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LeMans: 12 Hour update (1/2 mark) LeMans: 12 Hour update (1/2 mark)LE MANS, France – The 74th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is halfway complete, and American Le Mans Series teams lead two classes with another entry second in class. Audi maintained the overall lead it has held since the start of the race, and Aston Martin Racing continued to hold off Corvette Racing in a close GT1 battle.

Emanuele Pirro was at the wheel of the diesel-powered No. 8 Audi R10 TDI after 12 hours with a two-lap lead over the No. 17 Pescarolo Sport. Pirro, Frank Biela and Marco Werner had a relatively trouble-free first half as the car ran quickly and smoothly for 189 laps.

The second diesel-powered Audi prototype of Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen continued to fight maladies, but it still remained in fourth place overall at 5 a.m. local time. The two Audis are the only cars consistently running below 3:40. zzzz

Audi is trying to become the first manufacturer to win at Le Mans with a diesel engine. Already, the R10 TDI has been victorious at Sebring, and the two cars will return to North America and the American Le Mans Series starting in mid-July at Salt Lake City's Miller Motorsports Park.

Meanwhile in GT1, Pedro Lamy in Aston Martin Racing’s No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9 was two minutes ahead of Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and the No. 64 Corvette C6.R in the tightest battle on the track. The two cars ran close through the first half, neither car able to run away from the other. The fourth-place car, the No. 007 Aston Martin DBR9, was two laps back. It was followed by Corvette Racing’s No. 63 entry, then the ACEMCO Motorsports S7R.

Miracle Motorsports moved up to second place in LMP2 by the halfway point. The AER-powered Courage C65 continued to run smooth and consistent laps as other cars in class spent significant time in the pits and running slow on course. One of those was Intersport Racing’s Lola B05/40-AER, which made seven pit stops in the first hour before changing a wastegate and then had transmission issues. The 2004 class winner at Le Mans was sixth in class.

In GT2, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing was the highest-placing Series team in sixth after experiencing multiple spins on the track. Next was Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Porsche, which was 10th. Seth Neiman repaired a broken electrical connection at the starter just past 1 a.m., and the continued to attempt fast laps. The Panoz Esperante GTLM of Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz had retired with fuel pick-up problems that surfaced two-and-a-half hours in.

12 Hour Standings

Kaeding wins by wide margin over 13-car field Kaeding wins by wide margin over 13-car field[Editor's Note: The new Superspeedway USA Silver Crown cars continue to be rejected by teams as again only 13 cars started this race.] Bud Kaeding of Campbell, Calif. scored the second largest margin of victory in Kentucky Speedway history Friday, winning the USAC Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering “Kentucky 100.”

Kaeding, who set the event’s fast time and was fastest in the preceding practice, took command on Lap 31 of the 67-lap race and beat Wayne Reutimann Jr. by 17.576 seconds, scoring his second career series victory and first ever on pavement.

The race came the night before the “Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo” NASCAR Busch Series race.

“It was just an awesome opportunity to race on a track like this in front of the NASCAR Busch Series owners,” said Kaeding, who averaged 140.043 mph in his No. 29 Team ASE/Loan City DRC/Shaver. “That’s what we want – for those owners to see us and maybe pick up a ride.”

Tyler zipped into the lead from his third starting position, diving underneath front row starters Kaeding and Reutimann going into Turn 1 of the initial lap. Despite two cautions in the first 10 laps, Tyler held the advantage until Lap 30, keeping Kaeding at bay after the eventual winner attempt to pass on the outside. zzzz

But a caution on Lap 25 – the final one of the evening – bunched the field, and Kaeding roared past Tyler on the Lap 30 restart, starting his dominance.

Lap after lap, Kaeding added second by second. Kaeding’s advantage stretched to more than four seconds by Lap 40, and entered double digits seven laps later.

The largest margin between Kaeding and second-place runner Reutimann was 21.247 seconds before the crew radioed to him to ease off. Reutimann had taken second from Tyler on Lap 48.

“It’s fortunate for our team, because our team has worked so hard all year,” said Kaeding, who shares ownership of the car with NASCAR Busch regular Jason Leffler. “I had no clue we had a lead like that. We were fortunate that we could get out of the throttle a bit.”

Trailing Reutimann, whose second-place finish is a career best, were Tim Barber, Tyler and Cole Carter. Barber’s third matched a career best, while Carter’s set a career best in his initial pavement series start.
Former USAC Silver Crown Series champion Mike Bliss set the track’s margin of victory record in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, winning the 2002 “Built Ford Tough 225” by 18.197 seconds.

Two of the three cautions were caused by oil leaks on the track; the other was for a bad restart.

By virtue of his victory, Kaeding leaves Kentucky with a 15-point lead over Tyler heading into the June 24 “Richmond Times-Dispatch 100” at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

Notes from Portland Notes from PortlandToday’s qualifying session saw the first three qualifiers separated by .015 seconds, the closest session since the 2002 event at Chicago Motor Speedway when Dario Franchitti, Alex Tagliani and Cristiano da Matta also qualified within .015 seconds of each other.
Bruno Junqueira became the 15th different driver in the last 15 seasons to win a pole at Portland International Raceway. Emerson Fittipaldi (1992-93) is the last driver to win more than one pole at Portland.
Bruno Junqueira starts from pole tomorrow and has two runner-up finishes in Portland but has never led a Champ Car lap in Portland.
Dan Clarke’s sixth-place qualifying result is the best for a Champ Car rookie since Andrew Ranger started fourth at Cleveland last year.
The command of ‘Drivers Start Your Engines’ tomorrow will be given via satellite from Afghanistan as members of the Oregon National Guard’s ‘Task Force Phoenix V’ will give the command. Champ Car
Rahal wins 2nd straight pole Rahal wins 2nd straight pole
LeMans: 11 Hour update LeMans: 11 Hour updateThe Audi R10 diesel continues to hold a 4-lap lead over the Pescarolo and the Corvette team is just one lap behind the Aston Martin team for the GT1 class. 11 Hour Standings  | Saturday Photos
LeMans: Audi, Aston Martin lead at 8 hour mark LeMans: Audi, Aston Martin lead at 8 hour markLE MANS, France – The No. 8 Audi R10 TDI continued to lead, and GT1 saw a lead change after several hours of thrilling racing as the eighth hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans concluded Sunday morning. Those teams, and others from the American Le Mans Series, continued their strong steady runs into the early morning.

The No. 009 Aston Martin Racing DBR9 moved past the leading Corvette C6.R for the class lead during a round of pit stops, and Pedro Lamy drove to an advantage of nearly a minute over Olivier Beretta just past midnight. By the eight-hour mark, the lead had grown to two minutes.

“The car was really good throughout my stint,” said Stephane Sarrazin, who along with Stephane Ortelli are partnering with Lamy. “I was able to continue with a good pace, although I was held up in traffic quite a lot. The only problem I had was when a stone got caught under my throttle pedal, resulting in it staying open on one lap at the chicane. But so far so good.” zzzz

Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen had led for much of the first third of the French classic in their effort for three straight class wins. Aston Martin Racing, after a win at Sebring last year, was hoping for a victory in front of a legion of English fans.

The other Corvette Racing entry, No. 63, was fifth in class and four laps down after an early off. Also lapping in the night was the No. 66 ACEMCO Motorsports S7R (fifth in class) and the No. 63 Corvette C6.R (seventh).

Up front, the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI of Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner were three laps clear of the second-place Pescarolo entry. Driving a smooth and trouble-free race through 1 a.m., the Audi consistently was lapping well below the 3:40 mark.

After spending nearly 30 minutes in the pits to replace a fuel filter and ECU black box, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish made up 13 positions in more than three hours and continued to work their way back to a possible podium position. Both drivers posted laps in the 3:32 range – Kristensen’s top lap was a race-best 3:31.211 – as the No. 7 car climbed to third at the 7:30 mark.

Audi is trying to become the first manufacturer to win at Le Mans with a diesel engine. Already, the R10 TDI has been victorious at Sebring, and the two cars will return to North America and the American Le Mans Series starting in mid-July at Salt Lake City's Miller Motorsports Park.

In LMP2, the KUMHO-shod Miracle Motorsports Courage C65-AER moved up to third in class at eight hours with Andy Lally, John Macaluso and Ian James running a steady and consistent pace. “We’ve been double stinting the tires and they’re wearing very well,” said KUMHO Tire USA motorsports manager Rudy Consolacion. “The tire temps have been right where we want them, and we’re discussing whether to triple stint the tires during the night. That decision will basically depend on the driver.”

After making seven pit stops in the first hour and changing a wastegate, Intersport Racing had climbed to fifth in P2. But the AER-powered Lola B05/40 spent considerable time in the pits with a transmission leak. The team continued to work past the eight-hour mark.

In GT2, the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche was running fifth in class before a spin right at 1 a.m. moved it back a spot. Next was the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche in seventh position, but the car stalled on track with what the team thought to be a dead battery shortly thereafter. The Panoz Esperante GTLM of Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz had retired with fuel pick-up problems that surfaced two-and-a-half hours in.

German F3
Two wins in one weekend for Chinese driver Two wins in one weekend for Chinese driverNürburgring – The young Dutch-Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung had a busy weekend scoring points, wins and fastest laps. This weekend the Nürburgring was the venue for round 9 and 10 of the Recaro Formula 3 cup. This season so far the former Formula BMW Champion has won half the races he has competed and this weekend he scored 23 points out of the possible maximum 24 points. Ho-Pin:” This was a perfect weekend. I came here two points behind in the championship and I am leaving here with a nine points margin”.

Ho-Pin finished the first qualifying session at the Nürburgring during the 24-hour weekend in second place, behind JB Motorsport teammate Ferdinand Kool. Marcello Thomaz and Joey Foster will start the race from the second row, behind the two yellow Lolas. The Dutch Chinese driver will start the second race from pole position, with Thomaz and Natacha Gachnang behind him. zzzz

HO-PIN: “I am satisfied despite the fact that I could have gone faster. During my fastest lap a slower driver cost me some time at the hairpin. The JB Motorsport team has done a good job because my teammate and me are filling the front row of the starting grid. During the second qualifying session my lap time was not great but due to the slippery track and yellow flags nobody could beat my time and I ended up in pole position."

Early Saturday morning the first race of the weekend at the Nürburgring started. JB Motorsport teammate Ferdinand Kool, starting from pole position had a terrible start and Ho-Pin Tung could lead Joey Foster who had a very good start into the first corner. For a moment Foster put some pressure on the leader but Ho-Pin was able to open a gap and drive very good lap times including the fastest lap of the race. The race was won by Ho-Pin with Joey Foster and Ferdinand Kool in second and third place.

HO-PIN: “Great, the race went really well! My start was not great but Ferdinand's start was even worse so I still could go as the leader into the first corner. Foster followed me into the first corner but I could drive very consistent fast lap times and win the race”.

Starting from pole position Ho-Pin drove away from the rest of the field in dominant fashion. Over 150.000 spectators witnessed a very dominant win by the Dutch-Chinese driver who increased his lead with every lap he drove and again he collected the bonus point for driving the fastest lap of the race before sharing the champagne on the podium with Marcello Thomaz and Natacha Gachnang.

HO-PIN: “My start was not very good and had to use the clutch again but I think nobody's start was great because I was first by the end of the lap. I was able to pull away from the rest of the field and win the race thanks to the JB Motorsport team who also worked very hard for this result”.

Night reigns at LeMans: 6 and 7 Hour mark Night reigns at LeMans: 6 and 7 Hour markJust before the top of the sixth hour, the leader in LMP2 class, No.25 RML Lola AER made an unscheduled stop. Their lead was just over a lap and after a few adjustments went back out to resume the fight. Out of the fight, with a blown engine resulting from an oil leak, was the No.85 Spyker Squadron B.V. C8 after completing only 40 laps in the first 6 hours.

Allan McNish has kept the No.7 Audi Sport Team Joest R10 on a fierce pace, moving the car up to fifth place overall, but still 6 laps behind teammate Emanuele Pirro in the No.7 Audi R10.

Another leader in class, the No.83 Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR completed its sixth stop holding on to a one-plus lead in the LMGT2 class.

As the LMP classes spread out with gaps of over a lap between successive cars, the two GT classes remain close, with GT1 leader Oliver Gavin in the No.64 Corvette Racing C6.R on the same lap and ahead of the No.009 Aston Martin Racing DBR9 in the capable hands of Pedro Lamy. The No.83 Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR led by over a minute from the No.86 Spyker Squadron B.V. C8, which carried on bravely after losing its sister car, No.85.

Just as the humdrum of night racing starts to settle in, the No.20 Bruneau Pierre Pilbeam Judd went off near Maison Blanche, with an apparent technical problem. The car was removed from danger by track workers using a tractor, and returned to its garage under its own power.

7 Hour standings

Rossi takes pole Rossi takes poleMotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi followed up his win in Italy two weeks ago by taking pole position for Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix.

Rossi lapped his Yamaha in one minute 41.855 seconds, 0.129s ahead of American John Hopkins on a Suzuki.

American Nicky Hayden, who is second in the title race behind Capirossi, was seventh fastest.

Leading qualifying times for Catalan Grand Prix
1. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 1:41.855
2. John Hopkins (U.S.) Suzuki 1:41.984
3. Kenny Roberts Jr. (U.S.) KR211V 1:42.055
4. Chris Vermeulen (Australia) Suzuki 1:42.211
5. Shinya Nakano (Japan) Kawasaki 1:42.216
6. Loris Capirossi (Italy) Ducati 1:42.247
7. Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Honda 1:42.305
8. Casey Stoner (Australia) Honda 1:42.344
9. Marco Melandri (Italy) Honda 1:42.492
10. Randy de Puniet (France) Kawasaki 1:42.620

LeMans: 4 Hour update LeMans: 4 Hour updateLE MANS, France  – The No. 8 Audi R10 TDI took the lead in the second hour at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and maintained it through the fourth hour Saturday in the world’s most famous endurance race.

The diesel-powered prototype was one of several entries from the American Le Mans Series running strong through 9 p.m. local time. In GT1, Corvette Racing’s No. 64 Corvette C6.R narrowly kept its lead over one of the Aston Martin Racing entries.

Emanuele Pirro completed the fourth hour at the wheel of the leading Audi prototype. The Italian – and German teammates Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro – built a lead of nearly a lap over the leading Pescarolo entry as the sun began to set. Werner completed his first stint at the 3:40 mark and handed off to Pirro.

The pole-sitting sister car, the No. 7, spent nearly 30 minutes in the pits to change a fuel filter and ECU black box. Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello swapped the lead with the other R10 TDI early in the race but re-entered the race in 16th position. zzzz

Audi is trying to become the first manufacturer to win at Le Mans with a diesel engine. Already, the R10 TDI has been victorious at Sebring, and the two cars will return to North America and the American Le Mans Series starting in mid-July at Salt Lake City's Miller Motorsports Park.

Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen retained their nearly race-long lead in Corvette Racing’s No. 64 Corvette C6.R. The two-time and defending class champions at Le Mans in GT1 were10 seconds ahead of the No. 009 Aston Martin Racing DBR9, both cars from the American Le Mans Series. ACEMCO Motorsports’ S7R was fourth in class, giving Series teams three of the four top positions in class. The other Corvette Racing entry was eighth in class after a spin at the Porsche Curves after Johnny O’Connell hit a piece of debris.

“I ended up hitting the barriers with the left side of the car,” O’Connell said. “The rear wing has been changed, as well as the rear left wheel arch, and the brakes on the front left.”

In GT2, defending Series champion Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche was the leading Series team. Jorg Bergmeister, Nic Jonsson and Tracy Krohn were running third, on the lead lap just 1:53 behind the class-leading Porsche. Flying Lizard Motorsports, the current class leader in the Series, was seventh at four hours.

Things weren’t as fortunate for the Panoz Esperante GTLM of Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz. The car stopped on course near the Porsche Curves with fuel pick-up issues. Gunnar Jeannette, driving at the time, was working on the car in an effort to remedy the problem.

The leading LMP2 team from the American Le Mans Series was Miracle Motorsports’ Courage C65-AER in seventh place. Intersport Racing, the Series championship leader in class, was eighth with its AER-powered Lola B05/40

Allmendinger tops practice 3 in Portland Allmendinger tops practice 3 in PortlandProvisional polesitter AJ Allmendinger remained the fastest man in Portland Saturday morning by topping the practice 3 Champ Car timesheets.
Pos Driver # Lap Time Mph
1 A. Allmendinger 7 58.175 121.537
2 S. Bourdais 1 58.254 121.372
3 J. Wilson 9 58.283 121.312
4 B. Junqueira 2 58.286 121.305
5 P. Tracy 3 58.295 121.287
6 A. Tagliani 15 58.656 120.540
7 C. da Matta 10 58.679 120.493
8 A. Ranger 27 58.995 119.847
9 O. Servia 6 59.151 119.531
10 N. Philippe 4 59.268 119.295
11 W. Power 5 59.299 119.233
12 D. Clarke 14 59.588 118.655
13 M. Dominguez 19 59.687 118.458
14 C. Zwolsman 34 59.808 118.218
15 K. Legge 20 59.928 117.982
16 J. Heylen 11 1:00.318 117.219
17 N. Pastorelli 8 1:00.341 117.174
18 T. Kasemets 18 1:00.716 116.450
LeMans: Audi leads at 2:20 PM EDT Mark LeMans: Audi leads at 2:20 PM EDT MarkWhen the French flag was waved by Jean-Martin Folz, President of PSA Peugeot-Citroen, on the stroke of 5pm, the action got under way in the 24 Hours of Le Mans; and, less than four minutes later, history was made when a lap was led by a diesel-powered car for the first time ever. Allan McNish, in the No.7 Audi Sport Team Joest R10, had the honor of leading that first lap.

After that, the incidents came fast and furious. The two Audis set a furious pace at the head of the field, McNish pursued by Frank Biela in the sister No.8 Audi; they quickly pulled out a lead over their pursuers, who were led by the No.16 and No.17 Pescarolo Judd cars.

It was all for nothing; on lap 5 the No.69 BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBR9 slammed into the wall on one side of the Porsche curves, bouncing across the track with one wheel completely torn off to slide to a halt against the opposite wall. The driver, Fabio Babini, was unhurt, but the car was terminally damaged, becoming the race’s first retirement. zzzz

The safety car came out while the debris was cleared up, but this caused more problems. Many cars headed for the pits, including the top four in GT1; the two works Corvette C6.R cars, the No.64 and 63 cars, made it out ahead of the two works Aston Martin DBR9 cars, with the No.009 getting out before the sister No.007 car. But after Darren Turner went back out in the No.007 car, it was obvious that the car had been losing fluid while stationary; he came back in on the next lap with the leak having worsened and the team wheeled it into the garage.

They quickly diagnosed a broken oil line, together with a damaged undertray; according to team boss Dave Richards, Turner had done the damage on the curbs in the pit-lane entry. Six laps were lost while the damage was repaired.

The drama in GT1 continued when Johnny O’Connell, in the No.63 Corvette C6.R, hit debris and went into a slow spin in the Porsche curves; he brushed the barrier and came to rest facing the wrong way. After spinning it around and getting back to the pits the crew set about replacing the damaged parts, dropping two laps in the process.

After two hours of the race the two Audis were circulating at the head of the field with a handy lead, the No.7 car some 30s ahead of the No.8 Audi; the superior fuel consumption of the diesel powered Audi enabling them to run longer between stops than their pursuers. They were led by the two Pescarolo Judd entries, the No.16 car just a handful of seconds ahead of the sister No.17 entry.

1/4 An equally fierce battle for LMP2 raged, the top three running on the fringes of the top ten. The No.39 Chamberlain-Synergy Lola AER car held the advantage for much of the time, just over a minute ahead of the No.22 Rollcentre Radical Judd car; the No.25 RML Lola AER held third, only seconds from the back of the Rollcentre car.

The problems which hit the works teams allowed others to get into the top three in GT1, although the No.64 Corvette C6.R ended the period leading the class, less than 10s clear of the No.009 Aston Martin DBR9; third was held by the No.72 Luc Alphand Corvette C5-R three minutes further back.

In a remarkable performance the No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR had made it into the class lead – remarkable because the car had started at the back of the grid. The car was being hotly pursued by the No.87 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari F430 GT, less than 10s back; the No.90 White Lightning Porsche was in third, a minute further back.


Massive layoffs for Denver GP sponsor Massive layoffs for Denver GP sponsorCENTENNIAL - Centrix Financial, the title sponsor of the Denver Grand Prix, has announced a major restructuring.

The Centennial-based company laid off 30 percent of its workforce Friday. The cuts amount to about 250 jobs lost.

Centrix provides auto loans to people with credit problems. The company's business was cut significantly last summer when credit unions stopped using companies like Centrix.

Company officials tell 9NEWS that its sponsorship of the Denver Grand Prix will be cut back this year and it is not likely they will be the title sponsor.

A spokesman for the Denver Grand Prix says the event will still be held this summer thanks, in part, to the addition of other sponsors over the past 2 years. 9News.com

Seen at Michigan Seen at MichiganPolesitter Kasey Kane crashed during happy hour.  The crew will have his car ready for the race tomorrow. 

Bill Lester's team has some interesting CART connections.  In his pits are former CART official (and Tasman crewman) Ray Deck, along with former Dan Gurney Racing's Hersey Mallory.  The two of them are looking to start a truck team for next season.  Mallory still has a gold Indy car necklace that he wears while working on the Cup car effort. Tim Wohlford reporting

Fans to pay tribute to F1 legend Clark Fans to pay tribute to F1 legend ClarkOne of Scotland's greatest racers will be remembered this weekend at the venue where he took part in his first circuit race.

Formula One racer Jim Clark, who died in a crash at Hockenheim in 1968 at the age of 32, raced for the first time in 1956 at an Aberdeen and District Motor Club meeting on the old Crimond airfield near Peterhead. (Jim Clark, right, on his way to winning the 1965 Indy 500, photo courtesy of IMS)

Crimond is where twice world champion Clark was persuaded to take part in his first circuit race at the urging of his friend, Ian Scott Watson, who provided his DKW saloon car for the purpose, 50 years ago to the day yesterday, on June 16, 1956.

The original Crimond layout has not been used as a race circuit for many years, but stock car events still take place on a nearby oval and this provides the venue for the tribute weekend.

Promoter Scott Keith said: "When a debate on the greatest racing drivers is begun anywhere around the world, you can rest assured that Jim Clark's name will always be mentioned and it's an honor to know that he started his career in the northeast of Scotland.

"Our intention for the weekend is not just to commemorate Jim's tragically short life, but to instead celebrate his inspiration that continues to live on to this day, which has been proven in the huge interest shown in the tribute weekend so far. zzzz

"It will also be a big weekend for BriSCA, because Cowdenbeath will be running their world qualifier the night before ours, so there should be a good crowd of F2 drivers from all over Britain attending.

"It is a great opportunity to showcase motor sport up north.

"They've got Goodwood in the south, but no major event up here to show people what they could be getting involved with.

"We are hoping to get some old Jim Clark machinery there, too."

The organizers have combined both aspects of Crimond's motor sport history, as well as several classic racers, including a Lotus raced by Clark team-mate Pete Arundel.

Admission for either day costs £6 for adults and £2 for children, and family tickets are available for £15. ThisNorthScotland.co.uk

Free practice times (3) - Barcelona Free practice times (3) - Barcelona
Full MotoGP free practice times (3) from the Catalan Grand Prix at Barcelona, round seven of the 2006 world championship.

1. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 42.407 secs
2. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 42.423 secs
3. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 42.450 secs
4. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 42.625 secs
5. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 42.672 secs
6. Kenny Roberts USA Team Roberts 1min 42.939 secs
7. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 42.994 secs
8. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 43.001 secs
9. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 43.081 secs
10. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 43.119 secs
11. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 43.250 secs
12. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 43.318 secs
13. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 43.415 secs
14. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 43.688 secs
15. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 43.848 secs
16. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 43.882 secs
17. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 45.246 secs
18. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 45.294 secs
19. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 45.472 secs

Judge refuses to dismiss antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR Judge refuses to dismiss antitrust lawsuit against NASCARUPDATE #2 Northern Kentucky developer Jerry Carroll and his partners built the $150 million Kentucky Speedway with the hope of attracting a Nextel Cup race.

They waited five years to be awarded a date on NASCAR's premier racing circuit. When that didn't happen, they went to court.

Kentucky Speedway filed suit in July 2005 against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. alleging the companies violated federal antitrust laws by restricting the awarding of Nextel Cup races and attempting to "monopolize the market for hosting premium stock car racing events."

 The speedway also alleges that NASCAR and ISC illegally conspire to keep Nextel Cup dates away from non-ISC tracks.

NASCAR and ISC tried to have the suit moved from federal court in Covington to Florida, where they are located, and then asked a judge to dismiss the case.

In both instances the judge ruled in favor of the speedway, so the suit is being heard in U.S. District Court in Covington by Judge William O. Bertlesman.

Both sides are collecting information and the trial, at the earliest, will not begin until late 2007.

The speedway is seeking $400 million in damages and ultimately a Nextel Cup race. It is represented by a legal team led by Cincinnati attorney Stan Chesley, who has a reputation for taking on large institutions and companies including the tobacco industry, drug makers and the Roman Catholic Church. Cincinnati Enquirer

[Editor's Note: The France family should not take attorney Stan Chesley lightly, this guy is no slouch.  In addition Champ Car has hired Brian Sun to represent them against NASCAR's similar monopolistic actions in Phoenix and elsewhere.  This should get interesting.]

03/14/06 U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman rejected International Speedway Corporation's request for an immediate appeal on his decision to keep Kentucky Speedway's antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and ISC in Kentucky.  ISC wanted permission to immediately appeal the issue to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Bertelsman, in an opinion issued Monday, denied that request.

Bertelsman wrote that by limiting the time for both sides to gather information until February 2007 (a relatively short time period for antitrust cases), the issues in the case will be narrowed quickly. He has required Kentucky Speedway to amend its complaint against ISC and NASCAR with specific antitrust issues after the discovery deadline. After that, both sides can ask for a summary judgment - for him to make a decision on the facts of the case before it goes to trial.  "The summary judgment process, if not entirely disposing of the litigation, will narrow the issues and make it more manageable," the judge wrote.  More at NASCAR Daily Scene

01/28/06 A federal judge ordered Friday that Kentucky Speedway can move ahead with its $400 million antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR.  In a 17-page opinion, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman rejected NASCAR's motions to dismiss the case. He also refused a request by International Speedway, which owns several NASCAR tracks, to be dropped from the lawsuit.

The case alleges NASCAR conspired with International Speedway to decide which tracks should be host to coveted Nextel Cup races. Kentucky Speedway, based in Sparta about halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati, was left out, despite better amenities than many of the sites.

Even with Bertelsman's ruling, it could be a year or longer before the case goes to trial. He set a deadline of Feb. 1, 2007, to finish "discovery" -- the process of pretrial fact gathering, including interviewing witnesses.

"We're very pleased with the decision and we're looking forward to going forward," said Stan Chesley, an attorney representing Kentucky Speedway in the case. zzzz

In arguments earlier this month, NASCAR's attorneys told the judge the track had no standing to sue because it wasn't trying to assure competition -- as antitrust law guarantees -- but to become part of a monopoly.

Chesley said Kentucky Speedway's ultimate goal is to compete directly with NASCAR.

In a written statement from NASCAR, spokesman Ramsey Poston expressed disappointment with the ruling but said the organization would "vigorously defend itself."

"NASCAR maintains that its sanctioning process is pro-competitive and has been a great benefit to the industry including fans, sponsors, drivers, teams and tracks," Poston said. "On the other hand, the Kentucky Speedway lawsuit, which is seeking a bid system, would likely provide a short-term financial windfall to NASCAR but would be disastrous to the long-term health of the sport."

Bertelsman noted courts have long been reluctant to dismiss antitrust complaints before all the facts are gathered. He said the conspiracy claims aren't frivolous and therefore should go forward.

International Speedway had argued it at least should be released from the case because it doesn't do business in Kentucky. But Kentucky Speedway pointed out it does conduct business over the Internet, and the judge agreed it falls under the court's jurisdiction. ESPN/AP

Schedule announced for USA MotoGP weekend Schedule announced for USA MotoGP weekendMONTEREY, Calif. – The weekend schedule has been announced for the 2006 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 21-23 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, marking the mid-summer appearance for the MotoGP World Championship in the United States.  The turnout for the inaugural Red Bull US Grand Prix was the highest ever in the track’s 49-year history, when 153,653 spectators witnessed the return of the MotoGP World Championship to American soil after an 11-year absence.

Friday, July 21
8:00am - 8:35am Practice: Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme
8:45am - 9:30am Practice: AMA Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited
10:00am - 11:00am Free Practice 1: MotoGP World Championship
11:15am - 11:45am Practice: AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport presented by Shoei
11:50am - 12:30pm Track Crossing: Start/Finish & Dunlop Tire Bridge
12:30pm - 1:30pm Lunch
2:00pm - 3:00pm Free Practice 2: MotoGP World Championship
3:15pm - 3:50pm Practice: AMA Repsol Lubricants Superstock
4:00pm - 4:30pm Qualifying: Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme
4:30pm - 5:00pm Track Crossing: Start/Finish & Dunlop Tire Bridge

Saturday, July 22
8:15am - 8:45am Qualifying: AMA Repsol Lubricants Superstock
8:55am - 9:30am Quailfying: AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport presented by Shoei
10:00am - 11:00am Free Practice 3: MotoGP World Championship
11:15am - 11:45am Qualifying: AMA Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited
11:55am - 12:30pm Track Crossing: Start/Finish & Dunlop Tire Bridge
12:30pm - 1:30pm Lunch
2:00pm - 3:00pm Qualifying Practice: MotoGP World Championship
3:20pm - 3:45pm RACE: Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme (15 Laps)
4:15pm - 5:00pm RACE: AMA Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited
(100K - 28 laps)
5:20pm - 6:30pm Track Crossing: Start/Finish & Dunlop Tire Bridge

Sunday, July 23
8:00am - 8:50am Track Crossing: Start/Finish & Dunlop Tire Bridge
8:55am - 9:15am Warm-Up: AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport presented by Shoei
9:25am - 9:45am Warm-Up: AMA Repsol Lubricants Superstock
10:00am - 10:20am Warm-Up: MotoGP World Championship
10:55am - 11:25am RACE: AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport presented by Shoei (17 laps)
11:30am - 12:30pm Track Crossing: Start/Finish & Dunlop Tire Bridge
12:30pm - 1:30pm Lunch
2:00pm RACE: MotoGP World Championship
3:30pm - 4:30pm RACE: AMA Repsol Lubricants Superstock (17 laps)

*Schedule Subject to Change

Should Phoenix give green light to Champ Car race? Should Phoenix give green light to Champ Car race?UPDATE #2 In an effort to provide the Phoenix Business Journal with a fair opportunity to respond to our own suspicions of journalistic bias, AutoRacing1.com today spoke with Ilana Lowery, Editor of the Phoenix Business Journal, inquiring about the integrity of the survey posted on their website regarding the proposed Champ Car race.
She acknowledged that the results thus far have been surprising, and are on track to be the largest response of any survey they have conducted. We were quite candid with her about our thoughts regarding the publication's connection to NASCAR through their parent company. Her statement emphasized that her publication acts autonomously and does not have any daily managerial or editorial connection to the branches of the company that produce the NASCAR publications. As for the survey itself, she stated that they are taking some measures to investigate the origin of the votes through verification of IP addresses. Once this information is received, she said she would be happy to share it with us, and we will of course relay it to you. She emphasized that the survey is not a scientific poll, and can be easily swayed by a campaign waged on anyone's part to stack the results.
We also questioned the lack of availability to comments that are typically made in the comment box. She said that typically a survey yields approximately one comment for every 8 votes. Having recorded approximately 1600 responses since the survey was initiated, she said there should be a wealth of comments. She said she will check into that as well so they may be presented.
Despite our own suspicions, it appears that the Phoenix Business Journal is making every effort to remain objective. Our only input would be that we would like to see a little more thorough and detailed information presented, to provide their reader base with the facts about the proposed event and the positive impact that Champ Car events historically have for their host cities. As their publication's readership is targeted to business leaders in the community, it represents a significant impact to the corporate and sponsor support that the race would seek.
It is no secret that we are opposed to the actions of NASCAR and their subsidiaries regarding this event. This is why we feel that an extra measure of objective, informative and investigative journalism by the mainstream and motorsports press is in order.
As for our final word on the issue, we would imagine that NASCAR fans would not be likely to endorse NASCAR's actions and actively oppose a race in downtown. Especially if they realized that the proposed event bears almost no resemblance to the F1 fiasco of years past. We suspect that something is most certainly askew.
We look forward to seeing how the Phoenix Business Journal continues to cover this hot topic.

06/16/06 The Phoenix NASCAR Business Journal survey went from 67% - 30% last night (see screen capture right) at around midnight in favor of Champ Car, to 45-51 against at 8:47 this morning. Notice that the question also changed from a question that asked if the race should be allowed, and risk losing one of the NASCAR events. They made it sound like that would be a cost of getting the Champ Car race. Now the question just asks if the race should be allowed. The publication is based out of Charlotte and may be a NASCAR puppet.  The parent company also publishes NASCAR Illustrated. 

06/16/06 Phoenix Business Journal wants you to vote on the proposed downtown Champ Car race. Vote (The website is slow, so have patience)
Labbe admits he was cheating Labbe admits he was cheatingRichard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief of the No. 88 Ford driven by Dale Jarrett, is back after serving a four-week suspension for cheating. Labbe made his return Friday at Michigan after being suspended May 9th for an unapproved suspension part at Richmond International Raceway.

Jarrett was penalized 25 driver championship points, while team owner Robert Yates was penalized 25 owner championship points as a result of the violation.

“It’s neat, but it stinks,” Labbe said. “I suffered the last four weeks by not seeing all of your friends in the garage. You get out of tune with what’s going on. You miss four weeks and technology changes everyday and you miss out on some things, so we’re playing catch-up.”

"The penalty is something I deserved, “Labbe admits.” I just pushed the rules a little too much and I’m OK with that. I got what I deserved. Sometimes you do things and get caught and sometimes you don’t. My number was up and I got caught and that’s OK. I deserved it and I fulfilled my punishment and now it’s time to go race again."

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
24 Hours of Le Mans Le Mans
12:00midnight-11:30am (L) -Day & Finish SPEED
Inside Drag Racing
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NHRA 2Day Englishtown, NJ
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay Michigan
11:30am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
The Fast Life -Andretti 3
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
Speed Test Drive - BMW M Series 
1:00pm-2:00pm  SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Michigan
1:00pm-5:00pm (L) FOX
Star Mazda Milwaukee
2:00pm-3:00pm (TD) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship  Catalunya
3:00pm-4:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Champ Car Portland
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) CBS
AMA Superbike  Tooele, UT Miller Motorsports Park
4:00pm-5:00pm -Day 1
6:00pm-7:00pm (SDD) -Day 2 SPEED
NHRA Englishtown, NJ
4:00pm-7:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
Baja 1000 -Desert Endurance
6:00pm-8:00pm (R) Discovery HD Theater
Speed News Sunday
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Michigan
8:00pm-9:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Special Edition: Economaki
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of Sunday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

Title loss for Alonso 'impossible' - Lauda Title loss for Alonso 'impossible' - Lauda(GMM)  Even with more than half the season still to run, Fernando Alonso will struggle to lose the 2006 world championship.

That's the claim of former triple world champion Niki Lauda, who told an Austrian magazine that the 23-point gap is near impossible for Alonso's chasers, led by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, to bridge.

''Renault are light years ahead, even more than in 2005,'' 57-year-old Lauda told 'Kicker'.

He estimated the per-lap advantage of Alonso's 'R26' racer at 'five or six tenths' which he said is an unattainable target for rivals.

Lauda, who once led the defunct Jaguar team, explained: ''The competition needs to make a giant step forward -- a full second (per lap) or more.

''That is completely impossible.''

US judge dismisses Indy lawsuit US judge dismisses Indy lawsuit(GMM) An American federal judge has dismissed a group of disgruntled fans' class-action lawsuit against the six-car debacle of last year's United States grand prix.

They were suing not only tire supplier Michelin, but formula one, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the seven Michelin-clad teams, the three Bridgestone teams including Ferrari, and Bridgestone.

But Judge Sarah Evans ruled that Michelin had used 'good judgment' and 'owed no legal duty' to race, according to Associated Press.

She also referred to the tickets, which clearly included 'no refund' and a disclaimer of legal liability for all claims.

The decision will be appealed.

''We're just a little over two weeks out from the (2006) United States grand prix,'' said Speedway spokesman Ron Green, ''and having this behind us is a huge relief.''

Pagenaud tops opening wet qualifying Pagenaud tops opening wet qualifying
Rossi fastest in Barcelona practice Rossi fastest in Barcelona practiceCamel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi set the quickest time on the first day of free practice in Barcelona Friday.

VALENTINO ROSSI (1st – 1’42.837; 33 laps)

“I’m very pleased because we have done a lot of hard work today and the lap times are good. Earlier in the season we were losing time in practice trying to solve the vibration problems but now we are able to work in a normal way thanks to the new chassis. It means we can use every minute of the session to work on the tires and the set-up for the race. Really this bike is only four hours old so for it to already be working so well is a big encouragement and a good sign for the future. I love this circuit and it is great fun to ride the M1 here but we still have some work to do tomorrow, especially on finding some more front grip. There are two or three riders looking very strong at this track and it looks like it will be another great battle on Sunday.”

COLIN EDWARDS (4th – 1’43.197; 43 laps)

“That wasn’t so bad. After a lot of hard work over the past few races we’ve finally been able to find a direction to work in and stick with so we’re making progress and not wasting any time. During the pre-season tests here we were quick in the wet but not so much in the dry, so it’s encouraging to see that we are making progress so quickly with the new frame. I’ve basically got the same bike and settings as Valentino, which worked for us in Mugello and seem to be working here. We made some real progress at the Mugello test and I’ve been really looking forward to coming here and making it count. No doubt the other riders will get faster tomorrow if the rain stays away but we have a good margin for improvement at such an early stage of development so if we can keep working hard and moving forward then we have a chance.”


“We have come here this weekend with a very different bike to what we had in the official tests back in March but things have been quite good from the start. We still have some work to do and some solutions to find, especially with Colin, because the bike is at an early stage and we still have to fully understand the best way with the setting. So far the situation is good and, as Valentino says, it is good for us to be able to work in a normal way from the first session, without wasting time trying to eliminate the vibrations. We’re expecting it to rain tomorrow but we’re happy with the work we got through today and now we’ll just wait and see what happens.”

Combined Free Practice Times:

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Camel Yamaha Team, 1:42.837
2. Kenny Roberts JR (USA) Team Roberts, 1:42.923
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team, 1:43.036
4. Colin Edwards (USA) Camel Yamaha Team, 1:43.197
5. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Team Suzuki MotoGP, 1:43.308
6. Casey Stoner (AUS) Honda LCR, 1:43.380
7. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP, 1:43.421
8. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati Marlboro Team, 1:43.433
9. Marco Melandri (ITA) Fortuna Honda, 1:43.500
10. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team, 1:43.522

Portland: Wilson over Bourdais in Practice 1 Portland: Wilson over Bourdais in Practice 1
Pos Driver # Lap Time Mph
1 J. Wilson 9 58.430 121.006
2 S. Bourdais 1 58.439 120.988
3 A. Allmendinger 7 58.887 120.067
4 P. Tracy 3 58.939 119.961
5 W. Power 5 59.299 119.233
6 O. Servia 6 59.352 119.127
7 B. Junqueira 2 59.365 119.100
8 N. Philippe 4 59.575 118.681
9 D. Clarke 14 59.588 118.655
10 A. Tagliani 15 59.653 118.525
11 M. Dominguez 19 59.687 118.458
12 C. da Matta 10 59.697 118.438
13 A. Ranger 27 1:00.324 117.207
14 N. Pastorelli 8 1:00.817 116.257
15 K. Legge 20 1:00.839 116.215
16 C. Zwolsman 34 1:00.850 116.194
17 J. Heylen 11 1:00.891 116.116
18 T. Kasemets 18 1:01.060 115.794
Gehl sponsors Cleveland race Gehl sponsors Cleveland raceThe Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank announced today that Gehl Company will be the title sponsor of the Grand Prix's Champ Car Atlantic Championship events, to be called the Gehl Atlantic Championship of Cleveland. Gehl Company, a leading manufacturer of construction and agricultural equipment, gains the title sponsorship as part of an agreement with the Grand Prix of Cleveland. Two thrilling Atlantic races will be featured during Grand Prix weekend on the Burke Lakefront Airport road course and the series will also revive standings starts - a longtime staple of Atlantic series racing - at Cleveland.

"We are proud to welcome Gehl Company as a major sponsor of the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank," said Chuck Kosich, General Manager of the Grand Prix of Cleveland. "The Gehl Atlantic Championship of Cleveland will be an exciting race featuring some of the future stars of open-wheel racing, and we are pleased to have Gehl Company as title sponsor of the event." zzzz

The Gehl Atlantic Championship of Cleveland is part of the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, the longest-running development series in North America currently in its 33rd season. The Gehl Atlantic Championship of Cleveland will feature a doubleheader race weekend as both Rounds 5 and 6 of the championship will be decided on the shores of Lake Erie. For the start of both races, the nearly 30-car Atlantic field will take the green flag from a stationary position in front of the grandstands with the 300-horsepower cars fighting for position heading into Turn 1 as the series features its first standing starts in nearly eight years. The Gehl Atlantic Championship of Cleveland race #1 is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on June 24 and the Gehl Atlantic Championship of Cleveland race #2 is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on June 25. The two races will be broadcast back-to-back on the SPEED Channel on July 9 at 4 p.m. and again on July 12 at 2 p.m.

Gehl Company is a new sponsor of the Grand Prix of Cleveland, but the company is not new to racing or the Atlantic Series. Gehl has been involved with the Champ Car World Series since 1990, and is an "Official Supplier" to the Champ Car Safety Team. Gehl Company also has a prominent presence in the Atlantic Series as the sponsor for Graham Rahal's Atlantic car for Mi-Jack Conquest Racing. The 17-year old Rahal recently powered his #18 Gehl car to his first-ever victory at the Tecate Grand Prix of Monterrey Presented by Roshfrans Atlantic Race on May 21.

McLaren leads final day at Paul Ricard McLaren leads final day at Paul RicardMcLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, recaps on the team's three day test at Paul Ricard

"We have completed a productive three day session at Paul Ricard today, as we continued our preparations for the Canadian and United States Grands Prix. As both tracks have similar characteristics, dominated by long, fast straights and hard braking zones, we have been working through aero, set-up and brake work with Kimi, Gary and Pedro."

"The adaptability of Ricard has allowed us to simulate the conditions at the two North American races, and the aero testing has included the wing packages for the events. Alongside this, the test team has completed tire selection with Michelin for Indy, with Canada tires already confirmed at the last Ricard test in late May."

"The week has seen reasonable running, with the three drivers covering over 2,600km in total. Today, both Pedro and Gary had some time in the garage to allow for engine changes at the end of the respective lifecycles, and were able to get back on track to continue running." McLaren

Friday test times

Pos Driver Nat Team Laps Time Gap To 1st
1. Pedro de la Rosa E McLaren-Mercedes 82 1:23.858
2. Felipe Massa BR Ferrari 82 1:23.905 0.047 0.047
3. Gary Paffett GB McLaren-Mercedes 91 1:24.221 0.316 0.363

British GP USA TV Rating British GP USA TV RatingUPDATE The final USA TV rating for the British GP on CBS was a 0.8/2 share.

06/12/06 The overnight rating for the tape delayed British GP F1 race on CBS was a 0.9/2 share in the USA.
NASCAR TV Ratings continue to fall NASCAR TV Ratings continue to fallUPDATE The final rating for Pocono was a 5.2/12 share, down 7% from a 5.6/14 share in 2005, which continues the trend we have seen all year - falling NASCAR ratings.

06/12/06 Continuing the trend we have seen all year, Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earned 4.6 overnight rating and an 11 market share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 9.8% lower than the 5.1/12 Fox drew overnight for the June Pocono race last year.
Kentucky a sellout Kentucky a selloutKentucky Speedway officials say the track has sold out all grandstand seating for Saturday's Meijer 300 Busch Series race.  Only a limited number of standing-room-only tickets remain.
"We're proud to have set a new facility record in announcing a NASCAR Busch Series sellout three days prior to our event," Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said.

"This market loves NASCAR, Kentucky Speedway and the excitement that comes with this event both on and off the track. Without question, this event continues to make an impact on a national scale and we look forward to going racing Saturday night."

Not All NASCAR Drivers Race Video Games Not All NASCAR Drivers Race Video GamesLast week, much attention was drawn to the Pocono 500 winner Denny Hamlin. When asked how we was able to win the pole and dominate the race on a track he'd never raced before, he attributed part of his success to the many hours he simulated the track while playing video games. Other drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. also play racing video games regularly. But apparently not all young NASCAR drivers prepare using the same method. Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger was recently asked if he played video games, to which he responded: "I've really never liked playing video games and probably never will. Maybe when I have kids or something I'll get them playing video games and I'll get more involved. I've just never been able to do it. My fingers don't work good enough on those little remotes." His lack of finger dexterity has not caused him much of a problem on the track. He currently ranks fifth in the Nextel Cup points standings.Doug Belliveau
Panoz received 'Spirit Of LeMans' award Panoz received 'Spirit Of LeMans' awardLE MANS, France – American Le Mans Series founder Dr. Don Panoz already has had quite a week at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With his namesake marque entered for the 10th consecutive year at the world’s most prestigious race, he received yet another honor Friday.

Dr. Panoz was presented with the “Spirit of Le Mans” award, which the Automobile Club de l’Ouest gives to key figures in sports car racing who have gone above and beyond in spreading the fame of the 24 Hours of Le Mans worldwide.

“This has been 10 years of joy, challenges and surprises,” Dr. Panoz said as he accepted a special watch from ACO President Jean-Claude Plassart. “The Spirit of Le Mans is something that will live with me forever.”

Dr. Panoz first entered a Panoz entry at Le Mans in 1997. Two years later he launched the American Le Mans Series, the premium brand of motorsport in North America.

“It is important for us to  have 10 races in the United States,” Plassart said in recognizing Dr. Panoz. “It is just as important to have a faithful friend in the United States. Bravo Don!”

Schu among world's top celebrities - report Schu among world's top celebrities - report(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has emerged thirtieth on magazine Forbes' 'Celebrity 100' list.

Hollywood actor Tom Cruise came out number one, on the list compiled by combining annual income with considerations like google hits, TV-radio mentions and appearances on magazine covers.

But Ferrari's 37-year-old Schumacher, with Forbes estimating his annual income at $58 million, beat celebrities like Tom Hanks, David Beckham and - coming in at number 64 - MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi.

30, though, is a step down for 'Schumi'.  In 2005 Forbes ranked him 17th.

Budweiser / Earnhardt Legacy Ad Debuts Sunday Budweiser / Earnhardt Legacy Ad Debuts SundayBudweiser honors the Earnhardt family’s three generations of NASCAR success this Father’s Day with a “NASCAR History” ad showcasing imagery representing more than 50 years of the family’s racing legacy and Budweiser’s long-time support for auto racing. The 60-second ad will debut Friday on Budweiser.com, and will premiere on national television during Sunday’s broadcast of the 3M Performance 400 from Michigan International Speedway at 1pm/et on FOX. The spot melds black and white images of six-time NASCAR Sportsman Series champion Ralph Earnhardt racing a cream-colored 1955 Chevrolet, followed by the contrasting black #3 Goodwrench car of “The Intimidator,” Dale Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR series champion. Finally, the ad brings into the fold the #8 Budweiser car driven by NASCAR’s only third generation champion, Dale Earnhardt Jr., seamlessly relating how the Earnhardts, NASCAR and Budweiser have come a long way together over the past 50 years. In addition to the legacy ad, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Dale Jr. and Budweiser will honor Ralph and Dale with a commemorative Father’s Day paint scheme for the #8 Budweiser car. The predominantly cream-colored paint scheme is based upon the #8 cars driven by Ralph and Dale during their NASCAR careers, while the Budweiser bow-tie logos are vintage 1974 marks commemorating Dale’s NASCAR debut and the year Dale Jr. was born. The car is the second DEI paint scheme this season to honor the legacy of a member of the Earnhardt family. Previously, Dale Jr. raced a black and silver #8 Budweiser car at Talladega on April 30 to celebrate his late father’s induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Budweiser/fingerprint inc PR
Two tracks covet Cup race Two tracks covet Cup raceThis Cincinnati Enquirer article talks about Nashville Speedway and Kentucky Speedway's desire to land a NASCAR Nextel Cup date. Both fight to survive without one. While one is suing to get one via an antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and ISC, the other has resigned themselves to the fact they will probably never get one.

Not sure what these guys are smoking to think that NASCAR would give a race date to a non-ISC or SMI track.

Pescarolo drivers lament missed pole Pescarolo drivers lament missed poleFrank Montagny and Emmanuel Collard admitted they were disappointed after the Pescarolo Sport team missed out on pole position for the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours.

"On my last set of tires, everything was really great," said collard. "I got the quickest time for the day in the first sector, but on the straight, I came up behind a prototype. I flashed my headlights, but had to brake behind it, and lost three seconds.

I am very disappointed not to have taken the pole, but we all know that qualifying in Le Mans is also about traffic, and how to avoid it."

"I didn't manage to get a clean lap, I was slowed down by a car in the last curve, and also by a yellow flag," said Montagny. "I'm very disappointed, because it is always a great feeling to get pole position, but then, this is Le Mans.

"However I am very happy with the setup of the car. We just moved the brake balance towards the front to make the car even more comfortable and the setup is absolutely perfect."

Roush honored by Ford Roush honored by FordJack Roush received the highest honor Ford Motor Company can bestow on anyone in racing when he was presented with the Spirit of Ford Award in front of approximately 450 employees at Ford World Headquarters Thursday. Edsel B. Ford II made the presentation during a pep rally involving many of Ford's NASCAR drivers who will be competing in the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Roush was hired as an engineer at Ford in 1964, but got the racing bug when he joined a group called 'The Fastbacks' two years later. The group was made up of Ford employees who competed in drag racing on weekends. Since then, Roush has won championships in all three of NASCAR's top divisions, including back-to-back Nextel Cup titles in 2003 and 2004. In addition, he has three Pro Stock drag racing championships, 24 road racing titles and 10 consecutive victories in the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The Spirit of Ford Award goes to a person who has made significant contributions on and off the track to the sport of auto racing. Other stock car recipients of the Spirit of Ford Award include: Bud Moore, the Wood Brothers, Junie Donlavey, Bill Elliott, Richard Petty, the France family, and Ned Jarrett. Ford Racing
Newey rules out win for Red Bull in 2006 Newey rules out win for Red Bull in 2006(GMM) Even Adrian Newey's highly-paid touch is not likely to deliver Red Bull a race win in 2006.

The lauded Englishman, enticed from McLaren to a top technical job at the energy drink-owned team, said he is not even particularly focused on making the under-performing 'RB2' a winner.

''My main concentration is on next year's car,'' 47-year-old Newey, despite getting involved in a bodywork update for Silverstone, said.

He added: ''I don't think we'll be winning races by the end of the year, I'm afraid.''

Although built out of the Jaguar/Stewart ashes that date back to 1997, Red Bull has followed the usual regime of having quite a good first year (2005) followed by a more difficult one (2006).

But Newey said of the team owned by billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz: ''It has a lot of new people and is going to take time for everybody to embed into their new positions.''

The talented Mark Smith is another high profile newcomer to the team, but Newey insisted that Red Bull is destined to watch the outcome of the 2006 championship 'from slightly further back'.

''There's not going to be any dramatic leap forward in the near future,'' he insisted.

F1 journalist back to court F1 journalist back to court(GMM) Controversial F1 journalist Tom Rubython is heading back to court, this time to be sued by the FIA's Richard Woods.

Last month, the top figure at magazine 'Business F1' copped a $380,000 bill after a London High Court judge ruled in favor of former Jaguar principal Tony Purnell's libel action.

Rubython had accused Purnell of bribery, and once caught the ire of Michael Schumacher's manager Willi Weber for alleging involvement in prostitution and drug running.

Last year, the magazine's editor was ordered to pay damages to Alan Donnelly after accusing him of personally using FIA funds.

Now, according to Press Gazette, Rubython's libel battle with the FIA's Woods could cost him more than (US) $550,000.

Woods, the governing body's director of marketing, took offence to an article in 'Business F1' magazine titled 'The Propagandist'. He is also seeking an injunction banning repetition of the claims.

'No hurry' on Red Bull's 2007 lineup 'No hurry' on Red Bull's 2007 lineup(GMM) There is plenty of interest in Red Bull's second racing seat for 2007, according to team principal Christian Horner.

With either David Coulthard or Christian Klien set to make way for a higher profile driver, the British chief outlined that the energy drink-owned team does not feel under pressure to make a decision any time soon.

Horner's comments are possibly in reaction to Scot Coulthard's insistence that Red Bull 'act now' to snap him up.

''We are in a reasonable position,'' Horner was quoted as saying by 'motorline.cc', ''because there are many drivers who would gladly sit in a car designed by Adrian Newey.''

He backed away from setting a strict timetable for a decision, but warned that any announcement is 'at least a month' away.

Horner said: ''Both David and Christian know that we are not in a hurry.''

track news
Fans can see Jeff Gordon test in Milwaukee Fans can see Jeff Gordon test in MilwaukeeMilwaukee Mile NASCAR fans are going to get their chance to watch Jeff Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates test at The Milwaukee Mile for free on Tuesday, June 27 and Wednesday, June 28.

On the heels of the June 23rd Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, and the June 24th AT&T 250 NASCAR Busch Series event, Gordon and company will be getting in some valuable track time, preparing their cars for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race tracks that have similar characteristics to The Milwaukee Mile, including Pocono Raceway, Martinsville Raceway and New Hampshire Int'l Speedway.

During the two day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team test, by presenting a Milwaukee Mile NASCAR event ticket stub from either the June 23rd Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 or the June 24th AT&T 250, The Mile's NASCAR fans will gain FREE admission to the Grandstand between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Only those Mile fans with a ticket stub from The Mile's upcoming NASCAR Craftsman Truck or Busch series races will be admitted. zzzz

This private team test is expected to include upwards of eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars, as Chip Ganassi Racing, Evernham Motorsports and Penske Racing South are also anticipated to participate.

"What a great way for our loyal NASCAR fans to get to see NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams with drivers Jeff Gordon, current 'Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers, in an all-important test for Hendrick Motorsports," commented Craig Stoehr, Milwaukee Mile Chairman. "As new promoters, we want to get the word out to invite our NASCAR fan base, to thank them for their support of our upcoming NASCAR weekend, and to expose them to what will be a full day of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on-track activity. The best part of this is all you need is your ticket stub from our upcoming NASCAR weekend."

Some tickets still remain for both the Friday night, June 23rd Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 (from just $9), and for the Saturday night, June 24th AT&T 250 (from $19) - which will feature eight NEXTEL Cup drivers in action against the superstars of the NASCAR Busch Series, including last weekend's Nextel Cup Pocono 500 winner Denny Hamlin, along with Clint Bowyer, current Busch Series point leader Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Wisconsin’s own Scott Wimmer, JJ Yeley and just-announced David Stremme – subbing for his NEXTEL Cup teammate Reed Sorenson. Don't miss out on your chance to see NEXTEL Cup stars at The Milwaukee Mile on June 24, 27 and 28. Call 414-453-8277 or visit www.milwaukeemile.com for NASCAR event weekend ticket information.

Gutierrez joins Jensen in Zetec Championship Gutierrez joins Jensen in Zetec ChampionshipYoung Mexican racer Manuel Gutierrez will join Jensen MotorSport for its first competition in the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 championship this weekend at the Portland Grand Prix.

The talented young Mexican (16) hails from Tampico Mexico. Manuel has been testing extensively with the Jensen MotorSport team in both the Formula BMW and ZETEC racecars since fall 2005.

Team owner Eric Jensen states, “This is an exciting new program. Manuel is a terrific teenager who has shown considerable speed and maturity. Our plan was to have Manuel test extensively in 2006 in the Formula BMW USA racecar, and compete full-time in that series in 2007. But given his recent pace, plus the fact that the Cooper Series races at 4 venues where we are already competing in Champ Car Atlantic, we decided to bring Manuel into race competition in the Cooper Series starting from Portland through the final races of the 2006 season.” zzzz

The Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 championship stages two races at the Portland Grand Prix the weekend of June 16th-18th. Upcoming series races include the Cleveland Grand Prix (with Champ Car) and the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto (with Champ Car).

The Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship is one of the first rungs on the professional open-wheel auto-racing ladder in North America. The series features modern, purpose-built, single-seat race cars powered primarily by four-cylinder, double-overhead cam, fuel-injected 2.0-liter Ford Zetec engines. Recent graduates of the series include three Indianapolis 500 winners – Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice, and Sam Hornish Jr.

For more details about Manuel Gutierrez or Jensen MotorSport, contact Graeme Young via e-mail at team@jensenmotorsport.com

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 Replay Silverstone
12:00am-2:30am (R)
(Originally broadcast on CBS) SPEED
Le Mans Test Day Le Mans
9:30am-10:00am SPEED
Le Mans Pre-Qualifying Le Mans
10:00am-10:30am SPEED
24 Hours of Le Mans Le Mans
10:30am-3:00pm (L) -Start
Continued today at 8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  Michigan
3:00pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Englishtown, NJ
5:00pm-7:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Qualifying  Kentucky
5:30pm-7:30pm (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Happy Hour Michigan
6:30pm-7:30pm (SDD) FX
Speed News Saturday  
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series  Kentucky
7:30pm-10:30pm (L) FX
24 Hours of Le Mans Le Mans
8:00pm-12:00am (L) -Night into Day
Continued Sunday, June 18, 12:00am SPEED

Sunday, June 18, 2006
24 Hours of Le Mans Le Mans
12:00midnight-11:30am (L) -Day & Finish SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of Saturday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

NASCAR’s anti-Champ Car lobbyists exposed NASCAR’s anti-Champ Car lobbyists exposedUPDATE #2 One additional note, in this SEC filing, ISC says, "NASCAR, which sanctions some of our principal racing events, is a member of the France Family Group which controls in excess of 60% of the combined voting power of our outstanding stock, and some members of which serve as our directors and officers," a further indication that the France family has a firm hold on the NASCAR/ISC racing monopoly.

06/15/06 This NASCAR.com article tries to exonerate NASCAR from any involvement in trying to stop Champ Car's efforts in Phoenix and tries to say that PIR is to blame when in fact we pointed out below that NASCAR has hired the same 'primary' lobbyist as PIR who is controlling the entire effort.

06/15/06 Although NASCAR and ISC deny being behind a lobbying effort to kill the Champ Car street race proposed for downtown Phoenix, the facts speak for themselves. When do you know they are lying? When they open their mouth.

This link identifies everyone (and it is a long list) that has been hired by Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) to lobby in Arizona (by law you must register with the Arizona Secretary of State). Note the “DL” designation assigned to Jimmy Hamilton of Hamilton Consulting; this is the designation given to the individual that is the lead lobbyist…no one can be added to the lobbying list without his office doing so. Hamilton is the fellow leading the extensive team and has been with them since 2003. However, the vast majority of the names were added in late May to fight the street race.

Now check out the same information on NASCAR. In this link the “DL” is once again Jimmy Hamilton (Hamilton Consulting), although in this case he is going solo.  NASCAR and ISC hire the same lobbyist.  Who controls both ISC and NASCAR - the France family.

Peugeot’s 2007 V12 HDi DPFS diesel unveiled Peugeot’s 2007 V12 HDi DPFS diesel unveiledThe new V12 HDi DPFS diesel engine for Peugeot's 2007 24-Hour Le Mans contender was unveiled today.

Peugeot held a press conference in the Old Museum at the Le Mans circuit to announce their latest assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The manufacturer, which took back-to-back victories in 1992 and 1993 with the 905 Group C car, will return in 2007, and is targeting outright victory in 2008.

Introduced by Christian Peugeot, Technical Manager Bruno Famin presented the men behind the new Peugeot LeMans engine: Jean-Pierre Nicolas, director of Peugeot Sport from May 2005, who will retire in September of this year, and engine specialist Claude Billois, most famous for the Peugeot 205 T16 turbo engine.

The new engine is a 100-degree V12 high pressure diesel injection (HDi in Peugeot terminology) with a capacity of 5.5 liters.

Rated at 700 bhp and producing an enormous amount of torque (1200 Nm = 885 foot-pounds = 10,620 inch-pounds),the new engine should run with virtually no smoke emission due to a diesel particulate filter system. zzzz

The decisions which led to this kind of engine specs are quite logical. By using the maximum capacity allowed by ACO regulations, the engine can be run effectively even without tuning it to the maximum, while offering the possibility of greater power in the future.

Because Peugeot reversed the usual cycle of developing new technologies in race cars first, then transferring them to production cars, it was desirable to have the bore of the racing engine as close as possible to that of the production diesel. To keep the stroke as short as possible 12 cylinders were called for. The 100-degree configuration was employed to provide the best compromise between structural rigidity and a low centre of gravity.

The weight of the engine has not been disclosed so far, and to date, only its components have been tested. Full engine tests are scheduled for September of this year and the first running tests in December, the latter to be conducted by Eric Helary.

Pioneers in diesel particulate filter systems (introducing this technology as early as 2000)and keen to contribute to the preservation of the environment, Peugeot have employed DPFS on their race engine.

The new car, to be called the Peugeot 908, will be presented at the Mondial de l`Auto in Paris. No final decision has been taken as to whether the car will be a closed or open racer, but the chassis will be an "in house" production of Peugeot Sport.

Several test races will be contested, probably including Sebring. As the WR team, run by Gerard Welter, have announced a Bio-Diesel contender for 2008, Peugeot were asked whether Peugeot will only say they are also investigating the possible use of Bio-Diesel.

The objective for Peugeot is clear: Gain a maximum of information and knowledge in 2007 then go for the outright victory in Le Mans in 2008, even if that means not being the first diesel to win LM but "only" to beat the adversary, who might have done it before them.

"That’s what Motorsport is about" said Bruno Famin.

Two cars will probably be entered in 2007, and no decision has been taken concerning potential drivers. There will probably be about 2 or 3 French drivers in all, but no names have been disclosed at this time.

LeMans: Audi diesel raises the pace in session 4 LeMans: Audi diesel raises the pace in session 4With night falling as the second half of this evening's qualifying session got under way, the cooler evening air results in lap times coming down.
Only a couple of minutes into the second half of the Thursday qualifying session, the two Audi Sport Team Joest R10 entries continued almost where they left off before the mid-session interval. Improving on the fastest times from the first half of the session, both cars set one fastest lap after another.

Rinaldo Capello in the No.7 car lapped in 3:30:466, while the sister No.8 car, driven by Marco Werner, went round only 0.118s slower.

Ron Fellows in the No.63 Corvette suffered a rear right puncture at the far end of the circuit, followed by what looked like delamination as he limped back to the pits. A Pescarolo swept impossibly close to the injured Corvette as Fellows kept it on the track through the Porsche Curves.

The No.5 Swiss Spirit Courage Judd was in the gravel trap at Indianapolis, apparently damaged, but managed to limp back to the pits after the track marshals quickly and safely pushed it back on the track.

The No.39 Chamberlain-Synergy Lola AER lost its wing on track, and the rear left side appeared damaged. No further information was immediately available.

Almost half an hour into the final qualifying stint, the class-leading GT2 entry, the No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut, driven by Luca Riccitelli, slammed into the wall on the inside of the Karting bends, severely damaging the car's left side. The car, reduced to three wheels, was rapidly hauled behind the barriers.

FIA puts foot down on Flexi-wings FIA puts foot down on Flexi-wings(GMM) In a bid to end F1's ongoing 'flexi wing' saga, the governing body has finally made a tweak to the rear wing regulations.

A recent meeting of the 'Technical Working Group' found that no action should be taken on the matter, despite continuing rumblings at Silverstone that some teams are still slipping through a rule loophole.

The now long-running saga dates back to Bahrain, where rivals pointed fingers not only at Ferrari's rear wing but also the front. At the FIA's behest, BMW-Sauber and McLaren then also made design changes ahead of Melbourne.

With the change to take effect in Montreal next weekend, the FIA's Charlie Whiting sent a directive to teams this week to explain the new rule.

From Canada, 'separators' must be added to the elements of rear wings to ensure that flexing at high speed does not close a 'slot gap' and reduce drag.

Renault technical director Bob Bell said at Silverstone: ''We need to be absolutely certain that everybody is respecting not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of the rules.''

TV News
ESPN2 debuts Andretti reality series ESPN2 debuts Andretti reality series"Andretti 3," an eight-part, all-access series chronicling 19-year old Marco Andretti's rookie season in the IRL IndyCar Series, will debut this weekend on ESPN2.

Produced by IMS Productions, the series gives viewers unprecedented access to Andretti Green Racing, one of the most powerful teams in the IndyCar Series, and follows Marco Andretti's rise under the watchful eyes of his grandfather, racing legend Mario Andretti, and his father, Michael, a standout racer.

Mario Andretti is with Marco every step of the way and shares his thoughts on the pressure of having the Andretti name and gives weekly updates on Marco's IndyCar Series rookie season. Michael is also with Marco from the beginning, coming out of retirement to race with Marco in the Indianapolis 500.

During the month of May, watch Michael cope with being an owner, father and driver attempting to win his first Indianapolis 500. Marco's teammates, 2004 IndyCar Series Champion Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta also contribute to the story.

In the premiere episode, scheduled for Noon (EDT) on June 18, "The Great One," Wayne Gretzky explains the pressure of being an 18-year old athlete, and how he dealt with the responsibilities of being in the spotlight at a young age.

In future episodes, the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony and Chicago Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux also share their experiences as young athletes on the big stage.

KRAFT Foods to Sponsor Michel Jourdain Jr., KRAFT Foods to Sponsor Michel Jourdain Jr.,MOORESVILLE, N.C. – ppc Racing officials announced today KRAFT Foods will sponsor the No. 15 Ford Fusion driven by Michel Jourdain Jr. in two NASCAR Busch Series races.  Jourdain will sport the DoubleStuf Oreo colors at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 17 and the KRAFT Singles brand at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, August 12.  KRAFT Foods has supported Jourdain’s efforts since joining ppc Racing in January 2005.

“I am just so happy and thankful to be working with KRAFT again,” said Jourdain.  “They supported us last year and this year at the Mexico City Busch race and now here at Kentucky and later this year at Watkins Glen.  KRAFT is a great name with great brands and it’s just amazing to be able to work for them and be a part of their racing family and the other KRAFT drivers they have on board.”

“We are truly pleased to provide Michel the opportunity to race again in the NASCAR Busch Series,” said Michael Tilley, associate director, sports marketing and strategic alliances at KRAFT Foods.  “Michel joined the Team KRAFT Racing lineup early on in his move to stock car racing and we love him.  We wish Michel and the entire KRAFT Foods racing team the best at Kentucky and Watkins Glen.”

Button fastest at Monza Thursday Button fastest at Monza Thursday
1. J. Button - Honda RA106 - 1'22"911 (+0"000) - 135 laps
2. R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.06 - 1'23"324 (+0"413) - 82 laps
3. J. Villeneuve - BMW Sauber F1.06 - 1'23"659 (+0"748) - 118 laps
4. G. Fisichella - Renault R26 - 1'23"790 (+0"879) - 57 laps
5. R. Barrichello - Honda RA106 -1'23"878 (+0"967) - 88 laps
6. M. Webber - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1'23"934 (+1"023) - 85 laps
7. H. Kovalainen - Renault R26 - 1'23"940 (+1"029) - 110 laps
8. J. Trulli - Toyota TF106B - 1'24"044 (+1"133) - 64 laps
9. N. Rosberg - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1'24"168 (+1"257) - 79 laps
10. R. Schumacher - Toyota TF106B - 1'24"242 (+1"331) - 59 laps
11. D. Coulthard - Red Bull Ferrari RB2 - 1'24"425 (+1"514) - 78 laps
12. V. Liuzzi - Toro Rosso Cosworth STR1 - 1'24"677 (+1"766) - 93 laps
13. R. Doornbos - Red Bull Ferrari RB2 - 1'25"084 (+2"173) - 65 laps

* Lap times courtesy of Renault

Camara to Test Andretti Green IndyCar Camara to Test Andretti Green IndyCarINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Andretti Green Racing Indy Pro Series driver Jaime Camara will test one of Andretti Green Racing's IndyCar Series cars Friday at Nashville Superspeedway. The test, which will last for half of Friday's test session, will make Camara the first Indy Pro Series driver to receive IndyCar Series testing time as a result of a new Indy Racing League program announced late last year.

The program allows IndyCar Series teams that field full-time entries in the Indy Pro Series to earn a bonus test for their IndyCar Series program after every three races - up to six extra test days for a two-car effort. Working in conjunction with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Andretti Green fields entries for Camara and rookie Jonathan Klein. Camara will split time with Tony Kanaan in the #11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara on Friday. Andretti Green rookie Marco Andretti will also test Friday behind the wheel of the #26 NYSE Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

Klein's first stint in an Andretti Green IndyCar will come in the near future as part of an upcoming AGR test session. Both the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series are slated to race at Nashville on Saturday, July 15.  Jaime Camara, #11 CELG/Goias Dallara/Firestone: "I'm really excited about the IndyCar test. It's going to be another step in my career. It's always been the goal - the IndyCar Series. Achieving that is a big step for me. I hope I can do a good job. At the end if the team is satisfied with my performance, I think that's a very good point in my favor for something for next year. zzzz

ON TESTING AT NASHVILLE, WHERE HE WON IN THE PRO SERIES LAST YEAR)  I think it's coincidental, but it's going to be fun because it's a track that I know how to drive. I know it's a different car, everything is different, but I know what a good line is there. I'll just do my best and try to adapt really quick to the IndyCar. I think I can do a good job, and the team is going to do the best they can to give me a great car there." 

Kim Green, President, Andretti Green Racing: "I think it's the goal of every IPS driver to graduate up to the IndyCar Series as the next step in their careers. This is a great opportunity for a young driver like Jaime, who has shown a lot of potential in the Indy Pro Series. It's also important for AGR to help identify and develop young drivers, which is something we always have an interest in.

"The day will be spent getting him used to the feel of the 'big' car - the additional grip level and horsepower, which will be significantly different. He'll get to work one on one with our engineering staff and with his mentor, Tony Kanaan, so I would expect it should be a very productive day and a very special day for Jaime." AGR

Family ties run deep in IndyCar Series Family ties run deep in IndyCar SeriesFather's Day isn't until June 18, but three Sundays ago, Sam Hornish Jr., helped his father realize a dream by fulfilling his own.

When the two-time IndyCar Series champion won the 90th Indianapolis 500 on May 28, his father was along for the ride as he's been since his namesake won his first go-kart race on a dirt track near Angola, Ind., not too far from their home in Defiance, Ohio at age 11.

The pair began racing when the younger Hornish was eight as a father-son activity, but young Sam showed talent that exceeded the father-son effort. As he began to win races on a regular basis, it became obvious to his father that his son needed to step up to the next level.

"The thing for me that was hardest growing up and being a race car driver, racing the go-karts, moving to Formula Ford, Toyota Atlantics, every time I started to get good at something, he'd make me to go to the next level," said the younger Hornish. "He never wanted me to be the big fish in the small pond."

"He worked hard for his wins," "Big Sam" Hornish added. "He had me as his detriment. I didn't know what the hell I was doing while a lot of those other kids' dads had raced karts themselves.  zzzz

 "It was my golf game. It was my vacations. It was my ability to get away with going on the weekends and racing go-karts while his mother was home taking care of business. She always supported us, though."

"Big Sam" Hornish isn't the only father with a watchful eye on his son in the IndyCar Series.

Gene Simmons (no relation to the rock star/IRL marketer with the same name) has two sons on different teams - Jeff Simmons, the driver of Rahal Letterman Racing's No. 17 Team Ethanol entry, and Chris Simmons, a data engineer for Target Chip Ganassi's No. 9 entry driven by Scott Dixon. While the series' most famous father-son pairing, Michael and Marco Andretti, nearly pulled off a family 1-2 finish at Indianapolis.

 "I hope they're cheering for me first because I'm the one driving the car," Jeff Simmons said. "But I know at the same time if I can't win the race, I'm sure they want Scott (Dixon) to because of Chris."

Still, all of the sons would like to emulate Hornish's feat at Indianapolis one day, and give something back to their fathers for all the things they did.

"He took me everywhere," young Sam recalled. "I think that's part of what makes me -- what makes it so neat for me. I've been blessed with a family that's willing -- a mom and dad that's willing to be a part for however long I'm racing, my dad being with me, coming to all these races. My wife comes to all the races. I'm just very lucky not only to have that, but also to have had a lot of things go right in my career; go sooner than I thought they should.

"To not only repay what my dad was able to do for me, my mom, Crystal, but also what Roger Penske and Tim Cindric have been able to do for me, give me everything that it took to go out there and win. I'm glad that I was able to pull through and do that for them." IRL

Victory Motorsports buys No. 37 team Victory Motorsports buys No. 37 teamVictory Motorsports Racing, owned by former NFL All-Pro Wide Receiver, Terance Mathis, has acquired R&J Racing, car #37. This will be an addition to the #67 car that is already owned by Victory Motorsports Racing. The car will be driven by Carl Long, a veteran driver that has been in the NASCAR circuit for a number of years. The new Victory Motorsports Racing car will attempt to qualify at the 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it Picture Paper, at the Michigan International Speedway, on the weekend of June 16, 2006. "I believe this will be an excellent opportunity for Victory Motorsports Racing to become a more competitive team. I have such a huge vision for this team, and this new acquisition doesn't do anything, but make that vision a reality. With having the skill and experience that accompanies such a veteran drive such as Carl Long, I'm ecstatic, having some like this on our team screams what we're all about - long time success," states Terance Mathis, Victory Motorsports Racing Team Owner. No sponsors for this team have yet been determined.
LeMans: Pescarolo and Audi in heated battle for pole LeMans: Pescarolo and Audi in heated battle for poleFull times following the third two-hour qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

1. Collard/Minassian/Comas Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 3mins 32.584secs LMP1
2. Capello/Kristensen/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 3mins 32.621secs LMP1
3. Biela/Pirro/Werner Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 3mins 32.961secs LMP1
4. Montagny/Helary/Loeb Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 3mins 33.378secs LMP1
5. Lammers/Yoong/Johansson Racing for Holland Dome S101H Judd 3mins 34.864secs LMP1
6. Nakano/Kurosawa/Gounon Courage Competition Courage LC70 Mugen 3mins 38.066secs LMP1
7. Ortiz/Gabbiani/Campbell-Walter Creation Autosportif Creation CA06/H Judd 3mins 39.398secs LMP1
8. Primat/Fassler/Peter Swiss Spirit Courage LC70 Judd 3mins 40.182secs LMP1
9. Hancock/Fisken/Frei Courage Competition Courage LC70 Mugen 3mins 40.722secs LMP1
10. Newton/Erdos/Wallace RML MG Lola EX264 AER 3mins 41.555secs LMP2

11. Berridge/Evans/Owen Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B06/10 AER 3mins 43.117secs LMP1
12. Field/Halliday/Dayton Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 AER 3mins 43.869secs LMP2
13. Short/Barbosa/Moseley Rollcentre Racing Radical SR9 Judd 3mins 44.324secs LMP2
14. Amaral/de Castro/Hughes Chamberlain-Synergy Lola B05/40 AER 3mins 45,732secs LMP2
15. Barazi/Vergers/Cunningham Barazi Epsilon Courage C65 AER 3mins 51.823secs LMP2
16. Kiesa/Moller/Pickering Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm 3mins 51.989secs LMP1
17. Sarrazin/Lamy/Ortelli Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 3mins 53.402secs GT1
18. Macaluso/Lally/James Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 AER 3mins 53.754secs LMP2
19. Fellows/O'Connell/Papis Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R 3mins 53.993secs GT1
20. Mowlem/Borcheller/Fittipaldi ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R 3mins 54.476secs GT1 zzzz

21. Enge/Turner/Piccini Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 3mins 54.649secs GT1
22. Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R 3mins 54.724secs GT1
23. Macallister/Rostan/Pullan Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 Judd 3mins 54.933secs LMP2
24. Pergl/Kox/Vasiliev Convers MenX Team Ferrari 550 Maranello 3mins 55.708secs GT1
25. Andre/Clairay/Bouvet Paul Belmondo Racing Courage C65 Mecachrome 3mins 55.751secs LMP2
26. Terada/Timpany/Binnie Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40 Zytek 3mins 56.162secs LMP2
27. Gosselin/Ojjeh/Ragues Paul Belmondo Racing Courage C65 Mecachrome 3mins 56.640secs LMP2
28. Babini/Gollin/Pescatori AMR BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBR9 3mins 57.038secs GT1
29. Piquet Jr/Garcia/Brabham Russian Age Racing Aston Martin DBR9 3mins 59.054secs GT1
30. Sugden/Vann/Smith Russian Age Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello 3mins 59.822secs GT1

31. Roussel/Hauchard/Briche Welter Gerard WR Peugeot 4mins 00.775secs LMP2
32. Apicella/Hinoi/Yamanishi JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT 4mins 00.886secs GT1
33. Hahn/Morris/Leroch G-Force Racing Courage C65 Judd 4mins 01.091secs LMP2
34. Policand/Goueslard/Alphand Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C5-R 4mins 02.452secs GT1
35. Gardel/Bornhauser/Blanchemain Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello 4mins 03.945secs GT1
36. Narac/Dumas/Riccitelli IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 04.957secs GT2
37. van Overbeek/Neiman/Long Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 05.266secs GT2
38. Niarchos/Kirkaldy/Mullen Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari F430 GTC 4mins 05.726secs GT2
39. Crevels/Dumbreck/Coronel Spyker Squadron BV Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4mins 06.299secs GT2
40. Maxwell/Jeannette/Milner Multimatic Team Panoz Panoz Esperante GT-LM 4mins 06.642secs GT2

41. Bergmeister/Jonsson/Krohn Krohn White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 06.956secs GT2
42. Nielsen/Farnbacher/Ehret Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 07.461secs GT2
43. Bleekemolen/Hezemans/Kane Spyker Squadron BV Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4mins 07.939secs GT2
44. Tomlinson/Dean/Kimber-Smith Team LNT Panoz Esperante GT-LM 4mins 13.069secs GT2
45. Pompidou/Thyrring/Ried Sebah Automotive Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 14.508secs GT2
46. Collin/Nishizawa/Yamaji Team Taisan Advan Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 15.433secs GT2
47. Yamagishi/Konopka/de Fournoux T2M Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 17.342secs GT2
48. Lambert/Lefort/Iannetta Ice Pol Racing Team Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 21.768secs GT2
49. Bourdais/Cloet/Sharpe Noel del Bello Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 4mins 23.547secs GT2
50. Nielsen/Elgaard/Andersen Zytek Engineering Zytek 06S 4mins 27.754secs LMP1 #

# denotes best time set in session two, all others set in session three

Trinity Carpet and Flooring joins Forsythe Racing Trinity Carpet and Flooring joins Forsythe RacingPORTLAND, Oregon – This year, Trinity Carpet and Flooring, long time sponsor, corporate partner and supporter of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, is extending its relationship with this weekend’s event to join Forsythe Championship Racing’s 4-car Atlantic Team.

As a former open-wheel racer, Trinity’s owner and CEO John Chism sees the synergies between business and racing, “At Trinity Carpet and Flooring we understand and live by the mantras of team work, professionalism, dedication and quality in everything we provide and do. And just like the Forsythe Atlantic Team challenging for the Atlantic championship, Trinity operates in a highly competitive commercial environment. It is therefore with pride that we expand our relationship with the Grand prix of Portland to join Forsythe’s Atlantic team and these four excellent young drivers: Andreas Wirth, James Hinchcliffe, Richard Philippe and Leo Maia.”

Team owner Jerry Forsythe recognized Trinity’s expanded Champ Car relationship, “It’s good to see a long time Champ Car event sponsor embracing the opportunity to enhance their overall event and hospitality experience by joining a team, and I’m delighted and proud to have such a well recognized regional industry leader as John Chism and his Trinity Carpet and Flooring company join the Forsythe Atlantic Team at Portland.”

Team Manager John Brunner, “It’s great to have a local sponsor on board this weekend for the Atlantic race. Since they are also sponsoring the Atlantic race (the Trinity Carpet 100K) I know they’ll have a lot of corporate guests on hand cheering us on and we’ll be doing our best to bring them a win in their namesake event.”

Trinity Carpet and Flooring is Oregon’s largest full service flooring and design center contractor, serving builders, remodeling contractors, property management companies and homeowners throughout the Pacific Northwest States. For more information visit: www.trinitycarpet.com.

Willis replaced by Honda at races Willis replaced by Honda at racesGeoff Willis, Technical Director of the Honda Racing F1 Team will be replaced at the circuit by Jacky Eeckelaert. Willis will be working at th Brackley factory to work in the new wind tunnel, to improve the performance of the car. Eeckelaert, the Belgian who joined Honda last year, will be taking over from Willis during the GP's
Track News
Turnaround almost completed by IMS for USGP Turnaround almost completed by IMS for USGPThe conversion of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from an oval-racing facility to a road-racing facility for the United States Grand Prix on June 30-July 2 is nearly complete.

The big task was started almost immediately after the 90th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28.

Here are some facts about "The Turnaround" - the job of converting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from a 2.5-mile oval to a 2.605-mile road course, and various other duties required to prepare the Speedway for the USGP.

Tasks performed by the IMS Facilities Department range from moving a total of 3.3 million pounds of concrete barriers to installing temporary signage in the paddock.

The Turnaround "To Do" List: zzzz

  • Move 130 8-ton concrete barriers to create the USGP pit lane and close certain roads on the infield of the circuit. Place 60 6-ton barriers and 60 4-ton concrete barriers, used in various locations on the circuit.
  • Install fencing around Formula One's paddock.
  • Two temporary infield grandstands must be built from the ground up. The grandstands each sit on primary roads in the infield, so they must be removed quickly after the event.
  • At the outset of road-course preparation, crews must remove the temporary walls and catch fencing on the inside of the oval's Turn 2 and Turn 4, where the road course enters and exits the oval portion of the track, respectively. Heavy machinery is required to move the walls as each section weighs 16,000 pounds.
  • Tire barriers are installed along the road course Turn 12, where it enters the IMS oval, and signboards and safety barriers are installed at the road course Turn 1. There are 43,933 tires used to construct the tire barriers at various spots around the 2.605-mile circuit, and approximately 10,000 of those tires are moved during the Turnaround.
  • Several roads in the infield must be closed with concrete barriers and tire barriers to create the infield backstretch of the road course, and 13-foot tall catch fencing must be erected.
  • The Speedway's oval-track flag stand is removed, and the overhead gantry that holds the Formula One starting lights 20 feet over the track surface is erected at the start/finish line.
  • More than 1,000 feet of catch fencing must be removed from along the inside of the oval pit lane.
  • The striping on the road course is different than the oval because the traffic is moving in a different direction, so crews have to black out the striping on the oval and install new striping that indicates the alignment of the road course.
  • The starting grid for the Formula One cars must be repainted.
  • More than 2,000 feet of fencing is put in place to close off the paddock, television compound and other secure areas.
  • All of the pit-side Gasoline Alley garages and suites, and the Legends Row building - located directly behind the garages - must be emptied so Formula One teams can move in their equipment. The "A" garages in Gasoline Alley - where Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series teams prepared their cars for the 2006 Indianapolis 500 - are thoroughly cleaned so they can become hospitality space for Formula One teams, with first-class cuisine on the menu.
  • Temporary signage, specified by Formula One to keep the paddock in similar form to all other events around the world, must be put in place.
Ten years and counting for Panoz at LeMans Ten years and counting for Panoz at LeMansLE MANS, France  – When Dr. Don Panoz has a hunch about a new venture, it always seems to turn out right. That was the case in 1997 when he first entered his namesake marque in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Dr. Panoz, founder of the American Le Mans Series, had a feeling the fans at Le Mans would fall in love with the front-engined, closed-top Panoz GTR1. And as his custom, he was right. Since then, the Panoz brand has continued to capture the hearts of those at the 24 Hours and around the world. In addition to the GTR1, entries have included the Q9 electric hybrid (Panoz was the first manufacturer to send an electric car to compete at Le Mans), followed by the LMP-1 Roadster S, the LMP07 and now the Panoz Esperante GTLM.

“To me, Le Mans is a spectacle that honors everything about motorsports. It stands on its own,” Dr. Panoz said Thursday, surrounded by many of the drivers who have driven Panoz entries at the 24 Hours. “I was so blown away by my first year here. To see what was going on was phenomenal.”

On the 10th occasion of a Panoz entry at Le Mans, there are two Panoz Esperante GTLMs entered in the GT2 class – the Sebring-winning car from Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz and one from Team LNT. Given the strong performances by both cars already this year, why shouldn’t the Esperante GTLMs be considered favorites?

“Every person who comes here with a car thinks they can win,” Dr. Panoz said. “We have very good cars here. Sebring proved that our car is reliable, but Le Mans is always a unique challenge. You learn something new every year.”

Eric Gordon wins first ever PRA race Eric Gordon wins first ever PRA raceUPDATE Note: The Premier Racing Association (PRA) is the breakaway league from USAC that uses the old Silver Crown cars.  Many team owners do not believe in the new USAC Speedway car for high-banked paved Superspeedways that is being pushed by NASCAR, and they could not afford to invest in new equipment, so they have left USAC and are running in the new PRA league.

06/15/06 Schererville, Indiana Eric Gordon led all the way Tuesday night in winning the South Shore 125 at Illiana Motor Speedway, the inaugural race in the Premier Racing Associations Big Car Series.

Gordon held off Tracy Hines who was only 15-hundreths of a second behind when the checkered flag fell.

The fastest 6 qualifiers drew "suitcases" to determine their starting positions. Gordon, who was 5th fastest during time trials, drew the number one spot and started from the pole position. Jay Drake, the fastest qualifier, started outside of Gordon on the front row.

The race was slowed by four caution periods, the first coming out on lap 10, when Jimmy Kite stalled in turn two. But he managed to stay on the lead lap, and drove an outstanding race to finish 8th.

The only contact with the wall was by Tom Capie on lap 113, but he was uninjured. That caution period did require the race to go "overtime", because the last ten laps of PRA races, must be run under green. Hines pressured Gordon several times during the last 10 circuits, but could never find the opportunity to pass. zzzz

Veteran Dave Steele , who started 6th, was the first out of competition with mechanical problems. Twelve of the eighteen starters were running at the finish of the 125 lap affair.

Next up for the "Big Cars" is a return visit to Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 5th. 26 cars qualified at IRP on the night of May 17th, but the racing part of the program was rained out.

PRA Racing Event Number 1
June 13, 2006
Illiana Motor Speedway -South Shore 125 Results
Car No. Driver Start Pos Laps Completed
1 4 Eric Gordon 1 125
2 37 Tracy Hines 4 125
3 77 Chet Fillip 5 125
4 52 Jay Drake 2 125
5 92 Dave Darland 12 125
6 32 AJ Fike 7 125
7 20 Ron Gregory 3 125
8 5 Jimmy Kite 13 125
9 21 Brian Tyler 11 125
10 51 Russ Gamester 14 124
11 17 Kenny Jacobs 16 122
12 15 Teddy Beach 9 121
13 153 Tom Capie 15 111
14 198 Michael Roselli 18 75
15 90 John Heydenreich 8 68
16 99 Paul White 10 28
17 110 Brad Armstrong 17 21
18 1 Dave Steele 6 12

Gascoyne in 'no rush' to return Gascoyne in 'no rush' to return(GMM)  Mike Gascoyne says he is in no rush to return to the formula one fold.

The highly paid Briton was axed as Toyota's technical director a couple of months ago, but until October he is contractually bound to spurn the inevitable offers of rival squads.

Gascoyne, 43, appeared publicly for the first time since his departure at Silverstone last weekend, where - instead of the traditional Toyota red or Renault blue - he wore a dowdy grey t-shirt.

He told British magazine Autosport: ''I've been sailing every day and so far just enjoying the chance to do some of the things that I couldn't do before.''

Gascoyne, meanwhile - whose tasks are fundamentally completed now by Pascal Vasselon - is reported to be unable to reveal the details of his acrimonious Toyota split.

Schu's rep takes mighty hit - survey Schu's rep takes mighty hit - survey(GMM) Monaco's 'Rascasse' episode dealt a walloping blow to the reputation of Michael Schumacher, according to a survey.

In Britain's monthly 'F1 Racing' magazine, up to half of an eminent jury voted the seven time world champion dead last of 2006's 23 race drivers in a half-season ranking; an apparent protest of Schumacher's widely-condemned qualifying maneuver.

Ferrari's 37-year-old initially seemed destined for second place behind Fernando Alonso, but he tumbled to tenth in the ranking when the jury - including Max Mosley, Pat Symonds, Patrick Head, Keke Rosberg, Martin Brundle, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Jean Todt - articulated their anger at the 'parking' outrage.

His descent cemented McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen in second place, followed by Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and rookie Nico Rosberg.

RCR hires new marketing firm RCR hires new marketing firmRichard Childress Racing (RCR) has entered into a business relationship with TrinityOne Marketing to help with the strategic marketing plans for its championship-winning NASCAR operation.

TrinityOne Marketing was started by Lou Imbriano, former vice president and chief marketing officer for the National Football League’s (NFL) New England Patriots. The Boston-based company specializes in maximizing revenue generation and brand awareness for sports teams, athletes and companies.

“Lou’s expertise at building a championship brand with the New England Patriots will be a great benefit to RCR in our sponsorship efforts and continued growth of the RCR brand,” said Richard Childress, President and CEO of Richard Childress Racing.

This relationship will be TrinityOne Marketing’s first foray into motorsports. The company has expertise with the NFL, Major League Soccer (MLS), golf, radio, television, professional athlete and celebrity endorsements, product placement, concerts, world-class events and hospitality. 

"Richard Childress Racing is NASCAR royalty and any savvy marketers would be thrilled to have their brand associated with such a winning organization," said Imbriano, TrinityOne Marketing Inc., President and CEO. "TrinityOne Marketing is excited to be partnering with Richard and his crew and we look forward to a long-term relationship." 

TV News
Ethanol getting good value from IRL sponsorship Ethanol getting good value from IRL sponsorshipJoyce Julius reports that with gasoline and oil prices skyrocketing, ethanol has become a hot-topic of conversation. Now ethanol will make its debut into the auto racing arena, as it partners with the Indy Racing League, which began introducing the renewable fuel into the open wheel racing series this year.  This season, the IRL IndyCar Series uses a max blend of 90% methanol and 10% ethanol, but beginning in 2007, the fuel will be 100% ethanol, the same fuel that has the potential to replace at least 10% of the nation's gasoline supply.  During qualifying and race coverage of this year’s Indy 500, Ethanol garnered $2.5 million of comparable exposure value.
TV News
Bourdais and Wheldon deliver Bourdais and Wheldon deliverJoyce Julius reports that Reigning Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Sebastien Bourdais could be en route to another series title, having swept the first two events of the 2006 Champ Car season. Bourdais' early-season lead among the competition is mirrored by his primary sponsor, McDonald's, as "The Golden Arches" had bagged $538,780 in comparable value through the second event of the season. [Editor's Note: Since the study, Bourdais has now won four-straight races]

Chip Ganassi's signing of Dan Wheldon this past off-season has already paid dividends to Target in the IRL IndyCar Series.  Thanks to Wheldon’s and teammate Scott Dixon’s fine early-season performances, Target more than doubled its exposure from last year through the same point in the season.  After the first 3 events of 2005, Target had earned $1.2 million of exposure value, while the retailer’s 2006 tally stood at $2.5 million.

TV News
Motorsports sponsors love Memorial Day! Motorsports sponsors love Memorial Day!Joyce Julius reports that during ABC's live telecast of the 2006 Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 telecast on Fox, sponsor logos were monitored for a combined 25 hours, 25 minutes, 47 seconds (25:25:47) throughout the 1,100 miles of holiday racing action.  When adding in some 630 sponsor verbal references during the broadcasts, a total comparable exposure value of $320 million was realized.  Despite these staggering exposure statistics, this year's Daytona 500 telecast still stands as the undisputed exposure champion, posting an overall exposure value in excess of $412 million.
Verizon teams up with Andretti and Gordon Verizon teams up with Andretti and GordonCONCORD, NC -- Driving 101, parent company of Jeff Gordon Racing School and Mario Andretti Racing School, announced today exclusive sponsorship agreements with Verizon Wireless, the nation's leading provider of wireless products and services, and Motorola, Inc., a global leader in wireless communications.

Under terms of the agreement, Verizon Wireless becomes the "Official Wireless Provider" and Motorola the "Official Wireless Hardware Supplier" of both racing schools. Both Motorola and Verizon Wireless will have cars in livery at Jeff Gordon Racing School and Mario Andretti Racing School.

"We are proud to team up with Motorola for the Jeff Gordon and Mario Andretti Racing Schools," said Jerry Fountain, President of Verizon Wireless' Carolinas/Tennessee Region. "The schools offer a fun and unique experience for race fans and a new opportunity for Verizon Wireless to share information about the latest in wireless technology."

"Participating in this sponsorship is an exciting way to show how Motorola helps people stay connected to the people, information, and entertainment they want wherever they may be," said Fred Wright, senior vice president responsible for Motorola's North America wireless infrastructure business.

Robert Lutz, President/CEO of Driving 101 stated, "We are extremely pleased to be associated with both Verizon Wireless and Motorola. These companies share our vision to provide customers with the most technologically advanced products that deliver a truly unique experience." "By utilizing the EV-DO infrastructure and mobile hardware, we now have the ability to connect our trackside offices with our servers in North Carolina. This allows us to receive real-time information from our reservation systems and connect our offices and employees at broadband speeds," Lutz added.

Bourdais aims for 5-straight Bourdais aims for 5-straight
Renault extends contract with Fisichella Renault extends contract with FisichellaThe Renault F1 Team is delighted to announce the continuation of its relationship with Italian Giancarlo Fisichella for the 2007 season. The Italian is currently enjoying his strongest Formula 1 season to date. His excellent working relationship with the team, allied to undoubted speed, will form the backbone of the Renault F1 Team’s 2007 challenge.

Giancarlo Fisichella commented: “It was very important for me to know my future as soon as possible in the season. I am delighted to be staying at Renault next year, and to have the opportunity to see my hard work with the team over the past two seasons come to fruition. I want to thank the Renault F1 Team and the Renault Group for the trust they have placed in me. This clear vision for the future means I can focus 100% on the job at hand: retaining the constructors’ championship with Renault in 2006 and finishing as high as possible in the drivers’ standings.”

Renault F1 Team Managing Director Flavio Briatore commented: “We are extremely pleased to continue working with Giancarlo next year. He was an integral part of our championship success last year; he has upped his game significantly for 2006, making the team even stronger; we believe he can do it again for 2007. It is important for Renault to maintain continuity as we move into next year, and Giancarlo’s integration with the team is now perfect. What’s more, his experience with the team over two championship campaigns will be an invaluable asset. We will have ambitious targets for next season, and Giancarlo is capable of achieving them.”

TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for Friday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

NASCAR Live! Michigan
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying  Michigan
3:00pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
ARCA RE/MAX Michigan
5:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Michigan
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Performance 
10:00pm-10:30pm SPEED

Saturday Morning/Friday Night

Formula 1 Replay Silverstone
12:00am-2:30am (R) (originally broadcast on CBS) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of Friday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

Rain dampens Corvette team strategy Rain dampens Corvette team strategyCorvette Racing were happy to let rivals Aston Martin make the early running in the GT1 class after wet weather hit the opening qualifying sessions for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

After sunshine throughout the early part of the week, the two two-hour sessions were hit by rain which left the defending GT1 champions to change its plans for the day.

The first two hours of running saw the Corvette team sit in the pitlane, with Johnny O'Connell and Olivier Beretta both taking to the track but only to run an installation lap, as the team preferred not to risk an incident which could have led to a busy night ahead of the two Thursday sessions – which are set to be held in more promising weather conditions.

"This team is always looking at the big picture, and that's one of the reasons why this team is as successful as it is," O'Connell, who shares the #63 C6.R with Ron Fellows and Max Papis, said of the opening session. "There's no point in risking everything that has gone into this effort just to get in some laps on a race track that's not going to be wet when we race. If we were to run tonight, we'd learn absolutely nothing. zzzz

"There were some sprinkles as we went through the Dunlop chicane, and then the rain started coming down in Indianapolis and Arnage. By the time we got to the Porsche Curves, it was raining pretty hard. We were on slick tires, so we came straight into the pits and parked it."

Oliver Gavin was in full agreement with his team-mate about how difficult conditions had been.

"It's very tricky, with lots of puddles and bits that you're trying to avoid, so I was very careful," the three-time Le Mans winner said. "We're not going to learn much in these conditions. It's a shame because we've had three weeks of dry weather, and at the one moment when we want to get some work done, it pours down rain."

As the rain steadily increased during the session, the chief activity in the Corvette Racing camp was crew chief Dan Binks and mechanic David James waxing the #63 Corvette in the pit lane.

"We got it shiny and looking good after a lap in the wet," Binks laughed. "We always want to have our Corvettes looking nice - and maybe play a few mind games with the Aston Martin guys while their cars are ripping around in the rain and getting dirty.

"Seriously, we only have two race cars here, and they're difficult to fix after a big wreck. It doesn't look like it's going to rain for the race, so there's no reason to put our cars at risk. If we thought we'd have rain for the race then we'd be out there, but I think we're in good shape."

Although the two C6.Rs did take to the track in the night sessions, it was only to allow the six Corvette drivers to complete the mandatory three laps of running required in the dark with the focus now switching to taking the fight to Aston Martin in the remaining sessions.

The #64 car was the quicker of the two with a best time of 4mins 51.557secs, with the sister car some three seconds slower – the two cars lapping nearly a minute off the pace displayed on the 4 June test day before the team brought its session to an early end. Corvette Racing

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Mercedes slams Midland rumor
Doornbos ill at Monza test
Fisi to sue Eddie Jordan
Honda install sub for HQ-bound Willis
Mol pushes Shnaider for MF1 decision
Fisi stays, while Flav prods Fernando
Foyt to Purchase New Generation Silver Crown Chassis Foyt to Purchase New Generation Silver Crown ChassisINDIANAPOLIS – Chris Paulsen, President & Owner C&R Racing, Inc., announced Tuesday that racing legend A.J. Foyt will purchase a C&R chassis for the 2006 USAC Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering. Foyt plans to use the series for a driver screening program; the driver is not yet announced.

Foyt has enjoyed a racing career that is second to none - his records remain intact despite being out of the driver’s seat for over 10 years. The first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 continues to hold records for the most victories (67), most national championships (7), most victories in one season (10), and most consecutive starts in the Indy 500 (35). In USAC Silver Crown (formerly Dirt Champ Car) competition, he has completed over 1,100 career laps, leading 168 of those. Winning the title in 1972, Foyt’s driving career stats in that division include two victories, four second-place finishes, eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes.

Now, Foyt will add ownership of the new generation USAC Silver Crown team to his list of credits. zzzz

“I was intrigued by this new car designed for the Silver Crown Series,” said Foyt. “I saw the car during the IndyCar race weekend in Miami earlier this year and began talking to Chris about buying one. Bruce (Ashmore) worked with me at the 500 in May and I had a chance to visit their shop in Indy. I liked what I saw and wanted to get involved. I think it will be a good way to evaluate possible drivers for my IndyCar program down the road. Also, the Silver Crown Series has a strong purse structure and a good-sized point fund which makes the series worthwhile on the business end.”

The driver chosen for this program will be equipped with the best chassis in the series, the leading technology and a team of proven racers.

Paulsen stated: “I'm really excited about A.J. Foyt getting into the K&N USAC Silver Crown Series. His credentials are well known by anyone in American racing and he will be a huge asset to this series. A.J.'s a hard core racer that likes to win and we are very pleased that he has chosen our C&R chassis for his team. I'm also excited that he wants to use this as a screening process for future candidates for his IndyCar program. The new Silver Crown Series is the perfect platform for young talented drivers to get experience on big, fast race tracks.”

Bruce Ashmore, co-designer of the C&R chassis, said, “I am also excited about working with A.J. again and this time on a true American grass roots racing car. It is great that he's chosen to run with C&R Racing in the Silver Crown Series. I'm especially looking forward to working with A.J. on his driver screening program. We intend to find a young fast American driver for the No. 14 Silver Crown car for this year, and if this person lives up to our expectations, they could be given the chance to qualify a second car for next year’s Indianapolis 500.

"Having A.J. Foyt affiliated with the new Silver Crown Series adds to the fact that this is our premier division in USAC," added Owen Snyder, USAC’s Technical Operations & Competition Director. "I feel his reason for joining us was the close, exciting racing he witness at Homestead. This new car and modified series is a perfect fit for A.J., who is a traditional USAC owner/driver and former series champion. It exemplifies what our intentions and expectations are for this division. A.J. definitely sees the advantage of the division, which can expose his and our drivers to new venues, some of the top facilities in the country."

The USAC Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering continues Friday with the “Kentucky 100” at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. USAC

[Editor's Note: AJ can't win in anything else these days, perhaps with such small fields in this ridiculous series his team will win again and he can then remind us "How wonderful he is"....his words, not ours.]

LeMans: Combined Wed. qualifying times LeMans: Combined Wed. qualifying timesNote: All times run on wet track.  Thursday times will be much quicker in the dry, so these are essentially meaningless.
Pos # Class Driver Team Time
1. 16 LMP1 E. Collard Pescarolo Sport 4:13.832
2. 17 LMP1 S. Loeb Pescarolo Sport 4:14.447
3. 7 LMP1 R. Capello Audi Sport Team Joest 4:17.189
4. 8 LMP1 F. Biela Audi Sport Team Joest 4:17.676
5. 9 LMP1 J. Campbell Walter Creation Autosportif 4:22.021
6. 14 LMP1 J. Lammers Racing for Holland 4:22.873
7. 5 LMP1 M. Fassler Swiss Spirit 4:23.727
8. 20 LMP2 Ch. Macallister Pierre Bruneau 4:25.398
9. 13 LMP1 H. Kurosawa Courage Competition 4:25.582
10. 32 LMP2 M. Vergers Barazi Epsilon 4:27.357
11. 2 LMP1 J. Nielsen Zytek Engineering 4:27.754
12. 00 LMGT1 D. Turner Aston Martin Racing 4:31.179
13. 6 LMP1 J. Moller Lister Storm Racing 4:31.565
14. 00 LMGT1 S. Ortelli Aston Martin Racing 4:32.053
15. 67 LMGT1 P. Kox Convers Menx Team 4:33.561
16. 33 LMP2 C. Field Intersport Racing 4:34.160
17. 25 LMP2 A. Wallace RML 4:34.940
18. 66 LMGT1 C. Fittipaldi ACEMCO Motorsports 4:35.016
19. 69 LMGT1 F. Babini BMS Scuderia Italia 4:35.531
20. 62 LMGT1 D. Brabham Russian Age Racing 4:35.789  zzzz
21. 12 LMP1 A. Frei Courage Competition 4:35.943
22. 39 LMP2 W. Hughes Chamberlain Synergy 4:37.362
23. 90 LMGT2 J. Bergmeister White Lightning Racing 4:39.912
24. 61 LMGT1 T. Sugden Russian Age Racing 4:40.097
25. 76 LMGT2 R. Dumas IMSA Perf. Matmut 4:41.623
26. 72 LMGT1 J. Policand Alphand Aventures 4:42.545
27. 22 LMP2 M. Short Rollcentre Racing 4:43.803
28. 37 LMP2 JB. Bouvet Paul Belmondo Racing 4:45.086
29. 86 LMGT2 J. Bleekemolen Spyker Squadron 4:45.916
30. 80 LMGT2 J. Van Overbeek Flying Lizard Motorsports 4:46.888
31. 50 LMGT1 Blanchemain J-l. Larbre Competition 4:47.924
32. 85 LMGT2 T. Coronel Spyker Squadron 4:48.691
33. 35 LMP2 E. Morris G-Force Racing 4:48.714
34. 36 LMP2 P. Ragues Paul Belmondo Racing 4:50.408
35. 81 LMGT2 R. Dean Team LNT 4:50.424
36. 64 LMGT1 J. Magnussen Corvette Racing 4:51.557
37. 24 LMP2 B. Binnie Binnie Motorsports 4:51.872
38. 08 LMGT2 C. Niarchos Scuderia Ecosse 4:52.423
39. 83 LMGT2 D. Farnbacher Seikel Motorsports 4:53.695
40. 63 LMGT1 J. O'Connell Corvette Racing 4:54.941
41. 89 LMGT2 Ch. Ried Sebab Automotive Ltd 4:54.946
42. 77 LMGT2 G. Jeannette Multimatic Panoz M.S. 4:55.638
43. 27 LMP2 A. Lally Miracle Motorsports 4:56.168
44. 73 LMGT2 Y. Lambert Ice Pol Racing Team 4:57.096
45. 53 LMGT1 M. Apicela Jloc Isao Noritake 4:58.656
46. 19 LMP1 B. Berridge Chamberlain Synergy 5:04.081
47. 93 LMGT2 P. Collin Team Taisan Advan 5:05.305
48. 91 LMGT2 Y. Yamagishi T2M Motorsport 5:06.716
49. 98 LMGT2 T. Cloet Del Bello Noel 5:07.105
50. 30 LMP2 F. Hauchard Welter Gerard 5:15.480
LeMans: Pescarolo tops Audi in 2nd wet session LeMans: Pescarolo tops Audi in 2nd wet sessionRain which varied from fairly light to torrential dogged the second two hour stint on Wednesday; despite this, the top LMP1 cars managed to improve their times.

After the first two-hour stint was brought to a premature end, the second stint got under way on time at 10pm. The cloud cover made the circuit prematurely dark; the track was still very wet, the rooster-tails of spray showing up in the headlights of following cars, although the rain had slowed, and was much lighter than earlier.

Franck Montagny took advantage of the minor improvement in conditions to do some quick laps in the No.17 Pescarolo Judd, first splitting the Audis and then going even quicker to claim provisional pole with a lap of 4:19.143; the degree of difficulty caused by the conditions can be judged by the fact that this time is almost 45 seconds slower than last year’s pole time, set in the dry. zzzz

But then, 20 minutes after the green flag, the rain started to come down heavier, and times got even slower. The teams switched their focus onto getting all of their drivers night-qualified – the requirement is that a driver completes at least three laps during the two 2-hour stints between 10pm and midnight on Wednesday and Thursday.

Not that the rain bothered Montagny; at 10:37pm he put in a remarkable lap, his 4:17.295 almost two seconds faster than his previous best. It took Audi only two minutes to respond, McNish putting in a 4:17.189 in the No.7 Audi. On the very next lap Montagny outdid him with a 4:14.447, an astonishing improvement of almost three seconds on his previous best.

By the end of the session the No.8 Audi had improved to 4:17.676 but had dropped to fourth, just under half a second slower than the sister No.7 car; at almost the same time Rinaldo Capello spun the No.7 car into the barriers at the Tertre Rouge esses, being forced to abandon the car.

With half an hour remaining, despite the rain continuing to fall, Emmanuel Collard put in a series of flying laps in the No.16 Pescarolo; first he jumped over the two Audis to claim second with a 4:15.565, then went fastest of all with a 4:13.832.

As the LMP1 started to bring their cars down the leading GT1 cars, the two Aston Martin DBR9 entries, were pushed out of the top ten; with no improvement on their earlier times, the No.007 car of Enge/Piccini/Turner staying ahead of the No.009 of Lamy/Ortelli/Sarrazin. The two works Corvettes went out, but made no real attempt to turn fast laps, so third in class went to the No.67 Convers Menx Ferrari 550 Maranello.

The 4:25.398 lap set by the No.20 Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam Judd in the first ten minutes of the 1/8 evening proved to be the quickest time in LMP2; their nearest challenger was the No.32 Barazi Epsilon Courage AER, just under 2s slower.

The final two hours of the evening also saw no changes in the GT2 positions, so the No.90 White Lightning Porsche 911 is on the overnight class pole improving their time to 4:39.912, ahead of the No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911, with third held by the No.86 Spyker Squadron C8 Spyder.

If Thursday’s practice session is dry, as is forecast, all of tonight’s times will count for nothing, despite the heroics involved in going as fast as possible in extremely tricky conditions. The sheer length of the 13.65km circuit makes it even more difficult - there can be torrential rain in some parts, no more than a light shower in others.

ALMS teams dominate GT classes so far ALMS teams dominate GT classes so far
Cunningham paces IndyPro test as 5 crash Cunningham paces IndyPro test as 5 crashDefending Indy Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham topped the speed chart at an Open Test at The Milwaukee Mile. The test was in preparation for the series' two short-oval events - the Sunbelt Rentals 100 at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway on July 15 and the Milwaukee 100 on July 22.

Cunningham lapped the 1-mile oval in 25.1728 seconds, 143.012 mph in the No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing entry. He was nearly 0.6 seconds faster than anyone else despite running fewer laps than all but one other driver.

Tom Wood was second-quick at 25.7558, 139.774. Alex Lloyd, Jaime Camara and Jay Howard rounded out the top five.

Twelve drivers completed 1,396 laps during the test.

Turn 4 of the tricky, 1-mile oval claimed five victims during the day.

The No. 41 car driven by Sean Guthrie made the heaviest contact, spinning into the sand-filled containers at the entrance to the pit lane. Guthrie was transported to Froedtert Hospital for further evaluation. He was discharged late in the afternoon. He has not been cleared to drive. zzzz

Howard and Jonathan Klein made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 in the first 70 minutes of the test. Both cars were repaired and returned to action in the afternoon.

Geoff Dodge spun the No. 33 Fast Track to Indy car at the same location with 20 minutes remaining in the morning session. The car sustained moderate damage to the left rear. The No. 9 car of Tom Wieringa made contact with the inside wall at Turn 4 late in the afternoon.

Howard, Klein, Dodge and Wieringa were checked and released from the infield care center by Dr. Geoff Billows.

The top speeds of the day were:

Driver Time Speed
1. Wade Cunningham 25.1728 143.012
2. Tom Wood 25.7558 139.774
3. Alex Lloyd 26.0712 138.083
4. Jaime Camara 26.0870 138.000
5. Jay Howard 26.1661 137.583
6. Tom Wieringa 26.2079 137.363
7. Jonathan Klein 26.2616 137.082
8. Bobby Wilson 26.2992 136.886
9. Chris Festa 26.3664 136.537
10. Brett Van Blankers 26.5919 135.380
11. Sean Guthrie 26.7468 134.596
12. Geoff Dodge 27.1216 132.736

Indy Pro Series teams will convert their cars for road racing for a June 20 test on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

SHOWING HIS COLORS: Andretti Green Racing driver Jaime Camara showed his support for the Brazilian World Cup soccer team by wearing a yellow and green No. 9 Ronaldo jersey under his firesuit. Ronaldo is a three-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 CELG): "I'm cheering a lot for Brazil. I think they can win the World Cup. I think they are going to have a good campaign, and I'm going to support them to the end. I'm not a huge soccer fan, but I like to watch when Brazil is playing in the World Cup. I don't follow Brazilian teams, but when is Brazil is playing, I like to support them."
ON THE MOVE: Indy Pro Series rookie Jonathan Klein has been on the move since the end of his freshman year at the University of Dayton in early May. He spent the month of May living in Indianapolis. After spending a week at his family's lake home in Wisconsin - about 20 minutes from the Milwaukee Mile - Klein will return to his home in Long Grove, Ill., and begin working at the Klein Tools factory for the remainder of the summer.
HOMECOMING: A test at The Milwaukee Mile was a homecoming of sorts for Indy Pro Series driver Bobby Wilson and team owner Michael Crawford. Wilson is an Oconomowoc, Wis., native whose parents and sister still reside in the area. Oconomowoc is approximately 35 miles west of Milwaukee.

Crawford hails from Mequon, Wis., a city located 18 miles north of Milwaukee. Crawford, owner of Michael Crawford Motorsports, earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, fastest): "Everytime we go out on the track, we look to be the best car and fastest. Everything started at Homestead. During the race, we were just so fast. We keep building on our momentum. Obviously, we were quick at the Open Test at Indy, quick at Indy, quick at Watkins Glen. We didn't win, unfortunately, but we gave it our best shot. We came here with the express intent to improve the car and be quickest, and we've done that. I'm happy, and I'm looking forward to testing again next week at Indy. We'll be trying hard again to put a good car on the track there as well."

TOM WOOD (No. 42 Kenn Hardley Racing, second-quick): "We did a bunch of full-tank runs and the car was awesome. It was really good. Mark Moore and the Kenn Hardley Racing team did a good job. We tried a bunch of things and went right back to where we started from, so we were very good right out of the box."

ALEX LLOYD (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., third-quick): "It was a good day. We made a little progress from lunch to now, which is good. It's a shame we couldn't get the last hour in (he left early to catch a flight), because I think we would keep getting better and better. Generally, we kept it on the track at all times, which is important. We always kept a little bit back just for that. The car was improving all the time. I think we were pretty quick there at the end. When everyone else is on the track at the same time, I think our times are really good."

JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 CELG, fourth-quick): "I'm not happy, to be honest. I think we still need to find a little bit more speed. The second part of the day was better than the first part for sure. I still think we need to find a little bit more speed. We've got to go test more to see what I am missing. At least I didn't crash."

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fifth-quick): "It was alright, I suppose. Crashing to start the day wasn't a good thing. That's for sure. I just tried to pick up the throttle earlier and earlier and earlier every time, getting faster and faster, and I just picked up a fraction too early. It just snapped on me, and the next thing I knew, I was sliding backwards and trying to recover it. Luckily, it was only classed as a little one. It wasn't too bad for the Sam Schmidt Motorsports boys to fix. Apart from that, it's just been an OK day. We're not where we want to be."

LeMans: Audi R10s lead opening wet qualifying session LeMans: Audi R10s lead opening wet qualifying sessionRain which varied from fairly light to torrential dogged the second two-hour stint on Wednesday; despite this, the top LMP1 cars managed to improve their times.
After the first two-hour stint was brought to a premature end, the second stint got under way on time at 10pm. The cloud cover made the circuit prematurely dark; the track was still very wet, the rooster-tails of spray showing up in the headlights of following cars, although the rain had slowed, and was much lighter than earlier.

Franck Montagny took advantage of the minor improvement in conditions to do some quick laps in the No.17 Pescarolo Judd, first splitting the Audis and then going even quicker to claim provisional pole with a lap of 4:19.143; the degree of difficulty caused by the conditions can be judged by the fact that this time is almost 45 seconds slower than last year’s pole time, set in the dry. zzzz

But then, 20 minutes after the green flag, the rain started to come down heavier, and times got even slower. The teams switched their focus onto getting all of their drivers night-qualified – the requirement is that a driver completes at least three laps during the two 2-hour stints between 10pm and midnight on Wednesday and Thursday.

Not that the rain bothered Montagny; at 10:37pm he put in a remarkable lap, his 4:17.295 almost two seconds faster than his previous best. It took Audi only two minutes to respond, McNish putting in a 4:17.189 in the No.7 Audi. On the very next lap Montagny outdid him with a 4:14.447, an astonishing improvement of almost three seconds on his previous best.

By the end of the session the No.8 Audi had improved to 4:17.676 but had dropped to fourth, just under half a second slower than the sister No.7 car; at almost the same time Rinaldo Capello spun the No.7 car into the barriers at the Tertre Rouge esses, being forced to abandon the car. With half an hour remaining, despite the rain continuing to fall, Emmanuel Collard put in a series of flying laps in the No.16 Pescarolo; first he jumped over the two Audis to claim second with a 4:15.565, then went fastest of all with a 4:13.832.

As the LMP1 started to bring their cars down the leading GT1 cars, the two Aston Martin DBR9 entries, were pushed out of the top ten; with no improvement on their earlier times, the No.007 car of Enge/Piccini/Turner staying ahead of the No.009 of Lamy/Ortelli/Sarrazin. The two works Corvettes went out, but made no real attempt to turn fast laps, so third in class went to the No.67 Convers Menx Ferrari 550 Maranello.

The 4:25.398 lap set by the No.20 Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam Judd in the first ten minutes of the evening proved to be the quickest time in LMP2; their nearest challenger was the No.32 Barazi Epsilon Courage AER, just under 2s slower.

The final two hours of the evening also saw no changes in the GT2 positions, so the No.90 White Lightning Porsche 911 is on the overnight class pole improving their time to 4:39.912, ahead of the No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911, with third held by the No.86 Spyker Squadron C8 Spyder.

If Thursday’s practice session is dry, as is forecast, all of tonight’s times will count for nothing, despite the heroics involved in going as fast as possible in extremely tricky conditions. The sheer length of the 13.65km circuit makes it even more difficult - there can be torrential rain in some parts, no more than a light shower in others.

Simon Pagenaud Leads Way in Portland Atlantic Test Simon Pagenaud Leads Way in Portland Atlantic TestPORTLAND, Oregon – Although more than half of the 26-car Champ Car Atlantic Championship field that tested Wednesday at Portland International Raceway had previous experience competing on the fast road circuit, a driver making his first-ever trip to Portland set the mark for the others to top.

Continuing to prove that he’s a quick learner and, well, just quick - Simon Pagenaud (#15 Team Australia/Location U/Cons. Gen. Vienne) of Team Australia led all Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda testers at the PIR circuit by recording a fast lap of 1:05.154 (108.518 mph). As Pagenaud and the rest of the Atlantic drivers prepared for this weekend’s Trinity Carpet 100k event at the G.I. Joe’s Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland by turning in a full day of testing Wednesday, it became clear that a certain Frenchman likes what he sees in his maiden visit to Portland.

Pagenaud was fourth-fastest in the morning test session at the 1.964-mile PIR course but, as he’s done throughout the first three rounds of Atlantic competition this season, he adapted quickly to a course that’s new to him establishing a blistering time in the afternoon. The 22-year-old racer’s fast lap wound up being more than two-tenths-of-a-second quicker than the next-fastest time recorded on the day.  zzzz

“This track looks a lot like some of the European tracks that I’m used to,” said Pagenaud, a native of Montmorillon, France who was the series runner-up in the 2004 Formula Renault European Championship. “We weren’t so good at the beginning of the day but we found quite a good balance in the car in the afternoon. When the car is good like that you feel like you can do whatever you want. This was good for everyone’s confidence on the team heading into this weekend.”

That confidence could mean trouble for the rest of the Atlantic competitors at Portland. Already leading the rookie standings while sitting second in the overall championship rundown heading into Portland and coming off back-to-back second-place finishes in his last two races, Pagenaud is shooting for his first Atlantic victory in Sunday’s 40-lap race.

He’ll certainly need to earn that win against some of the world’s top young racing talents, however. Brazilian Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks), for example, is hoping that he can walk away from Portland with his first series victory. Looking for a strong finish at PIR after tough results in Rounds 2 and 3, Matos owned the second-fastest laps in both the morning and afternoon sessions. The Sierra Sierra Enterprises pilot checked in with a top time on the day of 1:05.394 (108.120 mph).

“The day was very good for us,” said Matos. “We experimented with a lot of different things. We worked on race set up, we managed the tires well and I think we definitely have a good setup for qualifying.”

Forsythe Championship Racing’s Leonardo Maia topped the testing sheets in the morning and he wound up with the third-fastest combined time of 1:05.435 (108.052 mph). “We still have a lot of work to do, though,” cautioned Maia, currently ranked 10th in the series standings. “The FCR team is the best in the business and I know they’re going to give me a good car this weekend and it’s up to me to drive it and get the most out of it.”

With a fast lap of 1:05.585 (107.805 mph) established in the morning session, 17-year-old rookie Graham Rahal (#18 Gehl Company)  clocked the fourth-fastest testing time. Coming off his first Atlantic win last round at Monterrey, Mexico, Rahal is hoping to improve on his third-place standing in the championship at PIR, where he captured the checkered flag in Star Mazda competition last season.

James Hinchcliffe (#3 Emexis/INDECK) of Forsythe Racing completed a power-packed top five from testing as he carded a quick lap of 1:05.713 (107.595 mph) in the afternoon session. His teammate and Atlantic Championship leader Andreas Wirth (#37 INDECK/Wirth Solar) owned a top lap of 1:05.984 (107.153 mph) – good enough for sixth in the day’s overall rundown.

Round 4 of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship officially gets underway on Friday at Portland with practice and the opening round of qualifying for the Trinity Carpet 100k Atlantic race. Follow all of this weekend’s action from PIR through the Official Web Site of North America’s premier open-wheel development series, www.champcaratlantic.com.

Combined lap times and speeds from Wednesday’s Atlantic open test at Portland follow:

Simon Pagenaud, Team Australia – 1:05.154/108.518 mph
Raphael Matos, Sierra Sierra Enterprises – 1:05.394/108.120 mph
Leonardo Maia, Forsythe Championship Racing – 1:05.435/108.052 mph
Graham Rahal, Mi-Jack Conquest Racing – 1:05.585/107.805 mph
James Hinchcliffe, Forsythe Championship Racing – 1:05.713/107.595 mph
Andreas Wirth, Forsythe Championship Racing – 1:05.984/107.153 mph
Carlos Mastretta, Brooks Associates Racing – 1:06.148/106.888 mph
Ryan Lewis, Mi-Jack Conquest Racing – 1:06.154/106.878 mph
Jonathan Bomarito, PR1 Motorsports – 1:06.186/106.826 mph
Danilo Dirani, Condor Motorsports – 1:06.350/106.562 mph
Robbie Pecorari, Gelles Racing – 1:06.425/106.442 mph
Steve Ott, MSR Houston Team Jensen – 1:06.551/106.240 mph
Alex Barron, Polestar Racing Group – 1:06.581/106.192 mph
Barton Mawer, Transnet Racing – 1:06.588/106.181 mph
Alex Sperafico, Brooks Associates Racing – 1:06.605/106.154 mph
Richard Philippe, Forsythe Championship Racing – 1:06.633/106.110 mph
James Davison, Team Australia – 1:06.640/106.098 mph
Joe D’Agostino, Newman Wachs Racing – 1:06.716/105.978 mph
Tim Bridgman, Epson Team Jensen – 1:06.795/105.852 mph
Alan Sciuto, Polestar Racing Group – 1:06.856/105.756 mph
Antoine Bessette, Gelles Racing – 1:07.007/105.517 mph
Justin Sofio, Mathiasen Motorsports – 1:07.254/105.130 mph
Daniel Gaunt, Newman Wachs Racing – 1:07.387/104.922 mph
Alex Garcia, Transnet Racing – 1:07.436/104.846 mph
Kyle Kelley, US RaceTronics – 1:07.899/104.131 mph
Duncan Ende, Bite Racing – 1:08.077/103.859 mph

Audi drivers on the challenges of LeMans Audi drivers on the challenges of LeMansThe "Circuit des 24 Heures”, at a length of 13.650 kilometres, is one of the fastest race tracks in the world and is the scene for this weekend’s 74th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hour race. The driving duties of the two Audi R10 TDI cars will be shared by six experienced drivers, each of whom have won Le Mans at least once.
Which corner is the biggest challenge at Le Mans?
Marco Werner: "From my point of view, the Porsche corners are the most difficult part. It is a high-speed section where an LM P1 car, such as the Audi R10 TDI, is much faster than an LM P2 or a GT car. It is very difficult if you catch up a slower car in the last part of this section, a long right-hand corner. You need to overtake on the outside but there is often a lot of rubber ‘pick-up’ from tires on the track surface on this ‘off line’ part of the track. You can easily collect this rubber which deteriorates the grip of your own tires.”
After years of experience, is it easier to adapt personally to a non-permanent race track?
Dindo Capello: "After so many years, Le Mans almost feels like a ‘permanent’ track for me. But still, you’ve got to be cautious at the beginning. The grip is very low, especially in places that are public roads for most of the year. Because of this, there are lots of different grip situations over one lap. There are also several different kinds of tarmac. On a wet track, those differences are even more striking. Without the braking signs posted from 300 meters before each corner, it would be really difficult for us, whereas no such signs are required on a permanent track.” zzzz

Does a diesel car require a particular driving style on certain sections of the track?
Tom Kristensen: "The characteristics of the diesel power means that we generally need to adapt our driving style at Le Mans. Thanks to the fuel economy, we have longer stints but it also means we need to ‘save’ the tires during this period. In order to take care of them, we need to be disciplined because only will this allow for a fluid, constant and fast rhythm. Owing to the higher weight on the rear axle, there is a different inertia to deal with. In the Porsche corners, it means the car is just fantastic, not least because of the long wheel base. However, it is now a bigger challenge to perform fast direction changes or to tackle the bumps in the Tertre Rouge corner.”
Is there a special challenge of driving at night at Le Mans?
Emanuele Pirro: "The positive thing is that at night, the tires have more grip, the engine has more power and the car is quicker. But the driving is more difficult. The lighting situations change quickly at Le Mans – in the pit area, it is very bright, in other places, it’s pretty dark. As the human eye does not adapt that quickly, some sections seem to approach quicker than they actually do. So you feel faster than you are. The most important psychological aspect is to recognize the braking points early, i.e. to spot the brake signs erected 300 meters before the corner. Only if you see them, you feel safe. Overtaking is even easier at night as you will be seen earlier.”
Where is the best chance for overtaking maneuvers?
Allan McNish: "Thanks to the TDI power of our Audi R10, we have much better overtaking chances at Le Mans than in the previous years when the Audi R8 was very restricted in its power by the rules. The V12 TDI supplies so much torque that we can overtake easier under acceleration out of a corner, even on the outside. The new chassis supports these characteristics as it provides a high driving stability and the aerodynamics are very efficient. So it is easier for us on the whole track, not just at certain corners.”
Does the low noise of the Audi R10 TDI affect the driving style at Le Mans?
Frank Biela: "The Audi R10 TDI is very, very quiet. For me it means that under braking from top speed – for instance on the Hunaudières straight – you’ve got to be even more concentrated than before. Until now, you could change down the gears according to the noise of the engine, but now something is missing. Now I’ve got to change down according to my feeling or I’ve got to focus on the rev counter on the steering wheel display. Only at speeds below 200 kph the engine is louder than the wind, so you can drive according to the noise as in the past. The positive aspect: over the distance, the low noise is very pleasant, so it is more relaxing for the driver.” Audi

The cost to run LeMans for an ALMS team The cost to run LeMans for an ALMS team
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