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ALMS comments on Utah track ALMS comments on Utah trackThe Utah Grand Prix marks the American Le Mans Series' first visit to the spectacular new Miller Motorsports Park, already being hailed as one of the finest road courses in North America. At 4.5-miles and with 24 turns, the track will present a new challenge to the world-class field of sports car racing's best. How do drivers and their teams prepare for such a challenge? Here's what they had to say:

Patrick Long, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing
"I think it's pure excitement. This has got to be their headline event for the year. Every time I've been there - three times - I've seen the place progress. It's an awesome facility. They are so welcoming and so appreciative of the American Le Mans Series and the teams and drivers coming that it really presents a good vibe."

"The first thing that comes to mind about the track is that it is smooth and flowing and fast. It's very challenging because it's so long with so many corners. But it's flat with not a lot of visual references so it's going to be tough. The drivers who learn the quickest will have a real advantage. As the weekend progresses, everyone will be closer together."

"The track should change a lot, and not just because it is new. Not a lot of rubber has been laid down. Plus it's out in the desert and will be sandy and dusty. That's something that you have to be mindful of. "

Timo Bernhard, Penske Racing
"The facility was pretty amazing. It was really great to drive there. The track is so long and has everything - ups and downs, long corners and short corners. It is very technical. The facility is just huge, and it's a compliment to the people who built it up."

"For a driver, it's very nice because you have to get a feel for the car at high-speed, and you get fifth-gear and six-gear corners. That's something special. What I like about the American Le Mans Series is you have different kinds of circuits. It's a good mixture for every driver."  zzzz

Joey Hand, BMW Team PTG
"It's going to be a pretty big deal to be the driver who learns the track first. I think you'll see the fastest laps from many of the drivers will be their last race lap."

"I've heard it's a great facility and a world-class facility. It's one that matches the positioning of the American Le Mans Series, which we're very excited about. I'm hoping the corners are long enough and extreme enough that what we lose on the straights we can gain back in there."

"I raced go-karts in Provo and Salt Lake City from 1992-95. When I raced karts there, it wasn't that far from downtown. They still have a couple of big kart races there, so I think the city is very much into motorsports."

Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing
"For a driver, it looks to me from watching a little video that it's a busy circuit. You'll be hard on the brakes and the throttle, and hard on the gearbox and using a lot of energy. The heart rate will be quite high, so you'll consume a lot of oxygen. It is a little fortunate that the race is toward the end of Saturday. It can be extremely hot, and one of the things that hurts us in the car is when it is really humid. But hopefully it shouldn't be too bad."

The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the Grand Prix of Utah, set for 6 p.m. MDT on Saturday, July 15 at the new Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City. CBS will broadcast the race from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 16. MotorsTV will broadcast the race in Europe from 6:30 to 9:30 CET on Sunday, July 16. American Le Mans Radio will provide live coverage on americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring. ALMS

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Live! Chicagoland
11:00am-11:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Chicagoland
11:30am-12:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Chicagoland
12:30pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series  Chicagoland
4:00pm-6:30pm (L) TNT
Speed News Saturday
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Kentucky
8:00pm-10:30pm (L) SPEED
Tradin' Paint
10:30pm-11:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Performance
11:00pm-11:30pm SPEED

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

Indy Pro team hooks up with college Indy Pro team hooks up with collegePanther Racing will field a 2007 Indy Pro Series entry in conjunction with the Indiana University - Purdue University Motorsports technology program. The team will consist of interns from engineering, management, and communications with help from Panther Racing.
Bikers rally for fallen buddy Bikers rally for fallen buddyFor years, San Franciscan James Cornell dreamed about competing in the historic Tourist Trophy sidecar motorcycle race on the dangerous, winding roads of the Isle of Man.

That dream was dashed when Cornell and his racing partner, Doug Dano, crashed May 27 while on a practice run before the race.

Cornell, 36, is still in a coma at Noble's Hospital in the town of Braddan. Hoping to bring him to San Francisco General Hospital, friends and fellow motorcycle enthusiasts have been organizing events to raise the $50,000 they expect that journey to cost.

"James is just such a great all-around guy, we want him home so we can help with him," said Stephan Kokinda, vice president of the San Francisco Motorcycle Club, to which Cornell belongs.  zzzz

"This has been rough on all of us. It's driving us crazy," said Kokinda, who on Wednesday night attended a fundraiser at the DNA Lounge that drew 250 bikers from clubs with names like the Bay Area Riders Forum (BARF), the Cretins, the East Bay Rats, the Secret Society Scooter Club and the Wrecking Crew. Across the bay, others gathered at a benefit at Pinky's Pizza parlor in Walnut Creek.

Cornell's father, Allen Cornell, said he has been overwhelmed by the efforts of his son's friends.

"I get calls every day from friends coordinating things," said the elder Cornell, a retired Army officer who lives in Sedona, Ariz.

The elder Cornell said he flew to the Isle of Man, an island of about 277 square miles between England and Ireland, to see his son after the accident and was surprised at how well he looked.

"It just looked like he was sleeping. There was slight bruising over his left eye," Cornell said. Doctors, however, are not optimistic about the chances for recovery and called Cornell's brain damage "extensive and severe," he said.  More at San Francisco Chronicle

Harvick team to appeal penalty Harvick team to appeal penaltyKevin Harvick Inc. team owner DeLana Harvick says the team will appeal NASCAR's penalty against the team's No. 77 Busch Series entry for an infraction found after last Friday's race at Daytona International Speedway.

"As a team owner, I understand the importance of rules, and I respect the need to have them in our sport," said Harvick. "I want to make it very clear that we did not deliberately disregard any rules. In this particular situation, we disagree with the penalty and will appeal."

Gene Nead, crew chief of the No. 77 Chevrolet driven by Burney Lamar, was fined $15,000 and suspended from NASCAR for the next six events, starting with Chicago for unapproved shock absorber components.

Lamar was penalized 50 driver points, and Harvick was penalized 50 owner points.

tv news
Track News
ISC reports strong 2nd Qtr. ISC reports strong 2nd Qtr.International Speedway Corp. today reported record financial results for its second quarter ended May 31, but President Lesa France Kennedy cautioned that third-quarter figures are likely to be lower than expected.

ISC reported net income of $30.7 million for the second quarter this year, up from $26.5 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue increased to $172.1 million this year from $157.4 million a year ago. For the first six months of the year, net income rose to $74.7 million, or $1.40 a share, from $67.6 million, or $1.27. Revenue this year was $366.0 million, up from $336.9 million last year.

 "Television and media revenues combined with higher corporate sponsorship, hospitality and attendance-related revenues helped drive our record results for the second quarter," Kennedy said. "Broadcast rights fees for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series increased approximately 15 percent over the prior year."

Kennedy, however, cautioned that this year's third-quarter figures are likely to be lower than anticipated because of what she said was weaker-than-expected attendance for June and July NASCAR events at Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. She blamed a weak Michigan economy and threatening weather in Florida for the problems that could mean an impact of 10 to 12 cents per share. NASCAR Daily Scene

Weekly NASCAR cheater report Weekly NASCAR cheater reportNASCAR announced today penalties and fines that have been issued among six NASCAR Busch Series teams as a result of rule violations at Daytona International Speedway.

Shane Wilson, crew chief for the No. 21 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, was fined $15,000 and suspended from NASCAR for the next six events beginning with the July 8 race at Chicagoland Speedway for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules; Section 20A-2.1E: unapproved modifications in trunk area to enhance aerodynamic performance; Section 20A-3.9F: deck lid must retain stock shape and contours; lower read edge bent to allow air to escape and Section 20A-16.3G: shock absorber access doors missing). The violations were discovered during post-qualifying inspection on June 30.

Additionally, Harvick will lose 50 NASCAR Busch Series driver points and team owner Richard Childress will forfeit 50 NASCAR Busch Series owner points.

Also, Gene Nead, the crew chief for the No. 77 Chevrolet driven by Burney Lamar, was fined $15,000 and suspended from the next six events starting with the Chicago race for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (Section 20A-12.3J: unapproved shock absorber components; base valves are not permitted). The infraction was found during post-race inspection on June 30.

As a result, Lamar will lose 50 NASCAR Busch Series driver points while team owner DeLana Harvick was also penalized with the loss of 50 NASCAR Busch Series owner points due to the infraction.

Four other crew chiefs were fined due to violations at Daytona. Mark Durgin, crew chief of the No. 43 Chevrolet driven by P.J. Jones and Dave Fuge Jr., crew chief for the No. 34 driven by Paul Tracy, were each fined $5,000 for violating 12-4-A and 12-4-Q. During pre-qualifying inspection on June 30, the No. 43 was found to have unapproved modification to the approved air filter housing while the No. 34 was discovered to have unapproved air directional devices inside the air filter housing.

Also, Rick Gay, crew chief for the No. 10 Ford driven by John Andretti, was fined $2,500 violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (Section 20A-2.1E: vent near the “A” post modified to enhance aerodynamic performance) and Marc Reno, crew chief for the No 1. Dodge driven by Mike Wallace, was also fined $2,000 for violating 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (Section 20A-16.4.2A: fuel cell vent tube exceeded the maximum use). The No. 10 violation was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection while the No. 1 violation was found during opening day inspection on June 28. NASCAR PR

Tickets on Sale for Utah Grand Prix Tickets on Sale for Utah Grand PrixTooele County, Utah – Larry H. Miller Dealerships’ Utah Grand Prix featuring the American LeMans Series and the SCCA Speed World Challenge presented by Citadel Broadcasting is perhaps the most unique event that fans will experience during the 2006 season. Ticket prices vary over the course of the three-day event. Tickets can be purchased on line at www.MillerMotorPark.com or by calling (801) 325-SEAT (7328).

Weekend Pass (good for all three days)
- Adult Grandstand $70
- Youth (2-12) Grandstand $30
- General Admission $50
- Youth (12 and under) General Admission is free

Thursday, July 13th
- $10 flat fee admission includes access to grandstand seating
- Youth (12 and under) are free

Friday, July 14th
- Adult Grandstand $40
- Youth (2-12) Grandstand $15
- General Admission $25
- Youth (12 and under) General Admission is free
Saturday, July 15th
- Adult Grandstand $50
- Youth (2-12) Grandstand $15
- General Admission $35
- Youth (12 and under) General Admission is Free

Weekend RV Parking
- Wednesday, July 12 – Saturday, July 15
- $150 flat fee
- RV parking is located along the south side of the track.

Miller Motorsports Park was designed with the fan in mind as it provides some of the best viewing opportunities of any track in the USA, with both close-up and full-view visibility from six major spectator areas.

This unique concept allows general admission spectators to move about from one “oasis” area to another affording them the opportunity to take in the fast-paced action from numerous locations and at the same time be able to see 95%-100% of the course.

Kovalainen tops Thursday times at Jerez Kovalainen tops Thursday times at JerezRenault's test driver Heikki Kovalainen turned the fastest lap on the third day of testing at the Jerez circuit. On a very hot and sunny day, the Finn driver posted a best time of 1:16.934. Honda, McLaren and Renault completed their testing today, while the rest of the teams continue testing tomorrow.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:16.934 75
 2. Button Honda (M) 1:17.163 93
 3. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:17.860 106
 4. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:18.018 75
 5. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:18.084 73
 6. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:18.179 99
 7. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:18.234 55
 8. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:18.322 93
 9. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:18.372 76
10. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:18.682 42
11. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:18.704 77
12. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:18.813 65
13. Lopez Renault (M) 1:19.246 72
14. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:19.252 65
Track News
LVMS news LVMS newsLAS VEGAS - It may be unusual to think of winter months when the thermometer in Las Vegas seems to have been stuck in triple digits for weeks, but officials at Las Vegas Motor Speedway already are planning the The Strip's first-quarter schedule for 2007.

"We've had numerous requests from fans and participants who want to make their travel arrangements for the early season at The Strip at LVMS," said Chris Blair, LVMS' senior director of drag racing operations.  "Popular, established events such as the Nitro Blast-Off, Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown, PSCA Winternationals and Mopars At The Strip have shown tremendous growth and we expect them to grow again in 2007."

The early-season schedule also will mark the debut of the new Las Vegas Snowball Spectacular on Jan. 27-28.  The event combines the NHRA Pacific Division Sportsman National Open series with a custom car show, live bands, swap meet and vendor displays. zzzz

"We believe the early-season date for the National Open Series and the car show will be perfect for auto enthusiasts from all over the region," continued Blair.  "Everyone seems to battle cabin fever during those months and we think LVMS will be the perfect place to find the cure."

The entire Strip schedule will be finalized once NHRA and NASCAR announce their 2007 national event dates for LVMS.

Jan. 19-21 - Sixth annual Nitro Blast-Off invitational professional test session.

Jan. 27-28 - Las Vegas Snowball Spectacular (NHRA Pacific Division Sportsman National Open and car show)

Feb. 2-4 - Last Chance Professional Test Session featuring the Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown (Feb. 3).

Feb. 17-18 - Pacific Street Car Association (PSCA) Winternationals.

March 30-April 1 - Fifth annual Mopars At The Strip (www.MoparsAtTheStrip.com).

Turner Sports Extends Media Agreement With NASCAR Turner Sports Extends Media Agreement With NASCARTurner Sports New Media, exercising an option, will continue to steer the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing's digital course for at least a couple of more years.

David Levy, president of Turner Sports, said the company would continue to operate NASCAR.com (www.nascar.com) through 2008 and plans to add a broadband channel in support of the increasingly popular motor-sports circuit. Turner also holds another option to renew the relationship beyond that span.

"NASCAR fans are interested in the sport 24/7. This is a great opportunity to provide even more information and knowledge to NASCAR fans," said Levy, noting that the site would become home to more clips and other video components when NASCAR.com begins to showcase some of the new elements, which users will "start to see in 2007."

In return for operating NASCAR.com, Turner Sports New Media will continue to sell advertising time on the site. Multichannel News

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
F1 quali gets five-minute chop
BMW told to stiffen 'flexi' wing

De Ferran 'not enjoying' Honda trough
Honda set date for Bonneville re-run
Webber keeps eye on Renault vacancy
Ferrari prepare 'large' update for '06 car
Heidfeld sits out test with twinge
Engine row could be headed for court
Track News
City still discussing land use around Burke Lakefront Airport City still discussing land use around Burke Lakefront AirportCleveland Mayor Frank Jackson wants to put prime, underused land surrounding Burke Lakefront Airport to better use. Jackson has instructed his planning and airport chiefs to craft preliminary development plans for the lakefront airport by late summer.

The plans will consider light recreational uses north of the airport, retail and hotel uses to the west and enhanced, airport-related uses to the east, officials said.

Planning Director Robert Brown said Wednesday that acres of excess land around Burke "are seriously underused."

The decades-old quandary of how to use the airport has prevented planning and in vestment on land that's not part of Burke's daily operations, Brown said.

City leaders have long debated whether the lakefront airport should close and be developed into a hip, new neighborhood. The airport and surrounding lands cover some 450 acres.

Jackson has said he favors developing the site. But the requisite studies and federal hurdles involved in such a move would take years. More at Cleveland Plain Dealer

Colin Fleming and Red Bull split Colin Fleming and Red Bull splitUPDATE Rumor has it that F3 Euroseries frontrunner Sebastien Vettel replace Colin Fleming for the championship's next double-header, at Misano, on July 15th-16th.

Red Bull let slip that Vettel - a BMW protégé who has tested for WilliamsF1 and is currently at Jerez with the German company's works team - will fill Fleming's seat for at least the next two races.

06/27/06 22 year old Colin Fleming is currently driving in Formula Renault World Series 3.5, for Carlin Motorsport. However, he has now decided to explore other avenues and options to further his motor sport career.  Red Bull has therefore agreed to release him from his contract.

“I am grateful for everything that Red Bull has done to help me in my racing career,” said Fleming. “And we have not ruled out the possibility that we might do something together at some point in the future. It has been a great experience.”

Fleming is now considering other options that have been presented to him, both in Europe and in North America. He will be evaluating these in order to secure the best possible drive for the following season.
Kyle Krisiloff loses truck ride Kyle Krisiloff loses truck rideBilly Ballew, owner of Billy Ballew Motorsports, announces 20-year-old Indianapolis native Kyle Krisiloff will no longer drive the No. 15 Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.  Kevin Grubb will take over the No. 15 for this weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway, as well as next week’s event at Memphis Motorsports Park.  Billy Ballew Motorsports is currently 24th in the owners’ points standings.

“Due to a lack of payment and breach of contract by Steve Krisiloff, Kyle’s father, and 21st Century Technology, Inc., Kyle Krisiloff will no longer be the driver of the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Chevrolet,” states Ballew.  “We are very upset about this and now it is in the hands of the attorneys.  We plan on filing a lawsuit immediately.”

Meanwhile, the Billy Ballew Motorsports team will continue to build competitive trucks to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and will head to this weekend’s event at Kentucky Speedway with the 28-year-old Grubb.  Grubb has four previous starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, with two coming in 1997 and two in 1996.  His best finish of the four is an 11th place at New Hampshire International Speedway. zzzz

“In light of the situation, we’re glad to have Kevin Grubb join our operation,” Ballew said.  “Originally, we had planned on taking Kevin to Kentucky anyway to run our second truck, the No. 51.  So now, he’ll jump in the No. 15 Woodard Pools Chevrolet and do a fine job for us.”

“I’m really excited to join Billy Ballew Motorsports,” Grubb said.  “The team has already won a race this year (with Kyle Busch in the No. 51) and hopefully we can get another win in the next couple of races.  I’m excited to work with Richie Wauters (Crew Chief).  We worked together briefly in the past and it’s nice to return to a familiar face.  I’ve also known Billy (Ballew) since he was first getting into the truck racing.  We always talked about teaming up together and now we’ve got the chance.  I hope to make good things happen from this opportunity.”

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

NASCAR Live! Chicagoland
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Chicagoland
4:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Chicagoland
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Chicagoland
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
ARCA RE/MAX Kentucky
9:00pm-11:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
No more free advertising for the IRL No more free advertising for the IRLAs this Toronto Star article points out, the Toronto Champ Car race has dropped the word Indy from its name and is now called the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto, which is what it should have been called years ago.  By using the word Indy, the Canadian Champ Car races were in effect doing free advertising for the IRL by promoting the word Indy in Canada.
Boris Said determined to become Cup regular Boris Said determined to become Cup regularBoris Said won't be in Joliet, Ill., this weekend for Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400, but after his fourth-place finish in the Pepsi 400 and his typically solid road course run the week before at Sonoma, Said probably ought to be in the field.

Said, an accomplished, world-class road racer, has been trying for two years to become more well-rounded and break into NASCAR as a Nextel Cup tour regular. Now, with help from Ford's Jack Roush, Said is getting a good shot.

Said is one of the stock-car tour's most irrepressible drivers, with an effervescent personality. And he is doggedly determined to make this new gig work.

The Roush-Said setup might make Roush run afoul of NASCAR's new limit on the number of teams that an owner can manage.

Said, with crew chief Frankie Stoddard, is running Roush Fords with Roush engines and Roush engineering help. More at Winston Salem Journal

Stewart honored at Indy Stewart honored at IndyTony Stewart received more accolades and one-of-a-kind awards for winning the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard during a public ceremony and media event July 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Stewart accepted his race winner’s ring from IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood. Stewart will try to earn a repeat victory in the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 6. Two-time NASCAR champion Stewart also helped unveil a piece of artwork by noted motorsports artist Sam Bass that Bass has donated to the Hall of Fame Museum. The artwork on display at the museum is a one-of-a-kind color reproduction of an original painting that The Home Depot commissioned Bass to create for Stewart. The art commemorates post-race events from Stewart’s long-sought, emotional victory at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Stewart kissing the famous “Yard of Bricks,” climbing the Speedway’s catch fence, his No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet crossing the finish line and a headshot of Stewart. Stewart also officially opened an exhibit at the Hall of Fame Museum featuring five cars, scheduled to be on display until June 2007, which played a significant role in Stewart’s rise from Indiana short-track racer to motorsports superstar. IMS Website
Atlantics: Toronto hot topics Atlantics: Toronto hot topics
Molson Memories: This weekend’s event marks the 16th Atlantic race at the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto. There have been 14 different Atlantic race winners and 14 pole winners since the series first started competing at Exhibition Place in 1990. Former series champion Richie Hearn is the only repeat Atlantic winner at Toronto, capturing both the 1994 and ’95 races, while two-time Atlantic champ Jon Fogarty is the only repeat pole winner (2002 and ’04).

Toronto Ties: Several Atlantic competitors consider Toronto their “home” race. Forsythe Racing rookie and ’06 Portland race winner James Hinchcliffe (#3 Emexis/INDECK) is from Toronto and still calls the city his home. Hinch will be making his first Atlantic start in his hometown this weekend. The Jensen MotorSport team, featuring rookie drivers Tim Bridgman (#2 Epson) and Steve Ott (#22 MSR Houston), also calls the area home. The veteran Jensen squad, now in its 10th Atlantic season under the direction of former series driver Eric Jensen, is headquartered in nearby Newcastle, Ontario.

Going Streaking: A couple of impressive Toronto streaks will be on the line this weekend. In all 15 Atlantic races run at Toronto, a Canadian driver has finished on the podium. The pressure will be on both Hinchcliffe and Edmonton’s Mike Forest as the only two Canadian drivers in the field this weekend trying to keep that streak alive. And either a Canadian or an American driver has won each of the past series races in Toronto. Canadians have won eight times and Americans have won seven races at the venue over the years. zzzz

Pole-in-Won: Winning the pole position is always important when racing at a tight street circuit like Toronto, but history has proven that the Atlantic pole-winner at the venue has uncanny championship success. Over the last four years in a row and in nine of the past 11 races at Toronto, the winner of the pole has gone on to claim the series title. Overall, the pole-winner in 10 of the 15 races held at Exhibition Place has won the Atlantic crown.

Standing Starts: For the first time since the 1998 season, standing starts returned to Atlantic competition at both Rounds 5 and 6 at Cleveland. The European-style starts were used in Atlantic competition from the very first year of the series in 1974 through the beginning of the 1999 season, when Atlantics went to all rolling starts. After an impressive and trouble-free re-introduction at Cleveland, series officials have pledged to continue using the stationary start format wherever possible this season. Sunday’s race will feature a standing start from the grid located at the start/finish line.

At The Half: The 2006 Atlantic season is now at its halfway point.  In six of the past seven seasons, including the last four in a row, the driver that was leading in points after Round 6 went on to win the Atlantic crown. Andreas Wirth currently leads the championship by nine points entering this weekend. The first half of the season has featured three race winners (Wirth, Graham Rahal and Hinchcliffe), four pole winners (Wirth, Rahal, Simon Pagenaud and Raphael Matos) and 10 podium finishers (Wirth, Pagenaud, Rahal, Jonathan Bomarito, Hinchcliffe, Matos, David Martinez, Ryan Lewis, Richard Philippe and Steve Ott). Rahal leads the series in wins (three) and laps led (73) and he’s tied with Wirth for the most poles in the first half (two). Wirth leads the series in podiums (four) while Martinez and Leonardo Maia top all series racers by completing all 404.488 miles of competition in ’06. Maia is also the only driver to finish among the top 10 in all six races.

Graham Slam: Graham Rahal enters Toronto on a roll. Following a sweep of the doubleheader race weekend in Cleveland, the 17-year-old son of racing icon Bobby Rahal has won three races and two pole positions over his last four Atlantic starts. He’s elevated his standing to third in the series championship, now just 12 points in back of Wirth, the series leader. Rahal makes his first series start in Toronto this weekend but he does have a history of success at Exhibition Place in his genes. His father won the very first Toronto Champ Car race back in 1986 and he also scored the pole in both the 1987 and 1992 Champ Car races at the venue. With his three victories this season, Graham has already equaled his father’s win output during his four years of Atlantic experience (1975-78).

International Appeal: The worldwide appeal of competing in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship has been clearly on display this season. A total of 12 different countries have been represented in series competition this year and drivers from 10 different countries will be featured in action this weekend. Competitors from countries including: the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Venezuela, France and Germany will all be racing in Toronto. The USA carries the largest contingent of drivers with 10 racers prepared to compete this weekend. At three separate races this season – in both Rounds 1 and 2 at Long Beach and Houston and again at Round 4 in Portland – the top five finishers in each race represented five different countries.

Remarkable Rookie Rundown: The 2006 Atlantic rookie crop could be one of the top collections of first-year racers in series history. A total of 24 talented rookies have competed in the series over the first six rounds of competition. In what’s sure to be a hotly-contested battle all season, Pagenaud leads the Atlantic rookie standings after Round 6 with 130 points, following five top-five finishes. Rookies currently occupy nine of the top 12 positions in the overall series season standings.

Sign O’ The Times: The 2006 Atlantic driver lineup will meet and greet the fans in attendance at the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto with an all-driver autograph session. The racers will sign for fans on Saturday at the Yahoo! Answers area in Thunder Alley from 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. local time. Champ Car

Q and A with Bill Elliott Q and A with Bill Elliott
USGP postscript USGP postscriptINDIANAPOLIS - The United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the 10th of 18 races and thus kicked off the second half of the season in the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Michael Schumacher's victory in his Ferrari - which was his record fifth at Indianapolis - cut six points from Fernando Alonso's lead in the points standings. Alonso, who finished fifth in his Renault, has 88 points to Schumacher's 69.

Schumacher hopes Ferrari can continue to close the gap on Renault.

"We can only hope to keep some of the edge we had this weekend and transform it into the European season," he said of he upcoming F1 races in Europe. "There's still a long way to go - eight races - so there's 80 points still to count.

"I'm 19 points behind now. It is a lot, in a way, but it's not impossible at all. I think we can do it."  zzzz

Mixed results: The United States Grand Prix was a race of mixed results for Scuderia Toro Rosso. California's Scott Speed was eliminated from the race in the big first-lap accident, but his teammate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, finished eighth and scored the first-ever point for the team.

"It was a shame for Scott, as the accident was not his fault," team co-owner Gerhard Berger said, "and he had done a great job in the first corner when he got in a really good position.

"I am very happy to have our first point. We have been trying very hard and finally have done it. It was a tough race, and even if lots of cars went out, we competed with Red Bull, and we competed with (Williams driver Nico) Rosberg.

"Well done to the whole team: Pit stop, strategy; everything went really well. Everybody did a great job."

Ready to fight: Having lost to Ferrari at Indianapolis, Renault plans to fight back.

"Indianapolis is an unusual circuit with some unique characteristics," said Pat Symonds, Renault's executive director of engineering. "In 2005, we had our worst part of the championship in North America. This year, we are coming away with 25 points.

"We got beaten, and nobody in the team likes losing. But we are ready to fight. We have a very aggressive development program in place for the coming races, and we hope to be much more competitive in France - a home race for both ourselves and Michelin. I expect normal service to be resumed in Magny-Cours, which means a tight, intriguing battle between ourselves, Ferrari and McLaren."

Leading laps: Felipe Massa led the first 29 laps of the United States Grand Prix. In his previous three F1 seasons, he had led a total of two laps.

Great relationship: Michael Schumacher and his new Ferrari teammate, Felipe Massa, are getting along well. After they finished first and second in the United States Grand Prix, which was the first one/two for the pair, Schumacher celebrated by picking up Massa.

"It's a long time ago I picked up a teammate and threw him up in the air," Schumacher said. "There are many reasons for that. First of all, we're getting on very well together. He's really a special teammate, I have to say, for many ways, for his speed, for his character and the way we work together in the team.

"Plus he's so light - it's easy. Last year, I would have struggled to pick up (former teammate) Rubens (Barrichello.)"

In the points: Although Fernando Alonso's fifth place in the United States Grand Prix was his worst finish of the season, he is the only driver to have scored points in each of the first 10 races.

Michael Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella have earned points in nine of the 10 events.

F1 land speed record: The Honda Racing F1 team will return to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah from July 17-21 to make another attempt at setting a land speed record for a race-legal F1 car similar to the one that Rubens Barrichello drove to sixth place in the United States Grand Prix.

Next event: The next race on the schedule is the French Grand Prix on July 16 at Magny-Cours.

Dates Set For Monterey Historic Event Dates Set For Monterey Historic EventMONTEREY, Calif. -- Hundreds of historically significant and carefully selected race cars will converge on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Aug. 18-20 for the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races Presented by Toyota, the nation's premier vintage automobile races.
This year's Historic will celebrate the automotive legacy of the Cooper Car Company and will honor the achievements of racing great Sir Jack Brabham, who will be in attendance.

In addition to title sponsor Rolex, this year's Historic welcomes a new presenting sponsor, Toyota. 

Each year, the Historic attracts thousands of spectators for highly competitive races. Representing the largest field of racers ever assembled, this year more than 400 vintage race cars spanning eight decades -- ranging from a 1916 National to a 1980 Porsche 935 IMSA -- will tackle the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the three-day Historic weekend.

Tickets for the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races Presented by Toyota range from $45 to $125. To purchase, call 1-800-327-SECA (7322) or visit www.laguna-seca.com or www.Ticketmaster.com.

Bridgestone happy to get F1 tire contract Bridgestone happy to get F1 tire contractIn a statement issued on Thursday, Bridgestone chairman Shoshi Arakawa said the company was very happy with the FIA's decision to select his company as the sole supplier of F1 tires for a period of three years.

"Bridgestone is delighted to have been selected as the sole official tire supplier to the world championship for the seasons of 2008 to 2010," said Arakawa. "Bridgestone is one of the world's leading manufacturers of tires and rubber products and we are very proud that it has been chosen to supply tires to one of the highest levels of global motorsport.

"Since entering Formula One in 1997, Bridgestone has remained committed to supplying the teams and drivers with safe and competitive tires. We have also relished the technical challenges that we have been presented with during this time. Following this recent announcement our hope and aim is for all parties competing in Formula One and for the sport itself to benefit from our long-term involvement.

"Bridgestone has considerable experience as a sole tire supplier in motorsport categories such as the Champ Car World Series, Indy Racing League and in Formula One itself [1999-2000] and it is our intention to offer a world class, professional and fair service to all involved.

"Bridgestone's continued involvement in Formula One is very important to us for several reasons. Not only does it provide us with a global platform for promoting our brand but it also enables us to continue to promote our messages of tire and road safety both on racing tracks and on normal roads.

"Bridgestone's work with the FIA Foundation on the global road safety campaign, 'Think Before You Drive' is very much part of our company philosophy and we shall continue to pass on the key messages of this campaign utilizing our continued involvement in Formula One."

Oliver Gavin: In his own words Oliver Gavin: In his own wordsAll good things must come to an end. For Oliver Gavin, it was the eight-race GT1 winning streak he and Olivier Beretta engineered in the American Le Mans Series. Although that run is over, Gavin is eager to start a new one at the Utah Grand Prix, Round 5 of the 2006 American Le Mans Series, at the new Miller Motorsports Park. Here’s a sampling of what he had to say about the streak, the new track and Aston Martin Racing:

On the effects of racing at Salt Lake City on the car and driver:
“It can have quite a significant effect. One of the main things is that the engines won’t breathe as normal. The cars won’t feel as racy as they usually do. You won’t get the jump off the corners you normally would. It also affects the downforce, so the car is likely to be moving around quite a bit, also. Those really factor in.

“For a driver, it looks to me from watching a little video that it’s a busy circuit. You’ll be hard on the brakes and the throttle, and hard on the gearbox and using a lot of energy. The heart rate will be quite high, so you’ll consume a lot of oxygen. It is a little fortunate that the race is toward the end of Saturday. It can be extremely hot, and one of the things that hurts us in the car is when it is really humid. But hopefully it shouldn’t be too bad. There are some pluses with the venue.”

On the chances at Miller Motorsports Park, with additional restrictions:
“We go to every event believing we have a chance of winning. We knew (of the adjustments) a couple of weeks ago, and so the engineers at Corvette Racing have been busying away to see what we can get out of the engine. It does present a big challenge for us. (Miller Motorsports Park) is somewhere no one has been before. With the infrastructure we have at Corvette Racing, we hope we’ll have an advantage over the Aston Martins and everyone else. It’ll be a battle. We thrive in this competition and we will be ready.” zzzz

On what has to happen to put together an eight-race winning streak:
“It was a number of different things. With all good teams, you have to have all the pieces in place to have it work. At the end of 2004 and 2005, we really started to develop a close relationship with our team and crew. We figured out how we all worked, and Olivier and I figured out what worked. We always seemed to be on the pace and have some luck. Each team and driver who are on a streak like that will say that luck is involved. But we also made our own luck, too. The strategy we employed at most races seemed to work. The Le Mans win was something that was quite remarkable. Each time we’ve gone, we’ve had strong opposition. We’ve always had a quite close race with them (Prodrive) and we’ve pushed each other to the maximum. When we go over our strategy and look at it, we stuck to our guns and stayed strong with our strategy. They ran into problems and issues with reliability.”

On different tracks in the Series:
“It was quite unusual at Lime Rock because we’re coming from Le Mans. It was very wide and open and a classic track. Then you come to Lime Rock, which is like a bullring. I drove two laps and wondered what I was doing. There were cars everywhere. Going from Lime Rock now to Miller Motorsports Park will be a big contrast. That’s the great thing about this Series. You compete on all of these great tracks, and that’s one of the things I love about racing in America. Houston was another big example. You really had to work hard to get the most out of the car. I really like the way the Series is mixing this up. I’m really enjoying it this year.”

On preparing for a new track:
“One of the first things you look for is all the pointers and markers on the track. You’re also hunting for different parts of the track that give you grip. On the first four or five laps, you’ll be driving on different lines to find all these. People will look and wonder if you really know what you’re doing. Then you get into a rhythm and find what works for you and works for the car. You really don’t have it absolutely nailed until you get out of the car and talk to your teammate, the team and other drivers to get their feedback on certain things.

“The team looks to see how accurate their simulation work is. They want to see how it is backed up. Then they can fine-tune any other future simulation for the cars. They run simulation setups throughout the day constantly to find us the best program. They’ll also look at things like gear ratio, tire pressure and temperatures and see if they can find any red flags.

On what needs to be done to bring in additional competitors in GT1:
“I think the Series and the likes of GM and Aston Martin have to be out there talking with manufacturers, showing them the excitement of the Series. I would love to see more manufacturers in the class. Le Mans was great; we had Lamborghini, the Saleen, the Ferrari 550s and the Aston Martins. I think Ferrari will be bringing in a new GT1 car next year. It’s up to some of the other manufacturers around the world to step up.”

The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the Grand Prix of Utah, set for 6 p.m. MDT on July 15 at the new Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City. CBS will broadcast the race from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT on July 16. American Le Mans Radio will provide live coverage on americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring. ALMS

Cooper Tires FF2000 Series Heads For Toronto Cooper Tires FF2000 Series Heads For TorontoPalmetto, Fla. – Toronto’s own Paul Tracy is among many top-line auto racing stars who competed in Formula Ford 2000 during the formative stages of their careers. Fellow former Champ Car World Series champion Jimmy Vasser is another. So, too, are Formula 1 World Champions Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill, and the three most recent winners of the Indianapolis 500 – Buddy Rice, Dan Wheldon and Sam Hornish Jr.

A new crop of young talent hailing from all corners of the globe will be on display this weekend when the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship makes its first-ever visit to the fast and challenging Exhibition Place temporary circuit in Toronto, Canada, for the ninth and 10th rounds of the 14-race series.

J.R. Hildebrand, 18, from Sausalito, Calif., has marked his card for the future, establishing a new record by winning every one of the first seven races this season with the Cape Motorsports #2 Formotion/Spy Optics/Mockett.com Van Diemen. Consequently, he carries a commanding points lead into this weekend. zzzz

The youngster’s streak finally ended in the most recent race – also held in conjunction with the Champ Car World Series – in Cleveland, Ohio, two weeks ago, when he made a rare mistake (while in the lead) and handed the advantage to rookie teammate Dane Cameron. The 17-year-old from Sonoma, Calif., then proceeded to set a new lap record as he cemented his position at the front of the field and guided the #19 Finlay Motorsports/Jim Russell Racing School/Red Line Oil Van Diemen to an impressive victory.

"We knew we could win some races this year," said Cameron, who also qualified on pole at Cleveland and now lies second in the points table. "J.R.’s been perfect up until now, but we’ve broken the streak and it feels good."

The two gifted Californians will start this weekend as favorites, although they will face plenty of stiff opposition.

Ricardo Vassmer, from Caracas, Venezuela, boosted his confidence with a pair of top-four finishes at Cleveland and now has his sights set firmly on scoring his first win with the JDC Motorsports #25 Meridiano Television/Santa Barbara Airlines Van Diemen.

A handful of top-five finishes, highlighted by a second at Portland, have proven the competitiveness of another talented rookie, Andy Knight, from Christchurch. New Zealand, who will line up in the G.FRO team’s #33 Latimer Hotel/NAPA/Valvoline/Denso Van Diemen and continue to seek his first Northern Hemisphere win.

Another sure-fire front-runner will be Jason Byers, who currently lies third in the championship on the strength of five top-five finishes in the #28 A&B Refrigeration/St. Clair Motorsports Van Diemen. Byers, 47, from Livonia, Mich., also is a clear leader in the Cooper Masters stakes, for drivers over 35 years of age, proving once again that experience (a.k.a. "old age and treachery") can be at least a match for youthful exuberance.

Several Canadians also should be in the mix, including Sherbrooke’s Olivier Comeau, who earned a pair of solid top-eight finishes two weeks ago in Cleveland at the wheel of the #65 Relais Pneu/Acier Orford/Pierre Vallee/RCGT/Via Route Van Diemen fielded by ex-Formula Ford front-runner David Clubine’s Britain West team.

Replay: Hornish Jr. on David Letterman Replay: Hornish Jr. on David LettermanIf you missed Sam Hornish Jr.'s appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman after Sam won the Indy 500, the show will be replayed on Thursday night, July 6, at 11:30 pm ET/PT on CBS.  Check local listings for time in your area.
track news
Injured fans cannot sue Injured fans cannot sueFour NASCAR fans injured in the post-race collapse of a pedestrian bridge in 2000 cannot seek damages from Lowe's Motor Speedway, the state's Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

The three-judge panel unanimously determined that the lawsuits, filed in 2004, came too long after the bridge was constructed in September 1995. State law protects manufacturers from negligence lawsuits after six years under the premise that a product, such as a walking bridge, will eventually deteriorate and fail over time.

More than 100 people were injured, some seriously, but none fatally on May 20, 2000, when an 80-foot section of the walkway fell 25 feet onto a highway in Concord. At the time of the failure, fans were crossing to a nearby parking lot after a NASCAR all-star race. More at this AP article

track news
Bike for Tykes Bike for TykesThe 7th Annual Grand Prix Charitable Foundation's Bike for Tykes kicks off with a traditional Market Open on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The event raises funds for Bloorview Kids Rehab, Canada's largest teaching hospital for children with disabilities. Photo with Champ Car World Series driver Nelson Philippe and Champ Car Atlantics drivers  Richard Philippe, Leo Maia, and Andreas Wirth.
LENOX to Sponsor McMurray LENOX to Sponsor McMurrayAfter a successful venture as an associate sponsor on the No. 26 Roush Racing Ford Fusion of Jamie McMurray, LENOX’ now has a primary paint scheme of its own.

Three times in 2006, beginning with the July 9, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, the red, white and blue colors of LENOX will dominate McMurray's Ford Fusion.  Other races where LENOX will be the team's primary sponsor include New Hampshire International Speedway on July 16th and Kansas Speedway on October 1st.

LENOX, a leading manufacturer of premium power tool accessories, hand tools, torches, and band saw blades in over 70 countries served as an associate sponsor on McMurray's IRWIN’ Industrial Tools Ford earlier this year. The TV panel of the car proudly displays a LENOX saw blade as if it were tearing through it.  zzzz

"LENOX has been associated with our Roush Racing sponsorship since 2003," said Bill Burke, president of LENOX. "Like Roush, LENOX is committed to quality, innovation, and extreme performance. The decision to become a primary sponsor of the No. 26 team and Jamie McMurray is an exciting step for our company. We look forward to strengthening our commitment to the sport of auto racing and its fans."

"I can't wait to take the white LENOX Ford Fusion on the track," added McMurray.  "Our race team uses LENOX products to build and maintain our race cars every day in the shop and we hope to take them to victory lane - hopefully right in their backyard at New Hampshire International Speedway."

As hand tool and power tool accessory manufacturers, IRWIN and LENOX are positioned as sister companies within the Newell Rubbermaid’ family of companies.  Together, these two leading brands work to leverage the strength of each brand to provide trade professionals with a wide range of innovative, premium quality products.

Free Danica dolls Free Danica dollsThe first 10,000 fans through the gates for the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225 IRL Indy Car Series race at The Milwaukee Mile on July 23, will receive a limited-edition Danica Patrick bobblehead.
De la Rosa again fastest in Spain De la Rosa again fastest in SpainMcLaren's Pedro de la Rosa continued at the top of the timesheets on the second day of testing at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.  In the morning Robert Kubica was testing two radical little 'vertical wings' at the front of the car on the nose adjacent to the front suspension on his BMW-Sauber.  They look to be more of a ruse to send competitors down the wrong path.

Wednesday's times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:17.785 116
 2. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:18.050 115
 3. Alonso Renault (M) 1:18.120 97
 4. Davidson Honda (M) 1:18.223 110
 5. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:18.539 103
 6. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:18.608 67
 7. Zonta Toyota (B) 1:18.793 99
 8. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:18.892 88
 9. Panis Toyota (B) 1:19.059 85
10. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:19.386 96
11. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:19.592 32
12. Vettel BMW-Sauber (M) 1:19.594 82

Things to look for in Toronto Things to look for in Toronto
A is For Ace – Through the first 30 races of his career, everyone wondered when America’s brightest open-wheel talent A.J. Allmendinger would win a race. Now the question may be ‘When will he stop?’ The Forsythe pilot has won each of the last two Champ Car races, and is now within reach of the series lead after six races. This weekend, the Californian looks to become the first American driver since Al Unser Jr. in 1994 to win three consecutive Champ Car races.

Bourdais’ Backyard? – Two-time defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais will look to bounce back from a disappointing Cleveland event by heading to one of his most successful venues – Toronto’s Exhibition Place. In his three seasons in Champ Car, Bourdais has two poles, one win and three top-five runs. Only Danny Sullivan and Alex Zanardi have ever finished in the top-five in each of their first four visits to Toronto’s challenging street course.

Junqueira Jettisons Jinx – Bruno Junqueira appears to be shedding the bad luck that plagued him through the season’s first four races as he heads to Toronto where he has started third or better in each of his last three trips. Despite the second-best qualifying average in the field through five races, Junqueira had just one top-five to show for it. Two weeks ago in Cleveland, the Brazilian powered through the field to score his first podium of the year and is now eighth in the points. zzzz

Tracy’s Trials – Paul Tracy heads to his home track in desperate need of a strong showing if he harbors any hopes of challenging for a title. Outside of the top 10 in points for the first time since 2002, the Ontario native is 11th in the standings after being taken out of three races this year due to accidents not of his making. He comes to a Toronto track where he has scored 10 top-ten runs in his 15 starts including wins in 1993 and 2003.

Tagging Up – Canadian star Alex Tagliani will heads to the familiar Toronto streets as he continues to the hunt for Team Australia’s first Champ Car victory. Sixth in the current point standings, the Quebec native has two podium finishes in Toronto, including a third-place run last season and has finished seventh or better in five of his six Toronto starts.

Caution To The Wind – There has never been a caution-free event in the previous 20 Champ Car races run on the streets of Toronto. Last year, the race went caution-free for the first 56 laps to set an event record. However, 21 of the final 29 laps were run behind the pace car due to four separate incidents in the waning laps.

Coyne Collects – The Dale Coyne Racing dup of Mario Dominguez and Jan Heylen had their best finishes of the 2006 season in Cleveland and look to continue that success in Toronto. Dominguez had a podium in his grasp before getting caught up in a last-lap spin while Heylen earned the first top-five finish of his young career.

National Pride – Soccer’s World Cup has followers across the world rapt in their fight for nationalistic glory, but Champ Car’s own international battle is equally enthralling after six races. France leads the Nation’s Cup standings as it looks to defend the 2005 title with England just 20 points back. The United States’ lone flag-bearer A.J. Allmendinger is third with Canada just three points behind.

Legge Developing Her Kick - Katherine Legge notched her place in the Champ Car history books in Milwaukee becoming the first woman to ever lead a race, fighting off Justin Wilson for twelve laps. At the end of the day, the Briton set another mark by finishing the race in the sixth position, the best ever for a female in Champ Car competition. Going into Toronto she is just three points behind points leader Dan Clarke in the race for the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year title.

Tight points chase – Even though Sebastien Bourdais is the clear leader in the point standings, there are some very close races throughout the point chart. After the Portland event there is a four-way tie for the fifth position, with Paul Tracy, Mario Dominguez, Cristiano da Matta and Nelson Philippe all having scored 76 points in the first five events on the Champ Car circuit

Triple Threat? –Sebastien Bourdais is chasing history to join Ted Horn as the only driver to win three consecutive Champ Car titles and holds a 26-point lead over Justin Wilson. In Houston Sebastien Bourdais became the first driver since Rick Mears (1982) to defend his title by winning the first two races of the following season. Then in Monterrey, he joined Al Unser Sr. (1971) as the last driver to win the first three races of a season after winning the title the year before.

Three new events on '07 World Rally calendar Three new events on '07 World Rally calendarNorway, Portugal and Ireland will all host World Rally Championship events in 2007 after the World Motor Sport Council announced the calendar for next season following a meeting in Paris.

The three new events replace those in Cyprus, Turkey and Australia.

2007 FIA World Rally Championship calendar:

19-21 Jan Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo
9-11 Feb Swedish Rally
16-18 Feb Rally Norway
9-11 Mar Rally Mexico
30 Mar-1 Apr Rally de Portugal
4-6 May Rally Argentina
18-20 May Rally Italia-Sardinia
1-3 June Acropolis Rally of Greece
3-5 Aug Rally Finland
17-19 Aug Rallye Deutschland
31 Aug-2 Sept Rally New Zealand
5-7 Oct Rallye de France - Tour de Corse
12-14 Oct Rallye de España
26-28 Oct Rally Japan
16-18 Nov Rally Ireland
30 Nov-2 Dec Rally GB

TV News
TNT Gears Up for NASCAR Coverage TNT Gears Up for NASCAR CoverageTalladega Nights star Will Ferrell joins Wally’s World in Chicago

The second half of the NASCAR season revs up on TNT on Sat., July 8 with NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Chicago presented by Pennzoil Platinum at 4 p.m. ET. TNT NASCAR coverage continues on Sun., July 9 with the Bank of America Countdown to Green pre-race show at 3 p.m. ET, featuring Talladega Nights star Will Ferrell taking a spin with TNT's Wally Dallenbach in this season’s first edition of Wally’s World. Following at 3:30 p.m. ET is NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Racing from Chicago. The TNT NASCAR announcing stable will include Bill Weber (pre-race host and play-by-play), Benny Parsons (analyst), Wally Dallenbach (analyst), Allen Bestwick (pit reporter), Dave Burns (pit reporter), Marty Snider (pit reporter) and Matt Yocum (pit reporter).  zzzz


Sat., July 8 4 p.m. ET NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Chicago presented by Pennzoil Platinum
 Announcers: Bill Weber, Benny Parsons, Wally Dallenbach
 Reporters: Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum

Sun, July 9 3 p.m. ET Bank of America Countdown to Green (pre-race show)
 Host: Bill Weber

Sun, July 9 3:30 p.m. ET NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Racing from Chicago
 Announcers: Bill Weber, Benny Parsons, Wally Dallenbach
 Reporters: Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum

Sat., July 15 3 p.m. ET NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Loudon
 Announcers: Bill Weber, Benny Parsons, Wally Dallenbach
 Reporters: Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum

Sun., July 16 1:30 p.m. ET Bank of America Countdown to Green (pre-race show)
 Host: Bill Weber

Sun., July 16 2 p.m. ET NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Racing from Loudon presented by SUBWAY
 Announcers: Bill Weber, Benny Parsons, Wally Dallenbach
 Reporters: Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum

Sun., July 23 1:30 p.m. ET Bank of America Countdown to Green (pre-race show)
 Host: Bill Weber

Sun., July 23 2 p.m. ET NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Racing from Pocono
 Announcers: Bill Weber, Benny Parsons, Wally Dallenbach
 Reporters: Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum

Bridgestone, Microsoft win exclusive F1 contracts Bridgestone, Microsoft win exclusive F1 contractsJapanese company Bridgestone has won the contract to be Formula One's exclusive tire supplier from 2008. Bridgestone was awarded a three-year contract by motorsport's governing body the FIA on Wednesday for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons.

The deal means it will be F1's only supplier from next year (2007), as Michelin is quitting at the end of this season.

Electronics giant Microsoft was chosen as single supplier for engine electronic control units for the same period.

A statement also read: ''Due to a significant increase in cornering speeds ... this season, the World Motor Sport Council agreed to consult with the ... Technical Working Group regarding possible measures to slow the cars.''

Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 7-5-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (5) Michael Schumacher (F1) 8.382
2. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1 8.245
3. (3) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 8.022
4. (8) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.820
5. (2) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 7.759
6. (NR) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.256
7. (13) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 7.181
8. (18) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 7.080
9. (7) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.875
10. (21) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.793
11. (17) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.759
12. (14) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 6.543
13. (11) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 6.528
14. (23) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 6.501
15. (25) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.450
16. (12) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.397
17. (4) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 6.388
18. (26) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.374
19. (6) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.211
20. (NR) Casey Mears (NASCAR) 6.116

Dropped out: Jeff Gordon (NASCAR), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Mark Martin (NASCAR), Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Vitor Meira (IRL), Helio Castroneves (IRL)
Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.
Industry News
Corvette plant a bright star in GM’s otherwise gloomy outlook Corvette plant a bright star in GM’s otherwise gloomy outlookThis Detroit News article discusses the success and pride the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette assembly plant has and why the Corvette is so good for Chevy's image and for Chevy's sales of other vehicles.

The Corvette -- which sells for around $50,000 -- is not intended to make piles of money, but instead to create a brand identity and to lure customers into Chevy dealerships to buy other vehicles, said David Healy, an analyst with New York-based Burnham Securities Inc.

"It's microscopic, but it does the job as a marketing tool for Chevy. Indirectly it makes money because it gives cachet to Chevy, which otherwise might suffer from lack of charisma.

"It's a performance mobile. It probably shouldn't be street legal," Healy said of the car that can reach speeds up to 180 mph.

Belgian government would not tax Bernie Belgian government would not tax BernieIf Bernie Ecclestone takes over the promotion of the Belgium GP F1 race the Commission of the Federal Public Authorities of Financial Matters of Belgium has ruled that he will not have to pay taxes if he were to turn a profit.
Ide hopes for F1 return Ide hopes for F1 returnYuji Ide, currently managed by A. Company Inc. (SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM), will be competing this weekend at the Suzuka Circuit in the Japanese Championship Formula Nippon. He will be driving car number 41 with the DoCoMo TEAM DANDELION RACING for the remaining six races of the Championship.

Since being stripped of his Super License in the beginning of May, both Yuji and the team have been looking into various driving options for 2006. As a result, he has landed a seat to compete in the highest formula category in Japan.

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal, SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM
“I am happy that Yuji Ide is able to compete in the Japanese Championship Formula Nippon once again. Although it was only for four races, I am confident that his experiences gained in the Formula One category will help him in the future. I appreciate that DoCoMo TEAM DANDELION RACING has seen Yuji’s capabilities and given him a seat in their team.”

Yuji Ide
“I have been considering my options over the last few weeks and have decided to compete in the Formula Nippon category once again. I am grateful to DoCoMo TEAM DANDELION RACING for giving me this opportunity half-way through the season. I have not yet given up hope on returning to Formula One, but for now what I need to do is to concentrate on the races that lie ahead and perform well. I apologize to all my fans who have been worried for me and I hope that they continue to support me in the future.”

Ranger's future still in limbo Ranger's future still in limboAndrew Ranger comes into Toronto's Grand Prix as the leading Canadian driver in the Champ Car series.

With 99 points, he's 33 points behind series leader Sebastien Bourdais, but nine ahead of fellow Quebecer Alex Tagliani and 18 in front of Scarborough native Paul Tracy.

Ranger sits fourth in the overall standings, while Tagliani is sixth and Tracy is well off the pace in 11th place.

Yet, despite his success this season, the 19-year-old, who hails from Roxton Pond, Que., southeast of Montreal, doesn't know if he'll be competing in all of the remaining seven events after Sunday's race at Exhibition Place.

Money, or rather the lack of it, could cause him to give up his seat in the red and yellow Mi-Jack Conquest Racing car. Beyond this Sunday, he's only assured sponsorship for the Edmonton and Montreal events.

Ranger's principle sponsor of the past four seasons, Proctor and Gamble Canada, through its Tide detergent brand, only signed on for the season opener at Long Beach, Calif., and the three Canadian stops — Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal — of the series.

His success on the track, along with the diligence of his agent, Alan Labrosse of Montreal, has brought him more sponsors, which has allowed him to compete in every race so far, but without more money his future is uncertain.

"I'm fourth in the standings and I hope that will let me do more races," he said. "It's all about money."  More at The Toronto Star

Petty unveils new Dodge Challenger Petty unveils new Dodge ChallengerSeven-time Cup champion Richard Petty and series regular Kasey Kahne joined Chrysler executives to unveil the 2008 Dodge Challenger production car last Saturday afternoon. The Challenger is scheduled to return after a nearly 35-year hiatus as a two-door coupe featuring the long hood, short deck and wide stance reminiscent of its Pony/Muscle Car heritage from the 1970s. "If you were a '70s Challenger fan, you can look at it and see the new Challenger in it," said Petty, who scored the majority of his record 200 Cup victories in MoPar products. Star-Telegram (Photo courtesy of Dodge)
Wilson hopes to repeat win for CDW Wilson hopes to repeat win for CDWJustin Wilson heads north to Toronto this weekend for the first of three Canadian races on the Champ Car schedule.  After the disappointment of a mechanical failure at Cleveland, he will be working flat out with the #9 CDW team to repeat last year's race-winning performance on the challenging street circuit around Exhibition Place.

Six races into the 2006 Champ Car World Series things are hotting up with an intense mid-season battle involving Justin, Newman-Haas' Sebastien Bourdais and Forsythe's A.J. Allmendinger.  Justin has visited the podium four times in the first six events, but needs race wins in his fight for the driver championship.

"Obviously I got my first Champ Car win here last year for CDW and RuSPORT so I've got fond memories of the event", said Justin.  "It's one of the toughest races on the calendar in terms of set-up, because of the mix of fast flowing corners and tight bumpy turns as well as the different track surfaces.  The balance of the car changes all the time as the track rubbers in and that also keeps everyone on their toes."  Reflecting on his season so far, Justin added, "We've shown a lot of potential over the first six races, but haven't been able to convert that into a win yet.  It won't be easy, but we'll be working hard to try and repeat last year's result."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Williams' 'no comment' on Montoya return
Bernie sounds positive about new Indy deal
Rosberg hopes for aero boost in France
New 'Indy saga' nearly struck in 2006
A1 Grand Prix announces provisional ’06/’07 calendar A1 Grand Prix announces provisional ’06/’07 calendarAll A1 Grand Prix races will be shown live across a worldwide network of television stations. An announcement detailing television rights-holders will follow shortly.

All races proposed on the 2006/07 season A1GP race calendar above are subject to FIA World Council approval and the successful completion of commercial agreements between the circuit management and A1 Grand Prix. 

 Location  Circuit  Date
1  Netherlands  Circuit Park Zandvoort  1 October 2006
2  Czech Republic  Auto Motodrom Brno  8 October 2006
3  China  Beijing  5 November 2006 (Temporary circuit, not Goldenport)
4  Malaysia  Sepang International Circuit  26 November 2006
5  United Arab Emirates  Dubai Autodrome  16 December 2006
6  New Zealand  Taupo  21 January 2007**
7  Australia  Sydney  4 February 2007
8  South Africa  Durban (street race)  25 February 2007
9  South/North America    11/18 March 2007*
10  Mexico    25 March 2007
11  Indonesia    8 April 2007*
12  China  Shanghai International Circuit  15 April 2007
13  Great Britain  Brands Hatch  29 April 2007
*To be confirmed
**Venue subject to agreement

“It is exciting to know where we will be racing in the second season of A1 Grand Prix, starting on 1 October 2006,” said Alex Yoong, the principal driver for A1 Team Malaysia. “The team is now busy preparing itself and happy to know the venues of the racing so that we can start planning our logistics for the 6 months on the road.  We hope that our fans will follow our progress and look forward to seeing them at Sepang on Sunday 26 November for the A1 Grand Prix of Malaysia.”

“The addition of 2 further events over last year shows the steady development of the series, which we welcome.  We are also expecting one or two additional nations to compete and are looking forward to the announcements of which countries they may be,” added Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive A1 Team Malaysia.

“The calendar has been announced in a timely fashion bearing in mind that we are in discussions with a number of commercial partners in Malaysia for next season.  For the next three months prior to the start of the season we can focus on the opportunities to promote Malaysia and Malaysian brands on the car and team in the 12 countries featured in the calendar.”  

“Racing in New Zealand will be a tribute to Colin Giltrap, a giant of the motor and motorsports industry in that country.  The whole of New Zealand has been strongly supportive of their national A1 team and they deserve to see the return of this level of single seater racing.  We will be doing our very best to beat them at their home race!”

track news
USG Embraces NASCAR Weekend at Chicagoland USG Embraces NASCAR Weekend at ChicagolandCHICAGO - USG, a leading manufacturer of building materials for the construction and remodeling industries, will not only be the title rights sponsor for three races during the NASCAR weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, but also a primary sponsor of a NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series car.

USG's sponsorship during the July 7-9 weekend at the 1.5-mile oval in Joliet, Ill. includes:  zzzz

Title Rights Sponsorship:

- USG Pole Day, NEXTEL Cup Qualifying, Friday, July 7

- USG FIBEROCK 100, USAC Silver Crown Series race, Friday, July 7

- USG DUROCK 300, NASCAR Busch Series, Saturday, July 8

- USG SHEETROCK 400, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, Sunday, July 9

Primary Sponsorship on the following cars:

- The No. 17 USG SHEETROCK Brand Ford to be driven by Matt Kenseth in the NEXTEL Cup race. Kenseth, who was runner-up in last year's USG SHEETROCK 400, competes for Roush Racing.

- The No. 64 USG DUROCK Brand Dodge to be driven by Jamie McMurray in the Busch Series race. McMurray's Busch car is owned by former NASCAR great Rusty Wallace.

The three races are named after three of USG's top-performing brands: the renowned SHEETROCK Brand, DUROCK Brand Cement Board, a high-strength ceramic tile backer that provides superior tile adhesion, and the FIBEROCK Brand, an interior panel for areas where resistance to abuse, moisture, mold and fire are especially important.

"Chicago has been USG's home base for more than a century and we are thrilled to support and be actively involved in one of the biggest and most popular sport weekends in the Chicago area," said Greg Salah, USG's vice president of marketing. "This is our second season as a partner with Chicagoland Speedway and we couldn't be more pleased with the outstanding relationship that has been established.

"The race weekend is an excellent opportunity to showcase the USG Racing Experience and our industry-leading SHEETROCK, DUROCK and FIBEROCK Brands to our customers. NASCAR and USG are a great fit because we both value speed, precision, performance and teamwork."

Matt Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway, is equally as excited about the USG partnership.

"USG is a paramount player among Chicago's business structure, and we are proud to partner with them to host the largest sporting event in Illinois," Alexander said. "USG is an organization which prides itself on quality and service, and is as dedicated as we are to exceeding the expectations of its customers."

USG is the Official Building Products Supplier of NASCAR. The partnership also includes the "USG Improving the Finish" contingency award at each of the 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point races.

USG Corporation is a Fortune 500 company with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their key product groups: gypsum wallboard, joint compound and related gypsum products; cement board; gypsum fiber panels; ceiling panels and grid; and building products distribution. For more information about USG Corporation, visit the USG home page at www.usg.com.

Houston, we have a problem Houston, we have a problemUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am writing in response to your posting of 7/4/06 titled, Houston, we have a problem. While I agree that CCWS does little to build a driver’s image so that they become stars, I disagree with your analysis of the data you report coming from Scarborough Research.

Men in the age groups you report data for are most likely more mature, have solid careers, receive paid time off the job and have discretionary income. They have the time and the dollars to travel and entertain themselves or their customers. They would likely participate in CCWS events for the entertainment value or for the love of the sport. They are mature enough that they no longer need marketing icons to guide them towards one sport or another.

Lastly, these men are more likely to provide leads to potential sponsorship dollars than younger men who are still impressionable enough to attend just to follow their star driver.

Today, CCWS and their promoters need fans in this age group because they have money to spend on tickets, airfare, hotel rooms, fancy meals and a go-kart ride to raise funds for charity.

In my opinion CCWS and the promoters are pushing most of their current marketing efforts towards a younger crowd as demonstrated by the lead performers at concerts and the “family friendly” areas/events. Give them time to build that age group and in the meantime give us “old guys” some credit for our contribution to the sport. Jay D. Hodge, Danville, Indiana

Dear Jay, Once a fan, usually always a fan. What this statistic shows is that the generation that grew up in the USAC and CART days are still fans of the sport even though it is now called Champ Car. Of course this "baby boomer" generation is important to Champ Car today. However, the future of the sport will be built on the teenagers and twenty some year olds of today who will become the major breadwinners of tomorrow. Studies have shown that once a young person is "hooked" they usually stay hooked for life. "Get'em young" as they say. Ideally, a sport would like to have an equal representation from all age groups, both male and female, and maintain that spread forever. Mark C. 

07/04/06 It seems NHRA, Champ Car, IRL and NASCAR have something in common - an aging fan base. Nearly 1/3 of Champ Car's avid fan base (16.5% + 15.8% = 32.3%) is men ages 35-54, according to Scarborough Research. Champ Car does not lead in many overall sports statistics, but they do in this one. They lead all sports in male fans who are from the baby boomer era, now ages 35 to 54. By not making stars out of their younger drivers, and with so few American drivers, the younger American generation will soon just pass them by.

As we have long maintained, "It's the popularity of the drivers/athletes that drive any sport." It's OK to create these "3-day festivals of speed" to make the races profitable, but the sport needs fans of the drivers, not of the events, if TV ratings are to rise week in and week out. With money in tight supply, the driver lineup in Champ Car is like a revolving door, out with one ride-buyer and in with the next. You cannot grow a fan-following that way.

With the new car and new venues on the way, 2007 is supposed to be Champ Car's breakout year. It will be interesting to see what plans Champ Car has for its long-term driver lineup, and whether its marketing department can start 2007 hitting on all 8 cylinders, or whether it will continue to sputter, pop and backfire.

Men 35-44
  1. Champ Car 16.5% of fan base
  2. NHL 15.5%
  3. AFL 15.3%
  4. IRL 14.9%
  5. MLS 14.8%
  6. NASCAR 14.1%
  7. NFL 13.3%
  8. PGA 13.1%
  9. College Football 13.0%
  10. College Basketball 12.7%

Men 45-54

  1. NHRA 17.9%
  2. Champ Car 15.8%
  3. IRL 14.2%
  4. Minor League Baseball 13.6%
  5. PGA 12.8%
  6. College Football 12.7%
  7. Minor League Hockey 12.7%
  8. NASCAR 12.6%
  9. College Basketball 12.5%
  10. NFL 12.4%

Source: Scarborough Research

formula bmw
Gelles drivers, Top BMW Rookies Gelles drivers, Top BMW RookiesIndianapolis –   Gelles Racing young guns had a wild weekend in Indianapolis and only Colombian Sebastian Saavedra managed Top Ten finishes. But the story remains bad weather prevailed for the only qualifying session and the off-track excursions almost all the drivers suffered in the double header. Nevertheless, both Saavedra and Junior Scholar Pelletier scored valuable points and now both top the Rookie standings with a 1-2 punch.

“This could have been the worst BMW USA weekend in terms of weather, argued team owner Bob Gelles. We worked the cars for a rain setup and had four drivers among the top six in the qualifying session until the skies cleared. Some drivers managed to get one or two laps on a drying track while ours were not able to get one good lap and had to settle with the rain times due to my poor decision. That explained why some had to start from mid-pack or worse. From then, both races saw off-track adventures with almost every driver taking the green road at one point or the other. I am very satisfied with our two rookies Sebastian (Saavedra) in his Western Union car, and Maxime (Pelletier) with his BMW of Sterling machine, both scored extremely valuable points in the rookie standings. Saavedra was two for two bringing home both 1st place BMW USA Rookie trophies adding to his collection. Saavedra took the lead he had lost in Montreal while Pelletier is now a close second.’’

De la Rosa tops testing at Jerez De la Rosa tops testing at JerezMcLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa set the pace as Formula One testing got back underway at a hot and sunny Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain.

Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello are expected to join the test tomorrow.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:18.029 60
 2. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:18.484 97
 3. Davidson Honda (M) 1:18.694 69
 4. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:18.929 76
 5. Lopez Renault (M) 1:19.508 59
 6. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:19.830 49
 7. Rossiter Honda (M) 1:19.858 74

Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame welcomes gift Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame welcomes giftMontreal, Québec - To help celebrate the relocation and re-opening of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame (CMHF), now situated in Halton Hills, Ontario, A1 Team Canada's Sean McIntosh has donated the race boots and gloves he wore in Indonesia as he claimed Canada's maiden victory in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations back in February.

Having moved to its new home last month, based at Legendary Motor Car in Halton Hills, the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame continues to celebrate Canada's proud racing heritage while  recognizing  the  achievements  of  outstanding  Canadian  competitors  in  both  domestic and international motorsport competition. zzzz

While donating his history-making A1GP apparel to the CMHF, along with a signed print of his debut start for A1 Team Canada at Brands Hatch last September, McIntosh commented:

"I  was delighted to be able to represent Canada  in A1GP and to cap my last race of the season for the team with a victory, our first, was just fantastic.  We made a little bit of history for Canadian motorsport that day and I'm thrilled our accomplishments will be remembered through the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame."

Thom Dickinson, President of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame said:

"We're more than pleased, not just at Sean's successes but also his consideration in donating these items to the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.  We're delighted to receive them and to add them to our expanding collection highlighting Canadian excellence in motorsport."

McIntosh's drive for A1 Team Canada in Round 8's Feature race was one of the undoubted highlights of a stunning first year of competition in 'The World Cup of Motorsport'.  Having suffered  the  disappointment  of  crashing  out  on  the  first  lap  of  the  Sprint  race,  McIntosh responded  with  a  sublime  drive  charging  from  last-to-first  in  the  Feature  race,  despite  an unwelcome drive-through penalty, to power A1 Team Canada to its first ever A1GP victory.

The Vancouver-born 20-year-old then led a rousing rendition of 'Oh Canada' from the top step of the podium while draped proudly in Canada's maple leaf flag.  The Indonesian win marked McIntosh's second trip to the A1GP podium following a third place effort in Germany while his points-scoring consistency helped steer A1 Team Canada to a 10th place finish in the Nations Standings from a total of 25 countries competing in the inaugural A1GP season.

For further information on the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame log on to: www.cmhf.ca

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
German teen to test BMW-Sauber
Indy to say 'no' to city's help for F1 deal

Nick's $245k shunt
Schu's loyalties clash on Tuesday
Alonso set for 30hp boost - newspaper
Fisi remarks a 'misunderstanding' - CEO
Williams admit blame for crisis
Honda to get Magny Cours update
Atlantics to continue standing starts Atlantics to continue standing startsWhile many fans, team owners and race officials held their collective breath during the re-introduction of standing starts recently in the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, the competitors themselves showed that all the hype and trepidation was really unwarranted. A "new" starting format proved to be no big deal for the future stars of open-wheel racing.

After two textbook standing starts were executed perfectly by the 24-car Champ Car Atlantic field June 24-25 at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport road circuit, series officials have announced that standing starts will become the norm in the majority of the six remaining races on the 2006 series schedule. The Atlantics will launch from a stationary position on the starting grid this weekend at the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto, July 7-9 at Exhibition Place, and plans call for the series to use standing starts at all remaining venues this season wherever possible, depending on the configuration of the circuit as determined by Atlantic officials.  (Photo of Forsythe cars on standing start grid at Cleveland by LAT for Champ Car)

"We were very impressed with the way all of the Atlantic teams and drivers handled both standing starts in Cleveland," said Tony Cotman, Champ Car Vice President of Operations. "It was a different format for a lot of the competitors, but everyone did a great job and it certainly added to the excitement for the fans. Now that the formula has proven successful, the Atlantic Championship plans to continue incorporating standing starts at all venues where it makes sense moving forward." zzzz 

At the beginning of the '06 season, Champ Car Atlantic officials announced that the series was going to re-introduce standing starts to series competition. Standing starts were a longtime staple of Atlantic racing from the series' inception in 1974 through the 1998 season. Atlantics switched to rolling starts to begin races exclusively in 1999. With a brand new Atlantic race car, featuring the Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 300-horsepower Mazda-Cosworth engine while riding on Yokohama tires, and a host of new series competitors from all over the world, the 2006 season offered a unique opportunity for the series to return to its roots and bring back the Formula One-style standing starts.

After getting an opportunity to practice standing starts at a series open test session in May at the MSR Houston road circuit, the Atlantic field did a tremendous job in the first stationary start in nearly eight years on Saturday, June 24 at Round 5 in Cleveland. With a very clean launch from the starting grid that led to a smooth tour of the field through the potentially treacherous Turn 1 at Burke Lakefront Airport, race officials were more than happy with the results. Atlantic competitors performed another flawless standing start the following day in Round 6 of the championship as 17-year-old rookie sensation Graham Rahal (#18 Gehl Company) of Mi-Jack Conquest Racing took advantage of a great start and swept the lone doubleheader weekend on the '06 calendar by winning both races on the shores of Lake Erie.

The Atlantic Championship returns to action this weekend at the first of three Canadian venues on the series schedule - the annual Molson Grand Prix of Toronto. Practice and qualifying at the 1.755-mile street course begins Friday with final-round qualifying on tap for Saturday and Round 7 racing on Sunday. Champ Car
Industry News
GM June sales up over May, but still big losses GM June sales up over May, but still big lossesUPDATE U.S. sales fell for all three big American automakers in June, led by a 26 percent drop at General Motors Corp. (GM), while Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. surged.

Higher gas prices, slower sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles and a lack of deep incentives compared to last summer -- when GM rolled out employee-level pricing -- hurt the Detroit-based automakers in a weaker U.S. auto market.

The tough sales comparison comes at a time when GM's board is under pressure to consider a three-way alliance with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co.

By contrast, Toyota -- now No. 3 in the U.S. market for cars and trucks -- posted a 14 percent sales gain. Toyota sold more cars in June than Ford and Chrysler combined.

Toyota's share of the total U.S. vehicle market rose to 15 percent in June, up from 12 percent a year earlier. The Detroit-based companies' market share sagged to 56 percent, down from 62 percent.

"Toyota is unstoppable. They have the right product mix, the right price, the right image, and momentum of product," said analyst Jesse Toprak of industry tracking service Edmunds.com.  More from Reuters article.

07/03/06 General Motors' dealers in the United States sold 413,473 new cars and trucks in June, the company's best sales performance year-to-date, up 15.2 percent, or about 68,000 units, compared with May.
City will help USGP stay in Indy City will help USGP stay in IndyIndianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson is interested in doing his part to bring Formula One back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for years to come.

Peterson, who attended Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix, said the international motor sports event is too valuable to the city not to assist the Speedway in its pursuit of a new contract.

Options from the original contract in 2000 expired after Sunday's race, won by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.  "They've never asked (for help)," Peterson said of Speedway officials. "If we were asked, we'd be open to getting involved."

Studies have estimated the local economic impact of the USGP at more than $100 million per year. The race has been held annually since 2000.

Peterson said he understands as many as two-thirds of the fans who attend the race are from other countries. Information about Sunday's event is not yet known.

"If that's true, that's a huge impact," Peterson said. "That's 'new' money, which is very important to the city."

Tony George, the Speedway's chief executive officer, plans to travel to London in the coming weeks to discuss a new contract with F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. Industry estimates put Ecclestone's asking price to be somewhere between $14 million and $20 million per year.

While admitting surprise at Peterson's offer, George said he is not currently considering asking the city to contribute to his family-owned business. George's grandfather, Tony Hulman, built the company on the foundation it would avoid using public funds.

IMS president Joie Chitwood said there has been no deviation from that.

"We have never asked for any assistance; we have never received any assistance," Chitwood said.  More at Indy Star

Stewart's crew wins Pit Stop Challenge Stewart's crew wins Pit Stop ChallengeTony Stewart's over-the-wall crew picked up the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, helping lift the team to its second consecutive victory in the summer classic at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. This is the third pit crew challenge win of the season for the No. 20 team, which now owns second place in the season-long standings. They also took the honors at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway in March. Jimmie Johnson's crew is in the lead with four victories. "I've never worked with a group of guys that were more dedicated to what they do and why they do it," said Stewart. "That's what makes nights like this that much more impressive. This is not a race where a driver can go out and just win it. You have to have a fast car -- one that's prepared well -- and you have to have a crew that gets you in and out of the pits consistently fast all night. We had it all working for us tonight. It was a total team effort." The #20 over-the-wall crew consists of: Jason Lee (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Jody Fortson (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff Patterson (gasman), Brian Larson (catch can) and Scott Geerts (windshield). The team's crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa. Stewart's Home Depot Chevrolet spent 205.081 seconds on pit road. The crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize and an additional $105,000 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. DMF Communications PR
Cleveland GP replay Cleveland GP replayReminder: The 25th Anniversary of the Grand Prix of Cleveland Champ Car race will be replayed on Wednesday, July 5, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET on SPEED.  The race was originally broadcast on CBS.
GP2 announces season ending charity event GP2 announces season ending charity eventThe GP2 series and Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation (GRMF) today announces the continuation of their partnership. For the 5th consecutive year the GRMF will host the Winning Attitudes Awards (WAA), in Monza, Italy. This year’s charity dinner will be held together with the GP2 Series 2006 Prize Giving Ceremony on Sunday September 10, 2006.

The GP2 Series and GRMF will continue the partnership forged in 2005 in order to have a fantastic season finale, award the championship trophies and, of course, to pay tribute to a much missed driver and person and raise funds for the organization that carries his name. Racing driver Gonzalo “Gonchi" Rodríguez was born in Uruguay and his promising career was cut abruptly on September 11, 1999. zzzz

From that day on, Gonzalo’s legacy has grown and touched many people. Throughout his career, all over the world, Gonzalo wore a broad smile and championed strong family and humanitarian values. Today, the positive spirit, warmth and generosity he espoused remain core values within the Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation. This charity event has become a tradition over recent years and it is a recognition to the leading lights in the GP2 Series, F1´s leading feeder category.

On this weekend international motor sport pauses to recognize the importance of team spirit as well as the core values of social responsibility by rewarding participants for their winning attitudes.

This year the Award's list was amended so all the members of the GP2 Series will be recognized. Some new awards were included such as Driver Personality of the Year, Best Team strategists and Truckie of the Year. Last year Nico Rosberg won “Best Candidate to become a F1 driver”, Heikki Kovalainen won “Best Driver of the Year” and Adam Carroll won “Best Overtaking Maneuver” and “Best Driving Style”.

Independent Jury Members include Penny Whitaker – FOM, Charlie Whiting – FIA, Herbie Blash – FIA, Bruno Michel – GP2 Series, Jean François Caubet – Renault, Hiroshi Yasukawa – Bridgestone, Steven Tee – LAT Photographic, Simon Arron – AutoSport and Motorsport News and Roberto Chinchero – Sport Automoto and a special Award that honors a special person For a second consecutive year the Gonzalo Rodriguez Special Award will be awarded at the WAA.

Last year Maestro Pablo Atchugarry created a magnificent marble piece inspired by Gonzalo. A replica of this sculpture is delivered to the person among the GP2 Series and F1 who holds the same values as Gonzalo. The award will be voted for by everyone and anyone from both categories. Last year the first winner was Mr. Charlie Whiting. GP2

Kluever excited about Cup debut Kluever excited about Cup debutTodd Kluever says he is ready for his July 7th attempt to qualify for his first Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway.
"I am very excited about that," Kluever said about his Cup debut. "It's a weekend I've dreamed about forever. It's my mom's birthday on Sunday and the track closest to my hometown. I'm anxious about it. ... My biggest worry right now is just getting the car in the show."

Kluever said he has tested the car. Frank Stoddard will crew chief the car and Jimmy Fennig will be there to help the team.

"I just want to get in the show, gain some good experience and run competitive and try not to make any bad headlines," Kluever said. "If we make good headlines, that's great. I just need to keep my nose clean. I don't need to be wrecking any Mark Martins, Tony Stewarts, Matt Kenseths or Jimmie Johnsons."

Bidding for Firestone Indy 200 Honorary Starter Bidding for Firestone Indy 200 Honorary StarterFirestone is again offering the opportunity to bid to be the honorary starter for the July 15 Firestone Indy 200.

Firestone has placed for bid on the auction website eBay the Honorary Starter's position for the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on 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 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 opportunity, follow this Internet link, or, go to www.eBay.com and enter item number 200002868430 in the item search. Bidding ends on July 6.

Biffle and Kenseth talk about grooves and tires Biffle and Kenseth talk about grooves and tiresThe yearly trip to Chicagoland Speedway is the next stop on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series circuit with this weekend’s race scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The big question remains, ‘Will Chicagoland be a two-groove track this year?’  Ford drivers Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth recently gave their opinions on the issue.

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford Fusion
WILL CHICAGO HAVE SIDE-BY-SIDE RACING THIS TIME? “Yeah, I definitely think so. I think we’ll definitely see side-by-side racing at Chicago. Goodyear is constantly changing and making it a little better, a little of this and a little of that, it’s a revolving door of our sport – but this tire has kind of made it a single-file style of racing a little bit. It’s made it harder to pass. Charlotte was a unique situation, but it’s been harder to pass at Texas and Pocono and a lot of these places because the tire is harder. When you get a little bit harder tire like that and it doesn’t wear as much, it makes that aero-tightness more emphasized. You’re relying more on that downforce to get the harder tire to get a hold of the race track. If you have a little bit softer tire, you don’t need as much downforce for the tire to adhere, so when you block that air, that harder tire can’t get a hold of the track and it makes it a little harder to pass. I never thought we’d be running right next to the wall at Texas. I think our setups have changed to allow us to run up the race track.” 

IS THERE A CHARACTERISTIC TO CHICAGO THAT MAKES IT CHALLENGING? “It kind of changes year to year but Chicago is a pretty straightforward race track. It’s a lot of fun to race on and it’s kind of a streamlined place. There are no tricks about Chicago.” zzzz

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion
KEY TO RUNNING WELL THERE? “You have to keep the car on the bottom and make it get in the corner good and get off Turn 2 really good. You have to be able to stay low and get in the gas early. Last year we had a really good car there. It’s a fun track to race at and hopefully we can get it right again.” 

IS THE AGING PROCESS OF THE TRACK STARTING TO MAKE IT GET BETTER AND BETTER? “That certainly helps. The more any track ages, to a point it gets better. When they start off, the fastest way around is the bottom because it’s the shortest way around. As it ages and as the pavement wears, you can kind of move up and look for more grip and it puts on a much better race.” 

YOU DOMINATED THAT RACE A YEAR AGO AND DIDN’T WIN. DOES THE TRACK OWE YOU ONE? “I don’t know if any track ever owes you one, but we certainly had the best car and we just didn’t do the right thing in the pits and got beat. That’s all there really was to it, so we kind of did that to ourselves. [Dale Earnhardt] Junior got two tires and we got four. Then we got a bunch of short cautions at the end like you see sometimes and didn’t have enough time to get back in front of him to pull it off. The only lap that really counts is the last one and I’m sure we’ll probably do it different this time.” 

THE TRACK IS CLOSE TO WISCONSIN. “It’s fun to go back to the Midwest and close to where you grew up. I definitely see more family and friends there than we do at most tracks, so that’s cool.” Ford Racing

Ranger looks forward to racing at “home” in Toronto Ranger looks forward to racing at “home” in TorontoAndrew Ranger, driver of the No. 27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, anticipates a warm welcome and top-five finish heading into the seventh race of the season and first Canadian race of 2006 – this weekend’s Grand Prix of Toronto. 

GROWING UP AND LIVING IN CANADA, BEING ABLE TO RUN IN TORONTO IS ALMOST LIKE HOME. HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR CANADIAN RACES? IS THERE SOMETHING DIFFERENT? DOES IT FEEL LIKE THE “HOME COUNTRY” IS BEHIND YOU? “Racing in Canada is always very special, the fans are great supporters of Champ Car racing. The welcome I got from the crowd in Toronto is one of the best memories I have from last year. You definitely feel that the ‘home country’ is behind you. I don’t prepare myself any differently, there is always added pressure but it is also a source of inspiration, so maybe I am always a little bit more motivated heading into a Canadian event.”
YOU'LL BE MAKING YOUR 20TH START IN THE CHAMP CAR SERIES THIS WEEKEND IN TORONTO; DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE SERIES FIGURED OUT? WHAT HAVE LEARNED IN YOUR CHAMP CAR CAREER AND HOW IS THIS YEAR DIFFERENT THAN LAST YEAR? “Last year was a big learning experience for me. Not just the driving side of it but life as a Champ Car driver, the media requests and all that stuff, especially in Montreal, I don’t think you can be prepared for that until you have lived it. This year, I know what to expect from the media and the car, I also have a better knowledge of the circuits as well. Last year I knew most of the tracks because I raced on them in Atlantics, but in a Champ Car it is a different experience, in some ways it just makes it easier going into a race weekend knowing what to expect.” zzzz
YOU FINISHED SECOND AT TORONTO IN THE ATLANTIC SERIES (IN 2004), WHICH WAS ONE OF YOUR TOP FINISHES THAT YEAR, DO YOU ENJOY THE TRACK IN TORONTO? “I like the track in Toronto very much, it is a fun track and being in front of the home crowd always makes it special. The long straightaway on Lakeshore Boulevard with the tight turn at the end is always fun. You just have to be careful and not be too aggressive, like on any street course, because one little mistake can cost you a lot.”

LAST YEAR YOU HAD AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM AND FINISHED 11TH IN THE RACE, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE SOME MAKING UP DO THERE SINCE YOU'VE RUN WELL THERE IN THE PAST?  “In some sort of way I do feel like I have some making up to do. What happened last year was really disappointing because I was running up front and could have finished in the top-five. It is a race where I really want to do well because my family and friends will be there. My sponsor Procter & Gamble will also have a lot people on site because they are based in Toronto so it would be great to do well in front of them.”

THIS YEAR YOU'VE ONLY FINISHED OUTSIDE THE TOP 10 ONCE AND CURRENTLY YOU'RE 4TH IN THE STANDINGS WITH A LOT OF RACING LEFT THIS SEASON. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? “My objective is always to finish as high as possible and perform well in every race. I would definitely like to maintain my position in the championship standings but I know it will be difficult. I just want to finish as high as possible in every race that I am in.” Ford Racing

Hornish takes points lead with Kansas win Hornish takes points lead with Kansas winSam Hornish Jr. has been involved in four of the 10 closest finishes in IRL IndyCar® Series history, winning three of the shootouts. The Marlboro Team Penske driver was expecting another squeaker when he and Dan Wheldon hooked up in a late-race duel at Kansas Speedway.

He had reason to be concerned. Wheldon, the pole sitter in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, led by 0.0078 of a second as the two series champions caught the start-finish line on Lap 197. Hornish was able to nose ahead on the white-flag lap and win the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 by 0.0793 of a second.

"When it gets down to that little bit, it's just me and the other driver," said Hornish, who claimed his 17th IndyCar Series victory and first for Penske Racing at the 1.5-mile oval. "To tell you the truth, I was quite a bit nervous about it, considering that I've won most of the times when I've been in those close finishes. The one time I've lost, I was on the inside. All the ones I won I was on the outside, except for Indy this year. That's a little bit different story.

"Michigan a couple years ago, I lost by about that much (as at Kansas). I had a feeling it might turn out to be like Michigan. I just kept digging and trying as hard as I could. It was great to hear (spotter Tom Wurtz say) 'Clear.' '' zzzz

The victory and three bonus points for leading the most laps (149 of 200) give Hornish a 20-point cushion over teammate Helio Castroneves in the standings after eight races. Scott Dixon is third (39 points behind) and Wheldon remains fourth (43 shy).

After a weekend off, a challenging montage of races (1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway on July 15; The Milwaukee Mile on July 23; and the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway on July 30) await the IndyCar Series teams.

Hornish said momentum is churning for the No. 6 Honda-powered Dallara team. The victory - his third of the season - followed a dominating performance at Richmond International Raceway eight days earlier.

"We had a couple races that were off at the beginning of the year," he said. "We had a mechanical problem at St. Petersburg. I got too excited the weekend after the Indy 500. I thought I could really get on the gas, but spun out, ended up a lap down at Watkins Glen. 

"I think we just came to a lot of tracks that we've been fast at over the last couple years, but haven't been able to win. Richmond, we were right up there the last couple years, as well as here. Both of those races, we were able to win.

"It really makes us look forward to going to places like Nashville, where we finished second the last two years, and Milwaukee, where we won. Of course, going to Michigan where we have so many hometown fans (is special). We haven't had strong runs, but had a second three years ago.

"I think there are a lot of things that are going our way as far as momentum.  While we are happy to have the break next weekend, I wish that we could just keep going so we could see how this championship unfolds.  Unfortunately, we're going to have to wait a weekend to go to one of my favorite racetracks, Nashville.

"Hopefully, we'll get out of there with a win this year instead of another second. I guess we could take that, as well."

For the remainder of the season, it's about maximizing points in his quest for a third IndyCar Series championship. But strong contenders - Castroneves and the Target drivers, plus Panther Racing's Vitor Meira - are poised to pounce should Hornish's momentum falters.

"(The season) already has been special," Hornish said. "I won Indy. That makes the whole year special. That was the main thing for me.

"I love to win as much as the next guy, but that was the crowning achievement in my career. I don't know if anything will ever match up to that. I'm sure having a lot of fun with winning races since then, and really happy to get out of here with the points lead for the championship." IRL

Title race back on - press Title race back on - press(GMM)  Michael Schumacher is back in the hunt for the 2006 championship, the Italian press shrieked on Monday.

'La Gazzetta dello Sport' heralded the US grand prix winner as the 'King of Indianapolis.

''With his victory, the championship is open again.  'Schumi' is as hungry for success as someone who has not achieved anything, and it is hard to believe that he will soon retire,'' said the newspaper.

'Tuttosport' added: ''Renault was like a team in crisis, while Ferrari can celebrate this beautiful victory.  But it is too early to say that the championship is again open.''

'Corriere della Sera' turned its attention to whether Indianapolis might persuade the 37-year-old German to keep racing beyond the end of his rapidly expiring contract.

The article read: ''We are convinced that he will continue.''

The press in championship-leader Alonso's native Spain, however, showed no sign of panic despite the Renault driver's uncharacteristic fifth place.

''Alonso's dream run has ended,'' said 'Marca' newspaper, ''but no alarm bells are ringing.''

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
  1. Massa and team orders
  2. Ferrari have not signed engine deal
  3. Stewards rule no action on Indy pileup
  4. Mercedes-Benz committed to F1

Massa and team orders
Jean Todt responded coyly when asked if team orders prevented Felipe Massa from winning his first grand prix for Ferrari at Indy.

The young Brazilian ably led the first stint at the US grand prix, but mysteriously dropped to second through the first pit stops after losing up to three seconds on his in-lap. There was also some suggestion of a slipping clutch in the stop.

Probed for if the pair had been free to race, Ferrari principal Todt answered: ''They work for Ferrari. We are paid by Ferrari. Felipe did a fantastic race, Michael did a fantastic race.

''It's our job. Our job is to try to deliver the best for the company, so we try our best.''

Massa himself, meanwhile, suggested that it would not have made sense to stay ahead of Schumacher and compromise his push to close the points gap to title-leader Fernando Alonso.

He admitted: ''I have no possibility to win the championship, so to help him is the best thing to do. We need to be clever sometimes.'' zzzz

Ferrari have not signed engine deal
Ferrari have not yet signed the 'Indianapolis agreement' -- the teams' compromise reached verbally on Sunday to dilute Max Mosley's engine 'freeze'.

After a series of meetings at the weekend, a document did the rounds on Sunday in order to formalize the accord with bosses signatures.

But Ferrari, and possibly Ferrari-powered Red Bull, reportedly did not sign.

''My people will now have a very cautious look at the proposal,'' Todt explained.

''If we feel that some modifications have to be suggested, we will suggest them and hopefully our colleagues will agree.''

With the June 30 deadline now gone, however, the race is now on to get total unanimity before the F1 Commission, and then the FIA's World Council, meet later this week.

Stewards rule no action on Indy pileup
Indianapolis stewards ruled that the accidents at the start of Sunday's United States grand prix required no further action.

But, after the six-car farce of 2005, and despite the fact that only nine cars actually finished this year's event, the race would seem to have been a success.

Official statistics are not published at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but professional estimates put the race-day attendance figure at around the 130,000 mark.

''We hope we can continue playing host to the fans and teams of the F1 community,'' said IMS president Joie Chitwood.

The spectators also appeared in a better mood this time around -- instead of waving flags growling the words 'Money Back', the signs read 'Keep F1 in Indy'.

Mercedes-Benz committed to F1
Mercedes-Benz is committed to formula one and McLaren.

That is the insistence of the German manufacturer's parent company DaimlerChrysler, as CEO Dr Dieter Zetsche addressed a press conference at Indianapolis on Sunday morning.

''It's our history and will be our future as well,'' he said. GMM

Maserati 1-2 at Oschersleben Maserati 1-2 at OscherslebenIt was the race Michael Bartels had never won ... until today !  With a fine performance around the twisting Oschersleben circuit, the nr 1 Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC 12 of Bartels and Biagi crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of its sister car, in the hands of Davies and Biagi, to give the team a fine one-two and an increased lead in the Championship. (Photo by DPPI

Phoenix Racing made it an all-German podium, with Jean-Denis Deletraz and Andrea Piccini finishing third, despite suffering from a broken exhaust in their Aston Martin DBR9.  Brno winners Bert and Janis were fourth, ahead of a trio of Aston Martin DBR9s from Aston Martin Racing BMS and Race Alliance, while Balfe Motorsport scored its first-ever FIA GT points in eighth.  zzzz

Pos Car Class Drivers Car Laps Gap
1 1 GT1  Bartels/Bertolini  Maserati MC12 GT1  125
2 2 GT1  Davies/Biagi  Maserati MC12 GT1  125 14.363
3 5 GT1  Deletraz/Piccini  Aston Martin DBR9  125 19.780
4 9 GT1  Bert/Janis  Saleen S7R  125 27.827
5 23 GT1  Gollin/Babini  Aston Martin DBR9  125 1:01.514
6 24 GT1  Pescatori/Ramos  Aston Martin DBR9  124 1 LAP
7 33 GT1  Wendlinger/Peter  Aston Martin DBR9  124 1 LAP
8 11 GT1  Balfe/Derbyshire  Saleen S7R  122 3 LAPS
9 62 GT2  Kinch/Kirkaldy  Ferrari 430 GT2  121 4 LAPS
10 59 GT2  Salo/Aguas  Ferrari 430 GT2  120 5 LAPS
11 63 GT2  Niarchos/Mullen  Ferrari 430 GT2  119 6 LAPS
12 55 GT2  Sugden/Alexander  Ferrari 430 GT2  119 6 LAPS
13 75 GT2  Collard/Riccitelli  Porsche 996 GT3 RSR  119 6 LAPS
14 58 GT2  Bobbi/Melo  Ferrari 430 GT2  118 7 LAPS
15 66 GT2  Ried/Felbermayr Jr  Porsche 996 GT3 RSR  118 7 LAPS
16 74 GT2  Moccia/Busnelli  Porsche 996 GT3 RSR  116 9 LAPS
17 69 GT2  Felbermayr/Ried  Porsche 996 GT3 RSR  113 12 LAPS
18 56 GT2  Gosse/Kutemann  Ferrari 430 GT2  111 14 LAPS
19 13 GT1  Bouchut/Bartyan  Lamborghini Murcielago GTR  88 37 LAPS
-- 77 GT2  Konopka/Rosina  Porsche 996 GT3 RS  85 D.N.F.
-- 99 GT2  Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber  Porsche 996 GT3 RSR  79 D.N.F.
-- 52 GT2  Kaufmann/Moro  Porsche 996 GT3 RSR  64 D.N.F.
-- 4 GT1  Longin/Kumpen/Hezemans  Corvette C6  29 D.N.F.
-- 101 G2  Leinders/Kuppens  Gillet Vertigo  24 D.N.F.

Bucharest round cancelled for 2006 Bucharest round cancelled for 2006SRO regrets to announce that the event promoters of the Bucharest round of the FIA GT Championship have informed them that they have been forced to cancel the scheduled event for the 2006 season.

This has occurred totally independently of FIA GT promoters SRO, which had followed all the recognized procedures. The contract between SRO and the Bucharest promoters had been signed, and a deposit both agreed and received.

The date was properly registered by the Romanian Motorsport Federation with the FIA, and recently modified by them further to the rescheduling of an important diplomatic conference. zzzz

Stephane Ratel, Jürgen Barth and Patricia Kiefer had visited Romania, and had met personally with the Major of Bucharest, who chaired a meeting with all the relevant authorities, including the Police, Fire Brigade, City Road Services etc.

The event promoter, Mr. Hartmut Beyer, has an excellent track record in event organization, including the launch of the Bahrain International Circuit. Furthermore, the presence of circuit designer Mr. Hermann Tilke at the meeting, the man behind all the modern Formula One circuits, gave additional credibility to the project.

With such credentials, with the plans in such an advanced state, and with such good will from the city, it was totally unthinkable for the project to be cancelled. In over 12 years of race organization, SRO has never faced such a situation.

SRO has made arrangements for a replacement event, which will take place at the Hungaroring, in Budapest, on October 1st.

Racing News
Quotes of this past week Quotes of this past week
TONY GEORGE, President and CEO of the IRL
"That is a story entirely fabricated by the people who wrote the story.  It's certainly not that far along.  We've had a lot of discussions.  They've still been getting to know one another discussions.  We've talked conceptually about how things might be structured, but it's so far from being close to being done, it's not even really worth talking about.  So where they came up with not only the headlines, but the story is a bit beyond me."  He added, "We're gonna get back together here in a few weeks, but certainly, nothing is imminent, and we've got a lot of work ahead of us.  We're still getting to know one another, still trying to understand one another. My sense is it's going to take a long time. I enjoy his company and getting to know him, but it's just one of those things. It's not gonna happen anytime soon."  (Interview with WishTV referring to the 06/25/06 Indy Star article about the meetings between Tony George and Kevin Kalkhoven indicating that the IRL and Champ Car were nearing a merger)
"There is no one thing that's going to turn it around. It's going to be a lot of work, and it's going to take a lot of vision.  Ultimately, the biggest single thing is they've got to build stars. People come through the gates, and yeah, it's NASCAR racing and Toyota and Dodge and Chevy and Ford, but ultimately, they're coming through because of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and Dale (Earnhardt) Junior.  If you think back to the group that we had -- from the Andrettis, the Unsers, Bobby (Rahal), myself, Rick Mears, (Arie) Luyendyk, Emerson (Fittipaldi) ... everybody had a big following, and the crowds were really supportive of us. We all kind of benefited and fed off of that."  (Referring to the popularity of the drivers must increase in order to make open wheel racing big again in the USA)
MARTIN BRUNDLE, Former F1 driver
''It strikes me as throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  When a team is struggling it is vital that they continue to believe in each other. It staggers me that Willis has turned out to be the fall guy, especially since there is a shortage of top caliber technical people.''  (Referring to Geoff Willis being demoted and then resigning from Honda Racing after Shuhei Nakamoto was promoted above him)
''I think he took the (World Cup soccer) result worse than the crash on track!''  Tiago Monteiro has rejected any talk of a rift with MF1 teammate Christijan Albers.  The pair, whose relationship was further stretched when Portugal knocked Holland out of the World Cup, have had a few clashes of late, the most recent not even a week ago at Montreal.  But Monteiro, the Portuguese, revealed at Indianapolis that he since apologized to Dutchman Albers -- for the Canadian clash, incidentally, not the soccer. 
"No, if I could buy a ride I would be not sitting here with you right now. That is a very terrible way to be a racer.  In F1 if you could buy ride you die. In IRL if you buy ride you die. You see it is the same effect. F1 is a very skilled event. Drivers in F1 are the highest skill level and takes years to become driver here. You have to be person who has the passionate lifelong experience starting at young age to be part of this sport. It is not like buying a pair of shoes and running marathon. This is life and death event and life must win. As you see I like life and I will drive somebody home tonight from this party because I will not be responsible for them to be hurt driving after drinking. I will not test my McLaren cars and not be truthful about the cars problems. You see, I test these cars sometimes faster that anyone else. I will not keep our cars from being safe for drivers. When I go home at night I feel like I have a big part in this team and I have made the car right for racing. When we win a race, I feel like I won the race. Buy and die is not F1."
RED BULL (press release), F1 team 
In the Red Bull camp, they had two marketing girls and the entire catering corps for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso cheering on the Germans , so everyone in the teams was delighted they won, as otherwise who knows what muck they would have been served up to eat over the next few days. Probably humble pie!  (Referring to the World Cup soccer games televised during the USGP weekend)
FLAVIO BRIATORE, F1 team managing director
"Our job is to race," said the Renault team Managing Director.  "We need to improve ourselves so that some racing occurs also away from the pit lane.  My manufacturer friends should finally understand this, but instead these hooligans only want to spend more money.''  (Referring to Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Honda and Toyota regarding the argument about the FIA's engine 'freeze' for 2007 and beyond)

"A special thanks to Juan Montoya for his contribution to my points finish! I was up along side Christian at the start going into Turn one and could see Tonio coming up on the outside. I didn’t like the look of it, so I backed off, kept in the middle of the road and let them all go past. I understand that Montoya then created a shunt, so we picked up a lot of places there." (Coulthard has had nothing but bad things to say about Montoya recently, as he tried to keep the Colombian off his Red Bull team for 2007.  His comments Sunday were taken as rubbing some added salt in the wounds of their relationship.)
Porsche Cup
Westbrook leads all the way Westbrook leads all the wayResults Sunday of the Porsche Michelin Supercup event at the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Richard Westbrook, 16
2. (5) Alessandro Zampedri, 16
3. (6) Patrick Huisman, 16
4. (2) Richard Lietz, 16
5. (9) Michael Schrey, 16
6. (12) Kelvin Burt, 16
7. (11) Ian Baas, 16
8. (10) Marc Benz, 16
9. (4) Uwe Alzen, 16
10. (7) Philip Beyrer, 16
11. (15) Ardi van der Hoek, 16
12. (17) Michael Bleekemolen, 16
13. (18) Ricardo Imery, 16
14. (16) William Scarsbooke Langhorne, 16
15. (19) Jay Policastro, 16
16. (20) Terry L. Heath, 16
17. (22) Joe Kunz, 16
18. (25) Jaber Al Khalifa, 16
19. (28) Gary David Becker, 16
20. (26) Thomas Pank, 15
21. (21) Oliver Freymuth, 12, did not finish
22. (8) Hannes Neuhauser, 10, did not finish
23. (14) Robert van den Berg, 10, did not finish
24. (13) Richard Williams, 10, did not finish
25. (27) Warren Chang, 6, did not finish
26. (3) David Saelens, 0, did not finish
27. (23) Patrick Flanagan, 0, did not finish
28. (24) Simon Sobrero, 0, did not finish
29. (29) Christian Menzel, 0, did not finish zzzz

Race Statistics      
Winner's average speed: 86.311 mph
Time of race: 28.58.670
Margin of victory: 0.995 of a second
Cautions: 1 for 5 laps
Lead changes: 0
Lap leaders: Westbrook 1-16

Bridgestone unbeaten Bridgestone unbeatenBridgestone tires have won all seven United States Grand Prix races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"The Bridgestone tires were perfect today," Ferrari Technical Director Ross Brawn said. "We saw on Friday that they would go well here. It turned out that we were really quite dominant today, and we were able to have a smooth race.

"Everything worked really well: tires, car, drivers. When all these factors come together, you get the performance we had today."

Seen at USGP Seen at USGPNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, flew to Indianapolis after the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race July 1 at Daytona International Speedway to attend the United States Grand Prix.

"The F1 cars are amazing," Johnson said. "I'm a big fan of all motorsport. It's great to have F1 here in Indianapolis, and it is nice to be here and be part of it." (At right David Coulthard with Johnson and Brian Vickers)

Other visitors at the USGP included NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers and Erin Crocker, Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, IRL team owner and former driver Adrian Fernandez, Champ Car team owner Carl Haas, NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham and former F1 driver and Indianapolis 500 veteran Stefan Johansson.

Schumacher extends record Schumacher extends recordMichael Schumacher now has 87 victories in 242 Grand Prix starts. Alain Prost is second in the record books with 51 victories, followed by Ayrton Senna with 41 wins, Nigel Mansell (31), Jackie Stewart (27), Jim Clark (25), Niki Lauda (25) and Juan Manuel Fangio (24).

Ferrari, meanwhile, has a record 186 victories from 733 Grand Prix starts. McLaren is second with 148 wins, while Williams is third with 113 victories.
formula bmw
Coletti wins 2nd BMW race at Indy Coletti wins 2nd BMW race at IndyIn Sunday's 14-lap Formula BMW USA race, Monaco resident Stefano Coletti held off hard-charging opponents Robert Wickens and Simona de Silvestro to win for the locally based EuroInternational team. His average speed was 94.493.

Wickens, from Toronto, finished second. De Silvestro, an Italian national who lives in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, Ind., finished third.

"Indianapolis is something special," Coletti said. "It's like the temple of the speed, and to come here and to win, it's really something special. And to kiss the bricks, it's just really unbelievable. I've seen it on TV and now to do it, it feels really great. I started 10th because I had some problems in qualifying, and I had a very, very good start."

Coletti's margin of victory was 1.8 seconds, and he led the final four laps. But the statistics don't tell the story of an exciting race that saw numerous duels for the lead, several passes between the timing-and-scoring line at the start/finish line and a long stint of close racing between Coletti, Wickens and Matt Lee, who sat on the pole for both races.  zzzz

Wickens beat Lee to Turn 1 at the start of the race and led until Lap 6, when Lee retook the lead with an outside pass entering Turn 1, but Wickens nipped Lee at the line the next time around to be officially credited with leading the full lap.

On Lap 10, Wickens, Lee and Coletti were three-wide down the main straightaway, and Coletti used a daring, sweeping pass from the outside to take a lead he never relinquished. Lee got airborne going over the Turn 1 curb and went through the grass, allowing de Silvestro to take third.

Round 8 - Results (15 laps)
1 Stefano Coletti EuroInternational 24:48.629
2 Robert Wickens Team Apex Racing USA 24:50.510
3 Simona de Silvestro EuroInternational 24:50.581
4 Matt Lee Team Autotecnica 24:55.467
5 Tobias Hegewald Mosquito Motorsports 24.57.688
6 Ryan Phinny Hearn Motorsports 25:01.006
7 Yannick Hofman HBR Motorsport Team USA 25:02.270
8 Scott Schroeder American Spirit Grand Prix 25:03.260
9 Sebastian Saavedra (R) Gelles Racing 25:04.365
10 David Garza (R) EuroInternational 25:05.432
11 Philip Major Atlantic Racing Team 25:06.994
12 Maxime Pelletier (R) Gelles Racing 25:09.013
13 Daniel Morad (R) AIM Autosport 25:09.750
14 Ryan Campbell Gelles Racing 25:10.176
15 Tom Sutherland Jensen Motorsport 25:10.831
16 Race Johnson HBR Motorsport Team USA 25:11.038
17 Jordan Dick (R) Team Apex Racing USA 25:13.448
18 John Zartarian Gelles Racing 25:13.628
19 Frankie Muniz Jensen Motorsport 25:19.356
20 David Rangel Haberfeld & Walker Racing 25:19.742
21 Marco Santos Haberfeld & Walker Racing 25:20.337
22 Jules Duc Hearn Motorsports 25:20.996
23 Robert Thorne (R) Team Autotecnica 25:29.631
24 Adrien Herberts Gelles Racing 25:29.824
25 Doug Boyer AIM Autosport 25:40.933
26 Maryeve Dufault Hearn Motorsports 26:18.212
27 Reed Stevens HBR Motorsport Team USA 7 laps
28 Steven Guerrero (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1 lap
29 Joel Jackson (R) Gelles Racing 0 laps

Championship points after 8 of 14 races:
1. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 90), 2. Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational, 77), 3. Matt Lee (Autotecnica, 76), 4. Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational, 71), 5. Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport, 41), 6. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 40), 7. John Zartarian (Gelles Racing, 32), 8. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 27), 8. Sebastian Saavedra (Gelles Racing, 27), 10. David Garza (EuroInternational, 26), 11. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 23), 12. Ryan Phinny (Hearn Motorsports, 20), 13. Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing, 19), 14. Doug Boyer (AIM Autosport, 18), 15. Maxime Pelletier (Gelles Racing, 14), 15. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 14), 17. Scott Schroeder (American Spirit Grand Prix, 10), 18. Yannick Hofman (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 8), 19. Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA, 6), 19. Philip Major (Atlantic Racing Team, 6), 21. Robert Thorne (Team Autotecnica, 4), 21. Tom Sutherland (Jensen Motorsport, 4), 23. Alex Navejar (Jensen Motorsport, 1), 24. Jules Duc (Hearn Motorsports, 0), 24. Marco Santos (Haberfeld & Walker Racing, 0), 24. Steven Guerrero (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 0), 24. David Rangel (Haberfeld & Walker Racing, 0), 24. David Farias (Jensen Motorsport, 0), 24. Joel Jackson (Gelles Racing, 0), 24. Frankie Muniz (Jensen Motorsport, 0), 24. Maryeve Dufault (Hearn Motorsports, 0)

Rookies: 1. Sebastian Saavedra (113), 2. Maxime Pelletier (97), 2. Daniel Morad (95), 4. David Garza (94), 5. Jordan Dick (66), 6. Robert Thorne (63), 7. Steven Guerrero (57), 8. Joel Jackson (39)

Canada GP attendance Canada GP attendanceUPDATE The attendance for this year's Montreal F1 race was just shy of a record, as we mention below. It was 2,000 off last year's record gate, which was bolstered by an on-site rock show staged post-race by Simple Plan, a Montreal-based, hugely popular rock band. A lot of people bought general admission on Sunday last year as much for that show as for the F1 race.

The three-day breakdown:

2005: Friday 102,000, Saturday 111,000, Sunday 121,000 = 334,000
2006: Friday 103,000, Saturday 110,000, Sunday 119,000 = 332,000

2004: 317,000 total
2003: 306,000
2002: 326,000

07/02/06 The announced 3-day attendance for last weekend's Canadian GP in Montreal was 334,000.  It was not announced as a record, but certainly it was close to one.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Brawn hopes for Magny momentum Brawn hopes for Magny momentum(GMM) Ross Brawn says he is 'quite confident' that Ferrari can keep up its renewed pace at the next grand prix.

Although Renault, Michelin and Fernando Alonso have proved the more consistently-dominant combination so far in 2006, all three had an off weekend at Indy.

''Yes, it depends on the tire situation,'' Ferrari's technical director told reporters, ''because in my opinion the cars are quite similar.''

Brawn, who flies back to Italy this evening, added: ''We are in good spirits and have a big test at Jerez next week.''

The next race is in France in a fortnight.

Alonso said: ''We knew Ferrari would be strong here but at Magny Cours hopefully we can strike back with a victory.''

Schumacher tops Mears, Foyt, Gordon and Unser Schumacher tops Mears, Foyt, Gordon and UnserThe greatest driver of his era, seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, won his 5th USGP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday and doing so broke a 5-way tie for the most wins at the famed speedway that he held with AJ Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser Sr., each of whom won the Indy 500 four times, and Jeff Gordon who has four Brickyard 400 wins.

It was also Schumacher's 87th career F1 win, easily topping both his F1 rivals as well as AJ Foyt who won 67 Indy Car victories.
Last minute news from Indy Last minute news from Indy(GMM) Toyota's Jarno Trulli will start the US grand prix from pitlane, according to reports from Indianapolis.

'BBC' and 'Eurosport' describe that the Toyota driver was penalized for having damaged suspension parts changed outside of strict parc ferme rules.

Also in the American paddock, reports suggest that an agreement - to be known as the 'Indianapolis agreement' - has finally been reached after weeks of arguing about the future engine rules.

With minutes until the lights go out at 1pm, it is sunny and blisteringly hot at Indy.

Former PR director for CART stabs Champ Car in back Former PR director for CART stabs Champ Car in backThe rhetoric surrounding the proposed downtown Champ Car race has spewed like hot exhaust from a powerful racing engine. I know. I've been down this road before.

I've worked in professional motorsports for over 35 years. As communications director for Champ Car's predecessor organization, CART, I was directly involved in planning the series' first temporary-course events in Cleveland in 1982, Las Vegas in 1983, and Long Beach and the New Jersey Meadowlands in 1984.

Since then, as a public relations representative for drivers, teams and sponsors, I have seen races come and go from three Miami street sites and two in Detroit. Denver and Houston tried and failed in the 1990s but are back with new promoters at new locations. Cleveland (staged at a downtown airport), Long Beach and Toronto have endured, though the future of the latter two was only ensured last year when Champ Car owners bought them. Every street race I know has sparked debate. Few produce the level of contentiousness witnessed here. A lot of that is due to the unnecessarily harsh words of Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan Sperber, the idea's chief opponent, whose job it is to look out for the best interests of his track.

I'm professionally neutral on the race, but based on my experience, there are legitimate issues that weren't mentioned either at the Phoenix City Council's May subcommittee hearing (which I attended) and seemingly haven't been publicly addressed since.

One key selling point is the media attention this would bring to the Valley. The promoters said they expected 3 1/2 hours of national television coverage for the race and 20 total TV hours. This was an eye-opener to me because the series typically buys at least one hour less from NBC or CBS for its other road races. More at Arizona Republic by Michael Knight
Mattias Ekström wins Brands Hatch DTM thriller Mattias Ekström wins Brands Hatch DTM thrillerIn bright sunshine at Brands Hatch, the impressive crowd of motor racing fans were treated to touring car racing as good as it comes in the fourth round of the DTM. After 85 laps in grueling conditions at the 1.929 kilometres short track, Swedish Audi-driver Mattias Ekström came out on top to claim his first win of the season after having had bad luck in the first few races.

For most of the race, Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt) looked on course towards his second victory in a row, but the Dane retired on lap 69 with damaged left front wheel suspension on his car. That allowed local hero Jamie Green to go through with his AMG-Mercedes C-Class, but the Briton’s joy would last only five laps as he ran wide coming out of Graham Hill Bend. Mattias Ekström went past and motored on to take the checkered flag which was waved by Damon Hill.

The 1996 Formula 1 World Champion was among the 21,500 people that turned out to watch the race and also took some VIPs around for passenger rides in a DTM race taxi. “It is a magnificent comeback for the DTM in the UK. I am really impressed by this event, the DTM is a great series”, said Hill. zzzz

Race winner Mattias Ekström commented: “Today, my fitness training has paid off. I feel sorry for Tom as he should have won today, but the most important fact is that Audi won.” Jamie Green eventually finished second from Mercedes-Benz-team mate Bernd Schneider, who took back the lead in the championship standings with a four-points margin over Tom Kristensen.

Kristensen took the lead until he retired. Having started from pole position, Kristensen took the lead as the lights went out and easily controlled proceedings in front of the 20 car field. Green maintained his second place from Mattias Ekström, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen dropped back from third to fourth. The former F1-driver’s Audi A4 DTM had been repaired overnight after a crash in yesterday’s qualifying, but the German still struggled with handling during the race and eventually finished well down the order in 17th place. Two times’ Formula 1 World Champion, Mika Häkkinen, also was prevented from scoring a good result after having to come in for a drive-through penalty for overtaking under yellow. The Finn came home eleventh.

Abt was best placed driver with year-old machinery. The first row of mandatory pit stops saw Kristensen stay in the lead from Green and the order remained unchanged after the second range of pit stops as well. Kristensen then looked all-set for victory, but it wasn’t to be. “My race was excellent and my team has completed two perfect pit stops. I could control the pace up to my retirement. Too bad, as we could have made another step towards the championship today”, the Dane said. Best-placed driver with year-old machinery was Christian Abt in fifth place with his Audi A4 DTM, while another Audi-driver, Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen scored the best result with a 2004-spec car by finishing 14th on his return in the DTM.

Mattias Ekström (winner, Audi Sport Team Abt): “I had expected the race to be tougher. My fitness training has paid off. Too bad for Tom, as he was the man of the weekend and is the moral winner. But the most important thing is that Audi has won.”

Pedrosa wins British GP Pedrosa wins British GPSpain's Dani Pedrosa ran away with the British Grand Prix on Sunday to trim Honda teammate Nicky Hayden's overall MotoGP championship lead to 26 points.

The American rider leads the championship with 153 points to Pedrosa's 127. Rossi has 118.
1. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 44min 54.878 secs
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 44min 58.742 secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 44min 58.894 secs
4. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 45min 0.654 secs
5. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 45min 4.474 secs
6. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 45min 16.588 secs
7. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 45min 20.462 secs
8. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 45min 23.912 secs
9. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 45min 30.484 secs
10. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 45min 35.320 secs
11. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 45min 35.940 secs
12. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 45min 37.075 secs
13. Alex Hofmann GER Ducati Marlboro Team 45min 46.332 secs
14. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 46min 12.682 secs
15. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 45min 13.279 secs
16. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 45min 43.130 secs

Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 19min 39.618 secs
Ivan Silva SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 7min 58.157 secs

Alonso rules out Indy win Alonso rules out Indy win(GMM) Fernando Alonso has dismissed as 'idiotic' any suggestion that he is in the running to win today's United States GP.

Until Saturday at Indianapolis, the title leading Spaniard had been F1's dominant force, but - on superior Bridgestone tires - Michael Schumacher and Ferrari have sped away with a clear advantage this weekend.

''No, no,'' 24-year-old Alonso told newspaper 'AS' when asked if he could win from fifth on the grid.

''Ferrari are untouchable here and if they are reliable and do not crash then their race will be more or less the same as last year -- out on their own.

''We are not going to just give up and not try but to think that we are going to beat them would be idiotic.''

Alonso admitted that, tires aside, one of Ferrari's advantages this weekend is mammoth straight-line speed. He said it felt like he was 'driving a GP2 car' when, at one stage at Indy, a Ferrari passed him.

''But we're not worried,'' he insisted. ''Other tracks like Magny Cours will suit us.''

His Renault chief, Pat Symonds, told a similar tale. ''You can't win every race,'' said the Briton.

Every cloud has a lining.... Every cloud has a lining....Every cloud has a lining…..but it’s not even silver this time. Totally focused on getting a good qualifying result, all the English mechanics in the Red Bull garage had to endure the torture of not knowing what was going on in the England v Portugal game. Obviously very disappointed that DC did not make it past the first 15 minutes of the session, at least his mechanics were able to watch the penalty shoot-out. But in this case, the cloud certainly did not have a silver lining.

On Saturday at the Brickyard, both MF1 cars made it through to the second part of qualifying for the very first time in the team’s history. You could get all technical and say that it’s Toyota engine helped them power down the very long straight, or point out that Bridgestone tires definitely seem to have the edge this weekend. However, the team is convinced the result is partly due to the presence of Bridget Lee, as their mascot this weekend.

Now, the lovely Bridget is not in the first flush of youth and certainly would not be considered suitable material to be a lovely Formula Una lady, but she does have two remarkable assets and the MF1 mechanics watched in amazement as, before qualifying, she rubbed herself over the race cars - “just for luck!”

Helmet Art was the name of an exhibition held here and organized by Red Bull, that gathered together 23 artists who contributed to the first ever Red Bull Helmet Art Exhibit. A large crowd of F1 people turned up to see some amazing designs which also featured our own drivers’ skid lids.

The residents of Indianapolis know a lot about Indy racing but not much about F1. Hence the question to one of our team-members from the receptionist in his hotel. “Excuse me asking, but are these Formula 1 cars allowed to overtake?” Hopefully Sunday’s Grand Prix will provide some exciting passing action. Red Bull

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for SundayUPDATE ESPN2 has updated their Sunday schedule.
Below, we had:
Inside Drag Racing
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
The Fast Life -Andretti 3
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
They have changed it to:
Inside Drag Racing
2:30pm-3:00pm ESPN2
3:00pm-3:30pm ESPN2
The Fast Life -Andretti 3
3:30pm-4:00pm ESPN2

06/30/06   Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Inside Drag Racing
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
MotoGP World Championship Donington Park, England
11:30am-12:30pm (SDD) SPEED
The Fast Life -Andretti 3
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
Formula 1 Indianapolis
12:30pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
IRL Kansas City
1:00pm-3:00pm (L) ABC
ARCA RE/MAX Kansas City 7/1/06
3:00pm-5:00pm SPEED
American Le Mans Series Lime Rock, Lakeville, CT
7/1/06  4:00pm-6:00pm CBS
Speed News Sunday
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain -
David Gilliland (Busch Rookie)
Peter Windsor (F1 Reporter)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Formula 1 Replay Indianapolis
11:00pm-1:30am (R) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
formula bmw
Robert Wickens wins Formula BMW race Robert Wickens wins Formula BMW raceIt was an elated Robert Wickens that called from Indianapolis to tell us that he had won the first of two races at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The win came from the front row when Robert launched off the start and never looked back. "It was great," exclaimed Robert. "I got the hole shot and led into turn one. The Safety Car was out on the next lap but I was able to get away on the restart."

Robert started to gap the field and had a lead of some 2.8 seconds going into the late laps. "The car was working well and I could see that the gap wasn't closing, so I decided to preserve the tires and run a conservative pace in that last few laps." Robert would cross the line 1.4 seconds ahead of second place.

Robert noted, "it was great to hear the Canadian anthem - on Canada Day and it is great to be back on the top step again." zzzz

With the win, Robert has moved into sole position of the lead in the series championship. A link to the points standings is provided below the chart.

Race 2 goes Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.


1 Robert Wickens Team Apex Racing USA 26:51.060
2 Stefano Coletti EuroInternational 26:52.486
3 Simona de Silvestro EuroInternational 27:02.100
4 Matt Lee Team Autotecnica 27:02.729
5 Tobias Hegewald Mosquito Motorsports 27:02.838
6 Ryan Phinny Hearn Motorsports 27:08.184
7 Tom Sutherland Jensen Motorsport 27:09.091
8 Sebastian Saavedra (R) Gelles Racing 27:09.179
9 Philip Major Atlantic Racing Team 27:11.837
10 Scott Schroeder American Spirit Grand Prix 27:12.327
11 Steven Guerrero (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 27:12.426
12 David Garza (R) EuroInternational 27:12.966
13 Daniel Morad (R) AM Autosport 27:13.313
14 Maxime Pelletier (R) Gelles Racing 27:16.005
15 Ryan Campbell Gelles Racing 27:22.948
16 Frankie Muniz Jensen Motorsport 27:24.639
17 Adrien Herberts Gelles Racing 27:25.123
18 John Zartarian Gelles Racing 27:25.211
19 Robert Thorne (R) Team Autotecnica 27:27.934
20 Jules Duc Hearn Motorsports 27:28.250
21 Joel Jackson (R) Gelles Racing 27:28.868
22 Yannick Hofman HBR Motorsport Team USA 27:28.875
23 David Rangel Haberfeld & Walker Racing 27:29.235
24 Marco Santos Haberfeld & Walker Racing 27:29.466
25 Maryeve Dufault Hearn Motorsports 28:21.774
26 Jordan Dick (R) Team Apex Racing USA 4 laps
27 Race Johnson HBR Motorsport Team USA 0 laps
28 Reed Stevens HBR Motorsport Team USA DNS
29 Doug Boyer AIM Autosport DNS 
Alex Lloyd wins Indy Pro race at Indy Alex Lloyd wins Indy Pro race at Indy
Rosberg sent to rear of grid Rosberg sent to rear of grid(GMM) After qualifying a miserable nineteenth at Indianapolis, Williams' Nico Rosberg has been sent to the very rear of the grid by the stewards.

When requested, the German rookie failed to drive into the FIA weigh-bridge to have the legality of his car checked.

''We don't really know where the problem is,'' Rosberg rued after missing even the first cut in qualifying, ''but we knew today would be difficult for us.''
Tires explain Indy story, rival chiefs agree Tires explain Indy story, rival chiefs agree(GMM) 'Tires' is the keyword at Indianapolis, according to key figures on both sides of the US GP battle.

After watching his championship leader Fernando Alonso's run of pole positions end on Saturday, Renault boss Flavio Briatore said immediately after qualifying: ''The Bridgestones are working much better than our (Michelin) tires here.''

Ferrari's Ross Brawn, on the other hand, agreed that at least some of the one-second advantage enjoyed by Michael Schumacher so far is all about tire pace.

''The (Bridgestone) tires are working very, very well here,'' said the technical director.

Brawn added, however, that he thought Alonso, fifth, is on the 'harder' Michelin tire, which should work better in the race.

Indy pole sitter Michael Schumacher has hinted that Bridgestone's tire advantage this weekend could be linked to the six-car disaster of 2005.

The Ferrari driver was asked by reporters if he thought rival supplier Michelin had prepared its product for the United States GP conservatively in order to guarantee an avoidance of the same saga.

''I cannot judge that,'' Schumacher said. ''I only know that our tire is the same as the one we had in Canada.''

Renault's Fernando Alonso, fifth on the Indianapolis grid and a clear second and a half slower than the Bridgestone pace, dominated the Montreal event.

Moreover, this is only the third time in 2006 that a Michelin-shod car has not snatched pole.

Schumacher, with his 67th career qualifying triumph, continued: ''Our tires and our car are completely the same as they were one week ago.''

Renault's Pat Symonds indicated that Michelin's 'main concern' at Indianapolis was to have a safe tire.

''And the professional engineering approach that Michelin has taken has given us just that,'' the Briton added.

Schu, Fisi, agree about Ferrari 'surprise' Schu, Fisi, agree about Ferrari 'surprise'(GMM)  Both victor and defeated admitted to 'surprise' at Ferrari's unforeseen dominance during practice and qualifying at Indianapolis on Saturday.

Michael Schumacher, with teammate Felipe Massa beside him and more than a one second gap to any non-red rival, admitted that he had not expected to be so far in front at the end of the 'knockout' hour.

''Honestly I would rather give something up here and save it for another place,'' he smiled in a press conference following qualifying.

''To be more than one second ahead is a lot, but it shows that when the package works we can be really strong.''

In six visits to the US grand prix, 37-year-old Schumacher has won four times, including the farcical six-car race of 2005.

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella, albeit outpacing teammate Fernando Alonso by a healthy half second, agreed that the speed of the men from Maranello had not been predicted.

The Roman said: ''I think there is no question they are quicker than us here in the USA.

''We don't know why.''

But Alonso said: ''I thought I would be further back.  We knew this would be the worst race of the season for us and it looks like it is.''

Podium can wait says BMW's Theissen Podium can wait says BMW's Theissen(GMM) Mario Theissen has moved to play down suggestions that a podium is the next step for BMW-Sauber.

The 'BMW motor sport director', otherwise known in pitlane as a team principal, expressed satisfaction that - since taking over Sauber - the German carmaker has become the fifth force in F1.

But he said: ''This year our goal was to finish consistently in the points off our own back, and we have done that.

''To expect to finish in the top three in a normal situation is not yet realistic. But in 2007 we do want podiums,'' Theissen added.

The German explained that BMW is also about to add more staff to the Hinwil factory, and by the end of the year the wind tunnel will be operating 24 hours a day.

But he refused to be drawn on when the check-writers in Munich expect an F1 title.

''Naturally a date has been set internally,'' Theissen smiled, ''but I am not going to say what it is.''

Also being played close to his chest is the 2007 driver line-up. Nick Heidfeld is a dead-cert, but Jacques Villeneuve and Robert Kubica are in the running for the other seat.

Theissen, however, hinted that BMW is aware of the need to be cautious in introducing a youngster like Poland's Kubica to the grid.

''Robert is exceeding our expectations,'' he said, ''but he is still very young. Everyone gets one chance in formula one and he must use his.''

Kansas: Wheldon leads practice 1 Kansas: Wheldon leads practice 1
Pos Driver Best Time Best Speed

1 Dan Wheldon (10) 25.7194 212.758
2 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 25.7577 212.441
3 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 25.8263 211.877
4 Scott Dixon (9) 25.8327 211.825
5 Vitor Meira (4) 25.8607 211.595
6 Tomas Scheckter (2) 25.8699 211.520
7 Scott Sharp (8) 25.8936 211.326
8 Helio Castroneves (3) 25.9003 211.272
9 Danica Patrick (16) 25.9418 210.934
10 Ed Carpenter (20) 25.9443 210.913
11 Bryan Herta (7) 25.9723 210.686
12 Dario Franchitti (27) 25.9826 210.602
13 Eddie Cheever Jr (51) 25.9925 210.522
14 Buddy Rice (15) 26.0306 210.214
15 Marco Andretti (26) 26.0444 210.103
16 Buddy Lazier (5) 26.0615 209.965
17 Tony Kanaan (11) 26.1014 209.644
18 Jeff Simmons (17) 26.1501 209.254
19 Felipe Giaffone (14) 26.4368 206.984
Kristensen takes pole at Brands Kristensen takes pole at BrandsIn an action-packed session, Tom Kristensen claimed the fourth pole-position of his DTM-career and the 31st pole for Audi with a lap time of 42.406 seconds. He will be lining up on the front row of the grid alongside British Mercedes-Benz-driver Jamie Green who was 0.248 seconds down. The final heat was interrupted after a severe crash by Heinz-Harald Frentzen who lost control of his Audi A4 DTM going into Paddock Hill Bend. At the same time, Mika Häkkinen hit the pitwall. Both cars were quite heavily damaged, but the drivers escaped unscathed.

Quotes after qualifying
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Because of the short lap times and the small gaps, qualifying was filled with extreme suspense through to the very end. Heinz-Harald’s accident was a stroke of really bad luck and means there’s a lot of work to do. What’s important, though, is that nothing happened to him and that he set a good time prior to the incident. Tom clinched the pole position yet again on his own merits, by working hard and driving a great lap. The entire team performance was very good, as well, this time.”
Tom Kristensen
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7
1st place, 42.406s
"Tomorrow three Audi A4 DTM cars will start from the first two rows – that’s a fantastic result for Audi. My pole lap was perfect, I couldn’t have gotten a better performance out of my car. The entire squad worked hard because the long-runs we did yesterday make us feel confident too. Claiming a pole position on such a short circuit, where it’s about hundredths and thousandths, means something very special to me.”


Pos Driver Make Q1 Q2 Q3
 1. Kristensen Audi 06 42.880 42.825 42.406
 2. Green Mercedes 06 42.706 42.674 42.654
 3. Frentzen Audi 06 43.098 42.925 42.696
 4. Ekstrom Audi 06 42.910 42.706 42.699
 5. Spengler Mercedes 06 42.877 42.753 42.740
 6. Schneider Mercedes 06 42.951 42.795 42.771
 7. Tomczyk Audi 06 42.901 42.904 42.896
 8. Hakkinen Mercedes 06 43.011 42.754 94.878
 9. Abt Audi 05 43.135 43.073
10. Stippler Audi 05 43.107 43.085
11. Kaffer Audi 05 43.003 43.115
12. Alesi Mercedes 05 43.223 43.157
13. La Rosa Mercedes 05 43.229 43.166
14. Margaritis Mercedes 05 43.041 43.203
15. Scheider Audi 05 43.238
16. Mucke Mercedes 05 43.292
17. Bleekemolen Audi 04 43.341
18. Lauda Mercedes 04 43.443
19. Stoddart Mercedes 04 43.496
20. Ickxne Audi 04 43.661

Q and A with Max Mosley on F1 engines Q and A with Max Mosley on F1 enginesConducted and provided by the FIA

Q: Why are the FIA and some of the car manufacturers in Formula One arguing about engines?

FIA president Max Mosley: "The FIA wants the manufacturers to stop developing the existing engines and to use engines at the level reached by 1 June 2006, at least until the 2011 season. Unfortunately four of them want to continue development and are trying to get everyone else to do the same."

Q: Why do you want them to stop?

Mosley: "There are several reasons. First, the engines are already much more powerful than originally predicted by the engine suppliers. As a result the cars are faster than we expected and the drivers are expressing worries about cornering speeds.

"Secondly, if we stop trying to make the existing engines go a few hundred rpm faster each year (which is a sterile and pointless exercise, entirely irrelevant to the real world), the car manufacturers can allow some very talented Formula One people to work on energy recovery, storage and re-use as well as on fuel-efficient engines.

"Both areas are now fundamental to mainstream automotive research. Thirdly, current expenditure of €100 to €200 million (EUR) per manufacturer on developing Formula One engines which are irrelevant to road cars, is clearly unsustainable, particularly for manufacturers who are unsuccessful in Formula One."

Q: Why do some of the manufacturers disagree?

Mosley: "They want to continue development and have put forward a proposal which reduces the scope for improving the existing engines (the so-called Monaco Agreement), but nevertheless allows significant development work to continue." zzzz

Q: Why do they want to do this?

Mosley: "Probably because they have a lot of people working on engine development and don't want the inconvenience of downsizing their workforce or moving people onto other work. Also, some of the less experienced managers in Formula One believe they can gain an advantage if they have more time. They forget that the teams in front of them will not stand still."

Q: Isn't the "Monaco Agreement" a reasonable compromise?

Mosley: "Not really, because even this restricted programme would cost each manufacturer upwards of €30 million (EUR) a year. Not all manufacturers want to waste money in this way. Also, the independent teams know that part of these extra costs will be passed on to them and they, too, do not want to spend money needlessly."

Q: The €30 million (eur) plus per year you say the "Monaco Agreement" would cost each manufacturer represents a big saving compared to current expenditure. Surely you can compromise on this?

Mosley: "First, for safety reasons we don't want the concomitant annual increase in power. Secondly, more than €30 million (EUR) is a great deal of money if it is not in your budget. But let's look at another aspect.

"If the four dissident manufacturers put the annual €30 million (EUR) or more they each want to spend on their current engines, into a common fund to promote Formula One, they could afford to race twice a year in the USA and buy enough advertising on US television to ensure coast-to-coast live coverage of every Grand Prix and still have money to spare. Is it not time to start looking at a slightly bigger picture?"

Q: But surely research and development of engines, including current Formula One engines, is fundamental to the manufacturers, part of their DNA?

Mosley: "No, that's an old-fashioned view. Nowadays, the core research effort at all the major car manufacturers is on saving energy and using energy more efficiently. This is their DNA - at least if they are to survive.

"Making an engine run faster than 19000 rpm is pointless. Much better to have a Formula One programme based on energy re-use and fuel efficiency. A bonus for Formula One would be that stored and re-used energy would help overtaking and improve the racing."

Q: So what happens now?

Mosley: "The 2008 regulations stop all engine development from 2008 to 2011. This is what everyone signed up to when they entered last March. We cannot impose different, much more expensive, rules on teams which have already entered unless, of course, all the teams agree.

"We have repeatedly said that we will look very favorably at any proposal which has the support of all the entered teams. We were promised a unanimous proposal some weeks ago, but it has not appeared."

Q: And the longer term?

Mosley: "The 2009 rules for energy recovery, storage and re-use are now under active discussion with interested teams. For 2011, we have invited the car manufacturers to make proposals for a proper racing engine but with power limited by fuel efficiency rather than simple, old-fashioned engine capacity.

"The principle would be: the more power you can get from your fuel, for example from a given flow-rate of (perhaps bio) fuel, the more competitive you will be. At present it is a question of how much power you can get from a fixed engine capacity - as said, a wholly pointless exercise."

Q: What about 2007?

Mosley: "As the engines for 2008 will be those of 1 June 2006, it would make sense to use these same engines for 2007. They already exist and do not need any more development. By doing this we would avoid a problem with safety, save a vast amount of money and be fair to everyone.

"We are currently in discussion with the teams about this. It would be completely irrational to develop engines flat out between now and October 2007 only to go back to the 2006 level in March 2008."

Q: Why not let them continue development until the end of the 2007 season and only homologate or "freeze" the engines then?

Mosley: "Everyone entered on the understanding that development of the 2008 engines would stop on 1 June 2006 - this is precisely what the rules say - and many budgets have been fixed on that basis.

"It would be entirely improper and unfair to try now to force everyone to spend huge, unbudgeted sums developing these engines for the next fifteen months. It is not what they all agreed to in March.

"On top of that we have a safety problem arising from engine power. This has become a major worry since Silverstone."

Pedrosa takes pole at Donington Pedrosa takes pole at Donington
1. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 27.676 secs
2. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 28.158 secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 28.205 secs
4. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 28.252 secs
5. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 28.394 secs
6. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 28.428 secs
7. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 28.431 secs
8. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 28.447 secs
9. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 28.473 secs
10. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 28.481 secs
11. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 28.509 secs
12. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 28.808 secs
13. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 29.294 secs
14. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 29.362 secs
15. Alex Hofmann GER Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 29.479 secs
16. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 30.382 secs
17. Ivan Silva SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 31.838 secs
18. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 32.252 secs
USGP Practice 3: Schumacher leads Ferrari 1-2 USGP Practice 3: Schumacher leads Ferrari 1-2Michael Schumacher lead a Ferrari 1-2 in the final free practice session for the United States Grand Prix.

The seven times World Champion took the top spot in the final minute of the one-hour session, lapping in 1:10.760 - the fastest lap of the weekend do far.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. M. Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:10.760 15
 2. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:11.039 8
 3. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:11.940 15
 4. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:12.049 18
 5. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:12.149 13
 6. Alonso Renault (M) 1:12.202 15
 7. Button Honda (M) 1:12.269 18
 8. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:12.327 13
 9. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:12.569 13
10. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:12.592 10
11. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:12.675 18
12. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:12.904 15
13. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:12.913 18
14. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:13.091 21
15. R. Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:13.101 19
16. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:13.103 17
17. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:13.113 15
18. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:13.172 19
19. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:13.230 12
20. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:13.364 17
21. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:13.806 16
22. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:14.454 10

Mosley says no to engine compromise Mosley says no to engine compromise(GMM) Max Mosley has delivered a resounding 'no' to dissident carmaker's continuing efforts to thaw the engine 'freeze' for 2008 and beyond.

As the grand prix world practiced in Indianapolis, the FIA president acknowledged on Saturday that four manufacturers - BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota - are now trying to convince other outfits to also push for less restrictive rules.

But a stalwart Mosley says he has definitely rejected their proposal, which is known as the 'Monaco agreement', and is no longer willing to compromise.

He insisted: ''Not all manufacturers want to waste money in this way.''

Mosley suggested that a better way to spend millions of dollars would be for the manufactures to pool their money into promoting the sport in America.

''Is it not time to start looking at a slightly bigger picture?'' he rhetorically asked.

But there is still faint hope for the carmakers, even with the June 30 deadline now passed -- total unanimity among pitlane, including the vote of 2008 team Prodrive, would probably result in a rule change, Mosley suggested.

He said: ''We have repeatedly said that we will look very favorably at any proposal which has the support of all the entered teams.

''We were promised a unanimous proposal some weeks ago, but it has not appeared.''

USGP talks will have to wait USGP talks will have to waitUPDATE (GMM)  After insisting that F1 can live without America, the sport's boss, Bernie Ecclestone, touched down at Indianapolis on Saturday in a more conciliatory mood.

The 75-year-old Englishman has already met briefly with the Motor Speedway's CEO, Tony George, but the pair are waiting until after the contract really runs out on Sunday evening before getting serious about talks.

''I always thought Indianapolis would be a home for formula one,'' Ecclestone told Indianapolis television station WRTV.

Earlier, Indy chiefs described Bernie's more forceful comments are 'positioning' for a deal for 2007 and beyond, but it is also believed that George and co. may be using the events of 2005 to chip away at the annual $20 million promoter's fee.

''We don't need to (lower the fee),'' Ecclestone insisted, ''we just need to make sure we sell more tickets.''

He added: ''We'll talk to Tony and we'll see.  If we can make it commercially viable for him and us, we'll be back.''

06/30/06 Tony George remains hopeful the U.S. Grand Prix will return to Indianapolis next year. Now he must wait to find out.

In a written statement, George said he and Ecclestone, the Formula One boss, met briefly Friday in Indianapolis to discuss a possible contract extension for USGP but will instead wait until after Sunday's race to negotiate in earnest.

"Many months ago, Bernie and I agreed to wait until the conclusion of the 2006 event to evaluate our future together," George said in the statement. "We expect to do that in the coming weeks."

George sounded optimistic that the two sides could reach a deal to keep the only American race on the F1 schedule in Indianapolis.

"The good news is we enjoy the partnership that has been forged and are committed to working toward continuing to build on the foundation that has been laid over the last seven years," George said.

"I think at the end of the day, for an international series, it makes sense to have a F1 in America," Speedway president Joie Chitwood said. "And I think the opportunity to race at the speedway and all the things the speedway brings also makes sense to have it here."
Engine row still bubbling Engine row still bubbling(GMM)  A carmakers' row with the governing body over the makeup of F1's future engine rules is still bubbling away.

June 30, Friday, was the deadline for teams to use a simple majority vote to try to overturn the FIA's 'freeze', but it is understood that discussions are now focused on the meeting in a few days of the F1 Commission.

''It's a major issue with a capital 'I','' team boss Sir Frank Williams admitted on Friday.

''(There) could be trouble over that.''

Williams declined to shed further light on the topic, but it is understood that a letter - authored by Max Mosley and insisting that the FIA will not back down over the matter - turned up in the Indianapolis paddock.

Chief doubts revival of Indy-gate saga Chief doubts revival of Indy-gate saga(GMM) Renault's Pat Symonds has dismissed media speculation that a 2005-style tire dilemma might again be brewing in the Indianapolis pitlane.

''They looked in good shape,'' he told reporters, in reference to the condition of the Michelin boots attached to Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella's cars in Friday free practice.

However, it was expected that the French tire maker would fully analyze - by 'cutting up' - the specifications taken from the cars of 'Friday' drivers, who completed many more laps.

But Symonds continued: ''I'm not expecting trouble. We got a big lesson last year.''

Alonso in slow Indy lane Alonso in slow Indy lane(GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso is a serial offender of under-promising and over-delivering.

It was no surprise, then, when Renault's dominant Spaniard urged his followers to look elsewhere for a favorite for US GP victory.

However, 24-year-old Alonso, at Indianapolis, might just have a point this time.

Although winning the last four races, he and Renault have never gone particularly well at this circuit, and on Friday he recorded only the ninth quickest lap time.

''We know that this circuit is not perfect for the characteristics of our car,'' Alonso said. ''Eighth or ninth is not what we usually do even on a Friday.

''Usually we are second or third, behind the test drivers, so we have not done as well as usual.''

Indy wants 2007 race - official Indy wants 2007 race - official(GMM)  It's official -- Indianapolis wants to host the US grand prix beyond 2006.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone recently offered a widely-reported attitude of indifference, but the Motor Speedway's 'CEO' Tony George retorted that he would like to see the circus re-gather for an eighth straight race next year.

''The good news is that we enjoy the partnership that has been forged,'' George said in a statement, reiterating that he and Bernie would discuss a new deal in the near future.

He added: ''(We) are committed to working toward continuing to build on the foundation that has been laid over the last seven years.''

Although a crowd of about 100,000 is expected on Sunday, 20,000 of that figure will be enjoying Michelin's free tickets.

Moreover, on Friday, general admission tickets peaked at a measly US$11, but faces were only thinly scattered around the venue.

Donington: Stoner leads practice 3 times Donington: Stoner leads practice 3 times
1. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 28.252 secs
2. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 28.478 secs
3. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 28.538 secs
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 28.779 secs
5. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 29.048 secs
6. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 29.075 secs
7. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 29.076 secs
8. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 29.134 secs
9. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 29.170 secs
10. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 29.397 secs
11. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 29.418 secs
12. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 29.552 secs
13. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 29.906 secs
14. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 29.954 secs
15. Alex Hofmann GER Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 30.544 secs
16. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 31.050 secs
17. Michel Fabrizio ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 31.883 secs
18. Ivan Silva SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 32.310 secs
19. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 32.442 secs
Stewart to drive for DEI Stewart to drive for DEITony Stewart will drive a DEI entry in the October Busch Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The car will carry sponsorship from Goody’s Headache Powders, which will run a contest in conjunction with the race. As part of the promotion, Goody’s will choose a Mayor of Goody’s Country. That person will then get their picture on the hood of the #8 DEI Chevy. The nomination period ends July 23 at the conclusion of the Goody’s 250 NASCAR Busch Series Race weekend at Martinsville Speedway. DEI Site
Broken hand for Jarrett Broken hand for JarrettDale Jarrett traveled to Daytona a little worse for the wear after injuring his hand in the accident that took him out of the race at Infineon Raceway last weekend. Jarrett was diagnosed with a fractured left hand on Thursday evening at Daytona in addition to a stretched ligament. A good qualifying effort [7th] however, did a lot to help ease the ache. "Yeah, a good race car kind of makes you forget about your aches and pains," Jarrett laughed after his qualifying run. UPS Racing site
Indy 500 ranked No. 1 Indy 500 ranked No. 1Top five sporting events in the United States by economic impact (in millions, based on 2000 data):
• Indianapolis 500: $336.6.
• Daytona 500: $240.
• Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: $219.5.
• Super Bowl: $215.
• U.S. Grand Prix: $170.8.

Source: "The Economic Value of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Races to the Central Indiana Economy," by Mark S. Rosentraub

Schumacher does not follow IRL at all Schumacher does not follow IRL at allSeven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher doesn't follow the Indianapolis 500

Q: Did you happen to see the end of this year's Indianapolis 500?
SCHUMACHER: "No, when was this?"
Q: During your Monaco race weekend. Two Andrettis had a chance to win. Marco Andretti passed his father, Michael, for the lead but was then passed by Sam Hornish Jr. off the final corner.
A: "Are you joking? I've heard of (Marco); I thought Michael quit. So they were second and third? That would have been a great story."
Q: I guess that means the Indy 500 doesn't reach all corners of the globe, much less Switzerland, where you live.
A: "I have to say, I don't watch a lot of media or (read) magazines." Indy Star
Atlantic regular Rahal making one-off IPS start count Atlantic regular Rahal making one-off IPS start countGraham Rahal will line up in pole position for today's Liberty Challenge Indy Pro Series race, a support event for this weekend's FIA Formula One World Championship United States Grand Prix, after turning the fastest lap in Friday's qualifying session. The Liberty Challenge race is the first IPS start for the 17 year old, son of famed Indycar driver, Bobby Rahal.

So far this year the young driver has competed in four different motor racing championships: the 24 hours of Daytona, Sebring 12 hour race, A1 Grand Prix and Champ Car Atlantic Championship with the IPS race adding to his total. He's the youngest winner of a Champ Car Atlantic race and he will be the youngest competitor in the Indy Pro Series when he lines up for the race today.

Rahal participated in a single day test with Kenn Hardley Racing earlier this month, his only experience of the IPS car before the practice and qualifying sessions Friday. In Friday morning's practice session Rahal started out third fastest, but it wasn't long before he topped the time sheets. In the afternoon qualifying he continued to lead the way and be the fastest man on the track.

"It's a great feeling to come here today and be quick straight out of the box", said Rahal Friday. "I don't know the car that well and I'm struggling with the set up, but we did our best and that was good enough for pole today.

"It's tomorrow (Saturday) that counts though. We're here to win and that's the job we have to do in front of the Formula One crowd. As many people know, it's my aim to reach F1, so I think this will be a great opportunity for me to show the F1 world my capabilities. We did that today (Friday), but tomorrow's the big test."

Graham Rahal is filling in a spare weekend with this race, and next weekend will return to his regular driving duties with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. He lies third overall in the drivers championship, winning three of the six races so far this season, and taking two pole positions along the way. He graduated to Atlantics from the Star Mazda Championship last year, after a season in Formula BMW USA, prior to which he raced karts.

The IPS race will be televised on Thursday, July 6, at 2:00 pm ET on ESPN2.  (Photos courtesy of IRL)

USGP: Friday ’combined’ practice speeds USGP: Friday ’combined’ practice speedsINDIANAPOLIS - Practice session Friday for the United States Grand Prix on the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with car number in parenthesis, driver, chassis-engine and speed.

1. (36) Anthony Davidson, Honda, 130.222 mph
2. (5) Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 129.422
3. (38) Robert Kubica, BMW, 128.798
4. (2) Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 128.579
5. (11) Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 128.303
6. (12) Jenson Button, Honda, 128.129
7. (6) Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 127.998
8. (39) Giorgio Mondini, MF1 Toyota, 127.888
9. (18) Tiago Monteiro, MF1 Toyota, 127.783
10. (1) Fernando Alonso, Renault, 127.632
11. (3) Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren Mercedes, 127.493
12. (21) Scott Speed, STR Cosworth, 127.261
13. (9) Mark Webber, Williams Cosworth, 127.257
14. (40) Neel Jani, STR Cosworth, 127.224
15. (16) Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 127.197
16. (20) Vitantonio Liuzzi, STR Cosworth, 127.181
17. (4) Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren Mercedes, 127.025
18. (17) Jacques Villeneuve, BMW, 126.970
19. (35) Alexander Wurz, Williams Cosworth, 126.639
20. (15) Christian Klien, RBR Ferrari, 126.581
21. (19) Christijan Albers, MF1 Toyota, 126.436
22. (22) Takuma Sato, Aguri Honda, 126.059
23. (8) Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 125.961
24. (10) Nico Rosberg, Williams Cosworth, 125.770
25. (14) David Coulthard, RBR Ferrari, 125.578
26. (37) Robert Doornbos, RBR Ferrari, 125.304
27. (7) Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 124.931
28. (41) Sakon Yamamoto, Aguri Honda, 124.836
29. (23) Franck Montagny, Aguri Honda, 122.601

USGP: Friday Press Conference and quotes USGP: Friday Press Conference and quotesQ and A with Christian Horner, Aguri Suzuki, Pat Symonds, and Frank Williams.  Transcript

Post-practice driver quotes.

Indy musings Indy musingsNobody was too interested in the on-track action on Friday as most of the Formula One people only had eyes for the television sets and the World Cup action. In the cosmopolitan and very international atmosphere of the paddock it’s interesting to see who cheers for whom. It’s fair to say that all nationalities were supporting Argentina in their eventually fruitless task against Germany, although there was a slightly more even division of loyalties later in the day when Italy faced up against Ukraine.

In the Red Bull camp, they had two marketing girls and the entire catering corps for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso cheering on the Germans, so everyone in the teams was delighted they won, as otherwise who knows what muck they would have been served up to eat over the next few days. Probably humble pie!

Ralf Schumacher had his cake and ate it too, as the German celebrated his 31st birthday. Hopefully he will still be able to enjoy what’s left of it over the next few days, rather than yet again eating hospital food. For the last two years, he has slammed into the Indy wall on the main straight and this is one hat-trick he will not want to see.

However, a word of warning young Ralfie, re the Toyota cake, past recipients of this sweet delicacy have usually ended up getting the sack at the end of the year: Mika Salo got a cake and special T-shirts made for his 100th Grand Prix and Olivier Panis also went the confectionary and cotton route for his ten years in F1. By the end of the year in which these events took place, they were both out of work. Maybe the fact that no T-shirts changed hands, just cake, is a good sign for the younger Schumacher.

Most pointless biography in motor racing at the moment in the States and featuring in every book shop window in Indianapolis (erm, that means a grand total of about two windows) is the Danica Patrick life story. She’s only twenty four and has never won an Indycar race. As they say here, Go figure! Red Bull

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