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Letarte wins Crew Chief of the Race
As gloomy clouds slowly crept their way through the mountains to Pocono Raceway during the running of the Pocono 500, Steve Letarte, crew chief for the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet team, changed strategy.  Opting to keep his driver, Jeff Gordon, on the track as the leaders pitted during the caution was risky, but paid off.  The gutsy call took the DuPont team off pit strategy with the rest of the field; however, using the weather radar as guidance, Letarte judged that the race would be shortened and was able to quickly calculate fuel mileage, possible laps remaining and the strategy of the other competitors to make the race winning call.  For his amazing pressure decision and race day calculations, Letarte won the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
After rain delayed the waving of the green flag by three hours, the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team, starting from the 18th position, turned solid laps just outside of the top 10.  When debris brought out the third caution of the day on lap 67, Letarte’s decision to alter his race strategy from a 200 lap race (as it was scheduled to run) to a shortened event came into play.  Taking advice from his spotter, engineer and car chief, Letarte instructed Gordon to stay on the track to pick up valuable track position, while planning for the shortened race.  The decision looked to fall apart as Gordon needed to pit for fuel under green only 20 laps later, dropping him to 26th place.  As calculated by Letarte, green flag pit stops were required by front-runners at lap 96, just shy of the all-important half mark of the race.  As Letarte and Gordon watched the front runners dive down pit lane, the circulation of pit stops brought the No. 24 Chevrolet to the front again.  As the clouds opened up on lap 106, bringing out a red flag to stop the race due to rain, the decision was made to end the race giving the DuPont team their fourth win of the season.

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Texas provides lift for Rahal Letterman duo
Scott Sharp secured his first pole start in almost six years and Jeff Simmons recorded a career-best sixth place in the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway. Combined, it could be a sign that everything is falling into place at Rahal Letterman Racing.

The efforts were by far the best this season. Sharp's pole bettered by 10 positions his highest starting spot, and Simmons topped his highest starting position by four (eighth on the grid for the second of four night races). Simmons posted his fourth top 10 of the season, while Sharp's seventh place was his third top 10 in a row.
"It was really good work by the Team Ethanol guys in the pits; they really did the job for us," said Simmons, driver of the No. 17 Honda-powered Dallara. "I didn't pass too many cars out there, but the guys kept us in it with good stops. Maybe it was finally a little good karma after the last couple races where we deserved a lot better than we ended up."
Simmons led five laps - another career high.

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If Danica wins Kanaan is going to shave her head
Through all the attention on her post-race discussion with Dan Wheldon on pit lane at The Milwaukee Mile on June 3, Andretti Green Racing's Danica Patrick knew it would be best to focus on the race at the treacherous high-banked Texas Motor Speedway.

"I can't honestly say (the pre-race hype was) a distraction really," said Patrick, who responded with a career-best third place in the Bombardier Learjet 550k. "I didn't do that much more than I normally do. It wasn't like we were trying to feed this. It just ran its course.

"As far as Dan and I, we handled it like drivers and like people on the track that need to respect each other, and it was everything on the outside that seemed very exciting or something like that. Like I said, it's fun though. I like it when we get something going on in the series and people are paying attention. When I turn on ESPN and see a whole bunch of stuff on our race coming up that day or that night, that's good. That's the stuff we need. So I get a kick out of it."

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IRL teams to test at Mid-Ohio
The following teams and drivers are expected to test Wednesday at Mid-Ohio:

Helio Castroneves Team Penske
Sam Hornish, Jr. Team Penske
Danica Patrick Andretti Green Racing
Marco Andretti Andretti Green Racing
Dario Franchitti Andretti Green Racing
Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing
Scott Sharp Rahal Letterman Racing
Jeff Simmons Rahal Letterman Racing
Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Dan Wheldon Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Darren Manning A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Sarah Fisher AAMCO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Ed Carpenter Vision Racing
A.J. Foyt IV Vision Racing
Tomas Scheckter Vision Racing
Kosuke Matsuura Super Aguri Panther Racing
Vitor Meira Delphi Panther Racing

SCHEDULE: Gates Open
 IndyCar Series Open Test 10:00am – 12:00pm
 Lunch 12:00pm – 1:00pm
 IndyCar Series Open Test 1:00pm – 5:00pm
TICKETS: $10 – available at the Gate only.

tv news

Motorsports this week on ESPN and ABC
ESPN2 will feature NASCAR Busch Series racing live Saturday, June 16, from Kentucky Speedway as the series makes its only appearance of 2007 at the 1.5-mile track in Sparta, Ky., near Cincinnati. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 8 p.m. ET; the 300-mile race starts at 8:30 p.m. 
Since joining the Busch Series schedule in 2001, Kentucky Speedway has held six NASCAR Busch Series races Six different drivers have gone to victory lane, including last year’s surprising win by David Gilliland. NASCAR Busch Series points leader Carl Edwards won the 2005 race and will be one of several drivers pulling double duty on the weekend, also competing in Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Michigan International Speedway.

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track news
skip barber

Skip Barber, Panoz and Road Atlanta announce deal
Skip Barber Racing School, Panoz Racing School, and Road Atlanta announced today the signing of a long-term agreement that will provide Skip Barber with a central presence at one of the nation’s most venerable road courses.

Under the agreement, Skip Barber will partner with and assume operational management of the Panoz Racing School at Road Atlanta, and will become the exclusive provider of driving and racing schools at Road Atlanta.  Skip Barber will lease over 20,000 square feet of classroom, shop and equipment storage facilities at the track to conduct its business operations, and will become the single largest renter of track and support paddock days at Road Atlanta.

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TAG Heuer joins Sébastien Bourdais and Peugeot Sport
Twenty-four hours during which TAG Heuer and Peugeot Sport, official sponsors of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, will support 2004, 2005 and 2006 (and soon to be 2007) Champ Car champion Sébastien Bourdais.

In 2007, TAG Heuer is Official Timekeeper and official watch, chronograph and glasses sponsor of Peugeot Sport. TAG Heuer is very proud to support the Peugeot Sport team in the oldest and most prestigious endurance race for sports cars and sports-car prototypes.

The history of TAG Heuer is inscribed in this legendary race through its historical involvement in motor sports, its extreme-precision cutting-edge research in the measurement of time and also through the renowned Monaco chronograph, which American actor Steve McQueen chose to wear in the 1970 film “Le Mans” in homage to world-famous driver Jo Siffert. 

This year, TAG Heuer ambassador and driver Sébastien Bourdais will wear TAG Heuer Avant-Garde Eyewear “Night Vision” glasses, which have been specially designed for this event to provide drivers with maximum comfort and peak visual performance during these 24 hours.


Hopkins tops Monday test in Barcelona
Many MotoGP teams remained at the scene of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Catalunya carrying out further machine development and tire testing ahead of the forthcoming races in this packed summer of MotoGP action.

 Rider Team Time
1 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 41.4s
2 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 1m 42.630s
3 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 42.680s
4 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 42.720s
5 Alex Barros Pramac d’Antin Ducati 1m 42.9
6 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 43.0s
7 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1m 43.0s
8 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 43.0s
9 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 43.050s
10 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 43.120s
11 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 43.175s
12 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 43.410s
13 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 1m 43.475
14 Alex Hofmann Pramac d’Antin Ducati 1m 43.635s
15 Carlos Checa LCR Honda 1m 43.650s
16 Sylvain Guintoli Tech 3 Yamaha 1m 43.8
17 Makoto Tamada Tech 3 Yamaha 1m 43.9s
18 Nobuatsu Aoki Suzuki Test Rider 1m 44.2
19 Andrew Pitt Yamaha Test Rider 1m 44.5s
20 Anthony West Kawasaki Test Rider 1m 44.7s
21 Shinichi Itoh Ducati Test Rider 1m 47.0s

industry news

Porsche pulls out of Detroit's auto show
Porsche said today it is pulling out of the North American International Auto Show in favor of marketing efforts that more directly reach potential buyers.

The luxury sports car maker plans to focus on shows in areas where it has more customers, spokesman Tony Fouladpour said.

Also, he said, Porsche gets better results when it spends its marketing dollars getting prospective customers into vehicles -- such as at performance-driving lessons held at local dealerships -- than at passive events like the auto show.

"People are much more apt to buy if they drive the cars," Fouladpour said.


Todt - no sympathy for Massa's black flag
(GMM)  Ferrari boss Jean Todt showed little sympathy after Felipe Massa was disqualified from the Canadian grand prix.

The French chief historically sides with his drivers, like in Monaco last year over the infamous and arguably indefensible 'Rascasse' affair involving Michael Schumacher.

But there was no such backing for Massa, who was black flagged for driving through a red light at the end of the pit lane.

"You have a red light; if you don't stop, you get excluded.  That's it.

"Let's hope that soon we are able to do a better job," he said.

Todt said 26-year-old Massa failed to take note of the closed pit exit but acknowledged that Ferrari officials also did not see the light.

"He did not pay attention –- he was concentrated on going out, and not having any car passing him," Todt said.

"And we did not tell him anything.  We did not say (anything) to him, and he did not pay attention."

Todt also seemed less than impressed with Massa's teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who finished fifth.

He said the Finn damaged his car at the start -- and replays suggested contact with Massa.

Todt, 60, added: "Of course this is not a happy moment for us.  But it is not the first time we have been in a situation like this and we have always shown that we can extricate ourselves."


FIA and Champ Car innovation saved Kubica’s life
Most people who saw Robert Kubica’s horrific crash during the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday were sure that they had seen a driver either seriously injured or killed. Many would find it hard to believe that the Polish BMW Sauber racer was released from hospital in Montreal yesterday with nothing more than a sprained ankle.

Kubica was traveling at about 180mph on one of the fastest sectors of the circuit when he lost control, went airborne on to the grass and then hit the central concrete wall between the two sections of track with explosive force.

Apart from one wheel, everything came off the car as the central monocoque, with Kubica in it, bounced on its side across the track to the outside of the hairpin and hammered into the barriers. It took 20 minutes to ease Kubica out of the car before he was driven away by ambulance and then flown by helicopter to hospital.

His survival is a tribute to the stringent safety standards upheld by the FIA, the sport’s governing body, and the teams and to the remarkable strength of the materials – principally carbon fiber – used to build the monocoque, or safety pod, in which the drivers sit.

But even more importantly, the HANS Device, first introduced into racing by CART (now Champ Car) prevented his head from snapping at the base of the skull (Basil Skull fracture) with the violent forward motion his head experienced by hitting the wall head-on at such a high speed. Any driver who hit a wall head-on like Kubica did died before the HANS Device was introduced. After CART/Champ Car introduced it recall all the resistance by drivers in NASCAR and F1 when it was suggested that they also wear it in subsequent years. Since then we have seen so many lives saved by the HANS Device and certainly Kubica was the latest. CART's medical doctors at the time, Dr. Steve Olvey and Dr. Terry Trammel introduced the device to the FIA safety committee who agreed it had merit and they eventually mandated it for F1 drivers.


Kubica released
Less than 24 hours after his high speed accident in the Canadian Grand Prix BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Robert
Kubica has been released from hospital in Montreal. The Polish driver was given the all clear to leave by the local doctors and drove himself away from the hospital in a BMW X5.

In the crash he suffered light concussion and a sprained right ankle but when he left the hospital at noon today (Monday) he was showing few signs of what he had been through and commented: "I have no pain and feel well. I want to thank everyone for the medical attention I received and for all the good wishes.  Mario Theissen and other team members came to visit me and also thanks to Jarno Trulli who came as well. I am happy that I have been able to leave the hospital so quickly and will now prepare for the race in Indianapolis."

Kubica underwent intensive CT-scans and other checks in the Hospital du Sacre Coeur in Montreal.

Before being given the green light to race in Indianapolis Kubica will have to undergo further medical checks by the FIA Medical Delegate at the track on Thursday. This is standard procedure following such accidents. According to the regulations the BMW Sauber F1 Team has to announce its driver line-up for the weekend until Thursday 16:00 hrs.

The accident on lap 27 of the race happened just after turn 9 when the 22-year old collided with the car of Jarno Trulli, and there was no technical failure on the car.


Montreal safety 'unacceptable' - Heidfeld
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld has joined those who think organisers of the Canadian grand prix should improve the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's track surface.

Crumbling asphalt has been a regular concern at the Montreal venue, and on Sunday organisers had again laid down a last-minute coating at certain sections - most notably turn 10 - after the surface showed signs of deteriorating ahead of the 2007 race.

"This is definitely not the best circuit for safety," said BMW's Heidfeld, whose teammate Robert Kubica was hospitalised after a huge shunt into concrete barriers.

"But for me the biggest issue is the marbles off the line. I don't think it's acceptable, and I doubt that it is just rubber from the tyres -- I think the circuit was breaking loose.

"If that could be rectified for next year that would be a big step. It doesn't sound too difficult to do, at least in theory."

30-year-old Heidfeld speculated that Fernando Alonso "lost pole" on Saturday after slipping on the deteriorating circuit near the Casino hairpin.

He continued: "We have had it numerous times in the last couple of years. Ok, we are the best (drivers) in the world but you only have to go off the line by half a metre and you lose a lot or even crash."

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen also made mention of the problem earlier at the Canadian event.

"Hopefully they've fixed it," the Finn, referring to the problems in 2005 and to a lesser extent last year, said on Thursday, "so that we can have a clean race here this time."


Britain, Germany, record high TV ratings
(GMM) Britain recorded some impressive television ratings to accompany rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton's maiden victory at the Canadian grand prix on Sunday.

4.6 million viewers, representing a 29.6% market share, tuned in to ITV1's live coverage of the race; well above the average of 2 or 3m viewers for most other formula one events.

But the trend was also evident for Germany's free to air coverage by the broadcaster RTL, as 8.3 million viewers - more than any other grand prix so far this year - watched the race in the evening.

RTL's market share for the Canadian grand prix, meanwhile, was 27.8%.


Hamilton win ’lucky’ says Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso in Canada insisted that a poor race result had not made him downbeat.

By finishing just seventh in Montreal, the Spaniard lost his championship lead to his rookie McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton, who now tops the drivers' standings by eight points.

Alonso, however, pointed the finger at the safety car rules, 'bad luck' and badly graining Bridgestone tires, and contrasted his situation to that of the hospitalized Robert Kubica.

"I am fine," the 25-year-old reigning world champion, who set the fastest lap of the race, told the Spanish newspaper Diario As.

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Heidfeld 'certain' of 2008 contract
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld on Monday seemed even more confident about retaining his seat at the BMW-Sauber team in 2008.

The 30-year-old German continued his impressive season by finishing second to rookie winner Lewis Hamilton in Canada, but he is still yet to get the all-clear from his paymasters about an 'option' on his current contract.

"I am very optimistic and have no doubts about my future," Heidfeld told the newspaper 'Welt'.

"I am certain that I will continue to drive with BMW beyond this year."

Team boss Mario Theissen insists, however, that the Swiss based outfit's lineup for next year will not be confirmed until later in the 2007 season.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Kubica to doctors - 'can I race?'
  • Toyota not worried about suspension problems for Indy
  • World's press on Hamilton, Ferrari, Kubica
  • Dennis, Massa, slam safety car rule

Kubica to doctors - 'can I race?'
(GMM) Robert Kubica's first question to doctors in the Sacre-Coeur hospital on Sunday was: "Can I race in Indianapolis next Sunday?"

Ronald Denis, head of trauma at the downtown hospital and also the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, confirmed to the Canwest News Service that the Polish driver stayed overnight with minor concussion and a sprained right ankle.

He will have some neurological tests on Monday.

"When I saw the crash on the screen I was very worried; I thought he was dead," Denis admitted. "But when we got there, I was very happy to see he was talking.

"Under the circumstances he is doing very, very well."

BMW-Sauber said on Monday that a decision about whether 22-year-old Kubica will be fit to race in America will be taken at the Indianapolis circuit on Thursday.

Toyota not worried about suspension problems for Indy
(GMM) Toyota is not worried that its suspension problems at the Canadian grand prix might recur on the high speed Indianapolis circuit this weekend.

F1 is now making the short dash south from Montreal to the United States of America, and the cars will be back in action mere days after Jarno Trulli suffered two front upright failures across the Canadian curbs.

The Indy circuit features notorious banking, and was the scene of Ralf Schumacher's dramatic crashes in recent years.

But Toyota's chassis boss Pascal Vasselon said on Monday: "We are not concerned that the issue we faced with the front suspension during practice for the Canadian grand prix will reappear.

"Turn 8 at Montreal is unique and we will now have enough time to rectify the issue."

World's press on Hamilton, Ferrari, Kubica
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Sunday crossed the checkered flag (US) $200,000 heavier for his first formula one victory.

The British newspaper Daily Mail claims that McLaren's 22-year-old rookie is on a $1m retainer with a $20,000 bonus per point scored in 2007.

With a championship leading total of 48 points, then, Hamilton has nearly doubled his salary after just six races at the pinnacle of motor sport.

"Hamilton could become one of the top 10 earning sportsmen within a few years," said PR expert Johnno Spence.

The British press reacted with predictable delight to Lewis' Canadian breakthrough from pole; Scotland's Aberdeen Journal calling it his 'day of destiny'.

But even the rest of the world joined the chorus, France's Le Figaro describing Hamilton as the "best rookie in grand prix history".

Italy, though, turned its attention to Ferrari's now two-race slump. "The team from Maranello must work harder," Corriere dello Sport demanded.

Tuttosport went one step further, uttering the inevitable 'c' word -- crisis.

"Massa must admit the disaster," the publication wrote, "because Ferrari was not competitive in any sense. Nobody would have counted on this result -- it is now obvious that Ferrari is running into serious problems."

'La Repubblica' pointed a finger at Kimi Raikkonen's low profile run to fifth place.

"A disappointing achievement that corresponds neither to his fame or his income."

Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten said that Robert Kubica had been lucky to survive his horror 280kph crash.

"For the first time since the horrible weekend of Imola 1994, the smell of death was in the air at a formula one race. It is a miracle that he is unhurt."

Poland's Przeglad Sportowy agreed: "Kubica cheated death".

Dennis, Massa, slam safety car rule
Jun.11 (GMM) Ron Dennis and Felipe Massa have called for the scrapping of F1's new safety car rules.

The chaotic Canadian grand prix had to be neutralized no fewer than four times on Sunday, and McLaren boss Dennis hit out at the rule that now means the pit lane is closed for a lap after the safety car is deployed.

"It is one of those changes that was made for good reasons but has had too much of a repercussion on this race and will have on other races," he said.

The rule was introduced so that drivers do not speed up after the safety car deployment to make a quick pit stop.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton's McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso was one of the drivers seriously disadvantaged by the rule on Sunday, as he was forced to enter the 'closed' pit lane when our of fuel.

He then had to serve a stop-go penalty.

Dennis said: "I hope the FIA and the other teams will learn from today and that we can do a mid-season regulatory change to avoid penalizing other drivers in the future because it could be anybody caught out by it.

"It just doesn't work for formula one."

Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella, meanwhile, were black flagged for exiting the pits under a red light.

"What was I supposed to do?" Ferrari's Massa said.

"What sense does it make? Was I supposed to stay stopped while the race went on?"


Tom Kristensen to start at Le Mans
The doctors supervising Tom Kristensen’s (Denmark) recuperation and Audi Sport have given the go-ahead for his comeback following his successful test at the wheel of an Audi A4 DTM at Brands Hatch (England). As result, nothing else stands in the way of his competing for Audi Sport Team Joest in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 16/17 June. The seven-time Le Mans winner will be racing alongside Dindo Capello (Italy) and Allan McNish (Scotland) as originally planned. As a result, Mattias Ekström, who was designated as reserve driver for Tom Kristensen, can now concentrate solely on the title fight in the DTM.

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Video: Inside the Toyota F1 Racing Factory
Panasonic Toyota Racing President John Howett opens up the team’s factory doors in Cologne, Germany, where 650 specialist staff are working on the entire racecar, from chassis to engine. John Howett makes a complete and exclusive behind the scenes guided tour of the different conception divisions, ranging from the carbon composites department to the engine workshop, and the tests facilities. The engine tests, conducted in ‘test beds’, as well as the aerodynamic characteristics are optimized in the wind tunnel area and play a key role in enhancing the racecar’s performance. See video on our home page.


Video: Newman and Andretti on 100 wins
Team owner Paul Newman and racing great Mario Andretti talk about yesterday's milestone 100 Champ Car wins for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.  Mario Andretti scored the team's first win in 1983 at Road America in a Lola. See Related Quotes


Q and A with GM of Speedcar Series
Q: Benoit Lamonerie, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
A: I am thirty year-old Frenchman, and former racing driver, member of the "Filiere Elf" in 1997. My career moved into event management when I started working for the French Motorsport Federation and later with Stephane Ratel on the Super Racing Weekend (SRW) series. I was put in charge of organizing the first SRW meeting at the Dubai Autodrome, and moved to the country as part of that. When that event was extremely successful, I accepted a job at the Dubai Autodrome itself. After 3 years setting it up, I have accepted the offer from Speedcar Investors to run the series for them.

Q: What about the new Grand Racing event, when will it begin?
A: We will be announcing the full 2007/08 Grand Racing schedule soon, but the first event will happen in Dubai on November 10 this year. That weekend will see the debut of the brand new Speedcar Series, which will be supported by the GT3 Championship. GP2 Asia will be added to the race program at the beginning of 2008. Any teams or drivers interested in taking part should get in contact with our Team Manager, Batti Pregliasco, through our website www.speedcarseries.com

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BMW wait on Kubica
The BMW Sauber team will not know if Robert Kubica will be fit enough to drive at the United States Grand Prix until June14.

The Pole's massive accident at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday was initially feared to have broken his leg, but later reports suggest that he is not as badly injured, and could even leave hospital in Montreal on Monday.

The team's post-race statement claimed that it was awaiting further medical checks on its driver before making any other comment, but its pre-race look at the Indianapolis event suggests that Kubica is in contention to continue his partnership with Nick Heidfeld.

With less than a week between F1 track action in Canada and the USA, the decision will be left to the last possible moment to give the Pole adequate time to heal, with no test of his fitness planned until the day before practice officially starts.

With no World Series by Renault round scheduled in opposition to the USGP, German sensation Sebastian Vettel - a favorite of team boss Mario Theissen - could be in line for an F1 debut if Kubica is not passed fit.

The team's other option would be to call on the more experienced Timo Glock, who joined its reserve strength this season and also has no clashing commitments with GP2 on hiatus until Magny-Cours. Sky Sports

racing news

Quotes of the week
Lewis Hamilton, rookie Formula One driver, McLaren-Mercedes
"I'm on another planet after this - I simply can't find the words to describe what it feels like to win my first Formula 1 race. The team has done a fantastic job and I'm so happy to be part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes family. I made an OK start off the line - nothing spectacular but managed to get a good exit out of the first corner and whilst mayhem was happening around me I was able to keep my cool and focus. Obviously I'm pleased that my good friend Robert is OK after his accident. It seemed like every time I opened up a bit of a gap the Safety Car came out and I had to start all over again. It was only a few laps from the end I realized that victory was within my grasp and I started noticing things like the fans cheering and when I crossed the finishing line it was amazing. I now have to stay focused and keep up the good work. It's been an incredible start to my Formula 1 career so far but I know there is a tough season ahead of us. Finally thanks to the entire team at McLaren and Mercedes-Benz for all the hard work they have put into the car - it's an absolute pleasure to drive and be part of such a winning combination." (Commenting after winning his first Formula One race from pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix)
Mario Andretti, legendary Formula One World Champion, 4-times Indy Car Champion, IROC Champion
"I think they [Renault] 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."

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Drivers past and present comment on NHLR’s 100th win

Mario Andretti, NHR Driver from 1983-1994 (12 seasons, 185 starts)

"My favorite win for Newman/Haas Racing was probably my first win for them. 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.

"I think Newman/Haas Racing has achieved so much success because Carl and Paul have always known the important ingredients of a team. They never spared any expense to arm themselves with the best people they could find to operate the team. That's their secret and it should be an example for anyone to follow."

Michael Andretti, NHR Driver from 1989-1992, 1995-2000 (10 seasons, 173 starts)

"I believe the reason Newman/Haas Racing has been successful over the years is because Carl has a knack for putting the right people in the right positions. My favorite win was at Laguna Seca in 1991 because I not only won the race but also the championship and I shared the podium with my father. My time at Newman/Haas Racing was some of the best years of my career and I can look back and say that Carl and Paul were not just employers, but also friends."

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Portland GP fastest race laps
 1 S. Bourdais 1 84 59.331 119.169
 2 S. Pagenaud 15 60 59.740 118.353
 3 G. Rahal 2 35 59.909 118.019
 4 W. Power 5 53 59.995 117.850
 5 R. Doornbos 14 85 1:00.004 117.832
 6 J. Wilson 9 32 1:00.059 117.724
 7 N. Jani 21 82 1:00.269 117.314
 8 T. Gommendy 22 58 1:00.344 117.168
 9 O. Servia 7 62 1:00.349 117.159
 10 A. Tagliani 8 81 1:00.447 116.969
 11 D. Clarke 4 87 1:00.589 116.694
 12 B. Junqueira 19 72 1:00.663 116.552
 13 P. Tracy 3 50 1:00.777 116.333
 14 K. Legge 11 67 1:00.790 116.309
 15 J. Heylen 34 82 1:00.877 116.142
 16 R. Dalziel 28 55 1:00.993 115.921
 17 A. Figge 29 36 1:01.123 115.675


Standing start worries prove unfounded
All the worries about Champ Car's first ever standing start proved unfounded Sunday as all cars got off the grid without incident at Portland International Raceway.  And, for the first time in a long time, there was no contact in Turn 1 like there always is.  (Photo right of clean start courtesy of Champ Car) 

In other words 'mission accomplished.'  Too bad so few fans were there to see it as Champ Car had another dismal attendance day at Portland.   AutoRacing1.com lobbied for push-to-pass and standing starts for five years so we're happy to see both have added a positive element to the series. 


Kubica in massive accident UPDATE #3 (GMM)  The latest news from Montreal is that Robert Kubica will leave a downtown hospital on Monday -- with no broken bones.

Contrary to earlier reports that said the 22-year-old Pole had broken a leg in his horror 280kph crash in the Canadian grand prix, BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen confirmed that Kubica is actually fully intact.

He told Sport-Informations-Dienst that suspicions of a broken leg were not confirmed after thorough checks at the Sacre-Coeur hospital.

"I am really very relieved," Theissen said, although it must be a possibility that Kubica - who was knocked unconscious in the incident - will be replaced by either test driver Sebastian Vettel or Timo Glock for the upcoming US GP this weekend.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa said: "I am happy that he was not seriously injured -- it is almost a miracle."

06/10/07 (GMM)  Poland's Robert Kubica left the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve aboard a medical helicopter on Sunday complaining of pain 'all over his body', according to sources in Montreal.

Reports that he broke his leg in the horror shunt are believed to have been based on an in-car radio transmission from race winner Lewis Hamilton's engineer, but the news was not confirmed by the circuit Medical Centre.

Medical Centre officials did however confirm that Kubica emerged from the 280kph smash with 'no internal injuries', and he was due to have x-rays and other checks at the L'Hopital du Sacre-Coeur in downtown Montreal.

The only other information came from Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli, who said in a television interview that Robert spoke "nearly normally" before being airlifted.

06/10/07 (GMM)  Robert Kubica broke his leg in a horror crash in Montreal on Sunday.  The BMW-Sauber driver was transported from the medical center to the nearby L'Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal, where it was confirmed after an x-ray that a bone is broken.

06/10/07 Polish F1 driver Robert Kubica had a massive head-on accident with the concrete wall Sunday in Montreal. Kubica was trying to pass another car on the outside of the sweeper heading toward the Casino hairpin. They touched wheels and Kubica shot straight off hitting the parked car of Scott Speed, launching into the air and then hitting the wall head-on while in mid-air at an estimated 150 mph.

The car disintegrated as it tumbled down the track finally coming to rest on its side along the outside wall at the hairpin. His motionless body was slumped over as the medics worked on him for quite some time.

He has been taken to the hospital where early reports are that he is stable, but we don't know the extent of his injuries. If not for the HANS device he certainly would be dead.


'Thank you Tomita-san' - Toyota
(GMM) Toyota farewelled Tsutomu Tomita prior to Sunday's Canadian grand prix.

The Japanese oversaw his last race as the outfit's team principal in Montreal, and will be replaced by Tadashi Yamashina for the upcoming US grand prix.

Toyota team members marked Tomita's last race with a cake bearing the words 'thank you Tomita-san'. He will now move on to become the boss of the Japanese GP venue at Fuji.


Kubica hit me from behind - Trulli
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli said after the Canadian grand prix that Robert Kubica's crash was caused by the BMW driver hitting him from behind.

Poland's Kubica was lucky to survive the horror 280kph accident at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with television replays showing that he made contact with Trulli's Toyota prior to spearing off at full speed.

"I had not moved from my line but when I saw the car roll over I was very concerned," the Italian explained.

"When you see another colleague have such a big crash and you are hit from the back it's not a nice feeling."

Trulli retired from the race with his own crash.


Emotional Dennis shuns champagne shower
(GMM)  An emotional Ron Dennis on Sunday said he did not mount the podium to share the plaudits for Lewis Hamilton's maiden victory because he needed a "quiet moment" to take in the occasion.

Instead, McLaren boss Dennis' deputy Martin Whitmarsh joined the champagne shower, while Dennis fought back tears during an interview with the German broadcaster Premiere.

"I am pleased for the entire team, but particularly for Lewis' family," Dennis said in Montreal.

To Hamilton's devoted father and manager Anthony, Ron directed this message: "You have a very special son."

Dennis also pushed some gentle criticism in the direction of the FIA's new safety car rules, where the pit lane is initially closed, because he said it "destroyed" former championship leader Fernando Alonso's race.


Spyker slams sorry Sutil and Albers
(GMM)  Team technical chief Mike Gascoyne slammed Spyker's rookie driver Adrian Sutil on Sunday after another crash at the Montreal circuit.

The young German has outpaced his experienced teammate Christijan Albers in 2007, but Gascoyne thinks he makes too many mistakes.

Sutil retired from the Canadian grand prix after hitting the wall at turn eight.

"Adrian once again went off on his own accord -- he really has to stop making this kind of mistake now if he wants to compete at this level," Gascoyne said.

Sutil was quoted as saying "sorry to the team", but Spyker officials were also unhappy with Albers, whose brush with the wall probably led to his shunt that was caused by a broken wing.

Team principal Colin Kolles said: "We cannot let this situation happen again."


Alonso penalty not team mistake - Haug
(GMM) Fernando Alonso did not incur his stop and go penalty on Sunday because either he or McLaren forgot the rules.

That was the insistence in Montreal of Mercedes' Norbert Haug, who told the broadcaster RTL that the Spaniard simply had to pit during the forbidden period of the Safety Car situation or run out of fuel.

"If your tank is empty," said Haug, "then you have no choice."

Alonso also drove a scrappy race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, handing his teammate Lewis Hamilton an eight point championship lead by finishing just seventh.

He told Spanish reporters that he suffered from bad tire graining, and also claimed that Hamilton "benefited the most" from the several safety cars.

Haug, though, was overjoyed for Hamilton, who became the first rookie to win a race since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2001.

As for Ferrari's inconspicuous showing, with Kimi Raikkonen also finishing behind a Renault, Williams and BMW just two weeks after a similar trouncing in Monaco, Germany's Haug shrugged his shoulders.

He said: "When you think about where they were in very recent times and where they are today -- I have to admit that right at the moment, I cannot completely understand it!"


Champ Car’s plans for standing start
In the paddock here in Portland the biggest complainer of the standing start remains the Newman/Haas/Lanigan team, we assume because they have no control or experience with them. Cosworth says they have two concerns 1) 45 seconds is the time the cars at the front of the grid can sit still while the rest of the grid lines up before overheating concerns, and 2) If a driver gets too much wheel spin and lifts off, the engine will stall for a couple of seconds until the computer resets. They will try 2 standing starts and if they don't work then a rolling start will be used.


Lacroix wins 2nd race in Portland
O Canada was on heavy rotation on the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda podium this weekend at Portland International Raceway, as series newcomer Kevin Lacroix (#10 Uni-Select) became the second Canadian driver to earn his first Atlantic win in as many days at the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland presented by Joe’s Sports and Outdoor doubleheader.

Just one day after making his Atlantic debut in the first half of the doubleheader, Lacroix got the jump on his Canadian countryman James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks) on a Lap 6 restart in the 35-lap race to take the lead. Hinchcliffe kept the pressure on Lacroix over the remaining laps but never got close enough to make a pass, and Lacroix went on to win by 1.472 seconds. It was the first victory in Atlantic competition for the 18-year-old Lacroix—who previously competed in the Star Mazda and Formula BMW USA series—and comes on his first weekend of racing in eight months.  It was also the first Atlantic victory for Brooks Associates Racing since Andreas Wirth won for the team at Denver in 2005, and was the team’s second victory overall.

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Pagenaud tops morning warm-up in Portland
On a dry track in Portland, Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud topped the morning Champ Car warm-up ahead of Oriol Servia.

Pos Driver # Lap Time Leader
1 S. Pagenaud 15 59.218
2 O. Servia 7 59.352 0.134
3 W. Power 5 59.583 0.365
4 N. Jani 21 59.743 0.525
5 P. Tracy 3 59.853 0.635
6 K. Legge 11 59.875 0.657
7 S. Bourdais 1 59.890 0.672
8 B. Junqueira 19 1:00.054 0.836
9 G. Rahal 2 1:00.095 0.877
10 R. Doornbos 14 1:00.304 1.086
11 R. Dalziel 28 1:00.312 1.094
12 J. Wilson 9 1:00.380 1.162
13 D. Clarke 4 1:00.492 1.274
14 T. Gommendy 22 1:00.572 1.354
15 J. Heylen 34 1:00.620 1.402
16 A. Tagliani 8 1:00.641 1.423
17 A. Figge 29 1:01.464 2.246

racing news

Second Ferrari victory for Senna at Silverstone
Bruno Senna completed a perfect weekend today at Silverstone as he took his second victory in his debut weekend in the Ferrari Challenge, a one-off event for the 23-year-old. Bruno scored his second consecutive lights-to-flag victory in his Ferrari F430 Challenge car at the British circuit in this morning's race.

The race was not as easy for Bruno as yesterday, as he struggled with rear tire degradation and a more difficult car to drive. However, by setting consistent lap times throughout the race he was able to push hard, avoid any mistakes and take his second lights to flag victory this weekend.

Bruno will return to competitive action in three weeks with the GP2 Series for the fourth round of the championship at Magny Cours in France. Bruno currently lies third in the championship on 18 points.

Bruno Senna:
"I've got to be happy with this weekend. I was fastest in the free practice, got two pole position, two victories and one fastest lap. The only thing I missed out on was fastest lap from today's race, but it was pretty near to perfect. The F430 is very different to the single-seater cars I'm used to driving but I didn't find it hard to adapt so I'm pleased. It's been very beneficial racing at Silverstone this weekend with the GP2 race there in a month. I got a lot of laps in so when I get here for GP2 I don't have to think too much about the circuit."


Stoner wins again in Spain over Rossi
Casey Stoner took his fourth victory of the 2007 season this afternoon at the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya after an immense battle with Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, in front of a crowd of more than 110,000 spectators at Barcelona - with local hero Dani Pedrosa finishing a close third.

The young Ducati Marlboro rider produced one of the best performances of his career on a hot Spanish afternoon, closely contesting the race lead with five-time former premier class World Champion Rossi in an enthralling duel – the Australian eventually crossing the line just 0.069s ahead of the Italian.

MotoGP’s current pole jinx sequence extended to nine races as Rossi was unable to take advantage of starting at the front of the grid, having seen Catalan Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa delight the crowd at the first corner to take the hole shot. Pedrosa may not have won a Grand Prix for nearly a year but he is finding form at present and was ready to pounce in the event of any errors from the leading pair – ultimately finishing just 0.390s behind Stoner, who increased his World Championship lead to 14 points.

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Indy 500 win means little in rest of world UPDATE A reader writes, Re your piece in the news section, and your comments in particular. While I know the temptation for you to take any piece of news and try to blame Tony George for it is great, you should have researched this one before you decided not to resist.

Franchitti's win got HUGE coverage in the UK. This included front page coverage on serious newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph to front page of Daily Mail (both papers biggest selling broadsheet and tabloid respectively). It was in every other newspaper, often color double page spreads. It was on BBC TV and radio, including the world service, not just domestic.

This coverage went on for days, and was big news. The Scottish Parliament has even put forward a motion, signed by politicians of all parties, congratulating Franchitti for his victory in the Indy 500 and for flying the flag for Scotland in the IRL. The First Minister of Scotland congratulated Franchitti.

The Autosport front page is a different matter altogether. Ask the editor of Autosport and he will tell you that he has to have F1 in general and Lewis Hamilton in particular on the front page. The front cover was a special blue edition (to symbolize Scotland) and did have a smaller pic of Franchitti and text about celebrating his Indy 500 victory. I wish they had put Franchitti only on the front page, and in fact a number of people complained, but their reasons have absolutely NOTHING to do with the status of the IRL and everything to do with riding the wave of Lewis Hamilton coverage. M Clark

06/10/07 Dario Franchitti's schedule of appearances since winning the Indianapolis 500 in May seems as hectic as those for many of Indy's past winners. That's why 2005 winner Dan Wheldon raised eyebrows this weekend when he said Franchitti hasn't received the attention he deserves.
Wheldon wasn't specific, but it appears one European slight has Franchitti miffed.

Europe's leading motor sports publication, Autosport, did not feature Franchitti on its cover following the 500. Instead, it showcased the exploits of Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, a rookie who takes a string of five consecutive top-three finishes into today's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

"I wasn't too impressed with those guys," Franchitti said of the magazine's decision-makers. "(A Scot wins) the Indy 500 and doesn't make the cover?"

Actually, a small photograph of Franchitti appeared on the cover, but that's of little consolation to the winner. Indy Star

[Editor's Note: We don't think those in the IRL, including Tony George himself, realize how meaningless the Indy 500 has become since the IRL took over. It's sad to see but instead of pointing fingers at Autosport Magazine Dario should be asking Tony George "why have you destroyed our sport?"  And to make matters worse, attendance was down significantly at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night indicating fans are losing interest in the USA too.] 


Foyt loses wheel, ruins race for many
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon were running second and third with 31 laps left in the Bombardier Learjet 550K when both were collected in a multi-car pile-up while passing lapped traffic at Texas Motor Speedway. While Wheldon’s night was immediately over, the Target team was able to repair some damage to the no.9 Target car to get it back out to finish the race, gain some valuable spots and points in the standings, and kept Dixon’s streak of running at the finish alive at 23 consecutive races.

“I saw AJ Foyt IV lose a wheel ahead and no one else slowed up and I got collected from behind," said Dixon.  The Tony George Vision team crew did not get Foyt's wheel on right and it flew off in turn 3.  Drivers slowed to avoid the wheel and many cars got collected up in the accident.  Four retired the others continued.

Prior to the six car accident, both Target cars battled up front  throughout much of the race with Wheldon leading 52 laps and Dixon leading six, while battling eventual race winner Sam Hornish Jr. for the checkered flag. Dixon crossed the finish line in tenth place while Wheldon was credited with a 15th place finish.


Wheldon: Danica apologized
Wheldon wants this clear: Danica Patrick apologized for what happened in Milwaukee; he did not. . .Indy Star


Roth to expand Indy Car team, add Lloyd
Marty Roth, a driver who owns a team that has competed in eight IndyCar Series races, was among those at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday to learn how Zionsville's Just Marketing Inc. can help IRL teams attract sponsors.

Roth is planning to expand his Indianapolis-based team to a full-time two-car operation beginning with the season-ending race at Chicagoland Speedway. He will drive one of the cars; the other is being held for the Indy Pro Series points leader, which at the moment is Alex Lloyd, who has won all five races.

Roth said drivers like Lloyd need a chance to show their skills at the next level.

"I've seen other (Pro Series) champions go nowhere, and that's unfortunate," he said. "I'd like to see them (move up), and I'm going to try to help. It's great for us, too, having another driver to work with."

Roth's team recently moved to a 10,000-square-foot facility on Rockville Road in Indianapolis. He said the two cars will have full-time engineers by the race at Chicagoland, something he never had in Indy-car racing. Indy Star


Martin says he's still not a full-timer
Thirteen races into the season, Mark Martin remains in position to make the Chase for the Nextel Cup, even though he’s only competed in 10 events. That ranks the veteran driver ahead of 22 drivers who have competed in all 13. Still, Martin said there’s no chance that he will decide to run the remainder of the races, this in spite of the fact that he has never won a championship. "I don’t even want to," he said, "so if I was leading, like I was when I missed my first race, I still wouldn’t. I don’t want to." Martin’s position hasn’t wavered. It’s just that people don’t seem to believe him. Gaston Gazette


Edwards Wins NASCAR Busch Series Race at Nashville
LEBANON, Tenn. — A simple concrete mix includes one part cement, two parts sand and three parts gravel. And don’t forget a healthy dose of Carl Edwards.

Edwards remained perfect on concrete tracks in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2007, winning his fourth race of the season—and his fourth on concrete—in convincing fashion Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.

Edwards passed Clint Bowyer with 33 laps to go and went on to win the Federated Auto Parts 300 for his third consecutive NASCAR Busch Series victory at the track. Edwards also won—and led the most laps—at concrete tracks Bristol Motor Speedway in March, Nashville in April and Dover International Speedway last weekend.

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GAINSCO team dominates at The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Polesitter Alex Gurney and co-driver Jon Fogarty became the first pair of drivers to record multiple Daytona Prototype victories in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season Saturday with a win in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.

Rebounding from an unscheduled pit stop which dropped them as low as 16th, Gurney passed Scott Pruett with 25 minutes remaining in the six-hour classic (Lap 153 of 167) to cruise to a 7.069-second victory in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. The checkered flag officially flew at six hours, one minute and 45 seconds.

Fogarty and Gurney broke a record streak which saw five different winners in victory lane to start a season. The pair also won at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City in March, and the duo has started all six races from the front row this season. Saturday's win at The Glen, however, marked this season's first Rolex Series win for a polesitter.

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McCumbee wins ARCA race at Pocono
Chad  McCumbee won the ARCA RE/MAX 200 this afternoon at Pocono Raceway for Petty Enterprises in the Victory Junction Gang Dodge, becoming the first two time winner this year in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

McCumbee has 32 career ARCA RE/MAX Series starts since 2004, following up his win earlier this year at Nashville, his career best finish at Pocono was 2nd in 2005.

McCumbee makes his NEXTEL Cup debut in Sunday’s Pocono 500 driving the No 45 for Petty Enterprise.  McCumbee qualified on time and starts 35th on the grid, as he substitutes for Kyle Petty, who will be covering the race as a commentator for the TNT television broadcast.

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Engine penalty for Kovalainen
Renault's Heikki Kovalainen will drop ten places on the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix after a rare engine failure in Saturday's final practice. Kovalainen's misfortune brought practice to a halt for over 15 minutes after oil dropped from his R27 covered a large section of Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.


Ferrari duo disappointed with pace
(GMM)  Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa on Saturday admitted to being simply outpaced by McLaren so far ahead of the Canadian grand prix.

The pair will line up on Sunday's Montreal grid just fourth and fifth, although Raikkonen said he hopes that the third placed Nick Heidfeld's BMW-Sauber is simply light on fuel.

"You never know exactly with the (different) strategies," said the Finn, the quickest of the red cars, "but (the McLarens) were even a little bit quicker maybe than we expected."

A disappointed Massa, meanwhile - who may even be running a lighter fuel load than his teammate, despite his slower pace - agreed: "Definitely today McLaren was quicker than us.

"It's not really what we expected for the qualifying, so hopefully we can do something different for the race."


Wickens beats Hinchcliffe in Race 1
In wet conditions at Portland International Raceway, 18-year-old Robert Wickens (#3 Red Bull/INDECK) picked up his first career Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda race victory in Saturday’s first race of a doubleheader weekend as part of the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by Joe’s Sports and Outdoor.  (Also see our Photo Page)

Wickens carefully and methodically worked his way forward after taking the standing start from fifth on the grid and under a steady rain throughout the race. He moved into second place by Lap 9 of the 30-lap race and took up the chase of polesitter and race-leader James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks), who had pulled away to a healthy advantage. Wickens chipped away through the middle stages of the race and by Lap 20; he was well within sight of Hinchcliffe. Approaching lapped traffic on Lap 24, Wickens played the situation perfectly and dove to the inside of Hinchcliffe entering Turn 1 and outbroke his Canadian countryman to take the lead.

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racing news

Silverstone success for Senna
Bruno Senna today continued his domination of the British rounds of the Ferrari Challenge at Silverstone when he won the first race from pole position and set himself up perfectly for tomorrow's race by securing pole in second qualifying.

The 23-year-old Brazilian has proved an instant hit in the F430 as he takes part in this one-off event. In the pre-race testing session he topped the timesheets against drivers competing in the whole championship, and has so far been unbeatable over the race weekend.

Bruno was fastest in yesterday's free practice session before going on to set pole position for race one. He achieved a lights to flag victory in the race, and is poised for similar success in tomorrow's second race as he lines up on pole.

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Hinchcliffe wins both poles in Portland
James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks) continued his dominance at Portland International Raceway on Saturday morning by taking his second consecutive Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda pole position for Sunday's second race of a doubleheader weekend at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland presented by Joe's Sports and Outdoors.

In a session that included changing conditions and intermittent light rain, Hinchcliffe turned the fastest Atlantic lap of the weekend to date at 1:05.991 (107.142 mph) to score his second pole in as many races. Hinchcliffe, who also won last year's Atlantic event at Portland, has led every practice and qualifying session this weekend.

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Wilson tops wet morning practice in Portland
Justin Wilson continued to dominate the weekend in Portland Saturday as even the rain could not stop him from being atop the charts when morning practice was over.

Pos Driver # Lap Time Leader
1 J. Wilson 9 1:11.065 
2 S. Bourdais 1 1:11.210 0.145
3 N. Jani 21 1:11.398 0.333
4 T. Gommendy 22 1:11.619 0.554
5 G. Rahal 2 1:11.877 0.812
6 R. Doornbos 14 1:12.031 0.966
7 W. Power 5 1:12.136 1.071
8 S. Pagenaud 15 1:12.350 1.285
9 J. Heylen 34 1:12.375 1.310
10 A. Tagliani 8 1:12.515 1.450
11 D. Clarke 4 1:12.542 1.477
12 P. Tracy 3 1:12.564 1.499
13 O. Servia 7 1:12.634 1.569
14 B. Junqueira 19 1:12.809 1.744
15 K. Legge 11 1:13.083 2.018
16 A. Figge 29 1:13.132 2.067
17 R. Dalziel 28 1:14.751 3.686


Di Leo wins provisional Star Mazda pole
Under cold, grey, rainy skies that turned the Portland International Raceway track into a skating rink during 45-minute Star Mazda Championship qualifying, Canadian racer Marco Di Leo put his #21 Maxwell Paper Products Mazda on the pole with a lap of 1:09.594 (101.595 mph). 

Toronto native Di Leo is currently third in the championship points battle and will start from the inside of the front row for this afternoon’s 1-hour Star Mazda Championship race, which is scheduled to take the green flag at 5:00 pm.

“The team really nailed the setup and we knew that would be key to qualifying, particularly under these conditions,” said Di Leo.  “We made a setup change during the session and it really hooked the car up.  I’m not sure if the weather helped or hurt us, but I do know that my lap when the final red flag came out was 5/10ths faster than my pole lap, so I know we’ve got a good car for the race.”

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Bernie tells Montreal - improve or lose GP
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has warned organizers of the Canadian grand prix to update the circuit's outdated facilities or risk losing the annual race.

In his quest to bring the sport's more traditional venues up to higher modern standards, the F1 supremo said he was asking for a new pit and paddock complex at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

He explained in Montreal, which has hosted formula one since 1978: "Only then does this race have a future."

The Canadian venue, which does have some of the simplest and smallest circuit facilities in formula one, is understood to have a formula one contract until at least 2011.

Ecclestone, 76, told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung: "Montreal does not need to build the Taj Mahal or compete with Shanghai or Bahrain.

"But we do want to represent the city in this new era of the sport," he insisted.


Rossi takes pole in Spain
This afternoon’s MotoGP qualifying session for the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya saw Valentino Rossi take his fourth pole of the season as he looks to reduce Casey Stoner’s World Championship lead in tomorrow’s race.

The Doctor set a new circuit best lap of 1’41.840s on the 23rd of his 27 laps to put him in a good position to win his fourth Catalunyan Grand Prix in a row.

However the Fiat Yamaha rider will need to break the current MotoGP pole jinx to take victory, as none of the last eight Grands Prix have been won by the rider starting at the front of the grid.

Rossi will face a stiff challenge tomorrow from home rider Dani Pedrosa, with the Catalan Repsol Honda man in good form and third on the grid - just 0.162s behind Rossi - whilst Ducati Marlboro’s championship leader Stoner starts from fourth with a time 0.277s behind the Italian.

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Webber reprimanded, Michael fined
(GMM)  F1's governing body has had a busy weekend so far in Montreal.

FIA stewards looked into Friday's 'brake testing' collision between Scott Speed and Mark Webber, but ruled that nothing but a written "reprimand" should be given to the Australian driver -- possibly because Toro Rosso did not press the case against its parent team.

Officials for the Paris-based body also took a stand against tardy F1 personalities, warning Ralf Schumacher and Alex Wurz for showing up late to the official press conference on Thursday.

Less lucky, however, was Williams' technical director Sam Michael, who got a (US) $6500 fine for arriving at Friday's press meeting seven minutes after it begun.


Toyota changes to cost performance - Howett
(GMM)  Toyota's solution for its failing front suspension pieces will cost the Cologne built cars a few tenths every lap.

That is the admission of team president John Howett, who explained that Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher emerged from the garage on Saturday morning equipped with modified setups.

"We have been using the same part for two years and we even had it here last year," the Briton said at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, after speculation had hinted at a withdrawal from the event following Trulli's sinister failures on Friday.

An overnight investigation, however, showed that some setup tweaks - and performance compromises - could prevent the problem from recurring.

Howett said no parts had actually been changed, for the simple reason that the team does not bring alternate designs for the suspension to races.

Instead, the cars are running more 'camber' and softer suspension settings.

"It is not completely optimal but we will probably lose only two tenths or so.  But at least we can race," he is quoted as saying by the German broadcaster Premiere.


Canada: Kovalainen blows, Alonso slides
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton took a turn at the top of the time sheets on Saturday morning, as his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso had a lucky escape in the last pre-qualifying practice session in Montreal.

In perfect weather at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Alonso slid spectacularly on the spilled oil of Renault's Heikki Kovalainen, who will surely take a ten-place penalty for an equally spectacular engine failure.

The circuit conditions were already poor following a Formula Ford race this morning, whose carnage had to be covered by cement dust.

To sop up the additional quantity of oil, red flags waved for more than a quarter of the 60 minute session, which will be followed this afternoon by qualifying.

Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher emerged from the Toyota garage after Friday's suspension scare, and Trulli completed the most laps of any driver without trouble.

BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was less lucky, the German returning to the pits with smoke coming from the rear of his single seater.

Pos  Driver        Team               Time      Behind   Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:16.071           12
 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:16.459 + 0.388   14
 3.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:16.465 + 0.394    9
 4.  Massa         Ferrari            1:16.666 + 0.595   13
 5.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:16.864 + 0.793   12
 6.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:16.975 + 0.904   14
 7.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:17.071 + 1.000   11
 8.  Barrichello   Honda              1:17.329 + 1.258   16
 9.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:17.391 + 1.320   11
10.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:17.391 + 1.320   15
11.  Fisichella    Renault            1:17.454 + 1.383   12
12.  Button        Honda              1:17.468 + 1.397   15
13.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:17.601 + 1.530   12
14.  Trulli        Toyota             1:17.624 + 1.553   17
15.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.742 + 1.671   12
16.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:17.748 + 1.677   13
17.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.799 + 1.728   14
18.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:18.270 + 2.199   13
19.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:18.428 + 2.357    5
20.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:18.489 + 2.418   11
21.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:18.758 + 2.687   10
22.  Albers        Spyker-Ferrari     1:18.933 + 2.862   13


Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates as noted below.

  • 'Too early' to confirm 2008 contract - Rosberg
  • 'Number two' Hamilton would quit McLaren
  • Midland not worried about Spyker F1 debt
  • Stewards investigating Webber 'brake test'
  • Barrichello says not ready to retire
  • McLaren 'pulling away' from field - rivals
  • Webber escapes penalty for 'brake test' New
  • 'Private' Schu stays silent in Canada New
  • Alonso says situation 'uncomfortable' New

'Too early' to confirm 2008 contract - Rosberg
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has refused to confirm reports that he will definitely stay with the Williams team beyond 2007.

Team boss Sir Frank Williams has already indicated that the impressive German youngster is set to retain his seat next year, but it is understood that there are some conditional clauses to be met in Rosberg's contract to also make it valid for 2008.

It is also rumored that Rosberg's manager-father Keke has been making enquiries about next year with other teams, following his son's impressive start to his second season in F1.

"I think that I am staying here," Rosberg is quoted as saying by the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, "but it is way too early in the season to say anything for sure."

He also refused to confirm suggestions in the media that he is driving as well as formula one sensation Lewis Hamilton this year.

"No, I would never say that," Rosberg insisted. "Hamilton is driving really sensationally.

"My job is to do a good job in my car and hope that at some point I also have the equipment to drive right at the front."

'Number two' Hamilton would quit McLaren
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Friday said he would quit McLaren if he ever felt too subordinate to his world champion teammate Fernando Alonso.

The rookie Briton sparked a furor after the Monaco grand prix when he suggested he was ordered to settle for second place because he is "the number two driver".

F1's most unambiguous 'number two' in recent memory was Rubens Barrichello, who in 2002 famously had to move over for his Ferrari master Michael Schumacher within sight of the Austrian GP checker.

"I hate the situation Rubens was in," Hamilton told reporters in the McLaren hospitality area in Montreal.

"If that was ever the case for me I would not be there much longer."

Hamilton, 22, said his performances so far this year demonstrate that he deserves to be "at least equal to" Alonso.

But he admitted to learning a lesson in Monaco's post-race FIA press conference -- don't give too much away.

"Maybe next time I might watch what I say," he explained, "but I just said what I felt. I'm only human.

"Sometimes your feelings need to be expressed and everybody knows how you feel.

"It's alright putting a big smile on your face but maybe next time I might control it a little better."

Read more & Comment...

Rain in Montreal!
(GMM) It is currently raining at the scene on Sunday's Canadian grand prix.

The early morning downpour is, however, expected to be a one-off, with local reports calling for a cloudy but warm and dry day at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve just outside of central Montreal.

Sunday should also be dry, as Canada celebrates its fortieth anniversary of formula one racing in the country this weekend.

This morning's rain will play havoc with teams' preparations for the third practice session on qualifying day, after Bridgestone's soft and super-soft tires grained badly on Friday.

Renault's Pat Symonds said on Friday: "If it does rain and the track does not get better over the weekend, then the super-soft tire would be quite a job to manage in the race."


Texas race lengthened to 550K
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage understood the issue even before he began receiving letters and e-mails from ticket-holders.

People came to his track for IndyCar Series racing and weren't seeing enough of it. So the Bombardier Learjet 500 became the Bombardier Learjet 550. The 50 extra kilometers will translate into 28 additional laps tonight.

The catalyst was last year's race, which finished in one hour, 34 minutes with only two caution flags.

"That was much too quick, so we appealed to the IRL to lengthen the race," Gossage said Friday. "It's giving fans more of a good thing."

Even with the additional length, the 550-kilometer race – about 305 miles – should be completed in about two hours, 15 minutes. In contrast, the Indianapolis 500, which is 500 miles, can last up to four hours. Dallas Morning News


Bodine wins Sam’s Town 400 (Toyota again)
FORT WORTH—Todd Bodine made a remarkable comeback from an early engine problem to win the Sam’s Town 400 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Bodine started from the pole but slowed on the 35th lap and fell from third to 18th. He made several pit stops and his Germain Racing team thought it was a carburetor problem, but were never able to find it. “We think maybe some trash got in the jet,” Bodine said, “but we didn’t find it. Somehow, it cleaned itself out.”

Bodine’s Toyota had to race from the back of the field in the 1.5-mile track and steadily climbed into the top 10. He was eighth, but 15 seconds behind leader Ron Hornaday when a round of green-flag pit stops began with 20 laps to go.

Bodine, having nothing to lose, had pitted at the end of a caution period on lap 87 and had a fuel advantage over the rest of the leaders. When they pitted with 18 laps to go, Bodine took the lead.

Read more & Comment...

Canada Friday press conference
Participating: Jacky Eeckelaert (Honda), Sam Michael (Williams), Willy Rampf (BMW Sauber), Pat Symonds (Renault)

Q: A question really for you all: obviously this year's engines have been homologated, their specification basically frozen. I wonder if you can give some indication of how you feel your specific engines are performing in comparison to the competition?

Pat Symonds: I think that one of the interesting things about the homologated engines is that it was done at one of the few times in the history of Formula One when engines were remarkably even and that surprised me because it was a new formula, the 2.4 V8.

It's the time when you might expect there to be more variation but I think that the fact that the 2.4 V8 is a very limited design anyway, in terms of its mass, its centre of gravity and a lot of principal dimensions, it probably meant that there wasn't a lot of room to maneuver anyway.

Now when you couple that with an imposed rev limit, I think actually the engines are remarkably even, and probably more even than I remember for many years.

Read more & Comment...

Classic Cleveland GP air times
The following classic Cleveland GP race re-runs will be shown on the Sports Time Ohio (STO) cable network in the coming days


8:30PM AUT: Cleveland Grand Prix Classics #8: 7/8/1990 (D)


2:00AM AUT: Cleveland Grand Prix Classics #9: 7/7/1991 (D)

5:00PM AUT: Cleveland Grand Prix Classics #10: 8/9/1992 (D)

9:00PM AUT: Cleveland Grand Prix Classics #10: 8/9/1992 (R)


2:00AM AUT: Cleveland Grand Prix Classics #12: 7/10/1994 (D)


2:00AM AUT: Cleveland Grand Prix Classics #12: 7/10/1994 (D)

Read more & Comment...

Defending LeMans champs quietly confident
Marco Werner has every right to be confident for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Winning there has become a tradition for Audi and the trio of himself, Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. The threesome enters this year’s 75th edition of Le Mans as defending champions and looking to add more history at the world’s greatest motor race.

Pirro, Biela and Werner have combined for 10 overall wins and 11 class championships between them. They won convincingly last year in the Le Mans debut for the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI and reunited for a win in March at Sebring. It begs a question: Is this really the Le Mans dream team?

“We are definitely very much suited to true endurance racing – otherwise we would not have been able to win Sebring and Le Mans,” said Werner, who is looking for this third straight Le Mans win. “Frank and Emanuele have already four Le Mans victories each. This does not come by coincidence. This means they’ve done a great job without errors over many years.”

Read more & Comment...

Champ Car adds fresh start to race format
For the first time in Champ Car history, a race will begin with a standing start Sunday at the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland.

Three-time defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais said one of three things will happen, and two of them are bad.

The 17-car field will line up as they qualified, the engines running but with the cars stationary, just in front of the starting line, spaced out equally. When it is time to race, the drivers will accelerate.

Or, at least they hope to accelerate.

That's because a 1,000-pound vehicle with a 750-horsepower, turbo engine is not the easiest thing in the world to get moving from zero miles per hour. It takes skill to handle the throttle just right, to avoid spinning, or worse.

Bourdais said drivers will either have a perfect start, or they will spin their tires for 100 feet or so. Or, worse, the engine could stall.

Read more & Comment...

Changes abound at Champ Car Grand Prix
Much has changed for the 24th Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland. There are new cars for the Champ Car World Series, many new drivers, a new type of start, new dates and a title sponsor for the race.

So much is different that it seems only the venue -- Portland International Raceway's 1.946-mile road course -- remains the same.

For this year, the race weekend was moved up a week to coincide with the Rose Festival. Qualifying is today and Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. and the hour and 45 minute-long timed Champ Car race at 1 p.m. Sunday.

All drivers are in brand new cars, the Panoz DP01. The Panoz replaces the Lola B2K/00, which had been raced since 2000.

"I think it's good," driver Alex Tagliani said. "The new Panoz chassis that is creating so much passing on the race track. We've seen more passing than with the old cars.

"I feel that Champ Car achieved what they wanted to achieve with the new car."

For a driver like rookie Graham Rahal, who won the Portland Star Mazda race two years ago and sat on pole position for the Atlantic Series race last year, the new car is a detriment.

"Usually a more experienced driver would help develop a car more because he's been around and he's seen the cars in the past," said Rahal, who now drives for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.

"If it was last year and we had the Newman/Haas Lolas of the past, it would be a heck of a lot easier to win a race than it is now. I think it's made it harder for me actually."  More at StatesmanJournal.com

Racing News

Tragedy mars McGuinness victory
A rider and two spectators have been killed following a crash during the Senior race at the centenary Isle of Man TT meeting on Friday.

Mark Ramsbotham, 34, died instantly in the incident at the 26th milestone section of the course while a spectator was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another spectator died in hospital and two marshals were injured.

Lancashire's John McGuinness became the first rider in TT history to break the 130mph barrier when he won the race.

Isle of Man TT organizers said an investigation had been launched into the circumstances of the accident.

McGuinness, who also won the Superbike event on Monday, beat his own record by clocking 130.35mph on the second lap. More at BBC


Andretti spooked by ovals
Marco Andretti's second IndyCar Series season comes down to one painful statistic. He has yet to finish any of the five oval-track races, crashing three times and voluntarily retiring early from the other two. Right, photo of a scared looking Marco Andretti talking to teammate Tony Kanaan and his Engineer Eddie Jones, courtesy IRL

His confidence is understandably low.

"I've never been so frustrated in all my life," the 20-year-old driver said while preparing for tonight's race at Texas Motor Speedway, an oval track. "The difference between this year and last year is I'm not having fun."

Andretti, who won a road course race last season, knows his oval misfortunes have to change in short order. The close racing in tonight's Bombardier Learjet 550k won't afford a driver lacking in confidence to succeed, and Andretti needs a successful finish.

He needs a race in which his No. 26 machine returns to Andretti Green Racing's shop with all its parts and pieces in line. He needs a race in which he can enjoy dueling with teammates Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti, one in which he climbs out of the car wishing the race wasn't yet over.

He has had none of those this year.

At the season-opening race in Homestead, Fla., Andretti, who considered himself a championship contender, said he and engineer Eddie Jones got greedy with the car's setup, risking comfort for speed. It proved to be a bad move. After 53 mostly frightening laps, Andretti parked it.

In Japan, Andretti became anxious with the leader coming up to lap him and lost track of the bigger picture: that he was racing Scott Dixon for fourth place. He crashed.

In Kansas, he tried to learn from his Homestead mistake, this time choosing comfort over speed. Forty-three laps into the race, he climbed out of the cockpit frustrated.

"I was lifting (off the throttle) at the start/finish line going into the corner," he said. "There was no 'soldiering on' that day."

The Indianapolis 500 was going smoothly for Andretti until his mirrors vibrated out of position late in the race. After making one move to pass cars on the backstretch, he turned slightly to the right, which happened to be the space Dan Wheldon's car was occupying.

"I was upside down before I realized that I had hit him," Andretti said.

At Milwaukee last week, Andretti was eyeing a top-five finish with fresh tires late in the race when he decided that racing more aggressively could help him win. The next thing he knew, the car was crumpled against the second-turn wall.  More at Indy Star

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