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Earnhardt wins Winn-Dixie 250 Earnhardt wins Winn-Dixie 250Dale Earnhardt Jr. dominated on his way to his 21st Busch Series victory, leading the last 88 of 103 laps to win Friday night's Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway.  (Photo right, Earnhardt beats Vickers to the line.  Photo courtesy CIA Stock Photo)

Earnhardt drove his DEI Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet to victory in the Winn-Dixie 250 presented by Pepsico for his 21st career NASCAR Busch Series win, matching the number of wins posted by his father, Dale Earnhardt and retired driver Harry Gant. It was also his fourth career NASCAR Busch Series win at Daytona.

The 100-lap, 250 mile race was extended to a three-lap “overtime” period after a spin by Jason Leffler with three laps to go in the scheduled distance, necessitating the three-lap green-white-checkered finish.

Earnhardt was able to hold off the final-laps bid by Brian Vickers in the Ore-Ida/Heinz Chevrolet to take the win. Earnhardt’s perceived tire problem was never an issue, although the car’s transmission broke during his celebratory victory burn-out. Earnhardt walked from the start finish line to victory lane, while his car was eventually freed from it’s locked position and pushed to the winner’s celebration. zzzz

Fifth-place starter Vickers finished with a strong second place performance followed by series point leader Kevin Harvick in his own U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet. Harvick started 42nd in the field as penalty for irregularities found with his car during inspection that caused his crew chief, Shane Wilson was ejected from the speedway earlier in the day.

Pole sitter J.J. Yeley finished fourth followed by Carl Edwards. Completing the top-10 were Clint Bowyer, Mike Wallace, Martin Truex, Jr., Greg Biffle, and series rookie John Andretti who started 30th. Eighteen cars finished on the lead lap.

Earnhardt led 88 of the race’s 103 laps, taking the lead from Denny Hamlin on lap 17. Yeley led the first 16 laps.

The race was punctuated by two non-injury multi-car accidents, two cautions for debris, and one for Leffler’s late race solo spin.

Harvick departed the event with an unofficial 388-point lead in the series standings, pending any further penalty for the earlier inspection infraction. Edwards is second in the points standings followed by Bowyer, Hamlin and Yeley.

Fin Car Driver Team Laps Status
1 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet 103 Running
2 57 Brian Vickers Ore-Ida/Heinz Chevrolet 103 Running
3 21 Kevin Harvick U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet 103 Running
4 18 J.J. Yeley Vigoro/The Home Depot Chevrolet 103 Running
5 60 Carl Edwards Henkel Ford 103 Running
6 2 Clint Bowyer ACDelco Chevrolet 103 Running
7 1 Mike Wallace Miccosukee Resorts Dodge 103 Running
8 88 Martin Truex Jr. NAVY Chevrolet 103 Running
9 16 Greg Biffle Ameriquest Ford 103 Running
10 10 John Andretti # RVs.com/Freedom Roads/Gander Mtn. Ford 103 Running
11 64 Jamie McMurray Top Flite XL Extreme Dodge 103 Running
12 33 Tony Stewart Dollar General Chevrolet 103 Running
13 43 P.J. Jones Diversified Partners Dodge 103 Running
14 22 Kenny Wallace AutoZone Ford 103 Running
15 35 Regan Smith McDonald’s Ford 103 Running
16 5 Kyle Busch Lowe's/Spectrum Spectacide Chevrolet 103 Running
17 25 Ashton Lewis Jr. United States Marines Ford 103 Running
18 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Chevrolet 103 Running
19 56 Kevin Lepage TNT Fireworks Chevrolet 102 Running
20 59 Stacy Compton Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford 102 Running
21 00 Johnny Sauter Yellow Transportation Chevrolet 102 Running
22 77 Burney Lamar # Dollar General Chevrolet 102 Running
23 27 David Green Kleenex/Scott Towels Ford 102 Running
24 36 Tim Sauter Lester Buildings Chevrolet 102 Running
25 06 Todd Kluever # 3M Ford 102 Running
26 90 Stephen Leicht citifinancial Ford 102 Running
27 4 Kevin Hamlin GEICO/Denbeste Dodge 101 Running
28 34 Paul Tracy SportClips/American Crew Chevrolet 101 Running
29 12 Tracy Hines # Take Me on Vacation Dodge 101 Running
30 20 Denny Hamlin Rockwell Automation Chevrolet 101 Running
31 0 Kertus Davis RACEGIRL Chevrolet 100 Running
32 26 Dwayne Leik Western Union Chevrolet 99 Running
33 66 Scott Wimmer Duraflame quik coals Ford 97 Running
34 47 Jon Wood ArmorAll Ford 93 Accident
35 9 Kasey Kahne Ragu Dodge 87 Engine
36 01 Jay Sauter Western Union Chevrolet 84 Running
37 11 Paul Menard Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet 69 Accident
38 99 Michael Waltrip Aaron's Dream Machine Dodge 68 Accident
39 95 Steadman Marlin GDSI/Steamatic Dodge 62 Overheating
40 41 Reed Sorenson Discount Tire Co. Dodge 60 Accident
41 50 Danny O'Quinn Jr. # World Financial Group Ford 58 Accident
42 63 Jeff Spraker Every&McCabe Construction Chevrolet 40 Suspension
43 49 Shane Hall TBA Ford 10 Engine

NASCAR slams Busch Series cheater NASCAR slams Busch Series cheaterShane Wilson, crew chief of the No. 21 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been ejected from the racing premises at Daytona International Speedway for rule violations found following impound Friday.
Wilson was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules – unapproved aerodynamic modification) of the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series rule book.  
As a result, the qualifying time for the No. 21 Chevrolet was disallowed and that car will start tonight’s race from the 42nd position.
Afghanistan soldiers to give start command for Toronto Afghanistan soldiers to give start command for TorontoOn July 9th, the words that rev the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto to life will be relayed all the way from Afghanistan. The most famous words in racing, "Drivers Start Your Engines," will be spoken by Canadian Forces troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The race cars won't be the only technologically advanced vehicles during the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto weekend.

In the Automotive Building at Exhibition Place, the Canadian Forces will showcase some of the vehicles they use, including a Leopard tank and an eight-wheeled armored troop carrier.

The Indy drivers will race on a 2.8-kilometre track along Toronto's waterfront at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour. Canadian Press

formula bmw
Matt Lee wins double poles at Indy Matt Lee wins double poles at IndyQualifying Friday for the first of two Formula BMW USA events on the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed:

1. (44) Matt Lee, 94.742 mph
2. (66) Robert Wickens, 94.683
3. (50) Simona de Silvestro, 93.751
4. (16) Ryan Phinny, 93.727
5. (13) Tobias Hegewald, 93.409
6. (70) Daniel Morad, 93.378
7. (55) Stefano Coletti, 93.237
8. (4) Ryan Campbell, 93.092
9. (49) Philip Major, 92.966
10. (5) Sebastian Saavedra, 92.735
11. (9) Yannick Hofman, 92.661
12. (8) Race Johnson, 92.562
13. (6) John Zartarian, 92.561
14. (19) Jordan Dick, 92.485
15. (10) Reed Stevens, 91.638
16. (7) Steven Guerrero, 91.626
17. (12) Jules Duc, 90.227
18. (23) David Garza, 89.599
19. (22) Joel Jackson, 89.158
20. (21) Scott Schroeder, 89.000
21. (3) Adrien Herberts, 88.533
22. (1) Robert Thorne, 88.357
23. (11) Maxime Pelletier, 88.183
24. (20) Tom Sutherland, 88.055
25. (25) Marco Santos, 87.837
26. (15) David Rangel, 87.576
27. (2) Frankie Muniz, 85.981
28. (99) Maryeve Dufault, 81.869

INDIANAPOLIS - Qualifying Friday for the second of two Formula BMW USA events on the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed:

1. (44) Matt Lee, 94.365 mph
2. (66) Robert Wickens, 94.310
3. (16) Ryan Phinny, 93.737 zzzz
4. (13) Tobias Hegewald, 93.357
5. (50) Simona de Silvestro, 93.323
6. (9) Yannick Hofman, 92.552
7. (49) Philip Major, 92.491
8. (5) Sebastian Saavedra, 92.149
9. (7) Steven Guerrero, 90.765
10. (55) Stefano Coletti, 90.702
11. (12) Jules Duc, 90.126
12. (23) David Garza, 89.614
13. (6) John Zartarian, 89.123
14. (21) Scott Schroeder, 88.933
15. (22) Joel Jackson, 88.675
16. (4) Ryan Campbell, 88.630
17. (19) Jordan Dick, 88.434
18. (3) Adrien Herberts, 88.380
19. (1) Robert Thorne, 88.304
20. (11) Maxime Pelletier, 88.083
21. (70) Daniel Morad, 87.866
22. (10) Reed Stevens, 87.608
23. (15) David Rangel, 87.431
24. (20) Tom Sutherland, 87.397
25. (25) Marco Santos, 87.014
26. (8) Race Johnson, 86.926
27. (2) Frankie Muniz, 85.952
28. (99) Maryeve Dufault, 81.871

Porsche Cup
Westbrook takes pole for Porsche Cup race Westbrook takes pole for Porsche Cup raceQualifying Friday for the first of two Porsche Michelin Supercup events on the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed:

1. (17) Richard Westbrook, 98.756 mph
2. (3) David Saelens, 98.603
3. (5) Uwe Alzen, 98.046
4. (46) Richard Lietz, 97.940
5. (2) Patrick Huisman, 97.910
6. (6) Marc Benz, 97.820
7. (1) Alessandro Zampedri, 97.537
8. (39) Christian Menzel, 97.234
9. (11) Philip Beyrer, 97.234
10. (79) Ian Baas, 97.211
11. (20) Robert van den Berg, 97.127
12. (7) Hannes Neuhauser, 96.966
13. (25) Michael Bleekemolen, 96.736
14. (21) Ardi van der Hoek, 96.4340
15. (8) Michael Schrey, 96.310
16. (15) Kelvin Burt, 96.233
17. (74) Jay Policastro, 95.964
18. (16) Richard Williams, 95.937
19. (80) Ricardo Imery, 95.894
20. (14) William Scarsbooke Langhorne, 95.747
21. (12) Oliver Freymuth, 95.257
22. (78) Joe Kunz, 95.225
23. (75) Patrick Flanagan, 94.635
24. (18) Terry L. Heath, 94.058
25. (19) Jaber Al Khalifa, 93.259
26. (4) Simon Sobrero,93.239
27. (77) Warren Chang, 93.055
28. (24) Sebastian Bleekemolen, 92.927
29. (76) Gary David Becker, 92.339

Yeley wins Busch pole Yeley wins Busch poleJ.J. Yeley won the Winn-Dixie 250 pole Friday with a speed of 183.509 around Daytona International Speedway. His winning the pole was no surprise - Yeley was on the pole for the season-opening race at Daytona in February as well as the restrictor-plate race at Talladega in April.  Only 43 cars were entered for the race, so they all made the field.
World Cup distracts Indy action World Cup distracts Indy action(GMM)  Although the action occurred thousands of miles away, at Indianapolis on Friday it was nearly impossible to ignore the fact that Germany played - and won - against Argentina in the World Cup quarter-final.

In the Toyota garage, while engine revs started to soar in opening free practice, Ralf Schumacher - who turns 31 today - celebrated with his feet up to watch the game on a giant TV screen.

''Free practice is important,'' he told 'Premiere' TV, ''but it is also possible to follow the match as well.''

Over at Ferrari, his German brother, Michael, watched his countrymen's progress on overhead screens that usually show F1 action and timing data.  When he took to the track, it was conveniently after the half-time whistle in Berlin, and some couldn't help suggesting that his spin was motivated by simply having his mind elsewhere.

''Some of the guys were more excited than they are at the start of a race,'' BMW's Mario Theissen admitted to 'sid'.

Nick Heidfeld, Nico Rosberg and Mercedes' Norbert Haug also commented to the German news agency about their team's triumph -- which came, incidentally, after a penalty shoot-out.

Oh, by the way, on the other side of the pitwall Honda's test driver Anthony Davidson ended Friday with the best time.

USGP: Davidson again fastest in Practice 2 USGP: Davidson again fastest in Practice 2Full story to follow....
 Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Davidson Honda (M) 1:12.013 38
 2. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:12.809 + 0.796 39
 3. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:12.933 + 0.920 14
 4. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:13.264 + 1.251 26
 5. Mondini MF1-Toyota (B) 1:13.327 + 1.314 33
 6. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:13.346 + 1.333 18
 7. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:13.387 + 1.374 21
 8. Button Honda (M) 1:13.397 + 1.384 16
 9. Alonso Renault (M) 1:13.474 + 1.461 14
10. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:13.554 + 1.541 9
11. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:13.688 + 1.675 26
12. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:13.691 + 1.678 15
13. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:13.725 + 1.712 14
14. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:13.735 + 1.722 24
15. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:13.825 + 1.812 10
16. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:13.857 + 1.844 17
17. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:13.946 + 1.933 31
18. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:14.011 + 1.998 20
19. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:14.050 + 2.037 39
20. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:14.084 + 2.071 15
21. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:14.169 + 2.156 19
22. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:14.391 + 2.378 24
23. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:14.449 + 2.436 16
24. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:14.562 + 2.549 17
25. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:14.676 + 2.663 18
26. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:14.839 + 2.826 13
27. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:15.063 + 3.050 10
28. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:15.120 + 3.107 33
29. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) No time 2
Kristensen fastest on Day 1 at Brands Hatch Kristensen fastest on Day 1 at Brands HatchAudi factory driver Tom Kristensen is the man to be beaten in the British DTM round at Brands Hatch: After having clocked the best time in the tests prior to the start of the season, the leader in the Championship at the wheel of the Siemens Audi A4 DTM entered by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline set the pace in Friday’s tests as well. With 43.158 seconds, the Dane achieved the best time of the day in the second test in the afternoon, taking nearly two tenths away from the runner-up in the standings, Bernd Schneider, in the fastest Mercedes – almost a world of difference on the short "Indy Circuit” with its mere length of 1.929 kilometers.
The quickest contender in the morning session was Pierre Kaffer in the Castrol Audi A4 DTM run by Audi Sport Team Phoenix. In the afternoon, five Audi drivers, Tom Kristensen, Mattias Ekström, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Pierre Kaffer and Christian Abt, made it into the top ten. A strong impression on his first laps in the Audi A4 DTM was left by Jeroen Bleekemolen who is taking the place of his Dutch compatriot Olivier Tielemans in the Futurecom TME customer team. Bleekemolen claimed 15th place to finish as the second-best driver of a 2004-spec car. zzzz
The tests on Friday gave a foretaste of what the DTM fans can expect during the "shoot-out" qualifying on Saturday: In the afternoon session, 19 cars were lying within one second of each other, the quickest eleven within 0.366 seconds.
The race on Sunday is likely to turn into a hot battle, literally speaking: 82 laps at roughly 30 degrees in the shade should put both men and material to a definite stress test in what may be expected to be the toughest race in the DTM’s history. ARD will broadcast live from Brands Hatch on Sunday on "Das Erste”, starting at 12:50 pm.
Rahal wins Indy Pro pole Rahal wins Indy Pro pole
Industry News
Ford bails on hybrid promise Ford bails on hybrid promiseUPDATE GOTEBORG, Sweden -- Ford Motor Co. said Friday that it would build a center for developing new fuel-efficient hybrid systems in Goteborg, where its subsidiary Volvo Cars is located.  The center will produce new hybrid technology for all of Ford's brands in Europe, and for Volvo models worldwide, the companies said.  The center will be run by Volvo, which said it would invest $1.36 billion in developing new environmental technology for its fleet over the coming years.

06/29/06 Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. is backing away from his much-publicized commitment to produce 250,000 hybrid vehicles a year by the end of the decade, saying the company intends to pursue a broader environmental strategy that focuses more on other alternative-fuel vehicles.

With timing perhaps intended to blunt criticism of the move, Bill Ford announced the strategic shift in an e-mail to employees Wednesday, the same day he and the CEOs of General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group sent a letter to Congress promising to double their annual production of alternative-fuel vehicles to 2 million by 2010.

Critics decried the back-pedaling on hybrids as another broken promise by the automaker to build more fuel-efficient vehicles. zzzz

Bill Ford's hybrid pledge, made last September, was the centerpiece of a national advertising campaign touting the company as an environmental and innovation leader.

"What I didn't foresee at the time was how rapidly other technologies would evolve," Bill Ford wrote in the e-mail, obtained by The Detroit News. "Now, I am convinced that the objective we had set earlier to build capacity for 250,000 hybrids at the end of the decade is too narrow to achieve our larger goals of substantially improving fuel economy and CO2 performance."

Bill Ford said the company will now focus more on other fuels like ethanol, clean diesel and bio-diesel, as well as advanced engine and powertrain technologies.  More at Detroit News

NASCAR Sonoma TV Rating NASCAR Sonoma TV RatingUPDATE #2 We forgot to note that the rating is 10.5 percent lower than the 5.7 the race earned last year, and continues NASCAR's decrease in TV viewership across the board for almost every race this year.

06/29/06 The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway was the highest rated televised sporting event last weekend nationwide.

The event earned a final 5.1 rating on FOX, with the next closest sporting event being the Dodge/Save Mart 350 pre-race show, also on FOX (3.1). The race rating also represented a 9-percent increase over the 2004 Dodge/Save Mart 350 (4.7 on FOX).

It was the second-highest rated NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event in the history of Infineon Raceway, trailing only the 2005 event  in Sonoma (5.7, highest rated and most viewed road-course race in the history of NASCAR). The 2006 race attracted 8.2 million viewers.

06/26/06 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge/Save Mart 350 on Fox Sunday was a 4.6/10 share, which is the same as 2005.
Corporate and Sponsor Support Continues to Grow For Champ Car Corporate and Sponsor Support Continues to Grow For Champ CarINDIANAPOLIS – One of the fundamental ways to achieve success in the business world is to bring your product to the people. Companies around the world are finding that one of the best ways to do that, is to have their product involved with the Champ Car World Series.

Boasting some of the strongest attendance numbers in all of sports, the Champ Car World Series is rapidly becoming a showcase for corporations to reach more than 150,000 fans per weekend. From recent events in Portland and Cleveland through upcoming races in Toronto and San Jose, corporate and sponsor support is increasing weekly for events and teams as well as for the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford itself.

“We have been able to build on unprecedented fan support, and through the hard work of our promoter group, we have been able to provide many opportunities for the corporate community ,” said Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Will Wilson. “Champ Car and its three-day Festivals of Speed provide one of the most dynamic product platforms in sports and companies are finding great value in them.”

Led by presenting sponsors Bridgestone and Ford, series partners McDonald’s and Sherwin-Williams have taken steps to increase their involvement in the series, while team sponsors such as CDW, Bell Micro Products, Gulfstream, Aussie Vineyards, Mi-Jack, Tide and Muermans have brought a fresh approach to corporate involvement in the series. zzzz

The event promoters have followed suit, providing local corporations with increased value for their sponsorship dollars. The corporate interest has given events new chances for growth, allowing them to provide a fresh, exciting atmosphere for race fans that extends beyond the race. Concerts with national recording artists, pageants, interactive displays contribute to the festival feel that yields even more value for sponsors.

During the Portland weekend, Red Bull sponsored 12 events in downtown Portland surrounding the race while Chevron developed an innovative program featuring driver trading cards. Cleveland’s race weekend attracted 22 sponsors up nearly 50 percent from the year before, and included a Saturday ticket package with Coca-Cola that led to the highest single-day ticket sales in the 25-year history of the Cleveland event.

San Jose has attracted nearly 50 corporate sponsors for the 2006 event including such high-profile companies as Bud Light, Toyota, FedEx, Taylor Woodrow Homes and Allstate Insurance. Fans attending the July 7-9 Molson Grand Prix of Toronto will see products from 35 corporate sponsors including Yahoo! Canada, Samsung, Molson, MBNA and John Deere. Montreal will kick off an exciting new promotion with Wal-Mart this year where fans can purchase special tickets only at Wal-Mart that celebrate the number 27 carried by Canadian racing legends Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve as well as current-day star Andrew Ranger. The Wal-Mart tickets are three-day passes in a special grandstand for $81 ($27 per day) with a third of the proceeds from each package sold going to the Children’s Miracle Network.

“Fans that are coming to Champ Car races this year are seeing a new and improved product both on and off the track, which is a direct result of increased corporate activity surrounding the events,” said series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. “This is the kind of dynamic that feeds off itself in the business world and we are very pleased with the direction it is taking.”

Additionally, the trend that led to a new Champ Car attendance record one year ago is continuing through the first six races of 2006. Long Beach reached the 200,000 mark in attendance for the first time since 2003, Milwaukee and Portland each saw 20 percent increases in attendance over 2005 while last week’s event in Cleveland featured a 25-percent jump. Ticket sales in Toronto are up over 2005 while the two-race stretch in Edmonton and San Jose that follows Toronto drew more than 350,000 fans a year ago. Champ Car

NASCAR crew member saves life in PA NASCAR crew member saves life in PAMarty Brice typically assists setting up the pit stall for ppc Racing’s No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race team at select NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) races.  However, early Thursday morning, Brice, a sergeant with the City of Coatesville (Pa.) Police Department, saved a man’s life during the ravaging flood waters that hit the Northeast this week.

Yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Brice, who was near the end of his shift, was assisting a neighboring department at an area known for flooding, when he noticed a car floating on the opposite side of the flooded area.  Brice went to where the vehicle had stopped after not seeing anyone exit the car but after shining a spot into the car, he quickly saw a man frantically waving his arms to get someone’s attention for help.

Brice saw the unidentifiable man, removed his gun belt, jumped out of his patrol car and swam some 40 to 50 feet to the disabled vehicle. The man inside had about 10 inches of air space, which quickly decreased as each minute passed.

Brice, having no other equipment on him, tried breaking the passenger window with his badge.  Brice finally retrieved a rock from the bottom of the flooded street and began beating it against the glass window several times until it broke. zzzz

“He had his face up against the ceiling,” said Brice to The Philadelphia Inquirer.  “The guy was coming through the window as soon as I broke it.  It was just like in the movies.  I thought: This guy is not going to drown right in front of me.  I had to do something because the water was rising fast.”

Brice, 43 and a 17-year veteran of the Coatesville Police Department, will not be at this weekend’s NCTS race at Kansas Speedway, due to his police duties.

“I wish the team the best,” said Brice.  “I’ll be sitting home and watching the race on TV, cheering them on.”

More on Brice’s rescue can be read at The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Web site at http://www.philly.com.

Audi tops Practice 1 at Lime Rock Audi tops Practice 1 at Lime RockLakeville, Conn. – Fresh from the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Allan McNish set the fastest lap of a one-hour practice session on Friday morning for the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, Round 4 of the 2006 American Le Mans Series.

McNish turned a lap of 46.960 in the Audi R8, the legendary prototype that is racing for the final time in professional competition. The Scot, who will team with Le Mans pole-winner Dindo Capello this week, was a slim 0.083 seconds better than Penske Racing's No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder. The Mid-Ohio overall winning car of Romain Dumas, who is teaming with Timo Bernhard, was the fastest LMP2 car on the track at 47.043.

Dumas' time smashed the class qualifying record of 49.503, set last year. The other Porsche RS Spyder from Penske, the No. 6 of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, was second in class and third overall at 47.248.

Fourth-fastest overall and second in LMP1 was the first of the Dyson Racing Lola B06/10-AERs, this one the No. 16 of James Weaver at 47.382. He was followed closely by the No. 20 sister car of Guy Smith at 47.740. zzzz

In GT1, Aston Martin Racing sat 1-2 at the end of the session. The No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9 of Stephane Sarrazin went quickest at 51.280, only 0.112 seconds better than the sister car of Darren Turner and Tomas Enge. Corvette Racing's two Corvette C6.Rs were less than a second in arrears, led by the No. 3 of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell at 51.483.

The story of the session, though, was the performance of the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche in GT2. After destroying the team car at Le Mans, the team worked through the night and into the early morning hours to prepare an entirely new race car. The reward was the fastest lap in class, a 54.005 effort by Patrick Long in the No. 31 car.

Next was the first of two Ferrari F430GTs from Risi Competizione, the No. 61 of Ralf Kelleners and Toni Vilander, followed by the No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Lonnie Pechnik and Seth Neiman.

The New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the American Le Mans Series, is set for Saturday at Lime Rock Park. The race is scheduled for a 3 p.m. EDT start. CBS Sports will televise the event from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday. MotorsTV will air the race from 2:30-5:30 p.m. CET on Sunday. Live coverage will be available at americanlemans.com with American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

Track News
LVMS construction update LVMS construction updateIn the past week, construction crews have completed the following tasks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

* Completed the installation of the Musco lighting system around the entire superspeedway.

* Have completed the erection of most of the catchfence along the front stretch as well as through both turns.

* Completed all grading on the superspeedway. The high banks of Vegas are ready for paving.

* Begun pouring the concrete walls for the new NASCAR Busch Series garage building.

* Completed the backfilling of dirt behind the crash wall and around the vehicular tunnel.

This week's construction photos.

Champ Car Cleveland TV Rating Champ Car Cleveland TV RatingUPDATE The final rating for last weekend's Champ Car race from Cleveland was a 0.7/2 share on CBS, down 22% from 2005.

06/26/06 The overnight rating for Sunday's Cleveland GP Champ Car race on CBS was a 0.9/2 share, up significantly from the Portland race the previous weekend.
USGP: Davidson over Schumacher in Practice 1 USGP: Davidson over Schumacher in Practice 1Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team test driver Anthony Davidson led both free practice sessions June 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as Formula One teams began preparations for United States Grand Prix qualifying and race.

Davidson lapped the 13-turn, 2.605-mile road circuit in 1 minute, 12.013 seconds, 130.222 mph during the second session - the top lap of the day. He also recorded the fastest lap of the first session, 1:12.083, 130.095.

"It was eventful," Davidson said. "Ended both sessions P1, so that is always good. It was pretty effortless, really. When the car works well, it always is."

Among the drivers that will compete in Sunday's seventh running of the United States Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher was fastest in his Ferrari at 1:12.458, 129.422 mph. Schumacher, a record four-time winner of the USGP and record seven-time F1 World Champion, set the lap early in the first practice session, then promptly spun off the course in Turn 4 after a total of only three practice laps, requiring his car to be returned to pit lane on a flatbed truck following the session.

"I am happy with what we have seen on track today," Schumacher said. "The situation looks good, which means we can tackle the rest of the weekend with confidence." Let's say I had more problems trying to watch the (World Cup) quarterfinals on television than I did in the cockpit of my Ferrari. When I went off track this morning, maybe I was still thinking a bit too much about the grass on the football (soccer) pitch!" zzzz

Behind Davidson and Schumacher in the overall practice results were BMW Sauber F1 Team test driver Robert Kubica in third at 1:12.809, 128.798, Giancarlo Fisichella in his Mild Seven Renault F1 Team entry, fourth at 1:12.933, 128.579, and Rubens Barrichello, fifth, at 1:13.090, 128.303 in the Lucky Strike Honda. There were no major incidents in either session.

Qualifying starts at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday, July 1, preceded by the third Formula One practice session at 10 a.m.
The 73-lap United States Grand Prix race starts at 1 p.m. Sunday.

American Scott Speed, driving in the 2006 F1 World Championship for Scuderia Toro Rosso, was ninth in the first practice and 11th in the second. His day got off to a rocky start when his car faltered exiting pit lane at the start of the first session due to an electronics problem. Speed, a 23-year-old native of Manteca, Calif., got on track in the team's third car halfway through the session.

"Not so bad," Speed said. "We're going to see on Sunday, but initial impressions aren't too bad here. But the track for us is quite difficult because it's so low downforce here, and infield is so tight and dirty that the cars slide around everywhere here."

Speed is the first American since Eddie Cheever Jr. in 1989 to participate in a United States Grand Prix.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Davidson Honda (M) 1:12.083 27
 2. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:12.458 + 0.375 3
 3. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:13.008 + 0.925 31
 4. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:13.090 + 1.007 5
 5. Button Honda (M) 1:13.189 + 1.106 6
 6. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:13.710 + 1.627 24
 7. Mondini MF1-Toyota (B) 1:14.654 + 2.571 33
 8. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:14.745 + 2.662 38
 9. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:14.791 + 2.708 8
10. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:15.018 + 2.935 22
11. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:15.091 + 3.008 8
12. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:15.532 + 3.449 8
13. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:15.647 + 3.564 10
14. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:15.971 + 3.888 17
15. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:16.116 + 4.033 31
16. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:16.489 + 4.406 17
17. Trulli Toyota (B) No time 2
18. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) No time 2
19. Fisichella Renault (M) No time 3
20. Alonso Renault (M) No time 1
21. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
22. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) No time 1
23. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
24. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) No time 1
25. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) No time 1
26. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) No time 2
27. Massa Ferrari (B)
28. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B)
29. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B)

Schu blasts Alonso for Indy '05 blame Schu blasts Alonso for Indy '05 blame(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has responded angrily to Fernando Alonso's suggestion that Ferrari and its drivers were to blame for the Indianapolis scandal of 2005.

Although Renault's Spaniard was one of the fourteen racers sidelined by Michelin at the event a year ago, 24-year-old Alonso insisted on Thursday that the real finger of blame should have been pointed at Schumacher and Ferrari.

''They wanted to race alone,'' Alonso said, ''and they did it.''

37-year-old Schumacher, however - the embarrassed winner of the 2005 US grand prix - irritably replied that Alonso should not try to pass off the blame.

The German said on Friday: ''In life, if something goes wrong, it's sometimes hard to think it's your own fault.

''You'd rather pin it on somebody else because that is the easier option.''

Bartercard Miss Indy Launched in Surfers Paradise Bartercard Miss Indy Launched in Surfers ParadiseCavill Mall in Surfers Paradise experienced its first taste of Indy Power earlier this month with Bartercard Miss Indy launching its program for the months ahead hosted by reigning champion Jana Peterson from Townsville.

Procon Leisure President Rosko Dickinson announced a massive 40 venues throughout Australia and New Zealand would host the ultimate sports model search '2006 Bartercard Miss Indy'.

The competition commenced on June 1 and runs through until September 20 delivering more than 200 nights of promotion and 2000 entrants that are all vying for a highly respected position in the Bartercard Miss Indy Race Team.

Direct from the USA joining in the launch celebrations was former Gold Coast girl and 1996 Miss Indy Lisa Gleave. She is currently one of the USA's 'Deal or No Deal' models and one of the world's most popular calendar models.

During Bartercard Miss Indy Grand Final week at the Lexmark Indy 300, Official Sportswear Judging will be held in Surfers Paradise Mall on Wednesday night October 18.

The Bartercard Miss Indy Grand Final, hosted by the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in a new room to seat over 1300 guests will be held on Thursday night October 19.

The winner of the 2006 Bartercard Miss Indy will win more than $40,000 in cash and prizes including a $10,000 Bartercard promotional contract, a stylish Aprilia scooter, a Ralph magazine feature shoot, and a $3,000 specially-designed Indy pendant. She will also feature on the cover of the Bartercard Miss Indy calendar plus travel to Mexico City in November to represent Australia at the Face of Champ Car International Final - there she will vie to be the new ambassador of the 2007 Champ Car World Series. Lexmark Indy 300

[Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the TV ad for the race here]
Pedrosa on top in Donington Pedrosa on top in DoningtonFriday morning practice times from Donington, site of this weekend's British GP:

1. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 29.412 secs
2. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 29.437 secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 29.480 secs
4. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 29.577 secs
5. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 29.594 secs
6. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 29.657 secs
7. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 29.786 secs
8. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 29.798 secs
9. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 29.980 secs
10. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 30.399 secs
11. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 30.453 secs
12. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 30.461 secs
13. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 30.799 secs
14. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 30.858 secs
15. Alex Hofmann GER Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 31.503 secs
16. Michel Fabrizio ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 32.253 secs
17. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 32.445 secs
18. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 34.091 secs
19. Ivan Silva SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 34.334 secs

Bill Gazaway dies Bill Gazaway diesLong-time NASCAR official Bill Gazaway passed away in the Atlanta area on Thursday. "Bill was one of those pioneers who did a lot of good things during his time at NASCAR," said NASCAR Vice Chairman William C. France. Gazaway was born February 16, 1930, and raised in Atlanta, Ga. He was in the Marine Corps from 1947 to 1951, serving as an instructor in motor maintenance. Gazaway went on to build engines for Delta Airlines and later opened a competition garage in Atlanta. In 1960, Gazaway was a NASCAR team owner with his cars making seven starts; four with Tiny Lund as his driver, two with Joe Caspolich and one by Gazaway himself. This lone venture into the ranks of NASCAR drivers came at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 30, where he started 44th and finished 45th. Gazaway drove his Oldsmobile a total of one lap before the rear end failed. He came to NASCAR as a technical inspector in 1963, maintaining that job until 1967 when he was given the position of Assistant Technical Director under William O. Taylor. Gazaway assumed the role of Competition Director in 1968 after the Taylor's death; it was a position Gazaway would hold for 10 years. During that time his title changed to National Technical Director and then Winston Cup Grand National Competition Director. In 1979, he was named the Director of Racing Operations & Competition Director. He was promoted to Vice President of Competition in 1984, a position he held until his retirement from NASCAR in 1987. He is survived by his wife Gwen, daughter Alicia and several grandchildren. NASCAR
Coulthard says it's time to stop apologizing to Americans Coulthard says it's time to stop apologizing to AmericansDavid Coulthard says that F1 has apologized enough to American fans for last year's shambles and that everyone should move on and look to this weekend's race and the future.

"We've said out sorries and I don't see why the American fans deserve more apologies than some other races which have not been particularly good," Coulthard told British journalists at Indianapolis. "It was an unfortunate situation but those who bought tickets have had their money back and we'll just go and do the best we can."

"If the Americans enjoy it, great, if they don't then so be it," he added.

Dutch team signs new sponsor Dutch team signs new sponsorThe Dutch team racing in the A1 Grand Prix series has signed a major new sponsorship with heating company Remeha.

The firm agreed the deal with Jan Lammers, who holds the franchise for the A1 Team Netherlands.

Jan Lammers said: “We’re delighted to sign up with a strong, innovative and 100 percent Dutch company with activities all over Europe.

“A1 Team Netherlands is experiencing a strong rise in interest from the Dutch and foreign business community. We are aiming at closing the first deals with big Dutch multi-nationals within the next 18 months.”

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
New Aguri to debut in Germany
Renault still 'nice' to defector Alonso
Indy chiefs hope for Ecclestone talks
Ferrari tinker with Indy engines
BMW to run unchanged wing at Indy
Braun becomes youngest Grand-Am winner Braun becomes youngest Grand-Am winnerDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Playing the fuel strategy game to perfection, 17-year-old Colin Braun became the youngest winner in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve history and his No. 76 Krohn Racing co-driver Jörg Bergmeister extended his Daytona Prototype points lead with their victory in the Brumos Porsche 250 under the lights of Daytona International Speedway.

After starting second, Braun drove the race’s opening stint and took the lead from polesitter Luis Diaz in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley when Diaz pitted on Lap 34 of the 70-lap event to turn the car over to co-driver Scott Pruett. One lap later—at the halfway point in the race—Braun came onto pit lane to turn the No. 76 machine over to Bergmeister.

The extra lap coupled with excellent fuel mileage from the Ford powerplant would enable Bergmeister to drive the rest of the race without making another pit stop. The other front-runners would not have the same luxury, and on Lap 66 race leader Patrick Long in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford and second-place Pruett pulled onto pit lane for “splash and go” stops. That opened the door for Bergmeister to take the lead and the German would not be challenged over the remaining five laps en route to a 16.498-second victory over Long in the No. 23 machine. zzzz

It was Bergmeister’s second victory in the past three races—he co-drove to the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen win with road racing star Boris Said—and was his third-consecutive top-two result. With four races remaining in the 2006 Rolex Series season, Bergmeister leads Pruett and Diaz by 31 points, 358-327.

“It was really difficult,” Bergmeister said. “I felt I was a little quicker, so I had to be really patient (to conserve fuel). I was lifting a lot to save a lot of fuel. On the last lap, I ran out of fuel, so it was just perfect.”

In addition to becoming the youngest winner in Rolex Series history at the age of 17 years, nine months and seven days, Braun is also believed to be the youngest winner of a major league auto race in North America. Braun shattered the previous record for a youngest Rolex Series winner, held by Michael McDowell, who won the 2005 season finale in Mexico City at 20 years, 10 months and 15 days. It was Braun’s second-straight Rolex Series podium, as he finished second alongside Bergmeister in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course five days ago, and was his fourth podium result of the season. Despite missing two of the first 10 races, Braun currently ranks sixth in the Daytona Prototype championship standings.

“This is really nice to have this,” Braun said. “I have to thank the Roush/Yates guys for building a great engine—that won us the race right there. Having a great team like this behind me is just fantastic and I can’t ask for anything better than that.”

Long and Rockenfeller combined to lead 37 laps and both drivers battled their counterparts in the No. 01 Lexus Riley virtually throughout the event before the late pit stop. The second-place result marked a return to the podium for the Ruby Tuesday teammates, as the duo earned its first top-three result since their victory in April’s VIR 400. Rockenfeller and Long opened the season with four-consecutive podiums, but had not finished better than 15th in their last four races. They missed Round 2 in Mexico City.

“I don’t know what’s more snake-bit, running out of mileage or not finishing the race,” Long said. “I had to really push. Scott was running me really hard and I had to run the defensive line. (The No. 76) did good on fuel mileage. We had the speed, so we’ll get them at Barber.”

“I think we had the car again to win, but we couldn’t because of the mileage,” Rockenfeller added. “It’s frustrating, but on the other hand, it’s good to have a good finish and some points for the championship. I hope next race we can win.”

Diaz—who led twice for a total of 24 laps—and Pruett earned their sixth podium result of the season with a third-place performance. The CompUSA duo has also finished inside the top 10 in eight of 10 races, and the result comes on the heels of a 21st-place Daytona Prototype result after a crash in the EMCO Gears Classic. In fact, the damage coupled with the tight turnaround between races forced the team to use the same car that IndyCar champions Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon and NASCAR racer Casey Mears co-drove to victory in the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Defending Daytona Prototype co-champions Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli wound up fourth in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. It was Angelelli’s sixth-consecutive top-four performance and enabled him to maintain fourth place in the Daytona Prototype driver standings with 322 points.

With less than one-tenth of a gallon in their fuel cell, Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney finished fifth in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley. It was their third-straight top-five finish and their fifth-consecutive top-eight performance dating to a second-place run in the Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in early May.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 Practice
10:00am-11:00am (L) SPEED
Movie: Crash Drive (1959)
10:30am-12:30pm FOX Movie Channel
NASCAR Live! Daytona
11:00am-11:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Performance
11:30am-12:00pm SPEED
Formula 1 Qualifying Indianapolis
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  Kansas City
3:00pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
Tradin' Paint Daytona
5:30pm-6:00pm SPEED
NASCAR RaceDay Daytona
6:00pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
Speed News Saturday
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Daytona Pepsi 400
7:30pm-11:00pm (L) FOX
CNN Presents -Dirt Track Warriors
11:00pm-12:00am (R) CNN
United States Grand Prix Special Indianapolis
8:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Speed Test Drive -BMW M Series
10:00pm-11:00pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Daytona
11:00pm-12:00am  SPEED

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

Stewart holds off Papis in Daytona Stewart holds off Papis in DaytonaTony Stewart took another big step towards capturing his first Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) Series championship by dominating Race Three - a road-course event - at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) Thursday night.

Starting the night in the final row, Stewart wasted no time working his way to the front of the pack, taking the lead from road-racing specialist Max Papis for good on lap 4 to claim his second consecutive Crown Royal IROC race. The reigning NASCAR Cup champion's victory here coupled with his win at Texas in April allowed Stewart (63 points) to take a 15-point lead in the series' points standings heading into the series finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 28 - the Crown Royal IROC champion earns $1 million.

Papis, who earned the name "Mad Max" for his on-track prowess en route to winning the 24 Hours of Daytona race in 2002, finished an IROC career-best second place, followed by NASCAR Cup driver Ryan Newman, IRL IndyCar Series drivers Scott Sharp and Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish.

IROC's last road-course event was held 14-years ago when Rusty Wallace won at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) in 1991. The series' first-ever road-course race took place during IROC's inaugural season in February 1974 (won by Mark Donohue).  zzzz

"To me it's a huge honor to win this race with guys like Max Papis, Max Angelelli, Scott Sharp, Sam Hornish and the guys who are really good on the road courses," said Stewart. "This is probably one of the biggest wins I've had because of that."

"We still have a long way to go with Atlanta, obviously, and a lot can happen there, but it's a great opportunity. It's like (five-time IROC champion) Mark Martin said, 'it's one of those championships that really means a lot to you because of who you are racing with."

Papis, who started fourth, led three laps and was Stewart's biggest threat through the final five laps, but ran out of time. "I don't think I had enough speed for him (Stewart)," explained the Italian. "I tried to give it a good go at the end, but he was faster. I improved my personal-best (in IROC), but second place is the first loser."

The race was plagued by four full-course cautions due to numerous drivers going off track during the heated competition.

The bottom half of the field included: Martin Truex, Jr. (sixth), Angelelli (seventh), Frank Kimmel (eighth), Martin (ninth), Matt Kenseth (10th), Steve Kinser (11th) and Ted Musgrave (12th), whose day ended on lap 8 due to bad brakes.

Kenseth, a winner on DIS's superspeedway in February, remains in the hunt for a second series title with 48 points, followed by Newman and Papis (39 each) and Truex, Jr. (33).


Pos. No. Driver  Laps Points Status
1 20 Tony Stewart 20 21 Running
2 16 Max Papis 20 17 Running
3 12 Ryan Newman 20 14 Running
4 08 Scott Sharp 20 12 Running
5 06 Sam Hornish Jr 20 10 Running
6 8 Martin Truex Jr 20 9 Running
7 10 Max Angelelli 20 8 Running
8 46 Frank Kimmel 20 7 Running
9 6 Mark Martin 20 6 Running
10 17 Matt Kenseth 20 5 Running
11 11 Steve Kinser 19 4 Running
12 1 Ted Musgrave 8 3 Out

Grand-Am banquet back to Las Vegas Grand-Am banquet back to Las VegasGrand American Road Racing Association officials announced today that the champions of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve will be honored at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Labor Day Monday, September 4. The evening—celebrating the  top drivers, teams and manufacturers from the 2006 Rolex Series season—marks the return of the Rolex Champions Banquet to Las Vegas after a one year absence.

Scheduled for two days after the season-ending Discount Tire SunChaser 9-Hour at the brand-new Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah, the 2006 Rolex Champions Banquet marks the third-consecutive year that the banquet will be showcased in a stand-alone event at a world-recognized destination.  zzzz

"When we first held our Champions Banquet two years ago in Las Vegas, it was one of the most popular and best-attended banquets in Rolex Series history," said Grand American President Roger Edmondson.  "Our teams and sponsors enjoy having a showcase event in an exciting destination to celebrate our season, and we are pleased that the opportunity to do so presented itself again this year. Miller Motorsports Park is the perfect place to end the racing season and nearby Las Vegas is the ideal location for our drivers, teams and sponsors to celebrate another great year of Rolex Series competition.” 

The evening begins with a champagne reception at 6 p.m. followed by a sit-down dinner at 7 p.m. Awards honoring the top drivers, teams and manufacturers in the Daytona Prototype and GT classes will be presented throughout the evening. Information on tickets, hotel reservations and further details will be announced next week. Fans will also be invited to purchase tickets to the event.

Towering over the south end of the world famous Las Vegas strip, Mandalay Bay boasts more than 3,300 guest rooms, a 135,000 square foot casino, and a plethora of dining and entertainment options. The resort also features Mandalay Beach as well as the $40 million Shark Reef, which is home to more than 100 species of animals.

Jeff Gordon to drive Grand-Am race Jeff Gordon to drive Grand-Am raceUPDATE Drivers Wayne Taylor, Jeff Gordon, Max Angelelli, and SunTrust Bank Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Craig Kelly pose next to the No. 10 SunTrust Racing car after announcing that Gordon will join the team for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 27-28, 2007.

06/29/06 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In a press conference at Daytona International Speedway today, SunTrust Racing car owner/driver Wayne Taylor (and his Surrey Sport LLC company) and SunTrust Racing announced that four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will co-drive the No. 10 SunTrust Racing car with Taylor and his fellow 2005 Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli in the 45th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 27-28, 2007.

“Of all the NASCAR drivers, Jeff’s the guy,” said Taylor, a Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner in 1996 and 2005. “He proved again last weekend his road racing skills are outstanding when he won at Sears Point. I think he’s going to be an asset to the team for the Rolex 24.”

“This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. “It was important to me to do this with a quality team like Surrey Sport, and I’m looking forward to teaming up with two champions, Wayne and Max.”  zzzz

“SunTrust Bank is proud of its association with Grand American Road Racing and our partnership with Surrey Sport and team owner Wayne Taylor,” said Craig Kelly, Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of SunTrust Banks, Inc. “Wayne has developed a winning team with a solid driver line-up, including both Wayne and Max Angelelli. The team’s success has included winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2005 and the Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships last year.

“SunTrust looks forward to continue this successful partnership in 2007. With the Rolex 24 being the premier event in the Grand-Am series, we are excited and proud to welcome Jeff Gordon as part of the driver line-up for the 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona, his first 24 hour endurance race.”

“My plan is to do my best, have some fun and hopefully get another win in Daytona,” said Gordon, a three-time Daytona 500 winner.

Crash at Daytona sends 4 to backup cars Crash at Daytona sends 4 to backup carsJeff Burton, Casey Mears, J.J. Yeley and Dave Blaney will go to backup cars for the Pepsi 400 after a crash in the final Nextel Cup Series practice Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

The wreck started when Burton cut a left-rear tire, causing Mears to slam into his rear and Blaney to punt the slowing car of Yeley.

"We'll do what we can do, it's a great race team, and they bring good race cars," Burton said. "Unfortunate break - I just cut a left-rear tire and I was just along for the ride,"

Mears said he was happy with his original car, but he also will go with the car he had in the Daytona 500.

"Now it's going to be like not having any practice at all," Mears said. "We'll unload the backup car, qualify it and see how it races."

Super Aguri new car launch confirmed Super Aguri new car launch confirmedThe eagerly anticipated arrival of the SA06 will take place at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim next month. The SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM’s new car was originally planned to debut at the French Grand Prix, however a series of events have delayed the launch by one race weekend.

Chief Technical Officer, Mark Preston, has been noticeably absent from the Canadian and US Grands Prix in order to ensure that the SA06 is completed as soon as possible. The team is delighted to confirm that during this time the SA06 has passed all the required FIA crash tests.

The initial SA06 design and build schedule with a deadline of the F1 race at Magny Cours was extremely tight and with no margin for delay in any area of production. The schedule was first affected by a delay in the decision on the specification of gearbox the SA06 should utilize.

A further delay in the SA06 schedule ensued when all model testing halted for five days due to a technical problem at the wind tunnel facility last month. The team increased its working hours even further in an attempt to make up for lost ground, but have now decided upon a more realistic launch date of 28th July at the German Grand Prix.

Kalkhoven assuming there will be no merger Kalkhoven assuming there will be no mergerAs late as Saturday afternoon, Kalkhoven was quietly revealing his strategy for Champ Car going into the 2007 season (because he does not see a merger happening in 2007).

"There are two separate parts (to his efforts)," Kalkhoven said. "One is a unification part, one is a standalone Champ Car part. The one I'm focused on is the standalone Champ Car part. We'll have a couple of new events, which will be great events. I'm sure we're going to get Las Vegas and Phoenix. We're going to maintain things like Long Beach, Road America.

"We're going to have a new car. It's going to be much more economic to run. It will be lighter, faster, cheaper to operate, which means new teams will be able to afford it. I think we will get very, very close racing. Anyone can win. That will be exciting, the uncertainty of what happens."

"If we can add a couple of new teams for next year that will be a first in a long time that has happened," he said, and fully expects that to happen at least from some in the bulging 29-car field in Atlantics.

"There will be a new version of our current engine. A bit more power but again, cheaper to operate, with more 'push to pass.' What do fans come to see? They come to see close racing, overtaking and spills to be blunt about it. By putting everybody on the same playing field, we'll get close racing. By allowing more power with 'push to pass,' we'll have more strategic overtaking. As for spills, we obviously don't want them, but realistically to have the other two we will get a few of the other."

As for the merger, sooner or late it will happen, too.

"There is no timetable," Kalkhoven said. "I believe there will be unification, but I can't put a timetable on it. Time is not the issue, getting it done right is the issue." Cleveland Plain Dealer
Riley and Matthews team up for new team Riley and Matthews team up for new teamRiley Technologies, the winningest chassis constructor in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve history, and its satellite Riley Motorsports—which won the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype team title in 2005—today unveiled its plans for 2007.

Riley Motorsports has joined forces with Jim Matthews Racing to campaign a Riley Daytona Prototype for drivers Jim Matthews and Belgian racer Marc Goossens, who has been instrumental in the development of the Riley chassis. Riley Motorsports may expand to a two-car program if the opportunity presents itself.

“We’ve had a long relationship with both Marc and Jim, and we are thrilled to be working more closely with them for the 2007 Rolex Series season,” said Riley Motorsports Director Bill Riley. “Our reputation—both as a chassis manufacturer and as a race team—speaks for itself, and we are fully committed to winning races and challenging for the Daytona Prototype team and constructor championships again next season. This is an exciting next chapter in the history of Riley Motorsports and Riley Technologies.” zzzz

“To say we are delighted to be working with Riley Motorsports for the 2007 Rolex Series season would be an understatement,” Matthews added. “Opportunities to work with one of the best teams in all of motorsports don’t come along often. I am confident that this new association will bring our team to another level in Daytona Prototype competition and we are looking forward to a successful year in 2007.”

Both Riley Technologies and Riley Motorsports will move their entire operations into a 40,000 square foot facility in Mooresville, N.C. from Indianapolis. Approximately 20 employees are expected to make the move, and the companies expect to have upwards of 50 employees once they settle into their new home in Mooresville.

“Mooresville has become the center of the auto racing universe, and for us to continue growing our business, it only made sense to relocate,” Riley said. “While our Rolex Series customers and team remain a top priority, moving to North Carolina will open doors to business in several other forms of racing. We can’t wait to get into our new home, which is going to be an awesome facility.”

Riley chassis have a total of 41 victories in Rolex Series competition—more than four times its next closest competitor—as well as 39 pole positions. The Riley Mk XI chassis also won the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2005, with the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team of Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Emmanuel Collard, and in 2006 with the No. 02 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley of IndyCar Series champions Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon, and NASCAR racer Casey Mears.

Rahal not only Indy Pro Series newcomer Rahal not only Indy Pro Series newcomerSecond-generation driver Graham Rahal, who is a regular on the Champ Car Atlantic circuit,  has received much of the attention, but three other drivers also will make their Indy Pro Series debut July 1 in the Liberty Challenge on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Logan Gomez, Eric Paradis and Mike Potekhen will take their next step up the racing ladder and drive the 420-horsepower Indy Pro Series car in the 25-lap event that supports the United States Grand Prix.

Gomez and Rahal, who will become the first 17-year-olds to compete in the series, grew up with a special fondness for the Speedway. Gomez was reared in Crown Point, Ind., two hours north of the historic facility, while Rahal's father, Bobby, made 13 starts in the Indianapolis 500, winning in 1986.

"Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is like a dream come true for me," said Gomez, who will drive the No. 4 Guthrie Racing and the Indyana Kid entry. "Since I was little I have been watching the Indianapolis 500, and it has been my goal to race and win the Indianapolis 500. Being given the opportunity to race at Indy is an opportunity that few people will ever get, and I am going to make the most of it and hopefully have a great race and impress quite a few people." zzzz

Gomez will be making his sixth professional start in a race car after a karting career that saw him win two SuperKarts USA Great Lakes Region titles and a Super Nationals title.

This year, he has been competing in the Star Mazda series. Gomez recorded a career-best fourth-place finish June 25 at Montreal and is seventh in points.

"I am taking in all of the advice and all of the track experience that I can and using it in the races to come," said Gomez, who drove the Indy Pro Series car for the first time June 20 at an Open Test at Indianapolis. "Every race I have had I left having learned something new, and that is something that will continue throughout this year. Hopefully, while doing so I can rack up a few podium finishes and a couple wins."

Potekhen is a fellow competitor of Gomez's in Star Mazda. The 26-year-old Silverthorne, Colo., native is second in points after winning the oval race at The Milwaukee Mile and finishing third at Montreal.

He was ninth-quick at the Indy Pro Series Open Test in the No. 76 Part Sourcing International car.

"The car was great," Potekhen said. "Good car, good crew. Everybody worked their butts off to get this thing together. I wasn't quite sure what to expect coming out here, but the cars were awesome. We've been looking at going the Atlantic route actually. After this test, I think we're leaning more toward the Indy Pro Series just because the cars are so much nicer. They're better built, and the competition is coming up too. It's a cool deal. They're a lot of fun to drive."

Paradis, a Montreal native, has been competing in Canadian Formula Ford since 1996. For the past six years, he has also competed in alpine skiing. He will drive the No. 2 Kiwi American Racing entry.

Practice and qualifying for the Liberty Challenge are June 30. The 18-car field will take the green flag at 2:40 p.m. (ET) on July 1. The race will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. (ET) July 6.

Roth finds consistency in test Roth finds consistency in testMarty Roth walked away from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Bump Day frustrated that he wasn't able to make a qualifying attempt because of a practice crash. But he didn't walk away for good.

"We'd like to run Michigan this year," said Roth, who tested his No. 25 Roth Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone at the 2-mile oval June 28. "Depending on sponsors and how (our car) turns out, hopefully we'll be here at the end of July.

"Right now, we've been developing this car and trying to make it consistent. That's what our main objective is right now. We're not after top speeds. Michigan's a long, long race, and that's how we're treating this test. We want something that'll be there for the end."

Roth, an Indy Pro Series veteran who has competed in two Indianapolis 500-Mile Races, also is scheduled to test July 3 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
"We're happy," Roth said of the test at Michigan. "The car's really consistent and good. It's not doing anything weird on me. From Indy, that's the changes that we've made. They all seem to be in the right direction. We were focusing on getting a car that was a lot more consistent and wouldn't move around as much. We were battling that all of the month of May. As of right now, we seem to have fixed it. It's feeling pretty good out there."

Monteiro plays down teammate rift Monteiro plays down teammate rift(GMM) Tiago Monteiro has rejected any talk of a rift with MF1 teammate Christijan Albers.

The pair, whose relationship was further stretched when Portugal knocked Holland out of the World Cup, have had a few clashes of late; the most recent not even a week ago at Montreal.

But Monteiro (right), the Portuguese, revealed at Indianapolis that he since apologized to Dutchman Albers -- for the Canadian clash, incidentally, not the soccer.

He said: ''I went straight to him and apologized. No problems. We talk. Everything is clear.

''I think he took the (football result) worse than the crash on track!''

F1 tries to move on at Indy F1 tries to move on at Indy(GMM) As formula one returns to the scene of the crime, David Coulthard says the sport and Indianapolis should move on.

Red Bull's veteran Scot is, of course, referring to the farcical six-car race of 2005, and the media's fascination with the topic in the build-up to this year's event.

''We have said our sorries,'' the 35-year-old, at the famous Motor Speedway on Thursday, told the 'Herald Sun'.

Coulthard added: ''I don't see why the American public deserves more apologies than some other races which have not been particularly good.''

Part of the press' fascination with digging up the 2005 wound, of course, is that the battle for the title between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher is not looking particularly hot at the moment, even with half the calendar to run. zzzz

But Alonso, who along with Schumacher engaged in several interactive activities with fans on Thursday, said that Indianapolis could be the 'most difficult race of the year' for Renault.

''We have a few doubts,'' said the Spaniard, ''because we have never been too competitive here and we don't know why.''

In truth, the 24-year-old's playing down of expectations has become something of a ritual in 2006. In a press conference, Michael Schumacher admitted to 'surprise' that Ferrari - with one of the biggest budgets in pitlane - has not been able to keep up with Renault's pace of development.

The German said: ''You would think we would have more resources available. But there are two areas -- tire development and car development, and it depends what you compare or where you look.''

Racing News
Foyt operation successful Foyt operation successfulA.J. Foyt underwent successful knee replacement surgery on his left knee on Monday in Houston. He started therapy that afternoon. "It was really painful, worse than I expected," said Foyt. "I'm not sure I would have done it if I had known it would be this bad." His doctors told him that his surgery was complicated because of the injuries he sustained at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI in 1990. Foyt will not be at Kansas Speedway this weekend. He expects to be released on Friday.
KWM designing new coupe for Creation KWM designing new coupe for CreationKWM, the engineering partner of the Creation CA06, has announced plans to build an all-new LMP1 Coupe for the 2007 season.  Since LMP regulations state that a hybrid chassis (like the CA06) cannot be used for the 2007 and beyond, a new chassis must be created.

"We are investigating in parallel an open top and coupe version of the existing Creation CA06, whatever we do we will require a new monocoque for next year, we feel confident that a coupe version would be an appropriate route to go for the works effort with Creation while an open top version for LMP2 would be ideal for customers,” Kieron Salter, Managing Director of KWM explained. 

One of the most interesting bits of news is that KWM will be also looking into selling LMP2 open-top versions of their car.  While the proposed ACO Regulations for 2010 state that all LMP1 cars will be closed-top prototypes, KWM will be getting a jump start with the program.   

"This is a KWM design for Creation and although Creation would be the works entrant and the primary development partner there is always an interest in building further cars for customer teams".  Salter explains "The development of a coupe for next year or even 2008 would give us a strong technical basis for the recently announced ACO 2010 LMP prototype regulations and make the transition into 2010  easier with confidence in the existing package, however, we're not waiting for 2010 we are looking forward into next year".

USGP: Thursday Interview USGP: Thursday InterviewMichael Schumacher, Tiago Monteiro, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Speed and Tiago Monteiro were quests for today's USGP interview leading into the USGP. Transcript
2006 harder than last year - Symonds 2006 harder than last year - Symonds(GMM) The 2006 championship is proving 'more difficult' to dominate than last year, according to Pat Symonds.

Renault's technical chief insists that, while Fernando Alonso is seemingly enjoying a clear car advantage at present, Ferrari is currently a tougher rival than McLaren in 2005.

''2005 was definitely easier,'' Symonds told 'Kicker', ''because McLaren had the same tires as us. So it was always fairly easy to know how we were looking going into the next race.

''But now we are fighting against Ferrari and Schumacher. They are stable and reliable, and have different tires -- which requires a different approach from us.

''We have to be wary each weekend about what Ferrari are going to do.''

Schu, Ferrari to blame for Indy '05 - Alonso Schu, Ferrari to blame for Indy '05 - Alonso(GMM) At Indianapolis on Thursday, Fernando Alonso pointed the finger at Ferrari and Michael Schumacher when remembering the farcical six-car race of 2005.

''Before the race,'' Renault's title-leading Spaniard was quoted as recalling by the 'sid' agency, ''we said that we didn't want points but we wanted to drive for the fans.''

Alluding to the non-agreement of Bridgestone-clad Ferrari, he added: ''But a team and some drivers did not accept that.

''I accept everyone's option, but in that moment the 150,000 fans were more important. Sometimes we forget that we drive not for us but for the people.''

As the grand prix circus sets up shop at the fabled Motor Speedway, some are suggesting that - to guarantee avoidance of the same tyre problem in 2006 - Michelin will have gone ultra-conservative for this race.

But Alonso insisted: ''Even if I lose two or four points in the championship here, it would not be too bad.''
Ralf welcomes end of tyre war Ralf welcomes end of tyre war(GMM) Ralf Schumacher has welcomed the end of F1's tyre war.

Michelin is pulling out at the end of the year, leaving only Bridgestone on the grid, but from 2008 the FIA rules mandate that a second tyre supplier is not allowed to compete.

''It will definitely be better,'' the German told 'Auto Motor Und Sport'. ''If there is no tyre competition then the manufacturers no longer have to go to the limit.''

30-year-old Schumacher is perhaps forgiven for being a little cautious about tyre safety -- particularly after, in sequential years, exiting Indianapolis in the back of an ambulance following right-rear Michelin failures.

But the German insists that, on the eve of his return to the scene of the United States grand prix, he is not at all worried.

Ralf said: ''It is clear that these things can happen. When I recovered I wanted to drive again immediately, and when I got back into the car it was the same as usual.''

Still, he likes the idea that - with a 'control' tyre supplier in the future - the four black things connecting his Toyota with the road will be safer.

''It's an advantage for everyone,'' he said, adding that - with Toyota now on Bridgestone boots - it shouldn't be a problem for him this weekend anyway.

He also thinks the reaction to Indianapolis' 2005 debacle did more damage than the farcical race itself.

''There was an over-reaction,'' said Schumacher, ''which was absolutely senseless. For us, it was a very unpleasant situation, but it was simply not possible to drive.''

He disagrees that Bridgestone contributed to the six-car disaster by not also pulling out.

Ralf asked: ''Why should Ferrari and the other Bridgestone teams have been punished? It wasn't their fault that Michelin was not able to build a suitable tyre.''
Industry News
Penske's UAG to sell Smart Car Penske's UAG to sell Smart Car“Following the success of the Smart fortwo in our first North American market, Canada, and the increasing demand for affordable and fuel efficient small cars in the U.S.A., we are now bringing this new kind of mobility to U.S. cities,” said DaimlerChrysler AG Chairman of the Board of Management and head of Mercedes Car Group Dieter Zetsche. “The time has never been better for this – and I am convinced that the smart fortwo as an innovative, ecological and agile city car will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York, Miami or Seattle, as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris.”

UnitedAuto Group Inc., which operates 173 new-car franchises, will serve as the exclusive distributor for the cars. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to represent the smart brand in the United States and Puerto Rico,” said UAG CEO Roger Penske. “Through our international diversification, we’ve seen the benefits the Smart brand provides in Europe. We believe the U.S. market will embrace the Smart vehicle with its exceptional fuel economy, environmentally friendly features, and advantageous price point. We look forward to a successful launch of this vehicle over the next several years.”

Tony George analysis Tony George analysisUPDATE A reader adds, Dear AutoRacing1.com, On the recent merger article by E. Rasmussen Holm, The Indianapolis Star is a reputable newspaper that has always treated the IRL quite fairly.  Why then, if the article was a "story entirely fabricated by the people who wrote the story" has the Star not printed a retraction or correction?  More than the reporters’ integrity is at stake here.  The paper has had ample time to investigate and retract the story if indeed fabricated.  The fact that the Star has not is telling.  Steve Heckard

06/28/06 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I want to say that I thoroughly enjoy Mr. Holms articles.  His latest article in which he analyzes Tony George's recent comments is quite interesting.  Never has a man been so elusive. Milton Sharp, Detroit, MI.
López finishes on top in France López finishes on top in FranceJosé María López has finished the all-important mid-season GP2 series test with the fastest time of the two day session for Super Nova International. The Argentine, who set his fastest lap in this morning’s session, was followed in the overall times by Nelson Piquet Jr who took his Piquet Sports entry to within five hundredths of a second of Lopez’s time to finish on top of the individual times this afternoon. Third in the classification was Timo Glock. The German has had something of a resurgence since switching to iSport International, and after finishing yesterday as the quickest driver of all, he continued to show his pace with a best overall lap just one tenth behind Lopez. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton could only muster the 11th fastest time of the test.

The test, which took place on the usual “3D” 3.853km track formation of Circuit Paul Ricard, France, was the first opportunity for our teams to run any serious testing programs, other than in race weekend practice sessions, since the 2006 season began in April. In 2005, the mid-season test proved to be the turning point of the season for the eventual champions ART Grand Prix and Nico Rosberg, who until that point had not won a race. zzzz

The GP2 series now moves on to Magny-Cours in two weeks’ time for Round Seven of the 2006 season. We will know then who has learned the most over the past two days…

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova International 1:13.728
2 Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet Sports 1:13.774
3 Timo Glock iSport International 1:13.845
4 Andreas Zuber Trident Racing 1:13.892
5 Ernesto Viso iSport International 1:13.967
6 Clivio Piccione DPR Direxiv 1:14.042
7 Gianmaria Bruni Trident Racing 1:14.101
8 Franck Perera DAMS 1:14.110
9 Lucas Di Grassi Durango 1:14.185
10 Adam Carroll Racing Engineering 1:14.279
11 Lewis Hamilton ART Grand Prix 1:14.310
12 Luca Filippi BCN Competicion 1:14.463
13 Giorgio Pantano P.O. FMS International 1:14.519
14 Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova International 1:14.585
15 Alexandre Negrao Piquet Sports 1:14.645
16 Ferdinando Monfardini DAMS 1:14.671
17 Adrian Valles Campos Racing 1:14.674
18 Michael Ammermueller Arden International 1:14.749
19 Sergio Hernandez Durango 1:14.899
20 Alexandre Premat ART Grand Prix 1:14.938
21 Felix Porteiro Campos Racing 1:14.951
22 Alvaro Parente Arden International 1:15.005
23 Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:15.006
24 Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:15.029
25 Olivier Pla DPR Direxiv 1:15.281
26 Jason Tahinci P.O. FMS International 1:15.907

Liuzzi predicts V10 struggle at Indy Liuzzi predicts V10 struggle at Indy(GMM) Vitantonio Liuzzi has predicted a big struggle for his Toro Rosso team at Indianapolis.

The Italian driver expects he and teammate Scott Speed to fall well behind his rivals on the circuit's lengthy front straight, which includes a flat-out blast through the banking.

''We will struggle a lot,'' Liuzzi said, ''because with the V10 we always struggle on the fast circuits because we don't have any top speed.

''The (restricted 3.0 liter) V10 is not pushing enough.''

Every other F1 outfit is powered by an unfettered 2.4 liter V8.

Track News
New test track in Spain under construction New test track in Spain under constructionUPDATE (GMM)  A fourth Spanish test track will be up and running for the use of F1 teams by 2007.

'Auto Motor Und Sport' magazine reports that, in addition to existing venues at Jerez, Barcelona and Valencia, 'Circuito Monteblanco' - 48 kilometres from Seville - has now obtained a 'type-1' FIA license to allow for F1 testing and races up to GP2.

Circuit boss Michel Ligonnet, however, is quoted as saying that Monteblanco does not intend to bid for a grand prix in the future.

'Monteblanco' might, however, become a popular testing ground for F1.  Teams already like running in sunny Spain during the winter, and the new circuit - much like Paul Ricard - can be modified into several different configurations.

05/30/06 A new test track – the Monteblanco Circuito - is under construction near Seville in the South of Spain.

The project includes a 4.450 km track homologated for F1 tests, a 1.3 km 'street course', a track for wet-weather testing and many other track solutions available, separately or combined.

The goal of this new project is to become one of the bases for testing in different categories, including cars and motorcycles with the homologation of the different tracks by the FIA and FIM.  They would like to hold a GP2 race or maybe even a Champ Car/IndyCar race someday.

“Our goal is not to host a Grand Prix or compete with the Jerez and Barcelona circuits,” explained Michel Ligonnet, the circuit’s Director.

“The circuit will be ready at the beginning of 2007,” he added.

F1 'shouldn't race' at Indy - Ralf F1 'shouldn't race' at Indy - Ralf(GMM) A year after disgraced F1's infamous visit to Indianapolis, Ralf Schumacher says he is not looking forward to negotiating the notorious oval bend.

While tire supplier Michelin copped the flak for the six-car debacle of 2005, Toyota's German racer pointed to the flat-out banked corner - which is turn-1 of the fabled Speedway oval - as the real source of aggravation.

Not only last year, but also in 2004 when driving for Williams, Schumacher was hospitalized after rear tire failures in the bend.

Schumacher, who turns 31 on Friday, says the banking is not suitable for grand prix machines.

''The atmosphere is great (at Indianapolis),'' he said, ''and I never expected to be that well received by the Americans.

''But regarding the circuit itself, to me, we shouldn't race there. Banking is not designed for formula one.''

IROC cars practice in the wet IROC cars practice in the wetDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Crown Royal International Race of Champions returned to track action Wednesday for a four-hour session at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) with driver practice in preparation for the series' road race at DIS Thursday night, June 29.

Drivers getting behind the wheel for the first time were 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ted Musgrave along with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth.

Musgrave, who is starting on the pole in the 20-lap, 71.2-mile road race, was grateful to get a few pre- practice tutored runs in a street car by David Donohue before embarking on the course in the IROC cars. After his first run on the road course in the racecar, Musgrave said, "Thank goodness I was following David Donohue, he's the school teacher here on the road course for IROC. I've been in the IROC cars and I've road raced, but I've never been in the IROC cars on a road course, and I've never driven on the road course here at Daytona. The worst thing you can do is over drive it and wreck a car, so I'm just working up to it slowly. I haven't done this in probably six, or seven years, so slowly, but surely, I'm getting a little better. I think the best thing I can do tomorrow night is race my own race. There are some really good road racers in this deal and some of them have been down here practicing quite a bit, so all I can do is my best to keep my car on the course, don't make mistakes, or ruin the transmission, or brakes and see where it ends up. Mostly, I'm going to have some fun, but don't get me wrong, I'll race it really hard, I just know I'm up against some good aces out there."  zzzz

After his initial run, Newman said, "Like some of the other guys, I've never been around the road course here at Daytona, so it's been a new experience for me here today, just getting used to the track, learning the corners with braking and things like that. I only went off the track twice in about 10 or 12-laps, so that's pretty good, I just need to get out there some more and get some more experience. It's a great opportunity for me to get out there with some of the champion road racers and see if I can learn something from them before tomorrow night."

The 2004 Crown Royal IROC Champion, and current points leader, Matt Kenseth said, "Just having raced on the road course at Sonoma may have helped a bit, but the IROC cars feel completely different than the Cup cars, especially the braking with carbon pads and rotors, which I haven't run before on a road course - they just feel a lot different. I did run this course in a Daytona Prototype, so I'm familiar with the track. I can say, tomorrow night in the IROC cars is going to be fun - it's going to be a real interesting race, and I'm just glad to have the opportunity to be a part of it."

Returning for more seat time after last week's practice sessions were Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series champions Max Papis and Max Angelelli, along with 20-time World of Outlaws Sprint Series champion Steve Kinser and seven-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel.

Later in the day the Crown Royal IROC Series finally got a chance to test out the wet weather package after a downpour late Wednesday afternoon at DIS. IROC's road race specialist, David Donohue strapped into the Crown Royal IROC cars, equipped with Goodyear Eagle Radial rain tires, and took to the 3.56-mile road course with headlights on, windshield wipers and defoggers going and all the creature comforts for running in wet weather.

Donohue said, The Goodyear rain tires held up great. As far as I was concerned, the feel of the car remained very consistent. It's a raceable package and it was fun sliding around a little out there. They've done a lot with the racetrack in recent years with paving the infield track and the puddles that were there when I first went out receded very quickly. If we wind up running in the rain I'm confident everyone will be pretty comfortable."

IROC President Jay Signore said, Right now I think we're in pretty good shape from what David (Donohue) is telling us. The cars feel pretty stable in the wet conditions. It wasn't pouring when he went out, but the track surface was soaked pretty good. We did a quick suspension adjustment in back-to-back runs to see if it would help the wet conditions a little bit, but his (Donohue's) comments were that we could go either way with the set up. I feel better having had the opportunity to get out on the wet surface, but I do hope we get to run the race dry tomorrow night."

Race three is scheduled to start at 10:00 p.m. EDT Thursday night, which will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel immediately following the Grand American Brumos 250 at DIS.  IROC

Will Power looking to climb Champ Car ranks Will Power looking to climb Champ Car ranksThis NY Times article on Australian Champ Car driver Will Power talks about his name, and his drive to excel.

Auto racing has had its share of appropriately named drivers, from Fireball Roberts to Scott Speed. Add Will Power to the list. (At right Power talks to Craig Gore, Team Australia's commercial boss)

''The name's William Power, but everyone calls me Will, so it just happened to turn out like that. It wasn't a planned thing to be called Will Power,'' he said laughing.

Turns out, it's a fitting moniker.

The determined young Australian arrived in the Champ Car series with two starts late last season. He's looking to build on his success from British Formula 3 and the World Series by Renault.

''He's a typical Aussie. He's pretty laid back. He doesn't get too worked up,'' said Team Australia general manager Rob Edwards. ''Underneath that, there's a lot of passion and drive and intensity to get results.'' More....

F1 stars part of USGP Pit Walkabout F1 stars part of USGP Pit WalkaboutINDIANAPOLIS - United States Grand Prix race ticket holders are in store for an exciting race Sunday, July 2, but they will experience a different kind of thrill during the USGP Pit Walkabout on Thursday, June 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fans will have the rare opportunity to get autographs from some of the most talented drivers in the world, including seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher. They will participate in a question-and-answer session with reigning F1 champion Fernando Alonso and American F1 driver Scott Speed, and stand only feet from the F1 team garages while high-performance F1 cars are being prepared for the race.

A United States Grand Prix Race Day ticket is required for access to the Pit Walkabout. Still and video photography are allowed.

Public gates open at 7 a.m. (ET) Thursday at IMS. Fans can enter via two gates: Gate 2, the main gate and tunnel located on 16th Street, and Gate 7, located on Georgetown Road south of the Speedway oval's Turn 4.  zzzz

The Speedway's pit lane will be open for the Pit Walkabout from 8 a.m.-noon, while the Pagoda Plaza area, located directly behind the Bombardier Pagoda control tower, will be open from 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Hall of Fame Museum opens at 7 a.m., and the IMS ticket office also will open at 7 a.m. Thursday for fans interested in purchasing Race Day tickets and gaining access to the Pit Walkabout. IMS concessions will be open in the Pagoda Plaza, two Formula One simulators will be available, and a Michael Schumacher Ferrari F1 car will be on display.

Selected Formula One drivers will sign autographs in the Pagoda Plaza during the Walkabout from 9:30 a.m.-2:55 p.m.

The 2006 USGP Pit Walkabout autograph session schedule:


9:30-10 a.m.
Scott Speed
Scuderia Toro Rosso

10:30-10:40 a.m.
Fernando Alonso
Mild Seven Renault F1 Team

11:15-11:45 a.m.
Vitantonio Liuzzi
Scuderia Toro Rosso

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Jenson Button
Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team

Noon-12:20 p.m.
Michael Schumacher
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

12:15-12:45 p.m.
Christian Klien
Red Bull Racing

12:20-12:30 p.m.
Jacques Villeneuve
BMW Sauber F1 Team

12:55-1:15 p.m.
Felipe Massa
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

1:20-1:40 p.m.
Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Alex Wurz
WilliamsF1 Team

1:45-2:05 p.m.
Takuma Sato, Franck Montagny
Super Aguri F1 Team

2:05-2:25 p.m.
Tiago Monteiro, Christijan Albers
MF1 Racing

2:35-2:55 p.m.
Ralf Schumacher, Ricardo Zonta
Panasonic Toyota Racing

To participate in the autograph sessions, fans must secure a wristband for the corresponding driver, or drivers, from whom they wish to get an autograph. Autograph wristband distribution will begin at 8 a.m. on the south side of the Pagoda Plaza.

Many of the same drivers, along with Alonso and Speed, will participate in public Q&A sessions at the Pagoda Plaza Stage throughout the morning and afternoon.

The 2006 USGP Pit Walkabout public Q&A session schedule:


9:15-9:30 a.m.
Scott Speed
Scuderia Toro Rosso

10-10:30 a.m.
Fernando Alonso
Mild Seven Renault F1 Team

11-11:15 a.m.
Vitantonio Liuzzi
Scuderia Toro Rosso

11:30-11:45 a.m.
Jenson Button
Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team

Noon-12:10 p.m.
Christian Klien
Red Bull Racing

12:10-12:20 p.m.
Jacques Villeneuve
BMW Sauber F1 Team

12:30-12:50 p.m.
Felipe Massa
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

12:55-1:15 p.m.
Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Alex Wurz
WilliamsF1 Team

1:20-1:40 p.m.
Takuma Sato, Franck Montagny
Super Aguri F1 Team

1:40-2 p.m.
Tiago Monteiro, Christijan Albers
MF1 Racing

2:10-2:30 p.m.
Ralf Schumacher, Ricardo Zonta
Panasonic Toyota Racing

2:35-2:50 p.m.
Hisao Suganuma
Bridgestone Motorsport

Other attractions on USGP Pit Walkabout day include:

*Frankie Muniz public interview: Muniz, who played Malcolm on the hit FOX comedy "Malcolm in the Middle," is competing in the Formula BMW USA series this year - including the two races at the USGP - and will participate in a public interview from 2:50-3 p.m. at the Plaza Stage.

*Live music and merchandise: Popular musician Josh Holmes will perform on the Plaza Stage from 3-4 p.m. Formula One team merchandise trailers also will be open in the Speedway Hall of Fame Museum's east parking lot.

*Traffic tips and parking: Speedway officials and local law enforcement will make every effort to minimize the traffic issues caused by the mix of Formula One fans flocking to the Pit Walkabout and morning rush-hour traffic.

Pit Walkabout customers driving into the Speedway from north and west of the track should enter the grounds via Gate 7, off Georgetown Road, because cars traveling east on 16th Street toward downtown Indianapolis will not be permitted to make a left turn into Gate 2. Gate 2 will be open only to cars traveling west on 16th Street that can make a right turn into the gate.

IMS officials encourage fans to arrive early to avoid most rush-hour and Pit Walkabout traffic. The two gates that will open for the Walkabout - Gate 2 and Gate 7 - are both equipped for automobile and pedestrian traffic. Free parking will be available in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield, accessible from either Gate 2 or Gate 7.

2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

A three-day "Season Pass" for the event is only $60. The pass is good for admission to IMS for all three days of on-track activity, Friday, June 30-Sunday, July 2. All seating Friday and Saturday is general admission, and the pass provides general admission access to the Viewing Mounds, Infield, First Turn Terrace, South Terrace and Tower Terrace (Sections 39-77) on Sunday, July 2.

Reserved seats for Race Day, Sunday, July 2, start at $75.

Champ Car Offers Mobile Options For its Fans Champ Car Offers Mobile Options For its FansINDIANAPOLIS --- The sights and sounds of a Champ Car race are just one of the draws of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford as its 750 horsepower machines fly through city streets, natural road courses and ovals.  Now fans can bring those sights and sounds with them anywhere they go as Champ Car's website www.champcar.ws is now offering ring tones and wallpapers for mobile phones.

The ring tones and wallpapers allow fans to personalize their cell phones with the latest race highlights as wallpaper or the scream of the 750 hp turbocharged Ford Cosworth as their ring tone.  Both the wallpapers and ring tones can be purchased direct from Champ Car's website and downloaded to the cell phone or they can be purchased through select wireless carriers.

"It is great that Champ Car fans can bring some of the excitement of our three-day festivals of speed with them anywhere they go," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson.  "Our fans are the best in motorsports and are very tech-savvy.  I know they are going to love hearing a Cosworth engine every time their cell phone rings and being able to show all of their friends their favorite drivers and exciting Champ Car action that they have on their phone."

Round Seven of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford begins July 7 in Toronto as the Champ Cars hit Exhibition Place for the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto with race coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, live on CBS Sports.

DIRECTV to Sponsor Spirit of Daytona DIRECTV to Sponsor Spirit of DaytonaSpirit of Daytona Racing with Bobby Labonte announced today that DIRECTV has signed on to sponsor Bobby Labonte and Guy Cosmo in the Brumos Porsche 250 at the Daytona International Speedway on June 29. The No. 07 Pontiac Crawford will be outfitted with a blue and white paint scheme inspired by DIRECTV's logo and colors. MarineMax, the nation's largest boating and yachting retailer, will also be sponsoring the Daytona Prototype for the race.

This will be DIRECTV's first time involvement with the Grand American Rolex Series, marking an important first footprint for its growth in the motorsports market. Earlier this year, DIRECTV sponsored a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race in Martinsville, VA and became the primary sponsor on a NEXTEL Cup car. DIRECTV's move to become involved with the Rolex Series will further establish itself as the number one digital television supplier. DIRECTV is the nation's largest digital television service provider with more than 15 million customers.

 "We are very happy to have DIRECTV come onboard with our race program. With DIRECTV's involvement and the great driver lineup, I know we will provide a win for all involved. We tested with Bobby and Guy in mid-June at Daytona and I think they will be a successful fit. Guy provides great feedback on the car. It is a competitive duo and I am excited to see them race," said team owner/manager Troy Flis. zzzz

MarineMax will also be making its first appearance on the Grand American Rolex stage. With 85 locations across the United States, MarineMax is the nation's largest and most successful boating and yachting retailer and has a strong presence in the Florida market. As an associate sponsor of the Daytona Prototype, the company's logo will be featured on the roof of the car and on race t-shirts and will be seen by thousands of motorsports fans.

In addition to sponsoring the car, MarineMax will also be hosting a flotilla of yachts in Daytona Beach for one of the company's famed Getaways!.  As a part of the Getaway! event, MarineMax customers will attend the race weekend and will be able to see the MarineMax-sponsored car on track and also on display in the Fan Walk.

"This is an exciting opportunity for MarineMax," says David Witty, MarineMax Florida President.  "Many of our boating and yachting customers are avid motorsports fans, and we're pleased to be able to bring the boating and racing lifestyles together for the weekend.  For our customers attending the Getaway!, it will be a real treat to see the MarineMax name on the track.  We are all looking forward to the race weekend."

"MarineMax is a great company to have involved in our program. I know this is their first time participating in motorsports, and it will be a great relationship," said Flis.

Labonte is ready for his busy race weekend with the Rolex Series and the NEXTEL CUP race. "I am excited to get back into the DP and I am really looking forward to the Brumos 250. With the sponsorship that we have pulled together we should have a really good effort come Thursday night," said 07 driver, Bobby Labonte.

Guy Cosmo is also looking forward to his first time driving for Spirit of Daytona. "The Daytona Prototype has felt great each time I have been in it. It is very exciting to be with someone like Bobby Labonte with so many racing accomplishments. Anytime you have a chance to be involved with a guy like Bobby and with great sponsors like MarineMax and DIRECTV you can't take it for granted. Everyone involved just adds to the race enthusiasm. I have been very fortunate to work with so many people here in the paddock and it's great to be with Spirit of Daytona. This has allowed me to put another notch on my belt," said Cosmo.

It’s the drivers stupid It’s the drivers stupidUPDATE A reader writes, Good Morning AutoRacing1, With all the talk about needing talented American Racers in American Open Wheel Racing (AOWR) lately and the news of Red Bull expanding into all forms of racing now. Talk of unification or merger of two Series. The desire of all to get this fixed once and for all.
Where is the Red Bull Driver Search winner from last year, Casey Neal? He clearly displayed an amazing amount of speed and car control at the Sebring Finals.
I found this quote that sums up my point "Wednesday morning the Red Bull Semi-Finalist started on the pole as he took to the track for some very serious timed race sessions. Casey immediately set the fastest laps with no other drivers very close on the timing charts. Six sessions later the young star had won all the morning races.

"For the afternoon races Casey started off with the same results, winning the first two sessions by over 6 seconds. The Red Bull judges then decided to invert the field and with Casey starting last, he won both of those sessions by over 4 seconds. For the last few races the judges had the drivers change cars with Casey being assigned the slowest car from the earlier races. Casey then won that race from the pole and set an even faster lap time. With the field now inverted again and Casey starting last for the final race, he was in the lead by lap three and set his fastest lap time of the entire event, winning by 8 seconds. Amazing would be an understatement for what the young driver had accomplished".
Casey won every race and set the fastest 27 lap times turned in there and never put a tire off track. I know this to be true because my son was in the 2005 Driver Search. Casey gave my son and myself a lot to think about, we knew after that event that we had a lot of work to do to get to Casey’s level.
Why is this obviously very talented kid being overlooked today, I know his folks don't have a lot of money but that should be no excuse. This kid carries a commanding presence on the track, and is absolutely a thrill to watch. He is easy to talk to, very willing to help and give pointers where most drivers would not. He is exactly what is needed to give us fans a young American hero to root for. Just a OWR Fan from the Windy City

06/28/06 AutoRacing1.com has tried to pound it into the heads of the leaders of open wheel racing in the USA that it is the popularity of the drivers that will make the sport big again in the USA, not the cars, not the engines, and not the 'festival events'. It's the star-power of the athlete that drives any sport and that is largely lost on both Champ Car and the IRL, though the IRL does seem to be getting with the program because Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti are becoming household names. Danny Sullivan agrees. He told National Speed Sport News:

"There is no one thing that's going to turn it around. It's going to be a lot of work, and it's going to take a lot of vision," Sullivan said. "Ultimately, the biggest single thing is they've got to build stars. People come through the gates, and yeah, it's NASCAR racing and Toyota and Dodge and Chevy and Ford, but ultimately, they're coming through because of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and Dale (Earnhardt) Junior.

"If you think back to the group that we had -- from the Andrettis, the Unsers, Bobby (Rahal), myself, Rick Mears, (Arie) Luyendyk, Emerson (Fittipaldi) ... everybody had a big following, and the crowds were really supportive of us. We all kind of benefited and fed off of that."

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

Thursday, June 29, 2006

NASCAR Busch Practice  Daytona
5:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Daytona
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona
7:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Crown Royal IROC Daytona
10:00pm-11:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Beyond the Wheel Sonoma, CA
11:30pm-12:00am SPEED

Friday, June 30, 2006

Formula 1 Practice Indianapolis
11:00am-3:00pm (L) SPEED
Inside Grand Prix Indianapolis
3:00pm-3:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Live! Daytona
3:30pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying  Daytona
4:30pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Daytona
7:00pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series  Daytona
7:30pm-10:00pm (L) FX
Trackside Daytona
11:30pm-12:30am (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya describes a lap of Indy McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya describes a lap of Indy"Powering up to some 343km/h in sixth gear as you cross the famous yard of bricks, you then brake hard for the tight right hander that takes you onto the twisty infield section of the track. The 90-degree turn is taken at 123km/h in second gear and flows into an equally tight left-hander, which is taken at of 122km/h, still in second."

"The circuit then gently bends to the right as you accelerate to turn four. You brake from speeds of around 220km/h in third to 130km/h for the right hander. A short burst of power takes you to turn five, a 45-degree right hander, which is taken at 245km/h in fourth gear."

"Another quick spurt on the throttle leads to the long 180-degree left hander of turn six. This swings you into turn seven, a right-hander that is negotiated at similar speeds and leads onto the back straight. Accelerating towards the 90-degree turn eight, you reach 300km/h in seventh gear before dropping to 114km/h in second for the left hander."

"The s-bends of turns nine and ten follow immediately. The tight right-hander of nine is taken at 59km/h in first gear, with your speed increasing ever so slightly to 72km/h in first for the left hander of ten. On the exit it’s quick on the power along the short straight that leads to the final corner of the infield section, reaching some 200km/h, before braking to 134km/h to negotiate the right hander. Accelerating out, the circuit begins to curve to the right as you rejoin the oval."

"Flicking up through the gears, you keep hard on the throttle through the rights of turns twelve and thirteen, which leads you back onto the pit straight. Turn twelve is taken at 275km/h and by the time you reach the long, sweeping banking of turn 13, you are traveling at some 316km/h in top gear as you begin another lap." McLaren

Bridgestone ready for Indy Bridgestone ready for IndyAfter the tough demands of the high speed Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, where Bridgestone shod Michael Schumacher claimed a second place podium position, Bridgestone Motorsport heads now to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the home of the famous Indy 500.

The Formula One cars will drive over the historic bricks at the IMS but unlike the Indy 500 they will use a unique combination of part banked oval and part in-field track. This places great demands on the teams and tire manufacturers as they strive to find the best set-ups and tires for their cars. zzzz

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport
“Coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is always a special event for Bridgestone. Through our Firestone brand we have a wonderful connection with this circuit and its racing heritage. The fans this year deserve to see a thrilling and highly competitive Grand Prix and I know our technical staff have been working closely with our teams to make sure we give them a great race.”

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager
“Indianapolis is quite unique with its combination of very fast oval and slow infield sections. From a tire point of view this means we need a tire with performance characteristics to make the best of both sections of the track.
The slow infield requires tires with good grip which means we are looking at compounds from the softer end of the scale."

"However, the oval is extremely fast so the tires also need to have very good stability and braking performance. Turn 13 in particular submits the tires to very high loads and high lateral forces. The drivers are on full throttle through this section so the tires must be strong enough to cope with both these directional forces. Normally tires are loaded more on the inboard side of the car because of the negative camber."

"At Indianapolis however, the banking means the outboard side is also loaded so tire manufacturers have to be vigilant here. Bridgestone has taken all these factors into consideration when deciding with our teams which tire specifications to bring. The specs have all been very carefully chosen for this race and we will be looking for a good result this weekend.” Source Bridgestone

IROC starting lineup IROC starting lineupThe following is the Crown Royal IROC starting lineup for Thursday’s 20-lap, 71.2-mile race. The start time is 10:00 p.m. ET

Starting Driver Car/Color Representing Points

1 Ted Musgrave 1 Lt. Blue NASCAR Truck Series 11
2 Steve Kinser 11 Green Outlaws Sprint Cars 12
3 Scott Sharp 08 Gold IRL 14
4 Max Papis 16 Burgundy Grand-Am 18
5 Max Angelelli 10 Drk. Blue Grand-Am 18
6 Sam Hornish Jr. 06 Day-Glo IRL 20
7 Mark Martin 6 Purple NASCAR Cup Series 22
8 Frank Kimmel 46 Magenta ARCA Series 23
9 Martin Truex Jr. 8 Black NASCAR Busch Series 24
10 Ryan Newman 12 Red NASCAR Cup Series 25
11 Tony Stewart 20 Orange NASCAR Cup Series 34
12 Matt Kenseth 17 Yellow NASCAR Cup Series 43

Line up is determined by reverse order of the points standings. Tiebreaker, finishing positions of last event.

Broadcast: SPEED Channel – Live. Thursday, June 29 at 10:00 p.m. ET  zzzz

Track Configuration – 3.56-mile Road Course

Race Format:
Distance – 20-laps, 71.2-miles (Yellow flag laps do not count)

Shootout Format - The purpose of the Shootout is to heighten the level of competition within each race.

Awarding bonus points for the first three positions adds incentive to get to the front of the pack during the first segment of the race. At a lap predetermined during race week, a yellow flag will be displayed. The cars will be brought down pit road for a routine pit stop. IROC crewmembers will man two pit- stalls to handle the fleet.

Shootout Bonus Points – 3,2,1, respectively, awarded to the top three positions at the time of the caution flag. If an incident occurs within a five-lap window of the scheduled stop, race officials may elect to perform the routine pit stop at the time of the unscheduled caution. The drivers will be notified that the bonus points (3-2-1) will be awarded at the conclusion of the fifth consecutive lap of green flag racing after the restart.

Shootout Restart – The field will realign as they finished before the mandatory pit stop, however, the field will be given lane choice starting with the leader. Each driver, one-by-one, in ascending order, will choose to restart in either the inside lane or outside lane.

Race Bonus Points - 5, 4, 3, respectively, to the driver who leads most laps, second and third most laps

Tiebreaker Rule: In the event that two or more drivers are tied for bonus points, the bonus points will be awarded according to the finishing positions of the race. In the event that two or more drivers are tied at the finish line, the points for finishing positions will be added together and divided among the tying drivers.

Germany's last puff on tobacco in F1 Germany's last puff on tobacco in F1(GMM)  The 2006 German grand prix is likely to be the country's last puff on cigarette advertising.

After an advisor to the European Court of Justice recently warned Germany to fall in line with continent-wide bans, the European Commission on Wednesday indicated that it would indeed refer the matter to the Court.

The part of the law relating to formula one is the 'cross-border' element, according to AFX news agency.  In other words, while it is arguable that Germany can enact its own legislation for tobacco advertising, the EC is concerned that cigarette logos displayed on F1 cars at Hockenheim, for example, are then beamed via the press and TV throughout Europe.

The European Commission warned Germany in a letter in October 2005 and again in February '06.

''I am determined to hold all member states to account for their implementation of this ... legislation,'' said health and consumer protection commissioner Markos Kyprianou, ''and if this means referring the matter to the Court, so be it.''

Track News
Ky. Speedway getting more SAFER Barrier Ky. Speedway getting more SAFER BarrierSPARTA - At the recommendation of NASCAR and professor Dean L. Sicking of the University of Nebraska's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, Kentucky Speedway will install energy-dissipating material along a portion of the track's inside backstretch wall in time for its next race weekend.

Two sections of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier system will close a 56-foot gap in the concrete wall previously used as an access point for the track's safety team.

The decision to install the system was made after Busch Series driver Jeff Fuller suffered a broken wrist and finger in a crash there during the Meijer 300 June 17. It was the third incident at that spot since August 2002, when actor Jason Priestley hit the inside wall head-on during an Infiniti Pro Series practice. Craftsman Truck Series driver Rick Crawford hit the wall during Built Ford Tough 225 qualifying last year.

"The immediate reaction by us was, 'Tell us what we need to do.' They are the experts," Kentucky Speedway executive vice president and general manager Mark Cassis said Tuesday. "We got with Dr. Sicking's office and NASCAR. ... It came back that the best way to do it is to SAFER barrier it, close it." More at Cincinnati Enquirer

Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 6-28-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 10.263
2. (11) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 7.759
3. (20) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 7.739
4. (3) Jimmie Johnson(NASCAR) 7.627
5. (9) Michael Schumacher (F1) 7.485
6. (10) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.383
7. (13) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.284
8. (8) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.130
9. (16) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.086
10. (14) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.902
11. (15) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 6.790
12. (NR) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.581
13. (23) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.562
14. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 6.543
15. (21) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.521
16. (5) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.198
17. (7) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.123
18. (22) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 6.027
19. (26) Vitor Meira (IRL) 6.013
20. (4) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 5.941
Dropped out: Justin Wilson (CCWS), Scott Dixon (IRL), Dan Wheldon (IRL), Kevin Harvick (NASCAR), Reed Sorenson (NASCAR)

Provided by STATS Inc.

Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Michelin vow to make Indy grid Michelin vow to make Indy grid(GMM) Michelin will not only make it to the checkered flag at Indianapolis, the tire supplier is certain to deliver a full contingent of French-clad tires to the grid.

That is the avowal of Nick Shorrock, F1 boss of the marque that - a year ago - contributed greatly to one of the biggest and most damaging scandals in the history of grand prix racing.

''We have learned from our errors of 2005,'' he told 'sid', clearly referring to the tire failures in practice at Indianapolis that forced the no-compromise resolve to pull all fourteen Michelin cars from the event.

Such was the impact of the farcical six-car procession that followed, the future of the US grand prix - which delivered the biggest crowd ever seen by the sport in 2000 - is still under a grey cloud. zzzz

Shorrock, whose employer is to pull out of F1 at the end of 2006, insisted: ''Our tire (for this weekend) will be safe and competitive.

''And a victory at Indy would taste particularly sweet.''

No longer, however, is the after-taste really about tires. It's now about fixing the damage and gauging whether enough fans will stroll through the turnstiles to justify another race contract for 2007 and beyond.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood has delayed talks with Bernie Ecclestone until the checker falls on Sunday.

Hinting at the most important factor to consider, he said: ''(The 2006 event) has to feel like a good event.''

Circuit spokesman Ron Green said he has been 'surprised' at the strength of ticket sales, with a race-day crowd of about 100,000 - which compares strongly with other venues - still expected.

Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, too, does not think the wounds of 2005 are terminal.

''But I also believe that formula one will never be very big in the USA,'' the Scot, in New York, told the 'Philadelphia Inquirer'.

Part of the problem, for a start, is that the race will not even be shown on free-to-air TV throughout the country.

But Stewart insisted: ''Network television will not do anything (for F1's popularity) unless you've got an American domestic sportsman doing well.''

If no merger, Rahal to forego $2M If no merger, Rahal to forego $2MUPDATE #3 Bobby Rahal told National Speed Sport News that with the split and a merger years away, it makes more sense to send Graham to Europe to drive in GP2 for a couple of years, "It would be very easy to throw him at his age into Champ Car and say that's that," commented the elder Rahal. "I think he needs more experience and he needs to race against even tougher competition -- and Europe is where that's at. If he spends two years over there and maybe he's not quite good enough to get to Formula 1, well, he comes back here and he's better than everybody else by a mile. That's the way (Sebastien) Bourdais did it. And there's no reason to think that he couldn't do a bit of both next year."

"I think maybe the timing is perfect for him, if you assume it's going to take a year or two for this reunification to happen," Bobby said. "The number of young people on the horizon is tremendous. If the proper environment is created -- and the only way that is going to happen is if they come together -- I think the future of American open-wheel racing is pretty good."

So if Rahal decides to go to Europe to run GP2 after winning the Champ Car Atlantic title this year, one would assume that the driver finishing second in the series will get the $2 million to move up to Champ Car in 2007.

06/24/06 Bobby Rahal, father of Graham, reiterated the need for a merger today in Cleveland.  Addressing a large turnout at the Champ Car fan forum (along with Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Jr.), Rahal said that "there needs to be one series with the best drivers, the best teams, and the best tracks all together," and it's up to two men, Tony George and Kevin Kalkhoven, to make it happen.  That brought a huge cheer from the enthusiastic crowd. Mark C.

06/24/06 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Just read the short but very interesting interview with Graham Rahal- he is very switched on for such a young driver (unlike some). It is indeed a damning indictment of OW in the USA when he would give up $2 million in order to race in GP2 in Europe. But then he's also refreshingly honest about admitting he wants to earn money for driving race cars, I'm not sure I've heard many others say the same.
The teams, drivers, engine manufacturers, fans and sponsors all want it to happen, but it seems that the 2 people who could MAKE it happen just seem content to dance around the issue and (seemingly) make little progress with it- what's it going to take? If control is such an issue why not let Tony George be the public figure head of it and have Kevin Kalkhoven run the business/ financial side of it? Of course if no-one buys the new Champ Car then the problem may go away and there will be just one series again. Derek Parkinson

Dear Derek, Rest assured there will be a lot of orders for the new Champ Car, so the problem will not go away. Mark C.

06/24/06 It's a sad state of affairs for Open Wheel Racing in America when one of its brightest young stars, Graham Rahal, says he would forego the $2 million prize that goes to the winner of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship to drive in Champ Car the following year and move to Europe to pursue his dream.

We quizzed Rahal on this very topic today and his upcoming test in GP2 on Tuesday in Cleveland after he qualified 2nd for Sunday's Atlantic race.

"The GP 2 test is something I'm really looking forward to because Formula One has always been a dream," said Rahal referring to his GP2 test on Tuesday. "First things first, this weekend is most important because this is the championship right now and we need to focus here. I think we have a great shot at winning, and if we do, that makes it even better when we go to Paul Ricard Sunday night.
"It just all adds up. Right after that I go to the IPS race at Indy and to do well there hopefully adds more light to the situation.
"Everybody's asked me that. I can say it's a very difficult situation to be stuck in. But I know that since I was little, a Formula One driver is all I wanted to be. With the state of open wheel racing in the States right now is not good. It's very hard to find money in it. I'm talking about the split here. Certainly, we need to try to get it back together to where it used to be when my dad was in it. That's when we didn't have drivers who had to pay to be in one of the top levels of motor sports and that's just not right. Certainly, the last few years, that's how it's been.
"So, we need to get back to where it's been for me to actually decide this is where I want to be. To put your life on the line to do something you love, I'd like to be making somewhat of a living doing it, and not be paying all the time like most people are. To pass up to the two million dollars would be very difficult.
"But again, it's very hard to be rated over here. Sebastien Bourdais is probably one of the best drivers in the world and it's very difficult for him to be rated over here to go back to Formula One, whereas Justin Wilson came for Formula One to here, and I think that's how you've got to do it.
Q: If no merger, is it a slam dunk you'll leave?
"Basically, yes. I certainly know I don't want to be doing ovals all the time and putting my life on the line. It's just not safe. If the two came together, so be it. Ovals are fun and that would be fun once in a while. If it came together, not only would it be good for me, it would be good for open wheel racing in the world and good for all the top drivers here in the states." Mark C.

George and Kalkhoven reach agreement, NO! George and Kalkhoven reach agreement, NO!
Johnson's crew wins pitstop challenge Johnson's crew wins pitstop challengeJimmie Johnson's team extended its lead in the season-long Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge by winning the award in Sunday's Dodge/ Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. The victory was the fourth of the season for the #48 Lowe's pit crew. They also picked up wins at Daytona, California, and Charlotte. Tony Stewart's, Elliott Sadler's and Kyle Busch's crews are tied for second place with two wins each. Johnson's team will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. An additional $105,000 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Johnson's over-the-wall crew, which spent only 109.657 seconds on pit road during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event, includes: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. DMF Communications PR
Newman to drive in USAC races Newman to drive in USAC racesNASCAR's Ryan Newman, South Bend, will drive in U.S. Auto Club national competition for the first time in six years in a July 4 sprint and midget car doubleheader at Columbus, Ohio.  Newman will drive a midget car entered by Corey Tucker, Mooresville, N.C., and a sprint car entered by Keith Kunz Motorsports, Columbus.
Test open to public Test open to publicUPDATE If you're into numbers and know your NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, car numbers 2, 5, 24, 25, 48, 40, 41, 42 and 19 were testing Tuesday at The Milwaukee Mile, on the heels of The Mile's big AT&T 250 Busch Series - Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 Truck Series race weekend. In appreciation of our NASCAR supporters, the grandstands are open to this private team test to any Milwaukee Mile NASCAR fan who presents a ticket stub from The Milwaukee Mile's June 23 or 24 NASCAR events, Wednesday June 28 from 9:00am - 5:00pm. "The reason we test here at Milwaukee is that this track is 'rubbered-in' the best it can be. We are limited on tires and race tracks we can test at, and with all the rubber laid down on the track from the weekend, it really saves our tire wear," said 2004 Nextel Cup Series champion Kurt Busch. So what can point leader Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers learn with their Hendrick Motorsports teams, in addition to Ganassi Racing and their drives David Stremme, Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears, or for that matter, Jeremy Mayfield? "This track is very similar to New Hampshire, Phoenix, some small ideas apply to Indy," Kurt Busch said. "But The Mile is a sentimental track for me, as I tested here the last three years with my old team just trying to get ready for some of the flat tracks and what it can help you do when you get down to the 'Chase' and how you have to gain points. Hendrick Motorsports also practiced with their Car of Tomorrow at America's Legendary Oval. Most of the teams are expected to return Wednesday. No official times were recorded. Milwaukee Mile PR

06/25/06 Up to eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars, as Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Evernham Motorsports and Penske Racing South will test at The Milwaukee Mile on Tuesday, June 27 and Wednesday, June 28. On the heels of the June 23rd Truck Series race, and the June 24th Busch Series event, Gordon and company will be getting in some valuable track time, preparing their cars for Nextel Cup race tracks that have similar characteristics to The Milwaukee Mile, including Pocono Raceway, Martinsville Raceway and New Hampshire Int'l Speedway. During the two day Nextel Cup team test, by presenting a Milwaukee Mile NASCAR event ticket stub from either the June 23rd Truck Series or the June 24th Busch Series races, NASCAR fans will gain FREE admission to the Grandstand between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Only those Mile fans with a ticket stub from The Mile's Truck or Busch series races will be admitted. This is a private team test. Milwaukee Mile PR
ALMS prepares for Lime Rock ALMS prepares for Lime RockCompeting at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is quite a challenge for even the world’s best sports car teams. But turning around and resuming the American Le Mans Series season just two weeks after is another whole race in itself.

Eleven Series teams that competed at the famed French endurance classic will be at Lime Rock Park this weekend for the New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the 2006 season. Many teams didn’t get their equipment and cargo back from France until late last week, which meant a lot of work in a short amount of time in order to have everything ready for Lime Rock. More....

Rolex Series prepares for Daytona under the lights Rolex Series prepares for Daytona under the lightsJust five days after Round 9 of the 14-race 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Rolex Series teams will return to action on Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway for the Brumos Porsche 250 (SPEED, Live, 7 p.m. ET). More....
Canadian GP Postscript Canadian GP PostscriptAs much as he is keenly anticipating racing in the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Scott Speed said he won't feel any extra pressure about competing at home.

"It is not something that puts added pressure on me," Speed said. "I put enough pressure on myself because I am naturally ultra-competitive."

Speed, who is in his rookie F1 season driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso, is living a dream.

"I am in F1 because I know that F1 is the pinnacle of motorsports," said Speed, who grew up in Manteca, Calif. "I know that it is the top level. And it has been my dream since I was a kid in karting."

Among the many fans cheering Speed in his USGP debut will be his mother.

"It will be the first time my mom gets to see a F1 car," he said. "She is finally going to make her way out to a race. My dad was in Canada, and he has been to a couple of races, as well as my brother. So my whole family will be at Indianapolis, and it should be a very nice weekend."

Speed finished 10th in the Canadian Grand Prix on June 25. It was his second top 10 finish of the season. zzzz

Alonso's streak: Fernando Alonso is aiming to continue an amazing finishing streak at the United States Grand Prix. His win in Canada marked the 15th consecutive time Alonso has finished on the podium.

Alonso had six straight top-three finishes at the end of the 2005 season on his way to becoming, at age 24, the youngest-ever Formula One World Champion. In the first nine races of 2006, he has scored six wins and three second places.

Michael Schumacher holds the record with 19 consecutive podium finishes between the last two races of 2001 and all 17 races of 2002.

Historical U.S. Grand Prix: This year's United States Grand Prix on July 2, 2006 will go into the history books as the first event in the new centennial of Grand Prix racing, while the recent Canadian Grand Prix will be remembered as the last Grand Prix of the first centenary.

While auto races were staged as early as 1895, historians say that the first "Grand Prix" race took place June 26-27, 1906 at Le Mans, France. The era of the city-to-city races was ending and being replaced by "circuit" races. Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz won driving a Renault.

Fernando Alonso drove a Renault to victory in Canada on June 25, 2006, the final event in the first centennial of Grand Prix racing.

U.S. vacation: Four-time United States Grand Prix winner and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and his wife, Corinna, went on vacation in the United States before the Canadian Grand Prix.

"It's a holiday the way we like it - far away from all the hustle and bustle, lots of activities, fabulous nature and lots of laughs," Schumacher said. "It's become somewhat of a tradition for us to have fun for a couple of days before the overseas races."

The location of the holiday spot remains a secret, but the Schumachers, who enjoy horseback riding and the outdoors, often go to the western part of the U.S.

Schumacher finished second in the Canadian Grand Prix in his Ferrari, and he heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway seeking his fifth win at the Brickyard and his third of the season.

Fan survey: F1 fans are being offered a great opportunity to let their ideas mold the future of the sport by taking part in the second annual FIA/AMD Formula One Survey.

"The first FIA/AMD survey was enormously helpful for us as we developed the regulations for the sport in 2008 and beyond," FIA President Max Mosley said. "We look forward to the results of our latest survey, and I would encourage all those interested in Formula One to participate in what we hope will become an annual barometer of public opinion."

The FIA/AMD Formula One Survey 2006 can be accessed at www.fia.com and will be online from June 25. The results of the survey will be published on the FIA and AMD Web sites and in the October editions of F1 Racing magazine.

U.S. important to Ferrari: Ferrari has won five of the six United States Grands Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2000. It is a very important Grand Prix for the team.

"We like racing in the U.S.," Ferrari Team Principal Jean Todt said. "Ferrari has its biggest market in the U.S. - one-third of our cars are sold in this country - so for the visibility of Ferrari and of F1 we think it's important to do this race."

Packing for the trip: In addition to three cars and enough parts to build a fourth car, the F1 teams bring a vast amount of spares and equipment to each Grand Prix. In Europe, everything is transported by truck to the races, but for "flyaway" races such as the Grands Prix of Canada and the United States, everything is packed into crates and sent either by sea or by air.

The WilliamsF1 team, for example, sent 120 crates containing some 10,000 individual parts and weighing a total of 32 tons across the Atlantic. Fifty crates with a total weight of about 6 tons were sent early by sea to Montreal because it is cheaper by sea than by air.

The three Williams race cars were mounted on pallets that fit on top of each other in the hold of a Boeing 747 cargo plane. The team brings along six or seven engines and a huge number of tools and spare parts, plus 16 computers, 28 laptops and 100 radios.

After the Canadian Grand Prix on June 25, everything was quickly packed so that it could be at the Montreal airport at 8 a.m. Monday, June 26 and then flown to Indianapolis.

Hot property: One of the most coveted drivers racing at Indianapolis next weekend is Kimi Raikkonen.

Finnish star Raikkonen becomes a free agent in 2007 as his contract with McLaren-Mercedes expires at the end of this season. He has been linked with Ferrari, Renault and McLaren but said he is still not 100 percent certain for which team he drive in 2007.

"For sure I will be in F1 next year," said Raikkonen, who finished third in the Canadian Grand Prix, "so it's not something I have to worry about. I'm happy with how things are going, and I will know at some point this year what is there for me."

2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

A three-day "Season Pass" for the event is only $60. The pass is good for admission to IMS for all three days of on-track activity, Friday, June 30-Sunday, July 2. All seating Friday and Saturday is general admission, and the pass provides general admission access to the Viewing Mounds, Infield, First Turn Terrace, South Terrace and Tower Terrace (Sections 39-77) on Sunday, July 2.

Reserved seats for Race Day, Sunday, July 2, start at $75. USGP

Bourdais to shake down Mansell’s Champ Car Bourdais to shake down Mansell’s Champ CarUPDATE #2 Photos of Sebastien Bourdais driving Nigel Mansell's 93 Newman/Haas Lola taken Sunday morning in Cleveland:


06/25/06 This Dan Boyd photo was taken on the grid prior to Sebastien's Champ Car debut in 2003 in St. Petersburg where he started from pole.  Bourdais enjoyed his "joy ride" this morning in Nigel's race car.

06/24/06 Two-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais will shake down the 1993 championship-winning race car driven by Englishman Nigel Mansell between 10:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. ET tomorrow in advance of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank.  The No. 5 Kmart/Havoline Lola Ford/Cosworth race car will be transported to England for Mansell to pilot during the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, July 7-9.

Mansell brought Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) the third of six Champ Car titles when he earned five wins, seven poles and led 603 of 2112 laps while competing in 15 of the 16 events held in 1993.  He missed the Phoenix event due to a back injury (soreness) sustained in a practice crash.  The last time he drove a Champ Car was at the 1994 season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterrey, Calif.  NHR began restoration of the race car approx. two years ago.

Mansell’s last appearance at a Champ Car race was as a spectator at Bourdais’ debut in St. Petersburg in 2003.  Despite only being behind the wheel of a Champ Car for seven days Bourdais claimed the pole in his debut and became the first rookie in series history to lead the first lap of his first Champ Car start before contact ended his race after he led a total of 30 laps.  He won the pole in the following event in Monterrey, Mexico and became the first rookie since Nigel Mansell (1993) to win the pole for each of his first two series starts.  A radio problem led to a missed stop and he again failed to finish the race after he led a total of 16 laps before contact ended his race. zzzz

About Nigel Mansell and Newman/Haas Racing…

Nigel Mansell came to Newman/Haas Racing in 1993 as the reigning Formula One Champion.  He became the first rookie and third former Formula One champion to capture the CART title.  He was also the first driver to win the Formula One and CART titles back-to-back.  He edged fellow Formula One Champion Emerson Fittipaldi by a 191-183 margin to bring Newman/Haas Racing its third CART title.  Mansell made a strong statement immediately as he won the season opener in Australia from the pole.  After missing the following race at Phoenix due to a practice accident, Mansell posted five podium finishes, including a win at Milwaukee, in the next six races.  He went on to tie for the series high in victories at five and become the sole leader in poles at seven.  He also established single-season rookie records for poles and laps led at 603.  He reached the $1 million mark in earnings quicker than any driver in racing history (10 races).  The reigning Champion came back to Newman/Haas and CART for the 1994 season but did not fare as well and returned to Formula One at the end of the season.  In his two-year stint with the team, Mansell won five races, 10 pole positions and set numerous track records. NHR

Ahead of '07 race, Hendrick sends scouts to Montreal Ahead of '07 race, Hendrick sends scouts to MontrealIt's not by accident that Hendrick Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the NASCAR garage, home to four-time Nextel Cup series champion Jeff Gordon and this season's points leader, Jimmie Johnson.

You get that good by leaving nothing to chance, tending to each important detail and even those that might, in the end, count for nothing at all.

It is with this sharp focus that Hendrick has had two key members of its organization in Montreal since Monday, laying the groundwork for a NASCAR Busch Series stock-car race that hasn't even been confirmed.

Team business manager Michael Landis and Judy Shriver, who directs travel for as many as six Hendrick Nextel Cup and Busch teams on any given weekend, return to their Charlotte, N.C., headquarters today with much valuable information gathered during a quick, but successful, scouting trip.  More at Montreal Gazette

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Honda struggle set to continue
F1 designer turns to two wheels
Honda find support in BMW 'flexi' row
Alonso casts shadow over fellow Spaniards
Johnnie Walker and Team McLaren promote responsible drinking Johnnie Walker and Team McLaren promote responsible drinkingChicago, IL – With the U.S. Grand Prix fast approaching on July 2 in Indianapolis 4 hours from Chicago, local motor sports fans had an opportunity today to see a Team McLaren Mercedes Formula One race car on the streets of Chicago at a pre-race event hosted by the makers of Johnnie Walker.  The event featured Team McLaren test driver, Pedro De La Rosa, promoting the importance of drinking responsibly through the Johnnie Walker “Safe Rides Home Program”.  De La Rosa lead a team of “designated drivers” in branded Mercedes-Benz offering attendees free, safe rides home for the night. 

Demonstrating his commitment to the program, De La Rosa joined Johnnie Walker, the world’s number-one Deluxe Scotch whiskey and a sponsor of Team McLaren Mercedes, in toasting the upcoming U.S. Grand Prix with event attendees, but reminding them about the importance of making responsible decisions when drinking.  Taking place at Avenue M on 695 Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, free rides were then provided between 7:00PM and 11:00PM to select consumers who signed up to be driven home.  Residents within a 15 mile radius of the venue that were 21 years of age or older, like me, were eligible, with a four-passenger limit per car.  zzzz

“As an industry leader in promoting the importance of responsible drinking and being in control, Johnnie Walker encourages consumers to enjoy themselves when they go out, but to do so in a responsible manner”, said Virginia Sanchez, Vice President of Corporate Relations for Diageo North America.  “This ‘Safe Rides Home’ program helps to highlight the need to plan ahead and either designate a non-drinking driver or arrange for alternative methods of getting home safely.”

The “Safe Rides Home” program is an extension of the “Winners Always Stay in Control” campaign, an unprecedented initiative aimed at U.S. Hispanics that was kicked off at a launch event on June 19 in Miami Beach, FL, featuring one of the best drivers in racing, world-famous Team McLaren Mercedes Formula One driver, Juan Pablo Montoya.  The multi-faceted campaign includes a Spanish language Public Service Announcement with Juan Pablo Montoya, retail point of sale materials; an interactive responsible drinking educational kiosk based upon the Blood Alcohol Educator program created by The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization funded by distilled spirits producers; a sweepstakes where a consumer will win a trip to the Brazil Grand Prix in October, and a bilingual website.

“Our sponsorship of Team McLaren Mercedes and its leading role in the sport of Formula One, which is a highly visible and popular sport across the globe, provides Johnnie Walker with a powerful platform to remind U.S. Hispanics regarding the importance of thinking ahead and drinking responsibly.” Said Maribel Viteri, Multicultural Brand Manager for Johnnie Walker.  “Pedro De La Rosa and Juan Pablo Montoya are excellent ambassadors for our responsibility message.  They are admired by Hispanics around the world”.

More to come including a one on one interview and photos from the event. Rick Schenk/AutoRacing1.com

Six bid to buy MotoGP Six bid to buy MotoGPSix venture capital groups are racing to buy the Spanish company that owns the rights to MotoGP, which is up for sale with a price tag of €500 million (£345 million).

The Madrid-based business has been put on the block by CVC, the venture capitalist firm, which was forced by regulators to sell it after agreeing to take control of Formula One this year. The six on the final lap are understood to be Permira, PAI, Advent, Apax Partners, Bridgepoint and Lion Capital. Each has to submit a second-round bid towards the end of next month. A result is expected shortly after.

Soucek to test for Toyota Soucek to test for ToyotaAndy Soucek will test this Friday the Toyota TF105 of Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher as a prize for winning the Spanish F3 championship title last season. Soucek is already in France to accomplish one of his biggest dreams. Next Friday, June 30, he will get into the Toyota TF105 used last season by Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli in the F1 World Championship. The test will take place at the French circuit of Paul Ricard.

It will be a great opportunity for Andy to show his skills in front of all the members of the Toyota F1 Team. The test also comes at a very good moment for him, after his first victory in the World Series by Renault, prelude of the highest Motorsport category, in which Andy is making an impressive debut this year.  zzzz

Andy, who turned 21 last 14th of June, will then accomplish another stage of his development as a driver, which started in 1997 in karting and where he has been able to achieve victory in the Spanish Formula 3 Championship – both in the junior (2002) and absolute (2005) categories.

This season he had the opportunity to jump to the international scene. It is Andy's first year in the World Series and, after only five races, he has already won his first race. The driver from Madrid achieved victory in the first race of the meeting held at the Istanbul circuit, fighting with drivers that already have some years of experience in that kind of cars.

Andy Soucek is eagerly awaiting the test that will made him the seventeenth Spanish driver to get into a Formula 1 car and the second to test a Toyota after Borja García, his predecessor in the title, tested it last year.

Andy Soucek “I am looking forward to it. I know that it is only a test, that I am not fighting for an official position not even for a test driver role. It is a prize for the title and I will do it the best I can to make a good impression in a F1 team."

MF1 to participate in Bavaria street racing event MF1 to participate in Bavaria street racing eventMidland Formula 1 Racing is proud to announce that it will take part in the 2nd annual Bavaria Street Racing road show in Rotterdam, Holland, between 18-20 August, 2006. The three-day event, which drew more than 300,000 spectators last year, will once again feature a number of F1 teams and drivers demonstrating their spectacular talents and technologies to the public in an urban setting.

MF1 driver Christijan Albers, who drove a Minardi last year at the inaugural event, returns to his home country to blast through the streets of Rotterdam in his M16 and thrill his many Dutch fans. A second Midland driver, TBA, will also participate in the show.

Christijan Albers "I'm very excited to be performing in front of my home fans for the second year in a row. As I told everyone on the team, last year's event was really amazing, so I'm looking forward to showing them the kind of enthusiasm the Dutch people have for motorsport. I encourage everyone who can to come out and see the show -- it will be 'Maximum Attack' all the way!" zzzz

Colin Kolles, Managing Director "The team is very excited about coming to Holland. Christijan told us about the huge amount of interest the event generated last year, so we are looking forward to building on that success this year with Christijan behind the wheel once again."

Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager "Street demos are spectacular events, especially when they're held downtown, in the heart of a big city like Rotterdam. It gives those people who don't normally get the opportunity to visit an F1 event a taste of what it's all about -- the speed, the power, the noise... It should be a lot of fun for everyone involved, and we can't wait to put on a great show for our Dutch fans."

Patrick among Spin's 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 Patrick among Spin's 25 Hottest Stars Under 25IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick is ranked among Spin Magazine's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25."  Patrick is ranked 15th on the list, which is headed by entertainer Beyonce Knowles and NBA star Lebron James.  Others on the list include tennis star Rafael Nadal, entertainers Kelly Clarkson, Lindsay Lohan, Brendon Urie of the band Panic! At the Disco and Alex Turner of British band Arctic Monkeys.  The complete list is available in the July issue of Spin, which is on newsstands now. IRL
NASCAR season finale sold out NASCAR season finale sold outTickets for NASCAR’s ‘must-see’ annual event, Ford Championship Weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, have officially been ‘sold-out’. Ford Championship Weekend, Nov. 17-19, features the season-finales for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series.

As part of Ford Championship Weekend, the sold-out Ford 400 on Sunday, November 19, will conclude the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup featuring a ten-race, ten-driver shootout for the series championship culminating under the lights at the 1.5 mile Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 “Having such an early sellout of tickets for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race is evidence that Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway is becoming one of the hardest tickets to get in all of motorsports,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.

“Selling-out NASCAR’s Ford 400 nearly five months early is a credit to the great race fans of South Florida and NASCAR fans across the nation,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray. “The season-ending Ford Championship Weekend has built itself into one of our nation’s premier championship events complete with concerts, fan festivals, charity events and driver appearances all culminating with the crowning of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion.” HMS

Dominguez to drive in ALMS Dominguez to drive in ALMSUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Although I'm not a Mexican and I wasn't a big fan of Mario Dominguez before, but his performance and that of the Dale Coyne team in Cleveland GP was nothing less than spectacular! It takes a talented and determined driver with a capable team to recover from a major incident on Saturday and run like he did. I would be very disappointed now if Mario were to leave the series. Ed Spongberg, Danbury, Connecticut

06/27/06 Mario Dominguez has announced to the Mexican media that he will drive this weekend in the ALMS race in Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. He will drive for Rizi Competizione in a Ferrari F430 GT and said the deal is only for one race. He also said that he doesn’t have a deal yet to run in Toronto for Champ Car with Dale Coyne, but AutoRacing1.com would be surprised if he does not have a ride. J. J. Arrambide Gonzalez reporting from Mexico
New sponsor for Wheldon New sponsor for WheldonDan Wheldon, winner of the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar Series Driver’s Championship, has reached a sponsorship agreement with Mitchell Rubber Products, Inc., a company with global affiliations, specializing in rubber compound mixing and molded rubber products for the automotive, construction and agricultural industries. Wheldon and Mitchell Rubber Products will work together over the course of the season on marketing initiatives and promotional campaigns surrounding Dan’s racing in the IRL.

"I’m excited to announce this sponsor relationship with Mitchell Rubber and I’m proud to know that they’re behind me this season," said Wheldon. "Mitchell Rubber supports racing and those that make racing possible. I want to be associated with those who understand motorsports and those who are passionate about excelling and winning. That’s what you get with Mitchell Rubber…And that’s who I want in my corner."  zzzz

"Racing is in our blood," said Brent Brush, Sales Manager of Mitchell Rubber Products and its affiliated company, Mitchell Global, LLC. "We were looking for a way to grow our business and mix it in with our racing passion. Many of us at Mitchell Rubber Products race, at some level and we wanted to show our support and commitment to the automotive manufacturers involved within the sport. By personally sponsoring IRL Champion Dan Wheldon, we felt that it is a great way for us to show our support."

After capturing the Indianapolis 500 crown and the IndyCar Series Championship last season with Andretti Green Racing, Wheldon decided to join Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2006. In the first race with his new team, Wheldon took the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway to record his tenth career IRL victory. Looking to repeat as champion at the 2006 Indianapolis 500, Wheldon dominated and led 148 laps, only to see his chances dashed by a tire puncture with 16 laps remaining. He is currently fourth in the 2006 IndyCar Series points standings. Last season, Wheldon rewrote the IRL record books, posting six race wins in 17 events and breaking the league record for most wins in a season. He also captured race wins in four of the first five races of the year for the first time in IRL history, and his ten career victories place him tied for second all-time in the IRL after only three full seasons.

Glock fastest at Paul Ricard Glock fastest at Paul RicardTimo Glock and Ernesto Viso have finished top of the pile in this afternoon's test session at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Timo stopped the clocks on a 1:14.522 to lead teammate Ernesto by 0.171 seconds as the session ended. Super Nova International's Jose Maria Lopez showed flashes of the speed which gave him the GP2 series lap record on this track configuration earlier in the year of 1:12.547, but was only able to post a 1:14.716 this afternoon to sit third.

GP2 series 2006 championship leader Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest this afternoon, with his teammate Alex Premat fifth and Andreas Zuber completing a solid day for Trident Racing in sixth.

With today's running over the drivers have all retired to the Circuit Paul Ricard Panoramic Club to settle down and watch the World Cup matches as, with numerous Brazilian, Spanish and French among their numbers, tonight’s matches promise just as much needle as today's test. zzzz

Testing resumes tomorrow morning at 09:00 local time, and with the track now rubbered in everyone will be looking at Jose's lap record with a view of beating it in the traditionally favorable morning conditions.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 Timo Glock iSport International 1:14.522 31
2 Ernesto Viso iSport International 1:14.693 38
3 Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova International 1:14.716 31
4 Lewis Hamilton ART Grand Prix 1:14.866 26
5 Alexandre Premat ART Grand Prix 1:14.938 32
6 Andreas Zuber Trident Racing 1:14.952 32
7 Adam Carroll Racing Engineering 1:15.229 30
8 Clivio Piccione DPR Direxiv 1:15.271 32
9 Adrian Valles Campos Racing 1:15.282 35
10 Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet Sports 1:15.365 34
11 Luca Filippi BCN Competicion 1:15.394 28
12 Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova International 1:15.415 24
13 Giorgio Pantano P.O. FMS International 1:15.436 24
14 Michael Ammermueller Arden International 1:15.453 40
15 Gianmaria Bruni Trident Racing 1:15.534 26
16 Sergio Hernandez Durango 1:15.619 20
17 Alexandre Negrao Piquet Sports 1:15.685 38
18 Franck Perera DAMS 1:15.703 36
19 Alvaro Parente Arden International 1:15.934 34
20 Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:15.949 20
21 Felix Porteiro Campos Racing 1:16.130 28
22 Olivier Pla DPR Direxiv 1:16.145 20
23 Lucas Di Grassi Durango 1:16.228 26
24 Ferdinando Monfardini DAMS 1:16.252 30
25 Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:16.438 23
26 Jason Tahinci P.O. FMS International 1:18.085 30  Source GP2 series

Cheney to attend Pepsi 400 Cheney to attend Pepsi 400Vice President Dick Cheney will attend the 48th annual Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Vice President Cheney will speak to race fans during pre-race ceremonies for the mid-summer classic as well as meet NASCAR drivers, teams and executives during his visit to "The World Center of Racing."

"We're honored that Vice President Cheney will visit Daytona International Speedway and participate in Pepsi 400 pre-race festivities," Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. "Vice President Cheney continues the tradition of high-profile elected officials that have visited the 'World Center of Racing'." In the 1984 Pepsi 400, the late President Ronald Reagan gave the starting command from Air Force One. Reagan, who became the first sitting President to attend a NASCAR race, witnessed Richard Petty earn his 200th NASCAR win. President George H.W. Bush attended the 1992 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, and current President George W. Bush served as the Grand Marshal for the Pepsi 400 during his 2000 presidential campaign. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld attended last year's 2005 Pepsi 400. DIS PR

Vision Racing announces big changes Vision Racing announces big changesTULSA, Oklahoma  - - A new driver, a new partner, a new sponsor and a new look. Nope it’s not the start of a brand new race team. It’s the additions to Vision Racing that makes them a local favorite for the running of the ARCA RE/MAX Series at the Kansas Lottery $200 Grand this Saturday from Kansas Speedway.

Adrian Berryhill, Vision’s Racing’s team owner has tapped upcoming talent, Will “The Thrill” Vaught to pilot his No. 37 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the remainder of the 2006 season. Vaught, a native of Springfield, Missouri, will attempt to make his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at the 1.5-mile Speedway. Vaught, 19 has mastered the local tracks surrounding the Missouri region proving to be one of the upcoming stars in Motorsports. Last season, Vaught competed in 34 events taking the trophy home ten times with 24 top-ten finishes. Vaught also took the championship crown at the Lebanon I-44 Speedway. Now, Vaught will take the next major steppingstone to becoming a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver by competing in a stock car.

“Everyone at Vision Racing is very excited to announce Will as our new full time driver,” said Berryhill, a successful entrepreneur from Oklahoma. “We are committed into building Vision Racing into one of the finest programs in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. We’ve had some ups and downs this year, however, we’re back this weekend and I think everyone will be impressed with the changes we made.” zzzz

“Wow, this is truly an opportunity of a lifetime,” said the ARCA rookie Vaught. “I appreciate the opportunity that Adrian Berryhill is giving me and I know that I have what it takes to get the job done. Vision Racing has great equipment, sponsors and personnel. I really feel like I’ve found my home in Motorsports.”

Last week, Vision Racing participated in the open-test session at Kansas Speedway with satisfying results. “Will was able to get comfortable in the car and up to speed real fast, I was very impressed,” explained Berryhill, whose team holds a career best fifth place finish in ARCA occurring at Daytona earlier this year. “We have a stout racecar and a strong motor package for our hometown race. We’ll have a lot of guests and a lot of people watching us and we plan to make them proud.”

In addition to announcing Vaught as the team’s driver, Berryhill also announced that country music great Roy Clark has joined the team as a partner. The team’s new emblem will be Vision Racing with Roy Clark. Clark is one of the most versatile and well-known country music musicians and performers.

Tracy rejoins Michael Shank Racing in Daytona Tracy rejoins Michael Shank Racing in Daytona(Columbus, OH) — Paul Tracy, who stormed to the lead in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona before terminal overheating problems sidelined the car from the lead, will get the chance for Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Daytona International Speedway once again as he rejoins Michael Shank Racing for Thursday’s Brumos 250 in the Playboy Racing/Mears Motor Coach Lexus-Riley.
Tracy last raced with the Columbus, Ohio-based team in March, co-driving with Mike Borkowski to score a podium with a third-place finish in Mexico City. Tracy relished his Rolex run, and is looking forward to another competitive outing as the Rolex Sports Car Series stages round ten as part of the NASCAR Nextel Cup event at Daytona this weekend. Photo right, courtesy Grand American: Paul Tracy on the Mexico City podium with co-driver Mike Borkowski
“I am happy to be racing with Mike Shank and his guys again at Daytona in the Playboy Racing/Mears Motor Coach car,” said Tracy. “Hopefully we can make up for what happened in January and get a win this time around. There are some great drivers running in Rolex, and these cars are a lot of fun to race so I am really looking forward to it.” zzzz
Michael Shank Racing scored second-place in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with the sister Flight Options entry of Mark Patterson, Oswaldo Negri, A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson, and after scoring top-tens with both entries in this weekend’s EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio, will be looking for success once again at Daytona.
“We are excited about having Paul race with us again at Daytona,” said team owner Mike Shank. “He obviously brings a lot of speed and excitement to the Rolex Series, and hopefully we can translate that into another podium run with him. Tommy (Constantine) has done a great job in the Playboy Racing/Mears Motor Coach car and we are looking forward to him racing with us again at Barber at the end of July.”
The Brumos 250 event is a one-day affair, with practice getting underway at 9:30 AM, qualifying at 12:40, and the seventy-lap race going green at 7:00 PM ET. The race will be broadcast LIVE on Speed Channel starting at 7:00 PM.
Speed heads to Indy for home GP Speed heads to Indy for home GPFollowing a strong finish in the Canadian Grand Prix, Scott Speed is looking forward to racing in front of his fellow Americans in the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Even here (in Canada) I felt so much more support than normal," California native Speed said, "so it is a great feeling being on this side of the Atlantic. Next weekend is going to be the pinnacle for me."

Speed, who drives for Scuderia Toro Rosso, is the first American to race in Formula One since Michael Andretti in 1993. And he will be the first driver from the United States to compete in his home Grand Prix since Eddie Cheever Jr. took part in the 1989 USGP in Phoenix.

"I am very excited to see how much support I will have at Indianapolis," Speed said.  zzzz

Speed finished 10th in the Canadian Grand Prix after an intense late race battle with Jenson Button (Honda) and David Coulthard (Red Bull Ferrari). An accident brought out the Safety Car with 10 laps to go, and that bunched up the field. Button, Coulthard and Speed ran in close formation.

Coulthard squeezed by Button to claim eighth place, but Speed couldn't quite manage a pass and finished the race less than half a second behind Button.

"The last laps were quite fun," Speed said. "I could smell the points up there. I was pushing quite hard. It just didn't work out, and I never got an opportunity to go around Button. He was a bit slower than the two of us, and I was putting pressure on him.

"But I had to let (race winner Fernando) Alonso go by right in the middle of our battle, and that gave Button some breathing room for DC (Coulthard) to get by. Otherwise, I might have been closer and been able to capitalize on their battle."

The Toro Rosso team put flawless pit work for Speed.

"The team did a great job," he said. "The pit stops they did were really great. It is something we have been working really hard on as a team. We have taken a step forward in that area. Other than that, it was just staying out of trouble today."

And there was plenty of trouble out there with the track breaking up and becoming incredibly slippery off the racing line.

"It was the most marbles we have seen all year," Speed said. "It was a treacherous race. I had quite a few close calls. When you went off on them, you lost a second or more. It was very tricky. It was a race of attrition."

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal is, like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's F1 circuit, a track that calls for the cars to be set up with a medium- to low-downforce aerodynamic configuration. Speed found his Toro Rosso to be more competitive than he thought it would be in Canada, and that bodes well for the race in Indianapolis.

However, the long straight at Indianapolis also calls for lots of horsepower, and that is one area where the Toro Rosso cars are at a disadvantage because they run a rev-limited V10 engine while the other cars run the new, more powerful V8s.

"I know that we don't have as much power as the rest of the guys," Speed said, "but I don't think it is going to affect us much. But we will see."

After the race in Canada, Speed traveled to New York for a couple of days of promotional engagements, and then he flies to Indianapolis.

There will be more media buzz around Speed at Indianapolis than at other races because it is his home Grand Prix.

"There is going to be more media attention," he said, "so there is going to be more time I have to spend away from my engineers to take care of that, but that is part of the job and not anything unexpected."

Of course, there will also be a lot more attention from the fans, as well.

"I expect that I am going to have a lot of support from my countrymen," Speed said, "and I hope we have a good race to give them something to watch."

2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

A three-day "Season Pass" for the event is only $60. The pass is good for admission to IMS for all three days of on-track activity, Friday, June 30-Sunday, July 2. All seating Friday and Saturday is general admission, and the pass provides general admission access to the Viewing Mounds, Infield, First Turn Terrace, South Terrace and Tower Terrace (Sections 39-77) on Sunday, July 2.

Reserved seats for Race Day, Sunday, July 2, start at $75. USGP

Industry News
Japanese automakers report increased production Japanese automakers report increased productionFour major Japanese automakers said Monday that their global production rose in May, but the country's second-biggest automaker, Nissan Motor, posted a decline.

Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's top automaker and the world's second largest auto manufacturer after General Motors Corp. of the United States, churned out 639,512 vehicles in May globally, up 10.4 percent from a year earlier.

Overseas output climbed 12.2 percent to 340,267 units, the 53rd straight monthly rise thanks to increased production in almost all regions. Toyota's domestic production rose 8.5 percent to 299,245 vehicles, the ninth straight month of higher output.

Nissan Motor Co. said worldwide production fell 11.0 percent to 248,349 vehicles as domestic and overseas production declined for the fifth consecutive month.

German DTM
Audi factory driver Vanina Ickx in portrait Audi factory driver Vanina Ickx in portraitShe parachutes. She was the fist woman to cross the English Channel in an Ultra-Light plane. She holds, at 136 kph, the speed record on skis on a ski-jump. And since the start of the year, her "office” is a powerful 460-hp Audi A4 DTM.
Vanina Ickx does things that many men only dream of – and, bearing in mind her delicate figure of 1.55 meters in height and just over 50 kilograms in weight, things that you can hardly believe possible at first glance. "I’m amazed at just how courageous I’ve become,” says the Audi factory driver. "As a child I was actually very cautious and afraid of practically everything.”
At that time, she didn’t even waste a single thought on becoming a racing driver. As daughter of the former Formula 1 driver and six-time Le Mans winner, Jacky Ickx, it appears only natural for Vanina Ickx to follow in her successful father’s footsteps today. However, her motorsport career began at the ‘old’ age of 21 – and only really by accident: "I jumped in at the last minute for somebody, who couldn’t make it, for a one-make cup race. This is how I got the taste.” zzzz
Prior to this, the great passion of the young Belgian, whose charm and charisma virtually no one can resist in the DTM paddock, was show jumping. "I spent every spare minute with my horse,” she remembers. "After school I went riding or trained for tournaments that were held on weekends or during the holidays.”
Her favorite subject at school was Biology – and she also followed this route during her studies. The budding Biologist wrote her thesis about genetics and embryology. "I love nature, plants, trees, animals, birds and insects,” explains the DTM driver with sparkling eyes. "In my opinion it is much more interesting to know how nature functions and how everything works than to study economics for example.”
If she had not become a racing driver Vanina Ickx would probably work as a scientist. "But not in a laboratory,” she stresses. "I hated it during my thesis. I think I would have ended up somewhere in the nature, studying insects for example.” Insects and marine animals interest the qualified Biologist the most.
The other Vanina Ickx is attracted by the magic of speed. "I really don’t know where this comes from,” she smiles dreamily. "As a teenager, you try everything possible once and get to know yourself better in the process. First on skis, then in a car. My strength today is that I have no fear.”
No fear, but respect. "The DTM is without doubt the biggest challenge of my career,” she says. "I feel really comfortable within the Audi family, like a princess. However, I also have to show that I have earned this place, which isn’t easy in the DTM.”

Her team Futurecom TME is, just as she is, also new to the premier league of touring cars. "We are trying to improve together,” says Vanina Ickx, who was born, and is at home, in Brussels but lives together with her friend Fabien in Wiesbaden, Germany. Since his partner has been an Audi "factory” driver, he sees her even more infrequently than before. As a consolation, he is allowed to drive her Audi RS 4 from time to time – and this is also something from which many men can only dream drive for the following season.

Rahal forced to miss GP2 test today Rahal forced to miss GP2 test todayGraham Rahal has been forced to miss out on his opportunity to test a GP2 car with DPR Direxiv today after his flight from the USA was cancelled.

The timing of the test demanded that Rahal travel directly from last weekend's Atlantics Championship Cleveland race to Europe, connecting through Atlanta to Nice. Unfortunately bad weather closed in which left Graham and father Bobby stranded in Georgia. With the Rahals needing a quick turnaround back to the US for Graham’s commitment to race in the Liberty Challenge Indy Pro Series support race at the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis, they were unable to complete the trip and have remained in the States.

A double victory at the Cleveland Atlantics Championship race weekend had put Graham Rahal in a confident and positive mood for the test, so he was understandably disappointed not to be in the GP2 car today. He said, “I’ve had such a great weekend and I’m enjoying every minute of being in a race car, so I was really looking forward to jumping in the GP2. I’m a bit cheesed off – we sometimes complain about the weather in Europe, but I’m definitely not happy about it over here, especially as it’s bright and sunny in France. There’s nothing to be done about it now, I’m sure it’ll happen before too long. My apologies to Dave Price and the DPR Direxiv team, I hope we’ll catch up at some point later this season. I’ll just have to keep my spirits up and turn my attention to my other new driving experience, with the IPS car.”

The 17-year-old racer will continue with his racing plans this week, practicing for the Liberty Challenge on Friday ahead of the support race on qualifying day of the US Grand Prix.

Canadians wowed by A1 Team Canada A1GP car in Montreal Canadians wowed by A1 Team Canada A1GP car in MontrealMontreal, Québec - Sean McIntosh and Patrick Carpentier were on-hand to see A1 Team Canada's A1GP car displayed in Canada for the very first time as it stole the limelight on Montreal's St. Laurent Boulevard during the Grand Prix festivities last weekend, 22nd-25th June.

Famous for its restaurants and bars, St. Laurent Boulevard is one of THE places to be seen in Montreal and put simply it formed the perfect backdrop for A1 Team Canada's A1GP car as it literally stopped people in their tracks as they took in the sight of the stunning maple-leaf racer and the action and excitement of A1GP being broadcast on the large-screen display.

Friday night saw A1 Team Canada drivers Sean McIntosh and Patrick Carpentier joined at the  stage  for  an  autograph  session  by  Marc  Gagnon,  Canada's  second  most  decorated Winter Olympian and four-time Short Track Speed Skating World Champion.  Gagnon, from Chicoutimi, Québec, in addition to winning three Olympic gold medals, is a huge motorsport fan and jumped at the opportunity to see the A1GP car while it was in Montreal. zzzz

McIntosh,  Carpentier  and  Gagnon  spent  an  hour  at  the  display  signing  autographs  and having their pictures taken as the passing public was introduced to the sights and sounds of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations.

They weren't the only ones interested as McIntosh and Carpentier fulfilled a string of media engagements to coincide with the A1GP car being in town.  Sean McIntosh was invited in to Global TV's 'This Morning Live' program last Thursday to talk about his A1 Team Canada commitments and his famous last-to-first victory for his country in Indonesia.  In addition he dropped in to Grand Prix Karting on Friday morning where he appeared on 'Terry, Ted and Kim in the Morning' on CHOM 97.7FM as the city's leading breakfast show broadcast from the kart track to get into the sprit of the Grand Prix weekend.

McIntosh later fulfilled further radio commitments, this time on Crescent Street as he stopped by  CJAD,  Montreal's  premier  news  and  sports  talk  radio  show,  before  appearing  on  Tim Morgan's afternoon show, again on CHOM 97.7FM.  Patrick Carpentier, who raced for A1 Team Canada in the final three rounds of the inaugural season, was no less busy with an appearance alongside his team-mate on CJAD as well as press interviews with the Toronto Sun and Montreal Gazette before a TV appearance on Sunday morning on RDI. Canada A1GP team

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Speed not bothered about F1's US future
Ammermuller makes F1 test debut
Schu's not giving up
Brundle slams Honda's Willis axe
Promoter seals deal to host Canadian GP
Honda 'over-promised' - DC
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