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ALMS Lime Rock notebook  Scott Sharp will return to his home state - and home track - for the first time in 15 years this summer at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix.  His move this season from the Indy Racing League to the American Le Mans Series brings his career full-circle, as he began his professional driving career racing sports cars and is returning to the arena once again.

The son of six-time SCCA national champion Bob Sharp, Scott got an early taste for the thrill and excitement of sports-car racing at Lime Rock. Sharp made his mark in the sports-car arena by winning the SCCA GT2, GT1 (twice) and two Trans-Am Championships in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1996, the first year of the Indy Racing League, he was the IndyCar co-champion. His impressive career in the IRL included nine IndyCar event wins and 35 top-five finishes. He holds the league record of 138 consecutive IndyCar starts. The 2008 season marks Scott's debut in the American Le Mans Series for Patron Highcroft Racing, a Danbury, CT-based team that is fielding an Acura ARX-01b in LMP2.

Sharp already has tasted victory as he and David Brabham won the LMP2 class at the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach in April, only Sharp's third start with the team.

"Lime Rock is ingrained as part of my childhood landscape," said Sharp.  "My earliest memories are of sitting on the hill above the track with my sister and mother, watching my dad race. It was my 'home away from home,' for sure, and helped grow my love of the sport.  Last time I competed at this track was in the Trans-Am series in 1993. I can't believe it's been 15 years!" More ...

Rahal compares notes with Predators’ goalie  Hockey fan Graham Rahal and IndyCar Series fan Dan Ellis drew parallels between the sports during the kickoff event at Bridgestone/Firestone’s Americas Support Center for its “Racing to Help” United Way campaign.

Ellis, who posted a 23-10 record with a 2.34 goals-against average and .924 save percentage last season with the Nashville Predators of the NHL, will be the grand marshal July 12 for the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.

Ellis and Rahal, the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver who roots for the hometown Columbus (Ohio) Bluejackets, shared a table during a Bridgestone/Firestone employee autograph session. More ...

Live qualifying show confirmed for remainder of '08 season  Live IndyCar Series qualifying shows on ESPN360.com and indycar.com have been confirmed for the rest of the 2008 schedule. The show, hosted by announcers Marty Reid and Scott Goodyear, debuted at Richmond.

The remaining schedule (all times Eastern):
Nashville – 6:30-8 p.m. July 11
Mid-Ohio – 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. July 19
Edmonton – 5:15-6:45 p.m. July 25
Kentucky – 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 8
Infineon – 4:15-5:45 p.m. Aug. 23
Belle Isle – 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 30
Chicagoland – 4:15-5:40 p.m. Sept. 6

Mutoh leads Nashville practice session  Hideki Mutoh, the leader in the Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year standings, topped a practice session that afforded nine rookies and drivers transitioning to the IndyCar Series with 90 minutes of practice at Nashville Superspeedway. Three IndyCar Series drivers who have not previously raced at Nashville also received 30 minutes of practice time.

Mutoh lapped the 1.33-mile, concrete oval in 23.0842 seconds, 202.736 mph. Graham Rahal was second at 201.681 mph, his teammate Justin Wilson was third (201.597) and Will Power was fourth (201.597 mph). In all, the drivers combined for 615 incident-free laps.

“Practice was good today,” Mutoh said. “I liked the feel of Nashville last year (in Firestone Indy Lights), so I am even more excited to be here in the IndyCar Series. I think I have a good enough car to be running towards the front. I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

Practice will open for all 24 drivers entered in the Firestone Indy 200 July 12 at 11:15 a.m. (EDT). PEAK Motor Oil Pole Qualifying presented by AutoZone is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. More ...

Star Witness in Mosley case fails to appear  There was a dramatic twist today in motorsport boss Max Mosley's privacy action against the News of the World over what it called a "sick Nazi orgy" when its star witness failed to give evidence.

The newspaper's informant, woman E's "emotional and mental state is such that it would not be fair or reasonable to call her to give evidence," said its QC, Mark Warby.

The development meant that the case was adjourned until Monday for counsel to prepare their closing speeches.

E, a dominatrix who secretly filmed the sadomasochistic session at a Chelsea flat in March, was due to give evidence together with her husband.

Mr. Warby told Mr. Justice Eady at London's High Court: "This morning, at about ten to eight, I received information which has later been elaborated on which leads those instructing me and my clients to take the view that her emotional and mental state is such that it would not be fair or reasonable to call her to give evidence."

Because of that, he added, he was not maintaining the case that instructions were given to E by another woman, A, which originated from Mr. Mosley, about a Nazi theme.

He said: "We will not persist in that case. It is a most regrettable situation to have arrived at." The Independent

A Golden Anniversary Fit for “The King”  
Richard Petty visits NASCAR's New York office as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of his first race
Kevin Kane
Petty Enterprises will celebrate “The King” Richard Petty’s 50th anniversary in NASCAR this weekend.  The plan includes Petty getting back into a racecar and turning laps at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway.

On July 12, 1958, Petty made his first NASCAR start in the old Convertible Division at Columbia (S.C.) Speedway in Cayce, South Carolina.  On July 12, 2008, Petty Enterprises and the entire NASCAR community will celebrate the anniversary of that race at the Chicagoland Speedway, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is competing in the Life Lock 400.

Petty Enterprises will be marking the anniversary with numerous special events and promotions.  The team has extended an invitation for the CEOs of their sponsors and partner companies to come to Chicago to help them commemorate the anniversary.  As part of the activities, Petty will return to a racecar to give some of his special guests a ride around Chicagoland Speedway in a Richard Petty Driving Experience stockcar. More ...

Stewart confirms plans to co-own Haas CNC Racing, join team in 2009  Tony Stewart formally announced today that he will be a driver and co-owner of Haas CNC Racing next season. The new team will compete as Stewart Haas Racing.

Click here to download and view a news conference with Tony Stewart and Haas General Manager Joe Custer 44 minutes, 50 seconds
In a news conference at Chicagoland Speedway, Stewart outlined his plans for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The announcement came a day after Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed that the driver had opted out of the final year of his contract with the organization.

"Obviously this is a huge day for me; this is a huge turning point in my career," Stewart said in making the announcement.

Stewart, who has spent 10 years and won two Cup titles with Joe Gibbs Racing and The Home Depot as his sponsor, already owns teams competing in the United States Auto Club and World of Outlaws, but this will be his first foray into Cup ownership. Sources have indicated he has obtained sponsorship from Office Depot and possibly Old Spice, though that was not part of the initial announcement.
"This was a long process. This was not something that was easy, by any means, and we did weigh our options … The opportunity to have ownership in our race team was something that was, in my opinion, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Stewart said.

Bell's back with Aston Martin at Lime Rock  
Bell's Aston Martin
A new-look Bell Motorsports returns to the American Le Mans Series this week with a completely rebuilt Aston Martin DBR9 that again will challenge Corvette Racing’s two factory Corvette C6.Rs. The Bell GT1 challenger was severely damaged in a crash at St. Petersburg in early April but extensive work by the team crew means Terry Borcheller and Chapman Ducote will be back behind the wheel for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park

The Jim Bell-owned team has recorded more than 4,000 man hours to get the car back together and race-ready. Although the team and drivers remain the same, the car will have the usual Bell Motorsports blue and silver, a departure from the Aston Martin Racing green that the DBR9, owned by O So Fresh founder Michael Fux, displayed at Sebring and St. Petersburg.

“The car looks and feels better than before” Ducote said, “and I am anxious to get it on the new Lime Rock circuit. I am glad to see the silver and blue livery. Terry and Jim have had huge success with these colors in the past.”

Penske Racing Pays Tribute to Employee  This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, all three Penske Racing NASCAR Cup Series entries  will carry a special decal in memory of employee Bill Passwater. The decal will also be on Penske IndyCar Series entries at Nashville Superspeedway and the American Le Mans Series entries at Lime Rock. Passwater, 33, passed away on Wednesday morning.

He is survived by his wife, Heather, and their baby daughter, Lyla Grace.

Passwater had been employed at Penske Racing since 2005. He was the transportation coordinator for the NASCAR Cup Series teams.

“Yesterday, we lost a valued member of the Penske Racing family, Billy Passwater,” said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing. “Billy came to our organization in 2005 and we will miss him as we all appreciated his personable nature, sense of humor and his commitment to do the right thing.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Heather and Billy’s families.”

Passwater was an especially dear friend to Penske driver Ryan Newman. Newman and Passwater had attended high school together in South Bend, Indiana.

“Bill was always a great friend,” Newman said. “We had been fishing buddies since our high school days in South Bend. A few years ago, he and his wife, Heather moved down to North Carolina to be closer to us and to pursue a career in the racing industry.

“I am going to have a hard time saying goodbye to my good friend. Please keep Bill’s wife, Heather, his nine-month old daughter, Lyla, and all of his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”

F1 testing: Massa fastest  Felipe Massa ended this week's test at Hockenheim with the fastest time on Thursday after taking over the testing duties from Kimi Raikkonen to finish Ferrari's testing program. And the Brazilian was the only driver to get under the one minute 15 seconds barriers as he set a best time of 1:14.989 seconds, a tad slower than Lewis Hamilton's time of 1:14.872 yesterday.

"It was a good day's work," said Massa. "We did a lot of kilometers and I have to say the car felt well balanced. This can only mean that we should also be competitive at this track, which is also the case for our main rivals."



Driver Team Time Laps
1. Massa Ferrari 1:14.989 109
2. Button Honda 1:15.081 121
3. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.289 123
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:15.378 118
5. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:15.556 115
6. Alonso Renault 1:15.593 119
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:15.759 118
8. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:15.869 107
9. Trulli Toyota 1:16.065 129
10. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:16.113 74

PCM to be featured on tonight's episode of "Modern Marvels"  Pacific Coast Motorsports will be featured on tonight’s episode of The History Channel’s hit show “Modern Marvels” tonight at 9:00 pm ET.

The episode, titled “Crashes” takes an in-depth look at the safety innovations in Open-Wheel racing.  Filmed at the Champ Car finale at the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the episode prominently features the Pacific Coast Motorsports teams and partners, and includes interviews with PCM Team Owner Tyler Tadevic, PCM IndyCar driver Mario Dominguez and PCM Atlantic driver Frankie Muniz. 

“Modern Marvels’ is a terrific show that explains in layman’s terms the technologies behind many of today’s achievements,” said PCM Team Owner, Tyler Tadevic. “This is our second time featured on “Modern Marvels” this year, and we are very proud to be part of their program.  The “Carbon” episode was fascinating, and we are looking forward to tonight’s show.  We’re always looking for ways to reach out to the non-motorsports media, and this exposure is extremely beneficial for our partners, our team and our athletes.” More ...

Toyota to make Prius in U.S. for first time  Toyota Motor Corp. will start producing the hybrid Prius in the U.S. for the first time as the Japanese automaker adjusts its U.S. manufacturing operations to meet customer demands for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The company said Thursday it will start producing the Prius in 2010 at a plant it is building in Blue Springs, Miss. Toyota already builds a hybrid version of the Camry sedan in Kentucky, but this will be the first time the Prius, which has been on sale for more than a decade, will be built outside of Asia.

The company also said it will suspend production of the Toyota Tundra pickup at its San Antonio truck plant and the Toyota Sequoia sport utility vehicle at its Princeton, Ind., plant for three months starting Aug. 8 because of declining demand. Next spring, it will stop producing Tundras in Princeton and will consolidate all truck production in San Antonio.

VW's new diesels are headed to America, but too late?  Volkswagen's long-awaited new family of diesel engines has finally hit the road to the United States.

The powerful and fuel-efficient engines, which account for 63% of VW sales in Europe, have been absent from the automaker's U.S. lineup for more than a year.

Diesel buyers are among VW's most eager and enthusiastic owners in the United States, but they had to do without 2008 models because the automaker was caught flat-footed without engines that met U.S. emissions standards that took effect Jan. 1, 2007.

VW will rectify that by offering the engines, which have used less fuel than gasoline-electric hybrids in some driving tests, in two 2009 model year vehicles. Both models will wear VW's TDI badge, which stands for turbocharged direct injection, two of the technologies that make modern diesels cleaner and more powerful. The Jetta Sportwagen and sedan are already in showrooms. The Jetta scored 29 m.p.g. city/40 highway in EPA tests, up from 21 city/29 highway for the 2.5-liter gasoline engine.

But all for naught - with diesel fuel running 25% more expensive per gallon than gasoline, who wants a diesel anymore?  Even if you get 20% better fuel mileage, what good is it if you are losing money.  And to this day, not every service station sells diesel fuel.  The high cost of diesel fuel has pretty much killed that market, except for trucks.

Childress statement on Jack Daniels speculation  The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, regarding recent unsubstantiated reports in the media about Jack Daniel’s leaving RCR after the 2008 season.

“Jack Daniel’s and Richard Childress Racing have a contract through the 2009 season. Any reports in the media to the contrary are simply not accurate.”

racing news
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and Yahoo! enter strategic agreement  Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered a multi-year strategic alliance that will allow the two companies to collaborate on advertising and sports-related content.  Turner will exclusively represent online advertising sales for the NBA, golf and NASCAR pages of Yahoo! Sports.  Additionally, Yahoo! Sports will gain access to basketball, golf and NASCAR content from NBA.com, PGATOUR.com, PGA.com and NASCAR.com, league sites managed by Turner.  The  deal was announced today by David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting Sales, Inc. and Turner Sports and Todd Teresi, senior vice president of Yahoo!’s Publisher Channel.  The deal creates an alliance between one of the leading entities in the sports media industry and the #1 online sports destination, representing the new model for media outlets looking to increase and further engage their audiences. 

All display, sponsorship and video advertising opportunities within the NBA, golf and NASCAR pages on Yahoo! Sports will be available exclusively through the Turner Network, which combines the digital resources of 19 Turner Sports, News and Entertainment properties.  The agreement also provides Turner with access to advanced targeting technologies that will allow Turner to exclusively sell advertisements based on a consumer’s affinity for NASCAR, golf and NBA content, thus creating new advertising opportunities for clients.  The agreement underscores Yahoo’s ongoing commitment to differentiating verticals online.  More ...

Monkey see, Monkey do  Toyota is testing a shark fin engine cover at Hockenheim today.  Earlier this week McLaren joined the likes of Red Bull, Renault, Force India and Toro Rosso in using the engine cover design with helps with aerodynamics.  Hence Toyota have now opted to try out the engine cover with Timo Glock running it on Day Three in Germany.
racing news
Speedway Corp. posts drop in revenue, rise in income  International Speedway Corp. reported Wednesday total revenue fell to $174.9 million in its fiscal second quarter, which ended May 31, from $181 million in the second quarter of 2007. But its net income was up at $25.9 million, from $18.3 million last year.

"We hosted nearly one million paid attendees at our events during the second quarter, which demonstrates that consumers continue to view motorsports, particularly NSACAR, as an important part of their lifestyle despite the current economic environment," John Saunders, ISC's chief operating officer, said during a conference call with analysts Wednesday. "We're pleased with the results."

For the first six months of the fiscal year, both total revenue and net income were up from the same year-earlier period, they said.

Part of the total revenue losses in the second quarter can be attributed to a decline in attendance at some races and less spending by attendees, ISC investor relations spokesman Wes Harris said during the call.

"Clearly, high gasoline prices don't help," Harris said. "But we're still getting fans . . . who are cutting back once they get to the tracks."

Fans spending on food, drinks and merchandise were down nearly $3 million in the quarter.

Stewart Press Conference Live on TV/Radio Thursday  SPEED will interrupt regularly scheduled programming today at 2:30pm/et for live coverage of a Tony Stewart press conference from the deadline media room in the infield media center at Chicagoland Speedway. Stewart is expected to announce his plans for 2009 and beyond. SPEED will interrupt a replay of the Sprint Cup Series race from Daytona, but will resume the replay at the point of interruption following the press conference. Also SIRIUS Satellite Radio will provide listeners around the country with live coverage of the Tony Stewart news conference today, July 10 at 2:30pm ET/1:30pm CT on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128. SIRIUS will air the full news conference live from the infield media center at Chicagoland Speedway, where Stewart is expected to announce his future NASCAR plans. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio's daily talk programming will air as scheduled before and after the press conference. Hosts will provide their thoughts and analysis of the day's news and invite fans to call-in with their reaction and opinions throughout the day.
Raikkonen plays down McLaren's run of form  (GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday continued to ride the crest of his Silverstone victory by setting the pace for the second consecutive day at Hockenheim.

As on Tuesday, the 23-year-old McLaren driver was the quickest of the 12 runners in action, as all ten formula one teams test at the scene of next weekend's German grand prix.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, four tenths slower on Wednesday, and a similar distance behind after the damp opening day of running, said he was "reasonably satisfied" with his test.

"The speed isn't lacking," the Finn said, "but sometimes, we haven't managed to put together all the elements and have not succeeded in exploiting all the potential at our disposal."

To reporters, the reigning world champion insists that Ferrari cannot be written off, despite its poor all-round performance at Silverstone last weekend.

"We haven't lost any speed -- we just need a good clean weekend," Raikkonen insisted.

Coulthard amazed at F1's progress  (GMM) Two years after the sport's last visit to Hockenheim, David Coulthard this week marveled at formula one's rate of progress.

The veteran Scot, who drives for Red Bull, was amazed when he discovered that he could drive into the German venue's famous 'Motodrom' section without lifting the throttle.

"In other years you were using, at the most, fifth gear," Coulthard told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport magazine as he tests at the German grand prix circuit this week.

The retiring 37-year-old's observations, however, are unlikely to be echoed in coming seasons, given the drastic downforce reduction - up to 30 per cent - in next year's technical regulations.

Grid incident 'a small thing' says Raikkonen  (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has dismissed the widely-reported photographer incident as a "small thing" beaten up by the media.

The reigning world champion was photographed and videotaped pushing over veteran F1 photographer Paul Henri-Cahier on the Silverstone grid last Sunday.

Raikkonen, 28, admits to pushing the Frenchman before the British grand prix but insists Cahier provoked him by standing on his equipment.

"People try to make a big thing out of it, but he shouldn't come on top of my stuff.

"It was just a small thing and people tried to make a big story out of it," the Ferrari driver told reporters at the Hockenheim test this week.

Raikkonen - I will not break 2009 contract  (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has once again dismissed lingering speculation about his future on the formula one grid.

New rumors this week suggest that former double world champion Fernando Alonso is indeed in the running for a Ferrari drive next year.

With Felipe Massa under contract until 2010, some observers have surmised that - following 28-year-old Raikkonen's recent musings about retirement - the Finn is perhaps the driver most likely to make room at Ferrari for Alonso.

But in an interview carried this week by La Gazzetta dello Sport, reigning world champion Raikkonen dismissed the gossip in the most strident of terms.

He insists he has a contract to keep racing with the Maranello based team in 2009.

"I have not broken a contract in all my life, and I have no intention of doing so now," Raikkonen told his countryman and journalist Heikki Kulta.

"In 2009 I will be driving for Ferrari," he added emphatically.

Heidfeld - I want to keep heading in the same direction  BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld has turned his season around, emerging from a recent barren spell just in time for his home race, the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring on 20th July.

You've earned a lot of praise for your second place and pair of double overtaking moves in the rain of Silverstone. How did you pull off such a great performance?

BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld: "It was just brilliant. Qualifying finally went well again, and in the race everything slotted into place. The team did everything right and I also avoided making any mistakes. It's always satisfying when passing moves come off; winning a head-to-head battle fair and square is as good as it gets. And if you can overtake two other guys in the same move twice in the same race, the thrill is that much greater. Especially as it was a Ferrari and a McLaren I got past on one of those occasions."

A lot of people complain that overtaking is impossible in Formula One. You provide regular evidence to the contrary - under the toughest conditions as well. How do you decide whether to dive into a gap? Are you braver than other drivers?

Heidfeld: "I actually find overtaking easiest in tricky conditions. The differences between the individual drivers are just greater in the rain. Plus, different drivers take different lines through the corners, which naturally helps with overtaking." More ...

ECO Racing to compete in 3 races in 2008  
Echo Racing Radical
The environmentally inspired British racing team ECO Racing is to race its production-engined biodiesel sports prototype race car in three of the most challenging events on the American Le Mans Series calendar: Road America, Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Between the Road America and Atlanta events, the team will also race in the final round of the European Le Mans Series, the 1,000km classic at Silverstone on September 13-14.

The four-hour races at Road America and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the six-hour test of Silverstone and the grueling 1,000 miles/10 hours of Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta constitute a unique 24-hour challenge that will stretch ECO Racing's LMP1 race car and production V10 engine to the limits of endurance. More ...

Racing News
ISC projects updates  Construction has begun on the office building component of Daytona Live!, the mixed-use entertainment destination development that ISC is pursuing in a 50/50 joint venture with The Cordish Company ("Cordish"). In the second quarter, the Company announced that Cobb Theatres will anchor Daytona Live! with a 65,000 square-foot, 14-screen theater featuring digital projection with 3D capabilities, stadium seating, and a premium level providing 350 reserved seats and a full-service restaurant and bar area.

ISC is also partnered in a joint venture with Cordish on the development of a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on property adjacent to the Kansas Speedway. The joint venture has submitted one of several competing proposals to the State of Kansas. The Kansas Lottery Commission has evaluated the proposals and forwarded them to the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board (the "Review Board"), which has final approval in selecting the company to construct and manage the casino. The Review Board will hold public meetings on the proposals with a final decision anticipated in September 2008.

On Staten Island, ISC is in discussions with interested buyers for the 676 acre parcel. The property is being marketed for sale and the Company has received significant interest from multiple parties.

NASCAR visits McLaren  On Wednesday, Jim France, vice chairman and executive vice president of NASCAR and the chief executive officer (CEO) of International Speedway Corporation (ISC), spent time at the McLaren Technology Centre, and was impressed by the level of technology he witnessed….

"I am very impressed by what I see here today at the McLaren Technology Centre,” he said. “I have seen a lot more technology than I would in the garages at NASCAR and IRL level where obviously they are also dedicated racers and working with whatever materials they have. However, I am impressed by the level of manufacturing capability at the McLaren Technology Centre and the development and engineering that goes on at this facility"

Meanwhile, Martin Whitmarsh, who accompanied Mr. France on the tour, agreed that it was a fantastic opportunity to discuss and compare notes on their differing areas of motorsport….

“We share many common goals and aspirations and I know that we can learn a lot from each other," he said.

Raikkonen happy with Germany test  For the second day of testing for the Formula One teams at the Hockenheim circuit, in preparation for the German Grand Prix, that will take place at this track on 20th July, Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen was again on track for the Maranello based squad, the reigning world champion continuing with work on finding the best set-up for the F2008, as well as development of various aerodynamic and mechanical solutions.

Kimi completed a total of 90 laps over the course of the day, the quickest being n a time of 1.15.296, leaving him third on the timesheets behind the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and the Williams of Nico Rosberg.

“I am reasonably satisfied with the way things went during these two days of testing,” commented Kimi at the end of the day. “We mainly tried to find settings for the car which will allow us to be in good shape for the Grand Prix. I think we will also be competitive on this track, as indeed we have been for the year so far. The speed isn’t lacking, but sometimes, we haven’t managed to put together all the elements and have not succeeded in exploiting all the potential at our disposal.”

Thursday Felipe Massa will be on track at Hockenheim, while Kimi Raikkonen will be in Brussels, taking part in the European Youth Conference on Road Safety, which takes place at the headquarters of the European Commission at the Berlaymont Building.

Chevy may bring new mini car to USA  
Chevy Beat
General Motors Corp. is considering a new Chevrolet mini car for the United States as it reworks its product lineup to cope with a dramatic shift from trucks to cars linked to high gas prices. GM spokesman Dee Allen said bringing the Chevrolet Beat, which is about the size of a Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris mini car, to the U.S. is among the options the company is studying.

"It is certainly one of the things that is being looked at from a portfolio perspective," Allen said.

The Beat, to be built in South Korea, will be rolled out in other global markets faster than it would be in the U.S., Allen said. He did not know when the car might be sold elsewhere or in the U.S.

The car still must be engineered to meet U.S. safety and emissions standards, he said.

GM unveiled the Beat with two other ultra-small cars as concepts at auto shows last year, saying the trio was designed to attract young buyers in urban markets around the globe. More at AOL

tv news
Watkins Glen Indy Lights races to be televised  The Firestone Indy Lights Corning Duels doubleheader run at Watkins Glen on July 5 will be televised on Thursday, July 10 at 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.  Tune in to catch all the action.
Wilson expects concrete Nashville track to be handful  UPDATE IndyCar Series drivers and teams will make their eighth visit to Nashville Superspeedway July 10-12, the only track with a concrete surface and the only track that is 1.33 miles in length. Those factors present unique challenges.

“The track is definitely a challenge because it's concrete,” said Helio Castroneves, who has four top-five finishes in six starts at the track. “So definitely for the drivers and for the engineers, it's a challenge to find grip, but once you have it there's a great chance you'll be in good shape.”

Only 12 of the 26 drivers entered in the event have competed at the track before. Rookies and transition drivers will have a two-hour practice session July 10, and all drivers will have two hours, 45 minutes of practice July 11.

“From what I hear it’s pretty tough,” said Justin Wilson, who will make his first start at the track. “You are close to being flat-out driving around on your own. I guess in the race I might have to start lifting though because there will be a lot of traffic. I have been to a few racetracks that have concrete sections on them. It’s generally very bumpy and quite difficult to drive on, so it’s very challenging. On an oval I can only imagine what that does. I can imagine that once the rubber goes down, it starts to lay some grip down there and it would start to get quite grippy. It will be interesting to see what kind of concrete it is and how it affects things.”

The driver and team that find the right combination for the Firestone Indy 200 will take home one of the most unique trophies in racing – a Gibson guitar.

“It's a unique trophy,” Castroneves said. “I really cherish and I really want to have that in my collection, so hopefully this year will be the year.”

07/09/08 “Nashville Superspeedway is a concrete track, which on an oval I imagine is quite interesting,” said Justin Wilson, who has competed in 12 races on an oval to date.  “It could be pretty hard on tire life so that is something we will have to watch.  It’s going to be another interesting race for the McDonald’s team.”

Wilson, the 2006 and 2007 Champ Car runner-up to the champion, has been on an accelerated learning curve this season in the predominantly oval ICS.  Prior to 2008 he had competed on an oval five times with his best finish of second place having come in 2006 at the Milwaukee Mile.  Learning the nuances of the Dallara-Honda-Firestone race package as well as competing on eight new tracks of the 10 so far this season has been challenging.  His highest start on an oval this season is 15th in Homestead and his highest oval finish of seventh came at Milwaukee and Richmond.  Racing on an abrasive concrete surface will add another unknown this weekend.

“From what I hear it’s a pretty tough event,” said Wilson.  “You are close to being flat-out driving around on your own.  I guess in the race I might have to start lifting though because there will be a lot of traffic.  I have been to a few race tracks that have concrete sections on them.  Sebring being one of them, and Toronto and there were even concrete patches in Watkins Glen last weekend.  We have experienced it a little bit and it’s generally very bumpy and quite difficult to drive on so it’s very challenging.  On an oval I can only imagine what that does.  I can imagine that once the rubber goes down, it starts to lay some grip down there and it would start to get quite grippy.  It will be interesting to see what kind of concrete it is and how it affects things.  We don’t have any experience with this so we will just have to work it out as quick as we can.”

Prostitutes substantiate Mosley's story  UPDATE This Echo News article talks about the News Of the World defending itself in court today by saying the film of Mosley definitely had a Nazi theme.  Quite an interesting read.  What's clear is that Mosley was set up but he took the bait and is now paying the price.  The argument really comes down to this - was this a private affair and did anyone have the right to film it and did News of the World have the right to publish the photos and a story of the content.

07/08/08 Four women who took part in sadomasochistic role-playing with motor racing chief Max Mosley told a court Tuesday that the event was not the “Nazi-themed orgy” described in a tabloid newspaper.

Mosley, 68, is suing the News of the World for invasion of privacy over a March story that alleged he attended a five-hour sex session in which participants played concentration camp inmates and guards.

Mosley, the son of late British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, acknowledges a lifelong interest in sadomasochism, but said Monday that he found the idea of Nazi sex fantasies abhorrent. He said he and the women acted out a German prison scenario, but without any Nazi aspect.

On Tuesday, one of the women — labeled “Mistress Switch” by the newspaper — told the High Court that she organized “spanking parties” attended by Mosley, whom she knew as Mike.

The woman, whose identity is protected by a court order and was called “A” in court, said Mosley was “an extremely charming, mild-mannered and interesting man.” She denied there were Nazi overtones to their activities. More ...

GM reports record sales in Europe  Despite a declining market in the USA, General Motors Corp. is doing very well in Europe. GM said today it recorded record sales of nearly 1.2 million vehicles in Europe in the first six months of this year. That is an increase of 3 percent over last year.  GM's sales grew 58 percent in Eastern Europe and 60 percent in Russia, offsetting a weaker market in Spain and Italy. Even Hummer, a brand GM is considering selling because of slow U.S. sales, saw a 21 percent jump in Russia.  GM says its European market share remained steady at 9.5 percent.
80K attendance for Watkins Glen race  The Indy Racing League race July 6 at Watkins Glen drew a 1.0 overnight TV rating, meaning 1 million households nationwide tuned in, according to Nielsen Media. That is the same rating as last year. This year’s race aired on ABC.

But attendance was the highest it's been in the four years since the IRL began coming to the track, said several sources close to the series. IRL and track officials do not officially release race attendance. While it’s difficult to gauge attendance with literally thousands of campers and RVs littering the infield and perimeter of the track, sources on the ground at The Glen estimate it near 80,000 [over the 3 days].

The IRL’s race date at The Glen has bounced from fall to spring before settling on the July 4 weekend the last two years. Given this year’s success, track officials don’t expect a date change for 2009.  IBJ.com

Construction begins for Detroit GP  As the trucks hauling barrier walls, grandstands and flooring lumbered across the MacArthur Bridge this week the monumental task of creating The Raceway at Belle Isle Park had officially begun.

The green flag has waved on construction of the 2.07-mile, 14-turn street circuit with tons of materials and hundreds of workers arriving on the island over the next seven weeks, creating the home of the 2008 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, August 29-31.

Crowds in excess of 100,000 are expected to visit the island over Labor Day weekend with world-class auto racing and family fun once again putting a charge into the Motor City. The sports cars of the American Le Mans Series and the open-wheel machines of the IndyCar Series will test the Belle Isle streets in just a few weeks at the Grand Prix, but first comes the hard work and the remarkable transformation of the island. More ...

Hamilton on top at Hockenheim again  Lewis Hamilton continued to set the pace on the second day of testing at the Hockenheim circuit Wednesday. The McLaren driver, quickest on Tuesday and running without the anvil looking engine cover his team tried yesterday, posted a best time of 1:14.872, over six tenths of a second faster than on the opening day.  Unlike yesterday's rainy weather conditions, the day stayed dry for the running.



Driver Team Time Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.872 101
2. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:15.257 117
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.296 90
4. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:15.767 42
5. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:15.945 97
6. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:15.955 62
7. Glock Toyota 1:15.995 114
8. Alonso Renault 1:16.141 106
9. Barrichello Honda 1:16.144 90
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:16.217 70
11. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:16.235 115
12. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.550 36

Toyota statement on JGR and Stewart split  UPDATE Home Depot will stay with JGR and not be making the move with Stewart to his new team. 

“The Home Depot has had a remarkable relationship with Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing since our sponsorship commenced back in 1998,” said Frank Bifulco, chief marketing office for the home improvement chain. “With two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and 32 race wins, Tony is a true competitor and an excellent ambassador for our company.”

Bifulco said in the statement that the company’s future plans “will be announced at a later date.” The Home Depot’s contract with JGR runs through next season

07/09/08 "We fully support the decision of Joe Gibbs and J.D. Gibbs regarding this arrangement between Joe Gibbs Racing and Tony Stewart. We thank Tony and wish him the best in his future endeavors.  He has been synonymous with Joe Gibbs Racing and has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success with the team.  In our first year together, Tony has been a valuable asset to the Toyota program.  We will continue to work diligently to get Tony and his Camry to ‘Victory Lane’ as often as possible in the Sprint Cup Series during the remainder of this season.  Our hope is that he will be able to qualify for the ‘Chase’ and contend for another championship."  Lee White, Toyota
Japan labor group rules overtime killed Toyota engineer  A Japanese labor bureau has ruled that one of Toyota Motor Corp.’s top car engineers died from working too many hours, the latest decision against overwork in Japan, where stoic acceptance of extended overtime has long been the norm  The man who died was aged 45 and had been under severe pressure as the lead engineer in developing a hybrid version of Toyota’s blockbuster Camry line, said Mikio Mizuno, the lawyer representing his wife. His identity is being withheld at the request of his family, who continue to live in Toyota City where the company is based.

In the two months up to his death, he averaged more than 80 hours of overtime per month, the criteria for overwork, according to Mizuno.

He regularly worked nights and weekends, was frequently sent abroad and was grappling with shipping a model for the influential North American International Auto Show in Detroit when he died of ischemic heart disease in January 2006. His daughter found his body at their home the day before he was to leave for the United States.

The ruling was handed down June 30 and will allow his family to collect benefits from his work insurance, Mizuno said. More at Detroit News

Atlantic Seat Available with Brooks Associates Racing  Brooks Associates Racing, one of the top teams in the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, has a vacant seat on its two-car team effective immediately.

German driver Andreas Wirth, who drove the team’s No. 88 entry for the first three races of the 11-race championship, has been notified that one of his supporters would be unable to honor their commitment to him for the remainder of the season. “I was very disappointed at this turn of events,” said Wirth.

Wirth returned to the series after a one-year hiatus and rejoined Brooks Associates Racing this year after driving for the team originally in 2005, when he led the championship until he was sidelined due to injury with two races remaining. He finished inside the top 10 in each of his three starts this season, including a best result of seventh last month at Mont-Tremblant. More ...

Dan Ellis is Grand Marshal for Nashville Firestone Indy 200  Nashville Predators goaltender Dan Ellis will serve as Grand Marshal for the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday night, July 12. The race will be broadcast live at 8:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Jimmy Elledge Hired as No. 84 Crew Chief  Red Bull Racing Team formally announces Jimmy Elledge as crew chief of the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota piloted by AJ Allmendinger, effective this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

Elledge’s most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief duties were with former open-wheel star Juan Pablo Montoya, so he’s quite familiar with translating open-wheel lingo. He’ll know that when AJ screams “oversteer” he actually means “loose” or when AJ says “stint” he really means “run.”

“Jimmy is a successful and very well-known crew chief in the NASCAR garage,” said Jay Frye, the team’s vice president and general manager. “He’ll be able to provide the experience and leadership for AJ and the No. 84 team to be competitive on a weekly basis.” 

Elledge’s resume includes stints with drivers Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Kenny Wallace, Bobby Hamilton and Dale Jarrett. Elledge, in his first race as crew chief with Montoya, was named WYPALL Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” in April at Talladega Superspeedway. He has one Cup win, leading Hamilton to victory lane at Talladega in 2001. 

AJ Allmendinger on the addition of Jimmy Elledge: “Of all the crew chiefs in the Cup garage, Jimmy is one of the only ones I’ve spoken to and had a chance to get to know. When I drove a few Nationwide races at Ganassi last year, Jimmy was always helpful. He’s a guy with a lot of crew chief experience and has a good knowledge of these race cars, so I’m looking forward to turning this season around together.”

Montoya  supports Ganassi's decision to close team  Juan Pablo Montoya supported owner Chip Ganassi's decision to shutter Dario Franchitti's race team, believing it was for the betterment of the organization.

"I think the big picture people need to understand is we did this to make ourselves better," Montoya said. "Short-term, people might think the team is crazy. But if we didn't do this, we were never going to get any better."

Ganassi pulled the plug on the No. 40 team last week because he'd been unable to secure sponsorship for Franchitti, the Scottish driver who was struggling through his first season in NASCAR. The 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion missed five races with a broken ankle, failed to qualify for two others and was 41st in the standings when Ganassi pulled the plug.

Because he was funding the car out of his own pocket, Ganassi said he had to stop running the team or risk damaging Montoya and teammate Reed Sorenson's seasons. Montoya is 21st in the standings and Sorenson is 32nd.

Had Ganassi continued running the No. 40, Montoya said he worried about the long-term affects it would have on Ganassi's entire NASCAR operation. More ...

A1 Team France on route of Le Tour De France  From this Friday A1 Team France will be following the route of Le Tour De France, one of the world’s most famous sporting events, when it sends an A1GP World Cup of Motorsport car on a three week journey round France.

The event attracts millions of fans and they will be able to see an A1 Team France liveried car when they flock to arrival cities around the country to greet the world’s largest cycle race. The first stop on the car’s itinerary will be Château de Chambord in the Loire valley, which has been used as a castle in Disney movies. The route will also include key holiday destinations.

After the stop in the Loire the car heads to Toulouse for the 12 July and then St Genies d’Olt (13 July), Narbonne (17 July), Nîmes (18 July), Montpellier (19 July), La Grande Motte (20 July), Saint Etienne (21 July) and Paris for the event’s finish on the 27 July on the Champs-Élysées.

At each location A1 Team France will be distributing flyers to the crowds telling them about the team and the series. The fans and holidaymakers will also have the chance to enter a competition for two lucky people to win a weekend at a season four event and to see on track the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari cars. Fans will be able to visit www.a1gp.com and click onto the French team’s icon to enter. Also updates from the journey with photographs can be found on this site.

Toyota cannot make cars fast enough  When U.S. auto sales slumped last month to their lowest levels in more than a decade, Toyota Motor Corp. suffered as much as anyone else. Unusual for the Japanese automaker, its U.S. sales tumbled 21.4 percent, even more than the overall market.

As the manufacturer of the Corolla, Yaris and other popular small cars and the leading seller of hybrids, Toyota should have benefited from soaring fuel prices. Instead, its U.S. dealers found themselves stocked with Toyota and Lexus trucks they couldn't sell, and short of small, fuel-efficient cars.

At a meeting last month in Salt Lake City, dealers pressed Toyota's top U.S. managers to explain why the carmaker renowned for its responsiveness and flexibility couldn't provide them with more small cars.

"They're maxed out in production of Corolla and Camry cars in North America, and there's nothing more the U.S. staff can do," said Rosario Criscuolo, a Michigan dealer with showrooms in Lansing and Ann Arbor who attended the meeting.

The dramatic shifts in the U.S. auto market this year surprised Toyota, along with everyone else. "I don't think the management we have now at Toyota has ever seen anything of this sort." In the past 50 years, Toyota steadily expanded its presence in the United States, advancing through strong and weak markets to become the No. 2 player this year behind General Motors Corp. But the once-unstoppable

Japanese juggernaut is now grappling with problems more commonly associated with Detroit's ailing Big Three -- large inventories of unsold trucks and under-used factories. "Toyota is no longer considered immune from the market forces at work in the United States," said Aaron Bragman, an auto analyst at Global Insight. 750 temporary workers out

Toyota already had warned investors in May that its annual profits would fall for the first time in seven years because of weakening demand in the United States, where analysts estimate it generates half its earnings. Toyota is taking tough measures at its U.S. operations, shedding around 750 temporary workers at its truck and engine factories. Detroit News
Disappointing 2008 Season Retirement for Andreas Wirth  It is with sadness and deep regret that Andreas Wirth today announces his retirement from the 2008 Atlantic Championship Series with Brooks Associates Racing.

After having competed in only three rounds of competition in the Atlantic Series this season Wirth is now faced with every driver's nightmare - disappearing sponsorship.  Having seen his initial 2008  plans to race in Europe evaporate a few short months ago makes this retirement from the Atlantics that much more difficult for this determined young racer. More ...

Tracy leery of racing in Edmonton  
Tracy is worried that car he gets might be hodgepodge of old parts
Though it's still possible Paul Tracy will appear on the Rexall Edmonton Indy grid, he was flying the caution flag Tuesday.

Sixteen days before the first practice at City Centre Airport, the veteran open-wheel pilot from Toronto, isn't quite convinced the pending last-minute deal to secure a one-off ride with Vision Racing, supported by a team of Derrick Walker Racing engineers and mechanics, is worth the risk to his career and reputation.

Walker, on the other hand, said it was practically a done deal.

"We are right in the final stages of putting it together," Walker said from Indianapolis. "It's looking fairly good. We're about a couple of days away from a press release."

According to Walker, Vision Racing president Tony George, who is also president of the Indy Racing League, secured primary sponsorship for the car. George could not be reached for comment.

But Tracy made it clear there are many details to hammer out, including his compensation. The former CART and Champ Car driver said he's willing to jump behind the wheel at a discounted rate, but he does expect more than the standard 50 per cent share of any potential prize money. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Heidfeld back on form now - Theissen
  • Ferrari chief wants no more 'stupid mistakes'
  • Even Spanish press hails Hamilton
  • Alonso not desperate for 2008 podium return
  • Sato reveals talks with F1 teams
  • Williams wants to improve car, Rosberg
  • Donington yet to submit F1 plans to council

Heidfeld back on form now - Theissen
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld got his formula one season back on track at Silverstone, BMW-Sauber boss Mario Theissen predicts.

Heidfeld, the 31-year-old German, has struggled to keep up with his teammate Robert Kubica this season, sparking speculation about his future with the Swiss based outfit.

He finished second to Lewis Hamilton with an error-free run in the rain-affected British grand prix, while Poland's Kubica struck technical trouble in qualifying and then spun out of the race.

But Theissen said there were other signs at Silverstone that showed Heidfeld has turned a corner.

"In practice he was always on the same level as Kubica.  He showed that he is comfortable again in the car and on the limit," the German told Auto Motor und Sport.

He told the German newspaper Bild: "I expect him to be with the same form at the next race as well."

Heidfeld was also happy with his performance in Britain.  "There is still more potential to be extracted, but at least I am now on a reasonable level," he said.

Theissen was also happy that BMW-Sauber seems to have returned to form following a lackluster showing at Magny-Cours two weeks earlier.

"At Silverstone we were back to normal," he said.  "14 days ago I doubted that we could keep up with our rivals' development speed.  But at Silverstone I no longer had the impression that we are falling behind."

Ferrari chief wants no more 'stupid mistakes'
(GMM)  Following the Italian marque's dreadful British grand prix, Luca di Montezemolo says he does not want to see any more "stupid mistakes" in Ferrari's 2008 title defense.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali last Sunday admitted Ferrari committed performance, strategy, driver and even weather forecasting errors throughout the rain-affected Silverstone race.

Brazilian driver Felipe Massa spun at least five times, finishing two laps down and dead last.

"We can not commit any more stupid mistakes as we did last Sunday if we want to win the world championship," Montezemolo, Ferrari president, told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Naturally it was unpleasant to watch a race such as ours, but I hope it will serve as a lesson to my guys -- and I have no doubt that it will be the case," he added.

Montezemolo said Sunday's errors were not the first this season.

"We are in the lead in the championship, but we missed too many opportunities altogether, so we cannot afford any more." More ...

Brickyard legend Gordon to star in live Internet show  UPDATE A reminder that this web show broadcast with Jeff Gordon will be today.

07/03/08 Four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon will participate in a Web show broadcast live Wednesday, July 9 from the famed Yard of Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The show will be streamed live from 1:30-2 p.m. (ET) at www.allstate400atthebrickyard.com, with noted motorsports announcer Bob Jenkins serving as host. During the show, Gordon will answer selected questions submitted in advance by fans.

Fans can submit questions at www.allstate400atthebrickyard.com/askjeff. Questions must be submitted by noon (ET) Monday, July 7.

Questions about a variety of topics are encouraged, including Gordon's NASCAR career, his four victories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his USAC open-wheel career, his life growing up in nearby Pittsboro, Ind., his racing idols, his hobbies and interests, and more.

"The Inaugural Race," a 47-minute highlight show of Gordon's victory in the first Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in 1994, will be streamed before and after the Web show with Gordon.

Gordon and the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will compete in the 15th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 25-27 at IMS. Gordon will attempt to drive his DuPont Chevrolet to his fifth career victory, becoming only the second driver to earn five major event victories at IMS five times. Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis five times. IMS PR

2009 DTM Calendar  In 2009, the DTM season once again will feature eleven rounds held in six European countries. With Germany, Italy, France, England, Spain and the Netherlands, the calendar will again comprise the automotive industry’s most important European core markets. “The co-operation with all the circuits has been excellent, therefore, it goes without saying that we are going to return to the venues that have been staging DTM rounds in 2008,” reveals ITR e.V. Chairman Hans Werner Aufrecht. “Continuity represented the top priority for us while planning the new season, consequently, we want to keep on supporting the successful development of every race on the calendar.”

Traditionally, the season will be kicked off at the Hockenheimring Baden Württemberg - on 26th April. Just one week later, on 3rd May, Mugello (Italy) will stage the second round of the season and on 17th May, DTM will return to German for round three, held at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. Afterwards, DTM will make a six-week summer break - that will end on 5th July, with the season highlight at the Norisring. Following the street race held in Nuremberg, the season will be continued in a two-week rhythm at Oschersleben (19th July), Zandvoort, Netherlands (2nd August), the Nürburgring (16th August) and Brands Hatch, Great Britain (30th August). In mid-September, DTM will race for the fourth time in the sport’s history at Barcelona (20th September) and on 4th October, France’s rich in tradition Le Mans circuit will be the venue of the penultimate round of the season. Then, on 25th October, DTM will return to the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg for the big season finale. More ...

Truex Deals with Penalties, Prepares for Chicagoland  As he and his team prepare for Saturday night’s LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. refuses to let penalties handed down this week by NASCAR be used as an excuse if his team doesn’t make the 2008 Chase.

“It’s NASCAR’s game,” said Truex, whose team was penalized on Tuesday because their No.1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet did not fit NASCAR’s templates during inspection before practice last week at Daytona International Speedway. “They set the rules and it’s up to us to abide by them.”

The team was docked 150 owner and driver points, crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion was fined $100,000 and Manion and car chief Gary Putnam have been suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup events.

“NASCAR has said from Day one that they were going to be strict about this car not fitting the templates,” continued the Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver. “We’ll just deal with the penalties and move forward. I hate that we’re going to lose Kevin and Gary. Obviously, they are important to the team and it’ll be weird not having them at the track. More ...

Navy ends sponsorship of Earnhardt team  JR Motorsports will be looking for a sponsor for Brad Keselowski next season after being informed that the Navy will not return as a sponsor for the Nationwide Series team.

Keselowski scored his first win earlier this year at Nashville Superspeedway and sits second in the current standings.

"We were informed last week that our sponsorship with the U.S. Navy will not renew at the end of the year,” team spokesman Mike Davis said Tuesday. “It's been an exceptional partnership since 2005, and we look forward to a strong finish to the season.”

JR Motorsports, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, fields two teams in the Nationwide Series – one for Keselowski and another shared by Hendrick Motorsports’ Sprint Cup drivers and development driver Landon Cassill.
Chip Bolin wins crew chief award  Chip Bolin, crew chief for the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team of driver Matt Kenseth, has been named the Wypall Wipers crew chief of the race for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Kenseth rallied late and gained ground on pit stops to finish fourth in the race, a career-best finish for the team at Daytona.

“It’s our job to make sure the car is set up just right, to make the right calls in the pits and to make sure we have flawless pit stops all night to get Matt track position,” Bolin said.

The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest to determine the best crew chiefs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. The winner isn’t necessarily the crew chief who goes to victory lane, but the crew chief who makes the biggest difference for his team.
DEI statement on penalty  UPDATE Following NASCAR’s announcement that it has fined the Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 1 car 150 car owner points, 150 driver points and issued a $100,000 fine for crew chief Kevin Manion, as well as a six-race suspension for Manion and car chief Gary Putnam, Dale Earnhardt Inc. vice president of motorsports operations John Story issued the following statement:

“We are still trying to understand how the car fit our templates multiple times at the shop, but we respect NASCAR’s determination that one of our cars did not exactly conform to their template at the track.  We have not decided if we will pursue our options to appeal.  Under NASCAR’s rules, we have 10 days to notify the sanctioning body of any appeal.”

07/08/08 NASCAR has docked Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Martin Truex Jr. 150 points and suspended crew chief Kevin Manion and car chief Gary Putnam for six races apiece for presenting a car that did not meet NASCAR’s roof template for inspection last week at Daytona International Speedway.

The point penalty may be a crushing blow to Truex’s hopes of making the Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup for a second consecutive year. Before the penalty, Truex was 14th in the standings, 86 points out of 12th place with eight races remaining until the Chase field is set. Now he is 18th in the standings – falling below David Ragan, Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch – and 231 points out of the 12th and final spot in the field to determine the 2008 Cup champion.

The team also was docked 150 owner points, and Manion was fined $100,000. NASCAR confiscated the car from the team at the track.

DEI can appeal the penalty, which could allow Manion and Putnam to work this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. If they begin serving their six-race suspension this weekend, they won’t return until the Aug. 29-31 race weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California.
Ryan Hunter-Reay Stops Traffic in Times Square  UPDATE Added photo of Hunter-Reay in Times Square with IZOD billboard behind him.

Ryan Hunter-Reay in Times Square
07/08/08 A beaming Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) stood on a replica Indy Car yesterday in famed Times Square and pointed at a huge likeness of himself looming over the New York City streets.

“Yesterday I was next, today I’m now!” he grinned to the cameraman, responding to the ‘I Am Next’ tagline on the massive billboard unveiled earlier this week by American clothing manufacturer IZOD. The billboard features Rahal Letterman Racing’s latest race winner along with the schedule information for the four races from Watkins Glen to Edmonton.

The billboard, which hangs in Times Square next to the ESPN Zone, shows Hunter-Reay in his Ethanol IndyCar uniform along with the distinct IZOD logo. The apparel company recently announced a personal sponsorship with Hunter-Reay, as well as one with the Indy Racing League, which led to the Floridian’s face flying above Broadway.

“It’s surreal,” Hunter-Reay smiled. “To go into the most famous and busiest intersection in America and to see a 90-foot image of myself was like a dream. It was actually crazier to see my name up there than it was to see my picture.” More ...

Coil and Cunningham on 320 foot shorter drag strips  Starting this weekend in Denver, NHRA Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car teams will race to 1,000 feet, instead of the traditional 1,320-foot quarter-mile. The change comes as NHRA continues to focus on the safety and any potential changes in the sport.

Austin Coil, crew chief for John Force Racing, and Chris Cunningham, crew chief for Tasca Racing, talk about their views on the change and what it does for their approach to this weekend’s race.

AUSTIN COIL – Crew Chief – John Force Racing Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car – “The way I see it, we have been racing to 1,000 feet for years and hanging on for the last 320 feet. This change is nothing but good. When you get to the top end is when the tracks get a little slippery and you get parts breakage. This change really won’t affect performance numbers that much for the fans. The speeds and times won’t be that much slower. This change just provides everyone more room to slow down and we can still race hard. The Funny Cars and Top Fuel Dragsters are on rev limiters at the top end and like I’ve said, when you are on the rev limiter you really aren’t seriously racing anyway.” More ...

26 cars entered for Nashville Race  Scott Dixon will attempt to win his third consecutive race at Nashville. If he wins, it will be the third time an IndyCar Series driver has won three consecutive races at one track. Dan Wheldon won three consecutive races at Homestead-Miami, and Dixon won three straight at Watkins Glen. Can Dixon recover from his spin at The Glen and return to Victory Lane at Nashville where he has led 194 laps in five starts?

Car Driver Hometown Entrant
2 A.J. Foyt IV Hockley, Texas Vision Racing
3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Team Penske
4 Vitor Meira Brasilia, Brazil Panther Racing
5 Oriol Servia Pals, Catalonia, Spain KV Racing Technology
6 Ryan Briscoe Sydney, Australia Team Penske
7 Danica Patrick Roscoe, Ill. Andretti Green Racing
8 Will Power (R) Toowoomba, Australia KV Racing Technology
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing
10 Dan Wheldon Emberton, England Target Chip Ganassi Racing
11 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Andretti Green Racing
14 Darren Manning North Yorkshire, England A.J. Foyt Enterprises
15 Buddy Rice Phoenix Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay Boca Raton, Fla. Rahal Letterman Racing
18 Bruno Junqueira Belo Horizonte, Brazil Dale Coyne Racing
19 Mario Moraes (R) Sao Paulo, Brazil Dale Coyne Racing
20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis Vision Racing
23 Milka Duno Caracas, Venezuela Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
24 Jay Howard Basildon, England Roth Racing
25 Marty Roth Toronto Roth Racing
26 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Andretti Green Racing
27 Hideki Mutoh (R) Tokyo Andretti Green Racing
33 E.J. Viso (R) Caracas, Venezuela HVM Racing
34 Jaime Camara (R) Goiania, Brazil Conquest Racing
36 Enrique Bernoldi (R) Curitiva, Brazil Conquest Racing
02 Justin Wilson (R) Sheffield, England Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
06 Graham Rahal (R) New Albany, Ohio Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
RCR to make sponsor announcement Thursday  Richard Childress Racing will make a sponsor announcement & car unveiling at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, July 10th at Chicagoland Speedway.
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE Below is a video showing Kimi slamming the poor photographer to the ground.

  • F1 teams to analyze Singapore lights
  • Photographer slams 'rude' Raikkonen
  • Coulthard names Vettel as ideal F1 successor
  • McLaren debuts 'shark-fin' at Hockenheim test
  • Mosley scandal returns to mainstream media

F1 teams to analyze Singapore lights
(GMM)  All formula one teams will shortly send experts to Singapore to collect information before the first ever artificially-lit grand prix there in late September.

"We are trying to understand the implications of the lighting," Honda team principal Ross Brawn confirmed to reporters at the British grand prix last weekend.

He said a section of the street circuit will be lit by organizers within the next week or two so that the F1 teams can analyze the implications.

One of the elements of the sport's normal routine that might need to be adjusted, for example, is the brightness of rear tail light, Brawn suggested.

Another problem, he added, is that Bridgestone's current range of tire compounds are not designed for cooler night conditions.

"There is a limited range of compounds and I know they are not going to invent a compound for it," he said.

Photographer slams 'rude' Raikkonen
(GMM)  The photographer knocked over by reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen on the Silverstone grid has denied provoking the Ferrari driver's attack.

We reported that Frenchman Paul-Henri Cahier, who has been a F1 photographer for almost forty years, fell onto his back after Raikkonen shoved him for pushing a lens too close to the Finnish driver's face and standing on his equipment prior to the British grand prix.

But in a statement issued by Cahier's agency, the Cahier Archive, he denied that he touched Kimi's equipment.

"Furthermore, the distance at which Paul-Henri Cahier was taking a picture, although close, was completely standard," the statement added.

Cahier said he has never seen a F1 driver act "in such a rude manner" as did Raikkonen at Silverstone, but he does not intend to take any further action. More ...

Fans to decide Dyson's greatest moment  
Chris and Rob Dyson
In celebration of Dyson Racing’s 25th anniversary of its professional racing debut, the American Le Mans Series is asking its fans to help choose the team’s top American Le Mans Series moments. Throughout the week, visitors to americanlemans.com can choose up to three hallmarks in Dyson Racing history.

Voting will end at midnight Sunday with the podium finishers announced Monday. The Poughkeepsie, NY-based team will mark its Silver Anniversary of racing at the highest levels of sports car racing this weekend at Lime Rock Park in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix.

Saturday’s race will see Dyson Racing’s No. 16 Porsche RS Spyder of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in historical team livery that matches Dyson’s 1985 Porsche 962 (chassis 101). The two Porsches will circle the Lime Rock circuit in a parade lap with Rob Dyson driving the 962 and Chris Dyson driving the Porsche RS Spyder.

The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix is race is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 12 at Lime Rock Park. SPEED will televise the race from noon to 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 13. XM Satellite Radio will air the event live on XM Sports Nation Channel 144. Additional live coverage from American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring also will be available at americanlemans.com.

Ferrari defends Kimi after grid incident  (GMM) Ferrari has defended world champion Kimi Raikkonen after the team's Finnish driver pushed over a veteran photographer on the Silverstone grid last Sunday.

We reported that Frenchman Paul-Henri Cahier, who has been a F1 photographer for almost forty years, fell onto his back after Raikkonen shoved him for pushing a lens too close to the Finnish driver's face and standing on his equipment prior to the British grand prix.

Cahier in a statement denied getting too close or touching the 28-year-old's equipment, slamming Raikkonen's behavior as the rudest he has seen among F1 champions.

"I fully understand Kimi's reaction," Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

"It was a hard one (reaction), but we have to consider what (also) happened in that moment," he added.

Hamilton fastest at Hockenheim Tuesday  Lewis Hamilton with new anvil looking wing atop his engine cover on his McLaren MP4-23, led the way on the opening day of testing at Hockenheim in Germany on Tuesday.

Unfortunately on the first of the three test days bad weather conditions with heavy winds and occasional rain made work very difficult for drivers and engineers. Rain showers caused short breaks in the morning as well as in the afternoon.



Driver Team Time Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.483 75
2. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.803 63
3. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:16.099 87
4. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:16.516 97
5. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.533 113
6. Kobayashi Toyota 1:16.570 65
7. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:16.593 59
8. Piquet Renault 1:16.856 111
9. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:17.361 67
10. Wurz Honda 1:17.825 89

IZOD becomes official apparel of the IRL  The IndyCar Series is taking high speed and high fashion to a new level today, announcing a partnership between the league and Phillips-Van Heusen’s IZOD brand, making one of America’s most recognized clothing brands the official apparel of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.

For the remainder of the 2008 season, IZOD will provide apparel to series officials and staff that work on and off the track. Beginning with the 2009 season, IZOD will also supply an exclusive fashion collection, inspired by the heritage of American racing, designed to address the performance needs of the league’s sports-minded executives and crew. The partnership between the IndyCar Series and IZOD includes promotional, merchandising and co-branding opportunities at speedway venues, off-site and online.

"IZOD is truly a sport-spirited lifestyle brand, and we're thrilled to have them on board with the IndyCar Series," said Terry Angstadt, President of the Indy Racing League's Commercial Division. "This announcement also adds to the sponsorship momentum that we've been building over the last several months. The growing number of partnerships we're making with quality organizations like PVH is really helping to build an exciting future for the IndyCar Series."

The relationship includes IZOD partnerships with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 17 Team Ethanol entry for Rahal Letterman Racing in the IndyCar Series, Logan Gomez, driver of the No. 23 Menards/Guthrie Racing Firestone Indy Lights car and a major associate sponsorship of the Guthrie Racing team in Firestone Indy Lights. More ...

Fiat to Idle Plants  Fiat SpA, Italy's biggest carmaker, will close four of its six auto plants in the country for three weeks between September and November because of slumping sales.  The closures will affect factories in Mirafiori, Termini Imerese, Pomigliano and Melfi, a company official said today. The sites employ a total of 22,000 people, or about three- quarters of Fiat Auto's Italian workforce. Sales in Europe's second-biggest car market fell 19.5 percent in June, a sixth straight monthly decline, as record oil prices and a slowing economy put consumers off buying. Registrations at Turin-based Fiat declined 16.5 percent to 60,220 vehicles.
Volkswagen China Sales Rise 23%  Volkswagen AG, the second-largest overseas vehicle-maker in China, boosted first-half sales in the country by 23 percent, almost twice the pace of market leader General Motors Corp.  The German automaker sold a total of 531,612 locally made and imported vehicles in China, Hong Kong and Macau in the period, including 439,218 Volkswagen-brand automobiles, it said in an e- mailed statement today. China's overall passenger-car sales rose 17 percent in the period.

GM boosted first-half sales to 590,126 vehicles, it said yesterday. The Detroit-based automaker plans to begin selling the Chevrolet Aveo 1.2 and the Buick LaCrosse Eco-Hybrid in the second half.

Ford Motor Co., the world's third-largest automaker, raised its first-half sales in China 21 percent to 172,133 vehicles. The company plans to add a new Fiesta compact this the year because of demand for fuel-efficient cars, it said today.

Super Aguri to be sold through web auction  The assets of the failed Formula One team, Super Aguri, will be sold in an online auction later this month.
Auctioneers SHM Smith Hodgkinson told Eurosport that they had been instructed by administrators PKF to sell the assets between July 29 -31. The items for sale include an SA06 car used in the team's first season and transporters.

PKF said that they were looking to sell the business "as an on-going concern to a company or individual looking to launch a Formula One or other motorsport operation".

The Honda-backed team was founded by Japan’s former grand prix racer Aguri Suzuki at the end of 2005. The team withdrew from the championship for financial reasons in May this year after the collapse of a planned takeover.
Vettel is the best man for the job - Coulthard  After the British Grand Prix weekend, a soon to be retiring David Coulthard had an interview in which he hinted who he would like to see take over his Red Bull cockpit.

David Coulthard said to formula1.com: "For me Sebastian Vettel has everything that a future winner in Formula One needs. Also his maturity and approach shows me that he is the best man for the job. So I am very confident that he would be able to do a very good job for Red Bull Racing."

tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC  
NASCAR Nationwide Series Live in Prime Time from Chicago on ESPN

The NASCAR Nationwide Series is making its only appearance of 2008 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and ESPN will have live, prime-time coverage of the 300-mile event Friday, July 11, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast from the 1.5-mile track also airs in high definition on ESPN HD.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be ESPN2’s lead announcer, joined in the booth for analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Tech Center.

Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a former winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, in the ESPN pit studio. NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski joins ESPN’s coverage team as In-Race Reporter. Keselowski will talk to Wallace on the race’s pace laps and during caution periods.

ESPN2 also airs coverage of qualifying for the event at 4 p.m. on Friday, and coverage of final practice on Thursday, July 10, at 7 p.m. More ...

Inside track with Risi's Rick Mayer: Lime Rock  
Rick Mayer (Left) with Mika Salo
Track particulars: How much grip will the new pavement have? The track is the question.  It has been fully repaved and some track configuration changed.  The complete extent won’t be known until we get there and take a drive around the track.  It’s still a short 1.51-mile track that GT2s will do in low 50-second laps.  It will still be all rights with one left, so it’s a right-hand oval for us. 

The chicane curbs were significant previously, but the new configuration is not known; I expect this to still be an important setup area.  The bumpy nature should be gone and the grip level a bit of an unknown as we’ll be the first real race on the new surface.  Turn 1 will still be the biggest passing opportunity, and the down hill leading onto the front straight will still be important in order to set up a good run onto the straight.

Setup: We’ll run tilt here (left side higher then the right) to keep the left side off the ground while still keeping the car as close to the 50mm minimum ride height as possible.  Depending on the car, you’ll also run some cross weight.  Normally more right-front weight will let you trail brake longer into T1 without inside-front wheel lockup, and reduce the mid to exit understeer.  More ...

Early rain for F1 test in Germany  It rained early this morning at Hockenheim where all 10 F1 teams are set up for testing this week ahead of the German GP on July 20th.  The track is now drying so times will come down soon. Driving today are:
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren),
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari),
Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber),
Nelson Piquet (Renault),
David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing),
Nico Rosberg (Williams),
Kamui Kobayashi (Toyota),
Alex Wurz (Honda),
Sebastien Bourdais (Scuderia Toro Rosso)
Adrian Sutil (Force India).
Special Office Depot scheme for Edwards at Chicago  
Office Depot paint scheme for Chicagoland race
When Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Office Depot Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, competes in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 12, he'll have some special passengers along for the ride. For this race only, Office Depot will showcase a one-of-a-kind 'Taking Care of Business' paint scheme featuring the individual signatures of close to 8,000 Office Depot associates from around the world. The signatures collected from all regions of the world are representative of the fact that Office Depot associates serve customers in more than 40 countries across the globe. The Office Depot 'Taking Care of Business' paint scheme features the unique signatures of associates from Office Depot sales offices, retail stores, distribution centers, crossdocks, corporate and administrative offices in Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. More info at officedepotracing.com
Johnson speaking in Washington DC  Jimmie Johnson will be speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 8. The reigning Sprint Cup Series Champion will discuss his life experiences as a leading NASCAR driver and influential philanthropist. GMR Marketing/Lowe's Racing PR
NASCAR nabs cheaters, seizes car  UPDATE Dale Earnhardt Inc. officials are bracing for their penalty for presenting a car for Martin Truex Jr. that did not meet the roofline template during opening-day inspection last Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

Truex's penalty is expected to be announced Tuesday.

Truex is 14th in the driver standings, just 88 points out of 12th, with eight races remaining until the 12-driver field is set for the Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup to determine the 2008 champion.

If NASCAR follows its recent penalty trend for template violations, it would dock Truex Jr. 100 or 150 points and suspend at least the crew chief, as well as possibly the car chief for six weeks.

NASCAR issued its harshest penalties when it docked the Haas CNC Racing teams 150 points and suspended both the crew chief and car chief when it confiscated the organization’s cars for an infraction at Charlotte.

When asked if the DEI infraction was in the same category as that of Haas CNC Racing, however, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said, “I wouldn’t say that.”

“The 66 and the 70 [of Haas CNC] had devices on the car that gave the team the ability to change the car [after inspection],” Darby said. “The 1 car [of DEI] is much simpler than that. It was just built to where it didn’t fit the templates.” Scenedaily.com

07/03/08 During opening day technical inspection Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR seized the #1 DEI Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. NASCAR said that during the tech inspection the car did not fit the roof templates. The team was allowed to try again and when they failed again the car was seized and will be taken to NASCAR’s R&D center for further evaluation. The team was told to bring their back up car out for inspection. Cup Scene Online
Bernoldi to be re-evaluated prior to Nashville  
Enrique Bernoldi

Enrique Bernoldi will be re-evaluated at Nashville prior to the Firestone Indy 200 on July 12.

Bernoldi complained of lower back pain after crashing during the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen on July 6. X-rays were negative.

Hunter-Reay becomes seventh winner in 2008  
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates
Adriano Manocchia/AutoRacing1
Seven drivers representing five teams have claimed victories in the first 10 IndyCar Series races this season. Increased competition through additional cars entered week in and week out is one of the benefits being realized because of open-wheel racing unification.

"I don't think there's any question that the intensity level of this series has been ratcheted up," said Ryan Hunter-Reay, who recorded his first victory in the series and first for Rahal Letterman Racing since August 2004, in the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen on July 6.

"So all of a sudden, now to qualify in the top 10 or 12 is a real accomplishment. That's what you want. Everything coming together, it's amazing how tight the competition is. I'm so happy it's this way."

Hunter-Reay overtook leader Darren Manning in Turn 1 with nine laps remaining on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International circuit and held off challenges by Manning and Tony Kanaan after a final restart. More ...

Q&A: Martin Whitmarsh  CEO Martin Whitmarsh talks about McLaren's British GP from Heikki Kovalainen's pole to Lewis Hamilton's win.

Q: That was an exciting race and Lewis's calmness under pressure was particularly impressive?
MW: I can't emphasize enough just how cool and collected Lewis stayed during the race. He was under immense pressure not only to get a result but also not to make a mistake - in some of the trickiest conditions he has ever driven in. That he managed to do so with such calmness and presence of mind is astounding - over the radio, it sounded as if Lewis was on a quiet Sunday drive - he was relaxed and calm; nothing seemed too difficult for him. After the first stop, we were aware of the situation with Kimi's tires and duly informed Lewis. and even before his second stop we urged him to look after the car and measure his pace as a precaution in the weather conditions. We even recommended he ease his pace into the closing laps and he came back on the radio and told us he was already driving as slowly as he could!"

Q: The weather kept changing throughout the race, what was the value of weather forecasting?
MW: Obviously, in situations like these we keep an extremely close eye on the weather forecast. We use a number of different sources to give us the clearest indication of any approaching weather fronts. At the beginning of the race, we knew it was going to stop raining shortly before the start but that there would be a light shower at 1.00pm which had a 50:50 chance of hitting the circuit. We also knew there was heavier rain forecast for the middle sector of the race, and it was fortunate that the heaviest rain showers were only brief. That coincided with one of the busiest and most chaotic sectors of the race as many drivers struggled to cope with the standing water. Just before Lewis's second stop, he actually questioned over the radio whether it was worth switching to extremes and we reassured him that our weather forecast was predicting the rain would clear up. Happily that proved to be right and kept the wet weather tires on for the final stint."

Q: What was the problem with Lewis's visor?
MW: Midway through the middle stint, Lewis came on the radio and told us he was having significant visibility problems. We weren't sure of the extent of the problem but later found out that he was having a fogging problem on the right-hand-side of the visor - and opening the visor just a little was causing the rain to flood into his helmet. We radioed him to ask if he wanted to pit early but he told us he could cope with the problem - that's a testament to just how cool and calm he remained during the race. You actually saw him wiping his visor down the Hangar Straight at one point. We took the decision on the pitwall to clean his visor on the inside and outside and positioned one of the mechanics to do so during his second stop. It's actually a very rare occurrence and this sort of fogging problem has not occurred before." More ...

Further justification for turbo engines for Indy cars  Special Report: Energy Efficiency
The Little Engines That Can

Detroit, Mich. - American motorists have long preferred big vehicles, with big engines. The more horsepower, the better. But with gas at $4 a gallon, it's hard to justify buying a car or truck with a V-8, or even a V-6, engine.

To quench that thirst for power, and still meet tough new fuel economy standards, automakers are rapidly switching to smaller, turbocharged engines, which offer plenty of zip, along with better fuel efficiency. The extra boost gives a fuel-sipping four-cylinder engine the power and torque of a V-6, and can make a modest V-6 behave like a muscular V-8.

The shift to downsized engines is partly driven by new U.S. regulations that require car companies to achieve a fleetwide average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Manufacturers are dramatically scaling back production of low-mileage V-8 engines. They'll produce about 3 million V-8s in North America this year, down from a peak of 5 million units in 2004. Meantime, four-cylinder engines are becoming more popular in the U.S.

But the downsizing trend, which also applies to diesel engines, has been under way in Europe and Asia for a while. Worldwide, 80% of the new engines developed between now and 2014 will be four cylinder, says Timothy J. Manganello, chief executive of automotive supplier BorgWarner (nyse: BWA - news - people ).

Manganello's company is sitting pretty in the middle of this trend. BorgWarner, with $5.3 billion in sales last year, makes various technologies that improve fuel economy and reduce pollution, including turbochargers, which can boost the fuel economy in a gasoline or diesel engine by 15% to 30%. Diesels, already popular in Europe, continue to grow, and are spreading to the U.S. Meanwhile, production of gasoline turbocharged direct-injection engines is forecast to hit 7.5 million globally by 2013, up from 1.9 million in 2007. "We're in a sweet spot, and it's only getting sweeter," says Manganello. More ...

track news
Lime Rock repaving complete  As of last Wednesday, the re-paving of the track at Lime Rock Park was complete.  The next morning, promptly at 5:30, Track President Skip Barber took the official “first driving lap” in his yellow 275 GTB Ferrari.  Barber stated, “A surreal moment indeed.”

Since then, some finishing touches have been made:  The tire walls were put back in place, the new guardrail was set up, pedestrian-friendly fencing was re-established, and concrete curbing was installed.  Additionally, a great deal of earth-moving, replacing and hydro-seeding have occurred – all just in time for the official re-opening of the track!

During the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the track added another chapter to its book – as it re-opened first for Sam Posey, then for the Skip Barber Racing School.  As a show of appreciation for Posey’s lifelong involvement with Lime Rock Park, Skip Barber offered the official “first racing lap” at 9:00AM on Friday, July 4th.

The newly-paved track will be officially unveiled for the American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix, July 11-12.

[Editor's Note: With the asphalt so fresh look for the ALMS cars to tear it up pretty bad.]

More sorrow for the Kalitta family  A flower-laden U.S. cargo plane headed for Miami crashed near the Colombian capital on Monday, killing two people on the ground, according to local authorities.

None of the plane's U.S. crew was reported killed, although a hospital director said one was in serious condition.

It was the second time in about six weeks that a Boeing 747 flown by Kalitta Air of Ypsilanti, Michigan, has crashed.

The plane's crew told air traffic controllers that one of the engines was on fire and radio contact was lost seconds later, said Donald Tascon, deputy director of Colombia's civil aviation agency, to RCN radio. The cause was under investigation.

Madrid village Mayor Diego Humberto Sicard said the plane hit a ranch roughly 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Bogota at 3:50 a.m. (4:50 a.m. EDT; 0850 GMT). The two people who died, Pedro and Edwin Suarez, lived in a small house on a ranch, the mayor said.

Kalitta Air Vice President Pete Sanderlin told The Associated Press that the plane, with eight crewmembers aboard, had stopped in Bogota to pick up flowers and was scheduled to land in Miami at about 8 a.m. More ...

Watkins Glen IndyCar TV Rating  The overnight TV Ratings for the Camping World IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen Sunday on ABC was a 1.0.
Donington boss confirms Tilke to lead overhaul  (GMM)  The boss of 2010 British grand prix host Donington Park has confirmed that Hermann Tilke will oversee the modifications to bring the Leicestershire circuit up to formula one standard.

Prior to the announcement of Donington's ten-year contract, we reported recently that Tilke - F1's usual circuit designer - visited the track in contemplation of a major upgrade.

Donington boss Simon Gillett, however, denied that Tilke's modifications might change the fundamental character of the current layout.

"We're going to be using Hermann Tilke as our design partner -- but as for track changes ... I think if we were to touch the Craner Curves I'd be lynched!" he joked to GPWeek.

IRL officials meet with team owners  IRL officials met with IndyCar Series team owners Sunday morning to update them on several issues, including future schedules, the ongoing search for a series sponsor and the recent meeting with engine manufacturers.

"It's something we've never done before," IRL spokesman John Griffin said. "There was no announcements or anything like that. We were just bringing everybody up to date on some things."

The recent unification of the two American open-wheel series has brought six teams from the defunct Champ Car World Series to IndyCar. IRL officials said earlier this year that the 2009 schedule would be made from a "clean sheet of paper."

The IRL also has plans for an all-new car and engine, possibly as soon as 2010. League officials recently met with 12 engine manufacturers in a round-table discussion to toss around ideas and find out what engine rules the companies would like to see the IRL adopt.

In the hunt for a series sponsor, officials have indicated there are ongoing talks with three major companies and that a deal could be done with the next 90 days.

"It was all very constructive and very interesting," said Keith Wiggins, owner of HVM Racing, one of the transitional teams. "It all sounds very good. Now all they have to do is make some of these things happen." Forbes.com

Max Mosley denies Nazi element to orgy  Motorsport president Max Mosley denied in court today that he had been involved in a Nazi orgy, saying he could not think of anything less erotic.

"I can think of few things more unerotic than Nazi role-play", said Mosley, president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body for formula one.

Mosley is suing the News of the World for breach of privacy over allegations that he was involved in what the paper called a "sick Nazi orgy" with five prostitutes.

Mosley, 68-year-old son of 1930s fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, rejected any suggestion that the sadomasochistic role-play had Nazi overtones, saying this had no appeal for him.

"All my life I had it hanging over me with the undercurrent from my parents and the last thing I would want to do is for that to enter my sexual life," Mosley told Mr. Justice Eady in the high court in London.

Mosley, the FIA president since 1993, said the News of the World front-page story and website video had a "devastating" effect on his family.

"My wife and I have been married for more than 48 years and together more than 50 years since we were teenagers and she never knew this aspect of my life," Mosley said.

"That headline in the News of the World was completely and utterly devastating for her and there was nothing I could say.

"For my two sons, I don't think there is anything worse for a son to see in a newspaper article, especially in a newspaper like News of the World, the pictures they printed. I can think of nothing more undignified."

Mosley looked slightly uncomfortable as he was asked to explain sadomasochism (S&M) to the judge. He said that role-play was an integral part of this because it provided a justification for the central activity of punishment.

"I fundamentally disagree with the suggestion that any of this is depraved or immoral. It's a perfectly harmless activity provided it's between consenting adults in private and nobody knows about it," he said.  More at The Guardian [Related Article]

[Editor's Note: After incurring a $100 million fine last year from Max Mosley and the FIA over the Stepneygate affair, McLaren's Ron Dennis must roll on the floor in a fit of laughter reading these stories about Mosley.  Jackie Stewart and Paul Stoddart are two others that come to mind as probably taking great joy from all of this.]

SPEED Quotes: Chip Ganassi  
Chip Ganassi talking to Roger Penske
NASCAR, IRL and Grand-Am team owner Chip Ganassi joined Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel on SPEED Sunday to discuss his recent decision to shut down the No. 40 Dodge team driven by Dario Franchitti, resulting in a loss of 70 jobs.


Dave Despain: What happened?

It was an unfortunate thing. It broke my heart but there was no sponsorship for the No. 40 car and Felix (Sabates) and I were having to run it out of our pockets and we’re not in that kind of condition to be doing that.  I don’t think that makes good sense for people like us.

DD: You field a lot of cars. You’ve got the NASCAR teams, you’ve got the Indy Car teams, you’ve got the sport car team.  Is there a seat for Dario somewhere?

CG: There’s a seat for him wherever he wants and whenever he wants.  We have to do the right thing for his career and I’m going to make every effort to do that, believe me. With the Cup team, it’s just a matter of there is no sponsorship. We’re out of the top 35 right now with that car.  It doesn’t make sense.

DD: At least one website has tried to make the connection between this and to me, the previously non-controversy of the No. 42 car having three crew chiefs this season. The term ‘disarray’ was used.  Is your team in disarray? More ...

SPEED Quotes: NHRA champ Gary Scelzi  Four-time NHRA World champion Gary Scelzi joined Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Sunday to discuss NHRA’s response and investigation into the death of driver Scott Kalitta.  Following are excerpts from the interview.

Dave Despain: It’s a tough subject.  NHRA says 1,000-foot races are an interim change … is 1,000 feet the right move in your opinion?

Gary Scelzi: Absolutely without question.  I must say, I am not one of NHRA’s boys, obviously, but I have to commend them for what they’re doing.  It’s a quick, not a fix, but it was something they could do that wouldn’t cost them a lot of money, not cost the race track owners a lot of money, helping us by giving us another 320 feet.  And we’re going to one of the shortest race tracks on the tour in Bandimere, which is a great facility, but we need to come up with something and we need to come up with something quick. I commend them for doing it.

DD: How much does 320 feet matter at 300 miles per hour?

GS: You know the old saying ‘an inch is as good as a mile.’ At Pomona Winter Nationals two years ago, when we won in the semi-finals, I had a chute failure.  One panel blew out and took the other chute and wrapped it up and I slid up into the sand trap.  I didn’t hit it really hard and we were fortunate enough to come back and win the race.  But if I’d had another 50 feet, I’d been able to stop the car.  (Del) Worsham’s crash probably wouldn’t have been as bad, either.  Tony Bartone in Denver last year … Jerry Toliver in Denver last year had chute failures and had problems getting the chutes up late.  Went in the sand trap down there.  Three-hundred twenty feet is a lot as a driver.  That 320 can be the difference between a lot of car damage to no car damage. More ...

Hamilton to join DTM event at Brands Hatch  Lewis Hamilton will join the DTM event at Brands Hatch on 31 August for round eight of the popular international touring car series. DTM is a well known territory for Lewis Hamilton - in 2004 and 2005, the Briton contested the Formula 3 Euro Series, DTM's feeder partner series for young talent. In only his second season Lewis secured the title.

Now DTM fans will experience a very special on-track display at the Brands Hatch DTM event in August when British Formula 1 ace Lewis Hamilton takes his 2008 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 car around the legendary Kent circuit.

In addition to performing demonstration laps in his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 around the 1.929 km Indy circuit on raceday, the F1 superstar will take part in an autograph signing session in the paddock, giving fans a rare opportunity to meet F1's brightest young talent. More ...

racing news
Quotes of the week  UPDATE A quote from Anthony Davidson has been added.

"He's [Felipe Massa] always the first to stand up in a drivers' meeting and complain about what people like me are doing when we get lapped. That's what you get, mate.  There's a bit of blue flag action for you.  You're rubbish. You are useless at it." Anthony Davidson, former Formula 1 driver, dissolved F1 Super Aguri team, commenting on Massa's performance in the British GP.

"It's a dream come true. American kid winning with ethanol on the side of the car. It’s an American team – Bobby Rahal gave me the job and now we’re in victory circle. I can’t tell you how happy I am. This is amazing. I just got a good run on Darren, stuffed it down in there, and said I’ll deal with it when it happens. Then I got to the top of the hill, Darren popped to the outside so I stuck to the inside and we held on to it from there. Dixon was warming the tires really hard. And I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to see if I can do it that hard.’ But I thought, ‘You know what, I might loop this thing doing it.’ Low and behold, a lap later there he goes. It was amazing. It was like the seas were parting. For all the bad luck that’s gone our way, for it to finally go our way a little bit, that’s huge. Great timing too.” Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar driver, Rahal Letterman Racing, commenting on winning the Watkins Glen race

"This is pretty big for us because we've never won this specific race in Daytona. Memo did a great job and the crew did a great job. Lexus gave us a good engine package and we got the most out of it. I really didn't think we'd see green after that crash - and it was a horrific crash. I really have to applaud Grand-Am because we, as a group I think, owe it to the fans to see it finish under green. Every restart, that's the only move I had. The No. 99 was certainly quicker in the infield.  After about 2 or 3 laps, my rear tires just wouldn't hold on. I pulled a Hail Mary through the bus stop and tried to carry a lot of speed to get them before the start/finish line." Scott Pruett, Grand-Am driver, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, commenting on winning the Daytona race More ...

Latest F1 News in Brief  
  • Davidson slams 'useless' Massa
  • Donington last hope for British GP - Ecclestone
  • Angry Raikkonen pushes over photographer
  • Mosley privacy case begins in London
  • Press slams Ferrari after British GP
  • Hockenheim expects German GP full-house

Davidson slams 'useless' Massa
(GMM)  Former grand prix driver Anthony Davidson on Sunday showed no mercy as Ferrari's Felipe Massa had arguably his worst outing ever at a formula one track.

Briton Davidson, whose employer Super Aguri went bust earlier this year, bristled at his former Brazilian rival as Massa spun at least five times, was lapped twice, and finished dead last in the rain affected British grand prix.

Davidson said Massa ignored the blue flags as he was being ordered by trackside marshals to move over for faster cars.

"He's always the first to stand up in a drivers' meeting and complain about what people like me are doing when we get lapped," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Record.

"That's what you get, mate.  There's a bit of blue flag action for you.  You're rubbish. You are useless at it."

Donington last hope for British GP - Ecclestone
(GMM)  If Donington is not ready to host the grand prix in 2010, Britain will fall off the formula one calendar altogether, Bernie Ecclestone has warned.

Some observers have suggested that if the Leicestershire venue cannot fulfill the terms of its new contract by substantially renovating its facility, formula one can always revert back to Silverstone, the event's permanent host since 1987.

"We won't come back," F1 chief executive Ecclestone said at Silverstone on Sunday.

He insists that if Donington runs out of time or money to get up to speed by 2010, he will allocate Britain's annual race slot to a different country.

"I am sure they will be ready but, if not, we will sign with another country.  There won't be a British grand prix.  Pure and simple," Ecclestone said.

Angry Raikkonen pushes over photographer
(GMM)  Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen was photographed and filmed pushing over a renowned formula one photographer on the Silverstone grid prior to Sunday's British grand prix.

According to the Finnish television station MTV3, the Ferrari driver - taking off his helmet after driving to the grid - was infuriated when Frenchman Paul-Henri Cahier got too close before stepping on his equipment to take his photo.

"Photographers should respect the fact that Kimi is about to race and not get too close," Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson reportedly said.

It is understood that Cahier does not intend to take any action against Raikkonen, 28. More ...

Brawn plays down Conway's F1 hopes  (GMM) Honda team principal Ross Brawn has played down the likelihood that Mike Conway will graduate from GP2 to a formula one seat next year.

The 24-year-old driver and reigning British F3 champion is currently an occasional test driver with the Japanese team.

At Monaco last month, the Briton further caught the attention of the grand prix world by winning from pole position in a support race.

Conway, managed by former F1 racers Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell, later said he is hoping a vacancy arises soon at Honda, whose current drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are out of contract at the end of the year.

"His win at Monaco did impress a lot of teams but there are only one or two drivers who make it out of GP2 for next season," Brawn told Kent News.

"You almost need to decimate the championship to become part of a formula one team. You really have got to be quite exceptional to get there, but I wouldn't turn my back on Mike at Honda though," he added.

Brawn explained that Conway has the potential to make it to formula one, saying he has driven "reasonably very well" in GP2 this year.

"He has been doing a great job for us in testing and I have been very impressed with him.

"The difficulty is formula one is such a high standard and very few drivers make it. I hope he can get there," Brawn said.

Race fans offered chance to ride with Schumacher  
  • Passenger ride at The Race of Champions offered to lucky fan
  • No purchase necessary for free competition

Organizers of The Race of Champions will give one lucky fan the ride of a lifetime this December, by running a free competition to win a high-speed passenger ride with seven-times Formula 1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher.

The incredible experience will take place as part of The Race of Champions event, in which the world’s best motorsport competitors battle on a specially-constructed track inside Wembley Stadium, on Sunday 14 December.

In the 2007 event, Schumacher finished as runner-up in The Race of Champions, after helping Germany to victory in the ROC Nations Cup. The winning fan will get to ride alongside Schumacher in one of the event’s two-seater machines as he practices ahead of the main event, with the aim of going one place better this year.

To win, all fans need to do is text “RACE” to 84188. Texts will be charged at the normal operators’ rate, and there’s no extra charge.

Tickets for the event are on sale now by calling 0844 412 1743, or online at www.raceofchampions.com, where you can also see competition terms and conditions. The competition will run until 31 July, as will the chance for fans to get 20% off adult ticket prices. Adult prices start at £14.40 (including 20% discount) and children can get in for as little as £9.

Both The Race of Champions and Michael Schumacher are proud to support ICM, who are dedicated to brain and spinal cord disorders.

A1GP car covers half a season's distance in testing  London, Great Britain - A total of 3,500 kilometers, the equivalent of over half a season's mileage, is the distance covered to date by the new A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Powered by Ferrari car. The latest series of tests for the car were in Spain with five days at the Guadix Circuit near Granada followed by three days at Jerez.

Scuderia Ferrari test driver, Marc Gene, has now had his first taste of the car and his first impressions were: "It's an interesting car and I had a lot of fun. It's not an F1 car but it's not intended to be one; it will produce exciting racing, allows overtaking, and is an extreme drive." However, the majority of the testing has been undertaken by Andrea Bertolini, while Patrick Friesacher has also been behind the wheel. Feedback has been good with them finding the car well balanced, the tires have been working well and the gearshift and electronics have been reliable; all in all they have found it an extremely drivable car. More ...

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