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Michigan postscript Michigan postscript 
  • Greg Biffle won for the fifth time this season with today's triumph at Michigan and for the sixth time in the last 16 races dating back to last season
  • Biffle now owns eight NNC wins (Daytona, Michigan twice, Homestead-Miami, California, Texas, Darlington, Dover).
  • Today's win was the eighth of the season for Ford, which is two more than second-place Chevrolet (Greg Biffle at California, Texas, Darlington, Dover and Michigan; Carl Edwards at Atlanta and Pocono; Kurt Busch at Phoenix.
  • Ford has 562 all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series wins.
  • Today's win marked the 100th all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win for Taurus (92 points races and 8 non-points events).
  • Rusty Wallace led Taurus to a win in its debut race (1998 Budweiser Shootout).
  • Mark Martin registered the first points win for Taurus at Las Vegas in the third race of 1998, and led a Ford sweep that included the top seven finishers and 13 of the top 14.
  • Dale Jarrett leads all Ford drivers with 18 wins (including the Shootout and All-Star Challenge) while Martin is second with 15.
  • Taurus has won point races at all but three NNC tracks (Chicagoland, Kansas, and Watkins Glen).
  • Taurus has won its most point races at Bristol (9), and has won at least five times at 13 tracks.
  • Ford has won the most NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Michigan with 28.  Chevrolet is second with 16 while Mercury is third with 12 and Dodge fourth with six.
  • Ford has now won at least one NNC race at MIS in 20 of the last 22 years.
  • Ford has the most poles at MIS as well with 22, compared to 18 for Chevrolet and six for Dodge.
  • 11 different Ford drivers have posted 28 victories in 72 all-time series races at MIS.
  • When the Mercury brand is included the win total jumps to 40.
  • Ford has won five out of the last seven MIS races by four different drivers -- Matt Kenseth ('02), Dale Jarrett ('02), Kurt Busch ('03) and Greg Biffle ('04 and '05).
  • The Wood Brothers won the first race at MIS when Cale Yarborough piloted a Mercury to victory in the Motor State 500 on June 15, 1969.
  • Kurt Busch became the youngest driver to win a Cup race at MIS when he captured the Sirius 400 in 2003 at the age of 24 years, 10 months and 11 days.
  • Three of the top four all-time winning car owners at MIS currently run Fords, including the Wood Brothers (11), Jack Roush (7), and Robert Yates (6).  Harry Melling won all seven of his MIS races with Bill Elliott in a Ford from 1984-89.
Fans demand their money back Fans demand their money backThis IndyChannel.com article says that many fans demanded their money back after today's F1 race at Indy.  Police officers, dressed in riot gear, anticipated angry fans, many of whom just wanted their money back.  "All of us spent over $150 each. We weren't even informed this was going to happen. We feel very disappointed. It's a lot of money," Armando Crespo, from Mexico, said.

Omar Pora said he spent $5,000 to fly in with his son from Columbia.  "Seven hours flying...to watch this kind of circus is something that is ridiculous. I spent a lot of money. I know this is going to be my last race here in Indianapolis," Pora said.

Pora's sentiment has Indianapolis race fans fearful Sunday's disappointment will leave a black mark on the city.

Vendors were also very disappointed about what happened at the race. Several of them RTV6 spoke with vowed to never return.

Several race fans demanded their money back. They went to the Speedway administration building and were pushed away by state police. They were told to check the Speedway's Web site Monday.

This IndyStar article has numerous quotes from fans.

Portland postscript Portland postscriptToday’s event marked the first time that three former Champ Car title winners have been on a Champ Car podium since 1998 when Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi and Michael Andretti filled the three steps in Toronto.

Cristiano da Matta led 50 laps on the day, giving him 897 for his career. He moves into the top 25 in the all-time Champ Car career laps led list, surpassing Wally Dallenbach Sr. for 25th.
Cristiano’s 10.128-second margin of victory was the largest winning margin at Portland since Al Unser Jr. romped to a 28.561-second win here in 1995.
Paul Tracy’s third-place run allowed Canada to maintain the lead in the Nation’s Cup standings, giving the Great White North a 112-101 lead over France, with Brazil just three points behind after da Matta’s win.

F1 media react F1 media reactThere are numerous articles coming out about today's USGP debacle. This one from the UK's Independent says what most are thinking. If you want to know where Formula One went in America yesterday, take a trip west on 16th Street, past the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, until you get to the Conkle Funeral Home. That is where it went after the most damaging day in the sport's history saw only six cars on the grid for the US Grand Prix, and Ferrari stage a flypast. Every Michelin runner - 14 of them - pulled straight into the pits after the green flag lap and did not even take the start following endless arguments over tire failures in practice and resultant safety issues.

"The future for F1 and Michelin in the US is not good," Bernie Ecclestone conceded as he worked the grid, and not even his legerdemain could rescue the situation.

It got worse. All 20 cars appeared on the grid after the formation lap, but after the green flag lap the Michelin cars pitted and the teams pushed them straight into the garages. It was unprecedented.

On the grid, the two Ferraris were joined by two Jordans and two Minardis, the latter two teams obliged to race by their Bridgestone contracts, and the suicide act was complete.

Disappointed fans gave a thumbs down. As Michael Schumacher led team-mate Rubens Barrichello around in what was meant to be a race, the crowd were on their feet - leaving. There was more action in the car parks than on the track. Irate fans reacted by throwing drink cans. "$ back" signs proliferated.

Later, Michelin's seven teams issued a joint apology. "The Michelin teams deeply regret the position that they have been put in today and would like to apologize to all the spectators, TV viewers, Formula One fans and sponsors for not being able to take part." The statement added: "It is sad that we couldn't showcase Formula One in the manner we would have liked today."

Doubtless, Ferrari fans were cheering as Michael Schumacher and Barrichello won, but others had jeered as the Brazilian slid off track on lap 51 disputing the lead. "We went out there to have fun, and that's what we had," Schumacher said. "It was not the right way to win my first race of the year, but it wasn't a disaster."

Maybe not for Ferrari, but on its deathbed here Formula One slapped its public in the face. On its bleakest day since Ayrton Senna was killed not one soul gained from a victory so hollow you could hear the wind whistling all the way through it.

Champ Car to honor USGP tickets Champ Car to honor USGP ticketsUPDATE The Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford has always been a series about its fans, and in support of the international open-wheel racing community, the organizers of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank and Champ Car officials have announced that tickets for Sunday's Formula 1 United States Grand Prix will be honored on June 26.
Open-wheel racing fans will be able to see the 750-horsepower Champ Cars battle on the temporary circuit constructed in Downtown Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport as the headliners of a full day of racing.  Joining the Champ Cars will be the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, the Speed World Challenge GT cars and the Formula Ford 2000 series.
Details will follow on www.grandprixofcleveland.com and www.champcar.ws explaining how fans can redeem their F1 USGP tickets for race-day seats at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank.
Fans who are unable to benefit from this unique opportunity, the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank will be broadcast live on CBS Sports on June 26 at 1:30 pm ET. Champ Car 06/19/05 AutoRacing1.com has learned that any race fan who bought a ticket to today's USGP at Indy will be able to redeem that ticket for a free race day ticket at next weekend's Champ Car Cleveland GP at Burke Lakefront Airport. Champ Car feels bad that the race fans in Indy were cheated out of seeing a full field of cars and have stepped forward with this goodwill gesture. More details to follow shortly from Champ Car. Mark C.
Joie Chitwood on USGP debacle Joie Chitwood on USGP debacle
Attendance Increase for Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland Attendance Increase for Champ Car Grand Prix of PortlandChamp Car Executive Vice President of Promoter Services Joe Chrnelich announced today that 64,382 fans attended the three-day festival of speed that is the 22nd annual G.I. Joe’s Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland.   Champ Car's Joe Chrnelich said, “I am pleased by the increase in attendance for the second year in a row.  The support of the local business community, led by G.I. Joes, Intel, Freightliner and Paulson Investment played a large part in the success of this weekend’s event.”
Michigan by the numbers Michigan by the numbers
4,000,000 – Dollars, Annual motor cost for a top-notch Nextel Cup Team.
2,700,000 – Dollars, Annual motor cost for a bottom-ranked Nextel Cup Team.
2,600,000 – Dollars, approximate cost to run a NASCAR truck team for one year.
800,000 – Dollars, budget per race per car for DEI.
137,243 – Reserved seats in the Michigan Grandstands today.
25,983 – Reserved seats in the Michigan Grandstands in 1981.
1,250 – Dollars, cost for 30 laps at MIS in the Richard Petty Driving Experience
1,000 – Dollars, price per seat for the weekend in the new MIS Luxury Suites. All of the new suites are sold out.
240 – Pounds, approximate average weight of Nextel Officials who guarded the impounded cars after qualification.
150 – Pounds, heaviest package that UPS will ship from their courtesy tent in the Nextel Cup garage area
40 -- Tires, average number of tires used per team for the Nextel Cup race at MIS, costing around $400 each. Total budget for tires per car is around $600,000 per year, not counting testing.
40 – Car number, now to be associated with David Stremme as he replaces Sterling Marlin next season. The effort will be sponsored by Coors and Lone Star. Stremme turns 28 today, which is the same age as Bill Elliott when he signed with Coors.
29 – Number of consecutive sellout crowds for NASCAR Cup events at MIS.
26 – Number of drivers who broke the previous track record in their qualifying attempt, previously held by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
13 – Starting position of the fasted Ford for today’s race. The top 10 starting positions were split evenly between Chevys and Mopars.
5 – Number of Fords finishing in the top 10. The top Dodge finished 10th.
0 – number of caution flags in the June 1999 Nextel Cup race (winning the “most boring race ever” award).
0 – number of free samples of Tequila Patron given to the media. They sponsored Kevin Lepage for this race. Equals the number of Jack Daniels and Coors Beer comps for the weekend.
Tony George comments on USGP farce Tony George comments on USGP farceThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway shares in the disappointment with the loyal fans of IMS and Formula One that we did not see the exciting race we all anticipated due to circumstances beyond our control.

The FIA, Formula One, the constructors and manufacturers that represent the cars on the starting grid made decisions on an individual basis to limit participation in today's USGP.

We suggest the fans who wish to make their feelings known, contact the following:

46, rue du Ressort
63100 Clermont-Ferrand

8 Place de la Concorde
F-75008 Paris

Formula One Management
6 Princes Gate
London SW7 1QJ
United Kingdom

LeMans postscript LeMans postscriptSignificant tidbit from 24 Hours of LeMans:

Tom Kristensen captures a historic 7th overall and 6th straight 24 Hours of Le Mans title to become the world's most famous race's all-time champion (surpassing Jackie Ickx).

Champion Audi (team owner Dave Maraj - Pompano Beach, FL) becomes the first American-based team since 1979 (The Whittington's) to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

By finishing 5th overall, the winning GT1 Corvette of Magnussen, Gavin and Beretta is the highest finishing GT1 entry in the history of the event.

ALMS teams won 3 out of 4 classes, perhaps the biggest day for Americans in the history of the classic event.

Michelin issues post-race statement Michelin issues post-race statementMichelin is very disappointed about the way the United States Grand Prix turned out at Indianapolis today, for the public, the drivers and the teams.  Michelin is sorry that the tires it ran in free practice and qualifying were not suitable for use in racing conditions this weekend, but driver safety is always a priority. Michelin will never change its stance on this principle, whether we are talking about tires for competition or any other purpose.  It is regrettable that our pre-race suggestions, agreed in conjunction with our partner teams, were not adopted. Had our ideas been followed, we could have guaranteed driver safety, the participation of our teams and added interest for the public.  Michelin would like to thank its seven partner teams for their close collaboration, for having made propositions to the FIA and for having respected our advice on safety issues.  Michelin will continue to investigate the technical reasons for the tire-related incidents that affected Toyota during Friday's free practice.
Sebastien Bourdais shows hand in morning warm-up Sebastien Bourdais shows hand in morning warm-upDefending race winner Sebastien Bourdais led the final practice at Portland International Raceway. Bourdais was followed by Jimmy Vasser and rookie Bjorn Wirdheim. Polesitter Justin Wilson was fourth quick and Alex Tagliani was fifth fastest. The Champ Car's will take the green flag at 12:50 pm Local (3:50 pm ET).
Formula Farce Formula FarceUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The debacle of the F1 race at Indy is beyond words, and of course, was totally avoidable. It is simply time to get rid of the FIA. How stupid can they be? When the balance was to be pragmatic and figure a solution as compared to having a major debacle, the FIA knowingly and deliberately chose the result that occurred. For all the talk we have heard about trying to get the American public to accept and follow Formula 1, the FIA chose to avoid two easy fixes (1: put in a chicane, or even better 2: let the teams use the Barcelona Tires). I don’t blame the teams. I blame Max Mosley and Ecclestone. They have egg on their face and they have done more to ruin F1 in this country than they can possibly repair. Ira Fierberg, Hermosa

Dear Ira, Had there been a single tire manufacturer what happened today would have never happened. For one, the tire war creates tires that are bleeding edge state-of-the art and as light as possible to beat the competition. With a single manufacturer the tires are made more conservatively. Recall the tire war in NASCAR whereby we saw all sorts of tire failures. Second, if there had been one tire supplier, all teams would have agreed to alternate tires or a chicane. As it was, the Bridgestone shod teams were not about to cut the Michelin shod teams any slack and hence Bernie and Max were really in a no-win situation. As such, don't be surprised if that rumor does come true about the FIA going with a single tire supplier in 2006 and kicking Michelin out because in the end Michelin is going to take most of the heat over today's debacle.

If that were to happen, Champ Car could put out a request for proposal to Bridgestone and Michelin for 2006, the winner supplying the entire grid. That's assuming Bridgestone doesn't already have a multi-year contract with Champ Car. Mark C.

06/19/05 Disappointed and irate fans booed and whistled on lap two of the embarrassing United States grand prix at Indy. ''As a driver, quite frankly I'm embarrassed,'' said David Coulthard, as the six car field - two Ferraris, two Minardis and two Jordans - ran at the circuit. In the end, a solution could not be found to the Michelin tire debacle, and all fourteen French clad contenders pulled into pitlane at the end of the warm up lap.

''It's really sad,'' Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni said. ''There are thousands of people here. They want a show, they paid for a show. They do not have a show.''

In disgust, a spectator threw a bottle onto the track, which second placed Rubens Barrichello ran over. Another followed suit. A full can of beer nearly hit Rubens a few laps later. ''Don't blame the FIA,'' Colajanni continued. ''This is a performance problem, not an FIA problem. I think it is obvious who's to blame.''

Even Ferrari boss Jean Todt, orchestrating the one two, shook his head in disgust. ''This is nonsense,'' TV pundit and ex-racer Martin Brundle fumed. ''The problem isn't Michelin, the problem is that F1 couldn't find a solution.''

Red Bull's David Coulthard added: ''As a driver, quite frankly I'm embarrassed. Mature adults sat down and could not come to a solution. GMMf1NET

Formula BMW
Philippe Wins His Third of the Season at Indy Philippe Wins His Third of the Season at IndyFormula BMW USA Junior driver Richard Philippe (brother of Champ Car driver Nelson Philippe) won Round 8 of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Series today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In taking his third win of the season, the 15-year old Frenchman, who makes Key Biscayne, Florida his home, passed polesitter Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing) before the first turn, finishing 4.2 seconds ahead of Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team) in the 13-lap contest. Overall points leader Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) finished third. 

Following post-race technical inspection second-place finisher Hegewald was excluded from the results moving Lacroix to second and Wickens to third. Fourth- place finisher Robbie Pecorari (Walker Racing) was also excluded moving the balance of the field up one position. 

Lacroix continues to hold the Overall points lead with 87 points over Philippe and Wickens, who are tied at 84. Wickens holds the Rookie points lead with 97 over Lacroix (90) second and Philippe (89) third. 

Today's race began without incident. Philippe was solidly in the lead before Turn 1, leaving the race to round out the podium a battle between Lacroix and Hegewald. Hegewald finally passed Lacroix on lap 12. Summerton spun on the second lap and dropped to 19th. He finished the race in 12th place. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing), who started 23rd, had a fine drive to finish seventh and remain fourth in Overall points. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) also recorded a top-five finish (fifth) after starting 15th.  Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA) and Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team) had their best results of the season in front of the United States Grand Prix crowd, finishing fourth and seventh respectively. Yesterday's winner James Davison was credited with the fastest lap of the race (1:37.162, L7). 

As they did in Round 7, Rookie drivers continued to pace the field in Round 8, finishing 1-2-3, with Philippe (P1), Lacroix (P2) and Wickens (P3). 

BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen said, "This race has been the highlight of this Formula BMW USA season. Racing on this famous track in front of The Formula One crowd must be a dream come true for these young drivers. Once again, we saw a thrilling race. A few drivers got experience dealing with setbacks and this is an important part of their learning process in becoming a professional race driver." 

Philippe said, "I had another excellent start and was into the lead before the first turn. I could see Jonathan and Kevin fighting so I concentrating on putting together some quick laps to make a gap. We've had a few disappointing finishes this year so it is good to have another win." 

Lacoix said, "I raced in the top-three all day so I am pleased with my effort. The points battle is becoming tighter so I am glad to still be on top. I will hope for even better results in the next Rounds." 

Rounds 9 & 10 of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Series will be held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on July 29 - 31.

Round 8 - Results (13 laps)
1 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 21:19.739
2 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 21:25.354
3 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 21:30.376
4 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 21:31.818
5 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 21:33.445
6 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 21:33.960
7 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 21:34.753
8 Darin Marcus (R) Gelles Racing 21:35.294
9 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 21:35.693
10 Jonathan Summerton Walker Racing 21:38.687
11 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 21:41.223
12 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 21:42.698
13 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 21:43.367
14 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 21:47.637
15 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 21:48.951
16 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 21:51.617
17 Nathan DePagter DRE Autosport 21:57.380
18 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 22:04.025
19 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 22:12.020
20 Jules Duc (R) Jensen MotorSport 22:22.503
21 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 12 laps
22 John Zartarian (R) Jensen MotorSport 3 laps
Excluded following post-race technical inspection:
Tobias Hegewald (R) Atlantic Racing Team
Robbie Pecorari Walker Racing

Championship points after 8 of 14 races:
1. Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport, 87), 2. Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica, 84), 3. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 84), 4. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 67), 5. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 57), 6. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 55), 7. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational, 26), 8. Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 26), 9. John Zartarian (Jensen MotorSport, 23), 10. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 22), 11. Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing, 22), 12. Justin Moon (Gelles Racing, 21), 13. Rob Bunker (AIM Autosport, 18), 14. Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport, 18), 15. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 10), 16. Matthew Lee (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport, 8), 17. Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team, 8), 18. Darin Marcus (Gelles Racing, 7), 19. Doug Boyer (Jensen MotorSport, 2), 20. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 1), 21. Derek Burseth (Burseth Racing, 0), 22. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 0), 23. Nathan DePagter (DRE Autosport, 0), 24. Jules Duc (Jensen MotorSport, 0), 25. Scott Harnell (SDH3 with Cinema Concepts, 0), 26. Ryan Phinny (Gelles Racing, 0), 27. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 0), 28. Robbie Pecorari (Walker Racing, 0)

NASCAR race a sellout NASCAR race a selloutMichigan International Speedway President Brett Shelton announced today that all reserved seats for Sunday's Batman Begins 400 have been sold. With the sellout, MIS extends its streak of sold out NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races to 29 consecutive races dating back to June 1991. "We are thrilled to have our 29th consecutive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup sellout," said Shelton. "We are blessed to have the support of so many great fans here at MIS. We will continue to work hard and give our fans the greatest NASCAR racing experience for many years to come."

Tickets are still available for all July 30-31 and August 19-21 race activities at MIS with children 12 and under admitted free to the IRL IndyCar Series Michigan Indy 400 on July 31, the ARCA RE/MAX Hantz Group 200 on August 19 and the NASCAR Busch Series Domino's Pizza 250 on August 20. In addition, great seats are still available for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 21. All tickets can be purchased by visiting www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.
Teams told to skip Indy Teams told to skip IndyMichelin has told seven F1 teams not to race in Sunday's US grand prix at Indy. In a letter to the FIA's Charlie Whiting, Pierre Dupasquier said 'we will not compete with these tires in the current configuration of the circuit.'

Michelin did not find a cause for tire failures on Friday. It follows earlier correspondence in which Whiting ruled out allowing different tires to be fitted without heavy penalty, or installing a chicane to dodge the banking.

''(It would be a) breach of the rules and grossly unfair to those teams which have come to Indianapolis with the correct tires,'' he wrote.

Another possibility, Whiting suggested, is for multiple, single-tire changes during the race, where no penalty is attracted if stewards find that the change was necessary. Otherwise, Whiting - who said Michelin may face the world motor sport council to explain its poor form - has told teams simply to slow down in turns 12 and 13. GMMf1NET

American Bubbas reject F1 American Bubbas reject F1This SPEEDTV article on Americans general rejection and misunderstanding of Formula One is a sad commentary on the intellect of Americans toward anything non-American.

Key excerpts - He was the stereotypical NASCAR Bubba. Grossly overweight, slack-jawed, three days beyond bathing or shaving, sporting an Earnhardt T-shirt and a case of Busch Light. Perched atop his head, as out of place as a hippie at a Bush rally, was a bright red Ferrari cap. He appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself or far removed from conscious thought. Perhaps both.

That was the sight at 16th and Georgetown during the first U.S. Grand Prix at Indy in 2000, and the thought still brings a smile. The first year, Bubba was here, dining at the Chez Paris with a bag of Cheetos in his pocket. He sampled the cuisine, possibly even liked it, but quickly went back to McDonald’s to gorge on the familiar and bland. Bubba has left the building, and he ain’t comin’ back.

No matter what is done or said or offered, one fact remains constant: The world’s premier form of motorsports doesn’t capture the imagination or interest of most American race fans. In seven weeks, they’ll knock themselves out to watch what strikes me as an exceedingly slow, exceedingly dull NASCAR race at the same facility, but they have little interest in the highest level of motor racing in the world.

We could talk for days about the phenomenon of American isolationism and nationalism. It’s an issue that goes far deeper than sporting events, but it’s clearly evident in sports (soccer, anyone?). Americans, by and large, reject anything beyond their borders -- and beyond the realm of what‘s familiar and basic -- no matter how good it might be.

Marketing this race to Americans is like curing a headache with a hammer. It’s a pointless and painful exercise. The majority of Americans who claim to be fans of motorsport actually are fans of NASCAR and nothing more. No matter what you do to try to lure them to the U.S. Grand Prix -- short of putting Junior in a Ferrari -- they won’t bother. They have their choice between Busch Light and Dom Perignon, and they have chosen Busch Light. Not only that, but they insist Busch Light is better.

Still, promoting the USGP to Americans is far more complicated. This isn’t Silverstone or Spa; there isn’t a built-in frenzy surrounding the event. The perception is that IMS doesn’t know how to sell a race; reality is that a sizable segment of the USGP audience -- and a huge segment of potential fans -- has little exposure to the product. NASCAR, on the other hand, is readily available to Americans. It’s pre-digested and plentiful. Little effort is required, just as little effort is required of Europeans to get interested in and knowledgeable of F1.

Naturally, the track is responsible for promoting its event, but the sanctioning body is responsible for the accessibility of its product, and that's where FIA stumbles in the eyes of American fans. Without peer, F1 is the least accessible form of auto racing offered in the States. Consistent television coverage is the critical element of accessibility, but nothing about Formula 1’s TV coverage in the U.S. is consistent. The races are at odd times, the Sunday night replays are gone, and now it’s begun channel-hopping.

Furthermore, the coverage is stifled. ESPN/ABC, the IRL’s broadcast partner, is not on the grounds this weekend. It’s a signature FIA move to prevent competing television entities from covering its races, so you won’t see breathtaking reports about Schumacher’s problems or Raikkonen’s success or even Danica on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” Imagine if the NFL limited access to the Super Bowl to just local TV affiliates, then whined about lack of interest and attendance.

It’s a chicken-or-egg conundrum. Which came first? Public disinterest or inaccessibility? The public isn’t interested in an event that’s closed to the public. Strike hammer firmly on forehead.

The USGP is virtually unknown to most Americans, and that’s not necessarily the Speedway’s fault. Unless one actively seeks it out, Formula 1 is not readily available in the States. That has nothing to do with IMS. That has to do with a sanctioning body that treats the paying customer as a necessary nuisance. American race fans don’t take well to that attitude, especially when it comes from elsewhere.

Yep, Bubba has left the building, and he’s taken his Ferrari cap with him. Don’t go by appearances, folks. Bubba’s no fool.

A record attendance at 24 Hours of LeMans A record attendance at 24 Hours of LeMansSpectators turned up in record numbers for the seventy-third 24 Heures du Mans. Well ahead of the event, all available grandstand seats had been reserved, as had all the hospitality centers. By 11.00 am on Saturday June 18, all the parking areas were full and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest had to open overflow parks in order to deal with all the spectators’ vehicles. In terms of attendance, a 24 Heures that once again took place under cloudless skies and in heat wave conditions attracted as many spectators as the record-setting 1974 event. The figure of 230,000 represented an increase of 15% over the 2004 figure.

Couple this with the huge attendance at the 12 Hours of Sebring and compare that to the paltry crowds the Grand-Am series gets and it's clear to see why the silly split in sports car racing in the USA created by the creation of the Grand-Am series must end. Similar to two series in Indy Cars (IRL and Champ Car) having sports car racing split is simply the divide and conquer tactic being used to ensure NASCAR remains king of all racing in the USA.

FIA lays down law to Michelin at USGP FIA lays down law to Michelin at USGPHere is the correspondence between the FIA and Michelin and its teams over the tire issue the Michelin teams face today at the USGP. More....
BMW would like 2nd USGP BMW would like 2nd USGP“There are a lot of fans traveling to Indianapolis for the US Grand Prix,” said BMW's Mario Theissen. “No other race on the calendar attracts a bigger crowd. In recent years, the race has attracted some 200,000 motor racing enthusiasts. Hence, you have to say that interest in Formula One exists, but on the other hand, you have to admit that the country is huge. What we need is better TV coverage by one of the regular TV channels, and maybe a second race on the west coast.”

“Obviously, the US market is vital for us, maybe even our most important market,” added Theissen. “Our American BMW colleagues have realized that Formula One’s popularity is increasing and that our brand benefits from our appearance here at Indianapolis. But at the same time it’s obvious, that – other than in Canada – Formula One doesn’t enjoy the same status in the north America it enjoys in the rest of the world.” Williams

Indiana fans take a pass on USGP Indiana fans take a pass on USGPFrom Melbourne to Monaco, Germany to Japan, race fans are passionate about what's happening in Indianapolis today.  But in Central Indiana -- arguably the racing capital of the world -- there is not that same level of interest in the world's most popular racing series, Formula One.  Most of today's estimated 100,000-plus fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- the only venue in the world to host an Indy Car, NASCAR and F-1 race -- are not from Indiana.  Track officials won't release official attendance numbers, but last year, about 29,000 of an estimated 120,000 fans came from Central Indiana, according to the 2005 Indianapolis Scarborough Report, an independent market research study. Indy Star
GT1 and GT2 battles hot with 3 hours to go GT1 and GT2 battles hot with 3 hours to goThe 1-2 fight in the GT2 class continued to remain a hot battle under hot conditions. Co-driver of the No. 90 White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and 2004 Le Mans GT2 class winner Patrick Long showed his exhaustion and expressed some frustration at their inability to run down the No. 71 Alex Job Porsche.

“Running double-stints from the beginning has really taken its toll,” he said. “We’ve been conserving fuel and preserving our gearbox, and hope we have something for the end. So far the (Alex Job) strategy really seems to be paying off.”

“I’m not thinking about next year,” said Aston Martin’s David Richards when asked about next year’s plans. “Right now, I’m not thinking beyond 4pm today!” His full focus was on chasing down the Corvette in GT1 class.

“Last time I looked, we were 45 seconds behind the (No. 64) Corvette and were closing at five seconds a lap.”

Fresh from a pit stop and five minutes before 13:00 hrs, the No. 58 Aston pressed hard to chase down the Corvette leaders. So hard, in fact, that Peter Kox ran the red-trimmed 58 Aston into and through the gravel runoffs at the Mulsanne corner requiring an out 0f schedule pit-stop.

1. No. 3 Champion Audi, Kristensen
2. No. 16 Pescarolo Judd, Boullion
3. No. 2 Champion Audi, McNish

1. No. 37 Belmondo Courage Ford, Andre
2. No. 25 RML Lola MG, Erdos
3. No. 36 Belmondo Courage Ford, Gosselin

1. No. 64 Corvette C6-R, Magnussen
2. No. 59 Aston Martin DBR9, Brabham
3. No. 58 Aston Martin DBR9, Kox

1. No. 71 Alex Job Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Lieb
2. No. 90 White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Bernhardt
3. No. 80 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Pechnik

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Cool Kimi ignores tire menace
Stoddart to agree
Montoya slams F1 rule
Bernie expects 20-car grid
Morning tire decision due
Brundle backs blueprint
'I could win' - Schu
Ralf ruling 'right' - brother
LeMans: Audi still leads after 20 hours LeMans: Audi still leads after 20 hours
Pos # Class Drivers Car Gap/Lap
1. 3 LM1 Lehto, Werner, Kristensen Audi R8 ==306==
2. 16 LM1 Collard, Boullion, Comas Pescarolo Judd ==305==
3. 2 LM1 Biela, Pirro, McNish Audi R8 ==300==
4. 4 LM1 Montagny, Gounon, Ortelli Audi R8 ==299==
5. 9 LM1 Hignett, Stack, Kurosawa Zytek 04S ==291==
6. 64 GT1 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R ==290==
7. 59 GT1 Brabham, Sarrazin, Turner Aston Martin D 1:14.625
8. 58 GT1 Enge, Kox, Lamy Aston Martin D ==289==
9. 63 GT1 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R 1:21.765
10. 17 LM1 Loeb, Helary, Ayari Pescarolo Judd ==288==
11. 10 LM1 Lammers, Julian, Bosch Dome Judd ==286==
12. 12 LM1 Schwager, Frei, Vann Courage Judd ==279==
13. 71 GT2 Hindery, Rockenfeller, Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR ==275==
14. 90 GT2 Bergmeister, Long, Bernhard Porsche 911 GT ==274==
15. 50 GT1 Goueslard, Dupard, Vosse Ferrari 550Mar ==273==
16. 61 GT1 Fomenko, Vasiliev, Bouchut Ferrari 550Mar ==268==
17. 80 GT2 Van Overbeek, Pechnik, Neiman Porsche 911 GT ==267==
18. 18 LM1 Short, Barbosa, Ickx Dallara Judd 10.734
19. 76 GT2 Dumas, Dumez, Narac Porsche 911 GT ==266==
20. 7 LM1 Minassian, Campbellwalter Wallace DBA Judd 3:53.633
21. 72 GT2 Policand, Campbell, Alphand Porsche 911 GT ==261==
22. 37 LM2 Belmondo, Andre, Sutherland Courage C65 Fo ==259==
23. 89 GT2 Nielsen, Thyrring, Ehret Porsche 911 GT ==255==
24. 25 LM2 Erdos, Newton, Hughes Lola MG ==253==
25. 36 LM2 Gosselin, Ojjeh, Sharpe Courage C65 Fo 30.570
26. 30 LM2 Bennett, Mitchell, Mullen Courage Judd ==251==
27. 83 GT2 Collin, Felbermayr, Shep Porsche 911 GT ==224==
28. 92 GT2 Macari, Ericsson, Wilson Ferrari 360 Mo ==218==
29. 24 LM2 Terada, Roussel, Binnie WR Peugeot ==207==
30. 95 GT2 Hartshorne, Stanton, Johnson TVR Tuscan T40 ==206==
31. 78 GT2 Sellers, Franchitti, Bourdais Panoz Elan ==185==
Industry News
USA TV Reminders for Sunday USA TV Reminders for Sunday 
A.  24 Hours of LeMans
            Dawn:     12:00 a.m.-6:00 a.m., Live, SPEED
            Finish:     6:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m., Live, SPEED
B.  F1 USGP, Indianapolis, Preview
            10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m., Live, SPEED
C.  IndyCar Series: The Fast Life
            12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m., ESPN2
D.  F1 USGP, Indianapolis, Inside Grand Prix
            1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m., SPEED
E.  F1 USGP Race, Indianapolis
            1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Live, SPEED
F.  NASCAR Nextel Cup, MIS, Batman Begins 400
            1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Live, FOX
            3:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Live, CBS
            9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., SPEED
            Co-host: Brendan Gaughan; Guests: Clint Bowyer, Scott Speed, and Peter Windsor
All times are ET.  See TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV links on the Home Page for a complete list of Sunday's TV programs. 
2006 USGP ticket renewal special 2006 USGP ticket renewal specialFormula One fans can drive on the same Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Monday, June 20, just one day after the superstars of Formula One raced the sixth United States Grand Prix, if they renew their USGP tickets for the 2006 race.

The USGP Ticket Renewal Drivearound is scheduled for 4-8 p.m. (local time).  Anyone who renews their ticket for the 2006 United States Grand Prix and holds a valid driver's license can drive their passenger vehicle around the 13-turn, 2.605-mile circuit on which their F1 heroes raced June 19.

"For six years, United States Grand Prix fans have proven they are among the most dedicated and loyal race fans in the world, so we're pleased to say 'thank you' to our customers with this once-a-year opportunity," said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. "Fans should remember to bring a camera or video recorder to capture the memories, while they experience the thrill of driving the course and look ahead to the 2006 USGP."

To participate in the Drivearound, USGP tickets can be purchased online at the IMS Ticket Office or at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. Tickets will be on sale at 8 a.m. (local time) at both the Ticket Office and online.

Ticket renewals also can be made at the Speedway's Gate 10 off of 30th Street, where fans will enter for the Drivearound.

Online ticket renewals also will be accepted if the participant brings a printed copy of their confirmation. Mail-in renewals will not have been processed by the Drivearound day and will not be eligible for the track lap.

Indy tire debacle - update Indy tire debacle - updateConfusion and uncertainty continue to reign in Indianapolis' Michelin tire debacle. F1's seven French clad teams await the outcome of examinations, at Clermont-Ferrand and South Carolina, into Toyota's unexplained tire failures in Friday practice.

''If Michelin say it's not safe,'' Fernando Alonso reported, ''then I think the drivers would not agree to race.''

A batch of Barcelona-spec Michelins will touch down on Sunday morning, but teams will not be allowed to fit them without the FIA's say-so. So far, the go-ahead - a clear breach of several regulations - appears unlikely, making the prospect of a six car grid very possible.

''We've got twenty guys around the table in Clermont-Ferrand,'' said a scant Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin boss.

Some teams, for example Williams, have encountered no problems - except a balance issue by running Michelin's higher pressure - so might not join teams like Renault in opting to sit the race out. Meanwhile, several compromise situations, including the construction of an oval-detour chicane, a permanent 'yellow flag' zone on the oval, or special penalties for teams running on the new Spanish tire, are thought unlikely. GMMf1NET

Four Canadians Four CanadiansThe four Canadian drivers in Champ Car took time out today in Portland to pose for this photo. Left to right: Rookie Andrew Ranger, Veterans Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani, and rookie Michael Valiante, in only his second Champ Car start. With three Champ Car races coming up in Canada in July and August (Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal) the Canadian fans will have plenty to cheer for. Photo by LAT/Champ Car
Michelin teams want chicane built Michelin teams want chicane builtThe seven Michelin teams have agreed that they will only race in the USGP if a chicane is fitted before the banked Turn 13 overnight. The teams have written a letter to the FIA explaining their position and requesting the construction of a chicane.

However that is extremely unlikely to happen, which means that we could see a race take place with just the six Bridgestone cars in it, if the Michelin teams stick to their agreement.  The news emerged after most of the world’s media had headed off to dine in downtown Indy, which means that Speedtv.com was left to get a world exclusive insight from the key personnel involved, none of whom was prepared to be quoted on the record.  However four team bosses made it quite clear to us that this was a serious decision and that there was now no other alternative.

The bombshell decision came after a meeting of the team principals and Michelin bosses. The French company could not guarantee the safety of its tires, and the fact that this race is in the USA, where litigation is common, made things even more awkward.

The option of using the Barcelona tires imported from Clermont-Ferrand has in effect been abandoned. Teams decided that they had no real information about whether they would last, and also there was no firm knowledge about what penalties might ensue if they were used, although it is understood that the FIA had informally suggested that something like a 10 second stop-and-go rather than exclusion.  More at SPEEDTV.com

LeMans: Audis continue to lead at 1/2 point LeMans: Audis continue to lead at 1/2 point
Pos # Class Drivers Car Gap/Lap
1. 3 LM1 Lehto, Werner, Kristensen Audi R8 ==181==
2. 2 LM1 Biela, Pirro, McNish Audi R8 2:08.770
3. 16 LM1 Collard, Boullion, Comas Pescarolo Judd ==178==
4. 5 LM1 Michigami, Ara, Kaneishi Dome Mugen ==176==
5. 4 LM1 Montagny, Gounon, Ortelli Audi R8 ==174==
6. 9 LM1 Hignett, Stack, Kurosawa Zytek 04S ==172==
7. 58 GT1 Enge, Kox, Lamy Aston Martin D 2:02.453
8. 64 GT1 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R 3:34.434
9. 7 LM1 Minassian, Campbellwalter Wallace DBA Judd ==171==
10. 63 GT1 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R 1:11.879
11. 17 LM1 Loeb, Helary, Ayari Pescarolo Judd 2:26.047
12. 59 GT1 Brabham, Sarrazin, Turner Aston Martin D ==170==
13. 18 LM1 Short, Barbosa, Ickx Dallara Judd ==168==
14. 10 LM1 Lammers, Julian, Bosch Dome Judd 2:17.321
15. 12 LM1 Schwager, Frei, Vann Courage Judd ==166==
16. 50 GT1 Goueslard, Dupard, Vosse Ferrari 550Mar ==165==
17. 71 GT2 Hindery, Rockenfeller, Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR ==163==
18. 61 GT1 Fomenko, Vasiliev, Bouchut Ferrari 550Mar 1:48.769
19. 90 GT2 Bergmeister, Long, Bernhard Porsche 911 GT ==162==
20. 76 GT2 Dumas, Dumez, Narac Porsche 911 GT ==159==
21. 80 GT2 Van Overbeek, Pechnik, Neiman Porsche 911 GT ==158==
22. 37 LM2 Belmondo, Andre, Sutherland Courage C65 Fo ==155==
23. 36 LM2 Gosselin, Ojjeh, Sharpe Courage C65 Fo 38.816
24. 89 GT2 Nielsen, Thyrring, Ehret Porsche 911 GT 3:47.051
25. 72 GT2 Policand, Campbell, Alphand Porsche 911 GT ==153==
26. 25 LM2 Erdos, Newton, Hughes Lola MG ==152==
27. 92 GT2 Macari, Ericsson, Wilson Ferrari 360 Mo ==148==
28. 30 LM2 Bennett, Mitchell, Mullen Courage Judd ==147==
29. 91 GT2 Pompidou, Blanchemain, Yamagishi Porsche 911 GT ==143==
30. 83 GT2 Collin, Felbermayr, Shep Porsche 911 GT ==138==
31. 35 LM2 Hillebrand, Hahn, Pickering Courage C65 Ju ==125==
32. 78 GT2 Sellers, Franchitti, Bourdais Panoz Elan ==110==
33. 95 GT2 Hartshorne, Stanton, Johnson TVR Tuscan T40 ==106==
34. 24 LM2 Terada, Roussel, Binnie WR Peugeot 8:57.715
35. 31 LM2 Amorin, Iannetta, Pillon Courage - CG ==99==
36. 8 LM1 Verdoen Roe, Krumm, Primat Dallara Nissan ==79==
Bremer fine after accident Bremer fine after accidentRonnie Bremer made contact with the turn seven wall at the end of the qualifying session today in Portland for Sunday's Champ Car race. After observation at the Champ Car Medical Center, he was transferred by ground ambulance to the Emmanuelle Hospital where  precautionary x-rays were taken. The x-rays were clear and Bremer is sore but fine.
Unser eyes Champ Car Unser eyes Champ CarUPDATE Pictured right is Al Unser III's Toyota Atlantic car that he drove to a 7th place finish in his first outing with new sponsor BosPoker.net at Portland International Raceway today. Al, after having spent time recently racing on the ovals in the Infiniti Pro Series, is using this weekend to get back in the rhythm on road courses again.

06/14/05 Al Unser III stated today on the Champ Car/Toyota Atlantic media press conference that 1) He will race in the Toyota Atlantic series in 2005, 2) He hopes to run the final Champ Car race in Mexico City this year, three Champ Car races in 2006 and full time in Champ Car in 2007, contingent on sponsorship, which he hopes will be bospoker.net.

"Now that we've actually acquired a sponsor, and I think they want to continue on in the years to come, that definitely was one of the ups for me. I expect to carry on this relationship for two or three years if not more," said Unser.

"With this upcoming year under my belt after we're done, I'd like to see if I can - of course sponsorship pending - get in and run the Mexico City race in a Champ Car. That would be my hope. As far as next year, I'd like to still do another year in Toyota Atlantics and hopefully run three Champ Car races. Then the following, third year, hopefully move on up."

Formula BMW
Australian wins first Formula BMW race at Indy Australian wins first Formula BMW race at IndyFormula BMW USA continued to make history at Indianapolis today as 18-year old James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA) won Round 7 of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Series. He finished 3.534 seconds ahead of Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica) in the 13-lap contest, becoming the fourth winner of the season. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) came from the 10th starting position to finish third. 

Davison became the second Australian to ever win a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit. Making the victory even sweeter, the first Aussie winner here was his cousin Alex in 2002, keeping the Indy-winning a family affair. 

The race was under caution almost as soon as it began. Reed Stevens, Ryan Campbell and Rob Bunker got together (right)  just as the green flag waved and the resulting yellow flag slowed the race for three laps. Stevens and Campbell retired, but Bunker was able to continue after pitting. One lap after the restart, Davison was in the lead. He was challenged by polesitter Jonathan Summerton and Philippe, but, as the two battled, Davison was able to pull away. He set the fastest lap of the race (1:37.326) on his 10th lap. 

Summerton finished sixth. On the eighth lap, while in third, he was hit in the rear by Kevin Lacroix and the resulting damage slowed his car. For the first time this season, Rookie drivers finished in the top-five positions with Davison (P1), Philippe (P2), Wickens (P3), Hegewald (P4) and Piscopo (P5). 

Following the race IMSA Stewards penalized Wickens two points for passing under the yellow. Lacroix has been placed on probation. Campbell will lose his 15th starting position in tomorrow's Round 8 race and start from the rear of the field. Lacroix is now tied with Wickens for the lead in Overall points. Wickens takes over the lead in Rookie points.  

BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen said, "We saw an exciting race with lots of overtaking action like we are used to seeing at oval races. Finally, it was a clear victory for James Davison who performed superbly today. The main issue for BMW is to see all these young drivers developing in all four Formula BMW Series from race to race." 

Through a very large smile Davison said, "I had a great start. When the Safety Car came out I concentrated on keeping right behind Jonathan. At the green, he moved out to pass Richard in Turn 1. Richard ran wide and I was into second. On the next lap I slipstreamed past Summerton and then was by myself for the rest of the race. I am delighted with my drive today. To be the second Aussie, and Davison, to win here is something I am still trying to get my head around." 

Philippe said, "I am back up to third in Overall points, only 10 points from the lead. I had a great car and a great start today. Everything seems fine. Tomorrow, I start second so I just need to focus on the same good start. If there is a restart tomorrow, I will have a much better idea of what to do - and what not to do." 

Wickens said, "It is amazing how consistent our new team has become. I don't think anyone thought we would be leading the Overall points at the half-way point of the season. Hopefully, I can just never look back." 

Round 8 is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow. 

Round 7 - Results (13 laps)
1 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 24:59.159
2 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 25:02.693
3 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 25:05.221
4 Tobias Hegewald (R) Atlantic Racing Team 25:05.454
5 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 25:06.162
6 Jonathan Summerton Walker Racing 25:06.810
7 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 25:07.795
8 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 25:09.035
9 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 25:09.427
10 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 25:09.883
11 John Zartarian (R) Jensen MotorSport 25:10.956
12 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 25:11.154
13 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 25:14.318
14 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 25:20.765
15 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 25:21.542
16 Nathan DePagter DRE Autosport 25:21.773
17 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 25:26.249
18 Jules Duc (R) Jensen MotorSport 25:32.581
19 Darin Marcus (R) Gelles Racing 25:36.388
20 Robbie Pecorari Walker Racing 12 laps
21 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 10 laps
22 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 2 laps
23 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 0 laps
24 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 0 laps

Championship points after 7 of 14 races:
1. Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport, 72), 2. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 72), 3. Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica, 64), 4. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 63), 5. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 55), 6. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 49), 7. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational, 26), 8. John Zartarian (Jensen MotorSport, 23), 9. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 22), 10. Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing, 21), 11. Justin Moon (Gelles Racing, 19), 12. Rob Bunker (AIM Autosport, 18), 13. Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport, 18), 14. Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 16), 15. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 10), 16. Matthew Lee (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport, 8), 17. Darin Marcus (Gelles Racing, 4), 18. Doug Boyer (Jensen MotorSport, 2), 19. Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team, 2), 20. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 1), 21. Derek Burseth (Burseth Racing, 0), 20. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 0), 21. Nathan DePagter (DRE Autosport, 0), 22. Jules Duc (Jensen MotorSport, 0), 23. Scott Harnell (SDH3 with Cinema Concepts, 0), 24. Ryan Phinny (Gelles Racing, 0), 25. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 0), 26. Robbie Pecorari (Walker Racing, 0)

Klaus Graf wins Trans-Am race Klaus Graf wins Trans-Am raceKlaus Graf (pictured right) entered Saturday’s Rose City 100 Trans-Am race at Portland International Raceway a rookie and left a veteran as the German graduate of Porsche Michelin Supercup competition won his first Trans-Am race in just his second start. Driving the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, Graf became the first German national to win a Trans-Am race since rallying World Champion Walter Rohrl in 1988. He is also the first rookie to win a Trans-Am race since Butch Leitzinger in 2002.

Randy Ruhlman finished second in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette and unofficially holds the points lead going into next weekend’s event in Cleveland. Joey Scarallo recorded his best Series finish, a third, in the No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend Chevrolet Corvette. Greg Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR) and Michael Lewis (No. 12 Autocon Jaguar XKR) completed the top five. Rudy Revak finished first in the GTA Class, driving the No. 99 Symmetry Nutritional Ford Taurus.

Graf won the pole, but started fifth due to Trans-Am’s Fast Five® Qualifying inversion. He drove through the field and took the lead for good from team owner Paul Gentilozzi (pictured right leading Graf) when Gentilozzi’s Jaguar suffered a mechanical failure on lap 16. Graf wasn’t seriously challenged from there.

“This feels great,” said Graf. “At Long Beach, we had the pace down, but we couldn’t finish the race. We focused on improving the car each session. I knew it was going to be tough in the race. It took me awhile to get my rhythm and set the brake bias. I ran behind Randy for awhile. Then I passed him in the Festival Curves and then Paul had a problem. I held my pace from there.

“This is very special, being accompanied by Walter Rohrl because he is a very, very famous driver in Germany,” added Graf. “He’s a World Champion in rallying and one of my heroes. He is one of the best race car drivers ever.”

Ruhlman was pleased with his run.  “It was a good day,” said Ruhlman, who won the season opener at Long Beach. “We were chasing the car most of the weekend, and frankly, we were a bit down in the mouth. We put the race set-up on this morning and we were pretty happy. Paul got the best of me on the start, and I just let him go. We were able to stick on Paul’s bumper the whole time. I had a lot of fun running with Greg Pickett. Greg’s tires went away, so we took second and just went from there.”

Scarallo nursed his car to his first Trans-Am podium.  “We had big expectations this weekend,” said Scarallo. “We started out the weekend really well. The guys have been doing a great job with the car. It was a big improvement over last year. We had trouble on the first lap in the Festival Corners and bent a suspension piece. If we’d had an in-car camera it would have looked like I was turning going down the straightaway. This was a hard-earned third place.”

Philip Simms (No. 24 Simms Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette) won the VP Fuels Trans-Am Hard Charger Award for making up the most positions in the Trans-Am field, while Gary Hagestrom (No. 34 Ott’s Machine/Firm Feel Suspension Dodge Intrepid won the VP Fuels GTA Hard Charger Award. Tomy Drissi’s eighth-place finish in the No. 5 Fantastic Four – The Movie Jaguar XKR nets him the BFGoodrich Tires Anniversary Award, which awards four racing tires to the eighth-place finisher.

The 51-lap race ran in a record one hour, nine minutes and 5.480 seconds at an average speed of 85.984 miles per hour. The race was slowed twice by caution flags for a total of six laps. Ruhlman set the race’s fastest lap, a record 1:14.591-minute effort. The Today’s race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, June 26 at 1 p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel.

FP SP # Driver Make/Model LC Lag Status
1 5 7 Klaus Graf (R) Jaguar/XKR 51 0.000 Active
2 1 49 Randy Ruhlman Chevrolet/Corvette 51 6.548 Active
3 6 06 Joey Scarallo Chevrolet/Corvette 51 15.825 Active
4 3 6 Greg Pickett Jaguar/XKR 51 19.583 Active
5 4 12 Michael Lewis Jaguar/XKR 51 33.275 Active
6 8 75 Tim Cowen Ford/Mustang 51 48.450 Active
7 11 24 Philip Simms Chevrolet/Corvette 51 49.942 Active
8 7 5 Tomy Drissi Jaguar/XKR 50 1 Lap Active
9 9 78 Hima Maher (R) Chevrolet/Corvette 50 1 Lap Active
10 12 99 Rudy Revak GTA Ford/Mustang 48 3 Laps Active
11 13 98 Tim Barber GTA Ford/Taurus 48 3 Laps Active
12 14 90 Art Muncheryan GTA Pontiac/Grand Prix 48 3 Laps Active
13 18 46 Roy Isley (R) GTA Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 47 4 Laps Active
14 19 54 Stephen Schmalz GTA Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 47 4 Laps Active
15 21 34 Guy Dreier (R) GTA Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 46 5 Laps Active
16 20 25 Dale Hartman GTA Oldsmobile/Cutlass 46 5 Laps Active
17 17 57 Brad Jones GTA Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 46 5 Laps Active
18 10 2 Rob Holden (R) GT-1 Chevrolet/Corvette 42 9 Laps Active
19 22 08 Moneca Kolvyn (R) GT-1 Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 38 13 Laps Active
20 15 9 Steve Kelso GTA Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 30 5 Laps MECHANICAL
21 2 1 Paul Gentilozzi Jaguar/XKR 16 2 Laps MECHANICAL
22 16 13 Guy Dreier (R) GTA Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 0 0.000 DNS
23 0 31 John Condren GTA Chevrolet/Monte Carlo 0 0.000 In Pit

David Empringham wins at Mosport David Empringham wins at MosportNot many drivers have run more laps at Mosport International Raceway than David Empringham, and the Toronto native used all of that experience to his advantage in Saturday’s Grand-Am Cup Series Mosport 200 as he charged into the lead on Lap 49 of the 82-lap race and never looked back en route to his second victory of the season.

Empringham and co-driver Gunnar Jeannette combined to lead 73 laps in their No. 05 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT, and Empringham held off a late charge by Boris Said in the No. 99 Anchor Racing BMW M3 to win by 1.317 seconds. Both Empringham and Jeannette now have two victories from the first six Grand-Am Cup Grand Sport (GS) races, and both drivers scored all of their wins in the No. 05 Mustang, which has now won three races.

However, the driver combinations for each of the No. 05 machine’s victories have been different. Jeannette—who filled-in for Empringham’s regular co-driver, Scott Maxwell, this weekend at Mosport—scored the car’s first victory with co-driver James Gue in Round 3 at California Speedway, while Empringham and Maxwell triumphed in Round 4 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

USGP - Qualifying: Ferrari USGP - Qualifying: FerrariQualifying session
Michael Schumacher: 5th 1.11.369 3 laps chassis 245
Rubens Barrichello: 7th 1.11.431 3 laps chassis 246

Jean Todt : “Strategy, reliability, consistent performance from the tires – these will be, as usual in fact, the decisive factors in tomorrow’s race. If we can operate at a maximum level for all these elements, then I am sure we can aspire to a good result. Now, we just have to see if we can attain this objective.”

Michael Schumacher : “I am quite happy with my qualifying performance and actually, fifth place is better than fourth on this grid as the other side is dirtier. Although I am not really sure why, it was already clear yesterday that we seem to be more competitive here than at some of the other tracks we have visited this year. I hope that we will find out tomorrow that we qualified with a heavier fuel load than our rivals, or at least closer in terms of fuel load than we were in Canada and I am hopeful of finishing on the podium tomorrow. As for Ralf, I spoke to him this morning and I think the decision not to race is the right one.”

Rubens Barrichello : “I think we had a good qualifying, even if we could have done a bit better. However, a place on the fourth row is not that bad, as it is possible to overtake at this track. I expect that, as we have seen so far, we will be stronger in the race. That has been our strong point this season and also in the past at this circuit.”

Ross Brawn : “We are reasonably happy with qualifying, Once again, we know we don’t quite have the performance level over a single lap, but the Bridgestone tires were very consistent in this morning’s practice, so we can look forward to a good race. We just have to hope our drivers don’t get stuck behind anyone at the start, because if Kimi makes a break at the front and we are trapped, it could be difficult. We can have a strong race and we have a good strategy for tomorrow.” Ferrari

IPS Series
Marco Andretti wins Indy IPS race Marco Andretti wins Indy IPS raceMarco Andretti made it 2-for-2 on road/street courses in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series.  Andretti, the grandson of racing legend Mario Andretti and son of IRL IndyCar® Series team owner Michael Andretti, won the inaugural Liberty Challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was his second win in three starts this season.

"I had the car to do it, that's for darn sure," said Andretti, who also won the first non-oval event at the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in April from the pole. "(Engineer) Tony (Cicale) and the guys set up an awesome car. Like I was telling them, I never had a better in my career yet, so far. Right to the flag, it was consistent and it showed with the lap times."

Andretti's No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone was challenged only once during the 25-lap event. Jeff Simmons, who started third, took the lead on the opening corner, but missed the second corner, handing the lead back to pole sitter Andretti.   From there, Andretti pulled away for his family's first win at Indianapolis since his grandfather won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969.

"It's big, but to me right now it's another race track until I get on the oval in the IndyCar (Series)," said Andretti, who is running a partial schedule in the IRL's top ladder series.

Wade Cunningham recorded his fourth consecutive second-place finish and assumed the series point lead. The rookie from New Zealand leads Travis Gregg 227-217 with eight races remaining.   Rookies Chris Festa, Nick Bussell and Futaba Freedom 100 winner Jaime Camara rounded out the top five.

"Once (Andretti) had broken away, I just couldn't catch him," Cunningham said. "Once he got that big lead, it was all over and I struggled for the rest of the race just with car balance. The car stuck together and the team did a great job."

1. (1) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
2. (4) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
3. (6) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
4. (2) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
5. (5) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
6. (8) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 25
7. (9) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
8. (7) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
9. (10) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
10. (11) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
11. (13) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Infiniti, 25
12. (12) Mishael Abbott, Dallara-Infiniti, 23 
13. (3) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 13, engine
14. (14) Larry Connor, Dallara-Infiniti, 0, did not start         Race Statistics      
Winner's average speed: 108.465 mph      
Time of race: 35:57.3780        
Margin of victory: 12.7050 seconds
Cautions: None
Lead changes: 0      
Lap leaders: Andretti 1-25      
Point standings: Cunningham 227, Gregg 217, Camara 181, Festa 178, Herb 171, Bussell 170, Drake 154, Roth 150, Simmons 125, Andretti 120.

[Editor's Note: With an engineer like Tony Cicale against a very weak field, Marco Andretti is having a field day in IPS, unlike the Star Mazda series where he doesn't enjoy that advantage and hence has yet to win.  With that said, Marco appears to be the real deal, but the Infiniti Pro Series is not a measure of talent whatsoever.  The previous champions, including AJ Foyt IV who dominated the year he ran IPS, who is considered a wanker today by most.]

Audis 1-2-3 after 8 hours Audis 1-2-3 after 8 hours
Pos # Class Drivers Car Gap/Lap
1. 3 LM1 Lehto, Werner, Kristensen Audi R8 ==119==
2. 2 LM1 Biela, Pirro, McNish Audi R8 2:27.125
3. 4 LM1 Montagny, Gounon, Ortelli Audi R8 ==117==
4. 5 LM1 Michigami, Ara, Kaneishi Dome Mugen 59.770
5. 17 LM1 Loeb, Helary, Ayari Pescarolo Judd ==116==
6. 10 LM1 Lammers, Julian, Bosch Dome Judd 1:17.690
7. 9 LM1 Hignett, Stack, Kurosawa Zytek 04S ==114==
8. 16 LM1 Collard, Boullion, Comas Pescarolo Judd 35.078
9. 58 GT1 Enge, Kox, Lamy Aston Martin D ==113==
10. 64 GT1 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R 51.217
11. 63 GT1 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R 55.322
12. 18 LM1 Short, Barbosa, Ickx Dallara Judd ==111==
13. 59 GT1 Brabham, Sarrazin, Turner Aston Martin D ==110==
14. 32 LM2 Fisken, Halliday, Hancock Lola AER ==109==
15. 50 GT1 Goueslard, Dupard, Vosse Ferrari 550Mar 1:53.459
16. 7 LM1 Minassian, Campbellwalter Wallace DBA Judd 2:11.242
17. 61 GT1 Fomenko, Vasiliev, Bouchut Ferrari 550Mar ==108==
18. 12 LM1 Schwager, Frei, Vann Courage Judd 1:34.609
19. 71 GT2 Hindery, Rockenfeller, Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR ==107==
20. 90 GT2 Bergmeister, Long, Bernhard Porsche 911 GT 18.429
21. 37 LM2 Belmondo, Andre, Sutherland Courage C65 Fo ==106==
22. 36 LM2 Gosselin, Ojjeh, Sharpe Courage C65 Fo ==105==
23. 76 GT2 Dumas, Dumez, Narac Porsche 911 GT 3:59.471
24. 30 LM2 Bennett, Mitchell, Mullen Courage Judd ==104==
25. 34 LM2 Macaluso, James, Lally Courage AER 1:53.724
26. 80 GT2 Van Overbeek, Pechnik, Neiman Porsche 911 GT ==103==
27. 72 GT2 Policand, Campbell, Alphand Porsche 911 GT 29.588
28. 91 GT2 Pompidou, Blanchemain, Yamagishi Porsche 911 GT ==102==
29. 89 GT2 Nielsen, Thyrring, Ehret Porsche 911 GT 39.330
30. 35 LM2 Hillebrand, Hahn, Pickering Courage C65 Ju ==101==
31. 25 LM2 Erdos, Newton, Hughes Lola MG ==100==
32. 31 LM2 Amorin, Iannetta, Pillon Courage - CG ==98==
33. 92 GT2 Macari, Ericsson, Wilson Ferrari 360 Mo ==96==
34. 83 GT2 Collin, Felbermayr, Shep Porsche 911 GT ==87==
35. 69 GT1 de Fournoux, Daoudi, Matthews Ferrari 575 GT ==84==
36. 85 GT2 Coronel, Crevels, Van Merksteijn Spyker C8 Spyd ==76==
37. 24 LM2 Terada, Roussel, Binnie WR Peugeot ==70==
38. 8 LM1 Verdoen Roe, Krumm, Primat Dallara Nissan ==69==
39. 78 GT2 Sellers, Franchitti, Bourdais Panoz Elan ==67==
40. 95 GT2 Hartshorne, Stanton, Johnson TVR Tuscan T40 ==59==
ALMS Audis 1-2 after 6 hours ALMS Audis 1-2 after 6 hours
Pos # Class Drivers Car Gap/Lap
1. 3 LM1 Lehto, Werner, Kristensen Audi R8 ==90==
2. 2 LM1 Biela, Pirro, McNish Audi R8 ==89==
3. 5 LM1 Michigami, Ara, Kaneishi Dome Mugen ==88==
4. 4 LM1 Montagny, Gounon, Ortelli Audi R8 ==87==
5. 10 LM1 Lammers, Julian, Bosch Dome Judd 3.295
6. 18 LM1 Short, Barbosa, Ickx Dallara Judd 18.242
7. 17 LM1 Loeb, Helary, Ayari Pescarolo Judd 1:05.873
8. 9 LM1 Hignett, Stack, Kurosawa Zytek 04S 3:06.684
9. 12 LM1 Schwager, Frei, Vann Courage Judd ==86==
10. 16 LM1 Collard, Boullion, Comas Pescarolo Judd ==85==
11. 63 GT1 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R 37.758
12. 58 GT1 Enge, Kox, Lamy Aston Martin D 58.946
13. 64 GT1 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R 1:24.450
14. 59 GT1 Brabham, Sarrazin, Turner Aston Martin D ==83==
15. 32 LM2 Fisken, Halliday, Hancock Lola AER ==82==
16. 50 GT1 Goueslard, Dupard, Vosse Ferrari 550Mar 2.739
17. 61 GT1 Fomenko, Vasiliev, Bouchut Ferrari 550Mar ==81==
18. 71 GT2 Hindery, Rockenfeller, Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR ==80==
19. 90 GT2 Bergmeister, Long, Bernhard Porsche 911 GT 25.183
20. 7 LM1 Minassian, Campbellwalter Wallace DBA Judd 59.294
21. 36 LM2 Gosselin, Ojjeh, Sharpe Courage C65 Fo 3:53.773
22. 37 LM2 Belmondo, Andre, Sutherland Courage C65 Fo ==79==
23. 31 LM2 Amorin, Iannetta, Pillon Courage - CG 3.670
24. 34 LM2 Macaluso, James, Lally Courage AER 31.355
25. 76 GT2 Dumas, Dumez, Narac Porsche 911 GT 1:20.353
26. 30 LM2 Bennett, Mitchell, Mullen Courage Judd ==78==
27. 72 GT2 Policand, Campbell, Alphand Porsche 911 GT 19:46.66
28. 80 GT2 Van Overbeek, Pechnik, Neiman Porsche 911 GT ==77==
29. 91 GT2 Pompidou, Blanchemain, Yamagishi Porsche 911 GT 16.762
30. 89 GT2 Nielsen, Thyrring, Ehret Porsche 911 GT ==76==
31. 35 LM2 Hillebrand, Hahn, Pickering Courage C65 Ju ==73==
32. 92 GT2 Macari, Ericsson, Wilson Ferrari 360 Mo ==72==
33. 25 LM2 Erdos, Newton, Hughes Lola MG ==71==
34. 93 GT2 Kinch, Kirkaldy, Reid Ferrari 360 Mo ==70==
35. 51 GT1 Pescatori, Gollin, Ramos Ferrari 550Mar ==67==
36. 85 GT2 Coronel, Crevels, Van Merksteijn Spyker C8 Spyd ==64==
37. 83 GT2 Collin, Felbermayr, Shep Porsche 911 GT ==63==
38. 69 GT1 de Fournoux, Daoudi, Matthews Ferrari 575 GT 47.884
39. 23 LM2 Bouvet, Boulay, Julien WR ==53==
40. 13 LM1 Cochet, Nakano, Jouanny Courage Judd ==52==
41. 78 GT2 Sellers, Franchitti, Bourdais Panoz Elan 29:19.57
42. 95 GT2 Hartshorne, Stanton, Johnson TVR Tuscan T40 ==48==
43. 24 LM2 Terada, Roussel, Binnie WR Peugeot ==47==
44. 8 LM1 Verdoen Roe, Krumm, Primat Dallara Nissan ==46==
Mario and Michael Andretti to be featured in Newman/Haas special Mario and Michael Andretti to be featured in Newman/Haas specialThe first of a four part series on the history of Newman/Haas Racing will be aired during the live CBS Sports telecast of the G.I. Joe's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
The first feature will contain interviews from team owners Paul Newman and Carl Haas as well as the legendary Mario Andretti and his son Michael.
Mario brought the team their first championship in only their second season of competition in 1984 and went on to earn a total of 18 wins and 26 poles in his 185 races with the team.  Michael Andretti earned the second title for the team in 1991 and amassed 31 wins and 26 poles during his 173 starts for the team during the years of 1989-1992 and 1995-2000.
Future installments of the feature will be aired during the CBS telecasts of the Cleveland (June 26) and Toronto (July 10) events and the NBC Sports telecast of the Montreal race (August 28). 
Tracy leads morning practice in Portland Tracy leads morning practice in PortlandPaul Tracy paced the field with a lap of 58.378 (121.114 mph) at the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway. Under sunny skies all 18 cars participated in the morning session. Cristiano da Matta was second quick with a lap at 58.465 (120.934 mph). Provisional pole sitter Justin Wilson was third quick and his teammate A.J. Allmendinger was fourth fastest. Mario Dominguez was fifth fastest, Jimmy Vasser sixth and defending race winner Sebastien Bourdais was seventh quick.
Audi takes lead at LeMans Audi takes lead at LeMansIn front of over 200,000 spectators and approximately 2,000 media representatives, the three Audi R8 sports cars impressed in the opening stages of the Le Mans 24 Hours (France). During the first three hours, the Audi drivers moved up from start positions three, five and eight into the first three places. Shortly after 6:30 p.m., the three Audi R8 sports cars took the top spots when the leading Pescarolo-Judd had to come to the pits due to shifting problems.
In grueling heat (more than 30 degrees Celsius the shade), some of the 49 cars that started the race, immediately showed weakness in the first three hours of the endurance classic. Conversely the Audi R8 sports cars of the importer teams ADT Champion Racing (USA) and Audi PlayStation Team ORECA (France) ran without any problems. Changing the front bodywork on the "French” R8 after hitting a curb was the only unexpected incident.
As expected, the Audi R8 sports cars are not the fastest cars in the field due to the handicaps imposed by the regulations. Thanks to the low fuel consumption of the Audi Turbo FSI engine, however, the Audi drivers can complete up to 13 laps on one tank of fuel. The Pescarolo-Judd that had started from pole position, had to refuel for the first time after eight laps despite being allowed to race with 10 liters more fuel tank capacity.
Kasemets claims his first Toyota Atlantic pole Kasemets claims his first Toyota Atlantic poleEstonian racer Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK ind./TMI/Redline Oil) has always been a fan of drivers who were able to raise their game in the clutch. The 31-year-old driver for Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis demonstrated that he also has the ability to produce in crunch time Saturday morning when he recorded the top time in qualifying for Sunday’s BOSPoker.com Atlantic Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.

After three red-flag caution periods for drivers going off-course basically cut in half the 30-minute morning qualifying session, Kasemets and the rest of the Atlantic field were left with just two minutes to try and post a quick lap on the 1.964-mile circuit. After damaging his car’s rear wing when he veered off course early in the session, Kasemets returned to the track with a vengeance and recorded an impressive time of 1:09.152 (102.244 mph) on his ninth and final lap before the checkered flag flew to end an eventful qualifying. The performance earned the driver, who now resides in Mundelein, Illinois, his first career Atlantic pole position in his 10th series race.

Atlantic rookies Kyle Kelley (#24 UP Racing.com/T. Christy) and Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) also showed the ability to get up to speed quickly as they each posted their fast laps after seeing the green lag for the final time with just two minutes remaining in the session. Kelley, who had his best series qualifying on Friday when he posted the third-fastest time for this afternoon’s first race of the weekend at PIR, surpassed that effort with a second-place qualifying run this morning. Kelley’s lap of 1:09.259 (102.086 mph) will enable him to line up second for tomorrow’s second half of the Atlantic weekend doubleheader.

After qualifying second on Friday for today’s race, Zwolsman – the Atlantic series leader – will start third tomorrow after he clocked a quick lap of 1:09.581 (101.614 mph) on his final lap while he was running on new tires. After winning his first series race in Round 2 at Monterrey, Mexico, Zwolsman will carry a six-point advantage in the championship entering this weekend’s races.

Germany’s Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors) claimed his first Atlantic pole on Friday, starting on the point for this afternoon’s race. The talented 20-year-old racer owned the top time for most of this morning’s qualifying for Race #2 as well before Kasemets, Kelley and Zwolsman turned in their quick times on their final laps. Wirth wound up fourth in the order with a best lap of 1:09.810 (101.281 mph).

Antoine Bessette of St. Bruno, Quebec, Canada equaled his qualifying results from Friday as he recorded the fifth-fastest lap this morning with a time of 1:10.049 (100.945 mph). Al Unser III (#10 BOSPoker.net/PKV Racing) enjoyed his best qualifying among his six Atlantic events. The 22-year-old racer will start sixth on Sunday after he was timed at 1:11.074 (99.479 mph) on the track where his father – Al Unser Jr.  – earned his first Champ Car victory in 1984.

Established road racer Chris Dyson (#16 Thetford/Norcold) had a quick lap of 1:11.130 (99.401 mph) for the seventh-fastest time while David Martinez (#7 Roshfrans/Aviacsa/RocaAcero/Multigama/Martiga) of Mexico lost his fastest lap after causing one of the red flags in the session but still wound up eighth with a time of 1:11.438 (98.973 mph).

The first Atlantic race of the weekend here at Portland will take the green flag at 12:45 p.m. PT this afternoon while Sunday’s race will start at 10 a.m. PT. Follow all of the action of this weekend’s races live through the Timing link on the series’ official web site www.toyotaatlantic.com. Both races can also be seen on tape delay on SPEED Channel on Saturday, June 25 beginning at 2 p.m. ET.


Kasemets claimed the $1,000 Toyota pole award for leading today’s round of qualifying. He also earned a championship point for winning the pole and he remains fourth in the standings, now with 44 points on the year.

Atkins earned C2 championship points for pacing both Friday’s qualifying and today’s round at Portland and he now boasts 21 markers on the season and is tied with Bob Siska for sixth in the battle for the 2005 Yokohama Tire C2 Cup.

1.  (6) Tonis Kasemets, Toyota/Swift, 1:09.152, 102.244 mph
2.  (24) Kyle Kelley, Toyota/Swift, 1:09.259, 102.086 mph
3.  (11) Charles Zwolsman, Toyota/Swift, 1:09.581, 101.614 mph
4.  (8) Andreas Wirth, Toyota/Swift, 1:09.810, 101.281 mph
5.  (3) Antoine Bessette, Toyota/Swift, 1:10.049, 100.935 mph
6.  (10) Al Unser III, Toyota/Swift, 1:11.074, 99.479 mph
7.  (16) Chris Dyson, Toyota/Swift, 1:11.130, 99.401 mph
8.  (7) David Martinez, Toyota/Swift, 1:11.438, 98.973 mph
9.  (48) Lee Atkins, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:13.238, 96.540 mph
10.  (12) Katherine Legge, Toyota/Swift, 1:13.347, 96.397 mph
11.  (15) Justin Sofio, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:13.399, 96.328 mph
12.  (56) Chris Souliotis, Toyota/Swift, 1:14.356, 95.088 mph
13.  (21) Roger Glover, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:14.389, 95.046 mph
14.  (19) Brian McAtee, Toyota/Swift, 1:14.746, 94.592 mph
15.  (18) Bob Siska, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:15.782, 93.299 mph
16.   (9) Dan Cobb, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1;15.814, 93.260 mph
17.  (49) Dan Selznick, Toyota/Swift, 1:16.103, 92.906 mph
18.  (63) Daryl Leiski, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:16.449, 92.485 mph
19.  (31) Tim Hauraney, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:16.724, 92.154 mph
20.  (71) Mark Ishikawa, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:19.152, 89.327 mph

Quotes from the top three qualifiers from today’s session follow:

TONIS KASEMETS (Flexovit Abrasive Prods/MK/TMI/Red Line Oil – Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis): “I made a mistake in the first part of the session and damaged my rear wing. It was luck to me that we could fix the car and go back out. My radio guy said that I had only one lap, so I put it together. I did not have new tires for my fastest lap. Actually I had the set that went into the grass when I had contact, but I did not get any traffic and I went as hard as I could.”

KYLE KELLEY (UPracing.com/T. Christy – McAtee Motorsports): “This morning’s qualifying session was a little bit cool and we had some difficulties to get the tires up to temperature. I did not think I was going to be able to be that quick at the end of the session but it turned out to be a good lap. It definitely helps that I have been here before.”

CHARLES ZWOLSMAN (Condor Motorsports): “It was quite tough to deal with all these red flags because I had three sets of new tires to run during this session. On my first sets I was blocked by the cars in front of me, but luckily at the last minute I managed to put in a quick lap. I thought it was going to be difficult to run a fast lap with only two minutes to go in the session because usually the tires take more time to get in to. I gave it all in the last lap and I made soma small mistakes because the tires had not enough grip yet, and we settled for third.

LeMans: Hour 1 LeMans: Hour 1The first of the leading cars to pit were the two Pescarolos; both took on fuel, but didn’t change tires or drivers. Their stops gave the lead to the Dome-Mugen No5 being driven by Ryo Michigama, followed by two of the Audis. But all the top runners were making stops so the time spent in the lead by each successive leader was fairly short, and the Pescarolos were soon back in front.

An unwanted pit-stop was for Aston Martin No 59, when Darren Turner was called in for a stop and go penalty after Darren had gone too far into the forbidden territory on the inside of one of the corners and knocked over a marker cone.

The rules prevented him from then stopping in his pit, so he headed back to the track. The time lost dropped him to third in LM GT1, handing the class lead to the sister No. 58 Aston Martin DBR9 and allowing Oliver Gavin in the No. 64 Corvette C6-R to move up to second. The overall lead of the No. 5 Jim Gainer International Dome-Mugen was short-lived as Michigama soon brought the car into the pits – however, this wasn’t just a routine stop as the driver had a problem with the paddle gearshift; the team lost a lap sorting the problem out.

The first round of pit stops caused a flurry of activity, with both No. 2 Champion Audi and No. 4 Audi Playstation Team Oreca Audi coming into pit-lane together from second and third overall; the changes saw Jean-Christophe Boullion resume the lead in the No. 16 Pescarolo Judd, with the No. 17 Pescarolo Judd sister car back up to second. After just 12 laps the Pescarolo duo had amassed a lead of almost a minute

At the same time the No. 25 RML Lola MG returned to the pits for the fourth time, clearly still suffering technical problems. The team had diagnosed the problems as being gearbox-related; the team were forced to change the gear selector, which took just over ten minutes.

Just ten minutes before the hour, there was excitement in the pits as the two leaders in GT1 came into the pits together. Oliver Gavin in the No. 64 Corvette just managed to get out ahead of the No 56 Aston with Peter Kox at the wheel.

Another Dutchman going well was Jan Lammers. His stop at the end of the first lap, which was in fact a penalty stop for an infringement in the pits, naturally dropped him down the field. The 1988 winner was using all his knowledge and experience of Le Mans to carve his way through the field.

The race organizers are being very strict about crossing the white lines that indicate the edge of the circuit, handing out stop-and-go penalties to the No. 92 Cirtek Motorsport Ferrari 360 Modena GTC and No. 85 Spyker C8 Spyder.

The crew of the No. 8 Rollcentre Dallara Nissan continued to be unable to get the engine to rev; the regulations state that had the car not left the pit-lane by 17:00 hrs it would be excluded. At 16:54 hrs Michael Krumm limped out of the pit-lane agonizingly slowly to meet the deadline, crawling around the circuit at no more than tickover.

Phil Bennett, in the No. 30 Kruse Motorsport Courage Judd, took the lead in LMP2, already a lap down after less than an hour and just seconds ahead of the No. 37 Belmondo Courage Ford. The LM GT2 class lead also changed hands, with Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 71 Alex Job Porsche 911 GT3 RSR going ahead of the No. 77 Panoz Elan, which now has Robin Liddell at the wheel.

Montoya leads practice 3 Montoya leads practice 3Juan Pablo Montoya again was fastest in Saturday morning's first practice session for the United States Grand Prix making it 3-for-3 for the weekend. However, almost all the Michelin runners were forced to stay off track because of safety fears.

Michelin suffered several tire failures in Friday practice, one of which sent Ralf Schumacher's Toyota into the wall and caused him to withdraw from the event because of a suspected concussion.

Michelin advised its teams on how to setup their suspensions to ensure the tires were safe but only a few Michelin runners were able to make the appropriate changes in time to run.

Montoya turned his fast lap in the final five minutes with the Colombian setting a weekend best time of 1:10.726. The changes appeared to cause him few problems as he went 1.043 seconds faster than second-place Michael Schumacher's time in the lead Bridgestone-shod Ferrari with Rubens Barrichello less than a tenth further back in third.

1. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:10.726
2. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:11.769
3. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:11.838
4. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:12.409
5. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:13.399
6. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:13.764
7. PATRICK FRIESACHER Minardi-Cosworth B 1:14.572
8. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:15.164
9. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M No Time
10. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M No Time
12. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M No Time
13. NICK HEIDFELD Williams-BMW M No Time
15. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M No Time
16. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M No Time
17. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M No Time
18. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M No Time
19. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M No Time
20. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M No Time

Formula BMW
Walker Racing back in Indiana Walker Racing back in IndianaComing from a good first event at Montreal with a 2nd and a 12th place finish with Jonathan Summerton and for Paul Rees a 15th and a strong 10th place, Walker Racing moves to Indianapolis for what is its home track event.

Team co-owner Benoit Morand says of Montreal and the up coming event, " We got off to a good start in Montreal with Jonathan's 2nd place. Even though we joined the series late we feel we are right where we need to be. Continuing he said, " the team has worked really hard turning the cars around for Indy and we can't wait to get out on the track."

Driver Robbie Pecorari, who has previously raced in Formula Ford and Formula Mazda joins the team for Indianapolis along with Jonathan Summerton, making once again a strong line up for the Walker team.

Says John Mullen team engineer, " We tried some different setups at Montreal which will help going into this race, plus Pecorari’s joining us adds both strength and depth."

Walker Racing, a veteran Champ Car team, is currently racing a two car program known as “ Team Australia “ with drivers Alex Tagliani and Marcus Marshall. Team owner Derrick Walker says of the Formula BMW program, “I have long been impressed with what the formula represents and wanted to compete in the series. “Teaming up with Benoit Morand makes it possible”, continuing Walker said “Benoit and I share the interest to developing a strong program that seeks out our stars on the future.”

The partnership intends to compete at as many events as possible in the 2005 with a two car program. Discussions continue with interested drivers and sponsors. Says team principal Benoit Morand, “I am really pleased with our long term plans. We will be able to offer a very comprehensive program, but for now we are focused on racing in the remaining 2005 events”.

Pole-Winning No. 92 Moves To Rear of Grid Pole-Winning No. 92 Moves To Rear of GridAnchor Racing, which took the pole position on Friday for this afternoon’s Grand-Am Cup Series Mosport 200 with driver James Sofronas in the team’s No. 92 BMW M3, has elected to change its starting driver for the race.

John Munson—who is also the team’s owner and was unable to attend Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions—has been named to start the No. 92 machine, and the car will be moved to the rear of the Grand Sport (GS) class starting grid for this afternoon’s race as a result of the change.

“John normally starts the car for us,” Sofronas said. “The only reason he wasn’t in the car yesterday was because he couldn’t be here. We’ve still got a great car for the race, and we’ve also got a great team with Anchor Racing. I’m confident that we’ll be able to move up quickly.”

With the No. 92 moving to the back, Gunnar Jeannette takes over the top spot on the grid in the No. 05 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT. Live Timing & Scoring coverage of the Mosport 200 will be available on www.grandamerican.com beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Zonta in for Ralf Zonta in for RalfRicardo Zonta will race in Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher's place after the German, who crashed heavily in Friday practice, was sidelined.

Ralf, 29 - who crashed at the same spot on the Indy banking and broke back bones a year ago - was checked and deemed unfit by FIA delegate Gary Hartstein prior to Saturday's opening session.

On Friday, he was scanned at hospital after complaining of blurred vision.  Team boss Tsutomu Tomita, though, insisted that the team's decision is 'precautionary.'

''I'm confident that I will be back in time for this month's French grand prix,'' a disappointed Ralf said.  Brazil's Zonta last raced a Toyota at Interlagos last year.  ''It's a very difficult situation but I will try to make the most of the rest of the weekend,'' said the 29-year-old.

CBS doesn’t know Champ Car exists CBS doesn’t know Champ Car existsUPDATE This reader must have been looking in the wrong location because the CBS website clearly has the race listed now.  06/18/05 A reader writes, I was just checking on CBS Sportsline website for the time of the Champ Car race.  I looked under the TV listings.  It shows the Nextel Race (not on CBS), the (USGP not on CBS), but  no listing at all for the Champ Car race  which is on their own channel.  I'm dumbfounded.  If anyone watches, I'll be amazed. Leon Walters  Dear Leon, The BS line we get all the time is that networks don't care about time buys, they just collect their money and run.  Well NASCAR isn't even on CBS yet they show their races listed.  Champ Car should be all over CBS for every oversight they make. Mark C.
Audi teams ready after Saturday AM warm-up Audi teams ready after Saturday AM warm-upSaturday’s morning warm-up for the 73rd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours was completed without any problems for the two Audi importer teams ADT Champion Racing (USA) and Audi PlayStation Team ORECA (France). All nine Audi drivers were in action during the 45-minute warm-up session. The three Audi R8 were noted in positions two, three and six respectively.
At the start of the race, set for 4 p.m., Emanuele Pirro (#2), JJ Lehto (#3) and Franck Montagny (#4) will be at the wheel of the three Audi R8 sports cars. During the race, driver changes are planned as follows:
Audi R8 #2: Emanuele Pirro > Allan McNish > Frank Biela
Audi R8 #3: JJ Lehto > Marco Werner > Tom Kristensen
Audi R8 #4: Franck Montagny > Stéphane Ortelli > Jean-Marc Gounon
The early morning, temperatures had already reached over 20 degrees Celsius. For the start of the race, 31 degrees is predicted, for Sunday even up to 34 degrees. At night, temperatures are forecasted to stay above 20 degrees Celsius.
Industry News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
A.  24 Hours of LeMans, Live, SPEED
          Start:  9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.  
          Night: 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
          Night: 7:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
          Dawn: 12:00 a.m.-6:00 a.m. (Sunday, June 19)
          Finish: 6:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. (Sunday, June 19)
B.  U.S. Grand Prix, Indianapolis
          Practice:   1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. (SDD), SPEED
          Qualifying: 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. (SDD), SPEED         
C.  NASCAR Craftsman Truck, MIS, Michigan
           Race: 3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Live, SPEED
D.  NASCAR Nextel Cup, MIS, Michigan
           Qualifying: 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. (SDD) FX
E.  SPEED News, Expanded Edition, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., SPEED
F.  NASCAR Busch Series, Kentucky Speedway
            Race: 7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Live, FX

All times are ET.

Rain keeps fans away Rain keeps fans awayOvercast skies and rain left part of the grandstands practically empty at Portland Friday.  But low crowd count is not uncommon on Day One of Champ Car weekend because Friday is a work day for many.  Sunday's attendance will be telling.  If Portland wants to keep its Champ Car race it's going to have to be big.  A threat of rain looms, but people in Portland and Seattle are familiar with damp and wet weather. 
Bridgestone benches No. 55 car Bridgestone benches No. 55 carUPDATE Memo to the blue-clad security guards at Portland International Raceway: Keep an eye on the HVM Inc. pits this weekend.  Watch out for tire thieves.  It seems the team "misplaced" a set of Bridgestone front tires in Milwaukee on June 4 and Bridgestone officials were not amused.   This isn't exactly grist for "America's Most Wanted" but for a race team it's a big deal if tires go missing because Bridgestone takes its technology seriously.

Al Speyer, the executive director of Bridgestone Motorsport, said Bridgestone and HVM "have contractual matters relating to tire security under review."  In the aftermath, HVM was given a slap on the wrist Friday in Portland.

Keith Wiggins, the managing director and owner of HVM Inc., suspects someone simply walked off with the tires -- which weigh 40 to 50 pounds apiece with rims -- after the Milwaukee Champ Car race.  "I think it's probably safe to say they're in someone's basement serving as a coffee table," Wiggins said. "But it's difficult to really comment, because we don't know where (the tires) are."

Aside from the pilfered rubber, there were two rims -- worth about $1,500 apiece -- and sensor equipment in each rim valued at about $400.  Asked if the discipline was too harsh, Wiggins said, "What occurred is an unfortunate situation but the bottom line is we have to abide by the rules and respect the decision."  Oregonlive

06/17/05 “Bridgestone Motorsport and the HVM, Inc., racing team have contractual matters relating to tire security under review. The parties involved are working together to resolve the issues. As part of this process, Bridgestone Motorsport and HVM agreed in a meeting this morning that the number 55 car would not participate in the first practice session at Portland.” Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport.
Bernie says Tony George not promoting race enough Bernie says Tony George not promoting race enoughBernie Ecclestone said Friday he believes Indianapolis Motor Speedway is failing itself and, more importantly, the U.S. Grand Prix by not promoting this weekend's race more aggressively.

The Formula One chief said the Speedway, which has hosted the Indianapolis 500 since 1911, still hasn't learned how to market an event, particularly the race that will be held for the sixth time Sunday.

"You can move into town and you can't tell there's an event going on, and that's the problem," Ecclestone said. "It's not promoted even in Indianapolis, let alone somewhere else. It should be promoted aggressively, and they've understood that at all the places where Formula One has been successful.

"They don't seem to get behind that here. They're used to people wanting to buy tickets. That's not really the way to go anymore."

Speedway president Joie Chitwood said the company markets at an appropriate level of aggressiveness for "the parameters we have to function under."  More at Indy Star

Barrichello not interested in Indy 500 Barrichello not interested in Indy 500While Michael Schumacher was the first driver to face the media at Indianapolis, his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team-mate, Rubens Barrichello was one of the last. The Brazilian arrived at the track in time for his Thursday afternoon engineering briefing, but still paused to chat with the press in the sunshine outside the Scuderia’s office. After coming third in the Canadian Grand Prix last Sunday, the Ferrari man has been traveling around the United States. His trip began with an appearance for a sponsor and a visit to a bicycle factory in Wisconsin, before heading south.

“I went to Miami, which was great because no one there wanted to talk about F1 and so I did not have to, which made a pleasant change,” he joked and smiled at his interviewers. “I stayed with my friend Tony Kanaan (a fellow Brazilian who races in the States.) I just had a couple of days to relax before coming here.”

Earlier in the day, Danica Patrick, the 23 year old woman who came fourth in the Indianapolis 500 a few weeks back, had given a press conference at the track. Did Rubens think a woman could drive in F1? “I saw she had a good race here in Indy, but it does not matter if you are a woman or a man. What matters is if you have the natural talent. But if she can drive like that on the oval circuits then there is no reason why she could not do F1.”

Barrichello himself has no plans to try a move the other way. “If you had asked me a few years ago, maybe I would have wanted to do the Indy 500, but not today,” he said. “It’s not to do with the danger. In fact, I would prefer to try a motorbike race which I rate the same in terms of its danger.”

The FIA today issued suggested regulation changes for the 2008 season. Many of them involved severe restrictions on technology in the sport and Barrichello was not sure this was a good thing. “In every aspect of life, things move forward in this world, so I am not sure going backwards is ever a good idea,” reckoned Rubens. “The most important thing is to always look at improving the show.”

Despite the fact that these two North American races involve a long time away from home, Rubens’ wife Silvana has not accompanied him. “She is six and a half months pregnant,” said the proud father to be. “We know it will be a boy and we are going to call him Fernando.” So the Barrichello household will be growing, as a little brother arrives for Eduardo.”

Schumacher woos Indy fans Schumacher woos Indy fansMichael Schumacher attended a Bridgestone press conference at the Brickyard circuit this morning, but the seven times world champion was not the star of the show! This role belonged to the several hundred fans in attendance, who cheered most of the questions and answers, proving they were knowledgeable as well as noisy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ron's Taj Mahal wins 2nd award Ron's Taj Mahal wins 2nd awardRon Dennis' Taj Mahal, The McLaren Technology Centre, has won its second architectural award in two days with the announcement that the Royal Institute of British Architects have awarded the design a prize. The annual awards have been running continuously since 1966. This year over 500 buildings in the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union were visited as part of the judging. Grandprix.com
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
BMW decision due
Bernie won't say sorry
No F1 ride for Danica
Ralf must pass medical exam
Fernando Barrichello
F1 cool on Max's rule
DC had eye test
Kanaan set for BAR test
Small crowd at Indy
'We'd stay' - Bridgestone
Team orders exist
Seen at Indy Seen at IndyJuan Montoya kids around with old CART nemesis Michael Andretti at Indy on Friday (right, photo by Shawn Payne).  Michael was there to watch his son win the pole position for the IPS race.  Meanwhile Juan Montoya is poised to perhaps grab pole position today for the USGP having turned the fastest lap in both Friday practice sessions.
IPS Series
Andretti wins IPS pole at Indy Andretti wins IPS pole at IndyUPDATE 1978 Formula One World Champion and 1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti (right) congratulates his grandson, Marco Andretti, after Marco won the pole for the inaugural Liberty Challenge race, part of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. (Photo by Shawn Payne)

06/17/05 Marco Andretti is halfway to his version of a sweep.  Andretti, 18, who won the pole position and the race in his Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut in early April at St. Petersburg, Fla., captured the SWE Race Car Parts Pole on June 17 for the Liberty Challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Andretti lapped the 2.605-mile circuit in 1 minute, 26.2360 seconds, 108.539 mph late in the 45-minute second session to claim his second career pole, and the first by an Andretti at Indianapolis since Andretti's grandfather Mario, who won the 1978 Formula One World Championship, sat on the pole for the 1987 Indianapolis 500.

"We made a bad change early, came in and changed and went back out," said Andretti, who drives the No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. "As soon as I saw the lap time, I knew it had to be good for at least front row."

Andretti will share the front row with Nick Bussell, driver of the No. 21 JL West Motorsports entry. Bussell, a 22-year-old rookie from Ionia, Mich., earned his career-best starting position with a lap of 1:26.7700, 107.871.

"I think that we had a pretty good car from the get-go," Bussell said. "I think we were decent in the first session and just a little bit off of Marco. The second session was all pretty good. We knew where we were, but we didn't know if we had a realistic shot at bumping people off to go for the pole."

Jeff Simmons, Wade Cunningham and Jaime Camara round out the top five. The 25-lap race starts at 5:45 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, June 18.

"In the last few minutes, we were second, and then some people went out and we got bumped back a few places," said Cunningham, who trails series points leader Travis Gregg by four points. "I think we timed when to go out on new tires wrong. I think we went a little too early. I think the car's speed is good."

Gregg, who regained the series points lead for the third time this season after winning the Firestone 100 at Texas Motor Speedway June 11, will start ninth. The former sprint car driver has qualified on the front row of all seven oval races in his Menards Infiniti Pro Series career, but has qualified ninth on both road courses.

"Hopefully, if I can't get up and battle with (Cunningham) then some of the other drivers can notch him out," Gregg said. "It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. Wade is a great road racer, but so are Marco Andretti and Jeff Simmons. Simmons is due for a good run, so maybe they can help me out."

Qualifying Friday for the Liberty Challenge IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event on the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:
1. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Infiniti, 108.539
2. (21) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 107.871
3. (24) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 107.813
4. (33) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 107.711
5. (1) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 107.128
6. (19) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 107.025
7. (4) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, 106.607
8. (3) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 106.368
9. (7) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 105.602
10. (6) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 105.560
11. (20) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, 104.862
12. (91) Mishael Abbott, Dallara-Infiniti, 101.878
13. (9) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Infiniti, 98.273
14. (36) Larry Connor, Dallara-Infiniti, 98.033

Formula BMW
Summerton wins both BMW poles at Indy Summerton wins both BMW poles at IndyProving that there is no substitute for experience, even if you are still just17-years old, Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing) used his knowledge of the 2.6-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit to break his own 2004 qualifying record and take the pole for both Rounds 7 and 8 of the Formula BMW USA Series. Summerton, the 2004 double-pole sitter and Round 5 Indy winner, took the pole for Round 7 with a 1:37.261 minute lap. The lap was .195 seconds faster than his 2004 pole time. With his second fastest lap of 1:37.508 minutes he took the pole for Round 8.

Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica), already a four-time pole winner this season, qualified second for both Rounds 7 and 8 with laps of 1:37.457 and 1:37.583 minutes respectively. Robbie Pecorari (Walker Racing), making his first Formula BMW USA start, benefited from a tow from teammate Summerton on his fast lap and set the third fastest Round 7 time (1:37.644). Overall and Rookie points leader Kevin Lacroix scored the third starting position in Round 8 with a 1:37.852 minute lap. Maxime Soulet, who had set the fourth and third fastest laps of the session, had his times disallowed following post-qualifying technical inspection and will start from the rear of the grid in both races.

The session was without incident for the first 20 minutes. Summerton took over the first position on his seventh lap as the rest of the field swapped positions behind him.  As most drivers began to come to grips with the cooling track after pit stops for adjustments, the session was stopped for Adrien Herberts' spin into a gravel trap. Restarted with five minutes to go, Summerton saved his best lap for his last, setting his fastest time as the checkered flag waved.

Ensuring two exciting Rounds, the top-12 qualifiers were all within one second of Summerton's pole time in Round 7 and the top-15 were within one second of Summerton in Round 8. Summerton said, "I came into the pits because we thought we would make some changes to try to back up my quick time with a fast second lap. The car was not much better, but the track was cooling and I think that made the difference on the final lap. I am glad we were able to get both Walker Racing cars up front." Philippe said, "The adjustments made the car easier to drive on the limit. I don't think starting outside pole will make that much of a difference as there will probably be a long train of cars at the beginning. As long as I can get a clean start and get right into my own rhythm, I think I will be fine."

18-year old Pecorari said, "The tow from Jonathan helped, but I had a very good lap going. It was nice to know he was there to help me. If we can hook up, at least at the beginning of the race, it could benefit both of us."

The quickest Rookies in Round 7 qualifying were Philippe (P2), Davison (P5), Lacroix (P6), Moon (P7) and Zartarian (P8). In Round 8, the fastest Rookies were Philippe (P2), Lacroix (P3), Zartarian (P4), Hegewald (P6) and Wickens (P7).

The Round 7 race is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Sunday's Round 8 race is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.

Round 7 - Qualifying Results
1 Jonathan Summerton Walker Racing 1:37.261 (96.421 mph)
2 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 1:37.457
3 Robbie Pecorari Walker Racing 1:37.644
4 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 1:37.733
5 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:37.791
6 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 1:37.796
7 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 1:37.833
8 John Zartarian (R) Jensen MotorSport 1:37.834
9 Tobias Hegewald (R) Atlantic Racing Team 1:37.838
10 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 1:37.999
11 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 1:38.128
12 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:38.167
13 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 1:38.303
14 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:38.320
15 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 1:38.347
16 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:38.595
17 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 1:38.678
18 Darin Marcus (R) Gelles Racing 1:38.865
19 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 1:39.130
20 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 1:39.219
21 Jules Duc (R) Jensen MotorSport 1:40.721
22 Nathan DePagter DRE Autosport 1:40.740
23 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 1:41.102
24 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing ----------
Round 8 - Qualifying Results
1 Jonathan Summerton Walker Racing 1:37.508 (96.177 mph)
2 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 1:37.583
3 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 1:37.852
4 John Zartarian (R) Jensen MotorSport 1:37.874
5 Robbie Pecorari Walker Racing 1:37.928
6 Tobias Hegewald (R) Atlantic Racing Team 1:38.009
7 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 1:38.044
8 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 1:38.165
9 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:38.233
10 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 1:38.279
11 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:38.318
12 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 1:38.346
13 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 1:38.380
14 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:38.392
15 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 1:38.456
16 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:38.665
17 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 1:38.719
18 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 1:39.234
19 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 1:39.506
20 Darin Marcus (R) Gelles Racing 1:39.872
21 Jules Duc (R) Jensen MotorSport 1:41.033
22 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 1:41.670
23 Nathan DePagter DRE Autosport 1:41.752
24 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing ----------

Rookie Graf wins Trans-Am pole Rookie Graf wins Trans-Am poleKlaus Graf didn’t let his lack of Trans-Am experience show Friday at Portland International Raceway as the rookie driver earned the pole for Saturday’s Rose City 100 in just his second Trans-Am start. In fact, the German national set a record 1.13.189-minute lap (96.605 miles per hour) in his AJ-V8-powered Jaguar R Performance XKR. Michael Lewis qualified second, ahead of Greg Pickett, Paul Gentilozzi and Randy Ruhlman.

The 12-minute qualifying session was shortened by an approximately four-minute red flag due to a shunt by Philip Simms (No. 24 Simms Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette) early in the session. Simms was unhurt in the incident.

Graf will start fifth Saturday due to Trans-Am’s Fast Five® Qualifying format, which inverts the top five in each Trans-Am race, while Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) will roll off first.

“I’ve been in racing for a long time,” said Graf, who earns two bonus points for the pole, as well as a $2,500 bonus from Jaguar for winning the Jaguar Pole Award. “It’s just four wheels, an engine and a steering wheel. We had to push it hard, but we got it done in a short time. I’m happy with my first Trans-Am pole.”

Lewis qualified second in the No. 12 Autocon Engineering Jaguar XKR with a 1:13.330-minute lap at 96.419 mph. Lewis earns one bonus point for the effort, and will start fourth due to the invert.

“I have to give all of the credit for this to my crew,” said Lewis. “They hit the mark on the set-up today. We’re a small operation and they really came through today. It’s really hard when you only have two or three laps. Although, the short session will help the tires.”

Pickett will start third tomorrow in the No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR.

P # Driver Best Time Mph Lag
1 7 Klaus Graf (R) 1:13.189 96.605 0.000
2 12 Michael Lewis 1:13.330 96.419 0.141
3 6 Greg Pickett 1:13.804 95.800 0.615
4 1 Paul Gentilozzi 1:13.811 95.791 0.622
5 49 Randy Ruhlman 1:14.002 95.543 0.813
6 06 Joey Scarallo 1:14.009 95.534 0.820
7 5 Tomy Drissi 1:14.937 94.351 1.748
8 75 Tim Cowen 1:15.324 93.866 2.135
9 78 Hima Maher (R) 1:16.307 92.657 3.118
10 2 Rob Holden (R) GT-1 1:17.897 90.766 4.708
11 99 Rudy Revak GTA 1:18.272 90.331 5.083
12 98 Tim Barber GTA 1:18.381 90.206 5.192
13 90 Art Muncheryan GTA 1:19.350 89.104 6.161
14 9 Steve Kelso GTA 1:19.412 89.034 6.223
15 13 Guy Dreier (R) GTA 1:19.548 88.882 6.359
16 57 Brad Jones GTA 1:20.782 87.524 7.593
17 46 Roy Isley (R) GTA 1:21.905 86.324 8.716
18 54 Stephen Schmalz GTA 1:22.682 85.513 9.493
19 25 Dale Hartman GTA 1:22.781 85.411 9.592
20 34 Guy Dreier (R) GTA 1:26.337 81.893 13.148
21 24 Philip Simms 0.000 0.000 0.000
22 08 Moneca Kolvyn (R) GT-1 0.000 0.000 0.000
23 31 John Condren GTA 0.000 0.000 0.000

Industry News
Mustang Race Winning Legacy Expands To Include Drifting Mustang Race Winning Legacy Expands To Include DriftingWith over 40 years of victories in road racing and drag racing all over the world and at various levels of competition, the Mustang has a proven track record, but has yet been able to break into the winner’s circle in the new motorsports phenomenon, drifting. That is, until now.

Ken Gushi, the 18-year old drifting sensation from San Gabriel, California took his specially-prepared 2005 Mustang GT into the final tandem drift battle and claimed his, and the Mustang’s, first victory in Formula D competition at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas.

“Congratulations to Ken, Toyo Tires, and the Gushi Auto team,” said Jamie Allison, Manager, Ford Racing Performance Parts. “When we embarked on this program, we knew we had the right combination of driver, car, and tire, it was just a matter of getting it all to hit at the same time.”

“The Mustang is the perfect car for drifting and with the power options available through the Ford Racing Performance Parts crate engine family, the novice to the professional can find what he or she needs.”

Ford Racing teamed up with Toyo Tires prior to the 2005 Formula D season to get the Mustang involved in drifting. The result? A 600-horsepower monster that has been the buzz of the drift season.

The 2005 Mustang GT Toyo Tire/Ford Racing drift car is powered by a 4.6L DOHC supercharged V-8 engine from the Ford Racing Performance Parts crate engine catalog. The secret to reaching 600-horsepower is the installation of the Ford Racing/Whipple screw-type supercharger kit that replaces the standard roots-type system. Backed by a T-56 six-speed transmission, also available in the catalog, the Mustang is a formidable competitor. Ford

Dyson optimistic about race Dyson optimistic about raceChris Dyson in the Thetford/Norcold Toyota Atlantic car qualified eighth today for tomorrow's Atlantic race at Portland International Raceway, the first race of a double header race weekend. Last year's Portland event was Dyson's first Toyota Atlantic race.  "The car is so much better than what we had here last year," commented Dyson. "It has better turn in with much better balance.  This is the first time I have run in the rain here and we just got caught out with the weather in qualifying. We made a decision to go out on scuffed tires in the beginning of the session when it was damp.  Than after eight laps or so, I figured it is dry enough, let's go to new tires, and than the rain started falling literally as we pulled out of the pits.  It was hopelessly greasy out there, so we were not able to improve on our time.  Having followed the cars in front of us, I think we have a good race car and am confident we will be competitive tomorrow." The set up crystal ball will be in much demand this weekend as the weather forecast is for continued unsettled weather. It is a challenge for everybody. "It went from beautiful weather to rainy to clear again today," said Dyson. "So unless it is a full blown rain, you really have to go with a dry set up and compensate with your driving style and in-car roll bar changes."

This is the second Toyota Atlantic race of the year for the Thetford/Norcold squad, with a fourth place finish at Long Beach in April.  The team travels to Cleveland next weekend for another Toyota Atlantic doubleheader. It is a busy time for the team with seven races in three weeks: last weekend at the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype race in Watkins Glen, Portland this weekend, Cleveland next, followed by the American Le Mans July 4th race weekend at Lime Rock.  In addition, Chris will be joining Jeremy Shaw in the broadcast booth as commentator for the international feed of Sunday's Champ Car race. At least it will be dry in the booth.

Award winners Award winnersTony di Zinno, 16, Greg Woods, 16, and Kyle Connelly, 17, are attending the United States Grand Prix as winners of "The Chris Economaki Junior Journalism Award."  The award, sponsored by Red Bull, was given to three students who best exemplified writing and reporting skills and achievement in covering the motorsports industry. It is designed to motivate and encourage aspiring journalists to hone their craft while focusing attention and creating excitement about the sport and the innovative Red Bull Driver Search program.
Hard riding Hard ridingBMW WilliamsF1 Team driver Mark Webber and Red Bull Racing driver Christian Klien visited the Trek bicycle factory in Madison, Wis., on the way to Indianapolis. They met up with Tom Danielson (winner of the Tour de Georgia) and Michael Creed, who are two members of Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel cycling team, discussed various aspects of both their sports and went on some tough training rides.  "It was very windy, which made it quite hard to ride," Webber said. "We had a reasonable size group of riders and did over 200 km (120 miles.)"
Easy rider Easy riderThree-time United States Grand Prix winner Michael Schumacher went for a motorcycle tour with friends between the F1 races in Montreal and Indianapolis. Their ride took them from Asheville, N.C., up to Indianapolis.  "You have great spots country-wise," he said of the U.S. "We stayed in this Blue Ridge Parkway area. We spent about one and a half days there. Then we went to Dealer's Point; we did this run. And that was just awesome. You have so many beautiful places to experience, and having the chance to come here to race, I obviously want to take the opportunity and see the country."

Schumacher, who rides a Harley-Davidson and always wears a helmet, enjoys the freedom that motorcycles give him.  "I love biking, particularly because you just feel so free," he said. "You get the air, you feel like you're in the open sky. It's like (scuba) diving in a way. That's on the opposite side, you're in the water, you glide, and you feel a bit like flying."

Indy relaxation Indy relaxationJacques Villeneuve, winner of the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and the 1997 World Championship, predicts that Sunday's United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be an exciting race for the fans and drivers.  "It is always a fun race here," he said. "There is always a lot of action in the race, so I am definitely looking forward to it."

Villeneuve is enjoying the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the F1 paddock area at Indianapolis.  "Here at Indy, it is one of the most relaxed paddocks that we go to," he said. "There is a lot of space, and after the hectic weekend of Montreal, here feels really relaxed. Canada was great. I had a great time in Canada even though there were some hectic moments with the media."

Michael Schumacher enjoys visiting Indianapolis and the enthusiasm of the F1 fans here.  "I very much like coming to this motorsport city, because I don't think there are many races that draw this many fans," he said. "Sometimes you get the impression that all Europeans living in the U.S.A. gather for this event. We always receive a rapturous welcome, and sometimes the enthusiasm is even bigger than at some of the European races."

Where will alternate tires be used? Where will alternate tires be used?UPDATE San Jose is being considered for the alternates as well but it's not a certainty by any means. 06/17/05 Current plans call for the Bridgestone alternate Champ Car road course tires (please call them "alternates," not "options" as teams do not have an option whether to use them or not) to be used at Portland, Cleveland, Edmonton and Mexico City the rest of the season.
Friday quotes from USGP Friday quotes from USGPJUAN PABLO MONTOYA (#10 West McLaren Mercedes): "The tire tread was pretty bad. I think everybody is probably complaining about the same thing. It feels terrible, but you know, it feels terrible and we're fastest. I don't know how everybody else is, but I am looking pretty strong for the weekend. We'll have to wait and see." (Is it hard to drive on track?): "Hard to drive on it? No, it's just not good. You slide around a lot. It's pretty straightforward. It's just the lack of grip is pretty bad." (Goal for today): "Like every session, look at the tires, balance the car and things like that." (About coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway): "It's nice. Every year, I've come so close to winning this race, and something has always gone wrong. So it would be nice to come here once and get a pretty quiet weekend and a good result. This year has been a bit of a struggle. I've been very unlucky. Everything that can go wrong has been going wrong. If we could come out of here with a nice party for the guys would be amazing." (Does quick time mean anything today?): "Today? No, it just means that we're doing the right job, but what counts is on Sunday. All this work, you just focus on what you're going to be doing on Sunday. And at the moment, things are looking pretty good. Both practices I was fastest today. It's encouraging. I think things are coming together. More....
Wirth beats rain to grab Toyota Atlantic pole Wirth beats rain to grab Toyota Atlantic poleThe unpredictable summer weather in Portland turned Friday’s Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama qualifying session into a guessing game. German rookie Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors) had the perfect combination of speed and foresight as he beat the raindrops on the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway road circuit to secure his first Atlantic pole position.

With rain threatening at the beginning of the 30-minute qualifying session for the first of two Toyota Atlantic races this weekend, Wirth and the other 19 series competitors furiously attacked the track to take advantage of the dry conditions at PIR. Wirth posted a fast lap of 1:08.546 (103.148 mph) on his 10th turn on the 12-turn course, which turned out to be the final time around in the dry for the 20-year-old racer. After Wirth’s quick time, the rain started coming down a bit harder on course and the remainder of the qualifying session was run in wet conditions with much slower lap times.

By earning the pole, Wirth claims a championship point and will start from the point in Saturday’s race. He also became the 100th driver in the 32-year history of the Toyota Atlantic Championship to win a pole and he also produced the first pole for his Brooks Associates Racing team.

Series point leader Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) also ran well in the dry conditions, posting a quick lap of 1:08.639 (103.008 mph), but he wound up with the second-fastest time in qualifying as he was caught preparing to launch a quick lap assault on Wirth when the rain began to intensify. Zwolsman will still carry a six-point advantage in the series title chase into tomorrow’s Round 3 start.

Another first-year driver, Kyle Kelley (#24 UP Racing.com/T. Christy), enjoyed his best qualifying result of his young Atlantic career. The California native who will celebrate his 20th birthday next week, finished third in the qualifying rundown after turning a lap of 1:09.074 (102.360 mph) in the dry conditions. Kelley, who made the most of his experience racing at PIR in other series prior to joining Atlantics, continued to see his qualifying performances improve. He was eighth in Round 1 and qualified sixth in Round 2 before today’s impressive performance.

After leading the morning practice, Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK ind./TMI/Redline Oil) wound up fourth overall in qualifying with a time of 1:09.140 (102.262 mph). The Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis pilot has now qualified inside the top six in all three Atlantic events this season.

Canadian Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design) of Polestar Racing Group continued his streak of qualifying in the top five this season and he will start from the fifth position tomorrow after he was clocked at 1:09.226 (102.135 mph). David Martinez (#7 Roshfrans/Aviacsa/RocaAcero/Multigama/Martiga) of Mexico was sixth in the order with a time of 1:09.234 (102.123 mph) for the US RaceTronics team.

British racer Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing) will line up seventh on Saturday after she recorded a time of 1:10.710 (99.992 mph), while Chris Dyson (#16 Thetford/Norcold) had a fast lap of 110.887 (99.742 mph) in eighth overall. In his 2005 series debut, Al Unser III (#10 BOSPoker.net/PKV Racing) was ninth in qualifying with a time of 1:11.008 (99.572 mph) and Lee Atkins of Woodinville, Washington was the top C2 class qualifier as he wound up 10th overall with a mark of 1:11.284 (99.186 mph).

Saturday’s Race #1 at PIR will take the green flag at 12:45 p.m. PT. Qualifying for the Sunday’s second race of the weekend will be held 8:30-9 a.m. PT on Saturday morning. Sunday’s Round 4 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama – the BOSPoker.com Grand Prix of Portland – will begin at 10 a.m. Both races can be seen next Saturday, June 25 on SPEED Channel, beginning at 2 p.m. ET.


Wirth earned the $1,000 Toyota pole award for leading today’s round of qualifying. He also earned a championship point for winning the pole and he remains sixth in the standings, now with 27 points on the year.

With a new course design of 1.964 miles in effect this season at Portland International Raceway (previously the course was measured at 1.969-miles), Wirth’s pole-winning lap of 1:08.546 (103.148 mph) serves as a new Toyota Atlantic track record at the circuit.

1.  (8) Andreas Wirth, Toyota/Swift, 1:08.546, 103.148 mph
2. (11) Charles Zwolsman, Toyota/Swift, 1:08.639, 103.008 mph.
3.  (24) Kyle Kelley, Toyota/Swift, 1:09.074, 102.360 mph.
4.  (6) Tonis Kasemets, Toyota/Swift, 1:09.140, 102.262 mph.
5.  (3) Antoine Bessette, Toyota/Swift, 1:09.226, 102.135 mph.
6.  (7) David Martinez, Toyota/Swift, 1:09.234, 102.123 mph
7.  (12) Katherine Legge, Toyota/Swift, 1:10.710, 99.992 mph
8.  (16) Chris Dyson, Toyota/Swift, 1:10.887, 99.742 mph.
9.  (10) Al Unser III, Toyota/Swift, 1:11.008, 99.572 mph.
10.  (48) Lee Atkins, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:11.284, 99.186 mph.
11.  (9) Dan Cobb, Toyota/Swift(C2), 11:11.545, 98.825 mph.
12. (56) Chris Souliotis, Toyota/Swift, 1:12.080, 98.091 mph.
13. (9) Justin Sofio, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:12.496, 97.528 mph.
14. (21) Roger Glover, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:13.072, 96.759 mph.
15. (49) Dan Selznick, Toyota/Swift, 1:13.580, 96.091 mph.
16. (31) Tim Hauraney, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:14.071, 95.454 mph.
17. (19) Brian McAtee, Toyota/Swift, 1:14.292, 95.170 mph.
18. (63) Daryl Leiski, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:14.331, 95.120 mph.
19. (71) Mark Ishikawa, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:14.907, 94.389 mph.
20. (18) Bob Siska, Toyota/Swift(C2), 1:14.975, 94.303 mph.

Quotes from the top three qualifiers from today’s session follow:

ANDREAS WIRTH (Wurges Windows & Doors – Brooks Associates Racing): “I had a really good car from the beginning. I was in front from the beginning of the session. I had the chance to have fast guys in front of me and to be able to run one fast lap after another. I worked a lot with my driver coach (Derek Higgins) today and he gave me some good ideas during the session and it is good; it definitely helps. Starting from the pole, my goal is to win tomorrow. I will focus on making the first turn and then we’ll see.”

CHARLES ZWOLSMAN (Condor Motorsports): “I kind of messed up because in the last lap that was actually dry, I slowed down to make myself a gap to run a next fast lap but the rain came and I did not get a chance to go another quick lap. I decided to put on the rain tires and practice. I have never run in the wet before with this car but I usually am pretty comfortable in wet conditions.”

KYLE KELLEY (UPracing.com/T. Christy – McAtee Motorsports): “My dad (Bob Kelley) set the car extremely well. We got the set up right the first time and it helps that I have been on this track before. I think that’s why we got the right set up so quickly. As a new team in the series we are working very hard. With our limited resources I think we are doing pretty well. We’ll see what we can do for the race.”

Champ Car penalizes Bourdais Champ Car penalizes BourdaisChamp Car officials declared that Bourdais had violated rule 6.17.5G and took away his fastest lap time that put him third fastest in provisional qualifying.  The rule states that a driver who is not running at full qualifying pace should not interfere with other drivers running at full pace.  During qualifying, Bourdais came out of the pits as eventual provisional polesitter Justin Wilson was approaching at full speed.
Newman and Mayfield fast at MIS Newman and Mayfield fast at MISJeremy Mayfield and Ryan Newman posted identical times Friday during Happy Hour practice at Michigan International Speedway, placing a pair of Dodge Intrepids atop the speed chart heading into Bud Pole Qualifying Saturday.  Mayfield's 37.481-second effort came on his second lap of practice, and Newman didn't match it until the late stages. The Nos. 19 and 12 Dodges appear to be quite consistent, as well.  Newman, who won this event a year ago, also paced Friday's first practice with the day's fastest lap - 192.164 mph. Mayfield was seventh.
USGP - Looking in good shape USGP - Looking in good shapeJust five days after taking the checkered flag in Montreal, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team was back on track in Indianapolis today. After the Canadian race, the F2005 were rebuilt here in America, with new versions of the 055 engine fitted. The cars themselves are basically the same as those used by Michael and Rubens when they came second and third in Canada, apart from the obvious set-up changes to deal with the peculiar requirements of the Brickyard track, with its very long straight, followed by a slow infield section.

Both Ferrari men had a trouble-free Friday, getting through their entire program of set-up work and tire evaluation and they ended the day after the first two hours of free practice with the Brazilian third and the German fourth, behind the two McLaren-Mercedes of Juan Pablo Montoya and Canada winner Kimi Raikkonen. Nick Heidfeld was fifth for BMW-Williams and David Coulthard was sixth for Red Bull Racing.

American interest in F1 has been boosted this weekend by the appearance of Californian GP2 driver Scott Speed running the third Red Bull car and he finished eighth today. In a bizarre repeat of his accident here last year in a Williams, Ralf Schumacher again slammed a car into the wall at the final turn this afternoon. Thankfully, the crash caused by a loss of air pressure in a tire, was far less serious than his 2004 accident and he was able to climb out of his Toyota unaided.

The weather has been warm and sunny here in Indianapolis and although it clouded over in the late afternoon, the forecast for tomorrow’s qualifying session is dry and the two Ferrari men will be hoping to make the best of their late running positions, inherited from finishing on the Montreal podium. Ferrari

Valiante gets 2nd Champ Car race op Valiante gets 2nd Champ Car race opLynx Racing graduate and rising Canadian open-wheel star Michael Valiante will get a second chance to shine in the at the G.I. Joe's Presents The Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland this weekend.

A last-minute deal with Dale Coyne Racing to replace the departed Oriol Servia will see the 24 year-old Vancouver native run his second Champ Car race in the team’s #19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth Lola.  Valiante made his Champ Car debut with Walker Racing in the series’ 2004 season finale in Mexico City, where he qualified 12th and finished 14th in the lone Reynard in the field.

Valiante's second chance to shine came when the Newman/Haas team secured the services of Oriol Servia until N/H regular Bruno Junqueira recovers from injuries sustained at the Indianapolis 500, which could take as many as six months.  Valiante impressed the Coyne team in an off-season test.

"When we needed a driver, he was the first guy that we thought of," said Coyne. "He tested for us here Wednesday and was very professional."

Although this will be Valiante’s first Champ Car race at Portland, he is no stranger to the track having run two Atlantic races there with the Lynx Racing team, finishing 3rd in 2003.

"I've been trying to get this opportunity for a long time and I’d like to run the rest of the season, but we’ll just focus on getting finishing as well as possible in Portland and see how it goes," said Valiante, who scored a total of six wins in his two full seasons of Atlantic racing.  "It's unfortunate what happened with Bruno and I hate to see anything like that, but that's how things happen in racing sometimes and that freed up this seat for me.  Portland is one of the most difficult tracks to jump into because it has a lot of very fast, long-duration corners, so for us it will be important to get the car right in those sections this weekend.  My engineer this weekend will be Kyle Brannan, who was a top engineer in the Atlantic series, and we’re already working very well together."

Valiante raises the Canadian contingent in the series to four, as he joins Paul Tracy, Alex Tagliani and rookie Andrew Ranger.  Valiante is a graduate of Lynx Racing, the uniquely successful combination of driver development program and championship-winning racing team.  Created and owned by two women, Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, Lynx Racing graduates include 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Red Bull Cheever Racing teammates Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron, and Champ Car veteran Memo Gidley, now driving the Finlay Motorsports #19 Air Force Reserve / Make A Wish Daytona Prototype in the Grand American Rolex series.  Valiante has also driven for the Finlay team, in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and again at California Speedway, where he led the race for 22 laps. 

In the second practice session on Friday in Portland, Valiante was 13th in the 17-car field.   Final qualifying takes place from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm PDT on Saturday, June 18, with the 4th round of the 2005 Champ Car World Series, the G.I. Joe’s Grand Prix of Portland, scheduled to take the green flag at 12:45 pm PDT Sunday, June 19.  The race will be televised live on CBS beginning at 12:30 pm PDT (3:30 ET).

Lewis fastest in 2nd practice Lewis fastest in 2nd practiceMichael Lewis was the king of the rain in second-round practice Friday for Saturday’s Rose City 100 Trans-Am race at Portland International Raceway. Lewis (No. 12 Autocon Engineering Jaguar XKR) drove his fuel-injected entry to first on the charts with at 1:14.235-minute lap at 95.243 miles per hour. Lewis was fastest in changing weather conditions, which were generally overcast, with light rain at times.

Rookie Klaus Graf was second fastest in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, followed by Greg Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR), Joey Scarallo (No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend Chevrolet Corvette) and defending Rookie of the Year Philip Simms (No. 24 Simms Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette).

Qualifying is scheduled for later today, at 4 p.m. The Rose City 100, Round 2 of the 2005 Trans-Am Championship and part of the G.I. Joe’s Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix weekend, is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 4 p.m. Saturday’s race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, June 26 at 1 p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel.

Montoya fastest again Montoya fastest againAfter being fastest in the morning, Juan Pablo Montoya (right)topped the timesheets again on Friday afternoon, a tenth faster than his McLaren team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari fans were able to celebrate the fact that Rubens Barrichello was third quickest and Michael Schumacher fourth. Nick Heidfeld was fifth fastest in his Williams-BMW ahead of David Coulthard's Red Bull, which ran only a few laps before DC had a big spin. Next up was McLaren's third driver Pedro de la Rosa and then a surprisingly quick Scott Speed, giving American race fans something to get excited about for the future.

1. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:11.118
2. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M 1:11.228
3. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:11.746
4. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:11.758
5. NICK HEIDFELD Williams-BMW M 1:11.825
6. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:12.076
7. PEDRO DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:12.119
8. SCOTT SPEED Red Bull Racing M 1:12.143
9. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:12.265
10. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M 1:12.344
11. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:12.384
12. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:12.464
13. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:12.578
14. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:12.664
15. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:12.803
16. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:13.037
17. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:13.079
18. ROBERT DOORNBOS Jordan-Toyota B 1:13.361
19. RICARDO ZONTA Toyota M 1:13.567
20. PATRICK FRIESACHER Minardi-Cosworth B 1:13.783
21. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:13.963
22. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:14.008
23. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:14.336
24. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M No Time

Cleveland GP News Cleveland GP NewsAlready one of the most fan-friendly venues, the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland has made several enhancements designed to increase the overall fan experience at the annual race run at Burke Lakefront Airport, June 24-26.

Grand Prix officials have concentrated their efforts on physically bringing race attendees closer to the wheel-to-wheel on-track racing action and improving all sightlines to witness the furious activity on the specially-designed, 10-turn, 2.106-mile airport runway road course.

Fans located in the grandstands at this year's Grand Prix will actually be about 30 feet closer to the racetrack than in previous years. The front row of grandstand seating at the 2005 Roar by the Shore will be just 45 feet away from the race cars on pit lane, as opposed to 75 feet from where the front row of the grandstands was located in 2004.

By moving the stands closer to the activity, fans will literally feel the speed and power generated by these high-tech racing machines and the closer proximity will also make for improved sightlines for fans throughout the Burke Lakefront Airport facility.

"We wanted to bring our fans as close to all of the racing action as possible and we think everyone who attends our event will really enjoy the total fan experience," said Rena Shanaman, General Manager of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank. "The Grand Prix of Cleveland has always been unique in that it's one of the few road courses in the world where fans can literally see the entire race track. Now, racegoers will not only be able to see all of the action, they'll also be closer to it than ever before."

Returning Grand Prix fans will also notice an expanded pit lane area at the 24th annual event. Track officials have extended the pit area north by approximately 15 feet this year making for wider walking and viewing areas for fans with pit access.

The Grand Prix has also drastically improved its amenities for its Trackside Suites and Turn One Skyboxes. In addition to enhanced creature comforts for suite and skybox viewing, both areas are also closer to the on-track action and the Trackside Suites literally look right down into the pit boxes of the race teams competing at the Grand Prix without any obstruction.

For the first time in the 24-year history of the Grand Prix of Cleveland, on-site parking is being offered for purchase to the fans and this year's event will also introduce three separate Expo entertainment areas as part of its "speed festival" at the Burke Lakefront facility. One of the key features in the Expo areas will be the Alcoa Wheels Pit Stop Challenge with the HVM Inc. Champ Car, where fans will get the opportunity to see what it's like to perform a timed pit stop on a Champ Car in a unique interactive display sponsored by Alcoa.

Perhaps the most significant enhancement for the fans at this summer's Grand Prix, however, is the Cleveland Champions Club. Those who purchase tickets for all three days of the Grand Prix automatically become Champions Club members and will have access to the Champions Club tent, conveniently situated behind the grandstands, where fans can relax and enjoy food and beverages available for purchase at reasonable prices, closed-circuit television coverage of on-track activities and appearances by drivers from the various racing series throughout the weekend.

DEI team communicating again DEI team communicating againDale Earnhardt Jr. is not pleased with the state of his team, which fell to 16th in the standings after last week’s 33rd-place finish at Pocono. However, he is happy with the communication between his #8 Budweiser team and the #15 NAPA team of Michael Waltrip since Steve Hmiel was named his crew chief last month. “It’s better than I ever remember it being,” he said. “We want both DEI teams to make the (championship) chase.” Waltrip’s team moved up two spots to #15 with a fifth-place finish at Pocono. “We’re struggling, but I know how hard we’re working,” Earnhardt said. “And seeing the 15 team have success gives me confidence that we’ll be able to pull out of this.” The State
Industry news
Goodyear’s bad week Goodyear’s bad week[Editor's Note:  This happened after Goodyear was hit with a rash of tire failures at Pocono last weekend in the Nextel Cup race.]  A Goodyear blimp crash-landed Thursday night in an industrial park, authorities said. The two people on board were not injured. The "Stars & Stripes" blimp went down shortly after taking off from Pompano Beach Air Park [FL], where it is based. Both people onboard were trapped briefly while electrical crews cleared the site, authorities said. The blimp lost most of its helium and was draped across some orange self-storage units in the industrial park. It's nose remained pointed into the air. Bad weather may have forced the blimp down. There were thunderstorms in the area at the time, authorities said. The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating. "It went right over our building and was making really loud noises," said Maryann Clark, general manager of a nearby restaurant. The blimp is one of three Goodyear blimps. Atlanta Journal Constitution
Ralf Schumacher crashes at Indy again Ralf Schumacher crashes at Indy againRalf Schumacher escaped unhurt after crashing his Toyota into the outside wall of the final turn at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today in the 2nd practice session. The crash was very reminiscent of his crash in last year's race that put him out of action for several races.

The German was traveling at approximately 180mph coming through the banked final corner onto the start/finish straight when his Toyota swapped ends on him with no warning whatsoever. After spiraling into a series of spins the car made heavy rearward contact with the SAFER barrier on the outside, finally coming to rest several hundred yards up the road on the pit straight. The impact ripped off the left-hand wheels of the TF105 and caused extensive damage to the bodywork and suspension.

The crash impact was absorbed by the safety barriers which were extended after last year's crash. The crash came just minutes after the third Toyota driver Ricardo Zonta suffered a tire failure in Turn5 and spun into the gravel trap there. The practice session was red-flagged.

Connor escapes violent IPS crash at Indy Connor escapes violent IPS crash at IndyLarry Connor of Centerville, Ohio escaped injury Friday morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a spectacular accident during the first Menards Infiniti Pro Series practice/qualifying session for Saturday's Liberty Challenge race.

The event is a support race for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix on Sunday.

A car driven by Arie Luyendyk Jr. reportedly made contact with the right rear of Connor's Genoa Racing/The Connor Group Dallara Infiniti No. 36 as it entered turn 11 of the 2.605-mile road course and catapulted Connor's car approximately 7 feet into the air.  Onlookers reported that Connor's car flipped twice in mid-air before it finally landed in a gravel trap on its right side and then tipped back upright.

Connor had only completed four laps and was working his fifth lap when the crash occurred.

"It was very early in the practice session, and I was just taking it easy," Connor said.  "I came out of [turn] 10 and turned into [turn] 11, and somebody hit me in my right-rear tire and catapulted me into the air.  I never saw him, but I was in the air long enough to think that this was going to be one wild ride.

"I saw stars," he continued.  "It was a big ride and a big hit.  That's the first time I've been upside down in a race car, and I've been racing for quite awhile.  I feel a little woozy and my legs are a little messed up, but I'm fine."

Connor got out of the car under his own power.  He was examined and released from the Clarian Infield Care Center.

"I can tell you that these Infiniti Pro Series cars are very well built," Connor added.  "That was a hard hit and the car is badly damaged, but the driver's compartment held up well."

All four corners of the car were damaged and the Genoa Racing pit crew immediately got to work to try to replace components and make repairs so Connor could race here tomorrow, but later the team decided the damage was too extensive to repair in one day so the car was withdrawn from this race.  The team will now focus on getting the car ready for the next Menards Infiniti Pro Series event.

Although he was just warming up his tires and getting a feel for the car prior to the accident, Connor ran a lap in 1:35.478 right before the crash for an average speed of 158.059 kph.

Connor left the track before the next Pro series practice session to head back to Watkins Glen, N.Y.  He's also driving two historic cars in two races at Watkins Glen International this weekend: an ex-Michael Schumacher 1991 Benneton B191 Formula 1 car and a two-liter Lola 292.

Connor is also scheduled to drive in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at Watkins Glen Sept. 25.

Batman sponsors Nextel Cup race Batman sponsors Nextel Cup raceSunday’s Batman Begins 400 will be the “first time that a movie will be the title sponsor” of a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race. Mark Martin will compete in a Batman-themed Ford at the race. The Batmobile will be the honorary pace car and there will be a “Batman Begins” fan zone at Michigan Int’l Speedway for the event. AP Story  Consumer-lending company Beneficial will be primary sponsor of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) No. 31 Chevrolet for the race. Beneficial is an associate sponsor of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench and No. 31 Cingular Wireless teams driven in the Nextel Cup Series by Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton, respectively. RCR Robby Gordon Motorsports’ No. 7 car will be sponsored on Sunday by Menards, marking the first of three races in which the company will serve as the team’s primary sponsor.  Robby Gordon Motorsports
Domino's Pizza announces race sponsorship Domino's Pizza announces race sponsorshipDomino’s Pizza announced today that it will be the title sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Series race on August 20 at Michigan Int’l Speedway, to be called the Domino’s Pizza 250. Domino’s is the official pizza of NASCAR. Domino’s Pizza
Philippe crashes in Portland Philippe crashes in PortlandIn the first practice session still underway on a wet track in Portland, Oregon, Nelson Philippe has hit the concrete wall exiting the final turn in his Champ Car.  He is out of the car and OK.  AJ Allmendinger is fastest so far and the first to dip under 1-minute but now the rain (drizzle) is picking up a bit so times will slow.  Paul Tracy is 2nd and Sebastien Bourdais third.
Joey Scarallo tops opening practice Joey Scarallo tops opening practiceA completely rebuilt car, new body work and a lot of blood, seat and tears paid off Friday for Joey Scarallo as the third-year driver set the fastest time in first-round practice for Saturday’s Rose City 100 Trans-Am race at Portland International Raceway. Scarallo (No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend Chevrolet Corvette) turned the newly reformatted track in one minute, 14.136 seconds at 95.371 miles per hour.
1978 Trans-Am champion and 1984 Portland Trans-Am winner Greg Pickett was second fastest in the No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR, ahead of rookie Klaus Graf (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR). Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) and Michael Lewis (No. 12 Autocon Jaguar XKR) completed the top five.

“I’m just excited to have my name at the top of the speed charts; it’s great way to start the weekend,” said Scarallo, who recorded his best career Trans-Am finish of fourth place during last year’s Portland event. “We did a lot with the car between Long Beach and this race and we tested a lot. The testing really helped a lot. The car has literally been completely rebuilt from the ground up.

Scarallo is hoping this momentum will carry him into qualifying.

“The first session was great, but that’s only going to last a couple of hours,” said Scarallo. “Qualifying is more important. We can still make the car better and I have to be even more focused now. We have to keep working through qualifying and do then do the same thing in race.”

Second-round practice is scheduled for this afternoon, at 12:30 p.m., followed by qualifying at 4 p.m. The Rose City 100, Round 2 of the 2005 Trans-Am Championship and part of the G.I. Joes Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland weekend, is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 4 p.m. PDT. Sunday’s race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, June 26 at 1 p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel. Trans-Am

Montoya tops first practice session at Indy Montoya tops first practice session at IndyAt the end of the 60 minute first practice session for the USGP, it was Juan Pablo Montoya who led the way for McLaren Mercedes, less than a tenth of a second ahead of Toyota test driver Ricardo Zonta. Fernando Alonso was third fastest in his Renault behind Zonta and Montoya while Nick Heidfeld put in a fast lap in the closing moments of the session to vault from tenth to fourth fastest in his BMW Williams. Jenson Button was fifth fastest in his BAR Honda with teammate Takuma Sato in seventh position behind the unfortunate Pedro de la Rosa. Giancarlo Fisichella was eighth fastest in the second Renault ahead of Mark Webber in the second Williams.

1. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:12.027
2. RICARDO ZONTA Toyota M 1:12.085
3. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:12.666
4. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:12.804
5. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:12.865
6. PEDRO DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:12.913
7. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:13.013
8. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:13.024
9. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:13.082
10. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:13.242
11. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:13.245
12. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1:13.461
13. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M 1:13.683
14. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:13.740
15. SCOTT SPEED Red Bull Racing M 1:13.846
16. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:14.444
17. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:14.637
18. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:14.696
19. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:14.803
20. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:14.978
21. ROBERT DOORNBOS Jordan-Toyota B 1:15.791
22. PATRICK FRIESACHER Minardi-Cosworth B 1:16.343
23. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:16.357
24. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M No Time

NASCAR TV ratings from Pocono NASCAR TV ratings from PoconoUPDATE The final TV rating for the Pocono race on FOX was a 5.6/14 share. 06/13/05 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race for the Pocono 500 on Fox garnered a 5.1 rating /12 share.  The rating is 8.5% higher than the 4.7 Fox drew for the June Pocono race last year.
F1 USA TV rating from Canada F1 USA TV rating from CanadaUPDATE The final rating for the Canadian GP on CBS was a 0.9/3 share. 06/13/05 The overnight rating on CBS in the USA for the Canadian GP from Montreal was a 1.1 /3share.
Forbes ranks Celebrities Forbes ranks CelebritiesThis Forbes list of the top 100 celebrities shows Who's Who in terms of 2004 earnings and how they rank in drawing power. In the Male Athletes category, Michael Schumacher had a Power rank of 17 with a 2004 income of $60 million. Jeff Gordon had a Power rank of 46 with a 2004 income of $23.4 million. The top male athlete was Tiger Woods with an income of $87 million and Power rank of 2. Oprah Winfrey had the top Power rank in all categories with $225 million in 2004 income. Forbes
Intel joins with Champ Car at Portland Intel joins with Champ Car at PortlandGlobal Events Group announced today that they are working with Intel Corporation, to bring innovative technology to the upcoming G.I. Joe’s Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland to be staged at Portland International Raceway June 17th to 19th, 2005.

During the event, the Oregon Pavilion will be filled with technology demos from Intel.  The demos will span a variety of mobile and wireless computing scenarios.  One of the highlights is Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology for laptops PCs running Champ Car’s 'Race Director,' a technology that allows a spectator to choose any driver on the track to listen to live 'car-to-pit' radio, and also switch between six live channels of streaming race video from 'on board cameras' and provide Real Time Web Telemetry featuring: track map position, throttle, speed, gear, braking and RPM information.

“Intel is one of the top companies in the world and fits well into the high-speed, cutting-edge world of Champ Car,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “We are pleased to have Intel become part of our growing series and are pleased that they will have a strong presence at the Portland event.”

As part of the increased presence Intel will have at this weekend’s Portland event, the company will have its name on the sidepods of the #9 Intel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone piloted by RuSPORT driver Justin Wilson. Wilson come into the weekend in second place in the Champ Car point standings, just seven points behind series leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).

“We’re extremely happy to have Intel on board with Justin this weekend and the RuSPORT team and we’d like to welcome them with open arms into the Champ Car paddock,” said RuSPORT team owner Carl Russo. “I’m confident that we can provide an excellent show on the racetrack as well a great platform for Intel to showcase its products and services.”

The Oregon Pavilion technology area will also feature some of the latest phones based on Intel® Mobile Media Technology that consumers can use to access race information via the Internet or take pictures of their favorite race car; Mobile Entertainment Platforms running 3D racing games; and a Mobile Internet scenario that showcases the different ways to wirelessly connect to the Internet – Wi-Fi, cellular, and future WiMAX -- using a mobile PC.

Champ Car is an international 14-race series featuring some of the fastest cars in the world. The series includes races in Mexico, Canada, USA, Korea and Australia.  China is scheduled to join the series in October of 2006 while discussions continue with Japan for 2007. The Portland event will be broadcast into 180 countries worldwide.
“We are pleased to be working with Champ Car to highlight how technology can enhance a spectator’s experience during race day as well as at home on an every day basis,” said Rob DeLine, mobility brand manager, Intel “Premium digital content services like Champ Car’s Race Director, running on laptops powered by Intel’s Centrino mobile technology, offers race fans a new and rich digital entertainment experience by virtually putting them in the drivers seat.”

Intel joins other Oregon companies G.I. Joe's, Freightliner, Travel Oregon, Paulson Investments, The Oregonian, The Oregon Sports Authority, Trinity Carpet and Entercom Radioand as well as Mexicana Airlines, Chevron and Bridgestone who will support this year's competition.  The annual economic impact of the event is excellent and the economic development potential is almost limitless as race organizers work to use the event to promote the State of Oregon, Oregon products and to encourage tourism.  Champ Car

Corvette team optimistic at LeMans Corvette team optimistic at LeMansThe stage has been set for an epic battle of production-based race cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as Corvette Racing qualified its new Corvette C6.Rs third and fifth in the intensely competitive GT1 class. The No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen ran a fast lap of 3:52.426 in tonight's four-hour qualifying session, placing it third among the nine GT1 class cars that will contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 18-19. The No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Johnny O'Connell, Ron Fellows and Max Papis completed the 8.5-mile circuit in 3:55.914, placing it fifth in the GT1 class. With a pair of Aston Martins qualified in the top two spots, the race for the GT1 title promises to continue the rivalry between the English and American marques.

Oliver Gavin posted the quickest qualifying time for Corvette Racing in the second night of qualifying for this weekend's 24-hour classic. "It's always fun to do a fast lap around Le Mans - it's a real challenge," said Gavin. "We made great progress with the car tonight. The car feels very stable now and I feel comfortable and confident going into the race.

"We did run our best lap on softer race tires, but we always have the race in mind," Gavin explained. "That wasn't a qualifying run; we were just trying to refine the race setup. The car is absolutely fantastic under braking - we're as good as anybody out there, including some of the faster prototypes."

Magnussen echoed his teammate's optimism about scoring a second consecutive Le Mans class victory. "The car is a lot easier to drive now with the changes that we've made," said the Dane. "I think we made some good improvements. This team is known for its discipline and the reliability of everything they build, and I think that's how we're going to beat the competition." [Editor's Note: It certainly isn't going to be on outright speed because the Aston Martins (right), who beat them at Sebring, are clearly faster.]

Corvette Racing's C6.Rs are the successors to the Corvette C5-Rs that scored three class victories at Le Mans in the last four years. Chevy's factory racing team has been climbing a steep learning curve at Le Mans with its new race cars, which share technology developed for the production sixth-generation Corvette.

"The drivers are satisfied with their race cars, the fuel economy and tire wear look good, and I think we're in a good position going into the 24 Hours of Le Mans," observed Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "The C6.R is still in its infancy, and it is a completely different car than the C5-R as they relate to Le Mans. Before we even run this year's race, I can tell you we're anxious to come back next year because we've already learned a great deal."

Johnny O'Connell experienced the evening's only big moment at the end of the fast Mulsanne Straight when a suspension problem caused him to lose the front brakes, but both O'Connell and his Corvette came through without a scratch.

"Fortunately, nothing bad came out of it; I just needed to use a little extra road," O'Connell reported. "It's good that we found the problem now instead of on race day. I know the Corvette Racing is going to go through this car thoroughly tomorrow. The important thing is that we didn't hurt the race car."

The 24 Hours of Le Mans will begin at 10 a.m. EDT (4 p.m. local time) on June 18. SPEED Channel will televise 17.5 hours of live coverage; check local listings for times.

24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 Qualifying:
Pos./Car No./Drivers/Car/Time
1. (58) Enge-Kox-Lamy, Aston Martin DBR9, 3:48.576
2. (59) Brabham-Sarrazin-Turner, Aston Martin DBR9, 3:49.739
3. (64) Gavin-Beretta-Magnussen/Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 3:52.426
4. (61) Fomenko-Vasiliev-Bouchut, Ferrari 550, 3:55.309
5. (63) O'Connell-Fellows-Papis/Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 3:55.914
6. (50) Goueslard-Dupard-Vosse, Ferrari 550, 3:55.983
7. (51) Pescatori-Gollin-Ramos, Ferrari 550, 3:57.676
8. (52) Bartyan-Malucelli-Seiler, Ferrari 550, 3:59.475
9. (69) de Fournoux-Daoudi, Ferrari 575, 4:07.654

NASCAR pays cheaters to cheat NASCAR pays cheaters to cheat[Editor's Note: As we have maintained, NASCAR encourages cheating as it makes news headlines. The fact that NASCAR repays its cheaters more than they are fined says it all. Their penalties are a joke and why isn't the money given to a good charity rather than returned to the cheaters?] NASCAR returns penalty money as a matter of course. At the end of each season, fines collected from drivers and crews are pooled together and disbursed to the top 25 racers. (Shares are determined by where the drivers finish in the final point standings.) As a result, some violators not only get their penalty money back, but they actually earn a profit. In last year's Nextel Cup, NASCAR’s top series, the racing circuit levied 73 fines totaling $384,495, for infractions such as installing illegal windows or shoving another driver after a race. The team of champion Kurt Busch collected 22% of the total -- or $84,588. Not bad, considering the team had been fined several times during the season, for a total of $21,000. "We don't look at it as recouping fines," says a spokesman for Mr. Busch. "It's just prize money." Adds Chip Williams, a former public-relations director for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, who now advises several top drivers: "It's sort of like a really good mutual fund. You put in money and you can get a solid return at the end of the season." Wall Street Journal
News from Team Australia News from Team AustraliaTeam Australia is looking forward to returning to its early-season road course form when it competes in round four of the Champ Car World Series at the Portland International Raceway in Oregon this weekend. Australia's newest international motor racing team includes Gold Coast 26-year-old Marcus Marshall and experienced Canadian driver Alex Tagliani. The Aussie Vineyards-backed team is contesting the full 14-round Champ Car World Series, which includes the penultimate round on the Gold Coast - the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 20 to 23.

But this weekend Tagliani and Marshall are looking forward to attacking the first permanent road course of the season in Portland. While Marshall displayed good speed in his first two races on the temporary street courses at Long Beach and Monterrey, Mexico, it was Tagliani who showed his experience and lifted the newly-formed Team Australia to a podium finish in only its second start. The result in Mexico was the first podium finish by an Australian-owned team in premier international open-wheel competition since Sir Jack Brabham in Formula One in the 1960s.

Earlier this week, Marshall was a guest of an Australian-New Zealand themed pub in Seattle, Washington, about three hours north of Portland. The pub has become the home of a supporter base for Team Australia, according to owner Brad Howe, who has been in Seattle for 12 years after originally moving from Harden in country NSW. After meeting the locals, Marshall joined them to watch a delayed telecast of the Queensland and New South Wales State of Origin rugby league match.

Tagliani has flown into Portland after a week in Montreal, Canada where he did several appearances during last weekend's Formula 1 race to promote the Champ Car event in the same city in August. The talented Canadian, who has become an "adopted Aussie" after marrying his Australian wife Bronte, is a sporting star in his own country, which will host three Champ Car events this season.

Marcus Marshall's thoughts on Portland: "We tested at Portland the week after the opening race at Long Beach and I really enjoyed the place. I think I have come a long way since then and so has the team and that is always a positive thing to take to a circuit. I am looking forward to heading back to a "proper" race track after a couple of street courses and an oval in the first three rounds. Portland is a fantastic circuit and pretty quick. The circuit definitely offers plenty of challenges. You really need to make good use of your tires early and then manage what you have left. The team has done a lot of work since the Portland test and I think we will have a good base line to work with. Alex has been on the podium at Portland in the past so he knows his way around the place and I am sure I will continue to learn a lot from him as the weekend progresses."
Barrichello in favor of proposed changes Barrichello in favor of proposed changesWhile Michael Schumacher was the first driver to face the media at Indianapolis, his Ferrari team-mate, Rubens Barrichello was one of the last. The Brazilian arrived at the track in time for his Thursday afternoon engineering briefing, but still paused to chat with the press in the sunshine outside the team's office. After coming third in the Canadian Grand Prix last Sunday, the Ferrari man has been traveling around the United States. His trip began with an appearance for a sponsor and a visit to a bicycle factory in Wisconsin, before heading south.

“I went to Miami, which was great because no one there wanted to talk about F1 and so I did not have to, which made a pleasant change,” he joked and smiled at his interviewers. “I stayed with my friend Tony Kanaan. I just had a couple of days to relax before coming here.”

Earlier in the day, Danica Patrick, the 23 year old woman who came fourth in the Indianapolis 500 a few weeks back, had given a press conference at the track. Did Rubens think a woman could drive in F1? “I saw she had a good race here in Indy, but it does not matter if you are a woman or a man. What matters is if you have the natural talent. But if she can drive like that on the oval circuits then there is no reason why she could not do F1.”
Barrichello himself has no plans to try a move the other way. “If you had asked me a few years ago, maybe I would have wanted to do the Indy 500, but not today,” he said. “It’s not to do with the danger. In fact, I would prefer to try a motorbike race which I rate the same in terms of its danger.”

The FIA today issued suggested regulation changes for the 2008 season. Many of them involved severe restrictions on technology in the sport and Barrichello was not sure this was a good thing. “In every aspect of life, things move forward in this world, so I am not sure going backwards is ever a good idea,” reckoned Barrichello. “The most important thing is to always look at improving the show.”

Despite the fact that these two North American races involve a long time away from home, Rubens’ wife Silvana has not accompanied him. “She is six and a half months pregnant,” said the proud father to be. “We know it will be a boy and we are going to call him Fernando. So the Barrichello household will be growing, as a little brother arrives for Eduardo.” Ferrari

IRL rules play into Patrick's hands IRL rules play into Patrick's handsThis USA Today article talks about the IRL's unfair rules that play into the hands of lightweight Danica Patrick.

Not wanting to be lumped together with the politically incorrect Robby Gordon, Scott Elkins used another name to support the contention that the weight of a driver affects the speed of a race car.
"There's this cat named Newton," said Elkins, the director of technology for the Champ Car World Series. "Nobody has been able to prove him wrong yet."

That would be English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton, who in 1687 published a treatise on the law of universal gravitation and its effect on bodies in motion.

His conclusion: All other things being equal, 100-pound Danica Patrick does have an advantage over the drivers who outweigh her.

Newton did not mention Patrick by name — and neither does anyone else since the outspoken Gordon was vilified nationally for his comments on the eve of the Indianapolis 500. He said at that time that he wouldn't race against Patrick under the current rules of the Indy Racing League, the only major racing series that does not take a driver's weight into account. More....

Gentilozzi racing for record wins Gentilozzi racing for record winsIf Paul Gentilozzi wins Saturday's Trans-Am race, he will become the series' all-time victories leader with 30. That would erase Trans-Am legend Mark Donohue from the record books, and according to Gentilozzi, it hardly seems fair.

"As a racer and a competitor, breaking a record is a good thing," Gentilozzi, 55, said. "But to compare what I have done to what Mark did is ridiculous. His wins came in a lot fewer races."  Portland will be Gentilozzi's 199th Trans-Am start.  More to Portland Oregonian

Rain is Wild Card for Champ Car race Rain is Wild Card for Champ Car raceWhen Champ Car goes off-road, all bets are off.  The last time it rained heavily on race day in Portland -- 2001 -- there were a race-record nine cautions and at least that many spins as drivers tried mightily to stay off the grass and avoid the guardrails.

Portland International Raceway is one of the prettiest road courses in the country -- especially when it puts on formal clothes for Champ Car weekend -- but it can turn ugly in a hurry during a downpour.   More at Portland Oregonian

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu spurns Ralf's quit talk
Alonso says win unlikely
Montoya would move over
McLaren HQ wins award
Button and Playboy
DC to BAR - 'no comment'
'Trulli's quicker' - Ralf
Who'd Berger back?
'Big headed' BAR - JV
Schu wants ten titles
Industry News
TV reminders for Friday TV reminders for Friday
A.  Formula 1 USGP Practice, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET Live, SPEED Channel
B.  NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice, Michigan, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET Live, SPEED Channel
C.  ARCA Re/Max Race, Michigan, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET Live, SPEED Channel
D.  Juan Pablo Montoya will be a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, Friday, June 17, at 11:30 p.m. ET, CBS
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