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CoT worse than old Sprint Cup car UPDATE Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin said that he is concerned about the heat in the new model Sprint Cup car, though he believes NASCAR is addressing the issue.
After competing at Pocono Raceway last weekend, Hamlin discussed how hot he was in his car. He says that he didn’t get any temperature readings inside the car but that NASCAR is going to begin doing some testing to try to get a handle on the issue.
“It’s an issue that NASCAR is going to address, and they’ve already started doing it here, testing six or seven of us on our [carbon monoxide] levels before and after practice,” Hamlin said. “They’re going to do it after final practice and then again after the race to see what’s going on with it. They’ve already taken steps in the right direction. Us as a race team has got to get better with our ventilation as well.”
Hamlin says that he believes NASCAR’s new car is hotter than the old model used to be and relates that to the way the exhaust is run in the cars.
“It’s closer to the floor board than what the previous car had, so I think that’s a little bit of the heat,” he said Friday at Michigan International Speedway, site of this weekend’s Lifelock 400. “I don’t know where the other heat is coming from really. I know I’m not the only one that suffers from these heat issues at times. I didn’t have issues but up until last week and at Texas about a month ago. I know we haven’t really hit the brunt of the heat wave yet for the summer, but we know it’s coming, so we’re just trying to work on our cars to make them better for that issue when we go to places like Indianapolis where it’s going to be really hot.” Scenedaily.com

06/09/08 Several drivers required a serious cooling off period following Sunday's race as the temperatures and long afternoon took their toll. Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers and A.J. Allmendinger were among those who complained they were not feeling well immediately after the race. Hamlin even made a brief visit to the infield care center.

"It's brutal. These cars, I don't know what we have to do as a sport, but they are ..." Vickers started to say before Hamlin interrupted him.

"They are hot," Hamlin said. "They are hotter than the old car by far."

Continued Vickers: "We're going to the infield care center after races and that's ridiculous. NASCAR needs to step in and ... do something to cool these cars down and help us."

Hamlin believes the problem may be with the exhaust system.

"It's closer to the floor panel and that's going to make the car hotter itself," he said. "Here, the pace (of the race) is so slow, once the car is loose, (the race) just takes forever. It's tough on us drivers."  ThatsRacin.com


NASCAR suspends 2 officials in lawsuit investigation
Two officials named in a $225 million racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against NASCAR have been placed on administrative leave for violating company policy, The Associated Press has learned.

The officials, who were not immediately identified, were sent home from Kentucky Speedway on Friday evening, a person familiar with the NASCAR investigation told the AP. The person requested anonymity because NASCAR’s investigation is ongoing.

NASCAR sent a team of investigators from its human resources and legal offices to Kentucky this weekend to interview those named in the suit. Of 27 interviews conducted away from the track Thursday and Friday, two officials were found to have engaged in behavior that violated NASCAR policy.

Their leave is indefinite.

In addition, investigators failed to uncover a single instance where Grant complained to her supervisors or other NASCAR employees about the way she was treated, and NASCAR plans to continue defending the organization against the lawsuit, the person familiar with the investigation told AP.


NASCAR holds closed-door meeting with drivers
Sprint Cup Series drivers and team owners were called to a mandatory, closed-door meeting with NASCAR this morning before practice at Michigan International Speedway.

The unusual eight-minute meeting, which took place in a windowless garage room as NASCAR officials stood guard outside, was held to remind drivers to not forget the fans, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said.

“We felt like this would be a good time to sit down, and [with] our ‘going-back-to-basics’ theme of the year, to remind them don’t forget the fans,” Hunter said. “The fans are really going through a lot of hardships with the price of gasoline and all the sorts of things they have to do to get to a race.”

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Change in SPEED telecast time for Lime Rock
The SPEED telecast time for Round 5 of the American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock Park has been changed to Sunday, July 13 from noon to 3:00 pm. It was originally scheduled as a live July 12 telecast. SPEED recently notified the Series of a conflict in its programming schedule, prompting the change. As a result, Sunday's American Le Mans Series telecast becomes the only major motorsports telecast that day.

In addition to the SPEED telecast, XM Satellite Radio will air the event live on XM Sports Nation Channel 144. Additional live coverage from American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring also will be available at americanlemans.com.


ARCA race postponed to Saturday
Rain postponed the Racing for Wildlife 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Friday.

The event will be run at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

All tickets purchased for the Friday event will be honored for the ARCA RE/MAX Series race on Saturday. All Friday general admission ticket holders will be seated in Grandstand 2 and Grandstand 4 on Saturday. Race fans will be directed to the Turn Four grandstand gate, located near Turn 4.

Following the conclusion of the ARCA race, the Turn Four grandstand will be cleared of fans that do not have Saturday tickets.

Race fans with Saturday tickets for the regularly scheduled Cool City Customs 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will be seated in their reserved seats.

The Cool City Customs 200 will begin at its regularly scheduled time of 3 p.m.

Ticket gates will open at 8 a.m.

Parking lots will open at 7 a.m.


Michigan: Jimmie Johnson tops opening Sprint Cup practice
Pos No Driver Make Time Behind Speed
1. 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 39.065 0.000 184.308
2. 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge 39.262 0.197 183.383
3. 7 Robby Gordon Dodge 39.298 0.233 183.215
4. 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 39.314 0.249 183.141
5. 16 Greg Biffle Ford 39.381 0.316 182.829
6. 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet 39.383 0.318 182.820
7. 6 David Ragan Ford 39.412 0.347 182.686
8. 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 39.429 0.364 182.607
9. 40 Dario Franchitti* Dodge 39.459 0.394 182.468
10. 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 39.465 0.400 182.440
11. 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 39.476 0.411 182.389
12. 42 Juan Montoya Dodge 39.505 0.440 182.255
13. 99 Carl Edwards Ford 39.506 0.441 182.251
14. 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 39.513 0.448 182.219
15. 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 39.522 0.457 182.177
16. 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 39.556 0.491 182.020
17. 26 Jamie McMurray Ford 39.598 0.533 181.827
18. 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 39.599 0.534 181.823
19. 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge 39.618 0.553 181.736
20. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 39.625 0.560 181.704
21. 10 Patrick Carpentier* Dodge 39.626 0.561 181.699
22. 20 Tony Stewart Toyota 39.635 0.570 181.658
23. 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota 39.659 0.594 181.548
24. 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 39.665 0.600 181.520
25. 28 Travis Kvapil Ford 39.670 0.605 181.497
26. 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet 39.721 0.656 181.264
27. 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 39.735 0.670 181.201
28. 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 39.770 0.705 181.041
29. 44 David Reutimann Toyota 39.789 0.724 180.954
30. 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 39.800 0.735 180.904
31. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.* Dodge 39.826 0.761 180.786
32. 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 39.860 0.795 180.632
33. 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 39.867 0.802 180.600
34. 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota 39.873 0.808 180.573
35. 45 Terry Labonte Dodge 39.897 0.832 180.465
36. 01 Regan Smith* Chevrolet 39.906 0.841 180.424
37. 38 David Gilliland Ford 39.978 0.913 180.099
38. 00 Michael McDowell* Toyota 39.994 0.929 180.027
39. 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 40.049 0.984 179.780
40. 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet 40.053 0.988 179.762
41. 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet 40.098 1.033 179.560
42. 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 40.228 1.163 178.980
43. 21 Bill Elliott Ford 40.238 1.173 178.935
44. 70 Jason Leffler Chevrolet 40.383 1.318 178.293
45. 34 Tony Raines Chevrolet 41.186 2.121 174.817


McNish: You must beat LeMans
Allan McNish
Allan McNish has raced to Le Mans enough to know that the greatest challenger to overall victory never ends. It’s not another car, another driver or another team. It’s Le Mans itself…the track, the endurance, the weather, the history and even the past.

It’s the past that McNish wants to beat the most. The tenacious Scot has been coming to Le Mans since 1997, missing the race from 2001-2003 while in Formula 1. After crashing early in his debut race McNish scored victory the next season in a works Porsche 911 GT1, the first of what many thought would be multiple victories in the world’s greatest sports car race.

Or at least that was conventional thinking. Le Mans has been the albatross around McNish’s neck that he hopes to rid himself of 10 years after that glorious win with Laurent Aiello and Stephane Ortelli. He gets his next crack this weekend in the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI he shares with Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen, teammates who have a combined nine overall wins at Le Mans.

Last year the trio seemed to be on their way to an easy victory before a broken wheel sent Capello off the circuit with eight hours left. It was a crushing blow for McNish and the rest of the No. 2 crew.

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tv news

Bruton Smith will be a guest on Wind Tunnel
Bruton Smith, CEO and Chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday, June 15. Speedway Motorsports owns some of the most popular tracks on the NASCAR circuit -- Atlanta, Bristol, Infineon, Las Vegas, Lowe’s, New Hampshire, and Texas. And recently, SMI added another track to their lineup, Kentucky Speedway, which is the only SMI track without a CUP date on its schedule.

Tim Wilkerson, current NHRA Funny Car points leader, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. As one of the remaining independent teams, Wilkerson, who owns, drives, and is the co-crew chief on his car, has done something amazing this season.  He not only won a race for the first time since 2004, but he also took over the points lead for the first time in his 12 year NHRA Funny Car career.

Wind Tunnel airs live at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET on SPEED.


Barcelona Day 2: Badoer still fastest
Luca Badoer
Second day of testing this week for the F1 teams, working today at the Catalunya Circuit, near Barcelona.

Test driver Luca Badoer continued on top with the quickest in a time of 1.21.013 in his Ferrari.

Testing at the Catalunya Circuit continues tomorrow.



Driver Team Time Laps
1. Badoer Ferrari 1:21.013 95
2. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.374 111
3. Glock Toyota 1:21.573 97
4. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:21.614 86
5. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:21.669 86
6. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:21.761 114
7. Barrichello Honda 1:21.950 122
8. Piquet Renault 1:22.037 129
9. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.395 101


NASCAR has a problem. A big, potentially catastrophic problem
For years NASCAR has tried to shake the perception that it's a southern-based sport populated by rebel-flag waving, good ol' boy rednecks. In '04 NASCAR initiated a drive for diversity program, and while there are several young minority drivers currently being cultivated in the program, there aren't any full-time African-American drivers in NASCAR's top three series. And if you've taken regular looks into the stands at tracks across the country for the last four years, as I have, you'd see that the racial component of the crowds hasn't appreciably changed over that time. The fans are still overwhelmingly white, like 99 percent white.

I've spent a little bit of time around inspectors in the Cup series, and my experience is that I've never heard any inappropriate racial or sexual remarks. But I do wear a credential that says Sports Illustrated on it, so as long as they can read, they'd know not to say anything lewd around me. I have no idea if Grant's claims have merit, but the lawsuit certainly feeds the perception that NASCAR has a race problem.

Which is why I'm guessing that NASCAR will try to settle this case as quickly as possible. This is nothing but bad PR for the sport, and the longer it lingers, the more hits NASCAR's image will take. But if Grant pushes this all the way through the legal system and her attorney deposes all of the defendants listed in the lawsuit, well, this case, one way or another, could shatter all of the perception problems that NASCAR has. Because in the light of the courtroom, perception will become reality. Full story at SI.com


Bridgestone announces upcoming event tire specs
Bridgestone, the Official Tire Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship, is pleased to announce the compound allocations of Potenza tires for rounds ten to fourteen of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

For the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, the hard and medium compounds will be used. This is the first time these tires have been used at this track, as there was no Grand Prix here in 2007. In Hungary, the soft and super soft compounds will be used, the same allocation as last season.

The European Grand Prix at Valencia will utilize the soft and super soft compounds. This will be the first Grand Prix at this new street course. In Spa and in Monza the hard and medium compounds will be used. Last season the medium and soft compounds were brought to both of these tracks, so this is a change for this year.

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F1 set dismisses LeMans 'endurance' racing
(GMM)  Leading figures of the formula one world have said they will not be mesmerized by one of the world's most famous motor races this weekend.

A plethora of names made famous on formula one tracks are this year in contention for the Le Mans 24-hour crown.

But McLaren team boss Ron Dennis insists that the endurance race is no match for F1 in his eyes.

"No comparison," he told the International Herald Tribune.

"You have to have phenomenal reliability, but also the drivers play such a key role, primarily in not falling off.

"It's rarely a race that's raced from beginning to end.  You don't race for 24 hours, you compete for 24 hours and it requires a different  strategy," Dennis, whose Woking based outfit developed a car that won Le Mans in 1995, added.

"There's no race," he continued.  "They all suddenly realize that survival is the important thing.  It is counter to the spirit of formula one; you very rarely slow down in formula one."

Honda team principal Ross Brawn has also been involved in Le Mans, with the winning Jaguar car of 1990, before returning to F1 with enormous success.

"It was not the sort of challenge that I like," he concurs.

"It's a very structured race over 24 hours, you're pacing yourself.  It's quite a different event."

Canadian grand prix winner Robert Kubica is a renowned fan of rallying, but he admits that he has never even watched Le Mans on TV.

"Speed is secondary," he said, referring to the fact that the focus at Le Mans is on consistency and reliability.

"I'm the kind of person who likes to push.  At Le Mans, you have to push less.  It's a kind of different sport," the BMW-Sauber driver added.


Montreal must shape up
David Coulthard says Formula 1’s powers-that-be must “read the riot act” to the Canadian Grand Prix organisers after the problems with the track surface at last weekend’s event.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve broke up in several corners during Saturday’s qualifying session, forcing track workers to carry out remedial work overnight at the trouble spots.

And although the surface held together well enough to allow Sunday’s 70-lap race to be completed as planned, drivers complained that it deteriorated as the afternoon went on and was treacherously slippery if they strayed even centimetres off-line.

“The track conditions we had to contend with in Montreal were frankly unacceptable,” Coulthard said in his exclusive column for itv.com/f1.Towards the end of the race I was putting two wheels on the grass at the hairpin because if you drove the normal line you would get sucked into the gravel. It was incredible.”

Coulthard had one such anxious moment in the closing stages when he ran wide in turn six, but survived it to score first podium finish in two years.

It was not the first time the Montreal track has broken up, and the Scotsman believes a complete resurfacing is the only answer.

“The problem arose two years ago, last year it was OK and then this year it was worse than ever,” he said.

“I went round the track on Wednesday and there were just patches everywhere.

“It’s shocking, really, that this situation can arise. The organisers need to get on top of it.

“It cannot be beyond them to put down a proper surface – patching racetracks is not the answer.

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More detail about likely new Safety Car rules emerge
(GMM) More details about the planned test of potentially-revised safety car rules have emerged.

It was reported recently that the new system for the deployment of the safety car will be trialled during practice - probably the afternoon session on Friday and also Saturday morning - for the French grand prix next week.

The current SC rules are highly controversial, because the automatic closure of the pitlane upon deployment can penalise those drivers who are out of fuel and need to pit.

It was claimed that the proposed new rules will involve some special software for each car's standard ECU.

Renault's sporting manager Steve Nielsen reveals that, instead of finding the pitlane closed, drivers will now be required to record a minimum lap time for the first tour after deployment of the SC.

It is rumoured that the minimum lap time will be 20 per cent slower than the average time from free practice.

"He will get a time displayed on his dash, which he is not to go faster than. They then have five seconds to press a confirm button to show that they've seen the signal and from that stage onwards they're governed by the target lap time. That will ensure that all the cars go at a relatively slow speed," Nielsen told the team's official podcast.

However, he warned team bosses against rushing into actually applying the new rule too soon.

Nielsen said the Magny Cours trial "is purely an experiment to demonstrate to the drivers how the system will work".

"And if that's successful we will then go on and incorporate it into the rules as a proper regulation. Honestly, I think it's something that should perhaps be done for 2009," he added.


Kubica not BMW's no.1 now - Theissen
(GMM) BMW-Sauber boss Mario Theissen says there will be change of strategy following Robert Kubica's debut win in Canada last Sunday.

Kubica, the 23-year-old Pole, leapt to the top of the drivers' championship after Montreal, leading him to hint that he might be nominated the team's number-one driver for the balance of the season.

"We are leading the drivers' championship, so I hope the team will give me 100 per cent support to try to maybe defend it until the last race," Kubica, whose teammate is the struggling German veteran Nick Heidfeld, said at Montreal.

But Theissen has now played down suggestions that Heidfeld could be relegated to a supporting role.

"We will continue as we were," he told the BMW team website.

"We will not change our strategy for the coming races. Both drivers will be given exactly the same cars, and exactly the same devotion from the team."

Theissen implied that favourable race strategies will be devised after each race's qualifying session. Kubica has sat higher on the grid than Heidfeld for the entire 2008 season so far.

"We will take a calm look at their qualifying results before deciding the race strategy," he added.

Kubica began his second consecutive day of testing at Barcelona on Friday.

Heidfeld will complete the three-day test for the Hinwil based team on Saturday.


'Lilly White' NASCAR's culture is racist
A black woman who alleges in a lawsuit that several NASCAR officials committed acts of sexual and racial discrimination says the sport's "racist culture'' must change.

Mauricia Grant, a 32-year-old former NASCAR official, made those comments Wednesday a few hours after NASCAR Chairman Brian France said none of her incidents were reported to NASCAR.

"It's inconsistent with anything of our policies and how we operate the company and the sport and so the fact that it went on, as she stated, ... for many months, I guess, but never bothered to tell anyone in management what was going on, which is what our policy says, is very disappointing," France said

Grant's $225 million wrongful termination lawsuit lists 23 specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of racial and gender discrimination.

Grant, an official in the Busch/Nationwide series from 2005 to until her firing in October 2007, said she reported various incidents to superiors but never consulted NASCAR's human resources department. She said she didn't hear from H.R. until two weeks after complaining to Joe Balash, the Nationwide series director, and that call was a reprimand for poor performance. Two months later, Grant said, she was fired.

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NASCAR inspector's claim of racism has merit
Former NASCAR technical inspector Mauricia Grant filed a $225 million suit against NASCAR on Tuesday, alleging racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliatory termination.

I believe her accusations about discrimination and harassment, but don’t think she deserves that much in compensation.

Grant, who is black, was fired in October 2007, but NASCAR won’t say why. She started with the organization in January 2005.

NASCAR chairman Brian France denied Wednesday that she complained to her supervisors about the alleged behavior by some good old boys who worked with her in what as then the Busch Series.

France might not be a racist or sexist, but don’t rule out some of those who work for him.

I’ve heard one veteran Cup driver use the “N” word and doubt he’s the only bigot in the garage.

How many folks do you know who say they won’t consider voting for presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama because he is half Kenyan?

How many bigoted jokes do you receive in e-mails?

I grew up hearing anti-Semitic comments from people who didn’t know I was Jewish.

There is racism in NASCAR and most of America. If you don’t believe that then you're either living under a rock or as dumb as one.

Americans of African descent long have been part of professional drag racing as drivers, mechanics and officials. So don't tell me they aren't interested in racing. ReviewJournal.com


Ford sells off its 2nd closed plant in week
For the second time in seven days, Ford Motor Co. announced that it completed the sale of a closed assembly plant, but the Dearborn automaker remains in the early stages of its effort to find a buyer for its Wixom Assembly plant, which closed just over a year ago.

On Thursday, Ford said it completed the sale of its Atlanta Assembly Plant in Hapeville, Ga., to Jacoby Development Inc. for an undisclosed price.

On June 5, Ford had said it completed the sale of a plant in Hazelwood, Mo., to Panattoni Development Co. Inc. for an undisclosed price. According to the St. Louis Business Journal, the plant is worth an estimated $50 million.

In Wixom, Ford is talking to several potential buyers but does not know if those talks will yield offers. The 4.7-million-square-foot Wixom plant closed as part of Ford's Way Forward restructuring plan.

"We're a long ways out," said Stefanie Denby, a Ford spokeswoman. Detroit Free Press


IMS to host MotoGP test
MotoGP teams are scheduled to test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 1-2 in preparation for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on Sept. 14. Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup riders get their turn July 3.

About 10 test riders, none of them regulars on the MotoGP circuit, are expected for the test, which is designed mainly to check tires on the new 2.62-mile IMS road course. The sessions run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and are open to the public.

Spain's Dani Pedrosa won last weekend in Catalunya to move within seven points (142-135) of Italian Valentino Rossi atop the season standings. Defending champion Casey Stoner of Australia is fourth and Colin Edwards is the top American in fifth.

American Ben Spies, an AMA Superbike veteran, has been named to replace injured Loris Capirossi for next weekend's British Grand Prix. Spies' MotoGP debut was to have come July 20 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., in a deal to run the two U.S. races. Indystar.com


Audi driver Allan McNish on Le Mans
Allan McNish talks to Audi co-driver Tom Kristensen seated in cockpit
The 13.629 kilometer track of the Le Mans 24 Hour race is something special for every driver. The mix of public roads and a permanent race track, very slow corners and a share of more than 70 per cent of full throttle per lap, as well as day and night fascinate both drivers and the audience. Audi driver Allan McNish explains why.

Why do you think Le Mans is such a unique track?
"Le Mans is a special place for a driver, for a manufacturer and for a spectator. The length and the high average speed of the circuit makes it very unique which requires a delicate balance between aerodynamic downforce and drag. And also from a driving point of view it requires aggressive but controlled driving style."

The track is a mixture of mainly temporary circuit sections and a permanent track. How does this affect the race?
"You feel that it is a mix between a permanent road course and a standard road for two reasons: one is that the grip level changes when you go between the two. The other thing is that on a standard road, there are small tracks where the trucks have been driving up and down every other day of the year. In that respect, you have to be aware of it. It doesn’t cause problems, but you’ve got to be aware of it."

Do you feel that the track is much different at night when compared to the day?
"To be honest, I don’t find the circuit very much different at night than at day. It is very fast and demanding in both. In comparison, Sebring is much harder at night than Le Mans."

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • No more rain likely for Barcelona test
  • 1 races more lucrative than any other sport
  • F1 power tensions to remain for now
  • 'Professional fan' for Alonso unveiled

No more rain likely for Barcelona test
(GMM)  Rain affected the final hour of testing as a three-day group session kicked off at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday.

The first shower fell at about 5pm, despite earlier predictions that the entire day would stay dry.

Forecasts for Friday, day two, show a small chance of rain in the middle of the day, but the F1 team Red Bull late on Thursday declared that its own prediction "is for fine weather all day".

Saturday, the final day, will be cloudy in the afternoon but almost certainly dry.

Following F1 teams' trek to North America, test drivers predominated on Thursday, although Montreal winner Robert Kubica, and his fellow podium-getter David Coulthard, were in action.

Testers Gary Paffett (McLaren), Luca Badoer (Ferrari), Sebastien Buemi (Red Bull), Anthony Davidson (Honda), Nico Hulkenberg (Williams) and Kamui Kobayashi (Toyota) all got rare chances to drive.

Thursday was Renault test driver Romain Grosjean's first taste of a formula one car, and he was a credible two seconds slower than pacesetter Badoer.

"It was interesting to see the difference between a GP2 car and an F1 car which is quite incredible, especially the acceleration and the lateral grip," the Swiss-born Frenchman said.

F1 races more lucrative than any other sport
(GMM)  A formula one grand prix is the most lucrative single sports event on earth.

That is the finding of the annual F1 business and financial guide, Formula Money, and experts Deloitte Sport Business.

They report that every grand prix generates about $230m -- nearly ten times more than the next lucrative single sports events, American NFL football matches.

However, both the NFL ($6.5bn) and America's Major League Baseball ($5.1bn) earn more overall annual revenue than formula one ($3.9bn), because more events are staged each year.

English Premier League football comes next, with $3bn.

For F1, Deloitte Sport Business combined sponsorship revenue, corporate hospitality, broadcast fees and team, circuit and ticket revenue.

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A1GP 'Powered by Ferrari' Car continues test program in Imola
New Ferrari A1GP car
The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport car for the 2008/09 season continued its intensive testing program this week with two days at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola.

Following on from successful tests at Fiorano, the Ferrari test track in Italy, Andrea Bertolini has been back behind the wheel of the Powered by Ferrari car, putting it through its paces at Imola.

This is the first time the car has run outside the confines of Fiorano but feedback continues to be positive with the car running on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Testing will continue next week with five-days running scheduled at Guadix Circuit, a recently constructed facility in Spain. The three-kilometer track near Granada has a good mix of fast and slow corners with varying cambers and a 750-metre main straight set against the stunning back drop of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

New Ferrari A1GP car
A1GP General Manager, Technical and Operations, John Wickham: "We've completed about 900-kilometres of testing so far and everything is going relatively smoothly. The car is performing very well and the driver is happy with it; the balance is good and the tires are working well. We haven't done as much testing as we hoped but that's partly because we were waiting on the weather at Fiorano. We ended up just running in the rain in the end but the car looked very quick in the wet!  In general the car has been very reliable. We look forward to five consecutive days running next week with the tight Guadix Circuit ideal for further testing of the handling of the car. "

The official pre-season testing for all the teams will take place at Silverstone on 18 - 20 August 2008 and Mugello on 17 - 18 September 2008.


NASCAR Top 35 for Michigan

Scott Riggs (No. 66 State Water Heaters Chevrolet)
finished 21st at Pocono, bringing his Joe Custer-owned Chevrolet to 34th in the owner standings and a secured spot in Sunday's race. The Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet had previously fallen out of the top 35 after being docked 100 points for improper wing mounting locations.

Riggs' rise came at the expense of Michael Waltrip (No. 55 NAPA Toyota), who fell out of the final locked-in position after a 37th-place finish at Pocono. Waltrip, who is also the car's owner, will be required to qualify for a position in the race at Michigan.

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge) holds the final locked-in position for car owner Roger Penske. Hornish is guaranteed to make the race at the track Penske used to own.

Forty-six cars are expected this weekend, meaning there will be 11 cars vying for the final eight positions in the race. Two of those cars -- the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford (Bill Elliott) and the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge (Terry Labonte) are driven by former champions, leaving each another opportunity to make the race if their qualifying speeds aren't quick enough.


Homecoming for Hornish
Sunday's LifeLock 400 will have special meaning for Sam Hornish Jr. Not only does Hornish consider Michigan International Speedway his home track, but it will also mark his first Father's Day. Hornish and wife Crystal welcomed daughter Addison Faith to the world on Feb. 4.

In addition to celebrating his own Father's Day, Hornish, from Defiance, Ohio, is excited to spend time with his own father.

"I'm really looking forward to this weekend in Michigan," Hornish said. "To spend Father's Day close to home with my family and my dad is very special to me. I remember going to Michigan International Speedway as a child with my dad and some of my fondest memories are from there."

Hornish finished 25th in the 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan, his only NASCAR start at the track. He has four top fives and six top 10s in six Michigan starts in the IRL and ARCA.


Michigan - on the right track
Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet) has been running at the finish in 58 consecutive races – tying his all-time record of 58 for consecutive completed races. Herman Beam completed 84 consecutive races that he competed in (1961-63) but, he did not compete in all of the races during his personal streak.

Martin Truex Jr. was the runner-up finisher in both Michigan races last year. The first came two weeks after his first career win at Dover last June. He finished third at Pocono in between the two. This year Truex finished sixth at Dover and 17th at Pocono.

Patrick Carpentier (No. 10 LifeLock Dodge) will be attempting his stock car debut at Michigan, but the former open-wheel star has plenty of experience on the two-mile track. Carpentier has six career open wheel starts at Michigan and won the final CART-sanctioned race at the track


NHRA awards ceremony to held Nov.17th
At the center of the pulse of Los Angeles' entertainment heartbeat, the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City will be the site where 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champions will be crowned, it was announced today by NHRA officials. The 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday, Nov. 17, 2008.

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Awards Ceremony will feature a pre-event cocktail reception at 5 p.m., formal sit-down banquet at 6 p.m., and an after party. The voice of NHRA, veteran announcer Bob Frey, will serve as emcee during the evening.

This is the second year of the NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship, a playoff-style format that determines the POWERade world champions in each of the four professional categories.

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Magnussen gives Corvette first LeMans pole
Corvette Racing’s record at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2001 is as impressive as any with five GT1 victories. Jan Magnussen gave America’s premier sports car team its first pole position in the world’s greatest race on Thursday. Magnussen turned a lap of 3:47.688 (133.911 mph) to better his time set Wednesday in the Corvette C6.R he will share with Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows.

Magnussen and Patrick Long in GT2 gave the American Le Mans Series two drivers on class pole positions for the weekend’s 76th running of Le Mans.

The two-day qualifying session continued the momentum the Corvette drivers established in the first half of the American Le Mans Series season. The trio in the No. 63 factory entry won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and Magnussen and O’Connell lead the GT1 championship with three victories in four races.

Magnussen, O’Connell and Fellows have combined for 74 American Le Mans Series victories to go along with eight wins at Le Mans. Magnussen’s time was just 0.093 seconds ahead of Christophe Bouchut in the Larbre Competition Saleen S7R, the smallest of margins over an 8.468-mile circuit.

Oliver Gavin in the other works Corvette qualified third at 3:48.539 (133.400 mph); Gavin will drive with Olivier Beretta and Max Papis. They did not finish last year’s race after the Corvette’s driveshaft failed in the first two hours. He was less than a half-second ahead of Aston Martin Racing’s David Brabham in the No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9.


Intersport Racing Doubles Down Acquiring Cytosport Lola
Hot off an impressive run in the Utah Grand Prix, Intersport Racing announced today they have purchased Team Cytosport's Lola B06/10 AER and will run it alongside its other ex-Dyson Lola. The team will campaign two cars in the American Le Mans Series starting at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio on July 17-19.

"First and foremost, we owe a big 'thank-you' to Greg Pickett and Jim Dunsford at Cytosport for their hard work putting this opportunity together," said team owner and driver Clint Field. 

"Second," Clint continued, "being a two-car team will help boost our resources and make the whole team more competitive. Even better, the second car is a former Dyson Lola and nearly identical to our current car. We'll have more freedom in working on setups with the two cars and the additional input from the new drivers. Needless to say, this is an exciting time for Intersport Racing,"

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Champ Cars to the junk pile
Champ Car used an all-new Panoz chassis last season, but those cars are parked since the series folded into the Indy Racing League. Carl Haas, the eight-time champion car owner, distributed Panoz spare parts.

Haas called his inventory "junk."

"What's going to happen? I don't know," he said. "I've got a big loss (estimated at $2-3 million). There's no market for it."


LeMans: GT2 pole and lap record for Patrick Long
Patrick Long
American Porsche factory driver Patrick Long snagged the GT2 Class pole for the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans today, blistering the 8.48-mile (13.65km) Circuit de la Sarthe to set a new class lap record with a time of 3:58.152.  Long, driving for defending champions IMSA Performance MATMUT in a 2008-spec Porsche 911 GT3RSR, will co-drive Saturday's race with fellow Porsche factory driver Richard Lietz and Raymond Narac. 

Long, a two-time class winner at Le Mans (2004 and 2007), is seeking another victory in the world's most prestigious sportscar race.  He said, "Wednesday, in the first qualifying sessions, we ended up just behind the Flying Lizard Porsche of my friend Jörg Bergmeister in 2nd place on the timesheets.  Today our main objective was to see what the weather did - we needed to use all the time today before dinner to continue to develop our race setup, and the weather cooperated.  At dinner we made a collective decision to put on a new set of tires and try for a quick lap time.  We were on-schedule with the racecar setup, and all three of us drivers were happy with where we were at.  I was expecting my lap to end up a 3:59, so I was surprised to see a 3:58.152 when I got into the pits.  It's definitely pretty sweet to set pole here, in this atmosphere.  To set a track record is icing on the cake."

track news

NJMP ­ Grand-Am Schedule and Ticket Sales Update
Work continues on-schedule for New Jersey Motorsports Park’s (NJMP) opening in July, and ticket sales have been strong for its marquee 2008 event, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, August 29 - 31.  One of five ticketed spectator events for NJMP’s inaugural season, the Grand-Am Labor Day race weekend figures to be one of the most action packed of the entire year. 

Ticket Sales
NJMP General Manager Donald Fauerbach said, “Ticket sales for the Grand-Am weekend over Labor Day are going well, and we’re thrilled by the response we’re getting to our $200 season ticket, which offers Motorsports fans entry to all of our ticketed events, including the Shelby American Club, SVRA Vintage Racing, Grand-Am, Mazda Formula Zoom Zoom, Wheels and Warbirds Airshow and ARCA RE/MAX events, as well as access to the track every day of the season for club events.  Judging by the flood of inquiries we’ve handled thus far, it looks like the people are very excited about the racing NJMP is bringing to Millville.”

Heavy Track Action
Grand-Am will sanction and run a total of eight races split among six series over the weekend, including the MOTO-ST motorcycle series, Skip Barber series, the Ford Mustang Challenge, Ferrari Challenge, KONI Challenge and Rolex Sports Car Series.  Testing for Rolex, KONI and Mustang participants begins on Thursday, August 28, with the gates open for spectators beginning Friday, August 29. 

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Hulkenberg begins Williams test
Nico Hulkenberg
The AT&T Williams team commenced a three day test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday, where the team's official test driver, Nico Hulkenberg, opened the first day of running in the FW30.

Joined by representatives from the rest of the Formula One grid bar Force India, Nico worked through a set-up program and full race distance in preparation for the forthcoming European rounds in France and the UK. At the end of the day he had set the seventh fastest time of the day with a 1:23.619 on lap 85 out of 112.

“Nico Hulkenberg was driving for us today on day one at Barcelona,” said Dickie Stanford, Test Team Manager. “He concentrated on race set-ups in the morning and then moved on to a race distance this afternoon. We completed 112 laps with no problems before rain stopped play an hour before the end of the session. Nico Rosberg joins the test tomorrow and will focus on preparation work for Magny-Cours.”


LeMans: Stuart Hall in big crash
Stuart Hall ended up in hospital after the third of the four qualifying sessions for the 77th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend.

Hall was aboard the #14 Creation-Aim when he lost control at the Esses, with the subsequent impact bringing out the red flags…and leaving the car badly damaged. Teammate Johnny Mowlem admitted he did not know whether his young countryman would be able to race at the weekend or not.

“He's hurt his neck and his arm and his leg,” the American Le Mans Series and Le Mans Series front-runner told Crash.net. “He's been taken to hospital for some scans and he's feeling a bit shaky I think. It was a very big hit; apparently he lost it going over the brow of the hill at the Esses and thought he'd held it, but then ended up going off at Tertre Rouge. I haven't seen the whole accident, but I know from looking at the car that it was a massive hit.

“It's not done the tub – that's the main thing – but it's done a lot of damage. We won't be out until the warm-up, and obviously it begs the question as to whether Stuart will be able to drive or not. We'll see what happens.

“The car is repairable; it's just a case of getting all the bits put together and everything and getting it all sorted out in time, but if anyone can do it, the Creation-Aim boys can do it.”


Speed On Pole for MIS ARCA race
Scott Speed
ARCA RE/MAX Series SunTrust Rookie Scott Speed earned the SIM Factory Pole Award Thursday afternoon at Michigan Int'l Speedway, circling the 2-mile paved oval in 38.895 seconds in his No. 2 Red Bull Toyota. The former Formula One driver, who plans to compete in both the ARCA RE/MAX Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at Michigan Int'l Speedway this weekend, sits on the pole for Friday's Racing for Wildlife 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race. Starting Grid "I've never raced at Michigan but this track is significant to me because this was the very first race that my fiancé Valentina and I came to with Red Bull when we were starting to talk about running stock cars," said Speed. 

"We're just taking it in stride. There is a cup car waiting for me, when the situation is right with the team and if I feel comfortable with it we will make the move. Racing in the trucks has increased my learning curve, especially with guys like Hornaday, Skinner and Benson. They are cup-quality drivers and I've learned a lot from them."

Speed, who currently sits third in the ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings, will start Friday's Racing for Wildlife 200 alongside Eddie Sharp Racing teammate Justin Lofton, who posted a 39.133-second lap in the No. 20 Lofton Cattle Dodge.

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Ryan Hunter-Reay slams Marco Andretti
Hunter-Reay blames Andretti for accident in Texas
Ethanol-sponsored driver Ryan Hunter-Reay went after Marco Andretti this week on the Hoosier Ag Today radio show for their incident with five laps to go last Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

In addition to calling out Andretti for a “desperation move,” he also revealed that there were several other drivers that weren’t happy with the third-generation pilot after last weekend’s race:

“It’s unfortunate, because Marco’s driving like he’s gonna lose his ride. Four other drivers complained after the race; they all came up to me after the race complaining about how Marco was driving. I don’t know, he’s just got to reshape his attitude a little bit.

“He’s just got a horrible attitude about everything, and he just seems to be — I mean, he’s a talented driver, he’s just needs to drive within the limits and he’ll bring home great race cars. Right now, he’s just driving over his head at the moment.”

You can listen to the whole interview here.

On Lap 224 of the 228-lap event, Andretti moved down the backstretch to try and stop the momentum of Hunter-Reay on the inside line. When they hit Turn 3, Hunter-Reay’s left-side wheels hit the apron and caused his No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing-prepared machine to shoot up into Andretti’s No. 26 car and send them into the wall.

The incident brought out the caution and Scott Dixon won the race under that yellow. MVN.com


The Most Valuable NASCAR Teams
There's a widening gulf in NASCAR between stock car racing's biggest, most valuable teams and those hoping to hang on for just one more race. Since our first NASCAR valuation package two years ago, values have rocketed skyward, up 65% on average, to $119 million, thanks to a rash of investment in a sport whose radical growth over the past decade appears to be sputtering.

Per Forbes Magazine

Rank Nascar Team (Sprint Cup/Nationwide Series Race Cars) Value 1 Revenue 2 Operating Income 3
1 Hendrick Motorsports (4/2) $335 179 21.3
2 Roush Fenway Racing (5/4) 313 173 29.6
3 Joe Gibbs Racing (3/2) 184 116 11.7
4 Gillett Evernham Motorsports (3/1) 150 96 12.9
5 Richard Childress Racing (3/3) 130 107 20.9
6 Dale Earnhardt Inc. (4/0) 109 86 5.0
7 Penske Racing (3/1) 100 85 8.6
8 Chip Ganassi Racing (3/2) 94 78 5.5
9 Michael Waltrip Racing (3/1) 86 65 -4.3
10 Yates Racing (2/0) 74 54 4.6
11 Red Bull Racing Team (2/0) 54 41 -7.0
12 Petty Enterprises (2/0) 44 37 2.9
13 Haas Cnc Racing (2/0) 41 32 -3.1
14 Bill Davis Racing (1/0) 36 28 2.5
15 Robby Gordon Motorsports (1/0) 28 18 1.2
. AVERAGES (All figures in millions) $119 $80 7.5

1Estimates based on past and pending deals, sponsorship agreements and scale of operations.
2Includes all 2007 NASCAR-related income; where 2007 figures are unavailable pro forma estimates are used.
3 Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.


Gomez tops Firestone Indy Lights test at Iowa
Firestone Indy Lights teams arrived at Iowa Speedway on June 11 hoping to get practice in before expected weather arrived.
They got what amounted to two different tests: A morning sessions in cool, overcast conditions, and an afternoon session with sun and wind.
Logan Gomez turned a fast lap of 20.1829 seconds, 156.073 mph in the morning before rains delayed the Open Test by nearly five hours. No one could top the time in the afternoon as the winds slowed the cars around the 7/8-mile oval.
"The setup is really good on the car," Gomez said. "Darrell Soppe is with us this week to replace our old engineer who left us before Milwaukee. We know we have a good baseline on the car for when we come back next week. We're looking good in the Menards Guthrie Racing car for the race. I can't wait to get back here."
Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing's Arie Luyendyk Jr. (155.026) was second fastest, followed by points leader Richard Antinucci (154.663 mph), J.R. Hildebrand (154.470 mph) and newcomer Franck Perera (154.459), who was debuting with Guthrie Racing's No. 55 car.
"I think we'll have a quick race car, for sure," Hildebrand said. "The car was good in traffic, we could catch up to guys pretty easily. We didn't have a problem getting around. I'm looking forward to having a solid weekend."
Jon Brownson had the lone incident of the day, but was uninjured in his contact with the SAFER Barrier between Turns 3 and 4.


Andretti, Foyt, Rahal follow in fathers’ footsteps
Life in the IndyCar Series can mean a lot of time on the road away from friends and family. For drivers Marco Andretti, A.J. Foyt IV and Graham Rahal, their famous fathers/grandfather are the reasons they started racing. And family is never far away at the racetrack.
Andretti, in his third season in the IndyCar Series, is the son of Michael Andretti, the winningest driver in CART history, and the grandson of Mario Andretti, the 1978 world champion. Marco drives for the Andretti Green Racing team co-owned by his father.
Foyt is the grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt. In his fifth season in the IndyCar Series, Foyt spent the first three driving for his grandfather’s team before moving to Vision Racing.
Rahal is a rookie in the IndyCar Series, driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. His father, 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, co-owns a competing team in the series, Rahal Letterman Racing.
All have grown up with added scrutiny due to their famous last names, but each relishes the opportunity to make their own mark in history.
“I think we all kind of feel the same amount of pressure,” said Foyt, who has 10 top-10 finishes in his career. We all have a lot to live up to. I think it's a little bit less pressure now that I'm driving for another team.”

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Barcelona Day 1: Badoer goes fastest
With today's air temperature pleasant and sunshine in the morning, then cloudy and finally, rain in the afternoon, the F1 teams completed their first day of testing this week at the Catalunya Circuit, near Barcelona.

Luca Badoer got started on an intensive testing program, centered on experimenting with various new aerodynamic solutions for Ferrari in preparation for the next few races of the season, as well as trying different setups on the F2008. The Scuderia's official test driver got through the planned program without any technical problems: only the rain, which began to fall in the final hour of testing, but not before turning the quickest lap in a time of 1.22.412.

Testing at the Catalunya Circuit continues tomorrow.



Driver Car Time Laps
1. Badoer Ferrari 1:22.412 82
2. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:22.682 69
3. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:22.724 21
4. Buemi Red Bull-Renault 1:22.764 79
5. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.938 36
6. Davidson Honda 1:23.208 81
7. Hulkenberg Williams-Toyota 1:23.619 112
8. Grosjean Renault 1:23.899 60
9. Kobayashi Toyota 1:24.442 82


F1 wants new Concorde, Ecclestone writes
(GMM)  Formula one's paper war resumed on Thursday, with Bernie Ecclestone writing a letter to national FIA clubs.

The letter is in response to what Ecclestone describes as "confusing" media reports of a possible breakaway series.

The F1 chief executive insists that F1 teams simply want a new Concorde Agreement -- a tripartite contract binding together the teams, the commercial rights holder and the FIA.

Until now, FIA president Max Mosley has been unwilling to sign a new agreement on Ecclestone and the teams' terms.

The German newspaper Die Welt claims that, behind the scenes, Ecclestone and the teams have issued to the FIA a June 16 ultimatum on their latest request for clarity on the thorny Concorde issue.


Cleveland pitches for IRL date in 2009
Cleveland made its pitch to get back on the IndyCar schedule for 2009 on Wednesday as political and civic leaders met with Indy Racing League officials.

Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport had been a popular stop on the former Champ Car schedule and organizers were hoping to leverage the city's 26 year racing history as a way to get back on the racing calendar.

Following the open-wheel merger between Champ Car and the IRL, a number of Champ Car events in 2008 were knocked off the calendar - only Edmonton, Long Beach and Australia managed to survive this year. But Cleveland is looking to join Toronto and several other venues in getting back on the calendar in 2009.

"We hope there is an opportunity here, but we don't want to give any false expectations, either," John Lewis, IRL vice president for League Development and Marketing tells The Plain Dealer.

"I guess the key word would be balance. If something works out where everybody wins, that's a good business model. But if it's going to have challenges in respect to this venue, or other venues that we're already at, we'll have to address those and see where that plays out."

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Hamilton steps it up a gear for Abbey's TV campaign
“Great things happen when all the right pieces come together” – that’s the message in Abbey’s summer 2008 advertising campaign featuring F1™ ace Lewis Hamilton; which builds on the success of last year’s campaign with a media spend of £4m.  The campaign focuses on Abbey and Santander’s joint commitment to their customers as one of the world’s largest banks, and their new range of bank accounts that are tailored to individual needs, including one that pays 8% interest. The TV advert, created by WCRS, starts with a close-up of an Airfix™ model kit- box for a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One car, model MP4-23.

We are taken on a journey of the car being meticulously assembled piece by piece by hand, along with its driver.  It climaxes with the driver, Hamilton, coming to life and driving off in his real full-size Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car into the Abbey red cube. The action draws on parallels with the care Abbey and Santander have taken in building their range of bank accounts for customers, as well as the strength Abbey and Santander gain from working together.

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Interview with Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica
Q: Four days after the race, how does it feel to have recorded your first grand prix victory?

Robert Kubica: "It is a wonderful feeling, not only for me but for the whole team, for everybody who contributed to the win. Of course, we had a little luck on Sunday, but we earned that good fortune. In the end we were able to celebrate a one-two victory, in which Nick also played his part. It was a fantastic result, which gives the team a big motivation boost."

Q: At what point during the race did you first think that you could take the win?

RK: "When Lewis and Kimi were eliminated from the race at the first pit stop I was the leading two-stopper. However, the safety car phase appeared to play into the hands of the drivers on a one-stop strategy. I was stuck for far too long behind slower cars, until the last of them came into the pits. Then I was at last able to attack and extend my lead.

The first relief came when my second pit stop went smoothly. The pit crew once again did a perfect job. It was once I found that I was still ahead of Nick that I had the first thoughts of winning. I cut down my speed and concentrated totally on not making any mistakes over the final 15 laps. They were the longest, but also the most relaxed laps of my Formula One career so far, as I had no more pressure and only needed to bring the car home."

Q: What have you been doing in the days following your victory?

RK: "There has not been much time. I've just tried to recharge my energy levels. I've done some training and spent the rest of the time relaxing. On Wednesday I travelled to Barcelona, where I'm testing on Thursday and Friday with a view to the next race at Magny-Cours."

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racing news

Pruett Racing Through the Alphabet
Cover of Pruett's new book
As one of the most accomplished American racing drivers today, Lexus’ Scott Pruett has seemingly raced everywhere and almost everything – and now he and wife, Judy, have added a new venue – “Racing Through the Alphabet” – their fourth offering in a line of children’s books.

The new “Racing Through the Alphabet,” joins “Twelve Little Race Cars,” “Twelve More Little Race Cars,” and “Rookie Racer” among the books offered by in-house publishing company Word Weaver Books.  The latest story is a direct result of an inspiration from the Pruett’s seven-year-old son, Cameron.

“It really was inspired by our little boy,” according to Cameron’s mother, Judy.  “He was practicing his letters, which is something he really doesn’t like, and when he got to the letter ‘R’, he drew wheels on it. The next thing I know, he’s got his pencil positioned as a steering wheel and he said, ‘I’m racing through the alphabet.”

After getting the initial inspiration from young Cameron, the entire family went to work coming up with racing words to represent each letter.  Once they narrowed it down to three words per letter, it was off to market research – in this case, Cameron, and 10-year-old sister Taylor’s friends.

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Former official sues NASCAR for $225M UPDATE #3 This FOX News article comes to the same conclusion AutoRacing1.com expressed yesterday, after reading the lawsuit (below) NASCAR is in serious trouble here.  The allegations are far worse than first thought and is sure to have sponsors and manufacturers running for the doors.  Expect NASCAR to open their checkbook and pay off Grant way before this case goes to trial just to shut her up.  However, the damage may already be done.  Except for the NASCAR 'Bubbas', this sort of racism and sexual harassment within the sport itself won't be tolerated and is far worse than the FIA's Max Mosley hiring prostitutes on his personal time, which did not involve the sport nor was it done on 'company' time.  It will be interesting to see how the Big 3 will look at this.  They may decide that they no longer want to spend their money or be a part of NASCAR. They have enough trouble selling cars as it is and sales are way off despite their NASCAR involvement.  They don't need anymore bad PR.

06/12/08 You can read the full lawsuit here (PDF file).  If her allegations are true NASCAR is going to have to negotiate a hefty settlement because there is no way they will want this case to go to trial.  Non-bubba fans, sponsors and manufacturers do not want to have their name associated with an organization that tolerates racism and sex discrimination.

06/11/08 NASCAR chairman Brian France denied Wednesday that a former official complained to her supervisors about racial and sexual discrimination, claims she alleged led to her eventual firing.

Mauricia Grant's exposing of NASCAR for what it is might be the beginning of the end for American monopoly
Mauricia Grant filed a $225 million suit against NASCAR on Tuesday, alleging racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliatory termination. Grant, who is black, worked as a technical inspector for NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series.

France said Wednesday the detailed filing was the first NASCAR learned of her claims.

"The disappointing thing is she makes a lot of claims, none of them reported," said France. "The fact that it went on as she stated, for many months, but never bothered to tell anyone at management what was going on - which is what our policy says - is very disappointing.

"We would have liked, if those type things were in fact going on, we would have loved to have done an investigation and a review of such an allegation."

France said NASCAR will review Grant's claims, which included 23 specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of alleged racial and gender discrimination she says began when she was hired in January 2005 through her October 2007 firing.

NASCAR will not disclose why Grant was fired late in the 2007 season.

In her suit, she claims she was referred to as "Nappy Headed Mo" and "Queen Sheba," by co-workers, was often told she worked on "colored people time," and was frightened by one official who routinely made references to the Ku Klux Klan.

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Senna fastest on Day 2 of testing
This sunny afternoon session concluded an incident-free two-day test for the thirteen GP2 teams in Paul Ricard. At the wheel of his iSport car Bruno Senna set the pace just ahead of ART Grand Prix’s Luca Filippi. The Italian driver remains the quickest of the day with his morning laptime in a 1:09.934. These two men are followed by Racing Engineering’s Giorgio Pantano, Filippi’s teammate Romain Grosjean and Piquet Sports’ Andreas Zuber.

Christian Bakkerud again did not participate in this session as he preferred to rest before the upcoming race event.

The GP2 circus will now head to Magny-Cours where the fourth round of the 2008 championship will take place next week. Bruno Senna and Giorgio Pantano are co-leading with 24 points, ahead of Romain Grosjean and Alvaro Parente both with 19 points.

Afternoon session


Driver Team Time Laps
1. Bruno Senna iSport International 1:10.054 47
2. Luca Filippi ART Grand Prix 1:10.272 42
3. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering 1:10.364 34
4. Romain Grosjean ART Grand Prix 1:10.523 35
5. Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports 1:10.563 47
6. Jerome d’Ambrosio Dams 1:10.591 47
7. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports 1:10.602 46
8. Vitaly Petrov Barwa Int. Campos Team 1:10.730 31
9. Andy Soucek BCN Competicion 1:10.794 38
10. Sébastien Buemi Trust Team Arden 1:10.816 23
11. Yelmer Buurman Trust Team Arden 1:10.819 49
12. Kamui Kobayashi Dams 1:10.824 35
13. Diego Nunes DPR 1:10.888 39
14. Alvaro Parente Super Nova Racing 1:10.889 42
15. Roldan Rodriguez Fisichella Motor Sport Int. 1:10.948 49
16. Mike Conway Trident Racing 1:11.031 43
17. Karun Chandhok iSport International 1:11.045 19
18. Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:11.053 31
19. Michael Herck DPR 1:11.160 26
20 Marko Asmer Fisichella Motor Sport Int. 1:11.342 38
21. Ho-Pin Tung Trident Racing 1:11.538 32
22. Alberto Valerio Durango 1:11.743 30
23. Lucas Di Grassi Barwa Int. Campos Team 1:12.066 57


LifeLock to Co-Sponsor Kahne at MIS and Indy
Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that LifeLock, the nation's leading identity theft protection service, will co-sponsor the #9 Budweiser Dodge with driver Kasey Kahne when it races at Michigan Speedway this weekend [June 15th] and at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis on July 27. LifeLock also sponsors Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver #10-Patrick Carpentier in eight Sprint Cup races in the 2008 season. Team CEO Tom Reddin said the addition of two more races to the LifeLock schedule is another sign of the growing relationship between the two companies. LifeLock has held sponsorship deals in NASCAR, open wheel and sports car racing. Recently, it announced a three-year agreement to sponsor this weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan Speedway. LifeLock has created a special new offer for race fans interested in signing up for LifeLock's services. When signing up, fans will receive LifeLock services for free for the first 60 days by using the new promotional code "GEM". To sign up for LifeLock, fans can call 1-877-LIFELOCK or sign up online at www.evernham.com or www.lifelock.com. GEM PR


Michigan Goodyear Tire Notes
Teams in both NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Michigan this weekend, though the Sprint Cup tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . these teams ran this exact combination of left- and right-side tires at Dover two weeks ago . . . compared to the tire codes run at Michigan in 2007, there have been slight changes to the left-side construction to improve grip and performance, as well as to the right-side compound to improve treadwear . . .in addition to Michigan and Dover, Nationwide (this weekend) and Craftsman Truck (July 19) teams are scheduled to run this specific tire set-up at Kentucky this season . . . this left-side code (D-4134) will also be run with a different right-side code at Texas and Chicagoland . . . as on all NASCAR's ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Goodyear PR


Montoya happier now with changes
As Juan Pablo Montoya tried to explain his renewed commitment to Chip Ganassi Racing, the boss man walked up the stairs into the driver's motor home for a surprise visit. "Were your ears burning?" Montoya asked Ganassi. "No, why? Were you talking about me?" Ganassi answered. Before his star driver could reply, the owner had Montoya in a headlock as the two playfully greeted each other at Pocono Raceway. The relationship between the two is as strong as ever, surviving a rocky stretch last month when Montoya openly questioned the direction of Ganassi's NASCAR team. His criticism came after crew chief Donnie Wingo was transferred off his team, and a month later, replacement Jimmy Elledge was fired. It gave Montoya his third crew chief in just over a month, and despite the praise everyone around him had for Brian Pattie, the driver wasn't pleased with the change. Montoya wasn't convinced Pattie wanted the job, and didn't think the crew chief liked him very much. Three races and two test sessions later, he's had a complete change of heart. "A lot of people told me Brian would be good, but until it happens -- I've been told so many times in my career that things are going to be great and then they are not," Montoya said. "I'd rather wait and see. The way I've always been is if you expect great things, the fall is a lot bigger. This way I got to be pleasantly surprised." Montoya has been impressed with Pattie's dedication and focus on fostering the relationship. He praised Pattie for the frequent visits he makes to Montoya's motor home to go over notes, future setups and, more importantly, to bond with the driver. "He's the one making the extra effort to bond together and we go at it the right way," Montoya said. "It gives you a lot of confidence as a driver. You can see the guy trying hard and you'll do what he wants. You'll go the extra mile for him. With Wingo, we worked really hard, we worked really well together and I thought it was pretty good and we had a lot of respect for each other. With Elledge, I liked the guy because he was really aggressive and he was willing to try anything whether it was stupid or not. With this guy, he's a combination of both." And as for the rumors that Montoya might leave Ganassi to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing next season? Nothing to them, Montoya said. "I've got a deal with Chip, and I am 100 percent behind Chip," he said.  Associated Press


NASA to host Daytona 500 media day at Kennedy Space Center
In honor of NASA's 50th anniversary and the 50th running of NASCAR's Daytona 500 in February, NASA's Kennedy Space Center will host a media day Tuesday, June 17, starting at 11:30am/et. The event will include the winner of this year's race, Ryan Newman. During the event, NASA will present NASCAR with two green racing flags that were flown last February aboard space shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station. One flag will be given to Newman, the second will be presented to Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig. A third flag that was flown will be kept by NASA for public display. At the event, Newman will drive the crawler-transporter, the huge tracked vehicle that carries space shuttles to the launch pad. The flag presentation ceremony will be at Launch Pad 39A. Following the ceremony, a news media question-and-answer session will be held at the pad. Afterward, there will be a separate interview opportunity for print media in Kennedy's news center auditorium. The connection between NASA and Daytona's International Speedway extends beyond their close proximity to one another. During recent years, technology developed for the space program has found many uses on Earth, including helping NASCAR drivers stay safe and increase performance.


Former NASCAR Crew Chief Escapes Injury In Boat Explosion
Former NASCAR crew chief Cliff Champion and three other people escaped serious injury Tuesday when the 80-foot charter boat Champion operates on Lake Norman exploded, but a 19-year-old man who was refueling the boat when the blast occurred was still missing at nightfall. Champion's company -- Championship Yacht Charters -- had just finished a graduation party cruise with about 60 people when the blast occurred. The partiers had exited the three-story boat and were getting into their cars when the 19-year-old man began refueling the yacht at Westport Marina. Champion was Benny Parsons' crew chief 1983-86 and it was during this time that the team he headed won the Ingersoll-Rand Pit Crew Championship. He also worked with Alan Kulwicki and long-time friend Ricky Rudd before deciding to start his charter business on Lake Norman about a decade ago. In his business, he worked closely with the racing community, providing charters for competitors, sponsors, race teams and Lowe's Motor Speedway. On May 17, he hosted an Appreciation Day for the Armed Forces, providing a day of cruises for troops from Fort Bragg and Fort Jackson and Marines from Camp Lejeune. More at GoFastNews.com and updates at wsoctv.com


Davidson back on track with Honda
Anthony Davidson
(GMM) Super Aguri refugee Anthony Davidson returned to the fast-lane on Thursday, as formula one testing kicked off at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

The 29-year-old Briton, who has remained on the sidelines ever since the demise of his former team five weeks ago, emerged from Honda's garage at the Spanish venue at the wheel of the works RA108.

Davidson, whose Honda-powered Super Aguri teammate Takuma Sato is also out of work, is filling in for Honda's regular test driver Alex Wurz, who is racing at Le Mans this weekend.

Davidson's association with the Brackley based team stretches back to 2002, when the Honda-powered squad was known as BAR.

It emerges that the diminutive driver also conducted some straight-line aerodynamic testing in the RA108 prior to the recent Monaco grand prix.

Race driver Rubens Barrichello will take over his car at Barcelona on Friday.

Every team except Force India will run this week over three days at the Spanish grand prix venue, which is located at Montmelo, just north of Barcelona.

Thursday at the circuit dawned dry, but contrary to some forecasts, the three day test is not likely to be affected by rain.


Hideki Noda Huge Le Mans 24 Hours Qualifying Crash
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twiW7EWnlvM English
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkjOv2HJeZM Italian
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxm9PjVmgW4 German


Mario Andretti happy to refuel open-wheel interest
Mario Andretti
Racing has been Mario Andretti's life. It's given him success and a comfortable lifestyle.
One way Andretti repaid the sport was playing a prominent role in the merger earlier this year of the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car series.

Following the split between sanctioning organizations in the mid-1990s, interest in IndyCar racing in the United States declined. NASCAR seized the opportunity and soared to No. 1 in popularity.

Three years ago, Andretti said he brought the IRL's Tony George and Champ Car's Kevin Kalkhoven together for their first meeting. Among others attending the meeting at Andretti's home in Nazareth, Pa., was actor Paul Newman. He had been a longtime co-owner of Andretti's IndyCar team when he was winning 52 races.

Roger Penske, the most successful team owner in IndyCar racing, also is credited with moving along the merger.

Seated at a table adjacent to his office in his luxurious and spacious home on Monday, Andretti said that he and Newman "expressed ourselves quite vividly during the breakup, to the point of maybe offending some people and losing some friends."

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Aus GP future to be decided in 'weeks'
(GMM)  Talks to possibly extend Melbourne's formula one grand prix are winding down.

It is not known if the Australian race will feature on the sport's annual calendar beyond 2009, but the Melbourne newspaper Herald Sun reports that a final decision is expected "within weeks".

Race boss Ron Walker has reportedly been in intense negotiations with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone since the Albert Park event in March, but organizers will not agree to hold the race at night.

"It's (an event) we want to keep and it's one we'll be doing everything possible to ensure that it does remain here in Melbourne in the years ahead," state major events minister Tim Holding said.

"There are ongoing negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA but we have ruled out a night grand prix and that is not negotiable," he added.

Dennis refuses to rule out F1 'breakaway'
(GMM)  In the wake of the Max Mosley sex scandal, McLaren boss Ron Dennis has refused to rule out backing a formula one 'breakaway'.

It emerged recently that splitting with the Mosley-led FIA was discussed between team chiefs and Bernie Ecclestone during a series of meetings at the Canadian grand prix.

British team McLaren, last year fined $100m by the FIA for its involvement in a spy scandal, said in the wake of Mosley's retention as FIA president that it hoped the sport "will now enter a period of stability".

But at the Mercedes-powered team's Woking factory on Wednesday, for the launch of a British motorsport campaign 'Go Motorsport', Dennis refused to rule out a shakeup.

"If anything is put forward as an initiative that is in the best interests of formula one and this company I will support it," he said in an interview with the news agency AP.

"That does not mean I favor any particular path at the moment.  We need stability, consistency and the right values and images for formula one and whatever process is put forward if it's the right one I'll support it," he added.

Dennis, McLaren's chairman, CEO and co-owner, said he was disappointed about the leaks following the Montreal meetings, including speculation that his team and also Honda support Ecclestone's rumored 'breakaway' threat.

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