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ABC Reality Show to feature IndyCar Series families  The IndyCar Series is helping the "SUPERNANNY" casting team search for families associated with the IndyCar Series and IndyCar Series fans in need of good parenting advice.

Producers launched their search for IndyCar Series fan families with out of control children at the Indianapolis 500 last month. Their goal is to find two families -  one  associated with the IndyCar Series and one IndyCar Series fan family - to offer Jo Frost a challenge on the new season of ABC's reality series in which Frost, one of the country's leading nannies, wrestles unruly kids into shape and imparts effective parenting tools.  

Interested families are encouraged to apply all through the end of July at www.supernanny.com.
Evernham, sponsors discuss deal with Habs owner  Nextel Cup team owner Ray Evernham took another step on Wednesday toward finalizing his partnership with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr., informing his more than 35 sponsors collectively on how the deal will work.
Evernham has been negotiating for months an agreement that will give Gillett substantial ownership of his organization.

He told sponsors the partnership will allow him to focus more on the competition side of the business and provide him with the resources to keep up with top organizations.

The final terms aren't expected to be completed for another two to three months.

"A partnership with the Gillett Group would bring excellent resources to Evernham Motorsports," Evernham told his sponsors. "Not only does George Gillett offer incredible business experience, his team has deep knowledge of how to successfully manage sports organizations.

"This partnership would also benefit our partners at Evernham Motorsports with new business-to-business marketing opportunities."  ESPN.com

Changes at DEI  UPDATE Dale Earnhardt Inc. said Wednesday it is forming a dedicated team for testing, which Tony Eury Sr. will lead.   Eury had been the crew chief for rookie Paul Menard, but is giving up that position to focus on the test team. Dave Charpentier, an engineer on Menard's crew, will take over for Eury beginning with this weekend's race at Pocono Raceway.

06/06/07 Sirius Speedway's Dave Moody reports that Tony Eury, Sr. is out as Paul Menard's crew chief, effective immediately. DEI Vice President and General Manager John Story confirmed that Eury is no longer crew chief for the #15 team. Dave Charpentier will reportedly become the team's new crew chief. In addition, Moody says that reports state Richie Gilmore is out as Director of Motorsports with DEI and will become Director of Research and Development with the team. Sirius Speedway
Grand Prix of Canada Is Sold Out  The Grand Prix of Canada announced today that all tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 8-10 of the 2007 edition are sold out. Since 5:00 p.m., the ticket office is no longer taking orders.  The organizers wish to thank all its loyal fans, for once again, contributing to the success of the event, which is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Formula 1 Grand Prix in Canada. To all race fans, we wish you all a wonderful Grand Prix.
Allmendinger Completes Test at Infineon Raceway  SONOMA, Calif. – NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver and Los Gatos native AJ Allmendinger completed a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Wednesday in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend, June 22-24.

It was Allmendinger’s first chance to drive a stock car on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course, where he hopes to make his first start later this month.  Allmendinger’s only previous experience at Infineon Raceway came when he raced a go-kart on the road course many years ago.

Allmendinger, who drives the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota, completed more than 100 laps over the two days behind the wheel of a late-model stock car supplied by ShiftIntoGear, Inc.  He was coached by road-course specialist Chris Cook and Tim Fedewa, his full-time spotter on the NASCAR circuit.

“Just learning the track will put me much farther ahead of where I would’ve been,” said Allmendinger.  “Having only 90 minutes to practice before qualifying on Friday, I never would have made the show.  Now, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good chance.”

For ticket information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 22-24, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.

Winner of the “Insiders Dream Giveaway”  Mark Pomerantz’s dream weekend is nearing. The winner of the “Insiders Dream Giveaway” from the American Le Mans Series and AutoWeek, Pomerantz is counting the days down to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As the winner of last year’s sweepstakes, Pomerantz will be flown to Munich for a tour of the Audi factory in Ingolstadt, Germany. He will be given the use of a brand new Audi as personal transportation while in Europe with his final destination as Le Mans. There he will be the VIP guest of Panoz for the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous auto race.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the Audi Factory tour,” said Pomerantz. Owner of a 2001 Audi A4, Pomerantz requests that the Audi he will be driving while in Europe has a manual transmission. He plans to savor all the area offers, including Germany’s Autobahn and France’s Champagne region, famous for its wine and champagne production.

After attending American Le Mans Series races at Miami and Mid-Ohio, and Formula 1 at Montreal, the Ohio native is excited about crossing the pond and being a part of the crown jewel of sports car racing.

He said he has always been impressed by the amount of access Series fans have at races. “I enjoy being a spectator that has paddock access. I hope for even more interaction with the drivers at Le Mans,” said Pomerantz.

Stay tuned for news regarding a new venture between the American Le Mans Series and AutoWeek.

SPEED to air France Memorial Service Program  SPEED will air a one-hour special edition of The SPEED Report hosted by Mike Joy at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday following the funeral of NASCAR Vice Chairman and former Chairman, CEO and President Bill France Jr. The special will re-air at midnight ET.
racing news
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking   
  • F1’s Fernando Alonso maintains top spot
  • Clint Bowyer (15th) leads three Richard Childress Racing drivers in Top 20
  • 8 new names in Top 20

Updated 6-6-07
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 8.694
2. (3) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.227
3. (9) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.945
4. (4) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.908
5. (5) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.732
6. (2) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.614
7. (21) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR) 7.205
8. (7) Lewis Hamilton (F1) 7.122
9. (14) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 7.086
10. (28) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.944
11. (NR) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.854
12. (11) Felipe Massa (F1) 6.842
13. (8) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 6.820
14. (25) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.606
15. (NR) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) 6.521
16. (10) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.438
17. (NR) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.240
18. (16) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.040
19. (NR) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 5.928
20. (22) Will Power (CCWS) 5.912

Dropped out: Tony Stewart (NASCAR), J.J. Yeley (NASCAR), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR), Helio Castroneves (IRL), Bobby Labonte (NASCAR), Kyle Petty (NASCAR), Kurt Busch (NASCAR), Casey Mears (NASCAR)

Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series

Roush Fenway signs Colin Braun  Roush Fenway Racing announced today that they have signed 18-year old Colin Braun (pronounced brown) to their driver development program.  Braun will be entered in select ARCA races in 2007, and will compete for Rookie-of-the-Year honors as well as the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship in 2008. 

"This is an incredible opportunity," said Braun.  "To drive for Roush Fenway Racing is a dream come true.  I look forward to learning as much as I can, and growing as a driver and a person.  There are so many talented people working within their organization.  I look forward to making the most of this opportunity and being with Roush Fenway Racing for a long, long time."

Braun began racing at age six in Quarter Midgets in his home state of Texas.  By age 14, Braun was racing in the National Auto Sport Association's Fran-Am1600 Pro Series, where he won Rookie-of-the-Year honors, eight of 11 races and a championship.  The following year Braun won eight races in a row and a second championship in the 2000 Formula TR Series.  In 2005, Braun advanced to the Grand-Am Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, where he currently drives for Krohn Racing.  At just 16 years of age, he became the youngest ever Rolex Prototype driver.  The following year he took home his first Grand Am win at the Daytona 250 and collected win number two of the season at Barber Motorsports Park.  Braun is currently racing in the Grand Am Series where he sits third in points with three top-10 finishes in four starts. More ...

PCM announces new sponsor  Oxnard, CA – Pacific Coast Motorsports is pleased to announce their partnership with Molecule Labs.  Based in Benicia, California, The Molecule™ Technical Fabric Care System cleans, protects and refreshes Nomex® fabric to ensure safety and comfort.

Alex Figge’s #29 Champ Car will carry primary Molecule livery this weekend at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe’s.  Both PCM entries will carry the Molecule branding at the associate level throughout the rest of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season.  “We are pleased to welcome Molecule to the Pacific Coast Motorsports organization and the Champ Car World Series.  Safety is the byline of our company and the fire suit is one of the most important elements in our safety efforts,” commented team director, Tyler Tadevic. 

Liquids such as oils and fuel used by mechanics in addition to the chemicals used in dry-cleaning adversely affect the thermal protective performance in garments, leaving crews and drivers susceptible to burns and injury. “In just three races it became apparent that our suits had become less effective.  Since applying the Molecule treatment the liquids literally bead off the suit and the suits look brand new.  Michael Guasch has developed a unique product that will enhance the safety and comfort of our crew and drivers, the entire PCM crew will be protected by Molecule. We hope our partnership will lead the rest of the racing community to protect their team with Molecule,” said Tadevic. More ...

Villeneuve hits out at Hamilton tactics  (GMM) 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve says Lewis Hamilton's start-line tactics are beginning to remind him of Michael Schumacher.

Villeneuve, who left the BMW-Sauber team and the sport mid-way through the 2006 season, was among the most outspoken critics of Schumacher's tendency to 'chop' his rivals on the dash to the first corner at races.

And "Lewis is not getting penalized" either, Canadian Villeneuve marveled to the British print magazine Autosport.

Villeneuve said McLaren's Hamilton has therefore been "lucky" to avoid the stewards' wrath, and suggested that his popularity might be one explanation for why he is getting away with it.

"He makes progressive moves that would have got some of the other drivers black-flagged," the former Williams and BAR driver insisted, adding that Hamilton must also prove himself by beating Fernando Alonso in a straight fight.

"And we still haven't seen how he reacts under pressure -- that will be interesting to watch."

Trulli to wear pink helmet in Canada  (GMM) Jarno Trulli will swap his usual chrome helmet for a special pink design for the Canadian grand prix.

The Italian driver witnessed his lifelong friend Danilo di Luca win the recent Giro d'Italia cycling race, and Trulli will honor the victory by copying the color of his riding gear and helmet.

Like Toyota's Trulli, di Luca is also from Pescara, a small city in central Italy, according to the report in the sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Trulli, 32, said: "Danilo already knows that he can visit me at a grand prix whenever he likes -- and perhaps I will organize for him a test in my formula one car."

HOF plans 2nd team in 2008  Hall of Fame Racing co-owner, Troy Aikman, said Tuesday on ESPN2's NASCAR Now, that the team plans to have a 2nd car in 2008 and that they need the 2nd team to get to improve.
tv news
Milwaukee Indy Pro Series race to be shown on ESPN2  The Indy Pro Series race run in Milwaukee on June 2, will be shown Thursday, June 7.  The show airs at 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm ET on ESPN2.
IRL attendance just as bad as Champ Car’s  UPDATE Attendance was announced as 31,858, though the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the 40,000-capacity grandstands appeared half full.  So despite Champ Car not racing in Milwaukee anymore, and the IRL getting the week after the 500 date, attendance of 20,000 (minus all the free tickets that were handed out) means the IRL should be worried.  John Oreovicz put it beast.  "With a history of open-wheel racing even longer than that of Indianapolis, Milwaukee is a bedrock of the sport." So if the "bedrock" of IndyCar Racing is failing what will the future look like? 

06/04/07 Despite an 80 percent chance of rain, 31,838 people turned out for Sunday's Milwaukee race according to numbers given out by the track promoter.  This of course includes free ticket giveaways - example Marlboro is still giving away free tickets to promote its cancer sticks, er....cigarettes.  The free tickets were in the lower grandstand section.  The crowd was about as small as the June Champ Car race in recent years.

Photos courtesy of the IRL

track news
Bristol Set To Reopen After Surfacing  BRISTOL, Tenn. --As work continues on the new concrete surface at the Bristol Motor Speedway, plans are in place for NASCAR tests, as well as a series of late-model events this summer.  NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers will be the first to give the new oval a workout with a test session on July 23, followed by a Busch Series test on July 24.
Hinchcliffe nips Matos in Putnam test  Sierra Sierra Enterprises continued to set the pace during a mid-season test at the Putnam Park Road Coarse in Indiana. The 1.8 mile, 10-turn road circuit was quickly mastered by both Sierra Sierra drivers who were immediately comfortable with the track. Holding the top two positions on both days, James Hinchcliffe edged out Raphael Matos by 0.08 seconds to claim the quickest lap:

James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks) 1:01:36 355 miles over two days
Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) 1:01:44 306 miles over two days

Team Manager Richard Raeder chose this location for the test to allow the team to prepare itself for the upcoming Mazda Grand Prix of Portland road course:

“This test was beneficial because it allowed us to test in warmer conditions than we have experienced so far this season. We were able to get in a lot of miles and both drivers posted the quickest times throughout the two days. We’re very happy with what we learned as well as the results of both drivers,” said Raeder. “I’m pleased that we were able to test among some of our strongest contenders [Newman-Wachs, Polestar and Matheson] and continue to out-pace them.” More ...

Wilson ready to get back to racing again  Justin is looking forward to racing again this weekend at Portland International Raceway in Oregon, after more than a month spent training, testing and helping to promote Champ Car's European events. The sweeping 1.9 mile road course is one of Justin's favorites: in 2006 he was runner-up and the year before he led much of the race before retiring with mechanical failure.

"It's going to be good to get back to racing again", said Justin. "I enjoy the Portland venue. We've been quick there in the past, so I hope that I can continue to be strong there and get a win in the #9 CDW/RSPORTS car." He added: "It's been useful to have this break since our last race in Houston. We've had the chance to get in some very valuable testing time to continue our learning process on the new Champ Car DP01. We've made some good progress and I think that we're in a good position to achieve better results in the next few races."

Viewers in the UK can watch the Portland race live on Eurosport 2 on Sunday, while Race Director on www.champcar.ws also provides video coverage and live timing. Pre-race coverage on Eurosport 2 is scheduled to start at 20:30 BST, followed by the race itself at 21:00. Justin Wilson PR

Team Australia eager for Portland challenge  Team Australia star Will Power will continue his battle with rival Sebastien Bourdais as the Champ Car World Series resumes with Round 4 at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Speedway in Oregon this weekend.

The Australian driver has set his sights on championship success after a stellar start to the season, winning the opening race of the season in Las Vegas and qualifying on the front row of the grid for all three races at the start of this season.

Power, who earned pole for the races in Las Vegas and Houston and started from second at Long Beach, currently sits second in the championship standings, only five points behind defending champ Bourdais. More ...

Carlsbad man dies in Baja 500 truck accident  The competitor killed in a roll-over accident during a Baja California road race wasn't wearing a seat belt.
Race officials said Tuesday that Chris Lokken was a rider in a buggy that had a transmission breakdown around the 196th mile in the Tecate SCORE 500 early Sunday. He had no radio communication but flagged down a passing truck that was competing in another race class while the buggy driver remained behind, SCORE officials said.
"They agreed to drive him to the next checkpoint ... and they could get assistance," race spokesman Dominic Clark said.

Lokken, a 31-year-old from Carlsbad, sat behind the seats inside the stretched cab -- an area without a seat or seat belt. He wore his helmet, but it was unbuckled, SCORE CEO Sal Fish said.

The truck was about a mile from the checkpoint when the course went up a steep hill.

The truck couldn't make it up. It backed up to make another try but in doing so went over the side, rolling over and over down a 100-yard ravine, Fish said.

Lokken was thrown from the truck and his helmet came off. He died at the scene of head and internal injuries, Clark said.

The other two people in the truck were wearing helmets and seat belts and were not hurt.

"It's a very bizarre incident. Nothing like this has ever happened," Clark said. Yahoo! Sports

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Kimi too 'passive' for Ferrari - Andretti
  • Rosberg under contract for 2008 - Williams
  • FIA slams 'ban motor sport' article
  • Switzerland lifts motor racing ban
  • Watch us in America, says Williams' Michael
  • Alonso makes case for number one status
  • Hamilton 'rapped' Monaco sorrow away
  • Fisi launches motor racing school
  • Alonso could solve Renault woes - Andretti

Kimi too 'passive' for Ferrari - Andretti
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen's "passive" personality could be holding the Finn back at Ferrari.

That is the claim of F1's world champion of 1978, Mario Andretti, who during a stint in his grand prix career drove with the famous Italian marque.

"I don't know Kimi that well, but I always think he looks somewhat passive," Andretti, who is now 67, told the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's website.

He added: "I don't know if it's that way inside or not. Maybe he doesn't have the team rallying around him as much as you might expect."

Finn Raikkonen switched from McLaren to Ferrari this year to become the highest paid driver in the paddock, but currently lags behind his teammate Felipe Massa and both McLaren racers in the drivers' championship table.

Andretti, however, said he had expected Raikkonen to immediately outpace Brazil's Massa, but reckons he could still ultimately emerge as the stronger force at Ferrari.

"I'd imagine his character is stronger than Massa's, and I think that ultimately he might endure a high-pressure situation better."

Rosberg under contract for 2008 - Williams
(GMM) Even Ferrari will be sniffing out the finer details of Nico Rosberg's contract with Williams, according to Gerhard Berger.

Berger, who co-owns Scuderia Toro Rosso and is a former ten time grand prix winner, said he has been impressed this year with the 21-year-old German's second season on the F1 grid.

"Alongside Lewis Hamilton, Nico is for me the superstar of the season," the Austrian told the magazine Sport Bild.

Berger added: "He has become interesting for each and every grand prix team -- Ferrari included."

Rosberg's current boss, Sir Frank Williams, probably sensed the growing swell of paddock interest in his driver, because he this week declared that Nico is already under contract "also for next year".

"We want to finish fifth in the constructors' championship and finish several times on the podium," Williams said of his goals for 2007, "and then next year be even closer to the front."

Even Nico's veteran teammate Alex Wurz admits that Rosberg is "simply faster" than him at present, and his impressive speed in 2007 has inspired Williams' usually petulant co-owner Patrick Head to offer praise.

"Nico is a great driver," the Briton said, "and all he needs now is a super-fast car.

"We will try to give him one soon." More ...

tv news
Jimmie Johnson to be on Live with Regis and Kelly  Jimmie Johnson will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Thursday, June 7.  The show airs at 9:00 am-10:00 am in most time zones.  The network varies.  Please check your local listings for location and time zone. 
racing news
The first Motor Sport Academy in the world  Giancarlo Fisichella is delighted to announce today that, together with Enrico Zanarini and his management team, he is launching the Fisichella Motor Sport Academy - the first academy in the world totally dedicated to motor sport.

The new school will be the prominent part of a new and advanced architecture project, the Fisichella Motor Sport Technopole, designed by DAA+Nema Architecture. The Academy, located inside the FMS technopole in an area inside the Vallelunga circuit near Rome, includes a series of activities linked to Fisichella's motor racing success and it has been created to satisfy the many requests from individuals who seek a career in the world of motor sport.

Through a series of courses, with lectures by the Academy staff and by some of the biggest names of the sport, FMS Academy will teach its students how to become a professional in many motor racing fields. The lessons will help students to become expert mechanics or telemetrists, race engineers or aerodynamicists, technical directors or team managers. A specialized series of courses will also be aimed at people with an ambition to work closely with drivers, such as managers or personal trainers and everyone else who works behind the scenes, such as commercial executives, new business officers, public relations officers and catering managers. More ...

Pirro confident about LeMans chances  Even before Sunday's Test Day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Emanuele Pirro already knew what to expect from Peugeot. The eight-hour session ended with Peugeot posting the fastest lap time but Audi completed the most laps. It all sets up what will is shaping up to be an epic clash between the two diesel-powered teams in the 75th running of the world's most famed motor race.

"It's very important for Audi and motorsport to have another major manufacturer with the same characteristics," said Pirro, who returns to Le Mans as defending champion with Frank Biela and Marco Werner in one of three Audi R10 TDIs. "They will be very strong and we're taking it very seriously."

Peugeot and Sebastien Bourdais laid down the gauntlet with a lap of 3:26.707 late Sunday. But Audi had maintained they would concentrate on race setup and pace, the same plan that was in place last year in the R10's debut at Le Mans. True to form, Pirro, Werner and Biela completed 92 laps Sunday.

"It doesn't change our approach," said Pirro, a four-time champion who debuted at Le Mans in 1981. "We've never taken anything conservatively. We can't do anything better than we have in the last year."

The 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. ET) on Saturday, June 16 from the Circuit de la Sarthe. SPEED will provide 17.5 hours of coverage in North America starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on June 16. MotorsTV will air week-long coverage throughout Europe. Live coverage can be found on Radio Le Mans through americanlemans.com.

Philippe completes first V8 Supercar test  On Thursday 31st of May, Nelson Philippe completed his very first test in an Australian V8 Supercar in Queensland. Nelson drove for WPS Racing, owned by Craig Gore, and delivered a strong performance despite suffering from food poisoning and having never driven a touring car type race car before.

Nelson comments, "This is a great experience for me! I really have to thank Craig Gore for the opportunity to let me test one of his cars." The test as Nelson explains was an eye opener in terms of car handling, "The car is so different to what I'm used to, but it brakes better than I anticipated and it has some serious horsepower under the hood. Every time I got on the power for the straightaways, it was so loud it sounded like an alien was dying in there! It was quite difficult getting used to the shifting in the beginning, as I usually have my gears on my right and not my left, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I can now tell why these V8 Supercar drivers have so much fun racing!"

Discussions are ongoing in regards to Nelson competing in the two endurance events towards the end of the year at Bathurst and Sandown. He would team Max Wilson or Jason Bargwanna as the team's 2nd endurance driver. "I have had my eye on this series since I won at Surfer's last year," Nelson said, "and I am keen on securing this ride with WPS Racing. I am very much looking forward to racing in such a professional racing series and will do my best to kick some Aussie butt!"

Nelson will now head to this weekend's Eastern Creek round in Sydney to spend some more time with the team.  Nelson Philippe PR

Busch crew chief fined  NASCAR officials have fined Robbie Wethington, crew chief of MacDonald Motorsports' No. 72 Busch Series Dodge, $1,000 for offset hubs found during prerace inspection May 31 at Dover International Speedway.
USGP schedule features more F1 track time  The United States Grand Prix, which starts at 1 p.m. (local time) Sunday, June 17, is the featured event of three days of nearly non-stop action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Formula One fans also will enjoy longer practice sessions on the opening day of the event, Friday, June 15, as the skilled drivers and exotic cars of F1 will be on track for three hours total, an hour longer than in 2006.

Three support series also will be on track on the 2.605-mile road circuit - the Indy Pro Series, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin and Formula BMW USA, giving fans a wide variety of racing machinery and competition to enjoy. The Liberty Challenge for the Indy Pro Series will consist of two races during the weekend, a first for the series at this event.

The first seven United States Grands Prix at Indianapolis have taken place in front of some of the largest crowds in the Formula One World Championship. More ...

Two companies propose kinetic energy system  Two British companies have made a deal which could help to cut the emissions of F1 cars. The two companies plan to use energy produced as a car brakes from high speed to power acceleration and overtaking.

The two companies involved are Torotrak, an automotive technology company and Xtrac, a car transmissions manufacturer.

The principle is as follows - kinetic energy will be gathered under braking and stored. The energy can then be turned on by a driver whenever required and improve acceleration.

The system could be tested soon and implemented as early as 2009 when new rules in F1 come into effect to reduce the sport's environmental impact.

President Bush, others react to France death  

President George W. Bush:

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Bill France Jr. Bill was a legend in the world of NASCAR whose passion and vision for stock-car racing led the sport to the national prominence it enjoys today. 

"Bill brought racing’s excitement to millions of new fans through his steadfast and innovative leadership.  Bill also helped ensure that the NASCAR community found many ways to support the men and women of the US Armed Forces.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the France family."

Dean Kessel, director of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series marketing for Sprint Nextel:

"It is with the passing of one of NASCAR’s greatest icons that Sprint Nextel joins millions of fans in grieving today. Bill France Jr. orchestrated the transformation and fostered the growth of NASCAR to the heights it enjoys within the world of sports. He did so with passion and an uncanny business sense that put the interest of fans as utmost importance. That will forever be his legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Betty Jane, Brian, Lesa and the entire France and NASCAR families.

Car Owner and Former NASCAR Driver Richard Petty:

“Everyone involved with the Petty family is saddened by the passing of Bill France Jr.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire France family at this time. 

Simply stated, Bill France Jr. was one of the greatest visionaries of our sport. 

Bill France Jr. took our sport to the next level.  He continued his father’s vision and guided our sport through a period of tremendous growth.  His vision built relationships with corporate sponsors and television partners.  That helped build our fan base that reaches far beyond just the southeast.  These are his greatest accomplishments. 

His vision, knowing what he wanted NASCAR to become and be, has made NASCAR a national sport.  We should all be fortunate for Bill France Jr. and his dedication to the sport we love.  I raced under Bill France Jr. for 20 years.  He treated every competitor fair and with honesty.  He was not only a trusted leader, but a good friend who will be truly missed.” More ...

Quotes from The SPEED Report Bill France Jr.  John Cooper, former president of Daytona International Speedway and a France friend for 51 years, on multiple topics:

On his management style – “You always knew where you stood with Bill. He had goals and he did what he had to do to get to those goals … and he did it as a gentleman. As (team owner) Rick Hendrick said, ‘He was a tough guy, but he had a soft spot.’ “

On his softer side – “He and I were in New York City one time … about 3 a.m., he called me and said, ‘I’m going home … there’s been a problem with a good friend of ours.’ It had nothing to do with racing. He got up at three in the morning and went to LaGuardia and caught a plane, leaving the NASCAR plane for me … that’s the kind of guy Bill was.”

On dividing the world into ‘friends and enemies (like Champ Car); those who would help NASCAR racing and those that wouldn’t’ -- “I think that is a little harsh. I don’t think it was a rigid we and they type of thing. But he certainly did enjoy being with people that were on the same wavelength.” More ...

Bill France Funeral  The funeral service for long-time leader and visionary Bill France has been scheduled for Thursday, June 7, at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center, at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach.  The service is scheduled for 1:00-2:00 p.m. (ET) and is open to the public.  Employees are welcomed to attend.  The graveside service will be for family members only.
There is also a visitation scheduled for Wednesday, June 6, from 5:30-9:00 p.m. (ET) at the Seabreeze United Church in Daytona Beach that is likewise open to the public.
In lieu of flowers, the France family has asked that donations be made to the NASCAR Foundation; the Halifax Medical Center Foundation Inc./Betty Jane France Pediatric Center (also known as the “Speediatrics” children’s unit); or another NASCAR-related charity of choice. More ...
Nelson wins Crew Chief of the Race award  After a rained out race day resulting in yet again another rescheduled race, Penske Racing’s Mike Nelson, crew chief for the No. 12 Alltel Dodge team, had to wait three days to show that his team has turned some corners in their season.  With his driver, Ryan Newman, picking up his second pole for the season in Friday’s qualifying session, Nelson and his No. 12 crew were primed for a stellar performance at Dover International Speedway for the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa.  The team did not disappoint, keeping Newman in the top ten for the entire race, finishing in second place, their best performance for the season and Newman’s second top 5 for the year.  For his outstanding race day leadership and preparation prior to the 400 lap event, Nelson was awarded the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.       
As the clouds continued to hover over Dover International Speedway, threatening to yet again dampen the day, Newman remained entrenched in the top 10.  Desperate to regain the form seen earlier in the season, the No. 12 Dodge led several laps and seemed unstoppable on any restart.  From the get go, as Nelson arrived at the track and rolled the Alltel Dodge off the hauler, his pre-race setup was ideal, giving the team great practice laps and a solid advantage.  “This was a big finish for us,” said Nelson at the conclusion of the race.  “I really hope this is a change of luck for the team that will continue for the remainder of the season.” More ...
industry news
Carmakers are poised to make deal on fuel rules  After more than 30 years of staunch opposition to federal oversight, the U.S. auto industry appears ready to argue for higher fuel economy standards to block tougher proposals that several automakers worry could cripple their finances.

The latest sign came in a quiet posting of a draft bill from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the industry's top champion on Capitol Hill.

The draft proposes the industry meet mileage standards of at least 36 miles per gallon for cars after 2021 and 30 m.p.g. for trucks after 2024, or roughly 32.5 m.p.g. overall.

Those mileage figures match a proposal overseen by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Levin's proposal, with slightly different time frames, was offered last week as an alternative to a Senate bill forcing the industry to average 35 m.p.g. by 2020.

Both alternatives would ease the industry's burden toward meeting such standards, and the Dingell committee draft would block states and the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating fuel economy through greenhouse gas emissions. More at Detroit Free Press

[Editor's Note:  If America would switch to turbo diesel engines across all their product lines we would meet these mileage requirements in 5 years.  Europeans have pretty much standardized on turbo diesels for well over a decade due to high fuel prices.  Americans just don't get it.]

industry news
Toyota Tundra camshafts snapping  Out of a run of 30,000 5.7-liter V8 engines, Toyota has had reports of 20 camshafts snapping -- a minuscule number in light of the total (0.06 percent, as a matter of fact). Toyota says the outside supplier of the camshafts has discovered the problem, which was "a metallurgical defect in the casting," and the company is trying to figure out how many of the remaining 30,000 engines could also be affected, though because of the company's production method, the final number is not expected to be large. The camshafts have been designed to prevent collateral damage in case they break, but Toyota will replace a customer's entire engine if the camshaft failure should occur by sending a new 5.7L via airfreight to the nearest dealer. Apparently some Toyota execs believe that the new number one global automaker has been growing too fast to maintain proper quality control. Yet with the Tundra being a new truck with a new engine in a new market for Toyota, there are going to be teething problems, as we've seen. What remains to be seen is if, or for how long, these problems will continue.
Industry News
Honda to stop making Accord Hybrid  Honda will discontinue the hybrid version of its Accord sedans, the company said Tuesday, conceding Toyota’s dominance with the hit Prius hybrid.

Honda Motor Co., Japan’s No. 2 automaker, will continue to make gas-and-electric models of its Civic sedan, but stop offering the hybrid Accord with the new model expected to go on sale later this year, company spokesman Yoshiyuki Kuroda said in Tokyo.
The Accord hybrid, which is sold only in North America, was a dud, selling just 25,000 since going on sale in 2004, and just 6,100 last year. Kuroda said the decision underlines how hybrids tend to be more popular with smaller models because mileage improvements tend to be more pronounced.

A hybrid switches between a gas engine and electric motor to deliver better mileage and reduce greenhouse emissions.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid is the market leader, with 729,800 units sold since December 1997. Toyota offers several other hybrid models, including the hybrid Camry and hybrid Lexus models.

“Americans didn’t accept the Accord hybrid,” Kuroda said. Detroit Free Press

Tagliani, Ranger visit Edmonton  Ever since his racing days with the Players team, Alex Tagliani has made regular visits to Edmonton.  The veteran Champ Car driver from Montreal will be in town today, along with fellow Quebecer, Andrew Ranger. They will be at the Wal-Mart store at South Edmonton Common from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Both Tagliani and Ranger will be returning to Edmonton for the July 20-22 Grand Prix, Tagliani driving a Champ Car with RSPORTS, Ranger with the fledgling NASCAR Canadian Tire series.
Vasser likes history -- and race in Portland  Jimmy Vasser became one of the greatest open-wheel racing drivers of his generation in the 1990s when he claimed a Champ Car title in 1996, was third in 1997 and second in 1998.

In each case, the road to success ran through Portland, where Vasser has been racing since his quarter-midget days in the 1970s.

"I love the place," he said without any prompting.

Vasser, 41, might be the only Champ Car team owner in existence who knows the Alpenrose Dairy quarter-midget track as well as he knows Portland International Raceway.

Vasser eventually outgrew Alpenrose. One of the biggest questions entering this week's Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix is whether Champ Car has outgrown Portland.

Vasser knows that Portland is on the bubble in the eyes of Champ Car, fighting to keep its place on the schedule. He knows that Champ Car president Steve Johnson has challenged the event to draw at least 100,000 fans over three days and lure increased sponsor support.

In Vasser's eyes, it is a cherished venue that should not be discarded.

"I think the 'rebuilding' of Portland started a couple of years ago when the fans started coming back," he said. "I think if we see a similar increase in the crowds and we put on a good show for them, Portland will be on the schedule (in 2008 and beyond).

"Personally, I think you have to keep Portland," he said.

Champ Car and Portland go back to 1984. Sunday afternoon's race will be the 24th at PIR.  More at Portland Oregonian

’Little’ team dreams big in Champ Car  You want a "home" team for Sunday's Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland?

It has to be free-spirited Pacific Coast Motorsports of Oxnard, Calif., a one-time championship Formula Atlantic team that went sports car racing until it could muster the finances -- and the courage -- to step into the big leagues with the likes of Newman/Haas/Lanigan and Forsythe.

PCM has a team director you never heard of even though he graduated from Mountain View High School in Bend and two rookie drivers -- Scotsman Ryan Dalziel and American Alex Figge -- still finding themselves after three Champ Car races.

This isn't a buttoned-down, cookie-cutter outfit with a loaded roster of engineers, an unlimited supply of cars and engines and a driver who is one step away from Formula One.

No, the best description of Pacific Coast Motorsports, straight from team president Tyler Tadevic's mouth, is that PCM is, "little, but cutting edge. We're all good friends, and we all have this passion for motor sports. We love it. And we get to pursue this passion together."

In Oxnard.

"We're complete motorheads from top to bottom, front to back," Tadevic said, "and before the race starts, during the national anthem, we all get teary-eyed."

Tadevic isn't ashamed to say that he's still pinching himself about actually being the boss on an honest-to-goodness Champ Car team.

"I walk out of the shop every day and say 'wow!' there's Champ Cars in my shop. What are they doing there?" Tadevic said.

Tadevic noted with pride that he is a Mountain View Cougar (class of '89) for life and was a district champion in the high jump in track and field. More Portland Oregonian

Like Lewis, Nico also a 'star' - Williams  (GMM)  Sir Frank Williams has described Nico Rosberg as a "star" who is in the same league as formula one sensation Lewis Hamilton.

The eponymous principal and co-owner of the Grove based team also revealed in an interview with the specialist magazine Motorsport Aktuell that impressive Rosberg, now in his second year on the F1 grid in 2007, is already firmly under contract for next season.

"Nico is very, very fast," Williams added, explaining that Rosberg's talent is shining through even clearer this year because the Toyota-powered squad "simply built a better car" than in 2006.

Williams said: "Lewis is now considered as the brightest star of all, but things would not be so simple if he did not have a great car.

"If we ever give Nico a top car, he will be out the front as well."

Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger, meanwhile, told Sport Bild that the attention of every team boss in pit lane has been drawn to Rosberg's driving in 2007.

"Ferrari included," he quipped.

In contrast, Williams' other driver, veteran Alex Wurz, has been usually behind his teammate at the wheel of the sister FW29, but Williams nonetheless praised his "enormous dedication".

Talks about a new contract for the Austrian, however, will have to wait a bit longer, the team boss said.

Williams worried about 20-race calendars  (GMM)  Sir Frank Williams has expressed concern about Bernie Ecclestone's plans to further expand the annual formula one calendar.

F1 supremo Ecclestone is already applying pressure for a minimally 20-race schedule in the near future, but team principal and grand prix stalwart Williams said the sport risks becoming less attractive for its workers.

"We have all lost people," he told Motorsport Aktuell, "who have not been able to withstand the enormous pressure and stresses of these calendars."

The largest exodus of paddock talent occurred in 2005, when the calendar blew out to an unprecedented 19 grands prix, before settling at seventeen this year.

Williams, 65, said the problem of expanding the calendar is not easily solved by simply cutting back further on private testing.

"Just as new aircraft need safety checks," he said, "we also need to test."

Williams warned: "It is inescapable that more test restrictions will lead to more accidents."

Bridgestone Soft and super-softs for Montreal  Bridgestone will be bringing their softest tire compounds to this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix - even though making them survive on the rarely-used Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve could prove tough.

Bridgestone ran the same two compounds at the last round in Monaco, a track which at first glance looks far removed from its Montreal counterpart. The two venues do, however, have some features in common.

“Similar to Monte Carlo, being more or less a street circuit, Montreal is not used many times so it's very dusty and very slippery, which is why we've opted for the soft and super soft compounds,” explained Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone’s Head of Track Engineering Operations.

That is where the similarities end, though. With long straights followed by tight corners, the heavy braking requirements in Canada could have an important effect on tire wear. More ...

Round 3: Wheldon vs. Danica at TMS  Dan “The Battlin’ Brit” Wheldon and Danica “The Phoenix Firebird” Patrick fought to a draw at The Milwaukee Mile on Sunday and a rematch already has been scheduled for the unofficial IndyCar Series featherweight championship belt. “The Rumble at the Speedway” a.k.a. the Bombardier Learjet 550k will take place Saturday evening at Texas Motor Speedway. Traditionally, a match-up of this magnitude would take place on pay-per-view television, but the title bout will be shown on ESPN2 beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the championship bout are available by calling (817) 215-8500.


Richard Petty comments on Bill France Jr.  Comments from Richard Petty on the passing of NASCAR Vice Chairman Bill France Jr.

“Everyone involved with the Petty family is saddened by the passing of Bill France Jr.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire France family at this time. 

Simply stated, Bill France Jr. was one of the greatest visionaries of our sport. 

Bill France Jr. took our sport to the next level.  He continued his father’s vision and guided our sport through a period of tremendous growth.  His vision built relationships with corporate sponsors and television partners.  That helped build our fan base that reaches far beyond just the southeast.  These are his greatest accomplishments. 

His vision, knowing what he wanted NASCAR to become and be, has made NASCAR a national sport.  We should all be fortunate for Bill France Jr. and his dedication to the sport we love.  I raced under Bill France Jr. for 20 years.  He treated every competitor fair and with honesty.  He was not only a trusted leader, but a good friend who will be truly missed.”

Superleague Formula
Teams race to join Superleague Formula  Superleague Formula organizers have been swamped by race teams interested in running in the new championship that merges the passion of international football with the excitement of world-class motorsport.

Thirty race teams from all over world have submitted an expression of interest to compete in the new series that kicks off in August, 2008.

Featuring 750-horsepower V12 powered single seaters bearing the colors of the world's top football clubs, Superleague Formula will debut with a minimum of 20 individual clubs/cars at its first event.

Each racing team will run two separate single car entries for two separate individual football clubs. More ...

Successful LeMans test for Aston Martin  All six works Aston Martin DBR9s have completed a successful test day prior to this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, which gets underway in just under a fortnight's time.

As well as the Aston Martin Racing and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts factory cars, numbered 007 and 009, two DBR9s from the French-based AMR Larbre team and single-car entries from AMR BMS and Team Modena tested at the La Sarthe circuit.

The test day, held this year in front of 20,000 spectators, is an opportunity for teams to re-acquaint themselves with the 14-kilometre track and evaluate tires and set-ups that will be used in the race.

For some of the drivers – including Johnny Herbert and Rickard Rydell from the factory squad – this was their first opportunity to sample the DBR9 at Le Mans. For others, it was a chance to consolidate their pace and assess some of the development work that has taken place on the DBR9 since last year. The Aston Martin Racing engineers also used the test day to run though the latest evolution tires and to test the air conditioning system that has been fitted to the factory cars for the first time this year. More ...

Industry News
Video: Renault Unveils Its New Laguna  
The new Laguna Sedan and Wagon is designed to rank among the top three cars in its segment in terms of product and service quality as part of the Renault Commitment 2009 plan. Featuring the 'environmental friendly' 1.5 dCi 110hp engine (81kW) returning 5.1 litres/100km (equivalent to 136g of CO2/km), the new model also offers a new-generation of double lateral airbag (thorax and pelvis) for an increased safety and an improved acoustic comfort. New Laguna will be unveiled to the public at September's Frankfurt Motor Show and is scheduled to go on sale from October 2007.
Corvette Racing leads GT1 in Le Mans Test  After nearly a year of planning and preparation, Corvette Racing set the pace today in testing at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, the home of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Jan Magnussen, Johnny O'Connell and Ron Fellows ran the fastest lap in the GT1 class at 3:49.207. The No. 64 Corvette of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Max Papis was third quickest among the 15 GT1 entries with a lap at 3:51.628.Magnussen posted the fastest lap for Corvette Racing with 22 minutes remaining in the session, shading the second-ranked No. 007 Aston Martin of Enge/Herbert/Kox by 1.641 seconds. The scheduled eight-hour session ended with nine minutes remaining due to a red flag.

"Today has been the best 'pre-qualifying' I have ever had with Corvette Racing," said Magnussen. "We managed to set up the car just the way we like it and made very good progress throughout the day. We now have a car with which we can attack hard without risking falling off, which is exactly what we'll need for the race because I think this year will be a tough one." More ...

Q and A with Albers and Sutil  
Christijan Albers

Q: Do you feel the team made progress in Monaco?

Christijan Albers: The gap to the others was smaller, for sure. We were not that far away in the race, it was a shame we could not finish, especially so close to the end. Monaco is a special track and the differences in cars are not so obvious, but I hope we can keep up like this for the rest of the season.

Q: Did you find any developments in the pre-event test in Ricard that you will be able to apply in Canada?

CA: We did find some gains in Paul Ricard. We were able to put in some kilometres and gather some reasonable data for the race, which should help us. We know that we are still lacking in top speed and Canada is a high speed track, but we tested some issues that will help us in the braking areas and with balance and set-up. More ...

Robby Gordon finishes 2nd at Baja  With the final outcome never fully decided in the elapsed-time race until the checkered flag, NASCAR's Robby Gordon, finished second overall and second in the SCORE International trophy truck class in this year's Baja 500. Gordon's Monster Energy / Toyo Tires #71 Chevy CK1500 finished just 3 minutes, 57 seconds behind Ragland/Collins, this year's overall winners.

After qualifying his #7 Menards/Mapei Ford Fusion 33rd for Sunday's Nextel Cup race in Dover, Robby Gordon traveled to Ensenada, Mexico late Friday afternoon. Shortly after arriving in Mexico, Gordon helped the team with final preparations to the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck Saturday evening. Following final preparations, Gordon called a team meeting to review the race logistics and emphasize the importance of quick pit stops. Shortly after 10 a.m. on Saturday morning Robby Gordon and navigator, Gregg Till took the green flag starting 22nd based on a random draw for starting position. As it turns out , starting position would ultimately dictate the outcome of the race. Employing a clever pit strategy, Gordon passed a handful of competitors while they were in the pits. However, there was a group ahead of Gordon enjoying a relatively dust - free ride. Gordon continued to push the pace and passed most of the remaining trucks ahead of him; however, it wasn't enough to bring Gordon his fourth Baja 500 victory. Gordon's Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck crossed the finished line as the third overall vehicle ; however, the corrected time was good enough for a second place overall finish. Robby Gordon PR

Stremme OK after getting out of car at Dover  David Stremme had to reluctantly climb out of the #40 Coors Light Dodge a little more than 125 laps short of the finish line Monday after realizing he was too sick to continue racing in the Autism Speaks 400. The 29-year-old driver was immediately taken to the Dover International Speedway infield care center where he was diagnosed with the flu. He received oxygen and intravenous fluids before being released.

Ginn Racing driver Regan Smith stepped in to help the #40 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) team finish the day in 36th place. The #40 CGRFS Dodge lined up in 35th place to take the green. Battling flu-like conditions, Stremme did all he could to keep the car on the track in the early running of the 400-lap competition. In addition to feeling sick, the #40 Dodge was keeping him busy as it was severely loose on restarts and seemed to tighten up on long runs. Stremme threw in the towel as the fourth yellow flag of the race waved on lap 271. His crew members helped him out of the Coors Light Dodge. Then, Smith quickly climbed in to help the team finish the race. CGRFS PR

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Albers cynical about likely Verstappen test
  • Symonds seeks two-tenth step in Canada
  • Red Bull fits new rear wings for Canada
  • Monaco slump was 'rare episode' - Todt
  • I don't like Piquet Jr - Kovalainen
  • Hamilton factor may help Canada GP sellout
  • Ex-manager 'shocked' by Ralf's woes
  • Kubica not sorry about Villeneuve absence

Albers cynical about likely Verstappen test
(GMM) Christijan Albers has admitted to cynicism amid reports that Dutch countryman Jos Verstappen is likely to test his Spyker formula one car later this year.

The 28-year-old, who has struggled to match the pace of his rookie teammate Adrian Sutil so far in 2007, told Formule 1 Race Report that former grand prix driver Verstappen's run would be "good for publicity".

"But if you ask me," Albers told the magazine, "a formula one team is assessed rather by performances and results. Of course, though, a sportsman would say that."

He did admit, however, to "appreciating" his bosses' reasons for probably giving Verstappen a test in 2007.

Symonds seeks two-tenth step in Canada
(GMM) F1's reigning world champion team Renault is making strides towards returning to the pace in 2007.

That is the outlook of the French squad's veteran engineering chief Pat Symonds, who suggested to the magazine Auto Motor und Sport that Renault is finally getting to the bottom of the reasons for its mysterious lack of speed earlier this season.

"The modified front suspension in Barcelona was the first step, and the new front wing in Monte Carlo (was) the second," Symonds is quoted as saying by the German publication.

It is understood that the problem with the R27 has therefore been isolated to the front of the car, but even with improved pace, Giancarlo Fisichella still finished a lap behind the McLarens in Monaco.

But Symonds said the new front wing alone delivered one tenth of a second per lap in Monaco, and it should yield another two tenths on the long Montreal straights this weekend.

He added: "All of our data suggests that the car's basic concept is right."

Team boss Flavio Briatore, meanwhile, said: "Starting from the grand prix of France, we want to ride along at the front again." More ...

Denny Fedor dies  Champ Car lost a member of its family on Friday as Denny Fedor passed away. Easily recognized by his handlebar mustache, Denny was always available to help. He worked with the Champ Car Pace Car program for more than 20 years, logging more than half-a-million miles in that time, easily making him the most experienced driver on the Pace Car team.

Denny is survived by his daughters Amanda, Gloria and Linda and son DJ as well four grandchildren. Services will be held in Denny's home state of Ohio.

Champ Car ministries will also hold a memorial service for Denny in Portland on Saturday morning for the Champ Car community.  Champ Car

NASCAR Community Reacts to the Passing of Bill France, Jr.  
Dean Kessel, director of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series marketing for Sprint Nextel:

"It is with the passing of one of NASCAR’s greatest icons that Sprint Nextel joins millions of fans in grieving today. Bill France Jr. orchestrated the transformation and fostered the growth of NASCAR to the heights it enjoys within the world of sports. He did so with passion and an uncanny business sense that put the interest of fans as utmost importance. That will forever be his legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Betty Jane, Brian, Lesa and the entire France and NASCAR families.”

Edsel B. Ford II - member, Board of Directors, Ford Motor Company:
"Bill France Jr. was more than a good friend of mine.  He was a legend in motor racing. NASCAR and motor racing worldwide would not have seen the growth and prosperity it has without Bill's vision and determination.   He single-handedly made it the reality it is today by understanding what the fans wanted and by creating an environment where on-track competition was king. Bill also understood and encouraged the automobile manufacturers to become a major part of the sport.  I personally loved the opportunities I had to sit with him, discussing racing, business and family.  He had a wonderful perspective on everything going on around him.  Everyone at Ford, and me personally, lost a great friend today."

Dan Davis - director, Ford Racing Technology:

“Everyone involved in the Ford Racing program is thinking of the France family and wishing them the best at this very difficult time.  There’s no way to put into words how much Bill France Jr. meant to NASCAR and auto racing in general, because if it wasn’t for him, this sport obviously wouldn’t be where it is today.  He wanted to take NASCAR from a regional sport to something that is followed worldwide, and with great determination, he made that vision come true.  Every sport needs a strong leader at the top in order to be successful and no organization had a man that stood taller these last four decades than Bill France Jr.  We will truly miss him.” More ...

William C. France: 1933-2007  William (Bill) Clifton France is remembered – and revered – as the man who followed his visionary father at NASCAR’s helm, in the process becoming a visionary himself, as he guided NASCAR to unprecedented levels of popularity. He combined pragmatism with optimism, an approach that resulted in a calculated – and adventurous – road to success.

France, 74, grew up in the formative years of stock car racing, living and learning every detail of the sport from his own experiences, and those of his father William Henry Getty France – who was known as Bill Sr., or “Big Bill” because of his 6-foot-5 stature. Bill Sr. was the founder and first president of NASCAR.

France became NASCAR’s president in January 1972, replacing his father and becoming only the second president of the world's largest auto racing sanctioning body. His emergence coincided with the sport’s emergence, and its eventual ascent to become America’s No. 1 form of motorsports and the nation’s second-most popular sport overall. More ...

NHLR eyes 100th win  In the first season of competition for Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) in 1983, the now legendary Mario Andretti brought the team their first victory on July 31 in only their sixth event as a team.  Fast forward to 2007 and the 25th season for the team, newly renamed Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR), and the record books will show that Sebastien Bourdais drove to victory on the streets of Houston on April 22 in what was the team’s 99th and most recent victory.  For a team that lives by the credo “The best victory is the next one,” the next one will be significant.

“That first win was probably my favorite win for Newman/Haas Racing,” recalled Andretti.  “I joined them when they were a start-up team and we had a miserable time with our first car.  It was almost hopeless; that car was not supposed to win.  And then it did at Elkhart Lake in 1983.  The momentum changed immediately for us and we were on a mission forever.   It was so much fun.” 

Since that first win by Mario Andretti in 1983, the team continued to reach many milestones.  Seven championships and 99 race wins by drivers including Mario (18 wins), Michael Andretti (31), Nigel Mansell (5), Paul Tracy (2), Christian Fittipaldi (2), Cristiano da Matta (10), Bruno Junqueira (5), Sebastien Bourdais (25) and Oriol Servia (1) have been recorded since Mario’s first win and the current lineup of Bourdais and rookie Graham Rahal hope to continue the trend.  More ...

industry news
Hyundai (Yes, Hyundai) tops in auto quality  Hyundai Motor Co. leads in five categories in the annual vehicle quality study released today by Strategic Vision Inc., a San Diego-based market research company and consultant to automakers.

Once known best as the maker of cheap, entry-level cars, the South Korean automaker outperformed its Japanese, European and U.S. rivals in this year's survey, based on interviews with about 27,000 people who bought 2007 models in September-November 2006.

Last year, Hyundai had no winners.

"Even though Hyundai is often overlooked by the U.S. customer, Hyundai's success in 2007 is not surprising given its current products and ... leadership that is looking to the near and distant future with new designs from styling to powertrain," said Darrel Edwards, Strategic Vision's chief executive.

Hyundai's Azera led among large cars, and its Santa Fe led among small sport utility vehicles. Its Entourage was tied for best minivan with the Quest by Nissan Motor Co. and the Sedona by Hyundai affiliate Kia Motors Corp.

The Kia Sorento led among medium SUVs, Strategic Vision said.

BMW AG led in four categories, and Nissan, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG led in three each.  Detroit News

Red Bull to run smaller rear wing at Montreal  The Scuderia Toro Rosso will use a new front and rear wing during the free practice sessions of the Canadian Grand Prix. The new front wing also requires new bargeboards. This new package will be on track for the first time on Friday after being tested in the wind tunnel. The new wings will suit the low downforce nature of the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit.
Bill France Jr. dies  NASCAR Vice Chairman William C. France, whose leadership helped turn a family-owned company into a national phenomenon, died today at his home in Daytona Beach, Fla. at the age of 74.

France served as NASCAR’s president from 1972-2000, taking over from his father, NASCAR founder William H.G. “Big Bill” France.

In 2000, France – known as “Bill Jr.” – became NASCAR’s CEO and the chairman of the newly created NASCAR Board of Directors. More ...

Toyota to blame for Ralf trough - Howett  (GMM) Toyota's F1 team present John Howett has thrown a metaphorical arm around his beleaguered race driver Ralf Schumacher.

Mounting media speculation is predicting the imminent decline of former grand prix winner Schumacher's formula one career, as he struggles at the wheel of the TF107 car.

Those rumors were not helped on Monday, when Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon admitted in an official press document that Schumacher's "general grip" problem at the recent Monaco grand prix was due to "no obvious limitation of one parameter" of the 2007 machine.

Howett, however, leapt to Ralf's defense, telling the magazine 'Kicker' that Toyota is to blame for Ralf's trough.

"We were convinced," he said, "that he will win a grand prix for us.

"But we have to admit that it has not happened because of our car, not because of Ralf."

Howett also reportedly praised the German for the effort he has applied to solve his problems, and for the valuable contribution he has made to Cologne based Toyota's technical development.

Hamilton on verge of Beckham-like bucks - expert  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton is on the cusp of superstardom, according to a famous British publicist.

Max Clifford, who has represented clients including the billionaire Harrods mogul Mohamed Al-Fayed, said the 22-year-old McLaren rookie is poised to become as big and as rich as David Beckham.

Football star Beckham recently signed a five year contract worth (US) $250m, and Clifford urged Hamilton to keep up his huge media profile if he wants to make the same sort of money.

He told The People: "Beckham has taken football into showbiz and it is important for Hamilton to be in the news because that will make him megabucks.

"(Lewis) has become a household name in five minutes and all aspects of his life are under a microscope," Clifford added.

Hamilton, the reigning GP2 champion, has finished all of his five career grands prix so far on the podium, but he is yet to win a race.

Toyota F1 pitstop feature  According to the Panasonic Toyota Formula 1 team, automatic and precise movements, reactivity and strong team spirit are crucial requirements for the pit stop crew in Formula 1. Up to three times a race, the 50 active members of the two Panasonic Toyota Formula 1 pit crews are called into action to fit new Bridgestone tires, refuel and carry out emergency repairs on Ralf Schumacher’s and Jarno Trulli’s racecars. The pit crew spends hours practicing their technique to save fractions of a second, giving the drivers the best chance for victory. See video on our home page.
Industry News
Price of gasoline around the world  
Oslo, Norway - $6.82 a gallon for unleaded regular, in US dollars
London, UK $5.96
Rome , Italy $5.80
Brussels, Belgium $6.16
Hong Kong $6.25
Tokyo, Japan $5.25
Sao Paulo , Brazil $4.42
Buenos Aires , Argentina $2.09
Mexico City $2.22
Sidney , Australia $3.42
Johannesburg , South Africa $3.39
New Delhi , India $3.71
USA $3.00 

Here's the kicker...........
Caracas $0.12!
Kuwait $0.78!
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia $0.91!

Fernandez' Zytek fastest LMP2 car at LeMans  Official testing for the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was held today at the Circuit de la Sarthe with Adrian Fernandez placing the Barazi Epsilon-entered #33 Zytek 07S sportscar sponsored by Lowe’s at the top of the LMP2 class timesheets. Fernandez’s best lap of 3:39.016 – over two seconds quicker than last year’s pole speed – was matched by Michael Vergers in the #32 Zytek 07S/2 also entered by the Barazi Epsilon team. A field of 55 cars took to the 8.4-mile circuit during today’s eight-hour practice session. Fernandez, who will be the first Mexican driver in over a decade to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was joined behind the wheel of the Zytek machine by Haruki Kurosawa of Japan and Robbie Kerr of England. Kurosawa, who has two Le Mans starts to his credit, most recently contested the European Le Mans Series while Kerr hails from the A1GP World Cup ranks. Both Fernandez and Kerr will be making their debuts in the world’s most famous endurance race on June 16th. More ...
Video: Sebastien Bourdais previews Portland  
Video Sebastien Bourdais as he talks about how busy he was during Champ Car's 6-week break and he talks about the upcoming Portland race and taking the honeymoon he and his wife never had.
NHRA sold, boon to Indy  UPDATE If the sale of the National Hot Rod Association's pro racing assets to a group of investors is finalized, NHRA president Tom Compton predicts it will be a boon to the already thriving drag racing business in the Indianapolis area.

With Brownsburg serving as home to a number of top NHRA teams and the area benefiting from the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals -- the sport's premier event held annually at O'Reilly Raceway Park -- the announcement Wednesday that the NHRA had agreed to a $121 million deal with HD Partners Acquisition Corp. came as stunning news locally.

But Compton, reached by phone on his way to Topeka, Kan., site of the event that ended Sunday, offered reassurances the deal is going to make Indianapolis even more of a hub for drag racing.

"This is going to grow this sport like you've never seen," Compton said. "What that means for Indianapolis is that you're going to have more people coming to town for the U.S. Nationals and more teams making their headquarters in Brownsburg.

"It's the best thing for all of our race teams, so there's no reason it shouldn't be good for Indianapolis."

Compton said the racing will go on with no visible changes. More ...

Renault run thrills spectators in Warsaw  Renault kicked off their 2007 road show program in style on Sunday, as race driver Heikki Kovalainen took to the streets of downtown Warsaw in a R26. Kovalainen’s demonstration run, the first of its kind to be held in Poland, attracted a crowd of 80,000.

“I am really pleased to have been able to come to Warsaw for this road show,” enthused the young Finn. “At Renault, we are always trying to get people to see Formula One in a new way and to get them behind the scenes, and the road show is a brilliant way of doing it! I really enjoyed myself today, and people were very friendly, and I hope they had as much fun watching the show as I did behind the wheel!”

Kovalainen wowed the assembled fans with a variety of tricks including doughnuts as he ran along the 2.6 kilometer temporary circuit, which was located behind the Polish city’s university library. The track also crossed the Swietokryski Bridge over the famous Vistula River, where the R26 was able to reach speeds of over 240 km/h.

The Warsaw event marked the start of Renault’s fifth season of city-centre demonstrations, which aim to put enthusiasts from around the world as close to the action as possible. The French team’s next port of call will be South Africa from July 28 to 29.

Industry News
Suppliers rank GM higher  General Motors Corp. has made strides to improve its relationship with its auto suppliers, according to a survey of parts companies.

GM moved up into fifth place from last in an annual survey of how auto suppliers rate six automakers, more than a year after GM changed its focus from cutting parts prices across the board to improving efficiency and reducing costs case by case. There’s no question things are really working there," said John Henke, president of Birmingham's Planning Perspectives, which surveyed 308 so-called Tier One suppliers -- those that sell parts directly to automakers -- in April and May.

GM said it is pleased with its improvement in the survey. "It reflects the hard work and dedication of our entire organization to improve working relationships with our suppliers. This is an ongoing process where we continue to dedicate significant time and resources," Bo Andersson, GM's group vice president for global purchasing and supply chain, said in a statement.

There still is a wide gap between GM and the survey's two leaders, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Both posted improvements this year.

But taken with the strides GM has made to essentially match Toyota in assembly plant productivity, as shown in last week's Harbour Report on manufacturing efficiency, the survey begins to show the results of GM's massive restructuring.

Suppliers said they have more trust in GM, and 13% of suppliers said they prefer to work with GM, versus 5% last year.

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • I warned Kimi to stick with McLaren - Hakkinen
  • McLaren, Mercedes, split over supercar
  • Mosley would back GP format overhaul
  • Verstappen waits for Spyker test green light
  • McLaren drivers 'free to race' - Haug

I warned Kimi to stick with McLaren - Hakkinen
(GMM) Double world champion Mika Hakkinen says he advised countryman Kimi Raikkonen to stick with McLaren rather than switch to the Ferrari team.

Hakkinen, who won back to back titles with Ron Dennis' Mercedes-powered outfit in 1998 and 1999, told the Finnish newspaper 'Iltalehti' that he feared Raikkonen would struggle to adapt to the atmosphere at Ferrari.

"I warned him that changing teams might not go well for him," the 38-year-old, whose McLaren seat in 2002 was filled by F1 newcomer Raikkonen, said.

Hakkinen said: "Unfortunately for Kimi, my forecasts are being fulfilled."

Hakkinen stuck stoically with McLaren throughout the 90s, even through difficult times in the wake of Ayrton Senna's departure and the unsettled beginning of the Mercedes-Benz period.

But he said: "Winning the world championship is like a spider-web, which needs many threads, and time.

"Of course it is true that McLaren's recent past had some problems, but it is a team that has always had the capacity to recover.

"It is possible that Kimi has not measured the risks (of joining Ferrari) too well because it looks like being a difficult year for him.

"Also the McLaren car has evolved a lot in the past races, and winning titles can depend a lot on minor factors.

"In this game there are many excellent drivers, so Kimi cannot rely exclusively on his talent," Hakkinen said. More ...

Rahal tests with Michael Shank Racing  Two of the buckeye state’s biggest motorsports names were united last week as Graham Rahal tested a Michael Shank Racing Daytona Prototype at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The test was part of a busy weekend for Rahal, who graduated from New Albany High School on Sunday.
Rahal, who made history recently by taking second place in just his third Champ Car race start at just eighteen years old, already has experience in the Rolex Sports Car Series and might be looking to grow that part of his racing resume later this year.
“Everything went really well,” said Rahal.  “The goal was to just get in the car and get a feel for it, but we were actually pretty quick so it felt good. The team has a  experienced engineering staff and the car was really well prepared so we made a good bit of progress. I was glad Mike (Shank) gave me the opportunity to test, and hopefully things work out so I get a chance to race with them later this season.” More ...
ALMS teams fare well in LeMans prelim  American Le Mans Series drivers posted three of the four quickest class times Sunday in the annual Le Mans Test Day. The two four-hour sessions represented the only opportunity for teams and competitors to prepare themselves at the famed French venue for the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Adrian Fernandez (LMP2), Jan Magnussen (GT1) and Patrick Long (GT2) all were two seconds or more under last year's class pole times.

Audi's diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI held the second, third and sixth positions overall. Defending race winner Frank Biela set the day's second-best time at 3:28.277, nearly two full seconds better than teammate Rinaldo Capello's pole-winning time from 2006. Biela, who will reunite with Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner, trailed only Peugeot's Sebastien Bourdais, a winner at Sebring last year for Panoz. The Le Mans native turned in a lap of 3:26.707. More ...

Formula Ford
Daly gets podium on Formula Ford debut  Cytomax driver Conor Daly finished on the podium in 3rd place on his Formula Ford debut weekend in Shannonville Motorsports Park, Ontario, Canada, June 3rd. He drove a Van Diemen for Brian Graham Racing. 

It was a great weekend of learning for Conor as it was the first time he worked with a race car engineer and with a teammate. The Shannonville weekend was used to prepare for the Formula Ford support race at the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend where Conor will also compete.

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

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