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California single-handedly uses as much gasoline as China
While some critics blame China for the rise in gasoline prices, a California Energy Commission report shows that California consumes as much gasoline as the entire country of China. The report also found California uses more than Russia, India or Germany.

The report was issued by California Energy Commission's State Alternative Fuels Plan last year during the Christmas season, but seems to have been missed by media and others. The report showed California alone uses more gasoline than any country in the world (except U.S. of course).

California uses 20 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel every year, which is greater than China for now (China is expected to exceed the State later this year).

China has a population of 1.3 billion, while California has 37 million in total.

California has seen a 50 per cent increase in oil consumption in 2007 compared to consumption in 1988.  You can read the full report (a 107-page PDF document).


Stoner smashes record to win pole at Laguna Seca
Casey Stoner continued his pole-to-pole run on Saturday afternoon in Laguna Seca, with his fifth consecutive qualifying top spot and a breathtaking series of laps at the scene of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. The 2007 MotoGP World Champion –winner of last year’s race from pole position- had been peerless throughout the free practice sessions, and confirmed his superiority at the American circuit in the hour-long qualifying run.

Having broken his own circuit record continually with every session, it took just nine laps for Stoner to do so again. Three laps later and the Ducati Marlboro man was down to 1´21.374 without the aid of qualifying tires, and he finally settled on the definitive pole position record time for the weekend with a jaw-dropping 1´20.700 in the final ten minutes. In doing so he cut the previous best by just over 1.5 seconds.

Nine riders were able to break the 1´22 barrier for the first time in the Saturday session, but none were able to do so over an extended series of laps as the reigning titlist did. His imposing pace will pose plenty of problems for those attempting to stop another victory and an ongoing World Championship fightback from Stoner.

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Matos leads flag-to-flag at Mid-Ohio
Former Champ Car Atlantic rival Rafael Matos and Franck Perera have picked up where they left off last year by running 1-2 once again in today’s first Firestone Indy Lights race at Mid-Ohio.  With the win Matos has now taken the points lead.

Matos pulled away from the start and won by 4.2603 seconds over Franck Perera. The victory gives Matos a three-point lead over Richard Antinucci, who finished third.


1. (1) Raphael Matos, 40, Running, $22,000
2. (2) Franck Perera, 40, Running, $17,000
3. (4) Richard Antinucci, 40, Running, $13,500
4. (3) Jonny Reid, 40, Running, $11,500
5. (9) J.R. Hildebrand, 40, Running, $11,000
6. (12) Jeff Simmons, 40, Running, $10,500
7. (10) James Davison, 40, Running, $10,000
8. (5) Arie Luyendyk Jr., 40, Running, $9,500
9. (13) Andrew Prendeville, 40, Running, $9,250
10. (16) Pablo Donoso, 40, Running, $9,000
11. (6) Bobby Wilson, 40, Running, $9,500
12. (7) Wade Cunningham, 40, Running, $9,000
13. (17) Sean Guthrie, 40, Running, $10,000
14. (19) Ana Beatriz, 40, Running, $7,000
15. (20) Mitch Cunningham, 39, Running, $8,000
16. (21) Brent Sherman, 39, Running, $6,000
17. (18) Cyndie Allemann, 38, Running, $5,750
18. (15) Dillon Battistini, 38, Running, $5,000
19. (22) Mark Olson, 37, Running, $4,500
20. (14) Logan Gomez, 26, Mechanical $3,500
21. (8) Daniel Herrington, 15, Running, $3,000
22. (11) Robbie Pecorari, 4, Mechanical $2,500

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Pedrosa forced to withdraw from Laguna Seca race
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa will not ride in tomorrow’s US GP. The Spaniard decided to withdraw from the event this morning, suffering excruciating pain from the left hand and wrist injuries he suffered in a high-speed crash during last Sunday’s German GP.

Pedrosa fractured his left index finger and the big bone of his left wrist, as well as suffering a badly sprained right ankle, in the fall. Following a consultation with his specialist Dr Xavier Mir in Barcelona, Pedrosa bravely elected to travel to California to attempt to race and score some points. Going into the German GP he had been leading the World Championship.

Yesterday morning Pedrosa took painkilling pills before the first session but the pain was so bad that he could only complete 21 laps at a reduced pace. Before the afternoon outing he had an anti-pain infiltration and was able to do 28 laps, ending the day 15th fastest. However, the two sessions had aggravated his injuries, the difficulties compounded by the fact that Laguna is an immensely physical anti-clockwise circuit that places immense demands on the left hand, arm and wrist. Taking everything into consideration he decided that it would be impossible for him to finish the grueling 32 lap race. Pedrosa will now devote all his energies to recuperating during MotoGP’s traditional summer break to return to action at the Czech Grand Prix on August 15/16/17.

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Mid-Ohio: Greedy hotel owners are killing track
The Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs are gone because of "excessively high accommodation rates" in the area on race weekends, according to Michelle Trueman Gajoch.

The president of TrueSports, which owns and operates Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, has sent a letter saying just that to members of the Richland County Chamber of Commerce and Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"In early February, members from the TrueSports Inc., staff met with the bureau to address growing concerns related to local hotel room rates," Trueman Gajoch said in the letter.

"At that time, the unique opportunity to once again host the SCCA National Championship Runoffs was afforded to TrueSports Inc. It was our hope that the CVB would assist us in addressing the exorbitant room rates with the local hotels to avoid such rates becoming a determent to negotiations with the Sports Car Club of America.

"It is with great disappointment that I inform you of the SCCA National Champion Runoffs decision not to return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2009. The Runoffs, which relocated from Mid-Ohio in 2004, spent the last three years in Topeka, Kansas. When the news came earlier this year that they would accept bids for a new venue next season, TrueSports Inc. submitted a proposal that was top-notch, and in our opinion, unbeatable.

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Raikkonen faces an uphill battle on Sunday
Kimi Raikkonen, who is battled to repeat his F1 title appears to be choking of late.  He was all over the place Saturday in qualifying at the Hockenheimring, as he battled to get his F2008 pointing in the right direction.

Not only was he beaten by the McLaren pairing and team-mate Massa, but he also start behind the likes of Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica.

“All weekend long, we have been struggling a bit to find a good set-up for the car,” explained Raikkonen. “At the end of yesterday, it seemed we were on the right road and this morning we tried to improve still further down this path, but it was not the right one. Then, in qualifying, we went reasonably well with low fuel, but in the final session, the car was not as good.”

“Clearly sixth place is not satisfying and tomorrow we won’t be in for an easy time, but it’s definitely not the end of the world. It will be a long race tomorrow and that’s when the points are allocated. For our part, we will do all we can to get a good finish position.”

“Starting from the third row won’t make life easy for Kimi,” said Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. “We can count on having a good race pace with both types of tire and will have to work with scrupulous attention over the next few hours to prepare for a race that looks like being a very tough one. I am sure both our drivers will give it their best shot and have a great race”

“To get a complete picture of this afternoon, in terms of tomorrow’s race, one has to take into account the usual parameters and the fact that this track allows for more strategic flexibility than usual,” added Ferrari Team Manager Luca Baldisserri.


Grosjean stripped of win in Germany UPDATE Romain Grosjean was stripped of his GP2 feature race victory at Hockenheim on Saturday evening after passing Marko Asmer in the stadium section of the track when yellow flags were being waved. Series leader Giorgio Pantano inherits the victory, his fourth of the season, and extends his championship lead to 19 points over Bruno Senna.

07/19/08 Romain Grosjean claimed his first ever GP2 Series feature race win by staying out on slick tires when a downpour hit the track and then passed polesitter and series leader Giorgio Pantano at Hockenheim on Saturday.

Grosjean won by 10 seconds but only led the final four laps remaining.  Pantano, who had a championship to think about, elected not to fight him too hard and risk crashing out.



Driver Team Time
1. Romain Grosjean ART 58:52.430
2. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering +10.996
3. Alvaro Parente Super Nova +54.244
4. Bruno Senna iSport +56.654
5. Lucas di Grassi Campos +60.201
6. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports +60.406
7. Andy Soucek Super Nova +61.764
8. Karun Chandhok iSport +79.413
9. Alberto Valerio Durango +1:07.474
10. Javier Villa Racing Engineering +1 lap
11. Andi Zuber Piquet Sports +1 lap
12. Sakon Yamamoto ART +1 lap
13. Ho-Pin Tung Trident +1 lap
14. Marko Asmer FMS +1 lap
15. Adrian Valles BCN +1 lap
16. Carlos Iaconelli BCN +1 lap
17. Michael Herck DPR +1 lap
18. Roldan Rodriguez FMS +2 laps
Sebastien Buemi Arden 35 laps
Mike Conway Trident 35 laps
Vitaly Petrov Campos 35 laps
Jerome d'Ambrosio DAMS 35 laps
Luca Filippi Arden 33 laps
Diego Nunes DPR 33 laps
Davide Valsecchi Durango 23 laps
Kamui Kobayashi DAMS 0 laps


Kovalainen fined for refueling breach
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has been fined 5000 euros by the stewards following a rules breach during qualifying for the German grand prix.

The FIA officials said the McLaren driver's car was improperly refueled during the 'Q2' phase at the Hockenheim circuit on Saturday, but he will keep his third place on the grid.

It is believed the Finn's car had fuel added simply by way of a fuelling tank in the team's garage, rather than the normal fuel rig.

The stewards said the incident was a breach of Article 29.2 of the sporting regulations because his engine should have been stopped during the process.


Webber - I can race as well as qualify
(GMM)  Just as Felipe Massa dismissed claims he is not good in the wet, fellow formula one driver Mark Webber on Saturday was also fending off similarly simplistic paddock perspectives.

After qualifying in the top ten yet again at Hockenheim, the 31-year-old Australian rejected the thesis he is an ace on Saturday afternoons but not quite as good in the dash to the checkered flag.

The opinion was given new life after Silverstone two weeks ago, when Webber delivered Red Bull's first ever front row qualifying position but then spun on the first lap.

"Well, I have 18 points this year, that's all I can say," Webber told F1's official website, obviously drawing attention to his tally in comparison with his teammate David Coulthard's 6 points in 2008.

"As you don't get points in qualifying I must have done well in the races," Webber added.

In the same interview, Webber also said he welcomes the decision to pit him against Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year.

Less than 12 months ago, Webber slammed the 21-year-old German as an inexperienced "kid" after their collision at the Japanese grand prix.

"He definitely deserves the chance," Webber said at Hockenheim.  "He is a very fast driver and he is very disciplined.

"He definitely will go to the top in this sport and I am looking forward very much to working with him next year," he added, still referring to Vettel.


Massa denies he struggles on wet track
(GMM)  Felipe Massa used the occasion of his front-row qualifying berth at Hockenheim to refute claims he struggles to drive his Ferrari equally quickly on a wet track.

The Brazilian has had a strong weekend, consistently higher in the timesheets than the reigning world champion occupant of the sister F2008, Kimi Raikkonen.

But the contrast with two weeks ago at Silverstone, where he finished dead last in the rain, could not be starker, reinvigorating suggestions he is not as good in F1's new traction control-free era in a downpour.

To reporters on Saturday, the 27-year-old denied his form in Germany can be described as a "recovery" after Silverstone.

"In my career I have been quick in the wet -- even in go-karts I always won in the rain.

"I don't believe it when people say I am not good in the wet.  I haven't forgotten how to drive in the wet now I am in formula one," Massa added.

Earlier this weekend, Massa dismissed the British grand prix two weeks ago as simply a bad event for him all round.


Bridgestone Motorsport’s Saturday report
Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) has achieved his third pole position of this season by using Bridgestone’s medium compound Potenza to go fastest in qualifying at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix, round ten of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Hamilton was quickest by almost two tenths of a second with a lap time of 1min 15.666secs. This time was set in a dry qualifying session, although there was a very brief shower immediately before it began. Second fastest today was Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro), whilst Heikki Kovalainen (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) and Jarno Trulli (Panasonic Toyota Racing) set the third and fourth fastest times.

Fernando Alonso (ING Renault F1 Team) went fifth quickest and Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) was sixth. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team) and Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) went seventh and eighth fastest whilst Sebastian Vettel (Scuderia Toro Rosso) and David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) were the final two drivers to qualify in the top ten.

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Archer Nets Mid-Ohio SPEED GT Pole
Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., captured his second SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT pole of the season and will lead the field at the start of Sunday afternoon’s Mid-Ohio SPEED GT Presented by Remington race. Brandon Davis, of Huntington Beach, Calif., will start second.

Driving the No. 13 Foametix/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper, Archer set a time of 1:25.673 (94.882 mph) on his first flying lap around the 2.258-mile track. It is Archer’s second top qualifying effort of the year, after winning from the pole position at Miller Motorsports Park in May. Following an engine failure at the previous round in Watkins Glen, Archer’s team has been working non-stop to get him back up to speed.

“The Woodhouse Performance team has worked really hard as well as the Dodge engineers to come up with the fix for what the issue was,” Archer said. “I think they’ve got it worked out. The handling of the car is decent. John Mills, the new engineer, and I are having a blast doing this. He’s part time and I’m part time, but when we’re [at the track], we’re full time trying to make it go fast. He hit on something yesterday afternoon that really felt good and we expanded on that and it went faster today. “

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Mid-Ohio: Matos tops Perera for Indy Lights pole
Rafael Matos displays his pole trophy
Shawn Payne/IRL
Brazil's Rafael Matos set a new Indy Lights track record in winning the pole position for the first of two Indy Lights races at Mid-Ohio.  He did so by beating Frenchman Franck Perera by 2/10ths of a second.  Jonny Reid was again 3rd.



Driver Name (Car. No.) Best Time Best Speed
1 Raphael Matos (27) 1:13.1434 111.135
2 Franck Perera (55) 1:13.6505 110.370
3 Jonny Reid (9) 1:13.6693 110.342
4 Richard Antinucci (7) 1:13.6973 110.300
5 Arie Luyendyk Jr. (26) 1:13.8235 110.111
6 Bobby Wilson (17) 1:14.1442 109.635
7 Wade Cunningham (24) 1:14.1451 109.634
8 Daniel Herrington (6) 1:14.2370 109.498
9 J.R. Hildebrand (25) 1:14.2411 109.492
10 James Davison (11) 1:14.3115 109.388
11 Robbie Pecorari (54) 1:14.3458 109.338
12 Jeff Simmons (2) 1:14.4166 109.234
13 Andrew Prendeville (5) 1:14.4672 109.159
14 Logan Gomez (23) 1:14.6619 108.875
15 Dillon Battistini (15) 1:14.7815 108.701
16 Pablo Donoso (22) 1:14.8032 108.669
17 Sean Guthrie (4) 1:14.8470 108.606
18 Cyndie Allemann (18) 1:14.9724 108.424
19 Ana Beatriz (20) 1:15.1672 108.143
20 Mitch Cunningham (33) 1:15.8376 107.187
21 Brent Sherman (16) 1:16.6109 106.105
22 Mark Olson (8) 1:20.2105 101.343


Schu 'guru' makes F1 return with Fisichella
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's former physiotherapist and 'guru' Balbir Singh has made a surprise and full-time return to the formula one paddock.

The Indian - revered by former seven time world champion Schumacher as F1's best physio, masseuse, dietician and 'spiritual guide' - left the sport at the end of 2005 to spend more time with his German wife and children and set up a meditation business.

But Singh is back in the paddock at Hockenheim this weekend -- wearing a uniform of the Indian-owned team Force India.

The German newspaper Express reveals that Singh is team driver Giancarlo Fisichella's new physio.

"I realized in the last few years that formula one is my life," he said, explaining that he missed the sport a lot.

Singh was put in contact with Fisichella, the veteran Italian race driver, through his teammate Adrian Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann.


Davey Hamilton accuses France family of hurting open wheel
During the IndyCar streaming video feed Friday Davey Hamilton laid into the France family. He never mentioned them by name but he was highly critical of Phoenix and Michigan. He said the company (ISC) that bought and owns Phoenix ruined the facilities history that was built on open wheel racing. That they have become a stock car track. That they ruined the Copper World Classic. And that MIS is the same way in that they don't promote IndyCars and obviously both tracks don't want open wheel racing.  What have we told you for years?  Successful open wheel race markets died in every market NASCAR and ISC came into.  Conspiracy theorists for years have said the France family wants all other forms of racing dead except the ones they control.


BMW Sauber embracing KERS UPDATE #2 (GMM)  BMW-Sauber's first track test of a KERS system for 2009 went off without a hitch, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports.

The event, on July 15, took place at the German carmaker's own Miramas test circuit, with Marko Asmer at the wheel over 48 kilometers.

It is now well known that Red Bull's KERS testing resulted in a visit to its Milton-Keynes factory of the local fire department, while Honda had some teething trouble when its initial track testing - with an old car - took place on an airfield runway and subsequently at Silverstone.

BMW-Sauber's KERS track testing will step up a notch next week when Christian Klien takes to the wheel of a modified F1.08 chassis.

"It will be obvious that we are running the systems," technical director Willy Rampf said.  "But the car will have nothing to do with the car for next year."

07/17/08 The BMW Sauber F1 Team have publicly confirmed that they have tested the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) in one of their Formula One cars. The team ran the car for 50 km at a private test track at Miramas. The KERS technology is set to be introduced in 2009.

07/14/08 Hybrid technology in Formula One has been given the go-ahead and the development process is underway. Powered by a modified drive concept, the top category of motorsport is poised to enter a new dimension in 2009 -– and deliver significant impetus for the development of standard production vehicles in the process. From the start of next season, the Formula One regulations allow for the use of hybrid technology to increase the output and efficiency of the cars. To this end, the BMW Sauber team is working flat out on the development of its KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) brake energy regeneration system.

BMW Sauber enhances the hybrid expertise of the BMW Group
As Dr Klaus Draeger, member of the BMW AG Board of Management responsible for development, reports: "The BMW Group can transfer the knowledge gained within the BMW Sauber F1 Team directly into the development of standard production vehicles. This makes Formula One the ideal pre-development platform for innovative drive technologies. The new Formula One regulations give us the opportunity to use innovative hybrid technology under extreme conditions and in so doing to garner crucial expertise for series development as well. BMW customers stand to benefit as a result. The KERS unit designed for the BMW Sauber F1.

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No.1 not necessary at Ferrari yet - Massa
(GMM)  It is not yet necessary for Ferrari to appoint a number one driver for the rest of the 2008 championship, according to Felipe Massa.

The Brazilian and his teammate, reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen, are currently tied on points at the top of the drivers' standings with McLaren rival Lewis Hamilton.

Massa told the French morning newspaper Le Figaro: "The team does not have to make a decision as long as things are not leaning either one way or the other."

In previous years, Michael Schumacher was the undisputed number one driver, receiving the balance of the Italian marque's effort to lift the drivers' crown.

But Massa said last year he was also on equal terms with Raikkonen, until his chances took a final hit at the Italian grand prix.

"From then on, there remained a small chance for Kimi.  To help him to do it, the team did everything for him, myself included.

"This time I hope it will be my turn."

In the interview, Massa also played down suggestions Ferrari may be able to vacate his seat in the near future -- perhaps by means of performance clauses.

"No.  I have a contract until the end of 2010 and I feel perfectly comfortable in the team," he insisted.


Rossi to race with Yamaha until 2010
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd announced on Friday night that it has signed a new two-year agreement with Valentino Rossi. The seven-time world champion will continue to race with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team for the 2009 and 2010 MotoGP World Championships.

The 29-year-old Italian joined Yamaha in 2004 and since then he has won two world championships, 32 races and taken 20 pole positions for the Japanese factory. He is currently leading the 2008 rider championship, having taken three wins and a further five podiums in the first ten races this year. Rossi will continue to race alongside Spanish youngster Jorge Lorenzo in 2009.

Rossi and Masao Furusawa, Executive Officer, Engineering Operations of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd, signed the contract today at the Laguna Seca circuit and made the public announcement at Yamaha US's traditional Laguna Seca party at the Monterey Bay Aquarium this evening.

Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis commented, `We are obviously delighted to have secured Valentino for a further two years. I think this news will be very welcome for MotoGP fans and for Yamaha fans around the world. Valentino is an icon in this sport and he is on top form right now as he challenges to win his eighth world championship and his third title together with Yamaha. This signing confirms Yamaha's four-rider line-up for 2009 so now we can concentrate our full efforts on bike development and team organization to make sure that we are in the best possible shape for next year.´

`In the meantime we have many races to go this season and I hope that Valentino can win in Laguna Seca for the first time this Sunday to extend his championship lead before the well-deserved summer break – Forza Vale!´

Valentino Rossi added, `After so many years spent in racing, fortunately with so many victories, I needed a special motivation to take the decision to sign for two more years. The best place to find this motivation is Yamaha, since I have a great relationship with Yamaha's directors, which comes from a mutual trust and loyalty. In our team there is a special atmosphere and with this new deal I can continue to work with my crew, where I am part of the project and part of the development of my M1. I had other opportunities but due to Yamaha's efforts to give me the best bike in the best environment, I have decided to stay with Yamaha for two more years. This contract means that Yamaha is the manufacturer I will have spent most of my career with. This means more than a thousand words´


German GP: Kovalainen tops Practice 3
On Saturday morning McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen nipped Ferrari's Felipe Massa at the very end of the session to claim the fastest lap for the third practices session for this weekend's German GP at the famous Hockenheimring.  McLaren teammate Felipe Massa was third followed by Fernando Alonso's Renault and a sensational Sebastian Vettel in the lowly Toro Rosso in 5th.  Kimi Raikkonen was uncharacteristically way down in 9th place and just has not been able to come to terms with this track.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.621 + 0.000 18
2. Massa Ferrari 1:15.693 + 0.072 21
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.839 + 0.218 21
4. Alonso Renault 1:15.943 + 0.322 18
5. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.037 + 0.416 24
6. Trulli Toyota 1:16.133 + 0.512 25
7. Piquet Renault 1:16.161 + 0.540 21
8. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:16.196 + 0.575 19
9. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:16.380 + 0.759 19
10. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:16.405 + 0.784 20
11. Button Honda 1:16.447 + 0.826 22
12. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:16.515 + 0.894 19
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:16.530 + 0.909 18
14. Glock Toyota 1:16.636 + 1.015 27
15. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.808 + 1.187 23
16. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:16.906 + 1.285 24
17. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:16.938 + 1.317 20
18. Barrichello Honda 1:17.189 + 1.568 20
19. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:17.312 + 1.691 22
20. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:17.469 + 1.848 15


Mallya: India on target for 2010 GP
Force India owner Vijay Mallya says his home country is on target to host its first Formula 1 grand prix in 2010, with construction of a new circuit due to begin in October this year.

Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi announced last September that his organization had signed a 10-year contract with Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management company and that FOM had approved two prospective sites for a circuit on the outskirts of capital city New Delhi.

Mallya told a news conference at the German Grand Prix on Friday that the venue has now been chosen and construction of the circuit will begin within the next three months.

“In fact the news is quite positive,” said the beer and aviation magnate, who is also chairman of the Motorsports Association of India.

“I happened to be having lunch with the CEO of one of India’s biggest banks and he confirmed to me that they had sanctioned a facility to the developer of the Indian track.

“He has actually bought the land and on October 1 construction of a brand new track will begin.

“And so for the first time, now I think I feel very confident to be able to say to you that there will be a brand new track and that we will have our first grand prix in 2010.

“It’s just outside New Delhi.”


24 teams have sponsorship for 2009
According to NASCAR.com, just 24 Sprint Cup Series teams have secured sponsorship for a full season of competition in 2009.


Toyota Motorsport GmbH announces Chiemsee partnership
Chiemsee board sports brand
Toyota Motorsport GmbH will have a new official clothing supplier from 2009 after agreeing an exciting new partnership agreement with fashion and board sports brand Chiemsee.

As part of the agreement, Panasonic Toyota Racing staff will wear a Chiemsee-designed range of clothing to all Grands Prix and Formula 1 activities, while the company's logo will appear on the drivers' overalls, team clothing and in the team garage.

The team's official clothing will have a fresh new look, combining the extreme high quality necessary in Formula 1 and the pioneering spirit embodied in all Chiemsee products. The multi-year partnership will begin in January 2009.

To inaugurate the partnership, drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock met Chiemsee brand ambassadors for an exclusive look at the products and attitude which have become Chiemsee's trademark.

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Force India to have bigger budget in 2009
(GMM)  High-profile team owner Vijay Mallya says Force India will have a bigger budget for the 2009 season.

The Silverstone based team's new ownership already pledged more money and resources for its inaugural season this year when it took over the ailing Spyker outfit.

Force India moved closer to the rest of the field in the first half of 2008, but has now shifted its focus to next year.

The last piece of development for the current car will be a seamless gearbox in Hungary.

"Beyond that I have decided that we will now concentrate on the 2009 car," Mallya said at Hockenheim.

"We have an increased budget for 2009," he revealed, adding that two new senior engineers have joined the design team.

"We will add as many as we need to," Mallya said.

"When you have to compete with teams with significantly higher budgets and vast resources you have at least to step up to the plate, otherwise you won't get anywhere."

Formula BMW

Eliott Bachelart Completes Successful Formula BMW Test
Eliott Bachelart (R)
Eliott Bachelart had a very successful two-day test aboard a Formula BMW car at Putnam Park this week with Apex Racing. The young Belgian put in a quickest lap time that was only half of a second off the Formula BMW track record and which was slightly quicker than the other drivers present at the test. Making the feat even more satisfying for Bachelart was the fact that it was his first time in a Formula BMW machine.

The test took place this past Wednesday and Thursday in hot and humid conditions which didn’t have an effect on the 16-year-old race car driver who has been working a lot on his fitness level these last few months. The son of Conquest Racing team owner, Eric Bachelart, adapted quickly to his new “surroundings” and progressed extremely well over the two-day test. He put in his fastest lap on new tires during the second day of testing.

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Laguna Seca: Stoner tops Friday practice
MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner completed the first day of practice at Laguna Seca with a new circuit record.

The backstory for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix in place, Friday July 18th was the first rehearsal for the MotoGP riders. Over the course of two sessions, the 800cc competitors undertook the first practice runs of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with their 2008 machines, whilst some were literally learning their lines.

Casey Stoner was the fastest rider in both the sessions on the opening day of action, as he was at the past three rounds in Britain, the Netherlands and Germany. His rivals will need no reminding that on all three occasions the Ducati Marlboro man has gone on to win the Sunday race.

Stoner’s fastest time was taken in the afternoon outing, when he stopped the clock with a blistering 1´21.826 lap some 0.149 under the previous circuit record (already broken by Stoner in the morning session.). The existing marker had been set by the Australian himself in the warm-up session for the 2007 race, a Grand Prix at which he dominated the field in impressive fashion at every opportunity.

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Mixed views on the option tire
Lewis Hamilton set the marker on the opening day of running for the German Grand Prix using Bridgestone’s medium compound Potenza tire - the softer option - to set the day’s fastest lap time at the 4.57 km Hockenheim circuit in Baden-Württenberg, for the tenth round of the championship.

Hamilton set his time – a 1:15.025s – in the afternoon 90 minute practice session, when the track was drier and the temperatures were warmer than those seen in the morning. Hamilton was almost seven-tenths faster than the next driver, Felipe Massa. Kimi Raikkonen went third fastest in this session.

In the morning drivers initially faced a wet circuit and both Bridgestone’s wet and extreme wet tires were used. The circuit dried and lap times fell rapidly, with Bridgestone’s dry grooved tires being used in the latter third of the 90 minute session.

This is the first race weekend where the current range of Bridgestone Potenza tires have been used at Hockenheim. Lap times were faster than those set on Friday’s running when Formula One last visited here two years ago, when there was tire competition.

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Scott Speed wins Kentucky ARCA race with Toyota
Toyota is now beating everyone in all four NASCAR divisions plus ARCA.

Pos Car Driver Laps Behind Leader Behind Prev
1 2 Scott Speed 104 0.000 0.000
2 01 Sean Caisse 104 -0.542 -0.239
3 16 Justin Allgaier 104 -0.793 -0.321
4 44 Frank Kimmel 104 -0.989 -0.158
5 25 Brian Scott 104 -1.373 -0.295
6 39 Matt Hawkins 104 -1.561 -0.370
7 46 Matt Carter 104 -2.030 -0.452
8 00 Robb Brent 104 -2.278 -0.180
9 45 Michael Phelps 104 -2.871 -0.519
10 20 Justin Lofton 104 -3.022 -0.397
11 30 Jesse Smith 104 -3.851 -0.922
12 1 Tom Hessert III 104 -4.365 -1.301
13 99 Ricky Stenhouse 104 -4.472 -0.762
14 66 Bryan Reffner 104 -4.829 -0.815
15 12 Alli Owens 104 -4.855 -1.355
16 94 J.R. Heffner 104 -5.815 -1.228
17 90 Gabi DiCarlo 104 -5.867 -1.164
18 29 Brett Hudson 104 -6.862 -1.737
19 4 Tayler Malsam 104 -7.663 -2.596
20 7 Frank Kapfhammer 104 -7.692 -1.950
21 11 Brian Silas 104 -7.992 -3.053
22 48 Luke Hall 104 -8.133 -1.866
23 37 Dexter Bean 103 -1 laps -1 laps
24 84 Norm Benning 103 -1 laps -1 laps
25 26 Brad Smith 103 -1 laps -1 laps
26 15 Ryan Fischer 102 -2 laps -2 laps
27 34 Darrell Basham 102 -2 laps -2 laps
28 22 Ken Butler III 100 -4 laps -4 laps
29 68 Angela Cope 100 -4 laps -4 laps
30 14 Tom Berte 97 -7 laps -7 laps
31 60 Patrick Sheltra 83 -21 laps -21 laps
32 5 Bobby Gerhart 72 -32 laps -32 laps
33 23 Donny Kelley 60 -44 laps -44 laps
34 09 John Wes Townley 45 -59 laps -59 laps
35 06 Tim Mitchell 43 -61 laps -61 laps
36 18 Billy Leslie 42 -62 laps -62 laps
37 21 Chris Cockrum 26 -78 laps -78 laps
38 70 Amber Cope 21 -83 laps -83 laps
39 24 Jim Walker 17 -87 laps -87 laps
40 32 Matt Merrell 13 -91 laps -91 laps
41 81 Randy Baker 7 -97 laps -97 laps

Racing News

Paul Tracy mentor dies in cycling accident
The man who in large part rescued the career of Canadian driving icon Paul Tracy and then nurtured it until legislation forced his company to end its auto racing involvement has died.

Robert (Bob) Bexon, who spent nearly 30 years at Imperial Tobacco starting as a salesman and ending as president and CEO, died as a result of injuries suffered in a cycling accident in the Eastern Townships of Quebec on Wednesday.

He was 56.

When Tracy was fired by Roger Penske following the 1997 season, his career was in jeopardy. No top rides were available in the CART series and his tendency to be hard on equipment made all but the most financially secure of team owners wary.

Bexon, who was senior vice-president of marketing and sales at Imperial's U.S. affiliate, the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., had a deal with Australian Barry Green for a one-car CART team (with Dario Franchitti aboard) to promote Kool cigarettes.

Although it's never been clear whether Green approached Bexon about Tracy's availability, or vice-versa, the end result was that Green's budget was doubled, Tracy climbed into a second car and the famous Team Kool Green was born.

Tracy and Franchitti won many races but botched just as many others. In their first season together, for instance, Tracy wrecked Franchitti – who was leading – while trying to pass him late in a street race at Houston, Tex. Green was furious and he and Tracy exchanged words and came very close to blows.  More at the Toronto Star

track news

Race park puts Atwater plans in neutral
Riverside Motorsports Park officials have instructed Merced County to cease all permit work related to their proposal to build a massive motorsports complex near Atwater. RMP also has asked the county to return money it handed over earlier this year after county officials said they wouldn't do more work on the company's behalf unless it paid up front.

Although RMP officials insist that they are not walking away from the quarter-billion-dollar project, their request, made this week, doesn't bode well for the proposal's future.

"Although we are terminating this contract, it should not be construed that we are abandoning the project at this time," RMP's vice president, Mark Melville, said in a letter delivered to the county this week and obtained by the Sun-Star on Thursday. "You should know, however, that we continue to look at alternatives to lessen the project size while not compromising the economic (benefits) to the county."

Proposed more than five years ago, the RMP project is far from breaking ground. The racing complex originally involved 1,200 acres of farmland near Castle Airport.

Earlier this month, motorsports park Chief Executive Officer John Condren issued a statement saying the company is considering scaling back its plans from an eight-track motorsports park to a four-track park about two-thirds the size of RMP's initial proposal.

Under the revised plan, the park would include an oval speedway, a road course, a drag strip and a go-kart course, Condren said in the statement.

RMP officials haven't ceased all work on the park. According to Condren's statement, they are attempting to find investors and banks to fund the project.  More.....


German GP: Team-by-team summary: Friday
Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of the German grand prix; a tenth faster than his teammate in the damp morning, and seven tenths ahead of the Ferraris (and nearly a full second in front of Heikki Kovalainen) with his late afternoon effort.  "While we don't know the respective fuel loads of our rivals, we nonetheless feel comfortable with our pace," said team boss Ron Dennis.


Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen showed similar pace on the dry afternoon tarmac, but both were a whopping 7 tenths shy of McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton's best lap, set late in the session.  "Right up until the final minutes, the times were all very similar," Raikkonen noted.  "We can take them on," Massa added.


A promising P5 for Mark Webber in the afternoon, despite an electrical problem.  David Coulthard completed the afternoon top-ten.


Fernando Alonso had a solid Friday; P4 in the showery morning, and P6 in the dry.  Nelson Piquet's pace was several tenths slower.

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Honda drivers say no deal for 2009 yet
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello on Friday insisted he has not yet signed a contract to remain at the Honda team in 2009.

Team principal Ross Brawn at Hockenheim answered "yes" when he was asked if the Brazilian veteran, and his current teammate Jenson Button, are going to stay with the Japanese squad next year.

"I haven't signed anything," Barrichello, 36, clarified to reporters.

"Of course I want to stay for next year, I think it's going to be one of the best places to have for next year," he added.

Button also said he wants to stay at Honda but insisted he has no comment to make "yet".

Team chief executive Nick Fry explained: "I wouldn't be surprised if we kept the same drivers for next year, because they have both done a good job and are both doing a similar job and we haven't yet been able to give them the car they both deserve."

He played down suggestions Honda is holding out to make a play for Fernando Alonso, even if the Spaniard may only be available for a single season.

"I don't think it's sensible to hire anybody for a year, regardless of who they are," Fry said.


Mid-Ohio: Pagenaud tops Friday ALMS practice
Simon Pagenaud in his DeFerran Acura
Simon Pagenaud kept the good vibes going for Acura on Friday morning with the fastest lap at Mid-Ohio Sports Course and the first official practice session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge. The De Ferran Motorsports pilot posted a time of 1:08.823 (118.112 mph) in the Acura ARX-01b that he will share with team boss Gil de Ferran.

Pagenaud, competing in just his third American Le Mans Series race and first race ever at Mid-Ohio, was 0.882 seconds faster than Audi Sport North America’s Dindo Capello in an Audi R10 TDI. The Italian driver was the quickest LMP1 pilot at 1:09.705 (116.617 mph). Third fastest overall was Marco Werner in the second Audi at 1:09.742 (116.555 mph). Capello will drive with Emanuele Pirro and Werner with championship co-leader Lucas Luhr.

Acura scored its first Series overall victory a week ago at Lime Rock Park, courtesy of Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s David Brabham and Scott Sharp. Three of the four Acura ARX-01bs were first through third in LMP2. Adrian Fernandez sat second in class and fourth overall at 1:09.764 (116.519 mph) in the Acura that he will drive with Luis Diaz. The Mexican star was .009 seconds better than Andretti Green Racing’s Franck Montagny.

You could throw a net over the second- through sixth-place cars. They were separated by just 0.198 seconds.

In GT1, Jan Magnussen posted the quickest time for Corvette Racing with a 1:17.421 (104.995 mph) in the Corvette C6.R that he will drive with Johnny O’Connell. Magnussen, who has won four of the first five rounds with his teammate, was 0.421 seconds better than the sister car of Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin.

Dirk Werner threw down a quick late lap to take the top spot in GT2 for Farnbacher Loles Racing and Porsche. The class pole-winner at Lime Rock posted a lap of 1:20.531 (100.940 mph) to beat Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Patrick Pilet whose fastest lap was 1:20.607 (100.845 mph). Werner will drive with Richard Westbrook and Pilet with Johannes van Overbeek.


Mid-Ohio: Friday Notebook 1
It's a nice day for racing here at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the middle of Ohio, just outside the town of Lexington.  Pulling in this morning the place was packed for a Friday.  The paddock is wall-to-wall transporters and tents to support the IndyCar, Indy Lights, ALMS, IMSA GT3 and SCCA Speed World Challenge teams.  And the pits are even worse.  The ALMS and IndyCar teams are tripping over one another with equipment packed on top and beside one another.  The extra IndyCars this year is not helping matters..........We spoke to Tyler Tadevic, owner of the struggling PCM team.  He told us he hopes they will only miss one more race this year, Kentucky, and possibly Australia where they are the first alternate team to go.  "We are hoping the IRL lets us test at before the Chicago race because we really need the track time on the ovals.  I am more positive now than at any time this year.  I am just blown away by Tony George, Brian Barnhart and Terry Angstadt who have been very good to us and helped us through this difficult period.  I have raced in ALMS, Champ Car, Atlantics and now the IRL and I can tell you that the IRL is the best series I have ever worked in.  As for next year we will definitely be back with one car and maybe even a 2nd car if sponsorship materializes.  We will have some good announcements in the early off-season........We spotted ALMS driver Mika Salo wearing a cool suit and when asked why, he told us that when the air conditioning in his Risi Ferrari fails, it gets to 165 degrees in the cockpit and it has happened at least twice already this year........Did you know that the muffler now on the Honda IndyCar engine was designed by Honda Performance Development.  It at least makes the hideous sounding engine now tolerable.  They also designed one for their ALMS cars.........Spotted former Atlantics and CART team owner Steve Horne in the pits catching up with a lot of old friends.......Business is up at The Mid-Ohio Racing School where enrollments to date have already exceeded all of 2007 says school honcho Steve Bidlack......Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing crew member Tim Coffeen was treated for minor injuries Friday after being struck by the wing of team driver Justin Wilson's car on the very tight Mid-Ohio pit road.  Mark C. reporting from Mid-Ohio.

tv news

MotoGP TV rating UPDATE The final rating was unchanged at 0.7/2 share.

07/14/08 The overnight USA TV rating for Sunday's MotoGP Grand Prix of Germany on CBS was a 0.7/2 share.


Final NASCAR Chicago TV Ratings
The NASCAR Sprint Cup LifeLock.com 400 from Chicago last Saturday night on TNT garnered a 3.7 final rating with 5.129 million viewers tuned in, down 8% from last year's 4.0 final rating, also on TNT.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 from Chicago last Friday night on ESPN finished with a 1.6 rating and 1.947 million viewers tuned in.


Nashville IndyCar TV Rating
The Nashville IndyCar Series Firestone 200 last Saturday night on ESPN had a final rating of 0.6 with 754,000 viewers tuned in.


Rocketsports hopes to get back into racing in 2009
From the team's website: Rocketsports Racing was formed in 1985 and has grown into one of the most diverse and accomplished companies of its kind in North America. While the race team may not be on track in an open-wheel car this season, the company continues a competition base through its current and future customers.

"We are currently exploring various options for the 2009 racing season”, said Rocketsports owner Paul Gentilozzi. “We have not taken any opportunity off the table, and hope to make an announcement in the late summer months.  Currently, we have refocused our staff on our existing customers. We are also seeking short and long term projects in all areas of motorsports and vehicle performance. As well, we plan to develop products and components for the racing and streetrod aftermarket industry."


Mid-Ohio: Kanaan tops opening IndyCar practice
AGR's Tony Kanaan ran out of gas just near the end of the morning practice session for the IndyCars at Mid-Ohio, but not before turning the fastest lap of the session, just 0.044s faster than Team Penske's Helio Castroneves.

Scott Dixon was third for Target Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of Justin Wilson in the McDonald's car and Ryan Briscoe in the 2nd Team Penske entry.

The air temperature for the session was 85 degrees and the track temperature 115 degrees under sunny skies and a light breeze.


Pos Driver Diff Gap Best Time Best Speed
1 Tony Kanaan (11) ... ... 1:8.0301 119.488
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.0430 0.0430 1:8.0731 119.413
3 Scott Dixon (9) 0.2027 0.1597 1:8.2328 119.133
4 Justin Wilson (02) 0.2131 0.0104 1:8.2432 119.115
5 Ryan Briscoe (6) 0.4078 0.1947 1:8.4379 118.776
6 Hideki Mutoh (27) 0.4220 0.0142 1:8.4521 118.752
7 Buddy Rice (15) 0.4785 0.0565 1:8.5086 118.654
8 Marco Andretti (26) 0.4931 0.0146 1:8.5232 118.628
9 Vitor Meira (4) 0.5960 0.1029 1:8.6261 118.451
10 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.6326 0.0366 1:8.6627 118.387
11 Graham Rahal (06) 0.7168 0.0842 1:8.7469 118.242
12 EJ Viso (33) 0.7635 0.0467 1:8.7936 118.162
13 Danica Patrick (7) 0.7894 0.0259 1:8.8195 118.118
14 Mario Dominguez (96) 0.8622 0.0728 1:8.8923 117.993
15 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 0.9425 0.0803 1:8.9726 117.855
16 Darren Manning (14) 1.1886 0.2461 1:9.2187 117.436
17 Will Power (8) 1.4532 0.2646 1:9.4833 116.989
18 A.J. Foyt IV (2) 1.5057 0.0525 1:9.5358 116.901
19 Oriol Servia (5) 1.7434 0.2377 1:9.7735 116.503
20 Bruno Junqueira (18) 1.7997 0.0563 1:9.8298 116.409
21 Enrique Bernoldi (36) 1.9282 0.1285 1:9.9583 116.195
22 Ed Carpenter (20) 2.0305 0.1023 1:10.0606 116.025
23 Jaime Camara (34) 2.7498 0.7193 1:10.7799 114.846
24 Mario Moraes (19) 2.8446 0.0948 1:10.8747 114.693
25 Marty Roth (25) 4.1094 1.2648 1:12.1395 112.682
26 Milka Duno (23) 5.3621 1.2527 1:13.3922 110.758


Germany: Pantano storms to GP2 pole
Giorgio Pantano stormed to pole position in this afternoon's qualifying session at the Hockenheimring, claiming the top spot ahead of Romain Grosjean and Andreas Zuber.

The Italian's best lap of 1:21.650 put him three tenths ahead of his nearest rivals in the first half of the session, and with temperatures dropping as time passed, his rivals were unable to respond on track.

The session opened under blue skies, prompting all of the drivers to get out on track immediately to set banker laps: Zuber, Bruno Senna, Pantano and Grosjean set the early running when they were able to find a hole in the traffic, but Pantano stayed out for one lap longer than most of his rivals and was able to take advantage of the clear track to set his best lap of the session, before spinning on the next lap and coming back to the pits for fresh tires.

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Mid-Ohio: Matos tops opening Indy Lights practice
Brazilian Raphael Matos topped opening practice Friday morning at Mid-Ohio ahead of Jonny Reid from Ireland.  A reader asked us why Dillon Battistini is so fast on the ovals and slow on the road courses.  Ovals are almost 100% car and his car works well on the ovals.  Road courses require driving talent.

Session 1 Results


Car Driver Name Time Speed
1 27 Matos, Raphael 01:14.1920 109.564
2 9 Reid, Jonny 01:14.5386 109.055
3 6 Herrington, Daniel 01:14.7692 108.719
4 26 Luyendyk Jr, Arie 01:14.7886 108.690
5 7 Antinucci, Richard 01:15.0342 108.335
6 17 Wilson, Bobby 01:15.0771 108.273
7 24 Cunningham, Wade 01:15.1181 108.214
8 55 Perera, Franck 01:15.1623 108.150
9 2 Simmons, Jeff 01:15.3014 107.950
10 23 Gomez, Logan 01:15.4405 107.751
11 5 Prendeville, Andrew 01:15.4731 107.705
12 25 Hildebrand, JR 01:15.5544 107.589
13 54 Pecorari, Robbie 01:15.6003 107.523
14 18 Allemann, Cyndie 01:15.7323 107.336
15 22 Donoso, Pablo 01:15.7362 107.330
16 20 Beatriz, Ana 01:15.7588 107.298
17 11 Davison, James 01:15.9631 107.010
18 15 Battistini, Dillon 01:16.1902 106.691
19 4 Guthrie, Sean 01:16.2337 106.630
20 33 Cunningham, Mitch 01:16.6715 106.021
21 16 Sherman, Brent 01:16.9877 105.586
22 8 Olson, Mark 01:19.4090 102.366


Yamaha re-signs Colin Edwards
Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd is delighted to announce that it has signed a new one-year deal with current Tech 3 Yamaha team rider Colin Edwards. Edwards will continue to race with the Tech 3 Team alongside Briton James Toseland in 2009.

The Texan has agreed the new one-year contract for the 2009 MotoGP World Championship after enjoying the best spell of his premier class career with Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 Yamaha squad. The 34-year-old has already scored two podium finishes, four top five finishes and one pole position in 2008. He has been on the front row a further four times and is currently challenging for a top four position in the overall world championship standings.

Next year will be Edwards’ fifth season with Yamaha in MotoGP, during which time he has been one of the most consistent performers in the championship, scoring points in all but ten of his 94 MotoGP races. Eight out of ten of Edwards’ MotoGP career podium finishes have been with Yamaha.

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Junior Strous Chases Thieves Through Dutch Hometown
Junior Strous
While most of his fellow competitors in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda have been spending the time between last month’s race at Mont-Tremblant and next weekend’s doubleheader at the Rexall Edmonton Indy working on their fitness program or getting some rest and relaxation, points leader Junior Strous had a bit of an adventure in his hometown of Wassenaar, The Netherlands.

Approximately two weeks ago, Strous was awoken at 3 a.m. by the alarm at his family’s Shell fuel station, which is adjacent to his home in the suburb of The Hague. Strous looked outside to find three burglars and the Dutchman quickly sprang into action.

“I jumped out of bed, got dressed and ran next door,” Strous explained. “Three burglars stormed out of the shop with a bag full of stolen goods and jumped into a waiting getaway car. They sped off in the direction of Amsterdam. I jumped into our BMW M3 and started to pursue them. What followed was a real exciting street race, and while driving at full speed, I called the cops. The thieves were getting very nervous because I pushed and pushed, so at the end of the motorway, they braked too late and crashed their car into a lamppost.

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Vision Racing hires Herta
The Vision Racing team announced today that they hired IndyCar Series winner and auto racing veteran, Bryan Herta as a road course consultant for the remainder of the 2008 season. Herta's expertise and vast experience will be put through the paces beginning this weekend at Mid-Ohio as he will offer advice to Carpenter, Foyt and the engineering staff. Herta, who most recently drove this year for Andretti Green Racing in the American LeMans Series, has two career IndyCar Series victories and is one of only three drivers in history to win a race in the IndyCar Series, the ALMS and CART.


German GP: Hamilton easily tops Practice 2
After topping the first free practice, Lewis Hamilton proved again fastest in the second practice session for the upcoming German GP at Hockenheim. Felipe Massa was second and almost 0.7 seconds down on the McLaren driver. The second Ferrari and McLaren were a close 3rd and 4th.


Pos. Driver Team Time Laps
1 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:15.025 37
2 F. Massa Ferrari 1:15.722 31
3 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:15.760 34
4 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:15.990 37
5 M. Webber Red Bull 1:16.017 25
6 F. Alonso Renault 1:16.230 38
7 N. Rosberg Williams 1:16.355 41
8 R. Kubica BMW 1:16.363 36
9 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:16.377 40
10 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:16.378 35
11 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:16.422 41
12 J. Trulli Toyota 1:16.530 45
13 J. Button Honda 1:16.542 38
14 R. Barrichello Honda 1:16.677 28
15 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:16.734 42
16 T. Glock Toyota 1:16.781 44
17 K. Nakajima Williams 1:16.829 21
18 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:16.860 14
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:17.008 39
20 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:17.047 37


Mercedes wants to buy McLaren - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  Mercedes-Benz is interested in buying the remainder of McLaren, team chief executive Martin Whitmarsh has admitted at Hockenheim.

On the verge of the German manufacturer's home race, Whitmarsh confirmed the constant speculation about McLaren's long-time partner wanting to up its share from the current 40 per cent.

McLaren teamed up with the Stuttgart manufacturer in 1995, and Mercedes-Benz is now the only carmaker on the grid that does not own its team outright.

"It's an interesting issue and a dilemma that faces the shareholders of this business -- and to some extent the management," Whitmarsh told the International Herald Tribune newspaper.

"But I would be deeply disturbed if Mercedes had no real interest in acquiring us.  I think it's a tangible demonstration of their commitment to this," he added.

Whitmarsh said: "They have a lot of investments already sunk in their formula one endeavors, and the fact that they would like to acquire control is a healthy ambition."

Norbert Haug, however - in charge of Mercedes' motor racing activities - tempered the situation by pointing out that equity is not everything.

"The question is how successful you are," said the German, who was also on the pitwall when McLaren-Mercedes won its last titles in 1998 and 1999.

Haug added: "It's not a question of what percentage you own.  It's a question of how many points you have on your account at the end of the year.  And so far we have more points for less money -- for a car manufacturer."


Honda to keep same drivers for '09 - Brawn
(GMM) Honda will race into the 2009 season with an unchanged driver lineup, team principal Ross Brawn said on Friday.

The Japanese squad's current drivers, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, are out of contract at the end of the year.

But with Honda fully focused on building a better car for the sweeping new regulations for 2009, Brawn told F1's official website that Button and Barrichello are good enough to deliver.

"Clearly our priority is to sort the car out, because we believe with the drivers we have, if we produce a good car then they can produce from their side," he said, following speculation that Fernando Alonso might be an option for the Brackley based team.

"So we are not looking at anything major on the driver side. Our main priority is the car," the Briton added.

Asked specifically if Button, 28, and F1's most experienced driver Barrichello, 36, will race next year's Honda, Brawn answered: "Yes."


Teams not using 'shark fin' bodywork
(GMM) Both the Toyota and McLaren formula one teams decided against using 'shark fin' engine covers at Hockenheim.

The two outfits tried the concept - debuted by Red Bull this year and emulated at grands prix by Toro Rosso, Renault and Force India - at the test at the German circuit last week.

It is understood McLaren did not discover any adverse effects of the striking solution, but simply want to gather more information about the engine cover - including how the car balance is affected by stronger winds - at a subsequent test.

Toyota, meanwhile, only briefly ran the shark fin-style engine cover last week, before Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock took to the drizzly Hockenheim circuit on Friday morning with its usual conventional bodywork.


Stewart-Haas to get plenty of help from Hendrick
A lot of teams breathed a sigh of relief a couple of weeks ago when it was announced that Mark Martin would fill the empty seat at Hendrick Motorsports.

They were happy because the rumor that Tony Stewart was in line for the job turned out to be untrue and that NASCAR Sprint Cup’s super team would not become even more super by adding a two-time points champion.

Then came last week’s announcement that Stewart had become a partner in Haas CNC Racing and that he would become an owner/driver next season with that team — which would be renamed Stewart-Haas Racing.

Rival racing organizations are now breathing a bit more cautiously. While the name Hendrick Motorsports will not be stitched onto Stewart’s driver’s suit next season, the Hendrick name will be stamped on important parts of Stewart’s car.

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German GP: McLaren team tops Practice 1
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton topped the times in Germany followed closely by teammate Heikki Kovalainen, Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, the Renault of Fernando Alonso fourth, Kimi Raikkonen fifth and Nico Rosberg sixth for Williams.

Practice 1 results:

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1 min 15.537 secs
2. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) McLaren 1:15.666
3. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1:15.796
4. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault 1:16.163
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:16.327
6. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams - Toyota 1:16.606
7. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:16.618
8. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber 1:16.719
9. Kazuki Nakajima (Japan) Williams - Toyota 1:16.821
10. Nelson Piquet (Brazil) Renault 1:17.063
11. David Coulthard (Britain) RedBull - Renault 1:17.108
12. Jenson Button (Britain) Honda 1:17.131
13. Timo Glock (Germany) Toyota 1:17.185
14. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:17.268
15. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Force India - Ferrari 1:17.471
16. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda 1:17.500
17. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota 1:17.556
18. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Ferrari 1:17.784
19. Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber 1:18.779
20. Sebastien Bourdais (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:21.506


Q&A with Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg is just one of five drivers contesting his home race in Germany this coming weekend and as such he joined his fellow countrymen at the official FIA press conference held at the Hockenheim circuit on Thursday afternoon…..

What are your feelings about your home grand prix and given you tested here last week?

I am really happy to be driving here too. I was born 40 minutes away from here and my grandma and uncles and friends still live there in Wiesbaden, so I come here quite a few times and it is nice to be racing here. I started my racing career in Germany and have raced here many, many times and won many races here too, so it is a track that I really enjoy and in terms of the car I think it is a track that should be better for us, so I think we can really look forward to a good result here.

And testing went well?

Testing went pretty well. I was second and third on the two days. I am sure we ran less fuel than the top runners but compared to other people we definitely did better here, so I am looking forward to a good weekend.

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Navy sponsorship dumping JR Motorsports
The U.S. Navy announced it was withdrawing at the end of this season as sponsor of the Nationwide car driven by a young man identified the same week in USA Today as NASCAR's rising star on a team owned by NASCAR's most popular driver.

I wondered like everyone else, what Dale Earnhardt Jr. had cooked up for next year that was so rich it scared the Navy off. No sponsor would willingly step away from a deal that gave it everything any sponsor could possibly want!

But, now that I've spoken with the Navy and with JR Motorsports, I realize the answer wasn't as hot as it was another sign of our frightening economic times.

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Kalitta Funny Car Team Determined to Race Again in '08
The loss of Funny Car driver and two-time Top Fuel world champion Scott Kalitta as the result of an accident at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park June 21 left a void in the pits that has been felt by racers and fans alike. Though that void can never be filled completely, the DHL-sponsored Funny Car team will hit the racetrack again this season and perhaps fulfill Kalitta's vision by completing his and father Connie's quest to field a winner in the Funny Car ranks, which they had worked tirelessly toward since their return to the class in 2006.

The Kalitta Motorsports team is still searching for answers regarding Kalitta's accident along with exploring driver possibilities but is geared toward a return to the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour this season.

"We will bring the Funny Car back out this year; we just don't know when," said Jim Oberhofer, team manager of Kalitta Motorsports and crew chief for Hillary Will. "It could be Brainerd, it could be Indy, or it could be later. Connie is bound and determined to get it back out there."

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Alonso sidesteps latest Ferrari rumors
  • Alonso never a serious option for RBR - Horner
  • Alonso doubts Hamilton can stay in title fight
  • Ferrari duo hope for no more 'bad days'

Alonso sidesteps latest Ferrari rumors
(GMM)  Spanish F1 driver Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim sidestepped rumors he may accompany McLaren sponsor Santander to Ferrari in 2010.

"All I know is what I have read in the past days," the current Renault driver is quoted as saying by the news agency EFE.

"I don't know if it is true or not, I have not heard anything.  Even if (Santander) do go (to Ferrari), it doesn't mean I have to go as well.

"I haven't spoken to anybody from Santander or Ferrari; that's all I have to say," he added.

Alonso, 26, also would not rule out staying with Renault in 2009.

"Let's see what will happen between now and the end of the year," he said.  "Next year's championship begins in March, so I am not in a hurry to decide.

"In July, you can have discussions with people, but nothing very serious until September or October."

In another Spanish media report, meanwhile, Alonso gave a big hint about his preference for the future.

In a novel cooking activity for a sponsor, the interviewer craftily asked the former double world champion if he prefers French (Renault) or Italian (Ferrari) food.

"Spanish," Alonso smiled, according to the Diario AS newspaper.  "But if you are referring to something else, then I prefer Italian," he added.

Alonso never a serious option for RBR - Horner
(GMM)  Red Bull never seriously considered hiring Fernando Alonso for the 2009 season, team boss Christian Horner said at Hockenheim.

After confirming that current Toro Rosso racer Sebastian Vettel will graduate to the senior team next year, Horner was asked about speculation that Red Bull also held talks with former double world champion Alonso.

It is believed, however, that Red Bull's interest cooled because Alonso may only be looking for a one-year contract before switching to Ferrari in 2010.

"Fernando for us, on the terms that he was potentially looking for, would never have been an option," Horner confirmed.

The Briton hastily added that the team is happy with its 2009 lineup of Vettel, 21, alongside Mark Webber.

"To be honest (Alonso) was an option that we didn't even look particularly hard at, because in Sebastian we've got a driver very much for the future," Horner said.

Alonso doubts Hamilton can stay in title fight
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has predicted a two-way fight for the 2008 championship between Ferrari's race drivers.

Without actually mentioning the name of his 2007 McLaren teammate, former double world champion Alonso - who drives for Renault - seemed to discount the possibility that Lewis Hamilton will still be fighting for the crown by the end of the season.

In the drivers' classification at present, Hamilton is among a three-way points tie with Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.

"The title?" Alonso, 26, is quoted as saying at Hockenheim by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It is a question that will involve only Raikkonen and Massa in the second part of the championship," he added.

Ferrari duo hope for no more 'bad days'
(GMM)  Ferrari's two race drivers said they are not dwelling on mistakes described as "stupid" by the Italian marque's president Luca di Montezemolo after the recent British grand prix.

"Montezemolo was disappointed?  He was not the only one," world champion Kimi Raikkonen was at Hockenheim quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

A bad call on the Ferrari pitwall at Silverstone two Sundays ago marred the Finn's chase of winner Lewis Hamilton, while teammate Felipe Massa finished dead last following at least five spins.

"It's just part of racing," Raikkonen added.  "We have made some mistakes but nothing is wrong and the championship is still open."

Brazilian Massa, meanwhile, filed away his disastrous British race two weeks ago as a "bad day".

"That is something you can't explain but that is part of sport, anybody can have a bad day just as you have a good day.

"That's what happened to me -- I just hope it does not happen again," he added.


Money woes hit Dalziel and SAMAX
Ryan Dalziel and SAMAX Motorsport will be absent from Round 9 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 this weekend, Friday 18th – Sunday 20th July, hosted at the picturesque Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

Despite a maiden victory earlier this year in the #2 SAMAX Motorsport BMW-Riley Daytona Prototype, in Round 5’s ‘Rum Bum.com 250’ at Laguna Seca in California, the Florida-based squad run by Peter Baron has chosen to skip the Barber event this weekend due to a lack of resources.  SAMAX is now taking the time to reorganize its on-track program to finish the remaining five races with the best chance to win.

Peter Baron stated, “Since we are not competing for a championship currently, it’s more beneficial for us to take a weekend off and make sure our preparations are focused on the final races in order to build on our previous successes.”

“I’m obviously very disappointed to be missing out on competing at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday,” commented Dalziel.  “We’ve had a great run this season capped by our first win together in May.  I totally respect Peter Baron’s decision with regards to missing this event; he’s a good friend and someone who’s given me a great opportunity to compete here in North America so I stand by him.  I love racing at Barber Motorsports Park so it’ll be a bit frustrating to be there on Sunday watching from the sidelines but I’m looking forward to being back in the car in Montreal at the start of August.”

Dalziel (26) plans on attending Sunday’s Grand-Am event in Alabama following a two-day trip to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio to check out Round 6 of the 2008 American Le Mans Series.

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