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Krisiloff takes pole at Michigan Krisiloff takes pole at MichiganRookie Kyle Krisiloff, a Hendrick Motorsports development driver with Bobby Gerhart Racing, won the pole position today for Friday's ARCA  RE/MAX Hantz Group 200 at Michigan International Speedway.  Krisiloff piloted the No. 7 Ditech.com Chevrolet to a speed of 187.598 miles per hour to edge another ARCA rookie, Ken Weaver, who will start on the outside of the front row after posting a qualifying speed of 187.524 mph in the 1-800-4-A-Phone Pontiac.
"We came out here and tested a few weeks ago and the car was pretty good then,'' said Krisiloff, who also posted the fastest practice speed yesterday. "We ran a good qualifying lap today. The car was a little loose, but we ran well."

Krisiloff, from Carmel, Ind., is the son of Indy 500 veteran Steve Krisiloff. "My goal has been to finish on the lead lap, which I haven't done this season," Krisiloff added. "With this qualifying run today, I feel confident we can do that here. I'm just trying to run well every week. It was hot when we tested here a few weeks ago, around 85-90 degrees, which didn't help us as much today because of the cooler temperatures. But the cooler temperatures will give a lot of us out here more confidence."

ALMS teams fare so-so in LeMans qualifying ALMS teams fare so-so in LeMans qualifyingOf the 13 ALMS teams entered in the world's most famous sports car race, eight will start in the top three of their respective classes when the green flag drops Saturday.  Near the top of the speed chart, the No. 2 Champion Racing Audi R8 qualified third overall with a lap of 3:37.795, a little more than three seconds behind the pole-sitting No. 16 Pescarolo Judd. Allan McNish set the time in the R8, which has been saddled with a number of restrictions, including 50 kilograms of added weight, a smaller fuel tank and less air into the engine.

McNish, who won at Le Mans in 1998, is splitting time behind the wheel with Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, who each have won there three times each.  "You can always make laps a little better," McNish said. "The tires weren't warm and that compromises you. We've gotten into the game with our good position. We didn't want to sit down in 10th or 11th. We anticipated sixth. Third is a bonus."

The sister car, the No. 3 Champion Audi R8, was eighth overall at 3:38.988. JJ Lehto, Marco Werner and six-time race winner Tom Kristensen are in the driver's seat.

In GT2, ALMS teams posted the three fastest qualifying times and five of the quickest six. Leading the way was the No. 71 Alex Job Racing Porsche of Mike Rockenfeller, Marc Lieb and Leo Hindery, which turned a lap of 4:05.326. The trio was more than 0.7 seconds faster than the No. 80 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek, Lonnie Pechnik and Seth Neiman, all three who are making their Le Mans debut.
"We didn't expect it (the class pole)," said Rockenfeller, in only his second Le Mans race. "We didn't have qualifying tires, so we used race tires. Yokohama brought a great tire to Le Mans. Marc had some good laps, and Leo had some good laps. It's good to be on pole, but it's a 24-hour race."

Added Hindery, "It's easy to do well when Mike is in the car. He's a wonderful driver, as is Marc Lieb. We did exactly what we wanted to do, which was get it set up for the race. We replaced the engine and shook it down the first hour. With a 4:05.3, we're in great shape for the race."

As in Wednesday's qualifying session, the two-car Aston Martin Racing team dominated in GT1 and will start 1-2 in class. The No. 58 of Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Pedro Lamy posted a time of 3:48.576, more than a second faster than the No. 59 sister DBR9 of David Brabham, Darren Turner and Stephane Sarrazin.

The No. 64 Corvette Racing C6-R of was closest to the Aston Martins at 3:52.426. The trio of Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen will start third in GT1 as they try for a class repeat. The No. 63 C6-R of Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis will start fifth in class after a somewhat disappointing 3:55.914.

But Fellows and GM Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan weren't panicking, even after the team changed gearboxes on the No. 63 during Thursday's early session. "That is part of the plan," Fellows said. "There are so many straights that we wanted to make a change. Part of our plan is to make as good a race car as possible. We're chasing it a little trying to make it comfortable for 24 hours. We're racing for the weekend."

Fehan added, "We have a pretty strong plan in place before we came here. We try not to deviate from that unless we have to. So we're pretty comfortable with that."

In LMP2, the No. 32 Intersport Racing Lola of Sam Hancock, Gregor Fisken and Liz Halliday was second in class at 3:44.752. The car posted the fastest LMP2 times Wednesday and in the June 5 test session.

"The car is absolutely fantastic," Fisken said. "The way the downforce takes you around the corners, I'm incapable of putting into words how it feels. It just says 'Come on, give me some more.'"

The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be broadcast on SPEED Channel starting at 10 a.m. EDT Saturday.

The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the New England Grand Prix, set for 3 p.m. July 4 at Lime Rock Park. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED (3 to 6 p.m. EDT) and on MotorsTV in Europe, reaching 40 million viewers in 21 countries as well as at www.americanlemans.comFull Report

Mazda Raceway receives FIM approval Mazda Raceway receives FIM approvalFollowing the conclusion of a $2 million track improvement project that saw the run-off areas increased and improved in all turns and the installation of more motorcycle-friendly curbing, the world famous 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has been homologated by the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM) for next month’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix (July 8-10).

“The inspection was very good,” said Claude Danis, the official track inspector for the FIM.  “We can see that all of the work we requested to be done was completed properly. There are some provisional protective devices (e.g. air fence and hay bales) to be installed before the race. The track is in condition to be homologated for MotoGP.”

Suzuki MotoGP rider Kenny Roberts Jr, the 2000 World Champion, visited the circuit two weeks ago as a Riders Safety Representative and was very positive about the changes made to the circuit.

"Laguna Seca has done 100 percent within their capability to make the track as safe as possible for the MotoGP,” said Modesto-native Roberts Jr., the son of three-time world champion Kenny Roberts. “They have made significant changes in all areas that they were able to make changes in.”

In my opinion they have done the best job on the curbs in comparison to any other racetrack and this will significantly reduce the riders risk and workload."

I believe from a Riders Safety Representative standpoint, that barring any freak accidents, then Laguna will be a very safe MotoGP circuit.”

Work began on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course back in January with the relocation of the Turn 9 bridge and excavation of the hillside on the outside of the turn. 

Following the rainy season, an intense 45-day period of construction began on May 2.  The $2 million improvement project is being funded by Yamaha Motor Company and includes improvements in every turn around the circuit.  The building of new gravel beds and the enlarging of existing beds was a major part of the project.  More than 15,000 tons of gravel was brought in over a two-week period.

USGP-Schumacher: I would much rather come karting USGP-Schumacher: I would much rather come kartingMichael Schumacher attended a Bridgestone press conference at the Brickyard circuit this morning, but the seven times world champion was not the star of the show! This role belonged to the several hundred fans in attendance, who cheered most of the questions and answers, proving they were knowledgeable as well as noisy.

The biggest patriotic cheer came when the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver revealed he had spent the last couple of days cruising the area on a Harley Davidson motorbike and another big cheer when he said he always wore a crash helmet, which is not compulsory in the State of Indiana.

Could Michael take his first win of the season here this weekend? “Looking at the support we have here, I guess it should be possible,” he said with a smile. “We are struggling in terms of the championship, but we are competitive and, along with Bridgestone, we are working very hard to be competitive during all parts of the weekend. We are pushing very hard to return to where we were last year, but this year, the competition is tough and difficult to beat. With the exception of Canada, we have started further back on the grid this year and that has compromised our racing. It is a difficult circle to get out of. We have done a lot of winning over the past six years, but now we must admit the others are doing a better job.”

When asked about having even more races on the calendar, Michael replied: “our actual work period during the year is the same whatever the number of races, so if it’s a question of testing or racing, I prefer to race.” And that is something he intends to keep doing, according to his response to brother Ralf’s suggestion that the world champion might retire soon. “I am going to keep on racing as long as I am competitive and as long as you (the crowd) are happy to see me.”

Asked to look into his future after racing, the German claimed he was not considering trying anything other than F1. “This is the top level of the sport so anything else would not be a challenge for me,” he maintained. But what about being a team boss? “At Ferrari, we have the one and only Jean Todt. He works very hard and is our motivator, giving us a big push all the time. But I have a nice life as a driver and I would not want to swap my job for his!”

Looking to next year, Schumacher felt the move to a V8 engine configuration was the right move. “We like the speed, but the circuits are designed to cope with a specific speed and we are tipping over that edge now,” he said. “Over the years, we have tried to reduce speed by dealing with the aerodynamics or the tires and the engines have been a bit neglected, so I think this will be a good way to change the balance. I don’t think you will notice any change in the spectacle of the sport.”

The final question from a lady fan: “Michael, would you like to come karting with me and my friends tonight?” And the answer: “I still love karting and do it quite often. I will be busy tonight, but I would much rather come karting with you than what I will be doing.” Ferrari

Tickets still available for Cup race at Infineon Tickets still available for Cup race at InfineonIts not too late to Ride the Bus to Infineon Raceway for the biggest sporting event of the year in Northern California, the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Sunday, June 26.

For the third straight year, the raceway is offering its highly-popular Ride the Bus program, which offers you a great alternative to sitting behind the wheel of your vehicle. Cost is just $125 and includes: Transportation to/from the raceway. Premium reserved seat for Sunday, June 26. Infineon Raceway Prize Pack. Commemorative souvenir race program. If you have already purchased your ticket, you can add the Ride the Bus program for just $35. Four strategic locations have been targeted as pick-up/drop-off locations: Solano Community College (Solano County); Sonoma State University (Sonoma County); Diablo Valley College (Contra Costa County); and Firemans Fund-Novato (Marin County). Buses depart for the raceway beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 26.

Call Infineon Raceway today at 800-870-RACE to be part of the biggest caravan of the year to the Dodge/Save Mart 350. Tickets Prices as Low as $55 for NASCAR Sunday

Great seats are still available for the biggest show in town, the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, at Infineon Raceway, June 24-26. Tickets are as low as $55 for race day, June 26. Thats a small price to pay to watch stars like Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart swap paint on the most demanding road course in the country.

Call 800-870-RACE today, or visit www.infineonraceway.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Andretti looking forward to 2nd chance at Indianapolis Andretti looking forward to 2nd chance at IndianapolisThe eyes of the world will be upon Marco Andretti this weekend when he competes in the Liberty Challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Liberty Challenge, the sixth race on the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ schedule, will take place June 18 in front of a large international gathering in Indianapolis for the Formula One United States Grand Prix.

Andretti’s name will leap to the forefront for two reasons – his grandfather, Mario, was the Formula One World Champion in 1978, and his father, Michael, was the last American to compete in Formula One in 1993.

The 18-year-old Andretti will be making just his third start in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, but is already considered a serious contender for a trip to Victory Circle. Andretti debuted in the series at St. Petersburg, the first street course in series history. He qualified on the pole and led 22 of 40 laps en route to the checkered flag.

“Getting the opportunity to run at Indy twice in a month is pretty unbelievable,” Andretti said. “I don’t think any of us really expected St. Pete to go as well as it did for us, but it did, so I’m glad we’re going to get a chance to get back out there this year and try to do it again. It’s really good to be back here, especially when you know you’ve got a great car for Saturday.”

Andretti, who captured Skip Barber and Formula TR 1600 Pro Series titles in 2004, will drive the No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone for the Andretti Green Racing team co-owned by his father. Andretti was third quick in an Open Test on the 2.605-mile road course in March.

“I love this track because you get the feel for an oval, except you're turning right. You're hauling the mail into (Turn) 1 here, and basically it's all about mechanical grip for the infield and trying to trim out as much as you can for the banking.”

Beyond Indianapolis, the sky is the limit for the young Andretti. He will continue to compete in the Star Mazda Series, where he is a regular, and he will compete in three additional Menards Infiniti Pro Series races: the 1-mile oval at Milwaukee and the road courses at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International. Gaining the oval experience is critical to his future.

“I’m a road racer by blood, that’s what I grew up doing, but I’m a race car driver, so I want to be able to adapt to everything,” he said. “I’ve only raced one oval, here at Indy, and did a test on a short track at Pikes Peak, so I don’t really have enough experience.”

How quickly he adapts to those ovals will determine where he goes in 2006. “There’s a plan, but it’s just the timing of the plan that we’re going to have to wait and see,” said Michael Andretti, whose team won the 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series championship and the 2005 Indianapolis 500. “I believe that if he continues doing what he’s doing this year, he’s impressed me a lot, just a little more experience on the ovals, which I think is lacking, then I think there is a possibility for us to do something (in the IndyCar Series in 2005). We’re evaluating it. Obviously sponsorship will be part of it. There’s a good possibility he could be in the big cars next year, and if not next year, for sure the year after.”
Rutherford, Indy-winning Chaparral to visit England Rutherford, Indy-winning Chaparral to visit EnglandThree-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford is usually found behind the wheel of the Chevrolet SSR during IRL IndyCar® Series events, but someone else will handle the duties during the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.

Rutherford has been invited to participate in the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in England on June 24-26. He will drive the same Pennzoil Chaparral 2K that carried him to his Indianapolis 500 win in 1980.

“They’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of my (third Indianapolis 500) victory at Goodwood. Can you believe it’s been 25 years? Anyways, the Speedway sent the Chaparral over there, and I’m going to get to run it once again.”

Rutherford’s Indianapolis 500-winning car is one of only two Chaparral chassis still in existence. The other is in a museum in Midland, Texas, hometown of legendary designer Jim Hall, who designed the car. Rutherford said it will be the first time he’s driven the winning car in five years.

“I drove it at the Speedway on the 20th Anniversary, and it still fit,” Rutherford said. “Everything felt the same as it did the day I got out of it.”
KC unveils more of their HOF plans KC unveils more of their HOF plansThe K.C. Area Development Council (KCADC) today “further unveiled plans” for the city’s proposed NASCAR HOF. In HOK’s preliminary design for the three-level, 140,000-square-foot building, which would be built jointly by J.E. Dunn Construction and Turner Construction, there is a “six-level wall of historic race cars and one of the world’s largest video screens.” HOK Project Manager for K.C., Jack Boyle, said that in addition to holographic images of drivers in the HOF’s enshrinement area, there will be a “total sensory immersion ride” simulating the NASCAR racing experience BIZJOURNALS.com
Countdown to Edmonton GP Race Day Countdown to Edmonton GP Race DayThird Generation Unser to Race in Edmonton! Al Unser III, son of legendary racer Al Unser Jr., and grandson of racing icon Al Unser, has announced that he is joining the Toyota Atlantic Championship for the remainder of the season. The announcement means that spectators at this year's West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton will have the chance to get an up-close look at the next generation of this racing family dynasty.

Unser, or "Just Al" as he's come to be known in the racing world, will join the Brooks squad beginning with Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship. Last season Unser made his Toyota Atlantic debut, running in four of the 12 events on the series calendar. He competed for P-1 Racing at Long Beach before joining the Brooks team for three consecutive events at Road America, Denver and Montreal. His top finish came in his final start of the season when he earned an eighth-place result at Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

Adrenaline Rush!. While drivers at this year's West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton are sure to get their adrenaline rush at Finning International Speedway, fans of the inaugural event will have their chance to get their own motors running on Adrenaline Alley, a specially designated area of the Grand Prix grounds that features some of the hottest automotive and racing displays around.

Simply Exotics features a range of dream cars including the Murcielago Roadster and other fantastic Ferraris; The Pit Stop Paddock, where visitors get their chance to participate in a pit stop speed challenge; The Tuner Zone, a display of the hottest 'tuned' cars in town; Thunderhead Racing, a spectacular remote-control racing course; Hot Wheels & Rods, which shows off the coolest 'rods in town including legendary Shelby and Hemi muscle cars; and the Speedshop Alley, where visitors can learn everything there is to know about tuning every vehicle around!

DRIVER SPOTLIGHT! This week's featured Champ Car driver is Sebastien Bourdais

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS -- NEWMAN HAAS/RACING #1 McDonald's Newman/Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola PERSONAL Hobbies include mountain biking, running, watching movies, swimming. Enjoys listening to music. Favorite bands are U2, Radiohead and Queen. Single.

BIRTHDATE - February 28, 1979
BIRTHPLACE - Le Mans, France
RESIDENCE -- Tampa, Florida


2004 - Bourdais made the move from series top rookie to series champion, winning seven races and becoming the first Champ Car driver since 1991 to win eight poles in a season. Won from pole five times. Led the series in wins, poles, laps led, earnings and qualifying average. Won four consecutive poles and set a new series record by starting in the top three in 15 straight events. Scored the sixth-closest victory in series history, beating Bruno Junqueira by 0.066 seconds in Las Vegas.

2003 - Joined Newman/Haas Racing. Claimed the pole for his very first race, (St. Petersburg) where he became the first rookie in series history to lead the first lap of his initial Champ Car start. Backed that up with another pole in the year's second event (Monterrey) with a track-record performance, becoming the first rookie since Nigel Mansell in 1993 to win the pole for each of his first two series starts. Led 95 laps at Brands Hatch, including the final 33, to claim the first win of his career, and then followed that up with a victory at Lausitz. Won from pole in Champ Car's first-ever nighttime road-course event in Cleveland then followed with a rookie-record five consecutive top-five finishes. Clinched the series' Rookie-of-the-Year title with a runner-up finish in Mexico City. Posted the best qualifying average (3.67) of any driver in the series. Became the first rookie to win the Greg Moore Legacy Award, which honors the memory of the late Champ Car star.

2002 - Won the FIA International F3000 Championship winning races at Imola, Monaco and Nurburgring as well as seven pole positions while driving for Super Nova Racing

Early career -- Won Maine Bretagne League karting championship. Competed in French Formula Campus Championship, French Formula Renault, French Formula 3. GP of Edmonton

USGP: Thursday Press Conference USGP: Thursday Press ConferenceFernando Alonso, World Championship leader, Michael Schumacher, reigning world champion, Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Speed, who is the third driver for Red Bull Racing, were guests at today's F1 press conference today at Indy ahead of the USGP. Transcript
Jimmie Johnson to support Soap Box Derby Jimmie Johnson to support Soap Box DerbyAkron’s All-American Soap Box Derby is running a 30-second ad featuring NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, the first national ad in the Derby’s 70-year history. The 30-second spot was “conceived of and paid for by NASCAR, which also paid for the airing” of the ad on networks such as Fox, FX, NBC, TNT and Speed Channel. The ad, which “is part of a far-reaching print and broadcast” campaign, shows a group of kids “constructing a derby car in a wind tunnel under the guidance” of Johnson. The kids are dressed in clothes by Derby title sponsor Levi Strauss, which Johnson endorses. NASCAR became the race’s promotional partner in ’02 and made the event a “key element of [NASCAR’s] Youth Initiative Program.” NASCAR Dir of Business Communications Andrew Giangola: “The derby is the sandlot of NASCAR. We’re betting that a lot of derby participants will develop an interest in us.” All-American Soap Box Derby Board of Trustees President Jim Huntsman noted that the ad “was created to pique the interest of children and parents who don’t know much, if anything, about the derby,” and that landing financial support “would be a secondary benefit.” The race is July 30 AKRON BEACON JOURNAL
Vasser Father and Son Q. and A. Vasser Father and Son Q. and A.The Portland event has always carried special feelings in the Champ Car paddock as the race is traditionally run on Father's Day. This year we caught up with 1996 Champ Car World Series Champion and co-owner/driver of PKV Racing Jimmy Vasser and his dad, Jim Vasser Sr.  More at ChampCar.ws
Industry News
SPEED to have expanded SPEED News Saturday SPEED to have expanded SPEED News SaturdayWith a huge weekend of racing on tap, SPEED Channel will air a special one-hour version of its popular SPEED News program this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET. The program will include:

A feature on World Track Cycling champion Marty Nothstein, an Olympic gold medalist at the 2000 games and silver medalist at the 1996 games, who is exploring a career in Funny Car drag racing. SPEED News cameras followed Nothstein for a day while he earned his alcohol funny car license at the Frank Hawley NHRA Drag Racing School in Gainesville, Fla.

  • Reports from the 24 Hours of Le Mans from SPEED Channel's Greg Creamer and Dorsey Schroeder. (SPEED Channel will bring viewers 17.5 hours of LIVE coverage from the famed event beginning Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET.)
  • Reports from the U.S. Grand Prix from Indy with Peter Windsor and Derek Daly. (SPEED Channel covers the event LIVE on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)
  • NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series highlights from Michigan with Ray Dunlap. (SPEED Channel covers the event LIVE on Saturday 3 p.m. ET)
  • NASCAR Nextel Cup Series qualifying report from Michigan with Bob Dillner.
  • Champ Car World Series qualifying report from Portland with Robin Miller.
  • NHRA qualifying highlights from Englishtown, NJ.
  • USAC Sprints & Midgets from Lima, Ohio.
  • ARCA Re/Max highlights from Michigan.
FIA vow to stop F1 ’collapse’ FIA vow to stop F1 ’collapse’The FIA has unveiled proposed rule changes for Formula One in 2008. After some extracts were leaked to the press, the body provided the entire dossier - targeting a radical ninety per cent reduction in the cost of going racing - in an apparent show of 'transparency.'

''It is ... a draft,'' a statement explained, ''and ... subject to approval ... by the world motor sport council.''

Among the proposals is a standard ECU, a ban on traction control, standard gearbox, brakes and differential, and foot-operated clutches (sounds like Champ Car to us).

The FIA also wants to cut downforce - including banning bargeboards, 'flip ups' and winglets - by 90 per cent, widen the cars, end the tire war and bring back big slicks (Sounds like Champ Car to us).

Spare cars would be banned, a 30,000km test limit imposed, and small teams given the option of buying a 'complete car' from a bigger competitor (Sounds like Champ Car to us).

''The result (of not cutting costs),'' said the FIA dossier, ''would be non-Formula One cars on the grid.'' It added: ''Or ... the collapse of the championship.''  Full FIA Press Release

A new way to sell IRL tickets A new way to sell IRL ticketsAccording to this MLive.com article, The ARCA RE/MAX series also runs in conjunction with the Busch and NASCAR Truck series, along with a stop at the Chicagoland Speedway with the Champ Car series.  Probably just the author's mistake, but it just goes to prove the confusion there is having two similar race series competing head-to-head in the USA.  But the fact the author is a motorsports journalist is quite telling.  If he doesn't know the difference between Champ Car and the IRL, imagine how confused the casual race fan is.  When is this silly split going to end?
Bridgestone ready if it rains in Portland Bridgestone ready if it rains in PortlandThe weather forecast is for rain in Portland Friday and perhaps into Saturday for this weekend's Champ Car race.  Tire supplier Bridgestone must be ready for all conditions.
Potenza Race Tires Supplied: Bridgestone delivered 668 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 slicks (24 tires) for the weekend, to use in practice, qualifying and race sessions. The standard dry-condition specification contains the “softest” standard road-course compound and construction that Bridgestone employs in the series. The same spec of tire was used earlier this season at Monterrey, Mexico.

Alternate dry-condition tires: Each car receives two sets of alternate slicks (eight tires) to use this weekend. The alternate tires are easily identifiable by their red sidewalls. At least one complete 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 alternate tire is identical to the standard slick, but the alternate tire possesses a tread compound with moderately increased grip (“softer”). While the alternate tire contains additional speed potential, it trades away some of the long-lasting durability of the standard dry-condition tires.

Wet-condition tires (“rains”): Each car receives up to four new sets of grooved-tread Potenza rain 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 has two rain-tire specifications, a more durable spec for the faster road circuits and a “softer” spec for slower circuits. The softer “street-course” rain tire is available this weekend.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: “We’re ready to tackle the Champ Car schedule in earnest now, with seven road and street events in the next 11 weeks. First up is Portland, and Bridgestone is very excited to be there in 2005 as the Official Tire of the track. We’ll take great pride in watching the Champ Cars racing under the new Bridgestone bridge on the front straight. We enjoy Portland because it’s a demanding track that often necessitates use of both the Bridgestone dry and wet tires in varying conditions. We’re also returning to Portland with the alternate tires that add an exciting element of strategy as teams decide when to use their Potenza ‘reds.’ We’re looking forward to another unpredictable and exciting weekend of racing at PIR.”

Why are IRL cars so slow? Why are IRL cars so slow?A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I noticed that the IRL test times at Watkins Glen yesterday are only marginally faster than the 25-year old track record set by Bruno Giacomelli in an Alfa-Romeo during qualifying for the 1980 U.S. Grand Prix and the F1 cars had to navigate a chicane in the middle of the esses, which slowed them significantly.  I must admit I'm ashamed to be an American.  Our open wheel race cars are pathetically slow. Joe Daniels, Rockville, MD  Dear Joe, Indy Cars and Champ Cars are heavy slugs compared to an F1 car, hence they are so slow.  In addition, they are designed to be stronger to protect a driver when the car is pulverized against the hard walls that surround an oval track.  As long as the IRL and Champ Car are going to try to race on both types of circuits, the car must be a compromise, and hence will always be much heavier than an F1 car.  Champ Car is going to try and take 100 to 150 pounds out of their next generation car.  We shall see what the IRL does in that regard. Mark C.
Rain Shortens Corvette Racing's First Day Rain Shortens Corvette Racing's First DayTen days of ideal weather following the initial test of Corvette Racing's new C6.R race cars at Le Mans on June 5 ended abruptly as the yellow Corvettes pulled out of the pit lane for the first of two four-hour practice and qualifying sessions. Rain arrived at the Sarthe circuit tonight at 7 p.m., shortening the team's total track time to less than one hour. Despite the inclement weather, Corvette Racing checked off one important item on the Le Mans to-do list as all six drivers completed their mandatory laps in darkness.

"Despite the bad weather, we accomplished our goal of having the drivers complete their three required laps in the dark," said GM Racing Road Racing Group manager Steve Wesoloski. "That's one item we won't have to worry about tomorrow night. We had hoped for two good sessions to continue to develop our Le Mans setup, so to lose four of the eight scheduled hours will certainly compress our plan."

Light rain began to fall as Ron Fellows and Olivier Beretta pulled out the pits at 7 p.m. in their twin Compuware Corvette C6.Rs. Neither completed a lap at speed as the rainfall increased, and the team elected to sit out the remainder of the initial two-hour evening session.

Following a scheduled one-hour break, the test and qualifying session resumed at 10 p.m. Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis cycled through the No. 63 Compuware Corvette, while Beretta, Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin completed their appointed rounds in the No. 64 Compuware Corvette. With most cars on the course turning lap times nearly 30 seconds slower than those recorded during the test day, the Corvette team called it a day at 10:55 p.m.

"You've got to look at the big picture, and the worst thing we could do now is to damage either of the cars in conditions we're not going to race in," said O'Connell. "The weather outlook for Saturday and Sunday is hot and sunny, so there's no reason to take any chances when the track is dark, wet and slippery. We'll pray for better weather tomorrow, but if it's wet, we're going to have to lay down some fast times for our starting position."

"The track was difficult because there was some damp places and some dry," said Beretta. "I just took it easy and made my three laps, and got the data the engineers wanted. Everything went well."

Gavin agreed with his teammate's assessment after completing his required laps around the 8.5-mile course. "This track is always fun to drive around whether it's wet or it's dry, but tonight the surface seemed to have a glaze on it in sections," he explained. "There's new black asphalt coming out of Mulsanne and going down through Indianapolis and Arnage, and on that whole section you're guessing whether it's wet or dry. It's pointless to try to accomplish our test plan in this situation because it's imperative to keep the race car together. Tomorrow is going to be dry, and so today proved absolutely nothing, unfortunately."

Practice and qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans concludes on Thursday, June 16, with sessions from 7-9 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight. The 24 Hours of Le Mans will begin at 10 a.m. EDT (4 p.m. local time) on June 18. SPEED Channel will televise 17.5 hours of live coverage; check local listings for times.

Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Time
1. (50) Goueslard-Dupard-Vosse, Ferrari 550, 4:20.688
2. (59) Brabham-Sarrazin-Turner, Aston Martin DBR9, 4:22.600
3. (61) Fomenko-Vasiliev-Bouchut, Ferrari 550, 4:23.885
4. (52) Bartyan-Malucelli-Seiler, Ferrari 550, 4:24.686
5. (51) Pescatori-Gollin-Ramos, Ferrari 550, 4:30.973
6. (58) Enge-Kox-Lamy, Aston Martin DBR9, 4:31.022
7. (69) de Fournoux-Daoudi, Ferrari 575, 4:33.600
8. (64) Gavin-Beretta-Magnussen/Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 4:36.209
9. (63) O'Connell-Fellows-Papis/Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 4:36.309

US RaceTronics Portland preview US RaceTronics Portland previewRounds 3 and 4 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Series heads to the Great Northwest city of Portland, Oregon. Portland International Raceway is where US RaceTronics and its driver David Martinez hope to carry the momentum that propelled them to a 3rd place finish at Round 2 of the Series at the Parque Fundidora in Monterrey, Mexico. It was at that race that Martinez, having battled dehydration and a stomach virus all weekend long, still managed an impressive performance piloting the # 7 Roshfrans/Aviacsa/RocaAcero/Multigama/Martiga car. This weekend, US RaceTronics and Martinez are healthy, ready, and focused on winning.

This race weekend is crucial in the Championship chase as it is a double header weekend with a race on both Saturday June 18th and Sunday, June 19th. Martinez, the 23 year old Toyota Atlantic Series Rookie from Monterrey, Mexico is looking to better his performance under what might be tricky conditions as rain is being forecasted for all 3 days.

TV Schedule
• Sat. June 25th 2:00 pm ET on Speed Channel
• Sat. June 25, 3:00 pm ET on Speed Channel

Race Track Facts:
• 1.969 mile Permanent Road Course
• Last Year’s Pole Winner: Jon Fogarty – 1:08.404 – 103.626
• Last Year’s Winner: Jon Fogarty

Team Quick Facts - The success of US RaceTronics and David Martinez at Monterrey, Roshfrans will once again be sponsoring the team at Portland, along with Aviacsa, RocaAcero, Multigama, and Martiga who are also stepping up to join the team at Portland. Team Engineer Alec Purdy is once again providing his expert guidance this weekend. This race also marks the debut of the US RaceTronics Car Transporter which was recently purchased, and will provide a home on the track for the team.

Shane Seneviratne - On having David Martinez racing with the team:
“I’m really happy to have David back racing with the team and looking forward to continuing where we left off from Monterrey. We’re looking forward to getting him more comfortable in the car.” On the potential for rain: “We definitely need to have a contingency plan if it rains, especially with 2 races on the same weekend. You have to be very diversified and on your toes. Portland is a tricky track when it comes to weather. The back session is a little tricky; a good driver can figure out how to get through there. I think the biggest obstacle is to tune to car to changing weather conditions”

A lap around Indy with Juan Montoya A lap around Indy with Juan MontoyaMcLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya describes a lap of Indianapolis

"Powering up to some 335km/h in seventh gear as you cross the famous yard of bricks, you then brake hard for the tight right hander that takes you onto the twisty infield section of the track. The 90-degree turn is taken at 90km/h in second gear and flows into an equally tight left-hander, which is taken at of 115km/h, still in second."

"The circuit then gently bends to the right as you accelerate to turn four. You brake from speeds of around 225km/h in fifth to 128km/h for the right hander. A short burst of power takes you to turn five, a 45-degree right hander, which is taken at 115km/h in second gear."

"Another quick spurt on the throttle leads to the long 180-degree left hander of turn six. This swings you into turn seven, a right-hander that is negotiated at similar speeds and leads onto the back straight."

"Accelerating towards the 90-degree turn eight, you reach 290km/h in seventh gear before dropping to 120km/h in third for the left hander. The s-bends of turns nine and ten follow immediately."

"The tight right-hander of nine is taken at 75km/h in first gear, with your speed increasing ever so slightly to 90km/h in second for the left hander of ten."

"On the exit it's quick on the power along the short straight that leads to the final corner of the infield section, reaching some 200km/h, before braking to 130km/h to negotiate the right hander. Accelerating out, the circuit begins to curve to the right as you rejoin the oval."

"Flicking up through the gears, you keep hard on the throttle through the rights of turns twelve and thirteen, which leads you back onto the pit straight. Turn twelve is taken at 250km/h and by the time you reach the long, sweeping banking of turn 13, you are traveling at some 305km/h in top gear as you begin another lap." McLaren

Skinner in the No. 23 at Michigan Skinner in the No. 23 at MichiganMike Skinner will again pilot the #23 History Channel AUTOMANIAC Dodge in this weekend’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Batman Begins 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Skinner most recently raced the #23 AUTOMANIAC car in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May. He was scheduled to drive the same car at Dover International Speedway just a couple of weeks ago, but rain forced NASCAR to cancel the Friday afternoon qualifying session, putting the brakes on the #23 Bill Davis Racing team’s plans to race that weekend. Since Skinner and the #23 BDR team do not run a full-time schedule in the Nextel Cup Series, they did not have enough owners’ points to make it into the show at Dover. The make-up date for the missed Dover race has yet to be designated. Skinner’s recent NASCAR Nextel Cup Series entries are part of The History Channel’s recent launch of its inventive new series—“AUTOMANIAC.” Hosted by pro wrestling and feature film star Bill Goldberg, AUTOMANIAC episodes focus on unique vehicles that have made a mark in history in the last century, including gangster cars, muscle cars, extreme bikes and more. The AUTOMANIAC series premiered on The History Channel at the beginning of June and airs every Wednesday at 10:00pm/et. To learn more about AUTOMANIAC, go to www.historychannel.com. Before climbing into the #23 History Channel AUTOMANIAC Dodge this Sunday at MIS, Skinner will race the #5 Toyota Tundra truck Saturday in the 10th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race of the 2005 season. Bill Davis Racing
Menards to sponsor Gordon at Michigan Menards to sponsor Gordon at MichiganRobby Gordon Motorsports RGM will debut its #7 Menards Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway this weekend in the Batman Begins 400. This will be the first of three races Menards will serve as the team's primary sponsor, with races at Chicagoland Speedway and the second Michigan race in August. Menards, the country's third-largest home improvement store chain with more than 200 stores, serves as an associate sponsor on all of the RGM #7 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series entries. In addition, Menard Engineering Group, a separate company also owned by Menards' owner John Menard, builds the engines for the team's Nextel Cup cars. "It's been a long time since I have had the opportunity to drive a Menards sponsored car," Gordon said. "John and I have had a long friendship and close working relationship, and the last time I drove a Menards’ sponsored car we almost won a pretty big race. With the way our team has been improving over the last four weeks or so, particularly with how much stronger the engine program has become, maybe this will be the turning point of our season and we'll win that big race that we've been looking for." Gordon and Menard were co-owners in the Menards’ sponsored 1999 Indianapolis 500 effort where Gordon led the field by a wide margin coming to the white flag, only to run out of fuel and finish fourth. In addition to Menards, the #7 Chevrolet will also have sponsorship from Fruit of the Loom, Harrah's and Jim Beam at Michigan. Harrah's will return to the track as the primary sponsor for the team's effort at Infineon Raceway next week, while Fruit of the Loom will take the team to Daytona for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona on July 2. Robby Gordon Motorsports
Indy is a compromise track for Ferrari Indy is a compromise track for FerrariWith the cars being air-freighted directly from Montreal to Indianapolis, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro will be lining up the same two F2005 for Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in the US Grand Prix that they used in the Canadian event.

The cars will be completely rebuilt in the spacious garages at “The Brickyard” as the Indianapolis circuit is known and settings of all the key elements of the car – engine-gearbox-suspension etc., will be modified to suit the needs of this track. With most teams introducing new aero packages for Montreal, aerodynamics is once again a key item on the agenda this weekend.

But before looking into the specific demands of this famous track, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s race aerodynamicist, Alex Cinelli gives us an insight into the challenges presented by the new rules concerning aerodynamics, brought into force since the start of this year. In simple terms, aerodynamic aids have been much reduced through changes to the front and rear wings and the diffuser (the back part of the floor of the car.)

Cinelli trained in aeronautical engineering at London’s Imperial College and after doing a Masters degree with Fiat at Turin, went straight into a Formula 1 job with Tyrrell Racing, before spending four years with Williams, prior to joining Ferrari three years ago. In all his time as an aerodynamicist, the 2005 rules presented him and all his counterparts in other teams, with one of the biggest challenges of the past few years. “When the new rules were introduced, we got a big shock because we lost a lot of car performance, so it has been an interesting technical challenge trying to get back as much performance as possible,” he says. “The loss of performance varied from team to team and I think we were hit quite hard, because our 2004 package had been so effective. We have now recovered nearly all the lost downforce. We are happy with the way we have been developing the car, but there is still a way to go to reach the levels we had at the end of 2004. It has opened up a lot of new ideas and paths to follow.”

But there is no “perfect” aerodynamic solution, therefore work in the wind tunnel is a never ending process. “At the moment, there are still a lot of gains to be had,” continues Cinelli. “The work is never finite and there is always more to be had. It is question of looking at all the areas in the car and quantifying the loss, seeing how the balance of the car has shifted and looking at the trade-off between downforce and drag and how much efficiency one has lost.” In simple terms, downforce is “good” aerodynamics in that it helps glue the car to the road, while drag is “bad” downforce, as its effect is to slow the car. “With new rules, you have to start afresh and look at different concepts, trying very different things,” reveals Cinelli. “For example, before the changes, the front wing was optimized for the rest of the car, working with the turning vanes and the diffuser and it was a nicely integrated package. Now the rear wing is in a different position, the diffuser was affected, the front wing was altered, so we had to come up with different ideas, designing new parts and testing them. We made pretty big steps initially and now we are fine tuning our current package. All the teams look at one another’s cars and everyone tries ideas they see on other cars, especially this year with the new rules. But in the end you have to do what is best for your car.”

Time to look at the specific aerodynamic dilemma that is the Indianapolis circuit. Why a dilemma? Because the straight, which is part of the famous banked oval, run in the opposite direction to that used for the Indianapolis 500 Miles race, provides at around 22 seconds, the longest flat-out section of the season, while the rest of the track – the infield – has some of the slowest turns of the year. “Ideally in Indy, you want a very small rear wing to give you the top speed on the straight and a lot of wing on the infield, where you need more downforce and are not so worried about drag, but of course, you can only have one wing level,” theorizes Cinelli. Simulation programs show that, in terms of actual lap times, there is hardly any difference between running the sort of wing level required to go quickly down the straight and selecting a wing that provides more grip in the infield. However, as Cinelli explains the realities of getting ahead and staying ahead of other cars in the race is the determining factor. “Our simulations and our past experience go hand in hand when we decide what wing levels to run. In terms of lap times the speed on the straight is very important because it is so long. Plus, a driver who is quick down the straights can maintain position or even pass other cars and then, if his car has less downforce through the infield and is therefore slow, he can still keep the other cars behind him as it is very hard to pass in this section of the track. Too much wing on the straight and you might get overtaken.”

Downforce levels are not decided in isolation. Everything from tire choice to engine configuration to suspension and strategy can affect the aero package for any particular race. “We know what our top speeds will be at Indy and when we decide on downforce level for any race, we have simulations from our Vehicle Dynamics department and our experience from previous years at the track to rely on,” says Cinelli. “We factor in the tire situation when fine tuning the aero set up and also consider brake and engine cooling.

As aerodynamicists, we want to run everything as closed as possible to maintain aerodynamic efficiency, but we have to balance this against the cooling requirements of the components.”

The length of the pit straight means that Indianapolis provides the perfect example of the slipstreaming phenomenon. In simple terms, if one car follows another closely at high speed, the front car punches a hole in the air, allowing the second car to travel at the same speed while using less engine power and it is thus able to pull out of the slipstream, apply more power and overtake. However, the complex aerodynamics on an F1 car means that the following car’s balance is upset by this and either cannot get close enough to pass, or loses downforce which can lead to loss of grip and a crash. Indeed, in conjunction with the FIA, Ferrari carried out tests at Monza a couple of years ago to see the effect of one car following another closely and how the downforce loss and drag reduction changes the nearer a driver gets to the car in front.

“We found that the average air flow over the car is reduced,” says Cinelli. “Air on the car creates dynamic pressure and if there is a car in front of you, it has two effects. The air on the car is reduced and so the car generates less downforce and the air coming towards you is not “clean” it is turbulent. Cars do not like that. As a car closes to the one in front, the following car loses more downforce because of the turbulence of the air and there is an upwash from the car in front so air hits the car from an angle it is not designed to deal with.”

Of course, none of this theory matters to Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in the heat of battle in the race. They are simply concerned with controlling their F2005, trying to anticipate any changes in grip levels, as they battle with their rivals at some of the highest speeds seen all season on the most famous race track in the world. Ferrari

Villeneuve: Split destroyed open wheel racing Villeneuve: Split destroyed open wheel racingAs we have said for a long time, Tony George's misguided creation of the IRL has destroyed open wheel racing in the USA. Former Indy 500 and CART champion Jacques Villeneuve agrees.

Q: Are you still critical of the Indy Racing League even though it looks a lot like the CART series you left following your championship in 1995?

Villeneuve: "It's getting better. But still, the breakup destroyed open-wheel racing in North America, and it hasn't recovered." Indy Star

Raikkonen aiming for fourth win of the year Raikkonen aiming for fourth win of the yearThe world-renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway plays host to the 2005 United States Grand Prix, the second race of the North American double header following the Canadian race last weekend, which saw Kimi's third race win of the season. The result in Montreal saw Kimi close the gap in the Drivers' standings by ten points to current leader Fernando Alonso. The Finn is second with 37 points and team mate Juan Pablo Montoya lies in 11th with 16 points. Team McLaren Mercedes remains in second position in the Constructors' Championship with 63 points.

The 2005 event will be the 60th race in America that will have counted towards the Formula One World Championship. The first official United States Grand Prix, which took place in 1959 at Sebring was won by Bruce McLaren, four years before he formed the McLaren team. Before the inaugural race, the Indy 500 was included in the Formula One World Championship for several years in the 1950s.

Kimi Raikkonen - "It was a great result for me in Montreal last weekend, and I am looking forward to continuing the Championship battle this weekend in Indianapolis. The Motor Speedway is legendary and it is one of the places that every driver would like to win at, like Monaco and Spa. The circuit is a fast track like Montreal, with a top speed of 335km/h along the main straight. It is the longest time of full throttle we have all year, as we are flat out along the oval part of the track for 1.7kms. The other section of the track is the slow, winding infield, with tight corners and hairpins and as a result we will use a medium-low downforce set-up to have good cornering and the power we need on the straight. The weather can be unpredictable at Indy, and can go from one extreme to the other, which means our tire selection with Michelin will need to make sure we have a tire that operates well under a wide temperature range."
Juan Pablo Montoya - "After the end to my race in Canada, all you can do is move on to the next event, and where better to go than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is one of those venues that has something a bit special about it and has some great memories for me, from CART and the Indy 500, which I won in 2000, and the crowds are always so supportive and enthusiastic. It is like a home race for me, with all the Colombian flags in the grandstands. I enjoy competing at the track and hopefully will achieve a podium finish this time. The two contrasting elements of the Speedway, the tight, twisting infield and fast, banked section of the oval, means we have a unique challenge for the whole package. There is very high loading on our Michelins through the banked section for example, and we need to find a compromise to have the durability to take these loadings whilst also providing the low speed grip that is required to be quick in the infield section."

Pedro de la Rosa - "The set-up for the cars at the United States Grand Prix is similar to the one used in Canada. We must run a low downforce set-up to be quick in the long straight, without losing too much time in the slow infield. We were very competitive in Canada with this configuration, therefore hopefully we should also be strong here."

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren CEO - "Kimi's victory at Montreal sees us arrive in Indianapolis with an exciting battle forming at the top of the Championship and hopefully the American fans, who are genuine racing enthusiasts, will get to watch another entertaining race. It was of course a bittersweet event for the team, however Juan Pablo demonstrated his very competitive pace with MP4-20 and we are looking forward to getting him back on track at a circuit that he particularly enjoys. There was an issue with the steering column in Kimi's car at Canada, but it was relatively minor and it has been resolved."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes VP - "After Kimi's victory in Montreal we are now looking forward to the second race within one week, the United States Grand Prix. The combination of the 1.7 kilometres long oval section with the slow and tricky infield makes the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit quite a challenge for the chassis, the engine and the tires. One unique feature of the track lay out is its long high-speed part of 23 seconds of uninterrupted full throttle. In total more than 55 per cent of the lap is run on full throttle. During this season so far Kimi has been in the lead for 224 from 505 laps in total, which is 40 per cent of all race laps. Juan Pablo showed last weekend that he has got the pace, and the team will give him its full support to get him into the position he has been in at Canada, and this time ideally until the finish line." McLaren Mercedes

Ferrari seeks 5th USGP win Ferrari seeks 5th USGP winThe double podium position secured by Ferrari last Sunday in Montreal has moved the Italian champion’s right up into contention in the Constructors' championship battle. Heading to the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis the team are fifth in the standings just two points behind both BMW Williams and Toyota who are tied for third position.

In the last two events, Ferrari has scored 24 points, more that any of their rivals. A strong result is obviously the team's main objective this weekend and traditionally the team have done very well at the fabled brickyard.

Michael Schumacher won the inaugural event in 2000 and then dominated the race in 2002 only for the formation finish with Rubens Barrichello to go wrong as the Brazilian took the checkered flag first a fraction ahead of Schumacher. The German bounced back with wins in both 2003 and 2004 and the team are aiming for their fifth win in six years at the circuit this Sunday.

Michael Schumacher - "Finishing second and third at the weekend prior to the race at Indianapolis - there's worse ways of going into the US Grand Prix. So now we're all traveling to Indianapolis, which sees our next tasks waiting for us. I very much like coming to this motor-sport city, because I don't think there are many races that draw this many fans. Sometimes you get the impression that all Europeans living in the USA gather for this event. We always receive a rapturous welcome and sometimes the enthusiasm is even bigger than at some of the European races. The support is tremendous, there's so much that goes on here - some days it's even difficult to make one's way to the circuit. A great atmosphere."

"Our chances for the race itself our similar to those at Montreal. We may not be strong in all stages of the weekend, but we're a force to reckoned with and are able to go for it at any given time. The important thing is to make the best possible use of our chances and to fight right up until the end - and we surely will do just that again this time. We're ready for Indianapolis and I'm looking forward to it." Ferrari

Ralf not afraid Ralf not afraidRalf Schumacher was seriously injured last year in the USGP when he slammed the outside concrete wall at the famed Indy oval, but he says he is not afraid of the track and it won't affect his performance this year.

"The doctors' diagnosis was a staggering blow. I was really shocked," said the 29-year-old who returned to competition in China at the end of September. "But the accident didn't change my conception of racing. I'm going to race at Indy with the same professionalism that I show at the start of all Grands Prix. "Moreover I've had other accidents in my career which have not affected my speed in a race."

Pantano fastest on Wednesday Pantano fastest on WednesdaySuper Nova's Giorgio Pantano is leaving the South of France tonight as the man who topped the final sheet of this GP2 series test session, but Nico Rosberg is the man with today's quickest time in 1'15"897. The German set the lap in this morning's session, but could only finish third this afternoon.

Wednesday's running saw none of the rain that had so affected Tuesday's test, as the sun beat down on the test track all day. Temperatures soared, as the drivers flew around the same 3.853km "3D" solution of the track that was in use yesterday.

Pantano was followed in the afternoon session by Heikki Kovalainen (Arden International) with the overall pacesetter, Nico Rosberg, in third.

This afternoon's test was one of the closest sessions we have ever seen in the GP2 series, with the top 18 drivers covered by just one second!

1. Giorgio Pantano Super Nova 1'16"239 40 laps
2. Heikki Kovalainen Arden 1'16"267 23 laps
3. Nico Rosberg Art Grand Prix 1'16"277 43 laps
4. Clivio Piccione Durango 1'16"453 18 laps
5. Alexandre Premat Art Grand Prix 1'16"659 33 laps
6. Neel Jani Racing Eng 1'16"662 35 laps
7. Jose Maria Lopez DAMS 1'16"713 29 laps
8. Borja Garcia Racing Eng 1'16"828 43 laps
9. Juan Cruz Campos Racing 1'16"829 12 laps
10. Ryan Sharp DPR 1'16"872 50 laps
11. Adam Carroll Super Nova 1'16"928 36 laps
12. Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN 1'16"947 15 laps
13. Nicolas Lapierre Arden 1'17"077 32 laps
14. Nelson Piquet Jr Hitech Piquet 1'17"095 11 laps
15. Gianmaria Bruni Coloni 1'17"201 25 laps
16. Ferdinando Monfardini Durango 1'17"204 27 laps
17. Alexandre Negrao Hitech Piquet 1'17"205 46 laps
18. Olivier Pla DPR 1'17"253 55 laps
19. Sergio Hernandez Campos Racing 1'17"519 42 laps
20. Fairuz Fauzy DAMS 1'17"535 29 laps
21. Mathias Lauda Coloni 1'17"864 50 laps
22. Can Artam Isport 1'18"076 40 laps

GP2 Series / Circuit Paul Ricard

Irvine slams the IRL and Danica Irvine slams the IRL and DanicaAmerica's favorite girl racer, Danica Patrick, has reportedly turned down BAR's offer of a F1 'demo' ride at Indy.  According to reports, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was instrumental in arranging the stunt for the 23-year-old, who finished an historic fourth in last month's Indy 500.

Japanese engine marque Honda was the common link between the F1 and Indy Racing League camps.  But the Brackley based grand prix squad said that while Patrick might make an appearance at the United States grand prix, she would not be getting behind the wheel.

England's 'The Times' newspaper said Patrick turned down the chance to test on Thursday.  The report read: ''She believed the publicity stunt ... was set up only because she is a woman.''

Former Jaguar and Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine, meanwhile, doubted that Danica Patrick had a future in F1.  ''IRL is not the best series in the world,'' the Ulsterman told www.f1racing.net. ''but for publicity it would be great.'' GMMF1.net

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Jordan dodge Mercedes deal
'Only Senna beats Alonso'
Indy resurfaced
Alonso on Indy cruise
Schu on quit track - brother
Montoya enjoys blending in
'Speed's no F1 stunt'
Sunny in the States
USGP CARA Shop Tour event is tonight USGP CARA Shop Tour event is tonightMany of the world’s top drivers and teams have come to Indianapolis this weekend for the United States Grand Prix.  But unlike the private F-1 garages that limit spectator access at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday night’s CARA Charities’ annual Indianapolis Race Team and Technology Tour will give superb insider access to the racing fans. 
This year’s Indianapolis Race Team and Technology Tour will allow participating fans a rare chance to view behind the scenes at the race shops of open-wheel standouts Fernandez Racing, defending NHRA Top Fuel champions Don Schumacher Racing and the Auto Research Center, featuring a wind tunnel and seven-post shaker rig.  The tour will be followed by dinner at Rick’s Boatyard Café and special guest speakers including Formula One commentator and expert Peter Windsor.  Veteran broadcaster Mike King will serve as master of ceremonies.

Windsor is an award-winning Grand Prix editor of F1 Racing magazine, the pit lane presenter for Speed Channel TV and a multi-directional TV interviewer at all F1 events for Formula One Management.   In his career, Windsor also served as manager of sponsorship and public affairs for Williams in 1985, moving to Ferrari as general manager in 1989, and returning to Williams as team manager in 1991 – the year the team won both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Championships.

Buses will depart Rick’s Boatyard Cafe at 3:30 p.m. (Indy time) Thursday via private buses tours, returning to the waterfront restaurant for cocktails, dinner and the presentation.

The Indianapolis Race Team and Technology Tour is one of CARA Charities’ annual fund-raising events. Founded in 1981, CARA Charities has distributed more than $3.5 million to racing and community organizations, promoting the friendships of all those involved in motor sports. In partnership with the International Center of Indianapolis, this unique event will be promoted to the F1 fans among our growing international community. 

Tickets for the event are available by calling CARA Charities at (317) 299-2277 or emailing CARAchar@aol.com. Information on the tour is available on www.caracharities.org. The price of $150 per person includes custom coach transportation to the shops, cocktails, dinner and the presentation by Peter Windsor and other guests, with a special Question and Answer period.

Radio Le Mans 2005 Radio Le Mans 2005For more than 15 years, Radio Le Mans - produced in conjunction with Autosport Magazine - has brought unrivalled coverage of the world's most celebrated motor race. From the middle of the week preceding the event until long after the chequered flag has fallen on the Sunday evening, Radio Le Mans, broadcasting on 91.2FM and on www.autosport.com, brings news, comment, analysis, reaction and... great music to the tens of thousands of British fans who descend on the event each June.

The station's regular team of expert presenters, professional DJs, studio guests and pit-lane reporters combine to give enthusiasts the low-down on exactly what's happening during the build-up, the night-time qualifying sessions and the 24-hour race itself. We'll probe longer, deeper and harder into the very core of the teams, drivers and racegoers to bring the all the inside information, technical details and glamour of the great event.

Whether you're trackside or listening on the internet from the other side of the world, Radio Le Mans is the essential companion to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Industry News
Las Vegas grandstand demolished Las Vegas grandstand demolishedThe latest phase of Las Vegas Motor Speedway's expansion began in earnest Wednesday with the demolition of the upper Section 1 grandstand. Construction crews will spend the next week clearing debris from the area, diverting parts of Checkered Flag Lane and relocating palm trees in preparation for the construction of the 17,000-seat Richard Petty Terrace.

"We're always making improvements here at LVMS, but this construction project is on a much grander scale," said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager. "We look at today's demolition as a sign of progress. We opened the Dale Earnhardt Terrace to rave reviews in 2004, and we think fans sitting in the Petty Terrace will be equally happy with this magnificent seating area.

"We are close to completing the renewal process for the 2006 event. Based on the current renewal rate, the demand for tickets is higher than ever as we prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Las Vegas Motor Speedway next year." The Petty Terrace will be open for the March, 2006 NASCAR Weekend. Tickets in the Petty Terrace are slated to go on sale in July. All other tickets will be available in September. The Petty Terrace will be complete with individual, flip-down seats with cup holders. These seats will provide race fans a clear view of pit road and the cars as they leave the pits.

Button all smiles at Playboy mansion Button all smiles at Playboy mansionJenson Button has spent two days at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles as a guest of an American television network conducting its pre-race coverage.  Needless to say he can't wipe that silly grin off his face.
Montoya tries to raise the sport's U.S. profile Montoya tries to raise the sport's U.S. profileThis Si.com article says, Juan Montoya came to town to save his struggling sport, his understated dress befitting the low profile Formula 1 racing enjoys in the United States. On a hot Monday afternoon in Manhattan, Juan Pablo Montoya greeted a modest gathering of writers sporting a pair of wrinkled beige cargo pants, a navy-blue T-shirt and Billabong-issue buzz cut -- a look more skater grunge than speed racer. "I could walk down the street and no one would know who I am," says the McLaren-Mercedes driver through a nasal Colombian lilt.

Sadly, he's right. Mother Nature hasn't done him any favors, his 5-foot-5, 160-pound frame makes it too easy for him to blend into pedestrian traffic on Park Avenue. Still, in the world of open-wheel racing, few loom larger in stature. Montoya has finished in the top-five in series points three of the past four years, winning a total of four Grand Prix races in that span. Before he started on the F1 circuit, he was one of CART's hottest drivers, and at age 24, became the youngest driver to win the series in 1999. The next year, he took the checkered flag at the Indianapolis 500 on his first try, making him the seventh to do so. More....

Prime San Jose rooms about gone Prime San Jose rooms about goneThis San Jose Mercury News article talks about how well the prime hotel rooms are selling for the San Jose GP.  We suspect next year will be even better.  Forget about the Hyatt Sainte Claire, right on the race route at Market and San Carlos streets. It's already completely sold out for all three days of the competition, July 29-31. Almost the same thing at the San Jose Marriott across the street -- all rooms on the Market Street side are spoken for. The San Jose Hilton with its great vantage point near the start/finish line on Almaden Boulevard? Its 15 prime, glass-walled suites at the corner of Almaden and San Carlos are 90 percent booked already, so you've still a small window (literally) of hope. Call quickly, if you're willing to pay $900 a night with a three-night minimum.
NASCAR ponders backmarker rule NASCAR ponders backmarker ruleNASCAR officials are considering a plan for 2006 that would either handicap Nextel Cup teams appearing sporadically in Busch Series races or reward the Busch regulars, this week's NASCAR Scene reports. NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter says the sanctioning body is looking at the possibility of a system that gives more points or money to the Busch-only teams on a weekly basis. NASCAR is trying to find a way to reward the Busch regulars without eliminating the Cup competitors, who are popular with track owners who want to draw as many spectators as possible. "We're going to try to target more of the prize money to the teams that are running all of the Busch races, which should help them," Hunter said. "I think we'll have [some] form of a program like that in place for next year." NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
Goodyear called into the NASCAR trailer Goodyear called into the NASCAR trailerUPDATE Goodyear officials are scheduled to talk this week with NASCAR officials about the tire problems in Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway. Several teams had flat left front tires during the race. Ricky Rudd said he lost five tires. Kurt Busch blew a left front. Ryan Newman crashed after his left front blew late in the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost two tires. NASCAR officials met with Goodyear officials after the race. "I've been at it a long time and never seen anything like that,'' Rudd said after the race. Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales and marketing for Goodyear, says a combination of issues created the problems.

He cited teams not running recommended air pressure, excessive camber (the amount a tire is tilted), and the rumble strips in turn 2. Stucker said Tuesday morning that Goodyear was examining what went wrong and if it needed to build a new tire for the Pocono race July 24. He said a decision would be made soon.

"Our biggest concern is that the second Pocono race is not very far away,'' Stucker said. "The last thing we want to do is overreact to something. We certainly had a serious situation, but we don't want to do something that is going to make the situation worse. So, we're trying to get as much information as possible." The tire used at Pocono on Sunday was new to the track. Stucker said the tire had a stiffer sidewall and a different compound. The tire also is scheduled to be run again at Bristol in August. Roanoke Times

06/13/05 Goodyear officials were called to the NASCAR trailer after 11 drivers blew out a total of 22 left front tires Sunday at Pocono. Goodyear product manager Rick Heinrich said Goodyear engineers noticed several setups that "were very abusive to the left front outside shoulder" of the tires and that low air pressure could have compounded the problem. "It's never the tires' fault, is it?" says crew chief Fatback McSwain, whose driver, Ricky Rudd, was the victim of six cut tires. Sporting News

Goodyear field manager Rick Heinrich blamed most of the problems on a combination of overly-aggressive chassis setups and running over the rough rumble-strip curbing at the inside edge of the tunnel turn. Winston Salem Journal

Taylor Woodrow GP of San Jose announces 15 sponsors Taylor Woodrow GP of San Jose announces 15 sponsorsWell on its way to turning a profit its first year, the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José announced today that 15 companies have signed agreements to become “Official Sponsors” of the event which is scheduled for July 29-31 on the streets of downtown San José. The official sponsors range from companies traditionally associated with racing to local businesses with an eye for a new opportunity. All the companies see the value of an affiliation with a highly successful event that is sure to expand and grow in San José in the coming years.

Joining recently announced title sponsor Taylor Woodrow Homes, which signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement last week, are official sponsors:

AAA Towing – Auto Club Membership
Autobahn Motors Mercedes Benz – Luxury Cars
Clear Channel – Radio
Cytomax Sports Drink – Sports Drink
Fairmont Hotel – Hotels
Hertz Rental Cars – Rental Cars
Ikon – Office Equipment
iLoop Mobile Inc. – Mobile Service Provider
Miller Brewing Company/South Bay Beverage – Beer
San José Mercury News – Newspaper
Telemundo – Hispanic TV
Toyota – Automobile
Wine and Roses Limousine Service – Limousine
Yellow Checker Cab Co. – Taxi

“We are extremely happy with the number and quality of sponsors that have signed on to date for the inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José,” said Vice President and General Manager Bob Singleton. “In addition, we are very excited that we have sold over 2/3rds of our hospitality suites. Our sponsor involvement and suite sales are on target and we are looking forward to a very successful inaugural race, which is sure to become a mainstay on the Champ Car World Series calendar,” Singleton concluded.

Like Taylor Woodrow, each of the official sponsors has a strong business and marketing presence in the greater Bay Area and specifically San José. All of the official sponsors will enjoy category exclusivity for their products and most will augment their on-site product and marketing programs with corporate hospitality, advertising plus customer and employee entertainment.

The inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José, the eighth stop on the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule, is Northern California’s historic first downtown street race. The weekend of racing, which will be contested on an approximately 1.6-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit, will draw over 100,000 spectators to northern California’s largest city generating an economic impact of approximately $20 million for the City of San José. In addition, the race will be televised live on SPEED Channel on Sunday, July 31 with a second airing on KNTV NBC 11 that evening. It will also be broadcast in 160 countries thus showcasing the city of San José to viewers around the world.

The Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José will be much more than a race. In addition to practice, qualifying and races for five events, the schedule calls for a week of activities in downtown San Jose including music and charity events. The Champ Car race, which features some of the greatest drivers in the world including former champions: Morgan Hill’s Jimmy Vasser (1996), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Paul Tracy (2003) and Sebastien Bourdais (2004) plus Los Gatos native A. J. Allmendinger and Mexican star Mario Dominquez, piloting cars that will approach speeds of 190 mph, will be run at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 31.

The Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José proudly supports Canary Fund. Canary Fund, which was founded by Don Listwin, is dedicated to advancing the science of the early detection of cancer. Canary Fund collaborates with cancer research centers including the Stanford University Medical Center in nearby Palo Alto and the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco. Canary Fund was also recently announced as the Official Social Cause of the Champ Car World Series.

Tickets for the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix San José are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (call: 408-998-tixs or 510-625-tixs or 415-421-tixs). Ticket plans range from a single day general admission price of $25 on Friday to $150 for a three-day Gold Grandstand seat which includes a paddock pass. Corporate and group discount rates are also available. For corporate sponsorships, hospitality and group tickets call: 408-277-9470.

Mears and Rutherford remember The Glen Mears and Rutherford remember The GlenThe last open-wheel races held at Watkins Glen International were the U.S. Grand Prix East won by Alan Jones held Oct. 5, 1980 and the Watkins Glen 200, a CART event won by Rick Mears on Oct. 4, 1981.

Johnny Rutherford, who like Mears, serves as a driver coach for the Indy Racing League, finished second in that event.

RICK MEARS: (What do you remember about the 1981 race here?): "It was a good day. It was obviously a good day for us to be able to win the race. I remember Bobby Unser and I had a great battle at the end. The last few laps, we were passing back and forth trying to beat each other. We were fortunate enough to win the race. Like they say, when it's your day, it's your day. We pulled the car into victory circle, did all the pictures and when they went to pull the car out, the rear end locked up. The ring gear bolts were starting to back out. If the race had been one more lap longer, we wouldn't have made it."

JOHNNY RUTHERFORD: (What was it like racing here at Watkins Glen?): "(1981) was a great race. I don't recall if it rained, but I remember seeing pictures of me here at Watkins Glen with spray coming off the tires, and it was pretty different to run in the rain. We've had a lot of great races, and had a lot of fun. I remember Watkins Glen being the most fun road courses."

Briscoe leads testing at Watkins Glen Briscoe leads testing at Watkins GlenIRL IndyCar® Series rookie Ryan Briscoe led a group of six drivers who unofficially eclipsed both long-course track records during IndyCar Series Open Testing at Watkins Glen International.

Briscoe turned a lap of 1 minute, 31.7200 seconds, 132.272 mph in his No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota-powered Panoz. That time was .0004 of a second quicker than 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, who was the second-fastest in his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was third quickest with a lap of 1:31.9813 in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Scott Dixon, Vitor Meira and Bryan Herta also bettered both records.

Records began falling early during the one-day test as Kanaan recorded a lap of 1:33.1526 at 11:19 a.m., fastest lap recorded on any version of the long circuit at Watkins Glen.

The long-course circuit record - when the track did have an inner and outer loop but had the "Scheckter Chicane" at the bottom of the Esses - is 1 minute, 33.291 seconds set by Bruno Giacomelli in an Alfa-Romeo during qualifying for the 1980 U.S. Grand Prix.

The other track record - using the same configuration used during the test - was set by Andrea Montermini (1:38.573; 124.174 mph), driving a Ferrari 333SP in 1997. All 19 cars bettered that mark before rains brought an end to the session 30 minutes early.

The IndyCar Series returns for the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix Presented by Argent Mortgage on Sept. 25. *
Pos. No. Name C/E/T Best Time Best Speed
1 33 Ryan Briscoe P/T/F 1:31.7200 132.272 mph
2 11 Tony Kanaan D/H/F 1:31.7204 132.272 mph
3 3 Helio Castroneves D/T/F 1:31.9813 131.896 mph
4 9 Scott Dixon P/T/F 1:32.3318 131.396 mph
5 17 Vitor Meira P/H/F 1:32.7276 130.835 mph
6 7 Bryan Herta D/H/F 1:32.8251 130.697 mph
7 15 Buddy Rice P/H/F 1:33.3113 130.016 mph
8 10 Darren Manning P/T/F 1:33.3603 129.948 mph
9 26 Dan Wheldon D/H/F 1:33.5043 129.748 mph
10 83 Patrick Carpentier D/T/F 1:33.5066 129.745 mph
11 6 Sam Hornish Jr. D/T/F 1:33.5162 129.732 mph
12 27 Dario Franchitti D/H/F 1:33.6211 129.586 mph
13 55 Kosuke Matsuura P/H/F 1:33.7731 129.376 mph
14 2 Tomas Scheckter D/C/F 1:34.3470 128.589 mph
15 51 Alex Barron D/T/F 1:35.0144 127.686 mph
16 8 Scott Sharp P/H/F 1:35.0575 127.628 mph
17 16 Danica Patrick P/H/F 1:35.0883 127.587 mph
18 24 Roger Yasukawa D/H/F 1:37.8893 123.936 mph
19 20 Ed Carpenter D/T/F 1:37.9973 123.799 mph

Testing quotes from The Glen Testing quotes from The Glen
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone): "I had a good day. It was amazingly fun driving around this fantastic race track. It's so fast and challenging. It was great fun. I'd really like to thank everyone at Watkins Glen International. I know they put in a lot of work and money for the safety of the track and they definitely made improvements. My day was good. We were trying to go out at the end of the day to get some wet weather testing, but we got the checkered flag."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I was very pleased with testing. The car was very balanced. We did a long run as well, and the car seemed to be very consistent. Unfortunately, it rained. We want to go back out, but it's just too much of a risk, especially after the long day we've had. We're very, very pleased. I know we'll have a great chance when we come back here. It will be a long wait, but that's part of the game." (About driving at Watkins Glen): "It's very challenging. Very tough, very fast. With all of those characteristics, it makes tough for the drivers and the engineers. There's a lot of history, which I need to know, because I don't know much, but it's an honor to be here."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Menards Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I think we learned a lot here today. It still takes some time to get back into road racing mode, but I really like this place. It reminds me of racing in Europe. It's a very fast. I think we'll have a good race here. We didn't get a chance to try some things at the end of the day due to the rain, but we were able to find a good baseline when we come back. I think everyone was excited to come back and go road racing.  Most of the drivers come from that background, so we look to get back here and go racing. This place has a lot of history, and I was happy when the IRL put this track on the schedule."  

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "I raced a sports car here in 2001 and 2002, so I had a little more background coming here. Of course, you are going a lot faster in an Indy car. I think we're a little surprised how fast we went today, and I'm sure we'll be quicker in qualifying when we come back later in the year. We'll still learn some more with our cars at the (Infineon) race (in August). We would have liked to have run some more at the end, but rain kept us from that. I'm not sure that racing in the rain with the Indy cars would be very fun. This is a very fast track and the rain throws another variable into the equation, but it is definitely a possibility when we come back in September.  But the drivers are looking to come back here. I know that."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I was pretty happy with how we were running. We still had another set of tires to put on, so we were expecting to go even quicker. I felt really happy with the way the car was handling. We just needed a little more time. Unfortunately, we didn't get it. I'm really looking forward to the race. I think things will go well when we come back. The key is to stay out of trouble and making it to the end. You can't make mistakes here because there's not a lot of room to go off. (Turn) 1 is about the only place you can get wheels off and still have all four corners left on the car. It's all about patience. Hopefully, we can get a good handling race car and see how things go from there."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "What a beautiful track. It's a fast track and I like high-speed tracks. The back section is a lot of fun there. It was my first time to come here and I really enjoyed the day. I think for the race, it will be fantastic with a lot of action. It's just a beautiful facility."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "This is a really great track. Lots of turns, up and down, and I like fast chicane that goes into the flat-out right hander. There are still some straights where the drivers can relax a bit. We're not looking for all-out speed here today; just trying to collect at much data as possible so we know where we stand when we come back here later this season. The main thing is to come out here and learn some new stuff. My dad, uncle and cousin have all raced here, so there's a little bit of tradition here for me. But mainly I'm hoping to continue the Panther tradition of winning when we come back here in September."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone): "This was my first time here, and it is a cool track. It reminds me of the European circuits, maybe like Spa. I need to learn the track more than just today. I haven't driven with this much power before on a road circuit. I had 250 horsepower in the Atlantics, but there is a lot more horsepower with these cars, so there is learning curve for me. The surface was very smooth, and I like that. It will be an interesting race when we come back here. It was good to come here and test at this place.  It would be very difficult here for the first time during the race weekend."

Russia and China Russia and ChinaThis Grandprix.com article talks about why China and Russia are important to F1.   What's interesting is the fact that DaimlerChrysler will build Mercedes in Beijing, which is where Champ Car will be racing starting in 2006.  While Shanghai is home to the majority of car manufacturing in China, increasingly we are hearing of factories being planned or open in and around Beijing.  If Champ Car plays its cards right, they may be able to get involvement in the series from the Chinese car companies that are eying the USA as a key market for their cars.
Industry News
Toyota ready to corral USA truck sales Toyota ready to corral USA truck salesIn the end, the NBA Finals are still just basketball games: entertaining performances that provide a temporary escape from the workaday world.  But the next time that you read about Detroit defending against a powerful challenge from San Antonio, it is likely to be about Toyota driving its big new Texas-made pickup into the profit center of Michigan's automakers.

The Japanese automaker that is closing in on DaimlerChrysler as the No. 3 seller of cars and trucks in the United States, has started hiring for the $800-million plant it is building in the crucial big-truck battleground of Texas.  The first of the new trucks should start rolling off the line in a little more than a year, and Toyota will be trying to sell them through relationships with existing customers and the Texans who build them.

Toyota's approach to the U.S. market often has been described as one of relentless patience, like the fabled tortoise that outlasted the hare.  The automaker is asking for similar fortitude from those who want to work at the new San Antonio plant.  The company received more than 100,000 applications in a two-week window in February and March, even though only about 2,000 production jobs are available. Detroit Free Press

Toyota Atlantic news items for Portland Toyota Atlantic news items for Portland
Double Dip
: This weekend marks the first of two consecutive doubleheader weekends in the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship. Over $200,000 in prize money will be on the line over the two races this weekend and, combined with next week’s racing twinbill in Cleveland, June 24-26, over $400,000 in prize money will be won by Atlantic competitors - a series record over a two-week period. Doing double duty at Portland is nothing new for the Atlantics. The series ran two races in two days last year at PIR, with eventual series champ Jon Fogarty winning both events to sweep the doubleheader. Last year’s races at Portland represented the first doubleheader Atlantic weekend since the series season-opening events at Miami in 2000.

Charles In Charge: Rookie standout Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) has been one of the most pleasant surprises early on in the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship. After joining Condor Motorsports just days before the season-opening race in Long Beach in April, the native of the Netherlands roared from the back of the field to earn a third-place finish on the tough street circuit. He followed it up with a dominating weekend in Monterrey, Mexico last month. Zwolsman earned his first series pole position and then led from flag-to-flag on race day to capture his first Atlantic victory. The “Driving Dutchman” leads the series title chase after two rounds of competition and carries a six-point advantage over Polestar Racing teammates Katherine Legge and Antoine Bessette into this weekend’s action in Portland.

Welcome Al: Al Unser III (#10 BOSPoker.net/PKV Racing) rejoins the Toyota Atlantic Championship this weekend. The son of former Champ Car star Al Unser Jr. and the grandson of racing icon Al Unser competed in four Atlantic events last season and he will be reunited with the team he ran for last year – Brooks Associates Racing – beginning this weekend in Portland. Unser will compete in all remaining 2005 Atlantic events this season for the Brooks team.

A Lot Of Legge:  Katherine Legge has enjoyed a great deal of media coverage following her historic win on the streets of Long Beach in April. Legge emerged victorious from a wheel-to-wheel, three-way battle for the checkered flag over the final laps with Polestar Racing Group teammate Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design) and Rocky Moran Jr. The April 10 win was the first ever recorded by a female racer in a major open-wheel race in North America and the first open-wheel win by a woman across the globe since Desire Wilson won an F1 Aurora Series race at Brands Hatch in England in 1980, the year that Legge was born. Since the victory Legge has had a full-page feature story written on her accomplishments in USA Today and CNN International filmed an extended profile on the talented British racer that aired worldwide in May.

Tight Between Teammates: Polestar teammates Legge and Bessette have virtually been neck-and-neck in the series standings after two rounds this season. Legge beat Bessette to the checkered flag by a scant .507 of a second in Long Beach and she carried a one-point lead in the championship standings over her Canadian cohort into Round 2. Bessette finished fourth while Legge was a slot behind in fifth in Monterrey so the Polestar pair is tied at 54 points heading into this weekend’s racing action.

Pole Watching:  Winning the pole position is important at most events, but it seems to carry particular importance in Portland. Aside from the obvious benefit of starting position and the championship point earned for winning the pole, the drivers at the point have proven to have excellent odds for winning here at PIR. The winners of three of the last four Atlantic events here have won from the pole and in the 10 previous Atlantic races overall, the winner has started from the top position six times.

Please Sign Here: All Toyota Atlantic Championship drivers will available to sign autographs for fans on Friday afternoon, June 17. From 3:15-3:45 p.m. local time the Atlantic series will host a fan appreciation activity featuring an all-driver autograph session at the series transporter in the Toyota Atlantic paddock at Portland International Raceway.

Tough Stretch:  The Toyota Atlantic Championship is beginning one of its most grueling stretches in the 32-year history of the series. With two races scheduled for this weekend and another doubleheader on tap next weekend in Cleveland, Atlantic competitors are bracing for a lot of racing. In all, the series will feature six races over the next five weeks as the 2005 schedule kicks into high gear.

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver RankingUpdated 6-15-05

Pos. (LW) Driver (Series)                               Pts
1. (30) Kimi Raikkonen (F1)          9.369
2. (2) Dan Wheldon (IRL)             8.863
3. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1)          7.822
4. (8) Tony Kanaan (IRL)             7.692
5. (4) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)       7.556
6. (18) Carl Edwards (NASCAR)        7.427
7. (27) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL)        7.216
8. (37) Michael Schumacher (F1)      6.993
9. (7) Paul Tracy (CCWS)             6.923
10. (9) Mark Martin (NASCAR)         6.860
11. (23) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)      6.768
12. (15) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)         6.708
13. (10) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR)      6.679
14. (11) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)   6.679
15. (3) Greg Biffle (NASCAR)         6.636
16. (NR) Brian Vickers (NASCAR)      6.596
17. (21) Michael Waltrip (NASCAR)    6.584
18. (NR) Joe Nemechek (NASCAR)       6.563
19. (NR) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR)     6.481
20. (NR) Tomas Scheckter (IRL)       6.399

Last week's ranking in parenthesis.  Provided by STATS Inc.

Milwaukee TV Rating Milwaukee TV RatingUPDATE #2 The final rating represented 799,000 households and 911,000 total viewers. A mediocre rating, but given the race was on a Saturday (bad idea) and preempted in so many markets, not much more can be expected. 06/10/05 The final rating for the Milwaukee race on CBS was a 0.7/2 share, which isn't bad since so many markets were preempted and the race not shown. 06/06/05 The overnight rating for the Champ Car race on CBS from Milwaukee Saturday noon to 2:00 PM ET was a surprisingly decent 0.8/2 share despite the race being 1) On Saturday afternoon, and 2) being preempted in so many major markets because of the Children’s Miracle Network charity fundraiser event. This rating is up over 400% from last year's Milwaukee rating on Spike TV.  If the race had been on a Sunday and not up against the fundraiser, it's quite possible the rating would have topped 1.0.  Not stellar, but in line with what the IRL and Champ Car have been getting lately, the Indy 500 notwithstanding.
Champ Car news items for Portland Champ Car news items for Portland
Time To Get Serious
– The ante gets raised on the chase for the 2005 Champ Car championship beginning with this weekend’s trip to Portland. This week’s event kicks off the toughest stretch of racing on the 2005 schedule, with four races taking place in the next five weeks, testing the abilities and resources of both teams and drivers as they work toward the top of the point standings.

Revamped Festival Curves – The famed Festival Curves of Portland International Raceway have been retooled for the 2005 event, with the car-clutching gravel trap to the left of the first turn removed and paved over. The second part of the curves has been reshaped as well, allowing drivers to carry more speed through that section. Early-season testing showed that the Champ Cars will post times at least one full second quicker than the best times from 2004.

Bourdais Battles On – Sebastien Bourdais returns to Portland as the defending race champion, and has retaken the points lead from injured Newman/Haas teammate Bruno Junqueira. Bourdais, who was nominated for Driver of the Quarter honors over the weekend, led 85 laps a year ago en route to the win. A victory this weekend would make him just the fifth Champ Car driver to defend his Portland win.

Justin Jumps Up – Justin Wilson has quietly put himself in prime position to contend for the 2005 title, carrying his new RuSPORT mount to fourth-place finishes in each of the year’s first three races. Wilson’s consistency has placed him within seven points of the front-running Bourdais and he returns to a Portland track where he scored a top-five finish a year ago.

Servia Serves Notice – Six-year Champ Car veteran Oriol Servia was officially named as the full-time replacement for the injured Bruno Junqueira in the #2 Newman/Haas PacifiCare car last week, just one week after he took the car to a strong third-place finish in Milwaukee. Servia, who has six career podiums and has finished in the top 10 in the final point standings in each of the last two years, has three top-10 runs in his four Portland starts.

Depth of Field Evident Early – The depth of talent in the Champ Car World Series in 2005 has made for unpredictability on race day, as three different drivers have won races, three different drivers have won poles and seven different drivers have been on the podium in the season’s opening three events.

Tracy Tries Again – The leading active driver in all of U.S. open-wheel racing, Paul Tracy has taken wins on most of the circuits that make up Champ Car, with the exception of Portland International Raceway. Tracy, who is third in the points and comes off a win two weeks ago in Milwaukee, has scored four podium finishes in Portland and has led in each of the last two races, but has yet to count Portland among his 29 career wins.

A.J. Just One Away – A.J. Allmendinger enters the Portland weekend with the momentum gained from earning the best finish of his Champ Car career two weeks ago in Milwaukee. The 2003 Toyota Atlantic champion scored a second-place finish on the Milwaukee oval and has vaulted into the top five in the point standings. He has even more reason to be excited about Portland as his RuSPORT team posted the fastest times when the Champ Cars tested at PIR in April.

Glock Going Great Guns – Rookie Timo Glock has taken the early lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings with a pair of top-10 finishes in the season’s first three races. The German has also impressed by turning quick race laps, posting times fast enough to place him second in the Bridgestone Passion For Excellence Award standings after three races. The award totals the times of each driver’s fastest lap in every event.

Philippe Shows The Way – Nelson Philippe had one of the best days of his young Champ Car career two weeks ago in Monterrey when he led a race-high 23 laps around the slick Fundidora park circuit. Pit strategy employed by the Mi-Jack/Conquest team got him out front, but Philippe ran well once he got there and became the youngest driver ever to lead the most laps in a Champ Car event.

Ranger’s Rookie Rampage – Andrew Ranger showed why he is one of the most-anticipated Canadian drivers to hit the Champ Car scene in a number of years as the 18-year-old became the youngest driver to ever finish on a Champ Car podium when he placed second in Monterrey.

Terrific Talent – This year’s driver lineup is the deepest in terms of talent to grace the Champ Car World Series in many years. This year’s roster features four former Champ Car title winners, the most to appear in the lineup since 2001. In addition, 11 of this year’s drivers have earned Champ Car podium finishes and eight have Champ Car victories to their credit.

F1 Migration – To further illustrate the depth of field this season, the 2005 driver roster has four drivers that have recent experience in Formula 1 including newcomers Timo Glock (Jordan, 2004), Bjorn Wirdheim (Jaguar, 2004) and Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, 2003-04). In addition, the series features four former FIA International F3000 champions (Wilson, Bourdais, Junqueira, Wirdheim), who have proven themselves in one of the top open-wheel feeder series in the world.

CBS Sports Run Begins – This weekend’s race in Portland is the second in a string of four consecutive Champ Car races that will be televised live on CBS Sports. This weekend’s event will feature Rick Benjamin, Derek Daly and Ralph Shaheen providing commentary and will begin at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday June 19.

Bourdais’ Defense – 2004 Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais will look to become the first driver since Gil de Ferran (2000-01) to defend his series title. One of the youngest drivers ever to reach double-digits in Champ Car wins (11), Bourdais has 18 podium finishes in his 35 series starts, a percentage that is unmatched in the annals of Champ Car racing.

Shutting the Window – In an effort to introduce more race craft and strategy into Champ Car racing, the series has eliminated the mandatory pit windows that have been in effect for the last two seasons. Teams now have the ability to employ a number of different strategies in regard to pit stops as they fight for the top step of the podium.

Ever-Expanding Series – The 2005 season will feature three new events on the Champ Car World Series calendar and has already seen an historic new event slated for 2006. Races in Edmonton, San Jose, California and Ansan, South Korea have been added to the 14-race lineup while a race in Beijing, China will be part of the 2006 season. The Beijing event will mark the first time that a U.S.-based racing series will compete in mainland China.

Safety First – Cementing its standing as one of the safest racing series in the world, the Champ Car World Series will look to continue its remarkable run of incident-free racing in 2005. The efforts of the Champ Car Safety Team and the on-site, state-of-the-art medical team led by Dr. Chris Pinderski, combined with the skill of the drivers and teams of the series have led to two years of safety that has seen just one driver miss a race due to an injury suffered in a Champ Car event, that coming in Cleveland in 2003 when Tiago Monteiro was held out of the race due to a mild concussion. Champ Car

Portland newspaper hypes up Champ Car race Portland newspaper hypes up Champ Car raceAfter featuring a couple of damaging negative articles on this weekend's Champ Car race in Portland, the local media has stepped up and printed a couple of articles talking about the drivers and the real stories behind the race, but is it too little too late?

A little success would make Portland paradise for Dominguez
The Right Stuff

Bobby Labonte Looking for Triple Crown at Michigan Bobby Labonte Looking for Triple Crown at MichiganBobby Labonte will drive the No. 47 Chevrolet Silverado at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in the Paramount Health Insurance 200. The June 18, 2005, race will be the 2000 NASCAR Cup Series champion's third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race of the season. In his two previous starts, Labonte finished second in March at Atlanta Motor Speedway and captured his first NCTS victory at Martinsville in April. "I'm excited to get a chance to drive the No. 47 Chevrolet Silverado at Michigan," Labonte said. "I really like working with Randy Goss and all the guys at Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (MDM). We had a lot of fun at Atlanta and Martinsville and, hopefully, we can do well at Michigan. I've always liked racing at Michigan. It's my favorite track on the schedule, so it's going to be a pretty neat deal to be able to run in the Silverado on Saturday and then in our Interstate Batteries Monte Carlo on Sunday. We'll also be in the Busch race at Michigan in the fall, in our Eckrich car for ConAgra Foods, so to get to do four races at Michigan in one year is pretty cool. I'm looking forward to it." With the victory in March, Labonte became the first driver in NASCAR history to win a race in each of the top-three major divisions at Martinsville. A trip to the NCTS victory lane Saturday will give Labonte that record at MIS as well. The Corpus Christi, Texas, native has one NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) win and three NASCAR NEXTEL (NNCS) Cup Series wins at the 2-mile superspeedway located in the Irish Hills of South-Central Michigan.
Judge rules in favor of Childress Judge rules in favor of ChildressUPDATE This AP article has more on this case as it continues. 06/14/05 A judge ruled in favor of the late Dale Earnhardt's car owner Monday, saying an insurance company failed to share legal documents in the case over whether benefits should have been paid after the NASCAR star's death. Earnhardt died Feb. 18, 2001, in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500. Superior Court Judge Kimberly S. Taylor issued the order against United of Omaha Life Insurance Co. following 12 days of proceedings. Taylor declined Richard Childress Racing's request to enter a default judgment of $3.7 million, plus interest, and triple that amount as allowed under state law. Jurors will return Tuesday to hear arguments about whether RCR is entitled to the monetary damages. Last week, attorneys for both sides discovered the legal department of Mutual of Omaha, the parent company of defendant United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., failed to share 18 pages of relevant documents before trial. Omaha Life attorney Stephen Coles asked Taylor to consider lesser sanctions and allow RCR attorneys to re-examine defense witnesses. Childress Racing claims United of Omaha failed to conduct a proper investigation before deciding not to pay the claim. The insurer denied the claim because several policy requirements, including a physical, were never completed. Childress Racing took out the policy on Earnhardt's behalf and made a $5,000 payment in January 2001. The policy was part of $7.2 million in benefits, according to the driver's contract, which was described in court. A $3.5 million policy with a second insurer, set up in 1996, was paid to Childress Racing and signed over to Earnhardt's widow, Teresa. ESPN.com/AP
Justin Labonte Fills In For Mike Bliss During Daytona Test Justin Labonte Fills In For Mike Bliss During Daytona TestWith Mike Bliss still recovering from recent hernia surgery, NASCAR Busch Series driver Justin Labonte got behind the wheel of the No. 0 NetZero Chevrolet fielded by Haas CNC Racing during a one-day test session at historic Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 47th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday, July 2. Labonte, the son of two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte, was a perfect fit to fill in for Bliss during the test at the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval. He wheels the No. 44 United States Coast Guard Chevrolet for Haas CNC Racing in the Busch Series. "Mike had surgery last week and they called me last weekend and asked me to drive it and I didn't really have anything to do," Labonte said. "I'm just trying to help out as much as I can. They've got a new car they needed to test and we're here shaking it down for the day. "Any laps that I can get on the track are a help to me. I'm here to help out as much as I can. I try to give them good feedback and get the cars as good as we can for when they come back with Mike." Also testing at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday was C.W. Smith, who was shaking down his Busch Series car in preparation for the Winn Dixie 250 presented by Pepsico on Friday, July 2. "I'm excited," Labonte said. "We had a good car at Talladega. We're bringing the same car we had here in (February). We were pretty good in the practices and qualified eighth but just got real tight in the race. It was just inexperience on my part that we missed the setup. I think coming back here for the second time, I think we'll have a better car and be able to stay up there better."Speedway PR
Bernie's greed hurts F1 Bernie's greed hurts F1Dan Knutson reports in NSSN that ABC's "Nightline" sent a crew to Montreal to do a story on F-1 that was to air June 15. Last-minute hassles with Ecclestone's FOM, which controls F-1's TV rights, caused the whole project to collapse. The crew went home.  FOM demands a copy of all footage shot by TV crews. It is unfortunate as the program would have exposed F-1 to a large audience in the U.S.
Kimi's wrist slapped Kimi's wrist slappedThe FIA fined Kimi Raikkonen $5,000 for being 14 minutes late to an official FIA press conference last Thursday in Canada.
Denver GP hires Red Robot Denver GP hires Red RobotThe Grand Prix of Denver has joined into a partnership with Denver based Red Robot, Inc. This partnership will enable Red Robot to work closely with the Grand Prix to ensure that a variety of unique and quality entertainment will be available to Grand Prix attendees. As part of the agreement, Red Robot will bring numerous celebrities from the film, television, sports, and music industries to the event. The Grand Prix, which will take place August 12 –14, already features a wide variety of activities, and the addition of the partnership with Red Robot will add an entirely new dimension. “By leveraging our many relationships in the entertainment industry, we intend to attract a diverse set of entertainers and entertainment programs to Denver, providing the Grand Prix of Denver attendees with a truly memorable experience”, said Tom Flanagan, CEO of Red Robot. Grand Prix General Manager Jim Freudenberg is enthused about the partnership and the variety it will add to event. “Leading up to the event, we intend to make periodic announcements regarding the personalities and programs that will be featured during our many activities at the Grand Prix. It is exciting for us to partner with another quality local company.”

About Red Robot, Inc.---Red Robot is a diversified marketing agency specializing in non-traditional, youth oriented, and entertainment marketing initiatives. The company’s core services include strategic marketing consulting, digital marketing, and the integration of consumer brands into TV programming, live events, music, online properties, and motion pictures. For more information, please visit: http://www.redrobot.com

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ralf has 'no fear'
Jos to return
F1 audience on the rise
James Hunt
Firman resets F1 focus
Alonso 'style' under fire
Jordan to confirm '06 engine
F1's important American
Schu not ready to win
Ferrari to focus on 2006
Liuzzi and Sauber
BAR bear Button bump
F1 wins back jaded champ
Rosberg fastest at Paul Ricard Rosberg fastest at Paul RicardThe GP2 drivers were back in action for the first day of testing this week at the Paul Ricard Circuit on Tuesday. Under a cloudy sky and intermittent rain, 12 teams and a total of 24 drivers took part in the session held on the 3,853 km version of the track.

Track conditions had been cold all day, with a light sprinkling of rain affecting the morning session. It soon dried up, however, and despite another shower at lunch, lap times got quicker as the afternoon progressed in the dry.

With an hour to go, however, the heavens opened and the track was engulfed in a heavy rainstorm. All the drivers took the track with renewed vigor, as the rain allowed them their first opportunity to try out Bridgestone's wet-weather GP2 series tires.

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of the day in 1'16"380 while Nelson Piquet Jr completed the most laps (71) to finish seventh on the time sheets.

After competing in Friday's free practice during the Canadian Grand Prix with Formula One team Red Bull Racing, Scott Speed returned to Europe and took part to the GP2 test. The American completed a total of 42 laps, his best in 1'17"182.

Testing will resume Wednesday at 9h00, once again at the Paul Ricard Circuit.
1. Nico Rosberg Art Grand Prix 1'16"380 65 laps
2. Clivio Piccione Durango 1'16"903 47 laps
3. Neel Jani Racing Eng 1'16"984 47 laps
4. Ernesto Viso BCN 1'17"178 57 laps
5. Scott Speed Isport 1'17"182 42 laps
6. Heikki Kovalainen Arden 1'17"199 23 laps
7. Nelson Piquet Jr Hitech Piquet 1'17"307 71 laps
8. Adam Carroll Super Nova 1'17"368 38 laps
9. Ryan Sharp DPR 1'17"430 47 laps
10. Giorgio Pantano Super Nova 1'17"469 13 laps
11. Nicolas Lapierre Arden 1'17"484 54 laps
12. Jose Maria Lopez DAMS 1'17"661 29 laps
13. Ferdinando Monfardini Durango 1'17"766 58 laps
14. Alexandre Premat Art Grand Prix 1'17"997 61 laps
15. Juan Cruz Campos Racing 1'17"998 40 laps
16. Olivier Pla DPR 1'18"159 48 laps
17. Borja Garcia Racing Eng 1'18"168 60 laps
18. Sergio Hernandez Campos Racing 1'18"379 67 laps
19. Fairuz Fauzy DAMS 1'18"497 31 laps
20. Can Artam Isport 1'18"815 48 laps
21. Xandi Negrao Hitech Piquet 1'18"923 66 laps
22. Gianmaria Bruni Coloni 1'18"987 24 laps
23. Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN 1'19"233 51 laps
24. Mathias Lauda Coloni 1'19"295 29 laps

GP2 Series / Circuit Paul Ricard

USGP and LeMans live this weekend on SPEED USGP and LeMans live this weekend on SPEEDSPEED Channel will have something for everyone in June, when three major motor sports events take to the track on the same weekend.

Opening June 18 at 9:30 a.m. ET, with the network's tenth consecutive year of live coverage from the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, SPEED Channel will go live to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race from Michigan at 3 p.m. ET. And shortly after wrapping up in France the next morning, SPEED will offer live coverage of Formula One's United States Grand Prix -- the only F1 race in the U.S. -- on June 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET from Indianapolis.

"Because of the breadth of racing knowledge here at SPEED Channel, our staff will be on-site supervising, in a hands-on way, hundreds of contractors and outside production entities," said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel Sr. VP Programming/Production and Executive Producer. "On perhaps the most diverse racing weekend of the entire season, SPEED Channel puts its versatility on display as it brings viewers domestic stock car racing, the world's most prestigious endurance race and the leader in racing technology, Formula One -- all in less than 48 hours."

A look at the weekend schedule for each event:

USGP from Indianapolis

·       Practice (June 17, noon ET, LIVE)
·       Practice (June 18, 1 p.m. ET, SDD)
·       Qualifying (June 18, 2 p.m. ET, SDD)
·       Qualifying (June 19, 12:30 p.m. ET, SDD)
·       Race coverage (June 19, 1:30 p.m., LIVE)

24 Hours of Le Mans

·       Race coverage (June 18, 9:30 a.m. ET, LIVE) - 18.5 total hours

Scott Speed on Wind Tunnel Scott Speed on Wind TunnelAmerican Formula 1 hopeful Scott Speed will be a guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday, June 19th at 9 p.m. ET. As a development driver for Red Bull, Scott has spent the last couple of years gaining as much experience as possible with the hope of being fast enough and good enough to become America's first Formula 1 driver since Michael Andretti back in 1993.

Last season, Scott made a name for himself by winning championships in both Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup and German Formula Renault. This season, he has moved up to the new GP2 Series, where he is currently second in points with a best finish of second in Barcelona. That success has earned him a seat in a F1 car as Red Bull Racing's third driver for the Canadian and USGPs.

Note: This interview will be taped. Fans are encouraged to call 1-866-W-TUNNEL Sunday at 5:15 p.m. ET if they would like to talk with Scott.

Industry News
Iowa track receives boost Iowa track receives boostA proposed NASCAR racetrack in Newton received another boost from the state Friday when the Iowa Department of Economic Development Board voted to guarantee a $1 million loan for the project.  The $70 million project is expected to create 26 jobs at an average wage of $14.66 an hour, development officials said.  The City of Newton promised a $1.3 million loan for land and a $2 million loan to finalize the project, said Mayor Charles Allen. The money was borrowed by the city and backed by tax receipts from a tax increment finance district in Newton.

U.S. MotorSport Entertainment Corp. is building the 7/8-mile asphalt oval, to be designed by NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, on 226 acres along Interstate 80 south of Newton. Track organizers say it will be the industry's first driver-designed speedway. Allen said although an official groundbreaking has not been held, construction has begun.  "There are bulldozers and Caterpillars all over that site right now," he said. "It's great. It's quite a sight to see out there. They have that whole 226 acres and Cats running over the ground right now." 

The speedway will have 42,000 permanent seats for races and space for 40,000 temporary seats. It will feature auto racing and entertainment venues for exhibitions, car shows, trade shows and similar events. ARCA, USAC and ASA have all agreed to sanction races at the complex.  More at AP article

Champ Car Series needs to market itself Champ Car Series needs to market itselfAhead of the upcoming Portland Champ Car race, yet another negative article in the local media. However, a lot that is said in this Portland Tribune article is true - Ever heard of A.J.? Uh, no, he isn’t related to A.J. Foyt. Allmendinger drives in the Champ Car World Series, which hardly makes the TV highlights — whether on ESPN, CNN, KATU, KOIN, KGW or any other acronymed media outlet.

Marketing — that’s where Champ Car just doesn’t get it. I’ve been covering Champ Car, which used to be known as CART, for 11 years. And I keep hearing about how popular the series is. It’s big in other countries, the Champ Car bigwigs say, and attendance just doesn’t lie … it’s a smash in Mexico City, so it’s gotta be big!

(Seriously, though, in an area of 22 million, la Ciudad de México should draw 190,000 over a race weekend.) But unless I’m being overly negative and nostalgic, which can happen, the race series just isn’t what it used to be. Champ Car now feels more like Triple-A baseball. Like American Le Mans. Like Everclear in an Aerosmith world. Like Jimmy Kimmel compared with Letterman.

Go ahead, test my premise. Ask your family who has heard of Sebastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy, Cristiano da Matta or Jimmy Vasser, and e-mail me (JASON VONDERSMITH at The Portland Tribune) with the results. Those four guys just happen to be past Champ Car champions. If Champ Car and IRL execs should ever remove their heads from their posteriors and unify the two series, they would be household names alongside those of NASCAR’s drivers and other sports heroes.

By the way —ask anybody you know about Ronnie Bremer or Timo Glock or Marcus Marshall or Andrew Ranger or Ricardo Sperafico or Bjorn Wirdheim. In Portland, college baseball has been overwhelming Champ Car in the buzz department this year. Ouch. Somebody might ask, “Well, do you have all the answers?” Yeah, actually I do. If Champ Car has any hope of making inroads with the American sports fan, it has to market the bejesus out of its people and its product, year-round, and not just during race week.

If owners Kevin Kalkhoven, Paul Gentilozzi and Gerry Forsythe have all those millions to pump into the series, surely they must be media savvy enough to understand the impact of marketing. Buy airtime and advertising, in every market, from February to October. Make backroom deals, get the entire series on TV and get it back into the public’s consciousness. More at Portland Tribune.

Rossi the greatest ever? Rossi the greatest ever?Can there still be any argument that we are witnessing the greatest motorcycle rider in Grand Prix history? After dominating for years riding for Honda, many said he made a mistake to leave the all-conquering Japanese team. Some thought the Japanese believed it was their motorcycles and not Rossi, that resulted in so many wins and so many championships. When Rossi left Honda he said that he wanted a new challenge, perhaps to show Honda he could win on any bike.

He went to Yamaha who were nowhere until Rossi came on the scene. The Italian genius scored his fifth win from six races in Spain last Sunday and there was seemingly nothing hometown favorite Sete Gibernau could do to stop him as Rossi smashed the circuit record by almost 1.5 seconds with just three laps remaining. In front of a record crowd of over 105,000 spectators at the Catalunya circuit in Barcelona, Rossi once again timed his charge to perfection, setting a time of 1 minute 43.195 seconds in the final laps to pass Gibernau and open up a clear advantage to the checkered flag.

Gibernau and his Spanish fans applauded Rossi instead of jeer him, knowing they had witnessed sheer genius from the greatest rider of all time. Simply beaten by the best. Meanwhile, Honda now knows it was Rossi, and not them, who won all those races.

Peugeot returns to LeMans in 2007 Peugeot returns to LeMans in 2007Peugeot has announced that it will return to the 24 Heures du Mans in 2007.  The return to the circuit of La Sarthe will be part of a tough challenge: to become the first manufacturer to win the world’s greatest endurance race with a diesel engine.

Peugeot’s announcement today, Tuesday June 14 2005, that the last French marque to win at Le Mans (in 1992 and 1993) would be returning, revived thoughts of great battles between major car constructors. The news was welcomed by the organizers of the legendary race, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, as evidence of the long-standing reputation and the development of the 24 Heures du Mans.

This excellent news is notable not only for the return of the great French manufacturer. Peugeot is setting out on an innovative path with great ambitions – to win the 24 Heures du Mans with a car powered by an HDi diesel engine equipped with a particle filter.
This is an approach that will take its place among the great technical challenges; an aspect that is an essential element in the spirit of the 24 Heures. The A.C.O. applauds this enterprise, which underlines the importance of moving toward forms of motor sport that are less-polluting, friendly to the environment and will reduce noise-pollution.

Peugeot’s return is part of a dynamic growth in the attraction of endurance racing and the most celebrated endurance race of all, les 24 Heures du Mans. 24 Hours of LeMans

Michelin previews the USGP Michelin previews the USGPFormula One's two-race sojourn in North America concludes this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Michelin will be aiming to extend its comfortable lead in the world championships for drivers and constructors.  The United States has a long but fragmented relationship with grand prix racing. America's most prestigious domestic race - the Indianapolis 500 - counted towards the world championship between 1950 and 1961, to ensure that the nation had a presence on the calendar at a time when there was no suitable circuit for F1. The first conventional United States GP took place at Sebring in 1959 - and there have since been another 47.

America has hosted F1 world championship races at nine circuits, more than any other nation: Sebring, Riverside, Watkins Glen, Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix preceded the purpose-built Indianapolis road course, which opened in 2000 to stage the first United States GP since 1991. Michelin has yet to notch up its first victory at Indianapolis but has a proud F1 track record in America. Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari, Long Beach and Watkins Glen 1978), Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari, Long Beach and Watkins Glen 1979), Alan Jones (Williams-Ford, Long Beach 1981), Niki Lauda (McLaren-Ford, Long Beach 1982), John Watson (McLaren-Ford, Detroit 1982 and Long Beach 1983) and Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW, Detroit 1984) have all scored world championship grand prix victories for Bibendum on this side of the Atlantic. In last season's United States GP, Takuma Sato (B•A•R-Honda, third) was the highest- placed Michelin finisher.  

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director "Indianapolis represents a real challenge because tires have to cope with sustained heat build-up for more than 20 seconds as cars negotiate the season's longest flat-out section, which incorporates the banking and the pit straight. In addition, they also need to generate sufficient grip to maximize traction on the tight infield. "These two contrasting characteristics oblige teams and suppliers to make compromises in terms of aerodynamic set-up and tire compounds. The banking imposes a significant strain on the left-hand side of a chassis because it partly compensates for centrifugal forces by increasing vertical loads, which are then transmitted to the tires.

Industry News
Ford to offer up Hertz Ford to offer up HertzIn order to raise capital, Ford Motor Co.'s Hertz rental-car unit plans an initial public offering of stock as the automaker moves ahead with efforts announced in April to raise money through options including selling the business.  Hertz Corp. disclosed the plan in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. The unit said it would use proceeds to repay $1.19 billion in promissory notes issued to Ford on Friday. Hertz didn't say when the sale might occur, how many shares it plans to sell or at what price.

The rental-car unit, based in Park Ridge, N.J., said in the filing that the initial offering would be as much as $100 million, a figure it said was only for the purpose of calculating the registration fee. Hertz said it planned to list the shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol HRZ.  Hertz's net income rose from $158.6 million in 2003 to $365.5 million in 2004, as revenue increased from $5.93 billion to $6.68 billion in 2004, according to the unit's filing.

Servia says Coyne not mad at him Servia says Coyne not mad at himQ. It was obvious that Dale Coyne was not too happy with the way the thing went down with you Oriol. He was kind of left out of the loop when it happened. I'm wondering if you're feeling kind of bad about the way it went down on the other side of the deal?

ORIOL SERVIA: Well, actually the thing with Dale, you know, it wasn't -- it could have been a little better for him just because everything happened like two days before the race weekend. That's the only part that I would have liked to happen different. But he's actually -- he has no problem with the situation at all. Basically the way we work last year and the way we work this year, we didn't have even a contract, a verbal agreement or even a handshake for the next race. We both knew what the situation was. If an opportunity would arise for me, I was going to take it.

So, you know, it's just a question that everything happened in a rush, and he didn't have much time to find a solution for Milwaukee. But we both knew the situation beforehand. You know, obviously if these things happen, it's always in a rush. I think we both kind of knew it was going to happen, it was going to be that way. But he's actually very happy for me and the opportunity that just happened to me.

Brooks will support Champ Car’s decision Brooks will support Champ Car’s decisionQ. You mention that something is in the works for a new Atlantics car. When the Toyota Atlantic contract ends, is that the direction you're going of looking at, whatever the new thing is going to be?

JOHN BROOKS, Team Owner Brooks Associates Racing: "Us as a team, most certainly. We're going to support Champ Car. We're going to be an entrant in whatever the series is going to be next year, whatever components are going to be in the series. I've already made my commitment to Mr. Eidswick and Tony Cotman, that we will be there, we will be there with two cars, and we look forward to whatever direction they set for the future. And they have our full support that we will continue to support Champ Car."

Q. But you would like to see more horsepower, maybe more sophistication in the car, whatever that car is?

JOHN BROOKS: I'm a racer. I want to see more horsepower. I want to see us be, you know, as close to the big cars as we possibly can be. But I understand the way that the cost has to go to make it cost efficient for drivers and team owners like myself to where we can go out there and take good drivers and not necessarily be directed by how much budget each driver has or what sort of sponsorship package.

We want to put the best drivers in the best cars, that's the bottom line. We always try to surround ourselves with the best people, the best drivers. In all honesty, the cost is somewhat secondary. I mean, we can't do it for nothing. But we want to go out there, we want to compete, we want to ensure that the best drivers are in the best cars and as a team we can showcase that in a good competitive series.

Unser Jr. still guiding his son Unser Jr. still guiding his son
We asked Al Unser III today - we haven't heard much about your dad recently. Is he involved with your career? Is he helping you out? If so, can you tell us what he's up to?

AL UNSER III:  "Well, what he's mostly up to is being retired. He does help me out with my career.   I mean, we don't necessarily see him at the track all that much.   But, you know, we'll probably get him out to a couple of these races, even though I'm always on the phone with him and getting the advice. But when it comes down to it, I'm the only one in the car. I can only use his advice to a certain extent."

Industry News
GM names Wesoloski GM names WesoloskiGeneral Motors has named Steve Wesoloski as the new road racing group manager for GM Racing. Beginning this month, Wesoloski will oversee engineering and budgets for GM’s motorsports programs in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), SPEED SCCA World Challenge and the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.

Previously Wesoloski was the GM Racing C6.R chassis engineer for the Corvette Racing team. Also during that time, Wesoloski was the lead GM Racing chassis engineer for the Pontiac GTO.R program that will debut later this month in the GT class of the Rolex Series. Wesoloski joined GM Racing in 2001 after spending more than 10 years in engineering roles for three generations of Corvette production vehicles.

“Steve has a unique mix of engineering talent and racing experience,” said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. “His background with production vehicles as well as his engineering contributions with the GTO.R and Corvette Racing, a four-time championship winning team, make him a perfect fit for this position.”   Wesoloski replaces Harry Turner who retired earlier this year, and reports to Kent. GM

Wheldon, Patrick among nominees for award Wheldon, Patrick among nominees for awardIndianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon and IndyCar Series rookie Danica Patrick are among the second-quarter nominees for the Speed Channel Driver of the Year.  Wheldon, driver of the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone and current series points leader, recorded wins at St. Petersburg, Twin Ring Motegi and Indianapolis to tie Kenny Brack's IndyCar Series record for consecutive victories.

Patrick, driver of the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, started and finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500, the best performance by a woman driver in the 500-Mile Race. She also qualified second and finished fourth at Motegi and is the first woman to be nominated for the award.

An 18-member panel will select the winner of the award. Fans can participate in voting via an online ballot at www.speedtv.com through June 22. Results will be released on June 23.   At the end of the year, a special separate vote will be held for the Speed Channel 2005 Driver of the Year.

Drivers gear up for Open Test at Glen Drivers gear up for Open Test at GlenHelio Castroneves had so much fun at a compatibility test two weeks ago at Watkins Glen International that he can't wait for June 15.  That's when he'll be joined by most of his IndyCar Series competitors -- including Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick and Tomas Scheckter, winner of the June 11 Bombardier Learjet 500k at Texas Motor Speedway - at an Open Test at the historic complex.

The public test is in preparation for the Sept. 23-25 Indy Grand Prix at Watkins Glen presented by Argent Mortgage.  Castroneves, driver of the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, and Darren Manning, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, completed 20 laps in the closed test on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course.

"The layout is unbelievable," said Castroneves, who finished fifth in the twilight race at Texas. "The safety things the IRL asked they did, except a few things yet that are not a big issue. We're going to really enjoy being at that place, not only for the layout but the history that is over there.

"We'll have 20 laps more than anyone else, but we're going to go there, have a good time and try to set up the car for race weekend. "We used the (May 31) session to get familiar with the track and make sure we were comfortable with the circuit; we weren't necessarily looking for speed."

The Glen's heritage stems from its role as host of the U.S. Grand Prix from 1961-80. To accommodate the increased speeds of the sleek IndyCar Series cars, the circuit underwent $6 million in capital improvements since last fall.

Most of the changes involved creating more run-off room and better sight lines for the drivers. It was accomplished by moving some of the guard rails. The run-off area in Turn 1 was elevated and paved, and new tire barriers were installed around the track. A 42-row grandstand along the frontstretch also was added.

The official circuit record is 1 minute, 33.291 seconds set by Bruno Giacomelli in an Alfa-Romeo during qualifying for the 1980 U.S. Grand Prix.

Texas event draws ESPN's best IndyCar Series rating Texas event draws ESPN's best IndyCar Series ratingESPN's coverage of the IRL IndyCar® Series' Bombardier Learjet 500k on June 11 from Texas Motor Speedway had a ratings increase of 150 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research, making it the highest-rated and most-viewed IndyCar Series race in the network's history.

Saturday's prime-time race coverage garnered a 1.0 cable rating, the equivalent to 880,000 households and more than 1.3 million viewers.  According to Nielsen Media Research, the race produced a 200 percent increase in ratings for adults (18+) from 0.2 in 2004 to 0.6. The rating for men 18-34 increased 100 percent (from 0.2 to 0.4). Females 18+ saw a 300 percent increase in rating (from 0.1 to 0.4) and males 18+ saw a 200 percent increase (from 0.3 to 0.9).

ESPN's previous high rating was a 0.9 and 809,000 households for the Toyota Indy 300 from Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 29, 2004.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 46 of the country's top 56 markets saw an increase in ratings vs. 2004, with 20 of those markets showing a three-fold increase and ratings in 36 markets at least doubling.

The Dallas-Fort Worth market had the biggest audience with 62,000 homes tuned in for a 2.7 rating and a 5 share. Indianapolis saw the biggest rating with a 4.3, representing 46,000 homes and an 8 share.

Saturday's pre-race programming, which included ESPN Original Entertainment's "Danica Patrick: Road to Indy," earned a 0.4 rating and 383,000 households, matching last season's race coverage from Texas Motor Speedway, according to Nielsen Media Research.

ESPN will telecast the next four IndyCar Series events with ESPN2 broadcasting live coverage of the SunTrust Indy Challenge from Richmond International Raceway on June 25.

Terry Labonte to drive for Gibbs at Infineon Terry Labonte to drive for Gibbs at InfineonJoe Gibbs Racing has hired two-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Terry Labonte to pilot the #11 Chevrolet during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. He replaces Jason Leffler, the #11 team's regular driver, for this one event.

"Jason understands that our support of him continues, as he'll race this weekend at Michigan and return to the #11 at Daytona (Fla.)," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "A number of factors led to this decision. Where the #11 is in points, the typically high car count at Sonoma, the number of road course specialists other teams tend to enlist, the unique nature of road course racing - none favors a team outside the top-35 in points.

"We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports for allowing Terry to assist us with the #11 team at Sonoma," said Gibbs. "Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports helped get Joe Gibbs Racing up and running when we formed this team back in 1991, and 14 years later, we're once again appreciative of their help."
Bourdais nominated for Driver of Quarter Bourdais nominated for Driver of QuarterDefending Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has had an impressive stretch of racing over the last two months, vaulting back into the Champ Car points lead as well as capturing a hard-fought victory in the International Race of Champions (IROC) event in Texas.

The Frenchman was recognized over the weekend for his strong run of recent performances as the Newman/Haas driver was nominated for SPEED Channel’s Driver of the Quarter award for the second quarter of the 2005 racing season.

Bourdais is very familiar with being put on this impressive list, having been nominated in three of the last four quarters of SPEED Channel voting. He was also the people’s choice in 2004 SPEED Channel’s Driver of the Year standings, capturing the fan vote after winning the 2004 Champ Car title. Bourdais was also second overall in the third-quarter voting for last season’s honor.

Bourdais started his campaign to defend his 2004 championship title in impressive style capturing a victory in the season opener in Long Beach. Only five days later, the 2004 Champ Car title winner was in Texas showcasing his talent in the International Race of Champions (IROC). After an outstanding performance where Bourdais led virtually from flag to flag in his second stock car style start, he became the first Champ Car driver in 8 years (Al Unser Jr. 1997) to win an IROC event. In the Champ Car World Series second round at Monterrey, Bourdais captured the pole position before placing another top-five finish.

This quarter Bourdais will be dueling for the honor with Greg Anderson (NHRA Pro Stock), Dan Wheldon (IRL), Greg Biffle (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), Danica Patrick (IRL), and John Force (NHRA Funny Car).

In its 39th year, the Driver of the Year Award will be determined by an independent vote of an 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters. Drivers' achievements are evaluated using the following criteria: Track Performance, Sportsmanship, Humanitarianism, and Fan Recognition.

Fans can also vote on the honor, with the result of that voting serving as the 19th vote in determining the award. To have your voice heard log on to www.speedtv.com and vote today. The winner will be announced exclusively on Speed Channel Saturday, June 25 at 7:00pm ET. Champ Car

Smaller is better Smaller is betterUPDATE A reader adds, I agree 100% with your comments on Barnhart's contention that driver weight doesn't matter in the IRL and their 100% throttle tracks.  I looked at it a little differently, and put numbers to it.

Assume aero downforce is fixed, limited by power available to overcome drag.
Assume total weight is 1700 pounds, aero downforce is 2500 pounds.

Lateral acceleration is (friction coefficient)*(1700+2500)/1700

If you do the same expression assuming the vehicle weight has been reduced to 1650 pounds, the lateral acceleration is 1.8% higher.  Since lateral acceleration is proportional to velocity-squared, the effect on speed is 0.9%.  Using 220 mph at Indy as an example, the 50-pound weight reduction is worth 2mph.

My assumption about aero may be off a little, but is in the ballpark.  The point is, Danica's weight advantage was plausibly enough to move her from mid-pack to the front. Bob Williams 

06/14/05 This Indy Star article talks about the weight advantage that Danica Patrick has over the other drivers. What is scary is the fact that Brian Barnhart, the IRL's President, and who has complete control over the rules, is only partially correct.

He says that because the IRL is full throttle racing (not stop and go like road racing) that weight isn't an issue for his series, which is alarming, especially how close the times are in the IRL as a result of its rules.....every tenth counts.

We suspect that Barnhart thinks that at a Speedway, where most of the power goes to pushing the car through the air, with the remaining percentage dealing with mechanical losses, that weight is not as much an issue.....not as much as on a road course where you have to accelerate and brake every lap.  On a big track, weight just becomes kinetic energy once you've accelerated it up to top speed.

However, he forgot that his race tracks have corners. A lighter car has less centrifugal force (F=MVxV/R.......less mass = less horizontal force) applied to it in the corners pushing it out toward the wall, hence the car needs less downforce to keep it glued to track. Running less wing (less downforce) creates less drag and hence has less air to push. Looking at Danica's car at Indy it was clear that Danica ran less wing than just about everyone, which may have been because her car was 6% lighter than some of the cars (100 pounds/1550 pound car) and hence, at least theoretically needed 6% less wing angle or downforce. It is more a factor on flat tracks (Indy) than high banked tracks (Texas) where the car can generate some of its grip from the same centrifugal force that is the enemy on flat tracks (if the banked track was a 90 degree vertical wall centrifugal force would plant the car firmly against the wall) which may explain why she was very fast at Indy and a backmarker at TMS where wing angle is not as critical.

Let's also not forget her weight advantage on restarts and her advantage on the IRL's three road courses.  And what about the rolling friction of the car as the weight increases?  So for Mr. Barnhart to say her weight advantage is meaningless, we say, let the other drivers run illegal underweight cars that weigh the same as hers (driver included) and then no one will have an advantage. As we have said, not ballasting the cars to take into account the driver's weight is analogous to knowingly let another team cheat.

Grand Prix sales lagging Grand Prix sales laggingA reader adds, Regarding your article on the lagging ticket sales for San Jose, I checked into race weekend tickets and was surprised to find out that tickets must be purchased for all 3 days. Unlike Long Beach where one can purchase Fri/Sat, Sunday only or all three days. I have introduced many friends and their families to the sport mainly at Long Beach by bringing them to Fri/Sat and more often than not they end up purchasing Sunday tickets once they've got the bug. With SJ tickets costing 40% more than Long Beach tickets it makes it a little tough for a family of 3-5 to foot the bill. We have made the trek from Long Beach to Laguna Seca every year for the past 12 years and will now head to SJ. We were hoping to purchase GA tickets for Fri/Sat and a block Sunday Grand Stands but some of the families going with us will most likely be limited (financially) to GA tickets for the weekend. I think if CC wants to draw a decent crowd for an inaugural event, they need to offer ticket options similar to Long Beach. In addition, $150.00 is starting out a bit steep, build the event first then maybe you can gradually increase the price of the tickets. The diehards are going to be there, but the casual fan will be turned away by being forced to purchase a 3 day ticket package. Joe Stalker, Long Beach, CA
More power for Cosworth at Indy More power for Cosworth at IndySimon Corbyn, Head of Cosworth F1 Race Engineering: “The introduction of the TJ2005 Series 12 engine at the Indianapolis GP represents a tremendous achievement for Cosworth. This upgrade is a further step along a two-year development program to deliver the benchmark F1 engine.

“The engine has been delivered on schedule and has achieved its performance and reliability targets. In qualifying for Indy GP we will have an increase of 30BHP & 700RPM - these represent the biggest gains Cosworth have ever achieved on a mid-season upgrade. Hopefully the Series 12 will allow Red Bull to build on the excellent results already achieved this season with the Cosworth TJ2005 engine.”

Three new teams join Toyota Atlantic series Three new teams join Toyota Atlantic seriesPortland International Raceway has always been one of the most popular venues among drivers and teams on the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama schedule. Whether it’s the excitement of racing through the famed Festival Curves or the tremendous support of the faithful Portland fans, PIR is certainly a favorite among many series competitors. The thrill of racing in Portland will be shared by more drivers and teams this weekend as it was announced today that three new teams will join the Atlantic field for the G.I. Joe’s Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Toyota Atlantic doubleheader, June 17-19 at PIR.

All three squads – Mathiasen Motorsports, Bite Racing and Blackjack Racing – will be making their Toyota Atlantic debut this weekend as the series will host Rounds 3 and 4 of the ’05 schedule at the 1.969-mile PIR road course.

Mathiasen Motorsports, based in Van Nuys California, will compete in the C2 Atlantic category beginning with this weekend’s races. The team will feature the #15 entry driven by 26-year-old California racer Justin Sofio and includes sponsorship from RLM Investments, the company owned and operated by team owner Ray Mathiasen. Driving for Binder Racing, Sofio captured the C2 victory at the last two Toyota Atlantic events in Long Beach, including a fifth-place overall finish this season.

“I’m really stoked about racing at Portland and we’ll run there and see what else we can do,” said Sofio, who hopes to compete in several more events this season while vying for the Yokohama Tire C2 Cup. “Hopefully we’re successful and we can win the C2 Championship and build with the team for next season.”

Chris Souliotis, a dentist from British Columbia, Canada who raced in the Atlantic series last season at Vancouver, is the driving force behind Bite Racing. After finishing ninth in his series debut in his hometown last season, Souliotis returns as an owner/driver this year and will run the #56 Speedway Motors car for the team at Portland. Another doctor from British Columbia, Daryl Leiski, will pilot a second entry for Bite Racing. The emergency room physician will drive the #63 car in the C2 class at Portland.

Blackjack Racing, located in Reno, Nevada, also joins Atlantics this weekend. Roger Glover is the owner of the team as well as its driver and while he may be new to Atlantics, he’s no stranger to motorsports. Glover is a 30-year racing veteran who competed in high-speed boat racing for 20 years before finding success on dry land in the SCCA Formula Atlantic ranks over the last several seasons.

One of 2005’s top Atlantic teams will also have a new addition this weekend. Condor Motorsports, which leads the series championship chase with rookie sensation Charles Zwolsman after two rounds of competition in ’05, will field a second entry in the Portland events with Ontario native Tim Hauraney behind the wheel. After competing for the last several seasons with the Condor team in the North American Formula Renault series, the 23-year-old Hauraney will get his first taste of Atlantic competition with a familiar team as he’ll line up in the #31 Enerlog Systems Inc. entry in the C2 class at PIR.

After two productive races to start the season, Atlantic owner/driver Mark Ishikakawa (#71 Bay TSP) has also announced that he plans to compete in every series event this season. Ishikawa, who originally announced that his team – Ishikawa Racing Group – would run a limited schedule in 2005, enters this weekend ranked second in the Yokohama Tire C2 Cup standings with 50 points, trailing only category leader Dan Cobb by four markers heading into the weekend.

In all, series officials expect a season-high 21 entries for this weekend’s Atlantic races in Portland. Over $200,000 in prize money will be on the line as the Atlantic series prepares for its second consecutive season of doubleheader weekend racing in Portland. Both races will aired on tape-delay on SPEED Channel beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 25. Toyota Atlantic

Junqueira hopes to return this year Junqueira hopes to return this yearBruno Junqueira says he hopes to be back in time for the final few races in the Champ Car season.  The Brazilian is currently recovering from back surgery for injuries sustained in last month's Indianapolis 500. The Newman/Haas driver suffered a concussion and fractures of the T-12 and L-1 vertebrae after he touched wheels with the lapped car of A.J. Foyt IV, sending him into the wall.

"The crew told me it was real bad and I watched the crash on my computer the other day," Junqueira tells Champ Car's official website. "You know I missed the safer wall and hit the hard wall and the telemetry said I was still going over 200 mph when I hit."

Oriol Servia will take Junqueira's spot at Newman/Haas until he recovers.  "I'm happy for Oriol, that's getting a chance to drive for the best but I'd still like to try and make the last couple races this season."

"(Dr.) Terry (Trammell) said normal people take a year to heal from this and he told me six months. I did a lot of Pilates and he said my back was very strong because of it and I won't have to wear a brace or anything.  "I don't want to rush anything and it will be Terry's decision."

Junqueira, who is already walking and plans to start underwater exercise regime, plans to be in Toronto for the Molson Indy next month. TSN.ca

Grand Prix sales lagging Grand Prix sales laggingThis Silicon Valley San Jose Business Journal article talks about lagging ticket sales for the inaugural San Jose GP. Bob Singleton says he still expects 30,000 on July 29, 40,000 on July 30 and 50,000 on July 31. He does concede that those numbers include support personnel, volunteers and credentialed media.

[Editor's Note: Without support personnel that would mean 80,000+ total for the 3-day event. Certainly not Long Beach levels but it is more than what Long Beach drew their first year. Historically the only street races that have been successful and survived are ones on a waterfront - Monaco GP, Long Beach, St. Pete, Cleveland, Toronto, Montreal, etc. If history is an indicator, San Jose will have its work cut out for it but if you read Bob Singleton's comments in this article it's clear he understands Rome wasn't built in a year. Also, who wants to go to San Jose?  It's pretty much a business city and does not have much in the way of tourists.  It certainly isn't a tourist destination.

Singleton, general manager of the San Jose Grand Prix, says support from the local community is crucial to long-term success. "You have to build the race fans," he says. "It'll be different next year. I'm working on next year already." This year's race didn't get going until late and the track was relocated in the city just weeks ago, certainly not enough time to do proper race promotion. Singleton recognizes this and, as he says, is already working on next year's race.]

This related article says, The scaffolding-and-tent suites that will be erected at the San Jose Grand Prix will keep Silicon Valley business people out of the sun and in style while they sip wine and have a meal during the race weekend.  But the roar of those open-wheeled Champ Cars will be echoing through several empty luxury box suites, Grand Prix organizers concede.  A bad economy, a short-selling period and uncertainty over the long-term future of the open-wheeled race have made luxury boxes a tough sell for the inaugural event.

"They only approved this race eight months before the actual event. We are really under the gun," says Bruce Ross, suite hospitality manager for the San Jose Grand Prix. "The real test will be trying to get them back again for next year."

The Grand Prix has already eliminated about 20 luxury suites and organizers say not all of the remaining 60 or so planned for construction will be sold. Mr. Ross says selling about 50 would be considered a successful season.  Mr. Ross' full-time job is selling luxury suites for HP Pavilion under Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, the business arm of the San Jose Sharks. Sales had been off at the arena as well even before the National Hockey League's season was called off earlier this year.

Race organizers are also apparently hedging their bet. The suites, which are being advertised for between $20,000 and nearly $50,000 for the three-day event July 29-31 are being sold for this year only.  "I personally think they should have gone with the 'first right of refusal' clause... but they decided to see how it goes this year," Mr. Ross says............But suites in general have lost their luster at several Bay Area venues. "We gave up on our Concord Pavilion (suite) and a few others because it was getting too expensive," Steve says.

The $3 million event was helped by a $690,000 loan from the city of San Jose that is to be paid back over the next three years. If the original 80 suites planned had been sold, it would have covered between half and two-thirds of the event's cost.  The three-day event also will feature music concerts each day, vendor booths and car displays among other draws. Besides the Champ Car race, there will be a Trans-Am road race, a U.S. Tour Car race and a Toyota Atlantic Championship Series event.  But some Silicon Valley firms may be holding off purchasing a luxury suite because the Grand Prix is still an unknown, says Ryan Luckin, a senior accounting executive for A&R Partners.  "San Jose's hotel traffic is all business travelers," Mr. Luckin says. "I mean, who wants to go to San Jose?"  More...

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'JV's staying on' - Sauber
Fisi in Flav's bad books
Red Bull get power boost
F1 teams head to court
'The hour of revenge'
Keep an eye on Cologne
Finn on F1 bench
F1 penalty 'unfair' - JPM
No Ferrari 'turnaround'
Kimi's cheer squad
2005 calendar 'tough'
Indy 'hot' for F1
CBS does just 1 promo for Champ Car CBS does just 1 promo for Champ CarUPDATE AutoRacing1.com has learned that in fact CBS did four promotions for Champ Car this past weekend, one during the F1 race plus three others, including one during the LPGA telecast. 06/13/05 During the CBS broadcast of the F1 race from Montreal they made mention of next weekend's Champ Car race, also on CBS.. Another golden opportunity lost. Pathetic when compared to how much cross-promotion FOX does for NASCAR. If CBS were to promote the Champ Car broadcasts perhaps the ratings would be higher, benefiting both CBS (future years) and Champ Car. And you wonder why NASCAR pulls in great TV ratings? Attention to detail.
Industry News
Hunter Nickell appointed by Speed Channel Hunter Nickell appointed by Speed ChannelHunter Nickell has been named Executive Vice President and General Manager of SPEED Channel, it was announced today by Tony Vinciquerra, Fox Networks Group president and CEO, to whom he will report.

Nickell, 48, assumes responsibility for all day-to-day management of SPEED, and will relocate from FSN South headquarters in Atlanta to SPEED headquarters in Charlotte, effective July 1. He had been Senior VP and General Manager of FSN South and its predecessor SportSouth since 1990. FSN South is the nation’s largest regional sports network, reaching 10.6 million homes in seven states in the Southeastern United States.

“Hunter has strong creative and management skills, but what’s equally important is he’s the same diehard fan we’re hoping to serve,” Vinciquerra said. “He brings a close familiarity with our operations together with a fresh perspective we believe will continue to accelerate SPEED’s momentum of the past three years.”

“SPEED has already become one of television’s premiere sports destinations, and I’m fortunate to join a group of talented and passionate individuals whose work has created such a strong foundation,” Nickell said. “We want to keep expanding SPEED’s racing, news and original auto programming, and making SPEED and our partners into pop culture fixtures as racing continues gaining mainstream interest.”

Nickell is now responsible for all business and programming operations at SPEED including program development and production, scheduling, marketing, promotion, public relations, research and business affairs. He will similarly supervise complementary high definition, video on demand, interactive and mobile applications.

Nickell has served as General Manager at FSN South (and its predecessor SportSouth) for the past 12 years, helping to expand its team relationships and coverage region. FSN South today provides local cable and satellite coverage of MLB’s Atlanta Braves, the NHL’s Carolina Hurricane and Nashville Predators, the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks, ACC basketball, SEC football and several other key events. Nickell joined Turner Sports in 1990 as Director of Affiliate Sales and Marketing to help launch the new SportSouth. Two years later, he was named Vice President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing, and a year after that, he rose to become General Manager of the network.

The trick to being fast at the USGP The trick to being fast at the USGP"Indianapolis is a great circuit, because you can feel that there is a fantastic history and heritage around the whole place: you know that people have been racing there for a long time and that it has seen some important events. The speeds on the circuit are high down the main straight, but the infield section is quite slippery. You need to take a lot of care to be as smooth and precise as possible in your driving style in order to be quick." Giancarlo Fisichella

"To be honest, we want high downforce and high speed! But that is impossible, and you have to find the compromise between the two different parts of the circuit: the twisty slow speed section, and the long main straight. The lap time depends on the aero efficiency of the car and the power of the engine, and you have to find the right balance to be able to protect your position and overtake other cars. We have a good level of potential in our car, the R25, so I think we can be strong in Indy." Fernando Alonso

Patrick ponders future after 13th place finish Patrick ponders future after 13th place finishAfter getting the sort of media attention generally reserved for Jeff Gordon and the NASCAR circuit, Danica Patrick and the Indy Racing League are almost certain to slowly fade to the background again.  Unless, of course, Patrick can win a race. Then Danica-mania will resume once again.  Unfortunately for the IRL, there is a gap in its schedule until June 25. By then, Patrick's fourth-place finish in the Indy 500 will be nearly one month old — a lifetime in today's culture.

Patrick's star lost some shine after she finished 13th in the Bombardier Learjet 500K on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. Moreover, she didn't hold out much hope for a win at the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Speedway in two weeks.  The Richmond track is three-quarters of a mile and can be tricky for those who haven't raced there. Patrick said her unfamiliarity with Texas Motor Speedway was one of the reasons for her flat race on Saturday.

"I'm already freaked out for Richmond," Patrick said before the TMS race. "It's really going to be tough. This might be a time when I start to show rookie again, just being at tracks that I haven't been to before and trying to learn them.  Each track has its own style of how you race them, how you set someone up, how you pass them. It takes a little bit of time to learn that. It's going to be really hard, and it's going to take a lot of work."

IRL insiders believe Patrick might have a better chance to win at the July 3 Argent Mortgage Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway, a 1.5-mile tri-oval where members of Patrick's Rahal-Letterman Racing team have done well in the past.  More at Houston Chronicle

Scheckter gains confidence with Texas win Scheckter gains confidence with Texas winIndividually, the numbers describe a fast and entertaining twilight race June 11 at Texas Motor Speedway. Collectively, they tell the story of Tomas Scheckter's first IndyCar Series victory since his rookie season in 2002.
  • 119: Laps led of 200.7.8: Seconds for final pit stop on Lap 171 when he was the leader.
  • 213.808: Fastest leading lap in mph on Lap 196 with Sam Hornish Jr., right on his tail.
  • 0.0534: Margin of victory (less than a car length).
  • 17: Lead changes among six drivers.
  • With its 15th victory, Panther Racing regained the title as winningest team in IndyCar Series history. One-third of the victories have been on the high-banked 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval, including two by Hornish.

Scheckter also regained confidence - an intangible for a professional race car driver at the highest level of the sport. And after 27 career DNFs and one top-10 finish in the previous 21 events, he believes his pole and race victories could be the first steps in changing outside perceptions.

"It's been tough before this victory," said Scheckter, driver of the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. "You honestly start to have doubts about your ability to win races, but this win is unbelievable for our team. I needed it for my morale.

"I told the guys as long as they got me out in the top five during the race I'll win, and that's just what they did. A couple of stages I didn't believe in myself.  (Co-owners) John (Barnes) and Doug (Boles) and everybody in the team stuck behind me, allowed me to get my confidence back up to get us to this stage. I think certainly after this, we're definitely going to take a different attitude going into races. Hopefully, we're a threat at every race after this."

Boles said he noticed Scheckter's approach change entering the Indy Japan 300. He was more patient, letting the race come to him instead of attempting one daring maneuver after another to get to the front - often with consequences. Though the result perpetuated his streak of misfortune (Scheckter was leading until running out of fuel with two laps remaining), at least one person's perception was altered.

"At Japan, Tomas I think decided he was just going to sit back and ride and see what happened," Boles said. "I think after the race he said to John Barnes, 'I just figured something out. I don't have to make those crazy passes till the end. I have a chance to win this.'

"Indianapolis was the same thing. He was sitting, waiting to go. On the radio with his guys (at Texas) he said, 'Is it time to go yet, guys? Is it time to go?' He's gotten a lot more patient the last three races. That's just going to mean a lot more victories for the 4 car." 

At 24 and in his fourth IndyCar Series season, Scheckter says the maturation process has not been as quick as he would have liked. But it's coming.

"If you push very much from the beginning, you sort of get to the end of that race and you're mentally starting to tire," he said. "I just sort of relax and stay in tow. When I needed to go, I went. I knew from the beginning we had a good car. I told the guys, 'Let's just be easy. Let's get in and out of the pits, no pressure.' ''  That's what Scheckter is feeling - finally.

Industry News
2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid Generates $47,500 At Auction 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid Generates $47,500 At AuctionSanta Monica, Calif.- In a tent filled with celebrities, the 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid showed some star power of its own, raising $47,500 in a live auction at the Heal the Bay "Bring Back the Beach" dinner.

Mercury donated a 2006 Mariner Hybrid SUV to Heal the Bay, the Santa Monica-based environmental group dedicated to improving water quality along California's coastline. The Mariner Hybrid was the premier auction item at the group's annual "Bring Back the Beach" dinner June 2, held adjacent to the sand at Santa Monica Beach.

The winning bidder was Ardie Tavangarian, owner of ARYA, an architecture, construction, and project management firm in West Los Angeles. He purchased the Mariner Hybrid for his Senior Project Manager, Dean VanRossen to use as a company car.

"Dean does the most driving in our office, so it makes sense for him to have a car that gets good gas mileage," said Tavangarian. "The Mariner Hybrid is sharp looking, and has a lot of room, so it's a smart buy. I'm very happy to support Heal the Bay and Kelly Meyer (who was honored by Heal the Bay for her work on its behalf)."

The dinner was filled with celebrities from the world of entertainment, including: Julia Louis-Dreyfus of 'Seinfeld' fame (and a Heal the Bay board member); director Garry Marshall, who emceed the festivities; actor/comedian Martin Short; supermodel Cindy Crawford; actor Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man, Seabiscuit); actress Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me, Jake in Progress); Grammy Award winner Kenny G; actress Amy Smart (Butterfly Effect, Road Trip) and actor/comedian Hal Sparks (Queer As Folk, Talk Soup), who showed off the Mariner Hybrid and encouraged the bidding throughout the auction. The evening also featured performances by musical acts Hootie & the Blowfish, The Bangles, and Bonnie McKee.

The Heal the Bay auction marked the first public sale of a Mercury Mariner Hybrid. Last year, one of the first Ford Escape Hybrids was also sold at the Heal the Bay dinner. Klaus and Jami Heidegger, longtime Heal the Bay supporters, bid $40,000 to win the "green" SUV.

Since 1995, Ford Motor Company has underwritten Heal the Bay's "Beach Report Card," an annual survey of water quality at California's beaches. The Beach Report Card assigns a letter grade (A-F) based on bacterial levels at beaches from Humboldt County to the Mexican border.

"We appreciate Ford's support of Heal the Bay and the work we do. Under Bill Ford's leadership, Ford Motor Company has demonstrated a commitment to the environment that ranges from green building to coastal protection," said Dr. Mark Gold, executive director of Heal the Bay. "We hope to continue our relationship with Ford for years to come."

The Mercury Mariner Hybrid is the second in a series of hybrid vehicles being engineered and brought to market by Ford Motor Company. Like the first, the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid, the Mariner Hybrid can run on its gasoline engine, electric battery power, or both together.

Initially planned as a 2007 model, Mercury Mariner Hybrid production was pulled ahead one year in response to growing customer interest in hybrid vehicles. Mariner Hybrid is one of four additional gasoline-electric hybrids Ford Motor Company will introduce in three calendar years. When it arrives in showrooms this fall, Mariner Hybrid will be one of the most fuel-efficient and cleanest sport-utility vehicles on the road. It shares the same advanced technology that earned Escape Hybrid the 2005 North American Truck of the Year Award.

The Mariner Hybrid powertrain blends the best features of a gasoline engine and an electric motor to achieve nearly 50 percent higher driving efficiency and lower emissions with no loss of the conventional Mariner's functionality or performance.

Mariner Hybrid delivers impressive fuel economy, with estimated ratings of 33 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Certified to California (CARB) emissions standards, Mariner Hybrid is expected to meet the rigorous Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) emissions standard in California and other states that have adopted California's emissions standards. Ford

Schumacher: Another step in the right direction Schumacher: Another step in the right directionMontreal - There is always a big party thrown the evening after the GP of Montreal and yesterday was no different. Michael Schumacher was also in attendance and so left the city only this morning. He will spend a couple of days relaxing with friends before the USA GP at Indianapolis.

Michael had good reason to celebrate after he claimed second spot on the podium, a feat he also accomplished at Imola. His team mate Rubens' second place was another reason to celebrate. However, nobody is making the mistake of over-estimating the significance of this result.

Even the current world champion is being cautious: "naturally I am very pleased, above all for the team. This, though, does not mean that we expect to do as well in Indianapolis. We have to keep our feet on the ground. In normal conditions starting so badly would have meant me finishing in fifth or lower. We have worked very hard over the past few weeks and have really improved. We had a bit of luck yesterday. We have to consider each race objectively and this is what we did and are continuing to do after this race. Until we are competitive in all the phases of a race, and yesterday we certainly were not, we cannot consider ourselves to be at our peak. Still, we took a big step in the right direction and I am sure that our time will come. We can achieve even better results".

The next race will be run at Indianapolis, a circuit that is similar to the one in Canada. "We will be doing our best", assured Michael. "The situation, as I have said, has not altered radically but Montreal has provided further motivation. We proved once again that we never give in and will fight to the end. We will go on doing this. I cannot wait for another exciting race", the German revealed. Ferrari

Patrick’s wing auction fetches more than $40,000 Patrick’s wing auction fetches more than $40,000The damaged wing from the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone driven by Danica Patrick in the 89th Indianapolis 500 fetched an astounding $42,650.01 on eBay.

The section retails for about $5,000 new, but the fact that it is associated with the hottest sports personality in the nation contributed to the bidding frenzy. All things Patrick up for auction on eBay – from signed Sports Illustrated cover replicas to trading cards from her karting days – are attracting multiple bidders in a game of “top that.” The winning bid – by one cent – came in the final few seconds of the auction.

Before the Bombardier Learjet 500k at Texas Motor Speedway on June 11, she signed the wing “2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year - Danica Patrick.” Panther Racing (with the blessing of Rahal Letterman Racing) placed the wing on eBay to raise money for its charity – Best Buddies Indiana.

“We’re so happy that Panther Racing invited us to be part of this e-Bay event,” Best Buddies deputy director of programs Sarah Baldini said. “It has opened us up to possibilities we would have never thought possible and for that we are truly grateful.”

Rahal Letterman Racing has agreed to host the winning bidder at an IndyCar Series race, with Panther Racing providing tickets and pit passes. The winner also will meet Patrick and Tomas Enge, whose sidepod was the recipient of the wing during the incident on Lap 154 of the 500-Mile Race.

Patrick was the first woman to lead a race lap in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” and went on to finish fourth – another milestone.

“We want to congratulate Danica Patrick,” Baldini said. “She personifies what Best Buddies Indiana is all about: celebrating dreams and overcoming challenges. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to John and Jane Barnes and all of our friends at Panther Racing for their unwavering commitment to Best Buddies Indiana, Danica Patrick, and most importantly, the generous e-Bay bidders who are helping people with intellectual disabilities.
Trans-Am stars ready to do battle in Portland Trans-Am stars ready to do battle in PortlandAs the Trans-Am Series prepares for the second round of its 40th year of competition, excitement is in the air as the V-8-engined machines are prepped to take on their first permanent road circuit of the season at Portland International Raceway. This year, as the roses reach full bloom, that legacy continues with the Rose City 100. The race, part of the G.I. Joe's presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland weekend, is scheduled to run on Saturday, June 18 at 4 p.m. PDT on Portland's 1.969-mile track.

Among the favorites for victory here is Randy Ruhlman. Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) is a stalwart of Trans-Am competition with 24 top-five and 80 top-ten finishes, as well as a pole in 147 starts to his credit. But the one thing that was missing from the veteran's long and illustrious racing resume was a win. That was, until the 2005 season opener, when Ruhlman had what he described as "picture perfect" race at Long Beach. In the end, Ruhlman climbed to the top step of the podium, and he's hoping that victory will carry some momentum into Portland.

"Needless to say after Long Beach, we're looking forward to getting going again," said Ruhlman. "We had a great run going last year, but we were bitten by a mechanical failure during the race. If we can duplicate the run we had going and our luck holds out, our chances are good. Winning Long Beach has given the whole team a morale boost. They're keyed up. We recently had a successful test, and that should translate into a competitive race in Portland.

"I really enjoy the circuit," added Ruhlman. "It's a nice long, fast track, but it's technical as well. Plus, the fans in the Pacific Northwest are fantastic. They are vocal and are really knowledgeable about Trans-Am racing. That fuels the competitive instinct in everyone in the field, including myself. We also have a large contingent of people from our sponsor, Preformed Line Products attending the race. They'll be in for an exciting show."

Yet, Ruhlman may have some competition for glory here as 1978 Drivers' Champion Greg Pickett is seeking repeat glory here. Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR) won here in 1984, driving a Roush Racing factory Mercury Capri and also has the distinction of having won the most poles here (five: 1978, '81, '82, '83, '84). Pickett, a former teammate of Ruhlman's, finished second at Long Beach and is looking to become the first driver in Trans-Am history to win a race in each of four decades of competition.

2004 Portland race winner Paul Gentilozzi certainly shouldn't be counted out. Though the defending and four-time Trans-Am champion's No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR was sidelined in Long Beach due to mechanical problems, Gentilozzi is always competitive. In fact, Gentilozzi drove from worst to first in last year's event due to technical infraction following qualifying.

Gentilozzi is tied with Mark Donohue for the most victories in Trans-Am competition: 29. That record could easily fall here, as Gentilozzi has a long history of success at Portland. Along with his 2004 victory, Gentilozzi also won here in 1992, and recorded two podiums: a third place in 1990 and a runner-up finish in 2001. Gentilozzi also leads nearly every Trans-Am performance category, including podiums, top-five and top-ten finishes; fast race laps, career laps led, lead-lap finishes, career starts, and consecutive starts.

Up-and-coming German driver Klaus Graf (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR) is looking to use the skills he honed in the Europe's Porsche Supercup Series to net his first Series win here. Graf, the first German national to compete in the Trans-Am Series since Walter Rohrl in 1988, is driving the second AJ-V8-motivated entry.

Fellow rookie Hima Maher (No 78 Centennial Motorsports of Alberta, Canada Chevrolet Corvette) will make his Trans-Am debut here, driving for veteran team Derhaag Motorsports. Maher has committed to running the balance of the 2005 Trans-Am season.

Meanwhile, 1999 Rookie of the Year and 2000 BBS Most Improved Driver Tomy Drissi (No. 5 Jaguar XKR) is ready to hit the Northwest after earning his first Series pole here last year.

Michael Lewis (No. 12 Autocon Engineering Jaguar XKR), who finished third in this year's Long Beach lid lifter, will also be a force here, as will defending Rookie of the Year Philip Simms (No. 24 Simms Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette). Max Lagod (No. 83 Hypermax Chevrolet Corvette), 2002 SCCA GT-1 National Champion Tim Cowen (No. 75 Cowen Truck Lines Ford Mustang), and Joey Scarallo (No. 06 Group A Wheels/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette) will also be competitive.

The GT-1 ranks will be buoyed by Rookie of the Year candidate Moneca Kolvyn, who will make the short tow from British Columbia to drive the No. 08 West Coast Hot Rods Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Woodinville, Washington's Rob Holden will make his first Trans-Am start, driving the GT-1 class No. 2 Butson Racing Chevrolet Corvette.

The GT-1 class comprises Trans-Am-specification cars, but is reserved for up-and-coming teams from SCCA Club Racing's GT-1 division. The GT-1 Class winner is honored at each race this season, and features its own championship.

The GT America Class will also be well represented here, as Hollywood stuntman Steve Kelso returns looking for his second consecutive GTA victory this season. He will be joined by GTA newcomers Guy Dreier, Dave Cormier, Roy Isley and Portland's own Gary Hagstrom. The GTA entry list also includes Tom Wickersham, Dr. Art Muncheryan, Dale Hartman, John Condren, Stephen Schmalz, Brad Jones, Tim Barber, and Rudy Revak.

The GTA Class features V8-powered, tube-framed sedans. Eligible makes and models include Pontiac Grand Prix, Dodge Intrepid, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Ford Thunderbird and Taurus and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The Class will be recognized with its own championship, as well as recognition in each race this season. The addition of the GT America cars turns Trans-Am into a three-class Series, which also includes the featured Trans-Am cars, as well as the GT-1 Driver Development Class.

The Rose City 100, Round 2 of the 2005 Trans-Am Championship and part of the part of the G.I. Joe's presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland weekend, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, 2005. Saturday's race will air on tape-delayed basis, Sunday, June 26 on SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. EDT.
Champ Car drivers raise money for charity Champ Car drivers raise money for charityAs the founder of the Hole in the Wall Camps, legendary actor Paul Newman has helped to bring comfort and joy to nearly 100,000 seriously-ill children in the 17 years that the camps have been in operation. As the co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing, the noted philanthropist has also helped to bring the thrill and excitement of Champ Car racing to millions of fans around the world, as well as five championships to his own racing stable.

Two of the major components of Newman’s life came together in 2003 when the Hole in the Wall Camps became the Official Charity of Champ Car, leading to a number of new fund-raising initiatives. Now the series and many of its drivers have undertaken a new program that will help the fabled team owner and race-winning driver bring even more money to children and their families as they attend one of the nine camps currently in operation around the world.

The 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will feature a new Lap Leader program in which drivers that participate in the program will donate money for each race lap that they lead, with all of the proceeds going directly to the camps. In addition, the Champ Car World Series will match that donation on every race weekend in hopes of raising more than $20,000 for the Hole in the Wall Camps this year.

“Paul Newman has done so much for Champ Car, especially in the last few seasons, that we wanted to show our support for one of his most cherished causes,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “We are honored to be able to aid the Hole in the Wall Camps, and I must say that we at Champ Car are very proud that our drivers have stepped up as well. Champ Car is pleased to be a part of this endeavor and we intend to continue our affiliation and our support for many years to come.”

The June 4 race in Milwaukee raised over $3,000 for the Hole in the Wall Camps, with nearly a third of that total coming from race winner Paul Tracy, who led 192 of the day’s 221 laps. To date, the series and its drivers have raised over $5,000 for the Hole in the Wall Camps.

In addition, series presenting sponsor and exclusive tire manufacturer Bridgestone will raise $35,000 to go directly to the Hole in the Wall camps through its year-long Bridgestone Pole Award. The award raises $2,500 for the camps at each of the year’s 14 races, with Bridgestone also donating another $2,500 per race to a local charitable organization.

The Hole in the Wall Camps give seriously-ill children a place to enjoy life and to experience the joys of nature that many of them had not been able to be a part of due to their illnesses. From the inception of the program in 1988 with one camp in Ashford, Connecticut, the Hole in the Wall Camps have expanded to include eight camps, with a ninth under construction in Israel. The system is entirely supported by charitable contributions, allowing children to attend the camps at no charge. The camps feature state-of-the-art medical facilities and supervision while still allowing the children to, in the words of Newman, “kick back, relax, raise a little hell and just be kids”.

The Champ Car World Series will take to the track next at Portland International Raceway June 17-19 with the G.I. Joe’s Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland. Some of the finest open-wheel drivers in the world will do battle on the 1.969-mile road course with victories and championship glory on their minds, while keeping the fate of sick children and their families in their hearts. Champ Car

Dennis lays blame at Montoya's feet Dennis lays blame at Montoya's feetRon Dennis has revealed that he desperately appealed to race director Charlie Whiting not to black flag Juan Pablo Montoya in the Canadian GP, but laid blame for the problem squarely at his driver's feet. More....
TMS jumps on the Danica bandwagon TMS jumps on the Danica bandwagonUPDATE TMS track spokesperson Mike Zizzo said the Saturday night attendance was 102,000 for the IRL race, about 8,000 to 9,000 more than previous years, which can be attributed to the Danica Mania factor.  However, after a 13th place finish, it's safe to say, saviors finish first. Maybe second. Not 13th.   And they don't drop back as soon as the green flag drops never to be heard from again.  Related article06/08/05 The pressure for Danica to win, and win now is mounting.  As this Texas Motor Speedway ad depicts, the slogan is come see Danica Patrick live on stage.  No mention of Dan Wheldon, the Indy 500 winner.  It's all Danica, all the time.  Before that it was Sarah Fisher.  The male drivers are just moving chicanes as she drives by with her 50 to 100 pound lighter car at over 200 MPH..
Gordon shifts, blows transmission Gordon shifts, blows transmissionDespite NASCAR's new gear rule that supposedly eliminated the ability to shift, word was that Robby Gordon – ever the rebel – did shift, which is what caused the transmission failure that put him out of the race. Yahoo Sports
Dutch circuit reaches MotoGP deal Dutch circuit reaches MotoGP dealA new 10-year contract between the TT Circuit Assen and MotoGP rights holder Dorna Sports has been agreed, meaning races will be hosted there until at least 2016.  The Dutch circuit has also unveiled a new floating grandstand that was built in front of the start/finish line, where the run-off area required for safety reasons passes underneath it.  
Panoz Esperante Monster Garage project Panoz Esperante Monster Garage projectUPDATE Reminder - the conclusion to this show will be shown Monday night, June 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET on the Discovery Channel. 06/05/05 The Panoz Esperante already has tasted success on the track in the American Le Mans Series. But what few know is that, before its first ALMS victory in April at the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta, the Esperante conquered the air.

The result will be on display for all to see on the Discovery Channel's hit show "Monster Garage." The show, featuring West Coast Choppers owner Jesse James and his team of Maverick Mechanics, actually is a two-part season finale that chronicles the transformation of a Panoz Esperante from one of America's premier sports cars to a flying machine that rivals the Wright Brothers' launch nearly 100 years ago. Part One will air on the Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. EST June 6, with the conclusion set for the same time on June 13.

The result was one that many thought was impossible. But that word isn't a part of James' vocabulary. Unlike most episodes made up of five-person teams that air for one hour, the flying Esperante project had a team of 10 members.

Once the flying Esperante was complete, James added his usual flare to the finished product and traveled to historic Kitty Hawk, N.C., to film the final elements of the episode – the modest task of making an Esperante fly. Although James could not test the flying car at the exact spot where the Wright Brothers made their first flight, camera crews from the American Le Mans Series, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "60 Minutes" were all there to film.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Kimi's on to Indy
JV doubts Bernie blast
'McLaren take some blame'
Giggling in pitlane
'Worried' Renault
F1 boss calls for rule change
Canada's considerable crowd
Montreal fastest race laps Montreal fastest race laps
1. Kimi Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes - 1'14.384 - lap 23
2. Fernando Alonso - Renault - 1'14.727 - lap 38
3. Michael Schumacher - Ferrari - 1'14.868 - lap 32
4. Giancarlo Fisichella - Renault - 1'14.890 - lap 24
5. Jenson Button - BAR Honda - 1'15.189 - lap 30
6. Mark Webber - BMW Williams - 1'15.401 - lap 23
7. Rubens Barrichello - Ferrari - 1'15.480 - lap 46
8. Nick Heidfeld - BMW Williams - 1'15.752 - lap 20
9. Ralf Schumacher - Toyota - 1'15.827 - lap 44
10. Jarno Trulli - Toyota - 1'15.872 - lap 43
11. Jacques Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas - 1'15.945 - lap 26
12. Felipe Massa - Sauber Petronas - 1'16.008 - lap 18
13. Takuma Sato - BAR Honda - 1'16.044 - lap 14
14. Christian Klien - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'16.299 - lap 46
15. David Coulthard - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'16.414 - lap 17
16. Narain Karthikeyan - Jordan Toyota - 1'17.015 - lap 20
17. Tiago Monteiro - Jordan Toyota - 1'17.344 - lap 19
18. Christijan Albers - Minardi Cosworth - 1'18.462 - lap 15
19. Patrick Friesacher - Minardi Cosworth - 1'18.709 - lap 33
-- Juan Pablo Montoya - McLaren Mercedes - no time (disqualified)
Record crowd for Canadian GP Record crowd for Canadian GPThe Canadian Grand Prix drew 102,000 fans for Friday's practice, 111,000 for Saturday's qualifying, and a record 121,000 fans for today's race.  The three-day total was a record at 334,000. That mark surpassed the previous three-day record set in 2002 when 326,000 attended the event.
Grand-Am continues to struggle for fans Grand-Am continues to struggle for fansAlthough the weather certainly was a factor, the number of fans in attendance at this weekend's Grand-Am race at Watkins Glen was once again near zero (photo courtesy No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac.). Despite the many millions of dollars the France family is pumping into the Grand-Am series, the Frances simply don't understand what their customers (fans) like. They don't like the NASCARized Daytona prototypes, despite the France family thinking if it's NASCAR the Americans must like it. It's too bad they are throwing good money after bad because the paddock certainly has plenty of teams and a bit of a buzz, and it gives a lot of drivers a chance at a seat that actually pays them money.....but nobody is watching,
Rossi stuns Gibernau in Spain Rossi stuns Gibernau in SpainValentino Rossi continued his incredible start to the 2005 MotoGP World Championship with his fifth victory from six rounds at the Gran Premi Gauloises de Catalunya on Sunday. In front of a record crowd of 105,698 fans at the Montmeló track on the outskirts of Barcelona, home favorite Sete Gibernau could do nothing to prevent a breathtaking charge to the line from the World Champion, who smashed the circuit record by almost 1.5 seconds with just three laps remaining to open up an insurmountable advantage as the checkered flag was prepared.

“To do the fastest lap three laps from the end at a track like this is amazing - it was around two seconds faster than the last lap last year and it shows the fantastic job Michelin have done with tire endurance,” explained Rossi, who was racing in front of a Spanish crowd for the first time since a controversial last-corner pass on Gibernau in the opening round of the season at Jerez.

“I was a little worried before this weekend about the reaction from the crowd but I was so happy with the reception I got. It shows that motorcycle fans are the best kind and especially here in Spain, where it is always a pleasure to ride. The advantage in the championship is allowing the team to work in a relaxed way and we are having a lot of fun, which is an extra motivation in itself.”

Marco Melandri remains second in the championship standings, 58 points behind Rossi, after clinching the final place on the podium for the second successive season at this track. The Italian youngster led the race in the combative early stages and was involved in a thrilling battle on the final few laps as he held off the attentions of Honda colleagues Alex Barros and Nicky Hayden, who were forced to settle for fourth and fifth place respectively.

Canadian GP - Race report Canadian GP - Race reportMichael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello scored strong second and third places behind Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. It was the Finn’s third win of the year, while it was Michael Schumacher’s second appearance on the rostrum. His performance, and that of Barrichello, starting from the pit lane, brought Ferrari to within two points of third in the Constructors championship.

In front of a capacity crowd enjoying 32 degree temperatures, both front row drivers Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher found themselves overwhelmed by those behind at the start with the Renaults of Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso sweeping past into first and second places, followed by Button in third, then Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen.

Michael came by in sixth place before a gap to Jarno Trulli’s Toyota(up two places), Takuma Sato (down two places after a touch from Villeneuve), Felipe Massa (up two places) and Nick Heidfeld (up four places) in tenth.

These remained the positions for the first 11 laps before Michael pitted on lap 12. Button came in on lap 15 and his teammate Sato a lap later, but he pulled straight into the garage to have a gearbox problem rectified which took many laps.

At the front, the Renaults were running in close formation but the pair were being gained on by the McLarens in third and fourth. On lap 24 and 25, a Renault and a McLaren pitted, but when they rejoined, Fisichella still led but was soon being hauled in by teammate Alonso. Montoya remained in third place from Raikkonen fourth, while Button was next from Michael Schumacher nearly 10s further back. Then came a large gap to Trulli, now being pushed by Barrichello.

Fisichella began to slow on lap 32 with a gearbox problem, and pulled into the pits to retire, leaving Alonso in the lead and being pushed by Montoya who was leaving Raikkonen behind as the Finn had a problem with his steering wheel which had turned to the left. Button was next from Michael. These two made their second stops on lap 34 and still emerged fourth and fifth. Trulli was next from a battle comprising Massa, Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher.

But on lap 38 Alonso hit the wall at one of the back chicanes causing retirement and giving the lead to Montoya. Raikkonen was second from Button and Michael Schumacher. Trulli was next from Massa still being pushed by Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher.

But the Williams driver found his car overheating behind the Sauber and the engine failed on lap 44. Three laps Button crashed out of third coming out of the final chicane which caused the safety car to be deployed. Montoya was unable to pit in time, but everyone else did, and when Montoya came out, he failed to observe the red light at the pit lane exit and was disqualified.

When the safety car did go in, Raikkonen was briefly ahead of Montoya until he pulled out, with Michael Schumacher now third from Trulli in fourth, and then Barrichello, Massa, Webber, Ralf Schumacher and then Coulthard.

In the closing laps, Raikkonen pulled out a 2.7s lead, but lost half of it when he went on the grass at a back chicane on lap 64. Behind Michael Trulli was heading for third but a brake disc broke on lap 61 and he retired, leaving the position to Barrichello. Massa just held off Webber for fourth place, while Ralf Schumacher was the first lapped runner in sixth from Coulthard and Klien just holding off Villeneuve. Monteiro and Albers completed the finishers. Ferrari

Edwards Takes Ford To Victory Lane At Pocono Edwards Takes Ford To Victory Lane At PoconoCARL EDWARDS VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW: WERE YOU SURPRISED TO WIN HERE TODAY? “Of course I was surprised, man. I’d never seen the place until we rode through the tunnel a couple of days ago, but it was so cool. This is one of the neatest parts about this deal is my pit crew and how flawlessly they performed. I’ve got the greatest pit crew in the business and they’re just killing it on every pit stop. They’re coming together. The other cool thing is the crowd. I couldn’t believe it. The crowd is awesome. I’ve got to thank Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch. Those guys raced me great all day. We had a blast.” WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN THE LAST CAUTION CAME OUT? “I don’t know. When situations like that occur I always get really, really nervous. And then what I try to remember is that’s what we’re in this sport for is to get that feeling to go out here and do something special and to have that feeling. After I thought about that I was fine. I knew we were gonna win that race.”

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – No. 99 Stonebridge Life Taurus – WHAT DOES YOUR FIRST WIN AT POCONO MEAN? “It feels great. This is my 33rd time to bring a racing program to Pocono. I always enjoy the Poconos. I enjoy the fans and enjoy the different scenery. Being in the woods. Being top of the mountain. The fog is a little aggravating trying to get into Mt. Pocono with my little airplane, but the rest of it is absolutely a treat. Last night, I came back with Carl and Amanda (Beard) from Nashville. About 3 o’clock we tried to land at Mt. Pocono and couldn’t do it and had to go out to Wilkes-Barre, but the race track has been great. The community is just super and it’s really, really good to be challenged by this race track. It’s so much different than anyplace else we go.” WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 16 AND THE TIRE ISSUES TODAY? “I’m not sure. I’ll say that I think there were some things on the race track. I’m sure Mark ran over something and got his rear tire. I suspect that Kurt ran over something and got his tire when he had problems within two or three laps after he just made a pit stop. So I’m sure we punished a couple of those tires running over things. Fatback stopped me about halfway through the race when I was on my way to the bathroom and told me to tell Carl to be careful of the curb. Ricky had figured out that whenever he bumped the curb, which was one of the things he was doing down there, that he was hurting his sidewall. So based on Fatback McSwain giving me that advice, I cautioned Carl and hopefully, if there was a temptation to use that part of the race track, he didn’t do that. But there were a number of the tires, I’m sure, that were hurt today from air pressure that was inadvisably low. There were a number of tires hurt that had aggressive camber curves or static camber adjustment on their left-front tire. And then, of course, there is debris on the race track that the tire can’t do anything about. So there were a number of hazards out there for the tire. Goodyear did a great job on the tire. The tires didn’t wear out and they didn’t lose their rubber, they didn’t blister, but if we expose them to hazards beyond their design limits and/or we puncture them, we can’t complain about that.” Ford

Jonsson and Krohn Lead 1-2 Sweep Jonsson and Krohn Lead 1-2 SweepNic Jönsson picked a fine time to lead his first laps of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season, as he motored his No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley past teammate Christian Fittipaldi and into the lead with slightly more than four laps remaining to take the victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. 

In a race that saw weather conditions change from hot and humid to heavy rain, Jönsson and co-driver Tracy Krohn charged from 17th on the starting grid to a top-five spot in the race’s final hour. As the other front-runners encountered difficulties, Jönsson continued moving forward as the laps wound down. When Michael McDowell spun out of second place with fewer than 10 laps remaining, the stage was set for a 1-2 showing for the Krohn Racing/TRG team with Fittipaldi holding the lead and Jönsson in second.

However, Jönsson would not be satisfied by finishing second to his teammate. On Lap 146 of the 150-lap event, the Swede made his move by sweeping to the inside of Fittipaldi in Turn 8 of the famous Watkins Glen International “boot” section and taking over the lead. Once past Fittipaldi, Jönsson would not be challenged as he opened up a 15.758-second advantage over the Brazilian on his way to victory.

"We have been struggling all week with the set up on the car in dry conditions and we were not really prepared for that,” Jönsson said. “We had been struggling in dry conditions, but for the race we made some changes and it worked, so I thought we had a top-five or top-six car.  When it started raining I thought, ‘the car feels very good.’ We were able to take it home.”

In a pulse-pounding GT battle, Wolf Henzler in the No. 14 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup passed Andy Lally in the No. 65 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche GT3 Cup with only three laps remaining to take the lead and the class victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

Lally and co-driver Marc Bunting started first in the class after the GT pole sitting No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of Randy Pobst was sent to the back for a technical infraction, while Henzler and co-drivers Leh Keen and Cory Friedman started the No. 14 in fifth. Both cars were able to avoid difficulties caused by the rainy conditions that plagued many of the top GT teams to fight for the victory.

"It was unbelievable how slippery the track was, “Keen said. “I was lucky not to go flying off like everyone else did and was able to put a good run in." Grand-Am

Mattioli not missing Indy Cars Mattioli not missing Indy CarsIf Dr. Joseph Mattioli was easily defeated, Pocono Raceway probably would not have had a third Schaefer 500 for Indy cars, and NASCAR's Winston Cup division would have never become the summer attraction it is today.

Mattioli's second season as a major race promoter — 1972 — included a contentious lockout of the United States Auto Club's Indy-car teams and a tropical storm that had his still bare-bones facility under water. At a time when he needed every possible dollar to keep him afloat, he took a financial bath.

And even after he avoided the ax in '72, he was anything but out of trouble.

Yes, Pocono's early years were an ongoing battle for survival for the Philadelphia dentist. The adversaries were not always the racers. Bankers and other creditors were knocking on the door. Hard.

Then came the nonsensical split that touched off a downward spiral for the open-wheel racing folks and opened a huge door of opportunity for the good ol' boys of NASCAR.

''I was their pawn,'' Mattioli has said of being in the middle between the big-name owners and drivers of Championship Auto Racing Teams and the United States Auto Club, the depleted, but established sanctioning body. Once he was forced to take sides, he never had the same warm and fuzzy feelings for the open-wheel sport that he had when he longed for his track to become known as ''The Indy of the East.''  More at mcall.com

Formula BMW
Wickens scores his first Formula BMW USA victory Wickens scores his first Formula BMW USA victoryThe Canadian National Anthem played for the second time this weekend as BMW Junior and Rookie driver Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) won Round 6 of the Formula BMW USA Series at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. 16-year old Wickens, of Etobicoke, Ontario, the third- place finisher of yesterday's Round 5 race, finished 3.440 seconds ahead of fellow BMW Junior Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) in the 12 lap contest. Wickens, starting from the sixth starting position, took over the lead from polesitter Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team) on lap seven. He recorded the fastest lap of the race (1:46.997) on lap 10 as he drove to his first Formula BMW USA victory. Hegewald recovered to round out the podium, for an excellent weekend's work. Robert Bunker (AIM Autosport) was fifth and Matt Lee (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport) finished eighth for their season's best result.

Kevin Lacroix's accident and resulting retirement on the opening lap of the race did not allow him to score any points, but he retained his lead in both the Overall and Rookie points. Fourth-place finisher Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing) closed to within nine of Lacroix in the Overall points and Wicken's win moved him to third, only one point from Soulet.

Wickens and Stevens each moved up one position in Rookie points to second and third respectively. Lacroix now leads Wickens by just two points.

"My car was spectacular today," said a happy Wickens. "I need to thank my sponsors MMG Financial, Cameron Motorsports, F1-K International, Malcom McMaster, Bob Cameron and Panielle. They all made it possible. Today it was a little bit of luck and a little bit of a fast car. I had a car to win, but two yellow flags definitely helped a lot."

Stevens, who equaled his best result of the season today said, "This weekend we had trouble in qualifying. We were not able to qualify as far forward as we wanted, but I had a car capable of winning. A good result depended on a good start and very good opening laps. We were lucky today. We had a fantastic start and two yellow flags really helped us to get into the second position."

A disappointed Hegewald said, "I was a little bit unlucky today. I had a really good start and was in the lead for the first 6 laps. After getting hit by Stevens, I was third and I couldn't do anything."

The top-finishing Rookies were Wickens (P1), Stevens (P2) and Bunker (P5).

Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Series will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 18 - 19 in support of the United States Grand Prix.

Round 6 - Results (12 laps)

1 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 24:53.367
2 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 24:56.807
3 Tobias Hegewald Atlantic Racing Team 24:57.855
4 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 25:05.534
5 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 25:07.413
6 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 25:07.912
7 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 25:10.083
8 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 25:10.410
9 Darin Marcus (R) Gelles Racing 25:10.632
10 Paul Rees Walker Racing 25:12.065
11 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 25:12.768
12 Jonathan Summerton Walker Racing 25:13.217
13 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 25:15.140
14 Jules Duc (R) Jensen MotorSport 25:24.020
15 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 25:28.357
16 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 25:37.161
17 John Zartarian (R) Jensen MotorSport 9 laps Accident
18 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 6 laps Accident
19 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 4 laps Accident
20 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 3 laps Accident
21 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 3 laps Accident
22 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 1 laps Accident
23 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 0 laps DNS

Championship points after 6 of 14 races:
1. Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport, 72), 2. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 63), 3. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 62), 4. Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica, 49), 5. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 49), 6. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 35), 7. John Zartarian (Jensen MotorSport, 23), 8. Rob Bunker (AIM Autosport, 18), 9. Justin Moon (Gelles Racing, 18), 10. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational, 18), 11. Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing, 15), 12. Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport, 14), 13. Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 13), 14. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 12), 15. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 8), 16. Matthew Lee (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport, 8), 17. Darin Marcus (Gelles Racing, 4), 18. Doug Boyer (Jensen MotorSport, 2), 19. Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team, 2), 20. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 1), 21. Derek Burseth (Burseth Racing, 0), 20. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 0), 21. Nathan DePagter (DRE Autosport, 0), 22. Jules Duc (Jensen MotorSport, 0), 23. Scott Harnell (SDH3 with Cinema Concepts, 0), 24. Ryan Phinny (Gelles Racing, 0)

Kanaan: Patrick has a lot to prove Kanaan: Patrick has a lot to prove"Danica's done a lot for women," Tony Kanaan said. "She's the fastest woman ever. But, in my opinion, she's getting too much attention. But that's the way it is. We go with what makes news, right?"

But Kanaan said he isn't criticizing Patrick for taking advantage of the opportunities she is getting. It's just that he believes she has a lot yet to prove.  "It's going to get to a point where, if she wants to be the best of all, she's going to have to prove that she can win races and she needs to win championships," the Brazilian said. "Otherwise, it's going to just die out." The Ledger  [Which is exactly what we have been saying]

Pocono Start Time Changed Pocono Start Time ChangedIt was just announced that the green flag will be dropped at 1:40 instead of 1:50, due to concerns of potential rain this afternoon. The weather report claims rain is virtually assured later today. NASCAR will do whatever it can to get the entire race in. Doug B reporting from Pocono
Kurt Busch Starts at Rear of Field Kurt Busch Starts at Rear of FieldKurt Busch joins his brother Kyle and Jeff Gordon (both brushed the wall during qualifying) at the rear of the field. It was discovered that the No. 97 Sharpie/Irwin Ford Taurus was leaking brake fluid and required a master cylinder replacement.Doug B reporting from Pocono
Big crowd in Texas Big crowd in TexasUPDATE A reader writes, In regards to your blurb about the big crowd in Texas. I was there. Two words: free tickets. The scalpers were having a hard time getting rid of tickets because everyone was there on either A)Marlboro, B)Toyota C) Honda D)Firestone E)7-Eleven free tickets. Dennis Szot Dear Dennis, We hear that Toyota did not give any tickets away. Given that more than 1/2 the grandstands in the track were unsold, the scalpers would have a tough sell. Mark C. 06/11/05 Fueled by Danicamania, the IRL race at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night saw a crowd of nearly 100,000 show up. They saw a good race and another close finish, but if they came to see Danica Patrick, they went home disappointed as she was never a factor. After starting third she immediately dropped back through the field and finished 13th.

Photos by Ron McQueeney/IRL

Industry News
TV reminders for Sunday TV reminders for Sunday 
  1. 10:00A-11:00 SPEED Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, Part 1, Watkins Glen, NY, live
  2. 12:30P-4:30 SPEED Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, Part 2, Watkins Glen, NY, live
  3. 1:00P-3:00 CBS F1 Grand Prix of Canada, Montreal, QC, live
  4. 1:00P-6:00 FOX NASCAR Nextel Cup Pocono 500, Pocono, PA, live
  5. 9:00P - 11:00 SPEED Wind Tunnel co-hosted by Paul Tracy with special guest Bruno Junqueira
  6. 8:00 P and again at 11:00P ET ESPN Classic Racing classic movie Bobby Deerfield
Formula BMW
Lacroix wins again Lacroix wins againWith an eye toward Champ Car, BMW Junior and Rookie driver Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) won the most important race of his 16-year old life today as he drove from the fourth starting position to win Round 5 of the Formula BMW USA Series at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Lacroix overtook pole sitter Tobias Hegewald on the first lap and went on to take the victory in front of his home Canadian Grand Prix crowd, extending his lead in both the Overall and Rookie points.

Jumping into the lead on the first lap, Lacroix was shadowed by fifth place starter Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing) throughout the 12 lap contest, ultimately finishing 1.409 seconds ahead of the 2004 Formula BMW USA veteran.

Fellow Canadian Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) finished on the podium for the first time this season, taking advantage of his outside-pole starting position.

A delighted Lacroix said, I was really confident about this race because I knew It was really possible to win. I had already won at Laguna Seca and Mid-Ohio from the fourth starting spot. In the first lap there was quite a battle in front of me. That was good for me and I was able to go to the front."

Summerton, a winner here last year, said, "The race was good. Of course, I was aiming for that number one position wanting to back up last year's win. Hopefully, I can get it tomorrow, but it will be difficult starting tenth. Today the car got off to a slow start, but Robert made a little mistake, went off the track, and I took advantage of it. From there on, I just tried focusing on catching Kevin." Wickens said, "It was a great race. Unfortunately, I went off on the first lap, but to be on the podium in my home country is just great and standing on the same platform that the Formula 1 drivers will be on tomorrow is awesome."

The top-finishing Rookies were Lacroix (P1), Wickens (P3) and Reed Stevens (P4).

Round 6 is scheduled to start at 9:15 a.m. tomorrow.

Round 5 - Results (12 laps)

1 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 21:40.231
2 Jonathan Summerton Walker Racing 21:41.640
3 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 21:45.074
4 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 21:49.973
5 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 21:52.135
6 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 22:03.157
7 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 22:05.129
8 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 22:08.028
9 Darin Marcus (R) Gelles Racing 22:10.136
10 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 22:10.356
11 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 22:17.415
12 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 22:18.507
13 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 22:20.131
14 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 22:34.671
15 Paul Rees Walker Racing 22:48.127
16 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 22:56.159
17 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 9 laps Accident
18 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 7 laps Accident
19 Tobias Hegewald Atlantic Racing Team 6 laps Accident
20 John Zartarian (R) Jensen MotorSport 4 laps Accident
21 Jules Duc (R) Jensen MotorSport 2 laps Accident
22 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 0 laps
DNS Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport Excluded

Championship points after 5 of 14 races:
1. Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport, 72), 2. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 53), 3. Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica, 49), 4. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 42), 5. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 35), 6. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 34), 7. John Zartarian (Jensen MotorSport, 23), 8. Justin Moon (Gelles Racing, 18), 9. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational, 18), 10. Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing, 15), 11. Rob Bunker (AIM Autosport, 10), 12. Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 9), 13. Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport, 8), 14. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 8), 15. Matthew Lee (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport, 5), 16. Doug Boyer (Jensen MotorSport, 2), 17. Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team, 2), 18. Darin Marcus
 (Gelles Racing, 2), 19. Derek Burseth (Burseth Racing, 0), 20. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 0), 21. Nathan DePagter (DRE Autosport, 0), 22. Jules Duc (Jensen MotorSport, 0), 23. Scott Harnell (SDH3 with Cinema Concepts, 0), 24. Ryan Phinny (Gelles Racing, 0), 25. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 0), 26. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 0)

Rondeau sticking with DEI, Menard to run some Cup races Rondeau sticking with DEI, Menard to run some Cup racesDale Earnhardt Inc. director of racing Richie Gilmore Saturday said #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s former crew chief Pete Rondeau has made a commitment to the organization for the rest of 2005. Gilmore said he was not aware if Rondeau was seeking other crew chief opportunities outside DEI. Gilmore confirmed plans to place DEI's other Busch Series driver, Paul Menard, in several Nextel Cup races later this season and said Rondeau would be involved. NASCAR.com
Gordon and Stewart play phone tag Gordon and Stewart play phone tagJeff Gordon hasn't talked with Tony Stewart after the two exchanged barbs in separate interviews last week at Dover, but Gordon isn't losing sleep over it. "Tony gave me a call this week and left me a message, I called him back and left him a message," Gordon said. "I'm still not thrilled about what happened there and definitely not thrilled with what was said after the race, but it's hard racing. "I've been through this many times. I'm not going to pay any attention to it. I'm not going to worry about it. We've got a championship to win. I want to put it behind me and move on." Richmond Times Dispatch
Notes from Montreal Notes from Montreal
Angry Indian - Indian F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan responded angrily after boss Colin Kolles criticized him at Montreal. ''He must realize that this car is really bad,'' the rookie said. ''They should try to improve it. He doesn't speak to me very much any more, which is a good thing.''

Indeed, much of the F1 Paddock appeared to support Narain, 28, who drove badly at Monaco and Nurburg but, earlier, consistently impressed. Karthikeyan later backed down and said any differences with Colin Kolles are 'now sorted out.'

Colin, Midland's managing director, denied that he and Narain do not talk to each other. ''I never said I was unhappy with him as a person,'' the boss insisted. ''I like him a lot and we talk all the time.'' Narain Karthikeyan, though, indicated that Jordan's door might slowly be closing on him. He concluded: ''Right now I just do my job and at the end of the year find a different place.''

'Title's gone' - Button - Pole position or not, Jenson Button says any chance of winning the 2005 F1 championship is definitely over. ''It's been probably the toughest season for the team,'' said the Englishman, who joined Brackley based BAR - founded in 1999 - back in '03.

After a sluggish start to the season, BAR-Honda was banned for two races when 25-year-old Button's '007' race car was found underweight at Imola. JB said: ''We don't have a chance of winning the championship. Our aim now is to go out and fight for the win. Hopefully we're ready for it, but I didn't expect to come here and win. Maybe we're better than I thought.''

While Button has bode farewell to the championship, though, seven time victor Michael Schumacher still sees a shot. "I wouldn't say we have a good chance,'' the German said in Canada, ''but it's still a mathematical possibility. As long as that's the case I won't give up.''

F1 track repaired - The expression 'tearing up the track' took on a more literal meaning at Montreal's F1 event. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve organizers had to patch up damaged sections - mostly notable at the hairpin - of the newly laid asphalt overnight. ''I don't think it was our cars that destroyed the surface,'' world champion Michael Schumacher said, ''but the heavier saloon cars. With the repairs it shouldn't be an issue now.''

A newly laid asphalt surface frequently 'shifts' a little upon its first competitive use. Organizers, with quick drying cement, repaired damaged sections at six corners - even though the FIA only requested the repair of the hairpin - and laid a special chemical to 'stabilize' the surface. Michelin's Pierre Dupasquier noted: ''I saw exactly the same thing at Dallas in 1984.''

BAR 'screwed up' - Nick Fry has admitted that BAR 'screwed up' in trying to make the 007 car quicker during a two race cheating ban. At Imola, Jenson Button - although he lost the result because his car was underweight - reached the podium. But team 'CEO' Nick Fry said the Brackley based camp 'out clevered' itself before coming back at the Nurburgring. ''We thought we'd improved but we found that we'd screwed up.''

BAR's test team went back to the Imola setup and built an all new aerodynamic kit from there. And, although obviously aided by a light fuel load, Button - at Montreal - is on top, on pole. Nick Fry conceded that the Englishman is either on a two or even three stop pit strategy.

Williams tries to smother BMW fire Williams tries to smother BMW fireIn Canada, Frank Williams threw buckets of water on a fire that threatens to irreparably scar his F1 team's BMW engine deal.

In a press interview, team co-owner Patrick Head questioned BMW motor sport director Dr Mario Theissen's professionalism and 'honesty'. ''The remarks made by Patrick,'' said Williams, ''were private and absolutely do not reflect our position.''

Frank, sitting next to Theissen - who is rumored to have taken a Sauber buyout plan to the BMW board - then told the press he wants to keep racing with the Munich carmaker.

Theissen, a German, admitted that Head's comments had annoyed him. ''If a commentator had said it, you could ignore it,'' he insisted, ''but Patrick is a team owner.''

Alonso asks for Fisi's help Alonso asks for Fisi's helpFernando Alonso has urged Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella to give him a hand to the drivers' F1 championship.  The Spaniard, 23, said in Montreal - where it could rain early on Sunday afternoon - that if Fisichella more regularly stood on the podium, ahead of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, 'it'd be a help.'

''McLaren have a car that is a bit more competitive than ours.  'It is vital your teammate also scores points,'' he added.

Fisichella, a nine year veteran of grands prix, has - Melbourne aside - endured a dismal run of luck and reliability.  Alonso added: ''I think he'll be on the podium many times this year and it will be a help for me and for the team.''  32-year-old 'Fisico' insisted that his woe has been ''100 per cent bad luck.  Just bad luck.''

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