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DATE News (chronologically)
07/01/07
f1

Bridgestone happy with tires in France
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen benefited from strong consistent runs on both compounds of Bridgestone Potenza tires to score his eleventh Grand Prix victory and his second using Bridgestones in a thrilling French Grand Prix. A diversity of pit stop strategies and length of stints was played out under the ever-present threat of rain. This provided excitement as well as a real challenge to the team strategists.

The forecast rain held off for the duration of the 70 laps, meaning that neither Bridgestone’s wet or extreme wet Potenzas were employed today. Nevertheless, the strategy of when and how to use the theoretically faster but less consistent soft tire and the slower starting but more consistent medium Bridgestone Potenza provided interest throughout the race.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/07
cc

No love lost between Bourdais and Doornbos
After today's Mont-Tremblant Champ Car race Sebastien Bourdais accused race winner Robert Doornbos of blocking him on the race track. The fact that they are now tied in the point standings makes the rest of the year look like it will be a real heated battle. To the right Doornbos mocks sourpuss Bourdais on the victory podium.

The following war of words occurred during the post-race press conference.

Q. Robert, what do you have to answer to Sebastien about those criticisms, saying that you're not racing the way it's supposed to be in Champ Car? How different is it supposed to be? How are you taking this criticism? You did win the race.

ROBERT DOORNBOS: It's very easy. First of all, I'd like to thank Sebastien for all his compliments he made. He congratulates me.

I mean, I fully think that I deserve this victory. I'm very happy for this team and for myself. But to see what happened on track, I know that the rules in the U.S. are different, a different way of racing. In Europe, we race hard. In Formula One, we race hard. It's a sport.

At the end of the day, you're fighting -- you have to be selfish, you're fighting for your own positions. In the U.S. I have to respect the new rules. I paid the price last weekend in Cleveland where I felt that basically I made a mistake and the race director of Champ Car gave me a penalty, a drive-through, so my race was completely destroyed. With a bit of luck and good strategy, we got back on a good result.

So I am for sure respecting the rules of racing in the U.S. In these conditions, though, you cannot predict what happens because, like everybody says, you're driving on slick tires in the wet, you're driving on wets tires on parts of the track which are dry. You're all over the place looking for grip.

If Sebastien feels that he could have passed me, he should have done it. I felt I was quicker.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I only wish I could have. Had you not thrown me in the grass, maybe it would have been all right.

Q. Sebastien, when you went up on the podium, the fans booed you. I'd like to know what your reaction is to being booed when you finish second and you're series champion.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's too bad, you know. What can I say? I just said things the way I feel they are. I'm just being honest with everybody. You know, I think I'm big enough to say when I'm doing something wrong. Just trying to be honest, that's all.

You know, it's a sport. It's true. There are some rules. We're all supposed to obey the same rules. That's it.

Q. Not to belabor the point, but standing in the pit lane watching the race and with the monitors on, I didn't see the incident that you're talking about.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Fair enough. It happened two times on track and once in the pits. I know exactly what happened. He knows exactly what happened. You know, after that, if race control did not see it either, sometimes it happens. You know, it doesn't stop me from saying what I feel. That's all. When it's dangerous, I feel like we're in sixth or seventh gear, somebody is trying to run you in the grass, to me that's not very safe. What am I going to say about it, you know?

Q. When did it happen?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Going into turn eight and two laps later going into turn 10 when I was on the 'push to pass'. He just ran me in the grass, so I had to back off. That's it.

You know, I'm not going to make a fuss about it. I'm just being honest, you know. All I can say is apparently being honest is not always serving you right, but that's the way I am. I've always been like that. So I'm not going to start lying to you guys because you want me to, that's all.

Comment
07/01/07
cc

Paul Tracy has day he would rather forget
Champ Car driver Paul Tracy’s day began with a crash during morning warm up which forced the #3 INDECK crew to prepare their backup car since their primary was damaged beyond repair.  Per Champ Car rules the car changed meant that Tracy would have to start from the back of the field.  The Canadian managed to pick up positions on the start but contact with Will Power sent him to the back of the grid again.  His day ended early as he encountered engine problems and was forced to retire.

“Well I guess when it rains it pours.  Everything went wrong for us today, in the morning warm up I went off in Turn 10 and hit the wall pretty hard, the car had quite a lot of damage so we had to switch to our backup car.  Since we switched cars we were forced to start at the back and we managed to pick up a few positions on the start but then I was spun out by Will Power and dropped to the back again.  We were coming up to a restart and as I was coming up the hill I got on the gas and the engine just let go.  We just have to put this weekend behind us and move on to my home race in Toronto, I’m really looking forward to turning things around there in front of the Canadian fans.”

Comment
07/01/07
cc

Champ Car finds a new home in Mont-Tremblant
Francois Dumontier, Champ Car Mont-Tremblant General Manager : “Over the weekend I was asked about my first impressions, our fan capacity and our objectives for Champ Car Mont-Tremblant.  We were looking to host a good event and we had a great race on the track.  All of the fans left satisfied and with a smile on their face.  I am pleased to announce we had more than 42,000 fans for the three days.  This is our first event and we built a very strong foundation.”

Steve Johnson, Champ Car President and CEO: “Our expectations were exceeded.  The fans at the circuit are our most die-hard fans and sometimes our harshest critics and like Francois said, they all left with a smile on their face.  I think we have a huge future here, this has to be one of our most exciting races.  The track is spectacular, the city is breathtaking and Mont-Tremblant will be a home for us for many years.”

Comment
07/01/07
cc

Bourdais not penalized for jumping start
As can be seen in this replay from today's Mont-Tremblant Champ Car race, Sebastien Bourdais started before the lights went out and the officials missed it and never penalized him for it. Meanwhile Will Power, who inherited the pole when Tristan Gommendy's car would not fire, totally blew the standing start and stalled. He recovered to finish third.

Comment
07/01/07
nascar

Richard Petty Celebrates 70th on July 2
Richard Petty, “The King” of NASCAR will celebrate his 70th birthday in his hometown of Randleman, North Carolina Monday.  Petty is looking forward to be at home for the occasion.

“I can’t remember the last time I’ve been home to celebrate my birthday,” stated Petty.  “I’ve always been in Daytona.  That was fine, too.  We won a lot of races there, but it will be nice to be around the family.  It’s just the way the date landed this year.” 

“I don’t know what anyone has planned,” continued Petty.  “I leave that up to my wife.  She will let me know and we’ll do that.  Then it’s back to Daytona because that’s what we know.”

Comment
07/01/07
cc

XM Canada to broadcast three Champ Car races
XM Canada (TSX: XSR) announced today that it will broadcast live and taped coverage of the Canadian stops on the Champ Car World Series circuit beginning June 30 on XM Channel 205.

Hosted by Raceline Radio's Erik Tomas and 1998 Formula Atlantic Champion Lee Bentham, Champ Car race coverage of the inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Mont-Tremblant begins at 2 p.m. EDT on June 30 and runs until July 1. Listeners can experience the thrills of the race track with exclusive interviews and turn-by-turn coverage from the historical Circuit Mont-Tremblant. The coverage moves to Toronto on July 7 and 8 for the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto and to Edmonton on July 21 and 22 for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Edmonton.

"The addition of the Champ Car World Series reinforces our commitment to offer our subscribers the very best in exciting sports coverage," said Ross Davies, vice president of programming of XM Canada. "With the broadcast of the Canadian events, we are bringing the roar of the sport to all motor racing fans regardless of where they live."

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07/01/07
nascar

Negotiations between Biffle, Roush up in air UPDATE #2 Roush-Fenway Racing will announce a one-year-only sponsor deal for Greg Biffle and the #16 Ford within the next 30 days, team President Geoff Smith said Sunday morning at New Hampshire. And because the sponsorship deal has been agreed to, the urgency for the team and Biffle to negotiate a contract extension beyond 2008 is over, Smith said. Biffle is expected to have multiple sponsors next year, possibly including Aflac, which sponsored Biffle’s car for the first time this weekend. “We’ve got it worked out,” Smith said. “We’ll be announcing it, I’d say, within 30 days.” As for Biffle, who has been the subject of many “Silly Season” rumors this year, “He’s definitely in the car next year,” Smith said. SPEEDtv.com

06/09/07 If there is any doubt Greg Biffle will return as driver of the #16 car next season he put those rumors to rest at Pocono. "It’s my full intention right now to race that car next year. I can’t leave next year. I not only have a contract with Roush-Fenway Racing. I’ve got a contract with Ford. The speculation is over. I have two contracts that I’m obligated to do and I’m going to do. If for some reason we don’t come to an agreement I’ll be driving something different in 2009, not 2008. I’m off the bargaining table. They need a driver for the #8 next year...that’s not me...or whatever other cars." Contract extension talks are on hold for at least the next month as Biffle wants to focus on the competition side with new crew chief Greg Irwin. "Greg is doing an unbelievable job" said Biffle. "Pat (Tryson) was a helluva crew chief. Pat got this team to where it is now. Greg’s taken over and it keeps going up. Let’s just work on getting into the chase instead of working on negotiating money, sponsor appearances, Busch Series stuff and all that. I want to have it done this year. I don’t want it to go into next year, so heck we’ve got five months and that’s a lot of time." PRNs Garage Pass

06/08/07 Contract negotiations between #16-Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing have stalled, Biffle told ESPN.com Friday at Pocono Raceway. Biffle said the decision to break off talks was his and is based largely on improving the performance of a No. 16 team that has been up-and-down of late and in a state of transition following the firing of crew chief Pat Tryson two weeks ago and subsequent hiring of crew chief Greg Irwin. Biffle expects negotiations to resume in about a month. ESPN.com

Comment
07/01/07
cca

Franck Perera wins first Atlantics race
French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport) kept his streak of top-five finishes in the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda alive in a big way by taking his first career victory in the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant (ESPN2, July 6, 6:00 p.m. ET).

After starting from the pole position, Perera made it look easy in leading every lap on his way to a 20.486-second victory over points leader Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks). Perera became the third driver in the past four Atlantic events to earn his first career victory in the series. The performance enabled the Condor Motorsports driver to move into third place in the overall championship standings and also take over the lead in the Rookie of the Year standings. With seven of 12 races completed in the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship, Perera remains the only driver in the series to have finished inside the top five in every race.

With a second-place run, Matos picked up his fifth top-two result of the season and managed to extend his lead in the championship standings. The race was not without its drama for Matos, however, as the Brazilian noticed his motor beginning to sputter with two laps remaining and ran out of fuel coming off the final turn on the last lap. Nevertheless, he was able to coast across the stripe just ahead of his Sierra Sierra Enterprises teammate, James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks). Matos now leads Hinchcliffe by 33 points, 201-168, with Perera just two points behind Hinchcliffe in third.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/07
f1

Alonso refuses to write off title
(GMM) Fernando Alonso on Sunday refused to write off charging for a third successive championship despite dropping a further four points behind his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton at Magny Cours.

Asked by Spanish reporters how he sees the situation after finishing a distant seventh in the French grand prix, he answered: "The same as before.

"Ferrari are a little stronger, my teammate is 14 points in front instead of ten -- not much has changed because I still need to get as many points as I can."

The Spaniard, whose race was hailed as a standout of the race after his gearbox problem in qualifying, cautioned that rookie Hamilton cannot always expect to finish on the podium.

"In all eight races he has been in the top three," Alonso observed, "but when he has a gearbox problem or his race is ruined by the Safety Car then that will be the day on which I can really make up some ground.

"We knew that it would be a complicated race but I think that these two points could be important for me at the end of the season."

Despite admitting to having "fun" in his duels, particularly against BMW's Nick Heidfeld who he audaciously overtook in the Imola chicane, Alonso said the 2007 French grand prix will not be one he remembers fondly.

"I will try to forget the whole weekend as quickly as possible," he confirmed, "but I still had to push hard because, if you fight for a world championship, two points are not much but you still have to take the risk."

In terms of the championship battle, meanwhile, McLaren-Mercedes' Norbert Haug said Kimi Raikkonen's win was actually a preferable result if neither silver car could emerge at the top.

"The fact that Felipe Massa was second instead of first helps us because it means he caught up to us by only two points instead of four," the German told the broadcaster RTL.

Comment
07/01/07
f1

Heidfeld sure back injury won't recur
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld on Sunday said he is not concerned that a back injury could lead to more problems at the British grand prix in less than seven days.

The German pulled out of the Silverstone test last week with muscle cramps, and it limited his mileage and precipitated treatment in a local hospital after a recurrence during Friday free practice at Magny Cours.

But BMW-Sauber's Heidfeld, who is 30, finished fifth on Sunday despite uncharacteristically lagging the pace of his teammate Robert Kubica throughout the weekend.

"I am not worried," he told the German broadcaster Premiere.

"I have one week to prepare for Silverstone. I was examined and treated here and assume that from now on it will not be a problem for me."

Heidfeld was engaged in a thrilling fight for position with F1's reigning world champion Fernando Alonso during the French grand prix, describing the duel as "fun" despite losing out to an audacious move by Alonso through the Imola chicane.

"I think it was fair racing by both of us," he said, "and I am sure he will see it exactly the same way even if he is probably annoyed about spending so much time behind me.

"But it was great racing!"

Comment
07/01/07
f1

News briefs from Magny Cours: Sunday UPDATE A spokeswoman for formula one tire supplier Bridgestone on Sunday said she could not confirm or deny reports that team members were among the two passengers killed in a helicopter crash near Magny Cours on Saturday night.

07/01/07
(GMM) Further information is not yet available, but three F1-related people were killed when their helicopter crashed returning from the Magny Cours circuit on Saturday night. Two more people were seriously injured, amid rumors that they might have been part of the Bridgestone camp.

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Fernando Alonso's prayers seem to have been answered, because the French grand prix on Sunday will almost certainly be a wet affair. Local forecasters are predicting certain rain, although it may only be light. After his nightmare day on the track on Saturday, Spaniard Alonso will start just tenth and said: "Wet conditions produce mixed results. I need points but know finishing higher than fifth might not be possible."

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Ernesto Viso's spectacular crash aside, F1's support category GP2 was lucky to escape serious injury on Saturday. After teammates Timo Glock and Andreas Zuber drove into each other at the start, Glock experienced an Alex Wurz-style lucky escape after Zuber's car climbed over his cockpit. Later in a pit stop, a mechanic was struck by a car but not seriously hurt.

Comment
07/01/07
irl

IRL’s moving chicane parks it again UPDATE Crew for #23 Duno reports that their driver had soreness in her elbow and wrist following an accident in practice on Friday and discomfort caused her to retire from the event.

MILKA DUNO's EXCUSE: "Because qualifying was cancelled by rain, this was my first time back driving the car after my accident yesterday and until I was racing I didn't realize how sore my right arm was. This is a very physical track and it was very difficult to handle the car, and unfortunately we couldn't finish the race."

07/01/07 Milka The Moving Chicane Duno was down 4 laps by the 50-lap mark in Saturday night’s Indy Car race at Richmond, and just as we predicted, she would either crash and take someone out or the IRL would park her. The excuse was handling for the 2nd race in a row. It's more like she's not qualified to handle an Indy Car.

Comment
07/01/07
nascar

NASCAR needs its 'cheaters'
Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, has a NASCAR rap sheet as long as your arm. He's about to do hard time again with his fourth suspension in six years, his second in the last two.

Good for him. Bless his heart. May he never relent in seeking technological advantages.

Sunday's Nextel Cup race in Loudon, N.H., will begin the first suspension for young Steve Letarte, crew chief for Jeff Gordon. It won't be his last, if he's as good as I think he is, and if NASCAR continues down this path of zero tolerance on modifications to the Car of Tomorrow.

As these two sit out the next six races, living legend Junior Johnson can only admire them from afar. Somewhere Smokey Yunick is smiling. As those two always said, you work to find an edge, and then you leave it up to NASCAR to decide whether you've crossed the line.

Without their kind, NASCAR would be but a faded memory of a misbegotten experiment with showroom cars that fizzled in the 1950s.

Innovation and ingenuity, often sensationalized as "cheating," are the very blood and marrow of NASCAR's rise out of the backwaters into the huge markets and national telecasts.

"Stock car" racing worked only briefly. Showroom cars just never have been graceful or powerful enough for interesting racing. More at Chicago Tribune

Comment
07/01/07
irl

IRL comes up short on thrills
Seven years into an ambitious experiment, the Indy Racing League's invasion of Virginia seems to have reached its full adult dimensions. The circuit's tour stop at Richmond International Raceway doesn't appear to be shrinking, growing or changing in any meaningful way.

Last night was, as you might guess, typical. About 45,000 people showed up, almost all of them got their peek at celebrity spouse Ashley Judd, and the guy with the best equipment got things hooked up early and romped to a dominating win.

"It was a weird race, really," said Scott Dixon, who had the second-best car and finished in second place. "It was like no one could make up any ground on anyone."

Precisely. Winner Dario Franchitti led 242 of 250 laps, numbers that actually understate how good he was. Franchitti was passed coming out of the pits after the first caution and let Tony Kanaan play with the lead for a little while.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/07
cc

Grand Prix Arizona tickets are now on sale
Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Grand Prix Arizona.  Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com; all Ticketmaster retail outlets and Ticketmaster charge by phone at 1-480-784-4444.

The three-day festival of speed and entertainment to be held November 30 - December 2, 2007 will feature the season-ending race in the Champ Car World Series, Champ Car Atlantic, a Pro-Celebrity race, Formula Drift and a Historic Grand Prix race.  The December 2 Champ Car World Series race will feature open-wheel cars reaching speeds of up to 180 miles per hour around a 2.087-mile, 16-turn temporary street course through the heart of downtown Phoenix encompassing US Airways Arena, Chase Field and the Warehouse District.

In addition to the on-track activity, Grand Prix Arizona will be the first major motorsports event to go "green" and include a "green" expo by Earthshift ‘07; the event schedule will also include a free street party featuring concerts with superstar acts.  More details will be released on the star-studded line-ups for these events and separate tickets will be available for purchase.

"Our advance ticket sales have been very strong," said Grand Prix Arizona President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Freudenberg. "From the initial feedback, we anticipate strong public ticket sales as well," he said. 

Read more & Comment...
07/01/07
nascar

Ginn Racing looking for sponsors, drivers UPDATE Jay Frye, CEO of Ginn Racing, said Regan Smith, who is currently splitting the #01 with Martin, would drive either the #13 or 14 on a full-time basis next season. #14-Sterling Marlin is interested in a part-time schedule for next season, but his contract expires at the end of this year, as does #13-Joe Nemechek's. Frye said it's possible both drivers could return, though a fourth car would be needed for that to happen. Eventually, those drivers would step aside for someone who took the same path as Smith. "Hopefully - two or three years from now - we have three or four 20-something younger guys in the cars," Frye said. He added that Ginn will seek another young driver to replace Smith as Martin's co-pilot next season to help further that plan. Free agent Kyle Busch does not appear to be a likely candidate to drive for Ginn. SceneDaily.com

07/01/07 The jet black Ginn Racing Chevrolets of #13-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin have no primary sponsors this weekend. Why not? Very simple: The team is trying to illustrate that it needs sponsors for some races in the second half of the season on the two cars, it has “available inventory” in the form of unsold primary sponsorships for the remainder of 2007. Team spokesman David Ferroni said normally the team would simply run Ginn Resorts logos on the car, but by keeping them sponsor-free, it tells all the would-be backers out there that there is room at the inn – or at least on the hood and the fenders at Ginn Racing right now. SPEEDtv.com

Comment
07/01/07
nascar

DEI still talking to Budweiser
Max Siegel, president of worldwide operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., said Saturday that the team is still talking with Budweiser, still hoping to add a fourth Nextel Cup car in 2008 and is still looking for a replacement for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the #8 next year. “We still have our existing commercial relationship with Bud, talking about what’s best with everybody, still engaged in conversations with potential drivers,” Siegel said Saturday at New Hampshire. “Hopefully in the next four weeks we’ll get something wrapped up here.” Of the team’s car count next year, that’s still up in the air, too. “We have a couple of unique situations that could give us a fourth (car in 2008),” Siegel said. “Realistically, by ’09, definitely we’ll be a four-car team.” SPEEDtv.com

Comment
07/01/07
gp2

Villa wins first GP2 race
Javier Villa won Sunday's GP2 sprint race at Magny-Cours - his first victory in the series. It comes a day after his Racing Engineering teammate Ernesto Viso was hospitalized in a horrific crash.

Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre of DAMS looked set to win his home race, but his rear brakes failed and he slid off the track at the Adelaide hairpin with his front brakes locked. Villa didn't have it easy, with Luca Filippi (Super Nova) and Giorgio Pantano (Campos), winner of Saturday's race, right be hind him. Lucas di Grassi finished fourth for ART, ahead of Vitaly Petrov (Campos). More to follow.....

Results

Pos Driver Team Gap Laps
1 J. Villa Racing Eng. - 28
2 L. Filippi Super Nova 00'00"603 28
3 G. Pantano Campos 00'01"262 28
4 L. Di Grassi ART 00'15"312 28
5 V. Petrov Campos 00'20"134 28
6 K. Nakajima DAMS 00'20"520 28
7 B. Senna Arden 00'25"895 28
8 P. Maldonado Trident 00'28"622 28
9 R. Rodriguez Minardi 00'34"408 28
10 A. Soucek DPR 00'35"711 28
11 K. Hirate Trident 00'38"952 28
12 C. Bakkerud DPR 00'40"721 28
13 S. Yamamoto BCN Comp. 00'43"611 28
14 A. Carroll FMS 00'44"249 28
15 A. Zuber iSport 00'44"599 28
16 K. Chandhok Durango 00'47"262 28
17 H. Tung BCN Comp. 00'51"201 28
18 J. Tahinci FMS 01'19"194 28
20 M. Ammermuller ART - 27
20 B. Garcia Durango - 26
21 M. Conway Super Nova - 20
22 N. Lapierre DAMS - 16
23 A. Negrão Minardi - 9
24 T. Glock iSport - 3
25 A. Zaugg Arden - 1

Comment
07/01/07
irl

Meira crashes UPDATE Interestingly Miera's left front suspension collapsed at Iowa too even though on an oval the inside wheel is not loaded like the right side is.  We doubt it is a defect in the Dallara chassis because it has been around may years now.  One has to wonder if the team has been shaving corners to save weight, or they just got a bad batch of suspension pieces.

06/30/07 Vitor Meira's left front suspension collapsed on his Dallara Friday while practicing at Richmond causing him to crash hard and wipe out the right side of his car for Saturday night's Indy Car race.

Comment
07/01/07
cc

New ’Racy’ Champ Car team for 2008 UPDATE #7 Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, In the past week, there have been some seriously intense discussion about 'AVN Racing'. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of middle ground here - you're either for them or you're not. But one thing is for certain: They've already generated as much - if not more - more buzz from the appearance of their show car at Erotica LA than they probably expected to get from actually appearing on the grid!

While I personally don't have the slightest problem with a sponsor like AVN (and the associates they seem to have lined up, based upon the way their show car was presented) I think this is potentially case of 'penny wise, pound foolish'. Champ Car needs sponsors, no question. But can they afford to take one that might chase others away? In my opinion, adding one well-funded car to the grid is not worth losing two or three or more others.

Champ Car has been going to great lengths to brand itself as a family-friendly series. The only way AVN's associates will get any value out of this venture is by selling more DVDs or website memberships or getting more advertising revenue because traffic on their websites has gone up 500%. There just isn't a place there for AVN that can accomplish those goals while keeping things at arm's length for the sake of the series. Maybe I just need to think more creatively, but right now I'm just not seeing it.

I think Champ Car should give this one a pass. They just aren't in a position where they can have a lightning rod sponsor on the grid. Yet. Matt Snyder, Redondo Beach, CA

06/30/07 See rumor on AVN Racing, the notion that Champ Car won't let them into the series may not be true.

A reader writes, Personally, I think it is a great way to get some media attention. Jeeez, did you see the media attention it got at that one simple car show? When is the last time you saw that kind of attention brought to Champ Car? Round 1: Tracy vs. Tag? Round 2: Tracy vs. Bourdais?
 
If it is done in a very professional manner, I don't see any problem with it. Only if it gets flagrant will it do harm. Let's remember, in terms of sex, the US is much more conservative than most of the Western world. That is something to be considered when marketing mainly in the US, but, honestly, if the girls are dressed up in very professional, respectable, and classy attire and the marketing is done respectfully with taste, why the heck not?
 
I'd definitely pay more attention to what they are promoting and selling. Can you honestly say you wouldn't as an average American? Remember the "oh my gosh?!" when Mark Martin was first sponsored by Viagra? It brought a lot of attention and funny jokes initially (like he drives harder than any other driver). Yet, over time, it did two things: gave NASCAR a boost in media attention and proved that nobody really cared (and this is in a racing series based on Southern Baptist roots and morals).
 
Bubbas equals NASCAR and now....Sex equals Champ Cars....hmm, so what is the problem now? D. Hughes, Cincinnati, OH  

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07/01/07
f1

Haug defends Whitmarsh after Alonso reproach
(GMM) Martin Whitmarsh (right) did not mean to intentionally criticize Fernando Alonso following the Spaniard's pitwall 'swerve' during the US grand prix.

That is the claim of Mercedes-Benz's Norbert Haug, after Alonso hit out at his boss for saying the swerve was borne out of frustration at Indy.

"That is the worst thing of all," Alonso had said at Magny Cours.

"It is a very unfortunate commentary by one of my own bosses."

Sitting down with Spanish journalists on the scene of the French grand prix, however, Haug admitted that he also thought the gesture was not simply about Alonso cooling his car and cleaning overalls.

"In that moment Fernando was faster (than teammate Lewis Hamilton) and it was an emotional reaction to not being able to pass him," the German, who is a former journalist, said.

"But we respect and accept this because, in the end, it is positive. We would rather see some emotion from our drivers than an excess of coldness."

Haug insists: "Nobody in the team speaks against Fernando. We need to work together and he should trust us."

Mercedes' competition boss also rebuked former McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya for suggesting that Alonso is now effectively the team's number two pilot.

"What did he say? That he had worse equipment than Kimi (Raikkonen)? You should ask Kimi about that. Absolutely, 100 per cent, our two drivers are totally equal."

Comment
07/01/07
irl

Barnhart gets to wear his birthday cake
Brian Barnhart, president of the Indy Racing League competition and operation division and chief official of tonight's race, is celebrating his birthday today. At the conclusion of  the drivers' meeting, while the attendees were singing "Happy Birthday" drivers Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti attacked Barnhart with birthday cake, a prank which is commonly pulled on drivers celebrating their birthdays. Barnhart joked he may look into the incident to see if any drivers were involved.

Comment
07/01/07
irl

IRL catches Castroneves trying to cheat
A bit of controversy during the Indy Car race in Richmond Saturday night saw Tim Cindric question the call that the IRL made on Helio Castroneves when he was sent to the back.. 

BRIAN BARNHART (President, Indy Racing League Competition and Operation Division): (About Castroneves' penalty): "Helio (Castroneves) was on pit road within the boundaries of pit lane and actually was free to stop his first pass through pit lane. The Race Control (radio) channel said that the No. 3 was OK to do a full stop but they apparently chose not to and drove through. When he came back out we have to pack-up (the field) but before we have the pack up he came back in and entered a closed pit and just did a splash (of ethanol fuel) which is what you are supposed to do. Then when he came back out we had the pack-up, so we opened the pits and everybody else comes back in and he instead goes down the front straightaway trying to get around them but the No. 27 (Leader, Dario Franchitti) beat him to the blend line, and the Timing & Scoring showed that right away, so we informed the teams that it was the No. 3 behind the No. 27, the No. 3 behind the No. 27. He passed him and drove on around him and in actuality pitted a lap ahead of where he should have been."

Comment
07/01/07
cc
tv news

Stoddart to be the Featured Interview on Wind Tunnel
Champ Car team co-owner and former F1 team owner, Paul Stoddart, will be the featured interview on Wind Tunnel on Sunday, July 1.  In his first season as an owner in the Champ Car World Series, Stoddart’s team, Minardi Team USA, currently sits second in the championship standings with driver, Robert Doornbos, who has earned four podium finishes in five starts.

Comment
07/01/07
nascar

Harvick wins Busch race
On short runs, Kevin Harvick was untouchable.
 
So when Clint Bowyer spun Juan Pablo Montoya to bring out the sixth and final caution on Lap 164 of Saturday's Camping World 200 Busch Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway, Harvick's 28th victory in the series seemed all but a foregone conclusion.
 
Not so fast, said NASCAR Busch Series runaway points leader Carl Edwards to the defending Busch champion. Late in a 29-lap green-flag run to the finish, Edwards made up ground on Harvick and closed to the rear bumper of the No. 21 Chevrolet on the final lap.
 
Entering the final two corners, Edwards drove his No. 60 Ford to the bottom of the track in a desperate attempt to make the winning pass, but Harvick, the polesitter, held off the last-ditch effort from last year's race winner to become the 21st different winner in 21 Busch races at the Magic Mile.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/07
gp2

Viso survives horror GP2 crash UPDATE Following a high speed accident in today's GP2 Series race at Magny-Cours, Ernesto Viso (Racing Engineering) was transferred from the track's on-site Medical Centre to the Hospital Pierre Beregovoy, Nevers, for check-ups. He was visited by the FIA Medical Delegate, who has reported that he was in a conscious and stable condition.

FIA Medical Delegate:

"After visiting Ernesto Viso this evening at the Hopital Pierre Beregovoy, Nevers, France, I am happy to report that he is conscious and in a stable condition. The force of the accident meant that he suffered concussion. His right hand and foot have been X-rayed but the results show that no damage has been sustained.

"Ernesto will be kept in hospital overnight under observation." GP2 Series PR

06/30/07 (GMM)  Venezuelan driver Ernesto Viso miraculously survived an horror shunt during the GP2 support-race at Magny Cours on Saturday.

Spectators feared the worst when his single seater went airborne on the run to the Nurburgring chicane and disintegrated after it landed cockpit-first following contact with a slower car on lap one.

The race was stopped for nearly an hour while medical crews attended to Viso, who had appeared to have struck the concrete barrier with his helmet.

But incredibly to those who have studied replays of the incident, he is apparently basically unhurt, apart from a bruised right arm and a suspected concussion.

Viso was, however, transported from the circuit medical centre to the general hospital at Nevers where he will stay overnight under observation.

Comment
07/01/07
nascar

Yates Won’t Sell Team
Robert Yates has broken off discussions with potential investors into Robert Yates Racing and will remain independent, focusing his efforts on improving the team's performance. And if he's not successful at the task, Yates could step away from the sport entirely, the car owner said Saturday morning at New Hampshire. "I pretty much sent a letter to everybody and said right now I'm not interested in selling or anybody investing," Yates said prior to Happy Hour practice. "I'm just going to try and focus on performance. … I'm pretty much really tired of spending too much time working on something that doesn't benefit anything. … Right now, the thing I don't need is money. The thing I need is performance, and I haven't found a person to bring me performance. That's what I'm looking for, just trying to focus on doing what I'm doing." And that means no co-owner, outside partner or investor, at least for now. SPEEDtv.com

Comment
07/01/07
motogp

Rossi wins from 11th on grid
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi emerged on top after another great battle with World Championship rival Casey Stoner this afternoon in a superb MotoGP race at the A-Style TT Assen.

The ninth round of the World Championship saw The Doctor come from 11th on the Assen grid to take victory over Ducati Marlboro’s Stoner by just under two seconds and reduce the deficit at the top of the standings.

However, Stoner also had a good race and would have settled for a 21 point World Championship lead at the half way stage of the season had it been offered to him before the first race of the year in Qatar.

World Champion Nicky Hayden demonstrated that he really has finally found a comfortable race set-up for his Honda 800cc RC212V with a superb performance to finish third and earn the first podium of his title defense season, despite starting in 13th on the grid.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/07
gp2

Pantano Wins Dramatic French Race
Giorgio Pantano has claimed his first win of the season, and the first ever for Campos Grand Prix, in a fraught race one at Magny Cours that featured a number of crashes and saw series returnee Ernesto Viso taken to hospital after a crash on the first lap which brought out the red flags and halted the race for an hour.

The Italian was joined on the podium by Lucas di Grassi and Bruno Senna at the eventual completion of the race, with all three drivers celebrating in a somewhat muted fashion, happy to finally bring the chaotic event to a close.

The drama began from the very start of the race when front row starters Timo Glock and Andi Zuber both tried to occupy the same piece of tarmac in the middle of the track: they banged wheels before Zuber was launched up and over his teammate's car, with the German lucky to escape injury as the bottom of the chassis narrowly missed his head.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/07
cca

Franck Perera wins Mont-Tremblant pole
After knocking on the door over the past few weeks in the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport) picked up his first career Atlantic pole position in final qualifying for Sunday’s Champ Car Mont-Tremblant (ESPN360.com, Live, 11:30 a.m. ET).

Under weather conditions that included a light rain shower at the beginning of the session, sunshine in the middle of the session and a slightly heavier shower that effectively ended the session early, Perera posted a best lap at 1:26.426 (109.175) in his Condor Motorsports Mazda-Cosworth/Swift. He eclipsed a previous career-best qualifying result of second at Long Beach with his first Cooper Tire Pole Award, and he will line up from a top-three starting spot for the fifth time in seven races this season. The Frenchman also earns a championship point, moving him to within five points of Robert Wickens (#3 Red Bull/INDECK) in the race for Rookie of the Year honors. Perera is the only driver in the series to have finished inside the top five in all six previous races this season.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/07
nascar

Kentucky vs. NASCAR: No deal
Kentucky Speedway owner Jerry Carroll had a long-anticipated meeting with NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation officials today.

But the lawsuit between them wasn’t resolved, so Kentucky Speedway’s case against NASCAR and ISC remains headed toward a March 2008 court date.

The two sides met for a total of five hours of mediation with a federal judge magistrate at the United States District Courthouse in Covington. The meeting ended without a settlement.

 “I appreciate the courts giving us a chance to sit down and trying to make something happen,” Carroll said. “I hope a lot of this is a business deal. It should be done as a business matter.”

For the Speedway, which is alleging anti-trust violations on the part of NASCAR and ISC, it was an encouraging sign that key figures, such as NASCAR president Mike Helton, ISC president and NASCAR board member Lesa France Kennedy and ISC chief executive officer and NASCAR board member James France were present.

“You can’t get any better than that having all those principals here in Covington, Ky.,” Speedway lawyer Stan Chesley said. “I still think at the end of the day, this is going to be a business decision, and the principals have to be part of the negotiations.”

No other mediations are scheduled, but Speedway lawyer Steve Susman said another session could arise between now and the March court date if the judge rules on pending legal matters involved in the case.  More at Cincinnati.com

Comment
06/30/07
irl

IRL's moving chicane parks it again
Milka The Moving Chicane Duno was down 4 laps by the 50-lap mark in Saturday night’s Indy Car race at Richmond, and just as we predicted, she would either crash and take someone out or the IRL would park her. The excuse was handling for the 2nd race in a row. It's more like she's not qualified to handle an Indy Car.

Comment
06/30/07
gp2

Viso survives horror GP2 crash UPDATE Following a high speed accident in today's GP2 Series race at Magny-Cours, Ernesto Viso (Racing Engineering) was transferred from the track's on-site Medical Centre to the Hospital Pierre Beregovoy, Nevers, for check-ups. He was visited by the FIA Medical Delegate, who has reported that he was in a conscious and stable condition.

FIA Medical Delegate:

"After visiting Ernesto Viso this evening at the Hopital Pierre Beregovoy, Nevers, France, I am happy to report that he is conscious and in a stable condition. The force of the accident meant that he suffered concussion. His right hand and foot have been X-rayed but the results show that no damage has been sustained.

"Ernesto will be kept in hospital overnight under observation." GP2 Series PR

06/30/07 (GMM)  Venezuelan driver Ernesto Viso miraculously survived an horror shunt during the GP2 support-race at Magny Cours on Saturday.

Spectators feared the worst when his single seater went airborne on the run to the Nurburgring chicane and disintegrated after it landed cockpit-first following contact with a slower car on lap one.

The race was stopped for nearly an hour while medical crews attended to Viso, who had appeared to have struck the concrete barrier with his helmet.

But incredibly to those who have studied replays of the incident, he is apparently basically unhurt, apart from a bruised right arm and a suspected concussion.

Viso was, however, transported from the circuit medical centre to the general hospital at Nevers where he will stay overnight under observation.

Comment
06/30/07
nascar

Harvick wins Busch race
On short runs, Kevin Harvick was untouchable.
 
So when Clint Bowyer spun Juan Pablo Montoya to bring out the sixth and final caution on Lap 164 of Saturday's Camping World 200 Busch Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway, Harvick's 28th victory in the series seemed all but a foregone conclusion.
 
Not so fast, said NASCAR Busch Series runaway points leader Carl Edwards to the defending Busch champion. Late in a 29-lap green-flag run to the finish, Edwards made up ground on Harvick and closed to the rear bumper of the No. 21 Chevrolet on the final lap.
 
Entering the final two corners, Edwards drove his No. 60 Ford to the bottom of the track in a desperate attempt to make the winning pass, but Harvick, the polesitter, held off the last-ditch effort from last year's race winner to become the 21st different winner in 21 Busch races at the Magic Mile.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/07
motogp

Rossi wins from 11th on grid
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi emerged on top after another great battle with World Championship rival Casey Stoner this afternoon in a superb MotoGP race at the A-Style TT Assen.

The ninth round of the World Championship saw The Doctor come from 11th on the Assen grid to take victory over Ducati Marlboro’s Stoner by just under two seconds and reduce the deficit at the top of the standings.

However, Stoner also had a good race and would have settled for a 21 point World Championship lead at the half way stage of the season had it been offered to him before the first race of the year in Qatar.

World Champion Nicky Hayden demonstrated that he really has finally found a comfortable race set-up for his Honda 800cc RC212V with a superb performance to finish third and earn the first podium of his title defense season, despite starting in 13th on the grid.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/07
nascar

Yates Won't Sell Team
Robert Yates has broken off discussions with potential investors into Robert Yates Racing and will remain independent, focusing his efforts on improving the team's performance. And if he's not successful at the task, Yates could step away from the sport entirely, the car owner said Saturday morning at New Hampshire. "I pretty much sent a letter to everybody and said right now I'm not interested in selling or anybody investing," Yates said prior to Happy Hour practice. "I'm just going to try and focus on performance. … I'm pretty much really tired of spending too much time working on something that doesn't benefit anything. … Right now, the thing I don't need is money. The thing I need is performance, and I haven't found a person to bring me performance. That's what I'm looking for, just trying to focus on doing what I'm doing." And that means no co-owner, outside partner or investor, at least for now. SPEEDtv.com

Comment
06/30/07
nascar

Ginn Racing looking for sponsors
The jet black Ginn Racing Chevrolets of #13-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin have no primary sponsors this weekend. Why not? Very simple: The team is trying to illustrate that it needs sponsors for some races in the second half of the season on the two cars, it has “available inventory” in the form of unsold primary sponsorships for the remainder of 2007. Team spokesman David Ferroni said normally the team would simply run Ginn Resorts logos on the car, but by keeping them sponsor-free, it tells all the would-be backers out there that there is room at the inn – or at least on the hood and the fenders at Ginn Racing right now. SPEEDtv.com

Comment
06/30/07
cca

Franck Perera wins Mont-Tremblant pole
After knocking on the door over the past few weeks in the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport) picked up his first career Atlantic pole position in final qualifying for Sunday’s Champ Car Mont-Tremblant (ESPN360.com, Live, 11:30 a.m. ET).

Under weather conditions that included a light rain shower at the beginning of the session, sunshine in the middle of the session and a slightly heavier shower that effectively ended the session early, Perera posted a best lap at 1:26.426 (109.175) in his Condor Motorsports Mazda-Cosworth/Swift. He eclipsed a previous career-best qualifying result of second at Long Beach with his first Cooper Tire Pole Award, and he will line up from a top-three starting spot for the fifth time in seven races this season. The Frenchman also earns a championship point, moving him to within five points of Robert Wickens (#3 Red Bull/INDECK) in the race for Rookie of the Year honors. Perera is the only driver in the series to have finished inside the top five in all six previous races this season.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/07
gp2

Pantano Wins Dramatic French Race
Giorgio Pantano has claimed his first win of the season, and the first ever for Campos Grand Prix, in a fraught race one at Magny Cours that featured a number of crashes and saw series returnee Ernesto Viso taken to hospital after a crash on the first lap which brought out the red flags and halted the race for an hour.

The Italian was joined on the podium by Lucas di Grassi and Bruno Senna at the eventual completion of the race, with all three drivers celebrating in a somewhat muted fashion, happy to finally bring the chaotic event to a close.

The drama began from the very start of the race when front row starters Timo Glock and Andi Zuber both tried to occupy the same piece of tarmac in the middle of the track: they banged wheels before Zuber was launched up and over his teammate's car, with the German lucky to escape injury as the bottom of the chassis narrowly missed his head.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/07
nascar

Kentucky vs. NASCAR: No deal
Kentucky Speedway owner Jerry Carroll had a long-anticipated meeting with NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation officials today.

But the lawsuit between them wasn’t resolved, so Kentucky Speedway’s case against NASCAR and ISC remains headed toward a March 2008 court date.

The two sides met for a total of five hours of mediation with a federal judge magistrate at the United States District Courthouse in Covington. The meeting ended without a settlement.

 “I appreciate the courts giving us a chance to sit down and trying to make something happen,” Carroll said. “I hope a lot of this is a business deal. It should be done as a business matter.”

For the Speedway, which is alleging anti-trust violations on the part of NASCAR and ISC, it was an encouraging sign that key figures, such as NASCAR president Mike Helton, ISC president and NASCAR board member Lesa France Kennedy and ISC chief executive officer and NASCAR board member James France were present.

“You can’t get any better than that having all those principals here in Covington, Ky.,” Speedway lawyer Stan Chesley said. “I still think at the end of the day, this is going to be a business decision, and the principals have to be part of the negotiations.”

No other mediations are scheduled, but Speedway lawyer Steve Susman said another session could arise between now and the March court date if the judge rules on pending legal matters involved in the case.  More at Cincinnati.com

Comment
06/30/07
f1

Piquet Jr: Nothing special about Lewis
Nelson Piquet Jr has downplayed Lewis Hamilton's success this season, saying any rookie driving a McLaren MP4-22 could have achieved the same results.

Hamilton has wowed the F1 fraternity in the opening seven races of this season, finishing each and every grand prix on the podium, including two victories.

The 22-year-old British rookie has also already clinched two pole positions.

However, Piquet Jr, doesn't believes there's anything special about Hamilton.

"If Lewis was in Heikki's position he would be doing the same, making a mistake here and there," the Renault test driver told O Globo newspaper.

"He would be in a car that's not the quickest and he would have to push more to obtain results.

"It is a lot easier to drive a car that's already fast and that allows you to grab pole or finish second."

Comment
06/30/07
cc

Bourdais takes wife for ride of her life
Champ Car points leader Sebastien Bourdais got to spend some more time behind the wheel of an F1 car on Friday in Mont-Tremblant, this time the Champ Car F1 2-seater. His passenger? None other than his wife Claire who got the ride of her life around the undulating mountain course.

Comment
06/30/07
cc

Bourdais, Doornbos smoke Mont-Tremblant
Saturday morning practice saw Sebastien Bourdais (right) break into the 1m15s bracket as the track really rubbered in and the lap times came plummeting down. Robert Doornbos very close behind Bourdais, both drivers shattering the track record set by Tristan Gommendy in Friday qualifying. No one else was even close as Simon Pagenaud was third over 7/10th of a second behind.

Gommendy, a front row spot locked in as a result of his fast time Friday, spent the session working on his race setup and was only 15th fastest.

Pos Driver # Team Lap Time Mph Behind Leader
1 S. Bourdais 1 Newman/ Haas/ Lanigan Racing 1:15.939 124.252
2 R. Doornbos 14 Minardi Team USA 1:16.092 124.003 0.153
3 S. Pagenaud 15 Team Australia 1:16.701 123.018 0.762
4 N. Jani 21 PKV Racing 1:16.726 122.978 0.787
5 W. Power 5 Team Australia 1:16.779 122.893 0.840
6 J. Wilson 9 RSPORTS 1:16.874 122.741 0.935
7 G. Rahal 2 Newman/ Haas/ Lanigan Racing 1:16.902 122.696 0.963
8 A. Tagliani 8 RSPORTS 1:16.905 122.692 0.966
9 P. Tracy 3 Forsythe Championship Racing 1:17.081 122.411 1.142
10 O. Servia 7 Forsythe Championship Racing 1:17.395 121.915 1.456
11 B. Junqueira 19 Dale Coyne Racing 1:17.463 121.808 1.524
12 J. Heylen 34 Conquest Racing 1:17.498 121.753 1.559
13 A. Figge 29 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:17.499 121.751 1.560
14 K. Legge 11 Dale Coyne Racing 1:17.758 121.346 1.819
15 T. Gommendy 22 PKV Racing 1:17.893 121.135 1.954
16 R. Dalziel 28 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:18.246 120.589 2.307
17 D. Clarke 4 Minardi Team USA 1:18.932 119.541 2.993

Comment
06/30/07
cca

Frenchman tops Atlantics practice
Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport) was quickest in the Saturday morning practice session with a best lap at 1:26.713 (108.814 mph).

The Condor Motorsports rookie heads into this afternoon's final qualifying session looking to improve upon his fifth-place performance in Friday's provisional qualifying. Perera has started inside the top-three positions in four of his six starts this season, topped by a best qualifying result of second at Long Beach. The Frenchman is also looking for his first Atlantic race victory this weekend.

"It's getting so much better," Perera said. "Yesterday was already good. I mean I dominated both sessions-- qualifying and practice--but in the end, I had some traffic problems and I didn't find the right lap. I was disappointed yesterday, because Matos gained again. It was not only to be first, but the problem is when you dominate, you can be disappointed. We worked on the car and the strategy for the practice was very good. I dominated all the session with a good gap. I could do so much better. Now, the team is doing a good job. On the last lap, I had some traffic because there are some drivers that like to stop the other guy. That's not nice, but they're young."

Read more & Comment...
06/30/07
f1

Mistake costs Hamilton pole
Lewis Hamilton admitted that he let his third straight pole position slip through his fingers after missing out to Felipe Massa in qualifying for the French Grand Prix.

The world championship leader said that he lost vital tenths after a small error on his fastest qualifying lap cost him a shot at the top spot.

"You can't be perfect all the time but the team has done a fantastic job, the car was pretty sweet for the qualifying session," he said.

"I think I had the car to be on pole.

"I lost a bit of time at Turn 15, I was about a 0.15s up so I had it there.

"It would have been a mega lap, but I lost a bit of time. That's the way the game goes."

Comment
06/30/07
f1

News briefs from Magny Cours: Saturday 3
(GMM) Following criticism about his refusal to speak to the press at grands prix, Ferrari 'advisor' Michael Schumacher broke his silence at Magny Cours to insist that his intention is not to neglect his fans. "I simply prefer a calmer life now," the German said.

-

FIA president Max Mosley on Friday warned that Silverstone will drop off the calendar if significant improvements to the British grand prix venue are not promised. "Either business, or the government, puts the money in or they will lose the grand prix. I don't think there's any doubt they will lose it if they don't," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Express.

-

The 'customer car' row reared its head for the first time in several weeks at Magny Cours, with Spyker boss Colin Kolles reportedly complaining about Honda-clone updates on the Super Aguri car. "Arbitration is ongoing and there's nothing more to say," he said, before his orange-colored backmarkers lagged the pace of their nearest competitors by a huge 1.5 seconds in qualifying.

Comment
06/30/07
f1

News briefs from Magny Cours: Saturday 2
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher gave French football star Zinedine Zidane a high-speed taxi ride around the Magny Cours circuit at noon on Saturday in the striking $2m Ferrari FXX supercar.

-

Free practice on Saturday morning was held up when a strip of artificial grass came loose beside the Magny Cours layout.  Officials including FIA race director Charlie Whiting oversaw its repair before the action resumed.

-

Felipe Massa's pole position for the French grand prix is his fourth at the wheel of the F2007 for the season.  Robert Kubica, meanwhile, showed that his horror Montreal crash has not slowed him down by driving to a season's best of fourth.

-

Red Bull Racing continue to struggle with appalling reliability from its seamless-shift gearbox.  Mark Webber struck trouble on Friday, while David Coulthard will start the French GP a lowly 16th after reporting on the radio during qualifying that his transmission had also broken down.

-

Williams' chief aerodynamicist Loic Bigois will join Honda later in 2007.  Team boss Nick Fry told ITV that he is one of several new aerodynamicist on their way to the struggling team.  "There's also people from McLaren and BMW," he said.

Comment
06/30/07
f1

Nightmare Saturday for Alonso
(GMM)  World champion Fernando Alonso endured a nightmarish qualifying day at Magny Cours.

In free practice he lost valuable track time with brake problems, and then failed to set a time in the ultimate qualifying session when he returned to the pits after emitting puffs of smoke.

McLaren initially thought the problem was related to his engine, spreading fears of a further ten-place drop, but it was actually a gearbox fault, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.

He will start the French GP just tenth.

Comment
06/30/07
cc

Healthy crowd at Mont-Tremblant Friday
There was a fairly good crowd at Mont-Tremblant Friday to watch the first day of Champ Car practice and qualifying.  No attendance numbers were announced and it was hard to estimate the exact numbers because a lot of people were standing in the forest that surrounds the track.  Scores of fans have already setup their lawn chairs on the hillsides overlooking Turn One and Turn 11 and by 10 o’clock this morning they were still lined up coming in.

Comment
06/30/07
irl

Duno crashes again
Milka Duna found the wall again on Friday during practice for tonight's Richmond Indy Car race.  She got up high in the 4th turn and took off the right front and rear suspension.  Word is the team took a little wing off the car to reduce drag and gain some speed (she runs massive amounts of downforce to prevent her from losing control) but she could not handle it and lost the car.

Comment
06/30/07
usac

Foyt’s foreign driver nabs USAC pole
Looks like AJ Foyt does not believe in American drivers.  After living through nightmare years with his grandson, AJ Foyt IV, one can see why.  Pablo Donoso captured his first career USAC Silver Crown Series pole on Friday in qualifying at Richmond International Raceway. Donoso, of Santiago, Chile, put A.J. Foyt's C&R/Chevy on the pole for Saturday’s 100-lap race with a lap of 127.914 mph.

A.J. Fike, Brian Tyler, Mike Murgoitio and Jerry Coons Jr. rounded out the top five.  Series points leader Aaron Pierce will start 12th - marking his worst start of the season.  Saturday’s Silver Crown race will take the green flag at 5:15 p.m. (ET)

Comment
06/30/07
nascar

Hendrick VP says other teams cheating
Hendrick Motorsports said Friday it will use penalties levied against Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and their teams as a learning experience.

“As we went through this, some of the things became more clear to us as far as what NASCAR’s tolerance on their data was,” said Doug Duchardt, the team’s vice president for development. “It wasn’t as clear to us before last Friday.”

NASCAR issued six-race suspensions for crew chiefs Steve Latarte and Chad Knaus. Each team also got $100,000 fines and 100 point deductions for body modifications found during initial inspections at Infineon Raceway. I’m extremely disappointed in NASCAR and the decisions that they’ve made,” Gordon said. “But I will say we’re crystal clear going forward.”

Duchardt said Hendrick Motorsports did not know how closely NASCAR would be policing the car of tomorrow.

“When I read that there is an eighth-inch tolerance for the data that NASCAR gave us, that is an extremely difficult thing to manufacture,” he said.

“… There are a bunch of cars that did not meet that eighth of an inch tolerance and they are here this weekend.”

NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton said, “I am not even going to respond to that.” Charlotte Observer

Comment
06/30/07
f1

French GP: Hamilton tops Saturday practice
McLaren returned to form in France Saturday morning as rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton nipped Ferrari's Felipe Massa to top the third practice session for Sunday's French GP.

Pos  Driver        Team                Time      Behind  Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    1:14.843            8
 2.  Massa         Ferrari             1:14.906 + 0.063   16
 3.  Raikkonen     Ferrari             1:15.276 + 0.433   15
 4.  Kovalainen    Renault             1:15.404 + 0.561   19
 5.  Fisichella    Renault             1:15.489 + 0.646   20
 6.  Kubica        BMW Sauber          1:15.535 + 0.692   20
 7.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     1:15.735 + 0.892   18
 8.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes    1:15.742 + 0.899    4
 9.  Trulli        Toyota              1:15.801 + 0.958   19
10.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    1:15.802 + 0.959   15
11.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:15.872 + 1.029   22
12.  Button        Honda               1:15.902 + 1.059   16
13.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda   1:15.925 + 1.082   20
14.  R.Schumacher  Toyota              1:15.944 + 1.101   22
15.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber          1:16.060 + 1.217   18
16.  Barrichello   Honda               1:16.102 + 1.259   19
17.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota     1:16.104 + 1.261   16
18.  Speed         Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:16.161 + 1.318   18
19.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda   1:16.221 + 1.378   18
20.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault    1:16.573 + 1.730   14
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari      1:17.517 + 2.674   21
22.  Albers        Spyker-Ferrari      1:17.705 + 2.862   23

Comment
06/30/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
 
  • Indy can live without F1, US GP boss says
  • No news on Heidfeld injury
  • McLaren eye return to pace on Saturday
  • Honda still struggling despite 'B' car
  • Niki Lauda slams 'silent Schu'
  • Fit Heidfeld to qualify, race - BMW

Indy can live without F1, US GP boss says
(GMM)  As a mid-July deadline looms, the boss of F1's current US grand prix venue in Indianapolis says he is still yet to conclude a deal with Bernie Ecclestone to stage the race in 2008 or beyond.

The fabled Motor Speedway's CEO Tony George puts the chances of a new contract at "50-50", amid reports that F1 supremo Ecclestone showed up in Las Vegas prior to jetting out to France for the grand prix on Sunday.

George, also explaining that the pair have spoken only briefly since the US GP, told the LA Times: "It's a matter of dialogue with Bernie and myself to try and bring it to a conclusion."

At least in terms of rhetoric, Ecclestone and George have now reached deadlock.  George echoes Bernie's statement that Indy can live without formula one, and vice versa.

"As much as we want it to be part of our calendar, if it doesn't come back it's been a good run," he said.

"I don't regret it.  Whether or not they find another venue in the United States to run at, I don't know.  I think it's unlikely that they know."

Financially, he describes the 2007 event as "ok", adding that "it would not be worthwhile to do it" for another eight years under the same contractual terms.

George continued: "What the event really needs is a title sponsor with the ability to promote the event and the formula one world championship across the country and around the world."

No news on Heidfeld injury
(GMM)  As he left the Magny Cours paddock on Friday, BMW's Mario Theissen said he was not sure if Nick Heidfeld's injured back would keep him out of his car at the French grand prix.

After sitting out much of the afternoon practice session, Germany's Heidfeld was taken to the Centre Hopitalier Pierre Beregovoy in nearby Nevers.  It is understood that he was complaining of pain where his left-hand side ribs meet with his spine.

Heidfeld was apparently experiencing the worst pain in the long Estoril right hand bend, but he told Auto Motor und Sport before leaving the circuit: "I should be ok to drive tomorrow."

"He is being examined," team principal Theissen confirmed to reporters, "and for the moment I have no further information to offer."

He also would not be drawn on the obvious assumption that reserve driver Sebastian Vettel could be called up to race for a second successive event, but the 19-year-old German said: "I am happy and ready to drive any time and I definitely will be here tomorrow (on Saturday) so we wait and see."

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06/30/07
f1

News briefs from Magny Cours: Saturday
(GMM)  A slightly warmer day will greet visitors to Magny Cours for French grand prix qualifying.  The chance of rain stands at just 20 per cent, but the forecast for Sunday is abysmal -- local forecasters say it will almost certainly be a wet race.

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Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Rubens Barrichello, Robert Kubica, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Anthony Davidson were randomly selected to undergo anti-doping urine tests at Magny Cours on Friday.

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Team boss Jean Todt confirmed reports that Ferrari's wind tunnel at Maranello was out of action for a full two weeks about two months ago after the metallic rolling-road broke.  "We did not do any other alternative (wind tunnel development work) because it was not working," he said at Magny Cours.  Ferrari has failed to win a race since May.

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BMW-Sauber principal Mario Theissen on Friday warned that world champion Fernando Alonso is unlikely to give up despite his ten point championship deficit to his rookie McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton.  "He is an excellent driver and we have great respect for him," the German told the Spanish newspaper Diario As at Magny Cours.  "If we cannot beat him here then I would be glad if he wins.  The championship is still long with 100 points left in the game."

Comment
06/30/07
cc

San Jose Grand Prix back on right track
Now that the San Jose Grand Prix has stopped being a political football, Don Listwin wants to get back to his No. 1 goal: Raising money to fund research for the early detection of cancer.

When the Champ Car race received a $4 million city subsidy more than a year ago, it became campaign fodder in San Jose's mayoral race and overshadowed everything written about Listwin's Canary Foundation, the July 27-29 race's main sponsor.

"That message got lost last year through a series of events that were unfortunate from our perspective," the former Cisco executive told supporters Tuesday at A.P. Stump's in San Jose.

The foundation is picking up steam, though. Listwin said $1 million was raised in 2005, and that increased to more than $3 million in 2006. The foundation is on track, he said, to raise more than $6 million this year.

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06/30/07
nascar

Toyota team disqualified
Brian Vickers' No. 83 Team Red Bull Toyota failed post-qualifying inspection Friday afternoon at New Hampshire International Speedway, knocking the team out of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 field and giving the spot to BAM Racing's Chad Chaffin.

The car for Vickers was ruled to be an eighth of an inch too low on its left front, and Vickers' qualifying time was disallowed.

The team was looking at shocks and springs to see why the car was too low.

"We go through inspection [before qualifying], the car is presented and it is correct," said an exasperated Doug Richert, crew chief for Vickers. "We never raise the hood. We didn't turn the screws. But now we go back through, we get thrown out and have to send our team home.

"I really don't have a good answer why. ... Did something go wrong? Did the spring go out? We don't see anything."

Comment
06/30/07
cca

Mont-Tremblant: Matos on Atlantic provisional pole
For the third consecutive Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda qualifying session, points leader Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) added to his championship lead and is guaranteed a front row starting spot for Sunday’s race as part of the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant festivities (ESPN360.com, Live, 11:30 a.m. ET).

Matos turned a best lap at 1:27.718 (107.567 mph) in the Sierra Sierra Enterprises machine to score the point for claiming the provisional pole and extend his lead in the championship. The Brazilian is now 31 points ahead of teammate James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks), 174-143. Matos will be looking to hang on for his fourth pole of the season in Saturday’s final qualifying session and will start from the front row for the fourth time in seven races.

Just two-hundredths of a second behind Matos in an extremely competitive qualifying session was Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Konica Minolta/Dynacor), who wound up second on the day. Bomarito’s best lap was 1:27.746 (107.533 mph) and the Californian is looking to top his previous best starting spots of the season which were third-place grid positions in the Las Vegas season-opener and Round 2 at Long Beach. The PR1 Motorsports driver opened the year with three straight top-four results but has finished outside the top-20 spots in two of his last three appearances and is looking to get his season back on track this weekend.

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06/30/07
irl

Richmond: Wheldon fastest in opening practice
Dan Wheldon topped Marco Andretti to lead opening practice for Saturday night's Indy Car race in Richmond, VA.  Meanwhile Milka The moving Chicane Duno was a full 13 mph off the pace and should be parked before she hurts someone.

Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Dan Wheldon (10) ... 15.6902 172.082
2 Marco Andretti (26) 0.0146 15.7048 171.922
3 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.0153 15.7055 171.914
4 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.0156 15.7058 171.911
5 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.0641 15.7543 171.382
6 Scott Sharp (8) 0.1111 15.8013 170.872
7 Danica Patrick (7) 0.1723 15.8625 170.213
8 Ed Carpenter (20) 0.2308 15.9210 169.587
9 Scott Dixon (9) 0.2326 15.9228 169.568
10 Vitor Meira (4) 0.2505 15.9407 169.378
11 Tomas Scheckter (2) 0.2513 15.9415 169.369
12 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.2538 15.9440 169.343
13 Buddy Rice (15) 0.2639 15.9541 169.235
14 AJ Foyt IV (22) 0.3903 16.0805 167.905
15 Jeff Simmons (17) 0.4076 16.0978 167.725
16 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.4602 16.1504 167.179
17 Sarah Fisher (5) 0.5006 16.1908 166.761
18 Darren Manning (14) 0.5649 16.2551 166.102
19 Milka Duno (23) 1.2102 16.9004 159.760

Comment
06/30/07
industry news

UAG to get Penske nametag
United Auto Group Inc. said it will change its corporate name to Penske Automotive Group Inc. effective July 2.

The Bloomfield Hills-based owner and operator of 311 car dealerships said it will also change its ticker symbol to PAG on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

Officials said voting and all other rights related to the company’s common stock will not be affected by the name change. In addition, the change in name will have no impact on the validity or transferability of currently outstanding stock certificates.

“Mr. (Roger) Penske is our chairman, and our company is at a point where we thought it was an appropriate time to change the name and leverage the Penske name as we try and grow our business,” said Tony Pordon, senior vice president with United Auto Group.

Comment
06/30/07
irl

Rain washes out Indy Car qualifying
Starting lineup for the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM IndyCar Series event on the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and chassis-engine. Lineup set by entrant points after qualifying was rained out.

1. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda
3. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda 
4. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda 
5. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda 
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda 
7. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda
8. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda 
9. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda 
10. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda 

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06/30/07
irl
cc

IRL and Champ Car TV Ratings UPDATE #3 The final TV rating for the Cleveland Champ Car race on CBS was a 0.6/2 share.  This is the first time Champ Car has gone head-to-head with the IRL on network TV and with almost double the viewers watching (1.1/3 share), round one goes to the IRL by a landslide as a result of its focus on the drivers being the most important thing to showcase and promote.

If you could put the ratings they both got together, they'd have a decent start at a 1.7 or so, and the opportunity to build it into the 2's in a fairly short amount of time.  All those sponsor-less entries they subsidize need to go by the wayside, they need sponsors who can build the series. 

06/28/07 The final IRL TV rating on ABC for Iowa was a 1.1. 

06/25/07 The overnight TV rating for the Cleveland Champ Car race on CBS was a 0.7/2 share.  In Columbus, Ohio both races had a local 1.7 overnight rating.  Both races were live in the same time slot.

06/25/07 The overnight TV rating for the Iowa IRL Ethanol Indy 250 race on ABC Sunday was a 1.2/3 share, which is fairly good compared to recent ratings, but will it hold when the finals come in. The CBS overnight rating for the Champ Car race in Cleveland is not yet available.

Comment
06/30/07
alms

Energy Independence message delivered
Energy Independence was the message at Tavern on the Green Thursday as the American Le Mans Series showcased its relevancy with automotive technology and consumers - one of the Series' cornerstones since its inception.

More than 100 VIPs and media attended the luncheon program at the New York City Central Park landmark, highlighted by remarks from legendary driver/team owner Bobby Rahal, EPIC Executive Director Tom Slunecka and American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. Atherton was introduced by Tom Harrison, CEO of Omnicom Group Diversified Services, the world's largest advertising agency conglomerate.

Atherton led off emphasizing that the reason the American Le Mans Series has become the fastest growing racing series in the world is because of its relevance - the ability of the auto manufacturers participating in the series to transfer technologies from their racing programs directly to the production cars in their showrooms.

"We have been fortunate to have risen so quickly within the ranks of motorsports," said Atherton. "When one considers that 10 years ago, sports car racing in North America was truly in the doldrums, it is a real testament to Dr. Don Panoz and his vision that today we stand here as one of the fastest growing series in the world."

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06/30/07
f1

French GP: Friday Press Conference

Flavio Briatore (Renault), John Howett (Toyota), Colin Kolles (Spyker), Jean Todt (Ferrari).

Q. John, first of all, a couple of good times during Silverstone testing. Are you expecting those good times to be reflected here?

John Howett: We hope so. There's still a gap, obviously, between us and the top teams, but we're making steady progress and we hope to see that progress reflected this weekend.

Q. Was that a jump forward more than you expected, because obviously everybody else was developing and bringing out new bits?

JH: I still don't think it's a jump forward. Basically we're evolving the car, we have a lot more to come for the rest of the season but we hope we'll be back more to the competitive position of Barcelona here and at Silverstone.

Q. What's been the basic problem for Ralf Schumacher, he has a problem with the car, what is that problem?

JH: Really, you have to ask him but the fundamental issue is the front end of the car and the tyre grip at the front and getting the car balanced and giving enough front potential to give him something he can use with the style he has. We are gradually improving that.

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