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DATE News (chronologically)
6/11/2006
f1
World Cup fails to impact Silverstone World Cup fails to impact SilverstoneFollowing Friday’s record turnout, organizers of the British grand prix have announced another good crowd  for day two despite going up against the Soccer World Cup. 65,000 fans, which equals last year’s Saturday crowd, saw reigning world champion, Fernando Alonso take pole position under unusually sunny and warm England skies. Photo courtesy of Renault

“We’ve had another fantastic day here at Silverstone,” Phillips commented. “The new qualifying format has added a real edge to proceedings and seems to be extremely popular with the fans. We’re disappointed not to have a British driver starting tomorrow’s race in the top 10, but I’ve no doubt we’ll have another big crowd tomorrow, and a thrilling race for them to enjoy. “After the race we’ve also got a number of drivers, both past and present, joining Status Quo on stage at the Grand Prix Party. We’ve got a superb package lined up for the fans tomorrow and we’re looking forward to a glorious British Grand Prix.”

06/14/06
lmes
LeMans opening qualifying session times LeMans opening qualifying session timesQualifying times for the opening two hour qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours run in the wet.

1. Capello/Kristensen/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 4mins 19.863secs LMP1
2. Biela/Pirro/Werner Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 4mins 23.070secs LMP1
3. Montagny/Helary/Loeb Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 4mins 23.443secs LMP1
4. Collard/Minassian/Comas Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 4mins 24.135secs LMP1
5. Ortiz/Gabbiani/Campbell-Walter Creation Autosportif Creation CA06/H Judd 4mins 24.621secs LMP1
6. Macallister/Rostan/Pullan Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 Judd 4mins 25.398secs LMP2
7. Lammers/Yoong/Johansson Racing for Holland Dome S101H Judd 4mins 30.820secs LMP1
8. Enge/Turner/Piccini Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 4mins 31.179secs GT1
9. Sarrazin/Lamy/Ortelli Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 4mins 32.053secs GT1
10. Primat/Fassler/Peter Swiss Spirit Courage LC70 Judd 4mins 32.957secs LMP1

11. Nakano/Kurosawa/Gounon Courage Competition Courage LC70 Mugen 4mins 33.067secs LMP1
12. Pergl/Kox/Vasiliev Convers MenX Team Ferrari 550 Maranello 4mins 33.561secs GT1
13. Field/Halliday/Dayton Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 AER 4mins 34.160secs LMP2
14. Kiesa/Moller/Pickering Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm 4mins 34.644secs LMP1
15. Newton/Erdos/Wallace RML MG Lola EX264 AER 4mins 35.048secs LMP2
16. Hancock/Fisken/Frei Courage Competition Courage LC70 Mugen 4mins 35.943secs LMP1
17. Piquet Jr/Garcia/Brabham Russian Age Racing Aston Martin DBR9 4mins 37.041secs GT1
18. Amaral/de Castro/Hughes Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B05/40 AER 4mins 37.362secs LMP2
19. Barazi/Vergers/Cunningham Barazi Epsilon Courage C65 AER 4mins 38.608secs LMP2
20. Sugden/Vann/Smith Russian Age Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello 4mins 40.097secs GT1  zzzz

21. Mowlem/Borcheller/Fittipaldi ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R 4mins 43.103secs GT1
22. Bergmeister/Jonsson/Krohn Krohn White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 43.367secs GT2
23. Babini/Gollin/Pescatori AMR BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBR9 4mins 43.617secs GT1
24. Policand/Goueslard/Alphand Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C5-R 4mins 43.975secs GT1
25. Andre/Clairay/Bouvet Paul Belmondo Racing Courage C65 Mecachrome 4mins 45.086secs LMP2
26. Narac/Dumas/Riccitelli IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 47.900secs GT2
27. Crevels/Dumbreck/Coronel Spyker Squadron BV Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4mins 48.691secs GT2
28. Hahn/Morris/Leroch G-Force Racing Courage C65 Judd 4mins 48.714secs LMP2
29. Gosselin/Ojjeh/Ragues Paul Belmondo Racing Courage C65 Mecachrome 4mins 50.408secs LMP2
30. van Overbeek/Neiman/Long Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 50.438secs GT2

31. Short/Barbosa/Moseley Rollcentre Racing Radical SR9 Judd 4mins 51.700secs LMP2
32. Terada/Timpany/Binnie Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40 Zytek 4mins 51.872secs LMP2
33. Nielsen/Farnbacher/Ehret Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 53.695secs GT2
34. Gardel/Bornhauser/Blanchemain Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello 4mins 55.957secs GT1
35. Macaluso/Lally/James Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 AER 4mins 56.168secs LMP2
36. Nielsen/Elgaard/Andersen Zytek Engineering Zytek 06S 4mins 56.828secs LMP1
37. Bleekemolen/Hezemans/Kane Spyker Squadron BV Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4mins 57.137secs GT2
38. Apicella/Hinoi/Yamanishi JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT 4mins 58.656secs GT1
39. Maxwell/Jeannette/Milner Multimatic Team Panoz Panoz Esperante GT-LM 5mins 03.616secs GT2
40. Tomlinson/Dean/Kimber-Smith Team LNT Panoz Esperante GT-LM 5mins 03.817secs GT2

31. Short/Barbosa/Moseley Rollcentre Racing Radical SR9 Judd 4mins 51.700secs LMP2
32. Terada/Timpany/Binnie Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40 Zytek 4mins 51.872secs LMP2
33. Nielsen/Farnbacher/Ehret Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 53.695secs GT2
34. Gardel/Bornhauser/Blanchemain Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello 4mins 55.957secs GT1
35. Macaluso/Lally/James Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 AER 4mins 56.168secs LMP2
36. Nielsen/Elgaard/Andersen Zytek Engineering Zytek 06S 4mins 56.828secs LMP1
37. Bleekemolen/Hezemans/Kane Spyker Squadron BV Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4mins 57.137secs GT2
38. Apicella/Hinoi/Yamanishi JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT 4mins 58.656secs GT1
39. Maxwell/Jeannette/Milner Multimatic Team Panoz Panoz Esperante GT-LM 5mins 03.616secs GT2
40. Tomlinson/Dean/Kimber-Smith Team LNT Panoz Esperante GT-LM 5mins 03.817secs GT2


41. Lambert/Lefort/Iannetta Ice Pol Racing Team Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 5mins 05.275secs GT2
42. Collin/Nishizawa/Yamaji Team Taisan Advan Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 5mins 05.305secs GT2
43. Yamagishi/Konopka/de Fournoux T2M Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 5mins 06.716secs GT2
44. Niarchos/Kirkaldy/Mullen Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari F430 GTC 5mins 07.362secs GT2
45. Pompidou/Thyrring/Ried Sebah Automotive Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 5mins 10.210secs GT2
46. Bourdais/Cloet/Sharpe Noel del Bello Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 5mins 14.657secs GT2
47. Roussel/Hauchard/Briche Welter Gerard WR Peugeot 5mins 15.480secs LMP2
48. Berridge/Evans/Owen Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B06/10 AER No time LMP1
49. Fellows/O'Connell/Papis Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R No time GT1
50. Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R No time GT1

06/14/06
f1
Massa fastest at Paul Ricard Wednesday Massa fastest at Paul Ricard Wednesday
1 . F. Massa - Ferrari 248 F1 - 1:24.027 (+ 0.000 ) - 76 laps
2 . L. Badoer - Ferrari 248 F1 - 1:25.534 (+ 1.507 ) - 103 laps
3 . G. Paffett - McLaren Mercedes MP4-21 - 1:25.869 (+ 1.842 ) - 89 laps
4 . K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-21 - 1:26.135 (+ 2.108 ) - 48 laps.

Times courtesy of McLaren Mercedes.

06/14/06
f1
Villeneuve fastest Wednesday Villeneuve fastest Wednesday
1 . J. Villeneuve - BMW Sauber F1.06 - 1:23.370 (+ 0.000 ) - 126 laps
2 . N. Rosberg - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1:23.429 (+ 0.059 ) - 76 laps
3 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.06 - 1:23.512 (+ 0.142 ) - 100 laps
4 . G.
Fisichella - Renault R26 - 1:23.664 (+ 0.294 ) - 97 laps
5 . H. Kovalainen - Renault R26 - 1:23.885 (+ 0.515 ) - 113 laps
6 . A. Davidson - Honda RA106 - 1:23.989 (+ 0.619 ) - 119 laps
7 . J. Button - Honda RA106 - 1:24.392 (+ 1.022 ) - 123 laps
8 . A. Wurz - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1:24.402 (+ 1.032 ) - 93 laps
9 . S. Speed - Toro Rosso Cosworth STR1 - 1:24.625 (+ 1.255 ) - 77 laps
10 . D. Coulthard - Red Bull Ferrari RB2 - 1:24.806 (+ 1.436 ) - 78 laps
11 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF106B - 1:25.013 (+ 1.643 ) - 63 laps
12 . R. Schumacher - Toyota TF106B - 1:25.025 (+ 1.655 ) - 55 laps
13 . R. Doornbos - Red Bull Ferrari RB2 - 1:26.807 (+ 3.437 ) - 14 laps
14 . V. Liuzzi - Toro Rosso Cosworth STR1 - 1:27.597 (+ 4.227 ) - 15 laps.

Times courtesy of Williams Cosworth.

06/14/06
alms
lmes
Full LeMans entry list Full LeMans entry list
LMP1:

2. Nielsen/Elgaard/Andersen Zytek Engineering Zytek 06S LMP1
5. Primat/Fassler/Peter Swiss Spirit Courage LC70 Judd LMP1
6. Kiesa/Moller/Pickering Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm LMP1
7. Capello/Kristensen/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 LMP1
8. Biela/Pirro/Werner Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 LMP1
9. Ortiz/Gabbiani/Campbell-Walter Creation Autosportif Creation CA06/H Judd LMP1
12. Hancock/Fisken/Frei Courage Competition Courage LC70 Mugen LMP1
13. Nakano/Kurosawa/Gounon Courage Competition Courage LC70 Mugen LMP1
14. Lammers/Yoong/Johansson Racing for Holland Dome S101H Judd LMP1
16. Collard/Minassian/Comas Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd LMP1
17. Montagny/Helary/Loeb Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd LMP1
19. Berridge/Evans/Owen Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B06/10 AER LMP1

LMP2:
20. Macallister/Rostan/Pullan Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 Judd LMP2
22. Short/Barbosa/Moseley Rollcentre Racing Radical SR9 Judd LMP2
24. Terada/Timpany/Binnie Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40 Zytek LMP2
25. Newton/Erdos/Wallace RML MG Lola EX264 AER LMP2
27. Macaluso/Lally/James Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 AER LMP2
30. Roussel/Hauchard/Briche Welter Gerard WR Peugeot LMP2
32. Barazi/Vergers/Cunningham Barazi Epsilon Courage C65 AER LMP2
33. Field/Halliday/Dayton Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 AER LMP2
35. Hahn/Morris/Leroch G-Force Racing Courage C65 Judd LMP2
36. Gosselin/Ojjeh/Ragues Paul Belmondo Racing Courage C65 Mecachrome LMP2
37. Andre/Clairay/Bouvet Paul Belmondo Racing Courage C65 Mecachrome LMP2
39. Amaral/de Castro/Hughes Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B05/40 AER LMP2  zzzz

GT1:

007. Enge/Turner/Piccini Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
009. Sarrazin/Lamy/Ortelli Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
50. Gardel/Bornhauser/Blanchemain Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello GT1
53. Apicella/Hinoi/Yamanishi JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT GT1
61. Sugden/Vann/Smith Russian Age Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello GT1
62. Piquet Jr/Garcia/Brabham Russian Age Racing Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
63. Fellows/O'Connell/Papis Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R GT1
64. Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R GT1
66. Mowlem/Borcheller/Fittipaldi ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R GT1
67. Pergl/Kox/Vasiliev Convers Team MenX Ferrari 550 Maranello GT1
69. Babini/Gollin/Pescatori AMR BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBR9 GT1
72. Policand/Goueslard/Alphand Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C5-R GT1
20. Macallister/Rostan/Pullan Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 Judd LMP2
22. Short/Barbosa/Moseley Rollcentre Racing Radical SR9 Judd LMP2
24. Terada/Timpany/Binnie Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40 Zytek LMP2
25. Newton/Erdos/Wallace RML MG Lola EX264 AER LMP2
27. Macaluso/Lally/James Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 AER LMP2
30. Roussel/Hauchard/Briche Welter Gerard WR Peugeot LMP2
32. Barazi/Vergers/Cunningham Barazi Epsilon Courage C65 AER LMP2
33. Field/Halliday/Dayton Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 AER LMP2
35. Hahn/Morris/Leroch G-Force Racing Courage C65 Judd LMP2
36. Gosselin/Ojjeh/Ragues Paul Belmondo Racing Courage C65 Mecachrome LMP2
37. Andre/Clairay/Bouvet Paul Belmondo Racing Courage C65 Mecachrome LMP2
39. Amaral/de Castro/Hughes Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B05/40 AER LMP2

06/14/06
cc
Rocketsports back to 2-cars this weekend Rocketsports back to 2-cars this weekendTonis Kasemets will join Rocketsports Racing and its driver Nicky Pastorelli in Portland to make his Champ Car debut, as the team expands to a two-car effort in at least six races this season in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series.

The first year that Rocketsports Racing participated in the Champ Car World Series was in 2003.  That year, the team ventured out onto the 1.969-mile permanent road course at Portland International Speedway with veteran driver Alex Tagliani for the first time, which resulted in a podium finish.  The team knows what it takes to be running up front, and despite Rocketsports’ having two rookies behind the wheel, PIR is a track that both Kasemets and Pastorelli are familiar with. 

Kasemets earned three wins and three poles to finish as the runner-up in the 2005 Atlantic Championship.  Kasemets was unstoppable in Portland last year as two of those wins and one of those poles happened at the PIR track for the Estonian-American driver during a double-header Atlantic race weekend.  He led all 35 laps in the second race of the weekend and posted the fastest time while taking the win from the pole.  The 32-year-old driver was recognized for all his hard work and dedication as not only a driver, but a team member, with the Ohlins Shock Technician of the Year award, which only leads to the expectations that he will bring those skills with him as he joins Rocketsports this weekend and beyond. zzzz

“I am really looking forward to my first Champ Car race and working with Rocketsports Racing this weekend,” said Kasemets as he prepares for the Portland event and becomes the first driver from Estonia to compete in Champ Car.  “I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I would like to thank Rocketsports and my sponsor Flexovit Abrasives for their support and believing in me.  My goal this weekend is to finish the race, if we can do that in the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports car, then it will be a great accomplishment.  This takes time, baby steps is the proper way to go about it with reasonable expectations.  I know that we can work well together and help each other out, and it will show.  Track knowledge helps extremely for a driver. I have raced and won on this track in an Atlantic car, despite the differences between the two cars, it gives me something to work with.  The rookie test for me with Rocketsports on Thursday will give us an idea of how our weekend is going to go.  So we will go out there and give it our best, and I will try to have some fun while trying to get the job accomplished!”

Pastorelli had his first run with the team during a two-day test in Portland back in April.  A former F1 test driver for Jordan in 2005, the Italio-Dutch driver knows the demands of a road course.  Unlike any other upcoming venue he will compete at this season, Pastorelli is familiar with this 10-turn road course terrain as he logged 185 laps during the test. 

“I am looking forward to going to Portland,” said Pastorelli on making his fourth Champ Car start.  “I tested with the team for the first time there, so I have experience on this track.  Unlike all of the other venues that I will be racing on this season, I have an advantage here because of my testing time with the team in April.  Instead of having to go out and learn the track, I can just get started immediately on working on finding a good set-up for the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports car.  It is a really nice track to drive.  I really don’t know what to expect, but I am sure it will be fun.  The Rocketsports team has been doing a great job for me, I hope we can get another top-ten finish this weekend and work on improving our qualifying position and overall result this weekend.”

The #18 Rocketsports crew heads out to Portland today and will run Kasemets in a one-day test on Thursday on the PIR track.  The rest of the team will arrive on Thursday to prepare for the race weekend.  Final qualifying will take place at 1:45 p.m. local time on Saturday.  The race is scheduled to take the green flag at 12:30 p.m. local time on Sunday and can be seen LIVE on CBS with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST.  For live racing coverage all weekend sign up for Race Director at www.champcar.ws. Rocketsports

06/14/06
irl
Meet the Drivers Meet the DriversMarco Andretti, the IndyCar® Series rookie who finished second in last month's Indianapolis 500, and his Andretti Green Racing teammate Bryan Herta will make a special appearance in the Indy Paddock Club, an all-inclusive fan-friendly hospitality area, on June 24 at Richmond International Raceway.

Admission to the Indy Paddock Club includes a reserved seat for the SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM Satellite Radio and the Richmond Times-Dispatch 100 USAC Silver Crown Championship Series race "under the lights" on Saturday, June 24. Additionally, the Paddock Club package includes a general admission ticket for Friday night's WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying for the IndyCar Series, followed by the USAC National Sprint Car Series race.

Herta, driver of the #7 XM Satellite Radio car, will be signing autographs at the XM Satellite Radio/SunTrust booth from 3:20 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. (EDT) on June 24, prior to the race at Richmond International Raceway. The XM Satellite Radio booth is located in the fan midway area outside of the track near the Old Dominion Building. IRL

06/14/06
irl
Everybody Loves Danica Everybody Loves DanicaIndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick is ranked among America's favorite female athletes according to the annual Harris Poll.  Patrick, the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500, finished fifth in the poll, highest among seven newcomers, in the survey conducted online by Harris Interactive among a random sample of 2,085 U.S. adults between May 9-16.  Tennis' star siblings Venus and Serena Williams topped the poll followed by soccer star Mia Hamm, rising golf star Michelle Wie and Patrick. IRL
06/14/06
alms
What LeMans means to them What LeMans means to themLE MANS, France – There isn’t a spectacle in the world of sports car racing quite like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The atmosphere, the line of grandstands and especially the cars make this an event like no other.

Here’s a sampling of what the Le Mans event means to some of those within the American Le Mans Series – drivers, owners, team members and others:

Seth Neiman, Flying Lizard Motorsports
“For me, you have to start with not just the history, but why it has that history. It is the kind of history and place that sports car driver have to test themselves. It also is an unbelievable circuit on which to drive. There is nothing else like it in the world.”

Terry Borcheller, ACEMCO Motorsports/Team Lexus
“To go to Le Mans is a big deal as a driver. Every time I go, I’m awestruck when I’m there. I dreamed of being a professional racer, but in that dream the pinnacle is Le Mans. It really is overwhelming for me. To do it with a team and a car and a team that can possibly win, that’s great.”

Liz Halliday, Intersport Racing
“It’s really the most spectacular event I have ever been a part of. I remember the awe of taking to the track for the first time and thinking, ‘Wow, I’m actually here!’ Also the fans were incredible – it was totally unbelievable to be around the hundreds of thousands of people who come to watch the race.”  zzzz

Tim Mayer, American Le Mans Series/IMSA COO
“I grew up with people like Alain Prost sleeping in our bedroom. I’ve been very spoiled and somewhat jaded when it comes to what is special for other people. But no one can be unmoved by the history and historical significance of Le Mans. That moment right before the start of the race is one of the most electric moments in motorsports. It’s one of the few iconic moments in racing, even for someone who has seen it all since he was a teenager.”

Johnny O’Connell, Corvette Racing
“The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the second oldest auto race in the world, and you can feel its history and tradition. I've raced in the Indy 500, and I can tell you that this race is every bit as big, every bit as spectacular, and about 21 hours more difficult. Maybe it's the sign of a person who's not playing with a full deck, but it was always one of my goals to race at night at Le Mans, in the rain, driving nearly 200 mph. I've done that, and it's a pretty neat life experience.”

Scott Maxwell, Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz
“I am a bit of a motorsport historian and I always remember being a little bit in awe when I first drove out the pit lane back in 2000 – this race is always a highlight of the year. The toughest part of Le Mans is the discipline. You have to race within yourself and not get caught up in the chase. As you get physically and mentally tired, it can be easy to make mistakes, particularly as daylight breaks on Sunday morning.”

The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts at 5 p.m. local time (11. a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 17 and finishes at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 18. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel in North America and in Europe on MotorsTV, which will have flag-to-flag, extended 24-hour coverage. Live radio coverage will be available at www.radiolemans.com.

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the New England Grand Prix, set for July 1 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. The race is scheduled for a 3 p.m. EDT start. CBS Sports will televise the event from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT on July 2. MotorsTV will air the race from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. CET on July 2. Live coverage will be available at americanlemans.com with American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

06/14/06
nascar
Mears signs with Hendrick to replace Vickers Mears signs with Hendrick to replace VickersCar owner Rick Hendrick today announced the signing of driver Casey Mears to pilot Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 25 Chevrolets in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series beginning in 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Mears, 28, inked a multi-year agreement that will keep him with the team through at least the 2009 racing season. He will replace Brian Vickers, who is slated to complete the current schedule after being granted a release from contractual obligations to Hendrick Motorsports beyond 2006.

“Casey is a talented driver and a high-character person who is going to be a great fit with our organization,” Hendrick said. “He has the ability to win races and ultimately contend for championships, so we’re thrilled to welcome him to Hendrick Motorsports.”

In the midst of his fourth full season, Mears has posted two pole positions, five top-five finishes and 21 top-10s on the NEXTEL Cup circuit. The Bakersfield, Calif., native kicked off the 2006 campaign with a career-best second-place performance in the Feb. 19 Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where on Jan. 29 he became the first full-time NASCAR driver to be part of a winning Grand American Rolex 24 team. zzzz

“I’m committed to winning races and going after championships with the No. 25 team,” said Mears, the son of legendary off-road racer Roger Mears and nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears. “This is an opportunity for me to work with close friends and start fresh with one of the top organizations in all of sports. It’s an exciting situation for me, both personally and professionally.”

Casey Mears began racing competitively at the age of 4, campaigning BMX bicycles before moving to three- and four-wheel all-terrain vehicles at his hometown track of Bakersfield Speedway. He switched to go-karts in 1991, followed by a stint in the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Series (SuperLites) in 1992. Mears later earned the coveted Jim Russell USAC Triple Crown in 1995.

In 1999, Mears finished second in the Indy Lights Series championship standings. He won the ILS Grand Prix of Houston in October 2000 and later that month posted a top-five result in his CART Series (now Champ Car) debut at Fontana, Calif. The following year, he ran a four-race CART schedule as a substitute for the injured Alex Zanardi and made three Indy Racing League starts.

Mears drove his first-ever stock-car race in October 2001, earning a top-10 finish in the Automobile Racing Club of America event at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He began full-time NASCAR Busch Series competition in 2002 before joining the NEXTEL Cup Series as a regular in 2003.

06/14/06
cc
Toronto Announces Sponsorship Line-Up for 2006 Toronto Announces Sponsorship Line-Up for 2006Toronto, Ontario -  The Molson Grand Prix of Toronto is pleased to announce its full line-up of event sponsors that will join the Grand Prix Association of Toronto in bringing the Champ Car World Series to city streets on July 7, 8 and 9, 2006.

“Our partners are a critical component to the overall success of our event,” says Tyler Mazereeuw, director, Corporate Partnerships for the Grand Prix Association of Toronto.  “They provide operational and administrative support, on-site content, and pre-event awareness.  The Molson Grand Prix of Toronto provides them with an opportunity to play an integral role in the delivery of an internationally renowned event.”

As one of the premier sporting events in the country, the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto has a long standing history of racing on the streets of Toronto and has attracted 3.2 million race attendees over the past 20 years.  Much of the success is due to the many partners that provide industry expertise and contribute to the overall execution of the event.  The following sponsors are playing a significant role in the 2006 Molson Grand Prix of Toronto.

Ford Motor Company of Canada will reach out to consumers through its partnership with the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto with a special invitation Ride & Drive initiative on Friday and Saturday of race weekend.  This unique program provides pre-selected Ford customers the opportunity to test drive the all-new 2006 Ford Fusion on the actual Exhibition Place racetrack during race weekend.  In addition, this VIP experience will allow Ford race guests to meet some of the Champ Car drivers, the Women's Champ Car Pace Car team drivers, and Ford of Canada product managers.

Abrams Towing will be playing a key role on the operational side of the event.  As the official towing partner, Abrams will provide applicable Abrams’ equipment, services and trained personnel for all support series races that will be held race weekend.  In addition, Abrams will feature an antique tow-truck display on-site and distribute Abrams V.I.P Membership cards to race-goers offering a 15 per cent discount for all roadside assistance services.

As the official hotel sponsor, the Delta Chelsea Hotel will serve as Race Headquarters during race week to support the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto event staff, race teams and partners.  Leading up to race weekend, the hotel will play host to a number of special events, including the popular Miss Grand Prix of Toronto semi-finals.  The Delta Chelsea Hotel will also reach out to tourists with special hotel and ticket packages that include hotel accommodation, event tickets and other value-added items such as Champ Car Paddock passes, VIP Pit Walk-Thru passes and official event programs.

PartyPoker.net, the Official Poker Sponsor of the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto, is upping the ante on-site during the event with its poker-themed gaming experience featuring free poker action for visitors throughout race weekend.

As the official insurance sponsor, Atto & Associates Insurance Brokers will be supporting the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto at a number of levels.  In addition to providing insurance consulting services, the company is truly bringing on-track action to the event as the title sponsor of the Atto Vintage GT Challenge support series race.  The series features dedicated drivers who love vintage cars and have a desire to maintain and race them in as close to the car’s original condition as possible.  For race-goers who want a behind the scenes experience, the Sun Atto Pit Stop Challenge in Thunder Alley will give fans the opportunity to test their hand at being part of a race team pit crew.

Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. will ensure that race attendees never miss a moment of action from around the track.  As the official electronics partner, Samsung will revolutionize the way visitors experience the closed-circuit broadcast on-site.  Samsung LCD televisions will be integrated throughout the event site in areas such as hospitality suites, media centre, race headquarters, and other interactive areas. zzzz 

The Molson Grand Prix of Toronto partnership team has worked closely with sponsors to develop unique on-site branding opportunities with some of the event’s most popular off-track attractions at Exhibition Place.  These include:

Thunder Alley presented by Toronto Sun
GPT Auto Expo presented by 24 Hours
GPT Auto Expo Stage presented by 24 Hours 
The Champ Car Paddock presented by Mobil 1
Sunoco Ultra 94 VIP Pit Walk-Thru
Autograph Sessions presented by Yahoo! Canada Answers

“This is an important year for the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto as we move toward the future of racing on the streets of Toronto with our new name and look,” says Charlie Johnstone, president and CEO, Grand Prix Association of Toronto.  “We are excited to be working with a remarkable group of companies to continue to make the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto one of the most anticipated events of the summer.”

Also joining the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto partner line-up are several of Canada’s most recognized brands including:

Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution – “Snakes on a Plane”
Bosch Power Tools
Canadian Forces
CN Tower
Global Television
Harvey’s
John Deere
Levitra
Maxell Canada
MBNA Canada
Molson Canada
Ontario Tourism/Tourism Toronto
Reckitt Benckiser - Frank’s Red Hot
Xbox
 
The 2006 Molson Grand Prix of Toronto is a week-long festival of speed surrounding the international field of racers in the Champ Car World Series. The event features the popular outdoor Thunder Alley presented by Toronto Sun filled with interactive games, beach volleyball, live music, beer gardens, the Champ Car Paddock presented by Mobil 1, and many other unique attractions.  Across the track, the National Trade Centre will host the new GPT Auto Expo presented by 24 Hours with more than 300,000 square feet of the most tricked-out automobiles in the country as well as live music, dance and battle-of-the-bands competitions, and car shows.

About the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto
New ownership, a new name, and a new attitude makes this a landmark year for the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto.  For the past 20 years, Torontonians have celebrated a long-weekend of racing on their streets and 2006 promises to be another spectacular festival of international racers and exciting off-track entertainment. Tickets are on sale now at www.grandprixtoronto.com or by calling 1-416-872-2222. 

06/14/06
cc
irl
Ex-leader calls for unification Ex-leader calls for unificationLook, even a former South Korea leader is calling for unification.  Oops, he's not talking about Champ Car and IRL.......which is perhaps never going to happen at this rate.
06/14/06
Miscellaneous
Store lets boys be boys Store lets boys be boysMove over, American Girl Place. It's time to give the boys a chance to play.  Experience Enterprises Inc., a Chicago-based startup, is preparing to roll out a chain of auto racing stores aimed at boys. The stores mimic a day at the racetrack.

Of course, girls are welcome too, says Blake Harper, 32, one of three co-founders of the company. Mr. Harper is a self-described car nut who dreamed up the idea. But the chief goal is to give boys a chance to shop and play just like their sisters.

"There really are few things that provide an interactive environment for boys to be boys," says David Domm, 30, another co-founder and president of the company. "Most boys love cars."

The new concept, called Raceline Motorworks, is part of a growing trend to turn shopping into entertainment, a movement made popular by retailers such as Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc., Apple Computer Inc. and Gander Mountain. With so many retail outlets competing for consumers' attention, simply putting merchandise on the sales floor will no longer get the job done. It has to be fun.

"It's not just enough anymore to sell stuff," says Candace Corlett, principal of WSL Strategic Retail, a New York-based consulting firm. "You have to overlay the merchandise with great value, and that's either low price or entertainment."  More at ChicagoBusiness.com

06/14/06
f1
Bridgestone Canadian GP Preview Bridgestone Canadian GP PreviewAs Montrealers prepare to welcome the Formula One teams and start the Canadian Grand Prix celebrations that will include the Bridgestone-sponsored Open House Day on June 22, the windows of downtown stores are already in F1 mode with the Bridgestone Decor Program.

It's the sixth consecutive year Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. (BFCA) has staged the program.

BFCA provides stores, free of charge, racing items such as flags, pennants, shirts and caps, mounted images of the 2006 F1 teams and tires to decorate their windows.

"We are well aware that people in Montreal are tremendous motor-racing fans, and the city literally vibrates with excitement and enthusiasm as it plays host to the Canadian Grand Prix every year," said Michael Sigillito, Director, consumer tire marketing BFCA. "The idea behind the Bridgestone décor program is to provide stores with an opportunity to be involved in the festivities and feel a part of this major event in the city." A fashion-industry personality, designer Kevin Allwood of Nevik, will be judging the displays of participating stores. The store with the most attractive window display will win a pair of three-day tickets in the F1 Restaurant's Elite loge for the 2006 Canadian Grand Prix. More than 25 stores, mainly on Saint Catherine Street between Crescent and University, are among this year's Bridgestone Décor Program participants. zzzz

"I'm sure it's going to be extremely hard to determine which store has the best décor, because all of them put a considerable amount of effort into the project," said Allwood. "I'm looking forward to seeing the creativity of these stores on display. It should attract a lot of attention from passers-by, and get people caught up in the euphoria of Canadian Grand Prix week in Montreal." The 2006 Bridgestone Decor Program winner will be announced on Monday, June 19. The windows of the participating stores will be decorated with the 2006 Bridgestone Decor Program colors from June 12-25.

Other Bridgestone activities at the Canadian Grand Prix Open House Day The Bridgestone brand is the official sponsor of Open House Day at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Thursday, June 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Bridgestone display truck will be the first attraction racing fans see when they arrive at the site. A replica of Michael Schumacher's 2003 Ferrari will be on display. Employees from the Bridgestone Firestone factory in Joliette will be on hand in two Bridgestone tents next to the Bridgestone display truck to explain and demonstrate how a tire is made.

People wishing to attend the Canadian Grand Prix Open House Day on June 22 must obtain free passes available at participating Bridgestone retailers.

For more information on Open House Day or for the list of participating Bridgestone retailers, please visit the Grand Prix website at www.grandprix.ca or phone 514 350 0000.

Bridgestone is the official tire of the Canadian Grand Prix, which is being run this year on June 23-25 on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Bridgestone

06/14/06
nascar
Gibbs not happy with Stewart's 'other' races Gibbs not happy with Stewart's 'other' racesCar owner Joe Gibbs says he won't keep #20-Tony Stewart from running in races other than Nextel Cup events, but Gibbs is not fond of the practice as his driver recovers from a broken shoulder blade. Stewart's injury was discovered after he crashed in last month's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The incident happened a night after Stewart wrecked in the Busch race. A doctor cleared Stewart after the Busch incident, but Stewart favored his right shoulder before the Cup race. Gibbs is sensitive to his Cup drivers competing in other events. Bobby Labonte broke his shoulder blade in a Busch crash at Darlington in 1999. Labonte didn't return to that series the rest of the year. Gibbs says he's talked to Stewart about the driver's racing schedule. "I think for younger guys that have a chance maybe to up their careers and want laps and all that, that's one set of circumstances,'' said Gibbs, who has Cup rookies Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley, both driving full time in the Busch series. "For Tony, it's different. He can drive anything. He doesn't need laps. I know he loves it. We did limit a lot of things he's done. He's worked with us on that. He's got a lot to lose. He's got contracts that pay him a lot of money.'' Stewart, fourth in the Cup standings, has competed in five Busch races for Kevin Harvick's team. He's scheduled to drive five more Busch races for Harvick, beginning at Daytona next month. Gibbs says that once drivers begin competing for a Cup title that's where he wants his drivers spending less time in other series. Roanoke Times
06/14/06
nascar
Petty still cannot find sponsor Petty still cannot find sponsorPetty Enterprises continues to look for sponsorship of Kyle Petty's #45-car for races at Chicago, New Hampshire, Phoenix and Homestead. Roanoke Times
06/14/06
A1 Grand Prix
A1 Grand Prix makes plans for ’06/07 season A1 Grand Prix makes plans for ’06/07 seasonLondon – A1 Grand Prix’s Executive Board and Seatholders met today in London to discuss the upcoming season and a variety of changes, both commercial and technical, to be implemented in the Series’ second season to commence 1 October in Zandvoort, the Netherlands.

Among discussion points that were agreed were:

  • The extension of the Feature race from 60 minutes to 70 minutes.
  • The reduction of the Sprint race from 30 minutes to 20 minutes as well as a change in the points system, allocating points to the top six finishers only.
  • The points system and prize money for the Feature race will remain unchanged.
  • The time between the Sprint race and the Feature race will be increased to nearly three and a half hours allowing for scrutineering, the lodging of any protests and technical adjustments to the cars.

Recent A1 television deals included license agreement renewals in the Netherlands with RTL7 and TV3 in New Zealand. In addition Sky Sports UK has agreed to allow a delayed race broadcast to be made available on terrestrial television.

A1’s broadcast team will be in France later this week meeting with French broadcast carriers as well as Eurosport, the incumbent licensee, to discuss next year’s broadcast plans in the territory.

A1 Grand Prix has committed to a 12 race calendar for the 2006/07 season with specific locations to be confirmed shortly. New franchise applications were also discussed as well as a general review of the performance of all existing franchises with a view towards potential changes in location and ownership for the coming season.

06/14/06
cc
Portland Champ Car Preview Portland Champ Car PreviewHaving conquered the Milwaukee Mile for the first time in his career, Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) heads to Portland looking to add another first-time achievement to his ever-growing list of Champ Car accomplishments.
 
But a win at this weekend’s G.I. Joe’s Presents The Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland would do more than add another notch in Bourdais’ belt. A victory in the 1.968-mile Portland International Raceway would elevate the Flying Frenchman to heights reached by only two drivers in the 98-year history of Champ Car racing, while also moving him one step closer to a third consecutive championship—something done only once in those same 98 seasons.
 
A Bourdais win at Portland - something he already has on his resume thanks to a 2004 romp from the pole position - would move him alongside A.J. Foyt and Al Unser Sr. as the only drivers in series history to win five consecutive Champ Car events. Foyt holds the all-time record with seven straight victories while Unser won five in a row on two separate occasions during his storied career. More.....
06/14/06
Track News
IRP sells naming rights IRP sells naming rightsIndianapolis Raceway Park today is expected to announce that the facility’s naming rights have been purchased by O’Reilly Auto Parts. The facility, which hosts the NHRA and NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck series races, will be known as O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Indy Star
06/14/06
Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 6-14-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.924
2. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 9.588
3. (5) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 7.868
4. (3) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.688
5. (14) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 7.674
6. (16) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.479
7. (4) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.459
8. (20) Michael Schumacher (F1) 7.272
9. (17) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.138
10. (10) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.090
11. (6) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.914
12. (7) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.894
13. (15) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.837
14. (9) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.786
15. (8) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.640
16. (23) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.344
17. (12) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.331
18. (NR) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.287
19. (24) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.073
20. (NR) Scott Riggs (NASCAR) 5.927
Dropped out: Jeff Gordon (NASCAR), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Kyle Busch
(NASCAR), Jamie McMurray (NASCAR)

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

06/14/06
f1
A new logo for Ferrari's F1 racer A new logo for Ferrari's F1 racer(GMM) Eagle eyed Ferrari fanatics should spot an extra logo on the F1 team's single seater at Indianapolis next month.

At the city's fabled Motor Speedway for the 2006 US grand prix, the Italian squad led by Jean Todt is tipped to wear decals bearing the 'Case IH' name, according to Auto Express.

The predominantly American brand, whose corporate colors are grey and red, is Ferrari parent Fiat's tractor-making subsidiary.

Meanwhile, it is expected that Fiat, the Turin-based Italian carmaker, will buy back a considerable stake in Ferrari from Mediobanca in September of this year.

Fiat sold the 34 per cent stake to the investment bank in 2002, but Mediobanco then sold 5 per cent to Abu Dhabi's state-controlled 'Mubadala' company.

But Fiat president Luca di Montezemolo said: ''We want to recover the entire stake (but) we are still looking at how we're going to do it.''

The carmaker owns 56 per cent of Ferrari.

06/14/06
cc
A.J. Allmendinger Joins Forsythe Championship Racing A.J. Allmendinger Joins Forsythe Championship RacingWheeling, Illinois – Forsythe Championship Racing is proud to announce that it has partnered with A.J. Allmendinger to drive the #7 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone/Lola beginning at the G.I. Joe's Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, the fifth round of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, which takes place June 16 – 18 at the Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon.

The 24 year-old American driver will partner with Paul Tracy as the Forsythe duo continues the hunt for the 2006 Vanderbilt Cup.  This will not be the first time that Tracy and Allmendinger join forces at the race track, Allmendinger kicked off his career when Tracy selected him to drive for his Go-Kart team in the year 2000, the team’s performance in the inaugural Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow program in Las Vegas awarded Allmendinger his first opportunity to test a Champ Car.  He continued to climb up the Champ Car ladder by securing the Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship in his rookie year in 2002 with six victories, four pole positions, and nine podium finishes.  In 2003 he moved up to Champ Car Atlantic where he won the Championship and Rookie of the Year honors in dominating fashion by capturing nine poles and seven victories, becoming the second-youngest driver ever to capture the coveted title, behind Michael Andretti.  Allmendinger made the leap up to the Champ Car World Series in 2004 with the first-year RuSPORT team and quickly went on to capture eleven top-ten starts and nine top-ten finishes that included two visits to the podium and his first laps led in the series. His aggressive debut earned him the 2004 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year title, as well as the AUTOSPORT Rookie of the Year Award, becoming the first American to do so. Allmendinger finished the season sixth overall, marking the highest finish for an American-born Champ Car rookie since Bobbie Rahal in 1982. He continued with his impressive development in 2005 when he earned his first pole and collected four second-place finishes and finished fifth in the Championship.  zzzz

The Red Bull athlete contested the first four races of the 2006 Champ Car World Series season with the RuSPORT team and currently is tied for fourth in the Championship with 69 points. Catch all the action live through CBS Sports June 18 at 3:30pm Eastern Time as A.J. Allmendinger tries to capture his first career victory with his new team, Forsythe Championship Racing.  You can also tune in to Race Director, available through the Champ Car website, for live coverage of the race and many practice and qualifying sessions with multiple channels of live video, audio, timing, telemetry and commentary.  Visit http://www.champcar.ws and www.forsythe-racing.com for more information.

A.J. Allmendinger #7 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone/Lola
“I have to say I'm really looking forward to the next chapter in my racing career and more importantly, winning races. I think this opportunity with Forsythe Racing is going to give me a competitive chance to stay in the championship hunt and try and chase down Bourdais! So right now, I want to focus on the next couple of races and see if we can gel and get up to speed quickly. This series is so competitive, so that needs to be the immediate focus. I also just want to quickly thank Red Bull and everyone there for supporting me as I move forward."

Neil Micklewright, VP of Team Operations
“There have obviously been a lot of changes in the last few days but I am very happy with the way things turned out.  It’s never easy for a team to make drastic changes like this in the middle of the season, but we have some of the best engineers and mechanics in the business and I have no doubt that we’ll have AJ up to speed straight away.”

Jerry Forsythe, Team Owner
“A.J. has shown incredible talent, speed and potential over the last few years and I hope that we’ll be able to nurture and further develop his skills.  Both A.J. and Paul are passionate racers and strong characters; it’s certainly going to be an interesting time for the team!”

06/14/06
TV News
Economaki Wind Tunnel special Economaki Wind Tunnel specialUPDATE A reminder that Chris will appear this Sunday night on Wind Tunnel.

06/07/06 SPEED will bring viewers a special edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on June 18 at 9 p.m. ET entitled Economaki – Eyewitness to American Racing History. The one-hour special will be a wide-ranging conversation with Chris Economaki, a motor sports journalist for more than 70 years.

Economaki, the Editor and Publisher Emeritus of National Speed Sport News, began his career at age 13, hawking the publication at tracks in his native New Jersey. The face and voice of American motor sports for more than 33 years with ABC and CBS, Economaki literally has ‘seen it all,’ and at age 85, still writes a weekly notebook column for NSSN.

“Economaki is unique because of the duration of his career,” Despain said. “No one has covered racing longer … and touched more people with that coverage. He is a fascinating storyteller. USAC President and CEO Rollie Helmling put it best: ‘Everyone who has any interest in racing owes something to Chris Economaki.’ ”

“Chris is a national treasure,” said author and motor sports businessman Tom Cotter. “He is the vault of auto racing knowledge in the world.  Ask Chris who finished third at Indy in 1959; he'll know the answer off the top of his head.  Ask him what brand of wine Roger Penske likes to drink, he'll know that, too.  There is no other person on the face of this earth who has more diverse racing contacts than Chris … from meeting Tazio Nuvolari,  when he competed in the 1939 Vanderbilt Cup Races in New York, to spending time with Tony Stewart at the NASCAR race this weekend in Pocono.”
06/14/06
nascar
Newman to drive Midgets again Newman to drive Midgets againRyan Newman will be back in a midget in tonight’s (Wednesday’s) program at his hometown track of South Bend Motor Speedway.  He will drive his own Mopar-engined machine.  He plans another outing in July at the same track.
06/14/06
cca
Things to look for in Portland Things to look for in Portland
Tough Stretch: The Portland race weekend begins perhaps the most grueling stretch of the season for the Atlantics. With back-to-back race weekends scheduled at both PIR and Cleveland over the next two weeks, and a doubleheader event on tap next weekend in Cleveland, the series is beginning a run of six races over the next eight weeks. 
 
Proving His Wirth: Germany’s Andreas Wirth continues to lead the series championship standings after three rounds of action. Wirth won the first two races of the season, at Long Beach and Houston, and he recovered from a tough qualifying last round at Monterrey, Mexico to claim sixth. The 21-year-old Forsythe Racing sophomore holds a five-point edge (84-79) in the standings over French rookie Simon Pagenaud heading into this weekend’s action. Portland was kind to Wirth in his rookie season of 2005. He earned his first series pole at the venue and scored the first podium results of his career as well.
 
Golden Graham: Perhaps no one carries more confidence into Portland than 17-year-old Graham Rahal of Mi-Jack Conquest Racing. The son of racing legend Bobby Rahal claimed both his first pole and first series victory in Monterrey, becoming the youngest winner in the 33-year history of Atlantics. The young Rahal has now risen to third in the Atlantic standings, 23 points behind Wirth, and he won last time he raced in Portland, capturing the 2005 Star Mazda race at PIR.  zzzz

A Portland Hayes: PR1 Motorsports chief engineer John Hayes returns home this weekend. Widely regarded as one of the brightest engineering minds in the Atlantic paddock, Hayes was born in the Rose City. Now a resident of Peach Tree City, Georgia, Hayes would love to secure a win for his team and driver Jonathan Bomarito in his homecoming weekend.

Breakfast Anyone?: The annual Portland Boy Scouts Breakfast serves as the unofficial kickoff for the Grand Prix of Portland each racing season. This year is no exception as the Boy Scouts host their breakfast on Thursday, June 15 beginning at 7 a.m. at the Oregon Convention Center. Atlantic Championship Managing Director Vicki O’Connor, in her 21st season at the helm of the series, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the breakfast.

Ch-ch-ch-changes: The Atlantic lineup will feature a number of changes from the last time the series hit the track in mid May. Brooks Associates Racing underwent a complete driver lineup overhaul as Austrian Norbert Siedler and Venezuelan  Luis Schiavo have both left the team. Mexico’s Carlos Mastretta and Brazilian Alex Sperafico will now drive for the Brooks team for the rest of the season, beginning at Portland. Charles Hall of the UK is no longer competing at Transnet Racing and South African Stephen Simpson has also stepped away from Gelles Racing. 2005 Atlantic standout Antoine Bessette will step into Simpson’s seat at Gelles Racing. Ryan Lewis of England joins the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team this weekend while Americans Steve Ott (MSR Houston Team Jensen), Kyle Kelley (US RaceTronics) and Duncan Ende (Bite Racing) all return to action.
 
A Fabulous Full Field: Entering a new era of Atlantic competition in 2006, the series has seen a dramatic boost in participation. A number of new teams and drivers have joined the series this season, teaming up with many returning Atlantic participants to give the championship its deepest and most talented field in years. With 29 entries in the season-opening event at Long Beach in April, Atlantics hosted the largest field at a single race in seven years. A total of 26 cars are expected to compete this weekend in Portland.  

International Appeal: The worldwide appeal of competing in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship has been clearly on display this season. A total of 12 different countries have been represented in series competition this year and drivers from nine different countries will be featured in action this weekend. Competitors from countries including: the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, France and Germany will all be racing in Portland. The USA carries the largest contingent of drivers with 11 racers prepared to take the green flag on Sunday. In both Rounds 1 and 2 this season the top five finishers in each race represented five different countries. 

Remarkable Rookie Rundown: The 2006 Atlantic rookie crop could be one of the top collections of first-year racers in series history. A total of 18 talented rookies took the first green flag of the year at Long Beach, 19 first-year drivers were in action in Houston, 17 at Monterrey and 19 are expected at Portland. In what’s sure to be a hotly-contested battle all season, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud leads the Atlantic rookie standings after three rounds with 79 points, following back-to-back second-place finishes in Houston and Monterrey.

Autographs Please: The 2006 crop of Atlantic drivers will meet and greet the fans in attendance at the Grand Prix of Portland with an all-driver autograph session. The racers will sign for fans on Saturday in the Infield Chalet East of the crossover bridge from 11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. local time. Champ Car Atlantic

06/14/06
cca
Standing Starts return to Atlantic series Standing Starts return to Atlantic seriesAtlantic fans and competitors are already looking ahead to next weekend’s doubleheader in Cleveland when standing starts make their return in the series for the first time in nearly eight years. A longtime staple of Atlantic racing since the series was born in 1974, the nearly 30-car Atlantic field will roar from a stationary start into the treacherous Turn 1 on Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport road course during both series races at the Grand Prix of Cleveland, June 24-25.
06/14/06
cca
Atlantic Portland race preview Atlantic Portland race previewSummer has arrived and the heat is on in North America’s top open-wheel racing development series.  Throughout the first three rounds of the 2006 Yokohama Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, the competition has proven to be fierce. With some of the world’s top up-and-coming racers battling it out in the new Mazda-Cosworth/Swift/Yokohama Atlantic racing package the series has certainly measured up to its pre-season hype with fields of nearly 30 cars fighting for every inch of track and then some. More....
06/14/06
gp2
Campos team apologizes to Porteiro Campos team apologizes to PorteiroThe Campos GP2 Team to the complete one wants to transmit our total acceptance of the sanction that has imposed after the second race of the GP2 Series in Silverstone's British circuit and that has supposed Félix Porteiro's disqualification.

The Spanish driver had realized a great race, obtaining on the track his first podium of the GP2 Series on having finished second after the British Lewis Hamilton.

In the later technical regulations, the Stewards detected a piece badly placed in the car number 25 of the Campos GP2 Team, for what they chose to excluded Félix Porteiro. In concrete, the sanction was caused because the position of the zipper of direction was not corresponding to the geometry of the front suspension.

The disqualification was owed therefore exclusively to a human mistake in the placement of this piece, which had been mounted upside-down, and that though in no case premeditation has existed, we have clear that the regulation does not leave place to the discussion, in spite of the fact that the assembly of the mentioned piece does not concern the improvement of the characteristics of the car.

In this sense, in the own comunicate emitted by the stewards there is reflected clearly that in spite of the fact that no type of premeditation has existed on the part of the team and that the mentioned piece does not concern the improvement of the characteristics of the car, the regulation is clear and another option does not leave that the exclusion of the driver for a technical irregularity.

For it, we would like to be sorry this incident, as well as publicly we apologize to our driver Félix Porteiro, who sees as disappear he great work that he had realized on the track and that had allowed him to obtain his first podium in the category. Campos Racing Press Release

06/14/06
f1
Q and A with Jacques Villeneuve Q and A with Jacques Villeneuve
Q. It is ten years since your first Canadian Grand Prix. Have things changed a lot for you both personally and in terms of motor racing?

JV: Personally it has changed a lot. Obviously because I am now married and expecting a kid, so that is a big difference. On the racing side the answer is also yes. Back then I was going to every race knowing we could fight for the win and now we go to the race thinking we can fight for the points. The really good thing is we are working in the right direction to get closer to the winning circle.

Q. You still say racing is fun for you, which is not something you often hear from racing drivers. What is the fun aspect of your sport?

JV: I am in racing and Formula One purely because of the driving. This is why it is fun. If you are in it for a different reason then things may be different. Some people I know are in it for the glamour or for being a star and that is what Formula One represents. I think they probably have a lot less fun

Q. Montreal is where you come from but not now where you live. What are your feelings for the City and Country?

JV: That is where my roots are so it always has a special importance. zzzz

Q. This year you go there with your new wife. Has she been there before?

JV: No, Johanna has never been to Quebec or Canada, so this will be an interesting trip. We will have very little time to have a look around. During the racing season it is very hard to try and find the time to appreciate a place. I think we have one day off before the race weekend and that is it.

Q. You are a racing driver, but probably you could easily have been a downhill skier?

JV:
I knew since I was five years old I would race cars, so I never did anything else seriously enough to be able to bring it to a professional level.

Q. You have expressed an interest in ice hockey, so is this another sport you could have done?

JV:
Yes it is a sport I love, but it is not something that I did as a youngster. I only started playing it lately.

Q. You are a keen music fan and everyone is talking about your CD that is coming out soon. Tell us about it.

JV: It has a folk feel to it, folk rock. I don't know how to describe it as it is really hard to give the direction it is, but it is not heavy metal and it is not r&b. A little bit more soft music with acoustic guitars. I wrote half of the songs and do some singing. I don't play much because we have professionals who sounded a lot better than me. It was all done in France with French people. I don't know anything about the music business so I am learning everything. I am definitely not wanting to have another career in music as my job and my career are racing. There is no time to do anything else. I have been away from home for 17 years now so I don't want to add to that. I am going to build a family and all that so I want to be at home.

Q. How do you feel currently with the BMW Sauber F1 Team?

JV:
I love the team. We work well together and the team is going in the right direction as it is progressing well. It is not a dying team. It is the other way round as it is one on the way up.

Q. Do you feel the way they are getting the two teams together is positive?

JV:
It has worked very well. It does not feel like two teams despite part of the team being in Munich and part in Hinwil. It is great as it is just one team with everyone working well together.

Q. Formula One is often criticized because the fans can't get to the drivers. What is your opinion and do you think this is fair

JV:
In the old days there were less fans so there was time and room. These days we spend the whole day in meetings, etc. There is just no time. When you get to the track on Thursday and start working at mid-day and get home at eight at night you have not actually sat down and just drank coffee. It is not a question of not wanting to take care of the fans there is no time and that is just the way that is. Do football fans get more autographs? I think not. In fact every sport has evolved like that and it is not just F1.

Q. What do you think about the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park in Montreal?

JV:
I think that is great. It gives a little touch of racing to the fans. However, in Montreal it is always good for the fans as the spectator areas are not a long way from the track so they are able to be very close to the action.

Q. The BMW Sauber F1.06 car suits your driving style. What do you put this down to?

JV: I quite like the V8 engines. I enjoy driving them. I can set the car up in a more natural way to drive. It is a much more precise car to drive than the one we had last year which is good.

Q. If you had to send a message to your fans in Montreal what would it be?

JV:
I am still working hard and racing strong. Hopefully it will stay that way.

Conducted and provided by BMW Sauber's press office
06/14/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Snap me up, DC tells Red Bull
JV quit GPDA 'on principal'
Renault 'not afraid' of rivals
German F1 races to quit smoking habit
New Aguri still not ready to race
06/14/06
cc
New Bridgestone Tires for Portland New Bridgestone Tires for Portland
Potenza Race Tires Supplied: Bridgestone delivered 690 dry-condition ("slicks") and 304 wet-condition ("rains") Potenza race tires for use this weekend. All were produced at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Per Champ Car World Series regulations, Bridgestone brought two dry-tire specifications and a single wet-tire spec, broken down in the following manner:
Standard dry-condition tires: Each car receives six sets of standard specification slicks (24 tires) for the weekend, to use in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. The standard slick for Portland is a newly developed tire for 2006, but has already seen significant track time. It was used at the Portland open test in April and was the standard-spec Potenza for the race weekend last month at Monterrey. This is the highest-grip standard road-course compound in the current Bridgestone arsenal.
Alternate dry-condition tires: Each car receives two sets of alternate slicks (eight tires) to use this weekend. The alternate tires are easily identified by their bright red sidewalls. At least one set (new or used) of alternates must be used for a stint in Sunday's race, but there is no mandate to when or how long the set must be run. The construction of the Bridgestone alternate tire is identical to the standard slick, but the alternate possesses a tread compound with moderately increased grip ("softer"), making the tire faster, although possibly not quite as durable. The alternate spec Potenzas are new for Portland in 2006 as well.
Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Each car receives up to four new sets of grooved-tread Potenza rain tires (16 tires) per weekend on road and street courses, as needed. In addition, each car may use two sets of same-spec rain tires issued at a previous event. Bridgestone officials opted for the "grippier" of its two rain-tire specifications for this weekend. zzzz

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Portland is a challenge from a circuit standpoint. It mandates a lot of grip for its many twists and curves, but it also has a couple high-speed stretches where too soft of a tire could take excessive punishment. Bridgestone has both new standard and alternate tire specs for Portland this weekend to meet those demands. They are on the 'soft' end of our road-course tire contingent, but we're confident in their consistency and durability throughout the stints. We've also brought the softer Potenza rain tire just in case we get a taste of Pacific Northwest wet weather. Whatever the conditions, it will be great to see all the competitors racing under the Bridgestone bridge on the front straight for the second straight year."

Bridgestone Pole Position Award update: Series points leader Sebastien Bourdais also is the current pacesetter in the Bridgestone Pole Position Award contest. Bourdais has taken three of the four pole positions this season, with the other going to Mario Dominguez at Houston. The pole winner at each race earns a $5,000 bonus from Bridgestone, with another $2,500 going to the Hole in the Wall Camps.

06/13/06
cc
Portland Champ Car pre-race parade Portland Champ Car pre-race paradeA dozen or more of the fastest, flashiest big-rig trucks on the road will roll through downtown Portland at noon on Wednesday, June 14th.  The big-rig convoy will kick off the world-class racing spectacle known as the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by G.I. Joe’s with the Champ Car World Series Transporter Parade.

The “parade” will cross the Broadway Bridge at noon and continue through downtown Portland via Broadway. The event will include an escort by Portland Police.

In the tradition of the “elephant walk” which accompanies the arrival of the circus to town, the Transporter Parade will give Portlanders an early look at one of the highlights of Race Week: these cross-country travelers adorned with spectacular artworks and graphics and carrying the fastest race cars in the world.

The Champ Car Grand Prix runs Friday thru Sunday June 16-18 at Portland International Raceway. The green flag drops for the fifth stop on the circuit at 12:30PM.

06/13/06
irl
Ganassi teammates top IRL test Ganassi teammates top IRL testTarget Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon paced an IndyCar Series Open Test at Kansas Speedway as teams prepared for the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 on July 2.

Dixon, who participated in a private Firestone tire test on June 12 on the 1.5-mile oval, set the fastest time of the day, 25.3309 seconds, 216.021 mph, early in the session. Wheldon was just behind with a lap of 25.4855, 214.710 mph.

Marlboro Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. (213.994 mph) and Helio Castroneves (213.258 mph) were third and fourth, respectively, with Kosuke Matsuura (213.258 mph) rounding out the top five.   A total of 2,810 incident-free laps were turned. Castroneves recorded 198 laps, the most of any driver at the test. 

Pos Driver Best Time Best Speed
1 Scott Dixon (9) 25.3309 216.021
2 Dan Wheldon (10) 25.4855 214.710
3 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 25.5225 214.399
4 Helio Castroneves (3) 25.5708 213.994
5 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 25.5853 213.873
6 Vitor Meira (4) 25.6717 213.153
7 Eddie Cheever Jr (51) 25.7243 212.717
8 Marco Andretti (26) 25.7289 212.679
9 Tomas Scheckter (2) 25.7680 212.356
10 Tony Kanaan (11) 25.7694 212.345
11 Ed Carpenter (20) 25.7775 212.278
12 Bryan Herta (7) 25.7868 212.202
13 Dario Franchitti (27) 25.8072 212.034
14 Buddy Lazier (5) 25.8482 211.698
15 Buddy Rice (15) 25.9869 210.568
16 Jeff Simmons (17) 26.0664 209.925
17 Danica Patrick (16) 26.2117 208.762  zzzz

POST-TESTING NOTES:

Rahal Letterman Racing took advantage of a full day of testing to get comfortable with the Dallara chassis it will use at the remaining oval events this season.

Buddy Rice posted the team's best lap 25.9869, 210.580 mph with teammates Jeff Simmons and Danica Patrick just behind.

"It was good to get a day of testing in with the Dallara," Rice said. "We have a lot of work to do to catch up with everyone else. Still, I was very comfortable in the car."
***
Helio Castroneves finished testing early then cheered on his native Brazil during the second half of its 1-0 win over Croatia. While other Brazilian drivers and fans Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira stayed out on the track, Castroneves was in the media center watching the game.

"It's a good thing we finished early, now I can watch the game" the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner said. "I don't follow soccer every day, but I am a fan when it's the World Cup."
***

POST-TESTING QUOTES:

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We were pretty well prepared for today because of yesterday's Firestone test. We got a lot stuff out of the way yesterday. Today, we tried to run as much as we could in clean air because both Dan (Wheldon) and I had a lot of aero work to do for the mile-and-halfs. We're both pretty happy with our cars. They've been pretty quick."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "This test is important because it's our only test of the year, basically. We have about four hours at Richmond, but this the only true test we get. We've got to use our time very, very wisely and test everything we need to that will help us down the road. We also have to find definitive answers. That's the most important thing because we're working to make sure we have good race cars."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It's perfect conditions to go out there and run consistent laps and see where you're at. We probably won't do any qualifying set-ups until race weekend."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Anytime you are on the track, it doesn't matter where, you always learn something. It's probably not as hot as when we come back, but at least you have a basic set-up. We're just trying to get a nice, solid run and come back here and adapt to the weather."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic/ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The test is very good since this is the first time we've had a Dallara chassis at the Kansas track. We are quite good, but the top teams, Ganassi and Penske, are a little too fast for us. We have a lot of work to catch up to them." IRL

06/13/06
irl
Cheever tests Festa Cheever tests FestaChris Festa took his next step forward in his open-wheel racing career by completing his IndyCar Series rookie test at Kansas Speedway late Monday afternoon. 

In warm and humid weather conditions, Festa successfully completed three phases of the test which had him gradually increase his top speed from 185 to 206 mph.  

"The sensation of driving the Indy car is not too different from the Pro Series car," said Festa about his first time driving the Indy car. "It is just bigger, heavier and has a lot more downforce. 

"Now that I have had the chance to drive the Indy car," Festa continued, "I am more convinced that the Pro car is a great training ground. You can easily transition from car to car." 

Indy Racing League representative Johnny Rutherford observed the test along with team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. 

"I think he did very well for his first time," Cheever said.  Festa, who has three top-10 finishes in five Indy Pro Series events this season, in the No. 51 Formtek Cheever Racing car, competes again on July 1 in the Liberty Challenge on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

06/13/06
nascar
More signs that NASCAR interest is waning More signs that NASCAR interest is waningCoupled with their drop in TV ratings for its Nextel Cup Series all year long comes news that SPEED Channel has also cancelled a once popular NASCAR TV show.  "NBS 24/7," the weekly show on Speed that has chronicled the Busch Series rookies this year, will have its final episode June 19.  The show has been a staple of the Speed channel's lineup since the start of the 2004 season, with the first two years chronicling various drivers and teams.  The show had run its course and ratings were not strong enough to support the continuation of the show, Speed spokesman Erik Arneson said June 11.  In part from NASCAR Daily Scene
06/13/06
f1
Heidfeld fastest at Monza Heidfeld fastest at MonzaRenault, BMW Sauber F1, Williams F1, Toyota and Honda started testing at Monza today to prepare for the back-to-back races at Canada and USA. Quick Nick Heidfeld was fastest today, though Fisichella and Kovalainen weren't far behind. Testing continues tomorrow in Italy.
1. Heidfeld 1'23.647 107
2. Fisichella 1'23.648 98
3. Kovalainen 1'23.739 110
4. Rosberg 1'23.811 69
5. Kubica 1'24.326 79
6. Zonta 1'24.656 64
7. Davidson 1'24.767 125
8. Panis 1'25.424 83
9. Rossiter 1'25.529 117
10. Wurz 1'26.994 31
06/13/06
nascar
Gordon cleared to drive Gordon cleared to driveJeff Gordon was checked out by doctors Monday and was cleared to race in this weekend's 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp confirmed Tuesday.  Gordon had a hard hit last Sunday at Pocono Raceway Sunday when he lost his brakes going into Turn 1. He smashed into the SAFER barrier and destroyed his car. He was able to walk away.
06/13/06
cc
On the record with Mike Lanigan On the record with Mike LaniganMichael T. Lanigan thinks Cleveland is an auto racing market. He's so convinced that he's sinking $5 million into reinventing the Grand Prix of Cleveland.

Lanigan took over this year as the auto race's new chairman and chief executive officer. An experienced racing team owner, he has now moved into the business of putting on Champ Car races in Cleveland and Houston.

He has a simple formula for success: He's putting customers first - the same philosophy he uses in his 17 other family-owned businesses that bring in more than $500 million in yearly revenue.  The suburban Chicago native sat down with Plain Dealer reporters and editors for a wide-ranging "On the Record" interview on everything from his involvement in auto racing to his purchase of the Panama Canal Railway to his friendship with Chicago Bears star Walter Payton.

The full interview with Lanigan will be published in Sunday's Business section of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. To watch video highlights, go here.

06/13/06
cc
f1
Dan Clarke flies the flag for Champ Car at British GP Dan Clarke flies the flag for Champ Car at British GPDan Clarke flew back to the UK after the Milwaukee Champ Car race to fly the flag for the Champ Car World Series at the Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix in Silverstone last weekend, and to be with family and friends for another important event – England playing Paraguay, the first game of the Football World Cup for his home nation.

Clarke met up with some of his racing friends from Formula One during the British Grand Prix weekend and after the race was an on-stage guest at the traditional post-race Grand Prix Party. Over 20,000 fans watched legendary rock band, Status Quo, perform on a purpose built giant stage in the centre of the Silverstone circuit. Local TV broadcaster Tony Jardine hosted the entertainment, welcoming on stage many stars of motor racing including British F1 drivers,  Jenson Button and David Coulthard.

Clarke was interviewed by Jardine in front of the fans, and said of the experience, “Faced with a sea of Formula One fans in front of the huge stage, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t get a very good reception, but there’s definitely a following for Champ Car in the UK. I think I got the message across that ‘Champ Car is the place to be’ and I hope they’ll be even more Brits tuning in to watch at Portland now.”

06/13/06
f1
Honda announces new partnership Honda announces new partnershipThe Honda Racing F1 Team is pleased to announce the signing of a Team Supplier agreement with Tripp Luggage.

Tripp, who also become the official team luggage supplier for the 2006 season, is a market-leading global brand and distributor with over twenty years' experience in the luggage industry.

The Tripp GT luggage collection, due to be launched to the commercial market in June 2006 and specifically designed to meet the rigors of frequent travel, will be used by all members of the Honda Racing F1 Team as they follow the Formula One calendar across the globe this season.

Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of the Honda Racing F1 Team, commented: "We are very pleased to welcome Tripp to the Honda Racing F1 Team. The attention to detail and creativity that drives our team is reflected in the Tripp design ethic and we look forward to working closely with them in the future to further develop the relationship."

James McDiarmid, Managing Director of Tripp said: "When Tripp started investigating the common association with the Honda Racing F1 Team and the luggage industry, we were surprised to see that innovative composite materials and weight were the key elements in both companies. The desire and ambition to deliver only the best is what makes this partnership great for both. We are excited to be working with the Honda Racing F1 Team and hope that it will result in a new luggage collection that fuses all our expertise and knowledge." Press release Honda

06/13/06
nascar
Helton on the State of NASCAR Helton on the State of NASCARNASCAR RaceDay on SPEED, the definitive NASCAR pre-race show, interviewed NASCAR President Mike Helton during this past weekend’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. (Mike Helton is seated to the left of Brian France in the photo to the right

Helton spoke to host John Roberts and drivers Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace about some of NASCAR’s challenges and future plans. Here are the highlights of what he said to SPEED:

Roberts: …in light of last week’s race at Dover (Del.) Downs, where only 42 pit stalls were utilized for 43 starters, where does the responsibility lie between NASCAR and the race tracks on making improvements?

Helton: It comes from both directions. If you look at the history of the sport, as we’ve grown fields, race tracks have, in general, grown with the sport. Tracks have helped the sport grow by modernizing their facilities, especially when a new race track comes along and raises the standard. It’s not an instantaneous thing that can be fixed across the board or throughout every season. It’s a working relationship we have with race tracks to improve the facilities, not only operationally for NASCAR and the race teams that are there, but also for the fans and amenities they experience – to continue to grow the sport.

Spencer: ...why doesn’t NASCAR talk about all the research and development that goes on in the Concord (N.C.) (Research & Development) facility?  zzzz

Helton: The primary function of the NASCAR R&D center in Concord, and the vision behind it, is to improve the sport – safety, competition and what lies behind the economy of the sport. Keeping car owners healthy is a big element to the future of this sport. The mission there is to get those target elements accomplished and not to take credit for what’s happening, and not to publicize all the activities, but to actually, physically work on those issues. It’s a great commitment by the France family to what I think is to the all of motorsports. Not just NASCAR, but all motorsports sanctioning bodies are welcome to come there and learn. We think motorsports in general being healthy, helps NASCAR be healthy. So the primary function at the NASCAR R&D Center is to make the quality of NASCAR better, and to establish some criteria for the future of the sport, so we can keep it healthy in the garage area.

Wallace: …many of the old school NASCAR Busch Series team owners feel there has been an invasion of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series owners and all of their resources. I have people every week tell me that it’s unfair. Now, I don’t think it’s unfair, but I want your response because it has become such a heated issue.

Helton: It’s not a new issue. I recently spoke to Brett Bodine, and he was talking about when he and Dale Jarrett, back in 1988 and ’89, ran both series. They both did it back then, so it’s nothing new. What I think is new however, in this modern era, is the standard and quality is being raised, as well as the depth of that quality in the Busch Series garage. It’s the uncertainty of what to do next by some car owners. I don’t think NASCAR is going to change its philosophy on the Busch Series or Truck Series. It’s open to whoever wants to participate in it. But, what we do need to pay attention to is how we can change the rules, regulations and the operational procedures – these are issues NASCAR can control. How do we do that so past champions like Joe Nemechek can defeat a Dale Earnhardt on the last lap at New Hampshire, or a Jimmy Spencer can beat a Bobby Allison competing in a Busch race? Those are the types of things I remember seeing, and things NASCAR can work on so the Busch Series can learn from the involvement of Cup teams, yet not be damaged by it.

Spencer: People write in all the time about wanting the competition to be more level and a little closer. Now, no question, the future looks really bright for the car of the future. How close are we to seeing these cars run?

Helton: We’re today closer than we’ve ever been with ‘the car of tomorrow’ being part and parcel of our everyday life on the racetrack. It’s not a new project and it’s been five or six years in the works. We’re now, very actively testing to receive input from crew members and race teams. What we’ve done on paper and in our R&D Center with the help of manufacturers and others is to develop a safer car, a car that is more ‘race-able’ on the racetrack and a car that should be much more economical for car owners to participate in the sport with. Those are the major goals. Right now, what we’re down to is finding a car that is race-able. That’s what we’re doing at race tracks with the teams is find the little minutia we need to make them run nose-to-tail and side-by-side. We will debut the car in Bristol (Tenn.) in 2007 and it will be on a fast track from then on.

Wallace: …There is some talk about a new Busch Series race in Canada. How do you make a decision on whether or not you send Busch or Cup out of the country?

Helton: It comes down to supply and demand. With the Japan exhibition race we ran almost 10 years ago now, there was timeliness within the (Nextel Cup Series) schedule. Today, it’s a lot more difficult to do that with the amount of races we run in the United States. We still had a little bit of room to play with the Busch Series, and it gave us the opportunity to take NASCAR, as a community, to Mexico City to play out in front of millions of passionate race fans. We are still exploring the possibility of doing that, maybe not with a fresh date, but some dates we can (race in Canada) with in the Busch Series. We’re not sure what will come of that, but it certainly has a great deal of interest from our side.

Roberts: …what are your thoughts about Toyota coming into NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition next year?

Helton: There are two things, one is the Toyota brand in this country is huge. And in fairness to Toyota, they are very much a part of American daily life. There are 41,000 Americans that are employed in this country by Toyota, building those cars and trucks. In today’s world, and as small as it has become, it’s an issue you need to take a great look at, and understand the impact Toyota has, business-wise, on the American citizen. From the competition side, I think it’s always good when a new manufacturer enters the sport. When Dodge came back into our sport a few years ago, I think that was good for the sport. It gave more people an opportunity to compete at this level of the sport. People like Ray Evernham for example with Dodge, and Toyota has Michael Waltrip and Bill Davis to bring up the level of quality. It grows the sport and has kept everything healthy in the Cup Series, and in the Busch Series. I think we’ve seen evidence of health in the Truck Series because of it. I also think it’s a little bit of a wake up call for the other manufacturers to step up their level of participation.

06/13/06
f1
Bernie wants Paffett in McLaren seat Bernie wants Paffett in McLaren seat(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has added his notoriously persuasive blessing to a couple of young Britons' quest for the F1 grid.

However, instead of leaping aboard the frenzied Lewis Hamilton bandwagon, the F1 supremo is also busy promoting another McLaren protégé who is itching for a chance -- current tester Gary Paffett.

''I hope we see these young guys on the grid next season,'' said Bernie, applying some clear pressure on Ron Dennis to bring them out from behind the spotlight.

He told Sunday Express: ''I don't want to see good talent stifled.''

Ecclestone's allegiance to Paffett, the impressive 25-year-old from Bromley, was demonstrated on the Silverstone grid, while GP2 star Hamilton stood giggling with McLaren's Dennis.

Bernie continued: ''We need fresh blood, and in Paffett and Hamilton we see guys who need to be on the grid.''

Both are outside contenders for the race seat alongside Fernando Alonso, but Dennis hinted when speaking to reporters at the British grand prix that a lesser seat in pitlane might be a better bet for youngster Hamilton for now.

''I hope (Ron) is not going to just keep them out of sight,'' 75-year-old Ecclestone insisted. ''I hope he finds room for one of them.''

06/13/06
f1
JV burns rubber in Hyde Park JV burns rubber in Hyde Park(GMM) Barely two days after the checkered flag at Silverstone, England's capital city has resonated to the screams of an F1 engine.

BMW-Sauber racer Jacques Villeneuve, to now head for Monza to join the test, drove his grand prix contender and performed screeching doughnuts on a short stretch of plastic-barrier lined road in Hyde Park on Tuesday.

The somewhat low-profile event, put on by BMW sponsor Intel, attracted thousands of spectators but not nearly as many as the Regent Street parade in 2004.

Touring car driver Andy Priaulx was also on hand to show off his machine, as was a Formula BMW single seater. British commentator Martin Brundle, a former grand prix veteran, was spotted.

Meanwhile, team chief Mario Theissen is delighted that BMW-Sauber was the fourth-best team at Silverstone.

But he warned: ''To join the front three (teams) we still have work to do.

''However we must be realistic as we are in our first year.''

Theissen is confident that Villeneuve and Nick Heidfeld can deliver more good performances at the upcoming races in America.

He said: ''We saw in the first part of the year, and clearly at Silverstone, that our car is good on fast tracks.''

06/13/06
Miscellaneous
Cosworth develops new UAV engine Cosworth develops new UAV engine(Northampton, UK): Cosworth, long famous for their pioneering and highly successful work in designing and building Formula One racing engines are for the first time exhibiting at the Farnborough International Air Show 2006.

Tim Routsis (MD, Cosworth): "We have been engaged in the aerospace sector over the last two years providing manufacturing service to a growing client base. Customers have been delighted by our ability to respond quickly and effectively on new projects. The all-new Cosworth AE engine at Farnborough is proposed for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and will be used by both private and defense sectors for a wide range of duties and applications."

UAVs are by their nature lightweight and traditionally many of the power units used in this field are of the low technology type with crude carburetor induction systems. As one might expect from Cosworth, the AE unit is a very different engine indeed. It is an advanced single cylinder 100cc direct injection compression-ignition all-aluminum-alloy, port and reed-valve induction motor. It is designed to run on multi-fuels ranging from JP5, JP8, DF1 and DF2 specification.

Tim Routsis (MD, Cosworth): "Cosworth's AE is a very robust, compact heavy fuel engine, designed to deliver excellent fuel efficiency at high altitude where reduced temperature makes optimum engine performance extremely challenging.

The AE prototype signals the first true step to enter the aerospace sector with a Cosworth designed and developed engine.

06/13/06
f1
Schu 'more determined' after Monaco saga Schu 'more determined' after Monaco saga(GMM)  The 'Rascasse' affair has only made Michael Schumacher more determined, according to Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn.

The Briton suggests that the venom in rivals' stinging criticism has backfired, with the evidence being Schumacher's sterling drive through the field at Monaco.

''What went on affects people in different ways,'' Brawn said, ''but (Schumacher) seeks solace within the team and his own performance.''

He added: ''If it's possible for someone like Michael to be more determined, then I think he is more determined to try to do well in the near future.''

06/13/06
alms
Q and A with Tom Kristensen Q and A with Tom KristensenNo one does it better in high-profile sports car races like Tom Kristensen. The numbers say the Great Dane simply is the best sports car driver of his generation with a record seven overall wins at Le Mans – including the last six in a row – and four wins at Sebring, also an event record. As Kristensen prepares to go for another win at the 24 Hours, this time with the new Audi R10 TDI, he took some time to answer a few questions on the prototype and what it takes to win at Le Mans:

Q: Have you been involved in the testing program for the Audi R10 TDI since Sebring?

"Yes, I was involved in most of the test sessions. I did not test the R10 TDI before the race at Sebring and I could not attend the test at Sebring after the race because there was a DTM test at Brands Hatch in England. But since then I've tested a lot."

Q: Why do you believe you have been so successful at Le Mans over the years?

"Certainly preparation is for me the key word. Obviously you need a good racing car like Audi always has developed. You need good preparation in terms of the team, the mechanics, the engineers, the drivers – everyone needs to be up to everything. Then you have been able to be on top of things. When the things are cooking and boiling in the race you have to come up with solutions immediately. That makes many times the difference between winning and losing at Le Mans." zzzz

Q: How would you rate your chances this year with Dindo and Allan? How much does it help having been victorious at Sebring in the car's debut race?

"Of course it was great to win at Sebring. We have written motorsport history with the Audi R10 TDI and Sebring proved what the car can do. However, Le Mans is a new race and every year is special. This year it is even more special because of our new project with the diesel engine. Nobody has done it before. We try to build on the success and know-how from Sebring. The Audi technicians worked very hard and brilliantly.

"After the last test I feel as confident as you can feel for a race you have respect for. We are ready and we hope we have the solutions to the small niggles which always will come up during the race. As drivers, Allan, Dindo and myself, will try to be very fast and consistent. But still, there are some butterflies in our stomach because everything is so new."

Q: Will you be driving the exact same car from Sebring?

"No. The car we raced at Sebring was the first chassis, which has now become the test car. We got a new chassis for Le Mans." ALMS

06/13/06
cc
nascar
Champ Car bosses ready for fight Champ Car bosses ready for fight"I believe it can succeed, but I will say it will not achieve the success it should unless there is integration," Kalkhoven said in Milwaukee, "As I look at our potential schedule for next year, I see that the series itself will be at economic breakeven. I see a new car and I see three or four teams wanting to come up from Atlantic, bringing with them new sponsors and new drivers. And I see a number of cities wanting us. So would it succeed? Yes. Would it achieve its full potential? No." "Toronto ticket sales are way up over last year, by 15 per cent and Edmonton is doing even better," he reported. Kevin Kalkhoven

On NASCAR/ISC's attempts to kill Champ Car's bread and butter events - street races:

"I am not going to allow the arrogance of people like this to remove choice for the motorsports enthusiast of the United States," Kalkhoven concluded. "I will fight it every inch of the way because I think taking something that was essentially good and putting it into a monopolistic situation that removes choice for the motorsports enthusiast is a dangerous precedent."

"We will do whatever it takes to stop these people from trying to monopolize motor racing," Champ Car partner Gerald Forsythe said, "We will fight them in court. We will not back down."

Has the France family finally met their match?

06/13/06
irl
Testing in Kansas and Milwaukee Testing in Kansas and MilwaukeeIndyCar Series teams will conduct an Open Test at Kansas Speedway on June 13. Most full-time teams, with the exception of Delphi Fernandez Racing and driver Scott Sharp, are expected to participate in the test, which will be the only IndyCar Series activity before the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 on July 2.

Sharp, who tested privately for Firestone at the 1.5-mile oval, and Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon turned laps for Firestone, while Eddie Cheever took to the track to shake down a car for Indy Pro Series driver Chris Festa.

Festa tested at Kansas on June 12 as part of IndyCar Series rookie testing with Cheever Racing under the supervision of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford. zzzz

It's not the only testing Festa will do this week. He'll join 12 other Indy Pro Series drivers for an Open Test at The Milwaukee Mile on June 14.

For most of the nine rookies in the group it will be their first time on a short oval in an Indy Pro Series machine.

"I've never been on a short oval in one of these cars before, and I hear Milwaukee is one of the toughest," said Bobby Wilson, driver of the No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing entry who won the series' most recent race at Watkins Glen International and ranks second in points. "I just want to get comfortable in the car, get a feel for what it's doing there. I also want to work well with my engineer to make sure it's a good car for the race."

The visit to The Mile will also be a homecoming for Wilson, an Oconomowoc, Wis., native whose parents and sister still live in the area.

"It will nice to be home for a couple of days," Wilson said. "I haven't been back since Christmas. Coming off a win, my family and friends are pretty pumped up about it."

Previously this season, the Indy Pro Series has competed on the high-banked, 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami, the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the street/road courses at St. Petersburg, Fla., and Watkins Glen.

The third Milwaukee 100 will be July 22. IRL

06/13/06
irl
Third victory only gives Castroneves 22-point cushion Third victory only gives Castroneves 22-point cushionHelio Castroneves says it's too early to think about winning his first IRL IndyCar® Series championship.

His closest competitors agree.

The Marlboro Team Penske driver has won three of the season's six races to take a 22-point lead over consistent Scott Dixon as the season closes in on the halfway point June 24 with the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM Satellite Radio.

Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate and reigning series champion, Dan Wheldon, is third (195). Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr., seeking his third IndyCar Series title, is one point behind and Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan is fifth (164).

The sixth- through 13-place drivers are separated by 38 points, so Castroneves is wise not to be over-confident. On June 10, he benefited from a couple of pit stop miscues late in the Bombardier Learjet 500k and beat Dixon to the illuminated finish line by 0.2402 of a second.  zzzz

"It is too early to think about championship," said Castroneves, who scored his 11th IndyCar Series victory and second at Texas Motor Speedway. "I don't think it's even half time of the championship. Not only that, I don't think the gap is large enough. Scott and Wheldon and Sam, they are still pretty much right there. Right now, we just need to keep finishing ahead of those guys."

Dixon (Watkins Glen International), Wheldon (season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway) and Hornish have won the other races. Both Wheldon, who led a race-high 171 laps, and Hornish, the pole sitter, appeared to be poised to contend for the victory at Texas Motor Speedway on the final laps. But both experienced miscues on their final fuel stops, which cost them track position on the 1.5-mile oval.

"This is not an individual sport; it's about team effort," said Castroneves, who has led in every race this season. "Without a good car, you can't win a race. Without a good driver, you can't win a race. Having key moments like today, you're not going to be able to win championships. 

"It's unfortunate for whatever happened to those guys, but it is just proof that this series is getting tighter and tighter as the competition goes by. People making fewer mistakes, definitely the guy is going to benefit from that. 

"Today, we benefited from it."

Comparing top five in standings
Driver Best Start Best Finish Avg. Finish
Castroneves 1 (twice) 1 (three) 6.16
Dixon 2 (twice) 1 4.16
Wheldon 2 1 6.83
Hornish 1 (twice) 1 5.33
Kanaan 2 3 (twice) 6.66 IRL

06/13/06
f1
F1 testing resumes F1 testing resumes(GMM)  Ten of F1's eleven teams will this week test in preparation for the upcoming double-header across the Atlantic ocean.

At the 'Paul Ricard' circuit in France's Le Castellet, Renault, Toyota, Williams, BMW-Sauber and Red Bull will run on a circuit high speed configuration, designed to emulate the long straights of Montreal and Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, on the highest-speed circuit of all - Monza - Ferrari, Honda, Toro Rosso and McLaren are set to trial their racers.

Ferrari is likely to also run at a second Italian venue, Fiorano, while Midland will conduct a three-day programme across the road from their Silverstone (UK) factory.

Action will kick off on Tuesday.

06/13/06
alms
lmes
Michelin out to win LeMans yet again Michelin out to win LeMans yet againA fundamental fixture of Michelin's calendar for many years, Le Mans has carved out a unique place in motor sport history and in the hearts of racings fans the world over. Some 21 million viewers followed the 2005 race, while 230,000 spectators packed into the circuit twelve months ago to watch Audi's Tom Kristensen claim a record seventh win and Corvette's and Porsche's triumphs inGT1 and GT2. This time round there will be just as many to witness the Le Mans début of the Audi R10-Michelin, as well as the anticipated showdowns in their respective categories between Aston Martin and Chevrolet and between Ferrari and Porsche.

Performance, impeccable reliability, pugnacity, reactivity, clockwork-like organization, team spirit despite the often individualistic side to the sport and, above all, passion… The se are all ingredients it takes to win the Le Mans 24 Hours. And a victory in the French classic is priceless. No, that's not quite true. It does have a price: that of all the hard work that goes into painstakingly preparing the event in the months prior to the start, and then all the way to the checkered flag! zzzz

It is doubtlessly for this reason that Le Mans has written some of the finest chapters in world class motor sport history. Legends based on drivers, teams, people, the industry, unforgettable on-track clashes and major automotive breakthroughs abound. Today, prestigious names like Audi, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston-Martin and Chevrolet are all active in the discipline with a view to developing new technologies and/or promoting a dynamic image of their make across the planet. Meanwhile, privateers such as Pescarolo-Sport, RML and Russian Age Racing produce a very special effort to rival with the factory teams.

For Michelin, the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours stands out as a capital challenge. To begin with, the aim will be to claim a 15th victory in the French classic - which would make it nine Michelin wins in a row! - and to accompany its factory and privateer teams to the very top. On top of that, this year has seen the Clermont-Ferrand firm join forces with Audi in its formidable adventure of bringing diesel power into top flight motor sport. Michelin is proud to have been chosen by its partners to rise to all these different challenges. "The philosophy of the ACO has always been to promote new technologies," says Frédéric Henry -Biabaud, Competition Director of the Michelin Group. "This philosophy in turn permits Michelin to be involved with its manufacturer partners to develop new technologies and innovate at their sides. For Michelin, endurance racing is a tremendous springboard for research and innovation." Michelin

06/13/06
alms
lmes
Audi R10 ready for LeMans Audi R10 ready for LeMansBraselton, Ga. – Whatever you do, don't call it "The Great Experiment." Audi is at Le Mans with its new diesel-powered R10 TDI to win the 24 Hours, not merely to try.

The hundreds of hours of testing and preparation are nearly complete as the most famous motorsports race in the world approaches. With an impressive five overall wins at Le Mans since 2000, No. 6 for Audi would be the most meaningful to everyone associated with the R10 TDI project.

Never before has a diesel-powered car contended at Le Mans, and Audi is the first manufacturer to put so many resources toward the goal of winning outright. Already the car has won at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which leaves one more page of history to write in the record books. zzzz

"We all feel we are part of a great and new project," said Sebring winner Dindo Capello, who will reunite with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish at Le Mans. "If it is successful, we can write many history pages in motorsport. We really are making a difference." 
 
Since the Sebring win, McNish and Capello have been competing in the American Le Mans Series with the Audi R8. Meanwhile, Marco Werner, Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela – Audi's other trio of Le Mans drivers – have been aiding in the testing and further development of the R10 TDI in Europe.

"Audi has already written history at Le Mans with the R8," said Pirro, who won three straight years at Le Mans from 2000-02 with the Audi R8. "The Audi name is written with very strong letters in the history book of Le Mans. But there is still one void page, which hopefully will be filled with the diesel engine. It would be a dream to put my name on the history book next to the R10 TDI logo."

The early prospects look as good as ever. The two Audi prototypes were second- and fourth-fastest in the Le Mans Test Day eight days ago. But those who follow Audi's endurance racing program know that outright speed isn't the main objective. Rather, it is reliability and flawless performance that has made Audi the most successful marque at Le Mans in the past 10 years.

 The united front at Audi is readily apparent. The teams and drivers aren't overly concerned with which car has the best chance of winning, as long as one of the R10 TDIs gets the checkered flag first.

"Sebring is really hard, especially for a new car. But it's difficult to replace the 20 seconds of full throttle on the Mulsanne Straight," McNish said. "It doesn't factor in the Le Mans circuit. All three of us (McNish, Capello and Kristensen) are good together when it comes to racing. There are no egos, and that was proven at Sebring."

"We all three have been Le Mans winners before," Werner said of himself and his teammates. "Frank and Emanuele even have won Le Mans three times. I did it last year for the first time. Everybody has a lot of experience. What we need now is a little bit of luck."

The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts at 5 p.m. local time (11. a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 17 and finishes at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 18. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel in North America and in Europe on MotorsTV, which will have flag-to-flag, extended 24-hour coverage. Live radio coverage will be available at www.radiolemans.com.

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the New England Grand Prix, set for July 1 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. The race is scheduled for a 3 p.m. EDT start. CBS Sports will televise the event from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT on July 2. MotorsTV will air the race from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. CET on July 2. Live coverage will be available at americanlemans.com with American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

06/13/06
f1
Honda reject 'crisis' headlines Honda reject 'crisis' headlines(GMM)  If you believe a catchy headline, then Jenson Button's F1 team Honda is officially in crisis.

But, perhaps surprisingly, even the 26-year-old Briton - the only racer to retire with a mechanical failure at his home grand prix after qualifying poorly - does not offer a full denial.

Asked if he would refute the 'Honda in decline' suggestion, Button said: ''No, I wouldn't.

''A lot of it is that the top teams have developed and we haven't -- that's a fact.''

Team boss Nick Fry, however, is keenly racing away from the 'crisis' label, despite having overseen arguably Button's worst weekend in nearly seven years of grand prix racing.

But Fry even had to deny suggestions that his highly-paid lead driver, outperformed again by resurgent teammate Rubens Barrichello in Britain, was starting to drop his head.

The English team principal said of the situation: ''I'm sure it won't get any worse but you just have to move on.''

06/13/06
f1
'Formula Boredom' reawakens 'Formula Boredom' reawakens(GMM)  Sunday's British grand prix, tediously dominated by Fernando Alonso for his third win on the trot, has awakened old 'Formula Boredom' headlines.

Italy's 'La Repubblica' was one of many publications the world over who commented on the dullness of the Silverstone race, which also indicated a near foregone-conclusion for the 2006 championship chase.

''Without having to fight,'' Repubblica went on, ''Alonso won easily.''

England's Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, reckons the situation is like 2004 all over again, except that the 'villain' this time is not Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.

''(Now) Alonso is the one easing audiences into a comatose state,'' the newspaper read.

In fact, the world champion's scoring rate is actually higher than in any of Schumacher's dreary years of dominance in 2002 and 2004.

'Liberation' in France, meanwhile, focused on the fact that the title is now easing away from seven time world champion's grasp, but Le Figaro mused more simply about a 'boring race'.

The Liberation article said of Schumacher: ''With each passing race his chances of snatching the crown back from Alonso shrinks.''

Even 'Bild', in Schumacher's home country of Germany, noted the gravity of Sunday's race in rural England.

The popular tabloid said: ''Schumi, forget about this title, Alonso is simply unbeatable.''

06/13/06
f1
Renault 'unbeatable' - Briatore Renault 'unbeatable' - Briatore(GMM) Top men at Renault have hit the airwaves with renewed confidence following Fernando Alonso's third win on the trot on Sunday.

Director of engineering Pat Symonds said of the British grand prix triumph over Ferrari's Michael Schumacher at Silverstone: ''It was one of our easier victories.''

''We are unbeatable,'' Flavio Briatore, meanwhile, was sensationally quoted as saying by the 'Bild' daily.

He added to La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy: ''Ferrari plan big development steps? Then they should hurry, because we also have things in the pipeline.''

24-year-old Alonso also confirmed that, despite his 23 point lead, he will not now be reclining into the comfort of his dominant position for the remaining ten grands prix.

The Spaniard said: ''I think the best defense will be attacking. What we have to do is to keep winning races.''

06/13/06
f1
Bernie in British GP talks Bernie in British GP talksFormula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has begun negotiations with the operators of British Grand Prix venue Silverstone to extend its deal to host the race.

Ecclestone has been an outspoken critic of the venue and is expected to insist on a number of improvements to the circuit, but hopes are high it can extend its existing deal which runs until 2009.

The BBC quotes Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips as saying: “We are already talking to Bernie about beyond 2009. There is an element of trust - so we are hoping we can really move along."

06/12/06
IRL
Sharp Drop In TMS Race Attendance Sharp Drop In TMS Race AttendanceThe IRL Bombardier Learjet 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on Saturday night had an estimated crowd of 91,000, down 11,000 from last year, and TMS President Eddie Gossage believes the new IRL schedule “killed the buzz for his event,” according to Terry Blount of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. In the past, there was an open week between the Indy 500 and the TMS race, but this year the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix was run the week between the two races. SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith, whose company owns TMS, said: “I don’t think (the IRL) will do that [schedule] again.” But IRL VP/PR John Griffin said, “I would say the chances of [returning to the old schedule] are fairly slim. We will race the weekend after the Indianapolis 500 next year. Where that is will be determined in the coming weeks.” However, Blount wrote TMS will not move up a week because Gossage “can’t get the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race the first weekend of June. And he wants two weeks to promote his race.” Gossage said, “We get more money from Speed TV for the truck race than we get from ABC for the IRL race. And we make more money off the truck race because the sanctioning fee is so much lower.” Gossage feels that ABC “has too much influence over IRL scheduling decisions” and said that Saturday’s race “should have been on ABC instead of ESPN.” Gossage: “If (ABC) wants a big role in this sport, they need to step up.” Griffin did not “deny that ABC helps the IRL determine its schedule” and said, “That’s the world every sports league and sanctioning body lives in today” DALLAS MORNING NEWS  [Related article Dallas Morning News]

[Editor's Note: The main grandstands hold 125,000 people. There is no way that 91,000 people attended the race. A huge section of the grandstand in Turn 4 was closed off and there were many empty seats in the remainder of the grandstand. The back straight grandstand was completely empty. Was the attendance good? Absolutely. Was it 91,000? No way.]

06/12/06
f1
Speed heads home looking for more Speed heads home looking for moreScott Speed heads to North America next week to race June 25 in Canada and then July 2 in his home United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He hopes he has better luck in those two events than he did in the British Grand Prix, which turned out to be the shortest race of his rookie F1 season.

The British race, round eight of 18, takes place at Silverstone, a track that Speed knows well from testing. It’s a horsepower circuit, and that meant that Speed and his teammate, Tonio Liuzzi, knew their Scuderia Toro Rosso cars would be at a disadvantage because of their power-restricted V10 engines.

Speed set the 24th quickest time on the opening day of practice Friday, June 9. Zzzz

“From what we have seen today and looking at the times, it’s clear we are going to struggle a bit this weekend,” Californian Speed said. “The car is working well. It’s got good balance, but we just don’t have the power down the straights. Although it’s much hotter than we expected, there are no problems on the tire front.”

He had a quick spin but did not damage his car.

“For some reason I had a big problem with stability on rear brakes,” he said. “I hit the brakes, and suddenly I was facing then wrong way. So we still need to improve our rear-end stability a bit.”

Qualifying on Saturday, June 10, went well for Speed as for a change others had bad luck. He made it through the first knockout stage and into the second session, qualifying 15th.

“Of course, I have to be happy with making it through to the second part of qualifying for the first time since Bahrain, although funnily enough, I have started from higher up the grid, when other cars have been put at the back,” he said. “In terms of car performance, I have a few problems with the rear end. I think I am going to have to fight to tame this beast in tomorrow’s race.”

Unfortunately, his race lasted just one lap. He made a great start and passed two cars and then made a move on Ralf Schumacher.

“That’s when I realized Ralf didn’t see me and was coming across,” Speed said. “I tried to slow down to get out of the way. But I could not slow down enough, and he came across my front.”

Speed hit Schumacher’s Toyota, which then collided with Mark Webber’s Williams Cosworth. Schumacher and Webber retired on the spot while Speed limped back to the pits where the Toro Rosso crew found that his suspension was too damaged to continue.

All three drivers had to report to race control to explain what happened. The officials declared nobody was at fault.

“We talked to the race stewards after the race,” Speed said, “and Ralf declared it as a racing incident, and so did we.” Speed then flew to his base in Salzburg, Austria. He will test at the Monza circuit in Italy this week, have the weekend off, and then head to North America.

The first American F1 driver since Michael Andretti in 1993, Speed will become the first American driver to race in his home Grand Prix since Eddie Cheever Jr. competed in the 1989 United States Grand Prix in Phoenix.

Being the first American in F1 in 13 years does not put any extra pressure on him, Speed said.

“It does not put too much more pressure on me than I already put on myself anyway,” he said. “I am a real competitive person. I’ve worked my whole life to race, and I didn’t do it so that I could come second. I want to win and fulfill my dreams to become F1 World Champion.

“Being the only American was difficult when I first came to Europe, but now that I have established myself and I know to all the key players in F1, I feel more like an equal.”
06/12/06
cc
Champ Car expecting one million Champ Car expecting one millionSummer is fast approaching and with it, the midpoint of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, where the only thing hotter than the action on the race track, is the action going on surrounding the race track.

The June 18 Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland launches a run of seven events that will play a key role, not only in the outcome of the championship, but also in the long-term growth of the Champ Car World Series. The summer stretch features a strong mix of established events with long and glittering histories, intermingled with newer venues that have blossomed into world-class motorsports events.

The stretch begins in Portland and includes visits to Cleveland, Toronto, Edmonton, San Jose, Denver and Montreal. The seven races combined to attract more than 925,000 people trackside last season and are expected break the 1,000,000 plateau this season. The stretch will likely see Champ Car break the 1,500,000 mark for attendance in 2006 and could serve as a springboard toward reaching last year's all-time per-event attendance record of 150,858.

"We continue to work with promoters to find new and creative ways to attract people to our three-day Festivals of Speed and the promoters are responding well," said series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. "We anticipate that all of our races will maintain their patterns of growth and that the fans will continue to find great value in attending our events."

The events that make up the summer stretch are doing more than simply opening the gates on a race weekend, as all have made substantial improvements and attracted new corporate support to their venues. Portland International Raceway revamped its track layout in 2005 and saw not only a safer race, but a much faster and more exciting one as Cristiano da Matta took the victory. Cleveland, Toronto and Montreal have all seen infusions of new management, which will provide bold innovations in how the races are operated.

Edmonton and San Jose held two of the most successful debut events in Champ Car history in 2005, combining to draw more than 350,000 fans, but both sites have reworked their tracks for '06 to provide better sightlines for the fans and better racing for the drivers. Denver has continued steady growth over its four seasons and had a wildly-successful race in 2005, setting event attendance records after posting a 32 percent increase in ticket sales.

More than just a series that brings world-class racing to the fans, Champ Car provides an entire weekend full of activities for people of all ages both on and off the track. Downtown street parties, interactive displays and contests, concerts with national recording artists and community festivals are all part of the experience that surrounds every Champ Car World Series event.

"It is very encouraging to us to see events that have had great successes in the past, continue to raise the bar for performance," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. "Commitment such as that from our promoters will help Champ Car as we continue to build a strong and vibrant future."

In addition to the improvements at the Champ Car venues, fans will also be able to follow all the action on each of the series' television partners. The first four races of the stretch will be aired live on CBS Sports with the July 30 Grand Prix of San Jose and the August 27 Grand Prix of Montreal to be shown on NBC. The Denver race will air live on SPEED, as will replays of each of the Champ Car races on the 2006 schedule.
06/12/06
f1
Kimi rules out wins in 2006 Kimi rules out wins in 2006(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen says his McLaren is still not quick enough to challenge for wins in 2006.

The Finn, who is likely to leave the Mercedes-powered outfit at the end of the year, finished second at Silverstone on Sunday and was a pacesetter at the preceding race on the streets of Monte Carlo.

But he said the British grand prix, dominated by Renault's Fernando Alonso, was more representative of the MP4-21 car's actual pace.

''(And) we weren't quick enough,'' said Raikkonen. ''Third place was the most we could do.''

Part of McLaren's problem in England was a lack of outright top speed, but the 26-year-old - who had even second place stolen by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher - admitted that the handling of his silver car was also not right.

Raikkonen continued: ''With Michael on new tyres there was no way that I could have kept him behind. The car was pretty hard to drive.

''We've improved it a bit but we are still too slow to fight for wins.

''We could challenge in Monaco but here it's back to reality,'' he said.
06/12/06
f1
Team cost me podium - Fisichella Team cost me podium - Fisichella(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella says a Silverstone podium escaped him because of team error. Renault principal Flavio Briatore admitted on Monday that the Roman driver qualified poorly 'because of our mistake', but did not elaborate.

However, Fisichella - whose runaway teammate Fernando Alonso netted his third win on the trot in England - told an Italian newspaper that his car had been set-up too close to the ground.

''The team's mistake cost me the front row,'' the 33-year-old said, ''otherwise I would have been able to fight with Alonso for the podium.

He added: ''They did not tell me they were going to lower the car, which made it hit the track and be too slow.''

Fisichella explained that, due to the parc ferme rule, he was then stuck with the disadvantage in the race, and also had to run higher tyre pressures to keep the 'R26' from bottoming out.

He will test this week at Monza.
06/12/06
miscellaneous
AutoRacing1.com notice AutoRacing1.com noticeDue to system maintenance, updates to AutoRacing1.com will be spotty throughout the day today.
06/12/06
cc
Champ Car starts CBS stretch Champ Car starts CBS stretchINDIANAPOLIS – The June 18 Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland launches a run of four races in six weeks, a furious schedule that will go a long way toward determining who earns the title of 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion.

Fans are expected to attend the four events in record numbers but those that spend their weekends closer to home will be able to follow every lap of the action live on CBS Sports. The four-race stretch of races carried by CBS Sports includes a permanent road course in Portland, wide-open battles on airport circuits in Cleveland and Edmonton and one of the series’ most successful street races with the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto.

“Champ Car has taken great steps to enhance its television package this season and this four-race stretch on CBS Sports provides a great platform to carry not only our great racing to our loyal fans, but also to showcase our sponsors and corporate partners,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “Last season’s Champ Car viewership built momentum through the four races and we hope to build on that this year.” zzzz

CBS Sports broadcast four consecutive Champ Car events live in 2005 and showed steady improvement in the Nielsen ratings throughout, with more than 1,000,000 households tuning in for races in Cleveland and Toronto.

“CBS Sports is pleased to continue our relationship with Champ Car as the sport continues to grow,” said Rob Correa, Senior Vice-President, Programming, CBS Sports.  We look forward to bringing the excitement of the Champ Car World Series to race fans this summer.”

Fans can tune in to the June 18 Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, which begins live at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. That race will be followed the next week by the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland which begins at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The Molson Grand Prix of Toronto is next on July 9 with a 12:30 p.m. Eastern start time, while the final CBS Sports race of the season comes live from Edmonton with the broadcast beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Champ Car

06/12/06
miscellaneous
"Cars" open strong in theaters "Cars" open strong in theatersDisney/Pixar’s “Cars” earned an estimated $62.8M at the box office over the weekend, “the fifth-biggest opening of all time for an animated film and third best ever for Pixar” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
06/12/06
nascar
Ford wins Crew Chief award Ford wins Crew Chief awardWith guidance from crew chief Mike Ford, Denny Hamlin performed a near-miraculous comeback to score the first points race victory in his Nextel Cup career this weekend at the Pocono Raceway.  The duo’s efforts made Ford the easy pick for this week’s WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.

The No. 11 FedEx Chevy was undoubtedly the class of the field in Sunday’s Pocono 500.  Hamlin sat his machine on the pole and dominated the opening stages of the race, however, his efforts were almost for nil after his tire blew on lap 51, causing him to spin out. The incident relinquished him to 40th place and damaged the left-rear quarter panel of his race car.  Fortunately for Hamlin, Ford was able to restore the car to its original form over the course of several pit stops during the ensuing caution flag laps.  Once the damage was fixed, Hamlin methodically climbed his way through the field.  After taking over the top spot with 24 laps remaining, Hamlin had no problem holding off the advances of his competitors.  zzzz

“That wasn’t an easy race by any means,” commented Ford after the event.  “This was a group effort.  Obviously we had a fast car and we had our tire issue.  We just had to pace ourselves and evaluate the damage and knew there was a lot of time left in the race.  We did what we could with the time we had.  Every caution, every time we would come down pit road, we would have a little bit more to do and really we still had more to do than what we had the opportunity to get to.  But once it went green for a while, we saw that we could run back towards the front and didn’t think there was anyone that could outrun us.”

A panel of voters; including Chuck Givler of the Easton Express-Times, Robbie Reiser and a WYPALL® Wipers representative; all agreed that Ford deserved Crew Chief of the Race honors.  “It’s not too often that you see a race car that dominant,” said Reiser.  “Denny (Hamlin) was leaving everybody behind early on.  He ran into some trouble and had to make repairs, and he still came back and won.  Even with damage, he was still driving away from everybody.  Mike (Ford) definitely knows Pocono (Raceway).  He has this place figured out.  He dominated here with Bill Elliott a few years ago and this looked like a repeat of that.”

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

06/12/06
f1
Alonso dragged into soccer squabble Alonso dragged into soccer squabble(GMM) Reigning world champion Fernando Alonso has been dragged into a controversy in the world of soccer.

A candidate for the presidency of football club Real Madrid, Juan Palacious, has been quoted in the Spanish press as vowing to advertise on Alonso's Renault 'R26' if elected.

''What I have said about Alonso will be a reality,'' he said on Monday.

One of Palacious' rivals for the presidency, however, criticized the wealthy owner of a watch business for the flamboyant promise.

''This is all the wrong way round,'' said Juan Miguel Villar Mir. ''Real should be receiving money from sponsors, not paying it out.''

The Real Madrid elections will be held on July 2, meaning that the club's crest could debut on the Renault at the subsequent French GP.

24-year-old Alonso is a confessed Real Madrid fan, and revealed recently that he feels calm and collected when at the wheel of his F1 racer.

He said: ''But when I'm watching football it's very different.''

06/12/06
f1
Todt: "We were competitive, but not enough" Todt: "We were competitive, but not enough"Maranello - Ferrari team principal Jean Todt admitted to disappointment following his team's second and fifth places in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday. "I thought we had a chance of winning," said Todt afterwards, "and if you come expecting to be able to win and you finish behind the first placed car, then sometimes it's a little bit of a disappointment, yes."

Ferrari had gone very well in testing at Barcelona the week before Silverstone, but that shouldn't necessarily have been seen as an indicator, said Todt. "Fernando Alonso was not there, if I remember correctly. And from one track to another one, things are different. One specification of tires performing well on one circuit doesn't mean that they will be good on another circuit. We were competitive, but not enough to pretend to finish better than second and fifth with Michael (Schumacher) and Felipe (Massa) today."

Ferrari didn't test at Silverstone earlier this year. If they had, might that have changed things? "We will never know. It's always easy after I think we finished in front of most of the teams who did test at Silverstone, so, simply, I think we lost because there was a team who was quicker than us." zzzz

In the early stages, Michael Schumacher was held up behind Kimi Raikkonen. If he had been able to pass earlier, might he have been able to challenge for the lead? "Michael, at the beginning, probably could have been quicker if he had not been behind Raikkonen," continued Todt, "but he was behind. And then in four laps Alonso managed to take eight seconds off Michael and that was the end of it. And Fisichella passed Felipe in the pit stop. In a way, it was a good move that we managed to have Michael able to pass Kimi at the second pit stop."

But Todt is ever the realist, pointing out that the Renaults were simply quicker. "Two or three tenths of a second is not a lot, but if you multiply it by 60, it makes twelve to 18 seconds and they were definitely quicker in qualifying yesterday."

Schumacher took second place off Kimi Raikkonen at the second pit stop thanks to a blistering 'out' lap after his stop. "He was the only driver using a new set of tires," explained Todt. "He had fuel for 19 laps and he did a very strong 'out' lap, quickest in sectors two and three. But the 'in' lap was very strong as well."

Although the next two races in North America are back-to-back doubleheaders, Todt is not convinced that Renault's performance is unstoppable. "We are going to test some new developments, some new adaptations to the car next week. Those two circuits are very quick circuits and we have a very efficient car, so I think we should be competitive, but how competitive the others will be we will see that when we are there. We are testing tires, set-up and new parts at Circuit Paul Ricard with Massa and (test driver) Badoer."

But Todt is under no illusions as to Fernando Alonso's achievement so far this year. "He has scored 74 points out of 80 so it's remarkable. He's quick, competitive and reliable, so it makes things more difficult for the others. Michael has 51 so it all depends on how the next ten races go."

Todt also rejected claims that he had been in discussions with David Coulthard over a possible opening at Ferrari next year. "I can only comment that we never had any contact with David Coulthard, never. That's the only thing I can comment."

Todt also spoke about the star of GP2, Lewis Hamilton, who is being run by his son Nicolas. Did he talk to his son about Lewis? "No, my son talks to me about him! He gets on very well with him, he likes the guy, he's low profile, a quick driver. But from what I understand, he has had, for several years, a contract with one of our competitors and if I see the team principal involved at the end of each race, he seems to have a strong intention with him, but that's just my personal feeling."

"He did a very good job. He did some good overtaking but if you saw the race yesterday he was very good, he did the quickest time during the race. Only third time in qualifying."

Finally, Todt backed FIA president Max Mosley's plans for the future of Formula One, including his energy storage ideas for hybrid engines. "On paper, it's an interesting project. We at Ferrari need to understand more, that's why I've asked some of my people from the road car division to understand a bit more because then it's something which could be of interest for us, only if we have strong evidence that it's something which can be linked to road car use. You know, for us, it's very important, the synergy between Formula One and GT road cars. If it's only something you can use in Formula One and not in road cars, we would not be interested."

06/12/06
nascar
Failed brakes caused Gordon crash Failed brakes caused Gordon crashJeff Gordon was on the receiving end of a vicious hit when the right-front brake rotor broke on his No. 24 Chevrolet as he entered Turn 1 on Lap 190 of Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.

Gordon’s car veered into the infield, kicked up a storm of dirt and grass, then bolted back up the track and slammed the Turn 1 wall.

Gordon ended up with a 34th place finish and dropped to 11th in points, only the third time this season he was been ranked outside the top 10.

“That’s probably the worst thing you could ever ask for in a race car is to have the brakes go out going into Turn 1 at Pocono,” Gordon said. “Between the soft walls and the seat and every safety device we had in there, I never got knocked out.”

06/12/06
cc
irl
More cries for a merger More cries for a mergerA decade has passed since American open-wheel racing split into two contentious series. This is one 10-year anniversary no one seems to be celebrating.
Who wants to party about bankruptcy, low television ratings and empty seats?

Certainly not those running next weekend's Champ Car World Series race, the Grand Prix of Portland. What was once among the top sporting events in the Northwest has become must-see for only zealous racing fans.

In 1995, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) staged its annual event at Portland International Raceway in front of a three-day crowd of 164,000, including 81,000 on race day. The race was a cash machine for the Portland Rose Festival, which funneled some of the profit toward improvements at PIR.

But in 1996, greed and ego got the best of open wheel racing. Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George, who controls the country's premier open-wheel race, the Indianapolis 500, decided to form his own series, the Indy Racing League.

CART, a once powerful-organization with a stock price trading as high as $33.62, crumbled bit by bit. It went bankrupt after going through cash reserves of more than $100 million in 2003. What remained was bought in bankruptcy court by a group called Open Wheel Racing Series, which started Champ Car World Series.

Ten years following the split, Champ Car and IRL are fighting for survival.

Except for the Indy 500, many American open-wheel races attract the television ratings of an infomercial, especially Champ Car, which has bought TV time to broadcast some of its races. Attendance at some Champ Car races is strong, not so good at others, like Portland, which drew about 25,000 on race day in 2005.

The most surprising aspect of the split? That they're still split.

"I thought somebody was going to win, and somebody was going to lose," said Bob Ames, the former Rose Festival race chairman when asked what he thought would happen in 1996 when CART and IRL became competing series.

"I think people underestimated how much money they were going to throw down the rat hole."  More at Columbian.com

06/12/06
nascar
Waltrip Racing continues relationship despite report Waltrip Racing continues relationship despite report"I think a lot of people got confused when we took the opportunity to move our NEXTEL Cup operation down the road to Jimmy Spencer's old shop," said Waltrip. "We saw an opportunity to give Larry Carter and his team working on the Burger King Chevrolets, a location that allows them to stay totally focused on preparing for our upcoming five Cup races with Bill Elliott in 2006. Our Busch Series program, along with our Marketing, Licensing and Business Affairs departments remain at Fitz-Bradshaw in Mooresville, NC. Last Fall we partnered with Armando Fitz for the entire 2006 season and that won't change." While everything is status-quo with Waltrip's 2006 programs, there is eager anticipation for 2007. In just a few weeks, the first phase of Waltrip Racing World will open for Toyota's entry into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Waltrip Racing World, scheduled to open to the public mid 2007, is a fan destination complete with entertainment and interactive experiences. It will also house all of Michael Waltrip Racing's Toyota backed teams. "Phase One of Waltrip Racing World is essentially our fabrication and manufacturing facility," Waltrip said. "In some ways it could be viewed as the heart and soul of our entire campus. Our first Toyota Camry was completed last week and we will build many more at the new location. This building is exclusively dedicated to the preparation, testing, development and eventually racing of our 2007 Camry's." MWR PR
06/12/06
nascar
NASCAR weekend in California NASCAR weekend in CaliforniaPolitics will be replaced by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on the floor of the California State Legislature in Sacramento on Thursday, June 22. Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, who represents the 2nd District in California and is an avid NASCAR fan, will be joined by popular NASCAR FOX television analyst Larry McReynolds and Infineon Raceway President and General Manager Steve Page in an official proclamation of “NASCAR Weekend at Infineon Raceway.” This marks the first-ever statewide NASCAR weekend proclamation in California, and comes in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in the Sonoma Valley, June 23-25. It will be NASCAR’s 18th consecutive visit to Infineon Raceway. Assemblyman LaMalfa (R-Richvale) has attended NASCAR events at Infineon Raceway in past years and believes the proclamation is long overdue as the popularity of NASCAR surges in the Golden State. Infineon Raceway PR
06/12/06
f1
Alonso on road to second title - Berger Alonso on road to second title - BergerUPDATE (GMM)  Fernando Alonso is on a merciless drive to his second world championship, the Italian press agreed on Monday

'La Gazzetta dello Sport' in Italy admitted that its beloved Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had 'trouble keeping up' with Renault's young dominator Fernando Alonso in the British GP

''Schumacher does not want to give up,'' said the newspaper, ''but it is obvious that he is helpless against Alonso.'

'Corriere della Sera', meanwhile, admitted that 'too many hurdles' now stand between 37-year-old Schumacher and an eighth title triumph.

06/11/06 (GMM)  Gerhard Berger thinks it will be difficult for his friend, Michael Schumacher, to close the championship gap to runaway leader Fernando Alonso.

The Austrian, co-owner of the Toro Rosso team and a former GP winner, admitted that - with a 23-point lead after Silverstone - it 'looks good' for Renault's Spaniard.

''But it's only the middle of the season,'' Berger told 'Premiere' in England, ''and in this game there can be big changes in the second half of the year.''
06/12/06
f1
Schu resets focus on future Schu resets focus on future(GMM)  Michael Schumacher will attempt to forget his troubles by holidaying in America prior to the upcoming double-header in Montreal and Indianapolis.

In what is fast becoming an annual tradition for the seven time world champion, he confirmed on Monday that he is again planning to put his feet up somewhere on the continent.

37-year-old Schumacher's face was like thunder after his defeat to Renault driver Fernando Alonso at Silverstone, where the championship deficit blew out once again to an increasingly troublesome lead.

''It is no secret that the championship fight is looking extremely hard,'' he freely admitted.

Schumacher said: ''However, it is also true that if Fernando can draw out such a lead in the first half of the season, then it is of course possible that he could lose it again.

''There are too many races left to simply give up.''

On the up-side, however, the lengthy 'Rascasse' saga seems finally to have run out of fuel, and the long straights of the grands prix of Canada and the US are almost certain to suit the characteristics of Schumacher's '248' racer.

''Both are high speed tracks,'' said Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn, ''and we have very, very good straight line speed.''

06/12/06
f1
Fastest laps of the British Grand Prix Fastest laps of the British Grand Prix
1. F. Alonso - Renault - 1:21.599 - lap 21
2. M. Schumacher - Ferrari - 1:21.934 - lap 53
3. G. Fisichella - Renault - 1:22.238 - lap 42
4. F. Massa - Ferrari - 1:22.371 - lap 43
5. K. Raikkonen - McLaren - 1:22.461 - lap 15
6. N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber - 1:22.706 - lap 43
7. J. Trulli - Toyota - 1:22.744 - lap 19
8. J. P. Montoya - McLaren - 1:22.780 - lap 38
9. N. Rosberg - Williams- 1:22.916 - lap 47
10. J. Villeneuve - BMW Sauber - 1:22.921 - lap 46
11. R. Barrichello - Honda - 1:23.224- lap 38
12. C. Klien - Red Bull- 1:23.712 - lap 30
13. C. Albers - MF1 - 1:23.977- lap 27
14. D. Coulthard - Red Bull - 1:23.995 - lap 42
15. V. Liuzzi - STR - 1:24.221 - lap 25
16. T. Monteiro - MF1- 1:24.636 - lap 25
17. J. Button - Honda - 1:25.207 - lap 8
18. T. Sato - Super Aguri - 1:26.520 - lap 23
19. F. Montagny - Super Aguri - 1:27.167 (+ 5.568 ) - lap 26.
06/12/06
f1
Title for Schu 'difficult' - Todt Title for Schu 'difficult' - Todt(GMM)  Ferrari boss Jean Todt has denied that opting against sending the test team to Silverstone prior to the British grand prix numbed Michael Schumacher's chance of victory.

Schumacher's failure to beat Fernando Alonso on Sunday means that, even if the German wins the remaining ten races of 2006, Spaniard Alonso only has to consistently take his blue Renault to second place to seal his crown.

''I suppose we will never know,'' Frenchman Todt told reporters after the race.

He continued: ''It is easy to say that is the reason, but I think we lost simply because there was a team that was better than us.

''We have to admit that we were not quite competitive enough, even if I thought that we would have a chance.''

Todt had to confess that, with 74 out of a possible 80 points so far this season, Alonso's run for Renault has been impressive.

Speaking about the championship, he added: ''That makes it so difficult for the others.''

06/12/06
f1
Only DC had new Red Bull gearbox Only DC had new Red Bull gearbox(GMM) David Coulthard beat teammate Christian Klien to the Silverstone checker, but the Scot was benefiting from a new gearbox for his Red Bull.

However, team principal Christian Horner - whose Salzburg-based chiefs are still to decide on the 2007 driver lineup - explained that 23-year-old Klien will be brought up to scratch at the next race in Montreal.

''In Canada also Christian's car will be equipped with (the gearbox),'' Horner was quoted as saying by 'Salzburger Nachrichten'.

Red Bull will this week test at Monza in Italy, while other teams, including Ferrari, are scheduled to appear at the French Paul Ricard venue.

35-year-old Coulthard commented after finishing twelfth at Silverstone: ''Mechanically we performed well, but aero efficiency wise we're not where we need to be.''

06/12/06
cc
Forsythe and Dominguez Decide to Part Ways Forsythe and Dominguez Decide to Part WaysWheeling, Illinois - Forsythe Championship Racing and Mario Dominguez announced today that they have mutually agreed to terminate their relationship.  Effective immediately, Mario Dominguez will no longer be the driver of Forsythe's #7 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone/Lola in the Champ Car World Series.

Dominguez and the Forsythe team have enjoyed a fair share of success together; their most recent accomplishment was securing the Bridgestone Pole Position at the Houston Grand Prix, which was a career first for Dominguez.  Unfortunately, changes in the engineering structure of the team no longer suit both parties and it was mutually agreed that the best direction forward would be to part ways.

Mario Dominguez
"My management and I have decided that it is in the best interest of my career to part ways with Forsythe Championship Racing.  I was in a position where playing # 2 in the team was not what I wanted to do this early in the Championship, so I believe what's best for my career is to go somewhere where I can be a leader.  I will pursue other opportunities in another team in Champ Car, Formula1, NASCAR or the IRL.  And I will always be grateful to Mr. Forsythe for having given me the chance to drive for his team." zzzz

Neil Micklewright, VP of Team Operations
"Even though we are always a strong contender at every event that we go to, we know that we still have a lot of work to do to be able to beat the other leading contenders.  We've been struggling with the development of our cars and our setups for some time because of very different driver setup references.  We believe that this restructuring of the team will be beneficial for us and will help put us back in the hunt for the Championship."

Jerry Forsythe, Team Owner
"These decisions are never easy, but after very close look at the way our team works we've decided that this is the best direction for us to follow.  Mario is a talented driver and he did a good job for us.  I am confident that he will be able to continue his racing career with great results and successes, and we wish him the best of luck."

06/11/06
Racing News
Quotes of the Week Quotes of the Week
DAVID COULTHARD:
"It would be like going to a zoo and trying to communicate with a chimpanzee."  (Referring to talking to Montoya about blocking him during qualifying for the British Grand Prix)  
   
DAVID COULTHARD:
''The way he drives is disgusting, it is not the mark of a man and I think it's unacceptable.''  (Referring to Montoya blocking him during qualifying for the British Grand Prix)
 
JACQUES VILLENEUVE:
"They should, you know, get a life,'' JV hissed. ''Whoever is scared, maybe it is time to stop.'' (Referring to F1 drivers complaining about safety issues at the British Grand Prix)
 
JACQUES VILLENEUVE: 
''Sometimes you have to admit that you have been an idiot,'' said the Canadian, ''and be big enough to then say 'that was really stupid' and then life goes on.'' (Referring to Michael Schumacher stopping at Rascasse at Monte Carlo)
 
MARCO ANDRETTI:
"All I can say is it's one of two things," he said. "One, he did it on purpose, or two, he didn't see me. Which is worse?"  (Referring to Eddie Cheever at Watkins Glen)
06/11/06
f1
'Damage limitation' for Ferrari's Schu 'Damage limitation' for Ferrari's Schu(GMM)  Ross Brawn has described Silverstone as 'damage limitation' for Ferrari, after Michael Schumacher finished second to championship leader Fernando Alonso on Sunday.

''But once again we move two points in the wrong direction,'' the technical director said, ''which is disappointing.''

With its mighty straight-line speed, however, the Maranello based team is looking forward to the next two races, whose long stretches of road should give Schumacher a chance to set the pace.

Brawn told 'Premiere' TV in Germany: ''Our car should run well (in the North American races).''

Renault boss Flavio Briatore, meanwhile, enthused about Fernando Alonso's ever-expanding lead in the drivers' chase.

And the Italian added: ''Also in the constructors' championship we lie far out in front.  I am not surprised that the others could not match us.''

06/11/06
cca
Bessette returns to Champ Car Atlantic in Portland Bessette returns to Champ Car Atlantic in PortlandIndianapolis –  Canadian Antoine Bessette will enter the Trinity Carpet 100, fourth round of the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship at the helm of the #14 Western Union car next weekend in Portland.  The St-Bruno, Quebec driver is returning to a series where he had a lot of success last year with a team which he competed in 2003 & 2004. However, the 24-year old pilot did not stay idle this year since he drove a Daytona Prototype in a few Grand-Am Rolex rounds with MSR. Antoine is eager to take to the track the new Swift-Mazda combo. 

“I long to drive that Western Union car, said the French Canadian. When I tested with Bob (Gelles) last winter in the Renault V6, the new Swift car was not yet available. In Portland, I will benefit from a full test day to gel with my new engineer. It will also be fun to collaborate with Robbie Pecorari also with whom I tested last winter. Portland is a track where I enjoyed two Top-5 finishes last year: the track is quick and fun to drive with one very tricky corner (#2) after the start.” zzzz

“We’re very happy to have Antoine back with us, this time in our Atlantic program, said team owner Bob Gelles. This fine young driver has been around a few years with our team. He won races in many series and I know he will be fast from lap one, especially with recent experience gained after racing a 650 HP Rolex Daytona Prototype.”

AB: a late bloomer

Antoine Bessette started his meteoric racing career only five years ago and raced everything from Formula Ford to Daytona Prototype, from rally cars to Atlantic cars. He won on many racetracks but his two Atlantic victories in Toronto and Montreal last year together with two second place finishes tied him with Katherine Legge for third in the 2005 final standings. He was awarded the Gilles-Villeneuve Trophy by the series and received Best Canadian driver award at the Canadian Hall of Fame annual gala evening. This will make him the highest point achiever returning to the Atlantic series in 2006.

Gelles Racing on the Oregon Trail

Gelles Racing is traveling across the United States to Portland. Testing day for Gelles drivers Bessette and Pecorari will take place on Wednesday on the 10-turn 1.964 mile permanent circuit. There will be practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday with the last practice sessions taking place Saturday evening at 5:00 pm. The Trinity Carpet 100 will go green Sunday morning at 10:00 am to be aired on SPEED.

06/11/06
f1
Raikkonen: We were too slow Raikkonen: We were too slow"We were a bit too slow on the straight line to challenge anyone," said Raikkonen. "I was quite close to Fernando after the safety car but couldn't pass him. I was with Michael and we got very close but didn't hit each other so that's ok. "It's not a bad race but we're not quick enough," he added. "I did the best I could and we finished third which was the maximum we could get today. I lost the rear end a little bit towards the end of the race and Fisichella was very quick at the end, it wasn't too much problem but I'm happy with third place." Kimi Raikkonen
06/11/06
f1
Montoya denies DC row over Red Bull seat Montoya denies DC row over Red Bull seat(GMM) Juan Pablo Montoya has denied that a verbal spat with F1 rival David Coulthard has anything to do with an apparent race to a seat at Red Bull Racing in 2007.

With Colombia's Montoya now seemingly out of contention to keep his spot at McLaren, bosses at Red Bull are reportedly in the process of deciding whether to snap him up.

But with incumbent Coulthard and Tonio Liuzzi also linked strongly with the ride, it is a possibility that - after their qualifying run-in and stewards' enquiry - Scot DC's likening of a conversation with Montoya to a chat with a caged 'chimpanzee' indicates more than a simple loss of temper.

Asked by reporters about the Red Bull link, Montoya said at Silverstone: ''I don't have any issues with that.

''I think it's not my call,'' he added. ''It is Red Bull's decision about who they want, and my decision as well if I go.''

Montoya also confirmed that Coulthard, 35, personally apologized for his harsh words to the press on Sunday morning.

06/11/06
f1
Coulthard apologizes to Montoya Coulthard apologizes to MontoyaBriton David Coulthard apologized on Sunday for likening Formula One rival Juan Pablo Montoya to a caged chimpanzee.

"He came and apologized this morning. It was nice," the McLaren driver told reporters after the British Grand Prix.

Montoya infuriated Red Bull's Coulthard in Saturday qualifying, with the Scot accusing the Colombian of deliberately impeding him.

"I wouldn't waste my time by going to see Juan Pablo," British newspapers quoted him as saying before a stewards' inquiry on Saturday evening ruled that the incident required no further action by them.

"It would be like going to a zoo and trying to communicate with a chimpanzee."

Montoya, who replaced Coulthard at McLaren at the end of 2004, said the Scot had told him he slowed in the second qualifying session because he did not trust the Colombian to move out of the way.

"I said 'you haven't even talked to me in six years I've been here (in Formula One) so it's hard to say why you don't even trust me if I've never done anything to you'," said Montoya.

"I was coming into the pits as he was starting his lap and he was never close enough for me to pick up the pace. I went through the gravel, stayed right and went into the pits. "He said he had to back off to make sure I didn't screw his lap, but I wasn't planning to." Reuters

06/11/06
f1
'Damage limitation' for Ferrari's Schu 'Damage limitation' for Ferrari's Schu(GMM) Ross Brawn has described Silverstone as 'damage limitation' for Ferrari, after Michael Schumacher finished second to championship leader Fernando Alonso on Sunday.

''But once again we move two points in the wrong direction,'' the technical director said, ''which is disappointing.''

With its mighty straight-line speed, however, the Maranello based team is looking forward to the next two races, whose long stretches of road should give Schumacher a chance to set the pace.

Brawn told 'Premiere' TV in Germany: ''Our car should run well (in the North American races).''

Renault boss Flavio Briatore, meanwhile, enthused about Fernando Alonso's ever-expanding lead in the drivers' chase.

And the Italian added: ''Also in the constructors' championship we lie far out in front. I am not surprised that the others could not match us.''
06/11/06
f1
Brit win simple, Alonso agrees Brit win simple, Alonso agrees(GMM) Fernando Alonso has agreed that his first Silverstone win was a pretty simple affair.

''I think today there were not many options for the rivals to beat us,'' said Renault's world champion, who extends his title advantage over Michael Schumacher by another 2 points.

Ferrari's second placed Schumacher pulled of the coup of jumping Kimi Raikkonen in the second pit stop, despite stopping earlier than the Finn, but did not deny that Alonso was in another league.

''You have to say we weren't quick enough this weekend,'' Schumacher, 37, said in England, ''so we have to work on that.''
06/11/06
f1
ExxonMobil extends with McLaren ExxonMobil extends with McLarenTeam McLaren Mercedes and ExxonMobil Lubricants & Petroleum Specialties Company are delighted to announce a long-term extension to their Technology Partnership, which sees the Formula 1 team supplied with performance fuels and fully synthetic motor oils and lubricants through the Mobil 1 brand.

The Mobil 1, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz Partnership began in 1995, and has seen continuous advances in the technologies used by the team in Formula 1, as the sport concurrently provides the ultimate testing environments for fuels and lubricants in the everyday world of motoring.

The Mobil 1 brand will continue to feature prominently on the Team McLaren Mercedes MP4-21, in addition to presence across the team including on the overalls and helmets of drivers Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett, as well as on the team kit of the Team McLaren Mercedes personnel and the team's transporters. zzzz

"Our Technology Partnership with ExxonMobil is an integral element to the functioning of the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, and it is immensely satisfying that we are today announcing a multi-year extension to what has been a productive 12 years," added Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group. "Mobil 1 provides genuine performance enhancements to our car, which can be measured in real time analysis. The 2006 season has seen an increased dependence on the technological capabilities within ExxonMobil, with the change from V10 to V8 Mercedes-Benz engines providing additional challenges, which have been met and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship in the long-term."

"We're very pleased to continue this Technology Partnership with Team McLaren Mercedes." said Jerry Kohlenberger, President, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Petroleum Specialties Company. "It's a great fit for our Mobil 1 brand to be aligned with McLaren and Mercedes in a legacy of technology excellence as well as providing an excellent global venue for our brand presence. Finally, for ExxonMobil, a key benefit -- apart from winning Formula 1 races with a truly outstanding motorsports team -- is to use our on-track research and testing to develop and deliver new products that benefit everyday drivers under the most demanding driving conditions."

“The Technology Partnership between ExxonMobil, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz is a long lasting, successful and very productive one," said Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "Since Team McLaren Mercedes and Mobil became partners the collaboration has always been exemplary. ExxonMobil fuels and lubricants have contributed to the performance of our Formula 1 engines and gearboxes and we can’t imagine a better technology partner. Our successful relationship in motor sport has led to a co-operation in Mercedes-Benz road cars as well. Mobil 1 lubricants are first fill and first choice for all Mercedes-Benz AMG cars and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. We are now looking forward to the long term continuation of our excellent partnership.”

In the 12 years of the Mobil 1, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz Technology Partnership the team has competed in 193 Grands Prix, winning 44. The two Drivers' and one Constructors' Formula 1 World Championships have been supported by 43 pole positions, 135 podiums, 227 points finishes and 58 fastest laps.

06/11/06
f1
Another Honda failure for Button Another Honda failure for ButtonJenson Button, the main hope of British fans this weekend, has had another Honda engine detonate on lap ten of the British GP. Jenson parked the car off the circuit and walked back towards the pits.
06/11/06
nascar
Q and A with Matt Kenseth from Pocono Q and A with Matt Kenseth from Pocono
06/11/06
lmes
South Pit Lane exit to be used at LeMans South Pit Lane exit to be used at LeMansFollowing the various meetings and the eye-witness reports from the drivers at the Le Mans 24-Hours test day on Sunday 4th June, the ‘South’ pit exit will be used for the race.

To recap: the plans agreed before the work was done to revamp the Dunlop curve as requested by the International Motorcycle Federation included two exits: one called the ‘North’ (shown right) that joined the circuit at the Dunlop chicane and the other, the ‘South,’ that used the old track layout at the entry to the Dunlop curve. All the sporting authorities approved these plans.

For the test day on 4th July the ‘North’ exit was used in compliance with the choice made by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) when it came to homologating the circuit.

The “A.S.A. A.C.O. 24 Heures du Mans” presided by Jean-Claude Plassart took appropriate action and contacted the different sporting Federations immediately to meet the drivers’ demands.
The decision to use the ‘South’ exit was then officially agreed and validated.

“Safety is an absolute priority shared by everybody and we hope that the solution we’ve found will allow the drivers to leave the pits in the safest possible conditions,” said Daniel Poissenot, the ACO assistant general manager and Le Mans 24-Hours Clerk of the Course. He added that he was very pleased by the constructive quality of the discussions with both the drivers and the Sporting Authorities.
This exit will be used from the start of the first session of qualifying practice on Wednesday 14th September at 19h00.

.

06/11/06
gp2
Hamilton wins yet again Hamilton wins yet againLewis Hamilton has taken his second double win of the season with a crushing display of speed in race two at Silverstone, storming through the field from eighth on the grid to win by nine seconds from poleman Felix Porteiro and Adam Carroll.

The race start was delayed when Alex Premat and Timo Glock stalled on the grid, prompting an extra formation lap. Next time around there were no such problems, and Porteiro had a storming start on his first time at the sharp end to lead fellow front row driver Clivio Piccione into the first corner.

Giorgio Pantano and Nelson Piquet Jr slotted in immediately behind the front pair, while yesterday's front row pairing of Carroll and Hamilton were having a fierce battle of their own, with the latter finally coming out on top after the pair ran side by side all the way through to Hangar Straight.

Andreas Zuber was already out of the race, having been pushed into the pitwall by Jason Tahinci, while Piquet was having a storming opening lap; having been forced onto the grass at the start by Pantano, he had his revenge by muscling his way through into third before the lap was over. zzzz

The two stalling drivers were fighting their way back after the disappointing start, to vastly different effect. Glock, who had been push started to form up at the back of the grid, was storming his way through the grid while Premat, who started in the pits, was clearly struggling: he spun on lap two and was soon back in the pits and out of his car.

Back at the front Porteiro had the benefit of Piccione slowing up his pursuers, storming away in the knowledge that he would need as big a gap as possible later in the race. Piquet was all over the back of the Monegasque driver but unable to thread the needle, while Pantano was robustly defending his position behind them from a charging Hamilton.

Fairuz Fauzy had found himself in seventh after a good start, and was holding on for dear life. A long train was forming behind the Malaysian driver, with no one able to find a way through other than Glock, who took the opportunities presented to move up to eighth in five laps.

Further back and a bad race turned into a nightmare for Arden when Michael Ammermüller collected the rear of teammate Neel Jani, tipping both cars into retirement at Abbey and prompting the safety car to come out on track while the marshals retrieved the broken vehicles.

The race went green on lap eight, and Hamilton made a perfect restart by lining up precisely on Pantano's tail through Woodcote to put himself side by side across the line and through into fourth at Copse, while Glock was the first man to get by Fauzy further around the lap, at Vale, for seventh position.

At the front Porteiro did a perfect job of the restart and was rebuilding his lead, while Piccione was hanging on desperately from Piquet. The pair were soon joined by Hamilton, and they drove three wide into Maggotts, Piquet inside Piccione and Hamilton on the outside.

It was an audacious move, but there could only be one driver to come out on top, and Hamilton made sure it was him: he pushed slightly left but left enough room, just, for the others. Piccione jinked slightly left and Piquet had nowhere to go but onto the grass.

The Brazilian ran through an advertising hoarding before rejoining the track right in front of the ongoing Pantano / Carroll battle, with the Ulsterman taking the opportunity to force his way past both, with a now slow Piquet also losing a position to a charging Glock.

Within a few corners Porteiro saw what he most dreaded in his mirrors: Hamilton had arrived, and was clearly determined to take home another win. The Spaniard, however, put up a plucky defense that defied his relative inexperience at the front of a GP2 race.

Lap after lap Porteiro held his line, but on lap twelve the inevitable happened: Hamilton tried on the inside at Bridge but was held up as Porteiro moved over to the right for Brooklands, but the Briton somehow forced his way across and inside before the corner, and the lead was his.

He wasn't the only Briton with a taste for blood: Carroll was on the podium yesterday and looking for more, and his constant pressure on Piccione finally paid off one lap later when he got inside at Stowe for third place while, behind them, Glock undid all his good work by running off track and falling back to ninth.

With Hamilton moving away at a second or more a lap Porteiro had his mirrors full once again, this time by Carroll, but the Spaniard was determined not to open the door again despite the rising number of drivers behind him, all looking for a way by.

It set up a five car battle over the closing laps of the race, with all of them holding their breath and trying desperately not to put a wheel wrong and delighting the large crowd around the circuit.

Up at the front Hamilton built up a lead of over ten seconds before easing off slightly to win his second race of the weekend while the crowd strained to see what the order would be behind him.

The five crossed the line nose to tail, Porteiro holding on for second ahead of Carroll, Piccione, Pantano and Piquet, with Glock just failing to score a point despite forcing his way through Fauzy once again for seventh position.

Inevitably Hamilton also claimed another point for fastest lap, and was just 0.004 seconds in qualifying off a perfect score for the weekend. Not that he will mind so much, leading Piquet in the championship as he does by 67 points to 45.

06/11/06
irl
cc
Castroneves calls for merger Castroneves calls for mergerHelio Castroneves decided to dive in and plead for IRL and Champ Car World Series to reunite.

"When the series get back together, I don't know who needs to do that, I know it's not me, but when they get together this thing is going to be sky's the limit," he said.  More at Star Telegram

06/11/06
f1
De la Rosa also quits 'GPDA' De la Rosa also quits 'GPDA'(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa has joined Jacques Villeneuve in resigning from the drivers' 'GPDA' union.

The McLaren tester is understood to also have told directors of the body in a 26-minute meeting on Friday that he now feels uncomfortable with Michael Schumacher's continuing presence following the German's infamous 'Rascasse' moment.

''I do not want to be represented by a director like Schumacher,'' French-Canadian Villeneuve, 35, was quoted as saying by the 'sid' agency.

06/11/06
nascar
Testing loophole Testing loopholeNASCAR this season limited Nextel Cup testing to six tracks on which the series competes. So how did four Cup drivers test at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., last week? Well, Carl Edwards and Reed Sorenson tested Busch Series cars on the track. But Infineon has no Busch Series race. NASCAR officials said Friday that they don't condone using Busch cars to test on Cup tracks, but they have no penalty for it. Kyle Busch also tested at the track. The type of car he used could not be confirmed Friday. Charlotte Observer
06/11/06
nascar
Dover TV ratings continue NASCAR plummet Dover TV ratings continue NASCAR plummetYet another NASCAR race has seen a huge drop in TV ratings as the American public begins to tire of the over saturation of NASCAR media. The Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, which aired on FX Sunday, June 4, 2006 had a final TV rating of 3.7, down 24.5% from last years 4.9. As we have stated previously, almost every NASCAR Nextel Cup race has seen lower TV ratings as well as attendance in 2006 indicating that NASCAR has peaked, or worse yet, may have started a decline.
06/11/06
gp2
Durango team disqualified in England Durango team disqualified in EnglandThe Stewards received a report from the GP2 Technical Representative which stated that Car no 22 had stopped on lap 16 of the race due to a rear wing failure. On inspection of the broken parts it was his opinion that the lower element of the rear wing had been previously repaired.

The Stewards after hearing the explanation of the Team manager referred him to Article 6.1 of the 2006 GP2 Series technical Regulations which specifies which components may be repaired but which also states clearly that structural components must be replaced by new ones or submitted to the original supplier for repair.

The Team Manager accepted that:

1. The rear wing elements which had broken were structural
2. They had been previously repaired by someone other than the original supplier
3. The wing elements which had broken had failed t the point of repair
4. The wings of both Team cars, 22 and 23, had been repaired.

The Stewards find that this is a clear breach of 2006 GP2 Series Technical Regulations and is regarded by them as being a serious issue which affects the safety not only of the driver in each car but potentially of other competitors.

The Stewards consider that by virtue of the repairs carried out, the construction of each vehicle must be regarded as unsafe such that the Stewards, by virtue of International Sporting Code Article 127, order that cars 22 and 23 be excluded from the event.

The Stewards direct that the GP2 Technical Passport for each car be surrendered immediately to the GP2 Series Technical Representative.

The Stewards further direct that Passports be neither issued nor returned in respect of these vehicles until such time as a Certificate of Conformity of all structural components on each vehicle has been issued by Dallara.

06/11/06
nascar
Edwards Wins in the Music City Edwards Wins in the Music CityCarl Edwards scored his second NASCAR Busch Series win of the season Saturday night at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, while Kevin Harvick finished third to maintain his lead in the championship points race.

Edwards, who started 13th, pushed his Ameriquest Mortgage passed AC Delco Chevrolet driver Clint Bowyer with 37 laps remaining in the 225-lap, 300 mile event and pulled away for the win. Bowyer finished second while Harvick placed third in the U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet. Rockwell Automation Chevrolet driver Denny Hamlin finished fourth after leading during the midway point of the event. Finishing fifth was Paul Menard, who drove the Menard’s/Quaker State Chevrolet to his second top-5 finish of the season.

David Reutimann scored his best finish of the season in four starts by placing sixth. He was followed by Greg Biffle, Jon Wood, early race leader Ashton Lewis, Jr., and Danny O’Quinn, Jr.

Rookie Todd Kluever won his first career Busch Pole Award and led the first 17 laps of his career at the start of the event. He finished 17th.

Harvick exited the event with a 272-point lead over Edwards in the unofficial series standings. Bowyer and Hamlin maintained their third and fourth-place positions in the standings, while Biffle jumped two spots into fifth place.

06/11/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Montoya averts stewards' wrath
Villeneuve quits 'GPDA' over Schu incident
Schu says title fight still on
Coulthard engaged
GPDA race to improve test safety
Ferrari may power ahead in America
06/11/06
cc
Dominguez disagrees with penalty Dominguez disagrees with penaltyIn an interview with Reforma/El Norte Mario Dominguez had this to say about his penalty after the Milwaukee race.

"I feel that they [Champ Car] are completely wrong, they are not even a little bit close to being right. Usually when I make a mistake I accept the blame, but in this case I can’t. When I tried to pass Junqueira I was going much faster than him and he didn't leave me any space at all and we touched.

"I think the penalty issued by Champ Car was completely wrong. Are they telling us they don't want any driver trying to make a pass? That's why it's called racing. There are a lot of races still to run, and there is a lot to do still. I have always been an aggressive driver. I can't change my driving style. I can’t drive any other way. I go out every time trying to win, although this time it got me on probation." Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico

06/11/06
f1
Silverstone paddock news Silverstone paddock newsAlthough the warm weather has seen record crowds flock to Silverstone over the past couple of days, the F1 paddock was deserted yesterday afternoon and not because everyone was watching the GP2 race. Every motorhome was packed out with workers and guests all busy watching the England v Paraguay match in the World Cup. It was as quiet as a race meeting back in the Sixties.

The British Grand Prix always has plenty of sideshows going on and events organized to keep the media entertained, as to put it bluntly, Silverstone and the surrounding area is deathly dull. One such event took place on Friday night, a mini-moto race organized by clothing company, Alpinestars. A British journalist decided to have a go at it, even though he does not actually know how to ride a motorbike- and you wonder why journalists have a poor reputation in this sport. Inevitably, the poor lad ended up on his backside on his “out” lap and had to retire hurt. To add insult to injury, no make that, to add injury to injury, while cycling back in the dark to his motorhome, he was attacked by a Hawthorn bush and now has some lurid scratches to add to his bruises. Will his wife believe one iota of all this nonsense? zzzz

The highlight of the Silverstone social calendar is the Grand Prix Ball which took place on Friday night at the very posh Stowe Public School, just a few miles from the circuit. The grand finale of the night was a firework display and the organizers had provided those tin-foil “survival” blankets so that the ladies in their party frocks would not feel the cold as they stepped outside the venue to stare up at the skies. The next morning, as the job of cleaning up was coming to an end, cleaners found a late night party goer who had fallen asleep in the garden, wrapped up in several of these blankets, looking like an oven-ready chicken.

We currently have three world champions competing in Formula 1 - Schumacher with his seven titles and Alonso and Villeneuve with one apiece. But Silverstone is playing host to no less than fourteen champs this weekend. They were all ordered to show up by Bernie Ecclestone to have their photo taken for a very special book called the Formula One Opus. It will weigh 35 kilos and will be a strictly limited edition. If you need to ask the price, you can’t afford it. The photo itself will also be special as it was taken with the world’s biggest Polaroid camera that weighs in at a mighty 125 kilos.

Red Bull’s tire supplier Michelin always produces a very useful statistical guide to every grand prix for the journalists, but at Silverstone it did not arrive in the media centre until Saturday afternoon. The French company had a good excuse as their PR lady was busy giving birth to a baby boy last week. Red Bull

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