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DATE News (chronologically)
06/08/07
cc
Crash puts Tracy, team, behind 8-ball  The Forsythe Team had a bumpy start to the weekend at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe’s Sports & Outdoor as Oriol Servia and Paul Tracy qualified provisionally in the 11th and 13th position.  Servia, who will make his third start with the Team, worked with his engineers during the day to improve the balance of his DP01 Champ Car at the slippery 12-turn road course, but limited on track time has proven to be a disadvantage as most of the other teams were able to participate in a two day test with the new chassis in May and have had more laps to tweak their setup.  Tracy has also lacked seat time after missing the last two races due to an injury and today’s events didn’t help that situation as a morning practice accident forced him to switch to his backup car, which in turn had electrical problems leaving the 2003 Champion time to complete only 15 total laps during the day. More ...
06/08/07
ga
Gurney rocks The Glen for his second pole  WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Alex Gurney shook up the Grand-Am garage this afternoon with a blistering lap of Watkins Glen International that put his No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley on the point for tomorrow’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. It’s the second-straight pole and third on the season for Bob Stallings Racing. With the team’s streak of consecutive front-row starts extended to six, Gurney will lead the field to the green at 11 a.m. tomorrow with but one goal: a second career Daytona Prototype victory for himself and co-driver Jon Fogarty.
 
In the 15-minute DP qualifying session, which got underway at 4:20 p.m., Gurney wasted no time letting the 20-car field know that, once again, the 99 car would be second to none on the track. After an initial exploratory lap, the second-generation star ripped off a lap of the 3.4-mile road course in 1:43.878, at an average speed of 117.831 mph – and that time would stand for the remainder of the afternoon. No other car even got into the one-minute, 43-second range, with Scott Pruett being the closest contender, and even he was more than four-tenths of a second in arrears. That kind of unmatched speed has given the GAINSCO team confidence going into tomorrow’s race – but that confidence is tempered by the hard-learned lesson that turning speed into victory is no easy task.
 
“It’s exciting to be on the pole again in the GAINSCO car, but we really want to show our stuff in the race,” Gurney said. “We know we can get this car up front when the green flag drops, but we need to keep the car clean, get good pit stops and run a smart race strategy to be up front at the checkered.” More ...
06/08/07
cca
Hinchcliffe wins 2nd career pole  Canadian racer James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks) got his quest to repeat his 2006 victory at Portland International Raceway off to a good start by taking the pole position for Saturday’s Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by Joe’s Sports and Outdoor, the first race of a doubleheader weekend for the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda (ESPN2, 6/18, 5 p.m. ET).

Hinchcliffe turned a best lap at 1:06.561 (106.224 mph) to secure the second pole of his Atlantic career and his first pole since last season’s penultimate race in Montreal. The 20-year-old Canadian heads into Saturday’s race looking for his second career Atlantic victory after taking his maiden series win at Portland International Raceway last year. Hinchcliffe has finished inside the top-seven positions in each of the first three races this season with a best result of third last time out at Houston in April. More ...

06/08/07
cc
cckarting
Pacific Coast Motorsports announces Junior Team  Pacific Coast Motorsports is pleased to announce the inception of the PCM Jr Team, a driver and team development program, designed to create a tangible link from karts to the pinnacle of North American open wheel racing, the Champ Car World Series.

As announced today in a press conference at Portland International Raceway, the US RaceTronics Atlantic team and its drivers, Carl Skerlong and David Garza, along with karting standout, 13 year old Miles Maroney have been named as the PCM Jr Team.

“Pacific Coast Motorsports began as a competitor in the Champ Car Atlantic Series.  We had two very successful seasons, which included the championship with Jon Fogarty in 2004 and it has always been my goal to give back to the ladder system in some fashion,” said PCM team director, Tyler Tadevic. More ...

06/08/07
nascar
Johnson leads practice at Pocono  Reigning Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson led the first Nextel Cup practice session Friday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. The Hendrick Motorsports driver posted a fastest lap of 166.664 mph around the 2.5-mile track.
06/08/07
f1
Suspension problems 'not serious' - Ralf  (GMM) Ralf Schumacher on Friday dismissed premature suggestions that Toyota might have to withdraw from the Canadian grand prix.

The German's teammate Jarno Trulli experienced two identical front suspension failures during Friday free practice at Montreal, after driving normally over the curbs.

The Japanese squad then brought Schumacher's practice to a halt as well, fearing that the problem could also strike his TF107 racer.

He told the German broadcaster Premiere that the team is not sure what the problem is.

"That is what we now have to find out," Ralf, 31, said, explaining that he thinks he could have emerged higher on the time sheets if he had been allowed more track time.

Speculating that the suspension parts may simply have come from a bad batch, he said of Trulli's failures: "Clearly it was not his fault, but things like this can happen.

"I don't think it is too serious, and we will surely be able to race without any trouble.

"We already have a little idea what it might be and by this evening we will know more."

Schumacher also had a close call with some local Canadian wildlife on Friday, narrowly avoiding a groundhog which skipped across the track.

06/08/07
f1
Speed accuses Webber of 'brake testing'  (GMM)  Scott Speed on Friday accused his fellow Red Bull stable-mate Mark Webber of "brake testing" him during free practice for the Canadian grand prix.

The two cars actually made contact at the end of the afternoon session, and Toro Rosso's Speed suggested that Webber had initiated the clash.

"For some reason I don't understand, Mark did the most strange thing I have seen since I've been in formula one," said the Californian, who damaged his wing when he ran into the back of Australian Webber's Red Bull.

It is believed that Webber was unhappy with Speed's driving style on the slow 'in lap'.

Speed explained: "I haven't been brake tested like that since my karting days.  I'll be interested to see what Mark has to say about that!"

Webber made no specific mention of the coming-together in Red Bull Racing's Friday press release, other than to refer to a "few incidents" on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

06/08/07
alms
Panoz looks to defend LeMans title  Ever since he first set foot there in 1997, Le Mans has had a special meaning for American Le Mans Series founder Dr. Don Panoz. A participating team owner, honorary race starter and Spirit of Le Mans award winner, Dr. Panoz joined the ranks of winners last year with Team LNT and the Panoz Esperante GTLM in GT2.

“It only took one trip to Le Mans to realize that there was something very special,” Dr. Panoz said. “It hooked me and I became an addict. Going to Le Mans, even when you lose, is an emotional experience because it is the greatest sports car race in the world. It is endurance. It is about the pomp and circumstance and the tradition of sports car racing. To go back as defending champions in GT2 with the Panoz brand just adds a little more frosting to that cake.”

This is the 11th Le Mans for Panoz, who has seen all sides of the world’s most famous auto race.

“Le Mans is such a fickle woman,” he said. “She can love you one year and hate you the next. You never know what dress she is going to wear on the day of the race. It is about going faster but it is about finishing the race. You can set all the lap records you want, you can perform well and pass everyone on the track. But to finish first you have to first finish. It has a lot to do with luck and preparation naturally. You have to be prepared to take advantage of luck. That’s what happened last year. The team was well-prepared and had a strategy and stuck with it.”

06/08/07
irl
alms
Bosch and Firestone to sponsor Detroit GP races  As world-class auto racing returns to the City of Detroit for the first time in six years, the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is excited to partner with two of the most established and well-respected companies in the automotive industry.

The fastest three days in Detroit will take place on Labor Day weekend, August 31-September 2, 2007 as the beautiful Raceway on Belle Isle Park road course will host the first Detroit Grand Prix since 2001. Event officials are proud to announce that both Robert Bosch LLC and Firestone have signed on as presenting sponsors for the two races that will highlight the 2007 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, organized and promoted by a subsidiary of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, whose chairman is Roger Penske. 

Bosch, headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan – just north of Detroit – will sponsor the American Le Mans Series race at Belle Isle. The Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch is Round 10 of the 12-race American Le Mans Series schedule. Following qualifying for all four classes of American Le Mans Series racing on Friday, August 31, the exotic sports cars featuring such well-known manufacturers as Audi, Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, Corvette, Ferrari, Panoz and Porsche will race in the afternoon on Saturday, September 1 at Belle Isle. More ...

06/08/07
f1
F1 priest's car-dodging days are over  (GMM)  F1's twenty two drivers can rest easy -- 'dancing priest' Cornelius Horan says his grand prix car-dodging days are over.

The 60-year-old, who also ruined the 2004 Olympic marathon in Greece by lunging at the leader, was this week banned from sporting events by a magistrate in south London -- under threat of a five year prison term.

Horan, who ran onto the track during the British grand prix in 2003, told the court that he would be "very happy" to comply because his F1 and marathon stunts had twice put the Bible "on the world stage".

"That's enough," he added.  "There is no need to break the rules (any more).  I'm happy to move on."

06/08/07
f1
Canada practice notes: Friday 2  (GMM)  Team 'advisor' Michael Schumacher once again captured the formula one media's attention on Friday, as he strolled into the Ferrari garage in Montreal sipping a mug of coffee.

-

Less than an hour into the final ninety minutes of free practice on Friday, Renault's Heikki Kovalainen stopped his car in the second sector of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with suspected broken suspension.

After completing just 13 laps, the Finnish rookie is the slowest runner on the time sheets.

06/08/07
alms
irl
Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix tickets go on sale  Fans can now secure the opportunity to experience the exciting return of world-class auto racing to the Motor City over Labor Day weekend.  Tickets to the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix go on-sale to the general public today at 5 p.m. ET. The three-day Grand Prix event will be held August 31-September 2, 2007 and will feature both the sports cars of the American Le Mans Series and the open-wheel machines of the IndyCar Series competing on the 2.1-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course, as well as other fun activities and entertainment throughout the weekend.

Grand Prix tickets feature a number of family-friendly and affordable options, in addition to packages aimed to please the most passionate racing fan.  Tickets, on average, are priced 15% lower than they were ten years ago.

“We’re proud to be bringing the excitement of world-class auto racing back to Detroit,” said Bud Denker, Event Chairman.  “In addition to continuing the Detroit Grand Prix tradition of free Fridays with Free Prix Day presented by Comerica Bank, we’re offering lower ticket costs, special discounts for children and ‘Super Ticket’ packages to make the race affordable and accessible for both families and die-hard racing fans.”  More ...

06/08/07
Industry News
Video: The booming China car market  
Many car companies are expanding their operations in China as the number of passenger cars being sold continues to grow at record levels. Some reports suggest 8.5 million cars will be sold in China in 2007 alone. To meet this demand, Volvo Cars has increased its sales by 60.5% in the first quarter of 2007 and expects to increase its sales by 100% this year. At the moment, Volvo Cars’ 50 dealers in China are upgrading to expand business in their areas. Over the past 12 months, 20 new or revamped Volvo showrooms have opened their doors. On Saturday, June 9th, Chinese President Hu Jintao will be visiting the Volvo facilities in Gothenburg, Sweden.
06/08/07
nascar
NASCAR slams Busch and Penske  NASCAR announced Friday that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, has been penalized 100 championship driver points, fined $100,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2007, for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing -- reckless driving; endangering a crew member on pit road) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book.

Car owner Roger Penske has also been penalized with the loss of 100 championship owner points due to his driver's infraction.

"I regret the incident that occurred at Dover and apologize to NASCAR, my sponsors, the fans, my Penske Racing team and Joe Gibbs Racing," Busch said in a statement. "I understand that safety is crucial to the sport and I accept the points penalty, fine and probation that NASCAR has imposed on me."

The penalty drops Busch from 11th in the championship standings to a tie with Bobby Labonte for 18th at 720 points behind leader Jeff Gordon.

The violation occurred on pit road during the race at Dover International Speedway on June 4.

06/08/07
nascar
NASCAR Dover TV rating  UPDATE The final rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Dover, rain delayed until Monday, was a 2.2/6 share on FOX.

06/06/07 The rain delayed Monday telecast of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race on FOX was a dismal 2.2. We bet if you add in all the households that Tivo'd it becuase they had to work Monday the rating would not be so bad. Such are the shortcomings of the current Nielsen Rating system. However, this is soon to change as Nielsen has announced they will begin to measure households that record and then watch later.
06/08/07
f1
Canada: Alonso again on top  Fernando Alonso dominated the Friday practice time sheets in Montreal, staying half a second clear of the field in the afternoon 90-minute session.

There were several incidents; Renault's Heikki Kovalainen broke his suspension after nudging the wall, and Jarno Trulli had to stop his Toyota after incurring similar damage by bouncing across the high curbs.

It is believed that teammate Ralf Schumacher's practice time was also cut short as a safety precaution.

Adrian Sutil nearly fell victim to the famous Champion's Wall, after getting some serious air-time over the final chicane. BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica spun in the second chicane, after missing the whole morning session with a mechanical problem.

Nico Rosberg, having deferred to the team's Japanese test driver in the morning, then got his Canadian campaign off to a rocky start when he also experienced technical trouble after just 25 laps.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen had a spin en-route to fourth quickest, nearly a second off the leading pace set by Alonso's McLaren.

Felipe Massa was second best in the other red car, while Lewis Hamilton did enough only for third, eight tenths behind his championship leading teammate.

Pos Driver Team Time Behind Laps
 1. Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.550 37
 2. Massa Ferrari 1:17.090 + 0.540 34
 3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.307 + 0.757 36
 4. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:17.515 + 0.965 37
 5. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:17.827 + 1.277 42
 6. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:17.992 + 1.442 25
 7. Barrichello Honda 1:18.108 + 1.558 38
 8. Fisichella Renault 1:18.130 + 1.580 40
 9. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:18.181 + 1.631 40
10. Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:18.309 + 1.759 38
11. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:18.316 + 1.766 40
12. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:18.399 + 1.849 29
13. Button Honda 1:18.474 + 1.924 36
14. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.493 + 1.943 33
15. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:18.545 + 1.995 35
16. Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.602 + 2.052 37
17. Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:18.871 + 2.321 25
18. Trulli Toyota 1:18.895 + 2.345 16
19. R.Schumacher Toyota 1:19.331 + 2.781 16
20. Albers Spyker-Ferrari 1:19.453 + 2.903 38
21. Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:19.662 + 3.112 25
22. Kovalainen Renault 1:20.519 + 3.969 13

06/08/07
cc
Portland: Bourdais and Rahal top opening practice  Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Sebastien Bourdais and rookie Graham Rahal were the fastest two drivers in Friday morning practice in Portland for Sunday's Champ Car race.  Justin Wilson was close behind in third.  A returning Paul Tracy never made it out onto the track.

Pos Driver # Lap Time Mph Behind Leader
1 S. Bourdais 1 58.494 120.874 
2 G. Rahal 2 58.508 120.845 0.014
3 J. Wilson 9 58.529 120.802 0.035
4 N. Jani 21 58.704 120.442 0.210
5 W. Power 5 58.806 120.233 0.312
6 D. Clarke 4 58.834 120.175 0.340
7 T. Gommendy 22 59.033 119.770 0.539
8 S. Pagenaud 15 59.045 119.746 0.551
9 R. Doornbos 14 59.068 119.699 0.574
10 A. Tagliani 8 59.110 119.614 0.616
11 O. Servia 7 59.264 119.303 0.770
12 B. Junqueira 19 59.705 118.422 1.211
13 J. Heylen 34 59.861 118.114 1.367
14 R. Dalziel 28 1:00.700 116.481 2.206
15 A. Figge 29 1:00.710 116.462 2.216
16 K. Legge 11 1:29.401 79.086 30.907
17 P. Tracy 3 0.00  0.00

06/08/07
nascar
Pocono Update - Practice 1  The first practice session is over at Pocono and Jimmie Johnson turned a fast lap of 166.664mph to top the field. NASCAR's penalty this morning on Kurt Busch (100 points & 100K) may have weighed heavily on his mind, as he crashed in the first practice session, tearing up the right front of his Dodge. 
06/08/07
irl
Indy Car Milwaukee TV Rating  UPDATE The final rating on ABC for the IRL's Milwaukee race last Sunday was a 1.0/2 share.

06/04/07 Fueled by the rained out NASCAR race, the overnight TV rating for Sunday's ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225 Indy Car race from Milwaukee on ABC was a 1.2.
06/08/07
racing news
Senna puts Ferrari on pole at Silverstone  One his debut race in a Ferrari, Bruno Senna has put his car on pole position for race one of this weekend's Ferrari Racing Challenge at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, England.

Bruno is participating in this weekend's British rounds of the Ferrari Racing Challenge as a one-off event, and is racing against drivers who are competing in the whole championship. He is racing a specially-tuned F430 Challenge car, and in this morning's practice and the afternoon's qualifying session, Bruno trounced the opposition and put himself in pole position for tomorrow's race.

Bruno Senna
"It's been a pretty good day! I'm taking part in this weekend's rounds just as a one-off because it is good experience for me and I received a very kind invitation from Ferrari UK. I had about half a day on the Stowe circuit to shake down the car and then came back on the 29th of May to do the official testing with all the guys that are regulars in the championship. I was quickest on the test day, which was a good start, and then quickest again by a very small margin in this morning's practice. And now in qualifying I was able to secure pole position for the first race which is just great. It was a bit of a crazy qualifying because there was so much traffic and the weather was quite strange - it was raining over the back of the circuit but dry at the front so the lap times don't look right but it was good experience. We have another qualifying session tomorrow for race two followed by the first race so I'm really looking forward to that tomorrow."

06/08/07
nascar
ga
Hunter-Reay does NASCAR COT Test, off to The Glen  After completing a test in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow, Ryan Hunter-Reay reunites with the Riley-Mathews Motorsports Rolex Daytona Prototype team this Saturday, June 9, for the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen in Watkins Glen, New York. Hunter-Reay will team up with Marc Goosens and Jim Matthews in the #91 Riley-Matthews Pontiac.

“I can’t wait to get back in the Riley-Mathews DP,” said Hunter-Reay. “Since running up front in the Daytona 24 Hour race I feel our team has unfinished business to tend to.  As this is the first endurance race since the season opener our focus is going to be to run a smart, fast, consistent race with the goal of being in the mix at the end to be able to challenge for the win. I can’t say enough about this group of guys, this team. I’m certainly going to do my best to give them what they deserve.” 

Recently Hunter-Reay has demonstrated his ability to be competitive in diverse formulas of motorsport.  The last few weeks have been busy for Hunter-Reay as he performed a two-day NASCAR Busch Series test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway then tested a NASCAR Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow (COT) at Nashville Super Speedway and will compete in a Riley Daytona Prototype at Watkins Glen International this weekend. More ...

06/08/07
f1
Canada practice notes: Friday  (GMM) Robert Kubica failed to set a lap time in the morning practice session in Montreal when he struck BMW engine trouble.

Williams' Nico Rosberg was the only other driver with even less fortune -- he had to sit out the entire 90 minutes after handing over his car to test driver Kazuki Nakajima.

-

In front of already-bustling grandstands, McLaren's Fernando Alonso - despite a spin - and Lewis Hamilton led the pace, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa's Ferraris. Best of the rest was Mark Webber, for Red Bull.

Under-pressure Ralf Schumacher's decent pace for eighth quickest, meanwhile, was achieved with a set of so-called 'super-soft' Bridgestone tires.

06/08/07
motogp
Pedrosa leads Friday practice in Spain  Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa dominated events on Friday’s first day of practice for his home race, the Cinzano Grand of Catalunya. The 21-year-old local favorite blitzed the competition in the morning session at the 4.727km (2.937-mile) Montmelo circuit, finishing over 0.4s ahead of his nearest rival with a lap of 1m 43.099s – a time that was not bettered by anyone in the afternoon. Despite walking away from a high speed fall early in the second one-hour session, Pedrosa stayed at the top of the timesheets until the dying seconds of afternoon practice, eventually finishing with the third fastest time.

Dani Pedrosa - “This morning went quite well and I was able to ride with a fast and consistent pace for quite a few laps, which was a positive start to the weekend. The set-up looks OK and, even though we still have to work on the tire choice, we’re in quite good shape. This afternoon I was feeling confident but unfortunately I ran wide in Turn Three, got onto the dirty part of the track with too much lean and fell off. It was my mistake and was actually quite a normal crash. I was lucky that I was not hurt, but unfortunately there was a lot of damage to the bike so the mechanics have a bit of work to do. After that I wasn’t able to go quite as quickly because the set-up of the second bike was good but not perfect, so once that’s sorted things are looking quite good for tomorrow.”

 Rider Team Time
1 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 43.099s
2 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 43.313s
3 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 43.389s
4 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 43.543s
5 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 1m 43.551s
6 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 43.631s
7 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 43.713s
8 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 43.768s
9 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1m 43.811s
10 Alex Barros Pramac d’Antin 1m 43.857s
11 Carlos Checa Honda LCR 1m 43.866s
12 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 1m 44.003s
13 Randy De Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 44.141s
14 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 44.267s
15 Olivier Jacque Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 44.466s
16 Alex Hofmann Pramac d'Antin 1m 44.528s
17 Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Yamaha Tech 1m 44.665s

06/08/07
f1
Alonso leads opening practice in Canada  
Pos  Driver        Team               Time      Behind    Laps
 1.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:17.759            17
 2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:17.967  + 0.208   20
 3.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:18.136  + 0.377   21
 4.  Massa         Ferrari            1:18.167  + 0.408   21
 5.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:18.301  + 0.542   21
 6.  Fisichella    Renault            1:18.620  + 0.861   24
 7.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:18.634  + 0.875   20
 8.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:18.652  + 0.893   32
 9.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:18.717  + 0.958   24
10.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:18.896  + 1.137   16
11.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:18.898  + 1.139   20
12.  Trulli        Toyota             1:18.925  + 1.166   25
13.  Button        Honda              1:18.932  + 1.173   24
14.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:18.997  + 1.238   26
15.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:19.189  + 1.430   22
16.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:19.234  + 1.475   29
17.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota    1:19.273  + 1.514   30
18.  Barrichello   Honda              1:19.937  + 2.178   18
19.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.331  + 2.572   12
20.  Albers        Spyker-Ferrari     1:21.251  + 3.492   17
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:21.630  + 3.871   25
22.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         No time              2
06/08/07
f1
Alonso leads opening practice in Canada  
Pos  Driver        Team                    Time               Laps
 1.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   (B)  1:17.759            17
 2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   (B)  1:17.967  + 0.208   20
 3.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            (B)  1:18.136  + 0.377   21
 4.  Massa         Ferrari            (B)  1:18.167  + 0.408   21
 5.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   (B)  1:18.301  + 0.542   21
 6.  Fisichella    Renault            (B)  1:18.620  + 0.861   24
 7.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         (B)  1:18.634  + 0.875   20
 8.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             (B)  1:18.652  + 0.893   32
 9.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   (B)  1:18.717  + 0.958   24
10.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  (B)  1:18.896  + 1.137   16
11.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  (B)  1:18.898  + 1.139   20
12.  Trulli        Toyota             (B)  1:18.925  + 1.166   25
13.  Button        Honda              (B)  1:18.932  + 1.173   24
14.  Kovalainen    Renault            (B)  1:18.997  + 1.238   26
15.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    (B)  1:19.189  + 1.430   22
16.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B)  1:19.234  + 1.475   29
17.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota    (B)  1:19.273  + 1.514   30
18.  Barrichello   Honda              (B)  1:19.937  + 2.178   18
19.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B)  1:20.331  + 2.572   12
20.  Albers        Spyker-Ferrari     (B)  1:21.251  + 3.492   17
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     (B)  1:21.630  + 3.871   25
22.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         (B)  No time              2
06/08/07
cc
ESPN website ignores Champ Car  A reader writes, Wow!  What a difference the switch to ABC/ESPN has made.  I just took a look at the ESPN racing website to see all the Champ Car coverage they promised.  Problem is there was none.  Zero hype (so far, but it IS Friday now) about the CCWS return to racing action at PIR.  Zero!  You're left with the impression that there is only one open wheel race this weekend.  But there are 9 or 10 IRL articles about post-race Milwaukee, Danica vs. Weldon, and Texas previews.  Sad and pathetic!  Wake up KK & GF!  Richard Huffman
06/08/07
TV News
Weekend USA TV reminders  UPDATE The full Sunday TV Listing is now shown below.

06/07/07
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Friday
NASCAR Now
12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
Nextel Prelude to the Dream Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH
10:30am (R) HBO PPV DirecTV
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Pocono
12:00pm-1:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Pocono
1:30pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
Formula 1 Practice Montreal
2:00pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
Nextel Prelude to the Dream Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH
3:00pm (R) HBO PPV DirecTV
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Pocono
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Practice Nashville
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Now
7:00pm-7:30pm ESPN2
Trackside Pocono
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Sam's Town 400 Fort Worth
8:30pm-11:30pm (L) Incl Preshow SPEED
Saturday
Formula 1 Debrief -Monaco Grand Prix Monaco
12:30am-1:30am SPEED
Inside Grand Prix Montreal
7:30am-8:00am SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Pocono
10:00am-11:00am (L) SPEED
Nextel Prelude to the Dream Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH
10:30am (R) HBO PPV DirecTV
Rolex Sports Car Series Six Hours of the Glen Watkins Glen
11:00am-1:00pm (L)
Continued 2:30pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
Formula 1 Qualifying Montreal
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
Champ Car World Series, Practice 3, Portland
1:15pm (L) Race Director webcast
Rolex Sports Car Series Six Hours of the Glen Watkins Glen
2:30pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Qualifying Nashville
3:00pm-5:00pm (L) ESPN2
Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Portland, Race 1
3:15pm (L) Race Director webcast
NHRA Qualifying Joliet, IL
5:00pm-6:30pm ESPN2
Champ Car World Series, Practice 4, Portland
5:00pm (L) Race Director webcast
Champ Car World Series, Final Qualifying, Portland
5:20pm (L) Race Director webcast
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Pocono
5:30pm-6:30pm (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Federated Auto Parts 300 Nashville
6:30pm-10:00pm (L) Incl Preshow ESPN2
ARCA RE/MAX Pocono
8:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) SPEED
IRL Fort Worth
10:00pm-12:30am (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Performance
11:00pm-11:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Tradin' Paint Pocono
11:30pm-12:00am SPEED
Sunday
NHRA Race Day Joliet, IL
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay Pocono
11:00am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
American Dragster
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Pocono 500 Pocono
12:30pm-6:30pm (L) Incl Preshows TNT
World of Outlaws Lowe's
1:00pm-2:00pm SPEED
Formula 1 Montreal
1:00pm-3:00pm (L) FOX
MotoGP World Championship Spain
1:30pm-2:30pm (SDD) CBS
Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Portland, Race 2
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) Race Director webcast
Champ Car World Series, Portland
4:00pm-6:00pm (L) ABC
4:00pm-6:00pm (L) Race Director webcast
NHRA Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals Joliet, IL
4:00pm-7:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
MotoGP 250 Spain
5:00pm-6:00pm (SDD) SPEED
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Fast Cars & Superstars: The Young Guns Celebrity Race
NASCAR drivers teach celebrities how to race stock cars, then the stars compete against each other 8:00pm-8:30pm
* Check local listings for your time zone ABC
NASCAR Victory Lane Pocono
8:00pm-9:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Bob Varsha (SPEED F1 Host)
David Hobbs (SPEED F1 Analyst)
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault F1 Driver)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

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

06/08/07
f1
Alonso dismisses team order saga as F1 'theatre'  (GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso showed little interest in Montreal when a scrum of international media tried to bring up the 'team orders' ruckus surrounding the Monaco GP.

"The past is the past; it's behind us," the Spaniard, who after the race was accused by the British press of enjoying favorable treatment compared with his rookie McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton, responded on Thursday.

Alonso said: "We won at Monaco and now we are here -- and we want to win again."

He was asked about the fervent reaction of the British press corps, who interpreted McLaren's Monaco strategy as an illegal team order that barred Hamilton from going for the win.

Asked if he thought they were right, 25-year-old Alonso said: "If they know everything, then you should ask them and not me."

In truth, the McLaren driver and championship leader said he was "surprised" about the negative reaction to his dominant Monaco performance, and played down talk of any internal rift.

Alonso said: "I get along with Lewis absolutely fine, even if some people outside of the team would like it to be the other way.

"But this is the theatre of formula one. Everything is going well; we lead both world championships and we should enjoy this fantastic moment."

06/08/07
lmes
A lap of Le Mans with the Audi R10 TDI  When Mattias Ekström climbed out of the Audi R10 TDI cockpit after his first laps around the "Circuit des 24 Heures" at Le Mans, his eyes lit up. "The circuit is very impressive – and incredibly fast," explained the Swede, who reeled off his first laps in a LM P1 sportscar as did his DTM team-mates Lucas Luhr, Alexandre Prémat and Mike Rockenfeller at Le Mans on the official test day.
 
The Audi DTM drivers already knew that the 13.629-kilometre circuit was a law unto itself from stories told by their experienced team-mates. Le Mans is a high-speed circuit with an average speed of almost 240 kph. More than anything else, it is the many fast corners that have to be taken just as quickly during the night as they are in daylight that make Le Mans the special challenge that it has become.
 
In addition, the majority of the circuit runs along public roads, which are only closed off for the 24 Hour race and which are full of ‘tram lines’ caused by heavy trucks throughout the year.
 
We asked the Audi drivers to explain the most important track sections which they will have to complete almost 400 times in their Audi R10 TDI during the race on the 16/17 June. More ...
06/08/07
irl
Duno unsure of why she crashed  Milka Duno is unsure of why she spun and crashed coming out of the 2nd turn Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.

"I don't know what happened. I lost the rear. I don't know if it was the rear wing. It happened so quickly. I just felt the rear go back. Fortunately it wasn't a big impact because I was sliding into the wall. I'll have to ask my spotter Pancho Carter if he saw the rear part go."

So the question remains did her rear wing collapse like the Penske team cars both did at Milwaukee last weekend, or did she simply lose control?  The IRL has so much downforce dialed into the Indy Cars that the force on the rear wing might be collapsing the rear wing mounts.  However, all that downforce means 100% throttle pack racing, which should be exciting for the fans.  Hopefully

06/08/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Schu in town for another GP - brother
  • New rear wing test equipment in Canada
  • No news on Heidfeld contract
  • Kovalainen blames press for Piquet muddle
  • McLaren duo played video game amid 'team orders' storm

Schu in town for another GP - brother
(GMM) Michael Schumacher this weekend will attend his third grand prix in a row, his brother revealed on Thursday.

Ralf Schumacher, the only sibling of the famous brothers who is still racing in formula one, told a news conference in Montreal that retired Michael is due to touch down in the Canadian city.

In his advisory role for his former team Ferrari, 38-year-old Schumacher attended the recent Spanish and Monaco grands prix.

Ralf, who is six years younger than his brother, admitted: "He will be here this weekend."

New rear wing test equipment in Canada
(GMM) FIA scrutineers' new equipment for better testing the legality of bendy rear wings was spotted on Thursday at the scene of the Canadian grand prix.

The governing body upped the intensity of the deflection tests following speculation and evidence that Red Bull might be sidestepping the rules.

The new equipment is to debut this weekend in Montreal, where an illegal wing could give cars an up to 6kph unfair advantage on the long straights of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve layout.

Essentially, the new equipment is simply a wooden frame or template, upon which 100 kilograms of downwards weight can be applied to the wing.

Wings must deflect less than 2mm to pass the test. More ...

06/08/07
f1
Canadian GP Preview  McLaren's somewhat controversial one-two finish in Monaco has Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton sharing the world championship lead, but Ferrari, with such a strong record in Montreal, will be looking to bridge the gap in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.

The world championship is still well and truly up in the air with just five points between the top three and another 10 points back to Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren, while the most dominant this year, hasn't performed well in Canada, with only one win this decade (ironically Raikkonen in 2005). Alonso won in a Renault 12 months ago, while Schumacher won the three GPs between 2002 and 2004.

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve has a habit of producing drama, in particular at the first and last corners, and after the dominance of Ferrari and McLaren over the first five races, you get the feeling that this is the chance for the rest of the grid to really challenge. Having had close to three months to fine tune since the start of the season BMW, Renault, Williams, Honda and Red Bull should have ironed out the kinks. More ...

06/08/07
irl
Milwaukee IRL race looking for answers  Criticism of the Milwaukee IRL weekend schedule has come from all corners, some of it justified and some curious.

Saturday was jam-packed with on-track action, and then Sunday featured a 9:30 a.m. autograph session and a 3 p.m. race with interactive midway displays and shopping to fill the gap. A number of people suggested that attendance could have been helped by the addition of midgets and sprint cars to the program or the move of the Indy Pro Series race to Sunday.

OK, either United States Auto Club division might have been a bonus for those who did turn out, but neither has been a draw to the Mile in the recent past. And a few more people actually would have watched a Pro Series race in the midday Sunday, but that move wouldn't have affected the bottom line, either. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

06/08/07
cc
cca
As always, rain a threat at Portland  Qualifying for the provisional pole at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland begins today at 2 p.m., and there is a chance drivers will be dealing with a wet track.

Rain is in the forecast today, and that could make qualifying interesting as 17 drivers try to figure out an innocent-looking 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway road course that can turn nasty and unpredictable in slippery conditions.

"It really messes things up, because you never know what to do," said three-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais, the No. 1 driver for a powerhouse Newman/Haas/Lanigan team that is seeking its 100th series victory this weekend.

Bourdais doesn't want Friday (and Saturday) to turn into a guessing game.

Rain tires or slicks?

Get out on the track early and post a fast lap, or wait and see if conditions improve?

"I hope it's either wet or dry, and not in-between," Bourdais said. "It's very frustrating for the drivers when it happens in qualifying.

"In the race, it happens at the same time for everybody so it's a different game."

Temperatures should be warmer today, in the high 60s, and the forecast is for a 10 percent chance of rain. The forecast for Saturday's qualifying is for 62 degrees with a 40 percent chance of light rain. The forecast for race day is highs in the 50s, with a 30 percent chance of rain.  Oregonian

06/08/07
cc
Bourdais still worried about standing starts  Sebastien Bourdais is able to joke (sort of) about last year's race in Portland, when he was jumped at the start and finished third on a day that belonged to A.J. Allmendinger. it’s not exactly the best memory we ever had in Champ Car," he said. "It was probably the worst start I've ever seen in this series."

Bourdais had qualified third, but to his disbelief, "by the time we got to the first chicane (series of S-curves), I was in seventh."

The start could be an issue again this year, because for the first time in series history Champ Car will use a Formula-One type standing start for Sunday's race.

It should make for great theater on television, and it will give fans on the front straightaway a thrill, but Bourdais reiterated what he said here last month during a break in testing.

It is a mistake.

Bourdais said this year's start "might be worse" than what happened last year.

"Obviously, it's going to be different with the standing start, so we'll see," he said. "I just hope that everybody gets off the grid and nobody gets run into, because safety-wise it's a big concern as far as I'm concerned. . . . I think there is definite potential for guys to hurt themselves, especially if someone stalls at the front of the grid." Oregonian

06/08/07
Industry News
Video: ’Useful Waste for Better Future’  
Volvo Adventure, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), is an educational initiative organized by Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group that rewards environmental activities and projects undertaken by young people to improve their local environment. Out of 365 projects across 47 different countries worldwide, two 15-year-old students from Surabaya in Indonesia took home this year's top prize with their project ‘Useful Waste for a Better Future’. Two years ago, Indonesia was given the title of the dirtiest country in the world by the World Health Organization. Helping to confront this problem, the students' project not only removes rubbish, but also recycles it into sustainable souvenirs and gifts, thus contributing to both the environment and local economy.
06/08/07
irl
Dixon fastest, Duno crashes  Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, topped the overall speed chart (214.164 mph; 24.4579 seconds) in the two practice sessions (one each during the late afternoon and early evening) in preparation for the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway.

IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti was second (214.138; 24.4609 in the first session) and Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan (214.072) was third. There's a lone practice session June 8 preceding AAMCO Transmissions pole qualifying at 7 p.m. (ET).

"We had a chance to work on a few things today and the Team 7-Eleven car responded very well to the changes we made," said Kanaan, the winner June 3 at The Milwaukee Mile. "The evening session was helpful because it was similar to how we expect the conditions to be on race day."

Twenty drivers totaled 1,498 laps with one incident. Milka Duno, driving the No. 23 CITGO car for SAMAX Motorsport, made contact with the inside retaining wall exiting Turn 2. Duno was checked and cleared to drive, and she participated in the evening session.

Crew for #23 Duno reports telemetry data indicates a sudden decrease in rear downforce as car entered the back straightaway. The car was rebuilt after Indianapolis and has numerous new parts. The team has begun the failure analysis process. However, SAMAX Motorsport has determined that the data and location of the incident clearly rules out any driver issue......well when she gets the car sideways indeed it does experience a sudden decrease in downforce. More ...

06/08/07
lmes
alms
Corvette team thinks it can win LeMans again  Corvette Racing has proven its dedication to the pursuit of perfection. Despite little outside competition for the team, Corvette Racing has taken the early portion of the 2007 season to test every aspect of the cars in preparation for the trip to Le Mans, France and the world’s premier endurance race.

“We think we’ll win for the fourth time at Le Mans because we have the best team. They know the car inside and out,” said Oliver Gavin. “The crew will be well-drilled.”

The field for the 75th running of the most famous sports car race in the world will consist of 55 highly-sophisticated sports cars with the 15 competitors in GT1, including five Corvettes. This year’s competition has undergone an upgrade in quality and an increase in quantity. More ...

06/08/07
racing news
Senna name is back  Bruno Senna, a nephew of three-times world champion Ayrton Senna, will join the Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB at the Silverstone circuit in England this weekend.

Bruno Senna, 23, from Sao Paolo in Brazil is aware of the inevitable comparisons with his famous uncle who died at the wheel of a Williams in a crash in Italy 13 years ago.

"If I am worse, the same or better than my uncle, only time will tell," he said. He will drive a Ferrari F430 Challenge coupe in the Ferrari Racing Days event that celebrates Ferrari's 60th anniversary in the UK.

Ayrton Senna never raced for Ferrari, his Formula One events being mainly in Lotus, then McLaren and finally Williams.

06/08/07
ga
Successful testing kicks off GAINSCO team’s weekend  WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – The GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing duo of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty continued their speedy ways today at Watkins Glen International, as they took part in unofficial testing for Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. While lap times were not recorded, both drivers set quick times in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley, and that built confidence for tomorrow’s official practice and qualifying.
 
Those sessions begin with practices at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. In Daytona Prototype qualifying, which goes green at 4:20 p.m, Gurney will attempt to continue the GAINSCO team’s five-race streak of front-row starts, dating back to his pole in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. More ...
06/08/07
nascar
Triple dipping NASCAR drivers  A reader writes, I see where Carl Edwards has made $1,500,000 this year in Cup and another $500,000 in Busch and another $33,000 driving one of them pickup trucks.

This to me is so stupid. Can you think of any other racing series or sport for that matter where the upper stars of a team invade the development series, take their money, take their place in line and for no real reason?

I don’t see F-1 drivers jumping into cars of drivers trying to get seat time and make it to the top. No Champ Car, IRL or any other series does this.

Can you imagine Derek Jeter playing shortstop for a AAA team adding to his bank account? Or Tom Brady stealing a quarterback's job playing in the arena league? No way.

I am real surprised and disappointed more people don’t complain about this. As you well know there are other triple dippers out there like Kyle Busch among others. Doug B.

Dear Doug, NASCAR uses the star power of their Cup drivers to prop up the Busch and Truck Series. Without those superstars the Busch and Trucks series would falter badly. In fact the Cup drivers win almost every Busch Series race. Mark C

06/08/07
f1
Another bad race to spell title disaster - Kimi  (GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen confessed on Thursday that one more "bad race" could put him out of the fight for the 2007 world championship.

The Finn has had a difficult start to his Ferrari career so far this season and lags the lead of the drivers' title standings by fifteen points.

His recent Monaco campaign was wrecked by a qualifying mistake and crash, and some observers have even begun to remark that Raikkonen, 27, is appearing tired and unhappy in the paddock.

He was asked by reporters in Montreal if the pressure of failing to live up to expectations was beginning to get to him.

"I just try to do the best that I can do, and if I cannot do it, we cannot.

"There are always people who don't like what you do or who think you should do things better than you do," he said.

Raikkonen did admit that the current season is reaching a crucial point for him in terms of charging for the title.

He said: "We need one more bad race and it can be a disaster, but it still can go the opposite way as well, with the others having a bad race and it turning out to be a bit better for us."

06/08/07
cca
starmazda
Star Mazda standout joins Brooks Associates  Brooks Associates Racing announces its newest driver, Kevin Lacroix, who will begin racing at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor doubleheader this weekend for the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda.  Kevin will drive the #10 Uni-Select car.

Kevin Lacroix joins Champ Car Atlantic from the Star Mazda ranks.  The 18-year-old French Canadian is on the open wheel fast track.  He started his career in karting at age 7, where he was singled out by one of the highest ranking officers of “Stars of Karting." 

He was given a scholarship at the BMW racing school in Spain and competed for the first time in open wheel at age 16, where he quickly posted six podiums and four victories.  Kevin succeeded in ranking second in the Formula BMW American Championship, finishing in the top five, ten times in fourteen races!   Competing in Star Mazda at age 17, he again finished second in the Championship. More ...

06/08/07
f1
Dennis in favor of night races  McLaren team boss Ron Dennis says his team are in favor of a night Grand Prix, and he thinks the required safety standards can be met.

"We are absolutely in favor, provided the races are safe, and I think they can be," Dennis told Italian Autosprint magazine. "If we must have a late night to race somewhere, we'll do it.

"The only problem is: what happens if there is a power outage? You could object that a system with emergency generators could be efficiently set up. But it's a rather costly matter.

"I've thought about it and I concluded that if there was a mobile, specifically-designed system, with its cost to be shared among the various circuits, then it could be taken from one place to another, avoiding the ugly sight of a useless lighting structure."

06/08/07
cc
Surfers fired up about Aussie, New Zealand rivalry  Gold Coast streets are set to ignite with Trans-Tasman rivalry during the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 18-21, with confirmation New Zealand driver Matt Halliday will steer the fortunes for Conquest Racing in the Australian Champ Car World Series event.

Team Australia’s Will Power has already proved himself at home in the International field after capturing an elusive pole position during last year’s event and it’s now be up to Halliday to take up the challenge to win support during the closest thing to a home event for the 27 year-old Kiwi.

With valuable backing from New Zealand Vodka company 42 Below, Halliday has already gained an appreciation for the International open wheelers after fulfilling an initial three-race contract during 2007.  More ...

06/08/07
irl
Wheldon describes Danica as a dog  Four days after their very public pit-road confrontation at Milwaukee, Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon were asked today to make up and play nice.
 
The half-hour meeting at Texas Motor Speedway was called by the chief steward of the IndyCar Series. It seemed to go a long way to resolving the public spat that was growing uglier by the day.

Wheldon had called Patrick “a spoiled brat” and described her grabbing of him as “a dog that wanted to bite my ankles.”

Patrick not only sought an apology from Wheldon and a penalty from the Indy Racing League, she thought the 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner acted cowardly in trying to walk away from her. Indy Star

06/08/07
f1
Don’t write Ralf off - Heidfeld  (GMM) It is not fair to write off grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher because he is enduring a bad spell in 2007.

That was the insistence on Thursday of BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, who said it is too simple to dismiss his countryman's crisis at the wheel of the current Toyota as evidence that he is no longer a world-class driver.

"I hope he is still around next year," Heidfeld told reporters in Montreal.

"It is obvious that he is having problems with his car, but he has won six grands prix and done a lot of other very good races.

"To be honest I used to think that you are either a fast driver or a slow driver, but over the years I have learned that sometimes you can have some difficult moments. So I can understand that, yes."

Nevertheless, the speculation surrounding 31-year-old Schumacher's future at present refuses to go away; such as the apparent suggestion of an 'ultimatum' that he either improve or be dumped following F1's North American double header.

Predictably at Canada's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Thursday, Ralf dismissed all the rumors as "rubbish".

Clearer, however, is Heidfeld's future, even though he has yet to put pen to paper on a new BMW contract to extend his stay beyond 2007.

But he said in Montreal: "At the moment everything between us is running very smoothly.

"Both sides, BMW and I, have confirmed that we would gladly continue with one another, so I don't think that anything is going to get in the way of that."

06/07/07
lmes
alms
Corvette team thinks it can win LeMans again  Corvette Racing has proven its dedication to the pursuit of perfection. Despite little outside competition for the team, Corvette Racing has taken the early portion of the 2007 season to test every aspect of the cars in preparation for the trip to Le Mans, France and the world’s premier endurance race.

“We think we’ll win for the fourth time at Le Mans because we have the best team. They know the car inside and out,” said Oliver Gavin. “The crew will be well-drilled.”

The field for the 75th running of the most famous sports car race in the world will consist of 55 highly-sophisticated sports cars with the 15 competitors in GT1, including five Corvettes. This year’s competition has undergone an upgrade in quality and an increase in quantity. More ...

06/07/07
nascar
Triple dipping NASCAR drivers  A reader writes, I see where Carl Edwards has made $1,500,000 this year in Cup and another $500,000 in Busch and another $33,000 driving one of them pickup trucks.

This to me is so stupid. Can you think of any other racing series or sport for that matter where the upper stars of a team invade the development series, take their money, take their place in line and for no real reason?

I don’t see F-1 drivers jumping into cars of drivers trying to get seat time and make it to the top. No Champ Car, IRL or any other series does this.

Can you imagine Derek Jeter playing shortstop for a AAA team adding to his bank account? Or Tom Brady stealing a quarterback's job playing in the arena league? No way.

I am real surprised and disappointed more people don’t complain about this. As you well know there are other triple dippers out there like Kyle Busch among others. Doug B.

Dear Doug, NASCAR uses the star power of their Cup drivers to prop up the Busch and Truck Series. Without those superstars the Busch and Trucks series would falter badly. In fact the Cup drivers win almost every Busch Series race. Mark C

06/07/07
ga
Successful testing kicks off GAINSCO team's weekend  WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – The GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing duo of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty continued their speedy ways today at Watkins Glen International, as they took part in unofficial testing for Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. While lap times were not recorded, both drivers set quick times in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley, and that built confidence for tomorrow’s official practice and qualifying.
 
Those sessions begin with practices at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. In Daytona Prototype qualifying, which goes green at 4:20 p.m, Gurney will attempt to continue the GAINSCO team’s five-race streak of front-row starts, dating back to his pole in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. More ...
06/07/07
racing news
Senna name is back  Bruno Senna, a nephew of three-times world champion Ayrton Senna, will join the Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB at the Silverstone circuit in England this weekend.

Bruno Senna, 23, from Sao Paolo in Brazil is aware of the inevitable comparisons with his famous uncle who died at the wheel of a Williams in a crash in Italy 13 years ago.

"If I am worse, the same or better than my uncle, only time will tell," he said. He will drive a Ferrari F430 Challenge coupe in the Ferrari Racing Days event that celebrates Ferrari's 60th anniversary in the UK.

Ayrton Senna never raced for Ferrari, his Formula One events being mainly in Lotus, then McLaren and finally Williams.

06/07/07
irl
Wheldon describes Danica as a dog  Four days after their very public pit-road confrontation at Milwaukee, Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon were asked today to make up and play nice.
 
The half-hour meeting at Texas Motor Speedway was called by the chief steward of the IndyCar Series. It seemed to go a long way to resolving the public spat that was growing uglier by the day.

Wheldon had called Patrick “a spoiled brat” and described her grabbing of him as “a dog that wanted to bite my ankles.”

Patrick not only sought an apology from Wheldon and a penalty from the Indy Racing League, she thought the 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner acted cowardly in trying to walk away from her. Indy Star

06/07/07
cc
Surfers fired up about Aussie, New Zealand rivalry  Gold Coast streets are set to ignite with Trans-Tasman rivalry during the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 18-21, with confirmation New Zealand driver Matt Halliday will steer the fortunes for Conquest Racing in the Australian Champ Car World Series event.

Team Australia’s Will Power has already proved himself at home in the International field after capturing an elusive pole position during last year’s event and it’s now be up to Halliday to take up the challenge to win support during the closest thing to a home event for the 27 year-old Kiwi.

With valuable backing from New Zealand Vodka company 42 Below, Halliday has already gained an appreciation for the International open wheelers after fulfilling an initial three-race contract during 2007.  More ...

06/07/07
f1
Dennis in favor of night races  McLaren team boss Ron Dennis says his team are in favor of a night Grand Prix, and he thinks the required safety standards can be met.

"We are absolutely in favor, provided the races are safe, and I think they can be," Dennis told Italian Autosprint magazine. "If we must have a late night to race somewhere, we'll do it.

"The only problem is: what happens if there is a power outage? You could object that a system with emergency generators could be efficiently set up. But it's a rather costly matter.

"I've thought about it and I concluded that if there was a mobile, specifically-designed system, with its cost to be shared among the various circuits, then it could be taken from one place to another, avoiding the ugly sight of a useless lighting structure."

06/07/07
cca
starmazda
Star Mazda standout joins Brooks Associates  Brooks Associates Racing announces its newest driver, Kevin Lacroix, who will begin racing at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoor doubleheader this weekend for the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda.  Kevin will drive the #10 Uni-Select car.

Kevin Lacroix joins Champ Car Atlantic from the Star Mazda ranks.  The 18-year-old French Canadian is on the open wheel fast track.  He started his career in karting at age 7, where he was singled out by one of the highest ranking officers of “Stars of Karting." 

He was given a scholarship at the BMW racing school in Spain and competed for the first time in open wheel at age 16, where he quickly posted six podiums and four victories.  Kevin succeeded in ranking second in the Formula BMW American Championship, finishing in the top five, ten times in fourteen races!   Competing in Star Mazda at age 17, he again finished second in the Championship. More ...

06/07/07
f1
Another bad race to spell title disaster - Kimi  (GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen confessed on Thursday that one more "bad race" could put him out of the fight for the 2007 world championship.

The Finn has had a difficult start to his Ferrari career so far this season and lags the lead of the drivers' title standings by fifteen points.

His recent Monaco campaign was wrecked by a qualifying mistake and crash, and some observers have even begun to remark that Raikkonen, 27, is appearing tired and unhappy in the paddock.

He was asked by reporters in Montreal if the pressure of failing to live up to expectations was beginning to get to him.

"I just try to do the best that I can do, and if I cannot do it, we cannot.

"There are always people who don't like what you do or who think you should do things better than you do," he said.

Raikkonen did admit that the current season is reaching a crucial point for him in terms of charging for the title.

He said: "We need one more bad race and it can be a disaster, but it still can go the opposite way as well, with the others having a bad race and it turning out to be a bit better for us."

06/07/07
f1
Don't write Ralf off - Heidfeld  (GMM) It is not fair to write off grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher because he is enduring a bad spell in 2007.

That was the insistence on Thursday of BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, who said it is too simple to dismiss his countryman's crisis at the wheel of the current Toyota as evidence that he is no longer a world-class driver.

"I hope he is still around next year," Heidfeld told reporters in Montreal.

"It is obvious that he is having problems with his car, but he has won six grands prix and done a lot of other very good races.

"To be honest I used to think that you are either a fast driver or a slow driver, but over the years I have learned that sometimes you can have some difficult moments. So I can understand that, yes."

Nevertheless, the speculation surrounding 31-year-old Schumacher's future at present refuses to go away; such as the apparent suggestion of an 'ultimatum' that he either improve or be dumped following F1's North American double header.

Predictably at Canada's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Thursday, Ralf dismissed all the rumors as "rubbish".

Clearer, however, is Heidfeld's future, even though he has yet to put pen to paper on a new BMW contract to extend his stay beyond 2007.

But he said in Montreal: "At the moment everything between us is running very smoothly.

"Both sides, BMW and I, have confirmed that we would gladly continue with one another, so I don't think that anything is going to get in the way of that."

06/07/07
tv news
FOX, SPEED providing in-depth TV coverage of USGP  FOX Sports and SPEED will provide complete television coverage of the United States Grand Prix Formula One race, qualifying and practice sessions June 14-17 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Live Race Day coverage of the USGP begins at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, June 17 on FOX.

SPEED will air four hours of practice live from 10-11:30 a.m. and again from 1-3:30 p.m. Friday, June 15. A combined practice and qualifying show will be televised on SPEED from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16.

Commentators for both networks covering the United States Grand Prix will be Bob Varsha, play-by-play; David Hobbs and Steve Matchett, analysis and color commentary; and Peter Windsor, pit reporter. Sam Posey, former Formula One and Indianapolis 500 competitor, also will provide feature commentary. More ...

06/07/07
f1
Canada: Thursday Press Conference  Participating: Jenson Button (Honda), Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), Alexander Wurz (Williams).

Q. Giancarlo, the performance seemed to be better in Monaco. Was that a one-off, or can it continue here?

Giancarlo Fisichella: Hopefully, yes. We are really pushing for that. The team made a big step forward. We are really, really concentrating on a few areas and with the new front wing in Monte Carlo we definitely made a step forward. We finished in front of BMW but it's difficult to say. Monaco is a very different circuit and we are even quite positive for here, but we don't know how it's going to be with a new package for low downforce.

Q. Did the test at Paul Ricard reflect potential performance here as well?

GF: Yeah, Ricard wasn't too bad for us. On the last day I was the second quickest. The car balance was quite good so it looks as if it was working a little bit better even with the level of downforce for Canada and it looks promising, but I can't say if we can be better than BMW or slower. We will see, but I'm quite optimistic. More ...

06/07/07
cc
Traveling Light makes new CCWS TV spot  Renowned production house, Traveling Light has combined with Champ Car to produce new television advertising for the 2007 season as part of a new Champ Car campaign entitled "Quotes" which ties print, television and internet advertising to a famous historical quotes. Traveling Light's 30-second television spot stands out as the showcase.

The multimedia advertising campaign has been produced to show the exhilarating speed and competition of Champ Car while focusing directly on the heroic nature of the Champ Car drivers. The first execution in the campaign features a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that captures the essence of bravery that is at the core of every successful Champ Car driver with the words, "A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave longer." More ...
06/07/07
f1
Rivals defend Hamilton after Villeneuve attack  (GMM) Lewis Hamilton's on-track rivals have refused to join former world champion Jacques Villeneuve in condemning the McLaren rookie.

Canadian Villeneuve, who left the sport last year, observed this week that 22-year-old Hamilton's start-line tactics remind him of Michael Schumacher, and marvelled that the rookie has not yet been penalised for 'chopping' in front of other drivers.

Hamilton's opponents including Alex Wurz and Giancarlo Fisichella, however, refused to tow the line as they lashed back at outspoken Villeneuve when facing reporters in Montreal on Thursday.

"I think Jacques might find it more and more difficult in the future to find comments he can give," Williams' Wurz said.

"I see nothing wrong with the moves he (Hamilton) is making. It's hard to defend your line."

Fisichella added: "Jacques says quite a lot of things in the media right now. He talks too much."

Hamilton's countryman Jenson Button, however - who was famously another victim of Villeneuve's acid tongue as his BAR-Honda teammate a few years ago - opted to stay out of the melee.

The Honda driver commented: "I've been so far back on the grid this year that I haven't seen any of the moves that have been going on. I wish I had but I haven't."
06/07/07
f1
Fisichella rejects retirement talk  (GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella has rejected suggestions that his newly launched motor racing school could be a signal that he is about to retire from F1.

The Renault driver announced this week that, along with his manager Enrico Zanarini, the Fisichella Motor Sport Academy at Vallelunga would guide students into the world of motor sport and also house his GP2 team.

Housed in the Fisichella Motor Sport Technopole building, the facility also features a training centre, a museum, shops and a restaurant.

Fisichella is 34 and his race seat at Renault is being keenly eyed by the French squad's current test driver Nelson Piquet Jr.

But, asked about the academy, he insisted in Montreal on Thursday: "It doesn't mean anything about my retirement.  I still want to go ahead in F1 for many years."

The Canadian grand prix is Fisichella's 184th, and he has won three races.

He added: "I love this sport and I like to be involved.  One day when I stop racing in F1, to still be in motor racing -- I am happy about that."

06/07/07
f1
No pleasure in Kimi's 'pain' - Dennis  (GMM) Ron Dennis insists he finds no pleasure in seeing former McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen "in pain" after the Finn switched this year to Ferrari.

Raikkonen, 27, had been expected to take off where predecessor 'number one' Michael Schumacher departed at the wheel of the Maranello team's cars in 2007, after failing to win the title during a five year stint at McLaren.

But he has struggled to match the pace of his formerly lesser-rated teammate Felipe Massa since winning the Australian grand prix in March, and is now the lowest placed of the four Ferrari and McLaren drivers in the drivers' championship tables. More ...
06/07/07
cc
All systems go for Champ Car's first standing start  It was Sebastien Bourdais, during last month's test session at PIR, who said Champ Car's plan to use a Formula One-type standing start in Portland was foolish because there was a danger of cars stalling on the grid.

Tony Cotman said thanks for the advice, but the first standing start in series history still will take place Sunday.

"I wouldn't say that every driver is 100 percent in favor of it," he said. "They probably have the same concerns I do. I wouldn't want to have standing starts if we weren't ready for it. We don't want to leave half the grid behind from the starting line. . . . But I think we're in a position now where we can go ahead and do it."

Formula One cars have traction control, and the Panoz DP01s of Champ Car certainly do not, so Cotman points out that the success or failure of the standing start depends on the individual abilities of the drivers -- many of whom raced in Europe and are quite familiar with the procedure.

And yes, Cotman acknowledged, someone might stall.

"Oh well, it even happens in Formula One, doesn't it?" he said. "Is this going to eliminate first-turn accidents? Probably not. But the cars will arrive at the first turn at a slightly slower speed."

Which means less chance of accidents, or an incident that requires Cotman to put on his judge and jury cap. Oregonian

06/07/07
f1
wrc
Coulthard tries rally car in Ireland  (GMM)  F1 veteran David Coulthard recently tried the controls of a rally car.

The Red Bull driver was a guest of Ireland's rally tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly, and according to the Belfast Telegraph he advised the new Reid team "on all aspects of team building as well as diet, training and the mental approach to competitive driving".

Coulthard, 36, also drove Donnelly's Subaru Impreza, ahead of the Donegal International Rally, held in the northwest of Ireland.

"Although F1 is very different to rallying I was interested in his observations on my driving style," Donnelly said of the thirteen time grand prix winner.

"Also his knowledge of working in a team, and improving team co-ordination, was very useful for us."

06/07/07
industry news
Ford wins most quality awards  Ford Motor Co. supplanted Toyota as leader of the pack in J.D. Power and Associates' annual initial quality rankings released Wednesday, grabbing more individual awards than any other automaker for the first time since 1998, when it tied for the top spot. Ford ranked highest in five of 19 segments in this year's survey. That's two better than in 1998 - the last time a U.S. automaker was on top - when Ford tied with Toyota and Honda. The Dearborn automaker earned segment awards for the Ford Mustang, Lincoln Mark LT, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan and Mazda MX-5 Miata. Mazda is 33.4 percent owned by Ford.
06/07/07
nascar
Edwards wins Eldora charity event  Carl Edwards won the NEXTEL Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice dirt late model race June 6th at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Edwards won the 30-lap race on the half-mile oval by 0.305 of a second over Kyle Busch. Jeff Gordon finished third.

“That’s just unreal,” Edwards said. “To win this race in front of so many folks is unreal. Everyone I know is watching it at home on HBO Pay-Per-View. They have people who bought it and they are all going over to their house. I’m sure everyone enjoyed it. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be able to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp and doing something this fun. It’ s awesome.” Edwards led all but two laps en route to victory, but had to contend with Gordon and Busch throughout much of the event. Gordon, who made his first appearance at Eldora since 1991, led lap 11 and challengfed Edwards troughout most of thhe event. “I’ve sweated out a lot of finishes in a dirt car when you can’t see behind you,” Edwards said. “The guy from Barry Wright race cars was giving me hand signals down there and he finally quit giving me signals. I knew they were right there on my tail.”

The race was broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View with the proceeds from the groundbreaking telecast going to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Tony Stewart Foundation.

RESULTS:
1. (2) Carl Edwards, 30
2. (8) Kyle Busch, 30
3. (4) Jeff Gordon, 30
4. (1) Ken Schrader 30
5. (11) Clint Bowyer, 30
6. (7) Kasey Kahne, 30
7. (16) Matt Kenseth, 30
8. (10) J.J. Yeley, 30
9. (15) David Reutiman, 30
10. (5) Mark Martin, 30
11. (9) Aric Almirola, 30
12. (18) Dave Blaney, 30
13. (13) Kenny Wallace, 30
14. (20) Kevin Harvick, 30
15. (25) Juan Pablo Montoya, 30
16. (17) Denny Hamlin, 30
17. (21) Red Farmer, 30
18. (12) Ryan Newman, 30
19. (24) Cruz Pedregon, 29
20. (22) Mike Wallace, 24
21. (6) Bobby Labonte, 17, Accident T2
22. (3) Tony Stewart, 17, Accident T2
23. (23) Ray Evernham, 5, Spin T2
24. (19) Ron Capps, 2, Mechanical
06/07/07
f1
Andretti says Renault needs Bourdais  Mario Andretti said on the USGP website that he is not surprised by the Renault team's current fall from grace.

"I think they underestimated how important the talent of the driver is, and when they lost a real talent – Alonso – they weren't able to replace him," Mario said. "Kovalainen is probably a good rookie, but he hasn't shown a hell of a lot yet, and Fisichella is … well, Fisichella! No matter what you put him in, he will not give you consistent performance."

This year one tire company – Bridgestone – has a monopoly in F1, and the suggestion is that Renault, with Michelin for many years, have found it more difficult than most to adjust to the new rubber.

"Well, I'll only buy that so much, to be honest with you," Andretti said. "I think it's a great excuse – I remember that's what Ferrari used to say all the time! I think if you put Alonso back in that car, he'd have it up to speed in no time. However, he's gone now, and if you ask me, the guy they need is Sebastien Bourdais. To me, he's a hell of a race driver. He ought to be in F1, and I think he would have been a perfect fit with Renault.

"Flavio Briatore's a guy who's proud of not paying superstar money to a driver, but I'm sure if they'd been paying Alonso what he deserved, he might well have stayed there. Maybe they thought they had such a good car that they could get by without a superstar driver, I don't know."

06/07/07
cca
Portland Atlantic Series preview  INDIANAPOLIS – Since taking the lead from Robert Wickens (#3 Red Bull/INDECK) with three laps remaining in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season-opening Vegas Grand Prix in April, Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) has not looked back.

Matos claimed the victory in Las Vegas opener, and then followed with flag-to-flag victories in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Fast Trac 100 in Houston to become the first driver in more than 17 years to open an Atlantic season with three consecutive victories. The last driver to accomplish the feat was Mark Dismore, who won five straight en route to the 1990 Atlantic Series Pacific Division title.

Matos has also led the last 77 consecutive laps and has headed the field for nearly 78 percent of the total laps completed (99) thus far in the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship, in addition to starting the last two events from the pole position. As a result, the second-year Atlantic driver from Belo Horizonte, Brazil stands atop the points table heading into this weekend’s doubleheader at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe’s Sports and Outdoor. Matos currently holds a 23-point advantage over Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Konica Minolta/Dynacor), 98-75, with a quarter of the season in the books. More ...

06/07/07
nascar
Dale Earnhardt’s Wheaties car to be raffled in auction  NASCAR enthusiasts and Dale Earnhardt Sr. fans will have the opportunity to win one of The Intimidator’s 1997 race cars while contributing to two children’s charities.

The raffle of Earnhardt’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo Orange Wheaties #3 show car, designed for the 1997 Winston Select race, will benefit Edgewood Children’s Ranch and The Make-a-Wish® Foundation of Central and Northern Florida. This one-of-a kind car was driven by Dale Earnhardt Sr. in five races between 1993 - 1995. At the end of 1995, the car was moved to the show car division. In 1997 it was converted from Dale’s black paint scheme to the Wheaties colors to promote the Winston Select Race in Charlotte.

Tickets for the raffle are a suggested donation of $20 each and can be purchased online via the contest’s Web site at www.windalescar.com, by phone at 1-866-642-1013, or by mail to Edgewood Children’s Ranch, Win Dale’s Car Raffle, PO Box 185, Windermere, FL 34786. The deadline to purchase a ticket is 4 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2007. The drawing for the winning ticket will take place Sept. 1, 2007 at Old Town in Kissimmee, Fla. Ticket holders do not have be present to win.

06/07/07
f1
F1 Quiz  
1. Only one of the following drivers did not contest his first F1 race at the Grand Prix of Canada. Who is the intruder?

a. Mario Andretti
b. Andrea De Cesaris
c. Mark Donohue
d. Henri Pescarolo
e. Alex Wurz

2. When Bertrand Gachot and Andrea de Cesaris scored the first points for Jordan at the 1991 Grand Prix of Canada, what was the livery of the Irish team's cars?

a. Mostly green with "Seven-Up."
b. Mostly turquoise with "Sasol."
c. Mostly blue with "Peugeot."
d. Mostly golden with "B & G."
e. Mostly yellow with "B & G."

3. Which team contested its 500th Grand Prix in Canada on June 18, 2000?

a. Ferrari
b. McLaren
c. Minardi
d. Tyrrell
e. Williams

4. Three drivers have scored their first victory in Canada, including Gilles Villeneuve and Jean Alesi, both for Ferrari. Who was the third driver and what was his team?

a. Peter Revson for McLaren in 1973
b. Jody Scheckter for Wolf in 1977
c. Michele Alboreto for Ferrari in 1985
d. Thierry Boutsen for Williams in 1989
e. Ralf Schumacher for Williams in 2001

5. When Fernando Alonso won last year's Grand Prix of Canada, which of the following celebrated its 100th victory in F1?

a. Elf
b. Michelin
c. Renault as a constructor
d. Renault as an engine-builder
e. Spain

 

 

 

 

Answers: 1) a; 2) a; 3) b; 4) d; 5) b.

06/07/07
f1
Haug happy FIA cleared McLaren after Monaco  (GMM) Norbert Haug said McLaren-Mercedes "welcomed" the FIA's investigation into the team's strategic conduct after the recent Monaco grand prix.

The chief of Mercedes-Benz motor sport told the news agency 'dpa' that team officials saw the FIA's intervention as the best way to clear McLaren's name following the British media furor.

"Who knows how long people would have said we did the wrong thing," the German said.

Despite the FIA's 2002 ruling that banned race-altering 'team orders', the governing body found and declared that McLaren had legitimately controlled its drivers' pace on the Monte Carlo streets.

Haug said: "Even if the FIA had discovered even the smallest piece of suspicious evidence (of illegal team orders), we would have been certainly punished.

"But they found nothing, and of course I am not surprised about this -- where there is nothing, nothing can be found."

He also insists that the Monaco affair did not establish championship leader Fernando Alonso as the team's 'number one' for the remainder of 2007.

"There is no hierarchy in our team," Haug said. "We have two number one drivers who can push to the maximum, just as they always were allowed to do."

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