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China now No.2 in world, eyes No. 1 China now No.2 in world, eyes No. 1The emergence of China as an economic heavyweight has created opportunities for companies around the globe. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), China is now the globe's second-largest economy after the U.S., accounting for 13.2% of the world's gross domestic product in 2004. China was also the biggest source of global economic growth, contributing 24%. The IMF expects China's rate of growth to moderate to around 8.5% in 2005 from last year's 9.5% pace.  Soon China will surpass the USA as the largest economy in the world, some say within a decade.  Champ Car and F1 are poised to take advantage of that economic growth if they manage their relationships correctly.
Why there will be no Champ Car/IRL unification Why there will be no Champ Car/IRL unificationIndy Racing League President Brian Barnhart confirmed Sunday that he and other IRL officials have continued a dialogue with Champ Car about potentially unifying the two open-wheel series.

But speaking exclusively to National Speed Sport News, Barnhart said that the chances of the two groups merging have diminished in recent weeks, due in part to the unfortunate series of events that unfolded at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway two weeks ago at the Formula One United States Grand Prix.

"As sad as the situation was with the USGP, one of the things that was pretty evident that came out of that was the importance of ownership or control of the sanctioning bodies of the events that take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, especially the Indianapolis 500," Barnhart remarked. "At this point in time, while we respect (Champ Car's) positioning and their thoughts, we would hope they would respect our positioning and thoughts. Asking the Hulman-George family to relinquish 50-percent ownership or any ownership of their family business, that being the sanctioning body that runs the Indianapolis 500 - we think that's a non-starter as far as trying to unify the sport.

"We would be genuinely interested in unifying the sport if a compromise could be reached to the benefit of both parties," Barnhart continued. "But the Hulman-George family has invested in open-wheel racing for 60 years and we're not going to let the Indy 500 be held hostage like the F-1 race was. We owe it to the fans and the community of Indianapolis. Until the philosophies change on that point right there, I don't think there can be any common ground. Asking them to give up 50 percent of the sanctioning body is, I think, an unreasonable request."

Barnhart noted that if the question of ownership and control of a unified series could be answered, the logistics would basically take care of themselves.

"The other aspects of it - technical specifications, suppliers, manufacturers, and personnel -- I think that stuff could be worked out in about an hour," he said. "I don't think that's the hard part. There is so much potential in those areas to improve the sport of open-wheel racing, that's why we would be excited about doing it. But I don't think those things can be broached until the question of ownership and control is decided. The Indy 500 can never be put in the same position that the F-1 race was a couple of weeks ago."

[Editor's Note: More BS from the IRL. Will the Hulman-George family cancel their contract with NASCAR because they have zero control over the France family and NASCAR, who sanction the Allstate 400 (formerly Brickyard 400)? Once again Brian Barnhart gets caught contradicting himself, as if the head has no idea what the body is doing. Contract language can be put in place to protect the Indy 500 from being held hostage to anyone. What happens if Firestone accidentally finds they have a bad batch of tires for the Indy Cars the morning of the 500. Will Hulman-George then put a chicane in, or postpone the race? This is simply an excuse for the IRL. They have a recent surge in popularity from the Danica Patrick mania and all of a sudden don't feel the need to talk about a merger any longer. That coupled with statements from Robert Clarke that Honda will probably stay in the IRL gives the IRL renewed vigor. All these events appear to kill the best opportunity we have seen for a merger. Again - stupidity, plain old fashioned shortsighted stupidity and arrogance at its very best from all involved.]

FIA picks Yokohama over Michelin FIA picks Yokohama over MichelinFollowing an invitation to tender the FIA has appointed the Yokohama Rubber Company to supply the control tire for the 2006 FIA World Touring Car Championship. The Japanese manufacturer replaces Michelin who have supplied the FIA Touring Car Championship since 2001. Yokohama will also supply the control tire for the first FIA European Touring Car Cup event to be held on October 26, 2005.
Oval legend Butch Miller to try road racing Oval legend Butch Miller to try road racingButch Miller of SS Racing has entered the Trans-Am (GTA Class) race for the upcoming Molson Indy weekend that will be held in Toronto, Canada. It will mark SS Racing's first time to compete in road race and will be only the fourth time Miller has raced a road course. The team hopes to lay a foundation within the Trans-Am series and expand its drivers programs to include road course racing. The Trans-Am series recently made former ASA cars eligible into the GTA Class with minor changes to the cars.

Butch Miller is best known for his legendary career racing short track stock cars including three ASA Championship titles. Miller is optimistic and enthusiastic about the upcoming challenge. "As a driver, I'm really looking forward to driving a road course because its different from much of the racing I've done in my career. But I also think this is great move for the SS Racing team," said Miller. Miller and the SS Racing team have been working around the clock to prepare for this event which begins with practice sessions on Friday.

Team owner Ken Smith made the decision to enter the Toronto race after a recent visit to the Trans-Am race in Cleveland. "There's a lot we had to change over in a short amount of time but things are really coming to together," said SS Racing Owner, Ken Smith from his Indianapolis based shop. "We are looking forward to the event and being part of the Trans-Am Series. They have shown us complete professionalism and they have a great deal of life in their events!" Smith has been in search of that life since the ASA Series died last year.

Butch Miller will pilot the no. 52 ASI Limited car for 57 laps or 75 minutes around the 1.75 mile 11 turn temporary street course. The SS Racing team has tentative plans to enter a few more events later this year which may include a second and possible third team entry with other un-named drivers. The race can be viewed July 17th at 12:30pm EST on Speed Channel. Stay tuned to www.ssracingonline.com for all the latest news and information about SS Racing including race results from Toronto.

Busch beats Rudd in Allstate 400 test Busch beats Rudd in Allstate 400 testNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd improved upon their test speeds from July 5 during testing of race setups July 6, putting the wrap on a two-day Allstate 400 at the Brickyard test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Reigning series champion Busch set the fastest lap of the test July 6 at 180.208 mph in the No. 97 Crown Royal Ford. Rudd's fastest lap of the day in the No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford was 178.999, slightly faster than his July 5 top speed of 178.937. The second day's higher speeds came despite more sunshine and higher temperatures and humidity.

The drivers are testing in anticipation of the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 7 at the legendary 2.5-mile oval.

"We've got one car that we put away, and we're pretty happy with it," Rudd said. "We've been working with another car, just to have two good cars. We'll figure out which one is best when we come back. We struggled a little bit today with it, getting it to stay where the speeds stay quick."

Busch and 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Rudd took advantage of the two full days of testing at the Speedway while Busch's Roush Racing teammate, Carl Edwards, tested only July 5. Edwards was fastest Tuesday at 179.165 in the No. 99 AAA Ford. Jimmy Spencer also joined the group July 5 in the No. 50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge, but crashed in Turn 1 in the afternoon, causing heavy rear-end damage to the only car the team brought to Indianapolis.

While Busch said he's antsy to see how his car and tires react in traffic on the Speedway's newly repaved surface, he was content to take advantage of a day at IMS virtually to himself.

"There's pros and cons to (a small test)," Busch said. "It gives us more track time; you don't have to worry about people blowing up motors or getting into accidents. It gives us plenty of track time, really. It's so hot out; it's hard for us to gauge the kind of speeds we'll be able to obtain next month. We're just fine and dandy all by ourselves."

Private testing continues July 11-12 at IMS, when 23 cars are scheduled to turn laps. Drivers schedule to test include current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader Greg Biffle, his Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth, Rusty Wallace, and former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winners Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick.

More of NEXTEL Cup's "heavy hitters" are scheduled to test July 18-19. A total of 17 teams and drivers will turn laps, including four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon, fellow former race winners Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, and Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Stewart and Gordon are scheduled to test only July 19.

Rank Car No. Driver Speed (mph) Total Laps
  1. 97 Kurt Busch 180.208 68
  2. 21A Ricky Rudd 178.999 91

Newman/Haas sponsor to be acquired Newman/Haas sponsor to be acquiredThe nation's second-largest managed health insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., agreed Wednesday to acquire major Medicare provider PacifiCare Health Systems Inc (Newman/Haas Champ Car team sponsor). in an $8.1 billion cash-and-stock deal that gives a niche West Coast player access to a national network while moving UnitedHealth deeper into government-related business.

UnitedHealth also would assume $1.1 billion in PacifiCare's debt.

In what would be the one of the managed care industry's largest combinations, PacifiCare would become a subsidiary of Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth, which covers 23 million health care plan members and an additional 30.8 million people through medical insurance or insurance programs it manages for other firms.

PacifiCare, based in Cypress, Calif., is one of the nation's largest health groups with nearly 3.2 million members of health plans and about 11.3 million members of specialty plans covering such things as dental care and behavioral health.

IRL Kansas TV rating IRL Kansas TV ratingESPN’s record-setting coverage of the IRL IndyCar® Series continued over the Fourth of July weekend with the network’s highest-rated and most-viewed IndyCar Series telecast.

ESPN’s coverage of the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 on July 3 at Kansas Speedway averaged a 1.1 rating and 970,000 households. The numbers surpassed the 1.0 rating and 880,000 households that tuned in to the coverage of the Bombardier Learjet 500k at Texas Motor Speedway on June 11.

The race featured the second-closest 1-2-3 finish in IndyCar Series history with 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan beating Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, by 0.0120 of a second. Vitor Meira finished third, 0.0242 of a second behind Kanaan.

The race also marked the first pole position for Bombardier Rookie of the Year points leader Danica Patrick, who became the second woman in circuit history to start from the pole. Patrick finished ninth.

Through five races, ESPN is averaging a 0.7 rating and 623,000 households, marking a 17 percent increase in rating and an 11 percent gain in households.
Darlington get Cup date Darlington get Cup dateDarlington Raceway will have a Nextel Cup event next season. Track president Chris Browning said Wednesday that Darlington got the go-ahead from its owners, International Speedway Corp., to send out ticket renewal letters for another Mother's Day weekend Nextel Cup race. The date of the Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 is May 13, 2006, the night before the holiday.
Ferrari's final day of testing at Monza Ferrari's final day of testing at MonzaThird and final day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working once again today at Monza. Test driver Luca Badoer completed the program of Bridgestone tire development planned for this session and also carried out some aerodynamic testing. At the wheel of an F2005, the Italian covered a total of 104 laps, the quickest in a time of 1’22”794. Ferrari Press
Williams still pushing hard with the FW27 Williams still pushing hard with the FW27Having finished 12th and 14th, Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld left Magny-Cours, the venue of the French Grand Prix, with just the important qualifying slots for the British GP. However, the drivers and the team remain fully behind the team’s intentions to continue the program that so far has delivered over 100 new aerodynamic releases to the FW27.

The development program has delivered some strong results during the season, notably at Monaco and Nürburgring, but associated with the rate of development has been some element of risk. The bodywork had been tested as far as possible within the testing restrictions, but in the final analysis, the team had to risk the ‘live’ debut of the developments at the French Grand Prix.

Now, the team is working hard to eliminate the new aerodynamic package’s teething troubles prior to the British Grand Prix weekend.

“Sure, it was a disappointing weekend, but our mindset remains the same, to keep pushing and taking risks where appropriate. We have a very intensive week back at the factory to conduct a number of evaluations, but we are confident that the new bodywork will deliver," said Sam Michael, Technical Director.

Testing is not possible between the back-to-back races represented by the French and the British Grand Prix so all investigations will be based at the factory in Grove. WilliamsF1

Industry News
Potential Nazareth Speedway Buyer Backs Out Potential Nazareth Speedway Buyer Backs OutISC’s planned $19M sale of the Nazareth Speedway property fell through because potential buyer Brookside Realty “decided that government support for developing the site wasn’t likely,” according to the AP. The site is still for sale. ISC suspended the track’s operations after the ’04 season, and ISC Senior Investor Relations Analyst Lenny Santiago said that there are “no plans to resume operations while looking for a buyer” AP
SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 67-6-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (4) Fernando Alonso (F1) 10.822
2. (2) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 8.641
3. (20) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 8.491
4. (7) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.149
5. (6) Paul Tracy (CCWS) 7.762
6. (28) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 7.585
7. (1) Michael Schumacher(F1) 7.582
8. (9) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.519
9. (19) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 7.304
10. (22) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.209
11. (15) Dale Jarrett (NASCAR) 6.953
12. (17) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 6.680
13. (12) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.605
14. (18) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 6.586
15. (10) Elliott Sadler (NASCAR) 6.584
16. (13) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.516
17. (23) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 6.400
18. (NR) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.356
19. (NR) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.307
20. (24) Joe Nemechek (NASCAR) 6.252
Sponsors cash in at Toronto Indy Sponsors cash in at Toronto IndyThis Toronto Sun article talks about the healthy list of sponsors for the Champ Car race in Toronto this weekend.  Key quote - The (Champ Car) series is on good financial footing, it's stable and growing, which is a good place to be."
Servia filling in nicely for Junqueira Servia filling in nicely for JunqueiraThis USA Today article says, When Champ Car driver Oriol Servia gushes about walking into a tailor-made situation at Newman/Haas Racing, he means that literally. The moment he was picked to substitute for Bruno Junqueira after the Brazilian sustained a serious back injury during the Indianapolis 500, Servia recalls being immediately measured for his firesuit and driver's seat in the No. 2 Ford-Cosworth/Lola. Everything since then has been a perfect fit for the journeyman, who has recorded two top-three podium finishes in three starts and is seventh in points entering Sunday's Molson Indy Toronto race. And what began as a one-race deal for Milwaukee has become full-time work until Junqueira returns. "I didn't know what was going to happen, so I just wanted to enjoy my time and get what I could out of it, and it has worked well," said Servia, 30. "If I do a good job, it will bring me more fruits later on, and that's what I'm focusing on. If I do a good job, the doors will open." The 1999 Indy Lights Series champion has never lacked for work after moving up to Champ Car in 2000, driving for four teams before joining Newman/Haas. But since his Rookie of the Year season with PPI Motorsports, Servia rarely has known what it's like to contend regularly because many outfits he drove for were underfunded. More at USA Today
Ford chief questions NASCAR on new car Ford chief questions NASCAR on new carAs reported previously Ford Motor Co. has let it be known it isn’t happy with NASCAR’s plan for its “Car of Tomorrow” racing in its premier series, and was behind NASCAR delaying the car. FoMoCo race boss Dan Davis, in an interview on Yahoo! Sports, said of the proposed car, “Why do we need it? Why should we obsolete everything that we now have?” Because Dan, when Toyota comes in they will hand Ford their lunch on a platter like they have always done - outspending them and getting the best of everything to win on the track.  They will also escalate the HP war making the cars too fast for safety reason.  NASCAR is trying to protect Chevy, Dodge and Ford by specifying a standard car for everyone, one with better safety and a bigger greenhouse to slow them down.
Schumacher vows to push on at Silverstone Schumacher vows to push on at SilverstoneMichael Schumacher took the bottom step of the podium last Sunday at Magny Cours and while he was happy to be on the podium for the Italian Champions, there was no escaping the fact that the Ferrari package was not as competitive as the team had hoped for compared to its nearest rivals.

Ferrari is third in the Constructors’ Championship with 68 points, just two behind rivals McLaren. Michael Schumacher is third in the drivers’ standings with Rubens Barrichello fifth.

Now heading to Silverstone, Schumacher is looking forward to racing at the event that the team won in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Michael Schumacher - “Firstly, the second half of the season begins now and logic dictates that the gap is still bridgeable. Secondly, I am a realist and as such am a lover of mathematics; there is still the probability of winning. Formula One is such a changeable sport that it would be foolish to give up on the title. We are not so foolish. As I have said, we have to focus on getting back to the top. We will be trying to do this at Silverstone this weekend.”

"I love racing here and things are no different this time, though I cannot be totally sure how it will go. The race at Magny Cours led us astray a little. After our showing on Friday and Saturday we thought we would have had a better chance. So, now I am a bit careful about making predictions. Anyway, there are new rules this year and making predictions is harder; at least this is what has emerged from the first half of the season.”

“The Silverstone circuit calls for very good balance, even better than at Nürburgring. Everything related to the set up has to be in perfect harmony. However, reaching this objective is the stimulus for new challenges. Another positive aspect of Silverstone is that there are lots real Formula One fans and this, naturally, pleases me. Without a doubt, we intend to give the fans a good show. In this case, this means that we will be racing for the win.”  Ferrari

Bridgestone looking to impress at Silverstone Bridgestone looking to impress at SilverstoneBridgestone Motorsport heads just a short trip up country from its Langley headquarters this week for round eleven of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the first of Bridgestone’s two “home” races.

After two successful North American races in June, last weekend’s French Grand Prix did not fully fulfill its early potential, something Bridgestone and its teams are hoping to change at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello finished first and third in 2004 and having now passed the half way mark in the 19-race championship, they will be fighting for maximum points this weekend – a track where Bridgestone and Ferrari traditionally go well.

The British Grand Prix is also a home race for fellow Bridgestone team, Jordan Grand Prix so they too will be pushing hard to give their loyal supporters something to cheer about.

Bridgestone Motorsport’s Potenza Formula One tires will arrive at Silverstone by truck from its UK headquarters in Langley, Slough. Produced at Bridgestone’s Tokyo production facility, they comprise of two grooved dry weather specifications per Bridgestone team and the same wet and extreme wet weather specification for all three Bridgestone teams.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport - “With our F1 headquarters based in Langley, UK, the British Grand Prix is one of two home races for Bridgestone Motorsport and we shall be looking for a good result. The car-tire packages of all our teams, Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi, are getting stronger with each race and Ferrari in particular should be strong at Silverstone this weekend. Their qualifying and first lap performance has improved significantly and they tend to run well on high speed circuits. I am also looking forward to seeing GP2 run at Silverstone. With drivers from no fewer than 16 countries, we have seen some thrilling, wheel-to-wheel action over the past few races and I am hoping that we shall see at least one of them graduate to Formula One next year.”

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager - “The Silverstone Grand Prix circuit is a challenging circuit with both high and very low speed sections. A good lap time, however, comes from the high speed part of the track and the stability of the tires at Silverstone will be important for car handling. The track surface is quite abrasive which means we may see high tire wear and because there are several high speed corners, tires have been chosen from the medium to hard end of the compound range. We are expecting to be competitive at Silverstone having tested there a few weeks ago and got some good indications of which tires to choose. Of course at Silverstone, the weather can be a bit of a lottery and we could have anything from 35 degrees on track, if sunny, to cool and wet weather. Whatever the weather though, we’ll be ready!” Bridgestone Motorsport

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
DC to ride Bull in 2006
FIA-driver spat shifts gear
Tough on tires
White and yellow in UK
Drivers need 'voice' - Webber
Red Bull to appeal
'BMW put bad bet on Sauber'
Schu set on dubious win
Heidfeld's a Dad

Soggy Silverstone?
Albers on the rise
Williams' engine deal on way
Q and A with Matt Kenseth Q and A with Matt KensethMatt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Tools Taurus, has had an unlucky 2005 season to this point as he goes into this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Chicagoland Speedway 19th in the standings.  Lately, however, Kenseth and his team have shown signs of turning things around with three top-10 finishes in the last five races, including a ninth-place run Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Kenseth, a native of Wisconsin, along with crew chief Robbie Reiser, spoke about returning to the Midwest for Sunday's annual race.

MATT KENSETH - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus - AS A MIDWESTERN GUY IT MUST BE NICE TO GET BACK TO CHICAGO, WHICH ISN'T FAR FROM WHERE YOU GREW UP.  "Yeah, it's the closest we come.  I haven't spent a whole bunch of time, but about three hours north of there is where I grew up and did most of my racing.  We raced a lot around there at Rockford and Garvey and a lot of the tracks in that area, so it's fun to go back there.  We get a lot of people from Wisconsin that come down and see a lot of fans that used to watch us race - and see a lot of family and friends - so it's always fun." 

HAVE THE WINTERS AGED THAT TRACK TO WHERE THIS MIGHT BE THE BEST RACE WE'VE SEEN SINCE IT OPENED?  "You never know.  I think every year it's gotten a little better and it should continue to get a little bit better, but the rules changed and the tires changed, too.  I don't know.  It was real weird at Michigan.  At Michigan you can usually run right up by the wall or right on the bottom, and the middle was about the highest groove that came in and we're running the same tire, so I don't know.  I don't really know what to expect.  Hopefully, there will be two grooves where you can pass." 

DO YOU FEEL YOUR TEAM HAS TURNED THE CORNER?  "I hope so.  I feel like we've been running a little bit better the last few weeks and our consistency has been a little better, and we've had some decent fortune the last few weeks.  Although it still could have been better.  All of those guys could have run out of gas at Infineon (laughing), so there are still things that could have been better for us, but I definitely feel like the last few weeks have been better than the beginning of the year for sure.  We've just got to keep working on it and try to get our performance better and try to finish better." 

DO YOU EVEN LOOK AT THE CHASE AND WHETHER OR NOT THAT'S STILL A POSSIBILITY?  "Really, you try to lead a lap if you can lead a lap, or lead some laps, and you try to finish as high as you can every week.  Everybody talks about it and everybody needs to have something to talk about like there's a magic formula, but the magic formula is to perform good.  If you perform good and run good and finish good, you're gonna get a lot of points and that's just what we need to do.  We just have to go every week and concentrate on trying to perform good and get good finishes." 

HOW IS MORALE ON THE TEAM?  "I think everything is good.  There have been a lot of changes that have been somewhat distracting, although you wouldn't know it from all of Roush's numbers this year, but with trying to consolidate and move all the teams into one building there's been a lot of chaos going on over there.  That's been a lot for those guys to do and I think that's been more distracting than anything.  I think everybody is alright.  Everybody was pumped up after Michigan.  We ran competitively all day and ran in the top five and didn't have anything go wrong and felt good about that.  We had a top 10 at Dover and then went to the road course and got our best finish we've ever had at Infineon, so I think everybody feels good.  We just know that we've got to keep running better.  I think we had a great car at Daytona and I think we'll be OK for Chicago.  We'll just keep working on it." 

ROBBIE REISER, Crew Chief - No. 17 DeWalt Taurus -- WHAT DO YOU EXPECT AT CHICAGO AS FAR AS THE RACING GOES?  "I don't look for that track to be much different.  The stuff we did at Michigan will probably be somewhat close to what we do at Chicago.  We ran real good at Michigan and we'll probably try to use some of the setup stuff from there to try to help us at Chicago." 

THOUGHTS OF GOING BACK TO CHICAGO; IT'S NOT THAT FAR FROM MILWAUKEE.  "Between Chicago and Indy I like going back there.  Obviously, friends and family always come to those races so it's fun to go back there." 

DO YOU FEEL YOUR TEAM IS TURNING THE CORNER?  "We really haven't had that bad of a year.  Our finishes just don't show it because we've had things go wrong that haven't helped us, but we've been running well.  There are only about three or four races that we just haven't run well, but, other than that, we've been up front in a bunch of races and we've just had trouble.  It's probably the best team I've ever had, we just have to get to the finish line with this group that's all." Ford

Trans-Am: Things to watch for in Toronto Trans-Am: Things to watch for in TorontoThings to watch for in this weekend's Trans-Am race in Toronto:
  • Points leader Randy Ruhlman will make his 150th Trans-Am start this weekend, which will tie him with his team owner, Jim Derhaag, for third on the all-time start list.
  • Ruhlman is one of the few drivers who competed here prior to last season. Ruhlman raced here in 1993, while Paul Gentilozzi and Greg Pickett competed here in 1993 and 1994.
  • If Paul Gentilozzi wins the race this weekend, he will move out of tie with the legendary Mark Donohue for the most wins in Trans-Am history: 30.
  • With a win, Greg Pickett will become the first driver to win a race in each of four decades of Trans-Am competition.
  • A Paul Gentilozzi win would also be his first at Toronto coming in his 201st Trans-Am start.
  • In fact, no driver in this year’s field has won in Trans-Am’s three previous Toronto races.
  • Jaguar is seeking an event record second consecutive victory here, while a Chevrolet Corvette can win its first Toronto race this weekend.
  • Randy Ruhlman’s Chevrolet Corvette earned something else after Cleveland—another 25 pounds of WINS Weight. WINS (Weight Indexed Neutralization System) is designed to help even the playing the field in the Trans-Am Series.
Ferrari testing on two fronts Ferrari testing on two frontsSecond day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working today at Monza. Luca Badoer today continued with the Bridgestone tire development program aimed at the rest of this season. The Scuderia’s official test driver completed a total of 80 laps, the quickest in a time of 1’24”441.

In the afternoon, at Fiorano, Marc Gene carried out the shakedown for the British Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday 10th July at Silverstone circuit. The Spanish driver completed eight laps, half of them on the short version of the track. The best time on the day was a 1’01”921.

Testing at the Monza circuit continues tomorrow, still with Badoer on track.

Schumacher: We want to compete for victory Schumacher: We want to compete for victoryMichael Schumacher, ahead of the Grand Prix of Great Britain, touched on the English weekend by reflecting on Sunday's race in France. "Here we are in the midst of another double appointment: this time Magny Cours followed immediately by Silverstone, one of the sport's great circuits. I love racing here and things are no different this time, though I cannot be totally sure how it will go. The race at Magny Cours led us astray a little. After our showing on Friday and Saturday we thought we would have had a better chance. So, now I am a bit careful about making predictions. Anyway, there are new rules this year and making predictions is harder; at least this is what has emerged from the first half of the season".

The current world champion then moved on to give his opinion on the Northamptonshire track: "the Silverstone circuit calls for very good balance, even better than at Nürburgring. Everything related to the set up has to be in perfect harmony. However, reaching this objective is the stimulus for new challenges. Another positive aspect of Silverstone is that there are lots real Formula 1 fans and this, naturally, pleases me. Without a doubt, we intend to give the fans a good show. In this case, this means that we will be racing for the win". Ferrari

Michel Jourdain Jr. gets Hot Dog backing for Chicago Michel Jourdain Jr. gets Hot Dog backing for Chicagoppc Racing officials announced today Oscar Mayer® and its Weinermobile® program will sponsor Michel Jourdain Jr. and the No. 10 ppc Racing Ford Taurus race team at Chicagoland Speedway July 9th. Jourdain, a native of Mexico City, Mexico joined the stable of nine NASCAR drivers earlier this year and has participated in various Kraft appearances and in advertising, packaging and display units.

“I’m so happy, so thankful to have Oscar Mayer sponsor me and ppc Racing,” said Jourdain, who will sport a new Kraft Racing fire suit for this event. “There is great responsibility to represent the Oscar Mayer brand and Kraft in such a huge Hispanic market. I even got to race the Weinermobile in Charlotte last month. Now I get to race the, “Weinermobile” in this race. Chicago will be a great experience for me in the NASCAR Busch Series and I’m looking forward to good results that weekend.”

Jourdain’s Weinermobile race last month launched Oscar Mayer’s “Win the Ride of Your Life” promotion. Now through July 28, hot dog lovers across the country can tell Oscar Mayer what they would do with the Wienermobile for a day and up to $5,000 to make their ultimate ride a reality. For more information and to enter, visit oscarmayer.com or one of the many local Wienermobile events scheduled throughout the summer.

“We have found a true liking to Michel since his joining of Team Kraft Racing,” said Michael Tilley, associate director of Sports Marketing & Strategic Alliances at Kraft Foods. “With Chicago, a market rich in Hispanic culture, we wanted a greater presence in this growing community with the Oscar Mayer brand. Michel knows what it’s like to drive the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile from his participation last month in Charlotte at the Weinermobile races. We’re excited to work with Michel and introduce NASCAR racing to the many Hispanic consumers who may never have experienced the sport and do so in a way that is relevant to their culture.”

“I am very pleased to see Kraft and its Oscar Mayer brand step up their involvement with Michel,” said Greg Pollex, owner of ppc Racing. “Michel is well-known and a great spokesman to the Hispanic community and sponsors like Kraft recognize his potential with their marketing efforts. We almost won this race last year, finishing second on gas mileage. This year Michel will have a teammate at Chicago to help him learn the track. We look for good things to come from this relationship.”

Dalziel lands Champ Car ride Dalziel lands Champ Car rideScotland’s Ryan Dalziel is set to make his first career Champ Car World Series start in this weekend’s Molson Indy Toronto, 8th-10th July, having secured a deal to race the #19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola for Dale Coyne Racing.

With back-to-back Toyota Atlantic Championship runner-up finishes to his credit (2003-04), collecting six wins and 19 podiums from 36 starts in Champ Car’s feeder series, the 23-year-old from Lanarkshire makes his eagerly anticipated top-flight debut on the 1.755-mile street course on Friday morning prior to Sunday’s Molson Indy Toronto, the sixth round of the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

Dalziel flew to Putnam Park, Indiana following his ALMS engagement at Lime Rock Park on Monday in order to spend today testing with Dale Coyne Racing, his first Champ Car seat-time since testing with PKV Racing back in November 2004. 

Looking ahead to his Champ Car World Series debut Dalziel commented:

“This is obviously a fantastic opportunity for me and one I’ve been working towards since I first competed in North America back in 2002.  I’m looking forward to driving the #19 American Medical Response entry for Dale Coyne Racing.  I can’t wait to strap in and finally race one of these cars having tested them on several occasions.  I’ve raced against quite a few of the guys already on the grid and am looking forward to renewing some on-track rivalries.  If all goes well then I’m hoping the opportunity extends beyond Toronto.

“In addition to thanking Dale Coyne I really have to thank Pacific Coast Motorsport for giving me permission to put on hold my sports car commitments to allow me to make my Champ Car debut.  They know this has been a dream of mine for a long time and I’m grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me to race this year in the ALMS and for allowing me the chance to fulfill my open-wheel ambition this weekend.”

Team owner Dale Coyne is suitably impressed with his new charge while continuing to promote talent from Champ Car’s ladder series:

“We always enjoying bringing on drivers who’ve proved themselves in the Toyota Atlantic Championship and Ryan’s no different.  We had a list of drivers to consider for the ride in Toronto but Ryan came highly recommended. We’ve since talked quite a bit about him in the team and today’s test underlined what we already knew about him.  I’m looking forward to running Ryan in Toronto and seeing what develops from there.”

The Molson Indy Toronto, Round 6 of 14, gets underway at Exhibition Place on Sunday 10th July at 1pm EST.  The 88-lap street-race will be broadcast live by CBS Sports with coverage starting at 12:30pm EST.

Edwards leads opening test day at Brickyard Edwards leads opening test day at BrickyardRookie Carl Edwards topped the speed chart July 5 on the first day of 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series private testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, posting a lap of 179.165 mph in the No. 99 AAA Ford.

Edwards was joined by a short list of testing participants: his Roush Racing teammate Kurt Busch, 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Ricky Rudd and Jimmy Spencer, who won the pole for the race in 2001.

Reigning series champion Busch, driving the No. 97 Crown Royal Ford, was second fastest at 179.151, Rudd was third in the No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford at 178.937 and Spencer was fourth at 178.839 in the No. 50 Arnold Motorsports Ford.

The track record at Indianapolis, set in qualifying in 2004 by Casey Mears, is 186.293.  All of the drivers tested to prepare for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7 at IMS.

The day was one of contrasts for Edwards, from Columbia, Mo. He was fastest even though he was taking his first laps at the famous 2.5-mile oval. And before his first day of testing for one of NASCAR's elite teams, his only memory of IMS came from performing the tasks of an entry-level crew member.

"The first time and the only time I've been down here in this garage was for a test session with the Hendrick Motorsports team when I was 16 or 17, when Kenny Schrader was testing," Edwards said. "I sat right over there and polished the wheels on the hauler and just dreamed of this, so it's really cool to get to run here.

"The name of the game here (today) is getting me laps. The AAA Ford is great. I can run a lap that is really fast and one that's not good, and the only thing that changed is my driving, so I just need to get laps."

Wednesday's participant list will shorten by two, as Edwards is not scheduled to test and Spencer crashed in the Speedway's Turn 1.

Spencer spun in Turn 1 and backed into the SAFER Barrier at approximately 2:30 p.m. (local time), causing heavy rear-end damage to the car. Spencer was unhurt, but the team brought only one car and ended their test.

Busch and Rudd agreed that, due to the prestige of the race and the new track surface, a two-day test was essential.

"It's high on our list," Busch said of winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. "I believe it's the only accomplishment my crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, hasn't accomplished. That's why we're here doing a two-day test. It pays the same in points, but it's definitely very prestigious when you get to take home that trophy."

The combination of new asphalt and diamond grinding bode well for an exciting race, Rudd said.

"The track, when they grind it, it just gives us grip, and they ground it from the bottom to the top, so it makes multiple grooves for us," Rudd said. "So I think you'll see side-by-side racing as good if not better than you've seen in the past."

Private test sessions are scheduled for July 11-12 and 18-19. Testing on July 11-12 promises to be the busiest, with 26 drivers scheduled to participate.

Rank Car No. Driver Speed (mph) Total Laps
  1. 99A Carl Edwards 179.165 49
  2. 97A Kurt Busch 179.151 71
  3. 21 Ricky Rudd 178.937 73
  4. 50 Jimmy Spencer 178.839 21

Kansas media ga-ga over IRL race Kansas media ga-ga over IRL raceTuesday Kevin Keitzman of WHB 810 AM Sports Talk Radio in Kansas City http://www.810whb.com/ gushed with enthusiasm over how much better the IRL was than NASCAR. After witnessing the IRL race at the Kansas Speedway, where IRL and NASCAR tickets are packaged together, Keitzman gave a large portion of his shows "Open" talking up the IRL's level of competition being better than NASCAR. He went on for 10 minutes and placed it before such items as the Kansas City Royals losing streak and the death of former Kansas City Chiefs two time Super Bowl and NFL Hall of Fame football coach Hank Stram!
Da Matta hopes for race in Brazil Da Matta hopes for race in BrazilCristiano da Matta, driver of the No. 21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Lola, currently sits sixth  in the Champ Car World Series point standings heading into this weekend's event in Toronto.  His recent efforts have landed him his first win of the season (Portland) and almost the pole in Cleveland (started second).  This being his first season back in Champ Car after taking two years to race with F1, he's had a chance to reflect on his new team and his experience.

Cristiano da Matta - No. 21 - Bell Micro/PKV Racing Lola WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON UPCOMING STREET RACES?  "We've been competitive each week. Recently it seems like it has been between me and Tracy.  We've been ahead of everyone lately.  It is difficult to say with the upcoming races. We've been real good with flowing tracks like Cleveland, Portland -- doing the best we can.  But, on the street course, the last time we were on one of those was the first race of the year.  So many things have changed in the team since Long Beach.  We weren't very competitive back then, but so many things have changed. We may be a lot better and a lot more competitive.  So, I'm actually anxious to get there and see how it's going to go."

EXACTLY WHAT CHANGES HAVE TAKEN PLACE WITH THE TEAM? "It's only my fifth year in the series, so I'm not a veteran.  We all feel like everyone is working well together, both drivers have been collaborating, sharing information about the car. All the engineers have really been on their work with a lot of attention to really tuning the car.  Same with the crew.  There is a lot of teamwork. Everyone is getting used to each other.  A new team -- all new people on the team at the beginning of the year.  It's all beginning to come together now.  I'm expecting good results, but it's difficult to predict just how we will do when we get to the street course."  

WHAT ARE SOME COMPARISONS YOU CAN SHARE COMING BACK TO CHAMP CAR AFTER TWO YEARS WITH F1? "I've been working with better engineers here than I did when I was in F1.  I've been able to learn a lot more with these guys over here and with the couple years I spent here before going to F1.  You only learn when you have good teachers and when you don't have good teachers you don't learn as much.  I've learned a lot all the years I've spent in the States -- I was always lucky to work with very good guys.  And, the two years I spent in Europe, I didn't have the same luck.  So, I learned a lot about driving, just by being able to drive different cars and the electronics.  The atmosphere is really so different between F1 and Champ Car.  As a driver, you're there to race and go quick." 

IF YOU WERE TO ADD A RACE TO THE SCHEDULE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO? "I just keep my fingers crossed and hope that we race in Brazil, because not racing in Brazil and not having a race in Florida I don't have a 'home' race anymore, so I really wish Brazil was back on the schedule." Ford

Another record set Another record setEighteen cars of the 22 cars that started the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 finished on the lead lap, setting a series record. The previous high was 14 cars at the 2004 Indianapolis 500.
Bidding for Firestone Indy 200 Honorary Starter ends tonight Bidding for Firestone Indy 200 Honorary Starter ends tonightThe online auction for the spot as honorary starter for the July 16 Firestone Indy 200 ends at 10:27 p.m.(EDT) on July 5.

Firestone has placed for bid on the auction website eBay the Honorary Starter's position for the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, July 16. The highest bidder, provided the offer meets the minimum reserve bid will be invited by Firestone Racing to climb into the flag stand before the race and wave the green flag. Proceeds from the top bid go to United Way of Metropolitan Nashville.

The winning bidder receives four grandstand tickets for the race from Firestone Racing, admission to Firestone's pre-race hospitality area and gets to meet Andrew Firestone, great-grandson of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. founder Harvey Firestone and most recently star of the ABC-TV reality show "The Bachelor." Transportation to and accommodations for the event weekend are the responsibility of the winning bidder.

To view and bid on this rarest of opportunities, follow this Internet link:

IndyCar Series reaches milestone IndyCar Series reaches milestoneClose finishes have been the signature of IRL IndyCar® Series events - especially on high-banked 1.5-mile ovals. The July 3 Argent Mortgage Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway was no different.

Tony Kanaan's victory over Dan Wheldon was by .0120 of a second, the sixth-closest finish in series history and the 50th finish with a margin of victory of less than one second.

Vitor Meira finished third, just .0242 of a second behind Kanaan and .0122 of a second behind second-place Wheldon. The margin from first to third was the second closest 1-2-3 finish in the series' history.

In all, 50 of the 111 IndyCar Series races have had a 1-2 finish of less than a second. This year, the last three races have had a margin of victory of less than a second.

"I knew that oval racing had the potential to showcase the most exciting racing, from the spectator standpoint, and I knew that NASCAR had a reputation for close racing. But in our young history we may be redeveloping the standard by which close motorsports competition is measured," IRL founder Tony George said earlier this year.  "To the credit of our technical team, they have done a good job of developing specifications and writing rules that, for the most part over the last eight years, has led to the parity on the race track that in turn has produced the close finishes."

When it comes to winning nail-biting races, no driver has had more success than two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr.

Hornish has won five of the 10 closest finishes in IndyCar Series history, including three of the four closest finishes. Hornish defeated Al Unser Jr. in 2002 at Chicago by .0024 of a second, the closest finish in history. The week after Chicago, Hornish defeated Helio Castroneves by .0096 of a second at Texas Motor Speedway in the third-closest finish in history. Hornish repeated at Chicagoland in 2003, defeating Scott Dixon and Bryan Herta in the closest 1-2-3 finish in series history, as .0100 of a second separated the top three.

Hornish, who has been involved in 14 of the 50 finishes, has been involved in nine of the top-20 closest finishes in history and has a record of 6-3. He won the closest finish in history as well as the third, fourth, ninth, 10th and 15th closest and has finished second in the seventh, 11th and 19th closest.

Track Races decided Total
           by less than      Races 
          a second              
Texas   11          16
Kansas   4 5
California 3          3
Chicagoland 3 4
Indianapolis 3 10
Phoenix 3 10
Pikes Peak 3 9
Dover 2 2
Homestead-Miami 2 5
Kentucky 2 6
Las Vegas 2 5
Michigan 2 3
Nashville 2 4
Nazareth 2 3
Atlanta 1 4
Gateway 1 3
Milwaukee 1 1
New Hampshire 1 3
Richmond 1 4
Walt Disney World 1 5

Number of times Driver has been either Winner or Runner-Up in Races finishing with a Margin of Victory of Under One Second.

Winner Second Total
Sam Hornish Jr. 7 7 14
Tony Kanaan 5 5 10
Helio Castroneves 4 4 8
Greg Ray 3 2 5
Buddy Rice 2 2 4
Scott Dixon 1 3 4
Scott Sharp 3 1 4
Adrián Fernández 3 0 3
Al Unser Jr. 1 2 3
Buddy Lazier 1 2 3
Dario Franchitti 1 2 3
Gil de Ferran 1 2 3
Sam Schmidt 1 2 3
Scott Goodyear 2 1 3
Tony Stewart 1 2 3
Alex Barron 2 0 2
Arie Luyendyk 2 0 2
Davey Hamilton 0 2 2
Eddie Cheever Jr. 1 1 2
Felipe Giaffone 1 1 2
Kenny Brack 1 1 2
Airton Daré 1 0 1
Bryan Herta 0 1 1
Billy Boat 1 0 1
Buzz Calkins 1 0 1
Dan Wheldon 0 1 1
Davy Jones 0 1 1
Jaques Lazier 0 1 1
Jeff Ward 1 0 1
Jim Guthrie 1 0 1
Robbie Buhl 1 0 1
Robby McGehee 0 1 1
Stephan Gregoire 0 1 1

Paul Tracy at Toronto-Area Pizza Pizza To Greet Fans Paul Tracy at Toronto-Area Pizza Pizza To Greet FansOntario's No. 1 pizza - Pizza Pizza - will welcome Ontario's own 'Thrill from West Hill', Champ Car driver Paul Tracy on Wednesday, July 6th.  Tracy will be taking time from the Champ Car schedule to appear at the Wellington & Church Pizza Pizza restaurant to meet fans and sign autographs. All are welcome!

Paul Tracy, who took over the lead in the Champ Car drivers standings with a win in Cleveland on June 26, will be competing in his 14th Toronto Molson Indy this July and hopes to make this year's event his "Triple Crown" in front of the hometown fans after winning here in 1993 and 2003.

Date: Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Time: 11:00 a.m. to noon - autograph signing for fans

Location: Pizza Pizza - upstairs patio
68 Wellington Street East (at Church Street)
Toronto, Ontario

Industry News
Ford to match GM’s discounts Ford to match GM’s discountsFord Motor Co., bowing to pressure from General Motors Corp., said on Tuesday that it was matching its larger, cross-town rival's employee discount program.  Under the program, which takes effect on Wednesday and will be called the "Ford Family Plan," Ford will shave thousands of dollars off the sticker prices of most 2005 model vehicles, company spokesman David Reuter said.  The program will run through Aug. 1, he said. Like the GM plan, Ford will sell its vehicles to anybody at the same low prices Ford employees pay.

"It's a great deal that we're going to deliver in a simple, consistent way to customers," Reuter said. "We're going to advertise this widely, in a huge significant way throughout the month."

The Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler has said it will respond to GM's program by rolling out its own employee pricing program on Wednesday. GM's "Employee Discount for Everyone" program was launched last month and the company extended it through Aug. 1 earlier on Tuesday. It drove GM's sales up 41 percent in June, which was the company's best sales month in 19 years.

Ford, which has seen its U.S. sales fall for 13 consecutive months, can ill afford not to remain competitive with GM. It has already warned that its core automotive operations may not be profitable this year. Reuters 

Piaggio joins Champ Car and Newman/Haas Piaggio joins Champ Car and Newman/HaasPiaggio USA, Inc., manufacturer of the world-famous Vespa® motor scooter, is pleased to announce a partnership with both Champ Car and Newman/Haas Racing for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season with the “Typhoon”, a compact 50cc scooter with sporty looks. The Piaggio Typhoon will be the Official Scooter of both the Champ Car World Series and Newman/Haas Racing.

“I’m delighted to associate Piaggio and the Typhoon, with both Champ Car and Newman/Haas Racing for the upcoming racing season.” says Paolo Timoni – President and CEO - Piaggio USA.

The partnership between Piaggio’s Typhoon motor scooter and Champ Car and Newman/Haas Racing aims to transfer excitement and exposure into sales opportunities through marketing initiatives that will be unveiled at a later date.

“We believe Champ Car racing is an excitement generator and we are thrilled with the opportunity to bring the Typhoon closer to our prospective customers right in their backyard” added Mr. Timoni.

“We would like to welcome Piaggio and the Typhoon into our family,” said Dick Eidswick, President of Champ Car World Series LLC. “We are looking forward to a beneficial relationship and are excited to partner with an internationally prestigious company such as Piaggio.”

"We look forward to an affiliation with a high performance product like the "Typhoon," said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing.  "A race team's success is built on the contribution of all the component parts and we welcome Piaggio USA, Inc., to the 2005 mix."

Piaggio USA, Inc. is a subsidiary of Piaggio & C. S.p.A., based in Tuscany, Italy.  Since 1884 the Piaggio name has stood for innovation, quality and superior performance.  The company's rich history, which includes ship outfitting, railway construction and aviation, gave way to developing practical and accessible means of transportation for post-war Italy when the first Vespa® motor scooter was designed in 1946.  As Europe's largest manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles (Piaggio owns 30% of the European market), Piaggio is known throughout the world for their superior technology, craftsmanship and design.  The Piaggio Group owns the following brands: Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera and Derbi and has factories in Italy, Spain, India and China.  Piaggio's stylish and fuel-efficient line of motor scooters is the epitome of practical indulgence.

Piaggio USA is an active member of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and encourages riders to always wear a helmet, appropriate eyewear and proper apparel. The company suggests that all scooter owners/operators attend a motorcycle/scooter rider-training course to learn how to safely and skillfully operate a Vespa and recommends the MSF RiderCourse (800/446-9227) as the best introduction to riding. For additional information, or to locate a dealership in your area, visit the Web site at www.piaggiousa.com

Jordan confused about BMW and Sauber Jordan confused about BMW and SauberFormer F1 team boss Eddie Jordan has said that he can't understand why BMW has decided to base its future on the new relationship with Sauber.

"I'm really at a loss [to understand] how BMW can abandon a team like Williams in preference for going with a team that has no knowledge of winning, never mind championships, but races," EJ said, 'As much as I love Peter Sauber, probably the most genuinely correct and upstanding person in F1 in terms of credibility, the record book does not say he's a grand prix winner.

"Mentally that's something that he has got to achieve first, before he ever thinks about the championship. From that point of view, I have some reservations about the way it's been done.

"Peter Sauber does not, and has never, had the ability to pull the unexpected out of the bag and win a load of races. The biggest problem going forward is the immense strength that you need to have in terms of winning races and challenging for a championship. I'm out of it now, but I would have been in a much better position than Peter, because I've been through '98, I've been through '99."

Toronto Sun calls for NASCAR race Toronto Sun calls for NASCAR raceThis Toronto Sun article says, (key excerpts) With the Toronto Molson Indy set to hit the temporary street course around Exhibition Place Friday, the focus of the world of motorsports will shine on our fair land. What better time for Canada to stake its claim as a real force in the world of racing.

After the Formula One fiasco in Indianapolis, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal took on a whole new luster -- pretty much guaranteeing that any more talk by Bernie Ecclestone of moving that race is out the window.

And the phenomenal success of the Molson Indy in Toronto and its counterpart in Montreal for the Champ Car World Series reaffirms that Canadians will support top-notch racing. Which bring us to NASCAR. Just how long can the boys from Daytona ignore two of North America's best motorsports markets?

Well, judging from strategic hand holding at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway this past weekend, that answer is: Not for very long. NASCAR boss Brian France was seen giving the VIP tour of DIS to Montreal's Normand Legault -- the man who runs racing with an iron fist at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

At the same time it was leaked that a NASCAR Busch Series race is on the drawing board for Montreal in 2007. And that a second date for NBS is set for Mexico -- likely at Fundidora Park in Monterrey. Which means that if the rumors are true and NBS goes to Montreal, a date for Toronto's Mosport International Raceway will not be far behind.

Richard Buck -- NASCAR's director of racing development in Canada -- was at Mosport three weeks ago to watch the CASCAR Super Series Clarington 200.

And, apparently, he came away impressed.

But for fans expecting a NASCAR Nextel Cup race -- the top stock car series in the world -- to come to Canada there's only bad news from the France family. "(With races in Seattle and New York) we would pretty much have the nation covered," France, who balked at the idea of possibly expanding the 36-race schedule, said.

Coulthard re-signs with Red Bull Racing Coulthard re-signs with Red Bull RacingRed Bull Racing announced today that David Coulthard has extended his contract and will stay with the team as lead driver for 2006, when he will drive the Ferrari-powered RB2. 

The experienced 34-year-old joined Red Bull Racing for the start of the 2005 season and quickly established himself as an integral member of the team. While providing a guiding influence for the team's young drivers, Christian Klien and Tonio Liuzzi, he has enjoyed considerable success on the track, claiming two fourth places and scoring points in six of the ten Grands Prix contested so far. At the 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix, he also secured a place in the history books, when he became the highest ever British F1 points-scorer. 

Red Bull Racing Sporting Director, Christian Horner commented, "David has clearly demonstrated that he's still one of the top drivers in F1. He's played a vital part in Red Bull Racing's on track credibility so far this season. It was therefore a very easy and natural decision to extend our agreement for 2006 and retain him as our lead driver." 

David Coulthard said, "It's been a very positive new experience working with Red Bull Racing. The potential of the team is obvious and it made perfect sense to continue our partnership. Since I started with the team last December, the progress made has been remarkable. I'm looking forward to contributing to the development of the RB2 with the Ferrari engine and enjoying continued success with Red Bull Racing."

Patrick’s popularity reaching grassroots America Patrick’s popularity reaching grassroots AmericaWhile riding on a train recently between NY City and New Jersey AutoRacing1.com president Mark Cipolloni was asked about the Monaco GP shirt he was wearing by a complete stranger, a black woman.  We only mention she is black because typically racing does not have a high percentage of black fans, which makes this conversation more meaningful.  After a short conversation about what kind of cars race at Monaco, it was clear the woman knew almost nothing about racing. However, she then proceeded to tell him how much she was rooting for Danica Patrick and that she knew who she was, a clear indication that Patrick's popularity is beginning to reach grassroots America. Her sudden meteoric rise in popularity has the folks in Daytona (NASCAR) worried, so worried they are now pumping up any female they currently have in the lower ranks with the hope of moving her quickly to Nextel Cup.
NASCAR: The Army's unlikely advisor NASCAR: The Army's unlikely advisorNow that every branch of the U.S. military sponsors a stock-car team, the armed services are looking to NASCAR for more than just a recruiting vehicle. Some of the techniques and equipment perfected on the tracks could easily benefit the Pentagon's trucks and aircraft. For starters, Carlson Technology, which advises teams on how to shave seconds off pit stops, and Roush Industries, which manages nine teams--including one sponsored by the Army National Guard--have shown the Army's National Automotive Center, near Detroit, how to reduce significantly the time it takes to change out the engine on a humvee.  More in this week's edition of Time Magazine.
Paddock gates to stay open Paddock gates to stay openThe GP2 series is delighted to announce that we will be opening our paddock gates to our fans for the rest of the season. At the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours, the GP2 series opened its doors to the fans. Over Friday and Saturday evenings more than 5000 people flocked to our paddock, to see the cars, watch the mechanics and engineers at work, and meet the drivers.

So popular did the event prove, that the decision has been taken to open the paddock at all of our future events, starting this very weekend on the occasion of our British round at Silverstone.

Fans will be able to access the paddock between 17:30 and 19:00 on Friday and Saturday evenings. It will once again be an opportunity for ticket holders to get closer to the sport, to experience the bustle of the paddock and to meet the next generation of Formula One drivers.

The GP2 series is looking forward to welcoming its fans at Silverstone, and at all our future events in 2005.

Alonso win sets Spain TV records Alonso win sets Spain TV recordsSpurred by Spaniard Fernando Alonso's drive for the F1 title, in Spain 5,899,000 TV viewers tuned in to watch the end of Sunday's French GP, a 55% increase over 2004. The TV broadcast averaged 4,977,000 viewers, a 48.7% share.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
FIA delivers new F1 rules
Want to see F1 hack naked?
Montoya still in McLaren slog
Title talk 'suicide' - Alonso
Ferrari on Mosley's side
Whither Button?
DC eager for Max meeting
Pained Webber to race
'Quit, or I'll sell Minardi'
Bourdais and F1
Toyota target third
Jacques jaded
Puzzled Ferrari back to work
Scarlet praise for Alonso
Schumacher: We have to focus on the work to be done Schumacher: We have to focus on the work to be doneThe post-race procedure was unchanged: Michael spent some time the FOM hospitality tent where he chatted to his brother, Ralf, and the other drivers. He then left for his home in Switzerland. Michael will enjoy a short break there before leaving for England on Wednesday. On the Thursday morning before Silverstone, he will take part in an event organized by Shell and Vodafone.

Michael has been quite open since the race in France: “we are quick enough to be in with a shout of victory, and this is obvious”, declared Michael. “The gap to Alonso is wider than we would have liked and even Kimi’s form was striking. Still, we have to be pleased with third place as the race could have gone worse. After the times we set on Friday and Saturday, I thought that we really were in with a chance of victory”.

The reigning champion believed that some forward strides had been made. Qualifying saw much improved times on those from the previous races. “Now we have to try to obtain good results and be competitive at every stage of the weekend. We have already improved and there is no reason why we cannot continue to do so. The important thing is to persevere and believe in ourselves. We have to stay as calm as we have been until now and concentrate on the work to be done”.

There are many who doubt that Ferrari can still challenge for the title but Michael is not one of them. “Firstly, the second half of the season begins now and logic dictates that the gap is still bridgeable. Secondly, I am a realist and as such am a lover of mathematics; there is still the probability of winning. Formula 1 is such a changeable sport that it would be foolish to give up on the title. We are not so foolish. As I have said, we have to focus on getting back to the top. We will be trying to do this at Silverstone this weekend”. Ferrari

McMurray to Host “A Night in Nashville” for Autism Society of America McMurray to Host “A Night in Nashville” for Autism Society of AmericaNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series star Jamie McMurray will continue his ongoing relationship with the Autism Society of America (ASA) when he hosts “Driving Autism Awareness: A Night in Nashville.” The fundraising event for the Autism Society of America will take place July 13 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. as part of ASA’s 36th Annual National Conference and Exposition.

McMurray will host a Q&A session and photo and autograph sessions during this event. Special guest entertainment will be on hand, as well as light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are $40 per person, $5 per child age 6-12; under age 5, free and are on sale now by visiting www.autism-society.org.

Following Wednesday night’s festivities, McMurray will host an exclusive special breakfast for ASA conference attendees and members on Thursday morning at the Renaissance Hotel. Tickets to the breakfast are $10 per adult; $5 per child under age 12 and can be purchased on www.autism-society.org.

“I’m really honored that the Autism Society of America asked me to be a part of their annual convention,” McMurray said. “The entire NASCAR community has really supported the ‘Driving Autism Awareness’ campaign that we started last year. The NASCAR fans continue to prove why they are the best in sports.”

“Obviously being a part of this has a personal connection for me since my niece is autistic,” McMurray added. “I’ve seen first-hand how autism effects an entire family. Hopefully we’ll be able to raise some awareness and money with this event.”

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets for both “Driving Autism Awareness: A Night in Nashville” ($40 per person on a first come, first served basis) and ASA’s conference attendees and members-only breakfast ($10 per adult; $5 per child age 6-12; under age 5, free) can be purchased online at www.autism-society.org.

To reserve space today or for more information, contact Tiffany Gill, events coordinator, at tgill@autism-society.org or 301.657.0881 x124.

Drivers to meet with Mosley Drivers to meet with MosleyUPDATE David Coulthard let on to the drivers concerns in statements made in Sunday's Times newspaper in London - He believes complicated rules are wrecking his sport.   Coulthard believes that changing the rules simply to cope with the success of Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion, was a mistake and said yesterday: “It was wrong to do it just because one person is doing the job and others are not. We should applaud success, not handicap it.

“All these rules — qualifying, single laps and ten-place penalties — are not designed to wreck races, but the consequence is that they do,” Coulthard said. “If you go out early in one race, you have to start early in qualifying for the next. That means you have a bad qualifying, because physically you just cannot go quicker than someone else who has an equal lap later in the session because the track is in a better condition. So it is a handicapped F1 system we have. You are handicapped if you have an engine failure, even if it is no fault of the driver, and then the crowd are deprived of what may be a fantastic race, as they were in France.

“All this shaking the grid up artificially. Why? Ultimately cream rises to the top during the year and shaking the grid up only allows other lesser people on the grid to influence the outcome of what could be a great World Championship.”

07/03/05 David Coulthard has refused to get drawn into further controversy over a possible split in the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, but has confirmed that the drivers are set to meet with FIA president Max Mosley at Silverstone next week. When asked on the grid prior to the start of the French Grand Prix about the various stories circulating about the Mosley call, which was first revealed by Autosport-Atlas, Coulthard said that he was not expecting any developments for several days.  "Unfortunately it's like all these things, people only get half the story," he said. "The reality is that the drivers have some concerns and we have a meeting scheduled. Autosport-Atlas
Renault men discuss French GP Renault men discuss French GPRenault's technical director Bob Bell and head of engine operations Denis Chevrier discuss the French Grand Prix

Q: Bob, what was the French Grand Prix like from your seat?

Bob Bell: It was a great race. We won it as we should have done: pole position with a heavy fuel load, Fernando out in front on his own. We really wanted to win in Magny-Cours, in front of all the supporters, and the fact that the new Renault President Carlos Ghosn was present too was also a source of satisfaction. There were plenty of reason to be pleased!

Q: What were they?

Bob Bell: Firstly, both cars made it to the finish without technical problems, and that's encouraging. Secondly, we bounced back after two consecutive weekends when we failed to score any points, so we needed that success. It was also a good way for Michelin to get back into the groove after the problems in the US. And finally, everybody at Enstone and Viry has been working extremely hard for weeks. The win is great reward for them.

Q: This race marked the halfway point of the season -- how different is the R25 to when it raced in Melbourne?

Bob Bell: We have introduced major chassis and engine evolutions in the first ten races. The car's efficiency is much greater than in Australia. And we're not slacking off: we have a very aggressive development in place. We're still putting ourselves under a lot of pressure.

Q: Have you been surprised by the team's competitiveness this year?

Bob Bell: Yes, but that shouldn't mean we lose focus. We need to finish the job rather than saying to ourselves we have already hit our targets. Monaco and Montreal should have been good races for us, and weren't: that should be a lesson for us. We can never take anything for granted.

Q: Finally, is the chase for the title in 2005 delaying design of the 2006 car?

Bob Bell: No. We are managing the two programs in parallel. Of course, it's not an easy thing to do, but the answer is to work even harder. There's no secret to it!

Q: Denis, give us your view of the French GP...

Denis Chevrier: It was an almost perfect weekend. On the mechanical side, we had no problems. The engines ran perfectly -- the small comfort zone we had after not running the race in Indy gave us extra confidence. We are now using the engine as a tool for maximizing performance, not limiting it. Yesterday showed that, but we are not relaxing: we need to carry on fighting.

Q: Renault has already won at Magny-Cours, but never as an engine and chassis builder...

Denis Chevrier: That's true. I have good memories from winning here when we were an engine supplier -- we won in 1991, 92, 93, 94, 95 and 96! The first of those wins was very emotional: the first time in Nevers, on our road to a world championship bid... The French GP is always symbolic: it is run at the halfway point of the season in July. Every victory is fantastic, but some taste a little sweeter. Yesterday's was certainly one of those.

Q: What are the sources of satisfaction from the win?

Denis Chevrier: Winning in France with a French car is a special feeling. But that's not the most important thing. Above all, I think we have come out of a difficult period -- a difficult weekend in America, and a double retirement in Montreal. This win means we are back on track, and puts us in a good state of mind for the weeks ahead. It's very positive. Renault

Ferrari start testing at Monza Ferrari start testing at MonzaFirst day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working today at Monza. Today, Luca Badoer began a program of Bridgestone tire development aimed at the rest of the season. At the wheel of an F2005, the Scuderia’s official test driver completed 64 laps before it began to rain. The best time on the day was a 1’23”585. Testing continues tomorrow, still with Badoer at the wheel.
More on 2008 FIA F1 proposals More on 2008 FIA F1 proposalsMotor racing's governing body the FIA on Monday sent details of its proposed technical changes to all the principal players in Formula 1. Among the array of changes the International Automobile Federation hopes to introduce from 2008 are fewer electronic aids for drivers, a return to pedal clutch control and slick tires, a reduction in a car's aerodynamics and manual gearboxes. Agreement on the proposals must be forthcoming by the end of the year but tough negotiations lie ahead with all the F1 teams apart from Ferrari intent on setting up a rival Grand Prix championship from 2008 in a bid to receive a larger part of the enormous financial rewards enjoyed by the sport.

Draft 2008 Formula One Technical Regulations (PDF)

Changes to the rules for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship (PDF)

Andretti 9th in truck debut Andretti 9th in truck debutJohn Andretti made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Kansas Speedway this past Saturday and finished in ninth position.  The top-10 finish allowed the team of Billy Ballew Motorsports to move into fourth place in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Owners’ Points following 12 events.  The team, who has for the most part, remained unsponsored for the season remains optimistic about their chances of capturing the overall crown.
Canadians a big part of Champ Car Canadians a big part of Champ CarThis TSN.ca article talks about the three Canadian drivers in Champ Car ahead of the next two rounds of the Champ Car World Series held in Canada on consecutive weekends - Toronto and Edmonton.  No talk of Michael Valiante, hmm....
First 12 A1 GP cars delivered First 12 A1 GP cars deliveredWith less than three months to go before 25 national cars take to the Brands Hatch grid for the first race in the World Cup of Motorsport's inaugural season, the A1 Grand Prix engines and chassis have begun rolling off the production line and into the hands of the A1 Grand Prix Teams. 

In a closed ballot held at A1 Grand Prix's London office last week, teams representing Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, India, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa and an important yet- to-be-announced European-based country, were each allocated a separate chassis and engine forming one of their two A1 race cars. In the presence of A1's Global Operations Manager John Wickham, A1's in-house Legal Counsel Bene Mercer and witnessed by an independent Notary Public, the ballot was conducted by A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum. 

To maintain A1 Grand Prix's unique level playing field, all the team's chassis and engines will be stored at the A1 Technical Innovation Centre at Silverstone Circuit in the UK. From Monday 4 July, the 12 pre-selected teams who have each been allocated their first A1 race car will be given access to the Centre to start preparations for the first race.

Kerr and Lloyd selected for British team Kerr and Lloyd selected for British teamA1 Team Great Britain Team Principal, John Surtees, MBE, has announced Robbie Kerr and Alex Lloyd are the drivers chosen to represent their country in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix series. John knows all about winning at the top level, being the only man to win World Championships on both two and four wheels, so is delighted to be able to give two of Great Britain's talented racing drivers this opportunity.

"A1 Grand Prix is a Series of opportunity, particularly for these two young British drivers, who have demonstrated their abilities but found it hard to be in the right place at the right time when it came to seating themselves in a competitive car. It is 9 years since the last British Formula One World Champion. Yet despite all the talent being developed through from karting to cars, we are still relying on David Coulthard to bring the car home in the points and willing Jenson Button on to win his first Grand Prix," said John.

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum's new A1 Grand Prix series, due to start at Brands Hatch on 23-25 September 2005, brings a new dimension to motorsport and new opportunities. It is nation versus nation with 25 countries competing for what is considered the World Cup of Motorsport.

The cars, which are entirely British designed and built, with 550bhp available, will be exciting and evenly matched, as they must all be maintained to a standard specification, and a true test of ability of the drivers and of the organization and preparation skills of the team.

Patrick blames Rahal Letterman crew Patrick blames Rahal Letterman crewLittle Danica was a little (upset) when she addressed the media.

"We spent a lot of time in pit lane," Danica explained. "We took too much time trying to put front wing in the car, just too much time, lost tons of ground. . . . I thought the car deserved to finish higher. I think it was fast. I was able to catch people."

As we walked back to her trailer, Danica's fiancé, Paul Hospenthal, put her emotions in context: "She's really, really competitive. She's (ticked). That would be fair."

Inside her trailer, Danica avoided taking a direct shot at her crew, but she didn't deny a couple of obvious errors made in the pits. On her second-to-last stop, her crew decided to adjust the front wing after her car was fueled and the tires had been changed. The decision cost her at least 3 seconds. It's the equivalent of the Chiefs' Ted Popson failing to get out of bounds at the end of the 1997 Denver playoff game.

It was a gigantic error. "It was all day," Danica said, rolling her eyes in disgust and pointing blame directly at her Rahal-Letterman crew. Kansas City Star

Kansas Crowd Kansas CrowdAn estimated 60,000 fans showed up for the Argent Mortgage 300 in Kansas and were treated to another patented IRL side-by-side finish.


Magny Cours - fastest laps in the race Magny Cours - fastest laps in the race
1. Kimi Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes - 1'16.423 - lap 25
2. Fernando Alonso - Renault - 1'16.502 - lap 5
3. Juan Pablo Montoya - McLaren Mercedes - 1'16.656 - lap 24
4. Jenson Button - BAR Honda - 1'17.408 - lap 18
5. Giancarlo Fisichella - Renault - 1'17.511 - lap 18
6. David Coulthard - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'17.611 - lap 39
7. Michael Schumacher - Ferrari - 1'17.714 - lap 22
8. Jarno Trulli - Toyota - 1'17.792 - lap 67
9. Felipe Massa - Sauber Petronas - 1'17.805 - lap 11
10. Jacques Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas - 1'17.841 - lap 17
11. Takuma Sato - BAR Honda - 1'17.929 - lap 8
12. Rubens Barrichello - Ferrari - 1'17.960 - lap 4
13. Nick Heidfeld - BMW Williams - 1'18.102 - lap 36
14. Ralf Schumacher - Toyota - 1'18.103 - lap 36
15. Mark Webber - BMW Williams - 1'18.395 - lap 17
16. Tiago Monteiro - Jordan Toyota - 1'20.004 - lap 32
17. Narain Karthikeyan - Jordan Toyota - 1'20.156 - lap 9
18. Christijan Albers - Minardi Cosworth - 1'21.077 - lap 8
19. Patrick Friesacher - Minardi Cosworth - 1'21.451 - lap 4
20. Christian Klien - Red Bull Cosworth - no time
Zanardi wins Zanardi winsFormer Champ Car and F1 driver Alex Zanardi took his first win Sunday since he returned to racing following the horrible accident in Germany  that cost him both his legs. Zanardi, driving a BMW 320i fitted with hand controls, won the Mugello round of the Italian Touring Car Championship in front of the team car driven by Gianluca de Lorenzi. "In reality I only use the hands for accelerating and gear-changing. For braking I use the prosthesis," Zanardi told Gazzetta dello Sport after the race. "I can't deny that racing is my life and for a driver like me the search for success is my primary objective. It doesn't matter if the rivals are few or many; the important thing is to be in front."
Meet Toyota Atlantic drivers Meet Toyota Atlantic drivers
TOYOTA ATLANTIC EVENT: Thursday, July 7th at 7pm

                        DRIVER AUTOGRAPH SESSION / Q&A

 - Katherine Legge – Polestar Racing Group
- Antoine Bessette – Polestar Racing Group
- Tonis Kasemets – Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis
- Charles Zwolsman – Condor Motorsports
- Al Unser III – Brooks Associates
- Tim Hauraney - Condor Motorsports

Also on hand will be Anne Roy, Marketing and Promotions Manager, Toyota Atlantic Championship Series

 WHEN:    Thursday, July 7, 2005   7-8pm

WHERE:   Victory Sports Bar & Grill
        244 Adelaide St. W (at Duncan)

WHY:     This is the chance for fans to get up close and personal with the drivers of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Series to discuss their tightly contested and history making 2005 season so far and the drivers strategies for the 20th running of the  Molson Indy Toronto on July 10th, 2005

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'F1 will return to Indy'
Alonso faces tough Brit fight
Heidfeld on F1's long road
Indy 'no' to 2005 F1 re-run
Dupasquier 'cried' at Indy
Mosley, DC, to meet
Renault future sound, for now
Williams wants BMW 'answer'
'No pressure' in Ferrari snub
Roland Ratzenberger
Kimi catch to carry on
'Grove needs urgent test'
Merc to defy BMW lead
Beer in bar for BAR's Button
Robbie Pecorari captures first Star Mazda Victory at Pikes Peak Robbie Pecorari captures first Star Mazda Victory at Pikes PeakRookies ruled the day at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with eighteen year old Robbie Pecorari leading the way to edge out his sixteen year old Andersen Walko Racing teammate by 0.038 to earn his first Star Mazda Championship victory. Rounding out the rookie sweep of the podium was Sean Guthrie who would finish 0.409 seconds behind Pecorari in today's 75 lap event at the one-mile oval.

Taking advantage of a late race caution period that would lead to a three lap shootout to the finish, Pecorari would dive past Rahal with two laps to go and hold off his teammate in the run to the finish. "My car would work really good on cold tires so when the caution flag came out I knew I would be able to make a run," Pecorari said. "I knew if I went inside I could get by and just worked on the timing. I still like road course best but like ovals a little bit more."

The dash to the finish would come about when Scott Jenkins, who entered the event fourth in points, spun and hit the wall in turn four on lap 68. Rahal, who had found a bit of breathing space, would thread the needle to get through the incident but watch the gap he had built up evaporate. "That last caution came out at the worst time, " a disappointed Rahal would comment. "I had some breathing room for the closing laps, but once the gap was gone I knew that Robbie would be right there because he has been strong all weekend. It's frustrating to be so close to victory only to have it slip away, but at least it was a teammate that got the checkered flag."

After a difficult start to the season, sixteen year old Sean Guthrie would rebound in a big way this weekend, running towards the front of the field from the start and driving his way up from fifth on the grid to earn his first podium of the season. "While this was my first race on a paved oval I grew up driving karts on dirt ovals so that definitely helped this weekend," Guthrie said. "I had a great car this weekend and was able to work my way through traffic smoothly, and it feels great to be up on the podium."

Fourth place would belong to another series rookie, James Hinchcliffe, who would start the event from pole position in his AIM Autosport Mazda. Hinchcliffe would dominate the majority of the race, leading the first 60 laps before fading in the closing laps. "I'm crushed because everyone at AIM Autosport really wanted this podium today," Hinchcliffe said. "The car was really strong but in the closing laps the front end lost something and I would drift up the track as we went into the corners."

While the top four were lurking at the front of the field all day the fifth place finisher, Michael Potekhen, was the busiest man on the track, working his way up from the last spot on the grid as he replaced Brian Thienes in the Hearn Motorsports car. "The Hearn Motorsports car was incredible today and was definitely capable of winning," Potkhen said. "It's been about six months since I've raced anything and I only had a few laps yesterday to shake off the dust but having a car this good really helped get me back into the flow. I have to thank Richie Hearn and Brian Thienes for putting me in the car and if it weren't for the caution flag at the end we could've made the podium."

Marco Andretti finished 9th. Dominant in the easier IPS series, Andretti has yet to win in Star Mazda.

Championship points leader Raphael Matos, who came into the weekend having won the first four rounds, would struggle in today's event, finishing twelfth overall. As the series approaches the halfway point in two-weeks time at Infineon Raceway, Matos continues atop the championship with 203 points. Sitting in second place is Robbie Pecorari with 175 points while Graham Rahal drops a position to third with 172 points.

Forum upgrades Forum upgradesAfter weeks of problems we are happy to report our Discussion Forums are on a new faster server now so you should experience far better performance and hopefully no more of the recent issues. 
Irony at its best Irony at its bestAfter Renault had problems with their tires at the USGP that saw all of its teams unable to race, it was ironic that in Sunday's French GP on Renault's home turf, Bridgestone runners experienced two blown tires - one each on the Minardis. Drivers Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers both retired close to the halfway point of the race, Friesacher after 34 laps, when his left rear tire deflated at the Adelaide corner, and Albers four laps later, when his car’s left rear tire suffered the same fate, pitching him into a spin on the approach to the Estoril hairpin. Fortunately, the Dutch driver suffered nothing more than a grazed hand in the ensuing impact with the barriers.
IRL parades in their Poster Girl IRL parades in their Poster GirlDanica Patrick, with superior Honda power and a car lighter than everyone else found a way to lose yet another 100% throttle race in Kansas, finishing 9th.  A 9th place driver does not usually get to attend the post-race press conference, unless you are the IRL's Poster Girl, in which case even if you finish a lowly 9th you get paraded into the post-race press conference like a puppet.  It must be insulting to all the male drivers who beat her (3rd thru 8th) that did not get invited.
Carpentier remains frustrated Carpentier remains frustratedPatrick Carpentier called his Dallara Toyota the slowest car in the race following Sunday's Argent Mortgage 300 in Kansas.  ''I must have the slowest car in the field,'' said Carpentier following the race. ''I was proud of the work I had done up to the last stop, but unfortunately, when I came back on the track, I was not in the right place. I need the draft of at least two cars ahead of me to be able to keep the pace with my Dallara-Toyota, and I had only one car in front of me. I was flat out and going nowhere. It's quite a frustrating result. During the race, I had the opportunity to set myself up with several cars and that's how I made my way up the field. But with 10 laps to go, it was mission impossible. Let's hope that things can improve from here.''  [Editor's Note:  He was flat out and going nowhere.  In the no-talent -required 100% throttle IRL races, if you don't have enough HP you have zero chance.  It's 100% car, and in Danica Patrick's case having a lighter car than everyone else and Honda power, how can you lose?  Yet she finds a way to lose every race.]
French GP - Race report French GP - Race reportFernando Alonso scored a dominant victory in Sunday’s French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. In front of a capacity crowd, in 30 degree heat, the Spaniard just pulled away into the distance from the rest of the field, finally finishing an unrepresentative 11.8s ahead of second placed Kimi Raikkonen, whose two stop strategy was perfect from 13th on the grid. Michael Schumacher finished a distant third for Ferrari after being held up by Jarno Trulli during the opening stages. Teammate Rubens Barrichello suffered poor brakes and handling and finished ninth.

At the start, Alonso nipped straight into the lead from fellow-front row man Trulli, while Michael Schumacher led teammate Barrichello, followed by Takuma Sato, Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault, Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), Jenson Button and the Saubers.

Raikkonen was already up to 10th by lap two, but the greatest impression was being left by Alonso as he disappeared at the front of the field. By lap five he had a seven second lead over Trulli. That was up to 14s by lap ten and 21s by lap 15. Behind the Toyota, Michael Schumacher was frustrated, unable to get past. He was shadowed all the way by Barrichello, although the Brazilian was already in trouble with brakes and grip and was soon being caught by Sato. Fisichella was close by, as was Montoya and Button.

Sato was first to stop on lap 15, clearly going for a three stop strategy. Barrichello came in on lap 17 and Trulli and shadow Schumacher a lap later. Ferrari got Schumacher out ahead of the Toyota driver. Fisichella stopped a lap later as did Button, while Alonso was last of the three stoppers to come in on lap 20.

However, such was his leading margin that he still led on lap 21 by 11s from Montoya who, like third placed teammate Raikkonen, had yet to stop. Michael Schumacher was fourth on the road, now 7.5s ahead of Trulli who had Barrichello, Sato and Button close behind him. When Coulthard stopped, Fisichella took over ninth place.

A heavy Alonso lost out a little to the lighter McLarens until Montoya pitted on lap 25 and Raikkonen three laps later. But when they rejoined, they were still second and third, but with Raikkonen now second and Montoya being pushed by Schumacher in third place. Trulli was still fifth from Barrichello and then Button, Fisichella and Sato who had had an off-circuit moment on lap 27.

Michael Schumacher made his second pit stop just before half distance but remained in fourth place. Teammate Barrichello made his second stop on lap 39, emerging tenth, just ahead of Coulthard.

Leader Alonso made his second stop on lap 41, coming in from a 33s lead but still emerging with a margin of 13s. Raikkonen was still second, but Montoya was fading badly in third place, suffering a hydraulic problem which lost him the power steering and then gears. He eventually pulled off on lap 47.

That put Schumacher into third place, but a long way behind second placed Raikkonen. Having made his third stop on lap 51, he was closed on by Fisichella, but Raikkonen and both Renaults had pit stops to make.

Alonso came out of the pits on lap 58 with an 18s lead over Raikkonen, who in turn had 45s over Michael Schumacher in third and that was the way they took the checkered flag. Button was fourth and soon to be lapped but at least scored BAR’s first points of the year, while Trulli was lucky to salvage fifth after Fisichella stalled at his final pit stop and dropped a place. Ralf Schumacher was seventh from Villeneuve in eighth. Poor Barrichello finished ninth

. The result simply opened up the World Championship gaps, Alonso now 24 points ahead of Raikkonen, who in turn is five ahead of Michael Schumacher. In the Constructors series, Ferrari dropped two points behind second placed McLaren, with Renault still ahead. Ferrari

Feedback on Open Wheel Judgment Day Feedback on Open Wheel Judgment DayUPDATE #2 The "Judgment Day" article was right on! It seemed to speak my mind for me without doing the work of articulating my thoughts on the subject for public consumption. The way I see it, Tony George has taken the Indy 500, which once had global prominence, and turned it into the albatross that is destroying open wheel racing in the USA. I fear that by now, the damage may be irreversible. That the sport may never regain it's former stature regardless of what happens, or indeed what doesn't happen in terms of re-unification. Mr. George needs to abandon his backward vision, and evaporate from the process immediately for the good of the sport. Randy Lloyd  07/03/05 Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Another great article by you folks.  It is why I subscribe and why you are the only true voice among many sheep in the racing business.  Keep up the good work, you have no equal. Mark Thomas, Reading, PA 07/02/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I thoroughly enjoyed your feature article about Open Wheel's Judgment Day in the USA. I can relate to exactly what the author says, especially the recommendation that Tony George step aside after destroying the sport of open wheel racing in this country. I am surprised he has not been run out of the sport by now. Josh Silverberg, Rockaway, NY
Quote of the Week Quote of the WeekMichelin motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier said he was in tears at Indianapolis after the seven Formula One teams his company supplies had to withdraw from the USGP at Indy.  "The start of the race was just unbearable. I went to a corner and I cried for 15 minutes," Dupasquier said after Sunday's French Grand Prix.
Ferrari admits it's too slow Ferrari admits it's too slowFerrari has admitted that it could not match the pace of Renault and McLaren after Michael Schumacher finished a distant third place in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.

"I think third was the best I could have done today," said Schumacher.  "Without that early delay, our strategy might have put me ahead of Kimi.  But today we did not quite match the pace of the leaders."

BMW slams Williams BMW slams WilliamsBMW motorsport boss Mario Theissen has slammed Williams' pathetic performance in the French Grand Prix. The Grove-based team endured its worst race in recent memory at Magny-Cours, with both drivers nothing more than backmarkers.

“The race was as weak as the qualifying,” was Theissen’s blunt summary, adding that the BMW engines ran without problems. Before the next grand prix in Silverstone we need to analyze the data of this weekend in order to find the reason for our weak performance here. "Testing would be helpful in this situation, but it is impossible due to the calendar."

The poor showing couldn’t have come at a more embarrassing time for Williams, with BMW having announced just 10 days ago that it will purchase Sauber.

Champ Car filled with bunch of no-names Champ Car filled with bunch of no-names
Rosberg talks about dominating win Rosberg talks about dominating win
GP2 Series: A truly dominant performance – it was quite amazing to watch. How was the race for you?
Nico Rosberg: Yeah, it was great! I had a fantastic start and I pushed like hell, and it was great to get away – it was a lot of fun because the car felt good, and that’s when it’s fun. That’s when the Finnish racing spirit comes out, and no one can stop you then!

GP2 Series: It certainly looked amazing – the car must have been perfect for you.
Nico: Yeah, it was – I remember, it was probably stupid, but I slowed down in the middle of the race to save the rear tires, and that’s why I went off a little in the last two laps or so and made a few mistakes, because I was really going for it.

GP2 Series: Is this the best win of your career?
Nico: No, but it’s the most important one!

GP2 Series: You spent the whole race by yourself really - what were you thinking as you went around?
Nico: I was just going for it in the beginning and the end, and just enjoying it.

GP2 Series: And it was a big help for you in the championship.
Nico: Yeah – I made a big step forward this weekend. I think I’m third, and Adam is only a few points ahead, so that was very good for me.

GP2 Series: I know you were a bit disappointed after yesterday’s result – does this make up for it?
Nico: Yeah, for sure! I knew we were quick yesterday, and I knew that we had the car for today, so I got what I was looking for!

Renault President now backs F1 program Renault President now backs F1 programRenault is in Formula One as an investment and will stay for as long as there are clear benefits, president and chief executive Carlos Ghosn said on Sunday at Magny-Cours. Previously rumors circulated that he would pull Renault out of the sport because they were not getting results.

Speaking at a press conference this morning prior to the French GP, Ghosn (shown right with drivers Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella) said, "We don't compete to make an average show, We compete to make a strong show. We want the public, the fans, to recognize ... that our people fighting and competing are delivering their best. As long as we do this, we will compete. As an individual, I am very interested in motor sport," he declared. "I always have been. I follow races and in Japan I watched the Nissan races."

"We are not in Formula One out of habit or tradition. We're here to show our talent and that we can do it properly," he said.

"Formula One is a cost if you don't get the results. Formula One is an investment if you do have them and know how to exploit them. If there is one team today that can say it is an investment, it is Renault because it is getting good results."

Asked whether Renault might move into other forms of motorsports, Ghosn said, "For the moment the concentration is to put on a good performance in Formula One and get the best results. This is a priority in Renault. I don't think we should spread ourselves too thin.

"I took Nissan out of Le Mans because I felt they had no chance given the technology that was needed and the organization and the way it was run," he said.

"It's quite possible that we (Nissan) could come back. It's still on our radar."

Rosberg takes dominant win Rosberg takes dominant winUPDATE Please note, the stewards have just declared Clivio Piccione disqualified from Race 2 for having changed his tires. 07/03/05  Nico Rosberg has destroyed his competition in race two at Magny Cours, running almost a second a lap faster than fellow podium finishers Hiroki Yoshimoto and Heikki Kovalainen to take an easy victory in France. 

The win will go some way towards making up for yesterday’s dramas, where his ART team failed to call either Rosberg or teammate Alex Premat into the pits during a safety car period, effectively handing the race to Kovalainen. 

The win was decided at the start, when polesitter Clivio Piccione was slow off the line, handing the lead to fellow front row starter Rosberg, who was followed through into the first turn by Yoshimoto from third on the grid. 

Piccione dropped to fifth place, headed by Neel Jani and Adam Carroll and being pushed hard from behind by Jose Maria Lopez and Heikki Kovalainen. 

At the front Rosberg was tearing away from Yoshimoto, four seconds to good after just three laps while a train was forming behind Jani. Three laps later Kovalainen made the first of many overtaking moves – Lopez ran wide and the Finn was through for sixth place. 

Just one lap later he was by Piccione and adding to his points tally. Piccione looked very slow and was clearly unhappy with the handling of his car, having dropped six places in seven laps. 

With his teammate clearly the fastest man on track Premat decided to show that he had some speed as well – he took both Lopez and Piccione to get into the points on lap 11, with Lopez following him through. 

Five laps later the moment that everyone was waiting for had arrived – championship leader Kovalainen was all over the tail of his closest challenger Carroll, and their fight was epic. 

Out of the chicane Carroll ran slightly wide and Kovalainen slipped up the inside before running wide himself and putting two wheels in the dirt. Carroll hit back and the pair were side by side for a number of corners, sliding in tandem before Kovalainen just put his nose ahead and was able to take fourth place. 

A lap later Premat tried to repeat the move on Carroll but locked up and slid into the Ulsterman, spinning at the hairpin and allowing Lopez to sail by and into the points. Ahead of them Kovalainen had easily caught Jani and was through into a podium finish at the final corner. 

On lap 23 a moment of madness disposed of two drivers, with Lopez making a run at a sliding Carroll into the hairpin, locking his brakes and sliding himself, with Premat running into him and tapping Lopez into a spin. Lopez was out on the spot, while Premat limped back to the pits and retirement with broken suspension, handing sixth place to Nicolas Lapierre. 

Over the closing laps Kovalainen hunted down Yoshimoto, who had driven a solid but lonely race in second, but time was not on his side – Rosberg crossed the finish line more than 25 seconds ahead of Yoshimoto, who just held onto second with Kovalainen on his tail. 

Jani did enough to claim fourth place, while Lapierre found a way by Carroll with a lap to go to claim fifth place. Nelson Piquet Jr took the fastest lap on his final trip around, with Ferdinando Monfardini running off the track and solidly hitting the wall and Ernesto Viso tapping Olivier Pla into a spin at the final chicane to take eight place behind Giorgio Pantano. 

On the podium Rosberg acknowledged the cheers for his dominant performance, beaming and clearly thrilled – no one else had an answer for his performance today. .
Pos Driver Team Time
 1. Rosberg ART Grand Prix 41:30.173
 2. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion + 25.366
 3. Kovalainen Arden International + 25.884
 4. Jani Racing Engineering + 35.059
 5. Lapierre Arden International + 39.406
 6. Carroll Super Nova International + 42.259
 7. Pantano Super Nova International + 46.210
 8. Viso BCN Competicion + 1:02.230
 9. Pla DPR + 1:05.821
10. Fauzy DAMS + 1:06.424
11. Bruni Coloni Motorsport + 1:07.819
12. Garcia Racing Engineering + 1:10.005
13. Negrao Hitech Piquet Sports + 1:11.753
14. Hernandez Campos Racing + 1:20.316
15. Lauda Coloni Motorsport + 1:28.595
16. Artam iSport International + 1:31.786
17. Monfardini Durango + 1 Lap
18. Piquet Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports + 1 Lap
19. Piccione Durango + 2 Laps
20. Speed iSport International + 2 Laps

George sinks idea of non-points USGP George sinks idea of non-points USGPSpeedway CEO Tony George sank that idea of a non-points USGP Saturday in a terse statement.  "There will be no (race) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this fall," George said.

George emphasized he communicates with Bernie Ecclestone, the leader of Formula One Management, and not the Michelin teams proposing an exhibition race Oct. 23, a week after the season-ending race in China.

Said George: "Our position to Bernie, who is our link to the F-1 community, is that the sooner we can get the focus back on the real issues that affect all of us, the better off we'll be."

"Priority No. 1 is resolving everything from this year's race," an IRL spokesperson said. "Priority No. 2 is working on an event for 2006.  The Speedway had "no energy" for anything else. Indy Star

Danica Patrick remains IRL's only draw Danica Patrick remains IRL's only drawA crowd estimated at 50,000 at Kansas roared when Danica Patrick won the pole as the final qualifier for today's Argent Mortgage Indy 300 at Kansas. The IRL's public relations staff hastily began arranging interviews with all three major television networks, plus CNN and ESPN. "It filled up quick," said Tom Savage, the IRL's director of media relations. Indy Star
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Kimi in title 'KO'?
Trulli to keep door shut
Panis handed F1 car
F1 offers Indy re-run
Haug slams FIA rule
Red Bull 'no' to Mosley war
Warm and sunny for GP
Schu can do it, brother
'F1 dud has silver lining'
Indy left Webber 'ashamed'
'Michelin to blame' - Narain
'Chateau Schumi'
'No joy amid Kimi's smoke'
Local Brent Sherman to make appearances Local Brent Sherman to make appearancesBrent Sherman, who will be driving the Consort No. 15 ppc Racing Ford next week at Chicagoland Speedway in the NASCAR Busch Series race, will be making several appearances leading up to the event at his hometown track. Fans interested in meeting the Barrington, Ill., native and seeing the Consort Ford up close, will be able to do so at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, July 5
3 p.m. ... 6 p.m.
Cub Foods Store, 1590 N. Larkin, Joliet, Ill.

Wednesday, July 6
3 p.m. ... 6 p.m.
Cub Foods Store, Crystal Lake, Ill

Thursday, July 7
6 p.m. ... 7:15 p.m.
Joliet FanFest, Downtown Joliet, Ill.

Brent will be available for photographs and autographs and there will be T-shirt giveaways. For more information on Brent Sherman including bio and stats, please visit www.pprplus.com and click on the Serta Mattress/Brent Sherman icon.

Evernham explains points for his team Evernham explains points for his team"The owners' points for the 10 will stay with MVB [to whatever number they use, the new #10 will use this years #91 points/race attempts for 2006, the 'new' 91 will be treated as a team with no owners points/attempts in 2006]. The 91 will probably run in selected races also (in 2006). My agreement with Bill Elliott is if Bill wants to drive until he's a hundred I'll supply a car for him. We were hoping a good partner would come and it has. We decided collectively that the best thing to do would be to go ahead and announce we have the infrastructure in place and we're doing this and it would be like The Field of Dreams so to speak. If you build it they will come. We've talked to several people, but we have not decided nor do we have a driver picked for next year." ClearBlue PR
Speed World Challenge
Cadillac Rocks Lime Rock Park with 1-2 Finish Cadillac Rocks Lime Rock Park with 1-2 FinishTeam Cadillac drivers Max Angelelli and Max Papis claimed the top two spots on the podium today in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race at Lime Rock Park. After starting on the front row, Angelelli led all 45 laps in his black CTS-V, scoring his third career SPEED GT victory and notching Cadillac's fifth race win in the series. Papis finished 1.549 seconds behind his teammate to give Cadillac its third 1-2 finish since the luxury performance CTS-V sedan entered road racing competition in 2004.

"We were on the limit all the way, from the first lap to the finish," said Angelelli. "This was a good result for the team and a great result for Cadillac. The manufacturers championship is very important, so there was no sense in Max and I fighting each other."

The race was slowed by two full-course caution periods. The first yellow flag flew on the 10th lap for oil in the first and second turns - a situation that changed the course of the race. Polewinner Lou Giglotti spun while running second, and Papis pounced to move up behind his teammate.

"I had a massive moment in the first turn," Papis reported. "I felt something was funny because the car started to slide around in the braking zone. I backed off and saw Gigliotti spinning around; that was unfortunate because he had a car today to be successful.

"We proved today that when we finish, we finish strong," said Papis, who ended up 18th last week in Cleveland after being hit twice. "Lime Rock is a track where momentum and finesse pay off, and I tried to save my tires and be consistent. When Max and I were running 1-2, we didn't want to do anything that would compromise the result or the manufacturers championship."

The SPEED GT race at Lime Rock Park will be televised on the SPEED Channel at 5 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 3. The next round of the 11-race series will be held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on July 15-17.

Track: Lime Rock Park, 1.54-mile road course
Winner: Max Angelelli, Cadillac CTS-V
Margin of Victory: 1.549 seconds
Average Speed: 81.817 mph
Pole: Lou Gigliotti, Corvette C6, 101.631

1. Max Angelelli, Cadillac CTS-V, 45
2. Max Papis/Cadillac CTS-V, 45
3. James Sofronas, Porsche 911, 45
4. Stu Hayner, Pontiac, GTO, 45
5. Wolf Henzler, Porsche 911, 45
6. Andy Pilgrim/Cadillac CTS-V, 45

Driver/Car/Points (victories in parentheses)
1. Andy Pilgrim/Cadillac CTS-V, 145
2. Tommy Archer/Viper, 134 (2)
3. Robin Liddell/Porsche 911, 130 (1)
4. Max Papis/Cadillac CTS-V, 121 (1)
5. Wolf Henzler/Porsche, 107 (1)
6. Max Angelelli/Cadillac CTS-V 90 (1)

Manufacturer/Points (victories in parentheses)
1. Cadillac, 42 (2)
2. Porsche, 36 (2)
3. Dodge, 23 (2)
4. Chevrolet, 13

July 15-17, Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif.
TV: SPEED, July 17, 6 p.m. EDT (check local listings)

Industry News
USA TV Reminders for Sunday and Monday USA TV Reminders for Sunday and Monday 
        Inside Grand Prix, GP of France
        12:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m. ET, SPEED
        Magny-Cours, France
        6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. ET, SPEED
        7:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. ET, Live, SPEED
        Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, Montreal
        11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
        IndyCar Series: The Fast Life
        12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
        Argent Mortgage Indy 300
        Kansas Speedway
        1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET, Live, ESPN
        Cleveland, 6/26/05
        3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
        New England Grand Prix
        Lakeville, CT (Lime Rock) 7/2/05
        4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET, SPEED - Touring
        5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET, SPEED - GT
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
        Co-host: Boris Said
        Expert Analyst: Bob Varsha
        Featured Interviews: Nicky Hayden and David Grubnic
        9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
        New England Grand Prix
        Lakeville, CT (Lime Rock)
        3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET, Live, SPEED
 See the TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV links on the Home Page for a complete listing of TV Programs for Sunday and Monday.
Hinchcliffe takes pole at PPIR Hinchcliffe takes pole at PPIRAIM Autosports driver James Hinchcliffe captured his first pole position today on the one-mile oval at Pikes Peak International Raceway ahead of Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Hinchcliffe, from Oakville, Ontario, Canada, lapped the circuit in 25.803 seconds (139.519 MPH), edging out Brian Thienes in his Hearn Motorsports Mazda by 0.118 seconds. Hinchcliffe, a rookie in the series, currently sits eighth overall in the championship.  Round Five of the championship will be held on Sunday, July 3rd at 5:30 PM for a scheduled 75 laps.
Pos No. Name Best Tm Best Spd
1 98 James Hinchcliffe 25.803 139.519
2 77 Brian Thienes 25.921 138.884
3 23 Robbie Pecorari 25.978 138.579
4 22 Pablo Donoso 26.031 138.297
5 18 Adrian Carrio 26.098 137.942
6 41 Sean Guthrie 26.170 137.562
7 26 Jonathan Klein 26.182 137.499
8 96 Mark Wilkins 26.194 137.436
9 12 Graham Rahal 26.260 137.091
10 7 Raphael Matos 26.293 136.919
11 56 Dan Tomlin III 26.297 136.898
12 10 CR Crews 26.422 136.250
13 97 Brandon Thomas 26.451 136.101
14 54 Mickey Gilbert 26.501 135.844
15 38 Ryan Justice 26.511 135.793
16 11 Marco Andretti 26.526 135.716
17 58 Dan Tomlin Jr. 26.571 135.486
18 42 Mike Anderson 26.663 135.019
19 37 Jim Malackowski 26.756 134.549
20 24 Jon Brownson 26.842 134.118
21 20 Ross Smith 26.983 133.417
22 6 Jonathan Branam 27.020 133.235
23 75 John Pew 27.174 132.480
24 73 Mark Patterson 27.239 132.163
25 39 Steve Cook 27.334 131.704
26 87 Doug Peterson 28.568 126.015
27 44 John Faulkner 28.738 125.270
Rahal to make oval debut Sunday Rahal to make oval debut SundayLess than four hours before fireworks burst into a million stars above Pikes Peak International Raceway Sunday night, fans can watch a different kind of star in the making during the Star Mazda race at approximately 5:30 p.m.  That's when Graham Rahal, the 16-year-old son of the legendary Bobby Rahal, will compete in his first race on an oval track. Story
Dyson team tops Saturday practice at Lime Rock Dyson team tops Saturday practice at Lime RockComing off its victory in the last round of the American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio, the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola posted the quickest time in Saturday morning's practice session for the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. All class leaders posted times quicker than the lap records set last year.

The duo of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger posted a lap of 47.509, nearly a half second faster than Weaver's pole-winning pass around the 1.54-mile circuit in 2004. The No. 16 Dyson Lola was more than a half second faster than the No. 1 Champion Racing Audi of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner. The No. 2 sister car of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro was less than 0.1 seconds behind the No. 1 car.

In LMP2, the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage of Jeff Bucknum, John Macaluso and Chris McMurry were fastest at 51.349, more than two seconds quicker than the No. 8 Mazda-powered B-K Motorsports Courage C65 of Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo.

For the second straight day, Corvette Racing's two C6-Rs topped the speed charts in GT1. This time, the No. 3 entry of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell were fastest at 50.781, followed by the No. 4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta.

In GT2, the No. 50 Panoz Esperante of Bill Auberlen and Robin Liddell turned a lap of 54.209. It was 0.18 seconds faster than the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche of Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister.

The New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the ALMS, is set for 3 p.m. EDT Monday at Lime Rock Park. SPEED Channel will provide live coverage, along with American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com. A second practice session is set for 1:45 p.m. Saturday, followed by qualifying at 2:55 p.m.

Michelin teams propose non-points USGP Michelin teams propose non-points USGPThe seven Michelin teams who withdrew from the US Grand Prix have offered to race for free at Indianapolis after the end of the season. The idea has been put to Bernie Ecclestone and he will be talking to Tony George about the idea.

"We said we'd do it if that was something that would supplement the already generous package offered by Michelin," Ron Dennis said. "We can only try and demonstrate by our actions and our proposals our acceptance that, innocent we may be, we were party to the problem. It's for them to decide whether they want to take up the option or not."

The proposal is to hold the race on October 23, a week after the final race in China. The big problem would be the weather as the temperatures in Indiana would be considerably lower than in June. There is less rainfall at that time of year but temperatures average at 12-degrees C which is considerably colder than June when the average temperature is 22-degrees C. There more cloudy days.

The biggest question however is whether or not Ferrari would go to a non-championship race and whether the lack of Ferrari would drive down the crowd numbers. There are also problems with accommodation as there are several big conventions already planned for Indianapolis that week.

The final question is whether or not the world's media would pay any attention to such an event. After an expensive year on the road, the media organizations may not have much interest in such an event. Grandprix.com

Mercedes motorsport boss bemoans blown engine Mercedes motorsport boss bemoans blown engineMercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has criticized the rule that cost McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen third place on the French Grand Prix starting grid on Saturday. The Finn's Mercedes engine blew in Friday practice and had to be changed triggering an automatic 10-place penalty on the starting grid because drivers must use the same engine in two successive races.

Raikkonen, closest rival to Renault's championship leader Fernando Alonso, will start 13th. "Sometimes it just hits you, if you look at the list of the manufacturers this year," said Haug. "For me, it's absolutely not the right rule, I have to say," he told reporters, explaining that a bearing had failed. It hits you and then you are penalized and if you have a problem in any other technical part you are not penalized so I do not quite understand why you should be penalized for an engine failure but it is what it is."

"I think Kimi was absolutely in a position to go for pole position," he added. "You can imagine we changed the strategies slightly and he's now one and a half tenths (of a second) off pole," said the German. More at Reuters

Franchitti moves to the top Franchitti moves to the topDario Franchitti, who started fifth and finished second to Helio Castroneves in the race last week at Richmond International Raceway, topped the overall speed chart in Kansas City practice with a quick lap of 214.942 mph (25.4580 seconds) in the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

IndyCar Series rookie Danica Patrick, who was fastest in the initial practice session on the 1.5-mile tri-oval with a lap of 214.745 mph (25.4814 seconds) in the No. 16 Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, was second (214.725) in the second.

Defending race winner Buddy Rice was third overall with a quick lap of 214.547 mph the No. 15 Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone. Qualifications are at 1:45 p.m. (EDT; listen live on indycar.com). IndyCar Series points leader Dan Wheldon, Vitor Meira and Patrick are the final three qualifiers to add a bit more spice to the day.

Kovalainen wins GP2 race in France Kovalainen wins GP2 race in FranceHeikki Kovalainen has won today's GP2 series race from Jose Maria Lopez and Nicolas Lapierre Heikki Kovalainen has taken a comfortable win in race one at the Circuit Nevers Magny Cours, ahead of Jose Maria Lopez and Nicolas Lapierre, to extend his lead in the championship to fifteen points.

Alex Premat led the grid away on the warm up lap under overcast skies and on a dry track, but was unable to contain a fast starting Kovalainen when the lights went out, with the Finn leading Premat, Lopez and Scott Speed through the first corner.

The American driver was overtaken two corners later by Nico Rosberg, while behind them all Gimmi Bruni sat stalled on the grid and Ryan Sharp was trying to find his way back onto the track after spinning off at the first turn.

The next time through Ferdinando Monfardini was looking for a way past Xandi Negrao at the final turn, but the move failed and Negrao was off the track as Bruni came in for a very early stop – his Coloni team were obviously hoping for a repeat of Kovalainen’s Nurburgring tactics for the Italian, and he was immediately the fastest man on track.

Rosberg was all over the back of Lopez’s car and trying to find a way back – the Argentine driver was luridly sliding all over the track in defense of his position, but Rosberg was through on lap eleven as Lopez peeled into the pits for his stop.

Five laps later Speed was in from fourth place, but a sticking tire undid all of his good work and the resultant lengthy stop threw him well back in the pack. Back on track Olivier Pla was off at the final corner, his second spin of the day and his final one. The Frenchman’s car was beached on the curbs, prompting a call for the safety car.

Which was to be the decisive moment of the race – Kovalainen, Lapierre, Hiroki Yoshimoto and Ryan Sharp all pitted under the safety car, leaving the ART pairing of Premat and Rosberg leading on track while also the only men not to have carried out their compulsory stop.

At the restart on lap 19 Premat and Rosberg led the pack away, followed by Kovalainen, Lopez, Lapierre and Nelson Piquet Jr, with Adam Carroll and Neel Jani filling out the points paying positions ahead of a fast charging Yoshimoto and Giorgio Pantano.

On lap 24 there was heartbreak for Piquet – after a solid race he was back in the pits and stepping out of his car after his electrics failed, while five laps later Speed ran wide and through the gravel at turn two, dropping five spots to 18th.

Back at the front Premat looked to be holding up his teammate and Kovalainen, and it was only a matter of time before he came in – the Frenchman pitted on lap 32, coming back out in twelfth place and handing the temporary lead to his teammate.

And Rosberg clearly knew it – he started putting in some fast laps but it wasn’t enough – he was in with two laps to go, coming back out in seventh and handing the race win to an overjoyed Kovalainen, who cruised to his third win of the year.

He celebrated the win with a number of donuts on the cool down lap before rushing up to the podium to spray champagne over teammate Lapierre, who claimed his first podium of the year with third, and a delighted Lopez to the loud applause of the crowd.

Kovalainen now leads the championship with 48 points, ahead of Carroll on 33 points, with Bruni and Speed sharing third place on 29 points.

Team Rahal leads opening practice in Kansas Team Rahal leads opening practice in KansasHorsepower and handling are the keys to being successful at Kansas Speedway. The horsepower in IndyCar Series cars was displayed during practice the preceded qualifying for the Argent Mortgage Indy 300.  IndyCar Series rookie Danica Patrick, who has a significant weight advantage due to a loophole in the IRL rules, topped the speed chart of the two groups in the initial practice session on the 1.5-mile tri-oval with a lap of 214.745 mph (25.4814 seconds) in the No. 16 Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone.

Defending race winner Buddy Rice topped the first group – and was second overall -- with a quick lap of 213.869 mph (25.6466 seconds) in the No. 15 Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone. Dario Franchitti (213.830) was second in the group.

Qualifications are at 1:45 p.m. (EDT; listen live on indycar.com). The final three in the qualifications order are IndyCar Series points leader Dan Wheldon, Vitor Meira and Patrick.

French GP - Nine cars in one second French GP - Nine cars in one secondIt is a sign of the progress Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has made over the past few weeks, in conjunction with Bridgestone, that there was an air of disappointment this afternoon after Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello qualified in fourth and sixth places respectively.

Both men had expected to be challenging for pole position but in the end, neither of them got a perfect lap, despite the theoretical advantage of being the last two drivers to make their qualifying run. Track conditions were definitely changeable today, as summer is struggling to put in an appearance at the French circuit this weekend. Drizzle in the early morning left the track damp for the final free practice sessions and the skies were still overcast this afternoon with much cooler temperatures than are usually seen at Magny-Cours.

The session was closely contested with the top nine drivers all within the same second. Although Michael and Rubens set the fourth and sixth best times, they actually will start tomorrow’s tenth round of the world championship from third and fifth places, as Kimi Raikkonen, third quickest today, drops to thirteenth having had to change engines overnight.

Pole position went to Fernando Alonso, his third this season and perfect timing for Renault’s home race. He shares the front row with Jarno Trulli’s Toyota. The reigning world champion is joined on row 2 by the BAR-Honda of Takuma Sato, while Barrichello has the second Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella for company on row 3.

As usual the secrets of who has chosen what fuel load will only be revealed once the first pit stops take place tomorrow afternoon. There are likely to be plenty of refueling visits going on, as this race has traditionally been a two or three stopper. Although last year, the Scuderia helped Michael to a record seventh win here with an audacious four stop strategy. Despite the fact that the Magny-Cours circuit is known for having the smoothest track surface of the season, it is also very abrasive. This means that apart from the tactical poker game of strategy, tire consistency in the final stages of the race will play a key role. Ferrari

French GP - Qualifying session French GP - Qualifying sessionJean Todt : “It was a very closely contested qualifying session as can be seen from the fact that the top nine drivers are all within the same second. Thanks to the work we did last week along with Bridgestone, we were in a position to fight for a place in the top three rows. Obviously, there is still a question mark over what fuel load the other drivers were on and we will only have the answer to that tomorrow afternoon. In the race, the key factors will be reliability, consistency of tire performance, the effectiveness of our strategy and of course, the ability of our drivers.”

Michael Schumacher : “We felt we could do well here and I will now be starting from third on the grid which is a good position, even though I had hoped to be fighting for pole. Even so, this is a better position than we have found ourselves in at most of the races so far this season. The important thing is that we are looking good in race trim and so I expect we will have a strong pace tomorrow afternoon. It will be a tough race and it will be interesting to see how the various strategies work out. Let’s wait and see.”

Rubens Barrichello : “I had a really nice lap during which I pushed to the limit and I am happy with my performance. The only problem I had was a bit of graining on my front tires towards the end of the lap. We did not see this happen in the morning so it was unexpected and I had to lift off a bit in Turn 13 because I had understeer and that lost me a bit of time. I said we could have a good race if we qualified in the top three rows and here we are, so I can be optimistic for tomorrow.”

Ross Brawn : “We looked reasonably competitive over the single lap, which is something we have been working to improve on all season. Today, we were fighting for pole, but we did not quite do it although the fact we were in a position to fight for it was encouraging. Neither driver managed to do a perfect lap, which was a shame. Nevertheless, I think we will be competitive tomorrow when our tires should work well and deliver consistent performance. The balance of the cars was much better today, but we did not manage to capitalize on that this afternoon, although we seem to have a good race set-up.” Ferrari

Pocono Raceway admits some blame for tire problems Pocono Raceway admits some blame for tire problemsPocono Raceway will make some modifications to its "tunnel turn" in light of the slew of blown left-front tires during the June Nextel Cup race at the track.  NASCAR officials confirmed Friday that the track plans to remove a bump in the tunnel turn and smooth out the rumble strips in that area.  "They’ve done some stuff to that track. They’ve worked on the curbing and they’ve worked on a big bump that seemed to be the issue of the tire problem," said Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for driver Kasey Kahne. ThatsRacin
NASCAR tests at the Brickyard NASCAR tests at the BrickyardNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will test during three separate sessions in July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, preparing for the 12th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7. The first test session takes place Tuesday, July 5 and Wednesday, July 6. The second session is Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 12, with testing wrapping up Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19. Testing will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (local time) each day, with a lunch break from noon-1 p.m. Fans are welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2.

Drivers Scheduled to test:
July 5-6: #97-Kurt Busch, #21-Ricky Rudd, #99-Carl Edwards (7/5 only)
July 11-12: #0-Mike Bliss, #01-Joe Nemechek, #2-Rusty Wallace, #4-Mike Wallace, #6-Mark Martin, #7-Robby Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #11-Jason Leffler, #15-Michael Waltrip, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-Bobby Labonte, #19- Jeremy Mayfield, #25-Brian Vickers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #36-Boris Said, #37-Kevin Lepage, #38-Elliott Sadler, #41- Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray, #43-Jeff Green, #45-Kyle Petty, #49-Ken Schrader, #77-Travis Kvapil
A list of drivers participating in the final session July 18-19 will be released at a later date. IMS PR

Michelin USA will handle refund Michelin USA will handle refundMichelin has yet to announce its US Grand Prix ticket refund program but Pierre Dupasquier spoke of the situation in yesterday's FIA press conference at Magny Cours in which he confirmed the refund will go ahead and that it will be handled by staff in the United States.

"The only thing that Michelin has said is yes, we are at the origin of the mess, since nobody was doing anything, we feel polite just to say ‘oh, guys, we understand that you have been spoilt from something and we are very sorry about that, please accept our apologies and as a gesture we refund you for your tickets' and now it is in the hands of our people in the United States," Dupasquier explained unable to go into further detail.

"We have 30,000 employees in the United States, a very strong operation and they are handling the situation over there and it is cultural to know how to behave and they are taking care of it."

Tony Stewart road rage Tony Stewart road rageNASCAR bad boy Tony Stewart had another run-in at the track. This one, though, didn't include a fellow driver or a photographer.
Stewart allegedly yelled and cursed at a fan Wednesday night after she slowed him up entering a tunnel to Daytona International Speedway. Stewart told a different version of the story.  Pamela Williams, of Hobe Sound, said Stewart was flashing his headlights behind her as they entered the track infield.

"I stuck my hand out and made a motion to slow down and this guy raced around me and slammed on his brakes," Williams told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. "He jumps out and started walking toward me - angry and irritated - like road rage."  Several track workers corroborated Williams' story. Stewart, meanwhile, offered conflicting details.

Stewart told the News-Journal the woman gestured for him to pass her and then waved her middle finger at him as he drove by.

"I say, 'By God, I'm going to find out what this girl's problem is.' So I back up, go to where she stops, get out and walk up to her window," Stewart explained. "I go, 'What's your problem.' She says, 'I think I know who you are.' I said, 'It doesn't matter who I am. What's your problem?' She wouldn't tell us. And that was it."

Stewart later told a security guard he didn't want to pursue the issue, and Williams opted not to call police.  "We did everything the right way," said Stewart, who was fined for punching a photographer in 2002 and has publicly ripped other drivers over the years.  Stewart, who was qualifying Friday, was not immediately available for comment. AP Story

Don't say Tony isn't partially to blame Don't say Tony isn't partially to blameDear AutoRacing1.com, Poor Tony. Another race and just a few people showed again. Of course, at Formula 1's non-race at Indianapolis the no-shows were the teams. This must have been a shock to the architect of the demise of open-wheel racing in the United States. Normally, at events of his illegitimate creature, the Indy Racing League, there are lots of eager and greedy teams, but few spectators.

Still, much of the press tells us we should show sympathy to the Indy chief, at least this time. After all he didn’t do anything wrong this time. He, like the fans, was a victim.

There is an element of truth in this perspective. How could he have foreseen that la guerre civile française (Michelin vs. Todt) would leave just six cars on the grid? Nor was it his fault that Michelin didn’t have a competitive tire, or that the French tire company would engage in some political maneuverings related to a coming split in F1.

But to hold Tony blameless is to forget why F1 was in Indianapolis in the first place. And I, for one, can’t forget.

After creating his IRL, the Speedway saw its polish rust, and rust quickly. The first year that the IRL ran the 500—remember the reserved spots for IRL regulars?—after-market ticket prices along Crawfordsville Road were seriously discounted from face value. Prior to the split, one might pay a premium of multiples of face value to get any seat.

Likewise, the business community of Speedway and Indianapolis saw their fortunes reduced as a result of Tony’s posturing. The introduction of NASCAR in 1994 helped, but while the different, more-frugal supporters filled the stands, they didn’t spend the way the Champ Car fans and teams of yore had.

Moreover, what once was a sell-out from one day after the last 500 was completed started seeing empty seats. The few no-shows didn’t automatically turn profit to loss for the Speedway, but it might have squeezed that profit a little tighter.

So the Speedway started pondering the idea of an F1 race to go along with its other two races. It held three benefits for the Speedway. First, it would create another source of income, assuming it could generate enough fan interest to overcome the costs of Ecclestone-like fees and new construction. In the end, the project was likely just break-even, but could still provide other benefits.

Second, it brought some of the old glitter back to the Speedway. And with glitter comes gold, at least for the commercial enterprises located around the city. This made them less likely to revolt against the Speedway for any future blunders.

But the third reason was probably the biggest for Tony and his IRL. They were now able to claim that the Speedway was home to the “three” premier racing series in the world: the IRL, for open-wheel oval racing; NASCAR for, well, NASCAR; and for those who were looking for open-wheel road-and-street racing series, here was F1, the best in the world. By omission was, of course, CART and its successor Champ Car.

In other words bringing F1 to Indy was a chance to both stick a finger in CART’s/Champ Car’s eye and to put the IRL side by side with two of the world’s best racing series.

Tony hadn’t counted on others acting with the same disregard for the fans that he did, however. And that’s reasonable. I didn’t think anybody could be as stupid as Tony, particularly after seeing how the split he engineered nearly ruined a sport. After all, these were people who have spent the last decade or two bragging like Texans and New Yorkers about their superior intellect, manners and diplomacy.

But, the French didn’t start this. Tony put himself into this position all on his own and for reasons as bizarre and inane as he had for splitting open-wheel racing a decade ago. That it has all come back to bite him on the backside is the just culmination of a series of missteps that started long ago.

So pardon me if I don’t shed any tears on Tony’s behalf. In fact, pardon me while I have a little chuckle because as the old saying goes, what comes around goes around. James Allen, Scottsville, VA

Dennis explains what happened at Indy Dennis explains what happened at IndyThe seven Formula 1 teams which use Michelin tires held a press briefing outside the Michelin motorhome on Friday at Magny Cours, to restate the facts of what happened at the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis to ensure that the problem is understood not only by the media but also by the fans and other interested parties.

"We had no option other than not to race," said Ron Dennis, who had been designated to speak for the teams. |"We had a problem that was developing throughout the weekend until it reached a point of clarity at 06.30 on Sunday morning."

Dennis explained that initially Michelin had believed that the problem was unique to Toyota until tires were inspected on Friday afternoon and an additional six tires were found with a fault.

"Those tires were shipped back to France and the first impression was that it was a batch problem." Dennis said. "To provide us with an option if the investigation proved that, tires developed for Barcelona were shipped to Indianapolis as a back-up. They arrived at 08.30 on Saturday morning. As we moved into Saturday Michelin told us that they were not able to isolate the problem at Clermont-Ferrand and still did not know the root cause problem of the tire failure. Michelin told us to do no more than 10 cumulative laps on the tires and the majority of teams did no more than four flying laps. The tires that came off those cars were flown to South Carolina for scanning to determine if they were in a good condition."

The teams then did one flying lap each in qualifying and the left rear tires were flown to another Michelin facility in Akron, accompanied by FIA personnel because of parc ferme regulations, and these were scanned there. Back in France experiments continued to try to determine the problem and the testing machines were upgraded in performance and the problem was finally explained as having been related solely to the conditions in Turn 13.

"At 06.30 on Sunday morning we were advised that we had a critical problem. In the simulated conditions of the corner the tires had failed," Dennis said. "They had also failed with the Barcelona tires. We had no tires we could race with. The critical document came at 08.00 on Sunday morning which said we could not race unless speed was reduced in that particular corner. Throughout the balance of the day every effort was made to find a solution. We were in a very difficult situation. The simple fact is that the teams put safety before any commercial consideration. A point that was cleared appreciated by the drivers. This problem unfolded all the way through to 11.40 when the decision to go to the grid was taken at the request of Bernie. The option of racing did not exist."

Dennis explained that the teams were later informed that the laws in Indiana are such that the teams could have been prosecuted for reckless endangerment if they had raced knowing that there was a problem with the tires, even if there had not been an accident. The only thing that Michelin would agree to was to put in a chicane. The option of running sequences of 10 laps never existed."

When asked to explain why the chicane was not agreed the bosses declined to comment. Grandprix.com

Fisichella tops practice 4 at Magny-Cours Fisichella tops practice 4 at Magny-CoursThe Magny Cours Circuit had dried for practice 4 for the French Grand Prix. The final minutes of the 45-minute session were a mad scramble as the circuit picked up pace and the drivers attempted qualifying-style runs.  Giancarlo Fisichella set the pace for Renault with the second fastest lap of the weekend, just ahead of fellow Michelin-shod runners Ralf Schumacher in the Toyota and Kimi Raikkonen in his McLaren Mercedes.  Juan Pablo Montoya set the pace early in the session for McLaren Mercedes but found himself bumped back down the order to eighth fastest late in the session. Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli were ninth and tenth fastest for Toyota and BAR Honda respectively.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'14"466 213.246 Km/h
 2. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'14"603 + 0'00"137
 3. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'14"649 + 0'00"183
 4. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'14"792 + 0'00"326
 5. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'14"979 + 0'00"513
 6. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'15"177 + 0'00"711
 7. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'15"218 + 0'00"752
 8. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'15"223 + 0'00"757
 9. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'15"228 + 0'00"762
10. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'15"249 + 0'00"783
11. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'15"305 + 0'00"839
12. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'16"080 + 0'01"614
13. 15 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'16"095 + 0'01"629
14. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'16"125 + 0'01"659
15. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'16"372 + 0'01"906
16. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'16"454 + 0'01"988
17. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'17"846 + 0'03"380
18. 20 FRIESACHER Minardi Cosworth B 1'17"929 + 0'03"463
19. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'18"195 + 0'03"729
20. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'18"310 + 0'03"844
Truex wins Daytona Busch race Truex wins Daytona Busch raceBusch Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. held off Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle in a green-white-checkered finish Friday to win the Winn-Dixie 250. It's Truex Jr.'s fourth win of the season and first at Daytona.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has no victories in the Nextel Cup Series this season and is a disappointing 18th in points, ran second behind Truex for much of the night before blowing an engine with 21 laps remaining.

It was another setback in a season filled with them for NASCAR's most popular driver. In fact, Truex's success has been one of the few highlights for Earnhardt.

Truex could have used Earnhardt's help near the end of Friday night's race. The 25-year-old New Jersey native had the lead following a restart with eight laps to go, but he quickly got shuffled behind Harvick and Biffle.

Renaults move to top Saturday morning Renaults move to top Saturday morningThe French Renault team showed it aims to win this weekends French GP by dominating Saturday morning's first practice session at Magny-Cours. Overnight rain left the track damp in spots and many drivers chose not to go out at all to save mileage on their engine.
Pos Driver Team Tire Time Laps
 1. Alonso Renault (M) 1:23.939 11
 2. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:24.922 + 0.983 10
 3. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:26.483 + 2.544 5
 4. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:27.019 + 3.080 3
 5. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:27.276 + 3.337 6
 6. Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:27.313 + 3.374 8
 7. Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:27.510 + 3.571 7
 8. Friesacher Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:30.166 + 6.227 5
 9. Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:31.872 + 7.933 6
10. Trulli Toyota (M) No Time 3
11. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) No Time 1
12. Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) No Time 1
13. Sato BAR-Honda (M) No Time 1
14. R.Schumacher Toyota (M) No Time 2
15. Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) No Time 2
16. Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) No Time 1
17. Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) No Time 1
18. Klien Red Bull-Cosworth (M) No Time 1
19. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) No Time
20. Barrichello Ferrari (B) No Time
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'Safety first' - Bridgestone
Jordan move hotels
'July to hurt Ferrari'
'US laws add to Indy no-go'
Ralf pet 'dog-napped'
Schu no-hoper - Button
Red Bull may still appeal
Alonso swallows Paris backing
Snub BMW, Webber tells Frank
David Purley
'No more dosh for US flop'
Michelin have back-up tire Michelin have back-up tireMichelin appear to have taken the FIA's advice in tackling its first race after the Indy fiasco. The French supplier, whose tire could not handle Indianapolis' banking a fortnight ago, had not flown a back up alternative to the US. Michelin's second tire simply had a different compound.

''There are two compounds (for the French GP),'' motor sport director Pierre Dupasquier explained on Friday, ''each available with two subtly different constructions.''

The Frenchman, though, denied Max Mosley's claim that Michelin may have compromised safety for performance in taking an unproven tire to America. ''No engineer ever says 'I hope that (tire) works, let's give it a try and see if the driver comes back to the pits'.''

Dupasquier added: ''When we present a device to a driver, it's absolutely, one hundred per cent ... safe, as far as we know. If there is one doubt, we don't do it. No way, no way.''

Lauda has surgery Lauda has surgeryTriple world champion Niki Lauda is recovering from kidney transplant surgery, it is reported.  Austria Press Agency said the former driver and Jaguar boss, who nearly died in a fiery grand prix shunt in 1976, received the organ from his girlfriend, Birgit Wetzinger.  Austrian Lauda's brother donated him a kidney in 1997, but it had stopped functioning well, APA continued.
Industry News
USA TV Reminders for Saturday USA TV Reminders for Saturday 
A.  F1 Practice
            GP of France, Magny-Cours
            12:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. ET, Replay, SPEED
B.  F1 Qualifying
            GP of France, Magny-Cours
            7:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m. ET, Live, SPEED
C.  NASCAR Live!
            2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, Live, SPEED
D.  2005 NASCAR Preview
            Countdown to Green
            2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, NBC
E.  NASCAR Craftsman Truck Race
            O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, Kansas City
            3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET, Live, SPEED
F.  NASCAR This Morning - Special Edition
            5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET, Live, SPEED
G.  NASCAR Nextel Cup Race
            Pepsi 400, Daytona
            7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET, Live, NBC
H.  NASCAR Victory Lane
            11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET, SPEED
See the TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV links on the Home Page for a complete list of Saturday's TV programs.
Lehto and Werner top practice at Lime Rock Lehto and Werner top practice at Lime RockThe cars of the American Le Mans Series hit the track Friday in the first testing session for the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. And if the times are any indication, Round 4 of the American Le Mans Series could be another tight, closely contested event.

The No. 1 Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner posted the fastest time of the day at Lime Rock Park, a 47.802 lap around the 1.54-mile, eight-turn circuit. The reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans champions were about 0.1 seconds quicker than last year's pole-winning time of James Weaver. Lehto and Werner have won two ALMS races so far this season and are the defending LMP1 driving champions.

Dyson Racing's two Lola EX257s were second and third. Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, in the No. 16 entry, were 0.103 seconds behind, followed by Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson in the No. 20 Lola.

In LMP2, the No. 8 Mazda rotary-powered B-K Motorsports Courage C65 of Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo were fastest in class at 55.232. It was less than a second faster than the No. 19 Van der Steur Racing Lola, the next quickest car in class.

Two Corvette Racing C6-Rs were 1-2 in GT1. At 51.513, the No. 4 entry of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta was 0.09 seconds quicker than the No. 3 sister car of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell. The No. 63 ACEMCO Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem were less than a second behind Beretta and Gavin. ALMS

Mazda Raceway Sold Out Mazda Raceway Sold OutMazda Raceway Laguna Seca officials announced today that tickets for Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10 of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix are no longer available for purchase through the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca ticket office. A limited number of general admission tickets will be available for sale at the official 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix ticket outlets while their supplies last. Approximately 53,900 tickets have been sold to spectators for each of the weekend days.

General Admission tickets are still available for the Friday, July 8 practice day, the first opportunity for two-wheeled fans to see the MotoGP World Championship in its first appearance in the United States since 1994. Defending champion Valentino Rossi, his Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards and the rest of the MotoGP World Championship competitors will be on-track on Friday from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2 p.m.-3 p.m. for practice sessions. The sold-out days include Saturday's AMA Superbike Championship race and Sunday's much-anticipated MotoGP World Championship race.

"With almost 150,000 people expected to be here, next week's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix will be the largest event in the 49-year history of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca," said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of the historic track. "The combination of MotoGP, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the Monterey Peninsula has proven irresistible. Our phones have barely stopped ringing since we announced the event last August."

Only once before has a sellout been announced at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. That was the 1998 Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races with Porsche as the event's featured marque. That announcement was not made, however, until after a large walk-up crowd on Sunday of the event. Next weekend's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix marks the first time a sellout announcement has been made prior to the event weekend in the 49-year history of the world-renowned circuit. [Editor's Note: This proves our theory.  If a racing series has heroes, as MotoGP certainly does in guys like Valentino Rossi, the fans will come.  Champ Car had near-zero fans at its last race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca because it has yet to figure out how to make heroes out of its drivers.]
Evernham and Valvoline Form Partnership Evernham and Valvoline Form PartnershipEvernham Motorsports and Valvoline announced today they have formed a partnership to launch a third Evernham Motorsports entry for the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Season.

The new team will be known as Valvoline Evernham Motorsports, LLC with Valvoline serving as primary sponsor on the no. 10 Valvoline Dodge Charger. Most of the crew for the new team will move over from the current no. 91 team - a part-time effort with driver Bill Elliott. A driver and crew chief for the new team has yet to be named.

"This is the next step in our quest for a championship," said Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. "In today's competitive environment, you need a multiple-car team to win races and championships. When you have more race teams, it speeds your development and learning tremendously. With this expansion, we can compete more effectively against other multiple-car organizations.

"Having Valvoline as a partner - not just a sponsor - makes this an incredible program," Evernham said. "They have been a tremendous supporter of mine for many years, and our relationship has now grown into joint ownership of a team. Valvoline has a great history in this sport, and a deep understanding of what it takes to be successful. I look forward to winning championships with them."

Valvoline previously partnered with MB2 Motorsports in 2002 to form MBV Motorsports, with Valvoline acting as primary sponsor and 50% owner. Valvoline announced earlier this week it was terminating their agreement with MB2 Motorsports. The team had just one victory, in 2002 at Rockingham with driver Johnny Benson.

French GP Friday Press Conference French GP Friday Press ConferenceToday's FIA press conference with Colin Kolles (Jordan), Jean Todt (Ferrari), Pierre Dupasquier (Michelin) and Hiroshi Yasukawa (Bridgestone). Transcript
GP steers toward success GP steers toward successIn only its second year of operation of the 24-year-old Grand Prix of Cleveland, Champ Car seems to have found a formula that should continue to help the race grow.  Race General Manager Rena Shanaman acknowledged the event still failed to turn a profit, which remains a concern for Champ Car, but the product delivered at Burke Lakefront Airport on Sunday seemed to be in line with what race fans want: lots of racing and automotive attractions.

"My e-mails this week have been unbelievable," Shanaman said. "Not only have race fans responded positively, but our sponsors who were with us this year, and others who we have been trying to build relationships with, all seem to be looking forward to next year."

The difference this year was the number of support races. There were seven, including two Toyota Atlantic races, to go along with Trans-Am and Speed World Challenge.  As for attractions, there was the new Formula Drift and a classic car cruise.   Champ Car will announce its 2006 schedule by August. Cleveland's date is not set. But coming off a solid weekend attendance (nearly 90,000, which included 1,100 Formula One fans who used a one-race voucher), it's hard to see the series not celebrating the silver anniversary at the venue that has the longest tenure of any on the circuit. Plain Dealer

Bernie backs Michelin and teams Bernie backs Michelin and teamsBernie Ecclestone believes Formula One should be grateful that seven teams pulled out of the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, because he fears a driver could have died if the race had gone ahead. The seven teams who use Michelin rubber were forced to pull out of the race after the warm-up lap having being advised that their tires were not safe.

All seven team principals, along with representatives from Michelin and Ecclestone, the sport's commercial rights holder, gathered at Magny-Cours today to reveal that they faced criminal charges if they had raced against Michelin's advice.

Indiana law means that the teams could have been charged with endangering lives even if an accident had not occurred, while the repercussions in the event of a serious smash would have been much worse.

Ecclestone applauded Michelin's stance on the matter and insisted Formula One should be grateful that the problems were discovered in time.

He said: "I am pleased in a lot of ways that we didn't race; had we done that maybe those tires wouldn't have lasted even with a chicane or two chicanes. Maybe they were just not up to it so maybe one of the other corners we would have had the same problem. I think we could easily have lost somebody there so maybe we got lucky."

Far from terminally damaging the sport in the United States, Ecclestone signs up to the view that any publicity is good publicity.

He is taking solace from the fact that "we are well known in America now" and hopes greater efforts to promote the Indianapolis race next season will draw even bigger crowds.

"You have to look to the good in anything. Even with the bad you have to look to the good. There's nothing really positive except we could have learned a lesson from this, that's about it. I think if we do our job right, help promote the race, and Michelin get behind us, which I'm sure they will, we will see it much bigger."

Six of the seven teams are in the process of appealing against guilty verdicts on two charges of bringing the sport into disrepute.
World governing body the FIA have postponed punishment after finding against all seven teams on two comparatively trivial failings and Ecclestone wants the whole episode forgotten about.

"The bottom line really and truly is no-one wanted to deceive anyone," he added. "In the end the bottom line was there were no options. The way things have been dealt with, especially by Michelin, has been really good. They have stood up like men and said, 'We made a mistake and we are prepared to pay for it.'

"There were no options - if there were we would have taken them. Everybody did what they thought was the right thing to do and with hindsight it probably was. We are sorry. We are there to entertain." TimesOnline

“Fueling Stations” Provide Energy Boosts To Motorcyclists “Fueling Stations” Provide Energy Boosts To MotorcyclistsTens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts will converge onto Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for next week's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, July 8-10 in Monterey, Calif.  While some will travel by air, many will hit the road via motorcycle or automobile.   To help keep those who travel by land fueled on their way to Monterey, Red Bull has organized the "Rallye," a collection of over 20 Red Bull Energy Stops across the country for MotoGP enthusiasts to visit en route to the world famous, 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit.  With Rallye stops located as far east as Oberlin, Penn., as far south as Odessa, Fla. and as far north as Portland, Ore., travelers can get off the asphalt, grab a cold Red Bull, and swap riding stories before hitting the road again.  Visit the Rallye section at www.redbullusgrandprix.com for more information, including an interactive map of the U.S. that highlights Rallye locations, addresses, directions, GPS coordinates, dates and times of operation.
Bliss leads Pepsi 400 practice Bliss leads Pepsi 400 practicePractice for the Pepsi 400 (2.5-mile oval):
1) Mike Bliss, No. 0 Net Zero/Best Buy Chevrolet, 47.510 seconds/189.434 miles per hour
2) Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, 47.527/189.366
3) Travis Kvapil, No. 77 Kodak/Jasper Engine & Trans. Dodge, 47.591/189.111
4) Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Chevrolet, 47.709/188.644
5) Dale Jarrett, No. 88 UPS Ford, 47.843/188.115
6) Kasey Kahne, No. 9, Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, 47.871, 188.005
7) Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet, 47.899/187.895
8) Scott Riggs, No. 10 Valvoline/”Herbie Fully Loaded” Chevrolet, 47.902/187.884
9) Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, 47.917/187.825
10) Ricky Rudd, No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford, 47.920/187.813
11) Greg Biffle, No. 16 National Guard Ford, 47.970/187.617
12) Ken Schrader, No. 49 Schwan’s Dodge, 47.995/187.520
13) Kurt Busch, No. 97 Smirnoff Ice Ford, 48.010/187.461
14) Mark Martin, No. 6 Viagra Ford, 48.0123/187.410
15) Sterling Marlin, No.40 Coors Light Dodge 48.0123/187.410
16) Rusty Wallace, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, 48.025/187.402
17) Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford,
18) Casey Mears, No. 41 Target Dodge, 48.044/187.328
19) Kyle Petty, No. 45 Georgia-Pacific Brawny Dodge, 48.065/187.246
20) Jamie McMurray, No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, 48.087/187.161
21) Dave Blaney, No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet, 48.095/187.130
22) Carl Edwards, No. 99 Pennzoil Ford, 48.097/187.122
23) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, 48.159/186.881
24) Bobby Labonte, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, 48.169/186.842
25) Johnny Sauter, No. 09 Miccosukee Resort Dodge, 48.183, 186.788
26) Mike Garvey, No. 66 Jani-King Ford, 48.190, 186.761
27) Jeremy Mayfield, No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, 48.191, 186.757
28) Elliott Sadler, No. 38 Pedigree/M&M’s Ford, 48.197, 186.734
29) Scott Wimmer, No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge, 48.206, 186.699
30) Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, 48.229, 186.610
31) Joe Nemechek, No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet, 48.249, 186.532
32) Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet, 48.312, 186.289
33) Jeff Green, No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, 48.356, 186.120
34) Brian Vickers, No. 25 GMAC/ditech.com Chevrolet, 48.380, 186.027
35) Jason Leffler, No. 11 Fedex Express Chevrolet, 48.393, 185.977
36) Ryan Newman, No. 12, Alltel Dodge, 48.402, 185.943
37) Michael Waltrip, No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 48.688, 184.850
38) Boris Said, No. 36 Centrix Financial Chevrolet, 48.737, 184.665
39) Kerry Earnhardt, No. 33 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet, 48.852, 184.230
40) Kevin Lepage, No. 37 TBA Dodge, 48.979, 183.752
41) Bobby Hamilton, Jr., No. 32 Tide Chevrolet, 49.017, 183.610
42) Robby Gordon, No. 7 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet, 49.193, 182.953
43) Kenny Wallace, No. 00 Aaron’s Sales and Lease Dodge, 49.259, 182.708
44) Hermie Sadler, No. 92, Taco-Bell Ford, 49.271, 182.663
45) Mike Wallace, No. 4 Lucas Oil Chevrolet, 49.286, 182.608
Boris Said to co-host Wind Tunnel Boris Said to co-host Wind TunnelNextel Cup Series driver Boris Said will be Wind Tunnel's guest Co-Host this Sunday July 3rd. As an accomplished sports car racer, Boris ventured into the world of NASCAR in the late 1990s, where he raced in the Craftsman Truck Series. In two full seasons there, he scored four top-5s and one victory. That experience enabled him to land various Cup rides for the series’ trips to the road courses beginning in 1998, when he qualified fifth at Watkins Glen in his first Cup start. Since then, he has made 16 more Cup starts on ovals and road courses, earning the pole and a sixth-place finish in Sonoma in 2003.

Last week in Sonoma, Said was in position to better that performance but a miscue in the pits near the end of the event put him back in 17th. This weekend, he has set his road course disappointment aside in hopes of securing his best speedway finish to date in Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at the Daytona International Speedway.

This Sunday's Wind Tunnel line-up:

Guest Co-Host Boris Said (Nextel Cup Series Driver)

Featured Interview Nicky Hayden (MotoGP Rider and Former AMA Superbike Champion)

Featured Interview David Grubnic (NHRA Top Fuel Championship Contender)

Expert Analyst Bob Varsha, in-studio analysis of Formula 1's French Grand Prix

Topics of Discussion:
NASCAR under the lights in Daytona
F1 in France
IRL in Kansas
Craftsman Trucks in Kansas
Rolex Series in Daytona
...and much more!

Bridgestone: Safety first Bridgestone: Safety firstFerrari may have sacrificed speed for safety, Bridgestone's General Manager Hiroshi Yasukawa claimed. "Our company is always concerned about safety first," said Yasukawa. "Then afterwards, we discuss with the teams, and we chose different compounds or constructions or whatever. But the first issue is always safety. Bridgestone's thoughts are echoed by Ferrari Sporting President Jean Todt, who thinks that their philosophy will pay off. Bridgestone, together with Ferrari at some time decided to compromise performance for safety, which we did," he said.

"It also happened this year that we had to stop because we simply could not finish the race, like with Rubens (Barrichello) in Bahrain and Michael (Schumacher) in Barcelona. We learned from that and the tires we took in Nurburgring, for example, were definitely a compromise. They were not the quickest tires, but we knew we could finish the race."

Kimi's Mercedes blows, to lose 10 positions Kimi's Mercedes blows, to lose 10 positionsKimi Raikkonen’s chances of winning the French Grand Prix suffered a major setback on Friday after his Mercedes engine blew on his first flying lap in the afternoon practice session.  The McLaren mechanics will have to install a fresh power unit overnight, costing Raikkonen 10 places on the starting grid.  The penalty deals a major blow to Raikkonen’s title hopes as the season reaches its halfway mark.  The Finn trails championship leader Fernando Alonso by 22 points and needs to make headway at Magny-Cours.  He now faces a damage limitation exercise for the remainder of the weekend.
Prémat powers to GP2 pole Prémat powers to GP2 poleAlexandre Prémat has taken pole position for tomorrow’s feature GP2 series race at Magny Cours. The French ART Grand Prix driver wowed his home crowd with a lap of 1:25.132 to head the field. The two points he collects for pole position elevate him to eighth place in the drivers’ standings and moves his ART Grand Prix team to within three points of second-placed Super Nova International in the teams’ championship.

In a session of little incident it was Super Nova International’s Adam Carroll who was the early pace-setter on a 1:25.525. Adam was unable to improve on his early pace, but his lap time was still good enough for fifth position. He will line up tomorrow with fellow championship protagonists Heikki Kovalainen and Scott Speed surrounding him in fourth and sixth places respectively.

A great day for the ART Grand Prix team was topped off as Nico Rosberg, who had been fastest in this morning’s Free Practice session, took third position on the grid, behind GP2 series race- winner Jose Maria Lopez. With the first three drivers split by just one tenth of a second, and the top twelve by just a single second, there are likely to be fireworks at the start of tomorrow’s 41-lap race, which will start at 14.45, local time.
Alexandre Premat – ART Grand Prix - “I think this is a good pole position because when I put on my first set of tires I did the fastest time, and then when I put on my second set I was four tenths faster even with a mistake, so I am very happy and very confident for tomorrow afternoon. I hope to win tomorrow in front of my public and at my home Grand Prix.”

Jose Maria Lopez – DAMS - “I’m quite happy – we’ve made good progress and it looks as though the car is quite good, in a good direction. We’ll see tomorrow – our problem has been in the races a little bit in the past, but I think we’ve made good progress and it should definitely be good for the race tomorrow.”

Nico Rosberg – ART Grand Prix - “I’m quite happy, although it’s not always the best to be behind your team-mate! But these things happen and I’m quite happy to be in third – I had a bit of traffic on my second quick lap, which is a shame, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow in the race” GP2

Cleveland TV Rating Cleveland TV RatingUPDATE The final rating for Champ Car's Cleveland race was a decent 0.9/2 share with just over 1 million households tuned in.  This is up significantly from the Portland final rating of 0.4 and should teach Champ Car a lesson about scheduling races up against Tiger Woods and the Masters (Long Beach) and US Open (Portland).  Champ Car's rating will be decent on CBS if they stick with them and advertise the races enough.  06/27/05 The overnight TV rating for the Champ Car race from Cleveland on CBS was a 0.9/2 share, which is significantly better than Portland's 0.6 which was up against the US Open.
Oregon town remains optimistic Oregon town remains optimisticPromoters of putting a NASCAR track in Boardman, Oregon remain optimistic, despite the recent announcement by International Speedway Corp. that a Northwest track will be built in Bremerton, Wash.  "The ISC announcement was so generic and filled with lots of ifs," Jim Schilling, a member of a group trying to bring NASCAR to Boardman, told The East Oregonian. "It's subject to legislative approval, the permitting process, and they have no funding."  Plans for the Bremerton track call for 80,000 seats, to be built on 950 acres south of the city's airport.
Nextel and Sunoco Offer for Fans Nextel and Sunoco Offer for FansNASCAR's premier series sponsor, Nextel Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTL), today announced a sweepstakes offer in partnership with Sunoco, the official fuel of NASCAR, that will ultimately award $250,000 and a full tanker of gasoline to one lucky fan that enters the contest and correctly forecasts the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion. The sweepstakes begins July 1 and ends Wednesday, Aug. 31.

"Nextel is constantly looking for unique ways to bring the fans closer to the sport they love, and we are excited to partner with Sunoco to make this contest even better than it was last year," said Michael Robichaud, senior director of sports and entertainment marketing for Nextel. "This sweepstakes is a prime example of how sponsors can work together to get the fans involved and generate excitement for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup."

"Sunoco is extremely excited to partner with Nextel on what is sure to be a terrific NASCAR sweepstakes," said Chris Buitron, senior brand marketing manager for Sunoco. "Nextel has been great to work with in bringing this once in a lifetime experience to 10 lucky NASCAR fans."

After 26 races in the 36-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, the top 10 drivers in points and any others within 400 points of the first-place driver will earn berths in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. This grand prize will be awarded following the Ford 400 in Homestead, Fla., on Nov. 20, 2005, and just like the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers, fans need to qualify to be eligible.

Here's how it all breaks down:

* Between July 1 and Aug. 31, 2005, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series fans aged 18 or older can enter by selecting the driver they think will win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship.

Fans may enter by:
1. Purchasing a Nextel phone at any Nextel Retail Store or Nextel Authorized Representative;
2. Enter online at www.nextel.com/race or www.nascar.com <http://www.nascar.com/> ;
3. Through any Nextel phone with Nextel Online* Service; 4. At The Nextel Experience, Nextel's 6,400-square-foot interactive fan destination at NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events; 5. Or by visiting one of 3,800 participating Sunoco retail locations and filling out an official entry form.

* There is no purchase necessary and official rules will be available at www.nextel.com/race.

* When the top 10 drivers qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup are identified based on standings, the real fun begins. One winner will be chosen at random from each pool of entrants that selected a top ten driver. These winners will be announced following the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10, 2005.

* Each of the 10 winners will receive an ultimate fan experience trip to one of the 10 races in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. This includes four airline tickets, four tickets to the race, a VIP tour, a meet and greet with their selected driver, an RV for the weekend, $250 spending money and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series merchandise. These winners will also receive free Sunoco gasoline for a year and Nextel's latest sleek handset, the i836 from Motorola.

* The finalists whose drivers are still mathematically eligible to win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship will be flown to Homestead Miami Speedway where they will enjoy the Ford 400 from the Race to the Chase-branded Fan Stand setup behind pit road.

* The finalist who has selected the driver that is named the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion will win the grand prize: $250,000 and a tanker of quality Sunoco gasoline.

* New to the sweepstakes in 2005, Motorola is offering cash prizes for nine runners-up based on their driver's position within the points standings -- $25,000 for second place, $15,000 for third and $10,000 each for third through ninth places.

Pedro de la Rosa leads 2nd practice for French GP Pedro de la Rosa leads 2nd practice for French GPPedro de la Rosa set the fastest time of both practice sessions at Magny-Cours on Friday for the French GP, with regular McLaren driver Juan Montoya 2nd..
1. PEDRO DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:14.460
2. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:15.129
3. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:15.204
4. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:15.242
5. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:15.380
6. OLIVIER PANIS Toyota M 1:15.483
7. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:15.605
8. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M 1:15.774
9. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1:15.925
10. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:16.371
11. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:16.430
12. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:16.597
13. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:16.753
14. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:16.890
15. VITANTONIO LIUZZI Red Bull Racing M 1:16.987
16. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:17.107
17. NICK HEIDFELD Williams-BMW M 1:17.192
18. ROBERT DOORNBOS Jordan-Toyota B 1:17.574
19. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:17.790
20. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:18.508
21. PATRICK FRIESACHER Minardi-Cosworth B 1:18.814
22. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:18.897
23. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:19.186
24. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M No Time
Rumsfeld Named Pepsi 400 Grand Marshal Rumsfeld Named Pepsi 400 Grand MarshalU.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has been named Grand Marshal for the 47th running of the Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 2. Mr. Rumsfeld will give the command "Drivers, start your engines" in NASCAR's star-spangled holiday weekend event set to begin under the lights at 8 p.m. at the "World Center of Racing." His Grand Marshal duties also include leading the 43-car field in the pace laps from the Grand Marshal pace car. "It is only fitting to have Secretary Rumsfeld serve as Grand Marshal for an Independence Day weekend tradition like the 47th Pepsi 400," said DIS President Robin Braig. "We are honored and privileged that Mr. Rumsfeld will be on hand to witness one of NASCAR's grandest nighttime spectacles." Secretary Rumsfeld was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense on January 20, 2001. Before assuming his present post, the former Navy pilot had also served as the 13th Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, U.S. Congressman and chief executive officer of two Fortune 500 companies. Other activities on tap for the weekend include Lisa Marie Presley performing a pre race concert, and Blackground/Universal recording artist JoJo performing the National Anthem.
Daytona Proposed Hall Features 3 story video wall Daytona Proposed Hall Features 3 story video wallThe central showpiece of the city's proposed NASCAR hall of fame is designed to make visitors feel like they're standing in the infield at Daytona International Speedway.  A three-story curved wall that encircles the room will feature video screens with the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty zooming by at speeds close to 200 miles per hour. A rendering of the 10,000-square-foot exhibit, which is being called "NASCAR's Heritage Walk Gallery," was released by officials Wednesday in an effort to capitalize on the crowds in town for Saturday's Pepsi 400. Daytona Beach has been criticized for being too secretive about its bid in the past, but organizers said that was done on purpose and the city has begun to release details of the hall. The site has not been announced, but organizers have said the $70 million facility will be on or adjacent to Daytona International Speedway. Orlando Sentinel
Pennzoil on the No. 99 for Daytona Pennzoil on the No. 99 for DaytonaCarl Edwards will sports a Pennzoil Platinum paint schemes on the #99 Roush Racing Ford for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2nd. Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil is the most advanced product that Pennzoil has ever produced and is the latest product from the category leader. Pennzoil Platinum's ultimate-protection formulation is designed to stand up to today's most demanding engines. This new full synthetic motor oil combines a highly-refined base oil with a proprietary additive package to create a ground-breaking formulation to keep engines running at their full potential.
Team swap a bad move, Eury Sr. says Team swap a bad move, Eury Sr. saysTony Eury Sr., director of competition for Dale Earnhardt Inc., on Thursday criticized owner Teresa Earnhardt's decision to swap Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip's equipment and crews, calling it "a bad move."
"I guess we made a bad move over the winter and our cars down there in the No. 8 shop weren't as good as we thought they were," said Eury Sr., who was Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief last season.

In the move, Pete Rondeau was named crew chief for Earnhardt Jr., while Tony Eury Jr. was named crew chief for Waltrip. Eury Sr. moved from crew chief into his current role.  Rondeau has since been released as Earnhardt Jr.'s team has struggled this season. He is 18th in points entering Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

"When you got something good I guess you should leave it alone. We won six races with him last year, Maybe we should have been left alone," Eury Sr. said.  "I don't know. That's past. We got to get (Earnhardt Jr.) in that Chase now. Everything is behind us and we're going forward from here."

Asked whose decision it was to make the swap, Eury Sr. said: "All I know is I was called in the office the Monday after Homestead and told Teresa wanted me to be the director of motorsports and that was the job she wanted me to do. I've been there 20 years. What she wants me to do, that's what I do."  More at ThatsRacin.com

Rosberg fastest in damp GP2 session Rosberg fastest in damp GP2 sessionNico Rosberg picked up where he left off in last month's GP2 Series test by setting the quickest lap in damp conditions during the solitary practice session at Magny-Cours.

The ART Grand Prix driver set a time of 1min 27.154secs to head the 24-car field as it returned to action after a month's break while the F1 circus headed across the Atlantic for its ill-fated double-header in Canada and the USA.

Rosberg headed points leader Heikki Kovalainen and ever-present threat Scott Speed at the Nevers venue, as darkly ominous clouds threatened to provide the series with its first public outing in the wet. However, the weather soon took a turn for the better, with the sun starting to peek through as the cars took to the drying track.

Local knowledge helped Nicolas Lapierre set the early pace, the Frenchman having grown up near the track and clearly knowing the fastest line around it, but it wasn't long before team-mate Kovalainen claimed top spot from him with a time of 1min 27.311secs.

Rosberg then set his fastest lap 18 minutes into a half-hour session littered with a few incidents. Ryan Sharp stopped on track after a spin, while Hiroki Yoshimoto also rotating and Ferdinando Monfardini needing a push from the marshals to get back to the pits. As ever, though, the times were remarkably close, with the top ten split by just one second, with two seconds covering the first 18 drivers.

Behind Speed, Giorgio Pantano headed a French crown consisting of Lapierre, Alex Premat and Olivier Pla, with Jose Maria Lopez, Gianmaria Bruni and Nelson Piquet rounding out the top ten. Ernesto Viso, who will suffer a grid penalty in Saturday's race, was back in 13th, behind BCN team-mate Yoshimoto and double race winner Adam Carroll.

French peasants are revolting French peasants are revoltingThe Grand Prix de France was designed to bring economic welfare to the Nievre department of France. It is not really been very successful in this respect but it is ironic that this weekend the event is going to be attacked by anti-consumerism campaigner Francois Schneider and his donkey Jujube, who are being followed by a bunch of protesters who are calling for the Grand Prix to be cancelled, claiming that the event is the ultimate expression of consumer society.

"We want the end of this anachronistic activity reserved for a score of spoilt rich brats," says the organization on its website. The aim of the march is clearly to block traffic and attract publicity for their cause.

The march is apparently being supported by Jose Bove, an anti-globalization activist famous for trashing a McDonalds restaurant until 1999. Bove has since been a symbol of old-fashioned France, complete with an Asterix moustache, fighting against big bad globalization. Grandprix.com

Pedro de la Rosa leads opening practice Pedro de la Rosa leads opening practicePedro de la Rosa set the fastest time of the first session at Magny-Cours on Friday for the French GP, a good half a second faster than the Renault of Fernando Alonso and his Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella. Takuma Sato was fourth fastest for BAR-Honda ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button.
1. PEDRO DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:14.778
2. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:15.183
3. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:15.255
4. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:15.530
5. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M 1:15.877
6. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:16.038
7. OLIVIER PANIS Toyota M 1:16.146
8. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:16.366
9. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1:16.731
10. NICK HEIDFELD Williams-BMW M 1:16.758
11. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:16.838
12. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:17.168
13. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:17.343
14. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:17.389
15. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:17.451
16. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:17.777
17. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:18.192
18. VITANTONIO LIUZZI Red Bull Racing M 1:18.876
19. ROBERT DOORNBOS Jordan-Toyota B 1:19.001
20. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:20.067
21. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:20.382
22. PATRICK FRIESACHER Minardi-Cosworth B 1:20.725
23. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:21.725
24. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M No Time
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'Indy was title blow' - Kimi
'Michelin speed won't drop'
Indy farce to help F1 - Schu
New look Renault
BMW to decide lineup - Sauber
Dupasquier 'won't be sacked'
JV - 'damage in US is done'
Legal action to push ahead
'Surprise' at tire rival woe
'Grove on winning road'
Driver 'unity' at stake
'I had fuel' - Trulli
Ferrari on climb to F1 return
No Russian driver for Midland
Michelin chide FIA warning
JV keyed up for BMW boost
French GP Thursday Press Conference French GP Thursday Press ConferenceThursday French GP FIA press conference with the following drivers: Fernando Alonso (Renault), Tiago Monteiro (Jordan), Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Jarno Trulli (Toyota). Transcript
Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson Beat NASCAR Stars Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson Beat NASCAR StarsIn a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race featuring a full field of sports car racers and four NASCAR Nextel Cup Series stars at Daytona International Speedway, sports car ace Butch Leitzinger passed Michael McDowell on Lap 47 of 70 and led the rest of the way en route to a 5.539-second victory over Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Max Angelelli.

It was the first Rolex Series victory of the season for Leitzinger and his No. 4 Pontiac Crawford co-driver Elliott Forbes-Robinson, and was their first triumph since winning at Barber Motorsports Park last October. Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson also became the fifth different set of co-drivers to win a Rolex Series event in seven races.

With the second-place finish, Angelelli and No. 10 Pontiac Riley co-driver Wayne Taylor reclaimed sole possession of first place in the Daytona Prototype driver standings at the halfway point in the season. McDowell and No. 19 BMW Riley co-driver Memo Gidley completed the top three.

With a 15th-place finish in their No. 44 Pontiac Doran, NASCAR champions Bobby and Terry Labonte were the highest-finishing Nextel Cup drivers in the race. After running as high as second at one point in the race, Kyle Petty finished 17th in the No. 7 Pontiac Riley he co-drove with Tony Ave and car owner Brian Tuttle. Tony Stewart, who ran as high as third place, wound up 22nd due to a mechanical problem in the No. 20 Pontiac Crawford he co-drove with sports car star Andy Wallace.

Justin Marks and Joey Hand took the GT class victory in a BMW.

Team withdraws from Lime Rock race Team withdraws from Lime Rock raceThe No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola has been withdrawn from Monday's New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the American Le Mans Series. The car was to be driven by the father-son duo of Jon and Clint Field, who teamed to win the Grand Prix of Atlanta in the ALMS' second race of 2005.

Intersport personnel were unable to get the car through a lengthy customs clearing process as it returned to the United States from the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Lola, driven at Le Mans by Sam Hancock, Gregor Fisken and Liz Halliday, consistently has been the fastest car in the ALMS' LMP2 class. But reliability issues plagued the car at Sebring and Mid-Ohio, both tracks where the Intersport team was leading in class before having to retire.

The team plans to return to ALMS racing at the Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery, scheduled for July 17 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Team works on Mazda mileage Team works on Mazda mileageThe Mazda rotary engine that supplies power to the No. 8 B-K Motorsports Courage C65 has been undergoing testing and development since its LMP2 class victory at the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, the most recent round of the ALMS. But the team isn't necessarily searching for power.

"There are no miraculous changes coming. It's just part of the program," said John Doonan, team director of marketing and public relations. "The two keys things are to maintain the reliability of the rotary engine and look for ways to get better fuel mileage out of the motor. We're not seeing major horsepower increases. It goes back to the foundation of this thing. In and of itself, it already has astonishing reliability. That's the hallmark of the Mazda rotary engine. We're definitely looking forward to the longer races, Petit and Sebring and hopefully a trip to France."

Since debuting in April, Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo have driven the No. 8 entry to a second-place class finish at Road Atlanta and the first class win for a Mazda in the series at Mid-Ohio. Since then, the team has had a couple of independent test sessions leading up to the ALMS' critical July stretch.

"It was a chance to get Guy and Jamie more seat time in the car," Doonan said. "Each of them has been in the car maybe three hours total. That includes practices and qualifying. The real opportunity is to get them more time. We want to stay on course to be around at the finish and pound out laps."

Tidbits from Lime Rock Tidbits from Lime RockThe No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage was a late entry to the New England Grand Prix. Team owner John Macaluso said he wanted to see how the car came out of Le Mans before committing to the race. . Twenty youth from the Stanford, Conn., area will be at Lime Rock Monday as part of the Salvation Army Grid Kids program. The Grid Kids will receive VIP passes to the race, a paddock tour, souvenirs, autographs and a visit to the Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing transporter, as well as the chance to meet and talk to team members. . Fabio Babini will replace Fabrizio DeSimone in the No. 35 Maserati Corse MC12 this weekend. DeSimone hurt his foot last week at his home in Italy. . Just a few days before his injury, DeSimone conducted a tire test for Pirelli in the Maserati. The Italian said Maserati Corse is looking for consistency from their Pirellis, although he added that the tire company has been a first-class partner this year. So far, the MC12 has posted one podium finish in GT1, that at the Grand Prix of Atlanta.

The New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the ALMS, is set for 3 p.m. Monday at Lime Rock Park. SPEED Channel will provide live coverage, along with American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com. Qualifying will begin at 2:55 p.m. Saturday.

Guy Smith joins Dyson for Petit LeMans Guy Smith joins Dyson for Petit LeMans"We have had some very talented drives at Dyson Racing over the years and Guy Smith ranks right up there," comments Rob Dyson on the announcement that Smith will be joining the Thetford/Norcold team for the American Le Mans Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 1.  Guy Smith ran with Chris Dyson in the #20 AER powered Thetford/Norcold Lola EX 275 for the 12 Hours of Sebring this March. Observed Chris, "When we tested him prior to Sebring, he was quick right off the bat, communicated well with our engineer and fit in well with our team.  He was a quick co-driver who did not place a wheel wrong in the race. Guy was a natural first choice to have him join us for the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans.  With the class winners earning an automatic berth in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this is one of the major races of the year for the ALMS." In addition to driving for Dyson Racing earlier this year, Smith has also been driving the Pontiac Riley of Jim Mathews Racing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.  Last year, he drove in the Le Mans Endurance Series in Europe and also drove six races for Rocketsports Racing in Champ Car. As well as winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Smith has four top four finishes in the 12 Hours of Sebring and a second and fourth in the 24 Hours of Daytona. "I am excited about returning to Dyson Racing and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the team at Sebring," remarked Guy Smith.  "Dyson Racing is very good at giving you a car that you can go fast in right away.  Their level of professionalism directly translates into a competitive effort on the track.  All you have to do is look at their one - two finish at the ALMS race at Mid-Ohio. It does not get much better than that."
Wallace to appear with Cheap Trick Wallace to appear with Cheap TrickNASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Rusty Wallace, who is retiring at the end of this season, will appear with rock group Cheap Trick at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa.  Wallace’s No. 2 Dodge Charger will be at the event, which is billed as “Rusty’s Last Call” TAMPA TRIBUNE
FitzBradshaw Racing announces new sponsor FitzBradshaw Racing announces new sponsorFitzBradshaw Racing today announced that Just Born Inc.’s Mike & Ike Tangy Twister candy will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 12 Dodge Charger driven by Tim Fedewa at this weekend’s NASCAR Busch Series Winn Dixie 250 at Daytona Int’l Speedway. FitzBradshaw Racing
Legge challenging Patrick as racing's first lady Legge challenging Patrick as racing's first ladyKatherine Legge plants her foot on the gas pedal of the modified Ford pickup truck she climbed into for the first time minutes earlier, spins the rear tires and shifts gear. Barreling down the straightaway at more than 120 mph, Legge (pronounced "leg") seems oblivious to a rapidly approaching tirewall when _ VROOM! _ she slams down the shift, sending the truck into a turbulent sideways slide through the turn.

"I'm going to get into trouble for this!" she screams above the test truck's roaring engine and screeching rubber. "This really kills the tires, but it's the most fun!"

In her first season driving in the U.S., the carefree and confident Englishwoman is having more fun than even she could have imagined.

While Danica Patrick has become racing's darling following her historic rookie run at the Indy 500, Legge already has done something that Patrick couldn't in two years driving in the Toyota Atlantic Series: She's won.

On April 10 at Long Beach, Calif., Legge, who crashed during qualifying and damaged her car in the first few laps, became the first woman to win an open-wheel race in North America.

Patrick may be the one appearing on David Letterman and the cover of Sports Illustrated, but Legge could be gaining on her.   "I'm in her shadow," said Legge, quickly casting one of her own. More from AP article

Taylor Breaks Daytona Prototype Track Record Taylor Breaks Daytona Prototype Track RecordFor the second time in as many races, the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley will start from the pole position for tonight’s Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway (SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. ET).

However, it is the first Daytona Prototype pole position for driver Wayne Taylor, who claimed the spot in grand fashion at his “home track.” The Altamonte Springs, Fla. resident broke Scott Pruett’s year-and-a-half old Daytona Prototype track record by turning a best lap at 1:45.783 (121.154 mph) and will head a field of 25 Daytona Prototypes and 28 GT machines when the green flag drops shortly after 7:15 p.m. ET. It was Taylor’s first pole position of any kind since a May, 1996 IMSA World Sports Car event at Texas World Speedway.

Taylor’s co-driver, Max Angelelli, took his second-career pole position in qualifying for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen nearly two weeks ago. Taylor and Angelelli are looking for their third-consecutive Rolex Series victory at Daytona, as they are the defending champions of the Brumos Porsche 250 and also won the 2005 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in February. If they are successful, they will become the first set of co-drivers to win three straight at the “World Center of Racing” since Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber took three-in-a-row with victories in the Paul Revere 250 and Grand American Champions Weekend in 2003 and the 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“I’m just ecstatic,” Taylor said. “This championship is so hard and my teammate is so much faster than everybody and it’s so hard for me to keep up to his pace. This will do a lot for my confidence. You know we changed the strategy only yesterday because we were going to have Max start and qualify. But we changed and I was pretty stressed by it. What a great team! For SunTrust, what a great retirement gift for George Koehn (who is retiring from his position as President and CEO of SunTrust Bank, Florida). We’re delighted with Pontiac and our Hoosier tires too.”

Starting a season-best second will be Cort Wagner, who logged a best time of 1:45.990 (120.917 mph) aboard the No. 02 New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley. Wagner and co-driver Stefan Johansson enter the Brumos Porsche 250 still looking for their first Daytona Prototype victory.

Jorg Bergmeister starts third on the grid in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley on the strength of a lap at 1:46.357 (120.500 mph). The German will share his car with 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Papis, as both drivers look for their first Rolex Series victories of the season.

Luis Diaz will start fourth in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley with a lap at 1:46.369 (120.486 mph). Diaz and co-driver Scott Pruett are looking for their fifth-straight Rolex Series podium finish in tonight’s race, and they are currently tied for the Daytona Prototype championship lead with Taylor and Angelelli (180-180).

Daytona Prototype Top Ten Qualifiers:
1. Taylor/Angelelli Pontiac Riley 1:45.425
2. Wagner.Johansson Pontiac Riley 1:45.990
3. Bergmeister/Papis TRG Pontiac Riley 1:46.357
4. Diaz/Pruett Lexus Riley 1:46.369
5. Robinson/Leitziner Pontiac Crawford 1:46.380
6. Gidley/McDowell BMW Riley 1:46.856
7. Stewart/Wallace Pontiac Crawford 1:46.924
8. Gollin/Bobbi Lexus Doran 1:47.359
9. Frisselle/Frisselle BMW Doran 147.658
10. Haywood/France Porsche Fabcar 1:47.887

NASCAR TV Rating for Sonoma NASCAR TV Rating for SonomaUPDATE The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway last weekend was the highest-rated and most-viewed road-course race in the history of NASCAR.  The event earned a 5.7 final rating on FOX, bettering the previous road-course record of 5.6 set at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) in 2003 (NBC). The rating also represented a 21-percent increase over the 2004 Dodge/Save Mart 350 (4.7 on FOX).   The race attracted 8.8 million viewers, compared to the 2003 Watkins Glen event, which attracted 8.7 million viewers.

“These are terrific numbers.  Road-course racing is not easy to capture on television and the FOX Sports crew has done a phenomenal job of delivering the flavor and excitement of the race-day experience for the home viewer,” said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway.

Locally, the race generated a 3.2 rating in San Francisco and a 4.7 rating in Sacramento on FOX. The San Francisco market has experienced more than a 20-percent gain in ratings over 2004.

The 2005 Dodge/Save Mart 350 aired directly up against the PGA, LPGA (Women’s U.S. Open), NCAA College World Series Championship (Game #2), U.S. Women’s Soccer, USA Track & Field, SPEED Touring Car Championship, SPEED GT Championship, and Major League Baseball.  A rating point indicates the percentage of U.S. homes tuned in to an event. All data used was obtained from Nielsen Media Research.

06/27/05 Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway earned a 4.6 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 10 market share, Street & Smith's Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 4.2% lower than the 4.8 the race drew overnight in 2004, when it went on to earn a final 4.7/11. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
Corvette team hopes to continue winning ways Corvette team hopes to continue winning waysThey had a plan, and they were sticking to it. No talk of potential Aston Martin dominance or could make those associated with Corvette Racing wander off course at Le Mans. And so the team did what had done three of the previous four years: go out and win in class at Le Mans.

Now it's back to the task at hand: continue the quest for fifth straight American Le Mans Series GT1 team championship for Corvette Racing. The next step is the New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the ALMS, on July 4 at Lime Rock Park. Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin are the defending class champions. And like last year, they are coming off class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in their bright yellow Corvette.

"What we achieved was a great result," said Gavin, who partnered with Beretta and Jan Magnussen at Le Mans to beat Aston Martin Racing's two DBR9s. "The Le Mans 24 Hours is a case of being fast but also extremely patient. It's about sticking to a game plan and not getting carried away. That is something that runs throughout the whole team. You have to make sure everything is strong and super, super reliable. It's another thing that just bore fruit. When the heat and pressure were on, the C6-R ran faultlessly. We had no problem at all."
That's pretty much the entire ALMS season in a nutshell for Corvette. Except for Sebring (won by Aston Martin), Corvette Racing's two C6-Rs have finished 1-2 in class at every race this year, including Le Mans. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, in the No. 3 Corvette, are riding a two-race winning streak in the ALMS. Gavin and Beretta were poised to win at Mid-Ohio in May, but the team was penalized for a pit crew infraction that cost the No. 4 entry 20 seconds and the race victory.

"There is always a very healthy rivalry between the two cars," Gavin said. "Yes, we would have loved to have won a race in the ALMS this year, and we're sure it will come."

Fellows agrees. He said the No. 4 duo is too talented and too good to go winless this year. Mind you, Fellows isn't complaining about his victories this year. After all, he and O'Connell now have 23 career wins, tied for the most in series history.

"They've been a little unlucky," Fellows said. "They had Sebring covered and had an incident with a slower car that probably took victory away from them. At Atlanta and Mid-Ohio, they certainly were very close. Those guys did an absolutely terrific job at Le Mans. They were a little bit quicker than us, and that proved to be the difference. To be honest, I'm not that disappointed not to win Le Mans. To get a team 1-2 feels pretty good."

Both Gavin and Beretta felt comfortable last year at Lime Rock, and it showed on the speed sheets. They don't see why this year will be any different, which could lead to a tight race for the class driver's championship as the season winds down.

"I quite like the track, and I think Olivier does too," Gavin said. "It might remind us of some of the tracks we raced on in Europe. I was very happy with winning at Le Mans, but I think there is a little bit of unfinished businesses. We have to wait and see if this is our year."

The New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the ALMS, is set for 3 p.m. July 4 at Lime Rock Park. SPEED Channel will provide live coverage, along with American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com.

MB2 Motorsports Announces Restructuring of Ownership MB2 Motorsports Announces Restructuring of OwnershipMB2 Motorsports announced today that Robert E. Sutton has expanded his ownership involvement with the company by joining current and founding owner, Nelson Bowers, as an equal partner with the multicar race team. Sutton was previously a co-owner of MB2's No. 36 Nextel Cup team.  Jay Frye, MB2's general manager and chief executive officer since the formation of the racing organization in 1996, will continue with a minority ownership in the company.

Sutton's expanded position will take effect immediately and MB2 Motorsports will become one entity with ownership of all of the company's race teams starting with the 2006 season.

The company fields three cars in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series -- the 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek; the No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet, driven by Scott Riggs; and the No. 36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet, driven by Boris Said.

“Having had the opportunity to work with Nelson and Jay over the past two seasons, I have complete confidence that this team is poised for continued success on the track, as well as through innovative approaches to marketing the team properties,” Sutton said. “My background is in building businesses and I know potential when I see it.”

As Chairman and CEO of CENTRIX Financial and owner of Sutton Motorsports, Sutton spearheaded the company’s move into NASCAR in April of 2004 as the sanctioning body's Official Auto Finance Company. Soon after, CENTRIX joined MB2 as an associate sponsor on the No. 01 and No.10 teams.  Following the 2004 season, Sutton and CENTRIX increased their involvement with MB2 as the primary sponsor on Said's No. 36 Chevy and major associate status with the No 01 and 10 teams.

"We are thrilled that Bob has stepped up his role with our company," said Bowers. "His sharp business acumen, knowledge and sponsorship participation in many racing disciplines open a new and exciting chapter for our race team. Bob and I share a commitment and vision for success.”

 The racing organization has a developmental program in progress with 20-year-old driver Joe Henderson of Franklin, Tenn. The company also has plans to have Kraig Kinser, the 19-year-old son of legendary sprint car racer Steve Kinser, join the developmental team. 

“We have built a solid foundation with key team personnel in place,” said Frye. “And with the expansion of Bob’s ownership role, it gives us even more opportunities and resources to grow in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.”  MB2 is currently based in Concord, N.C., but will be moving in August to a new shop in Mooresville, N.C. The new 144,000 square-foot complex will be more than three times larger than its current facility.

USGP fiasco hurt Kimi's chances USGP fiasco hurt Kimi's chancesKimi Raikkonen admits his world championship bid has been damaged by McLaren’s decision not to race in Indianapolis almost a fortnight ago. The Finn arrives at Magny-Cours for this weekend’s French Grand Prix trailing Renault’s championship leader Fernando Alonso by 22 points with 10 races remaining.

He was denied the chance to close that gap further in the United States when all the Michelin-supplied teams opted not to race due to safety fears. That decision was particularly hard to take for Raikkonen, who needed all McLaren’s powers of persuasion to keep him from starting a race which he was favorite to win.

Raikkonen, who flew to New York while the race was still underway, said: “It was disappointing but in the end there was nothing that could be done. I listened to what people said should be done. Every race we don’t race is not going to help us because we need as many races as possible to try and catch up with the Renaults and Alonso. But that is the situation.” Breakingnews.ie

Wallace will test, but not race at Iowa track Wallace will test, but not race at Iowa trackRusty Wallace says he won't take part in the first race at the Iowa Speedway when it opens next summer. The legendary NASCAR driver is retiring from the Nextel Cup Series at the end of the season and designed the track which broke ground last week in Newton. Wallace says he will drive some laps at the track with his car to check the smoothness of the track and to "I'll drive the laps at the new track to make sure the consistency is right the racing's right on it before I sign off on it," Wallace says. Wallace says there are enough super speedways out there and the track of 7/8ths mile will fill a need. He says he believes it'll be "the most awesome speedway in the entire world that I've ever worked on." Sanctioning bodies like ARCA and USAC are expected to hold events at the track and Wallace says down the road NASCAR events are a possibility. He says NASCAR "is totally in the loop" for everything they're doing at the Newton track. Radio Iowa
Industry News
Toyota plant nearly ready Toyota plant nearly readyConstruction of the $800-million Toyota Motor Corp. truck plant in South San Antonio is nearly complete.  Now the factory is a few months from installation of the equipment that will crank out 150,000 Tundras a year.

More than 1,200 people are working on the construction site. Toyota project leader Paul Street said Wednesday that work is nearly complete with the buildings' enclosure. The roofs are on, the lights are on and the roads and underground utilities are all going in.

Street said the next big step is the installation of things such as fans, pumps and the heating, air conditioning and ventilation for the 1.8-million-square-foot plant. Soon afterward the manufacturing equipment will be installed.  Construction of the railroad track leading to the plant is to be finished by next summer. Detroit Free Press

Liuzzi's future a bit cloudy Liuzzi's future a bit cloudyVitantonio Liuzzi is having a difficult time. The Italian driver started the season as third driver for Red Bull Racing and from Imola onwards he replaced Christian Klien for four races. In his first race, he scored a point. In Canada Klien took over again. Scott Speed was appointed as the third driver for the two races in North-America. So Liuzzi went from race driver to… 'nothing'! Last week Liuzzi was back in action again in Jerez. "It feels like I have not driven in ages," he told F1Racing.net. "I went from second driver to nothing! I knew that was going to happen from the start, but it was tough."

When the Italian driver took over, Red Bull started struggling, after a good start of the season. "We had a bit of a struggle in those races, but that is part of racing. I'm not sure, but I think I get back in the car before the end of the season to have another chance."

The rumors of him leaving to Sauber are just rumors. "At the moment there is nothing going on between Sauber and me. I am feeling well at Red Bull and I want to show what I am capable of at this team." F1Racing.net

New kid in town New kid in townQuick! Name the young American racer who soundly beat Danica Patrick to the Toyota Atlantic Championship title in 2003.  Here's a hint: he finished second in two of the last three Champ Car World Series races, including Sunday's Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to A.J. Allmendinger. He's a 23-year-old Californian who's brash, fast, and -- gasp -- potentially even more marketable than the former Atlantic foe who has created such a frenzy in the open-wheel racing world.

Named after Champ Car legend A.J. Foyt, Allmendinger is a compact bundle of energy capped by a flat-top haircut. In an age when racers are trained to be corporate drones, the outspoken Allmendinger is always ready to deliver a refreshing dose of self-deprecating candor.

On Sunday, he came within 3.113 seconds of recording his first Champ Car win, beaten only by his mentor, Paul Tracy. It was the drive of the day in a flat-out shootout in hot and muggy conditions, and it came just 24 hours after Allmendinger absorbed what he called "one of the hardest hits I've felt" in a qualifying crash that left him a disappointed ninth on the grid.

"Fortunately, I don't have too many [crashes] to talk about," he quickly added. "If they moved the wall in Turn 8, we'd be a bit quicker through there."

The Turn 8 crash, which came with just minutes remaining in final qualifying, was bigger than Allmendinger let on. He was taken to MetroHealth Hospital for a precautionary CT scan and was not cleared to drive by Champ Car medical director Dr. Chris Pinderski until he passed an IMPACT motor skills test on Sunday morning. Even so, Allmendinger said he was not feeling his best.  More at ESPN

Renault to sport new look in France Renault to sport new look in FranceThe Renault F1 R25 will sport a new look when it hits the track for first practice on Friday morning at its home race.

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team has given creativity free rein across the car, as the ‘Phoenix' design soars from the sidepods and engine cover of the R25.

Conceived by DEM Inc., the Taiwanese design agency headed by Demos and Edward Chiang, the Phoenix design is inspired by the bird's status as Guardian Creature in Chinese mythology.

The phoenix protected the Emperor on the field of battle, and has been conceived to convey the same power to the team's drivers throughout the race weekend. The design expresses the characteristics of power, speed and leadership central to the Renault F1 Team – and will give the cars a distinctive, dynamic appearance for the 2005 French Grand Prix.

Closer to home, both R25's will sport ‘Paris 2012' branding in support of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. Renault is an official partner of the French bid to host this sporting extravaganza, and the ‘Paris 2012' logo will run on the bodywork of both Renault F1 Team race-cars ahead of the announcement of the winning city by the IOC on July 6.

Renault will also welcome 6,000 employees from across the country to the race, filling two grandstands around the Magny-Cours circuit. These guests will have the opportunity to enjoy, among other exhibitions, a static display of Renault's sporting and F1 heritage including past race winners from the marque.  Renault

A1 Grand Prix
Ronaldo and Emmo launch new team Ronaldo and Emmo launch new teamAt a lavish ceremony in São Paulo today, three-times FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldo and two time F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi unveiled A1 Team Brazil's entry to the World Cup of Motorsport in the iconic green and gold colors of the Brazilian flag.

Ronaldo has bought into the A1 Grand Prix series bringing with him a potential 182 million fans through securing the involvement of the world's sixth largest country.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Ronaldo said: 'Like soccer, A1GP is a team sport. In soccer, we have already won the World Cup five times and it would be wonderful to win the first motor racing world cup as well. The participation of Emerson who has two F1 world titles and two Indy 500 victories to his name as well as an unquestionable level of technical knowledge, is justified by our common goal to put Brazil in an atmosphere of technological innovation and high dose adrenaline.'

Emerson Fittipaldi also spoke of his excitement at being involved in A1: 'The concept of A1 Grand Prix is fantastic. This category gives the edge to the driver as all the cars are identical. Brazilian fans will be able to support our Team in the same way they support the national soccer team. Our project will create the conditions for young drivers to stand out in world motorsport.'

A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman Sheikh Maktoum went on to say: 'Brazil has produced some of the greatest legends that both football and motorsport have ever seen and I am delighted to have the opportunity to unite these sports through A1. The Brazilian people are known world-wide for their passion in both arenas and I am sure they will support their national A1 team with the same enthusiasm. Through A1 Grand Prix, the 182 million strong population of Brazil will have the same level of access to motorsport that they currently enjoy with football. The format of A1 Grand Prix, with points going to Nations and not drivers, will allow a multitude of young people to shine on the international stage. If you have the passion and the talent to compete, A1 Grand Prix will make it happen.'

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Max rules out race bans
Cool Rubens' staying put
F1 income stumbles
Schu racer sold for $3.3m
Ferrari's V8
Tire rival wants proper race
Six teams to appeal

Mika better than Kimi - DC
Drivers back teams' argument
20-race calendar proposed
Nino Farina
'F1 boycott was empty threat'
Indy welcomes F1 refund
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