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Nintendo Announces Partnership with Roush
Nintendo's record-selling Wii* video game system takes video gaming to a whole new level with a partnership with Roush Fenway Racing and NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Greg Biffle. Biffle will debut the Wii-themed Ford Fusion at Watkins Glen in August and then provide an encore performance at Dover's Monster Mile in September. Nintendo's partnership with Roush Fenway Racing is the company's first endeavor with NASCAR and it is excited about the possibilities it brings.

"Partnering with Roush Fenway Racing further demonstrates how Wii is bringing gaming to the masses," says George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. "Like going to a NASCAR race, playing Wii is a family event. Everyone can enjoy Wii regardless of his or her gaming knowledge and experience."

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industry news

General Motors partners with Penske
General Motors Corp. is moving fast to become a bigger player in the world of diesel engines.

The automaker today announced plans to buy a 50 percent stake in VM Motori S.p.A., an Italian diesel engine maker owned by Bloomfield Hills-based Penske Corp.

The move comes a week after GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said the company is looking to bring diesel passenger cars and trucks to the U.S. market.

The pairing with Penske helps position GM to better compete for business in Europe and emerging markets such as China and India, where diesel technology widely used, said Dan Hancock, vice president of GM Powertrain's Global Engineering. GM is looking to target commercial vehicles, which account for about one-third of vehicles sold in those markets. Detroit News


New IMS motorcycle circuit design to challenge riders UPDATE Added image of new 16-turn MotoGP track map.

07/16/07 Riders in the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sept. 14, 2008 will race on a new Indianapolis Motor Speedway motorcycle road circuit.

The motorcycle circuit is 2.601 miles (4.186 km) long and will feature 16 turns (10 left, six right). The initial IMS road-course configuration, unveiled in 2000, had 13 turns in its 2.605-mile (4.192 km) layout. All three classes competing at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP - MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc - will race on the new circuit.

As motorcycles cross the "Yard of Bricks" to start a lap, they will be traveling counter-clockwise, the same direction as cars in the two IMS oval events, the Indianapolis 500 and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Cars in previous road-course events at IMS traveled clockwise.

Construction has started on parts of the circuit. Paving of an estimated 13,300 tons of asphalt is scheduled to be completed by this fall, and the entire project is scheduled to be finished before Opening Day of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 in May 2008, said Kevin Forbes, IMS director of engineering and construction.

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track news

Green Power Prix-View of LB
The 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be taking a decided step into the future April 18-20, 2008.  America’s premiere street racing event will spotlight a dynamic new attraction for 2008 – Green Power Prix-View TM – as well as multiple racing series including Champ Cars, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Drifting and powerful sports cars. 

Green Power Prix-View TM will feature extensive, weekend-long displays of alternative energy vehicles and on-circuit activities featuring vehicles that might range from hydrogen-powered cars to robotic vehicles.

In addition, the Lifestyle and Alternative Energy Expo - free with a race ticket - will be adding a wealth of exhibits highlighting a wide variety of renewable energy sources, water and energy conservation and green building materials to its more than 150 exhibitors already offering the latest products and services in automotive, travel, home improvement, fitness and recreation in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

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2007 could be year Edmonton race makes money
The Champ Car Grand Prix of Edmonton was a first-year phenomenon followed by a second-season sensation.

But as fans ready for a third edition, there is the question.

Will continued successes follow?

So far, it's been a good time. Now, the challenge is to make it a long time.

This, understand, is an event which hasn't turned a profit yet. Hasn't made a dime.

It had huge start-up costs and, as a result, has lost upwards of $5 million.

"No one can write checks to subsidize anything long term," said Jim Haskins, the former TV executive who became president and general manager of the event.

"We have to build on our success to be here long-term. This is, by far, the premier auto racing event in Western Canada and the most successful Champ Car event in Canada, but it has to be self-supportive.

"Nobody in our investment group has done this to make huge amounts of money. It's like the old saying that the quickest way make a million in auto racing is to start with 10. Our goal this year is to break even for the first time."

I think that's a realistic goal.

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tv news

Weekend TV ratings
The overnight USA TV ratings for this weekend's races on network TV were as follows:

NASCAR Busch Series: USG Durock 300 ABC 1.7/4 share 
MotoGP: Grand Prix of Germany (same-day tape) CBS 0.7/2 share


Champ Car reiterates faith in Steve Johnson
AutoRacing1.com was able to obtain this internal memo to Champ Car staff and stakeholders put out today:  The owners have renewed Steve Johnson's contract for multiple years to remain on as President and CEO of Champ Car.  Tony Cotman, as Exec. VP of Operations, will report to Johnson.  The series needs to land more sponsorship so it made sense to free up Johnson to work on that end of the business and not have to worry about the day-to-day issues.

To: All Champ Car World Series Stakeholders

From: Champ Car Ownership Group
(Gerald Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven & Dan Pettit)

Date: 7/16/2007

Re: Champ Car Organization

As we reach the mid-point in our season, we have implemented an adjustment within our senior management team to help us maintain the positive momentum that we currently enjoy with the Champ Car World Series.

Steve Johnson, our President and CEO, is shifting his energy and attention toward sales and sponsorship during a critical period when companies finalize 2008 budgets and we have several major organizations considering sponsorship of the Series and its partners (teams, events, et al).  To allow this shift in responsibilities to take place, Steve promoted Tony Cotman last week to Executive Vice President, Operations so Tony could manage our day-to-day operations through the rest of the year. We’re thrilled that Tony will be able to extend his leadership and creativity to other areas of our business, and we’re certain this change in Tony’s role will be welcome both inside and outside the Champ Car organization.

Additionally, we are pleased to announce today that we have provided Steve with a multi-year extension of his contract with the Champ Car World Series, providing us with stability in the President/CEO position as we look forward to the years ahead. Steve has been instrumental over the past two years in enhancing our organization, and we’re pleased that he will continue to add value to Champ Car.

Please join us in congratulating both Steve and Tony, and we thank them for their on-going commitment to the Champ Car World Series.


Tickets on sale for MotoGP race at IMS
Ticket orders are being accepted now for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008, the first motorcycle race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in nearly 100 years.

The MotoGP race will be the first motorcycle event at IMS since 1909, the year the facility opened.

Orders can be placed either online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by mailing an order form to IMS. The order form is available at the IMS Web site or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally. Ticket Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

All tickets for this event are three-day tickets, with both reserved and general admission seating available.

Anyone wanting reserved seats must request at least four choices of their preferred seating area with their order. All orders will be fulfilled at a later date.

Fans of all ages wishing to have a reserved seat must purchase a ticket. Children age 5 and under will be admitted free when they accompany an adult who purchases a three-day general admission ticket.

MotoGP fans are encouraged to order early, as tickets for past inaugural events at IMS have sold quickly.


What they're saying about the Red Bull Indianapolis GP
Quotes from selected motorsports competitors, celebrities, political figures and other dignitaries about the Red Bull Indianapolis GP coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sept. 12-14, 2008:

MARIO ANDRETTI (1969 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1978 Formula One World Champion): "To me, Indianapolis has hosted all the major disciplines of motorsports in the world. This completes the cycle - Indy Cars, Formula One, NASCAR - and now world champion motorcycles. There is no other single venue in the world that can make that claim. And in my opinion, MotoGP is the most exciting form of motorsports. It's totally awesome for me to see Indianapolis host this very prestigious formula."

BOB BEDELL (President and CEO, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association): "Adding MotoGP to the events calendar of Indianapolis will be a remarkable economic and promotional boost for Central Indiana. MotoGP racing will introduce Indianapolis to tens of thousands of visitors, many of whom will be making their first trip to our city. Our hospitality community looks forward to welcoming them. Additionally, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca reports an annual economic impact figure of $100 million for its MotoGP events. We would expect visitor spending for the Indianapolis MotoGP race next year to meet or exceed those numbers."

MITCH DANIELS (Governor, State of Indiana): "As a longtime motorcycle enthusiast, this is a great addition for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hoosiers can be proud that the Speedway is bringing fans another world-class event. This is another opportunity for a new group of racing fans to see what Indianapolis and Indiana have to offer."

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It's official: MotoGP coming to IMS in '08
Motorcycle racing will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time in nearly a century with the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 for MotoGP, the world's premier motorcycle road racing series.

Officials from IMS and Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder for MotoGP, have reached a multi-year agreement to stage motorcycle racing at the Speedway for the first time since an event on the 2.5-mile oval on Aug. 14, 1909, the year the facility opened.

The Red Bull Indianapolis GP will take place on a new 16-turn, 2.601-mile (4.186 km) motorcycle road course at IMS that will feature the riders traveling counter-clockwise, the same direction as the facility's oval events.

"We welcome the excitement and passion of MotoGP racing and its fans to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP," said Joie Chitwood, IMS president and chief operating officer. "The very first motorized race at IMS was on two wheels, so it's only fitting that motorcycles are returning as we approach the 100th anniversary of the track.

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MIS '08 Sprint Cup race dates set
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, now known as the NEXTEL Cup Series, will return to Michigan International Speedway for two race weekends in 2008. America’s premier motorsports series with the country’s biggest names in auto racing will celebrate 40 seasons of racing at MIS next year on June 15 and Aug. 17.

“We have great momentum heading into the second half of this season and into next year,” speedway President Roger Curtis said. “Much of this is largely based on the number of improvements that we made at the facility, the partnerships that we are making with the surrounding communities and at the state level, and in the extensive time we’ve taken to talk to the fans. We’re dedicated to making Michigan International Speedway the premier motorsports venue in the Midwest showcasing the very best in motorsports entertainment.”


De Ferran quits Honda
By mutual agreement with the Honda Racing F1 Team, Gil de Ferran will leave his role as Sporting Director to pursue other opportunities with immediate effect.

Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of the Honda Racing F1 Team, said: "I am disappointed that Gil is leaving our team. Since he joined us in 2005 we have enjoyed a very positive relationship. However, a Formula One team is rather like a jigsaw puzzle in that every piece has to fit precisely in its place. Gil has become increasingly uncomfortable in his role and feels the time has now come to seek fresh opportunities. We are very much hoping that Gil will choose to maintain close links with the Honda family."

Gil de Ferran commented: "I am obviously very disappointed to be leaving the Honda F1 team. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Honda, with whom I have been successfully associated for more than 10 years. Consequently, my decision to leave has not been an easy one. I simply feel that I came to this team to fulfill a particular role and it has not materialized as I had hoped. I would like to thank everyone at the team for the support I have been given and I wish them luck in the future."

tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC

NASCAR Busch Series Live in Prime Time on ESPN2 from St. Louis

ESPN2 will feature NASCAR Busch Series racing live in prime time Saturday, July 21, from Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis as the series makes its only appearance of 2007 at the 1-mile superspeedway. The telecast of NASCAR Busch Series at Gateway presented by Camping World begins with NASCAR Countdown at 8 p.m. ET; the race starts at 8:30 p.m.
The race will be a homecoming for Rusty Wallace, ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst and a native of the St. Louis area. The 1989 NASCAR Cup champion, Wallace will be working his first race telecast from his home area since retiring from driving and joining ESPN at the end of the 2005 season.
Wallace will work in the ESPN booth as analyst for the telecast, joined by two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake.
Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio, joined by Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty, while two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car.
Gateway International Raceway, located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Madison, Ill., has hosted a race for the NASCAR Busch Series each year since it opened in 1997.
ESPN2 To Have Live NASCAR Busch Series Practice, Qualifying Coverage from Gateway
ESPN2, the home of the NASCAR Busch Series in 2007, will have live coverage of qualifying Saturday from Gateway International Raceway, as well as Friday night’s practice session as drivers and teams prepare for Saturday night’s race.
Practice coverage will air at 7 p.m. ET Friday, with the live qualifying show at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer for ESPN2’s coverage of practice and qualifying, joined in the booth by analysts Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. Pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will contribute to the telecasts.
Allen Bestwick will host the qualifying show, joined in the ESPN Pit Studio by analyst Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer will be at the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car. 

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Bernie tells bosses to buy GP2 teams
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has urged formula one bosses to invest in lower categories of racing as a source of driver talent.

F1's chief executive said the investment made by McLaren in Lewis Hamilton, who was backed through the ranks from childhood over more than a decade, shows that it is a worthy way of putting winning drivers in grand prix cockpits.

Slamming team chiefs, the 76-year-old told The People: "I told these bloody people: 'Why don't you run a GP2 team and during the year you can sift through half-a-dozen drivers, and maybe you'll find the right guy?"

With heavy involvement by Ecclestone, Renault and Flavio Briatore, the feeder series GP2 was won dominantly by Hamilton last year for a team run by Ferrari boss Jean Todt's son Nicolas.

"To develop a driver from a child is relatively cheap compared to what you have to pay them once they are proven," Ecclestone continued.

Referring again to F1 team principals, he said: "They've always looked for other people to find the drivers they need.  Lewis could have changed that."


Three Man Race for Vanderbilt Cup
As the 2007 Champ Car World Series season nears its halfway point, the race for the Vanderbilt Cup is tighter than a pair of designer jeans.  Three drivers are vying for the coveted trophy with rookie Robert Doornbos (164 points) leading Will Power (162) by a scant two points and three-time defending Series champion Sebastien Bourdais (161) just three points back.

Sitting just behind the log jam at the top is CDW driver Justin Wilson (138 points.)  In the last four races, Wilson has moved from 36 points back to 23 in arrears.  It won’t be an easy road for the British driver but it is a challenge he is ready to undertake.  The Champ Car points system allows a driver to make up a maximum of 30 points per event, meaning a driver would need to sweep every point for the event and the point leader would need to finish last.  The last time a driver has swept all of the available points was in 2006 at Montreal when Sebastien Bourdais paced both qualifying sessions, set the fastest race lap and won.

If history is any indication, this year’s title chase will come down to the last lap of the season in Phoenix.  The last time the points race was this close after seven events was 1999.  After the seventh race that year, rookie Juan Montoya led Dario Franchitti by two points and the late Greg Moore by four markers.  As the 1999 season wore on, Montoya and Franchitti would trade the title lead three times in the final eight races with the Series championship coming down to the final race.  Montoya and Franchitti tied each other with 212 points and Montoya was awarded the championship based on his seven victories compared to Franchitti’s three. 

How the Champ Car Points System Works
A driver can earn a maximum of 34 points during an event weekend.  31 points are awarded to the race winner along with bonus points for the fastest driver in qualifying on both Friday and Saturday.  During the race a bonus point is given to the driver that records the fastest lap as well as to the driver who makes up the most positions during the race.  The gap in points awarded between first and second is four, while the number of points between each position from two through 10 is only two markers.  From 10-to-20 only one point separates each finishing position.  The larger gap between first and second rewards the winning driver for his accomplishment and gives more value to a race win.  The current points system was put in place for the 2004 season and marked the first change since 1983.

Finish Points Finish Points Finish Points Finish Points
1st       31     6th     19     11th   10     16th    5
2nd       27     7th     17     12th    9     17th    4
3rd       25     8th     15     13th    8     18th    3
4th       23     9th     13     14th    7     19th    2
5th       21    10th     11     15th    6     20th    1

Round Eight of the Champ Car World Series schedule is slated for Sunday, July 22 at City Center Airport in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  The race will begin at 3 pm ET (1 pm local) and can be seen live in the United States on ESPN and in Canada on Global.

track news

The Rock goes up for auction in Oct
The sale of North Carolina Speedway, which last held a race in February 2004, has been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 2. The date for the track’s absolute auction — meaning it will be sold to the highest bidder without a minimum price or “reserve” — appears on the Web site of National Auction Group, a company in Gadsden, Ala., that is handling the sale. William Bone, the president of National Auction Group, said the Oct. 2 date could change, but that the final date should be “carved in stone” within a week. “I don’t think anybody’s ever sold anything like this. It’s unusual, but there’s got to be a big demand for it,” Bone said from Daytona Beach Shores, Fla., where he is conducting the auction of a dozen condominium units today. That place has got to have a lot of other uses for racing,” he added. “It ought to be quite an event. It’s going to sell. Regardless of price, it’ll sell, and we hope we do well for them."

“Them” is Speedway Motorsports, Inc., which is headquartered in Charlotte. It acquired the 1.017-mile track and the 247-acre site in May 2004 as part of a lawsuit settlement. The track wedged into the intersection of U.S. 1 and N.C. 177 north of Rockingham, NC. It has hosted only racing schools, private track rentals, and movie and video recording since the SMI acquisition. It opened in October 1965 and has seating for 60,112 spectators. Fayetteville Observer


Q and A with Renault's Bob Bell
Q. We have just passed the halfway point of the 2007 season. How would you summarize the year so far?

Bob Bell - Renault's technical director: It has been a mixed bag, to be honest. Initially, we were all disappointed to see that the car was not performing as we had predicted. But since that initial realization, I have been extremely heartened and motivated by the team's response.

Everybody in the organization, from top to bottom, has just got their heads down and grafted to improve the situation. We have already made significant improvements to the car, and that will continue during the second half of the year. I'm very optimistic we can maintain our upward trajectory.

Q. The team has been conducting a phase of problem-solving since early in the season to make up its performance deficit. What is the current status of that process?

BB: We are reaching a key point in the process, because we now have now identified and understood the problem. Simply put, there was a discrepancy between the car's predicted performance in the wind tunnel and its behavior on track. We therefore began an extensive test and analysis program to correct this.

Some of the problems we discovered had their roots in the 2006 season, but had in fact been masked by our competitiveness at the time. We have now identified, and modified, the parts of the car that were causing the problems, and our simulations correlate well with the car's on-track behavior.

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US press blames Bernie for Indy demise
(GMM)  The American press has pinned the blame squarely on Bernie Ecclestone for the demise of the US grand prix at Indianapolis.

"Let's see if we miss America," F1's 76-year-old chief executive reacted after news broke that he had not renewed the contract with Indy counterpart Tony George to bring the series back to the populous Midwest city in 2008.

A columnist for the local newspaper Indianapolis Star hit back at Ecclestone, describing the necessary annual race fee of $30 million - an increase of about $18m compared to the 2007 deal - as Bernie's "extortive financial terms".

"Most locals, from all evidence, would prefer a hearty 'good riddance' to a haughty outfit whose leader never tires of biting the hand that feeds him," the columnist wrote.

An editorial in the Nevada Appeal agreed: "George had poured millions of dollars into the eight-year partnership, and I'm sure lots of those dollars stuck to Ecclestone".

Following the negotiation breakdown, internet chatrooms in the US derided Bernie, who stands more than a foot shorter than George, as 'the Poison Dwarf'.

Local Indianapolis television station WTHR's John Ketzenberger compared the US GP to budding F1 host India, which might be in a better position to meet Ecclestone's financial demands.

"Bernie must have confused India with Indiana," he said.  "Maybe India needs the exposure.  Indianapolis needs no such validation."


Video: Glimpse into life of Ralf Schumacher
Ralf grew up in Kerpen, Germany, just a few miles from the Panasonic Toyota Racing's factory in Cologne. He started riding karts when he was two, raced in club championships by the age of five, and made his Formula 1 debut 10 years ago, challenging his brother, Michael, on the race track. Ralf stood on the podium in his first Formula 1 race, and has won six Grand Prix since. Away from the race track, Ralf is involved in charity work, including Stella Deetjen's action for children of leprosy sufferers in Varanasi, India. See video on Home Page


Interview with Nick Heidfeld
The word on the street is that you're a changed man. Is that true?

BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld: Do you mean because of the beard?

Not only that. People are saying you're more open now.

Heidfeld: In my mind I have always been quite open. I was just less in demand before. Added to which, it's rather more enjoyable to be talking about a battle with the world champion or a podium finish than explaining why you've trailed in 17th again.

Did you think before the start of the season that you would be able to take on Fernando Alonso fair and square this year?

Heidfeld: No, we have exceeded expectations. I was sure that we would step up a level in our second season on the grid. Having said that, we finished fifth in the constructors' standings last year - 50 points off fourth place - and there was no way I could have expected us to be the third-best team already.

What do you put this success down to?

Heidfeld: We already had a good group of people on board, but now we also have the resources of a leading team. We've brought in 150 new people at our Hinwil base, the wind tunnel is in use around the clock, we are better equipped at the race track, and a program of expansion is under way at the factory in Hinwil. It's something of a building site at the moment, but the work will be completed by the end of the year.

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Team has nothing to fear - Haug
(GMM)  F1 onlookers should know on July 26 whether governing body the FIA will punish McLaren as part of the espionage saga.

Germany's motor sport chief and FIA vice-president, Hermann Tomczyk, confirmed that members of the World Motor Sport Council will have enough time on the day of the extraordinary meeting in Paris to reach a verdict.

"The hearing begins very early," he is quoted as saying by Sport-Informations-Dienst.

Tomczyk also confirmed Max Mosley's recent claim that McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, respectively first and second in the championship, could be docked points or even excluded from the title chase.

"The range of penalties includes those possibilities," he agreed.

Former grand prix driver Hans-Joachim Stuck, however, crosses his fingers that the drivers will not be punished, as he fears the championship battle against their Ferrari chasers would "become a farce".

Meanwhile, Mercedes' Norbert Haug is confident.

"Those who do nothing wrong have nothing to fear," he said, insisting that espionage is contradictory to McLaren's team ethics.

"We are not a team that wants to win races based on manipulations," the German explained, repeating that the Woking based team is not scared of the FIA enquiry.

Haug said: "It is in our interest to clear everything up.  Everywhere in motor sport, Mercedes is well known for its fair play."


Coughlan admits telling others about secrets
(GMM)  Mike Coughlan has sworn in his affidavit that he told several fellow McLaren employees about his possession of reams of secret Ferrari material.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reproduced excerpts of the document, which as part of a private agreement with Ferrari cannot be used by Italian prosecutors in a case against the suspended engineer.

But, if it is the truth, the signs are not good for Woking based McLaren, which has so far insisted that only chief designer Coughlan knew about the sensitive information that was in his possession earlier this year.

"It's true," Coughlan reportedly wrote in his sworn statement.  "I had all the designs.

"It was my responsibility.  I showed those designs to McLaren and not just to (managing director) Jonathan Neale but to others as well.

"Everyone reacted the same way and told me to get rid of them."

At an emergency World Council meeting later in July, the FIA will question McLaren about its involvement in the espionage saga.  Possible sanctions range from docked points and race bans to total exclusion from the world championship.

Coughlan did not confirm that Ferrari's Nigel Stepney sent him the material, explaining that he received the package from a courier mail service.

racing news

Quotes of the Week
BERNIE ECCLESTONE, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration
"I told Lewis [Hamilton] that if Ron [Dennis] didn't say 'yes' to him being in the McLaren then I'd get him into another team.  There are only one or two drivers that I have ever said that to.  I could see he had the talent. He has won everything he has ever done, so I thought, why shouldn't he win in Formula One?"  Ecclestone said he was worried that F1 would face a slump following the retirement of Michael Schumacher but says the four-way title fight in 2007 has been a more than perfect remedy.  "Obviously, because Lewis has more points and is leading at the moment, you have to make him favorite."

ROBIN MILLER, Motorsports Journalist, Veteran Open Wheel Expert
"[Tony] Cotman is the direct opposite of a yes man.  Firm and fair, he's the best thing that ever happened to Race Control. His pragmatic way of running races and making smart, quick judgments has earned him respect across the board. The 40-year-old is a racer with a brain who is good with people and problems. He comes in the office early, stays late and, unlike his predecessors, has a passion for the series and its participants.  If he's not micro-managed by Kalkhoven and Forsythe, Cotman will do wonders for this series' credibility and Champ Car's collective morale. If he gets too much interference from above, he'll walk away.  Cotman still needs a strong business type next to him and the toughest thing will be finding a replacement for him in Race Control.  Whether Cotman will be allowed to try and make things better remains to be seen. But, for the first time in a long time, something is positive in the Champ Car office.  There's a new sheriff in town and it's kinda like John Wayne replacing Barney Fife." (Tony Cotman has been named Executive Vice President, Operations, Champ Car World Series) 

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Hendrick team disgusted with Busch
Vice President of Development Doug Duchardt said Sunday that he's not sure why Kyle Busch feels like an outsider at HMS. "Everything I've seen since the Dale Earnhardt Jr. announcement, whether it's in team meetings or the way the team functions is that we're doing business as usual," Duchardt said. "And I haven't seen any changes internally or externally, so I'm not exactly sure why he feels the way he does. But certainly, he's making it obvious how he feels."

Busch was outspoken after the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway July 7, saying that his teammates refused to work with him during the race and that Jeff Gordon blew him off on pit road.

Then, after qualifying his car at Chicagoland on Friday, Busch didn't back down from his words, even adding that he no longer gets text messages from teammates and sits silently by himself during team meetings while others converse.

Duchardt said the words will soon have to stop.

"Obviously you can't continue the way it's going with his comments," he said. "Our goal was to finish out the season working just like we had at the beginning of the season. And if he's choosing to not be a teammate, then we're going to have to address how his role is going to be within the team and what he's going to need to do.

"It's a difficult situation being made more difficult than it needs to be." Scenedaily.com


Blown tire ruins win for Johnson
Chevy driver Jimmie Johnson was looking good for a win in today's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway until his Goodyear tire blew out sending him crashing hard into the outside wall with 45 laps to go while battling Tony Stewart for the lead. His car came back to the garage on the flatbed truck still smoking.  Photo by Diane Schenk/AutoRacing1.com

"That certainly knocked the wind out of me and I hit my elbow on the seat," said Johnson who finished 37th. "But I'm just disappointed. We had such a great racecar and I was trying to have something there for the No. 20. It's amazing how when the tire blew how violent it was."


Häkkinen flies from 15th on the grid at Mugello
The asphalt was glowing at Mugello during the sixth DTM round of the season. With air temperatures of almost 40 degrees, the spectators got to see a turbulent race with an overjoyed Mika Häkkinen (FIN), who went on to win the race after a great recovery from 15th place on the grid. It was the second victory of the season for the Mercedes-Benz driver. “It was a fantastic race and it was great fun”, the 38-year old Finn said, delighted but visibly affected by the heat.

Second place went to Mattias Ekström (S) with the Audi A4 DTM, who started from pole position. At the finish line, he was 0.371 seconds down on Häkkinen. The Swede scored eight championship points for his race result and thus took over the lead in the drivers’ standings. Third place in the race at the longest circuit on the DTM calendar (5.245 kilometres) was occupied by Paul di Resta. With his 2005-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class, the Scot climbed up from twelfth on the grid to finish on the podium.

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Formula BMW

Henry Surtees takes maiden win
Henry Surtees took his maiden Formula BMW win today in an eventful race at Donington Park. In a day plagued by atrocious weather conditions and aborted races, the 16 year-old rookie triumphed over more experienced drivers to take his first victory from seventh on the grid in race two. Son of former F1 and motorcycle World Champion John Surtees, Henry also collected his fourth Rookie Cup and the Muriel Tomlinson trophy, an award for the Englishman who collects the most points across all championships at the Donington meeting.

Starting from seventh on the grid, Surtees lost one place at the start, but soon started carving his way through the field.

As other drivers made mistakes and fell off the track, Surtees drove a flawless race and executed some excellent overtaking maneuvers to take first place. As the rain started to fall on the already damp track around lap seven, lap times tumbled by up to 16 seconds and the clerk of the course deemed conditions too dangerous for the race to continue. The race was therefore stopped five laps early on lap 11.

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British F3

Seb Hohenthal Takes First British F3 Win
In the season's 12th round Sebastian Hohenthal (#5 Fortec Motorsport) took the chequered flag for the first time in British F3 and the UK Formula Renault Champion couldn't hide his delight.  Atte Mustonen (#26 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) took his maiden podium finish, with Marko Asmer finishing 3rd to extend his championship lead to 78 points over Maro Engel.  

'Frankie' Cheng finished off a perfect weekend with another win and fastest lap from pole position in the National Class.  With Sergio Perez finishing 2nd, the pair are level on points at the top of the table after 12 races.


Pos  Driver             Car                     Time/Behind
 1.  S.Hohenthal        Dallara-Mercedes        29:45.061
 2.  Atte Mustonen      Dallara-Mercedes        +   0.524
 3.  Marko Asmer        Dallara-Mercedes        +   1.029
 4.  Michael Devaney    Mygale-Mercedes         +   9.781
 5.  Niall Breen        Dallara-Mercedes        +  12.084
 6.  Stephen Jelley     Dallara-Mercedes        +  12.729
 7.  Maro Engel         Dallara-Mercedes        +  14.680
 8.  Alberto Valerio    Dallara-Mercedes        +  15.323
 9.  Walter Grubmuller  Dallara-Mercedes        +  16.479
10.  Jonathan Kennard   Dallara-Mercedes        +  17.559
11.  Sam Bird           Dallara-Mercedes        +  18.695
12.  Mario Moraes       Dallara-Mercedes        +  34.806
13.  John Martin        Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +  35.305
14.  Cheng Cong Fu      Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +  36.038
15.  Ricardo Teixeira   Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +  36.340
16.  Sergio Perez       Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +  42.047
17.  Sean Petterson     Lola-Mugen-Honda        +  42.380
18.  Rodolfo Gonzalez   Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +  44.490
19.  Hamed Al Fardan    Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +  58.039
20.  Max Chilton        Dallara-Mercedes        +  58.429
21.  Alex Waters        Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +1:05.400
22.  Leo Mansell        Dallara-Mercedes        +1:06.348
23.  S.Al-Khalifa       Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +1:23.089
24.  Michael Meadows    Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +   1 lap
25.  Juan P.Garcia      Lola-Dome-Mugen-Honda   +   1 lap
26.  Viktor Jensen      Dallara-Mugen-Honda     +   1 lap


     Driver             Car                     Laps
     Greg Mansell       Dallara-Mercedes        13
     F.Castellacci      Dallara-Mugen-Honda     9
     Ali Jackson        Dallara-Mugen-Honda     8
     E.Guerrieri        Mygale-Mercedes         0


Pedrosa dominates in Germany
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa blasted to an emphatic victory at the German Grand Prix on Sunday to record his first win of the season in front of a sell-out crowd at the Sachsenring circuit. The Spaniard’s huge margin of victory – 13.166 seconds – is the biggest gap between first and second place in the top class of Grand Prix racing in a dry race since Mick Doohan’s Repsol Honda won the 1997 Czech Grand Prix by 14.858s from Luca Cadalora. Pedrosa was joined on the podium by team-mate Nicky Hayden who put in an equally stunning performance to rocket from 14th on the grid to third at the flag.

Pedrosa and his Honda RC212V were peerless today. From second on the grid he made a perfect start, was first into Turn 1 and was never headed for the entire 30-lap race. His early pace was relentless as he held off and then steadily edged away from series leader and pole position man Casey Stoner, who at this stage lay in second place. On his way to victory Pedrosa set the fastest lap of the race, a time of 1m 23.082s which bettered the lap record he set here last year aboard the 990cc RC212V. This was Pedrosa’s third win of his MotoGP career and his first since taking victory at Donington Park last season. He remains in third place in the World Championship but has closed the gap to Valentino Rossi, who crashed out today, to twenty points.

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Italians press ahead with sabotage claims
(GMM)  Alongside the widely reported espionage accusation, Italian prosecutors are also convinced that Nigel Stepney is guilty of sabotage.

Little has been said about the white powder that was apparently added to Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa's fuel tanks in the days before the Monaco grand prix.

But the daily sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport says the prosecutors do indeed think that Michael Schumacher's former chief mechanic poured at least half a kilogram of an unidentified corrosive into the cars in an attempt to damage the engines.

More details about this element of the Stepney-gate scandal are expected to be released in August.


Bernie promised to find Hamilton F1 seat
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone says he would have found Lewis Hamilton a seat on the grid this year had McLaren not signed him.

F1's diminutive chief executive told 'The People' in an interview that he was so impressed with the current championship leader's formative career that he would have used his clout to bring him into motor sport's highest category.

Ecclestone, 76, said: "I told Lewis that if Ron didn't say 'yes' to him being in the McLaren then I'd get him into another team.

"There are only one or two drivers that I have ever said that to.

"I could see he had the talent. He has won everything he has ever done, so I thought, why shouldn't he win in formula one?"

Ecclestone said he was worried that F1 would face a slump following the retirement of Michael Schumacher but says the four-way title fight in 2007 has been a more than perfect remedy.

And he said: "Obviously, because Lewis has more points and is leading at the moment, you have to make him favorite."

British F3

Asmer wins again
Marko Asmer scored his 7th win of the year, taking a dominant lights-to-flag victory in the season's 11th round.  Behind the Estonian things weren't so clear cut early on as drivers stalled and others jumped the start.  However Stephen Jelley came out on top, leading Double R team mate Jonathan Kennard to the flag.  Rodolfo Gonzalez had his best race of the year, fighting his way back from 12th on the first lap to finish 4th. .

Pos  Driver            Car                    Time/Behind
 1.  Marko Asmer       Dallara-Mercedes       30:08.961
 2.  Stephen Jelley    Dallara-Mercedes       +   8.348
 3.  Jonathan Kennard  Dallara-Mercedes       +   9.948
 4.  Rodolfo Gonzalez  Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +  12.545
 5.  Maro Engel        Dallara-Mercedes       +  20.059
 6.  Niall Breen       Dallara-Mercedes       +  21.385
 7.  Michael Devaney   Mygale-Mercedes        +  30.913
 8.  Mario Moraes      Dallara-Mercedes       +  34.324
 9.  Greg Mansell      Dallara-Mercedes       +  34.669
10.  W.Grubmuller      Dallara-Mercedes       +  40.385
11.  Max Chilton       Dallara-Mercedes       +  43.271
12.  Cheng Cong Fu     Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +  44.015
13.  Sergio Perez      Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +  44.640
14.  Atte Mustonen     Dallara-Mercedes       +  45.175
15.  Ricardo Teixeira  Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +  45.529
16.  S.Hohenthal       Dallara-Mercedes       +  48.423
17.  Sean Petterson    Lola-Mugen-Honda       +  51.765
18.  Viktor Jensen     Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +1:02.177
19.  Michael Meadows   Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +1:02.578
20.  Leo Mansell       Dallara-Mercedes       +1:04.270
21.  S.Al-Khalifa      Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +1:05.502
22.  Ali Jackson       Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +1:08.240
23.  Hamed Al Fardan   Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +1:08.420
24.  Alex Waters       Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +1:15.057
25.  Juan P.Garcia     Lola-Dome-Mugen-Honda  +1:17.239
26.  F.Castellacci     Dallara-Mugen-Honda    +1:18.318


     Driver            Car                   Laps
     E.Guerrieri       Mygale-Mercedes        13
     John Martin       Dallara-Mugen-Honda    4
     Alberto Valerio   Dallara-Mercedes       4
     Sam Bird          Dallara-Mercedes       1


First pictures of new Formula Renault 3.5 revealed
Renault Sport Technologies today revealed the first images of the new Formula Renault 3.5 which is due to make its track debut in the 2008 World Series by Renault. The new chassis, whose design was inspired by that of the Renault F1 R27, will be powered by a 24V V6 engine featuring flex fuel technology and capable of delivering up to 500bhp with E85 bioethanol. This will be a first at this level of motorsport in Europe.

The star category of the World Series by Renault since the series was created in 2005, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 championship has established itself as one of the higher rungs of the ladder leading to Formula 1. After a three-year cycle, the current race car is due to be replaced in 2008: New Formula Renault 3.5 will be given the task of continuing this success.

Ever committed to the principles of controlled costs, and sporting and technical equity between competitors, Renault Sport Technologies has defined a new package which anticipates the changes set to be introduced in motorsport. New Formula Renault 3.5 has been developed to comply with a strict set of technical specifications covering aspects such as performance, reliability, safety, sustainable development and its appeal to drivers and teams alike.

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Industry News

Nissan recalls over 140,000 Altima sedans
Another big recall to report. This time it's Nissan and its bread-and-butter Altima sedan. Apparently, cars with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder have an air filter that can cause some serious problems. It seems that if something hot is sucked into the filter, like ashes from a cigarette, it can catch on fire. Four incidents have already been reported to Nissan. Notices started going out to some of the 140,000 2007 Altima owners last week. Besides replacing the air filter with a presumably less flammable one, Nissan will also add an air deflector to help prevent a potential accumulation of debris in the filter.

In all, 140,582 Altimas have been sold so far this year, making it Nissan's best-selling vehicle, and the ninth-best seller overall in the States. The recall affects Smyrna, Tennessee cars made between Sept. 25 and May 11, as well as those built from Oct. 30 through May 11 at its Canton, Mississippi, factory.


Bernie reiterates desire for street races
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has reiterated that races in downtown cities and around the world are the future for the sport. "We want to stage a world championship, not a European championship," Ecclestone told German news magazine Der Spiegel in an interview made available ahead of Monday's publication.

Singapore and Valencia will be added to the calendar in 2008, a race in Abu Dhabi in 2009 and India is also set for a F1 debut in the near future.

This year, nine of the 17 races are held in Europe. Ecclestone has said in the past that he can imagine 20 races in a season, but did not want to say how many races will be staged in 2008.

Ecclestone said that more city races like the one in Monte Carlo were an important addition, saying "It is great to leave the hotel and to be at the track instantly."

He said a future French GP could be held in Euro Disney outside Paris even though organizers in Magny-Cours have informed him that they plan to continue.

Ecclestone remained cautious whether Las Vegas could stage a US Grand Prix again as there appears to no race next year in Indianapolis. Earthtimes.org

racing news

Weekend TV Ratings UPDATE #2 The final rating for the Champ Car race in Toronto on ESPN last weekend was a dismal 0.3/1 share. So far having ABC/ESPN onboard has done nothing to improve the Champ Car ratings because the series still does not realize that driver popularity, and pretty much nothing else, drives TV ratings. We have said this for years (i.e. 'heroes' make a sport) yet Champ Car continues to focus on making 'the event' the big story. Yes, you need successful events but if you want higher TV ratings you must have popular drivers that fans want to tune in and watch week in and week out. The IRL's TV ratings are proving to be double that of Champ Car's this year because they are driven by the popularity of Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, etc. Champ Car is missing the boat in not researching and then publishing its worldwide TV numbers because they may paint an entirely different picture with regard to sponsor value. Relying solely on USA ratings when you have only two Americas in your series just isn't going to cut it. Also, the IRL races are broadcast on ESPN in Asia and elsewhere in the world. Champ Car has very limited international distribution because they did not, or were not able to do a deal, with ESPN International.

07/13/07 The final USA TV ratings for last weekend's races:

IRL: IndyCar Series: Watkins Glen ABC 1.0/3 share
American Le Mans Series: Lime Rock (taped) CBS 0.5/1 share
F1: Santander British Grand Prix Fox 0.7/2 share
NASCAR: Pepsi 400 at Daytona 3.8

07/09/07 The overnight TV ratings for races shown on network TV in the USA were:

IRL: IndyCar Series: Watkins Glen ABC 1.0/2 share 
American Le Mans Series: Lime Rock (taped) CBS 0.6/2 share
F1: Santander British Grand Prix Fox 0.9/2 share


Toyota continues complete domination in Trucks
SPARTA, Ky. – With the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series half complete, former champion Mike Skinner appears unstoppable.

Skinner and his Toyota truck completely dominated Saturday night’s Built Ford Tough 225 leading 135 of 150 laps around the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway as Skinner scored his series-leading fourth victory of the season before an announced crowd of 49,161.

In the process, Skinner became just the second driver 50 years or older to win a series race and set a record by leading his 13th consecutive race – every one – of the year.

Skinner, whose championship lead grew to 164 points over 10th-finishing Ron Hornaday Jr., took the lead for the final time on the 105th lap when he passed defending series champion Todd Bodine. He held a 5.57 second margin of victory – half a straightaway – over Travis Kvapil’s Ford. Kvapil in turn edged Ted Musgrave as the pair battled for the runner-up spot over the race’s final 10 laps.

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Brundle hits out at F1 stragglers
(GMM) Former grand prix driver and F1 analyst Martin Brundle has hit out at the sport's struggling teams.

The Briton, who drove more than 150 races in F1 including for McLaren in 1994, reserved his most biting scrutiny for Toyota and Spyker, whose involvement in the sport baffles him.

"It's difficult to see what Toyota are achieving in F1," Brundle wrote in the Sunday Times, criticizing the Japanese giant for using a "huge budget" for poor pace and reliability.

He said: "It's going to take a sea change of attitude to make that any different."

On the other end of the budgetary scale is the backmarker Spyker, for whom Brundle predicts a dim future.

"I don't quite understand what they are doing in F1," he said.

"Their owners have all the hallmarks of people who are just passing through. It's difficult to see how they can move forward."

Brundle manages Red Bull's David Coulthard but he says the energy-drink owned team have gone down the wrong path with the woefully-unreliable seamless gearbox.

"They should really have bought that technology in rather than do it themselves," he said.

Countryman Brundle even dares to pore over rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton's season, observing that the McLaren driver "slipped badly off the pace" at F1's two recent grands prix.

He said: "Something is wrong there. I don't know whether it's the distractions or pressure or just coincidence, but Hamilton needs to get his program back on track at the Nurburgring next weekend.

"At Silverstone it was explained away as saving the engine, but when you are chasing a championship you must stay right on your rivals, pressuring them into errors, and ready to pounce if they have contact or reliability problems in the closing stages."


Davidson happy with debut in slow lane
(GMM) Anthony Davidson says he is not bothered that countryman Lewis Hamilton has eclipsed his rookie season on the formula one grid in 2007.

Fellow rookie Hamilton is the British media's darling and a record-breaking championship leader, but Briton Davidson admits to enjoying his learning year with Super Aguri following more than half a decade as a test driver.

"Lewis is made for life but I'm in the perfect place to learn," he told the Daily Mail newspaper.

While Hamilton has been praised for his comparison to world champion teammate Fernando Alonso, Davidson's back-of-the-grid performance alongside Takuma Sato is harder to analyze.

He says he is performing well, but "you think you're on pole then find out you're sixteenth," Davidson smiled.

He jokes that, compared to sensation Hamilton, the public must see him as "motor racing's Eddie the Eagle"; a reference to an infamous struggling British ski-jumper.

But he insisted: "Actually, I'm not a figure on fun. I'm good. I'm just in a slower car."

Industry News

See 3D video of Kubica’s crash

Spectators, commentators and fans all feared the worst when BMW Sauber's star driver Robert Kubica hit the wall at the end of the hairpin at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on St. Helen's Island in Montreal during this year's Canadian Grand Prix. But as we all know, the Polish driver suffered only a concussion and a sprained ankle, despite the high speeds, high G's and hard impact of the crash. Now he's back in the cockpit, sticking it to everyone this side of Ferrari and McLaren, defending champions Renault included.

The techies over at RTL, the German network that broadcasts the Formula One events, put together this three-dimensional re-creation of the crash, complete with some Matrix-style viewing-angle sweeps. The action is slowed down so you can better see what happened, which makes it all too easy to forget the enormous speeds at which the crash occurred.


Kevin Harvick Busch Series Winner Press Conference
Talk about your move up through there and your thoughts about winning today’s race

Harvick:  It’s a credit to this entire race team, Shane and all the guys do a great job.  We unloaded and were off a fair amount.  We just kept working on it and made huge changes and by end of practice I felt we were pretty good.  About half way through the race we had, I don’t know what it was, a vibrating wheel or tire or something of that nature.  We were able to get that off of there and then the car really took off.  We were able to get up through traffic there and be in position there at the end to get by the 29 for the lead and the 5 (Kyle Bush) pitted and everything just started falling into place. 

When you saw the No. 5 go into the pits did that make you think ok now here we go and do you think pretty much had it won had he not pitted there?

Harvick:  He definitely had a good car and I hadn’t been up there to race him yet, so that was the first time that I had been able to make it up to the front.  Obviously it kept us from having to race him in the end we en d up racing the 29 (Jeff Burton).  Being the leader you’re in kind of a tough spot because usually everybody does everything just the opposite of what you do.  So we came up through there with tires earlier in the race and made up good ground and I think everybody kind of noticed that the guys that pitted were making up a little bit of ground so it’s a catch 22 in that situation so I don’t know if we could have beat him or race with him or not (Bush).  I now the 29 pulled up there and passed him earlier in the race.  I don’t know what the characteristics of his car where because we did not get up there until about 20 to go or so. 

Any disappointment in not getting to race with a member of your favorite rival family?

Harvick:  Not really.

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IRL sends Matsuura team to back for cheating
IndyCar Series officials have announced that #55 Matsuura will start tomorrow's IndyCar race from the rear of the field after having its qualifying time/speed disallowed for failing post-qualifying tech inspection. The decision is being announced prior to the race after the team filed a protest that was heard this afternoon by Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League president of competition and operations. Barnhart upheld the decision of the IndyCar Series technical inspection team and disallowed the qualifying time/speed.


Rain washes out Indy Car race
Steady rain showers forced the postponement of the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.  AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award winner Scott Dixon will lead the field to the green flag at 1 p.m. (ET), Sunday, July 15. The race will be televised by ESPN2.

The last IndyCar Series event to be postponed by rain was in June 2000 at Texas Motor Speedway. 

"It's really disappointing as it kind of breaks up the momentum the Target team had going this weekend," Dixon said. "We were quickest in practice and won the pole position, but just like the Energizer Bunny was going and going, even in the rain, we hope to keep it going through tomorrow. We're still on pole and ready to give the fans a great race tomorrow."

Skip Barber

Daly doubles up at Lime Rock
Cytomax driver Conor Daly scored two wins in the Skip Barber Eastern region championship in Lime Rock Park, July 14th 2007. They were two hard fought races where Conor just beat, fellow 2nd generation driver, Jordan Taylor (son of Suntrust Daytona Prototype team owner, Wayne Taylor). It was Conor’s third win of the season in the Skip Barber series. 

Conor Daly, son of former Formula One/Indy Car driver turned TV commentator Derek Daly, races karts in the Stars of karting championship in addition to the Skip Barber Racing series. Conor races his karts exclusively on Bridgestone tires and is sponsored by Cytomax Performance Drink, INDECK Forsythe Racing, Pedigo Chevrolet, The College Network, Tom Lange Company and Alpinestars.


Rain delays Nashville race
Heavy rain has hit the Nashville Superspeedway delaying the start of tonight's IndyCar race.


Harvick Wins NASCAR Busch Durarock 300
Kevin Harvick won today's NASCAR Busch Series USG Durarock 300 at Chicagoland Speedway which is his second Busch Series victory and third top -10 finish at this track.  This is his 29th victory in 181 NASCAR Busch Series races.  This is his third victory and 13th top-10 finish in 15 races in 2007. 

Matt Kenseth (second) posted this fifth top-10 finish in six NASCAR Busch Series races at Chicagoland.

Jeff Burton (third) posted his fifth top-10 in five NASCAR Busch Series at Chicagoland – all third-place finishes.

Brad Keselowski (14th) was the highest finishing rookie in his first race for the JR Motorsports U.S. Navy Chevrolet.

Carl Edwards finished 20th but still leads the NASCAR Busch Series point standings by 716 points over Harvick. Rick Schenk


Pecorari wins first Indy Pro race
Robbie Pecorari claimed his first Indy Pro Series victory winning the Sunbelt Rentals 100.  Pecorari, a rookie driver competing for first-year effort Team KMA, inherited the lead when leader Alex Lloyd pitted with damage sustained when he hit debris from an accident involving Brad Jaeger and Al Unser III with 12 laps to go. Jaeger was evaluated and released from University Medical Center, but he has not been cleared to drive.  Logan Gomez finished second, followed by Jaime Camara, Wade Cunningham and Jonathan Klein.

Results Saturday of the Sunbelt Rentals 100 Indy Pro Series event July 14 at the 1.3-mile Nashville Superspeedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed, and reason out (if any) and money earned: 
1. (3) Robbie Pecorari, 77, Running $32,500
2. (9) Logan Gomez, 77, Running $25,000
3. (8) Jaime Camara, 77, Running $20,000
4. (2) Wade Cunningham, 77, Running $16,400
5. (11) Jonathan Klein, 77, Running $15,900
6. (4) Hideki Mutoh, 77, Running $15,400
7. (7) Stephen Simpson, 77, Running $14,900
8. (13) Ryan Justice, 77, Running $14,400
9. (16) Chris Festa, 77, Running $13,900
10. (19) Ken Losch, 77, Running $13,400
11. (1) Alex Lloyd, 77, Running $13,400
12. (15) Brad Jaeger, 63, Contact $11,400
13. (17) Al Unser III, 62, Contact $10,400
14. (5) Sean Guthrie, 62, Running $10,000
15. (14) Bobby Wilson, 51, Handling $9,500

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Martin forced to backup car after accident UPDATE Added photo of wrecked car below.

07/14/07 Mark Martin will be forced to go to a backup car for Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, after wrecking his 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet in Saturday's first practice session. Martin will have to give up his fourth-place starting position and start in the back of the field for Sunday's race. Photo by Diane Schenk

Martin spun out and clipped the wall with the rear of his car coming off of turn two. The veteran was hard on himself after the accident.

"It's just absolutely inexcusable," said Martin. "This U.S. Army team built me one of the best cars I've ever had in my life and there is just no excuse for me letting that happen.

"I'll probably never get over it as long as I live. I've really never seen a shock change make that much of a difference, but that should not have happened."

The car involved in the accident was a new chassis. The backup car last ran at Michigan (June 17) where it finished 29th. It finished seventh at Pocono (June 10) in its run before that.

The team is working at this moment to get the car ready for the next practice session.

British F3

Double Pole for Asmer at Brands Hatch
Round 11 Qualifying: Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech Racing) posted the fastest time the red flag hit 30-minute qualifying session for Round 11 of the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series, 0.061 seconds ahead of Finland's Atte Mustonen (#26 Raikkonen Robertson Racing).  Cheng Cong Fu (#39 Performance Racing) claimed the National Class pole and will start the race six places ahead of championship rival Sergio Perez (#31 T Sport).

Jonathan Kennard (#2 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) set the early pace with a 1m18.986s, just 0.1 seconds ahead of Maro Engel (#23 Carlin Motorsport) and Niall Breen (#21 Carlin Motorsport).  Kennard improved but was passed by his Double R team mate Stephen Jelley (#1 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) and Sam Bird (#3 Carlin Motorsport) at the halfway point of the session. 

At this point the red flags came out as three cars belonging to Alberto Valerio, Alex Waters and Mario Moraes were beached at various points around the circuit.  After the cars were recovered the clock was reset for 15-minutes and the session was green flagged.

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Sponsor denies blame for Albers axe UPDATE (GMM)  The defaulting sponsor thought to have been responsible for the loss of Christijan Albers' Spyker race seat has denied the charge.

Reports named Chinese property developer Mingya, led by controversial Dutch businessman Joep van den Nieuwenhuyzen, as the backer that had fallen more than $4 million behind in due payments for Albers' ride.

But in the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, van den Niewenhuyzen said he was no longer even involved with either the 28-year-old driver or the Silverstone based formula one team.

"For Albers, his company, or Spyker, I am not guilty by a single euro, dollar or (Dutch) gulden," he said.

Van den Niewenhuyzen claims that Mingya, which had prominent signage on Spyker predecessor Midland's cars last year, did not have a contract with the team in 2007.

It is understood, however, that Mingya signage was still visible on Spyker's race transporters as recently as the British grand prix at Silverstone.

Van den Niewenhuyzen said: "It is not my fault but I do feel terrible for Christijan.  I would not let this happen to him."

07/14/07 Christijan Albers says he is seeking answers from the Spyker team following his dismissal from the Silverstone-based outfit's driver line-up earlier this week.

Speaking in a statement published on his official website, Albers said, "I am extremely disappointed," he reflected. "It goes without saying that there is nothing I would rather do than finish the season racing and continue my Formula 1 career.

"Right now I would like to address what I believe is the reason for this premature termination. Spyker has stated that the reason for the termination is the fact that one of my personal sponsors has not met its financial obligations to the team.

"The problems with this particular sponsor already occurred in December 2006 and January this year. However, the contract with this sponsor was agreed between the sponsor and the team directly without my intervention.

"Before as well as during the season several sponsors have been introduced to the Spyker F1 team based on my name and relation with the team. Regardless of the problems with the herefore mentioned sponsor the team direction had already given me verbal and written guarantees that I would finish the season in January this year.

"Therefore the team's decision to terminate the cooperation with me came as an unpleasant surprise to me. It is very unfair and I very much regret that this unexpected decision will prohibit me from driving in the new Spyker B car, especially since I have put much effort and time into its development with the help of the team staff and technicians."


Stoner wins pole in tight qualifying session
Casey Stoner qualified in pole position for tomorrow's German MotoGP with a time of 1:22.384 with his Marlboro Ducati.  He was just four thousandths ahead Dani Pedrosa in second spot who in turn was just nine thousandths ahead of Marco Melandri on his Honda Gresini.

Pos  Rider             Bike      Time       Behind
 1.  Casey Stoner      Ducati    1:22.384
 2.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda     1:22.388  + 0.004
 3.  Marco Melandri    Honda     1:22.397  + 0.013
 4.  Randy de Punie    Kawasaki  1:22.539  + 0.155
 5.  John Hopkins      Suzuki    1:22.561  + 0.177
 6.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha    1:22.605  + 0.221
 7.  Loris Capirossi   Ducati    1:22.615  + 0.231
 8.  Alex Barros       Ducati    1:22.897  + 0.513
 9.  Sylvain Guintoli  Yamaha    1:22.958  + 0.574
10.  Shinya Nakano     Honda     1:22.969  + 0.585
11.  Chris Vermeulen   Suzuki    1:23.049  + 0.655
12.  Anthony West      Kawasaki  1:23.056  + 0.672
13.  Colin Edwards     Yamaha    1:23.090  + 0.706
14.  Nicky Hayden      Honda     1:23.151  + 0.767
15.  Carlos Checa      Honda     1:23.182  + 0.798
16.  Alex Hofmann      Ducati    1:23.199  + 0.815
17.  Michel Fabrizio   Honda     1:23.491  + 1.107
18.  Makoto Tamada     Yamaha    1:23.744  + 1.360
19.  Kurtis Roberts    KR        1:24.209  + 1.825


German MotoGP Practice 3 times
1. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 1min 22.656 secs
2. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 1min 23.013 secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Gresini Honda (B) 1min 23.170 secs
4. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 23.202 secs
5. Carlos Checa SPA Honda LCR (M) 1min 23.220 secs
6. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 1min 23.339 secs
7. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 1min 23.347 secs
8. Colin Edwards USA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 1min 23.380 secs
9. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 1min 23.408 secs
10. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team (M) 1min 23.454 secs
11. Anthony West AUS Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 23.585 secs
12. Alex Barros BRA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 1min 23.590 secs
13. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 1min 23.617 secs
14. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (M) 1min 23.653 secs
15. Michel Fabrizio ITA Gresini Honda (B) 1min 23.701 secs
16. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 1min 23.764 secs
17. Makoto Tamada JPN Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 1min 23.806 secs
18. Shinya Nakano JPN Konica Minolta Honda (M) 1min 23.935 secs
19. Kurtis Roberts USA Team Roberts (M) 1min 25.097 secs


McLaren's image on the line
The escalation of the Formula One "espionage" row, with McLaren called to a hearing in front of the sport's governing body, the FIA, is a bitter blow to the English team, which prides itself on propriety.

The team's chief, Ron Dennis, has transformed success on the track into a multi-million pound company linked with some of the world's largest blue-chip operations. The purity of the team's image is a key element in its commercial success, and this now stands to be tainted by the investigative process.

This week the focus has been on McLaren's chief designer Mike Coughlan, who along with wife Trudy, faced a preliminary hearing at London's High Court on Tuesday about the alleged theft of technical information. He has been suspended by the team.

This week the FIA announced that they were summoning McLaren to an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council later this month, leaving Lewis Hamilton in danger of seeing his first quest for the world championship end in court.

This is hardly a positive marketing message in a sport where image is everything. Last weekend, McLaren launched their new mobile team headquarters. A vast, three-storey, mirror-windowed structure, it was quickly dubbed "Terminal Six" by paddock wags. But the proper title of the edifice is far more significant.  More at Telegraph.co.uk

Industry News

Car sales indicate broader troubles
Despite popular new vehicles such as the GMC Acadia and Ford Edge, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. continue losing their share of new car and truck buyers in dealer showrooms across America, according to the latest retail sales data provided exclusively to the Free Press by the Power Information Network.

In recent months, those Detroit automakers have largely blamed their falling market share on the decision to sell fewer vehicles to rental-car companies, but this analysis shows they are also losing plenty of regular consumers, too. Chrysler Group, meanwhile, maintains its position, thanks to the strength of its fresh Jeep lineup and incentives nearing $4,000 a vehicle.

Overall, that mixed performance meant that fewer than half of American consumers bought a vehicle from Detroit's automakers in the last three months. This is the second straight quarter Detroit has fallen below the halfway-point in retail market share.

Last year, about 51% of the new cars and trucks purchased in America were from Detroit's automakers. From January to March, that fell to 48.8%. From April to June, the number was 47.8%.

Foreign automakers are eagerly picking up the slack, but Toyota Motor Corp. is putting Detroit under the most heat. More at Detroit Free Press


Yeley Wins USAC ’borefest’ race at Chicago
J.J. Yeley scored a wire-to-wire win in Friday's USG Fiberock 100 at Chicagoland Speedway. On Friday the 13th, it was his 13th career pole and 13th career feature win in USAC's Silver Crown Series. The Nextel Cup Series regular, driving for A.J. Foyt, dominated the Weld Racing Silver Crown Series event. Yeley's win came in his second start of the season, coming after being sidelined with trouble while leading at Darlington back in May. Chicagoland Speedway PR


Kumho expanding into GT2 class
Kumho is stepping up its American Le Mans Series activity by becoming the tire partner for Woodhouse Performance, which will field a Viper Competition Coupe in GT2 at next week’s Acura Sports Car Challenge. It marks the first foray into GT2 for both Kumho and Dodge.

The event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is the only Series event the Viper is scheduled to appear in this season. The Woodhouse Performance team is converting one of its World Challenge GT Vipers to GT2 specs as the team and Dodge evaluates the performance of the Viper Competition Coupe as an alternative to World Challenge so that all Viper Competition Coupes have more than one choice in professional racing.

The Viper will compete on Kumho tires that were developed specifically for the car. Kumho debuted in the American Le Mans Series in 2005 and currently supplies tires for Intersport Racing in LMP1, and B-K Motorsports and van der Steur Racing in LMP2. The tire manufacturer also won the LMP2 class at Le Mans this year with Binnie Motorsports.

Read more & Comment...

Pruett, Rojas win in Iowa
Daytona Prototype championship points leader Scott Pruett and his points-leading No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team rewrote the record books Friday in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve competition, as both became leaders in overall Rolex Series victories at Iowa Speedway with a narrow triumph at the 1.3-mile, nine-turn stadium road course. Pruett shared the victory in the Daytona Prototype feature race with Mexican rookie Memo Rojas.

Pruett, who now owns a record 14 Rolex Series overall wins, led No. 19 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Z-Line/Mission Residential Lexus Riley teammate Michael Valiante by .325 seconds at the checkered flag for the No. 01 team's second victory of 2007 and Ganassi's first ever 1-2 finish in the series. It also marked the 15th overall Rolex Series victory for Ganassi, another series record, and gave Rojas his first Rolex Series victory after three runner-up finishes earlier this season.

Pruett and Valiante, who co-drove with Rob Finlay to the pair's best career finish, battled through traffic for the final 10 laps, trying desperately to garner breathing room for a clean shootout. However, lapped traffic didn't budge, and Valiante had a last-ditch passing opportunity when Pruett's car hiccupped in the final corner. But Valiante also checked up and didn't force an attempt, giving Pruett just enough to secure the victory and improve his championship points lead to 15 over Max Angelelli (272-257) with five series races remaining.

Read more & Comment...
Industry News

Video: GM executive talks down diesel

GM vice chairman Bob Lutz took pains to point out that fuel-efficient diesel engines, popular in Europe, will not provide as easy an easy answer to America's petroleum dependence. "Do not assume that the diesel engine is a panacea and is going to make everyone get to a fleet average of 36 miles per gallon," Lutz says in the video. The popular notion Lutz is trying to refute is that diesels, already popular in Europe, offer the fuel economy benefits of gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles but without all the added cost and complexity of gasoline/electric hybrid technology.


Video: Europe GP ING Race Index
Ahead of the Grand Prix at the Nürburgring race track on July 22, ING issues its Race Index for the Grand Prix of Europe, which assesses race features including the circuit itself, level of driver difficulty, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the ING Race Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the Grand Prix of Europe obtains 62 points, making it the eighth most demanding Grand Prix of the 2007 season.


NASCAR crew chief gets slap on wrist
NASCAR this week fined Greg Conner, crew chief of the No. 59 Ford driven by Marcos Ambrose in the Busch Series, $1,000 for an unapproved aerodynamic modification.  The infraction was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection last weekend at Daytona Beach, Fla.


Alex Lloyd wins Indy Pro pole
Qualifying Friday for the Sunbelt Rentals 100 Indy Pro Series event on the 1.3-mile Nashville Superspeedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed: 
1. (7) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 181.841
2. (27) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 181.530
3. (13) Robbie Pecorari, Dallara, 180.851
4. (55) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara, 180.767
5. (4) Sean Guthrie, Dallara, 180.669
6. (15) Joey Scarallo, Dallara, 180.668
7. (24) Stephen Simpson, Dallara, 180.286
8. (11) Jaime Camara, Dallara, 180.073
9. (23) Logan Gomez, Dallara, 179.920
10. (53) Mike Potekhen, Dallara, 179.851
11. (2) Jonathan Klein, Dallara, 179.799
12. (5) Andrew Prendeville, Dallara, 179.614
13. (38) Ryan Justice, Dallara, 179.195
14. (1) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 178.832
15. (3) Brad Jaeger, Dallara, 178.738
16. (9) Chris Festa, Dallara, 178.509
17. (12) Al Unser III, Dallara, 178.384
18. (6) Marc Williams, Dallara, 175.287
19. (52) Ken Losch, Dallara, 175.200
20. (8) P.J. Abbott, Dallara, no speed
21. (40) Tom Wieringa, Dallara, no speed


Notes and Quotes from Martin Truex Jr.
At Chicagoland Speedway Friday

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has said that it matters a lot to him who replaces him at DEI.  What sort of teammate do you want?

“I’d like to see someone that’s like him, that’s easy to work with, fun to be with, but is really good at what he does.  It could be a great teammate to share information with.  One of the best things we’ve go going on for us right now is our teamwork, through all the teams.  We’ve got a great system going and it took us some time to get that going, it took a while for Jr. and I to get on the same page and its taken Paul (Menard) a little time to get on that page with us.  So it will be a bit of a setback for us, I think.  You know, someone who wants the whole company to be a success not just himself.  That’s the way we’ve always done things.  One of Jr.’s strong suits is he’s a team player he’s not out there just for himself.”

With Jr. moving on you’re probably going to be the top driver at DEI.  How does that feel?  Does it bring a lot of pressure?

“It doesn’t really change that much.  The only pressures I feel are the ones I put on myself to perform.  They’re really the only ones that matter to me.  Everybody’s got expectations – I’ve probably got higher ones for myself.  I try to do the best job I can do.  I love my team; we’re having a lot of fun right now and real excited about the future with Bass Pro coming back and all the stuff that we’re working on.  It’s looking really good for us now..we’re doing really well; the racecars seem to be good everywhere we go.  It just goes back to me and Bono getting experience and building up our notebook and it seems that every time we go back somewhere we know more and we’re smarter. Rick Schenk


Champ Car owner clarifies published statements
The following is a statement from Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker in response to Robin Miller’s most recent article regarding Champ Car’s decision to change responsibilities held by Champ Car management.

Derrick Walker, Walker Racing Owner:

“Included in an article written by Robin Miller regarding Champ Car’s decision to change the responsibilities held by front office management, namely Steve Johnson and Tony Cotman, I was quoted by Robin Miller, in a manner which I felt did not fairly represent all that I had said and the context in which I said it. The informal conversation we had on the subject was included in his writings.  On reading the quotes attributed to me, I felt I needed to clarify what I had said in the way that I said it.  However, I reconsidered and instead decided it would be more productive for me to make some remarks for the record regarding Steve Johnson and more importantly Champ Car.

Steve Johnson has a tiger by the tail.  Anybody who is the CEO of Champ Car has had a difficult job, just ask those who came before him.  Recovery of the series will take some time and Steve, with a small staff, limited resources, and more things to do with not enough hours in the day to do them, has done his best to be all things to all people.  To me, as CEO he has always gone out of his way to help, used his influence when needed enabling us to continue in Champ Car.  Let’s face it it’s a big challenge for anybody.  The reallocation of his time to concentrate on sales and securing the need for sponsorship dollars is a more important use for him than chairing meetings and micro managing the price of car parts as we tend to do, quite frankly.

Moving Champ Car up the ladder is going to take three to five years.  Times have changed since the glory days of CART.  We need new ideas that work in the very different marketplace of today.  The owners of Champ Car (who I jokingly referred to as ‘The Brothers’), have made a huge commitment to open wheel racing, which we all tend to take for granted sometimes, need to provide the leadership to make it happen.  In the winter of 2006 valuable momentum was lost, but now there are positive signs of change and a new direction emerging.

Thank you for allowing me to make my comments known.”


Notes and Quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr.
From Chicagoland Speedway Friday

On his sponsorship with Budweiser coming to a close at the end of the 2007 season

“It would be cool if they did stay at DEI, but wherever they decide to go, will be the right choice for them.  They always make the right decision.”

Will you still have a personal services contract with Budweiser?

“My association will be over at the end of ’07.  Budweiser and we came to an agreement on that.  So I think that will help us and them.  But as far as our future, our future’s apart.  But you don’t have to pay me to drink beer.  It’s good beer and I’ll always drink it.  And I enjoy it.  That’s part of my life.  The relationship I had with Budweiser and the partnership we’ve had for all these years is a big huge chunk of my life and it’ll always be very memorable to me.  And they’ll always be a huge part of that and that success that I’ve had and the races that we’ve won.  And when I look back on it in 20 years from now, it’ll be a real positive thing for me.”

Does the Budweiser deal affect what your car number will be?  Do you still want to be No. 8?

“I would still like to be No. 8, but that’s between the owners and obviously NASCAR.  I don’t have any influence, I reckon.”

On racing at Chicagoland Speedway

“I enjoy it.  This track is starting to age really well.  The shade of the asphalt has changed quite a bit.  The track is going to really come in with a second and third groove during the race, just like it did last year.  Those are fun race tracks.  And I look forward to it.  I really do.  It’s a fun track.

How do you expect your relationship with Jeff Gordon to go next year?

“I think we’ll be fierce competitors on the track.  I think we’ll race each other like we do now.  We like to beat each other.  I like to outrun Jeff any chance I can.  I think he feels the same way about me just because of the fan base and the differences between the two.  But we’ll be teammates and we’ll be in team meetings together.  We’ll be doing things like that were we’ll be essentially working toward the same goal.  But when we get out on the race track; when we pull out of the garage and out on pit road and get ready for practices and things like that, that’ll still be a high level of competition between me and him.  I think that has to remain.  That’s can’t go away.  I don’t want it to go away.  But I like the rivalry him and my dad had and I’d like to continue that.” Rick Schenk


RCR and DEI complete land purchase
Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. have completed the purchase of a tract of land off Exit 85 on Interstate 85 in North Carolina north of Salisbury, N.C., which will house the organizations’ new joint engine facility.

“We’re still working through all the plans, but we hope to move in by January of 2009,” said Ritchie Gilmore, DEI’s director of motorsports. “The building should be done before then but fully operational by that date.”

Gilmore said all engines used by RCR and DEI should be the result of fully cooperative effort in 2008. The new facility will be large enough to produce engines for up to eight Cup teams (four each for RCR and DEI) as well as engines for the Busch and Truck series, he said.

“Hopefully, we’ll also have the ability to grow into other markers and other forms of racing,” Gilmore said. ThatsRacin


Comcast to sponsor HAAS CNC car in Chicago
Comcast, an associate sponsor of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Haas CNC Racing team this season, will be the primary sponsor of the team’s No. 66 Chevrolet and driver Jeff Green for Sunday’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.


Dixon leads Nashville practice 1
Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Scott Dixon (9) ... 22.8892 204.463
2 Danica Patrick (7) 0.0623 22.9515 203.908
3 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.1035 22.9927 203.543
4 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.1129 23.0021 203.460
5 Marco Andretti (26) 0.1381 23.0273 203.237
6 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.1399 23.0291 203.221
7 Scott Sharp (8) 0.1412 23.0304 203.210
8 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.1435 23.0327 203.189
9 Jeff Simmons (17) 0.1586 23.0478 203.056
10 Ed Carpenter (20) 0.2316 23.1208 202.415
11 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.2628 23.1520 202.142
12 AJ Foyt IV (22) 0.3010 23.1902 201.809
13 Tomas Scheckter (2) 0.3575 23.2467 201.319
14 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.3685 23.2577 201.224
15 Buddy Rice (15) 0.4266 23.3158 200.722
16 Sarah Fisher (5) 0.4273 23.3165 200.716
17 Vitor Meira (4) 0.4289 23.3181 200.702
18 Darren Manning (14) 0.4671 23.3563 200.374


Enge to set up car for Duno, but she crashes it again UPDATE Milka Duno will not compete in this weekend's IndyCar Series race at Nashville Superspeedway after she crashed at the circuit in testing on Thursday even after Tomas Enge set the car up for her.  Like we said she is the worst driver to ever strap on a helmet in the history of racing.  Is the IRL that desperate to have more women in their series?

"I was having my best laps of the year with my times and the handling of the car," she said. "The car had stiffer springs (on Thursday) and the bumps in Turn 4 were more of a challenge today than yesterday."

07/13/07 Rumor has it that Milka Duno is so bad her SAMAX crew hired Tomas Enge to set up the car for her. She reportedly crashed the car in Turn 4 at the Nashville Speedway yesterday. No report on the extent of the damage but now the team has a legitimate excuse to sit her out some more races.


Hendrick Motorsports confirms Dale Jr. will have new sponsor
Hendrick Motorsports announced that long-term contractual commitments to existing sponsors will preclude Budweiser from continuing as primary sponsor of the car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he joins the organization next season. "We have agreements in place with sponsors for the 2008 Sprint Cup season, which prevent us from having a relationship with Budweiser," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "Honoring our commitments is important to us. The trade-off is missing an opportunity to bring Budweiser, a marquee brand synonymous with NASCAR and its fans, into the fold." On June 13, Earnhardt Jr. signed on to race for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2008, but primary sponsorship of his team remains undecided. No timetable has been established for an announcement. "Budweiser has sponsored Dale Jr. for nearly a decade, and we wish him the very best," said Tony Ponturo, vice president of global media and sports marketing for Anheuser-Busch Inc. "Budweiser will remain an active sponsor of NASCAR, and we look forward to building upon the legacy of the iconic Budweiser red car in 2008 and beyond." "To climb into that red Budweiser car each weekend has always been a privilege," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Although Budweiser and I will be unable to continue our partnership beyond this season, I remain committed to driving for Bud the rest of this year, and will continue to make it my beer of choice. I'm a race car driver. All I can do is drive as hard as I can for my fans and sponsorship partners, and give my best effort each weekend."Hendrick Motorsports PR


NASCAR hammers another cheater
NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #7 team in the Nextel Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions found last week at Daytona. The #7 Ford, driven by Robby Gordon, was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-6.7C (8) (unapproved camera shell) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book. The violations were found during opening day inspection on July 5. Gordon has been penalized 25 championship driver and 25 championship owner points. Crew chief Gene Nead has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.NASCAR PR


Stoner fastest in Germany
Australian rider Casey Stoner showed the way on day one of activity for the tenth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), the German Grand Prix that takes place at Sachsenring circuit.

Session 2

Pos  Rider            Bike      Time       Behind
 1.  Casey Stoner     Ducati    1:22.737
 2.  Valentino Rossi  Yamaha    1:23.083  + 0.346
 3.  Daniel Pedrosa   Honda     1:23.366  + 0.629
 4.  Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha    1:23.387  + 0.650
 5.  Carlos Checa     Honda     1:23.413  + 0.676
 6.  Marco Melandri   Honda     1:23.430  + 0.693
 7.  Alex Barros      Ducati    1:23.548  + 0.811
 8.  Colin Edwards    Yamaha    1:23.613  + 0.876
 9.  John Hopkins     Suzuki    1:23.645  + 0.908
10.  Randy de Puniet  Kawasaki  1:23.667  + 0.930
11.  Chris Vermeulen  Suzuki    1:23.683  + 0.946
12.  Loris Capirossi  Ducati    1:23.687  + 0.950
13.  Alex Hofmann     Ducati    1:23.856  + 1.119
14.  Makoto Tamada    Yamaha    1:24.090  + 1.353
15.  Anthony West     Kawasaki  1:24.106  + 1.369
16.  Shinya Nakano    Honda     1:24.208  + 1.471
17.  Nicky Hayden     Honda     1:24.238  + 1.501
18.  Michel Fabrizio  Honda     1:24.748  + 2.011
19.  Kurtis Roberts   KR        1:25.316  + 2.579

Session 1

Pos  Rider             Bike      Time       Behind
 1.  Casey Stoner      Ducati    1:23.058
 2.  Carlos Checa      Honda     1:23.744  + 0.686
 3.  John Hopkins      Suzuki    1:24.085  + 1.027
 4.  Colin Edwards     Yamaha    1:24.102  + 1.044
 5.  Marco Melandri    Honda     1:24.177  + 1.119
 6.  Randy de Puniet   Kawasaki  1:24.190  + 1.132
 7.  Nicky Hayden      Honda     1:24.200  + 1.142
 8.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha    1:24.300  + 1.242
 9.  Sylvain Guintoli  Yamaha    1:24.420  + 1.362
10.  Anthony West      Kawasaki  1:24.470  + 1.412
11.  Daniel Pedrosa    Honda     1:24.476  + 1.418
12.  Loris Capirossi   Ducati    1:24.686  + 1.628
13.  Chris Vermeulen   Suzuki    1:24.709  + 1.651
14.  Alex Barros       Ducati    1:24.941  + 1.883
15.  Alex Hofmann      Ducati    1:24.969  + 1.911
16.  Shinya Nakano     Honda     1:25.572  + 2.514
17.  Michel Fabrizio   Honda     1:25.854  + 2.796
18.  Makoto Tamada     Yamaha    1:26.350  + 3.292
19.  Kurtis Roberts    KR        1:27.177  + 4.119


Sober Unser Jr. won't fight Nevada DUI charge
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. will not fight a driving under the influence charge stemming from a January crash on a Nevada freeway, officials said Tuesday.

Unser, whose blood-alcohol percentage was almost three times the legal limit when he was arrested Jan. 25, will plead no contest to driving under the influence, his lawyer and a prosecutor said.

Lesser charges, including misdemeanor hit-and-run, failure to render aid in an accident and failure to report an accident, will be dropped, according to the plea deal.

"It was an unfortunate mistake, but he's learned from it," lawyer Andrew Leavitt told The Associated Press, speaking on behalf of Unser, 45, of Henderson. "He's a recovering alcoholic. He hasn't had a drop of alcohol since this happened."


Ethanol drives popcorn prices thru the roof
In the coming weeks and months, it could cost you more to go to the movies. No, the price of a ticket isn't going up again. But if you like a little popcorn with your flick, you may have to shell out a few more kernels from your wallet to buy it. And the reason may surprise you. It has nothing to do with the tasty morsels and everything to do with ethanol.

The demand for one of the main ingredients that helps create the lower cost and more environmentally friendly fuel has soared, and that's led to an increase in orders for corn across North America and especially in the U.S., where most of the world's popcorn supply is grown. As demand goes up, so does the price, rising more than 40 percent since 2006. The result - suppliers are being charged more for it and they're passing those costs along to you.

That means the salty snack could wind up costing you more whether you go to the movies or simply make a bowl or microwave a package while watching a flick at home. The Popcorn Board - and yes there really is such an entity - estimates 30 percent of all munching goes on in cinemas, while 70 percent happens at home. But no matter where you eat it, there's a good chance you'll be paying more for the privilege.

"I think (ethanol is) going to have a uniform effect on all geographical areas that produce popcorn," believes Dennis Kunnemann of AK Acres Popcorn, a company that purchases, processes and sells the kernels to retailers. "This year, we've paid the highest price ever that I've contracted for, 13 cents a pound," compared with 9 cents per pound in 2006. Some companies, like the makers of Jolly Time, have also hiked prices, but have held off on its microwave brand waiting to see where the market's going. But if it goes where analysts expect, they may not wait long.

All of which means if you're going to see a so-called 'popcorn movie' this summer, the real eye popping drama may not be on the screen. It could wind up being shown on the price board at the concession stand. City News


Italian team joins the Speedcar ranks
GPC Squadra Corse is the first privateer team that has announced it will compete for the 600,000 US Dollars top prize in the brand new Speedcar Series.

Interest in the championship, based in Asia and the Middle East continues to grow, and GPC, which has a history of racing success in GT series with Ferrari, has confirmed it will enter two cars in the competition, which is set to begin in Dubai on November 10.

Giampaolo Coppi, team boss of GPC will now select two drivers for cars 20 and 21, he said: "I strongly believe this new series will deliver a great show, and will attract a great amount of commercial interest as it is based in Asia and the Middle East. Also there will be the opportunity to race some events in partnership with GP2 Asia and Formula One, giving added value to drivers and commercial partners."

24 drivers, including ex-F1 stars Jean Alesi, Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson, Narain Karthikeyan, and Gianni Morbidelli, will take part in the first season, which will also include a mixture of international racers. All the drivers will be aiming to win 600,000 US Dollars prize for coming first in the championship.

18 cars will be leased to teams, with Speedcar Series organizers running the other six.


Roush COT Testing in Full Swing
Entering this weekend's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicago, Ford and Roush finally look like a match for the Chevys. "The big thing that has helped us with the Car of Tomorrow is we now have a test team," [Jack] Roush said. "We are doing the things I thought we weren't going to be allowed to do when NASCAR told us we couldn't take tires from the racetrack because they didn't want us to test. I thought they would put teeth in that, but they didn't. We got behind. But five weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer [for testing]. We've been to Iowa, Milwaukee four times in the last month, and Road Atlanta and VIR [Virginia International Raceway]." Roush's three 2007 victories have come with NASCAR's current car, and the Chicagoland race also will feature the current car. But if Roush Fenway is going to compete with the Chevy teams for the championship, it will have to have a strong COT program. "We're not caught up yet," Roush said. "But we're certainly on the path, and we'll be heard from more before the year is over." Tampa Tribune


USGP brought more business to Indy than 500
The U.S. Grand Prix might have been a controversial event for fans and media members, but there were no doubts among Downtown hotel and restaurant employees: They loved it, both for its economic impact and the colorful characters it pulled through their doors.
"The week of F-1 for us is the best or second-best of the year," said Ryan Nelson, executive chef for The Oceanaire restaurant. "It compares only to the second week of December with all the holiday parties. It's significant. We've had record nights on F-1 Saturday nights. It will definitely be missed."

Grand Prix fans have pumped more than $1 billion into the local economy, according to the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association.

Nelson estimated the loss of the race will cost his business about $75,000.

Casey Loughlin, general manager at Palomino restaurant said business improved by 30 percent to 40 percent the weekend of the race. Ryan Craig, director of operations for Ruth's Chris Steak House, said business there increased two or three times over race weekend.

Mark McClure, general manager of the Canterbury Hotel, said his hotel averages 64 percent occupancy on normal weekends but enjoyed 100 percent occupancy -- at a higher room rate -- during F-1 weekend.

"This is as big a piece of news as (not getting the Super Bowl), to tell you the truth," he said. "This was something that happened every year; you could count on it. You add up two or three years of the F-1, it's going to be a Super Bowl." Indy Star


Q and A with Tony George on axed USGP UPDATE Speedway CEO Tony George said he wanted the U.S. Grand Prix to stay at the IMS, but not at a cost of at least $30 million a year.

George said he was willing to spend $15 million a year to stage grand prix races, but he couldn't match the estimated $30 million to $35 million in sanctioning fees others are offering F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

"It's a sizable gap," George said of his offer and Ecclestone's asking price. "Suffice it to say, he can get more (money) elsewhere, so he's asking for more in the future."

As a result, Indianapolis' eight-year run as the host of the U.S. Grand Prix has ended, although George left the door open for a possible resurrection of the event, estimating the odds at 60-40 in favor of future races.

In an interview, George said the event needs a title sponsor, a consistent national television package and a significant upgrade in corporate backing.

Meanwhile, officials in countries such as India, China and Malaysia have raised the price of hosting an F-1 race beyond what George can afford.  IndyStar.com

07/12/07 TONY GEORGE: Today I want to let everyone know that unfortunately, and to my great disappointment, Formula One will not be back next year, in 2008. And beyond that, Bernie and I had several discussions that led us to this decision and announcement, but we did agree it was prudent to try to leave the door open for the future. With that, the near-term communication is that Formula One will not be back next year, but it's my sincere hope that we'll have the opportunity to bring it back in the not-too-distant future.

Q: The decision to bring the motorcycle race here, how much flexibility did that allow you to go with a strict number of what you'd be willing to pay, and not necessarily negotiate?

GEORGE: The decision to not have a round of the World Championship here next year was considered totally independently of any consideration being given to having a motorcycle race here. It was strictly a business decision and there are a lot of factors that weigh into that, but it was a decision that weighed solely on that.

Q: There is precedent for Bernie to not agree to a contract now and then suddenly add an event to the schedule later in the year. Is there a chance a USGP could still happen in 2008 here, or somewhere else in the country?

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NASCAR Pepsi 400 TV rating
The final TV rating for last weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup Pepsi 400 race at Daytona was a 3.8 on TNT, down a Monmouth 25.5% from a 5.1 on FOX last year.

TNT's debut of Wide Open Coverage for the Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race at Daytona, a unique television format that featured no national commercial interruptions, took the checkered flag by beating all programming on broadcast and cable for the night, ranking as television's #1 program in Saturday primetime among adults 18-34, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54. TNT's Wide Open coverage featured only three local commercial breaks per hour and an innovative on-screen video box for sponsor branded content,. The Pepsi 400 also ranked as ad-supported cable's #1 program for the week among adults 18-49 (3,030,000) and adults 25-54 (3,457,000). It was also #2 for the week behind the TNT original The Closer among viewers (6,162,000) and households (4,242,000). For the week among all of television, TNT's Saturday night Nextel Cup coverage was a Top 10 program among adults 25-54 and men 18-49 and a Top 5 program among men 25-54. TNT concludes its Nextel Cup coverage from Chicagoland Speedway on July 15 at 2:30pm/et. TNT PR


Marco Andretti's driver's license suspended.
IRL racer Marco Andretti's driver's license was suspended last month because of an unpaid speeding ticket, the Marion County prosecutor's office says.   Watch Video


Latest F1 news in brief
  • McLaren 'disappointed' by FIA summons
  • Spyker praise Klien after Spa test
  • Drivers flag safety of new Spa pitlane
  • No US GP at Indy or elsewhere in 2008
  • Ralf says no GPDA action over Spa pitlane
  • Hamilton finds fame in Germany too New
  • Spy saga involves more people - Stepney New
  • Coulthard backs McLaren amid spy scandal New

McLaren 'disappointed' by FIA summons
(GMM) McLaren on Thursday said it was "extremely disappointed" after F1's governing body summoned the team to answer charges of alleged espionage.

An extraordinary meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council will take place in Paris on July 26, leading the press to speculate about penalties ranging from points deduction, fines, to total exclusion from the world championship as the Stepney-gate scandal rolls on.

Ferrari's sacked Stepney is accused of sending nearly 800 pages of team data to McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan, who along with his wife is being sued by Ferrari in England for receiving, keeping and trying to copy the documents.

Woking based McLaren answered in a statement that it wishes "to make it very clear that the documents and confidential information were only in the possession of one currently suspended employee on an unauthorized basis and no element of it has been used in relation to McLaren's formula one cars."

Spyker praise Klien after Spa test
(GMM) Christian Klien's chances of filling axed Spyker racer Christijan Albers' seat seemed to increase even more after he drove 63 laps at the Spa Francorchamps test on Thursday.

A damp Belgian track, minor technical trouble, and the slowest lap time of the day aside, the Dutch squad praised the 24-year-old Austrian test driver's progress at the wheel of the orange-liveried car after he was released by his usual employer Honda.

"Despite this being (his) first ever run in the Ferrari powered F8-VII, he recorded a best lap of 1min 49.119, just 2.4secs from the fastest time of the day," a statement enthused.

Spyker's chief race and test engineer Dominic Harlow, meanwhile, praised Klien as a "professional" who "contributed to the day from the start".

Klien said: "There is a good bunch of people here and I felt at home straight away.

"Obviously today's focus was to get used to the car and how the engine and gearbox works. I think it all went well, there is potential in the car and I enjoyed the day testing with Spyker," he added. [Editor's Note: We hear Klien and his father's checkbook are a shoe-in for this buy-a-ride seat so of course the team will praise him. They need his money.]

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tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The full Sunday TV listings are now shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Replay - Daytona
Pepsi 400
12:00am-2:30am (R) HDNet
IRL & Indy Pro Series Practice & Qualifying
Nashville Superspeedway
10:00am-8:00pm (L) WEBCAST - IndyCar.com
IRL Indy Pro Series Practice
Nashville Superspeedway
10:15am (L) WEBCAST - ESPN360.com
IRL Practice
Firestone Indy 200
Nashville Superspeedway
11:00am (L) WEBCAST - ESPN360.com
Chicagoland Speedway
12:00pm-12:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice
Chicagoland Speedway
12:30pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
IRL Indy Pro Series Practice
Nashville Superspeedway
1:15pm (L) WEBCAST - ESPN360.com
IRL Practice
Firestone Indy 200
Nashville Superspeedway
2:30pm (L) WEBCAST - ESPN360.com
Chicagoland Speedway
3:30pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying
Chicagoland Speedway
4:00pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
5:30pm-5:45pm ESPN2
Chicagoland Speedway
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Final Practice
Chicagoland Speedway
5:45pm-6:45pm (L) Approximate Time ESPN2
IRL Qualifying
Firestone Indy 200
Nashville Superspeedway
6:15pm (L) WEBCAST - ESPN360.com
6:45pm-7:00pm ESPN2
Chicagoland Speedway
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
IRL Indy Pro Series Practice
Nashsville Superspeedway
7:45pm (L) WEBCAST - ESPN360.com
Kentucky Speedway
8:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Rolex Sports Car Series
Iowa Speedway
10:00pm-1:00am (SDD) SPEED - DP

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GAINSCO team sets fast times
Throughout unofficial testing today at Iowa Speedway, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty consistently kept their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley at the top of the time charts, finishing up the day a close second, only trailing Scott Pruett’s machine. Times were not officially record.
This bodes well for the duo’s performance in tomorrow evening’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Iowa 400k, as the narrow, demanding 1.3-mile infield road course offers few opportunities to pass. To secure a successful result and have a shot at recording the team’s series-record fourth straight victory, Alex and Jon know they’ve got to secure a starting position right at the front of the grid.
That’s a familiar position for the red GAINSCO car, as Gurney and Fogarty have combined to qualify on the front row in every one of the eight Daytona Prototype races this season – including four consecutive and five total poles. Both drivers focused their track time on finding little tweaks that could add up to big gains. On a course which sees lap times around 42 seconds, every tenth makes a difference.

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