Hot News
for your iPhone
for your iPad
Go to our forums to discuss this news
DATE News (chronologically)
Industry News
SPEED Channel adds more homes SPEED Channel adds more homesSPEED Channel broke the 64-million mark in U.S. distribution, adding 202,000 homes in June according to Nielsen Media Research. SPEED Channel's Nielsen universe estimate now stands at 64,113,000 U.S. households, up nearly two million households from last year. In addition, SPEED Channel now reaches 4.9 million households in Canada and recently launched programming in Latin America through Fox International Channels.
Patrick a sex symbol, Legge a winner Patrick a sex symbol, Legge a winnerUPDATE A reader writes, The incessant Danica Patrick bashing by some readers truly is sophomoric and the comparisons between her and Ms. Legge need to stop as well. No, Ms. Patrick didn't win a race last season, but that was largely because the series was dominated by two extremely talented racers that SHOULD be in Champ Cars right now in Jon Fogarty and Ryan Dalziel.
Let's also keep in mind that she finished ahead of such drivers as Alex Ranger and Ronnie Bremer in the points race last year. Can anyone honestly say to themselves that there's anyone in this year's Atlantic series anywhere near the talents of Fogarty, Dalziel, Ranger or Bremer? Hardly.
Not to take anything away from Ms. Legge, but she's also one of 12 rookies in this year's series and you can be fairly certain that unless someone brings a big check $$$ next year, none of these drivers will be in Champ Cars next year.
A year ago, Ms. Patrick was being celebrated, while many Champ Car fans made jest of Al Unser. Now that they've crisscrossed career paths, so seems the reaction to their abilities from readers on this board.
We need to cheer and celebrate all of these drivers who put their lives on the line every time they step in a car rather than try to ridicule them simply because their opportunity came in a different racing series. Richard G., Springfield, OH 06/29/05 This Ledger article says, Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven was coming to England to do business at Cosworth, which builds engines for the series. When Kalkhoven arrived at Cosworth, Katherine Legge was waiting in the lobby, resume in hand.

``I told him I wanted to drive and that I was as good as any driver he had,'' she said.

How did she know that? ``That's what he said,'' Legge recalls with a laugh. ``But I had been racing against people in Europe and I always knew that I could do it.''

Kalkhoven put her in touch with Pam and Jim Griffith, owners of Polestar Racing, based in Chardon, Ohio. Upon their first meeting with her, the Griffiths were taken by Legge's charm. Her talent soon caught their eyes, too. ``She's a delight,'' Jim Griffith said. ``When it's 4 in the morning and you're working on a car, you don't mind because it's for Katherine. Everyone loves having her around.''

On Kalkhoven's urging, the Griffiths set up a test drive for Legge, who didn't need long to show she could handle the car.

``We actually had to tell her to slow down a little bit,'' Griffith said. ``Within 10 or 15 minutes you could tell how comfortable she was, even though she had a very limited car racing background.''

The Griffiths sent a glowing review to Kalkhoven, who agreed to sponsor Legge for the first six races this season. Then, at Long Beach, Legge drove beyond anyone's expectations. Anyone, that is, but hers.

``I thought she would show well,'' Griffith said. ``She went into it with the idea that she would win.''

Legge's strong showing this season has been helped in part because she is one of 12 rookies in the series - but the only woman. Her feistiness is gaining Legge fans on and off the track.

``She's a strong competitor,'' said Al Unser III, who recently returned to Toyota Atlantic. ``As far as whether she belongs, sex is not an issue in a race car. We both have two feet, two hands and everyone can see out of the front of the car. But I'm sure some guys are gunning for her because she's a girl.''

Legge was there at Indy in May when Patrick made history by leading the race for a few laps before finishing fourth. She was one of the few who didn't groan when Dan Wheldon passed Patrick, though.

``C'mon,'' she said. ``I was cheering the fellow Brit.'' Legge is cheering for Patrick, too, although she wants to make it clear that she isn't drafting off her fame. ``What Danica has done is great,'' Legge said. ``She showed she could race with the big boys.''

Legge is following Patrick. However, she plans to take her own path to the top of her male-dominated sport. Legge says she won't follow Patrick's lead and pose in her bikini for a men's magazine.

``It might be very important for Danica to be seen as a sex symbol,'' Legge said. ``But it's more important for me to be seen as a winner.''

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver RankingUpdated 6-29-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Michael Schumacher (F1) 9.185
2. (2) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 8.428
3. (3) Rubens Barrichello (F1) 7.875
4. (4) Fernando Alonso (F1) 7.861
5. (29) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 7.817
6. (11) Paul Tracy (CCWS) 7.762
7. (9) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.617
8. (5) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.409
9. (15) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.409
10. (12) Elliott Sadler (NASCAR) 7.156
11. (23) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.957
12. (NR) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.890
13. (19) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.792
14. (7) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.718
15. (NR) Dale Jarrett (NASCAR) 6.706
16. (32) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 6.689
17. (6) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 6.682
18. (25) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 6.586
19. (21) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 6.457
20. (20) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 6.411
Last week's ranking in parenthesis Provided by STATS Inc.
IRL exec ’We don’t need manufacturers’ IRL exec ’We don’t need manufacturers’UPDATE #3 In response to Mr. Allenberger's comment, When the manufacturers leave, you will see the sponsors in the IRL go away too, just like they did in Champ Car. The reason being that when the manufacturers are underwriting the team budgets, supplying free engines, and paying the premium driver salaries, title billing can be given to a company like 7-11 for far below that which it would otherwise be. If a team needs 5 million to race (a conservative number by any stretch), and the driver gets 1 million, and Honda is paying half that, then they only have to find 3 million in total sponsorship, which puts the title sponsor at maybe 2 million. Even at the IRL crappy numbers, 2 million is almost what the IRL 500 is worth if you go by the attendance and exposure numbers versus other sports.
So when Honda stops subsidizing the Andretti team, and their costs actually go up because they have to buy Cosworth engines (which I am sure will be sold at a major premium), how do you think 7-11's 2 million is going to support that team? They will have to find another 4 million just to keep wheels on the car and keep Kanaan. All of these numbers are speculative, but it illustrates the whole problem with engine manufacturers propping up a series. This is why the Champ Car business model has legs. I don't think they will ever let the manufacturers get into a controlling position ever again. F1 is having control problems with the manufacturers, as is every other series out there, in one respect or another. NASCAR seems to always have an issue here and there, but seems to manage it well and even attract new ones because their fan base is such a juggernaught in the marketplace.
I think very few people, even those that follow the sport closely, have any idea of this fact. So, I thought I would let someone know...
On a side note.....This is also why Champ Car teams are having a hard time finding real sponsor money. The current exposure value and benefits are not in line with the costs of the racing. Its a real catch-22, chicken and the egg problem. It is tough to attract consumer brands without big exposure numbers. However, consumer brands allow consumers to identify with a team and driver, and drive up the exposure and recognition of the series. You cannot expect Pepsi, who has a much higher brand recognition that Champ Car to think that Champ Car is going to get more people to buy Pepsi. In fact, its quite the opposite. This would be a real answer to the activation side of any sponsorship.
Its a tough puzzle to solve. I am sure Champ Car has taken this all in consideration in their business plan, as they are successful businessmen. I wonder if anyone has ever contemplated some sort of revenue sharing program for sponsors that would give them a way of recouping the dollars they put in the sport in addition to the exposure value. In other words, if Pepsi does a promotion, and brings 10,000 fans in the gate, they get a portion of the gate receipts as a rebate. This would provide incentive for consumer brands to come into the series, and promote the series as well. Lance Freespeed 06/29/05 Another reader writes, Maybe it's not the fact that all of the money Honda and Toyota "wasted" on the IRL did not improve the IRL product, but maybe it was the product they were trying to sell. Honda, Chevy and Toyota advertising works everywhere else and their products sell and attracts customers. Greg W., Renton, WA. 06/29/05 A reader writes, Brian Barnhart said the benefit of having national advertising and title sponsorships from the auto manufacturers has not increased race attendance and television ratings at the same rate. "My question is, are we better off than when we didn't have that as part of the equation?" he said. "The answer is, I'm not convinced that we are. "

Mr. Barnhart seems oblivious to the one area in which the manufacturers have proved beneficial to the IRL: teams and drivers. It is a rare occasion that I meet professional drivers, but on the one occasion when I have - at Le Mans in November 2003 - I was told that the drivers hated the IRL, but found it the only outlet where they could make a decent living driving race cars.

Without the financial support manufacturers provided to the IRL, is it not possible that some of those teams won't have the ability to outbid other series for drivers, leading to at least a partial exodus to a series where the risk of breaking necks and backs is greatly diminished? Let's hope so. Jim Allenberger 06/29/05 The Indy Racing League is set to lose General Motors following this season and Toyota after 2006. Honda's future in the series is uncertain, too. But IRL president Brian Barnhart isn't worried about the league's power source. He said there are plenty of companies that can supply race engines, although not all have household names (that's why Roger Penske bought Ilmor again).

Consideration is being given to removing the league's requirement that engines carry auto manufacturer backing, a stipulation in effect since Honda and Toyota joined the IRL for 2003."We've got a lot of good options whether the engines are badged or not," Barnhart said after Toyota made its plans official Monday night.

Honda, Toyota and GM, through its Chevrolet brand, don't actually build IRL engines. Honda and Toyota, both Japanese companies, have U.S.-based subsidiaries that lead their IRL projects. Chevy's engines are made by Cosworth.

Honda Performance Development of Santa Clarita, Calif., shares engine production with Ilmor Engineering, while Toyota Racing Development of Costa Mesa, Calif., works with Penske Racing. Any of those entities could service the IRL, Barnhart said.

Barnhart said the benefit of having national advertising and title sponsorships from the auto manufacturers has not increased race attendance and television ratings at the same rate. "My question is, are we better off than when we didn't have that as part of the equation?" he said. "The answer is, I'm not convinced that we are. "You want them doing those types of things, but they don't seem to have made a difference, at least not as much as we would have anticipated or hoped." Indy Star

Tony, Bernie and Max make Heitzler look good Tony, Bernie and Max make Heitzler look goodBernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley and Tony George managed a feat that borders on the supernatural: they made former CART president and CEO Joe Heitzler look like a stand-up guy.

How’s that you ask?

Recall the similarly pathetic spectacle that unfolded on April 29, 2001 when CART canceled the Firestone Firehawk 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on the morning of the race. The issues were similar to those at the USGP: safety, of course, in this case the unprecedented g-forces that brought drivers to the point of blacking out while whistling ’round the 1.5-mile oval at 230+ mph. And the total failure of the sanctioning body, its teams and manufacturers to find a way to stage the race, thereby demonstrating a shocking level of contempt for their fans.

For all his manifest shortcomings as CART’s CEO, Heitzler took the heat for the decision. He held a press conference to announce the race cancellation, then – together with Michael Andretti and CART medical director Dr. Steve Olvey – fielded questions from a skeptical, if not downright hostile, media for the better part of an hour. True, his responses were a characteristic mixture of obfuscation and jargon, but at least Heitzler wasn’t AWOL when the eggs hit the fan a la Bernie and Max (the latter couldn’t even be bothered to fly to Indianapolis when it became apparent trouble was brewing), who left it to Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Tiago Monteiro to speak for Formula 1.

As for Tony, although he was probably counseled to keep his public statements to a minimum by the IMS attorneys, he passed on the responsibility (not to mention a once in a lifetime opportunity) to stand up as, if not the, then at least a leading voice in American motorsports in the midst of a crisis, even if that crisis was not of his own making. For full text click here
Servia as good as Bourdais? Servia as good as Bourdais?One of Oriol Servia's chief tasks while filling in for the injured Bruno Junqueira at Newman/Haas Racing is to help teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the championship battle. But Servia has actually finished ahead of the Frenchman in two of the three races they have run together and he inadvertently boosted Paul Tracy into first place in the standings by turning the fastest lap of the Cleveland GP on lap 90 of 91. By doing so, Servia claimed the championship point that comes with the fastest race lap, and thereby took it away from Bourdais, who had set the existing standard back on lap 21. National Speed Sport News
IRL lost Toyota anyway IRL lost Toyota anywayChris Economacki writes in this week's National Speed Sport News that the IRL convened an interesting breakfast meeting Friday in Richmond. Heavy hitters from Toyota, Honda and GM were in attendance as were many sponsors and potential sponsors as well. Taking copious notes was Gary Claudio of GM Racing. Who knows, maybe Chevy just might stick around. Or was he working on his resume? Toyota announced they were leaving the IRL the next day.
Why doesn't Champ Car race on Memorial Day? Why doesn't Champ Car race on Memorial Day?A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I view Memorial Day weekend as the biggest, most traditional racing day of the year. Why doesn't Champ Car hold a race on that weekend like they did with the USA 500 in 1996? George Whalen, Boulder, CO. Dear George, We suspect Champ Car leaves that weekend open in their schedule for any of their teams that want to participate in the Indy 500. This year just one Champ Car team, Newman/Haas, participated with mediocre results. It's difficult to run just one IRL race a year and expect to beat the best IRL teams who have the most experience with those cars. It is also difficult because they have to qualify for the race, which means Champ Car must leave yet another weekend open in their schedule during May, the best month of the year temperature-wise in the USA to hold races. In our opinion Champ Car needs to develop its own marquee event for that weekend. This is assuming there is no merger between the IRL and Champ Car, and from all indications, that isn't in the works anytime soon.

Certainly it will take a number of years to grow and it may never be bigger than the Indy 500, which has a long tradition. However, we predict that it would have the potential to be the biggest race on the Champ Car schedule because as you say, it is a traditional race weekend, it is just before the summer vacation season in the USA, and people just expect there to be big races that weekend. When Champ Car held the USA 500 that weekend the USA Today included it in their Memorial Day weekend racing supplement and the race had well over a 2 TV rating. Unfortunately CART only held the race one year and never gave it a chance to develop. We would hold this event in a major USA city and run it late Sunday afternoon just as the Indy 500 is concluding. Another option is to run it Memorial Day Monday. The bottom line is that every successful sport series, be it football, baseball, hockey, NASCAR or basketball, all have their marquee event, and if Champ Car is serious about becoming a big player in the world motorsport market, it too must have its 'Indy 500.' Mark C.
HVM and the Sign-a-Champ Car program HVM and the Sign-a-Champ Car programUsually when fans attend a Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event like the Molson Indy Toronto, they are seeking out their favorite driver to get their autograph, but the tables have been turned, as HVM Racing and the Molson Indy Festival Foundation are auctioning off space on HVM's Champ Car for fans to sign their name and ride along for the race weekend.

The Molson Indy Festival Foundation has joined forces with HVM Racing to introduce the "Sign a Champ Car" program in order to raise money for Molson Indy Festival Foundation's featured charities including the Hole in the Wall Camps. Champ Car fans will be given the opportunity to have their name featured on the #4 HVM Inc. Champ Car driven by Bjorn Wirdheim for the entire weekend of the Molson Indy Toronto, July 8-10.

"HVM Racing are always great supporters of charities for worthy causes and it's nice to be able to give something back to the fans," commented HVM Racing owner Keith Wiggins. "This is a unique opportunity for our racing team and the fans to work together for a great cause and we are happy to be part of it."

To get involved all Champ Car fans need to do is visit http://www.molsonindyfoundation.com/signachampcar/ and fill out a form online. Each autograph requires a $50 Canadian donation to the Molson Indy Festival Foundation and after the event you will receive a charitable tax receipt. All proceeds will go to the Molson Indy Festival Foundation's 2005 featured charities which include: Hole in the Wall Camps, Sick Kids Foundation, Operation Herbie, and Variety. After sending in your form with your name, The Molson Indy Festival Foundation will send you an email indicating where your signature will appear on the car and a link that will allow you to see the car after your name has been placed on it.

"The Molson Indy Festival Foundation is very excited to be able to offer this great opportunity to racing fans around the world, and have the chance through racing and its fans to help those less fortunate around the world win their own personal races," noted Mary Donohue, Executive Director of the Molson Indy Foundation.

Champ Car fans will have until July 5th to include their autograph on the HVM racing machine, so don't wait until the last minute and find yourself a lap down on the competition. If you would like to see your signature on the car in person, you can purchase tickets to the Molson Indy Toronto by visiting www.molsonindy.com or www.champcar.ws . Take this opportunity to put your signature on racing history. ChampCar.ws

Medeiros only a spotter for now Medeiros only a spotter for nowAn opportunity to compete aboard an IndyCar Series car has so far eluded reigning Infiniti Pro Series champion Thiago Medeiros, who ran away with the ‘04 title in the IRL’s premier ladder series.  The 23-year-old Brazilian was hopeful of at least landing a one-off ride for the Indianapolis 500, and his disappointment was evident when that could not be worked out. Medeiros is now filling his IRL race weekends working as a “spotter” for the League’s TV partners in Brazil, Band.

“I try to follow Helio, Tony and Vitor’s radio frequencies and comment on their race [strategies],” he said of his compatriots named Castroneves, Kanaan and Meira.

The TV gig started back in Texas, and will continue this weekend at Kansas. Medeiros confessed during the Richmond broadcast, however, that the new “job” is only increasing his urge to land an opportunity of his own in the series as soon as possible.  “I’m trying it every possible way,” he revealed. “I regularly talk to all teams and try to keep a good relationship with all of them.”

Medeiros’ best-case plan is to find a seat before the end of the ‘05 season, and, with a bit of luck, kiss goodbye for good to his current spot in limbo.  “As soon as I get a break, I want to make the best of it to land a ride for next year.” SPEEDTV.com

Cytomax Sports Drink to sponsor Trans-Am race Cytomax Sports Drink to sponsor Trans-Am raceCytomax Sport Drink will continue its relationship with the Trans-Am Series, sponsoring Round 7 of the title chase, at the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver Presented by PacifiCare weekend. The event, scheduled for Aug. 12-13, will be called the Cytomax Sport Drink 100.

Cytomax, a brand of ChampBev, Inc., sponsored last year’s Denver race as part of its launch of Cytomax Sport Drink in a ready-to-drink format, as well as this year’s season opener at Long Beach. Cytomax is owned by 1978 Trans-Am Drivers’ Champion Greg Pickett, who finished an impressive second in the Long Beach race. In addition to the title sponsorship, Pickett will drive the No. 6 Cytomax/Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR in the race. In addition, Cytomax is building a 10,000-square-foot skatepark adjacent to the Pepsi Center and will bring in its Cytomax/Team Airo members to stage demonstrations.

“We’re extremely excited to sponsor the Trans-Am race in Denver for the second consecutive year,” said Pickett. “We made a strategic decision last year to use Trans-Am at Denver to help launch our ready-to-drink Cytomax in Denver. That decision exceeded our expectations and we think our continued involvement with Trans-Am will yield similar results. The added visibility and excitement that is part of the Trans-Am Series will certainly benefit Cytomax Sport Drink.”

“We’re pleased to renew our relationship with the Grand Prix of Denver and the Trans-Am Series,” said Chris Running, CEO of ChampBev, Inc., the Ready to Drink division of Cytomax. “It made good business sense for Cytomax to expand its involvement with this exciting event weekend and build on the success we enjoyed in the Denver market in 2004.

“Cytomax has long realized the value of sports marketing and will be the official sports beverage of choice at more than 100 sporting events across the country,” added Running. “The brand has proven itself in the performance sports category with its functional and nutritional value and we look to match that success in the mainstream consumer market. Our Denver sponsorship will help us achieve that goal.”

“We are pleased to welcome Cytomax back as our Denver title sponsor,” said Series Executive Director John Clagett. “Greg is a longtime competitor, a supporter of the Trans-Am Series and is well liked by our competitors, officials and fans. We are excited about his ongoing success with Cytomax and are pleased to continue to be a part of that success at Denver.”

The drivers on the subject of speed limits and chicanes The drivers on the subject of speed limits and chicanesAs part of the F1 team's submissions to the World Council today in Paris, there was a statement from 19 drivers, supporting the teams.

"We make this statement in order to assist the World Motor Sport Council," the drivers wrote. "We wish in particular to respond to the suggestion that we could have raced with a speed limit (which was never defined) somehow imposed through Turn 13 on cars with Michelin tires, or that we should have raced but the cars with Michelin tires should have slowed down voluntarily through this turn.

"The suggestion would have been an unprecedented restriction in an F1 race and would have been completely contrary to the competitive essence of Formula 1 or any motor race that we have ever participated in. It would have been unworkable, unpoliceable and above all, unsafe.

"Not all the cars would have been subject to the same speed restriction. At least six cars would have been going through Turn 13 as fast as possible i.e. over 320kph. The other cars - if they all complied - would have had to slow suddenly going into the turn, travel at a much lower speed through the turn and then accelerated back to racing speed.

"This would have meant a huge speed differential between cars at the approach of Turn 13, during Turn 13 and exiting Turn 13. Having cars traveling at dramatically different speeds at the same point on the race track would have been completely chaotic and highly dangerous.

"This is one good racing line through Turn 13. All of us would have tried to take that line. If a car subject to the restriction had to slow down approaching Turn 13 on the racing line, a car behind it not subject the restriction would have had to take avoiding action and try to overtake on the turn off the racing line. This would have put both drivers at considerable risk.

"Given the competitive nature of a race, the speed restriction would have become a focal point for overtaking. For instance two cars both subject to the speed restriction racing each other going into or coming out of Turn 13 would inevitably have each tried to gain advantage by braking later or accelerating earlier. With other cars racing through the turn at high speeds this too would have been chaotic and very unsafe.

"Given the nature of a race there would also have been a clear incentive for drivers to maintain speeds above the restricted speeds, particularly if they were close in the race. This would have risked damaging the Michelin tires which would have created yet further risks.

"The teams would have been unable to fit a speed limiter which would have operated round Turn 13 in the time available. It would have been left to the drivers to attempt to accomplish the speed restriction by themselves whilst still trying to race each other. Quite apart from the safety issues explained above, none of us think that it would have been possible for as driver to do this.

"Unlike in the pitlane (which has an obvious and clearly marked entrance and exit) there was no physical marker on the race track for where any speed limit should begin or end at Turn 13. In a pitlane, we race to and from well-defined lines and we are aware precisely when to brake and when to accelerate so as to maintain race speed before and after the pit. In Turn 13, we would and could not have known when and where to brake and when and where to accelerate to achieve the speed restriction through the turn. Each driver would have had to make a judgment which would have been different on each lap depending on what was happening in the race. It would have been quite impossible for any of us to know each time whether or not we had maintained the speed restriction.

"We also believe that it would have been impossible for the stewards or anyone else to tell at Turn 13 precisely when any car had slowed, and whether it complied with the speed limit throughout the restricted area.

"For these reasons, we have no doubt that a speed restriction imposed at Turn 13 would have been impossible to comply with and impossible to police.

"On the morning of the Grand Prix, all of the drivers attended a Drivers' briefing with representatives of the teams. We were told of the Michelin tire problem. Even though we all wanted to race, we accepted that the Michelin teams could not go against the safety advice from Michelin and take the risk of serious and potentially fatal accidents.

"We were also told of the proposal for a chicane at Turn 13. Chicanes have been successfully introduced in races in the past. We believe that a chicane would have been a perfectly workable solution in Indianapolis. Accordingly, none of us objected to a chicane at the meeting.

"Many of us were consulted by our teams about the FIA proposal for a speed restriction. Those who were consulted explained to their teams that a speed restriction would not work because it would be dangerous and impractical (for the reasons set out above). The teams in turn explained this to the FIA officials.

"All of us wanted to have a proper race at Indianapolis, which is one of motor racing's most sacred venues, and to showcase Formula 1 to the American public. We are all extremely disappointed that we were unable to do this."

The letter was signed by Christijan Albers, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Pedro de la Rosa, Giancarlo Fisichella, Patrick Friesacher, Nick Heidfeld, Christian Klien, Felipe Massa, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Raikkonen, Takuma Sato, Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Jacques Villeneuve, Mark Webber, Alexander Wurz and Ricardo Zonta.

It is worth noting that after the US Grand Prix Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Tiago Monteiro were all asked if they would have raced if their tire manufacturer said that the tires could not make it more than 10 laps.

"No, there is no point," said Schumacher.

"No, you can't take the risk and probably anyway your team owners wouldn't let you race anyway," said Monteiro. "It's a big responsibility."

"There was only one solution," said Barrichello. "If the problem was on 13, just come into the pits every lap."

New TRG/Pontiac GTO.R New TRG/Pontiac GTO.RTRG owner Kevin Buckler helped pull the cover off the all new TRG/Pontiac GTO.R Grand American Rolex Series GT entry today at Daytona International Speedway.  The GTO.R was built by Pratt & Miller in South Lyon, Michigan to the specific technical guidelines of the Grand American GT class.  The car features 405 BHP  (per Grand-Am regulations), Xtrac five-speed gearbox, carbon fiber body panels and will ride on Grand American spec 18-inch Hoosier tires.  TRG/GTO.R number 64 car will be driven by TRG new comers Paul Edwards of Santa Maria, California and Jan Magnussen of London, England.  The number 65 car will be piloted by TRG regulars Andy Lally of Dacula, Georgia and Marc Bunting of Monkton, Maryland.  Lally and Bunting are defending class champions and currently share second place in the Grand American GT drivers point standings.

“This program is the culmination of 12-years of hard work in racing for TRG,” said Kevin Buckler.  “We have been racing at all levels of the sport and to be chosen by GM Racing and Pontiac to run the new GTO.R program is a real honor.  Along with that comes a lot of responsibility to operate at the highest standards.  We are looking forward to turning the fist laps in competition tomorrow and holding the flag high for the entire GM Racing/Pontiac/TRG family.”

The car will be on track for the first time in competition tomorrow, Thursday, June 30th, at 9:00 a.m. and will race some 10-hours later on the same day for the first time.  “It will be a challenge for the team to race the car for the first time in a one day event where we have two practice sessions, qualifying and the race all in a fourteen hour day,” continued Buckler.  “We won’t have the luxury of a four day race weekend like we usually do, but we are up for the challenge.”

TRG/Pontiac GTO.R Specifications:
Engine: 6.0-liter LS2 small-block V-8                             
Horsepower: 405 – Grand-Am mandated 58mm restrictor
Torque: 398 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Maximum RPM: 6800
Chassis: Purpose-built tube frame
Wheelbase: 109.8 inches
Track: 61.5 inches front; 60.4 inches rear
Curb weight: 2,700 lbs.
Suspension: Independent unequal A-arm front and rear
Brakes: Four piston AP calipers w/12.9-inch vented steel rotors
Wheels: 18 x 11.5-inches front and rear
Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion
Tires: Hoosier 295-660R18 front; 295-675R18 rear
Transmission: Xtrac 390GT 5-speed sequential transaxle

Press Conference Transcript - Mosley World Council meeting Press Conference Transcript - Mosley World Council meetingThe hearing of the teams took place this morning. They were represented by counsel, with one exception, which was Red Bull. As you will recall, there were five charges against the teams.

The first of these was failing to ensure they were in possession of suitable tires for the 2005 United States Grand Prix, and they were found guilty of that, but with strongly mitigating circumstances.

The second thing was they were accused of wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to start the race, and they were found guilty of that on the grounds that they could have used the pitlane, it would have been very slow but they could do that. Meeting Transcript

Petty announces changes to No. 45 car Petty announces changes to No. 45 carPetty Enterprises has announced plans to restructure its primary sponsorship of the #45 Dodge driven by Kyle Petty in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2006. The change is part of a broader initiative that will be announced in more detail in the coming months and will involve multiple corporate partners.

"We're excited with the possibilities of working with new sponsors and structuring our program to allow for our partners to share the assets of the #45 car throughout the season," said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. "Although they will no longer be our primary sponsor, Georgia-Pacific and its Brawny brand has been a great partner for Petty Enterprises and for me personally. They have been supporting us since the mid '90s with our Craftsman Series truck program, and have been a valuable part of not only the racing team but the Charity Ride Across America and the Victory Junction Gang Camp as well."

In the course of discussing the coming years and evaluating the long-term objectives of the racing team, Petty Enterprises envisions a different kind of sponsorship model. In elaborating on the plans for 2006 and beyond, Petty stated that "-- next year our program will provide us with the opportunity to leverage several promotional tie-ins and other marketing elements with a select group of complementary partners working together to do some pretty cool stuff. Because we will have multiple partners, the entry point dollar-wise for this program is significantly below what companies are paying to be full-time primary sponsors. We've had great reaction to this program already and we think it is an exciting way to be involved in our racing platform. We look forward to presenting this strategic marketing platform to potential partners/sponsors who are interested in being involved in a unique Nextel Cup marketing program." Petty Enterprises

Fernandez To Drive Four Busch Races Fernandez To Drive Four Busch RacesLowe's and Hendrick Motorsports announced today that open-wheel racing star Adrian Fernandez will drive the No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet in four additional Busch Series races in 2005.

Fernandez made his NASCAR debut March 6, leading four laps and finishing 10th on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in his native Mexico City. The 42-year-old is Mexico's most popular driver and one of the country's most popular athletes.

Fernandez will drive the No. 5 car on Sept. 3 at California Speedway, Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway, Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Raceway and Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"I am honored by this opportunity to be part of Lowe's, Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR," said Fernandez who plans to test in the coming weeks. "I had such a good time with Jim Long and the Hendrick team in Mexico that I wanted to do this again. I am really excited about getting a chance to race on an oval in NASCAR. I understand I have a huge learning curve ahead of me, but I think we can run respectably and have a lot of fun."

Marshall Carlson, Hendrick Motorsports' general manager, said Fernandez has impressed the organization.

"Over his career, Adrian has proven he is a talented race-car driver and reinforced it in Mexico in March," Carlson said. "He ran IRL races at three of these tracks last year, with a win at California and two top-fives at Texas. Adrian adapted to the new car very quickly in Mexico City, and the No. 5 Lowe's team is excited about preparing for these four additional races with him."

"Lowe's is proud to have Adrian back behind the wheel of the No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet," said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing and advertising. "What he accomplished in Mexico - leading like he did and finishing 10th- combined with the reception our employees and customers have given Adrian is incredible."

Fernandez is a familiar name to racing fans with a successful career that spans over 12 years at the top levels of open-wheel racing. He most recently competed in the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, and also owns the cars driven by Scott Sharp and Kosuke Matsuura in the Indy Racing League.

Fernandez began motocross racing at the age of eight in Mexico. He raced open-wheel cars in Mexico and Europe before joining the CART series in 1993 and posting eight career victories and 21 podium finishes through the 2003 season. In 2004, Fernandez joined the Indy Racing League, where he won three races including two of the series' final three events.

Fernandez is Mexico's premier driver. He was nominated for Mexico's National Sports Award -- the 2004 Premio Nacional del Deporte -- for his career achievements in auto racing. Fernandez has been the past recipient of numerous awards including "Athlete of the Year" in Mexico. He was most recently recognized at the Premios Fox Sports Awards for his contributions to Latin American auto racing.

Fernandez joins Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Blake Feese, Boston Reid and Kyle Krisiloff as drivers of the No. 5 Lowe's Busch car in 2005. Jim Long serves as the team's crew chief. The No. 5 team won the NASCAR Busch Series championship with driver Brian Vickers in 2003 and finished second in points with driver Busch last season.

This team won the Busch race at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte in May. Hendrick Motorsports/Fernandez Racing


FOX ratings on record pace FOX ratings on record paceUPDATE Fox announced record-setting ratings for Cup events this year. Fox reported a 7% increase in ratings to a 6.0 from last season. Fox averaged 9.6 million viewers per race, about 600,000 more than last year. Seven races had record ratings this season: Daytona, California, Bristol, Talladega, Charlotte, Pocono and Sonoma. News Record 06/23/05 As Fox prepares to air its final Nextel Cup race of the season on Sunday, the network says it is on the verge of setting an all-time high for its regular season broadcasts. Fox says it is averaging a 6.1 rating and a 14 market share for its first 11 events (through the June 12 Pocono race) and 9.833 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The rating is up 5 percent from the 5.8 last year, and the audience is up 6 percent from the 2004 audience of 9.275 million. Fox Sports research expects that this year's Nextel Cup coverage on the network will post a final 5.9 household rating, setting a new record for any NASCAR package. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
Indy to cost Michelin $10 million Indy to cost Michelin $10 millionAbout 100,000 fans attended the race, which had an average ticket price of $100. In addition, Michelin will spend about $2M on 20,000 tickets to next year’s race if IMS hosts the event. Those tickets would be distributed to fans who attended this year’s race. Indy Star
Bank of America 500 Bank of America 500Bank of America has signed a multi-year marketing agreement with Speedway Motorsports, Inc (SMI), marking the bank’s first venture into motorsports.  Bank of America will serve as title sponsor of the Bank of America 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. beginning in October of 2006.

Bank of America will also serve as an official sponsor of SMI’s raceways in five U.S. cities: Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta; Infineon Raceway near San Francisco; Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas; Lowe's Motor Speedway; and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

“Bank of America and SMI have a long heritage of precision performance, a commitment to teamwork and excellence, a huge base of racing fans among its associates and customers, and deep roots in Charlotte," said Kenneth D. Lewis, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Bank of America. "Through this great partnership, we are looking forward to providing our customers with a world-class racing experience at five of the most prestigious race tracks in the country."

The agreement entitles Bank of America to place ATMs on-site, prominently display signage throughout the SMI raceways and designate the grand marshal for the Bank of America 500.

"Through the years, Bank of America has been there - in the background - helping us grow," said SMI Chief Operating Officer and President H. A. "Humpy" Wheeler. "With this new agreement, they now have a very visible partnership with our company and title sponsorship of one of the marquee events on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. Personally and professionally, I am ecstatic that Bank of America is making this major statement by including the sport of NASCAR racing and our company in their marketing strategies."

Bank of America’s sponsorship venture also includes an agreement with Turner Sports to be the presenting sponsor of NBC’s and TNT’s  “Countdown To Green” pre-race show, beginning with the Pepsi 400 at Daytona Int’l Speedway on July 3.

The agreements will enable Bank of America to connect with 75 million NASCAR fans across the country at multiple race tracks and during national racing broadcasts.  Financial terms of the sponsorship agreements were not disclosed. Pete McCole

FIA publishes Michelin correspondence FIA publishes Michelin correspondenceThe FIA welcomes the announcement made by Michelin of a compensation package for the spectators of the 2005 United States Grand Prix. However, the FIA strongly contests the version of events detailed in Michelin’s press release of June 28 and rejects the views expressed in Edouard Michelin’s widely publicized letter to the FIA President of June 27. The exchange of correspondence between the FIA President and the Chief Executive of Michelin was deliberately leaked to members of the Press, we are therefore placing the complete exchange of correspondence in the public domain. Letters
World Council decision on Indy fiasco World Council decision on Indy fiascoFollowing today’s hearing in Paris the FIA World Motor Sport Council has found the seven Michelin teams:

- guilty of failing to ensure that they were in possession of suitable tires for the 2005 US Grand Prix; but with strong, mitigating circumstances;
- guilty of wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to start the race, having regard to their right to use the pit lane on each lap;
- not guilty of refusing to race subject to a speed restriction, having regard to the absence of any detailed plan for this;
- not guilty of combining to make a demonstration for the reason that they had hoped to race until the last minute;
- not guilty of failing to inform the Stewards of their intention not to start (Article 131) for the same reason.

The World Motor Sport Council has decided to adjourn discussion of any penalty to an extraordinary meeting of the WMSC to be held on 14 September 2005, when the WMSC will also examine:

- what steps have been taken by the seven Michelin teams and/or their tire supplier to compensate the Formula One fans and repair the damage to the reputation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to the image of Formula One;
- what steps have been taken by the Michelin teams to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. FIA

A Statistician’s Look at Winning LeMans A Statistician’s Look at Winning LeMansWhat does it take to win the world’s most prestigious sports car race? Here is a statistical summary of what it took for Corvette Racing to score its fourth 1-2 finish in the GT1 class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, won by the No. 64 team of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen:

Total laps: 696 (349 by No. 64, 347 by No. 63)
Total miles: 5902 (2959.5 by No. 64, 2942.5 by No. 63)
Pit stops: 53 (27 by No. 64, 26 by No. 63)
Gear changes: 31,320 (average 45 per lap)
Gasoline: 1240 gallons (621 gallons by No. 63, 619 gallons by No. 64)
Tires: 164 (76 by No. 63, 88 by No. 64)
Oil: 6 quarts (3 each by No. 63 and 64)
Water: 1 quart (per car)
Cup drivers to race in Grand-Am race Cup drivers to race in Grand-Am raceInfineon’s road-course challenge may be in their rear-view mirror, but four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers aren’t finished with road racing. They will compete in Thursday night’s Brumos Porsche 250 Rolex Sports Car series at Daytona International Speedway. All will drive Daytona Prototype cars that can reach 185 mph.
• Those drivers are: Bobby Labonte (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet), Terry Labonte, Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) and Kyle Petty.
• Stewart will pair up with British sports car driver Andy Wallace in the No. 20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford. Bobby and Terry Labonte will share driving duties in the No. 44 Daytona USA Pontiac Doran Daytona Prototype. And Petty will help drive a new Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype; he’ll share the wheel with team owner and driver Brian Tuttle of West Palm Beach, Fla.

Based on the Daytona-Orlando market between the newspaper, TV, and radio spots there is a big push for the Brumos Porsche 250 Thursday night. Lots of free tickets from CompUSA with any purchase at their stores, the Labontes on the radio talking about it, Wayne Taylor on the evening news talking about it not including the ads normally run. We have heard more about this race than the 400 so far this week.

Last Daytona for Martin and Wallace Last Daytona for Martin and WallaceRusty Wallace and Mark Martin are retiring after the 2005 season, and this week’s Pepsi 400 marks their farewell appearance at one of the sport’s most historic tracks which also has been a place of career-long frustration for the two veterans.
•  Martin is scheduled to make his 20th Pepsi 400 start, and Wallace is scheduled to make his 22nd Pepsi 400 start.
•  Neither have a Pepsi 400 or Daytona 500 victory.
•  Martin and Wallace aren’t the only NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers with long Pepsi 400 credentials. Ricky Rudd (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford), who finished second last week at Infineon, is scheduled to start his 30th Pepsi 400 this Saturday. His first start, as a 19-year-old, came on July 4, 1976. He finished 10th, driving a Chevrolet owned by his father, Al Rudd. 
•  Other drivers with over 20 Pepsi 400 starts include Kyle Petty (No. 45 Stars and Stripes Georgia-Pacific Dodge), who is scheduled to make his 26th start; Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge), who is scheduled to make his 23rd start and Ken Schrader (No. 49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge), who is scheduled to make his 21st Pepsi 400 start.
Race to the Chase begins Race to the Chase beginsA 10-event span entitled “The Race to the Chase” begins with this week’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Ten races remain before the starts of the “Chase of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, which begins Sept. 18 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Following the Sept. 10 event at Richmond, the top 10 drivers in points – plus any driver within 400 points of the standings’ leader – will be eligible to compete for the series championship over the season’s final 10 races.
•  Currently, 13 drivers are within the 400-point cut-off that will be so crucial come the evening of Sept. 10. The list begins with new point standings leader Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford), and ends with 13th-place Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet), 395 points behind Biffle.
•  There are five drivers currently in the top 10 who weren’t there a year ago heading into the Pepsi 400: Biffle, Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge), Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford), Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford) and Carl Edwards (No. 99 Pennzoil Ford).

The Pepsi 400 is the season’s third restrictor-plate event. The inherent unpredictable nature of restrictor-plate racing has the potential to shake up the point standings.
•  This follows another shake-up, coming out of the season’s first road-course event at Infineon Raceway. Seven drivers in the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 switched positions as a result of that event. Greg Biffle is the new leader, for the first time in his career, and Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) is now second, 22 points behind Biffle. Johnson had led the standings since the season’s fourth week at Atlanta.
•  The Pepsi 400 represents hope not only for Jeff Gordon, who won the season-opening Daytona 400, but also Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet), who typically excels at restrictor-plate tracks, along with his Dale Earnhardt Inc., teammate, Michael Waltrip (No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet). Earnhardt Jr., who was second in the point standings this time last year, is 18th, 543 points behind leader Greg Biffle. He has two wins at Daytona – the 2004 Daytona 500 and the 2001 Pepsi 400. Earnhardt also plans to compete in Friday night’s NASCAR Busch Series’ Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo.

Jordan delay 'b' car Jordan delay 'b' carMidland owned Jordan has scrapped the planned introduction at Magny Cours of a 'b' spec 2005 racer.  Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan experienced reliability problems when testing 'EJ15B' for the first time at Barcelona (Spain) last week. ''It looked very nice and aggressive,'' said Portugal's Monteiro, ''but we definitely need more running before being able to use it to race.''

'Friday' driver Robert Doornbos will test the car during practice at Magny Cours. Sporting director Adrian Burgess admitted that the yellow racer has 'some issues.'  He added: ''We will decide after France if we want to race (it) at Silverstone.  We will not ... until we are satisfied with its reliability.''

FIA to teams - 'guilty' FIA to teams - 'guilty'Seven Michelin-clad teams that boycotted the US grand prix have been found guilty of charges by the FIA's world council. In Paris on Wednesday, three of the five charges were dismissed. Penalties will not be announced until an extraordinary meeting on September 14, which will consider teams' actions to remedy damage done to F1's image. In a press conference, Max Mosley explained that teams had been found guilty of having unsuitable tires at Indianapolis last weekend, and wrongfully failing to race. The FIA president also revealed that Michelin cannot be punished because the FIA does not have a formal relationship with a tire supplier.
MB2 loses Valvoline sponsorship MB2 loses Valvoline sponsorshipValvoline today announced an agreement in principle to end its NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team partnership with MB2 Motorsports – effective at the end of the current season.

The racing sponsor/owner will sell its 50 percent share in the team to MB2 principals Nelson Bowers and Jay Frye and will no longer be primary sponsor of the No. 10 Chevrolet after the 2005 season.  According to Valvoline Designated Team Owner Jim Rocco, the parting was an amicable one.

“We have nothing but respect and admiration for (MB2) owners Nelson Bowers and Jay Frye,” said Rocco. “Nelson and Jay gave us the opportunity to become more than sponsors when we took the historic step to become team owners."

Regarding Valvoline's NASCAR plans beyond the 2005 season, Rocco said, "We will have something to announce soon."  The Valvoline/MB2 partnership was announced in 2000 and began with the 2001 season. The 50/50 partnership marked the first time a consumer products company actually owned a NASCAR team. The Valvoline team visited Victory Lane at the 2002 Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Scott Riggs is in his second year driving the No. 10 Valvoline Chevy. The team leases engines from Hendrick Motorsports.

ppc Racing Generates New Look to Web site ppc Racing Generates New Look to Web siteppc Racing officials have published today a new look to their organization’s Web site, www.ppcracing.com.  Content on the site allows a host of audiences, including the media to easily find information on each of the car and truck programs.  Car Owner, Greg Pollex spoke of the changes:

“We wanted to cater the new look to all of our targeted audiences,” said Pollex.  “ppc Racing is a legitimate ROI (return on investment) marketing tool in motorsports with recognizable drivers Kenny Wallace, Michel Jourdain Jr., Brent Sherman and Terry Cook.  The site meets today’s expectations from our sponsors and gives race fans the ability to track their favorite ppc Racing driver each week.”

Carpentier now optimistic Carpentier now optimisticPatrick Carpentier of Joliette, Que., was on a high from finding a way to make his Red Bull Cheever car go fast enough to take third place at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday. Danica Patrick of the Rahal/Letterman team is riding the wave of popularity from her historic fourth-place finish at the Indy 500 last month, even if she pleads for patience from fans looking for her first IRL win.

"We weren't really fast and then we tried a couple of things on the car's suspension and gained nearly 4-10ths of a second," Carpentier said of his first IRL podium finish at Richmond. "It was a huge improvement for us and we kept it all weekend. Hopefully, that will carry on to different tracks. We seem to be a bit weaker on longer tracks, but I think we'll be a bit better now."

Carpentier, who jumped to the IRL this season after a long career in Champ Cars, had finished well back in the pack in his previous three races and was clearly struggling with the adjustment to the IRL, which runs nearly all on oval tracks.

Now, Carpentier has no regrets about the move. Some had wondered why he didn't jump at the chance to return to Champ Cars to replace Bruno Junqueira when the Brazilian driver was injured at the Indy 500.

"The reason I decided to come to IRL is to compete wheel-to-wheel (on oval tracks)," said Carpentier. "I didn't really get the chance to earlier in the year.

"I was a bit disappointed until what happened the last race. I was so happy I nearly didn't sleep at all Saturday night. I don't regret my decision at all."

Even news this week that Red Bull engine supplier Toyota was dropping the IRL after the 2006 season didn't bother him.

" We kinda knew it," Carpentier said. "Toyota wants to go to NASCAR and they've been preparing for that for years. There are other engine manufacturers that have shown interest and I'm sure they'll take their place." Autonet.ca

Danica Patrick must produce soon Danica Patrick must produce soonDanica Patrick may want to start looking in her rearview mirror.  And not, as some of her more chauvinist critics might suggest, to make sure her lipstick is on right. No, she needs to look because the window of opportunity which opened so wide for her in Indianapolis may be beginning to close ever so slightly.

Two rookie-like performances for the most celebrated — and most photographed — rookie ever in auto racing have taken a bit of an edge off of Danicamania as the Indy Racing League series heads to Kansas City for a Fourth of July weekend race.

There’s no need to panic just yet, but if Patrick is not competitive this weekend on a track where she and her team expect to do well, the beauty behind the wheel may begin to fade just a bit.

After all, fourth place in the Indianapolis 500 and a provocative magazine layout can only take a girl so far. If she doesn’t run well again soon, they might be forced to put an actual race winner on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

It’s not so much that Patrick has to win, but that people now expect her to. They figure if she can lead the Indy 500 late in the race, there’s no reason she can’t win Sunday at the Argent Mortgage Indy 300.  “It would just make a great story and go along with the interest and hype the year has had,” Patrick herself admitted in a conference call Tuesday. MSNBC

Jordan hopes to increase presence with Inmedia Jordan hopes to increase presence with InmediaInmedia will be official media supplier to the Jordan Formula One team and deliver SNG services during the 2005 British Grand Prix.  The content management and delivery company is to provide facilities for filming, editing and interviews with the team’s drivers.  “Inmedia’s communications expertise and its flexible and cost-effective SNG services will vastly increase our media presence during the British Grand Prix,” says Jordan’s commercial director Christian Geistdoerfer.

“The team’s sponsors and Jordan are keen to reach as broad an audience as possible and these media services help us achieve this.”  John Dunlop, Inmedia’s head of marketing services, said: “SNG is the ideal solution for special sporting fixtures and I look forward to extending the Jordan team’s global reach at future events.”

New upgrades for Williams in France New upgrades for Williams in FranceWilliams drivers Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber will be boosted by new parts on their FW27 cars for this weekend's French Grand Prix. The Grove-based team has produced a further upgrade of its aerodynamic package and are confident of being able to challenge Renault and McLaren for victory. Both Heidfeld and Webber have had a below-par start to the season due to a lack of speed from the FW27, but technical director Sam Michael is confident that the new parts will finally unleash its potential and give the drivers are car capable of winning.

"The team has been testing at Jerez, in Spain, last week with Antonio Pizzonia and Nick Heidfeld in an effort to further improve the FW27," Michael said. "We will have some aerodynamic improvements that are part of our on-going development program to bring performance to the car."
Mark Webber has welcomed the upgrades as he continues his quest for a maiden Formula One victory. "We are quite excited by the prospect of some new aero parts on the car," he said. "I hope we're able to get the most out of them and enjoy a good start to the return of the European part of the championship."

Cup drivers to race winged Sprints Cup drivers to race winged SprintsIn a classic return to their roots, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Dave Blaney will climb behind the wheel of winged sprint cars at Eldora Speedway.  On Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the “Old Spice Sprint Sizzler,” the trio, all of whom have extensive Eldora experience in the 700-plus horsepower, methanol-burning machines, will be actively competing within the National Racing Alliance (NRA) Sprint Invader sanctioned event at Stewart’s speedway.  All three drivers have repeatedly emphasized that sprint car racing was very influential in developing their careers.  Success in sprint car racing is attributed to keen driver reflexes and the ability to preserve the life of one’s all-important right rear tire while maneuvering wheel-to-wheel through intense traffic. News-Banner
F1 tire spat rumbles on F1 tire spat rumbles onF1's governing body has struck back in a war of accusation over last Sunday's Indy fiasco. Although welcoming news that Michelin will repay fans' ticket money, the FIA - led by president Max Mosley - issued a statement on Wednesday 'strongly' rebuking Edouard Michelin's finger of blame.

The latest chapter in the melee coincides with the FIA world council meeting in Paris, at which Michelin's seven teams are charged with bringing the sport into disrepute.

In a reply to Edouard, Mosley said: ''Anyone with ... an appreciation of the legal climate in the US would know that a chicane was never an option.''

And, roasting Michelin's tire failures, he added that the Indy banking ''has been there for nearly 100 years. Did (Michelin) really not know the loads?

''We look forward to receiving ... technical information requested in our letter.''

In the June 21 letter in question to Pierre Dupasquier, Mosley alluded to alleged Michelin tire failures in testing, and other 'sidewall' problems since 2003.

And, perhaps casting more light on the teams' reported French GP boycott threat, Max said Magny Cours stewards may be invited to exclude Michelin clad cars if their tires are believed to be unsafe.

Patriotic Paint Scheme for Spirit of Daytona Patriotic Paint Scheme for Spirit of DaytonaThe Spirit of Daytona’s 09 Pontiac-powered Crawford is sure to wow the crowd at the Brumos Porsche 250 Thursday night with a new patriotic paint scheme. The 09 car, sponsored by Hawaiian Tropic, will be sporting a deep blue and silver base color with the American flag painted on its sides. The 09 car formally painted orange, needed the face lift. With the new colors the 09 car is ready for a fresh start and hoping to place again in the top ten. The season has not been as successful as the team had anticipated, but this Thursday night the 09 car is looking for a repeat of Mont Tremblant and to place favorably. The 09 DP will be driven by Doug Goad and Stephen Gregoire.

Team manager and owner, Troy Flis, comments on the changes, “ We decided to change the color from orange to blue and silver just for the pure idea of a change. In the past we won many races with our silver and blue number 09 Chevrolet Corvette, so hopefully that will happen again.” Flis is also excited to see how the new Hoosier tires will work with the repaved road course at Daytona. “With the new tires and repaved road course this will be a totally different race than in the past. Also this race being the halfway point in the season will allow us to apply everything we have learned from the first half of the season to this race and the rest of the season.”

The 07 car, sponsored by Waste Services, Inc., will be racing for another top ten finish as well at the Brumos Porsche 250 this Thursday night. The 07 Pontiac-powered Crawford DP placed in the top ten for the first time at Watkins Glen, Roberto Moreno drove the last laps putting in the fastest times of all the cars on the track. The 07 car is keeping its traditional white and green paint scheme but had it freshened up for the race this week. The 07 car will be driven by owner Bob Ward and Roberto Moreno. Both drivers put in seat time during the Rolex 24 in the 09 car and will be looking forward to driving at Daytona again.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Michelin give F1 fans refund
Formula Frantic in July
Kimi eyes French feat
Toyota pull plug on IRL
Indy 'embarrassing' - JB
'Middle of nowhere'
'F1 rival had Indy advantage'
No London F1 parade this year
Sun to shine on French GP
Industry News
Bahrain International Circuit changes in store Bahrain International Circuit changes in storeThe Bahrain International Circuit has a fully packed agenda on its calendar with an international line up of motorsport events to kick off by September and a much awaited expansion program to be rolled out.

'The agenda of the new board is to build on the success established in the past two years. Our goal is to further promote the circuit regionally and internationally and hence attract more businesses to Bahrain,' said Al Zain.

'The circuit has a huge potential of growth which can efficiently help Bahrain's economy move forward. Many projects are lined up adjacent to the circuit and that aim at promoting Bahrain on the world business map. The new board will be pumping in efforts to highlight the circuit's investment and business aspects portraying it as an investment destination,' he said.

The meeting discussed future plans to be undertaken by BIC's management including converting the areas surrounding the circuit into a tourism destination that includes hotels and other facilities of a commercial nature.

'On the motorsport front, BIC will be hosting a number of international events starting September this year. The events will offer the spectators a wider scope of motorsports worldwide while maintaining our position as the leading project of its kind regionally and globally,' he further commented.

Al Zain, an investment banker with the international bank Investcorp, has taken over the role of Chairman from Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, the current President of the General Organization for Youth and Sports.  The change comes in light of the decision adopted by the Bahraini government earlier this month that states that ministers are no longer allowed to hold the position of chairman in government run or owned companies and establishments.

The board also included four new members, the president of the Bahrain Motor Federation, Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa; Talal Kanoo, head of Al Ahli football team and an entrepreneur; Tim Matter, an entrepreneur, and Raed Al Samaheji, an entrepreneur.  The members replace Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa, who was appointed earlier this month as the Chairman of the Economic Development Board, James Hogan, the Chief Executive of Gulf Air and Sood Kanoo, an entrepreneur.

Repsol renews with Honda Repsol renews with HondaRepsol YPF will continue its title sponsorship of the Honda factory MotoGP team after an agreement was reached for a new two-year partnership for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The highly successful 11-year partnership between the Honda Racing Corporation and the Repsol YPF brand has brought eight 500cc and MotoGP titles, 90 race victories in the premier class and 130 podium finishes.

HRC Managing Director, Mr. Satoru Horiike commented: "After 11 years with Repsol, HRC is very pleased to continue the relationship with a new agreement from the 2006 season. He continued: "The Repsol Honda team has enjoyed record-breaking success in the past 11 years and it is our intention to continue this. Repsol Honda is an established brand and we are very happy to be able to continue the growth of this image in the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing."

Penske reaffirms commitment to the IRL Penske reaffirms commitment to the IRLYesterday, Toyota Motorsports announced that they will be withdrawing from major American open-wheel competition at the conclusion of the 2006 IRL season. The departure will come after being involved in open-wheel racing in the United States since 1994.  “Toyota has been a true partner of our organization in many respects.  Although they have declared their intentions beyond 2006, they have assured us that they will continue to support our efforts to win,” said Tim Cindric, President – Penske Racing, Inc. “Penske Racing is fully committed to the Indy Racing League and we will continue to evaluate our engine options for the future.” Marlboro Team Penske
Industry News
Ferrari owner wants money back Ferrari owner wants money backA German businessman who bought a brand new Ferrari is demanding his money back because it only goes 175mph.  Berlin businessman Joerg Winterberg, 60, is unhappy his £111,000 Ferrari Challenge Stradale didn't reach the advertised 186mph.  He said: "I could have bought a Porsche for far less and still had the same performance. I want my money back.

"The prospectus promised the car could reach 186 mph, but in reality it can only go up to 175 mph."  Ferrari have denied there is anything wrong with the car and have refused to give the businessman his money back.  He is now taking the company to court after an independent expert also found the sports car could not go at the speeds promised.  German motorists can travel at whatever speed they like on the country's famous autobahns. Ananova

RCR shop manager dies RCR shop manager diesRichard Childress Racing's (RCR) fabrication shop manager Paul Wise passed away this morning after a brief illness. He was 58. Wise was employed by RCR since January 2003 after spending two-and-a-half years in a similar position with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. All six RCR cars competing this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, will carry "In Memory of Paul Wise" decals. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 30, at Charity Baptist Church, 2420 Brantley Road in Kannapolis, N.C. The Rev. R.J. Hammond and the Rev. Gene Beaver will officiate. The body will be placed in the church one hour prior to the service. Internment will follow at Carolina Memorial Park in Kannapolis. The family will receive friends from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday, June 29, at Charity Baptist Church.

Born Jan. 6, 1947, in Cabarrus (N.C.) County, Wise was the son of C. Winfred Wise and Ethel Howell Wise of Kannapolis. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War and was a recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal. He worked with many NASCAR teams during his career. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Paula Jean Wise, Feb. 14, 1975.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his wife, Barbara Austin Wise; son, Jason Paul Wise and wife, Brittany Cromer Wise, and granddaughter, Jayleigh Austin Wise of Kannapolis; sister, Anne W. Watts and husband, Charles, of Raleigh; brothers, Phil Wise and wife, Lynda, of Kannapolis and Mark Wise and wife, Derlene, of Raleigh; along with 13 nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be sent to the American Cancer Society, Dancers for Cancer, c/o Carolina Dance, 2353 Concord Lake Road, Suite 110, Concord, N.C. 28025. RCR

NASCAR fines four more cheaters NASCAR fines four more cheatersNASCAR announced Tuesday that penalties have been issued to four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs resulting from rule violations during opening day inspection at Infineon Raceway on June 24. Doug Richert, crew chief of the #16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle, was fined twice for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-17.2 (unapproved seat belt) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. He was fined $1,000 for an expired manufacturer’s date on the lap belt and another $1,000 for an expired manufacturer’s date on the shoulder harness. Philippe Lopez, crew chief of the #07 Chevrolet driven by Dave Blaney, was fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) for an unapproved steering wheel. Rodney Childers, crew chief of the #10 Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs, and Pat Tryson, crew chief of the #6 Ford driven by Mark Martin, were each fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q for unapproved fire suppression agents. NASCAR PR
Andretti to drive in truck race Andretti to drive in truck raceJohn Andretti will drive the #15 Chevy Silverado of winning owner Billy Ballew in Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. The truck has won twice in the series this season but is unsponsored for the Kansas event. This will be the first start for Andretti in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Where is IRL's Toyota press release? Where is IRL's Toyota press release?A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The IRL puts out a press release for every minutia imaginable. I read Toyota's but I’m still waiting on their press release that Toyota is leaving their series. I never saw one for Chevy's departure either. Talk about sweeping the truth about their floundering series under the table. Jeff Perkins, Minneapolis, MN
ESPN2’s coverage of Richmond event shows increase ESPN2’s coverage of Richmond event shows increaseESPN2's coverage of Saturday's SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race from Richmond International Raceway had a ratings increase of 100 percent vs. 2004 according to Nielsen Media Research.  Saturday's race coverage garnered a 0.4 rating compared to last year's 0.2 rating, marking the third straight race that the IndyCar Series has shown a dramatic increase in ratings.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 40 of the country's top 56 markets stayed the same or saw an increase in ratings for the Richmond race vs. 2004 with eight of those markets showing an increase of at least 200 percent. Ratings in 11 of the metered markets doubled over the  2004 rating. IRL [Editor's Note:  Ratings increase probably due to Danica Patrick and a 0.2 increase is miniscule no matter how the IRL wants to spin it.]

Q and A with Greg Biffle Q and A with Greg BiffleGreg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus, took the points lead after finishing 14th at Sonoma on Sunday.  Biffle holds a 22-point lead over Jimmie Johnson going into this weekend's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus - YOU'VE HAD SOME SUCCESS AT DAYTONA.  "We're excited about going to Daytona.  Restrictor-plate racing is not my favorite, but Daytona is a fun place to go and race.  It's the same thing there as everywhere else, but it's more about staying out of trouble and trying to stay out of the big wreck.  You want to keep the fenders on it and be able to be there at the end, and that's the biggest challenge for Daytona." 

PEOPLE ALWAYS CALL THAT A WILD-CARD RACE, BUT WITH YOUR POSITION IN POINTS AT LEAST YOU HAVE A CUSHION.  "Yeah, I do.  I wasn't worried as much about Sonoma as I am about Daytona.  Even though I started in the back last week, I'm more worried going there because you can get caught up in somebody else's stuff so easy and so quickly, and a lot of times it's out of your hands.   We'll see what happens.  I think we're gonna have a good car going there, so we'll see." 

HENDRICK AND DEI HAVE BEEN THE TOP TEAMS AT THESE RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACES.  HAVE YOU GUYS CLOSED THE GAP?  "I think we've closed the gap some, but I think Hendrick is definitely holding the flag on that restrictor-plate race, but we're taking our Bud Shootout car there.  It ran well in the Bud Shootout and I think it's gonna run well this week." 

RUNNING ON SATURDAY NIGHT WILL BE DIFFERENT THAN THE 500.  "I like racing at night.  It's a fun race at night down there and I'm taking a good car that I feel good about.  I know it's gonna handle good and that's the key there."

IRL’s Priestley now in Champ Car camp IRL’s Priestley now in Champ Car campIt was announced today that Jason Priestley (who almost died in an IRL IPS car), an actor who first made his mark in the hit FOX Television series “Beverly Hills 90210”, will be Grand Marshal of the 2005 CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare. This is the first year the Grand Prix of Denver has featured a national celebrity as Grand Marshal.

Priestley who hails from Vancouver, Canada, has a passion for racing, the Champ Car World Series, and Denver. “I’ve always enjoyed attending Champ Car races and being a part of race weekend festivities,” said Priestley. “Denver is one of my favorite places to visit and I’m thrilled to be a part of this year’s Grand Prix. If you’ve never been to a Grand Prix, you need to come down and be engulfed by all the energy and excitement.”

As Grand Marshal for the Grand Prix of Denver, Priestley’s role will include hosting the Celebrity Bowling, Billiards and Texas Hold ‘Em charity tournament on Wednesday, August 10 at Lucky Strike Lanes. Teams of celebrities and corporate partners will compete for prizes, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be split between the Grand Prix of Denver Foundation and the winning celebrity’s charity of choice.

“It is an absolute pleasure to have Jason come to Denver in support of the Grand Prix,” said Jim Freudenberg, general manager of the Grand Prix and personal friend of Priestley’s. “Jason has agreed to lend his support to the multitude of charitable activities we have going on during the month of August and help make this year’s Grand Prix an integral part of this city’s landscape.”

Priestley will be the celebrity judge for the elite car show known as the Rocky Mountain Concours presented by Bridgestone from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 11 on Larimer Square.

Priestley will also serve as the master of ceremonies for his close friend, Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies, who will headline the concert on Saturday, August 13 at the Universal Lending Pavilion. Traditional Grand Marshal duties take place on Sunday, August 14 as Priestley gives the command, “Gentlemen…Start Your Engines!” at the Champ Car World Series race. [Editor's Note: Priestley has said he still wants to road race, but he is done with ovals. Perhaps we will see him in an Atlantic car before long.]

Michelin to refund money Michelin to refund moneyOn the eve of the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on Wednesday, Michelin has released the following press release.  "One week after the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Michelin wishes to make a sincere gesture of goodwill towards the people present at the GP, a group whose passion for F1 is encouraging in the development of this sport in the United States.

Therefore, on our own initiative and in total solidarity with our partners, we have taken two decisions:

1. Michelin has decided to contribute to the costs incurred by the spectators present at the circuit on Sunday June 19th 2005 by offering to refund their tickets. This is an important decision, since Michelin is not at all legally bound to do this.  Michelin deeply regrets that the public was deprived of an exciting race and therefore wishes to be the first, among the different groups involved in the Indianapolis race, to make a strong gesture towards the spectators.

2. Michelin also offers to buy 20,000 tickets for the 2006 U.S. Grand Prix to be given to spectators who were present at the Indianapolis race in 2005. We are offering this to promote further Formula 1 interest in the United States.
We would also like to take this opportunity to underline the fact that it is unacceptable that our partner teams have been accused by the FIA of having boycotted the Indianapolis Grand Prix. The reality is that together, Michelin and its partners have done everything possible to assure that the race could take place in total safety.

We are extremely disappointed that the proposals made with all our teams were not accepted. These proposals, including a chicane, were technically viable and totally met all safety requirements. On Sunday morning, June 19, the sporting authority had all the means necessary to preserve the interest of the race. And yet, the sporting authority rejected the proposed solutions. Why? In our view this is totally incomprehensible and reflects a lack of respect for the spectators.

It is the spirit of respect for the spectators that brought us, with our partners, to propose solutions to allow the race to take place in total safety. It is this same spirit that leads us today to make this gesture." Michelin

Red Bull team pans the French GP Red Bull team pans the French GPWhat follows is an unexpurgated version of the team's take on Magny-Cours, Nevers and France in general....

"According to American writer Mark Twain "France has usually been governed by prostitutes", which is a bit unfair, when everyone knows France has been governed by Asterix the Gaul, his son Charles de Gaulle, Sacha Distel, Brigitte Bardot, that actor with a big nose and singer Johnny Halliday.

"Ah! la belle France. The return to Europe for what will be the bulk of the season sees us in the country that can claim to have invented grand prix racing around a century ago.

"Unfortunately, the area around the Magny-Cours circuit does not seem to have changed much over those hundred years, and the social scene at this event is about the dullest of the year. It is a great place if you like to look at cows and, of course, being French cows, they are very chic, with lovely long eyelashes and a tan skin color.

"Apart from the drivers, who get to hang out in a modern hotel outside the circuit gates, everyone else is scattered around the local countryside, staying in accommodation that the travel agents describe as 'picturesque'. Picturesque is evidently French for 'broken plumbing and dangerous electricity'.... However, the run-down old chateaux do showcase what France does best, namely food and drink, and sipping a cold drink in a landscaped garden is a pleasant way to end the day, after the usual round of bars and restaurants in North America.

"The nearest town to the circuit is Nevers and, if you pronounce it the English way, it perfectly describes how many times people want to come back here. For years, the F1 community was spoilt, as the French Grand Prix used to be held down on the Riviera at the Paul Ricard circuit, which provided plenty of beach time, once the working day was over. The French, therefore, have never been forgiven for moving the race to an industrial estate in the middle of the countryside, in an attempt to make it a technology hot spot. A referendum in the paddock about the circuit would produce the same result as the recent French vote on accepting the European constitution....

"There is nothing much wrong with the circuit itself, which boasts the smoothest track surface of the season, offers excellent safety for the drivers and has a spacious and immaculate paddock. The French round of the world championship often has trouble getting a good crowd as most of the population has escaped to the coast for les vacances, and the race date clashes with the Wimbledon tennis finals weekend and the first week of the Tour de France cycle race. This year, the grand prix will also lack a local hero as, for the first time in many years, there is not a single French driver on the F1 grid, although Olivier Panis is being given a run in the third Toyota during Friday practice. Red Bull Racing

CompUSA to sponsor Watkins Glen race CompUSA to sponsor Watkins Glen raceWatkins Glen International President Craig Rust announced today that CompUSA®, will serve as the title sponsor of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race, on Friday, August 12th during the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen event weekend. The CompUSA 200 will take the Green Flag at 6:00 pm.

“CompUSA is new sponsor of ours and we appreciate their confidence in us to be a new marketing partner. We’re fortunate to have them as the title sponsor of this exciting race on the largest motorsports weekend in New York State,” said Rust. “Traditionally this race is one of the best all season because we see a lot of drivers crossover from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series into the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' Daytona Prototypes.”

CompUSA will have a special interest in the outcome of the event as they are the primary sponsor on the Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing Lexus-Riley, #01, Daytona Prototype, driven by Scott Pruett and Louis Diaz. Pruett was one of the defending champions during the 2004 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen earlier this month and is a 2004 series champion.

Kansas City preview Kansas City previewThe IRL IndyCar Series continues its 10th season of competition with the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 on Sunday, July 3 at Kansas Speedway. This will be the IndyCar Series’ fifth visit to Kansas City, which has played host to the IndyCar Series since 2001. The 1.5-mile oval has produced some of the closest racing in series history with three races finishing with a margin of victory of less than 0.2 of a second. It’s that close racing that makes Kansas Speedway a challenge as described in the following first-person narratives:

THE DRIVER: Vitor Meira came within inches of winning his first IndyCar Series race last year at Kansas Speedway and enters the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 hoping to continue his good fortune. Meira, who is currently tied for seventh in the series point standings, finished second in last season’s photo-finish with his teammate Buddy Rice.

“It was really a cool race. To repeat it would be OK, but I would rather be in his position this time. In the last 20 laps, the first thing that came to mind was who was beside me. It’s always much more comfortable with your teammate. Buddy has always been a fair player with me, and he’s been with everybody. You start to analyze who’s around so you know what to do to get that little advantage.

“I didn’t lift once from the restart (Lap 185) to the end; not even a centimeter. All you can do is play with lines, play with drafting and play with your car a little to free it up. I did that and he did that. It makes you antsy because you’re full throttle for 20 laps. He was defending the line pretty good. I was a little faster, but I was on the outside. You race different in that situation. The first guy you have to respect is your teammate. If it wasn’t my teammate, I was going to squeeze more, be more aggressive. I was careful about not crashing. I was leaving Buddy space, and he did the same for me. I was not really worried about Tony (Kanaan) getting past. With me on the outside and Buddy on the inside, there’s really no place to go. I was just checking the mirrors to see if everything was OK. Because I was trying lines and different things on the car, I asked the spotter to tell me who crossed the line in front so I could tell what I did on the lap was good or not. When you’re that close, it’s hard to see who crossed the line in front.

“After the race, I was happy. Of course, being the winner would have been better, but I was happy because the team won as a whole. It can’t get better for the team on an Argent event weekend. If that was today, I would be a little more frustrated than I was at the time.”

THE ENGINEER: As Rahal Letterman Racing’s technical director, Tim Reiter oversees the engineering and technical efforts for all three of the team’s IndyCar Series efforts. Reiter, who served as the race engineer for team co-owner Bobby Rahal in the latter stages of his driving career, returned after a two-year absence as the race engineer for the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Honda-powered Panoz driven by Buddy Rice

“Kansas is not entirely different from a lot of the places we go. You have to make sure the car is consistent, and you have to get as much drag out of the car as you can. You like to run the car as low on the track as possible to get good lap times.

“You also have to be able to run in the heavy traffic, too. Fortunately, you don’t have to do too much to these cars to make them run well in traffic. There are a couple of tracks, where that is more of a problem, but Kansas really isn’t too bad. Usually because Kansas is so tight, and the field is very close, you don’t have to miss by much to get behind.

"The challenge is minimizing the potential errors that can occur. You have to have a car that’s balanced as possible, as neutral as possible. You can’t scrub any speed, and you have to stay with the cars running up front. It’s a very delicate balance.”
Michael has short memory Michael has short memoryA reader writes, I about fell out of my chair laughing after I read Michael Andretti's comments about the Indy F1 fiasco on the Latest F1 News In Brief page.  He told the Toronto Star that "it would never have happened" in the United States.  He goes on to say "You can't treat fans that way", and "we think about the fans."

Did Michael hit his head somewhere and develop amnesia?  Wasn't this the same Michael Andretti that orchestrated the walk out on the Champ Car race at Texas a few years ago?  I have heard his ramblings about the IRL lately and just shrugged it off as someone trying to promote his team and his series.  Now I think that he has seriously gone crazy. Chris Hibner, PA  Dear Chris, Andretti did not lead the charge to stop the Texas race, but he certainly didn't do everything possible to ensure the race went ahead as planned either.  He joined in the press conference saying why they should not race.  Mark C.

Beijing in massive spruce up Beijing in massive spruce upChamp Car will see massive improvements to Beijing between its first race in 2006 and 2008 when the Olympics come to Beijing.  Beijing plans to raise $40 billion for 860 infrastructure projects ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

A massive $22 billion will go to the transportation sector. The city will build 132 km of urban railways and subways and upgrade 1,230 km of expressways and highways, reports China Construction News.

The energy sector will receive $6 billion and water control projects will get $2.2 billion.  $2 billion will be spent on improving the environment and another $1.9 billion will be used to dismantle 69 villages.   Investment in postal and telecommunications projects will total 5.2 billion.  The city had already spent more than $1.3 billion on more than 10 infrastructure projects by the end of March.

SHOES FOR CREWS Sponsors Synergy Racing SHOES FOR CREWS Sponsors Synergy RacingBefore Synergy Racing’s last visit to Daytona International Speedway, the team announced SHOES FOR CREWS® had signed on as an associate sponsor. This week the Florida-based company will step up its support of the team as primary sponsor of the points-leading No. 80 Porsche for Thursday night’s Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona.
“SHOES FOR CREWS is thrilled to be the primary sponsor of the GT leading No. 80 Porsche,” said Matt Smith, SHOES FOR CREWS president. “We are especially proud of the fact that the entire Synergy team is wearing SHOES FOR CREWS Slip-Resistant Footwear to prevent slips and falls in the pits on oil, grease or water. The team is performing more efficiently, because they are not losing precious time slipping around the pits, and they are working safer.”
“We started working with SHOES FOR CREWS earlier this year and are really pleased to have them come back for more at Daytona,” said Cole Scrogham, Synergy Racing team owner. “They have a quality product that traditionally has performed as a no-slip answer to issues in the restaurant industry, but I think they will find a home in the racing community as well.
“We had a contest to see how the shoes worked on an oily floor at the shop; not going to say who won but the real winner was the no-slip design,” Scrogham added.
Dyson Racing to keep after Audis Dyson Racing to keep after AudisIt has been more than a month since Dyson Racing's historic day in the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio. Not only did Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver give Dyson its third ALMS victory and not only did the AER-powered No. 16 Lola beat both Champion Racing Audis. But Dyson's second entry, the No. 20 Lola of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson, came in second for the team's first 1-2 finish in the ALMS.

Now the Dyson gang heads for home and Lime Rock Park, site of the New England Grand Prix. Heading into Round 4 of the 2005 ALMS, the Dyson team and its drivers are firmly entrenched in the series' LMP1 championship standings.

"It was a great result for the team and it's given us a tremendous boost," Chris Dyson said of the Mid-Ohio result. "We're in the hunt for the championship, and it's our intention to get out in front and stay there in the next few races. No one has come down from the buzz. Our goal as a team is to win races and win championships."

It could be close between the New York-based Dyson squad and their colleagues at Champion Racing, which is coming off a pretty big win of its own, the overall title in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As it stands, Wallace trails Champion teammates JJ Lehto and Marco Werner by 3 points. Leitzinger and Weaver are another 2 points back.

In the battle for the P1 team championship, Champion leads Dyson by 4 points as the ALMS enters its critical July stretch with three races in five weeks.

"We're really happy for Dave Maraj and Champion Racing to do so well at Le Mans," said Dyson, who is 6 points behind Lehto and Werner. "We haven't had the distraction of Le Mans and have been able to focus on our North American effort. It would be tremendous to win the race (at Lime Rock), and that's our goal."

In his mind, Dyson believes part of the reason for the team's strong start lies in its switch to Michelin tires for 2005. The team has spent a good deal of time rebalancing the car on the new Michelins, Dyson said, and has learned more and more about the new rubber in each of the three previous races of 2005.

"Michelin is at the top of the game in sports car racing, and we expected to be right on pace," he added. "With Michelin, we're in a better position to contend for wins and championships. We were expecting to win Road Atlanta and went to Sebring thinking we had a pretty good chance. We had the car to beat at Atlanta but couldn't get it done."

A lap around Magny-Cours A lap around Magny-CoursMcLaren's Kimi Raikkonen describes a lap of Magny-Cours
"A burst of acceleration along the short pit straight at Magny-Cours sees you reach 273km/h in fifth gear on the approach to Grand Courbe, before dabbing the brakes slightly to take the flat out long left hander."  

"The sweeping right hander of Estoril follows immediately, and you must keep as much speed as possible as the corner swings you round 180-degrees onto the longest and fastest section of the track, Golf."

"Powering along the back straight, which has a gentle curve to the right, you reach speeds of 297km/h in seventh gear before braking hard for the Adelaide hairpin, which is a good overtaking opportunity. A first gear right hander, you pull some 4.2g as you slow to 80km/h to negotiate the tight bend."

"You push hard on the throttle as you exit, reaching 260km/h in fifth gear along the straight, through the slight right kink, before dabbing the brakes for the fast Nürburgring chicane. You take the right-left weave at some 210km/h in fourth."

"Flicking up through the gears, you briefly touch 260km/h in fifth gear on the approach to the second hairpin. Wider than Adelaide, and therefore slightly quicker, the 180-degree left hander is taken at 88km/h in second gear."

On the power on the exit through another right-left weave, you reach 245km/h in fourth on the approach to the fast fourth gear Imola chicane. The track dips as you take the right-left chicane at 217km/h.

"A short burst of acceleration takes you to the Château d'Eau, the long right hander, which has been altered slightly, sees you slow from 225km/h in fourth to 96km/h in second. Accelerating out you reach 257km/h along the new approach to Lycée, which has a gentle curve to the left."

"We will have to brake hard for the sharp right of Lycée, which is taken at 80km/h in second, and leads back onto the start-finish straight, through a right-left kink, to begin another lap." McLaren

Rookie battle heats up in Champ Car Rookie battle heats up in Champ CarWith Champ Car’s current rookie crop sporting some of the strongest overall credentials in recent years - such as two ex-Formula 1 drivers in Timo Glock and Bjorn Wirdheim - the battle for Rookie Of The Year honors was expected to be one of the stiffest in recent memory. So far, the class of ‘05 is delivering on that promise, even though the present leader in the ROTY standings can be considered a surprise.

18-year-old Andrew Ranger always displayed speed during his first full season of Toyota Atlantic racing last year, but the fact he went winless for the whole campaign indicated the young Canadian may need more experience before jumping up to the big leagues.

Ranger, who also topped the rookie ranks after Milwaukee, now leads Glock by just four points (69 vs. 65). They are shadowed by HVM’s Ronnie Bremer at 59, and the Dane could be even closer if he hadn’t been involved in the traditional first-corner melee at Cleveland - he ended up finishing 14th. His HVM teammate Wirdheim is also not too far back with 50 points.  The quartet will enter Toronto sitting 9th, 11th, 13th and 14th in the overall standings respectively. SPEEDTV.com

Quote of the week Quote of the week"Justin Wilson went everywhere today other than a convenience store.''  This line was made by one of the commentators on the CBS coverage of the Grand Prix of Cleveland Sunday referring to Wilson's wild race on the fast and wild Burke Lakefront Airport course. "Maybe I'll stop at the convenience store on my way to Edmonton,'' he laughed. "That was pretty interesting,'' said the former Formula 1 driver. "If the one in Edmonton is anything like this ... That was one of the most frenzied races I've ever experienced. But it was good fun. If you want to watch a wild race, this is the place. I'm looking forward to it in Edmonton.''
Button and Coulthard In Plane Scare Button and Coulthard In Plane ScareUPDATE It turned out to be a malfunctioning coffee machine. 06/28/05 Jenson Button and David Coulthard were involved in a plane scare last week when the private jet they were using was forced to make an emergency landing at Madrid Airport.  The two drivers were returning from the final day of testing at Jerez back to England to take part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed when their plane hit problems shortly after take off.

Although there has been no official confirmation, it is understood that the cabin began to fill with smoke, possibly caused by a small fire on board and the pilots took the precaution of making an emergency landing in Madrid.

The incident comes just four years after Coulthard was lucky to escape without serious injuries following a major plane crash at Lyons Airport, which killed the two pilots on board.

Petty and Jones altercation at Sonoma Petty and Jones altercation at SonomaWe [Yahoo Sports] were there to witness a post-race "discussion" between P.J. Jones and Kyle Petty outside of the Petty hauler. The two had gotten together early in the race and Jones was attempting to offer an apology to Petty, but Petty would have none of it, instead throwing a towel at Jones and grabbing him by the collar. A heated exchange followed and an extremely angry Petty had to be restrained. Father Richard stepped in and calmed everyone down. Yahoo Sports
Petty and Earnhardt Terrace seats on sale Petty and Earnhardt Terrace seats on saleThe seats with the greatest views in motorsports are on sale now at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Tickets in the new Richard Petty Terrace and Dale Earnhardt Terrace are available to all race fans wanting to attend next year's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup event and the Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race.  The seats offer excellent sight lines of the entire speedway and a panoramic view of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. While sanction agreements for the NASCAR Nextel Cup/Busch Series events have not yet been signed, the dates for the 2006 NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas are tentatively set for March 10-12.  While it's unlikely that those time slots would change, dates are not official until the signing of the sanction agreements.  LVMS will make an announcement as soon as the dates become final. "Now that our weekend renewal process is complete, we can turn our attention to selling the remaining seats in these incredible grandstands," said LVMS General Manager Chris Powell. "The Earnhardt Terrace has been met with rave reviews since it opened for the 2004 events, and we expect the Petty Terrace to receive the same accolades as the Earnhardt Terrace." Race fans who purchase tickets for the Petty and Earnhardt terraces also will receive tickets to Pole Day during the spring event as well as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in the fall of 2006. All Petty and Earnhardt terrace ticket holders will have the opportunity to renew their seats each year. All other tickets for the 2006 NASCAR Weekend will go on sale Sept. 12. Fans can buy their tickets by calling the speedway box office at 1-800-644-4444 or by logging onto www.lvms.com.
Michelin protests to FIA Michelin protests to FIAEdouard Michelin, the man in charge of the giant Michelin tire company, has sent a letter to the FIA regarding recent confidentiality breaches:

"I feel necessary to let you know how discontented I was of both the nature of your contentions - which are based on mere allegations - and the suspicious and inappropriate tone employed," Michelin wrote. "Michelin is very disappointed about the way the United States Grand Prix turned out. However, safety is and has always been the first priority for Michelin; it will never change its stance on this principle, whether for tires for competition or for any other purpose. It is Michelin's reputation for excellence, its refusal to compromise on quality or thoroughness that have made Michelin the leading manufacturer of tires in the world."

"Your telefax addresses sensitive issues and raises the importance of confidentiality in addressing these matters," Michelin wrote. "It was brought to my attention that the 21 June 2005 correspondence was circulated widely in the press worldwide and on the Internet. Such disclosure, which contains erroneous allegations, may have damaging consequences on Michelin's reputation.

"Over the last days, you have repeatedly blamed us in the press, directly or indirectly. Will you at least recognize publicly that we have taken a courageous, honest and transparent stance for the safety of the pilots? I hope you will be fair enough to acknowledge that Michelin, with its seven partner teams, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Formula One Management and two other teams, did the maximum to preserve a true and safe race by proposing a very serious and pragmatic alternative. This is all the opposite of a boycott!

"Contrary to what is alluded in your publicized telefax, there is no reason to worry about the fundamental reliability of Michelin. I can confirm that Michelin will be present with safe and competitive tires at the forthcoming Grand Prix races".

Schumacher happy with testing progress Schumacher happy with testing progressMichael Schumacher last week conducted a two day series of tests. He worked on the set up of the car, the tires and on every detail ahead of the next two races, the Grand Prix of France and Great Britain. The two races are another twin appointment in this season’s calendar. “We made good progress at Barcelona," declared the reigning champion. “I don’t think that we can make a huge leap forward but we can certainly do better."

Michael then reflected on the North American races and the 18 points earned: “I am very pleased about that. It means that we have made good progress. The title race is now a little more open as Canada and the United States were good for us. However, we have to avoid becoming overly optimistic. The gap to the overall leader, Fernando Alonso, is a big one. The road is still long. At least we are now in a better situation in the championship. This is to our credit as we have never stopped battling and will not stop in future."

France is the first of four races that will be held over the next five weeks. Many believe that the month of July will prove decisive but Michael does not share this view. “This year there are so many races, even after July, that it makes no sense saying that next month will be decisive. We will try to do our best at Magny Cours and will see what we can get out of it." Ferrari

Ralf back in action as Panis runs Friday Ralf back in action as Panis runs FridayFresh from its North American adventure, the F1 circus this week returns to Europe for the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. The circuit, which began hosting the race in the Nineties, is based close to the town of Nevers, but is more often described as being located well within the French equivalent of ‘the middle of nowhere.'

Until the grand prix fraternity arrives, that is. Panasonic Toyota Racing will have something for the local fans and media to cheer as Olivier Panis will be making a special one-off appearance in place of Ricardo Zonta as the third driver for Friday practice.

Panis, who knows Magny-Cours better than any driver in the sport thanks to his time based there with the old Ligier team, will use that experience to help the team prepare for the weekend. Race drivers Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher will hope to benefit and make sure the team leaves with yet more points.

Jarno Trulli has a long association with France after spending so much time at French teams during his career. He now hopes Toyota's return to Europe will result in a return to the points after his pole position in the USA.

Ralf Schumacher will return to action at Magny-Cours after missing out on the US Grand Prix as a precaution due to his crash in Friday practice. The German skipped last week's Jerez test and is now back to full fitness.
Jarno Trulli
"I enjoy racing in France and Magny-Cours is the definition of a technical F1 circuit, with pretty much every kind of corner that you can get. There are some fast chicanes with quick changes of direction, there are slow hairpins and fast sweeping bends. That means that it is an enjoyable circuit for driving an F1 car. The track is famous for having one of the smoothest surfaces on the F1 calendar. That makes life slightly more comfortable than usual within the cockpit and means we can push the ride heights pretty low. The car itself needs to be able to react well to every type of corner. You need responsive handling and a good change of direction, especially through the faster sections, which are the most crucial parts for improving the lap time. I've spent a lot of time working for French teams in my career and I also speak French so I have a lot of support in France and it almost feels like another home race. I'm fairly optimistic and I hope to be able to come away with another good points finish to keep our season going well."

Ralf Schumacher
"I'm fully recovered from my accident during Friday practice for the US Grand Prix and I'm looking forward to getting back to racing in France. Magny-Cours is not my favorite track of the year, but the French Grand Prix is one of six races which I have won in my career so far. I also took my first F1 pole there in 2001. I did not take part in last year's event, so this week's race will mark my first trip since I won in 2003. After Canada and Indy, two low downforce circuits, Magny-Cours marks a return to higher downforce levels. The track does not pose any unique challenges to the driver, but it is characterized by its extremely smooth asphalt. This naturally means a less bumpy ride for us drivers in the race, but it also means that the performance of the track can differ considerably depending on the weather and track temperature. It is hard to know how we will perform there this year, but our overall package is still competitive with half of the season now gone, so we will certainly be looking for more points."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director Chassis
"This is the start of the most intense month we have seen in F1, with events in France, Britain, Germany and Hungary throughout July. Such time constraints add extra pressure on to the entire team. The race personnel barely have time to find their feet as they move around Europe, and of course the staff at the factory in Cologne must work at quadruple the rate to develop our TF105. We are prepared for this challenge, though, and will not get complacent about our level of performance."

"We have a car that is capable of finishing every race on the podium, so we have to head to the French Grand Prix with that in mind. Magny-Cours will see us revert back to a standard set-up with fairly high levels of downforce. There are two medium-high speed chicanes which demand a good change of direction from the car. We have to balance the wing level to make that possible while retaining good straight line speed into the Adelaide hairpin."

"It's not easy to pass at Magny-Cours, so we have to again look at qualifying in the top 6 or 8 and then implement a strong race strategy to make up further positions during the pit stops. Podiums are by no means out of the question and they should be our target as we head into the second half of this grueling 19-race season." Toyota

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ralf keen on smooth return
Let's test at Indy - Michelin
DC, Button in plane scare
Red Bull blast France
F1 teams to meet
Jordan fans disappointed
Revival road is 'long' - Schu
India 'no' to free TV for F1
Rubens' 'big fight'
F1 dead in US - Andretti
BMW to plough on at Grove
Champ Car in F1-fiasco coup
Alonso expects tough battle

DC regrets joining McLaren
Surfers by the numbers Surfers by the numbersSome interesting statistics about the Lexmark Indy 300:
15 - This year is the 15th Lexmark Indy 300

60 - More than 60 companies are contracted to supply a service at the Lexmark Indy 300 with the total number of employees close to 1000

2515- The circuit is constructed of 2515 concrete blocks which are moved to the track by semi-trailers.

60,000 – Corporate guests at the 2004 Lexmark Indy 300 consumed 60,000 bottles of soft drink supplied by Coca Cola.

50.43 million - $50.43 million is the total economic and tourism impact value the event generates.

Peugeot to run diesel sports cars Peugeot to run diesel sports carsPeugeot will return to Le Mans with a diesel-powered prototype in 2007. The French automaker, which is pulling out of the World Rally Championship at the end of the season, revealed last week its intention to return to a race it won in 1992-93. No details of the car or the engine have been announced, except that it will run Peugeot’s diesel particulate filter system. The engine is likely to be 5.5 liters, the maximum capacity allowed under the new diesel engine rules (Audi might build a diesel Le Mans challenger, too). A spokesman said Peugeot’s sporting arm, based at Velizy near Paris, is undertaking an evaluation program and the first car is unlikely to run before the end of 2006. AutoWeek
Toyota announces withdrawal from the IRL Toyota announces withdrawal from the IRLAfter 12 years of open-wheel racing in the United States, Toyota will withdraw from the sport following the 2006 Indy Racing League season, it was announced today.  Toyota will not be participating as an engine supplier to either of the major open-wheel sanctioning bodies in the United States after 2006.

"This was simply a decision to move in a different direction after having our major U.S. motorsports emphasis on open-wheel racing since 1994," said J. Davis Illingworth, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., senior vice president.  "Just as our participation in IMSA sports car racing ran its course after 12 years of participation, so has our U.S. open-wheel racing program after 12 years in the IRL and CART."

Toyota announced its decision to enter open-wheel racing in January 1994 with its entry into competition in 1996.     The decision to withdraw from open-wheel racing will not affect either the IndyCar Series engine development program for the remainder of 2005 or the 2006 season, or any of the current contracts that Toyota has with individual teams.  Toyota is in the process of reviewing how to re-allocate its resources for future motorsports plans.

A Chronological Look At Toyota's U.S. Open-Wheel Racing History
Aug. 1993 - Toyota begins feasibility study into entering CART competition
Jan. 1994  - Toyota announces it will enter CART competition in 1996
Feb. 1996 - Toyota makes first CART start at Homestead
Oct. 1999 - Scott Pruett wins Toyota's first CART pole at California Speedway
June 2000 - Juan Montoya wins Toyota's first CART race at Milwaukee
July 2000 - Juan Montoya wins Toyota's first 500-mile race at Michigan
April 2001 - Toyota announces it will enter Indy Racing League competition in 2003
2002 - Cristiano da Matta wins CART Driver's championship with Toyota power
2002 - Toyota wins CART Manufacturer's championship
March 2003 - Scott Dixon wins Toyota's debut IndyCar Series race at Homestead
May 2003 - Gil de Ferran wins the Indianapolis 500 in Toyota's first attempt
2003 - Scott Dixon wins IndyCar Series Driver's championship with Toyota power
2003 - Toyota wins IRL Manufacturer's championship Toyota

Champ Car makes big jump on Yahoo! Sports search Champ Car makes big jump on Yahoo! Sports search
Rank Subject 1-Day Move
1  Kendall Gill +244.76%
2  Morgan Pressel +163.40%
3  Kasey Kahne +132.24%
4  Champ Car +126.30%
5  Ricky Hatton +117.57%
6  Tony Stewart +116.89%
7  Mawi Fc +115.73%
8  Floyd Mayweather +97.28%
9  Jeff Gordon +90.98%
10  Texas Longhorns Baseball +87.65%
11  World Series +65.52%
12  Rusty Wallace +63.21%
13  NHRA +57.75%
14  NASCAR +56.13%
Dalziel brothers to debut at Daytona Dalziel brothers to debut at DaytonaScotland’s Ryan Dalziel will be hoping his third start in the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series proves to be the charm as the 23-year-old prepares for the ‘Brumos Porsche 250’ at Daytona International Speedway, the seventh round of the championship on Thursday, 30th June. A broken water line at Homestead and a failed brake rotor at Watkins Glen prevented Peter Baron’s SAMAX outfit and Dalziel from challenging for GT honors but Ryan hopes his Daytona debut can change the fortunes of the fledgling team! Racing the #61 SAMAX Porsche 996 GT3 Cup car, Ryan’s team-mate for Thursday night’s 250-mile charge round Daytona’s 3.56-mile road course is his older brother John, the elder Dalziel returning to road racing competition having competed in select ASA National Tour stock car events in America over the past couple of seasons.

Delighted to be given another opportunity to race for Peter Baron, Ryan’s Daytona excursion comes off the back of a busy weekend fulfilling his team consultant commitments with PKV Racing in the Champ Car World Series in Cleveland and precedes his regular sports car ride in the American Le Mans Series with Pacific Coast Motorsport, the Orlando-resident jetting directly to Lime Rock Park following Thursday night’s event to race the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R in the ‘New England Grand Prix’, 1st-4th July.

“It’s been a crazy few days that’s for sure,” Ryan explained. “We’ve been looking to put something together for both John and myself for a while now and I’m grateful to Peter for giving us the opportunity to partner together at Daytona. John and I have pursued slightly different career paths but I’m excited to see how the Dalziel boys perform together on Thursday.”

He continued: “The week started well with another positive Champ Car event with PKV Racing. This month has seen the team go from strength-to-strength, capturing their first pole position in Milwaukee then their first series win at Portland. They were looking good for the win on Sunday before da Matta’s retirement! Following Thursday’s race I get back to my ALMS duties with Pacific Coast Motorsport. We’re out in practice on Friday at Lime Rock Park before qualifying on Saturday and racing on Monday. I’m hoping we can enjoy another strong result in the privateer C5-R Corvette on Independence Day!”

For Ryan’s brother John, Thursday’s Daytona race offers an eagerly anticipated return to road course competition which began with a test opportunity for the 26-year-old at Moroso Motorsports Park with SAMAX earlier this year.

“I have to thank Peter for giving me the opportunity to return to my roots and get back into road racing,” John commented. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time competing on ovals over the past couple of years, racing in the ASA National Tour taught me a lot but as soon as I tested the Porsche a couple of months back I knew I wanted to return to this form of competition. It’s now down to me to take this opportunity and make an impression in the hope that I can secure additional races and gain more valuable seat-time in sports cars.”
Schedule change for USGP at Laguna Seca Schedule change for USGP at Laguna SecaA slight adjustment to the Friday schedule for the first MotoGP World Championship race in the U.S. since 1994 is reflected in the updated schedule of events released today for the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 8-10 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The major change involves the MotoGP World Championship, which will now take to the track on Friday for their first practice session at 10 a.m. (All times PDT)

Sunday, July 10 marks one of the most anticipated events in the 49-year history of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as round 8 of the MotoGP World Championship will take the green flag at 2 p.m. The race will be broadcast live in the U.S. on SPEED Channel and television coverage will reach over 300 million people in more than 200 countries.

Also included in the schedule are a number of free fan activities to ticket holders, highlighted by a live performance on Saturday evening from Smash Mouth, presented by Yamaha & HSBC. The Bay Area-band will perform their hits, including "All-Star" and "Then The Morning Comes" beginning at 6 p.m. on a temporary stage constructed near the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca scoring tower overlooking Turn 10.

Other free fan activities include Friday's Parts Unlimited Fan Party from 5-7 p.m. in the Parts Unlimited Chalet in Turn 5; a screening of the movie Faster on the viewing screens across from the Turn 4 grandstand at 7 p.m.; and an autograph session featuring motorcycle legends Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Steve Baker, and more as part of Yamaha's Weekend of Champions. The Weekend of Champions autograph sessions will take place Friday and Saturday from 9-10:30 a.m. and 12:30-2 p.m. and on Sunday from 9-10:30 a.m. and 12-1:30 p.m in the Yamaha Marketplace.

The historic weekend officially begins Friday, July 8 at 8 a.m. with a 30-minute practice session for the AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship and a 50-minute practice session for the AMA Superbike Championship. Reigning MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi and the rest of the MotoGP field take to the challenging 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course at 10 a.m., for the first of two Friday practice sessions.

The MotoGP field takes to the track twice again on Saturday, beginning with a third practice session of the weekend on Saturday at 10 a.m. Qualifying for Sunday's race takes place from 2-3 p.m. Also qualifying on Saturday are the AMA Repsol Superstock Series (9 a.m.) and AMA Superbike Championship (11:50 a.m.). Two races are a part of the Saturday schedule: the Yamaha & GE Financial Superstars of Super Karts at 3:10 p.m. and round 11 of the AMA Superbike Championship, a 28-lap race starting at 4:35 p.m.

Sunday's 32-lap MotoGP race will be preceded by the AMA Repsol Superstock Series contest at 11:30 a.m. and followed by the fifth and final race of the weekend - the AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship race at 3:30 p.m.

Tickets are still available for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix by calling (800) 327-SECA or logging onto www.laguna-seca.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Wheldon also gets ESPY nomination Wheldon also gets ESPY nominationDan Wheldon, driver of the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam car and winner of the 2005 Indianapolis 500, has been nominated in the "Best Driver" category for the 2005 ESPY Awards presented by ESPN. The nomination, Wheldon's first, comes on the heels of his record-breaking start in the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season.
Michelin completes Indy tire investigation Michelin completes Indy tire investigationMichelin has completed its investigations concerning the tires used at Indianapolis and has communicated the results of these investigations to its partner teams:

"The tires were not intrinsically flawed, but were insufficiently suited to the extreme racing conditions encountered through Turn 13 of the Indianapolis circuit this year."

Given the evolutions concerning the cars' aerodynamics, the regulations which govern the sport and the nature of the track surfaces, etc., Michelin carries out testing in the course of each season with a view to developing the tires which are the most suited to each event. Two key elements must be known about the Indianapolis circuit:

Turn 13, with its severe banking, is the only turn of its kind in a season of 19 races.
Testing at Indianapolis was not possible.

As a consequence, in order to define the specification of its tires for Indianapolis, Michelin had to carry out simulation work based on the results of less severe testing at other venues and on estimations concerning the specific conditions likely to be met at Indianapolis in 2005.

The Michelin investigations have revealed that the loads exerted on the rear left tire through Turn 13 at Indianapolis were far superior to the highest estimations of Michelin's engineers. This year, the situation through this corner turned out to be altered by the extreme combination of the speed, lateral acceleration and additional dynamic load. The tires which Michelin took were therefore insufficiently adapted to the extreme conditions of Turn 13 in 2005. This was a problem.

On the other hand, investigations concerning the materials and construction employed for the tires produced for Indianapolis have confirmed the absence of any anomaly. The tires did not have an intrinsic flaw but they were not insufficiently suited to turn 13.

Moreover, this analysis confirmed the pertinence of the tire solutions specified for all the other circuits.

In retrospect, this analysis perfectly validates the pertinence of the precautionary measures requested by Michelin and its partner teams in the interests of driver safety and fully confirms that the addition of a chicane at the entrance of Turn 13, which would have guaranteed lower speeds through Turn 13, would have enabled spectators not to be deprived of a high class competition, while at the same time guaranteeing the safety of the drivers.

As a consequence:

1. Based on these investigations, Michelin has revised its simulation model for 'banked' corners such as Turn 13 at Indianapolis in view of the special effects caused by this corner.

2. Michelin requests that it be possible in the future to undertake testing at Indianapolis before the Grand Prix.

3. Michelin confirms that it will be present with safe, competitive tires at the forthcoming Grand Prix races.

In conclusion, Michelin Competition's Director Mr. Pierre Dupasquier declared: "The problem was that we under-evaluated the extreme constraints to which tires were exposed through Turn 13 in the specific context of 2005. We are grateful to our partners for their work with us right up to the last moment to seek a solution that would have permitted the race to go ahead in total safety. We regret that the spectators did not see an exciting race. However, in keeping with its principles, Michelin did not sacrifice safety for performance." Michelin

McSwain wins Crew Chief award McSwain wins Crew Chief awardRicky Rudd was flying this weekend at Infineon Raceway. In his #21 Air Force Taurus, Rudd drove all the way from his twentieth place starting spot into the top-five. Rudd's biggest move of the race came with thirty-nine laps left in the event, when crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain made the gutsy call for his driver not to follow the leaders' pit strategy and had him remain on the track. Despite being close on fuel, Rudd never sputtered and hung on for a second-place finish. McSwain not only picked up his best finish of the season, but was awarded the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.

Rudd was riding in twenty-fourth place when the caution waved on lap sixty-nine. Even though the leaders all came into the pits for four tires and fuel, Rudd stayed out and took over the fourth position. He took advantage of his newfound track position and muscled his way into the lead. With questionable fuel remaining and a set of worn out Goodyears, Rudd held off a hard charging Tony Stewart for several laps, before eventually succumbing to the #20 machine. "We knew how many cautions we needed, and with ten (laps) to go, it didn't look like we were going to get any," said McSwain. "We ended up getting one with a few laps to go and it was a real quick one. I knew it would be close on gas. The guy who crunches my numbers for me said we were probably going to make it to the end, but run out after we take the checkered flag. Sure enough we ran out on the cool down lap going into (turn) one."

This was #21 team's best finish of the 2005 season. Despite having several good runs preempted with bad luck, McSwain wasn't surprised with his team's results this weekend. "Everybody's been working hard and putting a lot of effort into it," said McSwain. "We've been working on this car since March. We knew it was going to run awesome. It all came together today."
Valiante can't figure out why Champ Care shuns him Valiante can't figure out why Champ Care shuns himMichael Valiante can't figure out what he has to do to get a ride in the Champ Car World Series. The 25-year-old Vancouver native looked to have a seat in the Dale Coyne Racing Cosworth Lola when he was given that job at Portland International Raceway last week after Oriol Servia fled to Newman-Haas Racing to replace the injured Bruno Junqueira.

But the game of musical chairs, unfortunately, didn't stop there for Valiante. Valiante had thought that after his Portland stint -- where he finished a very respectable 11th for a team that hardly ever gets close to a top 10 -- he would be able to continue in the car through to at least the Toronto Molson Indy.

Even Coyne indicated after the race that he was happy with Valiante's performance. We are very pleased with Michael Valiante's performance both on and off the track at Portland," Coyne said. So how come out on the track yesterday at the Grand Prix of Cleveland there sat Brazilian Tarso Marques, even though Valiante was listed in the program as the driver of the No. 19 Coyne entry?

Valiante was back home in Vancouver and not available for comment. The word around the paddock was that Tarso simply went to Coyne and bought the ride out from under the Canadian. Although Coyne would not admit to it in his response to questions on the driver change.

"We will run this weekend with Tarso and are considering a few test days prior to a final decision before Toronto," he said. "We are keeping all of our options open as we look to put forth the most competitive effort possible for American Medical Response."

Toronto's Paul Tracy, for one, was upset at Valiante being shafted. He considers him a big part of the future for Canadian open-wheel racing. "The future for Canadian drivers in Champ Car is definitely (Andrew) Ranger and Valiante," Tracy told Canadian Press. "I'm impressed by both of them." Autonet.ca

Races a success in spite of TV ratings Races a success in spite of TV ratingsChamp Car officials left Portland a few days ago satisfied with their event at Portland International Raceway.    Feeling good — despite releasing the most realistic attendance figures ever distributed, 64,832 for the three days, or about half the figure the Rose Festival Association used to announce in the good years. While the Rose Festival’s numbers were always exaggerated, crowds easily exceeded 64,832.    Feeling good — even though the overnight ratings showed that only about 3,000 Portland homes tuned into CBS for the event. National Nielsen Media Research numbers showed the Champ Car race got a 0.4 rating, with 575,000 U.S. homes watching. The U.S. Open on NBC got a 5.6 rating, or 7.9 million homes. The Nextel Cup on Fox TV got a 4.7 rating, or 7.4 million homes. The WNBA on ABC got a.5 rating, or 668,000 homes.    But this year’s race at PIR did feel different than the one last year, when the series arrived fresh out of bankruptcy.    “I was happy with the feel of the crowd, the general buzz of the event,” PIR track manager Mark Wigginton says. “It felt like it’s getting back on track.”   Kevin Kalkhoven, a series co-owner, gave every indication that Champ Car will return for the next two years, per its deal with the city. The Portland stop is not in jeopardy, he says, even if other venues want on Champ Car’s schedule. Portland Tribune
Wheldon wins 2nd quarter balloting Wheldon wins 2nd quarter ballotingIndy 500 winner, and the Indy Racing League points leader, Dan Wheldon, edged NASCAR’s Greg Biffle to win the vote for the Speed Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR second quarter, 2005.  "I'm honored to be chosen out of so many talented drivers across many formulas,” said Wheldon with a British accent.

Wheldon, who drives the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda for Andretti Green Racing, dominated the second quarter which mirrored his performance all year. After winning the Indy Japan 300 in April he topped that by winning the 89th edition of the Indy 500.  Wheldon became the first Brit to win the Indy 500 since Graham Hill did it in 1966. He could be the first Briton to win DRIVER OF THE YEAR since Nigel Mansell accomplished the feat in 1993.

“The team has been working hard all year and it's a great acknowledgement of our efforts,” he noted. “We hope to continue our success throughout the year and look forward to being considered again for this award."

In the professional vote only two drivers scored first place votes Wheldon and Biffle. Overall Wheldon scored 120 points to Biffle’s 118.

Biffle, in the #16 National Guard/Post It Ford, had three wins in the quarter and moved to within 46 points of Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series standings.

Third place went to Biffle’s Roush Racing teammate, Carl Edwards, who
drove the Office Depot Ford to victory lane at the Pocono 500 and two wins in the
NASCAR Busch series.

A total of 14 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting, including fourth place Steve Kinser, of the World of Outlaws series, fifth place went to NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie, Kyle Busch.  Danica Patrick, who had 300,000 fans on their feet screaming as she battled Wheldon in the closing laps of the Indy 500, was sixth overall, but won the fan vote easily. [Which goes to show that fans vote with their heart instead of their head]

In its’ 39th year, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Wheldon will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV.

Unser explains name change Unser explains name changeTired of explaining the lack of Roman numerals at the end of his name, Al Unser finally gave in.  The grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser and son of two-time Indy champ Al Jr. has a different middle name than his namesakes. Thus, Al Unser III is technically incorrect. But that technicality was growing wearisome and the moniker of "Just Al" just wasn't working.  "I still had a lot of fans asking me what order I was. Al Unser III is just more recognized," he said. "It's not my given name, but it works. For simplicity's sake, I had to do it."

With that out of the way, Unser can concentrate on trying to make a name for himself in open-wheel racing. He has split time between the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, the Indy Racing League's top feeder series, and Toyota Atlantic, its counterpart in Champ Car.

For the rest of this season, he has a sponsor in Toyota Atlantic. He raced twice this weekend as part of the Grand Prix of Cleveland, finishing a career-best fourth Saturday and seventh Sunday behind Charles Zwolsman, whose back-to-back wins vaulted him into the season points lead.

Unser, 22, describes his relationship with fellow third-generation driver Marco Andretti as a "friendly competition."  "There's nothing between us -- no rivalry between Al and Marco," Unser said. "The rivalry is between the Unsers and Andrettis."

Andretti, 18, has won twice in the Pro Series this year and has an inside track on a big-league ride considering his father, Michael, owns an IRL team. Unser's father has been a less-visible presence in his son's career of late but is "always just a phone call away," Unser III said. Indy Star

Patrick the new Kournikova? Patrick the new Kournikova?Since finishing fourth and becoming the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick has become a media sensation and been anointed as the rescue ranger for open-wheel racing. But she hasn't won a sanctioned race of any type since 1997 and was 13th and 10th in her last two races. That has some wondering if she might become auto racing's equivalent of Anna Kournikova, the Russian tennis player who burst on the scene at 15 but attracted far more headlines for her looks and private life than for her on-court performance and never won an event. "That's the type of label that she would find hard to shake," Oregon marketing expert Paul Swangard said. "I don't let it get to me." Patrick said. Stay tuned. Chicago Tribune wires.
San Jose race promotion in high gear San Jose race promotion in high gearThere are banners hanging from the light poles at the San Jose airport advertising the upcoming Champ Car San Jose GP
Sauter wins in Milwaukee Sauter wins in MilwaukeeJohnny Sauter led 162 of the 200 laps completed before a quick rain shower doused the crowd of 40,726 to win the NASCAR Busch Series race at Milwaukee Saturday.
Industry News
Oakley announces racing fire-resistent clothing line Oakley announces racing fire-resistent clothing lineOakley, Inc. (NYSE: OO) today announced plans to launch an exclusive line of highly fire-resistant clothing made with O-CarbonX, a proprietary blend of CarbonX®, an invention of Chapman Innovations engineered specifically for the highly volatile world of motor sports. The co-branded base-layer apparel was demonstrated yesterday for media and NASCAR drivers at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR event held in Sonoma, Calif.

“Building on the success of our footwear collaboration with Chapman, which yielded the most flame and heat-resistant race boot ever made, O-CarbonX fabric enables us to pursue the same superior protection, comfort, and performance in racing apparel,” said Jim Jannard, founder and CEO of Oakley. “This ultra-safe technology represents the next generation of innovative fire resistance and we believe that Oakley is positioned to take full advantage of these opportunities in future applications.”

“Oakley’s passion for innovation and understanding of real-world applications makes it a natural partner to push CarbonX into a broader range of products,” said Tyler Thatcher, president of Chapman Innovations. “Working together, we are significantly advancing the industry’s level of safety and performance for drivers and crews.”

“It’s great to see a company like Oakley push the industry’s technology envelope and  continue to strive for better driver safety,” said Jamie McMurray, driver, Texaco/Havoline Dodge Car #42.

O-CarbonX is a proprietary blend of fibers developed by Chapman Innovations specifically for Oakley.  The fabric offers unsurpassed protection against heat and flame, yet can still be worn comfortably next to the skin. O-CarbonX flame-resistant material provides a persistent protective barrier when exposed to direct flame reaching temperatures in excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds without shrinking, charring, or losing structural integrity.  Oakley’s O-CarbonX protective motor sports apparel will be available in long and short-sleeve tops, bottoms, balaclavas, and high performance racing gloves.  The products will be distributed by Speedware Motorsports, the largest distributor of motor sports apparel in North America and have expected availability in the third quarter of 2005.  More information is available at http://oakley.com/racing.

Alex Job Racing goes for two-in-row Alex Job Racing goes for two-in-rowAlex Job Racing will be going for their second consecutive GT2 win when the American Le Mans Series visits Lime Rock Park for round four on July 4th.  The team is carrying momentum from their last ALMS win at Mid-Ohio as well as a GT2 class victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours two weeks ago. With the victory at Mid-Ohio, Lime Rock remains the only track on the ALMS schedule that the team has yet to post a victory.  The short 1.54-mile, eight-turn layout has conspired against the team in past years.

Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, driving the number 23/Hyatt/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, are hard at work making up for a poor start at Sebring in March.  The duo won the team's first ever Mid-Ohio race and hope to duplicate that effort at Lime Rock.  “The goal is always to win.  Now that we have the first one behind us at Mid-Ohio we are really focused on the points battle.  Lime Rock is a tricky little track with all right hand turns and one left.  There are asphalt changes and a lot bumps that can upset the car so we have to be on our game.” 

Bernhard’s teammate and current qualifying and race lap record holder at Lime Rock, Romain Dumas, is looking forward to returning to the Connecticut track.  “We had some bad luck last year when the rain came.  The track is fun to drive, it is very busy and traffic is very thick.  You have  Randy Pobst and teammate Ian Boss are looking to rebound from a DNF in Mid-Ohio.  “I haven’t raced a Porsche at Lime Rock in a long time,” said Pobst.  “We need to keep working on the handling and really get Ian and I comfortable in the car.  We have the right components we just need some quality track time to get the car handling the way we want.” AJR

Industry News
Nissan signs TV deal Nissan signs TV dealSports & Entertainment Television (SET), the advertiser funded programming arm of Apace Media plc, has signed a deal with Nissan to create and distribute programming across international markets.  SET will initially be producing and distributing 26 x 30-minute shows in the area of adventure sports entitled ‘Nissan Sports Adventure’.

It will be offered to terrestrial, satellite and cable television in Nissan markets internationally, in exchange for the Nissan branding around the show and a package of commercial spots to support Nissan product.  The car manufacturer will also be using the content in various ‘through-the-line’ activities, including the creation of a special website and various local dealership activities.

Rossi wins yet again Rossi wins yet againValentino Rossi continued his habit of record-breaking performances this weekend at Assen. The Italian superstar notched his fifth straight victory at the 75th anniversary of the Dutch TT, becoming the first Yamaha rider ever to win five consecutive premier-class races.

Rossi's sixth win in seven races this season extends his lead in the championship to an impressive 63 points over compatriot and Honda rival Marco Melandri, who finished second by 1.583 seconds despite throwing everything he had at Rossi in the closing laps.

Yamaha's joy was complete with American Colin Edwards taking up the final place on the podium, equaling his best result this season at Le Mans.

Rossi didn't get the best of starts in the cooler 19-lap race but worked his way up from fifth after the first lap to take the lead by the midway stage, taking over from Melandri on lap 10 and gradually opening out a crucial advantage.

"Today was another hard battle, as it has been every race this season," Rossi said. "At the start the grip was tricky because of the rain this morning and I lost some places and had to overtake Loris and Nakano to arrive behind the three Hondas. I knew I could go a bit faster and after I passed them all I made some good laps and it became easier to ride on the limit, as there was less fuel. Melandri was very strong today and he came back to fight until the end. I had to keep pushing at 100 per cent and really concentrate, especially on the last lap, when I made no mistakes and the fastest lap of the race.

"It was incredible for everybody. My bike worked perfectly again, so thank you to Yamaha and my team for all the brilliant work they've done, and to Michelin because the tires were really good. We have a great atmosphere in our team and this makes it very easy to relax and give 100 per cent every time. It's a pleasure to try to win together.

"I can't believe that I am the first Yamaha rider to win five races in a row, when you look at the company I am in with Yamaha's former World Champions - Agostini, Lawson, Roberts and Rainey - it's great."

Hayden scored his best result of the season in fourth place, followed by Gibernau, who was unable to maintain the pace which initially saw him lap up with Melandri, while Biaggi fought his was up to sixth, winning a tight battle with former Dutch GP winner Alex Barros.

Kawasaki's Japanese rider Shinya Nakano finished eighth after a superb qualifying effort of fourth on the grid, while Ducati pair Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi had an entertaining battle for ninth and 10th respectively.

Troy Bayliss continued his troubled season with Honda to finish 11th at Assen. "What can I say about this race, it was average considering recent races, and despite giving everything once more I was unable to ride as well as I can," Bayliss said. "I'm obviously not happy, because there's not much difference for me between 11th and 20th, but there's not much else I can do apart from continuing to work hard with my head down and bring an end to this situation. I'm happy to be going to Laguna Seca (California) now, a track I really like, and where I hope we can make some much-needed steps forward."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
New boycott threat in F1
Race bans 'possible' - FIA
Michelin keep HQ handy
Berger denies BMW return
Ralf to return
Bernie phoned Danica again
Williams' '05 starts here
Ferrari in tire 'box' row
Hill to test GP2 car
'B' Jordan on track
Silverstone a sell-out
Alonso doubts Schu revival
Sauber, BMW, to kick off now
Indy boss vows to wait
JV feels secure at Sauber
Another week of F1 war
Da Matta blames himself Da Matta blames himselfCristiano da Matta was mad at only himself for the incident Sunday in Cleveland that resulted in him crashing himself out of the lead and a possible back-to-back win. “I was getting close to Marcus and Timo,” said da Matta. “They went into the corner side by side and Marcus went onto the marbles and ran a little wide. I was pretty close. I was done with my braking and I turned into the corner but there was no air on my front wing. I went straight and hit Marcus in the left rear with my right front. “It was just one of those stupid racing incidents. It can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it happened to me today.” Photo by LAT/Champ Car
Mosley calls Stoddart a 'sad case' Mosley calls Stoddart a 'sad case'In an interview with The Guardian, the head of the sport's governing body (FIA), Max Mosley, branded Minardi's Paul Stoddart "a sad case".

"I helped him tremendously when the other teams were trying to steal his money," said the Briton. "But now my reaction is that he's obviously forgotten to take his medication." Mosley told the newspaper: "The governing body will always win. So I'm not concerned if they (the teams) take an antagonistic line. What are they going to do? If they go on strike, they're simply cutting off their nose to spite their face. That won't happen."

Mosley said he "wouldn't exclude a ban or two" (as a penalty) but recognizes that other members of the disciplinary council are unlikely to go that far.

"If it emerges that the guilt of certain teams is of a certain level, then a ban will be justified," he told the newspaper. "There are various other possibilities - points being deducted, a fine or reprimand."

Referring to the events at Indianapolis, Mosley revealed 'intense irritation' at the situation because he "suspected the tire problem was not as grave as they (the teams) represented. "I felt the situation had been created artificially and deliberately," he added. [Editor's Note: Which relates directly back to our Conspiracy Theory article]

Mosley said the seven teams had "gone into headless chicken mode" as they tried to find a compromise that would have allowed them to race. "I had lots of calls from (F1 commercial supremo) Bernie (Ecclestone), (McLaren's) Ron Dennis and (Renault's) Flavio Briatore," he added. Where Dennis was rational, Mosley said "the interaction with Flavio was difficult because he did not make any coherent point".

How to redeem USGP tickets How to redeem USGP ticketsUPDATE Race officials report that 1,047 people took advantage of the offer for free admission to the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland for fans presenting tickets from the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis. 06/21/05 The Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank to Honor Tickets From the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix To exchange tickets from the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix for a complimentary one-day reserved grandstand ticket to the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by U.S. Bank, fans can either present their original ticket stub on Sunday, June 26 at the Gate A ticket booth located off of North Marginal Road at Burke Lakefront Airport , or fax a copy of their ticket stub along with their name and address to 216-479-6451. Fax orders will be accepted through Thursday, June 23 and all such ticket orders will be available for pick-up from the main Gate A ticket booth on Sunday starting at 7:00 am ET. Fans who fax their orders in advance MUST present an original ticket stub to receive their complimentary ticket.
Cleveland postscript Cleveland postscript
Paul Tracy broke the tie he had for seventh place on the all-time career Champ Car victory list, after taking his 30th win today. He was tied with Rick Mears for seventh with 29. Al Unser Jr. is sixth on the list with 31 victories.

Today’s win for Paul Tracy was also his 10th victory from the pole in his career, making him the seventh driver in series history to achieve that feat as well.

Cristiano da Matta led 21 laps today, giving him 918 for his career and moving him ahead of Dario Franchitti and into 24th on the all-time series list.

The three-day attendance for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank was announced at 89,788.

Tracy’s podium finish today was the 66th of his Champ Car career, giving him sole possession of 10th place on the all-time Champ Car list of podium finishes.

Canada takes a commanding lead in the Nation’s Cup standings with Tracy’s win Sunday, moving out to the widest lead of the year with a 23-point bulge over France. Champ Car

Mosley rejects resignation call Mosley rejects resignation callMax Mosley brushed aside calls for him to resign, made publicly by Stoddart after Indianapolis.  "It doesn't particularly bother me," he said. "My predecessor, when he had a conflict like this and I must say I was on the other side with the teams, we used to ask him to resign on an hourly basis. He never took any notice.  "The fact is that the referee is often unpopular, it's something you can't avoid.  I'd take not the slightest notice," he added, when asked what his response would be if the teams demanded he quit. "I'm not here to try to be friends with the teams, I'm here to see that Formula One is run safely and fairly and that the rules are observed and it's the same for everyone." Reuters 
F1 communication breakdown F1 communication breakdownSir Jackie Stewart has accused Formula One's governing body, the FIA, of a system breakdown at the US Grand Prix. Seven F1 teams face a FIA disciplinary hearing on Wednesday after pulling out of the race in Indianapolis last week. But Stewart, president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, told BBC Radio Five Live: "The infrastructure failed.

"The FIA communication system failed totally. In all the years, I've never seen such damage done, and I think it was avoidable."

"The media didn't really know what was going on, even the public address announcer didn't know what was going on," he added. Minardi boss Paul Stoddart believes F1 teams could boycott future races if the FIA hands out "draconian bans" to the seven teams at Wednesday's hearing. Stewart said: "I think that would be scandalous. I think the sport, if it's allowed to be dealt with in that fashion, can't go on with the leadership it has if that is the case. We've got to have a workable organization because those teams are being supported financially by multi-national corporations around the world."

Stoddart, whose team use Bridgestone tires and did race in the US, has blamed FIA president Max Mosley for the incident and called for his resignation.

Stewart feels that it is definitely an option. "I think it has to be looked at. I think there's been so much disruption caused by this event. In the normal business sector, where corporate life has a very dim view of that kind of situation being allowed to occur, the management of the whole structure is put into question. I think the people at the top are vulnerable." BBC Sport

Zwolsman 2-for-2 in Cleveland Zwolsman 2-for-2 in ClevelandUPDATE It’s tough to recover from a poor start on Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport road course, but Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) has proved to be so strong this season in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, that even a miscue at the green flag couldn’t slow him down.

On Saturday, Turn 1 at Cleveland was kind to the Dutch rookie as he claimed the lead from second position and went on to victory. In Sunday’s second race of this weekend’s BOSPoker.com Atlantic Grand Prix of Cleveland, the famed first turn saw Zwolsman fall from the pole position as he had a problem with his car’s gear shift. Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil), the series points leader heading into the weekend, assumed the lead in the first turn after Zwolsman’s mechanical struggles, but it wouldn’t be long before the 26-year-old, first-year sensation would make his way back to the front.

After falling back to fifth place, Zwolsman corrected the shifting problem and he began to attack the field, reclaiming the lead on Lap 12 and leading the final 20 laps for his third series victory and back-to-back wins this weekend on the 2.106-mile circuit. He wound up cruising to a 10.385-second win and his twin killing enabled him to once again seize control of the championship chase as he leaves Cleveland with a 169-162 advantage over Kasemets in the point standings.

Kasemets didn’t hold the lead for long after his strong start as he took a tour off course on the just the fourth lap. He was able to return to the track but fell back to seventh position and spent the remainder of his race trying to make up the spots he lost. The 31-year-old native of Estonia wound up finishing fourth for his fifth consecutive top-five result this season.

Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design) of Canada moved to the front of the field when Kasemets went off course and he held off Zwolsman for several laps before the hard-charging Condor Motorsports driver reclaimed the point. Bessette held on to second place for his second podium of the year and first since the season opener at Long Beach, when he trailed only his Polestar Racing Group teammate Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing).

Both of the races from Cleveland will air on SPEED Channel on Saturday, July 9, beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

After back-to-back doubleheader weekends, the Atlantic cars will be idle next weekend before returning to the track July 8-10 in Round 7 at the Molson Indy at Toronto’s Exhibition Place.


Zwolsman earned a bonus point for turning the fastest lap of today’s race. He posted a mark of 1:07.468 on his 28th around Burke Lakefront Airport.
With today’s victory, Zwolsman becomes the first Atlantic driver in the series’ eight-year history of competing at Cleveland to repeat as winner at Burke Lakefront Airport.
Today’s race was run without a caution flag and was completed in a record time of 36:46.826.
 1. (1) Charles Zwolsman, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
2. (3) Antoine Bessette, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
3. (5) Andreas Wirth, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
4. (2) Tonis Kasemets, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
5. (4) Katherine Legge, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
6. (8) Chris Dyson, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
7. (7) Al Unser III, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 31.
8. (6) David Martinez, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 31.
9. (10) Leonardo Maia, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 31.
10. (11) Dan Selznick, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 31.
11. (12) Dan Cobb, (C2) Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 30.
12. (14) Daryl Leiske, (C2) Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 30.
13. (15) Rich Zober, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 30.
14. (16) Chris Souliotis, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 30.
15. (13) Justin Sofio, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 27, mechanical
16. (9) Tom Nastasi, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 27.
17. (17) Bob Siska, (C2) Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 2, mechanical.

06/26/05 Charles Zwolsman from the Netherlands won his second race of the weekend today by winning the Toyota Atlantic race in Cleveland. Antoine Bessette from Canada came in second. Andreas Wirth from Germany finished third as he did in yesterday's race. More to follow...
Cleveland attendance up Cleveland attendance upUPDATE Champ Car Executive Vice President of Promoter Services Joe Chrnelich announced today that 89,788 fans attended the three days of the 2005 Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank, the 24th annual running of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event at Burke Lakefront Airport.  “The support of the City of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners, all of our corporate supporters, and the great Champ Car fans played a large part in the success of this weekend’s event. We are very pleased to see that the efforts of the Grand Prix of Cleveland staff have paid off in increased attendance for the 2005 race," said Chrnelich. 06/26/05 The attendance for this year's Grand Prix of Cleveland Champ Car race was up significantly over last year as about 95% of the reserved seats were full, plus general admission and the numerous suites.  No official numbers yet.

Photos by Paul Josephson

German DTM
Kristensen the drummer Kristensen the drummerTom Kristensen revealed surprising talent - the Le Mans record victor played the drums of the band "Heulüecher", which rendered a spontaneous performance in front of the Audi Team and Media Hospitality and in the paddock congratulating Tom for his Le Mans victory at this weekend's German DTM race in front of a record turnout of 88,000 spectators at Motopark Oschersleben.
Allmendinger crashes during qualifying Allmendinger crashes during qualifyingUPDATE #2 Champ Car Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Chris Pinderski has cleared A. J. Allmendinger to drive in today's Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U. S. Bank. Allmendinger made contact with the tire barrier in Turn 8 yesterday and went to MetroHealth Hospital for a precautionary CT scan and passed an IMPACT test administered this morning. Allmendinger will start ninth in the #10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone in today's event. 06/25/05 Allmendinger is at Metro Health Hospital in Cleveland for a precautionary CT Scan. He is complaining of a slight headache.  He is expected to be released in about 1 hour and will be evaluated in the morning as to whether he can drive. 

Jeremy Dale, Team President  - "We thought yesterday was challenging, but today was certainly more of a struggle. First things first, A.J. is okay and we expect he will be ready to drive tomorrow- that’s the most important issue."

06/25/05 A. J. Allmendinger crashed hard into the wall at Turn 8 towards the end of qualifying this afternoon at Cleveland. The Champ Car safety crew spent several minutes trying to extricate him. He was taken on a stretcher to an ambulance. Allmendinger's crash caused the qualifying session to end with red-flag.  Allmendinger lost his fast lap because of the red-flag as did his teammate Justin Wilson.

Cleveland starting procedure Cleveland starting procedureFor yesterday's Toyota Atlantic race, officials experimented with using cones and an empty barrel at Turn 1 at the start of the race in an attempt to avoid major incidents there as has happened in the past. Unfortunately, it didn't help. Many cars made a dash to the first turn and several cars spun and hit the cones, that eventually forced Kathryn Legge to the inside and into other cars. Today, Champ Car reconsidered and issued a press release saying that the starting procedure with the barrel will NOT be in effect for today's Champ Car race. Standard starting procedures are in effect, which means that drivers are instructed to "line up in two columns as usual and do not move out of line until the green flag is thrown." From Tony Cotman, Race Director for Champ Car.
Villeneuve answers critics Villeneuve answers criticsIn this TSN.ca interview, Jacques Villeneuve answers his critics (excerpts)
Q: We saw one of the most disgraceful displays of malicious and biased media attacks on you orchestrated by David Richards in your last two years at BAR. Although maybe not as bad, this year you've been on the receiving end of a lot of unfair criticism and everything you do is scrutinized and commented upon. It seems no other driver on the F1 grid gets as much flack from the press as you do. Do you think all this is a planned attack on you or has the media been influence so much by the past criticism you got from Richards at BAR?

JV: "I think a lot of it is the remains of what David Richards has started, as you say, so they got into a habit of criticizing and then it's hard for anyone to get out of habits. It is a lot easier than two years ago when David was very influential, but it still remains a little bit. "

Q: In Monaco you were competitive and faster than your team-mate throughout most of the race despite being stuck behind him all race, not to mention you out-qualified him on a heavier fuel load. Now, while you've taken the high road and publicly accepted the blame for your optimistic overtaking attempt, the fact is that the team and Mr. Massa were partially to blame. This begs the question then, who does Sauber have working on strategy during the race? McLaren has a team of analysts back at the factory working flat out during races, who does Sauber have?

JV: "You know, we're a much smaller team, our budget is smaller and we don't have a million people to do a million jobs. Some of the people do more than one job... which is good to know what is going on. But, sometimes it is just too much work and you can kind of lose track because there is only twenty-four hours in a day.

"During the race itself I only communicate with my engineer. So what goes on at the pit wall? I have no idea."

Q: Jacques, what exactly is going on with the tires in the one-lap qualifying? Why were you not able to get tires to work for one-lap qually when harder tires were used so far this year?

JV: It is not the one-lap qually that is the problem for me. The problem is that you keep the same tire for the whole race. For which the manufacturer has to make a harder tire that reacts better to heat.

"We also have a car that does not heat up the tires too much. which is good for the race because it means we use them less. But it also means that on the way out of the pits to prepare for your one lapper it becomes harder to warm them up. And I have always been a driver who has used the tires less than my teammate. So it makes it very difficult for me until we get to tracks like Monaco.. Imola or Montreal where the tires are almost too soft and then they are perfect for me."

Q: You are doing a remarkable job taking care of your tires, just as you did in your championship year as I recall. We have read that the new rules - one set of tires for qualifying and the race - are designed to test all of the skills of a driver and you are meeting that challenge exceptionally well. Your team mate, however, is doing poorly having ruined his tires in 4 races before Montreal. Why do you think this is happening?

JV: "No idea! Through my years of racing I have always used my tires less than my team-mates, and I have always used less fuel and less brakes. So I don't know something in the way we drive, the way we set the cars up, the way we use traction control and all that. To pin point it is always very difficult. But I started driving when there was no electronics, when you actually had to be your own traction control and feather and be very smooth in your driving. Drivers who arrive now in Formula 1 don't need to go through that. They can just hit the brake petal as hard as they can and let the car take care of itself, then hammer the throttle as they get into the corner. But that doesn't teach you to save your equipment, that's all."

Q: Being a former World Champion you must be frustrated not having a top car to work with. When you left the BAR team at the end of 2003 you said you would not be interested in returning to F1 unless it was with a top team, but you loved F1 and racing so much that after a year off you took a middle-grid ride. How are you feeling about this? Is it totally frustrating or are the joys of racing making up for that?

JV: "I never came back expecting to be in the middle of the field. We were all expecting to be higher up. So it was not a decision 'well I'll come back to sit in the middle of the field. We were all expecting to be higher up because last year, thanks to the wind tunnel, the team had made huge progress during the second half of the season. But somehow this year's car started really bad at the beginning of the season, and even though we made some good progress we were far back enough that it will take more than the normal program to catch up."

Q: You have a contract in place with Sauber for next year too. Now we know how contracts in F1 are, and how quickly they can be broken, so at the moment what are the chances of you staying on with the team? And what if the team is taken over by BMW, would that help in this regard?

JV: "I feel quite good about next year, because yes contracts are breakable but it all depends how it is written. Peter Sauber and I, when we met and started talking, we both decided to have a short contract without twenty million ways of screwing each other up, basically, so there is not many ways to break the contract."

Korea track construction on schedule Korea track construction on scheduleConstruction of the Ansan, South Korea Champ Car circuit outside of Seoul is on schedule and "looking good' according to AutoRacing1.com sources. Bridgestone still isn't sure which tire they will bring for that race. Bridgestone's Al Speyer told AutoRacing1.com, “Right now we’re relying on engineering diagrams. If there was something we saw that was out of the ordinary, we would send somebody, but we don’t have that knowledge at this point of time, although I’m not sure if we have as much information as we’d like at this point in time on Korea. But the other point I was going to make is being a sole supplier and not in a competitive situation. If we don’t have enough information, our position is that we always default to being on the conservative side.”
Bridgestone would love Michelin in Champ Car Bridgestone would love Michelin in Champ CarWith rumors rife that the FIA may boot Michelin out of F1 after this year and revert to a single tire supplier, AutoRacing1.com asked if Bridgestone would like to see them come into Champ Car to compete. In this exclusive interview with AutoRacing1.com, Bridgestone's Al Speyer addresses that question.

Q: What is your view if Champ Car decides to go with another tire manufacturer along with Bridgestone? Does that work to Champ Car’s benefit to have competition or is it easier to have just one tire manufacturer supply all of the teams?
Al: “My understanding is that many of the sanctioning bodies – all of the top ones in the US – NASCAR, Champ Car, Indy Racing League – they all want to be on one tire so they don’t have difficulty with what happened in F1 when you have a tire war. Sooner or later, one company may try to be too fast at the risk of durability or safety. And F1 has been talking for some time now about a single tire manufacturer. I think this Indianapolis situation will probably only hasten those talks, if not their actions. So I guess partly a question for Champ Car, but we generally like competition and if, for sure, Michelin wanted to come over here or even Goodyear, that would be great. We had competition here for a long time, and we loved it. It was only because Goodyear chose to leave. I don’t know if you remember those times, but we’re here now on our own only because Goodyear chose to leave. And we’ve tried to help Champ Car by being the presenting sponsor of the series and the official tire of the Cleveland Grand Prix this weekend and for many other Champ Car races, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t welcome back tire competition.”

[Editor's Note: There are pros and cons to a tire war, but most agree the minuses outweigh the plusses. What we think Champ Car might do if Michelin were to approach them would be to open it up to bids and sign a 3-year contract to the tire company that provides the best bid for price, and commitment to market the series to help it grow. Not that Bridgestone isn't doing a great job now, they certainly are, but Michelin is still a reputable company despite their recent F1 woes at Indy. Another option would be for Michelin and Bridgestone to develop a joint tire and badge half the field each. Bridgestone doesn't have anyone to beat now for bragging rights anyway, so what is there to lose? This creates a bit of competition between the two companies, avoids the pitfalls of a tire war with all the benefits, and allows both companies to compete without spending each other into the ground. While there never has been a joint race tire developed between two competing companies, it's either that or the series remains exclusive to one or the other.]

Engineer swapping tightens field Engineer swapping tightens fieldThe Newman/Haas team has been pretty dominating in recent years, winning a number of championships, although Paul Tracy did win the Champ Car championship two years ago for Forsythe Racing. But this year the competition is closer than ever. At Cleveland, which is fast, long and bumpy, the fact that the top 12 cars are all within 1-second of each other proves that most teams are getting to know what the Lola chassis likes and dislikes.

Where did all that competition suddenly come from? Sebastien Bourdais points to internal movement among team engineers this season involving Newman/Haas, RuSPORT, Forsythe and PKV and other teams as a reason so many drivers are closing the speed gap. Whatever secrets some teams had for qualifying, setups and performance, are now being spread through the field, something we have seen in NASCAR for many years.

"Competition in the past is nothing compared to this year," Bourdais said. "The rotation of engineers from team to team has helped to make this a tough season. It is making life so much harder."

Sponsors happy with new suites Sponsors happy with new suitesSponsors are happy with the Grand Prix of Cleveland's decision to move the Skybox Luxury Suites closer to the track.  In previous seasons, the skyboxes were about 30 feet farther from the pit exit lane. A patio separated the boxes from the action. According to Grand Prix Director Rena Shanaman, the change came after attending similar events around the country, and observing their configurations.

"One of the owners of the race, after touring the suites at other events, said that we should get the boxes and suites closer to the pits," Shanaman said.  "So I made a commitment to do that."

The change was not without its complications.  First it took some negotiating to get the skyboxes built within the Grand Prix's budget. Then officials had to convince Champ Car of the switch.  "We changed the layout of pit lane, which took a lot of cooperation from Champ Car," Shanaman said. Shanaman noted that the closer seating has sponsors already expressing interest in signing on for next year after experiencing the closer seating.

Marques makes respectable showing Marques makes respectable showingTarso Marques turned in a best lap of 58.335 to grab 10th on the grid in Dale Coyne’s American Medical Response Lola-Ford despite having no testing with the car and not driving one for 6 months.

“The car’s working much better than yesterday,” said Marques. “We made a big improvement this morning in practice, so not bad for not being in a race car for six months, especially on a difficult track like this. It’s too bad we didn’t get a chance to use our second set of tires. I think there were a couple of tenths left but we lost the last five minutes with the red flag (for Allmendinger’s crash).”

ISC announces selection of Seattle site ISC announces selection of Seattle siteUPDATE #2 This website has been set up by ISC to support this project. 06/24/05 Officials of the auto racing development and promotion company based in Daytona Beach, Fla., said Thursday they want to build an 80,000-seat track on 950 acres near Bremerton National Airport, west of Seattle across Puget Sound. The track probably would have no trouble gaining a NASCAR race because both ISC and NASCAR are controlled by the France family. NASCAR founder William H.G. France also got into the race track business when he built Daytona International Speedway in 1959.

ISC owns most of its 11 tracks outright, but the proposed facility would be publicly owned and leased to the company, ISC officials said. Financing plans were not released at a news conference, but Grant Lynch, vice president of ISC and project team leader, estimated $120 million in annual economic impact from the $250 million track and said no new taxes would be required to foot the bill. Last September, ISC officials announced the selection of a site near Marysville for a 75,000-seat track, promising to spend $50 million of the $250 million cost and cover any overruns in exchange for $200 million in public financing. But ISC abandoned that plan after environmental and siting issues arose, and government officials balked at the financing. CBS Sportsline

06/23/05 International Speedway Corp. (ISC) today announced that it has identified a preferred site for a potential racing venue in Kitsap County, Washington, about 20 miles from Seattle. ISC, through its subsidiary Great Western Sports, has secured an option to purchase approximately 950 acres at the site. The racing facility would have the capacity to seat 80,000 ISC
Ganassi has an IRL headache Ganassi has an IRL headacheChip Ganassi had another expensive day in the IRL when he saw all three of his cars running in the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond Saturday night get taken out in accidents.  Darren Manning, Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe all found the wall.  Since joining the IRL, Ganassi has seen a lot of his IndyCars return to his shop in ruins.  We wonder who is going to pay for all this crash damage when Toyota is no longer footing the bill?  Meanwhile the cash register at Panoz (G-Force) continues to go ka-ching.
Ranger puts in career best effort Ranger puts in career best effortMi-Jack Conquest Racing rookie Andrew Ranger has impressed again, taking fourth on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by US Bank with a best lap time of 57.801-seconds during Saturday’s final qualifying session.  The Champ Car World Series once again showed its highly competitive nature, as the top twelve cars qualified within one second of the pole time.
He had been midfield during morning practice, but moved up significantly in the afternoon after his engineers dialed out unwanted oversteer from his Conquest Racing Lola.

A miscue by the team meant he lost his fastest time for exceeding the 15-lap allotment, but his next best effort was still good enough to secure his best starting position to date.
“I'm thrilled with Andrew’s performance today and also very proud of the team,” said team boss Eric Bachelart.  “We keep on improving and this is our best qualifying position so far this year. We are in a good position for tomorrow’s race. It was a rather unusual week for Nelson – he struggled with the problem on his ankle and he spent a lot of time at the medical center, before and after each session.  On qualifying he was stuck in traffic and didn’t get to do a good lap. I know that he has more speed in the car.”
Ranger is in the top ten in the Champ Car championships standings and is also tied for the lead in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year competition, and has continued to improve his pace all weekend. Underlining his strong performance, Ranger’s second fastest lap during the session was also good for fourth on the grid.

"We're definitely in better shape than this morning and yesterday, we have made quite a few improvements to the car” said Ranger. “The driving was cool and the car was perfect. I know I still have to work on some understeer. Overall the team did a good job for qualifying, it’s my best qualifying in Champ Car and I look forward to a good race."

Schumacher says Michelin teams should not be fined Schumacher says Michelin teams should not be finedFerrari’s Michael Schumacher said in an interview published yesterday that the seven teams that refused to start last Sunday’s US Formula One Grand Prix out of safety concerns should not be punished for their actions. “I think the others have been punished enough,” Bild quoted Schumacher, who won a six-car race boycotted by the Renault, McLaren- Mercedes, BMW-Williams, Red-Bull-Racing, BAR-Honda, Toyota and Sauber teams, which were running on Michelin tires.
Ruhlman last to first in Cleveland Ruhlman last to first in ClevelandRandy Ruhlman proved yet again that the final spot on the starting grid is the place to be at Cleveland by winning the Trans-Am on the Tarmac after starting last Saturday at Burke Lakefront Airport. In the process, the Cleveland Heights native, in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette, earned his second win of the season and leaves Cleveland with a 22-point lead in the championship.

John Baucom (No. 86 MAP Quality Engineering/Software Toolbox Ford Mustang) finished second, recording his best Series finish. Joey Scarallo, who suffered from heat exhaustion late in the event, finished third, earning his second consecutive podium, in the No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette. Paul Fix was fourth overall and won the GT-1 Class in the No. 77 StopFlex/Buca di Beppo Ford Mustang, while Mike Davis (No. 10 ACS Express Ford Mustang) completed the top five.

Ruhlman’s Corvette suffered an axle failure in first-round practice Friday morning, sending Ruhlman into the pit-straight wall at nearly 150 miles per hour. Though Ruhlman was unhurt in the incident, the front of his car was destroyed. His Derhaag Motorsports team kicked it into high gear, flying in a fabricator from its Minnesota shop. They worked through the night and repaired the car.

Ruhlman took it from there. Starting 13h, Ruhlman picked his way through the field and came out atop a three-car battle with Scarallo and Baucom on lap 27. He wasn’t headed from there.

“This weekend has been absolutely unbelievable,” said Ruhlman. “I’m really glad I was able to get the job done today and bring this one home for my Derhaag Motorsports team. My team really went above and beyond the call to make this happen.”

“You don’t know what it means every year to come home to this race, see family and friends and to visit with our friends at Preformed Line Products,” said Ruhlman of his Cleveland-based sponsor. “They’ve been steadfast behind us, backing us for years. We’ve always run strong here and we always love it here in Cleveland. People in Cleveland love their sports and the Grand Prix is no different. We love putting on a show for them. To bring this one to the home crowd is just fantastic.”

Baucom was pleased with his first Series podium.

“This is great. We’re just ecstatic,” said the former SCCA Club Racing phenom and President’s Cup winner. “We’ve been working on this for more than five years and we’ve gotten really close a bunch of times, but we’ve never really been able to take advantage of it. It’s just great to be up here.”

Scarallo said his new Tony Ave-led team has made a huge difference this season. Scarallo actually led eight laps in the race, marking his first time leading a Trans-Am race. He passed Klaus Graf (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR), taking the lead on lap 15. Graf recovered the lead on lap 17, but fell out with mechanical problems three laps later. Scarallo inherited the point, but slowed when his cool suit failed late in the event and the heat took its toll.

“We’ve really built ourselves some momentum after Portland,” said Scarallo. “Everything is really gelling with my team. The communication is great. When I want certain things in the car, they know what to give me. This is really bittersweet for me because I think we had the car to win. We really should have won this race. The heat just knocked us out of contention. When the cool suit began to fail and the heat started to soak into me, I started to get worn out. From the caution on, things really began to go down hill.”  Paul Gentilozzi (No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR) took the lead in turn one at the start, but slid off course on lap 13, surrendering the point to Graf. Gentilozzi later retired with a mechanical failure.

The race ran in a record one hour, five minutes and 12.480 seconds at an average speed of 93.014 miles per hour. The race was slowed once by the caution flag for five laps. Graf set the race’s fastest lap. Today’s race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, July 3 at 3 p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel.

Paul Fix made his first 2005 Trans-Am start count as the driver of the No. 77 StopFlex/Buca di Beppo Ford Mustang won the GT-1 portion of the Trans-Am on the Tarmac at Burke Lakefront Airport Saturday. The Lancaster, N.Y. resident earned his second GT-1 victory, and moved to second in the GT-1 Championship.

“We knew if we had a fairly good starting position that the race would come to us,” said Fix. “The car was very consistent through the end. I knew I could outlast some of my competitors. Amy (Ruman) put up a good fight, but I took advantage of her misfortune and went from there.  Fix plans to compete in five races this year, eyeing the GT-1 title. “Our goal is to win the GT-1 Championship this year,” said Fix, “and this is just the first step in that direction.”

Industry News
USA TV Program Reminders for Sunday USA TV Program Reminders for Sunday
A.  NASCAR This Morning
            Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA
            11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET, Live, SPEED
            IndyCar Series: The Fast Life
            12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
            Portland, OR  (06/18/05)
            1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
            Grand Prix of Cleveland
            1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET, Live, CBS
E.  NASCAR Nextel Cup
            Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA
            Dodge/Save Mart 350
            2:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET, Live, FOX
            Assen - Dutch Grand Prix
            3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
            Guest co-host: Mark 'Bones' Bourcier
            Featured Interview: Josh Wise
            9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
            Sears Craftsman Nationals
            POWERade Drag Racing Eliminations
            Gateway International Raceway
            9:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET (SDD), ESPN2
            Acropolis Rally, Greece - Highlights
           11:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET (SDD), SPEED
See TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV links on the Home Page for a complete listing of Sunday's TV programs.
Zwolsman wins race 1 at Cleveland Zwolsman wins race 1 at ClevelandTurn 1 at the Grand Prix of Cleveland has been known to be cruel to some of the most talented of drivers over the years. Saturday, the famed tight righthand turn on the airport runway taught lessons to a few newcomers in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, but one rookie conquered the beast.

Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) had never raced on the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport road circuit prior to this weekend, but the surprising first-year driver has been anything but timid on the wide-open runway course all weekend and he was certainly in attack mode at Turn 1. Starting second in the first race of this weekend’s doubleheader, Zwolsman waited as long as he could to break in the tight right-hand turn and the maneuver allowed him to get in front of polesitter Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil).

While Zwolsman zoomed to the front, a couple of drivers paid the price in the first turn. Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing) came in fast at the corner and ran into her Polestar Racing Group teammate Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design). The incident also gathered in Dan Selznick (#49 The Room Store) as his car lost its back wing. Both Legge and Selznick had to retire from the race as a result of the contact as Turn 1 claimed more victims on a hot and humid afternoon in Cleveland.

The win was Zwolsman’s second of his young Atlantic career and it enabled him to draw within three points of Kasemets in the series championship standings (138-135) after five rounds of competition. For Kasemets, the second-place finish represented his fourth consecutive race of finishing among the top two, after he earned his first series victories last weekend in a Portland doubleheader.

Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors) started fourth but improved to third at the checkered flag for his third consecutive podium finish. The 20-year-old native of Waghausel, Germany engaged in a fierce on-track battle with Canadian racer Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design) late in the 32-lap race. Bessette wound up hitting the wall in Turn 8 with seven laps remaining, in the midst of the battle, and he had to park his car in pit lane after the contact.

After making his full-time return to the series last weekend, Al Unser III (#10 BOSPoker.net/PKV Racing) produced his best series result of fourth place for the Brooks Associates Racing team. Unser has now improved his finishing position in all three of his Atlantic starts this season.

Results with starting position in parentheses, driver, type of car, laps completed and reason out, if any:
1. (2) Charles Zwolsman, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
2. (1) Tonis Kasemets, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
3. (4) Andreas Wirth, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
4. (6) Al Unser III, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
5. (9) Chris Dyson, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
6. (16) Tom Nastasi, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 32.
7. (11) Justin Sofio, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 31.
8. (15) Rich Zober, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 30.
9. (12) Dan Cobb, (C2) Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 30.
10. (15) Bob Siska, (C2) Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 30.
11. (8) Leonardo Maia, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 30.
12. (17) Chris Souliotis, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 29.
13. (18) Daryl Leiske, (C2) Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 29.
14. (3) Antoine Bessette, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 25, contact.
15. (7) David Martinez, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 12, contact.
16. (5) Katherine Legge, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 0, contact.
17. (10) Dan Selznick, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 0, contact.

Tidbits from Cleveland Tidbits from ClevelandPaul Tracy won the 24th pole of his career today in Cleveland, breaking a tie on the all-time Champ Car list with Johnny Rutherford and giving him sole possession of seventh on the career pole list. 

Tracy also becomes the first driver ever to win three Champ Car poles at Cleveland with today’s performance. 

Paul Tracy, Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger all qualified in the top five today, marking the first time that three Canadians have qualified in the top five for a Champ Car race since the Molson Indy Toronto in 2003 when Tracy won the pole, Tagliani started fourth and Patrick Carpentier gridded fifth.

Justin Wilson will start 16th in tomorrow’s race, marking the farthest back that the Brit has started in his 19-race Champ Car career.

Bruton tells Bernie to bring his checkbook Bruton tells Bernie to bring his checkbookTony Stewart and Bruton Smith both have pointed opinions about what went on last Sunday in the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I thought it was absurd," Stewart said when asked about the Formula One race in which just six cars, all on Bridgestone tires, competed after 14 teams on Michelins pulled off the track following the formation lap. If I were (F1 chief) Bernie Ecclestone I would ban Michelin from Formula One racing. ...In my eyes that was totally unacceptable. ... I can promise you I will never, ever let anybody in my family have a set of Michelin tires on their car after that. That's the darnest thing I've ever seen in racing."

Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., said Friday at Infineon Raceway, that he would have canceled the race if he were faced with similar circumstances. "I would have never run it," Smith said. "I am sure that today (IMS president) Tony (George) and everybody is probably sorry they ran it. I don't know who has the money, but I think they should refund it - or at least offer refunds."

While Smith said he believes the debacle has damaged F1 in the United States, he said he'd be willing to help F1 try to repair the damage - for the right price. "I'd tell Bernie to bring a lot of money, and if he brought enough money we'd help him out," Smith said. "We'd run wherever he wanted to if he brought enough. I don't have a figure in mind, but it'd have to have a lot of commas in it." ThatsRacin

Jones in No. 4 for Wallace at Infineon Jones in No. 4 for Wallace at InfineonP. J. Jones will be driving the #4 Morgan-McClure Lucas Oil Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 26. This one race decision is no reflection whatsoever of Morgan-McClure and Lucas Oil's commitment to Mike Wallace as the driver of the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy. The team is looking forward to having Wallace back in the car next week in Daytona for the Pepsi 400 and continuing the season long goal of moving up in the points race. The Morgan-McClure Lucas Oil Team is 35th in owner's points coming into the Dodge/Save Mart 350. Morgan-McClure Motorsports/Lucas Oil PR
Wheldon remains an unknown despite Indy 500 win Wheldon remains an unknown despite Indy 500 winThis USA Today article says it all - Unless Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon is near his St. Petersburg, Fla., home, he can probably walk anywhere in the USA without being recognized as the winner of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Consider Tuesday's sponsor appearance in Washington, which featured interactive exhibits, ice cream giveaways and other attractions.

The line for a psychic sitting at an adjacent table was longer than the one to get autographs from Wheldon, teammate Bryan Herta and co-owner Michael Andretti — who was more familiar to visitors than his drivers. Many didn't know who Wheldon was until he signed their cards — aside from a female fan who left a three-piece lingerie ensemble with Wheldon's name sequined on each garment.  "I wish I had gotten her name," Wheldon says, jokingly. [Editor's Note: It's a sad state of affairs in USA open wheel racing since the split that not even the Indy 500 is known.  Danica Patrick was given all the publicity and the rest of the drivers were an afterthought. The weight, the future, of the IRL is being carried on the little shoulders of Danica Patrick]

Bourdais meets Terrelle Smith Bourdais meets Terrelle SmithSebastien participated in a "jersey" swap with Cleveland Browns fullback Terrelle Smith while in town for the Grand Prix. Smith wore the McDonald's jersey at the track today and will be there for the race tomorrow as well. Photo Credit: Dan Boyd
Interview with LeMans winner Tom Kristensen Interview with LeMans winner Tom KristensenLast Saturday at 4:01 p.m. and 35 seconds, the triumph was accomplished: Tom Kristensen in his Audi R8 crosses the finish line at Le Mans as the victor, thus writing another chapter in the annals of motorsport history. No other driver before him has managed to win what is arguably the world’s most famous race seven times. Changing from the sportscar to the Audi A4 DTM was obviously not very difficult for the 37-year-old Dane. Merely a week after the victory at Le Mans, he will be starting from the pole position for the first time in his DTM career at Oschersleben. Tom Kristensen comments on his achievements, goals and very special congratulations in the following interview.

Crossing the finish line in front of a crowd of 230,000 at Le Mans, your seventh victory, your new record – what were the thoughts that entered your mind?
Tom Kristensen: "I was – and still am – the happiest racer in the world. For me, a dream has come true, and in a relatively short period of time at that: I contested Le Mans nine times, I finished seven times, and each time I won. Clearly, the major credit for these exploits goes to the Audi R8, the car in which I won five events together with different team-mates in each of these races."

Has this triumph changed you?
Tom Kristensen: "Never in my life have I been as relaxed as I am now, and I have a feeling as though I no longer need to prove anything to anybody. Of course, that’s not true because racing continues again as early as this weekend – nevertheless, I’d somehow like to hold on to this feeling for the rest of my life. I think that in future I’ll be able to relish exploits even more than before.”

What did you do the days after Le Mans?
Tom Kristensen: "Audi Denmark and Jyske Bank – one of our sponsors – invited my entire family and myself to Copenhagen for two days. Together with my wife, Hanne, and my children, Carla and Oliver, I stayed at a suite in Denmark’s most expensive hotel and had a few PR appearances at the Tivoli.”
How was the response to your victory?
Tom Kristensen: "Incredible, and much greater and warmer than I had imagined. I received roughly 150 e-mails and more than 200 SMS messages – and I still haven’t had the time to answer them all. On the website of one of Denmark’s leading newspapers, readers cast votes in favor of our victory as the greatest Danish sporting exploit – even ranking ahead of the European Championship win of our footballers in 1992. That made me very happy. By the way, I think our opponent in the final match at that time was Germany…”
And who was the first person to express congratulations?
Tom Kristensen: "That was Jacky Ickx. He left a voice mail message for me at 3.53 p.m., in other words, a few laps before the finish, saying: ‘I know that you’re sitting in the car, because I’m watching you on television right now.’ Then he congratulated me and, with a smile, said that at least he was now the only racer again with six Le Mans victories to his credit. Jacky Ickx is a great individual and ambassador of motor racing. He will always remain the true ‘Mr. Le Mans’.”
How difficult is the change from the R8 to the Audi A4 DTM now?
Tom Kristensen: "Of course, these are two completely different cars. But I’m not changing from sports to touring cars for the first time. And it’s being made very easy for me: when you grab the wheel and put your foot on the accelerator pedal, either car makes you realize immediately that you’re sitting in an Audi.”

Tracy and Bourdais at odds Tracy and Bourdais at oddsThings got a little heated after Champ Car qualifying today when Sebastien Bourdais had some choice words for Paul Tracy after Tracy blocked Bourdais' fast lap. Tracy said, "I spun and went off the track and was coming back onto the track and I just didn't see him. He's mad at me but what are you going to do, it was unintentional." Tomorrow's race is going to be a real tussle between Tracy, da Matta and Bourdais, who are all very closely matched. Tracy likes his chances. "My car is good on worn tires and full tanks, so we are looking pretty good for Sunday, I just hope I don't get taken out in the first corner like last year."
Helicopter malfunction at Cleveland Helicopter malfunction at ClevelandUPDATE The helicopter that had the mechanical problem today was being used by Broadcast Sports for Champ Car’s in-car cameras.  The problem occurred right at the start of the Toyota Atlantic race.  Pilot Rob Wheeling did an excellent job of safely landing the crippled aircraft.  The cause of the mechanical problem is still being investigated by the FAA. 06/25/05 At 12:58pm a privately chartered helicopter experienced an equipment malfunction during flight. The pilot of the helicopter maintained control of the aircraft and successfully landed the aircraft without sustaining any injuries at the western end of the Burke Lakefront Airport airfield, an area specifically used for the launching and landing of helicopters. The landing of the aircraft posed no threat to the airport or to any activities related to the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by US Bank. The helicopter landed approximately one half mile from the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland racetrack. There was no interruption of activities related to the race. The Federal Aviation Administration was notified and all protocols and procedures have been initiated successfully. From Khalid T. Bahhur, Commissioner City of Cleveland, Burke Lakefront Airport.
Scarallo makes engine change, goes to rear Scarallo makes engine change, goes to rearJoey Scarallo (No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend/ Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette) will make an engine change prior to today’s Trans-Am on the Tarmac race at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland and therefore will forfeit his qualifying time.   Scarallo, who was slated to start first today, will instead start at the to back of the grid due to the engine change. Due to the disqualification, John Baucom (No. 86 MAP Quality Engineering/Software Toolbox Ford Mustang) will roll off first in today’s race.

Cleveland native Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) and Csaba Bujdoso (No. 93 Checkered Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro) will also start at the back of the field as both missed qualifying. Ruhlman crashed in first-round practice yesterday and his Derhaag Motorsports team worked until 5 a.m. today to make repairs on his car.

The top five in yesterday’s qualifying session were inverted under Trans-Am’s Fast Five® Qualifying program. The top five will grid in their original qualifying slots, and will then roll off in their inverted starting positions. However, since Scarallo forfeited his qualifying time, Baucom gets to start first today. Fourth-place qualifier Max Lagod (No. 83 Hypermax Diesel Turbo Systems Chevrolet Corvette) will start on the outside of the front row. Tomy Drissi (No. 5 Fantastic Four – The Movie Jaguar XKR) will remain third, while Paul Gentilozzi (No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR) and rookie Klaus Graf (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR) will start fourth and fifth, respectively.

Today’s Trans-Am Series race, the Trans-Am on the Tarmac, is Round 3 of the 2005 Trans-Am Championship and part of the Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by US Bank weekend. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Today’s race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, July 3 at 3 p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel.

The Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Series is America’s oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrates its 40th consecutive year of competition in 2005.

Al Speyer talks about F1 and Champ Car Al Speyer talks about F1 and Champ CarAl Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport had this reaction to last weekend's events at Indy regarding the F1 race, "It was a poor day for the fans. I don't know all of the facts about what happened. It was too bad that they couldn't reach a compromise and run a race. I was very surprised that Michelin got into that situation. We've all been racing there for 5 or 6 years now, and nothing has really changed. I'm amazed that that could happen. I suppose it could have happened to us sometime, but if anything, I think we've been a little bit more conservative and not as aggressive because safety is really important. To have the whole race messed up like that is a pretty major problem." Read more here
Champ Car makes changes to Cleveland start Champ Car makes changes to Cleveland startThe Champ Car World Series took steps to decrease the likelihood of a first-turn, first-lap incident in Cleveland Saturday, announcing a new start procedure for Sunday’s Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank.

A barrel will be placed in the center of Burke Lakefront Airport’s front stretch for the first lap of tomorrow’s 94-lap event, directing drivers to the left side of the strip that leads into the treacherous first turn. The move opens up the radius of the first corner for drivers and will remove the temptation for drivers to dive up the inside, or right side, of the runway – a move that usually results in contact in the corner.

In addition, drivers will line up left of the yellow centerline leading into the first turn, with a drive-through penalty given to any drivers that puts a tire over the yellow line on the opening lap. The Champ Car Stewards will review and decide on any incidents where a car is forced to the right of the line.

Drivers will still be able to fan out four-wide at the entrance to the turn during the race start, as is the custom in Cleveland. The barrel will be removed, along with all restrictions concerning the center line, after the first lap of the race.  Sunday’s Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank will take the green flag at 2 p.m. The event can be seen live on CBS Sports beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

Overheard in Cleveland Overheard in ClevelandVicki O'Connor said the new Atlantic car will be announced in two weeks........Ronnie Bremer told AutoRacing1 that the Champ Car is the best car in the world to drive and even the F1 drivers would prefer to be in a Champ Car because they are equal and everyone has a chance.........Cleveland will not go back to a night race until the race becomes profitable again.......Cleveland may have big screen TVs in the infield at Cleveland next year.............Justin Wilson was dehydrated after morning practice here in a very hot Cleveland..........The 2005 Toyota Atlantic champion will get to race in the Mexico City race this year..........Mario Dominguez thinks the series should use standing starts at some events.......Max Papis thinks the Champ Cars need more HP......If Mario Dominguez goes to F1 he intends to come back to Champ Car..............Max Papis says Danica Patrick is the best woman driver he has seen.
Zwolsman wins pole for Cleveland Race 2 Zwolsman wins pole for Cleveland Race 2Dutchman Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) made all the right moves on the track and in the garage Saturday morning as he won his second career Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama pole position for the second of two races this weekend in Cleveland.

The upstart rookie, who entered this weekend ranked second in the Atlantic series standings, struggled early in this morning’s 30-minute qualifying session for Sunday’s BOSPoker.com Toyota Atlantic Grand Prix of Cleveland (tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel - Saturday, July 9 beginning at 2 p.m. ET). But the Condor Motorsports team made some changes in the car’s setup and Zwolsman adjusted his driving lines on the challenging, 10-turn, 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport road circuit and he was able to post the fastest lap of the weekend late in qualifying. Zwolsman’s mark of 1:07.854 (111.734 mph) was established on his 17th lap and earned the 26-year-old racer the right to start up front for tomorrow’s Round 6 of the 2005 Atlantic championship.

After finishing second in qualifying on Friday behind series point leader Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK ind./TMI/Redline Oil) for today’s first race of the weekend, Zwolsman switched spots with his championship rival in this morning’s session. Kasemets wound up with the second-fastest lap in today’s qualifying with a top time of 1:07.977 (111.532 mph). After leading qualifying early, Kasemets said his Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis squad elected to not put on new tires near the end of the session, as some competitors did. He felt he might’ve been able to win the pole if he had the new rubber on the car, but he knows he’ll still be starting on the front row tomorrow and will have new tires for the start of the race.

Zwolsman closed the gap in the championship standings with this morning’s efforts. Kasemets will carry a 110-point total into today’s first race of the weekend while Zwolsman has 104 points entering Round 5.

After qualifying third on Friday, Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design) bettered his time from yesterday but wound up in the same position in qualifying for Race 2. Bessette was clocked at 1:08.057 (111.401 mph) this morning as he’s now qualified among the top five in all six races this season.

Continuing a strong weekend at her team’s home race, Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing) led qualifying early on and wound up with her career-best qualifying result of fourth place today with a top lap of 1:08.542 (110.612 mph). Legge, who races for Polestar Racing Group in Chardon, Ohio – about 20 minutes from Cleveland – qualified fifth on Friday for the opening event of the weekend.
Pos Driver Car# Lap Time Mph Leader Previous
1 Charles Zwolsman 11 1:07.854 111.734 0.000
2 Tonis Kasemets 6 1:07.977 111.532 0.123
3 Antoine Bessette 3 1:08.057 111.401 0.203 0.080
4 Katherine Legge 12 1:08.542 110.612 0.688 0.485
5 Andreas Wirth 8 1:08.989 109.896 1.135 0.447
6 David Martinez 7 1:09.146 109.646 1.292 0.157
7 Al Unser 10 1:09.318 109.374 1.464 0.172
8 Chris Dyson 16 1:09.734 108.722 1.880 0.416
9 Tom Nastasi 23 1:10.589 107.405 2.735 0.855
10 Leonardo Maia 2 1:10.644 107.321 2.790 0.055
11 Dan Selznick 49 1:10.744 107.170 2.890 0.100
12 Dan Cobb 9 1:12.488 104.591 4.634 1.744
13 Justin Sofio 15 1:12.911 103.984 5.057 0.423
14 Daryl Leiski 63 1:12.987 103.876 5.133 0.076
15 Rich Zober 66 1:14.026 102.418 6.172 1.039
16 Chris Souliotis 56 1:16.581 99.001 8.727 2.555
17 Bob Siska 18 1:16.956 98.519 9.102 0.375

Tony George helpless over USGP situation Tony George helpless over USGP situationTony George flew to Europe this week to meet with grand prix officials about last week's boycotted U.S. Grand Prix. But he didn't return with answers.  If anything, he said he knows less about the event's future -- much less refunds for customers -- than he did before he went.

"I feel very helpless," he said Friday at Richmond International Raceway, where his Indy Racing League will stage the SunTrust Indy Challenge tonight. "I don't know what's going on. I hope we can come up with something, but I don't know.  There's a lot going on and a lot coming up in the next week when the teams go before the (sport's governing body). We'll have to see."

The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) will meet Wednesday in Paris with the seven teams that pulled cars off the track with tire issues.

George said he didn't know how to react to seeing only six of the 20 cars take the green light. He described it as one of the emptiest feelings he's experienced as the leader of the track. He became IMS president in 1989.  "Everybody has maintained a position and to some extent I can understand their positions," George said. "But leaving us in the position we were left in made me feel very compromised."

George was asked if he has formulated a plan for 2006.  "I'm formulating it," he said. Indy Star

Patrick compared to Tiger Patrick compared to TigerThis Washington Post article insults our intelligence by comparing Danica Patrick to Tiger Woods.  Whereas Tiger was a winner and true champion from Day 1, Danica Patrick has yet to win a race of any kind and has a long way to go before she can truly be compared to the great Tiger Woods.  This over-hype is getting ridiculous and it's going to come back and bite the IRL in the posterior when she doesn't produce as we see this weekend in Richmond qualifying where she is the slowest driver on the track in qualifying. When you are slower than AJ Foyt IV and Ed Carpenter people start to ask questions.  

Some take this as us putting down Danica Patrick because she is in the IRL.  On the contrary, we are saying the hype surrounding her should be on par with performance.  When those two are out of kilter, someone is going to come crashing back down to earth like a burnt out meteorite. 

BAR Honda happy with Jerez outing BAR Honda happy with Jerez outingBAR Honda completed an intensive three-day test at the Jerez circuit in Southern Spain on Friday in preparation for the forthcoming French and British Grand Prix. Despite the intense heat, which saw track temperatures reach 54°C, the team were able to successfully complete the planned program of aerodynamic upgrade evaluations, an set-up program for the new BAR Honda 007-06 chassis and the running of the latest specification engine from Honda.

All four regular drivers were in attendance at the test, together with Adam Carroll from the BAR Honda Young Driver Program.

The team has not tested since prior to the North American races so the run plan was very intensive in order to prepare for the return to Europe and a more positive second half of the season. As BAR Honda's most experienced 'Young Driver' Carroll was on hand to provide additional driver input, which allowed him the opportunity to get his first taste of the BAR Honda 007 car.

Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi began the test on Wednesday morning. Davidson worked solely on aerodynamic developments, completing 113 laps, whilst Bernoldi, running only in the morning, completed tests with new suspension and brake components over 61 laps. Carroll took over from Bernoldi in the afternoon session and completed 27 laps, acclimatizing himself well to both the car and the extremely hot conditions.
Jenson Button and Takuma Sato joined the team on Thursday with Button continuing the aerodynamic tests, whilst Sato concentrated on further suspension developments. Both drivers spent the afternoon session running through a Michelin tire evaluation in preparation for the French Grand Prix. Button completed a total of 115 laps, setting the second fastest time of the day. Sato completed 120 laps, setting the fastest time of the afternoon session and the third fastest time overall.

Button and Sato again began the driving duties on Friday morning. Button tested further aerodynamic solutions completing 84 laps and setting the fastest time of the morning session. Sato had a frustrating morning as a brake and engine problem limited his running to only 27 laps. Davidson took over the car from Takuma in the afternoon session and, with the engine changed, he ran through a chassis set-up program completing 39 laps. Bernoldi, taking over from Button, ran through some chassis set-up work alongside a short aero evaluation to complete 47 laps.

Jenson Button - "We have had a positive test in Jerez this week, completing a lot of mileage on both days. We focused mainly on set-up and aero development, alongside tire testing for Magny Cours. We also looked at reliability work with the engine which was excellent. Overall it was a good positive test before we travel to France for the next race."

Takuma Sato - "I had a great first day at our test yesterday when I completed a lot of laps and ran through various mechanical set-ups on the car. We completed our planned tire program for Magny Cours with very positive results. This morning we had some difficulties with a brake and engine problem which meant that I did not achieve very much running, which is a shame, as we could not carry on the momentum from yesterday. But overall I am happy with the results and looking forward to the race at Magny Cours next week." BAR Honda

Trouble-free conclusion for Alonso Trouble-free conclusion for AlonsoRenault completed testing in Jerez on Friday with a high-mileage day that allowed the team to collect a large amount of useful data. After a day of promotional work, Championship leader Fernando Alonso was back behind the wheel of his Renault, completing 119 laps while test driver Franck Montagny completed just one less in the sister Renault. The duo ended the day third and sixth fastest respectively. Following two difficult days, the team was able to run trouble-free with both cars in order to complete preparations for the forthcoming French Grand Prix, notably in terms of tire choice.

"We had a productive day that allowed us to complete preparations for Magny-Cours, while also working on chassis development programs, and notably braking," explained Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk. "The cars ran without problems which meant we were able to beat the 1000 km mark with our two cars today." Renault

McLaren very strong again at Jerez McLaren very strong again at JerezMcLaren Mercedes completed its three day testing program at the Circuito de Jerez on Friday, with Kimi Raikkonen setting the fastest time of the day at the Spanish circuit with a best of 1m17.098s.

Raikkonen was in action alongside Pedro de la Rosa with the Finn continuing performance testing work, focusing on suspension in the MP4-20, taking over duties from Juan Pablo Montoya.

Raikkonen had mechanical problems this afternoon which cost him two hours of track time but completed his program.

In a change to the schedule, de la Rosa was behind the wheel of the MP4-19B, taking over from Alex Wurz who trapped a nerve in his back yesterday.

The Spanish tester continued with the Michelin tire development program, concentrating on evaluations of the prime and option tire for the forthcoming French Grand Prix.

De la Rosa suffered an engine failure at 09:15 this morning. The test team completed an engine change and he was back out on track within two hours. Pedro then completed the reminder of his program without any problems.

Raikkonen's fastest lap time today was a 1m17.090s and he completed 63 laps. De la Rosa was eighth fastest, completing 96 laps with a best time of 1m17.680s.
Pedro de la Rosa - "I flew back from the USA, was at the McLaren Technology Centre yesterday and then got the call to fly out to Jerez to take over the on-track work from Alex. It has been a busy day, and we have been able to do more than 400km for our Michelin tire development work for the French Grand Prix despite the fact that we had to change the engine this morning."

Kimi Raikkonen - "We have had a productive session in which we focused our performance testing work on the suspension of the MP4-20. My task was to complete the testing work of Juan Pablo on the last day. With the developments we both made to the car we should benefit from in the forthcoming French and British Grand Prix."

Juan Pablo Montoya - "I'm happy with the testing results. I did 132 laps in total on the first two days of testing and achieved the fastest on each of the days respectively. Besides my tire evaluation program I was focusing on suspension and gearbox development work." McLaren Mercedes

Damon Hill confirmed for GP2 test Damon Hill confirmed for GP2 testThere’s a buzz at the GP2 series as the ’96 Formula One Champion has confirmed he will join a number of former F1 drivers in testing our development car. Over five years after he retired from top-level motorsport, 1996 Formula One World Champion Damon Hill has confirmed he will drive the Dallara-Renault GP2 series development car at Circuit Paul Ricard on June 28.

Hill and Renault are no strangers, as it was the French manufacturer’s engines that took him to his F1 World Championship almost a decade ago. But while he is eager to get a feel for the new series for his own enjoyment, Hill’s interest is also professional. Since retiring from competition, he has used his knowledge and influence to help aspiring drivers on the path to Formula One.

"The reason for me doing this test is simple; I wish to help a young driver, Steven Kane, realize his dream of becoming an F1 World Champion,” Hill stated. “The GP2 series will be the best preparation for young drivers wishing to enter Formula One, I'm sure of that. But when I received the offer to drive the GP2 series car myself, I could not resist the opportunity to have a go! I’m really looking forward to it."
Bruno Michel, GP2 series organizer was naturally delighted that a former World Champion will behind the wheel of a GP2 challenger.

“Everyone at the GP2 series is delighted that Damon has agreed to try out our car," said Michel. "From the very start we wanted to position our championship with a close proximity to Formula One, and to be able to get feedback on the series and our car from a Formula One World Champion such as Damon is a big boost. I’m confident he will enjoy his day and find the GP2 series car to be a lot of fun. We’re all looking forward to hearing his thoughts.”

Damon Hill started 115 Grand Prix in his eight-year Formula One career, starting on the front row 47 times, taking 20 pole positions, 19 fastest laps, 42 podiums, 22 wins and, the most desired of all accomplishments in international motorsport, the Formula One World Championship title in 1996.

He will be joined at the test by fellow ex-F1 drivers Jacques Laffite, Patrick Tambay and Adrian Campos, team-owner of the Campos Racing GP2 series team. GP2 Series

’Bones’ on Wind Tunnel ’Bones’ on Wind TunnelVeteran racing reporter and author, Mark "Bones" Bourcier, will be Wind Tunnel's Guest Co-Host this Sunday, June 26th. Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs Sunday's at 9:00pm/et - Live. As one of the most respected journalists in the racing community, Bourcier has spent the last three decades digging into the world of motorsports, contributing columns and features to a number of magazines and newspapers. From the grassroots grind at the local level to NASCAR at the national level, he has covered them all. As an author, he has co-written acclaimed autobiographies for safety pioneer, Bill Simpson, Nextel Cup champion, Tony Stewart, and modified champion, Bugs Stevens. His latest addition is a biography of the late 9-time NASCAR Modified champion, Richie Evans. Featured Interview: Current USAC National Midget and Silver Crown Points leader Josh Wise. Speed Channel
Daytona USA to sponsor Labontes Daytona USA to sponsor LabontesDAYTONA USA, the Official Attraction of NASCAR, will sponsor the #44 Doran Racing Pontiac Doran driven by NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champions Bobby and Terry Labonte in the June 30 Brumos Porsche 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race at Daytona International Speedway. In the Rolex 24 At Daytona earlier this year, Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NEXTEL Cup Series champion, and Terry, the 1984 and 1996 NEXTEL Cup champion, co-drove the #44 Daytona Prototype with Jan Magnussen and Bryan Herta to a ninth-place overall finish. The Brumos Porsche 250, which features the Daytona Prototypes as well as GT class machines, will kick off the Pepsi 400 Weekend on Thursday, June 30 with a new starting time of 7:15pm/et. DIS
NASCAR confiscates engines NASCAR confiscates enginesSpeed Channel's Bob Dillner reported on Speed News NASCAR Edition that NASCAR took ten engines from the teams after the race at Michigan. Three Dodge [#12, #9, #41], Four GM [#20, #15, #31, #48], Three Ford [#6, #17, #38]. The engines were taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC to determine how even the power, parts, etc are.   NASCAR's confiscation of engines was unexpected, and engine men say they don't expect to get those engines back soon and that NASCAR has told them it won't be releasing any horsepower figures from its secret tests in Charlotte. Winston Salem Journal
Bobby Sr. tells Bobby Jr. to move on Bobby Sr. tells Bobby Jr. to move onThat's the advice Bobby Hamilton Sr. offered his son, #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., in regards to Hamilton Jr.'s ride with Cal Wells' #32 team. Ron Fellows, a road racing specialist, will drive for Hamilton Jr. this weekend because the team is outside the top 35 in car owner points and must qualify to make the race. Asked what he's told his son during this season, Hamilton Sr. said: "To find something else to drive," he said. "I mean, there's too many chiefs and not enough Indians there. They've got just enough employees to survive, barely get to a race track and survive a Nextel Cup deal. I think the world of the owner [Wells]. I know the crew chief and driver have a ton of talent together. Hopefully, they can land back on their feet someplace else.'' Roanoke Times
Trans-Am to use inverted start Trans-Am to use inverted startThe Trans-Am series has gone back to an inverted start, which was used in the 1980s. It means four of the first five qualifiers are reversed.  While he won the pole during Friday's late afternoon qualifying, rookie Klaus Graf will start fifth on the grid, with Rocketsports teammate Paul Gentilozzi starting fourth.  "As much as I hated it back in the day, it helps make the beginning of the race interesting," said Gentilozzi.
Champ Car tries to address Cleveland first turn crashes Champ Car tries to address Cleveland first turn crashesOne of the rare dark moments in Grand Prix of Cleveland history is about to be revisited, hopefully with much better results.  Several years ago the decision was made to clean up the traditional first-lap chaos that has become a signature of the 24-year-old race. Cones were placed on the track to funnel the field into a single-file turn through the first corner hairpin.

What resulted was a crash involving more cars than normal, shrinking the field considerably before most drivers got up to speed. The following year the race returned to the wide-open start. Rumors began circulating Friday of another attempt to control the field.

Sources said that starting with today's Toyota Atlantic race, drivers will be informed they must stay to the left of a yellow line in the middle of the Burke Lakefront Airport runway. A barrel will be placed on the yellow line before the apex of the corner to keep drivers from crossing the line. Drivers will not be able to turn into the corner until they pass the marker.

Officials hope this will stop drivers from "dive-bombing" in and out of the first corner, often picking up two or three positions in the process but taking out several competitors.  While the cones narrowed the corner, "we're expanding the radius of the corner," a Champ Car official said of the effort to make a cleaner, safer start.  The barrel will be removed after the first lap. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Toyota Atlantic quotes Toyota Atlantic quotesQuotes from the top three qualifiers from Saturday's Toyota Atlantic qualifying session follow:
TONIS KASEMETS (Flexovit Abrasive Prods/MK/TMI/Red Line Oil – Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis): “I have a lot of confidence in the team and my engineer is doing a great job making the car fit my driving style and it just makes my job a lot easier. Right now, we seem to have found the right chemistry and we need to keep working on it. It looks easy from the outside to be up front but it is not and everybody is hunting me down. For my fastest lap, everything just flowed very smoothly and I had a great rhythm. It is all about finding the right balance. For the race tomorrow, as long as nobody hits me in the back at Turn 1, I think I can bring it home.”

CHARLES ZWOLSMAN (Condor Motorsports): “This is very different from a normal race track and it took me some time to get used to it. We need to adjust the car to get a little more speed to be able to run up front with these guys (Kasemets and Bessette). All corners but one are really fast and the car is really bumpy so you are always on the limit trying to control the rear of the car. It is really exciting! I just love qualifying because you go to the ultimate speed of the car. It is definitely my favorite exercise.”

ANTOINE BESSETTE (Unik Auto Design – Polestar Racing): “I am really happy with my performance. This morning we got lucky, we did not have any traffic so I was really fast. This afternoon I got some traffic but I managed to have a few clear laps and that’s when I ran my fastest times. Last (time I raced here) I didn’t make it past the first turn but I think this is a great place. It is a different track and the lines are very important. I like the track and I am looking forward to the first race tomorrow.”

Q and A with Dick Eidswick Q and A with Dick EidswickWhile the off-track successes for Champ Car can't be ignored, a lot needs to be done on the track to build fan recognition within the driving ranks, and a signature event for the series to hang its hat on. And with the Grand Prix of Cleveland set to kick off its 24th year, what does the future hold? Dick Eidswick, president of Champ Car, addresses those issues.

In one question he hints that he is not happy with Cleveland's business community participation in this event.

Q: Talking Cleveland, outside of the constant, "we need corporate Cleveland to step up" complaint, what are the pluses and minuses for Champ Car to be here?

A: The [Grand Prix of Cleveland] is a tradition, and tradition is important in Champ Car. We believe that the city of Cleveland deserves a race of this caliber, and we will continue to work with the business community to seek their support. If the Cleveland business community continues to be reluctant, we will need to reevaluate the performance of the race in terms of its financials.

Q: Next year will be Cleveland's 25th anniversary. Any ideas?

A: Twenty-five years is an important milestone for any Grand Prix, and we think the race in Cleveland is very special. Our plans are to redouble our efforts with the business community to make sure this is a stepping stone for the next 25 years. More....

The picture isn't quite so rosy for the Grand Prix itself, thanks largely to its lack of a title sponsor. "That's a significant financial commitment that's missing this year," said Rena Shanaman, general manager for the Grand Prix. "We're not anywhere close to being profitable yet."

And some businesses that could have benefited from the event say they have been stymied by organizers' decisions to use out-of-state vendors. Harold Simis, owner of Fast Signs in Bedford, said, "Not one . . . sign shop in Cleveland got an order." (Related article: Race still in hunt for title sponsor)

As usual it is going to be hot and uncomfortable at this weekend's race, and they wonder why it does not attract a big crowd. What person wants to sit in near 90-degree heat on a hard wooden plank all day. Champ Car's quality of grandstand seat at these temporary races is pitiful, and once again they are using bleacher seats suitable for a high school football game.

Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame unveiled Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame unveiledLegendary drivers Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin will retire from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series after the 2005 season, but their legacies will live forever at Infineon Raceway.

Wallace and Martin, who have combined for three victories and three pole positions at Infineon Raceway over their careers, were honored during a ceremony on Friday in the Winner’s Circle as the raceway announced the construction of a Wall of Fame.  Wallace and Martin were honored as the Wall of Fame’s first inductees — the ceremony took place during the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend.

The Sonoma Valley facility has featured the best in motor sports over the last 37 years, and raceway officials decided to establish a Wall of Fame, which will honor those who have excelled not only in their form of motor racing, but more importantly, at Infineon Raceway.

Both drivers were presented with granite plaques by Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway. The plaques were etched with each driver’s likeness, as well as their form of motor racing, and the date of induction. The plaques will be on display in the Wall of Fame, which is being constructed behind the main grandstand and will be open to the public.

Setzer wins Milwaukee truck race Setzer wins Milwaukee truck raceIt may have taken Dennis Setzer ten years to finally put it all together at The Milwaukee Mile, but he finally did it in a huge way, dominating the Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series race Friday night June 24th to score his second series win of the season.

Setzer became the 10th series winner in 11 events held at The Milwaukee Mile. (Photo right: Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 winner Dennis Setzer leads outside front row qualifier Todd Bodine in early race action. Photo credit:  Nate Mecha/HSP)

“It was a long time coming but…finally!” exclaimed Setzer whose previous best Milwaukee finish was a second place in the inaugural series event at America’s Legendary Oval in 1995. “We almost won one here ten years ago, which opened some doors for us as far as getting good rides, so it’s special to win here.”

And win he did, leading a whopping 152 of the event’s 200 laps in record time, as he left a mere four trucks on the lead lap at the conclusion.  It took a scant 1 hour, 49.11 minutes from start to finish for the North Carolina veteran.  Once Setzer took the lead on lap 44, it was obvious to the crowd of 26, 571 that he had the truck to beat as he quickly pulled away from Jack Sprague, Ted Musgrave, Ron Hornaday and the rest of the field..

Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200
Finish, Start, Number, Name
1    3  46    Dennis Setzer
2    1  16    Jack Sprague
3    5   1    Ted Musgrave
4    8   6     Ron Hornaday, Jr.
5    4  77    Brendan Gaughan
6   20  04    Bobby Hamilton
7   29  62    Steve Park
8   12  14    Rick Crawford
9    6  50    Todd Kluever
10  19  10    Terry Cook
11   7  75    David Starr
12  26   2    Jimmy Spencer
13  16  38   Brandon Whitt
14  18  59   Robet Pressley
15  14  22   Bill Lester
16  9    5    Mike Skinner
17  22  60   Chad Chaffin
18  11  88   Matt Crafton
19  24  15   Martin Truex, Jr.
20  15  65   Regan Smith
21  23  99   Ricky Craven
22  17  07   Chris Wimmer
23  10  17   David Reutimann
24  35   8   Deborah Renshaw
25  32   4   Chris Fontaine
26  34  63   Justin Allgaier
27  13  29   Brad Kesolowski
28  27  08   Rich Bickle
29  33  31   Nicolas Tucker
30  36  91   JC Stout
31  21  12   Robert Huffman
32  25  13   Tracy Hines
33  31  18   Chase Montgomery
34  2   30   Todd Bodine
35  28  23   Johnny Benson
36  30  61   Alex Yontz

Free Brumos Porsche 250 tickets Free Brumos Porsche 250 ticketsI have four tickets to the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona scheduled for Thursday night June 30, 2005. They are in Section L of the Nextel Tower and look down on the start/finish line. Since nobody wants to buy them, I'll give them away to whoever in the Autoracing1 community wants them. I'd go but I'll still be in New Jersey on Thursday. E-mail me with your name and address by Sunday night, and tell me that your sending a check for $5 to cover postage, and I'll ship it to you. You should get it via US postal service priority mail on Wednesday. Terry Fischer, tfisch100@aol.com
Hot News Archives
2000 2001 2002 2003

Search Hot News
Search Help
AutoRacing1 Inc. BBB Business Review