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DATE News (chronologically)
07/17/08
nnw
Jacques Villeneuve gets Nationwide ride  
Villeneuve to compete in Nationwide race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Braun Racing is pleased to announce that former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will drive its No. 32 Toyota Camry in the second annual NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada on August 1-2, 2008.  The addition of Villeneuve to the field at the world renowned road course named after his father, Gilles Villeneuve, a legendary Formula 1 racer, adds a special hometown feeling to the event that already includes an array of Canadian drivers.

Though this event will mark his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start at the track which carries his namesake, the road course phenomenon has a tremendous amount of experience on the 2.709-mile road course.  In a career that has spanned for more than two decades, Villeneuve has experienced success that can be rivaled by very few. He has captured world championships in both the CART and Formula 1 Series and is logged in the record books as winner of the 1995 Indianapolis 500.  To win championships in both the CART and Formula 1 on top of a win in the famed Indy 500 is a feat that has only been accomplished by two other drivers. More ...

07/17/08
alms
Mid-Ohio: Thursday Notebook  
Dyson Porsche Spyder
Dyson Racing was out for the beginning of Thursday’s test session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge, only a day after receiving a brand new tub for its No. 16 Porsche RS Spyder. The car of Guy Smith and Chris Dyson was a write-off following a crash at last weekend’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park with one of Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Porsches.

With only four days to get to Mid-Ohio, the Dyson crew do the usual pre-race setup work in the paddock and make repairs to the other Porsche of Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti which had suspension damage after a late-race incident with a Penske Racing Porsche.

“The tub was delivered Wednesday to the track,” said a proud Dyson. “Our guys did a fantastic job of getting the car put together and ready. Porsche did an excellent job too of having the car and technicians here. We’re very glad to be back out and running again.”

BRINGING BACK MEMORIES: With all his accomplishments in an illustrious career, Gil de Ferran still is looking for his first Mid-Ohio win. The former Indianapolis 500 and CART champion hopes that becomes a reality this weekend in just the third race for de Ferran Motorsports.

De Ferran placed second and won pole positions in 2000 and 2001 at Mid-Ohio for Team Penske, now his chief rival in the Series’ LMP2 class. De Ferran and Simon Pagenaud will drive one of four Acura ARX-01b entries at Mid-Ohio. Also the team owner, de Ferran would like nothing more than to score Acura’s second straight overall Series victory at one of his favorite tracks, a week after Patr¢n Highcroft Racing won at Lime Rock. More ...

07/17/08
alms
Montagny paces ALMS practice Thursday at M-O  
Franck Montagny
The idea that Andretti Green Racing’s Franck Montagny is growing more and more comfortable behind the wheel of a sports car should be a bit frightening to the rest of the American Le Mans Series paddock. He was the fastest driver in Thursday’s test session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge with a lap of 1:08.827 (118.105 mph) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Montagny will drive this week with Raphael Matos in AGR’s Acura ARX-01b. The Frenchman is a quick study having driven the LMP2 car for the first time last week at Mid-Ohio, just days before his first Series race at Lime Rock Park. And while the familiarity with the circuit helps, more and more laps in the Acura are even more beneficial. More ...

07/17/08
irl
All show and no go?  UPDATE Helio Castroneves arrived at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course July 17 following a star-studded week at awards shows in Pasadena and Hollywood, Calif.

Helio Castroneves can dance, but can he still drive to win?
On July 16, Castroneves was a co-presenter on stage during the 16th ESPY Awards and was a correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight” on the red carpet prior to the event.

“It’s all in a day’s work,” he said July 16.

A day earlier, the Team Penske driver who is second in the IndyCar Series standings heading into the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance received the Auto Racer of the Year Award during the inaugural Univision Premios Deportes Awards in Pasadena, Calif. (broadcast July 20 on Univision).

"It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Latin community for my contribution to the sports world," said Castroneves, the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who is second in the IndyCar Series championship standings. "Being from Brazil, the Latin community in the United States is a tremendously important part of my life. To be considered one of the top Latin drivers competing in America is something I'm very proud of.”

Castroneves was joined at the ESPYs by WNBA player and award winner Candace Parker to present the International Female Athlete award.

Danica Patrick, a double ESPY nominee, also was a presenter during the show hosted by Justin Timberlake. Actor Forest Whitaker joined the Andretti Green Racing driver to hand out the Best Upset award. IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was nominated in the Best Driver category.

The ESPYs will be broadcast at 9 p.m. (ET) July 20 on ESPN.

On Sept. 22, Castroneves will be among the honorees during the 23rd Great Sports Legends Dinner in New York.

Joining the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion on the dais will be tennis champion Andre Agassi, NFL all-time receiving leader Jerry Rice, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs and seven-time NBA All-Star Scottie Pippen.

Bob Costas will be the master of ceremonies for the event that benefits the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, a nonprofit organization that serves as the national fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

07/14/08 Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is taking time away from the hectic IndyCar Series schedule to go to Los Angeles for two events this week.  Given his winning percentage of late perhaps he should spend more time on his driving skills.

This evening, Castroneves will be attending Univision’s “Premios Deportes” Awards in Pasadena, Calif. Castroneves has been nominated for an award in the “Auto Racer of the Year” category along with fellow IndyCar Series driver Milka Duno and NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

In addition, Castroneves will be presenting the “All-Star Soccer Team of the Year Award,” which will be decided by fan votes.

The July 14 ceremonies mark the first-ever “Premios Deportes” Awards that were created to honor Latin athletes and their talent, perseverance, and character; as well as their impact on the Latin Community. IndyCar Series driver Mario Moraes will also attend the event.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Latin community for my contribution to the sports world,” said Castroneves of his award nomination. “Being from Brazil, the Latin community in the United States is a tremendously important part of my life. To be considered one of the top Latin drivers competing in America is something I’m very proud of, and I will certainly keep my fingers crossed at tonight’s ceremony!”

As if one awards show this week wasn’t enough for Castroneves, he will remain in Los Angeles to attend the 16th Annual ESPY Awards on July 16.

Castroneves' role at the ceremony will be two-fold, he will present the “Female International Athlete of the Year” ESPY, and he will work as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, reporting from the red carpet and behind the scenes at the Nokia Theater.  More ...

07/17/08
irl
Rahal eager to return to Mid-Ohio  Graham Rahal has fond memories of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from his many visits as a child.

That was a decade ago, when the circuit his father competed on was Graham’s summer playground. It still is, but this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance takes on a different tone for the 19-year-old Rahal. The driver of the No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing returns in the big leagues.

“Mid-Ohio was always a place as a kid we went to and we would take our friends along and go play,” said Rahal, who grew up 60 miles away in New Albany, Ohio. “You could certainly get in plenty of trouble especially. Dad would stay in the motorhome (in the infield) so at night we’d always take the golf carts out and the security guys would get all mad. Memories of that place and Cleveland always stand out to me the most.” More ...

07/17/08
nassprint
McGinley to serve as Allstate 400 grand marshal  Actor John C. McGinley, best known for his role as the sarcastic Dr. Perry Cox on the long-running network comedy "Scrubs," was announced July 16 as the grand marshal for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This year will mark the historic 15th running of the race, one of the highest-profile events in all of motorsports, and will kick off a block of 17 consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series telecasts on ESPN and ABC.

As a guest of Allstate, McGinley will be on-site at the famed Brickyard to headline pre-race activities, including the ceremonial waving of the green flag, signaling the start of the race to the 43 drivers and one of the largest crowds in worldwide motorsports. As a continued family tradition of the Speedway, IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George will deliver the legendary command given before every motorsports event at the track, "Gentlemen, start your engines." More ...

07/17/08
nassprint
Rodriguez to sing national anthem at Allstate 400  Daniel Rodriguez, "America's Beloved Tenor," will sing the national anthem before the 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Rodriguez is a former member of the New York City Police Department who captivated the United States with his stirring a cappella versions of "The Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001.

A Brooklyn, N.Y., native, Rodriguez will sing "The Star Spangled Banner" for the second time at an IMS event. He performed before the 87th Indianapolis 500 in May 2003.

The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is one of many major events at which tenor Rodriguez has performed. In addition to the Indianapolis 500, Rodriguez sang at the famed Hollywood Bowl, the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the White House for President Bush, the PBS Memorial Day concert in Washington D.C., Disneyland's 47th birthday and the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Blix Street Records artist Rodriguez has recorded four albums since 2002. His debut album, "The Spirit of America," climbed to No. 1 on Billboard's Classical Crossover chart after its release in February 2002.

Rodriguez also has performed on several other albums, including "Yuletide Celebration" with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Patriotism is a recurring theme in Rodriguez's music and his philanthropy. In 2005, he began "Songs for the Soldiers," a project that provides CD's in United Service Organizations care packages for deployed troops. The USO presented Rodriguez with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 for his work with the "Songs for Soldiers" program.

07/17/08
track news
Watkins Glen, Sunoco Giving Out Gas Card to Ticket Holders  Watkins Glen International and Sunoco are trying to give fans a little relief at the pumps. Fans that purchase an $85 Turn 11 Grandstand weekend ticket for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Centurion Boats at The Glen can receive a $20 Sunoco gas card for each ticket ordered. The gas card can be redeemed at over 400 participating Sunoco retail outlets within a 300 mile radius of Watkins Glen International.

The Centurion Boats at The Glen weekend, August 7-10, has always been a great way for families to have one last weekend of summer fun before the kids go back to school, but now it’s even more affordable.

Since fans receive one gas card for every ticket ordered, a family of four could receive $80 in gas cards—that’s the equivalent of almost one whole ticket free according to a press release from the track. The offer is good for one gas card per WGI ticket voucher with a limit of four ticket vouchers per household.

07/17/08
v8
Ford pulls back on their racing budget in V8 supercars  Dick Johnson was tossed on the tip by Ford in a dramatic move yesterday.

After more than 30 years as a blue oval battler, often fighting single-handed against a horde of Holdens, he was left behind in a dash for cash when his team Dick Johnson Racing was stripped of its Ford support.

Ace driver Craig Lowndes will also be caught in the crossfire from a decision by Ford to centralize its cash commitment with just two V8 Supercar teams, Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing.

Lowndes' team, Triple Eight, was dumped by management at Broadmeadows in a money move that also affects former Bathurst winner Jason Bright's team.

The decision is likely to save Ford about $3 million - a significant sum as it battles falling sales of its flagship Falcon.

"This is a weird one," a stunned Johnson said when told yesterday of the Ford decision.

"It's a bit disappointing. We always knew things were up for negotiation. I'm 63, but right now I feel more like 190. It's already been a tough year."

07/17/08
racing news
Authorities Still Seeking Thompson Killers  The Los Angeles Sheriffs Department recently released time-enhanced sketches of two suspects still sought in the 1988 murders of racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife, Trudy.

Suspect No. 1
Suspect No. 2
Thompson and his wife were gunned down in their driveway in the early morning hours of March 16, 1988 while preparing to leave for work. Nearly 20 years later, a former business partner, Michael Goodwin, was found guilty by a Pasadena Superior Court jury in 2006 of two counts of first-degree murder for planning the murders. The actual gunmen were never identified or apprehended.

Thompson, a pioneer in the world of high-performance racing, rose to stardom in the early 1960s, when he became the first American to travel faster than 400 miles per hour  in his famed Challenger I, a four-engine vehicle built in his garage largely of spare parts. Thompson went on to be an innovative influence on multiple forms of racing, from the Indy 500 to the deserts of Baja, teaming with such racing greats as Dan Gurney, Danny Ongais, Roger Mears and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen.

A $1 million reward is still being offered to any individual who provides information which directly leads to the arrest and conviction of all individuals responsible for the murders. Information should be directed to the L.A.S.D. Homicide Bureau to the attention of Det. Mark Lillienfeld at 323-890-5500 or 5747 Rickenbacker Road, Commerce, CA 90040.

Suspect No. 1: On the day of the murder, Suspect No. 1 was described as a black male; 6-foot-plus in height, weighing about 175 pounds with a thin muscular build.

Suspect No. 2: On the day of the murder, Suspect No. 2 was described as a black male; 5-foot-10 in height, 185 pounds with a stocky muscular build

07/17/08
f1
Extra buzz of anticipation within BMW team for home race - Rampf  Two years after Formula One's last appearance at the Hockenheimring in 2006, the circuit makes its return to the pinnacle of motor racing. Last year, the German race track didn't feature on the Formula One calendar as Hockenheimring and Nürburgring alternate on an annual basis as venue of the only Grand Prix now held on German soil.

Prior to this year's home race of the BMW Sauber F1 Team, Willy Rampf admits: "Needless to say, Hockenheim is a very special race for us, and there is an extra buzz of anticipation within the team."

Despite Hockenheim's one-year absence as GP venue, Rampf knows the circuit really well. "The circuit is characterized by slow and medium-speed corners, where you need a lot of downforce," he explains. "More than any other part of the track, the Motodrom is a key section when it comes to the lap time. However, you can't afford to ignore top speed altogether, as the best overtaking spot is going into the hairpin after the long Parabolika, which is taken flat-out. Here, as well as a good top speed, the most important thing for the drivers is high braking stability and optimum traction on the exit from the corner."  Source BMW Sauber

07/17/08
f1
Red Bull team confirms Vettel  Sebastian Vettel will drive for Red Bull Racing from the start of the 2009 season.

Christian Horner: "We are delighted that Sebastian will be joining us next year. With David Coulthard announcing his retirement as a Formula 1 driver a fortnight ago at the British Grand Prix, after careful consideration, it seemed natural to announce his replacement here at Sebastian's home race in Hockenheim. As he was already part of the Red Bull family, choosing Sebastian as Mark Webber's team-mate was not a difficult decision. However, we have always stated that our aim is to have the strongest available driver line-up and Vettel's selection also matches these criteria. Having only turned 21 at the last race and with only 17 Grand Prix starts to his name, he is still on a learning curve, but it is clear that he has plenty of ability and speed. We are confident that Red Bull Racing will make the most of these attributes and believe that, in Mark and Sebastian, we have a very competitive driver line-up for 2009."

Sebastian Vettel: "I am very proud to be joining Red Bull Racing and it's always good to have an early decision on what you are doing next year. As a driver your target is always to be with the most competitive team possible and, over the past couple of years, Red Bull Racing has proved it has great potential, so this is a good move for me. I have been part of the Red Bull family for a long time and with its Junior Team since 2000. Throughout my career, they have offered me great support and now, to drive for their senior F1 team is a dream come true and I am looking forward to having a great season next year, even if I still have a lot to learn about F1. Apart from Red Bull, I must also say a big thank you to Scuderia Toro Rosso, where I feel very much at home. They have been my "family" for over a year and I would like to thank Franz (Tost) and Gerhard (Berger) for the opportunity they gave me and thank the entire team for all their efforts. Having got this announcement out of the way, I can concentrate on racing for Toro Rosso over the second half of the season. I will try and repay them by doing my very best to get some more good results, to add to those we have achieved so far."  Red Bull PR

07/17/08
nnw
Gibbs team to help Nationwide team  CJM Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing on Wednesday announced a newly formed alliance under which CJM Racing will receive technical support as well as information pertaining to research and development in the Nationwide Series. CJM Racing will continue to run Chevrolet Monte Carlos for the remainder of the 2008 Nationwide Series season and will transition to a TRD supported team in 2009. The team will be powered with Toyota engines while continuing to build chassis in-house.

Earlier this season, CJM Racing announced America's Incredible Pizza Company as its primary sponsor.

CJM Racing's Jason Keller currently is 10th in the Nationwide Series driver point standings after last weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway.

07/17/08
gp2
Hockenheimring: Bridgestone preview  The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the forests of Germany and the circuit of Hockenheim for round six of the hotly-contested championship which provides the F1 drivers of tomorrow.

The 4.57 km Hockenheim track features 17 corners of varying intensity, ranging from the fast and sweeping Turn Five to the tight hairpin Turn Six which follows it. It's a real compromise circuit in terms of set-up, and one which puts heavy loads through the tires at almost every point of a lap.

Bridgestone's medium compound Potenza slick GP2 tire will be used here, the same tire as used at the previous race at Silverstone. There was no round in Hockenheim last year, so teams and drivers will have to work hard to acquaint themselves with the requirements of the circuit and devise their strategies for the two races which take place over the Grand Prix weekend.

In 2006, Italian driver Gianmaria Bruni (Trident Racing) and German driver Timo Glock (iSport International) won a race apiece at Hockenheim. Neither driver is contesting this season's championship, leaving the way open for the 26 drivers who do line up on the grid to make their mark. More ...

07/17/08
superleague
MOMO joins Superleague  Italian motorsport product supplier MOMO has been appointed as an official supplier for Superleague Formula.

Founded in the early 60s by Giampiero Moretti. MOMO's products hit the world stage in 1964 when John Surtees used a MOMO steering wheel to win the Formula One World Championship with Ferrari.

MOMO manufacture an extensive array of products for general motoring and motorsport including road wheels, steering wheels, gearshift knobs, pedals, exhaust tips, seats, race suits, helmets, racing harnesses, other race clothing and shoes.

A market leading in motorsport safety products, MOMO specialize in designing and producing custom made products from their base in Italy.

MOMO will supply all Superleague Formula staff with uniforms, teamwear and technical products as well as supplying leading clubs Al Ain, RSC Anderlecht, FC Basel, Flamengo, Olympiacos and PSV Eindhoven. Superleague Formula test driver Bruce Jouanny (pictured above) also wore MOMO equipment during the testing and development of the Superleague car.

07/17/08
superleague
Superleague announces qualifying format  Superleague Formula will launch motorsport's version of a penalty shootout for qualifying for the inaugural championship which kicks off at Britain's Donington Park on August 30/31.

The Superleague Formula teams will be split into two equal groups for separate individual 15 minute qualifying sessions - from these sessions, four cars from each group to proceed to the knock-out stage.

These eight cars will then do battle in a time attack format. They will queue in pit lane and the first two cars will be sent off as a pair. A pre-determined gap will be maintained on the warm-up lap- close enough to entertain the crowds, far away enough so the following car is not impacted by aerodynamic factors - either positive (the ability to gain a tow) or negative (any loss of downforce by following too close).

The cars will complete a single flying lap, the fastest of the pair going on to race in the semi final. This is repeated three more times with four cars qualifying for the semi final.

Two semi-final shoot-outs then take place to decide the final two cars who will then do battle for pole position.

No refueling or tire changing can take place during the session.

"Like everything we do at Superleague Formula, we wanted to provide a qualifying format that would be uniquely entertaining for the fans," Superleague Formula Competitions Director, Robin Webb said.

"The final shoot-out is going to be great for the fans - there will be a real sense of excitement on that final lap as to who is going to earn pole position.

"This, combined with our reverse grid for Sunday's second race will ensure we provide great entertainment. We are aiming to attract a entire range of spectators who may never have seen a motorsport event before - providing them with an action packed weekend of excitement is our goal."

07/17/08
nassprint
Hamlin named Wypall Crew Chief of the Race in Chicago  Kevin Hamlin, crew chief of the #83 Red Bull Toyota driven by Brian Vickers, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Saturday night's LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The Hamlin-led team gambled on pit strategy all night as Vickers' battled a lose race car. It paid off as the field cycled through green flag stops and the No. 83 team caught a break when the caution came out for debris on lap 143 to put them back on the same pit cycle as every one else. Short pitting and staying out have been calls that Kevin Hamlin has pretty much mastered over the past few weeks to keep Vickers in the top 20 in the Sprint Cup Series standings. The No. 83 team was consistently one of the top cars on the track all night, leading the pack for two laps and eventually finishing in the 6th position.

The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn't necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR's top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing's #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing's #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports' #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com. PR

07/17/08
nnw
nassprint
Ambrose to be full-time Cup driver in 2009  Nationwide Series racer Marcos Ambrose will become a full-time Sprint Cup driver next season, thanks to a new partnership former NBA player Brad Daugherty has with JTG Racing. Daugherty, now a NASCAR analyst for ESPN, has become a part-owner of JTG Racing. The team will be renamed JTG Daugherty Racing. It will continue to field two Nationwide Series entries, but add a full-time Sprint Cup entry next year with Ambrose at the wheel. "I have a tremendous passion for racing," Daugherty said Tuesday. "This gives me another avenue to be involved in the sport. It's a big stake to do this at the Cup level, and I hope it opens doors in the sport for other minorities and women." Little Debbie snack cakes will sponsor the car, which will use #47. ESPN.com
07/17/08
nassprint
Hitachi Sponsoring Kvapil for 6 races  Yates Racing announced that Hitachi Power Tools, a world-wide leader in professional grade power tools and accessories, will sponsor the #28 with driver Travis Kvapil for a total of six races in the remaining Sprint Cup Series schedule. The primary sponsorship will debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27th and the race will mark the first time Hitachi Power Tools has been a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series. The remaining five races of the primary sponsorship will include the Sprint Cup Series events at: Pocono, Richmond, Dover, Charlotte, and Atlanta. Yates Racing PR
07/17/08
nassprint
AT&T Proudly Showcases Team USA athletes on #31  The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are fast approaching and Team USA swimmer Michael Phelps, 23, is in rare form. At the 2008 U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb., Phelps set two world records (200 individual medley, 400 individual medley) and one U.S. Open record (200 freestyle), ultimately qualifying to compete in eight events in Beijing (5 individual and 3 relays). To drive excitement and show support for Team USA, AT&T recently announced a new paint scheme for Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #31 AT&T Chevy, driven by Jeff Burton. Featured on the car is an image of Phelps along with Nastia Liukin, a rising star in her own right from Team USA´s gymnastics squad. The custom paint scheme will run during the Pennsylvania 500 on Aug. 3 at Pocono Raceway. AT&T Racing PR
07/17/08
nnw
Crew chief Wolfe leaves Braun Racing  Paul Wolfe has left Braun Racing to return to Fitz Motorsports as crew chief for Nationwide Series driver Josh Wise. Wolfe will be replaced at Braun by former crew chief Todd Lohse, a Braun spokesperson said Wednesday.

Wolfe originally left Fitz on March 25 to join Braun as Jason Leffler’s crew chief, and Fitz Motorsports sued Braun and Wolfe in North Carolina Superior Court on April 11. Fitz also obtained a temporary restraining order that prevented Wolfe from making the trip to Mexico City for the Nationwide race there April 20.

Wolfe then prevailed in a hearing where Fitz sought a preliminary injunction and began his first race weekend with Braun at Talladega in late April. Scenedaily.com
07/17/08
automotive
Auto stocks soar on GM cuts  Shares of U.S. automakers soared Wednesday as investors took comfort in GM's announcement that it was slashing its work force and production and suspending its dividend in an effort to stay afloat in an increasingly difficult market.

Shares of GM surged $1.56, or 15.9 percent, to $11.40 in afternoon trading. Ford shares gained 76 cents, or 16.3 percent, to $5.41.

"GM is a name where there has been a lot of potential buyers sitting on the sidelines," Calyon Securities analyst Mark Warnsman said in an interview. "It's a tough stock to get in front of, and perhaps yesterday's announcement gave folks hope that perhaps we've hit bottom."

Hit bottom?  As we have said for years, the top brass at Detroit’s Big 3 are complete and utter failures. They have no vision.  It's called reactive management.  They react after it's too late. Meanwhile the foreign manufacturers continue to gain ground and/or pull away.

07/17/08
irl
NASCAR
NASCAR makes IndyCar drivers look like Monkeys  Mission accomplished.  Now NASCAR folks can say on TV "we have the greatest drivers in the world."  Except for Tony Stewart, who landed with a winning team, every open wheel driver that has gone to NASCAR has come out looking like a complete wanker.

"Dario Franchitti is somebody I respect a lot. It's a shame that's happened to him," said Dan Wheldon. "From an IndyCar driver's standpoint you want to see Dario succeed because I think [his leaving] makes the IndyCar drivers look bad."

Juan Pablo Montoya -  This very talented driver looks like a loser in Chip Ganassi's horrible Cup cars
Jacques Villeneuve - Was canned after a few races, supposedly over sponsorship - looked bad in the car
Sam Hornish Jr. - Best finish so far 13th.  From IRL hero to NASCAR zero
Paul Tracy - horrible equipment made him look like a loser
AJ Allmendinger - Champ Car hero to NASCAR zero
Scott Speed - F1 zero to NASCAR zero
Patrick Carpentier - Showed some promise in qualifying.  Green flag dropped and he became another NASCAR zero.  Jury still out on him
Casey Mears - Despite being with best team former Indy Lights driver came out looking like a monkey compared to teammates.  Fired for 2009. 

And there is no way an open wheel driver will land a top ride in the Cup series going forward.  It's important NASCAR maintain its image as the highest form of motorsports, so to have top drivers from other series come in and fail helps to drive home that point.  Too bad some good drivers had to fall for the trap, destroy their careers, go from hero to zero, but they did.

07/17/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Kubica still quiet over future F1 team
  • Hakkinen, Ralf. S, to attend German GP
  • Heidfeld ready to return to top form
  • Ralf advises Ferrari to pick a no.1 driver

Kubica still quiet over future F1 team
(GMM)  Robert Kubica this week is still giving nothing away about the identity of his formula one employer for the 2009 season.

The Pole's shining form for the BMW-Sauber team this season has undoubtedly impressed many influential residents of the F1 paddock.

"I am happy with the team," the 23-year-old told the Spanish newspaper Diario AS.

"Will I continue with them?  I don't know.  It is a difficult question," Kubica explained at the Jarama circuit in Spain, for a team sponsor event.

He played down his recent suggestion that he would like to be partnered with former double world champion and friend Fernando Alonso at the Hinwil based team next year.

"I have never had any problems with my teammates and it would be the same if Alonso was next to me.

"But I don't know whether or not he is coming here, I still do not know even if I will be staying," Kubica added.

Hakkinen, Ralf and Michael Schumacher to attend German GP
(GMM)  Retired double world champion Mika Hakkinen will attend the German grand prix.

We previously reported that his former key title rival, seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, is also planning to be trackside at the Hockenheim circuit this weekend in his capacity as Ferrari advisor.

Hakkinen will be present for the home race of his former team McLaren's German engine partner Mercedes-Benz, as will DTM driver and former grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher.

Heidfeld ready to return to top form
(GMM)  After a disappointing opening half of the 2008 season, Nick Heidfeld has declared himself ready to return to top form.

With BMW-Sauber engineers, the 31-year-old German has been working hard to solve his problem with heating up the Bridgestone tires.

At Silverstone he seemed to have made progress, keeping up with on-form teammate Robert Kubica in qualifying and then finishing second in the rain-affected race.

"I feel good in the car again," Heidfeld told the German publication Sport Bild, on the eve of his home race at Hockenheim.

"Before Silverstone, the car was driving me, but now I feel like I'm back in control," he added.

It is understood Heidfeld remains under contract to BMW-Sauber for 2009, but the Hinwil based team is yet to confirm its next driver lineup.

Names including Bruno Senna and Fernando Alonso are being linked with moves to the German squad.

Heidfeld, a veteran of approaching 150 grands prix, said: "Since I have been in formula one, dozens of drivers has come and gone.  I feel I have the support of the team."

Ralf advises Ferrari to pick a no.1 driver
(GMM)  The time has come for Ferrari to select a number one driver for the remainder of the 2008 season, former grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher says.

The former Jordan, Williams and Toyota driver, who exited the sport at the end of last year and now contests the DTM series, believes backing a single driver is Ferrari's best hope of lifting the 2008 title.

Currently, Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen are equal on points with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton at the top of the championship charts.

"Gradually now Ferrari has to commit itself to a number one," Schumacher, whose elder brother Michael was the preferred Ferrari driver between 1996 and 2006, told the German newspaper Bild.

British challenger Hamilton, however, disagrees, believing that Ferrari's situation is actually an advantage for the Italian team.

"I think it's an advantage, because it pushes the team towards the constructors' championship," said the McLaren driver, whose own teammate Heikki Kovalainen is a full 24 points adrift.

"It can't be bad for them (Ferrari)," Hamilton added.

Niki Lauda, a former three time winner of the drivers' crown, is of a similar view.

"For Ferrari there is no hurry (to select a number one).  Only if one of them drops back clearly do I think they will go fully behind one driver," he said.

07/16/08
nnw
Busch Chases NASCAR History In Kentucky  Kyle Busch stands a victory away from making NASCAR history as the first driver to win a race in all three of the NASCAR's national series in successive starts.

Busch, a two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner in 2008, hopes to add Saturday's Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway to last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup/Nationwide Series sweep at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch already is a member of a select group of drivers who have won in all three national series in the same season, posting a victory each year from 2005-08. Terry Labonte (1995) and Kevin Harvick (2003) also pulled off that triple.

The opportunity is just the latest milestone in what any NASCAR driver would consider a milestone season: The Sprint Cup Series championship lead on the strength of seven victories; five Nationwide Series wins and top-five point ranking; and truck wins back-to-back at Auto Club Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. More ...

07/16/08
f1
Domenicali - We have to pay closer attention to every detail  The tenth round of this year's world championship takes place on Sunday at the Hockenheimring, with Formula 1 visiting the famous track for the first time since 2006. Technically, it is also the first German Grand Prix for two years, as last year's only German race at the Nurburgring was known as the "European Grand Prix" for contractual reasons.

Last week saw another unusual statistic, as it was the first time an official F1 test session had taken place at Hockenheim since the Nineties and only one member of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro test team had been present back then! Technically, the three day test went reasonably well, with the squad completing its entire planned program: this included testing some minor aero updates as well as new mechanical components. Bad weather followed the teams from the British Grand Prix the previous weekend, but only really affected the first day. After poor weather over three days of Silverstone testing and then the British event, summer finally made an appearance on the F1 European calendar, with temperatures eventually reaching their usual levels for the last day in Germany. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were happy with the balance of the F2008, feeling they had established a good basis from which to start work this coming Friday morning. More ...

07/16/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief (Moscow event a flop)  UPDATE Just in case you received the 'official' Moscow Racing press release, in which they claim 500.000 spectators watched this F1 exhibition last Sunday, please have a look at this 4 min and 9 sec long YouTube video showing the spectators along the 'track' from inside a Porsche 997 turbo taking part in the show ... I think the person who wrote the press release made a typing error, it must be at most 50.000 (and even that figure is very optimistic ... ).

If you watch the video, you will see all the empty blue grandstands, mainly on the left hand side of the track ... even the person who shoots this video realizes there aren't many seats occupied and tries to avoid filming these.  There are quite a few videos of this event, made by spectators along the track, and all of them show it was very empty, a long way from 500.000 ... that’s for sure!

07/14/08
  • Sparse Moscow turns out to cheer Rosberg, Red Bull
  • Williams doubts Donington F1 switch
  • Fisichella - no plans to retire
  • Hamilton not bitter about 2007 Alonso rift
  • Driver errors caused three-way title tie
  • The Stig impresses F1 champ Alonso

Photos from Moscow event where a sparse crowd showed up
Sparse Moscow turns out to cheer Rosberg, Red Bull
Contrary to the press release that said hordes of Moscow locals on Sunday turned out to watch two Williams and Red Bull formula one cars drive on a temporary circuit through Red Square and past the Kremlin, the overhead helicopter shots showed the grandstands 80 to 90 percent empty.  At the place where the cars did donuts, 50 or 60 people watched.  The cameras did their best to not show the disappointing turn out.

Nico Rosberg piloted the Toyota-powered Williams, and Russian local Mikhail Alyoshin was at the wheel of the Red Bull Racing machine, for the demonstration organized by Rotterdam Racing.

"I've never been (to Russia) before," German Rosberg, who recently turned 23, said.  He was accompanied on the visit by team boss Sir Frank Williams.

"There is clearly a massive appetite for formula one here," Rosberg added.  If there was, they certainly did not show it in Moscow Sunday.  This event had to be a financial disaster for the event promoter and makes one wonder if an F1 race in Moscow is just some wishful thinking by some rich people while the people could give a hoot about racing.

Joint championship points leader Lewis Hamilton, and British compatriot Jenson Button, were also busy at the weekend, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex (UK).

Referring to crowd favorite Hamilton, who drove his 2007 McLaren up the famous hill, spokeswoman Janet Bradley said: "The crowd went absolutely wild, they loved him."

Williams doubts Donington F1 switch
(GMM)  Team boss and F1 veteran Sir Frank Williams has expressed doubt about the switch of hosts for the British grand prix in 2010 and beyond.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, and FIA president Max Mosley, have confirmed that Donington Park is to take over from historic Silverstone, the permanent venue of the event since 1987.

Some observers, however, wonder not only how Donington will find the time to upgrade the rudimentary venue, but the necessary $200 million, not to mention local planning permission.

"When I'm at Donington in 2010, if I'm really there I'll believe it, but I'm not certain," Williams told his team's official podcast.

Williams believes two years is enough time to get the track ready, but wonders about the immense expense of overhauling Donington, last the scene of a grand prix in 1993.

He said: "I don't know much about Silverstone's affairs but I would guess (Donington) is a much more expensive project than the one Silverstone are required to do if they wish to retain the grand prix.

"I will just find out in course where we are supposed to be," Williams added.

Fisichella - no plans to retire
(GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella has made clear he has no plans to hang up his helmet.

The Roman is among a scarce few in grand prix history to contest more than 200 races.

Fellow F1 veteran David Coulthard will retire at the end of this season, while Rubens Barrichello is fighting to have his contract renewed.

At the Hockenheim test last week, however, 35-year-old Fisichella made clear he signed a "two year contract" with Force India, beginning in 2008.

Nonetheless asked if he was contemplating retirement, the Italian added: "No".

"I am enjoying myself and love this sport.

"Next year I will still be here," Fisichella clarified, "and only after that will I think about my future -- with this team or with another team, I don't know yet," Fisichella said. More ...

07/16/08
irl
An interview with Ana Beatriz and Justin Wilson  MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests joining us today. Starting the call with us is Firestone Indy Lights driver Ana Beatriz, and joining us in a few minutes will be IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson. Good afternoon, Ana.

ANA BEATRIZ: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for inviting me again.

MODERATOR: Ana is a rookie in Firestone Indy Lights, driving the No. 20 Healthy Choice entry for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. She began her career in go‑karts in Brazil and competed in Formula Renault, South American Formula 3 and A1GP before coming to the U.S. this season. So far this season she's recorded seven top-10 finishes in the first 10 races, led laps in three races, and last Saturday became the first woman to win in a Firestone Indy Lights race when she took the checkered at Nashville Superspeedway, and she currently ranks third in points.

Congratulations on a great season so far and on the victory on Saturday.

In the press conference after the race I know you were asked about the significance of the victory, being the first woman to win in Indy Lights, and I think obviously at the time with the victory being so fresh, you hadn't necessarily had a lot of time to think about it. Now that it's been a few days and maybe you've had a chance to reflect on things, is there a sense of significance to your victory?

ANA BEATRIZ : Yeah, like I didn't change much my idea. The win is so amazing for me because I came from Brazil and I had the opportunity for a driver bid that was given to me because I didn't have enough money, my family didn't have enough money, and they just had the confidence in my talent and they invested everything they could so I can continue my career, and they brought me to the U.S. More ...

07/16/08
nassprint
Ratings, Viewership Flat For NASCAR Sprint Cup on TNT  TNT's schedule of six NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season ended this past Saturday night with the LifeLock.com 400 from Chicagoland Speedway. The net averaged a 4.2 coverage area rating and 5.7 million viewers for the six events, flat for the same six races last year. The net's debut telecast this season -- the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway -- led the way with a 4.6 coverage rating, a boost of 27.8% from last year. However, that was the only TNT race telecast to see a ratings bump, as three of the next five races declined from '07. Sports Business Daily
07/16/08
f1
Ferrari working to cut out mistakes - Massa  (GMM)  Ferrari has worked to address the kinds of errors the Italian team made at recent races, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa said on Wednesday.

The marque's president Luca di Montezemolo called on the Maranello based team to cut out "stupid" mistakes after the British grand prix.

At Silverstone, the pitwall made a key strategy error that marred Kimi Raikkonen's charge for victory, while Massa spun at least five times and finished dead last.

"After Silverstone the team at Maranello worked a lot on many different aspects, such as improving the procedures at the track," Massa said.

"I won't give you any details, because this is confidential information.  But we know that we have to act to assure that certain mistakes won't happen again.

"This has to be one of our goals as of now until Brazil," he added.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali echoed Massa's remarks by noting that while the F2008 has been a competitive car, the team has often failed to capitalize on its performance at the races.

"With this in mind, we have reached the conclusion that we have to pay even closer attention to every single detail," he said.

"Methods for doing this have occupied our time in Maranello since the last race."

07/16/08
f1
Red Bull F1 factory evacuated  (GMM)  Staff at Red Bull's formula one factory, including Australian driver Mark Webber, were evacuated on Wednesday following a fire alarm.

Four fire engines were dispatched to the Milton-Keynes (UK) facility after a component went up in smoke, producing hazardous fumes, just before lunch.

A team spokesman confirmed: "While carrying out some testing on development items for the future an electrical component failed and gave off a lot of smoke.

"This set off the smoke detectors and fire alarms.

"In accordance with drills practiced regularly at the factory, Building 1 was evacuated."

The spokesman insisted that the incident will have "absolutely no effect" on preparations for this weekend's German grand prix at Hockenheim.

07/16/08
tv news
FIL
Nashville Indy Lights race to be televised  The Firestone Indy Lights race run at the Nashville Speedway on July 12 will be shown on Thursday, July 17 at 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm ET on ESPN2.  Ana Beatriz, the first female winner in Firestone Indy Lights, will be the featured driver.
07/16/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Raikkonen feels 'need' for Hockenheim speed
  • Glock wants title for Toyota in 2010
  • Schu says F1 comeback not on the cards
  • GP2 boss says Senna nearly ready for F1

Raikkonen feels 'need' for Hockenheim speed
(GMM)  Following a few near misses for the reigning world champion, Kimi Raikkonen is eager to return to the top of the podium at the end of this weekend's German grand prix.

The Ferrari driver shares the lead of the 2008 championship with his teammate as well as Lewis Hamilton, but if not for strategy errors (Silverstone), a broken exhaust (Magny-Cours) and a pitlane crash (Montreal), he surely would have collected yet more points.

Raikkonen, 28, said ahead of the forthcoming Hockenheim event: "We really need to win this one."

Many insiders are predicting another strong outing for Ferrari's title rival McLaren, but Ferrari also looked competitive at last week's Hockenheim test.

"I had such a good feeling with the car.  I believe both the car and the driver are top fit for this weekend," Raikkonen said.

"I've been in a position to win the last three grands prix, but for various reasons things did not go my way.  But that's racing and I'm sure the wins will soon come again," he added.

Raikkonen is also hoping weather reports that predict rain in Germany this weekend are not accurate.

"Obviously, for us, the hot weather suits fine.  Our car prefers the hot temperatures," he said.

Glock wants title for Toyota in 2010
(GMM)  Timo Glock says his current goal is to be world champion in 2010.

With his short-lived Jordan stint of 2004 behind him, the German re-joined the grand prix grid this year with Toyota, as reigning GP2 champion.

Despite 26-year-old Glock often struggling to keep up with his 2008 teammate Jarno Trulli, it looks likely the Japanese team will field the same drivers next season.

With that in mind, Glock insists his pre-season declaration - that he can conquer all rivals by 2010 - is intact.

"At the beginning it was clear that Jarno would be hard to beat, but as more time goes by I am closer to being able to beat him.  And I want to keep going like that," the German driver told Sport Bild.

"My objective is clear; in 2010 I want to be world champion with Toyota, even though some people may laugh.

"But I want to set goals for myself for which I have to work hard, and we will see how it is going by then," Glock added.

Schu says F1 comeback not on the cards
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has countered the latest round of speculation about his future by insisting he is not looking to return to formula one.

The seven time world champion said recently he only elected to retire at the end of 2006 in order to save his then Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa's career.

The statement, in addition to the fact that his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm refused to comment, triggered renewed rumors that a comeback for the 39-year-old German might be on the cards.

But Schumacher has now told the German news magazine Stern: "I really love my new life.  It is the sort of freedom that I have always wanted.

"I am not having any sort of secret thoughts about a F1 comeback," he added.

Schumacher, who will reportedly attend the German grand prix at Hockenheim this weekend, says he enjoys his work as a part-time advisor and test driver for the Ferrari team.

As for always seeming competitive when he tests these days, he added: "It is nice to feel that I could still do it if I wanted to.

"But now I would rather do my work in the background."

GP2 boss says Senna nearly ready for F1
(GMM)  The boss of Bruno Senna's GP2 team thinks the 24-year-old Brazilian will be ready to move up to formula one by the end of the year.

Senna, whose famous uncle won three world championships before he died in 1994, is increasingly linked with a possible graduation to the pinnacle of motor sport for 2009.

He currently lies second in the drivers' classification for GP2, the support series and major feeder category to F1.

"The future is very bright for him," said Paul Jackson, the iSport International team principal.

"I do believe he'll be ready for F1 by the end of the year," Jackson told the BBC.  "I'd be surprised if he didn't turn out to be very, very successful in F1."

07/16/08
f1
Kovalainen a 'star of future' - Norbert Haug  (GMM)  Team official Norbert Haug has given a strong hint that McLaren-Mercedes may not be looking to alter its driver lineup for the 2009 season.

Team newcomer Heikki Kovalainen has so far scored just 24 points compared to his high-profile teammate Lewis Hamilton's 48 for the joint championship lead, but he has occasionally shown very strong pace.

Haug, the boss of McLaren's German manufacturer partner Mercedes-Benz, revealed there is "no firmly arranged time" for talks about renewing the 26-year-old Finn's current contract.

He told Auto Motor und Sport: "In the end only the speed plays a role, and he has shown that he has that.

"Not always consistently, but he has had some highlights.  Heikki is a star in the making," Haug added.

In an interview with BBC Newsbeat, Kovalainen seems to agree.

Referring to his own performance for McLaren this season, he said: "I think there's been a lot of promise and the pace has been good but we haven't got good enough results yet."

07/16/08
nascar
SMI stock plummets  Speedway Motorsports stock have lost more than half their value over the past year, with the stock price dropping from about $40 last July to just above $18 Monday.  Even in today's bear market, that's a big slide. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index and other major market measures are down about 20 percent, while shares in International Speedway Corp. – Speedway Motorsports' chief rival – are down almost 30 percent from a year ago.  Both speedway owners have been tested by an economic downtown that has curbed fan attendance and spending.
07/16/08
Racing news
GM cuts could hit all levels of racing  Nothing at GM is off-limits -- including its high-profile NASCAR program -- company executives warned as the automaker went public Tuesday in Detroit with its latest round of cost-cutting measures.

With the auto industry in North America taking a beating, GM racing director Mark Kent said that every level of motorsports that GM supports -- from the giant stock-car racing series NASCAR to the grassroots Sports Car Club of America -- is being evaluated. GM also competes in the NHRA, USAC midgets/sprints and the American Le Mans Series.

"Racing is not exempt (from cuts)," Kent said last week. "We are looking at ways to be even more efficient ... looking to see if they are genuinely positioned for a positive return on investment." Kent's words were reinforced by GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, who announced Tuesday that the automaker will reduce salaried jobs, executive salaries and truck production, among other cutbacks, in an effort to salvage the company's sinking fortunes.

"While we are committed to maintain adequate resources to support launch products and brand advertising, we will implement significant reductions in promotional and event budgets, motorsports activities and back-office expenses," said Wagoner in comments to employees.

Troy Clarke, president of GM North America, added: Motorsports "have not gone without scrutiny. I'm not going to get into specifics about NASCAR. But there will be modifications -- changes in our marketing footprint -- in this area." More ...
07/16/08
motogp
Pedrosa will race at Laguna Seca despite injuries  
Dani Pedrosa and teammate Nicky Hayden
Dani Pedrosa will join Repsol Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, despite the heavy tumble he took during last Sunday’s rain-lased German GP.

World Championship challenger Pedrosa was leading the race when he fell at high speed, fracturing the left index finger and the big bone of the left wrist and spraining his right ankle. After the accident he immediately returned to Spain where he was treated by the doctor Xavier Mir at Barcelona’s Instituto Universitari Dexeus hospital. He left hospital at noon on Tuesday and flew to the US on Wednesday.

2006 MotoGP World Champion Hayden, winner of the 2005 and 2006 US GPs, comes to Laguna Seca following a run of ill luck and hoping that the first of his two home races this year will turn things around for him and his pneumatic-valve RC212V.

Sunday’s US GP is the last event of a frantic run of six races over eight weekends. The MotoGP circus now takes its traditional summer break, reconvening for the Czech GP on August 15/16/17. Repsol Honda and the rest of the MotoGP grid returns to the United States for the inaugural Indianapolis motorcycle Grand Prix on September 12/13/14. More ...

07/16/08
irl
Mumps forces Viso to miss Nashville race  UPDATE HVM Racing announced driver E.J. Viso, who had the mumps, will return this weekend for the race at Mid-Ohio.

07/09/08 HVM Racing has withdrawn its entry of the No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing Honda Dallara for E.J. Viso from this weekend’s Firestone Indy 200 at the Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway.  Viso was diagnosed with the viral disease mumps earlier this week and is currently undergoing treatment.

HVM Racing management and the Indy Racing League officials met today and have determined that in the best interest E.J. Viso, the PDVSA HVM Racing team and all the participants in the Series, the team will not compete this weekend. 

“Our primary concern is with E.J. and the crew” said Keith Wiggins, team owner.  “We want to see him return as healthy and quickly as possible and also have the crew checked out due to their close proximity to him.  We have discussed several different options for this weekend, but none of them enabled us to both preserve the health and interests of E.J., PDVSA HVM Racing and its members, other competitors and teams and the Indy Racing League.  This is the reason why, and as sad as it is, we decided not to take part in the Firestone Indy 200 in Nashville at all.  Right now, our focus is getting E.J. healthy for our next event and containing any risk. There is never a dull moment with E.J. around.”

07/16/08
f1
Vettel a 'future F1 winner' - Schumacher  
F1 great Michael Schumacher thinks fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel is a future F1 winner.  All comes down to what teams he drives for. 
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher, the most successful formula one driver of all time, has added his shining endorsement to the rising star of German countryman Sebastian Vettel.

As it becomes more and more likely that the on-form 21-year-old Toro Rosso driver will move up to the senior Red Bull team in 2009, retired Schumacher said: "He has everything a future winner in F1 needs."

Vettel's current team's co-owner Gerhard Berger added to the news agency SID: "The boy will become a big name."

With a more sober appraisal of Vettel's form, however, is American stock car driver Scott Speed, who was unceremoniously ousted by Toro Rosso last year, and replaced by the German.

"I have known Sebastian since he was a boy," 25-year-old Speed said in an interview with the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report.

"He is a good driver and I wish him all the best.  As a driver you need to be in the right place at the right moment, and at the moment he has that.

"He has of course been a bit lucky as well.  All of his good results he achieved in the rain, and always with the right strategy by the team," Speed added.

07/15/08
announcement
Forums are back up  Our discussion Forums are now back on line.  We apologize for the inconvenience.
07/15/08
alms
Black Swan Racing team takes delivery of new car  
Black Swan Ford GT-R
Friday at Lime Rock Park, Tim Pappas said all he wanted to see was his Black Swan Racing finish the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix. That may not sound like much but consider that the team didn’t receive its Falken-shod Ford GT-R until earlier that morning. So Saturday’s eighth-place finish for Pappas and co-driver Anthony Lazzaro at Lime Rock Park was more than gratifying.

There’s not much time for relaxation with this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge looming at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The bigger track will give a true reading as to where the Ford-Falken package lies.

“Anyone who has gone through the development process knows that you don’t want to develop too many things at once,” said team owner Pappas. “We will focus this year on tire development and keep the chassis platform as consistent as possible. We’re not going to be making wholesale changes to the chassis the same time as the tires, for example.”

It’s a delicate balance. If development doesn’t come quickly, then it is hard to stay with the GT2 front-running regulars like Porsche, Ferrari and Panoz, among others. But pushing the car too much and too early doesn’t accomplish much either.

“It’s still an amazing place to be,” Pappas said. “Having been a long-time Porsche guy, I’m happy to see what the Porsche is doing. But we really do think the Ford is the way to go. Ford built a fantastic car and the race car carries that on.”

07/15/08
irl
Sarah Fisher lands 2-race sponsor  
Sarah Fisher lands sponsorship from Dollar General
After wrestling with funding woes in her first year as an Indy-Car Series driver-owner, Sarah Fisher will have Dollar General adorning her Dallara-Honda at Kentucky Speedway next month. The monetary terms of the two-race deal, which also includes the Sept. 7 event at Chicagoland Speedway, weren't disclosed, but it will help stabilize Sarah Fisher Racing. The start-up team had a primary sponsor back out just before its Indianapolis 500 debut last month.

That triggered a flood of donations in contributions from $5 to $5,000, totaling $51,000. Fisher has sent more than 100 notes of gratitude and included a piece of carbon fiber from her Indy 500 car, damaged in a crash.

"It's like a wedding," says Fisher, who was voted the Indy Racing League's most popular driver for three consecutive years. "You get all these people sending money, and I had to send thank yous. It's only appropriate. One fan even said they would frame (the piece) as a souvenir." More at USA Today

07/15/08
nastruck
NASCAR phenom to race truck at Kentucky  
Kyle Busch talks to team owner Billy Ballew
NASCAR's hottest driver, Kyle Busch, will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota Tundra for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at the Kentucky Speedway Saturday, July 19, 2008.  Busch was last behind the wheel for Ballew in June at the Michigan International Speedway where he posted a seventh-place finish.

Busch, the young driving phenom will be making his first start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at the 1.5-mile intermediate track for the 150 Lap /225 Mile race.  He has three starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the Kentucky Speedway scoring one win in 2004.  Busch’s first start at the Kentucky Speedway in an ARCA RE/MAX Series car resulted in victory in 2004.

“I’ve never raced a truck at Kentucky,” says Busch. “Kentucky is one of my favorite places. It’s always a lot of fun. I’ve raced Nationwide cars and won there, and I’ve won in the ARCA car there. Hopefully, our Cup test there last week helped me get a better sense and feel for the place and what I can learn there for the truck. I’m kind of itching to get back into the Truck Series.”

07/15/08
nascar
NASCAR technical director Peterson dies at 58  
Steve Peterson
Steve Peterson, NASCAR’s technical director who spent 13 years helping make the circuit safer for drivers, was found dead in his home in Concord, N.C., on Tuesday. He was 58.  The cause of death was not disclosed, but NASCAR said in a statement it appeared to be of natural causes.

Peterson joined NASCAR in 1995 and spearheaded several safety initiatives, including installation of the SAFER Barriers and the implementation of safety features in the Car of Tomorrow. He also helped the circuit get approval for head and neck restraints and improved seat belts.

Peterson won the 2006 Society of Automotive Engineers Motorsports Achievement Award. He previously served as crew chief for Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin in 1982.

NASCAR chairman and chief executive Brian France said Peterson’s efforts will benefit NASCAR drivers for generations to come.

Funeral arrangement are pending.

07/15/08
alms
Matos to Join Montagny in XM Acura at Mid-Ohio  Andretti Green Racing (AGR) announced today that Raphael Matos will join Franck Montagny in the #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura for the Acura Sports Car Challenge this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

This is Matos' first start for AGR in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). However, Matos has three ALMS starts in the 12 Hours of Sebring and one at Petit Le Mans. His best finish came at Sebring in 2007 when he scored a ninth in the GT2 class.

Currently, Matos stands second in the Firestone Indy Lights championship and has driven the #27 AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing entry to a pair of wins this season, one coming on the streets of St. Petersburg and the other coming at Watkins Glen International. Matos won the 2007 Atlantic Championship and also captured a GT class win in the 2008 24 Hours of Daytona.

Matos will be driving in three races as part of this weekend's action at Mid-Ohio. He will take the wheel Saturday for both the ALMS Acura Sports Car Challenge and the first race of the Mid-Ohio 100 for the Firestone Indy Lights Series. He will drive in the second race of the Firestone Indy Lights doubleheader on Sunday. More ...
07/15/08
irl
Subway to sponsor Tracy in IRL  
Tracy's Subway sponsored car
Paul Tracy will compete in the Rexall Edmonton Indy (Saturday, July 26, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN) through a collaboration of Vision Racing and Walker Racing with backing from Subway. Additional races this season are possible.

Tracy, 39, will drive the No. 22 Subway/Vision Racing Honda-powered Dallara, which will be maintained at the racetrack by a Walker Racing crew. Northlands, the promoter of the Rexall Edmonton Indy, will be an associate sponsor.

"I've been away for a little while, but I want to be back in a car and this is the first step to getting back," said Tracy, who last competed on the streets of Long Beach (Calif.) in the Champ Car finale and is the Champ Car career leader with 31 victories. "We have a big job ahead of us but everyone is giving it their best try."

Tracy, native of Scarborough, Ontario, will compete in an IndyCar Series event for the first time since the 2002 Indianapolis 500.

"I'm excited about the opportunity with Vision Racing and Walker Racing," said Tracy who is seventh in Indy-car racing victories. "Obviously, it's key to have a good sponsor and a proper effort. Tony George has done a great job with that. We have that now with Subway and these two teams working together."

Longtime open-wheel racing team owner Derrick Walker said this is a step in competing in the IndyCar Series full time.

"We are looking forward to working with Vision Racing and Paul Tracy," Walker said. "Walker Racing is building on 2009 and this opportunity with Vision Racing affords us the chance to show that we are still alive and a viable entity. I appreciate that Tony has provided us with this chance. It's a good opportunity as well to work with Paul. Having raced against him for many years I've always admired him as a very competitive driver. There is no doubt we are all going into this event with our eyes wide open. We just want to execute the best that we can and the results will take care of themselves."

The Edmonton event is the last in a string of six consecutive weekends of racing, which includes the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance this weekend. Watch all the action on indycar.com via streaming video with live Timing & Scoring.

"I am sure this partnership with Paul Tracy and Walker Racing will give us a better understanding of the platform we need to take to the event to be as successful as possible," Vision Racing co-owner Tony George said. "I am very proud of Vision Racing personnel who have very unselfishly worked to provide five cars to transitioning teams before the season started and before it began to focus on its own effort. Because of the professional way the team has conducted itself so far I am sure we will be able to collaborate with Walker Racing to put forth a quality effort for this race."

07/15/08
f1
Theissen quiet about 2009 BMW-Sauber lineup  (GMM)  Team boss Mario Theissen is still giving no hints about the identity of BMW-Sauber's driver lineup for the 2009 season.

It is no secret the Hinwil based outfit is keen to retain on-form Polish racer Robert Kubica, but his experienced teammate Nick Heidfeld has had a disappointing run of results this season in the sister car.

It is understood 31-year-old Heidfeld, a German, has a contract for next year, and his second place at Silverstone recently suggested he is now getting to grips with his problems with the F1.08 single seater.

But in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport, Theissen is giving nothing away about BMW-Sauber's plans for 2009.

"We will announce our driver pairing for 2009 between the (August) summer break and the end of the season.  So for the moment nothing has changed," he added.

When asked specifically about Heidfeld's improving form, Theissen continued: "A team that wants to play a role in the world championship needs two strong drivers.

"However, even the best driver is not a robot.  He can only deliver maximum results if the equipment, the environment and everything else is right.

"At Silverstone Nick gave a convincing performance; strong in qualifying, fast in the race, with spectacular overtaking maneuvers and very good vehicle control in very difficult conditions," Theissen said.

"For me this is the fruitful result of the past weeks of intensive work.  I am convinced that, in the second half of the season, we will see a strong Nick Heidfeld," he added.

07/15/08
f1
Trulli 'underestimated' - teammate Glock  (GMM)  Jarno Trulli is one of formula one's "underestimated" drivers.

That is the opinion of the Italian veteran's current teammate Timo Glock, who has struggled for pace alongside Trulli, who last week turned 34, since returning to the grid as GP2 champion in 2008.

So far this season, Trulli is winning the qualifying battle against 26-year-old German Glock 7:2, and the points battle 20:5.

"Jarno is underestimated," Glock told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.  "His former teammates have told me that as well."

Frank Dernie, a veteran engineer who currently works with Toyota, agrees with Glock's assessment of Trulli, who has contested nearly 200 grands prix since 1997.

"In my 32 years in formula one, I have rarely experienced someone with such good car control," Dernie said.

07/15/08
automotive
GM to jettison people and assets to avoid bankruptcy  General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) today announced it is taking further steps to adapt its business to rapidly changing market conditions, marked by the weak U.S. economy, record high fuel prices, shifts in consumer vehicle preferences, and the lowest U.S. industry sales volumes in a decade.

"We are responding aggressively to the challenges of today's U.S. auto market," said GM Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner. "We will continue to take the steps necessary to align our business structure with the lower vehicle sales volumes and shifts in sales mix. We remain committed to bringing to market great products that target changing consumer preferences for more fuel-efficient vehicles." Wagoner noted that 11 of GM's 13 most recent major U.S. product launches, and 18 of its next 19 launches, are cars and crossovers, which are key growth areas.

"Today's actions, combined with those of the past several years, position us not only to survive this tough period in the U.S., but to come out of it as a lean, strong and successful company," Wagoner said.

For liquidity planning purposes, GM is using assumptions of U.S. light vehicle industry volumes of 14.0 million units in 2008-2009 which are significantly below trend. Other planning assumptions include lower U.S. share of approximately 21 percent and continued elevated average oil price estimates ranging from $130 to $150 per barrel by 2009. Based on those assumptions, GM is taking actions to further reduce structural cost, and generate cash, with the goal of maximizing liquidity.

At the end of the first quarter 2008, GM had liquidity of $23.9 billion, with access to U.S. credit facilities of an additional $7 billion. While the company has ample liquidity to meet its 2008 funding requirements, it is taking additional measures to bolster liquidity to protect against a prolonged U.S. downturn. The actions include a combination of operating and related actions, as well as asset sales and capital market activities. The cumulative impact on cash through 2009 is projected to be approximately $15 billion. More ...

07/15/08
industry news
Motorsport Construction Opens North Carolina Office  Motorsport Construction, an Indianapolis-based design/build general contractor, has announced the opening of an office in Mooresville, North Carolina. The new office is located in the Talbert Pointe Business Park, at 138 Cedar Pointe Drive.

“With our motorsports focus, a North Carolina office has been on the agenda since day one,” said Jake Gibson, company president. “With several North Carolina projects slated to start next year, and with the help of a few good partners, we were able to accelerate our plans. The Mooresville area is a great location for our company.”

The company is also involved with retail construction and development.  http://www.motorsportsnc.org/GetContent.asp?ContentID=91

07/15/08
fil
Forsythe joins Indy Lights Series  The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Series will see the return of Forsythe Racing Inc. to the grid as the championship winning outfit announced today its intention to compete in the official feeder series to the Indy Racing League from next season onwards. 

With a celebrated history in Indy Lights competition, claiming back-to-back title wins with Canadian stand-outs Greg Moore and David Empringham in 1995 and 1996; Indianapolis-based Forsythe Racing is looking forward to a return to the series and re-establishing itself amongst the current crop of Indy Lights competitors.

Forsythe’s Indy Lights plans are in addition to its current on-track activities fielding Mexico’s David Garza and Canada’s James Hinchcliffe in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.  Hinchcliffe steered the team to its first victory of the season in May, claiming pole position and the win at Laguna Seca – the young Canadian currently sitting second in the title fight just seven points off the lead after three rounds.

“The opportunity to return to Indy Lights is obviously one that we’re relishing,” said Neil Micklewright, Vice President of Operations at Forsythe Racing Inc.  “This is an extremely exciting time for Forsythe Racing as we’re once again in the thick of a title battle in the Atlantic Championship while we’re also looking to further bolster our race programs, starting with our Indy Lights announcement. More ...

07/15/08
alms
ALMS announces its official charity  The American Le Mans Series officially kicks off its affiliation with the Austin Hatcher Foundation on Tuesday as four of the world's top sports car drivers visit pediatric wards at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. Clint and Jon Field of Intersport Racing in Dublin, Ohio along with Patron Highcroft Racing's David Brabham and Drayson-Barwell's Paul Drayson will visit with young people and their families from 1 to 2 p.m. to kick off the Series' partnership with the foundation as its official charity.

The Austin Hatcher Foundation, a federally registered 501-c3, was formed by Dr. Jim Osborn and wife Amy Jo after the loss of their two-month-old son "Hatch," the namesake of the Foundation, to a rare form of cancer. The Osborns have been champions of children with pediatric cancer and their families for almost a decade. The Foundation's mission is to serve the needs of children and families dealing with the effects of pediatric cancer.

"We are at a major turning point in the treatment of pediatric cancer," said Dr. Osborn. "With the success rate of current treatment reaching 80 percent, much of the worldwide focus in pediatric cancer treatment is now on the long-term recovery from the negative effects the toxic treatments have on the children and their families. We are excited to partner with the American Le Mans Series in the establishment of landmark programs that will affect pediatric cancer care worldwide." More ...

07/15/08
alms
Mid-Ohio momentum for Acura and Patron-Highcroft  
David Brabham won for the team in Lime Rock
There is little time for celebrating at Acura. Saturday’s overall victory for Patr¢n Highcroft Racing in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix was the culmination of countless hours of work, development and testing the Acura ARX-01b. It scored its maiden overall victory in the American Le Mans Series (and second LMP2 class win) when David Brabham passed Timo Bernhard in the waning moments at Lime Rock Park.

The good news, at least if you favor the Acuras, is that Honda Performance Development has a few additional goodies for its four LMP2 teams coming down the line. Next up is a home race, the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend.

“We have some more changes and bits coming soon so it’s really going to be interesting,” said Brabham, who scored his eighth overall victory in the Series and first since 2002. The win was Sharp’s first overall and made him the first American driver to do so since 2005. More ...

07/15/08
nassprint
2008 NASCAR rookie class stinks  The Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates have had a rough season, accumulating ZERO (0) Top 10 finishes in 2008 (#8-Aric Almirola has a Top 10 from Bristol, but he is not a candidate and not running for the award in 2008 and will have too many races to run for the award in 2009). No rookie class in the modern era (1972-present) has gone this deep into a season without a single Top 10 finish. In fact, you need to go all the way back to 1961 – when the schedule stretched 62 races deep – for the last time all the ROTY candidates were shut out of the Top 10 nineteen races in. So far in 2008, the best finish by any of the five drivers running for the award is a 13th place by Sam Hornish, Jr. at the Coca-Cola 600 in May. And in case you're wondering, at Chicagoland the best run any of the first year drivers could muster was a 30th by #10-Patrick Carpentier. Frontstretch Newsletter
07/15/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Schumacher to attend German GP at Hockenheim
  • German GP switch to continue until 2011
  • F1 news briefs: Tuesday
  • Massa the reason I retired - Schumacher
  • Mosley trial decision due mid next week

Schumacher to attend German GP at Hockenheim
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher will attend all three days of the German grand prix this weekend in his role as special consultant to the Ferrari team.

The retired seven time world champion, who is from Germany, has attended only one other formula one race so far this season; the Spanish grand prix at Barcelona in late April.

It is expected Schumacher, 39, will be at the Hockenheim circuit on Friday through to Sunday, after he plays in the F1 drivers' football team on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the latest weather reports suggest that rain is a 33-35 per cent possibility throughout the forthcoming three-day grand prix event.

German GP switch to continue until 2011
(GMM)  The arrangement whereby Hockenheim and the Nurburgring annually alternate as host of a single grand prix in Germany looks set to continue at least until 2011.

"We are not dissatisfied with the current solution for alternating.  In the current environment, it is the appropriate solution," Jorn Teske, marketing chief of the Hockenheim circuit, said recently.

Hockenheim is set to host the German grand prix at the weekend.

Last year, the Nurburgring was the only German venue on the 2007 calendar, as the two venues agreed to alternate in a climate of higher competition for races from new international hosts.

Teske has now been quoted by the German news agency SID as further revealing that the alternating scheme is contractually fixed until minimally 2011.

F1 news briefs: Tuesday
(GMM)  The F1 drivers' football team, the Nazionale Piloti, will take on a German celebrity side at Darmstadt, about a 45 minute drive from Hockenheim, on Wednesday evening.  Michael Schumacher is expected to play.

-

Joint championship points leader Lewis Hamilton went head-to-head in his McLaren with an executive Learjet plane at the Farnborough Air Show in Hampshire (UK).  When asked how it felt to be racing a plane, the 23-year-old smiled: "It was above me, so I couldn't actually see it!"

-

A spectacle of a different kind took place at the Hockenheim test last week.  Sebastian Vettel stood on the roof of a Toro Rosso transporter as a Red Bull-sponsored motorcycle stuntsman jumped over both.  "Wow!" the young German shouted down to the assembled spectators.

Massa the reason I retired - Schumacher
(GMM)  Nearly two years after announcing his retirement as a formula one driver, Michael Schumacher has cited his former teammate Felipe Massa as a primary reason for hanging up his racing helmet.

"I stopped because I didn't want my friend Felipe Massa to be unemployed," the Swiss newspaper Blick quotes the seven time world champion as saying.

"I would have had no problem going up against Kimi Raikkonen," German Schumacher, 39, adds, refuting the common claim that he objected to having the Finn as his 2007 teammate.

Massa and Raikkonen, currently equal on points along with Lewis Hamilton in the 2008 championship standings, make up Ferrari's current race lineup.

Mosley trial decision due mid next week
(GMM)  The London High Court judge David Eady is expected to rule on the Max Mosley privacy case some time next week.

Lawyers for the FIA president, and for the British scandal tabloid News of the World, gave their closing speeches on Monday, at the end of a trial covered in explicit detail by the mainstream press.

Before adjourning, Eady told the court he hopes to make his decision by "the middle of next week".

It is expected that, if Mosley succeeds, the outcome will be a landmark legal precedent in the realm of personal privacy versus media freedom.

Many of the British mainstream press corps tip a victory for Mosley, whose prison-themed sadomasochistic romp with five paid women was described as a 'sick Nazi orgy' by the newspaper.

07/15/08
f1
Lap of Hockenheim with Alex Wurz  
Honda's Alex Wurz
Round ten of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship takes the F1 teams to Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix. The 4.574km (2.842-mile) circuit is situated on the banks of the River Rhine, between the cities of Frankfurt and Stuttgart, and is making a return to the F1 calendar after sitting out 2007. 

The track was built in 1939, but racing only took off at the venue in 1964 when Dutch circuit designer John Hugenholz, who also penned the Honda-owned Suzuka Circuit, created the 6.8km (4.2-mile) layout that was to remain largely unchanged until 2001. It was on this track, which had an average speed in excess of 242kph (150mph), that the Honda Racing F1 Team's driver Rubens Barrichello scored his maiden F1 victory in 2000. More ...

07/15/08
f1
Q&A with Dr Vijay Mallya, Force One Team India  Interview with Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director ahead of German GP:

Q: How would you review the Silverstone weekend, now one week after its conclusion?
'There are so many variables in F1, given the competitive nature of the sport, that sometimes you get one thing right and two things wrong. That's what makes it so exciting, but makes it equally frustrating. I can't help but think about the fact that Rubens Barrichello was a couple of tenths away from Adrian in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, and when Adrian was running, he was in 11th and Barrichello was 10th. As we know, Rubens finished on the podium after a great race, so maybe we could have done things better. So this race was really an opportunity missed. Hopefully we'll not make the same mistake again.'

Q: Was it encouraging to see the improved pace of the cars in the dry?
'At the start of the season in Melbourne we were right up there, and competing with Honda and Williams and Toro Rosso. We achieved a 12th place, an 11th place, a 10th place finish, and we were running fourth in Monaco. Then suddenly everything has gone a bit flat, and the gap increased, so clearly the others made more progress than we did. Then we introduced the Silverstone package, which has given us a catch up, so we are back to where we were. Now we have some more small modifications coming for Hockenheim, which we've tested this week. We're also the only team that doesn't have a seamless shift gearbox, and that's a couple of tenths anyway you look at it. When we have that, that is where we need to really push. That's all the significant modifications we have left for this year, because if I keep on hammering the team to produce better results this season, I'll compromise 2009, which is a huge opportunity. Trust me, I'm putting my heart, soul, money and a lot more into 2009, and I intend to be right there!' More ...

07/15/08
announcement
Forums down  Our discussion Forums are currently down.  We are working to rectify the problem.  We apologize for the inconvenience.
07/15/08
racing news
Lola Goodwood Festival of Speed summary  Goodwood provides spectacular setting to celebrate Lola's 50 Golden Years in Motorsport

Heroes of the racetrack paid tribute to Lola at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed (11-13 July). Attended by over 100,000 spectators, Damon Hill, John Surtees, Sebastien Bourdais, Brian Redman and Carl Haas were among many famous faces joining legendary Lola founder Eric Broadley and current owner Martin Birrane in marking the golden anniversary of the world's most prolific and successful racing car constructor.

A specially constructed paddock of Lola's most famous evocative designs was organized jointly by Goodwood and Lola to reflect the true diversity of the Huntingdon constructors range of racing cars built since 1958. The very first Lola, the Mk1 prototype was re-united with its founding father Eric Broadley on Saturday 12 July, when the 79 year old marque creator drove the car to its starting position in the grounds of Goodwood House. It proved to be a moving experience for the many motorsport fans that witnessed the occasion of the company's instigator turning the clock back exactly 50 years.

Martin Birrane, who fell in love with the Lola brand in the 1960's after seeing the iconic Lola T70 sportscar, also saw action over the weekend when he piloted the Bowes Seal Fast Special' Lola T92 that raced at Indianapolis in 1966 and 1967. Birrane took over driving duties from Damon Hill who sampled the raw power of the Ford V8 4-cam engined car on the Friday morning. The 1996 World Champion was delighted to have been invited to be part of Lola's 50th anniversary celebrations, saying: "Lola is an important part of the British motorsport industry and they have contributed enormously to its success over the last 50 years. The amount of cars that they have produced is phenomenal." More ...

07/14/08
motogp
Pedrosa to be examined for finger and ankle fractures  Dani Pedrosa’s participation in the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix will be decided between now and Wednesday morning, with the Repsol Honda rider having been undergoing examination at the USP Universitari Dexeus in Barcelona since 10pm on Sunday evening. The injuries suffered by the Spaniard in a crash at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland have been diagnosed as finger and wrist fractures to the left hand and a sprain to his right ankle. An ankle fracture had previously been feared.

Pedrosa’s surgeon, Dr. Xavier Mir, explained the 2007 World Championship runner up's condition, revealing that a small procedure had been performed, in the following statement:

`Dani Pedrosa presents a general inflammation of the left hand with hematomas in the sheathes of both extending tendons. The pilot shows a displaced fracture of the distal phalanx of the left pointing finger, which has been reduced. Further on, the patient presents a sprain of the proximal interphalaxical joint of the middle finger of the left hand which has been totally immobilized. Finally, he has undergone a fixation of a fracture of the big bone of the left wrist by an arthroscopic technique. It is confirmed that the patient has suffered a lateral external sprain of the right ankle. ´

07/14/08
f1
Hockenheim tech file  The revisions to the Hockenheimring in recent years have transformed what was once a flat out burst through the forests into a medium downforce circuit, with the team having to balance the demands of a long back straight and a low-speed stadium section at the end of the lap. The team therefore has to adopt a compromise with the set-up. The benefit of such a diverse track usually gives an exciting race with plenty of overtaking opportunities.

Aerodynamics
Like the latest generation of Tilke tracks, Hockenheim is characterized by long straights followed by slow corners and hairpins, designed with overtaking in mind. With such a long back straight, a good top-speed is essential to fend off competitors in the race, but this has to be balanced with the grip needed in the medium and low-speed parts of the lap. Downforce settings are therefore a compromise, requiring the team to adopt a medium downforce set-up and leaving the drivers short of grip in the low-speed stadium section, but allowing a reasonable top-speed on the straights.

Brakes
The circuit is one of the hardest tests of the year on brakes, being similar to the demands of Bahrain. Braking stability is vital, especially into the hairpin at turn 6, where it is easy to lock a wheel, and even more challenging following the removal of electronic braking assistance. The team therefore play close attention to finding the optimum braking and cooling solutions, which was one of the priorities at the pre-Grand Prix test. More ...

07/14/08
automotive
GM to announce more restructuring Tuesday  General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will hold a news conference at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Renaissance Center to discuss actions the company is taking to align the business to current market conditions.  Like Detroit rivals Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, GM is struggling to with a rapid shift in U.S. consumer demand from profitable pickups and SUVs to cars and crossovers in response to a weak economy and gasoline prices that top $4 a gallon.

The rapid shift has sent GM share prices to their lowest levels in more than a half-century in recent weeks and raised speculation about increased prospects for bankruptcy reorganization. GM has denied that it is considering bankruptcy.

07/14/08
f1
Q&A: Renault's Alan Permane  Alan Permane, Renault's chief race engineer, reviews the British GP and looks ahead to this weekend's race at Hockenheim.

Q: Alan, looking back to Silverstone - and the wet race lottery - were you happy with the final result?
AP: We have mixed feelings. While it was good to get some more points on the board, there is definitely a feeling that we could have come away with even more. Obviously the decision not to change Fernando's wet tires at the first pit-stop proved to be the wrong one, and the rest of his race was compromised. Equally, Nelson's weekend ended in disappointment when he was caught out by the heavy rain, which probably cost us a double points finish.

Q: Fernando was strong all weekend. Sum up his performance for us?
AP: Fernando was excellent and got the most from the car as always. The hard work was done the week before the race at the test and so we arrived at Silverstone with a well balanced car. He was competitive at the beginning of the race, but at the first pit stop it was 50/50 as to whether it would rain again and we chose to gamble by not changing his tires. Ultimately that didn't work, but it was definitely worth taking the chance because we've seen similar decisions in other races really pay off.

Q: And your thoughts on Nelson's weekend overall?
AP: It was a shame that Nelson's race ended prematurely because he was having a really strong weekend. He had struggled a bit in the test the week before, but over the race weekend he really got down to things and was looking strong. He qualified well, with a reasonable fuel load, just behind Fernando, and made the most of a circuit that he knew well. He had a great start to the race, but like many other drivers he spun in the heavy rain and was unlucky to get stuck in the gravel. More ...

07/14/08
nassprint
It's official - Newman to leave Penske  UPDATE Please find below a statement from Alltel Wireless regarding today’s announcement that Penske Racing and Ryan Newman have mutually agreed to move in new directions at the conclusion of the 2008 season.

“From the early days in the ARCA series to our team celebration in Victory Lane at this year’s Daytona 500, Alltel Wireless has enjoyed a memorable, eight-year relationship with Ryan Newman,” said Jeff Fox, chief operating officer, Alltel Wireless.  “Ryan has been an outstanding representative on- and off-the track, and we’re very proud of the results the partnership has delivered to our brand.  We remain committed to our sponsorship of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge and look forward to having Ryan behind the wheel for the rest of the 2008 season.  We wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”

07/14/08 Penske Racing and Ryan Newman have mutually agreed to move in new directions at the conclusion of the 2008 season.

“We want to thank Ryan for his hard work and contributions to Penske Racing over the past nine years,” said team owner Roger Penske. “We wish Ryan all the best for the future and we’ll continue to focus our efforts on making the Chase with Ryan and the Alltel Dodge team this season.”

Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, is currently in his ninth season competing for Penske Racing.  He is ranked 16th in the Cup Series standings through 19 races this season.

“I appreciate Penske Racing and all they have done for me, but more importantly, I appreciate their friendship and what they have done for my career," said Ryan Newman.  "I would also like to thank all of the sponsors, especially Alltel, who have supported me."

The driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alltel car for the 2009 NASCAR Cup season will be announced in the near future.

07/14/08
formula bmw
Formula BMW mechanics in serious car accident  The joy of two Formula BMW wins this past weekend at Lime Rock turned to horror for the Antonio Ferrari Eurointernational team. On Saturday evening four crew members from the team were in a frightening car incident on the way to the airport to fly back to Indianapolis. The car containing Mathieu Cloutier, Carlos Pena and Fred Michael and engineer Dhanush Kondoth were involved in a head-on collision.  The impact was said to have been very violent and the rescuers had to cut the roof of the car to get to the occupants. Mathieu Cloutier has been transported in serious conditions with head trauma, via helicopter, to the Hartford hospital while the others three were transported by ambulance to the Winsted hospital.
07/14/08
f1
Coulthard confirms impending fatherhood  (GMM) David Coulthard has confirmed he is expecting later this year to become a father for the first time.

We reported last month that the Scottish veteran's fiancée Karen Minier, a former F1 TV journalist for France's TF1, is pregnant.

But while Coulthard, 37, now acknowledges the timing of the news with his impending retirement is "convenient", he also insists the two events are not overly related.

"That wasn't the deciding factor because plenty of drivers have children and continue with their careers," he wrote in his column for ITV.

Meanwhile, having endorsed German youngster Sebastian Vettel to take over from him at Red Bull next year, Coulthard also addresses speculation that Fernando Alonso may be on the market for 2009.

"(The seat) should go to the quickest guy with a proven track record who is available," said Coulthard, who will stay at RBR as a team consultant next year.

"That might be Fernando Alonso for instance; if the team could get him that would make sense because he has great credentials as a double world champion.

"But if we assume he's not available, then it's completely logical to take Sebastian Vettel, who is within the Red Bull family, is performing well at Toro Rosso and naturally wants to progress to the larger team," he added.

07/14/08
nassprint
Tony Stewart packs on the pounds  UPDATE #3 Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Great older photos of AJ on the Hot News items about Tony Stewart but I think your ages/dates are way off from the other reader.  The 2nd picture appears to be Foyt at Mosport in 1977 at age 42 (not  47) and the third looks like 1975 (at age 40 not 37).  The car in the background in the 2nd photo is a Wally Dallenbach Wildcat - STP was gone for a while after 1977 and came back on the red/blue Pat Patrick cars...  The decals in the other picture seem a best match for 1975 and the nose of the Coyote is a 1974-1975 configuration.....Anyway,  keep up the great work!  Chris Ruske

07/14/08 A reader writes, We all know that Tony Stewart's idol is AJ Foyt.  Many have this perception that AJ is this driver legend who is now an obese owner of a backmarker team but we should remember that he is 73 after all (Born Jan 16, 1935) and has earned the right to be as fat as he wants.
AJ in 2008
Tony Stewart is 37 (born May 20, 1971). He currently looks more like AJ did in his late 40's
AJ at 47 (?)
than when AJ was 37.
AJ at 37
While I could stand to lose a few pounds myself, I'm also not a professional race car driver.  Tony needs to lay off the French Fries.  Is this a plan to get Jenny Craig as an Associate Sponsor? Randy


07/13/08 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just saw the picture of Tony Stewart. Man O man is he turning into the Pillsbury Doughboy. Maybe Slim Fast should be his new sponsor?  Or how about Jenny
The huge gut on Tony Stewart underscores just how fat and out of shape he is
Diane Schenk/AutoRacing1
Craig or NutriSystem? Mike N, Ohio

07/12/08 If you wonder why Kyle Busch has run circles around his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota teammate Tony Stewart, one has to look no further than the huge gut of  an obviously out of shape driver.

While some may argue that race car drivers are athletes, one Tony Stewart clearly is not.  And so you have your answer of why Busch has made Stewart look like an also-ran.
07/14/08
automotive
GM Achieves All-Time Quarterly Sales Record  General Motors Latin America, Africa and Middle East (GM LAAM) region broke another record in Q2 2008 selling 346,100 vehicles, up 52,100 units over the same period in 2007. GM's volume increase of nearly 18 percent for the quarter again exceeded the industry growth rate of 13 percent. In addition, GM's market share in the region climbed to 17.5 percent for the quarter, up 0.7 share points year-over-year.
07/14/08
racing news
irl
Governors say ethanol needs a supplement  Governors from the coal fields of West Virginia to the corn fields of Iowa talked Sunday at their summer meeting about moving beyond ethanol produced just from food sources.

They sometimes have different priorities in reaching this conclusion -- priorities that can be as simple as who grows corn and who feeds it to livestock. And they're also not talking about replacement so much as supplementing: using switchgrass or wood waste products, for example, along with corn.

Still, the conversation -- including an energy forum Sunday -- has big implications. The nation has 134 ethanol plants in 26 states with 77 more under construction or expanding, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for the ethanol industry

This year's corn crop, expected to be a record, is worth about $52 billion.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department says economic growth in developing countries, tight global grain supplies and demand for ethanol have pushed corn prices to record or near-record prices. That in turn has led some to blame the push for ethanol on high food prices.

Disagreeing sharply, the ethanol industry and corn growers point the finger at record fuel prices driving up the cost of growing and shipping food.

The current buzz is cellulosic ethanol, or ethanol made from plant matter. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm pitched the idea Sunday of using more wood products because of the large number of forests in the state. Detroit News

[Editor's Note: Start cutting down trees to make ethanol and watch how fast the tree huggers come out and say "over our dead bodies you will."  A few decades of ethanol production will leave the USA's land looking like that of the Middle East - barren wasteland stripped clean of all vegetation.]

07/14/08
racing news
Belgian brewer InBev to buy Anheuser-Busch for $52B  Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light, has agreed to a takeover by a giant Belgian brewer, a union that creates a global beer leader and brings to an end one of the most iconic names in American business. The board of directors of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. on Sunday accepted a sweetened $52 billion takeover offer from Belgian brewer InBev SA, according to a joint press release.

The deal, which is subject to shareholders' and regulators' approval, would create the world's largest brewer and create the fourth-largest consumer product company worldwide.

"This combination will create a stronger, more competitive global company with an unrivaled worldwide brand portfolio and distribution network, with great potential for growth all over the world," Carlos Brito, CEO of InBev, said in the statement.

For InBev, the maker of Stella Artois and Beck's, the deal gives an aggressive company an iconic beer brand -- Budweiser -- to sell into emerging markets where it has already established a firm footprint.

InBev is the world's second-largest beer-maker behind SABMiller. Anheuser-Busch is by far the largest brewer in the U.S. with more than 48 percent of the market share. Yahoo! Finance

[Editor's Note: It remains to be seen what, if any, effect this has on AB's racing sponsorship.]

07/14/08
nassprint
Gibbs wants to keep team in the family  Joe Gibbs says he's not about to join the trend of offering ownership in his race team in order to retain drivers. Tony Stewart received 50% ownership in making the jump from Joe Gibbs Racing to Stewart Haas Racing. Drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards (who re-signed with Roush Fenway Racing) and Ryan Newman (entertaining offers for 2009) say they've received offers that include a share of team ownership. But JGR is a family operation, and Gibbs, the family patriarch, says he plans to keep it that way. "We have eight grandchildren," Gibbs said. "I'm not worried about (sons) J.D. or Coy. But (the business) is going to be for the grandkids if I have anything to say about it." USA Today
07/14/08
f1
Key Singapore GP pit building completed  
Completed Singapore pit building
The completion of the Pit Building at 1 Republic Boulevard was marked with a simple ceremony today, witnessed by Guest-of-Honor, Mr. S. Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry, and key officials from race promoter Singapore GP Pte Ltd, the Singapore Tourism Board, and other invited guests.

The three-storey building located along the Marina Promenade is a key piece of race infrastructure that will house important race facilities, such as the garages for the Formula One™ race teams, race control facilities, media centre, the winners’ podium, as well as the Paddock Club. Spanning some 350 meters, the building’s glass facade will provide for a panoramic view of the exciting race action along the Pit Straight and Pit Lane. 

“Much preparation has been made to make Singapore’s first Formula One™ race a reality. This has been made possible with the close working relationship developed over these months between the race promoter Singapore GP Pte Ltd, key stakeholders as well as the various government agencies,” said Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry Iswaran. “Besides public–private sector collaborations, I believe there are also opportunities for businesses around the circuit to take proactive steps to work together to market themselves and reap synergistic benefits together by heightening the leisure experiences offered to both locals and visitors.”  More ...

07/14/08
a1gp
A1GP To Give Maximum Sponsor Exposure  London, Great Britain – Close exciting racing and maximum exposure for its sponsors and partners are the criteria for A1GP World Cup of Motorsport and its new Powered by Ferrari car for season four.  With this in mind the chassis already has a re-designed engine cover.

A1GP Chief Commercial Officer, Scott Hollingsworth, explained the reasoning behind this: “With all the cars being identical we have flexibility to make sure we deliver our promises to both our sponsors and fans. This enlarged engine cover allows a much higher profile position, while delivering the on track performance we demand. We are working hard to make sure our commercial partners get the most out of their association with A1GP.”

New A1GP engine cover
The computer graphic of the car with its new bodywork, which will be revealed at the Mugello launch on the 22nd July, is shown to right.

Official team testing will be held in the UK at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on 19 - 20 August with a second test now confirmed to take place at Donington Park, Derbyshire, on 9 and 11 September.

07/14/08
tv news
Fed-Up with everything NASCAR  A disgusted reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, I am sick and tired of hearing virtually nothing but NASCRAP on Wind Tunnel. It is not entertaining at all to hear reporting about cars named after the one that my mother might drive to the grocery store... I am a big fan of American open wheel racing and honestly I don't care that the IndyCar race ended up under red and rain shortened last night, but the lack of airtime that it got on the program is just horrible. Maybe I stepped away for a second, but I did not hear a single mention of the race even taking place! Yeah, whatever, Smoke is going to have his own team, blah blah blah... You and your staff said that was going to happen for a while... OLD NEWS! Kyle Busch is dominating in a Toyota, who cares... Do you have an answer as to why America loves watching taxicab driving? It is boring, predictable, and you can take a 3 hour nap and wake up and not have missed a thing. I just can't figure this one out.  Derrick, Kihei, Hawaii

Dear Derrick, Maybe it has something to due with the fact NASCAR has 10 times as many fans as IndyCar racing and puts up some big TV ratings week in and week out.  The IndyCar series is built around Danica Patrick.  If the greatest driver ever to get into a race car doesn't do anything newsworthy, there's nothing to report.  She's a hero to so many because of her sheer skill and bravery behind the wheel.  She's won so many races we lost count.  And if you believe all that we have a bridge to sell you.  Mark C.

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