars will wear tiger eyes on the front and rear wings, while the animal is portrayed ready to pounce on the side pods.

Like in 2005, different livery artworks at non-tobacco races will be used by Renault elsewhere on the calendar.

Silverstone's 2006 British grand prix also marks the two-hundredth grand prix since Renault debuted in 1977.

Hornish on Letterman Hornish on LettermanIndy 500 winner Sam Hornish, Jr. will be a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight, Monday, June 5.  The show airs on CBS at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.  Check local listings to confirm time.
Knaus Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award Knaus Wins Crew Chief of the Race AwardDOVER, Delaware – Apparently it takes a lot more than bad starting position, a mishandling race car and an accident on the track to keep Chad Knaus and his No. 48 Lowe’s team down.  No matter how bad the odds seemed stacked against them, Knaus never lets his crew quit, as we all saw in Sunday’s Neighborhood Excellence 400.  Knaus gave a textbook display of how to turn a dismal day into a top-ten finish, and earned the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award for his efforts.

Few would have thought that Jimmy Johnson stood a chance of finishing in the top-20 at the beginning of this weekend’s race.  Johnson started in the 42nd position and wasn’t gaining any positions in the early stages of the event.  His car was way to loose and he ended up losing one lap to the leaders as a result.  To make matters worse, he suffered damage to the rear end of his machine after getting spun out from behind by the No. 40 car.  Just when it seemed like it was the end of the road for the No. 48 team, Knaus called for a round of adjustments that dialed in the Lowe’s Chevy.  Johnson not only got his lap back, but drove his way to a sixth-place finish. 

“It wasn’t me today; it was Jimmy (Johnson) and the crew” said Knaus after the race.  “When their chips are down, they bow up and that’s what I love about my guys.  I couldn’t have done this without my support staff.  They’re awesome.” zzzz

A panel of voters; including Stan Creekmore of Circle Track Plus, Tony Eury Sr. and a WYPALL® Wipers representative; all agreed that Knaus deserved Crew Chief of the Race honors.  “Chad (Knaus) never quits,” said Eury Sr.  “Whatever can wrong, he seems to have a plan for it.  His car was running terrible today, but he listened to his driver and came up with a plan to fix it and finished just outside the top-five.  When you have a bad day and still end up with a top-10, the crew chief has done an awesome job.”

For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, WYPALL® Wipers presented Knaus $1,000.  At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.  This was Kanus’ second Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him for second-place in the standings with Robbie Reiser and Tony Eury Jr.  Darian Grubb, Todd Berrier, Doug Richert and Roy McCauley are tied for third-place, all with one win. Kenny Francis is in the lead with three wins.

Andretti and Patrick call Cheever an idiot Andretti and Patrick call Cheever an idiotFor high-profile drivers Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick Sunday's race IRL race at Watkins Glen turned into a bad episode of "Leave it to Cheever."

Patrick called Eddie Cheever "an idiot" after his car tapped her car from behind and she spun in Turn 11. Later in the race, Cheever made contact with Andretti entering Turn 9, knocking both drivers out of the race. Both Marco and his father, Michael, had harsh words for Cheever after the incident, and Michael repeated Patrick's "idiot" characterization of Cheever.

Cheever took the brunt of the verbal shots Sunday, but he wasn't the only one who had trouble on a wet, unseasonably chilly day that contributed to seven caution flags over 21 laps. Because of all the cautions and ABC's limited window for television coverage, the race was reduced from 60 laps to 55. Star Gazette

Milwaukee Mile statement on race length Milwaukee Mile statement on race length“We are very pleased by the support of our fans for the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 today. We wanted to clarify the situation surrounding the shortened race distance.

“Champ Car officials declared Sebastien Bourdais the winner on lap 197, in accordance with Champ Car’s time limit and agreement with their television broadcast partner.

“Although we share our race fans’ disappointment the event did not run the full distance, we have no control over Champ Car’s policies and we believe this was still the most well-attended and exciting Champ Car event The Mile has had in some time.”

"Bourdais’ breakthrough oval win at The Mile in front of 28,357 sun-soaked fans was the first win for Champ Car powerhouse Newman/Haas Racing since 1996. In three previous Milwaukee starts for the team, Bourdais crashed twice and finished sixth after an infraction while running in contention." Craig Stoehr, Milwaukee Mile Chairman

[Editor's Note: Management announced a ticket distribution of 28,357 for the Champ Car World Series event, about 2,000 more than one year earlier. Actual attendance was estimated at 15,000 to 20,000. Although attendance is less than half of the peak of a decade ago, the crowd Sunday was at least double the size of that for the 2005 race.

As for the race not running the full length because time ran out, one fan wrote the following to us:

Dear AutoRacing1.com, What is it with these 10 lap yellow flags for debris that is not seen? When a driver scrapes a wall, keeps going and there is still a long caution - every race!
As someone who has watched every Champ Car race since the 80's, and been to countless events I can tell you I have watched my last live event. I will keep watching, and hoping for it to get better. But I will fast forward this absolute disgrace they are doing to this sport until I cannot stand it anymore.
Why waste another great Sunday indoors watching " phantom yellows"? I am Disgusted. Name withheld upon request]

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Podium repeat unlikely, DC warns
Shnaider still unsure about MF1 sale
Schu facing tough week at Silverstone
Zanardi not attempting F1 race return
Button's wish granted as Silverstone expects rain
Rossi cools prospect of future F1 switch
Germany slams Alonso for finger insult
More cash for Australian GP
Milwaukee post-race notes Milwaukee post-race notesSebastien Bourdais won the 20th race of his Champ Car career today, moving him into sole possession of 15th on the all-time series list. He has led 1,385 laps in his career and today moved ahead of Gil de Ferran for 20th on the all-time list.

Bourdais is the 10th driver ever to win as many as four consecutive Champ Car races. A win at Portland would make him the first driver since 1970 (Al Unser Sr.) to win five in a row.

Katherine Legge is the fifth female driver to compete in the Champ Car World Series and is the first to ever lead laps, leading laps 28-39 today.

Will Power finished 11th today, falling back after losing a CV joint while running sixth. He maintains his lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings, 50-49 over Legge. Champ Car

Further evidence of NASCAR softening Further evidence of NASCAR softeningUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Just a little information on the Dover attendance. My wife is a 14 year employee of MBNA, now Bank of America. For the first time in those 14 years, we were not given free race tickets. Bank of America was actually selling employee tickets at a discount, but no freebies for the loyal MBNA folks as in the past. As I recall, that's somewhere in the vicinity of 15K people that weren't there this year. Name Withheld by Request

06/04/06 For the first time in a long time there are a lot of empty seats at Dover Sunday for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race. Although still a big attendance the fact remains that between soft attendance and consistently dropping TV ratings, NASCAR does indeed appear to be headed into a period of negative growth. It will be interesting to see how they recover, though we can tell you that what they are doing in Phoenix in trying to kill the Champ Car race is gong to backfire in their face and expose their true colors.

Champ Car is aligned with Dale Jantzen, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and part owner of the Phoenix Suns. He has committed to investing $0.5 billion to rehabilitate the Phoenix downtown area and if the France family, i.e. NASCAR, thinks that they are going to get politicians to vote down Jantzen's Champ Car race which is tied into the Phoenix downtown rehab they are in for a major embarrassment. On top of that, it looks like NASCAR Goliath is trying to step all over David (Champ Car) which we hear has pissed off most of the politicians in Phoenix.

NASCAR usually runs roughshod over other race organizations. They will soon learn that Kevin Kalkhoven, who has outmaneuvered Tony George on a number of occasions, will not yield to their Mafia-like tactics.

Montagny fastest in LeMans test Montagny fastest in LeMans testThe battle between Audi and Pescarolo, which raged for much of the 2005 edition of the 24 Hours, looks like being repeated. For almost the whole of the eight hours of testing, the top four places went to the two Audi R10 diesels and the two Pescarolo Judd entries.

At the end of the second four-hour session, after numerous changes, the No.17 Pescarolo of Helary/Montagny was fastest, with Montagny putting in a lap of 3:30.195 just as the checkered flag came out. And that, despite the No.50 Larbre Ferrari 550 having a last minute off at the Ford chicane and scattering quantities of gravel over the circuit. That put the Pescarolo almost two seconds clear of the No.7 Audi of Capello/Kristensen/McNish, who in turn were just ahead of the No.16 Pescarolo Judd of Bouchut/Collard/Comas. Bringing up the rear of this illustrious quartet was the No.8 Audi of Biela/Pirro/Werner. Best of the rest was the No.13 Courage Mugen of Gounon/Kurosawa/Nakano.

By contrast, the lead of the LMP2 was held continuously by the No.25 RML Lola AER of Erdos/Newton from the second hour. The opposition improved, but so did the RML entry, their quickest lap of 3:41.873 putting them in eleventh overall, exactly 1.5s ahead of the No.22 Rollcentre Radical Judd of Barbosa/Moseley/Short, with the No.33 Intersport Lola AER of Field/Halliday third in class. zzzz

As with LMP1, the GT1 class was a straight fight between last year’s main contenders. The honor of claiming the fastest lap went to the No. 007 Aston Martin DBR9 of Enge/Piccini/Turner, Enge’s lap of 3:51.408 being 1.2s quicker than the sister No.009 DBR9 of Lamy/Ortelli/Sarrazin. The two Corvette C6.R cars were third and fourth, with the No.64 of Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen leading the No.63 of Fellows/O’Connell/Papis; however, the Corvette team were adamant that they have no interest in chasing pole position.

GT2 ended with three different makes in the top four places; the No. 87 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 GT of Kirkaldy/Niarchos/Mullen was quickest with a 4:04.252, which left them over half a second clear of the No.76 IMSA Performance Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Dumas/Narac/Riccitelli; third went to theNo.80 Flying Lizard Porsche of van Overbeek/Neiman/Lieb, while Maxwell/Jeannette/Milner were fourth in the No.77 Multimatic Panoz Esperante.

The second session was relatively trouble-free, with no red flags. There were numerous minor incidents, with cars spinning or taking trips across the gravel traps, but no serious accidents. The No.62 Russian Age Racing Aston Martin DBR9 came to a halt out on the circuit with gearbox problems, but Nelson Piquet Jr. managed to effect temporary repairs and made it back to the pits.


Henri Pescarolo (Pescarolo-Sport manager)

“This is a satisfactory result. Emmanuel Collard was probably capable of setting an equal time to that of Franck, but we needed 30 seconds for Manu to be able to pass before checkered flag. The big question remains Audi’s fuel consumption and unfortunately, we won’t know anything until the race. Setting the fastest lap in testing is one thing, winning the 24 hour race is another.”

Franck Montagny (Set the fastest lap of the day in the Pescarolo-Judd n°17)

“I have a great car. The whole team has worked very hard and now it has all come together in 15 days. Erik set up the car well in the morning, so I could put in the laps confidently at the end of the morning’s session. I knew how to get the best out of my tires in order to post a good time on my last lap.”

Emmanuel Collard (driver for Pescarolo-Judd n°16)

“The most important thing is to have a well balanced car for the race. What’s more, the performance of the whole team is up there along with Franck’s time, so everything is going well.”

Erik Comas (driver for Pescarolo-Judd n°16)

“I am not usually part of the driving team for the championship and I have found the improvements made to the car in the past year to be exceptional. Today, we had no problems and we were able to make good progress. I am even surprised by the progression in terms of performance. It is really encouraging for the race.

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Sport)

“We could have set the same time as Franck Montagny, but our drivers were able to get any clear air. The day was very productive as we were able to collect a lot of information that we will analyze. We believe that our diesel engine will enable us to complete one or two laps more than before. We will return to Ingolstat, dismantle the cars and analyze them.”

Tom Kristensen (driver for Audi n°7)

“We have accumulated a lot of data after having such a good session. The Pescarolo-Judd seems faster than us in a straight line, but in the end, we are very equal in performance over a whole lap, which is good for the public and the race, which is shaping up to be a real close contest.”

Rinaldo Capello (driver for Audi n°7)

“I am happy to be back here. I had to find my feet on the Le Mans track at the beginning because of my absence from last year’s race. The car is really easy to drive, and since Sebring, the tires are working much better. I am already used to the weak tone of our engine.”

Wilson beats Cunningham at Watkins Glen Wilson beats Cunningham at Watkins GlenBobby Wilson fended off the rain, fog, changing track conditions and then reigning series champion Wade Cunningham to win the Corning 100 by 3.2795 seconds. Wilson's Kenn Hardley Racing teammate, Phil Giebler, was a close third.

On a Lap 18 restart (after the No. 52 car driven by Nick Bussell stalled between Turns 7 and 8), Wilson's nose was a few feet off Cunningham's gearbox heading into Turn 1. He moved to the inside and completed the pass at the exit.

"It's a wonderful feeling," said Wilson, who won the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award and moved to second behind Jay Howard in the series standings. "The team worked so hard this weekend just adapting the car to the set-up. It was kind of iffy conditions. Just staying on the track and adapting to the conditions paid off."

Results Sunday of the Corning 100 IRL Indy Pro Series event June 4 at the 3.37-mile Watkins Glen International, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any) and money earned:  zzzz

1. (1) Bobby Wilson, 27, $33,500
2. (4) Wade Cunningham, 27, Running $25,000
3. (3) Phil Giebler, 27, Running $20,000
4. (5) Jaime Camara, 27, Running $17,000
5. (6) Jonathan Klein, 27, Running $16,500
6. (9) Jay Howard, 27, Running $16,000
7. (13) Brett Van Blankers, 27, Running $15,500
8. (12) Jon Herb, 27, Running $15,000
9. (10) CR Crews, 27, Running $14,500
10. (14) Matthew Hamilton, 27, Running $14,000
11. (15) Arie Luyendyk Jr., 25, Out of Fuel $13,000
12. (16) Mishael Abbott, 24, Running $12,000
13. (11) Raphael Matos, 20, Suspension $11,500
14. (17) Chris Festa, 19, Accident $11,000
15. (8) Nick Bussell, 15, Mechanical $10,750
16. (7) Sean Guthrie, 13, Accident $10,500
17. (2) Alex Lloyd, 9, Accident $10,250   

Race Statistics      
Winner's average speed: 77.555 mph      
Time of race: 01:10:23.6380       
Margin of victory: 3.2795 seconds      
Cautions: 4 cautions for 12 laps      
Lead changes: 2 among 2 drivers      
Lap leaders: Wilson 1-3, Cunningham 4-18, Wilson 19-27.      
Point standings: Howard 181, Wilson 159, Klein 133, Bussell 127,
Jeff Simmons 122, Matos 122, Camara 119, Cunningham 115, Festa 114,
Van Blankers 107

BOBBY WILSON (No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing, winner Corning 100): "The visibility was zero at times, especially when you're following people. The concrete patches were really slippery, so it was key to stay off of those. I'm really happy. It's our second outing together. Kenn Hardley Racing is a great operation, and I'm glad to be part of it." (About conditions): "It didn't really get too bad until the end. The beginning was pretty hairy at times. It started to dry up pretty quick in the middle of the race. We just had to conserve tires and not abuse them. I knew I had enough for the end, so I just made the move when I needed to."

WADE CUNNINGHAM: (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, finished second): "It was definitely tough to follow. There's so much mist in the air that you just really struggle with your line and your braking. You have to be so aware of what's going on in front of you that it's tough to concentrate on what you have to do in the car. Once you get out front, it's a lot easier. I think the only real passing at the front happened on restarts. I know it was tough. We got the lead that way, but then we lost it. We were great when it was damp.  When the track was drying, the car was good then, but we were a bit too low, bottoming out and aquaplaning when it started to rain. There wasn't much that I thought I could do at the end but hold on. Second is better than third. We're disappointed that the win went away."
JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 CELG, finished fourth): "I couldn't see anything from the first lap to the end. My visor started fogging inside from the beginning, and I couldn't see anything. It was a tough race, a very tough race. My car was pretty good. I could make it better on the last laps and I passed Jonathan (Klein) to the fourth position, and that's pretty much what I could do in the race. It was a fourth-place car."

JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging, finished fifth): "I'm glad it was wet because, had it been dry, we didn't have the car to compete. So it was good that it was wet. We stayed clean for the whole race, and we eventually got up to third with Alex Lloyd dropping out. Then my tires started going off toward the end; the fronts, and I didn't have a lot of front-end grip, so I slowly got picked off by two more guys. We'll take a top-five any day."

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished sixth): "It was miserable out there. It was one of the worst races by the weather conditions that I've ever been in in my life.  For about the laps, I couldn't see anything. Water was running in my visor and in my eyes and I'm like 'Oh my God.'  It was real miserable. It started to clear up a little, then it started to dry and my car started getting even worse than what it did when it was really wet. And right at the end, every time we had a restart, I'd make sure I was around to make a pass. Every restart but one, I made a position, but then within four or five corners, they could just drive around me whenever they wanted. I think we're in the lead in the championship and I brought it back with all four corners on (the car). Let's go to the next one and try to win the next race."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 41 Guthrie Racing Car Crafters Special, finished 13th): "To be honest with you, it was one of the worst races of my life. We actually had a pretty good car. We made some major changes after the qualifying session and the car was really different. Unfortunately, I spun on the second lap and I couldn't get started again and we were two laps down. After that, we were running pretty quick. Since we were two laps down, we couldn't do anything. Towards the end of the race, I had trouble with (CR) Crews. We just came in because we wanted to save the car. That's it."

CHRIS FESTA (No. 51 Cheever Racing Formtek, finished 14th): "It was going alright until I made a mistake and stuffed it in the toe of the boot. We had a good race going. We didn't get to qualify yesterday, and I brought it back up to eighth. Then I made a mistake and cost us the whole day." (About the conditions): "It's pretty bad. I mean it was going green, and you can basically imagine yourself being blind, flat out and brake when you think the time's right. It's literally that bad, it's no exaggeration. It's definitely treacherous."

NICK BUSSELL (No. 52 Cheever Racing, finished 15th): "It started out good, and then we developed some problem and not quite exactly sure what it was the car just turned off. I got re-started and thought it was going to run, and it didn't. So I was out. I was trying to be patient, and I thought maybe we could pick up a couple spots and see if I could get some other guys into some mistakes. It's so hard to pass in the rain that you're not going to pass any guys, unless some of them go off."

Carpentier turns down Rocketsports offer Carpentier turns down Rocketsports offerUPDATE We spoke to Paul Gentilozzi about this report. He told AutoRacing1.com, "I never spoke to Patrick. Montreal race promoter Alan Labrosse asked me if I would run Patrick in Montreal and I said yes with some reservations. Then Normand Legault got involved and promised Patrick a NASCAR Busch series ride at Montreal next year."

Paul seemed convinced that NASCAR would have a Busch series race in Montreal in 2007.

06/01/06 According to this RDS.ca article, Patrick Carpentier has turned down an offer from Rocketsports to drive in the Montreal round of the Champ Car World Series.  The article claims that Carpentier says the team is not competitive enough for him and instead is eyeing a Busch Series ride in NASCAR.
Audi R10 TDI makes strong impression Audi R10 TDI makes strong impressionThe Audi R10 TDI made a strong impression on its first laps on the "Circuit des 24 Heures” at Le Mans. All six Audi factory drivers were enthused about the new diesel sportscar at the end of the official test day. Italian Dindo Capello set the second fastest time in 3m 32.090 at the wheel of the number 7 Audi R10 TDI. Marco Werner completed the Le Mans dress rehearsal in the number 8 sister car in fourth position
(3m 33.160s).
Audi Sport Team Joest entirely concentrated on the new sport-prototype’s fine-tuning for the race on 17/18 June as the test day offers the only possibility to test and collect important data on the 13.650km Le Mans circuit. Audi was leading the field for almost the entire day. Just shortly before the end of the practice, the Pescarolo team set a fastest time of 3m 30.195s.
For Audi Sport, more important was the fact that the two new R10 TDI sportscars ran almost trouble-free and completed 162 laps (2211 km). There were only two unscheduled pit-stops. A repair of the hydraulic system cost Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner some time in the morning session, while some shifting problems had to be cured on the R10 TDI of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish.
With the official test day, the "final countdown” for the Le Mans 24 Hours has started. Qualifying will take place on Wednesday and Thursday (14/15 June). The start of the race is scheduled for Saturday (17 June), 1700 hrs. The race will be covered "live” and in full length by various TV stations world-wide. zzzz

Quotes after the test day at Le Mans
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "That was a positive test day for us. We had a huge programme for both cars and we managed to work through all points without any trouble. We are satisfied with the performance and with everything we have achieved during this day.”
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #8): "We solved a lot of things during the latest tests so that we came to Le Mans with a well prepared car. I had a good balance with race tires this afternoon and so I’m satisfied with the debut of the R10 TDI at Le Mans.”
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #7): "I’m happy with our car today. First we did quite a lot of laps with the same set of tires, but still the grip was very good at the end. Also with the race tires the setup was perfect in the afternoon. It always depends also on the traffic on the circuit, who sets the fastest lap at Le Mans.”
Tom Kristensen (Audi R10 TDI #7): "I’m really impressed to be here at Le Mans with the Audi R10 TDI for the very first time. What comes to my mind first is going through the Porsche corners in fourth gear and you don’t hear the sound of the diesel engine at the back. That was a completely new experience for me. The balance of the car was immediately very good. We may not be the fastest on the straights but we have very good handling and for sure we have good fuel economy. We are well aware of the speed of our competitors but I’m sure we will have a strong race with our Audi R10 TDI.”
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #7): "This circuit is the natural home of the Audi R10 TDI. This car was designed with the Le Mans 24-hour race in mind. My feelings about today are very positive. In terms of performance we are closer to our competitors as we have been at the same time one year ago. And also in terms of the balance and the tires we are already doing the fine tuning. So as far as car number seven is concerned, we are ready for the race.”
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #8): "I was looking forward to driving the Audi R10 TDI at Le Mans for a long time. And our car didn’t disappoint me because it’s really a pleasure to drive it. I felt comfortable and could push right from the beginning. This day was a learning day for us and it was a very good one.”
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #8): "You feel that the Audi R10 TDI has been made for the race at Le Mans because it is even nicer to drive than on some tracks we’ve been testing before. Our lap times were quite okay, although they could have been better without traffic. Of course we still have to fix some details but this we will easily manage during the race week.”
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "We had some small issues today which luckily did not prevent us from completing the whole test programme we had scheduled. I’m very happy that we now know everything we wanted to know, as we had a lot of things on our list. The speed is good, but it’s even more important that all six drivers are happy with the car. We expected the competition to be strong, which has been proved today. We are looking forward to a hot race.”
Test day results
1 Helary/Montagny (Pescarolo-Judd) 3m 30.195s
2 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R10 TDI) 3m 32.090s
3 Bouchut/Collard/Comas (Pescarolo-Judd) 3m 32.205s
4 Biela/Pirro/Werner (Audi R10 TDI) 3m 33.160s
5 Gounon/Kurosawa/Nakano (Courage-Mugen) 3m 33.511s
6 Lammers/Yoong (Dome-Mugen) 3m 35.209s

Turkington wins race 3 at Thruxton Turkington wins race 3 at ThruxtonColin Turkington has won the third of today's (Sunday) three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.

Northern Irishman Turkington, in his Team RAC MG, led all the way and also set the race's fastest lap time en route to his first victory of the season.

Second was points leader Matt Neal, in his Team Halfords Honda Integra, and third, having started from the back of the grid, a charging Jason Plato in his SEAT Leon.

The result means that Neal leaves Thruxton leading Turkington in the championship by 33 points. Plato, who retired from the day's first two races, is third, 12 points behind Turkington.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for SundayUPDATE Kevin Kalkhoven has been added as a guest on Wind Tunnel tonight.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
IRL Team Owner Sam Schmidt, NHRA Funny Car Driver Mike Ashley, NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson & Celebrity/Champ Car Team Owner Cedric The Entertainer
Topic: Are NASCAR’s qualifying methods (guaranteed 35 & provisional spots)  good for the sport?
12:00am-12:30am corrected time  SPEED
Inside Drag Racing  
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NHRA 2Day  
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay Dover
11:30am-1:30pm (L) SPEED
NHRA Sport Compact Drag Racing Atco, NJ
1:00pm-1:30pm ESPN2
Champ Car Qualifying Milwaukee
1:30pm-2:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Dover
1:30pm-6:00pm (L) FX
Champ Car Milwaukee
2:00pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
IRL Watkins Glen
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) ABC
Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Long Beach
4:00pm-4:30pm (R) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship  Mugello, Italy
5:00pm-6:00pm (SDD) SPEED
AMA Superbike  Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
6:00pm-7:00pm (SDD) -Race 2 SPEED
Speed News Sunday  
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Dover
8:00pm-9:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Todd Bodine (Craftsman Trucks)
Kevin Kalkhoven (Champ Car)  
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

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

Tagliani won’t run Milwaukee race Tagliani won’t run Milwaukee raceUPDATE Press release from Team Australia put out late Saturday: Milwaukee, WI -  Morning practice brought a lot of disappointment to Team Australia, as Canadian Alex Tagliani, who powers the #15 Aussie Vineyards car for the team, crashed in turn four.  Due to the severity of the crash, Team Australia is withdrawing the #15 car from tomorrow’s race.

After running in first position and getting fourteen laps in this morning’s practice, Tagliani spun out on turn four, causing him to hit the wall resulting in major damage to the car.   It is believed that the accident was caused by a gust of wind in turn three and four. Not only was that same area a trouble spot for Tagliani, but for the other competitors as well.

Reasoning for withdrawing the car is based on a number of concerns the team has in being able to rebuild the car. “The most important issue is safety and being able to put the car together in such a way that it needs to be for oval racing, which is crucial due to the fact that there is no room for error in an oval. Another issue is the time that it will take to be able to have the car ready for the race tomorrow,” said Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore.

Making the situation more acute is that the team had a major crash in Houston, which in effect damaged Tagliani’s car.   With two major crashes in a short span of time, does not allow for the necessary resources that would normally be available to the team. “With the spare car suffering major damage complicated matters,” stated Team Australia co-owner Derrick Walker.

Although he suffered no major injuries from the crash, Tagliani is extremely disappointed in the result.  “Obviously I’m very disappointed after this morning’s practice.  We had a good car and were running really well.  Now we just have to roll with it and get ready for Portland,” commented Tagliani.

Although this morning was upsetting for the team, the weekend is not completely over for them.  Still running is Australian rookie, Will Power, who pilots the #5 Aussie Vineyards car.  He has had a successful weekend so far and has really taken to the oval ending up fifth place on tomorrow’s grid.  “I’m happy with my result today.  It’s great to be at the front for a start and I feel confident for tomorrow’s race,” stated Power.

06/04/06 Team Australia has withdrawn Alex Tagliani's car from today's Milwaukee Champ Car race because of damage sustained in a morning practice crash Saturday. His backup car is at Lola being fixed and the car he crashed must go back to Lola because of damage to the tub. Dave Hollander, right, of the Champ Car safety team rushes to the assistance of Alex Tagliani. Photo by Michael L. Levitt/USA LAT for Champ Car

The team tried to borrow a backup car from another team but given the risk of oval racing that could see their primary car damaged in Sunday morning warm-up, no team wanted to give up their spare.

Tagliani thought he had a winning car today and was quite disappointed that it could not be fixed. His rookie teammate Will Power took advantage of Tag's great car setup and placed his car 5th on the grid, his best result to date.

"Sometimes, it just makes me feel like things are just not meant to be," Tagliani said. "There was nothing in the world that would have kept us from getting on the pole here.

"Yesterday morning, we did 10 laps and had the fastest lap. Then, this morning, another 10 laps and we were fastest. It took two hours for Bourdais to beat us by six-hundredths of a second. We were pretty in control, but now we're not to qualify and we're not going to race and it makes me feel sad about the whole thing."

As a result, only 16 cars will start today's Time Warner Road Runner 225.

Tracy leads morning warm-up in Milwaukee Tracy leads morning warm-up in MilwaukeePaul Tracy with his Weight-Jacker fixed, turned the fastest lap in morning warm-up for Sunday's Champ Car race in Milwaukee.  Polesitter Sebastien Bourdais and his Newman/Haas teammate Bruno Junqueira were 2nd and third.  AJ Allmendinger and Dan Clarke rounded out the top 5.
Marco Andretti leads wet morning warm-up Marco Andretti leads wet morning warm-upMarco Andretti led a wet practice at Watkins Glen Sunday morning.
Pos Driver Diff Best Time
1 Marco Andretti (26) ... 1:48.3720
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.9098 1:49.2818
3 Tony Kanaan (11) 1.3911 1:49.7631
4 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 2.1312 1:50.5032
5 Eddie Cheever Jr (51) 2.8884 1:51.2604
6 Ryan Briscoe (5) 2.9747 1:51.3467
7 Vitor Meira (4) 3.1933 1:51.5653
8 Tomas Scheckter (2) 3.2897 1:51.6617
9 Dario Franchitti (27) 3.3684 1:51.7404
10 Bryan Herta (7) 3.7620 1:52.1340
11 Scott Dixon (9) 3.9582 1:52.3302
12 Dan Wheldon (10) 4.0001 1:52.3721
13 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 4.3437 1:52.7157
14 Felipe Giaffone (14) 5.3008 1:53.6728
15 Jeff Simmons (17) 5.3961 1:53.7681
16 Danica Patrick (16) 5.5995 1:53.9715
17 Scott Sharp (8) 5.8624 1:54.2344
18 Buddy Rice (15) 6.3448 1:54.7168
19 Ed Carpenter (20) 7.1363 1:55.5083
Rossi delights Italian fans at Mugello Rossi delights Italian fans at MugelloThe sun was shining at Mugello, and 89,200 of MotoGP’s most rabid aficionados ere treated to a phenomenal race and a home one-two in the Gran Premio Alice d’Italia.

Valentino Rossi took a popular victory much needed for his title chances, putting on a racing masterclass to come in ahead of Loris Capirossi and Nicky Hayden. The specially designated Camel Yamaha grandstand erupted with delight as they saw their hero pass by in the lead on lap one, having overtaken holeshot man Sete Gibernau on one of the opening corners. The race was a spectacular display of the quality present in MotoGP, with any number of riders looking like potential race winners. Italy’s resident Doctor gave a racing clinic early on ahead of Gibernau and Marco Melandri, then later with Capirossi before breaking past his countryman once and for all on lap 21.

Capirossi had a poor start onboard the specially decorated Desmosedici GP06, dropping down to eighth from second on the grid. By the middle of the race he had fought his way through the pack and taken the lead, and pushed his bike to the limit in the final moments when it seemed all but spent. zzzz

Nicky Hayden showed that when not suffering from the flu he is always a formidable rider, back on the podium after his Le Mans blip. The Kentucky Kid looked to be waiting for the front two to force each other into mistake, stalking the two Italians and attempting opportunistic moves.

Although never involved in the leading battle, Dani Pedrosa still made his way up the grid with a strong performance. Last year’s 250cc winner at the Italian Circuit earned valuable points with a fourth place, ahead of countryman Gibernau. Marco Melandri rounded off the top six, although could have placed higher had he not run off onto the grass whilst challenging for the lead on lap 16. Team-mate Toni Elias finished in seventh ahead of Kenny Roberts Jr , Makoto Tamada and John Hopkins.

Casey Stoner suffered a spectacular crash whilst making a move on the leading riders, flying off the track after a huge highside although without serious consequences. It is the first race that the young Australian has failed to finished, having not been outside of the top-6 this season.


1. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 42min 39.610 secs
2. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 42min 40.185 secs
3. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 42min 40.345 secs
4. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 42min 41.617 secs
5. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 42min 42.680 secs
6. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 42min 51.403 secs
7. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 42min 58.609 secs
8. Kenny Roberts USA Team Roberts 42min 58.782 secs
9. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 42min 58.841 secs
10. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 42min 59.431 secs
11. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 42min 59.473 secs
12. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 43min 10.288 secs
13. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 43min 16.808 secs
14. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 43min 21.322 secs
15. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 43min 35.866 secs
16. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 43min 52.997 secs
17. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 42min 45.597 secs
Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR
Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP

Matt Neal wins race 2 at Thruxton Matt Neal wins race 2 at ThruxtonMatt Neal has won the second of today's (Sunday) three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.

Neal, in his Team Halfords Honda, took the lead at the start and was never headed as he went on to achieve his first ever race win at Thruxton.

Second was Neal's team-mate Gordon Shedden, the winner of the day's first race. Third was the Team RAC MG of Robert Collard who just kept ahead of Dave Pinkney - a shock fourth in the Motorbase team's Honda and who set the race's fastest lap.

The result means that Neal leads the championship by an increased margin of 38 points ahead of new second-placed driver Colin Turkington, who finished the race sixth in his RAC MG.

SEAT's Jason Plato, meanwhile, suffered his second retirement in as many races after an on-track clash damaged his Leon.

Today's third race is scheduled to start at 17.20. GMT

Tracy has his work cut out for him Tracy has his work cut out for himUPDATE Tracy told AutoRacing1.com Sunday morning, "We figured out what our problem was. We had the Weight-Jacker hooked up backwards. I went through one turn I had understeer so I moved the Weight-Jacker. Next corner, more understeer. Moved it again, next corner I still had understeer. We figured out what the problem is so we should be OK in the race. It's too bad because we had a shot at the pole."

06/03/06 After qualifying 9th at Milwaukee Saturday afternoon for Sunday's Time Warner Road Runner 225, Paul Tracy expressed his disappointment with one of his worse qualifying efforts ever at the famous mile track.

“I’m very disappointed with my qualifying position; we just have not been doing a good job this year with our qualifying cars.  We overcompensated for the weather change from the morning and ended up with a huge understeer.  It’s going to be a tough fight tomorrow because the top 8 cars are very fast and very close, so coming through the field is going to require a lot of patience and concentration.  I’ve always been good here in Milwaukee with cold tires so I’m going to try to pick up as many positions as possible at the start and then use my experience to get through traffic better that the other guys.  We need a strong result to keep us in the Championship chase.”

Sunday morning in Milwaukee Sunday morning in MilwaukeeUnlike Watkins Glen where the Grand-Am and IRL have been plagued by wretched weather, the entire weekend has seen Chamber of Commerce weather in Milwaukee for the Champ Car and Star Mazda series. It is unlikely that there will be a big turnout for either event as both series are reeling becuase of the split and need to merge ASAP. About 1,000 fans turned out to watch qualifying in Milwaukee Saturday, although this is typical for an oval race.
Dixon still miffed at losing Indy 500 Dixon still miffed at losing Indy 500Scott Dixon was positioned to capture the 90th Indianapolis 500 last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he was penalized for blocking Tony Kanaan on lap 172.  Dixon didn't agree with the call then; he doesn't agree with it now as the Indy Racing League turns its attention toward today's Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix. The 500's chief steward, IRL president Brian Barnhart, said it was a fair call no matter what Dixon believes. They talked about it earlier in the week, settling for a difference of opinion.

"Scott told me he only blocked (Kanaan) going into turn three, and that's all I needed to hear," Barnhart said. "The truth is, he had been warned (about blocking) four times."

Barnhart also said Dixon ran over an air hose during a pit stop, something Dixon denies.

"That was (teammate Dan) Wheldon," he said. "I don't want to really get into it, but some of (Barnhart's) observers need glasses." More at Indy Star

Another IRL team shuts doors Another IRL team shuts doorsUPDATE IRL rookie P.J. Chesson could be on the verge of leaving Hemelgarn Racing.

For the past month, Chesson and his financial supporters have been pursuing a deal to move their program to Panther Racing. The pursuit intensified after Ron Hemelgarn's second Indy 500 car, driven by Jeff Bucknum, spun in front of Chesson, ending both of their days with an accident.
Speculation has centered on Chesson being at Panther as Vitor Meira's teammate for next weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway. Panther co-owner John Barnes said that won't happen.

"We don't have full funding for (Meira's) car yet," he said Saturday. "There's a lot of things that would have to happen for this to come together."
Barnes said the earliest he could have a crew and program in place for Chesson would be the July 2 race at Kansas Speedway. Indy Star

06/03/06 One week after helping to fill the 33 car field at the Indy 500 Hemelgarn Racing withdrew their entry at Watkins Glen, laid everyone off and shut the doors and turned off the lights. 
Piquet Jr joins Brabham, Garcia for Le Mans 24 Hours Piquet Jr joins Brabham, Garcia for Le Mans 24 HoursNelson Piquet Jr is set to compete in his first Le Mans 24 Hours race, the 20 year old Brazilian star lining up with co-drivers David Brabham and Antonio Garcia in the Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 car running under the ‘Russian Age Racing’ entry. This marks the return of Piquet Jr to the wheel of this particular Aston Martin, which he drove to victory in the 50th Mil Milhas (1000kms) sports car event in Interlagos, Brazil, in January.

Piquet Jr received a last minute invitation to drive the Team Modena Aston Martin on Thursday and is already in Le Mans preparing for Sunday’s tests. His partnership with Australia’s David Brabham re-unites the Piquet/Brabham names 23 years after Nelson Piquet Sr won the second of his Formula One™ World Championship titles for the Brabham team.

The Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9/101 is the most successful Aston Martin sports car in international racing and currently leads the Le Mans Endurance Series GT1 championship where it is run by Cirtek Motorsport. In its most recent outing it finished 2nd in the LMES event at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, three weeks ago with Spanish ace Antonio Garcia as lead driver. Garcia, Brabham and Piquet Jr face tough opposition in the GT1 category at Le Mans but the team is in confident mood with such a strong driver line-up now completed.

Nelson Piquet Jr
"I was really happy to be invited to take part in this race to drive the Aston Martin and I am delighted that Team Modena thought of me to join the team with Antonio and David. I drove the car at the Mil Milhas in January and our team won, but it is a very different kind of car to drive than I am used to. I don’t know this circuit so I will be working hard during tomorrow’s test day to learn as much as I can and be prepared. There are lot of very good guys in the team and the other drivers have a lot of experience. Anything can happen in a race like this but I think we have a good chance to win our category. It’s going to be a big challenge because this is something very different for me, but I love to learn and I love to drive, so for me this is an excellent opportunity."

Rik Bryan, Team Modena Aston Martin owner and Director
"I am very pleased that Nelson has agreed to join us for Le Mans as it is rare for such a young and extremely talented driver to step out from a hectic season in GP2 to take on the challenge of the toughest long distance sports car race in the world. His performance in Interlagos last January showed his ability in the Aston Martin and to have him join David and Antonio is a terrific boost on the eve of the event. This weekend’s testing will be very important given that there is only two weeks to go before the race. I would like to thank the Piquet Sports team for its cooperation and hope we give Nelson the support he needs to make a strong Le Mans debut." Source: Piquet Sports

Weather puts damper on IRL momentum Weather puts damper on IRL momentumThe Indy Racing League had hoped to ride the enthusiasm of last weekend's Indianapolis 500 into the rest of the season, which begins today in the scenic surroundings of Watkins Glen International. So far, not so good.

Rain, cold temperatures and low clouds essentially wiped out Saturday's Indy-car activities at the road course, leaving participants with precious little track time heading into today's 60-lap Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix.

The conditions have put a major damper on local enthusiasm, too. Friday's crowd was minimal, in part because many schools were still in session. Only a handful of fans braved Saturday's elements (i.e. it has been a ghost town so far).

"This is a real downer," team owner Michael Andretti said. Indycar.com

Today’s forecast is for a 40% chance of rain. A chance of showers in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Temperature is currently a raw 55 degrees.

Lone oval very costly to Champ Car teams Lone oval very costly to Champ Car teamsThis year, like last year, has seen a lot of expensive Champ Car equipment badly torn up at the series only oval - Milwaukee. The Champ Car's run a much lower downforce setup than the IRL cars, hence they are not 100% throttle all the way around and the drivers must use all their skill to finesse the car around the track. Though racing was meant to be about driving skill, and was never meant to be a 100% throttle no talent required exhibition, the result is a lot of crashes and a lot of expensive repairs.

The torn-up cars strewn among the team transporters behind pit road told the story: The Milwaukee Mile is being very unkind to drivers in the Champ Car World Series.

On Friday Oriol Servia and Nelson Philippe tested the track's new energy-absorbing SAFER Barriers. On Saturday, former series champion Cristiano da Matta, Alex Tagliani and Bruno Junqueira, racing on an oval for the first time since breaking his back in a crash during the May 2005 Indianapolis 500, all slammed into the wall. None were injured.

Despite only 16 cars starting today's race, there is a real desire to keep Milwaukee on the 2007 Champ Car schedule according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Ten years ago, in the first year of the split between Champ Car and the Indy Racing League, the Mile saw its largest group of cars in the CART / Champ Car era when 28 drivers started.

"We think we can put on a first-class motorsports event, but we'd like to see more cars," Andy Randall, president and CEO of the Mile told the newspaper. "Champ Car would like to see more cars.

"We work with them. What we don't want to do is grab a car that isn't ready, put a driver in it that isn't ready just to get the car count up. I'd rather have 15 high-quality, experienced, excited drivers with the cars ready to go and have 225 miles of good racing."

The Mile is the only oval on the schedule for the Champ Car World Series, which traditionally has been billed as a diverse championship. Kalkhoven said the spate of expensive crashes this weekend didn't necessarily mean the series should stay away.

"I hope that it's going to be a great race tomorrow and that we'll all enjoy it," Kalkhoven said in a telephone interview while on his way to Milwaukee.

"We'll see what attendances look like tomorrow. I very much enjoy Milwaukee, and I very much enjoy the Milwaukee oval, because it's a skill oval. I would hope that we would be able to keep it on the schedule."

Schumacher takes a bike ride Schumacher takes a bike ride(GMM)  After racing at Monaco and testing at Barcelona last week, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher spent his weekend at the Mugello circuit in Italy -- on the back of a grand prix two-wheeler.

The seven time world champion, with his Rascasse indiscretion now a week in the past, took to the back berth of Ducati's two-seat MotoGP motorcycle at the series' Italian grand prix.

After sitting behind motorcycling veteran Randy Mamola for two laps, 37-year-old Schumacher can now add the experience to the laps he did last winter on a regular MotoGP racer.

He joked: ''I patted Randy on the back a couple of times to remind him that I've got Silverstone next weekend!''

And, at the conclusion of his second MotoGP experience, the German insisted that - perhaps unlike Mugello race winner Valentino Rossi - he is not contemplating a switch of codes.

''I think (now) I have done enough,'' Schumacher smiled.  ''I'm not planning to become a bike racer!''

Shedden wins race 1 at Thruxton Shedden wins race 1 at ThruxtonScotland's Gordon Shedden has won the first of today's three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.

Shedden, in his Team Halfords Honda, led all the way from pole position for his second win of the season. He also set the race's fastest lap.

Second was his teammate Matt Neal, the reigning champion. The result has enabled Neal to extend his current championship lead as arch title rival Jason Plato retired his SEAT with a punctured tire.

Taking third on the final lap to finish on the podium on his BTCC debut was SEAT's Darren Turner who is standing in for the absent James Thompson.

Today's second race is scheduled to start at 13.50 GMT.

Kalkhoven: Only a matter of time for merger Kalkhoven: Only a matter of time for mergerDavid Stubbs wrote an article that appeared in today's Montreal Gazette titled Open-Wheel merger bid is series business and the byline Champ car chief says it's only a matter of time until the two groups stop going around in circles and team up

What follows are some key excerpts:

North America's two brands of elite open-wheel motor racing continue to inch toward each other in reconciliation, their decade-long split having driven away millions of fans and sponsorship dollars, and turned their TV ratings hard into the wall.

Now, both Kevin Kalkhoven, co-owner of the Champ Car World Series, and Tony George, owner of the rival Indy Racing League, see light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel.

On Wednesday, Kalkhoven told The Gazette in a 40-minute interview that he and George are still working toward a merger, if more slowly than the wheels of rumor are spinning. A deal was neither done nor was imminent, he said, and at week's end he flatly denied a published report that claimed reunification was, for all intents and purposes, concluded.

Kalkhoven and George continue to explore common ground in a bid to repair the damage done to the open-wheel landscape since the two sides went their separate ways in 1996.

"Doing this right is the most important thing," Kalkhoven said.

"It's easier to fall into a marriage than it is to get out of the divorce at the other end. It's better to spend the time getting it right.

"I'd say we're at five," he said of a scale on which one is no deal ever and 10 marks a merger.

"We are working in good faith, but there are many practical problems to deal with. Sometimes, things aren't in our control.

"I think (a merger) will happen. Whether it's 2007 or '08, I don't know. When Tony and I began speaking (six months ago), we never put a date on this. But our talks are well-intentioned, not superficial or hostile." zzzz

Through the past decade, both brands have suffered badly from a dilution of talent and evaporation of fan loyalty and sponsorship. They've watched as NASCAR has driven off almost out of sight, its stock cars now by far the continent's most popular and richest form of racing.

Last year, in Nielsen ratings that have enormous advertising-rate and marketing power, NASCAR trailed only the NFL on U.S. television. It had triple the viewership of the IRL, and five times that of Champ Car.

Among the team owners who left Champ Car for IRL were Roger Penske, his cars 14-time winners of the Indy 500, and Chip Ganassi, his main rival.

Last month, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, Ganassi said: "Both open-wheel series are on the gurney ... kind of out in the hall, next to the emergency room, because a lot of the doctors don't even care."

He (Kalkhoven) is the one talking merger with George, he says, simply because he has no history with the bad blood, not having been at the table for many dozens of failed reunification meetings.

Kalkhoven was George's guest at last Sunday's Indy 500, the 11th since the sides split, and he has invited his IRL counterpart to any Champ Car race. (Even the 500 has lost its magic; its ABC-TV rating last week was down 20 per cent from 2005.)

"Tony's an OK guy," Kalkhoven said. "I think he understands that both of us have to take a leadership role on this.

"We've developed some degree of friendship - I wouldn't say we're friends - and as trust builds, it's easier to leave your ego at the door."

"We've agreed on a huge number of points, really," said Kalkhoven, who with Forsythe also owns Cosworth engines, exclusive supplier to their own series and to F1's Williams team.

"I'm amazed at how easy some of the issues have been to deal with. This isn't philosophical, it's a bunch of practical issues."

Kalkhoven strongly believes in the festival, the three-day downtown street events that Champ Car runs with success. It holds its only oval race of the year today in Milwaukee.

"The honest truth is that the oval format isn't going to work beyond the (Indy) 500," he said.

"The festival format will build a fan base for the future.

"But it's been years going down, and it's not going to bounce back (overnight). Nor is unification a silver bullet. There will still be a huge amount of work to do (after a merger)."

Looming over everything is NASCAR, and Kalkhoven worries about a lack of choice for fans should the stock car circuit lap the field.

"It would be sad and probably deficient, in a choice sense, if open-wheel racing was overwhelmed by NASCAR," he said of the series that could elbow Champ Car off Circuit Gilles Villeneuve next year.

Scarborough, Ont., superstar Paul Tracy, who has considered defecting to stock cars, last month signed for five more years with Forsythe, heartened by open-wheel racing's future.

"I don't think that in 30 years' time, the world will be dominated by tintops going around and around in circles," Kalkhoven said of NASCAR. "So how do we best reflect our fans' desires? That's what interests me.

"We've made mistakes, don't get me wrong. But do I regret getting involved? Absolutely not. Do I believe we'll succeed? Absolutely.

"There's nothing like the fear of death that makes you appreciate life, so what we have to do now is make a great series for the future, not bemoan the past."

Grand-Am notebook from Watkins Glen Grand-Am notebook from Watkins GlenNo. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve Porsche Crawford co-drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Hoover Orsi each led 13 laps in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Fittipaldi inherited the lead on Lap 13 when Angelelli made his first stop, while Orsi—making his Rolex Series debut—inherited the lead on Lap 59. Fittipaldi also led three laps late in the race when then leaders Fogarty and Bergmeister made their final stops, but a late incident relegated the duo to a 13th-place result.… Germany’s Mike Rockenfeller led two laps in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford before giving way to co-driver Patrick Long, who was caught up in an incident with the No. 39 machine late in the race in Turn 1. The incident cost the No. 23 machine several positions and also yielded an avoidable contact penalty. Long and Rockenfeller wound up 15th… Alex Figge, fresh off his first-ever Rolex Series podium with a runner-up finish with co-driver Ryan Dalziel in last month’s GAINSCO Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway, also spent time in the lead in the No. 89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Casino Pontiac Riley. Figge led the field to a Lap 65 restart and remained out front for five laps on his way to a 10th place overall finish for the Pacific Coast Motorsports team. Other lap leaders included Valiante, who led one lap en route to a 12th-place result alongside co-driver Rob Finlay in the No. 5 Ford Crawford, and Mark Goossens, who led five laps and combined with Milka Duno and Stefan Johansson to finish 11th in the No. 11 CITGO Racing by SAMAX Pontiac Riley… Al Unser Jr. and Burt and Brian Frisselle charged from a 22nd-place starting spot to a ninth-place result in the No. 8 A1 Team USA/GlycoMax Porsche Doran for Synergy Racing to earn the Daytona Prototype “SunTrust Improve Your Position Award.” Pobst and Baas earned similar honors in the GT class for their charge from 13th to second.
Phoenix Mayor wants Champ Car race studied Phoenix Mayor wants Champ Car race studiedPhoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said Thursday he wants the city to study a possible downtown, Indy-car style road race despite strong opposition to the idea from backers of NASCAR circuit races in the West Valley.

Gordon said city staffers are studying a possible Grand Prix-style Champ Car World Series race that would run through downtown Phoenix. The mayor said such an event could be economically beneficial to the city and its his and government's duty to consider such ideas.

There has been a strong and organized public relations effort against a proposed downtown race with critics worrying it could discourage NASCAR from holding two races each year at Phoenix International Raceway.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio voiced worries about the possible downtown race and it disrupting law enforcement offices located in Copper Square, including a 911 operations center.

Gordon, a moderate Democrat, said it's premature to nix the idea of the race and said city staff is studying the matter. Phoenix Business Journal

Bouchut replaces injured Boullion Bouchut replaces injured BoullionChristophe Bouchut will replace Jean-Christophe Boullion, who broke his wrist just a few days ago putting him out of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Bouchut now takes over the reigns of the lead Pescarolo Sport Hybrid Judd machine for the test day and race alongside Erik Comas and Emmanuel Collard  The Frenchman had originally been signed on to drive the Russian Age Racing Aston Martin DBR9.  No word yet on who will fill the empty seat over at Russian Age Racing.
Burton wins StonebridgeRacing.com 200 at Dover Burton wins StonebridgeRacing.com 200 at DoverDOVER, Del. – Jeff Burton won Saturday’s StonebridgeRacing.com 200 at Dover International Speedway, his second NASCAR Busch Series win of the season. Carl Edwards finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Ron Hornaday in fifth place. After starting the race from the 34th position, Burton’s 22nd career NASCAR Busch Series victory was also the biggest come-from-behind win in series history at Dover.

Series points leaders Kevin Harvick and Edwards began the race on the front row, after Busch Pole qualifying was rained out and the field was set according to the point standings. Harvick led the first six laps before yielding to Edwards and eventually drifting back to the fifth position as Denny Hamlin, Bowyer and Kyle Busch charged ahead.

A minor accident on lap 32 slowed the field as three cars tangled in turn two. Edwards led on the restart before two more brief caution periods ensued, to clear debris from the track.

With racing underway once again on lap 50, Hamlin, Edwards and Kyle Busch began a fierce three-way battle for the lead with Hamlin emerging at the front for a few laps – until Busch and Edwards drove past on lap 55.  zzzz

Steve Wallace and Regan Smith brought out two more caution flags after two more spins on the 56th and 61st laps and Kyle Busch pulled away from Edwards on the next restart. Meanwhile, Burton was making rapid progress and was up to seventh place by the 78th lap.

As Burton continued his drive towards the top five, Edwards caught up to Busch and re-gained the lead on lap 82.

By the halfway point, Bowyer led while Edwards and Kyle Busch raced in the second and third positions. Burton had advanced to fifth and Kurt Busch, who started 30th, was up to seventh.

A spin by Jon Wood resulted in the race’s sixth caution period and Bowyer won the race off pit road to remain in the lead while Edwards, Burton, Kyle Busch and Harvick restarted in the top five. Edwards returned to the lead for the third time before the seventh caution period came out for a spin by Steve Park with 50 laps remaining.

Bowyer, Burton, Kyle Busch, Hornaday and rookie Aric Almirola did not pit during the caution and restarted the race up front before another caution period began for a multi-car accident on the front stretch.

The race restarted with 37 laps remaining and the leaders’ decisive pit strategy was put to the test as the top four drivers had not received fresh tires on the previous caution.

Kurt Busch restarted third and drove past Bowyer for the lead with 31 laps remaining while Burton followed into the second position two laps later. Busch and Burton waged a thrilling, side-by-side battle for the lead over the next 10 laps while Edwards, who had pitted for fresh tires, ran third. Burton’s charge to the front was complete with 18 laps remaining, as he gained the lead while Edwards followed him past Busch and into second.

With his victory, Burton moved into a tie for fourth place on the NASCAR Busch Series’ all-time win list with 22 victories. He shares that ranking with Sam Ard and Tommy Ellis.

The NASCAR Busch Series continues its 25th season June 10 at Nashville Superspeedway.

Potekhen rolls to victory on the Milwaukee Mile Potekhen rolls to victory on the Milwaukee MileMilwaukee, Wisconsin. Michael Potekhen jumped into the lead on lap 28 and never looked back, guiding his #53 Apex Racing Centerpoint Communities Mazda to victory today in Round Four of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, held this afternoon at the historic Milwaukee Mile as part of the Champ Car World Series Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 weekend activities. Championship points leader Daniel Herrington, finished second in today's 100-lap event, 0.243 seconds behind the leader in his #3 AIM Autosport Bluetooth Mazda. Finishing third to complete the podium was Robbie Pecorari, driving the #8 John Walko Racing Maxwell Paper Products Mazda.

"The Apex Racing Team has really come together these past few races and the results for both myself my team owner Ken Losch, who finished sixth today, prove it," Potekhen explained. "When you're racing on an oval 90% of the success comes down to the car setup and my car was working perfectly today. Having experience with oval racing also helped give me the upper hand over Daniel and other drivers that might not have that experience. In the closing laps my spotter was giving me the gap over the radio and while he was closing in at the end I was able to manage the gap to the finish."

Herrington had his hands full chasing down Potekhen, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina resident working his way from seventh on the grid, passing Pecorari for third place on lap 39 and getting past pole position winner Adrian Carrio for second place nine laps later. "My car was working really well today and we were closing on Michael in the final laps but I'm not sure if I could've got around him," Herrington explained. "My car was a little loose throughout the session but it was also fast and the caution flags also helped us close the gap a couple of times as I worked through the field." zzzz

Finishing on the podium was a perfect ending for Pecorari, a last minute replacement when regular driver Ross Smith fell ill, who was able to slip past Carrio on the final lap to take the last podium spot. "It looked like Adrian got held up by lap traffic coming out of turn two on the final lap and I made an all or nothing move to the inside as we came to turn three and was able to make it onto the podium," Pecorari said. "I have to thank the Smith family, Maxwell Paper Products and John Walko Racing for giving me the opportunity to come here this weekend and step in when Ross couldn't make it, what better way to say thanks than a podium finish."

With a quarter of the season complete Herrington maintains his place on top of the championship with 153 points. Carrio, who finished fourth on the day, holds onto second place with 145 points and Potekhen slips into sole possession of third place with 142 points.

In the Expert Championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Gerardo Bonilla captured the class victory in his #9 Carmela Sausages Andersen Racing Team Mazda and holds first place with 71 points. Brian Thienes finished second on track and holds second place with 58 points and Dan Tomlin III sits third with 54 points. In the Masters Championship, for drivers aged 45 and older, Ken Losch, driving the #52 Apex Racing Centerpoint Communities Mazda was the class winner finishing sixth overall, and moves into first place with 63 points. John Pew falls to second place with 60 points and Doug Peterson holds onto third with 53 points.

In the Team Championship AIM Autosport remains in first with 77 points while World Speed Motorsports is second with 74 points. Apex Racing makes a huge leap in the points, rising from seventh to third with 71 points overall.

The series now heads north to Canada to take part in the Formula One Grand Prix of Canada weekend at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal for Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear on June 23-24. Round Four from the Milwaukee is scheduled to air at 1:00 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, June 18th. For more information please visit www.starmazda.com.

Race Results
Pos No. Name Laps Diff
1 53 Mike Potekhen 100 -
2 3 Daniel Herrington 100 +0.243
3 8 Robbie Pecorari 100 +14.635
4 14 Adrian Carrio 100 +14.828
5 74 Kevin Lacroix 100 +15.579
6 52 Ken Losch 100 +15.640
7 69 Ron White 100 +19.444
8 38 Ryan Justice 100 +22.598
9 24 Jon Brownson 100 +28.571
10 45 Matt Varsha 99 1 Lap
11 2 Brad Jaeger 99 +4.859
12 9 Gerardo Bonilla 99 +6.090
13 18 Rob Bunker 99 +8.386
14 77 Brian Thienes 99 +11.881
15 86 Charles Anti 99 +26.193
16 85 Jay Poscente 99 +29.020
17 25 Thomas Wieringa 98 2 Laps
18 87 Doug Peterson 98 +0.523
19 22 Ramiro Scuncio 98 +5.000
20 58 Dan Tomlin Jr. 98 +6.430
21 93 John Faulkner 97 3 Laps
22 17 Steve Hickham 97 +19.929
23 15 John Pew 96 4 Laps
24 23 Logan Gomez 92 8 Laps
25 12 Jon Branam 28 72 Laps
26 29 Phil Fogg Jr. 8 92 Laps
27 56 Dan Tomlin III 7 93 Laps
28 71 Steven Hickham Jr. 1 99 Laps Star Mazda

Indy 500 TV ratings plummet Indy 500 TV ratings plummetUPDATE #4 CORRECTION: The Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 raced to a virtual dead heat Sunday.
In final ratings released Friday by Nielsen Media Research, both races received 5.1 ratings, Sam Hornish Jr.'s afternoon win in the 500 on ABC and Kasey Kahne's night win in the 600 on Fox. Indy drew a 14 share to NASCAR's 11 share, meaning it drew a slightly larger percentage of the TV sets in use at the time of the telecast.

In the preliminary overnight ratings, Indy had a 5.2-4.7 edge. But those are based on 55 urban markets and NASCAR ratings almost always go up when the full viewership is taken into account.

The Indy 500 rating dropped 21.5 percent from its 6.5 a year ago, when it beat the Coca-Cola 600 for the first time since 2001.

The highest rating since ABC began telecasting the 500 in 1971 was a 17.9 in 1976 when Johnny Rutherford went to victory lane. The last double-digit rating was an 11.1 in 1987 for Al Unser's run to a record-tying fourth win. Indy Star

06/03/06 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, With all that pre-race hype and coverage about Michael, Mario and Marco Andretti, not to mention all the Danica hype,  a 5.2 rating is pathetic Coca-Cola 600, Indy is supposed to be the biggest auto racing event IN THE WORLD!   Tony is obviously surrounded by sycophants and yes-men but facts are facts and this rating is AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH for the I AM INDY crowd.

Of course with Champ Car pulling 0.6’s on Network TV there is not much to smile about for the sport of open wheel racing in the USA.  Adrian Frueberg 

Dear Adrian, The sport desperately needs a merger if it has any chance of survival, yet Champ Car and the IRL continue to find a way NOT to make it happen, and each and every day the sport continues to be split is another day it marches toward its inevitable grave.  The merger needs to happen now - not tomorrow, not next month and not next year.  Mark C.

06/03/06 ABC Sports coverage of the Indianapolis 500-mile race last Sunday was the top-rated motorsports event of the weekend, earning a 5.2 final rating during flag-to-flag coverage and a 15 share according to Nielsen Sports Marketing.  This is down a whopping 20% from last year's final Indy 500 rating of 6.5/18 share, but the good news is that for the 2nd straight year the Indy 500 beat NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600.  The Coca-Cola 600 rating was also down this year, but not 20% like the Indy 500 was.  The fact that yet another NASCAR race has come in with lower TV ratings continues the trend.  Is NASCAR past its peak and beginning a period of negative growth?

05/31/06 The tape-delayed Indy 500 race drew a 14.7 rating in the local Indianapolis market, and thus outdrew NASCAR on Fox rated at 8.5 shown at the same time. However, Charlotte posted a 15.4/26 for Fox’ NASCAR Coca-Cola 600.  This is not uncommon as many Indy residents choose not to buy an Indy 500 race ticket since the split and instead stay home and watch it on TV.  NASCAR’s final ratings “usually end up higher than its overnights.” In ’02, ’03 and ’04, the Indy 500 topped the Coca-Cola 600 in overnight ratings but fell behind in final ratings.  NASCAR is a bigger draw in grassroots America. 

05/30/06 ABC earned a 5.2/13 share overnight Nielsen rating for its coverage of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, down 21.2% from a 6.6/17 last year (overnight).  Prerace coverage earned a 2.8/8, down 30.0% from a 4.0/11 in ’05.  Perhaps now Tony George will be encouraged to make the merger with Champ Car happen sooner rather than later.  Open Wheel Racing in the USA needs a strong Indy 500 and this year's rating is most disappointing.  The trend was down since the IRL took over the Indy 500, and only last year did we see a ratings increase.  That was wiped out this year.

The Indy 500 was the highest-rated motorsports event of the weekend, but we'll wait until the final numbers are in before we can claim whether Indy beat the NASCAR race at Lowe's for the 2nd straight year.
Legge surprises with 8th fastest speed Legge surprises with 8th fastest speedKatherine Legge, who is competing at Milwaukee and on an oval for the first time ever (although she did test on the Milwaukee Mile back in April), got extensive track time and valuable oval experience during yesterday’s test running a total of 203 laps (102 in the morning session and 101 in the afternoon). 

The 25-year-old native of Great Britain notched the 13th quickest time of the open test running a fast lap of 22.473 seconds (165.318 mph).  In Saturday morning’s practice, Legge improved both her time and position on the speed charts by clocking a fast lap of 22.023 seconds (168.696 seconds) placing her 11th on the practice report and seventh in line for qualifying.  Saving the best for last, Legge was truly impressive in qualifying making almost a half second jump over her previous best practice time.  Taking the green flag after four warm-up laps, Legge ran a 21.6 on the first of two qualifying laps, which was a considerable gain in its own right, only to come back with an even stronger effort the second time around.

“Today was a little tougher than other qualifying sessions because running on an oval is a new element for me,” Legge said.  “I ran a lot of laps yesterday during the open test and this morning in practice which gave me a lot of valuable experience.  Each time out I got more track time, more experience and more comfortable.  The biggest thing for me was, I just didn’t want to hit the wall in practice,” she explained. 

Legge continued, saying, “I am also very lucky to have such a fantastic team behind me. They really made me feel comfortable. The team, Jimmy (former driver and PKV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser) and Oriol (teammate Oriol Servia) have been so helpful, it kind of makes it easier.  Overall, I am pleased with the performance of the Bell Micro – PKV Racing team today.  I kept the car off the wall and I just did what I could do.  The car felt phenomenal and I am happy with that, but there is more in the car than what we showed in qualifying.”

Johnson must share pit stall Sunday Johnson must share pit stall SundayThe number of pit stalls at Dover is limited. That spin during qualifying Friday might have looked really cool, but it came at a price for NASCAR Nextel Cup point leader Jimmie Johnson.

Dover has only 42 pit stalls, and since Johnson is starting 42nd on the grid, Johnson must share a pit stall with Scott Wimmer, who is starting 43rd.

"We were pretty excited afterwards," Johnson said about the spin where he amazingly kept the car from hitting the wall. "Shortly thereafter, we found out we had to share a pit stall, and the smiles went away."

TV Rating for Coca-Cola 600 TV Rating for Coca-Cola 600UPDATE #2 The final rating for the Coca-Cola 600 was a 5.1/11 share on FOX, just below the Indy 500 Rating of 5.2.  This is down 14.8% from last year and is another clear indicator that NASCAR has peaked because almost all the races in 2006 have seen a decrease in ratings.

 05/30/06 The revised overnight rating for the Coca-Cola 600 is a 4.7/10, down 7.8% from a 5.1/10 last year.

05/30/06 Fans of NASCAR may be fans year round, but when it comes to TV ratings, it doesn't hurt that the official TV season is over. The racing sport topped households on Sunday night with a 5.0 rating/10 share - tops for ALL TV shows.  It was down from last year's overnight rating of 5.1/10 share.

Roush Racing crew member killed Roush Racing crew member killedCONCORD, N.C. – Michael Fermaglich, 32, of Mooresville, N.C., was killed Friday night in an automobile accident in Concord, N.C.  Fermaglich was an employee of Roush Racing, a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich. based Roush Enterprises, where he worked for the past two years as a fabricator at Roush Racing’s Mooresville, N.C. based operation.

In addition to his weekday role of fabricator, Fermaglich served as the pit boss for Roush Racing’s No. 17 NASCAR Busch Series team on race day.

“This is obviously a sad day for Roush Racing,” said Jimmy Fennig, crew chief for the No. 17 NBS team.  “Mike was a hard worker and a valuable part of our team both at home and on the road.  He will be greatly missed at Roush Racing and on this 17 team.  We still have to race today because that’s who we are and what we do, but our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family.”

For more information:
Roush Racing

Wilson wins Indy Pro pole at The Glen Wilson wins Indy Pro pole at The GlenQualifying Saturday for the Corning 100 IRL Indy Pro Series event on the 3.37-mile Watkins Glen International, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed: 
1. (24) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 107.135
2. (26) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 106.878
3. (42) Phil Giebler, Dallara, 106.571
4. (1) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 105.945
5. (11) Jaime Camara, Dallara, 105.744
6. (27) Jonathan Klein, Dallara, 105.698
7. (4) Sean Guthrie, Dallara, 104.849
8. (52) Nick Bussell, Dallara, 104.557
9. (7) Jay Howard, Dallara, 104.176
10. (9) CR Crews, Dallara, 103.937
11. (41) Raphael Matos, Dallara, 103.403
12. (6) Jon Herb, Dallara, 102.522
13. (3) Brett Van Blankers, Dallara, 102.361
14. (2) Matthew Hamilton, Dallara, 102.289
15. (25) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara, 101.895
16. (8) Mishael Abbott, Dallara, 97.141
17. (51) Chris Festa, Dallara, no speed  zzzz

BOBBY WILSON (No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing, SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award winner): "Hats off to the team. They did a great job. We made a bunch of changes throughout the session. We had to sit there and adapt to the track and change the car to make it work. I'd really like to thank my sponsor, Ocala Gran Prix, for allowing me this opportunity to race. I was really digging this. I kind of miss the one-lap qualifying, because I'm used to that style. But, we put it all together on the last lap. We just wanted to get out early in the session and get a good baseline, see where everything was at. Came in and made some pretty good changes, and the Kenn Hardley Racing team was on the money, so I'm happy."

ALEX LLOYD (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, qualified second): "I'm happy to be on the front row. I'm disappointed not to be on the pole, because we were comfortably quickest yesterday in the dry conditions. This session was a little bit of a lottery. It was just whoever got the best lap there at the end. I got a decent lap in, but we probably didn't put the setup in right for these conditions. I'm sure a lot of people are in the same boat."

PHIL GIEBLER (No. 42 Kenn Hardley Racing, qualified third): "It was ever changing. The track was pretty good at first and then it got pretty slick out there. It got a little bit more wet. I was really just chasing the track and trying to find a balance with the car because the car did not want to turn at all. It just wanted to go straight. I did go straight off the track at the "Toe" of the "Boot". I got back on the track and got it out of a rut and got it up there to P3. That was not too bad. I got held up on my fastest lap which kind of hurt me. I think I had to pass two cars on my last lap there. I'm just looking forward to the race now.

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, qualified fourth): "We sat on the pole there after the first yellow.  Really, I just abused the front tires because the track was drying; it was quite dry at the beginning of the session. Then it sprinkled again, and we went out before the second yellow, and my tires were just gone, so I couldn't really do much. So I came in and waited. I came in just before the second full-course yellow. The tires had a chance to cool down. We had that one lap shoot out at the end, and it was tough. There were a couple cars out front battling through traffic. I was struggling with the front tires that I burned up right at the start of the session. Fourth isn't too bad. That's near the front. We know we've got good pace. We're as quick as everyone else. We'll just have to see what happens in the race. The track is pretty predictable. You just have to watch for the concrete patches."

JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 CELG, qualified fifth): "It's not bad, but I was expecting a little bit more. We have to do some work on our rain setup because we could help the problem, but we could not solve it. It's OK, we are going to set the car up for the race tomorrow. The track is slick, really slick. It's good, but it's slick. I expected the track to be worse than it was but it's quite good.  Turn seven and nine were probably the slickest."

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified ninth): "I ran off. Nothing else to say. I'm just going to have to make up for it tomorrow."

Carrio earns pole position at the Milwaukee Mile Carrio earns pole position at the Milwaukee MileMilwaukee, Wisconsin. Setting a blistering pace, Adrian Carrio, from Monument, Colorado, qualified out front for Round Four of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, lapping the famed Milwaukee Mile in his #14 World Speed Motorsports Rockford Fosgate Mazda in a time of 27.249 (136.343 MPH). Joining him on the front row will be Robbie Pecorari, of Aston, Pennsylvania, who posted a fast lap of 27.330 (135.939 MPH) in his Maxwell Paper Products Mazda.

"It's great to qualify out front," said Carrio, after earning his first series pole position. "I have to thank everyone on my team for preparing a great car. My engineer Mike Doyle has a track record here, engineering Case Montgomery to a victory in the Atlantic Series, so this is a good start to continuing that history."

Pecorari, who finished second in the 2005 championship and tasted victory in the series' only oval event at Pikes Peak International Raceway was also pleased with his qualifying performance as he fills in for Ross Smith in the #8 John Walko Racing Maxwell Paper Products Mazda. "This weekend came together quickly when the team learned that Ross had come down with an illness the day he was supposed to fly out here," Pecorari explained. "It's good to be able to repay them for this opportunity with a front-row start for today's race." zzzz

Michael Potekhen, who was fastest for most of the weekend in his #53 Apex Racing Centerpoint Communities Mazda, will line up third on the grid. The Tempe, Arizona resident was the final car to post a qualifying time, lapping the 1.032-mile circuit in a time of 27.361 (135.785 MPH). Championship points leader Daniel Herrington will line up seventh on the grid for this afternoon's 100-lap event.

Round Four of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, being held this weekend at the Milwaukee Mile as part of the Champ Car World Series Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 activities, is scheduled to begin at 3:00 PM Central Time

Qualifying Results
Pos No. Name Best Tm Best Spd
1 14 Adrian Carrio 27.249 136.343
2 8 Robbie Pecorari 27.330 135.939
3 53 Mike Potekhen 27.361 135.785
4 38 Ryan Justice 27.461 135.290
5 74 Kevin Lacroix 27.538 134.912
6 24 Jon Brownson 27.560 134.804
7 3 Daniel Herrington 27.686 134.191
8 69 Ron White 27.687 134.186
9 29 Phil Fogg Jr. 27.834 133.477
10 77 Brian Thienes 27.852 133.391
11 9 Gerardo Bonilla 27.898 133.171
12 18 Rob Bunker 28.148 131.988
13 25 Thomas Wieringa 28.154 131.960
14 23 Logan Gomez 28.196 131.763
15 52 Ken Losch 28.198 131.754
16 86 Charles Anti 28.229 131.609
17 87 Doug Peterson 28.254 131.493
18 93 John Faulkner 28.385 130.886
19 22 Ramiro Scuncio 28.411 130.766
20 45 Matt Varsha 28.430 130.679
21 12 Jon Branam 28.628 129.775
22 58 Dan Tomlin Jr. 28.664 129.612
23 2 Brad Jaeger 28.906 128.527
24 56 Dan Tomlin III 28.933 128.407
25 17 Steve Hickham 29.287 126.855
26 15 John Pew 29.512 125.888
27 42 Nur Ali -.--- -

Rain washes out IndyCar qualifying Rain washes out IndyCar qualifyingHelio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, constants in the first three rows of IndyCar Series road/street course events, will hook up in another spirited competition in the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Tissot.
The longtime friends and rivals will occupy the front row for the second IndyCar Series race on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International circuit.

The grid was set based on June 2 combined practice times. Single-car qualifying and the "Firestone Fast Six" session were wiped out because fog precluded the trauma helicopter from landing at the facility before cars were scheduled to get on the track. The Indy Racing League requires an evacuation helicopter at each race it sanctions.

"Part of me is disappointed that we didn't have a qualifying session because we showed we were quick yesterday in practice and it would have been nice to try and qualify on pole, but we'll take a pole position how ever we can get it," Castroneves said.

Castroneves, the IndyCar Series point leader driving the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, topped the speed chart June 2 with a quick lap of 1:30.6688 (133.806 mph) in the afternoon session. Kanaan had a quick lap of 1:31.0462 (133.251 mph) in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone.  zzzz

Indy Pro Series qualifying for the Corning 100 was reduced to one 45-minute session (Bobby Wilson will start on the pole), and the IndyCar Series had 75 minutes of practice time (Vision Racing's Tomas Scheckter topped the chart with a quick lap of 1 minute, 38.7505 seconds) on a rain-slicked surface.

Starting lineup for the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix IRL IndyCar Series event on the 3.37-mile Watkins Glen International natural-terrain road course, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed. Starting lineup determined by Friday's combined practice speeds after qualifications were cancelled:

1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 133.792
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 133.251
3. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 133.067
4. (9) Scott Dixon, Panoz-Honda, 132.973
5. (10) Dan Wheldon, Panoz-Honda, 132.450
6. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 132.090
7. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 132.061
8. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 131.837
9. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 131.610
10. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 131.495
11. (15) Buddy Rice, Panoz-Honda, 131.481
12. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Dallara-Honda, 131.082
13. (17) Jeff Simmons, Panoz-Honda, 129.830
14. (8) Scott Sharp, Panoz-Honda, 129.737
15. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 129.338
16. (16) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 129.236
17. (51) Eddie Cheever Jr., Dallara-Honda, 128.827
18. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 127.602
19. (14) Felipe Giaffone, Dallara-Honda, 127.565

Shedden grabs Thruxton pole Shedden grabs Thruxton poleGordon Shedden has qualified on pole position for the first of tomorrow's (Sunday) three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.

Shedden, in his Team Halfords Honda, set the pole time in 1m17.833s. It is the Scottish driver's first ever BTCC pole.

Second fastest was the Team RAC MG of Colin Turkington, while Tom Chilton in Vauxhall's Astra Sport Hatch, was third.

Reigning champion and current points leader Matt Neal, in his Halfords Honda, was fourth fastest, just ahead of chief title rival Jason Plato's SEAT in fifth.

Ducatis 1-2 in Italy Ducatis 1-2 in ItalySete Gibernau took pole at Mugello today, and will head a Ducati one-two on the grid for the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice tomorrow afternoon. The Spaniard knocked two tenths off Valentino Rossi’s 2005 pole time, and his 1’48.969 lap puts him alongside team-mate Loris Capirossi at his team’s home circuit. Rossi completes the front row, out for his fifth win in as many seasons at the Italian track. The reigning World Champion needs a win in Mugello in his quest to retain the crown, hoping to close the 43 point gap between him and Nicky Hayden. The American rider himself will line up on the second row, ahead of Shinya Nakano and second-placed rider Marco Melandri. John Hopkins continues was just outside the top six, with Dani Pedrosa behind him after claiming pole in the previous two races. Casey Stoner and Makoto Tamada completed the top ten.

1. Sete Gibernau - Ducati Marlboro 1'48.969
2. Loris Capirossi - Ducati Marlboro 1'49.058
3. Valentino Rossi - Camel Yamaha 1'49.167
4. Nicky Hayden - Repsol Honda 1'49.212
5. Shinya Nakano - Kawasaki Racing 1'49.328
6. Marco Melandri - Fortuna Honda 1'49.343
7. John Hopkins - Rizla Suzuki 1'49.478
8. Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda 1'49.516
9. Casey Stoner - Honda LCR 1'49.915
10. Makoto Tamada - Konica Minolta  1'50.084

Tagliani crashes Tagliani crashesUPDATE We asked Alex Tagliani what caused the crash of his Team Australia/Walker Racing Lola.  "I'm not sure, my car was understeering, but then all of a sudden I got a major oversteer coming out of Turn 4 and lost control. I did not expect the big oversteer because I was understeering so much. Maybe I hit the speedy dry from da Matta's accident, I'm not sure. This is really disappointing because we had a pole winning car today," said Tagliani.

Until late in the 2 hour practice session, Tagliani still held the top speed, though toward the end Sebastien Bourdais went faster, which substantiates Tagliani's claim that he may have had the fastest car. The team has no backup car and is working feverishly to fix the one he crashed. Mark C.

06/03/06 The carnage at Milwaukee continues.  Alex Tagliani, after turning the fastest lap in the session, crashed in Turn 4, making heavy contact with the outside wall.  The driver is OK, but it is yet another equipment casualty of expensive oval track racing.
Rain and fog delay IRL practice Rain and fog delay IRL practiceUPDATE The medical helicopter has arrived.  IndyPro qualifying will begin at 11:30 AM rain or shine.

06/03/06 Rain and fog has delayed IRL practice at Watkins Glen this morning.  The medical helicopter cannot fly.

Da Matta hits wall Da Matta hits wallIn morning practice Cristiano da Matta has tapped the Turn 4 wall at Milwaukee and taken off his rear wing and damaged his right side suspension.  Da Matta is out of the car and is OK.
Button rules out Silverstone win Button rules out Silverstone win(GMM)  Local driver Jenson Button has informed Britain's ranks of expectant press that he is unlikely to emerge with a podium - let alone a debut win - at his 110th career grand prix next weekend at Silverstone.

Plagued by their pressure to finally succeed, the 26-year-old - at a pre-British grand prix event at the circuit in Northamptonshire - had to admit that his current Honda racer is not up to the task of beating Renault or Ferrari.

Explaining that aerodynamics and horse power are the main problems, Button said: ''I expect we will be fighting with the likes of McLaren for the places.''

He added: ''We are not going to give the fans what they want (next Sunday) but I still have faith in Honda to deliver in the longer term.''

Schu saga to soon be forgotten - Lauda Schu saga to soon be forgotten - Lauda(GMM)  Niki Lauda thinks the ruckus surrounding Michael Schumacher's Monaco indiscretion will soon be forgotten.

The triple world champion, who at Monte Carlo was one of the harshest critics of the German's Rascasse gaffe, doubted that it would still be a hot topic as the British grand prix at Silverstone unfolds next week.

Indeed, 57-year-old Lauda told 'Kicker' magazine: ''What happened in the Rascasse curve, and also afterwards, is even now no longer a topic.

''That is the way formula one is.  It will become just another event in Michael's past.''

More pressing, the veteran Austrian reckons, is Ferrari driver Schumacher's rapidly diminishing chance to secure an eighth title this season.

At Monaco, the gap to Fernando Alonso blew out to 21 points, with the Spaniard's Renault team then expected to dominate the high-speed sweepers at Silverstone.

However, despite a minor gravel-trap transgression on Friday, 37-year-old Schumacher again led the pace on the final of a three-day preparatory test at Barcelona.  Moreover, by a clear half-second margin, the seven time world champion emerged as the entire three-day session's quickest runner.

Lauda said Schumacher must do well at the British grand prix, 'otherwise he can forget the world championship'.

He added: ''Alonso's lead is already very big.''

The open wheel road to Daytona The open wheel road to Daytona[Editor's Note: Yet another open wheel driver to NASCAR.  Those road to Indy hats by the IRL have long since been burned.] Kevin Harvick Inc. announced Friday it had signed Galesburg, Ill., native Aaron Fike to its driver roster.

The 23-year-old has a significant list of accomplishments on his racing resume, including the 2002 and 2003 National Midget Driver of the Year, the 2001 United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown rookie of the year and the youngest driver to ever win a Silver Crown race.

Fike will compete in a limited schedule in KHI's No. 33 Chevrolet this season, with an increased schedule in 2007.

“When Kevin and DeLana (Harvick) called I was really surprised and very happy. I’ve been waiting a long time for an opportunity like this. I’ve only been driving stock cars for a few short years, and basically I only have about 50 races under my belt," Fike said.

"I believe that I learn and get better each time out, and now I’ll get to do that in the great equipment that KHI provides.” Fike’s first start for KHI is June 10 at the Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway.

“Aaron has a tremendous amount of talent and has made himself better as a driver each time he gets in a car,” said Owner and CEO of KHI, Kevin Harvick. “He’s got limited experience in a stock car, but he is a proven winner in numerous other types of race cars. Aaron will fit in well at KHI and will gain the experience he needs in a stock car."  More at ThatsRacin.com

McLaren team wraps up Silverstone prep McLaren team wraps up Silverstone prepTeam McLaren Mercedes drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Pedro de la Rosa completed the three day test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain in preparation for the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. Both drivers continued the work on suspension and aerodynamics whilst evaluating the final selection of prime and option tires for the Grand Prix next weekend.

Juan Pablo was seventh fastest having completed a total of 114 laps and approximately 527km. His work also concentrated on specific car set-up for the forthcoming grand prix working with his race engineer.

Pedro de la Rosa completed over 450km whilst setting the sixth fastest time. He had been focusing on long runs for most of the day. Shortly after 14:00 the engine in Pedro's car was changed as it had completed its mileage quota. The mechanics worked hard and were able to get the Spaniard back out on track for the final hour of the days running. zzzz

Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett were in attendance for Team McLaren Mercedes alongside 13 other drivers at the 4.627km circuit. The morning's session was affected by rain and as a result Pedro and Gary's work focused on wet Michelin testing. The afternoon saw both drivers work on a combination of front and rear suspension and aerodynamic developments. Both drivers completed 70 laps equaling over 320km. Pedro set the sixth quickest time of the day with a 1m15.828. Gary had a fastest time of 1m17.480 which put him 15th on the time sheets.

Juan Pablo Montoya joined Pedro de la Rosa at the Circuit de Catalunya as the test program and preparations for the British Grand Prix continued apace. The focus remained on suspension and aerodynamic work, with both drivers also running the Michelin selection process for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next weekend. On the second day of this test Pedro completed 85 laps equaling over 390km. His fastest lap time of 1m15.240 was the eighth fastest of the day. Juan Pablo completed 61 laps and 282km. His fastest lap time of 1m15.652 put him 12th on the time sheets.

Juan Pablo Montoya "A good couple of days testing for me, despite minor problems yesterday. We managed to make good progress with our race set-up for Silverstone and the aerodynamic and suspension work was encouraging."

Pedro de la Rosa "A busy three days for me working through the scheduled program for this week. We managed to achieve some good mileage on the car working through the various developments, particularly this morning where I completed a series of long runs."

Gary Paffett "This was only my second time testing in the MP4-21 and it was a shame that the track was wet for most of the morning. As I was only running for one day I was focused on a separate program, but it is good to get more experience with the race car and despite the weather we managed to get some good data for the team." McLaren Mercedes

Industry News
Engine problems for Nissan to halt sales Engine problems for Nissan to halt salesNissan North America Inc said it has stopped the sale of certain 2006 model year, four-cylinder Altimas and Nissan Sentra SE-Rs because of safety concerns over excessive oil consumption.   The company said it has halted sales while it investigates the potential causes of the condition, which it estimates to have affected around 100,000 vehicles.  Nissan added there had been 215 reports of excessive oil consumption, and 17 reports of engine fires, the most extreme outcome of the problem. Forbes
Return of BMW's Pit Lane Park Return of BMW's Pit Lane ParkThe British Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit next weekend will see the third appearance of the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park. This high-tech theme park with Formula One exhibits, as well as interactive computer animations and features supplied by Official Corporate Partner Intel, will be erected behind the Becketts Grandstand. 

This time round, the Formula One racer will be manned by World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, while Euan Hankey will be steering a Formula BMW car.

On display once again will be a BMW 320Si WTCC and a BMW Z4 M Coupé. Admission to the 5,400-square-metre park with its 90-metre section of track is free to anyone attending the GP. The Pit Lane Park is open on Friday and Saturday from 8.00am to 6.00pm and on Sunday from 8.00am to 4.00pm. BMW Sauber

Patrick continues to struggle Patrick continues to struggleDanica Patrick continues to struggle on non-100% throttle race courses where driver ability outweighs her 50 pound weight advantage.  She was 16th among the 19 cars in practice at 129.236 mph, and that came in the morning session at Watkins Glen Friday.

"The Argent Honda isn't where we want it to be, but we are making progress," she said. "Sometimes the toughest thing for a driver to do is be patient. This is a tough, demanding track and there are no quick fixes. ... But I am confident we will have a better car (today) and an even better car on Sunday."

Martin dominates Dover Truck race Martin dominates Dover Truck raceMark Martin continued his domination of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Friday scoring a 3.052-second victory over Roush Racing teammate Carl Edwards in the AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway.

The victory was Martin’s third of the 2006 season and fourth overall dating to 1996 at the old North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Martin completed the first sweep of NASCAR’s three national series at the Monster Mile where he previously won four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and one NASCAR Busch Series races.

Martin, who led four times for 86 laps in his Scotts Ford, took the lead for the final time on the 165th lap. He blasted past Budweiser Pole starter David Reutimann’s Team Tundra Toyota entering Turn 3 following the final of four cautions.

Martin then stretched the advantage as Edwards – twice going to the rear of the field – slashed his way through traffic. The latter driver’s Scotts/Ortho Ford took the No. 2 spot on the 199th of 200 laps, passing former series champion Mike Bliss in Turn 4 traffic. zzzz

Martin, who won $56,575, averaged a Dover record 120.200 mph in a virtually caution-free race. The four caution periods consumed just 18 laps – both Dover lows – in a race delayed an hour 21 minutes by a late afternoon thunderstorm.

The winner was the second member of the Roush stable to win at Dover joining former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teammate Kurt Busch, winner of the inaugural race in 2000.

“This thing, we didn’t qualify that well but I told them we set it up to race and it raced well,” said Martin, who started 13th – deepest in the field.

Finishing behind Edwards was series point leader Todd Bodine, who battled past fourth-finishing Bliss on the final lap. Reutimann was fifth followed by Johnny Benson, Ron Hornaday Jr., Rick Crawford, Jack Sprague and Kyle Busch.

Busch suffered misfortune while leading at lap 133 when NASCAR officials flagged him to pit road to repair a broken hood pin. The defending race winner exited a lap down in 21st but got his lap back when the final caution waved. He drove his National Land Liquidations Chevrolet from 18th to the top 10 over the final 36 laps.

Five drivers traded the lead 10 times.

Bodine, who headed Germain Racing teammate Ted Musgrave by 20 points entering the eighth of 25 events, stretched his advantage to as Musgrave finished a lap behind in 18th.

Gene opens Ferrari Racing Days Gene opens Ferrari Racing DaysMarc Gene was delighted to officially open the Ferrari Racing Days event which runs up to Sunday 4th June at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit at Valencia.

The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro test driver did several demonstration laps at the wheel of the F430 Challenge, the competition car based on the 8 cylinder road going berlinetta, which as from this year is used for the Ferrari Challenge Pirelli Trophy, run as separate series in Italy, Europe and North America.

The busy event program will see around 300 Ferraris take part, including many Granturismo cars belonging to customers taking advantage of the free track time. An outstanding show will feature several historic single-seaters, coordinated by the Maranello F1 Clienti department, including an ex-Prost F1-91 and an ex-Schumacher F2001.

The competitive part of the event features the European series of the Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge, which since 1999, has also been open to Maseratis and races in the Ferrari Challenge Pirelli Trophy. The Prancing Horse one-make series, which for one final year admits the 360 Modena, alongside the new F430 has reached round two of its European season. Ferrari

Philippe crashes Philippe crashesUPDATE Philippe's accident ended the second session when his car punched a hole in the steel tubing of the SAFER Barrier that covers the concrete walls in the corners. Philippe, who has never finished better than 12th at the Mile, was 2nd-fastest in the session before the accident.

Oriol Servia crashed earlier but was not injured. Servia's accident did not damage any of the SAFER panels, but Philippe's necessitated a patch job that took about 15 minutes.

Philippe's X-Rays were negative but he will be re-examined by Champ Car medical staff this morning before being cleared to drive.

06/02/06 As time was winding down in afternoon practice at the Milwaukee Mile for the Champ Cars, Nelson Philippe hit the Turn 4 wall in his No. 4 CTE Racing - HVM car.  Philippe walked away unharmed and was 2nd fastest at the time of the accident.  Philippe is going to the Froedtert Hospital for precautionary X-Rays of his neck and back.  Mark C.
Chevy urged to consolidate engine builders Chevy urged to consolidate engine buildersRichie Gilmore, the general manager at Dale Earnhardt Inc., said that General Motors' racing executives may have to change the way they do business in order to compete against Toyota next season on the Nextel Cup tour. Toyota, a newcomer to the Nextel Cup, will be centralizing many of its key operations. Gilmore said that Chevrolet may have to do likewise, or at least make some major changes in the way that it approaches the sport. Gilmore said that Chevrolet's four independent engine-building operations may have to unify. "I really think that's something GM will have to do," Gilmore said. "We (Chevy teams) all work closely on engines, but it needs to go up another step (in centralization). We each spend a lot of money on engines, dynos and people. We have 78 people (building engines), and Hendrick has 120. I think GM is looking at that and trying to figure out the best thing to do ... because when Toyota comes in the sport, it will be strong." Winston Salem Journal
Back to reality Back to realityEuphoria is a short lived emotion, especially in Formula 1 and a few days after the elation of a Monaco podium, Red Bull Racing was back to the hard and harsh reality of a three day test at Barcelona. Good to report that overall, this was a more successful test than others in the recent past in that less problems got in the way of racking up some decent mileage.

Tester Robert Doornbos spent all three days running a Ferrari engine with new development parts and it ran through to the end of the session, completing the required mileage for sign-off.

All drivers worked on a tire programme: short term aimed at next week’s British GP and longer term, looking to the Canadian race in Montreal. Transmission development work was also on the agenda and for all three days, Christian and David evaluated a new front suspension system.

All in all, a positive prelude to what is a home race at Silverstone, just a few miles from the Milton Keynes factory. Red Bull

America's sport indeed America's sport indeedA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I was wondering when someone was going to have the nerve to write an article that exposed NASCAR for what it really is.  America's sport indeed.  I hope NASCAR never races outside of this country as it is an embarrassment to our ideals.  Thank you for saying what others were afraid to. Marty Conway,  Pittsburgh, PA

Another writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Regarding your America's sport article, I wonder how this is coming across in NASCAR's Canada and Mexico push?  Could it be why attendance at NASCAR's Busch race in Mexico City plummeted in only its 2nd year?  Will Montreal fans, who are more sophisticated than American fans, see right through NASCAR for what it is and stay away in droves? Derek Hughes, Hebron, KY

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