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DATE News (chronologically)
06/15/07
f1

USGP Friday combined practice results
Practice session Friday for the United States Grand Prix on the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with car number in parenthesis, driver, chassis-engine and speed.

1. (1) Fernando Alonso, McLaren Mercedes, 130.375 mph
2. (2) Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes, 129.683
3. (9) Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 129.535
4. (5) Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 129.457
5. (6) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 129.186
6. (10) Sebastian Vettel, BMW, 128.686
7. (16) Nico Rosberg, Williams Toyota, 128.420
8. (14) David Coulthard, RBR Renault, 128.380
9. (4) Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 128.261
10. (8) Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 128.202
11. (7) Jenson Button, Honda, 128.101
12. (15) Mark Webber, RBR Renault, 127.994 
13. (18) Vitantonio Liuzzi, STR Ferrari, 127.873
14. (23) Anthony Davidson, SA Honda, 127.818
15. (3) Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 127.765
16. (17) Alex Wurz, Williams Toyota, 127.513
17. (12) Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 127.249
18. (19) Scott Speed, STR Ferrari, 127.214 
19. (22) Takuma Sato, SA Honda, 127.144
20. (11) Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 127.123
21. (38) Kazuki Nakajima, Williams Toyota, 127.087
22. (21) Christijan Albers, Spyker Ferrari, 126.335
23. (20) Adrian Sutil, Spyker Ferrari, 125.847

Comment
06/15/07
Formula BMW

Formula BMW USA Race #1 qualifying results
Qualification session results Friday for the Formula BMW USA race #1 on the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with car number in parenthesis, driver, team and speed.

1. (7) Esteban Gutierrez, Autotecnica, 95.291 mph
2. (10) Maxime Pelletier, HBR Motorsport Team USA, 94.850
3. (70) Daniel Morad, Eurointernational, 94.701
4. (34) Ricardo Favoretto, HBR Motorsport Team USA, 94.680
5. (16) Alexander Rossi, Hearn Motorsports, 94.655
6. (14) Philip Major, Autotecnica, 94.613
7. (50) Adrien Tambay, Eurointernational, 94.594
8. (19) Jordan Dick, JD Racing, 94.548
9. (90) Steven Guerrero, HBR Motorsport Team USA, 94.406
10. (5) Sebastian Saavedra, Eurointernational, 94.308
11. (8) Robert Thorne, Team Apex Racing USA, 94.251
12. (13) Jeffrey Petriello, Team KMA Racing, 94.226
13. (31) Tim Hollowell, TADD Motorsports, 94.156
14. (4) Yannick Hofman, Eurointernational, 94.041
15. (53) Mike Hill, Team KMA Racing, 93.880
16. (12) Eric Morrow, Hearn Motorsports, 93.813
17. (55) Julia Landauer, Team KMA Racing, 93.398
18. (27) Lindsey Adams, Team Apex Racing USA, 92.364

Comment
06/15/07
f1

USGP: Friday press Conference

Participating: Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Norbert Haug (McLaren Mercedes), Aguri Suzuki (Super Aguri) and Frank Williams (Williams)

Q: A question to all of you: your thoughts on safety in Formula One following last weekend's accident in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Stefano Domenicali: Well, I think that what we have seen during the last Canadian Grand Prix showed how safety has improved in the last years. This is thanks to the FIA together with all the teams. You have to think that an accident like that a couple of years ago, well, maybe we would be in a different situation.

On one side, for sure, that's one conclusion. That shows one thing: that we shouldn't forget that this sport is always very dangerous, so we don't have to drop the attention on safety. One of the main things, for sure, is that we have to keep up that pressure, together with the FIA, to give as much maximum effort in that respect because it's so crucial, and this is for sure what we have seen in the last Grand Prix.

Aguri Suzuki: I think the same. It was very shocking, it was a very very bad accident, but finding that the driver has nothing is really incredible. Also, now the cars are very safe. Imagine, I drove in Formula One 15 years ago, maybe it would have been a big problem but now the FIA has done a good job, and the teams and everything is very good. I'm very happy to be in Formula One now.

Read more & Comment...
06/15/07
ips

Mutoh wins Indy Pro pole at Indy
Hideki Mutoh earned his first career Indy Pro Series pole position, winning the SWE Pole Award for Race 1 of the Liberty Challenge on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mutoh, who ranks second in points as a rookie in the Indy Pro Series, posted a time of 1 minute, 25.281 seconds, 109.966 mph on the 13-turn, 2.605-mile road course. The lap was faster than Graham Rahal's record pole speed of 1:25.5810 of a year ago.

Mutoh's previous best start in the No. 55 Panther Racing entry came at the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway when he qualified third.

Alex Lloyd, winner of the first five races this season, will start second in the 18-lap race. Lloyd's best lap was 1:25.552, 109.618 mph in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.

Read more & Comment...
06/15/07
f1

Webber breaks down, again
(GMM)  Mark Webber in Indianapolis suffered a mechanical breakdown in his Red Bull on Friday afternoon, after he declared that the Austrian squad must up its game in 2007.

"To finish every race and score no points is one thing, but no one is interested in the shopping list of excuses," the Australian, who has yet to score a single point so far this year, is quoted as saying by the Edmonton Sun.

He did admit, however, that his RB3 has shown signs of improving in terms of reliability in recent races.

In Canada, for example, he finished just out of the points in ninth, but his teammate David Coulthard exited with what is becoming a trademark gearbox failure for the team based in Milton Keynes (UK).

Webber said: "When we're on the track we're going pretty well, but we're not always able to run for as long as we'd like."

In the similar STR2 single seater, Toro Rosso's Scott Speed also struck mechanical trouble at Indianapolis as the second 90-minute session of the day played out in hot conditions.

Comment
06/15/07
f1

USGP Practice 2: Alonso again fastest
Two-time defending Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso led practice June 15 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as teams began preparations for United States Grand Prix qualifying and race.

Alonso, driving the No. 1 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes lapped the 13-turn, 2.605-mile road circuit in 1 minute, 11.925 seconds, 130.375 mph during the morning session.

Air and track temperatures soared to 90 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, by the start of the second practice session in the afternoon. The fastest lap of that session was 1:12.156, 129.957 by Alonso, who has finished the USGP only once in his five previous attempts, earning a fifth-place finish in 2006.

"It has been a very difficult race in the past for me here," Alonso said. "I never been competitive at Indianapolis, the car, the luck, whatever, myself, so today to be P1 is a little bit of surprise for me. I never was in the top at Indianapolis so I enjoyed a lot today. And if I can finish on the podium Sunday, it will be a fantastic surprise."

Read more & Comment...
06/15/07
f1

Three F1 racers caught speeding
(GMM)  A trio of formula one runners were caught speeding in Indianapolis' pitlane during free practice for the US grand prix on Friday.

Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen's 66kph - a full 6kph over the FIA-imposed speed limit for the first day of practice - attracted a fine of 1200 EUR (US $1600), while his countryman Kimi Raikkonen was caught at 61.3kph.

Adrian Sutil, meanwhile, did 62.6kph -- an infringement that will cost the Spyker rookie 400 EUR ($530).

Comment
06/15/07
nascar

Aflac signs with Roush
With a successful acting career in television commercials and even movies, the Aflac Duck has added yet another role to its already impressive repertoire - race-car driving. Aflac Incorporated announced that it is partnering with Roush Fenway Racing to sponsor eight Nextel Cup and Busch Series races in the 2007 season. Greg Biffle will drive the #16 Aflac Ford for its debut at the Nextel Cup race on July 1 at New Hampshire International Speedway for a total of four races. Aflac is also sponsoring four Busch Series races with drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray. "We look forward to working with a world-class team like Roush Fenway Racing to bring the Aflac brand closer to NASCAR fans," said Paul S. Amos II, president, Aflac; COO, U.S. Operations. "In addition to uniting with another great brand and working with these exciting drivers, this sponsorship will be a useful platform to build additional awareness of how our products can help consumers in their quest to balance everyday living expenses with out-of-pocket health care costs not covered by their existing major medical insurance." The paint scheme was unveiled today at Michigan International Speedway and can be viewed at aflacracing.com. The Aflac Racing schedule below is also available on the Web site.
Greg Biffle - #16 Aflac Ford, Nextel Cup Series:
* July 1, New Hampshire International Speedway
* July 15, Chicagoland Speedway
* Sept. 2, California Speedway
* Sept. 30, Kansas Speedway
Carl Edwards - #60 Aflac Ford, Busch Series, July 6 at Daytona
Matt Kenseth - #17 Aflac Ford, Busch Series, Aug. 11, Watkins Glen
Jamie McMurray - #26 Aflac Ford, Busch Series, Aug. 24 at Bristol and Sept. 7 at Richmond
To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com. Roush Fenway Racing PR

Comment
06/15/07
f1

Albers splits with manager
(GMM)  Christijan Albers has split with his management team.

The move follows differences with the Spyker driver's manager Lodewijk Varossieau, according to the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report.

Dutchman Albers entered formula one with Minardi in 2005, but the 28-year-old has been managed by Varossieau's company GR8 Industries for the past nearly seven years.

"We are incredibly proud of everything that we have achieved with Christijan," Varossieau said, "both sporting and commercial.

"We have gotten the maximum out of the relation, and hopefully new management can help him with the next and perhaps most important step in his career.

"We hope that he will score the first points for Spyker and then get the chance to drive to the podium next year.

"But already, regarding sponsorship and merchandising, he is the most successful Dutch driver ever."

Comment
06/15/07
cc

Champ Car adds fresh start to Cleveland GP
In past years, one could not stand still for the start of the annual Grand Prix of Cleveland. This year, the drivers will have to.

For the first time in its 26-year history, the GPC will begin from a standing start, which Champ Car officials say should enhance, not detract, from the annual dash into the signature hairpin first turn of the race at Burke Lakefront Airport the weekend of June 22-24.

"No matter what kind of start, Cleveland offers the excitement of what I call the 'Turn One Vortex,' " said Tony Cotman, Champ Car's vice president of operations. "That's Cleveland, no matter what we do.

“I like standing starts for a couple of reasons. One, I think it’s far more adrenaline for the fans and for the drivers. And, on a standing start, you never know who is going to get off the line better than anyone else. You could be starting five, and in position one by the first turn if you got yourself a good start.”

Initially, there was uneasy feelings from the drivers about a standing start.

Read more & Comment...
06/15/07
f1

Champ Car and F1 TV ratings UPDATE The final TV rating for the Champ Car race in Portland was a 0.6/2 share, the final rating for the F1 race from Montreal was a 1.0/3 share and the final rating for the MotoGP race from Barcelona was a0.6/2 share.

06/11/07 The overnight TV rating for the Canada F1 race on FOX from Montreal was a 1.1/3 share. The overnight rating for the Mazda Champ Car GP of Portland on ABC was a 0.7/2 share, up 16% from last year's overnight of 0.6/1 share on CBS.

The overnight rating of the MotoGP Grand Prix of Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) was a 0.6/2 share.

Comment
06/15/07
f1

Sutil beaches Spyker at Indy
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil risked putting his Spyker bosses in even more of a spin on Friday by beaching his car in the gravel.

The German youngster had to abandon Spyker's F8-VII single seater after a spin in Indianapolis' penultimate corner, mere hours after team officials Colin Kolles and Mike Gascoyne warned both he and teammate Christijan Albers to cut out the silly mistakes.

Sutil had earlier left the Indianapolis circuit at turn 8, losing time.

"If you can't take some constructive criticism then there is no place in any team for you," team principal Kolles said.

Ralf Schumacher is also under pressure to retain his seat, and had an off-track moment during the first practice session for the 2007 US grand prix.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso dominated the top of the time sheets, but BMW-Sauber's runners - including stand-in debutant Sebastian Vettel - also impressed after clocking the second and fourth best times.

Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were fifth and seventh in their Ferraris, while Renault's duo conspicuously lagged the pace; Heikki Kovalainen managing to better only Anthony Davidson and the two slowest Spykers.

Comment
06/15/07
lmes
alms

ACO mandates closed-top LMP1 cars by 2010
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the organizing body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, introduced future regulations Thursday that will transform the LMP1 class from 2010 onward. The ACO will mandate starting in 2010 that cars in the top prototype class move to closed-top designs that will enable manufacturers to build prototypes that more closely mirror their showroom cars.

The move harkens back to the days of historic closed-top prototypes from Porsche, Jaguar, Ford and countless others that captured the imaginations of sports car fans around the world. The new regulations will go into effect beginning in 2010 and keep existing P1 cars (both open- and closed-top) eligible up to 2011. The prototype evolution also calls for wider windscreens than the current rules and a specified front that features a manufacturer badge and brand.

The ACO considers LMP1 to be a dream class of cars and hopes creating cars that represent a particular manufacturer will aid spectators in recognizing one marque from another and allow a greater marketing platform for the manufacturers through the world's greatest auto race.

Read more & Comment...
06/15/07
f1

USGP: Alonso fastest in opening practice
McLaren's Fernando Alonso dominated the top of the time sheets, but BMW-Sauber's runners - including stand-in debutant Sebastian Vettel - also impressed after clocking the second and fourth best times.

Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were fifth and seventh in their Ferraris, while Renault's duo conspicuously lagged the pace; Heikki Kovalainen managing to better only Anthony Davidson and the two slowest Spykers.

POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT TIME
1. Fernando Alonso Spain McLaren-Mercedes 1:11.925
2. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW 1:12.391
3. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.628
4. Sebastian Vettel Germany BMW 1:12.869
5. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:12.966
6. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:13.020
7. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:13.040
8. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:13.159
9. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:13.597
10. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:13.682
11. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:13.777
12. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1:13.786
13. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:13.819
14. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:13.907
15. Scott Speed United States Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:13.990
16. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:14.000
17. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:14.037
18. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:14.052
19. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Renault 1:14.189
20. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:14.632
21. Christijan Albers Netherlands Spyker-Ferrari 1:14.636
22. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:14.810

Comment
06/15/07
nascar

Duhamel to participate in Canadian NASCAR race
Montreal, Canada - Miguel Duhamel, the legendary Honda motorcycle racer, winningest AMA road racer and 5-time Daytona 200 Superbike champion, will make his debut on four wheels by competing in the NASCAR C.T.S. that will be held on the weekend of June 16 and 17, at the wheel of the #8 – Bitumar – Jacombs Racing entry on the 2.5 mile, 10 turn Mosport track.

Only a week after having tested at Mosport with the Jacombs Racing team, Miguel Duhamel feels ready to take on this new challenge. “ I loved it despite the limited number of laps I did. We did not have the proper set-up and gear ratios for the track last Thursday, but I feel really comfortable in the car. However, I have no illusions about the race but I am definitely planning to enjoy every minute of it. As much experience as I have on race tracks, I am very pleased to be part of such a professional team as Jacombs Racing for this new and exciting challenge.”

Miguel relishes the idea of racing on four wheels on a track where he raced on two wheels. Miguel has raced at Mosport in World Superbike and is really looking forward to this weekend in Canada.

It goes without saying that Jacombs Racing team owner Dave Jacombs welcomes Miguel’s presence at Mosport with open arms. “We are delighted to have someone of Miguel’s racing experience in our car. His test at Mosport last Thursday proved to us that he is truly a racer at heart regardless if it is on 2 wheels or 4 wheels.”

Comment
06/15/07
f1

No civil war at Ferrari - Massa
(GMM)  While the press fixates on an apparent 'civil war' at McLaren, Felipe Massa in Indianapolis insisted that harmony exists at Ferrari.

The Brazilian's teammate this year is 'iceman' Kimi Raikkonen, who is not renowned for forming melodious relationships with his former colleagues at McLaren and Sauber.

According to recent press speculation, meanwhile, a split was beginning to form inside the Maranello based team's pits, with Raikkonen on one side and Massa closely cooperating with Ferrari 'advisor' Michael Schumacher.

But Massa insisted on Thursday: "Kimi and I cooperate very well -- 100 per cent.

"I know him better now than at the beginning of the season, and even though he doesn't talk too much, we have a good relationship and we do a professional job for the team."

Ferrari arrives in the US after two poor results in Montreal and Monaco.

Massa said: "We must try to reduce the gaps starting from now.

"I do not how difficult or simple that will be, because I have no idea what goes on inside the Alonso-Hamilton camp, but I do know the effort that we are putting in at Ferrari."

Finn Raikkonen, meanwhile, insisted that he does not feel isolated at Ferrari.

He said at Indianapolis: "I know that I am supported in exactly the same way as my teammate, but he has simply had the better results so far."

Kimi was also asked about Nick Heidfeld's comments here that BMW-Sauber may have now moved ahead of Ferrari in the 2007 hierarchy.

He responded: "We have known since the beginning of the season that they are very strong, especially Nick.

"But here I expect a very close fight between us and McLaren."

Comment
06/15/07
f1

'No fear' for Vettel as GP debut looms
(GMM)  Teenager Sebastian Vettel jogged two full laps of the Indianapolis circuit on Thursday afternoon in preparation for his debut grand prix.

The German youngster has won his chance after BMW-Sauber regular Robert Kubica was ruled out following his huge accident in Canada less than a week ago.

"I am pleased of course but you never want to see your teammates have accidents," he told reporters amid an unfamiliar flurry of media attention at the US grand prix venue.

"Sunday though will be a special day -- to be honest I can still hardly believe it.

"You always know that racing in formula one is your target but it is a strange feeling when you finally get there.

"But I don't have any fear.  I am looking forward to it."

Vettel, BMW's primary test and reserve driver, explained that after taking the crucial phone call from Mario Theissen at the circuit on Thursday, he immediately called his parents back in Germany.

Then, the real work began.  He was fitted to Kubica's cockpit by mechanics, and officially weighed by the FIA.  Then he set off on foot to learn the twists and turns of the US grand prix layout.

Team boss Theissen, meanwhile, said he had not set any targets for Vettel to aim for this weekend.

"I hope he can demonstrate the quality of our car here," the German chief said, "but it would be wrong to put any more pressure on him."

Auto Motor und Sport, meanwhile, quoted a nonetheless disappointed Kubica as wishing Vettel "all the best.

"For him it is a great opportunity, and I am sure that he will use it well."

Comment
06/15/07
f1

Indian GP deal not sealed yet - reports
(GMM) Indian publications have expressed skepticism after the country's Olympic Association on Thursday revealed a deal to host a grand prix in New Delhi in 2009.

DNA India reports that the announcement relates only to a 'letter of intent' signed by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

The next - and more important - steps, it added, will be the signing of a memorandum of understanding and then finally a proper contract.

"There's nothing new here," the report said. "A similar letter of intent was signed between formula one management and the Andhra Pradesh government in 2004 for staging a grand prix in Hyderabad.

"But it didn't take off.

"Ditto with Moscow in Russia and Cancun in Mexico, where letters of intent were signed for staging grand prix races."

The president of the Indian motor sports federation Vicky Chandhok, meanwhile, said: "This is an expression of interest. Nothing more, nothing less.

"Until the time the contract is signed, there is no race."

Williams' Indian test driver Narain Karthikeyan added: "The actual work starts now. To build a track in such a short time is the biggest challenge."

Report also questioned New Delhi's ability to even acquire the necessary 600 acres of land, and find sufficient government or private funding.

Indeed, Ecclestone's letter of intent read: "It will be the (promoter's) responsibility to get the support of the governments to get a circuit constructed at a site which is acceptable to (us).

"It will be (the promoter's) responsibility to raise the necessary financing, whether through government or private funds (or combination thereof)."

Comment
06/15/07
f1

FIA conducts first night-race test at Indy
(GMM) F1 moved a step closer to staging night races on Thursday when a lighting system was tested under dark skies on the Indianapolis road circuit.

The governing body set up temporary lighting structures in the first few corners of the grand prix layout while the Mercedes-Benz and medical cars circulated without their headlights on for about half an hour from 9.30pm.

Camera footage from the action will now be reviewed, as will the feedback from the FIA's drivers, who were instructed to watch out for things like marshals who randomly waved different colored flags.

This feedback has not yet been publicized, but it should be noted that some still photography of the night race test was unusable because of the poor light.

Comment
06/15/07
f1

Hamilton reply 'not appropriate' - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso reiterated in Indianapolis that he does not feel "totally comfortable" at McLaren.

The Spaniard, who struggled in Montreal a week ago where he lost his championship lead to teammate Lewis Hamilton, admitted recently that the problem is that McLaren is a British team that assigned him a British teammate.

He told Spanish reporters on Thursday: "It is all sorts of things; strategy, testing, the sharing of telemetry.

"They are things that I assumed would be another way but it is not the case.  It is a personal thing and nothing else -- it starts and ends here.

"The team has its own ideas, its own philosophy to prepare for qualifying and the race.  You can either share it or not, and I have my own opinion as well."

Alonso rejected Hamilton's comments in Indianapolis that the double world champion has been "surprised" by the performance of the reigning GP2 champion in 2007.

"The only thing that surprises me is what he said (on Thursday)."

Hamilton had suggested that he is the strongest teammate Alonso has ever faced.

"I don't think his comments were very appropriate.  I have had very strong teammates -- Trulli in 2004 was one of them, who I was behind in the middle of the championship and then passed at the end.

"And I have won championships in front of Raikkonen and Schumacher -- you can see that I am not surprised by much."

Alonso said one of the first things he did after arriving at the circuit on Thursday was to tell his mechanics and support crew not to believe everything they have read in the press over the past few days.

"They are the best people I have ever worked with, and they are the people with who we are going to win this world championship.

"If I am going to fix anything with anybody it is with the people in the management."

Comment
06/15/07
lmes
alms

Ullrich receives Spirit of LeMans award
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, was honored Thursday by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest with the Spirit of Le Mans award. The ACO honors each year persons who make lasting impacts on sports car racing at Le Mans and around the world.

Dr. Ullrich joined Audi in 1993 as he transformed the organization’s motorsport ventures and captured seven national super touring car championships. In 1999, he and Audi took up the challenge of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a podium finish in the marque’s first appearance at the world’s premier auto race. Since that time, Audi has captured six overall Le Mans wins and seven LMP1 manufacturer championships in the American Le Mans Series.

Audi is the most successful prototype manufacturer in the history of the Series with 62 victories (50 with the venerable Audi R8 and 12 with the diesel-powered R10 TDI).

“I am very moved,” Dr. Ullrich said when accepting the award. “When I came to Le Mans in 1999, I never thought we could be so competitive. The Spirit of Le Mans is very important to me. There is a large group of people at Audi who work very hard to achieve these successes. I would not be here without them.”

“Dr. Ullrich believes in Le Mans and he believes in endurance,” said Jean-Claude Plassart, President of the ACO. “That is very important and key to us. We like men who help others and send them on to victory.”

Famed French journalist also received the Spirit of Le Mans following 58 years of covering the 24 Hours. Last year, American Le Mans Series founder Don Panoz was honored along with seven-time and race winner Tom Kristensen.

Comment
06/15/07
f1

Ferrari could fight back at USGP
Ferrari hopes to get back in front of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in this weekend's United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

American F1 driver Scott Speed, meanwhile, hopes the performance potential that his Toro Rosso Ferrari has shown in earlier races this year will translate into a good result in his home Grand Prix.

After a strong start to the season in which it won three of the first four races, the Ferrari team had a variety of woes in the next two events, in Monaco and Canada.

Having won six of the seven F1 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2000, the Ferrari team hopes it can bounce back in the race Sunday, June 17. Practice takes place Friday, June 15, with practice and qualifying Saturday, June 16.

"I expect a very good weekend," said Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who has won twice this year. "We were one/two here (at Indianapolis) last year, and I expect to have a good race this year."

Read more & Comment...
06/15/07
nascar

Car of Tomorrow slated for road-course debut
NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow will make its road-course debut during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, June 22-24.

Hendrick Motorsports has dominated the Car of Tomorrow races so far this season, claiming five victories in six events. Jeff Gordon has claimed two of the Car of Tomorrow wins and is the current NEXTEL Cup Series points leader by 242 points over Matt Kenseth.

"We'll have the new car in Sonoma (Car of Tomorrow) and it will suit my style," said Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet), a five-time Infineon Raceway winner and the defending champion. "I feel I'm more of a finesse driver than I am an attacker and this track really suits my style already and this new COT suits it that much more."

Read more & Comment...
06/15/07
arca

Hornish wins ARCA pole at MIS
Sam Hornish, Jr. earned the AAA Pole Award Thursday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. Hornish sits on the pole for Friday's ARCA RE/MAX Series Michigan 200, marking his career first stock car pole. Besides an ARCA test at the end of May, this was Hornish's first real test in a stock car at the two-mile oval. Hornish circled MIS at 186.205mph in his #27 Mobil 1 Dodge. Friday's ARCA 200 will mark the Penske Racing driver's career first ARCA RE/MAX Series start. Erin Crocker starts on the outside front row in the #98 Mac Tools-Mac Card Dodge. Erik Darnell, Tim Andrews and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five qualifiers.

Comment
06/15/07
cc

Thank you
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have been a subscriber since 2000 and I love your publication.  It has no equal.  I want to thank Mark Cipolloni for lobbying so hard for standing starts and push-to-pass for CART and now Champ Car since as long as I can remember.  I think his first articles on these topics appeared in 2000 and he never stopped pushing for them until the powers to be finally listened.  Champ Car is far better for it.  Thank you Mr. Cipolloni for having the foresight.  I saw a lot of people criticizing your ideas on the fan forums back then and now they are falling all over themselves saying how great these things are. Cheers.  Rubin Pearlstein 

Comment
06/15/07
irl

Firestone to serve as presenting sponsor of Detroit Indy GP
The 150th IndyCar Series race -- on the Belle Isle course Sept. 2 -- will have Firestone as the presenting sponsor.

The Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone will be the first IndyCar Series race on the revamped circuit in Detroit. Firestone is the official tire of the IndyCar Series.

"This race gives us an excellent opportunity to increase exposure for our brand in a key automotive industry market," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Motorsports for Bridgestone. "Our Original Equipment group is based in Detroit, and they have taken an active role in promoting the event and are utilizing it as a platform for community-oriented activities."

Spectators can watch the action for free on Aug. 31, compliments of Comerica Bank.

Free Prix Day presented by Comerica Bank brings back a long-standing Detroit Grand Prix tradition of allowing fans to come and watch all of the racing and entertainment options available on the opening day of activity free of charge. Meijer will sponsor the Meijer Family Fun Zone, a family-friendly area that will feature exhibits and interactive displays for both children and adults that will operate all weekend.

Comment
06/15/07
nascar

Busch calls Hendrick a liar
On Thursday Kyle Busch, the driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will replace next year, pretty much called owner Rick Hendrick a liar on a Sirius satellite-radio call-in show.

According to Hendrick, he and Busch mutually agreed that leaving the team would be best for both parties. Hendrick also said Busch told him other teams had approached him. A gracious statement was issued in Busch’s name at the same time the press conference announcing Earnhardt’s hiring was taking place. Not so, said Busch.

“Well, you know, this is all brand new,” said Busch. “I hadn’t talked or discussed or done anything with any other team. There had been a rumor that flew around that I was unhappy at Hendrick Motorsports, which was untrue. I was just frustrated with the way things were going, that I wasn’t able to get results. We had been running good and been fast everywhere, but we just had some bad luck and were crashing, and whatever. That rumor started, and then after that rumor, it was that I was getting offers from other teams, which, I had never talked to anybody.”

Busch said he hadn’t been given any indication that he wouldn’t be back at Hendrick until Monday.

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06/15/07
lmes
alms

Thursday rain means LeMans grid locked in
As expected, Thursday’s rain dampened the second night of practice and qualifying for the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So the qualifying times from Wednesday night will set the grid for Saturday’s green flag of the world’s most famous auto race, at least throughout most of the field. Many teams, including those from the American Le Mans Series, set out Thursday night to refine their wet race setup as more rain loomed in the forecast for the weekend.

Peugeot will start from pole position as Stephane Sarrazin’s time of 3:26.344 stood after the quickest time of any car Thursday was nearly 35 seconds slower. That left Allan McNish and Audi on the outside front row as the German marque seeks its second straight Le Mans win with diesel power.

In addition, Adrian Fernandez will start from the point in LMP2 for Barazi Epsilon and the factory Zytek in the Mexican star’s first trip to Le Mans.

McNish turned in the quickest time Thursday at 4:01.257 late in the day’s second session. The track remained wet throughout, which kept the times up. Only three cars were in the 4:01 range: McNish, Sebastien Bourdais and Lucas Luhr in the third of the Audis.

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06/15/07
f1

USGP fans speak out on what race means to them
Quotes from selected fans about why they enjoy Formula One and the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 2007 USGP is June 15-17. Fans were interviewed June 14 during the USGP Pit Walkabout at IMS:

EDUARDO BARROS, Tamarack, Fla., native of Brazil: "It's the best category of motorsports in the world. The technology. Everything that you can imagine about cars, it's here. The best things in the world. I've been watching since I was a kid, with Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet. So this is really a dream come true, being here." (About seeing Formula One at IMS): "Everything is easy. We can have access to things that we can't get in other categories. This is really nice. It's been a really nice experience here."

SCOTT BOMBACHER, Sacramento, Calif.: "Formula One is the best. Global, highest tech, best drivers. It's full-on racing." (Do you like the international appeal of the event?): "Absolutely. You see people from Europe, from Asia, from all over. That's nice."

TINA CAMPBELL, Detroit: "I've liked Formula One for about 15 years now. I'm glad it came to the United States. I like this because it's more advanced, more high-tech. I also like the international aspect of it. I watched the Indy 500 when Jacques Villeneuve won, and that's when I started watching Formula One. I knew he was going to Formula One. He really impressed me because he won that race after a two-lap penalty." (About Formula One at IMS): "Indy I like because it's more free; it's more open here. You can see from all different vantage points. I like that."

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06/15/07
f1

Q and A with Lewis Hamilton
Below are select quotes from Lewis Hamilton’s appearance on “Formula One Live,” a three-hour pre-race show on SPEED leading up to this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis. Hamilton, a 22-year-old driver for McLaren Mercedes, is leading the points in the FIA Formula One World Championship after just his seventh career start.

SPEED: What has been the biggest step from going to karting to GP2 to Formula One?

HAMILTON: Getting to Formula One has been an amazing journey. I’ve been racing for 13 years. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of pressure on me to perform every year … being supported by McLaren and Mercedes. They’ve always wanted me to succeed. I remember speaking to Ron (Dennis) last year and saying ‘I want to be in Formula One … I think I am ready.’ He said you have to win the (GP2) championship convincingly and blah, blah, blah … I think I won it convincingly and they gave me the opportunity.

But when you get here, it’s such a big step in terms of the attention that you get … the media … the whole weekend is all planned out, so that you are rushing here and there for sponsor events, media events … on race day, you are trying to balance it all and keep your cool, but make sure you give plenty of time to everyone else. It’s all about making sure you store as much energy as possible. You know if you’re speaking to someone that you really don’t want to speak to and they are doing your head in, you’re wasting energy. When you are on the race weekend, you need to maximize all your energy and use it on the track. It’s 50-60 percent mental and the rest physical … it’s about making sure you keep that balance, and a half an hour before the race, I really need to sit down, get into the zone and then get out there and do my job.

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06/15/07
f1

Kubica sidelined, BMW’s Vettel to race
(GMM) Robert Kubica will sit out the US grand prix this weekend, it emerged on Thursday.

The Pole, who was hospitalized with a sprained ankle, minor bruising and mild concussion after his huge accident in Montreal four days ago, told reporters on Thursday that he is feeling no ill-effects and wanted to race at Indianapolis.

But after a thorough examination by the FIA's medical team inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's medical centre in the afternoon, it was decided that 22-year-old Kubica should not return to the wheel of his BMW-Sauber so soon.

His place will be taken by BMW test driver Sebastian Vettel, who will make his grand prix debut on Sunday at the age of 19.

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06/15/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates (new items) shown in red below.

06/14/07
  • Indy wants deal, Bernie says US 'not vital'
  • Ralf dislikes Indy, but carmakers need US
  • India bags preliminary deal for F1 race
  • Lewis wins over Woods, not Letterman
  • No more crashes, Spyker warns drivers
  • Kimi predicts tough times for Hamilton
  • Now Rosberg slams new safety car rules
  • Hot and probably dry weather for US GP
  • Toyota fix suspension part - Trulli New
  • Asphalt slowed Ferrari in Monaco, Montreal - Massa New
  • BMW stronger than Ferrari - Heidfeld New

Indy wants deal, Bernie says US 'not vital'
(GMM) Organizers of the Indianapolis race want a long-term deal but Bernie Ecclestone said this week that formula one can live without the US.

Associated Press reports that the famous Motor Speedway's boss Tony George will meet with F1 supremo Ecclestone this weekend, as the race's current contract is set to run out.

"I think uncertainty is tough for everybody and more importantly for the fans, from a business standpoint. I think now is the time for discussion of a longer term agreement," said Joie Chitwood, the Indy circuit's president.

A mere one year contract to cover 2007 was signed last year, as the fallout of the farcical six-car grand prix in 2005 was still being felt.

76-year-old Ecclestone, meanwhile, hints constantly that he has other options even within the United States, and it is probably no coincidence that India is now boasting about having a grand prix deal for 2009 even though no contract has been signed.

"The problem is that in the States we don't have that many sponsors, there are no teams and only one driver," Bernie said.

"There is no mainstream TV coverage and only four races are shown live. Of course F1 would like to be in the United States, but it is not vital. There are bigger markets in other parts of the world."

Ralf dislikes Indy, but carmakers need US
(GMM) Ralf Schumacher says he doesn't like the F1 layout at Indianapolis and would be happy if he no longer had to race at the current venue for the US grand prix.

The German has never scored a point here and has twice been injured following heavy crashes on the famous banked curve.

"I think formula one does not belong to an oval or kind of oval," the newspaper Indianapolis Star quoted him as saying at a golf function on Wednesday.

Even 31-year-old Schumacher, however, does not go as far as Bernie Ecclestone in reckoning that F1 can live without the US.

Ralf drives for Toyota; a global car manufacturer for which there is a huge market in the States. The majority of the luxury sports cars built at Maranello by Ferrari, meanwhile, are bought by Americans.

Mercedes-Benz has also declared its strong desire to stay in America, and BMW's Mario Theissen said this week: "The US grand prix is of key importance in so far as the United States is our biggest market.

"We sell more cars here than in Germany and also have our biggest production sites outside Germany."

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06/15/07
irl

IRL slams Carpenter
IndyCar Series officials have fined driver Ed Carpenter for violating Rule 8-3-A of the IndyCar Series rulebook, improper conduct. Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 Vision Racing car, was fined an undisclosed amount for using inappropriate language during an interview at the June 9 event at Texas Motor Speedway.

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06/15/07
f1

Kubica sidelined, BMW’s Vettel to race (UPDATE)
(GMM) Robert Kubica will sit out the US grand prix this weekend despite passing the FIA's cognitive and physical examination on Thursday.

The Pole, who was hospitalized with a sprained ankle, minor bruising and mild concussion after his huge accident in Montreal four days ago, told reporters on Thursday that he is feeling no ill-effects and wants to race at Indianapolis.

But after the exam led by the FIA's medical delegate Gary Hartstein inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's medical centre in the afternoon, it was decided that 22-year-old Kubica should not return to the wheel of his BMW-Sauber for risk that a second accident so soon after a concussion could cause serious injury.

He will be examined again at Magny Cours in two weeks but, given that he passed both the cognitive and physical elements of the FIA tests here, it is almost certain that Kubica will resume his seat for the French grand prix.

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06/15/07
f1

Alonso outburst ’strange’ says Hamilton
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Thursday dismissed Fernando Alonso's suggestion this week that McLaren favor him because he is English.

The 22-year-old, who had sparked his own media furor after Monaco by claiming that it was he who is the Woking based team's "number two", now insists that McLaren pushes both drivers to win.

Referring to Alonso's controversial comments, championship leader Hamilton - who was nearly half an hour late for the FIA press conference - said in Indianapolis: "I don't know why he would say that but I guess because he is Spanish and I am English he might feel that way but I don't agree with it personally."

The Canadian GP winner speculates that Alonso, the winner of the past two drivers' championships, probably didn't expect to be challenged so hard for the 2007 title by a rookie teammate.

Hamilton, who revealed that he received 200 SMS messages after winning in Montreal, added: "But I don't know if that is why he is saying what he is saying.

"He has not really been challenged. He's had some challenges, but not someone as close as me and as good a friend off the track (as me). So it is a very difficult situation."

Former McLaren driver David Coulthard, meanwhile, rejected theories that Alonso is failing to cope with pressure.

Rather, the formula one veteran and Red Bull racer said the Spaniard is "still making mistakes" as he adapts to the Bridgestone tires.

"That's not easy," Coulthard wrote in his column for ITV.

"They give you a totally different feel, a different balance. It's like a man learning to wear high heel shoes."

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06/15/07
cca

Drive Energy Soda partners with Jensen MotorSport and Frankie Muniz
Montreal, Canada – Mood Brands is pleased to announce an exclusive partnership with Champ Car Atlantic team Jensen MotorSport. Beginning in Cleveland June 22nd – 24th, Drive Energy Soda logos will be featured on both Jensen MotorSport race cars of drivers Tom Sutherland and Frankie Muniz.

“What a thrill to extend our existing relationship with Champ Car by sponsoring such an up and coming team,” said Brion Ware, President of Mood Brands. “Drive will be all over the track in Cleveland, on Tom and Frankie’s cars along with our Official Energy Soda of the Cleveland Grand Prix sponsorship."

“There is a terrific match between the Drive Energy Soda and Jensen MotorSport brands”, said team owner Eric Jensen. “The celebrity and youth of our drivers is a good match for the brand positioning of Drive Energy Soda, and the lifestyle events that our team frequently hosts will provide race fans a good opportunity to sample Drive product.”

Drive Energy Soda and Jensen MotorSport are also planning a launch event in Cleveland, as well as continued sponsorship at the Toronto and Edmonton races on the Champ Car schedule.

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06/15/07
nascar

GM’s Dewar on Earnhardt Jr decision
Statement from Brent Dewar; General Motors North America Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Parts regarding Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining Hendrick Motorsports

"Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been synonymous with the modern era of Chevy Motorsports with his 17 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series victories and two NASCAR Busch Series championships, all powered by the legendary small-block Chevy V8.

"Dale, Jr. has a choice in his future direction. We are proud he chose to stay with Team Chevy - the winningest name in motorsports with 609 wins and 30 championships - to pursue his championship bid. On behalf of General Motors and Chevrolet, congratulations to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports on the announcement of their partnership. They epitomize the Chevy spirit of competition. We wish them success as they embark on their new relationship."  GM Racing

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06/15/07
f1

Give marshals speed guns, DC tells FIA
(GMM) Amid all the complaints about F1's new safety car rules, David Coulthard is the first pundit to actually propose an alternative system.

Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg in Montreal were the main victims of the new-for-2007 ruling, whereby the pit lane is immediately closed upon the deployment of the safety car.

Both racers were out of fuel and had to pit, but were still punished with stop-go penalties.

In the name of safety, the purpose of the rule is to prevent runners from charging to the pits at full speed to make an advantageous pit stop in the moments immediately following the deployment of the safety car.

The most experienced driver on the grid, however, said the implications of the system are "just too random" for a multi-million dollar sport.

"I think it is dangerous for the sport's future," Red Bull's Coulthard wrote in his column for ITV.

The Scot suggests that the FIA should not close the pits but give hand-held speed guns to marshals around the track.

Coulthard explained: "I think we should introduce a fixed speed limit on the track when the SC comes out.

"Then anyone who goes above what is defined as the speed limit gets a penalty.

"It would be the same for everyone, it wouldn't affect fuel strategies, and it means that people wouldn't get penalized unfairly."

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06/15/07
f1

USGP: Thursday Press Conference

Participating: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), Heikki Kovalainen (Renault), Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), Takuma Sato (Super Aguri), Scott Speed (Toro Rosso), Jarno Trulli (Toyota).

Q. Takuma, your feelings after your excellent race in Canada.

Takuma Sato: Yes, first of all, it's great that nobody was hurt in the last race, demonstrating that Formula One's safety level is so high after a lot of investigation a few years ago. That was the very first point that I had to make, and a big thanks to the teams. Personally, our team feeling is absolutely fantastic, that was an outstanding result for our team in the last one and half years.

Obviously, it was a difficult race, so many things happened and such an eventful race and given the choice, I think everybody has got a chance, and everybody had slight difficulty, but at the end of the day, we made the right call. It was so exciting to race on the last few laps. I got my position back which was really exciting, I am very very happy with that.

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06/15/07
f1

Kubica feels he is fit to drive
BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica says he feels fit enough to begin racing at the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis this weekend less than a week after his horrific crash in Montreal. In an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper Thursday, the 22-year-old Pole said he wanted to race, but the decision now rested with the chief medical officer of Formula One's governing body FIA.

"The important thing is that my head is all right," said Kubica, indicating that he had no psychological problems about racing following last Sunday's huge crash.

"I am in no pain, my head is clear and I can concentrate. Only my ankle is not in perfect shape, but it doesn't bother me."

The first practice sessions for Sunday's race will begin on Friday. BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said the team would accept whatever the chief medical officer decides in Indianapolis Thursday.

"I hope I get the chance in Indy. That's the best way to return to reality," said Kubica.

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06/15/07
f1

Schumacher slams Indy track
Formula One driver Ralf Schumacher would prefer the U.S. Grand Prix be run somewhere other than Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I personally don't like this track," Schumacher said Wednesday after a golf outing at Brickyard Crossing, ". . . because I think Formula One does not belong to an oval or kind of oval. That's not our style of racing."

Schumacher, 31, has yet to score a point in six Indianapolis starts. He has wrecked twice, including a 2005 practice crash that kept him out of the USGP.

Asked what he could do to change his mind-set about this track, Schumacher quipped, "Well, if you find another place in the U.S. to host the grand prix, I guess.

"Formula One needs to be in the U.S. and hopefully we can have a second race in a different spot. It's a shame really with the American people, obviously with the racing they have over here, we find it difficult to entertain them in the way we're used to, but I think Formula One is something special and I hope that soon across the country (fans) will find that out."

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06/15/07
f1

Hamilton outburst a ’mistake’ - Dennis
(GMM) Ron Dennis has described championship leader Lewis Hamilton's comments after the recent Monaco grand prix as a "mistake".

McLaren came under intense media and even FIA scrutiny after the prestigious Monte Carlo race primarily because Hamilton suggested he finished second due to the fact that he is the team's "number two" driver.

He then turned up in Montreal last week declaring that Dennis' treatment of himself and world champion teammate Fernando Alonso is "very, very level and very equal", only for Alonso to insist following Hamilton's Canadian win that it is actually he who gets the substandard treatment at McLaren.

Team boss Dennis said: "I think both drivers are highly polished in and out of the car and, obviously, Lewis makes the odd mistake when dealing with the ferocious nature of the media

"But he's learning quick and he's becoming very professional at dealing with the inevitable efforts of the media to get the sound bite."

22-year-old Hamilton said he was "surprised" about how his Monaco comments had been "blown up" and detracted from the one-two finish.

The rookie insisted: "I just don't want it to affect the karma in the team. I have equal opportunity to win the championship. Absolutely."

Comment
06/15/07
lmes
alms

Rain to change qualifying strategy at LeMans
With the forecast for tonight’s qualifying session still up in the air, some American Le Mans Series teams at the 24 Hours of Le Mans were evaluating their strategy in the time leading to the 7 p.m. green flag. Rain damped the circuit in the mid-afternoon with skies threatening to open again later in the day.

The track time on the wet surface looms large as the weekend forecast is calling for more rain Saturday and Sunday.

At Risi Competizione, the team was swapping out engines in both of the Ferrari F430 GTs. “It’s a standard thing,” said team manager David Sims. By putting the race engines in for tonight’s session, Risi has extra time to shake them down and make any adjustments should they arise prior to Saturday’s warm-up.

The two factory Corvette C6.Rs from Corvette Racing will go out to test their defogging system as the cars are equipped with air conditioning. With rain expected throughout the race, the testing no doubt will come in handy.

Meanwhile the Flying Lizard crew plan to do at least a few laps, if for no other reason than to get some time in the new Porsche Type 997 in the wet. Team LNT’s two Panoz Esperante GTLMs were expected to run Pirelli’s rain tires, which crew members have said is superior to Michelin wets.

With the tremendous amount of torque originating from its 5.5-liter V12 turbo diesel engine, Audi’s three R10 TDIs figure to be tricky to handle in the rain, as well as the Peugeot diesels.

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06/15/07
cc

New presenting sponsor for Cleveland GP UPDATE CLEVELAND - The Grand Prix of Cleveland announced today that LaSalle Bank is the new presenting sponsor of the event, which will officially be called the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank. The annual Northeast Ohio tradition returns to Burke Lakefront Airport on June 22-24.

"It is a pleasure to welcome LaSalle Bank as the presenting sponsor of the newly-named Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank," said Michael T. Lanigan, CEO of the Grand Prix. "Having the support of the business community is vital to the success of our event, so could not be happier LaSalle Bank has chosen to make this investment in the Grand Prix. We are looking forward to a long and successful relationship with LaSalle Bank"

LaSalle Bank in the Community
Since 1999, LaSalle Bank has served the Cleveland-area community, providing all of the commercial banking services that growing, middle-market companies need.  In addition, LaSalle Bank's corporate philanthropy program is committed to providing residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations in the area with the resources and assistance necessary to be healthy, vibrant members of the community. With one of the largest corporate volunteer programs in the Midwest, many LaSalle Bank employees are involved with a number of organizations, including the Ohio Cancer Research Associates; Cleveland State Department of Athletics; Center for Families & Children, Cleveland Indians Charities, The Gathering Place, Hiram House, United Way of Lake County, Lupus Foundation, USS Cod, Harvest for Hunger, Cleveland Sports Commission and the Association of Ohio Commodores.

About LaSalle Bank
LaSalle Bank N.A. is among the country's largest regional banks with headquarters in Chicago and a presence in 23 states. In Ohio, LaSalle provides sophisticated commercial banking and commercial real estate products and services throughout the state with regional offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.

Parent company LaSalle Bank Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, has more than USD 124 billion in assets.  It is an indirect subsidiary of Netherlands-based ABN AMRO Bank N.V., a leading international bank with total assets of EUR 999 bln.  ABN AMRO operates more than 4,500 branches in 53 countries, and has a staff of more than 110,000 full-time employees worldwide.

For more information on the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank contact the event's downtown business office at (216) 619-RACE (7223) or visit www.grandprixofcleveland.com.

06/14/07 Commercials are running this morning on local TV announcing the Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by LaSalle Bank.

Comment
06/14/07
lmes
alms

Thursday rain means LeMans grid locked in
As expected, Thursday’s rain dampened the second night of practice and qualifying for the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So the qualifying times from Wednesday night will set the grid for Saturday’s green flag of the world’s most famous auto race, at least throughout most of the field. Many teams, including those from the American Le Mans Series, set out Thursday night to refine their wet race setup as more rain loomed in the forecast for the weekend.

Peugeot will start from pole position as Stephane Sarrazin’s time of 3:26.344 stood after the quickest time of any car Thursday was nearly 35 seconds slower. That left Allan McNish and Audi on the outside front row as the German marque seeks its second straight Le Mans win with diesel power.

In addition, Adrian Fernandez will start from the point in LMP2 for Barazi Epsilon and the factory Zytek in the Mexican star’s first trip to Le Mans.

McNish turned in the quickest time Thursday at 4:01.257 late in the day’s second session. The track remained wet throughout, which kept the times up. Only three cars were in the 4:01 range: McNish, Sebastien Bourdais and Lucas Luhr in the third of the Audis.

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06/14/07
nascar

Busch calls Hendrick a liar
On Thursday Kyle Busch, the driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will replace next year, pretty much called owner Rick Hendrick a liar on a Sirius satellite-radio call-in show.

According to Hendrick, he and Busch mutually agreed that leaving the team would be best for both parties. Hendrick also said Busch told him other teams had approached him. A gracious statement was issued in Busch’s name at the same time the press conference announcing Earnhardt’s hiring was taking place. Not so, said Busch.

“Well, you know, this is all brand new,” said Busch. “I hadn’t talked or discussed or done anything with any other team. There had been a rumor that flew around that I was unhappy at Hendrick Motorsports, which was untrue. I was just frustrated with the way things were going, that I wasn’t able to get results. We had been running good and been fast everywhere, but we just had some bad luck and were crashing, and whatever. That rumor started, and then after that rumor, it was that I was getting offers from other teams, which, I had never talked to anybody.”

Busch said he hadn’t been given any indication that he wouldn’t be back at Hendrick until Monday.

Comment
06/14/07
irl

Firestone to serve as presenting sponsor of Detroit Indy GP
The 150th IndyCar Series race -- on the Belle Isle course Sept. 2 -- will have Firestone as the presenting sponsor.

The Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone will be the first IndyCar Series race on the revamped circuit in Detroit. Firestone is the official tire of the IndyCar Series.

"This race gives us an excellent opportunity to increase exposure for our brand in a key automotive industry market," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Motorsports for Bridgestone. "Our Original Equipment group is based in Detroit, and they have taken an active role in promoting the event and are utilizing it as a platform for community-oriented activities."

Spectators can watch the action for free on Aug. 31, compliments of Comerica Bank.

Free Prix Day presented by Comerica Bank brings back a long-standing Detroit Grand Prix tradition of allowing fans to come and watch all of the racing and entertainment options available on the opening day of activity free of charge. Meijer will sponsor the Meijer Family Fun Zone, a family-friendly area that will feature exhibits and interactive displays for both children and adults that will operate all weekend.

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06/14/07
f1

Kubica sidelined, BMW's Vettel to race (UPDATE)
(GMM) Robert Kubica will sit out the US grand prix this weekend despite passing the FIA's cognitive and physical examination on Thursday.

The Pole, who was hospitalised with a sprained ankle, minor bruising and mild concussion after his huge accident in Montreal four days ago, told reporters on Thursday that he is feeling no ill-effects and wants to race at Indianapolis.

But after the exam led by the FIA's medical delegate Gary Hartstein inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's medical centre in the afternoon, it was decided that 22-year-old Kubica should not return to the wheel of his BMW-Sauber for risk that a second accident so soon after a concussion could cause serious injury.

He will be examined again at Magny Cours in two weeks but, given that he passed both the cognitive and physical elements of the FIA tests here, it is almost certain that Kubica will resume his seat for the French grand prix.

Read more & Comment...
06/14/07
irl

IRL slams Carpenter
IndyCar Series officials have fined driver Ed Carpenter for violating Rule 8-3-A of the IndyCar Series rulebook, improper conduct. Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 Vision Racing car, was fined an undisclosed amount for using inappropriate language during an interview at the June 9 event at Texas Motor Speedway.

Comment
06/14/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates (new items) shown in red below.

06/14/07
  • Indy wants deal, Bernie says US 'not vital'
  • Ralf dislikes Indy, but carmakers need US
  • India bags preliminary deal for F1 race
  • Lewis wins over Woods, not Letterman
  • No more crashes, Spyker warns drivers
  • Kimi predicts tough times for Hamilton
  • Now Rosberg slams new safety car rules
  • Hot and probably dry weather for US GP
  • Toyota fix suspension part - Trulli New
  • Asphalt slowed Ferrari in Monaco, Montreal - Massa New
  • BMW stronger than Ferrari - Heidfeld New

Indy wants deal, Bernie says US 'not vital'
(GMM) Organizers of the Indianapolis race want a long-term deal but Bernie Ecclestone said this week that formula one can live without the US.

Associated Press reports that the famous Motor Speedway's boss Tony George will meet with F1 supremo Ecclestone this weekend, as the race's current contract is set to run out.

"I think uncertainty is tough for everybody and more importantly for the fans, from a business standpoint. I think now is the time for discussion of a longer term agreement," said Joie Chitwood, the Indy circuit's president.

A mere one year contract to cover 2007 was signed last year, as the fallout of the farcical six-car grand prix in 2005 was still being felt.

76-year-old Ecclestone, meanwhile, hints constantly that he has other options even within the United States, and it is probably no coincidence that India is now boasting about having a grand prix deal for 2009 even though no contract has been signed.

"The problem is that in the States we don't have that many sponsors, there are no teams and only one driver," Bernie said.

"There is no mainstream TV coverage and only four races are shown live. Of course F1 would like to be in the United States, but it is not vital. There are bigger markets in other parts of the world."

Ralf dislikes Indy, but carmakers need US
(GMM) Ralf Schumacher says he doesn't like the F1 layout at Indianapolis and would be happy if he no longer had to race at the current venue for the US grand prix.

The German has never scored a point here and has twice been injured following heavy crashes on the famous banked curve.

"I think formula one does not belong to an oval or kind of oval," the newspaper Indianapolis Star quoted him as saying at a golf function on Wednesday.

Even 31-year-old Schumacher, however, does not go as far as Bernie Ecclestone in reckoning that F1 can live without the US.

Ralf drives for Toyota; a global car manufacturer for which there is a huge market in the States. The majority of the luxury sports cars built at Maranello by Ferrari, meanwhile, are bought by Americans.

Mercedes-Benz has also declared its strong desire to stay in America, and BMW's Mario Theissen said this week: "The US grand prix is of key importance in so far as the United States is our biggest market.

"We sell more cars here than in Germany and also have our biggest production sites outside Germany."

Read more & Comment...
06/14/07
f1

Kubica sidelined, BMW's Vettel to race
(GMM) Robert Kubica will sit out the US grand prix this weekend, it emerged on Thursday.

The Pole, who was hospitalized with a sprained ankle, minor bruising and mild concussion after his huge accident in Montreal four days ago, told reporters on Thursday that he is feeling no ill-effects and wanted to race at Indianapolis.

But after a thorough examination by the FIA's medical team inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's medical centre in the afternoon, it was decided that 22-year-old Kubica should not return to the wheel of his BMW-Sauber so soon.

His place will be taken by BMW test driver Sebastian Vettel, who will make his grand prix debut on Sunday at the age of 19.

Comment
06/14/07
f1

Q and A with Lewis Hamilton
Below are select quotes from Lewis Hamilton’s appearance on “Formula One Live,” a three-hour pre-race show on SPEED leading up to this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis. Hamilton, a 22-year-old driver for McLaren Mercedes, is leading the points in the FIA Formula One World Championship after just his seventh career start.

SPEED: What has been the biggest step from going to karting to GP2 to Formula One?

HAMILTON: Getting to Formula One has been an amazing journey. I’ve been racing for 13 years. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of pressure on me to perform every year … being supported by McLaren and Mercedes. They’ve always wanted me to succeed. I remember speaking to Ron (Dennis) last year and saying ‘I want to be in Formula One … I think I am ready.’ He said you have to win the (GP2) championship convincingly and blah, blah, blah … I think I won it convincingly and they gave me the opportunity.

But when you get here, it’s such a big step in terms of the attention that you get … the media … the whole weekend is all planned out, so that you are rushing here and there for sponsor events, media events … on race day, you are trying to balance it all and keep your cool, but make sure you give plenty of time to everyone else. It’s all about making sure you store as much energy as possible. You know if you’re speaking to someone that you really don’t want to speak to and they are doing your head in, you’re wasting energy. When you are on the race weekend, you need to maximize all your energy and use it on the track. It’s 50-60 percent mental and the rest physical … it’s about making sure you keep that balance, and a half an hour before the race, I really need to sit down, get into the zone and then get out there and do my job.

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06/14/07
f1

USGP fans speak out on what race means to them
Quotes from selected fans about why they enjoy Formula One and the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 2007 USGP is June 15-17. Fans were interviewed June 14 during the USGP Pit Walkabout at IMS:

EDUARDO BARROS, Tamarack, Fla., native of Brazil: "It's the best category of motorsports in the world. The technology. Everything that you can imagine about cars, it's here. The best things in the world. I've been watching since I was a kid, with Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet. So this is really a dream come true, being here." (About seeing Formula One at IMS): "Everything is easy. We can have access to things that we can't get in other categories. This is really nice. It's been a really nice experience here."

SCOTT BOMBACHER, Sacramento, Calif.: "Formula One is the best. Global, highest tech, best drivers. It's full-on racing." (Do you like the international appeal of the event?): "Absolutely. You see people from Europe, from Asia, from all over. That's nice."

TINA CAMPBELL, Detroit: "I've liked Formula One for about 15 years now. I'm glad it came to the United States. I like this because it's more advanced, more high-tech. I also like the international aspect of it. I watched the Indy 500 when Jacques Villeneuve won, and that's when I started watching Formula One. I knew he was going to Formula One. He really impressed me because he won that race after a two-lap penalty." (About Formula One at IMS): "Indy I like because it's more free; it's more open here. You can see from all different vantage points. I like that."

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06/14/07
f1

USGP: Thursday Press Conference

Participating: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), Heikki Kovalainen (Renault), Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), Takuma Sato (Super Aguri), Scott Speed (Toro Rosso), Jarno Trulli (Toyota).

Q. Takuma, your feelings after your excellent race in Canada.

Takuma Sato: Yes, first of all, it's great that nobody was hurt in the last race, demonstrating that Formula One's safety level is so high after a lot of investigation a few years ago. That was the very first point that I had to make, and a big thanks to the teams. Personally, our team feeling is absolutely fantastic, that was an outstanding result for our team in the last one and half years.

Obviously, it was a difficult race, so many things happened and such an eventful race and given the choice, I think everybody has got a chance, and everybody had slight difficulty, but at the end of the day, we made the right call. It was so exciting to race on the last few laps. I got my position back which was really exciting, I am very very happy with that.

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06/14/07
f1

Give marshals speed guns, DC tells FIA
(GMM) Amid all the complaints about F1's new safety car rules, David Coulthard is the first pundit to actually propose an alternative system.

Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg in Montreal were the main victims of the new-for-2007 ruling, whereby the pit lane is immediately closed upon the deployment of the safety car.

Both racers were out of fuel and had to pit, but were still punished with stop-go penalties.

In the name of safety, the purpose of the rule is to prevent runners from charging to the pits at full speed to make an advantageous pit stop in the moments immediately following the deployment of the safety car.

The most experienced driver on the grid, however, said the implications of the system are "just too random" for a multi-million dollar sport.

"I think it is dangerous for the sport's future," Red Bull's Coulthard wrote in his column for ITV.

The Scot suggests that the FIA should not close the pits but give hand-held speed guns to marshals around the track.

Coulthard explained: "I think we should introduce a fixed speed limit on the track when the SC comes out.

"Then anyone who goes above what is defined as the speed limit gets a penalty.

"It would be the same for everyone, it wouldn't affect fuel strategies, and it means that people wouldn't get penalized unfairly."

Comment
06/14/07
nascar

GM's Dewar on Earnhardt Jr decision
Statement from Brent Dewar; General Motors North America Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Parts regarding Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining Hendrick Motorsports

"Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been synonymous with the modern era of Chevy Motorsports with his 17 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series victories and two NASCAR Busch Series championships, all powered by the legendary small-block Chevy V8.

"Dale, Jr. has a choice in his future direction. We are proud he chose to stay with Team Chevy - the winningest name in motorsports with 609 wins and 30 championships - to pursue his championship bid. On behalf of General Motors and Chevrolet, congratulations to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports on the announcement of their partnership. They epitomize the Chevy spirit of competition. We wish them success as they embark on their new relationship."  GM Racing

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06/14/07
cca

Drive Energy Soda partners with Jensen MotorSport and Frankie Muniz
Montreal, Canada – Mood Brands is pleased to announce an exclusive partnership with Champ Car Atlantic team Jensen MotorSport. Beginning in Cleveland June 22nd – 24th, Drive Energy Soda logos will be featured on both Jensen MotorSport race cars of drivers Tom Sutherland and Frankie Muniz.

“What a thrill to extend our existing relationship with Champ Car by sponsoring such an up and coming team,” said Brion Ware, President of Mood Brands. “Drive will be all over the track in Cleveland, on Tom and Frankie’s cars along with our Official Energy Soda of the Cleveland Grand Prix sponsorship."

“There is a terrific match between the Drive Energy Soda and Jensen MotorSport brands”, said team owner Eric Jensen. “The celebrity and youth of our drivers is a good match for the brand positioning of Drive Energy Soda, and the lifestyle events that our team frequently hosts will provide race fans a good opportunity to sample Drive product.”

Drive Energy Soda and Jensen MotorSport are also planning a launch event in Cleveland, as well as continued sponsorship at the Toronto and Edmonton races on the Champ Car schedule.

Read more & Comment...
06/14/07
f1

Alonso outburst 'strange' says Hamilton
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Thursday dismissed Fernando Alonso's suggestion this week that McLaren favor him because he is English.

The 22-year-old, who had sparked his own media furor after Monaco by claiming that it was he who is the Woking based team's "number two", now insists that McLaren pushes both drivers to win.

Referring to Alonso's controversial comments, championship leader Hamilton - who was nearly half an hour late for the FIA press conference - said in Indianapolis: "I don't know why he would say that but I guess because he is Spanish and I am English he might feel that way but I don't agree with it personally."

The Canadian GP winner speculates that Alonso, the winner of the past two drivers' championships, probably didn't expect to be challenged so hard for the 2007 title by a rookie teammate.

Hamilton, who revealed that he received 200 SMS messages after winning in Montreal, added: "But I don't know if that is why he is saying what he is saying.

"He has not really been challenged. He's had some challenges, but not someone as close as me and as good a friend off the track (as me). So it is a very difficult situation."

Former McLaren driver David Coulthard, meanwhile, rejected theories that Alonso is failing to cope with pressure.

Rather, the formula one veteran and Red Bull racer said the Spaniard is "still making mistakes" as he adapts to the Bridgestone tires.

"That's not easy," Coulthard wrote in his column for ITV.

"They give you a totally different feel, a different balance. It's like a man learning to wear high heel shoes."

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06/14/07
cc

New presenting sponsor for Cleveland GP UPDATE CLEVELAND - The Grand Prix of Cleveland announced today that LaSalle Bank is the new presenting sponsor of the event, which will officially be called the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank. The annual Northeast Ohio tradition returns to Burke Lakefront Airport on June 22-24.

"It is a pleasure to welcome LaSalle Bank as the presenting sponsor of the newly-named Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank," said Michael T. Lanigan, CEO of the Grand Prix. "Having the support of the business community is vital to the success of our event, so could not be happier LaSalle Bank has chosen to make this investment in the Grand Prix. We are looking forward to a long and successful relationship with LaSalle Bank"

LaSalle Bank in the Community
Since 1999, LaSalle Bank has served the Cleveland-area community, providing all of the commercial banking services that growing, middle-market companies need.  In addition, LaSalle Bank's corporate philanthropy program is committed to providing residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations in the area with the resources and assistance necessary to be healthy, vibrant members of the community. With one of the largest corporate volunteer programs in the Midwest, many LaSalle Bank employees are involved with a number of organizations, including the Ohio Cancer Research Associates; Cleveland State Department of Athletics; Center for Families & Children, Cleveland Indians Charities, The Gathering Place, Hiram House, United Way of Lake County, Lupus Foundation, USS Cod, Harvest for Hunger, Cleveland Sports Commission and the Association of Ohio Commodores.

About LaSalle Bank
LaSalle Bank N.A. is among the country's largest regional banks with headquarters in Chicago and a presence in 23 states. In Ohio, LaSalle provides sophisticated commercial banking and commercial real estate products and services throughout the state with regional offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.

Parent company LaSalle Bank Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, has more than USD 124 billion in assets.  It is an indirect subsidiary of Netherlands-based ABN AMRO Bank N.V., a leading international bank with total assets of EUR 999 bln.  ABN AMRO operates more than 4,500 branches in 53 countries, and has a staff of more than 110,000 full-time employees worldwide.

For more information on the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank contact the event's downtown business office at (216) 619-RACE (7223) or visit www.grandprixofcleveland.com.

06/14/07 Commercials are running this morning on local TV announcing the Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by LaSalle Bank.

Comment
06/14/07
lmes
alms

Rain to change qualifying strategy at LeMans
With the forecast for tonight’s qualifying session still up in the air, some American Le Mans Series teams at the 24 Hours of Le Mans were evaluating their strategy in the time leading to the 7 p.m. green flag. Rain damped the circuit in the mid-afternoon with skies threatening to open again later in the day.

The track time on the wet surface looms large as the weekend forecast is calling for more rain Saturday and Sunday.

At Risi Competizione, the team was swapping out engines in both of the Ferrari F430 GTs. “It’s a standard thing,” said team manager David Sims. By putting the race engines in for tonight’s session, Risi has extra time to shake them down and make any adjustments should they arise prior to Saturday’s warm-up.

The two factory Corvette C6.Rs from Corvette Racing will go out to test their defogging system as the cars are equipped with air conditioning. With rain expected throughout the race, the testing no doubt will come in handy.

Meanwhile the Flying Lizard crew plan to do at least a few laps, if for no other reason than to get some time in the new Porsche Type 997 in the wet. Team LNT’s two Panoz Esperante GTLMs were expected to run Pirelli’s rain tires, which crew members have said is superior to Michelin wets.

With the tremendous amount of torque originating from its 5.5-liter V12 turbo diesel engine, Audi’s three R10 TDIs figure to be tricky to handle in the rain, as well as the Peugeot diesels.

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06/14/07
f1

Hamilton outburst a 'mistake' - Dennis
(GMM) Ron Dennis has described championship leader Lewis Hamilton's comments after the recent Monaco grand prix as a "mistake".

McLaren came under intense media and even FIA scrutiny after the prestigious Monte Carlo race primarily because Hamilton suggested he finished second due to the fact that he is the team's "number two" driver.

He then turned up in Montreal last week declaring that Dennis' treatment of himself and world champion teammate Fernando Alonso is "very, very level and very equal", only for Alonso to insist following Hamilton's Canadian win that it is actually he who gets the substandard treatment at McLaren.

Team boss Dennis said: "I think both drivers are highly polished in and out of the car and, obviously, Lewis makes the odd mistake when dealing with the ferocious nature of the media

"But he's learning quick and he's becoming very professional at dealing with the inevitable efforts of the media to get the sound bite."

22-year-old Hamilton said he was "surprised" about how his Monaco comments had been "blown up" and detracted from the one-two finish.

The rookie insisted: "I just don't want it to affect the karma in the team. I have equal opportunity to win the championship. Absolutely."

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06/14/07
f1

Schumacher slams Indy track
Formula One driver Ralf Schumacher would prefer the U.S. Grand Prix be run somewhere other than Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I personally don't like this track," Schumacher said Wednesday after a golf outing at Brickyard Crossing, ". . . because I think Formula One does not belong to an oval or kind of oval. That's not our style of racing."

Schumacher, 31, has yet to score a point in six Indianapolis starts. He has wrecked twice, including a 2005 practice crash that kept him out of the USGP.

Asked what he could do to change his mind-set about this track, Schumacher quipped, "Well, if you find another place in the U.S. to host the grand prix, I guess.

"Formula One needs to be in the U.S. and hopefully we can have a second race in a different spot. It's a shame really with the American people, obviously with the racing they have over here, we find it difficult to entertain them in the way we're used to, but I think Formula One is something special and I hope that soon across the country (fans) will find that out."

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06/14/07
f1

Kubica feels he is fit to drive
BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica says he feels fit enough to begin racing at the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis this weekend less than a week after his horrific crash in Montreal. In an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper Thursday, the 22-year-old Pole said he wanted to race, but the decision now rested with the chief medical officer of Formula One's governing body FIA.

"The important thing is that my head is all right," said Kubica, indicating that he had no psychological problems about racing following last Sunday's huge crash.

"I am in no pain, my head is clear and I can concentrate. Only my ankle is not in perfect shape, but it doesn't bother me."

The first practice sessions for Sunday's race will begin on Friday. BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said the team would accept whatever the chief medical officer decides in Indianapolis Thursday.

"I hope I get the chance in Indy. That's the best way to return to reality," said Kubica.

Comment
06/14/07
f1

Raikkonen really wants Indy win
It was certainly not a happy Kimi Raikkonen, the one who left Montreal after the Canadian GP, which was, on the whole, a disappointing race for him and for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. "Once again it was a very difficult race for us. We did not get the result we expected, due to all the problems we experienced; you could almost say that in the end finishing fifth was not that bad," commented Kimi. "It could have gone much, much worse out there!"

"The whole weekend was really difficult. We did not have a competitive package as we hoped for; we try as hard as ever to improve it for Indianapolis: for sure we will give it all! The race was very hectic with all the safety car periods. At the start I touched the rear wing of Felipe's car and the handling of my car was never 100%. After Kubica's accident, debris from his BMW got stuck in my front wing and I lost a lot of aerodynamic downforce and the car was really difficult to drive through the corners."

"Then I practically lost my brakes, that at a certain point I even lost one position to Sato. In the final phase of the race it was pretty difficult, not knowing when the brakes were working and when not. So in the end it was important that we got some points. While also Fernando and Felipe had some problems, I managed to reduce the gap to them. Sure, now I'm 21 points behind Hamilton, but I'm certain that there will be difficult moments even for him."

Kimi knows that this is not an easy situation for him: "The last three races have not been what I expected. We do our best to get back to the level of the first three races. I really want to win, because that would help us a lot."

In the afternoon the Finnish driver arrived in Indianapolis: "I was in Montreal for a couple of days and played some ice hockey. The best thing in Canada for me over the weekend was the meeting with the kids at Coronation School arranged by Bridgestone: It was really nice answering all their questions and I really enjoyed talking to them. It was much less enjoyable talking to the journalists after the race."

"It's difficult to say what we expect from IMS. I enjoy the circuit and it has always been a good circuit for Ferrari. There is a very long straight, where you need to have a good speed, but at the same moment the infield section is very tight and there are some corners you have to take with the smallest gears. Fortunately you are able to overtake at the end of the straight."

Kimi's last thought was about his colleague Robert Kubica: "We were really delighted to see that he was not injured. This shows the high safety standards of a modern Formula One car. I really hope he can race in Indy." Ferrari PR

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06/14/07
nascar

Earnhardt hated to say no to Gibbs and Childress
In choosing Hendrick Motorsports as what he expects will be the final team in his Nextel Cup career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned down offers from a childhood hero (Joe Gibbs) and a life-long friend (Richard Childress).
"The hardest part of the deal was telling Richard and Joe my decision," Earnhardt said. Both owners have three-car teams and could have accommodated him without losing a driver.

Earnhardt looked up to Gibbs long before the Washington Redskins coach became a car owner. "My love for the Redskins is immense," he said. "To talk to (Gibbs) about going to work for him was overwhelming."

The feelings were similar with Childress, who fielded Chevrolets for Dale Earnhardt Sr. for six of his seven championships. "He has been incredible to me," Earnhardt Jr. said.

Earnhardt also has a strong bond with new car owner Rick Hendrick, a longtime family friend. Hendrick's first win in NASCAR came in a car co-owned by Robert Gee, Earnhardt's grandfather.

When Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Earnhardt's sister and business manager, had a cancer scare, Hendrick arranged for a specialist.

Earnhardt also was close with Hendrick's son, Ricky, who died in a 2004 plane crash and once told his father that Earnhardt would drive for Hendrick Motorsports. USA Today

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06/14/07
f1

Kubica amazed at Montreal escape
(GMM)  Robert Kubica admits that he is lucky to have escaped his Canadian crash with nothing more than a limp and a big bruise on his left forearm.  Photo by LAT

In his first extensive interview since checking out of hospital on Monday, the Pole told Bild newspaper that he owes it to the FIA that he is alive.

"I have seen the video now and all I can say is that I am very happy to be able to sit here now in one piece," BMW-Sauber's 22-year-old driver said.

Kubica said he crashed when Toyota's Jarno Trulli left him with "no more room" to overtake on the outside of the flat-out kink before the Casino hairpin.

"I thought Jarno would hold his normal line but then we touched and my front wing went under the car and I lost control.

"But it happens -- there is no-one to blame.  This is motor sport, we all know the risks."

Kubica says he thinks he lost consciousness briefly after the impact but doesn't remember much about the moments after letting go of his steering wheel and folding his arms across his chest.

He looked skywards when he was asked who he thanks for being alive.

"There is no reasonable explanation for the fact that I didn't break even a finger -- you could hurt yourself more if you trip on the way up the stairs.

"If I had that crash ten years ago, we would not now be talking; so thanks to everyone at the FIA, all the safety people."

Kubica said he wants to start Sunday's US grand prix, barely a week after the 230kph shunt.

"The most important thing is that my head is alright.  I have no pain, my mind is clear and I can concentrate.

"My ankle is not in perfect shape, but it doesn't bother me -- sometimes you hurt more after a long day of testing!

"The FIA doctors will decide but I hope I can drive at Indy.  That is the best way for me to get back to real life.

"We say in Poland -- what doesn't hurt you makes you tougher.  If I wanted to play it safe, I would stay at home -- but then I would no longer be a racing driver."

Comment
06/14/07
f1

Bernie: We don't need USGP
"It is not vital to Formula One to be in the United States," the 76-year-old told Britain's Daily Express newspaper on Thursday, days ahead of him trying to close an extension deal with the USGP at Indy.

"There are bigger markets for us to be in other parts of the world. We could be in India soon instead of the United States. We don't have a lot of sponsors from the U.S., no American teams and only one driver," he added.

"I get along with (Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner) Tony George and I hope we can strike a deal, but we have offers from other places in the U.S. too."

But IMS president Joie Chitwood told the Associated Press that Tony George was keen to discuss a long-term contract with Ecclestone.

"The hope is, from the dialogue we'll have at the event, that we'll have a result whether it's here or not," Chitwood said.

"I think both parties would like to have some closure so we can let the fans know what's happening.

"I think uncertainty is tough for everybody and more importantly for the fans, from a business standpoint.

"I think now is the time for discussion of a longer term agreement.

"We don't want to continue doing one-year contracts.

"I can tell you that Tony and Bernie had a phone conversation last week and they plan to have one here this week. We're hoping to discuss the future of the event, but nothing's been resolved yet."

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06/14/07
f1

Video: ING race index for USGP
Ahead of the Grand Prix in Indianapolis on June 17, ING issues its Race Index for the US Grand Prix, assessing the circuit itself, the strain on drivers, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the ING Race Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the US Grand Prix obtains 57 points and makes it the fourteenth most difficult Grand Prix of the season.

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06/14/07
irl
alms

Detroit GP tickets go on sale
Please see the following facts, figures and information on the upcoming Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix – the Labor Day Weekend celebration bringing world-class auto racing back to the City of Detroit for the first time in six years.

WHAT: Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, featuring the cars of the American Le Mans Series and the IndyCar Series. The weekend collectively is referred to as the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Saturday’s American Le Mans Series race is the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch. Sunday’s IndyCar race is the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone.

WHEN: Labor Day weekend – August 31-September 2, 2007

WHERE: The new Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course

Read more & Comment...
06/14/07
motogp

Ducati test rider injured at Mugello
Ducati's MotoGP test rider Vittoriano Guareschi has fractured a bone in his right wrist after crashing at Mugello Wednesday.

Comment
06/14/07
cca

Sierra Sierra team 1-2 in $2M championship chase
The Sierra Sierra Enterprises team is exactly where they want to be after a strong weekend showing at the Portland International Raceway. After claiming two 2nd place finishes, James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks) holds the 2nd place spot in the championship quest, trailing teammate Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) by 17 points.

Hinchcliffe was poised for strong results going into the Mazda Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Presented by Joe’s, a 1.964-mile permanent road course. Having won this race in 2006 and being a strong rain-driver, Hinchcliffe was ready for any road conditions that presented themselves. The rain held itself back through both qualifying rounds on Friday and Saturday at which Hinchcliffe earned both pole positions– an Atlantic first.

As race time approached, so did the downpour which continued throughout race. Hinchcliffe was able to maintain 2nd place despite the conditions.

Read more & Comment...
06/14/07
cc

San Jose ticket sales outpace 2006
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said today that he would support giving a future taxpayer-funded subsidy to the San Jose Grand Prix auto race as long as the race generates enough sales and hotel tax revenue to match the amount of the subsidy.

During last year's mayoral election campaign, Reed was a vocal critic of the approximately $4 million total subsidy the race has received this year and last year from the city. However, he said the three-day event has grown to a point where it breaks even for the city in terms of the amount of tax revenue it generates for the city.

"If we're at a break-even basis this thing can continue forever," Reed said.

Grand Prix President Dale Jantzen said so far this year, ticket sales for the race are on track to outpace last year's event, which drew 155,000 people over three days.

"We're tracking ahead of where we were last year," Jantzen said.

This year Grand Prix organizers will offer free admission to its Friday events, which include practice and qualifying runs. For more information about the offer, see the race's Web site at http://www.sjgp.com.

The San Jose Grand Prix is scheduled to run from July 27-29 with the actual race scheduled for July 29. Mercury News

Comment
06/14/07
motogp

Ducati renews Stoner
MotoGP world championship leader Casey Stoner has extended his contract with Ducati until the end of the 2008 season, the Australian Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

"We plan for Casey to be with Ducati in 2008," team boss Livio Suppo said.

"Casey has renewed with Ducati for 2008 and we are already talking about the future and I envisage that by the end of this season we will have something concrete for 2009 and 2010," Colin Stoner said.

"Both parties are happy to continue. We don't want to go anywhere and Ducati don't want Casey to go anywhere."

Comment
06/14/07
f1

Now can Hamilton win over the USA?
Lewis Hamilton, it seems, has not yet conquered the world. A stampede of TV cameras confirms his status as one of the planet’s most desirable interviewees but it’s not enough to excite the doyen of American talk shows.

David Letterman’s eponymous Late Show was given the chance to talk to Britain’s Formula One phenomenon on CBS but they turned it down.

Their reasoning was that Dario Franchitti, the Indy 500 winner from Scotland, was on recently and you can have too much of a good thing.

Snubbed once in the States, Hamilton is determined to triumph in Sunday’s American Grand Prix at Indianapolis — self-styled, with typical American understatement, as the ‘Motor Racing Capital of the World’.

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