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Lammers to Team with Wallace and Leitzinger Lammers to Team with Wallace and LeitzingerVeteran sports car ace Jan Lammers will team with Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger in the No. 4 The BOSS Snowplow Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports at Miller Motorsports Park, the brand new 4.5-mile, 24-turn Salt Lake City, Utah circuit that will host the Discount Tire Sun Chaser, a nine-hour event to conclude the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season.

Lammers will be making his second start of the 2006 Rolex Series season for Howard-Boss Motorsports. The Zandvoort, Netherlands native teamed with Rusty Wallace, Danica Patrick, and Allan McNish in the No. 2 Callaway Golf Pontiac Crawford for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Lammers led two laps during his initial stint in the potent Pontiac Crawford. Unfortunately, mechanical issues sidelined the entry shortly past the midpoint of the event. zzzz

The veteran Lammers has competed in ten races for Howard-Boss Motorsports since its inception in 2004. He teamed with Wallace and Milka Duno to win the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant in May 2005, and scored a podium finish in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona teaming with Wallace and NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart. His total lists four top-five and seven top-ten finishes for Howard-Boss Motorsports. However, the relationship between Lammers, Max, and Jan Crawford extends back many years. Lammers teamed with Tony Stewart and Johnny Mowlem to drive the Crawford SSC2K in the 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"Obviously, I'm always delighted when the opportunity occurs to drive for the Howard-Boss Motorsports team," Lammers stated. "Genuine passion is the magic word here. Winning is what is necessary for this team, they can take losing only temporarily. Ultimately, they will always come out on top, simply because that is what they (Howard-Boss Motorsports) are about. To be part of this environment is pure joy because everybody around you is focused and expects the best of you and themselves. This is great for a driver."

Longtime friend and co-driver Andy Wallace was elated when Lammers agreed to join Howard-Boss Motorsports at Miller Motorsports Park.

"Obviously, I'm thrilled than Jan (Lammers) will be joining Butch (Leitzinger) and I for Utah," Wallace added. "He's a very quick driver and a great teammate. From my experience at Miller Motorsports Park at the recent ALMS event, I'd rate the track fantastic. Nine hours around there will be a real challenge. It's not an easy track to learn and is actually quite technical. There are a number of fast corners where our BOSS Snowplow Pontiac Crawford should excel."

"Jan Lammers is the consummate professional," Rick Howard, President of Howard Motorsports, LLC commented. "Our entire organization has the highest regard for Jan. He is excellent on technical tracks, which will fit the Miller Motorsports Park facility. His ability to adapt to the car and track conditions with minimal laps is amazing. He comes up to speed so quickly. Plus, Jan Lammers is an absolute joy to be around. Howard-Boss Motorsports is exceedingly joyous that Jan will be driving with Andy and Butch in Utah."

The season-ending Discount Tire Sun Chaser is set for a noon start at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday, September 2nd. SPEED will provide live coverage of the nine-hour event in two segments, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET.

Penske calls Montoya a coup for Ganassi Penske calls Montoya a coup for Ganassi Roger Penske said it won't take much to prepare Montoya for Cup, calling the hire a "coup'' for Ganassi.

"I've known Juan Pablo ever since he came to the U.S. with Chip,'' he said. "He's one of the more dynamic race drivers I've seen. He likes to rub paint. He certainly is capable from the standpoint of driving style to win races.''

Penske said Montoya's biggest challenge will be learning to communicate the ever-changing setup adjustments necessary during a race.

"An F-1 car, you get in it and you might change some air pressure or make a slight wing change,'' Penske said. "All the things you can throw at a Cup car, that's going to be the key thing.

"You listen to our drivers, there's a lot of communication back and forth. You don't have any of that in F-1.'' NASCAR.com

Wheldon sports new colors Wheldon sports new colorsFor the second time this season, Dan Wheldon will trade in the traditional red and white of Target Chip Ganassi Racing for a special, one-off paint scheme.
Wheldon will carry the colors of Fuji Film on the No. 10 Honda-powered Dallara. It's the third special promotion for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which used special paint schemes for Energizer E2 Lithium Batteries and Nicorette earlier this season. IRL
De la Rosa again fastest in Spain De la Rosa again fastest in SpainFor the second day of testing at Jerez, McLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa topped the timesheets,
Pos Driver Constructor Time Laps
1 Pedro de la Rosa Team McLaren Mercedes 1m17.547 85
2 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1m18.029 128
3 Anthony Davidson Honda Racing 1m18.200 107
4 Jenson Button Honda Racing 1m18.273 92
5 Gary Paffett Team McLaren Mercedes 1m18.518 93
6 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1m18.753 92
7 Robert Doornbos Red Bull Racing 1m18.982 52
8 Ricardo Zonta Toyota 1m 18.986 123
9 Alex Wurz WilliamsF1 1m19.140 93
10 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m19.143 103
11 Jose Maria Lopez Renault 1m 19.394 87
12 David Coulthard Red Bull Racing 1m19.459 65
13 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1m19.560 96
14 Neel Jani Toro Rosso 1m20.379 51
15 Giorgio Mondini Midland F1 1m21.041 85
Track News
Imola to sell stake to keep F1 race Imola to sell stake to keep F1 raceThe Automobile Club of Bologna is about to sell its majority stake in the company that manages the Imola circuit in order to fund the planned reconstruction project.

The reconstruction is partly funded by the Italian government, who allocated 10 million Euros. The rest of the necessary funds will have to come from the new shareholder.

"First of all the Automobile Club of Bologna, which has invested plenty in over 20 years of managing the circuit, has realized it couldn't face the financial obligations necessary to renovate the track all by itself," Federico Bendinelli told Gazzetta dello Sport on the reasons for the sale.

"Secondly, the income from motor racing activities, particularly the F1 Grand Prix, has constantly decreased, and this forces us to diversify the activity at the autodrome. We are already doing something like that with the Heineken Jammin' Festival, but it's not enough anymore. We must intensify it."

"I can't reveal the identities for confidential reasons, but they are three very strong and influential subjects. [We expect the sale to be concluded] by the end of the month. The race would be at risk if we aren't able to find the necessary funds to realize Tilke's works."

[Editor's Note: So the talk by Bernie Ecclestone that Imola could, along with Hockenheim,  lose their F1 date is typical Bernie BS as a new owner would never buy into the track if there was any doubt over whether it would keep their F1 date.  We have seen Bernie threaten to take races away for years so as to extract as much money as possible from the local government.]

Successful A1GP test for Hinchcliffe and Lacroix Successful A1GP test for Hinchcliffe and LacroixMontreal,  Québec  -  Canadian  racing  stand-outs  James  Hinchcliffe  and  Kevin Lacroix  lived  up  to  their  respective  billings  as  two  of  the  country's  hottest  young  open-wheel  talents when they sampled the might of a 500bhp A1GP race car courtesy of a test with A1 Team Canada in the United Kingdom this week, 17th-18th July.

With  the  new  season  of  the  A1GP  World  Cup  of  Motorsport  looming  large,  Hinchcliffe  (19)  and Lacroix (17) tested at the 1.456-mile Pembrey Circuit in South Wales, sharing an A1GP car alongside A1 Team Great Britain.  Both drivers responded to the task of testing the most powerful open-wheel car  they've  driven  to-date  with  Toronto-native  Hinchcliffe  running  both  days  while  Saint-Eustache's Lacroix ran Tuesday to shake-off any jet-lag having flown to the UK directly from his Star Mazda race weekend in Salt Lake City. zzzz

A1 Team Canada consultant and 1964 Ferrari F1 World Champion John Surtees was impressed with the performance of both drivers:

"We tried to keep the pressure off of both drivers but obviously the responsibility and pressure was there as they're naturally competitors.  Both James and Kevin acquitted themselves very well.  James obviously had the benefit of running both days while I wanted to ensure Kevin had time to rest before making the leap into the A1GP car.

"Considering  Kevin's  experience  he  did  a  very  good  job  learning  both  the  car  and  the  circuit. Everything was completely foreign to him but I was impressed with his feel for the car from the very start.  James immediately showed his competitiveness and I thought he performed very well over the two days.  His feedback was impressive and he responded well to changes we made to the car to test his ability.  Most importantly both drivers enjoyed themselves and they left with smiles on their faces!"

Hinchcliffe, a race winner already in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series, commented:

"It was a bit of a tall order to come drive a new car at a track I'd never seen before but the team put together a great schedule and their professionalism made my job a bit easier.  The biggest thing was definitely  the  increase  in  power  over  what  I'm  used  to.    That  coupled  with  the  hard  compound  tire means  you  really  have  to  work  for  a  good  lap  time.    Pembrey's  quite  a  technical  circuit  which presented its own challenges but ultimately the A1GP car is a fun car to drive!"

Lacroix, with three podiums in five starts in the 2006 Star Mazda Championship, reflected:

"I wish the day had been longer!  There was a lot to learn but I had a good couple of sessions putting in around 50 laps though I would have liked even more.  The car has 350bhp more than the  Star Mazda I'm racing at present so it was a big difference in power and challenging to carry through the corners.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the team and hopefully I can do it again."

Stalled merger talks affecting sponsorship Stalled merger talks affecting sponsorshipFernandez Racing co-owner Tom Anderson puts the odds at "80% or better" that his team's driver duo racing at Sunday's ABC Supply Co AJ Foyt Indy 225 in Milwaukee will be back for 2007.

"We are very fortunate," Anderson says. "Neither (IRL or Champ Car) has progressed the way that NASCAR has as far as TV ratings and attendance. Right now to have the benefit of credible sponsors is true benefit for a race team in any league."

Many expected Delphi, which filed for bankruptcy protection last October, to end its sponsorship of Sharp's car after the season, but Anderson says discussions are going well with the auto parts supplier. Anderson says a deal with Panasonic, sponsor of the Super Aguri Fernandez car driven by Matsuura, should also fall into place, although it could be several weeks off.

Anderson says one topic on the mind of all of his sponsors is the possibility of a merger that would end the decade long rift between Champ Car and the IRL.

"I wish I knew what was going to happen with that," Anderson says. "When we talk to potential sponsors, we have to present a plan for two paths. One, if the two sides come together, and the other, if they stay separate. From our perspective, it doesn't stop us from seeking additional sponsors." More at USA Today

New Super Aguri breaks ground New Super Aguri breaks groundThe all new Super Aguri SA06 car broke cover this morning at the Silverstone circuit ahead of its planned race debut in Germany. Until now the team has been using an updated Arrows chassis from 2002 in anticipation of its own new car being ready. 


TV News
Jeff Gordon on Cold Pizza Jeff Gordon on Cold PizzaJeff Gordon will be a guest on Cold Pizza Thursday morning, July 20.  The show airs at 10:00 am-12:00 pm ET and will be replayed at 12:00 pm-2:00 pm ET on ESPN2.
Wood Brothers make Crew Chief changes Wood Brothers make Crew Chief changesWith sponsorship and driver lineup announcements for 2007 expected by Labor Day, Wood Brothers/JTG racing will make several personnel moves effective this weekend. Michael "Fatback" McSwain will assume the duties of crew chief for Ken Schrader's #21 Nextel Cup car. David Hyder will take over Crew Chief duties for Jon Wood's #47 Busch Series car, as the third generation driver prepares for his anticipated entry into Nextel Cup next season. Ernie Cope will move from his duties as Crew Chief for Stacy Compton's Busch Series car to assist Michael "Fatback" McSwain. Jay Guy, Jon Wood's Busch Series Crew Chief will move to teammate Stacy Compton's #59 Busch Series car. Team co-owner Eddie Wood explained the transition. "Our goal is to improve our performance this year, while giving our drivers and crew chiefs an opportunity to work together in preparation for next year. We have made a lot of changes this season, including the merger with ST Motorsports' Busch Series teams and the expansion of a driver development program in the Truck Series. We have been playing catch up and wanted to get a jump on next year to see how everyone progresses with these management moves." Wood Brothers Racing
Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 7-19-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.073
2. (1) Michael Schumacher (F1) 8.610
3. (4) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 7.994
4. (9) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 7.895
5. (5) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.609
6. (14) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.528
7. (18) Scott Dixon (IRL) 7.515
8. (6) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.363
9. (7) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.176
10. (11) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 7.063
11. (16) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.061
12. (13) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.943
13. (NR) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.913
14. (17) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.823
15. (15) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 6.812
16. (23) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.722
17. (22) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.587
18. (10) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.519
19. (19) Vitor Meira (IRL) 6.259
20. (21) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.228

Dropped out: Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR), Kurt Busch (NASCAR), Brian Vickers (NASCAR)
Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

What to watch for in Edmonton What to watch for in Edmonton
Allmendinger Achievements–It may have taken 30 starts, but A.J. Allmendinger won his first race in Portland and hasn’t let anyone else in victory lane since. After recording his last victory in Toronto Allmendinger took over the second position in the points standings 23 points out of the lead. In Edmonton, the Californian looks to become the first American driver since Al Unser Jr. in 1990 to win four consecutive races.

Bourdais Bounces Back – Two-time defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais bounced back into championship form in Toronto when he shook off a disappointing Cleveland race to score his sixth podium finish this season. In last year’s inaugural Edmonton Grand Prix the Flying Frenchman recovered from a tenth-place starting position and led 12 laps on the day before celebrating in victory lane.

Canadian Crowd Control - Last year’s inaugural Champ Car race in Edmonton was the highest attended new event in 2005 and was the highest-attended Champ Car event out of the 40 races that have been held in Canada. The first-year dash around the Edmonton runways drew more than 200,000 fans for the three day festival of speed.  zzzz

100 Strong –As the green flag flies over the Grand Prix of Edmonton 2002 series champion Cristiano da Matta will be celebrating his 100th start in the Champ Car World Series. In six years of competition the Brazilian has 12 victories, 7 pole positions, and 19 podium finishes to his credit.

Edmonton Togetherness - The top-four drivers in last year’s Edmonton event were separated by just 1.615 seconds at the end of the race. That was the closest margin that the top-four drivers were separated by in a race all season, and was the closest on a road or street course since the Belle Isle (Detroit) event in 1999.

Paul’s Progress –Last weekend Paul Tracy detached some the bad luck that has loomed over him this season when he finished second to his teammate in Toronto. Last year in Edmonton Tracy gave his fellow Canadians a thrill by leading 30 laps during the Grand Prix. After starting the day in the third position Tracy led the second most laps during the event, before crossing the finish line in the third position.

Legge Developing Her Kick - Katherine Legge notched her place in the Champ Car history books in Milwaukee becoming the first woman to ever lead a race, fighting off Justin Wilson for twelve laps. At the end of the day, she set another mark by finishing the race in the sixth position, the best ever for a female in Champ Car competition. In last year’s Atlantic race, Legge recorded her second of three wins in her rookie year with the series.

Powering on – Last weekend Will Power retook the lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year battle by scoring his fourth top-ten run this season. The Australian also gained an extra championship point for improving the most positions during the day and tied his best career finish. This extra point becomes more vital as the close fight to be top rookie continues.

Close Quarters – Even though Sebastien Bourdais is the clear leader in the point standings, there are some very close races throughout the point chart. Currently three points separate second place A.J. Allmendinger and third place Justin Wilson, there is a tie for fourth and fifth between Canadians Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger, and a minute fifteen points separate fourth through eleventh in the standings.

Rookie Radar - Last year the Edmonton track was extraordinarily kind to rookies as three first-year pilots finished in the top 10. With the close rookie battle going on, Edmonton could be vital in who takes home the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year title. Currently Aussie Will Power leads Brits Katherine Legge and Dan Clarke by six markers, and Belgian Jan Heylen sits just three behind the duo.

Nelson no longer a Novice –After scoring his first podium finish in Milwaukee, Nelson Philippe has been making progress each week. In the last two events he has led a total of forty-one laps, but has not won his first race yet. In Toronto, the Frenchman was contending for a top-five finish when he made contact with another car and finished thirteenth. This weekend Philippe will be attempting to celebrate his 20th birthday in victory lane.

National Pride –As the grid is set for the Grand Prix of Edmonton each driver will have the colors of their homeland displayed proudly as they try to win the Nation’s Cup for their country. Currently France leads the standings as it looks to defend the 2005 title with England just 21 points back. The United States’ lone flag-bearer A.J. Allmendinger is third just three points behind the Britain trio of Clarke, Legge and Wilson.

Triple Threat? –Sebastien Bourdais is chasing history to join Ted Horn as the only driver to win three consecutive Champ Car titles and holds a 23-point lead over A.J. Allmendinger. In Houston Sebastien Bourdais became the first driver since Rick Mears (1982) to defend his title by winning the first two races of the following season. Then in Monterrey, he joined Al Unser Sr. (1971) as the last driver to win the first three races of a season after winning the title the year before.

Industry News
Toyota recalls 420,000 vehicles, quality an issue for Toyota Toyota recalls 420,000 vehicles, quality an issue for ToyotaTOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it was recalling about 420,000 vehicles globally, including some Echo and Prius models sold in the United States, because of a faulty engine part.

The faulty part is the latest in a string of problems requiring recalls by Toyota, raising doubts over whether the automaker can maintain its standards amid booming sales.

In the United States, 24,490 cars sold under the name Echo and Yaris, as well as 8,476 Prius vehicles are affected by the recall, said Toyota spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto.

The recall affects 268,570 vehicles sold in Japan across 12 models manufactured in 2001, including Corollas, the compact cars Vitz and Platz and the hybrid Prius, the company said in a statement submitted to Japan's Transport Ministry.

A faulty engine part could lead to an oil leak in the engine and cause it to stop, the statement said. There have been no accidents blamed on the fault, Toyota said.

The recall affects about 150,000 cars sold outside Japan, mainly in the United States and Canada, Hashimoto said. These autos were also manufactured in 2001.

Also Tuesday, Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors Ltd. recalled 1,913 trucks across five 2004-05 models, also because of engine problems.  More at Detroit Free press

track news
California Speedway announces SONY HD 500 entertainment lineup California Speedway announces SONY HD 500 entertainment lineupLOS ANGELES – California Speedway announced today a star studded entertainment line up to debut the Entertainment Stage of the track’s multi-million dollar Midway renovation project opening on Labor Day NASCAR weekend.  The Entertainment Stage will be the centerpiece of the Town Center, which also includes Apex by Wolfgang Puck, a full-service restaurant.  Other features in the newly redesigned Midway include a retail store, enhanced shade features, giant video walls, improved picnic and leisure areas and interactive performers.

“The musical acts that are on deck for the SONY HD 500 are as talented as they are diverse,” said California Speedway President Gillian Zucker.  “The grand opening of the Entertainment Stage in the newly redesigned Midway will truly have something for everyone.  California Speedway has elevated the benchmark for all motorsports and entertainment facilities across the nation by creating a Town Center where race fans can gather to enjoy the ultimate NASCAR experience.”

Taking the stage prior to the SONY HD 500 is Puddle of Mudd, Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts, and Julie Roberts. zzzz

Puddle of Mudd will be appearing as the featured band for the Miller Lite Rock ’n Racing Concert Series on Sunday, September 3.  Puddle of Mudd hales from Los Angeles, Calif., and has been performing for thousands of die-hard fans since their first major album, Come Clean, was released in 2001 (the album later officially went triple platinum in January, 2003).  Their song “Blurry” off of that album topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for 10 weeks.  This alternative/metal band started as a quartet but now only contains three official members.  Wesley Reid Scantlin (lead vocals/guitar) and Douglas John Ardito (bass) are the two remaining original band members, and Mark “Moke” Bistany is the new drummer.  For more information on Puddle of Mudd, visit their website at www.puddleofmudd.com.

Also hailing from Southern California and performing on Sunday are Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts.  Belushi hooked up with the Sacred Hearts, the house band for the House of Blues in Los Angeles, while he was practicing for his lead singer position next to Dan Aykroyd in the Blues Brothers band.  Since then, Belushi and the Sacred Hearts have toured the nation and even created the theme song for Belushi’s hit television program, According to Jim, which will be going into syndication this year for the first time (promotional DVDs will be given away at the show).  The band consists of ten members and Belushi.  For more information on Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts or the television show According to Jim, go to http://www.jimbelushi.ws/index.htm.

Also appearing on Sunday is country sensation, Julie Roberts.  As one of country music’s fastest rising stars, Roberts just released her second album, Men & Mascara, debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard Country Album charts.  The South Carolina native’s vocal style can best be described as “deep and blues-soaked.”  While attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and working as an assistant for Universal Music Group, she created a demo and presented it to Universal who signed her almost immediately.  For more info on Roberts visit www.julieroberts.com

With the design almost doubling from the previous Midway, the new Midway will include many entertainment features and interactive performers scattered throughout the environment. 

Ground breaking for the eye-catching new Midway redesign project began in February, almost immediately following the checkered flag of the 2006 Auto Club 500.  Since then, construction crews have been working through the Spring and Summer months to complete the project before the SONY HD 500 on Labor Day weekend.

Tickets to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SONY HD 500 at California Speedway on Labor Day weekend (September 1-3) are going fast.  It’s the only place in Southern California where race fans can experience NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing action live and in person along with sensational musical performances. 

Pledge Allegiance to great racing, great music and a great time at California Speedway this Labor Day weekend.  Call 800-944-RACE [7223] or log on to www.californiaspeedway.com for more information.

Vasser joins GAINSCO for Grand-Am finale Vasser joins GAINSCO for Grand-Am finaleTOOELE, Utah — On July 16 and 17, 1996 Champ Car World Series champion Jimmy Vasser got behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley for the first time since February, as he joined GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing’s regular drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in testing at Miller Motorsports Park. The two-day tune-up session will help the team prepare for the 9-hour Discount Tire Sunchaser, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season finale here on Labor Day weekend.
“I’m thrilled to be back with the GAINSCO team and I think we’ve got a great chance to run strong and be in the hunt for a victory,” Vasser said. The current co-owner of Champ Car squad PKV Racing put in several stints during the two days and was up to speed in no time.

Team owner Bob Stallings was at least as thrilled as Vasser. “Jimmy brings good style and leadership along with all his experience and that’s why I’m always excited to have him driving the 99 GAINSCO car. We’ve got three drivers who work together extremely well – they depend on each other to keep the car in one piece, which is what you have to do to win these endurance races. It’s really a winning mindset,” Stallings said. zzzz

Alex is also looking forward to racing with Jimmy again. “He’s a great guy to have around, he got the car up to speed quick and he’s a real asset when we sit down with Kyle back in the trailer to work out our setup,” Gurney said. Jon echoed his co-driver’s sentiments, saying, “This is definitely a solid lineup, and I think Jimmy, Alex and I work together better than any other team. There’s a good vibe in the GAINSCO truck right now.”

On track, Vasser, Fogarty and Gurney found the featureless terrain and extreme length of the brand-new, multi-million dollar facility in the Utah desert to be daunting challenges. All agreed that the time was well spent, and the successful test has built confidence that the team will perform as strongly as anyone when the green flag drops.
“This track is simply awesome – it’s got a little bit of everything including some really challenging high-speed corners,” Gurney said. “The GAINSCO Pontiac rolled off the trailer quick and we ended up very pleased with how the car was handling.”

Fogarty was impressed by the sheer scale of the 4.5-mile, 24-turn road course, and felt it could be a little tough to pass on despite its extreme length. But, he said, “The fast sweepers are great and it’s really fun to drive on. We got solidly familiar with the track and that’s going to be key.”

Alex and Jon agreed that the circuit was void of reference points, and as the sun sets on the noon-to-9-p.m. event, Fogarty predicted “the night will make this a whole different track.”

The GAINSCO team next will roll into the heart of the South, with racing action at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama from July 27-30. Testing is set for the 27th, with practice on the 28th and Daytona Prototype qualifying on the 29th. The Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant will go green at 2 p.m. Eastern on the 30th, and will be televised live on SPEED Channel. Race weekend updates from the team are available on the From the Pit blog at http://GAINSCOracing.blogspot.com, and Internet radio coverage and live timing and scoring are available at http://www.Grand-Am.com.

MBA promotes Bremerton ISC proposed Speedway MBA promotes Bremerton ISC proposed SpeedwayThe Master Builders Association (MBA) of Pierce County has endorsed the proposed NASCAR racetrack in the Bremerton area, according to a statement released today. “The economic benefit that will be enjoyed by both Kitsap and Pierce Counties from the racetrack and associated business growth is great,” stated MBA President Todd Lord. “Pierce County will also enjoy the synergy between the LeMay car museum and the racetrack -- the sum could be greater than the parts.” The MBA of Pierce County is a non-profit trade association comprised of more than 950 builder and associate member companies employing over 10,000 people in Pierce County. Daily Index
British F3
Another Senna almost killed Another Senna almost killedUPDATE Bruno Senna was left counting his blessings after a horrific 150mph accident at Snetterton left him with no points from the latest round of the British Formula 3 International Series.

Senna flipped after touching wheels with rival Salvador Duran and hit the underside of the vehicle access bridge backwards before crashing back down to earth in a shunt that destroyed his Dallara-Mercedes.

Senna was unhurt, but there was no chance of repairing the car for the second race, and the Brazilian will likely need a completely new chassis for the next round of the championship, at Spa in two weeks' time. It is a testimony to the strength of his Dallara that his biggest concern was falling to third in the championship, 46 points behind team-mate Mike Conway.

Bruno had his best laps destroyed by traffic in first qualifying and lined up only eighth. He took fifth in qualifying for race two, while suffering from oversteer. "On my quickest lap I was sideways everywhere," he said. "Eventually I made a crazy lap."

At the start of race one, Senna tried to get round the outside of Yelmer Buurman into the first corner but was pushed off onto the grass, dropping him to 10th, behind Duran. On the second lap he got the momentum on the Mexican onto the back straight and moved right to try and swoop ahead into the Esses.

"I was 10th but I was fine with that because I knew I was much quicker than the cars ahead. I went to overtake Duran and tried to get his tow, but when I moved to the right to overtake he just swerved in front of me. And when you're doing 150mph it's not very easy to avoid anything. He didn't protect himself enough to start with, and he tried to defend very late. I touched wheels and flew off and had a massive shunt. I hit the bottom of the bridge with the rear of the car, upside down, and then I landed. When I saw the sky I just closed my eyes and waited for it to end. My next thing to do is to call Mr. Dallara and thank him for building such strong cars."

With Senna having to sit out the second race, that meant that his target of a podium finish could not be realized. "The wheel tether had so much tension that it just sliced the monocoque: I've never seen anything like it. The car was feeling good and I could have got a good result, so it's frustrating really because it's destroyed my championship. I can fight for second now, and the circuits coming up are very good for me so we'll just have to go for it.

"I guess the best thing from the weekend is that I'm in one piece, even if there is not much left of the car."

07/18/06 Lap 2 of last weekend's British F3 race at Snetterton began well but a safety car board was shown after an incident on the back straight between Bruno Senna and Salvador Duran.  The two cars touched wheels, flipping the Raikkonen Robertson Racing Dallara into a massive roll, with the car coming to rest on the grass.  Bruno Senna climbed from the wreckage unharmed to the applause of the crowd.  Salvador Duran was able to continue.  The Safety car was deployed for two laps before racing resumed on lap 5.

With his race car suffering extensive damage Bruno Senna was forced to watch the second race of the weekend from the sidelines.

track news
Group told to remove billboard near Speedway Group told to remove billboard near SpeedwayConfederate group says a landowner's decision to remove a billboard because the message was controversial is a violation of its members' free speech rights. The Sons of Confederate Veterans paid for a billboard near Darlington Raceway this year. The group wanted the sign to be visible for the track's one NASCAR race. Organization spokesman Don Gordon said the message was in response to comments by a NASCAR executive about the Confederate flag. The billboard had a checkered race flag and a Confederate flag with the words, "Victory is Great, but Honor is Greater. Defend your Southern heritage." South Carolina Central Railroad owns the land and leases it to Palmetto Outdoor Media for a billboard. The Confederate group paid Palmetto Outdoor for the advertising space. All agree that the sign was removed at the request of the railroad. The ad was in response to a comment made in October by NASCAR chief executive Brian France, who said in an interview that the Confederate flag was "not a flag that I look at with anything favorable. That's for sure." Post and Courier
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Teams prepare to beat test ban
Hill drives F1 Renault in London
FIA use safety to force 2007 engine 'freeze'
Speed in race for Hockenheim fitness
Ralf lifts lid on new manager
11AM start for Champ Car race 11AM start for Champ Car raceThe Grand Prix of Edmonton Champ Car race this coming Sunday starts at 11:00 AM local time, 1:00 PM EDT.  The 11:00 AM start is, to the best of our knowledge, the earliest a Champ Car race has started in modern times.
track news
Toyota expands involvement at Milwaukee Mile Toyota expands involvement at Milwaukee MileThe USAC National Midget Racing Series returns to The Milwaukee Mile this Saturday, July 22nd in what will be the United States Auto Club’s 177th sanctioned event held at America’s Legendary Oval, dating back to the sanctioning body’s formation in 1956.

 The Milwaukee Mile is also pleased to announce that Toyota has increased their participation with the historic speedway to serve as the title sponsor for the 25-mile USAC National Midget Series event, the TOYOTA USAC Midget Classic 25, which is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. CST green flag Saturday afternoon, July 22nd.

 “Toyota is proud to serve as the title sponsor for the TOYOTA USAC Midget Classic 25 at one of the most historic tracks in America,” said Paul Holdridge, Toyota general manager, Chicago Region.  “This is another example of our commitment and dedication to motorsports at all levels, and moving forward, we will continue to look for ways to maximize our involvement and support.”  zzzz

 “We are energized by Toyota’s continued commitment to The Milwaukee Mile, and we are grateful for their participation with the TOYOTA USAC Midget Classic 25 being one of the four featured open wheel events we have planned for our fans this weekend,” commented Andy Randall, Milwaukee Mile president & CEO.

 Toyota, the official vehicle of The Milwaukee Mile since the 2005 campaign, has also sponsored The Mile’s annual NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event the last two seasons.

 “We are excited to join The Milwaukee Mile in showcasing Toyota’s increasing involvement in USAC National Midget Racing Series and in NASCAR - through the participation of our Metro Milwaukee Toyota Dealers - at one of the most storied speedways in the world,” said Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. Milwaukee Mile

Corvette gets hero's welcome in LeMans Corvette gets hero's welcome in LeMansDETROIT – A month after triumphing once again at Le Mans, Corvette Racing received a hero’s welcome in Motor City today when a Corvette caravan commemorated the team’s fifth victory in the GT1 class at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The celebration began with the presentation of the 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy at Compuware Corporation, the primary sponsor of the championship-winning Corvette C6.R race cars, and concluded at GM World Headquarters at the Renaissance Center after a parade through Detroit's downtown business district.

The roar of the No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R’s 7-liter GM small-block V-8 racing engine reverberated through the skyscrapers as the caravan motored from Woodward Avenue to Jefferson Avenue The parade featured Corvette Racing drivers Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, Jan Magnussen, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Max Papis in Corvette convertibles, the Corvette Indianapolis 500 pace car, and dozens of Corvettes from local clubs.

Corvette Racing is a five-time champion in the GT1 class of the American Le Mans Series.  zzzz

When the caravan arrived at its destination Tuesday, crew chief Ray Gongla demonstrated the race car’s power with a tire-smoking burnout. Chevrolet general manager Ed Peper and Compuware chairman and CEO Peter Karmanos Jr. then thanked and congratulated the Corvette Racing team in front of an enthusiastic crowd of fans and supporters.

“This is a big day for all of us because we're celebrating another huge win for the Corvette Racing team - their fifth victory in the biggest, most prestigious and most important road racing event in the world,” said Peper. “We're very proud that Corvette competes and wins on that global stage. Today we applaud the accomplishments of the men and women of Corvette Racing, and we salute the team that works behind the scenes at General Motors and our affiliated sponsors and suppliers to make this a world-class racing team.

“We believe a great race car begins with a great production car,” Peper noted. “One look at the Corvette Z06 supercar and the Corvette C6.R race car shows the two-way transfer of technology between racing and production that benefits our customers. A major reason that Chevy is the most successful marque in motorsports is the GM small-block V-8, the world's most successful production-based racing engine. There's no better way to celebrate Corvette’s 50th anniversary in international road racing than with this win at Le Mans."

On June 18, drivers Gavin, Beretta and Magnussen scored Corvette Racing's fifth GT1 victory in the last six last years in the grueling 24-hour endurance race contested in Le Mans, France, since 1923. It was the trio’s third consecutive class victory at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, the site of the twice-around-the-clock race. The winning Corvette C6.R completed 355 laps of the 8.481-mile circuit (3,011 miles) and won by a five-lap margin of victory over Aston Martin Racing.

“It's an honor to be here with General Motors and Corvette Racing,” said Karmanos. “Our sponsorship is really a natural one - it works out so well for us as we're both Detroit-based companies. Of course GM has been here a little while longer than we have, but we feel honored to be able to help with the Corvette racing program. I want to congratulate the team for their third victory in a row and fifth overall at Le Mans; that's quite an achievement.”

Tracy talks about luck and driving for Canadian fans Tracy talks about luck and driving for Canadian fansPaul Tracy, driver of the No. 3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, talks about recent successes in Champ Car, Busch and Grand Am racing. Tracy, a 16-year Champ Car veteran, wishes to continue his recent streak of good luck entering this weekend’s Grand Prix of Edmonton. 

HERE WE ARE, MIDWAY THROUGH THE SEASON, YOU ARE SIXTH IN THE POINTS, HOT OFF OF A ONE-TWO FORSYTHE VICTORY IN TORONTO, IS THERE MOMENTUM GOING INTO EDMONTON? “Well, I hope so, obviously the first part of the season for me was pretty frustrating. Getting knocked out three races out of five definitely put us way back in the points, but you know we’ve had good speed in qualifying and we’ve had pretty competitive cars all year, just a lot of bad luck. So hopefully, the bad luck that I’ve had has gone away. It looks like, you know, Toronto was a great race for me and it gave me some confidence and some momentum going into Edmonton. So, I’m looking forward to Edmonton.”

WHAT DO YOU CREDIT THE GOOD LUCK TO? “Well, I don’t know, I just hope my luck has changed. I’ve had such bad luck for the last while, finally some stuff has gone right and hopefully it will continue.”

DOES HAVING THE CANADIAN CROWD MOTIVATE YOU? “For me, I get a lot of energy off the crowd. In Toronto especially, my hometown, the crowds are really behind me. Edmonton was a new race last year so the crowd was very excited about that. Me being from Canada and the most recognizable Canadian driver, successful, so obviously the crowd is really behind me so it’s always exciting to race in my home country.”  zzzz

YOU’VE HAD A VARIETY OF RACING EXPERIENCES THIS YEAR, I SEE YOU ARE RUNNING SEVERAL BUSCH AND GRAND AM RACES… “Um, I’ll probably end up doing about six, I’ve done five so far, and I’ve got a couple more scheduled, one for IRP, one for California Speedway and that’s about it, really.  I’ve done some Grand Am races in Daytona, both Daytona races, Mexico City and I’ll run the last race of the year at the track in Chicago. Just, I’ve been pretty busy doing other stuff, too, but it’s good to get away from and do something where I don’t have the pressure of the championship – I can just go out there and have fun and drive and not worry about points and things like that.”

SINCE YOU’VE HAD EXPERIENCE IN CHAMP CAR, BUSCH AND GRAND AM - WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE?  “Oh, my favorite is Champ Car. It’s the fastest car, the best handling car, it’s what I’ve always done – so that’s my favorite.”

HOW DID IT FEEL TO GO BACKWARDS MIDWAY THROUGH THAT BUSCH RACE AT DAYTONA?  “Not as bad as it is going backwards at 220 or 230 in a Champ Car. Going backwards at 190 is not too bad. (laughs)”

YOU’VE RUN GREAT THESE PAST COUPLE OF RACES ON THE BRIDGESTONE BLACK TIRES…  “Yeah, the car handles great on the black tires, we just are having difficulties getting the car to run on the reds alternate tires. We only get two sets of reds [alternate] tires during the weekend and have to use them in qualifying and the races. There’s not much time to prep the car for the reds. We’ve been working on it, but can’t seem to find the fit. Some teams seem to have better luck with the alternates.” Ford Racing

Simmons to brew IRL Lager at Miller Brewery Simmons to brew IRL Lager at Miller BreweryIndyCar Series driver Jeff Simmons will go behind the scenes of Miller Brewery to help create a special "IRL Lager" with the Miller brewmasters on July 19.

Simmons, driver of the No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone, will take a behind the scenes tour of the brewery before adding his own hops to create a special brew celebrating this weekend's Indy Racing League events at The Milwaukee Mile.
Foyt plans to be at namesake race Foyt plans to be at namesake raceFour-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt plans to attend the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile after missing the last two IndyCar Series events due to his recovery from knee replacement surgery. Foyt was a four-time winner at Milwaukee as a driver.
President lauds IndyCar Series' use of ethanol President lauds IndyCar Series' use of ethanolPresident George W. Bush praised the IndyCar Series for its leadership in bringing alternative fuel sources such as ethanol to motorsports.

The President and IRL founder and CEO Tony George shared a brief exchange about ethanol during Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr.'s visit to the White House on July 18.

The IndyCar Series, which is using a 10 percent ethanol/ 90 percent methanol blend to fuel IndyCar Series cars this season, will covert to 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol for all races in 2007, including the 91st Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2007.

"You're leading edge, leading edge," said Bush, who has touted exploration and support of alternative fuel sources in his State of the Union address for the past two years.

Ethanol industry officials hope that fueling the IndyCar Series will help spread the word about ethanol's benefits as a motor fuel, not only in high-dollar Indy cars, but also in everyday sedans, minivans and SUVs.  zzzz

"The IndyCar Series always has been recognized for its technical leadership in automobile racing and now it is the industry's leader in renewable and environmentally responsible energy," said Brian Barnhart, president and COO of the Indy Racing League. "We are proud to partner with the ethanol industry to showcase a great American fuel source. We feel a commitment to the environment and our country's energy security is consistent with our sport's legacy of race-bred innovation and leadership."

As a clean-burning and renewable fuel that is non-toxic and 100 percent biodegradable, it reduces air pollution (a 10 percent blend reduces carbon monoxide better than any other reformulated gasoline by as much a 30 percent and shows a 35-46 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions) and improves racing's environmental footprint. The highest commercial octane rated fuel delivers strong engine performance by helping engines resist detonation so they can run higher compression ratios.

"Our partnership with the IndyCar Series has helped to demonstrate that fuel enriched with ethanol can help a race car achieve its maximum performance, and it will help your car as well," said Tom Slunecka, executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC). "We appreciate the sentiments of the Bush administration, which has been a long-time supporter of ethanol, and together with its efforts to bring more ethanol to the consumer, we believe ethanol can take our country a long, long way."
Honda set new land speed record for F1 car Honda set new land speed record for F1 carThe Honda F1 team have set the fastest straight line speed for a Formula One car as part of its attempt to set a new land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

Honda test driver Alan van der Merwe, piloting a race legal Honda 007 along a seven mile-long salt straight, achieved an aggregate speed of 220.571 mph (354.975 km) over two runs of a measured mile. The speed represents the fastest ever recorded by a Formula 1 car over a timed distance.

Previously, the fastest unofficial F1 speed ever recorded was by Juan Pablo Montoya, who reached 372.20 km/h in his McLaren while testing for the 2005 Italian Grand Prix. The Honda attempt is the first using criteria established for an official land speed record.

"On my first runs this morning, I doubted we could do it because the surface was so slippery," explained van der Merwe. "I had a spin or two, but the salt surface came to us and we were able to set this new record.

"We haven't done 400kph yet though, which is our ultimate target. In a way it's quite nice we didn't, because it shows that this is a genuine challenge and not just a case of us turning up, nailing it and going home. You have to work for every extra mile an hour here and we may not break the 400 mark, but that's still our goal."

As well as setting the world's first official land speed record for a F1 car, the speed achieved also represented a new mark for the A2-8 class of land speed vehicles, and a new best speed of 355.499kph for the flying kilometer.

[Editor's Note: This is fast? Champ Cars used to qualify at Fontana on a 2-mile banked track at over 240 mph (over 400 kph - Gil de Ferran in a Honda) and used to hit speeds on the backstraight of 260 mph (over 433 kph). Imagine a Champ Car from that era in a straight line test without the pop-off valve. Can you say 300 mph? How much does an F1 car cost vs. a Champ Car?]

Briatore puts pressure on Michelin Briatore puts pressure on MichelinFlavio Briatore has laid the blame for Renault's two successive resounding defeats to Michael Schumacher on Michelin, and has told the French tire manufacturer to "wake up."

"It's time for Michelin to wake up," he told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We've won a lot, but we'd like to do it for three or four more races, in order to be sure of winning the Championship."

[Editor's Note: If it was just the Bridgestone tires than the other Bridgestone cars, including Schumacher's Ferrari teammate, would also be beating Alonso. The fact of the matter is that Schumacher is simply a better driver than Alonso and every other driver in the history of F1. If Schumacher was driving as teammate to Alonso on the Renault team, he would bury him. We look forward to future years in F1 when everyone has the same tires. If Schumacher does not retire he will demoralize the opposition, even at the ripe old age of 39. Shame on Briatore for blaming Michelin, which has had the superior tire in F1 for years.]

Quiet day of testing at Jerez Tuesday Quiet day of testing at Jerez TuesdayOnly three cars on track.
1. P. de la Rosa – McLaren Mercedes – 1’18”529 – 62 laps
2. G. Paffett – McLaren Mercedes – 1’18 763 – 92 laps
3. A. Wurz – Williams Cosworth – 1’19”631 – 98 laps
Conor Daly doubles up Conor Daly doubles upAt Michiana Raceway, Indiana, CytomaxMRPbirelAmerica driver, Conor Daly, became a two time WKA Grand National Champion after scoring two impressive wins in the highly competitive Yamaha junior class. On Saturday, Daly missed the pole by a mere .007, and after the pre-final, he started the final from fourth place before methodically working his way to the front. On Sunday, Daly qualified on the pole by a mere .070, and won in dominant style. 

14 year old Conor Daly drives an Italian built birel chassis for MRPbirel America prepared by Motorama Kart Parts based in Moorsville, Indiana (mkpshop.com). Conor races exclusively on Bridgestone tires and is sponsored by Cytomax Sport Energy Drink.

Revamped website for Rocketsports Revamped website for RocketsportsEAST LANSING, Michigan – Rocketsports Racing had a new look on track by displaying the fresh new paint schemes of yellow and blue on the #8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Champ Car and an all-black #50 X-Men 3 The Last Stand the Movie Ford Crawford Grand Am machine in Long Beach and now the team will have a fresh new look off track in the cyberspace world as the team is proud to announce the revamping of its website: www.rocketsportsracing.com.

Team owner Paul Gentilozzi’s early-on racing career led to the formation of Rocketsports Racing in 1985.  Leaders in engine and chassis design and construction, Rocketsports is one of the most diverse and accomplished companies of its kind in North America.  The Rocketsports name has long been associated with victories in all of the series it has completed in, which includes Trans-Am, IMSA GTO, GTS Competition, and Champ Car. 

The site will kick off with a series of stories that will highlight the history of the team.  A new look will be used to define the Rocketsports brand name to establish its transitions throughout the 21 years of existence in the auto racing industry.  Each month, a new era of Rocketsports history will be revealed on the site taking its visitors back in time to re-emphasize the accomplishments it has seen throughout the years. zzzz

In addition, the site will be more user-friendly to its visitors including more options to the main menu, with added features for fans, media, and sponsors. 

As people continue to check out the team’s new site, they will begin to learn what has been going on throughout the racing season at the East Lansing, Michigan-based shop.  Other feature stories will be included to take site-visitors and race fans “behind the scenes” of racing, focusing on all areas of a team from transportation, the mechanics, to the engineering of the race cars.  Visitors will also have a chance to view all this on-hand with an included video feature clip taking them “behind the scenes” with Rocketsports Racing.

Hornish, Penske team meet President Bush Hornish, Penske team meet President BushWASHINGTON - Sam Hornish Jr. figures he'll just have to win the 91st Indianapolis 500 to continue his conversation with President George W. Bush.

Hornish, known for his quick wit and rarely at a loss for words, found himself temporarily awestruck when the president greeted the Marlboro Team Penske contingent in the President's Conference Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Hornish, his wife, Crystal, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chief Executive Officer Tony George and Penske Racing owner Roger Penske flanked the Borg-Warner Trophy for a photo opportunity with the president, who welcomed the group by saying "Welcome to the White House, the bastion of freedom."

"You can't really prepare for that," said Hornish, who also was the subject of a press conference outside the West Wing and participated in an "Ask the White House" online chat. "There aren't too many people I come in contact with that I can't find the words to spit out of my mouth on what I want to tell them, but that was one of them.

"I couldn't say everything I wanted to say. I got out the fact how honored I was to meet him. As soon as his hand left mine and he moved on, I thought, 'Hey, dummy, you didn't say half the things you wanted to say to him,' so I was more critical of myself for not saying the things I wanted to."

Only hours earlier, Bush returned from the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, where leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union discussed continued cooperation on a broad range of international economic, security, and political issues.

"I think it's a real honor for the president to take the time to meet Sam and our team," said Penske (pictured right shaking hands with President Bush), who last visited the White House as an Indianapolis 500-winning team owner in 1991 with Rick Mears after Mears' fourth victory. "It's a credit to IndyCar racing and the status it's achieved in the sports world. To me, it's a demonstration of how open our political leaders are with their constituency."

After the formal photo, which also included Indy Racing League President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Barnhart, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and COO Joie Chitwood, the crew of the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, and team and corporate officials, the president engaged Hornish about his victory from the pole in the 90th edition of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." zzzz

"You had a close one there, how close was it?" Bush asked.

"A little too close for me," Hornish replied.

"I've had a few close races before, too, and my attitude is first is first," Bush said.

Hornish presented the president an autographed racing helmet and a Penske Racing jacket.

"That will look real good in the presidential library," Bush said about the helmet, and the president said about the jacket, "Just right for those cool Texas mornings."

Said Hornish: "He was very complimentary of us winning the Indianapolis 500 and the style in which we won, and of being a small town boy from Ohio having a dream. Seldom do people accomplish their dream. It might have been about 10 minutes, but it seemed like 10 seconds. I had as much fun watching him work the room and talk with everybody.

"He took an individual picture with everybody (at the outset inquiring if anyone else was from Texas), which was neat because he doesn't have to do anything like that."

George and the president shared a brief exchange about ethanol, which this year is being blended with methanol to power the IndyCar Series cars. Next year, 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol will be used in the series, including the 91st Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2007.

"You're leading edge, leading edge," said Bush, who has touted exploration and support of alternative fuel sources in his State of the Union address for the past two years.

Hornish also visited with U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor, who represents Hornish's district. Last month, Gillmor introduced a resolution to the House of Representatives to honor Hornish for winning the 500-Mile Race.

"There aren't too many things you can do in life where you get to go to the White House," Hornish said. "It's a pretty important day in my life."


2007 Indianapolis 500 tickets: The 91st Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 27, 2007. Fans are encouraged to submit their ticket applications for the race to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as soon as possible. The most convenient, fastest method is online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

Track News
GP of Denver gears up for 2006 event GP of Denver gears up for 2006 eventDENVER – Preparations for the fifth annual Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone commenced this morning with the placement of the cornerstone barrier at Turn 4 by General Manager Rob Johnson and the Grand Prix staff. The Grand Prix of Denver’s 1.65-mile street track is created for the event on August 11-13, 2006 and is one of 15 international stops in the Champ Car World Series.

“Each year the beginning of construction marks an important milestone for the Grand Prix,” Johnson said. “The city of Denver continues to embrace this event and with the placement of the first barrier, the excitement builds toward a weekend that transforms the city. We are gearing up to make 2006 the best Grand Prix to date!”

The placement of barriers is the start of a lengthy construction project that transforms the grounds of the Pepsi Center and a portion of Auraria Parkway into a challenging, high-speed, nine-turn racetrack that has drivers reaching speeds of up to 190 miles per hour. zzzz

“Building a race circuit on city streets is a labor-intensive project,” explained Martyn Thake, Track Operations Director for the Grand Prix. “We only have 23 days to place 2,000 concrete barriers weighing 10,000 pounds each; install 24,000 feet of debris fencing; place 300 tire barriers made up of 10,000 tires; and place all the bridges, grandstands and paddock areas. In essence we build a small city within the city of Denver for the Grand Prix.”

Track construction will not impact traffic until Wednesday, August 9 when the westbound (outbound) lanes of Auraria Parkway from Speer Boulevard to 7th Street will close at 7:00 p.m. The lanes will remain closed through Monday, August 14 at 3:00 p.m.  The eastbound (inbound) lanes of Auraria Parkway from 7th Street to Speer Boulevard will close on Thursday, August 10 at 10:00 a.m. and will reopen Monday, August 14 by 6:00 a.m. For easy access to the downtown area from I-25 between August 9 and August 14, commuters should consider using the exit at Speer Boulevard.

For ticket information, concert dates and times for the Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone go to www.gpdenver.com. Specially priced ticket packages are available for racing and rock n’ roll on the Grand Prix website. Tickets can also be purchased by calling toll free 877-772-5425 or at trackside ticket offices during race weekend.

Rocketsports returns to 2-car effort Rocketsports returns to 2-car effortRocketsports Racing confirms a two-car entry for the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick as Nicky Pastorelli is scheduled to return to the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone cockpit alongside driver of the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Tonis Kasemets.

Pastorelli has made five Champ Car starts with the team this season and will attempt to make his first start on Canadian soil this weekend.  His journey to Edmonton also marks the first time that the Italo-Dutch driver will visit the country of Canada.

“I am very happy to be back racing with Rocketsports Racing,” said Pastorelli.  “Edmonton will be a new experience for me.  It will be the first time that I will be running on that track and the first time I enter the country of Canada.  It is a nice track from what I have seen and heard, so I am even more excited to get back out there after missing out on the Toronto experience.  I hope we can have a good result and continue from where we left off by improving even more this weekend.” 

Kasemets returns to the Champ Car circuit after having running a one-day test at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois.  The Estonian-rookie Champ Car driver only had one test day prior to making his Champ Car debut in Portland with the team, so the extra seat time was vital.  Feeling more comfortable in the car and obtaining more knowledge about it, Kasemets is ready to get to Edmonton with the hopes of better results as he continues his six-race quest this season.

“I am looking forward to this race weekend,” stated Kasemets.  “After the test we did last week, I feel good about myself driving the car because I was able to push the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports car to the limit, actually over the limit a few times, but none-the-less I learned what the limit of the car is.  With that, we will head to Edmonton and try to find a setup on the car that will work for both the course and my driving style.  I hope that will lead to better results, which I anticipate because I am now feeling very comfortable about my driving and my ability to really push the car.”

Industry News
BMW announces 3 Series Coupe pricing BMW announces 3 Series Coupe pricingWoodcliff Lake, NJ - Arriving in US showrooms this September, the newest BMW Coupe once again sets the standard for design, luxury, and performance in its class. The 2007 3 Series Coupe will have a starting MSRP of $35,995 including destination and handling.

As is typical for BMW, significant enhancements to the standard features as well as the value of the new 328i and 335i have been made, compared to their predecessors. In addition, BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive will be available for the first time in a Coupe in the 328xi. While base prices have increased versus the outgoing versions, the new 3 Series Coupe models now include a substantial number of additional features including:
* More powerful engines (230 and 300 hp vs. 184 and 225)
* More differentiated styling from the sedan
* Xenon adaptive headlights with cornering lights standard
* Rear side head protection system (airbag curtain)
* Enhanced DSC benefits (including brake drying, brake stand-by, brake fade compensation, and start-off assistant)
* Enhanced interior ambiance lighting
* Run-flat tires with Tire Pressure Monitor

The 328i also receives the following additional standard equipment:
* 17" wheels and tires
* 6-speed manual transmission
In fact, compared to the top-of-the-line 2006 330Ci Coupe, the entry-level 2007 328i Coupe not only offers greater style inside and out, as well as a number of safety enhancements, it also offers even better performance - all for $2,500 less.

The list of options for all models now includes a six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission. Option packages for both models represent even greater value with added content as well.

Ownership value has been enhanced with the announcement of BMW Ultimate Service , a suite of services that includes the BMW Maintenance Program (formerly called Full Maintenance) , Roadside Assistance, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty and BMW Assist with Teleservice. The new 3 Series Coupes will have BMW Assist available as a stand-alone option or as part of the optional Premium Package. As before, included with BMW Assist is Bluetooth hands-free phone connectively which includes hands-free access to your phonebook. Starting with model year 2007, BMW Assist will be provided for four years. Most other similar services cover only the first year of service.

The 2007 BMW 328i Coupe will be priced at $35,995 while the 335i Coupe, with its 300 horsepower twin-turbo inline six cylinder engine (pictured right), will have an MSRP of $41,295. The new 328xi Coupe, with BMW's advanced xDrive all-wheel drive system, will retail for $37,795. All prices include a $695 destination and handling charge. BMW

Industry News
Toyota not interested in GM alliance Toyota not interested in GM allianceToyota Motor Corp. has not initiated discussions with General Motors Corp. about a possible alliance between the two companies, a top U.S. Toyota official said Monday.

"We're sitting on the sidelines watching this like all of the other automakers," Jim Press, president of Toyota's North America unit, said Monday night during a dinner with reporters.

His comments followed an official statement released earlier Monday by Toyota that was the automaker's first public response to speculation that it was pursuing a tie-up of its own with GM as an alternative to GM aligning with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co.

"Our investigation reveals no discussions with GM have been initiated by Toyota and we can only conclude that there is no substance" to the speculation, Toyota said in the statement.

The statement followed a weekend report in Business Week that cited an unnamed Toyota executive as saying Toyota may try to forge an alliance with GM.

Press said the company isn't worried about a Nissan-Renault-GM tie-up. If such an arrangement made those companies stronger that would help Toyota, he said, because the company is boosted by tough competitors.

"We have a lot of goals and objectives to run our own company. We have a lot of work to do. Our goal has never been to see how big we can be," Press said.   More at Detroit News

track news
Stewart spends day repaving Talladega Stewart spends day repaving TalladegaTwo-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet, visited Talladega Superspeedway today to lend a hand in the track's ongoing paving project and to talk with members of the media about the upcoming UAW-Ford 500 event weekend set for Oct. 6 - 8 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Stewart met with dozens of media outlets after climbing aboard and operating the gigantic paver making its way through turn one of the legendary Alabama track, applying a level-up course of asphalt. It may have been the slowest speed at which Stewart has ever taken that particular turn at Talladega, but he said he looks forward to running on that new asphalt this fall in his race car while attempting to better his string of six second-place finishes here at NASCAR's Most Competitive Track.

"I think it's going to have a lot more grip," Stewart said.

"People that like three- and four-wide racing, that's what they're going to see. Handling has not really been that huge of an issue here; it's always been about how fast your car was. Now, for sure it's going to be that much more grip, and handling will be even less of an issue, so that three- and four-wide racing - that's what it's going to be all day long."

Aston Martin enjoying run up front Aston Martin enjoying run up frontPORTLAND – After 12 races of Corvette yellow at the head of the American Le Mans Series’ GT1 field, there’s a new color out front – Aston Martin Racing green. The British marque is riding a two-race winning streak heading into the Portland Grand Prix presented by Les Schwab.

The last two rounds of the Series schedule has seen one of the team’s Aston Martin DBR9s on the top step of the class podium. That includes a 1-2 finish at last weekend’s Utah Grand Prix, the first such finish for the team since entering the American Le Mans Series at Sebring last year.

After seeing the Corvettes dominate in 2005 and through the first three races of this season (and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans), Aston Martin is the team streaking now. First it was Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin winning at Lime Rock Park at the start of the month. At the new Miller Motorsports Park, Darren Turner and Tomas Enge both earned their third career Series victories.

“We had a brilliant set up. Brilliant tires, as well,” Enge said. “They were working right from the beginning to the end.” zzzz

The Utah win proved a couple of things to the Aston Martin team and the other teams in the Series. For one, the team’s Pirelli tires held up well under the intense heat on the fresh Miller asphalt. Secondly, the Aston Martin pit crew averted disaster by quickly changing an alternator belt during a late-race yellow flag pit stop. In a Series where races are routinely won in the pits, the Aston Martin team performed when it needed.

“Fantastic result. A special mention should go to Richard Luxton who managed to change the alternator belt on the 007 race-winning car in record time,” said team principal George Howard-Chappell. “Again, a superb effort from the whole team. The drivers were very consistent which is what we needed to get the life out of the tires. (Pirelli) gave us an excellent compound for this new circuit. Great job all round.”

Another similar performance from the team and tires will be in order this weekend in Portland. Temperatures are expected to rise into the 90s on Thursday and Friday and eclipse the 100-degree mark for the race.

The Portland Grand Prix presented by Les Schwab, the sixth race of the 2006 American Le Mans Series season, is scheduled for 6 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 22. CBS Sports will broadcast the race from 3 to 5 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 23. Qualifying is set for 3:35 p.m. PDT on Friday, July 21. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

Toronto replay Toronto replayReminder:  A replay of the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto Champ Car race will be broadcast on Wednesday, July 19, 12:00 pm-2:00 pm ET on SPEED.  The race was originally broadcast on CBS.  Watch Champ Car's newest star, AJ Allmendinger, score his third consecutive win after joining the Forsythe Championship Racing team.   Immediately following the Champ Car race will be a replay of the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto Champ Car Atlantic race from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm ET on SPEED where Robbie Pecorari scored his first Atlantic victory.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Renault admit 'discussions' with Kimi
Ferrari on road back to glory - consensus
Fry denies Tokyo to blame for Honda woe
Briatore recovering from surgery
Michelin begin F1 decline
Sato expects 'new' Aguri to take on MF1
Racers welcome plan to axe Friday
Ferrari to have tire advantage in '07
Klien deadline extended, says Lauda
Alonso criticizes teammate Fisi
Andretti a shoo-in for rookie award Andretti a shoo-in for rookie awardJeff Simmons finished a career-best seventh at Nashville, but only gained three points of Marco Andretti, who finished eighth. Andretti leads Simmons 196-109 in the race for the $50,000 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award.
Dixon's win tightens title chase Dixon's win tightens title chaseScott Dixon was a key figure in the 2003 points race with five events left, which resulted in an IndyCar Series championship for the New Zealander. He hopes the cards fall in similar fashion this year.

Dixon's win in the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway vaulted him into second in the standings with four ovals and one road-course events remaining. He trails Sam Hornish Jr. by five points (316-311) heading into the ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Indy 225 at The Milwaukee Mile on July 23. Helio Castroneves (310) is third with reigning IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon fourth (300).

The top four are the closest with five races left than any year since 2001 (from 1996-2000, there were fewer races and points payouts). The closest comparison is '03, when Tony Kanaan led with 357 points. Gil de Ferran was second (350), Castroneves third (347) and Dixon fourth (333). It went down to the final race - at Texas Motor Speedway - before Dixon claimed the title.

This year's points race appears headed in the same direction. zzzz 

"I think, for our team, it was definitely a big gain," Dixon said after recording his first oval victory since June 2003. "(Hornish) opened up a bit of a gap, nearly 40 points on us, I think coming into this race. It's always been nothing but looking towards the championship and trying to win the championship this year, and nothing's changed since.

"But this definitely helps the situation a lot. Now we just need to make sure that both the 9 and the 10 car are very competitive and can try and win a few more of these next few races."

Hornish, a three-time winner this season, is the defending champion at The Mile. The pole sitter beat Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti, the 2004 winner, to the line.

"Any time you make significant points on Sam, it's a good thing, because he doesn't normally give them away," said Wheldon, who didn't give anyone a chance in the championship race last year by winning four of the initial five races.
Schumacher: "I didn't think it would have gone as it did!" Schumacher: "I didn't think it would have gone as it did!"Michael returned home on Sunday evening after a race that had gone particularly well. He will relax after a demanding weekend and before the upcoming tests: "To be honest, I did not think things would go as they did", declared the seven-time world champion today.

His eighth win at the Grand Prix of France had put him in a good mood. "These are the best wins". Despite the fact that his car caught fire during Saturday's free practice and that Felipe had clutch problems, the Ferraris performed well even though they did not have any information on how the tires would have coped over a long distance.

"We were worried. First, you can never be certain of anything and, second, things did not look particularly hopeful", explained Michael. "In the end though, everything turned out okay. I have to pay thanks to all the mechanics and engineers who, with very little data, set the car up superbly".

This second consecutive win is a further step forward in the chase after overall leader, Alonso. "It is tough", smiled Michael. "From now on, we are focused on the 17 points we have to make up. It will be hard as Alonso and his team have the edge but one thing is clear: nothing is certain in Formula 1. This means that we will not develop a false sense of security; this very race demonstrated that, this year, details can make all the difference.

We can be proud of the fact that we are doing well and we will continue heading in this direction".

Michael will be at Le Castellet from Wednesday and, on Thursday and Friday, he will be involved in new test sessions. "These are important tests as we have to select the tires for the next three races".

Then will come a break from the testing. We would like to prepare for the next race and do well in Germany. We will see how things go. I need the extra motivation; we are all motivated and each member of the Ferrari team wants the Prancing Horse to win the title race". Ferrari

Magny Cours musings Magny Cours musingsSunday’s French Grand Prix wasn’t the most exciting race ever witnessed in the fifty six and half years the world championship has been running with many fans calling it the most boring they have ever had the displeasure of watching. Well it seems as if fans weren’t the only ones falling asleep between pitstops as according to Red Bull, paddock pundits were actually tending towards nominating it as one of the top six most boring races of all time.

You just had to feel sorry for the 84,000 strong crowd who got roasted in the sun at Magny-Cours without having many exciting souvenirs to take away with them at the end of the weekend, in fact, even the TV producer could not make it look any more exciting, primarily because in order to get two cars racing one another in the same shot, he would have needed to position a camera somewhere in outer space.

Perhaps the Directors of the F1 TV coverage should have cameras situated in the paddock from now on, so that if the racing is really dull, they can show spectators a load of officials and team press officers running around in the heat with bits of paper as throughout the course of the French Grand Prix, an argument had been raging between the engine manufacturers and the sport’s governing body about technical rules for the future, but in view of the lack of excitement in Sunday’s parade, one has to wonder if their time would not be better spent working out how to make the racing more exciting.

Hopefully, F1 life will be back to its exciting self in Hockenheim in a fortnight’s time.

Meanwhile, even though the World Cup is over, football was still a major talking point in France and Honda’s Rubens Barrichello, like any good Brazilian, was keen to make the most of it. Walking onto the grid, he pretended to head-butt several of his mechanics, in the style of Zidane, no wonder some of the French cheered when his car ran into technical problem later in the race.

Remember, the Japanese journalist who had his hire car and driving license confiscated by the French police when he was caught speeding? Well, there’s an amusing sequence to the tale. Super Aguri’s Managing Director Daniele Audetto was talking to the journo about it and seemed to find it funny that he’d lost his license. Quick as a flash, the Japanese gentleman replied that, at least this was not as serious as losing your FIA Superlicense halfway through the year, which is what happened to Aguri driver, Yuji Ide a few months back. Source: Red Bull

track news
Edmonton track gets new name, sponsor Edmonton track gets new name, sponsorEDMONTON - The temporary road course at City Centre Airport, site of the upcoming West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick has a new name, JAGflo Speedway, thanks to a new sponsorship deal signed between the event and Edmonton energy and petrochemical leader JAG flocomponents. The agreement, which was finalized this past weekend, will see JAGflo assume naming rights for the racetrack.

"We are happy to have JAG flocomponents join us in such a high-profile manner," said Ernie Pasemko, General Manager of the Grand Prix of Edmonton. "We know that JAGflo is a well respected valve manufacturer in the energy and petrochemical industry and we are very proud that they have selected our event for this important sponsorship. It's a great partnership."

A leading manufacturer in the energy and petrochemical industry, JAG flocomponents was founded in 2001 by partners John McCrae and Gary Williams who share more than 75 years of meaningful oil and gas flow control experience in the Western Canada basin. With distribution centers in Edmonton and Houston, Texas, as well as manufacturing, quality control and inspection facilities in Dalian and Suzhou, China, JAGflo offers high quality global solutions to its customers. The company, which has the largest inventory of parts in Alberta, also has an association with two of the largest valve distributors in the United States through McJunkin Corporation and Red Man Supply. zzzz

"We are very proud to be a small part in bringing an international event such as the Champ Car World Series to a well-deserved Alberta audience," said partner John McCrae. "JAG flocomponents is recognized for exceptional quality control and there is no better place to see quality control in action that in Champ Car. As an international company operating in Edmonton, the association with Champ Car's global profile is a terrific fit for us. Our team of young, energetic Albertans has been involved in the community for some time supporting a variety of local charities. This new partnership is something we can all be proud of."

"It is encouraging to see additional sponsorship this year," added Pasemko. "We continue to build this event and have interest in next year. Getting great support from Alberta companies like JAG flocomponents is significantly important to us".

The West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick will be held July 21 - 23 at JAGflo Speedway. For additional information on JAG flocomponents visit www.jagflo.com

ISC trying to win local support in Staten Island ISC trying to win local support in Staten IslandNASCAR is riding to the rescue of the Staten Island Little League, after venerable Hy Turkin Field was torn up from home plate to the outfield in a sickening episode of vehicular vandalism earlier this week.

Michael Printup of International Speedway Corp., which seeks to build an 80,000-seat racetrack in Bloomfield, arranged a corporate donation of 500 square feet of sod and some 18 cubic yards of clean fill to make the Dongan Hills field playable again.

The work will be done today and tomorrow.

Printup, who coaches in the South Shore Little League, said he wanted to help as soon as he read the distressing details in Wednesday's Advance.

"For something that was so horrible in nature, I knew we [ISC] had to do something," he said. "This is something for the kids, so they can get back out there and play."

Pete Sclafani expressed gratitude on behalf of the SILL board of directors.

"It's good to see people from the community kicking in," Sclafani said.

"The kids were really down about seeing their field like this, so to see this happen so fast is incredible." Staten Island Advance

CSS Stellar signs Allmendinger CSS Stellar signs AllmendingerLONDON – CSS Stellar Management, plc., an established client management firm based in London, England, with a North American office located in Denver, Colorado, has signed A.J. Allmendinger, a rising 24-year-old American racing star in the Champ Car World Series, to a driver representation agreement.      

 “We’re very excited to welcome such a talented young driver like A.J. Allmendinger to the CSS Stellar family,” said Tim Sice, Managing Director of Sports Talent Management.  “A.J. is a rising star in open wheel racing and he has a very bright future ahead of him, as you can plainly see from his three consecutive wins in Champ Car.  We’re convinced A.J. will continue to succeed at the highest levels of motorsport in the U.S.”

“Now that I am entering a new phase in my racing career, I really want to make sure that I surround myself with people I trust and that understand the racing world,” said Allmendinger.  “Bringing on CSS Stellar is just one of those moves, and more importantly, it allows me to focus on my performance on the track.” zzzz

Currently ranked 2nd in the Champ Car World Series driver standings, Allmendinger is arguably the hottest driver in open-wheel racing at the moment, having captured three consecutive victories for Forsythe Championship Racing at Portland, Cleveland and Toronto.  After starting the 2006 season with RuSPORT, Allmendinger was relieved of his driving duties by the team just before the Grand Prix of Portland, only to land a ride with Forsythe for the remainder of the Champ Car season.  In seven races this season, he has recorded three wins, one pole position, four podium appearances and five top-five finishes.

A native of Los Gatos, California and named after driving legend A.J. Foyt, Allmendinger began his climb to Champ Car by winning the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series championship with six wins, tying Kenny Brack for most wins in a single season.  In 2003, he dominated the Toyota Atlantic series with RuSPORT, recording seven wins, eight pole positions and eventually capturing the championship, becoming the youngest driver to win the title since Michael Andretti.  In 2004, Allmendinger made his much anticipated Champ Car debut with RuSPORT and earned Rookie of the Year honors with two podium appearances, five top-five finishes, a 6th-place overall in the championship, marking the highest finish for an American Champ Car rookie since Bobby Rahal in 1982 . That year A.J. also became the first American to win the coveted international AUTOSPORT Rookie of the Year Award.  Last season, Allmendinger finished fifth in the Champ Car standings with five podium appearances and his first career pole position.

Since its inception in April 1999, CSS Stellar has become one of the UK’s leading independent sports management companies.  The organization was formed through the merger of CSS International, a 26-year-old sports marketing company in Britain, and Stellar Management, an established client representation agency.  The firm represents a number of top drivers including Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya, IndyCar drivers Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti and Grand Am Series driver Milka Duno.

For more information on CSS Stellar Management, visit the company website at www.css-stellar-management.comCSS Stellar Mgm't

Walker Racing / Team Australia Web Store NOW OPEN! Walker Racing / Team Australia Web Store NOW OPEN!"For the first time since the inception you can now purchase Official Team Australia Gear by visiting, www.walkerracing.com and clicking on the Team Australia Web Store.  We ship anywhere in the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Select Countries.  Come and check us out! Place any order on a race week ( week before a Champ Car event) and get a 10% savings on any order over $100!"  For More Information or to place an order via phone contact: Wow! Marketing @ 866.381.9357 M-F 9am-4:30pm Central Standard. Wow! Marketing
Is Jeff Gordon getting more aggressive? Is Jeff Gordon getting more aggressive?Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports DuPont Monte Carlo in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, took time out of his race weekend preparation at New Hampshire International Speedway to speak with John Roberts and the NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED crew.

Roberts, along with drivers and co-hosts Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace, chatted with Gordon about the many different topics floating throughout the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series garage area.

Gordon, following last weekend’s triumph at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., is one away from tying the legendary Dale Earnhardt on the all-time victory list. The California native scored his 75th victory, also putting him in the mix to win his fifth NASCAR Nextel Cup Series championship.

Here is what Gordon said on Sunday’s edition of NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED. zzzz

Roberts: Jeff, a lot has been said about that win (after bumping Matt Kenseth in the closing laps at Chicagoland Speedway) last weekend. Some people are saying its part of a new, more aggressive Jeff Gordon. Do you feel your driving style has changed in recent weeks?

Gordon: No, not at all. Obviously, we’re racing aggressively to make it into the Chase, but we have to put a lot of consistent races together. You have to look at the way the sport is growing and the way the sport has changed. Aerodynamics is so important these days and track position has become more and more important. We’re not seeing as many racetracks where we can run side by side – so I think you’re seeing that as a trend in general – with everybody. Plus, you’re seeing a lot of young guys in this sport and everybody is just being more aggressive, in my opinion.

Spencer: You have seen a lot of tough luck recently. …How does your team handle those situations? You’re still in the top 10 in points, but do you look at those and say, ‘Hey man, if we had this.’ Or do you just move on?

Gordon: Well, I think anybody can do that every single season. You can look at Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, and those guys have really had to fight their way back to have a shot at the Chase. That happens to a lot of teams throughout the year. But I think it’s only made us a stronger team. I think if anybody can handle those types of situations, it’s our DuPont Chevrolet team. Steve Letarte, our new crew chief, has a lot of experience and he’s been through the ups and downs with this race team. He’s been a fantastic leader through the tough times and he’s really done a great job getting this whole team back on top of their game.

Wallace: Brian France stated earlier this year that he may be changing some of the rules for qualifying for the Chase. What have you been thinking about (with changing) the rules for the Chase?

Gordon: I like the fact they take 10 guys, or anybody that’s within 400 points. I don’t really think they should add any more than that. It’s a real challenge to be in there. It was a tough enough time for me to handle the Chase, let alone anything new and different – especially if it’s anything drastic. Of course, he (Brian France) says it’s just going to be a tweak. I wouldn’t mind seeing a change in how the points are structured. There should be a little bit more spread between first, second and third – down to 10th or 12th. And I don’t think we need to see points go back all the way to 43rd. Maybe 30th or something like that, everyone gets the same points. There’s no reason for us to fix these wrecked race cars and go back out there and run around.

Spencer: You’re one win away from Dale Earnhardt. Have you really thought about that situation as a four-time champion with 75 wins? Have you really just collected (those thoughts) recently?

Gordon: Being at 75 right now is absolutely overwhelming and blows me away that we’ve gotten to this number. I still don’t see where they all came from because it’s been such a blur. I know amazing things have happened to me, especially since I’ve joined Hendrick Motorsports and become driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. I’ve just had awesome people surrounding me throughout my career, helping me win races and championships. I’m trying not to think too much about it. But I think it would be one of the coolest things, and one of the things I’d be the most honored to be able to do is match up with something Dale Earnhardt, Sr., did. To me, that guy is a legend and always will be and the greatest driver I’ve ever raced against.

Roberts: Jeff, you’re probably one of the best guys to speak about Juan Pablo Montoya because back in 2003, you had the chance to trade paint and swap seats with him. What do you think about Juan Pablo coming into the sport? What do you think it means? And how do you think he’ll do?

Gordon: I think it’s awesome. I don’t think the Formula One crowd feels the same way after watching the F1 race this morning and the emotions there. He’s a tremendous talent and I think he brings a lot to this sport and a whole new fan base. No doubt about it, it’s going to be one of the most challenging things he’s ever done because the cars are so much different. He’s going to a great race team with Chip Ganassi. He drove my car at Indianapolis, jumped in it and got right up to speed. Now, that wasn’t an oval, but on the road courses in the bigger, heavier car, he handled it really well. I look for him to do a lot of testing. He’s going to get a lot of laps at Kentucky I’m sure. And I think you’re going to see him in a lot of different races – Busch races, ARCA races. That’s the biggest thing. You have to check you’re ego at the door, and say ‘what is it going to take to get me competitive? Get me laps?’ That means you have to run Busch races; you have to run ARCA races. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what your pay structure is or anything else. I think if he can go about it that way, he will be successful.

Todt talks tires Todt talks tiresJean Todt displayed new confidence after Michael Schumacher secured Ferrari's second successive Grand Prix win at Magny-Cours in France on Sunday. Asked whether he felt they could carry over the form to the upcoming German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Todt said "I think we will not only be quick in Hockenheim, I think we will be quick everywhere. And then maybe someone we will make a completely wrong choice of tires at one race...Otherwise we will be strong, our competitors will be strong so it will always be little different."

Some observers - even some at Ferrari - viewed the team's previous Grand Prix win at Indianapolis in the USA as a one-off success in terms of a level of dominance. Did Todt see success at Magny-Cours, just down the road from rival tire supplier Michelin's home circuit as being more significant?

"No," replied the Ferrari team principal. "We knew that there was no reason why we should not be competitive here. It's the home country of the leader in the Manufacturers' championship, of their tire supplier but I would say it's my home country too.

"We had very good tires available - not only for Ferrari. You could see that Toyota was very strong with Bridgestone over the whole weekend. Unfortunately for them and for us, they had some reliability problems and they could not score as many points as we wished they would have scored, because as you can imagine, it's very crucial for us in the championship if we are ahead, that some cars are in between us and our rivals. Our competitors are very strong as well, they do a good job. It's up to us. If we want to win the championship we have to deserve it and to do the best job we can."

But Todt rejected suggestions that their soft tire choice had been chancy. "It was no gamble. We know very well that the evolution of the track always gives some advantage and takes away the graining which is the weakest point when you have soft tires. Bridgestone made available to the teams different types of tires which were very good. Our tires were very good, Toyota's tires were very good, even if they were different so it was no gamble." zzzz

However, Todt did admit that problems for both cars during the third practice session on Saturday morning had cut short their preparations. "We were worried because there was always a question mark as we didn't do so many laps in proper race conditions. Consequently, we might have ended up with degradation of a tire which is different to what we were expecting. Let's say that here it went the way we could expect."

Michael Schumacher had paid tribute to the team's rapid reaction to those problems; how close had it been for the team? "Michael is a great team player," said Todt, "so quite rightly he never wants to take all the credit for success. He likes the team, he likes to encourage the team, he likes to reward the team and that's why the team loves him so much.

"We had a problem yesterday during the free practice three, and it was tight to put the car back into the best situation and we knew that we just had time to do it but we had to do it and the guys did a fantastic job. It was tight, but it was even tighter for Felipe. Felipe's car was finished after Michael's car was finished."

Todt again praised Massa's performance, and explained how he had been delayed which allowed championship leader Fernando Alonso to finish second. "Felipe is doing a great job. He just had a different strategy. He was less than a tenth behind Michael on the starting grid and we had a different strategy. We were on three pit stops, our main opposition was on two and Felipe had traffic and our strategy for him was not the best."

Finally, with regard to the lack of a unanimous decision for agreement on future engine rules, Todt admitted that he would agree to extend the deadline which passed during the Grand Prix by 24 hours, but no more. "Normally if you make a deal you have to respect it, which sometimes seems a bit strange in Formula One, but let's say I still try to focus on that," concluded Todt. Ferrari

Speed fights through pain to finish in top 10 in France Speed fights through pain to finish in top 10 in FranceINDIANAPOLIS - Although he crashed on the first lap, Scott Speed still calls the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the best Grand Prix of his rookie season so far. He was astounded by the enthusiastic support he got from the fans and the media in his home Grand Prix.

But Speed has added another star to his season with a determined drive in France.

After the race in Indianapolis, Speed returned to his base in Fuschl am See, Austria. The plan was to relax after his incredibly hectic but enjoyable two weeks of the North American F1 double-header with races in Montreal and Indianapolis. Speed got plenty of rest, but not in the way he had planned.

"It was supposed to be really relaxed," California native Speed said in the Magny-Cours paddock before practice got underway for the French Grand Prix, "but I started getting sick on Wednesday (July 5), and I am just now getting over it. So my little vacation time in Fuschl turned into a lot of sleep.

"I got some kind of infection. I might have got bitten on my hand by a spider. Nothing too crazy, but it took all the fire out of me. Maybe it is because I have been so flat out." zzzz

One of Speed's strengths as a driver is that he stays on the track. The accident in Indianapolis was not his fault as other cars hit him. But on the opening day of practice for the French Grand Prix, on Friday, July 14, he made an error and spun off in the second session and backed his Scuderia Toro Rosso into a tire-lined wall.

"The car is not too bad here," he said, "and I think we can be quite competitive. In terms of setup and tires, it's not looking too bad, either.

"The accident was my mistake. Earlier I had been using the right-hand curb at Turn 7 and getting away with it. Then I tried to use it a little bit more, and it turned around and bit me! It launched the rear into the air, and I immediately lost control of the car."

Speed ended up with the 24th-fastest time.

In qualifying on Saturday, July 15, Speed made it through the first cut and into the second session where he posted the 15th-quickest time. He started the race in 14th as Nico Rosberg was penalized 10 grid places (from ninth to 19th) for having a new engine installed in his Williams-Cosworth.

"Qualifying did not go too well," Speed said, "because we (Speed and teammate Tonio Liuzzi) were unable to get the most out of our tires on our first flying lap. All the same, I was very happy with my final lap, which was very good from a driving point of view.

"Both of us did our fastest laps on the second timed lap of each run, which is never a good sign on new tires. I was surprised because tire degradation here is usually very high.

"Our car is definitely better balanced in race trim, so I hope that pays off big time in the race. I reckon we can have a good race pace."

By race morning, Sunday, July 16, Speed was in agonizing back pain as a delayed result of his accident two days earlier. He did not take part in the drivers' parade as he underwent last-minute therapy.

In the race, Speed had a good duel with Rubens Barrichello and passed him to take over 14th place. After that, Speed drove one of the grittiest races of his career as the tried to ignore the pain during the next 90 minutes. He moved up to 10th place, went off the track once because he could not concentrate, and then brought his car home for his third top-10 finish of the season.

"It was horrible," Speed said of the pain. "It was the toughest race for me I have ever done. It was very difficult."

Team manager Franz Tost praised Speed's efforts, calling this his best Grand Prix yet.

"Overnight, Scott developed serious back pain and trouble breathing as a result of his Friday crash," Tost said. "He was seen by a doctor, had an X-ray, and our physio team worked on him. He decided to start the race, and I think he drove his best race of the season."

Speed's next race is the German Grand Prix on July 30. USGP

North Queensland gripped with Indy fever North Queensland gripped with Indy feverDazzling displays by a 750-horsepower Champ Car and two V8 Supercars ensured North Queensland was gripped by Indy fever on Saturday.

An estimated 10,000 motor racing fans and curious onlookers lined a sealed off stretch of a waterfront Townsville road to watch the display, led by Australian Champ Car driver Will Power.

Power, from Toowoomba, joined veteran Team Australia teammate Alex Tagliani in a smoke-filled launch for this year's Indy 300 on the Gold Coast.

The pair took turns at thrilling the crowd ahead of this year's event to be held from October 19-22.

They were joined by motorbike stunt riders, a high performance racing Porsche and a powerful V8 ute.

Brazilian-born V8 Supercar driver Max Wilson also took part in the demonstration while Gabrielle Richens - aka The Pleasure Machine - made a surprise appearance trackside.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said the large crowd would make north Queensland's push for hosting a V8 Supercar series round easier.

"Let's see what we can do for (hosting an event in Townsville in) 2008," Mr. Beattie told the crowd.

Mr. Beattie said ticket sales for the event had exceeded expectations. The Age

Track News
Tour de Road America Tour de Road AmericaELKHART LAKE, Wis. - While professional cyclists prepare to take on the Alps in the Tour de France, a unique mix of stateside cyclists are preparing to take on the hills and twists of the Road America road racing circuit in east-central Wisconsin on August 19, 2006 during the Generac 500 weekend at Road America.

The Tour de Road America allows auto racing fans, families, cyclists, cancer survivors, race car drivers, and their teams to pedal Road America's beautiful 4.048-mile permanent road circuit in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and its cancer survivorship programs.

Participants in the fundraiser can sign up to ride distances of up to 40 miles on the track by making a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Drivers from the American Le Mans, Speed World Challenge, Star Mazda, Skip Barber National GT, and IMSA GT3 Club Challenge will participate in this year's Tour de Road America at 6:15 P.M., following Saturday's auto racing activities. zzzz

Patrick Long, driver of the Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 in the American Le Mans Series, is excited to be participating again in 2006, " I think the Lance Armstrong Foundation is a great charity to support. Last year was fun to be out there with a lot of my peers. Having the fans and the drivers and everyone out there on the race track at the same time is a cool idea. This has to be one of the best ways to support a great cause that I have ever been a part of."

George Bruggenthies, president of Road America, is enthusiastic about the event, "We're proud to host and support the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Tour de Road America, which is now in its third year here. The fans and the racing teams really enjoy biking the track, with the added bonus that it's all for a great cause. And families enjoy riding with their kids on the track because there are no cars or traffic to worry about."

Volunteers for the Lance Armstrong Foundation organize the event and are on track to exceed the 400 cyclists and $20,000 raised in 2005. Delta Dental of Wisconsin, Bella's Custom Design of Kiel, WI, Kumho Tire, and Giordana Cycling Apparel are among the organizations supporting the Tour de Road America.

Registration for the Tour de Road America is open at www.pelotonride.org. Pre- registered participants will receive a T-shirt, and Cytomax Sport Energy Drink. A reception is scheduled before and after the event with various other fundraising activities being held throughout the race weekend. On-site registration is scheduled for August 18- 19 at the LAF booth near the 4-Mile Merchant.

For further information on the Tour de Road America, please visit www.pelotonride.org or call 517-337-0489.

More fans tuning out NASCAR More fans tuning out NASCARAtlanta's NASCAR fans, who have helped create one of the sport's top television markets, haven't been watching Nextel Cup races as faithfully this year.

From the Daytona 500 in February through the July 1 Pepsi 400, the ratings for Cup races in metro Atlanta have declined 28 percent compared to the same period last year. Nielsen ratings show the metro area is averaging an 8.6 rating this year, down from 11.9 in 2005. Ratings indicate the percentage of TV households tuned to the telecast.

The decline, which ties Norfolk, Va., as the biggest of the 56 major TV markets, is puzzling to many involved in the sport, especially considering national ratings have dropped only 5 percent. Other Southeastern cities, although they represent fewer households, generally have maintained their numbers from 2005.

"We're all kind of head-scratching," said Gene McHugh, vice president and general manager of the local Fox affiliate, WAGA-Fox 5, which carried most of the races in the first half of the season.  More at Atlanta Journal Constitution 

[Editor's Note:  NASCAR has so saturated the print and TV media with NASCAR news people are just getting downright disgusted with the sport and beginning to tune it out.]

Track News
Sylvania re-ups for NASCAR race Sylvania re-ups for NASCAR raceSylvania has extended its contract as title sponsor of the fall NASCAR Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire Int’l Speedway (NHIS) from 2008 through 2012
TV News
F1 dwarfs NASCAR again F1 dwarfs NASCAR againThe TV rating for Sunday's French GP F1 race in Italy ( a small country compared to the USA) was a 50 - 8 million viewers/58.37 share.  Add in the ratings from the remaining countries around the world and you begin to realize just how insignificant NASCAR is in the grand scheme of things.  Don't tell that to some of the myopic reporters that cover NASCAR and believe it to be their religion.
TV News
SPEED Channel announces new show SPEED Channel announces new showSPEED will replace SPEED News on Sunday evenings with a new show, The SPEED Report, beginning Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. ET.

“Over the last 10 years, SPEED has been the absolute best at collecting highlights and cool racing clips from around the world,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED EVP & General Manager. “But moving forward, I think we need to do a better job of telling the stories behind the highlights. We have to deliver -- not only to hardcore fans, but to curious newcomers as well – compelling stories. It’s easy to show fans what’s going on … the challenge will be to show them ‘why’ it is going on.”

In addition to the weekly 60-minute show, The SPEED Report will be the network umbrella covering everything from motor sports and automotive press conferences to a daily news ticker, updating viewers on the day’s events.

For the debut show on Aug. 6, SPEED will have reporters on-site at The Brickyard 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race, the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at nearby Indianapolis Raceway Park, the Formula One race in Hungary and the AMA Superbike race at Mid-Ohio. zzzz

“SPEED will take an approach to news gathering that includes use of all SPEED delivery platforms,” Nickell added. “Beginning with The SPEED Report, we will integrate the SPEED approach to storytelling across broadband, mobile and VOD applications as well.”

Drew Johnson and newcomer Nicole Manske will anchor The SPEED Report desk, with veteran Ralph Sheheen reporting on-site from race venues. A state-of-the-art set is under construction at SPEED headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.

“The SPEED Report will break down the stories behind the statistics and race results,” said Chris Long, SPEED VP of Studio Production. “We’ll also put a weekly effort into introducing viewers to racers they might not get a chance to meet on a regular basis.”

Coordinating Producer Neil Sullivan will lead a crew dedicated to The SPEED Report, including producer Pete Neal and News Director James Chiappelli.
Colin Fleming joins Gelles Racing Atlantic team Colin Fleming joins Gelles Racing Atlantic teamIndianapolis - American star driver Colin Fleming will join Gelles Racing in the #14 car starting in Edmonton this weekend. The former Red Bull driver spent the past seasons in Europe in top Renault ladder series but elected to come home to Gelles Racing and the Champ Car Atlantic, a team and a series he had been considering for a while. The 22-year old San Diego native will enter the five remaining rounds on the calendar.

“It is so exciting to be racing again in America in the Champ Car Atlantic championship with Gelles Racing, said Fleming in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s a culture shock after three years in Europe but I think I can use the experience and harder driving style in my favor. I have heard only good things about the new Swift car, the championship and the high level of racing this year. Gelles Racing has become one of the best teams in the series and I know we’re going to be competitive fairly quickly. I’ve known the Pecorari family from my karting years and teaming up with Robbie, who just won the last round in Toronto, will make it all the more exciting”.  zzzz

On his years as a Red Bull scholar, he added: “I am grateful for everything that Red Bull has done in my racing career and I have not ruled out the possibility that we might do something together at some point in the future. It has been a great experience.”

“I am truly elated to have Colin join our Atlantic effort in Edmonton, said team owner Bob Gelles. In the last five years I have done much scouting in the national karting series and formula support series’; I had noticed this talented driver early and I’m very happy our paths finally cross. He is an awesome talent and a front running driver fresh out of the Top Renault ladder series. He will be a great addition to our Atlantic team; the dynamic duo all-American combination of Fleming and Pecorari on the Gelles squad should be an exciting one to watch of the remaining five rounds of Champ Car Atlantic competition this season.”

An impressive racing curriculum

Colin Fleming, now 22, already enjoys a 13-year racing curriculum. He started karting at the age of 9 with his father and rewarded him with 10 IKF Grand National Karting championships, 2 WKA Constructors Cup and a CART Stars of Tomorrow title in 2001.

He switched to open wheel in 2002 with the Skip Barber programs, earning victories, scholarships and Rookie of the Year in the process.

Chosen in the Red Bull Driver Search program in 2004, he went to Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula Renault Germany championships, scooping 4 victories and 15 podiums. He has spent the last year and a half in the Renault World Series, notably with Carlin Motorsports this year.

Gustafson Wins Crew Chief Award Gustafson Wins Crew Chief AwardLOUDON, New Hampshire –Alan Gustafson guided Kyle Busch to his third career Nextel Cup victory in Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.  Busch led a race-high 107 laps and endured an overtime finish in route to the checkered flag.  Gustafson’s day earned him the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.

Busch was on the track 96 laps after his final pit stop, including 8 unplanned laps of overtime. Two of the top-five competitors ran out of fuel on the final green flag run, yet Busch had enough gas in the tank for celebratory burn outs following his victory. “It was nerve racking,” admitted Gustafson, when talking about his fuel mileage calculations.  “Those boys on the Kellogg’s Chevrolet did an awesome job on the fuel mileage, but it was close.  I think we had a couple of laps to spare, but any time it’s that close, it’s scary.  zzzz

“Kyle (Busch) took care of his stuff at the beginning of the race.  We wanted to save it for the end.  It just went our way today.  We’ve had a lot of performances that were equally as good as this, but it just didn’t go our way.  Everything went right for us today.”

A panel of voters; including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Sr. and a WYPALL® Wipers representative; collectively agreed the Gustafson deserved Crew Chief of the Race honors.  “Alan (Gustafson) did everything right today,” commented Eury Sr.  “His team had great pit stops and kept him [Busch] up front.  A lot of teams had trouble at the end of the race with fuel mileage, but Alan had a car that could go the distance.”

For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, WYPALL® Wipers presented Gustafson $1,000.  At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.  This was Gustafson’s first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him for third place with Darian Grubb, Todd Berrier, Doug Richert, Philippe Lopez, Frankie Stoddard, Scott Miller and Roy McCauley. Robbie Reiser, Chad Knaus and Tony Eury Jr. are tied for second-place, all with two wins. Kenny Francis is in the lead with four wins.

F1 circus rolls on towards Hockenheim F1 circus rolls on towards Hockenheim(GMM) Very few performers in F1's traveling circus will take a break in the days between Magny Cours and Hockenheim, particularly with the world championship battle now finding new spice.

A summer ban on track testing looms, meaning that key sessions this week - with title pretenders Ferrari heading off to Paul Ricard and Renault to Jerez - take on renewed significance.

Renault's Fernando Alonso, defeated by his Bridgestone-tired rival in France, told 'AS' newspaper on Monday: ''We can't afford to lose because of tires any more.''

McLaren will trial a new specification of Mercedes-Benz engine at Jerez, while Michael Schumacher, after a few days' break back in Switzerland, will then board a private jet back to France to run at the Le Castellet venue.

''It will be an important test,'' said the German, ''because we must select the tires for the next three races.''

Ferrari's national press, meanwhile, is solidly behind his quest for an eighth drivers' world championship. ''The title is open again,'' proclaimed Gazzetta dello Sport, ''and the old Schumacher is back!''

Todt says no to Red Bull Todt says no to Red Bull(GMM) Jean Todt has thrown a spanner in the works of Red Bull Racing's apparent plan to shift its Ferrari engine supply contract to Toro Rosso next year.

With the energy drink-owned squad moving towards a Renault deal for 2007, team sources had hinted that the Ferrari hurdle could be overcome by simply telling Maranello chiefs to send the 2.4 liter V8s to nearby Faenza.

But Ferrari boss Todt suggested in Magny Cours that a solution might not be as simple as that.

''If we have a contract,'' he said, ''we try to respect it, so we expect everybody to have the same attitude.''

Todt answered 'yes' when asked by reporters if Red Bull chiefs had brought up the topic with him, which indicates that the obvious difference of opinion is more than hypothetical.

He explained: ''It's something at the moment that we are not going to fulfill their wish, if this wish is confirmed.''

Hooters boss found dead Hooters boss found deadThe chairman of the Hooters restaurant chain, Robert Brooks was found dead at his Myrtle Beach, SC home Sunday morning, according to information from the Horry County coroner's office and a funeral home director. He was 69. It was unclear Sunday how Brooks died, but the coroner's office told The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News that an autopsy would be performed Monday. Brooks' companies sponsored Alan Kulwicki's team when Kulwicki won the Cup championship in 1992. On April 1, 1993, Brooks' son Mark was killed along with Kulwicki and two others in the crash of a Hooters-owned plane that was attempting to land at the Tri-Cities Airport at Bristol, TN. Services are pending. AP Sources
Timo Glock: "We did everything right" Timo Glock: "We did everything right" 

GP2 Series: Timo, another good race for you, but it seemed like the ART guys had a little bit more than you today …
Timo Glock: Yeah, it was difficult today because I flatspotted the right front early and that f%#@ up my race a bit, but fourth from P8, lost a few places at the start but got back up to P4, and in the end I had to give up to Alex because he had a bit better traction than me, at the exit from the hairpin especially. He tried to overtake me there, and he took a bit of a risk there I think because if I didn't open up the steering he would have crashed into me. I thought about it, and thought stay on my line, but then I thought okay, then we will crash and he would turn me around and go away. It was difficult to make that decision, but I think I made the right one - I opened the steering for him and then tried to get him again, but I couldn't get it because of the exit speed you know, the traction was always worse. So I thought stay in P4, it's good for the championship, and now I'm in P4 in the championship and we had a good weekend - the car was great, the mechanics did a perfect job, it was a good weekend and we will just hope to be on the podium again in Germany.

GP2 Series: It must have been good to get these results after a tough start to the season. Can we now say that this is the real Timo coming out?
Timo: Yeah, definitely - that was the reason why I came to GP2, to show the Formula One guys how much speed I have, and it didn't work out with BCN and I had a chance to come to iSport, jumped in the car and it was good. We had a really good test at Paul Ricard for two days, did a perfect job and really concentrated on the car - we did everything right, and now we are up to speed.

GP2 Series: You also got the fastest lap, so the speed is clearly there. Do you think it is something you can keep up?
Timo: Yeah, I hope we can get more points and stay in the top three, and I think that's possible. It's difficult sometimes, and we saw that with Hamilton this week - sometimes it doesn't all go right and you are at the back of the grid, and then it's difficult to come back to the front. So we just have to concentrate every single week.

Giorgio Pantano: "This win makes me so, so happy!" Giorgio Pantano: "This win makes me so, so happy!" 

GP2 Series: Giorgio, you've just taken your first ever win in GP2 - how does that make you feel?
Giorgio Pantano: You know, that made me so happy because it is not since 2003 that I have been on the top of the podium, and I was starting to think what's happening, why am I not going back to the top? I was very close last year, I was second two times, but not on top. We started late in the season here, and every race we started to improve, the car started to improve, and me also, and we arrived here with a good feeling. Yesterday we had a problem with the braking, we didn't have a chance to compete for the win, but today everything was great and we were there.

GP2 Series: You still had to work pretty hard for it though…
Giorgio: Yeah, sure - a very hard race yesterday, and a very hard race today because Nelson was going very well, in the middle of the race he was quicker than me, but I was able to manage it and the gap was always just enough. zzzz

GP2 Series: He was pushing you very hard today - did you think you would be able to hold him throughout the race?
Giorgio: No, because I was pushing without taking in risk because I could feel the back starting to go away, and I was just trying not to make any mistakes - push, but not make any mistakes.

GP2 Series: There have been some questions about how good the team is - do you think this answers your critics?
Giorgio: This team is great - they are good, we are good, and we just have to put everything together.

GP2 Series: How important will it be for the whole team to get this win now?
Giorgio: For sure it will help make everyone feel happy, and they know now we can come back next time for a win. Everyone will work very easily, calm and correct, because they know we have the package to win. Now we know we can win a race, and I think it will let us do it again.

Piquet Jr: "Giorgio did a perfect race" Piquet Jr: "Giorgio did a perfect race"GP2 Series: That was a hell of a battle between you and Pantano today - how was it from your seat?
Nelson Piquet Jr: He did a perfect race, no mistakes, and my car was quicker in the beginning of the race but I didn't want to push like a crazy guy and finish the tires, and I knew I had Glock behind me because I saw he overtook Lucas, and I knew that he was very quick yesterday and so he could be quick today, but it wasn't the case. In the race there was continuous pressure, pressure, and I didn't make any mistakes so it started to get very equal between both of the cars, and of course when you open a gap I caught his quite quickly, but when I was just behind him I sort of got stuck in the rhythm behind him. Sometimes when you are five seconds behind and you just catch him it's a bit easier, but you know what it's like when you get stuck behind someone and you just can't do it. But otherwise it was good, and I didn't want to risk too much because there was no reason, and the car was good because we've learnt a lot about the car since yesterday.

GP2 Series: And Giorgio just didn't make any mistakes today …
Nelson: No, he did a very good race, and his car was pretty good also - he deserved to win. If it was an ART car I would have tried a lot harder, maybe gone crazy in the last laps to try to overtake him at the last corner, but there was not reason to do it - I would have f@#%d his race and my race. zzzz

GP2 Series: It looked like a pretty dramatic start for you …
Nelson: The start was okay but not ideal, Premat had a very good start, and Xandi was very close to me and I couldn't go closer, Premat was right next to me and Xandi touched him, and luckily I got through.

GP2 Series: You picked up a few points on Lewis this weekend - do you think you've answered a few questions that were being asked about you here?
Nelson: I didn't show any real pace here - I was quite lucky in the race with Lewis and that shit yesterday, a lot of people crashed. I think we need to get quicker, but I'm sure we can win the championship - Lewis had a horrible weekend here, got two or three points, but I had a horrible weekend in the Nurburgring where I only got two points for the pole and the tire blew. But I think we're going to continue getting points and winning races, and hopefully we will be in the front of the championship at the end.

GP2 Series: Do you think you'll need Lewis to have more bad weekends, or do you think you can do it with the car you have?
Nelson: Of course it's much easier if he has bad weekends, but I think we can win it anyway.

Q and A with Denis Chevrier Q and A with Denis ChevrierFerrari ahead of Renault wasn't quite what the script had called for at the centenary Grand Prix, but the Renault F1 Team is relishing the challenge of coming back even stronger in Hockenheim. Denis Chevrier Head of Trackside Engine Operations, arrived at the team's home race, 100 years after Renault won the first ever French Grand Prix, and it seemed like the script had been written for a Renault win.

So, how much of a disappointment was second place?
We go to every race looking to win, so of course it's disappointing when you cannot. We felt we were very strongly placed after qualifying and that we would be able to make our consistency count in race conditions. But we are not over-dramatizing things either: you have to finish second if you cannot win, and there is never a colossal difference between the two in terms of points. Strategically, it was an important second place.

A points-system that rewards consistency must be a real help… I think our view of the points system has turned around a little compared to earlier in the season! Back then, we were winning a lot of races but only edging away from Ferrari and Schumacher in the championships, and it was quite frustrating. But this weekend, with a performance deficit, it was certainly something that we benefited from, and we still have a very good gap in both championships.

Ferrari have now won two races in a row – is this a definitive shift in the balance of power during this mid-season period?
It is a close fight between the two teams, as it has been all year and will continue to be. There is no reason to panic – neither in terms of the championship situation, nor the technical status quo between the teams. Ferrari happen to have won two races in a row – but we dominated four in a row before that. There is no reason to think that the pendulum will not swing back in our favor in the coming weeks. zzzz

What is the atmosphere like in the team at the moment?
Excellent, as always. When you win, you cannot rest on your laurels celebrating it – it is quickly gone. The same is true when you lose, and our priority is to get on with our jobs and look to the next challenge. There is only one thing we can do: that's studying how we can make our car go even faster.

Will there be a secret to regaining the upper hand?
The next race we win will be down to only one thing: applying ourselves to the job in hand, which means gaining tenths of a second here, tenths there, and getting those improvements on the car as quickly as possible. Win or lose, it changes nothing in our approach: we have to carry on improving in order to take the fight to our rivals.

Finally, the team has already said that the RS26-C will benefit from even more performance in Hockenheim. What's the plan?
The C specification engine was introduced as a new family of engines, which gave us a baseline for then developing the V8 even further. Fernando will have a one-race old unit in Hockenheim, Giancarlo a brand new one, but both drivers will benefit from performance upgrades for the next race. The engine is intrinsically capable of achieving greater performance, and by changing both the tuning and the way we run the engine, we will be able to unlock more of it from the next race onwards.

Fastest laps of the French GP Fastest laps of the French GPMichael Schumacher pulled off his record twenty something hat trick at Magny Cours this weekend - pole, fastest race lap and the win. To underscore Schumacher's greatness one has to look at Jimmy Clark who is in 2nd with just twelve. Ayrton Senna is even less than that. And today's hotshoe, Fernando Alonso, has only done it once in his F1 career.

Rank Name Car Time Fast Lap
1. M. Schumacher - Ferrari - 1:17.111 - lap 46
2. F. Massa - Ferrari - 1:17.141 - lap 18
3. P. de la Rosa – McLaren - 1:17.625 - lap 34
4. K. Raikkonen - McLaren - 1:17.717 - lap 30
5. F. Alonso - Renault - 1:17.770 - lap 23
6. R. Schumacher – Toyota - 1:17.809 - lap 19
7. J. Villeneuve - BMW Sauber - 1:17.906 - lap 56
8. J. Trulli - Toyota - 1:18.036 - lap 16
9. G. Fisichella - Renault - 1:18.057 - lap 20
10. V. Liuzzi - STR - 1:18.241 - lap 54
11. J. Button - Honda - 1:18.510 - lap 47
12. S. Speed - STR - 1:18.674 - lap 66
13. N. Rosberg - Williams - 1:18.796 - lap 62
14. N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber - 1:18.809 - lap 48
15. M. Webber - Williams - 1:18.859 - lap 34
16. C. Klien - Red Bull - 1:18.968 - lap 56
17. D. Coulthard - Red Bull - 1:18.978 - lap 56
18. C. Albers - MF1 - 1:19.356 - lap 67
19. R. Barrichello – Honda - 1:20.094 - lap 16
20. F. Montagny - Super Aguri - 1:20.113 - lap 53
21. T. Monteiro - MF1 - 1:21.663 - lap 8
22. T. Sato - Super Aguri - No time

TV News
Driving Force Driving ForceUPDATE Reminder: This show premieres Monday night, July 17 at 9:00 pm EST/PST and 8:00 pm CST on the A&E Network.  Check your local listings.

07/06/06 Start your engines! Driving Force, the new high-speed real-life series from A&E Network®, starring racing legend John Force and his three drag racing daughters, premieres on Monday, July 17, 2006 at 9PM EST and PST / 8PM CST. More....
Racing News
Toyota bringing F1 car to Monterey Historics Toyota bringing F1 car to Monterey HistoricsToyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and Panasonic Toyota Racing are bringing the TF106 Panasonic Toyota Formula 1 (F1) car from its headquarters in Cologne, Germany to participate in the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races Presented by Toyota on August 18 - 20, 2006. The F1 car, piloted by Panasonic Toyota Racing Team driver, Brazilian Ricardo Zonta, will hit the track on Friday to make final set-up adjustments and then demonstration runs will take place on Saturday and Sunday as part of an F1 car showcase that displays the evolution of early F1 cars to present. Between demonstration laps, the car will be available for spectator viewing in the garage area.

"In bringing the F1 car to Monterey, Toyota wants to provide an unusual and exciting opportunity for race participants and spectators to view an F1 car up close on the track and in the garage," said Jim Farley, Toyota vice president of marketing. "Other than the recent United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis, this is the only appearance the F1 car will make in the U.S. and the only time it will be easily accessible for viewing by spectators." zzzz

The term "F1" refers to the Formula One World Championship, the pinnacle of formula series racing governed by the International Automobile Federation. The F1 World Championship is a major world sporting event that travels to 16 countries, running a total of 18 grand prix races, is televised in 200 countries, and viewed by a cumulative 2 billion viewers over the course of the year.

"The Panasonic Toyota Racing Team is excited and honored to share our F1 car with everyone at the Monterey Historic event," said Team President John Howett. "With only one race in the U.S. it is difficult for fans to experience F1 and to get an idea of the technology behind it. Ricardo and the crew are looking forward to being part of the demonstration runs, showcasing the evolution of Formula 1 car construction, and giving fans the opportunity to encounter F1 live and up-close in the garage."

The Panasonic Toyota TF106 car and crew will be at Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas, Calif., Friday through Sunday. During the weekend, in addition to demonstration runs on the track and public viewing of the car in the garage area, Zonta will sign autographs for event attendees on Saturday.

Toyota's United States motorsports history spans nearly 40 years starting in 1967 when Toyota joined forces with Carroll Shelby to develop a race-modified Toyota 2000 GT for campaigning in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) C-Production class. Toyota made its Formula 1 debut in 2002 and enjoyed its best season ever in 2005 with five front row starts - including pole at the U.S. Grand Prix - and five podium finishes. The Panasonic Toyota Racing Web site is www.toyota-f1.com.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion in the United States, marketing products and services through a network of more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers in 49 states. Established in 1957, TMS and its subsidiaries also are involved in distribution logistics, motorsports, and research and development. The company's main Web site is www.toyota.com.

Racing News
Quotes of the week Quotes of the week

“Personally I wouldn’t do it.  What do you do in NASCAR? What is exciting there?  I can’t see that, running around on ovals.  I don’t know how heavy the cars are, but they are heavy, very low developed cars compared to Formula 1.  I don’t see the challenge.” 

And when asked whether F1 would be the poorer without a “character” like Montoya, Schumacher said, “I don’t want to really get into it too much.  I mean you don’t need to be friends with everybody and I can’t really say I have been friends with him.  I don’t really know him enough and I don’t really care what comments other people make about him.  I have no opinion on him.”  (Referring to Juan Montoya leaving Formula 1 to race in NASCAR)


"NASCAR has always looked very exciting, racing-wise," whose contract expires at the end of the season.  "It's something definitely to look at if there's no Formula One."

RON DENNIS, F1 McLaren team principal

"I'm not going to give you phenomenal detail but the first thing I should correct is that Juan Pablo is fully contracted through to the end of the year, and if we so choose, he will test and race again, so that is at our option, nobody else's."  (Referring to Montoya's immediate departure from F1's McLaren team and the talk that he will drive in NASCAR during the remainder of the 2006 season)

JEAN TODT, F1 Ferrari team principal

"It's bullshit.  Don't make me answer to third-rate speculations. It is absolutely not true."  (Answering the question, "How accurate is a newspaper report that says Ferrari have put an extra 20 million into development for this year?")

FLAVIO BRIATORE,  F1 Renault team managing director

"It's too low!" (Commenting on the same question answered by Jean Todt above, i.e. "How accurate is a newspaper report that says Ferrari have put an extra 20 million into development this year?")

FRANCK MONTAGNY, F1 Super Aguri driver

''We are sorry for the fact you only have one F1 driver, that he's at the back of the grid and for the fact that your Renault world championship team is run by an Italian whom you find very irritating.''  (Comments made regarding France prior to the Magny-Cours race)

Last year, the Red Bull team described Magny-Cours as a 'great place if you like to look at cows.' 

ED CARPENTER, IRL Vision Racing driver

"I think Danica's pretty aggressive in our cars.  I mean, you know especially if you catch her at the right time of the month, she might be trading plenty of paint out there.  But I think she'll hold her own. Who she's going to drive for is hard to say. I don't think she's leaving, so we'll see."  (Referring to the rumors that Danica Patrick may leave the IRL for NASCAR)

Cool Pescarolo wins hot Eifel race Cool Pescarolo wins hot Eifel racePescarolo Sport maintained their perfect record in the 2006 Le Mans Series, winning the third round at the Nurburgring with three laps to spare over their warring challengers. Emmanuel Collard seized the lead after four laps of the 1,000 kilometer race and steadily increased his advantage, which was extended by Jean-Christophe Boullion and then by Eric Helary, who took the checkered flag with three laps in hand after six hours of racing.

Perfect weather conditions, with no clouds in the sky throughout the weekend, showed the Eifel circuit at its best.

Shinji Nakano rocketed his Courage Mugen from the second row into the lead at the rolling start, taking pole-sitter Nicolas Minassian (Creation) and Collard by surprise, but after shadowing the Japanese driver in the opening laps Collard powered past, and soon afterwards Nakano headed for the Courage pit with a clutch failure, the replacement delaying the car by more than three hours. It was not classified. zzzz

Who would be second? Eight different teams raced in second position during the Nurburgring 1,000 Kms, the event which reached its six-hour limit six laps before the full distance was covered. Collard was the first, shadowing Nakano in the opening laps, then Nakano, and in succession Jean-Marc Gounon (Courage Mugen), Minassian, Marcel Fassler in the Swiss Spirit Courage Judd, Jan Lammers in the Racing for Holland Dome, Tommy Erdos in the RML MG Lola and briefly, Joao Barbosa who drove a storming race in the Rollcentre Racing Radical SR9 Judd.

In the end, though, it was the second fastest car on the track, the Creation Judd of Minassian, Beppe Gabbiani and Felipe Ortiz that claimed second place, the Frenchman hustling Alex Yoong into a mistake five minutes from the flag and overtaking the Dome while the Malaysian took a trip through the gravel. Gabbiani had been badly delayed by a deflated rear tire during his middle stint, dropping from third place to sixth on his ‘in’ lap and losing two laps altogether.

In finishing third, Lammers and Yoong completed a clean sweep of the podium for John Judd’s V10 engine. Fourth place went to the Chamberlain Synergy Lola B06/10 of Bob Berridge, Gareth Evans and Peter Owen. The yellow car started from the back of the grid when Berridge was unable to select any gears, a switch had been knocked into the off position, but then had a typically trouble-free afternoon.

The Zytek, a development of the car that won the event in 2005, needed new starter motors at almost every pit stop but still took Stefan Johansson and Hideki Nodo to seventh place overall, and fifth in LMP1.The Swiss Spirit Courage LC70 Judd raced very strongly in the opening stages in the hands of Marcel Fassler and Harold Primat, but a broken front left stub axle dropped the car to 12th position at the end.

Warriors duel in LMP2 A clash between Angel Burgueno and Joao Barbosa settled the contest for victory in LMP2 shortly before the finish, the Spaniard closing on the Portuguese and hitting the Radical into a spin that finished in the gravel. “When you are second you push harder, you take more risk” said ASM Lola team owner Miguel Amaral, and Barbosa accepted this knock with good grace. He and Martin Short had been changing gear manually since the mid-point of the race, the paddle shift mechanism failing, and the ASM Team Portugal Lola looked stronger as the race progressed. Burgueno was able to take a one-minute penalty in the pit-lane while Barbosa’s car was patched up with tape, and still finished a lap ahead of Bill Binnie’s Lola B05/40 Zytek.

Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton looked possible winners of the LMP2 class in the RML MG Lola AER until the brakes failed at the five-hour mark and pitched Erdos off the track. Ray Mallock’s team found that a pad had disintegrated on the front left, and changed the caliper and both front discs in the space of 10 minutes, falling to fourth place in LMP2.

Pos Drivers Make Laps
 1. Collard/Boullion/Helary Pescarolo C60 Judd 189
 2. Minassian/Ortiz/Gabbiani Creation Judd 186
 3. Lammers/Yoong Dome Judd 186
 4. Berridge/Evans/Owen Lola B06/10 AER 184
 5. Amaral/Angel/Burgueno Lola B05/40 AER 183
 6. Binnie/Timpany/Hancock Lola 05/42 Zytek 182
 7. Johansson/Noda Zytek 06S 181
 8. Short/Barbosa Radical SR9 Judd 181
 9. Newton/Erdos MG Lola EX 264 180
10. Lamy/Gardel/Vosse Aston Martin DBR9 177
11. Policand/Goueslard/Alphand Corvette C5-R 177
12. Primat/Fassler Courage LC 70 Judd 176
13. Kox/Pergl/Vasiliev Ferrari 550 Maranello 176
14. Gounon/Frei/Fisken Courage LC70 Mugen 172
15. Greaves/Moseley Radical SR9 06-T AER 171
16. Zonca/Bellicchi/Cioci Ferrari 430 GT 171
17. Ortelli/Ayari Saleen S7R 171
18. Lieb/Camathias Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 170
19. Bleekemolen/Hezemans Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 170
20. Eagling/Sugden Ferrari 430 GT 170
21. Kane/Crevels Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 170
22. Bouchut/Narac Porsche 996 RSR 169
23. Tomlinson/Dean/Hynes Panoz Esperante GTLN 169
24. Drudi/Rosa/De Ferrari 430 GT 168
25. Ehret/Farnbacher Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 167
26. Vergers/Barazi/Belloc Courage C65 AER 167
27. Hughes/Bell Panoz Esperante GTLM 165
28. Yamagishi/Liddell/Basseng Porsche 996 GT3 RS 165
29. Burgess/Collin/Bergmeister Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 163
30. Lambert/Lefort/Duez Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 163
31. Rostan/Bruneau Pilbeam Judd 160
32. Daniels/Washington Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 158
33. Lueders/Petersen/Brueck Courage C65 Judd 155
34. Hartshorne/Dockerill/Greensall TVR Tuscan T400R 154
35. Kristensen/Simonsen Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 152
36. Mcgarrity/Cope/Collins Protran RS06/H 149
37. Nakano/Kurosawa Courage LC70 Mugen 73
38. Andre/Bouvet Courage C65 Ford 55
39. Nielsen/Seefried/Baas Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 34
40. Randaccio/Mancini/Collini/ Lucchini LMP2 19

Wins for Plato, Neal and Thompson Wins for Plato, Neal and ThompsonJason Plato, Matt Neal and James Thompson were the winners of today’s (Sunday) three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire. Neal, whose win came in his 300th BTCC race, leaves having extended his championship lead to 39 points over young Northern Irish star Colin Turkington, but the day has ended in some controversy.

Reigning champion Neal has lost the third place result he achieved in race three. The BTCC’s Clerk of the Course initially reprimanded Neal for overtaking Plato at the final corner by placing all four wheels off the circuit. A subsequent appeal by Plato’s SEAT team was then upheld by the BTCC Stewards who judged Neal’s actions had gained him an unfair advantage. He was thus demoted a place to fourth while Plato was elevated to third. That means Plato, third in the championship, has today gained five points on Neal in the title race which now heads to Donington Park, Leicestershire on 30 July. zzzz

Team Halfords driver Neal said: “It was just one of those things – there was certainly no malice in it. I’m just sorry Jason took it so badly, but I’m not going to get upset about it. I tried but it wasn’t to be. Overall, I’m really pleased with the way my day has gone. I’ve still pulled four points on Colin and Jason’s only made up five on me. To win in my 300th race was also bit special but above all we’re still well clear at the top of the table. Again, my car will go into the next meeting with maximum success ballast and at a place like Donington that could hurt us quite a bit. We won there last year but it was the first round and I think we simply caught the others on the hop. This time I think it’ll be a lot harder, although on saying that I thought Croft today might cause us a few problems…”

Team RAC driver Turkington said he was disappointed not to have trimmed the gap to Neal. Turkington added: “It’s been a bit of an odd weekend for me – my car’s been fast but not quite fast enough to do anything startling. Losing points is not what I wanted this weekend, but our car’s got great consistency and that can still count for a lot. We’re only now half way through the season and it’s usually in the second half that the racing starts to get a bit frantic so I need to make sure I’m in a position to capitalize when that does happen.”

SEAT star Plato, now just five points behind Turkington, said: “We need to be gaining more than that on Matt at each circuit if we’re to nick the title off him. Our car is phenomenal around the corners but as everyone’s seen today as the races wear on and the tires start to lose their grip it turns into a horsepower game and the Hondas have got us licked down the straights. On saying that, I think Donington should suit our car – it’s got lots of medium to fast turns and that’s where we can give the others a proper race. There’s still a long way to go.”

Meanwhile, Thompson, contesting only six of the BTCC’s ten meetings due to clashing World Touring Car Championship commitments with SEAT, is now a clear fourth in the championship, still followed by Neal’s Team Halfords team-mate Gordon Shedden who displayed great pace at Croft but was out of luck.

As a result of his race three demotion, Neal’s Team Halfords squad has dropped to second in the Teams’ championship, two points behind SEAT Sport UK – Team Halfords had been in front by 27 points arriving at Croft. SEAT has also increased its lead in the Manufacturers’ table over Vauxhall from 34 to 77 points. But Neal and Team Halfords have consolidated their respective leads in the Independents Trophy’s Drivers’ and Teams’ standings.

It's a street fight It's a street fightPHOENIX — Dale Jensen and Brad Yonover knew they would be fighting history when they proposed staging a street race through downtown.

After all, a Formula One street race here was such an epic flop that it still makes old-timers shudder with the 15-year-old memory. But the two local real estate and entertainment entrepreneurs thought they could correct the mistakes made on that earlier occasion.

What surprised them, they say, was the vehement opposition of perhaps the most powerful force in auto racing: NASCAR.

Never mind the high-speed bumping and nudging that takes place on the asphalt of a racing oval or road course; the Phoenix battle, waged with lobbyists, surreptitious legislative maneuvers and legal threats, is much nastier. The state Legislature and city council have become interested in the matter, but with the former on vacation and the latter awaiting a feasibility study this summer, the outcome is still uncertain.

What is clear is that the proposal exposes a seething rivalry between NASCAR and the proposed race's sanctioning sponsor, Champ Car World Series, which runs an international schedule of the open-wheel, open-cockpit races of the kind that were once emblematic of motor sports in the United States but have sunk in popularity over the last decade. Champ Car's signature event is the Long Beach Grand Prix.

For the moment, both sides are promising to compromise. But both say their league schedules, among other things, limit them to holding their races within a tight window between Nov. 1 and Thanksgiving. That leaves precious little room for a friendly accord.

"If this is something the city wants to do, we're not going to stand in their way," Sperber says. "But as a citizen of Arizona, I would hope the city would approach this opportunity with its eyes open."

Yonover says he has been steeled by months of lobbying and rhetoric by the racetrack to expect more roadblocks. "Until the day after our race," he says, "I'll be on my guard."   More at LA Times

Ferrari vow to push car development Ferrari vow to push car development(GMM)  The 2006 championship battle looks set to become a race of development, with Renault preparing to unveil car and engine modifications at Hockenheim and Ferrari vowing to improve right up until the last grand prix.

Ferrari's chief designer, Aldo Costa, said at Magny Cours that 'a lot of development' is yet to come for the French GP-winning '248' single seater.

''We will continue with our aero development and engine development up until the last race,'' he told Setanta, as Michael Schumacher reduced Fernando Alonso's title gap to seventeen points on Sunday.

''We'll never give up.''

Renault's Pat Symonds, meanwhile, insisted that two straight losses to the red squad does not mean that updates at Hockenheim will turn out to be futile.

The team's engineering chief said on Sunday: ''We lost two races to Ferrari earlier in the season and bounced back strongly.  That's what we intend to do again.''

Corvette team feels shafted by ALMS rules Corvette team feels shafted by ALMS rulesFor the first time since October 2003, Corvette Racing didn't finish first or second in the GT1 class in American Le Mans Series competition. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell had to settle for third place in today's inaugural Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park as the effects of series-mandated handicaps throttled the Corvettes' performance at this high-altitude track. The win went to Aston Martin for the second consecutive race as Tomas Enge and Darren Turner claimed victory over Stephane Sarrazin and Andrea Piccini. Corvette drivers Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta were fourth.

"Racing the Aston Martins under these rules is like playing five-on-four hockey for an entire game," commented Fellows after the two-hour, 46-minute race.

As a result of performance adjustments imposed by the sanctioning body, the Corvettes went into battle with 1-mm smaller intake air restrictors, 10-liter smaller fuel tanks, and 199 more pounds than their British rivals.

"It was a long, hot day, and despite our hard work it was disappointing to finish third," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "With the way the rules are now, we never really had a chance.

"I'm proud of the team for coming out here, going full throttle all afternoon, and representing Corvette to the best of our ability in this situation," Fehan continued. "They did a great job, and they never gave up." zzzz

The performance imbalance became apparent shortly after the race began at 6:05 p.m. as the Aston Martins opened a gap and then led every lap. Fellows and Gavin started in the No. 3 and No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.Rs respectively, but the front-running Aston enjoyed a 15-second lead after four laps around the 4.5-mile road course. The Corvettes moved to second and third at the one-hour mark when an Aston made an early pit stop for tires. Beretta took over from Gavin and O'Connell replaced Fellows on the first round of pit stops after completing 26 laps, but 10 minutes later, the Astons were running first and second on fresh rubber.

The race's only full-course caution period with 25 minutes remaining sealed the Corvettes' fate as the yellow cars were caught behind the safety car and Enge gained nearly a lap. When the pits reopened, the Corvettes made their final pit stops for fuel only, but couldn't make up the deficit to the Aston Martins in the closing laps. O'Connell passed Beretta with nine minutes remaining to take the final place on the podium.

"That was hard work today," O'Connell declared. "It's an amazing track and we gave it everything we could, but with these rules it's not a fair fight. That was as hard as we could race. We hoped their times would fall off with worn tires, but they didn't, so congratulations to Aston Martin Racing. Maybe today's race will show the powers that be that they have gone too far."

Gavin agreed: "It was a hard and hot race today," he said. "Early on we had a lot of trouble passing the LMP2 cars, and if we hadn't had that problem we might have been closer. This equalization rule is crazy; to pass the Astons would have been extremely difficult because they're just so fast on the straights. You have to wait for them to make a mistake, and that's how I got around Sarrazin when he made a mistake in Turn 3." ALMS

Rossi takes German thriller Rossi takes German thrillerDefending world champion Valentino Rossi held off Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden to win Sunday's German MotoGP.  Rossi battled from 11th on the grid to claim his fourth MotoGP win of the season in 41 minutes 59.248 seconds.

The Italian took the lead on lap 13 but then had an intense duel with Melandri and championship leader Hayden, who were second and third respectively.

Pole-sitter Dani Pedrosa was fourth and Loris Capirossi was fifth, with Britain's James Ellison in 13th place.


1. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 41min 59.248 secs
2. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 41min 59.393 secs
3. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 41min 59.514 secs
4. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 41min 59.555 secs
5. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 42min 8.012 secs
6. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 42min 8.395 secs
7. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 42min 15.856 secs
8. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 42min 15.896 secs
9. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 42min 16.345 secs
10. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 42min 17.034 secs
11. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 42min 26.673 secs
12. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 42min 28.556 secs
13. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 43min 1.277 secs
14. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 43min 19.245 secs

Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 16min 56.506 secs
Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 14min 1.468 secs
Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 14min 1.753 secs
Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 3min 4.603 secs

Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR

BFGoodrich will stay in World Rally BFGoodrich will stay in World RallyBFGoodrich, a tire brand of the Michelin Group, chose to partner certain teams competing in the 2006 World Rally Championship. This decision represented a long term commitment aimed at reinforcing its brand awareness, notably in Europe.

The announcement of the withdrawal from the World Rally Championship of its rival Pirelli at the end of 2006 does not affect this commitment and the BFGoodrich brand will be present in the WRC in 2007. BFGoodrich is sorry to learn of the withdrawal of its prestigious rival from the championship. zzzz

BFGoodrich's history, which dates back more than 100 years, marked the early days of the automobile in the United States and has gone on to obtain a long list of successes in motor sport, in all disciplines.

Today, BFGoodrich enjoys a worldwide reputation with an annual production of 23 million tires.

Aime Chatard, Rallies Programme Manager, BFGoodrich:
"I am sorry to see Pirelli withdraw from the WRC after such a long presence in rallying. BFGoodrich will nonetheless do everything in its power to produce tires of equal quality and performance potential for all the manufacturers that compete in the 2007 World Rally Championship. At the same time, BFGoodrich will make its technical expertise available to the tire working group set up by the FIA with a view to determining tire regulations adapted to the demands of rallying in the future." BFGoodrich

Liuzzi to back of grid Liuzzi to back of gridTonio Liuzzi has been sent to the back of the grid of the French Grand Prix because the team needed to change an engine for the second consecutive race.  A washer was found in one of the cylinders of Liuzzi's car on Saturday necessitating the change.  Liuzzi goes to the back of the grid again.
New Honda ’not quick enough’ - Button New Honda ’not quick enough’ - Button(GMM)  Jenson Button refused to blame traffic after beating only a couple of Super Aguris and an MF1 in qualifying for the French grand prix on Saturday.

The Briton got held up in traffic, and was notably baulked by Michael Schumacher, but 26-year-old Button had to admit that the 'basic problem' is Honda's revised F1 racer.

''The car isn't quick enough,'' he said.  ''You are pushing your hardest but you just can't get the lap time.''

Even without traffic, Button said the maximum he could have expected from qualifying was sixteenth.  Teammate Rubens Barrichello qualified fourteenth and moves up a spot through Nico Rosberg's engine penalty.

JB continued: ''I don't want to finish out of the points but that is what it is.

''It's going to be like a practice session for me.''

Engine row hits Magny melting point Engine row hits Magny melting point
Pantano takes thrilling first GP2 win Pantano takes thrilling first GP2 winGiorgio Pantano (right) held his line and his nerve, absorbing almost race long pressure, to claim his first ever GP2 win in race two at Magny Cours, crossing the line just half a second ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr.

The Italian was elated with the win, running straight over to hug team owners Paolo Coloni and Giancarlo Fisichella on his return as they celebrated the team's first win in the category, before being drenched in champagne by Piquet and Alex Premat on the podium to the delight of everyone in the pitlane.

Pantano (pictured left) made a strong start when the lights went out from third on the grid, but so did the front row men Ferdinando Monfardini and Lucas di Grassi, with all three holding position through turn one.

Behind them Premat had a flying start, but when he tried to squeeze through Xandi Negrao into the first corner he was tapped off track, with the Brazilian damaging his car as Piquet rushed past them both. zzzz

One turn later and di Grassi was through Monfardini, who was seemingly unsettled by the move, losing grip and throwing his car off track and into the wall at the next bend, as Ernesto Viso and Hiroki Yoshimoto came together and were out of the race just behind the Italian.

At the end of the first lap the order was di Grassi, Pantano, Piquet, Jose Maria Lopez, Negrao and Timo Glock, while series leader Lewis Hamilton had made a scorching start to push up from 19th to 12th, with his teammate now two spots behind.

But Pantano was on a mission, and he wasted no time taking the lead from di Grassi, forcing his way through at the hairpin to give himself a clear track ahead. And he wasn't the only one - Premat was also on fire, overtaking three cars, including his famous teammate, to be tenth at the end of the second lap.

Ahead of him other drivers were making his life a lot easier - Negrao was back in the pits with a broken car, while Lopez, who had set the fastest lap, was pushing too hard and threw his car off at the 180 curve.

But Premat didn't need the help - he tapped his way past Olivier Pla at the Adelaide hairpin, taking Hamilton with him, and the ART drivers were clearly on a roll to get something more from the weekend.

Piquet wasn't standing around either - he forced his way past di Grassi at Elysee for second and was off down the road after Pantano.

The Arden pairing of Neel Jani and Michael Ammermüller were all that stood between ART and the points, and the red and white cars ran through them like a hot knife through butter - the Adelaide hairpin was a happy hunting ground for the pair, with Premat eased his way by Ammermüller on lap seven, Jani a lap later, and then Clivio Piccione for fifth the next time around, while Hamilton repeated the process a lap after his teammate.

While ART were going forward, di Grassi was falling back. The pace on track was frenetic, and the young Brazilian didn't have a car to run with it. On lap 12 Glock was on his tail, just edging ahead at Adelaide and then running side by side to the Nurburgring corner, but the German had just enough to make it stick as Premat loomed behind them ominously.

Up at the front Pantano was doing everything he could to hold off Piquet, with the pair running nose to tail for lap after lap, the Italian just wide enough to hold his position. Glock was more than eight seconds down the road in third, but it looked like his time there was running out.

And so it proved - with Hamilton easing by di Grassi at Adelaide for fifth, his teammate locked up heavily but forced his way inside Glock, who threw everything back at the Frenchman as they ran through the back section of the track. The pair were locking wheels everywhere, but Premat inevitably edged ahead to take his podium position.

With Premat, Glock and Hamilton running together on track the battle at the front had reached fever pitch - Pantano was clinging onto the lead with his fingernails as Piquet threw everything he had at the Italian, trying as he was to pick up the extra point to eat into Hamilton's championship lead.

The final laps were nail biting for the FMS crew, who sat on the pitwall not daring to look at the screens, but when the checkered flag fell Pantano was 0.5 seconds to the good ahead of Piquet, with a nine second gap back to the Premat/Glock/Hamilton train. Di Grassi held on for a well deserved point in sixth place, four tenths ahead of Jani, while Glock got the extra point for fastest lap.

Piquet had done what he came here to do, cutting Hamilton's lead by seven points, with the Briton on 70 and the Brazilian on 56. But all eyes were on Pantano as he bathed in the glory of his first win in the series in a race that was yet another embarrassment of riches.


Pos Driver Team Time
 1. Pantano FMS International 40:55.810
 2. Piquet Jr. Piquet Sports + 0.500
 3. Premat ART Grand Prix + 9.667
 4. Glock iSport International + 10.900
 5. Hamilton ART Grand Prix + 12.199
 6. Di Grassi Durango + 17.415
 7. Jani Arden International + 17.884
 8. Ammermuller Arden International + 29.154
 9. Pla DPR Direxiv + 40.728
10. Porteiro Campos Racing + 42.514
11. Hernandez Durango + 43.968
12. Perera DAMS + 44.900
13. Valles Campos Racing + 45.341
14. Carroll Racing Engineering + 45.855
15. Fauzy Super Nova + 46.555
16. Villa Racing Engineering + 48.782
17. Tahinci FMS International + 1:10.938
18. Zuber Trident Racing + 1 lap

Did not finish:

 Driver Team Laps
 Bruni Trident Racing 23
 Filippi BCN Competicion 18
 Piccione DPR Direxiv 16
 Lopez Super Nova 3
 Negrao Piquet Sports 2
 Monfardini DAMS 0
 Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 0
 Viso iSport International 0

Fastest lap: Lopez 1:26.513 on lap 3

Michelin holds key to French GP Michelin holds key to French GP(GMM) Ferrari and Bridgestone may have locked out the front row, but Michelin holds the key to the French grand prix, according to one engineer.

''They have gambled too much,'' the Michelin team member said in Magny Cours, amid speculation that - to get through the 70-laps - Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa will have to stop three times.

Happier with Michelin's consistency, however - rather than one-lap speed - it is understood that Fernando Alonso is planning to visit the pits just twice.

Indeed, the Renault-driving Spaniard is on a harder compound tire, while Schumacher and Massa plumped for the softest Bridgestone on offer.

One thing, at the very least, is fairy certain -- Massa, splitting Schumacher and his title rival Alonso, is resigned to playing rear gunner.

The Brazilian said: ''For sure I am not in the fight for first place and for sure I will help Michael if I can.''

Politics to dominate race-day morning Politics to dominate race-day morning(GMM)  The French grand prix looms, but much attention at Magny Cours will be focused on a political battle as the hours tick down to 2pm.

A teams' meeting with FIA president Max Mosley broke unsatisfactorily on Saturday - MF1's Colin Kolles even walked out - with agreement still lacking over the blazing engine 'freeze' issue.

Mosley's final and immovable 'deadline' for an agreement is the start of Sunday's grand prix, meaning that it is now more likely than ever that a carmakers' compromise will not be reached.

At the meeting in the Honda motor home, the FIA boss rejected the manufacturers' lower offer for an engine 'fighting fund', but it is expected that they might have a change of heart come Sunday morning.

Kimi still undecided - Haug Kimi still undecided - Haug(GMM)  McLaren will confirm the identity of Fernando Alonso's 2007 teammate in the next couple of months.

That is the revelation of Mercedes' competition director Norbert Haug, who insists that Kimi Raikkonen is still a contender.

''Some people say that he goes to Ferrari, others say he's going to Renault, but he tells me that he doesn't know what he is going to do,'' he was quoted as saying by 'AS'.

''I don't think he lies to me.  He is studying his options before making what he believes is the best decision.

''The one certain thing is that we already have a great driver for 2007 (Alonso) and not everyone can say that.''

Edwards Takes Advantage of Bowyer’s Bad Luck Edwards Takes Advantage of Bowyer’s Bad LuckCarl Edwards was the real “lucky dog” on Saturday at New Hampshire International Speedway. After Clint Bowyer had led for 127 laps in the race’s dominant car, he pitted under green with just over 50 laps to go only to see the caution flag fly as he was leaving pit road. The yellow enabled Edwards to escape with his third win of the season at the NASCAR Busch Series New England 200.

Although Bowyer was the beneficiary due to the caution caused due to a spin by Aaron Fike on Lap 143, by rule he was forced to restart at the tail end of the longest line, which meant in 16th position. Edwards was running second prior to Bowyer’s decision to pit just before the caution and after taking on four fresh tires and fuel, came off pit road in first place and did not relinquish his lead. zzzz

Edwards was challenged by series points leader Kevin Harvick over the final laps of the event, but managed to pull away from the 2001 series champion after a classy move by Dave Blaney, who had fought hard to stay on the lead lap. Blaney pulled over in the waning laps allowing Edwards and Harvick through to battle for the win. Edwards became the 20th different winner in 20 series races at New Hampshire.

Bowyer managed to charge through traffic to finish fifth, but was disheartened with what could have been. Denny Hamlin, who had spirited confrontations with Harvick throughout the race, finished third, while NASCAR Busch Series regular Paul Menard finished fourth after starting 25th. Fellow series regular Johnny Sauter was sixth, Scott Riggs was seventh, J.J. Yeley eighth, Scott Wimmer ninth and Greg Biffle 10th.

Mark McFarland was the series Raybestos Rookie of the race, with an 11th-place finish. His effort was outstanding considering he had missed the last two events due to a shoulder separation suffered in the waning laps of the race at Milwaukee.

Edwards was able to take a small slice out of Harvick’s points lead, unofficially trailing by 308. Bowyer is third in the standings, followed by Hamlin in fourth and Yeley in fifth. Biffle, Menard, Kyle Busch – who won the Busch Pole for the event – Sauter and Kenny Wallace stand in positions six through 10th respectively.

The NASCAR Busch Series returns to a former favorite venue with a visit to Martinsville Speedway next Saturday. The series last raced at the shortest track on the circuit (.526-mile) in 1994.

Veteran Sprague Edges Rookie Darnell in Memphis Veteran Sprague Edges Rookie Darnell in MemphisThree-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Jack Sprague outlasted Erik Darnell in a classic battle pitting veteran against rookie and won Saturday night’s O’Reilly 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park to break a winless streak of more than a year.

Sprague, who started from the Budweiser Pole, was well behind race leader Dennis Setzer when the night’s fifth caution closed the field with less than 25 laps remaining.

After a bizarre incident on pit road dropped Setzer to 14th on the restart – and Darnell’s Roush Racing Ford beat Sprague’s Con-way Freight Toyota onto the track – the pair set off in pursuit of Terry Cook. zzzz

Cook, making a record-breaking 211th consecutive series start, had pitted off-sequence and took the lead when the remainder of the field stopped for service. Cook, on well-worn tires, lasted just one lap at the helm when the green flag flew.

Both Darnell and Sprague shot past as the yellow waved again for Chad Chaffin’s spin in Turn 3.

Darnell held off Sprague until the 193rd lap and was maneuvering for a final challenge when Aric Almirola’s accident in Turn 1 added two laps to the 200-lap scheduled distance.

Sprague neatly won the restart battle and carried a two-truck lead into the first turn. Darnell settled for the runner-up spot – his best and tops by a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate in 2006 – just .251 second behind.

The victory, worth $59,175, was Sprague’s 26th in series competition. The 41-year-old Michigan native, who snapped a 29-race winless streak, last went to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway in June 2005.

He averaged 88.367 mph as seven cautions consumed 30 laps.

“The older you get, you wonder if you’re ever going to win again,” said Sprague. “It’s sweet.”

The victory was the first for the Jeff Wyler-owned Toyota team and for veteran crew chief Tony Furr.

Said Darnell, “I think we were about the best on the long runs. It just bit us there at the end. We needed to go after that second-to-last restart and we didn’t get it.”

Matt Crafton, who started third in the Menards/Energizer Chevrolet, raced at the front of the field throughout the race and came home third to match his season’s best. Kentucky Speedway winner Ron Hornaday Jr. brought the Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevy from 20th at the start to grab fourth ahead of fellow NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Bliss.

David Ragan, David Reutimann, Cook, Mike Skinner and Setzer completed the top 10 as 18 of 35 finishers went the distance. Robert Richardson’s Chevrolet was the night’s only DNF with engine failure after 83 laps.

Setzer, who led twice for 51 laps, was denied what appeared to be a second Memphis victory when he ran over a pit sign in an adjacent pit stall. The sign became wedged under the FlexFuel 85 Chevy and led to the truck being dropped off the jack before the left rear tire could be attached completely.

Six drivers – Sprague, Darnell, Crafton, Cook, Setzer and Chad McCumbee traded the lead nine times.

Series point leader Todd Bodine had an “off night” finishing 15th but still added five points to his advantage over Reutimann, who trails by 117 heading to the Aug. 4 Power Stroke Diesel 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Reutimann bypassed previous standings runner-up Johnny Benson, who finished 32nd after being involved in a Turn 2 accident on the 83rd lap.

Hornish, Wheldon nominated for ESPY Awards Hornish, Wheldon nominated for ESPY AwardsUPDATE #2 Reminder: The ESPY Awards will be shown Sunday night, July 16, 9:00 pm-11:00 pm ET on ESPN.  The show was taped at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on July 12.  Check your local listings for the time in your area.

06/27/06 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I guess your series has to race on their network before you will get recognized. Katy Bach, Indianapolis

Dear Katy, Seems a bit self-serving doesn't it?  We guess one hand washes the other. Mark C.

06/26/06 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. and defending IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon were nominated for ESPY Awards by ESPN.

Hornish is up for the "Best Championship Performance" for his scintillating Indianapolis 500 victory. He is joined by Wheldon as a nominee in the "Best Driver" category. It was the second consecutive nomination for Wheldon, who was nominated in the same category a year ago.

"I am excited to be nominated again for the Best Driver category at this year's ESPY Awards," Wheldon said. "Even though I didn't manage to pick up the award last year, it was a great experience to be among so many talented athletes. The drivers nominated in my category are all exceptional competitors, and it is an honor to be recognized with them."

IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick is scheduled to present an award, while Marco Andretti is among the athletes invited to the ceremony.
Allmendinger on Wind Tunnel Allmendinger on Wind TunnelUPDATE Reminder: AJ Allmendinger will be one of the featured interviews on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain Sunday night.  The show airs at 9:00 pm-10:00 pm ET on SPEED.

07/13/06 Champ Car World Series star A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has been the hottest American race-car driver on the planet through the last four weeks, winning three consecutive Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford events, and climbing to within 23 points of the series lead after seven races.

Fans from around the country will have a chance to hear from the Californian this weekend as he appears on the popular Wind Tunnel program on SPEED. Hosted by Dave Despain, Wind Tunnel brings the stars of motorsport to the fans each weekend, and Sunday’s show will feature 24-year-old Forsythe Championship Racing driver along with AMA Superbike points leader Ben Spies.

The show airs from 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday night. After a week off, Allmendinger and the rest of his Champ Car brethren will get back to work next weekend, heading north of the border for the July 23 West Edmonton Mall Champ Car Grand Prix Presented by the Brick.

SPEED World Challenge
Lou Gigliotti wins in Utah Lou Gigliotti wins in UtahTOOELE, Utah – Following a review of Saturday’s race, SCCA Pro Racing has issued two 15-second penalties for infractions during the SPEED GT Championship race.

James Sofronas, who had initially finished seventh, was penalized 15 seconds for failing to acknowledge a mechanical black flag that was displayed with two laps remaining in the race. The penalty moves Sofronas back to 12th place.

Doug Peterson, who had initially finished 12th, was penalized 15 seconds for advancing prior to the standing start. The penalty moves Peterson back to 14th place.

TOOELE, Utah – Revised, final results from Saturday’s 14-lap, 62.804 mile SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Round Six race, part of the Larry H. Miller Dealers Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps, distance behind winner and reason out (if any).

1. (1), Lou Gigliotti, Dallas, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette C6, 14.
2. (2), Ricardo Imery(R), Caracas, Venezuela, Porsche 911 GT3, 14, -.523.
3. (5), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V, 14, -.841.
4. (6), Ron Fellows, Mississauga, Ontario, Cadillac CTS-V, 14, -10.528.
5. (11), Mike McCann, N. Canton, Ohio, Dodge Viper, 14, -14.344.
6. (8), Bob Woodhouse, Blair, Neb., Dodge Viper, 14, -15.325.
7. (15), Rob Foster(R), Phoenix, Ariz., Dodge Viper, 14, -26.075.
8. (4), Lawson Aschenbach(R), Gaithersburg, Md., Porsche 911 GT3, 14, -27.036.
9. (18), Brett Pearson(R), Orlando, Fla., Dodge Viper, 14, -29.709.
10. (17), Kyle Foster(R), Phoenix, Ariz., Dodge Viper, 14, -29.957. zzzz
11. (12), Sonny Whelen, Old Saybrook, Conn., Chevrolet Corvette C6, 14, -36.363.
12. (9), James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 14, -40.417.
13. (14), Kevin Chambers, Hollister, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette C5, 14, -49.445.
14. (10), Doug Peterson, Bonita Sprints, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette C6, 14, -50.162.
15. (19), Skip Sauls(R), Longmont, Colo., Dodge Viper, 14, -1:04.549.
16. (22), Bob Miller, Sykesville, Md., Porsche 911 Cup, 14, -1:09.128.
17. (20), Claudio Burtin, Atlanta, Ga., Chevrolet Corvette C6, 14, -1:12.115.
18. (21), Eric Olberz(R), La Canada Flintridge, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 14, -1:41.917.
19. (24), John Bourassa, Jupiter Island, Fla., Porsche 911 Turbo, 13, -1 lap.
20. (7), Tommy Archer, Duluth, Minn., Dodge SRT Viper, 12, -2 laps.
21. (13), Keith Videtto, San Ramon, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette C5, 11, -3 laps.
22. (23), Mark LoPilato, Granbury, Texas, Porsche 911 Turbo, 10, OHeat.
23. (3), Leighton Reese, Minnetonka, Minn., Chevrolet Corvette C6, 9, Mech.
24. (16), Ritch Marziale, Tempe, Ariz., Dodge Viper Comp Coupe, 8, Crash.
25. (25), Michael Galati, Olmsted, Ohio, Volvo S60R, 0, Mech.
26. (26), Andy Lally, Dacula, Ga., Porsche 911 GT3, 0, DNS.
Time of race: 42 minutes, 35.636 seconds.
Average speed: 88.469 mph
Margin of victory: 0.523-second
Lap leaders: Laps 1-14, #28 Lou Gigliotti
Fastest race lap: #28 Lou Gigliotti, 2:59.568 (89.935 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #28 Lou Gigliotti, 2:56.232 (91.638 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #77 Brett Pearson advanced eight positions in the race
B&M Oil Coolers Coolest Move of the Race: #16 Ron Fellows for pass on #82 Michael McCann
Piloti Rookie of the Race: #64 Ricardo Imery
Cautions: None
Note: #14 Sofronas penalized 15 seconds for ignoring black flag
Note: #87 Peterson penalized 15 seconds for advancing prior to start

Alonso denies pressure is on Alonso denies pressure is onFernando Alonso denied that the pressure is on him to fight back against Ferrari sooner rather than later after the Italian team carried over its US Grand Prix dominance to the Magny Cours circuit in France.

Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa locked out the front row for Sunday's race, relegating championship leader Alonso to third.

"I think I have competitive car and a very a consistent car in the long runs and I think my chance will come to me tomorrow and for one lap we were not quick enough - we knew that and it was not a big surprise - but tomorrow hopefully we have a chance and I think I have nothing to lose," Alonso said. "I have 19 points and I am leading the championship and the risk is for the others I think every race."

Jeff Gordon about to overtake Earnhardt Jeff Gordon about to overtake EarnhardtJeff Gordon will soon pass Dale Earnhardt Sr. in wins.  One more win and he will tie the Intimidator  with 76 wins, 6th on the all-time NASCAR win list.

``To me ... Dale is the best I've ever raced against. To match up to something that he's done and just to be one away from it is an honor,'' Gordon said.

``The thing that I admired so much about him is the fact that he won over so many years (with the) cars changing, the sport changing, different drivers coming in and out of the sport and yet he always continued to find a way to get to Victory Lane and battle for championships. I think, when you look at the span of time that he was able to do that, that's very impressive.''

``It's a very good accomplishment for anybody,'' Dale Junior said. ``I'd have to shake Jeff's hand because anytime you tie my daddy in anything, it's something to be proud of.''

Jay Howard strolls to IndyPro win Jay Howard strolls to IndyPro winJay Howard, driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/ Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, passed Wade Cunningham on a late-race restart and claimed his first career Indy Pro Series victory in the Sunbelt Rentals 100.

. This is Jay Howard's first Indy Pro Series victory of the season and his first career IndyPro victory. His previous-best finish was second at St. Petersburg2 and the oval Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
. This is Sam Schmidt Motorsports' 12th victory in the Indy Pro Series, increasing its record total. It previously won with Thiago Medeiros, Jaime Camara and Travis Gregg. Its last win came with Gregg at Kentucky in August 2005.
. This is Sam Schmidt Motorsports' third-consecutive win at Nashville Superspeedway. It won with Thiago Medeiros in 2004 and Jaime Camara in 2005.
. Jaime Camara finished a season-best second place. His previous best finish was third on the oval Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
. Jonathan Klein recorded his second-consecutive third-place finish in the Indy Pro Series. He has finished in the top five in the five of the last six races.

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Sunbelt Rentals 100 winner): "The car was perfect. That was a perfect car and perfect race. No matter how we get the win, we get the win. I'm glad that Wade and some of the other guys didn't do as good. Now we're in a strong position. If we get a half-decent result at Milwaukee, (Infineon) will be the decider." (About teammates' reaction): "It's amazing. I've got the best teammates I've ever wished for. You could see how happy they are." (About taking lead on restart): "(Wade) had a miss shift. He hit the limiter and had a miss-shift. I went by and moved out so Jaime could get a tow. That worked perfectly." (About winning guitar): "I'm going to give it a go. I'm sure my neighbors won't be happy, but I'll just get some music lessons."

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, finished fifth): "When I was running out front it was perfect. I definitely felt like I had the fastest car. I was comfortably the quickest on the green flag laps. I couldn't get good restarts. It was frustrating because I knew it was coming on a restart."

TOM WOOD (No 42 Kenn Hardley Racing, finished fourth) : "At the beginning of the race I didn't have a lot of car. At the end the race, I had a lot of car. I might have had something for Klein, but not enough for the leaders. (About battle with Cunningham): "I think Wade came down on me, but I think he knew that, so he gave up the position."

GEOFF DODGE (No. 33 Fast Track to Indy, finished 12th): "We were actually pretty loose, and it just kept getting looser and looser coming out of Turn 4. I thought I was going to lose it coming off of (Turn) 4 if I didn't tighten the car up. At the same time, we were getting tighter and tighter in Turn 2. I drove it in a little hot because they said you're catching up to Luyendyk, so I was trying to keep the pressure on, otherwise you're just riding around out there. I got out of the groove a little bit and got into the marbles. The first time it happened I hit the brakes and shook it loose and saved it. But the next time, not so lucky. I hurt Brian's car, and I feel bad about that. I just have to thank everybody for this opportunity. The IRL has been fabulous to let me come here. I'm grateful to Ticket Director, the World of Outlaws, Bell, Hinchman Indy, Rockstar Paint. I'm grateful to all of those people that gave me a chance."

Results Saturday of the Sunbelt Rentals 100 IRL Indy Pro Series event July 15 at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any) and money earned: 
1. (2) Jay Howard, Dallara, 77, Running $32,500
2. (3) Jaime Camara, Dallara, 77, Running $25,000
3. (6) Jonathan Klein, Dallara, 77, Running $20,000
4. (7) Tom Wood, Dallara, 77, Running $17,000
5. (1) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 77, Running $18,500
6. (5) Nick Bussell, Dallara, 77, Running $16,000
7. (9) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 77, Running $15,500
8. (12) Sean Guthrie, Dallara, 77, Running $15,000
9. (11) Chris Festa, Dallara, 77, Running $14,500
10. (4) Brett Van Blankers, Dallara, 77, Running $14,000
11. (10) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara, 74, Running $13,000
12. (13) Geoff Dodge, Dallara, 40, Accident $12,000
13. (14) Travis Gregg, Dallara, 12, Handling $11,500
14. (8) Scott Mansell, Dallara, 0, Handling $11,000
15. (15) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 0, Did not start $10,750
16. (16) James Chesson, Dallara, 0, Did not start $10,500         
Race Statistics      
Winner's average speed: 150.332 mph      
Time of race: 00:39:57.0934      
Margin of victory: 2.3705 seconds      
Cautions: 2 caution flags for 9 laps      
Lead changes: 1 among 2 drivers      
Lap leaders: Cunningham 1-48, Howard 49-77.      
Point standings: Howard 243, Wilson 207, Klein 203, Bussell 185,
Camara 176, Cunningham 162, Lloyd 156, Matos 154, Festa 151, Van Blankers 140.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
GP2 Championship Series France
6:00am-7:30am (SDD) SPEED
Formula 1 Magny-Cours, France
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
Inside Drag Racing  
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NHRA 2Day  
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay New Hampshire
11:30am-1:30pm (L) SPEED
The Fast Life -Andretti 3  
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
Formula 1 Replay France
1:30pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Loudon, NH
1:30pm-6:00pm (L) TNT
American Le Mans Series Tooele, UT
7/15/06  2:00pm-4:00pm CBS
MotoGP World Championship  Hohenstein, Germany
4:00pm-5:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Speed News Sunday 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane New Hampshire
8:00pm-9:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Ben Spies (AMA Superbike)
A.J. Allmendinger (Champ Car)  
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NHRA Denver
9:00pm-12:00am (SDD) ESPN2
ESPY Awards Hollywood
Hornish, Wheldon nominated; Patrick a presenter
Show originated 07/12/06 Description More Info
9:00pm-11:00pm ESPN

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Glock takes first GP2 win Glock takes first GP2 winTimo Glock powered his way to his first GP2 win in race one at Magny Cours, controlling the competition in a masterful show of intelligent driving to take the top spot on the podium between Alex Premat and Jose Maria Lopez.

Poleman Lopez led Giorgio Pantano away from the grid as the lights went out, with Glock dropping a place to slot in behind the Italian but ahead of a fast starting Premat, who was up from seventh to fourth by the first corner.

Adam Carroll and Lewis Hamilton were the next men through, but their hopes of success were dashed at the Adelaide hairpin when Hamilton missed his braking point and hit the rear of his rival. Both drivers were in for new wings - Hamilton for a front, Carroll for a rear - and their races were effectively run, re-emerging as they did in 22nd and 23rd positions. zzzz

Nelson Piquet Jr, who had a poor start, was making up for lost time, muscling his way past Hiroki Yoshimoto for sixth place, just behind former teammate Ernesto Viso. But further up the field and Glock was on a charge, easily dispatching Pantano for second at the hairpin before setting the fastest lap of the race.

Piquet was the first of the front runners to pit, coming in on lap seven to try and outfox his competitors. He came out in 14th place and started a string of fast laps ahead of the pitstops to come.

And on lap ten they arrived: Lopez, Pantano and Premat came in together, but the order on the way out was Premat, Pantano, Lopez, and all three found themselves following Piquet. Glock and Viso were in one lap later, but only Glock came out ahead of the Brazilian, effectively leading when the stops were accounted for.

On track the order was now Lucas di Grassi from Xandi Negrao and Olivier Pla, then Glock, Piquet, Premat and Pantano. Glock may have been in a strong position but Piquet was on a charge, and the German had to use all his guile to maintain his position.

With Piquet right on his tail Glock caught and dispatched Pla at the hairpin, but the Brazilian was unable to find a way through. Although Piquet had already stopped the fight was for track position, and Pla was unwilling to roll over and wave Piquet through.

This allowed Premat to catch the pair, and coming into the final chicane the Frenchman threw his car over the inside curbs and hoped for the best. Piquet, slightly unsettled as Pla peeled into the pits, was gently nudged out of the way by Premat, who slid through across the line and was gone.

At the front di Grassi and Negrao were holding on well, and despite knowing they would lose their positions at the front their teams were willing to keep them out as long as their pace was comparable with Glock's behind them.

Negrao had to give in on lap 18, but di Grassi held on for another six laps, by which time Glock had caught and dispatched the amiable Brazilian, once again making the move at the Adelaide hairpin.

With the lead officially his, Glock set about easing away from Premat, nibbling a tenth or two a lap out of his rivals time each time around. Back in third Piquet's tires were clearly past their best, and he was unable to hold on behind the pair.

The battle for fourth was as hot as the ambient conditions, with Pantano locking his wheels all around the track in an attempt to keep Lopez behind. Lap after lap it looked inevitable that Lopez would get by, and lap after lap Pantano did the impossible and kept his nose ahead.

With Negrao closing in behind the pair Pantano's luck finally gave out on lap 31, when Lopez firmly but cleanly putting his car alongside his rival on the inside approach to the final chicane, and Pantano had no option but to give way.

It meant that the battleground was now split: Lopez set about gouging time out of Piquet ahead of him, while Negrao tried to repeat what he had just seen Lopez do ahead of him. Within 5 laps Lopez had the gap in front of him down from 7.7 to 0.8, and it was clear what was to come next.

With just five laps to go Lopez was able to repeat his move on Piquet, who was struggling terribly for grip, and as they went side by side through the final chicane Lopez was easily through and into a podium position.

Behind them Negrao's hounding of Pantano paid off at the Adelaide hairpin, slipping up the inside and dispatching Pantano with ease.

And when the laps wound down it was Glock who was an easy winner, slowing slightly to lead Premat across the line, the gap between them six seconds. Lopez was the next man across the line to claim his first podium of the season, ahead of a disappointed Piquet, who had to content himself with cutting some points out of Hamilton's championship lead.

Teammate Negrao finished in a fine fifth position ahead of a slowing Pantano, while di Grassi and Ferdinando Monfardini filled out the points paying positions, and Hamilton managed to take the fastest lap of the race, mitigating the disappointing race by his usual lofty standards.

Tagliani to make Grand-Am debut Tagliani to make Grand-Am debutChamp Car World Series driver and Quebec native Alex Tagliani will make his Grand-Am Cup Series debut this August, co-driving the Blackforest Motorsports Group No. 4 USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools Mustang GT with Valerie Limoges in the Grand Prix de Trois Rivières on the weekend of August 4-6.

The effort will also be supported by Ameublement Tanguay, a Quebec-based furniture store, as well as Rythem FM Radio.

Limoges and Tagliani have known each other for several years, as Tagliani's father helped prepare Limoges' karts during her highly successful Canadian karting days, and the two have remained friends ever since.

Tagliani has a long history of success at the 1.5-mile temporary street circuit, and is relishing the chance to race once again in front of a highly receptive crowd. zzzz

"Trois Rivières has been a great place for me in my career," said Tagliani. "I have great memories from there going back to racing in Formula Ford, because I have won so much there and the fans are really supportive. I have watched a lot of the (Grand-Am) Cup races, and it is a very competitive series, and Grand Am obviously works to keep it that way."

Limoges took four karting championships in F100 and F125 competition before moving up to formula cars. Limoges raced in the 2005 Hankook Touring Car Series before signing with Tom Nastasi to race in the Grand-Am Cup Series to prepare for a move up to the Rolex Sports Car Series. Limoges is looking forward to co-driving with Tagliani and moving up in the championship standings.

"The first thing is that we have to finish the race because we have to make up ground in the championship," said Limoges. "It is going to be great to race where I at least have a little bit of experience on the track, and the crowd at this race is always very enthusiastic. Alex and I have known each other for a long time, and we are both from Quebec, so it is going to be really exciting to be racing with him at this track."

Tagliani believes that the Blackforest entry has a good opportunity for success on the tight street circuit, and is glad to be once again campaigning with the Blue Oval.

"The team is quite good, and hopefully we can continue to develop the Mustang and that I can help a little bit with that," said Tagliani. "I am glad to be racing a Mustang because I have only race and driven Fords since 2000, so it was important for me to keep that streak going."

Tagliani is the second Champ Car driver to race in the Cup Series in 2006, as Sebastien Bourdais teamed with his father (Patrick) in the season-opening Daytona round.

Tagliani and Limoges will be participating in a media event at Ameublement Tanguay at the end of the month to discuss the Trois Rivières event.

Pedrosa takes pole in Germany Pedrosa takes pole in GermanyMotoGP rookie Dani Pedrosa has taken his fourth pole position of the 2006 season during qualifying for the German Grand Prix - with American Kenny Roberts his surprise nearest rival.

Another American, points leader Nicky Hayden, will start 3rd.

World champion Valentino Rossi - like all the Yamaha riders - suffered another tough day in Germany, was just eleventh place by the flag - just over one second from Pedrosa.


1. Pedrosa
2. Roberts
3. Hayden
4. Nakano
5. Capirossi
6. Melandri
7. Gibernau
8. Stoner
9. Hopkins
10. Tamada
11. Rossi
12. Checa
13. de Puniet
14. Vermeulen
15. Edwards
16. Elias
17. Hofmann
18. Ellison
19. Cardoso

Thompson on Croft pole Thompson on Croft poleJames Thompson has qualified on pole position for the first of tomorrow’s (Sunday) three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire.

On his home track, Harrogate-based Thompson set a best time of 1m26.213s in his SEAT Leon.

Second fastest was Vauxhall’s Tom Chilton and third the reigning champion and current series leader Matt Neal, in his Team Halfords Honda Integra.

Neal’s closest rivals in the championship, Team RAC MG driver Colin Turkington and SEAT’s Jason Plato, qualified seventh and fourth fastest respectively.

Ferrari to face Michelin renaissance Ferrari to face Michelin renaissance(GMM) Ferrari and Bridgestone won the day in Magny Cours qualifying, but paddock wags expect that a different tale could unfold over 70-laps of Sunday's blistering race.

''That's a good question,'' said Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn.

The conventional view is that while Bridgestone propelled Michael Schumacher - not to mention Felipe Massa and the Toyotas - to prodigious single lap pace, Michelin is the better bet for the actual grand prix.

''Over one lap (the Ferraris) look very fast,'' said Flavio Briatore, whose Michelin-clad Fernando Alonso is third, ''but our tires are very consistent.

''You have to be quick over 70 laps, not one.

''Tomorrow we want to win.''

Alonso agreed that France is not a repeat of Bridgestone's Indianapolis-like dominance, calling the state of play 'normal' in the French countryside.

As ever in F1, however, track position is king, and pole-sitter Schumacher insisted that he is 'very happy' to also enjoy the company of his young teammate on the front row.

No engine change for charred Schu No engine change for charred SchuUPDATE (GMM) Unlike Williams' Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher's engine did not have to be changed before qualifying at the French grand prix in 2006.

A scorched engine cover was removed from the German's Ferrari, but technical director Ross Brawn reported that the flames from final free practice were all glitz rather than lasting damage.

''No, nothing serious,'' he confirmed in Magny Cours, explaining that the scorching French heat possibly contributed to the sizzled heat shield.

A burned wiring loom was also changed, but not the 2.4 liter V8, meaning that Schumacher will start Sunday's race wherever he qualifies.

07/15/06 BMW-Sauber's 'twin towers' topped the Saturday time sheets in final free practice, but the real story of the day is that Michael Schumacher could move down the grid ten places after a fiery display from the rear of his Ferrari.

The other red car, steered by Felipe Massa, was also called back to the garage for apparent fear of a smoky repeat, but the first noises from the team is that neither engine had actually failed.

The pair languished on the time sheet and collected a paltry 13 laps between them.

It wasn't all beer and skittles for Michelin-clad runners, though, with usual suspects like Fernando Alonso appearing to be struggling in terms of tire wear at Magny Cours, which was the scene of a downpour last night. Also appearing to grapple with graining were the McLarens.

Further evidence of Michelin's troubles in the French heat was the appearance in the top five of both Williams and similarly Bridgestone-clad Jarno Trulli. Alonso's 16-lap tally netted him a miserable sixteenth place.

Super Aguri's Takuma Sato, meanwhile, pulled over with a loss of power.
Roush helping to save Yates Roush helping to save YatesCar owner Jack Roush is offering what help he can to revive Robert Yates Racing. #38-Elliott Sadler drove a chassis last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway that Yates purchased from Roush. Robert Yates Racing, a Ford team like Roush, has struggled this season with most of its woes on tracks 1.5 miles and longer. Sadler ran well in practice but struggled in the race and finished 29th. "I do have great empathy and sympathy for Robert [Yates] and Doug [Yates] and I wish them well,'' Roush said Friday at New Hampshire International Speedway. "I don't want to see them lose those sponsors and to lose their viability. That's not what I want.'' Roanoke Times
Rosberg engine change Rosberg engine changeNico Rosberg will drop ten places on the grid for the French Grand Prix, after his Williams team have decided to change his engine prior to qualifying today.
NASCAR is boring, says Schumacher NASCAR is boring, says Schumacher"What do you see in NASCAR? What is exciting about it? I can't see it running around in ovals," said the 37-year-old German Michael Schumacher.

"I just don't see the challenge in it for me. Personally, I wouldn't do it."

However, Schumacher's view was not shared by former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

"NASCAR has always looked very exciting, racing-wise," said the 35-year-old Canadian, whose contract with BMW Sauber expires at the end of the season.

"It's something definitely to look at if there's no Formula One."

French GP: Villeneuve tops Saturday AM practice French GP: Villeneuve tops Saturday AM practiceBoth BMW Sauber cars topped the final practice session for the French GP and may win their first pole position today.  Also fast were the two Williams drivers with new Series 6 Cosworth engines.  Qualifying is up next.

1. Jacques Villeneuve Canada Sauber-BMW  1:17.005
2. Nick Heidfeld Germany Sauber-BMW  1:17.049
3. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota  1:17.056
4. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Cosworth  1:17.188
5. Mark Webber Australia Williams-Cosworth  1:17.358
6. Jenson Button Britain Honda  1:17.476
7. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes  1:17.556
8. Pedro de la Rosa Spain McLaren-Mercedes  1:17.653
9. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota  1:17.666
10. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Ferrari  1:17.859
11. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault  1:17.995
12. Christijan Albers Netherlands MF1-Toyota  1:18.059
13. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Cosworth  1:18.199
14. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari  1:18.214
15. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari  1:18.396
16. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault  1:18.447
17. Tiago Monteiro Portugal MF1-Toyota  1:18.487
18. Scott Speed United States Toro Rosso-Cosworth  1:18.545
19. Christian Klien Austria Red Bull-Ferrari  1:18.631
20. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda  1:18.961
21. Franck Montagny France Super Aguri-Honda  1:19.497
22. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda  1:21.497

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
  1. MF1's Kolles warns of V10 option
  2. Todt slams budget-boost rumor
  3. GP Fridays set for F1 axe

MF1's Kolles warns of V10 option
Midland could follow the Toro Rosso route by running performance-limited V10 engines in 2007, according to Colin Kolles.

The Silverstone-based team's boss warned at Magny Cours that, if the dissident carmakers do not come up with concessions for the smaller teams this weekend, MF1 will not sign the 'Indianapolis agreement' and teams will be forced to cope with the FIA's total engine 'freeze'.

This is likely to be extremely costly for the manufacturers, who would need to freely develop their V8s in 2007 before reverting to the already 'frozen' 2008 units.

''If they are not coming to agreement,'' Kolles warned, ''we will run V10 engines next year.

''We don't want to use them, (but) we are happy, whichever way it goes,'' he added, explaining that if the Indy agreement is implemented, MF1 will then run a 'good V8 engine'.

Toro Rosso's use of a performance-limited Cosworth V10 this year was controversial among key rivals, notably MF1, but Max Mosley cautioned at Magny Cours that the governing body would likely relax limitations on the V10 rules to help small teams handle the 2007 situation.

Kolles said: ''I think that the four other manufacturers won't be so happy so they had better make their minds up.''

McLaren-Mercedes' Ron Dennis, meanwhile, hinted that some small teams were likely using their veto to 'seek other commercial objectives'.

And he cautioned: ''I don't want to differ with Colin here, but it's not automatic that everyone else can use the V10 engines.'' zzzz

Todt slams budget-boost rumor
Jean Todt has slammed speculation as 'bullshit' that team backers agreed to bolster Ferrari's 2006 budget by up to $26 million.

'Bild' newspaper in Germany said that the red team, buoyed by Michael Schumacher's Indianapolis charge, had released the funds in order to push even harder for the world crown.

''Don't make me answer to third rate speculations,'' Todt, the 60-year-old Frenchman, added in Magny Cours.

''It is absolutely not true.''

Todt slammed: ''You know, sometimes, to sell (newspapers) you need to invent things, so I hope this has increased (their) sales.''

Montoya's 'time off'
The McLaren camp at Magny Cours has continued to back away from suggestions that Juan Pablo has been 'dismissed'.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug, who never got along with the brash Colombian, insisted that the 30-year-old's French GP absence is indicative simply of 'time off'.

As to boss Ron Dennis' assertion that Montoya could even return to his F1 car later this year, the German told 'Premiere': ''We will see.''

Although most interpreted Dennis' curious comments in a press conference as the beginning of negotiations for a contract buyout with NASCAR chief Chip Ganassi, the Briton maintained on Friday afternoon that Montoya has been given pause to reflect.

Ron branded Juan Pablo's decision to leave F1 without consulting either his management or McLaren as 'spontaneous, reactive' and also 'impetuous'.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: ''(Montoya's) decision ... brought into question the level of commitment and dedication that he would be able to bring to the balance of the season.'' GMM

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