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Hinchcliffe wins Star Mazda race  Wrapping up an intense double race weekend at Infineon Raceway, James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, captured Round Seven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear this afternoon in his Emexis Racing AIM Autosport Mazda to earn his first series victory, edging out Raphael Matos by 1.033 seconds at the end of the 25 lap event. Joining Hinchcliffe and Matos on the podium was round seven polesitter, and winner of the first race of the weekend, Pablo Donoso.

Top 20
Pos No. Name Laps Total Tm Diff Best Tm In Lap
1 98 James Hinchcliffe 24 43:20.841   1:30.512 17
2 7 Raphael Matos 24 43:21.875 1.034 1:30.495 12
3 22 Pablo Donoso 24 43:23.888 3.047 1:30.524 13
4 23 Robbie Pecorari 24 43:24.516 3.675 1:30.452 18
5 18 Adrian Carrio 24 43:35.207 14.366 1:31.126 18
6 11 Marco Andretti 24 43:45.018 24.177 1:31.327 11
7 70 Alan Sciuto 24 43:45.754 24.913 1:31.117 23
8 38 Ryan Justice 24 43:50.229 29.388 1:31.366 11
9 51 Brad Jaeger 24 43:51.819 30.978 1:31.348 20
10 97 Brandon Thomas 24 43:53.610 32.769 1:31.732 21
11 6 Jonathan Branam 24 43:57.231 36.390 1:31.713 10
12 54 Mickey Gilbert 24 43:59.638 38.797 1:31.860 11
13 96 Mark Wilkins 24 43:59.909 39.068 1:30.352 16
14 55 Richard Fullerton 24 44:01.849 41.008 1:32.063 19
15 20 Ross Smith 24 44:04.738 43.897 1:32.113 16
16 42 Mike Anderson 24 44:08.207 47.366 1:32.519 18
17 12 Graham Rahal 24 44:09.844 49.003 1:31.146 16
18 64 Patrick O'Neill 24 44:17.061 56.220 1:32.665 20
19 87 Doug Peterson 24 44:22.449 1:01.608 1:32.942 22
20 29 Phil Fogg Jr. 24 44:39.698 1:18.857 1:34.042 19

Robert Clarke talks about Honda’s IRL future  Honda Performance Development (HPD) boss Robert Clarke (right) was a guest on SPEED Channel's Wind Tunnel Sunday night with Dave Despain. The topic of discussion was Honda's future in the IRL now that Chevy and Toyota have announced their withdrawal from the IRL.

On whether Honda has indeed withdrawn from the IRL - "Yes, because of a technicality in the IRL rules that I discovered, which automatically renews a contract if no action is taken, we informed the IRL we are withdrawing to keep our options open."

On whether the IRL will renew with the IRL by the deadline of April 1, 2006 - "We would have to be convinced not to come back. Our intentions are to continue as we have, but we are in a hold pattern until the IRL announces their new engine rules. Unlike our competitors, the IRL program is the only thing we are about. While we were a service company in CART we have changed our program to be a design development and service organization. We are developing our new engine for the IRL and it is scheduled to be released in time for the 2007 season.

"We have had lots of meetings and we made a proposal to the IRL in St Petersburg that is basically a carryover from the current engine with some modifications. The current formula is working and we don't think it would be smart of the IRL to go off in another direction."

On whether Honda would be happy being the sole engine supplier in the IRL after Chevy and Toyota leave - "No being a sole engine supplier is not what we came into the series for, we obviously came for competition. As you know we were in the CART series, but we were essentially voted off the island in that series. We then looked where we could go and we thought the IRL was going to be the future and the pinnacle of open wheel racing in the US. And with Toyota and Honda coming, our suppliers, our teams, drivers and our sponsors, we thought the IRL was really going to take off and be quite successful. Unfortunately it has not to the degree any of us had hoped to, but we have not given up."

Is it a deal breaker if there is no competition in the IRL in 2007, will Honda commit to being the sole engine supplier? - "That is a question we are asking ourselves. It is not only my decision. While I think we should stay, we have other constituents like American Honda. We have an awful lot of equity in this IRL program and to walk away from it with all we have invested, to walk away from it would not be the brightest thing to do. If Toyota and GM do in fact leave, and if we walk away as well it could potentially do some serious damage to the IRL and that is not why we came into the league, we came thinking we could enhance it and make it even better. I think it would be a new low point (one engine) for the IRL but I would hope the IRL could then grow from there. I would hope in that worse case scenario Honda would hang in there and wait and see." (i.e. it is not his decision, but others above him).

On what the IRL can do to get to the level of achievement Honda anticipated- "Unification obviously between the two open wheel series is the best thing that can happen. For whatever reason, the USA fan base does not embrace open wheel racing like NASCAR and to fragment that small fan base into two series will never succeed in my opinion, neither one of them.

"If you ask anyone in either paddock of either series and they are all for unification. It's very unfortunate, very frustrating. I personally have gotten involved. I have had discussions with Brian and Tony George on the IRL side and Kevin Kalkhoven on the Champ Car side. I believe if there is a will there is a way, but it is being hung up over this issue of ownership. Honda is not in a position to dictate or control any of that. Threatening them is no way to enforce that, they have to reach that decision themselves."

Toyota is going stock car racing, does Honda have any interest in following them? The short answer, no! NASCAR is not where Honda needs to be, at least near-term. Honda's heritage is built in open wheel racing. We are happy with the IRL, it has been a very good program and from a technical point of view it has been much more challenging than we anticipated, we are happy here.  Transcribed by AutoRacing1.com staff

Honda rewards Kanaan with F1 test  UPDATE Honda's Robert Clarke said that Tony Kanaan will get his F1 test on September 29th at Jerez. 06/17/05 British American Racing Honda has confirmed that it will be testing 2004 IndyCar Champion Tony Kanaan later this year. "It's going to happen," said BAR Sporting Director Gil de Ferran. "It's definitely going to happen later this year." Kanaan is driving for the Andretti Green Racing team in IRL and has a long-term contract to race in the United States. "I'm ready to get the test," said Kanaan. "I'll do my best, that's all I can say. If they like me, it's going to be a problem because they've got to ask Michael."
Servia, Philippe say Edmonton track gut wrenching  UPDATE Servia's prediction of drivers making mistakes in the Edmonton race due to fatigue proved prophetic.  More than one driver reported their steering wheel felt very heavy by the end, winner Bourdais was physically spent and sat in his car for a minute before getting out, and both RuSPORT drivers, Tracy, Wirdheim and Vasser made errors.  This Edmonton Sun article has more information about Servia.  07/16/05 Oriol Servia was quite animated describing the Edmonton track to AutoRacing1.com after qualifying Saturday. "This track is the most challenging track we race on anywhere," raved Servia, comparing it to Spa in terms of difficulty. "This track is not only very technical, it takes lots of balls to go fast around here. Your arms get so tired and the car really beats up your body from the constant side-to-side pounding. I don't know how we're going to make the full race distance tomorrow. I think you are going to see drivers make a lot of mistakes as they fatigue.

It's very exciting and really fast. I think a lot of drivers got used to some of the easy tracks and this track is catching them out," said Servia in explaining why we are seeing so many accidents this weekend.

Asked what he thought about the success of this first year event, Servia said, "The fans are incredible here. Champ Car needs to figure out why this race is so successful and do the same thing everywhere."

Nelson Philippe gave a similar account of the new Edmonton track. "Yes, this track is very demanding," said Philippe. In qualifying yesterday my leg muscles were burning with fatigue just trying to brace myself in the cockpit, that's how hard this place is. The G forces are really high"

On the topic of passing, "Yes, there are three places you can pass here, going into turn 1, 10 and 11," said Philippe. Mark C.

Edmonton postscript  
Today’s race-day attendance of 78,080 boosted the three-day attendance for the inaugural West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton to 200,052. This makes today’s event the highest-attended Champ Car race ever to be held in Canada.

Sebastien Bourdais earned the 12th win of his Champ Car career today, chalking up 12 wins in just 39 starts. This is the fastest that anyone in Champ Car history has reached 12 victories, eclipsing the mark of 41 starts set by Alex Zanardi.

Timo Glock took the points lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings with today’s effort, leading Andrew Ranger by eight points and Ronnie Bremer by 11. Bremer is 11 out of the lead despite not starting the Toronto event.

France closed Canada’s lead in the Nations Cup to 19 points with Bourdais’ victory.

Paul Tracy made his 230th career Champ Car start today, tying him with Roger McCluskey for 10th on the all-time list.

Edmonton attendance over 200,000  The Edmonton GP has released their official attendance for the weekend and the numbers are spectacular.
55,722 - Friday
66,250 - Saturday
78,080 - Sunday (Highest ever in Canada, previous high Toronto 73,000)
200,052 - Weekend total (Third biggest event on Champ Car schedule)
25K turn out for Nashville race  Danica Patrick drew the biggest ovation from the near-sellout crowd of around 25,000 for last night's IRL race in Nashville.  The Tennessean
No kind words for Danica Patrick  UPDATE This local Nashville newspaper article talks all about Danica Patrick. Did Dario Franchitti win the Nashville race?  In all fairness, the paper did have another article about the race itself.  07/17/05 Dario Franchitti distanced himself from media darling Danica Patrick on Saturday night after the Indy-car race at Nashville Superspeedway. Franchitti didn't care that the rookie led nine laps on her way to seventh in the Firestone Indy 200.  "There were a lot of guys out there who did a better job," he said.

Franchitti didn't like the way Patrick moved over on him during their side-by-side battle on the lap 138 restart. She had timed the green flag to grab the inside line heading to the first turn, although Franchitti eventually denied her the lead.

"She got a small block on me, which I was surprised about," he said.

Patrick also gave second-place finisher Sam Hornish Jr. a strong battle, which the two-time IRL champion didn't appreciate, given that Franchitti was pulling away from them.  "She made (the pass) a little more difficult than it needed to be," he said. "It wasn't fun because I saw Dario's car getting smaller and smaller as we were running side by side. But it was clean racing." More at Indy Star

Seen in Edmonton - V  We sat with Champ Car team owner Paul Newman in the lobby of a downtown Edmonton hotel last night for an hour to talk racing and watch the Busch Series race on the big-screen TV. For those of you who don't know the real Paul, he is a pretty cool guy. He absolutely loves racing, any kind, except for perhaps the IRL, which he refuses to watch or even talk about. It was interesting to watch people passing through the lobby drop their jaws and stare, delighted to get a glimpse at the Hollywood superstar......Seen in Edmonton this morning - partly sunny skies and comfortable temperatures. It will be a great day for the race and a huge crowd is expected........Champ Car worked with Edmonton airport staff last evening to lay down recycled asphalt milling material in the pedestrian areas that were turned to mud in yesterday's rain. Chris Kneifel said never has a promoter and their staff cooperated with Champ Car so well, doing everything that is asked of them and then some......Everyone in Champ Car is commenting on how friendly the people in Edmonton are, and how thankful they are for them to be there to entertain them. This race has a long successful future ahead of it. Given that today's attendance will push it well past established Canadian venues like Toronto and Montreal, and the event it replaced - Vancouver, just underscore what a job this new promoter has done.....Edmonton, like Toronto and Montreal, has proper grandstands too (steep, raised and high), not like the Mickey Mouse high-school bleachers at many USA circuits. Mark C.


Nelson Piquet Jr to drive Lotus Judd  Nelson Piquet Jr will follow up his experience of driving the 1987 Williams-Honda FW11B by taking the wheel of another of his father’s old Formula One machines, the Lotus 101-Judd from 1989, in Holland next month. Rotterdam is the European Capital of Sport for 2005 and, as part of the celebrations, the city will host race car demonstrations on a bespoke 2.7km circuit through the streets on Sunday 7 August.

As well as the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an iconic Formula One car, the Rotterdam event will also provide Piquet with the chance to drive in front of one of his home crowds - although Nelson races under the Brazilian flag, after his father’s nationality, he is actually half-Dutch, as his mother is from Holland. He has visited the country many times before, including competing there in the Marlboro F3 Masters at the legendary Zandvoort circuit, where he claimed pole position and finished the race in second place in 2003.

“I am really looking forward to driving another of my father’s car at the show in Rotterdam," stated Piquet. "I had such a great time in the Williams Honda, I liked it so much I want to drive it on a proper circuit."

"The Lotus is a couple of years newer than the Williams was, and as the pace of development in F1 cars is so quick, I expect it to be another completely different experience, but still one that I know I’m going to enjoy," Piquet continued. "It is going to be special to drive in the Netherlands because it means I can take part in a Formula One demonstration in a country where I have a lot of family and friends. I have quite a lot of fans in Holland because that is where my mother is from, in fact I have a fan club there, and the fans don’t always get the chance to see us drive the cars because getting to races across Europe isn’t always possible for them. Events like this mean we can give something back to the people that support us, and hopefully everyone will have a great day and we can put on a good show for them.”

The Rotterdam street parade is set to be the biggest racing car event ever held in the Netherlands, and is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of spectators to its centrally located circuit and paddock area in the city. The event is to be open free of charge to the public, and there will be demonstrations of both current and historical F1 cars, Le Mans racers, and Paris-Dakar rally cars.

The Minardi F1 team has already confirmed its attendance, with Dutch race driver Christijan Albers set to demonstrate this year’s car. Other support from the world of F1 has come from former team owner Eddie Jordan, who will be entertaining the crowds with his band V10. The Rotterdam event will take place one week after the Hungarian GP2 weekend. Piquet Sports

Tire wear could be issue in Germany  Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier has revealed in a Michelin press release that they will be keeping a very close eye on their rear tires at the German Grand Prix next Sunday, as the nature of the Hockenheim circuit means that tire wear is expected to be an issue.

"With a number of quick corners and its slower, slippery stadium section, Hockenheim is a track that tends to heat up rear tires fairly quickly - although the same is true of all high-speed circuits. This is something we have to keep a very close eye on - and it is quite hard find to strike a good balance. The nature of the track and the high temperatures - always a factor in July - would take their toll on softer tires, so our partners focused on compounds from the middle sector of our range during pre-German Grand Prix tests. Since the beginning of the season, our tires have been competitive whatever the weather, warm or cool. Next weekend, we hope our partner teams will once again have tires ideally suited to the conditions."

German DTM
Prost beats Mansell  Alain Prost beat Nigel Mansell to victory in a special charity race for motorsport legends on Saturday night.  The two Formula 1 greats joined fellow ex-world champions Jody Scheckter and Emerson Fittipaldi, and ex-motorcycle champions Mick Doohan and Johnny Cecotto for a series of timed shoot-outs in cars from the German DTM series.

The six superstars raced against the clock around the Norisring street circuit in Nuremberg, Germany.  Prost emerged victorious when the times were added together.  The 4-time F1 champion beat 1992 F1 champion Mansell by 2.4s.  The event raised over $600K for various charities.

AGR takes all-time lead in IRL  In just a few seasons Andretti Green Racing has pushed ahead of Panther Racing with 16 race wins, tops in the IRL.
Patrick happy in IRL  Danica Patrick is enjoying life very well right now. And no, she isn't thinking about leaving the Indy Racing League for some other series like say, NASCAR's Nextel Cup. "I saw (reigning cup champion) Kurt Busch at the ESPYs. I said, `I don't know how you do it? How do you do that many races?' He said, `It's hard. You don't have a life," Patrick said Friday after earning the outside spot on the front row when rain washed out qualifying for Saturday night's Firestone Indy 200. Patrick said she enjoys the 17-race schedule for the IRL's IndyCar Series as opposed to the 36-race schedule for Nextel Cup. That leaves her time for the other part of her life. ESPN.com/AP
Davis wins round 1 vs. Dodge  A U.S. District Court judge granted summary judgment in favor of Bill Davis Racing after determining BDR did not violate terms of an agreement with Daimler-Chrysler by working with Toyota Racing Development USA in 2002 and early 2003. Daimler-Chrysler terminated its Dodge support of BDR in 2003 after learning of its involvement with TRD, which the court said was permitted under the contract. The case now goes to trial on Daimler-Chrysler's contention that BDR conveyed confidential tech information to TRD and BDR's suit for substantial damages because of wrongful termination. No trial date has been set. "We are confident the remaining issues in the case will ultimately be resolved favorably to the interests of BDR," owner Bill Davis said in a statement. Richmond Times Dispatch
Kosuke Matsuura hits safety truck  While the safety crew was cleaning up the Alex Barron and Vitor Meira wreck, Japanese driver Kosuke Matsuura creamed the safety truck under caution and was eliminated. As a portion of the field began entering pit lane to avoid debris, Matsuura followed suit. Unexpectedly, an official vehicle pulled out into his path leaving Matsuura nowhere to go. The resulting damage ended his day.

The TV broadcast crew showed his car on the hook after a commercial but conveniently never let the audience know about the embarrassing moment. In the truck were Dr. Henry Bock, and Dr. Terry Trammell and one other doctor. No one was hurt.

Kosuke Matsuura described it this way - “I am really disappointed. I can’t believe our day ended this way. Two cars had crashed in the middle of Turn Four. I was behind Sam Hornish Jr. when he went into pit lane to avoid the debris. I started to follow Hornish into the pit lane, and a rescue vehicle pulled out right in front of me. There wasn’t anything I could do. I think we were looking at a top-six finish tonight.”

Pickett wins exciting race in Edmonton  Greg Pickett continued his long legacy of Trans-Am excellence Saturday in front of 66,250 fans, by winning the Festival City 100 at the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton. With the victory Pickett, driver of the No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR, became the first driver in history to win a race in each of four decades of Trans-Am competition.

Tomy Drissi (No. 5 Supercross - the Movie Jaguar XKR) was second, his best finish this season, while Klaus Graf overcame mechanical problems earlier in the weekend, driving from last to finish third in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR. Points leader Randy Ruhlman kept his hold on the title chase with a fourth-place finish in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Canada Chevrolet Corvette. Joey Scarallo (No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette) led 12 laps in the event before finishing fifth. Tim Barber earned his first GTA Class trophy in the No. 96 Riverside Motorsports Park Pontiac Grand Prix and retains the GTA points lead.

“This is very special moment for me,” said Pickett, who won the 1978 Trans-Am championship and won his last Trans-Am race in 1992 at Mid-Ohio. “I have a lot of emotion right now. This sport has given me so much. I have enjoyed the camaraderie, the competition, and my family’s support over the years. There is so much going through my head right now. This is just a kick.

Pickett took the lead for good two laps from the finish after the top four competitors, including then leader Drissi, spun in debris thrown on the apex of turn six by another competitor’s car. Pickett, Drissi, Ruhlman and Graf were all caught up in the incident, but Pickett held on for the victory.

“I slipped and I thought: ‘Man, Randy is going to win this again,’” said Pickett, who made his first Trans-Am start in 1975 at Road America. “Then he went off. As soon as I went off, I clutched it and put it in first gear. I let the clutch out and I just kept it running. I didn’t want the back tires to get bogged down. I looped around and I came out on the race track. Then, two turns later, I slapped the fence. So, everybody had trouble. It was a tough break for Tomy today.”

Pickett was quick to point out the success of the event and the enthusiasm of the Edmonton fans in attendance.

“Let me a pay a big compliment to the people of Edmonton and the promoter of this race,” said Pickett. “The event they put together here was just fabulous. To race in front of a full audience is just so much fun. I did a few brodies (donuts) at the end and the crowd just went wild. The Edmonton fans are great and it was just enjoyable to be here.”

Drissi was happy to hold on to second. Drissi had the event covered after taking the lead on lap 18, but the late incident dropped him to second for the final two laps. Drissi led the most laps (32) and also set a record fastest race lap: 1:17.361.

“I’m happy with second,” said Drissi. “This track is so fast and the combination of three or four corners in a row is so important. If you get caught up in one place or make a little mistake, you lose a lot of track position. You have to be perfect here. Pickett was quicker in some areas and I was quicker in others. This Championship is going to come down to the last race, so this finish is very important. It’s a long shot, but I’m starting to feel better about it.”

Graf said contact with Scarallo early in the event made his car virtually undriveable. The German rookie was therefore pleased with his podium. Graf started 14th on the grid and won the VP Fuels Hard Charger Award for making up the most positions in the race.

“This was a tough race,” said Graf, who sits second in points, just 16 markers behind Ruhlman. “I had a little contact with Joey (Scarallo). After that, my car was really hard to drive. It was oversteering like crazy in right-hand turns and understeering badly in left-hand turns. I was lucky that I finished the race.”

The caution-free race ran in a record one hour, seven minutes and 39.048 seconds at an average speed of 89.243 miles per hour. The race will air on SPEED Channel on Sunday, July 24 at 1 p.m.  The next race for the Trans-Am Series, The Cytomax Sport Drink 100, is scheduled for July 30, and is part of the Taylor Woodrow San Jose Grand Prix.

Zwolsman pulls off sensational lap to win pole  As if overcoming mechanical problems wasn’t enough, rookie Charles Zwolsman (#11 Landtran Systems/Boychuk Transport) also conquered a wet track Saturday in Edmonton to earn his fourth career pole position in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama.

The Dutch driving sensation recovered from a damaged suspension on his car suffered in Friday’s opening round of qualifying at the 1.973-mile Finning International Speedway airport road course and rallied for a blistering lap of 1:07.628 (105.028 mph). The impressive time, posted by Zwolsman with just one minute left in today’s final round of qualifying, established a new Atlantic course record on the track in Edmonton that is new to the series schedule this season.

Even more impressive than the dramatic timing of Zwolsman’s pole winning performance was the fact that it came on a green race track that was still drying from a torrential downpour this morning that left standing water on the 14-turn race circuit. Track conditions continued to improve throughout the qualifying session as the skies began to clear, but lap times for nearly all competitors were significantly slower than Friday’s qualifying marks in Edmonton. Only five drivers improved their times from Friday in the changing track conditions and Zwolsman was the only driver among the top eight qualifiers to better their effort from yesterday.

After pacing Friday’s session with a fast lap of 1:07.678 (104.950 mph), Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil) wound up fifth in today’s session. But the Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis driver will start second in Sunday’s Napa Auto Parts Presents the Toyota Atlantic Challenge of Edmonton (tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel - Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. ET) based on his provisional pole winning time from yesterday.

Kasemets has now qualified among the top five in seven consecutive events this season, but he continues to chase Zwolsman in the series championship standings. With the point earned for winning the pole today, Zwolsman now leads Kasemets 187-180 in the battle for the 2005 Atlantic title.

Polestar Racing Group driver Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing) completed her top qualifying effort of her rookie season by carding a fast lap of 1:07.826 (104.721 mph). That time was established in Friday’s opening round of qualifying, but the speedy Brit backed it up today with the second-fastest lap behind Zwolsman. The winner of the season-opening race in Long Beach, Legge will start third on Sunday.

Final Edmonton qualifying results with car number in parentheses, driver, type of car, top time and speed:
1. (11) Charles Zwolsman, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, *1:07.628, 105.028 mph*.
2. (6) Tonis Kasemets, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:07.678 104.950 mph.
3. (12) Katherine Legge, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:07.826, 104.721 mph.
4. (3) Antoine Bessette, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:07.846, 104.690 mph.
5. (8) Andreas Wirth, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:07.978, 104.487 mph.
6. (10) Al Unser III, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:09.026, 102.900 mph.
7. (7) David Martinez, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:09.794, 101.768 mph.
8. (2) Eric Jensen, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:11.229, 99.718 mph.
9. (63) Daryl Leiski, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:12.724, 97.668 mph.
10. (15) Justin Sofio, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:13.290, 96.914 mph.
11. (9) Dan Cobb, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:14.097, 95.858 mph.
12. (18) Bob Siska, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:15.002, 94.701 mph.
13. (56) Chris Souliotis, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:15.863, 93.627 mph.
14. (21) Roger Glover, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:16.836, 92.441 mph.
* Represents new Atlantic course record

Kanaan and Manning crash out  Leader Tony Kanaan has crashed hard into the outside wall at Nashville and collected Darren Manning when his right front suspension collapsed. Both drivers are OK, but their cars are destroyed. Two other Andretti Green cars have lost wheel bearings and Dario Franchitti now has a flat tire. Disaster for the team after AGR was running 1-2 and 4.
Huge crowd for Trans-Am race  In what could be the biggest crowd to ever watch a Trans-Am race, just about all 66,250 in attendance for Champ Car qualifying today in Edmonton stayed to watch the Trans-Am race this afternoon, which is very unlike most venues where we see the grandstand sparsely attended.
Donoso beats Andretti in Star Mazda  Pablo Donoso, of Santiago, Chile, went wire-to-wire in his Cristal Beer/Andersen Walko Racing Mazda to record his first series victory in Round Six of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear today at Infineon Raceway. Donoso, under fire from series points leader Rapahel Matos in the closing laps would pull away to a 2.055 second victory over fellow series rookies Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe, when Matos suffered a mechanical problem on the final lap.

Donoso, a protégé of former Formula One and IndyCar Driver Eliseo Salazar, credits a computer game with helping him on his first visit to the circuit. "This year is my first season racing in the United States and I have been learning the circuit from a NASCAR game on my computer," Donoso explained. "I would spend several hours a day driving the track so when I got here it was like I already had hundreds of laps on the track." The experience paid off as Donoso was able to hold off the hard-charging Andretti in the early laps and series points leader Matos in the closing laps to capture his first victory in the United States.

The race for the podium became a two lap shootout when the full-course caution flag flew on lap 20 as both Graham Rahal and Phil Saville suffered spins in different locations on the 2.53-mile circuit. The green flag came out once again on lap 23 with Donoso leading Matos by two-tenths of a second with Andretti and Hinchcliffe poised to strike if the opportunity arose. Halfway through the final lap they would get their chance as Matos' Ocean Tomo Racing Mazda suffered a hesitation in turn seven allowing both drivers to slide past before Matos could recover.

Andretti, from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, driving the Vonage/Best Buy/Hersheys MJ Motorsports Mazda, had an inspired drive in the first of two races at Infineon Raceway this weekend, jumping from fifth on the grid to the second position on the opening lap and leading the charge to catch Donoso for much of the event. "We had to make a guess on the setup for the race as we had missed the final practice session yesterday so to finish up here on the podium feels pretty good," Andretti explained. "I could tell something was wrong with Rapahel's car as we came into turn seven on the last lap and we almost hit, but I was able to avoid him and move back into second."

James Hinchcliffe, of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, would finish also work his way past Matos on the final lap to make his first appearance on the podium. "Everybody at AIM Autosport has worked really hard all season to get us onto the podium and after qualifying on pole at Pikes Peak and leading the first sixty laps of that race only to come up short in the final fifteen, it is nice to come back with a podium," Hinchcliffe said. "The Emexis Racing Mazda was working great today and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."

Despite his brief mechanical bobble, Matos, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, was able to recover and bring his car home in fourth place, one position ahead of his closest championship competitor Robbie Pecorari. "We still aren't sure what happened out there," Matos said afterwards. "We had a similar problem in qualifying and the car the crew had given me a great car once again for the race. I was chasing down Pablo at the end when it cut out on me in turn seven and Marco and James got through, but once I completed the corner it came back to life. It's disappointing to give up a podium but we were still able to increase the championship lead."

Rounding out the top-five for the first race was Aston, Pennsylvania-based driver Robbie Pecorari in the SAI Hydraulics/ Andersen Walko Racing Mazda. Pecorari, the winner of the previous round at Pikes Peak International Raceway, was battling an oversteering car for much of the race. "My car was so loose it was like riding a bull," Pecorari said. "I think we just went too soft with the bar."

Seen in Edmonton - IV (Even bigger attendance)  The official announced attendance for Saturday in Edmonton was 66,250, despite the heavy all-morning rain and cool temperatures. This combined with Friday's attendance of 55,722 gives a today so far for the weekend of 121,972. This race is on target to become the biggest Canadian race in its first year. Mark C.
Bourdais frustrated  Champ Car point leader Sebastien Bourdais was frustrated, or livid depending on how you want to characterize it, after stepping out of the car today after final qualifying in Edmonton.  After being fastest in the first practice session Friday, Bourdais crashed in qualifying later that afternoon and ended up 10th on the provisional grid. Then today he never got enough laps in to improve his position.  Even though the track was slower today because of the conditions, the fastest driver on Saturday is guaranteed one of the front row spots.  "If we could have set the fastest time in today's session we could have moved up to second on the grid, but we were not able to give it much of a shot because of all the red flags.  Realistically it will be difficult to pass in the race," said a frustrated Bourdais as he grabbed his helmet and bolted over the wall to debrief co-team owner Paul Newman.
Audi fastest Saturday morning in Sonoma  For the second day in a row, the No. 2 Champion Racing Audi R8 of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro posted the fastest time in Saturday morning's practice session, a few hours before the afternoon qualifying for the Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery. The car posted a lap of 1:22.443 in the final five minutes of the one-hour session.

The No. 1 Champion Racing Audi R8 of Marco Werner and JJ Lehto was 0.27 seconds back, followed by the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola EX257 of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson at 1:22.720.

The biggest gain from Friday to Saturday among the class leaders was the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 of Clint Field and Liz Halliday. The car turned a fast lap of 1:25.694 on Saturday, more than two seconds quicker than its time Friday afternoon. Second in class was the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 of Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry at 1:26.401.

In GT1 Corvette Racing again set the pace, going 1-2 on the speed chart. For the second straight day, the No. 4 Corvette C6-R of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta set the pace with a pass of 1:29.052. About a half second back was the No. 3 sister car of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell. The No. 63 ACEMCO Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem was another second back.

Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas were fastest in GT2 at 1:34.580. Their No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche was a tick more than 0.2 seconds ahead of the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. Third was the No. 50 Panoz Motor Sports Esperante of Bill Auberlen and Robin Liddell at 1:36.086.

The rain has stopped in Edmonton  The rain has stopped and the Champ Cars are on track for a 30 min. practice in Edmonton, to be followed 10 min. later by final qualifying. The grandstands are packed more than Friday when 55,722 showed up.
Champ Car activities delayed  Rain and standing water have forced postponement of all Champ Car on-track activities in Edmonton until this afternoon.  The skies have brightened and the rain is less intense now.  The Trans-Am cars did practice but hydroplaned all around the track.

Tomy Drissi set the fastest time in Saturday’s Trans-Am morning warm-up for this afternoon’s Festival City 100 at Finning International Speedway. Drissi (No. 5 Supercross – The Movie Jaguar XKR) turned a 1:55.089-minute lap (61.716 miles per hour) as heavy rain flooded the 1.973-mile temporary airport circuit.

Patrick signs deal with Old World Industries  Revving up its marketing and promotional engines, Old World Industries of Northbrook, Illinois, has today announced a multi-year agreement with IndyCar Series sensation Danica Patrick.

Patrick, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and leading contender for the 2005 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Award, will become the official product ambassador for PEAK Antifreeze products and Mr. Clean Premium Windshield Wash &Wiper Blades. Patrick will also appear in PEAK and Mr. Clean advertising, promotions and within their retail partners' in-store merchandising programs throughout the United States.

"I am excited to represent PEAK Antifreeze and Mr. Clean Premium Windshield Wash &Wiper Blades, which are two extremely successful and established brands," said Patrick. “PEAK and Mr. Clean represent quality and high performance which means a lot to me,” added Patrick.

For PEAK and Mr. Clean, securing the services of one of the hottest personalities in all of sports is yet another step in bringing greater awareness of their products, as well as creating new and exciting promotional opportunities for their retail partners. "Like nearly everyone else around the world, we have watched Danica take on her competition with tremendous drive and spirit," stated Jeff Stauffer, Vice President of Marketing for Old-World Industries, which is the parent company of PEAK Antifreeze and Mr. Clean Premium Windshield Wash & Wiper Blades. "We feel that Danica's competitive personality and desire to win parallel our goals with our products, and we believe that she will represent PEAK and Mr. Clean with nothing less than a first class effort," added Stauffer.

PEAK Antifreeze has delivered maximum protection and performance for more than 55years. Always at the leading edge of coolant advances and patented new technologies, PEAK innovations have included the first pre-diluted "ready-to-use" antifreeze in PEAKReady Use®, the first universal "All Makes And Models" coolant in PEAK Global, and the category’s first-ever LifeTime™ Guarantee in its super-premium PEAK Global LifeTime.

As a name consumers have trusted for more than 40 years in and around their homes, Mr. Clean now offers premium quality and superior cleaning ability in windshield wash and wiper blade technology. Developed with Procter & Gamble* technology, the new Mr. Clean Windshield Wash was launched in the summer of 2005 and along with Mr. Clean Wiper Blades can now be found at a store near you.

Is 77 an omen?  Matt Lucas, No. 77 Penske-Jasper Racing's team engineer, and his wife Jessie welcomed their daughter to the family on Friday, July 15 at 8:52 P.M., EDT.   Piper Joy Lucas weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces; she is 19 ½ inches long.  The newest daddy on the No. 77 team said both of his girls are doing well. He also said, "It's a 77 thing. Maybe the 7 pounds 7 ounces is an omen."
Seen in Edmonton - IV  Mandy Fang and her friend, Vicky Gao, both 20 and both from Beijing, China are attending the Edmonton GP Champ Car race with friends from Calgary, Canada. It's their first car race, after having watched motorcycle races back in Beijing, China.......Kristen Fenlay of Calgary was named winner of the Miss Grand Prix of Edmonton competition held at the Shaw Conference Center on Friday night in Edmonton........Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are here. Pitt and his Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-star have dropped by to witness Edmonton's first GP.......The front page (as well as the sports front page) of every newspaper in town features a race story as the headline article. History shows that if the local newspaper, and newspapers in nearby towns, really get behind these downtown races, they succeed. The same can't be said for races like Milwaukee that are failing.......Ranger's crash on Friday was so hard it registered 60 Gs and broke something inside the fuel tank. The concrete wall moved 1 foot.
Industry News
USA TV reminders for Sunday  
NASCAR This Morning
    New Hampshire International Speedway
    11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
    'IndyCar Series: The Fast Life'
    Scott Sharp, Tony Kanaan, AJ Foyt IV
    12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
    Toronto (07/10/05)
    12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
    Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma
    1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET  SPEED - (07/16/05) GT
    6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET  SPEED - (SDD) Touring
    New England 300
    New Hampshire International Speedway
    1:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
    West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix
         of Edmonton (07/16/05)
    2:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
    West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton
    3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
    Infineon Technologies GP of Sonoma
    Infineon Raceway
    3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET (SDD) CBS
NASCAR Victory Lane
    New Hampshire International Speedway
    8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
    Co-host: Tony Kanaan
    Featured Interview: Robert Clarke
    9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
    Kodak Theater, Los Angeles (07/13/05)
    Nominees: Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick
    8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET, Red Carpet Special, ESPN2
    9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET, Awards, ESPN
FIA WORLD RALLY - Highlights
    Argentina (07/15/05 - 07/17/05)
    11:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
For a complete listing of Sunday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.
Tornado hits Atlanta Motor Speedway  UPDATE #2 Nearly one week after receiving a direct hit from an F2 tornado, Atlanta Motor Speedway president and general manager Ed Clark offered his assurance that this fall's NASCAR Nextel Cup event will proceed as planned. 

"I'm here to tell you we're going to run that race weekend without a hitch," Clark said. "I talked to NASCAR president Mike Helton (Wednesday), and we will go forth."

As a BMW turned laps around the track, Clark reported that the condominiums and administrative offices that overlook Turn 4 have been deemed structurally sound by engineers. But the suites and some grandstand seats were not so fortunate.  "The entire Champions and Earnhardt suite level (on the frontstretch) is pretty much going to have to be demolished and rebuilt," Clark said. "That's one of our biggest challenges."  More at The Times Leader

07/07/05 Here are photos from the tornado destruction at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  It was more extensive than first thought. 07/07/05 At least one tornado spun off from the remnants of tropical storm Cindy and hit Atlanta Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, causing damage estimated in the $25 to $40 million range.

According to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, two of the track’s scoring pylons were toppled, the Weaver grandstand was torn in pieces and the building at start/finish line — housing several condominiums and the speedway’s administrative offices — suffered severe damage.

“We’ll pull together and make it happen,” speedway president Ed Clark told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, with the track expected to be ready for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 on October 30.

According to other reports, the speedway’s fifth floor offices have been destroyed and the elevator banks are 80 percent destroyed. In addition, the front straight suites were destroyed the back straight suites badly damaged and the property was heavily littered with debris. RacingOne

Kansas says IRL finish was staged  UPDATE More talk about the staged finish at the Kansas IRL race two weeks ago in today's Indy Star newspaper.  How Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon drove in the closing laps of the most recent Indy-car race was not illegal because the Indy Racing League's top official said it wasn't reports the Star. But others didn't like that the Andretti Green Racing teammates made a pre-race deal at Kansas Speedway to run side by side at the front to protect their positions and ensure a 1-2 finish for the Indianapolis-based team.  Kanaan won by 0.0120 seconds.

The only passing option a charging Vitor Meira had was driving below the white line off the final corner, a move that would have been disallowed if he had pulled it off.

Rick Mears, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, said Friday drivers shouldn't be allowed to make pacts like that, particularly when there's so many tracks where that's possible, including the one that hosts tonight's race, Nashville Superspeedway. "As far as I'm concerned, that's blocking," Mears said.

IRL president Brian Barnhart, who is the league's chief official at races, said blocking, which is not allowed in the league, officially occurs only when a driver changes lanes to protect his position. What Kanaan and Wheldon did was part of the strategy of racing, he said.

"The biggest difference is in the fact that blocking constitutes a safety hazard," Barnhart said. "Two-wide in front of the pack that limits options for cars behind is more of a sporting code issue."  Mears wants to see the trailing drivers in such instances have a chance to win, provided they do so in a safe manner. One way would be to eliminate the white-line boundary.

"The last corner of the race should be fair game," Mears said. "Anywhere from pit road to the grandstand should be (inbounds)."  [Editor's Note:  The groove at Nashville tonight will be too narrow to allow the drivers to run side-by-side and block like they did in Kansas. If they try it for too long they will crash, opening the door for the third place driver to win.]

07/04/05 “It wasn‘t like we just came up with that side-by-side finish,” Kanaan said on SPEED Channel. “I talked about it with Dan before the race.  It was planned, if that would happen, what we were going to do,” i.e. run side-by-side on purpose presumably to block any other driver from making a pass for the win and to put on a staged show for the fans.  "We talked about doing it with 10 laps to go but I didn't make it alongside him until about 5 laps to go."
Toyota V8 won’t be much slower  Olivier Panis gave the Toyota V8 its first shakedown runs at Jerez this week and got to within 3 seconds of the current V10 engine. With further development it will be even closer than that. So what has F1 accomplished with the V8, perhaps a 2 second per lap slower car? How utterly ridiculous to spend all that money to develop all those new V8's only to gain a 2 second per lap reduction in speed when it is all said in done. What they did accomplish was to create engines that now turn 21,000 RPM instead of 19,000, making the engine shriek even higher and sending ear-drum damaged race fans to the doctor for a hearing aid the rest of their life.

"My first impression, not surprisingly, was that it was quite a bit slower than the V10," said Panis. "You notice that the acceleration is not as strong and that the G-forces in the corners are less. But when you consider that the engine has around 200bhp less than a V10, that is to be expected and will be the same for everyone. It even makes old men like me think about re-launching an F1 racing career! With a V8 there is more vibration, so you have to assess all the ancillary components as well. The first day, for example, went very well and we had no problems. By the third day the drivability was actually very good and I did 35 laps in the morning as part of longer runs that we had scheduled. I have to say, I am very impressed with the engine guys at Toyota.

"On the final day I did a 1m21.3s lap, which compared to typical laps of around 1m18s for the V10s. That's very good for the engine's first run because we weren't operating it near its maximum potential. Also, you have to take into account that the engine is being run in an adapted TF105 and not a bespoke chassis. I would say that a time in the 1m20s region will be possible."

Patrick shrugs off critics  "I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion," Danica Patrick said this week during this week's IRL media teleconference. "By all means, there's nothing that I want to do any more than win -- I promise you that. But I think for people to draw such conclusions that I have to win to make, I don't know, to do anything in particular ... it's like, hey, it's my first year; I'm learning a lot.

"I don't feel any more responsibility or any more obligation to do better because of it. My desire to be successful and to win has been the same forever. Just because there's more things written, I don't feel like it's justified in having to do better. I think every athlete at the top level tries as hard as they can all the time.

"I mean, I can understand how this sort of thing happens," Patrick said of the expectations other have for her. "When you get so much attention and everything, people seem to think this is what you have to do -- you have to win.

"I don't go out there and say, 'put me in as many newspapers and magazines as you can;' it's just what happened. It's just what people wanted to write."

Team co-owner Bobby Rahal said he has been pleased with the progress Patrick has made -- and the fact that she has been running at the end of all but one race this season.

"At the start of the season I told Danica I didn't care where she finished as long as she finished races this season," Rahal said. "On-track success has certainly come quicker than I thought it would and she has done a magnificent job balancing the demands in the race car and the demands on her outside of the car.

"It has been a long journey for her to get to this point but, in many ways, the journey is just beginning. I am very proud of what she has accomplished but I know the best is still yet to come."

Edmonton race could be wet  UPDATE It's Saturday morning in Edmonton and there is a steady rain falling.  The race track is completely wet, and will probably remain so throughout the day if the weather forecast holds true.  The forecast is for a 70% to 80% chance of rain all day with a high temperature of around 57 degrees F.  The percent chance of rain for Sunday at race time is 30%. 07/15/05 The Champ Car points leader is preparing for slick racing conditions for this weekend's Grand Prix of Edmonton.  Environment Canada's five-day forecast for the city says there is a 40% chance of rain for Friday practice and showers for Saturday's qualifying laps. But the forecast is calling for sun and 24 C for race day on Sunday.

A wet track will cause problems, admitted French driver Sebastien Bourdais, who leads the series standings.  "Rain is what I have heard, too," said Bourdais. "It could change teams' strategies quite significantly."

Bourdais said teams were scheming to run on new, faster tires, but those plans may change if they are forced to deal with a wet track.  What Bourdais fears most is weather changes through the weekend.  "Inconsistent weather causes problems," said Bourdais.

"Then it becomes confusing how you want to set up the car for the race."

Bourdais was in attendance during yesterday's opening of the Miss Grand Prix Edmonton competition at Sutton Place Hotel. The competition continues today at 6 p.m. at the hotel.  Meanwhile, race spokesman Sid Priddle said he is not going to worry about Environment Canada's forecast.  "If I worried about the weather, I would be older than I already am," said Priddle. Edmonton Sun

Gentilozzi wins 29th Trans-Am pole  Paul Gentilozzi further cemented his legendary Trans-Am status Friday, winning his 29th career Trans-Am pole Friday for Saturday’s Festival City 100 at the Grand Prix of Edmonton. In front of 55,722 fans, Gentilozzi (No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR) turned in a record 1:17.144-minute lap at 92.072 miles per hour around the 1.973-mile temporary street course. It was his first pole this season.

Tomy Drissi qualified second in the No. 5 Supercross – The Movie Jaguar XKR, ahead of points leader Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Canada Chevrolet Corvette). Greg Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR) and Joey Scarallo (No. 06 Group A Wheels/AutoTrend/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top five. Scarallo will start first and Pickett will roll off second tomorrow due to Trans-Am’s Fast Five® Qualifying format, which inverts the top five in qualifying.

Gentilozzi earned three bonus championship points for the pole and also wins the Jaguar Pole Award, which goes to any pole-winning Jaguar this season. Gentilozzi will start fifth tomorrow.

“We really weren’t trying for the pole,” said the four-time Trans-Am champion. “We were looking for fifth. First of all, the engine in my car hadn’t even been started before qualifying. I needed to go out, put some easy laps on it and get it up to temperature. Then I had a really good lap going, and I came up on a slower car. Then I had another good lap, and they said I was sixth. Pickett and I then had a battle going for fifth. Then, I just had to go. So I went, and as I went around the final turn, the car just quit for a second. Then it straightened out and it got going again. I ran out of gas on my fast lap.

“It was just a comedy,” added Gentilozzi. “We’re not bragging about it but we’re happy to win the pole on an empty tank.”

Drissi earned on bonus point for the outside pole, and will start fourth tomorrow.

“The track is fast,” said Drissi. “In fact, I think it’s a lot faster than we’re willing to go right now. The car is good. I went out and I had an oil pressure problem, so I came in and they fixed that. I only really got five good laps in. I thought I had the pole at the end, so I came in and then the boss took two points from me.”

Pirro and Biela top practice at Infineon  The No. 2 Champion Racing Audi R8 of Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela posted the fastest time Friday during a sanctioned test day for the American Le Mans Series in preparation for the Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery at Infineon Raceway.

At 1:22.635, Pirro and Biela were less than a half second away from the qualifying record set by Champion Racing teammate Marco Werner last year. The No. 2 Audi was 0.3 seconds faster than the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola EX257 of Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace, which finished second last year at Infineon. Defending race and series champions JJ Lehto and Werner, in their No. 1 Champion Racing Audi R8, were just 0.05 seconds behind Wallace and Dyson. Lehto and Werner are on a two-race winning streak in the Audi, having won at Le Mans and the New England Grand Prix two weeks ago at Lime Rock Park.

In LMP2, the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 of Clint Field and Liz Halliday were quickest at 1:27.757. The car, which won in class at Road Atlanta, was 0.04 seconds ahead of the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 of Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry. The duo have won twice this year, including the New England Grand Prix. The Corvette Racing parade continued in GT1, with the No. 4 Corvette C6-R of Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin, winners at Lime Rock, setting a fast lap of 1:29.852. About a second behind was the No. 3 sister Corvette C6-R of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell. The pair, each with a ALMS record 23 career victories (along with Lehto), are going for their fifth straight class victory at Infineon.

Third was the No. 5 Pacific Coast Motorsports Corvette C5-R, the same chassis Fellows and O'Connell drove last year. In 2005, Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge are sharing driving duties.

In GT2, the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas was quickest in class with a 1:34.376. Bernhard and Dumas have class victories in the last two ALMS rounds (Mid-Ohio and Lime Rock), and Bernhard won at Infineon last year in the No. 23 entry along with Jorg Bergmeister. This year, Bergmeister is driving with Patrick Long in the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche. They were second in class Friday, just barely 0.1 seconds behind Bernhard and Dumas. Third was the No. 24 Alex Job Racing Porsche of Randy Pobst and Ian Baas at 1:35.882.

The Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery, is set for 11 a.m. PDT Sunday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. CBS Sports will have television coverage from 3 to 5 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring can be found at www.americanlemans.com. Testing is scheduled from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. PDT on Friday, with practice sessions from 10 to 11 a.m. and 2:05 to 3:05 p.m. Saturday. Qualifying is scheduled from 3:15 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Polesitter Scheckter does not like Nashville  "To be honest, I didn't like this track too much, until a couple of minutes ago when they said I was on pole. It's a funny sort of track, and it gives you a funny feeling. It's great having Buddy here. It's a lot of good, quality information and it helps us set up the car so much better. You can just feel by the engineering meetings that really having him here has jumped the team to another level. That's what we need to compete with the Andrettis and the Rahals. Hopefully, we can continue this success with all three teammates for the rest of the season.

Is it satisfying to win the pole like this? "It's very satisfying. I was extremely happy about this pole. It's a tough track to get a pole. We were the quickest in the first session, and we were pretty quick in the second session, as well. We felt we had a pretty good chance if we qualified. For some reason, knowing how difficult it is, it's good to walk away with the pole." (About starting next to Danica Patrick): "At least I know the photographers will be in my area. She's very sensible. I think she's proved in the last three races what a good race driver she is. A lot of people in her situation would be bold and overdrive the car, and she hasn't. She has a lot of experience and for a really tough track, she's done a good job with the second-quickest time."

Gordon says Crew Chief is not changing  WHAT IS YOUR SITUATION WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF, ROBBIE LOOMIS? "As long as Robbie wants to be the crew chief, he's going to be the crew chief. He's a great guy. He works so well with this race team. We brought him here for a reason. And at no time have I doubted Robbie. There have been times when I've doubted myself. But I know we've got the right people in place and the right team and the resources we need. It really is disappointing to me that so much pressure is put on the crew chief because they usually are the first to go (laughs). And they usually are the first to blame. But, not within our team. That's not the case. It's usually the media and the fans that focus on that. Trust me, that's not the problem. The problem is not any one person. There won't be any changes there." GM Racing PR
Toyota Atlantic officials clarify blocking rule  After last weekend's black flag on Katherine Legge for blocking to defend her position in the Toronto race, Toyota Atlantic officials laid down the law to the drivers this weekend in Edmonton.  As with Champ Car, no blocking will be allowed, not even one move, to defend your position.  A driver must maintain his/her line.

Legge, who qualified 2nd today commented, "It's good because it brings us in line with Champ Car, but it's different than what I am used to in Europe where blocking is common."  The other two top three qualifiers on Friday, Tonis Kasemets (1st) and Legge's Polestar teammate Antoine Bessette (3rd) both spoke strongly against blocking and were happy with the ruling.

Kasemets nips Legge for provisional Atlantic pole  It wasn’t a lot of ground to make up, but every single point counts in a tight title race and Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK ind./TMI/Redline Oil) was happy to earn the championship point for leading the first round of qualifying Friday for the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama race in Edmonton.

Kasemets (pictured right), the second-year native Estonian racer, found his speed at just the right time in the 30-minute qualifying run for Sunday’s Round 8 of the Atlantic championship – the Napa Auto Parts Presents the Toyota Atlantic Challenge (tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel - Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. ET). After finishing fourth in the opening practice session of the weekend Friday and sitting middle of the pack for much of qualifying, Kasemets ripped off a lap of 1:07.678 (104.950 mph) on the challenging and fast 1.973-mile Finning International Speedway airport circuit with just two minutes left in the session. The lap represents a new track record at the course, that’s new to the Atlantic schedule this season.

Perhaps most importantly, Kasemets also earned a point for leading today’s session and he now trails series leader Charles Zwolsman (#11 Landtran Systems, Inc.) 186-180 in the tight point standings. Zwolsman owned the fastest time for a good portion of qualifying but suffered suspension damage to his car with about 10 minutes remaining in qualifying and was forced to pull into pit lane while his team made repairs. With rain in the forecast for the final round of qualifying on Saturday, Kasemets also helped his cause by locking up a front-row starting spot for his efforts on Friday.

A capacity crowd of 55,722 Canadian race fans turned out on Friday, welcoming not only Atlantics, but also the cars of the Champ Car World Series and the Trans-Am Series Road Racing Series to Edmonton.

The enthusiastic faithful witnessed Kasemets’ clutch qualifying performance, as well as solid efforts from two more of open-wheel racing’s top up-and-coming stars. British driver Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing) had an impressive day for Polestar Racing Group. The 24-year-old racer that made history when she became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America, capturing the checkered flag at Long Beach in April, turned in her best qualifying result of the season on Friday. After carding the second-fastest time in practice this morning, Legge backed it up in qualifying as she earned a top time of 1:07.826 (104.721 mph) on her second-to-last lap of the session. The time left her trailing only Kasemets in the qualifying rundown.

Legge’s Polestar teammate, Canadian Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design), completed the top three from first-round qualifying. Fresh off his first series win last weekend at Toronto, Bessette showed his speed and confidence early, leading the first practice session of the weekend. He also paced qualifying for a time before settling for the third-fastest lap of 1:07.846 (104.690 mph).
Pos Driver Car# Lap Time Mph
1 Tonis Kasemets 6 1:07.678 104.950
2 Katherine Legge 12 1:07.826 104.721
3 Antoine Bessette 3 1:07.846 104.690
4 Andreas Wirth  8 1:07.978 104.487
5 Charles Zwolsman 11 1:08.508 103.678
6 Al Unser 10 1:09.026 102.900
7 David Martinez 7 1:09.794 101.768
8 Eric Jensen 2 1:11.229 99.718
9 Daryl Leiski 63 1:13.808 96.233
10 Dan Cobb 9 1:14.811 94.943
11 Justin Sofio 15 1:14.942 94.777
12 Bob Siska 18 1:15.611 93.939
13 Chris Souliotis 56 1:15.863 93.627
14 Roger Glover 21 1:16.836 92.441

BoSPOKER sponsors No. 37 car  R&J Racing, which has made 12 of 18 races this season with driver Kevin Lepage despite being funded at a much lower level than much of its competition, got good news prior to coming to New Hampshire when it secured a primary backer for 15 of the final 18 races this season.
The team also announced it had hired veteran Mark Tutor as its crew chief, replacing interim chief Glenn Darrow, who moves to R&J's shop foreman.

"This is very exciting for our racing team", Lepage said of the No. 37 Dodges. "John (Carter) and Roger (Craven, team owners) told us right before we left for New Hampshire that the deal was done (and) the team and I were thrilled when they told us that BoSPOKER.net had signed on as our primary sponsor for the remainder of the year."  NASCAR.com  The site is an online poker forum and the same sponsor of Al Unser III in the Toyota Atlantic Series (pictured right).

Seen in Edmonton - III (Big Attendance)  UPDATE The track has announced that Friday's attendance in Edmonton was 55,722. 07/15/05 A large crowd turned out Friday in Edmonton to watch Champ Car practice and qualifying in overcast and slightly damp weather.  As can be seen from the photo at the right, considering it was a work day the grandstands were nearly full.  Ditto for the suites.  Paul Tracy commented - "The race promoter here in Edmonton really hit a home run.  It feels good to see all the enthusiastic fans and the grandstands and suites nearly full on a Friday."

Nelson Philippe added, "I like the track very much, I’m really amazed by the fans, the crowd here is a big boost for the drivers, it’s only Friday and it looks like Sunday – it’s people everywhere."  In the photo to left fans cram outside the pit entrance to get a glimpse of the drivers.

The crowd in the paddock was huge

DEI and Waltrip part ways  UPDATE NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Michael Waltrip will discuss today's announcement that he will not be returning to DEI for the 2006 season tonight on SPEED Channel's Trackside (7 p.m. ET, LIVE) hosted by Steve Byrnes, with panelists Rusty Wallace, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond. 07/15/05 Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI) and Michael Waltrip announced today they will no longer be together beginning in 2006. The DEI #15 NAPA Chevrolet has been driven by Michael Waltrip, a fan-favorite, in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for the past five seasons where he earned four victories, including two Daytona 500 wins in 2001 and 2003. "All of us at DEI want to thank Michael for all his contributions to our organization and wish him well as he moves on in his career," said Richie Gilmore, DEI's Vice President of Motorsports. "Dale and Teresa gave me an opportunity with a winning organization that I have been proud to be an integral part of for the last five years," Waltrip said. "My professional relationship with DEI is ending, but my personal relationships have ties that are deep-rooted. Therefore, my decision to leave DEI is a difficult one. Our individual visions for the future are taking different courses, but our goals are the same- to be successful in the premier division of NASCAR."  "DEI's NASCAR Nextel Cup focus for 2006," continued Gilmore, "will be to sharpen every entity of our race teams by preparing the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, driven by Martin Truex Jr., and the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., for the championship. Additionally, we are working diligently with our current partner, NAPA, on returning to the #15 car." DEI PR
Rain washes out IRL qualifying  Rain showers and the forecast of thunderstorms conspired to wash out Marlboro Pole Qualifying for the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.

The starting grid was based on combined practice sessions results from the morning and afternoon. Tomas Scheckter, driving the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, had the fastest lap (203.117 mph; 23.0409 seconds) and will start from the pole. IndyCar Series rookie Danica Patrick will join him on the front row on the basis of a quick lap of 203.088 mph.

Scheckter had the top time in the first session, while Patrick posted the top speed (203.088 mph) in the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone in the second. Scheckter will start from the pole for the third time this season.

"To be honest, I didn't like this track too much, until a couple of minutes ago when they said I was on pole," Scheckter said. "It's very satisfying. I was extremely happy about this pole. It's a tough track to get a pole. We were the quickest in the first session, and we were pretty quick in the second session, as well. We felt we had a pretty good chance if we qualified. For some reason, knowing how difficult it is, it's good to walk away with the pole."

Buddy Lazier (202.927) and Dario Franchitti (202.892) will occupy Row 2.

Also on July 15, Panther Racing announced that it will field a third entry for Lazier in two additional races this season. Lazier will drive the No. 95 Pennzoil/Byrd's/American Sentry Guard Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 14 and Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 11. Lazier is already scheduled to compete at Michigan International Speedway on July 31.

Qualifying Friday (based on practice speeds) for the Firestone Indy 200 IRL IndyCar Series event on the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:

1. (4) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 203.117 *
2. (16) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 203.088
3. (95) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet, 202.927
4. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 202.892
5. (26) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 202.602
6. (17) Vitor Meira, Panoz-Honda, 202.561
7. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 202.515
8. (8) Scott Sharp, Panoz-Honda, 202.511
9. (10) Darren Manning, Panoz-Toyota, 202.491
10. (33) Ryan Briscoe, Panoz-Toyota, 202.489
11. (2) Tomas Enge, Dallara-Chevrolet, 202.345
12. (9) Scott Dixon, Panoz-Toyota, 202.196
13. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 202.175
14. (15) Buddy Rice, Panoz-Honda, 201.937
15. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 201.493
16. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 201.140
17. (83) Patrick Carpentier, Dallara-Toyota, 201.035
18. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Panoz-Honda, 200.119
19. (51) Alex Barron, Dallara-Toyota, 199.546
20. (14) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Toyota, 199.200
21. (24) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda, 198.847
22. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Toyota, 198.141
23. (91) Jimmy Kite, Dallara-Toyota, 197.593

*Starting lineup determined by the practice speeds from the combined practices after qualifying was cancelled due to rain.

Industry News
Longtime IMS employee dies  Roger Deppe, who Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and COO Joie Chitwood described as a "true part of what the Speedway is all about," died July 14 while driving to his vacation home in Minnesota.

Deppe worked over a half-century at the Speedway handling credentials and later other assignments and was one of the last employees dating back to the 1950s. His final race was the United States Grand Prix on June 19. Deppe was 83.

"I've known him since 1996 when I came up here," Chitwood said. "I would go to lunch with he and Robert McInteer (then Speedway safety director). At the lunches, he and McInteer would just go at each other, and I would just laugh.  "I think about the people who have been around the Speedway forever. Roger fit into that mode. He would be here whether he needed to be or not. That's how much he loved the Speedway."

Deppe and his wife, Bea, were making their annual summer trek back to his native Minnesota when he suffered an apparent heart attack on the highway in Wisconsin. His wife was not injured.

Deppe came to Indianapolis in 1952 as an engineer with Eli Lilly & Co. He worked with Lilly until his retirement in 1985. His involvement included construction of buildings in Greenfield, Ind., when the pharmaceutical firm expanded its facilities.

He joined the Speedway in the mid-1950s as a part-time assistant to public relations director Al Bloemker handling media credential requests. "Roger was very meticulous, very thorough," said Bill York, IMS Media Center manager who worked with Deppe in the Media Center since 1964. "He had an engineering mentality."

Deppe still was doing media credentials when Gloria Novotney took over credential distribution in 1988. In later years, Deppe was in charge of the pit timing crew for races at IMS.

"He got to know most of the regular media people and knew their needs," said Ron McQueeney, longtime IMS director of photography. "He loved the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was a very dedicated employee up to the end, working with the media staff during events at IMS and worked in the museum office daily. While he was 83 years old, he was very active and did not look more than his mid-60s.  "Roger's dedication and knowledge of the history will be missed at Indy."

Deppe maintained a desk in the Hall of Fame Museum following his retirement from Lilly and was a familiar figure to most of the Speedway employees and veteran media representatives. At the United States Grand Prix, Deppe helped feed information to foreign radio broadcasters.  "Roger was sure a character," said Speedway Archivist Bob Clidinst, whose tenure at IMS goes back to the mid-1940s when his father was a race mechanic.

Clidinst and Deppe often shared duties during races in recent years. Bill Donaldson worked at the Speedway for 19 years, rising to the position of vice president. Deppe worked for him for much of that time.  "He was an awfully nice guy," Donaldson said. "Roger was always easygoing, friendly and never seemed to cause any problems. He enjoyed people and enjoyed working for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We used to kid and encourage him to spend more time at his cabin. We'd say, 'What are you doing here?'"

Hailing from Minnesota, Deppe held a deep passion for hockey and developed one for auto racing.

When the Indianapolis Ice were formed to play in the Central Hockey League, York was called in to set up a statistical department. He called on Deppe.  "He was the only one that knew anything about hockey," York said. "He handled all the stats."

Deppe could be found many late winter nights at the old Fairgrounds Coliseum running the stats sheets through a copying machine.  The Indianapolis Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984. York was called upon again to assemble a press crew. Deppe was handed the credentials assignment and became a recognizable person in the NFL press box over the past 20 years.  Deppe was a Navy flier during World War II. He also was a life member of the 500 Oldtimers Club.

"When he turned 80," said Jack Martin, executive director of the 500 Oldtimers, "he didn't have to pay dues anymore. But he wanted to continue paying them and did."  Survivors include his wife and sons, David and Paul.  Services are pending.

IPS Series
Camara wins pole in Nashville  In SWE Race Car Parts Pole Qualifying for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, Jaime Camara claimed the pole with a fast lap of 179.062 mph (26.1362 seconds) on the 1.33-mile concrete tri-oval. Travis Gregg, the final driver to make a qualifying attempt, put the No. 7 Lucas Oil Products/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry alongside his teammate with a lap of 178.864 mph.

It was the eighth time teammates swept the front row in Menards Infiniti Pro Series history, and the 15th pole for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Series points leader Wade Cunningham (177.858 mph) and Arie Luyendyk Jr. (177.063) will occupy Row 2.

Qualifying Friday for the Cleanevent 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event on the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:

1. (1) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 179.062
2. (7) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 178.864
3. (33) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 177.858
4. (3) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 177.063
5. (6) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 176.406
6. (42) Tom Wood, Dallara-Infiniti, 176.280
7. (24) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 175.950
8. (19) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 175.659
9. (9) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 175.390
10. (91) Jerry Coons, Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 174.272
11. (4) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, 173.842
12. (20) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, no speed

Pedro de la Rosa fastest at Jerez  Friday F1 test results at Jerez, Spain.
1 . P. de la Rosa - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:16.919 (+ 0.000 ) - 66 laps
2 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:17.247 (+ 0.328 ) - 81 laps
3 . R. Zonta - Toyota TF105 - 1:17.259 (+ 0.340 ) - 131 laps
4 . A. Wurz - McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 - 1:17.341 (+ 0.422 ) - 120 laps
5 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 - 1:17.361 (+ 0.442 ) - 145 laps
6 . T. Sato - BAR Honda 007 - 1:17.366 (+ 0.447 ) - 119 laps
7 . A. Davidson - BAR Honda 007 - 1:17.547 (+ 0.628 ) - 119 laps
8 . J. Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas C24 - 1:17.597 (+ 0.678 ) - 96 laps
9 . H. Kovalainen - Renault R25 - 1:17.667 (+ 0.748 ) - 91 laps
10 . D. Coulthard - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:17.850 (+ 0.931 ) - 57 laps
11 . V. Liuzzi - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:18.184 (+ 1.265 ) - 89 laps
12 . R. Schumacher - Toyota TF105 - 1:18.967 (+ 2.048 ) - 48 laps
13 . E. Bernoldi - BAR Honda 007 - 1:21.190 (+ 4.271 ) - 58 laps
14 . O. Panis - Toyota TF105 - 1:21.308 (+ 4.389 ) - 46 laps.
*Times courtesy of McLaren Mercedes
NASCAR Chicago TV Rating  UPDATE #2 The Chicago Busch Series race had a final 2.6/6 share on NBC last Saturday afternoon. 07/12/05 NBC's coverage of Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Chicagoland Speedway delivered a 'final' 5.7 national rating and 13 share, up 4% from the same race last year (5.5/13 in 2004). The rating peaked between 6:30-7 p.m. ET with a 6.7/14 as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the checkered flag for the first time this season. The top rated markets for NBC's coverage of Sunday's race were: Greensboro (12.6), Charlotte (12.1), Knoxville (11.9), Greenville/Spartanburg, SC (11.8), Columbus (10.4), Indianapolis (10.1), Nashville (9.8), Jacksonville (9.6), Raleigh-Durham (9.2), Orlando (9.2), Atlanta (9.2). NBC PR 07/11/05 The overnight rating for NASCAR's Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday on NBC was a 4.9/11 share.  More later....
Dominguez and Ranger crash  UPDATE Ranger sprained his wrist in the impact.  X-rays later showed Ranger's hand to be bruised but otherwise fine.  "I was very surprised to see him coming," Ranger, his left wrist wrapped in ice, said of Dominguez.  07/15/05 Mario Dominguez and Andrew Ranger have crashed in the wet, both cars suffering damage against the concrete wall. It appeared Dominguez tried to go around the outside of Ranger and Ranger's left front clipped Dominguez's right rear.
BAR Honda Jerez test results  With eleven of the nineteen races already completed this season, B*A*R Honda are still hard at work evaluating new developments designed to further improve the B*A*R Honda 007 car. This week, the team were at the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain for an intensive three-day test with all four regular drivers participating. With a long break in testing ahead, the main focus of activity has been the evaluation of the latest aerodynamic upgrades and chassis developments for the forthcoming races, tire programs for Michelin and the running of the latest specification engines from Honda.

As the last test before the summer break, the whole team has been working extremely hard to make the most of the available track time and maximize the development of the car. With positive results achieved from the comprehensive program, B*A*R Honda now looks forward to next weekend and an improved performance in Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix.

Jenson and Anthony began the test on Wednesday. Jenson, working solely on various aerodynamic evaluations, completed 78 laps, setting the second fastest time of the day. Anthony tested new suspension components, completing 62 laps. The afternoon session proved frustrating for both drivers with a total of six circuit red lights causing lengthy interruptions.

Jenson continued his aerodynamic evaluations on Thursday, having a very productive day as he completed his planned program. Takuma joined the test, running alternately in chassis 007-03 and 069-08. He ran through a bodywork cooling evaluation, followed by a set-up program and a tire evaluation for the German Grand Prix. Takuma completed a total of 89 laps, setting the second fastest time of the day.

Takuma continued his tire program on Friday completing a total of 118 laps. Unfortunately he suffered an engine failure mid-morning, stopping him out on the circuit after 32 laps. Anthony continued the evaluation of the new aerodynamic developments in the various configurations which Jenson ran through yesterday. He also did some chassis set-up work, completing 120 laps. Enrique completed 59 laps in chassis 069-08, a development car for 2006 systems, running on the track alternately with the other two cars. BAR Honda

Seen in Edmonton - II  Spotted Memo Gidley also wearing a Global Broadcast shirt. He will be in the booth with Paul Page announcing Sunday's race [Gidley pictured right with Leonardo Maia (L) and Alex Sperafico (R)]......There is light rain falling now which is causing some spins as the drivers fight for track, some on wets some on slicks.....Thousands of people are streaming into the track and the grandstands are quickly filling up despite the iffy weather. An amazing crowd for a Friday (work day) with the grandstands about 35% full for morning practice in the wet.....Leonardo Maia is hanging out and working on an Atlantic deal for next year......Ford is out in force here with two large pavilions showing their new cars and entertaining guests.
HVM signs Bremer for 2006  HVM Racing announced today that they have extended their 2005 agreement with Ronnie Bremer for the Dane to Drive for the team in 2006.

Bremer, 26, of Copenhagen, Denmark joined the HVM team at the beginning of the 2005 Champ Car season and completed the first five races for the team, where he earned three top ten finishes, including a seventh place finish in his Champ Car debut at Long Beach.

Due to certain circumstances HVM is unable to continue running him in an HVM entry this season.  Although he is currently under contract with HVM, he has been released for this race initially to continue his rookie endeavors in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series, Powered by Ford. “We have developed a very good relationship with Ronnie. We recognize his talent, he’s done a great job for us on the track and he is a good representative of our team and partners off the track, so it was important for us to secure his services and make sure he is part of the future of HVM Racing,” commented team owner and managing director, Keith Wiggins.

Bremer’s rookie campaign continues, he is driving the #19 American Medical Response entry for Dale Coyne Racing at this weekends inaugural West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix, he commented on today’s announcement, “I am thankful to Keith (Wiggins) and HVM Racing for giving me the opportunity to participate in the Champ Car World Series.  I am a product of the Champ Car Ladder System and this series is the most competitive series in the world, this is where I want to be.  While I wish I could have continued this season with HVM, I appreciate the opportunity to continue my battle for the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year with Dale Coyne Racing and I look forward to my return to HVM Racing as a Champ Car driver in 2006.”

Earning three victories, and eight podium finishes in just five years; HVM has enjoyed early success in the Champ Car World Series. With more than 2.2 million people attending Champ Car races annually and a massive worldwide audience, HVM also offers a range of proven marketing and advertising platforms to enhance the business of its corporate partners. For more information on HVM and its partners, visit www.HVMRacing.com.

Seen in Edmonton - I  Paul Page is in the Champ Car paddock this morning in Edmonton. He is working for Global, the big national Canadian network TV station.....A whole slew of Edmonton fans are going ga-ga over seeing the Champ Cars, many for the first time in real life....The sky is overcast but so far dry. Forecast is for 80 percent chance of showers Saturday, but better weather for Sunday.....They have proper grandstands here - large, high and a proper steepness so fans can see well, unlike the flat Mickey Mouse bleachers we see at some events.....Roger Peart is here doing his track inspection. Roger is the President of ASN, Canada's equilvalent of ACCUS, and is also the FIA President of Circuits worldwide. We shared a drink with Roger last evening and he gave us some insight to a number of F1 rumors, including what really happened at the USGP. More later....
Champ Car Toronto TV Rating  UPDATE The 'final' rating for the Toronto Champ Car race on CBS last Sunday in the USA was a 1.0/3 share, which is the highest rated race for Champ Car of the year so far. Mark C. 07/11/05 The overnight rating for Champ Car's Molson Indy Toronto race in Toronto Sunday on CBS was a 1.0/3 share (up from 0.9/2 share for last race in Cleveland), which isn't too bad when compared to its miniscule numbers on SPEED Channel.  Champ Car has shown a steady increase (higher rating for 3rd race in row) for its CBS TV ratings and if it were to increase the number of races on CBS next year, perhaps they can grow these ratings into something more meaningful.  The constant switching between networks does no one any good.  Mark C.
USGP ticket refund process  Michelin North America, Inc. and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) announced today the details of the ticket refund process for ticket holders to the 2005 Formula One United States Grand Prix (USGP). All tickets purchased for race day (June 19, 2005) are eligible for the Michelin ticket refund.

"By working with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we've created a thorough and quick process to reach out to all those fans present at the United States Grand Prix and offer them the face value refund of their race day ticket," said Jim Micali, chairman and president of Michelin North America, Inc. "In addition to the ticket refund, we will provide 20,000 tickets to the 2006 USGP at Indianapolis to dedicated fans who purchased tickets to this year's race.  We hope through these gestures to encourage the further development of F1 in the United States."

"Although many different parties had an influence on the race run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 19, Michelin has made a tremendous commitment to the fans of the United States Grand Prix," said IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood. "We've been working closely with Michelin to work out the details of the ticket refund process and we commend them on their commitment to a speedy and full response to the fans."

For the vast majority of ticket purchasers, no action will be required to receive the Michelin ticket refund. IMS has begun sorting information on their USGP Account Holders automatically so Michelin can provide ticket refunds directly to them. USGP Account Holders will be mailed a letter next week detailing the ticket refund process.

Other individual race day ticket holders can submit their ticket stubs, along with a completed Stubbed Ticket Claim Form to IMS beginning Aug. 8. Stubbed ticket refund requests must be postmarked by Aug. 29, 2005 to be included in the ticket refund process.

The ticket refund will be administered by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Aug. 8, details of the process and claim forms for individual ticket holders will be available online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, at the IMS Ticket Office or on request by phone at 1 877 950-USGP ( 1 877 950-8747). Details of the program will also be posted on Michelin websites.

Michelin refund checks for USGP Account Holders and for individual ticket claims are expected to be issued and mailed between Sept. 19 and Sept. 26.

If the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis is included on the 2006 Formula One schedule, Michelin will also purchase 20,000 tickets to that event. These tickets will be made available to fans that purchased tickets for the 2005 race. Details of the 2006 Michelin ticket distribution process are being finalized and will be announced after the Formula One calendar for 2006 has been released by the FIA.

Team Australia - Round 7 Preview  Team Australia heads to the second round of the July back-to-back Canadian double header in Edmonton this weekend confident of success at the newest venue in the Champ Car World Series. The Aussie Vineyards-sponsored squad had been running the Lola chassis for the first time in 2005, competing against teams with years of experience and data with that chassis. However, this weekend's new event eliminates that disadvantage with none of Team Australia's competitors having any previous data at the new circuit which is known as Finning International Speedway - part of Edmonton's downtown City Centre airport. Canadian star Alex Tagliani enters this weekend full of confidence after finishing 3rd and 4th in his past two outings in Toronto and Cleveland. Rookie Australian team-mate Marcus Marshall also has his sights set on a top 10 result after being 'taken out' by somebody else's accident in Toronto when he looked set to break into the top 10 for the first time. Located in the Canadian state of Alberta , this weekend's event is the first major international race event for the city which hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games. Edmonton will also play host to the World Master's Games later this month. The former home of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton is also home to the world's largest shopping mall - the West Edmonton Mall - the major sponsor of the inaugural champ car event. Team Australia
Long Beach race listed as possible terror target  The federal Homeland Security Department's list of 73 Los Angeles County sites that will get specialized terrorism protection left local officials puzzled Thursday because it includes some low-priority targets and leaves off such high-profile potential targets as universities and hospitals. A copy of the list of sites that will receive part of $12.9 million in extra security funding for the state was obtained by the Los Angeles Daily News (a sister paper of the Press-Telegram) and reviewed by several officials.

Stadiums, arenas and other entertainment venues made the list, but one official questioned why it also included the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Also, according to the list, the Fallbrook and Valencia malls qualified but not the Beverly Center.

"There is no rhyme or reason to homeland security funding, nor homeland security awareness in Los Angeles," said Councilman Jack Weiss, a former federal prosecutor deeply involved in security issues.

"Why should the Glendale Galleria qualify for something that the Beverly Center didn't qualify for? It just looks so scattershot, it's hard to believe there are federal standards."

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, for example, have received more than $27 million in security grants from the Transportation Security Administration since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

And Los Angeles International Airport has received more than $256 million to reimburse costs of installing permanent explosives-detection systems integrated with baggage conveyor systems.

Still, local officials and terrorism experts questioned the rationale behind the compilation. "It certainly wasn't put together with California in mind," said Ed Broomfield, homeland security grants program manager for the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management.

"I wouldn't say that any of them are not targets, but are they the most important targets? Quite a few of them are not," he said. "Just scrolling down the list, it looks like they only hit about 50 percent of them right on."

Broomfield said he believes shopping malls and amusement parks could be potential targets, but he also questioned placing the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the same list as Universal Studios, which police say they once found in an al-Qaida videotape.

"That could be a target, but it's certainly not a top target," Broomfield said of the Grand Prix. "Also, the Valencia Town Center is not really high up there on the target list." Long Beach Press Telegram

Latest F1 news in brief  
DC set for F1 bridge blast
F1 scare in Turkey
Vote for F1's '06 qual-format
Albers to burn rubber
London grand prix doubted
Schu shelves title talk
F1's next step, regulations
Ferrari fault is black, round
Spanish scorcher
Full-stop for Indy fiasco

Symonds' champions 
Industry News
USA TV reminders for Saturday  
    New England 200
    New Hampshire International Speedway
    10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
    New Hampshire International Speedway
    11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
    New England 300
    New Hampshire International Speedway
    1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, TNT
    CNE Exhibition Place
    Toronto, 07/10/05
    2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
    New England 200
    New Hampshire International Speedway
    3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
    Firestone Indy 200
    Nashville Superspeedway
    7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET (Live) ESPN
    New Hampshire International Speedway
    7:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
For a complete listing of Sunday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.
Industry News
Mid-Ohio completes track improvements  The parent company of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course finished a slate of safety improvements in time for a major motorcycle event, it reported Thursday. The $450,000 project relocated two walls, brought in 1,000 feet of safety barriers and smoothed out two gravel pits. The course completed the improvements in advance of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend, a series of motorcycle races to take place July 22-24.
Dalziel out, Bremer in for Edmonton  UPDATE #4 AutoRacing1.com spoke to HVM boss Keith Wiggins on the airplane ride up to Edmonton. Wiggins told AutoRacing1.com, "I still hold the contract with Ronnie. I am releasing him to Dale Coyne for Edmonton and possibly more races, but I still eventually want him back if things work out as I hope. We may have some sponsorship news by the San Jose time frame and I am confident for next year." 07/14/05 Danish Television (TV2) is reporting that Bremer isn't paying anything for the seat-- According to them, Dale Coyne hired him. Either way, it's good news for Bremer. 07/14/05 We just spoke to Dale Coyne in Edmonton and he informed AutoRacing1.com that he is meeting with Bremer Thursday afternoon to hopefully iron out a deal for the rest of the year.  Apparently Bremer's sponsorship money has come through.  Coyne hopes to formally announce the deal later today. 07/14/05 We are hearing that Ronnie Bremer will be in the Dale Coyne seat this weekend, replacing Ryan Dalziel.  We will know for sure later today. 07/13/05 Reflecting on his Champ Car debut and Sunday’s ALMS event Ryan Dalziel remarked:

“PCM allowed me to race last Sunday which was really great of them.  I first came to race in America with Champ Car as my goal.  The opportunity presented itself and I took it believing if I performed well there could be the possibility of running the remainder of the season.  Given the circumstances I think I did a good job, I kept the car out off the walls and scored a top ten finish but for whatever reason the team has selected another driver for the Edmonton race which leaves me free to return to the ALMS with PCM.

“I’m obviously disappointed with the team’s decision!  Based on my performance I thought I at least deserved another opportunity but I’d like to thank Dale Coyne and American Medical Response for offering me my first Champ Car start.  I’m now looking forward to getting back into the Corvette and continuing to help progress PCM’s rookie GT1 campaign.  We were pretty competitive last time out at Lime Rock Park which gives us more to work with heading into this weekend.  Sonoma’s a great track in a fantastic part of the country, roll on Sunday!”

No word yet on who will be in the Dale Coyne car in Edmonton.

90% of Edmonton seats sold  100% of the suites and about 90 per cent of the 43,000-seat grandstands are sold out, said Edmonton race general manager Greg Macdonald. Because of the width of the course, there could be three and four cars abreast going through turns this weekend, barring a big buildup of marbles. Driver skill will end up winning this. It isn't a parade situation where pole position usually wins. American driver Ryan Hunter-Reay added, ''We'll be able to go 160 miles an hour through some of the corners."
Jeffrey Pollack Leaving NASCAR For Harrah’s  Harrah’s Entertainment has named JEFFREY POLLACK VP/Sports & Entertainment Marketing. Pollack, who founded The Daily, will be responsible for managing Harrah’s sports ventures, including the World Series of Poker, boxing and motor sports. He will be based at Harrah’s Las Vegas HQs starting August 1. Pollack: “My top priority is to grow the popularity of the World Series of Poker. It is already the No. 1 brand in poker, but we’re going to make it even stronger through world-class media partnerships, strategic marketing alliances and superior customer service.” Pollack was most recently Managing Dir of Broadcasting & New Media for NASCAR Digital Entertainment, where he led NASCAR’s use of advanced media and new technologies. He also helped direct NASCAR’s network TV partnerships with Fox, FX, NBC and TNT, and spearheaded NASCAR’s season-launch marketing efforts. He was also Exec Producer of NASCAR In Car, and received an ’03 Primetime Emmy for outstanding achievement in interactive TV programming and an ’04 Sports Emmy for outstanding innovative technical achievement. In ’04, he also received the first-ever Billboard Digital Entertainment Award for best interactive TV programming. Pollack founded The Daily in ’94, and later went on to be NBA VP/Marketing & Corporate Communications. He also worked at Internet-startup Athletes Direct. He will be based at Harrah’s Las Vegas corporate headquarters, but plans to maintain a primary residence in L.A. The appointment is subject to regulatory approval.  THE DAILY
Paul Newman to race Silicon Valley CEO's  The Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José organizers along with Champ Car World Series team owner, race car driver, actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and Canary Fund founder Don Listwin decided they wanted to do something exciting and special during the Grand Prix weekend.  That something exciting and special has taken the form of The Canary Fund CEO and Celebrity Challenge.

Newman and Listwin, along with a group of Silicon Valley business leaders and professional race car drivers will compete in a series of go-kart races on Saturday, July 30.  Participants will make a $7,500 donation with proceeds from the competition benefiting the Canary Fund and The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps. 

Canary Fund is dedicated to advancing the science of the early detection of cancer and was recently announced as the Official Social Cause of the Camp Car World Series.  The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps is the largest family of camps for children with life threatening conditions and, for the third consecutive year, is the Champ Car World Series' Official Charity.

In addition to Newman and Listwin, some of the other participants that have signed up for the charity event include: Bryan Stolle, CEO of Agile; Dave House, Executive Chairman of Brocade; Rob Lynch, CEO of Orchard Supply Hardware; Kevin DeNuccio, President and CEO of Redback Networks; and Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Lee Hartwell of Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

"The Canary Fund CEO and Celebrity Challenge is a great way to emphasize the race against cancer,' said Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José President Dale Jantzen.  ''An estimated 5,840 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Santa Clara County alone in 2005 -- an average of 112 new cases each week.   Canary Fund is all about research for early cancer detection, and we are thrilled that Mr. Newman and Silicon Valley leaders are joining forces on our behalf of Canary Fund and The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps with some friendly competition on the track,'' Jantzen concluded.

The Canary Fund CEO and Celebrity Challenge will be contested on a specially designed go-kart course located at the northwest corner of Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Market Street directly across from the Fairmont Hotel.  The schedule begins with practice from 10:00 a.m. to noon.  Racing starts at noon with Silicon Valley business leaders, celebrities and pro drivers competing in three preliminary heats.  The top finishers in each driver category (business leaders, celebrities and pros) from the preliminary heats will race in the finals, which will held from 1:10 - 1:30 p.m.  The public inside the confines of the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José circuit will be able to view The Canary Fund CEO and Celebrity Challenge from the perimeter of the go-kart track.  Go-karts for The Canary Fund CEO and Celebrity Challenge are being provided by GoKart Racer of Burlingame, CA and Race Karts! Inc. from Novato, CA.

Bridgestone Alternate Tires in use this weekend  Bridgestone delivered 744 dry-condition ("slicks") and 304 wet-condition ("rains") Potenza race tires for use this weekend. All were produced at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Per Champ Car World Series regulations, Bridgestone brought two dry-tire specifications and a single wet-tire spec, broken down in the following manner:

Standard dry-condition tires: Each car receives seven sets of standard slicks (28 tires) for the weekend, to use in practice, qualifying and race sessions. The standard dry-condition specification contains the midrange standard road-course compound and construction that Bridgestone employs in the series. The same spec was used last month at Cleveland and is the standard spec scheduled for the 2005 season finale at Mexico City.

Alternate dry-condition tires: Each car receives two sets of alternate slicks (eight tires) to use this weekend. The alternate tires are easily identifiable by their bright red sidewalls. At least one complete set (new or used) of alternates must be used for a stint in Sunday's race, but there is no mandate to when or how long the set must be run. The construction of the alternate tire is identical to the standard slick, but the alternate tire possesses a tread compound with moderately increased grip ("softer"). While the alternate tire contains additional speed potential, it trades away some of the long-lasting durability of the standard dry-condition tires.

Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Each car receives up to four new sets of grooved-tread Potenza rain tires per weekend on road and street courses, as needed. In addition, each car may use two sets of same-spec rain tires issued at a previous event. Bridgestone has two rain-tire specifications, a more durable spec for the faster road circuits and a "softer" spec for slower circuits. The more durable rain tire is available this weekend.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Like everyone else in the Champ Car community, we're looking forward to the series' debut in Edmonton this weekend. From the reports we're hearing, Edmonton area fans are embracing the race with the same enthusiasm as fans at the other Canadian venues. Bridgestone hopes to add another element of excitement to the weekend by utilizing the alternate tire concept. We've brought the same standard and alternate Potenza tire specifications that helped produce such an exciting race three weeks ago in Cleveland. With this event also taking place on the runways and tarmacs of an airport, we're expecting nothing less than another weekend of wide-open, non-stop, full-throttle action."

Gené leads testing at Paul Ricard  Thursday testing at Paul Ricard saw only Ferrari and Jordan in action.
1. M. Gené - Ferrari - 1'13"297 - 88 laps
2. N. Karthikeyan - Jordan Toyota - 1'15"011 - 101 laps
3. R. Doornbos - Jordan Toyota - 1'16"866 - 33 laps
Roush no fan of Car of Tomorrow  Roush Racing team owner Jack Roush had some harsh comments for NASCAR's planned "car of the future" on Thursday.  The car design, which is supposed to incorporate new safety innovations and have a bigger driver cockpit area, is still not likely to see track action anytime soon, Roush said.

"NASCAR wants to trash everything we got, start with an all-new chassis, with all new construction techniques and every component being new ... I think that's wrong and very much resistant to that," he said.

"If there are things we can bring to the car and call it the ‘car of the future,' such as different door beams, moving the seat over, that's a good thing."

Roush said many, if not most of the improvements NASCAR wants can be incorporated with the current cars. "Tough economic times in the automobile companies and tough times for the rest of our economy requires we be frugal and requires we be patient. We don't need to scrap these cars," he said.  ThatsRacin

Indy 500 TV ratings were solid in some key markets  The ABC Sports broadcast of the 89th Indianapolis 500 was popular with viewers in all demographic groups in major United States markets, according to new local ratings information released by Nielsen Media Research. Nielsen, the world's leading provider of television audience measurement and advertising information services, began to measure ratings for sporting events in late May and June in six large metropolitan markets with the introduction of Local People Meters (LPM). The new markets measured: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington and Philadelphia. Boston has offered LPM data since 2002.

In Chicago, ABC's broadcast of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" resonated with viewers of all ages. The Indianapolis 500 was the No. 1-rated major sports broadcast during late May and June among persons 18 and older, registering a 6.1 rating. The broadcast also was No. 1 among men age 18 and over in Chicago at 7.3. Other major sporting events measured besides the Indianapolis 500 included the NBA Finals, Belmont Stakes horse race, the French Open tennis tournament, the U.S. Open women's golf tournament and Saturday national Major League Baseball coverage.

In San Francisco, the Indianapolis 500 registered a 4.5 rating among persons 18 and older, behind only the 5.4 of the NBA Finals. The Indy broadcast had a 3.9 rating in the same demographic in Los Angeles, behind only the 6.3 of the NBA Finals.

Danica Patrick's sensational rookie performance, as she led until being passed with seven laps to go by eventual winner Dan Wheldon, helped the Indianapolis 500 register strong ratings among women age 18 and older in major markets. The Indy broadcast was No. 1 among women 18 and older in Chicago (4.9 rating) and San Francisco (3.3). In Los Angeles, the race was No. 2 with a 3.1 rating, narrowly trailing the NBA Finals at 3.7.

African-American viewers 18 and older also were attracted to the Indy broadcast. It was No. 2, behind the NBA Finals, in Chicago (2.6), San Francisco (1.8) and Washington (1.6). Nationally, the 89th Indianapolis 500 broadcast on ABC registered a 6.5 rating, the highest since 1996. The rating was up 59 percent from 2004.
No merger, now what?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, You published articles pushing for a unification of the IRL and Champ Car. Clearly it is not going to happen now. Can they survive apart? Dave Rgaoli, Milwaukee, WI. Dear Dave, We still believe the two would have been much stronger together than apart, but unfortunately the owners on both sides have a different philosophy on what will ultimately be successful. They tried, as did others such as Honda and Mario Andretti, but were simply too far apart on control.

Therefore, the two will continue down separate and distinctly different paths. Both series have their strengths and their weaknesses. Champ Car will pursue their street racing agenda and continue their international expansion. The IRL will remain largely a domestic oval racing series with a smattering of road courses, and of course they still have their marquee event - the Indy 500, which will forever define who they are.

In many respects the IRL is far more established, though it has had to change its business plan on a number of occasions and its support from engine manufacturers, which have helped raise the level of competition, is unclear. The IRL has a stronger TV package right now, especially in that ABC and ESPN do try to promote the IRL. The same can't be said for Champ Car. In many respects they are a whole new company with a new business plan, a new marketing and sales group, an ever changing schedule and a revolving door of drivers on a couple of teams. Their greatest weakness is their TV package. While better than the past two years, it is still a time buy with little or no promotion from CBS, NBC or SPEED Channel.

Champ Car is also in need of a marquee event. Some think that event is Long Beach, and although it is a great event, Champ Car needs something bigger....much bigger, and it needs to run on Memorial Day weekend, the biggest racing weekend of the year in the USA. Mark C.

Cytomax to sponsor San Jose T/A race  Cytomax Sport Drink will continue to expand its relationship with the Trans-Am Series by sponsoring Round 6 the 2005 Championship, at the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose weekend. The event, scheduled for July 29-30, will be called the Cytomax Sport Drink 100.

Cytomax, a brand of ChampBev, Inc., is also sponsoring this year's race at Denver, which follows the San Jose round, and also backed this year's season opener at Long Beach. The Benicia, Calif.-based company is owned by 1978 Trans-Am Drivers' Champion Greg Pickett, who is scheduled to compete in the Cytomax Sport Drink 100 in the No. 6 Cytomax/Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR.

"I've been around Trans-Am racing for a long time, and we thought it was time to give back to the sport we've enjoyed for so many years," said Pickett. "We made a strategic decision last year to use Trans-Am at Denver to help launch our Cytomax Ready to Drink. That decision exceeded our expectations and we think our continued involvement with Trans-Am will yield similar results. The Bay Area is a key market, as well as being our home base, so the added visibility and excitement that is part of the Trans-Am Series here will certainly benefit Cytomax Sport Drink."

"We are pleased that Cytomax has agreed to continue its support of the Trans-Am Series by sponsoring our San Jose race," said Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett. "Greg is a longtime and well-liked Trans-Am Series competitor, who has seen success both on and off the track. We're excited about Greg's ongoing success with Cytomax and we're pleased to contribute to that success at San Jose. This agreement represents a win-win for both Cytomax and the Trans-Am Series."

The Cytomax Sport Drink 100, part of the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose weekend, is scheduled for Saturday, July 30. The race will start at 4 p.m. PDT and will air on SPEED on Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Cytomax Sport Drink is the world's most scientifically advanced complex carbohydrate, electrolyte performance sport drink. It ensures proper hydration, steady energy and reduced fatigue during exercise for both the professional and casual athlete. Previously available only in a powder format at specialized retail locations, Cytomax Ready to Drink formula was launched nationwide in May, 2005 and can now be purchased at numerous retail outlets including 7-Eleven, Albertson's, King Soopers and Long's Drug Stores. The Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars Cytomax Sport Drink will continue to expand its relationship with the Trans-Am Series by sponsoring Round 6 the 2005 Championship, at the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose weekend. The event, scheduled for July 29-30, will be called the Cytomax Sport Drink 100.

Cytomax, a brand of ChampBev, Inc., is also sponsoring this year's race at Denver, which follows the San Jose round, and also backed this year's season opener at Long Beach. The Benicia, Calif.-based company is owned by 1978 Trans-Am Drivers' Champion Greg Pickett, who is scheduled to compete in the Cytomax Sport Drink 100 in the No. 6 Cytomax/Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR.

"I've been around Trans-Am racing for a long time, and we thought it was time to give back to the sport we've enjoyed for so many years," said Pickett. "We made a strategic decision last year to use Trans-Am at Denver to help launch our Cytomax Ready to Drink. That decision exceeded our expectations and we think our continued involvement with Trans-Am will yield similar results. The Bay Area is a key market, as well as being our home base, so the added visibility and excitement that is part of the Trans-Am Series here will certainly benefit Cytomax Sport Drink."

"We are pleased that Cytomax has agreed to continue its support of the Trans-Am Series by sponsoring our San Jose race," said Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett. "Greg is a longtime and well-liked Trans-Am Series competitor, who has seen success both on and off the track. We're excited about Greg's ongoing success with Cytomax and we're pleased to contribute to that success at San Jose. This agreement represents a win-win for both Cytomax and the Trans-Am Series."

The Cytomax Sport Drink 100, part of the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose weekend, is scheduled for Saturday, July 30. The race will start at 4 p.m. PDT and will air on SPEED on Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. EDT.
Industry News
Honda's Clarke on Wind Tunnel  Tony Kanaan, 2004 IRL IndyCar Series champion, will co-host this weekend's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain (Sunday at 9 p.m. ET). The featured interview of the week will be Robert Clarke, President of Honda Performance Development. With the recent announcement that Honda has 'officially' submitted its withdrawal from the IRL at the end of 2006, many wonder where Honda will race next. While some believe Honda will remain in the open-wheel ranks, others believe it's only a matter of time before Honda follows chief rival, Toyota, into the world of NASCAR.
FIA/F1 looking for feedback on qualifying proposals  On their official F1 website a survey asks for feedback on improving the qualifying procedures for F1.

The Formula One teams have come up with ideas for possible 2006 qualifying formats. We would like your feedback on two particular suggestions. Check out the key points of each below, then vote for your preferred option at the bottom of the page.
Proposal 1:
- 60-minute session, split into two 25-minute ‘halves’ with a 10-minute break.
- drivers may run as many laps as they wish, but must set a time in each half.
- each driver’s best times from the first half is added to his best time from the second half to produce a final time to determine the grid.
- no fuel restrictions - cars may refuel during and after the session.

Proposal 2:
- 60-minute session.
- after 15 minutes, the five slowest cars must retire from the session and will qualify 16th to 20th on the grid.
- after a further 15 minutes, the five cars slowest during that period (times cannot be carried over from the first 15 minutes) must also retire from the session. They will qualify 11th to 15th on the grid.
- for the final 30 minutes the remaining 10 cars will compete for first to tenth place on the grid, based on the best times set in that period (times cannot be carried over from the first 30 minutes).
- drivers may run as many laps as they wish in each period.
- no fuel restrictions - cars may refuel during and after the session.

IRL news tidbits  
1. Pennzoil backs Lazier at Nashville: 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier will drive the familiar yellow of Pennzoil for Panther Racing during the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on July 16.

The team announced July 14 that the No. 95 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone will carry sponsorship from Pennzoil, which has been a partner with Panther Racing since the team's inception in 1997. Tomas Scheckter will drive the platinum No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing car this weekend.

Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria and American Sentry Guard, both sponsors of Lazier's effort during the Indianapolis 500, also will be major supporters of the effort at Nashville and Michigan International Speedway on July 31. Team principals are exploring additional funding for other races.

"You know, when we agreed to put Buddy Lazier back into one of our cars, we started to look at all kinds of new sponsorship options," Panther co-owner John Barnes said. "But the first one to step up was already here in our backyard. We're proud of our partnership with Pennzoil and thrilled that they're going to help us put Buddy Lazier back in Victory Lane."

As team principals noted at Texas Motor Speedway in June, Chevrolet was instrumental in creating the opportunity for the team and Lazier, who won the inaugural IndyCar Series race at Nashville Superspeedway in 2001.

"Chevrolet was very pleased with Buddy's effort and performance at Indianapolis and almost immediately after the checkered flag we were working together to find a way to put Buddy in a Panther car for more races this season," Barnes said. "Chevrolet has proven it is dedicated to provide the best engines possible for our team this season and adding a third car with Buddy driving gives the Chevy Indy V-8 an even better chance to end up in Victory Lane."

Lazier counts the 1996 Indianapolis 500 among his eight IndyCar Series victories - tied for second in series history. He finished fifth in this year's Indianapolis 500.

"All I asked of Panther in the Indy 500 was to give me a car that could win the race, and they did just that," Lazier said. "I know that every time I get into one of their Chevrolets, I've got a shot."

2. Wheldon, Kanaan ranked among best in Speed Channel rankings: IRL IndyCar® Series points leader Dan Wheldon and reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan are ranked among the top five in the latest Speed Channel driver rankings.

Wheldon is solidly in second place, behind Formula One standout Fernando Alonso, while Kanaan is fifth, .08 of a point behind No. 4 Kimi Raikkonen.

In all, nine IndyCar Series drivers are ranked among the top 40. Other IndyCar Series drivers ranked are: Dario Franchitti (No. 23), Helio Castroneves (No. 24), Vitor Meira (No. 27), Tomas Scheckter (No. 29), Scott Sharp (No. 30), Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 34) and Bryan Herta (No. 35).

STATS, Inc., in partnership with SPEED, developed the formula for weekly driver rankings, inclusive of NASCAR Nextel Cup, Formula One, Champ Car World Series and Indy Racing League competitors. Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a "competition difficulty factor" has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

3. IndyCar Series on the road: A Johns Manville IndyCar Series car will be on display during the American Le Mans Series event weekend at Infineon Raceway July 15-17. A Meijer IndyCar Series car will be on display July 16-24 at the International Plaza area during the RCA Tennis Championships at the Indianapolis Tennis Center.

4. Wheldon, Patrick attend ESPYs: IndyCar Series stars Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick will take stock of items in their gift bags on the flight to Nashville, Tenn., after attending the ESPY Awards July 13 at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

Both drivers, who will compete in the Firestone Indy 200 this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, received nominations in the 13th edition of the ESPY Awards that commemorated the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements and saluting the leading performers and performances. Winners were determined by an online fan vote.

Patrick, an IndyCar Series rookie who started and finished fourth in the 89th Indianapolis 500 in May and leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year standings, was nominated in the "Best Breakthrough" category. Also nominated were Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who set an NFL rookie record with 13 victories; 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova; and Miami guard Dwyane Wade, who followed up an impressive rookie season by averaging 24.1 points and 6.8 assists this year in leading the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Wade took home the hardware.

Wheldon, who has won four of the eight IndyCar Series events, was nominated in the "Best Driver" category along with reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch; Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, who set an F1 single-season record in 2004 with 13 victories; and Greg Anderson, who won the 2004 NHRA POWERade Championship Series and set a series record with 15 Pro Stock victories. Schumacher won the award.

Patrick and actor and actor Patrick Dempsey, an IndyCar Series fan, presented awards for best male and female Olympic performances. Other presenters included the cast of HBO's "Entourage," Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and husband/wife singers and reality TV series stars Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. Manning also was a double winner (best NFL player and record-breaking performance).

Actor Matthew Perry served as host of the program at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, and Destiny's Child performed in one of its final TV appearances. The show will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 9 p.m. (EDT) July 17, preceded by a red carpet special at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

Red Bull drivers say Nashville difficult  ”Nashville is the only concrete track we run during the season, so it’s really different than the other tracks we run on in terms of handling and tire life. The challenge on this track is working in the high groove. The abrasive concrete causes a lot of marbles on the high line late in the race, which makes it hard to pass safely. I enjoy this race because we always get a good crowd, and they really get into it, plus racing under the lights is always exciting."– Alex Barron 
“Not only have I never raced on this track, but I’ve never even seen it. I’ve raced on similar-style ovals, but they haven’t been concrete, so this will be a change of sorts. It’s shorter than Kansas, so hopefully we’ll find more speed. From what I can tell, it’s going to take a good mix of power and handling to race well there. I like racing at night, and I’m told that the crowd creates a great atmosphere, so it should be fun.”– Patrick Carpentier
FIA Michelin statement  "Following receipt of a dossier of new evidence relating to events at the 2005 United States Grand Prix submitted to the FIA by BAR, McLaren, Renault, Sauber, Toyota and Williams, the FIA Senate met in Monaco on 14 July. Ron Dennis attended the meeting, having been appointed representative of six Michelin teams. He was accompanied by Christian Horner from Red Bull Racing.

"Having examined the new evidence and discussed it with Mr. Dennis and Mr. Horner, the Senate was satisfied that the teams were contractually bound to follow the instructions of their tire supplier and that their tire supplier had expressly prohibited them from racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in its licensed configuration.

"Recognizing that for both sporting and legal reasons it was impossible for the FIA to authorize a change to the circuit configuration and that both the FIA and the teams could have faced serious legal difficulties in the United States had they not observed to the letter their respective rules and contractual obligations (particularly had there been any kind of accident), the Senate was of the view that having regard to this new evidence, disciplinary proceedings against the teams had ceased to be appropriate and were no longer in the interest of the sport.

"The Senate will therefore recommend to the World Motor Sport Council that the guilty verdict of 29 June against the teams be cancelled. It is anticipated that this recommendation will be put to the World Motor Sport Council by means of a fax vote in the next few days."

NASCAR Ford Fusion photos  

Ford Fusion Nextel Cup photos from Ford Racing website

Q and A with Honda racing boss  Honda's Head of Worldwide Automobile Racing and F1 Project Leader, Takeo Kiuchi, talks about his rise to the top of Honda's F1 program, engineering for Prost and Senna, and looks at the 2005 season so far.

You've worked for Honda on various projects for 24 years now, including the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system for production cars and heading up other alternative fuel programs. But in 1989 and 1990 you were a race engineer for Alain Prost and then Ayrton Senna at McLaren-Honda. You must look back on that time with great fondness?

It was a precious experience to work with two drivers whose abilities compare favorably with even the best drivers of today. Most of my memories are about how hard we worked to develop and supply an engine to satisfy two such drivers. Their driving styles and outlook on life were completely different, probably diametrically opposed, but they had the same will to win, and working with them (even though there were times I wanted to escape!) taught me about the harsh reality of not making excuses, just keeping going until the job is done. It had a great influence on how I am today.

What are the other highlights of your career?

Being able to contribute to the string of victories for exciting teams and drivers in Honda’s second generation of F1 activities, and being able to continually develop engines that met with their approval. In the present third generation we have a new Honda group, including chassis staff, working with a young team and drivers, and so far we have not reached our targets. But I believe we can definitely do that in the near future and, when that happens, it will be one of the highlights of my career.

What is your day-to-day role as Honda's F1 Project Leader?

Unlike in the past, modern racing requires development of many different technical elements, and deep research in all areas. Since we have many staff at HRD and BAR Honda in the UK, I see it as my role to accurately understand the situation at the circuits, in the UK and at R&D in Japan, and set up the most appropriate structures and direction. Especially with regard to the circuits and the UK situation, I plan to keep coming to where the activities take place as much as possible, as this allows me to keep a handle on the latest trends in technology. My role is also, together with HRD President Wada, BAR Honda CEO Nick Fry and BAR Honda Technical Director Geoff Willis, to build BAR Honda – the joint venture between BAT and Honda – into a very strong team.

Tell us about the 2005 BAR Honda 007's engine – the RA005E.

The new regulations for 2005 set us an even greater challenge than we faced for 2004, when we produced a top class Formula One engine. This year we made the engine lighter and more compact, and we lowered the centre of gravity to improve the performance of the overall package. We also increased mid- to low-speed torque to improve acceleration at the start and exiting corners. As the season has progressed we have gauged how much we have to spare in terms of durability and, going into the middle part of the season, we have made good steps forward in increasing top end power.

How have you adapted to the new two weekend engine rule?

It was a big challenge for us. We had to make parts of the engine that undergo friction slightly stronger and heavier, but we have adapted to the regulations and even made other parts like the cylinder block and heads lighter. I’m very pleased that the development team has kept its targets high and produced a top quality engine.

In 2004 BAR Honda was able to run a third car during the Friday practice sessions at Grands Prix. Is it fair to say that the team is a victim of its own success in that it cannot do the same this year and to what extent does development suffer?

I think, considering the new tire regulations, with our capable third driver we would have been able to use the Friday running to our considerable advantage, setting up the car for the race, mainly by doing work on the tires. However this rule is a privilege given to the lower-ranked teams to help them close the gap to the top teams, and as a team we should have the strength to produce a good car for qualifying and the race without this advantage.

The main aim for BAR Honda this year was to win a race. Half way through the season, is that still a realistic target?

The reality is that we have not produced the results we wanted, after showing a lack of performance in the early races and then missing three races, but the performance of the car and motivation of the team and the drivers is at a good level, and I think we can reach the objective in the second half of the season. BAR Honda

Another productive day in Jerez for McLaren  Team McLaren Mercedes completed a productive second day of a three day test at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain with drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Alex Wurz continuing development work on track with two MP4-20's. The extremely hot conditions experienced yesterday were repeated today with track temperature reaching 50 degrees Celsius.

Juan Pablo Montoya's program continued the Michelin tire testing of the prime and option tire for the forthcoming German Grand Prix and the Hungarian race as well as more suspension development work.

Alex Wurz meanwhile continued with his program concentrating on the Michelin tire selection for the German Grand Prix focusing on long runs with the option tire.

Montoya set the fastest lap with a time of 1:16.289 while Wurz was third setting a time of 1m16.908. McLaren Mercedes

Massa uninjured in crash  Team Sauber Petronas continued its three-day test at the Circuito Permanente de Jerez today. Felipe Massa covered 39 laps in chassis C24-05 to set a best time of 1:16.843s. Tomorrow Jacques Villeneuve will take over the driving.

Paul Russell, Test Engineer - "In the morning we had a very good session and achieved a decent lap time. Things went really well and we were trying to catch up the time we lost yesterday with the red-flag periods.

"Then Felipe unfortunately experienced a rear left rim failure caused by a foreign object trapped inside the suspension components. He went off track at the entry of turn 5 and damaged the car in such a way that it was not possible to go on with the test today. It's really a shame, but it's more important that Felipe is okay.

"We will rebuild the car and have it ready tomorrow morning for Jacques to concentrate on the major development program items." Sauber Petronas

Milwaukee SPEEDFEST on July 20th  The stars of the Indianapolis 500 are coming to West Bend!  The 2nd Annual “SPEEDFEST” will be roaring into West Bend this Wednesday July 20, at Stocky’s Fast Track indoor karting facility, leading up to the Sunday, July 24 IRL IndyCar Series race at The Milwaukee Mile.

Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds, Stocky’s Fast Track, The Milwaukee Mile, The Indy Racing League (IRL), the Gehl Company, Coca-Cola and Miller Brewing are kicking off the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 IRL IndyCar Series race weekend with even more speed than before.
Admission to SPEEDFEST is FREE to experience all the activities, which include driver appearances and driver autographs, climbing behind the wheel of a real IndyCar to race in a simulator video game, an IndyCar pit stop challenge, live music from regional favorites Oil Can Harry and national recording artist Chasin Mason, and more.
The attractions will be inside and around Stocky’s Fast Track, 6389 Stockhausen Lane from 12 p.m. until 11pm.  Live music on the Indy Racing Live stage will be part of the action, with the Indy Racing Challenge, The Indy Racing Pit Stop Challenge making this a hands-on fan experience!
The Indy Racing Live stage will host local favorites ‘Oil Can Harry’ from 6pm to 9pm and National Recording Artist Chasin Mason from 9pm to 11pm this Wednesday evening.
The Indy Racing Challenge is a high-performance mobile racing simulator using actual IRL Indy Car Series Cars that allow fans to drive their favorite driver’s Indy car around Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Indy Racing Pit Stop Challenge offers race fans a hands-on experience at servicing an actual Indy Car Series race car including a tire change challenge and a hands-on refueling simulation.

“We are excited to share the IRL racing experience with loyal fans and hope to make a few new ones,” said Mike Husar, President of Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds. “The racing simulator and the pit stop challenge are activities fans can usually only experience at the race track. SPEEDFEST is going to be a lot of fun and the best part is all proceeds from the food and beverage sales are being donated to the West Bend Christmas Parade Fund!”

In addition, Milwaukee Mile event tickets to all three days of action July 22-24 will be available for purchase.

“We have to commend Mike Husar and the Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds staff for their efforts in making SPEEDFEST a real happening in West Bend,” commented Gary Girard, Milwaukee Mile general manager.  “We are very pleased to have a passionate marketing partner who is willing to develop an event of this nature, in bringing the excitement of IRL IndyCar Series racing we’ll see on-track July 22-24 at America’s Legendary Oval, to West Bend.”

Sponsors of SPEEDFEST include Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds, Stocky’s Fast Track, The Milwaukee Mile, The Indy Racing League, Miller Brewing, the Gehl Company and Coca Cola.

Speedway sues NASCAR  Kentucky Speedway hopes to force its way onto the coveted NASCAR Nextel Cup Series circuit through an anti-trust lawsuit filed in federal court in Covington Wednesday. The Sparta, Ky., race track has tried unsuccessfully to attract a Nextel Cup race since it opened in 2000, and attorney Stan Chesley said Wednesday that NASCAR owners have flatly refused to bring a Cup race to the track.

"They've literally said you're not going to get a race," Chesley said at a press conference Wednesday evening.

The Speedway, owned by a partnership led by Jerry Carroll, filed a lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., both of Daytona Beach, Fla., that accuses the organizations of abusing their monopoly on premium stock car racing.

"The law of our land and the Congress that made that law make it crystal clear that you can have a monopoly but you cannot abuse that monopoly," Chesley said. "(NASCAR and International Speedway) have decided to genetically engineer who gets a Nextel Cup race," he said.

The lawsuit calls for NASCAR to award Kentucky Speedway a Nextel Cup race in 2006 and the right to compete for a Cup race annually beginning in 2007. It also calls for NASCAR to institute a competitive bidding process "to permit full and fair competition for the right to host a Nextel Cup Series race," according to the lawsuit. Kentucky Speedway has drawn all other levels of NASCAR races to the track, including the Meijer 300 Busch Series truck race and a steady stream of business from renting the track out for product testing, team testing and driving schools. More at Cincinnati Post

Ky. Speedway Track demands $400M and a 2006 Nextel Cup race  Kentucky Speedway's owners are seeking more than $400 million in damages and a 2006 Nextel Cup race in a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp.

Cincinnati lawyer Stan Chesley, representing Kentucky Speedway LLC, said NASCAR and ISC violated federal antitrust laws by restricting which tracks host NASCAR's premier Nextel Cup races.

Chesley said NASCAR officials told the speedway's owners that the Sparta track would not get a Nextel Cup event.

"They literally said ... you're not going to get a race," he said.

The suit also seeks an injunction forcing NASCAR to establish a competitive-bidding process in awarding Nextel Cup races and elimination of some Nextel Cup rules that the speedway calls monopolistic.

"In my opinion, the facts clearly support a conclusion that NASCAR and ISC have colluded to exclude competition in order to financially benefit themselves," Chesley said.

"By doing so, they have harmed not only Kentucky Speedway but also all stock-car racing fans nationwide."

Suit 'not surprising'

Dennis McAlpine, a securities analyst with McAlpine Associates LLC in Scarsdale, N.Y., who follows the motor sports industry, said he wasn't surprised by Kentucky Speedway's lawsuit because of a settlement NASCAR reached last year on a suit filed by Francis Ferko, a shareholder of race promoter Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Under that settlement, SMI, which controls six tracks that host Nextel Cup races, bought North Carolina Speedway from ISC. That track closed and its race moved from Rockingham, N.C., to Texas.

"It's not surprising at all, given the outcome of the Ferko suit, in which there was another race granted to Texas Motor Speedway," McAlpine said.

"I think (Kentucky Speedway chairman and developer) Jerry Carroll has done an excellent job with that track," McAlpine said. "I think given the circumstances, he has made the most of what he has for races, and has promoted some of the most successful Bush races and IRL (Indy Racing League) races."

McAlpine years ago worked for an investment bank that sought to raise money for Kentucky Speedway's construction.  "NASCAR and ISC's activities have harmed race fans in Ohio and Kentucky," Houston-based lawyer Steve Susman, also representing the speedway, said in a news release. "NASCAR's treatment of Kentucky Speedway makes the most egregious tactics of drivers fighting for position on the track look like a Sunday-afternoon drive in the country."  Full article at Cincinnati Enquirer

NASCAR and ISC hit with yet another antitrust lawsuit  UPDATE This could turn into a real slugfest.  Stan Chesley, the lawyer for Kentucky Speedway is no slouch.  He is a nationally known (and locally revered or reviled depending on which side you are on) for his “David vs. Goliath” class action suits in the past. 07/13/05 Kentucky Speedway’s owners, frustrated with their inability to attract a Nextel Cup Series race, sued NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation in federal court here today.  Cincinnati lawyer Stanley Chesley, representing Kentucky Speedway LLC, said NASCAR and ISC violated federal antitrust laws by illegally restricting the award of NASCAR Nextel Cup races.   The suit also alleges antitrust violations involving Busch and Craftsman Truck series races

“In my opinion, the facts clearly support a conclusion that NASCAR and ISC have colluded to exclude competition in order to financially benefit themselves,” Chesley said in a news release. “By doing so, they have harmed not only Kentucky Speedway but also all stock car racing fans nationwide. NASCAR and ISC’s activities have harmed race fans in Ohio and Kentucky,” said Houston-based attorney Steve Susman, also representing the speedway in the written announcement. “NASCAR’s treatment of Kentucky Speedway makes the most egregious tactics of drivers fighting for position on the track look like a Sunday afternoon drive in the country.” 

NASCAR officials were not immediately available to comment.

Sperafico still in HVM seat, looks forward to Edmonton  “The Canadian races are some of the best on the schedule, they always have a great atmosphere and lot of support from the fans.  I am sure Edmonton will be just as exciting.  It is a new track so I expect to have a little more work to do on Friday.  I think we can start with a good car and my engineer will fine-tune it through the weekend.  This time will be a little better for me because now I have a race under my belt with the team and now the car is prepared specifically for me.  I joined the team at the last minute before Toronto, and everyone did a great job, but this weekend will be great because now I can get straight to work on race preparation, and also I know everyone a little better now so I am really looking forward to it.  I expect to do well and improve my performance and I know I will have a great racecar for the race on Sunday, so as a driver, that gives me a lot of confidence." Alex Sperafico
Dalziel back to sports cars  Ryan Dalziel returns to sports car competition this weekend competing in the ‘Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma', round five of the 2005 ALMS. Teamed once again with Alex Figge, the former Toyota Atlantic rivals will share driving duties at the Infineon Raceway for Pacific Coast Motorsports behind the wheel of the GT1 #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R.

Dalziel's trip to California follows the 23-year-old's top-ten performance in the Champ Car World Series at the Molson Indy Toronto last Sunday, 10th July. The Orlando-based Scot welcomed the opportunity to make his premier open-wheel start on the back of an offer from Dale Coyne Racing and with the kind permission of PCM, there being no conflict that day between the two schedules.

Ryan switched disciplines with ease and hustled his Champ Car to an impressive ninth place finish on the streets of Toronto having had just one day of testing in the car prior to the weekend's first practice session.
Fisher in Childress development program  Thanks to Danicamania, the Indy Racing League is gaining valuable fans in its quest to slow down the NASCAR machine. There is little hope in stopping it.  Danica Patrick has become the country's latest race darling. Being the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 certainly didn't hurt her profile, or the fact she races for an open-wheel team co-owned by TV's David Letterman.

The average fan probably doesn't know who won at Indy (it was Dan Wheldon, remember?), but they can recall Danica leading. And the general public was ecstatic that Patrick won a pole at Kansas Speedway in a car prepared by former champion Bobby Rahal.

However, long before there was Danica, there was Sarah Fisher. She also had the good looks, a great personality and the talent to control a car at 225-plus mph. She also had the genes, a child of parents that both raced and a maternal grandmother among the first to fly in Ohio.   What Fisher didn't have was sponsorship or the equipment.

At a meeting at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., in 2003, Richard Childress offered Fisher a ride in a stock car.  Childress knows a thing or two about drivers with potential. After all, he was the man who directed Dale Earnhardt to five of his seven NASCAR championships.

Fisher took Childress up on the offer this year when her IndyCar prospects had shriveled to nothing. These days, Fisher is driving for owner Bill McAnally as part of the Childress developmental program. NASCAR needs a driver like Fisher, or Allison Duncan or Erin Crocker. Duncan, another one in the Childress development pipeline, has two late model stock car victories in Stockton. Crocker is driving for Ray Evernham and was recently second in an ARCA race in Kentucky.

All three women have displayed their talent. All three are getting the opportunity in good equipment, and the racing industry is better for it.

Fisher can only get better under McAnally's mentoring. He's a former racer who knows what it takes to win races and championships, and has passed that knowledge down. His three-car team, will be in action July 23 at Irwindale Speedway for the NASCAR Grand National West. Daily Bulletin 

IRL continues sex-theme based marketing  UPDATE The IRL is not aware of an upcoming Danica Patrick spread in Maxim. The League does have a contest offer for the Fontana race that is a Maxim promotion.  They have had a relationship with the magazine for three years and this is part of it.  It should be noted that Danica Patrick's sexy photos draped over a car were shot when she was in the Toyota Atlantic series. 07/13/05 Buoyed by the exploitation of Danica Patrick and the resultant rise in TV ratings and attendance, MAXIM (the magazine full of pictures of near-naked sexy women made just for men) and the IndyCar Series have teamed.  The IndyCar Series is featured as part of MAXIM Magazine's "Yours For The Taking" promotion. The August 2005 Issue of MAXIM features the promotion, which invites readers to visit maximonline.com and register for a chance to win a VIP trip to the IndyCar Series' season-ending Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway on Oct. 16. The VIP experience includes hotel, airfare, spending money and the race with you and a friend escorted by 4 Maxim models. The August issue of MAXIM is available on newsstands on July 14.

Is a  near-naked Danica Patrick MAXIM spread in the works?

Hutchens II passes safety test  Safety Solutions announced the new Hutchens II which has passed the NASCAR mandated SFI 38.1 Specification. NASCAR officials were present and set-up the testing done at Delphi. The official request for approval to NASCAR will be submitted by the end of this week, although copies of the test data have been received by there officials. The Hutchens II combines a small carbon fiber spacer used to change the helmet tether pivot points to better control the occupant head motion early in the event. A single 3 inch Kevlar back strap drapes over the carbon spacer and anchors to the seat belt buckle, like a traditional Hutchens Device. The carbon spacer and strap harness combine to provide an all around better performing restraint with major benefits not only in frontal and angular frontal impacts tested in the stringent SFI 38.1 standard, but also in side and multiple impacts where some current restraints fail. For more information on the Hutchens II visit the website www.hutchensdevice.com
Montoya fast despite engine woes  The West McLaren Mercedes team began a three day test at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain on Wednesday, with Juan Pablo, Kimi and Alex sharing the week's testing duties. This week also marks the team's final testing session before the six week summer test ban comes into force. Juan Pablo and Alex were in action in extremely hot conditions, the track temperature reaching 51 degrees Celsius and both drivers were behind the wheel of MP4-20s.

Juan Pablo's program included Michelin tire testing of the prime and option tire for the forthcoming Mobil 1 German Grand Prix, alongside suspension and aero development work. His program was interrupted early on due to an engine oil leak. After returning to the track in the afternoon he suffered an engine failure.

Alex meanwhile was working on a tire program for the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix, completing short runs in the morning and concentrating on heavy fuel loads and longer runs in the afternoon. Juan Pablo was the eighth fastest man on the circuit with a time of 1:18.579, while Alex was ninth setting a time of 1:18.709. McLaren

Panis debuts Toyota V8  Olivier Panis managing just 22 laps before suffering a pressure loss in the new Toyota V8 engine. "It is just so different," Panis told Autosport-Atlas at the end of the day. "You just expect more power to come after a while. First and second [gears] it is okay but after that there is no more, it is so different."

Panis set a best time of 1:22.422 with the Toyota, nearly three seconds off the pace of the closest of the rivals running with the V10 engines. The team, however, were pleased with their initial progress.

"This is first time we have run the car in a test," said Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne. "We've not even shaken it down, and so far it is good.  The vibration is a lot less than what we have expected. We had more vibration problems on the test bench than here and so far it is running without problem. We will have a V8 car in every test from now and we will have to see how the progress is.  At the moment we installed the engine in this year's car with a spacer between the engine and gearbox, so once it is the new car the installation will be completely different. This is just to get a general idea of the problem."

Speedway to offer "no smoking" section  Lowe's Motor Speedway is kicking the tobacco habit. The racetrack in Concord says today it will offer a no smoking, alcohol-free family section at its October 15th Nextel Cup race.  The track has never offered a family section at any other top-level NASCAR event. But track president "Humpy" Wheeler says officials want to emphasize that stock car racing is a family sport.   A track spokesman says the speedway has gotten a lot of requests in recent years from fans who want to sit in a section without smoking and drinking. The family section will include 4100 of the track's 165,000 permanent seats and can be expanded for future races.
Atlantic Series Hot Topics for Edmonton  
It’s Good To Be Back: This weekend marks the first time that the Atlantic series will compete at Finning International Speedway in Edmonton. It’s not the first time that the series has raced in the city, however. In fact, Edmonton was on the calendar in the very first Atlantic series season of 1974. The Atlantics competed at Edmonton International Speedway five times, from 1974-77 and again in 1981. Bertil Roos won the pole at the first event in 1974, back when Atlantics was known as the Player’s Challenge Series. The first Edmonton race was won by Bill Brack, who went on to win the first series championship that year. Legendary Canadian racer Gilles Villeneuve won in Atlantics in Edmonton in 1976 and ’77.

 Charles Still In Charge: Despite suffering his worst result of the season – a DNF due to an engine failure while leading the race in Toronto last weekend, rookie Atlantic standout Charles Zwolsman continues to lead the Atlantic standings. But the rest of the field is gaining on him. Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Red Line Oil), who also had mechanical issues last weekend, is just seven points behind Zwolsman. After capturing his first series victory in Toronto, Canadian rookie Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design) has dramatically closed the gap. Bessette now trails the leader by just 23 points in the tight Atlantic title chase.

Talent Up Front: A quick look at the Atlantic statistics demonstrates just how deep and talented the series field is this season, especially when it comes to those drivers running at the front of the pack. Through seven of 12 rounds, a total of six drivers have led a race this season and four drivers have won pole positions. By comparison, in 2004 only four drivers led a race and only three drivers won poles over the course of the entire season.

Bessette Breakout: It took Antoine Bessette just seven starts to earn his first Toyota Atlantic win and last Sunday’s victory probably couldn’t have been more satisfying for the St. Bruno, Quebec native. He made a daring pass for the lead with two laps left in the race and outlasted David Martinez to the checkered flag in front of the raucous Canadian crowd at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. The result was Bessette’s third podium of the year and second in a row. The rookie Polestar Star Racing Group driver has now led 37 laps this season, pacing the majority of the season opener at Long Beach before finishing second to Katherine Legge, and also leading Round 6 in Cleveland for several laps before coming home second.

Wirth Mentioning: Rookie Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors) of Brooks Associates Racing is quietly putting together an outstanding season and he’s been red hot lately. The 20-year-old German racer has posted five consecutive podium finishes, including three straight third-place results. Wirth is the first Atlantic rookie since Alex Barron in 1997 to record five consecutive podiums. Barron went on to win the title that season. The last driver to finish on the podium in five straight events was Ryan Dalziel, who did it in his second season in 2003 when he finished as series runner-up to AJ Allmendinger. Hoover Orsi, the 2001 Atlantic champion, earned eight straight podiums to end that ’01 campaign. Wirth, the 2004 Formula BMW USA champion, has also been impressive in qualifying, finishing among the top five qualifiers in all seven events this season.

We’re Going Streaking:  In additional to Wirth, several other drivers will be carrying impressive streaks into this weekend’s action in Edmonton. Series leader Charles Zwolsman has qualified among the top three in six consecutive races and he’s also led a lap in three straight events. Tonis Kasemets has qualified among the top five in each of the last six races. Antoine Bessette has been among the top five qualifiers in every event this season and he’s looking for his third straight podium this weekend.

The C Stands For Close: While the fight for the overall Atlantic championship remains tight, the battle for the 2005 Yokohama Tire C2 Cup is almost as close. Justin Sofio carries a 10-point advantage, 177-167, over rival Dan Cobb in the C2 category standings entering Round 8 this weekend.

Sign of the Times: All Toyota Atlantic Championship drivers will be available to sign autographs for fans on Saturday afternoon, July 16. From 1:30-2 p.m. local time the Atlantic series will host a fan appreciation activity featuring an all-driver autograph on Adrenaline Alley at Finning International Speedway.

Latest F1 news in brief  
F1 soap-opera moves to Monaco
Heads shake at broken pact
'Hungarian GP in decline'
Williams' 'risky' route
F1's 'minute of shame'
Rubens 'keen' on BAR, Toyota
Renault to hit cruise mode
'Brace for less power'
'Boost button' backed
F1 not sold  Contrary to reports, the coveted 'F1' car registration plate was not sold at auction last month.  Ireland's 'News Letter' publication reported that the plate, owned by Essex County Council (UK), did not reach its reserve price despite bids of several hundred thousand pounds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed event.

It 'remains with the council,' the media report insisted, hinting at a reserve price somewhere in the range of an extraordinary $600,000. Essex's '1F' plate did, though, sell -- for $255,000.

Kanaan to co-host Wind Tunnel  Reigning IRL IndyCar® Series champion Tony Kanaan will serve as guest co-host of the popular Speed Channel talk show "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" on July 17, one day after the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.  Kanaan, who earned his first victory in nearly a year on July 3 at Kansas Speedway, is second to his teammate Dan Wheldon in the series point standings. Going into this week's race in Nashville, Kanaan is 76 points behind Wheldon.  "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" airs at 9 p.m. (EDT) on Speed Channel.
Industry News
SPEED to offer in-car camera option  SPEED Channel, in partnership with Global Media Services, rolls out a new service for race fans July 24, when the network debuts its new interactive On-board SPEED Pass live from the AMA Superbike race at Mid-Ohio. Accessed through www.SPEEDTV.com, SPEED Pass gives viewers of SPEED's television race coverage the Internet option of toggling among as many as six live channels of streaming race video from multiple on-board cameras.

"Viewers will have exclusive video and multimedia content for each race," said Kevin Annison, SPEED Channel VP of Business Development and Operations. "SPEED Pass lets the fans call the camera shots they most want to experience.

"This new service is a continued evolution of brand extension initiatives SPEED has entered into already in 2005," Annison added. "A mobile product partnership with Airborne Entertainment, an interactive effort with Proteus Inc., a new mobile marketing program, expansion of SPEED VOD offerings and a major push behind the network's official Web site, SPEEDTV.com, are just of a few of the things we have up and running this year -- all are aimed at connecting SPEED Channel viewers with emerging technologies."

Choosing individual events á la carte costs $4.99 per event. Purchasing an entire series package offers subscribers a 10-percent discount.

In addition to the AMA event, On-board SPEED Pass is available with select events in the American Le Mans Series, ARCA, the Rolex Sports Car Series and IROC.

The planned schedule of offerings includes:

· ALMS from Portland (July 30, 8 p.m. ET; 3 hours)
· ALMS from Road America (Aug. 21, 3 p.m. ET; 3 hours)
· ALMS from Mosport (Sept. 4, 3 p.m. ET; 3 hours)
· ALMS - Petit Le Mans (Oct. 1, 11 a.m. ET; 6.5 hours)
· ALMS - Petit Le Mans (Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m. ET; 2 hours)
· ARCA from St. Louis (July 29, 9 p.m. ET; 2 hours)
· ARCA from Nashville (Aug. 13, 2 p.m. ET; 2 hours)
· ARCA from Michigan (Aug. 19, 5 p.m. ET; 2 hours)
· ARCA from Toledo (Sept. 2, 9 p.m. ET; 2 hours)
· ARCA from Chicago (Sept. 10, 2 p.m. ET; 2 hours)
· IROC from Richmond (Sept. 8, TBD; 1.5 hours)
· IROC from Atlanta (Oct. 29, 1:30 p.m. ET; 1.5 hours)
· Grand-Am from Birmingham (July 31, 1 p.m. ET; 3 hrs)
· Grand-Am from Watkins Glen (Sept. 24, 3 p.m. ET; 3 hours)
· Grand-Am from Virginia (Oct. 9, 1 p.m. ET; 3 hours)
· Grand-Am from Mexico City (Nov. 5, 4 p.m. ET; 3 hours)

*Schedule subject to change

"Global Media Services is excited to enable SPEED Channel to provide millions of fans both live and on demand streaming applications through our vast portfolio of professional services," said GMS Chief Media Officer Adam Cohen. "It will be exciting for fans globally to be able to experience cutting-edge technology melded with the excitement of SPEED Channel's expansive repertoire of racing."

San Jose construction photos  Until now, the construction of the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José temporary street circuit has looked like normal infrastructure maintenance and repair. Street paving, light pole dismantling, dead tree removal and a path cut through a median. Starting now, the circuit will truly begin to take shape as the first grandstands are constructed and the first wall block is installed.

The inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José, the eighth stop on the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule, is set for July 29-31 on the downtown streets of San José. The approximately 1.6-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit, loops around McEnery Convention Center and passes by the Tech Museum and Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park.

Construction of Gold Grandstands #1 and #2, located on Almaden Blvd. plus Bronze Grandstand #1 on Balbach has begun with the first wall block expected to be placed shortly along what will be the straightaway in front of the Convention Center on Almaden Blvd., the fastest part of the race track.

Track construction has been scheduled to minimize the impact to local businesses, residents and traffic flow. The circuit will be completed the week of the event with full road closure set for Thursday, July 28 at 6:00 p.m. Grandstand construction is being done by Mike Brown Grandstands while the block is being placed by Peninsula Crane and Rigging out of San José.

"We have entered the final phase of construction of the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José circuit and I am happy to say that everything is proceeding according to plan and is on schedule," said Vice President and General Manager Bob Singleton. "Construction of the grandstands, suites, the actual circuit and other infrastructure has been coordinated to minimize the inconvenience to residents and businesses," he noted. "I personally want to thank the City of San Jose and all the workers who are participating in this project. They have done an outstanding job preparing the streets and site. When construction is completed the City of San José will have a first class temporary downtown street circuit for what is going to be a world class event," Singleton concluded.

The Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José, Northern California's historic first downtown street race, will be much more than a race. In addition to practice, qualifying and races for five events, the schedule calls for a week of activities in downtown San Jose.

The Champ Car race, which features some of the greatest drivers in the world including former champions: Morgan Hill's Jimmy Vasser (1996), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Paul Tracy (2003) and Sebastien Bourdais (2004) plus Los Gatos native A. J. Allmendinger and Mexican star Mario Dominquez, piloting cars that will approach speeds of 190 mph, will be run at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 31. The weekend of racing will draw over 100,000 spectators to northern California's largest city generating an economic impact of approximately $20 million for the City of San José. In addition, the race will be televised live on SPEED Channel on Sunday, July 31 with a second airing on KNTV NBC 11 that evening. It will also be broadcast in 160 countries thus showcasing the city of San José to viewers around the world.

Tickets for the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José are selling rapidly and with over 80% of the hospitality suites already sold, Taylor Woodrow Homes as title sponsor and 15 Official Sponsors including AAA Towing - Auto Club Membership, Autobahn Motors Mercedes Benz, Clear Channel, Cytomax Sport Drink, the Fairmont Hotel, Hertz Rental Cars, Ikon, iLoop Mobile Inc., KNTV NBC 11, Miller Brewing Company/South Bay Beverage, San José Mercury News, Telemundo, Toyota, Wine and Roses Limousine Service and Yellow Checker Cab Co. already announced, all indications are that the inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San José will be a huge success.

Work on the San Jose Grand Prix's Alamaden Blvd. grandstands near the start/finish line are now completed while more grandstand installation work is being performed on the Balbach Ave. straight. Suites will be erected on the top of many grandstands (Photos by Paul Castoro)

Like most of Champ Car's street venues, the grandstands are about 15 too shallow.

Ralf Schumacher fastest Wed. at Jerez  
1. Ralf Schumacher Toyota-Toyota 1m 17.633s 57 laps
2. Jenson Button BAR-Honda 1m 17.733s 77 laps
3. Franck Montagny Renault-Renault 1m 17.765s 69 laps
4. Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas 1m 18.000s 65 laps
5. Giancarlo Fisichella Renault-Renault 1m 18.069s 75 laps
6. Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda 1m 18.428s 63 laps
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth 1m 18.449s 82 laps
8. Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1m 18.584s 26 laps
9. Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1m 18.712s 89 laps
10. Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1m 18.759s 42 laps
11. Christian Klien Red Bull-Cosworth 1.19.010 81 laps
12. Niko Rosberg Williams-BMW 1.19.510 46 laps
13. Olivier Panis Toyota-Toyota 1.22.422 22 laps
14. Antonio Pizzonia Williams-BMW 1.30.663 8 laps
Williams tests BMW V8  Williams started a three-day test at Jerez with Nico Rosberg and Antonio Pizzonia. The Grove-based team tested the new BMW 2.4-litre engine in the FW27B chassis driven by Antonio Pizzonia. The Brazilian completed eight laps in the FW27B before switching over to a V10-equipped FW27 in the afternoon.

Nico Rosberg covered a total of 40 laps until a stomach problem forced him out of the test.

Tim Newton, Test Team Manager - "Nico spent the majority of today’s test investigating the issues we are trying to resolve on the current chassis. He also completed some systems checks and set-up development work. Antonio drove the FW27B this morning, in which we are running the new BMW V8 engine for the first time, but returned to the FW27A chassis in the afternoon when Rosberg was forced to withdraw from the test with stomach problems. Antonio Pizzonia will be joined by Nick Heidfeld for the second day of the test.”

Edmonton hot topics  This weekend’s race marks the first time that has christened a new road- or street-course event since February of 2003 when the series became the first to run on the streets of St. Petersburg. The series will run another inaugural event two weeks from now at the first-ever Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose, marking the first time since 2002 (Denver, Montreal) that Champ Car has run two consecutive inaugural events.

RuSPORT Romps – The second-year RuSPORT squad scored the first win of its young existence last weekend and has both Justin Wilson and A.J. Allmendinger in the top four spots in the title hunt. The 6’5” Wilson – Champ Car’s own Tower of London – has five top-seven runs this year, his only substandard performance coming in Portland when he was on his way to victory when his oil pump seized.

Tracy Out Front – Paul Tracy has led laps in each of the first six races of the season and has qualified in the top five for every race this year. The Ontario native is the only Canadian driver to win at two different home-country venues (Vancouver, Toronto) and will look to make it three this weekend in Edmonton.

Bridgestone Sees Red – Exclusive tire supplier and series presenting sponsor Bridgestone will be bringing its red-walled alternate tires to this weekend’s race, giving teams and driver a bit more strategy to consider in formulating their race-day plans. The alternate Potenzas are made of a softer compound, and must be used at least once during the race.

Bourdais Battles On – Sebastien Bourdais has used a consistent approach to take the series points lead this year as he looks to defend his 2004 crown. The points leader has a 15-point lead over Paul Tracy in the standings and has done it partially by being the only driver so far to finish every race, as well as by leading the series in laps and miles completed. Staying on the track and out of trouble has led him to finish sixth or better in every race this year.

Glock Grabs Lead – Timo Glock has retaken the lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year Award standings, using five top-10 finishes to claim a three-point lead over Andrew Ranger after six races. The German has put together four consecutive top-10 runs highlights by last week’s seventh-place effort in Toronto.

Depth of Talent – The unpredictability of the Champ Car World Series has manifested itself on the podium on race weekends. The series has had five different winners in six races, nine different drivers have scored top-three runs and 19 drivers have scored top-10 finishes.

Bridgestone Pole Award – Bridgestone puts up $10,000 each weekend for the Bridgestone Pole Award, given to the top-qualifying driver for Sunday’s race. To this point, four drivers have captured the award, which features $5,000 of that award being earmarked for charity. In addition, Bridgestone is sponsoring a year-end award, with $30,000 going to the driver with the most pole positions. After six races, Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy are tied with two poles each.

F1 Migration – To further illustrate the depth of field this season, the 2005 driver roster has four drivers that have recent experience in Formula 1 including newcomers Timo Glock (Jordan, 2004), Bjorn Wirdheim (Jaguar, 2004) and Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, 2003-04). In addition, the series features four former FIA International F3000 champions (Wilson, Bourdais, Junqueira, Wirdheim), who have proven themselves in one of the top open-wheel feeder series in the world.

HVM Provides Spark – Alex Sperafico had 10 Champ Car starts under his belt when he took the wheel of the HVM Racing #55 machine last week, but had never had a day like he did in Toronto. Sperafico finished on the lead lap for the first time in his career and earned a career-best eighth-place finish.

Phlying Philippe – Nelson Philippe had one of his best Champ Car weekends last week when he earned his first top-10 starting position. He went on to finish 10th despite suffering contact, scoring his first top-10 run of the season.

Bourdais’ Defense – 2004 Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais will look to become the first driver since Gil de Ferran (2000-01) to defend his series title. One of the youngest drivers ever to reach double-digits in Champ Car wins (11), Bourdais has 19 podium finishes in his 38 series starts, a percentage that is unmatched in the annals of Champ Car racing.

Shutting the Window – In an effort to introduce more race craft and strategy into Champ Car racing, the series has eliminated the mandatory pit windows that have been in effect for the last two seasons. Teams now have the ability to employ a number of different strategies in regard to pit stops as they fight for the top step of the podium.

Ever-Expanding Series – The 2005 season will feature three new events on the Champ Car World Series calendar and has already seen an historic new event slated for 2006. Races in Edmonton, San Jose, California and Ansan, South Korea have been added to the 14-race lineup while a race in Beijing, China will be part of the 2006 season. The Beijing event will mark the first time that a U.S.-based racing series will compete in mainland China.

Safety First – Cementing its standing as one of the safest racing series in the world, the Champ Car World Series will look to continue its remarkable run of injury-free racing in 2005. The efforts of the Champ Car Safety Team and the on-site, state-of-the-art medical team led by Dr. Chris Pinderski, combined with the skill of the drivers and teams of the series have led to two years of safety that has seen just one driver miss a race due to an injury suffered in a Champ Car event, that coming in Cleveland in 2003 when Tiago Monteiro was held out of the race due to a mild concussion.

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking  Updated 7-13-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 10.427
2. (2) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 8.641
3. (4) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.852
4. (3) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 7.663
5. (6) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 7.585
6. (10) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.463
7. (17) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.145
8. (8) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.049
9. (30) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 7.017
10. (22) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.940
11. (13) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.935
12. (18) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.815
13. (12) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 6.736
14. (7) Michael Schumacher (F1) 6.736
15. (NR) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.596
16. (NR) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.445
17. (9) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 6.360
18. (11) Dale Jarrett (NASCAR) 6.302
19. (20) Joe Nemechek (NASCAR) 6.258
20. (29) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 6.159
Last week's ranking in parenthesis
FIA statement on 2008 F1 regulations  The FIA is considering enforcing a downforce limit in Formula One in a bid to reduce speeds and aid passing. Rather than, as at present, continually tweak the rules, the Max Mosley-led governing body - in a letter to the teams - said imposing an 'x newton' limit would force aerodynamicists to focus on reducing drag rather than seeking maximum possible downforce.

''We would have to have an accurate and reliable means of measurement,'' Max Mosley said, ''but I am told this will be much easier with a single tire supplier. If there is ... support for such ideas, we should like to discuss possible action for 2008 ... urgently.''

Perhaps in a bid to appease unhappy carmakers, Max also revealed that there might be a case for retaining 'useful' - as opposed to 'sterile' - technology in F1.

What follows is a statement from the FIA in which they express their views on technology in Formula One in 2008 and beyond. While the FIA wish to limit driver aides, they are not against proposals such as energy recovery systems first looked at in the late 1990s. More.....

Sam Michael calls for F1 circuit changes  In order to enable more overtaking in Formula One, Sam Michael is in favor of changing track layouts. Hockenheim where the German GP will be held, is one of the best circuits in his view.

Following the result of the recent FIA survey, which said that more than 90 percent of Formula One fans want to see more overtaking, the sport's masterminds are giving this issue some serious thought. Sam Michael, Technical Director of WilliamsF1, regards track layouts as a crucial factor.

“The best two examples are Barcelona, being the worst, and probably Hockenheim being the best,” he explains. “If you look at Hockenheim from turn two down to turn three it's an 80 kph corner followed by a 1.2 kilometer long straight and at the end of it is a 60 kph corner with a tarmac run-off. It is just what you want for overtaking. Barcelona by contrast is almost the same length straight but you come on to it at 240 kph and come off it at 130 kph and you don't see any overtaking at all.”

“There's definitely a lot that can be done with circuit design, especially if you are designing all these new circuits at the moment. You still have to have special sections like the Esses at Suzuka or Eau Rouge at Spa. However, all circuits should have a section with one or two slow corners followed by a long straight, followed by another slow corner with tarmac runoff. That would help significantly,” adds Michael. WilliamsF1

Wilson says Champ Car on right track  Yorkshireman Justin Wilson is happy to turn his back on Formula One and concentrate on making his name in the United States. Wilson, from Sheffield, won his first Champ Car race after 18 months of trying last weekend in Toronto to finally announce his arrival as a serious contender in the US. The 25-year-old switched to Champ Cars after his stint in Formula One with Minardi and Jaguar ended in 2003 but he has no regrets at abandoning his grand prix dream. Wilson has set his sights on following in the footsteps of drivers such as Nigel Mansell, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve by winning the Champ Car series.

The RuSPORT driver told the Press Association: "I am pretty happy over here. I enjoyed my time in Formula One but that has passed and I see myself racing here for the next few years. I really think this championship is going in the right direction. I decided when the Formula One door was closed to me that this was where I wanted to be. The guys who own the series are trying to make this work and we all feel, all the drivers, that this has the potential to get back to where it was." Sporting Life

Bourdais slams Tracy  Sebastien Bourdais comes off as rather shy, soft-spoken and polite. Mention Canadian Paul Tracy's name, however, and the bitterness spouts forth. "Stupid" and "crazy" were two of the words he threw in Tracy's direction yesterday when he arrived in town for this weekend's inaugural Grand Prix of Edmonton.

"We're fighting for the same piece of track, but I'm not the one who has taken his own teammate out. I'm not the one with a history of crazy actions," said Bourdais of Tracy's record in Champ Car.

As the defending Champ Car points champion and the leader in this year's standings, Bourdais certainly has a competitive fire within. The blaze burned hot when the collision he had with Tracy at the end of pit row at the Toronto Molson Indy was mentioned. "If anything I should be the one (who) is really pissed about it," he said. "I was disappointed the way his engineer (Eric Zeto) treated it. He said it was bone-headed on my side. But when my right rear tire is punctured by his front wing there's not a lot I can do about that. I stayed within the yellow line in the pit. "There was plenty of room for two of us and we made contact again. And then he goes and runs out of fuel. That's a really stupid move - you're just throwing points away."

The latest installment of their rivalry seems to have sparked ill-will. "There have been a bit too many incidents between the two of us, but that's racing and I want to move on," said Bourdais, who drives for the powerhouse Newman/Haas team. More at Edmonton Sun

Transporters arrive in Edmonton  Only two days after the Toronto Molson Indy, transporters carrying Champ Cars began crossing their own finish line as they arrived in Edmonton last night. "It is a tough trip but we're all excited about coming to Edmonton," said RuSPORT team president Jeremy Dale, a born and raised Torontonian.

If things go according to plan, teams won't have to race across the country to make it to the next edition of the Grand Prix of Edmonton. Next season's Champ Car campaign could be adjusted slightly to make things a little easier for the teams to trek from Toronto out west. The races in Cleveland and Toronto are expected to move to back-to-back weekends with a week off before Edmonton gets rumbling again. Teams would then make their way to San Jose for a race right after the event here. More at Edmonton Sun

Bicycle Racing
Cyclist dies in crash at end of Portland race  A cyclist died when he crashed headfirst near the finish line during a road race at Portland International Raceway on Tuesday night. The 29-year-old cyclist from Milwaukee, whose name was withheld pending family notification, was 300 yards from finishing the 40-mile race when he lost control of his bike, said Lt. Allen Oswalt, a spokesman for Portland Fire and Rescue. The cyclist slammed headfirst into a steel post filled with concrete. AP Story
Latest F1 news in brief  
Flav hints at F1 compromise
F1 army back on duty
F1 champs to race
'I'll host '06 US grand prix'
BMW plot course to 2006
Button buzz 'not true'
Merc play down Kimi blow ups
'Let's keep 'hotlap' quali'
'BAR can win in 2005' - boss
New aero not magic fix - Todt
Buon Compleanno!
CARA, CHP To Assist Families  The California Highway Patrol and CARA Charities, one of motorsports’ leading charity organizations, will team up on Sunday, Oct. 16, at California Speedway to assist families with child passenger seats as part of the IRL IndyCar Series finale, the Toyota Indy 400. 

The partnership of CHP’s “Child Passenger Safety” program and CARA’s “Bridgestone/Firestone Buckle Up Baby” charity campaign has produced a special event on the morning of the Toyota Indy 400 for inspection and delivery of children car seats. 

The Oct. 16 CHP/CARA event will be open to all families (no purchase is necessary) as CHP officers volunteer their time to inspect that families’ child safety seats are properly installed and will assist in correcting any seats to its proper installation.  In addition, the CHP will give families new child passenger seats at California Speedway and install them.   

For those interested in seeing the Toyota Indy 400, tickets are on sale for $45 and children 12 and under are free or by calling 1-800-944-RACE or http://www.californiaspeedway.com

Since 1993, CARA, with the help of the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund, has donated nearly $700,000 in child safety seats to needy families, hospitals, medical facilities and organizations within the communities of open-wheel events in North America.

CARA contributes $2,500 at each race to provide child safety seats to low-income families.  

 The CARA/CHP partnership also is in conjunction with the CARA’s charity event, Raceway Rendezvous, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14, at California Speedway.  Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised through the annual CARA event. This year’s theme has a western theme and many of the top IndyCar drivers participate in the affair.  

“We would like to thank CARA Charities for their contribution to our Children Passenger Safety Seat program,” said Mike Brown, commissioner of the California Highway Patrol.  “Many child and baby seats are not properly installed and that results in injuries.  With the help of CARA, we can expand our program’s awareness as well as helping needy families with new car seats.” 

Supported by auto racing legends such as Rick Mears, Johnny Rutherford and Bobby Rahal as well as racing industry leaders like Tony George, Al Speyer and Les Unger to promote children safety, the “Buckle Up Baby” campaign was awarded the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Buckle Up America Champion Award.  

“Protecting many children while traveling with their families has been our goal thanks to the generous contributions from the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund,” said Barbara Butz, president of CARA Charities. “Many families simply cannot afford the lifesaving seats.  Now, this new program with the California Highway Patrol continues our program to additional awareness.  We want to thank Commissioner Brown and the CHP for this needed partnership to help families.”    

CARA Charities, founded in 1981 by Betty Rutherford and the women of open-wheel racing, has distributed over $3.7 million to numerous racing and community organizations.

Watson's joins Panther Racing  Watson's, America's Family Fun Store, will serve as an associate sponsor on the No. 95 Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by Buddy Lazier on July 16 at Nashville Superspeedway. The Midwest chain of stores sells everything from swimming pools, spas, hot tubs and pool tables to tanning beds and patio furniture. The Nashville store will host both Lazier and teammate Tomas Enge from 6-8 p.m., on July 14. The Nashville store is located on Old Hickory Blvd (exit 62 off I-24 East). Lazier and Enge will be available for photos and autographs during the event, and fans also can see one of Panther's show cars, which also will be at the store. IRL
Rain shortens Cup test at Brickyard  Scott Riggs and the MBV Motorsports team led testing on a rain-shortened day July 12 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 181.244 mph in the No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet. Riggs' top lap ranks him as seventh-fastest to date in 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series private testing at the 2.5-mile oval.

Greg Biffle remains the fastest of 2005 testing so far, thanks to the lap of 181.963 he posted July 10. The top five overall in 2005 testing at Indianapolis, which includes test days on July 5-6 and 11-12, are Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Ken Schrader, Robby Gordon and Elliott Sadler.

Riggs and his competitors are trying to get a handle on the combination of the newly repaved track surface at IMS and a new Goodyear tire compound, which will make finding the right setup difficult when teams return for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7.

"I only have one race here under my belt, so I'm trying to deviate from what I learned during that first race and trying to figure out the difference in the track now and how it sort of changed and what direction it's changed," Riggs said. "It takes a little bit different setup. We're definitely working with our cars . our cars are a lot different than last year. They've evolved into being a lot better cars, but also it takes a lot of different setup, too. I've learned a lot."

Ken Schrader was second-fastest of the day at 181.051 in the No. 49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge, and Jamie McMurray was third at 180.810 in the No. 42 Texaco Havoline Dodge. Weather forecasts called for heavy rains July 12 in Indianapolis, thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Dennis, but the 14 teams that elected to stay in town were able to find some track time. Brief, intermittent showers tested the patience of drivers and teams until heavier midday rain showers finally ended testing.

"Every time we go out, we want to make five eight-lap runs, but we're making one or two-lap runs because it keeps raining, and we're not finding out what the car's going to do on a long run, which is what we want to find out the most," Casey Mears said. "At the same time, we're still learning stuff."

Even though no driver has yet to approach Mears' track record of 186.293 set in 2004 qualifying, Mears is confident that his record will be broken this year.

"I think a combination of more grip in the track and less drag overall is making the speeds faster," he said. "We're seeing 208 (mph), 209 at the end of the straightaways while last year was 201. You're probably about the same in the corner but less drag down the straightaways. We haven't even made a qualifying run yet (in testing). If somebody hits it right and the weather's right, I see that track record going down."

The third and final round of private testing before the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard continues July 18-19, with former race winners Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, scheduled to test both days along with former USAC standout Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon and Indiana native Tony Stewart will test July 19 only.

Fans are welcome to watch testing July 18-19 from the South Terrace grandstands, located in the infield between Turns 1 and 2. Admission is free.

We won’t put Legge in a bikini and drape her over a car  Kevin Kalkhoven was also asked if his PKV Toyota/Atlantic driver Katherine Legge will be promoted to Champ Car next year to try to reap some of the promotional benefits Danica Patrick has brought to the IRL this year.

"Any driver who comes into the series has to be capable of winning," he replied. "With Katherine, she's not automatically assured a drive in Champ Car. She has to prove her worth because I'm not going to endanger other drivers by putting someone who is not prepared for Champ Cars in the seat. Having said that, I think she is going to be a strong and competitive driver. She has to earn her stripes.

"No matter what happens, I'm not going to automatically put her in and say, 'We need you for publicity. Would you mind getting in a bikini and draping yourself over a car?' (Obviously referring to the sexual exploitation of Danica Patrick) She's a professional driver and that's what we need in the series. I'm not going to give anyone a ride because she's a woman, nor would I expect her to be given an unfair advantage in the series against everyone else."  ChampCar.ws

Kalkhoven not trying to put IRL out of business  Kalkhoven was also asked to comment about Cosworth's IRL engine, currently badged by Chevrolet, and whether or not the engine would race in the '06 IRL series.

"It's there, it's competitive," he said about Cosworth's IRL power unit. "I think you'll have to ask the IRL what they are going to do. All I can say at the moment is that we have a very competitive engine and if a manufacturer wishes to badge it for the IRL, we will certainly supply it."

Does he see any conflict of interest in Cosworth competing in the IRL?

"I come from a technology background," Kalkhoven noted. "One thing I learned in Silicon Valley is that the more open you are, the more successful you are. If you try and monopolize something, it probably won't work. We've seen that 100 times over in technology companies. Is it good for Champ Car that another series uses a Cosworth engine? It actually, strangely, probably is. Why? Because you've got a strong engine development company who is independent.

"I'm not in the business of trying to put the IRL out of business," he added. [Editor's Note: Unlike Tony George who tried numerous times to put CART/Champ Car out of business.  People are beginning to understand who it's better to do business with.  The tide is turning.]  "I think it's important to have a strong independent engine manufacturer and that's what Cosworth is. I don't think it has anything to do with Champ Car, which will do just fine on its own. It's not even really directly about the money. Cosworth have proven they can produce engines in the IRL that are up against some big money engines and they can win in terms of power."  ChampCar.ws

Festival events surround Denver GP  Fast cars, Friday Night Fights and live music under the lights. The CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare today announced its official schedule for its street festival events, which will surround the three days of international auto racing. This year will be the first time the Grand Prix of Denver features events like boxing, a celebrity charity event, and a vintage car show and parade.

“The 2005 Grand Prix of Denver is like no other to date,” said Jim Freudenberg, the Grand Prix of Denver general manager.  “For instance, race fans will be in awe of the ski jumpers and freestyle motocross athletes, who will perform at track side. Those wanting evening entertainment can enjoy music under the lights on Thursday and Saturday nights. And this is the first time we will host championship boxing during race weekend. This year’s Grand Prix is truly energy unscripted.”

Festival activities begin on Wednesday, August 10, and auto racing begins on Friday, August 12. For full details on the festival events, the racing schedule, or to purchase tickets for the racing and festival events, please call 877-336-4701 or visit www.gpdenver.com.  Highlights of the week’s activities include:

Wednesday, August 10
BoSPOKER.com Celebrity Bowling, Billiards & Texas Hold ‘Em Charity
Tournament presented by Frontier Airlines – Twelve teams with two celebrities per team compete in bowling, billiards and poker to give back to charity

Thursday, August 11
Rocky Mountain Concours presented by Bridgestone – A Vintage Car Show and Parade

Champ Car Street Party presented by Bridgestone – Donavon Frankenreiter in concert, pit stop competitions, driver autographs, food and drinks

Friday, August 12
Patron Friday Night Fights presented by Coors Light--Championship Boxing brought to Denver by Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions

Saturday, August 13
Saturday Night Concert Under the Lights--Steven Page, THE VANITY PROJECT charity concert featuring Clarias—all proceeds benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

On-going activities inside the race circuit – Friday thru Sunday
Lifestyle, Technology and Interactive Expo               
Freestyle Moto X
Ski Jumping
Cytomax Skate Park featuring Colorado-native Pro-Am skater, Kody Wright
Interactive Kidz Zone
The World’s Largest Grill by Johnsonville

Industry News
Mahle drops Cosworth name  Cosworth, one of the UK's best-known names in high-performance engineering, has been dropped by Mahle, the German automotive group that bought Cosworth Technology from Volkswagen's Audi division earlier this year. The British concern, which has 650 employees in the UK Midlands, has been renamed Mahle Powertrain after becoming part of one of the automotive industry's larger Tier 1 suppliers.

The Mahle group employs 38,000 worldwide, had 2004 sales of €3.7bn ($4.4bn), and specializes in engine component design, development and manufacture. The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, enables Mahle for the first time to produce complete engine cylinder head modules.

"Cosworth gives us important new powertrain and engine engineering capabilities, creating for us a unique new business proposition in the long run," said Heinz Junker, chairman of Mahle's management board.

The renaming ends confusion surrounding the Cosworth brand after the company, founded as a racing engine maker in the 1950s, was split seven years ago by its previous owner, Vickers.

Audi bought Cosworth Technology, while Cosworth Racing went to Ford. However, Audi did not own the branding rights. These were held by Ford, which, last year sold Cosworth Racing to the Champ Car series. FT.com

Champ Car helps IRL succeed  Because a number of Champ Car races, such as last weekend's race in Toronto, still use the word "Indy" in their title - example, Molson Indy Toronto, Molson Indy Montreal, etc. many local newspapers in the USA label the box scores "Indy Racing" and not "Champ Car."  Can you blame them?  The poor schmuck doing the box scores would not know any better, and after all, the race is called "Indy" and not Grand Prix.  We wonder if Joyce Julius ever did a study to determine the brand recognition value that the IRL is getting as a result of Champ Car's refusal to make the change.

Why the races are not called the Molson Toronto Grand Prix, Molson Montreal Grand Prix, etc, is beyond us.  The Hulman-George family must toast Champ Car every chance they get.

Q and A with Kurt Busch  Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus, won both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at New Hampshire International Speedway last season.  As the circuit heads back to Loudon for Sunday's New England 300, Busch is 10th the point standings but only 58 points behind fifth-place Elliott Sadler.  He recently spoke about trying to make it three straight at the one-mile flat track.
THOUGHTS ON LOUDON.  "We're definitely gonna go for three in a row.  The main objective, obviously, is to see how this new tire and spoiler combination feels when we're there in July, so we know what to do in September.  It's very important to get off to a good start in the Chase because you can bump up from ninth to first in one week.  Hopefully, we're in a better position this year.  I think we went in there seventh last year and I think we can be a little bit better off and just get that strong run rolling for September.  We'd love to go there and make it three in a row and then we definitely have to focus on the bigger picture when we go back there in September."
WILL YOU TAKE THE SAME CAR YOU WON BOTH RACES WITH LAST YEAR?  "It's gonna be the same chassis and the same general geometry underneath the race car.  It's just a different body to try to help aid with some of the loss of downforce.  You start with the same basic setup and go from there, whether it's an impound race or a non-impound race."
MOST PEOPLE VIEW IT AS A SHORT TRACK EVEN THOUGH IT'S A MILE TRACK.  WHY?  "In my mind, I think it's a short track, but I know NASCAR designates it to be a superspeedway because it is over a mile in length.  But it's flat, so it's very tight with the speeds that you run there.  You don't get much downforce on the car, so it races more like Martinsville than it does a Dover, which is the same length of race track.  If you look at all the wins that I've got on short tracks, I'm going to think of Loudon as a short track."
THE SERIES HAS GONE FROM A ROAD COURSE TO RESTRICTOR-PLATE TRACK TO BANKED OVAL TO FLAT OVAL.  DO YOU LIKE THE VARIETY?  "It's definitely better for a veteran-style team and ones that have cars built months in advance.  If you're running three mile-and-a-halves in a row and you get off to a bad start on it, it might carry through to the second, third and fourth events.  I like the variety.  I liked when we used to go from Martinsville to Talladega - the smallest track to the biggest track - and then we've got road courses, speedways, mile-and-a-halves, and then a short track like Loudon.  You just have to adapt to each one of them differently because they all demand something different from the driver." Ford Racing
Q and A with Sebastien Bourdais  Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the No. 1 McDonald's-Newman Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola, had a busy weekend in Toronto. Bourdais edged Canadian favorite Paul Tracy for the pole and then survived contact with Tracy to finish fifth. As the Champ Car Series moves on, Bourdais comments on his focus heading into the inaugural race in Edmonton.

You've conquered so many of the regular courses in the Champ Car schedule. How will you approach the new track in Edmonton? "There are a lot of things to learn, both for the driver but also for the team. We really don't have a lot of time to figure it out, so it will be quite a big rush. Strategically, we will need to really be up on our game so we make the right decisions at the right time. I am quite excited. With the help of my Formula 2000 experience and the practice sessions, I think we will achieve quite a bit. I believe I have all the cards in my hand to get the job done. Hopefully, we'll end up in front."

Approximately how many laps do you feel it will take to get a true understanding of the new track in Edmonton? "I think to really comprehend a race track, especially this one with about 11 corners, I think it will probably take me about 20 laps to really completely know what I am doing out there."

What set-up will your team use to start? "It's always a tough decision. I know they repaved most of the race track, but they are using some of the asphalt section, too. Transitions will be pretty rough. So right now, our set-up is a mix of Cleveland and Portland. We are definitely going to be bright-eyed the first time out."

After the Molson Indy Toronto, race winner Justin Wilson stated the level of competition within the Champ Car Series allows for the bar to continually be raised. What are your thoughts on his statement? "I think everybody is just pushing everybody. On the street course, it's a mind game. You go out there, set up a line and everybody goes after it. So, the more you push, the bigger the chances you have to take out there. There is a limit. We are pushing the limit quite far these days because everyone has about the same stuff and ends up with the same set-up come the start of the race. Each track is a big, big challenge for each and everyone of us."

Are there any racing legends that you admire? "I've had only one idol, Ayrton Senna."

With your success on the track, have you had a chance to share your expertise with the younger generation? "I don't make it home too often, but at the Champ Car races, when young drivers come up to me and ask them for my advice, I try to help them. It's always bizarre to be taken as an example. Not so long ago I was one of those boys."

Any tracks that you foresee will create a challenge to you this season? "I am looking forward to Edmonton and Korea. My biggest challenge is: Every time you come back to a place where you've been successful, everyone is working really hard and giving you a heck of a run to stay in front. I pretty much tackle each track at the same level. Denver is a place where I want to try and do well again, but we will see what happens." Ford Racing

NASCAR Drivers Bobsled Race  The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project announced Monday that it will organize a bobsled race involving 10 NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series drivers. The event will take place Jan. 5-9, 2006 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

NASCAR veteran Geoff Bodine created the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project in 1992 after watching the 1992 Winter Olympic Games on television and noticing that USA Bobsled athletes competed with European-made sleds. At that time, the USA team had not won a medal since the 1956 Winter Games in Cortina, Italy.
Bodine set out on a quest of a “Made in America” sled project that would provide USA Bobsled athletes with sleds designed involving NASCAR technology. He contacted good friend Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics to design the new sleds, hence the name Bo for Bodine and Dyn for Chassis Dynamics. At the 1994 games in Lillehammer the USA teams used the new Bo-Dyn sleds but still had no medal results. In 1998, the USA teams missed a medal by two hundredths of a second. The USA teams broke the drought at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games by winning both silver and bronze in the four-man competitions, along with gold in the women’s competition. The USA team is now a constant medal winner on the World Cup circuit and the Bo-Dyn sleds are known as one of the best in the world, with their signature quietness when they are compared to other sleds coming down the mountain.

Bodine now feels that it is time for his fellow NASCAR drivers to have a chance to drive a sled like he has and he wants to use the race as a fundraiser for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project Inc. “With another track being built for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, I need to take the project to the next level, “says Bodine the 1986 Daytona 500 winner along with 18 other NASCAR wins. “Like NASCAR, the sport is about racing, rules and changes in technology, which mandates research and development and costs money. I need some other NASCAR people to assist me with the project. The best way is to get them into a bobsled environment and give them a feel for the sport. They will not be disappointed.” 

The drivers will not be going from the top of the track with the standard Bo-Dyn sleds, but from the two-thirds start in training sleds that will still see speeds of 50 miles per hour. The sleds will be painted in the colors and with the sponsors of each driver.

Following the competition, the Geoffrey Bodine Bobsled Fantasy Camp will begin giving NASCAR fans a chance to drive these same sleds, adding to the weekend’s festivities.

Bodine also feels that with the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy just a month after the event, the timing is perfect, as it will drive NASCAR interest in watching the United States compete in his Bo-Dyn sleds.

“It’s also a great weekend for both NASCAR teams, drivers and fans to come together in a different type of racing”, added Bodine. “Just after Christmas and the New Year, the NASCAR family is, in general, looking for some way to get back out and compete”.

Bodine has spoken to many drivers and received very positive feed back. One of the drivers, Boris Said, is very excited and stated that he could not wait for the opportunity.

“My father (Bob Said) was an Olympic bobsled driver at the 1972 Games in Sapporo, Japan,” remarked Said. “I used to ride sleds in Lake Placid and it is the fastest and most exciting racing experience I have ever had without a motor.”

 New York Olympic Regional Development Authority President and CEO Ted Blazer added, “We are very excited to have this event at our venue. We feel that Lake Placid is to bobsledding what Daytona is to auto racing. The drivers and fans will be welcomed here with open arms.”

Trans-Am makes historic return  It’s been more than 30 years since Edmonton has heard the rumble of V-8 racing engines, but that will change this weekend as the Trans-Am Series returns to Alberta’s capital city for the Festival City 100, the first Trans-Am race in Edmonton since 1973. The race, which is part of the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton weekend, is scheduled for Saturday, July 16 at Finning International Raceway, which is being constructed on the grounds of Edmonton’s City Centre Airport.

Though Trans-Am has visited Edmonton just twice, in 1971 and 1973 at the now shuttered Edmonton International Speedway, it has consistently made history.

The 1971 race was won by the late Trans-Am legend Mark Donohue. Driving an AMC Javelin, Donohue won from the pole that year, beating George Follmer’s Ford Mustang by 19.5 seconds. Donohue’s Edmonton victory started a six-race win streak that guided Donohue to his third and final Trans-Am title, in his final full season of Trans-Am competition.

The 1973 race featured a John Greenwood sweep of the pole, fastest race lap and the victory. Greenwood drove a Chevrolet Corvette in that event, the season finale, and finished fourth in the final points tally.

That history will continue this year as Paul Gentilozzi enters the event, following his passing the most significant milestone in his illustrious Trans-Am career. By scoring his 30th career victory last week in Toronto, Gentilozzi moved out of tie with Donohue for first on Trans-Am’s all-time win list. Gentilozzi (No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR) will bring that same drive and determination to Edmonton with eyes on #31. Gentilozzi also leads nearly every Trans-Am performance category, including podiums, top-five and top-ten finishes; fast race laps, career laps led, lead-lap finishes, career starts, and consecutive starts. Trans-Am

Wilson family very happy with Champ Car  Keith Wilson was trying to get into victory lane to watch his son celebrate but his cell phone kept ringing. "Good news travels fast," he said with a grin.

Sunday's good news was that Justin Wilson had earned his initial Champ Car win for himself and RuSPORT Racing........triumph came in Justin's 20th start and surprised no one because he's been quick ever since leaving Formula One following the 2003 season. And it made the amiable 6-6 Brit even more satisfied about his career change.

"Let's face it, F-1 can be pretty unpredictable and there's no guarantee you'll ever be competitive," said Wilson, who impressed everyone in his 13 races for Minardi and Jaguar in '03 but lost his ride to a paying driver. I had been looking at Champ Car the year before I came over here and it was appealing because it seemed like a lot of teams had a good chance to be competitive. It turned out to be exactly that."

Champ Car's best selling points were on display here Sunday. A talented driver with a helmet and no money is hired by a team that can buy the same Lola and lease the same Cosworth as Newman/Haas or Forsythe Racing. And, with the right chemistry, you can beat those guys.

"Justin really enjoys Champ Car because there is racing in it and you can't say that about every series," said Keith Wilson. "He's really settled into this series."

In becoming the fifth different winner in six races so far in '05, Wilson made his parents proud, although his mom was in England. "My wife (Lynn) doesn't like to watch the races live, she prefers the replay after she knows what happened," said Keith Wilson. "I've been trying to reach her for almost 30 minutes but the line is always engaged. I imagine she knows by now."  In part from ChampCar.ws

Paddock News from Silverstone  The FIA published the results of a survey it conducted among race fans to see what they wanted Formula 1 to be like in the future. As the championship reached Silverstone, the English circuit could take pride in the fact it was voted the third most popular venue after Monaco and Spa-Francorchamps. 93,000 people filled in the survey and most of their replies were what one would expect in terms of looking for more overtaking and more importance placed on driver ability than on the cars. The survey also came up with the strange fact that Turkey was the least popular circuit, which seems kind of obvious as Formula 1 has yet to race there!

The seven teams which have appealed against the FIA World Council's assertion that they were guilty of "acts prejudicial to the interests of a competition," will have their case heard in Paris on 29th September, which, to put it in F1 calendar terms, comes between the Brazilian and Japanese Grands Prix.

The FIA President will be meeting the Formula 1 drivers after all. Relations between Max Mosley and the drivers took a turn for the worse after events in Indianapolis and a planned meeting prior to the British GP was cancelled by the President, who felt the GPDA had already aired their grievances in public. However, he says he is ready to meet with them away from the media circus that would probably gather if a meeting was held at a GP and hence the suggested date is now 1st August - the day after the Hungarian GP - in Cannes (France).

The Jordan team which had the unfortunate distinction of posting the only retirement of the British GP, when Narain Karthikeyan pulled over at the side of the track with electrical problems, says it will soon announce a new engine deal for 2006. It is also planning to introduce an upgraded "B" specification chassis for the forthcoming German Grand Prix.  West

IPS Series
Slim field for IPS race  Just 12 cars are entered for Saturday's IRL IPS race in Nashville. As long as there is a Champ Car/IRL split and a plethora of other open wheel training series, the IPS will always be hurting car count wise. It's very expensive for a 'development' series. Hit the wall and you do major damage to the car. Development series teams simply can't afford it.
How are doubleheaders viable?  A reader asks, Intriguing about Champ Cars and ALMS and the possibility of running Sebring, but I do have one major question for you. How would sanctioning fees work? I can't imagine Sebring, already having a huge crowd of spring-breakers and partiers, paying anything additional for a Champ Car race. Likewise, it's hard to imagine Long Beach paying for an ALMS race when the other series traditionally pay to be on that weekend. With the costs of putting on a street race, could a first-year venue like Houston afford to pay two sanctioning fees? Artistically, this would be a big hit, but financially, it seems like this will be a loser to be running races without sanctioning fees. Richard G., Springfield, Ohio

While we are not privy to the financial arrangements of such a deal, we can speculate. Sunday at Sebring will probably be sold as a separate ticket for those who come for Sunday only to see the Champ Cars. Those already there for the 12 hour race who stay, stay. A good number will leave Saturday night, which they are accustomed to doing, to be replaced by Camp Car fans who pay to get in to see Sunday's event. I suspect Sebring will probably raise all ticket prices slightly as well. We would assume that the extra revenue generated will cover the sanction fee. We also suspect that Champ Car finds value in presenting its product in front of so many college students.
At Long Beach we suspect the GP will take in a lot of additional revenue from the manufacturers and sponsors in ALMS - hospitality suites, tickets to customers, etc, and that extra revenue will pay the ALMS sanction fee. Ditto for other urban venues where ALMS manufacturers and sponsors are begging to get in. Kevin Kalkhoven is a smart businessman who understands how to make a profit better than anyone. If he thinks it is feasible, we will see the doubleheaders. If not, we won't. Mark C.

Nashville's concrete track poses challenges to IRL teams  Fernandez Racing technical director John Dick is regarded as one of the top engineers in racing. After the last three seasons as a race engineer for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, Dick now oversees the engineering and technical efforts for the teams of Kosuke Matsuura and Scott Sharp. In addition to the current Fernandez roster of drivers, Dick has worked with Roger Yasukawa and also engineered Alex Barron's winning effort at Nashville for Blair Racing in 2002.

"The biggest challenge about Nashville is that it is concrete; it doesn't have a lot of grip and is quite bumpy. The other challenge is that the concrete surface maintains a relatively constant temperature from day to night. You think that would make it more consistent, but it actually makes it harder to forecast what the grip level is going to be like. For instance, at some tracks when you go out for practice in the morning, you know it has a lot of grip and by qualifying time, it is going to have less grip if it is very hot or more grip if it is cooler.

Nashville stays such a constant temperature that you can't use your typical estimate of track grip. An asphalt track loses temperature very fast when the ambient temperature falls; a concrete track loses temperature a lot slower. It is harder to adjust the car for because it cools off in steps and never reaches that equilibrium while we are racing, like on an asphalt track, so it changes the entire race.

"A white concrete track never gets as warm as an asphalt track, and it is quite abrasive as well. You probably experience the most aggressive tire wear at Nashville. As a result, fuel economy is not such an important aspect in the race due to tire wear. Tires will take a lot longer to get up to temperature than on an asphalt track, and could take five to seven laps to get up to working temperature.

"To win here, you need good grip and a car that is consistent. Restarts will be especially important to gain track position because it is difficult to pass a car of equal speed. At Nashville, it is more a series of sprint races than our other 1.5-mile tracks."

Champ Car TV in Mexico update  Although people in Mexico can see all Champ Car races live if they have cable TV, people (the majority) who depend only on free over-the-air TV were not able to see any Champ Car races live this year - all were tape delayed, at least until this past weekend when TV Azteca aired the Toronto race live. Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico
A1 announces global TV deal  A1 Grand Prix moved a step closer to securing global television coverage for the World Cup of Motorsport today announcing seven major international television deals that will see A1 Grand Prix races beamed live into more than 290 million households across 50 countries.

Each deal gives the network exclusive broadcast rights to air up to six hours of live A1 Grand Prix action in their designated territory over every race weekend.

Network Countries covered Potential Reach (Million households)
Al Jazeera Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Sport, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen. 50
Epoch Sports Eastern Europe: Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, Romania and Slovakia 17
ESPN STAR Asia: Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Sports India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. 180
SABC South Africa (and Sub-Saharan Africa by satellite) 5.6
Sky Italia Italy 3.4
Sky Sports United Kingdom 10
TAF Sports Eastern Europe: Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia 2
 Mexico 20
Total 291.2 HHs

Commenting on the broadcast deals, A1 Grand Prix Commercial and Broadcast Director Richard Dorfman said: 'We are extremely pleased at the response and reaction of broadcasters worldwide to the A1 Grand Prix proposition. They have recognized the fantastic audience potential and programmability that A1GP brings to their schedule.'

A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman Sheikh Maktoum went on to say: 'A1
Grand Prix is the first motorsport series designed from the outset to reach every habitable continent on the planet - it is a truly global motorsport series and will be accessible to billions of fans all over the world. Through these television deals we have the possibility of reaching more than 290 million households demonstrating our commitment to provide fans, teams and sponsors with a high-profile international sporting event. With close exciting races in some of the world's most glamorous locations, I'm confident we'll keep viewers around the world glued to their screens over the A1 racing season. We anticipate another raft of broadcast signings within the month.'

Champ Car moves up in Yahoo! Sports search  
Rank Subject 1-Day Move
1  Mickey Mantle +222.12%
2  Mawi Fc +209.65%
3  Rafael Palmeiro +186.47%
4  Champ Car +158.50%
5  Dave Mirra +150.48%
6  Badminton Malaysia Open +131.41%
7  Martina Hingis +91.24%
8  Jason Giambi +75.16%
9  Home Run Derby +72.25%
10  British Open +71.40%
11  NASCAR +70.21%
12  Seattle Mariners +68.26%
13  Dale Earnhardt Jr +66.42%
14  Mlb All Star Game +65.34%
15  Dale Earnhardt +58.40%
80% of Edmonton tickets sold  This weekend's Grand Prix of Edmonton and the World Masters Games, which kick off next week, should bring $40 million of extra money into the city, says the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation.

"We estimate it will be $20 million each," said Jim Rudolph, spokesman for the EEDC. "That includes money spent on hotel rooms, food, beverages, entertainment, shopping and transportation."

Throw Klondike Days, which runs July 21-30, into the mix, and it's a busy time for Edmonton businesses.

"It is a tremendous boost for the economy and for the hospitality industry at what is traditionally a slow time of year," said Richard Wong, general manager of the Sutton Place Hotel and vice-president of the Association of Edmonton Convention Hotels. Wong said there are still rooms available in town for Grand Prix weekend.

Sid Priddle, spokesman for the Grand Prix, said 80% of the grandstand tickets have been sold and general admission tickets are now on sale.  Edmonton Sun

Edmonton airport transformation staggering  In less than three months, workers have transformed the barren grounds of the City Centre Airport into the newest circuit on the Champ Car World Series tour.  More than $2 million was put into creating the Finning International Speedway, and the result is a race track unlike any other that Champ Car drivers will see.

While it encompasses traits of oval, street and airport tracks all into one course, the downtown loop offers excellent vantage points for fans from every grandstand and luxury suite spot.

"The drivers love the width of the course (75 feet for the majority) and the openness, which is going to give them the ability to run at high speeds," said Tom Doerksen, Grand Prix of Edmonton's operations director.

A DRIVER'S RACE "There are a lot of passing opportunities that just don't exist at a lot of the race venues like the one in Vancouver, which was just a parade. This is definitely a driver's race."

And a race for fans who want all the action in plain sight. "The viewability is outstanding. There is not a bad seat in the place. There are no tracks that allow the fans to see such a large percentage of the race," added Doerksen.

Once approval for the race was granted, the initial design was forwarded to Champ Car. Input and redesigns followed before a lasting image was put through a computer simulator where the final changes were determined, as well as the rate of speed and braking that were required for all stages of the track.

With a design in hand, the job of resurfacing the airport began when $1-million worth of high-grade polymer-compound asphalt was trucked in.

"As we were constructing the track we began the work on the grandstands in early May," said Doerksen. "The grandstands and suites were one of the longest processes, and at the same time we were finishing the paving and resurfacing."

More than 11,000 feet of concrete was brought in to close off the speedway, with more than 22,000 tires in place as barriers. Temporary seating for 43,000 spectators spanning nearly a mile of the track were put up.  Among the next chores to be done was the installation of waterlines, the raising of more than 100 tents, landscaping along the entranceway and the arrival of trailer units for track services and operations.

Few, though, matched the task of preparing to beam the Grand Prix of Edmonton around the world.   "The power and wiring to set up the TV compound is absolutely staggering," said Doerksen.

JUMBOTRONS Five Jumbotrons will dot the course, showing replays and leaderboards with 28 cameras surrounding the track, some operating by robotic arms. But even with every piece of equipment, every race car ready to take off and an expected total crowd of more than 175,000, the City Centre Airport will still have one runway open through the big weekend.   "We're still expecting about 20 aircraft bringing in officials, corporate clients, sponsors and teams to be flying in on the one runway that's open," said Greg Macdonald, GM and president of the Grand Prix of Edmonton.  Edmonton Sun

More NASCAR cheaters slammed  NASCAR announced Monday that fines have been issued to five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs resulting from rule violations leading up to the July 2 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Joel Shear, crew chief of the #09 Dodge driven by Johnny Sauter and Dan Kolanda, crew chief for the #89 Dodge driven by Morgan Shepherd, were each fined $10,000 due to unapproved upper rear coil spring mounts, a violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. The infractions were found during opening day inspection June 30.

Shear was fined an additional $5,000 for violating NASCAR probation, a breach of Section 12-4-A.

Harold Holly, [former] crew chief of the #32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., was also fined $10,000 when post-qualifying inspection revealed violations of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (unapproved lubrication oil reservoir tank cover).

Additionally, Glenn Darrow, crew chief for the #37 Dodge of Kevin Lepage, was fined $2,500 after being found in violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (unapproved fuel cell foam) following opening-day inspection.

Also, Tony Eury Jr., crew chief of the #15 Chevrolet driven by Michael Waltrip, was fined $500 because he missed the pre-race driver’s meeting, a violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-I (failure to attend driver’s meeting). NASCAR PR

Webber to miss test  Mark Webber will sit out this week's Jerez test session in order to give the burns he suffered in the French GP time to heal.  Webber sustained a large burn on his right hip during the Magny-Cours race due to a build-up of heat in his Williams' cockpit. And the wound has yet to heal.
Edmonton getting ready for Champ Cars  Seventeen of the fastest champ car drivers in the world will race into Edmonton this week to take part in the Edmonton Grand Prix.

Officials are expecting more than 60,000 fans (race day) to watch the international race – which features Canadians Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani at speeds of more than 300 km/h – being held at the City Centre Airport.

City hotel rooms are almost all booked and tickets for the three-day event are almost sold out.  And organizers have tried to make sure that fans will have an excellent view of everything that's happening.

"We want to make sure that they don't just see the cars go by and they see three seconds of cars," president and general manager Greg Macdonald said. "They've come here to see motorsport, they've come here to see a lot of competition.

"We're not a follow-the-leader race like most street races. We can have four or five cars abreast, going down the straight-away. In the start-finish line, they're going to be exceeding 200 miles an hour, four abreast, that creates a lot of entertainment to a spectator."  More at CBC Calgary

BAR Honda reveal Sato miscue  Takuma Sato was running through the usual pre-grid program at the start of the British GP when he inadvertently pressed the engine kill switch on the BAR Honda's steering wheel, which explains why he had to be pushed to the pitlane after the others had started.

Sato was pushed to the pit-lane and eventually rejoined the race at the back of he field, which left him with a hard slog to catch up. His subsequent pace showed that he could have joined Jenson Button in the points. Sato was furious with himself afterwards, although the team played down his mistake.

"Obviously, steering wheels are fairly busy these days," said race engineer Jock Clear, "And it's a tense time of the race. There's a lot to do when you come up to the grid, with your tire warming and so on.

"Obviously, there are shrouds in place to make it particularly difficult to hit the kill switch, but ultimately it has to be somewhere close by, so you can hit it when you need it. Normally, it's for emergency use only, so it's an unfortunate error.

"He was just going through his start procedure. He realized what he'd done, so there wasn't any conversation really. There was no point in trying to deal with it at the time - we just had to get him back in the pit-lane and get it started as soon as possible and get it underway."

TV program reminder - Valentino  SPEED Channel's Greg White sat down with MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi before last weekend's race at Laguna Seca for an exclusive interview that will air tonight on 2 Wheel Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET & PT). Rossi, the reigning MotoGP champion talks about his personal life, his riding history and the challenges of dealing with his immense popularity in Europe.
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