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DATE News (chronologically)
07/04/07
f1
'Hundreds of drawings' at McLaren man's home  The McLaren formula one team moved quickly yesterday in an effort to defuse the row over what sources described as hundreds of drawings relating to this year's Ferrari which were allegedly found in the home of the British team's chief designer, Mike Coughlan.
 
McLaren attempted to reassure Ferrari that they had not used any of the data in the development of their MP4-22 challenger. The team, who lead the world championship through Lewis Hamilton, for whom this is an unwelcome distraction going into his home grand prix at Silverstone on Sunday, have also volunteered to submit their MP4-22 car to full scrutiny by motor racing's governing body, the FIA, to prove they have not incorporated any Ferrari designs. McLaren has completed a thorough investigation and can confirm that no Ferrari intellectual property has been passed to any other members of the team or incorporated into its cars," the Woking-based team said. More ...
07/04/07
miscellaneous
Al Gore’s son jailed  [Editor's Note: Now we know the Toyota Prius hybrid will go at least 100 mph] Former U.S. Vice-President AL GORE has been served a little bad news as he prepares for Saturday's Live Earth spectacular - his son has been charged with driving under the influence and possessing prescription drugs and marijuana.

Gore's 24-year-old son, Al Gore III, was pulled over by cops after he was clocked driving his hybrid Prius car at 100 miles per-hour in Orange County, California.

Traffic cops reportedly smelled marijuana coming from his vehicle and a search turned up less than an ounce of marijuana, painkillers and valium.

Gore was booked into cells at the Inmate Reception Center in Santa Ana, California, where he was officially charged, on Wednesday (Jul. 4th).  Bail has been set at $20,000. Gore Sr. is a co-organizer of the Live Earth concerts, which were inspired by his global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

07/04/07
cc
Rahal has unfinished business at Toronto  Champ Car rookie Graham Rahal is no stranger to the tight Toronto street course after having competed there in the Atlantic series last year. He led both qualifying sessions and started from pole but was denied a chance to win. He is looking forward to picking up where he left off.

"Last year in Toronto I got a good start and made it through the first corner which often doesn’t happen," said Rahal who is tied for eighth place in the standings at 91 points. "But then at the end of the back straight, which in Toronto is usually the place where things happen, I was looking in my mirrors and I could tell that I was clear and that no one was within a couple of car lengths. Then I turned into the corner and got hit in the center of the car, which broke all the suspension. The guy that hit me was Raphael Matos so I went up to him after the race and asked what happened and he said he figured it was his only shot at getting me because it’s tough to pass there. We had a great car, we had the field covered but that is an example of the wild moments the track produces. It was disappointing but I love the track and can’t wait to race my Medi | Zone Champ Car there."
07/04/07
cc
Bourdais says a 4th title won’t be easy  In his four previous races on the temporary street course, McDonald’s Champ Car driver Sebastien Bourdais has posted four, top-five finishes including one win (2004) one third place (2006) a fourth and fifth. His three straight wins in Rounds 2 through 4 this season in Long Beach, Houston and Portland led some to believe it would be an easy task for him to win his fourth straight title but Bourdais is quick to disprove that theory.

"Domination is a very easy word to say but difficult, if not impossible, to make happen," said Bourdais, who has a series high three wins but is tied for the series points lead with Robert Doornbos, who finished on the podium in five of the six events, at 145 points each.

"To make it happen always looks much easier on the outside than it is from the inside. We had tough start in Las Vegas, then got three wins, had a DNF in Cleveland and a second place in Mont Tremblant. There have definitely been challenges along the way, even when we won. We just have to keep working at it and try to get it right every weekend. We will take them one at a time like we always have."
07/04/07
cc
GP of Arizona tickets recalled  People who already bought tickets to the inaugural Arizona GP have had their tickets recalled and received the following letter:

Dear Grand Prix Patron,
Recently, you received tickets to the Grand Prix to be held at the Arizona Grand Prix in Phoenix, Arizona.  Unfortunately, the tickets you received were sent to you in error.  The GrandPrix, in cooperation with the Arizona Grand Prix, will issue you correct tickets that will be printed on souvenir stock and will be mailed after November 4,2007.  Please be advised that these new tickets will take the place of the erroneous tickets and will not, in any way, alter your seat locations.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause, but are excited to offer you one-of-a-kind, collectible souvenir tickets with new barcodes that will be valid for your event(s).  Please be advised that the original tickets you received will not be honored.

Although we have deactivated your tickets and they will not be usable for entry into the Arizona Grand Prix, we nonetheless require that you send those tickets to us before November 1, 2007 @ 5:00 pm est, in the self addressed stamped envelop that we have enclosed with this letter.  Please retain a photocopy of your invalidated tickets for your records.  If you have any questions, please call your local Ticketmaster charge-by-phone line to contact Customer Service.

07/04/07
racing news
Mayor Mario  Racing great Mario Andretti has been nominated as Mayor in exile of Montona, the town in Italy where he was born.  His family migrated from the Trieste region of Italy to Nazareth, PA when Mario was a boy during World War II after living in a displaced persons camp when the Nazi Germans came in and took everything they had.  Mario went on to become world famous as a result of his racing accomplishments and this has brought much pride and world notoriety to the small northeastern town by the Yugoslavia border. 

Last year Mario was also named COMMENDATORE of the Republic of Italy, the same title bestowed on the late Enzo Ferrari.  They are the only two Italians in auto racing that have had this prestigious title.

07/04/07
cca
Q and A with James Hinchcliffe  James Hinchcliffe, driver of the #9 NOCO/ProWorks Sierra Sierra Enterprises entry in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, took time out ahead of Round 8 this weekend at the ‘Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto’, Friday 6th – Sunday 8th July, to give his thoughts on his home race and his chase for the championship – the 20-year-old Canadian second in the points to his team-mate Raphael Matos.

Q:  How do you rate your chances of picking up a home victory this weekend?

James Hinchcliffe (JH):  “I’d like to think that they’re pretty high.  The team’s always given me a great car for street courses.  It’ll be interesting returning to a street circuit this weekend given we opened with three in Las Vegas, Long Beach and Houston but we’re coming off the back of three straight road course events.  We’ll see if the balance of power has switched on the street circuits – it’s definitely time we have someone beat Rafa (Matos) on those tracks and hopefully it’ll be me that does it!”

Q:  What does it mean to you to be able to race in your home city?

JH:  “Obviously it means a lot!  Everyone loves the opportunity to race in their home city.  A lot of people think it means added pressure but in all honesty we put so much pressure on ourselves anyway that it really doesn’t matter where you’re racing.  It simply means that after the checkered flag falls and if you’ve won the race or even finished on the podium it just feels that little bit more special.”

Q:  What makes the Grand Prix of Toronto stand-out in your opinion over some of the other cities the series visits in a season?

JH:  “It’s really the atmosphere!  All the Canadian races do well and Champ Car has such a great history and association with Canadian motorsport.  In Toronto’s case the fans have always been really amazing and the fact that the city always puts on such a great event certainly means a lot to me.  It’s a combination of everything though, the fans are great, the sponsors are fantastic and the track’s a lot of fun to drive.  The atmosphere here is unbelievable and it’s been the same since the first race.” More ...

07/04/07
cc
MUZIK Gears Up for the Grand Prix Drivers' Party  Stars from the racing and entertainment worlds will come together this Friday, July 6 at MUZIK for the Grand Prix of Toronto Drivers' Party. Pegged as the most anticipated party of the summer, the annual event plays host to an action-packed racing experience with Champ Car World Series drivers, celebrities, show cars and other surprises. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the extended party runs through to 4 a.m. Funds raised will support local children's charities through the Grand Prix of Toronto Charitable Foundation.

VIP booths with name recognition are available by reservation only and include: 20 tickets, designated hostess, Belvedere Vodka, MUZIK garden maki, fine food by Pusateri's and deserts by David's. Limited VIP booth reservations are available by calling MUZIK at 415.595.9998. Tickets are available at www.grandprixtoronto.com, www.ticketmaster.ca or by calling 416-588-RACE (7223).

Since last year's Grand Prix of Toronto Drivers' Party, MUZIK has established itself as the ultimate destination for the Toronto and Hollywood elite, entertaining the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Carmen Electra, Christina Ricci and Nickelback. Some events that MUZIK has hosted include L'Oreal Fashion week (2005 and 2006), the AGO Massive Party, The Audi Q7 Launch, The Red Party (Toronto Raptors) and the official press conference for FIFA. This year's Grand Prix of Toronto Drivers' Party promises to be even more exciting as MUZIK hosts the regional qualifying event for Miss Universe Canada 2008.

As one of Canada's premier sporting events of the year and the 'crown jewel' of the Champ Car World Series, the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto is renowned for its week-long schedule of charitable events leading up to race weekend. To date, the Grand Prix Charitable Foundation has raised more that $5.5 million for local charities.

07/04/07
track news
Chicagoland Speedway changes name of Expo Village  After six years of being known as Expo Village, Chicagoland Speedway announced it has renamed the corporate display area as Champions' Park.

Home to more than 40 interactive sponsor displays during NASCAR and IndyCar Series weekend, Champions' Park (which endured a $1.5-million facelift in 2005) also features colorful benches and walkways lined with grass, trees and shrubs spaced throughout the 14.5 acres of land. Additionally, this area includes the Miller Lite Oasis and "Walk of Champions," which is made up of mounted plaques honoring Chicagoland Speedway's past champions from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the IndyCar Series - including Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Indy 500 Winners Sam Hornish and Dan Wheldon. More ...

07/04/07
cc
PCM and Motorsport Simulators Announce Partnership  Pacific Coast Motorsports, competitors in the Champ Car World Series, are pleased to welcome Motorsport Simulators LLC as an associate partner to the team.

Based in Valley View, Texas, Motorsport Simulators design and build professional race car simulators specific to their clients’ requirements.  Combining efforts with PCM, Motorsport Simulators has created the most authentic Champ Car simulation available.  Using actual data from the brand new DP01 Champ Car, PCM rookies Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel are able to prepare for competition well before the race event occurs.

“We are pleased to welcome Motorsport Simulators to PCM and to the Champ Car paddock,” commented PCM team director, Tyler Tadevic. “As a rookie team in Champ Car with rookie Champ Car drivers, engineers who are new to Champ Car and a brand new car, the simulator has become an instrumental element of our drivers required year-around training program. These simulators are unbelievably realistic and are a phenomenal training tool for our athletes and engineers.” More ...

07/04/07
f1
Spying and sabotage rocks British GP  (GMM) Speculation went into overdrive on Wednesday as the Ferrari-McLaren spy scandal continued to rock the formula one world.

Just days ahead of the British grand prix, where Lewis Hamilton was expected to make a glorious debut home race with his Woking based team, the barrage of rumours and official statements issued by both teams and even the FIA has cast a dark cloud over the sport.

The leaking of sensitive information from the sacked Nigel Stepney to McLaren's suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan was believed to have been the centrepiece of the saga, but there is more to it than espionage, the Daily Mail wrote in an expose today. More ...
07/04/07
f1
McLaren's new motorhome towers over Silverstone  (GMM) It was impossible to miss the newest addition to the formula one paddock when arriving at the Silverstone circuit on Wednesday.

An immense presence that towers over the Northamptonshire circuit's ageing single-storey pit buildings, McLaren has brought its brand new and imposing 'motorhome' to a grand prix for the first time in 2007.

In typical Ron Dennis and 'Paragon' headquarters style, it is all black, grey and glass, also dwarfing the normally impressive Ferrari facility that is parked next door.

Less a 'motorhome' and actually a temporary building, it was apparently erected with the help of dozens of workers and even high cranes over a period of more than ten hours.
07/04/07
NHRA
Bob Daniels, R.I.P.  Robert M. Daniels 76, of Leesburg, FL died Saturday, June 30, 2007 at Leesburg Regional Medical Center.

Born in Marion, OH, he lived in Marysville, OH before moving to Indianapolis. Bob and his wife of 54 years, Eileen M. (Torbert), moved to Leesburg, FL in 1997.

Bob was a U.S. Navy veteran, life member of American Legion Post #879, Marysville, OH, and a former member of the Lake County Veterans Honor Guard. Bob was a commercial pilot with instrument rating and volunteered with Angel Flight in FL. He was Founder and President of the U.S.S. Salem Association.
 
Bob was one of the first employees of the National Hot Rod Association, for whom he worked his whole life, including as General Manager of Indianapolis Raceway Park, serving as a consultant, and working on special projects. He was responsible for bringing NASCAR to Indianapolis in 1982. Bob was awarded Promoter of the Year in 1988 by R.P.M., two time Promoter of the Year by U.S.A.C.  He was a member of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, and received the N.H.R.A. Founder Award in 1991.  Bob and Eileen received the Lifetime Achievement Award from N.H.R.A. in 2007, and he received the East Coast Drag Racing Hall of Fame Wally Parks Statesman of the Year award last week. More ...

07/04/07
cc
Home race for Thrill from West Hill  The Thrill from West Hill, Paul Tracy, will be looking to get back in the win column on his home turf as the Champ Car circuit hits Toronto this weekend for its annual race, now called the Steelback Grand Prix. The Scarborough race car driver did not have a good start to Champ Car's three-race Canadian jaunt.

On the Canada Day race Sunday at Mount Tremblant, Quebec, Tracy was saddled with a 15th-place finish after he blew an engine in his backup car. This after he could not use his primary car after damaging it during Sunday morning warm-ups.

Tracy had won the previous stop in Cleveland on June 23, which marked his first win since 2005 when he posted two victories.

Tracy has the most wins among active Champ Car race drivers with 31.

Racing will this week and weekend takes place at Exhibition Place/Lake Shore Boulevard in Toronto from July 5 to 7, culminating in the Champ Car race slated for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Joining the drivers, via satellite, will be Canadian Forces troops stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as they command the most famous words in racing - "Drivers Start Your Engines."

As the roar of the engines fill Exhibition Place, spectators will experience the thrill of three F-18 Canadian Forces fighter jets flying past the track at 500 feet and a speed of more than 215 knots (400 km/h). Mirror-Guardian

07/04/07
cc
Champ Car: Who's hot, who's not  With the Champ Car World Series Steelback Toronto Grand Prix set to burn rubber this week around the temporary street course at Exhibition Place it's time to look at Who's Hot and Who's Not in the open-wheel circuit.

HOT: Robert Doornbos

Doornbos, the man with a foot in both Champ Car and Formula One as a test driver for Red Bull, definitely is on fire as the series winds its way to Toronto.

The 25-year-old native of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, landed his first Champ Car victory at the Grand Prix of Mont-Tremblant this past Sunday and notched his fifth podium finish in six starts in his rookie Champ Car season.

No driver has won so soon in his rookie Champ Car season since 1992.


Doornbos also is the first rookie to win a Champ Car event since 2002.

HOT: Sebastien Bourdais

The three-time Champ Car champion is hot in more ways than one coming to this week's race.

Bourdais is tied at 145 points with Doornbos in the race for the Vanderbilt Cup -- and is ahead on the tiebreaker with three wins to Doornbos' one -- but the battle with the Dutchman got ugly at Mont-Tremblant when the pair finished 1-2.

Bourdais accused Doornbos of blocking him in the final segments of the race and he refused to shake the winner's hand afterwards.

Both should be fun to watch this weekend on a highly technical track that should favor Bourdais. More at Toronto Sun

07/04/07
nascar
Earnhardt Jr. fires Huffman  Shane Huffman has been fired by JR Motorsports, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Busch Series car this weekend.

"Upon a midseason evaluation of the performance of this race team, we decided we needed to make a change, and right now we have a window to do that," Earnhardt Jr. said in a statement Tuesday. "Because of the short notice, I am going to drive the Navy car Friday night at Daytona. It's a big race for us. We are carrying a special Navy SEALs paint scheme on the car, so we want to make sure we give it a good run for the Navy and all our sponsors and employees."

Earnhardt Jr. will not drive the car beyond this weekend, but a new full-time driver has not been named, according to a team news release.

"I have always wanted to drive my own car, but I'm doing this to give us time to evaluate our options and see who we want to put in the car for the rest of the season," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I will get with my people at JR Motorsports, and hopefully we will have a new driver named in the very near future."

07/04/07
nascar
Browne steps down as Sadler's team director  Josh Browne, team director for Evernham Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler, has resigned that position and will return to the organization's engineering department effective immediately, team owner Ray Evernham announced today.

Scott McDougall, former team director of the No. 98 Evernham Motorsports Truck/ARCA team, will take over as team director of the No. 19 Dodge on an interim basis.

"As we look to make vital improvements across our entire program, we are reviewing the allocation of personnel and resources within the organization. Josh is better suited to help the organization as a whole from an engineering perspective and our efforts in that area," said Ray Evernham, team owner and CEO. "I commend Josh for his decision and being a team player."

07/04/07
nascar
RCR-DEI Engine Debut at Daytona  Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies will debut the new common engine package this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. All six Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) cars will run the new engine. RCR PR
07/04/07
nascar
Another NASCAR team goes belly up  Derrikecope.com reports: Unfortunately McGlynn Motorsports will be closing and auctioning off their assets at Sentman Auctions in North Carolina in the middle of July. Derrike Cope commented, "Certainly we showed that we could make races with minimal sponsorship. We just could not find people or companies that had the means to sponsor us." DerrikeCope.com
07/04/07
nascar
Stewart looking to tie Pearson  Tony Stewart will be hunting for a record third consecutive Pepsi 400 victory in this year's 160-lap, 400-mile event at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart will attempt to tie David Pearson's record of three straight Pepsi 400 wins from 1972 to 1974. DIS PR
07/04/07
f1
Webber: Tires favor Hamilton  Mark Webber believes that Lewis Hamilton's competitiveness has been aided by the new Bridgestone tires this season. More experienced drivers have had to adjust to the new specification whilst others like team-mate Fernando Alonso and Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen are still getting used to the jump from Michelin to Bridgestone rubber. Thus the Red Bull driver thinks that there has been an element of luck to Hamilton's current 14-point lead in the championship.
 
Webber told BBC Radio Five Live: "It has been very difficult for the guys who are seasoned campaigners to get used to these tires. The cars are vastly different but that final feel for us in terms of the confidence. It's like a golf or tennis player all using the same rackets."

Both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have failed to meet expectations so far this season and have seemed to struggle at their new teams, McLaren and Ferrari, respectively. Both also have been racing Michelin-shod cars for the past five years, with Alonso experiencing Bridgestone for the first time this season.

Webber added: "Lewis, his fresh and naïve approach, that's all he knows. Fernando has struggled big time on these tires. And that's not an excuse and Fernando hasn't used it as one because it's up to us to get on top of it, Kimi is the same. But most of us have found it very frustrating."

07/04/07
f1
British GP forecast  After Magny-Cours, we come to Silver-Stone. Of course the English would have no way of starting a conversation if it was not for the weather and it seems the elements are going to give us plenty to talk about this weekend. Did you know that you can use a Silver Stone to predict the weather? Hang it from a piece of string outside your front door:
Stone is dry = It is about to rain
Stone is wet = It is raining
Shadow under stone = Sunshine
Stone is white on top = Snowing
Stone not visible = Fog
Stone is swinging = Windy
Stone not there = Tornado

When listening to the Weather Forecast in the UK, remember that this is the only country in the world where you can end up having to shovel 8 centimeters of "Partly Cloudy" off your driveway.

Here is the Silverstone Camp Site weather forecast

Wednesday
Moderate* 1005 47
Sunrise 04:48 (BST)
Sunset 21:20 (BST)
19°C 14°C 12
*moderate chance of your tent sinking into the grass that has absorbed 10cms of rain in two weeks

Thursday
Moderate* 1013 52
Sunrise 04:49 (BST)
Sunset 21:19 (BST)
21°C 14°C 10
*moderate possibility that your feet are now developing strange fungus in between your toes.

Friday
Moderate* 1009 49
Sunrise 04:50 (BST)
Sunset 21:19 (BST)
20°C 12°C 17
*moderate chance of hypothermia setting in, after your tent blows away in today's stronger winds

Saturday
Good* 1021 37
Sunrise 04:51 (BST)
Sunset 21:18 (BST) 20°C 14°C 12

*good chance of getting food poisoning from the contaminated drinking water on your camp site

Sunday
good * 1020 41
Sunrise 04:52 (BST)
Sunset 21:18 (BST) 24°C 14°C 7

*good chance today's forecast is completely wrong as it appears to predict hot dry weather. Toro Rosso PR

07/04/07
cc
Toronto partially repaved  Part of the 1.7 mile Toronto street circuit Champ Car will race on this weekend has been resurfaced, which should provide additional grip for the drivers. Will the lap record be broken?
07/04/07
f1
Brits back Silverstone as axe threat looms  (GMM)  Two British formula one drivers have defended Silverstone amid reports that lagging improvements at the circuit could spell the end of the British grand prix after 2009.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is a seasoned critic of the former World War II airfield in Northamptonshire, while FIA president Max Mosley warned last week that the UK government must come up with $50 million for upgrades or risk losing the race.

David Coulthard and Anthony Davidson, however, say it is not fair that Silverstone is always singled out among a handful of sub-standard formula one venues.

"We go to places like Canada and Brazil which are sh-tholes," Coulthard told The Sun on Tuesday, "yet we race at those tracks happily."

The Scot and Red Bull driver did admit that the facilities at many other circuits are better but said Silverstone's history and layout make up for it.

Fellow Brit and Super Aguri rookie Davidson refers to the feel of pristine venues like Shanghai and Bahrain as "unnatural".

He told PA Sport: "Admittedly - hand on heart - Silverstone is not the best facility in the world.

"But there are plenty of circuits that are worse.  Brazil is awful. The track is not very nice, it's bumpy, the asphalt is rubbish.  The toilets are rubbish, the paddock is rubbish.

"When you leave the circuit, you also fear for your life.  I'm petrified of the place."

07/04/07
f1
Ferrari to use new parts, engine, in UK  (GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen says his winning Ferrari could be even quicker for the weekend's British grand prix.

The Finn and his teammate Felipe Massa dominated at Magny Cours last weekend, mere days ahead of the second leg of the double header at Silverstone.

Prior to France, the Maranello built F2007 was also clearly the quickest car at the Silverstone test -- where a raft of new parts were tried ahead of their debut at round 9.

"We were not able to get all of the parts here (at Magny Cours) so that should help us," Kimi said last week.

La Gazzetta dello Sport also reports that, although constrained by the 'engine freeze' rules, a significant upgrade for Ferrari's V8 power plant is expected in the UK.

Raikkonen added: "The weather there can be very tricky but we go there trying to do the best and hopefully win."

07/04/07
f1
McLaren employee suspended after Ferrari investigation  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  The espionage scandal involving Ferrari's Nigel Stepney deepened late on Tuesday when McLaren admitted that one of its senior technical staff is also implicated.

Woking based McLaren did not name him, but it is widely reported to be 48-year-old chief designer Mike Coughlan, who has been suspended, "regarding the receipt of technical information" from countryman Stepney.

McLaren, insisting that it will "fully cooperate" with Ferrari's own investigation and that of Italian police, said: "The team has learnt that this individual had personally received a package of technical information from a Ferrari employee at the end of April."

Mercedes-Benz's Norbert Haug declined to comment, but a spokesman for Ferrari said: "We have proof that Stepney had been supplying technical information to a McLaren employee and we found evidence of that fact in his (Coughlan's) home."

Other publications were unsuccessful in attempting to contact Coughlan and Stepney, who have known each other for seventeen years and worked together at Benetton and latterly at Ferrari's former technical base in Surrey.

Coughlan still lives in Surrey (UK), where police raided his home this week and apparently found incriminating evidence.

A spokesman for F1's governing body, meanwhile, said: "We have received information on this matter, which we are examining."

07/03/07 In a statement issued this evening, the Italian team said: "Ferrari announces it has recently presented a case against Nigel Stepney and an engineer from the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes team with the Modena Tribunal, concerning the theft of technical information.

"Furthermore, legal action has been instigated in England and a search warrant has been issued concerning the engineer. This produced a positive outcome.

"Ferrari reserves the right to consider all implications, be they criminal, civil or of any other nature, according to the applicable laws."

[Editor's Note: No wonder McLaren has been so fast this year - their personnel stole all of Ferrari's secrets. Recall Toyota personnel doing a similar thing two years ago when the Toyota broke ground looking exactly like a Ferrari. These teams should hang their head in shame and/or be suspended from the sport.]

07/03/07 McLaren became aware on the 3rd July 2007 that a senior member of its technical organization was the subject of a Ferrari investigation regarding the receipt of technical information. The team has learnt that this individual had personally received a package of technical information from a Ferrari employee at the end of April.

Whilst McLaren has no involvement in the matter and condemns such actions it will fully co-operate with any investigation. The individual has in the meanwhile been suspended by the company pending a full and proper investigation of the matter.

No further comment will be made. McLaren statement

07/04/07
nascar
ISC makes executive changes  International Speedway Corporation (ISC) have made a number of executive promotions.

They include former vice president and chief marketing officer Roger R VanDerSnick becoming senior vice president, marketing and business operations and W Grant Lynch, former ISC VP and president of Talladega Superspeedway, becoming senior vice president of business operations.

The other appointment saw Daryl Q Wolfe, formerly VP sales and media, becoming VP and chief marketing officer.

ISC president Lesa France Kennedy said: “These executive changes build upon the strengths of our management team and more importantly, will formally integrate our sales, marketing and event production efforts to further build on ISC's position as a world leader in motorsports entertainment.

“In addition, these promotions will allow executive management to better focus on our long-term goals and continue to deliver value for our shareholders."

ISC promotes more than 100 racing events annually and operates 13 facilities in the US – including Daytona International Speedway.

07/03/07
nascar
Highlights of interview with Brian France  NASCAR President Brian France addressed several topics during today's media conference call (Transcript), with several questions about the number of penalties handed down this season. The highlights:

· Penalties. France said NASCAR feels "very strongly that we're going to be very, very tough on people that test us on the car of tomorrow." The whole premise of the COT, France said, is built around not being able to fudge with the specifications of the car. But while France said NASCAR would continue to escalate penalties, he also said the sanctioning body can't "customize penalties." He was referring to a possible larger penalty for Jeff Gordon, who has a large lead in the point standings. France also said NASCAR was prepared to start sending teams home from a race if infractions warrant.

· Lawsuits. France was steadfast in NASCAR's position in lawsuits involving AT&T and Kentucky Speedway. Without referring to Kentucky Speedway by name, France said NASCAR was trying to defend the whole industry's rights.

· Television ratings. France said ratings for sporting events are down across the board, as are ratings for non-sports programming. But he said attendance at races "is doing very well" and he is "very content with where the sport is." More ...

07/03/07
STARMAZDA
Star Mazda Toronto preview  

Fast Facts

  • The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear race at this weekend’s Champ Car Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto
  • Three Canadian drivers, all rookies and all with one win each, will be battling for victory this weekend. Included are Toronto native Marco Di Leo (right), Vancouver driver Lorenzo Mandarino and Quebec’s Devin Cunningham.
  • The lone female driver in the series, Natacha Gachnang of St-Gingolph, Switzerland, now living in Toronto, has made Star Mazda history by scoring podium finishes in the last two races.
  • Mazda is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its legendary rotary engine, the powerplant used in the Star Mazda race cars and the company’s RX-8 sports car. The first rotary-powered road car, the Mazda Cosmo Sport, was introduced on May 31, 1967. Mazda has produced nearly 2 million rotary-powered vehicles since.
  • Mazda, alone among major automakers, has so thoroughly embraced racing as a core corporate value, that they have created a company-sponsored ‘motorsports scholarship ladder’ reaching all the way from karting to Champ Car.
  • The Star Mazda Championship is now in its 17th year as one of the most competitive and successful open-wheel driver development series. Star Mazda graduates include F1 driver Scott Speed, Champ Car rookie standout Graham Rahal and rising IRL star Marco Andretti.

Three Canadian drivers, all rookies, each with one win so far this season, will be among the rising stars of open wheel racing competing in Round Seven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear race at the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, July 6 – 8. More ...
07/03/07
cc
Mont-Tremblant kudos  UPDATE #2 Yet another reader adds, Champ Car should highly consider all of the positive comments about the Mont-Tremblant race.  It shows that what the real fans want to see is more authentic natural road course races, not autocross parades between K-rails in stadium parking lots. 

The expression “if a little is good, then more must be better” has been embraced by Champ Car who continue trying to duplicate their Long Beach Grand Prix success in every new market.  It might make for a good party, but parking lot racing is anemic at best.  Champ Car needs more events like Mont Tremblant, not more street races like the proposed Orlando event.

With a perfect mix of ovals, road courses and the occasional street race, Champ Car used to have the best racing product in the world.  Long Beach and Surfer’s Paradise were two jewels in the season that made for a fun mix of racing and a great street party, and were distinctively different events.  But this series cannot survive on just hype and fluff and expect to attract any serious fan base.  More tracks like Mont-Tremblant are needed to  showcase the true performance potential of these great machines and drivers.  Now, if we could only see a race staged at Road Atlanta and get Laguna Seca back into the schedule!  We might actually have something worth watching on TV again. Kelly Konzelman

Dear Kelly, Indeed Champ Car has a lot of street circuits, but if done right (like Las Vegas) they can be quite interesting.  However, let's not forget the following natural terrain road courses on the schedule - Portland, Road America, Zhuhai (eventually), Mexico City, Zolder, Assen, plus the airports at Cleveland and Edmonton.  So it's far from an all-street circuit schedule now.  While it would be nice to add Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta one has to question whether they can draw enough fans given the lack of big-name American drivers to make those races financially feasible.

We suspect you will see a couple of road courses added in Europe before Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta.  With all the French drivers doing so well in Champ Car (Bourdais, Gommendy, Pagenaud and now Franck Perera in Atlantics) one would think a race in LeMans, France would be a home run.  And if Greece ever happens that will eventually be a natural terrain road course as well (though it may not be the first year).  Mark C.

07/03/07 Another reader adds, I just got back from the Mont-Tremblant race and had a wonderful time.  This track ranks right up there with Road America as my favorite track.  I have seen the Spa comparisons.  Even the weather in Mont-Tremblant was a lot like Spa, wasn't it?  Daniel Harringtin 

07/03/07 A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I loved the Mont-Tremblant race. What a show. Best race I have seen in years. Who gets the credit for Champ Car going there? Tim Berger

Dear Tim, A large part of the credit has to go to Paul Gentilozzi. When Normand Legault kicked Champ Car out of Montreal, instead of suing him, Paul sat down with Normand, listened to what his concerns were, and then brokered an alternate deal with him to help with the Mont-Tremblant race. Sometimes Paul deserves the criticism he gets, but in this case he deserves the kudos for turning a bad situation into a positive for Champ Car. Mark C.
07/03/07
track news
Humphrey named Talladega President  Rick Humphrey has been named President of Talladega Superspeedway and Grant Lynch has been appointed Senior Vice President of Business Operations for International Speedway Corporation (ISC), speedway officials announced today. Humphrey, who has served as Vice President & General Manager of the 2.66-mile superspeedway since 2002, will assume his duties immediately.

“I am honored International Speedway Corporation has the confidence in me to take on this role and I realize what big shoes I have to fill,” said Humphrey. “Talladega Superspeedway has been my home for over a decade and I am confident and committed, along with my entire staff, to continue to preserve the history and success of this facility.”

He joined Talladega Superspeedway in 1997 as the director of public relations and also served as director of operations approximately one year before being promoted to his most recent position of Vice President & General Manager. More ...

07/03/07
industry news
Japan carmakers sales increase, Big-3 falls again  Fuel-conscious U.S. consumers continued to spurn most automakers' trucks in June, boosting sales of lighter vehicles and hybrids instead.

Domestic automakers, reducing their reliance on sales to rental-car fleets, continued to post declines while their major foreign rivals gained. But Ford Motor Co. managed to hold off Toyota for second place, with an advantage of less than 2,000 vehicles.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. said June sales of 245,739 were up more than 6 percent compared to a year ago. Its Tundra full-size pickup truck bucked the trend, posting its best month ever with sales of 21,727.

American Honda Motor Co. said sales were up 7.3 percent to 140,935 units.

General Motors Corp. reported that U.S. sales in June plunged 24 percent to 326,300 compared with June 2006. The company said that in addition to lower fleet sales, retail sales were softer than in previous months.

Despite brisk sales of its new Edge and other crossover vehicles, Ford said June sales were down 8 percent compared to the same month last year.

The Dearborn-based automaker sold 247,599 units in June, compared to 269,404 a year ago.

Ford, like other domestic car companies, continues to withdraw from sales to daily rental-car fleets. It said June fleet sales were down 39 percent, or 22,000 units, compared to a year ago. Detroit News

07/03/07
industry news
GM sales plummet  GM dealers in the United States delivered 326,300 vehicles in June, down 24 percent, compared with year-ago monthly sales, this despite the fact that Chevy is dominating in Nextel Cup.
07/03/07
Miscellaneous
Slim overtakes Bill Gates as world’s richest man  Three months ago the cigar-chomping Mr. Slim quietly slipped past legendary US investor Warren Buffett to take second place in the global wealth league.

Now, thanks to a surge in the shares of his America Movil group, Mr. Slim has claimed pole position, according to the Mexican online financial publication, Sentido Común.

It was Sentido Común's founder, Eduardo Garcia, who highlighted Mr. Slim's rapidly rising wealth in April, although by his calculations the Mexican had not only beaten Mr. Buffett in the wealth stakes by then but also edged past Mr. Gates.

Now, however, Mr. Garcia says there is no doubt that the little-known Mexican has finally captured the coveted top slot, following a surge in America Movil's shares over the second quarter. This is estimated to have boosted his fortune to an estimated $67.8bn (£33.6bn) - equivalent to 8% of Mexico's gross domestic product - compared with $59.2bn for the Microsoft mogul, putting him in the lead by a decisive $8.6bn.

"When I put Slim ahead three months ago Forbes bumped him up to second place (in world rankings) a few days later," Mr. Garcia told Reuters. "Let's see if the same happens again."

[Editor's Note: The guy is so wealthy yet he cannot pay for a single Mexican driver to run full time in Champ Car to give the relatively poor Mexican people someone to cheer for? Wealth = greed]

07/03/07
f1
Security stepped up for British grand prix  (GMM) Security has been stepped up for the British grand prix this weekend following the recent failed terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow.

More police will be on patrol at Silverstone, which is located in central England and expecting a near sell-out crowd on Sunday in the wake of the impact caused by local rookie and championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

Local reports insist "there is no intelligence to suggest any threat" to the F1 race, but police and circuit staff will be conducting increased patrols and searches as a precautionary measure because the terrorist level in the country is now set at 'critical'.

"We are working closely with Silverstone circuit management and will be doing all we can to keep racegoers safe but minimize any disruption," said Superintendent Simon Blatchly.

Silverstone's Richard Phillips, meanwhile, revealed that the circuit has installed additional closed-circuit television systems in the name of security.

07/03/07
F1
Video: British GP ING Race Index  
Ahead of the Grand Prix in Silverstone on July 8th, ING issued its Race Index for the British Grand Prix, which assesses race features including the circuit itself, level of driver difficulty, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the ING Race Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the British Grand Prix obtains 62 points, making it the seventh most demanding Grand Prix of the 2007 season.
07/03/07
f1
Q and A with Anthony Davidson  The French Grand Prix was a very short event for Anthony Davidson and he and Tonio Liuzzi made contact at the first turn. Putting the race at Magny Cours behind him, Davidson looks forward to the British Grand Prix and reiterates his aim for the season - points.

Anthony, how are you feeling?
"I am feeling good about my performances at the races so far. I am at the level where I wanted to be and achieved the results that I wanted to have. Without a little bit of bad luck here and there I would have had points in the bag, so I have taken even more pressure off myself in that respect. I am looking forward to the rest of the season and getting even more out of myself in the races to come."

So is being a full time Formula One racing driver what you expected?
"In many ways 'yes', because obviously as the Friday driver I got to see how the whole race weekend would unfold. Working alongside experienced drivers like Jenson, Rubens, Jacques and Olivier taught me a lot and I saw what they had to go through on and off the circuit, so I was pretty much prepared for that. It is good fun to be racing again; I had forgotten that part, just how fun the wheel to wheel combat is. To be doing that again is a real pleasure. If there was anything that I wasn't expecting from this year on top of all the pressure it would have been a bit tough but it has been as easy to adapt to becoming a race driver from a test driver as I thought it might be." More ...

07/03/07
nascar
Schrader must wait on return to Cup  The Wood Brothers/JTG race team wishes to address the numerous inquiries about Ken Schrader's continued participation with the #21 Nextel Cup entry. The plan in place now is the plan that has always been in place. Bill Elliott continues to drive the #21 car on a weekly basis with the emphasis on the guaranteed starting spot, while the team works to regain its standing in the top-35 in NASCAR Owner Points. At such time that the team is able to reach this range of points, it is our continued intention that we will be able to return Ken Schrader to his driving duties with the team. Wood Brothers/JTG PR
07/03/07
irl
Franchitti wins 2nd Qtr DOTY award  On the track and in the voting Dario Franchitti easily outdistanced his rivals to win the 2nd Quarter, Driver of the Year - 2007. A native of Scotland, who now makes Tennessee his home, led the IndyCar standings as of the date of the ballot. In the second quarter he won two events, the Indy 500 and the Iowa Speedway 200. He was a consistent contender including two second place finishes and none worse than fourth place. Upon learning of the award, and the variety of competitors, Franchitti, who drives the Canadian Club Dallara/Honda, said "I'm very honored to have received Driver of the Year award this quarter.

I am particularly honored when you see the competition." NASCAR's Jeff Gordon, a four-time Driver of the Year winner, who took the first quarter ballot, finished second and Carl Edwards was third. In the voting Franchitti took 11 first-place ballots and none lower than third place, totaling 131 points. Gordon, who drives the DuPont Chevrolet, had two Nextel Cup wins and the series' points lead resulting in five first-place votes and a total of 105 points. Edwards, driving the Office Depot Ford for Roush Racing, had victories in the Cup series and Busch series, finished third with 40 points. Fourth place went to World of Outlaws' Donnie Schatz. Martin Truex, Jr., in eighth was the only other driver to score a first-place vote. A total of 20 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting. In its' 41st year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. A panel of 17 leading journalists from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Franchitti will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date. DOTY PR

07/03/07
f1
Speed has another bad weekend in France  Having finished 13th in his home United States Grand Prix on June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Scott Speed went to the French Grand Prix where the weekend did not end as promisingly as it started.

Speed had an enjoyable but hectic time during North America's Formula One double-header with races in Montreal and Indianapolis. Speed, a native of Manteca, Calif., then headed for his home away from home, the Austrian village of Fuschl Am See.

"It was very nice," he said. "I very much liked the few days in Austria spending time with my girlfriend, Valentina."

Then it was on to Magny-Cours in central rural France for the Grand Prix.

On the opening day of practice Friday, June 29, Speed covered 33 laps and was 15th quickest. In the afternoon, he turned 21 laps and ended the session an outstanding third quickest. His teammate, Tonio Liuzzi, ended up fifth. More ...

07/03/07
f1
Piquet Jr. visits ING at Bucharest  ING Renault F1 Team test driver Nelson Piquet Jr. made his first visit to Bucharest Monday at the invitation of ING, the title sponsor of the ING Renault F1 Team. Nelson was the guest of the company on the occasion of its 10 years anniversary, to wish a lot of success in the private pensions “race” that will start this summer.

Currently considered one of the most promising young talents in Formula 1, Nelson will spend the 2007 season in the strategically important role of test driver for the ING Renault F1 Team, alongside team-mates Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella. A famous name and a fresh-faced rookie, Nelson Piquet Jr. is a young man who is learning his trade in F1, behind the scenes. Hard-working and diligent, the young test driver is determined to make the most of his opportunity to learn in the world champion team. He uses each test session to the maximum, spending as much time as possible with the team, learning form the engineers and understanding the demands of motorsport’s flagship category at the wheel of the R27; this is a young driver determined to earn him place among the elite. More ...

07/03/07
f1
Unique one-off livery for Red Bull this weekend  When David Coulthard and Mark Webber roll down the Silverstone pit lane at the start of Friday free practice, their Red Bull Racing RB3s will be sporting a unique one-off livery. The “Faces For Charity” initiative was announced at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix with the aim of raising money for Wings For Life, a charity that supports research into a cure for paralysis caused by back injuries. The charity was set up by Austrian motocross rider Heinz Kinigadner.

A total of 30,000 photos were uploaded onto a special web site by fans who have pledged money to the charity. These photos were then turned into finished artwork, transformed into decals and applied to David’s and Mark’s cars. More ...

07/03/07
f1
Ferrari dismiss Stepney  Ferrari has now fired engineering veteran Nigel Stepney, as speculation of sabotage and espionage continues to swell.

The Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport broke the news on Tuesday, following an internal investigation by the famous team and the commencement of legal proceedings against the 48-year-old Briton.

Stepney is due to return to Italy on Thursday from a holiday in the Philippines, and - having denied all wrongdoing - the latest suggestion is that he plans to return fire by suing Ferrari.

"I can confirm that Nigel Stepney is no longer an employee of Ferrari," team spokesman Luca Colajanni confirmed.

07/03/07
f1
Domenicali: The importance of a good start  There were many positives to be highlighted after Ferrari's dominant one-two at Magny-Cours on Sunday, according to Sporting Director Stefano Domenicali (pictured right), not least a renewed attack on championship leaders McLaren-Mercedes.

"We are very happy because first of all we cut by ten points the gap in the Constructors' championship and that was important. Now we can see their (rivals McLaren's) back a bit ore closely, so once again, that's the best thing of this weekend."

And winner Kimi Raikkonen's race engineer, Chris Dyer, pointed out that modifications from the team had also had a positive effect, which they hoped would carry through to other races.

"Obviously we introduced new parts at the Silverstone test," said Dyer, "so we have come here with a stronger car than we had at the last race. I don't know what McLaren have done, I assume that they've improved their car as well. This championship, every year, is not about improving your car every weekend. It's about improving your car more than the other guys improve their car. We're all developing the car every week and it looks like at the moment we took a slightly bigger step than they did. That can change every week, so we're still pushing as hard as we can to develop the car." More ...

07/03/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • McLaren want Lewis to win - Alonso
  • McLaren flattered Ferrari, BMW agrees
  • DC pokes fun at Webber's charity event
  • Hats off to stressed F1 world - Theissen
  • Indy F1 talks still at stalemate - boss
  • Sack Albers, Lauda tells Spyker, FIA
  • Death of friend brings perspective - Alonso

McLaren want Lewis to win - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has threatened to re-fire tensions with McLaren mere days ahead of the team's home British grand prix.

Lagging his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton by 14 points, the reigning world champion said his Woking based bosses would prefer if the British superstar won this Sunday at Silverstone.

"I think that, yes, they will prefer that and I don't think there will be any argument (about it)," Alonso, 25, said.

"We will be in England and we have a Spanish driver and an English driver and the Englishman is leading the championship.

"So if he wins it will help the team. The team wanted me to win in Barcelona and they will want Hamilton to win at Silverstone, but I hope things will get back to being how they were in Barcelona."

Despite McLaren's apparent wishes, however, Alonso vowed to be ready to pounce on any overdue misfortune experienced by Hamilton at his home race.

He added: "It will be a difficult weekend. Maybe it will be raining and I hope I can reduce the advantage."

But the Spaniard also admitted that Ferrari took a genuine step forward in performance at Magny Cours, which could complicate McLaren's quest for victory.

"They are the clear favorites for victory at Silverstone," Alonso is quoted as saying by Diario As. "In the Silverstone test and at the last race they were quicker than us."

McLaren flattered Ferrari, BMW agrees
(GMM) BMW's Mario Theissen has backed Ron Dennis' claim that McLaren "flattered" the performance of Ferrari at Magny Cours.

The team principal for BMW-Sauber confessed that Nick Heidfeld, who was spectacularly passed by Fernando Alonso during the French grand prix, would not have finished ahead of his McLaren rival if Alonso's team had selected a better strategy.

"For half the race he had to drive with full tanks and so he lost crucial time," Theissen is quoted as saying by Sport Bild.

"We were very surprised about it (the strategy), because it helped us more than it helped them."

Alonso also admitted that his strategy was not ideal, although it was worsened by the fact that he was confined to a starting fuel load that had already been determined prior to his gearbox problem.

The Spaniard also acknowledged: "And after the race it is always easier to analyze the things you could have done better." More ...

07/03/07
tv news
cca
Cleveland Champ Car Atlantic race to be shown on ESPN2  The Champ Car Atlantic Championship race run in Cleveland on June 24, will be shown on Wednesday, July 4, at 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm ET on ESPN2.
07/03/07
cc
Mackie Diesel  Champ Car Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing sponsor McDonald's has today announced that it is to convert all of its UK delivery vans to run on cooking oil-based biodiesel.

Once the oil has been used to bubble your Freedom Fries to a tasty state of crispiness, it'll be combined with rapeseed oil to power McDonald's 155 lorries, saving some 1,650 tons of carbon each year.

All very impressive, but what's happened to the to-hell-with-ya, free-livin' McDonald's of old? Next thing they'll be offering salads with your Big Mac.

07/03/07
nascar
Eury Jr. rejoining Earnhardt Jr  Dale Earnhardt Jr. is somewhat relieved to see Daytona International Speedway next on the schedule.

Not only is this the track where he has a pair of victories, but crew chief Tony Eury Jr. is finished with a NASCAR suspension for an unapproved part on a car of tomorrow model and returns to the team this weekend.

Not that Eury Jr. has been completely absent from the action. He's been at the track and working with the Dale Earnhardt Inc. team, but he has not been in the garage or in Earnhardt Jr.'s ear for a race since he began serving a six-race suspension following the Mother's Day weekend at Darlington Raceway.

"We really have a lot of momentum going right now and have been running strong every week so I don't expect that to change," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Martin led during the [Daytona] 500, and there's no hotter team than those guys right now, so I'm anxious to get out there and see how we work together. It's good to know you've got a teammate that will run up front with you. And we're running the special red, white and blue paint scheme, which I think looks pretty cool, and I've done pretty well at Daytona before with different paint schemes.

"But on the other hand, we weren't a very strong team in the Daytona 500. We were OK - but OK isn't what we expect or what we're used to at the restrictor-plate tracks. Some of that is almost by design. We used to put so, so much focus on the plate events that we struggled at the intermediate tracks. So, we all made a conscious decision that we needed to step up our effort at the 1.5- and 2-mile tracks."  Scenedaily.com

07/03/07
alms
Neutered Acura teams ready for 2nd half  Acura and its three LMP2 teams (ALMS recently neutered the LMP2 cars so they cannot beat the LMP1 cars and win all the races) have been busy since the Utah Grand Prix with work on and off the track in preparation for the second half of the American Le Mans Series season. That starts this weekend with the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.

Each of the three Acura-powered teams are slated to test at Lime Rock on Tuesday with 11 other Series teams planning to run as well. The Acura prototypes were on-track early last week at Mid-Ohio and tested for two trouble-free days as they sought to rebound from retirements at Utah. Two of the cars experienced transmission and gearbox problems at Miller Motorsports Park, but those issues were resolved well before the cars hit the racing surface at Mid-Ohio. More ...

07/03/07
f1
Q and A with Toyota’s Pascal Vasselon  
Q. Was it a frustrating race in France?

Pascal Vasselon - Toyota's Senior General Manager Chassis: Yes, because we could clearly see we had the speed to score points with both cars. Jarno's race ended on the first lap with his collision with Kovalainen but after starting eighth I believe he would have been challenging for a top six finish.

Ralf was unlucky on the first lap because he lost time avoiding Kovalainen's car and that allowed two other cars to pass. He was held up by a slower car but could not pass and this cost him around 20 seconds. When he got past in the first pit stops his pace was good enough for points but he had lost too much ground by then so that was obviously frustrating.

Q. How do you assess the baseline aerodynamic package we used in Magny-Cours?

PV: In France, we moved back to what we call the baseline, which is the aero package we will use at most of the races, after three Grand Prix with more race-specific packages. We saw with Ralf's speed in the race in France that we are able to post competitive average stint times.

It was hard to assess our pace in qualifying because in Magny-Cours you have to wait until the race to really evaluate how the package is as qualifying is so close, with 100ths of a second making a difference. You need the better statistic you get in the race because in qualifying, a difference of a 10th can move your position by two or three places - that can make an average result a good result. More ...

07/03/07
gp2
Interview with Viso after big shunt  
Q: Ernesto, first thing's first, it's fantastic to see you back here in the paddock. How are you feeling?

Ernesto Viso: I'm feeling a bit sore, and for sure it was a big accident, but I'm fine. I have no problems, I'm just a bit high still from all the drugs they gave me in the hospital! I just need to wait a couple of hours to get back to a normal situation, and I'm sure I'll have some normal pain, but I'm also sure that I'm going to recover quick.

Q: What actually happened in the incident?

Viso: Well, after seeing the videos and talking to people I can realize that there was a yellow flag, but I didn't see it because I was behind those cars and they just braked: we were going at high speed and I couldn't do anything. I just touched the car in front and was flying.

Q: Do you remember any of it at all?

Viso: Well the last thing I remember was when I was flying, and I remember that my steering wheel was very light, but after that I have a black out for maybe 45 minutes: I don't remember anything. More ...

07/03/07
irl
nascar
IRL star wants out  UPDATE NASCAR and IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi doesn't foresee open wheel star Dan Wheldon moving to stock cars anytime soon.

"I personally don't see it on his radar screen [for] next year," Ganassi told ESPN.com Monday.

Ganassi did say he and Wheldon discussed the proposition several months back, but discontinued those talks with the plan to resume them later in the summer. They've yet to do so, Ganassi said.

"Having said that, we've had discussions along the lines of 'Hey, let's renew our deal,' and there's some other opportunities within the team for him," Ganassi said. "To be honest, I don't see [NASCAR] as one of the top-five things I'm conversing with him about.

"I do not consider [a move] imminent."

Ganassi also said Monday he thinks the interest in NASCAR from open-wheel drivers is waning, if not over.

"I think it's kind of over, if you want my honest opinion," Ganassi said. "I think all race car drivers, whether they're open-wheel drivers or what, realize it's not just getting into a car and driving it. It's so much about the team you're with, and the people.

"It's so much more than just coming over from one series to another. It's about your entrance exam and your warm up program -- are you going to Busch, an [ARCA, Busch Series, Cup] program? Do you step right into the car? All those things. I think a swell of interest in terms of other drivers is over. I think it's, maybe, six months over." ESPN.com

06/30/07 Dan Wheldon loves to race, and a visit to NASCAR country with the IndyCar Series only highlights that passion – and makes him think more about moving over to stock cars and getting to do just about all the driving he can handle.

In the former capitol of the Confederacy and most locales where NASCAR’s top series races, race day looks much like Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Indy 500 day.

“For a driver, when you walk out the morning of the race and the place is packed, it creates such an atmosphere, a real energy,” Wheldon said at Richmond International Raceway, where the Indycar Series will run for the seventh time on Saturday night. “It’s certainly more enjoyable to drive amongst a crowd that’s very energetic.”

And to drive often, he said.

The IndyCar Series will race 17 times this season, while NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series will race 36 times, the Busch Series 35 times and the Craftsman Truck Series 25 times. Many of the Busch and Craftsman races are run in tandem with Cup events.

“I don’t have family,” Wheldon said. “I have nothing here. As cheesy as it sounds, I just enjoy being in the race car. In my opinion, a race car’s a race car. If you’re racing to get ‘round the track quicker than anyone else, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a tank. It’s competition and I enjoy that, and that is very, very attractive to me.”

He also stays in touch with former open-wheel competitors Juan Pablo Montoya and A.J. Allmendinger, both of whom already have made the move to stock-car racing.

“I think Juan said he was going to do 63 races this year, and I would love to do that,” Wheldon said, before adding: “I really, really do enjoy driving IndyCar.” ThatsRacin.com

07/03/07
industry news
GM opens engine plant in China  General Motors Corp. inaugurated a new engine plant at its minicar factory, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., in southern China today. The $263-million plant, adjacent to the factory in Liuzhou, will have a capacity of 300,000 units a year and begin production of 1.1-liter and 1.2-liter engines in August, GM said in a statement. The new plant will facilitate new product development at the minicar factory, which now buys engines and related parts from outside suppliers, the company said.

The engines will be used first in a new minivan model, the Wuling Hong Tu, a vehicle developed by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center joint venture in Shanghai with SAIC.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. is a three-way commercial vehicle joint venture between GM, Shanghai-based partner SAIC Motor Corp., and Guangxi province-based Wuling Automobile Co. GM owns 34% of the venture, SAIC has 50.1% and the remainder is held by Wuling Automobile.

07/03/07
industry news
Chrysler gets junk-bond credit ratings  Chrysler, the fourth-largest automaker in North America, received credit ratings that are below investment grade from both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's for its automotive division and finance unit, Bloomberg News reported today.

Moody's rates the automotive division at B3, six levels below investment grade, and the financial services unit was ranked two levels higher at B1. S&P ranks both units at B, or five levels less than investment grade, Bloomberg said.

The automotive division of Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler is seeking $12 billion of high-yield loans and the finance unit wants $8 billion to help fund their purchase by Cerberus Capital Management LP. Banks led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. held meetings with potential lenders on June 28 to sell the loans, according to investors who may buy the debt.

The finance unit wants a $4 billion term loan, a $2 billion revolving credit and a $2 billion second-lien loan. The second- lien loan will rank behind the $4 billion term loan and revolving credit for repayment in the event of a bankruptcy.

07/02/07
gp2
Interview with Viso after big shunt  
Q: Ernesto, first thing's first, it's fantastic to see you back here in the paddock. How are you feeling?

Ernesto Viso: I'm feeling a bit sore, and for sure it was a big accident, but I'm fine. I have no problems, I'm just a bit high still from all the drugs they gave me in the hospital! I just need to wait a couple of hours to get back to a normal situation, and I'm sure I'll have some normal pain, but I'm also sure that I'm going to recover quick.

Q: What actually happened in the incident?

Viso: Well, after seeing the videos and talking to people I can realize that there was a yellow flag, but I didn't see it because I was behind those cars and they just braked: we were going at high speed and I couldn't do anything. I just touched the car in front and was flying.

Q: Do you remember any of it at all?

Viso: Well the last thing I remember was when I was flying, and I remember that my steering wheel was very light, but after that I have a black out for maybe 45 minutes: I don't remember anything. More ...

07/02/07
f1
Q and A with Toyota's Pascal Vasselon  
Q. Was it a frustrating race in France?

Pascal Vasselon - Toyota's Senior General Manager Chassis: Yes, because we could clearly see we had the speed to score points with both cars. Jarno's race ended on the first lap with his collision with Kovalainen but after starting eighth I believe he would have been challenging for a top six finish.

Ralf was unlucky on the first lap because he lost time avoiding Kovalainen's car and that allowed two other cars to pass. He was held up by a slower car but could not pass and this cost him around 20 seconds. When he got past in the first pit stops his pace was good enough for points but he had lost too much ground by then so that was obviously frustrating.

Q. How do you assess the baseline aerodynamic package we used in Magny-Cours?

PV: In France, we moved back to what we call the baseline, which is the aero package we will use at most of the races, after three Grand Prix with more race-specific packages. We saw with Ralf's speed in the race in France that we are able to post competitive average stint times.

It was hard to assess our pace in qualifying because in Magny-Cours you have to wait until the race to really evaluate how the package is as qualifying is so close, with 100ths of a second making a difference. You need the better statistic you get in the race because in qualifying, a difference of a 10th can move your position by two or three places - that can make an average result a good result. More ...

07/02/07
alms
Neutered Acura teams ready for 2nd half  Acura and its three LMP2 teams (ALMS recently neutered the LMP2 cars so they cannot beat the LMP1 cars and win all the races) have been busy since the Utah Grand Prix with work on and off the track in preparation for the second half of the American Le Mans Series season. That starts this weekend with the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.

Each of the three Acura-powered teams are slated to test at Lime Rock on Tuesday with 11 other Series teams planning to run as well. The Acura prototypes were on-track early last week at Mid-Ohio and tested for two trouble-free days as they sought to rebound from retirements at Utah. Two of the cars experienced transmission and gearbox problems at Miller Motorsports Park, but those issues were resolved well before the cars hit the racing surface at Mid-Ohio. More ...

07/02/07
nascar
Eury Jr. rejoining Earnhardt Jr  Dale Earnhardt Jr. is somewhat relieved to see Daytona International Speedway next on the schedule.

Not only is this the track where he has a pair of victories, but crew chief Tony Eury Jr. is finished with a NASCAR suspension for an unapproved part on a car of tomorrow model and returns to the team this weekend.

Not that Eury Jr. has been completely absent from the action. He's been at the track and working with the Dale Earnhardt Inc. team, but he has not been in the garage or in Earnhardt Jr.'s ear for a race since he began serving a six-race suspension following the Mother's Day weekend at Darlington Raceway.

"We really have a lot of momentum going right now and have been running strong every week so I don't expect that to change," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Martin led during the [Daytona] 500, and there's no hotter team than those guys right now, so I'm anxious to get out there and see how we work together. It's good to know you've got a teammate that will run up front with you. And we're running the special red, white and blue paint scheme, which I think looks pretty cool, and I've done pretty well at Daytona before with different paint schemes.

"But on the other hand, we weren't a very strong team in the Daytona 500. We were OK - but OK isn't what we expect or what we're used to at the restrictor-plate tracks. Some of that is almost by design. We used to put so, so much focus on the plate events that we struggled at the intermediate tracks. So, we all made a conscious decision that we needed to step up our effort at the 1.5- and 2-mile tracks."  Scenedaily.com

07/02/07
cc
Mackie Diesel  Champ Car Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing sponsor McDonald's has today announced that it is to convert all of its UK delivery vans to run on cooking oil-based biodiesel.

Once the oil has been used to bubble your Freedom Fries to a tasty state of crispiness, it'll be combined with rapeseed oil to power McDonald's 155 lorries, saving some 1,650 tons of carbon each year.

All very impressive, but what's happened to the to-hell-with-ya, free-livin' McDonald's of old? Next thing they'll be offering salads with your Big Mac.

07/02/07
racing news
Quotes of the week  UPDATE
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, Champ Car Atlantic Championship driver, Global TV Analyst
"He's not as good a loser as he is a winner."  (Commenting on runner-up Sebastien Bourdais' whining about being blocked by winner Robert Doornbos during the Mont-Tremblant Champ Car race)

"He may not follow directions all the time, but when he's told to push he's going to be laying the hammer down." (A backhanded compliment made about fellow Canadian Paul Tracy during the Mont-Tremblant Champ Car race) 

07/02/07
WILL POWER, Champ Car driver
"The good thing about Champ Car is you just never give up.  It's great like that.  I mean, you can almost go a lap down and then come back and finish on the podium.  It's just really, really good racing.” 
 
JOE NEMECHEK, NASCAR Driver
"I had very little warning before I spun and crashed into the wall," explained Nemechek. "I felt a slight vibration and it (the tire) just let go. I hit the wall pretty hard and there was just too much damage to the car to get it repaired. It was a very disappointing and frustrating way to end the day."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, Defending 3-times Champ Car Champion
"It's got nothing to do with finishing second.  I think if I was to finish second fair and square that's fine.  But the way Robert drove today, to me, it's completely not like him.  I think he's much better than that.  He knows exactly what he's done.  And that's fine, that's fine.  It's all right, it's just.....  He knows exactly what he's done.  I don't need to comment about it.  It's just a shame.  We're not supposed to drive like that in Champ Car.  We're not allowed to block, so period.  He changed lanes about three times when I was picking a side.  That's the way it is."

MARIO ANDRETTI, Legendary Formula One World Champion, 4-times Indy Car Champion, IROC Champion
"There's no other way," Andretti said. "Neither side can really prosper to the level they deserve by themselves. They need all the assets together, to go back to the way it used to be with open wheel racing in North America. There would be no losers, it would be all winners. This has to happen and it should be sooner than later.  Edmonton would be a bigger event if you had everyone participating.  I know because I've been somewhat in the middle of it [negotiations between Champ Car and the IRL]. We seem to get close, we seem to agree on a lot of huge issues and then everything just comes apart."  At times, he admitted, both sides just need a good smack up the side the head to get them to realize the damage they're doing to the sport he loves.  "Get a nice little hammer and give them a bong ... see if the light goes on.  The drivers have one career and you don't want to go through your career with the perception that, 'You know what, you won some races, but what if so and so from the other side had been there, maybe you wouldn't have won?'   That's lingering out there and that's why I will never, never stop trying to be some sort of force to try to bring them together, one way or another.  Speak to any team owner and they all agree this needs to happen. Speak to the principals and they agree. It's just a matter of finding the formula ... it's a matter of being resilient and not giving up because ultimately we all know that needs to happen." More ...

07/02/07
industry news
Chrysler gets junk-bond credit ratings  Chrysler, the fourth-largest automaker in North America, received credit ratings that are below investment grade from both Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's for its automotive division and finance unit, Bloomberg News reported today.

Moody's rates the automotive division at B3, six levels below investment grade, and the financial services unit was ranked two levels higher at B1. S&P ranks both units at B, or five levels less than investment grade, Bloomberg said.

The automotive division of Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler is seeking $12 billion of high-yield loans and the finance unit wants $8 billion to help fund their purchase by Cerberus Capital Management LP. Banks led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. held meetings with potential lenders on June 28 to sell the loans, according to investors who may buy the debt.

The finance unit wants a $4 billion term loan, a $2 billion revolving credit and a $2 billion second-lien loan. The second- lien loan will rank behind the $4 billion term loan and revolving credit for repayment in the event of a bankruptcy.

07/02/07
industry news
GM opens engine plant in China  General Motors Corp. inaugurated a new engine plant at its minicar factory, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., in southern China today. The $263-million plant, adjacent to the factory in Liuzhou, will have a capacity of 300,000 units a year and begin production of 1.1-liter and 1.2-liter engines in August, GM said in a statement. The new plant will facilitate new product development at the minicar factory, which now buys engines and related parts from outside suppliers, the company said.

The engines will be used first in a new minivan model, the Wuling Hong Tu, a vehicle developed by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center joint venture in Shanghai with SAIC.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. is a three-way commercial vehicle joint venture between GM, Shanghai-based partner SAIC Motor Corp., and Guangxi province-based Wuling Automobile Co. GM owns 34% of the venture, SAIC has 50.1% and the remainder is held by Wuling Automobile.

07/02/07
irl
nascar
IRL star wants out  UPDATE NASCAR and IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi doesn't foresee open wheel star Dan Wheldon moving to stock cars anytime soon.

"I personally don't see it on his radar screen [for] next year," Ganassi told ESPN.com Monday.

Ganassi did say he and Wheldon discussed the proposition several months back, but discontinued those talks with the plan to resume them later in the summer. They've yet to do so, Ganassi said.

"Having said that, we've had discussions along the lines of 'Hey, let's renew our deal,' and there's some other opportunities within the team for him," Ganassi said. "To be honest, I don't see [NASCAR] as one of the top-five things I'm conversing with him about.

"I do not consider [a move] imminent."

Ganassi also said Monday he thinks the interest in NASCAR from open-wheel drivers is waning, if not over.

"I think it's kind of over, if you want my honest opinion," Ganassi said. "I think all race car drivers, whether they're open-wheel drivers or what, realize it's not just getting into a car and driving it. It's so much about the team you're with, and the people.

"It's so much more than just coming over from one series to another. It's about your entrance exam and your warm up program -- are you going to Busch, an [ARCA, Busch Series, Cup] program? Do you step right into the car? All those things. I think a swell of interest in terms of other drivers is over. I think it's, maybe, six months over." ESPN.com

06/30/07 Dan Wheldon loves to race, and a visit to NASCAR country with the IndyCar Series only highlights that passion – and makes him think more about moving over to stock cars and getting to do just about all the driving he can handle.

In the former capitol of the Confederacy and most locales where NASCAR’s top series races, race day looks much like Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Indy 500 day.

“For a driver, when you walk out the morning of the race and the place is packed, it creates such an atmosphere, a real energy,” Wheldon said at Richmond International Raceway, where the Indycar Series will run for the seventh time on Saturday night. “It’s certainly more enjoyable to drive amongst a crowd that’s very energetic.”

And to drive often, he said.

The IndyCar Series will race 17 times this season, while NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series will race 36 times, the Busch Series 35 times and the Craftsman Truck Series 25 times. Many of the Busch and Craftsman races are run in tandem with Cup events.

“I don’t have family,” Wheldon said. “I have nothing here. As cheesy as it sounds, I just enjoy being in the race car. In my opinion, a race car’s a race car. If you’re racing to get ‘round the track quicker than anyone else, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a tank. It’s competition and I enjoy that, and that is very, very attractive to me.”

He also stays in touch with former open-wheel competitors Juan Pablo Montoya and A.J. Allmendinger, both of whom already have made the move to stock-car racing.

“I think Juan said he was going to do 63 races this year, and I would love to do that,” Wheldon said, before adding: “I really, really do enjoy driving IndyCar.” ThatsRacin.com

07/02/07
alms
From Lemans to Lime Rock  Le Mans and Lime Rock Park couldn’t be more different. For starters, the two are six time zones and more than 4,500 miles apart. The circuits are worlds apart as well - Le Mans stretches more than 8.3 miles with more than 20 turns while Lime Rock is 1.54 miles with seven turns. With three weeks separating the 24 Hours of Le Mans and this weekend’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, Flying Lizard Motorsports’ team manager Eric Ingraham gave us a few thoughts on going from Le Mans to Lime Rock.

The toughest part of the transition:
“The biggest single challenge in the transition from Le Mans to Lime Rock is a mental one, not a logistical one. Specifically, recovering from three weeks away from home, working in a different environment and a different country, then reintegrating into running two cars in the American Le Mans Series and refocusing on the GT2 championships here.” More ...

07/02/07
f1
George says USGP was not a bust  Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) CEO Tony George said this year's F1 U.S. Grand Prix financially “was OK, it wasn’t a bust,” according to Jim Peltz of the L.A. TIMES.  With F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone and George facing a July 12 deadline to decide whether to renew the event, George said, “All I can do is put it at 50-50 at this point.”  The event drew over 200,000 fans for the inaugural running in '00, but it has attracted around half that in recent years.  George said that the race “has been profitable for the track over the eight years as a whole, but ‘it would not be financially worthwhile to do it’ another eight years under the current contract terms.”  Some observers have “speculated that Ecclestone is demanding too high a price for Indy to keep the race, anywhere from [$10-30M] a year.”  George declined to comment on the price but said that it is “not the only issue.”  George: “What the event really needs is a title sponsor with the ability to promote the event and the [F1] world championship across the country and around the world.”  Ecclestone has repeatedly said that the series “does not need the U.S. market.”  George said, “That’s Bernie. Do I think he wants to be here?  Absolutely.  He wants to be here because the (car) factories, teams, sponsors, they want to be here”  L.A. TIMES
07/02/07
tv news
TNT to try different things for Pepsi 400  Turner Network Television (TNT), home of NASCAR programming for 24 consecutive seasons, goes under the lights this Saturday, July 7 when the network televises the Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race from the Daytona International Speedway with the debut of a new television format, a special on four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon, a special feature on seven-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Richard Petty and continued TNT post-race coverage exclusively on NASCAR.COM.  The primetime Pepsi 400 is the signature race of the 2007 NASCAR on TNT Summer Series, which began at Pocono Raceway on June 10 and concludes at Chicagoland Speedway on July 15.

TNT will rev its race day coverage at 5:30 p.m. ET with a one-hour program entitled “24x24: Wide Open with Jeff Gordon,” which focuses on the driver of the No. 24 whose championship career includes 79 NEXTEL Cup Series victories and 63 career poles.  The feature will be followed by the network’s pre-race coverage which begins with NASCAR on TNT LIVE! at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by Allstate Countdown to Green at 7:30 p.m. ET.  The Pepsi 400 will begin at 8 p.m. ET. More ...

07/02/07
nascar
Ford Wins Crew Chief of the Race award  After a pressure filled season with the No. 11 FedEx Ground Chevrolet team getting painstakingly close to victory on many occasions, crew chief, Mike Ford, and his young driver, Denny Hamlin, combined to give the Joe Gibbs Race Crew their first taste of victory for the 2007 season.  A gutsy call by Ford during the final stages of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 put Hamlin in a position to take the win.  For his race winning pit strategy and “never give up” determination, Ford won the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
 
Between leading numerous laps throughout the season and providing the car to beat at prior races, the No. 11 team was primed to go the extra step and take the checkered flag in New Hampshire.  An earlier two-tire pit stop had deemed successful for Ford; therefore, when a caution 46 laps from the end of the race brought the front runners down pit road for servicing, he opted again for a two-tire change in an attempt to pick up track position.  The No. 11 team sent Hamlin off pit road in first place after hovering in the top five in the latter stages of the race.  Hamlin was able to hold of several charges from those behind to pick up his third career victory. More ...
07/02/07
cc
At 20, Hinchcliffe is a vet behind the mic  One of the first things all sports TV analysts do the second they get the job is to vow on their mothers' lives that they will "call it the way I see it."

But because they've got too many friends still competing or hopes of getting into management, they seldom do. That's what makes yesterday's performance by Toronto's James Hinchcliffe so amazing. Not that this kid is short on the amazing stuff.

Hinchcliffe is a 20-year-old driver on the Champ Car Atlantic Series. In a situation that could only happen in a television-challenged series like Champ Car, he is also the TV analyst for the world feed – the one normally seen outside Canada and the U.S.

When Global opted to carry the world feed for the three Canadian races, mainly for economic reasons rather than nationalistic ones, they allowed fans here to see one of their own call the national events. (A Canadian working on a Canadian race broadcast. Imagine that.) More ...

07/02/07
f1
Boss distances BMW from Alonso rumors  (GMM)  Team boss Mario Theissen has counted BMW-Sauber out of wild speculation that Fernando Alonso could be looking to leave McLaren at the end of the 2007 season.

Some sections of the Spanish media believe the reigning world champion is so dissatisfied alongside Lewis Hamilton this year that he could be looking for an exit from his new three-year contract.

Reports then said Theissen and Alonso were spotted in conversation in the Magny Cours paddock last weekend, while the BMW chief was quoted as saying he has "great respect" for F1's reigning title winner.

"I spoke with Alonso," Theissen confirmed to the newspaper Diario As, "but about completely unrelated issues.

"There is nothing to report.  Concerning his future there are no discussions with him."

07/02/07
irl
alms
Rahal Letterman Racing Announces new Sponsor  It has long been said that a craftsman is only as good as his tools, and whether they be a mechanic, an engineer or a fabricator, the craftsmen that keep the machines at Rahal Letterman Racing in peak racing form will now have a new line of quality tools to help them do the job.

The Ohio-based team, which campaigns cars in the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series, announced today that it had reached a sponsorship agreement with Bessey Tools North America that will see the tool manufacturer provide its state-of-the-art fabrication equipment to the Rahal Letterman Racing team.

“We are always looking for ways to improve productivity throughout the organization and bringing in Bessey Tools will help us do that,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “Providing our guys with the best tools and processes for doing their job as well as possible will pay dividends throughout the shop and most importantly, on the race track.” More ...

07/02/07
f1
Theissen thinks Ralf's career is safe  (GMM) One of Ralf Schumacher's former bosses does not believe that the beleaguered Toyota driver will have to leave formula one at the end of the 2007 season.

Sir Frank Williams, who gave the now 32-year-old a cockpit between 1999 and 2004, said last month that he thought Schumacher's lackluster performances this year means that his career "is coming to an end".

But BMW's Mario Theissen, who worked alongside Williams throughout most of Ralf's team tenure, told Sport-Informations-Dienst that he thinks his German countryman can bounce back from his uncompetitive current form.

"He is clearly driving beneath his value this year," Theissen agreed. "I do not know the details, but I do believe that he will still be with us (in formula one) next year."

Toyota's new team principal Tadashi Yamashina, meanwhile, put an arm around Schumacher on Sunday by saying that he put in a "competitive performance" despite not scoring points at Magny Cours.

"His performance was very good and you could see from his lap times that we had the pace to finish much higher," he said.

07/02/07
industry news
Ferrari FXX Millechili Eco-Car  Ferrari recently unveiled its first eco supercar. The Ferrari FXX Millechili looks exactly like a sized down Enzo and as we see with the new proposed FIA regulations for F1, the idea is to downsize with a smaller engine.

The eco Ferrari is made out of cardboard, plastic and... paper wheels. So you guessed it, it's not driveable. The Ferrari FXX Millechili looks like it can hold a V8 or a V12 engine and design wise, in out opinion, looks better than the original Enzo.

Some Ferrari insiders called it Millechili which means 1000 kg, probably the weight of the car. The Ferrari FXX Millechili is much smaller than the original Enzo. It has a 237.99 cm wheelbase and the distance between the node and the top of the windshield is 264.92 cm. The weight of the Ferrari FXX Millechili is 365kg smaller. A lighter car requires smaller breaks and lighter suspensions which improves on handling.

"The world is changing, and Ferrari is changing too. The aim is to lose no performance, but to make lighter, more efficient cars." said a spokesman.
 
General manager Amedeo Felisa said that Ferrari had to react to the need of fuel economy and emissions, especially in Europe and the US. He said that all future Ferraris will focus on fuel economy as much as power to weight ratios and driving dynamics.

07/02/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

07/02/07
  • 'Donkey ears' bring victory to Ferrari
  • New car leaves Button relieved, not excited
  • Schu eyes more specific Ferrari role
  • Alonso friend dead in F1 helicopter crash
  • Stewards hand 'woeful' Albers $6,800 fine
  • Italy hails Kimi, Spain thanks Ferrari New
  • Hamilton Snr wants $3m pay-rise for son New

'Donkey ears' bring victory to Ferrari
(GMM) A formula one veteran and expert has played down suggestions that new 'donkey ear' fins helped Ferrari to dominate the French GP.

Off the back of a three-race victory drought, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa at Magny Cours defeated their nearest McLaren rival by half a minute -- with the most visible addition to the F2007's bodywork being the unique fins located on the upper monocoque just in front of the cockpit.

"It is a little puzzling that they were so dominant here," said German's Hans-Joachim Stuck, a commentator and veteran of 74 grands prix in the 70s.

Also coinciding with Ferrari's boost in form last weekend was news that the Maranello based team got its wind tunnel back up and running following a breakage of the metallic rolling road a couple of months ago.

Stuck told the broadcaster Premiere: "Obviously they had some serious problems, but I do not believe that the new wings brought them so much pace.

"Surely not enough (pace) for the 30 second lead over McLaren.

"I think they have, however, demonstrated how closely together victory and defeat lie in formula one."

New car leaves Button relieved, not excited
(GMM) Beleaguered Honda took a step forward at Magny Cours on Sunday, but the single point was not enough to excite Jenson Button.

With his eighth place behind both Ferraris, McLarens, BMWs and a Renault, the Englishman finally opened the Brackley based team's 2007 points account at the wheel of the heavily updated version of the RA107 car.

"It is still one point," the 27-year-old told the British broadcaster ITV after the French grand prix, where he finished in the top ten for the first time since Brazil last October.

He said: "We want to be at the front, so there is a long way to go."

Button, however, admits that the new single seater, unofficially nicknamed the 'B' car in the press, is better than the version he and teammate Rubens Barrichello used to little effect in the opening seven races of the season.

"It is a good place to build on, and it's a relief to drive a car that feels good," he agreed.

"This is a good starting point ... we've got the basics right now, which is good." More ...

07/02/07
cc
Junqueira gets new sponsor  Bruno Junqueira and Water Bank of America CEO Jean-Jean Pelletier announce a new personal sponsorship from Ice Rocks.  Photo courtesy of Champ Car
07/02/07
f1
The race to the track  Formula 1 is all about racing but away from the competitions, a different kind of race is fundamental to the workings of Panasonic Toyota Racing. For the team’s logistics department, there is a constant race against time to get the cars, spare parts and pieces of equipment, to the track on time. Once on location, around 90 team members need food, transport, hotels and suitable working conditions. Covering 30,000 kilometers in a race season, seven truckies are dedicated to filling the four trucks with everything the team can possibly need at the track, from light bulbs to spare engine parts. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany, the Panasonic Toyota Racing Team, its Team Manager Richard Cregan and his staff have to manage logistic issues to ensure that the team behind the car is given everything they need to work to the maximum of their ability.  See video on our Home Page.
07/02/07
cc
Paul Tracy has day he would rather forget  Champ Car driver Paul Tracy’s day began with a crash during morning warm up which forced the #3 INDECK crew to prepare their backup car since their primary was damaged beyond repair.  Per Champ Car rules the car changed meant that Tracy would have to start from the back of the field.  The Canadian managed to pick up positions on the start but contact with Will Power sent him to the back of the grid again.  His day ended early as he encountered engine problems and was forced to retire.

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

07/02/07
cc
No love lost between Bourdais and Doornbos  After today's Mont-Tremblant Champ Car race Sebastien Bourdais accused race winner Robert Doornbos of blocking him on the race track. The fact that they are now tied in the point standings makes the rest of the year look like it will be a real heated battle. To the right Doornbos mocks sourpuss Bourdais on the victory podium.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. When did it happen?

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

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

07/02/07
cc
Team Australia leads Triple Crown race  Champ Car teammates Will Power and Simon Pagenaud pulled off an amazing reversal of fortune when they turned a horrific beginning at the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant into a stunning finish to take the lead in the first-ever Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown team showdown.
 
With the Canadian team competition opening appropriately enough on Canada Day, Power and Pagenaud both stalled at the start of the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant, effectively beginning the race dead last. The Team Australia duo were forced to rely on a restart by the Holmatro Safety Team, and slowly but surely worked their way through the pack to finish the race third (Power) and fourth (Pagenaud). The teammates average finish of 3.5 put them just ahead of Sebastian Bourdais and Graham Rahal (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing), who finished second and seventh, respectively, for a 4.5 average finish. RSPORTS teammates Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani round out the top three on the Triple Crown leaderboard with an average of 6.0 after finishing fifth and eighth. More ...
07/02/07
cc
Power explains why he stalled on grid  Will Power stalled his Panoz Cosworth on the standing start grid today and explained what happened after the race.

“I went past my grid, so I had to get it in reverse, then I was trying to get it into first gear.  By the time I looked up the third red light was on.  With so little time I went straight to the floor [with the accelerator] realizing the light's were going to go out in a sec.  I think the reason I stalled is because the turbo did not have a chance to spool up. So I stalled.  I looked in my mirrors.  Cars were just missing me.  I thought there was going to be a big one."

07/02/07
nascar
Sauter and Busch fail Post Race Inspection  The Chevys of Johnny Sauter and Kyle Busch both did not meet the minimum height requirements during post-race inspection after today's Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire.  Expect penalties to be handed down on Tuesday.
07/02/07
cc
XM Canada to broadcast three Champ Car races  XM Canada (TSX: XSR) announced today that it will broadcast live and taped coverage of the Canadian stops on the Champ Car World Series circuit beginning June 30 on XM Channel 205.

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

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

07/02/07
nascar
Richard Petty Celebrates 70th on July 2  Richard Petty, “The King” of NASCAR will celebrate his 70th birthday in his hometown of Randleman, North Carolina Monday.  Petty is looking forward to be at home for the occasion.

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

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

07/02/07
cc
Bourdais not penalized for jumping start  As can be seen in this replay from today's Mont-Tremblant Champ Car race, Sebastien Bourdais started before the lights went out and the officials missed it and never penalized him for it. Meanwhile Will Power, who inherited the pole when Tristan Gommendy's car would not fire, totally blew the standing start and stalled. He recovered to finish third.
07/02/07
cc
Champ Car finds a new home in Mont-Tremblant  Francois Dumontier, Champ Car Mont-Tremblant General Manager : “Over the weekend I was asked about my first impressions, our fan capacity and our objectives for Champ Car Mont-Tremblant.  We were looking to host a good event and we had a great race on the track.  All of the fans left satisfied and with a smile on their face.  I am pleased to announce we had more than 42,000 fans for the three days.  This is our first event and we built a very strong foundation.”

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

07/02/07
f1
News briefs from Magny Cours: Sunday  UPDATE A spokeswoman for formula one tire supplier Bridgestone on Sunday said she could not confirm or deny reports that team members were among the two passengers killed in a helicopter crash near Magny Cours on Saturday night.

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

-

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

-

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

07/02/07
f1
Heidfeld sure back injury won’t recur  (GMM) Nick Heidfeld on Sunday said he is not concerned that a back injury could lead to more problems at the British grand prix in less than seven days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"But it was great racing!"
07/02/07
f1
Alonso refuses to write off title  (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Sunday refused to write off charging for a third successive championship despite dropping a further four points behind his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton at Magny Cours.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The fact that Felipe Massa was second instead of first helps us because it means he caught up to us by only two points instead of four," the German told the broadcaster RTL.
07/02/07
cca
Franck Perera wins first Atlantics race  French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport) kept his streak of top-five finishes in the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda alive in a big way by taking his first career victory in the Champ Car Mont-Tremblant (ESPN2, July 6, 6:00 p.m. ET).

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

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

07/02/07
nascar
Negotiations between Biffle, Roush up in air  UPDATE #2 Roush-Fenway Racing will announce a one-year-only sponsor deal for Greg Biffle and the #16 Ford within the next 30 days, team President Geoff Smith said Sunday morning at New Hampshire. And because the sponsorship deal has been agreed to, the urgency for the team and Biffle to negotiate a contract extension beyond 2008 is over, Smith said. Biffle is expected to have multiple sponsors next year, possibly including Aflac, which sponsored Biffle’s car for the first time this weekend. “We’ve got it worked out,” Smith said. “We’ll be announcing it, I’d say, within 30 days.” As for Biffle, who has been the subject of many “Silly Season” rumors this year, “He’s definitely in the car next year,” Smith said. SPEEDtv.com

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

06/08/07 Contract negotiations between #16-Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing have stalled, Biffle told ESPN.com Friday at Pocono Raceway. Biffle said the decision to break off talks was his and is based largely on improving the performance of a No. 16 team that has been up-and-down of late and in a state of transition following the firing of crew chief Pat Tryson two weeks ago and subsequent hiring of crew chief Greg Irwin. Biffle expects negotiations to resume in about a month. ESPN.com
07/02/07
cc
Grand Prix Arizona tickets are now on sale  Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Grand Prix Arizona.  Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com; all Ticketmaster retail outlets and Ticketmaster charge by phone at 1-480-784-4444.

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

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

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

07/02/07
irl
IRL comes up short on thrills  Seven years into an ambitious experiment, the Indy Racing League's invasion of Virginia seems to have reached its full adult dimensions. The circuit's tour stop at Richmond International Raceway doesn't appear to be shrinking, growing or changing in any meaningful way.

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

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

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

07/02/07
nascar
NASCAR needs its ’cheaters’  Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, has a NASCAR rap sheet as long as your arm. He's about to do hard time again with his fourth suspension in six years, his second in the last two.

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

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

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

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

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

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

07/02/07
irl
IRL’s moving chicane parks it again  UPDATE Crew for #23 Duno reports that their driver had soreness in her elbow and wrist following an accident in practice on Friday and discomfort caused her to retire from the event.

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

07/01/07 Milka The Moving Chicane Duno was down 4 laps by the 50-lap mark in Saturday night’s Indy Car race at Richmond, and just as we predicted, she would either crash and take someone out or the IRL would park her. The excuse was handling for the 2nd race in a row. It's more like she's not qualified to handle an Indy Car.
07/02/07
nascar
Ginn Racing looking for sponsors, drivers  UPDATE Jay Frye, CEO of Ginn Racing, said Regan Smith, who is currently splitting the #01 with Martin, would drive either the #13 or 14 on a full-time basis next season. #14-Sterling Marlin is interested in a part-time schedule for next season, but his contract expires at the end of this year, as does #13-Joe Nemechek's. Frye said it's possible both drivers could return, though a fourth car would be needed for that to happen. Eventually, those drivers would step aside for someone who took the same path as Smith. "Hopefully - two or three years from now - we have three or four 20-something younger guys in the cars," Frye said. He added that Ginn will seek another young driver to replace Smith as Martin's co-pilot next season to help further that plan. Free agent Kyle Busch does not appear to be a likely candidate to drive for Ginn. SceneDaily.com

07/01/07 The jet black Ginn Racing Chevrolets of #13-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin have no primary sponsors this weekend. Why not? Very simple: The team is trying to illustrate that it needs sponsors for some races in the second half of the season on the two cars, it has “available inventory” in the form of unsold primary sponsorships for the remainder of 2007. Team spokesman David Ferroni said normally the team would simply run Ginn Resorts logos on the car, but by keeping them sponsor-free, it tells all the would-be backers out there that there is room at the inn – or at least on the hood and the fenders at Ginn Racing right now. SPEEDtv.com
07/02/07
cc
New ’Racy’ Champ Car team for 2008  UPDATE #7 Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, In the past week, there have been some seriously intense discussion about 'AVN Racing'. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of middle ground here - you're either for them or you're not. But one thing is for certain: They've already generated as much - if not more - more buzz from the appearance of their show car at Erotica LA than they probably expected to get from actually appearing on the grid!

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

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

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

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

A reader writes, Personally, I think it is a great way to get some media attention. Jeeez, did you see the media attention it got at that one simple car show? When is the last time you saw that kind of attention brought to Champ Car? Round 1: Tracy vs. Tag? Round 2: Tracy vs. Bourdais?
 
If it is done in a very professional manner, I don't see any problem with it. Only if it gets flagrant will it do harm. Let's remember, in terms of sex, the US is much more conservative than most of the Western world. That is something to be considered when marketing mainly in the US, but, honestly, if the girls are dressed up in very professional, respectable, and classy attire and the marketing is done respectfully with taste, why the heck not?
 
I'd definitely pay more attention to what they are promoting and selling. Can you honestly say you wouldn't as an average American? Remember the "oh my gosh?!" when Mark Martin was first sponsored by Viagra? It brought a lot of attention and funny jokes initially (like he drives harder than any other driver). Yet, over time, it did two things: gave NASCAR a boost in media attention and proved that nobody really cared (and this is in a racing series based on Southern Baptist roots and morals).
 
Bubbas equals NASCAR and now....Sex equals Champ Cars....hmm, so what is the problem now? D. Hughes, Cincinnati, OH  More ...
07/02/07
gp2
Villa wins first GP2 race  Javier Villa won Sunday's GP2 sprint race at Magny-Cours - his first victory in the series. It comes a day after his Racing Engineering teammate Ernesto Viso was hospitalized in a horrific crash.

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

Results

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

07/02/07
nascar
DEI still talking to Budweiser  Max Siegel, president of worldwide operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., said Saturday that the team is still talking with Budweiser, still hoping to add a fourth Nextel Cup car in 2008 and is still looking for a replacement for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the #8 next year. “We still have our existing commercial relationship with Bud, talking about what’s best with everybody, still engaged in conversations with potential drivers,” Siegel said Saturday at New Hampshire. “Hopefully in the next four weeks we’ll get something wrapped up here.” Of the team’s car count next year, that’s still up in the air, too. “We have a couple of unique situations that could give us a fourth (car in 2008),” Siegel said. “Realistically, by ’09, definitely we’ll be a four-car team.” SPEEDtv.com
07/02/07
f1
Renault to run with historic livery at Silverstone  Formula One has always been an arena for innovation and 30 years ago, Renault's foresight heralded a new dawn in engine technology. At the 1977 British Grand Prix, held on Sunday, 14th July, Jean-Pierre Jabouille raced RS01, the first car to feature a turbocharged engine, a 1.5-litre V6 that broke new ground. Thirty years on, to celebrate this historic milestone, a one-off version of R26, the 2006 double World Championship-winning car, has been created with matching race livery to the original RS01 from 1977.

Although early reliability issues proved frustrating for Renault in its first season, the work done on the turbo engine led to significant success in later years. Former engine chief Bernard Dudot commented that the five Renault world titles of the 1990's were, "built on the school time of the turbo program."

Success has continued into the present day as Renault returned to Formula One with its own chassis, engine and team in 2002. Back-to-back World Drivers' and World Constructors' titles in 2005 and 2006 prove the expertise of those early seasons has been retained and developed. More ...

07/02/07
IPS
Iowa Speedway IPS race to be shown on ESPN2  The Infiniti Pro Series race run at the Iowa Speedway on June 23, 2007, will be shown on Tuesday, July 3, 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm ET on ESPN2.
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